Rainy day things to do in Portland with kids

The other day, as my kids were scream-fighting over a bouncy ball and I was hiding behind the kitchen island/taking a lie-down on the floor, I realized I had not been beyond a one-block radius of my house in seven days. Here I was, getting a very close-up view of all the crumbs along the baseboards, because I hadn’t done anything outside the home in a week. I know I’m not the only rainy day stir-crazy mom out there, so for all y’all desperate parents, I thought I’d put together a resource list of indoor kids activities in Portland, Oregon and the Portland metro area.

Many of these places we have tried; others I can’t wait to visit. And there are indoor kids activities in this overflowing-with-fun list for just about every flavor: activities for toddlers, preschoolers, big kids—and even parents who may or may not want a mimosa on a weekday. (Hey-o!)

Arts studios that will clean up mashed clay for you? Check.

Restaurants that include play places (and aren’t McDonald’s)? Check.

Gyms that encourage your kids to literally climb the walls? Check.

These indoor kids activities in Portland equal your sanity-saving plan for all the rainy, snowy, sleety weather we still have to endure. Winter, eat your heart out, ’cause this family is now prepared with plenty of indoor family activities that don’t include lying facedown on the floor.

55 of the best ideas of indoor kids activities in Portland, Oregon, including restaurants, museums, play gyms, arts and crafts studios and more! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Nevertheless, she persisted: A lesson for my daughters

On Tuesday, as Senator Elizabeth Warren was reading a letter from Coretta Scott King in opposition to the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, senate majority leader Mitch McConnell invoked an obscure rule to silence her. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell later said. Democrats were outraged; Senator Warren continued reading the letter on Facebook live, which has been watched by more than 11.6 million people (and counting).

The phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” became a feminist rallying cry overnight.

Nevertheless, she persisted: Lessons for my daughters from Elizabeth Warren on grit, persistence and justice. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
Observers can’t help but notice that Senator Warren was silenced, but majority leaders allowed democratic senator from Oregon Jeff Merkley—a man—finish it uninterrupted. And although Warren was silenced on the Senate floor, she persisted.

Her persistence—her grit—should be admirable to anyone on either side of the aisle. I sure hope my girls will look to examples like hers as a role model of persevering in the face of opposition, whether it be sexism, oppression or just the everyday difficulties that make us stumble. Read more

Handmade Valentine’s Day cards & free download

Forget roses and prix fixe dinners. This February 14, I just want a few handmade Valentine’s Day cards.

And chocolate.

Because always chocolate.

Ever since I was a kid, Valentine’s Day has always meant friendship and platonic love. When I was in maybe 3rd grade, my younger sister lost all her valentines. All the tiny packs of candy, the Disney-themed cards, the hand-signed doilies—gone. She was heartbroken.

Later that night, I went through my own haul. I crossed off “Catherine” on every darn card and wrote in my sister’s name instead.

I then gave her a paper sack filled with cards from my classmates to cheer her up.

It should be no surprise, then, that when I think of Valentine’s Day, I don’t get goo-goo over the romantic aspects of the holiday. Instead, I melt at the memory of mailboxes made out of Kleenex boxes, carefully writing friends’ names on Ariel the Little Mermaid cards and the chalky taste of Sweethearts I choked down in the interest of reading the messages.

Now that I have kids, I get to relive the sweet, innocent side of the holiday—partly through crafting handmade Valentine’s Day cards.

Handmade Valentine's Day cards // Cute + easy crab valentines. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Doing good every day in January: What I learned

A Martin Luther King Jr. quote about doing good and making a difference. Ten Thousand Hour MamaAs you might recall, my New Year’s resolution was to do something good every day. In January, I just about succeeded at that. I missed a day here and there, but overall, I made progress on my resolution. In January, I helped build the world I believe in.

It hasn’t been entirely easy, and every day I fight against feeling overwhelmed. But I remember Mark Bezos’s quote and push myself to make someone else’s life better, even in a small way.

“It’s so easy to dismiss the opportunity to do something good because you’re hoping to do something great.

Don’t wait. If you have something to give, give it now.”

—Mark Bezos, Ted Radio Hour, Giving It Away

Here’s what I learned by doing good every day in January. Read more

Coming to peace with my daughter’s princess phase

Ever since Christmas at her cousins’ house, Peeper has been wearing a single plastic Cinderella shoe. It’s clear and has a strand of fake pearls on the toe. She had worn it when she and her cousins showcased a Disney on Ice dance they created, and we couldn’t get it off her when we left. Welcome to the princess phase, I thought.

“Isn’t that uncomfortable?” Eric asked her.

She looked down.

“It’s not comfortable but it’s so pretty,” she replied.

Great. She’s 3 and already sacrificing comfort for a great shoe.

The princess phase can be hard on feminist moms. But I've come to accept my daughter's love of tiaras and glass slippers. Here's how. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

How this family helps the homeless: Kids doing good

When Kristin Corona woke up to 10 inches of snow outside her Portland-area home earlier this month, her mind immediately turned to building snowmen, sledding and making snow angels with her two kids. But that’s not what Lucas, 6, thought of.

As he stared out the window at the untouched snow, he told his mom, “I’m really worried about people who don’t have houses right now.”

Kristin paused. “What can we do about it?” she wondered aloud.

That question has inspired ongoing action in the Corona household and beyond—through a kid-created Share the Warmth Club.

These kids do good and make a difference to help the homeless in the winter. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

A mom’s guide to prepare for sleep training

So your baby doesn’t sleep, which means you don’t sleep. Mama, I so have been there. If that’s the case, you may be ready to try sleep training—extinction, Ferber, cry it out, or whatever name you’re using. And if that’s true, you need to prepare for sleep training.

And I’m not talking about prepping your tiny Sleepless in Seattle. I’m talking about preparing you for sleep training.

Because while sleep training is hard on the baby, it’s equally (if not more) difficult for Mom.

I’ve sleep trained both Peeper and Kiwi—and am SO FREAKING GLAD I did. But it’s still hard to worry about your baby and know you could end her tears by sticking a boob in her mouth or bouncing her for 2 hours on a giant yoga ball.

Despite that anxiety many of us moms feel, studies repeatedly show that sleep training is not harmful in the long run. A recent study out of Australia showed that the babies in a Ferber-like sleep training (where they’re allowed to cry for gradually longer periods until they fall asleep on their own) had just as strong bonds with parents and fell asleep on their own faster than their peers in a control group who did not do sleep training. What’s more, they actually had lower evidence of stress in the afternoon than babies who weren’t sleep trained.

Plenty of parents still debate sleep training, and that’s fine. But for someone reading this—likely a parent who is ready to give it a try—having someone try to convince you that sleep training is unsafe is just not helpful.

That’s why I offer these tips to prepare for sleep training. They’ll help you stay strong, get through the few tough days and make it to the other end. When you and Baby are sleeping better, I’ll take a bet that you’ll be glad you tried sleep training, too.

Prepare for sleep training, cry it out or Ferber—by prepping yourself, Mama! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more