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The most American Thanksgiving

NL

My friend at The Three Under first clued me in on a church in the Netherlands holding a Thanksgiving service several months ago. Before I knew it was in English, before I understood why they held it, and before I could figure out how we could get there, I wanted to go.

So we’re going.

In preparation for this short trip, I spent today, Thanksgiving Eve, reading about why this service is held in Leiden, NL every year.

It turns out, the Pilgrims and I have a lot in common. They were also expats, first moving from England to Leiden. Some succeeded, others suffered. While in Leiden they worried about their cultural identity. Even back in the 1600s the Netherlands was quite the liberal country. The Pilgrim children were adapting to the local culture faster than the Pilgrim Fathers were comfortable with. So, they secured funding, packed up, and moved to the New World.

Tomorrow I’ll learn more about the Pilgrims and their time in Leiden via the church service, American Pilgrim museum, and just getting a feel for the town as we explore. I’m calling it the most American Thanksgiving outside of America.

So even though my son’s preschool mates will still be in preschool, though shops will still be open, and though there will be few pumpkin pies baking in a 4000+ mile vicinity, we’re going to celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a part of our cultural identity. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to learn more about my favorite holiday and eat a Thanksgiving feast with my family and good friends.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

 

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A glimpse of two National Parks

Why, hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’m currently in the process of redesigning my site, so please excuse the dust.

I had a few minutes today to check-in on my favorite link-up, Instagram Travel Thursday. My plan was just to read posts like I normally do, but then I had to comment, and then I had to participate. So here I am.

I found out this morning that the government shut down has ended. That means that people will once again have access to the US National Parks. I was in the US before the shut down and was able to see a few of these National Parks while they were still open. I’ll be sharing some of these images today.

Two National Parks via Instagram

We were in San Francisco during the America’s Cup. If you ever get a chance to visit a city hosting this competition, I recommend it. While I’m sure the views of the bay are beautiful throughout the year, they are fantastic with the big boats and colorful sails. Here’s one of those boats in front of Alcatraz.

After San Francisco, we drove to Yosemite National Park. This will get it’s own post soon. In the meantime check out this no-filtered photo. If I wasn’t there I wouldn’t think this type of place was real.

So please remember:

This post is part of the Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosted by Skimbaco LifestyleDestination UnknownChild ModeHines Sight BlogLive.Do.Grow.House of AnaïsLuxury Travel Mom. Click on any of those links to access all Instagram travel posts.www.xc.comhouses for rent in kendall fl

My favorite family travel wallets

On a whim one day, I bought a travel wallet. It is now one of my favorite pieces for travel document organization. Being an expat, my passport is generally needed more frequently than it was in the states. Being a family of four, it only makes sense to put them all in one place. Being cheap, I loved only spending 3 EUR. However, I’m really itching for a new travel wallet for all of our passports. My wallet is ok, but it is really only meant for 1 person and it makes it difficult to stuff 4 passports, 4 resident’s cards, 3 resident’s papers (for some reason, my daughter doesn’t need one – weird, eh?), plus our Netherlands annual museum pass, our Sea Life/Lego Land Discovery Center annual passes, our frequent everything cards, and currency for both the US and Europe so we can always have small change available.

On my search for a new wallet, I came across some treasures and wanted to share them here. What I love is that they are handmade. They are unique. They are well crafted. Best of all, they are for families. Take a look.

Please note: I am not affiliated with any of these companies. These are just wallets I saw, I liked, and now I want to share with my readers. I get no compensation for any purchases.

My favorite family travel wallets

Tracey Lipman Collection

Family passport wallet by Tracey Lipman Collection

Family passport wallet by Tracey Lipman Collection

Family passport holder by the tracey lipman collection

Family passport holder by the Tracey Lipman Collection

Tracey makes her passport holders in Israel using a variety of beautiful fabrics. The custom holders can hold up to 12 passports, so you have to have a pretty large family, or have multi-citizened family members, to require two holders. There’s space in the middle for tickets and change. My favorite aspect of this wallet are that it can be zipped shut and used as a wristlet. Seems like the perfect way to hold the passports while at the airport and still be able to hold your toddler’s hand and pulling the carry-on bag.

They are currently priced at $35 each and will take 1-2 weeks to deliver once ordered.

For more of her great designs, visit her shop Tracey Lipman Collection.

 

Pecan Tree Creations

Family passport wallet by Pecan Tree Creations

Family passport wallet by Pecan Tree Creations

Family passport wallet by Pecan Tree Creations

Family passport wallet by Pecan Tree Creations

Shannon’s design for her family travel wallet is both practical and beautiful. They can each hold up to 4 passports. Because of the way the pockets are positioned, and the use of the elastic band, there is no worry that the passports will fall out. Smaller families can use the extra space for boarding passes and confirmations. Larger families will appreciate being able to keep their passports away from other documents and money while traveling.

These are currently priced at $14, comes in a variety of patterns, and can be customized on request.

For more of her great designs, visit her shop at Pecan Tree Creations.

 

Blissful Patterns

Family Travel Wallet by Blissful Patterns

Family Travel Wallet by Blissful Patterns

Family Travel Wallet by Blissful Patterns

Family Travel Wallet by Blissful Patterns

Shannon at Blissful Patterns offers two choices for families looking to update their passport wallet. For those with some sewing ability, she sells her Family Passport Travel Holder pattern. You can then use any fabric you like, and update them to the season if you please (or maybe even make them themed to your trip – imagine the possibilities!).

For those like me, with absolutely no ability to sew (not even hem!), she can custom make them to your liking. The pattern above holds up to 4 passports, 3 loyalty cards, boarding passes, plus they have a pocket for change, cash, and a pen or two.

They are also designed so that the passports can’t fall out of their pockets when closed.

The patterns are currently $8.50, with custom wallets priced at $45.

To order one of her patterns, please visit her store Blissful Patterns. If you’d like to order a finished product, you can do so at Blissful Sew. Message her if you are looking for a more custom wallet. She is very quick at responding.

Please note passport sizes are different for different countries. Double check that the wallet you want will fit your passport’s dimensions before ordering.

 

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Bike Races

Every year my little corner of Germany closes its streets for a day. It means one thing – it’s time for a bike race. We’re lucky enough to have front row seats. At 2 years old, I’m pretty sure my son was just trying to figure out how he could get his balance bike to go so fast.

 

 

This post is part of the new Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosted by Skimbaco LifestyleDestination UnknownChild ModeHines Sight BlogLive.Do.Grow.House of AnaïsLuxury Travel Mom. Click on any of those links to access all Instagram travel posts.accessoires de sexeles robes erotiquesspinterestles godes xxl acheter

Sattel Hochstuckli: a mountain of fun

The best views were towards the right. The GPS wanted us to go left. I turned to my husband, “it better be worth it.”

Now, I know, that wasn’t really fair. We were in Zürich and decided to skip the city and head to the mountains. Only, we had no idea where to go. I pulled out the GPS and searched for the closest destination under the “Winter Sports” heading and hoped for the best. I wanted a ski lift that operated in the summer. He wanted to be able to get out of the car and get a good view. Forty-five minutes, and many left turns later, we arrived in Sattel.

There it was, a lift to the top of the mountain. This lift was called Stuckli Rondo, and is the world’s first rotating gondola. I was already happy that we found some form of transportation to the top that I didn’t care how much it cost or what we would do once up there, we were going to go.

Fortunately the price was reasonable. Fortunately there was a ton of things to do for our whole family once we got there. Unfortunately we couldn’t spend all day there, when we easily would have, because we had plans for the afternoon.

A fun day for the kids in the Alps. Settel, Switzerland - via Travel Turtle

The rotating gondola. There are four different colors, the red one represents fall. I think I should go back in the fall to see the changing colors. (Settel, Switzerland)

Sattel Hochstuckli – For the family

This is what we saw once we got up to the top:

A fun day for the kids in the Alps. Settel, Switzerland - via Travel Turtle

To the left, toboggan run and suspension bridge. (Settel, Switzerland)

A fun day for the kids in the Alps. Settel, Switzerland - via Travel Turtle

To the right, bouncy castles, trampolines, and cafes.

The Toboggan Run – For those who like speed

Since I’m originally from Orlando, I’m often surprised at how few safety measures were in place on some rides. The only “rule” was that kids under a certain age had to share the toboggan with their parent. My husband and toddler went. You can control the speed, so my husband was able to slow down when our son got nervous. Once they finished my son wanted to go again. We distracted him with all the other choices.

A fun day for the kids in the Alps. Settel, Switzerland - via Travel Turtle

For those who like speed, the toboggan run is a good choice.

A fun day for the kids in the Alps. Settel, Switzerland - via Travel Turtle

A small portion of the run. (Yes, that little red blur is my family.)

The “Raiffeisen Skywalk” Suspension Bridge – For those who like heights

This is the longest foot suspension bridge in Europe. The accompanying sign says it’s the length of 5 airplanes. I tried to walk across it. I couldn’t. I got dizzy. I imagined every “what if” scenario. I froze before we reached the halfway point, the carefully turned around to safety.

My husband and daughter continued on. They were fine.

A fun day for the kids in the Alps. Settel, Switzerland - via Travel Turtle

This looks like fun, but I’ll never know.

Bouncy houses and trampolines – For those that need to burn off energy

While the rest of the family crossed the suspension bridge, I got my son ready for the nap he was going to take on the drive back to Zürich. It was time to jump.

There were between 8-10 bouncy houses and a few trampolines. Not all were toddler friendly, but I was lucky because he was only interested in the ones that were. He jumped, ran, and slid. I took in the views. That is, until the cloud came in and I started thinking about my husband and daughter in the middle of the suspension bridge.

 

A fun day for the kids in the Alps. Settel, Switzerland - via Travel Turtle

Trampolines and bouncy houses… and why yes, that is a cloud that has rolled in while my husband and daughter were on the suspension bridge.

Tips and Practical Information – For those that want to go

  • Sattel Hochstuckli is open year-round, with different activities depending on the season.
  • Aside from the activities we did, there are also various trails. They seemed suitable for all ages.
  • Even in the summer, bring a light jacket. It can get cold up there!
  • The gondola ride was 19 CHF round trip per adult, free for kids under 6.
  • The toboggan ride was 4 CHF for each run.
  • The bouncy castles and trampoline were 7 CHF for an all-day pass for kids under 7.
  • The skywalk and trails were free.
  • There are combo packages available, and pricing for different scenarios (teens, groups, etc.) For that and the most up-to-date information, check out their website.
  • We were able to bring our small umbrella stroller across the bridge. We didn’t see a sign telling us different. However, once we crossed, my husband noticed a sign that said he couldn’t bring the stroller back. They had to take one of the trails back. Since we thought it was a one-way bridge, we weren’t too worried, however it is not a one-way bridge. Ours wasn’t the only stroller. If a stroller came from the other direction it would have been impossible to cross the bridge. If you bring a stroller and want to cross the bridge, make sure it’s a small enough stroller to allow people to pass you in the other direction.

For a completely different way to spend a summer day, check out my guest post at Walking on Travels. There, I talk about visiting Düsseldorf, Germany’s Altstadt and Rhein Promenade.

This post is part of Travel Tip Tuesday hosted by Suitcases and Sippy Cups and Walking on Travels and Travel Tuesday Linkup with A Compass Rose & Found Love. Now What?. Click on the links for more great travel posts.

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