Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Reading has been one of my passions since I was a little girl. I had hoped to pass this down to my kids, so I began reading to E when she was still in my womb. The day she was born, I began reading Goodnight Moon to her every night before bed. She started reading at 4, but never really got into it. Getting her to read is kind of like making her clean her room... she'll do it, but never without someone telling her to first.

So when I heard our book club book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I knew I had to get her in on it. She's seen both versions of the movie, so I thought it would be interesting to get her perspective of the book. After the first night, she was hooked. She stayed up past 10 p.m. and fell asleep reading every night for a week.
From the mouth of the babe:
I really liked it!!! It was exciting and really funny. My favorite part was when all the people went through the horrible things, like Augustus who went into the chocolate river and the person who really liked gum but it wasn’t really gum and turned her into a blueberry and when she went to the juicing room she came out blue! And Veruca who always demanded things, the squirrels came and put her down the garbage shoot! (She starts laughing) The book wasn’t like the movie at all. The details were different in the book. I liked the book better cause it was funnier and I could use my imagination.
I think I may have just gotten her hooked.

This post was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Penguin Young Readers Group, in partnership with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the world-famous candy emporium, and First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books for children from low-income families, is launching a year-long international celebration. 

Head over to From Left to Write to learn how you and your child can have a chance to win the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes where the grand prize is a magical trip to New York City plus much more! For every entry submitted, Penguin Young Readers Group will make a donation to First Book. Then, join From Left to Write on July 24 as we discuss Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Budsies- Artwork to Life {review}

E has become quite the artist, so when I heard about Budsies, I knew it would be something she would be ecstatic about. Budsies brings original artwork to life through stuffed animals! They take simple drawings and turn them into adorable dolls in all shapes and sizes. 
Owl for Budsies
Once you pick the art work you'd like to have recreated, you submit to Budsies via their website, email, or through a text message. They then approve the art, create, and ship within 5-8 weeks. Super simple! They keep you updated throughout the process and then you receive your doll through USPS. 
We placed our order June 4 and received her July 2. E was so excited when she opened the box. It looks just like her drawing! The eyebrows are a little bit different since her artwork was a bit detailed, but other than that, it was spot on. 
The great thing about Budsies is that you don't have to be a true artist to enjoy. As I was going through their website, I noticed some of my favorites were drawn by preschoolers. This is something I will definitely do again when little man is older! 

The dolls are about 16" and are made with polyester. Budsies is registered with the CPSC and have their products tested by a CPSC accredited independent testing laboratory. The stuffed animals can be spot cleaned and left out to dry. The dolls go through a stress tests before shipping to ensure they will last a very long time, but you shouldn't put in the washing machine. 

Be sure to follow Budsies:
twitter.com/BudsiesToys
instagram.com/budsies 
facebook.com/budsies

Sample Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are honest, accurate, and not encouraged anyway by monetary donations. A sample free of charge was received from said company, as stated within the editorial.

Go Gently Baby

A new child clothing brand that I recently discovered, Go Gently Baby, has a mission that not only makes a difference to our planet, but also to our children’s health. Go Gently Baby uses only organic cotton, eco-friendly dyes, and water-based inks. On top of using earth-friendly materials, they are all produced in the USA. Go Gently also uses as many sustainable business practices as possible, including using left-over fabric remnants each season, recycled paper hang tags and bio degradable garments bags. 

Go Gently Baby has clothing for children sizes 3/6 months to 8 years. They have adorable tees, dresses, pants, jackets and more for boys and girls. Our favorite is their Hero Tee.


I think this is such a powerful message for a little person! This has become our favorite tee and little man can’t wear it enough. It is very soft, stretchy, and comfy. It runs true to size and is on the larger size rather than smaller.

The Hero tee is available for $34 in Grape, Pumice, Seafoam, and Soft White in sizes 3/6 months to 8 years.


Little man was also sent the Wrong Side Roo shorts which are unbelievably adorable! They are long shorts with 4 oversized pockets in the front and back. These are shorts every little boy needs! Little man has enjoyed filling his with shells, rocks, cars, and I’ve even found snacks. The pants are made with 100% organic cotton French Terry, which is reversed on the upper panels- and why they call it them the Wrong Side Roo.  They are also true to size, but run on the larger side.

You can purchase them for $46 and they are available in sizes 3/6 months- 8 years in Slate, Pumice, Grape, and Royal.

 Be sure to follow Go Gently Baby on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Sample Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are honest, accurate, and not encouraged anyway by monetary donations. A sample free of charge was received from said company, as stated within the editorial.

Summer Reading Challenge Update

Last week I started the From Left to Write Summer Reading Challenge and just finished The Weight of Blood. 
If you are looking for something similar to Gillian Flynn, I highly recommend! It was a very fast paced read and once I got started, it was hard to put down. 

This week, I started Save Yourself. What are you currently reading? 

Interested in the challenge? Here’s how it works:

  • Pledge to read at least 15 minutes a day from June 26-July 24, 2014. You can join at any time.
  • If you miss a day, you can make up for it later in the week. For example read 15 minutes Monday, skip Tuesday, read 30 minutes on Wednesday. You don’t have to keep a log or anything. You’re adults. I trust you.
  • You can read whatever books you choose: literary fiction, YA, mysteries, biographies, etc. I just want you to read a book.
  • Come back every Thursday to share your progress and enter to win prizes.
  • If you are on social media, share your updates with the hashtag #FL2WSummer. Don’t forget to tag me at @fromleft2write on Twitter, tag me on Facebook or @fromleft2write on Instagram. Feel free to blog about your updates too! I love seeing what you’re reading.
  • You must be at least 18 years old to participate. Hey, it’s a reading challenge for adults!
  • There will be some awesome prizes: Amazon giftcards, books, cool t-shirts or gear from Out of Print Clothing!

    Monday, July 7, 2014

    Vegan Ice Cream {review}

    In honor of National Ice Cream month, I wanted to review Jeff Rogers new book, Vegan Ice Cream. Both of my kids are allergic to dairy, but luckily there are amazing ice cream recipes that taste better than the original! I've been running out of ideas of new flavors to try, so this was the perfect inspiration.

    Vegan Ice Cream is a 130 page book filled with 90 sinfully delicious recipes. The book discusses sweeteners, extracts, additives (like chocolate chips, nuts), milks, powders, and more. There are recipes for sauces, ice cream, and raw ice cream. You can make the ice cream in an ice cream maker and some will work in ice pops. 

    Majority of the ice cream recipes call for cashews or almond milk. So if you have a nut allergy, this isn't the book for you. I was hesitant to try making the ice cream with raw cashews, but was pleasantly surprised. It has a very rich flavor without a nasty aftertaste. You make the cashew milk yourself by blending the nuts in a blender or juicer.

    Cashews are rather expensive, so I'm not sure I'd make a lot of ice cream using these recipes, but the ones I tried were delicious! There were a few other recipes that called for almond milk or coconut, which you can purchase relatively cheap at Trader Joes or Whole Foods. 

    Some flavors include: Chocoholic Delight, Brownie Chocolate Chip, Mocha Mint, Strawberry Rhubarb, Apple Cinnamon, Black Forest, Pumpkin, Mayan Chocolate, Chai, Fig, Blueberry Peach, Pecan Pie, and more!

    You can purchase a copy of Vegan Ice Cream from Random House for $16.99. 

    I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.