Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

Sweater to skirt & legwarmers – Take 1

  • Cut off arms and just under neck opening (this is a size small adult sweater)
  • Sew elastic waistband in skirt
  • Sew thin elastic band into raw edge of leg warmers




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Last Spring, the girls reached an age where money means something. Currency, on the other hand, is another issue all together. Trying to tell a child that 10 (KRONER) is equal to 2 (DOLLARS) is a stumper. One hundred sounds like a big number, until someone tries to tell you it’s 20 bucks. Not sure why we even bother…they only work in kroner, these girls of ours.

They get a small allowance on Sundays, when we feel that they have been good about helping out around the house (which is not every week, I might add). They also decided to try and have a couple of sidewalk sales over the summer – this is very common in Copenhagen – all summer you see kids outside with a blanket of goods for sale.

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In about 3 hours, they made 200kr (about $40) mostly on cold juice and homemade cookies (we have a fairly prime location for this kind of thing). The following weekend, they made about $25 more. I wasn’t sure how they were going to react to suddenly having this much money. Naturally, they did what most kids their age would do – ask if they could go somewhere and spend it. Right away.

They did get to spend some of it right away, but it was also a good time to have a chat about saving and of course…giving. They each hand-painted a coffee tin to use as their own piggy bank. (They have beautiful, “real” piggy banks, given to them by their aunt & uncle, but they are full of American coins!)

We also made a give jar. They put some of their earnings in there and each week, if they get allowance, they are encouraged to put a bit in the “give” jar. We decided that when there is a substantial sum, we would make a donation to a charity of their choice. …And yes, it would be okay if they decide to give to animals, rather than people. Giving is giving.


To our surprise, we had a knock on the door last week and it was someone collecting money for the Red Cross. Matea answered the door and was handed a pamphlet and was spoken to in Danish. She ran to get the give jar and those girls emptied every single ore (penny) into that Red Cross tub. We didn’t have time to count it, but it was a rather hefty sum. They were so proud. Of course, so were their parents.



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So, these were good…


Thank you Shelby for another wonderful recipe. I altered mine a little to include things the girls like (e.g., almonds instead of walnuts). However, they would probably eat insects if they were covered in dark chocolate, so I wasn’t too worried. I made a few without chocolate to include in school lunches (no chocolate allowed at school). But the chocolate ones made a great after school treat (for all of us)!


Sesame Bars

Makes around 18

1 1/2 cup almonds (or walnuts)
1 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup dried goji berries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins

4 tbsp honey or maple syrup (I did 2 tbsp honey, 2 maple syrup)
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp salt

*Optional (but recommended): 1 Bar of 70% dark chocolate

Lightly toast the nuts in a large saucepan on low heat for a few minutes. Transfer them to a food processor and blitz into a coarse flour. Add the sesame seeds to the sauce pan, make sure the heat is low as the sesame seeds are very heat sensitive – you want to lightly toast them without burning. Meanwhile, add all the berries to the food processor. Pulse for at least a minute, then pour everything into the sauce pan. Add honey/syrup, coconut oil, shredded coconut and salt and stir around until everything is combined, sticky and warm.

Cover a 8×10-inch (20×25 cm) baking dish with parchment paper and pour the mixture into it. Flatten it out with your fingers and the backside of a spoon (dip it in water to prevent sticking). Put in the fridge for at least an hour, then cut them up.

*If you wish, melt your chocolate or over a double broiler (or in the microwave – checking often to make sure it doesn’t burn). Dip chilled, cut bars into the chocolate, and refrigerate until hardened.

~~~~ YUM ~~~~



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From intricate wood-carved doors, to a simple window cascading with flowers, Europe has some of the best. There is something about them. I know you love them too. Of course some are a work of art, such as the gigantic doors of the Duomo, in Florence (directly below). Some just hold a mystery of what’s inside, while others frame a breathtaking view. Either way, they draw me in.

We snapped one and soon another followed. For some reason we got into this rhythm…I’d see a door, set up the shot and a little girl would step into it and wait for her picture to be taken. Sometimes I had two little girls in the shot.

And so, I present to you…The Italian Spring Door & Window Collection 2013:











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Sushi and Spring Rolls

A trip to Japan is in our future – or at least it should be. The girls are smitten with sushi lately. We occasionally order-in or eat out, but lately we’ve started making it at home, which has naturally, only increased the obsession, since most kids adore eating their own creations.


Considering the raw-fish factor with kids, we tend to stick to smoked fish and cooked shrimp and lots of their favorite veggies. These bamboo sushi rolling mats are great. I’m pretty sure there is a method for making normal white rice into sticky sushi rice (I think it involves vinegar), but since we normally eat brown rice, we buy “sushi rice” just for these occasions and it is naturally sticky.

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We need to work on our chopstick technique – but they sure are fun!


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Bring on the Spring Rolls!

We enjoy these for dinner sometimes too and our mostly-gluten-free girl, loves getting spring rolls in her school lunch. They are easy to put together the night before and are a great way to reinvent leftovers. We often include shrimp or chicken, lettuce, cucumber, red pepper, carrot, a bit of rice and soy sauce.

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It takes a bit of an assembly line to put them together and I could do a better job at rolling the rice wrappers, but sometimes you have to love a no-cook meal!


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This little lady – my baby girl – is turning five. I’m not sure if there is a mother out there who doesn’t slightly mourn the baby that their child once was. On her birthday (and other days, of course) I take time to remember how we used to sooth her to sleep by gently dancing with her in our arms. How she felt, snuggled up to my neck, or bobbing around on my hip when she was too tired to walk. Her baby giggle echoes in my ears, as does the sound of her calling herself “Ya Ya”, her sister “Tay Tay” and her favorite doll “Wawa”.

All of those precious memories are still raw and pure and make my heart overflow. I love them and I love thinking about them. Yet, I also delight in the little girl she is today.

Often the first one up in the morning, she goes to the kitchen and one-by-one, gathers things for a bowl of cereal. We hear the pitter patter of her lugging the big cereal box to the table, then the bowl, then her favorite spoon (the pink & green one) and finally the milk. She is self-sufficient when it comes to food – for most other things she gladly plays the “baby-card”, insisting she needs help getting dressed, brushing her teeth, picking up toys…

She is wiser and more mature than she realizes. She calls different countries “different worlds” – I suppose to the eyes of a child, they may as well be. She has been to 11 “different worlds” in her 5 years. Her best friends are from Portugal, Austria, Denmark and Azerbaijan. She is quick with numbers and quicker with wit. She disregards fashion, but will let you know if her socks are not straight.

Affectionately, she still climbs up in our laps, even as her now long, lanky limbs fold underneath her. She often exudes energy, bouncing up and down while she asks if she can help with dinner. With an unyielding admiration for her big sis, she listens patiently to early-reader books or on instructions of how to “properly” draw a princess. Always happy to have her sister’s undivided attention. She’s a dancer and a puppeteer, performing for us, making us laugh, reminding us that “silly” is the best kind of funny.

This girl. She is loved.

Happy 5th Birthday Dahlia June. The sky’s the limit for you. Dream big little girl.


(This, and a few more words, saved just-for-her, will go in her Birthday Letter Satchel. A tradition we have of writing a letter to each child on their birthday, in an attempt to capture their present spirit.)


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Kid Art Gift Bag

It feels like the girls have a birthday party to attend almost every weekend. For quite some time we have been using a roll of drawing paper to wrap gifts – lavishly decorating them with kid art – much like you mentioned in this post.

Recently, when we had a gift with several small parts, we decided to try something I had seen on Pinterest: A homemade gift bag. In this case, we used the same roll of drawing paper.

We cut a strip and taped the slightly-over-lapped edges together.


Fold up the bottom…


Open the fold and bring in the sides like this…


Fold the top and bottom to meet in the center and secure with tape…


We used a grocery store bag handle by taping it securely inside, but you could probably make a paper handle…


I punched a few holes in it to close it up with a bit of raffia.


This time we used (uncolored) pieces from a coloring book as birthday cards. The birthday girl or boy might have fun coloring in.



Your girls might not be going to too many birthday parties right now, but thought you might like to bookmark this for later.



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