What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

Have you heard of the “Teal Pumpkin Project®”?  Having a young family member with notable food restrictions, the Teal Pumpkin Project is something we strongly support and recommend for the safety of food-sensitive children and a way to allow all to fully participate and enjoy the fun of Halloween and trick-or-treating.

Prompted by childhood food allergies, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement to create a safer, healthier, and happy Halloween experience for all children, including those with food allergies, which can be life-altering and life-threatening. One in thirteen children suffers from some sort of food allergy today.  Among the project’s goals is to raise awareness of food allergies and to promote inclusion for all little trick-or-treaters during the Halloween season.

Halloween can be an especially challenging time for children, parents, and families managing food allergies on a daily basis. Many “mini” or “fun-sized” treats are not labeled with food ingredients and/or contain different ingredients than their full-sized counterparts, making managing for parents even more difficult.

The goal is to offer non-food treats for children dealing with allergies, as well as others for whom candy treats may not be an option. The whole purpose is not only food safety for those with allergies but also kindness and inclusion. Small children confronted with allergy issues will be delighted to receive a small non-food, non-threatening treat alternative, while other children can still receive traditional Halloween treats. No one left out of the fun. That’s the Little Red Bear way!


Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is easy.

  • Simply provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.
  • Place a Teal Pumpkin (‘teal’ is the chosen color of Food Allergy Awareness) in front of your home to indicate that you have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters, or in lieu of a Teal Pumpkin, a sign or poster placed on your door or window.

Where do I get a Teal Pumpkin to put on my front porch?

  • Obtaining a Teal Pumpkin for Halloween is fairly simple — paint your own!  Grab some teal paint and make it a family project. If you have children of your own, it will be a wonderful learning opportunity to involve them to help educate and raise their awareness of food allergy issues. Perhaps they have friends who are affected by allergies, making it even more personal and beneficial to be included in the process.
  • If you cannot paint a pumpkin yourself, no worries. Teal pumpkins should hopefully be available for purchase both online and in local shopping outlets. As the movement continues to grow each year, they will become readily available.
  • If painting is not an option and teal pumpkins are not available in your local stores, all you really need to do is display a sign or teal pumpkin printout at your door or in a window, letting everyone know that you have non-food treats available. Tap on the image on the right to download the sign and print out a copy for your home. Participating is as simple as that.

What are acceptable Non-Food Treats?

  • Children love to do artwork — Pencils, Pens, Crayons, Markers, Stencils!
  • Children love to do artwork outdoors — Sidewalk Chalk!
  • Children love to blow bubbles — Bubble Blowers!
  • Halloween Erasers and Pencil Toppers are really cool.
  • Children love to remind us that they are around — Whistles, Kazoos, Clappers, and Noisemakers (parents will love you!)
  •  Bouncy Balls (small children never have enough bouncy balls!)
  • Glow Sticks!
  • Small Stuffed Animals!
  • Jumping Ropes!
  • Paddle Balls!
  • Stickers!
  • Small Playing Cards and Games!
  • Finger Puppets and Novelty Toys!
  • Simple Bracelets, Wrist Bands, and Necklaces!
  • Mini Yo-Yo’s or Slinkies!
  • Mini Wooden Airplanes!
  • And of course, the perennial Halloween favorite — Fake Dracula Teeth!
  • Note — When selecting non-food items, it is best to omit moldable clays which may contain wheat products, and to steer away from any items made of or containing latex, for those latex-sensitive individuals.

A quick trip to the local dollar or discount store should provide all you need, and may very likely be cheaper than high-priced candy these days, keeping in mind that if you do go the non-food treat route only one in thirteen children will be seeking the non-food treats, so not talking about a great deal of items. Just enough to include a little something for everyone. Time spent in making an extra trip each Halloween will be more than offset by the warm feeling of knowing that you are doing something not only nice but also beneficial for the kids, and by the smiles and happiness of those receiving your special treat items on Halloween night.


This year, Little Red Bear and I urge you to join us in taking the pledge —


If you would like to learn more about food allergies and The Teal Pumpkin Project simply tap the link to visit the Food Allergy Research & Education page, where more suggestions for non-food treats and other ways to participate and help the movement are available. You can also read more about How The Teal Pumpkin Project Began.

Here is a resource site for downloadable Free Signs, Flyers & More!

Thanks always for visiting with us.  We hope that you will join Little Red Bear and me in The Teal Pumpkin Project and helping to make this a safe, healthy, and enjoyable Halloween — for Everyone! — Jim (and Red!)


“Thank God for little children; when our skies turn cold and gray, They come as sunshine to our hearts, and charm our cares away.” – Frances Watkins Harper

“He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.” –  Thomas Carlyle


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

                 “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”             — Sitting Bull (Hunkpapa Lakota)


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.” – Richard L. Evans

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” –  John F. Kennedy



For Our New Visitors Wondering — 

“Who is Little Red Bear?”

 Meet Little Red Bear and His Friends in this short introduction to the stories —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”



 

Embrace Your Talents and Passion — Share Them With The World!

We hear it so many times going thru life. Nearly every day. And one reason why it is so important never to compare one child with another. We each are born with our own natural talents and flair for some things, while maybe feeling totally inept at others.

  • “That guy has a natural talent for playing baseball.”
  • “Her musical ability is a gift.”
  • “He/She has a natural aptitude for math and science.”
  • “That person has a gifted eye for photography.”
  • “That guy has a natural flair for public speaking.”
  • “She is naturally talented at fashion design.”

What is talent anyway?  Generally, it is regarded as a special ability which someone is born with.  A skill that someone seems to possess which allows them to do frequently difficult things more naturally and easier in one area than another person might be able to.

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say — ‘I used everything you gave me’.”

— Erma Bombeck

Nevertheless, as my parents always reminded me, talent alone is no substitute for hard work.  Each of us is capable of doing pretty much anything we set our mind to.  We may have to work harder at it and settle for “95% great” compared to someone with “gifted talent”, but great and to our own satisfaction just the same.  Hard work beats natural talent every time, when talent doesn’t work hard. And if following our passion and doing something we love, it’s not “work” anyway.

Seek out and discover your natural talents and encourage children to do the same by exploring and trying their hand at a wide variety of activities. Everyone has a gift for something which allows them to be better and to excel in an area — be it sports, music, the arts, entertainment, science, cooking, parenting, teaching, and so many others.  Or, simply just kindness and being there with a listening ear for others.  Don’t minimize or discredit whatever may come naturally to you — it’s a gift.

Could Mother Teresa cook well or excel at soccer or painting?  I have no idea, because no one ever mentions it — only her kindness, compassion and love.  True gifts.

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” — Benjamin Franklin

That being said, never let a perceived or described lack of talent ever stop you or your children from doing whatever it is you or they may want to do.  Your heart will always show you the way. If you have a dominant, recurring thought in mind of something you want to do, listen and do it. Not doing something because “I don’t have any talent” is an excuse, not a reason.

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”  — Michelangelo

Talent is nice to have, but it never makes up for heartfelt passion, dedicated effort and hard work to develop and grow the needed skills.  Just ask the guitar player or artist born without arms and creating great works with their feet alone.  If there is something you would really like to do or try — just do it.  And if doing it makes only you happy, that’s all that counts. If it happens to benefit others along the way, even better.

So, if you are gifted with a natural talent, embrace it and share it with the world.  But don’t let a perceived lack of talent in an area  stop you. Follow your passion, put in the extra effort doing something you love and do it anyway.  The world will be a better place because of it all.

Thanks as always for reading and visiting with us!  Share your talents and abilities with the world, and be the reason someone smiles today!  — Jim (and Red!)


“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” ― Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!


Counting to Ten — Watching Our Words and Actions

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Everything we do in life — each action, spoken word, message, gesture, eye roll, sideways glance, or even thought, has the potential to do either great harm or great good for not only ourselves, but also for everyone around us.

Always true, it is amplified even more living in our modern social media world today, having the capability to influence the lives of people the world over.

So we need to be careful, take a moment to catch our breath, and reflect before speaking, acting or responding.  I was never aware that my Mother was quoting Thomas Jefferson when she frequently admonished “Count to ten” when I was upset or angry about something.

“When angry count ten before you speak. If very angry, one hundred.”

— Thomas Jefferson

It is especially important with young and sensitive children, whose self-images, attitudes and behaviors may be influenced, molded and shaped by our next words and actions.

Children who are always, always watching and listening — and learning by observing. It’s what they do.  It is a lot of responsibility, but no one ever said parenting or acting like a mature adult was going to be easy.

As the old carpenter saw goes — “measure twice, cut once.”   So we need to think twice, count to ten (or a hundred, or even one hundred, ninety-eight and three-quarters) and only then speak or act –  prudently, thoughtfully, compassionately.  Thereby serving as the very best influence and guide for children and everyone else in our lives.

Children learn from the examples we set, intended or not.  If we cannot control our own emotions and behaviors, how can we reasonably expect our children, or our neighbors, co-workers, employees, or anyone else to do so?

“… every single act we do has the potential of causing pain, and every single thing we do has consequences that echo way beyond what we can imagine. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act. It means we should act carefully. Everything matters.” ― Sylvia Boorstein

“Words are like toothpaste, Charlie.  Once out, there’s just no putting ’em back.  They can land with the gentleness of a feather or the force of a sledgehammer.  And the effects go out like ripples across a pond, for good or bad.” — Little Red Bear

Thanks always for dropping by, and we hope you enjoy your visits here.  Please act gently and kindly with not only fragile young minds and spirits, but with everyone; and be the reason someone smiles today! — Jim  (and Red!)


Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

 Peace  —  Compassion  —  Kindness  —  Love


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

~ Think Globally — Act Locally ~


Family Sundays Together –Celebrate National Mom and Dad’s Day!

Happy Family Sunday!  Three cheers for ‘Team Mom and Dad’!  Today on November 13th, we celebrate National Mom and Dad’s Day!

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are set aside to recognize and honor each individually with their own special day, but Mom and Dad’s Day has been established to spotlight the “Mom & Dad Team”, the combined unit together. And in an increasingly fractured society, isn’t that what we need more of — Moms and Dads working together —  to restore family values and home life for our children and the future?

What better way to observe the day in honor of Team Mom and Dad than celebrating it together with the family?  Spending time together with our parents, and with our own children that make us Moms and Dads ourselves.

Image Credit -- Grandparents.com

Image Credit — Grandparents.com

And who hasn’t been tag-teamed by their Mom and Dad at one time or another?

“Mom, can I do this?” — “Go ask your Father.”

“Dad, can I do this?” — “Go ask your Mother.”

“Mom, Dad said to ask you again. Can I do this?”  — “Well, if your Father says it is okay.”

“Dad, Mom said I could do it if it’s okay with you.” — “Well, it’s really up to your Mother.”

“Mom, Dad said it was up to you.” — “Well, I don’t know, dear. Check back with your Father.”

A time-tested routine that works almost every time. Because sooner or later, most kids just give up somewhere between the family room and the kitchen and just say “never mind.”  Another victory for “Team Mom and Dad”. The ability to say “No” without actually saying so. Kind of like a Pocket Veto.

Image Credit -- TodaysParent.com

Image Credit — TodaysParent.com

Of course, the strategy for overcoming the tag team defense was to do an end-around and catch Mom and Dad together in the same room.  Sometimes it would result in a score.  But risking a numbers game, other times the end-around strategy could backfire and result in a brutal rejection, like a guarded basketball net,  when they had you outnumbered two to one in the same room.

But since it was the only play in the kid playbook with any chance of success, after the third or fourth round trip to the kitchen it was the only option available other than giving up entirely, which is what the tag team defense was designed to achieve in the first place. Of course, I suppose the object of the game on both sides was to wear the opponent down until they submitted.  But in a single contest, parents most always have the numbers on their side.

Image Credit -- FamilyShare.org

Image Credit — FamilyShare.org

I speak of this now after having raised four children of my own and having experienced the game from both sides of the field.  My parents were accomplished masters at the tag team game.  We never quite achieved their level of success in establishing the impenetrable tag team defense with our children, which my parents seemed so easily adept at and able to pull off each time.  But then again, they always had me outnumbered, dealing with only one opponent because my sister was much older and already enlisted on their side.

Our four children had the distinct advantage of being able to work in tag teams of their own, applying relentless pressure on the defense. We seemed to invariably get trapped by the vaunted end-arounds by our kids, cornered on the couch and surrounded on all four sides. When the question before the court was not a life or death issue, relenting frequently seemed the only reasonable chance of emerging from the encounter with our sanity and scalps still intact.  So maybe it is a numbers game, after all.

“One of the most important things we adults can do for young children is to model the kind of person we would like them to be.”                              — Carol B. Hillman

So let’s celebrate the dedication and love of Moms and Dads together, and hats off and huzzahs for the Mom and Dad Team! And to single parents who lovingly and determinedly wear the hats of both roles. Parenting is not an easy job and doesn’t come with an instruction book. And no child seems to arrive complete with an operator’s manual. But the rewards are priceless.

Today is a special day to do something nice for Mom and Dad, or to treat yourself and children to a celebration day of ‘Team Family’.

Image Credit -- DeeperWaters.us

Image Credit — DeeperWaters.us

November 13th is also World Kindness Day.  Practicing and Teaching kindness and compassion right in your home is a great place to start. Children live what they learn, and learn by what they see. Moms and Dads — do a random act of kindness for someone, and show the kids how it’s done! And you don’t need to go far. Mother Teresa put it well — ” Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” Start right in your own family — today.

Image Credit -- TheDailyQuotes.com

Image Credit — TheDailyQuotes.com

Happy Moms and Dads Day!  Happy Kindness Day!  Happy Family Day!  

Wishing everyone a beautiful autumn and family Sunday celebrating Moms and Dads and Kindness — together!

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times 

Thanks as always for visiting! The special Christmas Story for Little Red Bear and the crew has passed thru the editing stage and coming right along.  Please stay tuned for updates soon, and have a wonderful upcoming week!  —  Jim (and Red!)

Image Credit -- THINKSTOCK

Image Credit — THINKSTOCK

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

 

A Guest Post — “Chasing the Fae . . . . .”

The internet is a wonderful and strange new place where we get to form real and significant friendships with people across the globe that, rather unfortunately, we will probably never get to meet in person.  Such a treasured ‘net friend is Sylva Fae, and her thoroughly charming and delightful family.  Living in a magical woodland in the UK, Sylva shares adventures in parenting, along with stories of childhood wonderment, discoveries and fascinations in her blog entries.  I invite you to Visit and Follow Sylva Fae’s Blog, and you too will be charmed by the woodland, the fairy gardens and inhabitants.   I am honored to be able to share her most recent uplifting post with you here.  Enjoy.

“Chasing the Fae…”

25efbfcb-c190-41d5-b5b3-30dea2c96ac9This is a time of year for reflection, for pondering and for weighing up the good and the bad of the last year. For me it was a year of great change. I’ve escaped a job I’d grown weary of and tumbled into a new career. I’ve seen my baby grow up to become a school girl, I’ve watched my middle daughter blossom in confidence and my eldest little diva is now dancing through junior school. The school terms mark the passing of time as my girls learn faster than I can keep up with.

As a parent I am constantly trying to keep the balance between boundaries and rules, and allowing children to just be children. I worry about whether I’m doing enough, being strict enough or too strict. I relentlessly remind them of their pleases and thank yous and hope that they use them with others. I read with them, sing, dance and play with them, we run through the fields, scramble through bushes and climb the trees together but I don’t take them to the clubs other children their age go to. Our weekends have no structure, no plan, we just check the weather and choose an adventure. I often worry if it’s enough.

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The previous month brought happy tears as I watched each of my little ones sing in their school plays. It also brought proud mummy moments as I crouched, knees up to ears on a tiny school chair listening while their teachers reported on their year in class. It seems my three are known for their manners (phew!), are effortlessly coasting through their lessons and are kind to others. Good to know but what made me smile most, was each teacher commented on their vivid imaginations, their aptitude for story telling and the amazing illustrations they create to go with their stories. One teacher said with a giggle, that she always looked forward to what she’d write about her weekend adventures. She showed me a few and laughed about how she tried to make her describe her weekend but she always insisted on telling a story instead. I read a few. They told of leaving the woodland path and wading through thick forest to discover secret lands, of hunting dragons and making houses for the fairies, they described chasing mermaids across the sky and climbing to the tops of the tallest trees to capture the sunbeams. I smiled back at the teacher and assured her it was all actually true. I’m not sure whether the teacher believed me or made a mental note that their mother was quite loopy. She smiled in a knowing way and moved swiftly onto her maths progress.

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In those moments of self doubt, I remember that I have fuelled that imagination, fed it and encouraged it to run wild. I have provided the playground and focused their minds to see beyond what the eye can capture. I may not be a conventional mum but then I did not have a very conventional childhood. I blame my mum! My girls share our family trait, we’re deemed by others to be bizarre but I am secretly proud my girls have inherited my weirdness. I can’t blame all my quirks on my mum but she was the one who taught me to read and I have passed on that love of books to my daughters. Giving them the gift of literacy is something I can be proud of.

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b99f9029-8769-453a-9765-448280b85477This new year blew in with the weather. Here in England, we’ve had a wet and gloomy start to 2016 with many flooded out by heavy rains.This weather has kept us from going out as much as we’d like and I’m missing my little woodland. My girls have been wishing for snow for weeks and finally their wishes were granted. We awoke today to a white garden and sparkling trees; they couldn’t wait to build their first snowman. I happily dodged snowballs and helped give our snowman a smile, but I’m secretly wishing for sunshine, for lazy, carefree days to run through the fields. Whatever the weather, I know this year will bring many more adventures out in the woods, making memories and writing stories to baffle teachers and keep my little faeries entertained. One thing I know for sure, I’ll be spending my days chasing the fae.