When the Clock Strikes…

When the Clock Strikes…

 What happens in your house when the clock strikes twelve on Halloween?  Did you like this story? If you want to know when a hard copy is published (most likely in board book format) then sign up here and I'll let you know. @import url(https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans:400,400italic,700,700italic);/* LOADER */ .ml-form-embedSubmitLoad { display: inline-block; width: 20px; height: 20px; } .ml-form-embedSubmitLoad:after { content: " "; display: block; width: 11px; height: 11px; margin: 1px; border-radius: 50%; border: 4px solid #fff; border-color: #ffffff #ffffff #ffffff transparent; animation: ml-form-embedSubmitLoad 1.2s linear infinite; } @keyframes ml-form-embedSubmitLoad { 0% { transform: rotate(0deg); } 100% { transform: rotate(360deg); } } ...
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A Visit to a Swedish Outdoor Preschool

A Visit to a Swedish Outdoor Preschool

A wooden propeller plane makes for a great climb Cold. Uncomfortable. Rugged. Rustic. Miserable.Those are the words that I would've used to describe a Swedish outdoor preschool before I knew any better.Preschools in Sweden are for children ages 1-6 (the year they turn 6, they head off to "big school" so some kids leave when they are still 5), which in many people's perceptions, is too "young" to be exposed to the elements all day.Does outdoor preschool = miserable?Especially Swedish elements that are cold, dark, and snowy/rainy most of the school year. I imagined that the kids' fingers were freezing, toes numb, ears frostbitten, and noses all red and runny.Also, how does potty training work in the winter when you have to peel off all of those heavy layers?I really thought that only Viking-tough Swedish families aimed to send their children to outdoor preschools.The kids nap outside (not an uncommon practice and we did that too), eat outside (ok...we do picnic...
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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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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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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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The “Right” Number of Kids

The “Right” Number of Kids

How many kids do you have?" the dental technician asked me while her latex-gloved hands were working inside my mouth. I could feel her knuckles against the inside of my lips, expertly moving the mirror and probe from tooth to tooth.Now really isn't the right time to be having a conversation, I thought, but I made a noise that sounded like "two" as much as I could and held up two fingers above the paper bib lying flat on my chest."Oh, two, that's a lagom number. Two is perfect. I also have two kids."I know that this woman was only trying to make small talk with me while she scraped the plaque off of my teeth, but it struck me as somewhat of a rude conversation to be having with anyone, let alone a stranger. Who is she to be saying two is the perfect number of kids? What if I wanted more but couldn't have any? What if I secretly wanted...
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Bringing Bébé Back to the States

Bringing Bébé Back to the States

When my husband and I moved from Manhattan to Paris in 2012, we didn’t anticipate much in the way of culture shock. We were moving from one big, international city to another. No big deal, right?Wrong.Culture shock hit us hard. My husband struggled to navigate the intricacies of his workplace in a second language.As for me, not only did I have to adjust to a new country, I suddenly was a stay-at-home wife with no friends. I spent the days à la Carrie Bradshaw, wandering the streets and looking longingly into cafes full of people gabbing over coffee. Trips to the supermarket turned into cross-cultural minefields, once bringing me to tears as the cashier upbraided me for not having weighed my vegetables.We adjusted. Slowly. We had a baby and enthusiastically entered him into the French childcare system. We had a mixture of expat and French friends. Eventually, we became a little bit more French than American.Six years later, it was time to move back home....
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The Laughter Keeps the Crazy at Bay

The Laughter Keeps the Crazy at Bay

It's the head-thrown-back-uninhibited laughter that I'll miss.The giggles and the demands for more tickles. "Go...[giggle]...stop...[giggle]...go...stop...go...stop..."We play this game every day. They are the best minutes strung in a sequence that I can imagine.We can't play it for too long because the giggling is exhausting.I still get excited to pick you up from school. Your eyes light up when you see me, and you run through the hallway and squeal, "Mama, Mama, Mama!" jumping into my arms to slide down and cling to my leg.Heavily, I drag my child-laden leg over to where your coat hangs covered in dirt from a day of playing outside.I don't want to rush these moments. Yes, we have to gather your things and head to the car but these tiny moments only last for a few seconds. I don't want to accidentally brush past them in an effort to get to the next-thing-we-must-do.Today, I don't want to do things we "have" to do, I want to do whatever...
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Creating Kiddo Story Time—Improvisation at Its Best

Creating Kiddo Story Time—Improvisation at Its Best

I sat down with my son, Calvin, to ask him a few questions about his new school and find out what he likes most and least about living in Sweden. His answers surprised me a bit!After we finished the Q&A, we did a fun storytelling exercise where he provided a few details like the main character's name and a setting and I took it from there, pausing at random intervals to let him fill in the blanks.Allowing for 100% pure improvisation can take you and your child down some fun paths and I encourage you to try it out tonight.Our kid-lib story starts at minute 6:00 above if you want to skip over the Q&A.Creating kiddo story time:Ask them for the name of the main character Ask them what special characters they would like to include like a dragon, ghost, a tree that comes alive, I don't know. Encourage them to be creative. Start the story with, "Once upon...
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Sugar Water Painting Technique for Kids

Sugar Water Painting Technique for Kids

Easily create beautiful watercolor designs with this simple and fast sugar water technique.My kids absolutely loved painting with this sugar water technique. They each raved about how beautiful their creations were and couldn't wait to try it again. This is a great rainy day activity for kids and adults of any age. Watch as the colors explode and bloom into new shapes as you continue to drop new colors of paint. IngredientsWater color paint Paintbrush(es) Paper Masking tape Sugar WaterCreating the sugar waterAdd 2 parts sugar to 1 part water and boil to mix together Allow mix to coolDirectionsTape down your paper on all borders Paint a thin layer of the sugar-water mix onto the paper Drop the paint onto the sugar-water mix in small drops and watch the color bloom Be sure to get your colors onto the paper before your sugar-water mix dries Get creative with your colors!The final results...You can add a black piece of construction paper to...
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