Bring Alex Home–Passing the time with fun!

As we all await the arrival of the first production Alex dollfriends, I thought we could have a little fun to help pass the time.  This game is my way of playing with the reality of the effort to bring Alex to your home.  I hope it makes you smile.

AlexGame

Crafts for Girls–Dollfriend Tennis Racquet

This month I had to think harder to come up with a fun craft for girls.  Since summer is approaching, I thought we’d encourage some outdoor fun.  This craft can be completed with things you will find around the house.  But if you want to make the tennis racquet more authentic, you can cut out the string area and replace it with an open weave material found at a cloth store or other string like material–be creative!  Use a clear rubber band to hold it tightly in your dollfriend’s hand or weave the handle between the fingers.  Since Alex’s arms rotate at the elbow she can do forehand and backhand strokes!  So much fun!

TennisRacquet

The Learning Channel (TLC)—What happened to the learning?

My favorite television channels have always been stations like The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Learning Channel..etc., but as time progresses this type of qGirluality family viewing has been falling off.  What’s disturbing is the material that is replacing this programming—Reality TV!  I have to ask, whose reality are we viewing and why?  The Learning Channel has moved so far away from their namesake that they had to rebrand as TLC!  Their entire line up is a compilation of reality television: America’s Worst Tattoos, Toddlers and Tiaras, Honey Booboo, Breaking Amish…etc.  If this is learning, count me out!

With the number of channels on the air, you would think there would be something for everyone—including parents who get tired of saying, “No, you can’t watch that!” or “Turn that channel!”  Instead, I find myself having to be ever more diligent of removing the amazing amount of entertainment pollution being created today.

I think the best protection against mass media’s contribution to an eroding American value system is to provide children with better things to do than watch television.  If we don’t watch it, advertisers will not sponsor it.  It is really in OUR hands.  Now that television is digital, each station can get real time data about viewer behavior.  That means every time you turn the channel, you are sending a message directly to the station manager.  Yes, you have never had this much power before.

So next time you are watching something just because there is nothing better to view, turn it off.  Send a message that you have had enough!  Let’s get back to taking family walks, playing games, reading books, talking.  The real Learning Channel is at home and it begins with us.

Thankful for the hard times…

I was married at 18 and idealistic about the world.  We were poor but it was a reasonable price for building our own life.  I remember our reclaimed refrigerator, old with rust overtaking the remnants of white paint.   But it was clean and kept the food as if it were new.  My dad painted Cadillac White over the beat-up Toyota that was gifted to us in a show of support of a decision that pained him so.

Casey was the first, a little girl with bright red hair which gave way to golden locks.  Then came Timmy, a boy so sweet he’d melt your heart with one look.  It was their love that made each day one to remember.

The lessons came one after another, a divorce, a subsequent marriage to an abuser and soon I wondered where the girl who was going to change the world went.  How did I get here?  Where was I going?  What have I learned?

Shannon, big blue eyes and a mind faster than lightning itself…the love, the lessons, the hopes for her future to be reflective of more than mine.  Yes being a mom was always the greatest honor, my greatest joy.

I found myself again in my thirties.  Worked hard and never stopped believing that I could do anything I set my mind to.  The path was now much harder, a single mom with two failed attempts of finding the one.  It wasn’t going to stop me.  Every moment with my children made me happy to be alive.

By forty I finished my business degree, climbed to a financial safe ground, married a good man and gave birth to little Nicholas.  This one was my super hero—never a moment without his cape flying behind him.  Black for Batman, red for Superman and a blue cape just to give me a chance to wash the others.  After all the mistakes I made, I was still blessed beyond my fair share.

The economic recession liquidated my banking job and left me with another transition to contemplate.  I knew I had unfinished work yet to do.  I’ve learned so many things.  I finished an MBA, continue to teach for the local university with a passion to build up the young; prepare them for the flurry of decisions yet to beckon them to multiple possibilities.  Choose well, be exceptional, and know you can do anything to which you set your mind.

There is so much talent in each and every child…so much promise.  If they don’t discover it, it will be dormant for a lifetime.  My dream, the job I am fighting for is the chance to create a company that will nurture, give light to the talents and dreams of as many as I can reach.  If they want to sing, let them sing.  If they want to write, let their writings be read by many.  If they want to dream, let them dream that there is nothing they cannot do just as long as they believe.  Then let’s watch them and smile.

Here’s to mothers everywhere.  We are not perfect, but love makes the imperfect perfect to our young.

My warmest of wishes always,

Ellen

March Craft for Girls–Team Spirit

Sporting events can be great family fun either on location or at home watching events on television.  This craft is meant to bring families together and add some dollfriend cheering for more girl fun!

Keep up with all the fun things we do by visiting our Facebook page.  Don’t forget to Like us!

Team Spirit

March Craft for Girls–Alex’s Popcorn Treat for Dollfriends

Popcorn is a great accessory for fun!  Watching a movie, going to a sporting event, slumber parties…popcorn is the main treat.  Host your own popcorn dollfriend event by downloading this craft and making enough for everyone!

Popcorn

$5 a Day—College success path

Why children should be involved in saving for their college starting today?

iStock_000012629618XSmall25% of children that start high school do not graduate.

30% of high school graduates do not go right on to college.

43% of students who start college will not graduate in 6 years.[i]

The reasons why American children are unsuccessful in our education system is multi-faceted and I would not begin to claim I have or can research all the answers to this question.  But I can state without a doubt that setting goals and doing something every day to keep that goal real and tangible makes a difference.  If college is a daily conversation, a daily event then our high school graduation rates will increase, the percent of kids who go on to college will increase and more young adults will graduate successfully.

Having the financial ability for college is the first hurdle students and parents face.  The second is based on character.  A young adult has to have the drive and tenacity to work for four or more years while sacrificing both financially and socially.  This focus does not happen the day they graduate from high school—it is developed over time.

The Science Behind the Theory

Creating a habit of success:
Five dollars a day saved towards college, and investment in the future can make a child’s future more tangible since everyday is a day participating in the goal.  With each day, the habit of saving and earning their own way to their dreams is recorded in their brain. This learned behavior will not only make college a more likely success but will also be applied to many things in life both now and in the future.

New neural patterns begin to form in the brain through repetition.  It takes approximately 4-6 weeks to form a new habit. So doing something everyday towards a goal, not only helps the child succeed but it programs in the very factors that make success a habit. Once successfully programmed these behaviors run on auto-pilot.  It is scientifically proven that long-term memory is never erased in a healthy mind.  So this gift of saving five dollars a day provides your child a lifelong gift that will become more than just funds for a college education but a behavioral foundation for success in life.

Reward System and Positive Feedback:
Our memories are programmed in a rich, multi sensory recordings.  Each experience has tags of sight, sound, smell, touch and emotional imprint.  The positive emotion, the sight of your smiling face helping with five dollars day, the positive words shared together on this project will not only build a nest egg for college but also enhance the foundation of a positive self-image.  When you show you believe, your child’s belief grows as well.

The Financial Reward of $5.00 per day:
So how does five dollars a day pay for college?  Here is the math:

Child’s age at beginning:  5 years old

Child’s age for first year of college: 18 years old

Interest rate: I assumed an economy that was progressively improving and investment vehicles that delivered higher return as the years progressed through a 13 year term. Interest is paid at the end of each month.

  • For the first three years of saving I used 3%
  • For the following three years I used 5%
  • For the last seven years I used 8%

Frequency of deposits into college account: Every 30 days

Following this plan your child would have $67,349.33 saved for college at the end of the term[ii]The average tuition for public college in 2012 was approximately $8,655.00[iii].

Final Thoughts
For the same cost of that gourmet coffee you drink every day, you and your child can build a path to college and more importantly, build a habit of saving and investing in the future.  Why not make this a family project?  Start build her/his path to a college education today.


Write A Story–Win an iPad Mini

iPadWe are looking for our first Via Me Authors and to help get the word out we are having a contest where one lucky girl will win an iPad Mini!

Be one of the first 50 girls submitting a story and receive a FREE gift valuing up to $50.00!

How it works:
Write us a story including an illustration for the cover of your storybook, and a minimum of one additional illustration for the inside of your book. Then email or mail your story and illustrations to us for review and entry into the Apple mini iPad contest.

All stories will be edited for spelling and basic grammar before they are posted to the Via Me Author’s Desk website. An email from the editor will be sent with writing suggestions to help you improve your writing skills and to notify you that your story is published on the Via Me Author’s Desk site.  Additionally, you will be notified of any winnings to which you are qualified and or recieving.

Every girl wins!
Every girl wins when she gains the title of “Author” on the Via Me Author’s Desk.
Every girl receives discounts for Via E toys for girls.
Every girl is entered in the drawing for a new white Apple iPad mini 16GB Wi-Fi.

3 girls will achieve the title, Top Author, and will become featured Authors

AND

The first 50 Girls receive a FREE gift valuing up to $50.00!

MORE PRIZES!
10 girls receive an autograph copy of Alex’s first book, Ten Acts of Kindness
16 girls will receive signed copies of an illustration progression from rough to final for one of the illustrations in Alex’s new book soon to be released, Treasure of the Red Sand Beach

Enter as many times as you wish!*

Submission instructions:

  1. Every story must have a cover illustration and a minimum of one story illustration.
  2. Stories must contain wholesome content.  We encourage fully developed stories, however, there are no minimum word requierments.
  3. Stories may be picture books but some words must be present to “tell” the story.
  4. Each submission requires full name, age, grade in school and state or country. Please do not include city or name of school for security reasons.
  5. A parent’s signature or email expressing acknowledgement of the submission.
  6. Email your submissions to: MyStory@Via-E.com

OR

Mail to:
My Story c/o Via E, Inc.
555 N. El Camino Real Suite A288
San Clemente, CA 92672

This contest is for ages 5 to 12 years old. Contest will run until the first 100 valid submissions have been received or February 28, 2013, whichever occurs first.

* Each entry will count toward the mini iPad drawing, but only one additional prize can be received per person.

Via E, Via Me, Via Me Author’s Desk, Via Me Author’s Corner, Alex, Treasure of the Red Sand Beach, Ten Acts of Kindness all illustration, and content of Via-E.com, ViaMeAuthorsDesk.com and associated blogs and microsites associated with Via E, Inc. are copyright 2012 Via E, Inc. All rights reserved.  Via E is a young company dedicated to wholesome values and education systems designed to nurturer and develop skills for success in both the child’s today and their tomorrows.  For more information please contact:  Ellen Callen, President/CEO Via E, Inc. via email: ellen@via-e.com

Mom, Dad Are You Going To Vote?

How you answer this question says more than who you vote for and what political party you associate.  Our children are watching, learning and building attitudes towards the world around us.  Not voting implies indifference, lack of faith in the system and influences their attitudes on the matter.  Children are curious by nature.  They listen and ponder issues that surround them and are eager to participate in building a better world.  Without your participation, your child is influenced by teachers, PTAs, friends, each opinion circling in their heads as they try to put the issues into columns of good and bad.

Children do vote;  they do feel passion for what they think is right or wrong.  Their votes may not be recorded today, but they are heard on the winds of tomorrow.  So the question is:  Who will educate your child on how to make good decisions?  What values are worth fighting for?  How to determine when they are being misled?  These critical thinking skills are seeded in youth and molded by those of influence.  If you don’t discuss important issues with your child, they will look to another for guidance.

Make voting a family habit, a family discussion…but most of all teach them that they do have a voice by showing them yours.  VOTE.