Wrapping paper DIY

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For the last few years we have made our own Christmas wrapping paper, and because of all the lovely comments and emails I received after posting this picture of our potato printed wrapping paper diy session on Sunday, I decided to do a very quick wrapping paper DIY.

It’s easy, doesn’t require a lot of equipment and is a great way to pass a bit of time on those long last days before Christmas.

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Doing & making: Beeswax candles

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With Thanksgiving over, most of the turkey eaten and the first Sunday in advent upon us, we have slowly started our first Christmas preparations. I’m trying to make the month of December more about little moments together and less about presents, Santa and wish lists (you can read about our Christmas calendar of great moments right here) and doing easy crafts together is an all-time family favorite in our home.  →

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A Simple Christmas Calendar

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Last year December came without me having done any kind of Christmas preparations, and on the evening of the 30th November I realized that I had only a few hours to prepare some kind of simple Christmas calendar. So instead of going for the traditional 24 small packages I went for this. A Little Tree of Great Moments. And even though there were no presents to open up, the girls ended up loving it.

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How to start knitting

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Ever since I gave birth to my eldest daughter  I’ve been dreaming about home knitted sweaters and jumpsuits for my little ones, and more than once have I shopped for yarn, needles and the perfect pattern, only to get stuck on the first few rows of needles. I now know that all I needed was a little bit of help and support and a lot of inspiration.

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Rudolph Tegners Museum

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· About a lovely visit to the small but amazing Rudolph Tegners Museum and a short list of other Danish museums that my girls really like ·

For the past couple of weeks the summer in Denmark has felt more like a cold, grey Scandinavian autumn. So we have tried to keep busy with other things since the weather isn’t very beach friendly.

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The ease of motherhood

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• A small text about how a park and some spring weather helps me find the ease of motherhood •

 
Once again I have discovered something that I seem to realize every year when spring arrives and forget again when autumn kicks in. As the weather gets better and allows you to spend more hours outside, being a parent gets so much easier.

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10 things we love right now

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 • What we like to do, to make, to listen to and to feel. A short list of some of the things we love right now.  
– Spring. Yesterday we saw tiny green buds on trees and bushes and today we saw our first pink tree in full blossom.
– My eldest daughter’s love for music. She got her own little record player as a gift from a good friend, and now she’ll put on Nirvana’s Nevermind album all on her own.

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Creative kids

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 •  Something about creative kids and a short list of ways to let your child explore their creative side •
 Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.
Shel Silverstein
Before becoming a mother, one of my dream scenarios of having children would be them sitting at one end of a long table filled with paint, pens and paper. They would draw and do creative projects, have fun and talk nice to each other, while I would sit calmly at the other end of the table, writing and enjoying a hot cup of coffee.

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Urban gardening with kids

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• A bit about growing up in a metropole and my love for urban gardening with kids • 

I want my children to grow up with hands that are dirty from digging in the soil. I want them to know how a tiny seed can grow into a flower or how a plant can grow tasty vegetables. I want them to know that you should take good care of trees and I want to teach them to see the beauty in a single flower.

Being close to nature and growing up with green fingers can be hard when you live in a busy metropolis. But we do our best, and accept that sometimes that means making a mess indoors. →

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The perfect Los Angeles vacation house

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• A bit about a Los Angeles vacation house • 
When you grow up surrounded by Danish design, minimalistic houses and white walls, it’s almost impossible to not develop some kind of love for this type of living. My childhood home was designed by my dad, who’s an architect, and was full of classic design furniture. Each year our summer vacations would include visits to famous building, museums and churches all around the world.

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New York Flower Market and a little bit about one-on-one time

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• A visit to the New York flower market, and a bit about one on one time • 
With her well articulated language, her height, that is closer to a 9-year-old than one who is not even seven yet, her ability to sit down and read a book with out me helping or interfering, her eagerness to discuss anything I ask her and with her asking me “Mama, do you know who Justin Bieber is?” Which she did some day after a play date at a friends house, I sometimes forget that she’s still my little 6-year-old. That she still likes to hold hands, sit on my lap, listen to good night stories, ask questions about tooth fairies, and more than anything, get my undivided attention. 

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Celebrating Danish traditions abroad

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• About celebrating Danish traditions abroad and an delicious recipe • 
There are certain things you miss out on when you choose to move abroad with your family. Small things like bumping into an old friend at the supermarket, a dinner party arranged at the last minute, having family over for an afternoon and a quick glass of wine with a friend you have known since your childhood.  And then the big things such as the birth of another nephew, a good friend turning forty, knowing that your relatives are always close, and the pregnancy of your bff. All these things that you might take for granted when you’re in the middle of your everyday life, turn out to be the things that you end up missing the most when you are living on the other side of the world.

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Our favorite children’s books right now

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• Some of our favorite children’s books right now • 

With a fresh cup of warm coffee, plenty of snacks and a warm blanket within reach, we enjoy spending hours and hours reading through our favorite children’s books. Me reading for both of my girls, them reading by themselves, or what I like most of all, Eleanor reading for Alma.

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Going off line

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• A list of things that help me be off line • 
A few months back, a friend of mine posted a drawing on Instagram which her daughter had been asked make in school of her family doing their favorite things. The girl had drawn her dad with a football, her brother running around and playing with his friends and herself sitting with all her dolls. Her mum was standing in the background looking at her phone.
Right away I decided that a similar picture would never be drawn by any of my daughters.

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Seeking silence as a mother

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• A bit about seeking silence when your life is full of  noise • 

I have always been a big fan of silence. The non existing sounds of lives lived around me, the monotonous noise from waves on the beach, the sounds you hear when you lay still in the grass on a warm summer day, or taking a walk on a snowy Sunday morning. Being in my zone without letting anyone disturb. After almost 7 years of motherhood you can easily forget to take notice of the silent moments, because nothing is hardly ever silent when you spend most of your time with two talkative girls and an energetic husband. There’s the constant requests for food, a toy or help to go to the toilet. An argument that has to be stopped. The loud noise from two girls playing. The many daily chores that need to be done. A little person who falls and hits her knee. A temper tantrum that started because of unknown reasons. Being a mother is a challenge bigger than any other and seeking some of that unfamiliar silence is sometimes the only thing I feel can keep me sane.

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Rainy day and indoor activities

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• A small list of fun indoor activities to do with your kids •

The simple luxury of staying inside a whole Sunday, while the rain is beating on your window and the storm is shaking the trees. Those bittersweet moments of complete quietness when not a sound can be heard from the children’s room, and you now you should really enjoy it because in a few minutes someone will yell out Mama for the 50th time that day, a fight will begin or at least one of them will be hungry, thirsty or have to use the bathroom.

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My new year resolutions

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• A list of all my little new year resolutions • 

Yesterday I bought a new woolen coat. It’s not the pratical I-could-cross-the-northpole-and-sit-3-hours-on-a-bench-at-the-playground-in-minus-degrees-and-stil-not-be-cold kind of parka that I was planning to buy, but it is more or less everything else. Classic design, great materials, a beautiful color (not black, which is a huge deal to me), from one of my preferred brands (my wardrobe only consists of about 5 different brands) and on sale which didn’t exactly make it cheap but at least made it possible for me to buy it.  It was also the first piece of clothing I have bought for myself in about 6 month and I know it will be a part of my wardrobe for many years to come. And since buying lesser things in better quality and in a classic and long-lasting design is one of my new year resolutions for 2016 I quickly convinced myself that this was a good decision.

I’m normally not the kind of person who will come up with a lot of new year resolutions, but for some reason I have a whole list this year. Nothing big, just small things I really want to do or not do in the upcoming year. And since a few of them are very easy to bring into your everyday life I thought I would share them here with you. Who knows, maybe some of you will be inspired.

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Remembering my favorite moments of 2015

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• Some thoughts on a mother’s urge to keep all the little memories alive and a look back at some of our favorite 2015 moments •

To me, motherhood consists of a larger collection of small moments which together constitutes my life with my daughters. In all those moments lay my happiness, my fears, my sadness, my love, my anger, my biggest struggles and my admiration for being able to see these two little babies slowly form their own personalities. One thing that I really fear is for those small moments to slowly start fading or even worse, to escape my memory for good.

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Homemade wrapping paper

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A quick and easy DIY •

A simple, easy and fun way to keep the children busy while bringing a bit of Holiday spirit to the house at the same time. This year we’re making our own homemade wrapping paper, and on top of being the easiest activity ever, I cannot wait to see how cute it will look under the tree.

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DIY felt animal ornaments

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• How to make your own DIY felt animal ornaments •

I grew up with a christmas tree decorated only with red vintage glass ornaments and white candle lights. My grandparents, where we would celebrate christmas every single year, live in a huge house and no one except from my grandmother would see the tree before it was revealed to us all on the night of christmas with all the candles lit.

I would be happy keeping our tree low-key and minimalistic with just a lot of lights and simple white snowflakes. However, my daughters are into the opposite. To try and accommodate their wishes, I’ve made them a few simple felt ornaments.

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Some thoughts on giving presents

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About how I try and avoid presents that your kids will never play with, and why I this year decided to make my own •

When it comes to presents, I’m quiet a conflicted person. I love when thought has been put into gift-giving. The idea of keeping a list throughout the year of things that people would like or could really use appeals to me. Or the concept of not having to gift the same people every year, but to only give presents to the ones you really have something personal for.

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Pick your battles

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• About how life sometimes can get a bit easier if you try and pick your battles and letting things go •

Despite all it’s wonder and beauty, motherhood can be quiet hard at times. I wish I could say our life was mostly smooth sailing, but it’s not. Instead I try to navigate my way through treenage tantrums, moodiness and small annoying things that suddenly turn into big scenes. And although I know everything would be easier if I embraced the choppy waves in hugs and endless love, but l find it hard to be that kind of person.

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Holiday gift guide for the little ones

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• My personal Holiday gift guide for the little ones •

It feels like November was over in less than a few minutes, and somehow we never got around to do half the things we wanted to do. But then again, when do we ever? We did however love every single moment of this beautiful last Autumn month, and for once I’m okay with tomorrow being that famous first day of Christmas.

I have decided that this year my Christmas well be 100% stress-free, and though some presents still have to be made by my own hands, I have finalized the list of what my girls will find under the tree.

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What I am thankful for

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• A few thoughts on thankfulness on this my first Thanksgiving ever •

I often forget to be thankful for all the little things. Like a new pair of wooly socks, my husband heating up the bed (he travels a lot and it’s so cold when he’s not here) and my children playing and laughing out loud together. That extra cup of coffee on a sunny Sunday morning and our home at night when my kids are in bed, my husband is quiet and I get to be alone with my thoughts for a little while.

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Apple pie recipe

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• My favorite Apple pie recipe •

As the temperature dropped outside, we decided to stay in on a cold and grey Sunday, which turned out to be the day that we would welcome colder weather, winter jackets, red cheeks and running noses.
In an old notebook I brought with me from Denmark, we found our family Apple pie recipe, which we normally would bake in our little summerhouse kitchen using only apples from our own garden. Little busy hands made for happy hearts when we after a few hours of baking all sat down together and celebrated the season, the birth of a new cousin and the upcoming holidays.

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Stroller friendly New York hotspots

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• A shortlist of some of my favorite Stroller friendly New York hotspots • 

When we first moved to New York, I somehow felt that bringing my children to museums and other crowded public places could be a bit overwhelming. Chances were, that my youngest would start feeling tired as soon as we had checked in the stroller and I would end up carrying her around a museum for hours.

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Thoughts for my daughters

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Because when they get to the age where my thoughts and experiences can be of a bit of help in their lives they’ll probably find me really annoying, I’ve started writing down some thoughts for my daughters that I’d like to pass on to them. One day they’ll hopefully spend 5 minutes reading them and 5 minutes more thinking about them.

 

– Don’t let life make you forget about the dreams you had as a child. It is easy to forget but even easier to regret all the things you never got around to do. My biggest fear is waking up as an old woman and regretting all the things I never did, and this fear has brought me some great adventures.

– Read books. Long or short, pictures or not. Just read. It will keep your mind bright and hopefully remind you of me.

– Think before you act. What seems to be a great idea in the moment can sometimes end up being a really bad idea just an hour later. I still regret things I said or did before thinking, but I did learn something every time.

– Never be afraid of colors, but if in doubt, always go for black or white. It has worked for me for more than 10 years.

– Traveling is always a good idea, and if nobody wants to come with you, then go alone. It will bring you some of your greatest experiences, and I promise to try to not talk you out of it.

– Never stop creating. No matter what it is or even if it isn’t very good. It keeps your soul awake and your eyes clear and you love doing it. I know, because I see it every day.

– Remember that the most important things aren’t actually things at all.

– Don’t make decisions about your life based on other peoples opinions. Not even your parent’s. Your dad and I are often right, but when you grow up and become strong and independent young women, we might not know what’s always the best for you. And if I really don’t want to understand and except, show me this list, and I’ll try and remember that I too was young once.

– Be nice to animals. Most of them are nice to you and one of the things I wish I could have given you, was a childhood surrounded by animals of all kinds.

– Know, that you’ll have amazing experiences all over the world, but the biggest adventures are often found closest to yourself and in the middle of your everyday life. I have met a cobra in India, seen a wild tiger in the jungle, climbed a mountain in Nepal, travelled across the US in a bus and watched a sea turtle bigger than me lay her eggs on a Nicaraguan beach, still the two of you are my greatest adventure.

Moving to New York – a one year status

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Today is our 1 year anniversary of living in New York and I thought it called for a bit of an update.

Even today while I’m ill at home, and my husband is in L.A for work and my daughters are both very concerned that Halloween with an ill mother is not going to happen or be fun, we still love living here. There are moments (like yesterday and today) where I miss my “village”, and everybody feels too far away, but most days things are great. 

Here, one year after we started out on this adventure, I felt like sharing some ups and downs about moving to New York.

We love the slow way of living that we have engaged in. I don’t mind that small things can take a long time, and I accept that some days I don’t even get as far as putting on mascara. 

We feel that this change of scenery has made us look differently upon so many things. At people, at relationships and at social connections. New York has turned both me and my kids into more open people, and should we ever move back, I hope to bring this with us.

I miss our friends, sharing a glass of wine with a bff or a Friday dinner with people we know so well and are comfortable with, that we don’t have to tidy up the living room before they come over.

I love that we live just a short walk from the amazing Brooklyn Bridge Park. Not many weeks go by without us going there at least once.

I miss nature. Not nature like in Central Park or Prospect Park, but real nature like the wild forest we go to when we’re staying in our summerhouse in Denmark.

One of the things I really want to do this second year in New York is to explore the amazing nature this city is surrounded by. We haven’t been good at doing this so far.

I love that I have been given an opportunity to spend this much time with my toddler. Even though having her at home half the week can sometimes drives me crazy and make me feel like I’m wasting my time, I think it’s the best investment I have ever made in myself and my family.

I have won over some simple fears I had when we first moved here. Like how do I take the subway on my own with 2 kids and a stroller and a hundred stairs.

I still don’t like going to the doctor here. Things are done in another way and although a check up is much more thorough here, there are things I still don’t fully  understand with the healthcare system.

Politeness is highly regarded, and my kids have learned to always say thank you and please which I really like. On the other hand, the rude people you sometimes bump into on the street are so much more rude here, than I have ever seen in Denmark. 

We get to celebrate Halloween in one of the most crazy Halloween settings you can ever imagine. 

We might not get to see our family every month, but when we do see them it’s for 10 nights instead of just one or two, and even though it can sometimes end up being a bit intense, it means that my children really get to know their grandparents.

painting pumpkins

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We’re surrounded by Halloween decorations, Halloween parties, Halloween themed food and houses covered in spiderwebs and skeletons, and Eleanor has already attended her first Halloween celebration (dressed up as a vampire with curly hair, white face makeup, plastic fangs, and a lot of black clothes). Though we never celebrated Halloween while living in Copenhagen, we decided it was time to do a bit of decorating ourselves. We bought a big orange pumpkin for carving, and a couple of small white ones and a tiger striped one as well for painting. These actually make a really good canvas if you use a water based paint (not watercolor).
I love how differently my two girls approached the project, and although there is a three years age difference between them, it was apparent that their different personalities shined through in their way of painting pumpkins. One was very careful, calm and had a specific plan for the final design and the other, more expressionistic, experimenting with colors, techniques and materials, loud and with grand gestures.

It ended up as a pretty perfect DIY job if you take in consideration that the kids ended up spending much more time on painting than I did preparing (it doesn’t always turn out like this). Only a little bit of paint ended up on the floor, the tank tops and the kids (thank you Ikea for the very easy washable paint) and we now have very beautiful Halloween decorations. These pumpkins might not be scary, but at least they’re very personal and reminds me of my two very different children, every time I look at them.

Moving abroad with small children – a Q&A

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Exactly one year ago, we said a final goodbye to our old home. After months of trying to figure out all the practical things, and two weeks of intense packing, arranging and trying to get settled with the idea of leaving my beloved Copenhagen behind, we took off to London to spend a few days with my in-laws before moving to New York the day before Halloween.

During the last 8 months I’ve been asked lot of questions about moving abroad with small children, and since I haven’t always been the best at answering, I’ve tried to collect and answer some of these questions here:

What is the most difficult thing about moving?

It’s in no way easy to start a new life in a new city where you don’t know a lot of people. Both on a practical and on a personal level. You end up spending a long time trying to figure out how to deal with really simple things like how to make sure your child gets the necessary vaccines. My youngest daughter is in pre-school a few days a week, and spends the rest of the time with me taking art, music and yoga classes and going to the playgrounds. Even though I love spending time with her, it took me a while to get settled with this. I actually started Little Kin Journal as a way to accept that I would be spending most of my time in a child’s universe. It was my way of getting devoted to my new life and taking a step away from the life I used to live.

Do you miss your family?

Yes. But not as much as I thought I would. My parents have visited a few times, and my daughters and I spent almost 2 months in Denmark this summer, which we plan to do every year. In some ways, I think our relationship has ended up being more balanced since we moved. Because of the distance I can no longer rely on my parents to help solve my problems.

How did you decide on the area where you live?

That was a tricky one. When my eldest child was about two years old, we stayed in Manhattan for two weeks. She got stressed with the crowds and constant noise, so we knew that wouldn’t be the right place for us. Half a year before moving, we took two months off work to try out New York and figure out if this could be our new home. We ended up in one of the most child friendly areas of Brooklyn and we live really close to an amazing public school. Brooklyn Bridge Park is only 10 minutes walk away and we are 3 subway stops away from the Lower East Side in Manhattan. These things mean a lot to us, and even though we have to pay more for our apartment than one the same size in another area, it’s well worth it.

What do your children miss the most?

Their grandparents and our summerhouse. In the beginning my 6-year-old missed our old home a lot. My daughters were five and two when we moved, and neither of them were really attached to their friends. I think it’s much harder to move when children get older. I know some Danish people in Brooklyn who moved here over two years ago and their 13-year-old boy still misses his friends in Denmark every day.

Does your everyday life looks the same as it did in Denmark?

No, It doesn’t. If you want a good full-time day care in New York, it’s almost as expensive as a full time salary. At the moment my youngest is in pre-school (which is much more learning based than day-care) a few times a week, and for the rest of the time she’s home with me. A lot of people do it like that here, or you hire a nanny to take care of your children during hours they’re not in daycare. Since my husband is working a lot and his work requires a lot of traveling I take care of most of the practical things at home and with the children. The weekends we always try to spend together.

Did you keep an option open for moving back to Denmark if you didn’t like it?

We told our 6-year-old that she had to give it two month, and if she didn’t like it by then, we would move back home. A week after moving she said, she never wanted to move back home again. Before moving we decided to evaluate every year. In May this year, we decided to stay another year, and just a month ago, we decided to stay for at least two more years. My youngest daughter is starting school here next year, and both her and I would really like to see what that does to our everyday life.

Did you have things like schools, daycare apartment, work etc. settled before moving or did you just figure it out when you got there?

We had most of it settled before moving, except from daycare for my youngest, which is very different here, than in Denmark. Before moving, my husband went to New York for a few weeks to sort everything out, and after spending the first two weeks looking at a lot of awful and expensive places, he found a fairly spacious and very light apartment just one block from one of the best public schools in New York, which happened to have an open spot.

Do you ever regret moving abroad with small children?

No, and even if moved home tomorrow, I couldn’t imagine being without this experience. Before moving here, I sometimes questioned why we didn’t do it before we had children, but I never think of that anymore. I believe every family would gain and learn a lot from living abroad for a few years, and I think most children will end up seeing it as a positive experience.

Hand crafted toys

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I was convinced we would never have an apartment full of plastic toys like Barbie, Sylvanians and My Little Ponies. Now I know that was wrong in so many ways. We don’t have tons of toys, but we haven’t been able to avoid the commercial and popular kind, and since these toys often bring many hours of play time, I’m okay with having them around.
But as my children have been getting older, I’ve realized that they often appreciate the more unique pieces that are to be found in their toy collection. With this in mind, I’m trying to avoid buying anymore Barbies or My Little Ponies and instead focus more on hand crafted toys, either made by myself or bought from small companies or individual crafters.
Here’s a small selection of my favorite hand crafted toys, that I wouldn’t mind adding to the toy collection in our household.

1. Handmade Waldorf inspired doll I made for my youngest daughter. 2. Hungry bear doll / Coral and Tusk  3. Handmade ragdoll / Dancey Pants Disco  4. Cat headdress / Animalesque  5. Bunny in bloomers / Yume Creations  6. Camera / Fanny and Alexander  7. Fox mask / Coral and Tusk  8. Stacking toy / Toto  9. Wodden thief doll /  Sketchinc  10. Ragdoll / Tippitoetailor  11. Play tent / Such Great Heights

Things I love about fall

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I used to think that spring was my favorite time of year. As a spring-child, I’m born to love the feeling of new things blossoming. The ease with which April and May seem to flow by while days get warmer, evenings get lighter and people you love and cherish get sun kissed noses and start spending all their time outdoors.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve changed my mind. Fall has moved to the top of the list of my favorite seasons, and though I love barbecuing in our summerhouse garden, swimming in the sea or drinking my morning coffee in the summer sun, nothing beats the melancholic and gloomy feeling, that comes with falling leaves, the first fall storms and the woolly sweaters you suddenly feel like wrapping yourself and your children in.

I love red cheeks on my children’s faces when we have been outside playing in the park all day. I love kicking the fallen leaves, and throwing them in the air and letting them rain down on me. I love sitting on a blanket under a tree, enjoying one last picnic before the winter really kicks in. I love freshly picked apples. I love New York all dressed up in the most amazing rusty red colors. I love drinking my coffee hot again. I love to watch my children explore nature in another way that they did during summer. I love to watch squirrels bury their acorns for winter. I love that I can wear wooly sweaters, light jackets or even a long pair of pants without sweating and overheating. I love that I can wear shoes and boots (this morning i walked out only wearing sandals, and I was actually feeling cold). I love that it’s now ok to stay in all day and do little projects like drawing, painting and sewing with my kids. I love pumpkins and houses all dressed up for Halloween. But most of all, I love that fall will be followed by winter, which will be followed by spring, then summer and then fall again, and that i’m living in a city, where seasons are so explicit and changes so radical as here in New York. Those are the things I love about fall

Farmers Market New York

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I have always dreamed about growing my own vegetables. When I was a child, I knew of nothing better than eating a fresh carrot that still had it’s top on, and I remember days spent in my grandmother’s greenhouse, watering and cleaning the cucumbers and tomatoes and then afterwards going outside to pick bowls full of tasty strawberries. At the age of 86 my grandmother is still growing vegetables in her greenhouse and if my youngest daughter had the chance, she would happily eat every single tomato in there straight from the vine.

Before moving, I got to live out a bit of my dream in our summerhouse garden, where our old fruit trees and bushes would keep both us and all the deers stuffed full of fruit all throughout fall, and many a fruit pie has been baked with freshly picked apples and pears in our little cottage-kitchen.

When we moved to New York, I assumed nothing homegrown would find it’s way to our home anymore, except maybe a bit of basil.

This was until I discovered the Green Markets Farmers Market New York. Here, small family farmers sell their locally grown products directly to the consumers. The concept was founded back in 1976 and today more than 50 markets take place every week. Once a week, my youngest daughter and I will take a trip to one of the many markets and load up on freshly grown fruits and vegetables, homemade jam and locally produced honey. For me, taking the subway to the Farmers Market somehow seems like a bit of a contradiction, so instead we will pack a lunch box, take out our comfortable Mutsy-stroller and comfortable walking shoes and go visit markets in new neighborhoods and do some exploring along the way.

Come winter, we might stick to our local Farmers Market, which is only a few minutes walk from Alma’s pre-school, but for now, we love combining the trip to the Greenmarket with a long walk and some city exploring.

Read more about the Farmers Market New York or the amazing community gardens which are also run by Grown Nyc right here.

Autumn color palette

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Looking through my instagram feed last night, I realized that my preferred color palette changes according to seasons. While Spring was light pink inspired by the beautiful cherry blossoms and the glooming spring sky, Summer was white, light and natural. So far Autumn has been full of blue sky, hot coffee and falling leaves, and to no surprise the color palette has now changed to mustard, cinnamon, beige, grey and brown.

 

1. Jumpsuit / Oeuf New York  2. Blouse / Mabo Kids  3. Socks / Mabo Kids  4. Dress / Soor Ploom 5. Scarf / Tocoto Vintage  6. Pants / Caramel Baby And Child 7. Scarf / Nieva Knitwear  8. Sweater / Nieva Knitwear  9. Dress / Oeuf New York  10. Dress / As We Grow  11. Jumpsuit / Nico Nico  12. Crown head ban / Oeuf New York

Halloween inspiration

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When you live in New York with two young children, October easily ends up being all about pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, spooky costumes and Jack-o-lanterns. If you, just like me, want to get through October without having your whole house plastered with tons of tasteless decorations, and would like to avoid spending most of a month salary on costumes and halloween treats, I have put together some halloween inspiration that most children and adults will like.

 

DYI links for my Halloween inspiration:

Carmen Mirande Costume  //  Llama costume  //  Printable monster cup cake holders  //   Sailor costume  //   Field of flowers costume   //   Mini ghost pinatas  //   Baby octopus costume //   Glow in the dark treat bucket  //  Trick or treat bucket

School clothes

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 We’re 2 weeks into the new school year and autumn has arrived in New York. Light and breezy summer dresses and sandals are no longer enough to keep the kids warm. In my opinion, school clothes have to be comfortable and suitable for both sitting still in class and running around in the school yard, and for artistic expressions and paint splashes in art class. According to Eleanor, they just have to be cool and comfortable.

 

Here’s a small selection of cool, comfortable and practical school clothes for boys and girls.

 

1. Skirt / Christina Rohde &  Socks / Popupshop   2. Dress / Zara 3. T-shirt / Popupshop 4. Jumpsuit / April Showers 5. Cap / Zara 6. Dress / ByClara 7. Scarf / Zara 8. Skirt  / Tocoto vintage 9. Pants / Zara 10. Knit / Fub

10 things we love right now

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A small list of 10 things we love right now:

– Hydrangeas. I remember the first time I saw this kind of flower as I child. I was seven and we were in France on vacation and I instantly fell in love with them. New York is full of them at the moment, and both the girls and I can’t stop admiring those big balls of tiny flowers.
– The girls’ new dresses. Because when dressed in these, they feel pretty and comfortable at the same time. Even when you’re little, you can appreciate the beauty in small details.
– Collecting leaves. They don’t get any prettier than they are right now.
– Ballet class. After a long break from taking ballet classes, my eldest daughter is once again dancing around in her little pink ballet shoes at the dance studio, in our living room, our hallway and at the playground.
– Indian summer. The leaves might be falling off the trees, but we’re still wearing our sandals and summer dresses.
– Chapter books. My eldest daughter has started reading one chapter in her book by herself every night. I love to see her discovering the magic of reading. 
– Daniel Tiger. Because finally we have found a cartoon which both my girls like to watch and which teaches them a lot of great things, and gives them tools to handle difficult situations. Thanks to Daniel, We now have a Grown Ups Come Back song, a Sharing is Caring song and a Potty song.
– Not having to change diapers. My youngest daughter was potty trained in less than 2 weeks by her own initiative and so far we haven’t had a single accident. Seems like not pushing her worked out to our advantage.
– Homemade play dough. We have spent hours making play dough pizzas, play dough snowmen and play dough dinosaurs. And because it’s so easy and cheap to make, it’s okay to just throw it away when the colors get mixed up. See the recipe here.
– No more co-sleeping. After having had kids in our bed for the last 6 years, they’re now sleeping on their own, and I actually think we all like it. 

 

How to make play dough

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Because I just discovered how full of bad things the pre-made stuff is and because homemade stuff is always a little bit more fun, I decided to figure out how to make play dough out of normal kitchen ingredients like, salt, flour and water. And while the kids are busy making rainbow colored ponies and donuts with sprinkles I thought I could just as well make some good use of this time to share the recipe with you:

This is how to make play dough yourself:

Ingredients:

1 cup of flour

1 cup of warm water

1/2 cup of salt

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of cream of tartar (optional for better elasticity) (if you’re danish and wonder what this is, you can read about here)

Food coloring

Scented oils (optional)

Mix all ingredients except for the food coloring in a saucepan and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it will start looking like mashed potatoes. When the dough starts to clump up in the middle of the pan, or when it no longer sticks to the spoon or your finger, turn off the heat and let the dough cool down.

If the dough is still sticky just keep cooking and stirring until the dough is dry and feels like play dough.

Pour the dough out on a clean surface and knead until it becomes silky smooth. Divide the dough into small balls for coloring. Drop a tiny bit of food coloring into a divot in the dough and work the food coloring into the dough. Be aware to keep the raw dye away from your skin or the table as this will otherwise leave color. You can work the food coloring into the dough while the dough is in a plastic bag, if you want to make sure the color doesn’t stain anything it’s not supposed to. Only the concentrated color will color your skin or the table, so as soon as it is worked into the dough, it will be fine.

To keep the play dough from drying out, keep it in an air tight container or a zip-lock bag.

Make sure the dough is completely cold before storing it.

If you want to make hard dough figures or ornaments for Halloween or Christmas, you can even bake the play dough in the oven.

Play hard!

Re-decorating our children’s room

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It will soon be a year since we moved into our Brooklyn-home. During the first few months we were content with living in a minimal and almost empty apartment, with only the bare necessities. Now that we have decided to stay, I really feel like re-decorating the children’s room, turning it into a space that they not only sleep in, but will stimulate their imaginative play and bring peaceful nights sleep. When we moved to New York, we agreed on letting the girls’ decide where they wanted to sleep, and it came as no surprise that co-sleeping ended up as the solution. Moving and starting school in a new country seemed like such a major change, that we wanted them to feel completely safe and secure when in bed. But now that both girls see our apartment in the old Brooklyn brownstone house as their home, we all feel like making some changes. Here’s a little taste of my inspiration for the children’s room. I’ll share the final result with you in a few weeks, when it hopefully gets finished.
1. Bed / Oliver furniture 2. Wall Sticker / Ferm Living 3. Blankets & pillows / Camomile London 4. Bed with secret room / Oliver Furniture  5. Illustrations /Jennie Ekström  6. Toy sack / Tellkiddo 7. Lamp / Miffy 8. Bed sheets / Design Letters 9. Box / Luona shop 10. Flags / Fabelab 11. Chairs / Oeuf NYC 12. Bed / Flexa 13. Table / Oeuf NYC 14. Round carpet / Ferm Living 15. Beanbag / Nobodinoz

Super girl & going back to school

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One week ago Eleanor went back to school.  After two and a half months spent in quiet surroundings together with her closest family, she had to walk into a class room full of new classmates (and a few old ones) and a new teacher (who everybody says is amazing, and happens to be a real magician) and start a new chapter of her life.
When she turned around on that second day of 1st grade, waved to me and said “mum, you can go now”, I realized that she’s not my helpless little girl anymore. She is a little human who has just started a great journey of independence. Soon she’ll have her own opinions about more important things than what she wants for dinner or which colour is the prettiest.

As a parent I can just stand back, and hope, that we’re doing the right things and that she’ll turn out great. From now on I’ll have to watch her be happy, frustrated, angry and sad and have to let her fight her own battles and make her own decisions, without doing anything else than just being there to support her and helping her navigate through obstacles in her own life. It’s all I can do. That and making her a supergirl mask, that she can wear, when the butterflies in her stomach start speeding around a little too fast, or she just needs a little bit of extra power to get through the day. She says it gives her some extra strength when she has to do stuff like tiding up her room or make new friends at school.

Here’s how you make one for your child, should he or she also be in a bit of a need of some extra powers:

Cut out a paper mask-shape, and make sure the size and eye holes fit your child.

Pin the paper to a double layer of felt in your preferred color.

Cut out the two felt masks and either sew or glue them on top of each other.

Attach an elastic string  to both sides of the mask. I sewed the elastic string to a thin piece of felt, but this is not necessary.

 

Illustrations by Emily Winfield Martin

Banana pancakes

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My girls and I have a new favorite, banana pancakes with no sugar, no flour and no other unhealthy things added. The inspiration came to me a few weeks ago, when a dear friend of mine served me a homemade brunch, which she prepared while cradling her adorable six month old baby. Among freshly baked buns, fresh fruit and large cups of coffee were some small and tasty pancakes, made only of bananas and egg.

I knew straight away that this concept would be a success with my pancake-loving children, and in order to make them a bit more filling and kids-friendly, I have added a few things.

This is the recipe we use when making a stack of delicious banana pancakes:

2 ripe bananas
4 eggs
1 tablespoon of oats
1 tablespoon of shredded coconut
1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla powder
or
1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon
Coconut oil or vegetable oil for frying

Using a fork, mash the banana until they are almost a smooth paste. Add all the eggs and whisk together. Add coconut and spices, and whisk it all together. The batter will be a bit thick and lumpy.
Heat a small amount of oil on a pan, and pour batter on the pan. Move the pan around until the pancake ends up round and thin, and let fry for a few minutes on each side until light brown.

Serve with fresh fruit or greek yogurt or fruit jam.

Tip: The banana pancakes also taste great when served cold, and will make a great snack for a lunchbox.

Kids & art; Glyptoteket in Copenhagen

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We’re slowly settling in at home after two months of vacation in our summer house in Denmark. Most days of our vacation were spent in our garden, at the beach and the nearby forest, while other days called for a change of scenery.

One of my eldest and dearest friends works at an amazing museum in Copenhagen and because of this, my daughters and I have been visiting the Glyptoteket museum on a regular basis ever since they were babies. We come here to sit in the beautiful Winter Garden, to participate in children’s events, and to enjoy the rooftop view and experience some spectacular exhibitions.

Some people might think it would be easier to take two small kids to see a modern art exhibition with only a few paintings on the wall, out of reach of curious little hands, instead of a place full of marble statues. And on a practical level that might be true, because who would like to see their 3-year-old knock over an irreplaceable marble statue, let alone be hit by it if it falls? But practicalities aside, which kid wouldn’t love to look a the huge white marble sculptures of bodies and busts and wonder who they are and what they are thinking?

On one of the last Fridays of our vacation, my daughters and I went back to Glyptoteket. We looked at the large golden fish in the Winter Garden (or the Jungle as Alma has named it), found a hippo and a butterfly and sat under a palm leave and pretended we were lost somewhere in a deep magical rainforest. We observed marble statues and came up with stories about the lives they lived many years ago.  We saw paintings of girls playing in a forest, a statue of a girl holding a dead bird, a painting of a dead bird and a sad woman sitting next to her husband’s bed. We played chess in the hallway, and saw a beautiful Man Ray exhibition, which later inspired Alma to do some drawings of a little wooden manikin.

And at our summer-house we now have a small old glass with a golden edge filled with 9 tiny pieces of the most exquisite white marble, that our friend gave us just before we walked out through the big doors and left the magic of this amazing museum behind.

Should you ever find yourself in Copenhagen, be sure to pay Glyptoteket a visit.

 

Morning scenes and a top knot

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If I could decide, mornings would be a combination of blissful quietness, bright sunlight, large cups of coffee, space to let my thoughts and imagination wander off and with no more than a few words uttered.

But with two young girls and a husband who works in both Copenhagen and New York, (he wakes up to a full inbox of work related mails during the week because the Danes are 6 hours ahead), this is pretty far from my own reality. Feeding my family, getting the girls ready and dressed, packing lunch boxes and backpacks and making sure that I look halfway decent before leaving the house doesn’t leave time for much else than a quick coffee in-front of the bathroom mirror.

Though I have accepted that our mornings won’t be quiet and blissful before the day my daughters move away from home (and knowing myself and my husband, probably not even then) I’ll do whatever I can to try and minimize conflicts, stress and morning tantrums. And after thinking about it, I realized that this is probably why the messy top knot is the number 1. hairstyle in our house.

Both my girls have quite long and thick hair for their age, and though my eldest is getting good at brushing her own hair every morning, my youngest freaks out every time I try to brush out her messy and tangled locks. Getting the right hairbrush and using soft fabric hairbands has made my life a lot easier, but most times, brushing Alma’s hair out will still end up with me trying to catch a screaming child before she runs off and hides in her cupboard.

So I’ve stopped fighting with her. The days she feels like having her hair loose, she’ll let me brush it out, and the rest, I’ll just gather it all on the top of her head in a really messy top knot.

If anyone knows of any amazing tricks or kids friendly products for detangling long and thick hair, please let me know. Until then, I’ll choose my battles and accept that my youngest has a top knot on every single picture I take of her.

Our favorite Danish nature spots

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Though it’s small, extremely flat and most of the land has been cultivated by farmers, there are still plenty of amazing nature areas left in Denmark. Some of my fondest childhood memories have taken place at beautiful Danish nature spots such as the Wadden Sea, Mols Bjerge National Park and Raabjerg Mile.
When staying at our summerhouse, we have a few local and favourite nature spots nearby that we make sure to visit. One of our absolute favorites is Heatherhill, situated 6 kilometers down the road from our little summerhouse.
Heatherhill is an open, undulating nature reserve with broad heather-covered slopes rolling right down to the Kattegat Sea near the small town Rågeleje. The larger part of Heatherhill is swathed in beautiful heathland flora and purple heather.
We enjoy taking long walks here, studying the fauna, enjoying the expansive view over the Kattegat Sea, chatting with the sheep and going to the wild and beautiful beach for a swim and a picnic. If you ever end up in the northern part of Zealand, don’t miss out on this amazing area.

Here’s a short list of all my favorite Danish nature areas I still have a few places left to show my kids, but since some of them require quite a lot of walking in hilly areas that are not accessible with a pram we might wait a few year before visiting the best ones.
Be sure to visit one or two, should you ever stop by Denmark. It’s so worth the trip and is a great contrast to Copenhagen.

Moens klint
The Wadden Sea
Mols Bjerge National Park
Heatherhill
Anholt
Northern part of Bornholm
Rubjerg Knude
Raabjerg Mile

Looking back at July in pictures and words

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On this, the second day of August, I’m looking back at a joyful July that brought us heartwarming reunions with family, good times with old friends, early morning sunshine and a long visit back to our beloved home country. July, we loved you because you were the month where…

… we realized that living in New York doesn’t only mean great cultural experiences, it also means living close to a lot of great beaches.

… we ate sweet cherries for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

… we spent days climbing rocks in Central Park.

… we visited Brooklyn Museum (read about it here), and Eleanor fell in love with ancient Egyptian art.

… I took a trip down memory lane and revisited the year I spent in India all because of a little fruit I saw in our local vegetable market.

… we made crispy kale chips (see our favorite recipe right here).

… we spent a night on a plane that took us back to our home country for a long holiday vacation.

… we blew bubbles and barbecued in the evening sun.

… we picked petals from rose hip flowers and made our own kids friendly perfume (see how right here).

… we went to Lego Land and spent a whole day flying in Lego airplanes, driving in Lego cars and sailing in Lego boats.

… we picked flowers in our summer house garden and made plant studies on our wall.

… we visited old acquaintances in the countryside, and Eleanor fell in love with a huge horse and 3 tiny dogs.

… we visited the most amazing green houses and got inspired to do some indoor gardening when we return to NYC (you can read more about it right here).

… we celebrated Alma turning 3-years-old.

… I made Alma a Waldorf inspired doll for her birthday, and realized that making things with my hands is one of the things that makes me most happy.

… we tried to make friends with the Danish deers, snails and ducks.

… we picked lavender and wild strawberries in my grandmother’s garden, and enjoyed seeing a 3-year-old girl and her 83 year-old great-grandmother in conversation over a beautiful rose.

 

Indoor Gardening with kids

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We’ve now been in Denmark for exactly 2 weeks, and even though the weather is far from great  (we’re talking 18 degrees and rain showers most days) we’ve been spending as much time outside as possible. Both me and the kids have a great love for flowers and plants and no matter where this trip takes us, it seems like we run into the most amazing greenhouses and gardens.

I love living and bringing up my children in a big city, and we all enjoy the many possibilities this kind of life brings us, but how amazing would it be, to have a garden with a little greenhouse?  Built out of recycled windows and filled with green plants, colorful flowers and homegrown vegetables.

As long as we live in New York, this will stay on my list of dreams, but I have decided that when we return home, it’s time take up some inside gardening with my girls.

Here’s a small list of inside gardening ideas we have come up or found:

Grow herbs (Before we left for Denmark, we had an amazing basil plant, and we’ll definitely expand our collection upon return)

plant and grow bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts (These take absolutely no time to grow, which is really fun for the kids)

Grow plants from food we have in our kitchen. (We found some inspiration right here)

Grow a garlic plant (See how to do it right here)

Grow flower plants (We normally fill up our living room with cut flowers, but I’d love to keep whole plants)

Make a Mason Jar Terrarium (Find some inspiration right here)

Keep a journal of our inside gardening (Because it Eleanor loves to keep track and write down everything)

Cute socks

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When I was a child, my grandfather used to manufacture high quality socks. All production was handled at his own factory in Denmark. When he sold his company I was in my early teens, and up until then I had never needed to buy a pair of socks. I am fond of socks that are of a good quality and have beautiful details… I love when a sock is more than just a sock.

When it comes to my own taste, I prefer understated and discreet with small and delicate details like tiny polka dots, a touch of glitter, a nice seam or a special weave. But when it comes to my daughters I love cute socks with a more significant look that accompanies a simple outfit. The latest addition to their sock collection are some amazing fox socks that I found at the cute english webshop Lublue. My daughters absolutely love them (little A even insisted wearing them in 30 degrees heat)

Here’s a small selection of some of my favourite cute socks at the moment:

1. Fox / Mini Dressing 2. Panda / Mini Dressing 3. Mermaid / Wovenplay 4. Fox / Mini Dressing 5. Bunny / Mini Dressing 6. Snake Sock / Mini Dressing 7. Stripes / Bobo Choses 8. Thunder and lightning / Bebe de Pino 9. Glitter / April Showers 10. Mask / Bebe de Pino 11. Panda & marble / Popupshop 12. Panda & marble / Popupshop

Kids and art

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When I was a child, it was a common belief amongst most grown-ups, that enjoying art was for adults only. Luckily for me, my parents didn’t share this belief, and many of my childhood sunday’s or vacations were spent visiting museums and small galleries. I remember visiting The Louvre for the first time when I was 8. I was introduced to the Mona Lisa and one of Degas’s ballerinas, which I have loved ever since. I remember the first time I saw a Jackson Pollock hanging at a museum in Los Angeles and my dad introducing me to one of his favourite art movements, American pop-art.

In my mind, kids and art make the perfect combination, and I never hesitate bringing my kids to a museum. I believe that exposure to art in all ways can expand children’s awareness of the world and the society we live in, and open up their minds to a more creative way of thinking and seeing things. Visiting a museum might not be the same experience when you have to watch out that little greasy hands don’t touch the paintings, but I don’t mind, as long as it means that I get to hear Eleanor’s literal interpretations of even the most abstract paintings or Alma’s outbursts of enjoyment when she sees a piece that really speaks to her. I always make sure to visit a museum when my kids are well-rested and have had a good lunch, we never stay more than two hours and if the museum has a children’s department this is where we’ll end our visit. Some museums even have a children’s tour program, and if they do, we’ll always go for that.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite museums (and a few we have been recommended, but still haven’t had the chance to visit ourselves) :

Museum of Modern art, New York (Don’t miss out of the small but fun children’s play area)

Louisiana, Humlebæk, Denmark (this museum has a wonderful children’s department where kids can get creative themselves)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (take a look at their amazing family program to plan your visit)

Tate Modern, London (Prepare you child by visiting Tate Kids together)

Arken, Ishøj, Denmark (Every Sunday is Family Sunday with a lot of activities and an open creative workshop)

The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (join in on a family tour or visit the Family Lab)

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (Remember to book online in advance, if you want to take part in one of their fun youngster activities)

Statens Museum for Kunst; Copenhagen, Denmark (The Children’s Museum of Art is open every weekend. Read more here)

Do you know of any kids-friendly museums we should add to our list?  We would love to know…

…And if you like the combo of kids and art as much as me, then check out this Instagram profile @rockthatmuseumkids, which shares great pictures of tiny art-watchers from all over the world.

Pretty dresses and princess dreams

 

Like most other young girls, my daughters love to dress up in pretty dresses. And, like so many other mothers that I know, I really don’t like all the synthetic and uncomfortable princess dresses that most girls (mine included) have a good selection of hanging in their wardrobe. Both my daughters love to put them on, but after just a few minutes they’ll get so annoyed with them itching and scratching their skin, that they’ll want them off.
When we moved to New York I decided to leave all the synthetic princess dresses behind, and let the girls have two new pretty dresses instead, but this time we would go for the well made and comfortable kind, that would actually end up being used more than just a few minutes a month.
A few days before we left for our summer vacation in Denmark, a package arrived from the American brand Flora and Henri. Flora and Henri is one of my favourite brands (I have spent way to many hours looking at their inspiring Pinterest page) and obviously I’m not the only one who has fallen in love with the classic kidswear and womenswear. When Gwyneth Paltrow selected which brands should join her at the Goop Pop up-shop in Chicago a few month back, Flora and Henri was amongst the exclusive crowd.
When we decided which dresses to go for, it turned out, Eleanor would rather go for a vintage inspired wrap dress (she’s kind of over her princess stage) while Alma fell in love with a peach and white hand embroidered beauty, which because it’s a fully lined skirt, gives the maximum joy of a twirl.
Hand embroidered cotton and lined skirts aren’t cheap, but after being part of my daughters wardrobe for less than 2 weeks, the new pretty dresses have already been used more than any of our princess dresses ever have, and when Eleanor asked if we could take some pictures wearing them in front of a flower wall she was planning to make, I saw a good opportunity to tell you all a bit about our new investments.