Puzzle World Building Sets by Lights, Camera, Interaction! and Melissa and Doug

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:

Arched Bridge:

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.


Cinnamon rolls cooked in the waffle iron

Did you see this tutorial at Pinterest?  The one where the lady squashed Grands cinnamon rolls in her waffle iron.  I just had to try it.

Here are the results:



In case you are wondering, yes, our waffle iron says, “Bam!” on it.  Don’t judge us.  It is lovely and has interchangeable pizzelle and grilled cheese sandwich plates.

Here is one more where they both stuck to the top.  They didn’t burn.  That darkness is the cinnamon.

We liked them.  I’m not sure if we liked them as well as just cooking them in the pan, but they were good and ready really fast.  They were a little denser due to the smooshing and lost some of the big puffy flakiness.

Quinn was dubious at first due to the shape, but she is now trolling the kitchen for leftovers, so I think they won her over.

I would maybe try them again with the smaller rolls.

Babette Squares as of Feb 1


I accidentally made the fuchsia and lavender one twice. Grrrrrr…..

Babette Afghan

Here is the yarn that I gave selected for my Babette crocheted afghan. They are nothing like the originals and not even the same number of them.20120129-190727.jpg


I wanted to make sure that following the pattern wouldn’t make me end up with too much of any one color, I used conditional formatting in excel to visually represent the colors using the layout plots from the pattern as my basis. It is also helpful because I don’t have to look up the key every time. If anyone is interested in learning to do this, I can do a tutorial. You could use this technique with really any crochet, knit or quilt pattern.



Chalking Quinn’s Hair

We saw hair chalking at Pinterest and knew Quinn would love it.  There are some videos at YouTube that were pretty helpful.  Also, this tutorial at (wait for it) Seventeen Magazine.  Basically you are going to buy some cheap art chalks (less that 10 bucks at Jo-Ann’s), wet the hair you want to color and rub the chalk on.  It’s a little messy, so rubber gloves and a towel around the neck are a good idea.  Well, the gloves should go on your hands, not around your neck, but you probably knew that.

Here is what she looked like with her hair wet.

Before I flat ironed it

I took the top layer of Quinn’s hair and pulled it up on top of her hair.  This made the color sort of peek-a-boo.  These pictures are a little out of order, but see:  Hair down on the left and up on the right.

You can't see the color when I drop the top part down.Pink and Purple under the back

Once I was done coloring, I combed and then flat ironed it.  It was supposed to “set” it, but I’m not sure that it did.  It did make it lay nicely.   When I brushed it, a cloud of chalk flew out.  I didn’t see this in any of the tutorials that I read elsewhere, but this inspired me to spray aerosol hairspray over the chalked hair to set it.   I sprayed the hair and then brushed while it was drying so that the individual strands were shellacked.  The chalk cloud stopped immediately and I think the color will stay in for at least tomorrow, but probably until we wash it.

Here are all the colors with the hair still pulled up.  Green, black (her personal favorite because it is “like Snow White,” pink/red and then a tiny smidge of the purple.

All the colors with her top layer of hair still up

Final Results!

Table Vert - Represent!Purple on this side

EDIT – Not to be out-done, here is Jude with some blue to match his eyes.

Crocheted Sperm

I wanted to make this because I thought it might be a good gift for someone’s fertility altar someday. It was super easy. Probably the toughest part was the hand-crampiness caused by the tail only being 6 stitches around. Here is the pattern that I used.  It is free. I opted not to do the face.

If you are a ravelry person, you can find it here to add it to your queue.  I am hopemcg there, if you want to add me.



Help your kids learn to save – for free!

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.

Nerdy Crochet Joke


This happened.
I’m sorry.
Some crochet humor for my followers.
From pandahanyou at tumblr

Homemade Monsters

A year or so ago, I made this monster doll / stuffed animal from felt and embroidery floss.  It was very easy to do.  I just looked at her original picture and selected my colors.  Any embroidery was added before I put the back on so that I didn’t have to worry about not going through both layers.  I elected not to stuff the arms and legs and have sort of regretted it ever since.

The scan of the original was enhanced so that you could see the colors better.


Quinn just made this picture and I think it is great.  I was considering making another felt creature or maybe trying to crochet it.  It doesn’t have any arms or legs, so I’m not sure how much she would actually play with it.  Any ideas?

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