Clever Rooms

"WEBKINZ Insider" has an entire forum of people showing off their rooms. Some of these designs are very clever. Here is a slideshow of one member's different designs.

Strut That Stuff

IF you had fun doing Chef Gazpacho's Chef Challenge, you might want to try Webkinz Supermodelz. I have no interest in clothing, but this is as equally fun as the Chef Challenge. You pick a model, then take your pick of one of several choices of hats, pants, and tops. (The advice I read on Webkinz Insider was to not match outfits; in general the judges' attitude is "the wilder the better.") This is where the fun factor comes in, because you model may end up in a Pilgrim hat, and Santa jacket, and multicolor polka-dotted pants. Too funny!

I'll Never Be Emeril

EXCEPT perhaps in a game.

One can simply go to the W Shop and purchase different foods and feed them individually to your pets. Each food adds a different combination of happiness and health points and points toward assuaging the pet's hunger. (You can even purchase a food that is specially made for your pet, but it is usually expensive, about W25.) You can also grow vegetables using the new gardening feature.

Elubin's website has a nice table of each food, how much it costs, and how much of a boost you get from each food. (If you notice, when you eat junk food like fudge your health actually goes down a point! LOL. There's a positive lesson in there somewhere.)

However, there's a wrinkle for the creative among the membership. You can buy a stove, a blender, or a sandwich maker, and each of them has "recipes." To make a recipe, you take three foods and put them "on" whatever cookery item you own and click the cook/blend button.

If you've used foods that actually make a new food, it will appear in your dock. Unfortunately, no matter how good some combinations look, they only make something called "gak" or "blech." Your pet will eat it, but it doesn't make him happy.

My attitude to this has been pretty blah. It seems to me that if you blend three foods with a certain point value together that the foods should be worth that combined point value, but they aren't. To me you pretty much waste the food values just to be creative.


The Webkinz Insider site has a nice list of Webkinz Recipes for all three devices including a picture of what your creation comes out to be.

If you want to have some fun combining food without losing points, you can go to the tournament arena and play Chef Gazpacho's Chef Challenge. You have to use three of the six sometimes unlikely ingredients (a cupcake, carrots, root beer, an apple, chicken soup, and a hamburger) to make things with unlikely names like "Gersplitz Garbleblaster." The three judges are all Webkinz host or game characters and they will treat you with pithy comments about your cooking skills (or lack of same). First contestant to make three good recipes wins.

Roll, Webkinz, Roll!

I dropped W10,000 on a rare purchase for my game room yesterday.

I bought a bowling alley.

Yes, you really can bowl on it; it's not simply a decoration. Previously I had only used the bowling alley at the Tournament Arena and I really needed something to practice on.

Bowling alleys bring back all sorts of warm fuzzy memories to me, although what I purchased is the classic ten-pin bowling type, and my memories have to do with duckpin bowling. My parents bowled in a Sunday couples league all during my schooldays (all the teams were named after mixed drinks; I still get nostalgic when "Grasshoppers" are mentioned) and Dad also bowled in a summer league. After he retired, at least one day a week he would go down to Legion Bowladrome on Park Avenue and keep score for the retired men's leagues that bowled on weekday afternoons; if someone didn't show up he sometimes bowled as a substitute. (After Mom retired, she told him she married him for better or for worse—but not for lunch.)

I wasn't much of a bowler, even when I bowled with Jeannie and Don, two other kids who accompanied their parents to the Sunday night league, and used to spend most of my time at the table behind the alley area writing stories. If I was really bored I might go into the ladies' room and act out a story when the place was empty. I watched almost all of the first run of Get Smart on the television that was in back of the checkout counter/shoe rental counter. It was very hard for me to ask the clerks behind the counter to change the channel, because I was so shy, but all of them were friends of my dad and they usually did as I asked, unless there was a hotly contested Providence College Friars basketball game on. I still hate basketball! :-)

The one thing I have noticed about the personal bowling alley vs. the one in the Tournament Arena is that the latter seems to have more "action" in its ball (if a ball in a virtual Shockwave program can be said to have action!). I can get more strikes and spares playing in a tournament than I can back in my game room.

Maybe that's a good thing because I need all the help I can get. :-)


ONE type of post I am reading continually in Webkinz Insider are stories about children who have shared their passwords with schoolfriends and who get up one morning, go into Webkinz, and find all the things they have "bought," their Kinzcash, and some of their rare items gone. Their so-called "friends" have hacked into their account and spent or taken everything.

How depressing to have considered someone enough of a friend to have shared something special with them and have it turn out that you have been used. Disillusionment starts early.

Emily at Last

I'LL let you in on a secret. I actually ordered a Clydesdale a month ago from a woman on e-Bay. It was a pre-order, but she had a 100 percent rating. She said the actual order would be in a few weeks; she had only gotten a dozen to start with and sold them all within a few days. The Clydesdales were going for astronomical prices on other e-Bay auctions and from the reports I was hearing, stores were all getting extremely limited quantities that were selling out in hours.

I had contacted her a few days ago and she said she was still waiting for the shipment, and even offered to cancel the order if I didn't want to wait. But I told her it was okay.

In Italy when you are stubborn and hard-headed you are called "Calabrese," apparently because the people from Calabria are stubborn to a fault. My mom always said I took after my dad, who was not Calabrese, but whose family was from Quarchina, whom Mom always said were almost as hard-headed. She'd glower at him when he got in a set mood (or glower at me when I did the same), and mutter, "Quarchinese!!!"

I was being Quarchinese today. James was at work, and I was on a mission. I took a list from the Webkinz site of stores in Marietta that sold Webkinz. Surely one of them had to have a Clydesdale. I wasn't planning to go far afield; I would start downtown and then work my way down Whitlock Avenue and past where it turned into Dallas Highway, hitting each of the six stores in turn.

There was nothing in the two stores located on the square in Marietta, but then I stopped at a little shop called Polkadot Kids on Whitlock Avenue. This is basically one of those cutesy clothing stores for small children, with things like baby gifts, too, but they did have a small rack of Webkinz. I didn't see a Clydesdale, but I asked when the proprietor wondered if I were looking for something special. She squinted at the rack and said that she must have sold out of them—then paused, reached her hand in the pile, and pulled out...Emily!

EmilySo I brought her home and logged her on; she makes an even dozen. No more.

At least till the collie comes out. This is me. I must have a collie. They'd toss me out of the Lassie Appreciation Society (if there was one) if I ignored that!

I toyed with canceling the other Clydesdale; of course wouldn't you know it: I got a notice from the e-Bay seller that it was shipping. So I'm going to keep it, but not run it online for the moment.

The Story of a Horse...

I grew up watching all those great animal series on television, first Lassie and then The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin, My Friend Flicka, Wild Kingdom, and National Velvet. My favorite, however, of all the series featuring or starring a horse was that wonderful "story of a horse and the boy who loved him," Fury. Bobby Diamond starred as Joey, an orphan boy who was adopted by rancher Jim Newton (Peter Graves) after the boy falls in love with a wild black stallion that Jim captured on the range. For six seasons Joey and Fury had adventures around the Broken Wheel Ranch owned by Jim and his grizzled partner Pete Wilkey (William Fawcett). (Ann Robinson of War of the Worlds fame played Joey's schoolteacher, and Roger Mobley, later to be Walt Disney's intrepid newsboy Gallegher, made his series premiere as Homer "Packy" Lambert in later episodes.)

EclipseGiven that, how could I resist Ganz' new black stallion? I found him in a candy store, of all places, a place called Fuzziwig's at the Avenue at East Cobb. I thought the name fit his color without being stereotypical. "Fury" seemed pretty big (horse)shoes to fit in. :-)


ONE of the best things about having joined Webkinz Insider and also checking out the mini-golf advice on Elubin's website is that my game has improved sooooo much.

I was stymied initially playing the game because Hole 17 has a saddleback on it that seems insurmountable. I'd use up the ten shots they give you on each hole trying to land my ball on that ridge of land. Then one day in June I accidentally landed in the sand trap. Eureka! If the ball gets trapped in the sand, it stays on the ridge!

There's supposed to be a trick shot that bounces the ball off the wall and up onto the ridge as well, but the sand trap is very dependable. I can usually make the hole in par now.

A Bouncing Retriever

GOOD exercise for your Webkinz! This boosts health points.

Cubby on trampoline

Bounce, Cubby, bounce! :-)

Everything Old is New Again


THEY call them "nesting urges." This phrase is used to describe the need some women have to redecorate. As you can tell if you watch HGTV with any regularity, redecorating doesn't come cheap. Even on Decorating Cents it will cost you at least $500.

Redecorating in Webkinz World will cost you Kinzcash, but at least it can be recouped by judicious visits to Quizzy's, daily tasks, and certain dexterity at the arcade. (Buying trading cards helps, too!)

When you buy a Webkinz, you also get a room and a certain amount of Kinzcash to furnish the room. You can start with paint or wallpaper and even pick a different floor. A bed is recommended because it is advised you leave your Webkinz pet asleep when you log off. A bathtub is also suggested, as it's one of the easiest ways to increase a pet's health and happiness.

For minimal Webkinz coverage, you can buy things in the Kids Theme, which are the cheapest, and start housekeeping in one room. But if you earn Kinzcash and then peruse the W Shop other than to buy groceries or take a look at other members' rooms, you'll soon have a hankering to decorate...or redecorate...or re-imagine your Webkinz living space.

The problem with this is when you adopt a new Webkinz, a new room is just added...wherever. Where if you purchase a room, you can place it anywhere you like. Did you want your pets' rooms around a central hall that led to a kitchen, living room, and yard? Tough luck; your new koala's room just was placed where you planned the hall to be.

I'd wanted my exercise room and game room to be in a wing by itself, but Gaudior's room ended up next to the exercise room (and that was a tiny room; it didn't need a door in the wall!) and Pablito's place was placed next to the game room.

However, there is a perk that comes after you adopt ten Webkinz. (Actually, there are two: first you get the choice of a "super bed." These come in various styles, including a dragon bed where smoke comes out of the dragon's nostrils, a bed that looks like Cinderella's coach, a movie bed with film reels for a headboard, and the bed I chose: a book bed with a bookcase headboard and the bedclothes in the style of open pages of a book.) On the eleventh Webkinz, they no longer give you a room; instead, you get extra Kinzcash to purchase a room and put it anywhere you want.

Gibson's adoption meant that I could redecorate. I lined the "common rooms" along the yard, kitchen and dining room on one side, living room and conservatory on the other, with a den off the living room. The tiny "winter retreat" room I placed at the end of the garden became a deck, and I now plan to put some rooms on the other side of the yard.

I placed a park on the opposite side of the complex (next to the cats' room, so they can prowl at night LOL), and next to that placed a little cafe. I understand from the Insider group that there are multiple Christmas trees and some other decorations given out at Christmas, so I'm planning a big "Forever Christmas" room there. (I figure I can use some of the gingerbread/red-and-green trimmed things that are part of the Sweets Theme as part of the room as well.)

At least I don't need the $50,000.00 decorating budgets they constantly use on Designers Challenge to get the nesting urge out of my system!

Everything with a Grain of Salt

YOU read these stories or see these stories on television news shows about how children and even teenagers will give away personal information to strangers on the internet. People from ten to ninety have been fooled by Nigerian scams, other get-rich-quick manuevers, phishing attempts, browser hijacks, e-mail attachments, and other criminal and mischievous machinations of hackers and con artists. The admonishment is always the same: don't believe everything you read on the internet unless it is from a reliable source, like the official website of a manufacturer or government entity or network, etc.

(LOL. And even then you can't believe some of them. I mean, politicians speak with forked tongue in any venue.)

Lately there has been a rumor going around that Ganz is going to have a penguin Webkinz. I wouldn't be surprised; since March of the Penguins and Happy Feet, penguins have been bigger than ever. However, there has been no official announcement or nothing like that photo from the trade show.

Then someone got all excited because a photo of a penguin with a Webkinz tab was posted on Wikipedia. If it's on Wikipedia, it has to be true, right? They have people that check the site!

Sadly, Wikipedia is open to anyone who cares to add to it, whether they are telling the truth about it (or telling the truth as they see it) or not. People who are expert in certain subjects certainly will change things if there is an incorrect fact in a Wikipedia article. But there is no big committee overseeing Wikipedia to make sure everything in it is correct. A few months ago there was a big news story about incorrect information about a person that was passed off as true in a Wikipedia article.

It's absolutely frightening how many people will see something in Wikipedia and automatically assume it to be true without checking other sources first.

At the risk of sounding like a wet blanket and a Mommy clone, I had to post a message in the penguin thread about not believing everything in Wikipedia, because I had seen the photo of the so called "Webkinz penguin," and it was actually a Ty (Beanie Babies) penguin with a Webkinz tag grafted on it. I know because I saw the same penguin in Hallmark today.

Some people always have to spoil things for everyone else.

I Only Stopped for a Card

I swear.

I went to the Cumberland Mall Hallmark shop after work.

GibsonI bought a black Labrador.

I freely admit that part of the appeal was that the black Lab comes with the autumn window. I wanted it for my den, which is masculine and sturdy, with paneled walls and a wood floor (and it will have a fireplace, too, when the Clydesdale finally arrives; the fireplace is the special gift with it).

He also looks solemn and a little bit sad.

James must be rubbing off on me because instead of some generic water dog name like Splash, I named him after Guy Gibson, who was the commander of the squadron responsible for the famous "Dambusters" raid on Germany in 1943. Gibson had a Labrador who was the squadron mascot and almost as famous as the flyers were; however, the dog had a name that, regrettably, was very common for black dogs in that more-prejudiced era. So he's named after the master instead of the dog.

Crazy Over Christmas

WHEN they ask for room theme suggestions on Webkinz Insider, I always say I want a Christmas theme and a fall theme. (It's me, after all.)

Here's some screen caps of the Christmas things they have sold in the past. I hope they have all these wonderful trees this year: Christmas 2006

I still would love an animated fireplace with stockings hung from the mantel...maybe some holly on the mantel.

Not Alone

TODAY I joined the Webkinz Insider forum after having read posts for at least a week. I find we are not alone—it looks like about half of the membership are adults. Many are parents, a few of whom "care" for their kids Webkinz pets during school hours, but the majority got hooked just like Jerry and Sue did and purchased their own pets.

There are also college students, young professionals who saw a younger sibling or relative enjoying themselves and bought one, people who sold them and wanted to see what the fuss was about (one Hallmark clerk told us she was deciding which one to buy), etc. There are many tales of people hooking their adult parents on the critters (one woman has bought her mother two Webkinz; Mom is seventy). The people who run the site are adults as well.

(I would think a Webkinz membership would actually be fun for someone older. You hear them say repeatedly in the news, on health websites, and in health publications that thinking is one of the things that keeps people young. I would think that a website with so many different games and activities would be useful for keeping your wits sharp.)

The Deluge

I had JoAnn coupons, so we went to Town Center today. After indulging in a skein of one of DMC's specialty embroidery threads, James wanted to go to Hobbytown, which is in the next shopping center.

Oh, my. They'd refilled their Webkinz stocks. Three big spinner racks were in front of the checkout counter.

James decided he would like to have the chocolate Labrador, which just came out. I wasn't going to get anything for myself until I noticed one of the Lil Kinz cats, which had the most woebegone expression. He reminded me of Neville Longbottom.

NevilleThat's what I named him, too. This is the Alley cat, which is an orange tabby and white, and although I had seen them before, I didn't notice until we got into the car that they have two different color eyes. One is green and one is blue. It gives the animal a rather cockeyed, endearing look.

Well, when we got home I figured there was no reason to hold off anymore. I had gotten another pack of cards with a second virtual pet (a frog). James had also collected a virtual pet card (a panda).

So I ended up signing up all five of them at once and spent the rest of the afternoon doing virtual decorating of rooms. This is a lot less expensive than the real thing. LOL.

James also signed both his husky and his Lab up as well. He wanted to give the Labrador a name that reflected his love of science fiction fandom and a chocolate-related name, but nothing stereotypical, like Cocoa or Hershey. There's a type of chocolate called "Dagobah," and of course that's the name of Yoda's home planet in The Empire Strikes Back. But Webkinz wouldn't allow him to use that name; I guess it picked up on "dago" and rejected it immediately. He named it Frye instead, after Fry's chocolate and Frye on Futurama.

PablitoBack in the 1960s, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color used to show these great animal stories, like "The Horse With the Flying Tail," "Flash the Teenage Otter," "Greta the Misfit Greyhound," etc. One of the stories was "Pablo and the Dancing Chihuahua." I can't remember the chihuahua's name after all these years, so I named my chihuahua the equivalent of "Little Pablo" instead.

GaudiorGaudior is named after the unicorn in Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

CubbySome of my favorite books in elementary school were the animal stories by Anne H. White. One of them was about a golden retriever, A Dog Called Scholar. The dog only receives that name as an adult; as a puppy he is known as "Cubby," a perfect name for a Lil Kinz.

SunnyThe Lil Kinz bunny looks so much like Sunny, the rabbit in Rankin-Bass' The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town that I couldn't resist bestowing the name on him. Ironically, I have made him a "snow bunny" by creating a winter room for him.


APPARENTLY I keep "incorriging" myself. :-)

I stopped by Love Street yesterday for a few more packs of cards and purchased a Lil Kinz gray and white cat. I admit I had an ulterior motive. I have an exercise room in my online rooms which has two treadmills in it. I wanted a trampoline for the room, but the only trampoline sold works outside only.

But I'd seen an indoor trampoline the couple of times I ventured into the clubhouse. It was in the shape of a cat. I did some research and discovered the cat trampoline comes with the grey and white cat.

MinervaSince they don't have a grey tabby cat, I figured she was the next best thing and named her Minerva, after Professor McGonagall, and brought her to the Harry Potter gathering at Barnes & Noble last night. (I had briefly entertained the idea of cobbling up a Molly Weasley outfit and probably would have if this had been my Friday off, but there was too much work to do yesterday to mess around. I think with my float, my dark stockings and sensible shoes, a shawl and my hair fluffed up I could have done a passable Molly; I could even use my "Italian mommy voice" to give it some verisimilitude. The cat as "familiar" made a weak substitute.)

I notice that none of the Webkinz cats, not regular sized or Lil Kinz, have very big ears. The poor things look almost like Scottish fold cats! So I took my scissors and trimmed some of the fur away from the front of Minerva's ears so you can see more of the pink interior.

You Know You Are a Webkinz Fan When...

...YOUR budgie makes noises from the website.

Schuyler is imitating at least three sounds the pets make when you go into their "room": the two-note whistle, the squeaky noise made when a pet wags its tail, and the kiss. At first I thought I was hearing things! It's so funny to hear these computer sounds coming out of a little bird!

That Pesky Contest

THEY'VE been running a contest since July 5. Each day two clues have been given, one in the morning, one in the evening. We were hoping the more clues there were, the more enlightenment there would be.

I think our candle failed. :-)

These were the ten clues:
     1. It's a real mix up
     2. It's soup-er
     3. questionable
     4. everyone would know this
     5. curious
     6. past the tipping point
     7. shine on
     8. its yours or mine?
     9. hatch a good plan
     10. this really rocks

Finally they asked the question:
     Who are the characters, where are they, what are they doing, and what do they have?

Absolutely no idea.

One of the members of Webkinz Insider just received a post saying that she and her daughter were one of the winners. Turns out the answer was that Quizzy and Chef Gazpacho were gem mining and had found the Pearl Egg.

Make a Wish

THERE'S been a new Wishing Well, Wishing Well 2, for the past few days. This one doesn't give you as much of a chance to make Kinzcash. Now there are only three rows of three; the figures "bob up" from under the water of the well. If you get two or three matches in the center row, the score triples. If you get three Wishing Wells in that center row, you have your choice of lots of Kinzcash or an exclusive item.

I noticed this one day when I was reading in the Parents Area, under the question "Are the Wheel of WOW and the Wishing Well gambling?"

Webkinz does not endorse, nor condone gambling. Webkinz does not contain ANY gambling. Gambling requires that a player put in a wager to play, and hence have the chance to lose that wager. Webkinz members can not lose KinzCash playing any of our games. There are no wagers involved at all.

While the Wishing Well and Wheel of WOW use visual metaphors that are sometimes associated with gambling, there is no gambling involved. They are merely a method of giving out random prizes to our members. They are our version of giving out a door prize, a thank you just for showing up. As kids love getting free prizes, naturally these features are highly popular on our site.
I guess they finally bowed to the pressure about the slot machine aspect of the original Wishing Well.

Coming Soon

THEY are going to have a Webkinz collie!

It appears someone attended a toy trade show a few weeks ago and took photos of upcoming Webkinz products. We had already heard about the upcoming holiday Webkinz: a black cat for Hallowe'en, a reindeer for Christmas, and a "Love Frog" (a white frog spotted with red hearts) for Valentines Day of 2008, but this was additional material. There will be stuff like lip gloss and spritzer (eh...boring), bookmarks, and costumes for your stuffed pets, but also a new line of animals themselves, and one is a very attractive collie.

Ms. Lassie Fan here must have a collie. Must have a collie. Must have a collie... :-)

Anyway, the photos also showed a brown Arabian horse, a German Shepherd dog, a grey cat, a pinto horse, a duck, and a yellow Labrador retriever, and some Lil Kinz versions of the larger Webkinz.

You can check out the material here.

Something In the Closet

FRIDAY I went to the Hallmark store near Bells Ferry Road after dipping into the Barnes & Noble nearby. I was hoping they might have some of the Christmas ornaments out already, but the counters ready for the Ornament Premiere on Saturday were covered with big red paper covers.

I did look at their Webkinz selection and for a moment considered buying the Lil Kinz golden retriever. The avatar on the Webkinz site isn't much, but the stuffed version is adorable. But I dismissed the idea.

It came back yesterday when we had to come back to the store. The Hallmark we originally visited for the ornament premiere did not have a gift we wanted to put away for someone, but the clerk thought they might have it at Town Center. They did.

The golden retriever was gone. Oh, well.

We did get several packs of cards, however, and I received a surprise: a virtual pet! In one of every 36 packs there is a code for a pet you can play with online that has no corresponding stuffed animal. This virtual pet can also go toward extending your membership; something to put away safely. Cool.

Well, today James went to work. I was bored. I went to Planet Me and then to Love Street.

There was that golden retriever again.

Not to mention the Lil Kinz rabbit, who is almost the spit'n'image of Sunny, the rabbit in Rankin-Bass' The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town.

They're presently in a plastic bag in the closet. Oh, well...

Just Following the Trend

APPARENTLY it has not escaped the attention of the folks at Ganz that a certain very popular movie is opening this week and that the final book in the series that this very popular movie is based upon is coming out next weekend, because there is now a Wizard Theme in the W Shop. You can get things like a potions table (okay, as long as it doesn't come with Snape!), a dining table and chairs, a flying carpet sofa, etc.

According to the theme room preview, there are going to be other items in the Wizard Theme, including a bed and a really neat-looking set of floating lamps, but those haven't been released yet.

A Hard Job at Last

THIS one's called KinzPost Helper and involves processing packages at the KinzPost Office. You are given three empty piles of a certain amount of boxes. Each pile must add up to a number indicated above the pile. Packages marked with different numbers come rolling down a conveyor belt. You must make certain combinations of these numbers to make the total. For instance, the number above one pile is 11. You must make three packages add up to that number...2, 6 and 3, perhaps. Or 2, 2, and 7. etc.

It's harder than it looks. :-)

Romancing the Crown

crown of wonderAT first, we were both so busy accumulating KinzCash that every time we did our daily mining, we sold the gems we found back to Arte in the Curio Shop.

But after awhile (and with the addition of KinzCash added via cards, not to mention James' W25,000 win on the Wheel of WOW), we both decided to accumulate the thirty gems needed for something called "a Crown of Wonder."

Each day you are allowed to go into one of the mines—Muzzle Mouth, Barking Mad, Flea Floater, Howling Horse, and Buried Bones—to have three chances at chipping away at a likely-looking rock, hoping a gem lurks underneath. More often than not, you find slag, but if you are lucky, a glint of color appears. I hunted around for some hints, but only read that you should not tap on the rocks that glint and then glint again immediately; rocks that glint and then do not glint again for some seconds are more likely to have a gem behind them. For the most part, that seems to work, although I am already in repeats with found gems.

Once you find the gem, you can keep it or sell it to Arte. Prices depend on how rare the gem is, how many of them Arte supposedly has, and, sometimes, totally on Arte's whim. We got a big laugh one day when James came up with a red gem and Arte exclaimed, "Oh, no, not another one!" and offered him W5 for it!