Co-ed Naked Saunas…

March 18th, 2012 → 9:21 am @

Imagine this: steam rooms, dry saunas, baths, a huge indoor/outdoor pool, jacuzzis, warm temperatures, water beds for relaxing, color rooms, silent rooms, salt rooms, massages, scrubs, perfect showers and no kids… bliss.

Now imagine this 100% naked with men and women. A lot of them. Still feel relaxing?

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Balance &Blog &Daily Life

Are Dutch Mothers Happier?

February 22nd, 2012 → 6:43 am @

I have just arrived home from two hours of ice-skating. The whole country is frozen which means every waterway is skate-able – and I would dare say that there are more waterways than roads here. Sounds pretty decadent doesn’t it? Drop off the kids, put on my skates, then come home and get some work done. But let me tell you, I wasn’t alone on the ice.

The Dutch don’t think twice about not going to work because there is ice to skate on or it’s a hot sunny day.

Is it decadent? Or is it part of the reason that the Dutch, in general, are more balanced – and therefore happier -than North Americans?

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Balance &Blog &Daily Life

Advantage of having all of the kids at school!

February 20th, 2012 → 5:02 am @

One of the first great advantages of having all of my kids at school occurred during this last week: Skating.

The tiny country of Holland froze completely, every water way, canal, pond, creek, lake – totally and completely frozen, which meant – skating, skating and more skating. And when I say skating – I mean on those long skates that you can speed with. There is more water than road here so hundreds of kilometers of skate-able ice. Bliss. I love to skate.

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Balance &Blog &Daily Life &My kids

2 hours of SHOES

October 24th, 2011 → 12:28 pm @

Wouldn’t you love to have the opportunity to try on the most beautiful shoes in the world for as long as you wanted without a pushy impatient sales person breathing over your neck???  Well that’s exactly what I got to do this saturday at my friends Dante and Francesca – Italian and designers and producers of beautiful shoes under the brand name Nora.


They took out all of the samples they had in my size, lined them up and watched as I tried not to salivate over the beautiful leather. Even the ones that I thought, hmmm, not really my style – were totally my style.

And of course that wasn’t enough, we got in the car and drove to the store that has even more (as this first shoe event took place in their kitchen!). More beautiful shoes – I found the pair I was looking for and seeing it didn’t feel right to leave with only one pair, I forced myself to get a second.

Today I am wearing one of the pairs as I work by myself at home, behind my computer. Bit of a waste but I feel great!!!


Balance &Blog &Daily Life

Big plans

October 19th, 2011 → 12:32 pm @

I had big plans to post at least a couple of tips a week. Every day would be even better… Course I forgot that the kids are home all week and by the end of the day when everyone is in bed – I am totally done. So – for this week … no tips. I’ll be back at it on Monday morning sharp!

Here’s a pic of me and the kids on the bus home from the Library and Science & Technology museum…


Balance &Blog &Daily Life &My kids

A Bicycle Built for 6

October 10th, 2011 → 12:37 pm @

I have a magnificent bike – including myself, there is room for 6!  Five kids and me.  I have 4 kids but often a friend joins us on our way home from school. Even though my 3 oldest have their own bikes, the girls in particular often opt for a rid.  I see it as part of my built in daily exercise program!

I can get a week’s worth of groceries in the bike + 2 small kids (Ok, they are a bit squished).  I can put my neighbor’s table and chairs in my bike to borrow for a party rather then lugging them by hand.  I can throw all of the school bags and most of the kids in there to get to school in a hurry. I can put my youngest’s bike in my bike if she has gotten tired or I’ve gotten fed-up of waiting…

I love my bike.  A guy who only made bikes that “fit” the person’s personality built it. After many talks we came up with my perfect bike.  A box built big enough for 4 kids, seatbelts and a baby bike seat in the front for when my kids needed the support (it’s gone now).  It’s grey on the outside, orange on the inside. The box is made of wood. Black leather seat, silver frame and a recent addition of an extra seat on the back makes it complete.

In total I have 5 bikes… one bike is in Amsterdam so that when I take the bus in (20 minutes), I have a bike to use in the city. It has 2 kid’s seats on it – one of the front that I use for my bag and one of the back that I sometimes have my youngest in when we are in town.  I have 2 other “normal” bikes… one I share with my husband which he uses to get to the bus stop, bring the kids to school etc. It has one seat on the back. I use it when I’m on my own.  The other bike doesn’t have any extra seats on it… it’s used for guests and I use it if we are going out for diner in the village so I don’t have to use my big box bike (which makes a lot of noise if it’s not full!).  Then in the garage I have my good old 20 year old LL Bean cross bike.  I use that in the summer time when I feel like some biking exercise.  Mostly it’s in the garage…

We also have a ton of bikes by our doorway.  Friends always bring their used bikes here since we “must” always have “use” for them but recently I’ve had to give some away. Now we have about 2,2 bikes per person living here…

Balance &Blog &Daily Life &My kids


September 26th, 2011 → 12:43 pm @

Hi! I’m Lianne, also known as Moooommmmmm, mama, babe, Lee, Mevrouw (said meh + v + ow), Mrs, the Canadian etc.

I live in a small village 15 minutes north of Amsterdam where we lived until 4 years ago.  Now I am known as the Canadian with all those kids and that bike.  In Amsterdam there are probably many me’s. But here in Monnickendam (think Monique + n + dam) I’m the only one.  Makes it easy for others to know who I am (and to know what I do every day since everyone knows who the bike belongs too…)

I have a bicycle built for 6 that I power with my own legs.  Four can sit in the box in the front, one on the back and me.  I love my bike.

I have 4 kids (7,6,4,3) – yes really.  My “all or nothing” personality is becoming more apparent even in having kids.

On the side, I am publishing/writing/producing a series of booklets for the busy woman. Actually I am writing them for myself since I have all these questions about different things but the answers I thought I’d share them in a bunch of small booklets.  Since I couldn’t think of a creative name, they are called “Lianne’s Quick Guide, for the busy woman”.

I’m married to a Dutchman. Actually he’s officially half Hungarian but was born and raised in Amsterdam so actually he’s an Amsterdammer.  He’s the necessary 5 years older than I am and has his own business. We’ve been together for 13 years from the time he hired me to do a freelance project. He’s still paying the price!!!

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities.  It’s small and international, beautiful and unique. I love that anything goes in the city of bikes.  I have a bike parked by the bus stop in the city so I get in as often as I can for meetings, seeing friends, nights out etc.

Living abroad. Never felt like I lived far away until I had kids. Now, I hate the part of being far away from my family.  The grass is always greener on the other side. I’ve been living in Europe for over 15 years.  It’s just what it is. But if I had a million dollars I would use it to see family and friends more often that live on the other side…

That’s me in a nutshell…

Balance &Blog &Daily Life