Let’s Talk Lego Advent Calendars!

Here are the Star Wars, City, and Friends Lego Advent Calendars.
Here are the Star Wars, City, and Friends Lego Advent Calendars.

Okay, I know it is September. But that doesn’t stop me from getting excited about Lego Advent Calendars! Below you will find 5 reasons why I love the Lego Advent Calendars!

1. Minifigures!

Check out these awesome Minifigues from the Lego City Advent Calendar!
Check out these awesome Minifigues from the Lego City Advent Calendar!
Lego Advent Calendars are one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to get Lego Minifigures. I often have customers come in looking to purchase Minifigures without buying a huge Lego set. This is the way to go! For example, in the 2014 Lego City Advent Calendar, you get SEVEN Minifigures! That should keep the kiddos busy for a while.

2. Keeps the Kids Busy All December Long!

Here is the Lego City Advent Calendar all opened up. Looks like fun!
Here is the Lego City Advent Calendar all opened up. Looks like fun!

As you can see from the picture above, there is a new “window” to open up every day all December long (24 total). Not to mention, an attached playboard that is ready for play.

3. Awesome Thanksgiving Hostess/Host Gift!
I’m totally serious on this one. For any household with kids, or without for that matter, these Lego Advent Calendars are well-loved. They are a great way to insert a little “childlike wonder” into a time of year that is overbooked and overwhelming for many families. What better gift could there be? And don’t let families with older kids fool you, even teenagers can appreciate a tiny Lego snowman when they build one!

4. Great gift for Lego Collectors!

If you look at the box the gift tag says "To Luke From Dad"... perfect little Star Wars joke!
If you look at the box the gift tag says “To Luke From Dad”… perfect little Star Wars joke!

Lego Advent Calendar sets are also the perfect gift for any Lego Collector in your life. For example, this year’s Lego Star Wars features an exclusive Darth Vader Minifigure…. DRESSED AS SANTA!

5. Splits easily into multiple mini gifts!
Super Awesome Open Box If you look at the picture above, you can see how the Lego Advent Calendar looks if you would choose to pull it out of the box. Each “day” is individually bagged. For this reason, you can easily split up a set into multiple stocking stuffers, etc. This is a really cool option that you don’t have with most Lego sets.

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Thank You Thursday: A Tribute to Calico Critters Window Displays!

Although it is only September, we here at ABC & Toy Zone are already in full swing with our holiday preparations. After all, Moonlight Madness is less than a month away! This year, Moonlight Madness falls on Tuesday, October 7th. Mark your calendars today!

Calico Critter

As part of our preparation for the upcoming toy season, we are putting up an awesome Calico Critters display in Burnsville. It isn’t done yet, but I couldn’t resist sharing a tidbit with you all. As part of our window display we received two giant rabbits! The largest is 3 feet tall! As you can tell from the picture, our employees are rather excited by these amazing window props! So next time you visit our Burnsville location, check out this amazing window display! Also, be sure to say tuned, as we are going to have to change the rabbits into their awesome Christmas outfits at some point… we will have to share pictures of the final product!

Great Game Wednesday: Spot It Frozen!

Frozen Spot It

After agonizing months of waiting, Spot It Frozen is here! Just like a traditional Spot It game, this new version mixes letters and Frozen characters. What a great way to get your Frozen fan to work on their letter identification skills! Recommended for children 3+, this game is great for even your littlest learner. Supplies of this game are limited, so feel free to call you local ABC & Toy Zone for product availability. Happy Frozen Spot It-ing!

Cool Craft Friday: The Craft Tastic Pom Pom Kit!

Was I skeptical when I brought this pom pom kit home? Absolutely. Was my mind completely blown by it? Absolutely.

As a casual knitter, I have made many pom poms (to varying degrees of success) over the years. I honestly didn’t know if a craft kit geared towards crafters age 8+ could really live up to the promise of the perfect pom poms featured on the box. Below is a step-by-step photo tour of my experience with the Pom Pom Kit. Spoilers- the results were AWESOME!

Box
Here is a picture of the box…

Open Box
And here is what it looks like open. This kit comes in a nice sturdy box and everything is packaged really nicely. For this reason, I think it would make a great gift. Here is what you get in the Pom Pom kit: 1 bamboo pom pom tool, 6 different colors of yarn (600 yards total), a paper ruler, and instructions.

Yarn package
open yarn
Here you can see the yarn as it comes packaged and unpacked. Before I set out to make my pom poms I rolled all of the yarn into balls. You do not have to do this, but I think it helped things move more quickly when I got to the actual pom pom making.

Assembled Pom Pom tool
Here is the pom pom tool assembled. It comes in 5 pieces (2 dowels, 3 flat pieces) and assembles really easily. The pom pom tool is also quite sturdy, I accidentally knocked it off the table at one point with no damage, and is fully adjustable. For this reason, you can make pom poms ranging in size from 1 inch to 15 inches! The included instruction book provides simple directions to get you started on making whatever size pom pom you want.

Wrapped yarn
Step 1: Tie your yarn on to the tool and get wrapping! I decided to make the 2 inch pom poms so I just followed the guide and wrapped 120 rounds of yarn onto the tool. As you can see from the picture, I used multiple colors of yarn all at once. For this reason, the wrapping to 120 went really quick.

Yarn in a bowl
I placed the pom pom tool on a table and then pulled my yarn from a bowl on the floor. If you want your pom poms to be a single color, you would just need to wrap that one color around you tool as many times as it says in the instructions. Super easy!

Tied Strings
Step 2: Using 18 inch pieces of yarn, tie you pom poms off. This kit comes with a paper ruler the exact size of the bamboo tool. For this reason, it is super easy to tuck your ruler under the tool and tie off your pompoms precisely. For me, this was the hardest part of the process. As is clearly explained in the instructions, the center knot is the key to a strong and usable pom pom. To make sure my knots were tied tightly, I followed the knot instructions from the kit and had someone else do the old “place your finger on the knot” trick so I could tie them super tight.

Tied Strings
Here is everything tied off.

Partially cut pom pom
Step 3: Cut apart your pom poms! Using a sharp pair of scissors (not included in the kit), I cut apart my pom poms. It is important to note that, at this stage, they will not be perfectly symmetrical. Don’t worry, the next step will take care of this. Also note, this step takes some time. It takes a couple of minutes to neatly cut through that much yarn.
Untrimmed Pom Poms
Here are my roughly cut apart pom poms. Even all jagged, they look pretty great!

Untrimmed Single Pom Pom
Perfect Final Pom Pom
Step 4: Trim your pom poms! Again, this step takes a little time. But once it is done, you have a bunch of really awesome pom poms! Look at my before and after pictures of one of my pom poms above.

Once you have made your pom poms, the possibilities are endless! The pom pom tool in this kit can be used over and over with any yarn you might have. This kit would be a great way for any crafty kid (boys too!) to get started making holiday gifts for their friends, family, and teachers. Pom pom ornaments, keychains, decorations… the projects are endless! Pom pom pumpkin, perhaps?

Pete the Cat Preschool Classroom!

We were super excited when we got in Pete the Cat classroom decor a few weeks back. Well, thanks to one of our teacher customers, here is an opportunity for you all to see how awesome Pete looks in a preschool classroom! Please enjoy the pictures below and, if you happen to be a creative teacher with a room you would like to share, please feel free to email us some pictures and descriptions to burnsabctoyzone@gmail.com. You just might end up on our blog! Just think of the bragging rights! And now back to Pete!

Here is the classroom's circle time area. Pete is holding down the teacher's chair for the time being.
Here is the classroom’s circle time area. Pete is holding down the teacher’s chair for the time being.
Here is a closer look at some Pete the Cat themed job assignments. If you look at the different glasses you can identify the different jobs. ABC helper, anyone?
Here is a closer look at some Pete the Cat themed job assignments. If you look at the different glasses you can identify the different jobs. ABC helper, anyone?
Can you spot Pete? Also, look how the different tables are marked with some Groovy Buttons? I want to sit at the Red Button Table!
Can you spot Pete? Also, look how the different tables are marked with some Groovy Buttons? I want to sit at the Red Button Table!

Awesome August Pencil Sale!

Regular Pencils
It’s officially back to school time! It can be overwhelming for parents, teachers, and kids alike to get ready for those first few weeks of school. But even with the rush of planning going on for those first few weeks, it is easy to forget about the rest of the school year that will be upon us before we know it!

Do yourself a favor this August, take a few minutes to think ahead to the upcoming holidays and events that you could use some pencils for this school year for your or your child’s classroom. We are talking Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines, 100th Day of School, and even standardized testing days! Why is it helpful to think of these far off holidays and events in August? Why, because there is a rocking pencil sale on here at ABC & Toy Zone where you can get pencils to celebrate these events at a great price!
Holiday Pencils

All individual theme pencils (regular price $0.30, excludes Birthday, Grade Level, and Student of the Week as well as jumbo pencils) are $0.15 each! That’s a 50% savings! Furthermore, if you purchase 144 pencils (mix and match, excluding Birthday, Grade Level, and Student of the week as well as jumbo pencils) and you get them for $0.10 each! That’s 144 pencils for $14.40! What a great way to stock up for a class party! Come in and check out our Awesome August Pencil Sale Today!