learn something new every day:


I met the most amazing craftspeople when I was in Portland last week. Read my USA Today piece, 10 Portland makers who will make you say, “Please take my money!” and get all your holiday shopping done early!

Read All Entries

get the latest from Lois

Stay connected to the Oasis!

rome — family style

Trevi Fountain

A friend of mine recently asked me what I thought about taking their kids to Rome with them, since we had done that many years ago. I can understand why the idea may be intimidating because, after all, Rome has a kind of wild and romantic reputation and definitely an adult vibe.

But, of course I said to take them because, as you know, I’m a big believer in the value of family travel. And, as the largest city in Italy, Rome’s got a rich and colorful history that will interest kids if you present it right and treat them to pizza and gelato between activities! [Read more…]


Amsterdam sign

Let me start at the beginning.

We were on a tour bus in Amsterdam when the guide mentioned Hans Brinker.

“Who’s that?” my daughter asked me.

“You never heard of Hans Brinker? The boy who put his finger in the dyke?”

There was a pause as the kids looked at me in horror, then looked at each other and burst into the kind of obnoxiously loud, hysterical, can’t-catch-your-breath laughter that is absolutely inappropriate in public places – and impossible to control.

kids laughing

“Put his finger in the dyke?!” spurted my son, gasping for air.

“Oh, my God, you guys, you know what I’m talking about,” I said, rolling my eyes and trying to shush them while the other passengers gave us dirty looks and my husband pushed his Earbuds in deeper.

And so began another Mark family vacation. [Read more…]