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A Hello and a $25 Amazon Giveaway!

Pumpkin PatchHello there! I sort of left you hanging for awhile, didn’t I? So sorry about that. Last week was kind of nutty and then I went away on a little trip. Well, it wasn’t really a little trip, exactly. It was short but entirely fabulous. Much more on that after I sort out my hundreds of photos. If you watch that little Instagram box on the right margin of my blog, you might already have an idea of where I went. It was rather fantastic. More on that tomorrow.

For today I wanted to share a recent outing I went on with the kids. Their Dad and I took them pumpkin picking. It was a glorious sun-shiny fall day and we all piled into the car together and went to a local farm to find pumpkins for carving.

Actually, it felt like all of New England was there along with us judging by the throngs of people. I suppose everyone felt like getting their fall on that day.

Pumpkins Smolak FarmsAnd can I tell you something I really stink at? Judging pumpkin weights. See all of the pumpkins in the picture above? I figured they were all different weights. They sure look like different sizes to me. But when we went to pay I found out that each of them weighed around thirty pounds each. Pumpkins are deceptive buggers. I wasn’t expecting to pay quite that much for something that’s surely going to turn into a buffet for squirrels. Ninety pounds of buffet to be exact.

Cider Donuts Smolak FarmsBut then I saw the cider donuts and everything felt right in the world. There’s something about cider donuts that makes everything ok. As long as you don’t eat several of them at one time. Not that I have any experience with that or anything.

Smolak FarmsAfter we came home from our outing, I glanced through the pictures I had taken that day. And the one above really grabbed my heart. Leela had been bounding ahead of her Dad and I. We weren’t nearly moving fast enough apparently because she shouted over her shoulder “Mom, are you coming?” To that I responded, “Yes Leela. I’m right behind you.”

And what I really meant in my heart was that her Dad and I will always be right behind her. Behind Leela and the other three kids too. Forever. Because even though we have divorced, we will always be there for our kids. We’ll always have their backs, fronts, sides and every other angle they need covered. That’s what parenting is about.

Enough sappiness.

How about a giveaway? We haven’t done one in quite awhile and I’m in a giving mood! Enter below for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! My way of saying Happy Fall!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Which Way is Up?

SkyCan you tell from the picture above if the sun is setting or rising? If I hadn’t taken the picture myself, I wouldn’t be able to answer that question. I’m certain that some of you can because my readers are a smart bunch.

Often times I look at life this way. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. Life can get a little confusing, leaving us not knowing which way is up. Like someone dropped us right into a foreign country without a map or a language translation book.

If you look at my recent posts, you might think that I’m lost. Or maybe that I’m chest deep in depression because some of my posts, ok most of my posts, have been a little dark lately.

But I am here to tell you that I am completely a-ok. Things might be a little confusing right now and I might not know which way is up, but I’m not feeling lost, scared, intimidated or lonely. I feel none of those things.

While there is a lot of confusion and change happening in my life right now, there’s also so much beauty and joy.

Matter of fact, I have so much happy to share with you I don’t even know where to start.

So while I sort out my brain, please bear with me as I clean and organize the shelves of my mind. I am taking things off the shelves and trying to decide what to keep and what to toss. And as I do that, I may share some stuff with you that you might find unsettling.

And in case you are wondering why I’m doing this on a mom blog, I need you to know that I share this stuff with you because I want you to see that you can still have a good satisfying happy life even if you have gone through tragedy.

That even if you had a crap childhood, lost a child, got run over by a car and went through a divorce that you can still be JOYFUL!

If you get nothing else ever from my blog, I will be satisfied if you get that one thing.

For those of you who’ve left so many wonderful comments, know that I will be responding to them this weekend. I’ve been rather busy this week and I’ve not had the time to respond properly. Please know that I will and that I appreciate each and every one of you.

Have a wildly wonderful weekend full of love and happiness. That’s my game plan.

The Ugliest Christmas Sweater

It was a Friday and for the first time I was thankful I was a latchkey child. I let myself into the house and went directly to my room to grab my overnight bag which I plopped in front of our kitchen pantry.

What could I take that would not be missed? Tea bags. Every morning she drinks a cup of tea. No one would miss it if I grabbed a handful. I wonder if anyone would notice if I took the package of cookies?

Cookies go with tea and she loves a sweet in the morning. And I can’t remember the last time I saw a name brand in her cabinet. Oreos are her favorite. What’s Christmas without a treat? Into the bag they went, with a little more guilt this time as I tucked the Oreos into my duffel bag. It’s one thing to take a few tea bags. It’s another thing to take an entire package of cookies. I’ve officially crossed the line into theft.

I continued searching through the pantry, looking for anything we had in abundance. Unfortunately my stepmother was not much of a stockpiler. She bought what she needed and only that. Prepackaged goods weren’t her thing. She was more of a farmer’s market kind of woman and avoided shelf stable goods like the plague.

And while my mother also loved fresh fruits and vegetables, those would be much harder to smuggle to her.

This was my first Christmas visiting my mother. Up until that year it had always been the flip. I had lived with my mom and every other Christmas I spent the holiday with my father.

But this was the year that my mother gave me away to my dad. The year that my mom packaged all of my belongings into trash bags and delivered me to my father’s house.

I helped drag those bags of clothing and personal possessions into the house. Bags full of worn out ill-fitting clothing and threadbare stuffed animals I couldn’t bear to part with. And as I lugged those bags into the house with the help of my dad and stepmom, I couldn’t help but feel just like one of those trash bags. Not worth much and a tedious chore to deal with.

I was ten years old.

Now it had been three months of this new living situation and it was the day that my mom would pick me up to celebrate Christmas. And as I stuffed my duffel bag into the trunk of her car, heavy with the guilt of stealing from my father, I felt like a ten year old Robinhood. Taking from the rich to help the poor, but not feeling so good about it.

When we arrived at my mom’s small two bedroom apartment I quietly went into the kitchen and put the food into her cabinets. My ten year old brain didn’t think about how obvious that would be as I placed a can of tuna fish on an empty shelf.

As I placed the food in her cabinet, I couldn’t help but think about our last Christmas together. While I wouldn’t call living in my stepfather’s home a happy memory, it was a stable one. We lived in a four bedroom house in a nice neighborhood. Our cabinets were always full of good stuff to eat. And when it came to the holidays, no expense was spared. My mom made sure that it was memorable and magical.

But then she divorced my stepfather and her life changed drastically as did my own.

Now in my father’s custody, a year later I placed my presents for my mother under a tiny tree in her already cramped living room. Gifts that I bought with my father’s money. Money that I did not steal, I might add.

My mother did her best to make that Christmas feel like more than what it really was. We spent Christmas Eve at a diner where she worked, celebrating with co-workers at their holiday party.

While everyone was full of holiday cheer, laughing and celebrating together, I couldn’t help but sit there with a fury in my heart. Hating that my mother had to turn tables to feed herself. Embarrassed that I was spending Christmas Eve in a diner with strangers. And wishing that I could turn back the clock and go back to that less than perfect life in suburbia and reclaim my mother, my innocence and my childhood.

And when I woke up Christmas morning, I was surprised to see packages under the tree. How she was able to buy gifts with her limited income is a mystery, but there they were.

On that Christmas morning she and I sat by the tree. Just she and I for the first and last time of our lives. Looking back, I’m glad for the not knowing. Because if I had known that she and I would never have that kind of mother and daughter moment again, I might have been grief struck.

Her tradition had always been to save the best gift for last. And as I opened that last package, her eyes looked brighter than they had in months. And as I lifted the sweater out of the layers of tissue paper, I could feel her anticipation.

It was a brown and cream sweater. Sewn to the front were eight small furry rabbits’ feet. Easily it was the ugliest sweater I’ve ever seen. A sweater that would make me even less popular at school  than I already was. I could already hear the kids taunting me. This sweater would be more of a gift to them, giving them more ammunition to shoot me with.

But my mother looked desperate for me to like it. And I was desperate for her to take me back. So I told her how much I loved it. Lying through my teeth and proving it to her by promptly pulling it over my head and forcing a toothy smile.

After the gifts were exchanged, she and I shared a cup of tea and the bag of Oreos which she drew no attention to other than eating them with me. A moment that was a happy memory, one of the few from that year of my life. Just the two of us. Something that had never been and never will be again.

As I packed to return to my father’s home, I shoved that ugly sweater deep to the bottom of the bag. And as I hoisted the bag over my shoulder, it was just as heavy with guilt as upon arrival.

And when I got back to my dad’s, I hid that sweater in the back of my closet. Never to be worn again. And I’d like to say that I refused to wear it because it was hideous. Certainly the kids would’ve been merciless. But the truth of the matter is that the sweater was too heavy to wear.  Growing up in Michigan, a heavy sweater is a good thing. But this sweater’s weight had nothing to do with the yarn.

This sweater was weighted with too much guilt, expectation and devastation than my already weary ten year old shoulders could bear.

So why the guilt over never wearing the sweater? Because I knew that my mother had to turn countless tables in order to buy that gift. Her tips came in change, not dollars while working at the diner. It was back breaking work, a kind of work that was foreign to my mother but necessary for her survival.

I knew that the reason her cabinet shelves were bare was because she went without so that she could buy gifts.

And while she made choices that year that would ultimately send me to therapy for a good long time, she earnestly tried that Christmas to make up for it. Enough guilt to last a lifetime. For the both of us.

Memories that don’t easily get tucked away into a closet never to be seen again. If only it were that easy.

Something’s Fishy #Sponsored

ScallopsFall is normally full of wonderful smells. Fresh baked pies, burning leaves and the scent of freshly washed snuggly blankets comes to mind. But this house? That’s not exactly the case. This house has a different fall scent. Fish. Lots and lots of fish.

You see, my eldest is a hunter and gatherer of all things ocean related. In the past week he has brought home all kinds of free food like scup (google it), crabs, scallops and even eels.

The first night he brought home the scup. Thirty of them to be exact. And the first thing he said to me when he proudly plopped the sack on the counter, scales and all, was if I could make them into something delicious.

At first I looked at the pile of dead fish on my counter and then I looked at his beaming face. Next thing you know I’m serving chowder and sweeping fish scales off my floor. No one told me that this was part of parenting when I signed up for this gig.

ScallopsThe next day brought crabs (easy enough) and then the following brought scallops. Have you ever seen a scallop sans bacon? They are rather interesting creatures. Apparently they have up to a hundred eyes. And if you look close enough, you can actually see them…

scallopsOk, so you can’t see them in this picture but you are going to have to trust me. They look much nicer when you buy them at the grocery store, right? Luckily for me, Aidan handled the dirty work this time. He separated the meat front the shells which took a lot of work. And as he did it, scallop juice sprayed all over my kitchen. I went into the other room to work while he cracked and separated away. It was best not to watch.

scallopsAnd I have to tell you, all the cleaning after the fact was totally worth it because heck, FREE SCALLOPS! Now if I could just get the kid to bring home lobsters. I won’t even complain about taking the meat out of the shells. Or the smelly aftermath. Lobsters are worth all of it.

SC JohnsonEven though my kitchen is now clean, there’s still a lingering fishy odor. I’m pretty sure that smell could sink into steel. So to freshen things up around here, I’m burning lots of wonderful smelling candles and plug ins. If you’re anything like me, you linger in the aircare aisle sniffing every good smelling thing. I’m sort of addicted to that stuff. I’m always buying a new scent. And boy did that come in handy this week. Goodbye fishy smell, hello pumpkin spice latte.

Now what to do with those eels? Any recipe ideas? Come on, I’m certain you have a Pinterest board dedicated to eel recipes.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of SC Johnson. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


New England HarborI’d like to start this post by thanking all of you for your support. I know the news I delivered last week was a bit of a shock, but as usual you gave me grace and compassion when it could’ve been just as easy to judge. Please know how much I appreciate all of your comments and wise words. I’ve read them all and they have been a great comfort. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I had so much anxiety prior to announcing the divorce. I’m not sure why it was so hard to tell you about it. I think part of it was the fear of letting you down. So many of you have stood by me during some pretty intense trials and tribulations. I wasn’t really keen on announcing another earthquake in my life.

And then another part of me didn’t want you to think less of me. Even though approximately half of all marriages end in divorce, there’s still a stigma surrounding the whole thing. And I rather liked my image as a wife and mother of four. Even if it wasn’t entirely perfect, at least it was socially acceptable.

Isn’t it funny how we get comfort from hiding behind what’s deemed socially acceptable?

The other thing I struggled with was the idea that I could influence you to make a drastic decision of your own. That my divorce would put thoughts of discontent into your own head and that’s not something I wanted for you. Because let me tell you, divorce is hard. It’s hard and it hurts.

I don’t want you to hurt and I sure as heck don’t want to be responsible for putting the idea of divorce into your head to begin with. So if you have any doubts about your marriage, don’t be quick to assume that divorce is the answer. It must be the last resort.

That pretty much sums up why I waited to tell you the news. But now that you know, I feel like I can take a full breath again. And while I know the path I’m on will most likely be bumpy for awhile, I know that things are going to be ok.

Because even in rough seas, I’m anchored by people like you who support me. People who believe in me. When you have that going for you, you can’t help but stay afloat.

My boat may be dinged up a bit, but it’s still seaworthy. Let’s see where the wind takes us, shall we?

The End and the Beginning

This post is the hardest one I’ve ever had to write in my blogging career. I’ve started it and erased it more times than I care to recall. Do you remember getting a report card that you were afraid of showing your parents? Did you ever screw something up so badly that you were afraid to be found out? Have you ever failed at something so miserably that you wished your life would just end so that you wouldn’t have to face the world?

Regardless if you’ve shared these feelings or not, that’s where I am today.

When I first started blogging, I never blogged to grow a readership. That wasn’t my intent. I just wrote because I loved it. I never imagined that I would someday have a responsibility to my readers about my life choices. Honestly, that never crossed my mind.

But as the years went on, my blog did indeed grow. Then again, so did I.

Here I am today. Looking at an ice cold pool of water. Terrified of jumping in. Can I handle the shock? Will I get used to my new normal? Will I still be accepted? You just don’t know until you jump into the pool. So here it goes…

I am no longer married.

Take a deep breath. I know this is a shock.

This didn’t just happen this week. Actually, it’s been a long time in coming.

The end of my marriage was not like most. There weren’t any screaming matches. No drama. No feuds over the normal stuff that people typically argue about. There was just a shared resignation that while it sucked, we needed to work together as a team to bring forth the best final chapter of our married lives that we could. For the sake of our children. And for the sake of our sanity.

I know you want details. I can’t give them to you. Some things need to remain private. Out of respect for my former husband and also for the sake of my children. And to be honest with you, your questions would be hard to answer because I don’t have easy answers to give.

This is what I can tell you…

I have very few regrets. Matter of fact, I would do much of it again. My former husband is exactly the father my children need. I am so thankful that he loves his children and continues to work with me to co-parent in a united way that shows our kids that we stand together in all things parenting. For that I am thankful.

As a partner, he did his best to support me in all of the ways he knew how. Did we have our problems? Absolutely, all couples do. But I can’t say that he didn’t try to meet my needs. Even when I didn’t exactly know what those needs were.

I am not an easy woman to be married to. I am wildly passionate about some things and apathetic about others. One day I am on a mission to save the world and the next I’m lucky to put the dishes in the dishwasher. I am up and down worse than the craziest roller coaster. But what cannot be argued is my passion for my family. Even if it’s splitting in half.

I firmly believe that you can have two people who are both great people but together they are not a strong couple.

That is us in a nutshell.

Two good people. But sometimes two positives do not create another positive. I should also mention that I suck at math and science. So don’t go poking holes in my theory. It’s a moot point anyway.

Will I miss him?


But he will always be a part of my life. We have four children, after all. We are bound together for the rest of our days due to those four beautiful blessings that were bestowed upon us.

And after hours of discussion on how best to move forward, we both believe that civility and respect is what’s best for our children.

While I’m certain that this will come as a shock to mostly all of you, I hope you reserve judgement. Life is hard. Relationships are complicated. And a happy ending is not always guaranteed.

The final chapter of my book has not yet been written. The same is true for my former husband. My wish for both of us is a life filled with peace and joy. A life where a new day brings hope and possibility. And that both of us can look back and say what we created was good and worth the hard effort. Because in my heart, I believe that to be true. And while change is never easy, it’s a part of life. I’m ready to start living again.

A Spoonful of Sugar or Perhaps a Pound

Mexican LunchAs a concerned mom of four, I try very hard to feed my kids a nutritious diet. Sure, I write about all kinds of sweets and treats on my food blog, but I take great care to limit the junk in our daily diet. Just to prove to you that I’m not full of crap, up above you will see the lunch I made today. A masterpiece of nutrition.

Macchiato Muddy BuddiesPrior to that healthy lunch, I spent the morning working on a recipe for A Beautiful Bite. I came up with this ridiculously easy to make Macchiato Muddy Buddies recipe that I thought would be a fun snack for the kids after they had their initial healthy snack after school. Yes, I require them to eat something good like a fruit or veggie before the treats. I have enough mom guilt, thank you very much.

But when my littlest came home from school today, she announced that it was ice cream social night. Doh, I forgot about that. Actually, I blocked it out. I know the kids love it and all, but one hundred plus kids running around screaming after being pumped up on sugar is not my idea of a good time.

And then there was the special treat I made. So much for that. I couldn’t give them two sweets in one day. Once again, mom guilt.

School Ice Cream Social

School Ice Cream SocialOff to the social we went. And it went exactly as I thought it might. Lots of treats that of course thrilled the girls and enough noise to rival a sonic boom. Upon arriving home I skipped the muddy buddies and went right for a glass of wine. The idea of anything truly sweet made my brain hurt.

So nutritiously speaking, I think this day was a wash. But tomorrow is another day. A day I plan to fill with the colors of the rainbow in the form of fruits and veggies, not M&Ms. It’s all about balance and flexibility, right?

Pressing Forward

LollieI once heard someone say that if you surround yourself with people you aspire to be like, it will inspire and motivate you to achieve similar success. That notion resonated with me, so I set off to surround myself with creative people who excel at the things I’m interested in; blogging, food photography and recipe development.

I was very successful that way. Indeed, today I am not only connected with successful food bloggers, photographers and cookbook authors, I’m actually friends with them. And while this has been an amazing blessing, it’s also been a curse.

Every day when I check my Facebook feed, I’m bombarded with posts that show another amazing food picture, an announcement of a cookbook deal and stories of milestones met. And while I am sincerely happy for my friends, I can’t help but feel badly about my own progress with my personal food blogging goals.

And this is kind of hysterical if you think about it because even though I haven’t written on A Beautiful Bite in five weeks, my traffic continues to grow. It grows in spite of myself.

So what’s the deal? Why am I not writing on that site? Because I am artistically paralyzed. Try as I may, I cannot master food photography. It’s one of those things that I struggle with. Sure, my pictures aren’t awful. They are fairly decent and if I didn’t have a basis of comparison, I’d probably be rather pleased with my progress.

But because I cleaved to that notion of surrounding myself with people who excel at food photography, I can’t help but admit that it isn’t what it should be. Or what it could be if I just tried harder.

Not one to give up easily, I reached out to one of those fabulous friends on Facebook who’s always posting gorgeous pictures to ask for some guidance as to what I’m doing wrong. And being the generous type, my friend Lollie agreed to spend the day with me, teaching me how to properly use my camera.

Thank God for generous friends.

LollieLollie shoots with a Nikon while I shoot with a Canon. That doesn’t sound very different to people who don’t understand photography. But trust me, it’s a big deal. She basically had to figure out how to use my camera before she could teach me what I was doing wrong.

She even went as far as to look at my pictures on A Beautiful Bite to get a feel for what I was missing. Once again, I’m lucky to have friends who care enough to devote the time to help me.

Pound CakeBetween sips of coffee and searches on Google for Canon help, Lollie made the necessary changes to my camera settings that will help me take better photos. Oh, and she showed me the difference a tripod can make to a photo. No more handheld shots for this girl.

Pound CakeThe above image is one of the shots we took this morning. Already I can see a difference as the image is sharper and warmer in tone than the images I’ve taken previously. A major step in the right direction.

And while that is all well and good, that’s not the point of this post today. What I want to do today is encourage you.

If you are struggling with learning something new, don’t give up. I know that it’s easy to fall into that mindset that we are too old to learn a new trick. Because when I’m struggling with my camera, this is my fall back response. I’m too old to learn something new.

But whenever I start to feel that way, I remind myself of Julia Child.

Did you know that she was in her 50’s when she became the Julia that we know and admire today? Did you know that she was 37 when she enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu? And that she was 49 when she published her first cookbook which was quickly followed by her television show at the age of 50?

I don’t use this example because I aspire to be famous like Julia. That is not one of my goals. What I draw from her life is the spirit of not giving up. To learn and grow every single day. Even in the face of frustration. Even if I don’t compare to my peers. Even if I can’t produce the same quality of work that my friends are producing, it’s ok.

Every day that I learn something new, it’s a step above where I was yesterday. Learning does not come easy to me when it comes to this one thing. But with each day that goes by and with the assistance of friends who truly care, I am moving forward and my skills are improving.

And even if I learn at a snail’s pace, can you imagine where this snail will be in a few years if she keeps slugging away?

How about you? Is there something that you would like to do but you find it challenging? Is there a new skill you’d like to learn but are too intimidated to try?

Hood Sour Cream Meal Makeover Cook-Off

HoodA couple of weeks ago I was invited to compete in a cook-off that required that I use Hood Sour Cream as a base ingredient for a dinner entree. And you all know how I love a cook-off. So of course I was all over that.

Hood Sour CreamI use sour cream regularly and Hood is my go to brand because I appreciate how they donate to causes I support like The Great American Milk Drive which donates milk to families who are struggling financially. It’s a great cause which I encourage you to read about. Brands that give back are worth supporting in my book.

Hood Sour Cream EventThe competition kitchen was super cool. All of the bloggers had their own work stations and access to whatever tools we needed in the kitchen. They even had people there to wash our dishes when we were done. Sadly we could not bring them home with us.

Melanie and FriendsThis competition was rather strange as I was competing against my friends. And as it turned out, it was more like a delicious dinner party than a competition. My friends are good cooks.

Sarah Hood EventHere’s Sarah having her dish recorded. Did I mention that there was a production crew? This was serious stuff. Sarah’s Sour Cream Chicken was delicious and I will be serving that to my own offspring soon.

Southwestern Pot PiesMy recipe was a Southwestern Chicken Pot Pie served up in individual servings. A big hit with my kids and popular with big people too. Recipe to follow at the end of this post.

Leah's KugelThe winning recipe of the cook-off was my friend Leah’s Sour Cream Kugel which was the cat’s meow. I love kugel. Actually, I think all of the recipes were worthy of blue ribbons. I didn’t try a dish that wasn’t wonderful at the cook-off. And I am now convinced that my friends really ought to invite me over for dinner more often.

If you are a pot pie lover, give my Southwestern Chicken Pot Pies a whirl. They are hearty and zesty. A great way to warm up on a chilly day. Great for littles and adults alike! For more dinnertime inspiration, be sure to visit Hood.com.

Southwestern Chicken Pot Pies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup poblano peppers, roasted and chopped
½ cup chopped red pepper
½ cup corn kernels, roasted
½ cup black beans
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup Hood sour cream
1 ½ cup cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
2 Tbsp Southwestern spice (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 pie crust
1 egg

Southwestern Spice Blend
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 Tbsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp salt

In a large dutch oven, saute onions in butter until translucent. Add peppers, corn, black beans and cilantro. Add flour and stir to coat.

Turn heat to low and add chicken broth, sour cream and cheese. Cook until cheese is melted. Add Southwestern spice, salt, pepper and lastly, the shredded chicken. Stir to thoroughly combine.

Take off heat and spoon into individual ramekins. Top with pie crust. Lightly beat egg and brush over crust. Sprinkle a little salt over top and bake in a 350º oven until golden.

This is not a sponsored post. Hood did give me a gift card to cover my ingredients and transportation costs.

Crafting Fun with DohVinci and a Giveaway!

The Paint Bar Newbury StreetLast night the girls and I got our craft on at The Paint Bar on Newbury Street. But instead of painting, we got to try out DohVinci. Made by the makers of the classic Play-Doh modeling compound, DohVinci is a sophisticated and versatile crafting compound that’s more appealing to bigger kids who have aged out of the classic Play-Doh.

DohVinci Blogger EventThe girls and I spent the evening with other bloggers testing out the new product which was great fun. DohVinci is very different from Play-Doh. The kits come with a styler that you load with DohVinci cartridges which are filled with the colorful compounds that you use to embellish different craft projects. The DohVinci compound consistency is not the same as classic Play-Doh as it’s designed to flow out of the styler sort of like a glue gun.

DohVinciOne of the nice things about DohVinci is that it’s not complicated to use. I’m not particularly good at crafting, so I appreciated how easy it was to work with. The girls liked that they could easily control the styler and change the color cartridges. I appreciated that it wasn’t messy. The less I have to clean up after a craft, the better.

DohVinciDohVinci is a nice craft for older kids and tweens. It’s definitely more versatile than traditional Play-Doh and will certainly be appealing to the tween in your life. My girls were pretty smitten with it.

How would you like to win a package of DohVinci products for your favorite big kid? The folks from DohVinci are offering a prize package for one of my readers that consists of one DohVinci Vanity Design Kit and one Door Décor Kit. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post by leaving your first name, last initial and the state you are from. Entries must be received by Wednesday, September 17th 11:59pm ET. Good luck!

This post is not sponsored. DohVinci did provide kits for my children to use to facilitate the review. There are affiliate links in this post.