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Thursday Thoughts

CHRISTMAS CRAFTS
A slow and simple Christmas (and craft to make with little ones)
For me and for many, 2020 has been a year of 'Slow and Simple'. Our lifestyles and livelihoods were forced to slow down, to adapt or at the very least relocate to our living rooms. And many of us have had to scale back on things and to keep things simple so as to get ...
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CELEBRATIONS
How we do Halloween, when we don’t do Halloween.
As a child, growing up in a part of South London which was, at the time (early 90’s) rather under-represented, Halloween was a given. Halloween seemed to be everywhere, and everyone celebrated it. Or at least that’s how it felt when I was 7 years old. I had a couple of very makeshift outfits, remember ...
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BOOKS
Seasonal book rotation, do you do this too?
We completed our seasonal book rotation! Every few months, we update our home with something special and we also pull out some books to acknowledge the season. We keep it quite simple but some of our family like to go all out. And that is fantastic for us when we get the chance to visit ...
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SERVICES
Discussion -- What Subscription/Delivery Services do you use?
I've always loved drawing inspiration and reading discussions on this platform, whether small or more complex parenting topics. So I wanted to pop in here and quickly ask a very profound question; what subscription-based delivery services does your family use that you would recommend? Ha! Serious question. I'm curious if there are any subscription-based services out ...
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TEENAGERS
Clothing allowance -- when, and how much to give?
A few months ago we started giving Sara a clothing allowance. She is now 15 years old, and it seemed appropriate to start giving her some financial independence and ownership of her choices concerning style and fashion. With the decision of giving her 'clothing money', as we say here in The Netherlands, came the immediate ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Do your children follow the news? And do you discuss it with them?
The recent news about the tragic death of George Floyd and the successive, powerful growth of the Black Lives Matter movement has made a deep impression on me, our family, our city, our country, our world. A change so profound has been set in motion, in me personally, and in many, many people I know ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
A schedule for our new reality...
We are in our third week of lockdown here in the Netherlands, and a new reality has slowly settled in. As much as it is humanly possible, with 5 children and 2 adults at home 24/7 for the unforeseeable future, the new ways and customs we have established already feel surprisingly 'normal'. Where usually our ...
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PARENTING
Laundry - Are we doing too much of it?
I've been thinking a lot about laundry lately, and it's not entirely because I always seem to be faced with piles that need to be washed, folded, or put away (although yes, that is my reality!)....no, laundry has been on my mind because I think I am slowly coming to the realization that I'm doing ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Do you talk about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender with your kids?
Earlier this week, a successful beauty blogger here in the Netherlands, Nikkie de Jager (@nikkietutorials), publicly announced that she is transgender. A very brave thing to do -- I watched her coming out video on YouTube and was incredibly impressed by her story and the way she chose to share it. I recommend you to ...
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PARENTING
Do You Keep Things Even in Your Family? Some thoughts
"Do I get a new book bag too?" "Why did you read three books to Charlotte and I only get one? No fair!" Do you see where this is going? Today I’m talking about the constant questions and comments on fairness and evenness when it comes to young children. Is it a thing in your ...
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PARENTING
Thursday Thoughts: Do You Make Your Kids Stay at the Table at Mealtimes?
 My husband and I have had a bit of a predicament lately which has left us with this question I'd love to ask you: When your kids are finished eating, do you make them stay at the table until everyone is finished or do you excuse them? We’ve always let our girls get down when ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Would you let your children get lost at night and let them find their own way back home?
Recently, an interesting article appeared in the New York Times, and so many of my friends and followers reached out to me about it. Is it true? Do you really do it? The topic of the article is about a particular 'game' we play in the Netherlands which is called 'dropping'. In a nutshell, children ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Let experiences be! How playing back memories on a mobile phone can re-shape our memories.
A couple of weeks ago Lara sent me an interesting NY Times article: Is the immediate playback of events changing children's memories? It has definitely made me re-think the way I share photos and videos to my children. Don't get me wrong -- I don't think it's bad to let them watch videos of past events, ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Are you competitive when you play games with your children?
Let me start by saying that I have huge respect for parents with an endless (endless!!) patience; parents who can play silly games with their children and let them win over and over again. I am not one of those parents. Of course I do sometimes play those silly games, and I do let my children ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Have you taken your kids to Disney?
My sister-in-law just surprised her two young girls with a trip to Disney World for spring break. Intrigued, I asked my mother-in-law a few questions who has been several times. Her ears immediately perked up at my interest. She apparently never thought I’d ask and is pretty eager to take my kids one day! I’m ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Do you carve out one-on-one time for each of your kids?
One of the things I get asked the most in relation to having a big family is whether I'm able to spend enough quality time with each of my kids.  And my response to this question usually surprises people... The thing is that no, I don't really spend quality one-on-one time with each of my ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Ear piercings for children -- yay, or nay?
Yesterday, Sara and I headed over to a tiny jeweller here in the centre of Amsterdam to get another ear piercing. She already had three -- when she was 12, she had one hole in one ear and two holes in the other one pierced. In the meantime, the single hole closed up after she ...
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TEENAGERS
At what age do you give your children a mobile phone?
We live in an interesting age. Technology is developing with the speed of light and a life without mobile devices has simply become unthinkable. I find this such a strange phenomenon, especially given the fact that it's not even that long ago since we didn't even have wireless communication! (I think my dad, because his ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Talking about death with your children. Some thoughts.
Yesterday I took Pim to the funeral of the mother of a dear friend. She has two sons Pim's age (11 and 13) and I decided to bring him along so that he could offer support to his friends. Even though he had once been to a funeral before, I don't think he quite knew what ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
How waste-free are you? Tips and thoughts about food waste.
I attended a dinner on Monday to launch the 'waste free' campaign here in The Netherlands. It was really lovely as it was prepared by a Dutch cook who is known for cooking completely waste-free with only local ingredients. For example, the peels of vegetables were used to make a tasty vegetable stock, leftover cake ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
The power of women — an interesting article about female endurance
A few weeks ago, Tamar was telling me about an article he was reading in the newspaper. About a certain kind of super-marathons, where athletes run for days and days with hardly any sleep or rest. I had never heard of these kind of races, but when he mentioned that the article discussed the fact ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
At what age do you leave your kids home alone at night?
I had a revelation the other day when my youngest daughter told me that she had spent the evening entertaining the guest. The guest in this case was the 19-year-old babysitter whom I was paying good money to! This is when I realized that my kids were probably fine at staying home alone and very ...
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THURSDAY THOUGHTS
Thursday Thoughts: The benefits of boredom
I know we've touched on the topic of boredom in the past (in this post about after-school activities), but this new opinion piece on boredom in the New York Times really resonated with me and I thought it makes for an interesting discussion. The article touches on the fact that boredom spawns creativity and self-sufficiency, and ...
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