A NEW Look At Gymboree! What Makes You Smile?

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This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post. 

We just got back from the Oregon Coast to be with family. Being with family always makes me smile. These 2 grandchildren below live in New York so we do not get to see them much.  We smiled a lot while we were together.

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Our adorable Morgan makes us smile all the time. This is the first time she was able to visit the beach. She loved it!! She tells me I am her Bestest Grandma. I have to agree. 🙂

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My son and his family live in Oregon still and they have 3 kids we adore (one was missing) Being a grandparent puts smiles on your faces everyday.

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Now GYMBOREE is asking  you, “What makes you and your family smile?” Tell your stories and share them with the hashtag #MadeYouSmile!

What has you family done today that #MadeYouSmile?   That is what the New Gymboree is all about! 
The new pieces are now endlessly versatile and mixable, creating big possibilities for kids to create their own looks.
Dialed up the comfort, softness and attention to detail in each piece—Gymboree want to be known for great quality once again!
The best kids’ jeans ever—super comfortable, soft and durable.

More for baby with the coziest, comfiest fabrics, more neutrals and modern details.

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Most importantly,  Gymboree is making all these changes for YOU. Gymboree asked modern moms and families what they wanted most for their kids’ clothes, and they delivered. Gymboree wants to make YOU smile!

Gymboree Sale On Now!

 With the style, versatility, and quality of the NEW Gymboree clothes  they’ll be a great fit for your kids this back-to-school season.

Right now, you can win one of more than 150,000 prizes with Gymboree’s Made You Smile campaign! Download the App, head to your local store, and spin to win a local prize.

 

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Gymboree has been celebrating childhood for over 30 years, dressing kids from newborn to 12 years old. They offer colorful, head-to-toe clothing and accessory collections—quality clothes that let kids be kids.

Gymboree Sale On Now!
At Gymboree, they’re proud to dress your family for the moments that matter most – offering everything from quality playwear that stands the test of playtime to coordinated dressy looks for the perfect family photo. 

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Kids and Grandkids Just LOVE Gymboree! Get Started With You Back-To-Shopping Today!

Thank You Gymboree for letting me be part of your #MadeYouSmile campaign!!

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Believe In The Magic Of Santa Clause

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There is hardly anything that can match the joy of a child coming under a Christmas tree in the early hours of the morning to see Santa’s presents.

Maybe the kid’s only regret then is not having managed to catch a glimpse of the merry bearded old man. For millions of years people have believed in Santa Claus..

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Santa Claus should be an inspiration to us all. Believing in Santa Claus is a lot like believing in yourself and remembering that you DO deserve to have your heart’s desires! In the 16oo’s the Dutch brought Sinter Klass to the American colonies. English speaking children pronounced his name “Sainty Claus,” and over the years it evolved  into Santa Claus.

In 1809, American writer Washington  Irving created a new version of the old Saint Nicholas. Irving described Santa as a jolly Dutchman who smoked a pipe, wore baggy pants, and rode over the treetops in a horse drawn wagon dropping gifts down chimneys.

Then in 1823, Clement C. Moore wrote the famous poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” Picking up on this image, cartoonist Thomas Nast added a North Pole toy workshop in his cartoons for Harper’s Weekly magazine.  

In 1925, a large corporation ran an advertising campaign of Santa Claus further defining him as a large man with a red and white fur suit, black boots and a long, flowing beard-the closest depiction of our present day Santa.

 

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Until Moore’s famous poem, Santa’s description was open to personal interperetation. Moore described Santa the way we think of him today—JOLLY.  Then in 1863, illustrator Thomas Nast solidified this new visual image of Santa Claus by drawing him as Moore had described him. Nast drew Santa dressed in red and gave him a home in the North Pole.

For  23 years  Nast drew Christmas pictures for Harpers Weekly magazine–helping to shape the image of Santa that we have today. Coca-Cola hired German artist Haddon Sundblom to draw Santa for an advertising campaign in 1931.

Sundblom’s rendition of Santa–a grandfatherly man with twinkling eyes–further fixed the public’s image of Santa Claus. Santa Claus has evolved over the centuries into the kind, loving figure we know today. He stands for all the goodness and innocence of childhood.

Magic Cabin

So what does the word Santa Claus represent?

 S–See the possibility of having what you really want.

A–Acknowledge that you deserve to have it.

N–Never allow other people to steal your dreams.

T–Thank God for bringing it to you.

A–Assist others in getting what they want.

C–Consistently believe that Santa Claus is coming to town.

L–Love the process as much as the end result.

A–Align yourself with positive, supportive believers.

U–Unleash your inner brilliance and share it with others.

S–Stay in the positive action, keep the faith and enjoy your presents!

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Isn’t part of the fun of Christmas  seeing the EXCITEMENT of your children when they think that Santa Clause is going to come down chimneys and give all children wonderful gifts in the night.

It is MAGIC and KINDNESS and it always makes children HAPPY. It will be a sad time if some day children start to doubt that Santa exists or even no longer BELIEVE in Santa Clause and the MAGIC  of Christmas.

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If your older children start telling the younger that Santa doesn’t exist, talk to them.It might be that your older children have outgrown the belief in Santa, but you should explain to them the history behind Santa Clause.

Talk to them about Saint Nicholas who existed once and was a kind man that gave at Christmas to those who were less fortunate. Children learn from their parents and if you make it clear that you believe he exists, then they will believe in Santa Clause.

Explain to the children that Christmas is the season of giving, and remind them that Santa Clause always gives freely from his heart.

   

There is a story told of a bus driver who was transporting a young 20 year old coed to School. It was Christmas time and he turned to her and asked her..  “Do you  BELIEVE in Santa Claus?” She hesitantly said “yes” and kind of giggled nervously.

The bus driver replied, “I BELIEVE in him, too!  After all he did live, didn’t he?”She nodded her head hesitantly, yes.

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show?id=flVVF*q3EY8&bids=270464 - Believe In The Magic Of Santa ClauseThen he went on to say, “Wasn’t he a real man, a GIVER OF GIFTS to children and the poor who inspired others to do the same?” She said, “Yes,” and started to brighten considerably. I continued, “Didn’t Santa Claus set an example for us all to be giving and to be charitable?”

She acknowledged that was true. “Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus raised or elevated our CONSCIOUSNESS and helped us rise above our selfish natures and put us on a higher level of frequency,” I explained.

“But of course Santa Claus doesn’t live anymore. He lived clear back in the 4th century and his remains are in Italy. But does that mean that there is no such person as Santa Claus?” I said to her, “No, of course not.

When we are inspired at this time of the year to give as Saint Nicholas did to one another we become a part of the Santa Claus Frequency. This is why we feel so HAPPY and MERRY this time of the year.

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We sing songs and acknowledge the REALITY of Jesus Christ as well as Santa Claus.  This is why I BELIEVE in Santa Claus.

The time came for the  coed to get off the bus and go home. As she stepped off the stairs she turned to me and said, “Thank you for the enlightenment. I can’t wait to go and tell my roommates,   I BELIEVE in Santa Claus.”

“Who is Santa?” if you ask me today, I will say, Santa is no mortal human being; he symbolizes ‘IMMORTAL’ HOPE; the HOPE that never dies. In fact, HOPE never dies; it’s we who lose it. And that’s so much like Santa, who we stop BELIEVING in as we grow old;   it’s WE who ‘lose’ him.

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He does not cease to exist. He exists in the FANTASIES that we sometimes need to live in, to stay away from life’s stark realities. Santa SYMBOLIZES the ‘IMPOSSIBLES’, we seldom dare to aspire for.

He SYMBOLIZES MIRACLES, we hardly BELIEVE in. Today, most of us have stopped BELIEVING that DREAMS can come TRUE and that things can have HAPPY ENDINGS!

Today, people have stopped BELIEVING in the POWER OF GOOD; they do not BELIEVE in the concepts of ‘DREAMS COME TRUE’ and ‘HAPPILY EVER AFTER’. We think they are only a part of fiction.

But we often fail to understand that there is so much POSITIVITY IN PURSUING IMPOSSIBLE DREAMS; they may or may not come true (why care?) but their pursuit is WONDERFUL!

Why not wait for a HAPPY ENDING rather than fretting  about whether life will have one! How about never losing HOPE shatter our BELIEF in the GOOD?  

Our BELIEF in he who PERSONIFIES all the POSITIVES; Santa Claus!

Believing in the EXISTENCE of Santa Claus and waiting for him with the EAGERNESS of a child is what each of us needs to do; as BELIEVING in him is BELIEVING in the STRENGTH of the GOOD.

BELIEVING in him is BELIEVING that HOPE never dies.

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 Come Santa, come this Christmas.  Rekindle HOPE in our minds; re-instill in our minds the BELIEF in HAPPY ENDINGS; restore in us, the COURAGE TO DREAM and the PATIENCE to PURSUEse DREAMS.

Help us find what we often keep losing – HOPE!  Help us recover from the losses in POSITIVITY.

Come Santa, I shall wait for you this Christmas. Visit every house and reach every heart. You are most awaited!

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I LOVE the MAGIC of CHRISTMAS.

 I love that SANTA embodies POSSIBILITIES and DREAMS.

BELIEVE in Santa Claus?

You bet I do.  

 Merry Christmas,

 

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With over 125 million videos viewed and millions of app downloads, Portable North Pole’s Personalized Video Messages from Santa Claus have been making Christmas unforgettable for families for nearly 10 years!

The site describes itself as follows:

“Portable North Pole is a magical online platform that lets Santa connect with his millions of friends around the world, all the way from here in the North Pole! Nothing makes Santa happier than making special “Merry Christmas!” video messages or creating one-of-a-kind puzzles for children he only gets to visit once a year on Christmas Eve…he loves it even more than the yummy treats you all leave out for him and the reindeer! Just remember that you don’t have to wait ’til Christmas to get in touch with Santa.”

This year 2016 The #1 Christmas App is back with Magical New Videos and Exciting New Features, like Storytime with Santa and the Reaction Recorder—you will never forget the look of surprise on your child’s face when Santa speaks directly to them!

 
Hi there! Thanks for visiting. We’d LOVE for you to hang around! 
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 Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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A Basket Full of Memories

Children-Playing

As you become older you realize that memories and treasured keepsakes are what you come away with from your childhood.  Memories connect our pasts, our present, and our futures — and they connect us to one another. What situations come into your mind when someone asks you to remember your childhood memories?

 Life flies by fast and before you know it your kids will be grown. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make sure that your children have fond memories of growing up. Will your kids remember their Xbox or will they remember the two of you running through the sprinklers on a hot day?

Life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together. Happy Memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood” ~ Charlotte Davis Kasl

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Childhood memories are usually the simplest of things. Remember when you learned to ride your first bike?  Jumping in a pile of leaves in the fall, making mudpies, snowball fights, playing in the rain, chasing butterflies, gathering eggs in the hen house, playing “dress up” like mom, hunting with dad, turning the crank on the ice cream.

We all have memories of our childhood that are cherished in our hearts forever. It’s not the things that cost the most money, it’s the time spent with the ones we love the most that we’ll always remember. Young parents of today should always try to spend quality time with their children. It’s not what you buy them, but the memories you make together, that they’ll look back on when they’re grown. The simple pleasures that cost nothing, yet are priceless.

A First Memory Starter….

Write your child a letter soon after they are born. Fill it with your thoughts, hopes, dreams and the experience of bringing a new life into the world. Place your note in an envelope and inscribe, “On the day you were born” on it, and tuck it in a journaling-type book.

Each year on your child’s birthday, write another letter to her—fill it with the memories, milestones, dreams, events, ideas and the life that you and your family have created throughout the year. When your child grows up and has a place of his or her own, present the book and continue to send the letters on your child’s birthday.

You will have written a book and told the story of two very special people: you and your child.

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 How To Make Memories….

On Your  Lap. It’s the best place in the entire world for a book, story, or conversation. And it’s been right in front of you the whole time.

Hugs and Kisses. I once heard the story of a man who told his 7-year old son that he had grown too old for kisses. I tear up every time I think of it. Know that your children are never too old to receive physical affirmation of your love for them.

Meals Together. Meals provide unparalleled opportunity for relationship, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else. So much so, that a family that does not eat together does not grow together.

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You may not be an animal lover – but getting any kind of pet can do miracles! It doesn’t only mean endless joy for your children but it also is a great way to teach them what responsibility is. You don’t have to get a dog or a cat, there are so many animals that make great and easy to keep pets.

Try hamster, fish, parrot or even a turtle. Teach your kid how to feed it and train it. Your children will love you for getting them a pet and you will love the effect it will have on their character. Your first pet is always one of the greatest childhood memories…

 

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You can visit a foreign country, a big city or a village – the important thing is to go to a road trip together as  a family at least once! Wander, explore, experience, bond and create unforgettable memories. You will learn your kids to love traveling and make the most of the chance to spend couple of whole days together.

Holidays and family trips are one of the things we remember with joy . Fill your family album with lots of photos and funny captures!

 

 

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Give Them The Gift Of Growing Up With These Memories…..

Play with the garden hose

Spot shapes in the clouds

Tell them about God

Hold them when they cry

Sometimes in the summer we would go to the drive-in movie….Mom always made a big sack of popcorn and a Memory I will always remember.

 

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Play dress up

Driving Lessons

Let them climb into bed with you when they have a bad dream

Turn off your cell phone and spend time with them

Camp

Tell them you love them every day

Make Snow Ice Cream

Read them fairy tales

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Create new everyday rituals: warm vanilla milk, a story or a kiss on the forehead before bedtime—special touches that will help your child drift off to a peaceful sleep.

Kite Flying

Give second chances, third chances, fourth chances…

Piano Lessons

Tell them you believe in them

Sandcastles

Blow on a Dandelion and make a wish

 

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Go to the Library

Be kind to them so they’ll learn to be kind

Gardening

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“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”

TIP: RECIPE FOR PRESERVING CHILDREN

Ingredients:

  • 1 grassy field
  • 1/2 dozen (or more) children
  • several dogs (and puppies, if available)
  • 1 brook
  • several pebbles

Steps:

  1. Into field, pour children and dogs — allowing to mix well.
  2. Pour brook over pebbles til slightly frothy.
  3. Cool children and dogs slightly in brook.
  4. When dry, serve with milk and freshly baked gingerbread cookies.

 

 

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 Each parent would have many stories to tell about their children. These stories would have many moments which are cherishable, memorable and wonderful. Along with that many frustrating and tireful ones too. All these experiences could make each parent an author of a book.

So how do we Save these memories?   Keepy, a tool that lets you snap and store photos of your kids and the stuff they do. Keepy also lets kids and their “followers” add voice and video comments.

If your children had to share their life story with someone else, what memories would be the basis for their story? Now is the time to shape their story with living memories that will last a lifetime.

You are  going to blink and these little people – who, for now, see you  as the beginning and the end of the universe – are going to be all grown up.  Make sure that when that day comes, they will look back and smile and remember the little moments like these. I know I will.

Are you making time to create memories with your children?


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Hi there! Thanks for visiting. We’d LOVE for you to hang around! 
Like Us On Facebook,
and/or subscribe by email (which is on the Contact Page above)  to be sure you don’t miss an update!

 Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

 

 

 

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These Are Their Magical Years Of Childhood

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Pausing to listen to an airplane in the sky, stooping to watch a ladybug on a plant, sitting on a rock to watch the waves crash over the quayside – children have their own agendas and timescales.  As they find out more about their world and their place in it, they work hard not to let adults hurry them.  We need to hear their voices. 

~Cathy Nutbrown

 

children-playing-007-300x180As I stand on my front porch, watching children run through their lawn, laughing as the sprinkler dances cold water across their faces, I remember back to when I was a child.

I remember the smell of fresh cut grass combining with the scent of burning wood as the cool autumn breeze touched my face, blowing my hair into my light blue eyes. The sun’s late evening rays filtered through the willow tree, branches hanging low as the lightly floated across the grass, almost hay as it was burnt from the late summer’s heat.

Running through the yard, arms spread wide as if I were trying to fly, take off from this magical place that I so often yearn to go back to as an adult. Pretending to be a princess or a lost explorer, I combed the yard and surrounding field for lost artifacts or my stolen crown. Mixing dirt and twigs, I concocted magic portions to save my village or exotic recipes to serve the guests dining at my palace.

The stories that played out in my yard, in my mind, were so detailed that they made up a world all of their own. Theychildren_playing made up a world that, as an adult, I don’t think I ever truly appreciated at the time. I never really understood the magic of being able to believe and that being able to make nothing into something was a gift to be held onto. But it is a gift that fades with age.

As time goes by, I have begun to realize that I have started to take myself too seriously with age. I have slowly forgotten how to stop and observe the simplicities of the world around me. I can remember when my biggest accomplishments were learning to ride my bike, or tie my shoes, or read a book, or sit through The Exorcist without covering my head with a blanket. All of those things seem so small, so trivial now, but when I was 5 or 6 or 7, they weren’t. They were amazing.

child_2197991bAs an adult, I have forgotten how to see these small achievements, these daily battles overcome, as true accomplishments and something to be proud of. As adults, we fail to look at the small and only weigh in on the greater. Running with blinders, eyes set straight ahead on that promotion, or bigger house, a newer car, we miss out on all of the wonderful things that happen each day. Over taken by our own responsibilities and our personal goals we miss watching the leaves fall, diving off trees, and spiraling like miniature tornadoes.

Doing things out of the ordinary, out of the norm of our daily routine can bring a little bit of magic back into our lives.  I feel that is what was missing in my life. I was missing the “magic”. I lived with excuses.

Life was not meant to be rushed, but it was not meant to be stagnant. It was meant to take place painting_children_childhood_kjb_DonaldZolan_02SabinaintheGrass_smsomewhere in the middle. Taking note of the world around you and all of its perplexities, slowing down to stop and smile about all that you have achieved (no matter how small), but without losing sight of what’s left to be obtained – finding a balance and finding happiness.

That magical mind we had as children still dwells inside most of us… But, we sometimes are afraid to let it breath and live. So long as we do not make the mistake of trying to become it again, as a part of ourselves, it is a remarkable asset!

“Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.”
John Betjeman
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So What do We As Parents Need to Know to Help Our Children Have Magical Years…..

  1. magical_childhood_____by_alekseikim-d3br4nkThat every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.
  2. That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
  3. That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
  4. That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
  5. That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need stock-footage-close-up-of-father-giving-son-piggyback-ride-footage-in-high-definitionundisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US.They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the  pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.

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 Magic Garden Song

A magical garden of make believe
Where flowers chuckle and birds play tricks
And a magic tree grows lollipop sticks

Here in the garden what we say and dodancing_kids3
We’d like you to join us and do it to

Can you crow like a rooster?
Cock-a-doodle-doo!
And clap your hands and stamp your shoe

It’s a funny place but it’s surely true,
That we’d like to share it all with you

If you sing for me (la la-la-la-la-la)
I’ll sing for you (lu lu-lu-lu-lu-lu)
If you cry for me (ooo hoo-hoo-hoo)
I’ll cry for you (boo hoo-hoo-hoo)
If you scream for me (aaaahhhh! )
I’ll scream for you (waaaahhhh! )
If you laugh for me (hee hee-hee-hee-hee-hee)
I’ll laugh for you (ha ha-ha-ha-ha-ha)

So come on in without a fuss,
‘Cause the magical garden is waiting for us

20 Ways to Make Today More Magical
How many individual days do you remember from your childhood? How many were magical? Here’s some things to try that your children will carry with them. And hopefully make you smile a little too…
  1. Leave a secret “I love you” message hidden in a lunch box, painted on their pancakes or tucked into their shoes. Better yet, leave a dozen.
  2. Fake a doctor’s appointment. If you have kids in school, let them (and the school) think they have to get out of school for an appointment. Pick them up and take them to a picnic in the park instead (or whatever painting_children_childhood_DonaldZolan_12TenderMoment-500x500you’d both enjoy).
  3. Have a tacky fashion show. Get together the loudest clothes you can find and give out awards for the worst entries. Eat supper in costume.
  4. Write them a letter telling her how much you love them, and why. Be specific.
  5. Square dance. In the living room. Grown ups too. Make it up if you don’t know how.
  6. Tell your kids their birth stories. Add the little details and tell them if you cried or daddy wouldn’t let them go.
  7. Serve meals out of order. Have lunch for breakfast, desert for lunch, etc.
  8. Eat it with the wrong utensils and be artistic with it. Pipe tartar sauce haikus across the fish sticks and then scramble them to make new poems. You get the idea.
  9. Crawl under the table with your little one. Do at least three different normal activities under there (reading books, brushing teeth, snack time…)
  10. Get together a pile of your children’s artwork and take the kids to a senior citizen center. Pass out the art and spend time with the residents. Let your kids know how happy they made people.
  11. Give your child a disposable camera and tell her to record all her favorite parts of her life with the photos.
  12. remember_golden_childhood_01Go for a long walk and just talk.
  13. Play truth or dare.
  14. Have a camp-out in the living room. Roast marshmallows over candles and tell ghost stories by flashlight.
  15. If you have access to a camcorder, record at least an hour of silliness. Add some sentiment too, having everybody tell things they’re thankful for, what they’ve loved about this year, and things they love about each other. Close with more silliness.
  16. Help them decorate their rooms with glow-in-the-dark stars, bugs or images.
  17. Go on a road trip for the day, anywhere you’ve never been.
  18. Write a silly poem or story just for him. Make him the hero and fill it with stuff he loves.
  19. After dark, go look at the stars together.
  20. Spend the whole day saying “mommy loves you.” Say it so much you’re annoying and strange! At the end of the night, tiptoe in and whisper it to them as they sleep. Fill them up with how loved they are, and tiptoe out.

Taylor Swift’s  “The Best Day”

I don’t know why all the trees change in the fall
But I know you’re not scared of anything at all
Don’t know if Snow White’s house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today

There is a video I found from back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you’re talking to me
It’s the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
And Daddy’s smart and you’re the prettiest lady in the whole wide world

Bubbles

I think that’s why I love to write. I can go back to that childhood state of imagination and magic and conjure up people and places without being bogged down by knowledge or logic. I can hold on to the magic of childhood.

Many wonderful things happen when you’re a child but also when you grow up, and the key is not to forget about them but to hold them in your heart and they will shape the person you are, have always been and will always be.

“Everything I write comes from my childhood in one way or another. I am forever drawing on the sense of mystery and wonder and possibility that pervaded that time of my life.
What do you remember believing as a child?

My prayer today is that my babies and now grandkids never get too “grown up” to….

thumbnail.aspxMake Mudpies..

Jump in Puddles..

Climb Trees..

Lie in the Grass.

Dream BIG..

Build a Fort..

Run Barefoot..

Slay Dragons..

Play in the Rain..

Reach for the Stars..

IMAGINE

Tread gently..

Sleep soundly..

I feel that my job is to help them hold onto the magic and innocence of childhood, for as long as possible…

 

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“Children need the freedom and time to play.  Play is not a luxury.  Play is a necessity. ”


Our Family 2 Yours

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Childhood….Do Extra Curricular Activities Really Matter?

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With the best of intentions, we shuttle our children to church, ballet lessons, football games and more. Then as our children get older and are in high school, they often add the responsibilities of school clubs and jobs.

We strongly believe they should be involved in extra curricular activities. Our goal is to create happy, well adjusted adults, by exposing our children to as many activities as possible. We live in a very fast paced and competitive world. We’re all in a race to get somewhere fast.

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I’ve heard many parents say they want to provide their children will lots of enrichment and opportunities to ensure they’ll be able to compete in today’s world.

Isn’t this age-old proverb rightly put? A student’s school days are some of the best days of his life. These days can never be complete without a little bit of sporty excitement, a bit of adventure and the crazy strokes of a painting class. Some of the best talents around the world, attribute their extra curricular activities as the roots of their academic and career success.

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Extra curricular activities have many benefits for children and teenagers alike. They help kids explore their physical, creative, and social potential. They allow kids to find out where their career or political interests may lie. Some activities, such as volunteer work, allow kids to experience how their time and effort benefits others in need.

There are various types of extracurricular activities students can get involved in. The two main categories are – academic and athletic. We have divided our extracurricular activities’ list into these two categories. Take a look….

Academic Extra-curricular Activities

  • Art Club
  • Band Camp
  • Biology Club
  • Chemistry Club
  • Debate Team
  • Drama Club
  • English Club
  • Field Trip Committee
  • Foreign Language Club
  • Green Club
  • Honor Roll and Merit Roll
  • Industrial Art Club
  • LHS Leadership
  • Math Club
  • Mentorship
  • Model United Nations
  • National Honor Society
  • Post Secondary Option
  • Red Cross Club
  • School Newspaper Staff
  • Scholarship Club
  • Science Club
  • Summer Library Club
  • Student Council
  • Voluntary Work
  • Yearbook Staff
  • Youth Leadership

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    Athletic Extracurricular Activities
  • Archery Club
  • Baseball Team
  • Basketball Team
  • Bowling Team
  • Cheerleading Squad
  • Cross-Country Team
  • Dance Club
  • Drill Team
  • Field Hockey Team
  • Football Team
  • Gold Club
  • Gymnastics Team
  • Hockey Team
  • Lacrosse Team
  • Martial Arts
  • Rowing Team
  • Rugby Team
  • Skiing Club
  • Soccer Team
  • Softball Team
  • Swimming Team
  • Tennis Club
  • Track Team
  • Volleyball Team
  • Water Polo Team
  • Wrestling Team
  • Volunteer Athletic Trainer

But sometimes in today’s world  we let our  kids get overbooked in  sports, school activities,and after-school jobs.   When is it too much?

And does this mean children should never participate in extra-curricular activities?   Of course not. There is much to be gained by being part of a team, or learning how to dance or skate or sing or play a sport. We just want to examine if in the long run our kids might be paying a price if their week is full of structured, extra-curricular activities.

What are they missing out on in the process?  We need to remember that  over scheduling can affect your family life, too, so consider the demands on your own time. Keep in mind what will be expected of you when your child begins a new activity. This will include time and transportation, obviously. But it can also mean volunteering, fundraising, and coaching.


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We have to remember that sometimes  Kids need time to just be Kids.  But parents also tend to compare their children with those of their friends. “There’s definitely an element of keeping up with the Jones’s . It puts us wanting to both bring out the best of our kids, but alsodbf3417e846dcc9fde3445720636c6ef wanting to compete with the neighbors next door whose kids are already doing Suzuki violin. And they are already on the elite gymnastics squad and you feel left out!”

In efforts to ensure their children’s success in life, parents seek out every available opportunity for enrichment, whether that is on the athletic field, a stage or concert hall, or even on the playground.

Believing in the adage “idle hands make the Devil’s work,” parents feel they can keep their children out of trouble if they just keep them busy enough. But all this over-scheduling can lead to kids who don’t know what to do with free time once they have it, and occasionally, other serious problems.

Pediatrician Lisa Thornton advises parents to allow their children down time to play, draw, and explore. ” Kids need time to daydream and think and be creative and make up games. When everything’s constantly scheduled, they don’t do that, so creativity is not as spontaneous.”

They  and you  need time just to be. Downtime helps kids recharge emotionally and physically, so they’re ready for the activities they and you have prioritized. Likewise, having some downtime in each day can help your kids avoid burnout with the activities they do enjoy.

When kids can really look forward to their activities rather than rushing from one thing to another, they get more enjoyment from it all, and so will you.

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How can you tell if your kids are over scheduled with extracurricular activities? Kids can and do participate in so many activities. But too many extra curriculars on top of school can spell o-v-e-r-w-o-r-k-e-d for the child.

How many activities are too many? School counselors across the country are reporting that more and more students involved in extra-curricular activities are on “overload” and becoming stressed out. 

I’ve have always believed you should give your children every opportunity you possibly can when it comes to out of school activities I guess like many parents I believe, you learn and grow through opportunities.
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Do your kids have this kind of Overload??

  • Hockey practice- 5:30 a.m.
  • Cramming for a final exam- 7:00 a.m.
  • Presenting a science power point assignment- 8:45 a.m.JITP_FA_children-in-school_resized
  • Joining the advance geometry study group- 10:25 a.m.
  • Lunch with 800 other students- 11:45 a.m.
  • Auditioning for the select choir- 12:30 p.m.
  • Reporting cell phone stolen- 1:25 p.m.
  • Missing English class- 2:15 p.m.
  • Hockey endurance training- 2:45 p.m.
  • Meet with boyfriend- 5:00 p.m.
  • Miss super- 6:00 p.m.
  • Piano lesson- 7:00 p.m.
  • Homework 8:30 p.m.
  • Instant messaging time with friends- 10:45 p.m.
  • Bedtime- 12:30 a.m.
  • Hockey practice- 5:30 a.m. and, here we go again!
  • Us as  parents to take a good look at the lives of our children. We all know a kid like this: the one who gets off the school bus and goes straight to soccer practice, eats a take-out dinner in the car on the way to Scouts or chess, and gets back home just in time to fall into bed at 10PM.

But just like when your computer gets overloaded, a message flashes across your screen, “Disk full,” warning signs of stress let you know when your child has overloaded. We need to remember that they’re called extracurricular activities because they’re extra.

Your child’s No. 1 priority must be schoolwork, so don’t hesitate to make continued participation in sports or clubs contingent on maintaining a minimum standard of academic performance.

Once your child has  joined an activity, if they  feel stressed out, they will need to  reconsider. It’s important to keep a balance between schoolwork, extracurricular activities, a job, social life, and your health. If they have  joined a club and need to quit for any reason, they need to talk with the Advisor or Coach.

They should  be direct and polite and explain their  situation and feelings. Sometimes it’s just not the right match for them  or it’s too time-consuming. Perhaps you can participate in a less time-consuming way or rejoin later.

They will not be helping themselves or the group if they  frantically do homework during a competition or fall asleep during practice.  Saying “no” can be the most mature and responsible thing to do.

Parents need to be on the look out for symptoms such as:

  • 200x300helpteenssleepIrritability
  • Restlessness
  • Combativeness
  • Feelings of dejection
  • Apathy
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate or sleep often emanates from overscheduling and relentlessly intense weekly schedules, pressure to excel, or a combination of both
  • Uncharacteristic tantrums
  • Headaches and stomachaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stress or depression
  • Uncharacteristic tantrums
  • Headaches and stomachaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stress or depression

If your child dreads going to an activity or practice, this should raise an immediate red flag.

Mary Ostyn, mother of 10 children and author of “A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family,” says that her children are each allowed one activity per season, plus swim lessons and music lessons — but only if they are interested in them.

“Interest is so important–I look for activities that kids are passionate about, that don’t go beyond our budget, and (ideally) that allow other siblings to do something enjoyable at the same time.

For example, activities at our local rec center are great. Instead of just sitting waiting, kids (and parents) can swim or run the track while other kids do swim lessons or gymnastics,” says Mary. ” A sense of personal accomplishment can be achieved when a child master a skill such as learning a new stroke in swimming or making it to the next belt level in karate.

Maintaining a balance between family time and activity time is important, Mary says. “More often with our particular family it is mom who gets overworked. As wonderful as all the various activities sound, we have to remember that mom’s sanity is an important commodity,” says Mary.

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Lastly, extra-curricular activities may reduce drug and alcohol abuse not only by giving kids a place to go instead of an empty home or wandering the streets, but also by giving them the motivation and sense of purpose to say “no.”

Parents who participate with their child may even find that they grow closer as they share conversation about their child’s interests

Childhood is a time of exploration. Extra-curricular activities help children discover the world. Kids still must have time to be kids and enjoy life. Watch for signs of extra-curricular activity overload in your busy child and intervene when necessary for his or her well-being. 

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  It can take some time to find the extracurricular activity which best fits both a parent’s lifestyle and a child’s interests. A child should never be pressured to join as many activities as possible for the sake of college applications or their parent’s priorities.

Extra-curriculars can bring out the best in a child if they are the right fit for the child’s interests, curiosities, and abilities.

Remember everyone needs downtime. If an activity adds lots of stress to your life, it’s not for you.

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