Paid Focus Group For Laredo Ladies

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Think Group Austin.

All opinions are always 100% my own.




Think Group Austin


A Paid Focus Group For Laredo Ladies!


Selected Laredo Ladies Will Be Paid $125 (Value Includes Gift Card)

To Participate In A  2-Hour Focus Group Study.

No Sales Pitches ~ Just Your Opinions On….SHOPPING!


I was contacted recently by Think Group Austin about an interesting opportunity for women in Laredo to participate in a PAID Focus Group Study to discuss shopping habits!

Selected ladies will be paid $125 to provide their opinions and did I mention that the Focus Group Study lasts JUST 2 Hours?
To Learn More, Check Out The Info Provided Directly From Think Group Austin Below & Please Share The Survey With Other Ladies In Laredo!



“Think Group Austin (a market research firm) has an upcoming paid focus group study in Laredo, TX, for females ages 21-54 years old.

The study pays $125 for two hours on Tuesday, July 8th, during business hours. The study concerns shopping habits.

If you are interested in this study, please click on the link below to take a survey.

Based on your responses, one of our recruiters will contact you with more information and questions.

This is a great opportunity to share your opinions and get paid for it; in absolutely no way will we try to sell you something.

Feel free to pass the survey on to anyone who you think might be interested!”



Sponsored Post Disclaimer:    I only endorse products that I have experienced and/or tested, and often receive a product or service as compensation for conducting a sponsored post or giveaway.  The focus group sponsored by Think Group Austin is an event that I would attend, myself.  In return for my labor and provision of this giveaway, I received monetary compensation.  All opinions are always 100% my own, honest, and written in the style of the Critters And Crayons Blog. 


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Wee Rascals : Clothing Inspired By Historical Heroes {#Giveaway}


This is a sponsored giveaway on behalf of Wee Rascals. All opinions are 100% my own.







The Wee Rascals Raglan Giveaway On Critters And Crayons!


I am thrilled to let parents know about a brilliant new clothing company run by two cool &  innovative moms, Kylie and Liz!

They set out to build a brand that breaks from the common Princess & Super Hero themes we see on store racks.

Wee Rascals is a “Made In The USA” Company that features historical heroes on high quality shirts made for children.

We received the Wee Rascals Raglan shirts featuring Isaac Newton and The Founding Fathers and completely love them!

Wee Rascals Giveaway Critters And Crayons-2

The smart designs and soft texture of the Wee Rascals shirts are a real hit with the kids.

Our son is picky about how a shirt should feel, and the softer the better for him.  He gives his full “softness endorsement”!

And, the images of literary and historical figures do spark conversation and learning.

Our son and daughter  have spent some time deliberating about which Presidents are actually on our daughter’s Founding Fathers shirt ( after they asked why Ronald Reagan and President Obama weren’t on it).

Plus, you can see in the photos that the shirts move quite nicely with active boys and girls!

Wee Rascals Giveaway Critters And Crayons-5

The great news is that you can win one of these beautiful Wee Rascals shirts, too!


The Wee Rascals Giveaway starts on Monday, April 7th, 2014 at Noon (CST)

and ends on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 at Noon (CST)

The entry is free and open to U.S. Residents over 18 in the continental United States!

*Further Details Can Be Found In The Entry Form…




SHARE The Giveaway Using The Following Mobile-Friendly Link:


Don’t Forget To Use The Official Event Hashtag When Sharing!




(It helps us verify optional entries so we can find The Winner!)


The Wee Rascals Raglan Giveaway On Critters And Crayons!


Good Luck!


Sponsored Post Disclaimer:    I only endorse products that I have experienced and/or tested, and often receive a product or service as compensation for conducting a sponsored post or giveaway.  In return for my labor and provision of this giveaway, I received two Wee Rascals raglan shirts for my children as compensation.   All opinions are always 100% my own, honest, and written in the style of the Critters And Crayons Blog. 

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Laundry & My Summer Outfit: Better Together

This is a sponsored post written by me as part of The DailyBuzz Moms Tastemaker Program on behalf of P&G.


 I received a Target Gift Card to purchase products to review and have chosen to post about our experience which will result in monetary compensation.


 Even though I have received products and compensation, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.




I have a small confession to make.


I have never, ever, never-ever-in-my-entire-life-EVER used…


Fabric Softener.


It’s True.

I actually had no idea about how to even put it into the washing machine.

Do I add it after the wash cycle?

Where do I even put something like that?

It turned out that our machine actually had a handy little receptacle labeled, “Fabric Softener” and I could add it right at the same time as our detergent.

Well, that was a score!  (These Kelly Ripa-endorsed washing machines WERE worth what we paid for them, after all.)

fabric softener p+g post

Look At That! A Place For Fabric Softener Built Right In! WHO KNEW? :)

If you’ve read my blog before, you need but to run a search of “laundry” to find out that it’s not something I’m very good at staying on top of.

I can do a lot of stuff, and to a pretty high standard.  I mean…I do a lot of stuff-  like most moms.


Hmmm….  Let’s recap, Shall We?

You can see my laundry failure in…

    • THIS POST where the pile keeps coming back and back and back,
    • OR THIS POST where we learned how homemade moon sand turned into laundry super glue if you don’t wash it all out of your kids’ clothing first (tiny, itty bitty detail to remember),
    • OR  THIS POST where I flooded the kitchen with my sister’s dishwasher and nearly burned the house down cleaning the oven (wait, that’s not about laundry, but it’s close enough),
    • OR THIS POST where we learned how a really huge laundry pile actually encourages children to play,
    • OR THIS POST which ran on Scary Mommy about The Myth Of The Super Mom and my monstrous laundry pile was The Star.


Critters And Crayons  Life And Parenting In Before And After Photos 14


So, knowing that laundry is not something that I normally get very excited about, and having never used fabric softener before in nearly four decades, I was looking forward to trying out the P&G products together which I had read were “BETTER TOGETHER“.




I tried the Tide ® Free & Gentle Detergent with Downy ® Ultra Silk Touch followed by the Bounce ® Free & Sensitive Dryer Sheets on a Summer outfit  of a simple cream-colored top and fitted jeans that I planned to wear on a family outing to the movie theater.

I was really happy with the outcome!

All of the clothes, and especially the towels and throws, that were washed in the loads of laundry I did using the P&G products did come out much more soft to the touch!

Here’s that outfit that was washed with all three.


P+G Post Summer Outfit


I actually SORTED my laundry this time, too (since I’m breaking with routine and going all out!)

No pink or gray top for this Momma-

I think all three products DID work “BETTER TOGETHER”.


P&G Summer Outfit Post 2


For anyone who is “Laundry-Challenged” (like me), anything that helps you look forward to doing it is a major plus.

I’m pretty happy about the results of this product review.

I not only know how to combine some effective products, but I also know where the fabric softener receptacle is in our washing machine.

This experience MAY be enough to convince me to start sorting our laundry regularly so the color “white” is not simply implied, anymore.

I mean….WHO KNEW????!!!!


I feel that I can definitely recommend P&G’s Tide ®, Downy ® and Bounce ® as “BETTER TOGETHER”.

And, I also recommend sorting your laundry.

You Are Welcome, Folks!


So, I’m wondering….Have You Tried Tide ®, Downy ® and Bounce ® Together?

And….How Do You Sort Your Laundry Loads?


This post is sponsored by P&G. With Tide ®, Downy ® and Bounce ®,

you can keep your summer fashions looking new up to 50% longer.*

Text CLEAN to TARGET (827438) for mobile coupons.

*vs. leading value detergent alone

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TAMIU LBV Planetarium Family Movie Night “Ghostbusters” Ticket Give-Away!

Planetarium Banner


C&C is giving away 4 tickets to readers to see the Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium’s Family Movie Day Showing of GHOSTBUSTERS!!!

See below for more information!

For more details about Family Movie Night Showings, Go Here.

Ghostbusters showtimes on October 20th:  Noon, 2, 4 and 6 PM.


Who Can Enter:  

  • United States Residents Over The Age of 18.
  • Winner Must Be Able To Receive Tickets In Person in Laredo, Texas.

Give-Away Duration 

  • The Give-Away will run between Monday, October 9 and Thursday, October 18th!
  •   ***The winner will be announced via this blog post comment thread at noon on October 18th, 2012.  If the winner cannot be contacted within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected the following day until a winner is contacted.***

How to Enter:

  • Entrants must leave a comment on THIS blog post with the following:
  1. An Answer to the question:  Who is your favorite Ghostbusters character?
  2. A statement confirming that the entrant is over the age of 18.  (For example:  I confirm that I am over the age of 18.)
  3. It is recommended that you leave an email if you do not subscribe to comments for this thread to ensure you can be contacted to claim your tickets.  If you do choose to leave an email, I recommend you do it in the following format “crittersandcrayons@gmail(dot)com” to avoid spammers.

This is a sponsored post.  In exchange for promotion of TAMIU LBV Planetarium’s upcoming Family Movie Night, I have been provided with  tickets for my family and to give-away to readers and entrants in this C&C give away.  All opinions and writing are my own.

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If You Need A Great Photo Canvas Fast… {Sponsored Post}

Last week, I wrote about our experience at a local worldwide shipping warehouse, where a sweet nun laughed with me as my kids entertained all of the other package-waiters and only risked bodily injury once…I mean, I’m pretty sure it was only once.

The thing we were there to get was a canvas that had been shipped by a company called

I was contacted to see if I might be interested in reviewing their product and services and after a very quick “Yes”, I was on my way to receiving something (in just a few days) that our family will cherish forever.

Having just returned from our vacation, there were many photos that I would have considered having blown up into a canvas.

But, when I came across this one, I knew.

I knew that this was the photo that is my son’s NOW.

On this particular photo day, our son wore his caped Batman pajamas, as he had over the last six months alternating between whichever Super Hero pajamas were clean.

As my kids and I headed from the mini-van to the gym, the normally crisp blue Virginia sky was a smoky swirl of grays and whiteness.

It  seemed to be an extension of the front of my little boy’s hyper-muscled Batman shirt which mirrored the same color pattern.

I was excited to catch this photo on the way to Spinning Class, but I was even more elated when my son let out a forceful roar at the clouds just as I clicked the button.

It was not a roar of anger or frustration, but it was one of spontaneous childhood joy.

And now, my son’s lively roar under that Batman-Gray sky is hanging on the wall of our play room where I smile every morning when we walk past it.

Our son is certainly  pleased about this pictorial homage to him, too.  🙂

An honest review of’s service and product is that the company provided a fantastic product with smooth and responsive customer service.

The ordering process was intuitive and quick.

Delivery happened as promised (within a few days of the order).

And, the final result took our breath away.

I’m glad that I tried out the service because now I am a new customer. I’ve liked their Facebook Page to keep up with deals and specials.  I have also bookmarked the website because I’m thinking some smaller canvases will make excellent Christmas gifts!

Here is closer look at that fine canvas which I walk past each morning now on my way to a caffeinated cup of salvation.  Coffee used to be the thing that brightened my dawns, but now it is the natural light shining on my son’s forever-preserved howling face and symboled chest.


This is a sponsored post.  In exchange for my honest review, I received compensation in product from in the form of one photo canvas.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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A BabbaCo Babba Box Review: Emotions!

We were excited to receive a kids’ craft activity kit box from BabbaCo:  The Babba Box!


The BabbaBox program consists of a monthly subscription box for kids ages 3-6, delivered to your door filled with projects, activities, books, digital downloads and online content!

It’s a theme-based box with ALL the physical materials plus know-how content to really engage with your kids and starts at $2999/month.

I have nothing but genuinely good things to say about our Babba Box experience.  The Babba Box:

  • comes with everything you need to do each of the several activities, including suggestions and learning objectives,
  • is offered right now with some super discounts (check the bottom of the post for awesome coupon codes!)
  • are ideal for people with limited space to store craft materials or time to spend researching and building craft activities,
  • and are filled with quality materials for 4 open-ended, educational and fun activities.

The one we received to review was a kit with build-on activities about EMOTIONS.

There were four activities in the box:

  • A story book about development of empathy within children,
  • A feelings magnet activity,
  • An emotion recognition journaling activity,
  • And a puppet-making activity for kids to act out emotions and practice expressions.

First, we read the book “When I Care About Others”.  It is a cute and relatable story that even our 3 year old could understand clearly.  The pictures demonstrated emotive expressions in a way that a child could pinpoint how the animal character was feeling.

On each page, we discussed what was happening and the children explained why the characters should care about the other characters in the book:  Why were they sad?  What can the bear do to make him feel better?  How can he be a good friend to his friends?

The next activity we did was the Emotion Magnet activity.  First, the kids colored the face printables and drew in “feelings faces” on a couple of blank circles.

This was also a good fine motor skills exercise as our son surprised me with his cutting skills!  (The scissors and colored pencils came with the kit, so I didn’t even have to break out my own craft kit. )

Then, we attached the double-stick magnets to each of the faces and the paper frame we colored and cut-out.  The kids put all the new magnets up on the refrigerator.

The “face” in the picture below was drawn by our 3 year old.

I’m not sure what emotion he was trying to represent, so I call this one, “Confused” (as in, “I am totally confused by what you drew here, Son.”)  🙂

We named each of the emotions that were represented by the magnets after the kids took turns placing them into the frame.  This one was “Scared” or “Nervous”.  The kids didn’t know what “Nervous” meant, so we talked about that new word.  I told them that it was another word for “a little bit scared”.

The next day, we did the third activity: An emotion journaling activity.

Using the journal provided in the Babba Box, our daughter peeled off the stickers for the emotions she felt and observed on other’s faces throughout the day.  When she identified an emotion, she placed a sticker in the journal.

Using the “Emotion Finder” glasses in the kit, she walked around the house intent on observing others’ emotions.

The glasses didn’t necessarily do anything special.  But, what they DID do, was reinforce that she was wearing them in order to look at people’s faces to see if she could tell what they were feeling.

She started with her brother.

I promise that photo was not staged.  He was very upset that he couldn’t have more dessert.

She immediately selected the sticker that matched her brother’s face.  Haha!

The last activity we did was the sock puppet-making activity.

The kit came with everything we needed to construct two sock puppets.

Once they dried, the kids enjoyed using them to put on tabletop puppet shows where we talked even more about the different emotions we had felt that day.

I think the funniest and best aspect of this particular kit box is that my kids still use the feelings magnets every day.

Each morning, before breakfast, they change out the magnets, usually from the Happy Face to the Silly Face.  They then make silly faces and sounds and dance around before they have to take their seats at the table.

But, the magnets have also become a part of their communication process with each other.

Just the other night, our 3 year old son hopped up from his chair at the dinner table.  He said, “I’m going to change my magnet!!!”

He changed it from Happy to Mad.  When he came back to the table, he said to his sister, “YOU MADE ME MAD WHEN YOU DRANK MY WATER!”

It kind of shocked all of us.   The kids worked out their drinking cup mix-up “problems”.  Afterward, my extended family talked about how surprising it was that the kids were using the feelings magnets so seriously.

We all agreed that the activities and the children’s internalization of the lessons were impressive, fantastic, and effective.

Yes, if you wanted to just skim through this entire review, all you really need to know is that our Babbaco Babba Box experience made ME feel…..


Great News, Guys!!!!
Here are a couple of coupon codes you can enter to receive discounts on BabbaCo Babba Boxes!
  • Here is a unique code for Critters And Crayons’ Readers to receive 20% off the first box!     CC20OFF
  •  BabbaCo is offering the first 3 months of the membership for 33% off (Only $20 per box!).   The coupon code at checkout for this is CC33BTS.
  • AND…..You can use both codes!!!!

This is a sponsored post.  In exchange for my honest review, I received compensation in product from BabbaCo in the form of one activity kit box.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own. #BabbaCo

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What To Expect When You’re Expecting- The Movie!


what to expect movie

I’m excited about the upcoming star-studded movie based on the excellent “What To Expect” book series:  What To Expect When You’re Expecting-The Movie!

Seriously, Cameron Diaz?  Jennifer Lopez? Dennis Quaid?  Matthew Morrison? Chris Rock?  And more big-name characters will be bringing the story of five fictional couples with intertwining conception and birth tales to poster

To see a comical trailer, you can go here!

And for some hilarious posters that give us a glimpse of the characters we’ll be meeting in the movie, check these out!

anna kendrick

brooklyn deckercameron diazelizabeth banks

I think I was a cross between Anna Kendrick’s, Elizabeth Banks’ and J-Lo’s characters.




This is a sponsored post.  In exchange for this blog’s promotion of the upcoming movie, “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”, I was compensated with a book of my choice from the What To Expect line of books.  Even though I receive compensation, the thoughts and content of this post are entirely my own.

Fresh Produce Girl’s Twirly Dress in Happyness: A Mom’s Review

I had just been searching for our daughter’s Easter Dress when Critters And Crayons was approached with an opportunity to review products from a beautiful line of clothing I’m so glad to discover!

Fresh Produce designs, manufactures and markets a women’s and children’s lifestyle brand of clothing.  When you view their story here, you can see that that they “are rooted in the positive impact of color”.

As I looked through the site to choose a girl’s garment to review, I was struck by the vivid collections and the look of comfortable wearability.  The names of the collections (such as The Calypso, Blue Tahitian, Moroccan, and Catalina)  are exotic and represent unique styling of the places they channel.

The women’s clothes I saw looked very wearable, comfortable, bright and stylish and I made a mental note to come back to look for some breezy things for myself.

I chose a piece for our little girl from the Happyness Collection:  The Girl’s Twirly Dress in Happyness.

Girl's Twirly Dress in Happyness  | White

The image of the girl dancing in wonder reminded me of how I often see my own.

I could imagine my little girl in this vibrant dress before it even arrived.

And, when it did, we wore it to our neighborhood Easter Egg hunt where….






When I got home, she had climbed and run and frolicked and rolled in that beautiful cotton dress.

So, the real test was coming:  Would it hold up in the wash?  Would the colors stay clean and bright?  Would those gorgeous scrunchy ruffles around the bottom fray with the first wash?

We washed it using the cold cycle and tumble dried it normal.

And, it was just as perfect as it was when it arrived.

Our daughter loves this dress for its beauty and comfort.

I love it for the same reasons.  But, I also love that it holds up under some intense play and washing.

I love it so much that I made good on my mental note and went back to check to see what goodies I might find for myself on the Fresh Produce site.

Then, I ordered myself one just like it.

Effortless Dress in Happyness | White

No. That’s not me.

But, I look just like that.

We’re gonna be Mama-Daughter Bobbsey Twins!

To see other kids’ clothing and sun dresses that might interest you from the Fresh Produce brand, you can go to the following links for more information!

Sun Dresses

Casual Clothing 

Summer Fashion

This is a sponsored post.  I have agreed to review a Fresh Produce garment.  I was compensated in product (a child’s dress) as part of this agreement.  Even though this is sponsored post, I was not told what to write and all content and opinions are truthful and my own.  
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C&C Green Works Product Review

I belong to the Green Works Big Tent Community and that means that I get to participate in fabulous opportunities to try out Green Works products for the home!

I received a box in the mail with the following products:  Green Works All Purpose Cleaner, Green Works Cleaning Wipes and Green Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner.

Green Works is made by Clorox and it is made with 99% natural ingredients.  This makes me feel a lot better about using it around the house with small kids.

After dinner tonight, our stove-top had some cooked-on  food splatter that is tough to remove normally.

Because the Green Works All-Purpose cleaner is gentler than some of the more potent cleaners, I spritzed it onto the stovetop and let it sit for five minutes to help loosen the residue.

Then, the stove top was wiped clean.

The other product I have been using recently is the Green Works Cleaning Wipe.

Our son uses this potty.  I keep the wipes on hand to clean up any messes.

This is the after photo.

I figured I would spare you the before photo.

I’m hoping that once he graduates to regular use of the big-boy potty, that I’ll be able to review the Green Works toilet bowl cleaner more effectively.  🙂

Do you use Green Works products?  

What was your experience like?


This is sponsored post.  As part of the Green Works Big Tent Community, I received products to review.  I was not obligated to write a blog post, nor was I told what to write.  The opinions and content are my own.  



A Brief Conversation With A Cancer Patient

Most of us have been affected in some way by cancer.

A couple of members of our family struggled with lung and skin cancers.

I had the chance to visit the a state of the art cancer treatment facility once, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

It’s a sprawling place, almost like a Team Umizoomi city with conveyor belt bridges to transport its many patients back and forth from ward to ward. As you walk the center, you don’t know necessarily who is the patient and who is the preoccupied family member or friend.

In and around M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, there are buses and taxis waiting to transport people to where they need to go.

I was on a bus one day.

I was thinking about a lot of things at once. Did I want to quit my job? Did we want to have more kids? Boy, I wish our house would sell. I could not believe the hail storm had hit right as we put our home on the market. Why is my son teething while my husband is away for training? Why does my daughter have chronic ear infections? When is life going to become less hurried and stressful?

A very nice woman sat next to me. She was much older than I was and she had a beautiful smile. She asked a lot of questions about me and listened attentively. “You’re a new mom. That IS so stressful,” she said. “Oh, you’re just visiting. How nice of you!” she said very genuinely.

As we neared our stop, I wanted to ask her some questions. “Who are you visiting?”

And she told me she wasn’t visiting anyone. She was a patient.

She had survived breast cancer. And she recovered. Then she was diagnosed with skin cancer. And then it metastasized to the bone.

She laughed and said, “I’m a regular here!”   She explained that she just takes care of herself, and flies in regularly, and thinks and hopes for the best always.

I didn’t know what to say.

She was so bright-hearted and open and it belied her condition.

She was so friendly and upbeat and wise and attentive.

That was one of the biggest short conversations of my life.

I didn’t spend much time feeling sorry for our circumstances after she got off the bus.

I never even got her name.

And I think of her often.

I do hope she’s doing alright.

I wish I could ask her name so I could send a “Thank You” card.

This post is sponsored by American Cancer Society.