Where do you work?In a former life, I was an analyst for a consulting firm. Now I manage Milwaukee North Shore Moms, part of The Local Moms Network. It’s a passion for me, and I don’t really consider it work! When we moved to Milwaukee’s North Shore, I struggled to find what I was looking for and felt like I was spending hours searching. When I would ask someone where to shop or find something, a lot of the time, I was told, “You might need to go to Chicago for that. It’s only an hour and a half away”. Go to Chicago?! That’s three hours just in the commute. What mom has the time or desire to do that? I decided to make it my mission to find what I wanted in the North Shore (or as close as possible) for myself and share my findings with others. I know how important it is to quickly find good doctors, schools, stores, and service providers; Each time we’ve moved, I’ve had to start the process over. If it’s here, my goal is to find it. My hope is that this website saves other moms time, strengthens the community, and helps small businesses thrive locally.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages? I have two daughters, ages 13 and 11.
Where are you from and what brought you to Milwaukee’s North Shore area? I’m originally from Amsterdam, Netherlands. We moved to the States when I was eight. I moved a lot when I was growing up (I attended 10 different schools) so it’s always an awkward moment for me when someone asks where I’m from. Nowadays it’s a lot more common to meet people who have moved many times for work and whose children have attended just as many schools I did. I think the phrase Third Culture Kids is used to describe these children.
We moved to the Milwaukee area for my husband’s job in 2019. I’ve been a trailing spouse for over a decade, and after five moves, we pulled a Green Acres and settled in River Hills to raise our two daughters. We even named our house, “Green Acres”.
What made you decide to live in River Hills? River Hills wasn’t on my list of places to live at all. I wanted to live in either Shorewood or the East Side but after months of house-hunting, came to the realization that we wouldn’t be able to find a house that met our needs in those two areas. At the time, there wasn’t a lot of inventory and the houses we looked at had little to no yard, were a lot older than we wanted, had detached 1-2 car garages, and needed extensive renovations. On one of our house-hunting trips during winter, I realized a good stretch of I43 is only two lanes on either side and an accident could cause huge delays. Add to this the fact I didn’t have a lot of experience driving in snow and we soon found ourselves redefining our search area.
We started looking in River Hills and loved the big lots, proximity to school, and how much house we could get for the money. Granted, most houses we looked at required a lot of renovations or were complete gut jobs but there was so much potential! We pivoted and said, ok, we can do this. We’ve done renovations on all our homes and this would give us a newly designed space that works for our family. We decided to split renovations into phases and would tackle the easy stuff first. We put our household items into storage and moved into temporary housing for seven months while phase one was completed.
Best mom hack that makes life easier? During the pandemic when everyone was home I got burned out on cooking three meals a day plus snacks and cleaning up. I felt like I was in the kitchen constantly. I started a subscription to Sun Basket and haven’t looked back since. I love that the foods are sourced based on where you live, are organic, and there’s a variety of dietary options as well as ready-made meals available. It works great during the week when I’m rushing between after school activities and don’t have a lot of time to make dinner.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? When I was little my parents had a home in Amsterdam but would travel frequently sometimes for extended periods of time. We lived in Spain out of a converted bus for a year and a half and toured the region. There wasn’t a bathroom, washing machine, or electricity for cooking equipment on the bus. We were like gypsies. This is probably why I’m not a huge fan of camping today. Ha!