Friday, July 29, 2016

The Littles Dollhouse

Today I'm taking a break from vintage Fisher Price (I am running out of toys after all!!) to share a vintage Mattel toy instead. Although I use the word "vintage" loosely since this toy is from my childhood and I am not vintage (or even 40) yet! Let's try "collectible" instead. 

This small but mighty plastic dollhouse is full of lots of little fun.  It's The Littles family dollhouse made by Mattel in the 1980s.  

My parents bought this dollhouse and the many tiny (I'm talking T-I-N-Y) accessories at discount prices when we were little ourselves.  I come from a long line of people that appreciate a good deal!

The littles dollhouse has five rooms and a deck.  The front door opens and closes, the staircase is permanent and the fireplace actually lights up (battery). There aren't specific rooms where the furniture can go, so we got to decide ourselves.  The bathroom usually ended up on the top since it was the smallest room, but sometimes we'd mix it up. :)  I've seen my girls do the same when they play with the dollhouse now.  It lives at my parent's house so they get to enjoy it when we visit.

It is actually quite sturdy and hasn't' broken apart despite decades of play!  Now the little people and some tiny furniture isn't quite as solid, but they're mostly still intact.

The furniture is made of metal (cast iron) and plastic and has tiny tiny little details and pieces.  For example, the dresser drawers actually open (and can fall out), the kitchen table has folding sides, the icebox in the kitchen opens and shuts and the oven door opens.  

The kitchen included teeny tiny little dishes (plates and cups) and there are metal accessories for the stove.  There are also vases with flowers, lamps and pillows/blankets for the beds.  It is AMAZING to me that we still have any of these pieces!!

I am so thankful that my parents kept this little dollhouse so that my littles can enjoy it.  Here's hoping they don't lose all those tiny pieces!

If you want your own Littles dollhouse or accessories I've seen them on Etsy and eBay, many still new-in-box.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Special Birthday Mandy

Happy Fisher Price Friday!  A few weeks ago I gave a sneak peek of the vintage but New-In-Box Fisher Price doll that I'd bought for my 5 year old's birthday.  Well it was a hit and she LOVES her new Special Birthday Mandy #4009 doll.  Today I'll give you a closer look and some background.

First up the box.  Now in general I am not a fan of NIB vintage toys because I am stuck with a box as I feel too guilty to throw it away (they have collectable value). However, with dolls and stuffed toys I have made an exception.  I am also allowing myself to dispose of the boxes without guilt (well maybe a little guilt).

Mandy was one of several "My Friends" dolls made by Fisher Price.  This birthday edition was the last Mandy made and was produced in 1985.  She has a soft body and plastic arms, legs and face.  According to the box she is machine washable....but I haven't tried!

Special Birthday Mandy came dressed in a party dress with lace tights, white shoes, a silver party hat and a box with a present inside!   

Mandy came with a blue box that had a pink bow on the outside which was attached to her wrist with a plastic zip tie.  Variations of the box included a pink box with a silver or white bow.

The actual bracelet is pink with hearts all around.  According to the box the hearts on the bracelet should be silver, but ours were not.  So either there was a variation or the silver faded over time.

The box says Mandy is for kids age 4 and up and the bracelet fit my now 5 year old perfectly.

She's a cutie for sure!  My daughter takes her everywhere and sleeps with her every night.  She'd take her to swim lessons if I let her. :)  I also found vintage My Friend doll clothes and will share those another day.

For more Fisher Price dolls/soft toys check out:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

5 Summer Things Keeping Me B-U-S-Y

I've taken a couple weeks off of posting on the blog due to our busy busy summer!  

Here are the top 5 things that have kept me/us busy:

1. Travel - We had a fantastic trip to WA and I've been planning/preparing for our next trip before school starts.

2. Daily Parks Dept Swim Lessons - Sitting on metal bleachers in 100-115 degree weather while the kids swim.  Good. Times. 

3. Birthdays!! This girl turned 5!! - We had her party last month but on her actual birthday our family celebrated.

4. Lost Tooth - The day after her birthday she lost her first tooth!!  Hello Tooth-Fairy you're back in business.  Sigh.  PS- The Tooth Fairy upgraded to a computer this time instead of hand writing her notes.

5. And last but not least School Supply Shopping.  The absolute worst and an expensive patience building exercise that resembles an unpleasant and somewhat impossible scavenger hunt.  Double sigh.

So there you have it, those are the top 5 reasons that I've been offline.  :)

School starts in less than 3 weeks so I'll have plenty of time on my hands soon enough.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fresh Pineapple Pie

I have a confession to make, I didn't know until last week that Pineapple Pie was even a thing.  I'd never heard of it let alone tasted one!  

My Mother-in-law's Pineapple Pie

My talented mother-in-law made us a fresh (completely from scratch) pineapple pie during our last visit and when she told me the flavor I did a double take and asked "pineapple"?  I'd heard of Pineapple Upside Down Cake but never a pie.

But guess what, it's delicious.  Ah, the mixture of tart pineapple with rich crust and some creamy vanilla ice-cream on the side to cut the tart...perfection!

I loved it so much that I asked my MIL for her recipe and made a pie this week while visiting my family.  I brought my dad a piece and he went on and on about how much he loved it and how "smart" I was. :) My dad has Alzheimer's so this pie brought me a beautiful memory with my dad!

So if you've never had a (fresh) Pineapple Pie before you must make it.  It is really quite easy, the only time consuming part was cutting the pineapple.

Let me know what you think!

Fresh Pineapple (2 crust) Pie

2 eggs slightly beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2-3 cups diced (or shredded) fresh pineapple (almost 1 whole pineapple)
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Combine the above ingredients.  Put mixture in uncooked pie shell (freshly made or store bought).  Leave dots of butter on top (I left about 8 pea sized pieces).  Cover with second crust.  Bake 10 minutes at 450, then at 350 until done (about 35 minutes).

*I added about a teaspoon of milk to the top crust and spread it around then sprinkled sugar on top (before baking).  That was how my grandmother made pies. :)

My Pineapple Pie

Note: I didn't include cornstarch in my pie and it turned out delicious but a bit runny.  I checked with my MIL and learned that I should have added the 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to help thicken.  Next time I'll get it right!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Garage to Tiny Beach Cottage Part 2

Last week I introduced my family's tiny seaside cottage located in WA state.  My parents converted a family garage built in the 1940s into a beautiful tiny home suitable for guests.  My girls and I adore the little cottage and look forward to visits out there all year!  Of course I will add that visiting grandparents, the beach and the temperate climate is also a HUGE draw. :)

We're staying at the cottage right now and had a wonderful 4th of July. We especially enjoyed the cold temperatures although the wind made fireworks a bit of a challenge.  The girls and I ended up watching most of them from the inside of the cottage.

The cottage is set just a few yards from the main house: a family home that started as a small cabin in 1907 (possibly older, but that's when my family arrived.)  It was remodeled (expanded) into a family home in the 1940s, modernized in the 1960s and then updated again (just a few things here and there) in the last 5-10 years.  We refer to it as the house that jack built. :)  But in whatever form it has been, the house has been in our family for over 100 years now!  

In Part 1 I showed the living and sleeping areas as well as the outside.  Today I'd like to finish showing you the kitchen and bathroom.

First up the kitchen.  This beautiful area of the house is a labor of love entrenched with memories and meaning.  The cabinets and counter were the workbench from the original garage!  They were removed, refinished and repainted. My mother left the iron vise behind to be used as a towel holder.

The kitchen has a small refrigerator (pictured on the left) and a microwave.  For any big cooking you'll need to come to the big house. :)  I find it just perfect for my morning coffee (red coffee maker or coffee press) and in the afternoon I can take iced tea out of the refrigerator.  We also keep it stocked with cookies, fruit and snacks.  I tend to feed my girls cereal here in the tiny cottage for breakfast before joining the rest of the family in the big house.

I also have sweet memories of my dad meandering up to the cottage and sitting with me and the girls drinking coffee and eating cookies.  My father has Alzheimer's and so every. single. time. he saw the cottage it was a new experience and he wondered over how his dad's garage had been transformed into such a beautiful space.

The kitchen has a small eat in area with a table that seats up to four.  This particular table has been in the family for many years.  It started as a kitchen table in the 1940s kitchen (my dad's) and I even used it as a desk in one of my college apartments.  So many memories!

The shelves in the kitchen have goodies such as a 1938 (working) electric toaster, vintage hand crank coffee grinder, Pyrex bowls, Pyrex red rimmed dishes, a blue pitcher that my dad made in college and a few other family odds and ends.  I particularly love the red 4 cup coffee maker and use it every morning.  I especially enjoy having a cup of coffee while looking at the Puget Sound view.

The back splash in the kitchen was handmade by my mom.  It is made of beach glass that my mom collected as a hobby.  She carefully selected the colors and did it herself.  It is one of my favorite parts of the cottage!  She also filled large vases with glass that is displayed on the living room floor.

The frame over the sink is made out of one of the old garage windows.  My mother placed a vintage poster of Norway inside.

And this view!  Lovely from sunrise to sunset.  During our summer visits we try to be there during the 4th of July and out this very window we can watch fireworks exploding over the water and neighboring houses. 

This is the entry, the door and new window placed where there used to be a garage door.  The cottage door was re purposed from the original house's 1940 remodel.  It was removed in the 1960s remodel and lay under the house for decades.

The small wooden table, a gift to my grandmother, is from an old Lutheran parsonage nearby.  It is at least 100 years old. My parents replaced the top with glass (it may have originally been marble or wood, they're not sure).

Next to the front door are coat hooks made of vintage glass door knobs.  The four door knobs on this wall (and more in the bathroom) were re purposed from the old house.  My mother had the best ideas!

On the left of the entry is the bathroom.  It is a 3/4 bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet.  It is spacious, large and bright.  The window overlooks the quince tree and one can see the back of the main house.

Naturally the bathroom includes many vintage and family pieces/knick knacks.  There is a door knob next to the sink (also on the opposite wall/next to the shower) to hold a towel and vintage medicine bottles and band aid boxes on the shelves.

Whimsical and beautiful.

And last but not least this lovely lady is the inspiration behind the cottage.  Her ideas, dreams and hard work became this beautiful little house that we love to visit.

Thanks for coming along on my house tour.  To see Part 1 of the Tiny Beach Cottage go here.

Random Facts:

  • The cottage is approximately 20x20 with 400 square feet of usable space.
  • It is heated with an electric space heater that resembles a stove.  The bathroom also has a small space heater.  Word to the wise don't leave those on and also try to use a blow dryer or you will need to find the fuse box. ;) 
  • It is cooled through cross ventilation with windows, an overhead fan and sometimes a standing oscillating fan.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Red, White and Blue; Happy Independence Day to you!  I hope your 4th is safe and full of family, fun and fireworks.

My girls and I are celebrating at my parents and staying in the Tiny Beach Cottage. :)  Ah, my happy place!  I'll have Part 2 of the Beach Cottage up on the blog this week.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Vintage Birthday Gifts

It's possible that I've sort of overextended myself this week.  Between planning and executing a birthday party, packing for our trip to the Pacific NW (we leave this weekend) and doing last minute play dates/family visits I'm a tad bit exhausted/behind.

So for today's Fisher Price Friday I'm going to give you a little peek at the vintage FP toys I've been purchasing to give our almost 5 year old for her birthday later this month.

Of course we're also giving some modern toys including Lego and Palace Pets but I'm taking every opportunity to add vintage toys while I can since the years of playing with them are going SO fast.

I'm especially excited to give my daughter the Special Birthday Mandy #4009.  Made only in 1985 this version of a Mandy doll includes a party hat, wrapped gift (bracelet) and the sweetest little outfit.  My daughter happened to see a photo of one of these while I was looking on eBay one night and has been asking ever since for one!  She of course has no idea that the doll is 30 years old and no longer sold in stores. ;) I was thrilled to find a new-in-box version and can't wait to give it to her.  

Next up is the Lift & Load Depot #942 made in the late 70's.  I recently gave the girls the Lift & Load Lumber Yard #944 and it was such a hit that I decided to add another set to the collection.

Last but not least is the Oh Where oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone #766 pocket radio music box.  I showed details of this little cutie last week.

Adding these toys to a few new ones and I think her birthday will be a success!  I'll make sure to update with more info on the Lift & Load and the Mandy doll once they're unwrapped.