Tender Sapling

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Tender Sapling Massage Video

Learn these fun massage moves to celebrate how your little one — your own tender sapling — is growing from a seed into a mighty tree! The demonstrated massage sequence is featured on the activity tag which comes with all Tender Sapling-themed textile products.

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Kids Need Farm-time

One reason we love living in Charlottesville, Virginia, is the wonderful local food movement in this region. Many readers will recognize our neighbor over the mountain, Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, the most famous farmer in America. Michael Pollan featured him in his splendid The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and he has since been chronicled in the feature documentary Food, Inc. Not many localities can boast that the local Chipotle serves pork straight from Polyface (though I recently read that Mr. Salatin is in the process of adding a second Chipotle location in the DC area).

But Charlottesville is a locavore’s town, and the local food movement in this area is much bigger than Polyface. The Charlottesville Farmer’s market is a Saturday morning standby for many, and has given birth to I believe three additional farmer’s markets in the area throughout the week. There are lots of local producers, many of which are organic or biodynamic or similar, and many of which offer CSA’s (community-supported agriculture, an arrangement in which the consumer purchases a share of the CSA in the early spring in exchange for a weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables, and sometimes eggs, meat, or even flowers). Many restaurants here feature local food, and there is even a local food hub, to help connect farmers, restaurants, and consumers.

Probably my favorite local food perk is an annual event called Meet Yer Eats, organized by Market Central, the same non-profit organization that organizes the farmer’s market. On Labor Day each year, about 20 area farms open their doors for tours and farm activities, all for the price of one very reasonably-priced ticket. My family tried it last year for the first time. We had such a great time, we intend to make it an annual event as long as we are in this area.

My father grew up on a farm in the Midwest, and I have very fond memories of visiting my grandparents’ farm as a child. Continue reading


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Make Everyday a Peace Day

Did you join in or initiate a International Day of Peace celebration with your family, school, or community last week? Did you know that September 21 is the International Day of Peace? If it was missed in the hustle of life, no worries. You can celebrate and encourage peace everyday.

We started marking “Peace Day” in our family a few years ago, when we cut up an old sheet and the kids painted Peace Flags to hang in our yard. One still adorns our play structure. This year, we found ourselves exploring the Jamestown Settlement and reflecting on how the Powhatan Indian, English, and African cultures of early 17th century Virginia lived in times of peace, as well as during conflict.

While it was a stretch to say we marked Peace Day in a significant way this year, we made up for it a few days later at home when we had some friends over for some learning fun focused on one of the prerequisites for peace (inner peace, family peace, world peace – any kind of peace!) – we had a celebration of a child’s pure heart. We like to imagine a child’s heart as a mirror. If free of dust and dirt, it can reflect the light of the sun. When pure and free from unpleasant thoughts and behavior, a child’s heart is a heart at peace. Happy. Contented. Kind. Loving. What a beautiful condition and source of joy to the child and all those around her.

To help us explore the idea of and encourage having a pure heart, we shared songs and stories. Then we painted heart-shaped boxes that each child could take home and fill with anything to help them remember and cultivate their pure heart – whether a small mirror, a flower, a prayer, or poem. But the hit of the day was probably the heart-shaped watermelon slices that the kids nibbled on.

Heart-shaped Watermelon Slices

To make these fun treats, just Continue reading