Just the two of us

So far for ‘she’. I’ll drop it. It works in French, and it has worked in my mother tongue, but in English, I cannot make it work. I’ve used the third person to force myself to look at my life from a certain distance. While it helps, it’s not easy to write it down that way. So, no more she. I’m here!

It has been a while, but we enjoyed a lovely weekend together. My husband and I went out to have dinner in one of the most known (and expensive) restaurants of the country. He turns thirty today, and it has been on his wish list since I know him. To make it perfect, we booked a night at the hotel, while LB was spending his first night out with my parents. We all enjoyed it very much, including LB who has slept longer then ever!
I could describe every dish we ate, but that would take to much space and words can’t nearly express how delicious it was. One work of art after the other. Not much new stuff (as we already eat a lot of different foods in our daily menus), but lovely combinations and textures.

We’ve asked ourselves: can food ever be worth this ridiculous amount of money? Then we decided: maybe yes. It has been part of a much anticipated experience and we enjoyed it with every fiber of our bodies and souls. On top of that, it was our first night together without LB since he was born. It was nice to spend all that time at the table, eating exquisite food, talking about it and knowing we could go to sleep without getting up early. Ofcourse I woke up way too early, but it was not my responsibility to get LB out of bed and dressed for once. A lovely breakfast together and a walk through the city topped it off.

This week I’ll set the budget for April and I’ll dive into making menus. I discovered a beautiful blog, french foodie baby,  that really ticked all my boxes and makes me enthusiastic about trying to incorporate new habits and changing the attitude towards food we have as a family. One thing I would like to do very much, but that will be really hard to incorporate is share meals. I’ll post about that later. 

Portulaca soup

The little boy having a fever reduced her kitchen plans for the day. She had wanted to prepare a good veggie-packed ‘stoemp’ (mainly potato mash, mixed with whatever you want and one of  her all-time favorites), but prepared very simple and bare food instead. Broccoli, potatoes and salmon. For her husband, she added a few spoons of Boursin Cuisine, but she and the little boy ate it just like that, topped with a teaspoon of margarine.

The portulaca she had taken from the store because it looked so bright and green and springy was turned into a pretty good soup instead. Very basic, but for those who are interested:


Make the base: chop up some vegetables (she used one shallot, one leek white that was camping in the fridge and the stem of the broccoli she prepared for dinner), put them in a pan with some butter and stew a little, till they start to sweat. Then pour over water, maybe a liter and a half to start with. If you were preparing other vegetables (like she was), you could use the boiling water of those. She added a stock cube too, only one. Since she was cooking for LB, she got used to lessen too salty extras and it tasted just fine.


After it has boiled a while, add the stalks of the portulaca. Lower the heat, let it simmer. Pop in the leaves and put on low heat. It doesn’t really matter how long. You can put a mixer in it whenever you want now and obtain a lovely bright green soup. Season to taste.


Butterflies all over again

This morning she had loved her husband to pieces. She couldn’t even tell why exactly it was, that the routine of the every day suddenly made place for a vague of deep and overwhelming love. She had passed the night on the couch, running to the toilet every thirty minutes, crawling in pain. It was that bad, that she even called the doctor with nightshift. It just hurt that much.
When she had somewhat sticked herself together to prepare her slightly feverish little boy for daycare (teeth, oh teeth, there are so many of you that have to pop) and her husband had finished his shower, he firmly told her, right before leaving, LB on his arm, that they would discuss the decision of letting go of the cleaning lady this weekend. He wasn’t happy with it. She had been angry at first, because she had not taken that decision on her own, and he had approved. Apparently he didn’t understand exactly what he had approved of. His arguments were honest and even considering: he needed that mental rest that at least once in a week the house was cleaned. Maybe not perfectly, maybe not the way he would do it, but cleaned. He knew her messy character, he knew she would put her best effort in it at first and then stop finding the time to do it on top of a fulltime job. He said that he knew she needed some time for herself, to blog, to read, to do whatever it was that he couldn’t understand, but that she clearly needed.


She knew he was right. She had wanted to cut finances where it could, with the best intentions. And probably she would be able to do the cleaning on top of everything else. But it would soon become overwhelming. And she would still do it, but feel stressed about it. No good thing. And he would be unhappy about it, because he needed a clean house, a sanctuary to come home to, he had done it himself for years, but couldn’t bear the idea of combining that work with his current job. So honestly? Even if she was sure they had talked it through and his reaction now showed he hadn’t actually been listening very well, his arguments made good sense. It was hard to hear though.

In some way she wanted to invest the mental energy that went into work, into her house and her family. Maybe because work wasn’t going smoothly lately, maybe she changed after the birth of their son, but anyway: she really wanted to take care of the house and all the beloved beings in it. Even if tidiness was not her strongest point and not something she was used to invest in. She didn’t know yet how to explain that to her husband, but he left a great opening there in the promise they would talk things over again this weekend. It showed he knew her well and while there was a but of egoism in there (his mental rest – but then again: it’s how he functions, so why don’t take it into consideration?), there was also a lot of care and the feeling he had to protect her from herself. Realizing that, all while looking at him with their son on their arm, all adult and man of the house, made the butterflies in her painful stomach go wild. No doctor would help with that…

The simplicity of joy

Since the week off it had been quieter on the simple living side. Nothing fancy or wild, and she knew it would be okay with the budget in mind, but still.  She often had taken the easy option, it was her vacation after all. And the first week after didn’t leave her much room for really diving into the simple living plans she had set up.


But the weather was finally changing and that made a lot of difference. Life just seems easier when the sun is out. Motivation kicks in, energy comes back. And she realized that simple living was also about spending time outside, enjoying the ride, taking time off from the screen, showing her son the world in all its beauty. That’s what she really wanted. That her boy knew the whispering of the wind in the trees, the songs of the birds, the joy of grass under his bare feet. Last week he had started walking and now it was as if he never had done any other way. She loved it.


She took her son to the library to pick three books to read after his last bottle. Of course he did not pick them personally, is he was too busy being all over the place and taking out all those hundreds of books. The women at the check-out were telling her he has a face to put in a magazine and as if he knew, he gave them his brightest smile. Her proudness had been beyond compare. And while she chose two lasagnas at the supermarket she told herself that maybe this would not be the week of simplicity, but it would be a week packed with joy.

And that was a good thing anyway.

Sunlight in the kitchen

Yesterday she decided to make the most of the sad-looking vegetables laying in her fridge.  To her surprise, the chicory survived the neglect fairly well, so LB was having one of his favorites for dinner. Just like his mom, he loves loves loves vegetables and up til now she had’nt been able to find something that he didn’t like. Except for couscous maybe. But then again, little boys can grow really old without couscous, so maybe later. Or not. On his menu: potato, chicory and salmon.
The mushy tomatoes were turned into a soup. It tasted rather bland so she had to add some herbs after all. And the parsnip that had gone all wrinkly made another soup with the rest of the chicory. She liked the flavor and also froze an adult portion.


She loved it when the sun dripped on her working surface in the kitchen. At night it was rather dark to work in, she really had to put up another light source instead of working with the light behind her. But during the day it was lovely and sunny and with a view on the garden and it made her happy. On days like these she could be cooking all day, making dishes for all the people she loved.

She actually had fantasized about that before. She often took leftovers to school, and colleagues were always drooling over what she had made, even if it was really simple. She knew some colleagues who hated to cook. How wonderful would it be if she could just make extra portions and sell those? But then again, two or three extra portions, that’s one thing, but triple the amounts, that was a whole different style of cooking.

So she would stick to her daily pleasures in the kitchen. Focusing on quick meals on those long days, and working ahead and trying new things on days like these. She could do some baking today, but then again… that sunlight was just too lovely to ignore!


And outside they went. Life can be good…

Full fridge and then life happens…

She hadn’t actually planned to start a blog and then forget about it altogether, but last week had been horrible. Some stomach bug kept attacking her and her family and every time she thought it was finally over, there was another episode lurking around the corner.
The whole mess had resulted in a fridge full of produce that hadn’t been used. Making decent meals had not been an option, as they all were fairly content with some toast, yoghurt and chicken soup. She felt very sorry throwing most of it out, but sometimes life just happens. She could start over. She would.

Little boy was cute as always, and while happily filling his nappies to the brim, he played with his toys and his little friends at daycare. She had noticed him standing alone, without support, more often and the caregivers also had seen him making two little steps towards a very interesting toy. Once he would overcome the fear of falling and stop focussing on the process, he would run around like only little boys can. She looked forward to it, and her heart sang when she saw him play, running behind his little stroller, laughing out loud and taking the curves like he had never been doing differently (yet he only learned last week how to turn his stroller – no more frustration of not being able to go where he wanted!)

blog 3

She enjoyed this so much. And she knew her decision was taken. If the possibilities were there and they could work towards it as a family, she would try to work less outside of the home, to free up peace of mind and the time to enjoy those moments to the fullest. Making less hours at school didn’t necessarily mean she would be able to spend more time in her house, but it most definitely meant that time would be completely hers and that of her family. It was all she wished for.

For the love of bacon…

She had been glad to come home after a rough day at school. Rather late, because she spent a full hour talking with colleagues, desperately needing to vent. The idea was to make fresh soup, but she didn’t feel like it. Luckily there was some in the freezer. Not homemade but it would do. Soup and bread, and she would bake the rest of the bacon to keep the husband happy. Apparently bacon can solve anything. Even the lack of ‘real food’ (soup could be lunch, not a proper meal, according to the husband). She didn’t like bacon, but if that would prevent any comments on her laziness today, she was prepared to love bacon. So, for now, she loved bacon.


She had planned to read a bit in a lovely book she bought with a gift voucher. It was al about changing attitude to help save the planet. It was well written, quite funny and plain honest. She loved it. More than half of the ideas weren’t exactly possible in her life, but the cover stated that every reader was tempted to try at least five things mentioned in the book. Well, the cover was absolutely right. She liked it when a promise was held.  A pity though that her new-found love for bacon wasn’t actually according to the book. Bummer…

Making a difference

The morning didn’t run as smoothly as she would have wished, but in the end, she got her husband out of bed in time and little boy happily waiting in his relax  for his dad to be ready. Her husband would take him to daycare each morning, because she wanted to leave early for school. It was the only way she could get some work done there, which meant less work at home in the evening. Not bad as a concept. But her husband definitely was not a morning person. Getting out of bed for him was hard. Every time. He would clean the whole house in the morning if needed, but mornings? Not his cup of tea. So she made sure everything was ready before she left.

On her desk at school was a little bag of boys clothes waiting. One of her colleagues and a dear friend, also the godmother of their child, had gone through her stash to find something that could complete the wardrobe of the little boy. She had added a new T-shirt too, adorable and just the right size. What a way to start the day!
Teaching went okay, although she had asked herself repeatedly what age-group she was teaching again. She felt like those young people were actually getting ‘dumber’. By dumber she meant: just reproducing anything they ever heard as ‘knowledge’, without investigation or the slightest nuance.

On her way home, she ran some errands. After loading the cardboard box, she was not very happy with herself. Some junk, blueberries imported from Chili, crayfish meat from China, readymade gnocchi. Not very sustainable altogether. It was a good thing to go to the market for local veggies, but when she would complete it every time with a trip to the supermarket and get such things, she was not making a lot of progress. Oh well. She remembered herself to take baby steps. First goal was to reduce the amount of food that was going to waste in her home. She was doing a good job on that matter. Secondly: buy veggies from the market and meat from the butcher and reduce the amounts used. Not bad either. The rest would follow later on, she told herself.


When she came home, she had found in her mailbox a folder of a very intolerant political party. The language and images used freaked her out. It seemed so obvious what they were trying to do, yet she could imagine people think they were very convincing.
It made what she did for a living important.

She had to keep that in mind, that she actually could make a difference. She hopes she does.

A plan and a dream

As the sun flowed through the windows, she decided to move from the rather dark sofa area to the dining table. The way the sunlight fell on it and on the freshly bought white tulips, made her accept the fact that she had school work to complete. This morning, she had fought a
panic attack by ignoring the pile of papers to correct and going to the market. It was a good thing to have the fridge full with freshness. Way too many apples though, she would have to make compote later this week.


She had declined the invitation to go eat french fries with her family-in-law, as she did every two weeks. Today she encouraged her husband to go alone and take their little boy with him, so she could work for a while. She had worked, not nearly enough, but she had made a start. Starting can be difficult. She tried to find comfort in the decision she had made last week. When the little boy would start school, a year and a half from now, she would take the four month parental leave. That idea had calmed her down somewhat. It had been the first time she actually had asked herself if it was really worth it. She had always liked teaching, but lately, she lacked the enthusiasm to go for it. Not good. Maybe it was just the rather warm but ever so grey winter that made her feel that way. Or the workload her husband experienced. It almost seemed like the more he had to work, the more she wanted to slow down, maybe to balance it out for the little boy. Who would tell.

For now she had a plan and a dream. And a blog to record her journey towards making it come true. Not all starts have to be difficult…