Have You Heard the BIG NEWS?

by Tina on April 5, 2016

in family

It’s been a while since we have had a chance to catch up here, mostly due to this site being hacked and irritatingly impenetrable to re-enter, but we are up and going again!  In the meantime, TONS has been going on.  Some of you might have already heard on the House of Valentina, but just in case, I wanted to let you all know that… we are moving to AMERICA!!

My husband’s work situation suddenly changed, our house here in Copenhagen was sold, and oh, yeah, just this little thing called a passion for creativity kicked us into making the big decision.  We STILL don’t know where we will end up, but we are going to have a BLAST finding out!  Here is the announcement video if you missed out:

But that is definitely NOT all!  We have also started a site called Onward Creatives, which we hope will encourage dreamers to make a change in their lives!

Onward Creatives

We have also started a Podcast to help us document our own feelings and the things we are learning as we transition from here to there… with three kids along for the ride.  We hope you will join us and let us know what you think of the podcast.  We are super excited about this new adventure and can’t wait to have you be a huge part of it, especially since it’s kind of your fault that we are pursuing our dreams… Nine years of encouragement on this site has changed our lives and we could not be more thankful for all your love and support!

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by Tina on February 5, 2016

in Travel

We are gearing up for another year of traveling with our kids and teen!  I realized recently that our daughter, Hailey, is turning 15 in a few weeks and felt so nostalgic over all the years we have spent traveling and living abroad with her.  We were just laughing with her about the plane ride we took across the Atlantic when she was still a baby.  She was cranky and could only be settled by the pacifier, which she had spat out and lost under the seat in a fit of anger.  That was in the first hour of a nine hour plane ride.  As you might imagine, we went immediately and bought 10 more of her favorite pacifier for the ride home!

With as much as we have traveled, it’s rare that we see a travel related gift that feels special and unique, so imagine my surprise when I came across Uncommon Goods, an online boutique packed with many gifts that are fun, unique, and definitely uncommon.  I have rounded up a list of some of my favorite Travel gifts for kids and teens, because amazingly, I found tons of cool stuff that either had a fun, new twist or was just something I had never seen and absolutely need for our upcoming travels!  BEST TRAVEL GIFTS FOR YOUNG KIDS


  1. Color The Earth Kit:: Kids of all ages will love having a globe of their own to color.  You could even guide them to color code their globe, differentiating places they have lived, places they have visited, where loved ones live, etc!
  2. All Aboard Travel Book Sets :: Take kids on a journey through American and European cities on a chugging choo choo train.  Designed by a mom of an adorable toddler, the sweet illustrations are sure to inspire many adventures!
  3. Children’s World Map :: Sure to ignite little imaginations, this laminated map features the seven wonders of the world, the solar system, types of clouds, and biomes (ecosystems), plus loads of animals and major landmarks.
  4. Dear Dad Arts & Crafts Book:: Let Dad lead the way with creative and imaginative ideas that pack well and make travel fun!
  5. My Comic Book Kit:: What could be more entertaining on a long car ride or a plane ride with the fasten seat belt sign on than a comic book that kids get to create themselves?  After you get home, kids can send in their work and receive a bound copy in the mail, complete with an “about the author” page!
  6. The First Adventures of Incredible You :: What kid wouldn’t love to hear an adventure story where they score the starring role?
  7. Foreign Language Blocks :: As a family who has learned several foreign languages over the years, anything that can make it enjoyable goes a long way.  These blocks are fun to build with and create teaching moments.  Double score!
  8. My Grand Adventures DIY Journal :: Filled with playful prompts and 32 interactive, offline activities like a “what if you were President” section where kids choose their own Cabinet, kids will have plenty to keep them busy on long journeys, though you might find them enjoying this one at home as well!
  9. NYC Floor Puzzle :: Playful, bright, and inspiring, this floor puzzle is certain to create a hunger in kids for the Big Apple!
  10. Storymatic Kids Game :: With fun little story prompts, this game has all the makings of fun, entertainment and loads of imagination!



  1. Diana Instant Camera :: Capture fun and unique shots with this special camera that are so in with teens right now.
  2. Fox Sleep Mask ::  Make sure to catch all the zzz’s possible on long journeys while looking super cute, too!  (The are handmade in Estonia!)
  3. Tribal Blanket Cosmetic Bag :: Not only does this bag give beautiful tribal blankets a new lease on life, it’s practical for travel, as well!
  4. Scratch Map :: This super cool map allows you to scratch off the places you have visited.  How fun is that?
  5. Personalized Coloring Book :: Adult coloring books are all the rage for a reason.  They are awesome and so is this one that is ready for your teen’s name to be added!
  6. Shadow Weave Tote :: As a mom of an animal obsessed girl who loves to travel, this bag ticks all the boxes.  It’s cute, it’s practical, and the purchase of this bag helps to support WWF’s vision “to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature” with a portion of net proceeds donated to WWF.
  7. Heart Marks The Spot Pillow :: Home is where the heart is, but the heart on this pillow can mark an upcoming trip or even a dream destination!
  8. Organization Bag Set :: Travel can be a messy business.  These bags keep suitcases neat, clean, and pretty!
  9. Arrow Envelope Wallet :: Designed in New York, made in Cambodia, this wallet is practical, but extra special because it helps women in need.  Each item is made by survivors and women at risk of human trafficking in Cambodia, and proceeds help to fiscally empower these women.
  10. Scratch Travel Journal :: If you have a teen who loves to document and organize, this travel journal will be love at first write.  (Bad Pun intended.)


Life Lately…

by Tina on February 4, 2016

in Decor, family

Snowy Copenhagen :: Valentina Fussell

January absolutely whizzed by and I wanted to pop in and say hello and catch up a bit.  What have all of you been up to?  Hopefully not nearly so cold as us!  We have had lots of snow, freezing rain, fog, and wind that bites straight to the bone.  Thankfully, winter looks beautiful on Copenhagen, though…
Snowy Copenhagen :: Valentina Fussell Snowy Copenhagen :: Valentina Fussell Snowy Copenhagen :: Valentina Fussell

Just today the sun came out and shone with such brilliance that I  had a moment of true light heartedness.  The darkness both outside and within dissipated and everything felt like it would be ok.  The tulips in every florist are another source of light and happiness.  They are truly a magnificent sight and thankfully my husband doesn’t mind the sudden pink infusion in our home.

Tulips :: Valentina Fussell

I got new glasses and found a moment of enlightenment in January that being a strange bird is better than a chameleon.
Valentina Fussell Tom Ford Glasses2 Valentina Fussell Tom Ford Glasses4

We have been reimagining some of our spaces and even got the year started with a DIY for covering your books with linen.

Valentina Fussell Bookshelf-10

We have some super exciting stuff planned for February and look forward to sharing more adventures with you!  I update daily on House of Valentina, but will definitely be here at Traveling Mama as we kick into travel for 2016.

What about you?  Do you have big plans for 2016?  Do you plan to travel anywhere fun?


Last Minute Christmas Ideas!

by Tina on December 23, 2015

in Celebrations, Decor, DIY, family

Quick + Easy Gift Wrap :: Valentina Fussell

The holiday season is busy and there is nothing better than finding a little extra time here and there to relax.  We’ve been posting about our adventures in decorating, gift wrapping, and holiday making on House of Valentina, but just in case you haven’t seen, we’ve got some ideas that will provide some last minute Christmas ideas that will save you time, keep you on budget, and maybe even give you a little R&R in the midst of all the celebrating!

We have videos on the new YouTube Channel + photos for each of these projects!

Christmas Gift Wrap :: House of Valentina Christmas gift wrap :: House of Valentina

Creating Beautiful + Quick Gift Wrapping has never been so easy (+ go on a little outing with me in Copenhagen!)

The Best Almond Sugar Cookies :: House of Valentina The Best Almond Sugar Cookies :: House of Valentina

Looking for last minute cookie recipes to try?  Give these delicious (and easy!) Almond Sugar Cookies a go!

 Winter Bedroom :: House of Valentina

Whether you are decorating for your guests or want to treat your rooms to a last minute winter floral arrangement, my Winter video is loaded with ideas + easy diy’s that will only steal a moment or two of your time!

DIY Ornament Branch :: House of Valentina DIY Ornament Branch :: House of Valentina

If you’ve got a few minutes and some extra ornaments, tie them to a branch and create a Christmas backdrop your family and friends will cherish!
Removable DIY Christmas Wallpaper :: House of Valentina Kids get restless without school and activities to keep them going nonstop, so get them involved with a great craft project, such as this removable DIY wallpaper.  We’ve got a video + a room tour!
 Boys Christmas Bedroom :: House of Valentina  Boys Christmas Bedroom :: House of Valentina
Whether you need a last minute gift idea or one more thing to keep the kids from tearing down the house, these DIY pillows are super easy to make + Budget friendly!  (We’ve also got a full room tour with before and after’s!)



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On life and little creature comforts…

by Tina on December 9, 2015

in family, Fashion

Cowl Scarf

It was never my intention to fall off the face of this blog, and quite honestly, those are words that I never thought I would utter after nearly nine years of showing up consistently.

As it turns out, my new blog, House of Valentina, has become an incredible delight for me, and has brought more opportunities for me than I ever imagined!  Everyone always says that you just have to step out and have a little faith in your dreams and I guess they were right!

At the same time, our youngest has been having a really, really hard time with school and I have had to spend more time focused on him to help him process through a lot of the changes he has gone through.  We switched his school a couple weeks ago and things seem to be improving but we’ve had some really rough days, some of it related to living in a foreign country and some of it not.  I’ll write more about that soon because, for now, I really want to chat about my current creature comforts (because isn’t that more fun anyways?)

My girlfriend, Jane, made me this beauuutiful cowl scarf that I have been wearing obsessively since the weather got cold.  Her work is AMAZING and so detailed… and she happens to have also decided to believe in her dreams and start selling her scarves.  You can see her Etsy shop here.  (You can custom order whatever color and size you like!)  I also love the larger sized one she sent me in an oatmeal color and even managed to grab a couple photos on one of the windiest days in Copenhagen!
Cowl Scarf Valentina Fussell Cowl-2

My other favorites at the moment:  Chunky Sweaters over button down Denim shirts, Jungle Red or Dark and Stormy Lips, My Military Style Coat, and these booties!


What about you?  What are you up to these days?  Are the holidays keeping you super busy?