2016 Playmobil Advent Calendar: Day 9

img_1444Christmas is on a Sunday this year. That’s terrible.

That screws everything up.

It’s like when you’re a kid and you get a snow storm…ON SATURDAY! So guess what, school will be wide open on Monday.

It also eats into the final weekend before Christmas because you lose that Sunday, and most of Saturday since it’s Christmas Eve.

That means we have only two true weekends before Christmas.

Don’t panic. We will get through this. We always do. (And you can still order fantastic presents from PowerPencils.com!)

Before we open the calendar, I want to point out that there’s a hole in the background of the playset/playmat.

img_1445I think something will fit into that hole. Treasure? Hammock? Mrs. Claus? The anticipation is killing me!

Today’s glorious item from the calendar is… Continue reading

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2016 Playmobil Advent Calendar: Day 8

img_1434Last January I gave up soda and I haven’t had a single drop since. I’m not bragging; I’m whining.

I was doing fine living the rest of the year sans soda, but I never recognized the thick chain of sense memory that connects soda to Christmas in my head. There was always soda with Christmas. Decembers were filled with Santa Claus Coke cans, big heavy bottles of ginger ale, even the random swig of Dr. Pepper.

I miss it.

Biologically, I’m better off without sugar syrup as the base of my food pyramid.

Psychologically, I really want a Coke. Lots of ice.

But I won’t give in. I will be strong. The key is to fill the old addiction with something positive. So, instead of soda, I drink more deviled egg filling, which I call “Chicken Whip.”

Opening a toy calendar every day is a nice distraction from the soda that surrounds us this time of year.

Today we get…
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2016 Playmobil Advent Calendar: Day 7

img_1418Pirates of olden times were blood-thirsty criminals, and yet they have become popular characters for children. Time has softened their danger. Will the children of 2150 be opening a Playmobil Terrorist Calendar?

Too much? That was too much, right? Let me walk that back.

Will the children of 2150 be opening a Playmobil Cyberbully Calendar?

Looking at the above picture, you can kind of tell what today’s item is. And, spoiler alert, it’s a mighty one.

Today we get… Continue reading

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2016 Playmobil Advent Calendar: Day 6

img_1406Today is Santa Claus Day in Europe. Children in Germany are visited by Santa on December 6th, and he fills their socks and shoes with treats. I’m not expecting Santa Claus in this calendar (and to ask for a Mrs. Claus is a fool’s request, for she is as elusive as world peace — existing only in our minds and our un-granted birthday wishes).

What I’d really like out of this calendar is some treasure — good, shiny treasure. Gems. Jewels. Gold coins. A crown, if possible. Toy treasure is wonderful because it can work with any figures currently arranged on your desk. Yes, I am an adult. Why do you always make that face when I say that?

Will treasure be buried behind today’s door?
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2016 Playmobil Advent Calendar: Day 5

golden-girls1Every day in December feels like a different Golden Girl character.

Sophia — Days when you’re cranky and obsessed with the past.
Blanche — Days when you’re overly confident. “Hell yeah, I can do all this! Of course I can! Look at me!”
Dorothy — Days when you’re pragmatic and busy, with little time for frivolous things.
Rose — Days when you see the world as a candy-coated wizard school with free puppies.

The key to a successful holiday is to have more Rose Days than Sophia, Blanche and Dorothy Days.

Sophia Days don’t help anyone. It’s okay to think of Christmases past, but when you start comparing rose-tinted memories with the current state of affairs, you’ll find yourself upset that this holiday season doesn’t feel as good. But every December more or less feels the same — we simply remember the good stuff. Trying to relive the past sometimes means missing out on crazy, cool new stuff happening RIGHT NOW!

Blanche Days aren’t terrible, but too much confidence can easily set yourself up for disappointment. For instance, you might start the day thinking: I can do all of my holiday shopping in one store, I’ll be home by noon to decorate the tree, write my Christmas cards at 1, and then at 1:30 I’ll learn how to cook and by 2 I’ll start making Creme Brulee from scratch! Easy! And then it’ll be 8 p.m. and you’re still at the mall with sore feet and gallons of frustration filling your brain.

And perhaps too many of us fill December with Dorothy Days, as we rush and work and stress and wear amazing, long blouses that catch a winter’s breeze like a flag in a hurricane.

So, how do you transform the other days into Rose Days? Allow it to happen, and if it doesn’t happen…force it. December is when it’s okay to be silly and dumb. I hereby give thee permission. Giggle at a duck, talk to a Christmas tree, dance with a door — it’s okay.

Christmas magic doesn’t just happen. Rose Days aren’t always a given. Often, you have to give it a little push. And if you find yourself feeling those other types of days sneaking into your brain…giggle at more ducks.

That’s why I open a silly toy calendar every year. Some days I don’t feel like doing it, but I force it. And every time, I’m glad I did. (Today isn’t a bad day, really. In fact, despite my lack of sleep I am feeling quite happy and Christmas-y. This post was just a reminder I can look at when I have bad days.)

This ends my Golden Girls Discussion (Part 1).

Part 2 focuses on the possibility that all four Golden Girls were not human, but personifications of a teenager’s brain (a’la Inside Out), and that teenager is named Miami. More on that at my Ted Talk.

Yesterday we got a table.

img_1385Today we get…
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2016 Playmobil Advent Calendar: Day 4

img_1376I’m making a Secret Santa gift today using faux-fur fabric, because I give great gifts.

If you’re looking for great gifts, check out the cool stuff I sell at the PowerPencils.com store! The Jetpack Werewolf Ornament is back in stock after selling out last year and I only have a few left this year.
img_1321Also, you can get a pack of magic pencils that summon monsters. This is only available at PowerPencils.com because Walmart and Target are too intimidated by my enchantments to sell such things in their stores. Your support is greatly appreciated, and I love you.

What could today’s calendar item be?

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It’s…
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2016 Playmobil Advent Calendar: Day 3

img_1364I like this calendar quite a bit…so far. Perhaps the Gods of Playmobil have stuffed good items early in the calendar with a sinister hope to lure me away from Lego calendars. It’s working.

Yesterday’s Jonas Cannoncube was a fantastic surprise, and I like him even more today. Did I mention his jacket is a deep, rich shade of purple? It’s luxurious.

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What’s behind today’s door?
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2016 Playmobil Advent Calendar: Day 2

img_1353This is my first December 2nd in six years in which I have not touched a Lego brick. Not gonna lie, it feels weird. But change can be good.

I did some investigative journalism (Wikipedia) and learned a few cool things about Playmobil:

1. It was invented in the early 1970s by Hans Beck of Germany. I imagine Hans had an old workshop deep in the woods where rays of sunshine cut through the colorful leaves, draping the entire area in a rainbow of golden autumn colors, as a small creek babbled nearby and the curious deer and chipmunks would peek their heads into the window to see what the old toy maker was creating. Or maybe he sat in a beige cubicle inside a cooperate office. It’s magical either way.

2. The figure is called a “Klicky.” In Spain, the male characters are called “Clicks” and the female characters are called “Clacks.” And in England, instead of Playmobil, the toys were originally called Playpeople…but England is terrible at naming things since they call ladybugs, “ladybirds.” WHAT THE HELL, ENGLAND! It’s not a bird, it’s a bug! Do you also call spiders “Wall Fish” and penguins “Polar Humans”?

3. The first Playmobil people were based on Native Americans, Construction Workers and Knights.

4. They come to life at night and steal the tongues of lying children.

What lurks behind today’s door?

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Yesterday I got a boat. Today I got…
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2016 Advent Calendar: Day 1! (A New Beginning)

IMG_1066December is here! Every December for the past six(!) years I’ve opened a Lego Advent Calendar — a big box that spits out tiny toys of varying degrees of fun every day until Christmas. But not this year.

This year, things are different.

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Making a Christmas Tree Story

img_1281As a kid, three of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments were: A wooden castle, a small wooden sled and a wooden airplane with a tiny propeller that spun if you flicked it just right. I would meticulously hang the ornaments on the tree so that it told a story…in my mind. The plane was hung towards the top of the tree, because planes fly. The castle was placed in the middle because it was built on an a hill (or a cloud). And the sled was hung towards the bottom. The story would change from year-to-year, or day-to-day, but essentially a hero would fly to the castle, do something heroic, and then escape on the sled in a dizzying action scene that Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg would be hard-pressed to recreate in a movie. Imagine the speeder bike chase from Return of the Jedi mixed with Die Hard and seasoned with the first twenty minutes of Temple of Doom.

Those three ornaments were lost somewhere, but I still create stories for my Christmas tree. Glass balls are planets, metal snowflakes become magic portals, the spaceship is…well, a spaceship.

The idea of creating Christmas tree stories was part of the inspiration for the new Pencil of Stories. This Power Pencil comes with six wooden ornaments that (may) spring to life as you use the magic pencil to tell tales of adventure and pterodactyls. What’s the story behind the girl, the yeti, the jetpack werewolf and the goblins? You tell me.

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I may have lost my wooden airplane, castle, and sled, but I can replace them with new ornaments. The story continues!

The Pencil of Stories and all six ornaments (and a Goblin pencil!) are available now as one set! Click here to visit the store and start writing new, weird, wonderful stories!

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