Dramatic Play is Therapeutic For Your Child

Dramatic Play is Therapeutic For Your Child

Kids recreate the world how they see it through dramatic play. Shouting is emanating from behind the closed door of my daughter's room. "No, Mama, don't go!" "I have to go to work. You have to stay here." My three-year-old is playing in her room by herself. I slowly open the door. Her back is facing me as she sits on the bed with her dolls. We've had this exact exchange numerous times, and apparently, my daughter knows it so well that she is re-enacting our daily ritual of school drop-off with her Elsa dolls. I enter the room and sit on the edge of the bed. "How does the little girl feel when her mama has to leave for work?" I ask but I already know the answer. "Sad." "Yes, but she gets to play with her friends at school." "Yeah, but she misses her Mama sooooo much." Her head is down. Knife in my heart.   Play is a form of therapy My daughter is using play to work out scenarios that affect her...
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Meeting the Parents…Without the Boyfriend

Meeting the Parents…Without the Boyfriend

Guest post by Carrie Elizabeth Akarslan You wouldn’t normally meet your boyfriend’s parents by going on a twelve-day tour of Japan together. Of course, our relationship doesn’t follow the “normal context, ” and so this is a story about how I met my Turkish boyfriend’s parents for the first time. I grew up on a small ranch in Oregon, riding horses and shoveling manure. I walked to school and went to church most Sundays. My family later moved to Connecticut, and after college, I moved to Florida for the warm weather and relaxed lifestyle. I lived in a city with a population of roughly 40,000, and this felt like a city to me. Several years later, feeling the need for a new adventure, I found myself alone on the small island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. I was considering a position teaching at an international school there so I decided to take a vacation to Roatan to learn how it’d feel...
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Lådbilslandet—Heaven on earth for kids

Lådbilslandet—Heaven on earth for kids

Imagine an amusement park where only kids are allowed to ride and they receive endless rides on the tea cups, carousel, and trains. Where kids drive cars, motorcycles, and tractors. All. By. Themselves. The 1980s are alive and well at Lådbilslandet—or Soap Box Car Land—an amusement park in Sweden with soap box cars, "motorcycles" (they have three wheels so they are more like tricycles with engines), tractors, and river rafts. Lådbilslandet is a place where your kids can feel like grown ups. Kids Only It's a "kids only" type of place and adults aren't allowed on any of the rides. Not one. If your kid doesn't want to ride alone then you'll need to find a willing child (or sibling) to ride along with them. Honestly, that shouldn't be hard at all to find since every kid I saw was dying for extra rides. The kids are really in charge at this amusement park and parents have no choice but to relinquish all pretenses of being...
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The Moments That Surprise You

The Moments That Surprise You

The post below contains affiliate links to help support Knocked Up Abroad at no extra cost to you.   Ever since starting this book publishing collaborative journey, I've reached out to a lot of writers, illustrators, marketers, and people in the business. During the Kickstarter campaign for Knocked Up Abroad Again, my "Why not? Meter" was at full tilt and I was daringly reaching out to New York Times bestselling authors. You know, because why not? What did I have to lose? Well, all of that outreach ended up being tremendously helpful and I received amazing support from NY Times bestselling authors AK Turner, Jen Mann, and Suzanne Kamata (their reviews on are on the back cover!) and I also managed to get looped into their world. Have you ever wondered how those reviews get onto book covers? Usually, the author or publisher sends around a beta version of the manuscript to other writers and asks for a few review blurbs months before the book is published. These reviews are then featured on the...
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Taking Route: Finding Your Parenting Style In Between Cultures

Taking Route: Finding Your Parenting Style In Between Cultures

  The ladies (Denise and Alicia) at Taking Route have a great podcast up and running if you are looking for a new podcast to listen to about life abroad. When they approached me to chat about the Knocked Up Abroad series, I was super excited to share my story about how living in Sweden has had a profound influence on my approach to parenting. Denise has six (6!) children abroad (I don't know how she finds time to put together a podcast) and we connected right away. We both love allowing our kids to play unattended and our lives abroad have reduced our "nervousness" in our approaches to parenting. (We also both harbor an unnatural hatred for Pinterest, but that's another story.) Be sure to follow Taking Route on Instagram for more of their great content including Denise's awesome passport hack. Also, Alicia from Taking Route is knocked up abroad again herself—and she uses that term!—and I love it when women refer to themselves...
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Wherever you go, there you are

Wherever you go, there you are

  "Money in the bank. Braces are money in the bank," my Nana told me at her kitchen table in upstate New York. I was 15 years old; my mouth was sore and full of twisted metal. I didn't feel like having a mouth full of braces was such a wise investment. Her words were of little comfort to my angsty teenage self. For six years, my brother and I would take the bus to our grandparents' house after school. We lived outside of the school district and we needed a place to do our homework (me) or watch TV (my brother) until one of our parents could pick us up. My Nana would come home and she'd start making dinner. I sat at her kitchen table in a high bar stool chair, finishing my homework and chatting about my day. These kitchen table conversations created an inner voice that spouts off two sentences of wisdom at a time. We all have voices...
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Can it ever be enough?

Can it ever be enough?

  I've been there for every moment. Every smile, every laugh, every wobbly step—every everything—and yet it feels like I am still missing out on so much. How is it not enough? I look back at baby pictures taken years ago, and I see that squishy face. I can see hints of who you will become hidden around your smile wrinkles, arm folds, and fuzzy hair.     You and I were different back then. Through the long nights with multiple wake ups, the constant changing of sheets, and endless laundry, I was too mired in the hour-to-hour chaos to reflect on anything meaningful. Back then I couldn't see the sweet, crazy kid you would become. Back then your happy moments were constantly interrupted with fussy ones. Your smiles turned into cries, and I'd quickly have to intervene. It felt like we were on this emotional roller coaster together, but the ride was taking too long. I was tired, and the ride kept on going and...
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A Day in the Life of A Bilingual Family When the Parents Aren’t Bilingual

A Day in the Life of A Bilingual Family When the Parents Aren’t Bilingual

  A lot of emotions swirl around every day as a parent, but when your children are bilingual and the parents are monolingual, there tends to be a wider range of emotions related to language on a daily basis. From navigating disagreements between my kids and their friends to ordering food for all of us at a local restaurant to speaking with the teachers at drop-off and pick-ups, I'm always met with this clash of emotions due to my spotty comprehension of the local language. "If only you learned more!" I scold myself. Well, if it were that easy, it would be easy, but it's not. On a daily basis, I will feel all of these emotions within seconds or minutes of one another. Feeling embarrassed, guilty, defiant, and proud all within a short span of time can have any parent who is balanced on the verge of losing it feel completely overwhelmed.   Frustration via GIPHY When you can't understand what your child's friend is saying, and you don't know why...
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Here Come the Easter Witches

Here Come the Easter Witches

  When you think about Easter, you immediately think "witch." No? Me neither. Probably the funniest Scandinavian tradition is the Easter witch. In Sweden and Finland—young children hit the streets the Thursday before Easter dressed as peasants (or in their finest witchy costumes) that their parents bought during the post-Halloween sales the year before.   Is this like Halloween in the spring? Yes. Kids make handmade Glad Påsk cards (Happy Easter) and hand them out door to door in exchange for candy. This trick-or-treating type activity was new to me and caught me off guard when we first moved to Sweden. I heard tiny, gentle knocks on my door and not surprisingly, didn't happen to have any loose candy in the house to hand out. Having to improvise, I gave a few kronor as payment to each disappointed child. Don't be like Lisa. Be prepared and always have loose candy around your house at all times.     Last year, I swore I was going to get it right. After years of...
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Why a Simple Vacation Beats a Luxurious One

Why a Simple Vacation Beats a Luxurious One

  Maybe I'm just a simple gal who enjoys the simpler things in life but in all of our travels, my favorite vacations have been the ones in which I can let go of all of my stress. I'm a casual jeans and T-shirt, comfort over style, laid back type of person and my most favorite vacations are the simple ones. Don't get me wrong. I've been incredibly fortunate and privileged to have seen the gilded ceilings of the Vatican museum, ridden in a private boat on the sparkling blue waters of Lake Como pretending I was Amal Clooney, and relaxed beachside at an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta. Those were all amazing experiences and I am so grateful to have experienced them. However, my favorite, most special moments occurred after everything went "wrong" and all of our planning didn't match reality. I think back on our trip to Tuscany and my heart aches to be "stranded" again in the middle of a tiny Italian...
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