Doll companies I’m happy to support

At the time we lived in Southeast Asia there was a growing but tiny industry of local crafters that made blocks, stuffed animals, kitchen sets or doll houses, and other toys. We spent a lot on those, but they were locally sourced and well-crafted. Coming back to NY was a different story. Options, wow. The pop culture focus of the toy industry, a profit-over-people corporate ethos, the consumerist culture - it's over the top after several years abroad. My little girl hit the doll phase this year and has been asking for one. But finding a toy company I'm happy to support is hard enough; Barbie, American Girl, and other chain store brands whose company values hew to the mainstream for profit's sake won't be getting my business. … [Read more...]

Travel: Hauling a 2- and 4-year old through 6 countries in 8 weeks

As we were leaving the region to move back home, I did a consultancy that took me to several capital cities to review national health programs. It was a great opportunity for all of us to say goodbye to friends, colleagues and places we've frequented over the past decade. So we packed up the house and shipped, sold or gave away our belongings, and took the kids on a two month journey through Southeast Asia. … [Read more...]

Things to do with kids in Phnom Penh

On this last stretch of our time here in Cambodia, we've met a lot of new families with questions on what to do with their kids in the city. "Good luck" pops initially to mind. Activity generally means access to some space and fresh air for a bit of exercise. But to be fair, there are plenty of day trip options: Cambodia Country Club - They have a pool, play tennis and other sports, ride horses etc. Soun Soben Resort, where they have stocked fish ponds, a pool for the kids, caged animals and lots of running space Phnom Tahmao Wildlife Rescue Center - This place is fantastic and I can't recommend a day trip here enough. In the time I've been here the guys there have done incredible work rehabilitating trafficked or injured animals … [Read more...]

Tagalog book: Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut)

This folk song is a catchy tune (in tagalog), and my son picked up the lyrics in a very short time. He was 2 years old then and spoke no Tagalog. It's a good introduction to the language and culture of the Philippines. Anak Books has a great description of the book, so I copy it below in its entirety from their website. Please visit them because it also features a lot of great books in both Tagalog and bilingual Tagalog/English. The classic Tagalog folktale 'Bahay Kubo' is lovingly told and beautifully illustrated through classic Filipino vignettes. This book includes lyrics and score. "Bahay Kubo" is perhaps the best-known and best-loved folk song in the Philipines. Its composer is unknown. Its Tagalog lyrics have been passed down … [Read more...]

stocked fish ponds for a day’s getaway

More photos of Soun Soben at Keith Kelly's Flickr After a simmering hot week cranking out some CFCs in the office, it’s time to shift that carbon footprint to another activity. Why not take the family out of the city for a picnic and some fishing? About 20 minutes outside Phnom Penh (along National Road #1 in Kien Svay district, Kandal) is a stretch of fully stocked ponds, with huts situated along the banks for “picnicking” while you fish. Soun Soben Fishing Lakes is one of these, and it is a popular getaway for Khmers and their families. This 70 hectar property boasts three stocked ponds with 90 fishing huts, several picnic huts and a restaurant. Roaming the grounds freely are peacocks, sambars (a well-fed Sambor deer looking for … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas!

She isn't happy with his idea to give her to Santa for Christmas!   … [Read more...]