Alert: Big Lego Sale at Kmart!

March 29, 2010

Kmart is having a “Buy 2 Get One Free” sale on Lego building sets until April 3, 2010.  Their selection is not great, but if they’ve got what you’re looking for, the prices are pretty good to begin with.  Use the code “springtoy50” for an extra $5 off on the website.  The coupon is only good through April 3, 2010 as well!  I just used it, and it works!!!


Gifts for ages 1-6?

March 26, 2010

I’ve been coming across so many good gifts lately, that I had to get them all down someplace.

  • Topobo construction kit with kinetic memory.  Big sale at their online store right now.
  • Uno – a card game for any age.  I never get tired of playing it.
  • Ticket to Ride Game – good for whole family play – a five or six year old may have to be on a team with an older person, especially in the beginning, but kids will enjoy it whether they are on their own team, or on a team with someone else.  You have to make very strategic game play choices in this game (whether to use your turn to get more cards, capture a route or go for more destination challenges).
  • Subway map transit puzzle – another good activity for the whole family
  • Blokus or Travel Blokus or any of the many Blokus incarnations
  • Block ‘N’ Roll – really helps if you have Duplos around to go along with this
  • Legos
  • Young Cam Jansen books for 1st/2nd grade level readers
  • Level 1 Henry and Mudge or Puppy Mudge books for early readers
  • Bob Books for non-readers who want to start
  • Gifts for Girly Girls: your old costume jewelry and fancy purses
  • Ultra Tangoes
  • Set card game
  • Fun shaped hot water bottle for a kid that gets stomach aches or often has the achy-painies
  • Razor scooter
  • Jumprope – ultimately portable, great exercise, and this one can shorten to any length
  • Stockmar modeling wax – they have different size sets of this.  Great for kids who like to fidget.
  • Busy Busy Town by Richard Scarry – either the game or the book (the book seems like it is for ages 1-4)
  • Harmonica – get a real one, in the key of C for a beginner.  They have a wide variety of price points, but there are some cheap ones at guitar center
  • Connect Four (don’t need bigger than travel size)
  • Slamwich
  • Chalk – if you’re going to the playground, always have some chalk ready for when boredom strikes!
  • Jenga – especially great for 3 & 4 year olds
  • Geoblocks

You may also want to look at the page for gifts for a four year old.

Favorite quotes?

March 26, 2010

I was reminded of this quote this morning on the elliptical machine at the gym.  Chilly Gonzales sampled this in his absolutely brilliant and enjoyable PIANIST ENVY (link to free download).

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!
Rocky Balboa
Speaking to his son in Rocky Balboa (2006)

This next quote is from Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, Dune, which is one of my favorite books of all time.  I memorized this quote to repeat over and over to myself during labor.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn to the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
— Frank Herbert (Dune)

And, I just love this one because it’s so true.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Robert A. Heinlein

What do I need to know about parking a car, right now?

March 26, 2010

The holidays line up just right this year to vault you car owners into parking nirvana over the next few days!

How can I take my geeking to the next level?

March 25, 2010

Easy.  Make (fabulous DIY magazine).  And, yes, it’s totally worth the $14.99 per issue.  THEY HAD A TEACH YOUR FAMILY TO SOLDER CHALLENGE!  OK?!

Also, Textrix offers the next level of challenges once you’re ready to go beyond Lego robotics.

Power Bars?

March 25, 2010

The gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, refined sugar-free  powerbars I made for the Haitian Earthquake Relief Bakesale were a big hit today, and I got many requests for the recipe.  It takes about 5 minutes (plus 20 minutes of cooling time) to make these.  I simplified the recipe that was originally on the Perky’s Nutty Flax cereal box (prior to it being renamed Perky’s Crunchy Flax).

To make about 30 1.5″ x 2″ x 1″ cubes:

1 Jar Creamy Sunbutter

1/2 Jar Lundberg Rice Syrup

2 boxes Perky’s Crunchy Flax

Put the sunbutter and the rice syrup in a large (preferably glass) pot over medium heat until it’s nearly bubbling.  Stir a lot so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.  Remove from heat, mix in cereal until it’s evenly coated.  Press mixture into greased (I use olive oil very, very sparingly) square or rectangular baking pan (big enough to accommodate as many bars as are mentioned above – I use two) and let cool.  Cut into squares.

Warning for blood sugar sensitive people: though these are awesome, they are a carb overload for me.  I only eat them immediately before some intense activity (like running or working out).  When I give it to my son, it’s right before he takes off in the playground.  That way, some of the sugars can be burned off quickly before there’s too much of a blood sugar load.  Fact-check the science behind this yourself, in case I am making stuff up, but it seems to work.

Alert: Whole Foods Sale on Pesto and Pasta Sauce

March 23, 2010

I love Raw Basil Pesto Genovese from Seggiano.  It is normally $11.99 a bottle from Whole Foods.  It’s on sale until 3/30/10 for $9.99 a bottle.  The expiration date on it is a year away and it does not need refrigeration until it is opened.  Yes, it is a small bottle (7 oz) but good pesto is expensive.  This stuff is way cheaper than it costs me to make my own and (although I am shamed) it is better than mine.

Also, Gia Russa pasta sauce is on sale until 3/30/10 as well (it is normally 6.99 for a 24 oz jar, sale price is 5.99).  I don’t eat this stuff (because I am allergic to tomatoes), but my family loves it, the ingredients are solid, and best of all, the jars are the PERFECT size in which to keep the copious amounts of chicken stock I make during the fall, winter and early spring.  If you have any leftover Gia Russa jars, and you’re just going to recycle them (and you are a friend of mine that lives near me), give them to me.  I could always use more.  I’ll trade you some GT Dave’s kombucha bottles to use for a reusable water bottle, of which I have more than I need.

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