Tag Archives: family life

Traveling With Kids: The Travel Savings Jar

14 Jan

For this month’s Traveling With Kids column I wrote all about my favourite and relatively pain-free way to save money for future travel adventures with your family.  The Travel Jar has worked for us for years and has provided spending money for some of our favorite trips around the world.  So if you’re in need of a way to help your family save a little bit of extra cash this is the thing for you!  Read full post here.how-to-save-money-for-travel-


Gratefully Grateful *24*

8 Sep

I’m going to be honest up front here and say that September is not my favourite month. After the summer holidays and being with my kids day in and day out I always find September and back-to-school such a lonely time of year.

I need to re-adjust to being solo for the most part of my days. I need to re-adjust to having an empty and hauntingly silent (and tidy) house. I need to re-adjust to having time for myself and doing groceries and errands without three chatty kids with me.

In the end I just plain miss my kids during the 10 months of school each year. I even offered to home-school them at a certain point but was politely told that it was never going to happen.

But I know in a few short weeks I’ll have my life more organised, lots of activities scheduled, projects lined up and my feet back firmly on the ground.

Anyone else out there feel the same way around this time of year?

Here are a few images from our summer vacation.  Even if we had record breaking bad weather it really was a great one.

IMG_8918Evidence that my daughter is a lover of stripes.  Just like her Mama.
*taken in Albissola Marina, Liguria*

IMG_8913So grateful that we can arrive at the Meditteranean in less than two hours.  My kids spent our days there body surfing in the warm water, eating gelato and foccacia and doing crosswords under the parasol with their Mama.

IMG_8231I will always and forever love geraniums.  Amen.IMG_8533Bikes in a charming courtyard in the centre of Milan.IMG_8259

Lovely memories of eating at this little wine bar at a local lake.  Their cheese plate served with champagne jelly is life changing.

Wishing you all a lovely week ahead.

Gratefully Grateful
*1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*,



Gratefully Grateful *17*

4 May

As I sit here gazing out of the window it looks as though there is a blizzard happening outside.  But instead of snow it’s a flurry of fluffy little poplar seeds (as captured by an IG pal here).  I’m sneezy and have a piercing headache but I have to admit that it’s a really lovely site.

Yesterday I spent the entire day in the kitchen baking muffins for a local market today.  We’re donating all profits from the bake sale to the Bianca Garavaglia Association which helps organise special activities and events for kids with cancer who have to spend months in the hospital.  As some of you know, helping causes like this is something that is really near and dear to my family’s heart.  So you can imagine how happy my kids were to sell every single muffin that we made (close to 100).

Earlier in the week a friend of mine and I organised a “Serata Americana” with our kids (the husbands had organised a meal of intestines and insects so we escaped).  We prepared hamburgers, hotdogs and french fries.  We drank lemonade and Coca Cola.  And then we watched Grease (in Italian) with bowls of popcorn and M&Ms.  My kids loved it and have since asked for poodle skirts and black leather jackets.  Love evenings like that.

So, as you can see I had a lot to be grateful for this week.

And on top of all that I’m (also) grateful for… IMG_7280-001…my first bunch of roses from my garden.  Oh and they smell so so lovely too!IMG_7423…geraniums.  And the fact that they are pretty AND can survive even though I’m a horrible gardner and that Birdie lays on top of them all day long.IMG_7357…our Serata Americana that saved me from eating these cricket kabobs.  See, I wasn’t exaggerating when I wrote about the husbands eating insects.  Blech.

Wishing you all a lovely week ahead.

Gratefully Grateful *1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*, *16*

Gratefully Grateful *14*

13 Apr

So much to be grateful for this week.  Some lovely friends came to Italy for an action packed five-day visit.  We had so many interesting conversations, visits to the Design Week in the city, leisurely walks along the lake, delicious meals in restaurants (and cooked by my husband and kids) and even an impromptu jam session singing old Cindy Lauper songs in my living room.  All moments that have lifted my spirits and made me feel so happy to know these talented, creative and funny ladies. Soon I’ll have lots of photos to share but for now here are a few little images that caught my eye.

This week I’m grateful for…


…all the beautiful and colourful exhibits and products we saw at Milan Design Week.  And for my friends who introduced me to some amazingly cool new designers, brands and shops (even if I kept getting them all mixed up in my IG feed).

IMG_6697…the gorgeous warm sunny weather we’ve had.  And these intoxicatingly lovely smelling wisteria vines that are covering the local landscape (as well as the city landscape).IMG_6732…the fact that I’m actually succeeding in training Birdie The Cat to sit in my bicycle basket while I cruise around.  How cute is that?

I wish you all a great week ahead!

Gratefully Grateful *1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12*, *13*

Gratefully Grateful °2°

17 Jan

Is it Friday already?  Did this past week fly by for anyone else as well? The week was a blur of activities, appointments, organising the house, long chats with friends and even a shopping trip to check out the sales (which only happen twice a year in Italy…in January and July).  I love being busy and having lots to do but I’m looking forward to a nice quiet week-end with my family.   Our traditional Friday night ritual of curling up on the couch under a thick blanket with the fireplace burning and a big bowl of popcorn just might be my most favourite thing ever.  Add in a little Master Chef and I could stay there forever.

It’s week 2 of my Gratefully Gratefully series for 2014.  I love how doing this series makes me look for all the wonderful people, places and things I’m surrounded by.

I am grateful for…

DSC_0160…colourful washing lines on grey days.

IMG_2857-001…that I can wait in places like this while my daughter does her guitar class.IMG_8642…my kid’s love of Pasta Con Broccoli.IMG_3892…my daughters’ taste in shoes.

Anything that you’re particularly grateful for this week?

(Gratefully Grateful °1°)

A Kid’s Life: Melbourne, Australia

14 Jan

Hello everyone.  Time for a new interview in my A Kid’s Life series.  I have to admit that I’m really proud of this series and all of the great interviews I’ve had over the past few years.  I’ve loved “virtually meeting” every single one of these families and luckily enough I’ve kept in touch with them all.  These families have been warm, friendly and open to share the details of their daily family grind.  I have big plans to meet them all in their native countries in the coming years (don’t worry, I won’t show up unexpected on your doorsteps!).  But what a great excuse to travel around the world!  Here are the previous interviews in case you missed them: Italy, Japan, USA, The Philippines, Tasmania, Canada, BelgiumNew Zealand, Holland, Germany, Colombia, France, Switzerland, South Africa, India.

Today we get to hear from Bron and her family who live in Melbourne, Australia.  I thought it would be interesting to hear from a family living on mainland Australia after reading all about family life in Tasmania in a previous interview.  I was curious to see if there were differences between the two.  So far I’ve noticed that more languages are offered in Tasmanian schools, both love to eat Weetbix for breakfast and dinner is eaten at about the same time that Italian kids eat their afternoon snack!

Bron contacted me last week about participating in the interview and after hearing her family’s story and feeling her energetic and positive energy just by reading her email I was excited to read all about their life.  Bron and her husband Andrew have three kids.  Their oldest son, Cooper, has Cerebral Palsy (Dystonic Quadriplegia) as he received a brain injury due to lack of oxygen during the birthing process (read more here).  What this means is the damaged parts of his brain can’t communicate properly with the muscles all over his body.  His whole body is affected including his arms, legs, trunk and mouth.  He is cognitively a typical 8 year old boy who loves cricket and Lego though!

Last year Cooper started a fundraiser which involved him walking for 1km using his walker.  He ended up raising $15, 000 AUD to help build a kindergarten in Cambodia.  The family visited the school several times and were overwhelmed with the reception and gratitude that they were shown (especially Cooper).  

Is this not an amazingly inspiring family?

Bron writes a blog about her family life in Melbourne, Cooper’s developmental accomplishments and their travel adventures.

And now let’s hear what they have to say about daily life in Melbourne, Australia…

Sihanoukeville in Cambodia

Sihanoukeville in Cambodia

What country do you live in?

We live in Australia, in the state of Victoria.

Are you and your husband the same nationality?

Yes we are both Australian born in different cities/states.image-4

Do you both work. Or does someone stay home?

Andrew works as an arborist and I’m a stay at home mum.

How many languages are spoken in your house?  Which one(s)?

We speak English.  We also learnt a lot of sign language and gestures before our son began to verbally communicate.

How many kids do you have? What are their ages?

We have three kids.  Cooper is 8, Pepper is 5 and Elwood is 2. Continue reading

A Kid’s Life: South Africa

14 Jun

Time for a new A Kid’s Life interview.  This series shows us how families from different cultures and countries around the world live their daily lives.  We learn about everything from what they eat to the local school system to what sort of extracurricular activities are popular.  Last week we heard from Elisa and her family who are living in Zurich, Switzerland and today we hear from a super interesting (and inspiring) family living in a seaside town south of Cape Town in South Africa.

I met Se7en (as the Mama is known online) on Instagram and I’ve been faithfully following her ever since.  I’m just so enthralled and curious about how this woman manages to mother (and homeschool) a family of 8 kids plus write a blog (called Se7en) that chronicles their life in South Africa, arts and crafts projects, outings and recipes.  This is one busy woman to say the least.  As you can see, I’m a fan.  Where does she get the energy to do it all?

After reading this interview and seeing the photos I’ve decided South Africa will definitely be one of our future travel destinations.  It seems like a pretty idyllic place to bring up a family.  I loved hearing about their second language Afrikaans (especially since we understand quite a bit knowing Dutch) and about how their school year starts in January instead of September like we’re used to. And of course, I’ve decided that sometime in our lives we’ll have to enjoy a good traditional South African braai.

So let’s hear about what family life is like in South Africa…


What country do you live in?
We live in South Africa, in a beach town south of the city of Cape Town, called Fish Hoek. We live on the slopes of a mountain over looking a beautiful beach.

Are you and your husband the same nationality?
My husband and I are both South African – born and raised, while we love traveling we have spent most of our lives under African skies.


Do you both work? Or does someone stay at home?
My husband works out of the house and goes into the city each day. My work is to stay home with the kids, taking care of the house and home and teaching the kids, because we homeschool.

How many languages are spoken in your house? What one(s)?
My husband and I both speak English and Afrikaans. Afrikaans is a Dutch based language that evolved when Dutch Settlers began to arrive at the Cape a few hundred years ago. We both studied a foreign language at University, and so my husband has a little French and I have a little Italian. Our country is a country of many different people groups with eleven official languages. Almost everyone speaks English and all children are taught Afrikaans at school. Then their is the local African language in each area, and children who have an African language as their first language learn that as well.fish hoek

How many kids do you have? What are their ages?
We have eight children, five boys and three girls. Two teenage boys age fifteen and fourteen, then a girl age 12, then two more boys age 10 and 9, two girls age 7 and 5 and finally a little boy age 3 and a half.

Continue reading

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