Our Week in France—Family Time

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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.

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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.

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Our Week in France– Living my best life

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This summer has been quite the journey for me—and it’s not even finished! When we decided not to travel to the U.S. this summer, our original plan was to book a European beach vacation. Somewhere in Spain, Portugal, Italy or Greece. With the busyness of day to day life and my fear of not finding/booking the perfect family vacation, plus the idea of traveling some where super hot with a baby. I couldn’t decide what was best for us. I had set my summer vacation expectations too high. In the end we decided to stay in the Netherlands, plan a last minute trip somewhere and have some day trips around the area.

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First night at the gîte

When my in-laws found out we had no formal travel plans they invited us to France for the week. As a gift to us, they booked a gîte for the week. I was relieved that we had a summer holiday planned, but was still disappointed that we chose not to take advantage of a summer in Europe and have a beach vacation. As our trip approached, I was getting very excited, but being reasonable with my expectations of traveling with a baby and small child. 1.5 hour day trips everyday was not possible, wine tasting throughout the countryside will have to wait till next time!

When we arrived in France I thought—-we’re on summer holiday in France! How was I not more excited about this trip!!! Pinch me—I am living my best life. Exploring the Burdundy countryside, drinking French wine every night, exploring castles and abbeys, eating delicious food and French baguettes everyday, hearing French and listening to Flora trying to learn French, and spending time with our family. It truly was a fabulous week. I was so thankful to be on this trip and it made me think how fortunate I am to be living this life with my loved ones.

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Beautiful sunny day

Our Week in France

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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.

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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.

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Flora channeling Joan of Arc

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Location of our picnic lunch

Our Delft with Kids Trip

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

Delaware Water Gap Day Trip

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Childs Park Trail

Enjoying the great outdoors on our annual summer trips to the States is by far the highlight. America’s natural beauty amazes me. Such a beautiful country. Despite our little charmed life in the Netherlands, this is one of the things I crave the most—the big vast, abundance of nature. Scenes like this are hard to come by in our neck of the woods.

My parents took us to the part of the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania for the day. These photos are from our hike in Child’s Park. I was so proud of Flora for hiking the whole trail up and down and only needing to ride on Papa’s shoulders for the last five minutes. It was a success! She’s a nature lover.

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Some quiet time with Grandma

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A moment of Zen

An NYC birthday

My 35th birthday was spent in New York City with Mom, our niece and nephew, my sister, and dinner with my dear friend Shannon. It was the perfect New York day. Warm weather, sunshine, activities that the kids loved and relaxed family time.

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We met my sister and family at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in down in Soho. I highly recommend this place for creative little people. Painting, water colours, clay, and more. It was a beautifully colourful, fun, and messy place.

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Magnolia Bakery cupcakes

And since it was my birthday, I requested that we visit Magnolia Bakery in the West Village. I have never been there, but I have heard delicious things about this NY institution. The buttercream frosting alone is worth the trip! It’s to die for. Lucky for us, there was a playground right around the corner. This was probably the highlight of the day for Flora and Elin. They could have stayed there for hours. It was a nice break for everyone, to sit, chat, relax, and watch the ladies play.

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The perfect NYC day ended with perfect NYC pizza in the Bronx. I dare to say, this is the best tasting pizza I have ever had in my life. I’ve had tons of pizza in Italy (yet to eat it in Naples), but this one takes the cake. Homemade pepperoni—yes please!

So, if you ever find yourself in Pelham Parkway and you’re looking for a bite to eat, go to Louie and Ernies. It’s a life changer! Happy birthday to me!

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Flora’s Manèges Tour of Paris

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Paris through Flora’s eyes: Merry-go-rounds! I lost count of how many times we rode a merry-go-round. The greatest form of entertainment was the Manèges de Noël. The rides are free, run on beautiful, old merry-go-rounds, and not once did we have to wait on a line. Probably because they are scattered throughout the entire city across 18 districts. I love this equal opportunity of fun for all children in Paris. It was Flora’s highlight. And it helped us slow down, take in the beautiful sites, and enjoy the moment.