March 4, 2016

An Open Letter to the Florida State Senate

Dear Florida State Senate,

Today, you failed my child, and the more than one million students who attend Florida's public elementary schools.

Today, you chose doing what was comfortable over doing what is right.

Today, you played political games instead of representing your constituents.

Today, you demonstrated power and personal interest are more important to you than the Will of the People.

Today, you used our children as pawns to further your own agendas.

Today, you glibly joked about needing to take a recess after callously denying our children their right to have it.

Today, you proved common sense and decency truly are dead in politics.

Tomorrow, you will have excuses.

Tomorrow, you will argue semantics.

Tomorrow, you will backtrack and try to pretend you didn't just screw over our kids.

But tomorrow, Senators, and the next day, and the next, we will remember today and show you how we feel with our votes.

Tomorrow, we will mobilize around a new cause; work to spread a different message.

Tomorrow, we will study this list carefully and prepare to, as they say, "clean house."

Because the Capitol IS our house. And clearly we need to find better people to represent us in it.

A Florida parent and registered voter

Note: This letter was republished with permission by The Washington Post.

December 1, 2015

#WildKratts LIVE! Giveaway Winners

Just in time for the holidays, here are the winners of my giveaway for tickets to Wild Kratts LIVE! in Florida:

Congratulations! Enjoy the show!

If you did not win but still want to purchase tickets, there are five stops planned for the Sunshine State in 2016:
Meet and greet opportunities are handled by the individual theaters. They are sometimes included in a VIP package, and other times require a separate purchase from show tickets. Click on the links above to learn more for your specific location.

Thank you to every one who entered, especially those who contributed to the fantastic Wild Kratts fan photo album. I loved seeing your kids and the cool animals you encounter in your daily lives. Keep on creature adventuring!

November 25, 2015

#WildKratts Toy Review 2 - The Tortuga, Aviva Creature Power Suits and more are here!

To say my six year-old daughter was excited about the opportunity to review more Wild Kratts toys would be a major understatement. It was all I could do to hold her back while I rushed to snap a few photos of the packaging.

No sooner had I done so than she and my husband ripped into the boxes and got down to the business of playing with all the goodies. I had to drag them away for dinner. I've lost count of all the different Wild Kratts episodes that have been acted out in our home over the past several days.

I love these new additions to the Wild Kratts toy line for all the reasons I did the initial offering:
  • They promote imaginative play
  • They incorporate well with existing toys
  • They function as stand alone toys
As for each of the individual items, you can see them in detail along with my daughter's reaction and my thoughts as a parent in our review video or read on below for a high level overview...

Tortuga Play Set 

I can sum this item up in one word - AWESOME! It is basically the ultimate toy for Wild Kratts fans. It is very lifelike. A great replica of the Tortuga seen on the show. It has a lot of cool features. Is well constructed. And just plain fun. This toy leads to hours of imaginative role play. It is a huge hit in our home, and I can't imagine any Wild Kratts fan not enjoying it. My video review takes a look at all the special features up close, so be sure to watch.

In the video I mention, "glass" several times. Just want to clarify there is no actual glass on this product. It is all plastic. Some of which looks like glass. That is what I meant.

10 Pack Gift Set

As I mention in the video review, I consider this to be an essential item for any personal Wild Kratts toy collection. Along with the Tortuga, it enables hours of play. The whole Wild Kratts gang is included: Chris, Martin, Aviva, Koki and Jimmy. It also includes the villains from the show and a couple of animals with matching creature power discs. These figurines are made from a flexible material. They are bendable and, as my daughter discovered, breakable (story in the video). Fortunately, a little super glue and we were back in business.

Combined with the gazillion animal figurines and toys we already have in this house, we could act out or make up an episode of Wild Kratts in our house every day for months.

Adventure Set

Finally, somewhere to store all those small, plastic creature power discs! I was very excited about that. And my daughter loves the "night vision" goggles. The waist pack is far too large for her, even at the smallest adjustment. I'm not sure who it is supposed to fit. But, she likes to carry it as a purse, so it's all good.

Aviva Creature Power Suit

I did not talk about this item in detail in the video. We reviewed a creature power suit last time around. And I think most Wild Kratts fans are familiar with them by now. SB was very excited about an Aviva suit coming out. As a parent, I love Aviva. She is an excellent role model for young girls (and just a fun character in general).

One thing I did notice is the size of the suit has changed. The body is bigger, both in length and width:

The gloves are actually smaller:

When we received a Chris creature power suit last year, my feedback to the company was that they needed to expand their size offerings. The one from our last review no longer fits my child now that a year has passed. The new one fits well, and has room for growth.

However, given the very wide age range of fans the show has, I really feel taking a, "one-size-fits-most" approach (that is the verbiage used online in the item description) is a mistake. It just does not work for apparel. They should have multiple size offerings on this item. Definitely for toddlers and youth. And, I've heard some people say they would love adult sizes. I might wear one of these if they came in my size...

So those are our thoughts on some of the new Wild Kratts toys. We definitely recommend them for the Wild Kratts fans in your life!

If you haven't already, be sure to check out my awesome giveaway. I've got tickets for all five Florida locations where Chris and Martin will be performing live in 2016! You can enter through November 30. Winners will be announced December 1! Five lucky winners will be able to present tickets to Wild Kratts Live to their favorite fans for the holidays! And speaking of the holidays...

It's finally here! The premiere of WILD KRATTS: A CREATURE CHRISTMAS is today on PBS! Check your local listings for details! 

Encore presentations on Nov 26, 27, 28 & 29; Dec 7, 18, 20, 24 & 25

Disclaimer: I received samples of Wild Kratts toys in exchange for this review. However, all opinions expressed are my own. See full disclosure statement here.

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