Friday, April 29, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Lift and Load Lumber Yard

Just when I think we've obtained all the vintage Fisher Price Little People sets that we'd ever want I find another one. :)  Our newest addition is the Lift & Load Lumber Yard #944.  Made between 1979-1981 this is set that I could have played with as a child but we didn't own.  I'm all about gender neutral toys and my girls are big on building so I thought this would be a nice addition to the FPLP towns that they set up.  Now if only they'd made a construction worker woman!

The Lift & Load Lumber Yard was the third in a series of Lift & Load sets.  Before the Lumber Yard came the Lift & Load Depot #942 (1977-1979) and the Lift & Load Railroad (1978-1979).  Although there is some overlap between the sets this one has unique features and exclusive pieces.

The set came with 17 pieces, quite a few for a smaller set.  It includes the base, yellow ramp, two workers, a forklift, flatbed trailer/truck, pallets and blocks.

The base of the Lumber Yard was grey although there is also a rare white variation.  The base included a gas pump and a red plastic yard building.

The top of the yard house had the only lithograph, a yellow sign saying the toy name and number.  The base has groves in the back to keep the truck tires in place.  There are also marks in the plastic to look like wood grains on the loading floor, and lines to resemble tiles in front of the yard house.  Ah the little details!  From this view you can also see where the yellow ramp snaps on.

The block accessories are exclusives and are very unique/special for a Lift & Load set as they are made out of actual wood!  The first time I saw a block I didn't even realize that it was FP (it had come with a bunch of other loose pieces).  The wood blocks are the hardest pieces to find for this set.  

The blocks came in three sizes (square, long rectangle and short rectangle) and included two of each.  Along with the blocks were four brown plastic pallets.  The pallets were not exclusives, they were also found in #343 Little Truck Rigs Fork Lift and #942 Lift & Load Depot.

Finally the yellow ramp which is detachable (as shown) and fits onto the base as well as the back of the flatbed trailer.  The yellow ramp was an exclusive to this set as the Lift & Load Railroad had a red ramp. 

There were two vehicles and a detachable flatbed trailer.  The truck with trailer is a lime green/yellow combo that was exclusive to this set.  Similar truck/trailers were found in other sets but with different colors or flatbed details.  For example the medium green truck/trailer combo from the #344 Copter Rig.  

The forklift is a familiar Lift & Load vehicle also found in the #944 Lift & Load Railroad and the #942 Lift & Load Depot.  It holds one worker and has a cool spring action lift as shown.

Last but not least the set came with two workers.  Both had the same blue bodies, dark orange scarves and orange construction hats.  One had a black face and the other a white face.  Neither were exclusives, they came with many other Fisher Price sets and are arguably the most common construction worker pieces.

So many fun ways to play, I can't wait to see what my girls think!  I'm giving it to them as a surprise gift to keep them busy while I'm recovering from a procedure pretty soon.  

I have a few extra Lift & Load vehicles (forklift, dump truck) that I'll have in my Etsy shop one of these days. :)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Butterfly Wonderland Birthday (updated Review)

Today was my birthday!  I won't tell you what number but let's just say it's somewhere between 30 and 40. :)  My kids were both off of school so we spent the day celebrating!  Well, there was quite a bit of sibling fighting/complaining and general whining but you know that's to be expected even on a birthday.  Ah-hem.

I decided that today would be a perfect day to visit the Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale.  It has been almost 3 years since our last visit which was shortly after they'd first opened so my youngest had no memories of going.  I have VERY vivid memories of her (accidentally) killing helpless butterflies in the conservatory (toddlers aren't so good at avoiding stepping on insects on the ground) so lets just say we waited A LONG time to return.  For the sake of the butterflies. ;)

This time I am happy to report that no butterflies were harmed during our outing!

We arrived at 10am (they open at 9am) on a monday so I figured the crowds would be minimal, but....I hadn't accounted for field trips!  You might be better going after lunchtime if you want to truly avoid the school-age kids.  However, even with the multiple school groups it wasn't so bad.

First stop was the 3D Movie about the Monarch Butterflies.  Oh man my kids loved this part.  It's a cozy theater (not very big) and we had great seats right in the middle/front (they put school kids up in the back) and you can't help but reach out and try to touch the butterflies flying by in 3D.

Next stop was the waiting room to go into the butterfly conservatory...well except one of my girls needed a bathroom.  That required cutting through the cafeteria, through the aquarium, past the gift shop and back out front.  Sigh.  Pretty inconvenient.  So my advice is have your kids go to the bathroom BEFORE entering the theater (right before you hand your tickets).

We then wound our way back to the waiting room to see the butterflies.  A quick delay and speech about not touching/stepping on/generally abusing butterflies and we were in!

So so many pretty varieties of butterflies all around. I think there may have been even more than our last visit.  

We wandered around carefully and slowly looking at the different butterfly areas.  I decided that our best place to hang out was on the top level sitting on one of the two cement benches.  There were flower and plant bushes right there and we could watch the butterflies in action.

My oldest was determined to have butterflies land on her.  She brought a flowered headband hoping that they would want to land on it.  She sat perfectly still for minutes at a time regularly asking me if they'd landed yet. 

Each time one stopped on her head or headband I took photos for her.  We counted at least 6 landings all together.  Her sister and I each had two of our own.

Now, if you just walked around the butterfly conservatory for a bit you'd easily be done in 15 minutes.  I suggest sitting.  Find a bench and just sit.  If you have kids warn them ahead that this is part of the plan.  Let them know that they aren't missing anything ahead that is any better than the butterflies (you know how kids want to race to the next thing when on an adventure).  The butterflies are the reason for going so linger.  Take photos, talk about which butterflies are your favorites, etc.

At one point my youngest became quite bored and laid down, but that's okay too.  Once a butterfly landed on her she perked up again for awhile.

Other high points were the active bee hive connected to the outside, the butterfly bench (a must have photo opportunity) and the koi pond.

After leaving the butterfly conservatory the rest of the exhibits include a small room with desert insects, frogs and another small (one room) aquarium that includes a tank with stingrays that you can touch (warning your children will be WET).  

After the aquarium room you're back to the gift shop and entrance.  If you are the buy-a-souvenir-type I recommend the small butterfly activity/sticker books for only $1.99 each. 

We had a great visit and will return in a couple years or so. :)  We arrived by the way at 10am and left at 12:30, and that's after saying one hour in the Butterfly Conservatory.


Cost: $19.95 for adults, $12.95 for kids 3-11 (0-2 are free), $17.95 for students/military/seniors, However I was able to save $9 with online coupons ($3 off per ticket up to $12 discount).

Hours:  9am - 5pm 
Days: 7 days a week

Butterfly Wonderland
9500 E Via de Ventura
Scottsdale, AZ 85256

To check out my more in-depth review from 2013 go here.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

My take on Target

I love Target and am a frequent and loyal shopper.  Reading about Target's statement of inclusivity in regards to their restrooms and the #BoycottTarget response yesterday was upsetting.  Reading over and over people calling for violence, anger, threats and boycotts was upsetting. I'm talking can't sleep, reported posts to FB for hate and texted my BFF to vent late-at-night upsetting.

A person being different than you does not excuse hate, discrimination and ridicule.  It is not okay to marginalize entire populations because of misinformation and fear.

I'm not afraid of my child using the restroom at Target, I'm much more afraid/concerned that my child will been exposed to the fear,  anger, hatred, ignorance and bias shown especially when expressed under the guise of religion.

I want my child to learn and show tolerance, love, friendship and peacemaking. To know  practical personal safety for actual threats and valid concerns.  Not fear based on inaccurate perceptions and judgements.

I will continue to shop and spend (way too much) money at Target. Perhaps it is for the best that the people with ugly and hateful views are boycotting so they'll be far away from my children while we shop. 


Friday, April 22, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Sorting Rainbows

There are many reasons that I love our vintage Fisher Price toys.  I find them better made than many modern toys, they are colorful, quiet and asthetically pleasing.  They also provide a educational opporunities for sorting/organizing colors.  My youngest is a huge fan of putting things in order/grouping.  I think she inherited her mom's OCD. ;)

But seriously just the other day she proudly showed me her "Rainbow" of girls driving cars.  Girls of course as those are her current favorite.  

This isn't the first time she's made collections for me to see.  At age 3 she made me this lovely rainbow all by herself.  I was very proud. 

And pretty much every time she plays she is arranging the toys in some way by color or type.  I love it!

For other more traditional educational vintage Fisher Price sets check out:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My view from the couch (aka she's been busy)

I'm still spending a lot of time on the couch due to low energy and pain.  My sweet little one spends the afternoons playing around, on or next to me.  

Today this was my view from the couch.  Let's just say she's been busy. 

Along with the houses, parks and other random structures she made me this sweet little flower. By the way, she sings little made up songs while she creates.  Life is not boring around here!

And looking at all those tiny tiny little pieces it goes without saying that this is definitely a walk with caution zone!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Copter Rig

Today I have the #344 Copter Rig, one of the three Little Truck Rig sets to show you.  The other two are the #347 Indy Racer and the #345 Boat Rig.  The #344 Copter Rig was made between 1981-1984 so although I did not have this set as a child I could have!

The Copter Rig came with a total of six pieces, three being truck pieces.  They included a green truck and trailer that connect with a hitch, and a grey snap on helicopter landing pad.  These pieces were all exclusively made for the Copter Rig set.

The grey helicopter landing pad is arguably the most difficult piece of this set to find.  I have come across quite a few green trailers and trucks but I had to hunt for the landing pad.  

The pad snaps onto the top of the green trailer and creates a space for the helicopter to fit into securely.

The yellow helicopter was another set exclusive.  It has a black propeller that spins around and space for a little person to ride.  The fins on the back of the copter are fixed and often broken off as a result of years of play.

The Copter Rig came with two little people figures, only one was exclusive to the set.  The tall blue pilot is also found in #2500 Main Street and #2502 Airport.  He usually has a painted chin under his mouth, mine is most likely a variation (or maybe a whoops?).

The tan construction work (or heavy machine driver/mechanic) was only found with this set.  He has a tan body, orange scarf (not triangle shaped) and a shiny silver hard hat.  My man has a mustache but there was another variation without.

To see the other Little People Truck Rigs check out:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Target Dollar Spot Sunshine Goodies!

Like many moms out there I regularly spend time at Target.  Between the vast assortment of things I didn't even know I needed, a in-store Starbucks with free refills and the cutest little girls clothes I basically think it's my happy place.

Yesterday my BFF and I stopped by and I had to get these super cute and oh-so-cheep (hello $1 each!!) kid's sunnies.  My youngest grabbed them first but they fit both of my kids (4 year old and 8 yr old) just fine.  A little big on the little one and just right on the bigger one.

Around here you can never have enough sunnies since you know, it is basically sunny 365 days a year. :)

If you look close you might notice the reflection of my super cute new hat!

Yes, yes, I found this hat in the Dollar Spot too for only $5!

Go snatch them up before they're sold out.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Henry the Hippo

Bath time is one of my girl's favorite places to play, so we've accumulated quite a collection of vintage FP bath and tub toys.  So when I heard about the Henry Hippo #625 I had to get one!  This bright and adorable little hippo is a cute addition to their tub-time.  The Henry Hippo was made between 1978-1981 and is one of a few different tub/pool animal toys made during that time.  Other animals (that we don't have yet) include the #621 Sunny Sunfish, #622 Cecil Sea Horse, #623 Sandy Starfish, #624 Sam the Clam and #620 Gus the Walrus.  Oh so many more to look for!  

Henry the Hippo is made of hard plastic and has a pink body and yellow feet/wheels.  His face is molded into the plastic and if you look close the back view has a little tail.  He has a hole on the top for water or small objects to fit into.

Later a version of Henry the Hippo was advertised as a pencil holder for a desktop.  I tried putting pencils in our hippo and a few did fit in there just fine.  An interesting twist!

His face includes holes for the water to come out, at which time the water looks like whiskers.  How cute is that?

It was a challenge to photograph the "whiskers" so you'll just have to take my word for it, or perhaps get your own Hippo and try it for yourself. :)

Henry has yellow plastic wheels on the bottom and he's balanced well so when in the water he stays upright just like a real hippo.

For other bath and pool toys check out:

Squeak and Peek Sailor #415                     

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Italian Greyhound buddies

These two are just the sweetest little buddies to me.  Bella age 3.5 and Dante age 11.5 are constantly by my side when I'm home.  Especially Dante (the b&w one) who follows my voice to find me (he's blind) and sticks close.

I am currently dealing with a chronic illness that leaves me tired and in pain most days.  So I spend my afternoons and evenings on the couch, with these two to keep my company.

I am so thankful for our fur-babies, they are the best!

Other Italian Greyhound Posts:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Little People Playing Cards

How cute are these playing cards with vintage Fisher Price toys on them?  They just arrived last week and I am thrilled with them.

I made these little cards with photos I've taken of our toy collection over the years.  A few favorites including the Merry Go Round #111, Play Family School #923 (alphabet set), Mini Bus #141, Chatter Telephone #747,  Circus Train #991 and a couple other goodies.

The playing cards are from Shutterfly and normally they cost $19.99 plus shipping but I was able to get them for "free" recently and only had to pay $8.25 (for shipping and tax).  Still a little steep but worth it I think. :)

They're a nice high quality card and they come in a plastic case.  And honestly I think they make playing cards much more fun!

My oldest thought so too!  Now I need to teach her some more card games.

Other goodies I've made myself: