A wooly, soft new friend

This sheep is made by French brand “Les Jouets Libres” and is just begging you to get snuggled up in a soft, woolen blanket. It’s a fabulous toy for a cozy afternoon and kids can develop patience but also perseverance.

It’s a simple concept — it’s a wooden sheep, so to speak naked, and it comes with little holes. Kids then can thread the wool in and out of the holes easily with a wooden “needle” to cover the sheep with a beautiful fur. It’s a great introduction to knitting. Mila might be still a bit small, but her birthday is around the corner, and this little lady will turn 3. I just ordered a Woody for her!

Good to know: Wool is organic, produced by one of the last French wool mills and the wood comes from local French forest.

I think it makes a beautiful gift, as it comes in a creative, curiosity-arousing packaging. Great to make little eyes get really big.

Boya crayons

The tear-shaped crayons for all people (little and big) who love art

There are lots of crayons out there and that’s fantastic. There can’t be enough. Croatian designer Maja Mesić though came up with a very unique shaped one. Her tear-shaped crayons (Boya’s) allow the wrist to be free and encourages a more natural and fluid movement. This ergonomic form also makes it super easy and fast to fill out bigger surfaces rather than the need to fill them with lots of lines. Their color palette is gorgeous and bright and even includes metallics. And what probably all parents will love it the neat fact that those crayons do not leave traces on hands (and clothes) while drawing. No wonder this product received the RedDot Design Award.

If you like the concept of a crayon, which allows you to use your very own best hand positioning (and doesn’t restrict you like the regular stick-shaped ones) you can buy Boyas here and here. They are not just for kids!

It’s all about motivation…

“Think growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset”

So the other day I was reading a fascinating article about the idea by Stanford University psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck about motivating children and how one little change in how we talk to our kids can help them be more motivated and eventually more successful.

The "fixed vs growth mindset" is a very simple, straight-forward approach you might have been aware of it already, consciously or even unconsciously. Either way, I wanted to share it here with you. It clicked with me instantly and you will see how easy it is to incorporate it in your daily routine and the way you talk to your child. Because it just makes sense.

Kids with a fixed mindset are being constantly told “You are so smart.” In order not to disappoint in the next challenge they become afraid of trying and afraid of looking “dumb” and therefore stay away from challenges to continue to look smart at all times. On the other hand there are kids with a growth mindset believing that their intelligence can simply be developed through their effort and dedication. They know they can change and grow through experience and do not have to accept you are “not creative” or you “might be dumb” because of a current state like not being able to solve a certain math problem etc. Dr. Dweck found lots of evidence in her over twenty years of research and puts it best in her own words: “In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that's that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don't necessarily think everyone's the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it." Here are a few great examples from the everyday life to compare the two mindsets:

FIXED MINDSET would say: “Not everyone is good at math. You tried your best.”
GROWTH MINDSET would say: “If you catch yourself saying ‘I am just not a math person’, just add the word ‘yet” to the end of the sentence.”

FIXED MINDSET would say: "You got an 80% on your test." (And then moving on to the next chapter immediately.)”
GROWTH MINDSET would say: "You got an 80% on your test; that means you are well on your way to knowing this stuff! If you review the ones you missed and take the test again tomorrow, I bet you'll get closer to a 100%."

FIXED MINDSET would say: "Wow, you got [X many] right. That’s a really good score. You must be smart at this.”
GROWTH MINDSET would say: "Wow, you got [X many] right. That’s a really good score. You must have worked really hard."

FIXED MINDSET would say: “You finished that puzzle so quickly — what a smart kid!"
GROWTH MINDSET would say: "I'm sorry I wasted your time with an easy puzzle — let me find another one that will give us a bigger challenge. I know we can do it!"

Don’t we all want that for our children? To feel they can make it if they try and that (most of) it is not set in stone? Our world is hard and competitive and there will be setbacks. Let’s help them see those setbacks not as a sentence and a label but rather as a motivating and informative input, like a wakeup call. Living this approach will make your child not believe that her character, intelligence or creativity is a given (fixed mindset) but rather believing that thriving on challenge and seeing failure not as evidence of "unintelligence" but rather as a growth potential (growing mindset).

If you like to learn more, Dr. Dweck also published a book called “Mindset”,  where she explains this approach in much more detail and how it is not only useful for parenting but also in business and relationships in general.

Watch this great RSA animate video for an easy understanding.


"Nameless Paints" expresses color by combining the three primary colors

A radical new approach of getting kids to naturally understand color

We all remember when we were little we were taught the sky is blue, the sun is yellow and the leaves are green. Now, as adults, we know better. We know the variety and richness of colors and that their names don’t do justice to the depths of color. And a young designer duo (Ima Moteki) from Japan wanted to change the way kids learn about colors these days and created “Nameless Paints”.

Instead of the conventional given names for each color they rather want kids to explore and “expand the definition of what a color can be, and the various shades they can create by mixing them.” They created a set of 10 “nameless paints” whose colors are simply identified by just what they are – their color. Instead of names, and with the help of a visual labeling system, each tube is identified by one or more circles of the primary colors magenta, yellow, and cyan mixed inside. And the size of the circle indicates the proportion of paint that was mixed to create the final color.

This set might have the ability to remove the preconceptions that names like “green” (frogs can be green but they can be so much more too) and “blue” (water isn’t really blue, or is it?) create.

My dear friend of Luna * Zorro (remember the gorgeous handwoven textiles from Guatemala I have written about before?) turned me on to this genius product idea. Even though I have not gotten my hands on the product myself (sold out), the concept is self explaining and I just love it. 

Noctu – Organic Cotton Nightwear

Simple and super comfy, great for children’s sensitive skins

Recently discovered the family-run business Noctu, which has its roots in the UK and Norway (that’s where the beautiful minimalistic design comes from, I guess). Most pieces are unisex, and all are just about being comfy but still effortlessly elegant around the house. Their line includes soft night- and loungewear for kids but they have beautiful pieces for mamas and papas as well. The colors are all kept to very neutral, subtle shades.

I love that all of their products are made of cotton, and not just any cotton – organic and fairtrade, all certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). They have an online shop and ship worldwide. It's nightwear how it should be: simple, cozy and a quality, which will last a long time.

"THE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD" – by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson

A practical and insightful guide to parenting and all its involved struggles

Recently a dear friend of mine gave me a fantastic recommendation on a book. It’s a book for any parent or caregiver who is eager to learn and better understand how our children’s brains actually work in each stage of their development – and in turn, to be a better parent and create a stronger relationship to your child. This book is all about how your child’s brain is wired and how to use this info. It says it clearly, and even though it is all scientific based, the book is easy to read, understand and not at all overly scientific.

We all know, parenting isn’t easy and understanding a two (three, four or fifteen) year old and what is going on in their mind is a challenge. But this book helps you tremendously to understand the stage of your kids brain development, what works yet and what is still developing and that logic is most likely not the tool to use in that moment until we connect on an emotional stage. And how to do though is a very constant support throughout this book.

It’s great for your own personal development and I love the books recommendations especially because the authors Daniel Siegel  (a neuropsychiatrist) and Tina Bryson (a parenting expert) give you alternating amazingly practical tips (including from their own personal lives) in daily situations. In fact the first day I started to listing to my audiobook version (I downloaded it via Audible) I was already able to use one of their tips in a situation with Mila just a few hours later.

We all know that certain situations actually require a calm parent in order to get out of it as peaceful as possible but this book gives you the scientific insights and explains you the powerful process behind the kids behaviors. The authors tips and recommendations might not be always your first natural reaction in a given situation as it might require extra time to calm the situation but I strongly believe it is way more effective. In the long-term personal development of your child but also the quality of relationship between your child and yourself will be deepened and further strengthened. Connect through conflict!

For more nurturing and deeper relationships between us and our children but also to cultivate meaningful connections between humans in general, we have to be committed to put in the extra work. This book will help you along the ride when some challenging toddler behaviors show to start and you are in need of practical and actually working ideas and advise.

This book is extremely clear and gives you a wonderful new perspective on how kids brains work (and adults for that matter) and how to work with this process instead of against it. 

Really, it is so good. Here you can listen to an audio sample. Thanks again, Pao!

WELEDA – Children’s Tooth Gel

A natural (great-tasting) protection for baby teeth

We have tried a few natural children’s toothpastes over the years now and this one is our favorite. It has a very mild flavor of spearmint and organic fennel and Mila loves the taste. She actually wants to brush her teeth after we are already done.

It’s free of anything you do not want in a (children’s) toothpaste, such as fluoride, SLS, sulfates, saccharin, artificial anything, triclosan, parabens, gluten, or dyes. No weird ingredients no one can pronounce. So it’s totally safe if the little ones are swallowing it down instead of spitting it in the sink.

Just so you know, it won’t foam as most tooth pastes you are used too but that’s ok. Therefore it doesn’t contain any chemical foaming agents.

Do you have a favorite toothpaste?

Benni’s Nest - The other bassinet

A fantastic idea from Austria for a newborn’s deep and healthy sleep

Sometimes a seemingly tricky situation can be turned into a successful and sustainable idea. That was the case with Family Pröll in Austria. Their second son was a preemie and had trouble sleeping. But on the good advice of the grandmother, they changed it all: In Austria it used to be tradition to put a newborn into the drawer of a “Zirbenholz” (local pine wood) dresser and it worked. He slept calm, deep and for long periods. 

So the family wanted to share this “magic trick” with other families. Together with a local carpenter they developed a bassinet (Benni's Nest) to give a similar feeling as the drawer of the dresser gave their son to guarantee the best possible feeling of security and warmth for any newborn. It’s also made of the same local type of pine, which only grows in the high mountains of the Alps and is famous for its pleasant smell and has a calmingeffect on babies. Perfumers and scientists alike, are fascinated by this pine because the smell is still as intense after 200 years as it is at the beginning.

What I love about the bassinet and its design: It is not just a short term piece of (beautiful, neutral) furniture for young babies, no it’s super versatile. The oval shaped wooden box comes with a cover so you can use it later for useful storage (think of toys, extra clutter to hide etc) and it also comes with a beautiful “loden” fabric (to cover the previous mattress) and by flipping the nest up-side-down it easily turns into a funky seating bench. It’s light-weight (4 kgs/ 8.8 lbs) and can be easily carried around the house, with or without a baby in it. Each bed is made by hand with lots of love and will be shipped within 7 days. Please visit their online shop to see, which countries they are currently shipping to.

Mint Rhapsody – gender neutral high quality acrylic products

It either blends in or pops like artwork, your choice

The creative team behind the Australian brand Mint Rhapsody is a husband and wife team whose passion is acrylic. Who can blame them. To their product range belongs a fantastic versatile “attic” house (comes in different sizes + fun and fresh colors) – not your average doll house, but rather a design piece for your living room as well as a fun and sturdy, imagination stirring toy for boys and girls.

My personal favorite is the invisible playpen. Don’t we all know those ugly huge things blocking the living room however you look at them? Their playpen is made of clear acrylic, blending in which ever environment you are putting it and will not “offend” at all. It has its price tag though.

They produce awesome shelves, which make books like floating objects or (hex) boxes you can hang up the wall to display favorite toys, cars, figurines or even perfume.

Just loving the clean lines and simple designs from Mint Rhapsody. Check out their online store here. Most items ship worldwide.


PRESS HERE by Herve Tullet

Colorful dots and their own lives

In our household we are big fans of the talented French illustrator and author Herve Tullet and wrote about one of his books “The big book of art” here before on the blog.

Today we are talking about his book “Press Here” a genius book filled with colors, entertainment and yet simplicity. Basically you, as a reader, will follow a funny little yellow dot and his instructions and you are on a fun journey through a world of colors, movements, and magic. You press, shake, turn, rub or tilt the book and its pages and a new surprise is waiting for you on the next page.

This book is so interactive, engaging and clever. A unique gift for any child and wonderful addition to any little library. No video games needed.

Chocolate Cinnamon Squares

An alternative to the usualY unhealthy

packaged breakfast cereals

It’s a fantastic recipe to make one afternoon together with your child(ren). It is really easy and kind of quick as well (15-20 min. tops). It’s a hands on recipe for kids and stores well in the fridge for up to a week. Those squares make great snacks and cookies as well.

My version of the recipe is adapted from the CLEAN EATS blog, which belongs to one of my all time favorite cookbooks CLEAN EATS by Alejando Junger.

2 cups tapioca starch/ flour
½ cup almond butter
¼ cup peanut butter (if you have a peanut allergy just substitute with more almond butter)
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup coconut sugar or similar
¼ cup cacao powder or slightly more if you like dark chocolate
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt)

Mix all ingredients together in one large bowl. Best to use a bowl with edges that are not too high & steep so little hands can get in there too. The final dough should not be overly wet, but also not too dry and falling apart. You might have to add a little extra flour or nut butter depending on the consistency. It should rather slightly be dry and not sticky.

Lightly dust countertop or cutting board and rolling pin with some of the tapioca flour. Roll out the dough as thin as possible (here you might have to help your little one a bit) and slice into squares. We prefer ours more on the smaller size, just about 1” (2.5 cm) so they fit in Mila’s mouth easily.

Turn on the oven to 160 C (325 Fahrenheit), no need to preheat the oven. Best to use a super flat, metal spatula and move squares to baking sheet.

We like them less crispy and bake ours for max of 20 minutes. Experiment with it and see what you like best. But they do get a little bit more crispy when fully cooled, so keep that in mind. And of course, as with cookies as well, the thinner the dough the quicker they bake and get crispy.

Enjoy with your favorite milk - We love homemade almond milk. Recipe here.

Photography below by Jenny Nelson from the CLEAN EATS team.

The LAMZAC Hangout Bag

A new pop-up sofa you can take anywhere with you

This new comfy pop-up sofa fills with air within seconds using a unique filling technique (see the video below for a quick demonstration). It’s lightweight and the high quality nylon ripstop makes it a strong and durable fabric. LamZac in Dutch, where the product was invented by Marijn Oomen, means lazy person or lazy inactive bag! Can’t you see yourself chilling on it with your kids during picnics, beach visits, concerts or just in the backyard?

God to know: It comes in 7 colors, can hold up to 200kg (440l bs) and weighs just over 1 kg.  The only tricky part so far: You have to wait till May to get yourself this new Hangout buddy – as it won’t be available before.

Lamzac Hangout demonstratie