More bees, please!


This year’s beehive is well underway! We’ve been experimenting with backyard beekeeping for a few years now and this year looks to be the most successful–because we didn’t have to start from scratch! In the past we’ve lost the popular over the winter due to our own inexperience or circumstance. But this year the hive made it through the winter–with more than one Polar Vortex to endure. Hooray! So, to build on this momentum, we are adding a hive to the family lake cabin as well. The plan is to start the second hive in the backyard and then transport it up north once a bear-proof enclosure is constructed. (We tried at-the-cabin bees before, but the bears destroyed the hive and the colony swarmed and left.)

Luckily the backyard hive is already gathering pollen from neighborhood plants and flowers, because we are down to our last quart of honey. When you have it, you use it, and we use quite a bit: as sweetener in coffee and tea, on oatmeal and pancakes and as a sugar substitute in baking.


Get to work, you busy bees!


Bag lady be gone



photo from

I hate that loaded-down sherpa feeling that most women I know succumb to each morning: handbag, bag for shoes, workout bag, bag for kid’s stuff, maybe a big with lunch…it’s too much! As my Pinterest board proves, I’ve spend the better part of the last few months searching for one do-almost-everything bag. I thought my requests were simple. It needed to be big enough to hold most of a day’s worth of stuff. It needed outside pockets for easy access to wallet, phone, keycard and keys. It needed both handles and cross-body strap. It needed a non-zippered main compartment. This last one proved to be the trickiest. I know there are safety concerns, but convenience trumped it. When I’m holding a kid in one arm and trying to buy or find something with the other, I need to be able to open the bag with one hand.

Then today, I think I found it.


photo from

The Driver bag from Chester Wallace. Nothing fancy, and certainly not girly, but it will get the job done. Handmade in Oregon, it’s big, deep, sturdy and useful so I can have one bag for everything all day and still have an arm free for holding little hands or dog leashes or what-have-you.


Adventure awaits!

The tickets are purchased and the housing is secured. We will be in Switzerland for one month this summer! Our (shorter) vacation to Switzerland last year should prepare us for this longer stay, but there will be many more logistics to consider as we try to immerse ourselves in a more “daily life” routine. How and where will we do laundry? How does the toy lending library work? Where is the closest playground?
I’m hopeful that our host will be able to provide some insight and guidance, but I don’t want to impose too much.

One of my main concerns for this type of travel with a toddler is figuring out a daily routine and schedule. I think it will make all of us happier if we can establish regular wake/eat/nap patterns and fit our activities to them, instead of the other way around.

That’s why I’m so happy that we found apartment-style lodging. If we were staying in a hotel or bed & breakfast, I would lose the ability to do other things while E is napping. With this set-up, I can make a meal or attend to other chores without disturbing him. And we will have a little more space to spread out. Tripping over suitcases and piles of stuff makes everyone cranky. In the coming months I’ll be looking for travel gear that helps maximize our limited space and increases our travel efficiency and comfort.

European guesthouse Switzerland

Our accommodations in Solothurn, Switzerland