Monthly Archives: November 2011

Being Thankful, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

This November has been a month of gratitude at Little Pickle Press. We have explored what it means to be grateful, how to recognize things we are grateful for in our every day lives, and what expressing this gratitude looks like. We talked about Thanksgiving memories and the true meaning of the holiday. Today, we get to hear four young perspectives on what being thankful really means to children.

How did you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

Nick (6 years old): “We went over to my cousin Jason’s house. I go over there all the time, but this time there was everybody over there.”

Sam (6 years old): “We had lots of food. That’s what you do on Thanksgivings. Turkey and mashed potatoes and a glass of milk…”

Adam (8 years old): “Well my brother and I played a lot outside, but it was pretty busy. And then we had dinner with my mom and my dad and my little sister.”

Ashley (9 years old): “A lot of food, my mom cooked with my Aunt Lisa. And a lot of talking.”

Do you know what it means to be thankful?

Nick & Sam: “It means saying thank you.”

Adam: “It means to be glad that you have things. Like, not a toy. Or it could be a toy, but more like your brother or sister.”

Ashley: “It means saying thank you, but not the way you usually do. It means kind of like saying thank you to everything.”

Why is it important to be thankful?

Nick: “It’s important because when someone does something nice, you say thank you.”

Sam: “That’s why we have Thanksgiving.”

Adam: “Well…that’s a good question. I have to think about that. I know why, but I can’t think of how to say it.”

Ashley: “Because it shows that you care.”

What were you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Nick: “My stuff and my house and my cousins and my family.”

Sam: “Umm…for everything…”

Adam: “Oh, a lot. For my family and my little brother and sister.”

Ashley: “I have five things. We made turkeys, and on each wing we wrote something we were thankful for. And there were five so I had five. I don’t remember them now though.”

Image Credit: benandme.net

Being Thankful, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

This November has been a month of gratitude at Little Pickle Press. We have explored what it means to be grateful, how to recognize things we are grateful for in our every day lives, and what expressing this gratitude looks like. We talked about Thanksgiving memories and the true meaning of the holiday. Today, we get to hear four young perspectives on what being thankful really means to children.

How did you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

Nick (6 years old): “We went over to my cousin Jason’s house. I go over there all the time, but this time there was everybody over there.”

Sam (6 years old): “We had lots of food. That’s what you do on Thanksgivings. Turkey and mashed potatoes and a glass of milk…”

Adam (8 years old): “Well my brother and I played a lot outside, but it was pretty busy. And then we had dinner with my mom and my dad and my little sister.”

Ashley (9 years old): “A lot of food, my mom cooked with my Aunt Lisa. And a lot of talking.”

Do you know what it means to be thankful?

Nick & Sam: “It means saying thank you.”

Adam: “It means to be glad that you have things. Like, not a toy. Or it could be a toy, but more like your brother or sister.”

Ashley: “It means saying thank you, but not the way you usually do. It means kind of like saying thank you to everything.”

Why is it important to be thankful?

Nick: “It’s important because when someone does something nice, you say thank you.”

Sam: “That’s why we have Thanksgiving.”

Adam: “Well…that’s a good question. I have to think about that. I know why, but I can’t think of how to say it.”

Ashley: “Because it shows that you care.”

What were you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Nick: “My stuff and my house and my cousins and my family.”

Sam: “Umm…for everything…”

Adam: “Oh, a lot. For my family and my little brother and sister.”

Ashley: “I have five things. We made turkeys, and on each wing we wrote something we were thankful for. And there were five so I had five. I don’t remember them now though.”

Image Credit: benandme.net

Holiday Giving at Little Pickle Press

We recently wrote about One World Futbol, another B Corporation, and its amazing program to create and distribute soccer balls to worldwide children in need, children who still play like this:
Before: With rag ball
The goal is for children to have these beautiful and durable soccer balls that work on any terrain and never deflate.

After: With One World Futbol
Little Pickle Press has chosen One World Futbol as their philanthropic effort for this holiday season and purchased a number of the futballs to donate. Here’s the important part: for every ball purchased, One World Futbol donates a ball. Yesterday’s blog post talked about shifting from a sense of entitlement to one of gratitude and offered ways families might achieve a more altruistic focus. This is one way – buy fewer toys for your children and shift the focus to children who will be overwhelmingly grateful for a real soccer ball to kick around. 

Today, we have a special visitor from One World Futbol, Eric Frothingham, one of five members of the core team.

LPP:  Eric, welcome to the Little Pickle Press blog.  What is your role at One World FutBol today? 

Eric: I’m a managing member of the One World Futbol team with primary responsibility for business development, sponsorships/strategic partnerships, and finance. I used to run a recreation/culture program for Save the Children in a (Cambodian) refugee camp in Thailand.  While there, I had the experience of having soccer balls deflate, games end, and kids who needed something positive going from a state of energized engagement to disappointment – when the ball got kicked too hard and hit/got punctured by the barbed wire that surrounded the camp.

LPP: The concept of a virtually indestructible soccer ball that can be used by children anywhere in the world is so brilliant. But it doesn’t look like a soccer ball. Why this design and color?

Eric: We describe the ball as a ‘multi-sport’ ball that never goes flat – great for soccer and many other games too. We started with the star design to emphasize the ball’s uniqueness –  and are in the process of making a ball with a more traditional ‘soccer’ ball design (and will soon be making a smaller ball too). We chose a blue akin to “United Nations blue” for our first color – and have made prototypes in several other colors including red and yellow/green.
 
LPP: Can donors designate where the soccer balls with go – is there a list of recipients in the U.S. that American donors can give their matching soccer balls to? Perhaps special schools or safe houses for women and children?

Eric: We have identified some recipient groups (US and international) on the purchase page of our website.  If no particular recipient group is selected by the purchaser, One World Futbol chooses. We often do special ‘code’ programs with different organizations and welcome inquiries and suggestions about supporting particular groups, whether domestic or international. http://www.oneworldfutbol.com/shop/

LPP: What is your biggest and best dream for One World Futbol in 2012? 

Eric: I’d love to see the One World Futbol chosen as the preferred recreational sports ball for schools, agencies such as UNICEF, sport for development groups, and similar programs in the US and around the world… and build a big, diverse team helping to get futbols to the places where they can make a great difference in the lives of kids, program leaders, and communities. 

LPP: And this is the perfect time to tell readers about one of the team efforts that Eric just mentioned. Here are the details:

40% off — until Nov. 30

You can “Buy One, Give One” of the amazing One World Futbol or “Just Give One” for only $25 and take 40% of that off, so it’s only $15 – if you place your order before midnight Wednesday, Nov. 30.

This offer comes to you courtesy of our friends at the socially responsible shopping site Ethical Ocean. Through their good graces, YOU get 40% off, and the One World Futbol Project gets full price, because Ethical Ocean will make up the difference so we can carry on our mission of bringing the joy of play to children around the world. Here’s how this works:
Decide whether you want to “Buy One, Give One,” “Just Give One,” or maybe add one of our classy sackpacks to carry each ball you purchase.
When you get to the checkout page, be sure to enter the coupon code GIFT-WORLD-40.
You’re not limited to just one ball. In fact, you may purchase up to $250 worth of merchandise and still take off 40%. The discount is capped at $100. This coupon code can be used only once per household and expires at midnight Eastern Standard Time on Nov 30.

LPP: Eric, thank you for visiting us! And for our readers, you can buy and donate at the One World Futbol website all the time – why not make it a monthly donation? Giving the gift of play to a child somewhere in the world is just that simple. It’s a great way for families to promote the Season of Giving all year long, and it’s a particularly fine idea for soccer players, moms, and fans of the game. Please share the idea with them. And please tell us if you know of an organization which might be able to use some of the soccer balls Little Pickle Press is donating. We welcome your comments!

Holiday Giving at Little Pickle Press

We recently wrote about One World Futbol, another B Corporation, and its amazing program to create and distribute soccer balls to worldwide children in need, children who still play like this:
Before: With rag ball
The goal is for children to have these beautiful and durable soccer balls that work on any terrain and never deflate.

After: With One World Futbol
Little Pickle Press has chosen One World Futbol as their philanthropic effort for this holiday season and purchased a number of the futballs to donate. Here’s the important part: for every ball purchased, One World Futbol donates a ball. Yesterday’s blog post talked about shifting from a sense of entitlement to one of gratitude and offered ways families might achieve a more altruistic focus. This is one way – buy fewer toys for your children and shift the focus to children who will be overwhelmingly grateful for a real soccer ball to kick around. 

Today, we have a special visitor from One World Futbol, Eric Frothingham, one of five members of the core team.

LPP:  Eric, welcome to the Little Pickle Press blog.  What is your role at One World FutBol today? 

Eric: I’m a managing member of the One World Futbol team with primary responsibility for business development, sponsorships/strategic partnerships, and finance. I used to run a recreation/culture program for Save the Children in a (Cambodian) refugee camp in Thailand.  While there, I had the experience of having soccer balls deflate, games end, and kids who needed something positive going from a state of energized engagement to disappointment – when the ball got kicked too hard and hit/got punctured by the barbed wire that surrounded the camp.

LPP: The concept of a virtually indestructible soccer ball that can be used by children anywhere in the world is so brilliant. But it doesn’t look like a soccer ball. Why this design and color?

Eric: We describe the ball as a ‘multi-sport’ ball that never goes flat – great for soccer and many other games too. We started with the star design to emphasize the ball’s uniqueness –  and are in the process of making a ball with a more traditional ‘soccer’ ball design (and will soon be making a smaller ball too). We chose a blue akin to “United Nations blue” for our first color – and have made prototypes in several other colors including red and yellow/green.
 
LPP: Can donors designate where the soccer balls with go – is there a list of recipients in the U.S. that American donors can give their matching soccer balls to? Perhaps special schools or safe houses for women and children?

Eric: We have identified some recipient groups (US and international) on the purchase page of our website.  If no particular recipient group is selected by the purchaser, One World Futbol chooses. We often do special ‘code’ programs with different organizations and welcome inquiries and suggestions about supporting particular groups, whether domestic or international. http://www.oneworldfutbol.com/shop/

LPP: What is your biggest and best dream for One World Futbol in 2012? 

Eric: I’d love to see the One World Futbol chosen as the preferred recreational sports ball for schools, agencies such as UNICEF, sport for development groups, and similar programs in the US and around the world… and build a big, diverse team helping to get futbols to the places where they can make a great difference in the lives of kids, program leaders, and communities. 

LPP: And this is the perfect time to tell readers about one of the team efforts that Eric just mentioned. Here are the details:

40% off — until Nov. 30

You can “Buy One, Give One” of the amazing One World Futbol or “Just Give One” for only $25 and take 40% of that off, so it’s only $15 – if you place your order before midnight Wednesday, Nov. 30.

This offer comes to you courtesy of our friends at the socially responsible shopping site Ethical Ocean. Through their good graces, YOU get 40% off, and the One World Futbol Project gets full price, because Ethical Ocean will make up the difference so we can carry on our mission of bringing the joy of play to children around the world. Here’s how this works:
Decide whether you want to “Buy One, Give One,” “Just Give One,” or maybe add one of our classy sackpacks to carry each ball you purchase.
When you get to the checkout page, be sure to enter the coupon code GIFT-WORLD-40.
You’re not limited to just one ball. In fact, you may purchase up to $250 worth of merchandise and still take off 40%. The discount is capped at $100. This coupon code can be used only once per household and expires at midnight Eastern Standard Time on Nov 30.

LPP: Eric, thank you for visiting us! And for our readers, you can buy and donate at the One World Futbol website all the time – why not make it a monthly donation? Giving the gift of play to a child somewhere in the world is just that simple. It’s a great way for families to promote the Season of Giving all year long, and it’s a particularly fine idea for soccer players, moms, and fans of the game. Please share the idea with them. And please tell us if you know of an organization which might be able to use some of the soccer balls Little Pickle Press is donating. We welcome your comments!

Fostering Gratitude Vs. Entitlement

By Dani Greer

Fostering an attitude of gratitude vs. a sense of entitlement in our children.
That’s the theme for today’s post and I’ve been stewing about it for weeks, because it’s a complicated issue, and Black Friday weekend is probably not the best time to really delve into the matter. Or maybe it’s exactly the right time, given the incredibly bizarre and narcissistic behavior of shoppers reported in the news. What will people NOT do to get that Xbox – it defies logic, doesn’t it?
In her book on modern family life, The Shelter of Each Other, author Mary Pipher worries that our consumer-saturated culture may be breeding feelings of “narcissism, entitlement and dissatisfaction” in today’s kids.
The issue of entitlement isn’t just a current one though – we can trace its roots in the United States to the Industrial Revolution and the availability of cheap goods, as well as to post-WWI Madison Avenue marketing schemes. It’s not easy to avoid an entitlement belief system when you grow up with daily messages like this:
  • You deserve a break today
  • Because I’m worth it
  • You’ve come a long way, baby
  • Ask for more
We have for decades been brainwashed to believe we have all kinds of “rights” to all kinds of things.
In the final analysis though, rights and entitlements are only man-made concepts, and any person who has ever suffered a natural catastrophe can attest to the shift in attitude such an event will cause. Most people who survive a hurricane, earthquake, devastating fire, or any act of nature are most grateful for a very few things that include:
  • Their own lives
  • The lives of friends and family
  • The well-being of their pets
  • Family photographs and small memorabilia
  • A way to meet their basic daily needs: food, shelter, and safety
That’s it. For this they are truly and deeply grateful.
How to create a gratitude shift in ourselves so that we can demonstrate it to children, that’s the compelling question, because walking the talk is the only way children will learn this huge lesson. How can we use the holiday to begin a shift away from the belief that our wants are important and that we deserve what we want?
Perhaps we could first reject the brainwashing – the advertising that creates and fuels our desires.
Then we could eschew cheap goods as a gift-giving option and as a measure of our love for one another.
If disaster and lack creates gratitude, perhaps intentional “doing without” before a period of gifting would create a foundation for true gratitude. The idea of  “fasting” isn’t new. It’s a time-honored pre-holiday tradition in many religions, but it can be practiced in a secular environment just as well. Do without for a while so you enjoy the bounty, even a smaller one, on a deeper level.
Here’s how this gratitude shift might play out in your family as a conscious and planned effort.
Intentionally give up something at regular intervals before a big holiday celebration. It could be food, some form of entertainment, even some taken-for-granted comfort like hot water. Brainstorm this idea with your children.
Reduce your purchased gifts to none (or perhaps just one small item like a book) and replace those you would ordinarily give with a service of some sort, whether doing a chore for someone else or making a special gift with your own hands. Again, get everyone involved in the idea.
As a family, give some of your bounty to a cause in need of your support, whether you give canned goods to a community food pantry, a caroling visit to a housebound senior citizen, or a cash donation to a child in a poor country. Give what you would have spent on yourself – whether time, effort, or money – to someone else. But make it active, not just writing a check. It will make you more grateful for what you receive this holiday season.
In short, teach your children by demonstrating that we can feel gifted and blessed by giving more and receiving less. As bestselling author, Stephen Covey, says, “love is an action verb” and gratitude being an aspect of love works in just the same way. You must practice gratitude often and for the smallest things, for it is the feeling of gratitude that is transformative – that is the true gift. There is no better time than this season to begin teaching your children… and perhaps yourself, too.
How would this idea be enacted in your family? Could you do it? Would the whole family support it? What would be toughest about giving up a consumptive holiday? What would be the greatest benefit to you? Please leave us comments!

Fostering Gratitude Vs. Entitlement

By Dani Greer

Fostering an attitude of gratitude vs. a sense of entitlement in our children.
That’s the theme for today’s post and I’ve been stewing about it for weeks, because it’s a complicated issue, and Black Friday weekend is probably not the best time to really delve into the matter. Or maybe it’s exactly the right time, given the incredibly bizarre and narcissistic behavior of shoppers reported in the news. What will people NOT do to get that Xbox – it defies logic, doesn’t it?
In her book on modern family life, The Shelter of Each Other, author Mary Pipher worries that our consumer-saturated culture may be breeding feelings of “narcissism, entitlement and dissatisfaction” in today’s kids.
The issue of entitlement isn’t just a current one though – we can trace its roots in the United States to the Industrial Revolution and the availability of cheap goods, as well as to post-WWI Madison Avenue marketing schemes. It’s not easy to avoid an entitlement belief system when you grow up with daily messages like this:
  • You deserve a break today
  • Because I’m worth it
  • You’ve come a long way, baby
  • Ask for more
We have for decades been brainwashed to believe we have all kinds of “rights” to all kinds of things.
In the final analysis though, rights and entitlements are only man-made concepts, and any person who has ever suffered a natural catastrophe can attest to the shift in attitude such an event will cause. Most people who survive a hurricane, earthquake, devastating fire, or any act of nature are most grateful for a very few things that include:
  • Their own lives
  • The lives of friends and family
  • The well-being of their pets
  • Family photographs and small memorabilia
  • A way to meet their basic daily needs: food, shelter, and safety
That’s it. For this they are truly and deeply grateful.
How to create a gratitude shift in ourselves so that we can demonstrate it to children, that’s the compelling question, because walking the talk is the only way children will learn this huge lesson. How can we use the holiday to begin a shift away from the belief that our wants are important and that we deserve what we want?
Perhaps we could first reject the brainwashing – the advertising that creates and fuels our desires.
Then we could eschew cheap goods as a gift-giving option and as a measure of our love for one another.
If disaster and lack creates gratitude, perhaps intentional “doing without” before a period of gifting would create a foundation for true gratitude. The idea of  “fasting” isn’t new. It’s a time-honored pre-holiday tradition in many religions, but it can be practiced in a secular environment just as well. Do without for a while so you enjoy the bounty, even a smaller one, on a deeper level.
Here’s how this gratitude shift might play out in your family as a conscious and planned effort.
Intentionally give up something at regular intervals before a big holiday celebration. It could be food, some form of entertainment, even some taken-for-granted comfort like hot water. Brainstorm this idea with your children.
Reduce your purchased gifts to none (or perhaps just one small item like a book) and replace those you would ordinarily give with a service of some sort, whether doing a chore for someone else or making a special gift with your own hands. Again, get everyone involved in the idea.
As a family, give some of your bounty to a cause in need of your support, whether you give canned goods to a community food pantry, a caroling visit to a housebound senior citizen, or a cash donation to a child in a poor country. Give what you would have spent on yourself – whether time, effort, or money – to someone else. But make it active, not just writing a check. It will make you more grateful for what you receive this holiday season.
In short, teach your children by demonstrating that we can feel gifted and blessed by giving more and receiving less. As bestselling author, Stephen Covey, says, “love is an action verb” and gratitude being an aspect of love works in just the same way. You must practice gratitude often and for the smallest things, for it is the feeling of gratitude that is transformative – that is the true gift. There is no better time than this season to begin teaching your children… and perhaps yourself, too.
How would this idea be enacted in your family? Could you do it? Would the whole family support it? What would be toughest about giving up a consumptive holiday? What would be the greatest benefit to you? Please leave us comments!

Imagine Thanksgiving Every Day

By Ilene Val-Essen

Thanksgiving may be over, but we can begin the act of giving thanks every day any time. And what better day to initiate this ritual than today! The essence of this beloved holiday is gratitude: being grateful for what we have. Acknowledging it in our minds, feeling it in our hearts, and saying it out loud. Why limit living in gratitude to just one day!

Those days when we slow ourselves down and feel the miracle of parenting, aren’t they the best? We’re patient and calm and giggle along with our little laughter machines. And when our kids really “get”—inside their sensitive bodies—the love that we feel so strongly, they respond. They become more cooperative and responsible. And feel proud! At the core, kids want to be all they can be.

In my book, Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Your Self, I help parents discover opportunities to recognize and express gratitude every day. Below are three “simple” tips that can make family life so much easier and more rewarding.

Catch your children doing something right.

During the next week, observe your child and identify as many specific, positive behaviors as possible. (20 is a good number.) Every time you find one, let your child know that you appreciate that behavior. Express your feelings sincerely. For example, “I appreciate that you brushed your teeth without being told.” “I loved seeing you and your brother having so much fun together in the bathtub.”

Sounds simple—and it is. But the results are dramatic. Kids want attention. Don’t we all? When we give them attention for that which is working, it will continue. Actually, the positive behavior accelerates. The children will find more constructive ways to get your attention. A little secret: that ritual creates some of the magic I have in my relationship with my husband.

Water the flowers, not the weeds.

I mentioned this in my earlier blog post, but I think it’s worth repeating. It’s simple and makes sense: whatever we focus on grows. By noticing when our children say “thank you,” for example, and ask for what they want in an easy-to-listen-to voice, we encourage their best behavior to bloom all year round.

Create an appreciation meal.

Once a week, ask family members to share aloud something they appreciate about each sibling and parent. In the photography book, Sisters, those siblings who were close throughout their lives often gave credit to their parents for emphasizing how fortunate the sisters were to have each other. A ritual to affirm our appreciation may last for a lifetime, and may be repeated throughout the generations.

When we hold the attitude of gratitude throughout the year, we bring out the best in our children—and discover the best within ourselves.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ilene Val-Essen, Ph.D. is the author of Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Your Self and creator of the Quality Parenting programs. She is a featured speaker at national and international conferences and recently has been quoted in Parents magazine. Please visit her at Quality Parenting.

Imagine Thanksgiving Every Day

By Ilene Val-Essen

Thanksgiving may be over, but we can begin the act of giving thanks every day any time. And what better day to initiate this ritual than today! The essence of this beloved holiday is gratitude: being grateful for what we have. Acknowledging it in our minds, feeling it in our hearts, and saying it out loud. Why limit living in gratitude to just one day!

Those days when we slow ourselves down and feel the miracle of parenting, aren’t they the best? We’re patient and calm and giggle along with our little laughter machines. And when our kids really “get”—inside their sensitive bodies—the love that we feel so strongly, they respond. They become more cooperative and responsible. And feel proud! At the core, kids want to be all they can be.

In my book, Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Your Self, I help parents discover opportunities to recognize and express gratitude every day. Below are three “simple” tips that can make family life so much easier and more rewarding.

Catch your children doing something right.

During the next week, observe your child and identify as many specific, positive behaviors as possible. (20 is a good number.) Every time you find one, let your child know that you appreciate that behavior. Express your feelings sincerely. For example, “I appreciate that you brushed your teeth without being told.” “I loved seeing you and your brother having so much fun together in the bathtub.”

Sounds simple—and it is. But the results are dramatic. Kids want attention. Don’t we all? When we give them attention for that which is working, it will continue. Actually, the positive behavior accelerates. The children will find more constructive ways to get your attention. A little secret: that ritual creates some of the magic I have in my relationship with my husband.

Water the flowers, not the weeds.

I mentioned this in my earlier blog post, but I think it’s worth repeating. It’s simple and makes sense: whatever we focus on grows. By noticing when our children say “thank you,” for example, and ask for what they want in an easy-to-listen-to voice, we encourage their best behavior to bloom all year round.

Create an appreciation meal.

Once a week, ask family members to share aloud something they appreciate about each sibling and parent. In the photography book, Sisters, those siblings who were close throughout their lives often gave credit to their parents for emphasizing how fortunate the sisters were to have each other. A ritual to affirm our appreciation may last for a lifetime, and may be repeated throughout the generations.

When we hold the attitude of gratitude throughout the year, we bring out the best in our children—and discover the best within ourselves.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ilene Val-Essen, Ph.D. is the author of Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Your Self and creator of the Quality Parenting programs. She is a featured speaker at national and international conferences and recently has been quoted in Parents magazine. Please visit her at Quality Parenting.

Thanksgiving Memories

by Cameron Crane


The hour-long drive to Palo Alto was always easier on the way there than the way back. That’s the first thing I remember about the numerous road trips I took with my father and brother to my Grandmother’s for Thanksgiving. The way there was filled with an eager anticipation to pull up to the house that was so familiar to me, with faded bricks, a big oak in front, and Christmas lights permanently strung from the railing of the balcony. My grandfather had built the house for my grandmother, and together they had raised my father and his siblings there. I knew that as soon as the car was parked my brother and I would go running to the door, part of a life-long competition we had to be the first one to ring the doorbell, and signal to the entire family that we had arrived.

I still remember walking into the house and being greeted by cousins, aunts, uncles- even great aunts- who had traveled from all over to spend Thanksgiving with my Grandmother and each other. After hugging and getting reacquainted, the cousins and I would sprawl out in the living room and play cards, dominoes and any other game we could get our hands on, while the adults cooked dinner and shared memories over a glass of wine. Once the cousins and I decided that the adults were sufficiently consumed in conversation, we would sneak upstairs to our parents’ old bedrooms (which, it seemed, my grandmother had not touched since they left), and look through old photographs and journals which gave us what seemed like forbidden evidence that our parents had once been just like us.

Eventually our stomachs would beckon us downstairs again and we would gather around the dinner table. Place cards were set at the table with each of our names elegantly scribbled to avoid any bickering about which of us were old enough to sit at the adult table. After a moment of silence and a toast to family, we would dig in. My plate was always overwhelming loaded with mashed potatoes, and just enough turkey and vegetables to keep the adults satisfied and still save room for seconds of Aunt Sue’s pumpkin pie. One by one we would lean back in our chairs, both satisfied and exhausted by our over-consumption. And finally, when we were all too tired to laugh or talk or eat any more, we would say our goodbyes and part ways. Even though I was always exhausted, I never looked forward to the long drive home.

These days, I miss even that. When my grandmother passed two years ago and the family gathered to go through the house, memories of the times we had spent there seemed to be evident in every single object we touched. I think all of us left with the knowledge that Thanksgiving would never be the same without her and the house that had truly been the home base for our family. What we didn’t anticipate, however, is that we would grow and connect and continue to love and appreciate each other in different ways.

Today, as I reflect on these memories, I am full of gratitude for the opportunity I had to connect with my family the way we did each year. I know that many people do not have that opportunity. I am thankful that technology has given us the opportunity to stay connected. And I am thankful to know that what made those Thanksgivings so special was not the house, or the race to the doorbell, or Aunt Sue’s pumpkin pie- but a love for one another that can never, and will never, be broken.

Thanksgiving Memories

by Cameron Crane


The hour-long drive to Palo Alto was always easier on the way there than the way back. That’s the first thing I remember about the numerous road trips I took with my father and brother to my Grandmother’s for Thanksgiving. The way there was filled with an eager anticipation to pull up to the house that was so familiar to me, with faded bricks, a big oak in front, and Christmas lights permanently strung from the railing of the balcony. My grandfather had built the house for my grandmother, and together they had raised my father and his siblings there. I knew that as soon as the car was parked my brother and I would go running to the door, part of a life-long competition we had to be the first one to ring the doorbell, and signal to the entire family that we had arrived.

I still remember walking into the house and being greeted by cousins, aunts, uncles- even great aunts- who had traveled from all over to spend Thanksgiving with my Grandmother and each other. After hugging and getting reacquainted, the cousins and I would sprawl out in the living room and play cards, dominoes and any other game we could get our hands on, while the adults cooked dinner and shared memories over a glass of wine. Once the cousins and I decided that the adults were sufficiently consumed in conversation, we would sneak upstairs to our parents’ old bedrooms (which, it seemed, my grandmother had not touched since they left), and look through old photographs and journals which gave us what seemed like forbidden evidence that our parents had once been just like us.

Eventually our stomachs would beckon us downstairs again and we would gather around the dinner table. Place cards were set at the table with each of our names elegantly scribbled to avoid any bickering about which of us were old enough to sit at the adult table. After a moment of silence and a toast to family, we would dig in. My plate was always overwhelming loaded with mashed potatoes, and just enough turkey and vegetables to keep the adults satisfied and still save room for seconds of Aunt Sue’s pumpkin pie. One by one we would lean back in our chairs, both satisfied and exhausted by our over-consumption. And finally, when we were all too tired to laugh or talk or eat any more, we would say our goodbyes and part ways. Even though I was always exhausted, I never looked forward to the long drive home.

These days, I miss even that. When my grandmother passed two years ago and the family gathered to go through the house, memories of the times we had spent there seemed to be evident in every single object we touched. I think all of us left with the knowledge that Thanksgiving would never be the same without her and the house that had truly been the home base for our family. What we didn’t anticipate, however, is that we would grow and connect and continue to love and appreciate each other in different ways.

Today, as I reflect on these memories, I am full of gratitude for the opportunity I had to connect with my family the way we did each year. I know that many people do not have that opportunity. I am thankful that technology has given us the opportunity to stay connected. And I am thankful to know that what made those Thanksgivings so special was not the house, or the race to the doorbell, or Aunt Sue’s pumpkin pie- but a love for one another that can never, and will never, be broken.

A Thanksgiving Recipe From My Childhood

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

http://squidoo.com/banana-bread
Last year, I shared with you the DiOrio Family recipe for turkey stuffing, as well as some stories about my family of origin’s Thanksgiving traditions and fun ’80s pictures of them.
This year I want to share with you a recipe that I used to make with my mom and that I make with my pickles now. It’s a non-controversial crowd pleaser. If nuts are OK in your family, consider adding 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans. Serve it just as is or, if you gravitate towards the sublime, then sliced and toasted with butter.
Banana Bread: The perfect use for over-ripe bananas!
1 ¾ cup      all purpose flour
2 tsp.          baking powder
½ tsp.        salt
¼ tsp.        baking soda
1/3 cup       butter
2/3 cup       granulated sugar
2                eggs, well-beaten
3                mashed ripe bananas
Cream butter with sugar. Add eggs and beat. Add bananas and blend. Combine dry ingredients and blend into wet ingredients. Turn into greased and floured loaf pan 9” x 5” x 3”. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Test with a toothpick. If dry after inserted, it is done.
Here is a picture of Alex and Ryan gleefully baking a Banana Bread last holiday season:
What are some recipe traditions you and your children make together at the holidays? Please share with us in the comments!

A Thanksgiving Recipe From My Childhood

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

http://squidoo.com/banana-bread
Last year, I shared with you the DiOrio Family recipe for turkey stuffing, as well as some stories about my family of origin’s Thanksgiving traditions and fun ’80s pictures of them.
This year I want to share with you a recipe that I used to make with my mom and that I make with my pickles now. It’s a non-controversial crowd pleaser. If nuts are OK in your family, consider adding 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans. Serve it just as is or, if you gravitate towards the sublime, then sliced and toasted with butter.
Banana Bread: The perfect use for over-ripe bananas!
1 ¾ cup      all purpose flour
2 tsp.          baking powder
½ tsp.        salt
¼ tsp.        baking soda
1/3 cup       butter
2/3 cup       granulated sugar
2                eggs, well-beaten
3                mashed ripe bananas
Cream butter with sugar. Add eggs and beat. Add bananas and blend. Combine dry ingredients and blend into wet ingredients. Turn into greased and floured loaf pan 9” x 5” x 3”. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Test with a toothpick. If dry after inserted, it is done.
Here is a picture of Alex and Ryan gleefully baking a Banana Bread last holiday season:
What are some recipe traditions you and your children make together at the holidays? Please share with us in the comments!

Featured Customer of the Month: The Twig Book Shop

By Cameron Crane


“’Tis education forms the common mind; just as the twig is bent the tree’s inclined” -Alexander Pope


November has been a month of gratitude for Little Pickle Press. One of the things we are most thankful for as a company is the continued support of our customers. That is why we have made it a tradition to recognize one customer each month to show our deep and sincere appreciation. Today, we are happy to feature The Twig Book Shop.

The Twig Book Shop is a beloved destination in San Antonio, Texas. Known for visits from poets and authors all over the country, and for making its wonderful collection of books available for book clubs, schools, conferences and the everyday book-lover, The Twig has become a cherished part of the community. Please welcome Claudia Maceo, manager of The Twig Book Shop.

Good morning, Claudia! How long have you worked at the bookshop?

I began working at The Twig’s sister store Viva, a religious book store, in September of 2008, which led me to The Twig in April of 2009. It is astonishing to me that it has only been two and a half intense years.

And how long has the bookshop been open?

The Twig has been around, as best as any one of us can recall, since 1969. Over the decades it has been in several locations and had various “branches,” no pun intended. We have been in our current location at the historic Pearl brewery on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio Riverwalk for two years this month.

What makes the store special?

The Twig has become a destination for children’s books and Texana – any book Texas related: geography, biographies of Texans, history, etc. We also cherish our local authors and poets. Certain poets have referred to The Twig as the premier poetry venue in San Antonio. I like the sound of that.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Juggling all the responsibilities of a general manager in a rapidly changing world of book retail is a huge challenge. It is easier to juggle when all things are status quo, but when you have to think in new and different ways, those swords you were juggling just caught fire. There is less room for error. Bookselling demands creative and technologically enhanced problem solving.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I still love to find the right book to get into peoples’ hands, just like when I taught school and watched students not only learn to read but love to read. The surprise love I have found in this job is in bringing people together. I love to begin an otherwise common conversation and listen to it blossom into all kinds of possibilities of partnerships and creative ideas that ultimately bring people together.

What do you do to keep up with the industry?

I attend trade shows and learning opportunities provided by the American Booksellers Association where so many generous, talented booksellers network and share ideas. I read industry newsletters and magazines as much as I can. Talking to our publisher reps is also a source of invaluable information.

Our November Blog discussion is “Attitude of Gratitude”. Would you share your thoughts on this topic and how it relates to your work at The Twig?

I could write an entire book about all the ways I am grateful professionally and personally to be in this place at this time. But I won’t.

Suffice to say, I retired from teaching never dreaming that I would end up being a bookseller. Much less a manager of The Twig Book Shop, where I had been a patron for so many years. The sequence of events that led me here leaves me awestruck even to this day. I responded to an email call for a part time employee at the Viva Bookstore, also owned by John and Frannie Douglas. Before I knew it, I had moved from part time to full time, then part time at Viva and The Twig, then full time at The Twig, and then into the manager position under the mentorship of long time manager Susanna Nawrocki, who continues to work here part time.

The Douglas’s highest priority is that The Twig be a place that brings people together. I like to say that we are bound by our stories in hardcover, softcover, electronically, and in the flesh. I work with talented, caring people in the store, here at Pearl where The Twig is located, and in the larger San Antonio community. When we were considering moving the store here two years ago, someone shared that they believed we could become the living room of San Antonio. That seems like an admirable goal to work toward – a vision I can share. You can see that I lead a pretty charmed life for which I am grateful.

Featured Customer of the Month: The Twig Book Shop

By Cameron Crane


“’Tis education forms the common mind; just as the twig is bent the tree’s inclined” -Alexander Pope


November has been a month of gratitude for Little Pickle Press. One of the things we are most thankful for as a company is the continued support of our customers. That is why we have made it a tradition to recognize one customer each month to show our deep and sincere appreciation. Today, we are happy to feature The Twig Book Shop.

The Twig Book Shop is a beloved destination in San Antonio, Texas. Known for visits from poets and authors all over the country, and for making its wonderful collection of books available for book clubs, schools, conferences and the everyday book-lover, The Twig has become a cherished part of the community. Please welcome Claudia Maceo, manager of The Twig Book Shop.

Good morning, Claudia! How long have you worked at the bookshop?

I began working at The Twig’s sister store Viva, a religious book store, in September of 2008, which led me to The Twig in April of 2009. It is astonishing to me that it has only been two and a half intense years.

And how long has the bookshop been open?

The Twig has been around, as best as any one of us can recall, since 1969. Over the decades it has been in several locations and had various “branches,” no pun intended. We have been in our current location at the historic Pearl brewery on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio Riverwalk for two years this month.

What makes the store special?

The Twig has become a destination for children’s books and Texana – any book Texas related: geography, biographies of Texans, history, etc. We also cherish our local authors and poets. Certain poets have referred to The Twig as the premier poetry venue in San Antonio. I like the sound of that.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Juggling all the responsibilities of a general manager in a rapidly changing world of book retail is a huge challenge. It is easier to juggle when all things are status quo, but when you have to think in new and different ways, those swords you were juggling just caught fire. There is less room for error. Bookselling demands creative and technologically enhanced problem solving.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I still love to find the right book to get into peoples’ hands, just like when I taught school and watched students not only learn to read but love to read. The surprise love I have found in this job is in bringing people together. I love to begin an otherwise common conversation and listen to it blossom into all kinds of possibilities of partnerships and creative ideas that ultimately bring people together.

What do you do to keep up with the industry?

I attend trade shows and learning opportunities provided by the American Booksellers Association where so many generous, talented booksellers network and share ideas. I read industry newsletters and magazines as much as I can. Talking to our publisher reps is also a source of invaluable information.

Our November Blog discussion is “Attitude of Gratitude”. Would you share your thoughts on this topic and how it relates to your work at The Twig?

I could write an entire book about all the ways I am grateful professionally and personally to be in this place at this time. But I won’t.

Suffice to say, I retired from teaching never dreaming that I would end up being a bookseller. Much less a manager of The Twig Book Shop, where I had been a patron for so many years. The sequence of events that led me here leaves me awestruck even to this day. I responded to an email call for a part time employee at the Viva Bookstore, also owned by John and Frannie Douglas. Before I knew it, I had moved from part time to full time, then part time at Viva and The Twig, then full time at The Twig, and then into the manager position under the mentorship of long time manager Susanna Nawrocki, who continues to work here part time.

The Douglas’s highest priority is that The Twig be a place that brings people together. I like to say that we are bound by our stories in hardcover, softcover, electronically, and in the flesh. I work with talented, caring people in the store, here at Pearl where The Twig is located, and in the larger San Antonio community. When we were considering moving the store here two years ago, someone shared that they believed we could become the living room of San Antonio. That seems like an admirable goal to work toward – a vision I can share. You can see that I lead a pretty charmed life for which I am grateful.

Wonderplay Early Childhood Learning Conference

By Simon Diamond Cramer
Little Pickle Press would like to announce that JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. will be present as keynote speaker at this year’s fifth annual 92nd St. Y Wonderplay Early Childhood Learning Conference in New York on Friday, November 18.
The Wonderplay Conference where Dr. Deak will speak is an annual event in New York City which brings together early learning professionals, prominent leaders in education, child, and family development, and researchers from both the national and the international community. Wonderplay isn’t just for professionals—its conferences, panels, and events provide unique opportunities for children and parents to learn together about subjects that directly impact them. Its approach to learning inspires curiosity and a love of learning, and its environment fosters connections that encourage children and families to blossom and grow. You can find more information about it here.
Dr. Deak is a renowned educator and psychologist focusing on the development of children. She has spent over thirty years working on child development, and has more recently focused on the importance of adults in contributing to successful child development. On her website, she offers a quotation that best describes her philosophy toward her work: “Every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”
And of course, she has also written the children’s book Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain (Little Pickle Press, 2011), which aims to introduce children to basic concepts in psychology and neuroscience. You can buy a copy of the book by clicking here. The poster to go with the book (which would make a perfect holiday gift for your favorite teacher!) is available by clicking here.

Wonderplay Early Childhood Learning Conference

By Simon Diamond Cramer
Little Pickle Press would like to announce that JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. will be present as keynote speaker at this year’s fifth annual 92nd St. Y Wonderplay Early Childhood Learning Conference in New York on Friday, November 18.
The Wonderplay Conference where Dr. Deak will speak is an annual event in New York City which brings together early learning professionals, prominent leaders in education, child, and family development, and researchers from both the national and the international community. Wonderplay isn’t just for professionals—its conferences, panels, and events provide unique opportunities for children and parents to learn together about subjects that directly impact them. Its approach to learning inspires curiosity and a love of learning, and its environment fosters connections that encourage children and families to blossom and grow. You can find more information about it here.
Dr. Deak is a renowned educator and psychologist focusing on the development of children. She has spent over thirty years working on child development, and has more recently focused on the importance of adults in contributing to successful child development. On her website, she offers a quotation that best describes her philosophy toward her work: “Every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”
And of course, she has also written the children’s book Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain (Little Pickle Press, 2011), which aims to introduce children to basic concepts in psychology and neuroscience. You can buy a copy of the book by clicking here. The poster to go with the book (which would make a perfect holiday gift for your favorite teacher!) is available by clicking here.

A Visit from Seng Vy in Cambodia

For several years, Rana DiOrio and her little pickles have sponsored a child through Cambodian Children’s Fund. For six years, Cambodian Children’s Fund has provided life-changing education, nourishment, and healing to vulnerable children from some of Cambodia’s most destitute communities. We love getting mail from little Seng Vy and share a bit of her life story here today via her emails to our chief executive pickle:

Hello from your little girl! How are you doing there? I am fine and hope to hear from you that you are well too. I am now on vacation as the exams were finished so I stay at CCF whole day. It rained yesterday evening so it was cool last night. I slept comfortably last night!!!! And you, did you sleep well last night? How is the weather there? Is there any rain in your country? Do you like rain? For me I don’t like it because it can cause many diseases.
During rainy season many kids get sick because of the rain but it is lucky that all my friends in CCF and I are fine.
Yesterday I had a vaccination with CCF’s doctor. I was afraid of injection but to be healthy, I have to be brave.
Now I send you a funny picture of me and my friends, in this picture I and my friends were doing exercise. We played a game at that time, Tom Peang (Shoot Bamboo) and Russey (Bamboo).
When my friend calls Tom Peang everybody needed to sit down and when my friend calls Russey everybody needs to stand up, but in this picture you will see two of my friends loses in this game because they stands up while everybody sitting down, so the punishment for the lose person is singing a song. Have you ever played this game?
Here is my cake for you.
I miss you and really want to see you in CCF and I hope you are fine. I am so happy to tell you that today I study about Khmer letter and blending the Khmer words. Now I am in grade 2 and I took an exam on 11 June for the first semester. There are many subjects in my exam like Khmer, math, and English. My favorite subjects are English and math.
Here is my Khmer handwriting of today lesson.
Here is my English handwriting.
Thank you for your sweet mail, Seng Vy! Readers, for more information about the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) and how to sponsor a child, please click here. You may also make a one-time donation by clicking here. Please share with us if you have similar stories about sponsoring an at-risk child through a similar program.

A Visit from Seng Vy in Cambodia

For several years, Rana DiOrio and her little pickles have sponsored a child through Cambodian Children’s Fund. For six years, Cambodian Children’s Fund has provided life-changing education, nourishment, and healing to vulnerable children from some of Cambodia’s most destitute communities. We love getting mail from little Seng Vy and share a bit of her life story here today via her emails to our chief executive pickle:

Hello from your little girl! How are you doing there? I am fine and hope to hear from you that you are well too. I am now on vacation as the exams were finished so I stay at CCF whole day. It rained yesterday evening so it was cool last night. I slept comfortably last night!!!! And you, did you sleep well last night? How is the weather there? Is there any rain in your country? Do you like rain? For me I don’t like it because it can cause many diseases.

During rainy season many kids get sick because of the rain but it is lucky that all my friends in CCF and I are fine.
Yesterday I had a vaccination with CCF’s doctor. I was afraid of injection but to be healthy, I have to be brave.
Now I send you a funny picture of me and my friends, in this picture I and my friends were doing exercise. We played a game at that time, Tom Peang (Shoot Bamboo) and Russey (Bamboo).
When my friend calls Tom Peang everybody needed to sit down and when my friend calls Russey everybody needs to stand up, but in this picture you will see two of my friends loses in this game because they stands up while everybody sitting down, so the punishment for the lose person is singing a song. Have you ever played this game?
Here is my cake for you.
I miss you and really want to see you in CCF and I hope you are fine. I am so happy to tell you that today I study about Khmer letter and blending the Khmer words. Now I am in grade 2 and I took an exam on 11 June for the first semester. There are many subjects in my exam like Khmer, math, and English. My favorite subjects are English and math.
Here is my Khmer handwriting of today lesson.
Here is my English handwriting.
Thank you for your sweet mail, Seng Vy! Readers, for more information about the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) and how to sponsor a child, please click here. You may also make a one-time donation by clicking here. Please share with us if you have similar stories about sponsoring an at-risk child through a similar program.

Week #2 of the Blog Book Tour

Yesterday, we visited the Internet Review of Books for a great write-up by our pal, Bob Sanchez.

Today we’re at author, Marian Allen’s, popular blog.

Tomorrow we visit author and grandma, Maryann Miller, at It’s Not All Gravy.

Be sure to visit them all and leave a comment and +1 for them. We appreciate our blog book tour hosts and the time and energy they spend getting the word out about What Does It Mean To Be Safe. Don’t forget to use coupon code BBTSAFE at checkout for free shipping and to get a free TerraSkin post along with your book order. Click here to order the book.

Thank you for supporting Little Pickle Press!