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June favorites: books, games & more

June’s now over and we are looking up to a sunny warm July… right? Here’s a list of my favorite family-related things of the past month. Some of the following will become posts of their own, as there’s much to say about them. For now, I just want to share them so that they can give a good time to other families too!

A parenting book: The Big Disconnect

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Even though my oldest has just turned four, she’s already surrounded by endless technology and it will only grow. How to teach her how to use technology’s potential without suffering the drawbacks? How to protect her from the dangers of the online world? How to deal with the effects of technology on her mental development? I’m happy to share a book which sheds some light on these topics. The author is an educator and a experienced consultant on the topic. It’s making me reflect on how I am using technology myself and how it affects my time with the kids.

Two fun games for a bad weather afternoon

As I complained several times, June’s weather was awful. While E. was sleeping his afternoon nap, R. and I were left staring at each other in the eyes. We made up two fun games which work everywhere and need no equipment. They’re perfect to refine language, too!

Game 1: guess who I’m thinking about
Take turns to think of someone you both know and start describing him or her, so that your opponent can take a guess. You can make up several variations of this game: the opponent may need to ask questions (age 5+), you may mimic or sing some hints, you can limit the times one can guess.

Game 2: touch, feel, guess
Blindfold the other and choose three objects from the house to display in from of her/him. They need to guess what they are just by feeling them with their hands. Variation: same game with food tasting.

Positive reinforcement: why don’t they teach it to all parents?

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Few weeks ago we realised the parenting techniques we successfully implemented with R. were complete rubbish with E., even damaging our relationship. We understood we had to consider a brutal change of direction, which wasn’t easy given we were all nervous and tired. We tried positive reinforcement. There are some specific well-described techniques to use, but the general idea is to state clearly our expectations to the child and focus on complimenting what he does right, instead of what he does wrong. Effects were almost immediate. We went from about six time-outs a day and awful sleep patterns, to a serene child who sleeps beautifully and barely goes to time-out daily. If you got curious, I strongly recommend the book Calmer easier happier parenting. It’s changing our lives!

Nettle season started

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If you hate nettles, you’ve never tasted them! They are free, easy to find in Finland and are nutritional bombs. As a general cooking rule, you can use them as cooked spinach. You always have to throw them in boiling water, even for a couple of minutes, to get the stinging away. I’ll share more recipes to use nettles, but in the meantime you can enjoy a really easy and tasty one. My kids are not very open minded about food, but you wouldn’t believe how they like to eat these green chips!
Nettle chips
Collect some big nettle leaves. Throw them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Lie them one by one on a tray and sprinkle salt and abundant olive oil. Bake in the oven at 180C until crispy. They’ll disappear within seconds after serving!

Kaitalampi: lake, open grill, and nature

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Picture: Tripadvisor.com

An hidden pearl in Espoo’s nature is Kaitalampi. It’s along Vihdintie, after Luukki. You’ll find two parking places and then you need to shortly walk in the forest to reach one of two grilling stations. The walk is stroller-friendly and less than 600 m. There’s a beautiful lake where you can swim or fish. There’s wood on the spot to fire the grill, so it’s easy to set up a family picnic. There are several trails you can walk around. There’s a cafeteria near one of the parking areas, or you can have lunch at Luukin kartano.

Have a great July y’all!