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: Hot Wheels Custom Cars

My boys are big toy car fans, especially Hot Wheels cars.  Heading down the toy car aisle is a dangerous affair as the kids will want “just one more car.”  (Never mind the giant car bin in the house.)

The boys were eager to design a Hot Wheels Custom car featuring themselves.  First, we needed a photo.  This would have meant a long search through our photo archives, so I decided to take a new one.  Here are the boys posing:


Those two smiling faces would soon be on a car.  We chose the car type and decided on a name for vehicle.  There is a character limit (21, if I recall correctly), but we came up with a good one.  We even got to choose the cardboard backing.

After ordering, we just needed to sit back and wait.  Then, the cars (see disclaimer below) came and the boys were eager to rip right into them.  Here’s where we ran into a problem.  The cars looked so nice in their packages that I didn’t want to open them.  Here before me was a Hot Wheels car with my boys on it.  I didn’t want that banged around and tossed in the box along with all the other Hot Wheels toys!

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(Click to enlarge.  The pixilated text on the car is from my photo editing since I don’t typically post NHL or JSL’s real names online.)

Luckily, the boys were easily distracted and the cars “disappeared.”  They will be put away and given to the boys in the future.  For now, I’m enjoying them in “mint” condition.

Although I didn’t open the boxes (yet), much is apparent through the packaging.  The cars look just like they were purchased from a store.  If that store stocked cars with your custom photo, name and cardboard backing.  The photo quality is great as is the text on the side.  It all looks exceptional.

Price-wise, it is more expensive than your average Hot Wheels car, but this is to be expected.  Given the price of your typical custom photo product, the $7.99 (plus shipping and handling) isn’t too pricey.  This would definitely be something I would recommend to give to someone as a gift (or get for a gift for yourself).

Disclaimer: Thanks to MomSelect, I was given a code for a free Hot Wheels Customs car and free shipping.  The free shipping actually covered the cost of shipping two cars, so we decided to buy (and pay for) a second car.

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!

Review: Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders

IMGP1918The kids love cars.  They’ve got a whole plastic carton devoted to various Matchbox, Hot Wheels and other assorted cars.  Up until now, though, their RC experience has been a bit limited.  We’ve had a few RC-type toys meant for kids (a Lightning McQueen car and a Buzz Lightyear spaceship), but they were bulky and never quite worked right.  These toys were soon pushed aside in favor of others.

When the Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders box arrived, I was excited to (re)introduce them to the world of RC cars.  The kids, however, were even more excited than I was.  They barely tolerated me taking photos of the box and cars before I put batteries in the controller/case.

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I was stuck by how small these cars were.  You can see, in the comparison photo above, that they are just bigger than a quarter.  I’d worry about the cars getting lost, but, luckily, Hot Wheels has addressed this.  The controller doubles as a case.

Even better, the case triples as a charger.  The car itself contains a non-replaceable Lithium-Ion battery, but the case runs off of 4 AA batteries.  Connect the car to the case via a cable (inside the case) and the car can quickly be charged.  I didn’t time the charging, but it was definitely ready in under an hour.

All of this wouldn’t matter, though, if the cars weren’t fun.  Luckily, they are plenty of fun.  Again, my kids put up with me clearing the hallway of any obstacles (and closing doors so the cars wouldn’t scoot under beds).  Then, they not-so-patiently put up with me videoing myself playing with the car.

Once this short video was done, I let them have at them.  Notice the two cars.  B got selected for this review as well.  It wound up being a good thing because otherwise the boys would have fought over the controller.

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Of course, still photos of smiling faces and racing cars is one thing.  It’s quite another to hear their reactions and laughter.

The box says that it is for ages 8 and up, but JSL (age 4) had no problem operating the car.  I’ll admit that I couldn’t quite get the car to go where I wanted it to go, but that could be the fault of my inexperience with RC cars more than the fault of the controller.  Even without pinpoint accuracy, I had fun making the car race, turn, and spin out.  This is definitely a toy that I’d recommend for kids or even grown-ups.


You can win a Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders RC car.  To enter, simply leave a comment below answering this question: What kind of cars do your kids like playing with?

You can also earn bonus entries by doing any (or all) of the following items. Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each item that you complete.  (Don’t just leave one comment listing everything you did.)

  • Follow @TechyDad on Twitter. (1 bonus entry)
  • Follow Hot Wheels on Twitter. (1 bonus entry)
  • Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter. Be sure to include @TechyDad, @Hot_Wheels and a link to this post in the Tweet. (1 bonus entry per day) For example: On your marks, get set, RC race with @TechyDad and @Hot_Wheels Nitro Speeders #Giveaway
  • Subscribe to my RSS feed or let me know if you already are. (1 bonus entry)
  • Leave a comment on any of my non-giveaway posts from August/September. Leave a comment here letting me know which post you commented on. (1 bonus entry per comment, maximum 3 entries)
  • Enter B’s Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders giveaway.  Leave a comment here letting me know that you’ve entered. (1 bonus entry)
  • Write a post on your blog linking to this giveaway. Leave 3 comments about this to get credit for all of your extra entries. (3 bonus entries)

To enter, please follow the rules above within the comment section. Contest starts today, August 25th and ends at Noon EST on September 12th, 2011. You do not have to be a blogger to enter, but must leave a valid e-mail address for me to contact you for mailing address once the giveaway is over. I will select the winner using and contact you via e-mail. You will have 48 hours to claim the prize. If there is no response, another winner will be selected. Open to U.S. residents only.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by MomSelect.  I received a Hot Wheels Nitro Speeder to review.  All opinions above are my own.

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