I am honored to partner with Once Upon A Treehouse to give away a doll to one of my lucky blog readers.
The little ballerina doll arrived in a sheer pink drawstring bag. So cute!
With a hand-painted face and standing at about 4 inches tall, “Buttercup” was adorable. A tiny bow attached to a rick-a-rack headband nestled in her blond hair, pink Mary Jane shoes, white leggings, a pink dance dress secured with a pink ribbon … ready for little hands to begin playing and imagining a world of tutus.
Once Upon A Treehouse includes handmade traditional wooden dolls and accessories. Sisters, “Mommies” and business owners Lori Schoeneman and Tara Schoeneman-Brown use natural materials – wool, cotton and wood – to create these charming character dolls as well as dollhouses, furniture, clothing and accessories.
When the sisters were young, they played with a wooden dollhouse built by their grandfather. As they had their own families, they wanted to start a company that would provide the same inspiration for imagination they had been given as children.
So, Once Upon A Treehouse was born in 2011 with a variety of doll-related products.
But, it’s not just the gift you give your child that can make you feel good about buying a doll from Once Upon A Treehouse.
Through their “Fairy DollMother Program,” for every doll bought, another doll is given to a child in need. Go here to read more about this program.
If you would like to win “Buttercup” for your child, grandchild or another child in your life, simply email me at LLynn@opubco.com with the name of your favorite doll or toy from your childhood. Please provide your name, contact information and your mailing address. The winner will be selected randomly, so it doesn’t matter which toy was your favorite. Deadline for entry is Oct. 22, 2012.
I had many dolls I liked – Thumbelina, Skipper, Barbie — but one of my most favorite was my Raggedy Ann doll handmade by my older sister, Betty. Raggedy Ann and I enjoyed many adventures through the years.
Your child might be able to enjoy the Once Upon A Treehouse doll soon and start their own adventures in make-believe.
– Linda Lynn
Follow me on Twitter @OKNewsResearch
Cade was 2 months old when he, my two girls and I went to his first movie.
My plan after Cade’s birth was to be able to spend some quality family time with all my children during maternity leave. However, after Cade was born with Down Syndrome, severe jaundice and erratic blood counts, he and I spent a lot of time going to and from the hospital and doctor’s visits the first two months.
That first movie was the most calm experience, with Cade sleeping most of the time and not making a sound. Thankfully, my daughters and I were able to enjoy going to the movies and reclaim a little normalcy.
But that was the last time we were able to do that type of activity with Cade.
As he got a little older, he would cry continuously if a room became unexpectedly dark or sounds were loud. Car rides at night were not pleasant, and movies were completely out of the question.
When Cade was 6, my youngest daughter and I took him to see a children’s movie. Everything seemed fine … until the lights dimmed and the previews started. Why oh why did they have a loud and scary preview?
I stepped to the hallway, calmed him, and he fell asleep, probably from the stress of the moment. We were able to watch the rest of the movie peacefully, at least until he woke up in the last 5 minutes of the movie.
Out of respect for other moviegoers and for Cade’s (and our) sake, we haven’t tried this again.
But is there hope, perhaps? While Googling for area attractions and shopping in Arlington, TX, I discovered one of the movie theaters has “Sensory Friendly Films” where the lights are on, the sound is turned down and the audience can move about. The website states this environment was created in partnership with the Autism Society, but this also can be beneficial to other special needs children.
Imagine my excitement that these types of needs are being recognized and a business is providing families with access to entertainment that otherwise would be clearly difficult to enjoy together as a family.
Continuing my search, I discovered “Sensory Friendly Films” are also available at these Oklahoma locations:
- Quail Springs 24
- Crossroads 16
Click here for the website that tells more about locations nationwide participating in this program. However, be sure and contact individual theaters to confirm time and dates, since they are subject to change.
My only wish now is that this program will be expanded beyond once a month.
It’s definitely something my son and I will plan to attend.
– Linda Lynn
Follow me on Twitter @OKNewsResearch
What are you planning to do Sept. 29?
Go to a museum, of course!
Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live! is an opportunity for two of your family members to visit a local museum for free.
Just click here to sign up for two free tickets to visit a participating museum anywhere across the nation. If you know you’re going to be in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 29, you could print your tickets now and visit a Smithsonian Museum!
No worries if you’re going to be in Oklahoma, though. There are several state museums participating in this fun event:
- Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, Duncan
- Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Norman
- Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa
- Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, Shawnee
- Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma City
- Pawnee Bill Ranch & Museum, Pawnee
- Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa
- Philip Foster Farm National Historic Site, Eagle Creek
- Sam Noble Museum, Norman
- Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City
- Three Rivers Museum, Muskogee
- Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, Tulsa
- Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Claremore
This opportunity will allow you to enjoy your favorite museum or explore one you’ve never visited.
It’s easy to print your tickets. I just did!
So, see you at the museum!
- Linda Lynn
Follow me on Twitter: @OKNewsResearch
It started with the menu. It was waved around, used as a hat and, finally, after refusing to surrender it to the waiter, it was thrown on the floor. Then came the wiggling, occasional shouts of boredom and lunges for silverware.
As the noise level increased, so did my furtive looks at our fellow diners. Were they paying attention to our table? When my husband and I walked into the restaurant with our 19-month-old son, did they inwardly cringe at the possibility of having their meal disrupted?
Generally, my son is pretty well-behaved at restaurants. He’s been eating out with us since he was a few weeks old. He knows the routine and usually enjoys watching waiters bustle and diners come and go. Sometimes, not so much.
Over the last year and a half, we’ve learned a few things that work for us to help make the meal more enjoyable. Most of the time these work, but as any caregiver knows, there’s no guarantees with children.
1.) Be prepared. If we’re going to eat somewhere that I don’t think has food my son will eat, I bring a few little snacks or a drink, or feed him at home before we go. Also, bring a favorite toy. We try to keep a toy in the diaper bag that he only gets when we’re out, so it’s more interesting. And it probably goes without saying, but we bring extra diapers and wipes. Your child probably isn’t going to be the best meal companion if they need to be changed.
2.) Keep a wide berth on the table. One of the first things we do when we are seated is to rearrange the items on the table so they are at least an arm’s length away from our son. At his age, he’s like an octopus — there are what seem like 20 arms waving about, grabbing at anything. The more inappropriate the better. A steak knife or hot plate? Perfect!
3.) Know your restaurants. One of our favorite restaurants to take our son to is the Jimmy’s Egg by our house. The waitresses are in constant motion, which is fun for him to watch. They also all know him and make a point to stop by the table and talk to him throughout the meal. Our little flirt loves the attention. Another upside is that we know there are lots of families there, which means lots of noise. If our son yells, it’s not going to be as big a deal as it would in a fancy dining establishment. We know sitting still and quiet for an hour or two is a lot to ask of a toddler, so we get a babysitter if that’s going to be the case.
4.) Know your child. If my son is sleepy, feeling bad or just not in the mood, I can tell he’s not going to do well eating out, so we make other arrangements. If we’re in the middle of a meal and I see my son start to rub his eyes, I know we need to ask for the check, because a full-blown tired tantrum may make an appearance. Knowing what signs to look for can help head off a bad ending to an otherwise pleasant meal.
A book making the rounds in parenting circles, “Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting” by Pamela Druckerman, has been touted as must-read observations on the difference between French and American parenting. Evidently the French parenting philosophy results in well-behaved children who sleep through the night and eat well-rounded meals. Reviews say Druckerman observes French parents eating out and having conversations while their children entertain themselves quietly. I haven’t read it yet, but am looking forward to getting a copy to see if there’s anything I can apply to our forays.
Until then, I’ll probably continue to let my son play with menus.
The Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts offers a lot of art and a lot of fun for kids.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend with your children, you’ll want to drive downtown and let your kids explore their creative sides.
The festival’s not just for children, but there are areas that are dedicated to your child.
For $2 your youngster can participate in hands-on art activities in the Children’s Art Field. And the Young-at-Art Mart is a children-only shopping area with artwork priced no more than $5.
For more information, call (405) 270-4848 or go to the Arts Council of Oklahoma City website.
Follow me on Twitter @OKNewsResearch
Here are a few photos of children enjoying this year’s festival, as well as some of the sights you might see when you go:
My sister Betty used cloth diapers with all her children. I admire that she did this.
Each of her little babies was neatly wrapped with a soft, cloth diaper that was pinned on each side.
I didn’t know it at the time, but she was being earth-friendly. She was “green.”
On April 21, the day before Earth Day, you can experience “The Great Cloth Diaper Change” beginning at 10 a.m. at Science Museum Oklahoma, 2100 NE 52 St.
There are hopes this event will be part of an even larger effort to break last year’s Guinness World Record for simultaneous diaper changing.
And, at the same time, Cloth Diaper Oklahoma and the Real Diaper Association will be bringing attention to the benefits of using cloth diapers, instead of disposable diapers that can take hundreds of years to decompose.
At the moment, more than 232 locations in 13 countries will be the sites of thousands of parents and caregivers changing their babies all at the same time, all using cloth diapers.
The April 21 event begins at 10 a.m. with the actual Great Cloth Diaper Change occurring between 11 a.m. and noon. Cloth diapers will be provided to those who need one.
The first 100 participating families will receive a goody bag. Activities during the event will include a baby-crawling contest, a toddler trot, cloth diaper mini classes, prizes and more.
If you’ve never changed a cloth diaper, click here for step-by-step instructions from babycenter.com.
Each Thanksgiving for the past 23 years I have traveled out of town to enjoy a traditional feast with my husband’s family in Stigler, OK.
In the beginning, I don’t think I was expected to bring anything, not even a green bean casserole. I was the girlfriend, so there weren’t a lot of demands.
Even after we were married, my mother-in-law, Irene, would tell me, “Just bring paper plates and cups.”
I would wonder if it was a hidden message about my cooking skills, but I’m sure it was just to make it easier for me.
Occasionally, when we stayed at her house, I would make something there. But this is the lineup of what I’ve brought through the years … nothing spectacular:
- Pickles and olives
- Cream cheese, salsa, cheese and crackers
- A store-bought cheesecake
- Pumpkin bread
I’ve never brought the true backbone dishes of the meal: Turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, salad, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, Mountain Dew cake, and, of course, chocolate, coconut, mincemeat, pecan or pumpkin pie.
So, what am I bringing this year?
I’m not sure yet … maybe a pie or bread or cookies or cupcakes …. I’m determined to not bring paper anything!
But, I’m sure, when it’s Wednesday night and I’m tired and I know we have to get up early Thanksgiving morning to travel, I’ll wish Irene was telling me, “Just bring paper plates and cups.”
– Linda Lynn
It seems like it was just last week I was pushing around my little man in a stroller … able to contain him in any environment – the mall, the zoo, the arts festival.
But just a few short weeks ago, my baby turned 5 and I found myself registering him for kindergarten, setting up his big-boy bed in his room, and holding my breath as he went on the kiddie roller-coaster at the local amusement park.
Of course, it was a nonstop celebration to honor Hunter’s turning 5. It was a day he’d been anxious for and with all the begging and pleading, it still couldn’t come quick enough for him. For me? It’s always too quick.
A week full of a visit from Gwennie (as grandma is so affectionately called) culminated in the party of the century with a big dancing, talking mouse (any guesses?). A chocolate-only cake, decorated in Star Wars fashion was on the menu, topped with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker with real working light sabres (it doesn’t get cooler than that). Friends, family and even a girlfriend (yes, girlfriend!) made the event extra special for my little guy.
And it seems things have changed overnight. My 5-year-old is already going on 15. The phrases he uses, the facial expressions, the eye-rolls … the ones that say “Mom, you are so not cool” when I’m trying to make him laugh. Worrying about giving his mom kisses in public … worrying about whether his jeans are “regular” or “skinny” and if his shirt is tucked just right. He’ll readily stick up for friends if they find themselves on the receiving end of a bully’s push. And he still manages to tell me how pretty he thinks I am and but now adds how he thinks I should wear my hair.
He’s truly turning into his own little man. As fast as it goes, it gets better every day.
Friday is Earth Day. Most of us spend every waking and sleeping hour on this planet.
We call it home, but sometimes we take it for granted.
What could you do to give back to our big blue marble?
- Plant a tree. (or a bush or a seed)
- Walk instead of driving. (or skip, run, dance)
- Ride a bicycle. (or a cow, horse or unicycle)
- Share a commute with a neighbor or co-worker, or take public transportation. (And share good conversation on the way!)
- Volunteer to help clean up your local park or neighborhood. (Start with your own yard.)
- Use reuseable shopping bags, buy less and consider food packaging. Do you really need a separate plastic produce bag for lemons, limes, squash and onions. Go sans plastic bags, since you’re going to wash them anyway. (And use the food you buy. Don’t waste it and let it rot for a couple of weeks in the fridge.)
- Take shorter showers. (Turn water on, turn off, soap up, turn water on and do a quick rinse. Done!)
- Use less pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals around your home. Or stop using unfriendly products altogether. (You might not have the prettiest lawn in the neighborhood, but you’ll feel safe having your kids play there.)
- Spend the evening watching a sunset — not the TV. (The color reception is so much better.)
- Play outside. (Bouncing balls, Hula-hoops and horseshoes are more Earth-friendly than living room-friendly.)
- Take your children on a nature hike, sharing appreciation of our environment. (Don’t touch the poison ivy!)
Share your Earth-celebrating ideas with The Oklahoman and our readers. You might inspire someone else to follow your example.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its stance and guidelines on infant car seats.
The AAP now advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
The previous standard was 12 months/20 pounds as a minimum for facing backward.
To read the full report, go to www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/carseat2011.htm.
A reference guide for all age groups can be found at www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx.