Sidewalk Talk with Kimberly Van Der Beek

Name: Kimberly Van Der Beek

Occupation: Wellness Expert, Strategic Advisor and Homeschooling Mother of Four

Children: Olivia (6), Joshua (5), Annabel (3), Emilia (1.5)

What’s your favorite kid-friendly brunch spot in your neighborhood?

With four kids I find it much easier and more relaxing to get a picnic together and head to the park. For brunch, packing up berries, James' gluten free pancakes and waters does the trick. If we do make our way to a restaurant for brunch, it’s usually Momed for Mediterranean food. 

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Favorite playgrounds in your area?

The beach, Griffith Park ponies and trains, and The Coop indoor play area.  

What are your children’s favorite activities? 

My kids' favorite classes in town are gymnastics classes at Jag Gym, Jiu Jitsu classes at Gracie Academy and music classes with Music and Ashley. They also love going to Muscle Beach in Venice Beach.

Two foods your little one(s) are obsessed with?

The favorite snack for all of them is cut up apples with sunflower butter and a little raw honey mixed in. They also love smoothies. The one of the moment is: frozen wild blueberries, bananas, two pitted dates (or sometimes I do a scoop of raw honey instead) and water. Occasionally, I add a little cilantro to help move heavy metals out of the body. And since it’s summer, watermelon and berries are breakfast at least once a week.

What three things do you always pack for your child when you go on vacation?

I always pack a white noise machine to help them sleep, art supplies and Olivia’s new Ukulele that the whole family now enjoys.

What are you the most strict about when it comes to parenting?

You don’t get things when you whine. Your best shot is asking respectfully. 

Favorite quick child friendly dinner recipe?

A fruit and veggie platter. Whatever is seasonal. These days it could be snap peas, cucumber slices, avocado and apples. I find that when they eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables their skin glows, they have sustained energy and they aren’t catching as many of the viruses going around town. And, they seem happier.

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What’s your favorite way to unwind?

A book and a cup of tea in bed with essential oils diffusing. 

Best mom hack?

Having your kids help make the food. Whether it’s picking smoothie ingredients and blending them up, stirring together a chopped salad or helping wash the vegetables, they are more likely to eat it. 

Favorite rainy day activity…

Lighting a fire, playing board games, reading books and a movie time snuggle session. I also have to have something that I can smell throughout the house. In the fall it’s apple cider cooking on the stovetop or fall time essential oils filling the air like cinnamon, clove or pine. 

The funniest thing your child has said to you..

Oh gosh I can’t even keep track. Every day there is something epic. I should start taking notes and keeping track of it all. 

My favorite part about being a parent is...

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The love. The snuggles. Being surrounded by innocence. Getting to learn things like music and language again. Coloring in coloring books.

One thing you miss about your pre-parenting life…

Uninterrupted sleep. I’ve had a baby in the house for almost 7 years. 

What do you do when your children go to bed?

Catch up with my husband. We talk about our day over a cup of tea while we often cook a late night dinner. Or we watch a show. Sometimes we grab a book and tea and head straight to bed. 

Favorite bedtime book is...

Joshua’s favorite right now is “The Book Eating Boy.” We also love “The Tiger Who Came to Tea” and “Dragon’s Love Tacos”.

Best tantrum tactic is...

It’s honestly preventing them to begin with. For my kids they usually happen when they are tired, feel as though they haven’t been heard, have had sugar or are getting sick. That doesn’t fully prevent them though.

Favorite parenting reads (books, blogs, sites)...

Medical Medium books by Anthony William. Children eating well is of the utmost importance for their developing brain and bodies, and for our brains to be able to sustain ourselves through parenthood. Beyond the Rainbow Bridge by Barbara Patterson and Pamela Bradley is also a wonderful book that goes through newborn to early childhood years. 

Looking for children's classes in LA? Check out the best classes here.

Photo credit Brian Bowen Smith.