Blog

manifesto of the new fatherhood. July 28 2014, 0 Comments

This article outlines a powerful truth about fatherhood we stand by! Our favorite parts:

 

"The new father is an engaged father by instinct. Witnessing birth was the beginning of a widening intimacy. The new father holds his babies. He bathes them. He reads to them. The new father knows that the role of the father is not merely to provide food and shelter. The role of the father is to be there, physically and mentally."

 

"The new fatherhood is a huge gain for men, the chance for a deeper intimacy, a whole new range of pleasures and agonies, a fuller version of our humanity."

 

 "At the heart of the new fatherhood is a somewhat surprising insight: Men, as fathers, are more crucial than anybody realized. The changing American father is transforming the country at all levels, from the most fundamental to the most ethereal, economically, socially, politically. The epidemic of fatherlessness and the new significance men place on fatherhood point to the same clandestine truth:

 

The world, it turns out, does need fathers."

-The manifesto of the New Fatherhood  [images via Pinterest]




Roadtrip Travel Tips by Puj: July 23 2014, 0 Comments



There is beauty in a family car and the freedom between where you begin and where you intend to go. “Not all those who wander are lost.” [-J. R. R. Tolkien] We wanted to share our tips for the most happy roadtrip adventuring:

 

The Essentials-

+ Load a basket full of car activities. It feels exciting and contains the mess. Ours includes new sticker books, Where's Waldo, notebooks, markers, Rubik's cube, wooden tic-tac-toe, a favorite chapter/storybook and car BINGO. We try to avoid anything noisy (looking at you, Bop It).

+ Pack an insulated bag with healthy snacks. We like a flexible cooler that can squeeze into tight spaces with fresh food that helps us avoid that carsick feeling! Our go-tos are apple slices, berries, baby carrots, squeezable yogurt and applesauce, dried fruit, nuts, beef jerky, string cheese, pretzels and crackers. Include a couple of treats (bubble gum, gummy bears or dark chocolate covered almonds) just for fun.

+ Stay hydrated with plenty of water and avoid spills by using bottles with sports caps. Prepare for a handful of bathroom breaks.

+ Give each child one large ziplock bag for trash or carsickness.

+ Let them each bring a blanket or cuddly to help with a rest in the car (never too old!). They can also be used as a pillow or shade from the sun.

+ Bring a large container of wipes. These gentle saline Boogie Wipes double as the kitchen sink to clean up sticky fingers, spills, stuffy noses and emergency potty stops.

+ Make your rest stops fun and energetic! Stretch, run around and let them get their wiggles out while you empty trash bags and fill up water bottles.

+ Unload and vacuum the car as soon as you arrive, both coming and going. It eliminates the road trip smell and road trip clutter. (You can even pack a handheld vacuum for quick clean ups.)

 

The Fun-

+ Surprise them with small wrapped gifts to keep the adventure exciting. (Think finger flashlights and mini pinball.)

+ Laminate an illustrated map of your route and let them anticipate and mark exciting landmarks and pit-stops.

+ Remember & share all those car games you played as a kid: I spy, I'm going on a picnic, the license plate game... And teach them how to sing Waddaly Atcha.

+ Make a roadtrip playlist with fun, upbeat songs. This will help the drivers stay awake, too!

+ Take time to see a few sights along the road. It's often the little stops along the way that become our favorite memories from a vacation (flying the kite on the pier, walking along an old railroad track, buying a small souvenir from the roadside stand, taking a picture in the bluebonnets field).

+ Audio books are a great way to keep kids calm and happy and are pleasant for everyone. You can frequently "rent" these from your local library.




summer friendship bracelets. July 23 2014, 0 Comments

 

When we began planning our simple summer activities, I knew that part of a family summer needed to involve friendship bracelets! They're the perfect age and these are the perfect summer accessory and braiding your favorite colors into one for your brother or best friend is childhood! This DIY for "the fastest friendship bracelet ever" is a perfect place to start.




our family goes to Taipei. July 21 2014, 0 Comments

Three years ago we decide to do our first family international trip. We always wanted to take the kids to see the world. Ben was on the road for nearly 5 weeks and was planning to leave for another 4 weeks. Rather than miss out on all the fun, I decide to take the whole family to Taiwan! (I love a good adventure.) I have one week to plan the trip, get airline tickets, find us a place to stay, and get passports for my boys. Airline tickets are a great last-minute deal at just under $1,000 a piece (round-trip!). I find a clean apartment in a safe neighborhood for rent on Craigslist. It has a rooftop swimming pool that is perfect for the kids. We don’t have time to wait the typical 4-6 weeks for passports. Luckily there is a passport office a couple hours from our home in Seattle. We drive up and make a day trip out of it and get the passports. The boys are so excited to fly and we make it to Taipei without much difficulty. The first few days there are really hard. Ben is gone working and I am in our tiny apartment homeschooling 3 boys that just want to have wrestle mania on my bed. I regret my decision to take us to the other side of the world and I want so badly to be back in the comfort of my own home. I convince myself to change my thinking and stop being so afraid to leave the apartment. I leave a handwritten note for Ben that says, “We went for an adventure. See you later! Love, Katie.” (no cell phones mind you :) We end up having an amazing day and meet so many kind and helpful people along the way. From that point on we explore a new part of Taipei each day. The boys and I figure out the local bus system, the trains, and of course we take a few cab rides every now and then. We find our local food mart, the book store, local tourist attractions, the zoo, memorials, parks, and traditional markets. I have learned the most important thing to pack on any trip is a spirit of adventure. Only once I step outside my comfort zone am I able to enjoy these life changing experiences.

 

 Same-day passports. We decide on Wednesday we will take the family to Taiwan. The following Friday we drive 3 hours to Seattle to get each of the boys a passport. 3 days later we are on the plane and headed for adventure.

I make sure to give each child a piece of luggage they are responsible for. Both for packing and transporting. It lightens my load and gives them a sense of purpose.

Consciously I decide to have an analogue trip (no digital devices or cell phones). My kids are armed with items like books, drawing pads, chess sets and magnetic blocks for their entertainment. It helps them interact and play together rather than zone out or argue.

Keeping with our minimal packing efforts, we bring lightweight chess pieces and draw a chess board on a piece of paper.

There is never a shortage of fascinating sights to see and new places to explore when visiting a new city.

We take advantage of local holidays and celebrations and get in on the festivities.

Interacting with the locals is a favorite memory.

Clearly these guys love shopping the local night markets as much as I do!

It’s rare to get a picture of all 5 of us. I keep that in mind and hand the camera to a bystander to take our picture. I make sure to set the shot up exactly as I want.

Everywhere we go people want to take our photos as though we are celebrities. Luckily Sterling is not camera shy.

Food is always a big part of any vacation. And exploring foreign foods is always an adventure. We buy new fruits and veggies at the local market and try them out. This is what water chestnuts look like before being shelled.

A 3 year old can be just as fascinated with pen & paper as he is with a digital device.

Writing in their journals while we wait. The boys always bring their backpacks along with pen and paper. Its a great activity to keep them occupied anytime we are transporting.




the fast table chair. July 21 2014, 0 Comments

 

Good gear that really simplifies our lives is always worth sharing!

The Inglesina Fast Table Chair is everything I hoped it would be and more. The look is minimal and so simple to install. Liberty loves being up at the counter right next to her big brothers. My favorite time to use it is while I'm making dinner. She is happily watching me prep veggies while curiously eating her favorite finger foods. We use it multiple times a day and it's so comfortable she almost fell asleep in it at dinner last night. It's a "must have" in my book!

 

You can this + our other travel gear favorites and a 2 night stay in our Family Travel Giveaway!




Airplane Travel Tips by Puj: July 16 2014, 0 Comments

 

Travel is part of who we are, so we have become parents and families that travel, too! We love to show our kids the world, feel the fresh perspective and focus it gives us and enjoy the unique beauty and opportunities across cultures. But traveling with kids can be hard! Here are some tips that have helped us simplify family traveling so that those memories are mostly really happy for everyone! We hope they help you, too! Happy travels from the Puj team.

 “The journey not the arrival matters” (-T. S. Eliot) is not quite true with airplane travel with kids! :) Here are some tips that help ease the long haul: 

+ Pack light: it's too tricky balancing several heavy bags, carrying baby and holding hands. Pack what you need (if you're guilty of over packing, these suggestions from Oh Joy help!) and prepare to wash clothes mid-trip and purchase available essentials after arriving.

+ Get to the airport with plenty of extra time. When you are stressed, your family feels it. Security lines and surprise fees can cause unexpected delays. You want to do everything you can to keep everyone happy!

+ The bigger kids love carrying their own small backpacks. Stock them with snacks, activities and toothbrushes...and let them! It'll lighten your load.

+ Ditch the stroller and opt for baby wearing: you will be more nimble and your baby will most likely sleep all warm and snug against your chest.

+ Eat a good meal in the airport (or a packed sandwich from home) pre-flight- it beats airplane food! "It’s not easy holding a baby and trying to eat from your little tray in front of you. And inevitably one of your kids will need his meal chopped up, or will spill his drink in his lap, and you’ll have to get up to help… Just skip the meal entirely." -Babyccino Blog

+ Visit the bathroom once (or twice) before getting on the flight. Those family stalls are much friendlier than the tiny airplane lavatory and its line.

+ Take advantage of family boarding: "Sure, boarding first means even more time confined in close quarters with your darlings. But having a few extra minutes to get the kids settled as they fight over the window seat, and actually finding a space in the overhead compartment for your carry-on luggage right above your seat, are reward enough." -CNN Travel

+ Dress them comfortably: avoid packing extra outfits and dress them in their most comfy and soft clothes that can double as pajamas. Be sure to layer with a sweatshirt for that cold plane!

+ Prepare healthy, less-messy snacks: chewing can help with pressure in their ears and you want to avoid hungry kids! We like to bring granola bars, trail mix, fresh fruit, crackers, popcorn, squeezable applesauce, pretzels and special treats like gummy bears and bubble gum. (Save those for more desperate times.)

+ Make sure you have food and water for yourself (especially if you're nursing): Travel can affect your milk supply so make sure you are well hydrated and have some healthy snacks on hand like nuts and dried fruit. 

+ Bring exciting toys and books: entertain them with new travel-sized coloring books, stickers, playdough or small wrapped gifts (think jelly beans, playing cards or plastic animals) throughout the flight.

+ Download new movies & apps: now may be the time to splurge on their electronics allowance since a happy + quiet child is well worth a little extra screen time.

+ You can do it!: Try your hardest to relax, feel confident that you're doing your best and accept help from the friendly grandma or solo father if/when you may need it.




Family Travel Giveaway! July 16 2014, 0 Comments

 

The Puj family loves to travel! But traveling with kids can be hard! Starting now, we're sharing a roundup of the most family friendly destinations, the best travel gear and expert tips to simplify family vacations. Join us!

WIN a $1600+ family vacation prize including a 2 night stay and our favorite travel gear right here on puj.com 7/16 - 7/30: http://buff.ly/1tIMNgl



nursing mothers. July 13 2014, 0 Comments

This collection of images of nursing mothers across the years, cultures and nationalities, portrayed in art and photographs, is just beautiful. A reminder (and evidence) of mothers trying to do what is best for their babies in a natural and strong way. With camaraderie.

Above: French mothers in a Paris doctor's office waiting room- 1946. See the full post here.




pastel town. July 10 2014, 0 Comments

Milk or juice cartons, paint, brushes, a utility knife and your creativity is all you need for a pastel town of your own!

 




cursive. July 10 2014, 0 Comments

Learning how to write cursive. Common Core may not think it's important, but I want my boys to be able to read their birthday cards from Grandma and a few other things. Like the US Constitution, for example.
Is it a lost art?



black, white & cute all over. July 10 2014, 0 Comments

We'll put it in black and white: a roundup of our straight up favorites this week, all added to the new Puj Approved shop!

1. Scalloped Shorts / Candy Kirby Design

2. Letter Cups / Arne Jacobsen

3. Basics Bundle / Storq

4. Balancing Blocks / Fort Standard

5. 365 Penguins / Jean-Luc Fromental




zoey and jasper July 09 2014, 0 Comments

 

Do you know Zoey, a rescue mutt from Taiwan and her little brother, Jasper? Their mom photographer Grace Chon shares these really happy images of them together each week on their website here. It's a fun family and a really happy mid-week pick-me-up!




5 simple chores for kids! July 09 2014, 0 Comments

Kids home for more time during the summer can mean more help rather than more stress! (More fun is a give in.) See this roundup of 5 simple chores for kids that will actually help you!

What would you add? How are your school-aged kids helping around the house?




simple kids room. July 07 2014, 0 Comments

In true Puj style, we love finding examples of simple and beautiful kid rooms. Because they grow quickly, as do their needs (bed size) and taste, simplicity is a great reminder. This bright home in Amsterdam is the perfect example of a bedroom that facilitates creativity and easy change.Visit Paul & Paula for details.




one-on-one time. July 07 2014, 0 Comments

Jodi, a mom, writer, photographer and yoga teacher, writes the most lovely thoughts from her home in Australia on living simply. And this post she shares about one-on-one time with our children really impacted us! It can be so difficult to schedule special time together, but, she says, "...what a difference a  whole day makes to our relationship and his contentment (and my joy!)"

Maybe you'll be inspired by their one-on-one adventure too and be ready to create one for you + your children! "It's worth it- always!"

 




be good to yourself too. July 06 2014, 0 Comments

Is this the hardest parenting rule? How do you take care of yourself?

We want so badly for our kids to be kind. We want to badly to parent well and compassionately! We want to show our children how to think of others and give more often. But it's so hard to remember that maybe we cannot do all of these things well if we don't take the time to get the sleep we need, eat a good breakfast, exercise, meditate, take a nap, get an occasional pedicure, hire a babysitter or say "no" sometimes. We deserve good things, too! [image]




Beat the Heat. July 03 2014, 0 Comments

 

Beat the heat with our summer favorites for easy days at the beach, pool and lake! Make sure to pack a Puj Big Hug, the ultimate summer towel (all smiles, no shivers)!

Get 35% off Puj Big Hugs today through 7/10 with code: BHUG35

Details [clockwise from bottom, center]:

1) Frill Swimsuit by Mini Rodini
2) Floating Duck by Kid O
4) Scoppi by Quut Beach Toys
5) Puj Big Hug by Puj



stars and stripes waffles. July 03 2014, 0 Comments

For a simple way to make tomorrow's celebrations fun at home, this "stars and stripes" fruit with yogurt sauce dresses up your favorite waffles! [Modern Parents Messy Kids]




overestimating. July 02 2014, 0 Comments

 

I've noticed recently that when people ask Liberty's age I tend to over-estimate. When she was just over 5 months I would round up to 6 just to make it easy. And here she is 6 days from her 8 month birthday and I'm already saying she's 8 months old. They grow up fast enough that I've decided I don't want to overestimate. And underestimating is no good either. Saying she is 7 months and 22 days is kind of annoying. I'll let you know once I have this figured out. 

Are you an overestimater too?



Puj art camp. July 01 2014, 0 Comments

 

Puj hosted a kid's art camp last week, taught by the brilliant Christie Sims who is not only an amazing artist herself, but a teacher who knows how to have fun! It's so delightful to see what these kids are capable of creating..and how much fun they have doing it! We hope for more events like this in Puj's future!

 




summer treasures mobile. July 01 2014, 0 Comments

With more time outdoors during the summer, we're slowly collecting more "treasures" inside of our pockets, buckets and dresser drawers. :) Isn't the idea of a summer treasure mobile pretty lovely? From seashells to feathers, this would hang so nicely in their bedroom or over the play space or near the craft table. See the simplest instructions here.




the babysitting question. July 01 2014, 0 Comments

The universal parenting question of "how much to pay a babysitter" can be confusing- it differs by state, the babysitter's age and training, and how many children you're leaving with the sitter. (And it's constantly inflating, right?) Of course most of us probably rely on a parent network to find the right answer, but this infographic is insightful.

How do you determine how much? Do you feel like you're on mark? [top image via]




Ikea hack night light. June 30 2014, 0 Comments

They sleep better with a little bit of light and this Ikea hack is a clever option. Mommo Design turns the FADO table lamp into a Mr. Moon with 2 permanent markers. [Mommo Design]




..to be wonderful. June 29 2014, 0 Comments

Our summer Saturday yesterday was the perfect reminder. We didn't do any big activities on our summer to-do list and we still filled our morning with chores and deadlines, but sandwiches from Whole Foods and family baseball at the park and then a simple dinner (and homemade cookies) on the porch just felt wonderful. This life is busy, a fine balance, often tiring and tricky but imperfectly happy if we can enjoy the wins. [image]