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Holiday Must Haves

Wild Ophelia, chocolate, holiday gift guide, stocking stuffers, Christmas

I was chosen to be part of the Wild Ophelia Chocolate Ambassador program. Chocolate is one of those things that instantly brings happiness to children and even most grown women. Wild Ophelia is a uniquely American brand featuring all-natural and often organic ingredients sourced from small farms and food artisans. Their chocolate bars tell an American story, and bridge the divide between the local, American farmer’s movement and chocolate.

If you were at BlogHer, you probably got to sample some of their uniquely original flavor pairings and were instantly a fan. They come in all sorts of fantastically original flavors like southern hibiscus peach, hickory smoked almond,smokehouse BBQ potato chips, peanut butter and banana, New Orleans Chili, Beef Jerky and sweet cherry pecan an many more.My favorites are the Hickory smoked almond and the Mined Salt and Seas Salt and Coconut special flavors from the Hunger Games Catching Fire edition. Once you try Wild Ophelia,you will never look at chocolate the same way again.

On the back of each chocolate bar, you’ll find the story and origin of each ingredient. All Wild Ophelia products are made with 100% renewable energy and packaged in 100% recycled board. Aside from the flavors, I was very impressed with the Wild Ophelia mission.

We take sustainability seriously and focus on creating unique, high-quality chocolate while engaging with customers and local artisans through an American roadtrip of foods. Central to our mission is our goal to educate and encourage action. We believe people should be aware of their food’s origins and become active and educated consumers by getting involved and asking questions about sources, pesticide practices, and more. We also strive to help children and adults learn to appreciate their food. Our motto: Respect oneself, one’s food, and others, while relishing in the chocolate-tasting experience.

I am giving away 8 bars of Wild Ophelia Chocolate to one lucky reader. All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me your favorite Wild Ophelia flavor. Use the rafflecopter for more chances to win. The contest will end on December 26 at midnight!

In the meantime, if you want a Wild Ophelia Chocolate fix, it is available at your nearest Walgreens! Wild Ophelia makes GREAT stocking stuffers! .

I was provided Wild Ophelia Chocolate as part of their Ambassador program but all opinions are mine. This chocolate rocks!

wild ophelia chocolate, Holiday gift guide, holiday gift guide 2013, twitter party, giveaway

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GoldieBlox, More than just a princess

When I was a little girl, I was raised that little girls did “girl things” like play with baby dolls and Barbie dolls. Boys played with legos and lincoln logs. Girls were pretty and boys were dirty. Boys got to have all the fun while all I got to do was chores and play with toys that taught me how to be a “young lady“. Enter easy bake ovens, play houses, baby dolls who cried and needed their diapers changed. When I tried to climb trees or build forts, I was promptly told that those things were not very “ladylike.” It’s damn hard to climb trees in skirts. Don’t get me wrong; I loved doing all those things but maybe I would have liked to play with the Legos or built something with Lincoln logs? The point is this; I didn’t even know what an Engineer did until I was in college at Purdue University…dating an Engineer. So how could I have ever chosen to be an engineer when no one thought it was worth the bother to teach little girls to be anything more than princesses, mothers and maids until now. Enter GoldieBlox. The video below just made me fall more in love with this company. Debbie Sterling, a female engineer from Stanford University, was always bothered by how few women are in the engineering field. I know firsthand how true this. The numbers are definitely skewed in the engineering field. So, Debbie is did something about it. She started a toy company in 2012 called GoldieBlox to get little girls to love engineering as much as she does. The mission of GoldieBlox is to create fun toys that develop spatial skills and teach basic engineering principles. Girls like to read and boys like to build. Put spatial plus verbal together, story and construction and that’s how GoldieBlox was born. GoldieBlox is a book and a construction toy combined, starring Goldie the girl inventor and her motley crew of friends who go on adventures and solve problems by building simple machines. As girls read along they get to build what Goldie builds using their own tool kit. How awesome is that? No longer are we teaching our girls that they have to stand by looking pretty while fetching cold drinks for the man folks. Nope, we are teaching our girls that they can put on a pair of cute jeans and work-boots and go build it themselves. By designing construction toys from the female perspective, GoldieBlox will be more appealing to a broader audience of children and parents who previously considered engineering a job for boys. Engineers solve some of the biggest challenges our society faces. They are critical to the world economy, earn higher salaries and have greater job security. And they are 89% male. There’s more to girls than just pink and fluff.  We can be anything we want to be in this world. I have not been this excited about a new toy for the holidays for my girls in a long time. GoldieBlox,GoldieBlox and the Parade Float This holiday season, the much-anticipated sequel, Goldie Blox and he Parade Float, Goldie’s friends Ruby and Katinka compete in a princess pageant with the hopes of riding in the town parade. When Katinka loses the crown, Goldie and Ruby team up to build her a parade float as well as other fun rolling, spinning, and whirling designs. GoldieBlox,GoldieBlox and the Parade Float

  • A book series plus construction set introducing Ruby, Goldie’s best friend and princess-turned-engineer.
  • Builds spatial skills, engineering principles, and confidence in problem-solving.
  • Comes equipped with 9 design ideas, a DIY project, and unlimited building possibilities.
  • Compatible with all other GoldieBlox toys.

This installment in the GoldieBlox series makes me happy because we are teaching our girls that they don’t just have to be beautiful waving from the float in the parade, they can build the float! I love it and there are lots more awesome toys by GoldieBlox where that came from. GoldieBlox is changing the world for our girls and I love them for it. That’s why they are on this year’s holiday gift guide as a must have for every little girl on your holiday shopping list. goldieblox., Holiday gift guide, holiday gift guide 2013, Shabby Apple, giveaway Disclosure: I was provided GoldieBlox and the Parade Float for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

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American Girl, American Girl Dolls, Molly, Emily, The Best Friend Collection

I am doing my first ever Holiday Gift Guide and I couldn’t be more excited about the pieces that I am including this year on my list. These are some of my family’s favorite and most coveted items. I think your family will find them to be pretty amazing, as well.

Why not start with one of my girls’ favorite gifts of all time, American Girl Dolls!

Christmas is right around the corner and you know what that means? Time to find that just perfect gift for your child. Every year, I spend months racking my brain trying to find just the perfect gift for my girls. Last year, we broke down and bought the girls their first American Girl Dolls. They loved them.

We started by buying them the My American Girl Dolls because you can personalize them to look just like your child and we felt that they would have an instant connection with a doll that looked like them and they did.

Since last Christmas, they have been to the Chicago American Girl store and let’s just say, they found more than anyone would know what to do with.  They each received a Historical doll for their birthday’s. The store is a little girls dream come true. Every American Girl doll available is there with costumes and accessories for any occasion, sport or interest and matching outfits for your daughter.  So, we’ve decided that this Christmas is to get the girls a couple more American Girl historical dolls. They are both reading now so these dolls are perfect.

We’ve decided to go with the Molly and Emily Best friend collection. Molly McIntire is being retired this year so we thought we should get her before she is gone. Molly’s story takes place in 1944, during World War II. Many families were worried about loved ones who were overseas; Molly was waiting for her own father to return from his duties as a doctor in the army. With the help of Emily, her English friend, Molly learns to hold on to hope and pull together for the common good. Molly and Emily open up a whole world of play with authentic styles from 1944. I think it will be a great opportunity to teach my girls about history and World War II.

American Girl, American Girl Dolls, Molly, Emily, The Best Friend Collection

Some of the authentic 1944 features of the Emily and Molly Best Friend Collection are Molly’s outfit; a navy blue argyle sweater over a dickey and her matching navy blue skirt, red hair bows, white anklets and black Mary-Janes shoes. She has beautiful long brown braids and wears glasses.

Emily is dressed in a printed dress with cherry blossoms on it and tied with a red dotted sash. She is wearing knickers, cherry-red ankle socks and shiny T-strap shoes. Her hair is long, gingery-red hair held with a cherry-blossom headband.

In the Best Friends Collection, you get even a few more extra authentic 1944 pieces like Molly’s navy blue beret and monogrammed hankie she tucks into her shoulder bag. Molly also has a replica 1943 “steel” penny, used during the war when copper was in short supply. Molly also comes with a special heart locket to hold a picture of her Dad while he’s away at war. Emily comes with a cardigan sweater from her Aunt Primrose. She also comes with her grandfather’s World War I dog tags, which remind Emily to be a brave soldier for England. She comes with an English three-pence coin and her scrapbook showing pictures of her family and the English princesses, where she also stores her British ration book with a special message from her Mom. Both girls’ books Meet Molly and Brave Emily come with the collection and offer lessons about choices and friendship that are great lessons for girls today.

I can’t wait for Christmas morning to see my little girls’ faces, especially since Molly is getting retired this year. So, if you want to get her for your little American Girl, I suggest you do it STAT because it’s the last holiday to bring American Girl Molly home for the holidays! Molly is only available until December 31st or while supplies last.

What is at the top of your Holiday gift list?

American Girl, American Girl Dolls, Molly, Emily, The Best Friend Collection

Disclaimer: I was provided Molly and Emily for review purposes by American Girl Doll but all opinions are my own.

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American Girl, Bitty Baby, Holiday Must Have, American Girl Doll

This summer while I was at BlogHer, I had the pleasure of attending an event at the American Girl store in downtown Chicago and I saw the Bitty Baby doll. This Bitty Baby can be ordered to look just like your little girl when she was a bitty baby. Talk about a personalized baby doll.

I’d never been to American Girl at night and without a few hundred screaming little girls so it was completely different than any other time, I’d been there.  As I sipped on champagne and shopped in quiet, I saw the American Girl Dolls and Bitty baby in a way I had never seen them before. It was magical to see them all on display and have the chance to appreciate their beauty and purpose; their stories.

The event concluded with a wonderful tea upstairs complete with loads of sweets and champagne, this was mommy heaven. Now, I get why the kids all go crazy the minute they enter the door. Then for the big finale, American Girl announced an expanded and enhanced Bitty Baby line to Create One-of-a-Kind Companions for the Littlest American Girls. Better still, they were gifting each attendee her very own Bitty Baby to order to look however she liked. I obviously ordered mine to look exactly like my girls did when they were born.

American Girl, Bitty Baby, Holiday Must Have, American Girl Doll

In case you are not familiar with Bitty Babies, they are designed for girls ages 3 and up. They look like a baby instead of the usual little girl American Girl Dolls. They are a sweet 15-inch soft-bodied doll available in 11 different combinations of skin tone, eye-, and hair-color, allowing your littlest girl to choose her very own baby doll that’s just like her. Each Bitty Baby doll comes dressed in her signature sleeper, along with a special “wishing star” keepsake toy and a beautifully illustrated Bitty Baby and Me hardcover picture book. The enhanced Bitty Baby also has several new outfits in various designs available for purchase.

Our Bitty Baby arrived about a week after I returned home. I didn’t tell the girls she was coming so when she arrived, they were shocked and pleasantly surprised.

My girls adore their Bitty Baby. I’ve caught my 6-year-old on more than one occasion singing to her baby. The new Bitty Babies also include a picture-book collection so you and your little girl can snuggle up close and read along as the little girl in the book and her Bitty Baby explore their world. What’s better than an excuse to snuggle in with your own precious Bitty Baby while learning lessons about generosity, confidence, curiosity and kindness? There is also a special section called “for parents” which focuses on social and emotional development of preschoolers and has tips to help your little girl become more confident, patient and independent.

American Girl, Bitty Baby, Holiday Must Have, American Girl Doll

The new line also offers story-themed play sets to encourage imaginative play and of course, matching outfits for your little girl and her Bitty Baby. Trust me, there is nothing more adorable than a little girl an her doll dressed alike. They also now offer a new line of premium plush animals and quality furniture, including a wooden crib and changing table.

This is the perfect gift for the little American Girl Doll fan in your life. This is sure to be at the top of every little girl’s Christmas list this year.

Who is your favorite American Girl Doll?

 

Disclaimer: I was gifted a Bitty Baby at the American Girl event that I attended but all opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

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