Summer Garage Sale Finds

One of our favorite things about summer is that it’s Garage Sale season.  And if you keep your eye out (and visit enough of ’em), you’d be surprised how many great toys you can get  So without further adieu, we present our TOP 10 Summer Garage Sale Finds!!!

#10 – Sonic the Werehog (Unleashed)

Sonic the Werehog - Action Figure

Sonic the Werehog – Action Figure

No, that’s not a typo. It’s a “werehog”… kinda like a werewolf / hedgehog. Mom found this only a few weeks ago at a garage sale and paid only 25-cents for it. When she brought it home, she noticed that it only had one ear (the other ear had been broken off). We did some research online and it appears thatt this toy was a limited edition. Looking it up on Amazon, we found that it’s currently retailing for $50! So, unless that other ear was worth $49.75, I’d say this was a great buy! It is about 5” tall and has some real weight to it. The curved feet can make it difficult to pose, but it makes up for that in all of its werehog awesomness.

#9 – Movie Voyager-Class Megatron

Movie Voyager-Class Megatron

Movie Voyager-Class Megatron

Movie Voyager-Class Megatron (Jet Mode)

Movie Voyager-Class Megatron (Jet Mode)

Garage sale lesson: When you buy a transformer action figure, ask the seller if they have an instruction manual (or hunt for one online). If none are available, beg the seller’s kid to show you how to do it. This one took about 20 minutes to figure out without the instruction booklet. We had no problem paying $1 for this, since it also sells brand new for $50.

Note: Dad went back to this sale later on and scored a fully transformable Barricade, also for just $1. And since Barricade is Dad’s favorite, this toy lives on Dad’s desk at work.

#8 – X-Men Legends: Beast

X-Men Legends:  Beast

X-Men Legends: Beast

X-Men Legends:  Beast

X-Men Legends: Beast

Only at #8 on Dawson’s list, but this is one of Mom and Dad’s favorites. The flexibility (and durability) of this toy is unbeatable! Moving parts include arms, legs, mouth, hands, fingers, toes… you get the picture. The best part is that the parts aren’t flimsy, so it’s incredibly easy to pose and it stays in place. We’ve certainly encountered a good number of toys that are so flimsy that even making them stand is impossible. We’re confident that this toy could even do a hand-stand if we asked it to.

#7 – Carnage (Deluxe Edition)

Marvel: Carnage (Deluxe Edition) Action Figure

Marvel: Carnage (Deluxe Edition)

We came across a comic collector who had TONS of collectibles for sale… but of course, those all came with big price tags. We were ready to abandon the sale empty-handed, but found this Carnage action figure (still in the box at the time) for just $2. We don’t know why this one was so cheap, but Dawson was excited (mostly because he thought this was a red-and-black Venom). It’s about 10″ in height and did come with a couple extra attachments for his arms.

#6 – Green Goblin (Movie Version)

Marvel: Green Goblin (Movie Version) Action Figure

Green Goblin (Movie Version)

This one is another of Dad’s favorites… again, mostly because of its flexibility. Nearly every part of this toy moves. Brand new, this toy comes with a glider and retails for nearly $50 on Amazon (or $30 on eBay). Garage sale means no glider… but at only 50 cents, who needs a glider!

#5 – Venom with Removable Mask

Venom with Removable Mask Action Figure - Mask On

Venom with Removable Mask (on)

Venom with Removable Mask Action Figure - Mask Off

Venom with Removable Mask (off)

Venom has always been Dawson’s favorite comic book villain. So it’s no surprise that when we found this in the bottom of a cardboard box marked only 50 cents, we absolutely had to have it. The surprise came when we got into our car and Dawson shouts “Hey mom… the mask comes off!” And this isn’t one of those toys where the heads are interchangeable (regular face vs face with mask); it’s a silicone/rubber-like mask that fits over the action figure’s head. Totally awesome! And maybe we would’ve noticed had he let us hold it at all. This toy didn’t leave his side for a solid couple days. The only times we got to touch it was when the mask fell on the floor of the car and we needed to reach back and pick it up.

#4 – The Hulk (2 Toys:  Punching Hulk & Smash-and-Crush Hulk)

Punching Hulk Action Figure (2003)

Punching Hulk

Smash and Crush Hulk Action Figure (2003)

Smash and Crush Hulk

Since previews for “The Avengers” started airing a year ago, Dawson was all about HULK. He has the Hulk Punching Hands, Hulk T-Shirts, and anything else “Hulk” that he could get his hands on. We just needed action figures. We found these 2 at separate garage sales about a week apart. Together, these two cost about a dollar. No doubt, these are terrific toys… though there is a disagreement between Dawson and Dad. Dawson likes Punching Hulk best (because it has a lever on its back that makes him punch) and Dad likes Smash-and-Crush Hulk the best because when you bend him forward at the waist, his head tilts up and he opens his mouth (like he’s screaming). You can find them both on Amazon, but for the pair, you’ll end up spending over $50. (Can you see yet why we love finding these at garage sales?!!)

#3 – Spider-Man Bump ‘N Go Web Rider

Spider-Man Bump 'N Go Web Rider Action Figure

Spider-Man Bump ‘N Go Web Rider

Spider-Man Bump 'N Go Web Rider Action Figure

Spider-Man Bump ‘N Go Web Rider

Spider-Man Bump 'N Go Web Rider Action Figure

Spider-Man Bump ‘N Go Web Rider

Parent confession time… We bought this at the same garage sale as the Green Goblin and Venom with Removable Mask toys (apparently, their kids were Spider-Man fans too at one point). We noticed the On/Off switch on the back, but assumed (since that switch did nothing) that the toy was probably part of a remote control, which was probably missing. But since the Spider-Man action figure came off, we were cool with it just being a plastic motorcycle. It wasn’t until we were looking it up online to get the actual name of this toy (for the purpose of blogging) that we realized that there is a screw underneath the seat that opens it up to reveal a battery pack (of which the batteries are absent). So we popped the 2 AA’s out of our TV remote, stuck them in and flipped it on. We were so excited to see this thing riding along our living room floor… and when it hit the wall (or couch, or desk, or rug), it backed up, turned, and drove along in a new direction. What a cool toy! Dawson had a blast chasing it around the living room putting obstacles in its way. This only retails for less than $10 on Amazon, but the garage sale was still a great deal at only 75-cents.

#2 – Spider-Man & Venom Walkie Talkies

Spider-Man & Venom Walkie Talkies

Spider-Man & Venom Walkie Talkies

Spider-Man & Venom Walkie Talkies

Spider-Man & Venom Walkie Talkies

First question… Does Dawson like these? Yes (he rated them at #2). Next question… Do they work? No…. at least, not as walkie talkies. One arm on each raises up to act as an antenna, but in order for it to pick up a signal, it has to be literally within only a few feet. And that’s no fun because if you’re standing 3 feet away from someone, a walkie talkie is pointless. So we turned them off and he uses them as giant action figures. And they work out great because they’re the same size (about 10″) as the Carnage action figure (from above). And now for pricing info… (buckle up)…. we bought the pair of these for $6 while Amazon is selling them brand new for $109. And if you like them enough, you can buy a Spiderman and Sandman walkie talkie set for $117. Amazon reviews also confirm that these are horrible walkie talkies, but awesome action figures (though their only mobility is the antenna arm).

#1 – Wolverine: Slashin’ Action Logan

Slashin' Action Logan / Wolverine Action Figure

Slashin’ Action Logan / Wolverine

This Wolverine figure is huge (around 12″ tall) and in great condition. When we got this one, he had been beaten up quite a bit (crayon markings, colored scratches, the usual wear-and-tear). But Mom took a Magic Eraser to it (as she does with all his garage sale toys) and now he shines like new. One arm has retractable claws that pop-out with the push of a button. Another button on his back creates the “slashing” motion (and sound effect). And the button on his belt makes him talk. All of the sounds are clear and nicely configured. For example, if you push the button on his back while his claw is retracted, the arm swings, making a strong “punching” sound…. but when the claws are out, the sound changes to a sharp “slicing” sound. And as usual, we only paid 50-cents for this, but it’s retailing on Amazon for $55.

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Even though Garage Sale season is coming to an end, we are not slowing down…. after all, the Fall is “Mom 2 Mom” Sale season!!!  Bring on the deals!!!

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… and now for a Q&A with Dawson about Garage Sales! (word-for-word)

Which one is your favorite and why?
Wolverine, because it has really cool claws that pop out and swing and punch (and stuff like that).  I also like that he talks.  The only thing I don’t like about it is that he isn’t in his costume.  But I think it’s awesome besides that.

Why do you like finding toys at garage sales?
I think they’re a fun thing to look for.  Every time I go to garage sales, I get excited to look for toys.  But every time we go to a garage sale where they don’t have toys, I don’t like that garage sale.

What are some tips you can give for people who want to find cool toys at garage sales?
The first step is to get your mom into liking toys.  And then you won’t have to look for toys… she will look for toys for you.  And if she does really good for you, maybe you could look at garage sales for stuff for her.  And that is it.

What is the best toy you’ve ever found at a garage sale?
Oh, man.  All the toys.

What color are garage sales?  (just to see if he’s paying attention)
They don’t have colors.  And my dad’s tricky too… Type that in.

(turns out he was paying attention)

How do you know you just scored a great toy?
I test it out and see what it does.  And if it does awesome stuff, then I know I scored a good toy and a good garage sale.

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So, how do garage sales work for you?  Any tips for finding great toys?  Any great finds you want to share?  We’d love to see ’em.  You can post your story in the comments (below) or E-Mail Us Your Story (we’d love to see pictures of your finds too!).

Our New Playhouse!

Ok… so this technically breaks the rules of the site since it wouldn’t really fit into a toybox.  But since we make the rules, we’re allowed to break them.  We were watching these throughout the summer, waiting for them to go on sale, and when it finally hit 25% off, we had to bite.We knew we wanted to get a wood swingset (as the kids had both started to really grow out of the old metal one (bought at KMart a few years ago).  We chose to go with the Ridgeview Clubhouse Deluxe Wood Gym, found at Toys R Us.  Our primary reason for choosing this one is that it isn’t too big (as we’re working with limited backyard space).

We read reviews online first and found a majority (if not all) of the complaints were around how difficult it was to build.  A lot of poeple complained that parts were not labelled, making the build difficult; however, all of the parts in ours were labelled (though the stamped labels on the sides of the parts was often difficult to read).  It took a solid hour just to open the boxes and separate the parts.

Ridgeview Clubhouse Playset - Wood Parts

Ridgeview Clubhouse Playset - Hardware

I would give the following advice to anyone considering buying and building this (or any other) playset:

  1. Separate and organize all parts (wood + plastic + hardware) in alpha-numeric order.  It can be VERY difficult to find parts if they’re just scattered around (like in the image above).
  2. Borrow a second ladder… one for each side of the playhouse (so that you don’t have to keep picking it up and moving it around to work on each side).
  3. Borrow a second drill… one for the drill bit and one for the screw-driver bit.  The plans often require frequent switching back-and-forth between the two.

After the first day, we had a few recognizable pieces assembled:

Ridgeview Clubhouse Playset - Rock Climbing Wall

Rock-Climbing Wall

Ridgeview Clubhouse Playset - Swing Bar

Top and Side of Swing Set

It was encouraging to see the pieces come together… but a few pieces like this is all that we had left after 9 hours.  The next day, it rained, so we were on hold, but got back into the swing of things a couple days later (pun intended) and building (while time consuming) was pretty simple.

This past Saturday, it all came to an end… the swingset was finally done.  Just shy of 20 hours of building…. and this is the final product:

Ridgeview Clubhouse Playset - Completed

The swingset is done!!!

PROS:  The kids are in for a good time!  This thing fits comfortably in a smaller yard, but doesn’t lack play area.  This slide is more than twice as big as the one on our old swing set.  The swings are much more comfortable than the old plastic ones.  And the double-layer fort area (platform on top and playhouse on the bottom) is something the kids LOVE!  Plus, I was able to build the whole thing myself (with the occasional helping hand from a 5-year-old).

CONS:  The build was simple enough if you can follow instructions and are moderately handy.  Despite the label on the box that declares that it is “pre-drilled”, there are still a lot of times where the holes need to be drilled by you.  Also, the durability and strength of this doesn’t seem quite up to par with the Rainbow swingsets (though the Rainbow sets are A LOT more expensive… and this one seems strong enough).

In the days since this was completed, Dawson and his sister are constantly asking to play with it and have a BLAST when they get a chance.  It’s all they want to do.  And I’ll admit, after the first day of building, I was in some serious pain (my hips, my legs, my back… I complained A LOT!)…. but seeing this face when it was built was worth all the pain:

Ridgeview Clubhouse Playset - Dawson

Priceless.

Want to see the build (and playing) in action?  Check out Dawson’s latest YouTube video here:

Cars Collect & Connect Puzzle

Disney Pixar Cars Collect & Connect Puzzle - Box 2 of 4

I think we should file this under “Dawson’s Steals and Deals”.  We’ve had to pass on these puzzles several times in the aisles because of their original $6.99 price tag.  But then we saw this at Target, priced at $2.08 and we couldn’t pass it up. (Note the multiple clearance stickers on top of one another.)  At first, we thought that it maybe was missing the “Exclusive” diecast, but after a few box flips, we found him hiding against the side (still attached to a small piece of cardboard).

Disney Pixar Cars Collect & Connect Puzzle - Raoul Caroule Diecast

Now, depending on the kind of collector you are, this “Exclusive” car may not be all that exclusive.  It’s essentially the same Raoul Caroule car that was released on the cardback… except the white stripe in the middle has been replaced with silver (not that big of a difference).

This is puzzle #2 of 4.  And when you put it together, you get a small racetrack.  Of course, the intention is that you would buy all 4 puzzles and “connect” them together (sit them side by side… no real “connecting”), giving you one big racetrack.  Each puzzle is 24 pieces, so we assumed it would be simple, but since it’s 24 pieces that are mostly identical (all just sections of road), it may take your little one a bit longer than a usual 24-piece puzzle.  To see this thing in action, check out Dawson’s newest YouTube video:

So the big question…. is it worth it?  You can tell from the video that Dawson definitely has fun with it.  The idea of being able to play with a puzzle after you build it (instead of just building and tearing down) is really nice!  We had no problem spending two dollars on this.  Would we buy it at full price?  Um…. maybe if we didn’t already have the original Raoul diecast.  We may pick up the other three, but only if we can get them on clearance.

Cars Micro Drifters

The Cars Micro Drifters (which premiered that SDCC this year) have officially made it onto the store shelves and into our collection.

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters: Gold Lightning McQueen

Gold Lightning McQueen – with other Micro Drifters

While there were a good 4+ different packs at the store, we opted for these two, which featured all “Cars 2” characters (including a special Gold Lightning McQueen).  The other cases featured race cars from the first “Cars” movie (Chick Hicks, Clutch Aid, Octane Gain, etc.).

Disney Pixar Cars - Micro Drifters

Micro Drifters – packaging

In the commercial for the Micro Drifters, it shows the cars speeding down ramps, jumping from one to another.  So (of course) we had to put it to the test.  Here is Dawson’s YouTube debut, showing off his new Micro Drifters in action:

As you see in the video, the Cars don’t always stay upright, often times flipping over when jumping over gaps.  But Dawson didn’t mind, as his favorite part was trying to make them flip off the ramps and “crash”.

With these miniature speed machines measuring slightly smaller than a Quarter, not a single detail was missed.  Check out these close-ups of Grem (Dad’s favorite):

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters: Grem

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters:  Grem

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters:  Grem

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters:  Grem

Before buying these, you should know that the wheels on these cars do not move.  Instead, there is a weighted ball in the bottom that (1) allows the cars to roll quickly and (2) gets the cars to (almost always) face forward when in motion.

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters:  Grem Bottom Ball

Price point on these (at Target) is $5.99 for a 3-pack.  I’d definitely recommend picking up a couple packs… though I don’t think we’ll collect hundreds of them…. 5 or 10 cars is enough for us.  In addition to Gold Lightning McQueen and Grem, here are the four we picked up:

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters: Professor Z

Professor Z

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters: Finn McMissile

Finn McMissile

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters: Acer

Acer

Disney Pixar Cars Micro Drifters: Holly Shiftwell

Holly Shiftwell

We’re excited to add these to our Cars collection and will definitely get our use out of them.  After you pick up yours, leave us some feedback.  Let us know if you have any good ramp-buliding tips… ours could’ve used a little work.  🙂

Spider-Man Storybook Collection

Last week, at the library, our spider-sense was tingling.  And when we made it over to the “New Release” wall, we found the Amazing Spider-Man Storybook Collection.  We consider ourselves extremely lucky here because this book is brand new!  And I can honestly say that after spending a week with the book, I think this is one we’re going to have to buy.  (Dawson was quick to put this one on his Christmas list.)

Amazing Spider-Man Storybook Collection - Cover

For a kid that is just learning to really read, we still prefer the Level 2 Reader books because they’re a lot more simple for a 5 year old who is just starting out.  This book is more of a tag-team effort…. Dad reads most words, while Dawson reads a sentence or a few key words here-and-there.

Amazing Spider-Man Storybook Collection - Inside

All of the pages have great colorful action-packed illustrations.  In total the book has 20 stories, covering a wide variety of villains (Doc Ock, Rhino, Lizard, Sandman, Green Goblin, etc.).  The stories all go in order as well, with the first being about Peter Parker gaining his abilities; the second story is about the responsibilities that come with super-powers…. then it’s 18 stories about spider-man facing off against the evil villains.  We have to admit… we were a bit disappointed that they opted not to include Venom, but instead have stories with Black Cat and The Spot.  Venom is Dawson’s favorite, but I guess I understand why they left him out, since he can be a little extra scary for the youngsters.

Amazing Spider-Man Storybook Collection - Birth of the Lizard

The cover price on this book is $15.99 (US), but Amazon has it right now for only $10.87.  Of course, you could always try checking our your local library to see if you’re lucky enough to find it there… but trust us… after a couple stories in, your little one will be hooked, and you’ll need to end up buying it anyway.

Have you read this book?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!