A Simple Table

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While in the Netherlands we sat down for a simple meal. The server came and took our drink order, still water for the Mr and sparkling for me. After receiving our drinks we ordered our food and once it came to the table we didn’t see our server again until we asked. At first we thought it to be odd, but then quickly caught on that they expected us to sit for hours if need be. To enjoy our meal slowly and maybe top it off with a dessert or coffee. There was no rush to it and to be honest it took a few meals to actually slow down enough to enjoy the pace of it all. We have come so accustomed to eating quickly and being ready for the next thing that I forgot how nice it is to just be. After we made it home I found Jenni’s Kayne new book, Pacific Natural, came in. I have been devouring it since. She talks of this slower pace and making moments of every day meals. Nothing needs to be extravagant just intentional. I know as the kiddos get older our meal times together will become more sporadic so for now I hope to adopt a slower pace at our table and make more of them feel special. Plus it gives me more of an excuse to pull out my Grandmother’s ironstone dishes that were passed down to me. To top it all off I added a charcuterie board. The cheese, meats and grapes were from Trader Joe’s. I always have pistachios on hand from costco. My favorite gluten free cracker is by Simple Mills. They are good enough for even those that gluten isn’t an issue, but keeps the whole cross contamination at bay. I buy mine from costco in bulk, but of course Amazon has them too when I am in a pinch. This red pepper jelly is my go to. It makes even the simplest of cheeses feel special.

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1. Pacific Natural, a book by Jenni Kayne that has beautiful imagery and encourages us to make every moment special.

2. I always love having fresh flowers at the table. I bought a few varieties from Trader Joe’s and made my own bouquet, but if I am in need of something more special I love the varieties from Farmgirl Flowers.

3. This tray I use in the kitchen to corral all the goods I like to keep on the counters, but it would also look beautiful used as a cheese board. Just be sure to line it will parchment as it’s not food safe.

4. I could not find a single cloth napkin in our house. These I find to simple enough to match any occasion.

5. Candles always make the ordinary feel extra special. The organic nature of these makes me want to leave them out all the time.

6 & 7. I love a plate that borders on casual. These have a great texture and feel handthrown.

8. We are picky about our glassware and these have quickly become a favorite. They have a good weight to them and they stack. Use this link for $20 off $50 or more for any first time shoppers.

9. This tray, by Civil Stoneware, has so many uses. I use it for a good cheese board, but also use it by my bed to house my oils and such at night. The scoop is also used to scoop my coffee grinds. Love products that have multiple uses. This shop is also local which makes me adore it even more.

*some affiliate links used

WE TRAVEL: NETHERLANDS

Last month the Mr & I travelled to Amsterdam for an early 15 year anniversary celebration. The whole trip was done on a whim which is so very not like me. I will say even though planning a last minute trip is out of my comfort zone, the actual trip itself was exactly what I needed. Getting there in itself was a miracle altogether. Just a couple a weeks beforehand I could barley walk let alone wear any shoes. I honestly thought a broke all my toes as my feet where blue and the bottoms were continually and painfully bruising. After some digging, my dr discovered my body was going toxic with B6 due to some genetic mutation that was rearing it’s ugly head. It was causing my liver to not function as well and shutting down parts of my body. Every dr appointment prior to our trip I kept on saying I was not cancelling this trip and my chiropractor put great effort in getting my circulation going. Alas we made it happen and I could not be any more ecstatic. As we were there I began to heal and counteracted the B6 with B2 and happy to say my feet are functioning again. Hallelujah. All that to say I know God was the one who truly made this trip happen and I am so grateful for my prayerful friends and my dr’s who take my health seriously. This trip was more than I could have ever imagined. It was cold, rainy and absolutely perfect. We walked miles on end soaking in all the architecture, landscape & culture. We ate well, broke out of ordinary routines and just enjoyed each others company.

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We broke our trip into three parts. First we explored Amsterdam. The old streets, rows upon rows of homes, and the intermingled waterways left me dreaming of becoming European. We stayed at The Hendrick’s Hotel and it may be the best hotel I have ever been to. It was beautiful, had a wonderful breakfast, and the people were superb. We actually changed the last day of our trip in which we were in the countryside to come back to Amsterdam and stay in this hotel again. It really was that good. From Amsterdam we travelled to Antwerp and a few other surrounding cities as the train system is fairly easy to navigate. We already decided that when we do this trip again we will just stay in Amsterdam and train out if and when we want to explore new cities.

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Our next leg of the trip was to Rotterdam. It’s what they consider to be the modern city and the architecture proved that to be true. I was just in awe over the blend of modern lines against architecture that was centuries old. We stayed in a Cube House which was rather fun. It was more for the experience than for luxury. The houses were close to the large indoor market which you get a glimpse of in the last image. It was a larger than life glass dome with housing, restaurants and an open air market. It is also where we discovered that Jamie Oliver has a chain restaurant called Jamie’s Italian and I am still dreaming of eating there again. They took my gluten allergy seriously and the food was the best I have ever had. We actually ate there three times, it was that good.

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We then spent a day and a half exploring the countryside. We rented a car from the airport and took to the narrow roadways and soaking in all the sights. We were suppose to spend two nights in the country, but decided for our final night we wanted to be back in the city. I cannot express how grateful I am to have had an experience like this. I came home fully inspired and ready to adopt a slower life that relies heavily on experiences that are both big and small. One that savors moments instead of always skipping ahead. One that reminds me to take a big deep breath and even enjoy the rain.

*You can see more images and details from our trip in my Instagram Highlights.

Travel Essentials

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Traveling for a mama is not always the easiest of tasks especially when you are leaving the kiddos behind. It takes countless hours of making schedules that are easy to follow, making sure the house is stocked with simple yet somewhat nutritious meals, finding rides for all the practices and games, etc etc. The list really does go on and on until I head out that door and leave all the worries behind. Surely my papa can handle all the things and if not I am sure they can figure it out, after all I do have a teen and preteen. For me, making sure the kiddos are all straight leaves me with wanting to keep my packing simple and light. The weather will be cool and rainy so the task is not an easy one. Although none of that matters, because I am most excited to celebrate our marriage doing our favorite activities, traveling, seeing the sites, and eating good food. Here are a few of my essentials that are coming with me on our trip to the Netherlands.

1. This wrap that doubles as scarf. It’s not too hot and not too cool. I love that I can use it as a blanket on the plane and also use it as a scarf for the chilly weather. Plus the price was oh so right.

2. These packing cubes help keep my suitcase organized and assisted with my goal of getting a weeks worth of needs in a single carry-on. We are doing a bunch of walking and I knew having a big suitcase would not be the easiest for me to lug around so I aimed for packing small.

3. This hydoflask goes with me everywhere. It’s small enough to toss in my tote and keeps my water cold for hours on end. Another bonus it also keeps my morning tea hot and I am less likely to spill it on myself as we walk the streets. Make sure to leave it empty until you cross security at the airport though.

4. Good reads. Traveling is not the same for me without a good book. It helps make my mind stop and rest. This year I downloaded these two on my ipad to alleviate some weight in my bag. I have become a enneagram junky and The Path Between Us sounded like a perfect read for our trip. Nothing like continually figuring each other out 15 years later. Good Riddance I downloaded simply because the cover caught my eye. Looked like an easy and fun read for the plane ride.

5. I am a straw lover. These silicone ones have helped cut down on waste plus they fold nicely into the hydroflask while shut. The texture takes some getting used to, but it is much better than relying on the plastic ones.

6. My sister loves Fits socks. They come in all different weights for warmth, dry quickly, and have built in compression. I honestly thought a sock was a sock until I started having feet issues and she let me try them. I loved them so much that I ended up buying a few for myself. These will be my lifesaver on this trip.

7. Nothing like tackling the wet streets of Amsterdam in a cute pair of rainboots. My regular size is roomy enough to pair with thick socks to keep my feet warm. I also added more comfortable insoles to keep up with the hours of walking we are planing on doing. I searched high and low for the perfect pair and wouldn't you know Target came to rescue. They are small enough to fit in my carry-on without taking up too much space.