Category Archives: Kids & Family

Distelfinks Paint By Number Kit from ArtYouCraft

Distelfinks Paint By Number Kit from ArtYouCraft




Pros: Gorgeous, and unique kit

Cons: Not a single one!

Isn’t this picture adorable?  It’s a paint-by-number craft kit from .    This adorable pair of love birds is called “Distelfinks” and is available in 8 different color combinations.  It’s just one of many designs available on their website.  Take a look, there’s something there for everyone!

What makes these kits different from the normal paint-by-number kits?  Well, the main difference is that you’re painting on wood, not a canvas.  So when you’re done, you have a sturdy piece of art that can hang on a wall, or lie flat on a table.  Use the varnish included in the kit to make it shine!

The other difference is that some of the designs have spots where you don’t paint anything.  You allow the wood to show through in its natural beauty.  This particular picture doesn’t have any un-painted spots, but others do.  For instance the Wheel Of Hearts has unpainted wheels and spokes on the sides.

The kit includes everything you need.  In this case, there are 10 canisters of paint.  9 bright colors and black, for touch-up work.  The paints are high-quality acrylics.  Easy to use, and easy to wash.  You also get two paintbrushes, a paper template that tells you where each color goes, sandpaper, a hanger, and clear instructions.  In fact, the instructions are some of the best I’ve seen in kits of this type.  They fully explain how to paint the picture, care for the brushes and paints, varnish the completed project, and hang it.

Teens through adults will enjoy this project.  Even some kids might enjoy it, but you’ll have to help them touch up any spots where they go outside the lines, and maybe help them with some of the smaller areas where it takes a bit of steady hand.

I like how mine came out, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.  The price for the kit is fair, given everything that comes with it, and the website’s customer service has been outstanding.  I highly recommend you take a look at if you enjoy paint-by-number kits.

Other paint by number kits:

Afternoon Nap by Dimensions
Bengal Tiger by Schipper
Japanese Garden by Bucilla
Siberian Tiger by Plaid
Taj Mahal by Schipper
Wheel Of Hearts

Wheel Of Hearts Paint By Number Kit from ArtYouCraft – fun and gorgeous!

Wheel Of Hearts Paint By Number Kit from ArtYouCraft




Pros: Beautiful pattern, fun to do, detailed instructions

Cons: None!

Take a look at this very pretty, very “different” paint-by-number kit.  Isn’t it adorable?  It’s called “Wheel Of Hearts” and it’s available in six different color combinations.  All of them are gorgeous.  Or, maybe this design isn’t your thing.  That’s Ok – they have seven other styles, in a total of 40 color combinations.

What makes this kit so different from other paint-by-number kits?  Well, the biggest difference is that you’re painting on wood, not on a canvas.  So when you’re finished you have a beautiful, sturdy piece of artwork.  You can hang it on a wall, or display it flat on a table.  Varnished to a high shine, it’s quite stunning, no matter where you place it.

The other thing that makes it different is that there are some spots purposely left unpainted.  In this case, it’s the four wheels and their spokes, on the sides.  Those are left unpainted, allowing the wood to show through.  It makes for a very attractive, and unique look.

Where does one find this kit?  On .  Take a look, you’re sure to find something that strikes your fancy.

What comes in the kit?  In this case, seven numbered paint canisters, plus an extra canister of black paint, used for touch-up work.  The 8.5″ by 11″ wood canvas with its black lines and circles, defining the pattern.  Two paint brushes, a paper template with the numbers filled in to show you which color goes where, a small piece of sandpaper to smooth the edges, a small color graphic showing the completed project, a small canister of varnish and a brush to apply it, a hanger, and an instruction sheet.

As far as the instructions go, these are the most complete and detailed instructions I’ve ever seen in a paint-by-number kit.  They explain everything you need to know.  How to maintain the consistency of the paint, how to care for the brushes, and how to apply the varnish.  I’ve done a lot of paint-by-number kits and have learned a bunch of tricks along the way.  But these instructions even taught me a thing or two.

In the end, if you use a steady hand and take your time, you can end up with a gorgeous finished product.  Teens through adults will enjoy doing these projects.  The spaces where the paint goes are pretty big, it’s not like there are thousands of tiny little spots to fill in.  Even some kids might enjoy doing a project like this.  You might just want to help them with the “touchup” portion of the project, where you correct any spots where they painted outside the lines.

I am thrilled with how this project came out, and I really enjoyed doing it.  I think the price for the kit is fair, given everything that comes with it.  And the website’s customer service has been impeccable.  I had some questions, and they were answered very quickly.


How did mine come out?


Other paint by number kits:

Afternoon Nap by Dimensions
Bengal Tiger by Schipper
Japanese Garden by Bucilla
Siberian Tiger by Plaid
Taj Mahal by Schipper

So Pretty in Pink

Hoppity  Ty®  Beanie Baby®


hoppity bunny

See it at Amazon

[Rating: 5/5]

Pros: Ty product,  collectible,  cute as can be

Cons: none noted

Ty® Beanie Babies®’ Hoppity Bunny measures 8 x 3.7 x 0,8 inches of plushy polyester fabric. Hoppity is a honey of a sugar pink rabbit having bright black eyes, triangle pink nose and pink whiskers. Around her throat is a small pink ribbon tied in a bow.

Hoppity is especially appealing in pink. Only her tail is presented in white. Her large flappy ears indicate she is a lop type rabbit with ears drooping on either side of her head rather than standing erect.

Hoppity a popular Beanie for collectors and her companion Beanie Babies Floppity and Hippity make up the Bunny Trio. Surface wash only.

Born 3 April 1996, Hoppity’s poem reads:

Hopscotch is what she likes to play

If you don’t join in, she’ll hop away

So play a game if you have the time,

She likes to play, rain or shine!

All in all she is a perfect addition to my growing collection of Beanies.

For several years I used Beanies in my First Grade Classroom, as theme setters for holidays and the like. And, Beanies were used as sentence and story starters for Little Folks who might be stumped for what to write about.

As with other Ty Beanies I find the plush used to be soft, eyes are bright shiny, seams are well sewn, arms, legs, ears are secure and well attached. Pliable, poseable toy is filled with small pellets, and can be set on desk where Hoppity will sit, gazing, and will not tumble or sag.

Ever since 1993 Ty Inc., has fashioned 400+ different Beanie Babies in a diversity of sizes from wee softies appearing as a McDonald’s happy meal toys, to large Beanies measuring about 8 inches.

Hoppity holds appeal for boys and girls, and adults alike. Hoppity is intended particularly for those like and perhaps collect bunnies as do children and many adults.

Hoppity with the wee plastic eyes and nose is not recommended as a pet toy or for small children.

Ty Inc., established in 1993 when Ty Warner of Illinois produced his initial small critter shape, cloth bag, packed with small white, pellets sent to the market place has become a key contender in the toy race.

Beanies are available on Amazon, and I find them often at thrift and jumble shops as well as garage sales. If buying at jumble shop, yard sales and the like be careful to always check to be sure the Trademark Ty Beanie, heart shaped tag is in place to guarantee purchase is a genuine Ty product.

Recognized the world over; Beanie Babies, some might say they are filled with joy as well as pellets, are an over-the-top iconic, well-loved character in the toy market. Well made, sturdy seams to assure no bits on the floor, and for most of the softies having sewn nose and eyes, no pieces to swallow or otherwise cause harm, then again they are not indestructible. Ty Beanie Babies are some of the best loved toys adored by children and collected by adults everywhere.

Happy to recommend Ty Beanie Babies’ Pink Plush Hoppity.


Reviewed by Molly’s Reviews

molly martin


NOTE: Ty® Inc. is an American PLUSH ANIMAL Toy Company based in Westmont, Illinois.

The most famous line of products produced by this company are the BEANIE BABIES®, on the other hand, Ty also manufactures other lines of stuffed toys. The Ty logo is a red heart with the lower-case letters “ty.” A tag is found affixed to all Ty stuffed toys, and inside each tag is the name of the toy and a 4 line poem about it.

Since 1993, the year when Ty Inc. was founded; the company has mass-produced nearly 400 assorted Beanie Babies.

My personal introduction to the world of Beanies® was 1996 when long lines of adults could be seen extending across the restaurant and out the door, and at times down the sidewalk of local McDonald’s® eateries. Teenie Beanie Babies® Smaller, fun versions of Beanie Babies were included in McDonald’s Happy Meals®.

Several subsequent promotions took place with various wee Beanies available.

The lesson taught by Ty Warner, sole owner of Ty Inc., the company behind Beanie Babies may be do what you enjoy, do it well, promote and diversify.

My personal favorites continue to be the Teenie Weenies gathered from McDonalds children’s meals.


Ty Inc

280 Chestnut Ave

Westmont, IL, 60559 United States

Pinchers The Lobster: Adorably Inedible

Ty Toy Company “Pinchers the Lobster” Beanie Babies Stuffed Toy



Pros: Small and silly.  Displays well in any environment.  Currently retired and just sits around the house.  No Maine residence should be without one.

Cons: Won’t do chores.  Cannot be eaten, should apocalypse occur.

Our local market offers half a pig for $199, but no lobster - a fact that pleases our crimson crustacean.
Our local market offers half a pig for $199 and a quarter of a steer for $329, but no lobster at any price – a fact that pleases our crimson crustacean.

My volunteer days at the local nursing home involved many diversions – the one I enjoyed most was calling the Bingo games in the Activities Room.  No matter how loudly the numbers were projected, there were always one or two players who required an additional prompt.  Napping was allowed and expected – due to the game’s inherent thrills and lightning speed.

While my mom was a resident, she became a Bingo savant who often traded-up in the popular post-game bargaining round.  She didn’t need no stinkin’ lavender sachets or perfume samples – Beanie Babies were the legal tender of this crowd – and the prize closet had an unlimited supply.

Meet Larry


One of the post-Bingo negotiations netted Pinchers the Lobster, who had been nicknamed “Larry” – unlike the one-syllable Crunch the Shark – whose name has flow and needs no improvement.  Until recently, the rediscovered cuddly crustacean had lived in a cardboard box since moving day – an event that occurred more than six years ago.

Well Done

The local ice cream stand is probably one of the few Maine eateries whose menu does not include a lobster salad roll.
The local ice cream stand is probably one of the few Maine eateries whose menu does not include a lobster salad roll.

At a weight of 3.1 ounces and measuring 7.5 inches in length, “Larry” would qualify for catch-and-release, were he born an edible Maine lobster.  Instead of being spiny and creepy, he’s just plushy and full-o-beans.  Even those beady little eyes are exempted from the fright of his prototype’s unlovely pair.

The Ty Toy folks created “Pinchers” in 1993 and he’s already been retired – nice work if you can get it.  Seeing that his monthly expenses are nil, no state or federal pension is available.  Like the cat, he spends his time sitting-around the house looking cute – the only difference being that he doesn’t eat his weight in food every month and has no need for a “lobster box” in the guest bath.

Medium Rare

Pinchers [aka "Larry"] surrounded by his Bingo buddies.
Pinchers [aka “Larry”] surrounded by his Bingo buddies.
Even though his fleeting fame has ebbed, Pinchers the Lobster is available at a variety of vendors at equally disparate price-points.  One seller claims he is so rare, he merits a $500.00 (US) price tag.  This person should check the multitude of pages at eBay, where current prices begin at $1.49 (plus shipping).

Redder than Lenin and cute as can be, Pinchers the Lobster is the crown jewel of many a spirited Bingo negotiation.  Personally, I am equally smitten with Patti Platypus – whose scintillating purple and yellow motif clashes with everything virtually everywhere it’s placed.  What better way to say you’ve arrived?

A Rainbow for the Taking

Shur Tech® Brand, Duck Tape® Rainbow, Printed Duct Tape





Pros: Kid Pleasing, good adhesive, ID possessions in the classroom

Cons: So many patterns, So little time!


Measuring 1.88 inches x 10 yards Shur Tech® Brand, Duck Tape® Rainbow, Printed Duct Tape is a cheery addition to the various tapes brought in for usage in Osage County First Grade. Each term I add duct tape to my class supply lis: I do not specify color, or pattern, and the like, rather I request a roll of masking tape and one of duct tape. Duct tape is used in our classroom for identifying student journals, notebooks, binder’s, folders, and the like as well as for repair of these items, or whatever needs repair.

I never know what I will find in student packs as we unload the various supplies. Duct tape is brought in in fun patterns and plain, as well as outlandish, daring and just plain amusing. Some parents send a single roll while others send more. At times I receive narrow tape, and at others the tape is wide. All is usable in our classroom.

One of the really enjoyable prints this year has been a roll of multi tint wavying line rainbow. This fun tape features varying shades including yellow melding into green, then blue, flowing into purple and then red, into orange and back to yellow. I like that the colors flow from one to the other, with red and yellow becoming orange, as we find does take place when Mrs M marks a reading sentence first with yellow and on second reading with pink. And that red and blue meet to form purple while yellow and blue do become green. This beginning understanding of color and how it changes and swirls is important stuff for the six year old set.

Each year several parents will send multiple rolls of tape, some duct and some masking in varying widths along with their child. At one time or another staff members or fellow teachers will come and ask to use some of the tape. It is nice that we always have an ample supply for ourselves and plenty to share as need arises.

I like Shur Tech Brand the tape is well made, adhesive holds well making the tape dandy as a foremost fix-all, in the classroom and elsewhere too. More than once one of the older students will come to get some tape to repair a torn flip flop or to cover a hole in the thigh of levis… against our school dress code.

The vari color or fancy print DuckTape® are accessible in a diversity of shades and decorative designs presented as team or sport, colors, college logos, prints including flames, pickles, paint spatters and mustaches, and more as well as tapes in varying widths and lengths and tape sheets. Ducklings are smaller rolls, handy for mending and tape sheets are dandy for creating imaginative projects.

I like that Duck tape is easy to use, can be cut or torn easily, bonds wells, will not twist or become unusable as often takes place with some of the tape we use. Even a longish length tends to remain straight, not twisted into a knot as we prepare to repair a book, bind up a journal or complete other mending work.

Manufactured having full-bodied presentation power and bonding features these tapes adapt readily to whatever surface or shape we apply the tape.

While Osage County First Grade enjoys pattern and color synchronization; the personal choice tape applied to various possession works nicely to prompt the owner of the notebook, binder or whatever we see left behind on the floor proves gently handy and entertaining too for swiftly ascertaining who has forgotten to put his/her journal on their desktop, or whose binder is not on the rack.

I like that this Made in the USA merchandise rips without struggle even by my arthritic hand to whatever length needed for use. I do keep scissors close by just in case, but rarely need to reach for them.

I like these fun tapes offered in handsome colors and many prints. These entertaining, ornamental sticky tapes deliver an exceptional reserve suitable for personalizing home, crafting and classroom supplies including binders and journals. Each year Osage County First Grade has enjoyed choosing a tape for identifying his/her binder, cubby, desk, homework can, journal, can and the like. Some Little Learners preferred using their own tape as their personal ID tape while others chose the left over tape brought by a previous term classmate. Some students bring more than one fancy tape, so we have had an ongoing good selection for each child to contemplate.

I particularly like that these tapes are presented in a broad multiplicity of colors and styles having abundant charm for boys and girls and all ages. So many items are designed to appeal to children or adults, girls or boys, and something for everyone.

Roll sizes include 1.88 inch width X 10, 15 and 20 yard lengths. Mini rolls measure .75 inch wide x 15 feet and 180 inches and 8.25 by 10 inch sheets.

Happy to recommend Shur Tech® Brand, Duck Tape® Rainbow, Printed Duct Tape.


ShurTech Brands   32150 Just Imagine Dr.    Avon, OH 44011

Born in 1996 and already retired!

Seamore the Seal, TY Beanie Baby




Pros: surface clean, plushy, very cute

Cons: none noted for collectors who enjoy Beanies

Seamore the Seal, TY Beanie Baby born December 1996 is a white, 7 inch, Retired Plush, Stuffed Animal Toy Style 4029.

 From the Ty Beanie Babies Collection this little cutey is complete with heart tag, is one of the Aquatic Water style TY Beanies.

Inside the tag reads: Seamore is a little white seal Fish and clams are her favorite meal Playing and laughing in the sand She’s the happiest seal in the land!

As a Certified product from Ty’s passionately popular Beanie Babies Collection Seamore is another of the highly collectible toys enjoyed by children and adults alike. As always before purchase check to be sure the familiar heart-shaped tag signifying you’ve purchased an authentic Ty product means this is a handmade item crafted to conform with the finest quality standards in the industry

 Crafted of a plushy polyester fabric, Seamore is a honey of a seal pup, with black nose, eyes, eyebrows and whiskers. One of the few of the Beanies I have having set in poly eyes and nose this wee seal pup will not be a toy for a small child, but as a member of my collection it is a dandy.

For the reason that Beanies are not filled with Styrofoam pellets, Beanies are poseable little critters. Ty® Beanie Babies®’ Seamore is one of a series of the decidedly distinguishable, iconic plush seal figures presented by the Ty Company.

Ty Inc., originated in 1993 when Ty Warner of Illinois fashioned his original small, animal shaped, fabric bag, packed it with wee white, pellets and sent it to the market place, has since become a major competitor in the toy race.

Seamore is a sassy, little girl with inquisitive eyes sweet expression and joyous demeanor.

I never know what to expect, but am frequently surprised and delighted when entering our local jumble shops. I find a fair share of Beanie’s hang tags in place, clean and unsullied available at minimal cost. Seamore seemed to be waiting just for me, she caught my eye immediately and appeared to smile as I placed her in my basket.

Plush is cushy, seams are nicely sewn, eyes are glossy, stable, poly, well attached and secure.

Subsequent to the 1993 beginning, Ty Inc has fashioned nearly 400 diverse Beanie Babies in variable sizes from the minute softies appearing as a McDonald’s happy meal toys, to Beanie Buddies as larger sizes of traditional Beanies measuring about 8 inches., Ballz, Bow Wow Beanies, and Ty Girlz all have their own fan bases.

If purchasing at yard sales, jumble shop, garage sales and the like; be sure to always check to assure that the Trademark Ty Beanie, heart shaped tag is in place to guarantee purchase is a genuine Ty product.

I have been a sporadic collector for many years, and to be very frank am glad that I held off until recently to become more collection minded, the Beanies I might have paid many dollars for a few years ago I am finding in mint to near mint condition at a dollar or little more and my collection is growing nicely.

Ty® Inc. is an PLUSH ANIMAL Toy Company based in Westmont, Illinois. The most celebrated line of products fashioned by this company are the BEANIE BABIES®, nonetheless, Ty also fabricates other lines of stuffed toys.

The Ty logo is a red heart with the lower-case letters “ty.” A tag in this shape is found affixed to all Ty stuffed toys, and inside each tag is the name of the particular toy in addition to a 4 line verse about it.

As a tribute to the American sprit; The chairman, CEO, sole owner and founder of Ty is Ty Warner, an unmarried, childless, benevolent magnate who first took a piece of cloth, shaped it like an animal, filled it with poly material pellets, launched one of the most fruitful of all businesses in the world.

My individual introduction to the world of Beanies® began in 1996 when long lines of adults could be seen lengthening across the cafe and out the door, and at times, down the sidewalk of local McDonald’s® eateries.

Teenie Beanie Babies® Smaller, entertaining versions of Beanie Babies were included in McDonald’s Happy Meals®. Numerous succeeding promotions took place with various wee Beanies available.

From the Baby Ty® sequence of tiny soft plush animals planned for toddlers to an always escalating assemblage of Beanie Babies featuring miscellaneous styles and alternatives of handheld plush animals jam-packed with cotton and poly bits, to Pillow Pals®, cushy, large sized replicas of some true Beanies along with interpretations of make-believe Beanie Babies to huge, extra-large and Oversize Beanie Buddies® jam-packed with filling and pellets to Ty Classics highlighting predictable plush critters crafted from variable types of textile and packed with traditional pellets and stuffing, to Pinkys®, animals fashioned on the main using pink and white fabric, to Pluffies® made of washable fabric engendered for small children, to Punkies®, stuffed animals featuring critters covered with long hair, to Ornaments® and Valenteenies®, Bow Wow Beanies®, Ballz, and Beanie Boppers®, and Teenie Beanie Boppers®, Alphabet Beanies® and Angeline®, Beanie Kids® Attic Treasures®, Ty Girlz®, Ty Gear®, offerings provided by Ty Inc. continues to increase.

A lesson imparted by Ty Warner, solitary owner of Ty Inc., the company behind Beanie Babies may be do what you enjoy, do it well, promote and diversify.

Currently Warner owns fashionable hotels from California to New York, promotes a number of

Benevolent events and continues to present Beanies for world wide consumption.

While I like some of my 5 -8 inch items, my personal favorites continue to be the Teenie Weenies I got back in the day at McDonald’s.

 Happy to recommend Seamore the Seal, TY Beanie Baby

 –I find this product online from various sites as well as on shelves in a number of walk in shops.  Price varies by when and when purchase is made.

 Ty Inc   280 Chestnut Ave  Westmont, IL, 60559 United States

Squigz Suction Cups Getcha Good

Squigz Starter Set by Fat Brain Toy Co.






Pros: Creative, Fun, Alternative Construction Toy

Cons: Choke hazards and not recommended for unsupervised play in three year olds and under

Building blocks and Legos allowed creative young minds plenty of opportunities to develop hand-eye coordination and begin establishing a foundation for constructing objects. Today it seems there is always something new on the market to replicate or enhance those experiences but a 16-month old toddler and a 3 ½ year old boy recently introduced this former blocks and K’nex lover to a fascinating building concept.suction-just-one-more


Squigz, from Fat Brain Toy, appealed to the toddler, the young boy, and most of the adults in the room. The toddler worked on hand-eye coordination, colors, counting and attaching/de-attaching while the 3 ½ year old let his imagination go wild while also developing an understanding of how to attach suction cups to each other to construct larger sculptures.  Everyone enjoyed the popping noises made when taking them apart, especially the toddler who now has her own new sound.


Squigz are brightly colored silicon-rubber suction cups with bulbs or collections of other suction cups. Some have just one, light blue ones have two opposite each other, red ones have three radiating out at 45 degree angles from each other. They are all connected in the center by a soft rubber globe. There are more.  Purple Squigz have two at right angles, bright green ones are longer than the light blue ones but in the same orientation, and a white one has six suction cups.


Oh the fun you can have while Squigzing.suction-experiments

It all began with a moment of boredom and crying and sticking a few of these on the window with the toddler.  She was having so much fun placing them that the older brother couldn’t resist. He proceeded to attach Squigz to each other rather than the just the flat hard surface and window. Then others joined in to build space ships and bridges. Squigz  go beyond the rigid construction toys into the land of soft, bendable shapes. It’s an entirely new concept. It is a journey into the abstract.


The Squigz Starter Set has 24 pieces.  The Deluxe Set has 50 and the Benders Set has 12 bensid-suction-toysders and six of the original pieces. Each has a name:  Pip, Gobnob, Grippities, Doodles, Skootches, Yoinks, Wonkities, and Zorbits. They stick on glass, metal, mirrors, tile, polished wood, fiberglass, polished stone and any other smooth, flat surface. There is a choking risk and should not be left for unsupervised play with toddlers; however when placed on a high chair tray with an adult nearby these will provide creative distractions for a long time.


I’ve been playing with these off and on for the past two weeks.  When I return home I’m planning on developing my own set of Pips (orange), Grippities (green), Doodles (light blue), Gobnobs (red), Skootches (yellow), Yoinks (purple), Wonkities (cobalt blue) and Zorbits (white) for the next time young children or silly adults visit my house. I might build a holder to prop up my Kindle. The fun is superbly silly as well as crazily creative.

Labyrinth – the Board Game



Pros: simple set up, easy to learn,  fun and challenging

Cons: none

My son asked for the board game Labyrinth for his birthday.  We have been playing countless games of it ever since. This board game is recommended for ages 7 and up, and is for 2-4 players.

The game comes with 34 maze cards. The board itself has 16 maze cards that are secured to the board. Each maze card has a pathway. The maze cards are placed randomly throughout the board. There will always be one extra maze card. You will find 12 yellow arrows printed around the oursite of the board. There are 24 object cards. These cards are divided among all players. The objects on the cards are various medieval type images – a sword, a treasure, a dragon and more. These images are found throughout the maze.

There are four wizard playing pieces in different colors. Each player chooses and places it on the corresponding color. To play, each player places a maze pieces onto the board on a row that has an arrow. Placing a maze card onto the board will push another maze card off the board. This creates a constantly changing maze. Each player picks a card from their object card pile, but does not show the opponent. After the maze card is placed on the board, a player can move their piece anywhere along the path, as long as the path is connected in order to get to their object. Game play continues until one person gets all of the objects on their cards.

My 7 year old was able to figure this game out within his first couple turns. He enjoys strategy games, so this was perfect for him. However, the game isn’t always strategy – there is some luck involved too. You never know when an opponent will shift the maze to your benefit. Then again, the maze could be shifted to change your path completely. The changing maze pathway means the game will never be the same twice. And if you play with several people, the board will change even more before it gets to your your turn again.

You will need to allot a little bit of time to play Labyrinth – games usually last around 20 minutes.

Labyrinth was an immediate hit in my house. It’s fun, challenging and strategic. I highly recommend .

Fun in the Office – Slinky Jr. Original

Slinky Jr. Original


Pros: inexpensive, compact, easy to use, great sound, nostalgic

Cons: metal can be stretched out of shape

It started with one Slinky Jr. Original. Then the phenomenon morphed into more Junior Slinky toys on desk tops. This little toy is a great stress buster.


The Slinky Jr. is constructed from silver-colored coiled metal.  It has a 1 1/2″ diameter with a hole in its center.  It is recommended for ages five and older. The packaging has instructions for using the Slinky with one’s hands, or walking the Slinky down an incline.

My Experiences

I was captivated by the small Slinky toys on my co-worker’s desks.  Even my boss had one!  While they were pondering problems or talking on the phone, I would hear the gentle “sssshhh” of the Slinky as the spring was shuffled from one palm to the other.  I’ve always loved Slinky’s and could not wait to buy my own miniature version.

Using the Slinky is a great way to alleviate stress, too.  There is something about the gentle back and forth motion, watching the spring coil and bounce.  The small size is great for sitting on the desk or storing in a drawer.  I passed an office the other day, and someone had somehow managed to uncoil and warp the metal in the center of their Slinky.  Heaven only knows how they managed that feat!  Instead of throwing the destroyed Slinky away, they mounted it on a magnetic platform so that it resembles modern art.

It is great working in an office that appreciates having fun.  None of us is quite daring enough to try “walking” the Slinky toys down the multiple flights of stairs in the building.  Wouldn’t it be fun to have Slinky races?

These little toys also make great gifts.  I enjoy sticking them in gift baskets, holiday stockings, and even as part of a get-well gift.  I buy them from


The Slinky Jr. Original is a fun addition to our office.  I also have one at home.  It is an inexpensive low-tech toy that is filled with fun!

I hope you found this review useful.

Enjoy the day,

Copyright 2014 Dawn L. Stewart

Brainiac, The Collector of Worlds is Invading the Imaginext DC Super Friends Universe

Imaginext DC Super Friends: Brainiac


Pros: Surprised by the Superman: The Animated Series style of the figure; really great bendable tentacles

Cons: One one figure pack instead of the usual two

One of Superman’s major adversaries finally comes to the world of Imaginext DC Super Friends. It was a big feat when Lex Luthor, Bizarro and General Zod. Even the Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips, makes his presence known. But one popular villain still hasn’t made an appearance. That is until now as the cold-hearted Brainiac is ready to annihilate the world.

Out of all the the various designs associated with this character, I was quite surprised to see the version from Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. However, Brainiac’s sleek design works very well for the Imaginext toy line.

Brainiac emits such a cold and calculating persona. People sometimes forget that he is a highly intelligent android made up of robotic parts. This comes across quite nicely through this design. Equally important is his alien nature. The combination of the two gives him such an otherworldly aloofness that is necessary for the character.

His bluish-green skin helps in that extraterrestrial appearance along with the vacant eyes. The three circles on his forehead showcases his Kryptonian symbol. Yes, this version of Brainiac originated from Krypton giving him even closer ties to Kal-El of Krypton. In fact it was Brainiac who convinced the Council of Elders not to heed Jor-El’s warning of Krypton’s imminent destruction. Of course Brainiac was all about self-preservation and didn’t care about Krypton’s destruction so as long as he survived. His mission: collect the knowledge about that planet and then destroy it.

A fun accessory is the removable backpack attached to Brainiac. Six tentacle arms protrude from the back allowing him to tap into any computer and download information. These arms bend into different positions. In a way, he reminds me of Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man lore.

Imaginext Brainiac3

Unfortunately, Brainiac is the only figure in this set. Usually two characters are put together. However, since his bendable tentacles take up so much room in the packaging, this is the reason why he is the sole figure.

I have to say that seeing Brainiac was quite a surprise. My son and I didn’t think any new characters were going to be made for this line but we were proven wrong. While my son’s interest has waned a little bit, see Brainiac renewed his interest. I always say that it’s not a successful line until you can complete the Legion of Doom from the Challenge of the Super Friends days. That’s where the popularity of these characters still remains. So far, the roll call from the Imaginext DC Super Friends line includes Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Riddler, Gorilla Grodd, Black Manta, Bizarro, and Scarecrow. That’s seven out of the thirteen members. I can easily see Sinestro, Captain Cold and Cheetah being made next. Giganta, Solomon Grundy and Toyman seem to be the longshots in the deal.

Brainiac is such a welcome addition to Superman’s villains. All of a sudden, the Man of Steel has some people to fight. While Superman’s villains are not as popular as Batman’s, there are still quite a few more I can see come to life in this line, such as Toyman, Metallo, Parasite, Mongul and perhaps even Doomsday.


Related Imaginext Reviews
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DC Super Friends
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Justice League
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Toy Story 3
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***This is part of my 2014 Funny Pages Write-Off. Let your inner geekdom out. You have until the end of August. Join .