I won the Petite Bear Family and Petite Bear Twins on eBay Thursday evening, and they arrived to me on Saturday morning. After a long Saturday and then an illness that is still lingering, my wife and I finally opened our new goodies last night. What a wonderful family!  Great green clothes and a fun story for each family member. I love them. I almost didn't purchase them because we have a makeshift Petite family made up with figures from ready-to-play sets, but I really wanted a boy Petite so I gave in.

We also got two more Disney pins: Pluto and Goofy (past and present) each showing dedication to D23. D23 is the first official fan community (club) for Disney fans.

And we added some narrow gauge engines to our Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway collection. I honestly think that I may like the narrow gauge engine characters more than the main Thomas engines so this was a pretty exciting buy for me. We also picked up a few cars and a coach: the recycling cars and old slow coach.

All of the collections have been updated across this web site.
 
 
I've also posted a comparison of the two Calico Critters kitchen sets: Kozy Kitchen Set (CC2257) and Deluxe Kitchen Set (CC2267). These two sets are available in the UK as Kozy Kitchen and Cottage Kitchen (a verison with updated colors is called Country Kitchen). The comparison includes side-by-side pictures comparing similar items.

I awarded points to the items that I feel are better. I thought that the final score would be close, but not as close as it was. Of course, the results are only my opinion and I'd love to hear your opinions. What do you think? Which kitchen is better?

Find the comparison of the two kitchens on the "Fan Information" page (click the actual words as a link) of this web site under "Essays" section.
 
 
I've posted a comparison of the two Calico Critters bathroom sets: Master Bathroom Set (CC2256) and Deluxe Bathroom Set (CC2480). These two sets are available in the UK as Blue Bathroom and Cottage Bathroom. The comparison includes side-by-side pictures comparing similar items (such as the two bath tubs or the two sinks).

I awarded points to the items that I feel are better. I thought that the final score would be close, but not as close as it was. Of course, the results are only my opinion and I'd love to hear your opinions. What do you think? Which bathroom is better?

Find the comparison of the two bathrooms on the "Fan Information" page of this web site under "Essays" section.
 
 
I've been thinking about doing this for some time now, and this morning I finally went ahead with it. I have combined the "Fan Stuff" section with the "Fun Stuff" section to create the "Fan Information" section of this web page.

All of the established sections of the old two pages are included on the new page.

Toys R Us was having a sale on Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway engines. If you bought two, you got one free. We added six characters to our collection: Charlie, Fearless Freddie, George, Harold the Helicopter, Sir Topham Hatt's Car, and Smudger. I like Smudge best. Jen really liked George and Harold. We didn't add any of the main characters to our collection yet, but I really like the ones that we did add.
 
 
This was a bit of surprise today. We had a coupon in our e-mail inbox for 20% off any one item at Toys R Us. We talked about what item to get leaning strongly towards something from the Thomas Wooden Railway line, but ultimately we ended up getting the Hopscotch Rabbit Family 20% off. Really nice price, in my opinion.

I love the family. I've read a number of times that the boy Hopscotch rabbits have brown noses and the girls have pink nose, but what a surprise to hold the two different critters in your hands and appreciate the detail in person. Their clothes are amazing too; there are very few loose threads.

I have not been a fan of the idea of Calico Critters in the American Toys R Us market because I was sure that being in bed with a big corporation would result in a lower quality product, but these critters are among the best quality I have in my collection. I'm still nervous about the future of Calico Critters, but I am getting more comfortable with the idea that they are going mainstream.

I have added the family to all of the pages that they should be on: Our Collection and the Family Album.
 
 
We collect Disney pins too. I've been working on a page on the Other Collections section to share this collection. The pictures are not great so I will have to work on taking some new ones, and I will admit that I have some researching to do with some of the information I posted, but the page is ready to be viewed if you are interested.

This collection is probably my favorite because it holds so many vacation memories for me.
 
 
 Huge update, but again it's one of our other collections and not a Calico Critters or Sylvanian Families update. I did tweak a few things here and there on my Calico Critters pages, but nothing that can be noticed by the eye. It was all HTML coding things.

I did notice an oddity about our critters when looking at our critter count. We have 18 father critters, 18 brother critters, and 18 baby boy (crawling and standing) critters. That's really bizarre, I think. What are the chances that they would all align like that?

The real update is Our Fontanini Nativity collection. I think that it added eight new pages to the site and about seventy pictures plus a story for most of the pictures that I had to type from these cards because I thought it would be cool to include them on the site. I've been adding this update over the past couple days slowly typing one more story in these spare few minutes and another in the next few minutes.

A little background information on the Fontanini Nativity (but not too much because I have a little background information on the Fontanini Nativity elsewhere on this web site): the nativity introduces new figurines each year depicting not only those standard Holy family, kings, and shepherds found in nearly all nativities but also the citizens of Bethlehem. Each figure comes with a story card that tells of their virtuous, albeit, fictional life. They are pure sentiment, but I love them just the same. Of course, the collection also features gads of buildings and accessories that insane-pack-rat collectors salivate over while trying to figure out where the money to pay for them is coming from (I'll get a third job!) and where they will be stored (we don't eat in the kitchen anyway so I can tuck those boxes under the table, no one will even know...).

Please, take a look for yourselves at our collection found through the Other Collections page of this site. Decide for yourself, but I think they are lovely. My mother-in-law purchases us most of the new figures we want each Christmas and we've already put together order for this year. And it was my wife, not me, that decided we needed the produce stall...
 
 
This is not a Calico Critter or Sylvanian Families update. Sorry. Instead, I have finally gotten pictures of our new American girl doll and outfits taken and posted with the help of my wife. Due to owning an American Girl, I have now learned how to tie a bow tie. One of the outfits comes with a hair ribbon that is tied around the head like a headband, and we were unsuccessful in getting a "pretty" bow with that ribbon until I said, "I bet it's like tying a bow tie." After a few Google searches, a lot of head stratching, and many failed attempts, I finally got a bow that looked pretty decent. Not pretty "pretty" but pretty decent. I'll keep practicing.

We've also decided that our daughter (and mostly me) needed a Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway collection. We (I) bought a few peices and have created a page for that collection on our "Fun Stuff" section of our web site.

Hopefully, I'll get to work on our nativity collection, but I'm not looking forward to opening all of the boxes and unwrapping all of the figures and taking the pictures and rewrapping all of the figures and putting them back into their boxes. It shouldn't take too long, but it will be tedious. That's probably our most expensive collection though, and I keep saying this is web site is partially insurance proof in case our house burns down, so I suppose I should do the work to include the nativity collection. Sigh.

I'm really enjoying working on the American Girl and Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway pages, but it's just not the same as organizing those little critters into pictures.
 
 
I have posted pictures of the thirteen new sets we added to our collection on the appropriate pages of the "Our Collection" section.

I have also updated the Family Album with new family portraits and biographies for our newest critters. I updated the figure count section of the "Fun Stuff" page too to keep it current with our collection.

Hopefully, I'll get some pictures of my Thomas Wooden Railway collection and our Fontanini nativity collection taken and post those here soon too. I don't know though. The nativity collection is going to take a long time.
 
 
We got our latest order from Geddie's Toys. They have great prices and good shipping deals, but I do have to say I'm disappointed with the handling of the products. The boxes were in good condition; there were no tears or rips, but there were bents and folds and some of the boxes were a bit dirty. Nothing major, but I'm picky. I'd definitely order from them again.

We added thirteen sets to our collection.

Dalmatian dog twins-
I don't have much to say. They are Calico Critters twins. The boy is crawling. The girl is sitting. They are wearing the standard blue and pink baby outfits. My wife did set the boy down on the couch and from the angle I was sitting in and the angle she placed him, he did look amazingly great.

Furbanks squirrel family- I love the green cloths but wonder why the mother was left out of the green cloths continuation especially when Fiona Furbanks from the Ivy and Fiona: Friends Forever ready-to-play set is even wearing green. My wife commented on how the tails were better than she was expecting. She thought they would be the standard pipe cleaner tail, just longer.

Fubanks squirrel twins- I wish they had some kind of tails. Other than that, they are your standard babies.

Norwood mouse twins- Yes, they are the standard babies, but these ones are so cute! I'll admit that; I love these twins.

Pickleweeds hedgehog twins- We don't have the family-of-four yet, so these twins are pretty great as they are like nothing in our collection, but the boy is named "Honey?" What's up with that? I really have issues with the way Calico Critters are named.

Wilder panda bear family- I love the boy's clothing; I can't think of any other boy that is wearing short pants. The sister's clothing, like mother Furbanks, doesn't fit with the family.

Wilder panda bear twins- They are your standard twins. Sigh.

Country Dining Room set- The leaf-and-acorn detailing on the chairs and table are a much needed surprise. I thought over all that this set was boring; it's very plastic looking. I wish the dishes had some kind of detail and a tablecloth or runner would have been nice. Maybe a flower vase with flowers for a centerpeice. It's nice, but boring. I guess that's why it's significantly cheaper than most furniture sets.

Country Living Room set- This is probably my favorite furniture set that we got yesterday. For the price, I think it's rather nice. The arm chairs are well-detailed and the cookies and tray dress up the set nicely. I like the coat rack; it's the reason I bought the set, even if it looks rather cartoony.

Deluxe Bathroom set- It's nice, but too similiar to the blue bathroom set. The tile floor is bizarre in my opinion and I find myself wondering if it will even fit in a Calico Critters house. I like that it's not blue; I'm not a fan of blue, but most of the pieces between the two bathroom sets are identical.

Deluxe Living Room set- This is my favorite new furniture set. It has that classical Sylvanian Families look to it with the green coverings and this is our first telephone. I'm a sucker for the folded-goodies and this set came with a present (not really sure why, though) and a pastry box. We have the old living room set (the shelf, couch, and rocking chair), but this couch is much nicer, in my opinion. Softer. This "deluxe" set is the one that looks the least like plastic.

Deluxe Kitchen set- This is a nice set, but it really needs a refrigerator. I think Calico Critters needs to make a refrigerator set available to add to this set to give people unaware of Sylvanian Families the chance to add a fridge without having to buy the Kitchen set. In my opinion, the Kozy Kitchen set is more deluxe; the Deluxe Kitchen set has some nice-detailed peices but it's pretty small when set up. I like it, but it's not deluxe, in my opinion.

Sister's Bedroom set- I had high hopes and expectations for this set, and it's nice but did not meet those hopes and expectations. I like the quilt is more red than pink or purple so it could be used for not just "sister's bedroom" and the recorder and globe are fun peices. The chairs are extremely cheap looking and there's these weird necklace things that you have to make yourself by stringing a pendant on an easily-fraying cord and then tie a knot in that easily-fraying cord. They look a mess and the knots easily come out of that easily-fraying cord.

Along with the Country Dining Room set, this set looks like plastic more so than any other Calico Critters set. And, I beleive that this is a newer furniture set with only the "Country" furniture sets (Dining Room, Living Room, Patio, and Bedroom) being newer to the Calico Critter world. My wife and I could tell that the Country Bedroom set and Country Patio set were not sets we needed from the pictures because they were cartoonish in design. This scares me, because I feared that the quality was going to begin going downhill with the introduction of Calico Critter products to Toys-R-Us stores here in North America. Of course my argument is weak because the Country sets are not available at Toy-R-Us... yet... We'll just have to see.