:: Reflections on Sunday #17 ::

grass against cloudy sky
  • My husband is on a shopping spree. Just before he went back to work after a two-month holiday, he updated his garderobe. I could tell why, there was quite some stuff that has had its time. But now he’s back, he sees nice clothes everywhere. And he got into online shopping. Not the ideal situation (he promised me to stop though). In my mind I’m already thinking about the christmas holidays and the almost inevitable spending that comes with it. I know people will ask what to get him. I know I want to give him something he likes and I can root for. I read a very interesting article on woolen shirts that need a lot less washing and now ironing. I already looked at the site and I know it’s exactly the style my husband likes. I might consider looking for the same materials, as I’m easily sweating since my last pregnancy…
  • In my instagram saves, I found also a post about a French brand that makes belts of old tires: la vie est belt. I have a box with three leather belts my husband managed to destroy all in one week. We discovered there are barely any leather repair shops anymore. We had two closeby and they both stopped. Anyhow, I was intrigued by this brand. Upcycling, an interesting philoshopy and beautiful products. He might get one of these for Christmas.
  • In my mission statement I wrote homebaked goodies were high on my priority list to make this place a safe haven, warm and cosy, especially during the fall that is setting in. I wanted to focus on simple cookies, and though I would find a plethora of cookbooks in the library that focus on cookies. Hmmm. I found only one (ironically one I removed from my personal collection), that makes 100 kinds of cookies with more or less the same dough. In my opinion, it’s especially the glaze and the aroma that’s different, but it has some good ideas. Luckily, there is always my go-to recipe for cookies. They’re espacially fun to decorate!
  • I also finally gave in and got myself and Audible account. I first tried the American one, becaus you get two originals extra, but apparently you can only chose from a 6 book list and you don’t get to keep them. I mainly wanted to focus on surrounding myself with French, so I bought the French translation of Sapiens and then stopped my subscription, before I got to pay after the trial. Now I subscrined to the French version and I have a few interesting reads on my wishlist already. I’m used to podcasts, but audiobooks is something I was very hesitant about. My favorite podcasts are almost always two people discussions. An audiobook is read by one person and it does take some getting used to. But Sapiens is an interesting read, with just the right amount of repetition to stick and sice I started that, I started ironing again too! And… audible.fr is slightly cheaper per month, if you don’t care for the two extra originals.

What was on your mind this week?

:: Reflections on Sunday ::

apple blossoms in white and green

The first week of the Easter holiday has flown by, as usual. Little girl went to daycare every day (and rocking the whole potty training over there), and Big boy had a jungle week with a class mate, organized by the local youth sports council. He has done similar weeks before and always was quite enthusiastic.

Kidsfree, but busy week for me though: our car didn’t pass the yearly check-up and I had to replace the two front tires. Costly, but not as costly as redoing the complete bottom as I anticipated (18 months ago, I got stuck on a little brick wall someone destroyed and that I hadn’t seen because of the bushes hanging over, not my best driving skills, I admit. Funny part: I was saved by seven Polish workers passing by that just lifted my car on the road again. I kissed them all!). No comments on the bottom part, so glad I did not have that repaired before going to the check-up. Of course, I first checked with maintenance to assure there was no danger in driving around with the scratches for another year or so. Because there was other work to do on the car, I had a replacement car for two days and fell in love with it. Not to mention the kids as it was brightly colored in white and red (okay, okay, and maybe also because it was clean and shiny). We were on the verge of crying when we had to give it back lol.

Citroën C3 white red
  • I’ve been reading around quite a lot in the internet lately, with Instagram as a favorite starting place. Especially since low-waste caught my attention (feeling ashamed of the tons of trash and wasted food and plastics present in our household), I’m feeling very inspired. For me, food is a great and favorite way to ease into anything, and The Zero-Waste Chef keeps inspiring me with every instagram post. I think her post about reducing food waste is a great place to start.
  • Another instagram account that is one of my favorites, is the one of Noémi. When I saw her post about a monthly craft box, I was intrigued. We had something alike for a while, but it was a little overwhelming, and I wasn’t so fond of the instructions or the materials. They outgrew themselves anyway, so that subscription was automatically cancelled when they stopped. But I kept my eyes open for something similar (but smaller and cheaper), so when she posted about Pandacraft, I didn’t hesitate for long. Our first box is on the way, we can’t wait! (And I’m secretly hoping, my boy casually picks up my love for the French language )
  • Slow life and homesteading keep pulling me. I don’t plan to move anytimes soon and my veg garden is as neglected as always, but this time I won’t let myself get overwhelmed. For me this post was en eye-opener, because it mentions a lot of steps and skills I want to look further into.
  • And while I’m still not over bottled water, I switched to glass bottles and I’ve started infusing again. As I had to very ripe mangos laying around and a whole bunch of mint, I made mango chutney (recipe to follow) and I used the pits and the mint to infuse my tap water. I actually really liked that one!
infused water with mint and mango

And you? How was your week?

:: Reflections on Sunday – the digital edition ::

This morning is the first morning in like forever I wake up to a silent house. Both of our children are staying somewhere else, and while that would have been the perfect chance to sleep in, I don’t. Even more: actually I am some kind of waiting for the call that I can pick up my baby girl. I could should get dressed and I could should do some school work. But for over a week now there has been that nagging thought that I want to write. That I don’t care I have been silent here for so long, that this is my spot, my happy place and the time I spend here is well spent.

I’ve been feeling stressed lately. I have taken up some extra responsibilities at school, and family life is completely ignoring the fact that I should do some school work at home too. So I try to cram everything in the few empty hours at school, being as productive as I can. It has worked so far, but when I look at the calendar for next week, I feel a little dizzy.

Some of the good things lately:


  • Evernote. Since long I’ve decided to take a premium account. I probably don’t need it, but it feels good to be on the safe side, especially now that I have a phone that allows me to scan newspaper articles. Most newspaper side go all digital, but as I use those articles in class, I can’t get them to print properly in that format. Taking a picture of the actual newspaper with the Evernote app has solved the problem: great quality, and text that is formatted for print. And while snapping away, I can add course material and links and all that I like, so basically it’s the best addition I could have made to my course material. Now I feel like I am finally using the news in a way I haven’t done before. And my students seem to appreciate. Double win!


  • Shared calendars. FINALLY my husband took the time to dust our shared calendar and integrate it in his workflow calendar. That was about time – I was getting nuts of writing everything down and telling him the planning for the week about a gazillion times because he couldn’t care less for the paper planner we have on our wall. The only thing that seems to work with both of our systems is the Google Calendar, so that’s what we use. (Besides: I do like the schedule view their app offers. Especially since they suddenly added a little drawing when I planned my yoga classes, it really looks professional.)



:: reflections on Sunday (on a Monday) #14 ::

Don’t ask. I really cannot see how people find a way to blog consistently while keeping up with everything else.

Because I’ve told you most of what I’m up to lately in the previous post, I’ll leave you with some very interesting links, because, when you don’t know what to write (or how to find the time to write it and editing the pictures and and and…), you can always read around.

  • First of all: go and check what Anne has been setting up. I already love her blog (which book lover wouldn’t), but I could kiss her for the online book club she has started. It’s not free, and to be honest, I was wondering if it would be worth my money, is many of the books probably aren’t even available yet in Dutch, if they even will ever be. But the fall calender was accessible and I checked things out and in the end oh well… if I can’t spend money on the one passion that has been a constant in my life, I can as well just stop spending money altogether (hmmm… that would actually not be a bad idea…). I’m prepping myself for November, two of the books on the list are available, in my mother tongue, in my library. So I’m just giving it a go! I must say: I love the friendliness on the forum. People seem to be very informed and I’ve already discovered a few great blogs through te site and book club!


  • This post by Diana had me laugh out loud. I can see myself do that. It reminds me to put things in perspective and be prepared to have a few giggles when children teach you about yourself.


  • Another post that spoke to me was the one of Kimmie.  When you read the comments, you can see that I’m one month into nursing now and it’s not an easy ride actually. With my oldest, we had a rough start, but my mother-in-law learned my boy how to latch properly the day we returned home (while I was already prepared to do give him my milk by pumping it all). But now my MIL is gone and I was quite nervous how it would go. Luckily my girl seems to get enough milk, but she’s a lazy latcher and she damaged my nipples really badly. But I’m determined to make this work beyond the three months I did it wit my son. Going back to work shouldn’t be a reason to stop. And probably, this will be my last time, so I want her to decide rather than my work hours.


  • And something I never expected to, but already happened: there are obviously a lot less pictures of our little princess then there were of her brother at the same age. I remember one of my favorite books in the BabySittersClub series (I know I know, guilty pleasure) was about Claudia thinking she was adopted, mostly because of that exact reason (see Claudia and the great Search). This article refers to a study about the topic. I must say: my firstborn already goes to Kindergarten (or preschool, depending to where you live), so theoretically I have all the time I want to snap away. But I don’t. Hmmm… poor daughter of mine. Hopefully she doesn’t get traumatized.






Reflections on Sunday #13

  • Easter holiday! Weather was not bright, so a lot of playing inside. But with a little creativity and a few cardboard boxes – we built a structure that still provides a lot of fun! Add to this a new set of stamps and some play doh and we’re good.


  • We did venture outside too. A surprise visit of a pheasant in the garden made our day and I’m asked all the time to show some more pictures of it. On our stroll through the nearby natural park, we saw a whole lot of miner bees crawling out and making nests. Little Boy was very brave, once I showed him how they work and what they did. He doesn’t like flying insects.


  • In the kitchen I experimented with nettles and made a delicious red lentil dahl. I also made some lovely meatballs that were the absolute favorite of my husband. It’s a recipe I found in Balls ‘n Glory cookbook, and I tweaked a little to make it more moist and filling. The recipe just called for mince and apple, and then crumbs to surround it. I added an egg and crumbs to the meat too and served it with buttered apples and puree. Success!


  • Easter holiday means a lot of reading around, mostly online. One of the topics that had my interests, is homesteading. While our garden is little and mostly a playground for Little Boy and husband, I have put some seeds in the ground, but I loved reading about other aspects of homesteading too.
    This post was a great starting point. Her blog is absolutely worth checking out too  by the way.


  • And I decided to register for an online course about whole foods. I really love Heather’s blog and there are a few things I hope to learn along the way. Properly working with dried beans for example. And using everything until the last scrap. But mostly, I’m sure to enjoy her writing, her knowledge, her authenticity. She has a way of letting someone feel at home.


How was your week?

Reflections on Sunday #10

Belgian coast
Necesito del mar porque me enseña… – Pablo Neruda

This week I have no interesting reads for you, not even a collection of pictures. We were on holiday and we enjoyed every minute of it. Most of the pictures I took show my family and for that reason won’t be shown here.

But I can tell you: it was a gorgeous week. The start was a little rough – this week at the Belgian coast is not my family tradition, it’s my husband’s and it’s one of the parts I find difficult to connect with. Not because I don’t like the sea, but because my husband always relives his childhood and wishes that everything is exactly the same. We argued often about that, but those memories are so dear to him, I can see why he will get here every year, no matter the cost.

There were some changes though. This was the first year his family wasn’t around on a daily basis. And to me, all the difference was there. They came visit us for two days and it was fun, but for the first time ever it was a week of our own, especially in the end. I’m finally starting to believe it can become a cherished family tradition of our own.

Next week I’ll buckle up and prepare that giant step my beloved Little Boy will make September 1st. My baby boy is going to school.  And while I’m looking forward to it and I’m absolutely convinced he will love school, he’s totally ready for it, I’m not sure I am…

Reflections on Sunday #9

Just before the new week starts, I like to go through the old one. Our family life in little snippets, plus some great finds from around the web. Have a great Sunday!


Our cavalier is the first visitor of this wonderful exposition - flying ants everywhere!
Our cavalier is the first visitor of this wonderful exposition – flying ants everywhere!

Last week was a lovely one. My husband is home too, so we could spend some time as a family. Lots of time was spent in the garden. Little Boy loves his chalk and his drawings have suddenly evolved from just coloring and scratching to something that actually represents something (although we aren’t sure what, and he changes his mind about every second). Lots of circles with little stripes around. Days were warm and my husband has worked a lot in the harden. We’re always surprised how much there is to be done, while we mainly have some lawn and a few border plants and pots. It has been quite hot too, and suddenly all the ant nests in the garden freed their youngsters, so they could go out and look for a place of their own. We were not too happy about the ants (there were so many of them!), but those little creatures come along with any place and I must admit we almost never find them inside. I thought it was really special, the whole street was filled with flying ants and we could hear our neighbors wonder about them too. As if, on some secret signal, each nest made the same decision.



Having my husband at home also meant I could spend some time in the kitchen. My main concern was trying to waste as little as possible. After my successful jelly adventure of last week (stay tuned, I’ll be posting about it on Tuesday), I picked up some peaches very cheap and turned them into jam. A few overly ripe bananas were turned into banana bread, following this recipe. Since my blueberry muffins turned out so great, I went to the same place for the recipe. Good decision. It was moist, although it hadn’t risen so well. My banana loaves never do. Any advice on that?


Tackling Mount Ironing - Naptime for me!
Tackling Mount Ironing – Naptime for me!

Having a toddler running around is not very interesting housework-wise. As we would leave on Saturday for or holiday at the coast, I had to pack and finally tackle that huge Mount Ironing that was waiting for me. I don’t like ironing, and I’m thankful my grandmother-in-law does most of or laundry and ironing (she loves and I mean loves to do that). She’s a lovely old woman that worked in a boutique ’til she turned 80, two years ago! She misses it dearly and our laundry is something that she actually looks forward too. I’m happy to keep her happy, but from the start I decided to do Little Boy’s laundry at home and while I’m convinced it’s not absolutely necessary to iron his clothes (he’s still small enough to flatten the worst wrinkles out), I feel better once it’s done. The doing itself though, is not my favorite job.

Luckily I could also fit in one little nap for myself, and it was a much needed one!


interesting reads

Last week I have managed to waste hardly any food. I’m ashamed to say that doesn’t happen very often. Articles like this one keep me sharp and focussed. I need that kind of reminder quite often! We also saw an interesting documentary (I only stepped in halfway, so I don’t remember the title, but I did some research and I think it’s here – in Dutch, I don’t think it exists in English) that I actually discussed with my husband. It’s about how much our food costs in terms of ecological impact. The philosopher in it stated that we completely need to rethink our way of interacting with food. Tomatoes for example, are tasty and they can grow quite well here, but they ask a lot of the soil, especially in our regions. We could learn to eat clover for example, something that grows here on its own. I think he has a point (although my tomatoes were merely seeds put in a pot filled with potting ground and I never added a thing – but of course I had not to make a living out of it). My husband thought that was actually true, but he said he could never ‘rewire’ himself. For him vegetables are additional, and he prefers potatoes or meat to be the main ingredient of his meal. I’m very different and as I am the cook, he goes along quite fine, but he told me he never really liked vegetables. He’ll eat them, because it’s healthy but that’s about it. Something else they talked about in the documentary, was a digital way of foor pairing. Through specialized computer programs, from each food the aromas are analyzed. That way, the most special combinations are made possible. In our opinion, it takes the magic away from how great chefs combine their ingredients. But it also gives possibilities: one could recreate the taste of an orange for example, by combining the right (local) ingredients that have one of the aromas of oranges. I see the point, but I’m not sure if I like that idea. I don’t even know if that’s better for the environment.

On a whole different level, I looked for some journaling inspiration on Pinterest, and I stumbled upon the concept of Bible journaling. One of the things I would like to do during my parental leave, is working my way through the Bible. I do it with my job in mind, but it’s something I also do for myself. I think journaling in the book itself, might help to bound with it more, and make it an even more personal experience. I learned that the better I can internalize a Bible book, the better I can share it with my students. I teach religion in a catholic school and while it’s quite a challenge at times, it’s one of the most fulfilling jobs I could imagine. I like how the more I teach, the more I learn, and religion is a subject that seems to be made to prove that statement.

And you, how was your week?

Reflections on Sunday #8

Just before the new week starts, I like to go through the old one. Our family life in little snippets, plus some great finds from around the web. Have a great Sunday!


cuddling and playing inside
cuddling on the bed – playing inside

Last week was rather rainy and grey. It involved much time inside and while that’s appreciated once in a while, Little Boy isn’t made to spend the days between walls. Luckily there were a lot of cuddles on the bed, and he rediscovered his workman’s gear. He has been playing with it the whole week!



baby elephant soap bubbles
visiting baby elephant Qiyo (photo credit: http://www.planckendael.be/nl/kai-mook-grote-zus-0) – bubbles

Sunbeams had to be enjoyed. Even a cloudy sky was signal to go out. Our trip to the Zoo made us meet the recently born cute-as-a-button baby elephant. And in our own garden, it was trying to fight the weeds in the lawn (it’s completely useless, but I find it therapeutic) and making soap bubbles. They are this summer’s discovery and Little Boy is getting quite good at it!



instagram songsofhome pictures
I’m on instagram as @songsofhome now!

I have been playing around a little on Instagram, and created an account for my blog. Participating in prompt challenges here and there. (#fmsphotoaday is my favorite) Mainly being completely in awe of what people manage to shoot. There are some very talented people in this world!



redcurrant jelly blueberry muffins
playing around in the kitchen – redcurrant jelly and blueberry muffins

I’ve been making redcurrant jelly and blueberry muffins. More on te redcurrant jelly later, I hope to turn it into an interesting post. Of course, I always think of those things when season’s almost over, but hey, I have my jelly!



library books
“War” was a really good read – picking up some more!

Reading around, finished a good novel (It’s in German and has been translated in Dutch, not in English. The link is to a book review in Dutch on the site of the author) and then went straight to the library to pick up some more goodness. They recently installed self-scan desks and changed there household rules. No you can take 15 materials on one card, without having to pay for any of it. You can keep those for 3 weeks (or longer, you can manage your accounts online). Penalties for being late went up, but everything else has become cheaper (read: free). I love it and I’m splurging on children’s movies and CD’s.



interesting reads


Some good reads on the web too. Being home alone often lately with Little Boy, there were three posts that particularly resonated with me.


  • I came across this one before, but now I can totally see the point in it. Calling it ‘babysitting’ when my husband cares for Little Boy is something I have made myself guilty of right from the start (especially the first few months) and it doesn’t do justice to me nor my husband. Thinking that way creates patterns that are hard to break.  If we would decide a second child would complete our family, it’s something that I will keep in mind.


  • Another thing I will keep in mind, is this beautiful and honest post. It’s about the comments and reactions a little girl with a severe skin condition gets. Children can be really straight-forward, and sometimes brutally rude too (albeit not always with that intention), but the way we respond to that behavior as a parent can make a whole lot of difference. I love the advice the author is giving here, and some specific examples. I know I will need them one day


  • And as much as I love my kid, I appreciate nap times. So even if it’s not very polite to smile when someone’s having an embarrassing moment, I think it’s completely justified when she shares it with the world herself. Plus it’s a fun read. Plus it’s totally recognizable. At least I’m not feeling alone anymore. Never trust a jellyfish, but go ahead and read her stories.


How was your week? If you have any great finds to share, please do so in the comments. Have a nice Sunday!