We’re home! We got back Saturday night after being in the car for 10 hours. My goodness this trip to Dordogne was fantastic and I have some thorough post ideas coming up when I’m back to normal in about a week. Today I just wanted to jot down our experience with the boys this trip and the absolutely insane things that they fought about while we were away.

This was the first real vacation we’ve taken that I feel the boys were all on the same page. They like the same stuff, no one’s the ‘baby’ in a stroller (no stroller!), they can wear the same clothes- and they ABSOLUTELY all love to argue. Hence, this 20 hour round trip pilgrimage  provided my husband and I with some very, very interesting things to ponder.

The minion

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I’ve written before how I am lucky to have so many talented friends in my life since I’m still searching for whatever my ‘skill’ might be. Today I have the pleasure of introducing to you my friend Sara of Sara Theisen Design. She’s the mastermind of her own company and has a great eye for creative design. I should admit that I’m also a little biased as she’s a fellow Michigan State grad.

Sara Theisen Design

Sara Theisen Design is a full-service print and design studio that offers a wide array of services including identity and branding, print design, invitations and announcements, stationery packages, personalized stationery, creative design templates and now offers custom word art canvases. She offers a variety of styles of birth announcements, baby shower invitations, birthday party invites, graduation announcements, save the date and holiday cards with three unique delivery options to suit your needs.

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My Bakfiets is Kaput

by farrah on July 17, 2014 · 6 comments

I’m not very happy today. Yesterday was rough on the boys and I– as I managed to hit something and break part of my bike (bakfiets). You know, the one that I ride several times a day, every day- toting the boys to and fro and simply love riding. So I’m bummed that my main mode of transportation is currently out of commission, but also fear the logistics of fixing it: The how, when, and IF. *sob*.

Broken MadsenBehold my mad MacGyver skills.  [click to continue…]

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Horrible Things I Can’t Wait To Eat

by farrah on July 16, 2014 · 24 comments

The other night I used one of my precious cans of Campbell’s soup to make a chicken recipe. It was broccoli cheese soup and I made ‘chicken divan’ from the back of the label. I didn’t add any salt, nor use the ‘suggested’ cheddar cheese because (ironically) here in the land of cheese cheddar is somewhat of an abomination. Anyhow- the dinner was delicious- albeit the saltiest thing we’ve eaten in ages. We all felt rather gross after dinner, and that got us talking about the horrible foods back home I can’t wait to eat in a few weeks.

Big BoyThis guy and I have a date.  [click to continue…]

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The boys are done with school and we’re soon off on our summer family vacation. Can’t wait to get back to Dordogne. We had to book our reservations last summer as the place where we’re staying is popular with those who know about it. I’ve mentioned before how tricky it is being an expat in Europe- you have to constantly decide between going someplace you’ve never been, OR go to a place you’ve already been but truly loved.

Dordogne, FranceTypical home in Dordogne. [click to continue…]

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House Hunting Not-So-International

by farrah on July 10, 2014 · 11 comments

Waking up this morning a bit groggy and glum after the World Cup loss last night is a bummer. The weather has set the tone for the past three days- and that’s misty and cold with persistent rain that seemingly seeps into everything- including the mood after such a loss. One highlight from yesterday though- was that we took another look at the potential rental and hope our house hunting has come to an end.

For Rent*this is not the house! 

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If you’ve read my blog for any time at all, you should be able to pick up on the fact that at best, I’m a seriously sentimental sap. I carry my memories around with me, hoping against hope that time and emotion don’t distort them all too much. Fact is, I tend to carry people and places around with me wherever I go- and although I know that can’t be said for everyone, my hope today is to try to evoke some sort of nostalgia in someone.

Pearl Jam Ten [click to continue…]

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Punishment

by farrah on July 7, 2014 · 8 comments

Yesterday we sat around waiting for it to rain. There always seems to be a threat of rain in the Netherlands- and the weather internet gods tend to agree. The actual weather, on the other hand- just likes to mess with you.

NYC Downpour [click to continue…]

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Happy 4th Of July, America!

by farrah on July 4, 2014 · 2 comments

It’s pretty much just a regular day here. I’m about to take the kids to school and my husband is off to work. B has a field trip in the woods and I am in charge of bringing some coffee. Same old, same old.

It’s going to be hot though- at last check I saw around 84 degrees. No fireworks (thankfully). But it’s definitely a sunny and warm summer day.

From ours to yours, enjoy your holiday!

4th

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BUY ME! I’m American! Kinda.

by farrah on July 2, 2014 · 4 comments

With one of the biggest food-centric holidays (wait, aren’t they all food-centric?) approaching in the US, it’s the perfect time to show you some of the goodies that remind me of home. I want to make it perfectly clear- that these items are NOT promotional- they are like this all year ’round. 

Last night I sat down after making dinner and looked at the mustard bottle in front of me. We were having chicken sandwiches and I like mustard and mayo on mine. I’m not really crazy about Dijon mustard- I like the good old yellow mustard. When we first moved over I was pained to learn that although yes, I could buy my Heinz ketchup- alas, French’s did not exist. At least not here.

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For our first holiday expat package, I remember requesting a big bottle of the yellow stuff. It was good. And when it was gone I was sad. That was until one day, perusing the Albert Heijn website (caution, if you click this link turn down your speakers because: hamsters) that I noticed a yellow mustard in a bottle eerily similar to that of French’s. Could it be? Would it taste the same? Heck, I decided to get crazy and roll the dice on the €2 bottle. When the order arrived a couple of days later, I was overjoyed to discover that yes! Yes indeed it DID taste like the good old American stuff!

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So what’s a chicken sandwich without the bun? Ironically, I had these in the fridge. But I didn’t realize at the time they were all decked out for the USA (‘broodjes’ means small breads- like for sandwiches):

ham

In keeping this the theme of USA, this is my favorite freezer staple. They’re really good! And much fatter than the regular frozen pizzas. Huh. Coincidence?:

pizImage credit: Albert Heijn

And of COURSE I can’t have three boys in the house and not have hot dogs on hand:

hotdogs

Sometimes people even give me things. A friend of mine said she was at her Lidel and during  ‘America Week’ one time, so she stopped and picked it up for me. I have yet to make it since I still don’t have a baking dish. Excuses.

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I have to laugh as the crumble, if you notice above the Statue of Liberty, it says PRODUCED IN GERMANY.

You see? They don’t even want American syle foods coming from America. Doesn’t that tell you something? That’s kind of weird to me. I mean, I know so much of our food in the US is made up of things I cannot pronounce, but then why would other people want to copy them? Surely they’re not just for expats!

Ah well. I didn’t intend to make this post about the crap quality of American food. Because, take heart- at least they think we’re cool:

dor

Image credit: Albert Heijn

Clearly I’m not judging since I keep all of these items in my house on a regular basis.

Again- Happy 4th week!

If you’re an expat tell me what kind of ‘American’ things you have in your grocery store.

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