May 9, 2014

2014 Inspiring Mom Award Winners

2014 Inspiring Mom Awards

Here at Tea, we’re always looking for ways to recognize remarkable moms. In 2012, we created our Inspiring Mom Awards to celebrate 10 years of our globally inspired children’s clothing—and to honor moms who embrace the world, too. This year, we’re awarding moms in the following categories: Encouraging Entrepreneur, Philanthropic Pioneer and Global Connector.

The nominations were extraordinary. We were so very touched by the stories shared; so many women are working tirelessly to make a difference in the world. Teaching their children that they too can make a difference near and far and everywhere in-between. You voted on our finalists and we are thrilled to announce this year’s Inspiring Mom Award winners…

ENCOURAGING ENTREPRENEUR // She founded or plays a key role at a company and helps make a difference for its customers. While she is passionate about her business ventures, she still makes her family a major priority in her life.

2014 Inspiring Mom Awards

Kendra Robins from California

Kendra left her job at a prestigious law firm 10 years ago to start a charity called Project Night Night that now provides over 25,000 care packages for children entering homeless and domestic violence shelters. Each package has a blanket, a stuffed animal and a book – often the first book the children have ever owned. By creating comfort for these children in a time of turmoil, as well as enhancing literacy, she is able to be a positive influence on tens of thousands of children a year. She manages this business while raising two bright, happy children who know what it means to give back. She is an inspiration to our all-women board of directors and the hundreds of adult and children volunteers across the country who help to make Project Night Night such a success.

PHILANTHROPIC PIONEER // She stays connected to her community by volunteering her time and energy. Whether it’s helping achieve her local PTA goals, tutoring kids with less resources or making blankets for the homeless, she’s part of a solution to issues that lie close to home.

2014 Inspiring Mom Awards

Corinne Cannon from Washington DC

Corinne founded, and now runs, DC Diaper Bank, a local nonprofit dedicated to providing diapers to babies in need in the metropolitan area. Over the past three-plus years, DC Diaper Bank has distributed over 900,000 diapers to families and has forged partnerships with local community service organizations to get diapers out to those who need them most. Every month DC Diaper Bank helps over 2,400 families. Diapers are an important need for babies and toddlers, but are very expensive and most government programs (such as food stamps and WIC) do not cover them. Families living in poverty are sometimes forced to make difficult choices – food or diapers? Medicine or diapers? – that they should not have to make. DC Diaper Bank strives to meet this demand so that all babies and toddlers in the DC area can have what they need to thrive. Founding and running a non-profit is no easy task, but Corinne has turned DC Diaper Bank into a very successful organization in a very short time. She works countless hours for no pay (although she is the Executive Director, she does not take a salary), all while raising two kids. Corinne has made a direct impact on the lives of thousands of DC-area families, and her enthusiasm and passion for the cause will help the DC Diaper Bank grow to serve even more families in the region.

GLOBAL CONNECTOR // She thinks big and strives to make a difference in the world at large. She might teach English abroad or fundraise for global initiatives from her own home. Whatever her specialty, she shows her kids the importance of being little citizens of the world themselves.

2014 Inspiring Mom Awards

Christy Horton from Missouri

Christy Horton inspires by example, globally and locally. Christy has been involved with Ninos De Mexico since 2010 and now serves on the organization’s Board of Directors. Ninos De Mexico is a mission non-for-profit which operates four children’s homes in Mexico City and serves 80+ orphaned children. Christy has visited Ninos 3x and will travel with a mission team in July 2014. Her family sponsored three children from Ninos and recently one of those grown children moved to Iowa and got married (and they were able to assist with wedding planning). In addition, they sponsor a girl from Rwanda and a little boy in Ethiopia who they were able to meet in 2012. In December 2012, their son arrived home from Ethiopia. During her travels to Ethiopia to complete the adoption, Christy led a fundraising effort to raise $1200 to build a playground at her son’s orphanage and support families in Wuchale, Ethiopia. Locally, Christy volunteers as the PTA Treasurer at her sons’ elementary school which allows her to assist in fundraising. She also helped build a partnership between the school and her church for a canned food drive. The school collected 1200 cans to give to the church. In her church, Christy taught the children (ages 5-14, 500+) the importance of missions, giving to others, and assisted the children in raising in excess of $2,000 for a mission organization. Lastly, Christy has made a career change choosing to follow her heart and majoring in Social Work at a state university so she could help those that need services. Christy is such an inspiration and leads by example, inspiring her sons to continue her awesome legacy.

And congratulations to Jen Kelly. You were randomly selected as our $250 gift card winner!

April 22, 2014

Valley of Roses

Every year in the town of El-Kelaa M’Gouna, Moroccans celebrate the rose harvest with The Festival of Roses. The souqs are packed with rose-scented gifts that fill the air with their floral fragrances. Children hand out lei garlands, traditional Berber music plays through the streets and a Miss Rose is crowned for her beauty and talents.

Inspired by this tradition we threw our own mini-festival, complete with rose flavored snacks and handmade paper leis!

Tea Collection's Moroccan Rose Festival

Tissue paper flower garlands hung from the ceiling and real roses filled the room. Photos were snapped in front of our mosaic rose backdrop and a good time was had by all! Soon, you’ll have your chance to celebrate this Moroccan tradition at a store near you. On May 10th, over 50 Tea retailers across the nation will each host their own Rose Festival and we can’t wait to see your #TeaRoseFestival photos! Stay tuned for details.

Want to throw your own Rose Festival?

Friends & Family Event

Tea Friends and Family Sale

For two days only we’re giving our extended family and biggest fans 20% off everything Tea! Use code FRIENDS20 at checkout 4/22 & 4/23 – And, be sure to share the love with your own friends and family – who doesn’t love a good sale? Shop now!

April 21, 2014

Noah the Dromedary

Noah is a 17-year-old dromedary who played a big (literally, big!) part in our catalog shoot. Often called one-humped camels, dromedaries – or Arabian camels, are most commonly found in Northern Africa. Both male and female dromedaries stand over 6 feet tall and live to be about 45 years old weighing up to 1,322 pounds (600 kg). They eat all types of leafy plants – even the thorny ones! Their hump stores about 80 lbs of fat, which gets broken down into water and energy when food and water are limited. Dromedaries have a very fast rate of rehydration, drinking up to 5 gallons of water per minute! Fun facts:

  • Dromedary camels are much more common than two hump Bactrian camels.
  • Baby camels are born without a hump.
  • Dromedaries can close their nostrils to prevent sand from entering inside their nose during dust storms.

April 18, 2014

Learning Languages

Meyer

Zid Zid Handmade Modern for Kids

I have been a fan of Zid Zid Kids for a long time, admiring the work of Julie and Moulay.  They create beautiful items for play and home, all made in Morocco by hand. I find the pieces and overall aesthetic to be so charming. 

Moulay and Julie live in Morocco and speak French, Arabic and Spanish to their children daily – so it was only natural that their next endeavor would be a creative hands-on language program for children! Petit Zarafa is a play-based multi-language learning subscription website for little citizens ages 2 and up.


My children have Chinese flashcards that they play with when their grandmother visits from Taiwan, but we haven’t picked them up in a while.

The combination of the activities with learning lessons, grasping different sounds with familiar tasks, is inspiring to me.  My kids love playing with games and are currently learning letters & numbers at their own schools – it will be interesting to see what they gravitate to most with this program.  In general, my kids love listening to stories… I’m sure my mom, a former French language teacher, would love to teach them French stories.  It would be magical if they could speak a little bit of French when we visit my sister in Europe this summer.

Are you teaching your children a second language? What do you find works best? I’d love to know!

April 17, 2014

April Crafts for Babysitters, Nannies and Families

Earth Day Activities

Warm weather opportunities are popping up all over. But with the possibility of April showers, there are a number of indoor activities to plan for eager (and antsy) kids. Here are few crafts that can build excitement and enthusiasm for the season. Plus, they’re perfect for nannies and sitters looking for more hands-on projects to engage kids.

Washcloth Bunnies
Bath time is often a struggle. Make it a little more fun with double-duty bunnies. You can create these little rabbits out of brightly-colored washcloths that can later be used in the bath. Check out this example.

Eggcellent Crowns
Using plastic eggs and hot glue (kids will need help with this!), there are a few fun filled ways to create festive headdress. Encourage their creativity by allowing them to add whatever accessories please them. Here are some images to jump start your creativity.

Recycled Nature
Here’s a project you haven’t done since preschool, but perfect for an Earth Day lesson. Grab a pinecone from the yard; tie about a 12-inch piece of yarn or ribbon in a tight knot around the top so that the ends hang evenly (these will then be tied around a tree). Spread peanut butter or honey all over the pine cone. Then pour bird seed onto a plate and roll the sticky pinecone over it.  Hang the pinecone on a tree — and tie another knot. Gather around and wait for the birds to come.

Re-create the World
Who doesn’t love an excuse to make marshmallow rice treats? Your kids will love sculpting a globe out of the yummy dessert and covering it with green and blue sugar. As a sweet bonus, try putting some gummy creatures on the earth too! Give a little planetary talk, discuss the amount of water versus land and explain how we need to take care of these elements… And then dig-in!

Beautify Something
Whether it’s your front yard or a neighborhood eye-sore that needs a little sprucing, nothing helps decorate more than flowers. In honor of Earth Day, head down to your local garden center (preferably by bike, it’s Earth Day, after all!) and buy some blooms. Then get planting. Tip: A perennial flower will allow your kids to see their hard work year after year.

Matzo House 
Here is an April-version of the wintery gingerbread house! Encourage your children to play with their food (finally!) by creating this Matzo house that is fun to make and actually tastes good too.

We were so thrilled to have Care.com on board for our Hello Little Citizen sweepstakes we thought we’d invite them to Studio T!  Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and global parenting expert at Care.com

 

*photo courtesy of purchasepawprints.com

April 15, 2014

DIY Tassel Necklace

DIY Tassel Necklace via Tea Collection

Inspired by Studio Deseo‘s designs seen in our spring and summer, we came up with this DIY to help you create your very own tassel necklaces.

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Gather materials. We’ve got your pom pom and tassel tutorials here and here.

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 1: Pull a 50 inch piece of thread through one of your needles. When your thread is halfway through the eye, knot the double strand at the head of the needle. Thread and knot the 2nd needle with the two loose ends. You should now have one double stranded piece of thread roughly 25 inches long with a needle at each end.

Step 2: Take six 8 inch pieces of yarn. Knot the yarn into the thread about 8 or 9 inches up from the needle. Braid the yarn and thread together until you’ve come to the end of the yarn, knot together again. It’s okay if the sides are uneven!

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 3: Thread a pom-pom through each needle, pull pom-pom all the way up, touching each side of the braided yarn.

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 4: Thread glass beads through both sides. After roughly 2 inches of beads, attach a tassel. (Do so by pushing your needle through the top of the tassel)

Step 5: Continue stringing beads, then string another tassel.

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 6: String more beads, then attach a pom-pom. (Do so by pushing your needle through the center of a pom-pom)

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 7: Cut the double strand at the head of the needle to divide your thread into two separate pieces on each side.

Step 8: String beads through each piece of thread (4 strands total) ending each with a different colored bead, leaving about an inch and a half of thread.

Step 9: Thread a needle and attach a tassel to each string to finish off your necklace. Knot each string to make sure each end is secure.

Step 10: Enjoy!

We styled this necklace by leaving it open and layering it with multiple Peppercorn necklaces. You can also gently tie the two sides together (just after the first two pom-poms) for a more traditional necklace look.

April 14, 2014

Meskouta Recipe

Moroccan Cake Recipe

A traditional Moroccan cake is referred to as Meskouta in Arabic. Most often made with either orange juice or yogurt as the main ingredient, you’ll typically find them served plain with no frosting. The recipe will vary depending on which family you ask and while it’s most commonly baked in a bundt pan, this cake is much lighter than any other cake you’re used to seeing in this shape. We think this is the perfect dessert to make with your little ones – only 10 minutes to prep and out of the oven 40 minutes later!

What You’ll Need:

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
zest from 2 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Or, you can go by these “Traditional Moroccan Measures” we came across when making this recipe…

4 eggs
1 level soup bowl of sugar
1 tea glass full of vegetable oil
1 heaping soup bowl of flour
2 sachets of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tea glass of fresh orange juice
zest from 1 or 2 oranges
1 sachet of vanilla sugar

Prep:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Grease and flour a bundt pan and set aside. Juice and zest fresh oranges. Beat together eggs and sugar. Gradually beat in oil. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and orange juice. Mix until smooth, adding the orange zest and vanilla.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 40 minutes or until top is brown and cake tests done (toothpick should come out clean). Allow cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn onto a rack to continue cooling.

 

April 12, 2014

Asia: Through the Eyes of Matthew and Adam