How to communicate with your child & the importance of family traditions EP13 - Kristina Lucia

How to communicate with your child & the importance of family traditions EP13 - Kristina Lucia

How to communicate with your child & the importance of family traditions - Kristina Lucia

In this episode, Jamie is joined by Kristina Lucia, an artist, creator, and author who ignites the imaginations of children and their parents through her hand made animal characters and book series, Curiously Curated Creations .

In this episode we explore parent/child communication and some of the ways parents can have more authentic conversations with their children. This is important in early years to ensure that our children always feel comfortable to open up and share their feelings and challenges, especially as they become teenagers and adults. 

Jamie and Kristina also discuss family traditions and why parents need to actively create them.

Get in Touch with Kristina Lucia;  website and Instagram.  

Here's the link to download the free colouring page, mentioned on the podcast.

Podcast / Video Automated Transcript.  Episode 13

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Welcome to the Parenting in the Digital Age podcast, many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode, we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behaviour, education and nutrition, to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting. In the digital age, here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.  

Speaker 2 (00:38):

Hello parents, and welcome to another episode of Parenting in the Digital Age podcast. Today, I'm joined by Christine Lucia, an artist creator and author who ignites the imaginations of children and their parents through her handmade animal characters and book series, Curiously Curated Creations. And today we are talking about the importance of parent, child communication and family traditions. Two topics that I know many parents would love to hear about, and that I'm very passionate about. But before we get into all that, Christina, welcome to the show. Please share with our listeners in your own words, uh, a little bit about what you do and what you're passionate about.

Speaker 3 (01:16):

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me Jamie. Yes. So I am an artist and author and creator. I've been an artist since I was a little girl. And for the longest time I've been looking for a way that my creativity, my art could be my livelihood and how can I add value to other parents and people around me that are looking, what are they looking for? What value can I add? And it became clear to me when I did start this path. That communication was a big thing. If we can communicate more effectively, we have, for lack of a better word, we have better conversations. We hear each other more clearly and we hear each other more clearly our feelings are recognized and they're not only recognized, but I also acknowledge. So when I started this, that was like a really big focus.

Speaker 3 (02:10):

And ironically, I actually am from a family that I'm very obsessed with the love languages. And I am from a family that doesn't share my love languages. So it's ironic. Cuz love touch is a love language of mine. I love through touch. I like to be left or touch. So the first thing I ever created were the loves and the stuffed animals. <laugh> the, I hate the I crochet and it's ironic cuz I'm like, well that's my love language, but also for children, that's their first initial love language as babies, as toddlers, like as we're developing our verbal skills and as we're developing our motor skills, that's the first thing we do. Like we all learn to snuggle first and foremost in different forms. When I realized that I always knew I was gonna write a book that I always knew, but I didn't know what, when I find when I did after a year into, into my business, when I realized I was gonna write the children series, the biggest thing I've learned about writing my children series is that there has to be a mission and that's over the past several months.

Speaker 3 (03:14):

So I've been fine tuning coz again, I always had that concept of communication, but I've also been able to add that element of humanity in the sense, when I say humanity, I mean stripping away, everything else like where we're from our sexual orientations, our religions, our colors, and just focusing on the feelings the end of the day, we all work from the same feelings list and we all can communicate to our words. And yes, communication gets it's. We all communicate differently. We all use, have different body language, but at the end of the day, our feelings are of how old, or young we are, where we're from. All those other things I mentioned, they all remain the same. And that's really what I'm passionate about, is creating this book series, the characters that go along with them and through them setting an example of how we can meet each other halfway, how we can communicate, how we can hear each other and recognize that the feelings that our children are having are the same feelings that we're having. And how can we, how can we find a common space where we're able to connect?

Speaker 2 (04:29):

Yeah, that's fantastic. And I love how you really started with the end in mind and uh, this, this series and this book is so much more than just a children's book. That there's a, there's a greater purpose, both for parents and kids. So maybe te tell our listeners a little bit more about the book and perhaps your inspiration for writing the book.

Speaker 3 (04:47):

Yes. So when I started, I had multiple characters and my friend's little girl, Isabella, I decided to name one of 'em. I actually have the stuck version of Bella with me here right now. This is Bella, the main character when, so I originally named her after my friend's little girl, Isabella, and on her phone, her and my friend shared a memory with me. And that's what struck me like, oh, this is one of the stories like, and then I realized, okay, there's gonna be 15 books in the series. As I started writing the beauty of naming her Bella. So Bella actually is one of my nicknames. I've been called Bella for years now. It's either Bella or beautiful. Those are my two common nicknames. And I honestly, based on my fam coz of my family background, I struggled with coming out and saying that Bella was me at first.

Speaker 3 (05:38):

And it felt convenient to say, no, it's my friend's child, which it was, which is, you know what I mean? But as I started writing, I realized I'm writing about my mom and I, and I realized that my friend's little girl, this, it was now a toddler. She's two years old. This little girl actually actually helped me identify with my inner child. Like without even realizing it, this child organically got me there. And I will say the more I wrote, the more I realized that my mean inspiration is coming from a combination of things. I'm observing from my friends who are, are mothers. My, my sister is a mother things. They're going through things they're sharing with me, but also my relationship with my mom and I, um, my mom and I did not have the most perfect relationship. We, there was a lot, lot of miscommunication and both my, our, when I was a child and even more so as an adult woman.

Speaker 3 (06:36):

And that's also another big thing of why that focus on humanity and communication because when you don't communicate properly from the beginning, it, it gets worse. As you get older. There's not just magical moment. Like, oh, you're 18. Now we can communicate like adults. No, like it actually can snowball. So that was one, uh, that was one of the big inspirations. As, as I'm writing, as I'm writing these books, as I started writing, I realized my strategy to focus on skills that we all learn and go through. And then in every book there's a special adult figure, whether it's Bella's mom or her dad, or one of my books is actually gonna be my mom's best friend. My mom's best friend. So who she and my mom knew each other since freshman year of high school. She's one of my dearest friends to this day, she's gonna be a character and my books is gonna teach Bella something.

Speaker 3 (07:32):

And what happens is Bella feels an anxiety or gets upset. And she turns to that special adult and says, you know, I like, for example, the first book Bella's gonna be going from a crib to a big girl bed. And she says, mommy, you know, I got scared when I went to my big girl bed, I cried and her mom turns to her and says, it's okay. Even as an adult woman, I get scared. And she tells Bella how, when she and Bella's father moved into the new house that they live in now, I was scared at first. And Bella's like, really? And it's this moment that they relate. And she tells Bella over time, you know, I got, I got used to the house and then she gives her a lovey. Um, and I actually create lovey versions of each character too. And the lovey is a transitional object for Bella and the story to help her be able to gain the courage, to sleep in her big girl bed.

Speaker 3 (08:21):

And every book is following a similar formula to that, where there is this wave of feelings. And there is that moment where the adult is able to calmly say, I feel these feelings too, and this is how I work through it. Um, the other piece I realized my marketing strategist actually, um, suggested to me and I've been running with it since she mentioned it. I also create a readers guide for every book. And when I say readers guide, it's just a gentle guide where I point things out where, you know, Bella got a lovey, is there something that you would like to give your child? Um, Bella's, mom's shares with her, how she felt when she moved into the new house. Is there something that you can share a similar story you can share with your child for this moment? Again, a gentle guide because every mom is different.

Speaker 3 (09:12):

You know, I have so many friends that are moms. I'm a, I'm an aunt, I'm a godmother. Every family is different. Every child is different. And every time I was say to you before the call, my nephew is gonna be two in a couple of weeks. It's gonna be two in October. First, every time I see him, something's different. Like he's learned something new or he's, you know, it is just, it's different every time. And as an adult, I like have to step back and observe, lay the land. Like what's gonna happen. <laugh> what are we, what's the groove of this. And that's really what I'm going for as I'm writing is to great stories that are relatable to every parent and every child. So that way you can bring into your home and you can formulate for works for you and your families and the day, you know, your baby best, you know, what your toddler, your first grader, your second grader needs better than anyone else in the world. You're gonna know them best.

Speaker 2 (10:10):

Yeah, absolutely. Christina and you know, many, many children's books specifically are written for children and you're, you're really creating something special there because, uh, your book is really created for the child and for the parent. And there's this, uh, almost practical outcome that can come out of this. It's, it's, it's almost, uh, uh, we talk about the fact that there's no parenting manual, but it's almost, this is, uh, you know, giving parents tools they can use in a practical sense. So well done.

Speaker 3 (10:37):

Thank you. Thank

Speaker 2 (10:38):

You. Um, the next question, I, I suppose, coming from that, yeah, you're welcome. You're welcome. Uh, the next question coming from that is why is parent and or where is communication between parent and child so vital and, and often like, you know, as a parent, I'm a parent. I, I, I think I'm communicating to my kids, but often I'm communicating at them not communicating with them. Right. And, and I'm sort of barking orders, like go, you know, go get the rubbish or go and have your shower and go and do this. And why isn't this done? Go do your homework. And, and there isn't this, uh, you know, sometimes as a parent, we have to stop ourselves in order to have this authentic and meaningful exchange. And you said something earlier there, which is really interesting, you know, uh, kids don't get to 18 and then they figure out how to communicate on an adult level. You know, you've almost gotta start that process much, much younger. I really believe that. So first of all, uh, why is, why is that communication between parent and child so vital?

Speaker 3 (11:33):

It's the, I believe it's vital because by communicating effectively, we're allowing our feelings to come out a lot of times when, like, for example, like a, like a toddler, a toddler learning to zip a jacket, and they're trying to figure out, and if you are getting anxious at your child, your child doesn't have the mentality yet to step back and say, you know what, mom and dad had a long, long, had a long work day. Maybe they didn't sleep well last night, they don't have, they're not able to take a step back and not take it personal. And it takes time to develop that. And by being patient with 'em, or if you know that you don't have the patience to walk through them, I'm using the zipper things as actually one of my books that I'll be writing is, um, about bell learning to zipper, snap and tie shoes.

Speaker 3 (12:30):

And these are all really hard skills. And even as an adult woman, like, I forget how hard that is. Like I forget. And I, I watching my nephew learn to climb stairs right now. And he actually got mad at me because I put him on my lap to roll up his, um, his pant leg to him, like, cuz he fell back on my legs. My first thought was like, oh thank God I was there because all I need is for my nephew, get it hurt in my sister and brother-in-law's house with me watching him. Like I'll never be able to stay here again. But he got mad at me cuz I took my lap to roll up his pan leg. I mean, God forbid and Kristina keep you safe. But it's things, it's moments like that. Like I, I mean you go off topic, but it's moments like that where he he's a baby, you know, he doesn't have that mentality is say, oh on Kristina's keeping me safe.

Speaker 3 (13:15):

Coz I just fell a second ago. He already forgot about it. And he's a boy. So like he's like, he always like go with the flow, you know, like keep it going. So that's really why it's so part of the reason why it's so vital is a they're learning how to see things and they are not at the point where they can process all the other details as adults. We should process also by communication being vital. When we communicate properly, we get our feelings out, we get how we're feeling. Uh, we get, we are able to express our feelings and that's a real skill to be able to express our feelings. The other piece of communicating when we do it well. And I realize like everyone communicates differently and it's something that we're always working on. You know, I'm always working on it myself when we're able to communicate well through one person, we can carry it through others and it affects all our relationships.

Speaker 3 (14:15):

You know, it affects, um, it affects our relationships with our brothers and sisters. It affects our relationship with our spouses, our, our friends, our bosses, et cetera. So the main thing I really believe is that space to have, to be able to let our feelings out and understand how we're feeling. And another thing I actually learned from the, from Gary Chapman, reading his book, which I admired. If you, if you don't have the PA, if you're anxious yourself or you need a break, he actually suggests in his book and not, I, I, I say suggests lightly, cause I don't wanna say he's telling you to do this, but he makes a good point saying you need to step back and you need to take a break. And as an adult woman, I actually do this myself. Like I actually limit how much screen time I have.

Speaker 3 (15:07):

I limit, like I mentioned you before my family's out of town, like I set boundaries as to how many times a year I can visit how long I can visit because I, I realize like it's my responsibility to know my threshold. And as kids, they don't as kids, we can't always identify that. Or we don't as a luxury of identifying that right away can come up as being spoiled. And, but when we do, we are able to figure out a pattern with our children. And like in my case, my, my nieces and nephews, it opens up this whole world and it actually, um, brings us beautiful thing. Um, if you know, my, I know I've been talking for quite a bit right now, but one perfect example. So I, I have a godchild, I've goddaughter. And when I see her, you know, I let her invite me in.

Speaker 3 (15:55):

And so at her brother's, um, communion, who I refer to as my nephew, you know, we're in her room, bedazzling stickers, and I'm just in heaven cuz it's my goddaughter. And we're both girly girls and loving life will a little while later when she was outside playing with her friends, you know, I let it be, I was like, I wasn't, I mean, obviously I would've loved more one-on-one time with her, but I knew as an adult woman, Nope, she needs to play with her cousins. It's okay, Kristina, you had your time with her, but then later on she came back to me and she's seen like a little lady as I'm talking to one of the neighbors and it was so adorable. So there is something about respecting their spaces too and understanding. And I realize like for me coming as an aunt and godmother, I realize I come and go. So it's different. And I realize for parents it's different and that's where we all have to kind of do our own inventory and look at like, okay, what can I handle and give it time. And again, it fluctuates, like I, I mentioned my nephew and my godchild, they're growing up so fast and every time I see them, there's an adjustment and this is constant. Go with the flow. Like what's gonna be today. <laugh>

Speaker 2 (17:08):

Yeah. And then they certainly grow so fast. Now, now listeners, uh, you know, always know that I try and discuss practical tools and ideas, you know, stuff they can take away and add to their own sort of arsenal parenting tools. And you've kind of already touched on this, uh, already to an extent, but Kristina, what, what, what do you think is your top tool or takeaway or tip for parents to improve communication with their child? What, you know, what, is there an activity or an idea that you wanna share with parents to help them communicate better with their kids?

Speaker 3 (17:38):

Yes. So actually one of the things I do as well as, so I illustrate my books as well as write my books. And when I illustrate, I create storyboards and my storyboards translate into my coloring books. So I actually have a free for your audience. I would love to share, I will, I will send you the link to a download little colouring drawing, which I designed. The reason why I'm so gungho about coloring is it's meditative and it's quiet and it's a great way to observe your children and your, or your nieces or your nephews or your grandkids. And also while you're colouring, we all relax and it also gives the opportunity for them and you just start talking organically. And a lot of times I've actually been in workshops where people talk about, I've talked about when they hear someone, adults and children, vice versa, talking about their fears.

Speaker 3 (18:36):

A common exercise is to draw them out, um, to draw out what your fears are or what your joys are. And in a drawing is a very safe way to do that. It's also a way to observe your child's likes and dislikes. You know, what kind of colors do they use? You know, maybe they don't like, I mean, I use, um, bells and elephant, you know, maybe they don't like elephants. Oh, why don't you like the elephants? You know, maybe that will bring up a zoo trip you had, or maybe you will bring up a petting zoo moment or, you know, vice versa, you know, coopering up so many different things. So I, colouring to me is a safe way. And also for parents out there that have kids in school, you know, it does promote certain motor skills, you know, than colouring between the lines.

Speaker 3 (19:22):

And even then, because it's printable, like if you're teaching your kids to use their scissors and whatnot, like that could be, you could more fight into that if you want to. Cause the possibilities are really endless. And that's another also another beautiful way I feel to communicate with your children is giving them the opportunity. Maybe you lay out a couple different tools on the table, meaning crayons or markers, whatever you're comfortable with, of course, whatever you're comfortable with and just see what they gravitate towards too. You know, I know I'm a glitter girl and I get it glitter is a mess. So I'm not gonna, I'm not, I'm not saying you have to use glitter, but if you're open to it, you know, and you have a no way to clean up quickly, I totally get glitter is messy. But again, you know, you never know how your kids are gonna express themselves, like what colors are gonna reach for or what, or maybe they'll start talking about that kid at the coloring table at school, you know, you never know. And again, it's safe, it's economically not costly activity. It's, you know, it's just one of those things that like it's timeless and you can do it too, which is the other beautiful part about it. It's also a fun thing for you to do too. <laugh>

Speaker 2 (20:33):

Yeah, absolutely. It it's, it's having that, uh, child, you know, understand that they're important just spending that time with them makes 'em feel valued and important and heard. And it's, uh, it's a great opportunity to almost stop them in their tracks and stop them for, you know, put, put, put down our devices for a minute and uh, you know, have some authentic conversations so that that's a great tool that parents can use. And it's so simple. Uh, anyone can take that away and use that today. So thank you for sharing that. Now I did notice something on your website, in our pre-show prep and, uh, you've recently started a very unique blog and I know we haven't talked about this pre-show but uh, look, it, it looks like to me, uh, a series of diary entries sort of written from the perspective of your book, character, Bella, the elephant, uh, and her mother. And so what was your inspiration for this blog? Why is it, you know, why would it be a great idea for parents to read that blog? But I, I just thought it was a really unique take on writing a blog. So first of all, well done. Tell us a bit about it.

Speaker 3 (21:31):

Oh, thank you so much. Yes. So my friend, Nikki, who I mentioned earlier, um, earlier in this recording, she posted an article she had read and it was about a toddler and it was through the toddler's eye. I have to learn how to, how to use, how to button my button, my coat, but I'm being rushed through it. I I'm learning to walk, but I'm being pulled. It was, it was all these things. It was written to the vision of a toddler and their frustrations and them being upset about being told where to go or, you know, being told to do things. It was all about their feelings of frustration, their anxiety. And it was basically why I took away from this post is that the writer was opening the eyes, that toddlers needs patience. And these are a lot of things we need to learn.

Speaker 3 (22:27):

And it inspired me to start writing through the eyes of Bella and her mom. And that, that inspiration came from that, that, that take on that article, but it also came and then simultaneously also came from my mom and I, I, uh, my mom, I lost my mom in 2019. Um, my mom suffered from anxiety and narcissism. And for viewers listening that have family members that suffer from these illnesses, you know, it's a struggle because it's very difficult to communicate with them. My mom was not good at communicating or feelings. And it took me a long time through both my therapy and even my current healing work to understand she was doing the best of what she had. And I honestly felt these were love letters to my mom and I, um, there's one particular entry that I wrote about Bella's birthday. And I know my mom, she did everything.

Speaker 3 (23:31):

She always wanted to do everything cause she felt more comfortable in control is where she felt safe. And I would see her as an adult woman. I would see how exhausted she is. And there's actually one Christmas picture of us where I, I must be about eight years old in it. And you know, my sister's on one side, my mom, my brother's on another and I'm like on the floor and we're all happy in our world. And I personally see my mom's look like I see this glaze look in her eye. I see how tired she is and my, where I am right now. Like I, I wanna reach in and give her a big hug. You know, I wanna tell her mom, like there is help. Like you don't have to do it all on your own. And so those that came from that's that really came from moments like that.

Speaker 3 (24:21):

The inspiration and I will, something, I will say about my mom is she, I will not speak for my siblings coz obviously I wanna respect their privacy with their relationship with her mother. But I will say for me, I'm the oldest of three. My mom is so genuinely happy in all my baby photos and all my toddler photos, coz my sister was three. I, I was, I was three, my sister was born and I just, I see the joy in my mom's eye. And I see this connection between my parents and I wanted to acknowledge that. And so in those blogs, like that's that really came from that is me understanding as an adult woman, if my mom couldn't gimme a hug, when I wanted her to it's cuz she was overwhelmed, like she was trying to be the best she could be. And she really was doing the best with what she had.

Speaker 3 (25:12):

And at then day she was a good mom. Like she really gave it her all. And I'm very grateful for that. And I realize as an adult woman, I need to respect her decisions. I need to respect her decisions. And another funny story about my mom and these blogs that I write that I'm writing with this inspiration, she always wanted to be a teacher. My mom was a long time teacher and administrator and that was our biggest fight is that I never became a teacher and I will never, I'm not a classroom person. I'm just not good in boxes. And so I joke that writing this children's series, I feel like that's like her she's she's getting the last slap up there in heaven. She's like I got my, I got my way. And so that's the main inspiration behind that is I wanted to write it not only for the child, but also for the adult. Cause I, because of my, with my healing work, I've been around other men and women that have similar situ-, I have had been through similar situations as me and being able to shine light that there is like a meeting meeting each other halfway in the middle and uh, yeah. That's that was um, yeah, I, I do have more of those blogs to post and write. So I'm, I'm, I'm grateful that you saw that I'm grateful to hear your reaction to it. It really means a lot to me. Thank you.

Speaker 2 (26:31):

You, you, you welcome Christina and it's, uh, it was fascinating just to, to read them from both the child and mother's perspective and um, yeah, I think it's powerful for other parents to sometimes stop, as you said before, step back and see life through their eyes. Uh, and I think it'd approached them and uh, your, you know, your interactions and your conversations a whole lot differently as a parent. So very powerful. And thank you for opening up and sharing that, uh, that part of your life for this.

Speaker 3 (26:58):


Speaker 2 (26:59):

You. Yeah. Uh, one, uh, interesting question. You know, no, you you're welcome. I know we've got a bit, bit of a delay here don't we? Yeah,

Speaker 3 (27:07):


Speaker 2 (27:11):

There it is. Okay. Uh, in the digital era, there's this ever increasing sense of disconnectedness, uh, and even though gaming and social media platforms are trying desperately to convince us that they are creating connection for us. It's my firm view that they're actually degrading our very social fabric. And so I'd like to, um, segue a little, uh, and just talk, talk a bit about family traditions. You know, why are family traditions important and maybe, uh, how can parents go about creating these traditions?

Speaker 3 (27:43):

Absolutely. I actually, I totally agree with you. I, even though we're obviously on the computer right now talking to each other in my books, there is a landline phone. I do not put any kind of modern technology in my books for that reason because I contact and being face to face. And I completely agree with you. I am a tradition girl. I'm very big on it. Traditions to me, at least from my personal life and something that I wanna, that will be happening in books that I write about Bella. There actually is one that touches upon like a Christmas tradition cause I'm Catholic. Uh, so I do Christmas and um, some of my books lightly, uh, it brings us together in an organic way and it also carries on the memories of those who have left us and those that are coming in into our lives.

Speaker 3 (28:35):

Um, as, I mean, we're talking before we both love Italy. And the reason why I'm a Lucia is I'm from Italian descent. I'm from my, uh, named after my grandma, Lucy and my grandma's been gone for a long time now. And we all miss her dearly. Obviously my, I mentioned my mom's gone. We miss her for us and our family. Like I'm a big cooker. I'm a big baker through the traditions, traditions of cooking and baking. It carries on those stories. You know, it carries on those stories of the time that my mom <laugh>, my mom put the oil on the stove and then went downstairs and then forgot about it and came up and it was all flames. You know, it brings up the cookies that my grandma baked. Now, my mom, my mom baked, now I'm baking, you know, it, it carry, it it's this thread, it's this beautiful thread.

Speaker 3 (29:27):

And there is something about creating traditions that don't involve technology, cuz it forces us to share stories and to talk to each other. And it's interesting to hear what people remember and one beautiful thing. And I'm so grateful that my mom like me is old school. Cause at the end of the day, technology's great. But there's something about someone's handwriting or that is so magical. And when the pandemic hit, I sat down and scrapbook like, like a crazy woman. I love to scrap book. It's one of my personal, like it is a personal hobby on my, I have all these cards in my scrapbook for my grandma, my mom, and like them. I also write in cursive and there's something so tangible and so beautiful. And my sister actually organically carried on this tradition without me even mentioning it. Coz this past year on my birthday, she sent me a card from my nephew and it had scribbles in it and she wrote scribbles from Caleb and my heart melted.

Speaker 3 (30:33):

It was the best card I've ever got. And like, I, I just fell, fell in love with that. So I feel traditions bring us together. They unite us in a way. And they also give us an opportunity when we're talking about earlier about communication, it gives us a point of relatability. It gives us a point to express feelings and I'm, I'm a big fan of Brene Brown. And I heard Brene Brown, a clip of first saying that joy is one of our hardest feelings to own an experience and traditions are talking about traditions, experience and traditions. They really overtake those feelings of fear and anxiety and they allow the joy to radiate. And there's something beautiful about that. And uh, yeah. And another big thing we do in our family too, is we make our own sauce or I, I should say gravy, um, tomato sauce.

Speaker 3 (31:28):

And my nephew was helping my sister, you know, and I did it for my reels, my, my Instagram reels. And you know, there's something beautiful about that. And I know my mom is really happy and I swear every time I make the Italian Christmas cookies, like there are certain extracts I smell. And I swear, my mom and grandma are in the room with me and I know my nephew is gonna have a different reaction. And when I marry and have kids, they're gonna have a different reaction, but at least I can share those stories with them. And at least I can plant that seed when they smell those smells. They, they think of me or they think of those moments of us. And there's something beautiful about those traditions and we all have different ones, which is the best part about we're all unique. We're all gonna have different things we do. And to be able to share that with others is really great <laugh>

Speaker 2 (32:22):

Yeah, absolutely. That, uh, that shared sense of identity and that, uh, you know, creating memories, uh, you know, there's something special about creating traditions and I like the analog version of, of your books rather than this digital version. And, um, you know, not, it was so fascinating to hear you've got it landline. Most kids won't know what a landline is. Uh, I, we've got a couple of traditions in our household almost weekly. Uh, but whenever we, you know, coz uh, as kids grow up, uh, you know, we've got some kids that live away and some kids that, uh, live with us from time to time and um, you know, we like to, I like to barbecue. So for me I'm not TA I've got a multi background, but, but food is important. Uh, in European households, it's, it's something that brings everyone together. And so often we'll sit around the barbecue or sit around the kitchen, eating a nice meal.

Speaker 2 (33:12):

And I feel proud as the sort of the, the father of the home and having created something nice that everyone's enjoying and smiling and sharing their experiences over so that, uh, that always makes me happy. And uh, I can see that it makes my family happy and board games. We, we actually still have board game nights and uh, uh, you know, it's, it's one of those things. It's that analog thing. It's, it's not digital, it's not, we're not in front of a screen. And at first when we started this tradition, our kids, uh, were sort of, uh, you know, sort of early teens and we sort of had to drag them to the table to play these board games because they were so absorbed in, in this sort of stuff. And uh, and now they come over and, and they're literally bringing board games. They're like, okay, I found this or board a new board game or something like that. So, uh, you know, we can see that, uh, they value these traditions and hopefully they carry them on through, uh, through their own life, but very important and, and a wonderful discussion. Now, before we conclude our podcast, uh, uh, I've got a question that we, we, we like to ask all of our guests a little fun one, and that is, um, if you could, you know, if you had a time machine and you could go back in time and give your 10 year old self one piece of advice, what would that advice be? Kristina?

Speaker 3 (34:22):

Oh, amazing. Actually, do you mind if I say something really quickly before I answer your question? Cause it's something really beautiful that, of course my people brought to me when you talked about barbecuing and everyone eating, eating your barbecue. So I made the raviolis, uh, Christmases past year and I've been doing it for years. Don't get me wrong. But that was like one of the times I did it in my mom's kitchen. I did it for the family. And then this year I just saw my nephew weeks ago, he ate a cookie that I made. Like I had it for myself. Like I pulled out one of my cookies and he ate it. But when you said about the barbecue, it brought, cause I feel like your fam, I, I feel like we're both, we're both having the same moment there. My friend told me when you cook with love, everything tastes good and people are eating your love.

Speaker 3 (35:08):

And so when I sat down exhausted from making RAVs from scratch or everybody, and everyone's eating, eating, my friend Sue said, no, they're eating your love. And that's why I heard when he said about the barbecue and when my nephew caught him up to me and is eating the cookie that I baked, he's eating love. And so I just wanted to share that because I, I really, that's just so beautiful. I could just like, I know your family, but I just envision the barbecue and the aprons and the food and the laughter. And I just imagine all this love being consumed and radiating. And so I just wanted to share that, like that piece. Cause I know someone told me that and I was like, oh wow, wow. Like it just was one of those revolutionary moments. So I wanted to share, uh, share that really fast before I answer your question. I didn't mean to segue <laugh>

Speaker 2 (35:55):

Yeah, no, no, thank you. That that's that's uh, it's wonderful. And it does create many, many shared memories. Go ahead. Now there. Yeah. Constraining the question. Go, go for

Speaker 3 (36:03):

God. Oh yes. Um, and to answer your question, cause I do love that question. I would go back to my 10 year old say itself and I encourage her to believe in her dreams, which thank God I did. And I say that because 10 was actually a really special age for me, cuz it was, I was 10 when I saw New York for the first time and declared that I would live here and I've been here for over 20 plus years. I moved out at 18 and went straight to New York. Also 10 years old is, and I'd always already been a Walt Disney kid for a very long time. He's one of my inspirations. I read his biography cover to cover when I was 10 years old. And I remember reading it and I'd always been a fan of his work. I already have been saying, I wanna be a Disney artist for years at that point, but there was something magic about reading his biography.

Speaker 3 (36:51):

Like I clearly, and I wasn't a reader at that time. I, my mom was always scolding me for not reading more. And now I'm always reading like on my plane, back from Italy, the guy next to me is like, of course you're a writer. You're always reading is true. My nose was buried and their eyes are, their eyes are watching God <laugh>. And I was, I read years ago and I got to reread it recently. It's such an amazing book. Um, and that was one of three books I finished on that trip. So I <laugh>, I will say attend to encourage her to keep going as she's going believe in your dreams and she for the moon. Cause you're always gonna land somewhere among the stars.

Speaker 2 (37:31):

Yeah. That's uh, wonderful advice. Great advice, Christina. And um, oh, but I, I should ask too, before we, uh, conclude where can our listeners find you online? How can they connect with you, find this blog, read your books, all that sort of stuff. How, how, what, what is the best way our, our listeners can find you?

Speaker 3 (37:48):

I would say my, my website is the best and I will give you that for the show notes. It's I have free on my website download about coloring drawings and I have stuff for the fall and the holiday season coming up as well. I do have my coloring books available as PDF printouts. Um, I am very excited to share with you that my first book will be coming in spring 2023. I decided based on how I'm, I'm building my business, self publishing is the best route for me. So now I'm working on finding the right people, which I will making that decision very, very soon. So that way I'm on track, but yes, my website is best and I do have have an email list where I share these freebies directly with you and I share links to new blogs and all of that good stuff. And yeah, I'm super excited for the first book to come out. I'm so excited about that. So I will be announcing that release date as soon as I can, but definitely spring 20, 23 I'm gun ho <laugh> I'm I'm in it. <laugh>

Speaker 2 (38:57):

Well, that's, that's one wonderful and exciting. Kristina, thank you so much for your, um, generosity. Uh, your sharing, your stories, your wisdom. I know parents will get a lot out of today's podcast. I know I get a lot out of today's podcast. I really enjoyed the time we spent together. Hopefully we cross paths again soon, but uh, again, thank you so much for your time today.

Speaker 3 (39:17):

Thank you for having me, Jamie. Really appreciate it.

Speaker 2 (39:20):

You're so welcome. Cheers. Bye for now.

Speaker 1 (39:25):

If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast. Parenting in the Digital Age is sponsored by Skill Samurai, coding and stem academy for kids Skill Samurai offers after school coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future. Visit

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