Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hi Monkey Beanerz... I cannot believe it has been so long since I have written!!! Well I am back!!!!
I am now almost 7 months pregnant. The baby is kicking and moving about as we speak which gives me this amazing feeling that sometimes is very overwhelming for me... is it possible to already be completely in love??? My only complaint about being pregnant at this time is the hormone situation. I get very overwhelmed with life at times, almost so much that I cannot deal with it. I get angry, I get anxiety, I yell!!! It is awful. Who is this person?? What can I do to make it stop?? ahhh well I feel better already.

Monkey Beanz has some great things happening!!!!! It will all be here soon enough my friends. Stay tuned. Now time to go study about what to do during child birth.. Peace love and Monkeys

Nyki Greene

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs = GOOD  =NOT SO MUCH

So this is my first, and likely my last, foray into movie reviews which shows you just how strongly I feel about this one.  Sure the general rule of thumb is the book is always better than the movie ... but not all movies completely remove all appealing aspects of a story.  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs the movie can barely be said to be based on the story of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs the book.

I loved this book as a child - read it over and over and got totally absorbed in the grandfather telling the story of the land of Chewandswallow.  The image of the giant pancake closing down the school stays with me to this day.  As with many of my childhood favorites, I've been able to rediscover so many wonderful children's books.  I remember the day I found Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in the library several years ago and became giddy with excitement as I described the story to my daughter.  We have read it many times (of course, we now own our own copy) and have shared many laughs and silly reenactments of the giant food raining down on the people of Chewandswallow as they escape on their boats made of bread.

So I was thrilled when I heard they made a movie from the book.  I immediately put all those great images from the book into wondrous animation and imagined experiencing Grandpa telling the kids this dreamlike bedtime story in the larger than life world of the theater.  Regrettably, I had not seen any previews, read any reviews or heard anything at all about the movie ... like that they had turned my childhood book of imagination and fantasy into your run of the mill action cartoon flick with some big meatballs thrown in.

I mean, come on, there are no "bad guys" in the real Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, no evil greedy mayor, no romance subplot, no family tragedy to overcome in the final cheesy ending moments.  Oh, there are so many ways they could have made this into a really fun kids movie, encouraging imaginations to run wild ... but they didn't.  They churned out another animated movie with no originality and a dependence on the same old bad guy/good guy story line.

We very rarely go to the movies and this was our first time going all together as a family and all I can say is, I'm glad we own the book.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fair Trade in Action

A working shot of my sister-in-law, Watcharee (far left) meeting with one of our craftswomen about final patterns for our new Monkey Beanz crib bedding sets and diaper bags!!

Anyone who has had any experience with Thai culture knows the importance of family to Thais and Watcharee has gone above and beyond what most siblings in this country would consider helping out.  Really, we would not be able to create our new products without her help.  I hope that we will able to grow this business with her along for the ride to continue to support the people of Thailand including our own Thai relatives.  Thanks for the support and go to Monkey Beanz to sign up for our newsletter for announcements of new product arrivals!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fair Trade Month Kick Off

I will start off with my number one excuse for not blogging for several weeks since it is actually pretty exciting.  We have been having some "issues" with our current website program and I've been toying with the idea of switching for some time so this seemed like as good a time as any.  After several days of scouring websites and online forums for reviews and comparisons, I chose which program to switch to and I have to say, this is one of the best decisions I have made.  I love the set up of the new site and that is what I have been doing  day after day these last couple of weeks and I think we are just about ready to make the switch.  I'm hoping I will get it up and running this weekend.  Yay!!!

In any case, I though that the first day of October, aka Fair Trade Month, would be a good day to get back into my blogging and share some thoughts...

The question:  What is Fair Trade?  I get this question a lot and have answered it so many times, I could probably do it in  my sleep.  If you are reading this, you probably already know the cookie cutter answer - fair living wages paid to employees, comfortable working conditions, ability for workers to have vacation and sick time or leave of absence to care for their family.  These are all inherent aspects to the fair trade movement and the foundation to any fair trade business practice but there is something more beneath those facts that I feel lies at the focus of Fair Trade Month for me.  In a word - awareness.

I recently had a parent in my daughter's school ask me if I only had fair trade or green products in my house for the kids to play with.  Umm ... no.  While it would be wonderful to live in a time when there were more options for fair trade products, organic products etc, I don't believe that this is an all or nothing issue.  I don't think that in order to call myself a proponent of fair trade, I need to rid my house of all non-fair trade items just as I don't think that I need to buy only organic food for my family to say I believe in the benefits of buying local and organic food.

I would not have been able to start and run a business that took advantage of others for my own profit or sell products to parents that I would not want my own children to play with.  Yet, that remains true even when I give in and buy the girls those inflatable Spiderman swim tubes that surely say Made in China on the bottom.  I do my best to support companies that are doing more with their business than simply trying to turn a profit but if  were to clear out everything in our house that is not organic, local or fair trade ... well, it would be a lot easier to pick up around here, I guess!

My goal for Fair Trade Month is to promote awareness.  Awareness of other people and cultures,  Awareness of where our food comes from.  Awareness of where the products around us come from.  Not to create guilt at all the mass produced, chemically enhanced items that may be there but just to be aware of what is around us.  To make changes where it is desired and possible and to be okay with knowing that just taking that moment of awareness is, itself, making a change.