Friday, October 2, 2015

Have a safe weekend

It's shameful to think that another school shooting is on the books here in the USA. This is definitely not helpful in our attempts to repatriate. I feel like running back to Switzerland at the earliest opportunity. Hug your loved ones a little closer and a little longer this weekend.

On a lighter note, here's what caught my eye this week:

Made me laugh out loud. (A few times!)

Such a quiet, peaceful moment.

Montessori in a nutshell.

NYC is a close second.

Perfect fall comfort food.

My sister made this cake for my birthday and it was so good.

The power of a bedtime story.

Because we all need advice from a chic French girl.

Beautifully arresting.

Read until the very end.

And, J and I were quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about repatriation. Check it out!

I hope you have a good weekend! See you back here Monday. xo

Photo via Con Poulos

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to Pack Light when Traveling with a Baby

Last spring, Theo and I made a five day trip to San Francisco. It was a really intense trip for a college friend's memorial service and to meet a childhood friend's newborn baby. We were all over the Bay Area, from the hot sun to fog, plus I had to bring my laptop so I could work every morning. It's never been my forte, but I totally nailed packing light! All the essentials - and what to leave at home - after the break.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Montessori Monday: Independent Food Prep

A few weeks ago, J and I were so tired, Theo was still sleeping and Coco got up and made herself a toaster waffle and fed herself breakfast - all while we slept! All went well, except that she used about half a bottle of maple syrup. So, a few days later, when she was asking for toast at the breakfast table, I started to get up to go make it and then realized, wait a minute! She can do this herself.
We put a little IKEA stool in front of the toaster. Coco knows there can't be anything on top of the toaster or touching the toaster. She gets the bread from the refrigerator and a paper towel to pinch it with when it pops up. And there's that Trader Joe's boxed wine. Don't knock it till you try it!
I fill a small bowl with butter and give her a plate and knife as well. When it comes to children's flatware, finding well-weighted pieces that are heavy enough, yet balance on a child's hand, is tricky. Coco received this WMF set from some friends in Zurich for her second birthday and it's amazing. Another set we like is this one.
Coco used her knife to spread the butter on her toast all by herself. She also took a few breaks to just eat the butter off of the knife!
When she was all finished, she was so proud. Not only did she do most of it herself, aside from my getting the butter, but it kept her really busy and quiet so J and I could actually have a conversation over the breakfast table. Win, win!

How do you help your children achieve independence in food prep? Or do you? I constantly have to remind myself that she's capable of so much more than we realize!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Have a delicious weekend!

What are your weekend plans? I've been running all over town like a madwoman this morning prepping: It's our birthday weekend around here. Coco's birthday is Tuesday and mine is Sunday. We are having a Frozen themed party (her choice!) on our patio for Coco on Saturday afternoon and a BBQ party for the both of us with my family at my mom's house on Sunday. It's a true Indian summer here and we are enjoying our time outside. Sunday, we may even bust out the chiminea if it goes late enough that it starts cooling off!

Here are a few links for you:

Amazing satellite images of humans' impact on the earth.

Pasta shapes do matter!

Brain-twisting images.

Coco's Halloween costume. (And Theo's!)

Renting in another ten years.

Another reason you wish you were Norwegian.

Do you eat your veggies?

Outside the frame.

Empowering mothers.

Perfect fall booties.

I hope your weekend is amazing. See you back here Monday! xo

Photo via veryeatalian

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tying Up Loose Ends

Has your life ever been a complete and total wreck? Before last year, I thought I knew what it felt like to be overwhelmed, or maxed out. But as it turns out, I did not! Up until then, I had been busy, I had been stretched a bit thin, I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew, but I had never been overwhelmed or maxed out. People throw around those terms casually. I used to do it myself! Looking back, I realize that I had never known my own limits until last year happened. I was going along, juggling everything life threw at me with relative ease. I was feeling pretty good, adding balls bit by bit and then, suddenly there was one, or two, or five balls too many and I could not do it. I literally could not keep all the balls in the air. They started falling, to the ground, bouncing around, rolling out of my reach, and that was it. I was overwhelmed. I was maxed out. And it was all I could do to just keep the really critical, important "balls" in the air. Have you ever experienced that? I'm still gathering all the balls that got away.

This morning, I woke up early enough to call Switzerland and took care of some loose ends that had been bothering me and keeping me awake at night since we left. It feels so good. 

Next, I have decided to start planning and searching for a really cute fall/winter capsule wardrobe. Have you ever made a capsule wardrobe? This fall, I want to wear lots of red and warm, cozy textures. I am in love with the tights and scarf in this photo. I also want to start wearing more boots and skinny jeans and some day I'll acquire a classic trench

We also got our Y membership all set up last week! It's the best thing ever to drop the kids at the Childwatch, work out while listening to a podcast or music and then take a long, hot shower all by myself before picking them up again and heading home. 

All of these steps are more progress in the right direction. Goodbye, loose ends! Hello, organized and happy fall. I know spring is the time of year we are supposed to feel inspired and get our ducks in a row, but fall always does it for me. Perpetual teacher, I guess, or maybe it's because I was born in the fall? Whatever the reason, I'm so happy to be feeling inspired and come out of the fog.

Photo via Manger

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Zurich Bound

Theo and I are going to Zurich next month. I cannot imagine what it's going to feel like to land at that familiar airport I've landed at so many times before. Will it still feel like home? Will it not? What will it feel like when I get on the little underground train at the airport and we begin zooming along toward customs and baggage claim and the flip book style movie of the Alphorn players and Heidi pops up on the walls of the tunnel, and the sound of the yodelers and cowbells fills my ears? Will I cry? Probably.

When Coco and I left Zurich to move to Minnesota, it was all so rushed. We really did leave without saying goodbye and it's been killing me ever since.

Somehow, we managed to get through last year, and then we made the move to Spokane, and slowly, the dust has been settling. Not too long ago, toward the end of the summer, I saw a friend post about the Zurich Writers Workshop on Facebook and I really wanted to go.

Of course, it's a terrible time to go! J and I are both still unemployed and looking for work, and despite the airline miles we had from our time in Zurich, I was worried that traveling would affect my unemployment. So I gave the Unemployment Office in Minnesota a call, and it turns out that traveling to attend a workshop and network with editors and publishers is completely allowed and won't affect my unemployment at all. Well, there you go. Nothing is holding me back.

Theo and I are going to Zurich. We're really going. I'll be attending the Zurich Writers Workshop and networking during our stay. I'll get to see my beloved friends, Theo is going to meet his baby friends whose mothers and I shared our pregnancies. I'm going to visit our old neighborhood, stroll through its streets as I once did with Coco, shop at our old grocery store, mail J and Coco a postcard or two from our old post office, walk by the lake, breathe it all in, arrange to visit our old apartment and give it a big hug. I'm going to do all this in the hopes of saying goodbye, of letting it go, of moving on.

One way or another, if we are to move forward in this life, I must do this. I hope that being there, I will realize that I am back where I belong being in Spokane. I hope that I will remember all of the reasons I believed Zurich was never a long-term possibility in the first place. Because I sure can't now. Is our life there all gone? Is it still there? Is there any hope of touching it or claiming it once again? There is only one way to know. Away we go.

Zurich Airport photo via Airviation. Tiefenbrunnen photo via Martin Strobach.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Montessori Monday: Getting Dirty

Do you let your kids get dirty? Do they spend time outside collecting nuts and leaves and chasing squirrels? This past week, the Oxford Junior Dictionary opted to remove dozens of nature words like 'acorn' and 'minnow' from their latest edition and add tech words like 'broadband' and 'chatroom' in their place. This is worrisome. 

Montessori honestly didn't say much about children being outside and getting dirty or being in nature. On the one hand, she didn't have to, and on the other hand, it was completely irrelevant. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Have a magical fall weekend

What's happening where you are this weekend? Around here, I'm meeting an old friend from grade school for lunch on Saturday (thanks, Facebook!) and we are taking Coco to see a children's opera of Hansel & Gretel on Sunday. She's obsessed! 

And here are some links for you to peruse: 

Adorable for those little sniffles and coughs.

Libraries with ukuleles?

I like this.

Air cleaning house plants.

Man buns. HA!

IKEA designers on Instagram.

Completely odorless and tasteless! Life changing.

I hope your weekend is wonderful! See you back here Monday. xo

Photo of forest floor via Agua Marina

Mom's One Line A Day Memory Journal

During our trip to Missoula last weekend, my sister and I had the best time. Ira Glass was very engaging, and I slept two full nights for the first time in nearly four years! Saturday, we skipped the hike and walked all over town and browsed so many cute shops. Because J's and my adventures in unemployment continue, I've been avoiding shopping all together lately. But then something surprising happened: I didn't really want to buy much of anything anyway! Ever since I adopted the Konmari Method and went (and continue to go) through so much work to get rid of the tons of stuff I don't need, I am very careful about what I bring into my life in the first place! I don't buy anything unless it sparks total joy and is exactly what I want. It is awesome.

One thing that made the cut is this Mom's One Line A Day memory journal. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Best Burgers Ever

Fall is here. Knowing it would make its entrance one night as we slept, we did our best to enjoy every last summer evening on our patio. The very last one, we had artichokes and my friend Stephanie's famous burgers. The full step by step after the jump.

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