“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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!’? ‘

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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…..

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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).

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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.

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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.

 

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

Christmas decorations

It’s that time of the year again; time to bring out the Christmas decorations!

Not the most fashionable ones perhaps, just the ones that make us happy, and that make our home a comfy colourful welcoming place.

 

thrifted christmas angels

Our Christmas decorations are thrifted:

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Fairtrade:

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Made by the kids, throughout the years:

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And handmade by me:

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That Christmas tree is hard to photograph, but you get the idea I  guess: branches collected in the woods, dried, and tied together, hung on the wall and decorated.

 

…and it ain’t Christmas ’till I’ve had time to crochet some stars!

A walk in the woods

No fall holiday is complete without a good walk in the woods.

I’s a 20 minute bike ride out of town, to a forest on the edge of the dunes, where magical wooden creatures live…..

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A good walk, a good ride, hot chocolate and apple pie in the middle of the forrest, rosy cheeks, bright eyes and early to bed! A walk through  Panbos is very, very good way of spending your Fall Sunday!

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Stuff I’ve been up to in October

So, if you thought October couldn’t get any better after ‘3 Oktober‘, you’re wrong.

October so far has been good, very busy but very good. Too busy to blog apparently so here’s a little catching up on what I’ve been up to lately.

One of the biggest events this month was the annual ‘Afstudeerfeest’ organised by The Foundation for Refugee Students UAF.  On this day we celebrate the graduation of all our students who graduated over the past year. As always, a great and inspiring event. I organised the children’s part of the program, and that kept me busy on October 10th and in de days and weeks preceding this celebration! But it was a joy, and particularly so because my friend Marije once again decorated the kids with beautiful paintings on their faces and arms.

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Furthermore, yes October is Vegan challenge month in The Netherlands, and I signed up!  I will be honest with you…the occasionall bite of milk chocolate or a tiny bit of cheese did happen yes. Especially when eating out I find it hard to be strictly vegan, though I try. It’s a process I guess and as this month is progressing I feel better and better about the whole ‘vegan thing’. Definitely something to continue after October! The daily mails and facebook posts and the  extensive recipes on the Vegan challenge website bring on a lot of motivation and inspiration by the way.

I’ve been focussing on including more and more vegetables in my meals, and have been eating lots of soup this month.

I was also very happy to find kale leafs at our local organic supermarket. You know, the Dutch must be the number 1 kale eaters in the world. We’ve been eating kale since long before it became fashionable, and we all grew up with ‘stampot boerenkool’; which basically consists of a mixture of chopped up kale and mashed potatoes. (which is also just about the only recipe for kale in the entire Dutch cuisine!).  So, the only kale you can buy is chopped up and put in a plastic bag. Convenience.is.everything.

Anyway, I stopped counting how many times I ate kale this month, but it was a lot. Imagine the things one can do with those green leaves: kale smoothies, kale pizzas, kalechips, macaroni’n kale…… shall I go on?

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Meanwhile the kids are enjoying their fall break, and I will also be taking  a few days of. We’ve already had a sleep over at the grandparents, a visit to Naturalis Biodiversity centre, and an autumwalk looking for chestnuts in the golden sunshine. And there’s more to come. Hurray for holidays!

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And finally I am trying to get my crochet-groove back. Crochet is always such a good way of escaping the busy day to day events, but it’s also something that ends up as the last thing on my list all too soon. But now I’ve started on a new crochet scarve for a good cause:

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Following a call from @vintageretrokitch on Instagram, I decided to participate in her #swapwithamessage. An initiative to send parcels to the mothers staying in a large refugeecamp in Nijmegen; women who have to look after their children in overcrowded places with little privacy, thousands of kilometers away from what’s left of their homes, and facing an uncertain future. There’s no ‘me time’ for these women, and I fully support the initiative to send them caring welcoming packages!

Now, let’s see what the last week of October will bring!