The best children’s books about grandparents

September 10 was Grandparents Day—a holiday that should come more than once a year, I say, especially because of how phenomenal my kids’ grandparents are. Although Grandparents Day has passed, we continue to love reading these children’s books about grandparents—and I have a feeling your kids’ grandma and grandpa would love them, too!

The 15 best children's books about grandparents will make your kids smile—and are a great gift idea for Grandma or Grandpa. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, I earn a very small portion of your purchase—which helps me earn a living (and support my family)! Read more

Portland hike to the Witch’s Castle with kids

Lately Peeper has been on a mystery/spooky story kick—a predilection I could attribute to my own childhood love of scary stuff but is mostly due to her Grandpa Shempy’s long made-up mysteries about something called the Monkey’s Paw. So when I had a free morning and the kids miraculously ate their breakfast on time and without protest, I decided to try hiking Portland’s Witch’s Castle with the kids.

Hiking Portland Oregon's witch's castle with kids is a fun outdoor activity when you travel as a family - or if you live here in the Northwest! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I originally heard of Portland’s Witch’s Castle in Forest Park from my blogging friend Renee. She wrote about hiking to the castle with her teens, and I’ve wanted to do it myself ever since then—but with my littler kids, of course.

Since the day’s forecast called for some rain, I wanted to choose a forested hike so we wouldn’t get totally drenched if it did drizzle. Forest Park, with its immense Douglas firs, provides quite a bit of shelter from the Oregon rain—but as luck would have it, the skies stayed mostly clear. (Thanks, weather!)

Rain or no rain, though, the hike was gorgeous—and the Witch’s Castle lived up to its spooky, and awesome, reputation!

Hiking Portland Oregon's witch's castle with kids is a fun outdoor activity when you travel as a family - or if you live here in the Northwest! Ten Thousand Hour MamaHiking Portland Oregon's witch's castle with kids is a fun outdoor activity when you travel as a family - or if you live here in the Northwest! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Activity buckets for kids: Bringing fun on the go

At the beginning of the summer, a bunch of families I’d met at new moms’ group planned a joint camping trip. All our excited plans were canceled, though, when the weekend we’d meant to go turned hot. It seemed like insanity to take a bunch of kids camping with no lake or river when the temperature soared past 100. But I’d made activity buckets for all the kids, and I got to give them to the littles at a backyard picnic instead—a small consolation prize.

But I needn’t have been so disappointed! The activity buckets have come with us on many adventures since.

Going disc golfing? Heading to the beach? Playing in the yard? The activity buckets have brought fun wherever the girls take them.

Making kids' activity buckets lets them bring all their supplies for outside fun! Ten Thousand Hour MamaMaking kids' activity buckets lets them bring all their supplies for outside fun! Ten Thousand Hour MamaDIY kids' activity buckets for outdoor fun are a great family activity for camping, the beach, or anything outside - made from Dollar Store supplies. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Embracing a child’s joy in the rain

“Raining!” Kiwi shouted, her face beaming and shower-splattered. “Raining! Raining!”

As she ran, her joy in the rain was contagious. “It’s raining!” I echoed, laughing.

It rained this weekend—barely, but anything to quench our burning state’s thirst is welcome. As huge swaths of Oregon burned this summer, we played indoors, asked school to cancel outdoor recess, canceled trips. The inconveniences we endured from smoke-filled air are nothing in comparison to the communities ravaged by forest fire.

So as we skipped and stomped in the shallowest of puddles, the rain felt healing—like the most welcome weather in the world.

It's a welcome change to embrace a child's joy in the rain when the weather brings relief for the summer wildfires in Oregon. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

A mom flashback: Growing from the size of an appleseed

This weekend I had a mom flashback. You know the kind—definitely not triggered by any wild drug but inspired by some everyday reminder of how little your kids used to be and how big they are now.

I was standing at the kitchen counter peeling apples. The girls, my mom and I had picked like 30 pounds of apples at Detering Orchard outside of Eugene over the weekend. I knew I needed to do something with the giant box of apples on the counter, so I started to make applesauce.

And it was peeling those Early Macintosh beauties that gave me the mom flashback.

Mom flashback: Marveling at how my babies grew from the size of an appleseed into giant, beautiful, rowdy kids. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

What I wish I had known about motherhood: Real mom wisdom

What I wish I had known about motherhood: Real mom wisdom

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the nearly five years I’ve been a mother, it’s this: Fellow mothers are the best source of no-BS, tell-it-to-you-straight mom wisdom you’ll ever hope to encounter. The trouble is we don’t always ask the right questions (or even know what they are), and you probably don’t have other sources telling you the straight-up truth about TMIs like post-birth constipation and just how world-rocking having a baby is. Nearly everyone has at least one “what I wish I had known” detail—so I’m sharing those tidbits of been there, done that know-how from a whole tribe of mom bloggers.

Below, you’ll read about everything: the good (the overwhelming love of your bubs!), the bad (mastitis—need I say more?) and the ugly (postpartum depression and anxiety are real—and all too common). So before you have a “what I wish I had known” about motherhood moment, read on. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll learn something from this mom wisdom—I know I did!

What I wish I had known about motherhood, from breastfeeding to postpartum depression: Mom wisdom from 20 mommy bloggers. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Mama truth photography: Beauty in the everyday crazy

Mama truth photography: Beauty in the everyday crazy

The morning Portland family photographer Ashley of Weeno Photography was scheduled to come to our house for a Mama Truth Session, I nearly called it off. Eric had been out of town for days. It took me two hours to get the girls to sleep the night before. And then they woke up at 5. But I didn’t cancel. Instead, I thought to myself, “Ashley is about to get more truth than she bargained for.”

Lately, the girls have been challenging. They’re chronically tired and we have been struggling to ensure they get more rest. They fight over ridiculous things (“I want the yellow bowl.” “No mine lellow!”). Kiwi cries and throws epic tantrums that we can do nothing to soothe.

So I’m not entirely sure why I thought I wanted a Mama Truth Session, where photographer Ashley LaMattino-Perlberg comes to your house to hang out for a few hours and captures whatever happens, from making a snack to soothing a booboo.

I think it was our initial contact. “The beauty in the everyday is always there,” she said. “And yet it’s so hard to see it ourselves. That’s why these sessions are so important!” Her words resonated deep within me. And it turns out she is so right.

A Mama Truth family photography session from a Portland photographer showed me the beauty in the everyday crazy of motherhood. Ten Thousand Hour MamaA Mama Truth family photography session from a Portland photographer showed me the beauty in the everyday crazy of motherhood. Ten Thousand Hour MamaWhy mamas deserve candid photos of themselves—and not only staged family photography—to show the everyday beauty of motherhood. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I’m so grateful we did a Mama Truth photography session, which Ashley did for free for my family. The photos are beautiful, yes. Even more, though, the photographs showed me the beauty of my everyday life with my kids. And get this: Below, you can enter a giveaway for a chance to win half-off a Mama Truth Session with Weeno Photography. And anyone who mentions this blog post by the end of October will get $100 off a Mama Truth family photography session. Read on to find out more and enter!

We received a free family photography session in exchange for a blog post. As always, all opinions are my own. Read more