Domodossola, Italy!

Yesterday I hopped a train to Italy with some girl friends and my mother in law made it just in time to come along!  We had heard about a fun market in a little town about an hour and 40 min train ride from Bern.  We caught the 7:31 train, bright and early and arrived around 9:15. We browsed the market and found a restaurant for lunch and espresso. After lunch we finished up at the market and “happened upon” some gelato…that we may or may not have been hunting for!






















scarves time! we each bought a couple of scarves…and lots of food to bring home.







but not these, I avoided these little guys!








































I think we all went home with fresh pasta for dinner. It was super yummy!
















dad, I tried to buy you a ginormous tin of olives but I couldn’t lift it!






































































































thanks, ladies for a fun day! It was so refreshing to get away!

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Meals on minivan wheels

So when we arrived in Bern and began to make friends I did what I would do at home when people lost a loved one, had a baby, were having a rough week or moving. I took them food. And people thought I was so strange! But they were pleasantly surprised and gradually warmed up to the idea. It is not a custom here for sure. And it wasn’t in Bogota either. But it is something I have done because I knew no matter where you come from when you are a new mom you are tired and feeding a baby, or if you are in the middle of moving, or crisis it is such a blessing to have someone else worry about one other thing in the day!  And when most people aren’t finding time these days to cook on a good day, it is just so nice to have a home cooked meal. I don’t write about this because I invented the idea! It’s purely because others did it really well for us and made me want to do it for others!

I can remember exactly who came to visit when Jackson and Owen were born and I could probably even tell you what meal they brought. Was it because the meals were gourmet and perfectly wrapped? Nope, it was because I was in the middle of those first long days of being home with a baby and the contact with the outside world was refreshing and much needed! We lucked out and all of our friends are great cooks so the meals were all delicious!  Likewise in Bogota when I experienced a miscarriage I had 2 friends that brought a meal. It was such a blessing!

Taking a meal to someone is really super easy, although it can be intimidating. I used to try to think of what to take and felt like I had to look for a new yummy recipe or make something fancy. Often I talked myself out of taking anything at all because I just wasn’t sure they would like it or need it anyways. Then I realized I should just make what my family loves and what heats up well for leftovers. Fortunately, I have practice making our more regular recipes so then it isn’t stressful trying to learn a new gig! I usually make something that makes enough for our family and another and sometimes if I know there are multiple friends in need I try to schedule to take meals to both on one day. Because let’s face it, I have 2 busy boys and I don’t have huge chunks of time free to cook and deliver.  (I lucked out a little while back when 2 friends had babies, they lived around the corner from each other and had their babies one day apart!)

When I am taking a meal to a new mom (or friend in need) I try to…

-think about taking a comfort food but also consider that a new mom or someone recovering from surgery is likely feeling not so much like her former self. I try to take something tasty but also healthy so that she can enjoy and not feel guilty about it.

-save jars and disposable tupperware in advance so that when I deliver the food I can tell her right away that she doesn’t need to return a thing!

-always try to confirm a time and tell the mom that you will just be popping in to deliver the food so that she knows she doesn’t have to entertain you if she is exhausted. I remember appreciating the friends who could discern whether or not I needed someone to chat with or if it was feeding time and they just needed to come and go!

-ask if there are any dietary restrictions! I have a friend who is a vegetarian here so I wanted to make something for her that she could enjoy. Likewise when I had Owen I had to go dairy-free and our friends were awesome about bringing stuff they knew I could eat too!

-if your budget is tight and you want to take something pasta is cheap and easy! Or if a whole meal seems like too much make a batch of muffins or a loaf of bread. It really is the thought that counts (and the human contact) not the complexity of what you deliver!

-jot down the heating instructions…don’t bombard your friend with instructions because it is so hard to remember later!  And I also list what I have included in their meal just so they know what they are getting in to.

-If you are ever in Michael’s or target and see dollar ribbon grab a few spools. It’s amazing how cheery a ribbon can make a package!


oh, and one last thing…if someone offers you a meal, take it! Trust me. When I had Jackson I was trying to talk friends out of it. I knew it wasn’t convenient and they often had kids themselves. But you know what? It is nice for all of us to get to do something for someone else!  Give someone else the same satisfaction you can have from serving!


*And if you are still stuck deciding what on earth to take, I will be back here soon with some recipes and meal ideas!*

In the meantime, be thinking of who might need your help!


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Hello there!

No worries, we are still alive and well! Last week was dominated by garage sale prep and squeezing in outside time whenever it wasn’t raining. We have had a rainy few weeks and we are some sunshine and shorts weather. I see people writing about Spring coming to an end in the US and we haven’t really seen ours yet. On top of the “waiting on Spring funk” Owen has temporarily launched back into his 5 AM wake ups. I say temporarily because it just can’t go on. We have gotten through it before and I know it is somewhat teething related. This too shall pass, but we are tired!

Here are a few pictures from last week….







cereal is much more fun when it is crushed and poured while mommy is busy cooking and distracted







these shutters were on an old farm house we passed on a walk…wouldn’t they look beautiful on my wall. I wonder how much the farmer would want for them?!







beware of these leaves!! They cause and itchy reaction with white welts. we know from experience.Luckily our friend knew exactly what herb to pick to rub on it and relieve some of the reaction!














amazing view!







cookies to sell at the garage sale!







the garage sale was semi-successful, we sold all of our big stuff but had lots of little stuff left. We plan to put out a table at the upcoming neighborhood sale that we just learned about! After that it’s off to goodwill!








and on Sunday morning after our long week when we thought we couldn’t go on we were serenaded by this spectacular house band that revived us for a new week!

ps-more coming this week!  House updates from back home as well as a post I have been working on about taking meals to friends!

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This year we spent Easter Sunday making our way home. We woke up and made a nice breakfast and then packed up and hit the road. I think it was the first time in my life that I have ever not been in church on Easter Sunday. For those of you that celebrate Easter and believe that Jesus rose from the dead you know what a wonderful celebratory morning Easter Sunday is. It is something we celebrate year round but there is something special about celebrating as a church family!  So, I will admit, our nontraditional day was a bit off. But we enjoyed being together as a family and made the most of it.

On our way back to Ramstein Seth decided that he wanted to stop at the Waterloo Memorial and then in Luxembourg for our picnic lunch. It was a beautiful little city and as we drove down the main road we spotted an amazing park.  It was the first day we had had clear skies. So we hopped out and let the boys explore for a while. It had a big wooden pirate ship, ginormous slide and a really cool water system.




















































































































By the end of our time we thought Jackson was going to opt to stay and live in the park, finding sustenance from the remains of picnic scraps. Oh wait, that was Seth. He loved it as much as the little guys!

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