Friday, January 31, 2014

05/52

Project 52: a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014


Micha, today you are exactly 18 months old, you are a one and a half-year-old. 
Officially a toddler. I think 18 months is my favorite age so far (but I think I said that about every month), you are so funny and such a chatter box. 
You know so many words and you're learning to count from one to ten, you even recognize numbers when you see them written down. 
Seven is your favorite number. It sounds so sweet coming from your mouth.
You love coloring, but also chewing off the ends of the pencils, hmm.
You still love your soother for naps and night time and call it 'ba'. 
You officially weaned yourself this week, you still nursed before bedtime at night, but this week you stopped.
I'm okay with that. 
It'll be nice to have a bit of rest for the 'girls' before your brother or sister needs them, haha!
You are such a toddler, and can be quite stubborn at times. 'No' is your favorite word.
I accidentally taught you a bad word: 'sh*t', and you think it's hilarious. 
Yesterday in the grocery store you wouldn't stop saying it, I was so embarrassed. Oops...
I really need to watch what I say and do around you, as your favorite thing is copying everything I do. 
It's quite eye-opening actually. 

We're still so crazy about you! We love you to bits!

//



Baby, I'm 19 weeks pregnant with you today. 
Wednesday is our next ultra sound appointment and then we'll find out if you are a little boy or a little girl. 
I'm so anxious to find out. 
I can't wait to start with your room and buy more little outfits, 
the wait is making me so restless. 
Don't be too shy next week, okay?
You are getting bigger and stronger and I really notice it. 
Your movements are more noticeable and I even felt a kick through my skin when I held my hand on my belly the other day.
Your papa hasn't had such luck though yet, even though he tries to feel you every day.
Baby, the thought of you joining our family is getting more real and more exciting every day.
You are so welcome, little one!

//

Love, Mama

Thursday, January 30, 2014

maybe I'll get a second chance?

not so sure about this mom..
As I mentioned in a recent post, Micha is not a big fan of baby-carrying. 
Ever since he was a tiny baby, he would squirm and scream and cry until we would free him from the carrier.
Once in a while he would accept it for a bit, but if he was done, he was done, and he'd certainly let you know.
this is what happens when Micha is done being carried

Before he was born, and even before he was conceived, I had done so much research on baby carriers, I knew I didn't want a wrap or a sling, they seemed so complicated. 
No, what I wanted was either a Ergo or a Beco, used by my favorite bloggers at the time. (It really does work, advertising through blogs).
The Beco had cuter prints so I decided to get one of those. 
And in the months before M. was born you could have caught me walking around the house with the carrier strapped to my belly, imagining how perfect and serene life would be with my newborn in the carrier.

//

And then came the moment of truth, Micha was born and as soon as he was big enough I attempted the carrier. 
Womp,womp,womp.... he did not like it, not one bit!

Turns out, he's just like his mama, not happy to be confined or strapped down. 
No, we need our freedom and independence!

//

But, no despair, I get to have a second chance. 
Maybe baby #2 will love being carried and constantly being close to me. 
This time around I might even try a baby wrap, it honestly seems more comfortable for a newborn, and a bit easier for me to wear around the house. 
And yet again I've been swayed by the magic of blog advertising and am lusting after this beautiful wrap.

But this time around I think I'll first borrow a friends wrap and if baby agrees with it, I'll get one for myself.
Live and learn, people!

Do you have experience with baby carrying? What was your favorite carrier? Let me know!

Love, Maria

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

'just' a stay at home mama


It's 10 a.m. and I'm still in my pajamas. 
I've just folded a monster load of laundry and emptied the dish washer.
Micha is down for his morning nap, although it seems like he doesn't really need them anymore.
I put him in bed anyways, where he naps a bit and plays and chats for the majority of hour he spends there. 
I think he likes the peace and quiet.
I make a cappuccino and cut a big slice of cake to eat as my second breakfast(what? it's a thing...), sometimes it's another bowl of cereal or a muffin, but today it's cake.
I hop behind my computer to catch up on reading blogs, write a post for my blog and if there's time I take a shower.

//

I imagine what others are doing, the people that hurriedly biked past my window this morning, while I was reading to Micha.
Are they in an important meeting, or teaching children how to spell?
Are they prepping for surgery or drinking their fourth cup of coffee of the day during a much needed break?
And while I think about their lives, I feel a little left out and maybe even a bit insignificant.
I'm not saving lives or having important meetings, I'm not teaching a classroom of kids, I'm not making lots of money to go on fun vacations or buy fancy clothes. I don't get a bonus or a 'thank you' for doing a great job or constructive feedback if I don't.

I'm 'just' a stay at home mama who will read yet another book because her toddler insists, wipes runny noses, does the laundry, makes sure there's enough food in the house, cooks the meals and does it all again the next day.

It seems so trivial and unimportant, and it frustrates me that it makes me feel that way.
'I can do more', 'I'm just as smart as you',' I went to college, you know', I want to tell people when all they see is a mama with a squirmy toddler.

And then I realize that I'm actually talking to myself.
I'm the one who sometimes sees being 'just' a stay at home mom as something less than having a 'real' job,
I'm the one who's judging myself, I'm the one who doesn't realize the importance of what I'm doing, here in my home, with my toddler.

So often I need to smack myself on the behind and tell myself that reading that bible story for the fifth time √≠s my important job, and that I'm not teaching a classroom, but one (and soon to be two) precious child(ren), and that that's enough for now. 
My 'thank you' is an unexpected cuddle from Micha or his sweet voice calling for me through the baby monitor. 
My bonus is a hug and a kiss from my husband at the end of the day. Or a fellow mama asking for my advice. 

What I am doing may seem trivial to some, but to my child, to my husband, to my God, it's the most important thing I could be doing in this season of my life.
There will be other seasons in which I might have a 'real' job and be more than just a stay at mom, but right now I'll spend my time at home, with my son, and I'll do it with joy and pride and with a grateful heart.

And with a slice of cake.

Love, Maria






Thursday, January 23, 2014

04/52

Project 52: a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014


Micha: Being the independent toddler you are. We went for a walk last Sunday and carried you in the carrier, but you were not having it. I always imagined myself to be a baby-carrying mama, but I didn't realize that maybe my baby wouldn't be the carrying kind. 
As soon as we liberated you from the carrier you were the happiest little guy again. 



Baby # 2: Only two more weeks and then we won't be calling you baby #2, but baby girl or baby boy. And once we settle on a name, we'll call you that. I've been feeling your little kicks and movements so much more this past week and I'm loving it. I love you, little baby!

//

Happy Weekend!

Love, Maria

currently


Reading: Mostly children's books. We've been reading a lot of Richard Scarry, some Miffy books (a favorite of Micha since he was a few weeks old), and his new obsession 'Spot'. I remember watching Spot video's when I was young and loving them, but, man, those books are so boring! But Micha loves them, so we keep on reading them.
I would love to find a great book to read for myself, I love reading, but haven't read a book for so long.
I've heard good things about 'The Book Thief', so that one's definitely on my list. Any other suggestions?

Doing: Making a duvet cover for Micha. He's been sleeping under blankets, but it's getting colder and now that he is a toddler I think a comforter is safe to use. I couldn't find bedding that I loved, so I decided to make some myself. It's actually really simple. Just a matter of cutting the fabric to the right dimension and then sewing a big pocket for the duvet to slip in to. I just need to figure out what to do with the closure area, I'm thinking snaps might be too much work, so I'm leaning towards sewing on some ribbons to tie the duvet closed. This tutorial is pretty easy to follow if you want to make a cover yourself.

Working on: Being logged off while being around Micha. I don't want to be checking my email or Instagram constantly while I'm with him. It's such an easy thing to do, but I don't think it's sending a great message to him. I don't believe he needs my attention every waking hour (mama needs to do laundry), but I also don't want him to think that my phone or my computer deserves more attention than him. So right now I'm trying to keep email checking and Instagram scrolling to nap time. It isn't going perfectly, but it's a work in progress.

Eating: Lots of sweets and desserts. But I'm trying to keep it on the healthier side by baking oatmeal muffins sweetened with honey instead of sugar. Luckily they do a good job of satisfying my cravings. But these pins are definitely not helping: 1,2,3 .

Watching: With B: Luther, a British crime series. Like most British series this one is so good. It feels a lot more realistic than most American crime series (sorry) and almost every episode makes me grab a pillow to hide behind during the scary scenes.
By myself: Parenthood. I love Parenthood, I cry almost every episode. I'll just blame that on the pregnancy hormones.

Loving: The forecast for snow this weekend! We haven't had proper winter weather at all in Holland and it's bumming me out. Winter needs at least a few snowy days, I think!

So, how about you? What's going on with you currently?

Love, Maria

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My favorite cookbooks: Flour

New blog post idea for the blog: 
My favorite cookbooks; A review + recipe.


Today: Flour

//

I love my cookbooks, each and every one of them.
But my very favorite one for sweets and desserts is 'Flour', by Joanne Chang, owner of Boston's Flour Bakery and Cafe (oh, Boston, I'd love to visit you some day).
Her recipes aren't exactly for the beginning baker, you do need some baking know-how, some recipes are actually pretty challenging, like her recipe for croissants, which I haven't dared to try yet.

But that is what I like about 'Flour', I like the challenge and I've really improved my baking by using and studying it's recipes.
What I also love about the cookbook are Joanne's stories about the recipes and her insider tips and tricks she shares with her readers, I've learned so much about baking, just by reading her tips.


//

A favorite recipe of mine from 'Flour' is the Intense Chocolate Brownie, it is actually one of the more simpler recipes, but not any less delicious than the challenging ones.

It's become a go to recipes for me whenever I'm asked to bring a dessert or something sweet to a gathering and I always get so many compliments for them.

This recipe is the best basic brownie recipe I've come across, it's decadent and fudgy (like brownies should be in my opinion) and delicious on it's own. Sometimes I top the brownies off with some home made salted caramel and I can only imagine how great they'd be with walnuts (just not for this allergic girl).

To ensure the best results, use the best ingredients, which is important for all cooking and baking I think.
And make sure not to over bake the brownies, they need to be a tad underdone!


Flour Bakery's Intense Chocolate Brownies

Yield: 9 x 13 inch pan of brownies

5.5 oz (155 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2.5 oz (70 grams) bittersweet chocolate (62-70% cacao), chopped

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (1 & 3/4 sticks/200 grams) unsalted butter, melted

5 eggs

2 cups (400 grams) sugar

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Position the oven rack to the middle and preheat to 325°F(that would be 160 degrees Celsius). 
Butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. (I lined it with parchment paper, so I could easily remove them from the pan and cut them.)

Place the unsweetened chocolate and bittersweet chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Place over (not touching) barely simmering water in a saucepan and heat, stirring continuously, until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat, whisk in the melted butter until well combined and set aside to cool slightly.

Place the eggs in a mixer bowl and fit mixer with the whisk attachment. On low, slowly beat in the sugar for 1 minute, or until frothy and somewhat thick. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate mixture.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using the spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture into the egg-chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined. Do not over mix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread in an even layer with the spatula. (Batter will be thick)

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes- but start checking at about 20 minutes (so important!!!). They are done when a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few wet crumbs on it. If there is still liquid batter on the tester, they need more time. If the tester comes out clean, they are cooked through and will be okay too, just more cakey than fudgy. 
Let them cool for 2 hours. They are so moist, they need this time to firm up enough to cut.

Recipe source: Flour Bakery Cookbook

//

I would definitely recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves to bake and is looking to improve their baking skills.

Love, Maria

(p.s. This is not a sponsored or endorsed post, just me sharing my favorite cookbooks with you. 
If you are reading along Joanne, I would't mind a box of baked goods as a thank you ;) )




Friday, January 17, 2014

03/52

Project 52: 'a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014'



Micha: Waking from his nap, cuddling his 'Apie' (his version of dutch for: monkey)


Baby: Making my belly grow more and more every day. How are you doing in there? 
Still three and a half weeks before we see you again, I can't wait!

//

Happy weekend, friends!

Love, Maria

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Baby Led Weaning for the win! A year of BLW.

first taste of banana

Exactly a year ago, when he was about six months, Micha fed himself a banana for the very first time.
His first taste of solid food was pureed avocado, which he loved.
But quite soon after that first taste of 'real' food we decided that feeding him pureed food just wasn't the right choice for us.

After doing some research that confirmed our decision, we entered the world of  Baby Led Weaning, and we never looked back.
We started out by feeding him soft organic fruits and vegetables, like banana, steamed sweet potato, steamed broccoli, pear(remember this post with the cute video?) and avocado slices.



After a few months of preparing separate food for him, which seems like a big deal, but actually isn't, we just had an extra pan on the stove with a steam basket and prepared his food while cooking our own meal, we let him eat a version of whatever we were eating, just without salt, sugar and heavy spices. We also introduced bread products, which I delayed due to possible gluten sensitivities.


When he was about a year we slowly introduced him to more spicy and salty foods and even let him eat things with sugar (gasp!).

And now, at almost one-and-a-half, he eats whatever we are eating. 
Although I do cook with a lot less salt, sugar and a lot more organic products than before, 
but that's only a good thing!


//

Baby led weaning has been such a great choice for our family.
Some of my favorite reasons to BLW:

- We get to enjoy meals together, without first needing to spoon feed Micha his meal. At Christmas we sat around the table for over an hour (!), while Micha happily munched on duck and cranberry sauce and whatever we put on his plate. I love that he was so included!

- Micha is learning about texture and flavor while eating his food, and apparently that's very good for his cognitive skills.

- We learned to trust Micha's ability to chew and swallow, in the beginning the gagging freaked me out, but I knew it was totally normal and it didn't phase Micha at all. We just reminded him to chew better and now he knows how to handle different types of food.

- Because I breast fed Micha at least three times a day until he was about one, we never had to worry if he ate enough, he'd just nurse a bit more that day. There was no pressure whatsoever for him to eat a certain amount of food.

- Because we never stressed about his eating, we've never had the whole 'power struggle' you hear so much about when it comes to meal times. (Although we've just entered the 'terrible two' stage, so maybe I'll be eating my words in a few months)

- We never need to bring separate meals along for Micha when we go out to eat, if there's a high chair and yummy food, it's all good!

- He is able to feed himself with a spoon and a fork, he loves his morning oatmeal porridge and yogurt for dessert in the evening.

//

Self-feeding can be a bit messy sometimes, so we always put a tablecloth under his chair and he wears big bibs with sleeves. The birds and rodents probably love the area underneath our balcony, heehee! 
But, to be honest, he's not that messy anymore. His hand-eye coordination has improved and he usually finishes off every crumb on his plate, especially if we're eating something he loves.

His all time favorite foods include pasta dishes, oven baked potato wedges, any kind of meat or fish, fruit, porridge, almost every vegetable (broccoli and peas are his favorite) and any type of bread product. 

He's not a big fan of rice and couscous, or stew-like dishes. He likes to be able to easily pick up the food (rice makes that hard) and wants to be able to distinguish the different ingredients on his plate (no mushed up foods for him).

I haven't used a lot of recipes specifically meant for BLW, but these recipes I shared on the blog are always a big hit whenever I make them. 

I came across this blog recently and it has so many great recipes for BLW'ers.

//

All in all, I'm such a big fan of BLW and I can't wait to start all over with our second baby.
There's just something so special about seeing your baby discovering new flavors and textures and learning to really love food without any pressure.

What are your thoughts on BLW?

Love, Maria


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

dreaming up a nursery

I think it was the evening on the day I found out about our surprise pregnancy that I made a secret Pinterest board. (not secret anymore though) 
I needed to do something to help me get over the initial shock of finding out.
Dreaming up a nursery was the perfect way to let it sink in 
and get super excited about baby # 2.

//

With Micha we had years to think about a nursery and I was heavily inspired by this one on Apartment Therapy. 
I fell in love with all the bright colors but also with the fact that it didn't scream 'baby!'.
When we found out Micha was a boy, we added some more greens and reds and some boyish art, instead of pinks and yellows and flower prints like we would have done with a girl.


This time around I notice that I'm falling for bright colors again, but with a bit more white and polka dots mixed in. There's just something about bright colors that make me so happy.

image sources: (clockwise) 1,2,3,4,5

But while I love the idea of creating another colorful nursery, I might change things up a bit if baby # 2 is a girl and go for peach, pink and even some gold ( I know, it's super trendy, but I just can't help myself). 

Image sources: (clockwise) 1,2,3,4,5

I love the idea of an accent wall, like the chevron stripes we did for Micha's room (again, very trendy, but I happened to love the trend and am still in love with his wall). 
This time I would love to do a polka-dot wall or a graphic triangle wall.

For M's room I sewed and DIY'ed  almost everything, and I really would love to do that again this time. 
It saves costs and I love the idea of having original pieces to decorate with. 
We'll see how far I get!

//

I just can't wait to get started, 
but I think we'll wait until we know if this little baby is a he or a she.
Only four more weeks to go! Eek!

I'm off to do some more pinning ;) !

Love, Maria





Friday, January 10, 2014

01+02/52 (project 52) and a 17 month update

This year I'm going to do something new on the blog. 

Project 52 : 'a portrait of my children, once a week every week in 2014'

I've seen tons of other bloggers join this project in previous years and I thought it would be fun to be a part of it this year.
I love seeing how mama's document the growth of their children and I can't wait to see what this project will bring us this year. I hope it will also help me improve my photography skills, and so I'm planning to exclusively use our DSLR for this project. Maybe I'll even try a hand at shooting manually, we'll see!

Of course it will be mostly photos of Micha this year, but in June there will be another another sweet little face to capture. :) :)
I can't wait to see all the photos at the end of the year!

//

I'm cheating a little bit on the first photo, as I'm using a photo from our little family photo shoot in December, but it's such a cute photo I just needed to share it again!

week 01/52

what? this is how we always read books together! ;)


Week 02/52

 
 
my handsome little man
busted!
Micha,

You are 17 months old now, you have been for more than a week but your mama was to busy to write something right then.
You are my sunshine, you really are!
You love your mama and let me know that all the time.
You'll stop playing for a moment to come to me and give me a kiss or a cuddle,
you recently learned to say 'mama' , and it just melts my heart every time I hear your little voice saying it.
You've been learning so many new words and some new songs too!
Right now your favorite song to sing is 'Read your bible, pray every day', and your favorite listening song is 'Why, oh why' by Elizabeth Mitchell.
You still love to read and your favorite book is 'Murmel, murmel' by Robert Munch. It's the sweetest story!
Next to reading your favorite activity is eating! You love your food. Lately you've really been into peas, home-made fish sticks, and anything bread like. Oh, and you love french fries too!
Not so healthy, but a yummy treat once in a while!

Your favorite word lately is definitely 'no', I think we've got an early 'terrible' two-er on our hands!
Sometimes your 'no's' frustrate me, but I love seeing you make up your own mind about things.
You definitely know what you want and don't want.

You are the perfect mix between mischievous and sweet, and I love you!

Love, Mama

Thursday, January 9, 2014

15 weeks (the story of our unexpected wonderful surprise)


lil' baby at almost 12 weeks

A few months ago I was talking to a friend about having another baby.
And how it wasn't such an easy thing for me to think about.
We desperately wanted Micha to have a sibling, 
but I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle another round of fertility treatments with all the hopes and fears and disappointments and heartache.
ICSI of IVF or any form of fertility treatment is an exhausting emotional and psychical roller coaster,
and I just wasn't ready to go through it all again.
I wasn't sure when or if I ever would be.

We had made a decision to wait until Micha was at least two years old and then we'd see what we would do.

//

But as we had learned while waiting for Micha, our plans are just that: our plans.
God had a very different plan in store for us.
With Micha he did and it turned out to be so good. (even though in the thick of it I thought he'd forgotten us.) And with this baby he did as well.
Here I was, worrying about our future, wondering if I would be able to get through another round of poking and prodding with no certain outcome, and then came the most wonderful and most unexpected surprise.

And though I'm certain God would have given us the strength to get through more treatments, just like he did before, I am so thankful that this time we didn't have to. 

No needles and hormones, no nerve wracking moments, just a spur of the moment pregnancy test.
So unexpected, but so longed for. Such a surprise, so very welcome!

//

The first few days it felt so surreal, my controlling self needed to process.
Am I ready? Can we afford this? Silly questions, but also quite normal I think.

After the first ultrasound at 8 weeks we told our parents for the first time, something we never got to experience with Micha. Their reactions were priceless, I'll never forget.


//

And here I am, 15 weeks (almost 16 weeks) pregnant,
my body is changing and my belly is growing.
Sometimes I even think I feel some slight movement and I am in awe.
I am in awe of my body for growing this baby,
in awe of life's beautiful surprises,
in awe of Gods unbelievable goodness.
A goodness that I don't deserve, but that I am so grateful for!


for comparisons sake, me at 15 weeks with Micha


Quick questions:

When are we due?
June 27th 2014, my sisters birthday. 
We feel so lucky to have this due date as B.'s summer holidays begin a week later. 
We had the same luck (blessing) with Micha and it was awesome to have B. around for six whole weeks!

Are we going to find out the gender?
Yes! We can't wait to find out! 
My next ultrasound will be when I'm about 20 weeks along and that will be the moment of truth!

Do we think we know the gender?
I have a feeling what it might be. 
With Micha I knew for sure that he was a boy, 
this time I'm not as sure about my feeling but we'll see. 
And no, I'm not telling you what I think it is.

Do we have names yet?
Yep, we have some favorites!

Home birth or Hospital?
Hopefully I'll be able to have a home birth like most women do here in Holland. 
With Micha that was the plan, but then my water broke and there were no contractions for quite a while, 
 so we ended up in the hospital (you can read the whole story here)
I had a great experience in the hospital, so it won't be terribly disappointing if I end up there again 
(and then there's the pain medication, yay!)
 but I would love to have a home birth experience as well, 
and since watching 'The Business of being Born' I'm even more sure I can handle a medication free delivery!

Cravings?
I'm so much more nauseous and queasy than with Micha so I'm not craving that much, 
but when a craving hits it's usually for something sweet. Donuts! Cinnamon Rolls! Fruit! 
Have you seen my Pinterest food board lately? If you didn't know I was pregnant that board would be a dead giveaway!

Symptoms?
Nausea, fatigue, mood swings? Maybe you should ask B. about that last one ;). 

Does Micha understand?
I don't think he does, if I ask him what's in my belly he says 'baby', but that's just because we tell him.
I do want to pick up some books about babies and becoming a big brother at the library just to familiarize him with the whole idea. But I think he'll figure out what's happening when it happens. Poor little dude.


Love, Maria














Wednesday, January 8, 2014

..and I'm ba-ack! (and a Christmas Holiday recap)



First off, Happy 2014! 
Hope you all had a great NYE! 

And also,
 thank you all so much for all the sweet comments and congratulations on my last post of 2013. 
I ended the year with a bang, hey?

//

After two weeks of no blogging I feel refreshed, inspired and ready to blog away in 2014.

I have some fun things to blog about this year, 
especially about our surprise baby that's making my belly grow faster than it did with Micha.
  I look like I'm six months pregnant, at least in my mind!
I might share some of my thoughts on maternity style.
Of course I'll be blogging about my adventures with Micha. 
And I'll be attempting to do 'project 52' 
(a portrait of my child(ren) once a week, every week, in 2014)

Sounds good?

//

But first, Christmas Holiday recap 2013.
(I know, it's been two weeks, 
but just let me share and then you're done :) )

Our Christmas Holiday was the best.

We had B. to ourselves for two whole weeks, spent Christmas at my parents, 
roasted a goat over open fire, 
celebrated the new year with great friends and good food, 
did a whole lot of sleeping in (yes, even Micha, it's a Christmas miracle!) 
and learned to say 'mama' instead of 'baba' (that one's for Micha), and yes, now he can make me do anything!

And now for the photo's!

Christmas Day:

Opening presents
cousins!
out for a walk


Christmas feast!

Second day of Christmas: 
A big Christmas dinner with B.'s family in typical Dutch style 'gourmetten' (table top grilling):




Third day of Christmas:

Back at my parents house for the goat roast. 
Don't ask me why (it was my 'crazy' uncles idea), but it was fun!

the men (and my mom) tending to the meat // goat's done!
the women (my sister and I) making side dishes and desserts

New Years Eve:
friends and food
oliebollen (dutch fried dough balls served at NYE), sparkling cider and fireworks!


And there you have it, our Christmas Holidays 2013!

It was so fun, but now I'm ready for a new year!

I can't wait to see what 2014 will bring!

Love, Maria