Chop!Chop! The Mice Simulator Game

Remember all of those “X Simulator” video games that were super popular in 2016 and 2017 that constantly gave people motion sickness because they handled really bad and weird? Well if you liked those games, you’ll love Chop!Chop! the strategy game. If you’ve never heard of anything I’ve talked about here then you’ll still love Chop!Chop! because it’s awesome. So, how do you play this interesting, albeit convoluted appearing, game? What’s with the weird looking tiles? Why am I asking you?

Alright I just spent the past couple hours learning to play this game and I can now say I’m a certified play expert with it (got a cute little pin and everything!) and will now explain how to play. There can be up to five players and should be a minimum of two, the most experienced of which should play the cat while the youngest starts first; the goal is the mice players work together to collect 10 cheese tiles and make it back into their holes while the goal of the cat is to catch all the mice. On their turn, the mice roll the grey dice and move around the kitchen depending on what you roll, keeping in mind that the mice are small and can hide under the table but can’t reach the top of it because they got little legs!

When a mouse ends their turn on a tile, they flip that final tile over to see what’s underneath: a broken plate is worthless and is instead removed from the board, a +1 or +2 allows the mice to move extra spaces, an arrow allows the mice to go anywhere on the board other than a revealed cheese or back into a mouse-hole, a fork lets mice grab a revealed cheese whereas a knife hurts the mice and causes them to lose a turn, and finally there’s the big cheese which the mice are trying to collect.

The cat is too big to fit under the table but can jump to get on top of it; the goal of the cat is to catch all four mice. When the cat ends it’s turn on a tile, all of the effects remain the same but one: when it flips a cheese then the cheese just remains open since the cat isn’t interested in cheese. Turns switch between the cat and the mice and if a mouse is caught, that mouse is eliminated so there’s only 3, 2, 1, or none left. Remember, any turn for the mice allows the players to move any mouse they want: players can just move one mouse at a time if they wish. The game ends either when the cat catches all the mice or the mice get 10 cheese and return home.

Ready to live out Tom & Jerry? Now’s your chance! Chop!Chop! is available in store or online for $43 even.

Random Holidays!

So part of my job in writing these is I look up random holidays and write about ones that I think are interesting, strange, or that I can shamelessly plug what we sell here (muahaha)

In doing my random research though, I stumble across a lot of holidays that I can’t write about either because I don’t want to get political or polarizing (seriously guys this is a page for a toy store, it’s meant to be cute and fun and light and have PUNSSSSS) or because I can’t make them into a whole post. Instead, I’m going to talk about all the weird and fun ones in this post because that’s what I’m paid to do so buckle up you buttercups this is gonna be wild! Also this is all going to be holidays in just June because there’s so many

Random food days: 1st is national olive day, the 3rd is national egg day and world cider day, 4th is cheese and moonshine day, 5th is national donut day, the 7th is national chocolate ice cream day, 10th is ice tea day (which also counts as “sweet tea day” but don’t blame me I’m just sharing information!), the 11th is corn on the cob, 13th is Rosé, 14th is burbon, 16th is fudge, 17th is “eat your vegetables”, 18th is sushi, 19th is martinis, 21st is smoothies, 22nd is onion rings, 26th is chocolate pudding, and finally the 28th is tapioca day! Woof, it feels like a lot when you write it out like that.

Now for just some random ones with little connecting each other:

The 1st is both global day of parents and Western Australia day, the 3rd is global running and world bicycle day so to celebrate it properly you need to run next to your bicycle, the 4th is national hug your cat day (please understand this means YOUR cat, I cannot recommend hugging random cats even though I’ve definitely done it), 5th is world environment day. The 6th has four things: eyewear, yo-yo, Queensland, and Russian Language day. The 7th is Prince’s birthday, the singer not random royalty. The 8th holds national best friend day AND world ocean day so if your best friend is a crab then you’re in luck!

The 9th is Donald Duck day which commemorates when he first appeared on screen in 1934. The 11th is King Kamehameha Day as Kamehameha the Great is credited with uniting the Hawaiian islands back in 1810. The 12th is both national loving day and Philippines Independence day while the 13th is sewing machine day and the 14th is both flag day and the US Army’s birthday. 14th is World blood donors, 15th is elder abuse awareness, 16th is International day of the African Child, 19th is Juneteenth, international box day, and national Garfield the cat day.

The 20th is American eagle, summer solstice, ugliest dog, and wold refugee day but even having four doesn’t beat the 21st with FIVE (technically six counting the smoothie) being father’s, yoga, aboriginal, selfie and world day of music. The 22nd is take your cat to word day as well as kissing day (after you eat aaaallllll of those onion rings) while the 24th is Saint-Jean-Baptiste and Midsummer but don’t worry, you won’t have to kiss any donkey headed men so long as you don’t cheat on your fairy king husband.

On to the 25th which has Bourdain, the Beatles, the seafarer, and is national work from home day (ha!). the 26th is take your dog to work day, the 27th is bingo and sunglasses which sounds like the name of an old woman bop band. “Bingo and sunglasses at night, I can’t, no I can’t see because sunglasses at night are really, oh yes really impractical.”

Almost done! The 28th is insurance awareness day; the 29th is hugs, camera, and wimbledon; and finally the 30th is for asteroids and social media! Oh wow never let me do this again.

Go Fish!

Hey all you swimmy fishies! It’s been a while. It is also really hard to create a fish with just the icons on a keyboard, like seriously, this is the best I can come up with|>{^-} kinda cute actually. Could be in a really low budget Pixar knockoff film as Namo, the fish with one abnormally large fin who gets lost and who’s dad, Melvin, has to go on an adventure with a fish named Dowy. (please disney don’t sue it’s a joke)

Look at that majestic little face! I just wanna boop it.

All of that incoherent rambling has a point by the way: June 18th is national fishing day! I don’t have anything witty that I’m allowed to say here about it but barracuda with me (you’re welcome) as I string you along for a fintastic adventure. Haven’t you missed my puns? I missed subjecting you, random reader, to my puns.

Man, if the Finding Namo joke doesn’t get me in trouble, this will. #noregerts

So, this Thursday, you should head down to the local pond and toss out a line maybe aim for a raft full of college kids I was told I can’t suggest you target people but if they happen to be in the way that’s juuuuust a coinki-dink 🙂

Kids too young to go fishing? That’s a straight up lie. Don’t feel like dealing with the mosquitoes? Yeah that’s legit but don’t worry! We have fishing for at home available in our magnetic fishing puzzles!! “Oh my goldfish,” I hear you say, “there’s magnetic fishing puzzles?” Yes we do and no I’m not done with the fish puns!

Get hooked on fun with these fun fishing games from the comfort of your own home. Move it up to hard mode and try to play them with a fish! Toy Quest does not recommend playing these with a fish. Method act to get the best results: eat worms, swim without legs, flop around on land. Toy Quest cannot express how much you should NOT do any of the things listed. Toy Quest does, however, suggest buying toys. Flippity Flop I need to stop. Have a goby day!

Mother’s Day is coming!

What’s up you buttercups today I’m here to remind you all that Mother’s Day is approaching! Sunday, May 10th, you need to be prepared. Now, we’re closed on Mother’s Day because it is a Sunday but also because – let’s be honest – it’s parent’s buying stuff for kids here so there’s little point to it. But!! Don’t you worry because we still got you covered for this year’s Mother’s Day presents (look we know a lot of people out there rely on school projects to be gifted but school isn’t in right now so what is a significant other to do?)

Here’s what you do: make your own art projects at home for Mom! See, we got a buuuuuuunch of art stuff for you to use: everything from finger paints, crayons, colored pencils, drawing paper, painting paper, coloring books, clay kits, models, generic paint, and a bunch more that I’m not going to list because you can just go to our online shopping website to look for yourself! Just check under the “Art” tab and search from there.

Well now that the kids’ gift are covered, what about you? Well how about that old standby of flowers? Yeah suuuuure you could get her a dozen roses from Fred’s at the last minute if they still have any, but how about some flowers that actually have meaning? Three really come to mind: the day lily, pink carnations, and orchids. In China, the day lily is a symbol for motherhood while the orchid is a symbol for “many children”. The orchid was also a strange part of the culture of ancient Greece: if the father ate large, new orchid tubers then the child would be a boy, if the mother ate small orchid tubers the child would be a girl. They are edible by the way but I don’t personally recommend it, they taste nasty. Finally, the pink carnation: often considered to carry the greatest significance to Mother’s Day. According to Christianity, the pink carnation first appeared from the Virgin Mary’s tears after she wept for her son, symbolizing a mother’s undying love for their children.

Yeah I know this is a long one but bear with me it’s definitely worth it. Okay, the last gift I have for you is a recipe for my toffee chocolate chip cookies (seriously people love them so much that’s all anyone asks for when I go to a bar-b-que). Don’t worry they’re actually very simple to make. Here we go!

So, you’ll need to melt 1/2 cup of butter in a medium to large bowl. After it’s melted, add 1/2 cup of white sugar, 3/4 cup of brown sugar* and a teaspoon of salt, mixing until the butter is combined then add one egg. Beat until it’s a nice paste-like texture. Add vanilla extract (I never measure but at least a teaspoon), and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Combine. Add 1 and 1/4 cup of flour, fold until combined (it’s gonna be very thick so it might take a while to get all the cumblies). Add chips to flavor. Let chill for at least 30 minutes to bring out the toffee flavor in the dough**. Bake at 350 for 6-12 minutes (seriously, start with 6 and work up, don’t just go to 12) until edges are just starting to turn gold. Let cool for 2 minutes before removing from pan. Each batch makes 11 – 15 cookies depending on size.
* – feel free to use either light or dark brown sugar depending on taste, dark brown will have a richer toffee flavor. If you don’t have dark brown but want to add more flavor then mix in a teaspoon of molasses.
** – if you don’t care too much about the toffee flavor then feel free to skip this

Don’t worry, you got this! So long as you remember the day: this Sunday, the 10th of May. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some cinnamon rolls to make for my Mama.

Cinco de Mayo

Literally meaning “Fifth of May”, this Mexican holiday is naturally celebrated on May fifth. Originally, Cinco de Mayo was meant to celebrate the victory of the Mexican Army over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. Often confused with Mexican Independence Day (September 16th for anyone wondering) or even Día de Muertos (October 31st through November 2nd), for the most part Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, more so in the US than in Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States originated in California. During the 1960s, Mexican-American activists used the day as a mark for Mexican pride during the civil rights movement. Celebrated with parades, traditional Mexican folk dances, food, and other festivities, Cinco de Mayo is an earnest show of patriotism for many Mexican-Americans.

How do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? I’m glad I made you ask random person reading this. In Mexico, most Cinco de Mayo celebrations occur in Puebla: the battle is reenacted and parades are thrown with people dressing in traditional attire, street vendors selling patriotic clothing or amazing food, and in general a good time is made of it. In the United States, we celebrate in a similar way – minus the battle reenactment – with dancing, folk music, and feasts! Oh my word I would kill for some flautas with refried beans and from El Puerto’s.

I really shouldn’t write while hungry.

However you celebrate, just remember to stay safe and have fun! Also that if there’s any excuse to skip your diet then this would be it. Yummy!

May the 4th be with you

Happy Star Wars day everyone! “Why is today Star Wars day?” you may ask. Well it’s officially my job to tell you, not just because I get paid to run this blog, but also as a massive borderline insufferable nerd who has nothing better to do but read and watch movies. Anyways, May the 4th sounds like “may the force” get it? Get it? Anyone? I’m not apologizing for any puns so buckle up for this ride!

What’s the temperature of the inside of a Tauntaun? It’s Lukewarm.

Speaking of Luke, did you know we have a Star Wars Mad Libs?? Yeah that’s right, you can make Yogurt ride on Luke’s back through a Pirate Ship.

Mad Libs not enough for you? We got a bunch of action figures! Finn, Jyn, Cassadin, Vizam, Unkar, and wow do I hope I’m spelling those right. Seriously I think Lucas Company just slam their palms on a keyboard to come up with names at this point not that I would blame them but it still makes pronouncing them hard. What do you get when you mix a bounty hunter with a tropical fruit? A Mango Fett.

What do Gungans put things in? Jar Jars.

Have my puns turned you to the dark side yet? How about a fun Star Wars fact instead to end things! In the original trilogy, the Sith were just called “dark jedi”, in fact the term “Sith” wasn’t used until the extended universe book series!

May the 4th be with you!

Hey there, May Day!

Spring is finally here: most of the snow has already or is in the process of melting, the sun actually brings warmth, the mosquitoes have returned from the winter prison to suck our blood bleh beh bleh. In many European countries, the return of spring is usually celebrated on May first on the holiday May Day. Isn’t mayday what pilots yell when they’re crashing in movies? Well, yes but that comes from something else entirely. What is May Day? I’m glad you asked imaginary other half of this conversation.

You may not be familiar with the celebration of May Day but I guarantee most people have seen something like the image above somewhere in popular culture. In everything from horror movies to TV sitcoms, the image of people dancing around a painted pole while holding colorful ribbons. It’s like ancient tether-ball but with a lot more running around and less hitting. The maypole is the most recognized aspect of the celebration, normally accompanied by flower crowns and May Day baskets.

Similar to Easter baskets, May Day baskets are normally comprised of flowers and various treats such as candy or little toys and are either left at the front doorstep or hung from the doorknob. It’s just the cutest little celebration!

This is also the perfect time to reuse those clunky, left over Easter baskets you might have. Just load them up with some sweets, stuffies, and sunflowers and gift them to someone to brighten their May Day! A secret, surprise kindness can brighten anyone’s day. Please note to leave the baskets at the door, don’t hurl them from the road and hope for the best.

Australian Days at The Toy Quest

What does Australia have to do with a toy store in Fairbanks, Alaska, you may ask.

Well, did you know that Shane (one of the owners) use to be a wildland firefighter and is still a wildland fire medic? Did you know that Kyndall (the other owner) is a biologist? Needless to say, the devastating wildfires in Australia hit home to us in so many ways. We’d like to do our part, and the beautiful thing as a small business owner is that you can do so in many ways.

On January 25th, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., we will have a free in-store event where kids (well, really ANYONE) can make a thank-you card to Australian first responders and decorate a boomerang. This was a long fire season in Alaska, and by the end, Shane and the rest of the fire crews were EXHAUSTED (that is putting it very mildly). This is nothing compared to what the first responders and animal rescue folks are facing right now in Australia. I know when we have fire crews around Fairbanks, everyone asks what they need, and they always respond – thank yous. They have socks. They have food. They need and want the encouragement to keep going. So that is what we are going to do!

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My sign from this past summer for firefighters on the Shovel Creek Fire.

Secondly, from January 24th through February 2nd, 2020, we will have 10% off regularly priced animals and public safety toys. We will match the 10% with a donation to two Austrialin fire relief charities.

The first charity is WIRES Wildlife Rescue that is helping to rescue and saving animals throughout Australia that have been impacted by the wildfires.

The second charity hit really close to home. We will be donating to the families of Australian firefighters Samuel McPaul, Geoffrey Keaton, and Andrew O’Dwyer, who died in the line of duty while fighting Australia’s unprecedented and devastating wildfires. Firefighter McPaul left behind a pregnant wife, and Firefighters Keaton and O’Dwyer left behind young children (this is Shane’s worst nightmare every time he heads out on a fire).

So join us when it is -20F out this weekend to help send some thank yous and relief down under.

 

Head of Marketing. A Scientist.

If you are reading this, I must have got your attention somehow which is impressive. Everyone is trying to get our attention these days. That is part of marketing. It is a necessary evil. It is how businesses let you know that they exist and of community events going on. It is also overwhelming and exhausting. I simply want to hear music on the radio, to see what my friends are up to on social media, and watch my TV without constant interruptions.

Now that we have a small business, one of my primary duties is marketing. No worse of a person to do it then someone that 1) hates marketing and 2) is a scientist. Let’s talk about #2.

Scientists are not known for our marketing. Case and point:

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That doesn’t get me excited or make me want to read it. It is a very standard journal article title. Here are two of mine: Managing and preserving the University of Alaska Museum’s rapidly growing Genomic Resources Collection. And Using the online collection management system Arctos to manage the University of Alaska Museum’s rapidly growing archive of cryopreserved genomic resources. Needless to say, I haven’t had people beating down my door over those.

However, media outlets take meh and make it hip, so you want to actually read it. So that mid-Cretaceous embryonic-to-neonate snake in Amber? Much bigger deal than the above title suggests.

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OR

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My goal this year is that I need to break out of my science marketing shell. To report more than merely the facts. Add some excitement and pizzaz, spark your curiosity, do something to get your attention, something to entice you to come to check us out.

We carry a broad range of stimulating and engaging toys.

So I went to a marketing talk by Mammoth Marketing put on by Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation for some ideas. They encouraged us to be surprising, twist your message a bit, and have courage.

We carry a broad range of stimulating and engaging toys. (1).png

I hope you follow along as I learn how to market and where to market. I have a feeling some things will be a flop and other advertisements, you’ll all be like “wow.” Perhaps one day I’ll be a legend like the Tip Top Chevrolet ads.

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Giving Thanks

I often find myself reflecting on the year as it winds down. This year, I feel overwhelming gratitude. We welcomed two new members into our family – Nova (pound puppy) and Nolan (son). We started a new venture – The Toy Quest. We’ve learned, stretched, and falling a few times this year but we always had friends, family, and our community there rooting for us.

A big thank you to everyone that has supported us this year! We appreciate every one of you! From our family, friends, customers, sales rep, employees, and advertising team advisors. THANK YOU!

I also want to give a shout out to a few other local businesses that I love and help make Fairbanks the vibrant and unique city I love. Small business help give Fairbanks that unique flair. I know that a lot of love and long hours go into making them successful, and I appreciate it!

If Only A Fine Store, Lane’s Quickie Tacos, Fireweed Baby, Sipping Streams, Little Owl Cafe, Happy Heart Massage and Postpartum Care, The Plant Kingdom Greenhouse & Nursery, Cold Spot Feeds, Goldstream Sports, Co-Op Market, The Woodway, Metropolitan GarageIn My Element

I know sure I forgot a few so feel free to drop your favorite local business(es) in the comments!