Archives for the month of: May, 2011

The school year has not even ended here in Minnesota, and Lisa, our sales and marketing manager has been busily preparing back to school information for College Life Magazine.

Our loft beds for college dorm rooms are being featured in the magazine. Did you know that you can get an extra high or extra long loft bed in twin, full and even queen sizes? Not only are they the best way to maximize space, but very budget friendly too.

We are looking for tips from our readers on decorating dorm rooms – first home away from home.

Where’s Mom when you need her?

We wish all of friends near and far  a Happy Memorial Day!

Totally Kids fun furniture & toys will be closed today so that we can spend time with our friends and families. Normal business hours will resume tomorrow.

Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a day in which the graves of the fallen soldiers of the American Civil War would be decorated in their honor.

Known as Decoration Day, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day within twenty years, becoming a holiday dedicated to the memory of all war dead.

In 1968 Congress passed a bill making Memorial Day one of the commemorating those in uniformed service holidays. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May.

There is also a Confederate Memorial Day, which is celebrated on various days in spring in some of the southern states.

Take a Memorial Day Quiz here.

Minnesota weather prevents tomato plants from prematurely putting down roots in the not yet warm enough garden soil. Stuck in black plastic pots  waiting for the optimum transition, you might cover the pots with burlap adding a sort of flair.

Scarecrows have been around for centuries and this is the year we will have one in our garden.

They can also be a creative way of recycling old clothes, hats, fabric or whatever you may  have lying around.

Hen and Hammock  provides everything you will need to built this not so scarey scarecrow except the hat.

A pair of ruby slippers, a lion and tin man then it’s off to Oz.

If I only had a brain……

We now have QR Codes thanks to Chelsie one of our tech savvy interior designers. It will be interesting to see how many folks even know what they are.  We plan using them to share a great deal of information here at Totally Kids fun furniture & toys.

So you ask, what are those strange patterned square boxes and what do they do?

They are QR codes (Quick Response) and they have actually been around for quite some time. First created in 1994 by a Japanese subsidiary of Toyota as a two dimensional barcode system used for tracking parts during the manufacturing process.

After a few years of popularity in several Asian countries, they began to gain traction in the US primarily as a marketing tool.

Currently, the primary focus of QR codes is to entice smart phone users to scan them as a way of connecting to a particular web address.

In order to read QR codes your smartphone or camera phone must have a barcode reader. All major smartphone platforms with cameras can download readers.

You can get a free QR reader from Kaywa.

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Find us on Facebook for fun contests, prizes, events and sales. Tell us that you used the QR Code and we will send a surprise.

On Monday we asked our Facebook friends who was leaving town for the long Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. Of all the folks who responded everyone was staying in town. Reasons varied from gas prices too high to “we live in sunny South Florida, why would I go anywhere else?” Also it sounds as if many folks will be BBQ-ing.

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The ultimate toy grill, for sizzlin’ imaginative fun! Our rugged wooden first grill features realistic details, inspiring kids to get grilling. The hood opens and closes just like the real thing, allowing the chef to check and recheck if the food is grilled to perfection. It has two wheels for easy transporting, and features four clicking burner knobs for controlling the “flame.” Adding even more play value, the grill comes with an interchangeable grill top that flips to reveal two burners and a mini grill. A great way to keep kids safely busy while you grill for real!

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Have you ever seen a more kid pleasing way of serving watermelon?

Watermelon Hedgehog from the family kitchen

This carving was inspired by watermelon lovers Michelle Langer and Kate Surbey from Georgia. Thanks to watermelon.org for the photo and carving instructions.

Helpful hints . . .
– Drain cut watermelon and other fruit before placing it in the carving.
– When removing excess flesh try to leave it in big pieces – easier for making melon balls or cubes.
– Use a green dry erase marker – wipe off excess marker after making cuts.

Materials needed:
1 medium-large round seedless watermelon
Cutting board
Large kitchen and paring knives
Green dry erase marker
Toothpicks
Large bowl and spoon

Wash the watermelon under cool running water and pat dry. Placing the watermelon on its side, cut ¼” off the light yellow ground spot on the bottom so that it sits flat. Be careful not to cut too deep into the white part of the rind – this would allow liquid to leak from the bottom of the carving. Place the watermelon so that its stem will be the nose.

Find a point at the top of the watermelon about ¼ of the length of the watermelon. Using the dry erase marker, from that point, draw vertical lines half way down both sides of the watermelon. Then, from both points on the sides, draw horizontal lines straight to the back of the watermelon. If you are happy with your proportion, use your knife and cut the lines. Remove this whole portion and place to the side.

Using a large spoon, scoop out the fruit from the removed section and from the base. Chop this fruit into small cubes, drain and set aside.

Use a small paring knife make many small cuts to the edges of the head and body, as shown in the photo. These cuts should be short, small, irregular, angled, curved and almost resemble flames from a fire. Small irregular cuts create the look of the hedgehog’s coarse coat.

Take the removed rind and cut a 1 ¾” strip from the flat end. You now have a slightly rounded strip. Cut a triangle from the center of the strip to make the nose. To attach the nose, place toothpicks just above the stem spot to both side, and slide the base of the nose over the other end of the toothpicks, rind end down. You may need to secure with an additional toothpick. Put one in the tip of the nose and place a blueberry on the end.

Using the rest of the removed rind, cut 4 equal sized rectangles for the feet. Trim the backs of the rectangles thinner than the front, and then make two cuts on the front of each piece to create a point making the shape of a paw. Attach with toothpicks rind end down to the bottom edges of the hedgehog as shown.

To make the ears, draw two curved triangles that come to a point into the edges of the face area where desired. Carefully cut with the paring knife. Using your finger, gently push out the cut shape from the inside until it’s only slightly protruding, being careful not to crack or break the rind.

For the eyes, simply place 2 toothpicks slightly above the nose and put a blueberry on each end.

Finally, replace the hollow space of the hedgehog with the watermelon cubes. Place toothpicks in the cubes at the top to create the hedgehogs’ coat.

Sally Ride Day honors the first American woman to go into space. Dr. Ride accomplished this feat as a mission specialist aboard STS-7, the second flight of the Space Shuttle “Challenger”. STS-7 was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 18, 1983.

Celebrate Sally Ride Day by learning more about the U.S. space program and NASA.

If any of you young ladies (or  young gentlemen) have thought about becoming an astronaut, hopefully  you will follow your dream of going into space. Until then, here is some practice gear for you.

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This Official Jr. Astronaut Suit is available in child and adult sizes. If you stop in today you just might see Annie suited up in her astronaut gear.

Unfortunately, Annie’s head is a little too big to wear the realistic Official Jr. Astronaut Helmet with built in sound chips, a spring loaded retractable shield plus a mock boom microphone for communication.

As a famous Trekkie once said. “Space is the final frontier”.

No more teachers…..

For many families it is already that time of year when school ends a summer vacation begins. We have a couple of weeks left here in Minnesota which is just as well since summer has not found us yet.


It is also the time of year for Teacher Appreciation Gifts.  The idea room has this simple, sweet, and inexpensive way to say thank you with water bottles plus shows you how you too can make them.

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What teacher would not smile when receiving this bouquet of flowers in a adorable pencil vase. Happy Clippings has the 411 if you would like to make one.

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Hats off to the grads with these chocolatey topped delicious looking cupcakes made by From Apples to Zucchini.

Yesterday was Sunday FunDay in Emerald City (Totally Kids fun furniture & toys.)

Typically on Sundays we are joined by a store full  of families stopping by for shopping plus fun and games.

There is an on going hula hoop challenge, hands on test and play area,  football toss championship, registration for an extreme ride on car giveaway and a count the lollipops in the jar contest. Always animal crackers for the kiddos and a hot cup of coffee and ginger snaps for adults. If your Toto is joining us, there are dog treats for our canine friends too.

The weekend brought one storm cell after another resulting in two days of threatening skies. So, okay, there was rain in the form of very heavy downpours, but the show must go on, right?

Megan, first to arrive, discovered no lights, aka a power outage which we later learned had even affected the airport. The power luckily was quickly restored (possibly because we are so close to the airport) and we all continued with business as usual.

But, where are all of our guests?

Sidebar:  Glinda the Good Witch of the South of us (Annette) reported that from her observation of the few folks that did drop by, the well-behaved (Munchkins) children stayed home yesterday. Our staff scarecrow,  lion and tin man were checking the yellow bent signs.

It was not until driving home that I learned of a severe tornado touchdown in North Minneapolis. We heard no warning sirens and no one even mentioned or called to inform any of us of possible danger.

Several rotating supercells spawning a few tornadoes touched down across the Minneapolis area on Sunday afternoon. The tornado or tornadoes tore roofs off buildings, downed power lines and toppled trees blocking streets. Early reports estimated the tornado touched down for around 30 minutes across the metro area. The Associated Press reported one person was killed, 30 others hurt and at least 100 homes were damaged by the storm.

Last night a curfew was imposed in the stricken area and 7 schools are closed today.

How can we help?

A fund has been set up for the public to help in the disaster recovery.  The Minnesota Helps North Minneapolis Recovery Fund aims to assist with both short-term and long-term housing and recovery-related needs on the north side. To make a donation by credit card, visit www.GiveMN.org or send checks for the recovery effort to:

The Minneapolis Foundation
80 S. 8th St., Suite 800
Minneapolis, MN, 55402

You can also donate to the Red Cross at www.redcrosstc.org

Cub Foods to Host BBQ for North Minneapolis Tornado Victims  tonight at 5PM at 701 W. Broadway . The food was donated by  Cub Foods, General Mills, Kemps, Oscar Meyer, Jerry’s Enterprise and Pan-O-Gold Bakery.

For up-to-date information about North Minneapolis clean-up needs & activities, please visit UHW’s Facebook page.

Tuesday, May 24

The Club will be open to families to have a meal. Lunch at Jerry Gamble Boys & Girls Club from 1-4 today.
2410 Irving Ave. N in Minneapolis

El-Amin’s Fish House (2221 West Broadway) will be serving food from 2-6pm. Free meals served to all affected by the tornado. Please also bring non-perishable food items or monetary donations for families in need.

Kids Closet offers free childrens clothing. You can come and shop on Thursday for free clothing for your children if you are in need.

Sing along with me:

Fairy tales can come true
It can happen to you
If you’re young at heart….

Need I say more?