New Furry Little Friends

Posted on September 03, 2014 by Lesley Cummings | 0 Comments

I will be the first to admit that I don't get STUFFED ANIMALS. I never was a fan....they get dirty and they don't really do anything. I promise I am not heartless... So when Ashley got really excited about a box this week I couldn't wait to open it with her. Then there they were..."Bauer Bear, Bevin Bunny, Carly Cat, Duffy Dog, Genna Giraffe and Mocha Monkey." All fury and stuffed, just staring at me. Ashley's joy couldn't be contained. I couldn't tell if she was kidding or serious about starting a "Save The Teddy Bear" Campaign. 

Soon after a trio of little kids came in and instantly gravitated toward the animals. Their faces filled with smiles, while their parents had that, "Oh no, not more stuffed animals" face. It was then that I realized the real joy of stuffed animals. They are memories. At some point or another we were given an animal by a grandparent or an aunty. At birth, babies are given their first toy which they eventually take to pre-school. They provide comfort in this sometimes scary and confusing world. I guess you could say I had an "AHHH-HAAA" moment.

I have made my peace with stuffed animals. Although I don't share the same enthusiasm as Ashley (which I am convinced she has stuffed animals piled on her bed), I am excited we have a new product in our store that can provide a new memory for someone. If those memories make people smile, then that is all that matters.

Need a gift for a cute keiki? Come in and check out these new stuffed animals from The Manhattan Toy Company.


Posted in Feel Good, Good Stuff, keiki

Punana Leo O Maui

Posted on October 24, 2013 by Lesley Cummings | 0 Comments


"A'ole rainbow," says one boy. "It is anuenue!" Both answers are correct, but there are only "13 letters" in the alphabet at Punana Leo O Maui. The Hawaiian Immersion school is one of many in the state whose classrooms echo the language that once flourished from mountain to sea....OLELO HAWAI'I, the HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE.

Punana Leo translates to "nest of voices." This is the foundation of learning at the school. Children are fed the language in their ears and mouth similar to young birds cared for in a nest. The kumus (teacher) and parents are devoted to teaching their children much more than the alphabet and numbers. From different moon phases to the right time to fish, the children are learning the ways of their ancestors. Punana Leo is a school, but my time there felt like I was home with an 'ohana (family). 

A couple weeks ago I spent the morning with the kumu and keiki (children) of Punana Leo O Maui. The school is located in our beautiful town of Wailuku which made the short walk up the street convenient. It was Maui County Fair weekend, so upon my arrival 22 preschoolers seemed very excited about life. It was breakfast time, but not before the keiki said a pule (prayer). As they ate, I explored. Everything around me was in Hawaiian from one of my favorite childhood books, "Love You Forever"  to the directions for washing your hands. I was out of my comfort zone and completely immersed in the Hawaiian culture. 

After story time we ventured outside for protocol. Barefoot keiki and kumu stood together facing the Hawaiian flag. They sang and performed an 'oli (chant). Some keiki seemed distracted, while others were daydreaming away. Their voices gave me chicken skin and I felt as if it echoed through Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui Mountains). During this time the keiki asked permission to enter the hale (house/building). There is a deeper meaning behind protocol, but in Hawaiian culture it is custom to ask permission before entering any place. It is a sign of respect and the keiki learn that at a young age. 

After protocol it was time to sing Hawai'i Pono'i. With their little hands guarding their tiny hearts, they sang the words of King David Kalakaua. They discussed the moon phase Muku, and the significance of planting banana on this day. I was thankful for a couple Hawaiian language courses in college and the pictures they were using to help me get an idea of what was being said. It was embarrassing and inspiring at the same time.

If you walk around the school you will notice the "history" of the building. This is a nicer way to say the building is old and with that comes structural and maintenance issues. Punana Leo is a non-profit that receives its money from grants, fundraisers and donations. The financial aspect of the school is never ending. Money is needed to support it, and everyone does everything they can to make sure it thrives. 

There are many things in life that inspire us and my time with the Punana Leo O Maui 'ohana has opened my eyes and heart.  The education of children, whether it be in English or another language is shared by all of us. Parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, politicians and our community are all responsible for the lives and education of children. The Hawaiian language is alive and you can feel it all around. People are devoted and passionate about bringing back a culture and language that was taken away. E OLA KA 'OLELO HAWAI'I...THE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE SHALL LIVE.

Maui Thing worked with Oakland Raiders linebacker Kaluka Maiava on an exclusive "Native Nation" shirt. The design adds Hawaiian roots to the iconic "raider/pirate." Maiava is the first Mauian to play in the NFL. A portion of proceeds from shirt sales benefit Punana Leo. Get your Native Nation shirt by visiting!

(I apologize for no kahakos or okinas in this post. Our blog doesn't have the appropriate software to insert them.)

Posted in hawaiian, hawaiian culture, hawaiian education, hawaiian language, Kaluka Maiava, keiki, Maui, Maui Thing, Native Nation, Oakland, olelo, olelohawaii, punana, punana leo, Raiders, Wailuku

second saturday art project: chip clip butterfly

Posted on April 12, 2011 by ashley | 0 Comments

This past weekend the keiki made chip clip butterflies! These are the materials needed:

1. a clothespin
2. pens
3. googly eyes
4. pipe cleaners
5. a snack sized ziploc full of yummy cereal
6. a small sticky magnet (so the chip clip can be a fridge magnet when not in use!)

1. decorate clothespin
2. glue on googly eyes
3. add pipe cleaner antennas
4. stick magnet to the back of clothespin.
5. clip to the middle of the snack bag

Emma and her fun butterfly!

They also made Easter baskets and fun Easter cards for Mom and Dad :)

Posted in DIY, Good Stuff, keiki, kids, Second Saturday Art


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