American Craft Week

Join in the fun tomorrow- when the  American Craft Week is kicked off from Oct.1 until Oct.10 there are events and activities to take part in throughout the US. What a great way to get a head start on Holiday shopping or just a wonderful way to support American small business! We LOVE many, many American artists, designers, and toy makers! Stop by the website and see who is taking part and what you can do in your state! In honor of Craft week- here are a few of our favorites finds from Etsy shops.

Mommy and Me aprons from My Little Sister

Bookplates from Oiseaux

Anything is great from Soil

Great snack pouches from Down Home Amy


Teonova Masks

Etsy's Teonova has handcrafted these gorgeous leather masks.  They're so beautiful adults and children will be clamoring to wear them this Halloween!  You're never too old to trick-or-treat, right? 



 It is ridiculously hot here! Hottest day on record yesterday. We are not made for the heat! This post has absolutely nothing to do with that, but just felt it needed to be said! Even though it's blazing outside we are getting ready for Halloween in our hearts! UK company, Stardust, who we found through Twitter, sells all this great loot!

 Why not learn a little while getting in the spirit!


kit + lili

Sometimes a girl wants a little color and pattern in her wardrobe.  This is where kit + lili comes in.  Bright patterns with simple and comfy styling make these dresses incredibly wearable.  We imagine one of them will become her favorite "everyday" dress in no time.


Nook Organic Crib Mattress

Nook has created an organic mattress that is non-toxic, microbe resistant and uses all natural materials.  A crib mattress that will allow the whole family to rest easy because they come in full sizes, too.

The pebble covers are washable, hooray!  Also, check out their open weave organic a-line sleep sack.
Here's to a sleepy weekend!


FEED Trick-or-Treat Pumpkin Bag

It's getting closer to Halloween and while many use plastic pumpkins to hold treats, this bag from UNICEF is the philanthropic alternative.  It's festive, holds way more treats than the standard pumpkin, and the best part is one bag feeds one child all of her nutrients for an entire year.  Now that's trick-or-treating for Good.

If you want to do more Trick-or-Treat for Unicef is celebrating it's 60th Anniversary and encourages groups of children to go door to door with Unicef's trademark orange box trick-or-treating for funds.
Boxes can be picked up at Toys R Us/Babies R US or ordered online at Unicef's Trick-or-Treat page.
Children love Halloween so much, we imagine they'll be more than happy to make the rounds once for candy and another time for UNICEF.   That's a Happy Halloween!


Allsaints Spitalfields

UK cult favorite Allsaints Spitalfields reigns supreme for vintage with an edge.  With a collection that remains constant year to year Allsaints is the go-to brand for effortless rockstar children's wear.  We especially love their boots!  Oh and they have lines for men and women, too!


Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

It's that time of year again when thoughts turn to entertaining friends and relatives for the Holidays. Not only are there menus to create and centerpieces to assemble, but there are the seating arrangements. This year, you can forgo the children's table and let them join the grownups with this genius table found on Genius Jones. The exquisite walnut table is pretty enough for the grownups and practical enough for the little ones. Made with panels that are walnut on one side and white board on the other, this table is the best of both worlds. There is built in storage under the panels and in the accompanying benches, which by the way, convert into booster seats!

Inspired by the idea- check out our post on IdeaPaint or convert on old table with Chalkboard Paint via this great post on Martha Stewart.

We love the wall calendar! What a great idea for a busy family, a perfect way for everyone to keep track of the schedule holds.


Waiting for Superman!

Hooray!  Today Oprah is discussing the issue most dear to our hearts, education in America!  Waiting for Superman is a new documentary premiering September 24th and directed by Davis Guggenheim, of An Inconvenient Truth fame.  The film raises questions about the United States' broken educational system and we are happy the spotlight is shining on one of America's largest issues.  Our hearts go out to the teachers, parents and children trapped in the system.  Our years of experience have taught us the unfortunate fact that the finest education is reserved for the privileged.  It is our deepest hope that one day America will bridge the gap.  Until then let us reach out, speak up and advocate for those who don't have access to quality education and for the many fine teachers struggling to be guiding lights in a very dark system.


Work Bench

A work bench might be in order for the serious builder.  Personally, we think every play area could use a kitchen, dollhouse, and a workbench.  This one from Voila comes complete with a tool belt and tools.  We love that the pieces are functional and can be built into cars, helicopters etc. . .  Build away!


Tool Kits

We're on a Tool Kit kick.  Check out what the UK has to offer.  Loving how many tools they include, and what child doesn't love a tool belt? 


Spare the Child.

Those of you who were raised in a Christian home have surely heard the phrase Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.  This verse from Proverbs 13:24 has been used as the basis for corporal punishment for centuries.  While it is unlikely that most parents who admit to spanking use an actual rod or object to hit a child, an overwhelming majority of American parents believe spanking to be a valuable "tool" for discipline.  The disconnect between research and mainstream opinion has been heartbreaking experts for decades.  For more than 30 years, developmental researchers have been warning parents of the adverse effects that spanking has on children.  Children who are spanked are at risk of lower IQ, aggressive behavior, engaging in unprotected sex, and in a very disturbing finding in a recent study, they are more likely to be aroused sexually by pain.(Newsweek)  Apart from all that could go wrong, the most compelling argument seems to be - it doesn't work.  In over thirty years of research, not once have researchers been able to show that spanking diminishes the behavior parents are trying to eradicate.  The illusion of the behavior leaving is simply children learning to not get caught or lie to avoid punishment.  If at best, spanking is ineffective, and at its worst,  you could seriously harm your child, why have 94% of parents in the US with children 3-4 years old spanked in the past year?  Why do parents still feel it's acceptable to hit a child to make a point but that same logic could have them arrested if applied to another adult?Perhaps the reason for the disconnect between research and the public is that for most of us, we simply can't see it.  We really are cut off from the connection between spanking and later troubles.  We've never seen ourselves or others anyway than how we are now.  We can't trace the path from a "little swat" once and awhile to behavior in adulthood.  The most common argument we hear for spanking is "I was spanked and I turned out fine."  This is a hard argument to get around.  Because convincing someone that just because they are fine doesn't mean all will be fine for another is a bit tricky.  In recent years, parent educators have been using the analogy of smoking when speaking to parents about spanking.  Not all smokers end up with adverse long term effects.  Not all smokers end up with lung cancer, but we don't know which smoker will.  And we don't know about you but the risk is enough for us not to play the odds.  Educators view spanking in much the same way.  It's hard to tell which children will be most adversely effected.  There are indications that demographics may play a part: children who are in lower socio-economic brackets and have more stresses in their lives are at higher risk.  This could be due to the frequency and veracity of the spankings.  But no one is quite sure.  Could you imagine weighing the odds when your teenager starts to smoke?  We wouldn't.  So why do we push aside decades of proof on this one?  Child psychologist, Alice Miller wrote at length about the need for children to view the parent as good, so much so, that the child will place blame on herself in order to keep a warm image of her parent.  So, it's easier psychologically to believe that we deserved the smack than to believe that our parent's were wrong.  It's easier for us to believe it's not really harming our children than to engage in a discussion about how we were mistreated and how we mistreat.  But if we take a step back and do not need to be right for a moment, could we see the ridiculousness of our belief on spanking?  How could hitting someone ever lead someone to not want to hit?  How is having our child fear us a healthy thing? Would we feel closer to our spouses if  they swatted us on the rear when they were frustrated with us?  In no way are we advocating complete and utter bedlam.  Nor are we suggesting that children never do anything that could make an adult want to smack them.  But, that's really the point isn't it. We are generally hitting because we are angry, enraged, frustrated, or impulsive (as when someone hits a child for running into the street).  How can we expect impulse control from children if we aren't modeling it?  We, as adults, need to give ourselves the license to voice these feelings rather than act on them.  How different would our lives be with children if we could trust ourselves and them to hear us when we feel overwhelmed by their behavior?  It seems to us that it would be a far better learning experience for everyone to have a parent speak to the problem even if it's not perfectly scripted, or evolved, for that matter. "I am so anger right now. I can't believe you just smashed that window after I asked you not to play baseball near the house!"

We leave you with the words of Alice Miller:  
"Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honor one's parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child."


Rakuten Tool Kit

This wooden tool kit from Japan's Rakuten is a great alternative to the plastic ones seen in the US.  There are hours of happy building and fixing inside this tool box.


Love it!

 File this under- Why didn't I think of that?!-  Bagoo...
 "A soft blanket that folds into a baby carrier.  It allows moving a sleeping baby from one place to another without waking it up.  It folds in one move, just pulling the handles and it does not demand an assistance of another person. "
Created by the Kompott Studio.  The studio was created in 2009.  They believe in Design Thinking.  They look for solutions "based on the observations of human behavior. They conduct a thorough research on people's interaction with objects and are particularly interested in creating new typologies."
Another fantastic project of theirs "recalls times when Fathers would make and repair their children's toys by themselves, with the materials they had readily available. Toys created and built by a child's parents carry a far greater emotional value, they are a statement of individuality and longevity."
found via the fabulous blog by one of the creators of the Bubble Trade Show.


Talc is back for Fall!

Just in case you need more Back to School fashion or are ready to be inspired for Halloween.  Talc has returned with their gorgeous clothes and is available at smallable.  Love.


Study Tips

It's that time of year again, when students throughout the land head off to school.  For the facebook chatter we saw this weekend, it couldn't come sooner for some parents.  A recent article in the New York Times offers new research on the customary approach to studying.   According to new research, gone is the notion of setting up one study space and sticking to it.  Instead, researchers suggest switching it up.  Study at your desk for awhile and then on the couch.  Need to study some more maybe head outdoors.  It seems that when students studied the same subjects in different locations they retained more information than if they studied in only one spot.  Apparently our brains make unconscious connections between what we are studying and the environment we are in.  Another fascinating discovery made by  cognitive psychologists is that tests and quizzes are in fact great for learning.

When we struggle to retrieve facts for the test or quiz, the effort we have to retrieve the information helps us store the information more efficiently for the next time we are asked to retrieve it.  Researchers make a point of mentioning that cramming for a test is near fruitless when considering retention of information.  If we struggle to cram our brains full of information before a test, most of it will fall out after.  It seems that the type of  assessments that work best for retention are those which test the information gathered in the last study session, not high stress cram session.
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