Monday, February 28, 2011

Tax Refund Fail

Tax refund season at our house can pretty much be summed up this way: The road to financial disaster, (straight down No Self Control Blvd, conveniently located next to several bookstores and Starbucks)  is paved with good intentions.
We intended to be completely out of debt. We intended to beef up our savings. We intended to buy that new shower curtain liner we have so desperately been in need of for the last few months. But first: To the bookstore! And wouldn't you know there's a Toys R Us on the way there? 
Don't worry, we did actually do all that stuff we intended to. But it was close. Thanks to a deceptive little thing called.. dun dun DUNNN... Calico Critters.

There we were, waiting patiently at a red light, when it beckoned from a shopping center across the street:
"Come over here! I'm made of bright and fun colors! Look at me!"
I sneaked a glance at Douglas. He had seen it too, but was pretending he didn't. We stared at the roof of the car and hummed.
"What kind of parents are you? Your 4-year-old doesn't even know toy stores exist!"
This was true, but we had carefully planned it that way.
"Come on, when is the next time you'll have a few extra bucks to spend? It will only take a minute, just pick out one thing! Imagine her sweet little face lit up with the delightful prospect of miles of endless fun!"
We looked at each other, grinning and nodding at the same time. As we pulled into the parking lot strewn with Geoffrey the Giraffe shopping carts, we began to giggle. Carly still didn't know what was about to happen, and we were giddy with anticipation of her impending euphoria. We galloped across the parking lot, dragging our confused and cranky child along behind. 
Then the automatic doors slid open....

Several minutes of frantic shrieking ensued, (mostly from Carly) which, to her adoring parents, was the most precious thing in the world. She made a beeline for the Power Wheels and tricycles, and we had to sadly explain that we lived on the third floor and it just wasn't going to happen. Her pathetic little expression of heartbreak may or may not have influenced our judgment when it came to sticking to the one-toy-only rule.
We scurried past the "boy" toys, being the sexist parents we are, and let her wander up and down the aisles of Barbies, dress-up accessories, and creepy baby dolls. After several debates over whether or not hooker Bratz dolls were an appropriate choice, I began to wish we had stayed in the plastic tool set aisle. 
Then I saw it....

It was so cute that I almost died. Right there in the aisle.

I know, right?
Now we didn't actually buy this one because it was 70 gajillion dollars for JUST the house- No wallpaper, no furniture, no critters. Ridiculous. But we did end up with the cozy little Critter Cottage, which came furnished. Do you have any idea how difficult it was to control myself? It makes me think of those commercials that I saw as a kid on Nickelodeon, when they were having a toy shopping spree sweepstakes. Remember? They showed clips of kids running up and down the aisles of toy stores, grabbing any and all the toys the could and bulldozing through the store with overflowing carts. That was exactly what I wanted to do in this aisle. 
Anyway, they had all these accessories and little velvet-flocked critter families:

Cutest thing ever, right? COME ON they even have their own wood-paneled station wagon! That beats the Barbie convertible any day.
So Carly agrees to settle for the Calico Critter Everything instead of the Bratz Super Fun Makeup Boombox, and I skip to the checkout counter, excited to get home and play with my new toys help Carly play with her new toys.
I was so tired when we got home that I went straight to bed, and today when I got home from work Carly was taking a nap. This gave me several happy hours to play with the cottage. I mean...tidy it up a little for her so it would be ready when she wanted to play.

Later this evening, she sat at the cottage playing contentedly, when she sat up in panic and alarm. "MOMMY! Help! There's no potty! They can't make a pee pee!!"
Sure enough, the good folks at Calico Critters of Cloverleaf Corners had failed to include a potty. I thought for a moment and explained, "Well that's alright sweetie, they're animals so it's ok for them to go potty in the backyard behind the cottage."
She rolled her eyes and explained in a huff, "Mommyyyy... They're just toys, they can't potty."
I shrugged and went about my business. A few minutes later I noticed she had dragged out her old Fisher Price dollhouse and was converting all the darling, adorable, expensive Critter Cottage furniture to the ugly, sticky, garage sale hunk of plastic.
The Fisher Price dollhouse had a potty.
You win again, Fisher Price.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Holy Happening Bookstore, Batman!

On Thursdays, my mom and I sometimes go to a knitting/spinning/whatever-you-do group. It's held at a charming little used book store that opened not too long ago. I try to buy a book or two whenever I go, as a gesture of support to the family-run business, which isn't too difficult because the have a fantastic section for children! I could spend a LOT of money in that tiny little 20-foot-square area. They have the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder boxed set- so tempting! And so many I forgot about but loved in my childhood: The Boxcar Children, Louisa May Alcott, Beverly Cleary's Ramona books, Where The Red Fern Grows (oh my gosh I bawled my eyes bloody every time I read that!)
I grab a couple off that list every so often, but Carly's not too interested in stories without colored pictures yet. But it's so hard to restrain myself, because I'm dying to read them all again! But for a couple more years I'll have to be content with Little Golden Books and the Sesame Street series. Which isn't too bad, I have fond memories of Bert and Ernie at the grocery store in Don't Forget The Oatmeal! And who could forget Grover's classic, The Monster At The End Of This Book- So cute! This week I found my favorite, The House Of Seven Colors.

 Anyway, I forgot to show you what I found a while back at the used book store. I was so excited because I've been looking for a copy of the old binder version of Better Homes and Gardens Garden Book
. I've seen it at vintage shops for over $30, but I found a 1961 edition for $6!!

I also found this adorable little Good Housekeeping's Book Of Home Entertainment from 1961:

There's no way I could entertain anyone under the age of 80 with the stuff in there, but it's still so cute!

This week nobody showed up for the knitting group, I think a lot of people were sick. So Mom and I went back to her house and started a TV series called Downton Abbey. She's been raving about it for weeks, and even my dad got into it! I guess this is gonna be like when we got hooked on Battlestar Galactica- all I want to do is watch this show! We only got through the first episode last night, I can't wait to catch the next one. 
It opens with the morning after the Titanic sank. An earl and his family have lost two cousins, the heirs to the title and estate. So now they have to drag in this third cousin that they've never even met, and the ruckus begins. There's also a story line going with the household staff and their hierarchy drama, so that's pretty interesting. The clothes and house are fantastic, here's the trailer:

Have you seen the whole series?
What were your favorite childrens books?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On Dollhouses

I've always wanted a dollhouse, and I don't mean a plastic Fisher Price dollhouse with stickers of rugs and fireplaces. I mean a real wood one, that I can paint crazy victorian colors and plaster with real bits of vintage wallpaper. I've been trying to restrain myself, mainly because I'd have to completely rearrange my living room to accommodate it. Also because Carly would probably shred it into sawdust very quickly, but she's four now. Is that big enough yet? I can't wait any longer!

It doesn't help that I'm always discovering tiny little adorables for dollhouses on etsy...

bone collection in wooden sp...

Antique Porcelain Hand Paint...

Miniature Artist Paint Box (...

Pop-up patchwork dollhouse (...

3 Antique Look Miniature Por...

Vintage Miniature Clothing I...

Towel stand

Butterscotch Bakelite look R...

Miniature Sampler Alphabet w...

Miniature Felted Ball Garlan...

Artists' porfolio one 24...

Dough Trough

Victorian Style Metal Doll B...

Miniature chair

Handamade 1/12 miniature pre...

Couldn't you just die from the cuteness??
My dollhouse residents are going to be very crafty:

Patchwork Shop Shelf Unit by Little House At Priory
 Look at the tiny little Quilting magazine on the top middle shelf! I can't stand the cuteness.

Floor Loom by Keenderson Miniatures
This handmade loom is under five inches tall! The detail is incredible!

The Shabby Cottage by Boubous
Carly would go nuts for this little cottage! I love how she used fabric, so unique!

Did you have a dollhouse growing up?

Monday, February 7, 2011

On This Day Four Years Ago....

My munchkin was born. Also answers to Carlybug, Chicken Face, Chicken Head, Chicken Butt, Toadlet, Gooberbaby, and Goonybird.

I try to remember what it felt like to hold her when she was tiny, or what she smelled like, or what her cries sounded like. I really can't, and that's so sad. This calls for at trip down memory lane....

Here I am being put to bed the night before her delivery. Since she was 10 days overdue, I was induced which was actually pretty nice. That way my dad could paint my toenails for me and I wouldn't be embarrassed in the delivery room with unpainted toenails. The horror, right? Oh boy was I in for a rude awakening....
So in that photo I'm pretty happy so far. My family took me out to dinner and I had a disgusting amount of cinnamon cream cheese pancakes and mashed potatoes. I'm the center of attention, and I got a sleeping pill. So far, so good. This baby-having thing isn't so bad as it's cracked up to be.

Oh but wait, now we're getting an IV. It's horrible, it's frightening, I'm getting pretty hysterical and in a few minutes I start sobbing from the sheer terror of the needle. Maybe this was not such a good idea.

Nope, definitely not a good idea. This sucks pretty bad actually. Look how big my head was, just from the horror of it all. My head swelled.

But then this thing came out:

Awwwww that was kind of worth it, right? Look at those tiny little toesies!

And she just kept getting cuter!

Yep, definitely worth it :)