Holiday Gift Guide: The Kids


Well, it’s officially December! Which means… gift time! I love this time of year, so it’s a joy to put together gift guides for everyone in your life. First up: the kids.

This Waldorf-inspired block set includes 100 blocks ranging in height that can create a beautiful pyramid when arranged in the right order. Plus, they are wooden blocks, and loose parts, which have endless possibilities for imagination, and it’s so pretty to display. Best for ages 3 and up.


This Giant Peppermint Snow Tube would be great for someone who lives on the East Coast — bring on the snow!


If you have a little kitchen helper (or artist) who needs an easy apron, this one is great, as it does not require tying (it slips on over the child’s head). Stick some goodies, such as candies along with child-sized kitchen tools or art supplies, and this would be a great gift!


If you’re in the camp of this kid has enough stuff, and you recognize the appeal of the box being as much fun as the actual gift, consider a nature box, which is simply a wooden box with many compartments for a child to fill with whatever he or she finds in nature! It is a great sorting tool and organizer. We have one (a bunch of little cars came in ours as a gift one year and we decided to make a nature box out of it instead of getting rid of it) and our boys use theirs to sort stones they find. Your child could also use it to store buttons and other odds and ends.


If you know someone who loves to dress up, consider getting him or her a costume for Christmas! If you’re super talented and crafty like Andrew’s sister-in-law Kristin, you could even make them yourself! Also, many of the Halloween costumes that didn’t sell are on huge discount, like this little unicorn.


We’ve had this set of play food for years now, and our boys still play with it (mostly Emil, who is five). It has held up remarkably well. I highly recommend it!


Books are always a good bet. Choose something that the child will love and the parents will love to read/look at. This book is so beautiful! I am planning to pick it up locally for the boys to share.


These rainbow playing cards are so pretty, and good for kids of any age. Include handwritten instructions for your favorite card games to make the gift more personal.


If you don’t have Magna-Tiles in your house, get them! Our kids have been playing with theirs for years, and every Christmas they get a new set to add on to what they have. This year, I’m considering these window and door pieces.


There are so many amazing things on the whole Magic Cabin website — be sure to check it out. I’m seriously considering this Garden Fort, which comes with sweet pea and Blue Lake bean seeds to get you started in the spring!

I think kids’ gifts are by far the most fun to choose. Happy gifting!

Music Monday

Fresh off a great concert last night by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, a slate of material from him over the past few years (also here and check out the neat living room tunes by Joe Sampson).

Nathaniel Rateliff (with Julie Davis) – You Should’ve Seen the Other Guy

Nathaniel Rateliff (with Julie Davis) – Early Spring Till

Nathaniel Rateliff (and a great crew!) – Something Beautiful

The Gift of Accountability


I recently wrote a piece for the Washington Post on the importance of holding our children accountable for their actions, particularly when they make choices that hurt others. It was inspired by something that happened almost a year ago and has stuck with Milo, as he still brings it up today.

If you have a moment and are interested, check it out here. And have a wonderful day.

Montessori-Inspired: Watercolors



Not too long ago, I attended open house at the boys’ school and was delighted to follow first Emil, then Milo and Oliver, through some of the work they do throughout the day. While Milo and Oliver chose math lessons to share with me (which blew my mind and made me wish I had been taught the way they are being taught), Emil chose three-part word cards (a beginning lesson on reading) and watercolors.

The watercolors were set up much like the above picture: paintbrushes, drying cloths, watercolors, paper, and watercolor pencils on a tray with a vessel for water. He has been coming home with so many paintings, I decided it was time to give him this option at home in a similar set-up.

Continue reading “Montessori-Inspired: Watercolors”

Laumeier Sculpture Park in Autumn



The Friday after Thanksgiving, while Andrew worked from home, I took the boys for a little hike at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Milo had recently visited with the other third-years at his school and wanted to show us the big empty swimming pool where he and his friends had run and played for their recess. Continue reading “Laumeier Sculpture Park in Autumn”