Meet My New Reborn Doll, Anya!

I got a new reborn doll that I absolutely love! I thought I would share the video of her in case anyone is interested in that type of thing! I feel like I really bonded with her immediately. Getting into reborn dolls has really kind of been a comforting, distracting hobby for me to get into. I think it has even helped my depression a little bit. Now, if only something would help the anxiety….

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Baby Doll, Toy, and Book Thrift Store Shopping Haul

This weekend I did some thrift store shopping! I found a few cute outfits for my new reborn doll (whom I decided to name Amelia after a character in a YA book I read recently called “A Tragic Kind of Wonderful”). For about six bucks I got these three outfits for her:

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I also found this cute preemie 3-piece giraffe and elephant set for only $5:

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Lastly, we went to a new bargain used bookstore, which sells bundles of children’s books (around 10 books for $5). Part of the fun of buying the bundle is that you can’t really see what all you get until after you buy it, so it is somewhat of a surprise when you open the package and see what all books you got:

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Of the books I got in this bundle, my favorites are the “Spooky Friends”, “Cinderella” (from the live action movie version), Elmo’s World, and the “Penguin Skating Party” ones. I also picked up the cute cloth alphabet blocks you see to the right of the books in the photo for only $.99 at the thrift store where I got the baby clothes.

I Got My Reborn Baby Doll!

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I got my first reborn baby doll in the mail yesterday! Now, as I mentioned in my first post about buying the doll, I didn’t buy one of the ones that is hundreds of dollars, so it isn’t as lifelike as many of the higher priced ones are, but I still really like her! She has bright blue eyes with the most adorable eyelashes and strong, rooted light brown mohair, which feels a lot like real hair.

When I first got her out of the package, I could see that I was going to have to tidy up her hair, which was a bit too long for my liking in the front, but I think I have it evened out pretty well now. The sad thing is that she doesn’t really fit well into the newborn clothing I bought for her. It is too big and definitely too long. I’ve found that the preemie outfits fit her just about right though.

She doesn’t weigh as much as a real baby, but is weighted some so that she is much nicer to hold than your typical cheap superstore baby dolls. She really smells like baby powder too! Reminds me of Cabbage Patch dolls in that way. I haven’t named her yet, so far just been calling her “Baby”. Any suggestions?

“Mini Myths”, Kids Board Books Based on Greek Mythology

I love children’s books. I collect many different kinds of books for kids and honestly probably have more books geared towards children in my library than I have books geared for adults. Recently I came across these “Mini Myths” board books that are made for babies and toddlers (written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli). They feature characters like Pandora, Hercules, and Medusa from Greek mythology and are simply adorable:

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Here you can see a brief glimpse inside the books:

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I think my favorite is probably Pandora, although I love Hercules’ energy and trouble-making attitude. If you work with or have small children of your own, I would definitely check these books out. They are a great way to introduce even the youngest of kids to fun characters from mythology in a silly, playful way kids and parents will love.

New Video about My New Children’s Book Release!

Hi everyone! I am excited to share my newest children’s middle grade book release with you all! I have been working on this book for a while now and am definitely proud of the results! “Creepy, Funny & Just Plain Weird: Stories and poems for kids” is goofy, funny and a little bit gross and creepy at times too! It is sure to appeal to kids, even reluctant readers! Make sure you check out my short vlog video about the new book:

If you would like to get a copy of this book for yourself or your kids, you can find the paperback version for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $6.99. There is also a Kindle ebook version available for $2.99! If you do read it or get it for your kids, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Goodreads or even just reaching out to tell me personally what you thought of it!

Life Update: Jobs, Kids, Writing & Bernie Sanders!

 

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“YOLO” collage on paper by Maranda Russell

Hello everyone! I’m sorry that I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. I hope to start remedying that now. Here is a short list of some of the things that have been going on in my life recently, as well as some of the projects I am looking forward to beginning:

  • For the last 8 months I have been working part-time in an emergency room. During that time I have met some fascinating people, but I have also been witness to a great deal of human suffering. I have always been a sensitive, rather empathic person who feels things deeply and in that way, I feel that this job has affected me greatly. I will be leaving the position soon to pursue other opportunities, but I am grateful for the experience.
  • Recently I have begun to take on more freelance writing gigs, particularly in the field of children’s writing. I have found that one of my true passions is taking the visions of other authors and helping them create great stories for kids. I especially enjoy editing picture books or other types of literature for young readers. Mostly I have been getting clients through online sites, but I am open to offers from other clients, so if you have a children’s book that you would like help editing, feel free to contact me!
  • My husband and I are hoping to start doing respite for kids and young adults with disabilities soon. Ever since we stopped fostering kids, I have missed having children around to play with and care for. I can’t wait to get a chance to have a full house again, even if it is just for short periods of time.
  • My YouTube vlog, Maranda’s Toys & Books, has been growing quickly! Ever since I decided to focus the channel mostly on my nerdy love of toys, books and collectibles, it seems to have found its niche and an audience that is a lot of fun to interact with! For that reason, I will probably be sharing my more serious or personal posts here on my blog from now on.
  • Lastly, this is kind of random…but I’m really rooting for Bernie Sanders! Feel the Bern! Even if he doesn’t end up winning the presidential nomination, I am thankful to see so many younger people step up and show they care deeply about the fate of our country. I think what I love most about Bernie is that he is such a humble, down-to-earth politician. It is truly refreshing to see.

Drugs are Scary

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Recently, my husband and I went to a special class about street drug use among youth. The only reason we really went was to earn some of our foster parent educational credit hours, but I must say that the class turned out to be eye-opening and even frightening on many levels. I thought I already knew the basics about street drug use…but apparently there is ALOT I still had to learn.

Following are a few of the facts and statistics that were shared during the class that surprised or even shocked me. Read them over for yourself and decide if we as a country should be worried…

  • Of all young people who die from overdosing on drugs, 98% started with marijuana. (Guess that kind of ruins our society’s whole “marijuana is harmless” belief).
  • Studies show that the risk of a person having a heart attack in the first hour after smoking marijuana is 4 times more likely than their normal risk.
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the hardest to get and 10 being the easiest to get, getting crack cocaine in this area of Ohio is an 8 for a minor. (Although obviously this statistic would vary depending on where you live and other factors, it scares me that it is so easy for our youth to get hold of cocaine).
  • Ketamine, known on the streets as “Special K” is actually a tranquilizer for large animals. For this reason, many veterinary clinics and other animal handlers often become victims of theft and other crimes due to addicts pursuing their drug.
  • OxyContin, Morphine, Vicodin and Codeine are in the same family of drugs as Heroin. (No wonder these pain killers are so addictive)!
  • Heroin users often start out by abusing prescription drugs.
  • Approximately 1 in 6 meth labs EXPLODE! This is truly terrifying! And these are not small explosions!
  • People who abuse methamphetamines have less than a 5% chance of ever fully recovering.
  • The average age for someone who inhales chemicals to get high is 9-13. (If that is the average age, many kids must do it at even younger ages. We obviously need early intervention here.)

So did those facts worry you at least a little bit? They should. If you don’t already talk to your kids about the dangers of drug use of all kinds, please start talking. And always keep an eye out. Don’t be the parent that is in denial and doesn’t see a problem right before their eyes until it is too late.