K’nex, Lincoln Logs, & Little Pieces Oh My!

As a little kid growing up I loved Lincoln Logs and building all sorts of houses, barns, and anything that my imagination could come up with. Especially if my Barbie’s could fit in it!

What I love about Lincoln Logs and K’nex is that they both require you to really think and figure things out. How the pieces fit together best, how to get the building or car built the way you want, and how to get them all to work together the right way.

Lincoln Logs

I will say that I had to follow the instructions that came with the Lincoln Logs to get the ranch to look exactly like the picture… which is exactly what my son wanted. But in no time we had a ranch and the horse and cowboy were ready for a hard day work rearranging the yard that I just set up for them.

 This set includes 124 real wood logs, plastic windows, a door, roof, and a horse and cowboy. It’s recommended for ages 3 and up but my 3 year old still needed a little help getting things to work the way he wanted.

Now the K’nex are a totally different story!

The first set that my husband set out to put together was the Typhoon Frenzy Roller Coaster Building Set and let me tell you… it came with a multiple page manual on how to put it together. With over 640 pieces to the set this was a challenge to put together and he worked on it for just over 3 hours from start to finish. It’s recommended for ages 9+ and I can understand why and would suggest that it might be better for an even older kid.

Once it was put together and running my 3 year old and his 11 year old sister LOVED playing with it!


I’ll also say that the majority of those 640 pieces are pretty darn small so in order to not lose them I suggest sorting them into a couple bowls or something similar.

The 521 Piece Value Tub was loaded with everything that you need to build cars, motorcycles, giant flowers, stick people, and pretty much whatever you can imagine. This one is recommended for ages 7+ and was a lot easier for my 3 year old to play with because he could quickly connect the pieces on his own and still have fun. Definitely not something that he should be playing with alone though.

I can’t imagine any boy (or girl) who wouldn’t love to find one of these under the tree on Christmas morning. They’re great for imagination building and hands on play.

All of these toys are available at Toys R’ Us. For more fun check out K’Nex on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and You Tube.

Through the Toys “R” Us® Mom Blogger Promotion I was sent, Lincoln Logs® Redfield Ranch Set and K’nex to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Holiday Events in Michigan 2013

Michigan is full of the holiday spirit starting this upcoming weekend! There is so much to see and do with your family that picking one holiday event might be difficult.

Let’s break it down by area.

Detroit & the surround area

On December 22nd you can see the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the Moscow Ballet at the Detroit Fox Theatre. This is one show only and definitely something that you don’t want to miss!

America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Floats, bands, giant balloons, and celebrities. If you can’t make it to downtown Detroit to see it you can always watch it on TV from the comfort of your couch.

Detroit Zoo Wild Lights: The zoo lights up with an amazing light show! For 24 nights, more than two million LED lights will illuminate trees, buildings and animal sculptures on a half-mile trail through the front of the Zoo.

The Big, Bright Light Show: Downtown Rochester lights up and will be covered with more than 1 million points of glimmering holiday light.

Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village: Step into the past with carolers, candle-lit paths, horse drawn wagons, and of course Santa and his reindeer. The evening is topped off with a fireworks display too!

Genesee County area 

Christmas at Crossroads: This is the one place that we visit every single year for Christmas. The village has carolers strolling around, beautiful lights (you MUST see the tree that is fully covered in lights), and the trip is not complete without riding the old locomotive and seeing Santa.

Nutcracker present by FIM: We have been trying for years to get to this and have yet to make it. There is always some reason why we haven’t gone yet but this year we will go. This show features professional dancers from New York City’s Collage Dance Collective, talented students from the Flint School of Performing Arts, and the  Flint Symphony Orchestra.

Holly Dickens Festival: Starting right after Thanksgiving visitors to downtown Holly will be greeted by performers taking you for a trip through Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol”.

The Holiday Pops: For two nights you can celebrate the holiday season with music and song from the Flint Symphony Orchestra, Flint Festival Chorus with members of area high school choirs, Flint School of Performing Arts students and additional musical groups.

North Pole Express: This is really in Genesee county…. it’s actually Shiawassee county. But it’s really the only event going on in the area. But is so worth sharing! The 1225 has been fully restored and is the exact steam train that was featured in the movie The Polar Express. I’ve seen this train in person… it is incredible.

Lansing area

The Nutcracker 2013:  This is the 33rd year that the Nutcracker will be performed at the Wharton Center and features the Children’s Ballet Theatre of Michigan and some of mid-Michigan’s best young dancers.

Silver Bells in the City: This weekend, November 22nd, the city will be glittering with lights, a parade, the lighting of the tree on the steps of the Capital, and then a fireworks display all to start off the holiday season.

Wharton Center: The Wharton Center on MSU campus has several events going on for the holiday season. Holiday Pops Series, Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna, and  MSU’s Home for the Holidays.

This is just a handful of events that are going on around Michigan to celebrate Christmas in Michigan. To find something different or closer to you check out the Pure Michigan site where they have a huge list of holiday events from all over the state.

Are you checking out any of the holiday events where you live?

The best holiday cards ever… at Minted

Okay… Okay… I’ll admit it. I have not ordered my holiday cards yet which means that I won’t be sending them out until next week at the earliest.

There are a couple reasons why… you can be the judge of whether they’re good reasons or not.

First of all, I haven’t reviewed our family pictures yet (that will happen this week) so I don’t know what picture I’ll be using and I have gone through an entire year worth of pictures. There was not a single decent picture at all. Not one… and you’d think I’d have one or two but in every single picture one of the kids is making an odd face or something.  Second, I haven’t found a card that I have been able to fully customize to my liking. You see we’re a blended family and it just doesn’t seem right creating a card with just one last name. Most  websites have you input a last name as part of the cards customization and if you leave it blank what shows up is the letter “S”… not exactly what I wanted.  Oh… and lastly… I rarely ever do anything on time. I am the worlds best procrastinator.

Just recently I found out about Minted. I have no idea how I’d never heard of them before! Seriously, they have the most incredible selection of holiday cards and the options that they have to customize your card is pretty much endless.

Check out this one that I customized without any names whatsoever! I’m sure that I could have tried to add all of our names individually but I did something more generic with the text and then I changed it from the traditional rectangle shape to something a bit more fun. This is one of my can’t find a good family picture options!


If we have a totally awesome family picture this year I picked a few other options for our holiday cards.

Both of these are customizable… I can change the text & color of it at the bottom of both cards as well as the shape. So, tell me which one is your favorite?


warm wishes

I really can’t decide which one I like the best and don’t even get me started on the rest of the card! Why do you ask? Well, you can customize the back of the card with text and more pictures or even something more cool like an infographic! And then there are the envelopes which can also be customized after you finally decide which one you want.

I’m worried now that I have the most amazing site to create my holiday cards that it’ll take me so long to really decide what I want that it will be to late to send them!

Have you heard of Minted? Have you sent out your holiday cards yet? 


I was compensated for this post with some gift code to get some awesome holiday cards to send out. As always though the thoughts and opinions are all mine.

Andrew, Santa, and I

Every year we pass by the center of the mall where Santa has set up shop and is surrounded by a magical winter wonderland. I watch the families as they wait patiently or not so patiently for their turn to talk with Santa so they can explain those bad moments, elaborate on the good, and tell him everything they want on the never ending list. I look at them with fond memories of doing the same thing with my girls when they were younger, but now they’re older and don’t fully believe in Santa.

As luck would have Andrew believes in Santa! He recognizes the big man and will look at me with his head titled slightly and says, “anta?” Other times he smiles and says, “ho, ho, ho”. It’s all beyond cute!

We braved the mall to have our turn with Santa. But this time I planned ahead! I didn’t want to stand in that line, weaving in and out of the ropes that help form the line, for an hour or more with a 2 year old who can’t sit still. We left early and got to the mall just before the stores opened and Santa had just arrived. We were first in line and there was nobody after us.

We had plenty of time to make our way carefully up to Santa. Andrew was enthralled with the animated deer and fake snow that surrounded Santa’s chair and had to check it all out. Finally, I was able to get him closer and he stopped, pointed and said, “anta.” He refused to get any closer to the big man. This was my fear…. I really was hoping that we’d get a good picture… but he wanted nothing to do with him.

Eventually we made it to Santa but it was only because I had to pick him up and walk over there. Andrew was glued to me and his little arms weren’t letting go for nothing. Nope, the cute Santa picture wasn’t happening.

Thankfully the photographer was great and we got a picture!

andrew, santa, & I

Yes, that’s me in the picture. It was the only way that we could get Andrew close to Santa. Better than nothing right?

Good thing I got ready that morning!

Creative Kristi Designs

One to remember

Every year I hope to get one perfect picture of my kids together during the holidays. It’s the one time of the year that I can almost guarantee that they’ll all be dressed up and some what coordinating…. Yes, I know I can try other times of the year but I have teens so that should be enough explanation, ok?

Anyway, this past weekend we had our first holiday gathering and I brought my camera along and snapped pictures here and there and when the kids were standing near each other I took that opportunity to take a couple of them together.

the girls.... posing

Is this the one to remember? Nope. It was missing their brother who is in a constant state of motion unless he is asleep.

The kids

Oh look!! Two of them are smiling nicely! Andrew obviously didn’t want his picture taken and I think Natalie was talking to someone near me. So, this one isn’t the one to remember.

After the last picture I gave up. One day I will but until then I have all these cute and silly pictures of my kids that remind me of exactly who they are. They sweet, smart, fun loving, honest, and most all … they’re mine. I love them all more than they’ll ever know. So while I may never get that one perfect picture the ones I have are all ones to remember.


I am linking up with Allison and Galit for some great fun and fond memories that we’ve all captured. It took me all week to get to it but I finally did it!

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