Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow Day 2009

People may think that I have busy days when I work full-time from home and have my side business. However, my truly busy days are when I blow all that off and have Brother and Little Bitty home from school.

Yesterday was a snow day. Daddy stayed home in the morning (so I did work a little) and he and the kids played outside. Check out the Tennessee snowman. I know he's a little small... but so was the snow, so you do what you can. After their creation - Daddy pulled the kids around the yard on a little sled. They didn't last too long outside - they were cold. We're raising true southerners.

Once Daddy took off for work, we created funny face lunches and had a picnic in Brother's bedroom. Good stuff. For dessert we did some no-bake cookies that I can't show you pictures of because they're almost gone. Brother actually had to cut me off yesterday afternoon.

As we watched a movie later, we made caterpillars out of an egg carton. It was cute to see Brother work so hard and concentrate. Little Bitty was into it as well... but she just get saying "It's OK I smash my caterpillar, right Mommy?" - she was so intent on squishing the bumps. So, her caterpillar looks a little like it was - well, smashed.

We had a fun day together. The snow is gone today - and they're back at school. But, we do have a small reminder of our Snow Day 2009.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Helping out Little Bitty's Birth Country

There are children in Guatemala that (because of the hard economic times in the US) have lost their sponsors to go to school. Many of them start next week. Please check out my friend Tricia's blog for more info. I know that many of you who read my blog read hers too... but if you are a family member or friend of mine outside the adoption community - please check it out. I know you all give to many causes each year - and this is a great one that has a special place in our hearts. Thank you!

Tricia's Blog

And in honor of supporting education for all - here is Little Bitty singing the alphabet song - which I'm quite certain she learned at school. And the dance moves? She didn't get from me either. And the insistance on not wearing pants? Also not my doing.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Here comes the weekend!

Yay - another weekend upon us. I had to spend the week out of town away from my chickadees and am glad to be home! However, I did get to see some good friends while I was away and that was great. I am lucky to have each of them! Thanks for meeting up girls!

Today was a bit of a milestone with Brother. I offered to let him stay home from pre-k for the day but he WANTED TO GO! I'm so proud of him and happy for him. He is such a cool little guy and thankfully has no problem making friends, does great at school, etc. - but in the past, he has always preferred to stay home if given the choice. However, this year he has really blossomed and actually enjoys his class. YAY! I think one of the most important things a parent can give their child is a love of learning - and an appreciation for the opportunity to do so. Let's hope the public schools don't squash this out of him next year.

Little Bitty did choose to stay home with Mommy today. We're eating cereal together and watching Dora right now. We already played Diego and washed dishes (she actually did this on her own - pulled a stool over to the sink and washed her sippy cup and some silverware... this is another important thing a parent can give their child - a love of dish washing and an appreciation for the opportunity to do so).

I'm off to enjoy the day with my smallest chickadee.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yada yada yada

Despite the cold temperatures (I much prefer spring and summer) and the long nights (the kids have been in our bed more than usual) the weeks still keep flying by. I just looked and realized I haven't posted for a week. There is no reason - it's been a normal week with good family stuff - I think I've just been focused elsewhere.

I'm still creating and sewing, I am even starting a blog purely for my little boutique stuff - but the CPSIA issue hasn't been resolved yet. However, there has been some progress. I'm surprised at the number of people at Etsy just giving up and closing up - I'm also surprised at the number of people who have no clue that anything has changed. I'm trying to find a good balance of continuing so I don't lose momentum but making sure I meet the legal requirements. Even though I know that no one is going to knock on my door and imprision me for selling a few things on Etsy - I want to adhere to the law (don't I sound so grown up and responsible).

About the kids ~ Little Bitty is in full-on pretend world mode. She LOVES to play with her babies. She's their teacher, their mother, their friend... and their rule enforcer. She sends them to time out for hitting each other. It's really funny to find these poor little dolls and stuffed animals sitting in corners and hallways around the house. For the record, we never send Little Bitty to the corner. Although she is very familiar with time-out. Which, in all honesty, doesn't always work great with her. I think she usually believes that the punishment is worth it for the crime. We're not a spanking family, but we may need to explore other consequences for our little firecracker at some point. The time-outs just aren't always cutting it. Any ideas? She did get her Diego Rescue Center taken away the other day. She doesn't do naughty things just to be naughty... she's just extremely strong-willed and WILL NOT do something that she doesn't want to do (eg: clean up her Diego toys at bedtime).

Brother is doing great at Pre-K. He actually never complains about going to school anymore like he used to. His teacher this year is awesome and he has so much fun with his friends there. No real behavior issues... but I am struggling a little with his decision to let his hair grow long. I expected this more from the teenage or maybe pre-teen Brother - not from my little 5 year old. It's getting pretty shaggy. I'm not sure where/when he got this idea. I think maybe he wants to look like Troy from HSM. Who - I admit - is a good looking guy... but I'm just not sure how long I'm supposed to let my son go without a haircut. It's been several months at this point.

Ok - so pretty long post about nothing in particular... but that's what our days are made of right now. And it's perfect.

Pictures coming soon.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I love that he has strong convictions

Brother: Mommy, you know those things on T.V. that are like blankets...umm, I think they're called like Snuggies or something?

Me: Yeah - those are funny.

Brother: Why do you think they are funny?! I think they look cool.

Me: I just think they look like something Obi-Wan Kenobi (I learned how to spell it) would wear.

Brother: Why would you say Obi-Wan is funny?!! He is very wise!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Public Service Announcement for people who make, buy, or even like handmade children's products!

One of my goals for the New Year is to continue to grow my handmade children's clothing business. I plan to focus on the marketing side and narrow down my product offerings (put my MBA to work!) and to see what I can do. However... the passing of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that goes into effect on February 10th is possibly changing this possibility for myself and thousands of others who make and sell children's products.

The quick and dirty version -
  • All products (toys, clothes, hair bows, bibs, anything!) intended for children under 12 must go through third party testing to ensure no lead or phthalates are present.
  • While large manufactures can handle this, the required third part testing is more costly than the profit that small handmade items can make.
  • The law was developed in response to the mass product recalls in 2007 (especially from imported items from China).
  • The CPSC supposedly tried to include a small business exemption which congress rejected.
  • Many businesses know nothing of this - you have to be active in industry organizations or forums on Etsy or EBay - the government is not knocking on the door or sending letters out to all (or any) small businesses.
  • As it is now - it can be enforced with huge fines and up to 5 year imprisonment. I'm not risking that - though you'll see that some small businesses will keep going, out of ignorance or just denial that it applies to them. However, they will - as it stands now - be breaking the law
  • Even retail and thrift shops may be required to throw out all untested items after February 10th.

I obviously support the idea of keeping harmful chemicals out of our kids clothes and toys! But, I'd like to think that the fabrics I buy for making children's clothes are already free of this - let's require the manufacturers of fabric to abide by this law (which most do - they just don't have the certificate to prove it). I can't afford to test each of my finished products. For one bow-maker, she was quoted a price of several hundred dollars to test a headband that sells for $4.00. The law does not allow "component testing" by the suppliers. The END PRODUCT manufacturer is supposed to have the product tested.

So - my plan for now is to keep fine-tuning my skills, maybe take a sewing class?, create more things for my own kids, continue to write to the appropriate people and keep active in the forums that are up to speed with all the new requirements. If you know someone like me - a mom who makes and sells items for kids - touch base with them. Make sure they know about it. They can search on Etsy forums, or just google it and find a bunch of information. It's real - and whether intended or not - is going to have a huge impact on many small businesses. Here are a few more links with good info if anyone is interested:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 ~ Here we come

Happy New Year! I hope 2009 is a great year for all. We've had a fun few pre-new year days...

  • My husband and I went on a mid-day date and saw Slumdog Millionaire. We both really liked it.

  • We also went hiking/jogging at a park nearby - it was a great trail we hadn't been on before, so we're excited about that find.

  • Daddy and Brother went to a bowl game yesterday. Brother LOVED it. They braved the cold and stayed the whole time. See pictures. Little Bitty and I stayed home and napped and baked. Then the whole family snuggled down for a movie last night. It was a great way to spend the NYE.

  • Today we melted crayons and are hunkering down for some football and food. Good times.