Flashcards fun: 5 ways to entertain your kids for $1

Think back to high school or college and you will probably not have fond memories of flashcards. I know I don’t. I break out in a sweat when I remember quizzing myself on the date of the transcontinental railroad for my AP US History test and, later, on the mating habits of bonobos. (That last one was for Evolution of Human Sexuality, an unforgettable anthropology class in college, in which my professor stood on a chair at the head of a 300-person lecture hall and pretend-birthed a baby doll. Awesome!)

But unless you’re prepping your kid to get into that genius pre-K program (please tell me you’re not), your preschooler hasn’t formed an anxious association with flashcards just yet. So it’s time to get in on some flashcards fun!

All you need for these 5 games is a pack of flash cards—just $1 at the store. Your kids will have fun with these easy, portable kid friendly activities! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Kiwi is 13 months: Always on the move

The other day, Kiwi sat at her high chair with a washable marker clutched in one fist. Using wide, sweeping motions, she moved her entire body to cover the paper in bright stripes. Her coloring was like an energetic dance—and that is how she approaches everything.

If she’s awake, my 13-month-old is moving.

This 13 month old cheered on Team USA during the Olympics! Ten Thousand Hour MamaNow that this toddler can walk, she loves the splash pad all summer long!Now that she's mobile, the beach is even more fun for this toddler. Ten Thousand Hour MamaThe beach is full of fun—and opportunities to dig sand!—for toddlers. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Pure summer: How to make a wildflower crown

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free

Nothing quite says summer like strolling, picking wildflowers and weaving a crown. Don’t believe me? Make one and see for yourself.

Want to wear something DIY that's pure summer, either for yourself or your kids? Here's how to make a wildflower crown! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

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What to do between Portland and Spokane: Road trip with kids

In the late spring, my younger sister had a beautiful baby girl. I tried to be all level-headed about giving her new family space, not crowding her with visitors, etc etc etc but on the inside I was all, OMG LET ME AT THAT BABY!

We planned a road trip to Spokane to visit just as soon as we could. I booked an AirBnB and sent an exclamation-point heavy series of texts to my sister. Then—I realized I’d have to drive nearly six hours from Portland to Spokane. With two kids.

Me: …

All my googling found, well, not a whole lot between here and there. But if you happen to make that road trip, here’s what to do between Portland and Spokane, especially if you have kids.

Going on a family road trip in Oregon and Washington this summer? Here's what to do between Portland and Spokane - especially with kids! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Portland kid friendly hikes: Camassia Natural Area

Camassia Nature Preserve lets kids and families explore nature (and wildflowers!) minutes outside Portland, Oregon. Ten Thousand Hour MamaImagine yourself floating in a sea of wild grasses and millions of wildflowers and you’ll get a pretty good sense of hiking at Camassia Natural Area in West Linn, just outside Portland.

The easy loop is perfect for families and little hikers. There is plenty to see—bridges! giant rocks! flowers galore!—as well as a self-guided information pamphlet pointing out uncommon plants and other trivia.

The best time to visit is in the spring, when the purple-hued camas is in full bloom (hence the name of the preserve), but there’s always something beautiful for the whole family to see, no matter when you visit.

Camassia Nature Preserve lets kids and families explore nature (and wildflowers!) minutes outside Portland, Oregon. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Portland kid-friendly hikes: Old Salmon River Trail

On Mt. Hood near Portland, Oregon, the Old Salmon River Trail is an easy, family-friendly hike for kids and toddlers. Ten Thousand Hour MamaTall trees. A clear river. Gentle inclines. The Old Salmon River Trail has everything you’d want in a kid-friendly hike near Portland.

Just outside Welches on the slopes of Mt. Hood, the Old Salmon River Trail is perfect for families. On a recent trek on the trail, most of the fellow hikers we came across were parents and kids in hiking boots. Read more

Kiwi is 12 months old: Leading me

Not long ago, Peeper came home from gymnastics. She ran into the bedroom, where I was changing Kiwi’s diaper.

“We learned frog jumps!” Peeper exclaimed—and began bouncing up and down, landing with her hands between her feet.

Kiwi squealed. She rolled over. Coming up to her knees, she started to bounce, too.

The two sisters laughed and jumped like frogs and laughed some more, all the while watching each other.

That little scene perfectly shows the core of Kiwi’s personality—her exuberance. She is so in love with life.

At 12 months old, my baby (wait, toddler?!) is the one leading me! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more