Author - Fiona Royer

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Fiona Royer lives in Lincoln Park with her husband, Randall, and their twoyoung daughters. Originally from the U.K., she works in the philanthropic world and believes that manners are the key to living a fulfilling life.

Spooky, fun and socially distant: Creative Halloween ideas for kids during Covid

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

“Halloween is an opportunity to be really creative” – Judy Gold

Never has that been more true than now. So how do you embrace creativity and find a way to celebrate during these strange times?

Lights tour
When our children were babies we would stroll through the neighborhood on a night prior to Halloween, just enjoying the lights away from the crowds. This activity has now become a part of our annual tradition. We’re truly thankful that we c...

Posted on September 18, 2020 at 10:53 AM by Fiona Royer

These thoughtful gifts prove that showing you care doesn't cost a thing

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

We’re all feeling the pinch. Whether you’re job searching or just unsure what the future holds, saving a few bucks here and there is very welcome these days. I like to advocate for recognizing folks with gifts, but those gifts don’t have to break the bank. These strange times have prompted me to think creatively and find a few zero-cost options to consider. 

[Related: How to celebrate kids' birthdays while social distancing]

Artwork 
The ...

Posted on August 20, 2020 at 3:21 PM by Fiona Royer

How to celebrate kids' birthdays while social distancing

Photo by Amponsah Nii Davidson from Pexels

With a new vocabulary that includes “shelter in place” and “social distancing,” get-togethers seem destined to remain a little different for a while. But that doesn’t mean we can’t mark the special occasions—we just need to re-imagine how we celebrate them.

[RELATED: No-gift party ideas]

Virtual parties
If you’re uncomfortable meeting up in person just yet—given that keeping kids apart is a challenge—virtual parties can solve the proble...

Posted on June 17, 2020 at 11:22 AM by Fiona Royer

You can make eating out with your kids actually enjoyable

Photo by Tiago Pereira from Pexels

Does going to a restaurant with kids fill you with apprehension? Do you cross your fingers and hope for the best, or do you load up on digital toys and promise yourself it will be different next time?

We’ve had some wonderful meals out…and ones we’d prefer to block from memory. But we like eating out too much to dispense with this pastime—children and all. Here's how we've helped our kids develop the patience and manners to make a meal out more enj...

Posted on January 14, 2020 at 12:52 PM by Fiona Royer

Reduce the glut of kids' birthday gifts with these fun party ideas

“No gifts, please!” We’ve all received those invites, but rarely do we feel empowered to act upon those instructions. Who wants to look like a thoughtless guest, and what kids will really understand?

Like many others, we’re trying to balance the excesses of childhood with a sense of value, while at the same time building environmental and fiscal responsibility. While we have tended to be traditionalists on the party gifts front, I've come up with these ideas to help avoid the glut of b...

Posted on September 18, 2019 at 4:43 PM by Fiona Royer

Kids always making you late? Try these tips for on-time arrivals.

I hate the discourtesy of being late. I hate running from place to place. I hate to keep people waiting. With three little ones in tow (ages 2, 4 and 6), though, it kind of comes with the territory.

But does it have to? These are some of the tools I’ve tried in my endeavor to avoid tardies at school, hold down a full-time job, keep stress and tears at bay, and even enjoy going about our day together. (Full disclosure: We don’t have this subject mastered, but we are committed to keep tr...

Posted on August 28, 2019 at 1:03 PM by Fiona Royer

Encouraging a love of writing in a world of emojis

In a world dominated by likes and emojis, how do you encourage a love of writing in your kids? My traditional, British self has been pondering just this question.

Writing provides the means for children to communicate and to express themselves. There are many ways to help your child feel not only the empowerment that comes from writing but the fun that can come with it, too—at any age.

The very young

A child is never too young to embark upon their writing journey. To set the foun...

Posted on July 08, 2019 at 11:51 AM by Fiona Royer

Your little one can make a big difference for the planet

With 250 million tons of American waste going into landfill annually and 1.3 billion tons of food wasted worldwide each year, it’s important we teach our children the importance of being green. But how do you start a dialogue? Kids love to solve problems and take positive action, so how about engaging your little superhero’s special powers? Who could resist zooming to the rescue to save the planet?

Knowledge: educate
As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Helping your little heroes u...

Posted on March 27, 2019 at 11:42 AM by Fiona Royer

In the spirit of love: showing gratitude to your partner

I might pride myself on saying thank you and being thoughtful, but like many of us I probably don't show enough gratitude to the person who does the most for me: my partner. So in the spirit of love and committing to show my appreciation more, I enlisted my husband's input on ideas:

Send something to work

A no-brainer way to show gratitude is to add chocolate or a little something to a work bag. But organizing something to be delivered takes this one step further. While flowers are ...

Posted on February 14, 2019 at 7:00 AM by Fiona Royer

Purge alert! Enlist the kids in sorting and donating unwanted stuff

Chicagoans don’t need to wait for spring cleaning time to come around. With months of cold, inhospitable weather, there’s plenty of time to fit in a January purge beforehand. After the abundance of the holidays and the resolutions of the New Year, this is the perfect time to clear out the old.

I enjoy this enforced home time to reassess what our family has and needs, and to get organized. However, while clearing out can seem like a great idea when you start, it can quickly become overw...

Posted on January 07, 2019 at 1:54 PM by Fiona Royer