Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do You Know What A John John Is?

When John F. Kennedy was President of the USA, his then adorable little son was called John John. Jackie-O was a mother who dressed her children with the same impeccable taste she used in selecting her own wardrobe. John John would frequently be photographed wearing one-piece short-length rompers either with or without a shirt underneath. Whether worn with sandals in summer or long socks and closed shoes in winter the look is timeless. That same style of romper was and continues to be popular because of the comfort and ease of movement provided as well as keeping little fellows looking neat and well-groomed even at play. This style is also still in great use in the South where genteel, gracious entertaining includes traditional, classic clothing for children. John John rompers for boys made of cotton, denim, or velvet are as prevalent there as are hand-smocked dreses and heirloom sewing for girls. These are looks that I find eternally appealing so we are including John Johns in our merchandise selections for Fall/Winter.

Monday, August 29, 2011

When The Wrong People Have Children

Today I cannot blog about my intended topic because I am so disturbed over two things in the news. The first one is about a father who allegedly tossed his crying 7-year old son overboard from a harbor cruise boat after slapping him and threatening to throw him overboard in front of about 80 other passengers. Another boater rescued the boy although the news article said the father did dive in to get him (as if that somehow makes him a good father). I realize children can try our patience at times, but there are constructive, non-threatening ways to deal with them. I am not a swimmer, and even as a mature adult the idea of someone throwing me overboard would be enough to traumatize me. To do it to a young child is just unconscionable and abusive and is not something that little boy is ever likely to forget. The other news article that is beyond horrible is about a boy who died because the two people who should have been parenting him withheld water from him for about a week. There are so many people who would love to have children and are unable to for various reasons, and then there seem to be ever-increasing numbers of people having children who neither want them, are capable of parenting them, and who will end up being abusive in so many ways that the children cannot help but grow up as damaged human beings. I continue to find it appalling that people must take tests and obtain licenses to drive a car, ride a motorcycle, sell real estate, practice medicine or dentistry, teach school, and a host of other things but for the most important job in the world any ill-prepared, unkind, troubled person can bring a life into this world with no qualifications, no skills, no resources, and even no desire to raise that child appropriately. What is wrong with this picture? Many of our sweetest, most vulnerable citizens are helpless and at the mercy of people who are themselves obviously damaged by the way they were raised. As our society sinks deeper into selfishness, bad behavior, and economic despair I fear the number of children suffering is going to increase. I write this blog for people who have children, who want children, grandchildren, or foster children; and I implore anyone reading this blog to parent your children well and help others who may be struggling with the role of parenthood. If you or someone you know need help or advice, if you have trouble with anger, if you have a difficult child due to a disability of any kind, don't take it out on the child. Seek advice and help. Help is available, and my hope is that someday there will be no children harmed by the people who are supposed to love, nurture, protect and guide them.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to Pre-School, Day Care, and Germs

I have been watching with interest the blogging progress of a young woman from Brazil. She covers pertinent topics for young mothers, first-time mothers, or anyone who provides care for children or grandchildren. This is why I have included one of her blog posts in my blog today. You may want to check her blog out for yourself. I wish her success!

Essential Mama Baby: Restaurant high chairs dirtier than toilet seat!

Essential Mama Baby: Restaurant high chairs dirtier than toilet seat!: We all know that there are germs everywhere we go but how harmful are they and what should we do about it? The first thing to come to mind...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Go See "The Help" If You Have Not Yet Done So

Yesterday I went with a friend to see the movie The Help, and it is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. The movie is well written, well acted, and the filming well done. The movie is dramatic, funny, and poignant but not overdone in any area. While it is in part a sad commentary on the way people of color were treated during a time in our country's history, it is also a tribute to the courage and spirit of good people who helped to change the course of the future. I know I really enjoyed it because not once during the film did I find myself trying to read my watch in the darkened theater or wondering how much longer I had to sit there. Go see it, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Little Girls Love Hats

We have just added this handknit hat and scarf to our websites and will be adding other styles and sizes soon. If you are looking for a baby shower gift or newborn gift this set is a great solution to either of those needs. You may need something to keep your own baby's head and neck safe from cold air so this set will fill the bill nicely.
Visit our websites at http://www.malcolmfortots.com and http://www.malcolmfortots.etsy.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Did Not Vote For Meanness, Vulgarity, Stupidity and Trash Talk. Did You?

More and more I am less and less pleased or impressed with the veritable garbage dump that the Internet has spawned in terms of people leaving comments on websites, in forums, and in chat rooms, etc. When did it become okay to spout vulgar insults at strangers? When did it beome okay to pepper every blurb with profanity? When did it become a badge of toughness to see how many times the "F" word can be used in a sentence? Who decided and when that it is unnecessary to respect other peoples' rights to their own opinions regardless of how much they differ from one's own ideas? When did we become a nation of self-appointed experts droning endlessly on and on about topics for which no research or fact-finding has been done? Who decided that it is okay to make pronouncements as if they are indeed the Gospel truth when in fact they are either half-truths or blatant lies? Who ? Who voted to change from professional, polite, intelligent, sophisticated conversation to rudeness, interrupting, talking over other people, never listening or allowing audience members to listen, and that mass stupidity would be on display for the entire world to see? There are millions of children in this world and in our country, and we are raising them in what is looking and sounding more and more like the City Dump. I did NOT vote for these changes, and in truth I don't know anyone who did. SO HOW HAVE WE ALLOWED THIS TO BECOME THE NORM? WHY ARE WE TOLERATING IT? IS THIS HOW WE WANT OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO BEHAVE AS CHILDREN OR AS ADULTS? I for one say, "No, no, a thousand times no!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Other Blogs To Enjoy

Are you interested in fashion, hair, make-up, interior design, style, or food? Then I encourage you to become a follower of www.brunchatsaks.blogspot.com The young woman who produces this blog writes well, provides great photos, and has amassed quite a following and deservedly so. I find it always adds to my enjoyment of a day when I take a look at her blog and latest topic. My prediction is that she is going to have a stellar career.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mondays! Are They Beginnings or Endings?

September always feels like the beginning of the new year to me (I guess it relates to the start of many new school years). It is the time when I want to get organized and regain structure and routine to overcome the chaos and messiness that somehow crept into life during the lazy days of summer. I feel the same way about Mondays. I never think that Sunday is the first day of the week, but rather Monday. Mondays are when life gets back to normal, schedules exist, schools are in session, appointments are made and kept, and routine household chores are repeated. There are feelings of stability and security that can accompany structure and routine when so many facets of the world in which we live seem to be spinning out of control. Fresh, blank calendar pages quickly become filled with both the mundane and exciting events of our lives. Work weeks generally begin on Mondays, and most of us look forward to Friday nights to start two-day weekends. If I think of Sundays as the beginnings of each new week, then somehow I feel deprived of weekend time. I also like to have Sunday as the end of my week so I can attend church and make my apologies and attempt to wipe the slate clean of that week's mistakes and misdeeds. Then on Mondays I feel as if I have a new opportunity to try to be a better person, to be more organized, to accomplish more, and then to the reward of another glorious two-day weekend. Am I fooling myself? Perhaps. Does it work? You bet it does!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What's For Dinner? Shrimp & Spinach Casserole, Of Course!

When you have had a busy day, a fussy baby, or a cranky toddler the thought of having to cook dinner can be overwhelming. To ease that pain I am going to share with you a very simple but delicious recipe made with ingredients that you can keep on hand in your refrigerator and freezer. I first enjoyed this Shrimp & Spinach Casserole in l989 at a beach-front home in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. I asked the hostess for her recipe which she generously shared, but I have no idea where it originated. Shrimp & Spinach Casserole:Serves 4 - 6.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned, deveined and cut into pieces. 1 package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed. 1 cup sharp American Cheese, shredded. 1/2 cup finely cut green onions including green tops. 2 cups milk. 2 eggs slightly beaten. 1/2 teaspoon Thyme. Clean and cut shrimp into bite-size pieces. Combine eggs and milk. Press all the water out of the spinach. Combine spinach with the remaining ingredients. Pour into a shallow baking dish which has been lightly sprayed with PAM and bake 45 minutes or until firm. With some crusty bread and a salad you will serve a great meal. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Other Books Your Children Will Love If You Read To Them

A postscript to yesterday's blog post: I meant to mention that I also read to my children two books by Roald Dahl. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and James and The Giant Peach became two of their favorites. I was surprised at the lengths of their attention spans since the children were 2, 4 and 6 years old. They each had their favorite parts and characters in the books, but they all loved the stories and the time we spent together reading them. (My apologies for all the italics, but for some reason I am unable to change them).

Monday, August 8, 2011

When To Read Books Rather Than Stories To Your Children

Initially, start out reading a short story or just telling a familiar story (like The Three Bears ) to your babies and toddlers. They have short attention spans but will respond to the pictures, the inflections in your voice, and certain words as they ask you to read or tell again and again the same story. Toddlers are very smart so if you try to skip a page or change words in the interest of time (getting them to sleep faster, for example), they will call you on it after they are familiar with the story. They will also know when you have read the words that mean it is time to turn the page. Children are just short people and much smarter than adults sometimes expect them to be at such early ages. When you tire of reading the Little Golden Book variety of stories, then read a book consisting of a number of chapters. When I had 2, 4, and 6 year-old children it was not always easy to find a short story that appealed to all of them. I decided to read Dr. Doolittle to them, and we did it night after night, chapter by chapter. The book is much, much better than any film version They remembered where each chapter stopped, and they would beg for another chapter when the one for the evening had been read. Even the two-year old would sit and listen as raptly as the older children did. When we had completed Dr. Doolittle we went on to The Bobbsey Twins which was a good choice because the key characters are both boys and girls and two different age groups. The author made the stories appealing to little ones as well as children already in elementary school. There is an entire series of Bobbsey Twin books, and we read through all of them. Not only did these reading sessions foster a love of books in my children, but also gave them a nightly ritual which made bedtime pleasant. Require baths taken, teeth brushed, and pajamas on before reading to them. Asking for promises to go right to sleep after the chapter for the night is read makes for peaceful evenings, regular bedtimes, and first understandings of what a promise is. If you start out reading or saying nursery rhymes to a baby (even as young as 4 or 5 months old) he or she will be soothed by the cadence of your voice. If you are reading from a book a baby will actually be attracted by the colors of the pictures. Being read to from early on can help a child learn to talk and sometimes when you least expect it. You may reach a certain page of a familiar story, and a little child will suddenly repeat a word after you which makes for a very special and memorable moment. As children grow up they will remember the books you read together, and if reading is something they enjoy they will be more successful in school since reading is the basis for every subject they will be taught. Time flies and before you know it children are in school, and you will have wonderful memories to last a lifetime if you regularly read to them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Does Time Get Away From You?

As the weeks fly by I ask myself where the time went and what did I accomplish. I recently listened to a series of webinars which provided me with some great ideas. Jack Canfield (well-known author, motivational speaker, and business coach) talked about how significant "the power of five" can be. He said that on our to-do lists we should list five things that move us toward our goals, and we should start each day working on those five things until they are completed. Then if time remains we can work on other tasks. While he was speaking about business goals I know that his advice also applies to taking care of children, running a household, and juggling work and family life. Most of us put too many things on our to-do lists with no real grasp of how long it would actually take us to complete the entire list. If we focus on what is most important to be completed and form our to-do lists with five tasks leading to the accomplishment of those things, we will get them done! If I am not pro-active I can easily get caught up in minutia, and probably a little of my own OCD also slips in there. I have been trying to follow "the power of five" advice daily, and I am amazed at how much more I am accomplishing. Whether I am concentrating on my business, household tasks and projects, or volunteer work I really am able to get the most important things done first. Try it. I'm sure you will be pleased with the results. I know that children can at times prevent adherence to schedules and plans, but more often than not I am confident you will get all or most of your five things done on a daily basis and still have time left to do other things. I am also thinking that as children enter school and take on responsibilities this might be a good practice to share with them. Let me know what you think. I hope you will sign up to follow my blog and give me your feedback on anything I write. Thanks in advance for helping me!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is Your Baby Hungry?

Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, typically a baby eats about every four hours. Those four hours in between feedings can be blissful if you are sleep deprived and feel as if you could sleep for a week. I recall that having a new baby was a combination of the most exciting, happy time and the most exhausting time because of the feedings in the wee small hours. Based on babys' birth weights as well as weight they gain in their first weeks and months, you may find your baby awakening more frequently and demanding to be fed. Different doctors have different opinions and advice about when to start adding a little rice cereal to baby's formula. Sometimes breast milk and/or formula are just not sufficient to satisfy a baby's hunger for four hours. Talk to your pediatrician about adding a bit of rice cereal to baby's diet or whatever type of baby cereal he recommends. I have a friend who has just experienced this with a five-week old baby boy who had a hefty birth weight and just was hungry all the time. Formula replaced the breast milk, but he was still exercising his little lungs every two hours instead of the previous four. A little addition of rice cereal (his grandmother is an R.N.) to his formula, and he is sleeping 4 to 6 hours at a time and allowing his mom and dad to get some much needed sleep. Babies are wonderful blessings, and sleep is a wonderful blessing too so talk to your health care professional to be sure your baby's hunger is being satisfied.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Don't Let Your Baby Drown

Recently in the news have been stories about little ones drowning or nearly drowning which, of course, would be one of any parents' worst nightmares since drowning is preventable. While most such incidents involve swimming pools, today I want to caution you about keeping babies and toddlers safe in bathtubs, sinks, bathinettes, or wading pools. Do not, and I repeat do not, leave any infant or toddler unattended in any container of water even if the water is only one inch deep. Babies can turn themselves over accidentally and be left face down in the water and drown. Toddlers can slip and go face down, or they might try to stand up causing them to slip face down into the water. Do not leave a toddler with an infant alone in water. Accidents can happen so quickly. Nothing you have to do in another room or part of your home is important enough to disregard this elementary safety rule. It takes only a moment for a tragedy to happen and a lifetime to regret it.