Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today is the day that counts!

It seems the older I get, the more I appreciate the family that surrounds me.  They have been the ones through all the years of my life that have been there.....through the good times and the bad.  Lately I have been working on a project  that depicts my family.  It's been an interesting process.

What I realized after embarking on this, that it wasn't just about me.  I in fact play a very small part of a much larger group.  I was going through drawers, boxes, and albums in an effort to record every aspect of my life as I could.  My last surviving aunt has been sending me pictures of family I never knew.  I have even started communicating with a cousin in Scotland, who has spent that past 15 years researching and documenting the family genealogy!  Low and behold, it dawned on me that without great-grandparents, parents, children, extended family, friends......I would not have even made a blip in the universe.

What was brought to the forefront of my mind, is that without others we are nothing.  The interactions of our lives is what makes a life worth living.  I have scanned nearly 1,000 pictures over the past few weeks and as I looked at each one, the remembrance of that moment was crystal clear.  The reality hit that had that other person not been there, neither would I.

In today's world I think we often think "oh, I'll do it tomorrow"....when in fact there may not be a tomorrow.  And, as I watch world events unfold in front of me on television, I am reminded even more how important it is to treasure today--every moment of it.  To not take for granted the moments we have with the ones we love.  And, so I continue in my quest, to learn more about my family, to love those who are here now, and to pray for those of the future.

My advice.....go tell your family how much you love and appreciate them...and give each one a is the day that counts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Life Experience and StinkyKids

One of the tough things in life, is finding yourself in the middle of a "situation" and not knowing how to deal with it.  Of course, they say life has a way of teaching us. However, I can't help but wonder, if I was better equipped to deal with everything that's thrown at me--how would many of those situations turned out differently?  And, when it comes to preparing our children to deal with those things, sometimes it can seem like an insurmountable mountain of obstacles they have to traverse, and we can ourselves feel over-whelmed at knowing how and where to start.  Of course most parents navigate the waters just fine, but what if there was something that could help begin to prepare the little ones? 

What if I told you that there is now available, and amazing set of books and dolls that can offer a myriad of problem solving skills in a fun and non-threatening way?!  StinkyKids is an amazing group of books and doll characters, that go way beyond the norm in the world of toys.  Each book is beautifully written and illustrated to basically prepare your little ones on  how to deal with issues that are invariably going to "pop up".  One aspect I found very appealing is the "voice" of the characters was clearly distinguishable as the child's voice.  Most children and adults tend to listen to the voice the most identify with, and the manner in which the stories are written, provides a child's voice your little one can relate to, to pose the problem, and then solve it.

Another aspect I really liked, was that it teaches your little one that YOU are the one they need to come to when something happens.  In today's world, I think families often become fragmented, and kids simply don't know who they're supposed to go to.  Or they're afraid of consequences.....when often, if they'd come to their mom or dad to begin with, the consequences would have been considerably less.  The books offer up great solutions, but beyond just the story, there are suggested questions you as the parent can begin to talk with your little ones about.  I like that because it teaches them without being "teachy" gives them good thoughts that will no doubt prove invaluable as their lives progress.

The dolls....oh my gosh, are you going to love the dolls!  Made by the Madame Alexander company of dolls, the quality is amazing.  The price will shock you--so reasonable.  Every doll's face is actually embroidered, so you never have to worry about parts falling off, or paint getting scratched off.  I have twin granddaughter's, and have to tell you, these are truly the first dolls I've found that I was genuinely impressed enough with to purchase.  I also like the fact that the clothes are removable, and the entire doll is soft, so they make great bedtime or travel buddies.

Britt Menzies, coined the StinkyKids motto,“Always Be a Leader of Good".  It's a concept she taught her own children -- to make right choices, not to follow bad behavior, and be a leader of good behavior.  In addition to the books and dolls, Britt has taken her venture to one more level, which just speaks to the quality and thoughtfulness of this product.  You can visit the website of StinkyKids, where you can actually print coloring pages of the characters (my granddaughters LOVE to color).  She even has a page of pictures by kids who've become fans, and their drawings.  My personal opinion of the StinkyKids line of books and dolls, is that it is a superior, thought provoking series that every child would love to have, and benefit from.  Books are recommended for ages 10 and under, and the dolls....well, suffice it to say, you're never too young to have one of these, and dare I say--never too old!

© StinkyKids and the Runaway Scissors, which is now available for purchase at Barnes and Noble (can order at their local BN store) or at
© StinkyKids See a Full Moon at or (books hits stores September 2011 but can pre-order now)
© The dolls can be purchased at or 

    Become a fan of StinkyKids on Facebook 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Poolside & Beach Must Haves for the Little Ones

It's summer and the heat is really going full blast.  Here in Florida, we're surrounded by water (or so it seems), and when the heat gets too much, we all seem to head for a pool or the beach.  Easy enough as adults, but when you have children in tow, it takes a little more planning.

You always have to think beyond the trip to the water.......what will be the "mood" after a couple or several hours, and are you going to be prepared to deal with it?
The little ones need extra protection from the sun (hats and sunblock), plenty of water to drink, little snacks throughout the day, and something to do.  If you're going to the beach, I'd suggest taking along anything from "official" beach toys to some of the plastic containers in your kitchen cabinets -- they love to fill them with sand.  It can become a great learning opportunity while filling their time with creative fun.    If you're at a pool the same thing applies.  I am constantly amazed to watch my twin granddaughters fill, refill, dump out, and refill again and again, the plastic containers I've given them to play with.  Sometimes they sink them in the pool....and sometimes they go around the patio and collect leaves and flowers to add to the water in the containers.  They love to pretend, and it's a great way to make a mess without making it in the house!

Sunscreen is imperative!  Here in Florida, during the summer, the rays of the sun are really potent by early in the day.  You can feel the UVB abd UVA rays just penetrating your skin if you're out for just a few minutes.  There's been lots of controversy over which sun screens are the best, safest, etc., and the latest one I think might be really good (I'm not being compensated to say this by the way!) is Neutrogena's Wet Skin  Sunblock.  The  most important thing is to protect the delicate skin of your little ones.  Remember--they haven't been around for years being exposed to the sun, so they're going to burn much faster than you or I.  And, if you've ever been with a child with a know you don't want to go there again!

Another item I never seem to have enough of.......towels!  What I finally realized is I need towels for lying on, towels for drying, and towels for getting home in.  The long story short--you can never have too many towels at the pool or beach! There's nothing worse than sitting on a towel that's already soaked through, or covered in that fine beach sand.  Take enough so that when you're ready to leave, you can wrap everyone in a clean, dry, non-sandy towel to ride home in comfort.  There are so many available today, that there's really no excuse not to have an abundance of beach and pool towels for everyone!

One last thing to consider might be a change of clothes before you leave the beach or pool.  You know the little ones are going to most likely fall asleep if your trip home is more than 10-minutes, so why not make them comfortable.  Taking a change of clothes can make all the difference when they finally wake up.  And, if you're staying longer at the beach or pool, then you'll definitely want to take a change of clothes.  Look for little outfits that have coordinate hats.  Sometimes we forget the glare of the sun can be damaging over time, so look for hats with wide brims to help protect your little one from that.  If it happens to match the outfit--that's a plus!  But the main thing is, shade those precious little eyes from the glare of the sun.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Verdict.....

No doubt, if you've paid any attention to the news, you know by now that Casey Anthony was found "not guilty" on all counts, except for lying to the law enforcement officials.  I have read the cries of dis-belief and anger......I have felt them all--as a mother and a grandmother.  And yet, after watching this trial from beginning to end, I have a new appreciation of a trial by jury.

What most people are not thinking at the moment (because they're caught up in the emotions of the trial) is that this jury made their decisions NOT based on emotion or personal opinion.  They were ordered by the court to base their verdicts on the facts, and just the facts.  They were told that if they had ANY doubt, that their decision must be not guilty.  They were instructed that the verdict was based SOLELY on undisputed facts, and not innuendo, personal opinions of Miss Anthony, or "supposed" incidents that were dreamed up by either side of the law.

What you saw, if you watched the trial, was a prosecution who took as many circumstantial facts and laid out their plan to convict Casey Anthony.  The defense masterfully took those very circumstantial facts, and spun as many questions, as the prosecution laid out.  The defense successfully created in the minds of the jury, that not all the facts were "FACT".....that there was perhaps a reasonable doubt that something else happened.

I'm not defending Casey.....I am simply saying that what makes our justice system unique in the world, just exhibited to all of us, whether we agree or not, that justice can be blind.  I still can not wrap my head around whatever happened to precious little a mother, a grandmother, I would give my own life before I would knowingly allow something to happen to one of my children or grandchildren.  There is no reconciliation in my mind as to what could possibly say that whatever happened was just an accident.....but, I don't think any of us will ever know the truth.

What I rest on is that we each have our day of reckoning.  We must each account for the things we have done in our life.  Caylee, being the innocent angel that she was, rests squarely in the arms of of pain, free of anxiety, free to be the creature God created her to be.

I feel sorry for the Anthony family--torn apart by the death of Caylee, the lies, the is such a sad day beyond The Verdict.