Great Ideas

Blackberry Infused Vodka: A Taste of Summer

It is a stellar year for blackberries, and here is a special drink for Mommies and Daddies who spent all day playing in the hot sun. A 10 Minute Recipe with year-round flavor! What you will need: 3 cups washed blackberries 1-tablespoon sugar Liter of good vodka Quart jar and lid Muddle (slightly bruise) the […]

Night of the Shooting Stars: Perseid Meteor Shower

It was a hot night in August. The weekend had drawn to a close on the heels of a long family hike in the Olympic mountains near our island home. I was tired. With boundless boy energy our son declared he was going to sleep out on the trampoline that night with his friend and […]

Throw Away the Directions! The Importance of Open-Ended Play

“This hose is a breathing tube,” our 9-year-old son said holding up a piece of garden hose. I nodded and continued chopping carrots. “And this foot pump is part of a tricky machine that lets you breathe underwater.” “Uh-huh,” I said absently. I was used to the boy’s inventions. Mousetraps from duct tape, helicopters from […]

10 Tricks to Traveling on Planes with Toddlers

By Jenna Hall There are lots of great resources out there for traveling with children, but in our experience traveling back and forth from the US to the UK, these are the 10 best tricks to traveling on planes with young children (and getting compliments on how well-behaved they were when we arrive!) Save your […]

Help Your Child to Grow Wings

“No one else has to do chores,” my son complained. “And if the do, they get PAID.” “Hmmm…well, that is not the way we do it in our family,” I said, repeating the very words I swore I would never say to my own kids when I was a furious girl with the very same […]

The Summer of By the Shore and Getting Dirty

I have decided this will be the summer of getting dirty, going barefoot and eating plums and maybe making jam out of some of them or maybe not, I might take a nap instead. The house will be a wreck, the laundry will pile up and I may stay in my pajamas all day and […]

By the Shore: Explore the Pacific Northwest Like a Local

“If you’re looking for a guide to all things Pacific Northwest that’s just about perfect, this is it…”  Kristine Morris in Forward Reviews Mama Nancy has been exploring the Pacific Northwest this past year from Vancouver, British Columbia right down the Salish Sea and into mid-Oregon hugging the shores and beaches, discovering the best off-the-beaten-track […]

How to Get Rid of Monsters: Never Fail Monster Spray

There was a ghost living under the bed of our four-year-old son. It was so ugly he had no words to describe it. It slipped into corners watching, waiting and when it saw him the ghost laughed. No one could see it but him, this made the ghost laugh more. It was a monster. Our […]

5 Magic Words: “This Doesn’t Work for Me”

Eight-year-old Finn disappeared. Yes, I told him to play outside, yes it was a beautiful day after a week of rain and the tide was out and there were baby crabs under rocks to check out, but he had a friend visiting from school. How could I explain to the mother that the boys had […]

Outside the Backdoor: 10 Easy Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

I was exhausted. I had just had baby number 4 and my husband was in Alaska. I felt the days river past with me scarcely keeping afloat. Baby’s older brother was 21 months, pre-verbal (his older brother and sister did all the talking for him), and he took every opportunity to ‘hug’ baby really hard, […]

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