Friday, April 19, 2013

It's that time of year, the Hallmark Ornament Wish Book is available!

At our home, when the Hallmark ornament book comes out, the whole family gets excited.  What  started out as me buying 1 or 2 ornaments when I worked there briefly during high school, has steadily progressed to 10-15 ornaments a year.

So, what is on our wishlist for this year?  

I always buy the Star Wars ornaments.   This year's are all Return of the Jedi, with the exception of the Jango.

The Ewoks are 17th in the Star Wars series.   I am happy to see these are regular sized ornaments.  I have the mini set, but  I am not a fan of them.   I wish they would redo Max Rebo,  Sny Snootles, and Droopy in the regular size.

 Both, Jabba and the AT-ST are magic ornaments, featuring dialogue and battle sounds. Yoda is the 3rd Lego figure ornament.

During the July ornament premiere, there is usually a limited release ornament that is available.   This year the ornament will be Boushh.     Last years, limited release was Hammerhead.  I got so tickled at an older lady who was in the store picking out ornaments.   She said, "I don't know what this ugly thing is, but I guess I need to get him for my grandson."    So this year, I was really hoping they would make Admiral Ackbar.

Other notables making our list:

Hogwarts Castle:  It is a magic ornament playing "Hedwig's theme" and has lighting effects when plugged into the lights.   The only downside to this one is that you have to plug it  into the lights.   The ornaments like that don't work very well on our pre-lit tree.

Buzz is on a mission:  It is a magic ornament, that when the button is pushed Buzz speaks.  In the wish book, it mentions that there is also a Spanish speaking version of  Buzz available in select stores.   I want a Spanish speaking Buzz!   So I am going to have to track down a store with this version.

The Joker:   My daughter informed me that she needed the Joker to go with her Harley Quinn ornament.  And, well, who can argue with that logic?    It is a magic ornament that features some of the Joker's most memorable lines from "The Dark Knight".

This post is also posted on my other blog, Retro Toy Safari.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ultimate Blog Hop Party post

Welcome everyone from the Ultimate Blog Hop!   Ultimate Blog Party 2013

The Squeaky Grocery Cart was the first blog that I started in 2010.   A little bit of everything goes into my cart.  I enjoy blogging  about  recipes, crafts, favorite products, finding deals, etc.  But,  I also have been dividing my blogging time between my newest blog, Retro Toy Safari.
  I enjoy collecting dolls and toys from the 70's and 80's, and even some newer toy lines.   On Retro Toy Safari, I try to recapture those warm memories we all have about our favorite toys growing up.   I share items from my personal collection and retro finds from thrift stores and flea markets.

As for me personally, I am a mother, who has been blessed with 3 beautiful children.  I am thankful that I have the opportunity to stay at home with them.   And just like every mom, I crave 5 minutes to myself.  When I get those rare minutes, I enjoy painting, baking and decorating cakes, and reading.

Thank you for stopping my blog.  I hope that you find some articles of interest and come back, because you never know what you will find in a squeaky grocery cart.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Monster High Collection

  I decided that I would re-post some of my toy collection posts from my toy blog, Retro Toy Safari.  I have posted about hunting for Monster High dolls on this blog several times and how difficult it can be to find them at times in stores.   So I thought that I would share more about my collection and how mine and my daughters' doll collection has grown over the last couple of years.

My toy collection goes in all directions.  If it was something that I was into as a kid, chances are I have some sort of collection.  lol  No, I don't need a Hoarders intervention.  I regularly decide to sell whole collections or duplicate items.  But, there are some items that I will never willingly part with.

Right now, as far as doll collecting goes, I am really into Monster High.  I really fell in love with the dolls when they first came out.  I love the whole concept of them being teenage children of famous movie monsters.  It was a  breath of fresh air in the fashion doll market.  Don't get me wrong, I love Barbie, but sometimes the line gets tired.  

If you aren't familiar with Monster High, I hope this post will give you some more information about the dolls.  If you are a fan of Monster High, I am hope you enjoy looking at my collection.   This is not a complete collection post.   I am only focusing on the dolls, however some are not pictured.   I also have not included any pictures of play sets, play sets with exclusive dolls or fashion packs.   I may do those in later posts.  

The first wave of MH dolls are Lagoona, Frankie, Clawdeen, and Draculaura.  When I first started collecting, Lagoona was the one that really sparked my interest.   I think over all, she is just a beautifully designed doll.

The original 4 girls were followed by Ghoulia, Holt, and the Cleo & Deuce 2pk.  Ghoulia is another one of my favorite dolls.  It is sad that in some of the other MH lines, she has become a shelf warmer.

 Pictured with the Deuce and Cleo 2pk is the "Forbitten Love" 2 pk which is Clawd Wolf and Draculaura.   It actually was released later on in the toy line.

The Dawn of the Dance doll line, features the main dolls in a party attire.  The Draculaura doll was featured in a Walmart 3 pk along with Frankie and Clawdeen.    I don't have a 3 pk in box.   I picked up the Draculaura loose complete from a Craigslist listing.   She was a steal at $10.

The second set of DOTD dolls features Ghoulia, Deuce, and Lagoona.   Mattel likes to short pack the guys.  So Deuce is very sought after.   The DOTD Lagoona is another of my favorite MH dolls.  I love her dress and hair combination.  She reminds me of a seahorse, which is completely fitting for her.

The Wave 2 basic dolls, also called  "School's Out" Dolls.   This set features Frankie, Clawdeen, Cleo and Lagoona.    My Lagoona is de-boxed.  I can't help myself.  She really is one of the prettiest dolls.

"Day at the Maul"  Draculaura and  Frankie are budget line dolls.   Which are dressed in their signature colors, but do not have all of the accessories that the deluxe dolls have.   The clothes these dolls are wearing were also packaged in the Day at the Maul Fashion pack.

The "Gloom Beach" doll line features the girls of Monster High in bathing suits.   Frankie, Cleo, Draculaura, Clawdeen, and Jackson make up this budget line of dolls.   This also marked the first release of the character Jackson.   I opted not to purchase the dolls individually.   Target offered a "Gloom Beach" 5 pk, that included an exclusive Ghoulia doll.   I felt it was more cost effective to purchase this line of dolls this way.

 These 3 dolls are the "Classroom" Dolls.   The line features Physical Deaducation Ghoulia, Home Ick Frankie, and Mad Science Lagoona.   Each doll comes with an extra outfit, locker, hair brush, stand, and accessories that go with each class.
These dolls were re-released at Christmas (2012) without their lockers.   Those dolls I believe were available only at Walmart and retailed for around $10. I think they were an item included in the Black Friday sales.   However, I am not sure if that information is completely accurate.   They may have been available at other stores.

The "Sweet 1600" doll line, celebrates Draculaura's Sweet 1,600th birthday.   This line features Draculaura, Frankie, Clawdeen, and Clawd Wolf   (Clawdeen's brother and Draculaura's boyfriend)   Each doll comes with a gift for Draculaura.
 Pictured below with the Feerleading 3 pack is C.A Cupid.   Cupid was  originally a Walmart "Sweet 1600"   exclusive doll.   The box was later changed and the character had a wider re-release to other stores.   The re-released doll also included a diary.

The Feerleading 3 pk is a Toys R Us exclusive set.   It features Cleo and Draculaura is scream team uniforms and Ghoulia as the Monster High #1 fan.   Ghoulia comes with a foam figure which is hilarious.  For me, that totally makes this set worth it.

Ghouls just want to have fund and nothing is more fun then having a sleepover with your ghoul friends.  The first wave of Dead Tired dolls features Frankie, Ghoulia, Cleo, and Draculaura.  These are budget dolls retailing for around $12.99.

Dead Tired Lagoon comes with a Hydration Station.   This is another favorite item.  The Hydration Station can be filled with water.   Lagoona is placed in the "sleep" chamber.  When you push a button, the station lights up and bubbles.
Dead Tired Clawdeen (V1) comes with the "Room to Howl" bed.

The second wave of "Dead Tired" includes another Draculaura, Clawdeen, and the addition of Abbey.    Not pictured is Abbey.   I was kind of disappointed with the rehash of the same characters.  Although, the Abbey is rather cute.   I would have loved to see Spectra or another of the new characters.

As the Monster High doll line has grown in popularity, new basic edition characters have been added.    Spectra and Abbey were two of the hardest dolls for me to find.    It took me several long and very frustrating months to find Abbey, not only for myself but also for me little girl.   Abbey is her favorite because of those fuzzy boots.

 Pictured in this grouping is the basic character dolls of Operetta.   She is the daughter of the Phantom of the Opera.    This one has quickly become one of my favorites, simple because of her being related to the Phantom.   Although, I wish her doll had been styled differently. Torali, is the daughter of a werecat. And lastly, is Nefra.    She is Cleo's older sister and unfortunately not very popular.  For awhile, I would refer to her as "the Egyptian plague"    For the longest time, she was the only doll that could be found on the shelves.   What makes Nefera unique is that she is the tallest of the girls, because she is older then them.

Rochelle is the daughter of the Gargoyles.   This doll is really strikingly beautiful.   Her skin looks like stone.    The other doll pictured is the basic edition Jackson.   He is the alter ego of Holt Hyde who was introduced early in the doll line.

I love the way the next two dolls are styled.  They really are stunning in person.  Robecca Steam is the daughter of a Mad Scientist.   The detailing on her body is really spectacular.   The second doll is Venus McFlytrap.  I love the color of this doll.   She is a plant on a mission to save the Earth.   The pets with these two are some of the cutest by far.

The "Skull Shores" doll line is another beach line.  This set has Ghoulia (which sadly was a shelf warmer), Draculaura, Lagoona, Abbey, and Gil.   Gil is one of the impossible dolls to get.  I saw him several times and passed on him.   I finally got an open doll at a reasonable price.
This set also has the special edition Black and White Frankie doll.   She was released for sell on a Friday the 13th for the sale price of $4.13.

I ended up buying each of these dolls individually.  Then Target released a new exclusive 5 pack of this set.   The 5 pack includes  an exclusive color version of Frankie, Cleo, and Clawdeen.    I love the Cleo and Clawdeen dolls from this pack.

The "Skull Shores" special also inspired me to make my first Monster High inspired custom doll.   You can read about my Tiki doll in another post.

With the dolls becoming more and more popular, more store exclusive dolls have been produced.   The Werecat 2 pack is a Toys R Us exclusive set.
The Wolf sister set is an exclusive set unique to Target.  It is also the first Howleen doll.   Howleen is smaller then the other dolls because she is younger then the other girls.

The "Scary Tales"  line of dolls is another Target exclusive.   This set features Frankie as "Thearderella", Draculaura as "Snow Bite, and Clawdeen as "Little Dead Riding Hood".   I love this set because of their beautiful costumes.

 The "Dot Dead Georgous" line is very similar to the DOTD series.   Again, the girls are dressed in party dresses.   The basic dolls are Lagoona, Operetta, and Spectra.    I was really surprised when I found a loose DDG Operetta at the Goodwill.  You can read more about that find in another post.

Again, Walmart offered an exclusive 3 pk. This set includes "Dot Dead Gorgeous"  Draculaura, Abbey, and Ghoulia.

The "Roller Maze" doll line comes from the "Friday Night Frights" special which was supposed to air on television but never did.   It later was released on DVD as a double feature with "Why do Ghouls Fall in Love?".  There is also a video game inspired by the Roller Maze dolls.

The budget line of dolls features the ghouls dressed as roller derby girls.    There is Frankie, Lagoona, Operetta, and Ghoulia.
 K-Mart had an exclusive 2 pack with Ghoulia and Abbey.    And just recently,  Mattel released a Roller Maze Clawdeen and single Abbey.

UPDATE (3/10/13):   I picked up a Roller Maze Clawdeen today at my local Target.   I think I am
going to pass on the single boxed Abbey doll.   She is just like the doll that was previously released in the K-Mart 2 pk.

I (heart) Fashion  dolls are exclusives from Toys R Us.   The Abbey and Frankie come with extra outfits and shoes.   I have them as part of my collection but they aren't necessarily in my favorites.

"Ghouls Rule" dolls were released in connection with the" Ghouls Rule" feature dvd.   The ghouls are dressed for a spectacular Halloween.   The doll line includes Draculaura, Clawdeen, Cleo, and Frankie.    The Ghouls Rule Clawdeen is one of my least favorite.  I do not care for her costume at all.  I dare say that she is just ugly.

The "Ghouls Rule" Abbey doll is a Walmart exclusive doll.

The "Scaris: City of Fright"  doll line features two new characters.    Skelita and Jinafire are new additions.   I absolutely love both of these dolls.  Skelita is inspired by the sugar skulls associated with Dia de Los Muertos.    Jinafire is inspired by Chinese dragons.  Both are beautifully designed and there costumes include a lot of detailing.     Along with Skelita and Jinafire, there is another Frankie, Clawdeen, and Rochelle.

UPDATE:  I added Scaris Catrine Demew to my collection on 2/3/2013.   Catrine DeMew is a Walmart exclusive doll for the Scaris line.

There is also a budget line of Scaris dolls.   Those include a new Deuce, Ghoulia, Draculaura, and Abbey.

UPDATE: (2/22/13):   I purchased Scaris Deuce from a friend in a MH dolls group and it arrived today.   I am still hoping that I can find one locally.  Just have not seen him in any stores.

(3/8/13)  Picked up another Scaris Deuce.  I got him out of the case at Walmart.

(3/13/13)  Picked up another Scaris Deuce today at the TRU.   I have learned my lesson about the boys.   I have a feeling that the extras will become trade fodder later on.

UPDATE (3-13-13)   I picked up the Scaris 2 pk featuring Lagoona and Cleo.   This pack is a Toys R Us exclusive.   I am really excited about these dolls.   I think they are 2 of the prettiest to come out in a while.

The "Picture Day" line of dolls is kind of like the wave 2 line.   This time the ghouls are dressed their best for school picture day.  THe line includes Draculaura, Abbey, Cleo and Spectra.   I think the stand out doll in this line is Cleo.  I love the vivid blue of her outfit.   The only doll not pictured is Spectra.

UPDATE (2/22/13) Picked up a Picture Day Spectra today.   I had passed on getting her when I got the others because the box was beat up.

UPDATE: (2/9/13)   I added the newest Venus McFlytrap in bathing suit to my collection.     There is also a new beach Draculaura and Lagoona.

UPDATE: (2/15/13I just picked up the Draculaura and the Lagoon that go with the beach Venus.   I absolutely love these dolls.  Happy to see they new accessories.

UPDATE (2/15/13)The Power Ghouls Polterghoul and Wonder Wolf are Target exclusives.  These dolls make my top 5 favorite Monster High dolls.    I can not wait to get the Frankie and Toralei dolls that are part of this line.    I have these displayed with my SDCC Ghoulia.

UPDATE (2/16/13)-  Picked up 3 of the Dance class dolls from Justice.   Thanks to a nice sale, the dolls were less then the price at Walmart and Target.   Each doll represents a different style of dance.   Lagoona is ballet, Operetta is swing, Rebecca is tap, and Howleen is hip hop.

Not pictured yet is Howleen.

Some of the rarest and hardest to get Monster High dolls are those that come from San Diego Comic Con.   The first Comic Con exclusive doll was released in 2010, which was a Black and White Frankie doll.   I have not added her to my collection yet.  It is my hope that I will be able to add her this year.

 However, I do have the 2011 and 2012 SDCC exclusive dolls.   The 2011 doll is Dead Fast Ghoulia.   She is dressed as her favorite comic book character Dead Fast.   I really relate to this doll, as I also love to cosplay and attend conventions.  This Ghoulia was a gift from my husband.

The 2012 SDCC doll is actually a 2 pack.   Scarah Screams and Hoodude.   Both of these characters appear in the webisodes.   Admittedly, I was not overly excited when it was announced that Scarah was the Comic Con doll.   But, after seeing her in person, she has grown on me.   I can't wait to see what this year's doll will be.

 Please come back and check out my update posts as I add more dolls to my Monster High collection.   There are a lot of new dolls scheduled for release this year.   I can't wait to find them.

** This post is in no way sponsored by Mattel or Monster High.  I have received no compensation for this post.  I have purchased all of the dolls pictured in this post for my personal  collection.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own. **er.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

PF Chang's Mongolian Beef recipe

I think that my husband would probably say that PF Chang's is one of his top 5 favorite restaurants.  Whenever we eat there, I always know what he will order.   Mongolain Beef.   I think it is the first thing he ever ordered and the only thing he has ordered.  I honestly don't think he has tried anything else.

  I had seen the recipe for their Mongolian Beef online before.  But, for some reason, we never tried making it.  I guess we were afraid that we would be disappointed and it just wouldn't live up to the deliciousness in the restaurant.   Well, thanks to Pinterest, I have been collecting recipes for my family to test out.  I happened across the Mongolian Beef recipe again and we gave it a try.    I did modify the recipe slightly and I did have to make some substitutions, which I noted in the recipe.

Mongolian Beef
12 oz. sliced beef tenderloin
1 tbsp. soy bean oil   ( I used canola oil)
1/2 tsp. minced garlic    ( I used 1 teaspoon )
2 fl oz. gluten free soy sauce    ( I use the low sodium soy sauce)
2 tbsp. sugar        
1 fl oz. rice wine    (since I did not have rice wine on hand, I substituted with Sake)
2 oz. green onion sticks   3" long, greens only
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

Heat oil in a saute pan.   Add beef and cook for 30-60 seconds. or until cooked.  Beef should be lightly browned around the edges and grey through out the rest of the surface.

Add garlic and toss.

Add rice wine, sugar , and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil.

Cook and reduce the sauce around the beef, until all of the sauce has caramelized onto the beef.  The saute pan should be dry  (no flowing sauce) before the next step.

Add the green onion sticks and incorporate with the beef.  A few tosses are all that is needed.  You don't want to wilt the onions.

Finish with sesame oil.

Ok, so we weren't disappointed!  I have to say, yep! I nailed it!!  truly...    The finished product turned out great and the whole family loved it.  It is a quick recipe to make, which to me is always a plus.  Pair it with either, white or brown rice.  We also served it with some sliced mangoes and strawberries.

My apologies for the lack of pictures.  I hadn't really planned to blog about testing this recipe but at the last minute, I changed my mind.

I am sharing this recipe success with What's Cooking Wednesday at Turning Back the Clock.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Get a free child's ticket to see Oz the Great and Powerful from Disney Movie Rewards

If you are a Disney Movie Rewards member and a Regal Crown Club member you can take part in this special offer.   You can get a free child's ticket to see Oz the Great and Powerful with the purchase of 2 adult tickets.

All you have to do is sign or join Disney Movie Rewards.  (If you aren't a member it is FREE!)

Then type in the code: DISNEYOZ.  Then click on the banner to get the voucher.

Present your voucher and your Regal Crown Club card at the box office of your local Regal Cinema.    If you aren't a Regal Crown Club member, sign up at your local box office.  It's free! and you can earn reward points for free drinks, popcorn, and even free movie tickets.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

To Blog or Not to Blog....

Earlier this year, I decided that I would start a new blog focusing on thrift shopping for vintage/retro toys and mine and my daughters' growing  Monster High doll collection, among other things.  I chose to start the new blog, because I felt that I had lost interest, inspiration, and was lacking a direction with this blog.  I don't have the time to post everyday, like I used too.  That kind of makes me a sad deal finder.     And also that the readers of this blog wouldn't be interested in my obsession with toy collecting.   Now I am wondering should I somehow try to merge the two together?

My other blog is small at the moment and because of that, I am finding that it is getting spammed more and more.   This is kind of a new problem for me.  I know it happens, I just never really had it happen when I was starting out with this blog.  It is frustrating and  I feel more confused then ever.  Why should I waste my time blogging for spammers.   I just don't know what direction to proceed in.  

Big G and Dreamworks DVD Samplers

My kids love pretty much all of the Dreamworks movies.  Currently, Big G Cereals and Dreamsworks have teamed up with a new promotion.  Right now, when you purchase select speciallymarked  Big Cereals ( Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Cruch, Lucky Charms, Reese's Puffs, Cookie Crisp, Trix)  you can get a Dreamworks dvd sampler.  Each DVD features new content from beloved Dreamworks characters like Kung Fu Panda and Shrek.

You can also get a first look at the new Dreamworks movie, The Croods, which will be coming to theaters March 22nd.    My family received a gift pack with all 4 sampler dvds and some other goodies.   My children are really excited about the Croods and can't wait to see it in the theater. 

disclosure:  The information, product, and giftpack were provided to me by General Mills through MyBlogspark. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Thrift Find- Leather Weekend Bag

I haven't blogged anything on here in weeks.   I have been kind of busy creating another blog, Retro Toy Safari.   It is mainly about my love of toys.   Recently, a new Goodwill store opened very to close to my home and work.    Whenever I get a few spare minutes to myself, I will go explore and see what I can find.

Lately, my favorite store has been a great source of vintage toys.  I have found about 8 first generation 1 Transformers, some G3 My Little Ponies, some Star Wars items.   I even found a brand new Monster High doll in a bag of fun!

Today, was a great shopping day at the Goodwill, not so much in the toy department, but elsewhere. I found this bag and I have been showing it to anyone who would look at it.   I spotted a lady looking at it from over a shelf.    I was just hoping that she would put it back and luckily she did!!  It has this beautiful Bohemian quality to it.   I picture the former owner as a world travel that returned with this as souvenir.

The bag is leather on the inside and the outside trim.    The buckles and closure are brass, in need of some polishing.  The tapestry appears to be handmade and looks like it could possibly be from South America.   The picture doesn't do justice to the colors of the tapestry.  

 Today,with it being President's Day,  the entire store was 50% off so I got the bag for $2. 25.   I can't wait to use it for an adventerous weekend away. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Crepes by Suzette

This last week, my daughter checked out a the cutest book, called "Crepes by Suzette" by Monica Wellington.    The story follows Suzette and her crepe cart around the city of Paris.   She stops at various Parisian landmarks making crepes for people.

At the end of the book is a simple recipe to make crepes.   Since my little girl loves to cook, I knew we were going to have to try this recipe.  I thought they would be difficult to make, but the crepes were actually really simple.

Crepe Recipe-

1 cup of flour
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted

Sift flour, sugar and salt together and set aside.   Beat eggs and milk together.  Beat in flour mixture until smooth and add butter.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or pan over medium heat.  Pour about 3 tbsp of batter into the pan.  Working fast, remove the pan from heat and rotate pan in a circular motion to spread batter thinly.  Brown both sides.

We ate our crepes with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, and Nutella.