Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Importance of Mistakes, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane



Growing up, I remember being terrified of making mistakes. There was nothing more embarrassing to me than ‘messing up’.  It’s not always easy to accept that mistakes are simply a part of life. That is why when I interviewed two very smart children, Adam and Chelsea, about mistakes, I was pleased to learn that they already recognized the importance of making them. Here is what they had to say:
Have you ever made a mistake?

Adam (9 years old): “Yeah, of course. But not a really big one. Just little ones.”

Chelsea (7 years old, almost 8): “Well, yes. Have you made a mistake? I think everybody has made a mistake. ‘Cause, like, you can’t always be perfect.”

What is one mistake you have made?

Adam: “Like in school, I have given the wrong answer or once I was out in the courtyard on pizza day and I dropped my chocolate milk and it just went everywhere! Pewww! It was like an explosion of milk.”

Chelsea: “Hmmm, let me think about that. I know I have made a mistake, its just hard to think of one. There was this one time…oh no I have a better one! I was walking back to the garage after the doctor with my babysitter, and this guy walked up and he shook my hand and he asked my name, so I said. But my babysitter got mad because, like, she turned around I was I behind her so she got scared. She said that I should keep walking because I never know and he could be a bad guy.”

What did you learn from it?

Adam: “Well, the milk I didn’t really learn anything. Except I was embarrassed a first, but then everybody only thought it was funny. In school? Well, people are wrong all the time so you just kind of have to get used to it. Sometimes, though, if I get called on with something I’m not sure about I’ll say ‘I don’t know’, and she will either give me a clue or come back to me.”

Chelsea: “I learned that you have to be careful.” (Me: “What would you do if you could do it again?) “Next time I would probably just smile and walk and say that I’m not supposed to talk to strangers unless my parents or my babysitter say it’s okay. And I would have held my babysitter’s hand so she wouldn’t keep walking without me. Because before, why she was so scared, was ‘cause she didn’t see me stop.”

Why is making mistakes important?

Adam: “Making mistakes is important because then you know the right answer the next time.”

Chelsea: “Making mistakes is important because it can help keep you safe.”

What would you tell a friend who had just made a mistake?

Adam: “I would ask if he needed any help, and that it was okay.”

Chelsea: “I would say it’s okay because nobody is perfect.”

As you can see, mistakes come in all forms and sizes. As do the lessons we learn from them. From quite literally learning how to deal with spilled milk, to accepting that the fear of being wrong shouldn’t stop us from giving our best answer, and even learning how to keep ourselves safe. Thank you, Adam and Chelsea, for teaching us about the importance of mistakes.


Image credit: tumblr.com

The Importance of Mistakes, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane



Growing up, I remember being terrified of making mistakes. There was nothing more embarrassing to me than ‘messing up’.  It’s not always easy to accept that mistakes are simply a part of life. That is why when I interviewed two very smart children, Adam and Chelsea, about mistakes, I was pleased to learn that they already recognized the importance of making them. Here is what they had to say:
Have you ever made a mistake?

Adam (9 years old): “Yeah, of course. But not a really big one. Just little ones.”

Chelsea (7 years old, almost 8): “Well, yes. Have you made a mistake? I think everybody has made a mistake. ‘Cause, like, you can’t always be perfect.”

What is one mistake you have made?

Adam: “Like in school, I have given the wrong answer or once I was out in the courtyard on pizza day and I dropped my chocolate milk and it just went everywhere! Pewww! It was like an explosion of milk.”

Chelsea: “Hmmm, let me think about that. I know I have made a mistake, its just hard to think of one. There was this one time…oh no I have a better one! I was walking back to the garage after the doctor with my babysitter, and this guy walked up and he shook my hand and he asked my name, so I said. But my babysitter got mad because, like, she turned around I was I behind her so she got scared. She said that I should keep walking because I never know and he could be a bad guy.”

What did you learn from it?

Adam: “Well, the milk I didn’t really learn anything. Except I was embarrassed a first, but then everybody only thought it was funny. In school? Well, people are wrong all the time so you just kind of have to get used to it. Sometimes, though, if I get called on with something I’m not sure about I’ll say ‘I don’t know’, and she will either give me a clue or come back to me.”

Chelsea: “I learned that you have to be careful.” (Me: “What would you do if you could do it again?) “Next time I would probably just smile and walk and say that I’m not supposed to talk to strangers unless my parents or my babysitter say it’s okay. And I would have held my babysitter’s hand so she wouldn’t keep walking without me. Because before, why she was so scared, was ‘cause she didn’t see me stop.”

Why is making mistakes important?

Adam: “Making mistakes is important because then you know the right answer the next time.”

Chelsea: “Making mistakes is important because it can help keep you safe.”

What would you tell a friend who had just made a mistake?

Adam: “I would ask if he needed any help, and that it was okay.”

Chelsea: “I would say it’s okay because nobody is perfect.”

As you can see, mistakes come in all forms and sizes. As do the lessons we learn from them. From quite literally learning how to deal with spilled milk, to accepting that the fear of being wrong shouldn’t stop us from giving our best answer, and even learning how to keep ourselves safe. Thank you, Adam and Chelsea, for teaching us about the importance of mistakes.


Image credit: tumblr.com

The Only Constant Is Change: Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Succeeds Meles Zenawi

By Rana DiOrio, CEO and Founder of Little Pickle Press



As I prepare for my trip to Ethiopia with my fellow ONE Moms, I have been doing my best to research not only the country’s culture but also its current events. As you may be aware, Ethiopia is experiencing a political transition with the passing of its respected Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, last month and the inauguration of Hailemariam Desalegn last Sunday.
The death of Meles Zenawi was a true loss to the people of Ethiopia. After the fall of the Dergue regime in 1991, Mr. Meles became President of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, where he played a strong role in reforms that led to the introduction of the multi-party system. In 1995, under the leadership of Zenawi, Ethiopia adopted a constitution, “which ended the period of transition and created a democratic federal structure for the government”. The country became the “Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia”, and redrew the existing provinces into ethnicity-based regions. Also in that year and following his four-year presidency, Mr. Meles became Prime Minister of Ethiopia. He continued in this role until he passed away on August 20th of this year after 21 years in power.

Mr. Meles was an influential leader. In addition to introducing a multi-party system to Ethiopia, his government is known for reducing child mortality rates. His administration is also credited with reforms to protect freedom of religion, expand education (in the last decade, more than 30 new private colleges and universities were created), establish a proactive position on climate change, and advocate women’s rights.

Although Mr. Meles also received criticism and faced controversy for aspects of his leadership, and particularly for his human rights record, there is no question that he played a strong role in making Ethiopia what it is today. His death cast a shadow of uncertainty on the people of Ethiopia. As Ethiopia has endured tumultuous political transitions in its past, its people were understandably concerned that Mr. Meles’ death would lead to a struggle for power.

The successful inauguration of Prime Minister Hailermariam Desalegne marks the first peaceful political transition of leadership in Ethiopia.  Addressing parliament at his swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Hailemariam extolled the achievements of Mr. Meles and promised that he would “dedicate himself to strengthen this achievement” and that Ethiopia would remain “a stable and democratic nation”.

In his remarks, Mr. Hailemariam also underscored the vital role that the youth will play in the future development of the nation. “Demographics clearly show that Ethiopia has a very substantial youth population. This can play an unrivalled role in the nation’s efforts to ensure economic growth. We need to expand the education and training regimen to which they have been exposed. Efforts will be made to hone their entrepreneurial skills, to harmonize the support they get from government and from family,” he said. He stressed the importance of education, especially in the areas of mathematics, science, and technology.

Mr. Hailemariam acknowledged the needs that plague the majority of Ethiopia––creating and supporting low-income housing, improving transportation, controlling inflation, curbing corruption, and revamping the criminal justice system, to name a few. He emphasized the importance of preserving democracy and safeguarding human rights and religious freedoms.

It is an interesting time for the ONE Moms to be traveling to Ethiopia, and I look forward to what I know will be a life-changing experience. To follow along as we connect with the people of Ethiopia, please refer to the special portal that ONE has established for our journey: http://one.org/us/actnow/moms/.

The ONE Campaign is s a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Backed by more than 3 million members, we work with government leaders to support proven, cost-effective solutions to save lives and help build sustainable futures. I will be in Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of ONE. We will be there to report back to you how lives have been improved or saved by American-supported programs. ONE doesn’t ask for your money, just your voice. To become a ONE Mom, please sign up here:



Sources:


Image credit: ethiovision.com


The Only Constant Is Change: Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Succeeds Meles Zenawi

By Rana DiOrio, CEO and Founder of Little Pickle Press



As I prepare for my trip to Ethiopia with my fellow ONE Moms, I have been doing my best to research not only the country’s culture but also its current events. As you may be aware, Ethiopia is experiencing a political transition with the passing of its respected Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, last month and the inauguration of Hailemariam Desalegn last Sunday.
The death of Meles Zenawi was a true loss to the people of Ethiopia. After the fall of the Dergue regime in 1991, Mr. Meles became President of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, where he played a strong role in reforms that led to the introduction of the multi-party system. In 1995, under the leadership of Zenawi, Ethiopia adopted a constitution, “which ended the period of transition and created a democratic federal structure for the government”. The country became the “Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia”, and redrew the existing provinces into ethnicity-based regions. Also in that year and following his four-year presidency, Mr. Meles became Prime Minister of Ethiopia. He continued in this role until he passed away on August 20th of this year after 21 years in power.

Mr. Meles was an influential leader. In addition to introducing a multi-party system to Ethiopia, his government is known for reducing child mortality rates. His administration is also credited with reforms to protect freedom of religion, expand education (in the last decade, more than 30 new private colleges and universities were created), establish a proactive position on climate change, and advocate women’s rights.

Although Mr. Meles also received criticism and faced controversy for aspects of his leadership, and particularly for his human rights record, there is no question that he played a strong role in making Ethiopia what it is today. His death cast a shadow of uncertainty on the people of Ethiopia. As Ethiopia has endured tumultuous political transitions in its past, its people were understandably concerned that Mr. Meles’ death would lead to a struggle for power.

The successful inauguration of Prime Minister Hailermariam Desalegne marks the first peaceful political transition of leadership in Ethiopia.  Addressing parliament at his swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Hailemariam extolled the achievements of Mr. Meles and promised that he would “dedicate himself to strengthen this achievement” and that Ethiopia would remain “a stable and democratic nation”.

In his remarks, Mr. Hailemariam also underscored the vital role that the youth will play in the future development of the nation. “Demographics clearly show that Ethiopia has a very substantial youth population. This can play an unrivalled role in the nation’s efforts to ensure economic growth. We need to expand the education and training regimen to which they have been exposed. Efforts will be made to hone their entrepreneurial skills, to harmonize the support they get from government and from family,” he said. He stressed the importance of education, especially in the areas of mathematics, science, and technology.

Mr. Hailemariam acknowledged the needs that plague the majority of Ethiopia––creating and supporting low-income housing, improving transportation, controlling inflation, curbing corruption, and revamping the criminal justice system, to name a few. He emphasized the importance of preserving democracy and safeguarding human rights and religious freedoms.

It is an interesting time for the ONE Moms to be traveling to Ethiopia, and I look forward to what I know will be a life-changing experience. To follow along as we connect with the people of Ethiopia, please refer to the special portal that ONE has established for our journey: http://one.org/us/actnow/moms/.

The ONE Campaign is s a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Backed by more than 3 million members, we work with government leaders to support proven, cost-effective solutions to save lives and help build sustainable futures. I will be in Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of ONE. We will be there to report back to you how lives have been improved or saved by American-supported programs. ONE doesn’t ask for your money, just your voice. To become a ONE Mom, please sign up here:



Sources:


Image credit: ethiovision.com


Ripple’s Effect is Arriving in the Warehouse!

By Cameron Crane

When we are in the process of creating and releasing a new title, there are many moments of excitement for the Little Pickle Press team and the talented artists we work with. Reading the final manuscript for the first time, finding the perfect illustrator, seeing the first cover sketch—every step is like striking gold. There is nothing more thrilling, however, than holding one of our new picture books for the first time.

That is why the Little Pickle Press team is filled with anticipation, as we await the delivery of Ripple’s Effect to our warehouse this afternoon. It’s that moment we have all been waiting for. Ripple’s Effect is here, it’s beautiful, and it’s available in hardback for each and every one of us.
Amy Blankson, co-author of Ripple’s Effect, was the first to receive her copy, straight from the printer. She has already received rave-reviews from her little pickles:



Stay tuned for updates throughout the day, as we receive pictures and video from our warehouse!

It takes big actions to make big changes. Or does it? In Ripple’s Effect, written by Shawn Achor and Amy Blankson and illustrated by Cecilia Rebora, residents of an aquarium learn that sometimes a smile is all it takes to make a world of difference. Awash with charming illustrations, this delightful tale will show children that happiness is a choice they get to make for themselves.
Ripple’s Effect is now officially on sale on our website. Order your copy here.
If you took advantage of our preorder and are feeling as anxious as we are, hold tight! Your copy will be arriving in the mail shortly.

Ripple’s Effect is Arriving in the Warehouse!

By Cameron Crane

When we are in the process of creating and releasing a new title, there are many moments of excitement for the Little Pickle Press team and the talented artists we work with. Reading the final manuscript for the first time, finding the perfect illustrator, seeing the first cover sketch—every step is like striking gold. There is nothing more thrilling, however, than holding one of our new picture books for the first time.

That is why the Little Pickle Press team is filled with anticipation, as we await the delivery of Ripple’s Effect to our warehouse this afternoon. It’s that moment we have all been waiting for. Ripple’s Effect is here, it’s beautiful, and it’s available in hardback for each and every one of us.
Amy Blankson, co-author of Ripple’s Effect, was the first to receive her copy, straight from the printer. She has already received rave-reviews from her little pickles:



Stay tuned for updates throughout the day, as we receive pictures and video from our warehouse!

It takes big actions to make big changes. Or does it? In Ripple’s Effect, written by Shawn Achor and Amy Blankson and illustrated by Cecilia Rebora, residents of an aquarium learn that sometimes a smile is all it takes to make a world of difference. Awash with charming illustrations, this delightful tale will show children that happiness is a choice they get to make for themselves.
Ripple’s Effect is now officially on sale on our website. Order your copy here.
If you took advantage of our preorder and are feeling as anxious as we are, hold tight! Your copy will be arriving in the mail shortly.

Week 2 of the BIG Blog Book Tour

On Tuesday, we visited Chick Lit Gurrl’s blog followed by the fabulous Brit Mums community in the UK where we were treated to an interview with the author of BIG, Coleen Paratore.

We had two hosts on Thursday: Spoiled Yogi who shared thoughts and feelings about how the content of BIG would help her raise a child on yoga principles. On the same day, Sherry Wachter of Magic Dog Press shared experiences of raising her very BIG son, Patrick, who at almost sixteen is 6’5″ already!

On Friday, one of our favorite hosts, Capability: Mom, wrapped up the blog book tour for us…

…well, almost.

What happened to Monday’s host? Why we visited Carrots Are Orange, the best Montessori blog ever, and kicked off a surprise drawing of ALL the Little Pickle Press books! And that drawing continues through September 24th, so hurry on over and sign up right now by clicking here. Here are some pictures of all the delightful LPP books you’ll get if you win!

(Also available in French and Spanish)

Of course, if you don’t want to wait, you can always order our books by clicking here! Don’t forget our free lesson plans to complement each title. Click here to download.

Week 2 of the BIG Blog Book Tour

On Tuesday, we visited Chick Lit Gurrl’s blog followed by the fabulous Brit Mums community in the UK where we were treated to an interview with the author of BIG, Coleen Paratore.

We had two hosts on Thursday: Spoiled Yogi who shared thoughts and feelings about how the content of BIG would help her raise a child on yoga principles. On the same day, Sherry Wachter of Magic Dog Press shared experiences of raising her very BIG son, Patrick, who at almost sixteen is 6’5″ already!

On Friday, one of our favorite hosts, Capability: Mom, wrapped up the blog book tour for us…

…well, almost.

What happened to Monday’s host? Why we visited Carrots Are Orange, the best Montessori blog ever, and kicked off a surprise drawing of ALL the Little Pickle Press books! And that drawing continues through September 24th, so hurry on over and sign up right now by clicking here. Here are some pictures of all the delightful LPP books you’ll get if you win!

(Also available in French and Spanish)

Of course, if you don’t want to wait, you can always order our books by clicking here! Don’t forget our free lesson plans to complement each title. Click here to download.

Featured Customer of the Month: Bunch of Grapes

By Cameron Crane


Bunch of Grapes Bookstore
44 Main Street
Vineyard Haven, MA 02568
508.693.2291

One of the most exciting things about launching a new book is getting to watch first-hand the way children react to title. The first time one of our authors attends a reading of their picture book is an experience that cannot be matched, and part of what makes the experience so magical is the special ambience that only the perfect bookstore can create. Such was our experience with Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, where Coleen Paratore held her first reading of BIG just last month.

Bunch of Grapes is located on Main Street in Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Opened over forty years ago, this independent bookstore has worked its way into the hearts of vacationers, authors, and local readers, both young and old. In fact, the love for this this bookstore is so strong, it has survived against all odds.

In 2008, a neighboring restaurant caught fire and the bookshop’s entire inventory was lost. Hope, however, was not. Under the leadership of Dawn Braasch, the booksellers at Bunch of Grapes were able to maintain sales at a temporary location while the Main Street location was being rebuilt. Today, it stands proudly, opening its doors to avid readers from all over the world.

One step inside the store and one smile from one of the enthusiastic employees are all it takes to realize that Bunch of Grapes is truly one of a kind. For Little Pickle Press, the choice to host the BIG reading and signing at Bunch of Grapes was an easy one. Not only did Founder and Chief Executive Pickle Rana DiOrio grow up visiting the store, but they have also become a favorite customer of Little Pickle Press.

Suffice it to say, the reading turned out to be a great success. 

In case you missed it, here are some fabulous photos from the event:






If a trip to the island is on your calendar, we highly recommend stopping in to explore all that Bunch of Grapes has to offer first-hand.

If you don’t know when your next trip to Martha’s Vineyard will be, there is no need to worry. You can still experience the magic of Bunch of Grapes from home. Their entire inventory is available online, and the amazing booksellers are available to answer any questions or recommend their favorite titles. Just visit their website, and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you, Bunch of Grapes, for all that you have done for Little Pickle Press.

Featured Customer of the Month: Bunch of Grapes

By Cameron Crane


Bunch of Grapes Bookstore
44 Main Street
Vineyard Haven, MA 02568
508.693.2291

One of the most exciting things about launching a new book is getting to watch first-hand the way children react to title. The first time one of our authors attends a reading of their picture book is an experience that cannot be matched, and part of what makes the experience so magical is the special ambience that only the perfect bookstore can create. Such was our experience with Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, where Coleen Paratore held her first reading of BIG just last month.

Bunch of Grapes is located on Main Street in Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Opened over forty years ago, this independent bookstore has worked its way into the hearts of vacationers, authors, and local readers, both young and old. In fact, the love for this this bookstore is so strong, it has survived against all odds.

In 2008, a neighboring restaurant caught fire and the bookshop’s entire inventory was lost. Hope, however, was not. Under the leadership of Dawn Braasch, the booksellers at Bunch of Grapes were able to maintain sales at a temporary location while the Main Street location was being rebuilt. Today, it stands proudly, opening its doors to avid readers from all over the world.

One step inside the store and one smile from one of the enthusiastic employees are all it takes to realize that Bunch of Grapes is truly one of a kind. For Little Pickle Press, the choice to host the BIG reading and signing at Bunch of Grapes was an easy one. Not only did Founder and Chief Executive Pickle Rana DiOrio grow up visiting the store, but they have also become a favorite customer of Little Pickle Press.

Suffice it to say, the reading turned out to be a great success. 

In case you missed it, here are some fabulous photos from the event:






If a trip to the island is on your calendar, we highly recommend stopping in to explore all that Bunch of Grapes has to offer first-hand.

If you don’t know when your next trip to Martha’s Vineyard will be, there is no need to worry. You can still experience the magic of Bunch of Grapes from home. Their entire inventory is available online, and the amazing booksellers are available to answer any questions or recommend their favorite titles. Just visit their website, and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you, Bunch of Grapes, for all that you have done for Little Pickle Press.

Learning From Financial Mistakes

by Audrey Lintner

I keep a watchful eye on my money. Of course, this usually means that I’m watching it leave my pockets at roughly the speed of sound, but at least I know where it’s going. This hasn’t always been the case. I’ve made my share of financial flubs, believe me.
The good news is the fact that being down to your last $3.21 and eating plain spaghetti with American cheese twice a day can be highly motivating. It’s the kind of thing that makes you pay close attention to your spending habits. Here are a few lessons that I’ve learned since then.
5. No credit cards.While it’s true that judicious use of Plastic Fantastic can increase your credit score, it’s also true that you can be lulled into a false sense of security. You might intend to use them as Plan B emergency moolah, but who knows when the impulse bug will bite you in the neck? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life paying nine thousand percent interest on a three hundred-dollar purchase?
4. Be realistic.How much stuff do you need? How cool does it have to be? Eighty-dollar name brand sneakers are only awesome until you walk through a cow pasture. Focus on what you actually need, instead of what advertisers tell you that you’re supposed to want.
3. Write checks.True story. As I stood in a grocery store line, digging for my checkbook, I overheard the shopper ahead of me launch into a tirade about the stupidity of writing checks. The lecturer proceeded to pay with rolls of pennies, causing my husband to choke on his own tonsils as he smothered a snort.
I’m a firm believer in writing checks. A debit card is a great thing to have, especially when you coast to a stop in front of the gas station at one in the morning, but it’s too easy to think of a debit card as play money. Writing out that total and signing a check turns the expenditure into an in-your-face brush with reality. Heh. Reality check.
2. Balance, balance, balance.Governing bodies at all levels may have a problem with it, but you don’t have to. Balance your budget! Make all of your daily notations in your checkbook, and check them against your monthly bank statement. Not only will you avoid overdraft fees, but you’ll be able to catch spending patterns and see where those dollars run off to.
1. Expect the worst.I don’t mean that you should turn into Chicken Little, running around and yelling about your balance falling. No, I mean plan ahead. You might be rolling in clover now, but tomorrow might dump you in a fiscal briar patch. Before making a big purchase such as a car, consider your income. If you had to take a pay cut, could you still afford the payments? If the answer is no, consider waiting until your savings account has some extra padding.
Remember that financial security and good credit are a lot like teeth. If you ignore them, they go away. Brush up on your money sense!

Hey, don’t leave yet. Use the comment form to tell us your best or worst financial move. 
Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

Learning From Financial Mistakes

by Audrey Lintner

I keep a watchful eye on my money. Of course, this usually means that I’m watching it leave my pockets at roughly the speed of sound, but at least I know where it’s going. This hasn’t always been the case. I’ve made my share of financial flubs, believe me.
The good news is the fact that being down to your last $3.21 and eating plain spaghetti with American cheese twice a day can be highly motivating. It’s the kind of thing that makes you pay close attention to your spending habits. Here are a few lessons that I’ve learned since then.
5. No credit cards.While it’s true that judicious use of Plastic Fantastic can increase your credit score, it’s also true that you can be lulled into a false sense of security. You might intend to use them as Plan B emergency moolah, but who knows when the impulse bug will bite you in the neck? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life paying nine thousand percent interest on a three hundred-dollar purchase?
4. Be realistic.How much stuff do you need? How cool does it have to be? Eighty-dollar name brand sneakers are only awesome until you walk through a cow pasture. Focus on what you actually need, instead of what advertisers tell you that you’re supposed to want.
3. Write checks.True story. As I stood in a grocery store line, digging for my checkbook, I overheard the shopper ahead of me launch into a tirade about the stupidity of writing checks. The lecturer proceeded to pay with rolls of pennies, causing my husband to choke on his own tonsils as he smothered a snort.
I’m a firm believer in writing checks. A debit card is a great thing to have, especially when you coast to a stop in front of the gas station at one in the morning, but it’s too easy to think of a debit card as play money. Writing out that total and signing a check turns the expenditure into an in-your-face brush with reality. Heh. Reality check.
2. Balance, balance, balance.Governing bodies at all levels may have a problem with it, but you don’t have to. Balance your budget! Make all of your daily notations in your checkbook, and check them against your monthly bank statement. Not only will you avoid overdraft fees, but you’ll be able to catch spending patterns and see where those dollars run off to.
1. Expect the worst.I don’t mean that you should turn into Chicken Little, running around and yelling about your balance falling. No, I mean plan ahead. You might be rolling in clover now, but tomorrow might dump you in a fiscal briar patch. Before making a big purchase such as a car, consider your income. If you had to take a pay cut, could you still afford the payments? If the answer is no, consider waiting until your savings account has some extra padding.
Remember that financial security and good credit are a lot like teeth. If you ignore them, they go away. Brush up on your money sense!

Hey, don’t leave yet. Use the comment form to tell us your best or worst financial move. 
Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

The Top Ten Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

by Rana DiOrio, Founder & CEO of Little Pickle Press

 

As I conducted my research to write this post, I turned to my friends for help. I sent an email to 25+ friends who are former clients, serial entrepreneurs, and/or early-stage investors. Before I hit “send” on the email, I reflected upon the group and the history I shared with its members. I smiled thinking that at one time I gave some of them advice—either in my capacity as an attorney, an investment banker, or an investor—about how to build their companies. Now, I’m the entrepreneur, and I enjoy a whole new appreciation of the journey entrepreneurs take to make their businesses successful. I shake my head at the Rana who gave advice without ever having walked in the shoes of the recipients of that advice. I am older and wiser and more humble these days. I feel as though I can now offer this post from the perspective of one who walks the talk.
Accordingly, here are The Top 10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make:
10. Thinking or acting like a small business. For example, printing cheap business cards, using a home address as an office address, chasing investors around at entrepreneurs’ meetings, etc. Think BIG. Then, be BIG. [NOTE: We just published a children’s book about this topic. Please check it out here.]
9. Transmitting anything with errors in it. Nothing should leave the company unless it is perfect—no typos, no errors, and no omissions. This goes for phone calls, emails, marketing materials, letters, invoices . . . everything. As one of my friends said, “Nothing screams ‘loser’ like getting a brochure with mistakes in it.”
8. Hiring ahead of your needs. Hire as few people as possible and pay the good ones more to do more. It is far better to pay someone 150% of what they should be making if they’re doing the work of two people. Attract and retain people who are resourceful and hard-working and reward them for it.
7. Losing people you need over money. If the person is critical to the business, then pay them what they’re worth. It hurts, but consider the alternative.
6. Not firing fast enough. Resolve hiring mistakes quickly and invest more time to make the right decisions in the first place.
5. Being vain. Luxurious office space, expensive furniture and artwork, traveling first class; these all cost money and add no value. Invest the money you want to spend on luxuries and trappings into growing the business.
4. Letting fixed costs creep up. Keep your costs as variable as possible. Most businesses that do not require a large up-front investment (e.g., capex, software development, etc.) will become profitable sooner, assuming that equity owners reduce/defer their compensation or make it variable with profitability.
3. Doing in-house what should be outsourced. Outsource just about everything that can be outsourced. This makes those costs largely variable and allows you to focus exclusively on doing what you should be doing.
2. Giving up equity. Equity in your business is precious, and you need to keep as much as you can.
1. Taking on too much. It is alluring to want to conquer the world by taking on too much geography, too many applications, too many product lines, etc. Stay focused on delivering one thing first, and do so with excellence.  Once you have proven the business model, then you can expand.
Thank you to my friends, who have requested to remain nameless, for helping me to assemble this list. I am so very grateful to each of you not only for your insights, but also for the history we have shared to make this list so meaningful.
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. What pitfalls can you add to this list?

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

The Top Ten Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

by Rana DiOrio, Founder & CEO of Little Pickle Press

 

As I conducted my research to write this post, I turned to my friends for help. I sent an email to 25+ friends who are former clients, serial entrepreneurs, and/or early-stage investors. Before I hit “send” on the email, I reflected upon the group and the history I shared with its members. I smiled thinking that at one time I gave some of them advice—either in my capacity as an attorney, an investment banker, or an investor—about how to build their companies. Now, I’m the entrepreneur, and I enjoy a whole new appreciation of the journey entrepreneurs take to make their businesses successful. I shake my head at the Rana who gave advice without ever having walked in the shoes of the recipients of that advice. I am older and wiser and more humble these days. I feel as though I can now offer this post from the perspective of one who walks the talk.
Accordingly, here are The Top 10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make:
10. Thinking or acting like a small business. For example, printing cheap business cards, using a home address as an office address, chasing investors around at entrepreneurs’ meetings, etc. Think BIG. Then, be BIG. [NOTE: We just published a children’s book about this topic. Please check it out here.]
9. Transmitting anything with errors in it. Nothing should leave the company unless it is perfect—no typos, no errors, and no omissions. This goes for phone calls, emails, marketing materials, letters, invoices . . . everything. As one of my friends said, “Nothing screams ‘loser’ like getting a brochure with mistakes in it.”
8. Hiring ahead of your needs. Hire as few people as possible and pay the good ones more to do more. It is far better to pay someone 150% of what they should be making if they’re doing the work of two people. Attract and retain people who are resourceful and hard-working and reward them for it.
7. Losing people you need over money. If the person is critical to the business, then pay them what they’re worth. It hurts, but consider the alternative.
6. Not firing fast enough. Resolve hiring mistakes quickly and invest more time to make the right decisions in the first place.
5. Being vain. Luxurious office space, expensive furniture and artwork, traveling first class; these all cost money and add no value. Invest the money you want to spend on luxuries and trappings into growing the business.
4. Letting fixed costs creep up. Keep your costs as variable as possible. Most businesses that do not require a large up-front investment (e.g., capex, software development, etc.) will become profitable sooner, assuming that equity owners reduce/defer their compensation or make it variable with profitability.
3. Doing in-house what should be outsourced. Outsource just about everything that can be outsourced. This makes those costs largely variable and allows you to focus exclusively on doing what you should be doing.
2. Giving up equity. Equity in your business is precious, and you need to keep as much as you can.
1. Taking on too much. It is alluring to want to conquer the world by taking on too much geography, too many applications, too many product lines, etc. Stay focused on delivering one thing first, and do so with excellence.  Once you have proven the business model, then you can expand.
Thank you to my friends, who have requested to remain nameless, for helping me to assemble this list. I am so very grateful to each of you not only for your insights, but also for the history we have shared to make this list so meaningful.
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. What pitfalls can you add to this list?

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

The BIG Blog Book Tour

We had a tremendous time during the first week of the tour, starting at The Blood-Red Pencil where we introduced Meredith Moran, the Ph.D. candidate who writes the lesson plans for the Little Pickle Press books. We were even more pleased to be able to offer the free lesson plan for BIG during this tour. You can download it here. It’s a marvelous way to expand on the points made in the BIG picture book.

On Tuesday, we visited Marilyn Meredith, a novelist, teacher, and great-grandmother. Here’s her sweet great-granddaughter enjoying a copy of BIG. A picture is worth a thousand words!

On Wednesday, author Sylvia Dickey Smith hosted us on her Writing Strong Women blog and encouraged reading groups to check out the book. There are certainly lessons for adults in BIG, that’s for sure.

On Thursday, our author pal and homeschooling mom, Leslea Tash, had a terrific post with her four children trying out one of the projects in the lesson plan – the tree pose – which demonstrates that a little practice each day results in BIG results by the end of one month. The photos are priceless!

And finally, on Friday, Magic Dog Press interviewed the illustrator of BIG, UK artist Clare Fennell, who shares some of her background and collage techniques with us.

If you missed any of the stops, be sure to drop by for a visit. On Monday, we kick off week #2 of the blog book tour with a visit to Carrots Are Orange, and we’ll have an extra special surprise, so don’t miss it!

Have you purchased your copy of BIG by Coleen Paratore? If not, here’s the link. You’ll love not only the BIG size, but that it’s printed on lovely, recycled paper with soy inks. Because Little Pickle Press has BIG ideas about protecting the environment, too!

The BIG Blog Book Tour

We had a tremendous time during the first week of the tour, starting at The Blood-Red Pencil where we introduced Meredith Moran, the Ph.D. candidate who writes the lesson plans for the Little Pickle Press books. We were even more pleased to be able to offer the free lesson plan for BIG during this tour. You can download it here. It’s a marvelous way to expand on the points made in the BIG picture book.

On Tuesday, we visited Marilyn Meredith, a novelist, teacher, and great-grandmother. Here’s her sweet great-granddaughter enjoying a copy of BIG. A picture is worth a thousand words!

On Wednesday, author Sylvia Dickey Smith hosted us on her Writing Strong Women blog and encouraged reading groups to check out the book. There are certainly lessons for adults in BIG, that’s for sure.

On Thursday, our author pal and homeschooling mom, Leslea Tash, had a terrific post with her four children trying out one of the projects in the lesson plan – the tree pose – which demonstrates that a little practice each day results in BIG results by the end of one month. The photos are priceless!

And finally, on Friday, Magic Dog Press interviewed the illustrator of BIG, UK artist Clare Fennell, who shares some of her background and collage techniques with us.

If you missed any of the stops, be sure to drop by for a visit. On Monday, we kick off week #2 of the blog book tour with a visit to Carrots Are Orange, and we’ll have an extra special surprise, so don’t miss it!

Have you purchased your copy of BIG by Coleen Paratore? If not, here’s the link. You’ll love not only the BIG size, but that it’s printed on lovely, recycled paper with soy inks. Because Little Pickle Press has BIG ideas about protecting the environment, too!

Young Writer of the Month


Learning From Mistakes by Elise Rodriguez
Elise and her mother, Shelby
If you don’t make mistakes then you will never have a chance to learn from them. Making mistakes is a great way to learn.
I just started going to a new school. It is a Montessori school. I like it because I get to work on things at my own pace. My new school has uniforms and my old school didn’t. There are no desks in my new classroom. There are tables, a computer lab, and we can even work on the floor if we want to. I have fewer kids in my new class. I have first graders, second graders, and third graders in my class. I like to help the first graders with their writing. My new school has music on Fridays and I even get to learn Spanish. I’m still trying to get used to my new school.
Sometimes, at school, when I write a word incorrectly, or a math problem, it teaches me how to write a math problem or how to write a word correctly.  It’s good because now I know how to spell better and do math. I need this because it helps me do good in school and to learn better.
I’ve also learned from one of my worst mistakes to always be kind to others, especially your friends. Last year, I hurt my friend’s feelings by saying a mean word to her. That was a bad mistake because she is my friend and I should be nice to all of my friends. What I said hurt her feelings. We didn’t see each other for a while. But then, I got to see her again and she forgave me when I made my apology and now we are back to being friends again. I see her a lot now. I’m happy to have my best friend back.
My dogs taught me something about mistakes this summer. They ate our tomatoes from our plants in the backyard. Now we know we have to put a fence around our garden so they can’t eat our food.
Mistakes help me learn. If I knew everything, I’d already be in fourth grade.

Elise Rodriguez just turned eight years old and is in the third grade at the California Montessori Project in Elk Grove, California. She likes music and plays the guitar, accordion, hand drums, and the piano. She has a keyboard at her house and she plays it every day. She loves to hum and sing, and write stories. She loves to read. Her favorite book is Rain boots for Breakfast. She has two dogs, a beagle named Connie, and a little terrier mix named Daisy. She loves her family and friends very much and is still getting used to her new school.

Young Writer of the Month


Learning From Mistakes by Elise Rodriguez
Elise and her mother, Shelby
If you don’t make mistakes then you will never have a chance to learn from them. Making mistakes is a great way to learn.
I just started going to a new school. It is a Montessori school. I like it because I get to work on things at my own pace. My new school has uniforms and my old school didn’t. There are no desks in my new classroom. There are tables, a computer lab, and we can even work on the floor if we want to. I have fewer kids in my new class. I have first graders, second graders, and third graders in my class. I like to help the first graders with their writing. My new school has music on Fridays and I even get to learn Spanish. I’m still trying to get used to my new school.
Sometimes, at school, when I write a word incorrectly, or a math problem, it teaches me how to write a math problem or how to write a word correctly.  It’s good because now I know how to spell better and do math. I need this because it helps me do good in school and to learn better.
I’ve also learned from one of my worst mistakes to always be kind to others, especially your friends. Last year, I hurt my friend’s feelings by saying a mean word to her. That was a bad mistake because she is my friend and I should be nice to all of my friends. What I said hurt her feelings. We didn’t see each other for a while. But then, I got to see her again and she forgave me when I made my apology and now we are back to being friends again. I see her a lot now. I’m happy to have my best friend back.
My dogs taught me something about mistakes this summer. They ate our tomatoes from our plants in the backyard. Now we know we have to put a fence around our garden so they can’t eat our food.
Mistakes help me learn. If I knew everything, I’d already be in fourth grade.

Elise Rodriguez just turned eight years old and is in the third grade at the California Montessori Project in Elk Grove, California. She likes music and plays the guitar, accordion, hand drums, and the piano. She has a keyboard at her house and she plays it every day. She loves to hum and sing, and write stories. She loves to read. Her favorite book is Rain boots for Breakfast. She has two dogs, a beagle named Connie, and a little terrier mix named Daisy. She loves her family and friends very much and is still getting used to her new school.

Top Ten Parenting Mistakes

by Audrey Lintner

Oo, I’ll bet that title caught your attention. I should offer a little truth in advertising here. I’m not going to state the obvious, like “Don’t let your kids eat bleach” or “Never give your toddler a piranha.” I am also not going to touch the controversial stuff, like co-sleeping or formula.

Nope. I’m going to tell you about some of the mistakes that my husband and I have made (and learned from) in the past four years of parenthood.


10. Don’t compare.Whether it’s some weird game of one-upmanship (My son had to be fed every hour and thirty minutes exactly!) or ego deflation (Why didn’t MY daughter recite the Preamble at the age of three?), comparisons belong in the supermarket, not the nursery. Everybody has their own version of normal. Celebrate it!


9. Don’t push.Our son has a fabulous sense of pitch and an astonishing gift for mathematics. While Mama and Daddy are understandably proud, Junior gives not a hoot. Will he provide the answer to multiplication problems before guests? He will not. He wants to play in the kitchen with his magnetic refrigerator letters. We’re getting better at treating Junior like our son, rather than a trained seal.


8. Don’t be inflexible. Yeah, setting things in stone went out the window from day one. “Oh, you wanted to try natural childbirth? I’m sorry. You’ll be having an emergency C-section; thank you for playing.” From no candy before breakfast to the elusive and mythical bedtime, rules are made to be broken on occasion.


7. Don’t overschedule. This is for the parents as much as the kids. Childhood is so very fleeting, and time together is precious. Leave a few days or nights open each week and let your kids be kids. No lessons, sports, or classes. Just family and a few hours of silly fun. Make paper bag hats, play a board game, or maybe read together.   


6. Don’t Google.For the love of all that is sane, do not go looking up your kid’s odd symptoms online. You will only freak out your entire family by becoming convinced that Junior has West Duluth Prune Fungus, and waste time in needless worry. Call your doctor if you’re worried; go to the ER if it’s an emergency.


5. Don’t listen.This actually means that you should be selective about listening. Your kid just learned how to count backwards? Drop what you’re doing and listen, by all means. A so-called friend just denounced you as a lazy mother for not forcing your two-year-old to speak? Plug your ears and run away. True story, by the way. Junior was more comfortable using ASL at that age; the friend referred to it as a cop-out. Long story short, we continued the sign language and discontinued the friendship.


4. Don’t judge.It pops into everybody’s head at some point. “What’s wrong with those parents? MY child would never do THAT!” Trust me. He will. And if he doesn’t, it’s because he’s going to do something even more outlandish and aggravating.


3. Don’t worry. I am a Worrier First Class. I once entertained dark thoughts of not going in to work because what if my husband took Junior out onto the porch to play, and the dog down the street was actually part rabid dingo and ate my husband, leaving our son to wander the street in tears? Happens all the time in the suburbs, she said with an eye roll. I got over it. A little worry now and then is healthy. If worrying begins to interfere with your daily life, talk to your clergy or a counselor.


2. Don’t try to be superparent. Your partner has a valid opinion, and doesn’t deserve to be relegated to the sidelines of childcare. A crookedly pinned diaper is not the end of the world, and there is no such thing as “the wrong color sippy.” They are called your partner for a reason. Besides, wouldn’t you love a nap right now?


1. Don’t forget to laugh. Caught up in medical bills and long work hours, it’s very easy to focus on the negative side of life. We’re very lucky to have Junior, who seems to know exactly when to step in with a silly song or a hug to cheer us up. Kids are a joy; treat them as such.


What’s on your list?

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

Top Ten Parenting Mistakes

by Audrey Lintner

Oo, I’ll bet that title caught your attention. I should offer a little truth in advertising here. I’m not going to state the obvious, like “Don’t let your kids eat bleach” or “Never give your toddler a piranha.” I am also not going to touch the controversial stuff, like co-sleeping or formula.

Nope. I’m going to tell you about some of the mistakes that my husband and I have made (and learned from) in the past four years of parenthood.


10. Don’t compare.Whether it’s some weird game of one-upmanship (My son had to be fed every hour and thirty minutes exactly!) or ego deflation (Why didn’t MY daughter recite the Preamble at the age of three?), comparisons belong in the supermarket, not the nursery. Everybody has their own version of normal. Celebrate it!


9. Don’t push.Our son has a fabulous sense of pitch and an astonishing gift for mathematics. While Mama and Daddy are understandably proud, Junior gives not a hoot. Will he provide the answer to multiplication problems before guests? He will not. He wants to play in the kitchen with his magnetic refrigerator letters. We’re getting better at treating Junior like our son, rather than a trained seal.


8. Don’t be inflexible. Yeah, setting things in stone went out the window from day one. “Oh, you wanted to try natural childbirth? I’m sorry. You’ll be having an emergency C-section; thank you for playing.” From no candy before breakfast to the elusive and mythical bedtime, rules are made to be broken on occasion.


7. Don’t overschedule. This is for the parents as much as the kids. Childhood is so very fleeting, and time together is precious. Leave a few days or nights open each week and let your kids be kids. No lessons, sports, or classes. Just family and a few hours of silly fun. Make paper bag hats, play a board game, or maybe read together.   


6. Don’t Google.For the love of all that is sane, do not go looking up your kid’s odd symptoms online. You will only freak out your entire family by becoming convinced that Junior has West Duluth Prune Fungus, and waste time in needless worry. Call your doctor if you’re worried; go to the ER if it’s an emergency.


5. Don’t listen.This actually means that you should be selective about listening. Your kid just learned how to count backwards? Drop what you’re doing and listen, by all means. A so-called friend just denounced you as a lazy mother for not forcing your two-year-old to speak? Plug your ears and run away. True story, by the way. Junior was more comfortable using ASL at that age; the friend referred to it as a cop-out. Long story short, we continued the sign language and discontinued the friendship.


4. Don’t judge.It pops into everybody’s head at some point. “What’s wrong with those parents? MY child would never do THAT!” Trust me. He will. And if he doesn’t, it’s because he’s going to do something even more outlandish and aggravating.


3. Don’t worry. I am a Worrier First Class. I once entertained dark thoughts of not going in to work because what if my husband took Junior out onto the porch to play, and the dog down the street was actually part rabid dingo and ate my husband, leaving our son to wander the street in tears? Happens all the time in the suburbs, she said with an eye roll. I got over it. A little worry now and then is healthy. If worrying begins to interfere with your daily life, talk to your clergy or a counselor.


2. Don’t try to be superparent. Your partner has a valid opinion, and doesn’t deserve to be relegated to the sidelines of childcare. A crookedly pinned diaper is not the end of the world, and there is no such thing as “the wrong color sippy.” They are called your partner for a reason. Besides, wouldn’t you love a nap right now?


1. Don’t forget to laugh. Caught up in medical bills and long work hours, it’s very easy to focus on the negative side of life. We’re very lucky to have Junior, who seems to know exactly when to step in with a silly song or a hug to cheer us up. Kids are a joy; treat them as such.


What’s on your list?

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

Mistakes in Teaching

By Cameron Crane

“Teaching is not going to be anything like what you’re expecting it to be…”

That was the first thing my professor said in the first Education class I ever attended. It was my first semester of college, and I was confident that I was destined to be an English teacher. So confident, in fact, that I gave little credit to what came next: “…if you are weak hearted, if you aren’t completely committed to doing this, if you are expecting to be the teacher in that inspirational movie you once saw…you should do yourself a favor and change your major now.”

I wasn’t fazed. I loved English. I was good with kids. This was the job for me. So when we were each assigned a class to student teach for a day, I was thrilled. I spent weeks planning a lesson plan that I was sure the sixth-graders I was going to be teaching would love. When the exciting day finally came, I strolled into the classroom with my head held high.

That’s when everything fell apart. It started from the moment I walked into the classroom and tried to write my name on the board, only to find the dry-erase marker was out of ink. It got worse during roll call, when I accidentally referred to a female student named Dylan as a “he”. It took fifteen minutes to realize that wearing a pair of heels to look professional was one of the worst decisions I could have made. When the day finally came to a close (after making it through only half of my carefully plotted lesson plan), I was more excited to get out of the classroom than those kids were.

I’m sure I would have learned a lot from my mistakes, had I not marched straight to my advisor’s office that day and changed my major. What I did gain from my experience, however, was a deep appreciation for anyone who is strong enough to teach. I still have many friends from that class who stuck with it and are now some of the best teachers out there. The truth is that like anything, teaching involves a lot of learningand a lot of that learning is done by trial and error.

So, because my own experience was less than triumphant, I’ve asked some of the teachers I know to share the lessons that they’ve learned in the classroom.

Ms. Mikaela: Always try a project yourself before bringing it into the classroom. In preschool we were making valentine necklaces out of colored pasta, and the yarn would not go through the pasta holes. I didn’t realize I had to put glue on the ends of the yarn so it didn’t split, and some of the pasta holes were not big enough or closed off.

Mr. Ben: Always spellcheck. I once made several spelling mistakes in a newsletter home to parents. I don’t think it built confidence in the education their children were receiving!
Mr. Greg: Make sure you watch, read, and look at anything you bring into the classroom carefully before showing it to your students. One time I built an entire lesson plan around a movie that I had heard was great for the classroom. The night before, I finally watched the movie, and realized that many of the scenes were not age-appropriate. I stayed up all night re-planning the day. It was a disaster. But it would have been way worse if I had shown the video!


Ms. Alexis: Be prepared to mediate social conflicts. If you are planning a group project, or any situation where one of your students might feel left out, make sure you have a careful system in place. The first time I ever had my students work on a project in teams, I let them choose teams of 3 on their own, without realizing that one of the students was absent. When he came back to class the next day, the teams had already started and didn’t want to add another person! I felt terrible.

Image Credit: lessontweaker.blogspot.com