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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Summer + Water = FUN!

When I think of Summer, I see heat rising from the pavement and perspiration dripping down foreheads. The Lovin' Spoonful's, "Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck feeling dirt and gritty," rings in my ears. I also smell suntan lotion, feel the sun warm on my face, and hear waves crashing against the beach. 

And then my fantasy ends and I'm sitting in a home nowhere near the ocean or even a beach. 

Because my kids (when they were younger) and I seldom got a chance to visit a beach, pools were always the next best thing for us. But going back even further to my own childhood, I remember family vacations when we drove to various states around the country and spent nights together in a motel. The only prerequisite, no matter where we slept, was that our motel had to have a pool. 

We would arrive at the motel, slide into our swim suits, and race for the pool. Swimsuits on, Cindy and I would jump into the pool while Kathy sat with her feet dangling over the edge (Kathy was afraid of the water). For some reason, we were usually the only family in those pools, and we still reminisce about the luxury of having those pools all to ourselves so many times.

When my own kids were younger, I had been hunting for a home that would accommodate all of us. One in particular seemed to have my name written all over it. The entire back yard was a built-in swimming pool – what fun! – with no grass to mow! But the rooms inside the home were microscopically small and had a lot of problems, so I didn't buy it.

My own pool purchases throughout the years, including my daycare years, consisted of tiny wading pools (for me), but big enough so the kids could splash around. If I could have, I would have had a large pool for myself (I mean, the kids) – one that was clean – chlorine clean. And that's another smell that reminds me of summer – chlorine. 

What makes summer tolerable for people who don't particularly care to sweat all day (like me) is water – lake water, ocean water, or pool water. Now I'm daydreaming about having my own pool. I just checked out some beautiful in-ground liners at Doheny and discovered some really inexpensive chlorine tabs. All I have to do now is purchase a pool!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't Know

I appreciate the guest post, Jamie Guy

I sure don’t know much about technology but that’s okay. I have a lot of good people around me who know what’s going on but for me it’s more about making sure the day to day business in the store flows smoothly and not that I’ve got all the best technology knowledge, you know? I don’t need to know all the specifics of t1 internetor how to build a website because I have IT consultants who can do that kind of stuff for me. Otherwise I’d have to be an expert in every little thing and that just won’t work when you’re running a company of one. I thought about it for a long time before I decided to take on this whole small business thing and I feel good about where I’m at. I wish I had more help and that things didn’t cost so much but you know, at the end of the day I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and what this business is starting to look like.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Child's Creativity and Nate's Influence Can Enhance Your Home

Did you ever come across something that has been around for a while, but since you just discovered it, you feel as if you've just invented the cure for cancer? That's how I feel about Nate. Yes, Nate – Nate Berkus.

Though I've never met the man, in my imagination we are friends. Nate is creative, funny, cute, and inspiring. He is also too young for me and he is gay, so my chances of dating him are zero. 

However, I spend more time with Nate than I do with any other man. Yep! One hour a day in Nateland, learning and discovering, imagining and creating. Nate is the ONLY man on the planet who can get me to shop, though I must confess to preferring online shopping to actual shopping (contrary to popular belief, some women really do hate to shop). 

Nate sparks my creativity and once my imagination becomes ignited, my mind explodes with ideas. I start experimenting. My convertible handbag backpack houses all of my finds, whether they come from quaint thrift stores or online specialty shops. As I sift through the contents and wander the aisles (yes, even online), my eyes widen with anticipation.

Maybe a theme would work. How about copper?

OOH! look at that copper top kitchen table. You wouldn't want to cover up that with a table cloth, would you? And maybe some copper kitchen accessories! They would enhance the look of the table and bring out its coppery finish. I could even twist some copper wiring in such a way as to make an attractive wall hanging.

Or how about that copper top table with branch legs? Oh oh – what about the rest of the room – or the rest of the house for that matter? I know. I'll ask the kids. All we need is one original and innovative idea to jumpstart everybody's imagination. I could have one of the kids create a sculpture out of pennies.

Or we could spray paint copper leaves on a canvas, remove the leaves, and unveil a beautiful piece of art (thank you to my daughter, Lindsey, for that idea). 

Every project inspires you to become even more creative. And what's nice about creativity is that children seem to have an abundance of it. Their ideas can motivate and encourage you to change the look and feel of your home, using your children as guides. 

Take them shopping with you (for me that means sitting them in front of my laptop). Ask them for their opinions. Find out what colors they would like you to choose for your kitchen, your bathroom, their bedroom.

Your house is not only your home, it is their home. Who knows? They might come up with ideas you might never have considered.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Encourage Dream Sharing

Previously accidentally posted in All Craft Connection.

Children, like adults, dream every night, but unless you ask them to share their dreams, they, like adults again, are unlikely to remember them. By asking your children about their dreams, you are glimpsing a part of their lives that is filled with symbols, feelings, and attitudes.

Often, children will interpret their own dreams, as my youngest daughter did on occasion. In 3-Year-Old Interprets Her Own Dream, Brittney wasn't aware that she was interpreting her dream, but I was. 

When you encourage your children to share their dreams, you are discovering aspects of your children that you might not have known. You might be surprised, when you ask them about the monster in their dreams, to discover that the monster looked like you! And when you review the previous day, you might remember losing your sanity at one point and, as you review the situation, you will understand how you might have appeared to be a monster to your child.

When your child relates his or her dream, ask questions and ask for descriptions: 

What did the monster look like? 
Describe the house you were visiting. 
Does any element (person, place, or thing) remind you of anybody or anything. 
How did you feel during the dream? 

Emotions felt during a dream will give you further clues about how your child feels in waking life. 

Why would you want to encourage your child to share his or her dreams? Let's say your child dreamed about a snake that was continually striking your child. Upon questioning, you learn that the snake looks like your child's daycare provider. Now you can take action.

When children share their dreams, they share their emotions, their feelings, and their thoughts. By investigating their dreams, you can learn about things that matter to your child, that frighten your child, and that bring him or her joy. All you have to do each morning is ask, "What did you dream about last night?" and you will enter your child's world in a way you've never dreamed ;)

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