Growing up in Leiden #3

Sun’s shining, spring is here. Really? Finally? To stay? That is, ’till summer?

Let’s hope so!

Hardly a week ago it was so cold, we could finally go iceskating again.

This oh so lovely place is right next to out new home, aren’t we lucky?

In January we finally moved to a nice, sunny house with a garden, which I’ll tell you more about later.

For now, I enjoy the memories of our first winter in this new place.


Back to Terschelling

So, last month we went back to Terschelling for a two week holiday. Just can’t get enough of this island….


If you ever have the chance to visit, go to the Wrakkenmuseum ( shipwreckmuseum) in Formerum, a small village in the centre of the island. It’s a magical place where you can spend hours and hours, looking at all those treasures big ans small, new and old, that have been found in the sea, or that have washed up on the shore.



In the backyard there’s a great playground for the kids that really triggers their imagination, all made of found and recycled materials.



Indoors you can have your coffee or hot chocolate surrounded by treasures from the sea; bones, shells, ancient diving costumes, pictures and funny stories. Just keep an eye on your kids ……, honestly, it’s a very, very relaxed place to visit with kids. So much to explore, see and do


We spent halve a day here and still haven’t seen and experienced everything. A good reason to go back….again…..



“No fuss” Mothers day

A cup of tea, an apple and a banana, served as ‘breakfast in bed’ at 7 am.

Handmade little gifts and  a crushed chocolate heart we shared together.

Sweet notes found at random places throughout the house.

Sisterly quarrels, as usual. Today is just another day.

Sunshine, kids playing out in the park.

Two bruised knees, one torn pair of pants. Red cheeks and shiny eyes.



Time to read a while, Dave Eggers “Heroes of the Frontier” it is.

Daydreaming a little of packing up my bunch and travelling through Alaska in a Camper too.

Early dinner, kids helped to clean up and ran off to play some more in the evening sun.

Not so bad, not so bad at all.









Who needs overcrowded airports, traffic jams and endless flights to find that perfect holiday, when all this is just a train – and ferry ride away?


*An evening beach, that is all yours*


*A boat, to take you to the seals*


*Seals, actually, on a sandbank in the Waddenzee*


*A place to roam*


*A deserted forrest to cycle through*


*cycling trips under a grey sky, seawind in your  hair, open space all around*

And that, really, isn’t even half of it……….

Why travel far when happiness really lies just around that corner?

The single parent’s survival guide to dinner

Do you know the feeling…it’s been a long day and yet you’ve tried to make the most of dinner. Some vitamins, some colour, nothing extraordinary, just, you know something healthy…

The food isn’t even on the table yet before number one claims she has a headache and therefore…no appetite…number two is tired and iritated, and number three starts screaming as if you try to feed her poison:  ‘what’s this?! Oh no, I can’t eat that!’

All you can think is ‘why did I even bother? ‘ and….. ‘Now why isn’t there another adult at this table to  tell me ‘well, honey this is just delicious, kids, don’t fuss, eat your dinner!’? ‘



Some nights, you’ve just got to do what makes everybody happy: feed ‘m pancakes and ice cream…………… with hidden vitamins….

For your pancakes, just make your usual batter, then add a grated zucchini (use these light green ones if you can, they’re perfect camouflage. If you use the darker green ones, be prepared to answer questions  such as ‘Mom, what are these green spots in my pancake?!?’…now try to answer that without using the V-word!

Bake and serve as you normally would…..then sit and watch them eat their veggies and smile…..



Since we’re in a good mood, why not add some ice cream? Blend 2 chopped banana’s (frozen) and a large mango (cut into small pieces)  with the juice of one lemon. Serve, watch ‘m eat, enjoy……

Don’t feel like eating pancakes? Make yourself some soup! Chop another zucchini, boil in a little vegetable stock, throw in a handful of kale, add some cumin, coriander and black pepper, blend. Serve with some (vegan) cream, and a good swirl of ground red pepper. Enjoy.





DIY playdough

When the kids where younger, I often made their own playdough.

Now they are older, they play with playdough less often, but it’s still a success during the holidays! This time I made a cinnamon scented pink batch. Fun ( and a few quiet moments for me) guaranteed!


You will need: one cup of salt, 2 large cups of flour, 2 large cups of water, 5 tablespoons of sunflower oil, 1,5 teaspoon cream of tartar, a large pan and a wooden spoon. Optional: foodcolouring, scents).


Put all ingredients (except the foodcolouring) into the pan, and stirr above medium heat. Stirr well!  Within a minute or two you will see your mixture changing into a playdough-like ball.

Remove from pan and place on your workspace. Allow to cool, kneed thoroughly and add foodcolouring according to taste.

Now, let’s play. When done, store in an airtight container and use again and again.


You can use this recipe for very young children too. They love to feel, kneed, smell, touch….taste….., and you don’t have to be afraid they put anything poisoness in their mouth if they decide to taste it!

Happy 20 sweet 16!

No better place to spend the first day of a new year, than on the beach!

We didn’t jump into the sea, like so many others do for a real ‘Nieuwjaarsduik’, a dive into the new year, but we did get our shoes and socks wet.



Happy New Year to all of you, let’s make it a good one!