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

I think dolls should play like girls do–RSVP Today

Girl’s toys seem to have taken very diverse paths since my childhood. My favorites were made by the Ideal Toy Company. The Ideal Toy Company had a knack for facilitating the play experience. Sadly they fell upon hard times and sold to another toy company who also failed to keep their doors open. Now we have only a few choices left on the shelves and many of them seem to challenge a mother’s will.

I guess that is why I pushed aside the corporate world to build a new toy company Alexwhose allegiance is to parents. Last year I took on the venture to make a new doll and surround her with educational systems that would delight and educate girls at the same time. I figure it is better to teach them how to have fun reading, writing and being creative than lessons on how to be a sexy tween which seems to be the current trend.

Alexis O’Shay, or Alex as her friends call her, travels around the world writing about her adventures. Her mother is a fashion designer and father is a travel magazine writer which creates many fun adventures that girls love.

Our girls are much more active today so Alex has joints at the knees and elbows so she can imitate real life. Her all vinyl body has been sculpted in detail to reflect a young athletic girl. She has French manicure and pedicures to bring her to life and lots of golden blond hair rooted in her head. Alex is both sporty and girly. Her medium toned skin was designed so girls of all ethnicities could relate to Alex as the girl next door.

Alex_Prototype RSVPAlex was built for water play. Bath tub, pool and even the beach! Her trademarked smile was designed to share happiness with all she meets. To help mom, we’ve added a Healthcare policy so Alex’s first doll accident is already paid for. That means mom can relax and let Alex do anything her girlfriend would like to do.

Thinking of moms, Alex was designed to be compatible with today’s popular 18″ size. This means Alex will fit in well with existing doll collections and accessories.

I hope to bring back play toys that spur on a higher level of realism and interaction. Playing with dolls is more than just play, in these moments she is rehearsing who she wants to become.

The first Alex dolls are anticipated to arrive late May, 2013. Only 500 will be available with each of them signed and numbered. You can RSVP for your Alex doll today. Pay nothing until she ships.

To RSVP for your signed and numbered first production Alex doll, email me at:

Ellen@Via-E.com

I will send you your RSVP certificate with your doll’s number along with my gratitude for being part of my first doll creation.

Many warm wishes,

Ellen

January’s Craft for Girls–New Year’s Celebration

I created this craft to help girls celebrate New Year’s–the day of new beginnings–and to encourage yearly goal setting.  Cut out the megaphone and party hat, then tape the ends together for dollfriend sized New Year’s party favors.  Then use the list provided to help her set some goals for 2013.

2013

Each New Year gives us hope.  It is like calling a “do over” for all the mistakes we made in the past, goals we didn’t quite accomplish; and provides a time where we surround ourselves with friends, family and loved ones who care about us in spite of our shortfalls.  Yes, I think this celebration is at the top of my list.  It is not dependant on gift giving, or money.  Anyone who can shout out, bang cooking pots or trash can lids, dance about and wish another a happy new year can participate.  New Year’s celebrations are an equal opportunity event.

I hope you join in the fun, find your optimism and share goodwill with a person in need of a kind word.  Make a new list of goals and pat yourself on the back for the good things you did in 2012.  We are all blessed–even when times are the most difficult.  Building a new business is very difficult.  It has required much sacrifice but I believe someday in the not so distant future the results will prove that there was no better project for my time.  So I am thankful that I can still overcome the struggles and I am thankful for you who believe just like me that serving people will always return more than what is required.

I wish you and your special girl(s) a wonderful and prosperous 2013–Happy New Year!

Warmly,  Ellen

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

She can become a published Author today!

Via E announces a new website that publishes girl’s stories for free. The new Via ME Author’s Desk site has a goal of encouraging girls to read and write by making the process fun and exciting.  All she has to do is email a story, a cover illustration, any interior illustrations and a short biography with her name, age and picture (optional.)  Locations are not published to protect each girl and make the online environment safe.

Via ME Author's Desk

We will review the story, make any edits necessary, post the story and follow-up with an email telling her that she is now published.  Also provided are writing tips for her to apply to her next story.  Even the best authors have an editor–now your girl does too!  The number of stories that can be published for one author is unlimited.

Writing is fun when creativity is unleashed from the mechanics of the art.  The more she writes, the easier the mechanics become.  With writing comes an appreciation for other written works and soon she will find a love of both reading and writing–they way it was meant to be.

The Via Me Author’s Desk site is ready for its first stories so send in your favorite stories today!

Visit: www.viamewritersdesk.com and email your stories to: MyStory@Via-E.com.

Via Me is a division of Via E where the spotlight is on showcasing each girl’s talent.  Via E, Inc. has a charter of providing toys and education system that support wholesome family values.  Via E is a young company with a big heart.  Help us build a community where the focus is on the development of girls vs. the development of a Wall Street agenda.  Follow us on WordPress, Twitter, and like us on Facebook.  Your vote of confidence counts!

September’s Craft for Girls

We are a bit late with this one but it is too good to pass by!

Print the following pages to make Alex’s school math book. You can now home school your dollfriend! Just follow the instructions on each page. When the book is assembled it will have some blank white pages. These pages are intended for scratch paper to help you do the math problems or to make up your own math problems!

Math exercises your brain and makes you smarter! Just like running and jumping makes you more physically fit. The more you play at math, the easier it gets because your brain keeps getting smarter. Have fun with this craft!

Image of Perfection — Stopping the obsession before it starts.

I was only a year old when my Grandmother gave me the newest doll to hit the markets of that time.  She had long legs, a tiny waist, ample bust line, a delicate face and was dressed in the latest fashion.  She was perfect.  Even her name was cute.  My fashion doll followed me through life until I was in my late 30’s where she was misplaced in a box which was later lost.  But, I still remember fondly my perfect fashion doll.

It would be many years later when I realized that this doll was more than a doll and how I perceived myself was based on this idea of beauty.  At 5’6” I was never tall enough.  My blond hair was never long enough, my Norwegian thighs never small enough, and the butterfly pattern freckles were splotches of imperfection across my high cheek bones.  They say I was pretty back then, but all I ever saw was imperfection.

This obsession with how I thought I should look followed me through my mid 40’s and then something hit.  I questioned myself, “When was it going to end?  When would I be happy with just being me?”

As a fitness trainer for 25 years, I witnessed the same obsession from young girls who were the spitting image of perfection.  My heart grew heavy with each girl I tried to counsel, pointing out that they were in fact the perfection of youth.  But they, like my steps before them, walked away unconvinced.

It was through studies of memory and how the brain records patterns that I found the seed leading to the chain of body discontent.  What our girls play with does make a difference in how they perceive themselves.  They record the patterns of the body dimensions and applied character behaviors of their doll friends.  Television’s animated figures become a teacher of norms thus creating ambitions.  These perfect forms of animated princesses are set as a goal—anything less is imperfect.

Today our stores are filled with dolls emulating fashioned dead people with green or purple skin and mini skirts.  Other fashion dolls have oversized lips, exaggerated eyes and tiny bodies. All in fun right? Or is it?  I write because I’m concerned.  Where is the representation of a normal form or a valued centered life? How do we build healthy minds and bodies when the original recording is based on unrealistic impressions of femininity and questionable values?

Via E is working hard to create a new line of toys that can help build a healthy mental pattern of self while reinforcing traditional family values.  We create these toys not to build shareholder wealth like the major toy companies, but to build the emotional wealth of our children so they may grow to be all that they wish to be—and more.

Look for the announcement of our new toy product line in November 2012.