Raggedy Ann Doll by Aurora World Review and #Giveaway

Share the classic Raggedy Ann doll with your children and teach them about how you cherished and played with yours. Aurora World has brought back both Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Ann dolls in various sizes.

I had a Raggedy Ann doll when I was a little girl and this was always my favorite doll!  I took her everywhere.  I wish I had my own to pass down, but Aurora came to the rescue! The remake of the classic Raggedy Ann is even better, but still has the same features such as the well-known vintage clothing, the adorable smile and that huggable feeling.

Raggedy Ann Smiles

I am thrilled that my girls will get a chance to experience how wonderful these little dolls are. Raggedy Ann is delicately handmade which makes her even extra special! She has a great big smile and the reddest yarn hair.  When we took her out of the box that was all my girls would talk about: how red her hair was and how she is going to be a playmate for years to come!

Instead of video games, dolls that talk, and electronic toys, Raggedy Ann teaches children to use their imagination. Girls will want to treat her as a friend or a baby, cuddle with her, and love on her.

Where to Buy:

Purchase online at Auroras online store, just look for Raggedy Ann, Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Ann Fancy Pants dolls. You can also purchase them at retail stores. The 8, 12 16 and 25 classic Raggedy Ann or Raggedy Andy rag dolls are: $10, $15, $25 and $35 and The Fancy Pals style Raggedy Ann Butterfly or Red Ribbon are 7 and $17 each. There are also holiday styles joining the line later this year and they are The Raggedy Ann Chilly Chic and Santas Helper and Raggedy Andy Chilly Chic and Santa are 16 inches and will run about $27.

Discount:

FREE Shipping on orders over $50 until August 31st, 2012. Use promo code: YooHoo12

Aurora World Online:

Find Aurora World online at Facebook, or on YouTube.

Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy Dolls

Giveaway

Win your choice of 1) Raggedy Ann or Raggedy Andy doll or one (1) of the Fancy Pals. Please enter using the Rafflecopter Entry form:

RAGGEDY ANN and RAGGEDY ANDY are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. (C) 2012 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. RAGGEDY ANN AND RAGGEDY ANDY were created by Johnny Gruelle.

A Raggedy Ann doll was provided for review. All opinions are my own.

-Written by Leanne Palma, mother of 8 and chicken wrangler.

Waterbabies by Playmates Toys Review and #Giveaway

The new Generation of Waterbabies has come out! It features dolls with the theme of “I Dream to Be”, Twins and Giggly Wiggly. The series from “I Dream to Be” includes a Ballerina, Soccer Player, Princess, Cheerleader, Fairy and Fabulous all with different eye and hair colors and different races.  The Giggly Wiggly Waterbabies doll giggles when you touch her and looks like shes really sucking on her bottle or pacifier and the Twins bring two times the enjoyment at playtime!

Dream To Be a Ballerina Doll

We were able to review the new Dream to Be a Ballerina from the 2012 WaterBabies Collection from Playmates Toys. This was the perfect doll for my 4 year old daughter, Leah who always “dreams to be” a Ballerina someday.  The Ballerina comes dressed in the cutest little pink tutu and pink headband and hair bow to match.  It has become one of my girls favorite bath toys as well a toy they can snuggle and treat as If they have a real baby. They all love how it comes to life after adding warm water to it and how they can nurture them and bond with them for hours.

My daughters push her around in a stroller, take her in the bath and play dance with her.  Waterbabies are for children 3 and up.  They are very easy to use because it comes with instructions and an easy fill funnel to fill the doll with warm water to give it its “life-like” feel.

Waterbabies Ballerina Doll

I highly recommend the Waterbabies not only for their unique features, but also for the great price of $10.99 (SRP).  Great entertainment and a great value are always high on my list!

Win one of two WaterBabies Dolls by using the Rafflecopter Entry Form:

 

-Written by Leanne Palma, mother of 8 and chicken wrangler.

One WaterBabies doll was given for this review. All opinion are the reviewers own.

Getting Ready For Baby?

If youre getting ready for baby it may be time to do some shopping to get the nursery in order too.  Some people wait until a certain month to buy anything for the baby out of superstition or family tradition, but when youre in your 7th month, its time to start looking at a few essentials.

Buying baby furniture can be a long process because there are so many choices. You may want to go modern or traditional. You may want to spend a lot of money and decorate to your hearts content or be frugal but still make the room show all of the love you have for your baby. Deciding on colors, types of wood, fabrics, convenience and of course safety are other reasons to start doing some research and then actually shopping.

Make a list of the items youll need for the nursery from books or searching online. Then go through to see what is necessary for you and your family. If you have some hand-me-downs, check to see if theyve been recalled before putting them into use again.

Sometimes youll be lucky and find a collection of furniture that you like and settle on. That makes getting ready so much easier! For example the Oeuf Furniture Collection is one that you may fall in love with. You can start with the Oeuf crib which is in natural birch and then go from there. Add sheets, wall hangings, a dresser, the mattress, possibly a bassinet and dont forget the Oeuf changing station.

Halloween Traditions in the USA

Halloween has been long celebrated in the USA and has traditions that are kept today. Although the history of Halloween goes back to the time of the ancient Celts, the traditions in the US that we continue now are a mixture of both Scottish and Irish immigrants customs from the early 1900s to the 1920s.

Halloween is celebrated on October 31st in the US. Preparations for costumes, home decorations, parties, etc. are made weeks in advance. Stores begin putting out Halloween candy and other items in early September, often along with Back To School supplies.

Halloween Candy and Food

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will spend $66.28 on Halloween this year. Second only to costumes, candy eats up the largest chunk of this budget with American families spending an average of $22 each Halloween on confections.

Candy apples, candy corn, and all types of candy, especially those in Halloween wrappers or shapes are popular. In the 1930s 1940s, children often started bonfires and roasted potatoes or nuts that were given to them. This was a treat, especially during the Depression.

Pumpkins

At first, pumpkins were used to decorate for Halloween in the rural areas on the US where they were more easily found.  Now this custom has grown to many areas where pumpkins are brought in to cities all over the US. Carving pumpkins, adding a candle and roasting pumpkin seeds is a tradition in many families now.

Trick or Treating

Known as guising in Scotland and Ireland, children would dress up in costumes to disguise their identities and beg for food, then became trick or treating in the USA.

The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America occurs in 1911, when a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported that it was normal for the smaller children to go street guising on Halloween between 6 and 7 p.m., visiting shops and neighbors to be rewarded with nuts and candies for their rhymes and songs.Another isolated reference to ritual begging on Halloween appears, place unknown, in 1915, with a third reference in Chicago in 1920. –  Halloween Wkipidea

Trick or Treating is now common in the US. Having treats, often candy, to give to visitors is considered a courtesy. You also have a chance of being tricked if theres no candy at your house. That can mean something as innocent as your doorbell being rung a number of times to eggs being thrown at your house or car.

Costumes

Halloween costumes were first based on the occult, such as witches, devils and ghosts. Now they are often based on the current popular toys, movies, celebrities, etc.

What are some of your own Halloween traditions?

Sources:

Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History

Halloween: Customs, Recipes & Spells

Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night

Avocado Dress-Up Site and Coloring Contest

Avocados From Mexico, the website that provides information and recipes about avocados announces their Dress-Up site and coloring contest. The Dress-Up contest opened August 16 and ends September 19 at midnight PT. Its open to children aged 4 12 years of age from the US.

This contest is fun and easy! Just print the black and white coloring page of one of the Avocado Amigos Ava or Al then color and design the page. Add hats, facial features and other accessories, color Ava or Al and then upload the image to the website (must be uploaded and entered by an adult).

Three winners will be chosen from the following age categories:

  • 4 years and younger
  • 5 9 years old
  • 10 12 years old

These are the prizes:

  • Grand prize $250 Bank Issued Gift Card
  • First Runner Up prize –  $100 Bank Issued Gift Card
  • Second Runner-Up prize $50 Bank Issued Gift Card

And for parents, theres some amazing recipes from Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless on the main site. As well as Back To School recipes such as this one:

Avocado Breakfast Burrito
Ingredients:
6 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas, warmed*
4 slices ham (about 4 ounces)
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 fully-ripened avocado from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup salsa
Preparation:
In bowl, beat eggs with salt and pepper. In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter; add eggs; cook and stir until set. On each tortilla place one slice each of ham and cheese; top with eggs, avocado slices and salsa, dividing evenly. Roll up and serve immediately.*To warm tortillas: Place tortillas on a plate; cover with a dampened paper towel. Microwave on high until warm, about 1 minute. Discard paper towel; wrap tortillas in cloth napkin to keep warm.

I wrote this blog post at the request of Avocados From Mexico, making me eligible to win a $25 iCard gift card.

Dental Health For Children

I recently found a battery powered toothbrush that helps my daughter stay interested in cleaning her teeth, but having her maintain her dental health has been a big issue this past year. On top of that, she has problems with her teeth that she was born with. Shes only 11 and has had 3 oral surgeries. She will definitely need braces and possibly further surgery.

Keeping her teeth healthy is a chore. Its hard to clean her teeth because she has a small mouth, because her teeth are crowded and because she doesnt make it a priority. My husband and I have done many things including using a reward system to help her brush her teeth, but nothing seems to work.

I dread if shell need more oral surgery or dental work that requires needles.  When she had an IV in the past, it was scary for all of us. Were fortunate to have an oral surgeon and his staff that works well with our daughter. I understand that theres a San Diego sedation dentist that does good work too. We live in Florida so traveling there is out of the question, but for anyone in that area take a look at what he does.

Preparing For Middle School This Summer

Were preparing our daughter for middle school this summer. Do we sound like awful parents who wont allow our daughter to enjoy her summer vacation? Just take a look at what were doing and then judge us!

Social Skills Readiness

In middle school, children will be meeting new students from other schools and from home school. This is a time of making new friends.  For some children, this is something they can handle easily, for others it is one of the most frightening events in their lives. Our daughter is in between. Shes not shy, but doesnt make friends easily.

Were preparing her by registering her for summer activities where she doesnt know anyone. When we travel, shell go off to the childrens events on her own. Shes been reading books about friendship and Ive bought one for her as a surprise to read over the summer Fab Friends And Best Buds: Real Girls On Making Forever Friends

Getting Organized

Weve already started helping our daughter get better organized during the end of this school year,  but will work on it more over the summer. Shes going to be responsible for getting herself ready in the morning. When we go out for the day shes going to be in charge of bringing her belongings. When we travel, shes going to pack for herself. Well be buying school supplies that she can use to help in this area too. Shell be using her calendar and the one on her computer to remember important dates.

Shell be rewarded for her accomplishments over the summer and of course when school begins again. She wants more time on the computer, to see movies and to have friends over the house. All fine with us.

More Focus on Academics

When we went to the middle school open house, we were given a list of  the Florida Sunshine State books, which are recommended reading for students based on their grade level. The principal stated in his speech to us that this was not required reading, but since our daughter enjoys reading, shell be going through the list. To keep her focused on math, one of problem subjects, well be using math in our daily lives. Well have her choose the lowest price items when we shop, figure out the tip when we eat out, help with measuring when we cook, etc. Shell also play math games online.

She enjoys meteorology so shell track the weather for our trips, keep track of the tropical storms and hurricanes and play with a new weather device she received as a gift. None of these are things that she doesnt enjoy. We plan on making them fun and exciting for her.

Keeping Communication Open

We have worked at keeping communication open between us and our daughter, but this summer we are going to work extra hard at this. We want her to voice any concerns she has about starting middle school.

Visiting The School

There are a few opportunities to visit the middle school over the summer and well take advantage of them. We need to fill out forms when she decides what sport shes interested in. I signed up for the PTSA so Ill go to any meetings or see if theres any volunteer events where we can help. Theres also another open house right before school starts which well attend.

Book Recommendation

We already purchased this book and highly recommend it Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, The: Middle School (Worst Case Scenario Junior Editions).  It covers everything from what to do if youre bullied to how to cope with pimples.

Are you more concerned about moving on to middle school than your child? What did you do to prepare your child for middle school?

Wright On Time Book Series Review

Wright On Time is a book series about a homeschooling family who travels across the United States in their RV. The first book in the series is Arizona where the family goes mining in a cave. The daughter, Nadia (age 11) is excited to find gemstones and the son, Aidan (age 7) wants to learn more about bats. Nadia is more knowledgeable about gems and caves. In the cave, they discover a mysterious item after almost getting trapped in the cave overnight. The parents, Stephanie and Harrison, take part in the activities that are planned along the way and they use them as lessons for the childrens schooling.

In the second book, Utah, they travel to an archeologist station where they discover dinosaur bones. Aidan dreams of becoming an archeologist. This time he knows more than his sister which make him feel proud. With the help of their fathers two friends, they are able to discover what the pictures mean on the mysterious item from the cave in Arizona.

Sammis Review (age 11): I liked the glossary because I was able to learn what the unusual words meant. The children in the book lived an exciting life traveling through the country and being homeschooled about the things they saw. I imagined myself living a life like that. It was confusing not reading the children calling their parents Mom and Dad. I felt that books were for younger aged children than me, though because I was able to read them very quickly.

Purchase: Wright On Time: Arizona, Book 1 is available for $12.99, Wright On Time: Utah, Book 2 is available for $12.99. Buy both for $25. All orders are signed by the author, Lisa M. Cottrell-Bentley.

Coloring Pages: Theres free coloring pages that can be used as Flat Nadias and Flat Aidans

Learn More: Find the next book in the series, ask questions about the books and learn about contests to be considered as a character in one of the upcoming books.

Both books were provided by Parent Reviewers for a blog tour about the Wright on Time book series.

EcoSmart Organic Bug Control Review And Giveaway

EcoSMARTorganic bug control provided me with their Insect Repellent to review.  It is made with organic plant oils. It is DEET free and does not contain any synthetic chemicals. EcoSMART Insect Repellent, the organic bug control, keeps away mosquitoes, ticks, gnats and other insects. Its safe for whole family. Just shake and spray on skin and clothing. For your face, spray on your hand and rub on face. Active ingredients: Rosemary Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil and Lemongrass Oil.

My Review: Although its not warm enough yet for bugs to be buzzing around, even here in Florida, I was able to give the spray a try. It absorbs into the skin quickly and does not leave a greasy or oily feel. The odor is pleasant, with no chemical smell. I assume its the various oils that I smell, which is nice.

To Purchase: EcoSMART provides Insect Repellent for $7, 2 for $6.58 each and save 6%, 4 for $6.23 each and save 11% and 6 for $5.88 each and save 16%. You can also buy home pest products.

Giveaway: Win an EcoSMART Safe Picnic Value Bundle worth $23

The Rules:

  1. Contest starts now and ends March 17th at midnight EST.
  2. Open to adults 18 and over in the US.
  3. One entry per household.
  4. Winner chosen by Random.org.
  5. Winner has 2 days to claim prize.
  6. Have fun and tell your friends.

How To Enter:
For One Entry For Each Below: (please leave a separate comment for each entry)

  1. Leave a comment about when you would use EcoSmart Insect Repellent.
  2. Follow my blog on Facebook. (Please leave your Facebook ID)
  3. Follow me, ConnieFoggles, on Twitter. (Please leave your Twitter ID)
  4. Sign up for my FriendFeed (Please leave your FriendFeed ID)
  5. Use the Bookmark widget/button under this post and share this post on any of the sites listed. (Please comment with which site you shared this post on.)
  6. Tweet this exactly (You can tweet daily) Please leave a link to your tweet:

Win EcoSMART Organic Picnic Bundle @ConnieFoggles Ends 3/17 http://bit.ly/dkCoJa PL RT

I was provided with the insect repellent. All opinions are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Giveaway Ended. Winner Posted.

Souplantation Sweet Tomatoes Potato Fest Month and Giveaway

February is Potato Fest Month at Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes. How many ways can you think of to cook potatoes? I bet Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes has got you beat! Besides their potato bar with baked white and sweet potatoes and all the fixings, theres these delicious menu items:

  • Roasted Potato Foccacia
  • Cream of Rosemary Potato Soup
  • Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Bacon
  • Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
  • Bistro Potato Salad
  • And, the restaurant is even giving out the recipe for a guest favorite, Golden Yam Bisque, from February 15 – 28!

Great news about potatoes and your health –

  • Low in calories
  • Fat Free
  • Cholesterol free
  • Packed with potassium
  • High in Vitamin C if eaten with the skin

The Sweet Tomatoes near me is one of my all time favorite places to eat with my family. I love their salads, bakery items, soups and desserts. Theres something for everyone including my picky daughter. Weve made eating there a family tradition that we cherish. I love the new menu choices each month and Februarys Potato Fest sounds like it will be top of the line for me.

Did you know that you can follow Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes on Twitter? Play games and win guest passes. Same for their Facebook page and there you can learn about new store openings and promos too.

Giveaway: 3 Winners! 2 Meal Passes to Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes

The Rules:

  1. Contest starts now and ends Feb. 28th at midnight EST.
  2. Open to adults 18 and over in the US.
  3. Winners will be chosen by Random.org.
  4. Winners have 2 days to claim prize.
  5. Have fun and tell your friends.

How To Enter:
For One Entry For Each Below: (please leave a separate comment for each entry)

  1. Leave a comment about your favorite way to eat potatoes.
  2. Follow my blog on Facebook. (Please leave your Facebook ID)
  3. Follow me, ConnieFoggles, on Twitter. (Please leave your Twitter ID)
  4. Sign up for my FriendFeed (Please leave your FriendFeed ID)
  5. Use the Bookmark widget/button under this post and share this post on any of the sites listed. (Please comment with which site you shared this post on.)
  6. Follow Souplantation on Twitter. (Please leave your Twitter ID)
  7. Tweet this exactly (You can tweet daily) Please leave a link to your tweet:

Win 2 Meal Passes Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes @ConnieFoggles  3 Winners! http://bit.ly/aask6h PL RT