Tag Archives: vacation

Il Rientro

2 Sep


(photo taken in Nova Scotia this summer)

Whoa.  We’re back.  It’s September.  And school starts tomorrow.  All pretty hard to believe at the moment.  These past two months have been so full of amazing new experiences and memories for our family.  We spent time in Umbria, Verona, Liguria and Canada and really took advantage of every moment together and with our friends and family.  Wholly satisfied would explain the way I’m feeling at the moment.

IMG_0667(never dare your kid to put his fingers in the pincers of a crawfish – they’ll do it and it hurts)

I have my girls who start secondary school tomorrow.  And they’re pretty much freaking out.  Every few minutes they come to me in a panic with questions of where they have to go after the bus arrives at school, where their classroom is, where the toilets are, how to avoid the areas where all the older kids make-out and so on.  Only problem is that I know less than them so it has been a challenge to keep them calm.  They’re actually starting to freak me out about the whole thing.

IMG_0908(entering the 13 degree Atlantic Ocean – evidence that they are indeed half Canadian)

Since we’re just back from Canada we’re still trying to adjust to the time change.  Lots of late nights and sleeping in late the last few days (see an example of the state of my kids at midnight here).  I think we’ll have a bit of a rough time getting up at 6:30am tomorrow morning in order to catch the school bus on time.   And I can’t even fathom what it will be like to be in my home alone for the day after two months of constant kid-companionship .  I know it will feel too empty and quiet.

IMG_1684(visiting the year 1744 at Louisbourg in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)

But I’ll be so glad to be back here sharing some of my creative endeavors, trips, recipes and even some projects that I have been working on for other blogs and sites.  I’ve really taken a breather this summer and am so ready to start again!


(enjoying a little trip on a lobster fishing boat on the South Shore of Nova Scotia)

So, cheers to a new school year!  I know it’s going to be a great one.


Happy Friday

19 Jul

IMG_0090I still can’t believe it’s already Friday.  This past week has been the perfect summer vacation week.  I’ve loved hanging out with my kids until late in the evening and I’ve really loved being able to sleep in past 6:30am.  A few days were spent at home reading books, playing board games, drawing and baking with a quick trip to the lake for a refreshing swim (it has been hot here!).  We also took a train ride into the big city and walked around and admired all the people and breathed in that polluted city air that we all crave every now and then.   And one day we spent the day with the lovely Giova and her family and had a great time chatting, swimming and, unfortunately, hanging out in the emergency room of our local hospital (no worries, all was fine in the end!).  Lazy days of summer really are the best.IMG_0188The kids even opened up their first activity in their summer garland.  Man, were they excited!  And they loved, and I mean LOVED, the whittle challenge that they opened.  After looking up the word whittle (because just as I had expected they had NO idea what it meant) they got busy whittling away their little bars of soap.  It really is the perfect medium for kids to learn to carve with a knife.  Soft enough to be able to actually carve out a nice shape but hard enough that it doesn’t break into pieces.  I was amazed at how much control they had with the knives and I’m proud to say there were no injuries (or blood) involved.  They ended up going through about 10 little bars of soap and I’m now the proud owner of a soap owl, man, woman, heart, cloud, star and cat to name a few.  Guess what the grandparents are getting for Christmas this year?  I must remember to tell my frequent-traveler husband to bring home all those little hotel soaps from now on (or friends and family out there as well!).IMG_0208

I wish everyone a great week-end.  Make sure to pop by next week because I’ll be hosting my first giveaway.  It’s a good one too.  Sponsored by one of my all time favourite companies.  Exciting stuff.

Immagine d’Estate

28 Jul

There hasn’t been much action around this blog lately.  We’ve been on vacation for the last few weeks and have been having a great time visiting family, friends and doing lots of Belgian-like activities.  We’ve had everything from winter weather to 35 degree heat and we’ve cycled our little hearts out through it all.  It has been an amazing holiday so far.  Here are a few images from the last few weeks…

Standing on their sand castle and waiting for the tide to come in.

A great-grandfather and a great-granddaughter sharing their love of stamps.

Visiting a vintage wallpaper shop in Gent.  The two old sisters who own it are worth the visit.

My kind of beach hut.

Some cows and on old German war bunker on the beautiful bike trails in Lier.

The kid’s set up a traditional Belgian bloemenwinkel (flower shop) on the beach.

Creating with clay with extended family.

A culinary experience involving paling (eel).   And it was (surprisingly) good!

Ghirlanda d’Estate

28 Jun

The other day I was contemplating what I was going to do to keep my three children happy and busy for their two month summer vacation this year.  It’s always a time of lazing around, reading books, going to the lake, playing with friends and traveling.  But every now and then there’s a lull in the activity and the “Mom, I’m bored” starts.  I’m a strong believer in letting kids get bored because I find it’s really when they come up with the most creative things to do and make but sometimes you can just hear that they are too tired/hot/fed up to come up with something on their own.

So after reading Jen’s (from Classic Play) post on Stay-at-Home Summer Camp I got inspired to come up with some summer activities for those emergency times when the kids are in need of “entertainment”.  I organised six activities and sewed them into little cloth bags and then sewed those all into a garland.  When it’s time to pick an activity it’s really a surprise for them when they cut it open (we’ll cut them on the bottom so we can then save the bunting for another occasion or a similar activity next summer).   I’ve hung it up and it’s ready for when they are in the swing of summer vacation (still a week and half of school to go!).

All activities are for the kids to do together and each one is at least 1-2 hours worth of fun (I hope).  The activities are:

Photography Challenge: I’ve written a card with 10 random words and the kids have to go around and take photos that transmit the words into an image.  I’ve noted that they shouldn’t think too literally about these words and they should “think out of the box”.  I’m sure that will spark a great conversation with the three of them.  I then asked them to print out their 10 photos and make them into a book.  I’m excited to see the result!

Origami Challenge: In this little bag I included a package of miniature origami papers and a list of items they have to fold.  They are all seasoned origami experts but I think it will be a challenge to use the tiny paper and I’ve included at least 2 new shapes that they will have to learn how to do.  In the end they’ll have to present close to 50 origami pieces.

Water Balloons: In this one I tucked in about 45 balloons and told them they have to fill all of them with water, divide them into three piles and then bomb away at each other.  I know this one is going to be a hit.

Wooden Stick Architecture Challenge: For this challenge the kids have to use over 100 long wooden skewers and construct some sort of building (or anything) using the grass as their base.  Since the skewers are pointy on one end this makes it quite easy to stick them in the ground and I think they could end up making something quite spectacular.  I mentioned that they can incorporate ribbons, fabric or any other material into their project.  After it’s done I suggested they write a story about who lives there.

Cooking Challenge: In this one I included two very simple recipes that they have to prepare for the family.  I also included a 5euro note so that they can walk to the local grocery store to buy the ingredients needed.  The recipes are Tomoto Garlic Soup and Homemade Croutons.  They are both things the kids love to eat and easy enough for them to do alone.  They are also asked to set a nice fancy table for when they serve their meal.

Neighbourhood Clean-Up:  I had to include this one.  The streets around here are sometimes littered with trash and I always tell the kids how important it is to keep our environment clean (which is why I can often be seen walking around with pockets full of my kid’s trash).  I included three large white garbage bags and 3 pairs of latex gloves and told them to head out and beautify our street.  This one will definitely confuse the neighbours!

So there you have it.  I’ll keep you posted this summer on the different activities and whether they were a hit or miss.  What are your plans to keep your kids happy and busy this summer?


17 Feb

It’s almost that Carnival time of year again.  Soon the streets will be filled with confetti, paper streamers and spray string (I hate that stuff).  Already all the bakeries have overflowing trays of freshly baked (fried) chiacchere.  There will be kids wandering the towns and cities dressed up as princesses, pirates, clowns, soldiers, cowboys and knights.  It’s an exciting time of year for Italian kids.  Lots of festas and even a day or two off school.

Amazingly enough one of my children actually wanted to wear the cloak that I made.  She was even excited about it.  In the end I did manage to hem it and it looks like a grade nine student Home Ec project.  As I was doing the last iron to make it look as good as possible (considering) I managed to melt part of the sleeve.  Gotta love those synthetic fabrics.  I told her not to let anyone approach the cloak for close inspection.

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