Lego Addicts

IMGP4738Lately, the kids have been victims of an addiction.  I’m not talking about their usual addictions to chocolate, pizza or macaroni and cheese.  No, this addiction is of the Lego kind.  The boys just love taking out the bricks and minifigs and coming up with some creations.  Then, they will either give their creations elaborate stories…. or just smash them.

Of course, mix in a couple of their other obsessions, like Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh, or Toy Story and the kids take their Lego addiction to a whole new level.  For example, here is Buzz Lightyear riding his "flying car" (which he apparently made partially out of Winnie the Pooh’s canoe):


Also for your consideration, a re-enactment of a lost scene of Harry Potter where Harry fights Voldemort while riding on the blades of a helicopter:


I hear test audiences experienced extreme nausea from all of the spinning around.

Finally, here is the flying car of the future, today!  Complete with built-in landing pad.


There are still some bugs to work out.  Like how to actually drive the car when the landing pad doesn’t retract.  Those can be worked on in a future version of the flying car of the future.

Tomorrow, I’ll go over my recently acquired Lego addiction of the computer game kind!

Do your kids enjoy playing with Legos or other building toys?

Review: A Magical Time with Melissa and Doug’s Deluxe Magic Set

Ever since NHL, JSL and B saw a magician during the summer, NHL has been intrigued by magic.  He wanted to try doing magic himself right away.  Of course, he didn’t quite understand how to do magic.  He decided he really wanted a magic kit.  A cheap ($1) magic kit from Michaels didn’t seem to quench NHL’s thirst.  He wanted more.

Luckily, when Uncle I, Aunt M, Cousin S, and Cousin B came to visit, we exchanged Chanukah presents early.  Guess what NHL got.


Yes, that is a Melissa and Doug magic set.  NHL begged to open it up.  At first, I was reluctant.  After all, Cousin B is only one and a half and there were some small pieces.  I soon relented, though.  Even I was intrigued by what was in the package.


I opened the packaging up and took out a few of the tricks.  NHL excitedly looked at each and every piece, wondering what they did.  We were having difficulty figuring it all out until I got to the very last (and arguably most important) piece: the instruction manual.


As you can see, it was sealed shut to prevent any non-magicians from learning the valuable secrets contained within.  I got to work looking over the magic tricks.  Finally, I found an easy one.  The disappearing scarves trick.

How did I do it?  Well, a magician never reveals his secrets.

NHL also quickly mastered the disappearing/reappearing ball trick and the magic number prediction trick.


All in all, there are about 10 tricks for him to practice.  The entire set comes in a magic box that is used in one of the tricks and doubles as a storage case.


The pieces feel very sturdy and are of very high quality (as Melissa and Doug products have a reputation for being).  About my only gripe would be the lack of some kind of latch on the magic box to prevent it from opening once closed.  Without a closing mechanism, the filled, closed box easily opens, spilling its contents all over.

Still, this is a minor complaint in an otherwise wonderful magic set.  I’m sure that NHL will have plenty of fun playing with it and learning the tricks (and, let’s face it, so will I).

Disclaimer: NHL got this toy as a gift from relatives.  We weren’t compensated for this review in any way.  I just wanted to share what I thought about it.

The Intersection of Build-A-Bear, Star Wars and Harry Potter

As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, NHL is heavily interested in Harry Potter at the moment.  The downside to this is that he loves pretending to be the characters that he’s interested in.  When he plays superheroes, he puts on his Iron Man mask and “flies” around the house.  When he plays Jake and the Neverland Pirates, he uses “gold doubloons” from JSL’s birthday party.

When he casts spells as Harry Potter, though, he has no wand.  Sure, he can (and does) just use his finger as a pretend wand or hold an imaginary wand, but there’s something special about pretend play where you utilize a real object.

We could buy him a wand, but that’d just be a recipe for disaster.  A couple of years ago, the boys got a toy drum set and began using the drum sticks as magic wands.  They wound up “casting spells” by physically striking each other with them.  Needless to say, the wands/drum sticks were confiscated for the safety of all.  Though the boys are a few years older now, I somehow doubt that they could keep the spell-casting from turning physical for too long.

As I was tucking NHL into bed the other night, I hit upon the solution.  You see, NHL has a dinosaur, Trike, that he made from Build-A-Bear.


One year, using a birthday coupon, he purchased a Jedi outfit for Trike.


See this?


That’s Trike’s lightsaber.  See how it compares to a movie lightsaber? (Ok, a toy lightsaber from ThinkGeek.)


Well, now look how it compares to a Harry Potter wand.


It’s straight, has a handle and a pointed end.  It’d make a perfect wand.  As a bonus, it’s soft so you could hit someone with the wand/lightsaber without hurting them.  (Not that I’m encouraging this, mind you.)


No need to worry about NHL casting Stupefy on me, though.  I’ve already informed him that moms and dads are naturally immune to their kids’ spells.  NHL has attempted to cast a “reverse immunity spell” of his own making.  Of course, since I’m immune to any spell he casts, I’m immune to a spell which attempts to remove my immunity.  Still, I’ll play along with Expelliarmus from time to time.

What toys have your kids used for purposes other than what the manufacturers intended?

Don’t forget to enter my Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders giveaway!

A Day At The Park With Cousins

The day before NHL’s birthday, we decided to spend some time with Nana, Papa, Uncle I and Cousins S & B.  First, though, we needed to return some Netflix DVDs.  So NHL and JSL walked with me to the mailbox.  Along the way, we spotted some mushrooms growing in someone’s yard. Given the boys’ recent obsession with certain little blue characters, I joked that Smurfs might be living in there.  Luckily, I didn’t see anything come out of the mushrooms as I took photos of them.

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With the Netflix DVDs mailed, we piled into the car and went to meet B’s family.  We were meeting them at a local park that hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday.  The boys were a bit annoyed at having to walk through the market since the playground was so close.  Still, we made the best of it and looked at all of the interesting vendors.  Sadly, I didn’t take many photos since I was trying to keep and eye on the little ones while looking at the wares for sale.  At one stand, though, there was a sunflower for sale that a bee had landed on.  I took out my camera and showed JSL and S just how I take bee macro photos.


We returned to the cars to get a quick drink and then off we went to play.  We had taken our Aerobie Sprint Flying Ring, Z-Curve Bow, and Zing-Shot Launcher so we broke those out.  The kids loved tossing the Aerobie or shooting the bow and arrow across the grass.  (The slingshot had a few misfires so I put it away lest it frustrate the younger kids.)

Uncle I had two really good bow-and-arrow shots.  In one, he hit JSL (by accident) from about 50 feet away.   We all laughed about the good shot while JSL proclaimed that he wasn’t hurt because the arrow’s made of soft foam.  The second shot was later on and rocketed a good 150 feet.  It was quite amazing to behold.

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At one point, we stopped by a veteran’s memorial in the park.  I’ve been to this park many times and, for some reason, I hadn’t visited this before.  It’s quite impressive (even if the lack of wind kept the flags from unfurling properly).

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NHL used the benches at the memorial to show his love for his cousin.


Then, it was on to the park’s pond where we got to see ducks and fishes.

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At some point, Uncle I took NHL away.  You see, there’s one thing NHL loves more than anything about this park: the hedge maze.  He was dying to show it to Uncle I.  After a few more minutes admiring the ducks and fish, JSL wanted to show Cousin S the maze also so I walked them over.


Once at the maze, we all went crazy running through it.  JSL even got brave enough to allow himself to be separated from me a few times.

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Park play is hungry work, so we all went out to lunch.  Well, we all went to go out to dinner.  Unfortunately, B fell asleep in the car.  (He had skipped an earlier nap so we were expecting this.)  Nana and Papa took him back to their house for some much needed rest while the rest of us ate in the Cheesecake Factory.

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Finally, it was time to go back to Nana and Papa’s house to play and (later on) eat dinner with more family.

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