Play Kitchen Inspo

 

 

 

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This play kitchen is one of those things that is for my kids, but really it’s for me. All three of us (me and my six-year-old and my three-year-old) had the same reaction when we saw it: gasp!…stare in admiration…pretend to stock it with delicious food. Continue reading “Play Kitchen Inspo”

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What We’re Reading

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The other day I pulled out my–urrr, my kids’–winter and Christmas picture books. We don’t have enough shelf space for all our books, and fine, I admit, I am kind of a stickler about reading/watching seasonally appropriate media only. So, I rotate books with strong seasonal associations. Tomorrow, I’m surprising the kids with Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. We’ve already started with Muumipeikko Herää, (a Moomin lift-a-flap book), Lucia and the Light by Phyllis Root, and Jan Brett’s Christmas Trolls. I’m leaving these stacks on the living room table for now, to encourage browsing. All of us love these books so much, so I’m tempted to give 20 reviews, but I’ll leave you to squint at the titles.

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My husband and I have slipped into an undesirable pattern with the kids lately, where they seem to require constant prodding, nagging, and yelling and threats of no movies! no books! no friend time! to do even the simplest routine actions. I realized I was feeding the tension by avoiding it, so I’ve started making a point of connecting with each of my kids individually every day. Lots of little people’s big feelings are being validated over here. I’ve read part of Raising Resilient Children by Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein, and I am a huge believer of The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle (seriously, it changed my life’s perspective). But in this current rough patch, I also finally picked up a copy of Parenting With Love & Logic by Foster W. Cline. I have many mixed feelings and thoughts about it, so if you want to chat about “Positive Parenting Solutions” in the comments or on Facebook, I’m game.

What are you reading? Are there any books you always re-read at certain times of the year?

 

#kidvignettes

Each month, I feature beautiful, funny and quizzical ways children contribute to a home’s esthetic. Whether it’s wall art, rows of race cars, dandelion bouquets or yogurt murals, children offer a fresh perspective and a sentimentality to interior design. Share your moments by tagging them #kidvignettes.

I confess, I have been an angry mom today. We’re in a rough patch in terms of listening and obedience (them) and patience and soft voices (me). I thought I wouldn’t have much fun combing through my pictures for the funny/sweet/quirky snapshots of kids at home. It turns out, I found more than I anticipated, so nostalgia and gratitude pushed out much of my frustration.

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The item box on the kids’ dresser currently holds a pet rock, a container of seashells my mom collected for the kids, nature samples, a paper flower, a dream catcher and an Ojibwa teepee from Alexandra’s Native American unit at school.

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Alexandra is constantly stealing my sticky notes and over the last two weeks, she has created quite the gallery on the inside of our front door. She stood on a chair to place the high ones. You probably can’t tell, but the doodles include cats, flowers, roses, hearts, fake cursive, elf footprints, a clock (with 16 hours, and the hands at 4:55), the words “yes no no” and the numbers 1001. I know the back story on some of these, but others make me wonder what’s coursing through her mind.

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Alexandra has a charming proclivity for creating tiny, layered vignettes with bits of moss, grass, pebbles and flowers. She’s never been directed to do this; it is an art form that came purely from her, and I’m fascinated by it.

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I arranged the pumpkins we chose on our pumpkin patch/apple orchard day on the front steps. I was (twice) surprised to see that Gabe had moved the heavy pumpkins off the steps and down the path. The first time, I had no idea how he had managed to move them on his own. I told him he’d have to put them back, and so he showed me how he figured out that he could roll them, as pictured.

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After this bath was drained, Gabe refused to come out until he had finished carefully arranging the bath toys. This is not a pile left behind; he was meticulous in his placement of each toy.

 

I’d love to see your #kidvignettes!

 

 

How I’m Raising Bilingual Kids

 

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Growing up, I always considered myself 100% Finnish and 100% American. I am Finnish on my mother’s side, born in Finland, and raised in the United States. I didn’t feel the need to choose between or split my identities, and I believe that was in part because I grew up speaking Finnish with my mother and English with my father. I married an American who happened to have lived in Finland for a couple of years, and so he speaks Finnish. We decided that I would speak Finnish to our kids, and he would speak English to them.

We now have a 6-year-old, Alexandra, and a 3-year-old, Gabriel (whom I call Kaapo). So far, their fluency in Finnish has developed well enough for them to feel confident, and they are often mistaken as residents when we visit Finland every two years. In Minnesota, where we live, there is a large Finnish-American community, so I have met families in varying stages and with varying approaches to Finnish language in their homes. I believe each family should do what’s best for them, in consideration of their priorities and circumstances. Whether you’re going for full dual language fluency in a one-parent-one-language approach, or you are making a light introduction for a second language, I organized my reflections on my own experience into 5 takeaway tips:

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1. Make it your norm. Continue reading “How I’m Raising Bilingual Kids”

Best Tips for Photographing Kids

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A few weeks ago, I went to J.C. Penney’s portrait studio for a couple of school photo supplements, and I was shocked that despite the fact that a rainstorm ruined the kids’ hair and they hadn’t had their afternoon snack and they were on strike from standing in one place, the photographer got some cute shots.

I tend to be a frazzled mess during photo shoots of my kids. I feel like I want to capture something priceless and the clock is ticking, so I am basically asking the photographer for an instant miracle. I know I am not helping when I constantly fuss over their hair and hiss, That’s not your real smile! Just sit by your brother for one minute! What are you doing with your hands?? I know I need to just get out of the way. In an effort to convince myself to chill and trust the pros, I asked two photographers for their best tip for a photo shoot with kids. If you’re preparing for family photos, these experts have some golden advice for you.

Continue reading “Best Tips for Photographing Kids”

Drama-Free Dressing for School

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For the first month of the school year, my husband and I had morning battles with our 6-year-old about appropriate school clothes for first grade. When we said, “Go get dressed,” she’d come out of her room wearing a leotard and ballet flats. Veto! And then we had an exasperating back-and-forth of which clothes were appropriate for the weather and school activities. A simple rearrange of the dresser drawers drastically reduced our morning drama. I have two easy tips for you. Continue reading “Drama-Free Dressing for School”

Pretty Links

Sending love to the Minnesota Lynx! The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the defending champion Minnesota Lynx 77-76 for the WNBA championship. It seems timely to bring up Maya Moore’s piece on increasing visibility for women’s basketball. And to say: #equalplayequalpay.

If my kids seem tense while they’re trying to fall asleep, I give them this 5-second energy sweep. I swear by it!

These clip lights are great for trick-or-treating, and for playing outside after dusk.

I’ve been coloring in Color at Home: A Young House Love Coloring Book while I watch TV in the evenings. I don’t find coloring to be especially relaxing, but I’m having fun with it! After nearly two hours, I’m almost done with the cover page. I listen to the YHL podcast while I’m cleaning and mowing the lawn, and it’s always delightful.

I have to start Christmas gift plans now, because everything craft-related takes me 10x longer than I think it will. I’m really excited about a couple of these Homemade Gift Ideas in Country Living.

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