Archive for the 'The Toy Box' Category

Wagon restoration

Peabody decided it was time for us to fix up the old Radio Flyer that has been parked under the deck. For a 10 year old wagon, she was in pretty good shape. After scrubbing the tarnished areas with steel wool and applying a fresh coat of Rustoleum to the inside, wheels and handle, the Trav-ler Wagon looked great. We’ll be taking it to the Thursday and Saturday famers’ markets. Peabody says he has no interest in being pulled around in it, but I know he secretly wants to find a hill and ride it like Calvin & Hobbes into space.

Lego Games Summer Tour

Lego has a new line of boardgames that they’ve taken on the road for a Summer demo tour. We caught up with them in St. Louis during our hometown visit. Visitors can try out large scale versions of the games. All of the games have some appeal, especially Creationary, a Pictionary clone where you use building bricks instead of pencil and paper. With all of the Lego bricks we have, we’ll probably take the game concepts and build our own versions of the games. It’s worth a visit if you love Legos and boardgames like we do. Tour dates are here.

Milk, cookies and Lego

The latest Lego catalog arrived today. Peabody read about the new Prince of Persia sets based on the movie based on the video-game. He wasn’t very impressed. I’m still appalled at the “flesh” colored skin of the licensed characters. I like my minifigs yellow. Peabody has his eye on the Mindstorm NXT 2.0 robot.

Ferisher in our garden

We spent the first weekend of Spring cleaning up the yard and getting our vegetable garden in order. While turning the soil we found a toy native American. The lead chief is missing his legs, but has much of his bright orange paint. He is our Ferisher, one of the fairy Indians from Michael Chabon’s Summerland. After finishing the Hobbit we started reading Summerland to get us ready for baseball season.

St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas filled our shoes with chocolates and gifts last night. He usually brings a Lego Advent calendar for Peabody and a Playmobil calendar for Nettie. We keep them with the Christmas decorations and set them up around the tree. St. Nick left a note with Nettie’s boot saying there were only Pirate and Police calendars from Playmobil this year. Imagine Santa being arrested for breaking and entering or shanghaied elves burying his sack of toys! We’re a little sad about it, but we have plenty of marzipan pigs and chocolate sardines to help us get over it.

Playmobil inventor dies

Hans Beck, the German inventor of Playmobil, died on Friday. According to his obituary in The Guardian, the miniature toy line was created in 1974 in response to high plastic prices due to oil shortages. Until then, his company had been making big plastic toys like hula hoops. We’re happy that the economic crisis inspired him to create one of our favorite toys.

Happy Inauguration!

This was Peabody’s first Inauguration and the first one that I could remember, and we made pins to celebrate. Peabody had the idea to use the Obama logo as the background, and Mother let us use her glitter and gel pen to make outlines and write. Then, after seeing a lego Obama logo, we decided to build one ourselves. Finally, I made one little pin the perfect size for Mandy. Yes We Can!

Planning at Plan City

While Peabody likes nothing better than playing with his Lego City sets, sometimes it’s just too much¬†work to get them ready for play and then cleaned up. His Plan City toys are perfect for getting a little town up and running quickly. The toys are simple, colorful¬†and wooden. The best part is laying out the road pieces which connect like Brio train tracks. Best of all, they snap into the Brio train system so you can have roads cross tracks! Peabody highly recommends Plan City.

Christmas Monkey

This Christmas I made this blue crotched monkey for my baby cousin. I started out by using the bear pattern from “Kids Crochet” but I left the book at home when we went to St. Louis (Yes, it ended up being finished on Christmas Day) and besides I didn’t have enough yarn to do it their way. I finished the body and sewed on the ears and decided that it looked much more monkeyish than bearish. So I added on a braided tail and embroidered the snout monkey-like. My cousin loved it, making the sign for monkey, slamming it on the table, hugging it, and giving it drinks from his sippy. Happy Holidays!

“Play-with” Lego sets

Lego sets fall into three categories: 1) those that are fun to play with; 2) those that are for display and 3) those that should be played with, put don’t hold up to the stress. For his birthday, Peabody received the Port of Lego City which is one of the best play-with sets we’ve seen. There is so much in it that encourages story building: multiple minifigs, cargo truck, security kiosk, working crane and a massive ship. Peabody also spent some birthday cash on the Lego garbage truck set. Unfortunately this set falls into the third category: it looks great, but doesn’t function well as a toy. Blocks break off when opening and closing the rear door and storage container separates when “unloading” trash.