Play, Imagine, Save, Succeed!

Follow the Road to Future Success-Infographic




“Mommy, what are we going to do today? Get a pass!


 clay picFarmers Exhibit-Museum of Science and Industry

I was one of those moms that owned all the passes; the city museum pass, the city zoo pass, and the local activity pass. Believe me they were worth every penny, especially when you are faced with entertaining a three year old for 12 hours!


The average pass is about $100 per year but, it includes parking, access to other museums and special member events. These make great shower gifts!


Most included extra passes to bring friends. (a huge bonus when you have people  staying from out of town) You can just go for a couple of hours and not feel bad because you didn’t stay all day to get your moneys worth. Take a picnic lunch or just a snack and head out between naps or after pre-school.


We were never without an event on our calendar & some of that we went to see:

Effie the Elephants birthday (Brookfield Zoo),

Cleopatra exhibit (FieldMuseum),

Van Gogh’s Exhibit (Art Institute)

Grossology (Discovery Children’s Museums)

Toy Maker 3000 (Museum of Science & Industry)

 nick picButterfly Exhibit-Brookfield Zoo

Having a pass was the best exposure to the world that my money could buy. We attended fun but educational programs that came to our area, using the cost-efficient passes. I believe that early exposure to other cultures via; science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) gives kids the ability to understand complex concepts, which may lead to a simpler school experience.


Check out the cool memberships in your area!


Do you have a pass? Please, share a “must see” exhibit in the comments.


Not a Chicagoan? This site includes passes for multiple locations:


College Highlight:

Art Institute of Chicago (AI)

AI campus

Just Listed! Top Ten Growth Jobs for 2014 w/ salary & education needed!


I recently ran across the U.S. News and World Report breakdown for top growth jobs for 2014, when I added average salaries and the number of years of schooling it would take to achieve those goals, I got a clearer picture. Almost all of the “top jobs” required a college degree, most required a 4 year degree and beyond.

Here is the top ten list:

#1 Software Developer   Avg. salary $93,280 per year— 4 yr. degree required

#2 Computer Systems Analyst  Avg. salary $79,680—4 yr. degree required

#3 Dentist  Avg. salary$163,000–4 yr degree required + 3 yr. dental school

#4 Nurse Practitioner  Avg. salary $89,960– 4 yr. degree required + 2-4 yr. NP      degree

#5 Pharmacist  Avg. salary $116,670– 4 yr degree required + 4 yr pharmacy school

#6 Registered Nurse  Avg. salary $65,470–4 yr. degree required

#7 Physical Therapist  Avg. salary $79,860–4 yr. degree + 2-3 yr. graduate school

#8 Physician  Avg. salary $191,520–4 yrs. undergrad + 4 year medical school + 3-7 yrs. +  residency depending on specialty (3-7 yrs.)

#9 Web Developer Avg. salary $62,500–4 yr. degree or some college

#10 Dental Hygienist  Avg. salary $70,700–HS diploma + 2-3 associates degree


My takeaway on this was that our children are counting on us to point them in the right direction and in most cases that means we steer our kid’s toward college all along. School isn’t for everyone but, give them the choice by encouraging productivity in the classroom. Start kids off at a young age, fostering life long learning, and reinforce the idea that you need to apply yourself in school starting today.

Encourage them to “try on” several different jobs to see what really sparks their passion, before they spend time and money only to find that they really don’t like the work involved the major they selected.(According to college data in-state moderate tuition averaged $22,826. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $44,750.)

***Remember, our End Goal as parents is to create self-sufficient adults, that can leave our house and support themselves!***


Tips for new parents? Please leave them in the comments

College Highlight:

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA


 (#1 ranked Physical Therapy school)

Read more:

Why did you start College Savings Dolls?

Gazebo and K pic 

This is a question we have been asked hundreds of times so here goes…

“I promised to make twenty-five “remember kindergarten” scrapbooks for the kids in the class and they are due tomorrow. Can you come over and help me?” pleads Patty.

That is a huge project and I have my own to do so, I volley-back with, “Well, if I do, can you help me paint my gazebo?”

Immediately with desperation in her voice, Patty responds, “Of course, what time can you come over?”


The books went over well, all the kids and especially their parents we thrilled. Now it was time to hit the gazebo, it took six hours and two coats to cover the very absorbent wood and that left us a lot of time to talk.

We talked about this and that, mostly our kids, but it was during that time Patty shared her dream of creating a doll company.

Fast forward almost a decade, now the kindergartners are high schoolers, and we are having dinner with several college friends. The men of the group splintered off to reminisce about old sporting triumphs and girlfriends, while we were left to talk about our future goals.

Patty shared a disturbing Oprah show she saw featuring a young girl who was actually eating paper so that she wouldn’t gain weight. I countered back with my own experience of a kindergartener crying because the other girls said she was fat.

That story segued into Patty bringing up wanting to start a company that produces positive role-model dolls. She actually attended the now defunct, IDEX show in Florida and found a wonderful designer that would make a clay scaled prototype composite of several, college age girls.


She asked me to join her and I told her I’d sleep on it, and let her know tomorrow. That night I remembered an article I read somewhere that said when you are looking to live a purpose driven life at work, one of the keys is to look no further than your own childhood dreams.

Thinking back to my childhood; I loved dinosaurs, miniatures, swinging on the swing set and I had an obsession with dolls. BINGO!!

I called her the next day to join her in her quest to change the way people think about dolls. We created play dolls that were not just used as a plaything but used as a teaching tool for positive body image, finance, and future goal setting.

prototype with watermark and wax mold

The road to getting our product to market has been a huge challenge; we call it the roller coaster because of all the ups and downs we have endured. However, nothing is as satisfying as seeing your idea turned into a reality.

Have your chosen to follow your dream? Tell me your story in the comments.

College Highlight:

univ of chicago

University of Chicago

3 reasons why doll-play helps us be better adults!

Jessica stopping to smell the flowers 

Little girls are often drawn to playing with dolls for fun but, for many reasons that play-time fosters skill building for the future. Whether its is learning to take care of others, getting a little quiet-time for themselves, or just ‘cause they can’t play outside! Playing with dolls is an important part of growing-up & exploring themselves.

Here are three of the reasons that playing with dolls help children learn positive habits for life.


1.) Learn the world disappears when you use your imagination.

Creating elaborate scenes that you act out with no one watching or judging, makes time stands still. You can be alone and not lonely, that is an important lesson you carry forever. 

2.) Learn how to share

Cooperation with others is key and especially when you play dolls with another child. You have to take turns talking, using the cool shoes or who can have the car. (Use the ping-pong game analogy-take turns talking)

3.) Learn how to live without limits

Change clothes, change your life! When you play with dolls, your future career is just a costume change away. Now I’m a vet, soon I’ll be an archaeologist, next I’ll be a chef.


What skills did your take with you into adulthood? Let me know in the comments.


College Highlight:

FIT logo 

Fashion Institute of Technology

( alma mater of CSD clothes designer, Pamela Thompson)

A vote for College Savings Dolls is a vote for the future!!


picture dolls by tree with little girlClick this link to vote:

College Savings Dolls are realistic 15″ positive body image play dolls; that are career oriented, & promote saving money for the future.

What inspired you to get into the business you are in today?

One of my cute little kindergartners ran to me crying during indoor recess because the other girls were laughing at her little tummy, telling her not to eat so much. I was appalled that at this early age kids were already so image conscience. When I taught older children I was shocked at how many had already given up because they couldn’t afford further education. We felt we had to do something to change this mindset & start at an early age. “Change their thinking while they are young.”

How do you define success for yourself and for your business?

Success for us will be defined when we can see a shift in the way that people think when they see a healthy whole person and not just zero in on their so called flaws. Also the ability to approach the body image issue by realizing that a normal realistic body is beautiful and that some of the images we are presented with are not attainable. We further define our success by our ability to help others by providing future educational scholarships through purchases of College Savings Dolls.

How would you use the FedEx SMB Grant money to make a significant impact on your business and/or on others?

We would use this business grant to purchase new computers, mine is actually 17 years old, and update our website! Secondly, we would purchase more dolls and use them to spread our message of positive body image and future goal achievement to a new impressionable audience. Lastly, we would be able to open a office/warehouse and hire personnel for shipping, social media, and customer service. “Play, Imagine, Save, Succeed!”


Rockin’ TIA’s Toy Fair 2014-Sneak Peek!

This week Patty & I were lucky enough to hang-out at the Toy Industry Association’s  111th annual American International Toy Fair®  and now you get a front seat. It’s a trade-only show, so it’s not open to the public and it has over 1,000+ exhibitors from around the world.

How cool is this?!


There are so many awesome events and here are three:

patty wit

The ultra elegant philanthropic ladies of the toy industry host a gorgeous dinner party at the Chelsea Piers in NYC.

walmart panel

For the second year in a row WIT joined forces with Walmart to find the next great toy and bring it to market. The pitch panel featured tips from WIT members; Deb Sterling (Goldiblox), Julia Pimsleur (Little Pim)((both not pictured)) Rachael Taylor & Kelly Deimel (R.E. Baby Procucts), Jodi Norgaard (Dream Big Toy Co.) and MCing is Patti Becker (Becker & Assoc.):


patty dolls

Who doesn’t love browsing through a neighborhood toy store?! Finding the perfect gift, discovering something new, gettin’ the scoop from specialists, and being a kid again! The ASTRA party is a perfect event to renew friendships, eat great food, and get to meet new inventors, no pictures from that though!! But back to the show where Deanna, Jessica, and Aliana your College Savings Dolls are a big hit!

See ya next year!!

TIA Website:

Toy Fair brochure:

WIT (Women in Toys):

ASTRA (American Specialty Toys


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