Monthly Archives: September 2010

Mother Teresa’s Wisdom on Life


During our family vacation in Maui, my stepmother handed me a card made from handmade paper upon which was an inspirational quote by Mother Teresa. It moved me, and I’d like to share it with you:



Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is a beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is life, fight for it.

            —Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa’s Wisdom on Life


During our family vacation in Maui, my stepmother handed me a card made from handmade paper upon which was an inspirational quote by Mother Teresa. It moved me, and I’d like to share it with you:



Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is a beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is life, fight for it.

            —Mother Teresa

The Top 16 Ways Parents Can Prevent Their Children From Becoming Narcissists: Part 4

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

This is the final post of a four-part blog series summarizing the take-away messages of the last chapter of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living In The Age Of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D.—Treating the Epidemic of Narcissism.

Parents, to arrest narcissism in your children (and yourselves) you must:

13. Get involved in your school and help to combat the narcissism epidemic. The emphasis on self-esteem has got to go. We need to lose the “I am special” songs and stop conveying the message that “everyone is a winner.” “Real life—such as getting into college, getting promoted, or playing sports after childhood—does not operate on a ‘trophies for all’ policy.” Instead, focus on praising your child’s effort and hard work, and be very specific about it. [NOTE: This is the topic of another must-read book on our summer reading list was Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.]

14. Be aware of the media your children are consuming. Reality TV shows and watching the news covering mass shootings (Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc.) send the wrong messages to our children.

15. When it comes to spending time on FB, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, etc. lead by example. Instead of promoting yourself, try friending and commenting upon sites and blogs that are thought-provoking or society-enhancing and Tweeting about great causes and humanitarian successes. Your children will follow suit.

16. Teach your children fiscal responsibility. One of the primary reasons why we are in this financial meltdown is because American society actively promotes living beyond our means. “You want to appear to be richer, cooler, or more successful than you are? There are no payments for the first 12 months!” Be sure your children know financial fundamentals. Try using the Money Wizdom ™ Starter Kit with them: Check it out by clicking here. My 6 and 5 year olds are loving it.

If you have other thoughts on how we can prevent our children from becoming narcissists, please share them. Also, if you have a fabulous manuscript for a children’s picture book that is relevant to this theme, please email us at [email protected].

The Top 16 Ways Parents Can Prevent Their Children From Becoming Narcissists: Part 4

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

This is the final post of a four-part blog series summarizing the take-away messages of the last chapter of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living In The Age Of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D.—Treating the Epidemic of Narcissism.

Parents, to arrest narcissism in your children (and yourselves) you must:

13. Get involved in your school and help to combat the narcissism epidemic. The emphasis on self-esteem has got to go. We need to lose the “I am special” songs and stop conveying the message that “everyone is a winner.” “Real life—such as getting into college, getting promoted, or playing sports after childhood—does not operate on a ‘trophies for all’ policy.” Instead, focus on praising your child’s effort and hard work, and be very specific about it. [NOTE: This is the topic of another must-read book on our summer reading list was Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.]

14. Be aware of the media your children are consuming. Reality TV shows and watching the news covering mass shootings (Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc.) send the wrong messages to our children.

15. When it comes to spending time on FB, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, etc. lead by example. Instead of promoting yourself, try friending and commenting upon sites and blogs that are thought-provoking or society-enhancing and Tweeting about great causes and humanitarian successes. Your children will follow suit.

16. Teach your children fiscal responsibility. One of the primary reasons why we are in this financial meltdown is because American society actively promotes living beyond our means. “You want to appear to be richer, cooler, or more successful than you are? There are no payments for the first 12 months!” Be sure your children know financial fundamentals. Try using the Money Wizdom ™ Starter Kit with them: Check it out by clicking here. My 6 and 5 year olds are loving it.

If you have other thoughts on how we can prevent our children from becoming narcissists, please share them. Also, if you have a fabulous manuscript for a children’s picture book that is relevant to this theme, please email us at [email protected].

My Thoughts About The Harvest Moon

By Land Wilson, Author of Sofia’s Dream
I am a calendar nut. Being obsessed with organization, a calendar is almost always within reach. I have a one-page weekly calendar I carry in my pocket. I have a monthly calendar on my desk. I also have a monthly family calendar centrally located in our home. I have a children’s yearly school calendar on our refrigerator. And one of my favorite calendars is a little 6”x 5” moon calendar, which is also on our refrigerator.  
The moon in its many appearances captivates me. The full moon in particular never ceases to exhilarate me. I admit that on occasion, some primal feeling compels me to howl at it. And of all the full moons in a year, the harvest moon stands out as my favorite.
In the Northern Hemisphere, when the Earth’s axis starts tilting away from the sun, we transition from summer to autumn. On one day near the end of September, the autumnal equinox occurs. This is when daylight hours and nighttime hours are nearly equal. This day marks the beginning of autumn. The harvest moon is the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. It appears very orange for two reasons. During autumn, the moon’s path across the sky is low on the horizon, and we see the moon through greater distances of atmosphere than when it is higher above us. The more atmosphere that the moon’s light travels through to reach our eyes, the fewer colors of light we see. Orange, yellow, and red colors typically reach our eyes. These colors are further enhanced by particles of dust and smoke created by farmers that disturb soil and burn crop waste at this time of year.
The harvest moon reminds me of and gives me closure to what was usually a summer packed full of fun and activities. It makes me think of all the colorful and fragrant crops being harvested like grapes, apples, pears, cabbage, squash, and much more. I think of delicious snacks and scrumptious meals. It portends upcoming holiday fun that will happen between Halloween to New Years. All these thoughts about summer, autumn, food, and approaching holidays with family and friends brings to mind how grateful I am for all the abundance in my life.
Everything that is dear to me exists because of a world that has evolved miraculously to become the home to all that I know. Respect and appreciation for what our natural world has to offer was instilled in me by my parents and the environmentally-conscious community in which I was raised.
My motivation for writing an environmental story for children stemmed from a lifelong love of nature. About the time I became a father for the first time, I decided to write a story to encourage children to love and respect nature in a deep and meaningful way. I wanted to let children know that they can be environmental stewards. I had read that viewing the Earth from the various distances to and from the moon was an experience that genuinely transforms a person’s thinking about our planet, so as part of my research I interviewed three Apollo astronauts. These impactful interviews ultimately served as my inspiration to write what has become Sofia’s Dream, which will be published by Little Pickle Press this fall. In this magically illustrated bedtime story, little Sofia befriends the moon and takes a dreamy trip to visit her friend. She sees our planet from the moon’s point of view and is inspired to do whatever she can to protect the Earth and encourage others to do the same. Please stay tuned for details on how to obtain your copy of this special children’s picture book.

My Thoughts About The Harvest Moon

By Land Wilson, Author of Sofia’s Dream
I am a calendar nut. Being obsessed with organization, a calendar is almost always within reach. I have a one-page weekly calendar I carry in my pocket. I have a monthly calendar on my desk. I also have a monthly family calendar centrally located in our home. I have a children’s yearly school calendar on our refrigerator. And one of my favorite calendars is a little 6”x 5” moon calendar, which is also on our refrigerator.  
The moon in its many appearances captivates me. The full moon in particular never ceases to exhilarate me. I admit that on occasion, some primal feeling compels me to howl at it. And of all the full moons in a year, the harvest moon stands out as my favorite.
In the Northern Hemisphere, when the Earth’s axis starts tilting away from the sun, we transition from summer to autumn. On one day near the end of September, the autumnal equinox occurs. This is when daylight hours and nighttime hours are nearly equal. This day marks the beginning of autumn. The harvest moon is the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. It appears very orange for two reasons. During autumn, the moon’s path across the sky is low on the horizon, and we see the moon through greater distances of atmosphere than when it is higher above us. The more atmosphere that the moon’s light travels through to reach our eyes, the fewer colors of light we see. Orange, yellow, and red colors typically reach our eyes. These colors are further enhanced by particles of dust and smoke created by farmers that disturb soil and burn crop waste at this time of year.
The harvest moon reminds me of and gives me closure to what was usually a summer packed full of fun and activities. It makes me think of all the colorful and fragrant crops being harvested like grapes, apples, pears, cabbage, squash, and much more. I think of delicious snacks and scrumptious meals. It portends upcoming holiday fun that will happen between Halloween to New Years. All these thoughts about summer, autumn, food, and approaching holidays with family and friends brings to mind how grateful I am for all the abundance in my life.
Everything that is dear to me exists because of a world that has evolved miraculously to become the home to all that I know. Respect and appreciation for what our natural world has to offer was instilled in me by my parents and the environmentally-conscious community in which I was raised.
My motivation for writing an environmental story for children stemmed from a lifelong love of nature. About the time I became a father for the first time, I decided to write a story to encourage children to love and respect nature in a deep and meaningful way. I wanted to let children know that they can be environmental stewards. I had read that viewing the Earth from the various distances to and from the moon was an experience that genuinely transforms a person’s thinking about our planet, so as part of my research I interviewed three Apollo astronauts. These impactful interviews ultimately served as my inspiration to write what has become Sofia’s Dream, which will be published by Little Pickle Press this fall. In this magically illustrated bedtime story, little Sofia befriends the moon and takes a dreamy trip to visit her friend. She sees our planet from the moon’s point of view and is inspired to do whatever she can to protect the Earth and encourage others to do the same. Please stay tuned for details on how to obtain your copy of this special children’s picture book.

The Top 16 Ways Parents Can Prevent Their Children From Becoming Narcissists: Part 3

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

This is the third post of a four-part blog series summarizing the take-away messages of the last chapter of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living In The Age Of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D.—Treating the Epidemic of Narcissism.


Parents, to preclude narcissism in your children (and yourselves) you must:

9.         Strive to teach your children empathy and compassion. Praise them when they help others. I recommend reading another of my blog posts on this topic, click here for it.

10.       Teach your children to admire true heros—those who help others—rather than American Idols or shallow celebrities.

11.       Set limits for your children. Children should not always get what they want. Period. Set boundaries and enforce them. You’ll be doing yourself, your child, and society a great favor.

12.       Give up on parenting perfection. “Children who always win develop the idea that they are invincible and better than everyone else. The real world will come as a shock, and they will be too full of themselves to learn from the feedback.” Mistakes are a necessary and vital part of learning. [NOTE: We have a great children’s book—Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Grow It—that addresses this topic written by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley that will be available on November 26, 2010.]

The Top 16 Ways Parents Can Prevent Their Children From Becoming Narcissists: Part 3

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

This is the third post of a four-part blog series summarizing the take-away messages of the last chapter of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living In The Age Of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D.—Treating the Epidemic of Narcissism.


Parents, to preclude narcissism in your children (and yourselves) you must:

9.         Strive to teach your children empathy and compassion. Praise them when they help others. I recommend reading another of my blog posts on this topic, click here for it.

10.       Teach your children to admire true heros—those who help others—rather than American Idols or shallow celebrities.

11.       Set limits for your children. Children should not always get what they want. Period. Set boundaries and enforce them. You’ll be doing yourself, your child, and society a great favor.

12.       Give up on parenting perfection. “Children who always win develop the idea that they are invincible and better than everyone else. The real world will come as a shock, and they will be too full of themselves to learn from the feedback.” Mistakes are a necessary and vital part of learning. [NOTE: We have a great children’s book—Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Grow It—that addresses this topic written by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley that will be available on November 26, 2010.]

The Top 16 Ways Parents Can Prevent Their Children From Becoming Narcissists: Part 2

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

This is the second post of a four-part blog series summarizing the take-away messages of the last chapter of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living In The Age Of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D.—Treating the Epidemic of Narcissism.

Parents, to curb narcissism in your children (and yourselves) you must:

5. Abandon the message that we all need to love ourselves unconditionally just as we are. Most personal change takes practice and time, and we won’t always achieve our goals. “As the Serenity Prayer says, ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ We can change some things about ourselves, and knowing that is wise.”

6. Help your children to pay attention to their connections to the world. We cannot exist without a massive amount of support from others. Guide your children to understand that we are interdependent with those who grow our food, sew our clothing, build and maintain our home, provide our education, etc.

7. Point out to your children the similarities they share with others rather than what makes them unique or different. “Almost every war and every atrocity in the history of the world has been based on differences among people.” “Instead of allowing schools, parents, and TV shows to teach children that they are all different and unique, support programs fostering conflict resolution and friendship skills. Teach children how to get along with others with polite, civil conduct, and how to resolve conflicts with their friends.”

8. De-emphasize with your children what have become two core cultural ideas: (i) self-admiration is very important; and (ii) self-expression is necessary to establish one’s own existence. Try reducing the amount of attention given to self-admiration and self-expression and increasing the attention paid to our common cultural ideals, such as freedom, self-reliance, and equality.

The Top 16 Ways Parents Can Prevent Their Children From Becoming Narcissists: Part 1

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

In June, we posted our recommended reading for children and parents. In case you didn’t get to read the whole list, I thought I’d provide the highlights of a very important and relevant book that was on it—The Narcissism Epidemic: Living In The Age Of Entitlement, by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D.

Parents, although I strongly recommend reading the entire book, the last chapter—Treating the Epidemic of Narcissism—outlines the most effective ways for you to curb narcissism in your children (and yourselves):

1. “Vanity, self-promotion, materialism, and poor social behaviors are all linked. The increases in plastic surgery, credit card debt, videotaped violence, crass materialism, and the desire for fame are interconnected trends. The key to seeing the narcissism epidemic is knowing that narcissism underlies each of these trends.”

2. Teach your children humility, which in many ways is the opposite of narcissism. Help them to appraise themselves honestly, to remember the people who help and support them, and to value the lives of others. Lead by example.

3. Foster in your children compassion for themselves. “Compassion for yourself isn’t about admiring or esteeming the self or making excuses for shoddy behavior—it means being kind to yourself while also accurately facing reality . . . . People who practice compassion for themselves experience less anger, fewer uncontrollable thoughts about themselves, less self-consciousness, more positive emotions, more happiness, and more constructive responses to criticism. It also predicts curiosity, wisdom, the motivation to master academic tasks, and a growth in compassion for others.”

4. Promote mindfulness in your children. “Mindfulness is the awareness of the present moment—the thought, the feeling, and the physical experience—without negative judgment.” Being mindful, or present, quiets the ego and reduces narcissism. I encourage you to use our book, What Does It Mean To Be Present?, to start this conversation with your children.

The Top 16 Ways Parents Can Prevent Their Children From Becoming Narcissists: Part 1

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

In June, we posted our recommended reading for children and parents. In case you didn’t get to read the whole list, I thought I’d provide the highlights of a very important and relevant book that was on it—The Narcissism Epidemic: Living In The Age Of Entitlement, by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D.

Parents, although I strongly recommend reading the entire book, the last chapter—Treating the Epidemic of Narcissism—outlines the most effective ways for you to curb narcissism in your children (and yourselves):

1. “Vanity, self-promotion, materialism, and poor social behaviors are all linked. The increases in plastic surgery, credit card debt, videotaped violence, crass materialism, and the desire for fame are interconnected trends. The key to seeing the narcissism epidemic is knowing that narcissism underlies each of these trends.”

2. Teach your children humility, which in many ways is the opposite of narcissism. Help them to appraise themselves honestly, to remember the people who help and support them, and to value the lives of others. Lead by example.

3. Foster in your children compassion for themselves. “Compassion for yourself isn’t about admiring or esteeming the self or making excuses for shoddy behavior—it means being kind to yourself while also accurately facing reality . . . . People who practice compassion for themselves experience less anger, fewer uncontrollable thoughts about themselves, less self-consciousness, more positive emotions, more happiness, and more constructive responses to criticism. It also predicts curiosity, wisdom, the motivation to master academic tasks, and a growth in compassion for others.”

4. Promote mindfulness in your children. “Mindfulness is the awareness of the present moment—the thought, the feeling, and the physical experience—without negative judgment.” Being mindful, or present, quiets the ego and reduces narcissism. I encourage you to use our book, What Does It Mean To Be Present?, to start this conversation with your children.

September Is Be Kind To Editors And Writers Month

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press


A friend of mine sent me an email this week raising my awareness that September isBe Kind to Editors and Writers Month.” Who knew!? Well, armed with this information I would be remiss if I didn’t take this extraordinary opportunity to thank the Editors in my life.


My first Editor was my mother, Bernardine DiOrio, Ed.D. She patiently revised all of my early writing—right up through and including college. Seriously. I didn’t produce a paragraph that my mom didn’t read with a pencil (very kind of her) in her hand. [NOTE: Not to date myself, but . . . I started writing well before computers were household consumer products. Ahem.] I thank my mom for teaching me how to write and for editing my initial written work so constructively and gently.



My second Editor was Kara LaReau of Bluebird Works (www.bluebirdworks.com). Kara edited my first three children’s picture books. If you are a writer, you can understand the apprehension you feel when you turn over “your baby” to someone you don’t know, and who doesn’t know you (or your baby for that matter), to edit your work. Well, when I received Kara’s initial edits of my first manuscript, I knew I was in the hands of a talented practitioner. She is insightful, helpful, prolific, and generous about sharing her terrifically wry sense of humor. Thank you, Kara, for refining our award-winning books to date.


The third Editor who entered my life was Judy O’Malley (www.judyomalley.com). Judy is editing the two exciting books that Little Pickle Press will be releasing on November 26, 2010. Not only is Judy a wizard at her craft but also she has an amazing ability to say just the right thing at the right time. Her sentiment, word choice, and timing are impeccable. Truly. She is enormously accomplished and widely respected while being self-deprecating. She is a remarkably delightful person and an extremely valuable team member. I am so grateful to Judy for her wisdom, passion, patience, professionalism, and aplomb.


The fourth Editor who entered my life is Dani Greer (http://twitter.com/blogbooktours). Dani guided our first blog book tour with great success and will spearhead the next two we are going to host for our upcoming releases. She is a fountain of refreshing ideas. She is a jack-of-all-trades and master of many. She is talented, tireless, selfless, funny, and interesting. Thank you, Dani, for being our red-pen-wielding Guardian Angel.


So, if you have the opportunity, please make it a point this month to thank the Editors and Writers in your life. Also, please feel free to leave a comment about them here.

September Is Be Kind To Editors And Writers Month

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press


A friend of mine sent me an email this week raising my awareness that September isBe Kind to Editors and Writers Month.” Who knew!? Well, armed with this information I would be remiss if I didn’t take this extraordinary opportunity to thank the Editors in my life.


My first Editor was my mother, Bernardine DiOrio, Ed.D. She patiently revised all of my early writing—right up through and including college. Seriously. I didn’t produce a paragraph that my mom didn’t read with a pencil (very kind of her) in her hand. [NOTE: Not to date myself, but . . . I started writing well before computers were household consumer products. Ahem.] I thank my mom for teaching me how to write and for editing my initial written work so constructively and gently.



My second Editor was Kara LaReau of Bluebird Works (www.bluebirdworks.com). Kara edited my first three children’s picture books. If you are a writer, you can understand the apprehension you feel when you turn over “your baby” to someone you don’t know, and who doesn’t know you (or your baby for that matter), to edit your work. Well, when I received Kara’s initial edits of my first manuscript, I knew I was in the hands of a talented practitioner. She is insightful, helpful, prolific, and generous about sharing her terrifically wry sense of humor. Thank you, Kara, for refining our award-winning books to date.


The third Editor who entered my life was Judy O’Malley (www.judyomalley.com). Judy is editing the two exciting books that Little Pickle Press will be releasing on November 26, 2010. Not only is Judy a wizard at her craft but also she has an amazing ability to say just the right thing at the right time. Her sentiment, word choice, and timing are impeccable. Truly. She is enormously accomplished and widely respected while being self-deprecating. She is a remarkably delightful person and an extremely valuable team member. I am so grateful to Judy for her wisdom, passion, patience, professionalism, and aplomb.


The fourth Editor who entered my life is Dani Greer (http://twitter.com/blogbooktours). Dani guided our first blog book tour with great success and will spearhead the next two we are going to host for our upcoming releases. She is a fountain of refreshing ideas. She is a jack-of-all-trades and master of many. She is talented, tireless, selfless, funny, and interesting. Thank you, Dani, for being our red-pen-wielding Guardian Angel.


So, if you have the opportunity, please make it a point this month to thank the Editors and Writers in your life. Also, please feel free to leave a comment about them here.

Make A Plan to Celebrate the Grandparents in Your Life

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press


We all know that Mother’s Day is in May and Father’s Day is in June, but do you know when Grandparents’ Day is? I didn’t until this week. It is the first Sunday after Labor Day—September 12 this year. While I am always reticent to celebrate anything that smacks of a “Hallmark Holiday,” I believe that Grandparents deserve to be honored, and this holiday enjoys other roots.


Grandparents’ Day was conceived by Marian McQuade, a West Virginia resident and proud parent of 15 children. McQuade has dedicated her life to advocating for senior citizens, having served as President of the Vocational Rehabilitation Foundation, Vice President of the West Virginia Health Systems Agency, and Co-Chairman for the Bicentennial Centenarian Search for the West Virginia Commission on Aging. In 1970, McQuade initiated a campaign to set aside a special day to honor grandparents.


Due in large part to the efforts of civic, business, religious, and political leaders in West Virginia, Governor Arch Moore proclaimed the first Grandparents’ Day in 1973. During the same year, Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) introduced a Grandparents’ Day resolution in the United States Senate. To garner support for the resolution, McQuade and her team contacted the media and government officials in each state and sent letters to churches, businesses, and wide variety of national organizations whose members advocate for senior citizens.


All their hard work finally paid off in 1978. Five years after its inception in West Virginia, Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents’ Day. Congress chose September for the holiday to signify the “autumn years” of life, and President Jimmy signed the bill into law. According to the statute’s preamble, the purpose of Grandparents’ Day is “to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”


This Grandparents’ Day, we will be celebrating with my children’s Grandmother, Grandfather, Grandma, and Grandpa (see pictures!). We’ve made a reservation for all of us at a picnic table and sand box kind of place. Should be great fun. Make a plan to celebrate the grandparents in your life this Sunday, September 12!




Grandma, Grandmother, and Grandpa cooling off
on a hot 4th of July in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard.



Grandfather with Ryan and Alex in an eco-friendly,
Oak Bluffs pedicab during the 4th of July parade!


Make A Plan to Celebrate the Grandparents in Your Life

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press


We all know that Mother’s Day is in May and Father’s Day is in June, but do you know when Grandparents’ Day is? I didn’t until this week. It is the first Sunday after Labor Day—September 12 this year. While I am always reticent to celebrate anything that smacks of a “Hallmark Holiday,” I believe that Grandparents deserve to be honored, and this holiday enjoys other roots.


Grandparents’ Day was conceived by Marian McQuade, a West Virginia resident and proud parent of 15 children. McQuade has dedicated her life to advocating for senior citizens, having served as President of the Vocational Rehabilitation Foundation, Vice President of the West Virginia Health Systems Agency, and Co-Chairman for the Bicentennial Centenarian Search for the West Virginia Commission on Aging. In 1970, McQuade initiated a campaign to set aside a special day to honor grandparents.


Due in large part to the efforts of civic, business, religious, and political leaders in West Virginia, Governor Arch Moore proclaimed the first Grandparents’ Day in 1973. During the same year, Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) introduced a Grandparents’ Day resolution in the United States Senate. To garner support for the resolution, McQuade and her team contacted the media and government officials in each state and sent letters to churches, businesses, and wide variety of national organizations whose members advocate for senior citizens.


All their hard work finally paid off in 1978. Five years after its inception in West Virginia, Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents’ Day. Congress chose September for the holiday to signify the “autumn years” of life, and President Jimmy signed the bill into law. According to the statute’s preamble, the purpose of Grandparents’ Day is “to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”


This Grandparents’ Day, we will be celebrating with my children’s Grandmother, Grandfather, Grandma, and Grandpa (see pictures!). We’ve made a reservation for all of us at a picnic table and sand box kind of place. Should be great fun. Make a plan to celebrate the grandparents in your life this Sunday, September 12!




Grandma, Grandmother, and Grandpa cooling off
on a hot 4th of July in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard.



Grandfather with Ryan and Alex in an eco-friendly,
Oak Bluffs pedicab during the 4th of July parade!


Kindergarten Conversation Starters: 10 Things To Ask Your Five Year Old

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
September 3, 2010

Last night, I attended Back-To-School Night for our 1st grader and Kindergartener. The talented teachers provided a wealth of helpful information, such as how to start a conversation with your 5 year old. I don’t know about you, but “How was your day?” always falls on deaf ears and is met with blank stares at our dinner table. So, this holiday weekend, try some of the provocative questions on our parent handout:

1. What letter did you learn about today?
2. What did you do in math today?
3. What did you choose to do for your “choice time activity” today (please swap in your child’s classroom lexicon)?
4. What poem or song did you like best this week?
5. What new Spanish (or 2L that your child is learning in school) word did you learn this week?
6. What was your favorite science/social studies project this week?
7. Where did you play on the playground today? With whom did you play?
8. Can you tell me who you enjoyed playing with most this week?
9. What did you do in P.E. (Music, or Art) today?
10. What made you laugh today?

I’ll be trying them out on our Kindergartener. Please leave a comment if you have other suggestions or have found other questions to be particularly catalytic

Behind The Scenes: Producing Present

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
September 1, 2010

The whole world of media production is fascinating. So, I asked our Print Consultant, Keith Anthony of K2 Print Media, Inc., to capture on video some of his experiences at the press check for What Does It Mean To Be Present? He graciously obliged.

This first video is the cover being printed and press checked. At this stage, we are making sure the ink levels are consistent after startup to ensure uniformity throughout the run.

This second video is the book binding process where the interior pages, end sheets, and cover are married to complete the book. This process involves three separate quality control checkpoints where QC personnel manually check the books. On average, they check every fifth book.

If you have any questions about this or would like to learn more about the vast expanse that is paper and printing, please feel free to contact Keith Anthony at [email protected] If you’d like to purchase this beautiful book, please visit http://bit.ly/920ltG.