April Does That...

A product or business that I love and want to share with you!

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First Friday Favorite

What's the Deal with Usborne Books?

That's the question I've been asking myself.  What's the big deal with Usborne books?  Isn't a book just a book?  Is there really anything extra special about these books?  Well truthfully at first glance I didn't think so but I'm going to tell you a little bit about Usborne Books and then about my experience with the books I received for free in exchange for this blog post.

My family loves to read.  My husband and I enjoy reading together.  We enjoy the same kinds of stories and being able to have conversations together about the book we're reading.  My children love books!  It is a part of their daily routine.  Not only does my son read books at school, at home we read together and he regularly asks for more books.  Learning to read is high on our priorities.  Generally when we find a good book he will ask to read it again and again.  So before I tell you what my kids and I thought of the books we received let me tell you a little about the company itself.

The founder of Usborne books, Peter Usborne, hired consultants to help him make affordable and interest arousing books for children with the rise of technology.  He wanted them to be graphicaly designed to draw children in and keep their interst so as to educate and inspire them.

The books have:

  • a high picture to text ratio
  • follow strict safety standards
  • acid free paper
  • laminated covers
  • stitched bindings
  • full color illustrations
  • most are priced under $10
  • educational topics
  • some contain hands on projects, puzzles, dot-to-dot and questions to inspire curiosity
  • subjects include: non-fiction, fiction, re-done classics, puzzle and maze books, work books, learning wrap ups, hands on activity kits, activity card packs, wind up books  and more.
  • over 1400 titles
  • appeared in over 50 languages
  • won many book awards
  • for more information see www.usbornebooks.com

So the answer is yes.  The books are special.  They are different from regular books and have been recognized with many awards proving as such.  Like I said, at first glance they seemed to be just regular old books and I thought maybe my experience would be mediocre with them, but let's talk about what happened when I brought these books out with my kids.

My daughter is two and the book she received was Counting Through the Day by Margaret Hamiltion & Anna Pignataro.  As you can imagine it about counting.  The book itself is extremely sturdy.  The pages are unripable and wipeable. (perfect for a two year old.)  The picture content is high compared to the text on the page but it manages to not be too busy for little minds.  It lent itself organically to conversation.  We read the words but my daughter also pointed at the pictures and named objects such as cat, dog, bear, chicken,mama, nana, baby, cloud and more.  We were able to count objects together and talk about the sounds the animals made.  Generally book time is difficult with this little lady.  She usually likes to turn pages too quickly and loses interest very easily.  With this book she sat still and interested for the entirety of the book and even turned pages backward to talk about pictures longer.  I must say I am impressed.  I'm not sure why it was so interesting to her to tell you the truth, but the point is she loves this book.

My son is five and no longer impresses very easily.  He likes to read books but rarely seems extra excited about a certain book.  The book we received for him is Secrets of the Rainforest by Carron Brown & Alyssa Nassner.  It is a Shine-a-Light book.  When you are reading it questions prompt you to shine a light from the back side of the page to reveal a hidden image.  On the next page the hidden image is on black background and gives more informaiton about the object.  This book got my son very excited.  He asked to read it twice the first night we had it and has asked for it every night since.  He said "I love this book so much"  and "This is the best book ever!"  The book itself is interactive and has heavy, quality paper.  The sentences are age appropriate and educational.  

Overall, we are impressed with the Usborne books we received.  Our kids love them and we do too.  We are anxious to see what else Usborne has to offer.  Are you interested in learning more about these books or buying some of your own?   Join me tomorrow at 8pm est for my Facebook Usborne party or online!  Or contact Loriann O'Connor to put in your order here or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Sugar and Spice Candle Co.

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I do not accept free products for positive reviews.

Welcome to another addition of First Friday Favorite!  Just pretend it's the first friday okay?  This month I want to introduce you to a new favorite of mine.  You may not know but I'm a fan of soy candles.  They burn clean.  They don't fill your house with soot and the fumes are not harmful like traditional parrafin candles.  The scent is stronger and longer lasting.  Basically they are the winner.  My friend Heather just started a sweet little candle company and I want to introduce you to it.

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April's Fave 5 Baby Gifts

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I do not accept free products for positive reviews.


Do you ever feel like everyone you know and love is pregnant or just had a baby?  Okay maybe that's just me.  A lot of my friends have recently had or are expecting in the near future.  There's always a registry and I do think that's the way to go sometimes but I also think it's nice to pass down some maternal wisdom in the gift giving department.  If you've read this blog very much you know already that I Love small businesses and handmade things.  So usually that's my go to when it comes to gift giving as well.

Well, I rounded up five of my favorites for you to consider.  I have to say I do have a clear favorite.  I tell everyone that'll listen about my first pick.

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An April Favorite: Lederman Leather

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I do not accept free products for positive reviews.

I love discovering new favorites!  If you're wondering, one of my favorite ways to do this is by searching Instagram.  Yah shopping on Instagram is kind of a big deal, if you didn't know.  And it's pretty much my favorite way to shop online. Well while doing so I stumbled across Lederman!  I contacted the owner and a great relationship has ensued.  Lederman is located in Nicaragua!  He hand crafts all of his items.  He is extremely talented and I can't wait to share all the goodness he has in store for you. 

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Senegence LashSense and UnderSense Review

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I do not accept free products for positive reviews.

To finish up my Senegence reviews, my friend Sharlene gave me LashSense with Undersense to try.  You may have tried a similar product in the past or presently.  UnderSense is applied first to build up your lashes to the desired length and then you top it with LashSense mascara to create the finished look.  With some of these lash building masacaras you apply fibers and then mascara but Undersense is different.  It uses volcanic ash to build your lashes.  It is wax free and water resistant.  It is also moisturizing to your lashes.

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Senegence Silk Pore & Wrinkle Minimizer Review

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I do not accept free products for positive reviews.

This week I am sharing another Senegence product with you.  My friend Shannon gave me a bottle to try along with my foundation. It's called Silk.  It's used as a primer, a pore minimizer and wrinkle reducer.  It comes in an airtight bottle that keeps it fresh and helps you to use every drop.  I have been using it for about 2 months and have used about 1/3 of the bottle.   Silk has the following benefits.

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MakeSense Foundation Review

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I do not accept free products for positive reviews.

My friend Twila gave me MakeSense Anti-aging foundation to try out and review for you.  As you may have guessed it is also a Senegence product (yes, the Lipsense people)   I was hesitant to accept and even told her that my skin is  super sensitive and maybe foundation wasn't the best choice for me to review.  She insisted that I was going to love the foundation and encouraged me to give it a try.  

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The Sitch on Lipsense

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I do not accept free products for positive reviews.

Okay so unless you've been off of the internet for the last 3 years you've probably heard of Lipsense!  My friend gave me a set to try and tell you guys all about.  If you aren't familiar with it, let me break it down for you really quick.   Lipsense is lipstick! Lipstick that doesn't come off for 4-12 hours.  Now when I first heard that I was like what the heck is it?!  It must be made up of some kind of gross chemicals right?  But low and behold it is 98% natural.  She even gave me the ingredient book!

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First Friday Favorite: Flourish Leather Co.

I recieved products in exchange for this blog post review. I do not accept products or compensation in exchange for a posititve review.  All opinions are my own

This month's First Friday Favorite is REALLY a favorite of mine!  If you don't know about Flourish Leather, I'm about to seriously improve your day!  I'm so happy you're here.

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First Friday Favorite: Rags 2 Roses

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. I do not give positive reviews in exchange for products.  All opinions are my own.

This month's First Friday Favorite is one I am so excited to tell you about! As you know my Baby Girl is quite the stylish little diva and that's in part thanks to Rags 2 Roses.  One thing about me is when I find something I love and that has great value I become obsessed with it.  As a result Baby Girl and my Big Boy have  A LOT  of bows/bow ties.  

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Recent Comments
Those bows are so cute! I love that you can keep them within the same color family or mix and match!
Saturday, 06 May 2017 15:39
April Huggins
She also has new products and prints coming out all the time. I am constantly ordering from her!
Monday, 08 May 2017 21:06
April Huggins
She's definitely my favorite too! She is pretty quick too which is an added bonus I forgot to mention!
Friday, 12 May 2017 18:27
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Solely Jolie Makeup Brush Clearing Pad Review

I received free product in exchange for this blog post.  All opinions are my own and I do not accept products in exchange for good reviews. 

Today's review comes to you with some excitement!  I am in love with this new find and I just HAD to share with you.  As you know I'm pretty into all natural products.  I especially feel this way about the products I use on my skin.  I wear makeup nearly every day and I have a HUGE stash of mineral eyeshadows.  But to be honest, I don't use them that much because they can be a pain to mix and they are pretty messy.

Well I have discovered something amazing: Solely Jolie Makeup Brush Clearing Pad.  

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Plaid People Laundry Lather & Linen Spray

I received an unspeakable discount in exchange for this blog post.  I do not accept products in exchange for positive reviews.  All opinons are my own.

My family is SENSITIVE!  My kids break out in eczema rashes at the drop of a hat.  The baby gets diaper rash if we use the wrong detergent on her cloth diapers or if we buy the wrong brand of disposables.  My husband has terrible allergies and most store bought scents make me ill and itchy.  We're a mess!  

I choose natural products whenever possibe and even then I have to be mindful of everyone's allergies.  So the following review comes to you with the utmost honesty and a thorough evaluation.

This month's First Friday Favorite is Plaid People.  Plaid People is a small business offering handmade laundry lather and linen sprays.  Natasha is the owner and artisan behind the scenes and she let me sample her amazing products.  Let me tell you I am in LOVE. 

Natasha has been making natural products for her own home and family for about 7 years and now she makes them for you!  She is passionate about using the very best natural ingredients to yield the best results.  Her products are all natural, vegan and eco-friendly.  As you now know, that is right up my alley.

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The first thing I sampled was the linen sprays.  Her linen sprays are formulated with 100% pure essential oils.  They are perfect to use before ironing or to spray on pillows, sheets or laundry.  Or if you're like me, you might become obsessed and spray it on your entire house!  I spray my throw blankets, my curtains and pretty much everything else. 

There are four seasonal scents.

  • Winter Wood - reminiscent of a winter cabin with a wood burning stove.  It contains cedar, woodfir needle, cardamon, patchouli and sandlwood
  • Spring Hillside - this scent brings to mind new life after a spring rain.  A blend of grapefruit, eucalyptus, lemon, lime and lemongrass.
  • Autumn Spice - This spicy scent smells just like warm mulled spices and autumn days.  A blend of cinnamon, sweet orange and camphor.
  • Summer Sun - this burst of citrus will remind you of fresh cut grass, hot summer days and crisp line dried clothes.  It contains a blend of sandlwood, lemon, tea tree and black pepper.

These scents are all great.  They are just the right concentration to fill my home with the scent of my favorite season without overwhelming my senses.  My two favorites are Summer Sun and Autumn Spice.  My house smells ah-mazing!

So I know you're probably wondering does this all natural laundry detergent really work?  I ran it through my toughest laundry, including the towel I left in the washer that soured and got disgusting. This stuff is the real deal and there are 5 scents plus unscented to choose from.  They, of course, smell amazing.  Lavendar was my favorite.  It had quite a lingering scent.  My towels and clothes smell fresh and came out soft and comfy.  

The biggest challenge I put Natasha's laundry lather through was baby girl's cloth diaper laundry.  Soiled diapers are no joke and they must come perfectly clean or they can cause diaper rash and be super stinky.  I used unscented since oils can cause wicking.  When it comes to cloth diapers it's really important that they come completely clean and stay absorbent for the next time around.

Baby Girl's diapers came out fresh and funk free.  No diaper rash followed and they stayed nice and absorbent even after a week of washing.

Plaid People is my favorite new find and you should totally check it out!  Find them on Etsy and follow them Instagram for promotions and updates OR WIN with my latest collaborative GIVEAWAY!!!!

What you'll win:

Plaid People is giving away TWO linen sprays($13 each) Spring Hillside and Summer Sun so you'll be all set for this season and next. (P.S. I'm not kidding when I say I LOVE the summer sun scent)

AND  I am giving away a Phenomenal Woman tote ($22) from Hugged Apparel

This is a $48 value! (plus no shipping charge)

Click to enter our giveaway

Open to US residents only. Ends 4/14/17


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Maud Candle Co

 I was provided with free products in exchange for this blog post.  All opinions and reviews are my own and honest.  I do not accept products for a positive review.

It's time for a First Friday Favorite!  Today I'm introducing you to Maud Candle Co.  The owner, Cyndi, is just as cute as can be.  She and her husband run their company out of their Kansas City home.  The company is named after Cyndi's grandmother (Sarah Maud) and each candle is hand poured.  Maud Candle Co's products are eco-friendly and are carbon neutral.  They are made with fine fragrances that are infused with essential oils and their wax is all natural and American grown soy. 


So I was curious.  What's the big deal about soy candles as opposed to those paraffin candles I can go pick up at Walmart?  I want to know what I'm paying for! 

  • Soy candles are healthier.  Standard paraffin candles, like those ones at Walmart, are made from a by product of petroleum oil and increase the CO2 in your environment.  Soy candles like Maude do not increase CO2 and are made from all natural soy.
  • Soy candles are cost effective.  Soy candles burn 50% longer and more evenly- which means you won't have that annoying wax well of wasted candle up the sides of your jar.
  • Soy candles burn cleaner. You know that black soot that gets in your candle?  Well besides being ugly, over time that soot can actually discolor your walls and furniture.  But that's not the case with soy candles!  Soy candles produce negligable amounts of soot and because of this your candle stays pretty and your house is soot free!
  • The scent from is soy candle is stronger. Another reason I feel like I'm getting more bang for my buck is soy candles have a lower melting point and a larger amount of liquid wax pools around the wick when burning.  This liquid wax is what you smell when the candle burns, so the scent is stronger and longer than a paraffin candle.

 For more information on the difference between soy and paraffin candles visit this helpful blog.

 So we talked about why soy candles are WAY superior to paraffin but how do I like Maud's candles?  I LOVE them.  Cyndi sent me three scents to sample: 

Noble - My Noble candle came in a beautiful gold tin.  It is a bold and spicy musky scent.  It fills my living room with a decadent and dare I say masculine scent. It has notes of leather, tobacco and black pepper.  I never would have imagined I would love this scent so much!

 Velvet - This one turned out to be my very favorite.  Velvet is a soft and sweet medley of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg with a creamy vanilla finish.  Vanilla is my jam so this was an obvious winner for me. 

 Maven - Maven was a close second in my book with the scent of sandlewood and a hint of vanilla.  It is classic and earthy. 


 Royal - The other scent offered by Maud is Royal. A friend of mine has this one so I went over to give it a sniff.  It is a sweet treat of berries and cream! 



You guys I love these candles.  They smell amazing and they are beautifully packaged.  The packaging is simple, clean and stylish enough to become part of your decor.  Basically, Maud is a WINNER.  I love the scents.  You may not know this about me but I am a scent snob.  I usually hate everything that isn't vanilla.  Maud has me rethinking my prejudice.  I love the packaging and I love that these all natural candles aren't releasing carcinogens and soot into the air my family breathes.  

Wanna try them for yourself?  Head on over to Maud Candle Co's store and light up your world and as always Stay Crafty!

 Want to follow Maud Candle Co?

On Facebook, On InstagramOnline

Recent Comments
April Huggins
I can totally relate. I'm so sensitive to fragrance. I hope Maud Candles work out for you! I personally LOVE them!
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 16:18
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First Friday Favorite: Pura Bottles And a Personal Look at PPD

 I was provided with free products in exchange for this blog post.  All opinions and reviews are my own and honest.  I do not accept products for a positive review.

Well friends, today I'm talking about something a little different.  Something taboo.  Something most people try to hide or feel ashamed of.  Post-Partum Depression.  Now before you go running for the hills, think about this, between 11-20% of women who give birth each year suffer from post-partum depression.  That is approximately 600,000 women in the United States.  That means that most likely you or someone you know has been affected.


After I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl I had a lot of trouble coping.  Small things seemed big.  I missed an entire weekend with family because the idea of our kids together being loud and rowdy made me want to crawl under a rock. I could not handle it.  That was first time someone who loved me mentioned post-partum depression.  I was skeptical.  I was just tired.  I'm just introverted.  But, my loud loveable boy, then age 4, was LOUD and rambunctious and on my very last nerve every. single. day.  As soon as my husband would get home from work I would hide out in the bedroom away from my babies.  

I started to think and to feel like my existence was inconsequential.  Like my family, including my sweet nursing baby girl would be better off without me. That's when I did something scary!


I told the truth.  First to myself then to my husband.  I told him that I wasn't just tired and grumpy.  I literally did not want to exist.  He was so supportive and so was the rest of my family. Which is just what I needed.

So my husband went with me to the doctor.  The doctor said I could keep nursing the baby while on a medication that had been approved and tested in nursing mothers.  He said it works well for a lot of people and he and my pediatrician had never seen adverse affects on nursing babies from it.  So I did it because at this point it was a matter of life and death.  I was apprehensive and so I took the medicine at night and pumped and dumped in the mornings so that she would have as little as possible of the medication.  I started feeling better..... but then I had an allergic reaction to the medicine.  I was DEVASTATED.  


The new medication had not been tested on nursing mothers.  It was 'probably ok' but had unknown effects on the nursing child.  I thought maybe I just wouldn't take medicine and would somehow be fine but quickly realized it just wasn't an option.  I felt very frustrated and powerless.  For my own peace of mind I had to quit breastfeeding. That might not seem like a big deal but it was.  It was so hard. The hardest!  My entire body wanted to nurse that baby.  We all know breast is best and I wanted what was best for her.  But in our case that had become formula.  

There were a couple of things that helped to ease my mind.  I did a lot of research and found the best formula - in my opinion- and the best bottles on the market.  That's what I'm going to tell you about now.  Bottles.  Bottles aren't cheap and they're usually plastic or glass sometimes stainless but they always have plastic components.  It's no secret that plastic is not great for us but I'm convinced it's really not great for our growing babies.  So while searching for options I found PURA Stainless.  Their bottles are innovative and unique.  Not only are they 100% plastic free but they grow with your baby.  You can interchange their different lids on all of their bottles.  We started with baby bottle nipples but have moved on the sippy lids.  Next there is a straw or pop top option all made from silicone not plastic!  


So you might expect these bottles to be outrageously expensive but they are not.  They run between 13.99 - 23.99 in the infant department and the higher price is for a vacuum sealed insulated bottle that will keep a drink warm or cold.  Check it out! www.purastainless.com



Obviously a bottle is not a cure for post-partum depression but it was part of my journey toward better mental health.  Knowing my baby had the best I could provide her with eased my mom guilt over no longer breastfeeding.

Do you or someone you know suffer from post-partum depression?  I can say from experience there IS hope and you CAN feel better!

In Springfield there are several resources.  One is the Post-partum Support Group.  It's run by the Doula Foundation and meets downtown the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 6-8 pm.  Call 417-832-9222 to register.

Personally I found the book Feeling Good by David D. Burns to be an amazing tool to help me.


Some other resources:

Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)


Behavioral Health Response


offers 24 hour counseling and crisis intervention


Postpartum Support International


Next week, we'll be back to crafty selves with a pillow making tutorial.  Take care of yourselves mamas!  And as always, Stay Crafty!


Recent Comments
Andra Kiperts-Feller
You are brave and i admire you.
Friday, 03 February 2017 10:08
Beautifully written, April. It is scary to feel like you don't want to exist but even scarier to reach out and ask for help. I had... Read More
Friday, 03 February 2017 21:44
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