The woom 4 bike in Vienna's 19th district

Is there anything better than a kid riding a bike in the summer? Pink cheeks, sweaty foreheads, dirt roads and riding bikes until dark. That is what childhood summers should look like.

Exploring with the new woom bike - the best bike for kids!

Our oldest daughter just turned 8, and was outgrowing her old bike. So I started researching to find the very best bike for kids. We wanted something that would be both fun to ride and easy for her to handle. Although she has been riding a bike for years, she was not super confident, so didn’t enjoy it as much as we hoped she would.

woom bikes can be traded in for the next bigger size as your kids grow - the perfect bike for minimalists!

When I first heard about woom bikes, I was intrigued. The bikes are designed by two Austrian cyclists, and dads, right here in Vienna. They set out to make high-quality, lightweight bikes for kids of all ages.

Each of their 5 sizes is specially designed and made for a child’s specific anatomy and developmental needs. They offer great features such as handbrakes specifically designed for tiny hands, and a freewheeling option to allow kids to get into a better starting position. Plus, they are 40% lighter than conventional children’s bikes, making them easy for children to maneuver and even carry themselves.

Have you heard of woom? They are the best bikes for kids!

Then I read an interview with the founders of woom bikes on The Bike Dads Blog, and one of the answers really stayed with me.

What advice do you have to parents when they are shopping for a new bike?
Avoid buying cheap and/or poorly made bikes, helmets, or trailers. If kids don’t have fun cycling, they won’t want to do it, and good equipment can make the difference between loving and hating the experience. I hear this a lot from customers who had previously purchased bikes that were heavy or not well designed. Imagine if someone asked you to ride for the very first time and you could barely lift your bike or couldn’t stop it from tipping over. Many times our customers find that our bikes make it significantly easier for their kids to learn to ride.

Exploring with the new woom bike - the best bike for kids!

I had a feeling that woom was going to be the bike to make our daughter fall in love with bicycles.

We went with a woom 4 for our petite 8 year old, and it was a perfect fit. The beautiful blue color and matching helmet added to her excitement about the bike.

We live in the 19th district of Vienna, just on the edge of the Vienna woods, and these gorgeous vineyards are literally in our backyard. So we headed out to the trails to try out her new bike.

She started out cautiously, as usual, and was a little worried about the hills and uneven terrain.

The woom 4 bike in Vienna's 19th district

I looked down at my camera for a second to change the settings, and when I looked back up, she was off. I couldn’t believe it. She was zooming up and down the hills having a blast.

We gave her a quick lesson on gears and hand brakes (since her old bike had neither) and she was good to go. Within a few minutes she was braking and changing gears like a champ.

woom bikes can be traded in for the next bigger size as your kids grow - the perfect bike for minimalists!

The way her entire demeanor changed was incredible. You could literally see her relaxing on the bike, her worry lines turning into huge smiles.

After that afternoon, she has asked to go out on her new bike every single day. She loves it!

woom: the better kid's bike

We have been amazed at the difference the woom bike has made.

This little girl went from a hesitant, reluctant rider, to a confident, strong cyclist in a matter of one afternoon.

woom bikes can be traded in for the next bigger size as your kids grow - the perfect bike for minimalists!

Usually, when I find something for the kids that we all absolutely love, I cross my fingers that they don’t outgrow it too quickly. Bit with the woom bike, that isn’t a problem.

After paying a one-time membership fee to their amazing UpCYCLING Program, you can trade in your child’s outgrown bicycle. You get 40% of the original price to purchase the next size up and woom then donates the old bikes to non-profit organizations or cycling camps to teach more children to ride bikes.

This is a minimalist parent’s dream! Now you don’t have to have all sorts of outgrown equipment laying around. And you can be sure that your child is always on the right size bicycle.

We are obsessed with our new woom bike - designed in Austriawoom - the better kid's bike

Here’s to pink cheeks, sweaty foreheads, dirt roads and riding bikes until dark.

woom bikes are super lightweight, easy to ride kids bikes developed by two Austrian former cyclists, now dads themselves

This post is in collaboration with woom. All photos, words and opinions are my own.

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Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

Last December, we spent a weekend at Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland. We had such an amazing time, and were anxious to return in the warmer weather.

As much as we loved our winter getaway, I think Reiters might be even more amazing in the summer.

Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

Upon entering Reiters, we were greeted by the friendliest, most welcoming staff. It was a wonderful first impression, but it didn’t stop there. Throughout our stay, I was continually impressed by just how helpful and accommodating everyone was.

Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

Family Suites

The family suites at Reiters are newly renovated, and absolutely stunning. Bright, spacious, and made of all natural materials, they are very luxurious. And the view!! This is the same room that we stayed in last winter, and it was no less impressive the second time around!

Gorgeous Family Suite at Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

Any time my kids get their own bedroom in a hotel (and especially when there are bunkbeds) they are happy campers. Here, they even had their own separate kids bathroom, complete with potty seats, stools, and kids bath products.

Gorgeous Family Suite at Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

Don’t you just love these gorgeous herringbone wood floors? Someday we will have these floors in our home!

Gorgeous Family Suite at Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaGorgeous Family Suite at Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaReiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaReiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

All-Inclusive

When they say all-inclusive at Reiters Finest Familyhotel, they actually mean it. Even the alcoholic beverages are included. This is very different from most of the other all-inclusive hotels that we have visited, and makes for a more relaxed vacation.

Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaReiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

Outdoor Fun

During our last visit, we spent a lot of time in the indoor pools, looking longingly outside. So we were super excited enjoy the outdoor pools and water play areas. The girls had such a blast, switching between the water playground, pool, waterslides, and trampoline park.

Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaReiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaSwimming at Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaHorseback Riding at Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

The Reserve

Reiters Finest Familyhotel sits on the Reiters Reserve, which is 120 hectares of beautiful, natural landscape filled with animals, walking & running trails and a full golf course.

My daughters were most looking forward to returning to Reiters to go horseback riding through the reserve. The girls that took them out on the horses were great. Professional, friendly, and great with kids! Even when my 3 year old kept insisting on going “Faster like Empress Sisi”! :)

Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaReiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaReiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

Activities For Everyone

You (and your kids) will not run out of things to keep you busy at Reiters Finest Familyhotel.

My daughters love the kids club, with their planned activities and giant play areas, so they never wanted to leave there. But there is also bike riding, outdoor playgrounds, water playgrounds, all of the animals on the reserve and more specifically for the little ones.

And for the adults, there is golf, horseback riding, fitness, the beauty and wellness spa, and complete relaxation at any of the pools.

Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, AustriaReiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

Details Matter

What makes a great family vacation is when a hotel goes above and beyond to anticipate the needs of both kids and parents. Reiters Finest Familyhotel does just that. Every detail shows that they understand and appreciate families. From the Schnullerbaum (a tree where kids can leave their pacifiers when they are done with them) to the kids’ concerts in the theatre with Kasimir, Reiters does it right.

Schnullerbaum at Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

If you want everyone in the family to have a great vacation, Reiters Finest Familyhotel is perfect, no matter what the season. Just over an hour from Vienna, it is easy enough to do for a quick weekend, but would be even better for a whole week!

Reiters Finest Familyhotel in South Burgenland, Austria

*Thank you so much to Reiters Finest Familyhotel for the wonderful stay!*

 “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.”  – Mark Twain

A good friend of mine just got back from an amazing week in Mauritius, and after seeing all of her photos and hearing about her trip, I can’t get it out of my head! I am having major wanderlust, and dreaming of spending a luxurious week in Mauritius with the whole family.

This is what I would do during that amazing week in Mauritius with kids…

The most luxurious, family-friendly vacation in Maritius

Luxurious and Family-Friendly Hotels in Mauritius

There are a plethora of luxury hotels in Mauritius that also happen to be extremely family friendly. I’m having a hard time deciding between Lux* Belle MarShanti Maurice, the Maradiva Villas, and the Four Seasons Mauritius. They are all gorgeous, luxury resorts right on the beach, with kids clubs and other amenities to pamper the little guests as much as their parents.

After much deliberation, we decide on the beautiful Shanti Maurice, which is located on one of the best beaches on the island. We will splurge for a luxurious villa, complete with a private garden, infinity pool and outdoor rain shower. I am picturing myself right now laying out on the comfy loungers looking at the ocean as the kids play in the pool all day. How incredible would it be to have a private pool, and not have to worry about the kids getting too rowdy or splashing anyone else who happens to be nearby?!

The most luxurious, family-friendly vacation in Maritius

Eventually my girls will want to head down to the kids club, where there is an extensive activities program for kids including kids yoga, dance lessons, cooking classes, arts & crafts workshops, treasure hunts, face painting and more.

When it comes time to eat, we will choose between one of Shanti Maurice’s multiple restaurants, all of which use fresh, organic ingredients from their very own vegetable and herb garden. Hopefully we will be able to get a tour of the garden from one of the chefs before we eat, so that the girls can see where their food is coming from.

The most luxurious, family-friendly vacation in Maritius

So Many Things to Do in Mauritius with Kids

It would be easy to spend our entire vacation at the resort, but there are so many things to see and do on Mauritius, so we will make ourselves venture out once in a while.

Beaches  |  Lets be honest, this is the main reason why I want to go to Mauritius. The Beaches is Mauritius are truly picture perfect, with soft white sand and crystal clear water. So we will spend plenty of time at the beach.

The most luxurious, family-friendly vacation in Maritius

Dolphin Watching  |  The girls love going on on whale watching boats in Maui every winter, so I know they would love watching the dolphins around the coastline of Mauritius. Maybe we can even swim or snorkel with them if we are lucky.

Wildlife  |  From riding a 100-year-old giant tortoise at La Vanille Nature Park to feeding giraffes and walking with lions at Casela Nature Park, we will have plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with Mauritius’s wildlife.

Water Sports  |  Mauritius is the perfect place to experience everything from windsurfing and paddle boarding to scuba and snorkeling. I have been looking forward to the time that both of my girls could swim comfortably, so that we could all go out snorkeling. I think this will be a perfect first time for us, checking out the magnificent coral reefs that surround the island. And we will definitely have to go out sailing on a catamaran!

The most luxurious, family-friendly vacation in Maritius

Botanical Gardens  |  From what I’ve heard, you can’t go to Mauritius and not go to the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden. So we will head there to check out the palm trees, tropical plants and especially the giant water lilies, which I know my girls will love.

Hiking  |  Less than 20 minutes away from the Shanti Maurice is the Black River Gorges National Park, where we will take a nice easy hike and possibly have a picnic.

The most luxurious, family-friendly vacation in Maritius

The Top of my Bucket List

I think Mauritius will be the perfect destination for a luxurious, family friendly vacation, and I can’t wait to visit someday soon. I think it is now at the top of my bucket list. What about you? Have I (or these gorgeous photos) convinced you to add Mauritius to your bucket list yet?

This post is sponsored by iExplore and Tourism Mauritius.

April snowstorm in Bavaria

{photo via Instagram}

Happy Friday everyone! I hope it is sunny and warm wherever you are, and you have had a wonderful last few weeks. We spent the majority of April traveling, where it was definitely not spring-like. It was fun to get another chance to experience snow in the Alps. But we are happy to be back home in beautiful Vienna where the sun is shining. We are heading to one of my favorite places up in the Vienna Woods tomorrow to spend a nice afternoon in the sun with great friends. Trying to soak up every last second we have remaining in this amazing place!

A few of my favorite things this month…

theSkimm

I can’t believe that I haven’t written about theSkimm in one of my favorite things posts yet. I have been obsessed with it for years, and I talk about it all the time to anyone who will listen. So I am finally sharing it with all of you, too. TheSkimm is a daily email, with just about everything you need to know about current events. I find watching or reading the news quite depressing, and often it is not appropriate with young children around, but I still want to be informed and educated on what is going on in the world. TheSkimm gives it all to me in a witty, succinct little email that takes less than 5 minutes to read. It has truly changed my life, and allows me to have much better conversations about world events, politics, and even pop culture. It is especially important to me now that I don’t live in the US, so I can keep up with what is going on. Sign up here.

Madewell Transport Tote

I have had the Madewell Transport Tote for almost 4 years, and it still looks as good as new. It is my go-to, good-for-everything, everyday workhorse bag. It has been used as a purse, computer bag, camera bag, diaper bag, library book bag, beach bag, farmers market bag and shopping tote. And it works well in every single situation. I usually love bags with lots of organization, but the beauty of this bag is that it is so simple. I just throw everything in and call it a day! It is big enough to fit everything I need for myself and both kids for an entire day, and then some.

Oil Pulling

Have you all heard of oil pulling? It is an Ayurvedic practice where you swish oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes first thing in the morning to clean and detoxify your teeth, gums and mouth. After your spit the oil out, you rinse your mouth with water, and brush as normal. In addition to cleaning and detoxifying, it helps whiten teeth, eliminate bad breath, strengthen gums and jaw, and more. I first heard about oil pulling a few years ago, but it sounded like too much trouble, so I didn’t try it. Then a few months ago, as I was doing a major overhaul of my morning routine, I decided to give it a go. And I ended up loving it. It did take a while to get used to, but I actually look forward to it now. I use organic coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint essential oil mixed in. If you don’t want to mix yourself, this is a great option, and comes in a cute jar, too!

Ikea Koppla Charger

OK, yes, this is just a plain little charger. Nothing fancy at all. But it is simplifies things immensely, cuts down on clutter, and only costs a few dollars. What is not to love about that? You can plug 3 different USB cords into it, meaning you can charge your phone, watch, and iPad at once. It is especially great for traveling, sine it is impossible to find enough outlets in any hotel or AirBnB.

Kapla Blocks

My girls are completely obsessed with Kapla Blocks. My 7 year old has played with them quite a bit at school, so put them on her wishlist. They each got a set of the colored blocks for Christmas, and we quickly realized that we needed more for what they wanted to build. So we recently added a set of 200 plain blocks to our collection. There is so much to love about Kapla blocks. They are beautiful, natural, well made, simple, open-ended, and don’t look terrible when they are left all over the living room. But my favorite thing about these is that they are good for any age. I love building with them almost as much as the kids do!

A few more of my favorite things from around the web…

What are some of your favorite things lately?

Votive Church in January - Vienna, Austria

Have any of you done a social-media detox?

I decided to completely unplug from all social media and blogs for the entire month of January, and it was such a nice, refreshing way to start the year that I might make this an annual thing. I literally have not opened up Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in over a month.  And I haven’t missed it one bit.

Instead, I spent the month spending time with family and friends, playing in the snow, and getting organized for 2017.

I’m also switching things up a little bit on the monthly Favorite Things posts. In addition to my favorite links from around the web, I’m sharing a few things that really made my month. I hope you like the new format!

A few of my favorite things this month…

Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things

I have been following The Minimalists for years. I have read all of their books, most of their essays, and I listen to their podcast every week. And I recommend their stuff to just about everyone I talk to. So of course I was excited to watch their documentary, Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things. (I swear I’m not a groupie, I just love minimalism!) The documentary was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. I especially liked that we were able to watch it as a family. I have been trying to talk to my 7 year old about minimalism and this documentary allowed us to expand our conversations about things like advertising to children and thoughtless consumption. Apart from a few swear words (which I wish they would have cut) it was great.

Grandparent Prints from 76th & Newbury

Every year, we struggle to think of meaningful gifts for our parents. They all have everything they could ever want or need. And we prefer to give gifts that won’t turn into clutter. So we try to give something that has sentimental value, and has to do with the kids. We gave this Grandchildren Art Print to my mother-in-law for her birthday this year, and she absolutely loves it. She had so much fun picking out the silhouettes to match the personalities of each of their 10 grandchildren. And she was even able to pick colors to match her decor. I am not sure who is enjoying the beautiful wall canvas more, my mother-in law or all of the grandkids who love finding themselves in the picture every time they come visit.

Nourishing Facial Serum

We have had a very very cold January here in Austria. (The coldest January in 30 years!) And all of this cold, dry air has been terrible for my skin. The only thing that seems to help keep my skin hydrated is a generous application of my home made all-natural Nourishing Facial Serum, morning and night. And sometimes mid day as well.

Evernote

I spent a lot of time this month getting organized. And my favorite tool for organizing everything from recipes to travel itineraries to my never ending to-do list is Evernote. The more I use it, the more impressed I am with the capabilities of Evernote. And how it helps me simplify my life. If you are serious about getting organized, and you aren’t already using Evernote, stop what you are doing and go download it to every device that you have.

A Man Called Ove

I was on the waiting list for A Man Called Ove at my library for months, and it was so worth the wait. Written by a Swedish blogger who has a few things in common with Ove, this feel-good story of “the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.” I loved this book so much that right when I finished, I got on the waitlist for all three of his other novels, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and LongerMy Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here. (Judging by how many people are on the waitlists for each, I’m not the only one who had this idea!) This is best book I have read in a very long time. But be warned, I was crying ugly tears at the end.

A few more of my favorite things from around the web…

What are some of your favorite things lately?

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