christmas in Minnesota!

We had a wonderful time in Minnesota! Lot's of snow... piles and piles of it! we made snow caves, walked for miles in the lake, saw an airplane land on the lake, an igloo, we tried our feet in some snow shoes (on the lake!), sliding, just about everything! It was a terrific trip and WE LOVE MINNESOTA!

see you soon!
(I'll be back blogging tomorrow... or the next day!)

happy snow days to all!

love - carina


Annual After Christmas Sale!

Yes, it's just about all going on SALE!
Don't miss great deals on your favorite items

Come and check it out and see if you can get what you REALLY want!


christmas presents...

oh yes, I just finished these or I would have given you a heads up on the idea! But it worked out really great... One night at the store I made all of the potholders, they are so easy (square!) and then added an initial to make them more personal for each family. I handed these out to all of my friends and neighbors... I hope you like them!

granola recipe is from my blog - click here!

Happy Holidays!


happy holidays!

I'm on my way to Minnesota for Christmas, Julie is staying in Rhode Island and shipping out until the wee hours on Friday....

From all of us to all of you we want to wish everyone a lovely holiday!

Merry Merry....

Love + Peace,

Julie, Christine & Carina


pirouette - says hello to a new decade!

Pirouette the blog dedicated to bringing you the BEST in children's design, news and inspiration, asked a selcect bunch of leading children's retailers, designers and industry types what they foresaw on the horizon for the coming years and what they have learned from the past decade. Nonchalant Mom was asked to weigh in as well (THANK YOU Florence)!

It's all an interesting read with lots of inspiration for the future and a bit of looking back, all healthy as the new year approaches!

link to story on Pirouette


gift wrapping - easy...

Sometimes you just want to go without the bow... so here is an idea that we like to do, I just happen to be a professional box-letter lady (it goes along with a childhood of embroidering your name on your jeans, drawing snoopy and box letters...). But honestly it's easy and looks great under the tree!

Just trying to help make everything easier for you -- and me too!

Happy Holidays!


johnsons temtation/Janssons frästelse

This is a holiday favorite that the whole family loves and it's great at this time of year. I know that there is great controversy over this dish, my mom acts as though she is Julia Child while making hers, sauteing the onions in butter, she refuses to talk to me when I use rice milk, it's like the holy grail of Swedish holiday cooking. Conversely, while living in Italy with my Swedish friend Gunn I suggested that we make Johnsons Temptation (it's called Janssons frästelse in Swedish but translated, via my mom, we always called it Johnsons temptation) for Christmas Eve dinner and she said, "that's a peasant dish"... but we made it! and we all loved it. She explained to me that this is what you made when you had nothing left in your cupboard... it only takes - potatoes, onions, anchovies and a bit of milk or cream. Needless to say my mom was very upset by this description and to this day I let her make it when we are together (hers is ALWAYS better) and I just make it differently.

I will do my best to give you both descriptions and you can try them and see what you come up with. Any way you slice it this is a great holiday dish that EVERYBODY loves!

4-6 potatoes - depending on size and size of dish you are using - cut into matchsticks - yukon gold works great
1 yellow onion - sliced into thin slices
1 tin of Abba Swedish anchovies (I have used others but my mom yelled at me when I told her this, she said it's completely WRONG if I do that...) - chop them up (you can get them at Ikea)
bit of salt (anchovies take care of that)
milk or cream (I have use rice milk too... it works but it doesn't come out as thick)

MY VERSION - preheat oven to 375 degrees
I use a mandolin on the potatoes and then chop into matchsticks (HUGE timesaver). I leave the skins on (easier) and put into a large bowl. Then I chop the onion into slivers add to bowl. Chop anchovies add to bowl, then I take a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper and mix it all together. Put it into a nice pan as you will be serving in this pan, and I take about 3/4 cup - 1 cup of milk just so that it coats the bottom of the pan. Then I put a couple of pieces of butter (maybe 2 tbsp) on top and cover with tin foil and put in oven. bake for 30 minutes and take off foil and cook until browned on top and it looks like it's done (maybe 15-20 minutes).

PEEL potatoes
cut carefully into matchsticks all the same EXACT size
put aside
very thinly slice onion and saute in butter until translucent
combine onion, potato
thinly slice anchovies REMEMBER ONLY ABBA
add to potato & onion
melt 2-3 tbsp of butter and add to mixture
add salt & pepper
put ingredients into dish and add 1 cup of heavy creme
cover with foil and bake for 3 minutes, uncover and bake for 15-20 minutes until brown.

Good luck and have fun!



design in Marveland!

 There is a wonderful little exhibition going on in London at the moment which is a Christmas exhibition and a pop up shop dedicated to children. Marveland will exhibit a great diversity and an original combination of artwork that can be enjoyed by everyone. The Event will show both desing pieces developed exclusively by children in workshops, while also selling designs created by established desingers, perfect as a Christmas gift.

The show is curated by Nina Thibaud and Olivia Decaris and it is going on from December 4th - 20th at The Garage, 1 North Terrace sw32b - visit their website here for hours and more information.

Honestly, I am not sure that I understand just what is going on here but it sure looks interesting and sometimes these kind of things make the best surprises! So I hope that you can make time to visit and if you do please give us a comment and let us know how it was and what you saw!

One of the featured designers is Hina Thibaud and she makes this wonderful "my theater" which looks incredibly wonderful and a great idea for any child! - click here to visit her blog

And thank you Handmade Charlotte for bringing this to my attention!

visit Marveland by clicking here


ssshhhh... secret sale!

We just received the new Matta Resort Collection in and I think it's the most exciting collection I have seen from Matta in a long time, I know, I know, I say that I love them each time and how could this be better.... but it is!! I think that when it comes to Resort, Matta is right at home... they know how to make you look great at the beach or anywhere warm! (Okay, yes they make us look good in the winter too but this will blow your socks off!)

We are working on getting the collection online in a day or two but in the meantime I need to make room for this new collection, SO we thought that we would offer friends and family and all of you blog readers (yes, you are friends and family in my book!) a discount on the previous seasons of: Matta, Layla, Shampoodle women and Erica Tanov - just use code: 'secret25' when check out for an extra 25% off the above collections (remember this does NOT include the new Resort collection)

Matta, Layla, Erica Tanov, and Shampoodle for Women = 25% off (code: 'secret25')
(and kit+lili women is marked down as well... it's already marked 25% off!)

Have good shopping!

Love - carina


nonchalant mom gift ideas!

We've created a GIFT IDEAS page on Nonchalantmom to make finding gifts easier for you! It's easy as pie... just click on 'gifts' at the bottom of the homepage and then you can choose from BABY, KIDS or MOM AND HOME. Obviously there is much much more available on the website, I personally like to shop by 'collection' but any way you like it there's a lot of great gift ideas for this Holiday Season!

We work hard to bring you small collections from independent designers, somehow I think it's more fun this way, to give unique gifts that you won't find anywhere else. Many of our collections are organic, but they don't have to be.. the DO have to be creative, fun and easy to wear or live with! I hope that you enjoy our selection and remember that there is free shipping until the end of 2010 (at checkout use code: freeship2010).

We gift wrap with a simple silver soft wrap and red bakers twine and if you include a message we will include it on grey paper. Anything that is packaged in a box we wrap in green paper with green yarn bow. This is not the fanciest wrapping possible, but I think it uses less waste and we like to encourage that! (plus it's kind of a typical Swedish wrapping style..). Just choose 'gift wrap' when checking out and we are happy to gift wrap! (+ $5)

Thank you so much for your patronage this year and I look forward to giving you the best that I can for the coming year!

Happy Holidays!

click here for gift ideas from nonchalant mom


restaurants that are okay for kids and parents in NYC

le pain quotidien - photo by thomas schlipper

It occurred to me that not everybody has fantastic friends that invite them over for dinner while in NYC so I just wanted to offer a few of my own suggestions on where we go with the kids in the city. Now, it's been a long time since we lived in New York so these may be a bit dated but, at least they work! If you have your own suggestions please comment and let us know your GREAT ideas!

Tribeca - Bubby's (on Hudson) - I think this may be the original family restaurant in NYC
Tribeca - moomah - for breakfast or lunch and kids can do their own activities while you eat! absolutely terrific!
Soho - Souen - on Prince and 6th Ave (it's macrobiotic so it's delicious and good for you too!)
Soho - Balthazar - if you have a reservation and don't have to wait hours for a table Balthazar is great for kids because there is so much going on, but this isn't necessarily a 'kids' restaurant.
Midtown - Pipa - the restaurant in ABC carpet and home - it's tapas so it's small dishes and you might have trouble finding something that isn't spicy but it's an easy place for kids and you can take breaks and take them into the store while waiting for food.
Le Pain Quotidien - These places are the BEST for kids and adults, we love them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! easy and simple food that is delicious - there is one in: uptown, midtown and downtown   - click here for locations
Uptown - Fred - restaurant in Barneys - it's expensive but you're in NYC what do you expect!

I hope that these are helpful, they are some of our favorites and easy for family!

And honestly, around the holiday season I think that most restaurants are ready for kids to be out with their parents enjoying a dinner out from time to time.


New York City for the Holidays

We started going to NYC for the Holiday Season when our kids were about 5, we've made so many mistakes but from time to time it works out wonderfully! I just got back from NYC with our kids and we had to go it alone this time as Dad was at Art Miami (yes, I saw the story in the NYTimes and I am hoping it's just NOT true - ha!). I wasn't really convinced of the idea so I didn't really plan it or think about much. Being alone with the kids in NYC could go terribly wrong I know, but the kids were so excited I knew I just HAD to jump in and do it!

So my first rule was go on a Monday or Tuesday, so we drove down to NYC on Sunday afternoon, we got into town after dark so I took them through Times Square to see all the lights, great idea, not planned and the kids went crazy! They loved it!

We stayed at a friends apartment, the kids call it hotel, I suppose anything in NYC feels like a hotel. In the morning we had croissants and orange juice, breakfast of Champions! (and a bit of oatmeal thrown in there for good measure and to keep us warm). Since it was Monday, the streets were fairly quiet and we made our way uptown in a taxi (another exciting moment!). We got out at Radio City Music Hall, just as a crowd was entering (or is there always a crowd outside of RCMH?) - then we walked up 50th Street and we came upon Pylones (its a colorful French store with lots of great little toys for under $5) we stocked up on little trinkets for all the people we were going to see in NYC (light-up flower rings, race car pens, etc.) and some things for the kids to play with at down time (total $32--love that!).


Next we saw a sign that that said "Top of the Rock!" I had no idea that they had an observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center, no crowds, no lines, we went straight up in the elevator to the observation deck and it was beautiful! The view from the top is fantastic, Empire State Building, Central Park, and everything in between. It's a perfect way to get started, and the kids get an idea of the size of NYC from the top instead of the streets! There are both inside and outside observation decks so if it's too cold, no problem, you can see perfectly from inside.

Then it was back down to the bottom and a look at the tree and skating rink. We closed our eyes and then walked to the front of Rockefeller Center and then said "1-2-3" and opened our eyes to see the Christmas tree sparkling! It was great! We went to watch the skaters and somehow both of my kids didn't want to skate... (until the next day, Sander wanted to go and skate when we were down in Soho... urgh...).

Then across the street the Saks Fifth Avenue windows this year are beautiful, I have seen them before and wasn't so impressed, but this year they are dreamy and magical, really great for the kids! The theme is Snowflake and the Bubble and you can see it on youtube here. The show will take place every 15 minutes and it looks incredible at night. We saw it in the day, but I imagine at night it's incredible!

We had lunch and then it was a walk up 5th Avenue to FAO Schwartz, not too crowded and the kids had a play on the giant piano, then we met some friends and went for a carriage ride in Central Park, it was perfect and the kids needed some time to rest and sit down. It was getting dark so we ducked into The Plaza to keep warm and found that there was an Eloise corner downstairs where kids can have a tea party and play and relax a bit after the long day. We had dinner with friends (Kit & Emily from Lucky Wang) that night and the kids were running around and playing, it was good not to have to go to a restaurant.

The next morning we had a beautiful breakfast at Balthazar! (mommies favorite!) Somehow we ended up walking around Nolita after breakfast and looking in all the shops. Then off we went back to Rhode Island.

It was a perfect New York City trip with the kids, calm, fun and easy! Both the kids and I had a great time. I'm sure that we missed a bunch of things but it was the perfect amount of Holiday Cheer!


Three Sisters personalized jewelry - last order date extended to December 8th

We have added new designs to the Three Sisters Jewelry and she has extended the date to December 8th for Holiday delivery. Her sweet new necklaces are simply unique and have a great playful look. My favorite is her new locket which you can include up to two photos and swings on an long chain, love them!

order until December 8th - and free shipping on orders over $100 by using code: 'freeship2010'

click here to see the whole collection on Nonchalant Mom.