Lego Assembly Square–Night Six

The final set of bags for the Lego Assembly Square included builds for an upstairs apartment, the fountain in the plaza out front, a fun tower, and the addition of our very first Lego baby minifig!

The completed set is GORGEOUS! I love everything about it…the size, the colors, the great architectural details, the lovely homages to past modular buildings:

Since the Assembly Square has been released, there has also been another addition to the Lego modular collection…the Downtown Diner. Even though it has a cool, 1950s retro vibe that is right up my alley, I haven’t purchased it yet, because I’m not sure it goes with the overall look of my Modular Main Street. I am looking forward to seeing what the next building will be, though, and hopefully it will be something I’ll add to my Lego neighborhood!

First Day of School 2018

We have officially begun the 2018-19 school year!

Our first day of school is pretty much the same from year to year…the children get their new workbooks, and open their schultüte:

We do a little work (today that included religion, foreign language, and reading time):

And then build our first day of school Lego set…this year, it’s the Hogwarts Great Hall!

Tomorrow we’ll get into more serious work, but for today, we mostly had fun!

Lego Assembly Square–Night Five

I think the fifth set of bags for the Lego Assembly Square contained one of my favorite builds ever!

Yes, I really enjoy the ballet studio. But the real reason I love this part of the set is because I essentially built Joe Negri’s music shop! Seriously, the minifig even looks like him!

Almost done…but there’s still one set of bags left to cap the building off!

Lego Assembly Square–Night Four

On to the fourth set of bags for the Lego Assembly Square!

The pattern of the build continued here, with the second floor being added to only two of the three sections. This time, I added a dentist’s office and a photography studio, and that also meant the addition of two more minifigs…the dentist and the photographer, of course! The build for the patient’s chair in the dentist’s office was especially cool, and the details were spot-on, right down to the color!

It’s really starting to take shape!

I can’t wait to take a look at the next section of the build!

Lego Assembly Square–Night Three

The third set of bags for the Lego Assembly Square included the parts to finish the bakery and florist (I love the giant flowers!), plus the build for the cafe. And not only was there a cafe employee to build, there was also an adorable Lego dog! There are some great details here, including an homage to one of the original modular sets…that won’t become clear until I flip the cafe sign up correctly, however!

This brings us to the halfway point in the numbered bags, but as far as instructions, I don’t think we’re quite half done yet!

Lego Assembly Square–Night Two

The second set of bags for the Lego Assembly Square contained a lot of pieces, and frankly, I was a bit scared!

I shouldn’t have been though, because it was a fun build. First, the people: a florist and a baker! And their respective shops. I was especially impressed with the bakery, which included a series of pieces I had previously only seen for rolling garage doors used as windows:

After this part of the set, I was really excited to see what was coming next…stay tuned!

Lego Assembly Square–Night One

After owning the set for over 18 months (I bought it the day it came out!), I finally got started on building the Assembly Square, the 2017 addition to the Lego modular series. What can I say…any set that has over 4,000 pieces also comes with an intimidation factor!

Part one of the instruction book (and all of the directions, six parts in total, were contained in only one giant book this time!), utilized a decent number of pieces, but I didn’t feel like I had accomplished too much by the time I was done with it. Surprisingly, there were no people to build (although there was a baby carriage!), and I just laid the groundwork for the three parts of the building and the fountain. So it didn’t look like too much when I was finished, but it was a start!

Up next…the first people, and the building of both the bakery and the flower shop!

Legoland

You may have thought I had run out of things to say about our summer vacation, but I have one last big thing to share before I wrap the whole trip up…our visit to Legoland Florida!

Going to Legoland has been a dream of the children’s, especially Turkey, ever since they first heard about it years ago. I thought going to the Legoland Discovery Center in Chicago was going to be as close as we were going to get, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to be able to save up and get tickets for us to go last month! (Hint…if you’re planning such a trip, there are coupons out there, particularly in Lego catalogs, the children’s Lego magazine, and occasionally with purchases directly from Lego…they can save you quite a bit of money!)

Legoland is a theme park, but everything is done on a smaller scale than places like Universal or Disney. What does that mean exactly? The park itself is smaller, so it’s easier to get from one end to the other, and the rides themselves are on a smaller scale. There are roller coasters, but they’re not as intimidating as most, and many of them have height requirements that allow even a little gal like Chickadee to ride (she went on her very first roller coaster at Legoland!). And, of course, the whole places is done in Lego, from the Lego-themed stores (Turkey was able to get a Lego brick keychain engraved with his name at one!), to the characters on the rides to the commitment to sustainability (which I thought was really cool!).

There are giant builds everywhere! Some are part of rides, others just fit the decor of the park:

They have an ingenious queuing system that allows children to play in a separate area while their parents wait in line. When it’s your turn, your child can simply join you from there!

We loved the Egyptian area…especially the pyramid builders using a Lego instruction manual to complete their task!

Legoland sits on the property of the former Cypress Gardens. They still have a few homages to that theme park, and the famous banyan tree is still there…it’s unbelievable in person! Also, watch out for alligators!

One of the highlights of our visit was the water ski show. Not only was it clever, it was also a new experience for us, and a lot of fun to watch! We had a great time cheering on Miss Miranda Valentine and her guards as they took on Captain Brickbeard and his pirates. If you sit in front, you will get wet, but on a hot June day, I can’t say our drenching was unwelcome!

The Star Wars Miniland was amazing:

But not as amazing as the replicas of famous locations from around Florida (including Kennedy Space Center, Daytona, Orlando, and Miami), and the US (New York City, Washington D.C. and Las Vegas were featured), in the main Miniland!

Legoland is known for their apple fries. We didn’t have a chance to try them, but I wish we had, because we saw lots of people with them, and they looked delicious!

We ended our day when the afternoon rain storm began. We didn’t hit all the rides we wanted to (although we did go on a fair number of the roller coasters), but we saw almost everything we had planned on seeing. I’m so glad this was a dream I was able to make come true!

2017-18 School Year–Week Thirty-Four

Yesterday was the final day of the 2017-18 school year!

We ended the year strong. Out of all of the combined tests over the last six days, which included geometry, biology, ancient history, sixth grade math, and spelling, no one scored lower than a “B!” I’m so glad we finished all of our subjects well!

We had an end-of-the-year field trip last week, to visit the “Destination Moon” exhibit that is currently on loan from the Smithsonian to the St. Louis Science Center. It is an excellent display, from the re-creation of a 1960s living room to the actual command module from the Apollo 11 mission, and everything in between! I know we’ll be going back to see it again before it moves on!

Yesterday was mostly a fun day (once the last of the tests were complete). We watched the Henry V section of The Hollow Crown. It was interesting to see it performed after having read it. The children also re-enacted part of Julius Caesar. And, as is our tradition, the children built a new Lego set to add to our architecture collection…this time, the skyline of Shanghai.

Up next is summer school. We’ll be studying the Medieval period this year…stay tuned for our reading list later this week!

Legoland Discovery Center

Possibly the most highly-anticipated event of our trip to Chicago was our visit to the Legoland Discovery Center outside of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg!

I had read up on the experience before we went, but I still wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I had purchased our tickets ahead of time (which I highly recommend…the rate was significantly cheaper!), so we just had to get checked in, and then we were free to roam. The first stop was the Chicago Miniland, and I think it might have been my favorite part of the entire outing. There were tons of familiar Chicago landmarks, and they were still dressed up for the Christmas season, so we got to see the Christkindlmarkt set up in Daley Plaza! The lighting also changed from day to night, so we got to see the city lit up in different ways!

Next up was the Jungle Expedition. We loved all the Lego animals!

We peeked in on the Lego Master Builder Workshop twice, and one of those times, we saw a Master Builder hard at work!

There was also a Star Wars Miniland, which was very popular with the children:

The Kingdom Quest area included one of the two rides in the building:

The Friends area was quite small, but it was still fun to see the characters:

There was a cycle of four movies playing in the 4D cinema. We only saw one of them, and it was a lot of fun, but it hurt our eyes a bit.

There were cool “stamp stations” in every different area. If you buy an activity pack (either ahead of time when you purchase your tickets, or when you arrive), you receive a booklet on a lanyard with information, building instructions, and places to collect all the stamps, which was fun!

Turkey was really looking forward to the Racers Build & Test section. They had all kinds of vehicle parts, and a rather satisfying ramp to test out your creation. All of the children had a lot of fun with it, even though at point, it was getting really busy!

The second ride was right next to the racers, so we got to see how it worked before we took our turn.

There was also a playground with climbing equipment, slides, a water table, and more fun Lego builds. Part of this area was the Duplo section, which is clearly designed for the smallest visitors.

There were so many other cool details scattered throughout the experience, and we made sure to take our time and really look at them all:

When we were done, we walked through a Lego Store. It’s not a true Lego Store like you find in a mall (although there is one of those across the street inside Woodfield), and they don’t give you VIP points for your purchase (but if you show your card, they will give you a small discount right there), but the selection was good, and they even had a few unique items.

So there you have it…everything you always wanted to know about the Chicago Legoland Discovery Center. I would say it’s geared for children up to about age 12, so a few of mine weren’t the target audience, but we are such a Lego-crazy family, we all had a great time, and not one of us got bored while we were there (for almost three hours!). Now if only we could make it to a full Legoland theme park someday…