Yearly Archives: 2011

The Importance of Manners, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane


This December we have explored the importance of manners and how they have evolved over time. We have also discussed ways to instill manners in your little ones early. Today, four children tell us what being well-mannered is really all about.

What are manners?

Jake (8 years old): “Manners are for being polite.”

Isabella (6 years old): “Manners help people be nicer.”

Erica (7 years old): “They are saying please and thank you.”

Jacquelyn (6 years old): “Like rules kind of.”

Why are manners important?

Jake: “They are important because they are what you are supposed to do. Like people just know that you are supposed to do them. “

Isabella: “So people don’t think you are mean and stuff.”

Erica: “Because you are always supposed to say please when you want something. And then they say ‘you’re welcome’.”

Jacquelyn (6 years old): “It’s better to use manners.”

Who taught you about manners?

Jake: “My mom and dad, mostly.”

Isabella: “My mom. She teaches us manners and like when we are at the dinner table and stuff.”

Erica: “My mom teaches me sometimes. And in school sometimes we talk about them.”

Jacquelyn: “I just kind of know them.”

What do you think is the most important manner to follow?

Jake: “Probably not to interrupt.”

Isabella: “Saying please and thank you.”

Erica: “I think maybe ‘please’. Or maybe ‘thank you.’”

Jacquelyn: Waiting your turn for things.

What is the hardest one for you to remember?

Jake: “Well, sometimes I forget not to interrupt. Or not to point.”

Isabella: “To remember not to talk when I am eating.”

Erica: “I don’t think there is.”
And that is the one you are going to work on in the New Year, right?

Jake: (Shrug)

Isabella: “Yes.”

Erica: “Uh-huh.”

The Importance of Manners, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane



This December we have explored the importance of manners and how they have evolved over time. We have also discussed ways to instill manners in your little ones early. Today, four children tell us what being well-mannered is really all about.

What are manners?

Jake (8 years old): “Manners are for being polite.”

Isabella (6 years old): “Manners help people be nicer.”

Erica (7 years old): “They are saying please and thank you.”

Jacquelyn (6 years old): “Like rules kind of.”

Why are manners important?

Jake: “They are important because they are what you are supposed to do. Like people just know that you are supposed to do them. “

Isabella: “So people don’t think you are mean and stuff.”

Erica: “Because you are always supposed to say please when you want something. And then they say ‘you’re welcome’.”

Jacquelyn (6 years old): “It’s better to use manners.”

Who taught you about manners?

Jake: “My mom and dad, mostly.”

Isabella: “My mom. She teaches us manners and like when we are at the dinner table and stuff.”

Erica: “My mom teaches me sometimes. And in school sometimes we talk about them.”

Jacquelyn: “I just kind of know them.”

What do you think is the most important manner to follow?

Jake: “Probably not to interrupt.”

Isabella: “Saying please and thank you.”

Erica: “I think maybe ‘please’. Or maybe ‘thank you.’”

Jacquelyn: Waiting your turn for things.

What is the hardest one for you to remember?

Jake: “Well, sometimes I forget not to interrupt. Or not to point.”

Isabella: “To remember not to talk when I am eating.”

Erica: “I don’t think there is.”

And that is the one you are going to work on in the New Year, right?

Jake: (Shrug)

Isabella: “Yes.”

Erica: “Uh-huh.”

Thank You So Much!

By Dani Greer
Well, another holiday has passed. Was Santa good to you this year? Better write him a thank you note right now! If you’re like me, it’s best to do this while the gift and the joy are fresh and you can share your delight with proper enthusiasm.
I admit I’m a bit sentimental about receiving thank you notes. I often spend a lot of time on gifts I give, and I somehow feel more appreciated if the recipient sends me a little pat on the back. It makes me more inclined to give a gift again. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, though I love a good handmade card. I particularly like the precious one-of-a-kind and scrawled notes from young children. I wasn’t all that good at writing thank yous as a child, so I appreciate the excruciating effort it can take from a little person.
Thank you notes don’t just have to be for gifts. Any note of appreciation for an action or event can make a person feel very special. Some people have such a gift for it, the thank you becomes a treasure, and something to put on display like a special piece of art. I don’t think I’m the only person who views a thank you as a gift in itself.
Chris Hill, Little Pickle Press illustrator of What Does It Mean To Be Global?, has cleverly designed some cards for youngsters that I’m tempted to buy for myself. Isn’t this a great idea? Just fill in the blanks. It’s a perfect idea for those who are always at a dead loss about what to write. A very creative idea so be sure to head over to the Mackie Mack website and explore all the card and product offerings.
Mackie Mack by Chris Hill notecards
How are you all doing with those thank you notes, readers? You’ve finished thanking everyone for your holiday gifts, right? No? What’s holding you back? Do you write thank you notes to your friends and family? Why or why not? What about digital cards? Are those easier? Please, leave us a comment!

Thank You So Much!

By Dani Greer
Well, another holiday has passed. Was Santa good to you this year? Better write him a thank you note right now! If you’re like me, it’s best to do this while the gift and the joy are fresh and you can share your delight with proper enthusiasm.
I admit I’m a bit sentimental about receiving thank you notes. I often spend a lot of time on gifts I give, and I somehow feel more appreciated if the recipient sends me a little pat on the back. It makes me more inclined to give a gift again. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, though I love a good handmade card. I particularly like the precious one-of-a-kind and scrawled notes from young children. I wasn’t all that good at writing thank yous as a child, so I appreciate the excruciating effort it can take from a little person.
Thank you notes don’t just have to be for gifts. Any note of appreciation for an action or event can make a person feel very special. Some people have such a gift for it, the thank you becomes a treasure, and something to put on display like a special piece of art. I don’t think I’m the only person who views a thank you as a gift in itself.
Chris Hill, Little Pickle Press illustrator of What Does It Mean To Be Global?, has cleverly designed some cards for youngsters that I’m tempted to buy for myself. Isn’t this a great idea? Just fill in the blanks. It’s a perfect idea for those who are always at a dead loss about what to write. A very creative idea so be sure to head over to the Mackie Mack website and explore all the card and product offerings.
Mackie Mack by Chris Hill notecards
How are you all doing with those thank you notes, readers? You’ve finished thanking everyone for your holiday gifts, right? No? What’s holding you back? Do you write thank you notes to your friends and family? Why or why not? What about digital cards? Are those easier? Please, leave us a comment!

Wake Up to a Good Book

By Dani Greer
The New York Times Bestseller
“Incredibly appealing.” ~ National Public Radio
“Delightfully obscene.” ~ Newsweek
“A parenting zeitgeist…” ~ Washington Post
After reading such glowing comments, I thought perhaps we should review the book here on the Little Pickle Press blog. So we ordered it, received it, read it, and promptly hated it. My husband labeled it puerile. I was at a loss for words. First of all, it isn’t a children’s book at all. Worse, it’s a questionable piece of adult “humor” disguised as a children’s book. What a dreadful use of $14.95.
Yet, according to the book’s website, 76,829 Facebook fans have liked the fan page. Really? Clearly, I was missing something, so I asked award-winning author, Jane Yolen, if she would comment. She was kind enough to return this reply:

This book is not particularly new except for the F**k part. Lullabies with the same barely suppressed parental anger have been around for centuries: An African lullaby suggests that if a child doesn’t go to sleep it will end up in a ditch, a French lullaby that if the child doesn’t quiet down Napoleon will get him, and many others. I wrote about this in a lullaby collection back fifteen or twenty years ago, and more recently published a lullaby threat in the anthology, Welcome to Bordertown.

As a poet and rhymer, I am extremely critical of the bad scansion and less than original rhymes in the book. As an editor I think the illustrations are crude. Actually, it’s a one-joke book stretched to its limit. But this could just be hidden jealousy speaking! All writers could use that kind of money! So – good on the author for having a bestseller. I just wish it had been a real children’s poet like J. Patrick Lewis, Mary Ann Hoberman, Marilyn Singer, or Alice Shertle who had done the book.

I so agree. 

Readers, I recommend you skip GTFTS (or take a quick peek at the library) and then buy a good book from any of the authors mentioned especially Jane Yolen. Click here to see a list of her recent publications including these three favorites of mine:

You’ll enjoy these books and so will your children. And you won’t have to wonder how to unload the other book. Well, perhaps you have it in your collection and feel differently. In any case, if you are familiar with Go the F**k to Sleep, please leave us a comment. What do you think of the book? We’re open to a little debate!

Wake Up to a Good Book

By Dani Greer
The New York Times Bestseller
“Incredibly appealing.” ~ National Public Radio
“Delightfully obscene.” ~ Newsweek
“A parenting zeitgeist…” ~ Washington Post
After reading such glowing comments, I thought perhaps we should review the book here on the Little Pickle Press blog. So we ordered it, received it, read it, and promptly hated it. My husband labeled it puerile. I was at a loss for words. First of all, it isn’t a children’s book at all. Worse, it’s a questionable piece of adult “humor” disguised as a children’s book. What a dreadful use of $14.95.
Yet, according to the book’s website, 76,829 Facebook fans have liked the fan page. Really? Clearly, I was missing something, so I asked award-winning author, Jane Yolen, if she would comment. She was kind enough to return this reply:

This book is not particularly new except for the F**k part. Lullabies with the same barely suppressed parental anger have been around for centuries: An African lullaby suggests that if a child doesn’t go to sleep it will end up in a ditch, a French lullaby that if the child doesn’t quiet down Napoleon will get him, and many others. I wrote about this in a lullaby collection back fifteen or twenty years ago, and more recently published a lullaby threat in the anthology, Welcome to Bordertown.

As a poet and rhymer, I am extremely critical of the bad scansion and less than original rhymes in the book. As an editor I think the illustrations are crude. Actually, it’s a one-joke book stretched to its limit. But this could just be hidden jealousy speaking! All writers could use that kind of money! So – good on the author for having a bestseller. I just wish it had been a real children’s poet like J. Patrick Lewis, Mary Ann Hoberman, Marilyn Singer, or Alice Shertle who had done the book.

I so agree. 

Readers, I recommend you skip GTFTS (or take a quick peek at the library) and then buy a good book from any of the authors mentioned especially Jane Yolen. Click here to see a list of her recent publications including these three favorites of mine:

You’ll enjoy these books and so will your children. And you won’t have to wonder how to unload the other book. Well, perhaps you have it in your collection and feel differently. In any case, if you are familiar with Go the F**k to Sleep, please leave us a comment. What do you think of the book? We’re open to a little debate!

Christmas Memories: Catching Santa Claus

By Cameron Crane

Every year on Christmas Eve my sister and I would attempt to catch Santa Claus, and every year we were bitterly disappointed. We would set sleeping bags up in the living room, watching Christmas movies and desperately trying to fight sleep. And every year, without fail, we would wake up in the morning in our own beds, confused, and run to the living room to find it overflowing with presents. Lying next to the half eaten cookies we had set up for Santa the night before, there was always a letter from the man himself, delicately burnt around the edges, wishing us a Merry Christmas and “better luck next year”.

However, one Christmas when I was five and a half years old, that all changed. You see, that Christmas Eve, my sister, father and I came up with an impeccable plan to outsmart Santa Claus. The first thing we had to do was figure out where Santa came into the house each year, considering of course, that we didn’t have a fireplace so he couldn’t take his usual route. After careful exploration of the house and all of his options, we determined that he most probably came from the side door of the balcony. So naturally, that is where my father helped us set up his video camera, just out of view. That night, my sister and I crawled into our own beds, giggling with anticipation.

The next morning we could hardly contain ourselves. We ran into my parents’ room at the crack of dawn, begging my dad to run the video. Together, we gathered around the TV.

“Now,” my dad said as he plugged in the final cord, “I don’t want you girls to be disappointed if we didn’t get him. He’s pretty smart and there’s always next year.” With that he pressed play. For five minutes we sat staring at the screen in utter suspense. Minute by minute passed, and nothing. We were about to give up when all of a sudden, my sister yelled “Listen!”

Sure enough, the silence had been broken by the faint sound of bells, followed by a red leg, climbing over the balcony. Then there he was, standing on the porch, just the way we had always imagined him- the Santa Claus. When he opened the sliding door with a “Ho, ho, ho!”, my sister and I ran around the house screaming in overwhelming excitement. We had done it! We continued to watch as he set up the presents, enjoyed his milk and cookies, and took the time to write us a letter, which of course read “better luck next year.” It was the best Christmas morning of my life.

The following years, our new Christmas morning tradition was to watch the video and relive the victory. For years it was our proof that Santa Claus existed, and we would confidently correct our friends when they tried to tell us that he didn’t. It wasn’t until I was nine years old that I realized that the gleam in Santa Claus’ eye looked awfully familiar. I looked in acknowledgement at my dad that morning, and rather than feeling disappointed, I felt an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation that he had given my sister and me the opportunity to accomplish the impossible.

What is your favorite Christmas or holiday memory? We would love to hear it! Happy holidays from all of us at Little Pickle Press!

Christmas Memories: Catching Santa Claus

By Cameron Crane

 

medium_3102653679
Every year on Christmas Eve my sister and I would attempt to catch Santa Claus, and every year we were bitterly disappointed. We would set sleeping bags up in the living room, watching Christmas movies and desperately trying to fight sleep. And every year, without fail, we would wake up in the morning in our own beds, confused, and run to the living room to find it overflowing with presents. Lying next to the half eaten cookies we had set up for Santa the night before, there was always a letter from the man himself, delicately burnt around the edges, wishing us a Merry Christmas and “better luck next year”.

However, one Christmas when I was five and a half years old, that all changed. You see, that Christmas Eve, my sister, father and I came up with an impeccable plan to outsmart Santa Claus. The first thing we had to do was figure out where Santa came into the house each year, considering of course, that we didn’t have a fireplace so he couldn’t take his usual route. After careful exploration of the house and all of his options, we determined that he most probably came from the side door of the balcony. So naturally, that is where my father helped us set up his video camera, just out of view. That night, my sister and I crawled into our own beds, giggling with anticipation.

The next morning we could hardly contain ourselves. We ran into my parents’ room at the crack of dawn, begging my dad to run the video. Together, we gathered around the TV.

“Now,” my dad said as he plugged in the final cord, “I don’t want you girls to be disappointed if we didn’t get him. He’s pretty smart and there’s always next year.” With that he pressed play. For five minutes we sat staring at the screen in utter suspense. Minute by minute passed, and nothing. We were about to give up when all of a sudden, my sister yelled “Listen!”

Sure enough, the silence had been broken by the faint sound of bells, followed by a red leg, climbing over the balcony. Then there he was, standing on the porch, just the way we had always imagined him- the Santa Claus. When he opened the sliding door with a “Ho, ho, ho!”, my sister and I ran around the house screaming in overwhelming excitement. We had done it! We continued to watch as he set up the presents, enjoyed his milk and cookies, and took the time to write us a letter, which of course read “better luck next year.” It was the best Christmas morning of my life.

The following years, our new Christmas morning tradition was to watch the video and relive the victory. For years it was our proof that Santa Claus existed, and we would confidently correct our friends when they tried to tell us that he didn’t. It wasn’t until I was nine years old that I realized that the gleam in Santa Claus’ eye looked awfully familiar. I looked in acknowledgement at my dad that morning, and rather than feeling disappointed, I felt an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation that he had given my sister and me the opportunity to accomplish the impossible.

What is your favorite Christmas or holiday memory? We would love to hear it! Happy holidays from all of us at Little Pickle Press!

Adam Foster | Codefor via photopin cc

Stereotyping, Community, and the Holiday Spirit

By Simon Diamond Cramer
Photo Credit http://www.menorah.com
I’ve heard it said that all stereotypes contain a grain of truth. Of course, I don’t believe it. Most stereotypes come about when one person sees another acting a certain way and ascribes it to their race, gender, belief system, or whatever else might be the topic of the day. In fact, I’d guess that the entire idea that stereotypes all have a grain of truth is, like the stereotypes themselves, based on exaggeration of the importance of a single example. So when you hear about a Jewish kid who asked his mom why he didn’t celebrate Christmas like everybody else at school, you might be inclined to think that it’s just another stereotype. Then again, some stereotypes do contain a grain of truth. I know, because I was that kid.
My elementary school was so diverse it might as well have been straight out of The Magic School Bus. Well, without the bus. There were boys and girls of all sorts of backgrounds, and I was The Jewish Kid, the one who ate delicious latkes and didn’t celebrate Christmas. It started out alright, but by middle school some of my classmates had heard about Jewish stereotypes. Even worse, they were middle-schoolers, and acted like it. You can probably imagine how well that went.  I learned then, though I never really thought about it, that stereotypes can keep people from forming an understanding community. Though my middle school was a wonderful place in a lot of ways, because of the way some of my classmates excluded me for being Jewish, I never felt completely at home there.
Not only do stereotypes prevent communities from forming by excluding members they call “different”, they also prevent people in existing communities from developing real understanding of one another. The tendency to stereotype leads people to assume things, consciously or otherwise, about the people they know. As a result, they never find out the truth, and therefore never really cultivate a deep understanding with those people. It also works in reverse: people assume that others don’t care enough to try and understand them, so they never reach out and ask.
Sure, I celebrate Hanukkah and delicious potato pancakes, but I’m also partial to ham. I don’t have control over a significant portion of the global economy, as nice as that would be, and I certainly don’t control the media. To tell the truth, I really don’t care if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, or anything else, or nothing at all. Though these and other holidays all have different sources, stories, and meanings, they all share one central theme: community. The holiday season is, more than anything else, about building community, be it between members of a religious group, friends at a school, or any other situation. Stereotyping gets in the way of that, both by preventing people from accepting each other into the group, and by leading them to assume things about others in the group that prevent them from truly getting to know those people. So as a gift to your friends and family, this year, reconsider. Consider inviting over somebody new to your family dinner. Consider asking a family member’s opinion on something you haven’t ever talked to them about. Consider how the holidays can help form communities; don’t stereotype, and don’t assume.

Stereotyping, Community, and the Holiday Spirit

By Simon Diamond Cramer
Photo Credit http://www.menorah.com
I’ve heard it said that all stereotypes contain a grain of truth. Of course, I don’t believe it. Most stereotypes come about when one person sees another acting a certain way and ascribes it to their race, gender, belief system, or whatever else might be the topic of the day. In fact, I’d guess that the entire idea that stereotypes all have a grain of truth is, like the stereotypes themselves, based on exaggeration of the importance of a single example. So when you hear about a Jewish kid who asked his mom why he didn’t celebrate Christmas like everybody else at school, you might be inclined to think that it’s just another stereotype. Then again, some stereotypes do contain a grain of truth. I know, because I was that kid.
My elementary school was so diverse it might as well have been straight out of The Magic School Bus. Well, without the bus. There were boys and girls of all sorts of backgrounds, and I was The Jewish Kid, the one who ate delicious latkes and didn’t celebrate Christmas. It started out alright, but by middle school some of my classmates had heard about Jewish stereotypes. Even worse, they were middle-schoolers, and acted like it. You can probably imagine how well that went.  I learned then, though I never really thought about it, that stereotypes can keep people from forming an understanding community. Though my middle school was a wonderful place in a lot of ways, because of the way some of my classmates excluded me for being Jewish, I never felt completely at home there.
Not only do stereotypes prevent communities from forming by excluding members they call “different”, they also prevent people in existing communities from developing real understanding of one another. The tendency to stereotype leads people to assume things, consciously or otherwise, about the people they know. As a result, they never find out the truth, and therefore never really cultivate a deep understanding with those people. It also works in reverse: people assume that others don’t care enough to try and understand them, so they never reach out and ask.
Sure, I celebrate Hanukkah and delicious potato pancakes, but I’m also partial to ham. I don’t have control over a significant portion of the global economy, as nice as that would be, and I certainly don’t control the media. To tell the truth, I really don’t care if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, or anything else, or nothing at all. Though these and other holidays all have different sources, stories, and meanings, they all share one central theme: community. The holiday season is, more than anything else, about building community, be it between members of a religious group, friends at a school, or any other situation. Stereotyping gets in the way of that, both by preventing people from accepting each other into the group, and by leading them to assume things about others in the group that prevent them from truly getting to know those people. So as a gift to your friends and family, this year, reconsider. Consider inviting over somebody new to your family dinner. Consider asking a family member’s opinion on something you haven’t ever talked to them about. Consider how the holidays can help form communities; don’t stereotype, and don’t assume.

10 Apps We Absolutely Love for Children

By Cameron Crane

This holiday season, Little Pickle Press has been exploring the world of apps for children. Why? To begin with, we have been working very hard with Franklin Jr. Apps to develop our own educational and entertaining apps based on our award-winning titles. You can download and preview our What Does It Mean To Be Global? app here.

On a larger scope, we are extremely interested in the growing role that this specific type of digital media is having on children, and industries catering to children. This holiday season, expected sales for tablet devices are higher than ever before. If you are one of many parents with this item on your gift list this year, or if you are simply looking for a way to keep children interested during holiday travel, here is our list of 10 Apps We Absolutely Love for Children:

Tozzle: Toddler’s Favorite Puzzle
Developer: nodeflexion.com
Ages: 4+

Bugs and Buttons
Developer: Little Bit Studio LLC
Ages: 5+

Stack the Countries
Developer: Dan Russell-Pinson
Ages: 8+

Peek-A-Zoo
Developer: Duck Duck Moose LLC
Ages: 2+

My First Classical Music App
Developer: Naxos Global Distribution Ltd.
Ages: 5+

Nighty Night
Developer: Shape Minds and Moving Images GmbH 2011
Ages: 2+

Fish School HD
Developer: Duck Duck Moose LLC
Ages: 3+

How Rocket Learned to Read
Developer: Random House, Inc.
Ages: 4+

Developer: Franklin Jr. Apps
Ages: 4+

Developer: PBS Kids
Ages: 3+

Have you downloaded any of these apps for your children? What did you think? Any other apps that they love that aren’t on the list? Please share with us!

Image Credit: http://www.blogcatalog.com/post/ce704d051ed4da7bf4039c14bd132a4e

10 Apps We Absolutely Love for Children

By Cameron Crane

This holiday season, Little Pickle Press has been exploring the world of apps for children. Why? To begin with, we have been working very hard with Franklin Jr. Apps to develop our own educational and entertaining apps based on our award-winning titles. You can download and preview our What Does It Mean To Be Global? app here.

On a larger scope, we are extremely interested in the growing role that this specific type of digital media is having on children, and industries catering to children. This holiday season, expected sales for tablet devices are higher than ever before. If you are one of many parents with this item on your gift list this year, or if you are simply looking for a way to keep children interested during holiday travel, here is our list of 10 Apps We Absolutely Love for Children:

Tozzle: Toddler’s Favorite Puzzle
Developer: nodeflexion.com
Ages: 4+

Bugs and Buttons
Developer: Little Bit Studio LLC
Ages: 5+

Stack the Countries
Developer: Dan Russell-Pinson
Ages: 8+

Peek-A-Zoo
Developer: Duck Duck Moose LLC
Ages: 2+

My First Classical Music App
Developer: Naxos Global Distribution Ltd.
Ages: 5+

Nighty Night
Developer: Shape Minds and Moving Images GmbH 2011
Ages: 2+

Fish School HD
Developer: Duck Duck Moose LLC
Ages: 3+

How Rocket Learned to Read
Developer: Random House, Inc.
Ages: 4+

Developer: Franklin Jr. Apps
Ages: 4+

Developer: PBS Kids
Ages: 3+

Have you downloaded any of these apps for your children? What did you think? Any other apps that they love that aren’t on the list? Please share with us!


Image Credit: http://www.blogcatalog.com/post/ce704d051ed4da7bf4039c14bd132a4e

A Christmas Recipe to Make with Your Children

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

http://bit.ly/PhotoBySmittenKitchen
Last year, I shared with you two Christmas recipes from my childhood, Cranberry Nut Bread and Snowball Cookies (aka Butterballs). You can click to see them here.
This year I want to share with you another recipe I used to make with my mom and that I make with my pickles now. It is simple to prepare and appeals to all ages, so it is ideal for holiday entertaining.
Hello Dollies (even the name has cross-generational appeal!)
2 sticks of butter (melted)
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs*
2 cups chocolate chips (12 ounce package; your choice of which type)
2 2/3 cups of flake coconut
1 ½ cups chopped nuts (we use pecans)
2 cans (14 ounce size) sweetened condensed milk (now available in low fat)
*When I was a child, pulverizing the graham crackers into crumbs in a ziplock bag was my job. Today, you can buy them as crumbs. Progress!
Mix melted butter and cracker crumbs and line the bottom of a greased 9” x 13” pan. Mix chips, coconut, and chopped nuts. Layer on top of the crumbs. Pour condensed milk over the mixture. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes. Allow your Hello Dollies to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Consider making Hello Dollies with your little pickles, and by all means tell us how it went!

From all of us at Little Pickle Press to all of you and yours, we hope that your holidays are especially wonderful and meaningful.

A Christmas Recipe to Make with Your Children

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

http://bit.ly/PhotoBySmittenKitchen
Last year, I shared with you two Christmas recipes from my childhood, Cranberry Nut Bread and Snowball Cookies (aka Butterballs). You can click to see them here.
This year I want to share with you another recipe I used to make with my mom and that I make with my pickles now. It is simple to prepare and appeals to all ages, so it is ideal for holiday entertaining.
Hello Dollies (even the name has cross-generational appeal!)
2 sticks of butter (melted)
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs*
2 cups chocolate chips (12 ounce package; your choice of which type)
2 2/3 cups of flake coconut
1 ½ cups chopped nuts (we use pecans)
2 cans (14 ounce size) sweetened condensed milk (now available in low fat)
*When I was a child, pulverizing the graham crackers into crumbs in a ziplock bag was my job. Today, you can buy them as crumbs. Progress!
Mix melted butter and cracker crumbs and line the bottom of a greased 9” x 13” pan. Mix chips, coconut, and chopped nuts. Layer on top of the crumbs. Pour condensed milk over the mixture. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes. Allow your Hello Dollies to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Consider making Hello Dollies with your little pickles, and by all means tell us how it went!

From all of us at Little Pickle Press to all of you and yours, we hope that your holidays are especially wonderful and meaningful.

Featured Customer of the Month: Fabulous Framers

By Cameron Crane


Fabulous Framers
430 Ignacio Blvd.
Novato, CA 94949

During the holiday season Little Pickle Press always feels a special gratitude for our customers. We have the opportunity to reflect on a wonderful year, and thank the people who have made our business so enjoyable. Today, we recognize Fabulous Framers as our Featured Customer of the Month. Fabulous Framers is special for many reasons, but their dedication to high quality work, passion for art and creativity, and excellent customer service truly make them stand out. Today, we happily welcome Linda McDonald of Fabulous Framers to the blog.

Tell us about you…how long have you been in business, how did you get started, why Ignacio?

In the spring of 2005, Andrea Brush and I were researching the possibility of a frame shop that we had heard was for sale in Novato. Andrea and I had been working together at another framing location for about two years. At that time Andrea had been framing for about nine years and I had been framing for 25 years, making us both master framers, and ready to break out on our own. When our search for the “available frame shop” turned up nothing, we went to the Pacheco Plaza shopping center to shoe shop at Joseph’s Shoes, and to say hello to Natalie at Natalie and Daria’s Flowers (I had known Natalie since we were both young girls). I mentioned to Natalie that we had not found the frame shop for sale that we had been looking for, and she said that the fellow across the parking lot had been trying to sell his place for years (and had taken it off the market and was going to close). We went we went to check it out and I bought the store, we re-named it Fabulous Framers and remodeled the store into what you see now.

What makes Fabulous Framers special/unique?

“When You Love What You Do It Shows” is our tag line, and tells it like it is. We both enjoy “framing outside the box” so to speak- doing that special something that highlights the art and allows the creativity to flow.

What is your favorite part of owning and running Fabulous Framers?

Working in a frame shop is like having the art gallery come to you, a day filled with art can only be a good day. My favorite part is helping clients to realize their own creativity and together creating a piece they will cherish for years to come.

What is the most challenging part?

The most challenging part is the same as for any business, just finding time for all of the “business ie: bookwork” when what you really want to do is be creative all day.

What are the comments/questions that you get regarding Little Pickle Press books?

We have only had great comments about Little Pickle Press books. People (adults and children) are delighted with the stories, and the illustrations. The subject matter is really timely and sought after by young and old alike. We have had teachers, mothers, kids and grandparents in here very excited about the books, and so happy to be able to purchase them.

Little Pickle Press would like to thank Fabulous Framers for their support. If you are in the area, we highly recommend that you bring your artwork to Fabulous Framers and let Linda and Andrea work their magic!

Featured Customer of the Month: Fabulous Framers

By Cameron Crane


Fabulous Framers
430 Ignacio Blvd.
Novato, CA 94949

During the holiday season Little Pickle Press always feels a special gratitude for our customers. We have the opportunity to reflect on a wonderful year, and thank the people who have made our business so enjoyable. Today, we recognize Fabulous Framers as our Featured Customer of the Month. Fabulous Framers is special for many reasons, but their dedication to high quality work, passion for art and creativity, and excellent customer service truly make them stand out. Today, we happily welcome Linda McDonald of Fabulous Framers to the blog.

Tell us about you…how long have you been in business, how did you get started, why Ignacio?

In the spring of 2005, Andrea Brush and I were researching the possibility of a frame shop that we had heard was for sale in Novato. Andrea and I had been working together at another framing location for about two years. At that time Andrea had been framing for about nine years and I had been framing for 25 years, making us both master framers, and ready to break out on our own. When our search for the “available frame shop” turned up nothing, we went to the Pacheco Plaza shopping center to shoe shop at Joseph’s Shoes, and to say hello to Natalie at Natalie and Daria’s Flowers (I had known Natalie since we were both young girls). I mentioned to Natalie that we had not found the frame shop for sale that we had been looking for, and she said that the fellow across the parking lot had been trying to sell his place for years (and had taken it off the market and was going to close). We went we went to check it out and I bought the store, we re-named it Fabulous Framers and remodeled the store into what you see now.

What makes Fabulous Framers special/unique?

“When You Love What You Do It Shows” is our tag line, and tells it like it is. We both enjoy “framing outside the box” so to speak- doing that special something that highlights the art and allows the creativity to flow.

What is your favorite part of owning and running Fabulous Framers?

Working in a frame shop is like having the art gallery come to you, a day filled with art can only be a good day. My favorite part is helping clients to realize their own creativity and together creating a piece they will cherish for years to come.

What is the most challenging part?

The most challenging part is the same as for any business, just finding time for all of the “business ie: bookwork” when what you really want to do is be creative all day.

What are the comments/questions that you get regarding Little Pickle Press books?

We have only had great comments about Little Pickle Press books. People (adults and children) are delighted with the stories, and the illustrations. The subject matter is really timely and sought after by young and old alike. We have had teachers, mothers, kids and grandparents in here very excited about the books, and so happy to be able to purchase them.

Little Pickle Press would like to thank Fabulous Framers for their support. If you are in the area, we highly recommend that you bring your artwork to Fabulous Framers and let Linda and Andrea work their magic!

Interview with Mister Manners aka Thomas P. Farley

By Rana DiOrio, Founder of Little Pickle Press
Last week I had the great pleasure of interviewing Mister Manners (a.k.a. Thomas P. Farley). How did I come to interview the Mister Manners? Well, I asked if he would be amenable, politely. And he accepted my invitation, thoughtfully, promptly, and ever-so-graciously. Here’s how our conversation unfolded.
Ms. DiOrio: How did you get into the manners business?
Mister Manners: Manners have always been important to me. My parents and teachers were adamant about writing thank you notes, refraining from saying “shut up”, etc.
I accepted a job at Town & Country writing the Social Graces column, which addressed issues of contemporary etiquette. Essentially it was about how we deal with one another on an everyday basis. My writings evolved into a Modern Manners anthology. I think I enjoyed early success in this arena because I was a young man who brought a fresh perspective to the subject matter (historically dominated by older women authoritarians).
Ms. DiOrio: Which manners do you miss the most in our modern society?
Mister Manners: Modern is the key term in this question. People have become overly-reliant upon emails and texting. Our telephones at home and our cell phones ring very rarely. The idea of putting a pen to paper is anathema. These skills are not being used. Children and young people especially need to communicate verbally and in writing.

I save thank you notes when I receive them. People don’t print out emails and put them on the refrigerator. People do, however, put handwritten thank you notes there. So, to answer your question succinctly, I’d say that in our modern society I most miss communicating well through the spoken and written word.

Ms. DiOrio: Which three manners do you think are most important to teach children as soon as they can understand?
Mister Manners:
1.     Please;
2.    Thank you; and
3.     Sorry.
If children can understand the importance of these three phrases, they have mastered 99% of all manners they will ever need to know.

Close behind is, “you’re welcome”.

Ms. DiOrio: How much do you think the media influences manners today?
Mister Manners: As a member of the media myself, I think they take a lot of blame undeservedly so. The greater source of blame is technology itself, which is encroaching upon our time. Devices are wonderful and serve a purpose, but they take time away from social graces.
Furthermore, the media is delivering what the public is eager to consume. Kim Kardashian, for example, is not a positive role model for young girls. Parents need to take responsibility for what content their children are consuming and not try to lay the blame on the media.
Ms. DiOrio: Why is it so much easier to fall into bad manners than good manners?

Mister Manners: It’s the path of least resistance. I don’t think most people are sitting down thinking, “What can I do to be rude today”? By the same token, being polite takes thought and time. What if a working mom skips writing thank you notes for her one-year-old’s birthday party? Is that OK? No. We are hyper-scheduled, so we cut corners when it comes to social graces.

Ms. DiOrio: Can a person be too polite? What if my good manners make people around me uncomfortable?

Mister Manners: Manners exist to grease the wheels of social interaction. They enable us to co-exist without confusion, so we can focus on more important things.

Putting on false airs of fussy manners completely undermines the reason for manners, which is to make people feel comfortable. It’s off-putting. My advice is to be mindful of the people you are with and modulate your manners to best suit the audience.

Ms. DiOrio: How do I model good behavior to children?

Mister Manners: Good manners start in the home. Both parents need to be on board. The kids follow what they witness.

“Do what I say, not what I do” doesn’t cut it. Keep your language clean.
Family dinners are very important to cultivate manners in children. Stop making excuses and make them happen. Have dinner together as a family at least twice a week. Quality interaction is essential to shaping children.

Stress the importance of using Please, Thank you, and Sorry; and do so yourself.

Above all else, treat your children with respect. They will treat others the way you treat them.

Ms. DiOrio: How do I protect them from the bad manners of other people?

Mister Manners: There is no way to isolate a child from bad manners. There will inevitably be scenarios where kids are exposed to bad manners. So, give them a strong foundation at home. As you witness bad behavior, use it as a springboard for discussion about the differences in homes.

You may consider accompanying your child on a play date to see whether the host family has the same manners as you do at home.

Certain adults want to be called by their first names vs. Mr./Dr./Mrs./Ms. So-and-so. This can be very confusing for a child. There is something important lost when the formality goes away. Discuss this with your children.

Ms. DiOrio: What is the manners question people ask you most often?

Mister Manners: Who goes through the revolving door first, the man or the woman? The answer is that the man goes first to push the door. It’s a paradox. The woman, being the fairer sex, needs the man to push the door for her. That said, I typically give the door a push and then usher the woman into the revolving door ahead of me.


Ms. DiOrio: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

Mister Manners: I have two more things to offer:
1. Manners are the foundation for making children successful and well-liked, the sort of person their peers will admire. Having good manners does not mean you have to be a doormat though. Think about the reactions a cancelled flight yields. On the one hand you have an irate passenger who is raising his voice to the gate agent. On the other, you have a level-headed passenger who knows his rights and who is politely working with the gate agent to see that they are honored. It’s the level-headed passenger who is going to get re-booked on the next flight. Similarly, the child who is throwing a temper tantrum is not going to get the result she wants. The child who is polite is in a far better position to get what she wants.
2. Parents, please put away your devices. Don’t ignore your children because you are engrossed in your devices. I assure you, this behavior will come back to haunt you.

Ms. DiOrio: Thank you for joining us, Mister Manners. Readers, we hope you leave us a comment or question.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thomas P. Farley is a manners expert who has been interviewed on matters of etiquette by the Today show, the CBS Early Show, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, People Style Watch, USA Today, CNN, ABC and Nick at Nite’s TV Land, as well as on radio stations across the country. A graduate of Fordham University, Farley is presently at work on his second book, which will address the tricky matter of tech etiquette—from BlackBerry use to Facebook quandaries. You can read more about him here. Find his other books here. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and Facebook, and watch this interesting video interview about the well-mannered way to post photos of your friends on Facebook!