Girls Weekend


Not a bad view!

I have fallen off the blog bandwagon again. My intentions to consistently blog throughout the holidays did not happen. Life was too much fun, busy, sick, and exhausted to blog! I want to upload a “snapshots” post soon, just so I have the photo memories of our Christmas season somewhere. We had such a great holiday season complete with the cookie baking days, Christmas and NYE with friends, Christmas with the Jansens, a day trip to the Spoorweg Museum in Utrecht with friends, and the flu! Overall, a fantastic holiday! Flora has fallen in love with Christmas and there’s just not much more you can ask for.

Back to normal life and I was lucky that my friends and I had something fun to look forward after the back to work/end of Christmas slump. The Mamas had a weekend getaway planned! We planned a “spa” weekend in the Ardennes (Malmedy) at a house in the countryside complete with a relaxing sauna. 48 hours, no children, no mess to clean up, nobody to take care of in the middle of the night, late dinners, lots of coffee and wine, and hours of girl chat! Not to mention a couple of hours drinking beer in the sauna, hopping in and out of the cold in our towels and reheating again in the sauna. Thank you to my Swedish friends who taught us how to properly “sauna”. I am converted and a big fan now!

It was a fantastic weekend and I have nobody but my amazing husband to thank. Thank you for letting me recharge, regroup, and mostly RELAX! After 48 hours I actually missed my family. That’s a good sign! And I feel grateful for this life. Cheers to friends and family ¬†in 2018!


Famliy Trip: Lecce, Italy


This photo pretty much sums up our last day in Italy. Taking advantage of the good life and delicious Italian food. We drove to Lecce for the day—famous for it’s (Lecce baroque) architecture. We had a great day strolling the city’s centre and enjoying the cuisine!

Flora and Jaap always make a donation to churches we visit and light the candles. A little tradition that Oma and Opa have taught her. ūüôā


Some of our best eats of the trip were at casual eateries. We ate lunch outside this Italian deli-like place and had a delicious meal. Good pizza and delicious orecchiette with this amazing burrata cheese. It was fantastic! Flora was eating a ham and cheese sandwich (!!??) and all were merry. After a stroll through a local park and a short nap for Thibault, we treated ourselves to the last (and best!) gelato of the trip. This shop is to die for.¬†If you’re ever in Lecce, stop at Natale! This place is heavenly and has so many delicious treats! Thibault approved. Our first family trip to Italy ended on a high note! Grazie, Salento!


Snapshots: Agriturismo in Otranto


In Salento, we decided to explore Italy’s agriturismo¬†with a farm stay at Masseria Spartivento. I read about this place on the Telegraph, which said it was one of the best farm stays in Italy. It was an oasis that was completely serene, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing. The owner’s sense of style is amazing. Here are some of my favorite moments from our stay.









Family Trip: Otranto


I’m really glad we ended up in Otranto. This was a recommended stop from a friend of mine. The weather was warm, dry, and sunny. We stayed in this incredible “agrotourismo” farm stay, close to the beach, Otranto, and Lecce. These views alone of crystal clear, turquoise water, and the calm sea made this trip worth it.


Flora discovered she loved mussels! She’s our adventurous shellfish eater. I’m so happy she is not a picky eater. It makes traveling so much easier for us, plus I really feel that she is experiencing one of the best parts of traveling—the delicious food! We were at the supermarket yesterday and they had pomegranates on sale. I asked her if she wanted me to buy some. She said, “No, Mom. I only like the ones in Italy.” Smart girl! Lots of things taste better in Italy!





Otranto & Baia dei Turchi


By far, our day at the beach in Otranto was the best! This photo is my favorite of the entire trip. I never actually thought it would be warm enough to take a swim, but it was warmer down in Salento and we were able to have one afternoon on the beach playing in the water.


Clear turquoise blue water, a wooded path down to the beach, warm water, and beautiful sunshine.


I really couldn’t believe that this day was possible. Flora was so excited to take a dip. Check out this photo. Thibault would drown himself in about 2 seconds. The boy has no fear. At one point we were sitting on the beach, Flora and Jaap were building a sand castle, and Thibault was eating the sand. I looked at Jaap and said, “Babe, life doesn’t get better than this.” So whenever I have some tough days I think of these moments. Moments where I remember how lucky I am to be living my best life with the love of my life and two happy children.¬†IMG_6333







Italian Snapshots

A few snapshots from Matera, Alberobello & Ostuni…

Exploring Matera..

Flora running around the property at the trulli in Alberobello.


Flora and I taking pictures of all the different types of plants on the grounds. Tons of cactuses, huge aloe plants, and pomegranate trees.

Some of the trulli in Alberobello.


Jaap and Thibault enjoying lunch in Ostuni.


Thibault being held by one of the employees at a cafe in Ostuni. He was a little fussy and the man asked to hold him. Then took pictures and sent it to his girlfriend.



Family Trip: Matera, Italy


Visiting Matera was an interesting day trip. What a unique place. It’s unlike anything I have ever seen before. This city has been inhabited for thousands of years. Continuously! It’s really incredible and the views are stunning. Once called the “shame of Italy” by an Italian Prime Minister in the 1950s, Matera is now a growing cultural site and tourist destination. These ancient cave dwellings, which are mostly hotels and B&Bs now, were once overcrowded and impoverished slums. The history is sad, but Matera has made quite a turn around in a short period of time.


View of the gorge

My friend Teena had recommended we visit this place. We knew we’d have to carry Thibault in the Ergo and Flora would have to do a lot of walking because you can’t get very far without hiking some stairs. I was so proud of Flora. She walked everywhere and was so excited to learn about these cave dwellings.

We went to a ¬†museum that replicated what it was like to live in a cave dwelling. Things were going smoothly until Thibault cut his finger on some artifacts and started bleeding, which we couldn’t stop for about 20 minutes, so a little drama ensued. Mostly created by myself. We decided to abandon ship, our beautiful walk around Matera, and head for lunch. I guess when you’re in Matera you should eat at Soul Kitchen. It was recommended by my friend, our host at the trulli, and Lonely Planet. But alas, Thibault was injured, Flora was getting tired, and we needed something fast! Luckily we found this delicious focacceria right on the main street of Domenica Ridola. Delicious focaccias and sandwiches! Plus, the young baker was blasting Foo Fighters music. Even better!