Duolingo App- Learn Languages for Free

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My nephew told me about this App, and friends, I am really glad he did. As many of you know I grew up in Germany and I home-school my kiddos. One of my deepest desires is for my kids to converse in German with my family. My success varies among my six children on the spectrum of “he can talk to me about every day things” to “I just get blank stares”, and everywhere in between. I’d say four of my children need to learn from the ground up. Duolingo is perfect for that. With this App you can decide how much time you want to spend each day, and it helps you keep on track, by sending you lovely e-mail messages.

Every lesson teaches by repetition, picture association, and it requires you to translate and speak. You can always redo a lesson. The lessons introduce a little bit of grammar, but it is not grammar heavy. At least not in the beginning, I haven’t gotten very far. I’m currently brushing up on my Spanish as I will be heading to Mexico in November.

So far Duolingo is only offering 6 languages, but they are working on several more. As I have just started I don’t know how deep they get into the language. But it is a great start, and hey, it’s free! Give it a try.

As far as children learning with this app, I would recommend it for age 9 and up, depending on your child’s reading ability. My 10 year old is doing it, and he has no problem reading the instructions and writing in German.

Happy learning!

-Sofija

If you are interested in teaching German to your children, here are some other posts I have done on this topic: German for children (if you like a more traditional book/CD program),  my journey of raising my kids bilingual.

Good-bye Summer!

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“Aah, summer-that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.”
Darell Hammond

Well friends, summer is over, at least for us. School starts tomorrow for my two oldest. Need to get myself in high gear preparing the next school year for my three middle kids. I know, I am über prepared as usual…But I feel ready to leave this beautiful summer behind and start a new routine. At least right now, ask me in a week or two, or the week my husband will be on travel. By then I will probably be ready for my middle schooler to walk herself to school, barefoot and backwards, like we used to do, right?!
How about you, is your summer still in full swing, or almost over, or even worse “what summer are you talking about!”? Interesting tidbit of information: my German nephews are just now starting their 6 week summer vacation! Say, what?
Have a lovely day,
Sofija

P.S. I found the quote above in a random place on the internet. I used it because it described so well how our summer went. I sure hope Mr. Hammond is a nice person, worthy of being quoted…

Misha Lulu Fall 14

I have featured Misha and Lulu here before, and I couldn’t wait to show you this year’s fall collection. The spy themed photo shoot by Jessie Kenney and Heather Rome turned out great. Take a look.

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Snapshot Sweater

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Watson Cape

Watson Cape

 

Watson Girl

Watson Girl

Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew

Sherlock Girl

Sherlock Girl

My 10 and 8 year old are always spying on each other, so this is the perfect theme for us. I’d love to own the Sherlock cape or Nancy Drew dress. The Snapshot sweater on top would work for boy or girl. I’m loving the creative combination of Peter Pan collars, plaid, and Hello Kitty.

Have a great day,

Sofija

All pictures by Jessie Kenney

Styling by Heather Rome

August is the New January

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Friends,
How have you been? How is your summer going? Ours was pretty great and I can’t believe it is almost over. It’s been rather quiet on my end. Lots of reasons but a major one is that I started watching a baby. I’m really enjoying the little guy. I get my baby fix and a little extra income. But it also reassures me that our family is complete, and that I like having my youngest out of diapers.
Every year it occurs to me that for mothers of school aged children August is really like January. This is when my new year starts. Where I make major decisions of where to volunteer, what organizations to be involved in, what my kids are learning, how much time I have for exercise, and so forth. Come January I’m actually mid-year and not much changes. I even do all my decluttering in August.
This August some major changes are happening for me. Do you like changes? I do. I kind of got accustomed to moving every few years, and since we are not moving, change is the next best thing. One change is watching the baby (he was scheduled to be with us in August, but since he was a preemie we got him earlier). The other change is my 13 year old deciding to go to a brick and mortar school. She has been schooling at home all her life, but started asking about going to a school for a while now. After a year I decided to take her serious, and since our local middle school is one of the worst in the city, we looked at charter schools. We found one with an emphasis on media and arts and hope that it is a good fit for her. I will still be teaching the younger ones.
Now that I will be making school runs and watching the baby, this blog will be less of a focus for me. You might have noticed that I have gone from 3-4 posts a week to 1-2 posts. I decided that I should focus more on quality rather than quantity. And I will keep doing that and see how it goes.
Thank you to my faithful readers for sticking with me. I know you have a lot of other fantastic options. Your encouragement means a lot to me.
Sofija

Shane

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I would like you to meet Shane, my 10 year old. He is the last person of our family you will meet, if you meet him at all. As my life is filled with a lot of high maintenance, strong willed, chatty girls, I truly enjoy this one in all his boyness! Lizard catching, puddle jumping, spying, bike jumping, or lazily lounging around reading Calvin and Hobbes. His life is so amazingly simple, I envy him. All he needs is milk, legos, Minecraft, and his two best friends. His life revolves around a 1 mile radius. The grocery store to the west and  to the east open space with a creek and hiking trails. You will hardly ever see him on my blog or in my Instagram feed. He has no need to be known or liked. But I want you to know he exists. So content it hurts. He fills my life with adventure and silliness. And he keeps me restocking the bandage supplies. I mourn the day he grows and stops playing. The day when I am no longer the most important person in his life. So I write this to freeze time. To capture the memories and lock them in a safe place. For him and myself as he has expressed worry about the day he no longer wants to play.

Lately he has been entertaining the idea of visiting his grandparents in California. He has been told the cuisine would be bland and predictable (as he prefers it) and there would be frequent trips to the Lego store.

Sofija

Picture taken by Emily

Tip Toey Joey

As the World Cup just ended (hurray for Germany!) I thought it would be fun to introduce you to Tip Toey Joey, who did their beautiful product shoot in Rio. The shoe company was created by an Australian dad and a Brazilian mom, who just couldn’t find the quality shoes their were looking for their daughter. Take a look.

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fringey sambaky1 sambaky fringey1 mask funky1  I would like one of each, please size 8. Especially the fringe sandals, and the striped Mary Janes. And Rio has been added to my list of places to go.

Have a lovely day,

Sofija

All pictures by Tip Toey Joey

 

 

 

Bethesda Row

When we visited DC we stayed in Bethesda, a northeast suburb. Our hotel was within walking distance to Bethesda Row, a popular place to eat and shop. What is more, it was within walking distance to DC Cupcakes! I went two times: the first time for us, the second time to bring lots of cup cakes home for the kiddos and our friends.

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This is me grinning from ear to ear.IMG_0796

Here are some pictures of other places on Bethesda Row, quite the place to see and be seen. Going there on a Friday night, I felt completely underdressed. I forgot that East Cost people dress better.

The Paper Source. I went there to see if I could find a card for my friend’s wedding, but decided I liked the one I designed better. Still, this was my first visit to the Paper Source, and I could have spend hours here.

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Where you get yummy Gelato.IMG_0805 IMG_0799Where I went to my first Drybar. A drybar does only shampoos and blowouts, no cuts or dying. The hair style lasted me for two days. And even now I feel like my hair styles better. Even though I didn’t quiet fit in with the clientele, I had a great time, as my stylist was the manager, and she was pretty fun and easy to talk to.

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Where we went for coffee every morning: Quatermaine Coffee. The service wasn’t all that exceptional, but the coffee was good. Seriously, I loved staying so close and being able to walk to get my coffee…

IMG_0982 IMG_0983The last one was a fun surprise. It was on Sunday night, the husband was watching the US soccer game at a pub, and me and the girls were getting hungry. I remembered seeing a Tapas restaurant close to the hotel. I have been wanting to try one ever since I saw a Ricks Steve’s episode of Barcelona or Madrid I can’t remember. Anyway, it’s a thing you do in Spain, eat your way through Tapas bars…Little did I know that this one was started by chef José Andrés, in fact this one is the very first Tapas bar opened in the US!

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My daughter’s friend got some chicken fritters (croquetas de pollos) served in a glass shoe. This was probably the most kid friendly dish.

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My daughter tried this salad (pictured below). Looks better than it tasted. She was a trooper and ate it all. I got one of Jose’s creations and it was pretty good. Huevo frito con caviar. A fried organic egg topped with white sturgeon caviar. I highly recommend it. Sorry, I don’t have a picture to show.

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All tapas plates are small in size. The idea is that you try a variety of dishes. However with our plates ranging from $8-16 we called it good and shared one dessert. It tasted as good as it looks.

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Have you been to a Tapas restaurant? Or tried DC cupcakes? Are food places on your must see list when you visit a new city? I have a list of places to try next time I go to California…

Have a great day,

Sofija

 

 

 

Happy Independence Day

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Happy Independence Day to my American friends!
Having just been to the city where a lot of history is documented, this holiday takes on a whole new meaning. For me, as a fairly new citizen (maybe 15 years?), it was so exiting and fascinating to see all the monuments, the history they present, and the present seat of power.
Have a lovely weekend,
Sofija