Summer Activities for Kids

A few ideas for when life slows down a bit.

 

 

A few great things to do away and at home with your kids… for when they ask to get on the computer, iPads, WII, Xbox… Well, you know…

Nothing wrong with extra time to enjoy their electronics during the summer, but here’s a list of alternatives to “gaming” their summer away.

The ebb and flow of summertime.

This morning, I enjoyed coffee with my dad as we chatted with my six-year-old.

We listened to her account of a nightmare about spiders, followed by ther dream of giant pink bugs. We speculated on the relative scariness of bugs that are huge, even if they are a shade of pink… It was good to just sit and talk and laugh a little with the morning cheer shining through the window.

Just two and a half weeks into June and we’ve already enjoyed: 1) A family reunion, 2. Two summer camps, 3. Family visiting in our home, and 4. A wedding weekend out of town. For the next few days, we’ve got the pleasure of having my dad here. Then we’ll finish out with another summer camp (for my younger kids this time). What a fun whirlwind – talk about a full month with many precious memories made!

The remainder of my calendar for this summer looks pretty empty, with enough time to be a bit more leisurely. There’s plenty of space to enjoy more coffee and conversation in the morning. I’ll have room in my days for contemplation. We won’t have places to rush off to and  I’ll have no piles of post-camp-laundry to catch up on. Our pace will slow down.

As my kids adjust to having greater ammounts of free time, I want to make sure those days aren’t all filled up with screen time . I’ve been strategizing about mostly “unplugged” activities we can enjoy. When my kids are asking to be on the computer all day, I’ll be ready with these ideas.

A list of activities to enjoy with kids this summer:

Berry picking and peach harvesting.

We have so many orchards and berry farms around us. I missed the strawberry picking season (busy!), but this week is the perfect time for picking blueberries around here. For information about farms and orchards near you, go to this website: pickyourown.org.

To extend the fun, you can also read the classic, Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey while you eat your fresh berries over ice cream.

Journaling to inspire the love of writing and build confidence.

My husband and I sell used books on Amazon and occasionally I snag one from the “sell” pile if I fall in love with it.

The book, In the Company of Children, by Joanne Hindley, falls into that category. This is a warm, friendly book which helps you and your reluctant writer get past the paralysis of the blank page. It is not only a “how-to” book on journaling but also a “why” for motivation. She’s encouraging and injects a sense of community into the writing process.

I’m looking forward to bringing this into our family and seeing what it does for our family. I can see the influence of this book reaching into the adult years of my children, enhancing their grasp of good communication and their enjoyment of it as well.

Planning for when it’s too hot or rainy outside:

Watching this series on YouTube

Last year I studied Geography with my kids and about three months ago we stumbled across this channel Geography Now, created by Paul Barbato, pretty much from the first video we were hooked. He uses humor, and great visuals to make all the countries you’re a bit unclear about memorable. I want my kids to have a working knowledge of the world and it’s people. That’s a pretty tall order but this channel is a great starting point for both. For an overview, take a look at this:

Create a cooking lesson for your kids.

Whether you create your own (using favorite recipes) or use a monthly kit like Radishkids.com, summertime has the best opportunities to find pockets of time for cooking with your kids.

I know it’s kind of scary for some of us, but it really is worth the time and the mess to do this with your kids. The key is: Don’t do try cooking lessons with your kids when you’re in a hurry. Seriously, a four-hour block of time will make you much more relaxed about the process and cleanup! Maybe you only do this a couple of times this summer, but that’s okay!

Resources from Bear Paw Creek

Bean Bags.

I’ve got a set of bean bags from Bear Paw Creek, which my kids love. They are great for tossing inside (or outside) into bowls, knocking over empty bottles, for practicing juggling (Yeah, still working on that one.) and with an oversized checkerboard (squares painted or drawn on a sheet or fabric).

We use them at church as a way to get busy bodies moving before or after the lesson. Every Sunday (I’m not exaggerating. EVERY Sunday!) the kids ask to get the bean bags out. These are a great tool for every parent to have in their Summertime Boredom Toolbox.

Stretchy Bands in Circle Time.

Another great tool to pull out when you prefer to be inside is the Connect-a-Stretchy Band. These stretchy bands can be used for Circle Time each morning.

What is Circle Time you ask? Here’s an example from a mom at home: Creating a Circle Time in Your Home, by Jamie Martin on Simple Homeschool gives an overview and links to her vlog so you can see them in action.

Below is an example of a singing and movement Circle Time using a stretchy band from Bear Paw Creek (with plenty of giggles included):

If you want more tips and ideas on doing Circle Time take a look at this recent post by Carol Stephens of Macaroni Soup. She gives very practical tips and has great songs to use on her website.

If you want to know the “why” of using the stretchy band during Circle time, take a look at this post, by Allysa Wilkins of Dynamic Lynks, to understand the benefits the stretchy with your kids.

Summer Snowball Fight!

Have you heard of the Instant Snowball Fight? 

It’s great for winter fun when you live somewhere that doesn’t get snow and it’s great for the summer! This is an activity you can do inside, outside, in the pool, at a lake, really, anywhere. 

Snowball Movement Prop Set+ Kids = Indoor Snowball Fight

Don’t even get me started on the scarves and ribbons!

 

Have you seen what kids do when you get dancing scarves and ribbons in their hands? Whether dancing on the lawn, or in your front room, your kids will have a blast! Take a look at the resources I have listed in Ribbons Dancing and Scarves, Oh My!

I hope your summer is filled with fun. That it has a good ebb and flow of activities and rest.

Be sure to check out all of the movement props that Bear Paw Creek carries. Be prepared with these low-tech, high-fun ways for your kids to interact and play. Be prepared when your child says, “Can I play on the computer?” for the 50th time in a row. 😉

 

Jenette is a freelance writer of web content, blogs, and podcast show notes. She is also a wife and imperfect mother, whose family mean the world to her. She’s looking forward to July, when you’ll find her carving out time for all of this fun stuff and more. Jenette’s business website is at www.mywordsforhire.com.

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Autism: How to be Inclusive

Create a welcoming and safe environment.

 

 

Do you know what it’s like to go to church when Autism is part of your story?

 

George has autism and Down syndrome.

 

Every Sunday, George is welcomed with his whole family by their local church. He isn’t just “welcomed” as in, they-let-him-come. He is welcomed, as in, they actively seek ways to make it comfortable and safe for him to come.

 

This is the essence of inclusion and it impacts George’s whole family.

A church for George and his whole family.

When I scrolled through my Facebook and encountered an update my friend Yvonne made, it warmed my heart and intrigued me.

 

In her post, she expressed her appreciation and thankfulness to her church family for welcoming George so well. George has Autism and Down Syndrome. She gave thanks for the love and welcome which the church extends to George and flows out to George’s family.

 

 

I knew in that moment, that I wanted Yvonne to help me discuss the ways in which their church made a home for their family for this blog post.

 

April is Autism Awareness Month.

 

Last year I wrote about how isolated many persons with autism may feel.

 

Natural Play Therapy encourages parents and caregivers to bridge the gap by moving into the world of the person they love through play. I also described how isolated caregivers themselves can feel in the midst of the care they give.

 

It’s so easy for the rest of the world to carry on with their busy lives. Families dealing with autism can feel that they don’t have a place to belong in the outer world as they deal with the unique challenges that have entered their lives through Autism’s portal. I want you to hear from Yvonne’s own words, what it has meant to them to have the members of their church reach out to their family over the past year:

 

 

 

 

 

What I appreciated most about the church we decided to go with, is that several people approached us and let us know that they were glad we were there. And you could tell they meant it.  They also had a pretty good special needs population and were fine with ‘noises’ in the sanctuary.  They also had a special needs class on Sundays and when approached about it I voiced my concern that George can’t do ‘a class’.  They said no problem that they would accommodate his needs and just love on him.  They said there would be no harm in giving it a try.  They were willing to work with his special needs, some of which required securing the door shut so he couldn’t run off, making sensory items available to him such as tactile items and auditory items.  They were very willing to learn how his communication device worked and how they could help him to communicate with it.  This class was only on Sundays but I was also wanting to come on Wednesdays so my older boys could participate in the youth group and I could do a bible study.  They had no place for George so they created a place for him and provided a one on one helper so I could go to a bible study!  It has been such a blessing to be able to participate in a women’s bible study again.  I have not been able to do that for 9 years!

Let’s discuss some specifics George and Yvonne’s church did to open make a space where the whole Marshall family could come and feel welcome.

Six tips for churches and other groups to create a good experience for families dealing with Autism.

  • Provide locking doors for kids who run [Windows should be provided, or half-doors, so the classroom can be observed while the door is locked for accountability where there is a locked door.] How to make a DIY interior Dutch Door
  • Create environments which don’t overstimulate. Bright lights, flashing lights, and lowlights can cause problems for some people who are on the autism spectrum. The key here is keeping the lights natural and non-stimulating. If you’re unsure about whether the lights are a problem in the environment, you can ask the person or the parent for their insight.
  • Consider whether to have a special needs class or integrated class. At Yvonne’s church, they have a special needs class on Sunday morning. If you choose to have an integrated class, make sure that everyone understands each other’s needs and that appropriate expectations are in place for behavior. Make sure there isn’t any bad attitude toward behavior that is natural. Assume the best about each other and be patient (Definitely, some training should be taught for teachers and a trained assistant should be present to help the child if needed).
  • Bring an attitude of flexibility. For example on Wednesday night,  the elderly women meet in the room that is especially fitted out for George’s need. The women invited George to be in there with them, accompanied by a helper so that Yvonne could attend a study with another group of ladies. One of the elderly ladies told Yvonne that her brother had special needs and it warmed her heart to see George being made welcome in the church.
  • Ask, “What can I do for you?” If you can’t figure out what to do. Ask.

 

Five tips from Yvonne, for parents seeking an inclusive environment for their family.

  1. In regards to worship services at church: You might have better experiences in one with a simple worship service where the volume is tolerable for your child and there are no moving spotlights or strobe lights (Yes, some churches use strobe lights…). If the church has a pipe organ it might not work for you as well because of the fullness of sound.
  2. Lay the groundwork by visiting with the person in charge before going to a new church, playgroup or other organization. See whether it will be a good fit for your family. Don’t get discouraged if the person seems overwhelmed at first. What is a part of your daily life may be very new to them. On the other-hand, by being proactive, you might be able to head off some misunderstandings.
  3. Even if you decide that group isn’t for you, by coming and talking with the pastor, or person in charge of the group, you are planting a seed. Another family in the future, who is dealing with autism, may reap the fruit of your inquiry. Don’t feel like your efforts are wasted.
  4. Let the person who has autism have input on what will help them if he or she is able to express that. Otherwise, as the parents, have confidence in your judgment. 
  5. Be flexible. Yvonne said, even as she advises that churches and other groups be flexible when reaching out to families, she advises families that are dealing with autism to also be flexible as well. What may just barely work out now can be improved upon with time and understanding.

     

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Creating better spaces for George at home.

 

Even as things are getting better for George and his family in terms of church support. There is room for improvement his home environment. Not in the home as much as right outside of his home, in the backyard!

 

George loves to be outside. Everyone who knows him knows that. Sunshine and fresh air are great environments for every child.

 

However, George also likes to start going and keep going once he gets outside. This is called “running” [Running away common with autism.] It is a challenge for parents caring for children with autism.

 

Yvonne can’t just send George to play outside with his brothers and say, “Stay in the backyard.” That ain’t happening! When George goes outside, he has to be accompanied by someone who can ensure that he won’t run off. As much fun as that would be for him, it could have dangerous results by they time he was found. I don’t need to elaborate.

 

As long as I’ve known Yvonne she has desired to have a safety fence for George so that he would be free to go outside and explore and enjoy the outdoors. I have been in charge of George in the past when he has climbed and re-climbed the outdoor play equipment outside and seen the utter joy on his face.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if Yvonne could have a safe climbing space and other things for George to explore and do in their backyard, without having to worry about him running off if she goes inside to put the laundry in the dryer or answer the phone?

 

Yvonne’s family recently moved and spent a good bit of money on special locks throughout their house (expensive) in a desire to keep George safe. I was really disappointed to hear that she still hadn’t been able to afford a fence (it has to be really tall and strong).

 

 

Right now Yvonne’s working on applying, again, for a grant to help with the expenses. She has done this several times and been turned down. I’m praying that she won’t be turned down again.

 

Taking good care of a child who has autism can be very expensive and that’s why I’m glad to announce that, once again, Bear Paw Creek is donating to Hope4George again for Autism Awareness Month this April. Let’s come alongside Yvonne as her family seeks to do the very best she can for George!

 

Yes, awareness does help. There is still so much that many people don’t understand about autism. But also, doing something helps. This month, when you buy from Bear Paw Creek you will be doing something to help the Marshall family. Additionally, you can donate directly to their family by contacting Yvonne using the link for George’s Natural Play Therapy below. For regular updates on how George is doing, you can like his page Hope4George linked to below.

 

Useful Links:

 

 

I am praying for this to be the year that George gets a great fence in his backyard to help him enjoy it safely!

 

15% of all sales to Hope for George April Autism Awareness

 

Do you have suggestions for creating an environment that is welcoming to those with autism? I would love to hear them in the comments below. If this post was encouraging or helpful to you, please share it so that we can keep this message going. We need more churches and groups like Yvonnes church!

 

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Jenette is a freelance writer of web content, blogs, and podcast show notes. She is also a wife and imperfect mother, whose family mean the world to her. She has dealt with sensory issues in her family and keeps up with autism news as some of it intersects with their experiences. You can find Jenette’s business website at www.mywordsforhire.com.

What Does a Music Therapist Do Anyway?

Learning about music therapy.

 

 

When I was in high school, I remember one person saying she was interested in going into Music Therapy. I also remember thinking, that’s a thing? It seemed like something pretty neat, but I had no context for it.  

 For many years that has been the case with the majority of people, but thankfully that is changing. 

Music and emotions.

I’m going to talk to you about music from a layperson’s perspective here.

Let’s not make it complicated, we all know that music impacts us, don’t we? That’s why we put on certain kinds of music when we need motivation to work hard physically (whether it’s on the basketball court or mopping the floor). Melancholy music suits us when we have a broken heart. Joyful music is used in all kinds of celebration. Orchestral music, while it doesn’t have a literal story line often tells of a mood that we can collectively agree on. Composer John Williams is well known for writing the theme music which carried us along in our favorite films.

We know this, we know that somehow music gets into us and the effect runs deep.

Music therapists study the scientific components of what happens emotionally and neurologically to a person when music is played, then uses that knowledge to integrate music in therapy. More study is being done on the effects on the brain and development of children when music combined with music are a routine part of their lives. The possibility that music aids in healing is being explored as music is brought into hospitals for children, babies and older patients. Children and young persons with autism are benefitting from therapy involving music, often one on one with a therapist. And there is some exploration of bringing music therapy into schools.

So much has been gained in the area of research, but I hope to see it continue so that more people can benefit from music therapy.

It seems to me that music therapists, while relatively new in profession, bring to the table one of the oldest friends of mental and emotional health, making it accessible to those who need it most. You see, those who are very young, very old, physically or mentally sick often don’t have access to music the way we do. 

If a teen with a broken heart can find a little comfort in the rhythm and words of this song by going to Youtube and dancing to something like this. Dancing in itself can be soothing. But the key thing is having that access.

When I was going through a really devastating and depressing year I listened to these songs over and over. Medicine for my soul indeed!

One of the problems is that not everyone has access to music.

The residents in elder care depend on family, friends and recreation directors to bring music into their lives. Without them, the lives of many elderly in eldercare facilities wouldn’t have the music they love. And it’s important to have the music they love, not only for their emotional wellbeing, but also for mental stimulation that good memories bring.

Research in music therapy helps professionals who work with aging persons know what a difference music in their lives makes. I think it would be wonderful if each nursing home had a music therapist either on staff or hired to work with the recreational activity director.

How about in our schools? How about in conjunction with children who have anxiety? Or how about just to break the ice so all of the kids feel more connected to each other. I hope the trend for more and more research and more music therapists in each town and city continues. And it is, read this article to see it from one music therapists perspective as she sees her profession become more understood and recognized: And What Exactly is That Anyway?

 

Would you like to learn more about music therapy?

Here are some links for you to explore if you would like to know more about what music therapy is, what is does and the research that is ongoing with music therapy:

About music therapy:

http://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/

Music therapy in hospitals:

http://www.musicasmedicine.com/about/mtinhospitals.cfm

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/healing-with-music-therapy#1

Music therapy in schools:

http://mtp.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/04/14/mtp.miv012.extract

http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Music_Ed_2006.pdf

http://www.coastmusictherapy.com/our-services/in-school-programs/

Music therapy in eldercare:

http://www.ascseniorcare.com/music-therapy-seniors/

https://www.longtermsol.com/benefits-of-music-therapy-for-seniorsblog/

http://www.caringheartsofrochester.com/the-benefits-of-music-therapy-for-the-elderly/

Now it’s your turn, help spread the word about music therapy and its benefits!

http://sessioncafe.com/lets-flourish/

You can read this very personal post from Janet, founder of Bear Paw Creek, about the therapy her daughter received while fighting cancer:

Fighting cancer and music therapy

Comment below and tell us what songs lift you or soothe you. Do you have a favorite song or style? I bet you can still a song you learned when you were little… ahh the power of music.

Afte that, would you please share this post and others like it, so that we can start to get the word out and help people understand what music therapy is and what it’s potential is for future therapy? Thank you! 

 

Jenette is a freelance writer of web content, blogs, and podcast show notes. She is also a wife and imperfect mother, whose family mean the world to her. She has a high respect for business owners and entrepreneurs of all kinds. She enjoys helping them tell their story, connecting them to customers online.

You can find Jenette’s business website at www.mywordsforhire.com.

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3 Christmas Song Lists for Memory Care

A List of Vintage Christmas Music Resources for Memory Care Activities

 

 

Elder care professionals: Are you looking for some music resources for your planned recreational activities? Whether for use in a senior activity day center, at home or in a nursing home, we have a few song lists and suggestions you can have at your fingertips. Use them to lift spirits and get toes tapping this season. 

These Christmas selections were made from music that was popular in the 1920’s through the 1950’s, perfect for you to use in your memory care activities this week and the next.

Becoming acquainted with memory care.

I’ve known Janet, co-founder of Bear Paw Creek for a very long time now and my relationship with her has caused me to be more aware of the role of music and movement in therapy for people of all ages.

One therapy I’ve been researching and would love to hear more about is the role of memory care in people with dementia. Memory Care facilities take into account both the physical safety of the resident and the continuing mental and emotional wellbeing of the person. It costs more to have a family member stay in a Memory Care facility, but the increase in cost comes with an increase in benefits to your loved one. 

Games, music, and other activities, take into account the memories, loves, and abilities, of elderly people being cared for. This is also done in most nursing homes, in portions of many hospitals, in senior activity centers, and can be intentionally planned with in-home care as well.

As I type this, I think of my grandmother who has passed away and the tender care she got from a nursing facility and two of my aunts. I also think of a dear friend whose mother is dealing with Alzheimer’s, and how much her family loves her and how well they care for her. The third person I think of is a dear friend who watched her husband go through Alzheimer’s the last few years of his life. The weight of all of that love and loss makes it impossible for me to contemplate it without tears in my eyes.

This, then, is why memory care professionals pique my interest. Memory care, calls to my mind respect for the memories still able to be accessed and enjoyed… The songs, the images, and events which are still vivid when other memories are hidden under the blanket a fog.

In memory care, you enter into the world of the person who has dementia and you meet them there, on their terms, rather than expecting them to meet you in a place they can no longer relate to. Memory care also involves creating opportunities to take part in activities which have a low frustration level for the people you are working with.

Someone who can’t recognize faces and names may well remember how to play the piano, paint with a paint brush, or cut up fruit for a salad. These activities both stimulate the neuropathways and increase levels of pleasure while reducing feelings of isolation and anger.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of popular Christmas songs and artists from the 40’s 50’s and 60’s to be used by those planning an enjoyable time of recreation for residents of nursing homes or senior activity centers. I’ll give you a list of Youtube links as well as some links to great album choices of CDs or downloads. If you have a record player… well, you just might want to start hunting on Craigslist and garage sales for some great oldies to play (I saw record players for sale in a store last month… They’re coming back?). 

Host a Christmas dance for an elder care activity, complete with records and a vintage record player.

You can find record players on Amazon, They’re called “turn tables”, and you can even get a Victrola Nostalgic Classic, which residents of your elder care facility may enjoy seeing and having around. For the guests who can’t get up and dance, provide Movement Scarves, Streamers or Jingle Bells for their wrists, so they can dance with their arms and hands, or simply let them soak in the scene and enjoy the music.

Here are a list of records you can purchase in time for a Christmas party (if you get right on it.)

If buying a record player and records isn’t in the budget this year, here are some other ways to bring Christmas music to your memory care activities.

 

1. Vintage Christmas music on Youtube to use with memory care activities.

You can set your laptop up and play these tunes to get toes tapping (either connected to a T.V or not). Have it as the main event or in the background while you all work on a Christmas craft and sip hot chocolate.

2. Online Christmas song playlists sites to use with your memory care activities.

Rather than using a record player, cd player, computer or tape recorder (what’s that?), you can use your phone plugged into a speaker to provide Christmas ambiance for your activities.

Here are some links to playlists of vintage Christmas songs which will spark memories for people who grew up before the 1960’s. To tell the truth, many of the best songs were written before the 50’s, so these songs will probably spark memories for anyone who’s grown up with the tradition of celebrating Christmas in the U.S.A.

3. Hymns playlist stirs up precious childhood memories and hope.

The power of hymns in the lives of many elderly is very significant. Some have heard the Christmas hymns since they were babies on their mother’s knee. Most wonderful is being able to have a few musicians play the piano, guitar or some other instrument and lead the singing of carols. However, if those resources aren’t available through paid staff or volunteers (many churches would be willing to send out a group to lead the carols one night during the Christmas Season), I have compiled a playlist and resources for Christmas hymns here.

Of all the memory-centered activities you can create for the elderly around Christmas, providing a time to remember Christ’s birth with Christmas hymns may be the most significant.

Christmas Hymns for celebrating the birth of Christ.







Many thanks and appreciation are owed to the professionals who care for the elderly.

This is true whether they are providing for the physical needs or creating meaningful recreation and activities for the elderly in nursing homes work. I hope to see more writing and speaking about the role of memory care in the lives of elderly people struggling with dementia. I hope to see movement therapy and music play an integral part in that care as well. 

I want to leave you with these links to excellent websites with resources for memory care activities you can use in the coming year. May the year be filled with blessings for you as you bless other people through your work with the elderly, whether it be your own precious family member or someone else’s beloved family member.

Please share tips and ideas you put into practice in your recreation and/or memory care for elderly residents. 

Jenette is a freelance writer of web content, blogs, and podcast show notes. She is also a wife and imperfect mother, whose family mean the world to her. She has a high respect for business owners and entrepreneurs of all kinds. She enjoys helping them tell the story of their company, products, and services, connecting them online with those who would like to find them by the written word. You can find Jenette’s business website at www.mywordsforhire.com.

10 Gift Ideas for Christmas

Have you considered buying American made gifts?

 

 

Have you bought Christmas presents for your loved ones yet? I’ve got a great line-up of gifts you can buy this year, which are made in the U.S.A.

From little kids to adults and grandparents, scroll down for a bit of inspiration this giving season.

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in the U.S.A.

A tip for buying good gifts.

Lately, in my gift giving, I’ve tried to ask myself two questions:

  1. What is something that will make this person feel special?
  2. What is something that might last and will be used most every week?

I have to tell a story on my husband: One year, he got me a rice cooker for my birthday.

I confess, I was pretty underwhelmed at the time. But we usually fixed rice once a week at our house and I had boiled it over more than a few times, so he really thought I would appreciate it. Turns out, of all the presents I’ve received, that rice cooker is one of my all time favorites. I use it to this day (almost 20 years later).

So, gift giving can be pretty unpredictable and tricky at times, can’t it?

Nevertheless, we do the best we can 🙂 ! We desire to  bless the people who receive our gifts because we love them!

Christmas Gift Ideas

Who do you bless with your Christmas purchases?

Of course, you bless the person who receives your gift. However, do you realize how much you bless the person you buy it from?

Maybe not, because often we have no idea who made the gift we’re purchasing and we often don’t know the owners at the stores we shop in.

Now there’s no doubt that as you buy anything, you’re blessing a bunch of people down the line in big or small ways. Would you like to bless your neighbor or someone who’s a “neighbor” to you by buying a gift for your loved one, which has been made in America?

made-in-the-u-s-a-1

I feel positive about buying imports from around the world, but I’m also very positive about the idea of boosting our economy in the U.S. and in our local communities… How about buying made-in-the-U.S.A. presents this Christmas? I’ve been thinking about the possibility that my purchase (if made in November and early December) might even help another family afford gifts for their families this Christmas.

Instead of fretting about our local and national economy this year, let’s try buying Christmas gifts made in the U.S.A! 

 

A list of 10 (made in the U.S.A.) Christmas gift ideas.

This is a list of websites I’ve collected with great Christmas gift options which are made in the U.S.A.  Be sure to bookmark the ones that interest you:

  1. Fiesta Dinnerware for your favorite hostess, who loves to use them to serve her guests at parties. They have stand alone pieces or you can buy pieces to extend a set she already has.
  2. Buy socks for your loved ones who always steal yours because their toes are cold. You can take a shop online at Fox River, the home of the original Sock Monkey, for a huge variety of fun and quality socks.
  3. Portland General Store has unique and natural gift collections for the men in your life, from beard oil to  shaving kits.
  4. AMM_300dpi_tranparent_optI love hats and I love them best in the winter time when they keep my head cozy (which somehow keeps the rest of me warm as well.) I especially love these hats because they are well made, classic, fun and attractive. First, check out Stormy Kromer Caps and tell me if they don’t make you think of a Norman Rockwell painting in winter. Then hop on over to Yellow 108 to check out their Made in America, Fedora Collection… Just classy, for the person in your life with a sense of style. Last, but not least is the Bollman Hats company founder of American Made Matters. Watch this video about Bollman Hat’s success with creating 20 more jobs in their area: Bollman Hats WordPress.
  5. Council Tool creates tough tools for the person in your life who likes to make and fix things. They’re celebrating 130 years of manufacturing and they have a reputation to uphold in their product.
  6. I heard about this bike from a friend. It’s a great first bike for little kids from Heritage Bicycles. It’s called a Bennett Balance Bike and it’s made from recycled milk crates… got to love that! It’s sturdy and it teaches balance (I’ve heard it’s fun and much better than a bike with training wheels.) Keen Bean Coffee Roasters Mt. Vernon, MO
  7. Janet and I enjoy Keen Bean, Coffee Roasters (and coffee shop).  It’s been too long since I’ve been able to drop in there (Janet, we’re due for a treat!). You can order from them online for your coffee lover (or yourself). While you’re on their website, read their family’s story about coming home to the Ozarks to raise their family and share their love of coffee.
  8. Janet just recently introduced me to Piccadilly Bath and Body. Owned by Laura, Piccadilly Bath and Body offers soaps, lotions and more, handmade by her. I love the scent and look of her products. Better yet, if you’re anywhere near Springfield, MO or Stockton, MO, it’s worth the drive out there to see her store. She’s friendly and her property is beautiful and relaxing (great family photo opportunities).
  9. Maggie Mae's Miller, MOSpeaking of shopping in a great environment, if you’re anywhere in Southwest Missouri, you should know of a little bed and breakfast, tea shop, and store called Maggie Mae’s in Miller, Missouri (Facebook.com Maggie Mae’s Tea Room). They have tea, quiches, sandwiches, soups and such delicious desserts that it’s very hard to choose which one to splurge on at the end of a meal. Of course to Christmas shop at Maggie Mae’s, you’re going to have to go there. If you don’t live out in the Ozarks, I’m sure there’s a place, like Maggie Mae’s, near you. They would love to treat you and have your business. Look around your neighborhood and nearby towns to support the businesses in your community.
  10. Rebecca’s Bird Gardens sells whimsical bird houses, bird feeders, and hummingbird feeders for the garden and nature lover in your life. Rebecca makes each of these by hand. I don’t have the words to describe the playfulness and beauty each of her pieces embody. You’ll just have to take a look. 

 

Bonus idea!

Movement Prop Set for Listen and Learn Music from Bear Paw Creek

Click to learn more!

Buy Bear Paw Creek’s fun and colorful Movement Props as a Christmas present! These StreamersBean Bags and Stretchy Bands are made locally, here in the Ozarks, in Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll be encouraging healthier and happier kids (and adults!)

Stretchy Bands

Because children need to move and so do we!

Those were my Christmas gifts suggestions; I’d love to hear yours!

A bunch of my suggestions came from Southwest Missouri, my neighborhood. I’m sure you have some great businesses for us to consider from around your neighborhood. I’d love to hear your suggestions. Drop us a line in the comments here and tell us about your favorite local businesses. While you’re at it, share this post and let’s give businesses in the U.S.A a boost this season!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenette is a freelance writer of web content, blogs, and podcast show notes. She is also a wife and imperfect mother, whose family mean the world to her. She has a high respect for business owners and entrepreneurs of all kinds. She enjoys helping them tell the story of their company, products, and services, connecting them online with those who would like to find them by the written word. You can find Jenette’s business website at www.mywordsforhire.com.
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