Friday, February 20, 2009

Teach your children well

There are many wonderful things you can say about the small town where I live. It's rich in history, still pretty safe, has good schools, the people are very friendly, the list goes on. One thing you cannot say is that this town is culturally diverse. In fact, it's more like culturally devoid. I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles, a huge melting pot, so I was surrounded by different cultures. My son, however, is not being provided this experience. At the tender age of five, his mind is like a huge sponge and absorbs everything around him. So I decided if he is not getting a glimpse of cultural diversity in his surroundings, I would need to provide that for him.

That is how we came up with Culture Night at our house. It is centered around dinner time, and the meal is what guides our learning. Last night was taco night, so we learned about Mexico. I got out an old but trusty children's world encyclopedia, put on some Latin music, and let the learning begin. We look at maps so he understands where this particular area is located. We talk about the people, the food, the language, the music, and something he really loves, the games children of that culture play. The whole experience has turned into something he truly looks forward to. I have to admit there is a bit of work involved, so Culture Night takes place about every other week, but I want it to be a fulfilling experience for him, not something he gets bored with. The time in between helps him to look forward to it and helps me to get better prepared.

Even if you do live in a culturally diverse area, this is still a fun activity for your family. Besides being educational, it also promotes sensitivity to other cultures. Our next night will be about India, and I think my biggest challenge will be cooking something my picky eater will eat (I'd welcome any suggestions you may have!). Below are some great web resources I use to help me plan these learning experiences. Check them out, and try this with your family. You'll be surprised at how fun it is for everyone. Viva La Culture!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Finding peace in what you "do"

Have you ever had a feeling you just can't shake? A sense that someone is trying to tell you something you're not so sure you want to hear? Welcome to my life at the moment. I've ruled out mid-life crisis and any mental disorders, and what I'm left with is my own paradigm shift. I can't explain it and at times it's a bit scary, but something inside me just wont let up about the need to DO GOOD FOR OTHERS. No matter what I'm doing these days, everywhere I look I see needs. Needs that, is some way, I feel called to help fulfill. Believe you me, I did not actively search for a new purpose for my life. Lord knows I was trying to be content with my stay-at-home-Mom life and all it involved, thinking that was my purpose and it was good.

I tried to ignore it, but no such luck. I told myself it was hormones that were causing me to feel so off kilter. That didn't work for me either. So, I'm finding time in my life to give to those in need. I'm starting small, since baby steps work best for me, but I'm starting. Once a month some of my friends and I give manicures at a local nursing home. Other times I volunteer at this local organization that provides meals and other services to families in need. Sure, this adds to the load already on my plate, but the giving of my time pales in comparison to the gifts I receive.

We all think we're busy, and we are. We fill our time with kid duties, work duties, house duties and some days barely have a moment to breath. Where is the peace in that, and where, amongst our busy schedules, will we find time to do for others? That is a question you will have to answer for yourself, but I encourage you to seek. Only good things can come of it!

(PS, If you're unsure of how to get involved, visit this site, it's a great place to start.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why we really buy purses

The most important thing about a purse is that it's cute, right? Sure it may have a pocket for your cell phone, a clip for your keys and have lots of space, but if it's not that attractive, we aren't buying it. Let's be honest, when we choose a purse what is the main selling point? Aesthetics almost always wins over functionality, at least for me. I never get compliments on my "smart" purses, but I get stopped on the street with comments on my cute and unique ones.

In the name of super cute bags, I wanted to share with you a line of handmade purses a friend of my Moms recently started selling. She discovered these purses during a trip to Bali, and now imports them and sells them in the US. I have several of these bags and love them. They are beautiful, well made and very unique.

My favorite is the "cake purse."

You can see the full line of handmade bags here, and remember, a girl can never have too many purses, shoes, hats, bathing suits, diamonds, spa days, girl's nights out, days at the beach...