HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009 !!!!!

Nonchalant Mom hopes that your holiday season has been fun. We had some friend's visiting
and family. We did our usual celebration for Xmas eve (the Swedish tradition), which meant a special meal, lots of champagne, toasts, and then a visit from Santa for the kids (our good sport of a friend Johnnie takes on the role complete with full outfit and some stamping and bell ringing on our roof, then he descends and walks near to the house so the kids can freak out and leaves a bag of gifts for all). On Xmas day (more of the Anglo-American tradition) we had stockings for the kids and a few more gifts - then food and drink again!

By New Years Eve, when younger, you might be ready for more partying! But, with kids, you know very well that you'll probably be in bed much sooner than the midnight countdown. As far as we are concerned in our house, that's fine by us. We had our revelry before. What we usually do for the kids, who could care less except for the part about banging pots and pans, is celebrate the countdown on TV from somewhere like London - which gives us 5 hours head start. The kids are in bed at a decent hour and we follow not long after. Party on people!!!!

But, for those of you who are more brave (or insane), or more inclined to imbibe right on through the night, we did a little searching around the world and came up with a few very interesting Hangover remedies - just in case you need to get down to your local market and get the necessary ingredients.... some of which, we remind you, might get you arrested in the United States!

We use to think that our hangover remedy (remedy in general) was a little strange to the unaccustomed. It involved a hot cup of Kukicha Tea and then an umeboshi plum dropped in the tea and stirred up.... and voila! soon enough, you felt better. That was/is our little nod to the Japanese tradition apparently. Some friends winced at us... but it usually did the trick. When we lived in NYC as free and single people, there is the memory of a special drink at Balthazar - we think it was called a Ramos Fizz, but heck, we had hangovers...who can remember anything!

There are the standard remedies like Green Tea (China), a Bloody Mary (USA), or more alcohol (Netherlands and Russia). Or, you can have a remedy that is not at all surprising, given the country of origin, like eating shrimp (Mexico), or strong coffee (Italy), or pickle juice (Poland), herring (like Germany or Sweden), or 'vegemite/marmite' (Australia or the UK).

But, how about some remedies that might take a stronger stomach - or keep you from drinking in the first place! There is a soup made from tripe, otherwise known as a cow's stomach lining (originating apparently from some South American countries - and Romania). How about 'Haejangguk' which is a soup made from such things as cow bones, pork spines, some coagulated ox blood, and vegetables - presumeably to take your mind off the other ingredients (from Korea)!!! Another one includes eating red meat and bananas (Germany again). Another has something to do with ingesting charcoal (Morocco and older English). If you can't stand taking anything else into your system after a night of intoxication, then perhaps the voodoo ritual of sticking a number of pins into the cork of the bottle you drank last night might help (Haiti). But, our favorite disgusting remedy is the simplest of all. It involves taking a lemon half and rubbing it under your arm pit after, and only after, a night of over drinking (Puerto Rico).

How true any of these are, or how effective, is anyones guess. Who can say for sure since so many factors go into the careful science of our manufactured misery!!! Most professionals still insist that water, aspirin, and vitamins are the best source of relief. But, if that doesn't interest you, or you still wish to persist, then how about some supposedly ancient remedies. Apparently, the ancient Romans used to rely on a remedy that consisted of deep fried canaries, and in some cases, the use of raw owl eggs. If that is not shocking enough, there was a concoction used by the ancient Mongolians which included in the recipe a couple of pickled sheep eyeballs in tomato sauce. The ancient Assyrians took the prize for somehow figuring out that a remedy involving crushed swallow's beaks mixed with myrrh would do the trick. But, maybe they only thought it did the trick since they washed the mixture down with more wine.....!

Whatever you do - we hope your New Year 2009 is a wonderful and fulfilling one. Just be careful!


We Need to End the Overuse of Plastic!

Listen, we don't want to depress you - but you need to know. Just in time for the holidays, when all of us are looking very carefully for that right gift for our kids - we just wanted you to be aware. Now, we promise you, Nonchalant Mom is not about to leave you hanging for long though. The reason we bring this up is that there might be some hope on the horizon for the problematic use of plastics.

Anyway, let's start with the sobering facts. Plastic products and components are everywhere. They are used in everything from the obvious like toys and car parts to intricate pieces found in such things as cell phones and computers. Almost everything we use in our average daily process utilizes plastic. According to our friends over at Greenpeace, about 100 Million tonnes of the stuff is produced each year! And, the very thing that makes them desired by many a consumer, durability and stability, are the same thing that makes them dangerous to our natural environment. Of course, if you are like us, you recycle. And this feels good. Unfortunately, though, only about 1/15th of plastics are recycled. Separating and sorting the various kinds of plastic is a difficult process apparently. But, worse, many of the plastics we use end up in land fills around the world - and even worse, in our oceans. Did you know that there is a floating vortex of plastic items around the size of Texas in the North Pacific Ocean commonly referred to as the Eastern Garbage Patch. You name it, and it's floating in this vortex. Not only that, but there are about 5 major known similar vortexes of floating toxins in other parts of the world too! Now, it's only going to get worse - in volume of course - and because of what else we about to tell you. We shared the floating vortex.... but what about the supposed 70 percent of discarded plastics in the sea that are not floating. This is the stuff lining the ocean/sea bottoms all over the world. Now, the world is still a very large large large place, and you might not wish to admit that this conundrum affects your personal life as yet. But is does. Just think how often you see discarded plastic on a daily basis. What a bummer! And worse - we're laying this bummer on you right at the heart of the Holiday gift-buying season! How horrible are we?

Well, we promised you that we wouldn't subject you to to much negativity. And we like to keep a promise. So, for one thing, we won't continue with the abundant information supporting the fact that all our plastic waste is not good. (we'll give you a link if you want to indulge more!). But, we want to move on to more hopeful subjects. So here goes:

News flash! There might be hope after all. And trust our diligent researcher friends far and wide for trying endlessly to come up with things that can help our little world survive as a much more responsible place..... and allow us to keep consuming like there is no tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for a new(ish) product called ARBOFORM. This is a relatively new product developed, produced, and marketed by a German firm called TECNARO GmbH. The lowdown on the product is this: ARBOFORM IS A LIQUID WOOD! The main ingredient to this product is lignin - which is essentially a byproduct in the cellulose pulping process which gives it the same consistency and durability as the cellulose for papermaking.
Finally, we might have a product that could give the same specifics as plastic, the same designs as plastic is capable of, and can even be injected much the same way as plastic is injected into molds. Here is a product that can give us much the same product as if it were wittled from wood, without the singularity or time consuming properties. And, we all know how crude oil is used in the making of plastic - how about replacing that with a product 100% friendlier to the environment. And, just think, perhaps we could see a time soon when those swirling vortexes in our oceans could be replaced by a wood product which is desposed of in much the same manner as.... well.... wood itself is! Are we on the verge of a MAJOR product revolution? We certainly hope so. We really really really really really HOPE SO!

More info on Plastics and the natural environment:
The Institute for Figuring
More info on


snow globes for the holiday!

I am going to have to dedicate this blog to my dad, I think that he invented the idea of what we in our family call 'snow globes', but it's possible that its a common trick in Sweden where he grew up... either way, it's ingenious and he used to make these every Christmas and honestly they worked great growing up in Minnesota, but now, living in Rhode Island we don't get much of a chance to make snow globes because nothing freezes much around here. So we are sharing this idea with you in the hopes that all over the world people will be making my dad's snow globes!

My dad used to make them the night before Christmas Eve (we had a big party for Christmas Eve) and then he would line our driveway and walk up to the house with them. The Minnesota winter always kept them cold enough to last for ever and they were beautiful. They are easy to make, all you do is fill balloons with water and put them outside, depending on how cold it is you leave them there long enough that just a nice hard outer shell freezes (or as much as an inch thick), then you tap a hole into the top, dump out the water and put your tea light inside, and viola! One year my dad forgot them outside and they froze straight through and he used a torch (and some swear words) to burn out the center for the candle.

(above you see the balloons 'trying' to freeze, and below you see my finished globe, yours should freeze more to the top otherwise your candle will not stay lit, but it just isn't cold enough here today to get mine better than this... but you get the idea)

These make an elegant decoration for the holidays! or New Years party... or just about anytime you want to have some outside beauty. We happen to have a snow storm in the last few days so we are going to make a go at them so if they work out I will add a photo of our finished snow globes, otherwise I found this beautiful one that captures the idea (at top + bottom), it's from Japan, from an Otaru's Snow Gleaming Festival, it looks amazing and includes a bunch of additional ideas that they have used like adding leaves or branches and other shapes like sqares and such.

We also had a holiday tradition in our house growing up of Aquavit, it's a lethal booze that swedes drink any chance they get, usually together with some kind of fish (I think) I can't really handle the stuff myself, but he used to freeze the bottle in ice with branches of pine and eucalyptus (so you put the bottle inside another container with water, he used a milk carton, put in branches and then put outside to freeze) this keeps it freezing cold to serve and looks beaufitul (this could make a nice way to present vodka as well?)!

Whatever the case we would love to see your images of snow globes so please send them into us!


I just got an email from Amy Sharp from the blog doobleh-vay and she hast a post with her lovely ice luminaria...really beautiful! click here to read her post
with images and directions and her take on them (I guess my dad didn't invent them!)


The Nonchalantdad: Santa Meltdowns !!

We are about to take our kids to see the one and only, the BIG man, the man who get's things done, the saviour of all humankind..... No, I'm not talking about our next President. I'm referring to Mr. Claus. When we first started with this ritual about 5-6 years ago, we had no idea that visiting Santa would be so traumatic. Our son, the oldest, was always eager to see the guy - our only problem with him was that he saw him everywhere and would always ask us why Santa not only looked a little different each time, but how he could get to be in so many places so seeminly quickly..... clever guy. It wasn't until last year that we first became initiated into that group of people who deliver their children to Santa, only to have the child freak out.... of course, for all to see! You can try what you like - ply the little one with candy beforehand, prepare them with pictures of Santa, talk to them soothingly, tell them how exciting it all is, stand on your head while jingling bells, jump around trying to coax them while wearing a funny hat, sing songs, lay at their feet while you beg them, or just plain bribe them..... you'd be lucky if it works. But, if you even for a second thought you were alone in that group of distracted parents, you aren't. It would appear, like global warming, the numbers are much larger than you anticipated. There are just so many many many kids out there who equate a visit with Santa, especially when they first see him sitting there, with the plague.

And, imagine, it is very intimidating - especially when your mother and/or father start jumping around like idiots waving candy canes and singing Jingle Bells, imploring the child to think of Grandma and how happy she will be to see the picture. Personally, when it happened to us last year with our little girl, I found it quite amusing actually - I accepted it as a fact and instead of trying to dissuade her, we just moved things along a bit faster and did not pretend to try and make her look happy. But, I think we knew that over time, that photo, perhaps moreso than the ones of her smiling with Santa, might be the one we remember the most fondly!

There was a bit of a dispute around Nonchalant Mom about whether I should be allowed to poke a bit of fun at ourselves and old Santa by showing you some pictures of shocked or crying kids on Santa's lap. There were those who thought it did not represent the spirit of Christmas in a good light and thought it in bad taste. But, there were those, like me, who thought it might be fun to share with others - especially if you have experienced it yourself before, or just needed a bit of a light-hearted laugh during this troubling time! Anyway, you can always voice your opinions in the comment section to let us know what you think.... and you might. You might also want to share with us a photo of your experience - and if this is the case, just send it along to ideasnonchalantmom.com and we will post it. But, you better move fast, time is running out!

And, however much we feel sorry for our own children at this time of year, being 'forced' to sit on the bearded-man-with-the-funny-red-hat-on guy's lap, let's give a little nod to the many kind people out there that must do this several times each day, or even hour. I've seen some tough jobs... but. From looking at the many photos I've found of crying or perplexed kids, it is rare to find a Santa not trying to keep a stiff upper lip. I'm just not sure, if I were the Santa doing this all day long, if I wouldn't keep a little coal under my chair....know what I mean? These are highly trained individuals I imagine - trained in some of the best facilities our government has to offer!

If you are like me, and would like to have more a laugh - well then, I have found a site (one of many it seems!) devoted to a huge array of similar Santa Meltdowns. Actually, I'm surprised at what a phenomenon it seems to be....... strange isn't it. And, oh yes....the official disclaimer: I can tell you confindantly that no children were harmed in the making of this little story! And, if you want to share in more images just click here.


nonchalant mom holiday gift guide 2008

just a few holiday gift ideas... I hope you like them and I would like to hear yours!

1) benk cap :: handknit in the Netherlands
2) jul bord :: hand printed textile by Jobs Boden 1946
3) tuss+kice kice outfit :: tuss tunic : kice kice knit pants leaf : benk cap+mittens : kit+lili bag
4) rosenberg :: bea bag
5) antik batik :: robot t
6) makie :: mittens (also booties + hat available)
7) nonchalant kids :: lake 1969 vest
8) rosenberg :: ming fili tablecloth (we are using it for our christmas table cloth!!)
9) makie outfit :: wool fleece vest+footed pants : baby alpaca sweater : benk cap+mittens
10) indu lotion :: handmade nectar of the moon (made with blessing mantra)
11) margaret solow :: wabi sabi necklace : "the beauty in all things imperfect"
12) oeuf :: alpaca knit hat : sweaters + accessories
13) nonchalantmom :: handmade necklace made with vintage beads and 18k gold bead

romp - wonderful handmade toys

some of you may remember romp from her store in brooklyn, well she has moved north but romp going strong! and I felt that I had such a limited amount of toys and things...but Jenn at romp has a perfect selection of very unique toys and gifts that I am sure will work for your kids! she has an entire (big) section that is artist made that is filled with great ideas....so, if you are in need of some last minute toys that are handmade and fun you can check out her wares that could be just what you are looking for!

we all need a stamp set that we really like rather than smiley faces and hearts, this will open your kids minds to new stamping worlds!

these great piece together card toys are from the netherlands and perfectly fun and creative...there are more boy things and then girly things as well (doll houses and such!)

I loved these wood animal puzzles, this is one puzzle that your kids will never loose the pieces!

Jenn is very thoughtful in the way that she pulls together some great things for kids, and many that you will not find anywhere else! so visit romp soon!


The Nonchalantdad: Collector's Items!

If you find yourself a little strapped for cash this year - or just want to start something a little different for your children.... well, why not think a little different. And, the good news is, there's a little something for everyone, boy or girl. What I'm talking about is starting a collection of items that then your little one can take from there and partake in. All it takes is a small gift of a certain item that you think they might enjoy searching for here and there over the next several years. We started this in our home last year for our daughter when my wife stumbled on the idea of giving our then 2 year old daughter a few 'Troll' dolls. She went crazy for the hair mostly, since most of the small outfits that came with the dolls were a little advanced for her hands. My wife found a few of them on ebay of all things. Perhaps this doesn't sound like the most glamourous gift? But, our daughter still has a great time washing and combing the hair - the funkier the better! For our son, since we did a bit of traveling when he was even younger than he is now - and one thing leading to another we started a collection of snow-shakers for him that he has since taken on himself. Now, whenever we go anywhere he is on the look out for another one.... though this can get a bit nagging since he starts looking even if we go to the neighbouring town!

However, there are all sorts of ideas you can come up with - with your kids, or for your kids... whichever works. Some are obvious, like the snow-shakers, or all the things we collected ourselves when a bit younger. But, some can be even more rare or strange. I stumbled on the idea while visiting London at one point to get my daughter and son something a little different than the normal present from Hamleys (the biggest toy store in the world!! or so we used to be told...) - which basically amounts to gettting something from just about any toy store in the world. Nothing unique in that. So, trying to think of something that generally appealed to them (like cars and trucks to play with) and mixing it with something unique to a time and place (London in this case) I came across a whole bevy of old(ish) toy double decker buses. The kids loved it and now every time we go flea market hunting, they are on the look out for such buses. Or perhaps there are the traditional Swedish wooden horses my wife is attached to... or perhaps the older wooden derby cars (a cub scout tradition if I'm correct).

There are all sorts of things to collect, some easily come by and some a bit more difficult. The point I guess I'm trying to make is that it is something potentially long lasting and quite fun to do - or resource! Whether a stocking stuffer or just a plain gift - what better time to start something like this. But, I will admit this: some great ideas might prove to be mistakes - like the time I wanted to get my little guy started on those old little metal soldiers (he twisted some of the heads right off!). Or, be careful, some ideas might be a bit premature - like glass items, etc. One of the ideas I was most excited about sharing with my son, and my daughter when she gets a bit older, was something I should have waited for a bit longer to present. If you're a male (usually), of a certain age, and from the UK, or just familiar with certain obscure toys from Europe - then you'll remember a sort of board game called Subbuteo. Oh man, was it fun! When I first introduced it to my son a few years ago, hoping that he might continue the collection of 'teams' that goes with the game, he promptly broke a few of the delicate pieces. My fault really - I got ahead of myself.

Nonetheless, if the item or items fits into what your children are excited about - you can't go wrong.... and 20 -30 years from now, you won't probably be sorry you did it. Start Collecting!!!


another holiday sale -- aaah to live in NYC!

I think that this sounds like a holiday sale that is not to be missed! I heard about it through Laura Normandin of Wren Handmade (above). This is the best way to find unique handmade gifts for the holiday season! on this list of talented artisans you will find things for everyone from family to friends! so don't miss it and I hope to see you there! (yes, it looks like I need to make a trip all the way from Rhode Island!)


Sunday, December 14th
at the
Divine Studio
21 East 4th street, 6th floor
11am - 6pm

Alyssa Ettinger Ceramics
A.S.I.S. (Angela Spencers' Irresistible Stuff)
Athena Preston
Blake Ramsey
Bonbon Oiseau Jewelry
Chez Sucre Chez
Chloe Bernbach and Cyrus Sheehan
Corinne Gill
Foxy and Winston
Fritz Karch
hip hip hooray!
Hortensia Handmade

Jane D'Arensbourg Glass and Porcelain Jewelry
Jodi Levine Muench & Paige Marchese Norman
Katie Hatch
Kristen Aronsson Design
Lotta Jansdotter
Marcie McGoldrick Design
Marissa Corwin
Moontree Letterpress
Pat Keesey
Sesame Letterpress
Species by the Thousands
Trace Paper
Winter Water Factory
Wren Handmade

studio violet

I wanted to post a blog about the wonderful house/church that my favorite blogger, Irene at Bloesem, posted the other day. It all started when I wanted to make a gingerbread house, we always made them when I was a kid and it was such a special tradition... although my moms houses were always perfectly perfect (I honestly don't think that WE did much of it, but the thought was there and hey, it's still a special memory!) well so far we didn't get around to making ours ours... but I was very inspired by this idea by an innovative couple of women from Sweden who call themselves Studio Violet (yes, I shall be frequenting them often as well!). The idea here is a church made from clothes pins! (above) I think it's a fun project to do with kids, you can start with the idea of Studio Violet and then change and add to it and make it yours! So here is the project...

take apart the clothes pins and build your church. some ideas are to add birds and trees, I think you could easily make it Christmas-y with some evergreens (just use little pine branches) and some birds (I love how studio violet used a simple drawing) in the picture above you can see how to light the church which you can see lit up below. what a fun project! thank you studio violet!

the church is only one project by studio violet, if you go to their website you will find wonderful fantasy postcards, very cool notebooks and posters with their enchanting illustrations. I love them all and I can't wait to see what these women are up to next. so visit Elisabeth Dunker and Camilla Engman at Studio Violet and be inspired (wait until you see their studio! it's on my inspiration board!)


Remember These Classics?

If you were a young person living in the USA over the last few decades then you will surely remember these classic films from a period spanning roughly from 1964 through to 1974 (anything after just wasn't quite the same). Brought to you by Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc. (originally known as Videocraft International, Ltd.), stop-motion films like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus, and Little Drummer Boy (just to name a few from their output) became synonymous with the holiday period. Of course, when they first started appearing, they were considered features and, as such, you could only really see them at Christmas time. We seem to think that they were only shown one time during that period. Now, it is easier to come by them all. In fact, we've had a tough time trying to convince our 3 year-old daughter that the Frosty the Snowman DVD can only be watched during Christmas time and not in the blazing heat of July!

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was the first Christmas special produced by this team in 1964 (ugghhh, that's 45 years ago now!), and to this day remains one of the longest running TV specials ever! There remain many memorable scenes, many favorite songs, and in hindsight many popular actors and performers. We argue over which film is the better one, and everyone who is asked seems to have a different character or song that is their favorite. How about you?

Who could forget such characters as Santa's elves Jingle and Jangle. How about the Heat Miser, or Snow Miser? Then there's Herbey the Misfit Elf, Sam the Snowman, Clarice the Reindeer, the Bumble, the Island of Misfit Toys, the Burgermeister, and on and on. These films are truly classics. And even though they might have lost a bit of luster and magic over the ensuing decades, especially in comparison to todays children's movies, they are still enchanting. And, if your kids see them - you'll see that they are just as special today as they were when we were kids!

We wanted to share this idea with you just before Halloween when we were reminded of another lesser known classic Rankin/Bass stop-motion presentation from 1969 called 'Mad Monster Party.' Even though it doesn't rank as a Christmas classic, it may still be worth something to see - just for nostalgic reasons perhaps! Featuring such great actors from the period as Phyllis Diller and Boris Karloff (we believe it was the last film he was a part of before his death) - as well as the vocal similarity and visual likeness of the great Peter Lorre (as the character 'Yetch') and Jimmy Stewart (as the more vocal than visual character Felix). This was a film created as much for adults as it was for children (and you thought Pixar got their first) and included a whole host of musical/dancing numbers.... the most popular being when a group of skeleton rock musicians bang out a song called 'Do the Mummy.'

If you haven't seen them in a long time, or your children have not had the pleasure of watching them yet..... you simply must indulge them. Oh how exciting it was when you got to see these movies during this time of year. They just fit in with the growing excitement leading up to Christmas day! How exceptional those days were.... and still can be!

Cookies for Kids' Cancer

We have some friends (we won't name names) who almost every holiday season complain that it just doesn't feel good. And, every holiday season we encourage them to remember that it is so much more than about family and fun. It is a time for sharing and a time for caring. And, you know what? Yes, sharing and caring can be fun too! If you want to feel good about yourself, and your world, especially this year? Well, do something good. It really can work.

And, what better goodness can come from a fresh baked cookie? And, how about enjoying some cookies while helping to fight pediatric cancer! That's why we are sharing this with you. It is what we all call a 'WIN WIN' situation.

Gretchen Holt and Larry Witt started the organization not so long ago after their own young son was stricken with a fairly potent and rare cancer known as Neuroblastoma (a cancer of the nervous system). What do you when you find out your child has cancer? Well, we're sure it is something like a very strong punch to the center of your own psyche - heartbreaking. What do you do next? You FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT. And, that is what they have done. Initially, their goal was to raise funds (about 2 Million Dollars) to help fund the development of a new, and more advanced, form of treatment for Neuroblastoma. Unfortunately, it appears that pediatric cancers are not pursued with the same diligence as adult forms of cancer (you can read more on their website). So, Gretchen came up with the idea for a bake sale. That initial engagement netted something like $400,000 toward their goal. But, thankfully, things did not end there. The overwhelming response was such that soon enough Cookies for Kids' Cancer was essentially born. Through bake sales, and direct sale of cookies through the website, across the country, the organization has become a powerful tool for helping raise funds to combat all pediatric cancers.

If you go to the website you can find all the information you need to create your own bake sale in support of Cookies for Kids' Cancer. And, if organizing a bake sale - or even baking cookies is not your kind of thing - you can still help out by visiting the website and purchasing some cookies in time for your holiday gifts or even for your own family. It isn't to late to help. And, you can also check out the website's gift shop for a onesie, t-shirt, or bib even - all printed with a special message in support of the cause. Simply put - this is a great way to feel good about yourself, help all our children, and join in the holiday spirit! Helping out a very worthy cause is guaranteed to chase away even the most persistent scrooge!

For more information please go to: www.cookiesforkidscancer.org


lutz&patmos sample sale!

our friends at Lutz & Patmos are having an annual sample sale! this is one that you don't want to miss just in case you want to get something special for yourself (...or for others!) for this holiday season, this could be it! march on down to the meatpacking, have lunch at pastis and let yourself go! here are the details:

sample sale and overstock sale

wednesday / December 10 / 60% off everything / 11 am - 7 pm
thursday / December 11 / 70% off everything / 11 am - 7 pm
friday / December 12 / 80% off everything / 11 am - 7 pm

cashmere, wool, silk, ecological wool and alpaca sweaters and accessories for women / everything under $300 / plus $25 and $50 bins

all major credit cards and cash accepted

lutz & patmos
in the meatpacking district
425 west 13th street suite 401
btw 9th and washington street
or visit their website here
(although only the new collection is listed, the sale is on past season only)


Global Parent: Dallas Clayton

You might have noticed a button on our blog for Nonchalant Mom that indicated a section that was going to be devoted to Global Parents. The idea was that we would introduce parents of all shades, attitudes, lifestyles, and locations. By doing so we feel/felt that our readers would benefit from seeing how other people did the parenting 'thing'. Of course, like all good intentions and best laid plans, the darn thing fell by the wayside. BUT, we did not forget.... and finally, we are introducing our second installment for the section (the first installment was so long ago you can be forgiven for not even realizing it happened!). So, we have some parents and children we'd like to introduce to you - but if you feel strongly that you know a parent, or parenting situation, (even your own) that would be great to share with other readers please let us know. You can send your nominations to blog@nonchalantmom.com and we will consider them. In the meantime, let's get on with the show:

Dallas Clayton is an artist/writer living in California who has written and illustrated his very first children's book called: An Awesome Book! Of course, we think it is awesome too, or we wouldn't be sharing it with you! The story encourages dreaming BIG, which is as inspiring a bedtime story as you can get. The book is also wonderfully illustrated with some very colorful and eccentric imagery - which your kids will automatically connect with. The book is a small publication and it is our suggestion you better move fast to get one before they are all gone.

This is something perfect, and unique, for a holiday gift if you are looking for something a bit different this year and at about $15 it is a steal! This is a work of art.... and how often can you say that these days.... and mean it? As well, if you follow the link to Dallas' website below you will also find some other fun gifts - not tons perhaps - but some choice and original items! And, while you're at his website - check out some of Dallas' poetry in the archive section .... very clever, offbeat, and interesting. Support your smaller local artists we say! So, check Dallas and his wonderful book out here:


A few questions now for Dallas:

Where do you live in the world?
I live in Echo Park which is on the east side of Los Angeles. It's a very nice place to live that didn't used to be a nice place to live because of gangs and killing. But, there is less of that now.

How many children do you have and what are their names/ages?
one five year old boy and his name is Audio. One twenty-eight year old dad.

What is your relationship status?
Me and my son's mom are rad bros. Also, me and my son's mom go halfsies with our son, but it's not really a custody thing because we are such good friends and live very close to each other. It's honestly the best situation ever. We're pretty lucky!

Does your child(ren) have any special needs?
He thinks he needs to eat pancakes for every meal.

What time does your morning usually start and what is your usual routine?
He wakes me up way too early and then I try to trick him into playing games where I am 'sleeping' or 'magically have my eyes closed' for at least an hour.

Is there anything special for breakfast?
Mass greens. Mass smoothies. Granola. That makes me feel good and him too.

Does your child(ren) go to school, or daycare, or some alternative?
First year of kindergarten. It's really for real. Like I'm an adult now.

What's the usual method for getting them to school?
So early. 7:30. At school by 8:15 in LA traffic. Where are all these people going so early in the morning? Can't we just push things back a bit? What's the rush?

Is there anywhere special you like to take your child(ren), and why?
Anywhere outside, anything where he can go crazy with little consequence. Anywhere that involves sports and music. Anywhere where I can jump on a moon bounce and not get kicked out.

Any languages spoken in your home other than English?
I wish.

Any favorite toys or books. Any special habits?
We keep toys very minimal. Anything that gets us outside. Make believe. Books that make me feel like a good person and make his eyes light up. Richard Scarry is a must.

What's your usual mode of transport?
Private Helicopter for sure. Military tank. Dragon.

What's your usual routine for the afternoon?
Everytime I can walk or bike in LA I do, but the city isn't really built for it. Especially with 5 year old sized legs. Fortunately I have my private helicopter...

Any special or favorite snacks?
Yogurt is delicious. We've been really into Wallaby banana/vanilla lately.

Any naps? And, if so, what's the usual routine?
I wish.

Anything special about the evening meal that we should know about?
I like to make at least one food we've never had before. Then I like to make a bunch of other good foods and try to trick him into eating them by playing one food against the other. For instance "would you rather have ALL the edamame or ALL the Quinoa?" (thus, it's a win win)

Any special diet, etc?
We'll we are vegetarian, but it's not really that interesting.

What's bedtime like around your home?
School has caused him to crash out pretty early. Bath, books, cuddling then sleep.

Any special ideas or mottos that you think of now you're a parent?
Try to have as much fun as possible all the time.

Any special habits, remedies, or customs you wish to share?
A daily wash of Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo on the eyelashes will get rid of stys.

Anything else you want to share?
a poem called 'Great':


The world’s oldest person just died.
She was one hundred and fifteen.
If you do not yet have any long term goals
you should consider aiming for her title.
It’s not much effort
and think of all that you will have seen and heard
if you succeed.


The Questionable Behavior Department - Nonchalant Dad

A couple of things have come to the attention to me lately. The first thing that came to us came by way of a friend's cell phone picture. He happened to be in a local Starbucks in Manhattan when he witnessed the activity taking place in the picture above. He posted the picture to Facebook where we soon came across it. Now, the general opinion in the comments section of Facebook was not agreeable, but almost of these people/friends are single and without children. So, we were curious about what other parents might think of this scenario. And, just in case you can't quite see what's taking place in the picture above ... well, let's just say that the little one isn't riding a pony!
I am of the opinion that we have all seen some curious things along the way in parenting. We've seen the roadside pee-pee stops, public projectile vomiting, and even a diaper changing underneath a sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, among other unmentionables. But, this was a first. A mother producing a toilet in the middle of a cafe and letting her little one go for gold.....hmmmm. I never considered doing that with my kids (though I changed a few diapers in situations less than ideal!), and if I absolutely had to, I think I would have at least aimed for a hallway.... but in the middle of a crowded cafe. And, it doesn't appear that this was an emergency or accident. I don't know.... but then, sometimes I think I'm a little old fashioned. Perhaps this is a new trend that I'm not sure of. What do you guys think?

And, in other news, I came across this story that a reader referred to me. The controversy seems to come from a small LEGO figurine, I guess commonly considered a 'minifig', that resembles what many consider a terrorist. Apparently, there is a group of people out there that believe that LEGO's popular range of models and figurines isn't adequate. From what I gather there is a process by which existing 'minifigs' from LEGO can be stripped and polished and then recreated as new figures. These figures are predominantly military replicas, including a whole range of weaponry. The small family firm at the center of this controversy is called BrickArms, LLC. Will Chapman, the owner, has created a minifig that strongly resembles your average armed terrorist or insurgent, and includes custom made accessories such as a LEGO scarf headwrap, RPG, C96 Broomhandle Mauser Pistol, AK Assault Rifle, M67 Frag Grenades. However, the BrickArm website describes this particular minifig as a 'Bandit' named 'Mr. White' and makes no mention of terrorism, preferring instead to refer to the minifig as just another bad guy. I don't know about that....hmmm.... the attention to detail alone is shocking, but to advertise the accessories with such detailed terms as 'Frag Grenades' and 'RPG' is a bit much, especially when children are going to come in contact with them.

Aside from this figurine it appears that BrickArms is mostly interested in replica WWII figurines and a wide collection of proudly detailed weaponry that can grip onto any LEGO figurine. Now, it must be pointed out that the LEGO people make it clear that BrickArms, and any other small company or person that creates similar figurines and accessories, is not affiliated with the mother ship - nor are any of these companies or individuals licensed to carry out any customization. And, for your information, LEGO has a founding policy of not creating weapons or military themes, which means no tanks, fighter helicopters, warplanes, etc. Nonetheless, no one seems to think it a serious enough offense to enlist legal action or cease-and-desist orders - no record at least that I could find information on. The LEGO mothership either doesn't care to give it attention or has no legal basis for stopping the re-appropriation of its original product.

Of course, it is easy for someone like me to complain that a LEGO minifig representing a terrorist or insurgent is inappropriate. And, as much as I'm not a fan of encouraging my children to play with toys that are violent, especially the LEGO brand, I know very well that this is a difficult thing to do when you realize that LEGO has many items associated with Star Wars or Indiana Jones - both of which have some kind of weaponry, and some of which I have purchased for my kids!! ??

I guess the question in both cases above is not whether they are bad, but whether they are appropriate. Tell us what you think, you know we'd like to know over here at Nonchalant Mom. And, if you'd like to see for yourself, follow these links to get started:

this will take you to the manufacturer's website and the controversial minifig mentioned above

this is a blog for adult fans of LEGO, featuring many photos of objects created from LEGO products


fun day at the sample sale!

If you are in NYC I hope you you can come down to visit us at our sample sale! so far we have met lots of really wonderful and interesting people, we've had a good time and everyone seems to be happy with all of the deals to be had from Lucky Fish, kit+lili, Golden and Nonchalant Kids! Yay! If you live in the city I hope that you can come down and see us in Dumbo (you know it's only one stop over the bridge!)

There are super cute things to be had for baby sizes up to 10 years (and then we all have a few adult things too, including lucky fish! and kit+lili t's for adults!) kit+lili has bags and pillows too! Ha ha!

Its all fun and I hope you can make it! we are here until friday! so come and have some shopping fun and get somes deals!

Thursday, Dec 4 - Friday, Dec 5
from 11-7 pm

55 Washington Street (at front street) - DUMBO
suite 728

F - first stop in Brooklyn, York Street
A - first stop in Brooklyn, High Street


The Nonchalantdad: the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in LA

It is a story told very often over the years in my family. As a child I lived with my large family just south of Los Angeles. It is a story that has spanned something like 35 years now - and I am loath to admit it since I like to think of myself as youthful and trim still..... arghh! Anyway, the story goes something like this:

My mother, who was at the time a fairly recent immigrant from England, was the kind of mother who seemed to have her pulse on everything - far and wide. Timid she was not. She had found, and promoted on several occasions, a small theatre company of puppets somewhere near the 405 freeway if memory serves me right - perhaps near the Dodger stadium (am I correct... or is that the zoo?). The place didn't look anything special from the outside, but inside was a dream world. I certainly remember the lights coming down and first seeing these rather large puppets come to life - and they flowed just like people. It was no matter to a young eye that you could make out the puppeteers dressed covertly in black, nor that you could pretty clearly see the strings.... the damn things were ALIVE! And that was very very very exciting for a child of 6 or 7 years old (remember this was in the early 70's before all the stuff we have now to entertain us). The lights came down, the puppets came to life and the whole place became one BIG electrical current of pulsing energy..... which I guess would have been exciting on any other day, but on that particular day it was different.

As you apparently still do in this place there was a sort of ring of people on the floor next to the stage with another band of people sat behind you up a bit higher. My mother and I, and a small group of friends, were sitting there, down on the floor. Behind our group was another group. This group included several young people with mental disabilities. There was a boy directly behind my mother aged about 15. Now, my mother was in the habit in those days of wearing her hair in a sort of bun at the rear top of her head pinned ever so carefully into place. The lights came down, the puppets started their thing.... all of us got excited. The 15 year old boy started clapping wildly, slapping his legs like a drum, before he lurched up out of his seat. He jumped up behind my mother and starting screaming he was so damned excited (I couldn't blame him) and reached out and took my mother by her hair bun with a single grasp and lifted her a good 3 feet off the ground while she was still frozen in her sitting position. Now, the boy was screaming while he dangled my mother off the floor, my mother was definitely screaming something else, and she looked like another of the puppets going up and down, this way and that, while the boy became her personal puppeteer. The other kids started screaming and jumping up and the adults were pressed into action. As this boy hoisted her up and then down, here was this otherwise composed Englishwoman in 1972 saying all sorts of wonderful things very loudly and publicly that a young mind isn't supposed to hear.... you get the picture I'm sure.

This scenario went on for a good few minutes before the boy's assistants could untangle his large hand from my mother's now frazzled hair bun. Eventually, the performance went on with the boy posted elsewhere and my mother looking more like a red faced scarecrow perched on her knees trying to pretend she didn't exist. And, to us children, she didn't. We were soon immersed back into the fold of things and lost in our excitement again as the performance continued. Afterwards, we all got a snack of ice cream - apparently still served today the very same way after all these decades: a small pot of ice cream with a simple wooden spoon. How fun is that!
The reason I remembered this story is that in todays NY Times there is a large story, by Jennifer Steinhauer, on this very same place - the Bob Baker Marionette Theater and his roughly 3,000 personally created puppets. (the photos are from J. Emilio Flores for the NY Times). The place is in trouble and needs new assistance. Quite frankly, I am surprised to see it still going after so many years, given how many things from prior years disappear left, right and center these days - especially in LA. I left LA some 20 odd years ago, but when I read this story the place came right back into my memory - almost as clear as day. I can remember driving there, going through the doors, etc. It was that special.... aside from the story of my mother's inadvertent levitation!! Imagine how special it has been to so many others (maybe you?) over the years. It would be a shame that such a place was unable to find some kind of backing or support. This kind of magic is not easily found anymore and I wish very very much that I could take my 2 young kids at some point soon. I'll just be careful where I sit.

If you'd like to read the story you can go to this link:

I'd be curious to hear of anyone else out there who remembers this theater as a child, or who has recently taken their own children to it. As well, does anyone know of any other similar theaters in other parts of the country or elsewhere? Let us know.