Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas + the real reason for my lousy blogging ;)

So, as I said yesterday I have been a lousy blogger lately and although some of it really does have to do with sickness, there has been an other reason for my lack of posts...

I´ll let our Christmas card do the talking:

Yes! It's true! 
We are expecting our second baby and a sibling for Micha and we are so excited!


Some of you may know that getting pregnant with Micha did not come easy to us at all, 
his being here is a huge miracle we waited and prayed for, for a long time.
But this time around it was the most unexpected miracle, 
something we and the doctors never thought would happen, but it did!

And we couldn't be more excited and happy and thankful!


Right now I'm thirteen weeks along exactly (second trimester, whoohoo!). 
I'm due on June 27th 2014. 
We've had two ultrasounds and the baby looks perfectly healthy and is growing like a weed. 
We can't wait to find out if Micha will have a baby brother or a baby sister, 
but we will have to wait until my 20 week ultrasound for that information, argh!
I'm feeling more nauseous and tired than with Micha, hence the lack of blogging,
 but the excitement and happiness beats all the yuckiness!
But I hope I'll start feeling better soon!


So, with this happy news I'll be leaving you for a bit. 
I'm taking some time off from blogging for the Holidays, 
but I will be back with lots to blog about!

(I guess I can finally unlock my secret baby #2 Pinterest board, heehee!)

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Love, Maria

Thursday, December 19, 2013

the most wonderful time of the year

the cutest bub last year! He's a bit bigger now! ;)

I'm so sorry for being such a lousy blogger lately, last week we were all sick again! 
And I'm still a snotty, coughing mess as I type this now.
'I shake my fist at you winter!' 

I am really missing the sun and the warmth of summer, 
especially since we haven't had any snow to make up for the lack of sun,  
snow is the only fun thing about winter am I right?

Well, that and Christmas of course! I am so looking forward to next week! 
B. will have the Christmas Holidays off for two whole weeks! 
We're heading to my parents house right after the weekend (in which I hopefully will be able to bake and decorate some cookies and make some yummy surprises to give to my family as gifts.)

It'll be a full house at my parents, my brothers and sisters and their families will be there as well, 
with exception of my sister and her family who live in Canada and my lucky, lucky sister and her family who are visiting them for the holidays. I am so jealous! Have fun sisters!

On Christmas Eve we're heading to a service held outside at a park in my parents town.
We try to go every year, and I just love the experience:
Hot chocolate and Christmas songs, bonfires and a huge big star hoisted up in the air by a crane, you can see it from all over town.
I'll try to make some photo's this year!

Of course we'll be having a big family Christmas feast cooked up by my dad and me. (hopefully, if he lets me in the kitchen) 

And the best thing? 
Celebrating the fact that our savior, Jesus Christ, was sent to earth to live and die for us. Amazing grace!
That really makes this the most wonderful time of the year!

Love, Maria

Friday, December 13, 2013

five things on friday

1. Walk into my home any day and this is probably what you will find. 

A colorful Christmas tree, toys all over the floor, me in warm slippers and Christmas songs playing softly in the background. I love it!


2. Speaking of Christmas songs, I found the perfect playlist on Spotify: Folksy Christmas
Think Sufjan Stevens, Jack Johnson, Mumford and Sons, I tell ya, it's awesome!


3. Micha has been coughing and wheezing for a while now, especially after he's been playing or when he's in bed, but this week it got a bit worse so I took him to the doctor and came home with this:

I'm not that surprised that he has asthma like problems, it's a family thing, 
my brothers have asthma and I also used to have it when I was young. I grew over it luckily. 
Hopefully Micha's wheezing won't progress into anything more serious like asthma. 


4. This is so good. 

It's baklava for those of you who aren't familiar.


5. Happy Weekend! 

Love, Maria

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

a Christmas tradition

Last year I started something which hopefully will become a long lasting Christmas tradition in our household.

An ornament made or personalized by Micha. 

Last year, when he was a squishy five month old, we decorated a wooden Christmas tree ornament with his little fingerprints.


It isn't a new tradition I'm following, when I was young we would make all kinds of ornaments and garlands for in the tree. Remember popcorn garlands, and paper snowflakes, or those paper chains?
Every year we would make new decorations and hang them in the tree together with the ornaments made in years past.
And every year my favorite thing to make for our tree were salt dough ornaments.
My siblings and I would roll out the dough and cut out stars, bells and santa's until our hands were white with salt.


So this year I thought it would be fun to make a salt dough ornament with Micha with his hand print on it.

I was certain Micha would love playing with the left over dough, just like I used to,
thus making it a fun winter day activity.

I was wrong.

Micha was absolutely disgusted by it and after I was able to quickly force his hand onto the dough for the ornament he didn't want anything to do with dough at all!
Which I find so strange because his favorite way to eat his oatmeal in the morning is with his hands.
I never figured him to be so squeamish with a little salt dough.
Strange boy, that son of mine!

Anyways, I was able to make a cute (but because of said squeamishness not very clear, oh well) hand print on the dough and used stamps to add his name and the year.
With the left over dough I made some stars to add to our tree.
I painted the ornaments white and sprinkled some glitter over top.

'what ís this stuff? '
last years ornament

And now they're hanging all pretty and sparkly in the tree!


I love little traditions like this and I hope that when we're old and gray our tree will be full with handmade and sentimental ornaments made by Micha (and if God blesses us with more babies, their ornaments too!)

Love, Maria

p.s. I used this recipe/tutorial for the ornaments.

Friday, December 6, 2013

16 months and a Christmas Tree

'No time for a photo, Mama! I need to touch that tree!'

It's a little annoying to have a birthday on the 31st of a month like you do,  Micha,
because that makes it hard for me to count exactly how many months you are.
So, somewhere last week you turned 16 months.

A few highlights of this past month: 

- You learned to dance. You already swayed to the music whenever you heard some, 
but since this month you've learned to make foot movements too. You are the cutest little dancer!


- Your vocabulary is getting bigger and better by the day. 
It seems like you are learning a new word every day.
Your papa and I need to make a video of you saying all your words soon!


- You experienced your first Sinterklaas* arrival (the moment Sinterklaas arrives in Holland, a few weeks before his big night), and tonight we're opening Sinterklaas presents with friends. 
A day late, but hopefully just as fun!
* Sinterklaas is a typical Dutch winter celebration similar to secular ( Santa Claus etc.) Christmas. 


- We had a photo shoot for our Christmas card, you did pretty well! 

both photo's made by Hans en Lidy Fotografie


- Last year you loved the Christmas tree, probably because all of the twinkly lights, but this morning when we came downstairs you were in complete awe! 
You even did a little jiggly dance when you saw it. 
You pointed to the lights and I showed you all the the ornaments. 
You especially like the little birds on the tree, just like I do!

The tree is a bit top heavy, and on the bottom we hung only the unbreakable ornaments, but so far you are pretty gentle with the tree and only touch the ornaments with one little finger to make them sway.


I can't wait to experience this coming magical month with you! 

Love, Mama


I made the polka dot garland on the branch hanging in front of the window and wrapped around the Christmas tree. 
It was so simple, not even worth a tutorial. 
Just cut out different sized circles from double sided printed paper (choose thick paper), sew them
together and voila! Done!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

it's going to be a colorful christmas

source images: clockwise 1,2,3,4,5,6

We're finally putting up our Christmas tree this evening, and I'm so excited! 
I love everything about Christmas, but the tree is by far my favorite. 

Well, Jesus is actually my favorite part about Christmas, but the tree definitely comes second. 
Or is it the food? Hmm..
Anyways, I love a good Christmas tree!


We have a fake one we purchased when we just got married and so far it's holding up perfectly.
Although I love the smell of a real Christmas tree, a fake one is good for us because, hello, no shedding! 
It's easier on the wallet in the long run, and real trees never look as perky and symmetric as a faker. :)


We've decorated the tree pretty much the same since we've had it, 
but this year I decided it needed a make over. 
I've been pinning photo's of colorful trees and garlands, 
and that is exactly the direction I'm taking our tree this year! 
Color, color and more color!

I found the most perfect hand painted ornaments and I'm making a polka dot garland similar to this one.
I'm planning to make a special ornament with Micha, just like we (actually, it was me) did last year. 
I'm hoping to make that an annual tradition.


I can't wait to see the look on M's face when we come downstairs tomorrow morning, 
he is going to be one excited little boy! 
I just hope he doesn't tear it down the second I leave him alone. Eek!

I hope to post some photo's of the tree tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Love, Maria

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Baking Bread

There isn't a thing in the world that beats the warm and sweet aroma of bread baking in the oven.

I just love the entire process of baking bread.
From carefully reading an interesting new, or old and well loved recipe,
to measuring out the ingredients,
dissolving yeast in warm water and watch it bubble and grow.
Mixing everything together and kneading the until the dough feels soft and smooth.

My stand mixer makes the process oh so easy, but I love to knead the dough by hand for a couple of minutes after the machine has done its work.
I need to feel the dough to make sure it's just perfect.

It always amazes me how beautifully the dough rises 
and even before the bread enters the oven, 
the aroma of the yeast doing its work fills the kitchen.

Once the bread is in the oven, all I have to do is wait.
The smells coming out of the kitchen are heavenly.
I peek in the oven a few times and when I think it might be time I gently tap the top, 
if it sounds hollow it's ready.

I can hardly wait until the bread is cool enough to cut off a slice, 
which I then slather with butter, take a bite and savor the deliciousness that is freshly baked bread. 

It really is one of the best things.

^ ^ ^

I found this recipe shared by Mary Beth from the blog Annapolis and Company 
(great blog by the way),
and tried it the other weekend.
It's a really good recipe and makes a chewy (bring on that glorious gluten!) and soft loaf.
I needed to add a bit more flour then stated in the recipe, 
but other than that it's a simple and easy recipe to follow.

The recipe makes two loaves and I added raisins to one loaf, I actually prefer it that way.
Too bad for me that I'm allergic to hazelnuts, 
but I can only imagine how delicious that would be if added as well.

^ ^ ^ 

Do you love baking bread as well? Have you ever baked bread? 
If not, do it! It is so easy!

Love, Maria

Friday, November 22, 2013

a song, a book, a quote, a look

About a month ago I did one of these posts for the first time, inspired by this lady
and today I'm at it again.

Song (or rather, new (to me) group) : 

This awesome band from Iceland: Ásgeir
My favorite song of theirs (so far, it's all good). 
I don't know what it is with these Scandinavian bands, but I just love their sound.



Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho. 
I love each and every one of his books and this one is just as eye opening and intriguing as any of them. 
It is about a prostitute and contains some graphic parts, but actually it's a beautiful book about love.


From previously mentioned book.




It's getting cold here! So I've been pinning all kinds of cozy, including this look. 
Warm socks, tights and booties.


Happy Weekend!

Love, Maria

Thursday, November 21, 2013

little jokes

One of my favorite things about Micha is his sense of humor, and his happy personality. 
He loves acting silly and we have our own little running jokes in this home. 

Some of my favorites:

- Before mealtimes we always sing a prayer and we usually ask him if he can sing along with us to which he replies by humming and raising his eyebrows and then laughing out loud.

- Every morning when I go to get the little mister from his crib, he covers his eyes, shakes his head and grumbles the moment I turn on the lights but then greets me with a big goofy grin.

- He's such a little actor, whenever I ask him if he's sad he fake cries, and then when I ask him a second later if he's happy he fake laughs.

-He loves giving himself big sloppy kisses in the mirror and then laughing at his reflection.

-His favorite game is to put toys in silly places and watch for our reaction. 
This morning, while we were eating fruit, he decided to give Pooh a bath in a glass of water and threw some chunks of apple in for good measure. And all the while looking at me with a side eye and a grin on his face.

Sometimes his jokes are a little cheeky, and laughing isn't probably the best thing, but I just can't help myself most of the time.

I just think he is the funniest little dude ever.

I love him so much!

Love, Maria

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

extra spicy gingersnaps

I've always been a big fan of food with a punch. 
I love the burning sensation in my mouth after I've eaten some spicy Thai food, 
or the lip puckering flavor of a lemony lemonade. 
I always add extra hot sauce to my fried rice and my favorite candy is the the sour kind.

You understand, I like a punch. (in my food, not in my face)


The other day I was looking for a recipe for gingersnaps and none of the recipes seemed gingery or spicy enough. 

So I decided to adapt the recipes to make them more my kind of cookie.
(this recipe was my main starting point)

I upped the amount of ginger, added candied ginger,  
threw in a pinch of pepper and used freshly ground cloves.
I also wanted to make them a teensy bit healthier, 
so I subbed 1/4 cup of the regular flour for 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

The cookies turned out so delicious, I made about two dozen (they were on the bigger side), 
and a day later there definitely aren't as many left. 
I'll just leave it at that.

Extra spicy gingersnaps

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cups oil
1/4 molasses
1 egg
1 and 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
about 2 tbsp of finely minced candied ginger
1/2 tsp cloves (I used freshly ground cloves)
a grinding of fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

granulated sugar

Mix the sugar, oil, molasses and egg together. In a separate bowl mix together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, candied ginger, cloves, pepper and salt. Fold the molasses mixture into the the flour mixture. Roll into small balls, using about 1 tbsp of dough for each ball. ( I made mine bigger, and that's fine too). Roll in granulated sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 180 c/ 375F for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy the delicious smell of ginger and spices wafting from your oven and when the cookies have cooled down enough to handle I dare you to just eat one. You won't succeed.

Love, Maria

Friday, November 15, 2013

saturday morning breakfast

Hurray, it's almost the weekend! 

One of my favorite things about our weekends is our Saturday morning breakfast. 
Ever since I was little we would have a special breakfast on Saturday morning. 
Usually it would be pancakes or waffles, of course with bacon and eggs and all the works.
I remember waking up at dawn and rushing downstairs to help my dad. 
He taught me the golden rule of pancake baking: 
they're ready to flip once the bubbles stop popping
When I was older and felt the need to sleep in, the delicious smell of pancakes and bacon wafting into my bedroom would have me up and ready in no time.

How different is the the (lack of) breakfast culture here in Holland
(it's one of my biggest pet peeves about this little country.) 
For most Dutch breakfast is never a big deal, most people just eat a sandwich with cheese or jam, or if they're feeling adventurous a bowl of cereal, probably muesli. 
Maybe on Christmas morning or Easter the Dutch will treat themselves to a special breakfast of buns and croissants and feel all luxurious. 
note: these are tongue-in-cheek comments and probably quite generalizing.

But that's not hoe we roll at all. 
I'm so glad B. has embraced my Canadian big breakfast loving side and it seems like Micha is loving our tradition too. 

Big breakfasts are the way to go!

These recipes look perfect for a Saturday morning breakfast:
One Hour Cinnamon Rolls
Buttermilk Yogurt Pancakes
Monkey Bread 
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

What's your favorite breakfast food?

Love, Maria

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An overwhelming, beautiful responsibility

The other day B. was putting up a shelf in our hallway after Micha had pulled it down.
Of course Micha, lover of all things noisy and technical, wanted to check things out for himself.
I plopped him down in his high chair in the hallway with a perfect view of the 'construction site', and he sat there perfectly content and so interested in what his papa was doing.

I watched as B. showed Micha all kinds of tools and even let him try some out, and I loved what I saw.
Right there in front of me was my husband teaching our son things he will someday learn to do by himself.
I already see it, Micha at eight building a tree fort with B. and my dad in my parents back yard, or him at sixteen fiddling around with his bike, or maybe when he's twenty-five building a home for his family.


It's an overwhelming, but also such a beautiful realization that I get to be one of the lucky ones who will raise Micha and prepare him for life as an adult. 
I'm so thankful I don't have to depend solely on myself for this task but that I have an awesome husband to be my partner, a great big circle of family and friends for support and above all a God who will always make right the wrongs that I do.

I hope Micha will grow up to be confident and kind, generous, wise and loving to all.
And I pray he will know Gods love for him and love him back with all of his heart.

I can't wait to see all that is in store for my boy!

Love, Maria

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

parka, parka, parka

Parka is such a weird word if you think about it, no?

sources: 1,2,3,4,5

The weather here in Holland is getting colder and it's definitely necessary to bundle up when we go outside. I've been on the look-out for a new coat, since I've worn my old one for two winters already and it's time for a new one. 
I'm loving the all the parka's I see in the stores and on Pinterest and there is one parka coat at H&M that I'm particularly fond of and when I tried it on in the store it looked really cute and was very comfortable. 
It has a waxed feeling to it, has a faux-fur collar and it's lined with warm fleece, perfect for this winter. 
Apparently it was my lucky day yesterday, because when I checked the website to see if it was still available, it had been selected for the weekly discount and I was able to order it for 50 percent off! 
Happy dance! 

I can't wait to get it in the mail next week!

So, what are your thoughts on parka's? Yay or nay?

Love, Maria

Monday, November 11, 2013

a fun week... no, it was not.

Happy Monday! I'm baa-aack!

enjoy this photo of my boy in handsomer times
I call it his 'hey girl' photo ;)

Wow, it has been quite the week here in our household.
It started off with a bad cold for me which turned into a flu. 
When I finally felt better, Micha started getting a red rash around his mouth, 
his molars are coming in (ouch, and no sleep) so I thought it was just a teething rash, 
but the rash turned into little blisters and the blisters turned into crusts. 
My poor handsome baby was now a pimply, crusty boy. 
So shallow, I know, but I'm not used to such an ugly child, haha!

I took him to the doctor and it turned out it was not a teething rash, but something called Impetigo.
Apparently it is a pretty common skin infection among young children but it is quite contagious, so no play dates for us until it's over... 
The doctor prescribed an antibiotic ointment and the rash is getting better, yay!

Luckily B. and I haven't caught it, phew! 
I've had my share of bad skin when I was a teenager thank you very much!

So that was a little recap of our fun week, I have a feeling this week will be much better!

How was your week?

Love, Maria

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Instead of my sick face, I'll just share this cute one.

Just want to pop in to tell you I'm still alive, though barely... 
I've been fighting a bad cold the last few days and my bed is just way to comfy during Micha's naps 
(during which I usually blog).

Hope you're all having a better week, and I hope to blog again soon!

Love, Maria

Friday, November 1, 2013

stormy treasures

This week we experienced the heaviest storm since 1990 (I think?) here in Holland and Europe.
We don't get storms like this often.
It was crazy and exciting and a bit scary too...


The day after the storm a friend and I decided to go for a walk with our boys and collect some of the fallen branches to use as decoration.

I found a long, thick branch that would be perfect for things like this:

sources (clockwise) 1,2,3,4

I can't wait to get all crafty this weekend, I'm thinking something fun to hang in front of our living room window with twinkle lights and mason jars with candles to light up our house in the dark November days to come.

Happy Weekend!

Love, Maria

Thursday, October 31, 2013

fifteen months

Just look at him go! Messi material, am I right?


Today you are exactly 15 months old.
And because it's also Halloween today I just couldn't resist dressing you up for the photo's.

You got this soccer outfit last year around Christmas from your aunt and uncle who live in Rotterdam (this is the Rotterdam soccer clubs jersey) and I thought it would make a perfect Halloween costume.

It isn't completely out of the blue that you're dressed up like a soccer player, 
you recently learned to play 'soccer' and you absolutely love it!
You're pretty good with the ball, actually kicking it and everything.

I think we might have the next Messi on our hands ;).


I love how much you talk and how it seems like you're learning a new word every day.
I love how social you still are and how much you love connecting with other people.
I love it when I call for you in the morning, you answer with : 'baba!' (your not very good at 'm' words yet)
I love how much you love food and enjoy sitting at the table with your papa and me.
I love it when you come to me with a book and ask me to read it to you.

Micha, I love everything about you, even when you're a handful 
(and you have been quite a handful this month). 
Your unexpected hugs and kisses make up for all of the cheekiness.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Last weekend we visited my sister and her family who live across the country.
Luckily 'across the country' only means a two and a half hour drive here in Holland. 
The drive went smoothly and Micha was such a champ, there were no meltdowns in the car, 
only chatting, snacking and napping. Good boy!

We had such a great time at my sisters house, we ate delicious food, had good conversations and even had a game night. And of course we Instagramed some cute bath pictures and some sister selfies.


On Saturday we went for a walk through their beautiful town, and while we brought along the 'good' camera we hardly made any photos. 
When I was looking through the photo's when we were back home, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed we hadn't made more. 

It was just such a beautiful day, we visited the cutest little shops, and bought the most delicious baked goods at an artisan bakery, everything was so picture perfect, and I forgot to make the pictures! 
Blogger fail :)


I guess we were just having too much fun! There is something so say about that, right? 

I think sometimes we just have to get out from behind our camera's and phones and just enjoy the moment, without feeling the need to capture it or 'share' it. 
Sometimes 'just' the memories of good times are good enough.

Anyways, enough with the philosophizing..


It was so nice to spend time with my sister, and seeing her and her family love on Micha. 
There is just something so special about that, seeing your family love your baby.

And, Micha? He loved all the attention so much. I think he might need a sibling... haha!
(maybe in a few years buddy!)

Love, Maria

Monday, October 28, 2013

a fall hike

Last week B. had fall vacation, a whole week of spending time together as a family!
The weather was beautiful all week, and one day we decided to go for a hike in a nearby forest.


B. carried Micha in the Beco, it had been a while since Micha had been strapped in like that and at first he was not having it. 
Luckily he decided he liked being carried and we were able to enjoy a fun little family hike. 

We stopped half way on a hill overlooking a herd of sheep grazing in the valley below. 
Their shepherd ( a girl!) was sitting close by drinking tea and reading a book while her dogs tended to the sheep. Isn't that the coolest job?

We ate a picnic of sandwiches and hot chocolate and when our bellies were full we carried on with our walk.

At the end of our hike we took a family picture on the same spot we took ours last year.
One of us has changed quite a bit!

2012          /         2013

I think we might make this an annual tradition.

We love hikes in the fall!

Love, Maria