Too Much Adventure in the Amazon

Too Much Adventure in the Amazon

Surrounded by tarantulas, snakes, falling palm trees, and undrinkable water, Lisa finds herself experiencing too much adventure in the Amazon.Click here to listen to Lisa narrate her story in Knocked Up Abroad  Be sure to read the book for more stories (and adventures) from parents around the world  Continue listening to other stories in the series here: https://knockedupabroad.com/audio...
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50 Reasons Why I Don’t Allow My Kids to Play Video Games

50 Reasons Why I Don’t Allow My Kids to Play Video Games

I find myself negotiating for too long enforcing MY own rules when absolutely nothing else (nothing!) results in this level of argumentThere is no educational value to any of these games.I know because the kids don't want to play the educational ones that I do allow.Fine motor skills can be developed in a million other ways like writing by hand, playing checkers, completing puzzles, working a zipper/button, pasting things onto paper, etc.,They've inadvertently purchased games without my knowledgeMy kids could be doing something more productiveThey act like zombies after playingIt's time we could be spending playing a board game together as a familyMost of the free games are violent or have previews for violent gamesThe "Flossing" dance on Minecraft...enough saidMy kids already know how to operate iPads and computers, they don't need more time pressing their thumbs on tiny screensMy kids already have too much screen time with movies and TVThey can play video games at a friend's house and...
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A Personal “Goodness of Fit” Test for Your Next Relocation

A Personal “Goodness of Fit” Test for Your Next Relocation

The conscious decision to open or close a life-changing gateway is an emotional process.Before an international relocation (or a domestic one, for that matter) every component of the decision is weighed countless times over.Potential consequences from each path and direction are analyzed from all angles. The immediate, intermediate, and long-term effects are mapped out.A mental logic model takes shape with short and long-term inputs, actions, and outputs.Plans A, B, and C are discussed at length and their potential to lead us down pathways D, E, and F are meticulously plotted.What helps, but is not always possible, is a visit to your new destination in order to conduct your own Goodness of Fit test.What is Goodness of Fit?In statistics, the Chi-Square test is also known as a "Goodness of Fit" test and it measures the distance between two independent variables. You state your hypothesis, collect your data, analyze the numbers, and interpret the results.The Chi-Square formula itself (shown below) is not...
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Voting in my First Swedish Election

Voting in my First Swedish Election

In this era of anti-immigrant sentiments, I find it more and more important for me to self-identify as an immigrant. Mostly, so my American friends and family start to associate my white face and educated background with the term, instead of the racial minorities that are usually painted in such a negative light by politicians to inspire fear and distrust for their own gain.Like many countries, Sweden is also facing a growth of far-right, anti-immigrant, pro-nationalist wave and never was that clearer than in the months preceding Sunday's election.Does everyone secretly (or not-so-secretly) hate us?I saw anti-immigrant statements by the Sweden Democrats in radio and television debates, articles, and discussions within my community's Facebook groups. They call themselves the "anti-immigrant party" so it's not like they are trying to hide their agenda or anything.The reply that kept getting thrown about was, "Freedom of speech. They are allowed to say what they want. Let them speak," whenever someone would criticize their message...
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You’re a Jigsaw Puzzle Piece

You’re a Jigsaw Puzzle Piece

Imagine you are a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. You are made of cardboard and have crisp edges that fit alongside your fellow puzzle pieces. Together, you make a beautiful picture and the picture isn't whole without you. Now, imagine that you are mixed in with other puzzle pieces. In the testing of all of the pieces together, your edges become worn and fuzzy. Your cardboard rubs up against other pieces that don't quite fit because they are part of a different picture. Maybe your puzzle piece picture fits a little but the color is a bit off or the shape isn't quite right.  The fit isn't perfect because it's the wrong puzzle, so back into the box you go. Over time, after multiple puzzle creations, your particular piece of cardboard is very well worn on the edges. Your piece has changed shape. When you are finally reunited and placed back into your original puzzle, you no longer fit there either.  Your edges don't...
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No pants, no problem

No pants, no problem

"It's my body and I can wear whatever I want."My daughter stood defiantly before me, hands on hips in her underwear, a t-shirt, and sandals.Picking her up from preschool is usually fairly quick but today, my sweet daughter looks more like a stubborn rhino.She will not budge.Her teachers, also unwilling to die on this hill, placed her purple leggings in her cubby. I shrugged my shoulders and jammed the leggings in my purse. She wouldn't be wearing any pants today. Okay, fine by me.The weather was warm, we weren't posing for family portraits, and her brother's elementary school, our next destination, doesn't have a pants policy that I'm aware of.I often see Swedish kids running through the sprinkler in their underwear at his school so I'm not worried about any judgmental looks while my daughter prances about in her purple polka-dotted undies. Rules vs. flexibilityWhy are so many parents caught up in forcing their children to adhere to particular social norms...
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This Year’s Midsummer Actually Falls Mid-Summer

This Year’s Midsummer Actually Falls Mid-Summer

Midsommar is usually a bitter-sweet celebration for Swedes. The weather is just starting to warm up and it finally starts to feel like summer weather after a long May of cold, dreary rain with average temperatures in the 6-11 C (43-52 F) range.What's worse is that every Swede you talk to has some sort of Farmer's Almanac approach of predicting how nice or cold a summer will be based on the weather experienced during the winter. How that makes any sense at all is beyond my comprehension."Well, if we have a really hard winter, we'll have a nice summer. If we have a warm winter, the summer will be bad."My eyes narrow skeptically. Umm...ok.Swedish weather is like playing roulette. You look for patterns but there are none. Something has to make sense but it doesn't.The events from the past are totally independent from the events in the future. There is zero influence between summer and winter weather but nonetheless, Swedes need to hang...
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Learning Through Play—First year in a Swedish School

Learning Through Play—First year in a Swedish School

Necessary disclaimer: I understand and acknowledge that not every school in Sweden does things the same way. This is simply a little peek into what we have experienced. "What does your typical school day look like? What do you do?" I asked my six-year-old son.He took me over to the whiteboard where laminated words with pictures were arranged in descending order."First, we have frilek, then samling, then språklek, then rast, then matlek, lunch, and then fritids."I noted that all of the activities (except for snack and lunch time) had the word "lek" tacked onto the end, meaning "play." Everything my 6-7 year old has done during his first year of "real school" is based in play. Frilek—Free playFree play, language play, math play, free time—my son's school day seemed like a fun time—not much compared to what I experienced as a kindergartener in the US.I remember a classroom of 25 kids, a round rug, a wooden log cabin for us to play in, and plastic alphabet balloon people...
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