Family Trip: Puglia & Salento

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Happily exploring the grounds at the trulli

We have recently returned home from an 8 day trip in Puglia and Salento in southern Italy. Italy never disappoints. What’s not to love about this beautiful country? I feel so lucky to be living this life with my family. Here is a little bit about our journey.

We first stayed for 3 nights in a trulli on the outskirts of Alberobello. Staying here was an experience. The 200+ year old trulli are run by this lovely family who treated us to such lovely hospitality. The homemade yogurt, cakes, and cookies at breakfast are something I will never forget. After our first breakfast Flora said, “I love Italian food!”

Our host Donato recommended restaurants that locals go to in Alberobello. He made us a reservation for one up the street for Sunday lunch. Big family time in Italy! I love seeing this family tradition. Large Italian families, kids running around the restaurant, loud conversations and smiles, DELICIOUS food, and amazing service. The food was incredible. Flora discovered she loves clams! And this mozzarella almost moved me to tears!

We were only 12 km from Locorotondo, so we drove there after lunch and just walked around this white washed town while Thibault took a nap. Flora found a speeltuin, we all ate gelato, and the sun was shining. No museums to see, no major monuments or historical sites, just pure Italian beauty!

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My Little Jazz Man

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Jeker Jazz was back again this weekend in Maastricht. It’s a tradition that Jaap and I have maintained over the years, dating back before kids! Exposing our kids to music is important. Will they be musicians? Who knows? But, it’s important for us to be exposed to good quality music. The good thing is— they enjoy it. This time there was an added bonus. Some fun swing dancers added to the mood at Tapijn Kazerne yesterday. Flora loved the dancing, Thibault actually sat still for 5 minutes to hear a tune, and Jaap and I enjoyed some good music. Sunday fun day!

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Birthdays and Good-byes

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Flora & Madelynn

The worst part of living abroad is when the friends you have made move on to their next adventure. Whether that be moving to another part of the Netherlands, a new country, or back home. It’s always the hardest part. Now that Flora is older and has real friendships, she is going to go through it now too.

Yesterday was her friend Madelynn’s 4th birthday party. I became friends with Madelynn’s mother through playgroup three years ago. These two girls have always loved playing together and they truly are close friends. We’re so sad to see them leave. I can see that Flora understands what a friend is now and she knows that she won’t see Madelynn again for a very long time. She told me she’s sad and we talked about it. Big feelings here! I can’t believe how grown up she is and how she was able to articulate this. On the bright side, they are very young and these thoughts and conversations don’t last long before she is on to the next idea or activity. Nonetheless, it’s still sad. Probably it’s more sad for me because I’m also losing a good friend and a fun mom to hang out with who just happens to be America. We always had things to talk about! But, I’m sure our paths will meet again. The great thing about living abroad is that you have friends and love in many different places.

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Fun at Dartledome

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Lazy Saturday morning

Flora’s Taste Test Kitchen

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carrot muffins

This summer I read Bringing up Bébé that was given to me by a friend of mine. I loved this book. It’s a memoir of an American writer and mother of three living and raising their kids in Paris. I found a lot of similarities between French and Dutch cultures and their approaches to child rearing. The author writes a lot about food in France, food culture, and raising children that are food lovers. It’s one of the biggest focuses in the book. She writes about French friends who bake often with their kids. I love this.

I love being with Flora in the kitchen. She loves it too. She will choose cooking in the kitchen over watching Netflix. I call this a win!

We recently made carrot muffins. Super easy and delicious! She’s a good little helper in the kitchen. Grating carrots, beating the eggs, whisking the dry ingredients. The cutest part is her narrating her own cooking show. We setup my phone on a tripod and make videos. It’s hilarious.

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Going through these photos I was able to see how much Flora and I look alike. My skinny little blonde girl looks very different to me at times, but looking at these photos with dark brown eyes, I see how much we have in common.

Here is a link to the recipe we used and Youtube channel for inspiration.

Carrot Muffins from The Joy of Baking

Charlie’s Crafty Kitchen

Pompoen Parade

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What a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Pumpkins!!!!! Autumn is officially here. There is a nursery in Aalbeek (Nuth) called Kwekerij Bastin that hosts a “Pumpkin Parade” every year. This is the second time we have gone and I think we have solidified it as a family tradition.

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This place is just stunning. I find the entire experience to be aesthetically pleasing. That can be tricky when looking for a fun family activity. Of course for Flora, the best part was the tiny playground, but for myself I love these brightly coloured pumpkins. It reminds me of home. The nursery specialises in lavender and the entire kwekerij gives off this aroma anywhere you stand. It’s just perfect.

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Both kids had a great time, Flora got to pick out a big pumpkin, Thibault climbed around a pile of pumpkins, we had pumpkin cake and tea, and the sun was shining. XOXO

11 months old!

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This gorgeous little man is 11 months old. I can’t believe it. I cannot believe that we have almost reached the one year mark. Time is moving fast and Thibault is moving fast too! Crawling up on his knees now, says Mama and sometimes a semblance of Papa, happy eater, loves the outdoors and being in nature, does not enjoy playing with toys (only household objects), loves his new swing in the backyard, and completely adores his sister. Don’t grow too fast my little man. We’re enjoying these little cuddles while they last. XOXO

My Little Adventurers

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My little man. A curious little guy who is looking for adventure, things to touch that he shouldn’t, and things to put in his mouth that are dangerous. If Thibault could walk, he would run. I love his curious little spirit. I wish that he liked to play and do things that were less dangerous. His new favorite thing is turning on these lights on our nightstands. IMG_5596

It has made our Friday outings a little bit more challenging. He isn’t content sitting in the stroller watching the world go by. He needs to be out there exploring, touching, climbing, crawling, and playing with his sister. A lot of parents say they dread the stage where they learn to walk. I find this interesting. I loved when Flora learned to walk. It gave her so much more freedom. I predict by Christmas Thibault will be walking. He’s ready for it and I’m excited that his world is about to open up even further.

I love this photo. Flora has recently learned how to slide down ropes and fireman poles at the playground. She’s so happy that she has learned this skill. Everyday that I pick her up from school she says, “Mom, can I show you something?” She runs over to the climbing apparatus on the school playground and shimmies down the pole. She’s so proud of herself.

Finding a place where they can both play can be a challenge, but Thibault has finally graduated to playing at the speelhoek in Coffeelovers. This little corner is perfect for his age. But the best part is watching my kiddos play while sipping my favorite Maastricht coffee. A win for Mom!

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