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Sneak Peek of the Virtues Tree (Tender Sapling’s newest product-in-development)

SAMPLE-The Virtues Tree-blog fileHere it is! A sneak peek of a labor-of-love product we’ve been working on over the last year – The Virtues Tree!

Back when our first son struggled to help us clean up toys and to smile at strangers (or we struggled with his efforts to do so), I searched far and wide for any concrete and fun tools to help us. After finding a suggestion for a felt board one in The Virtues Guide, my son and I set out to create our own Virtues Tree with paints and poster board. We hung it in our dining room/kitchen area, integrated some activities, and started on a fun path of growing character, one Virtues Fruit at a time!

Inspired by our family’s eight-year journey creating and using a homemade painted Virtues Tree, we at Tender Sapling recently commissioned an artist (Scott’s amazing aunt, Marg Bucher) to paint what we think is a gorgeous and whimsical tree that will capture the hearts and imaginations of children! It comes with beautiful full-color and black-and-white versions of 12 Virtues Fruits that a family (or class) can attach to the tree as part of learning about and practicing each virtue. Plus, we’re working on an e-book that will be chock full of creative and concrete ways to help children of all ages explore each virtue!

We’re excited to share this low-resolution image with you and to get your input as we prepare to launch it via Kickstarter! If you’re familiar with crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter, then you know it’s a great way to share your dream with others and join together as a community to make it a reality. But before we get to that stage, we want your thoughts on the Virtues Tree via this survey. You can see previews of the fruits there too. Respond by October 1 and submit your information to enter a chance to win a $25 Tender Sapling Gift Card as a thank you for participating in the survey!

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

 

oceans of gratitude,

emily & scott

(the team at tender sapling)


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Acorn Wisdom Revisted

In honor of Father’s Day, here’s a repost of Acorn Wisdom – my own father’s magical way of sharing insight into life with his children and grandchildren. Wishing all the dads and granddads a Happy Father’s Day! Thanks for all you do to bring light to the lives of your children and grandchildren!

Baba holds out two acorns.

Baba holds out two acorns.

Every childhood hike with my father inevitably led to the pivotal acorn moment. Baba, as we call him, would hold out his fist and ask us kids if we knew could guess what he was holding. He’d gently open it to reveal the little treasure and we’d shout with glee (or years into this, roll our eyes and mumble):

“An acorn!”

“No,” he’d wisely respond. “This is a tree. A great big oak tree.”

“No way!” “Come on!” We protested. He was obviously holding just a wee little acorn.

Then he’d remind us…

–> continue reading Acorn Wisdom: A Gem Worth Passing Down the Generations


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Celebrating Mama: Ideas + Encouragement

BBMaternity13-KSBMT1In the spirit of helping you mamas and those supporting you to carve out some special time and ways to take care of you, here are some simple ways to celebrate mama this weekend (Sunday, May 12 is Mother’s Day in the U.S.):

* Check out 5 fun DIY ideas to make Mother’s Day special

* Enjoy this poem about the magic mamas bring to the world

* Browse these gift ideas for mamas and use coupon code ANNIV20 at checkout to get 20% off your entire purchase through the month of May

Here’s sending a supportive hug and high-five out to all you awesome mamas!


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Tender Sapling’s Best of 2013: Top posts from the year

IMG_0221We hope you have all been enjoying the end of 2013 – pausing to spend needed time with family & friends, rest, eat, reflect, and so on.  We sure have (and thus haven’t been blogging much lately)!

As we bid 2013 farewell, we thought it’d be fun to review the top ten visited posts from 2013 on the Tender Sapling blog. These don’t include all our favorites, but are the ones that attracted the most readers. If you missed one, here’s a chance to catch up.

Happy reading!

1)   Homemade Yogurt Grows Good Cultures + Character too!

2)   May Day Fun: Dandelion Soup Recipe

3)   Gratitude Giveaway – What Are You Thankful For?

4)   Acorn Wisdom: A Gem Worth Passing Down the Generations (This one was included on the Moments a Day list of 100 Kids Activities to Build Character.)

5)   Mama – Magic in the World

6)   Japan: Cultural Reading Adventures + Fun Food and Crafts for Kids

7)   Take-off to Norway: Explore the Land of the Midnight Sun

8)   Migrate to Mongolia: A Tender Sapling Travelers Cultural Adventure – Part 2 (Prayer Wheels)

9)   Migrate to Mongolia: A Tender Sapling Travelers Cultural Adventure – Part 3 (Food)

10)   Sunshine Award – Not Just a Chain Letter (?)

Thanks so much for reading along this last year. We appreciate your visiting and love your comments! See you in 2014!


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Gratitude Giveaway – What Are You Thankful For?

Nov 2013 GiveawayWe’re delighted to offer a Gratitude Giveaway during this season of thankfulness!

It’s one way we can partner with other wonderful folks to support you in raising your kiddos (or grandkids, nieces, nephews, friends’ kids, etc.) to grow noble – cultivate their inner virtues, world citizenship, and green living.

We have two wonderful treats for you:

* Playing with Purpose, an ebook from Moments a Day creator Chelsea Lee Smith with over 100 fun and simple activities to help your children learn about a range of positive character traits such as helpfulness

* A Tender Sapling adult tee – pick from four styles in either men’s or women’s cuts. We had many requests for larger youth/adult tees and they are available now!

All you have to do to enter is answer this question in the comments below:

What are you thankful for?    

(you’re welcome to simply list one thing you’re grateful for today or this month, etc.)

Comment by 11:59 pm PST, Monday, December 2, 2013 (the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S.) to enter. Entrants must have a U.S. mailing address. Winner will be randomly selected and announced here and on Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday, December 3, and must reply within 3 days or prize goes to the second name drawn.

NOTE: This Giveaway has ended. The winner of a copy of Playing with Purpose & a Tender Sapling adult tee is 1955nurseCunningham, who has received details via an email from us. Congrats, 1955nurseCunningham! Many thanks to all who entered and shared what they are grateful for. The thoughts in the comments below were very moving to read and we hope everyone enjoyed them as much as we did.

Bonus entries will be provided for those who do any of the following.

  • Bonus Entry 1: ”Like” Tender Sapling on Facebook. (Leave a separate comment if you have done this.)
  • Bonus Entry 2: Follow Tender Sapling on Twitter. (Leave a separate comment if you have done this.)
  • Bonus Entry 3: Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter using @tendersapling and #giveaway in your tweet. (Leave a separate comment if you have done this.)
  • Bonus Entry 4: Sign up for Tender Sapling newsletters (sent usually 1-2x a month, a bit more during the holidays). (Leave a separate comment if you have done this.)

If you haven’t already, visit Moments a Day and sign up for email newsletters to get access to her free ebook 30 Cooperative Games for Preschoolers. We hope you enjoy discovering Moments a Day as much as we have. We’re grateful for Chelsea’s inspiring blog and resources and are sure you will be too. (We also appreciate her sweet review of Tender Sapling’s products as part of a giveaway she offered when her ebook launched earlier this month. You can read it here.)

Disclosure: All opinions expressed are my own and I was not compensated at all for this post.

We invite you to also check out our Gratitude Challenge and Thankfulness Tree craft recommendation we shared last week.

We can’t wait to read your thankfulness thoughts! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this week!


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Gratitude Challenge: Words + Actions

Piglet & Pooh sketch      “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

With Thankgiving around the corner, tendersaplingdada and I have been reflecting on the many blessings in our lives, foremost among them — our children. As any parent with sleeping children has experienced, it’s in those precious moments of peacefulness that we pause and can most easily see the incredible gift in our hands.

We’ve also been feeling incredibly thankful to have a wee business and blog that is gradually growing and developing (psst – we’re so excited to have lots of new products coming out this week!). While we don’t post quite as often as we might like, we appreciate this cozy space where we can meet you and hopefully support you in your path as a parent, educator, grandparent, or friend of children. And we are thankful for the opportunities to learn from you along the way.

Here is a favorite post from last year about gratitude. It shares a simple but powerful learning we had as a family last year. In math terms, it might be expressed: giving thanks = words + actions :) As a mother, I’ve found it incredibly helpful this last year to guide my little ones not just to say words of thanks, but to show thankfulness through their actions.

I also love this post because it presents a Gratitude Challenge:

1)   Words – Strive to feel the gratitude in your heart when you voice your thanks to someone. Make sure the soul is truly speaking.

2)   Deeds – Try to express your gratitude with an act of service of some sort. When a direct action related to your thought of thankfulness is not easily attainable or obvious, you can always start with a smile and a prayer in your heart to be directed to act in a way that shows your gratitude.

I’m glad to have reread it as it reminds me to practice this regularly with my children. I invite you to try it too!

But let’s go back to the beginning of the post, so you can read a bit more and find a fun and simple activity to do with the kids – collect leaves on a nature walk and then create Gratitude Leaves for a Thankfulness Tree:

Thankfulness Leaves

Thankfulness Leaves

“This time of year my soul feels as if it’s sipping a mug of delicious hot apple cider – there is so much heart-warming thankfulness floating in the air from everyone around me. For all our readers around the world, this Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, so we’re neck high in turkeys, Pilgrims, and, most wonderfully, lots of giving of thanks. It’s one of my favorite American holidays as I always find joy in the communal act of pausing to give thanks for the simple things, past and present.

“This year I’ve tried something new with the children. We directed our thankfulness thoughts to the future as well. Nah, we don’t have a crystal ball. I wasn’t suggesting that the kids be thankful for an unknown future – though there’s value being thankful for the promise of tomorrow, a brighter future ahead.

“Instead, I shared with them something I’d been reflecting on lately. That thankfulness is of two kinds – words and deeds. There is giving thanks through one’s words by saying “Thank You” and the like. And then there is showing gratitude through one’s actions.

This became the theme of an activity we did –> Read more here!

What ways do you like to cultivate gratefulness in your little ones? You might like this list of ten ideas my friend Chelsea created at Moments a Day.

Happy Thanksgiving to your and yours!


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Celebrate Malala Day by Supporting Girls Education!

What a great response we’ve had to the launch of our new pink tees and bodysuits and the way we chose to give back with these new products. If you missed it, on the International Day of the Girl (Oct 11), we introduced our pink tees and bodysuits in two styles and announced that 9% of all sales through Malala Day (Nov 10) would go to support girls education via The Malala Fund. Thank you to all who have made pink purchases or shared this special fundraiser via their blogs or social media outlets!

It’s been great to hear the nice feedback about the new pink products  – “gorgeous” from Chelsea at Moments a Day and “adorable” from Homa at Growing Up Global, for example. But even more, we’re grateful for all those who embrace the idea of promoting education for girls as a basic human right. You don’t need to have a girl in your life or to buy pink to support girls education. Direct contributions can always be made directly to The Malala Fund or another organization working to improve opportunities for girls worldwide.

With 65 million girls worldwide unable to attend school due to discrimination, poverty, and violence, this is a huge issue that truly holds back the world. After all, as the African proverb says it best:

Educate a boy, and you’re educating an individual. Educate a girl and you are educating an entire village.

Many people who have heard me talk about Malala this last month aren’t sure who I’m talking about at first. But when I describe the girl who was shot in the face last year by the Taliban for attending school; the young woman who, once recovered, addressed the UN, authored a book, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting the education of girls, pretty much everyone remembers. Most everyone has heard of Malala.

So, in the spirit of celebrating girls and raising funds for girls education, here are a few fun things to share:

As mentioned in our first pink launch blog post, we thought the illumination of world landmarks in pink light on the 2012 International Day of the Girl by Plan International rocked. Here are a couple images from Plan International‘s website of 2013 landmarks glowing pink:

The Empire State Building lit up pink for the International Day of the Girl, 2013 (photo: Plan International)

The Empire State Building lit up pink for the International Day of the Girl, 2013 (photo: Plan International)

Festivities at the fountain in Central Park, Guatemala City - lit up pink for the International Day of the Girl (photo: Plan International)

Festivities at the fountain in Central Park, Guatemala City – lit up pink for the International Day of the Girl (photo: Plan International)

Pretty wonderful, huh?

Here are a few favorite pictures of Malala confidently wearing pink that helped inspire us to design the launch of our first pink products to benefit her foundation. We love that one of the designs on our new pink tops is our “Love All the World” theme which fits a global initiative like this “to a tee.” :)

malala with pink backpack

Malala Yousafzai with a pink backpack. Getty Images.

malala addresses UN july 2013

Malala Yousafzai addressing the United Nations, July 2013. photo: Reuters

Malala Yousafzai, in pink, received a Glamour 2013 Women of the Year Award.

Malala Yousafzai, in pink, received a Glamour 2013 Women of the Year Award.

On another note, did you know that in just the last hundred years, pink has gone from being a primarily male-associated color to being the female-associated color we know today? Perhaps in another decade pink will be embraced equally as a male and female color, as everyone looks good in pink, right? :) We are parents of three boys, who have at various stages loved (some still love) wearing pink, as this picture shows:

IMG_0092_2_2

MALALA DAY IS THIS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10!

There is less than one week left for 9% of the sales of our new pink tops to benefit The Malala Fund, so if you’ve been meaning to get an order in, please do so by Sunday.

Tender Sapling Pink Launch Benefits Girls Education

And certainly, if you wish to directly support The Malala Fund or any of the many great funds in support of girls education, please do! Here is the link again to The Malala Fund!”

If you have a connection you’d like to help us make in promoting our Pink for Girls Education special, please email us at: theteam@tendersapling.com  We’d love your help to get the word out these last few days of the fundraiser!

Happy Malala Day! May the educational opportunities for girls worldwide be dramatically improved this time next year!

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