What not to do With a Faucet

Kids get into all kinds of trouble. Our Kiddo is no exception. All the parents I know have cute, and not so cute, stories to tell. We are all in the same boat from the time our offspring can walk. Try to kid proof our homes but somehow at one time or another they find a way to wreak havoc. It can be innocent enough such as raiding a low cupboard and taking out all the contents—spreading them across the kitchen floor. It can also be devilish such as putting toys down the toilet, throwing things out the window (if you foolishly leave it open) or pulling buttons off mom’s favorite coat.

Our little one has been known to use crayons on the walls (thank God, they have invented erasable ones) and the floor. He spills things regularly and breaks anything in sight. Ceramic objects are like magnets for his little hands. The problem is that he likes to let go. I am certain that he spends every waking hour thinking up ways to drive us crazy. I am sure you can relate and have your own tales to tell. Today, I have a whopper. Our loving child somehow managed to get the aerator off the bathroom sink and stuffed a couple of Legos into the gaping hole. It was so tempting, and so destructive. Daddy Brick had to take the sink apart to fix it and retrieve the toys. He isn’t the best handyman and he broke the faucet. His wrench was too tight I guess and now sported a huge dent. I wouldn’t allow him to put it back in place in this condition.

Now I had to take over. It was my job to find a replacement that suited our bathroom style. Big decision. I looked at dozens of photos on line and read all the features and benefits. It isn’t the most interesting reading, but somehow, I managed to land on the Pfister page – https://www.kitchenfaucetdepot.net/pfister-faucet-brand-review/. I recognized this well-known, quality brand and loved the designs I saw. While researching the best faucets, I noticed a website on how to repair a faucet. If only my hubby had checked it out. However, I am not unhappy that I get a new state-of-the-art streamlined gem in my favorite bathroom. I must admit that the old one was plain and out of date. People go for luxury and décor when it comes to practical home items. It is seen as an upgrade for sure.

My Pfister is a brushed chrome beauty of perfect proportions. The curve is elegant and the perfect size. The matching handles are as well wrought as the main spigot. They have little concave depressions at the bottom as a touch of finesse. No wonder this is such a popular brand. I don’t mind a few extra dollars for the best of the best. I know I will be thoroughly pleased when it is installed—by a professional!

Been Some Late Nights Here at the Brick House

While my husband and I are pretty handy around the house (a requirement if you have kids), there are times when we need a little help. The ceiling fan in Kiddo’s room has been running super slow, which makes it hard for Kiddo to sleep. That makes is harder for everyone to sleep! There have been some late nights here at our house. Rather than hire an expensive electrician, we decided to combine forces and become the family handymen. All we needed were some basic troubleshooting tips to get the fan working properly again. We first searched for the original instructions that came with the device. It had installation procedures and a website for other issues. We went there together with two pairs of eyes staring intently at the screen to absorb the information. A few key notes were taken.

The guide on the website was pretty thorough and covered all sorts of malfunctions and complications, most of which you probably can’t fix yourself. It simply states the reason for them. They assume you know how to proceed or have the sense to call someone who does. We have a good set of tools in the garage so we were optimistic about completing the task of literally getting the ceiling fan up to speed. The unit could need cleaning for one thing. The electrical connection is not likely to be the cause. The fan either runs or it doesn’t. The tiny motor might be full of accumulated dust.

And so on. We read about the remote and the wall control as they could be the culprit. Again, they either work or they don’t. Here is the kicker: you might have the wrong setting—on low in this case given the visible evidence. This would make the fan too slow. It is a speed some people like for a gentle circulation of air. We wanted the room to be cooler overall. We checked the controls and they were set correctly at medium speed. The guide said that the control might be “stuck.” If you turn the switch off and on again it should right itself. If not, you would need to send it back to the manufacturer for a replacement.

Fortunately this tactic worked and the fan started to whir nicely to everyone’s delight. Kiddo was ecstatic. We thanked the site on their Facebook page. He thought the whole thing was super amusing. He enjoyed watching us scurry about trying to fix the darn thing. After all, it wasn’t that old and had cost a tidy sum. We wanted one with a nice central light fixture and a dimmer, apart from the master speed control. We even matched the blade finish to the color of his little boy’s room. We bought the deluxe model to ensure smooth operation and a quality appearance. But the fan had let us down. As it turns out it wasn’t a huge problem. We are grateful for the website guide that set it right in no time flat.

Sometimes Brick Building is Stressful

It is time for Legos! This announcement is frequently made in our home. It is a ritual that never gets old for kiddo Brick. I remember when the mania started. As a baby, my son had the usual stuffed animals and alphabet blocks; but then one day someone gave him a set of Legos as a birthday present. He was two. He took to them instantly and tried to build things on his own. Daddy Brick and I wanted to help him by showing examples of what could be done.

After that, he always wanted us present during Lego building time. We complied and had established a pattern that was never to be broken. We adore our son and playing with him is a privilege. Time goes by fast and he is easy to get ready for bed. Legos have helped him become extremely cooperative because he knows that it is a reward for good behavior.

The only pause in this practice is when Mama is cooking or cleaning (or watching a favorite TV show) or when Daddy is tired after a hard day at work and Lego building would be stressful. He needs a rest and goes to the back room for a smoke. It calms him down and gets him in the mood for playtime. In good weather, he sits on a lounge chair in the patio, but when it is cold, he is entrenched in his favorite leather stuffed chair. I hate when he smokes in the house as wisps of the odorous material permeate the entire house. Kiddo Brick doesn’t seem to care, but I do. This is definitely not good for the child’s health. If I ban the cigarettes, there are nasty mood consequences, so I must put up with it for now. I am going to handle it with technology.

Immediately after a meltdown, I went online and found the best air purifier for smoke and set it in the den. I am not sure my husband even noticed it. It was a unit designed for smokers and used a HEPA filter for extra protection. I read about it on Facebook. It cost more but had rave reviews.

I took to opening the windows during smoking sessions and set down some new ground rules. Here is what I demanded. Now smoking was going to be on my terms:

  • Smoking permitted on rare days when stress must be dissipated and there is no other means.
  • Smoking is done outdoors unless it is raining.
  • After smoking, the culprit must spray the room with lightly scented deodorizer.
  • While smoking, a candle will be burning. It is a good addition to other odor-reducing techniques.
  • Smoking in the den is limited to one cigarette.
  • No smoking elsewhere, especially Kiddo Brick’s room.
  • Opening windows is a precursor to any smoking.

Daddy agreed to the rules immediately and promised to stop smoking soon. He bought some liqueur and tiny glasses. He was changing one vice for another, but I didn’t want to complain. I was just happy to put away the deodorizer.

Who Knew?

As a tight-knit family, we go through everything together. Nothing is withheld, including to Kiddo. Life is full of trials and tribulations that rear their ugly heads at every turn. When mom and dad have to make big household decisions, it concerns the whole gang. That is how children should grow up. Maybe we have to budget for a certain expense, making important ones impossible until a later date. I say this because recently the water heater broke and we needed to get a new one installed. We opted for the best we could afford, a state-of-the-art tankless electrical unit, such that a weekend camping trip had to be postponed for a short while. It is so inconvenient when the hot water turns cold during your morning shower. It is more than inconvenient when you can’t light the pilot and have to spend $100 on a plumber. It was time, we all thought, to get the best appliance and to ensure an adequate supply of hot water for years to come. Those old tank models are so obsolete. You can still buy them at a low price, but who would want one? When you make a change, why not anticipate the future?

We didn’t even have to take a family vote. It was so obvious that a tankless water heater was the right choice. They are economical and save significant funds on monthly utility bills. After a while, maybe a year or more, the unit pays for itself. The new heaters are also energy efficient and save on precious resources. Everyone is into being green these days, trying to avoid waste of any kind, such as when a huge amount of water is sitting idle in your hot water tank waiting to be used. With tankless systems, they generate only what you need, when you need it. The discussion about being tuned into sustainability was valuable for all family members – or almost as Kiddo is a bit young. At least we are preparing him for the future.

A benefit of installing the new tankless water heater was the special expertise of the plumber. After installing the unit and explaining how it works, he went on to present the positive qualities of a home water filtration system from Home Water Health. We never would have considered adding something like this right after the new heater. The plumber assured us that we would enjoy pure, clean, pollutant-free water which would conserve this valuable resource as it would help control usage. We could also stop buying those nasty unrecyclable plastic bottles. I envision piles of them in a crowded landfill. They don’t biodegrade, but sit there forever as a testimony to the foolishness of modern man.

We don’t feel foolish any longer. We love both our new appliances and particularly enjoy softer, contaminant-free water. It is perfectly safe now to drink or cook from the tap. It is practical, easy, economical, and wise. We need more clever inventions to bring our standard of living to the right level.

As Seen on TV?

I was shocked when my little son came to me reporting a commercial he liked on TV. It came on between cartoons so I expected it to be about a new toy he wanted. This happens a lot. But it was a different animal–an ad about a metal detector. Why on earth was he interested in this device? He didn’t know that gold is a valuable commodity and that daddy would love to have a few coins. He had no idea why anyone would want to find it lying on the ground or at the beach. He knew mommy had gold jewelry so he was guessing this was why. He liked the idea of making her a necklace for her birthday and thought this would help him with the DIY project. He loves to make things out of clay, construction paper, and crayons as a rule. He had no inkling about jewelry making any more than precious metals. My mouth hung open as I asked more questions. He already had a design in mind and he draw an awkward rendering for me to inspect and approve.

His reply was short and sweet. “I want to know how a metal detector works.” Okay, I would oblige. I would show him a video on Facebook. That was not enough for his curious young mind but I was not about to go out and buy one for a personal demonstration. I told a neighbor about this strange request. He told his cousin who happened to own this device. I could borrow it and take my son on an outing to find “gold.” He wouldn’t recognize it if he saw it, so any coin in the ground would do. It might be fun—and instructive. Kids like learning new things, but usually they have to do with the human body, how to make a papier maché mountain, or the best way to make cookies (particularly his favorite kind).

We went to the park as I assumed that some kind of cast-off metal would be there or perhaps a few fallen coins from a jogger’s pocket. We set the detector as I had been shown so it would pick up most anything. We didn’t adjust it to a fine setting as this would limit our catch. I was bound and determined to show how this odd object worked. We shouldn’t be disappointed given the public nature of the location.

We spent a lovely afternoon exploring together and had a nice picnic lunch. We hadn’t found anything yet as we had just begun. Now it was time to get serious. I let my son turn the metal detector on and taught him how to hold it out in front of him as he walked. In no time at all, a sound beeped and he stopped cold. He was transfixed as I bent over and dug into the barren lawn. Out came a quarter in pretty good condition. “It’s gold,” he cried, totally thrilled and excited.

A Non-Building Interest of the Kiddo?!?

It’s all about bricks in our house—yes, for the entire family. It has thrown us a bit now that Kiddo Brick wants to play on a friend’s soccer team. I am worried that this will new activity will infringe on our communal building time, something we have been doing for a while now. We went to a lot of effort to get our child interested, and now he has a non-building interest all his own. I am going to have to get into soccer mighty fast. There are enough children and plenty of matches on TV. We can still have a group hobby, so I am not going to despair.

I am a little worried about the intensity of the game and the problem of headaches and concussions. I hope it is true that they have banned headers for youth. I need a good introduction to the sport and the basics of what to wear, how to hone one’s skills, and all the basics. Mom and Dad are going to invest in some training equipment from https://www.topcornermag.com/best-soccer-training-equipment/ to start the kiddo out right. Maybe we may have to hire a personal coach. I look online and it says you can find an “experienced coach by age and city who can help you improve your athletic performance and reach your individual goals.” That sounds so serious for a young one under ten. I think a teenage player from the local high school might do just as well. We need someone who will teach our son youth simple soccer drills. They must be appropriate to his skill level. Do we need a practice goal net? As my Uncle Jim used to say, “all shall be revealed.”

While they have loads of coaching videos online, I want the experience to be more real for my child. I want to set up a lifelike training regimen that will prepare him for the real deal. Training is important in any sport and it is not just a few warm-up exercises. It means learning the actual moves and techniques, just like they occur on the field. A backyard system will be a mini version that will expose Kiddo to soccer as it is played on a team. Using it for training will tell me his level of skill and if he really takes to the game. I am going to order a few things and I hope they do not have any assembly required.

So many kids play soccer nowadays that you can discuss it with almost every parent around. Your offspring will have lots of play dates if you have the training gear. Why not have soccer parties for the neighborhood? A theme could be “getting in shape for soccer” or “soccer kids challenge.” We can have a few competitive events and soccer-themed prizes like gift certificates to use at the local sports emporium. Our family hobby will now be shared with everyone. Making friends is easy and fun.

Happy Birthday, Kiddo!

No one dies from not sleeping enough, or so I am told. When I was a new mother, my newborn kiddo kept me awake most of the night. There was to be no catching up during the day! I adore my son and he is so talented and blessed; the memories are stacking up in my brain. While I like to reminisce about the early days of his sweet life, the lack of sleep had me worried. How long can someone actually stay awake safely? I read on this web page – https://www.berightlight.com/long-can-someone-stay-awake-safely/ – that said people who are forced to stay awake as a form of torture suffer severe anxiety. If it due to a natural cause such as worry, too much exercise, a sick child, or too much daylight, it is not a cause of great concern. Most of the time you fall asleep out of exhaustion. But I suppose there is a limit to what the body can tolerate. I remember how my son would make noise all night in excitement over a birthday party the next day. Sometimes, he would poop out before the cake was presented.

Many studies have been done in the area of sleep. There are special labs that do this kind of work. We have data and can reach many conclusions as a result of the interest in what we do a great part of our lives. I have seen lists of bad reactions to a lack of sleep such as poor physical appearance, grumpy mood, a propensity for accidents and injuries around the house or office, drowsiness and impaired driving, lower brain function (including poor judgment), and a variety of health issues from high blood pressure and diabetes to stroke and heart attacks. Sleep deprivation is the culprit when it comes to sexual activity. It is also associated with insomnia and depression and is likely to make you more forgetful. For those who want to preserve their looks, sleep loss affects the body’s ability to produce enough growth hormone while it prompts it to release too much stress hormone cortisol. Both impact the quality of your skin. Sleep is the best anti-aging remedy.

On the really negative side, as if there weren’t already too many problems, insufficient sleep can cause you to gain weight. I love the saying “if you snooze, you lose.” Lack of sleep stimulates hunger and appetite. People who get only a few hours of rest are prone to obesity. Thus, quality sleep is a huge health issue in this country. We all have to put those cell phones away at bedtime and turn off the TV and the lights. Taking care of yourself is more than good nutrition and a daily workout. Analyze your sleep patterns now and see if you are falling victim to a terrible, often unrecognized, ailment.

Not wanting to end on a negative note, I feel that it would be remiss not to mention the effect of lack of sleep on the mortality rate. This was my original concern with kiddo. I felt I would die of fatigue. While it is not likely, as mentioned above, sleep problems imply a greater risk for fatal health issues like cardiovascular disease.

Ambitious Idea

Legos are the gift of the toy gods. They are anywhere and everywhere in the world. There is something addictive about them. You get hooked mighty fast as a child, and sometimes the mania to build things lingers on. If you are an adult with children, you can share great times and foster imaginative play. In our family, we keep adding new parts to replace those lost over time. They are probably under the sofa or the dog has made off with them. They fit nicely into his mouth—a bite size treat. He doesn’t eat them, of course, but he likes to hide them for a fun game. He likes to watch us looking here and there for his hiding place.

Right now, I am getting all the blocks together to make an exact Lego replica of the garage. It is an ambitious idea as the work area is loaded with tools and implements for the woodworking trade. I have collected these things over the years and have inherited more than a few. My favorite is the best drill press that my dad owned and handed down to me. It is a variable speed marvel. I wonder how I can recreate its special features. For now, I will just tell you about them. My drill press is almost an industrial model and a powerhouse of a tool. It delivers equal torque throughout its RPM range. It also has a laser centering device to facilitate accurate drilling operations. I love the LED display that shows the current speed while the spindle travel’s adjustable depth stop shows clear depth measurements. I have enjoyed using this drill press for many construction and craft projects.

I will include in my recreation other tools such as the typical electric saw, nail gun, automatic stapler, and assorted hammers and screw drivers. It will be cute as my wife says about Lego buildings. I will put a miniature me right in there with all the tools and the work bench. I am careful about selecting the right blocks in a predetermined palette of colors. I am an old hand at this game so it will be just right. I will know when I get my son’s approval. The work is not done until he gives me an okay. I will allow him to make adjustments as he sees fit.

Some of our former family constructions are still in place in the garage. Will I therefore make a replica of a replica? Maybe I will draw the line here as the Legos are of equal size. I don’t have a mini set. I will leave these mementos of former good times out of the current project. I will, however, make space for this new one. At some point, I will need the blocks so I will disassemble my Lego art for future use. No matter. My son loves making a trip to the toy store to buy new pieces. I won’t deny him this perpetual treat.

Why Build With Bricks?

There are so many ways to create family traditions and spend time bonding as a unit. Many share a special meal at a certain time of day or a set day of the week. Some families have a game or movie night. Some work together on a common goal, like a puzzle.Others spend their time together outdoors, doing things like skiing or geocache hunting. The point is not so much what you do together, but that you actually do something together. That is what matters. In our house, it is a time to bond with one another. When we are together and building, we are connecting with one another. There are no screens in front of anyone’s faces. We talk about the things that interest us and try to accommodate those interests with the things we decide to build together. We encourage one another and solve problems together as a team. In short, brick building is the glue that holds this family together, and has made us the close family unit that we are today.

“Assembly required” strikes fear in the heart of most parents when it comes to children’s toys. We hear horror stories from friends who are up late into the night on Christmas Eve, struggling to put together dollhouses and action figure playsets. Many don’t even require power tools or they have less pieces than what we’re used to. They still end up being a huge, regrettable hassle. On the other hand, we’ve been lucky never to have experienced that struggle. In fact, Kiddo would be incredibly disappointed to wake up on his birthday or a holiday and see his toys already assembled! Building sets are different. The assembly process is designed to be an enjoyable part of the experience, not a torturous struggle. Finishing a set feels like an accomplishment, not just a relief. Then, even more fun can be had with the toy you’ve built!

But the best part of building is that you don’t always have to follow the instructions; in fact, sometimes there aren’t any instructions at all! The idea that anyone can build anything with bricks has wide appeal. It is accessible to every skill level—bigger blocks for small hands, more intricate sets for people with more experience. It helps people with their fine motor skills and activates spatial planning. It fires up the imagination of children and adults alike.

Lego has licensing for practically everything, which means there are sets to satisfy nearly every interest. Whether you are into castles or superheroes, princesses or outer space, you don’t have to look very hard to find something that you will enjoy putting together. Take a look down any brick aisle at a toy or Lego store, or do an online search, and you’ll see what we mean. If you can’t find anything interesting to build, in this house we have a saying: look harder, or build it yourself!

Other Uses for Your Brick Creations

The greatest thing about building with bricks is their versatility. With such a large variety of shapes, size, and style of pieces, there are endless ways to fit them together. Believe it or not, there are even some practical, everyday uses for brick creations, and you don’t have to be a master builder to create many of them. There are plenty of places online that will show you how to build just about anything simply by typing “LEGO life hacks” into your favorite search engine. Here are a few of our favorites to get you inspired:

Key holder: always losing your keys? Constantly forget to use the key hook you put by the front door specifically for that purpose? It is way more fun with bricks! At our house, each of our keyrings hasa 2 x 2 coupling plate (part 3176 if you’re interested) that we decorated either according to its purpose or user. There is a 4 x 10 plate (part 3030) near our front door that we attach our keys to when we come in. We haven’t lost keys inside the house in years!

Charging dock: phones and tablets come in all shapes and sizes. It can be difficult, especially if you have an “off” brand or older model, to find something that will hold your device. However, if you build it yourself with bricks, you can get a custom designed dock that will fit all of your needs. They can also double as a viewing stand! Here’s the best part:Minifigs’ claw-shaped hands are the perfect size to hold that charging cord! How cool is that? We’ve seen everything from elaborate space station designs to a straightforward brick assembly. If you’re interested in building one, take a look at what other users have put together online. It is sure to inspire you.

Shelves: if you’ve ever stepped on a brick or tried to take apart a well-assembled wall, you know how sturdy bricks are. If you have enough of them, bricks can make great shelves or bookcases. You just have to build it to the specs of what you want the shelves to hold! We’ve noticed that it helps here to use flat tiles on top of the shelves to provide a smooth, shelf-like surface. We personally have never put anything other than toys or some books on brick-made shelves, so test the durability before you decide to put, say, a heavy piece of electronic equipment on it.

We have also seen people drop button magnets into the stud holes on bricks to make them magnetic (instant paperclip holder!) or put adhesive on one side so that it can be used to securely hold just about anything you want. You can also build door stops, planters, coasters, toothbrush or desk caddies, and all kinds of other objects. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and your brick supply!

Block Party!

We love brick building themed parties. It combines two of our favorite things: celebrations and building! So if you are looking for a fun theme for a party, we’ve got you covered, regardless of your DIY skills level. Here are some great ways to incorporate brick building into your big shindig:

Brick décor is pretty easy to do. The logo and many bricks are easily recognizable basic colors, so red, yellow, green, and blue decorations will work well. You can even make your own decorations fairly easily. The birthday person will love seeing their name spelled out in bricks—hopefully, their name isn’t too long! If you want to make a banner or invitations, you can use rectangles of colored paper as the base of your brick, trace the bottom of a cup onto the same colored paper, and put them on top as the “studs” with 3d foam tape. The same technique will work on solid-color gift bags if you decide to give any out—fill them with bricks, of course! You can also “disguise” juice boxes this same way. If you’re looking for something bigger, tissue boxes are also the perfect brick shape. Wrap them in solid colored paper, make holes in it, and fit colored plastic cups inside. They will look great stacked around the gift table. You can draw faces on solid yellow paper cups to make them look like minifig faces. Be sure to make some silly ones! We also like the idea of using bricks as placecards. For centerpieces, you can fill nearly any container with bricks and leave it in the middle of the table. Either you can encourage them to, or when your guests get bored, they can build with the pieces! You can also make your own utensil holders, coasters, and napkin dispenser with bricks.

They sell cake molds in the shape of bricks if you are the baking type; they are worth it—the cake will look AWESOME, especially if you are any good with fondant. Also, cake pops can be made in the shape of minifig heads, too. That is always a crowd pleaser, and the sticks can be held by actual minifigs! We have also found hard candy in the shape of bricks that you can actually stack. Fun and delicious! Or, if you are not baking inclined or internet-savvy enough to search for and order these types of things, you can always build little shapes out of new, CLEAN, bricks and add those to the top of cupcakes or a cake. You can also build a brick cake, either using round or square blocks and candles; although it will look cool, unfortunately, it won’t be edible, though.

If you are into games, you can get mini build sets and see who can build them the fastest, or put out a bunch of blocks and then vote to see who made the coolest thing out of the bricks. That works for kids or adults, in case you were wondering. We also like pin-the-head-on the-minifig. The sillier you make the minifig faces, the more fun the game will be! Or, you can get a bunch of minifig pieces and have the guests “build” themselves!

Can you tell we’ve thrown a few of these ourselves?

Brick-building parties can be a lot of fun. Just let your imagination be your guide.

Our Family’s Favorite Sets

our-familys-favorite-sets

LEGO sets are great for two awesome reasons: the joy of LEGO building and the fun of a toy. We love LEGO sets here in the Brick household, and here are a few of our favorites (and why!)

Kiddo loves LEGO Creator sets, and as parents, we have to agree: they are pretty cool. The best part is that they are three sets in one. More build combinations = more playability, which means more value for your money, too! Right now Kiddo’s favorite is the Park Animals set we got him earlier this year. He loves the fact that he can build a dog, squirrel, owl, or a duck(complete with ducklings) depending on what he wants to play with. The animals are all adorable and are posable, too. The dog is a special favorite of ours! He is just so cute, it is easy to forget that he is made from bricks.

Daddy Brick loves just about any castle that LEGO comes out with. His favorite, though, is a set he had as a child that started his love of all things LEGO in the first place: the Black Knight’s Castle. It had super cool turrets complete with banners waving and crossbow-wielding minifigs. The dungeon and the drawbridge are also pretty cool. Daddy liked this set as a kid mostly for the minifigs and because the older castles were named after a King, but there were never any king minifigs included. This set, on the other hand, came with loads of guys to play with. The knights came with decked-out horses, including sword scabbards, and there’s even a ghost in case one of them meets a ghastly fate. Daddy’s set is a little worse for the wear, from all the action it saw over the years, but he will never part with this one! Kiddo loves the raised base, not a feature you see very often. This set can keep both Brick boys entertained for hours!

Mama is a fan of the modular building sets. From a city herself, she loves the charming urban style and is always looking for new buildings to add to her city. Her favorite is the Town Hall set that came out a few years ago. It is the biggest set we own, and it took Mama a long time to build (mostly because she wouldn’t let anyone else help). However, once she had it complete, it became a favorite of everyone in the Brick household! it is super cool to play with. It has an elevator so that your minifigs can get to each of the three floors. There’s a business office and a podium on the first floor, the Mayor’s office is on the second(we love having the Mayor officiate minifig weddings) and then there’s a conference room up on the third. Plus, have you seen that clock tower? It is awesome!

There you have it, our favorite sets. We love brick boxes too, where we can build anything, but for specialty pieces and added fun, you can’t go wrong with one of these sets!

Do You Follow the Instructions?

lego-city-building-toys

We have met a lot of other brick-building fans over the years; some face-to-face at conventions or building events and others only virtually, on message boards or sites just like this one. It’s been a great experience sharing our love of brick-building with others. Over time, we have learned that people have strong feelings about those blue booklets that come with the sets. Some people like to follow the sets exactly and never deviate or build anything else because it is the set that attracts them to building in the first place. Others like to build objects of their own creation because the endless possibilities in a pile of bricks are what compels them to build.Some do a mixture of the two—they’re just happy when they’re playing with bricks!

We are a mixture by marriage household. Mama Brick was big on sets, never deviating from the instructions, and Daddy is more of an experimenter. He will pick up a bunch of leftover pieces and make some interesting stuff. Kiddo can do either with the same amount of joy and has taught us to see things his way more often than not. Now we try to accommodate everyone. There are sets that we buy because we like the look or playability of them. They look like fun to have, to build, or have interesting features/specialty bricks that we haven’t seen before. Then there are sets that we buy kind of like a car at a junkyard—we strip it for parts. Mama is learning not to cringe. Other options include the pick-a-brick site and the pick a brick wall at your local LEGO store, where you can get any number of interesting and useful pieces. This is especially helpful if you lose a piece of your set or if you have something very specific that you are looking for. It is a much more economical choice than buying and then pilfering pieces out of a set if you have the option.

LEGO is one of those rare companies that actually appreciates ingenuity. They are in the business of creativity, after all. They have a website where people can actually submit their awesomely unique LEGO creations as product suggestions. So for those of you who don’t follow the instructions, if you make a set cool enough, and enough people like it (as of this writing, you need 100,000 supporters), LEGO will actually take your idea into consideration. There are tons of rules (for example, you can’t mix themes, you can’t use too many pieces, you can’t create your own pieces or modify existing pieces) but if they review your product and like it—they really make your set! They’ll sell it in stores! They even give you credit as the creator! And—here’s the best part: you get a (small) cut of the profits from your design, as well as 10 free sets.  It is on Daddy’s list of life goals, and he will continue to try and come up with a worthy idea. Stay tuned for that one.

What about you? Are you strictly a set-builder?