I felt very Santa-ish this morning as I lugged two bags and a box through the snow to help make a child's Christmas special (never mind the fact that yes, my belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly with every step I take).
A few months ago, the folks from Learning Curve gave me a Caring Corners dollhouse to review, with a special condition: I'd get one dollhouse for my kids and I to try out and keep, but I'd also get a second one to give away to a needy child or charity. Part of the toy's charm is its effort to teach kids about sharing, caring, and good deeds, hence the charitable twist on a product review.
I started corresponding with the house manager of a shelter for abused women in a town near Mayberry. It's part of a nonprofit group that manages an array of domestic abuse programs benefiting women and children. The shelter has 44 beds (not counting cribs), and right now every one is full; a mother and child are sleeping in the shelter's library this week because it's the safest place for them to be.
Unfortunately, because it took a while to coordinate the drop-off (note to self: When someone is clearly a bad emailer, pick up the phone), I couldn't bring the kids with me. Still, just having the extra dollhouse in our house for all this time gave us plenty of opportunity to talk about why we had it and what we'd be doing with it.
The coordinator who received the dollhouse was just thrilled, and noted that a dollhouse is an especially useful and therapeutic toy for a child who's experienced abuse. It breaks my heart clean in two to think of a child spending Christmas in a shelter, but I hope this dollhouse helps one little girl dream of the safe, welcoming home she'll live in one day.
I also donated a few other reviewed products: the Positive Spin holiday books, and an I Can Do That! game (since that company had also offered two toys, one to review and one to donate). Thank you, Whitney, for coordinating these efforts. It's been a pleasure to participate.
Also at the Full Mommy, I 've reviewed theater productions that may be coming to your area soon. Check them out: Magic Tree House, the musical and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
And have a very merry Christmas, if you're celebrating. Our guests arrive today, so I'll be busy chopping vegetables and serving salads for the next few days. See you next week!