Meet American mom Carina living in Rhode Island…
Please meet Carina Schott, founder of fashion label Nonchalant Kids and the gorgeous webshop NonchalantMom. Carina lived and worked in Manhattan for a long time, but when her eldest son Sander was born it was time for her and her husband to move to Rhode Island …
What kind of house do you live in, are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you all terribly miss …?
We really LOVE our home, when we finished all of our renovations someone said to us "okay so what would you change?" and I said NOTHING, I really love it all! It's such a friendly place and honestly whenever anyone comes over here they are just drawn to stay! There is a lot of light and openness with the outdoors/indoor that it's great for kids and everyone!
Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?
Not really, sometimes I find something at the flea market, bring it home and it invites us to change the entire room. This just happened with a new rug I brought home from the local thrift shop… we changed the whole house!.. cut off the legs on the dining table, put pillows instead of chairs… we went crazy! The kids have been sleeping in the same room but they just decided to split up and so now I am really excited to do my daughters room… I'm in the stage where I am just collecting stuff right now (my favorite part!) My husband is better at implementation.
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
Your blog of course! it's always so inspiring! I used to love World of Interiors but now I think it's not so inspiring anymore… I can get really attached to an image of a room and live with it for awhile and then I figure out how to make it work for our home. Most of the time it's one thing or an object that inspires me for a whole room, like the new rug. For my daughters room it was a vase I found.
What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
Our Ligne Roset-Togo sofa.. it's their favorite thing in the whole house! maybe even over the toys because it always turns into a great tent, or slide, or hut…
What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?
We have some good thrift shops, I had a bad day last week and I thought "I am going to stop into the thrift shop and find an treasure", that's when I found the rug!
What's it like to raise a child in your town?
It's a small town so its amazing how things get around and how everyone knows everyone… this can be good and bad… so far it's been good!
Who do you consider is a good example for your children?
There is a couple that I always looked up to as a young girl, they were my parents friends but they were 10 years younger than them (my sons name came from them). They have an Island on a lake in Minnesota so we try to visit–they are very natural and loving people-hippies without being hippies-they are now in their 70's so I want my kids to know them as best they can even though they live far away. I am sure they will have their own role models when they get old enough, for now I just want them to know what it looks like when people are free of inhibitions and loving people, and just a little bit crazy too.
What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
Every Sunday we go to Beavertail, which is a point on Conanicut Island (here in Rhode Island, USA). There are HUGE rocks, big waves and we jump all over the rocks, look into tide pools and just have fun, We all love it (so does our dog!)! Then we have sleeping bag night and watch a movie in front of the TV… we all love it!
Can you tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made or happened?
My daughter is four and she is full of crazy stuff at the moment. She wore these snakeskin leggings from my store (by shampoodle) to her montessori school today and she came home and said everybody loved them! (I have to say that they are a bit crazy!) She told everyone that they could buy them in 'my moms store'…. She also told me today that it would take a long time for her friend 'Jade' to get home because she has to go to the 'Chinese world' to get home (she just moved here from China).
Are their any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?
No! never use those books… it's just too much information… just follow your intuition, it's all inside of you but you have to trust yourself. If you notice on my blog I rarely talk about following a book, I use tips and information from other parents and myself…
Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ values?
Play outside A LOT, love your kids and show them your love, and always feed them REAL food that you have cooked yourself, show them how to get their dinner from your garden and did I say love them…!! I think that love is the most important thing. We live on the edge of our seats, each month (financially I mean), but I don't really care if we live in a rented apartment or a tent–as long as we are together! (and I think that would make for some pretty resilient kids!)
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
I certainly have favorites, and I'll do them with glee but when my son comes to me and wants me to play with his cars I have a hard time with that… or my daughters castle… ?? We made paper maché eggs yesterday… that was GREAT! carving pumpkins… GREAT… sewing clothes for my daughters dolls.. GREAT!.. you get the picture (maybe this is more of a 'nonchalant mom' thing…).
Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
Giant Ikea trays… nothing better! My husband is really a neat freak, I am the messy one (I have heard I am very lucky about this).
Are you a crafter or DIY person?
Yes, I never used to be but I think that when you 'work at home' your time seems to work out for this kind of thing… When you work at home you have to really make a point of being with your kids when you 'play' with them otherwise you are playing while you are thinking about that email, or packing that order, you see what I mean. I also work really late at night (we rarely go to bed before midnight) so that we can be with our kids! We have a strict schedule and we trade off mornings and after school with my husband who is an artist (his studio is on our property in a separate building) it works out really well.
Books, websites, local shops you can recommend to get tips and ideas for kids crafting?
I get so many ideas from you Irene!! and then Martha Stewart (I just mentioned you two in the same sentence you should feel honored!), you can say whatever you want about Martha but I still have a subscription and I do many of her projects and recipes.
What do you do with all the projects your children made at home or in school?
They both have their 'memory box' and they put things in them all the time and then from time to time we take them out and look at what's inside (they are BIG boxes!) — we keep favorite clothing, projects, schoolwork, etc…
Any nice decoration ideas how to hang them, keep them or use them as presents?
we have LOTS of those cheap colored picture frames from Ikea and we use them for parties, projects and to give people photos etc…
How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
We decorate the whole house with balloons and streamers, we come up with a theme and run with it… I like to make a cake (nothing fancy, I like to make the number for the birthday) and then the kids have a few friends over and we play games, it's kind of that old-fashioned thing…
What are favorite games in your home?
Making a tent is high up there… a pogo stick at the moment, my son can bounce through the house-out the door onto the deck-and then across the yard! (he even did it onto a rock the other day!)
What kind of sports do your children like to do and are you very involved?
They do the normal things, soccer, baseball and karate, my daughter just started a 'ballet' class. They both do gymnastics (mommy is was a gymnast)
Are there musical instruments in your house?
We have a guitar and my son and I keep saying we are going to take classes but not yet…. we sing a lot…elvis, beatles, queen, micheal jackson… etc…
What are all time favorite books for the children?
Most Beloved Sister – Astrid Lindgren
This is… books – This is London, This is Paris, etc – by M Sasek
What are nice activities you can do with children in your place and what could you recommend when people are visiting?
We have lots of New York friends that have kids come up here to visit and we always end up at the Beach… we have great beaches here! (well not as nice as KL I'm sure!!), there is one of those beach shacks that has ice cream in the summer, we ride out bikes there… it's right on the beach… it's very old fashioned like that, typical American!
What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?
My son is 8 and I am just starting to introduce him to Star Trek, I am a big Trekkie and I am so excited to introduce him! It's one of those things that we have together and we can do just the two of us… I like that! I'm not sure that that will be for my daughter… maybe Project Runway!
How do they prefer to spend their leisure time?
I guess I should be thankful that they are still in that age where it's anything as long as we are doing it together. We are all very into camping right now, last summer we made a road trip to Minnesota so we went around the Great Lakes, through Canada etc. it was great! The best thing we have done together as a family!
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food’ lover or both?
I think that food is very important, knowing the seasons, what grows at what time, where things come from and cooking crazy thing in a tasty way so that my kids will eat anything! They are pretty good, I was macrobiotic years ago so I still try to make macrobiotic meals from time to time so that they are easy with seaweed, nuts and seeds on their food, condiments and such. I let them have 'awful' snacks from time to time but that is very seldom (they still think that you can only get Fruit Loops in Mexico).
What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and or without the children?
My husband and I have always traveled a lot, and I guess we still do, we are not the kind of people to save up for years to go to Europe, we will do it in a cheap way and visit friends etc. We both like the idea of a summer family trip, even if it's just a camping trip to Maine or something like that we have fun doing just about anything. I also think it's important to travel apart, I like to go to Paris or visit family in Stockholm while my husband goes to England quite frequently to look at Art, and Switzerland for Art Basel, etc… I think it's good for the kids to know that it's a big world out there and either of us can be far away at times. But we don't have family living here in Rhode Island so we have to make plans for the 'Nanas' and the 'Mor Mors' to come here and help out (they love it! I think?).
Do you keep some sort of travel journal with the children?
Oh YES! well… not really… each time we go, I buy a special notebook (at Muji or something) and pens and tape and … there are big plans for the travel books.. I think last time my daughters had a leaf taped into hers (and a bunch of scribbles) and my son started keeping the hotel cards that you use to open the door for the hotel… that's as far as we got….
What kind of souvenir can they bring back home?
we collect those snow domes (the touristy thing), but my daughter keeps playing with them and breaking them (what the heck is inside those things by the way!?) so we only have about ten or so left… but we are trying to 'collect'!
How do you prepare for a trip, any useful tips?
Both of the kids have their own suitcase and they can pack them with whatever they want and then I usually make a little bag of new things (just those little kind of toys or coloring books and new pens, etc..) that they have never seen before and that usually makes a big splash!
What place do your children love to go to?
I just wrote about or Winter trip to Disney World on my blog… but I really think that the camping in Canada trip last summer was the most memorable, the car trip was great (it could have been really awful but somehow it was great!) it was something like over 3,500 miles for two weeks! we took it easy and just had a good time! When you are going along the Lakes like that there is always something to stop and see no matter where you are… beaches, rocks, trees, rivers, mountains…
Tips for traveling with a plane or a long-time trip on the road with children?
We had borrowed a movie machine from our neighbor for the car trip but funny enough we only used it on the last two days of the trip… when we would stop for gas the kids would clean the windows, a stick of gum would be fascinating for almost an hour… you never know what is going to come up!
Thanks so much Irene! I'm so excited to be a part of your blog again and I LOVE BLOESEM!!!