Appelplukdag

IMG_5561

What a beautiful weekend. The sun came out and we were able to enjoy some Autumn outdoor activities. Saturday was Landelijke Appelplukdag in the Netherlands. We visited an orchard in Puth and picked some delicious apples.

It’s not exactly the upstate New York apple experience I remember. I realize now that my outdoor and nature experiences as a child have completely spoiled me as an adult. Let’s just say apple picking in the Hudson Valley is a lot more rustic, less crowded, and vast. I still have vivid memories of the smell of apples and apple cider at Smith’s Farm. It’s something I will never forget. Nonetheless, we are making our own apple picking memories as a family now. Still beautiful, delicious, and fun.

IMG_5564

IMG_5556

And in other news—we have a swing set! Yay! I love that we have this right in our backyard now. Thibault loves his little baby swing and the swing and slide are enough o entertain Flora. It’s so great just to pop outside for a few minutes of fun. Even if it’s a rainy day–there’s always a pocket of sunshine to hop on!

Family Fun at Landmarkt Mesch

IMG_5439

Yesterday was our fourth time visiting Limburgs Landmarkt Mesch and I think we have solidified it as a family tradition. We have gone the last two years with Flora and once the first year we lived in Maastricht (before children), but this was the first time that she will remember it. It was a day full of sunshine and joy.

Who knew sitting on a stationary tractor could be so much fun? Thibault loved it and I didn’t think Flora would be that into, but she was. A nice change of pace from our normal fun of playing dress up with princess dresses and Disney Princess Barbies.

Landmarkt Mesch brings back memories of visiting the Dutchess County Fair and it really reminds me that I am a country girl at heart. I loved seeing Flora fascinated by bulldozers and old farm equipment, petting the animals at the kinderboerderij, and watching the equestrian horse shows. It was super fun and at the end of the day she didn’t want to leave.

It also signals that summer is officially over. I was clinging to the warm weather and we officially had to break out the fall vests and jackets this week. Summer is over and we’re moving on. Sometimes I wish I could just freeze this moment in time. Flora is so in love with everything we do as a family and it’s even more fun with a four year old! And then I remember how much we miss sleep. 🙂

Our Week in France–A day for the kids

IMG_4791

A first for Flora– pony ride!

This vacation could not have been planned better. Luckily we only had one day of rain and the rest was filled with relaxing  days, a little history, French architecture, and of course, a day for the kids. The owner of the gite recommended this zoo park and it was the perfect activity. So, if you’re ever in the Burgundy region looking for kids activities, this place was great!

Here’s a link: Parc de l’ Auxois

IMG_4798

Thibault and his cone

I have very few pictures from this day, which probably means I was having too much fun to check my phone. I had so much fun watching Flora have fun with her cousins. I love this age. We saw lions, zebras, camels, and more—but the kids were most excited about the playground and carousel rides. Flora had her first pony ride, Thibault had some good naps, and everyone was happy.

Perhaps my favorite part of the day was our outdoor BBQ. Back at the gîte, the kids were swimming in the pool and Jaap was behind the grill. I love this photo of Jaap. It was the perfect ending to a fab day. Another win for the Jansen family!

Our Week in France—Family Time

IMG_4747

Exploring Chateau Bussy-Rabutin

We visited Château de Bussy-Rabutin as a family day trip during our Burgundy trip. We enjoyed a cozy family lunch at a local cafe complete with local cheeses, meats, and wine from the region. We had packed a big picnic lunch, but forget half of it back at the gîte. Ooops. At least we were able to laugh about it and we made the cafe owner very happy with our visit.

IMG_4704

The chateau turned out to be a fun family activity. Exploring the interior and running around the grounds. The sun was shining, Flora was exploring with her cousins, and Thibault slept on Jaap most of the time. It was a successful family day trip.

IMG_4715

Our Week in France

IMG_4668

DELICIOUS peaches—market in Reims

We have recently returned from our vacation in France. It was fantastic! Traveling with kids is not an easy feat, but I kept my travel expectations low and reasonable for these little ones and ended up having the greatest time. My (amazing) in-laws invited us for a week in Burgundy with them. In the end, my sister-in-law and nephews came and we had just a fabulous time.

IMG_4647

Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims

We spent one night in Reims en route to our gîte to break up the travel time. We wandered around the city, I let go of my dream of champagne tasting (next time!), and enjoyed the good food, architecture, and sunshine! Despite an AWFUL (!!!) night’s sleep, our vacation was off to a good start.

IMG_4648

Flora channeling Joan of Arc

IMG_4675

Location of our picnic lunch

Joy at the Zoo– Summer Fun

IMG_4565

Flora riding Safari

Saturday was the perfect family day at the zoo. Warm weather, sunny skies, and happy children. It was a day full of many joyful moments and I said to Jaap, “These are the days, Babe.” These are the days I wish we could freeze in time. When the stars align and our children are happy, we are not overly exhausted, and we are out and about living life.

We took a trip to the Gaia Zoo and had a fabulous day. Flora was excited to see the lions, but was most happy at the playgrounds. She’s a happy little climber. Thibault rode the carousel for the first time and despite being completely exhausted at this time of the day, he had a blast. Amen to drama free days!

 

Our Delft with Kids Trip

IMG_3390

We’re so blessed to have my mom staying with us for 2.5 months. She retired last month and is here enjoying an extended vacation with us in the Netherlands. We went off exploring Delft and Den Haag last weekend. Despite the winter temps we’ve been having, we had a great time. So proud of my kiddos for being happy little travellers. Here’s more about our quick trip to Holland and my Delft with Kids tips.

 

 

Tip #1 Visit Delft!

I love this city. It’s romantic, atmospheric, and small enough to walk to see the whole thing in a day. It’s truly a beautiful place. It was a good home base for us. Small, completely walkable, and manageable with two small children. Our Airbnb apartment was two minutes from the Markt. Delft is centrally located with Den Haag, Leiden, and Amsterdam close by.

IMG_3338

Tip #2 Eat a stroopwafel the size of your head

We asked the TI booth about finding the fresh stroopwafel stand and she told us exactly where to go. Off of Brabantse Turkmarkt and Burgwal is a stroopwafel stand where you can get the most delicious stroopwafel you have ever tasted. It’s not open everyday, perhaps just on Saturdays. Lekker!

IMG_3367

Tip #3 Take a Boat Cruise

My mom and I enjoyed a learning a little bit more about Delft history on the tour. I think Flora thought the ride was going to be a little more exciting than it was, but it was still worth the trip for us! Rondvaart Delft

Tip #4 Enjoy an early and casual dinner at Burgerz

We had a delicious dinner here at 17:00 on a Sunday evening in an empty restaurant. Perfect when traveling with baby and toddler! The food was delicious. Lots of veggie burgers and a kids menu to choose from, plus a salad for Grandma. I think my mother told the waitress the salad was delicious at least 5 times.

IMG_3427-2

Tip #5 Stroll along the canals and enjoy a coffee outside at Stads-Koffyhuys

While the kiddos napped, my mom and I sat outside near the the canal and enjoyed a yummy latte. This lunch spot also has a boat on the canal with seating as well. We sipped our coffee in the sunshine while admiring the leaning Oude Kerk.

 

 

 

Tip #6 Visit the Kinderboekenmuseum in Den Haag

I would recommend this museum for small children. We took the train from Delft to Den Haag CS, which was a fun activity for Flora in itself. It’s only a 20 minute ride, which is another toddler plus! The Kinderboekenmuseum is a small children’s museum very close to Den Haag Central train station. Each room depicts famous Dutch children storybooks. I thought it was visually interesting. Lots of play on space, size, and perception. Very cool. Flora enjoyed hopping through the Hungry Caterpillar’s food and running around Kikker’s little world. It was fun to see these stories come alive. Thibault also had fun rolling around on the floor while my mom and Flora explored the rest.

IMG_3463

Tip #7 Take advantage of the Museumkaart

We truly lucked out on this one. I read the Maritshuis was closed on Mondays, but as we were walking by we saw that it was open most likely because of school vacations. It was already 16:00, but my mother and I jumped at the opportunity. Both kids had fallen asleep and the employee outside said everything was accessible by elevator. I was so happy that mom got to see Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring. It was kind of a drive-by visit because Thibault woke up and was making a little bit of a fuss, but this is what’s great about the Museumkaart. You can just hop in someplace for an hour and not feel like you are wasting your ticket money!

Well there it is. Our 3 night stay in Delft complete with my kiddo recommendations. Glad to be home now. Whew!

 

Visiting Thorn

img_2293

On Sunday we did a family day trip to Thorn, also known as “the white village”. What a cute little place. Not much to do there, except stroll through town and eat some pancakes. It was a perfect Sunday family activity.

img_2296

Flora is developing an adventurous spirit on her bike. There were some nice slopes coming down from the church and at one point she forgot to break and hit a wall with a five foot drop on the other side. For a split second my mind saw her catapulting herself off her bike and over the wall. I gasped for air. She just laughed and said, “Can I do it again?”.

img_2309