small magazine

I so look forward to each new issue of the smart kids book 'small magazine'. there is so much to love about them, their internet roots are not only innovative but they support all of the online small kids businesses in an intelligent way. maybe it's silly of me, but I don't really bother with much of the magazine trade as far as parenting and kids magazines go because I don't really share the same 'mind-set' as most of them, but when small magazine came to call....I jumped at the chance to be a part of an issue! I really love their easy natural take on things for kids, from toys, to furniture to super styled clothing editorial! and illustrations by fifi lapin that you will just about want to frame for your kids rooms.... small magazine is the top! subscribe (click here to subscribe) and they will notify you when a new issue is ready for your reading! thank you very much christine and olivia for bringing us small magazine!

above are nonchalantkids orange vest and waves t-shirt in the current issue of small magazine!


thanks for all the fun we had this year!

we at nonchalant mom want to say thank you to everyone for such a wonderful year! we grew like crazy adding many new things and it seems as though you loved it all as much as we did!! I think it's really amazing the uniquely wonderful group of customers that we have here at nonchalant mom! and even when I send you emails about not having things you are all so understanding...but best of all in the coming year we have lot's of exciting surprises! I have received so many emails from very special designers and creators of unique objects and we are doing what we can to bring them all to you! so...

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to the tops of our ears!!
We love nonchalant mom and intend to keep this up until you tell us not to!

with much love and peace!

carina schott


le train fantome

I took a look through bloesems gift list yesterday and found some really amazing treasures! one of them is Le Train fantome...I fell in love with all of the creatures! Le Train fantome takes you on a journey to an imaginary kingdom, and I like to visit often! these wonderland creatures are designed and hand made by Fanja Ralison, who is french and living in england and you can almost see this wonderful combination in each of her creations! and I hope one day soon you will see her things here at nonchalant mom!

I even love her name...pearlyn tan!

I got an email today from pearlyn tan, and I think she is up to something very sweet. a simple business with very clean little graphic items (like birds sitting on a wire), pearlyn tan is a san francisco based graphic designer, don't miss taking a look at her graphic design projects...she seems to work on things she loves...and I love that! and she cuts hair too! so if you live in noe valley you probably already know about her! fun things on a small scale, I think that's what the future is all about! --thank you pearlyn tan!


in honor of the holiday season...

this is just something wonderful I saw today on bloesem that made me smile and I thought I should share them with you too! These wonderland worlds are created by Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz

please check their website here for more information, otherwise just look and smile!


ed emberley - we love him!

my kids just can't stop talking about christmas, and if you even say the word 'santa' my daughter says...'he is going to bring me toys!' (she is two) and she just keeps repeating it until you respond. so while we are waiting for santa to bring toys we like to do some holiday crafts, at this time of year there are so many holiday crafts and usually they involve glitter etc...BUT take a visit to ed emberleys website and you will find some wonderful crafts for this holiday season (and even some great books!). we have done them over and over in our house and love them! you can find his christmas crafts here, but don't forget to visit all of his website for much fun and arts and crafts! have some fun--ho, ho, ho!

we also got his new wonderful book which is great for kids that are afraid of monsters! if you check his website you can see how the book makes monsters disappear.


piet hein eek-the dutch have it!

on our recent trip to amsterdam we found this wonderful furniture maker, piet hein eek, and his pieces were everywhere...in the childrens stores we visited and also at our hotel...to name just a few. I think he is known as 'the imperfectionist' and he makes these treasures with scrap wood! eek is making a name for himself by being ecologically responsible (it's wonderfully obvious) but when you see these pieces close-up they are highly styled with detailed craftsmanship. so many of his pieces were favorites of our family but we only got to take home a bird house (which I treasure and carried through the airports and customs with pride and a bit of irritation). he has an extensive collection of kids furniture and then there are pieces for the home that will blow your mind! we loved it all and some day we hope more of his pieces will be ours. I don't read dutch so I can't tell you many more details, just that we love him! "piet hein eek is a lover of nature, a socially responsible individual and someone who admits, without a trace of self-consciousness, to wanting to make the world a better place." a quote from a NYT article on him that has a few more details. I didn't find anyone selling his furniture here in the states but he does have a website click here.


more gifts...and then some!

I went onto the nursery works website as I do from time to time just to put together a wish list of what I WISH my kids rooms looked like...and I came upon these exclusive dolls! and well, I just about went nuts! besides wanting all of them for my kids I think they are just about the best gift, not only because they are wonderful but also because they are like owning a work of art! ...and better yet your KIDS will own some art (and PLAYING with it...ha!).

These super unique dolls are made by renowned Portuguese dollmaker Rosa Pomar, and using nursery works fabric. Cloth dolls are a part of Pomar's heritage and a Portuguese cultural tradition, she is the granddaughter of famed painter Julio Pomar, but the dolls came by way of inspiration from her mother. I think that making dolls for your kids (with your kids) is just about the most fun and rewarding project you can do for your kids. I hope this gives you inspiration, and if not BUY ONE of these..I'm going to!

nursery works is know for their clean and minimal bedding (for cribs and twin size), and they also make whimsical furniture for kids rooms...it's all good, and visit their website to find a retailer near you.


The Nonchalantdad: Respect

My wife makes fun of me from time to time because of some of my 'stranger' habits in the raising of our kids. For one thing I talk to them often as if they were adults - like I say 'yes sir' and 'yes mam'. I don't consider it weird. She was teasing me the other day because I reminded her that when I take our oldest boy to school I park the car, walk him up and into the entrance hall to the school, stop and ask him to look at me, kiss him, speak to him briefly, and then hug him. I watch him as he disappears down the hallway - often he turns around a few times to wave at me. What's so odd about that. Yes, yes... I know, I probably won't be doing it when he's 11 or 12 - but he is 5 years old and it feels right at this juncture.

What brought all this about was a conversation I was having with my wife about the school. The other morning I had just dropped my son off and said goodbye when I walked outside of the building just in time to see a minivan pull up to the front where the buses stop. The minivan came to a stop, the side door seemed to open on its own and the 2 children in the back
climbed out while their mother (I assume) continued looking forward. The door shut and the kids walked up and into the school on their own. I don't know why, but I became irritated. I tell you I don't know because I can't prove to you that this woman doesn't love her kids any less than I love mine. In fact you'd have to be completely senseless, in my opinion, to not have any feelings for your child. So, I'm sure she loves her children.

What bothered me is the message she seemed to be sending her kids, either directly or indirectly. I think in parenting we tend, over time, to forget how and what our children must be seeing and learning. We expect them, by nature, to show us respect as adults. Yet, we forget that it might be just as important to respect them. I think, because many of us are so tired, we neglect how special and sensitive a time it is being so young. Never forget for a minute, though, that our kids are learning.... from us.

I had an acquaintance some weeks ago whose girlfriend was visiting him in the city he lived in. She was bringing with her the baby that they had together. I was surprised to hear that he wouldn't be meeting her and the child at the train station. She was not incompetent, nor was she incapable of handling her arrival at the station with a child. What bothered me was the fact that he did not think it important to, at least, greet his girlfriend, and especially his own child, at the station. His child is far to young to consciously realize that he did not pay his respects - or what I would consider respectful behaviour to another person. But, I would argue that somewhere along the line, an action like that will be the beginning of a negative repercussion.

Sure, maybe I am over-reacting. But, let's just pretend for a second that I am not. That it does matter how we portray ourselves to our children. I am not a perfect parent by far, but wherever I can I try to show the same respect for my children that I expect them to show for me. Try and remind yourself next time you start taking your situation for granted, look your child in the eye - see the world of learning and experience occurring in them. The small things
do matter - even if everything else may say otherwise these days. And so, if I look strange to some, so be it... they are not my intended audience. I want my children to know that I will respect them - and they will respect me, not because we have to, but because it feels good to do so.

I wish you and your family a very happy holiday season


art for christmas!

while I think it's too late to purchase a portrait for your favorite loved one for christmas, it may not be too late to purchase some art! I found this wonderful website called The Shiny Squirrel that has some wonderful pieces of art that would make a perfect gift for that certain someone that is impossible to buy for! The Shiny Squirrel showcases young and emerging artists on all mediums, paint, print, collage (my favorite!) and much much more...visit and feel good about your christmas gifts this year...and next year, think about that portrait (it really is such a great thing to have of your kids, and much more interesting than the old-standby photograph! the above portrait is of my son by artist Karim Hamid-available at nonchalant mom)

what goes on at no.3 - print on watercolor paper by Lilly Moon - $22.00(5 panel collage - by Francesca Iannacone $85.00)


hostess gifts...

I just had some ideas for hostess gifts, and since it's the time TO BE JOLLY I figured I might pass them onto you!! one of my favorites is Glögg, which I like to make myself, just stick some yummy spices: cardamom, cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peel (rind, whatever..), and wrap them in cheesecloth and put in a jar of vodka (just a cup or two) and let it sit overnight (or even more if you wish) and then mix with a nice deep red wine (even one of those big jugs) and then pour into two smaller bottles, put on a lovely little handmade label and a recipe to add sugar and serve warm with raisins and almond slivers....it's super gift!

or try these from my store!! ha!
wonderful thomas paul plates
jobs christmas table runner from the 1940's (approx 10"x 30")
ok this is a REALLY nice hostess gift! virginia johnson shawl!
could you give a margaret solow necklace! YES!
the wonderful scent of Indu is a very 'sweet' gift! your hostess will think about you every day!


music for kids...

in the 80's my musical tastes were as far away from punk or new wave as you could get, I was listening to jonny hartman, al green and barry white...hhhmmmm. about as wild as I got was when I had a passive interest in madonna. when it comes to kids music there are often two worlds, the dan zanes side of things or walt disney, but then I stumbled onto elizabeth street. certainly elizabeth street has quite a raw sound, there is almost an unrefined quality to the music but this is what makes it interesting, because the sound does not necessarily pander to your average child. Susan Kolbenheyer, the gifted artist behind the elizabeth street sound, is not seemingly interested in patronizing, she treats children as equals in her music. the rock and roll sound is lifted by susans beautiful melodic voice. some of the lyrics might sound a little risqué if you like your children to listen to something softer, but I find susan's lyrics to be engaging and fun. my kids laugh out loud when they hear the part about picking your nose! WHAT picking your nose? elizabeth street is a band that is refreshingly casual.


colds, sore throat, coughing....sound familiar?

at the sign of a cold in this family I just run for cover, a cold can blow through our family like a tornado (we do lots of kissing!) I am now on my second round of infestation of a cold that has now settled into my chest, on the upside I have that sexy, raspy voice, but it's not so sexy on my kids...I feel so bad for them! BUT I do have some suggestions before you pull out that pharmacy stuff! visit this website, the steiner storehouse, and it will give you some good ideas of treatments that are all biodynamic and natural...I have tried many of them and have had terrific results. somehow with this particular cold I forgot and didn't really take anything, so there you go....as of now I am stocked up! for your kids I would suggest the Uriel pharmacy plantain/beeswax ointment, it feels a little like the old "vics" rub, but natural, we love it and the kids love to have their chest rubbed, very soothing! (plus it works!)

breeze through the section of weleda cold remedies to find what is good for your family, but you can be certain that these remedies are very organically clean and natural. the liquid echinacea is really good as well, and easy to give to your kids because it can just go in their drinks. we have also used their new echinodoron which are great because kids can just suck on them, not so scary! these are just some ideas, but they work for us, please let me know if you have some good, or even bad, results!

this website is also a great place to get terrific art supplies for kids (and yourself!) the best crayons on earth! and lots of other great arts and crafts....have fun!

why can't it just be soap?

my sister sent me an idea for a blog about laundry soap, and I thought to myself, oh, we all use "green" soap, but then as I read on I realized that maybe we don't...so here is her blog, thank you linda!

I’m not sure if it is just me or if I am so tuned into the “green” world that it seems to be everywhere. Even the NBC news is green. Sometimes it just seems so overwhelming, what can one person do? One of the easiest ways I know to help is to choose products that are green, and opt out of ones that are not. Everyone does laundry. Imagine if we all stopped using detergents with unnecessary chemicals like perfumes and dyes that are harmful to the environment. I was walking down our neighborhood road yesterday and could smell the houses that were doing laundry. That was some pretty potent stuff they were using. These are all synthetic chemicals produced in a factory causing unnecessary pollution. I like a detergent form the co op that is biodegradable has a slight natural fragrance. And if I need extra cleaning power I use some prewash like Biz in the wash. Works great. Also those dryer sheets, whose marketing idea is that...adding more chemicals to your clothing, you don’t need them. It's just another waste of chemicals, pollution and money. One more thing to think about is that powder detergent works better and is better for the environment, there's need to ship water around when you are adding water to the wash anyway.

My husband brought home some dishwashing soap from the grocery store the other day, I was amazed at the fragrance. I could smell it from the front door and couldn’t figure it out until I walked into the kitchen. It was just some normal soap like Dawn, but I couldn’t believe the amount of fragrance. Even the kids noticed. I figure it is probably better for ourselves and the environment to forgo these synthetic chemicals. Natural dish soap is readily available where I live and probably in your neighborhood as well.

some terrific brands that are natural and biodegradable are from seventh generation and ecover. the image above is from a new product, cleanut, that is, for now, only available in europe...but I loved the packaging! (click here to read more about it on treehugger)


a loaf for kids ...and you too!

This post is from my friend and artist/stylist Karen, she now lives in Switzerland, but our lives crossed paths when we lived in San Francisco and also in Italy...she is a wonderful cook and I have been begging her for this "loaf" post! -thanks karen!

thank god for the loaf, or I don't think my daughter would eat. Loaves are the easiest things
to make, you can put anything in them and they can be super-nutritious, and best of all, kids (usually) like them. I got the idea during my San Francisco vegetarian days from the Greens Restaurant cookbook. They have something in there called the Cheese and Nut Loaf and it is so YUMMY. After having made that a few times I ventured off to do my own thing which is basically any combination of what I have on hand. I think life in the kitchen is easier when you're not having to measure and follow a recipe, so use your own ideas. But basically it goes like this...

1 part cooked grain
3/4 part vegetable or legume
1/2 part cheese
1 part nuts or seeds
4 eggs

Use a nine or ten inch loaf pan, butter or oil it and put some wax paper in preheat the oven to 375
By part I mean 1 cup or so, if you have two loaf pans it's a great idea to make an extra one, you'd be surprised how fast you can eat these!

For grains, I think you can use just about anything, I have tried amaranth, quinoa, brown rice (that is what the Green's cookbook uses), oats, barley. I often mix amaranth and quinoa together.

For vegetables, really anything goes and any mixture as well. For legumes, I've only tried with lentils but I imagine other beans would work too. Cook the vegetables and chop them up in a food processor, leave the beans whole if using.

Grate any hard cheese that you like, I love gruyere in it.

Toast the nuts or seeds and again, chop them.

Mix it all up in a bowl and...

Beat the four eggs and mix them in, add a little milk if it is too thick and pour it all in the pan.

Bake for about an hour, but keep an eye on it and check that it is not gooey inside when done, like for a cake.

For the dipping sauce, which always makes a meal more fun, use plain yogurt and mix it with tamari and a flavorful oil like toasted sesame seed or pumpkin seed.

I really don't think anyone could mess this up, I've made some bizarre combinations and it always tastes good!

In the loaf pictured, I used red quinoa, leeks with broccoli, gruyere, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and the dipping sauce is yogurt, tamari and toasted sesame seed oil. Even better served with fresh carrot juice.


cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves...oh my!

at this time of year we are so drawn to these scents, I thought it might be interesting for you to know what these spices help to support.

helps to ease allergies, relieves pain, fights bacteria (even e coli) and fungi (e.g. candida)...maybe that's why I have heard it's good for women...and it helps to relax muscles.
-you can sprinkle it on food or mix 1 tsp in a cup of hot water 2 to 3 times a day with meals. this one is not really for kids, but I do tend to add a stick of cinnamon when I give my kids hot apple cider and they really love it.

perhaps the best source of cineole, an antiseptic phytochemical that kills the bacteria causing bad breath; breaks up chest congestion and fights bronchitis, colds, indigestion, inflamed mouth and sore throat...another chai tea please!
-select whole, not open, pods. break open and you will find the "seeds", mix about 15 seeds in a cup of hot water up to 5 times a day.

digestive aid, particularly for overindulgence or morning and motion sickness; contains anti-inflammatory zingibain and other compounds useful in arthritis and preventing arterial plaque (boy is that a good descriptive! yuk!)
-enjoy 3 to 10 g fresh ginger or 2 to 4 g dried ginger up to three times a day; mix 2 tsp of powdered root in a cup of hot water daily. (ask your OB as it could be good for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy). I put it in my kukicha tea in the morning when I am cold as well...keeps me warm, or so I think!

contains eugenol, a powerful phytochemical that anesthetizes, kills bacteria and fungi, fights free radical oxidation, and helps thin the blood.
-take 100 to 300 mg of powdered clove daily; sprinkle a little over cuts to prevent infection. for toothache, rub on a little clove oil but don't swallow.

I found much of this information in a handout from my co-op. it also suggests that you should only use spices (and herbs for that matter) from your organic foods co-op as other spices can be exposed to irradiation, but this is not allowed with organic production. spices usually last about a year, so change when you can, if you buy from your co-op they are purchased in bulk and the prices are much cheaper.

Duct Tape Activities !!

Children don't often need fancy gadgets to be entertained. We are trained to believe this perhaps.... but it is just not true. Kids, even the youngest, have fertile imaginations and can be entranced by numerous simple things. Even a piece of string with an object tied to it can be fun, or taking all of Mommy's cutlery out of the drawer, or emptying the tissue box.... or worse.... unraveling all of the toilet tissue! Here is another idea that is less accessible without a parents help - but equally as interesting and often fun as all heck! Of course, as with all items found or made - we suggest parental guidance to avoid unforeseen problems. For example, applying the tape to Daddy's leg hairs does not always make for fast friendships!!!

Duct tape:
Kids love duct tape! In fact, they love it so much that you may have to hide it and dole it out to excited toddlers. A great and simple activity with duct tape will appeal to children of all ages. Simply wrap a piece of 2” wide tape around your child’s wrist – sticky side out – like a bracelet and send them outside. All manner of leaves, flowers and sticks will adhere to the tape making a beautiful piece of artistic jewelry that tells the story of your child’s outdoor adventures.


holiday greeting cards

it's that time of year again! I personally love this tradition, my parent's always sent out a photo of the family (sometimes just the kids). I think because we didn't get to see our immediate family much since they were in sweden, that my parents did this just to keep in touch (and I also think since we were the only ones in the US, my dad liked to show off a bit!) at any rate...we did it! and my sister and I have kept up the tradition with our families. we both usually cut a piece of colored construction paper in half, glued our 'family photo' to it and than wrote something nice in colored pen...somehow that was just our simple way of staying in touch!

as I passed through etsy shops this morning I found this nice company 'modern printed matter' that makes terrific cards that could include a photo, or not! either way they are beautiful...and you can browse through more etsy shops here for other wonderfully creative card makers! speaking of etsy, this is a good place to find small designers/artists making wonderful things...for that one-of-a-kind gift for that one-of-a-kind friend! check out the 'childrens' section for more wonderful things for kids....(but that's a whole other blog!)

good luck with your cards and the post office says you need to get them in by the 17th of december to get out by christmas!


finger puppets

this is one of those things that seems like more of a european "game" than something that we do here because when we were in amsterdam every kids toy store that we visited had these wonderful finger puppets and it all seemed so fun! and these wonderful finger puppets in the above image are from Ikea! I think its a perfect toy for those rainy day afternoons, just make up a story, put on your finger puppets and away you go! (in amsterdam we got these funny ones with heads on them so we usually pull together a nice little story and then everyone starts to chase each other eventually!) they also make a nice bedtime story, and our puppets can get my 2 year old to do things that I can't get her to do!!


here's Little Lark !!

Started in 2006 by friends Christy Nyboer, a painter and sculptor, and Jean Sammis, a graphic designer and owner of Lark Press - Little Lark is all about doing things right. I love a company that can marry style with conscientious production. Little Lark uses 100% organic cotton and is proud that its apparel is sweatshop free, USA made, and each item is silk-screened by hand ( I always love that) so each garment is not exactly the same and with that you get the feeling that your item is unique.... well..... like a piece of ART! even the presentation is part of this aesthetic - all hand printed. your item will arrive in a lovely Muslin bag that is reusable - so whether it is intended as a gift, or just for yourself or little one, it will seem like a special present.

I think that the gnome would make a wonderful christmas card...and I love that all of the t-shirts are unisex, because who knows what your second or third baby will be! (just kidding...kind of!) lots of cute earthly looks! visit little lark here!