Monday, July 30, 2012

Cure for the Mondays July 30th, 2012

On Mondays I post fun ideas I've seen in the past week or so that made me laugh, smile, and want to create. I hope they brighten your day too, especially if you've got a "case of the Mondays"
How adorable is this idea of using cardboard boxes as cars for "drive-in movie" right in your own living room???

And I posted an idea a few weeks ago of using an old key from your first house as a Christmas ornament, but this one seems even more practical since you don't need the actual key. I kinda wish I had thought of this in our first apartment!

I love this easy-to-understand table setting chart (apparently I only knew how to set the table for dinner prior to seeing this!)

And I think this a great idea: turn baby wipe boxes into card game containers for after your toddler destroys the box they actually came in. Not sure where you can find so many fun colors of baby wipe containers though!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hasbro Heroes Forget Heroines

Let's play a game, shall we? It's called "what's different here?" This is the poster for the original Star Wars movie:

Source: via Crunchy on Pinterest

And these are the character packs for the Hasbro Heroes Jedi Force original Star Wars trilogy:

Source: via Crunchy on Pinterest

Source: via Crunchy on Pinterest

Source: via Crunchy on Pinterest
Source: via Crunchy on Pinterest

I know what you're thinking: where is Grand Moff Tarkin, played by Peter Cushing??? Why doesn't such a universally known character, featured in the poster, have his own pre-school toy? (Obi-Wan has a toy with the pre-quel packs; you'll see it below.)

Let's try this one. Here's the poster for Star Wars: A Phantom Menace:

And here are the Playskool Heroes Action Figures available to go with the prequel trilogy:
Source: via Crunchy on Pinterest

Source: via Crunchy on Pinterest

Source: via Crunchy on Pinterest

For months my son has been begging for the "Luke and Han spaceship" from the preschool toy aisle. Once we left Wal-Mart with him in tears because he was so upset that he didn't have it yet, which is the only toy I remember evoking that reaction in him. So we told a pair of birdies (who happen to be my parents) how much he wants the Star Wars toys, and the lucky duck got some for his birthday! But in researching the toys, I've discovered something alarming. For some reason (presumably perceived low sales?) Playskool decided to exclude the female leads from both their Star Wars original trilogy and prequel trilogy playsets/character packs. That's right: the correct answer to the two little riddles above is that Leia and Amidala, who both feature prominently in the movie posters and the movies, aren't available in Playskool Hero form. You can get supporting characters like a generic stormtrooper, a destroyer droid, or Yoda, but you can't buy Leia or Amidala because they don't exist.

I don't think shows or toy lines or whatever should be forced to have a girl just for the sake of having a girl. But to take a movie that actually does have some pretty fierce women in it and then make toys out of every major character other than the women? That really bothers me. What message does it send to my son that the main female character wasn't even worth making?

Besides the philosophical issue, it also bothers me on a practical level. I was the only girl, smushed in between two brothers. For the most part, I played with them, or by myself. While we all played with gender neutral toys like dinosaurs and toys with both girls and boys like Little People, I specifically remember building houses for my brother's lone female Lego pirate while he built elaborate ships for all the other pirates. When we were really little, my mom bought my brothers the boy ponies from the My Little Pony line to entice them to play with me (and it worked). Even when we played together, we liked to have characters that were our same gender. It made it easier to imagine ourselves doing the same things, whether that was plundering for buried treasure or frolicking in a meadow of rainbow-colored flowers (thanks brothers for being willing to play with me!!) and like we belonged in the game and weren't just unwelcome tagalongs.

If Playskool Heroes Jedi Force had existed when my brothers and I were preschoolers, my brothers would've probably had some of the toys. And I would've begged my mom to get Leia so I could play too.
As a mom, I know if I have a daughter next, she'll watch Star Wars with the rest of the family (we skip the scary parts when we watch with our preschooler, don't worry!), see her big brother's toys, and at some point she'll ask the same question about these toys I've been wondering: why did they leave out the girls?

I e-mailed Hasbro about my concerns and they sent back a polite e-mail thanking me for my comments and assuring me they would pass them along to the toy development department. They did not give any indication of why they did not include the female characters in the toy line.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cure for the Mondays July 23, 2012

On Mondays I post ideas I've seen in the last week or so that have made me laugh, smile, and want to create. I hope they brighten your day too, especially if you've got a "case of the Mondays"!

How awesome are these felt superhero masks??? And the creator has kindly posted them all to google docs where you can download the templates for free! Definitely making some for my son!

This blueberry lemon marble cake totally made me drool-perfect for a summer party!

Looks like this was originally a wedding favor idea, but I think it's even more perfect for kids' birthdays: books as favors! You could buy new ones, pass down ones your kids have outgrown, or find some bargains at a used book sale.

And I can't wait to make fossil cookies for my son sometime-you just need some plastic toys to make the imprints and a sugar cookie recipe that won't rise much when baked!

What ideas have inspired you lately?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cure for the Tuesdays??

On Mondays I post ideas I've seen in the past week or so that made me laugh, smile and want to create. Except this week I was too lazy, so I'm posting it today instead. Hope you enjoy them anyway!

I think this is a totally cute idea for a custom Christmas ornament: paint an old key from somewhere special, add a tag that says where it's from, and spice it up with ribbons, glitter, jingle bells, etc. Makes me wish I had a key from our first apartment!

And this is fun: decorate water bottles with cute duct tape. I think solids would be cute too, and people could write their names on them with sharpies to keep them straight!

This spaghetti box that has divided sections with 1 serving of spaghetti in each is brilliant, and I want someone to make a BPA-free tupperware exactly like this so I can buy it:
Source: via Design on Pinterest

This is one of those things my husband would say is too dangerous, but how awesome is this:
I would maybe build a wall on the other side of the slide too so no one could fall off the side, and then it'd be safe, right??? (How could would it be to make the space underneath the slide a little fort/playhouse????)

One serving of chocolate chip. And it uses just an egg yolk, which is awesome because there are tons of recipes that call for only egg whites but I never end up using the yolk in something else and just feel wasteful. But now I can just make myself a cookie!

And last but not least, I'd love to make these homemade fruit snacks for my son sometime. They are juice + gelatin, and I love that that means I could make them with no artificial flavors or sweeteners if I choose good juice!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cow Appreciation Day-Please Vote!!

You should go vote for this cutie saying "moo" to win "Cutest Calf" in Chick-fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day photo contest. I might know him ;)

Who Should American Idol Pick as New Judges?

So this is totally a frivolous post, but it’s recently come out that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are both out of the American Idol judges lineup. Wanna know who I would choose to be new judges on American Idol? I’ll pretend like Randy is also leaving and any celebrity in the world is fair game. Here’s who I’d pick:

I think they need to find people to fit into the following 3 categories, and it’d be best if the judges aren’t currently touring artists, because of time constraints.

Media Mogul (Randy)

This needs to be someone who knows the record industry inside and out. Someone who’s been behind-the-scenes and knows what it takes to take a performer to the top.

My pick: Jay-Z.  Besides his own lucrative rap career (14 Grammys plus the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard charts) and his wife Beyonce’s amazing career, Jay-Z is also well-known as a producer and entrepeneur.

Backup: David Foster. I saw this guy on PBS the other day and couldn’t believe all the acts he’d worked with, like Celine Dion, Seal, Michael Bolton, and more. He's chairman of Verve and has 16 Grammys.

Diva (Jennifer Lopez)

This should be someone who is actually fairly musically talented and female.

My pick: Mariah Carey. She has an unbelievable vocal range and is a pop icon. Plus some friendly rivalry w/hubby Nick Cannon’s America’s Got Talent could only be good for both shows, right?

Backup: Mandy Moore.  I personally love Mandy Moore, even though she doesn’t have the vocal range of Mariah (who does???) and if her ear is as good as her voice, I think she’d be sweet but intelligent in her comments.

Young’un (not Steven Tyler)

Call me crazy, but I think it’d be nice if there was someone on the show who was under 30. They should be able to sing, but they don’t have to be the same caliber vocally as the “diva”.

My pick: Taylor Swift. I’m sure she’s too busy writing, singing, recording, touring, etc, but if she wasn’t, having a genuine country superstar would be awesome on American Idol.

Backup: Joe Jonas.  He’s not as much of a superstar, but he is a reasonably good singer who clearly knows how to turn yourself into a household name.

Who would you choose as new American Idol judges?

Fun Fashion Find: Twotara Baby Clothes!

How awesome is this: reversible baby clothes in pink and blue!

It turns out we aren't the only family that prefers to be surprised by the gender of their babies-apparently 40% of parents don't find out ahead of time! To meet the demands of that substantial chunk of people, Twotara has baby gowns, bodysuits, onesies, and hats that are all reversible pink and blue. They sent me a bodysuit and hat to check out and they are sooooo cute. They're also 100% cotton and super-soft. They also feel really durable (the double layers probably help with that!) I'd love to see them expand to more sizes (right now they only have newborn and 0-3 month sizes) because I think it's such a great idea. Besides the obvious applicability to people who don't find out their baby's gender ahead of time, I also love that these would be super easy to hand down from one sibiling to another, even if they are different genders, which is really nice since babies don't tend to fit the newborn and 0-3 month sizes for very long (my son never fit newborn size, actually!) You can buy Twotara baby clothes online directly from Twotara, or check out their long list of retailers for one near you!

I received a free baby outfit for review purposes but received no other compensation for this review.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cure for the Mondays July 9th, 2012

On Mondays I post ideas that have made me laugh, smile, and want to create in the past week or so. I hope they brighten your day too, especially if you have a "case of the Mondays"

Did you ever pretend the floor was hot lava and you and your siblings had to prevent a (non-helium) balloon from falling into the lava by hitting and kicking it and leaping over the couch and stuff? Well this would just make that game even cooler:

Chocolate tacos. The fruit looks good, but I also wonder, how amazing would these be with bananas and peanut butter inside???
Source: via Julia on Pinterest

And I will definitely be making cinnamon roll snails next time I make cinnamon rolls

Continuing my cute-food-fetish, I love the idea of button cookies tied up with festive ribbon, and I think you could find stuff to make the circles even if you didn't have a button shaped cookie cutter (I don't.)

Oh and I had a total Pinterest fail the other day. This:
Source: via Hannah:) on Pinterest
Does not work. At all. The brownies just fall right off. Might work with button cookies though... (that particular brownie skewer pic isn't the one I saw before the 4th of July, so apparently there are at least 2 kitchen wizards out there with magical brownie saving abilities I lack. I couldn't get a single brownie to survive the skewering. Oh well.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!!

Happy 4th of July! To celebrate, here are some YouTube videos I've found of a few of my favorite patriotic songs!

America the Beautiful by Ray Charles

The Star Spangled Banner by Armed Forces Academy Choirs (from some past Superbowl)

God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood