do something: 2011 holiday shopping edition

well, so much for bringing back these posts every friday, huh? 

now that thanksgiving is over, we can officially start the christmas celebration...at least that's what i think.

while you can certainly engage in the holiday shopping madness by stopping by your local mall or wal-mart, i would highly encourage you to take step back and pause for a moment before you get going down that route.

if you've followed this blog long enough, you know that we are a family that strives to support local, independent business as much and as often as our budget will allow.  why local?  well, the most obvious reason is that the majority of the money you spend will stay right here in cleveland.  what happens when you do that?  well, it stimulates the local economy (check out this website for a super cool idea).  and when the local economy is booming then people have jobs, which means more people have money to spend, and if spent locally then the local economy continues to thrive, and it's like this fantastically, wonderful circle! 

so how does that look like?  well, that my friends, will have to be saved for another post.  for now, i'm going to provide you a sampling of some FABULOUS local alternatives in the cleveland area as you prepare for your holiday shopping adventure.  these places feature many local artists and independent businesses that you can support instead of the usual big box stores.

markets and craft fairs:

1. cleveland handmade market at tower press.  saturday december 3 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at 1900 superior avenue in cleveland.

2. winterfest village at winterfest.  saturday november 26 from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. on public square in downtown cleveland.

3. bazaar bizarre.  saturday december 10 from 10 a.m - 9 p.m. and sunday december 11 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the 78th street studios in cleveland.

4. last minute market. saturday december 17 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at 1300 athens avenue in lakewood.

5. cleveland craft coalition's handmade holiday show.  friday december 16 from 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. and saturday december 17 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at breakneck gallery in lakewood.

independent shops:

1. room service located at 2078 w. 25th street in ohio city.  today is the kick off to their annual made in the 216 holiday shoppe, which features many talented local artists!

2. salty not sweet located at 2074 w. 25th street in ohio city.  they offer some super cool handmade products that will surely please everyone on your christmas shopping list.  and with room service being their next door neighbors...can i just say one stop shopping?

3. cosmic bobbins pop-up shop located on 2406 professor avenue in tremont.  they will be open through december 22 and offer a fantastic mix of their own products and other local artists.

4. yellowcake pop-up shop located on w. 65th street and detroit avenue in the gordon square arts district.  yellowcake is valerie mayen's super-fantastic clothing label.  if you've never checked out one of her pop-up shops then take this opportunity to get yourself over to w. 65th and see what it's all about.

5. gordon square holiday market located on 6710 detroit avenue in the gordon square arts district.  this pop-up shop features an assortment of wares from local cleveland artists to meet your holiday shopping needs.  throw in a little yellowcake, sweet moses and gypsy bean coffee (plus plenty of other independent shops in that neighborhood) and you're set for the day!

6. crafty goodness located on 1562 madison avenue in lakewood.  this shop features all locally made products and has a very eclectic mix.  there is something for everyone here!

7. native cleveland located on 15813 waterloo road in cleveland.  this shop features handmade items all from the cleveland area and offers many pro-cleveland wares.

quite honestly, i could go on (there are so many that i didn't even mention).  but i won't because if i do i will end up with a super crabby baby that has missed his nap all because his mama took forever to finish up this list.

and now i leave it up to you.  this city is chalk full of independent businesses and local artisans.  if you take the time and explore you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by what the locals have to offer.

happy shopping!


wordless wednesday::wielding scissors

a new found discovery in using scissors has resulted in lots of busy cutting, shredding and chopping of paper. 
let's just hope it doesn't get turned into a weapon...

more wordless wednesday here and here.


getting off the fence - part 1

your child's education.

i think most parents would agree that this is an important (and at times very sensitive) subject, and not one to be taken lightly. it's definitely a hot topic, wouldn't you say?  we want what's best for our children, and having them receive a quality education would definitely be up there.

but what does that look like? does it mean moving into a neighborhood where, based on test scores and other measures of success, the schools (or district) perform well? does it mean sending your kids to private school, where you are pretty much guaranteed (at least this is my impression...and i don't mean this in a negative way at all) an outstanding, well-rounded education? does it mean you do it yourself and provide a home education?

quite honestly, i don't know. there are so many factors to think about when considering what's best for your child's education.

for a long time i always thought all our kids would go to traditional school. i went to traditional school (private and public), and so did my husband.  when we were in seattle, ty was attending the public school that was outside of our neighborhood zone. why? because based on it's history, they provided better educational opportunities than our neighborhood school. when we moved here, the school district's performance was one of the reasons we moved into that neighborhood, and it's encouraging to be in a community where we see many parents willing to take the time to be involved in their children's schools.

over the years, as we have done research into educational approaches and methods to assist ty in improving his school performance, i discovered home education.  the term "homeschool" was not foreign to me, but i definitely had my preconceived notions about the idea of homeschooled kids and homeschooling in general (i might have to save this for another post).  i also didn't think i could handle such a huge responsibility.  i mean, educating my own children (ah, the irony in that sentence...)??  sure i went to college, but i don't have a teaching license.  and what if i miss teaching them something important and they fail school.  i thought, no way.  homeschooling would not be for me...although...maybe i might borrow some of their educational approaches to help my own kids if they happen to struggle in school...

i have found lots of helfpul homeschooling websites, read a fair amount of books about homeschooling and inquired other homeschooling mothers about home education in the past 5 years.  the ideas and approaches presented made sense to me.  the information i gleaned from those sources have been used to help ty in school, and it has also helped shape and define our personal educational philosophy.

the more i researched about homeschooling the more i began to question whether or not continuing the legacy of traditional schooling was right for our family.  the flexibility (of time, methods, curriculum) was VERY appealing, but the whole idea seemed daunting (especially in ohio where you are required to submit a curriculum to the district each year).  back and forth we went.  should we or shouldn't we?  are we capable?  do we have time?  what if we mess up?

we started with baby steps.  we opted out of preschool for emma, and figured if this is the road God wants us to take then the choice to homeschool (or not to homeschool) would be clear to us.  we have not regretted the decision to keep her out of preschool.  and i learned a lot in those "preschool" years with emma.  i learned that i don't have to be perfect (much like i don't expect teachers to be perfect, either).  i learned that as parents *we* are the primary educators of our children whether or not they're homeschooled.  i learned that simply experiencing the day to day provides many, many learning opportunities.

so what am i saying?  well folks,  if you haven't already figured it out, after sitting on the fence about this homeschooling business we've decided to get off.  more like jump off, full-speed ahead into home education.  no more getting our feet wet.  we are in all the way.

we are committed.  we are excited.  we are ready.


wordless wednesday::put on a happy face

more wordless wednesday here and here.
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