Sweet Critique: Cookie’s Kids #LuvCookies #cBias

Cookies Logo

It is downright shameful how long I’ll wait to get Babydoll clothes. No, she’s not walking around in stuff that is way too small, and she always has plenty of clothing, but I wait till the last possible minute to go and buy stuff.

I think part of this is the homeschooling; she doesn’t need that many “wear out” clothes.  But, she’s a girl and she likes clothes, so I’ve been trying to be better about getting her a few things here and there.  This is why I was so excited to work on this particular campaign, and Babydoll was equally as thrilled!

What Is Cookie’s Kids?


Cookie’s Kids is an online department store for kids.  They’ve got uniforms, dresses, shoes, scarves, anything and everything.  Babydoll loved looking around the site and seeing what they had.  They have sooo much.  She, of course, wanted everything…

It was fun to see how excited she got; we sat there for quite a while as she looked at clothes and shoes.  She knew she had to narrow down her choices, so she ended up picking a shirt and a dress:

The prices were great, in my opinion.  Babydoll is a fan of stores aimed at girls her age, and some of the stuff is cute and age-appropriate, but it’s so stinking expensive.  She’s generally limited to one item per season because I just refuse to spend more on her clothes than I do my own.

Shipping was as expected, which was great considering it was over a holiday weekend.  I got my items on time.  Overall the process went smoothly, and Babydoll enjoyed it quite a bit.

The Clothes


The box came, and Babydoll was excited to get it open!  She modeled her new items for me:

There were a couple of things that we thought could use a bit of work.  The size charts were not complete.  We liked how they had some of the brands’ specific size charts {brilliant!}, but for brands not listed, the general charts were mainly geared toward uniforms.

Also, the colors on the site don’t necessarily match the item.  Babydoll’s shirt is a lot darker than we expected.  The dress shown on the site seemed to be party length, but when we got it, it was much longer.  I think they used a picture of a smaller size.

These weren’t huge things for us, but if you’re looking for something very specific, you might want to keep this in mind.

That said, I would probably shop here again.  I can get the styles Babydoll wants at a much more affordable price than other places, and I like that.

They also have a referral program, which many might like.  For every person who signs up under your link, they will get a $10 credit!  Also, when they make their first purchase YOU get $10 credit too!

I’ve got more pictures of our shopping experience here if you’d like to check them out!

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias

Murphy USA Keeps Me Going!


Murphy USAI am quickly beginning to wish we had a Murphy USA much closer to us; they are awesome! I’ve done a few other stories about them, such as when we shopped for tailgating supplies and when we went in search of goodies for our mail woman {such a hit, we got a very nice handwritten card from her!}. Today, we’re in search of snacks to keep us going as we’re out and about this season!

Drinks to Keep us Energized


Energy DrinksFirst item up is energy drinks.  Now, Babydoll and I don’t really drink things like Red Bulls or other “traditional” energy drinks.  I’ve never had them and of course wouldn’t serve it to her.

Side note:  I have consumed large quantities of Mountain Dew one night when I had to pull an all-nighter to get hundreds of hand-poured sugar lollipops made, but I try to stay away from those binges unless absolutely necessary…  

So, while we found those drinks today, we won’t be purchasing any.

SodaThen there is caffeinated soda to keep you going. We purchased a couple of Mountain Dews for Vince because he likes those {and because they were on sale: $2.21 for two, instead of $1.76 for one; awesome!}.  I, however, am cut off from soda {a personally inflicted rule that I wish I’d not made, but the stuff is like crack for me so it’s all or nothing baby}, and Babydoll doesn’t really like it, so we’re still searching.

I know there’s a big Pepsi vs. Coke thing, and I’m in the Coke camp, so I took pictures of those products.  Murphy USA, of course, has a large variety of Pepsi products as well, if that floats your boat.

Sports DrinksNext up: sports drinks.  These are my go-to if I need a quick burst of energy.  They’re also good for when you’ve had one too many blueberry martinis the night before…  My personal favorite is Gatorade, but Murphy USA has a number of brands in a variety of sizes.

So with all of these drink choices, what did we end up getting?  Water.  And Tummy Yummies.  The latter was Babydoll’s choice.  Water keeps me hydrated and doesn’t ensure a crash in a few hours like other drinks might have.  I’ll feel much better after having some.

Murphy USA has my most favorite bottled water:  smart water.  If I’m out, and I need to buy bottled water, that’s the water I want.  It tastes like, well, water.  Go figure.

Our ChoiceThe Tummy Yummies were something Babydoll wanted to try, so I gave in. I figured if it had a ton of sugar, that would give her energy right?  Turns out, they don’t have all that much sugar and aren’t nearly as bad as I thought they were.

Snacks to Keep Us Full


We had just eaten lunch {mmmm, Mexican food, one of my faves} so I wasn’t terribly hungry, but Babydoll can pack it away like a grown man, so she was all for a snack for the ride home.

SnacksMurphy USA has a crazy number of snacks at its little kiosk.  I’m really digging the number of protein-packed snacks like beef jerky {they have the really good kind} and nuts.  We snag a bag of nuts and we’re ready to roll.

Gift Cards


Did you know that most Murphy USA stores carries a large selection of gift cards?  No, I didn’t either.  This will probably come in handy for a few of you this time of year…  Here’s a handy list for you:

  • Applebee’s
  • Bass Pro Shop
  • Vanilla
  • Longhorn
  • TGI Fridays
  • Foot Locker
  • eFinanSe
  • Blockbuster
  • O’Charley’s
  • GameStop
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Lowe’s
  • Chili’s
  • AMC Theaters

Alright, we are done!  We’ve got our drinks and snacks, and we’re ready for the ride home!

Want to see more pictures from our trip?  Check out my Google+ album!

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias  All opinions are my own, including the drink company preferences I listed.  I know you might be a Pepsi fan.  That’s OK.

TOS Sweet Critique: I See Cards – Fractazmic

Fractazmic win

FractazmicWhat:  Fractazmic


Cost:  $6.95

Recommended Ages:  1st – 8th graders, although I had fun playing it, and I’m a 30 year old woman…

What is Fractazmic?


Fractazmic cardsFractazmic is a card game designed to visually teach children how to convert and add fractions, how fractions and measurement are related, and how fractions can be used in real-world applications.

Each card has a fraction printed in the upper left and lower right corners and a large picture demonstrating the fraction utilizing measurement and real-world uses.

The object of the game is to collect as many hands as possible before someone runs out of cards.  Hands consist of cards in the same suit that equal one.  The game ends when a player is out of cards, and the person with the most hands wins.

Our Thoughts


Babydoll and I enjoyed Fractazmic.  Once you get the hang of it, the game doesn’t take long to play and you really do have fun while learning.  Babydoll and I haven’t really gotten into fractions formally, but it only took a couple of minutes to explain to her.  She’s learned about them through practical application, such as cooking, so it was fun for her to see the eggs.

While I understand the reasoning behind it, it was a little difficult to explain the different denominators in each suit at first.  She wasn’t sure why she had a card that had six eggs out of twelve, but the fraction was 1/2.  The upside to it, though, was that it provided me with a great visual to teach her why it was that way.  It was still difficult for her to grasp the addition of the fractions with different denominators, but I think once we have a piece of paper and write it out, she’ll totally get it, thanks to these cards.

Fractazmic winIn addition to the educational benefits, Babydoll enjoyed beating the crap out of mom…  That large number of cards to the left?  Those are her hands…  I had like three.  It was a great game for us to play together; it was engaging, fun, and we both got a chance to exercise our brain a bit.

Other Products


I See Cards is the genius behind Fractazmic, and they’ve got a few other products as well:

What Did Others Think?


Other TOS Homeschool Review Crew members reviewed Fractazmic as well.  Visit the Crew blog to see what they thought!

True Confessions:  I was provided with a complimentary Fractazmic game in order to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

TOS Sweet Critique: Artistic Pursuits

Artistic Pursuits

Artistic PursuitsWhat:  Artistic Pursuits


Cost:  Books – $42.95; Art Supply Packs – varies

Recommended Ages:  Preschool through High School

What is Artistic Pursuits?


Artistic Pursuits is an art curriculum designed “to give children a quality art education that will prepare them to meet creative challenges in their future endeavors.”  The curriculum is made up of ten books and a variety of art supply packs, all designed for a specific age group and a specific art focus.

Our Thoughts



We reviewed Grades K-3, Book Three because Babydoll really liked the idea of engaging in a bit of painting and sculpture.  This book is filled with 32 lessons that focus on painting, sculpture, history, and artists.

Favorite thing #1 – This curriculum does a phenomenal job of combining art appreciation, artist study, art exploration, and history, all in an easy-to-understand-and-teach way.  The lessons are short and to the point, but pack a punch and we love them!

As you move through the book, you learn about artists, their work, why it was important in the historical period in which it was created, and other fun tidbits.  At the end of the lesson, the student is given an art assignment, such as painting or sculpting in our case.

Favorite thing #2 – I absolutely love the fact that this book does not tell the child how to create the art.  It explains the concept and gives pointers to build confidence {and a picture of actual student artwork}, but it doesn’t tell them how they need to create or what they need to create.  In previous art instruction we’ve used, I hated the fact that it told Babydoll how she should do something.  That’s not art!

Babydoll was so excited to try this out; she loves art.  She spent hours {I’m not even kidding you} creating her Impressionist painting.  She understood why they were called Impressionist paintings, and understood how she could create an Impressionist painting.  It made sense to her, and she felt like she was given a task that she could easily complete.  Total success!

The lessons are age appropriate and engage the child without putting them on the spot. The evaluation of art it asks of the child is not pretentious, it’s done in a way that a kid can understand and have fun with, not something that makes them self-conscious about not knowing the “right” answer.  That was favorite thing #3.

Bonus favorite thing – Lessons are not too long. Other art curriculum we’ve done has had such drawn out lessons; it wasn’t fun. These are just right.

Definitely check this one out; I think this is one of our favorite TOS things thus far.  The books are non-consumable, which I know is a huge plus for many of you.  The materials required are not obscure and hard-to-find.  Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

What Did Others Think?


Also, check out what other TOS reviewers thought about Artistic Pursuits!

True Confessions:  I was provided with an Artistic Pursuits book to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

Gifting our Mail Woman with #MurphyUSA

Murphy USA

Murphy USAMost of us have mail carriers who are great at what they do.  With the exception of a few envelopes I’d prefer not be placed in the mailbox, our mail woman does a great job.  Packages are always put under the porch in case it rains, she speaks to us when we’re out there, we really can’t complain!  So we thought it might be a great idea to get her a little something.

Goodies for the Mail Woman


We don’t really know her, so a personalized present was out of the question.  Getting her something useful was important, and so we thought a snack would be perfect.  We know we get hungry when we’re out…

A trip to Murphy USA was just right.  I never would have thought to visit the store for something like this, but I tell you, they have a surprising assortment of stuff.

Side note:  For our football celebration, yes, we went to a Murphy Express and found a ton of stuff.  What was really surprising about the Murphy USA store is that at first glance, it looks like a simple kiosk.  Upon closer examination, though, I found that there were quite a few cases of snack, drinks, and other stuff.  Crazy, there was a ton of stuff to choose from!

Not prepared for the sheer magnitude of stuff waiting for us, we had to take a few minutes to look through everything before deciding what to purchase.

Murphy USA

Murphy USA

Murphy USA

Murphy USA

Murphy USA

After we investigated all of our choices, we decided we’d get the mail woman a protein, some cookies, and a lemonade.  We figured this would be a nice little snack for her!

Murphy USA

We found a pretty little bag to put it into, included a note, and hung it on the mailbox!  We can’t wait for her to get it!

Murphy USA

If you have a Murphy USA around, I recommend checking them out.  They have so many things that you might not have ever known about {especially the Express stores!}, and it’s all a really great price!  Perfect for putting together little gifts like this.  You can view more of our trip on Google+.  Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter, too!

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias  All opinions are my own.