Flashes from France

  • It’s a six hour drive. Little Boy did great, but six hours is enough. Any longer drives to further destinations will be done probably at night.


  • My parents rented the house for three weeks. We went the first week, and arrived just after my brother and his partner. My father has a thing for his rental homes: he has to be able to walk around them and it has to be in a quiet place. Well, it was quiet. Really quiet. At the very end of the smallest village, with a private lane of 800 meters and surrounded by cows, you could barely choose anything quieter. It’s surprising to discover the sound of silence again, and realize that you haven’t actually heard it in years.


  • It felt really good when everybody started to arrive. My parents came in the next day, and my sister, her son and the girlfriend of my other brother shortly after. I cooked a great meal on a beautiful stove. Really, if there was the slightest possibility I would have taken that thing home with me. And it was nice to see how my mother enjoyed to not having to cook (she’s an excellent cook, but after a long drive, just getting served is the way to go).


  • It was hot. And sunny. And quiet. And lovely. And Little Boy enjoyed each and every minute. He played with all the family members, made up a name for his cousin (only two months older then him) and while they hardly could play together, always wanting the exact same toy, they constantly looked for each others company. Sweet!



  • Having a week with my family was refreshing, even for my husband. He had a hard time going home and even wondered if he hadn’t made the wrong decision by choosing to live near his family instead of mine. We played games, talked a lot, he even took a walk with Little Boy and my parents alone. I could really see how he bonded with his son, and how LB adores his father. He even cried on the way home, that he wish he could see LB more often after work and connect during weekends instead of feeling the pressure to constantly do things around the house. It’s his character, but I hope some of that urge will stick somehow, even in the rat race he’s in.


  • I love French food. The supermarket meat was the best I ever tasted. It all looked dark, but it was great meat, with great flavor and not half water. And the artichokes just taste best in France, with my mother’s vinaigrette inventions on the side.


  • How could we be near a zoo and not visit it? Of course we did, and we had so much fun!



  • On the last day, my husband and I jumped on the occasion to do some wine tasting in the neighborhood. We loved the warm welcome of a very local vigneron, who had chosen to do everything the traditional way and using ecological methods. I love wine tastings, even though I don’t like wine. I’ve learned to smell really well and to describe what I smell, and often I’m able to guess what my husband will love. And I must say: I smelled some lovely wines. Not the cheapest (for those we went a few blocks further and even though they had good wines, it’s nothing compared to the rich, mineral smells I got with the first man) but boy, they will be great!


Spending a week in France with family is pure bliss. We returned yesterday all sun-infused, a bit tired and full of happy memories. Husband is going back to work tomorrow, and Little Boy will pick up a bit of routine and interaction with his playmates at daycare. And I have a lot of catching up to do – in my home and on the blog. Perfect for the grey weather they have announced for the beginning of the week. The photo challenge will be something for August, I didn’t prepare too well (I should have taken the prompts with me), and I hate having gaps in my series, so I’ll try again next month.
I look forward to catch up on the rest of Heather’s Summer Soul Camp this week and I plan to do a lot of cooking: baking bread, testing my new pasta machine and going through my cook books. And reading all your posts, because honestly, I missed it. A little. It’s nice to be back.


Monday on earth – bottled water

I confess: I love bottled water. Actually one kind in particular. I drink it since I was a kid and I never learned to appreciate tap water. But now, with a family of three, realizing how much it is costing me, and seeing the enormous amount of plastic bottles in our recycling bin… it didn’t feel comfortable anymore. And when last week I used it to make grenadine, well… I couldn’t justify using that good tasting, expensive water to make something in which I couldn’t even taste the water anymore.


So in came the water filter. It’s a simple system: you put tap water in a recipient, it runs through the filter, and you’re done. Let me be honest: it isn’t necessary at all to filter tap water here. It’s just fine and perfectly healthy to drink. I just don’t like the taste. I hoped filtering it would make things better. Actually, it doesn’t. It still tastes horrible to me. Even worse than before. Buh.


But I’ll stick to it. Maybe I have to cool it. Maybe it’s a learning process. Maybe I’ll like it in the end. And if not, I’ll watch documentaries like Tapped. Sometimes, I need some reminders to jolt my conscience.



Reflections on Sunday

  • I’m not a whiner and I know it will probably rain thousands of days for the next few years, but for now, I’ve had it with rain. Little Boy is completely going nuts inside and I can’t get him to play by himself for longer than thirty minutes. Even in my company, he doesn’t care. He wants to watch his favorite television show, or empty every possible cupboard or just go outside and play in the sandpit (which will probably be a mud pit by now). I would even let him, if it would only stop raining!


  • Being a consistent blogger seems to remain an issue. I have enough ideas for posts by now, I should just start writing and plan some things ahead. Tonight I don’t have to cook (yay!), so I could totally do that – but I’ve left my bin with clothes to iron alone for too long.


  • Normally I don’t do ironing. Really. I buy clothes that I can wear straight away after washing, and my husband’s shirts are his problem. Luckily he has a grandmother who really adores ironing, so most of our stuff is going there (and since she finds it easier to iron things when she washed them herself, she does most of are laundry too). Except for LB’s clothes, and they are still too small to need ironing. However… I like to wash his sheets too and for some reason I feel like I need to iron them (don’t ask me why…) and besides, I really need to learn it because, well, I’m just bad at it. So better start with small things (and not letting the bin become a mountain).


  • On the other hand: I vacuumed twice this week. With LB being awake (and helping and making a mess behind my back)! The vacuum cleaner broke though. I hope it’s just because it was too full and needs to be emptied (my husband does that and probably I could too, but I just don’t feel like it). If not… well, we’ll die in dog hair. Oh and I mopped the floors too! Not that you could see any evidence of it, even a few minutes after it happened, but I did!


  • I need to watch movies entirely, even if only to report about it. Most of the times, I quit halfway and go to bed. Read a little. Still the same book, by the way. I have some other library books laying around and one of my friends gifted me Train Dreams. Can’t wait.


  • I have read a lot of blogs and blog posts lately, a lot on Facebook too, but I really wanted to share this one, by Renee at Sapling House. Taking beautiful photographs (and sharing them) can sometimes take is away from what/who we’re having in front of our lenses. Her daughter reminded her beautifully to remember to actually spend time together instead of photographing their time together. It’s something I might be guilty of too (only LB is too young to tell me)…




July Photo a Day – week one



I’m having huge fun with the July Photo a Day challenge by Fat Mum Slim. It encourages me to get out my camera as often as possible and look with a different eye. Besides the daily prompts, I have a lot of pictures now that show details in my home or surroundings, and plenty of Little Boy of course. I thought it would be nice to share my journey with you…


1 – RED + WHITE – I’m in love with the fresh raspberries, straight from the garden. They taste better in the sun though. Today it has been raining and well… it’s just not the same!

2 – SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH K – my mother tongue has plenty of words beginning with k (like cherries or cuddle), but English is apparently way more difficult. So I went with the keys. I have all my keys together, so if I lose this bunch, I’ve lost a way to enter my home, to start my car, to open many doors at school, to arrive at my parents’ house without them being there… Maybe it’s because they’re attached to a hideous pink keychain, but I’ve never lost them *touches wood*

3 – MATCH – doggie matches LB’s football. Ironic. She hates doing anything energy-consuming. If she would be born a cat, her name would’ve been Garfield. A little lazy and very much attached to comfortable things. Like a lap. Or a playmat to snuggle on. Food however turns her into a sharp, smart and quick little being.

4 – STARS – Belgium got kicked out by Argentina. Let’s pick up our lives now.

5 – ON THE TABLE – I would’ve loved to show something food related here, but LB lately got into the habit of collecting a series of things, pick them up one by one to offer them to us. We have to line them up for them, or at least help him do it. It works with everything. Juice boxes, water bottles or farm animals alike. My cute little colonel.

6 – VIEW – Across the street there is some land that always gives me the feeling that I’m somewhere far away. It’s a pity that it’s for sale and when sold, they will probably build on it in no time.  So I enjoy the view whenever I can.

7 – FIRST – Litlle Boy got his first haircut! He was a bit sleepy and snotty and therefore very calm and still. The best possible circumstances – he did very well and I liked how the hairdresser explained me as much as she could.


Monday on Earth – lunch skins

Today I finally ordered something I had laid my eyes on for quite some time now: lunch skins. I first saw them with a colleague and I remember thinking: nice, but I don’t really need them. I’m not often taking bread to school, I prefer leftovers.
But then this morning when I was preparing the breakfast-on-the-go of my husband, I realized that the tin foil habit had sneaked in again. First we used plastic lunch boxes, but he often forgot them or he didn’t take them back because he couldn’t put them in his laptop bag. So I cut the cord, let him chose a nice design, and added one for me too. And a bigger one for when I do take lunch that’s not leftovers. And water bottles. And a lot more that I eventually cancelled because I was overdoing it. There are snack skins too! And lunch bags!


I ordered them from a local company: Kudzu, situated in the town where I was born. I think they are very sympathetic, as when you live in Bruges, they deliver your order by cargo tricycle! I don’t live in Bruges anymore, but still… And one percent of their profits go to a charity that supports our environment, you get to choose which one!


It felt really good to do this. I do care about our environment, but a lot of my behavior doesn’t reflect that and I know I should change it. My husband won’t be on the wagon, but he will take his lunch skin instead of tin foil, because it doesn’t make a difference and a lunch skin is easy to fold and put away. Baby steps.


I might order again in September though… those snack skins seem worth it after all.

This post was inspired by a post I saw on mundane ecstasy: Do Good Monday for the planet. It’s actually a weekly series in which she tries to focus on doing something good. So far it included your body, animals and earth. I’m curious what’s next!



Reflections on Sunday

  • Participating in SITS Summer of Social Love has learned me a lot about Facebook and pages, but I feel like I’m losing connection to this blog along the way. That can’t really be the point of this, so I’ll have to figure out how to turn it around.


  • It would help if Little Boy left me some time doing my things, but alas. He’s a whirlwind and asks for attention all the time. I know some children who can play happily alone for about an hour straight. Mine is not one of them. Oh well, we make a lot of fun little trips together and he’s a happy kid, but my house is a mess. Two more weeks, then a trip to France with my family and then daycare is open again. I may sound like a bad mother, but he’ll love to go back and I’ll be happy to bring him three times a week. He loves having his playmates around and the whole place that’s adapted to his needs and wants.


  • I love how he talks and calls a koala a ‘lalala’. It makes me laugh every time, so today we went to the zoo and we visited the koalas. Joy all over!!


  • I’m reading again! This week I’ve finished The haunted house by John Boyne. I already read The Boy in the striped Pyjamas and loved it, but it was only after having finished this book that I discovered it was actually the same author. I liked this book, it’s a good, old-fashioned ghost story that reminded me of one of my favorite authors when I was a kid.  It’s very predictable, but still a page turner and the last lines… I didn’t see that coming!


  • I was hoping to find a good fantasy series to read this summer and decided to do a reread of something I read about thirteen years ago: the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. It was a disappointment and I didn’t even want to finish the first book. Bizarre, ’cause I didn’t recognize a thing and in my memory, I think I liked it the first time. I brought it back to the library and now I’m rather enjoying The Thief’s Gamble by Juliet E. McKenna.


  • In the Worldcup, Belgium has left the building. It was the first time in ages that we had a good team again that showed promising things. One would thing to gain back some control over television then, but no. There are other teams to be supported and games to be seen. Oh, and the Tour de France has started.


  • One of the beautiful blogs I discovered, is Embracing the Spectrum. It’s a mommy-blog, mainly about parenting children with autism. It’s beautifully written and I learn a lot from it, because setting boundaries and the struggles that come with it are recognizable for everyone who is somehow involved with kids, as a parent, teacher or any other way…


  • I already told you plenty of times my house is a mess. But yesterday I did some ironing. And this very moment I’m baking bread. Maybe there’s some hope for me.