The National Anthem.

Watch this and tell me it didn’t move you.  Just try.


The Little Tortoise!

I started a business called – wait for it-


The Little Tortoise!


The Little Tortoise is focused on the developmental needs of children.  I search for toys that enhance children’s speech, language and fine motor development through fun activities that engage them and spark their interest in learning.  The idea for The Little Tortoise was “hatched” shortly after my son, Nik, was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  In looking for toys that would stimulate him, I quickly realized that I could not depend on the big-box retailers.  The latest fads and trendy character-driven toys were momentarily appealing to Nik, but he soon discarded them. I searched for high quality purposeful toys that were beautiful, versatile, and which would sustain inspired play and learning over time.  It was not easy, and there were a lot of trials and errors.  That was when I realized that other parents and children could benefit from my research. 

Everything at The Little Tortoise is hand selected by me.  I seek toys and games that are lovingly designed and crafted and have a timeless appeal.  Each toy that I have selected has also been reviewed by speech therapists and clinical psychologists.

The website is up, but not fully functional yet.  I am working hard to get it up and running, but in the mean time, I have catalogs that I give to anyone interested. 

I am really excited about the great reception this is getting!  I made my first sale last Monday, and have had a couple of showings of my samples.  I will be hosting a table at my moms’ group’s Holiday Bazaar next week, so looking forward to that.

It has been a lot of fun getting this started, but now I have to keep it up! 

I want coffee, Mommy?

Oh yeah…that is what he said.  We were driving on the freeway, and we passed an exit with a signpost with the usual gas/food/hotel info.  But this one also had the ubiquitous Starbucks logo.  A small logo, but there it was.

And of course, Nik saw it. 

And I waited for it, and sure enough, from the backseat comes a small voice:

“I want coffee, Mommy?”

Because I am that mother who takes her children to Starbucks to hang out.  We go after a speech or OT session, and I get whatever strikes my fancy (currently a grande gingerbread latte) and Nik gets either a short decaf version of that, or a short decaf 120 vanilla latte.  Sissy gets her Sigg (with water) and a cookie or a croissant (she LOVES croissants.)

And I get some peaceful moments spent with children who behave themselves and stay close to me.  No, really.  It’s true.  They are so used to going, they know the routine down pat.  I used to take a toy to distract Nik, but now I don’t even need that.  It’s pretty nice.

I guess

I  fell off the NaBloPoMo wagon pretty quickly!  

Things have been pretty busy around here.  My new business is finally kicking into gear, and I’m trying to get my cards ordered.  I have a dry run presentation to the public on Saturday, and I am paralysed!  I also took on the volunteer job of Newsletter Publisher for my local moms group.  Because I don’t have enough to do. 

And I just added 1.5 hours of Social Skills class/ 3 times a week to Nik’s schedule.  After his first class today, he got into his carseat and told me, “I’m tired.”  No doubt.

I won’t keep you guessing about my business for long…more to follow!


Poetry Speaks to Children, edited by Elise Paschen [Hardcover Book & CD, ages 6-9] This is an amazing collection of 97 poems, of which at least half are read or performed on the accompanying CD.  You can read along while you listen or for the younger set, just pop in the CD and let the wonderful voices of the various poets and artists carry you away.  Parents will really appreciate hearing the voices of the poets reading their own words; where else can you hear Langston Hughes reading “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” Robert Frost reading “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and J.R.R.Tolkien reading “Frodo’s Song in Bree” on the same album?   There is a good mix of poetry, from the sublime (again, Robert Frost!) to the irreverent (C.K. Williams’ “Gas,” which dwells on, well, gas.)  The book is well illustrated by three artists, which helps keep the young ones interested. 

Book review: Scaredy Squirrel


Scaredy Squirrel, by Melanie Watt. [Picture Book, Ages 4-8]

A perfect book for any child or parent dealing with anxiety!  Scaredy Squirrel doesn’t want to leave his tree, because the world is scary!  Not that he knows for sure, because he’s never experienced it.  He has a trusty emergency kit ready to use if he has to face the world, but one day it falls out of the tree.  So Scaredy has to take a leap of faith!  Simple pictures and a quirky story make this a fun read for both parents and children. 

I borrowed this from the library before we started Nik in preschool.  I am not sure how much of it he really understood, but I wanted to show him a scenario where someone is scared of something but then does it anyways, and everything works out. 

Now when he thinks that something is scary, he will say: “It’s scary!”

Then, “It’s not scary, it’s nice!”


Rating: 3 Tortoises