Thứ Sáu, 4 tháng 7, 2014

Priceless Gifts.....Would You Do This?

Priceless Gifts.....Would You Do This?

The approach of the holidays usually brings out the angst in all of us.  
There's the "shopping list" of things to buy......the decision of who,  
what, and where will the celebration be with (or in some cases, without).  The budget......that can be a mountain sometimes that we dread to climb.  However, there are some gifts, that can be considered priceless, and yet cost us personally, very little monetarily.......other than the giving of our time.

There are so many people hurting in the world.  I read about so many tragedies and wonder, what's happening to
people......why are we seemingly so cruel and unfeeling.  And, of course, the bigger the disaster, the more "news worthy" it seems to become.  But, if you look around your own area, you'll find people hurting, and sad, and worried, and they're not on the news, or being written about....they just exist in their own world without others really noticing.

It's can't stop the madness in the world, but you can make a difference in the world.  It's one small gesture of kindness, a word of
encouragement, an unexpected offering that can sometimes make your part of the world just a little brighter......a little happier.  It doesn't always take money....just a little of our time and thought to do this.  And, what we put into the world generally is what comes back to us.  More importantly, doing something kind for someone else helps us each to realize how blessed we are and that is priceless.

I was thinking about this, and what would be ways any of us could make the world a little happier......these are some of my ideas, and I hope you'll choose at least one during the holidays:

1.  Visit someone in a nursing home.  The elderly in nursing homes are generally the forgotten ones.  You'd be shocked to find how many of them have no family, or have family that doesn't take the time to visit with them.  They sit, or lie, in these places day after day, just waiting......and, the touch and kindness of anyone means everything to them.  Find a nursing home in your area, and call to see if you can visit people there.  Better yet, get your children involved......when kids visit the elderly, you'll see
their faces light up at the mere presence of your child.  This is also a fabulous way to teach your children to "see" beyond their own world, develop compassion and understanding, and that to give a tiny little bit of their time to someone who has so little is truly priceless.

2.  Meals On Wheels.  One year I volunteered my daughters and I to be Meals On Wheels substitute deliverers on Thanksgiving Day, so the regular drivers could have a day off with their families.  This was one heck of an adventure let
me tell you!  We were given I think 8 deliveries to make, with addresses and names (and no map and no GPS!).  We took off with the food, and ended up spending a better part of half the day trying to find the people who were waiting for this food.  Talk about an eye opener!  We drove to places I had no idea existed.......saw elderly people living in conditions we couldn't even imagine.......but at the end of our deliveries, knew that we had done something we'd never forget.  During that day too, I think my relationship with my daughters became a closer bond with each other too.

3.  Angel Trees.  Many businesses and virtually all churches have an Angel Tree that they sponsor each year.  You'll find paper ornaments on them with the first
name and age of a child that will have no present under their tree without the goodness of others helping.  This is another awesome learning lesson to involve your children in.  If they're old enough, let them choose the child, and then let them choose the gift, and make sure they're the ones who help you take it back to the location.  It gives your child a sense of empowerment that they've done something good for someone they'll never meet, and it opens a world of discussions about how blessed they are, rather than focusing on what latest gadget they don't have is.  Most importantly.....somewhere on Christmas morning, a child will open that present and you'll have made their day.  That's worth a million bucks alone!

4.  People In Your Neighborhood.  If you look around 
the area you live, I'll bet you'll find at least one house that has an occupant no one ever visits.  Of course common sense rules here, but if it's someone who
maybe has no family, or is incapacitated and can't get out, they would be the ideal candidate for a gift from you.  If you have kids, why not bake some cookies, or muffins, package them in a holiday tin, and go knock on the door.  Your surprise visit would probably mean the world to this person.  Just the fact that someone like you would have given them a few minutes of your time can be a priceless gift.

5.  Feeding the Homeless.  I think just about any town has a homeless shelter these days.  These are wonderful places the whole family can get involved with.  They need volunteers to help with all sorts of things.  

The point is.........if you're reading this, even it's not your own are blessed.  You have something to give to others who are less fortunate than you.  We tend too often to get focused on what we
don't have, rather than what we do.........we tend to want more and more, rather than being content with what we do this holiday season how about focusing on that candle in the that "spirit of giving" that is missing in so many parts of the world.  In doing so, your life becomes a priceless gift TO the world, and your family has just made a priceless memory that will last forever.

Nobody Likes Me. Everybody Hates Me......I guess I'll go eat worms.

I think just about everyone loves the ideas of the Winter least from a distance.  We typically associate Thanksgiving with the family around the table, eating food we don't normally get to eat.......and of course Christmas, with the giving of presents we normally wouldn't buy for ourselves.  That's all well and fine if you live a fairy tale life, but the reality is, many many families start out with the best intentions, and then find themselves fractured and broken, just trying to put on that "happy face" for the rest of the world, when we really feel like we're going to whither away in a corner somewhere.

Families find themselves coping with death, divorce, fractured relationships, loss of income, illness, broken dreams and runs the gamut of emotions, and I dare to say, no one is immune.  So, as the holidays creep closer
and closer, many people tend to feel the pressure to "fix" what's broken or not there, or find themselves sinking deeper into the sadness they long to avoid.  No doubt we've all had the friend that tried to mask the sadness by inviting unhealthy relationships into their lives, or using "retail therapy" to take away the pain, if for only but a moment.  What typically happens is the unhealthy relationship just becomes another "rock on the pile of hurt", and the momentary gratification of buying things, only adds to the realization of sadness when you get it home.

Rather than trying to mask those feelings, or cope on your own, find ways to deal with them in a healthy manner.  There are support groups to be found everywhere, as well as mental health counselors.  That being said, not every support group or counselor will prove to be the right fit for everyone, so it's a kind of trial and error thing until you find the right one.  If that doesn't suit your life, then it's a matter of focusing on what you DO HAVE, versus what you DO NOT HAVE!

Easier said than done.......that I know all too well!  It's human nature for the most part to only see the proverbial mountain before us, rather than the step we need to take to get over it.  This dawned on me
many years ago when I was going through a divorce and had no idea how I was going to raise my two daughters as a single parent.  Everything looked too big to handle.......everything was world was literally blown apart.  Then one day it dawned on me that I was only one person, who could only do so much in any one given day, and beyond that, if it wasn't critical, it would have to wait.  The amazing thing is that once I adopted that attitude, I wasn't focused on how much I could accomplish, and it freed me to relax--finding I typically accomplished more than I planned on for that day.

The holidays are still difficult. I grew up in the "Leave It To Beaver" days of Harriet and Ozzie, and that perfect family.  Ever time they faced a crisis, it always had a happy ending......I grew up thinking that's how life was, and that that's what my adult life would be like--it's been anything but that! When I start to feel the regrets or sadness of what's not there creeping in, I've learned to look around and be thankful for what be thankful for two beautiful amazing be thankful for three incredible be thankful for the negative experiences that have taught me so much.  And, no, it's not easy to just get better at it the more you try!  There is no magic's an act of your will.

Although when you're in the midst of a crisis, people always want to tell you it's really a "blessing in disguise" (let's be honest that point I think we all want to backhand those people!), you really just have to get through it.  Remember--things will calm down.........things will take on a new normal.......and then it's up to you whether you let it become the looming mountain of negativity, or a lesson that taught you just how strong and resilient you can be.

So for the upcoming holidays.......if you're one of those that dreads this time of year, try some new things and see just how amazingly strong and blessed you are!  Ideas......
  • Don't allow yourself to relive the negatives that have happened in your life.
  • Forgive yourself--you are allowed to be happy no matter what has happened.
  • Visit the elderly in a nursing home.
  • Volunteer at  your church, or any non-profit group helping those less fortunate.
  • Take an account of what is good in your life each day (that can literally be anything!).
  • Give an anonymous gift to someone who would never expect it from you.
  • Call a friend you haven't talked to in forever. 
  • Invite someone over for a movie and pizza--be the one to take the initiative even when you don't feel like it!  You never know what others are going through at the same time!
And remember that by living in the present, and enjoying the positives now, you are not just pretending your pain, anger and fear don't are just making room for some positive experiences to be in your life too, and allowing the healing to begin and blossom.

Chủ Nhật, 22 tháng 6, 2014

U.S. History 101 -- Thanksgiving & Traditions

Thanksgiving & Traditions U.S's History

Thanksgiving......have you ever wondered how this came to be, and who made it official?  I'm always amazed when I stop to think about the inventiveness of people, and quite honestly am amazed that they create the things that they do.  That being said, that's what makes the human race so incredible......their inventiveness.  History tends to get lost sometimes, and I thought, so it is with Thanksgiving.  We think we know the truth.....but do we really?  So where did Thanksgiving come from.......

 In 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower, landed near the tip of Cape Cod after a 66-day journey from England.  During the first year after landing the 102 Pilgrims mainly lived on the tiny ship, and during that year, more than half of them died from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease.   

Side note......the women on that ship must have been "women of steel".....I think if I'd been a
woman on that ship, I'd either have gone stark raving mad, or moved off-shore to live in the woods.....I mean, I need my own space,and living on some itty bitty ship with 100 other people just wouldn't work for me!  These ships weren't like the Carnival Cruise Lines or Royal luxuries.....seriously cramped in every way imaginable!  Oh, and by the way....#1 here is the "Poop Deck"....I looked it up (my curiosity was why did they call it this!), and it didn't get it's name the way you think it might have....located at the stern (or the rear of the ship), this deck takes its name from the Latin word puppis - which means after deck or rear.  See, you can learn something new every day! 

In March 1621, their first Spring in the New World, they finally moved to shore.  Weakened by life on the ship, they were fortunate enough to be met by an Abenaki Indian who greeted them speaking in the  English language. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto (also known as Tisquantum), a member of the Pawtuxet tribe.  Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe.

Squanto Side Note:  Why this man ever wanted to help these people is just nothing short of a miracle.  Around 1605 he was taken prisoner by
Captain George Weymouth who was exploring the New England coastline for Sir Ferdinando Gorges, owner of the Plymouth Company. Captain Weymouth took  Squanto(Tisquantum) to England, and taught him English, then trained him to be a guide and interpreter. Finally, Squanto returned to New England in 1614 with an expedition led by Captain John Smith.   Once again Squanto was abducted by an Englishman, Thomas Hunt, one of Smith's lieutenants on his way back to Patuxet. Hunt was planning to sell fish, corn, and captured natives in Málaga, Spain. There, Hunt attempted to sell Squanto and a number of other Native Americans into slavery in Spain for £20 apiece.  (The relatives of our forefathers were a bit mercenary don't you think?)

Back to our story.......

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, and then Governor William Bradford organized a feast to celebrate their harvest by inviting a group of the colony’s Native American allies, including the  Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—the festival lasted for three days (who did all those dishes?  And where did they store the leftovers....were there leftovers?). 

There is no official record of the banquet’s exact menu, however the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission to secure meat for the event, and when they returned they brought lobster, seal and swan.  When, the Wampanoag guests arrived, the came with five deer. It has been suggested by historians, that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods (camp fire glad for that double oven in your kitchen!). Because the Pilgrims had no oven and their sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations. 
(Can you imagine a Thanksgiving dinner without PIESSSSS!)

1623 - They celebrated a "thanksgiving" again, to celebrate a switch from communal farming to privatized farming, and a 14-day rain that culminated in a larger harvest. As various colonies formed, they each celebrated a "thanksgiving" as was their custom in England, but there was no uniform day of celebration at this point.  
That is until.......
the Revolutionary War and George Washington.......
duh duh duh, duhhhhhhhhhh.....

1777 - As a victory celebration after defeating the British at Saratoga, George Washington, the leader of the revolutionary forces in the American Revolutionary War, proclaimed a "Thanksgiving" in December 1777.

1782 (October 11)  John Hanson, declared that the fourth Thursday of every November was to be Thanksgiving Day. (November 1781, Hanson was elected President of the Continental Congress, and became the first president to serve a one-year term under the provisions of the Articles of Confederation.)<--This bit of news would be another know...who was really our first president.....

1789 - Finally on October 3rd of this year President George Washington, made the proclamation that created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States of America. This was the FIRST, of what we now know as "federal" holidays!

In the beginning of America's history,  days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states as a tradition of celebrating the harvest of the year of various victories. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War,  President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a  national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God
to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”  This is all thanks to the efforts of  a Sarah Josepha Hale, who was a magazine writer and editor, and who had campaigned many politicians to declare a national day of "Thanksgiving".  Since then, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States.

 Initially celebrated on the the last Thursday of November,  Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week, in1939, in an attempt to spur retail sales (and thus the precursor to "Black Friday") during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November. Politicians being who they are, argued vehemently over the particular day, until Roosevelt signed a decree making it the 4th Thursday of November.

Over the years, Thanksgiving has evolved into a day of eating, parades, and football games (these began in Massachusetts during the 19th century), and most recently shopping.  Perhaps the most well-known parade is the 2.5-mile Macy's/New York City's Thanksgiving Day parade, which started in 1924, and culminates with the introduction of Santa Claus on the last float.  It's guesstimated that actual spectators are generally between 2-3 million people along the parade route, and then there's the world-wide television audience.  

Just prior to Thanksgiving Day, the President of the United States, as well as numerous state governors, pardon one turkey from being "the" dinner.   Although there is some dispute as to when this actually started, Harry S. Truman claims credit as being the first to grant mercy to one noble foul on November 16, 1949.  These turkeys are sent to a farm, or petting zoo,  and officially declared retired
and off-limits for consumption.  In 1989, President George W.H. Bush, made the "turkey pardon" a permanent annual tradition upon assuming the presidency in 1989, and it has been carried on by every president each year since. that you know more than you probably ever wanted to know about the history of Thanksgiving, here's a short video of the story behind Thanksgiving - get the kids and let them watch and listen!

We Gotta Get Out of This Place........or be a Super Hero!

We Gotta Get Out of This Place........or be a Super Hero!

If you have children, you've probably taken at least one trip on an airplane, to somewhere with them, that was either a "piece of cake" because everyone behaved.......or, what
most of us experience.......was exhausting, embarrassing, maddening, name the "ing" word and as a parent you know what I mean!  Kids, like adults, love the idea of going somewhere special, whether it be to see grandparents, or Disneyworld........but getting to and from there generally turns out to be one of those experiences we hope we never have to live through again.

Kids have little patience for waiting in lines.......they have no interest in standing still..........a long line of chairs in an airport just
screams "roll under me" or "jump from one of us to the next one" know the scene.  And of course a nice long concourse just mandates that your toddler take off in the run of their lifetime.  Then there's the meltdown while standing in the security line, and little boo-boo needs a new diaper, pacifier, bottle, snack........anything that's going to require you to inconvenience yourself and the others around you.

So what do you do?  For one, forget the day-to-day rules of snacks and food......I say give them whatever makes them happy, and when you get home,
get back to your happy "normal".  Take little things for them to play with (beware of things that roll!  Magnets are your friends)......things they haven't seen before is the key (unless they have their fav, "I'll die if I don't have it blankie or toy"), but new things always fascinate kids.  Take a variety of types of little toys, crayons, and if you're lucky enough to have an I-Pad or Kindle........load it up with games and their favorite movies.  The secret to traveling happy.......give them what they want just to keep them occupied (especially with babies and toddlers!) and when you get home, then go back to rules and regulations.  I realize that sounds like caving in, but in today's world of conflicts, you have to pick your battles......trying to prove your authority in a crowded terminal is really like losing the war.

If you're the lucky traveler with no kids, you generally seem to find the mode of transportation that has the most kids on it, and they usually want to sit next to, in front of, or behind you.  Ever been on a plane where the little kid behind you is kicking your seat without stop, or sat next the window only to have a young couple with a crying baby sitting in the middle and on the aisle next to you--you CAN'T escape!  

So this is how I see it...... 
  • You can pretend you don't notice (while you're about to explode inside); 
  • you can glare angrily at the parents and kids (that always makes a kid straighten up....not); 
  • you can try to engage the child--with the parent's permission of course!  
I can guarantee you no one is more miserable than the parent with the crying child!  I've been one of them, and I would have done anything to make my child not cry.

No, it's not your responsibility to help out, but in the scheme of things, if you're not incapacitated yourself, doesn't it make more sense to try and find a way to help calm that screaming child down?  Everyone benefits, and the best part is, your trip will go a lot faster, and you'll feel good about helping.  Those parents who were sweating buckets of sweat....they will get off that plane with a smile on their face instead.  Not to mention, all the other curmudgeons who will forever be in your debt for averting a trip of screaming and crying.

The Challenge.......
Be someone's hero/heroine during 
the holidays if you're traveling!

Thứ Năm, 1 tháng 5, 2014

Dressing Children Beautifully......Does It Have To Be a Designer Label?

The rise of designer clothing for children has been unprecedented in the past 10-years.  Designers around the world are cashing in on developing children's clothing lines that command  unbelievable prices.......and, are fast becoming the newest status symbol for some parents.  I'm not saying this is a bad thing.......if you have the income to support it-- but let's face it, most of us are concerned about paying the bills, and saving something for the future, rather than what designer label we put on our children.  Given the fact that the average child will outgrow any given size in a few months, it makes it even more of a factor when surviving day to day life is considered.

At Adorable Baby Clothing, we're consumers just like you.  Value and quality is the first thing considered when we purchase anything.  Just like you, we like to know that what we're purchasing is going to look good, perform well, and give the aesthetic appeal we want to achieve.  As much fun as it is to put on a designer label...there are just times when it's not practical, or in the cards.  That being said, looking good doesn't always equate with price or the name on the label, and there are plenty of miniature versions of the adult looks that raise eyebrows because of their eye-catching prices and sophisticated styles.

A shining example of what you'll find at Adorable Baby Clothing, are the boy's suits.  You won't find any better quality anywhere at any price.  We're confident in making that statement because, Lito, the manufacturer who produces our suits, have been doing it for nearly 40-years.  They know what fabrics move with the little guys......little boys don't normally sit still, or stand straight for very long.  Lito knows what kind of construction is necessary to make these suits wear well.........and they know what finishing details are necessary to give a sophisticated handsome look.  They've figured out how to combine all these qualities at an affordable price, and so we can sell them with complete confidence that every one of our customers will be thrilled with their purchase.  We like to say, these suits are made to wear, but made with style!

The girl's dresses are another excellent example 
of classic style, and beautiful fabrics combined with details you just don't see in every department store.  The fabrics are luscious, and generous.  The details will most likely amaze even the pickiest.......and we're pretty sure your little girl is going to feel like the belle of the ball when she wears the dress you've ordered.   Most of the dresses are tea-length which means they should normally fall to mid-calf or below (which is great because if they grow taller, they'll still be able to wear them for awhile), and you'll find a crinoline slip sewn into the skirts so the fabrics don't fall flat while being worn.  Many of them even offer you the ability to color coordinate the sash and flower with the event you'll be attending, at no additional cost to you.

The Christening line is exquisite.  Whether you're looking for the perfect outfit for your little guy or girl, we're confident you can find it at Adorable Baby Clothing.  Many of the dresses have little details that just don't show up in the picture, and the little guys suits are beautifully made.  Again, the choice of fabric is always one of the first considerations, and then the construction, and then the amazing details.  Price wise, you could pay a lot more.....or perhaps a little less........somewhere else, but short of having it custom made, you won't find a better value, and what makes it even more special it is destined to become the family keepsake.

As always, if your purchase is a minimum of $50.00, we'll include FREE Priority Mail shipping.  We'd like to invite you to take a look at the beautiful clothing we have.  Our Featured Category page makes it easy to find what you're looking for quickly......but, if you have questions, don't hesitate to email us at, or call us at 407-252-8749 between 10AM & 4PM EST.  We are confident we can help you dress your little ones "picture perfect"!

Thứ Sáu, 27 tháng 12, 2013

Capturing Childhood Memories....

I have to confess, that as a grandmother, I've become a little obsessed with the things my grandchildren do whenever they're around. I started creating picture books of gazillions of the pictures that have been taken, and now I'm including funny stories of things they said and did.  In my mind I'm creating a "gift" for the future for them. 
A few years ago I created a pictorial book for my daughters, of the many pictures I had taken of them.  The pictures started out in albums, but between wear and tear, and maybe a little neglect, I found that they were falling apart. Not wanting to lose them all as time marched on, it seemed the best way to preserve them was to utilize a service that would help me not only organize them, but display them creatively and for many years to come they would each have a keepsake of their lives.   So began my quest to create for them, a permanent record of their moments in life......and when my grandchildren came along, I began anew, creating little glimpses of their lives, that someday I hope they will treasure.

Companies like Shutterfly have me as one of their biggest fans, because I can create books with the pictures I've accumulated, and I know they won't fade over time.  An added bonus is, that once you've uploaded your pictures to their server, you don't have to worry about losing them on  your own computer or phone....they are preserved as long as Shutterfly exists, and I have no doubt they'll be around for a long time.

My latest venture into book making has been including short excerpts of my grandchildren's adventures. It dawned on me that there were so many
precious moments in my daughter's lives that I've no doubt forgotten.  

One of my fondest memories is the day I was took my youngest daughter to kindergarten.  Jessica had a favorite little stuffed leopard called "Boo Boo Kitty" in the car with her.  When we got to the school she had it
tucked under her arm, and I told her to leave it so it wouldn't get lost.    
She was adamant that "BooBoo Kitty" should go to school with her......I wasn't in the mood to argue, so I let her go with it.......fully expecting her not to come out with it that afternoon. know those times you thought you knew the outcome and the universe had to prove you wrong?  This was that day for me.  That afternoon as I sat in the carpool lane waiting for Jessica to come out, I saw her little face smiling as she marched, rather triumphantly towards the car.  Much to my surprise little "BooBoo Kitty" was still tucked under her arm.  As she got in the car, she announced quiet proudly that everyone was so excited to see "BooBoo Kitty", that they picked her up on their shoulders and marched her around the school.  It was one of those moments when you wanted to burst out laughing....but I could see how determined she was to prove her point.....and, there was no reason in trying to point out this might have been a slight exaggeration.  She was just proud that she didn't lose her pride and joy, and wanted to emphasize that to me with her slightly over-embellished story.

You'd have to know Jessica to fully appreciate this story.......Jessica has and continues to be the child with the vivid imagination, and quick thinking 
that just defies logic.  She has had
us all laughing till we were in tears.....and for that I am blessed.  My grandchildren seem to have that same "genetic gift", so I've decided to record as many of them as I can for them to appreciate their own creativity when they get older and life might be heading in directions they weren't so happy with.  Lilly is the story teller, Leila is the singer & "in charge" kid, and Calvin....he's wickedly smart and figures things out way before he should.  I want them to be able to look back, and realize how loved they we all appreciated their unique talents and gifts.....and that they created some of the most amazing moments in my life.

 My advice is, don't let life get in the way of remembering those precious moments that will fly by.  If you don't have a video camera.....GET ONE! You won't remember their sweet little voices when they're 16 and have turned into snarky teens!  If you haven't started writing down the silly sweet innocent things they say and do.......START NOW!  You won't remember many of them when they're standing in front of you demanding the keys to the car so they can go "out"......besides, cameras come in a huge variety of sizes and prices, making them affordable for virtually everyone.....don't wait.....the holidays are coming and you'll never regret it!

As a mother, and now a grandmother, I have this enormous desire to soak in all those remember the things they said and did that made me laugh--that make my heart feel as it will explode with love.  Don't miss out......start today, and create a legacy of memories for your little ones.
They went from 

  to this

 in the blink of an eye! 

Dedicated to my little pookie......Jessica x0x0