Back to Terschelling

So, last month we went back to Terschelling for a two week holiday. Just can’t get enough of this island….

IMG_0972

If you ever have the chance to visit, go to the Wrakkenmuseum ( shipwreckmuseum) in Formerum, a small village in the centre of the island. It’s a magical place where you can spend hours and hours, looking at all those treasures big ans small, new and old, that have been found in the sea, or that have washed up on the shore.

IMG_0995

 

In the backyard there’s a great playground for the kids that really triggers their imagination, all made of found and recycled materials.

IMG_1013.JPG

IMG_1018

Indoors you can have your coffee or hot chocolate surrounded by treasures from the sea; bones, shells, ancient diving costumes, pictures and funny stories. Just keep an eye on your kids ……..no, honestly, it’s a very, very relaxed place to visit with kids. So much to explore, see and do

IMG_0981

We spent halve a day here and still haven’t seen and experienced everything. A good reason to go back….again…..

IMG_0984

 

Advertisements

Terschelling

Who needs overcrowded airports, traffic jams and endless flights to find that perfect holiday, when all this is just a train – and ferry ride away?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

*An evening beach, that is all yours*

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

*A boat, to take you to the seals*

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

*Seals, actually, on a sandbank in the Waddenzee*

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

*A place to roam*

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

*A deserted forrest to cycle through*

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

*cycling trips under a grey sky, seawind in your  hair, open space all around*

And that, really, isn’t even half of it……….

Why travel far when happiness really lies just around that corner?

A green adventure: wwoofing with kids

This summer we spent a couple of weeks wwoofing in Denmark. Wwoofing? Yes.

It’s an interesting concept, wwoofing.  The term stands for World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms, and the initiative finds its origins in the UK, 1971, when opportunities were created for city people to go into the country side and work and learn on organic farms.

denmark4

Today there are vast networks of hosts and volunteers (wwoofers) in many countries around the world. You sign up on a wwoofing site such as wwoof.dk, contact hosts and make arrangements to spend a period learning, and working voluntarily on their farms.

denmark3

Now that my daughters are old enough to stand on their own feed and carry their own backpack, I felt it was time to introduce them to a way of spending the holidays that I have liked very much in my pre-motherhood days; travelling by train and doing volunteer work. I very much wanted the kids to have the opportunity to spend a lot of time outside in nature, and I hoped that wwoofing  would provide an opportunity to combine all this.

And so, after a lot of emailing back and forth with a friendly Danish host, we embarked on a 10 hour trainride from The Netherlands all the way up to the North of Denmark, where we ended up in a small, small village on the edge of a fjord.

denmark2

Together with another volunteer from Japan, we spent our time working on a large vegetable garden, weeding, planting and harvesting, picking all kinds of berries and using these to make tasty cakes and lemonade. We ventured out on our bikes to discover the beautiful surroundings together aswell. The kids enjoyed themselves too: building a treehouse, roaming around the garden, picking strawberries, and painting rocks.

denmark1

We had a very interesting time, and I personnally feel I learned a lot about organic gardening, about wwoofing in general, and about myself too.

I think we might do this again another year, and I would totally recommend it as a way of spending your family holiday, but there are few things to keep in mind.

denmark6

Allthough I think most people go wwoofing without kids, it’s quite possible to do so as a family. It is practical when your kids are old enough to look after themselves a bit; they can help out a bit but also play by themselves while you work. It helps when there are other kids around to play with too! It is also important I think to be very clear about your needs and expectations both as a host and as a wwoofer; not every place is suitable to accomodate families, and even when they are it helps to have an open conversation about mutual expectations and wishes.

Well, all in all we had a wonderful time in  a beautiful place !

denmark5

The single parent’s survival guide to Mother’s Day

As a single parent, holidays can be quite a challenge. It’s during holidays that you can be confronted pretty roughly with the fact that your family is just not an ordinary one.

It has happened to me several times over the past few years that I just wished a holiday could pass unnoticed, and I could only really enjoy myself once it was over. One of those days is Mother’s day, which is celebrated tomorrow in The Netherlands and probably elsewhere too.

Personally, I think Mother’s day isn’t worth the fuss. We should appreciate our mothers everyday, and if you have kids, you know they won’t love you more just for that one day.

For the kids however, Mother’s day is quite an issue. It all starts at school where they have to craft something every year. And then they come home…feelin’ all inspired! For the past few days, my daughters have been buzzing about the house, making drawings and presents, keeping the door to their bedroom closed and yelling; ‘Now you saw what I was doing!’ when I enter their room.

They even went shopping together to get some stuff for a surprise breakfast tomorrow. This year, I decided to quietly enjoy the pre-Mother’s day fuss to the max; listening to those little voices discussing their plans, pretending not to see all the drawings and letters they forgot to hide. I know from experience that  ‘the big day’ itself can be quite stressful. For me, because I am once again confronted with the fact that we’re not the picture perfect ordinary family, and  because I feel presure to make it a great day anyway. And for the kids, who, filled with anticipation, will probably end up quarelling before breakfast is over. I expect at least a tantrum or two tomorrow, knowing how full of temperament they are….

It’ll hardly catch me by surprise! So, after the traditional Mother’s day breakfast fuss is over, I intend to make it a nice Sunday ‘my way’. No stress, and hopefully an afternoon at the beach, enjoying the family that we are.

Lessons I learned:

– Don’t feel the pressure to make it a perfect day ‘because today is a holiday/Mothersday’. You will be stressed by this, and disappointed if in reality your kids are quarreling, calling you a ‘stupid mother’, and yelling ‘I want my present back’.  Yes, a true story!

– If you feel stressed, so will your kids. Relax.

– Do whatever makes you feel good: watching movies in pyama’s, spending time at the beach together, or putting the kids in front of a movie so you have a little ‘free’ time. Do it!

– If things get rough, remember, tomorrow is a new day, and things will be back to normal.

– Take good care of yourself. Which is why I am going to enjoy a good cup of tea, a slice of home made cake (recipe will follow) and go to bed on time!

Good Luck tomorrow!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA