Author

Teri

Click on the ABOUT ME page for a my bio.

Lego Minifigure Organizer & Display Case

My son is obsessed with all things Lego, especially the Lego Minifigures.  It’s been a challenge to try to organize them.  I have purchased and tried it all!  How do I keep the pieces and accessories together?  Group them together as a collection?  Display them so that he can appreciate it?  Create less clutter?  I searched all over and finally came up with a great find!

I found this great case on eBay.  What’s nice about this is that you can fit about 99 Lego Minifigures on this rack.  You do have to alternate a few of the arms forward and backwards so that they fit.  You can barely notice.  The rack does not have a backing as it rests against the wall. It’s light enough to hang on your wall with a few nails or screws.  So I don’t anticipate that this will fall off the wall, even with it filled as it is still pretty light.  I found this to be a good buy, especially if it frees up storage space and looks this cool!  My son loves this as he can’t wait to show this off to his friends.

Click here for the link to the eBay store where I purchased this unit.

Here are a few more views of the case so that you can see if this might work for you.  Happy organizing!

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I love the fact that each row has  a Lego bump or stud (as they call it) on it so that you can easily place each Minifigure so that it doesn’t pop off.

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Here is a view of one of his sets.  It makes it really easy to see which character he has.  In addition, I can easy keep each accessory attached to the Minifigure without placing this in another case.

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This worked for me!  Do you have any Lego organizing tips that work for you?

Posted on 6/27/16

Chores for Kids = Practical Skills for Life & Professional Success

I came across a really insightful parenting article that made me pause and really think.  This makes a lot of sense.  Bottom line, chores for kids are more important that you think!  I am sure that your kids will have a hard time processing this, but someday they may appreciate it in retrospect.  In this article it says,

Research shows that doing chores as a child is a predictor of professional success. If we don’t teach children that life requires a willingness to do crummy stuff, we are not giving them the tools it takes to thrive,” says Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of How to Raise an Adult, who, as Stanford University’s dean of freshmen, started noticing that her incoming students were lacking in practical skills. She discovered that parents—like her—who failed to teach their kids to pitch in were partly to blame.”

There are some other best practices along with helpful tips and tricks.  You can find the original article here in the Real Simple April 2016 magazine.  Here is a full version which also includes tips for younger kids: realsimple-april2016

Artwork extracted from the Real Simple article, by Gwen Keraval

Posted 6/24/16

Hello Kitty Sushi Promo

Calling all Hello Kitty fans!

Head over to your nearest Safeway grocery store where AFC has partnered with Hello Kitty for this special promotion.  If your Safeway has an in-house sushi counter, you can take advantage of grabbing a few of these cute soy sauce packets and chopsticks.

TIP: If you are able to get a hold of a freshly made roll that they set out, it makes a huge difference in flavor.  Sometimes you can ask them as it doesn’t hurt!

Hello Kitty Sushi 3

See?  Freshly made California roll sushi.  The avocados are NOT brown and they don’t look mushy either.  Yum.

Hello Kitty Sushi 2

Posted 6/20/16

 

Crayola Crayon Birthday Party

Who doesn’t love a fresh new box of Crayola crayons?!

For my son’s second birthday party, I thought that it would be fun for him to enjoy a colorful themed Crayola crayon themed birthday party!  Here is what I did to make it come together and included a few photos, links and a download for you to be able to replicate for your little one.

Watermark Template Portrait CRAYOLA

DECOR
For starters, I tried to focus on four colors to use as the party color theme: blue, red, green and yellow.  Those were pretty easy colors to find and really POP.  I also had tons of matching colored balloons hanging and tape throughout the house.

For the cake table set-up, I personalized my son’s name onto banners which I made.  I also used my Cricut and simply cut out generic HAPPY BIRTHDAY pieces so that I could carefully tape onto the walls.

Next, I went to Toys R Us and purchased these cute colorful crayon banks which stand about 43″ tall.  I was able to use these on the main table as well as throughout the house.  Talk about a focal point!  Here is the link to the crayon banks.  I was lucky enough to scour a few of the stores in my area.  Be sure to check carefully for any cracks or defects.

Lastly, I was able to use a tiered cake stand to hold the colorful cupcakes.

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FOOD
For the food, I wanted to keep with the colorful theme.  I tried to offer both sweets and healthier options for our guests.  It was really hard since these party colors just scream candy!  🙂

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Here I made faux crayons.  Yes, they are edible!!  They are pretzels which I cut down to size, dipped each end (not the whole thing) in Wilton candy melts and then wrapped them in faux crayon wrappers and secure with tape.

I created my own wrapper which I am happy to share for your own personal use.  Just click here for my chocolate crayon wrapper template: Crayola Pretzels template  I would suggest printing the template out on colored paper since the colors will look richer and won’t bleed onto the food nor will it crack if you are using a laser printer.  Plus, colored paper is usually a tad thicker, but you will NOT want to use cardstock.   That would be too thick.

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I managed to incorporate some really colorful, kid-friendly fresh fruits: green and purple grapes, bananas along with strawberries!  Yum.  And yes, there are some colored mini-M&m’s that I added as well to the mix.

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I also found these oversized carnival type lollipops.  These were more for decor than anything else.  I found these at Smart & Final, but also have seen them at the Dollar Tree.  I also found a box of crayon candy and used a few for decor.

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Candied popcorn which I made myself.  This took a bit of time as I had to make three separate batches to achieve this look: green, yellow and red.  First, I used mushroom popcorn for this recipe as I like how they look vs. the butterfly ones that you get at the store.  I love to keep these on hand as they look so pretty and ideal for making chocolate popcorn as well.  I purchase my popcorn from Just Poppin and just toss the kernels in an air popper.  Voila.  Commercial looking popcorn!  As for the recipe for candy popcorn, that was super easy as it’s Jell-O based.  Here is the recipe: JELLO-O Rainbow Popcorn For easier cleaning, I spread the coated popcorn onto parchment paper vs. a baking pan.

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CAKE
For this party, I decided to make my own cupcakes.  Not sure that I would do that again since I think that for the cost and time, it probably would have been cheaper to go to grocery store and purchase plain ones that I could dress up myself.  In any case, I purchased these Crayola cake toppers on eBay and even found Crayon candles.  Yes!  They are actual crayon candles!!  Then I got a few small tubes of icing down the baked good aisle and drizzled them on top so they looked like scribbles.

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PINATA
Who doesn’t love a pinata?  I went to Etsy and had this custom made just for our party.  Super cute!!

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FAVORS
I purchased a few green gable boxes and then filled them with various crayon theme candies and items.  For the outside of the box, I used my Cricut to die-cut each faux crayon box using the Simply Charmed cartridge by Cricut.  I also personalized each box with the child’s name on a crayon at the top.

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INVITE
I personally designed the invite so that it would look like the outside of a Crayola box.  I thought that it turned out pretty cute and tried to incorporate fonts that looked the part.Crayola Invite

Hope that you enjoyed getting inspired by my Crayola themed birthday party.

Posted: 6/9/16

 

 

Disney Star Wars Tsum Tsum Graduation Lei Gift (or Graduation Lei-a)!

My littlest is graduating from kindergarten this year.  I am so proud, yet so sad.  It’s a milestone in my books.  As I prepare mentally for his upcoming last day of kindergarten, I am also reminded that he will be participating in a formal graduation ceremony.  What should I get for him to make him feel extra special?  He loves Star Wars and he loves Disney Tsum Tsum toys.  Bingo.  I will make him a Tsum Tsum graduation lei.  Here’s how I made this.

Graduation Lei 1

SUPPLIES:
– clear cellophane wrap (Party City has a good supply)
– scissors
– curling ribbon
– Tsum Tsum toys (at least 7 of the mini plush ones)
– regular clear tape

Graduation Lei 2

STEP 1
Start by collecting all of the supplies above.   You will need to cut about 5.5 feet of cellophane wrap.  From that piece, fold it horizontally and cut it in half so you have two super long pieces.  You will only need to use one, but keep the other one just in case– so save it!  Lay one of the pieces flat on a long enough clean surface.

Graduation Lei 3

STEP 2
You will need at least 7 Tsum Tsums.  I selected the Star Wars collection of Tsum Tsums for this project and gift.  Since I am making this for my little guy, his torso isn’t too long so I won’t need that much as it won’t need to be too long.  I would say you would need about 7-9 Tsum Tsums for a younger elementary school aged child.  More if you have an adult.  Cut of all the tags off the Tsum Tsums and gently tape the fabric tags with a little tape under their bellies.  Once you have prepped each one, line them up on the cellophane wrap closest to the rougher edge, leaving about 4-5 finger widths in-between.  Think hot dog links.

Graduation Lei 4

STEP 3
Once lined up, add a little more tape to the edge of the cellophane wrap to the Tsum Tsums.  Next, you are ready to roll.  Think sushi roll.  You will want to CAREFULLY roll the Tsum Tsums over one-by-one.  Slow motion required.  Keep a somewhat firm roll, but not too tight.  If the cellophane wrap tears, just add tape!

Graduation Lei 5

STEP 4
Next, you will want to cut about 1.5 feet of curling tape for each break.  (See photo.)  Place these under each break so that you can start tying each section which encases a Tsum Tsums.  Do not make this too loose or too tight.  Every section should be the same.  After you are done tying each section, start curling your ribbon!  You should slowly see the lei transforming.  Feel free to move around gently and adjust the Tsum Tsums within each break.  You want them to be consistent.

Graduation Lei 6

STEP 5
Finally, connect the two ends with more curling ribbon and you just need to tie them together to complete the loop.

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I had his older brother try this on for kicks and think that this will be a perfect fit for my 5 year old son!  He wasn’t too happy in this photo since this wasn’t a gift for him.  🙁  I may make one for him, too!  Shhh!!  I probably could have added 1 or 2 more, but think that this should work for my little guy.  I can’t wait to see the look on his little face.  I will try to post an updated photo of my little guy with his gift at the very end of this month.

May the graduation force be with you!

Posted 5/11/16

 

LEGO Minifigures Collection Features 18 Iconic Disney Characters – Bump Codes & Box Reveal

If you are a Disney or Lego fan, then you might know that they released the LEGO Minifigures Collection Features 18 Iconic Disney Characters on 5/1/16. (Photo above courtesy of Lego.com)  Select stores released them with limited supply and they are sold out almost everywhere, even online with an MSRP of $3.99.  There are also some stores that have a limit of 4 or 5 packs per customer.  These are HOT items.  As with all Lego minifigure packs, these are blind packs, so you won’t really know what you get unless you sit there and feel the pieces, if you open the packs or familiar with bump codes.  I saw many families there crunching the bags to decipher the contents inside.  This seemed to draw a bigger crowd compared to other releases.  I guess when you combine Lego + Disney that says it all.  One mom told me that she went to all the stores in the area in search of Buzz Lightyear and Alice!  Sounds like these might be popular minifigures.  Then again, it could be that those are her favorite characters or perhaps she was trying to fill her collection.  Because these aren’t your typical Lego minifigures they are a bit easier to decipher since each character has a pretty unique face or accessory.

I have to say that Lego and Disney did a pretty good job with capturing the design and story for each character through their accessories.  Although, not all had accessories.  They put together a nice mix of characters and it would be interesting to see if they have another series with an expanded list of characters.  Here’s a cute photo of Stitch below.

Disney Lego Minifigures

I managed to get my hand on an entire box.  Yes an ENTIRE BOX.  Score!!  Although I can’t share the details how I acquired this, I can share a few things with you about what I uncovered.

Disney Lego Minifigure 2

Disney Lego Minifigure 3

THE BOX
The box has a total of 60 mystery packs.  After deciphering each pack, I inventoried the following quantities which could help you out with your search to see what a typical box inventory looks like.  As you can see, Ariel could be the hardest to find as there were only 2 in the box!  The rest had a fair share of quantity of 3 or 4 each.

  • 4 – Mickey Mouse
  • 3 – Minnie Mouse
  • 3 – Donald Duck
  • 3 – Daisy Duck
  • 3 – Alice
  • 3 – Cheshire Cat
  • 3 – Peter Pan
  • 3 – Captain Hook
  • 3 – Maleficent
  • 2 – Ariel
  • 3 – Ursula
  • 4 – Genie
  • 3 – Aladdin
  • 4 – Stitch
  • 4 – Mr. Incredible
  • 4 – Syndrome
  • 4 – Buzz Lightyear
  • 4 – Alien

Disney Lego Minifigures

BUMP CODES

Lego enthusiasts know about a little thing called bump codes.  Having 2 boys, I learned early on about this hack.  They are little raised 3D bumps that are located at the bottom of the back package that indicate what the contents are inside.  These aren’t 100% obvious and sometimes it takes just as long to figure out what the bump codes are vs. feeling the package.  So if you have a legend which has the infamous bump codes in front of you, this might help you if the bumps are obvious enough.  Here are the bump codes that I deciphered which I am sharing with you.  I have marked white dots on the bottom to indicate the infamous bump codes.  Note that this is not a perfect method as some are raised more than others.  Also you may want to take notice that some of the bumps are aligned slightly different than others as some look the same.

Disney Lego Minifigures

INFO
For more information about this special release, you can read about it here: LEGO Minifigures Collection Features 18 Iconic Disney Characters

Happy collecting and trading!

Posted 5/4/16

The Very Center of Disneyland

Quick Disney trivia! How many of you know what this is? This metal stake is located in the back of Sleeping Beauty’s castle and marks the very, very center point of Disneyland. This does not include California Adventure, Downtown Disney or the future Star Wars Land area… just the center of the original Disneyland Park as it was first built.  When the park was being first built, the builders were able to use this as a reference point for measurement purposes.

Here is an aerial map where you can look for this marker here in this general area.
The Very Center of Disneyland 2
Posted 4/28/16

 

The Original New York Seltzer is BACK!

If you remember the 80’s, then you should remember how iconic the Original New York Seltzer was to that decade.  The soda was only in production for about a decade from the 80’s to early 90’s.  Since that time, you haven’t really seem them unless you were on eBay sold as collector items… until now.  Back in late November 2015, I first spotted these cases at Cost Plus World Market.  You can purchase these individually for $1.49 or on sale right now for $1.19 at Cost Plus.  I am also seeing them on Amazon.com as well.  It looks like now they have some of the original flavors, along with a new one, concord grape.  Delicious!  Although I recall that the original ones had a plastic cap vs. metal, the flavors are a match.

You can check out their official site here: https://drinknewyorkseltzer.com/

Totally rad dude! 😉

Posted 4/25/16

Disney Pixar Cars & Radiator Springs Themed Birthday Party

Of all my Pinterest pins and boards, this party takes the cake for being the most popular.  My son was turning 3 years old and he wanted a Lightning McQueen birthday party.  Fortunately, we have a finished garage which we opened up and was able to host the party there.  We had Lightning McQueen, Finn McMissle, Luigi, Mater and Flo.  It worked!  I thought that I could share with you a few sample details of what I did an offer a tools so that you can pull this off.

CARS invite

 

Boxed Cars
This is the most popular project on my Pinterest board, the boxed Cars.  I wanted to have some of the main characters from the movie at our party.  There weren’t a lot of inexpensive items out there available so I decided to make my own boxed cars.  The kids were able to get inside of the cars and move around with their friends.  It was really cute.

I purchased a few moving boxes from Lowes and sat down to try to figure out how to strategically cut with a sharp razor and fold each side so that the entire box could be used.  I wished that I would have taken a photo of this diagram, sorry!  🙁

Once I had figured out the body and had it taped up, it was time to prime.  Yes, just like Ramone’s body shop.  For the painting step, I would suggest taking a can of primer and doing a light coat over the entire outside of the box.  Make sure to do this outside in a well ventilated area!  Once it dries, you will need to use one can of semi-pain spray paint to coat the color, let it dry, and then do a second application.  You will need to use the entire can and highly suggest that you use a quality brand.

Once the paint has fully dried, it was time for the finishing touches.  I designed faces and accessories for the cars that you see, and happy to share these with you to download.  I would suggest that you print these out on Avery white shipping labels with TrueBlock so that the paint from the car colors do not bleed through.  If you use an inkjet printer, I would also suggest using a light matte clear coat of spray paint to set the colors and images.  If you use a laser printer, you should be ok.  Once printed, cut the images out and apply to the cars by referencing the photo sample. Here is the pdf download which I created and sharing with you to use for personal use.  Printable faces for the boxed cars: Cars faces

Menu

On the menu, I tried to incorporate themed and pit-stop type foods.  Here is what I had on the menu.
– mini sandwiches
– Lunchables for the smaller kids
– Oreos (since they look like wheels)
– Hostess chocolate donuts (since those look like wheels, too)
– red and yellow candy to match Lightning McQueen
– individually bagged potato chips which were placed inside of oil pans which I purchased at the Dollar Tree and also served as centerpieces
– cupcakes with Cars toppers purchased on eBay
– and of course, plenty of fun pit stop refreshments

Cars collage

cars donuts

cars chips

 

Decor
Since we hosted the party in our garage, we didn’t have to decorate too much since we had existing old gas signs hanging.  We just had to clean!  In addition to the boxed cars I added a few more elements to make it fun.

Inflatable tires – I found these at the Dollar Tree!  These were supposed to be used as pool inflatables, but I purchased about a dozen so that I could stack to make it look like a pit stop.

Checkered flags – You cannot have too many of these.  I purchased some of these banners, flags and pennants at a local party store.  In addition, I also created and printed out my own checked flag table runner on 11″ x 7″ paper and just taped them together.  You can download my creation here: Checkerboard Runner

Decorative signs – As you can see in one of my photos, I customized a copy of “The Daily Exhaust” which is the newspaper that was featured in Cars.  In my version, I took a photo of my son and inserted him into the over sized paper and customized the caption.  I have a generic version of the paper that you can use by printing it out on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.  Such a fun and inexpensive decorative item to add to your party which you can download here: The Daily Exhaust

CARS Daily Exhaust

Entertainment
Along with the fun inflatable tires and boxed cars, we also hired a temporary tattoo artist.  We recycled an old thick posterboard and put out a sign for the kids.  We called it, “Ramone’s House of Body Art.”  Perfect!!

Ramone

I hope that you enjoy the photos and get inspired to create your own FUN party!

Posted 4/21/16

Yes, I was a Disney cast member…

Yes, I was a full-time Disney cast member at one point.  Although I did not work at the theme park, I did work on the back-end of the Disney Corporation on their website.   We had a ton of perks and interesting interactions.  It was sort of cool to say that you worked for the big mouse back then, but it wasn’t as nearly as cool as I think that it is today.  Thanks to having two young boys, my fascination with Disney has increased.  I am amazed with their marketing, operation, production, trivia facts as well as their impact upon pop culture.  It all fascinates me.  I am just a big fan of FUN things.  In this section of my blog, I will share a few small Disney tidbits, tips and tricks that I learned along the way, as well as new ones that I learn on my several trips to the park.

Walt’s Apartment
Upon one of the business trips we took, we flew to Disneyland for a day for a special VIP tour as we were incorporating concepts to the website.  (I think that it was similar to “Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Tour” with cast member extras.)  One of the coolest things that we got to check-out was Walt’s infamous apartment.  We weren’t allowed to take photos, but the memories and visuals are with me today.  We walked up near the backside of the firehouse area where we walked into a tiny studio apartment, perhaps as small as the ones in NYC.  It was small, ok, tiny.  There was a small living area, kitchenette (if you can call it that) and a bathroom.

The small living area had a dated and original sofa that had a pull-out bed that he used.  There was no bed, just the couch.  There was also a lamp there which was lit when he was inside the apartment which was a signal for others to know that he was there.

The kitchen area I recall was really small.  Just the very, very basics.  One of the things that Walt loved were grilled cheese sandwiches.  Who knew?  In fact, he had his own panini type hot sandwich press machines so that he could indulge and share with his kids.

The bathroom was small as well, but was equipped with a state-of-the-art shower.  What was unique about this shower was that the stall was customized just for Walt.  In an effort to be efficient, he had a total of three shower heads installed in the stall: at the top, the middle and bottom areas which jetted out vertically.  He was certainly ahead of his times!

For those who want to check out the apartment, they do offer tours that sometimes take a peak inside.  I would suggest calling and asking to be sure.  Here is the link: “Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps” Guided Tour.

Posted 4/20/16