Help children free themselves from “worries” with Worry Eaters




Are you familiar with Guatemalan “Worry Dolls?” They are tiny dolls made out of wire, wool and scrap textiles dressed in traditional Mayan clothing. The purpose of the Worry Dolls is to help a child get rid of what worries them or whatever is weighing heavily on their mind.

To use a Worry Doll a child simply needs to tell the doll/dolls what is bothering them, then tuck it under their pillow at night to “sleep on it.” In the morning the child is suppose to feel better because the doll/dolls are suppose to take the worry away.

It’s an interesting concept. I like the idea of being able to share what bothers you with someone (or something) and have them help take that away so you don’t have to fret anymore about it.

I used to have a set of Worry Doll. My mom gave them to me when I was little. I wish I knew what happened to them.

I think it’s only natural that children worry about things (first day of school, moving to a new home, a big test coming up…). It’s natural. It’s life. We all worry about things from time to time.

A company called the Haywire Group have come up with a fun, modern version of Worry Dolls called Worry Eaters. Worry Eaters are cute, colorful monsters that can gobble up whatever a child is worried about.

Worry Eaters Group Shot

Worry Eaters have sweet, friendly faces with wide zippered mouths.

To use a Worry Eater a child can write down what is troubling them and “feed” it to the Worry Eater. If a child is too young to write they can draw a picture of what is worrying them and feed it to their Worry Eater friend.

The idea is for the Worry Eater to take care of the problem so that the child can get a good night’s sleep. It also allows parents to understand what is bothering their child because parents are supposed to remove the “worry” from the Worry Eaters mouth (ideally without the child knowing that).

Here is some additional information from the Haywire Group about Worry Eaters and why they are helpful for children.

At times, childhood worries can be very BIG, and at other times, very small. No matter how big or small the worries, they are all important in the life of a child.  Parents can help kids learn to manage stress and tackle everyday problems with ease using Worry Eaters as a tool to identify worries, clarify misunderstandings or misconceptions, resolve conflicts and build self-esteem, while promoting the development of healthy coping skills. Kids who can do this develop a sense of confidence and optimism that will help them master life’s challenges, big and small.

Worry Eaters allow children a chance to identify worries and separate themselves from that worry or problem, giving the child some time to “take a break” from carrying the weight of that worry. This separation, giving the worry to the Worry Eater, allows children the opportunity to look at the worry or problem separate from themselves. The act of then sharing that worry inside the Worry Eater’s mouth with a parent, caregiver or trusted friend can help a child problem solve solutions, face that worry, and/or just acknowledge that the worry exists.

Check out this video with speech pathologist  and language expert Sherry Artemenko and children talking about how Worry Eaters can help children.

Worry Eaters Round Table With Sherry and Friends from Haywire Group on Vimeo.


Worry Eaters come in a variety of monster designs.

I was sent Frula to review.


The plush toy is not too big, nor too small. It’s a nice size for a young child.

The plush is flat, so if could easily be tucked underneath a pillow at night, the same way you would tuck a Worry Doll under your pillow.

As a parent I really like the idea of a child being able to write down (or draw) what is bothering them and feed it to the Worry Eater to help them take care of the issue. I also like that it gives parents a way of finding out what is going on in their child’s life – especially a child who might not easily talk about what is on their mind.

I also like that the cute little plush toys can serve as a friend and confidant to a child. They are also really adorable little toys. It’s cute how the zipper look like teeth.

Worry Easters come in small and large sizes. The small retail for $15.99 and the large for $22.99.

Worry Eaters Dolls

For more information about Worry Eaters, please visit the Haywire Group www.HaywireGroup.com/Worry-Eaters/Shop. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

What do you think about Worry Eaters? Do you think it’s a great idea?

Which Worry Eater is your favorite?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Worry Eaters Logo


*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Adorable gifts that give back from Kohl’s Cares



If you have read my blog on a regular basis you know how much I really LOVE the products from the Kohl’s Cares program. Just in case you are not familiar with Kohl’s Cares, I’ll give you a brief introduction.

Throughout the year Kohl’s, as part of their Kohl’s Cares program, offers specific products for only $5.00 each. They usually include adorable plush toys, books, games and more. One hundred percent of the net profits goes to support children’s health initiatives nationwide.

I have been a fan of the Kohl’s Cares products for a long time. My favorites are the book and matching plush combinations. Kohl’s Cares usually always has special books with a matching plush toy. They are $5.00 each ($10 for the set). They make wonderful gifts for children for birthday’s, holidays, baby showers, new baby and “just because.”

I have several book plush sets that I display on my bookcase and rotate throughout the year (usually when there are new products from Kohl’s Cares). One I keep on display all the time – Put Me in the Zoo book and matching plush. It was one of my favorite books growing up.

Here is just a few pieces from my Kohl’s Cares collection.




Put-Me-in-the-Zoo (1)


Some of the pieces I keep for myself to share with my future grandchildren. Others I donate to where I work (I work with children).

The items offered through Kohl’s Cares changes every few months. The products are available both online and in stores. In our local Kohl’s store the Kohl’s Cares products are on display near the check out lines.

The products are available while supplies last, so if you see something you want I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase it.

Check out what is new right now from Kohl’s Cares.

Kohls Cares

I have the Penguin and the Bear, as well as a couple of the books. The books I donated to where I work. The plush I kept to give to our neighbors who are expecting.

The books are hardcover with dust jackets. If you have ever purchased a hard cover children’s book you know they can be expensive. These books are only $5 each.

I love the plush toys. They are SO SOFT! They are made exceptionally well. I can see them being someone’s best friend for years to come. They are the perfect size to tote around too.

I adore the matching books. Together the plush and the book make a wonderful gift. Where else can you find something so cute for $10 (book & plush)?

If you have a lot of young family members, grandchildren or your own children you should consider stocking up on these. These would even be great for a last minute children’s party invitation. It’s always great to have extra gifts on hand just in case. Anyone would be thrilled to receive these delightful gifts from Kohl’s Cares.

Don’t forget, 100% of the net profit from the sales of these items goes to the Kohl’s Cares charitable contributions.

To date, Kohl’s has raised nearly $300 million through the Kohl’s Cares merchandise program. To reinforce the company’s commitment to children’s health, Kohl’s has donated financial support to hospitals across the country. The donations fund hospital outreach programs focused on children’s health initiatives and address the specific issues needed most in each hospital’s community. These tailored programs provide vital resources to families at no cost and include topics such as injury prevention, asthma awareness, dental care, and fitness. A complete list of hospital partners is available online.

For more information or to find a Kohl’s location near you visit www.Kohls.com. You can also find Kohl’s on the various social media sites (all the links are found on the bottom of their website).

Do you have any Kohl’s Cares products?



*I received free product sample as well as purchased products on my own. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Relax With Fantastic Summer Reads from HarperCollins Children’s Books!


Summer Reading

With summer time just around the corner, many people are already gearing up for soaking up the sun at the beach, lounging around the pool or packing their bags for a much needed vacation.

Summer time is a great time to catch up on your reading, or simply relax and enjoy a good book. This applies to everyone – both young and old.

Harper Collins has some delightful new releases that would make great books to read this summer.


Paddington Sets Sail

Paddington Sets Sail written by Michael Bond, illustrated by R.W. Alley

9780062430656– $16.99 – Ages 4 to 8 

Paddington sets sail on a funny, sunny trip to the beach in this brand-new Level 1 I Can Read Story!

 What This Story Needs Is a Munch and a Crunch

What This Story Needs Is a Munch and a Crunch written and illustrated by Emma J. Virjan

9780062415295– $9.99 – Ages 4 to 8 

What this story needs is a pig in a wig baking bread, pouring punch, and meeting a friend for a picnic lunch. But just as the outdoor fun and games get started, a thunderstorm rolls in and it turns out what this story really needs is another place to eat! Pig and her friends are determined not to let a little rain ruin their fun.

Flip & Fin Super Sharks to the Rescue

Flip & Fin: Super Sharks to the Rescue! written by Timothy Gill, illustrated by Neil Numberman

9780062243010– $15.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 6/14/2016

The toothy stars of Flip & Fin: We Rule the School are back! This time, the sand shark twins are eager to become superheroes and help others. But what is a shark to do when ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE runs away from them?


Stick Cat written by Tom Watson

Stick Cat written by Tom Watson

9780062411006– $12.99 – Ages 8 to 12 

It’s a big day in the big city for Stick Cat and his best friend, Edith. There are treasures to hunt, songs to sing, pigeons to catch, and naps to take. But way up on the 23rd floor, danger lurks just around the corner. Terrible noises and violent crashes trap a desperate man in the building across the alley. Stick Cat will need to navigate his way across the alley to attempt a rescue.

 Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Stevenson

Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Stevenson

9780062374547– $16.99 – Ages 8 to 12

This heartfelt middle grade debut in the vein of Bridge to Terabithia and Walk Two Moons tells the story of two girls, and the unforgettable summer in which they learn about true friendship and loss.

 Eleven and Holding by Mary Penney

Eleven and Holding by Mary Penney

9780062405470– $16.99 – Ages 8 to 12 – On Sale 6/7/2016

Macy’s birthday is just days away, but she has no intention of turning twelve without her dad by her side, who has disappeared. Macy takes it upon herself to solve the mystery, and crashes head-on with the truth. It’s then she discovers that knowing can sometimes be a heavy burden. And that change, when finally accepted, comes with an unexpected kind of grace.

 Fancy Nancy Nancy Clancy Seeks a Fortune

Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy Seeks a Fortune by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser      

9780062269690– $9.99 – Ages 6 to 10 – On Sale 6/7/2016

Meet Shivers, the scaredy-est pirate to ever sail the Seven Seas. Along with his best friend Margo and his loyal fishmate (yes, you read that correctly) Albee, Shivers battles a giant squid, discovers hidden treasures, and gets pooped on by a pigeon in order to save his parents from the clutches of evil.

Get your summer fix with these paperback editions

  • Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins (On Sale 5/3/2016)
  • The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye (On Sale 5/3/2016)


The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

9780062359094– $18.99 – Ages 14 and Up 

A fast-paced teen series from New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight, where one girl learns that in a world of intrigue, betrayal, and deeply buried secrets, it is vital to trust your instincts.

The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown by Kiera Cass

9780062392176– $19.99 – Ages 13 and Up 

Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you… and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

Ruined by Amy Tintera

Ruined by Amy Tintera

9780062396600– $17.99 – Ages 13 and Up

Em may be a useless Ruined, completely lacking any magic, but no one is more motivated to destroy the king. He ordered the elimination of the Ruined, he killed her parents and kidnapped her sister, and Em will make him pay.

 The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine

The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine

9780062438836 – $17.99 – Ages 14 and Up 

A funny and heartfelt romance set in New Jersey, about two very different people, a girl dealing with a bad breakup and a surfer who is now in a wheelchair after an accident.

 The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

9780062422583– $17.99 – Ages 13 and Up – On Sale 5/17/2016

Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become The Royal Enchanter—or die in the process.

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

9780062379962 – $17.99 – Ages 13 and Up – On Sale 5/17/2016

Maguire knows she’s bad luck. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. But then she meets Jordy, a confident, talented, and lucky, aspiring tennis star, who is convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak.

Sing by Vivi Greene

Sing by Vivi Greene

9780062459831– $17.99 – Ages 13 and Up – On Sale 5/31/2016

In this sweeping beach read—think: Lauren Conrad meets Katie Cotugno—America’s biggest pop star flees the spotlight to recover from her latest break-up in Maine, only to fall head-over-heels for a local boy and be faced with an impossible decision: her new guy, or her music.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

9780062391742– $17.99 – Ages 13 and Up – On Sale 6/7/2016

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a stranger—and caught up in an insidious conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems.  Jane’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong. A fantastical, romantical, hilarious(ical) adventure.

For more summer teen reads, check out… 

  • Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes (On Sale 5/3/2016)
  • The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani (On Sale 5/3/2016)
  • The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen (On Sale 5/10/2016)
  • The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes (On Sale 5/10/2016)
  • This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer (On Sale 5/10/2016)
  • Please Don’t Tell by Laura Tims (On Sale 5/24/2016)
  • Autofocus by Jessi Kirby (On Sale 6/14/2016)
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (On Sale 7/5/2016)
  • Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra (On Sale 7/12/2016)

Get your summer fix with these paperback editions –  

  • Before I Fall Enhanced Edition by Lauren Oliver (On Sale 3/8/2016)
  • Bone Gap (Printz Award winner for best YA book and National Book Award Finalist)
  • Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
  • Delirium/Pandemonium/Requiem (paperback repackage with new covers) by Lauren Oliver (On Sale 5/17/2016)
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (won Morris Award for best YA debut) by Becky Albertalli (On Sale 6/7/2016)

If you would like to learn more about these and other books visit  www.HarperCollins.com/Childrens.

What do you plan on reading this summer?



*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. 

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6 Easy Steps to Make Sure Your Camp Care Package Arrives on Time!


summer camp

Is this the first time you’ve sent a camp care package? Did last year’s package arrive late…or not at all? Believe it or not, sending a care package is not as easy as it should be. Here are a few pointers that will ensure your little one gets what’s coming to him/her:

Make sure the camp allows care packages.

More and more camps are banning care packages or putting restrictions on size and numbers of packages per child. If you don’t follow the rules, the packages are returned or thrown away!

Double and triple check the camp address.

Seriously, this is probably the number one reason kids do not get their care packages. Most camps have winter and summer addresses, so use the summer address. Also many camps have different addresses for packages sent UPS or FedEx. If you are using USPS (highly recommended), that address could be a PO Box and not a street address. Don’t forget the name of the camp, the camper, and if you have it, the bunk.

Respect your camp’s care package restrictions.

Most camps do not allow food, electronics, or toy weapons. Even if you knew the policies last year, those camp policies could have changed!

Plan on an extra day or two for internal delivery.

Some camps receive the mail late in the day and do not distribute it until the next day. Other camps actually go through each package to make sure there is no contraband inside (Yes. I know this for a fact). That can often add a day.


If you use a care package company (ahem-MirthinaBox.com!), include daytime phone number.

Afraid you might start receiving unwanted phone calls? Highly unlikely! Several orders EACH DAY during the summer come through with unclear mailing addresses or incorrect credit card information. The sooner we can reach you, the sooner we will ship out. I’m sure this is the case for other companies too.

Remember a short gift message.

Don’t leave your little one wondering if it was Mom, Grandma or Uncle Pete who sent that swell package. Short is best.

Gee, how did I become such a treasure trove of camp care package info? I was a parent of three kids who spent many summers at camp. That experience led me to create MirthinaBox.com, purveyors of the finest in premade and custom care packages.


About the author:

Gay Gasser lives and works in Fairfield, CT. With the help of summers spent at camp, Her 3 children have all grown in to responsible adults.

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What Makes a Super Hero? Are YOU one?



Me as a child helping my dad with the yard work. You can tell he was making it fun for me by the smile on my face.

Mother’s Day is this weekend. I can’t help but reflect about my own mother. She passed away 13+ years ago.

My mom was not my biological mother. She was my paternal grandmother.

I am forever grateful that my paternal grandparents stepped in to raise me after my biological mother gave up custody of me (long story).

My mom (grandmother) was a super hero in my eyes. She didn’t have to start all over again raising a toddler, but she did. She was by my side caring for me when I was sick, she cheered me on at soccer games, she helped me with my homework, she wiped my tears, drove me places, waited up all night until I go home safely and a million other things. They might not seem like big things – but in my eyes they are. Sometimes it’s the little, everyday things that mean the most – especially to a child.

I have fond memories of my youth. My mom knew I loved to learn and would take every opportunity she could to teach me things. She would take me places like the American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo. Not only did I get to experience these amazing things, on our way back home my mom would ask me to share with her my favorite things from the day. We would talk about them all the way home – sometimes days and weeks later.

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Parents and caregivers are like superheroes in the eyes of a child.

My mom took advantage of teachable moments. I still remember her having me sort M&Ms by color and then using them to teach me math like adding and subtracting. She would also have me help her in the kitchen so she could teach me about measurements like a half cup or a tablespoon.

My mom even taught me how to sew to sew and crochet. I used those skills to make outfits for my dolls and plush animals. I even made a few things for me to wear.

My mom didn’t wear a cape – but in my eyes she was a superhero. She could do it all.

With Mother’s Day upon us it’s important to remember just how important our parents and caregivers are to us.

Vroom created this very special video about Camellia and Cammie, to show how caregivers become superheroes through the everyday moments they spend with their children.


That is so sweet and touching. It made me want to cry when Camellia saw in Cammie’s drawings, that came to life, just how much she means to her. It was so beautiful and moving.

This video is aligned with Vroom’s premise that parents and caregivers have the ability to teach children using every day activities and how to turn them into brain building moments.

Here is some additional information about Vroom and how it’s a great FREE resource for parents and caregivers.

Vroom is an initiative of the Bezos Foundation (a nonprofit organization) that was developed based on the premise that every child is born with enormous potential and every parent has the ability to help them realize that potential. Through a partnership with leaders in neuroscience, psychology, behavioral economics, parenting, and early childhood development, Vroom was designed to give parents and caregivers simple tools that turn everyday activities, like mealtime and bath time, into brain building moments.

Vroom has developed 700+ tips that are easy, interactive things parents can do in the moment with their child that don’t require additional time or money. Tips are paired with a “brainy background” that explains the science behind how the activity is promoting brain development in key domains like language, literacy, cognition and executive functions. These tips are delivered through multiple mediums – a mobile app, physical collateral, media companies, and brand partnerships (Goya, Amazon, and Johnson & Johnson). The resources are free for parents.

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I am a firm believer that parents (and caregivers) are teachers. We might not hold teaching degrees, or teaching positions, but we are able to teach children about life.

I remember when my children were younger. I would look for teachable moments every day whether it was reading labels at the grocery store, writing a check, reading street signs, following a recipe or helping me to assemble something. Life is full of teachable moments and these moments are essential for a child to learn about language, life skills and more.

To learn more about how YOU can be a superhero to your child/grandchild, please visit www.JoinVroom.org/SuperHeroes.

If you would like to learn more about Vroom, visit Vroom.org (notice it’s .org, not .com). You can also check them out on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Feel free to share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #WhatMakesASuperhero. You can also use that hashtag to see what others have to say about the subject of being a Super Hero to a child.

What did you think about the video?

What about Vroom? Do you like what they are all about? Do you think you’ll use them as a resource?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from my readers.

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*I have partnered with Vroom to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Let’s Learn: S.T.E.M. Vol 2 available on DVD May 3, 2016


Lets Learn Stem

I work with children at our local schools. There are after school programs that engage children in S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). I WISH they had such programs when I was a child – or even when my teenagers were children. I love the whole concept. I think it’s important that children not only learn about these subjects, but also find the fun and interesting too.

Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media are releasing TODAY a fun DVD featuring many beloved characters, all based on the S.T.E.M principal.

There’s no shortage of science and math fun in Let’s Learn: S.T.E.M. Vol 2, Nickelodeon’s second DVD dedicated to the world of numbers. A hot topic for educators everywhere, S.T.E.M. education (science, technology, engineering and math) has proven to be the perfect tool in jump-starting children’s interest in problem solving and technology. Nick’s Let’s Learn: S.T.E.M. Vol 2 contains more than 140 minutes of S.T.E.M. – themed adventures with Blaze and the Monster Machines, the first preschool show on TV to comprehensively cover all areas of S.T.E.M. in every episode, as well as fan-favorites Dora and Friends: Into the City!PAW Patrol and Team Umizoomi. In addition to expanding imaginations and developing inquisitive minds, the Let’s Learn: S.T.E.M. Vol 2 DVD also comes with a S.T.E.M.-themed worksheet to reinforce some of the lessons learned throughout the collection.

Let’s Learn: S.T.E.M. Vol 2 includes the following episodes:

  • Blaze and the Monster Machines: Cake-tastrophe
  • Blaze and the Monster Machines: Runaway Rocket
  • PAW Patrol: Pups Save Walinda/ Pups Save a Big Bone
  • Dora and Friends: Into the City!: Kite Day
  • Team Umizoomi: Job Well Done
  • Team Umizoomi: Race to the Top of Shape Mountain

The DVD has a run time of 144 minutes and has a retail price of $14.99.

Look for Let’s Learn: S.T.E.M. Vol 2 where ever DVDs are sold. 

Nick Logo


*I received a free copy in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers.

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