Category Archives: products
We bought an enormous box of train/car/boat stuff at Once Upon a Child a while back. We didn’t have a train set and this one said Melissa & Doug on the bottom, so it seemed like a good deal.
When I got home, I did some research and found out that the sets were no longer being made. It seemed that a company called “Lights, Camera, Interaction!” was possibly bought by or merged with Melissa and Doug. I guess maybe the LCI thing could have always been a subset of of M&D, I’m not sure. The series is called Puzzle World. At first I thought we had all of the sets, but now I know there is something with a barn and something with a helicopter that we don’t have. I think we have 4 sets, but there may be some extra track and I couldn’t because there are so many pieces.
There is the train set, called “Ramblin’ Railway.” Here is a picture of the box that I got from the Sea of Toys Angelfire website. The big feature of this one is the arch (which is the same arch from the Arched Bridge Set).:
Another one from that same website is the Big City Adventure. The big features in this one are the really tall city hall and the drawbridge with the working crank.
The last set is is Dock’n Discover set that features boats, water and harbor pieces. I found a picture of it from Little Kids Stuff.
This is neat because you can use the crank to magnetically pick up and move the cargo and the fish. A pic from our set:
Another shot of the sea wall.
We have a roundabout and some buildings with tops like these, so we must also have this set that someone (catlovergail) at Ebay calls Skyscraper Roundabout. Here is the picture that I lifted from their ad.
The main reason that I wanted to put this post together is because I had such a hard time figuring out what went together and how. A lot of the buildings were not glued anymore and so it was confusing. Maybe they weren’t supposed to be glued and the previous owners tried unsuccessfully to glue it together. I used the above pictures as guides and tried to assemble some of the pieces back together. I’m hoping that this will help some other parents out there who are trying to figure out what goes where.
First of all, the boat. This one was easy because there was an exploded shot up at Little Kids Stuff. Note the three flat pieces. The yellow, black and red one is a vertical door to keep the cargo in. The plain one with the red (helipad?) mark fits between the two crew areas on the top. The last one which is not painted at all, but has grooves and 2 pegs is the roof on the boat.
Here is a top view from our boat:
I cropped this out of someone’s (dudlbg06) Ebay post. The train can go over or you can wind the drawbridge up and the boat can go under.
Here are some pics from our set of the drawbridge:
The train can go over. You can put water or road underneath. This pic is also cropped from that Ebay post:
Here is our arch assembled:
Here are the Town Hall pieces according to the package, but I guess you could assemble any of the buildings however you want.
I hope that these pics help you. If you have any more tips, clear pictures or instructions, I’d appreciate them.
I had read the book The First National Bank of Dad: A Foolproof Method for Teaching Your Kids the Value of Money and had really enjoyed his core idea of letting kids have (and learn hard lessons about) their money now. Basically, the tragedy of blowing your $3 allowance on candy and then not having any left over is not nearly as horrible as running up credit card debt in college because you have no money management skills.
I had thought about giving Quinn an allowance and then I saw a daily deal, I think from Jasmere and decided to try it. The company is called Three Jars, because your child can (virtually) put their allowance into a Save jar (with interest that you set up), a Spend jar (pocket money) and a Share jar (to go to charity). You can customize everything – dollars in (all virtual, you don’t actually give money to the website), interest earned, ratios in each jar, etc. I can’t remember what I paid, but it was half off of their regular price. Until March of 2011, you can get an account free for life!! Even if your kid is 6 months old, sign up now!
I did a little reading and took the suggestion to make Quinn’s allowance be half of her age. She is 5, so $2.50. I explained the 3 jars to her and gave her the $2.50 in the form of 10 quarters. I showed her what I thought she might like to have her ratio be by giving her three stacks of quarters. I believe I weighted it pretty heavily on the spending money because it was only $2.50 and I didn’t think it was really enough to stash too much away. I then let her fiddle with the piles until she liked it better. She divided her piles out like: Save $1.25 (50%), Spend $0.75 (30.%), Share $0.50 (20%).
Honestly, she doesn’t spend much money. She really isn’t one of those kids who begs for toys or candy (not much, anyway). If she really wants something and it isn’t something that I or Megan are willing to buy for her, we will say that she can spend her money on it if she wants to. She’ll ask if she has enough – because she really has no sense of money yet. We’ll say yes and that we can take it out of her threejars account when we get home.
I really like this product and the fact that it is now free is amazing. There are a lot of features that we will begin using once Quinn is a little older, such as jobs to earn extra money. Seriously, sign up now while it is free.
I decided to peek at Etsy and see what handmade Caillou items people have made. Jude is currently obsessed with Caillou. I’m not a fan, but jr baldy is growing on me.
I’ll put this one in first, because it is my favorite by about a million miles. Wait, kilometers, Caillou is Canadian. This is a knit Rosie doll. The woman who created her did a wonderful job capturing the facial expression. She is $35 and is made by caveil. She also makes a Caillou, but it was the Rosie that made me go, “Awwwwwww.”
If you are looking for items to throw a Caillou-themed birthday party. You are SET. There are items you can order (you can even custom-wrap each of your water bottles in a water-resistant water wrap in case you are embarrassed of the brand or something…). I suppose if you are one of those theme people, then this might be just the thing you want.
There are matching patterns you can print for invitations, photo frames, cupcake toppers, banners and lots of other things. I find the color choices of some of them peculiar. The Caillou characters are all about primary colors and monochromaticness. This is really cute, but not what I was expecting. Those patterns sorta dazzle the eyes, don’t they?
Another genre is the Caillou hairbow. Most are the standard bow that you would expect – a big pile of ribbons with a Caillou character in the middle. These, on the other hand, are ingenious. She has actually taken bitsy pieces of grosgrain ribbon and glued them into the shape of Rosie and Caillou. I mean, a kid of mine would ruin them in 4 seconds, but they are fascinating to look at. Maybe your kids aren’t as destructive as mine? They are available for $9 from the HeadsOrTailsBoutique.
Two more: An applique pattern for a sewing machine that I will never be rich enough to own. It’s $3.99 and comes in 2 (remarkably similar) sizes.
I wonder what our family would do if we ordered this for Jude for his 3rd birthday. You know he would love it. EVERYBODY loves fluffy tutus. Now that I know how easy those are to make, I don’t think I could spend money on one, but maybe you are looking to do a little shopping instead of crafting? VanyKids makes it and it is $36.
Etsy provides a never-ending supply of awesome Goonies-related items. Here are just a few of them. Full confession time: 1) The truffle shuffle makes me sad, 2) Sloth is meh and 3) “Goonies never say die” is cute, but I give bonus points for more obscure quotes.
Want to make the gift yourself? How about this cross-stitch pattern of the Goonies crew? It is $7 and made by weelittlestitches. I love the symmetry of the characters. Despite being so tiny, you can really tell who is who.
Raise your hand if you don’t like duct tape wallets. Really? You are lying. Duct tape wallets are awesome. This one features sillouettes of the characters and has 6 credit card slots. It is also $7 and is made by lunasuniquegifts.
If you love me, you will buy me this next one. Nine itsy bitsy prints of the goodies and the baddies from the Goonies. What could be better than a 2″ tall Fratelli? These are $12 and created by TimmyK.
I’ve had my eye on this one for a while now. It is an 8×10 print of the boys when they first find the map. I’m not sure that Mikey is exactly perfect, but I love the colors. Mouth and Chunk are really good. This print is $15 and was created by mirandadressler.
Ok, I will limit myself to just one more. How about some jewelry? This pendant is a quarter with the words “This is my wish” hand stamped into it. You know, from the wishing well scene? The only downside, as I see it is that the coin is from 1987 and the movie was made in 1985. I imagine most people wouldn’t even question it, but I just thought I’d mention that I noticed it. Otherwise? LOVE it. This pendant is $10 and made by SpiffingJewelry.
We had several people at the park ask us where we rented our stroller. It was Kingdom Strollers. It was just amazing and a life-/back-saver. I decided to write this post because I couldn’t find too many posts outside of message boards about them and I wanted to tell people that they are legit.
We went with them because they were the only place that I could find that had a stroller that was big enough for my 5 year old (anything would have worked for our 2 year old). I can’t imagine a 5 year old that would walk all of Disney — especially not with any speed. We rented the BOB Double Stroller – the BOB Revolution Duallie. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beast to get on and off of the Disney shuttles, but the security of having a stroller waiting at the hotel for us the moment we got there, not having to rent one at the park each day and being able to transport kids in a stroller pre- (and especially) post-park is worth any dirty looks you get from monopolizing more than your fair share of shuttle bus turf. (or maybe the dirty looks were because they were jealous that they didn’t have our awesome stroller).
I would recommend watching a few youtube videos before you get there so that you know all of the features and how to fold and open it. This is a good one.
One more thing, I emailed them one morning before we left at some ungodly early hour to confirm that everything was all set. I got a personal (and charming) email back in around 2 minutes.
Even if you don’t rent through this company. DON’T rent a Disney stroller, they look terribly uncomfortable, don’t have much storage, are not guaranteed, you can’t take them back to the hotel and they work out to be more expensive.
Lego has been doing a lot of market research and is going to be coming out with a new line for girls. Phrasing it this way kinda wants to make me puke, but the actual stuff I have seen is pretty cool.
Here is the the complete article from business week, but this quote was the most interesting part to me:
“Then there are the lady figures. Twenty-nine mini-doll figures will be introduced in 2012, all 5 millimeters taller and curvier than the standard dwarf minifig. There are five main characters. Like American Girl Dolls, which are sold with their own book-length biographies, these five come with names and backstories. Their adventures have a backdrop: Heartlake City, which has a salon, a horse academy, a veterinary clinic, and a café. “We had nine nationalities on the team to make certain the underlying experience would work in many cultures,” says Nanna Ulrich Gudum, senior creative director.
The key difference between girls and the ladyfig and boys and the minifig was that many more girls projected themselves onto the ladyfig—she became an avatar. Boys tend to play with minifigs in the third person. “The girls needed a figure they could identify with, that looks like them,” says Rosario Costa, a Lego design director. The Lego team knew they were on to something when girls told them, “I want to shrink down and be there.””
Here is a hacker’s workshop that they are coming out with. The colors are a little pink for my taste, but I’d still totally buy this for either of my kids. You’ll notice that the minifigs are a little bigger than mr/ms yellowhead.
I can’t wait to see what other kids they have set up. You know what else would be awesome? If they could wear Polly Pocket Clothes.
As a bzz agent, I got a couple of boxes of chocolate chip cookies that are only available at Kroger grocery stores (and stores that are not Kroger, but owned by Kroger – there are a bunch). I was very skeptical because I am a cookie snob. The silly name (Truly Awesome) with the little carrot thing was pretty off-putting, but I suppose they had a point they were trying to get across.
I was surprised, though. They really WERE good. I would describe them as really big Chips Ahoy cookies. They were crisp and had plenty of chocolate chips in them. I do think that the next time I went to a Kroger store that I might try them, especially since I have coupons!
As a buzz agent, I received a bottle of Fekkai shampoo and conditioner to try. The kind I received was the “Glossing” type. The olive oil in it seemed ideal to smooth out the fly-aways in my very thick and very straight hair. The shampoo was very viscous, almost like honey. The smell was nice, but not too strong. I had to use more shampoo than I typically would, so I went through it pretty fast. I think that someone using this shampoo and conditioner who has long hair would have to buy 2 bottles of shampoo for every bottle of conditioner. Even with minimal conditioner use, I found that my hair was a lot oilier feeling than it typically is. I liked the products pretty well, but because of this, I would probably not buy it.