becoming fit | Gado Gado with smoked mackerel

Meat, potatoes, meat, and vegetables, (did I mention meat?) are the favorites in our home. But the food hourglass suggests not to eat potatoes and (red) meat. Fish on the other hand is definitely okay. Ever tried a salad with mackerel?


new eating habits, new recipes
We started trying new recipes, we had some ‘thank you for cooking, not a favorite’, and some ‘wow!’. Here is a ‘Wow!’:
Gado Gado salad with mackerel
The recipe is from: Uit Pauline’s Keuken. She is Dutch and has some great ‘food hourglass’ (voedselzandloper) recipes. Did you see her cookbook yet?
Anyway, I tried the gado gado with mackerel and it was very yummy.

I bought the smoked mackerel with pepper as it was on sale (still Dutch haha). The sauteed vegetables contained paksoi, snow peas,  onions, garlic, and bean sprouts. I added cucumber and peanut sauce. Did you know it is easy to make peanut sauce?
I’m excited to try other ‘new’ recipes. Any tips? What works great in your family?

decorate | our small palace a.k.a. bedroom

Finally it is done. Our own small palace, aka our bedroom.
Do you remember the wall? Of course not, but I do! That ugly brown wall had been bugging me since the beginning and was the last wall to be painted in the house. It felt like we washed off all the old and started with a fresh new page.
toss, recycle, and cleaning
After the painting was done, it was still pretty much a guy’s bedroom. Very functional for it’s purpose. A bed and a closet. As we were also still in the process of making room, stuff was laying around everywhere. Piled in boxes with toss, recycle, and salvation army.
his house our home
But slowly, the room came together. In the corner are just 2 boxes left. While I am still deciding about my vanity table and shoe storage, especially now that we also (temporarily) have a crib in our room.
vanity stand 1
I decided to frame pictures of just ourselves as this is our domain. As you know living with children usually means giving up a lot of privacy. And as much as we adore the kids, I am happy to have a ‘just us’ room. Our own sanctuary, small palace (I still like being a princess), our own territory.
I chose pictures of our engagement photo shoot. I still enjoy looking at those. Thank you again, Raisa!
engagement 2engagement 3

february is here

February is the shortest month of the year, except this year. It is again our birthday month, yes, we’re all getting one year older this month.

It gets even better, as my birthday is this week and all guys (Henno, Chris and Noah) have their birthday on the same day. Plus… I am due this month. a273da25f9728b7ca722f7e33ab1fdda

Henno has been hoping/praying our baby girl will be born this week, on my birthday. “Don’t you think it will be great? The girls on one day and all boys a week later on the same day?”

I hated that idea, it is busy enough as it is. But right now, I really don’t care anymore. I am done! Done feeling like a whale, being out of breath as soon as walk up the stairs, having to pee 3 times a night.


And then all the encouraging words from people around: “it can be any day now, but also another month”, “are you absolutely sure it is not twins?”, “my neighbor knows someone who had a baby with Down and they didn’t find out till 3 days after the birth”. Or indeed the awkward silence when you call someone… Hello? (….) “No baby yet, just calling to chat”.

PregnancyFit is still going strong. Fun to notice that I am the one who is due next in line. Another milestone.

Nursery is ready, Playpen is set up in the living room. Birth announcements are ready to get printed (just waiting for the final details, lol). We have a name (that was quite a hassle)! I have prepared most of the birthday things, so we’re all set. Come baby, please come!

it’s a baby girl

I have not forgotten how to write… I have not disappeared… but this pregnancy is definitely not going smooth.

our baby girl at 20 weeks

Let me quickly update you.

Our baby girl (!!) is doing great. She is growing well, steady heartbeat, and moving frequently. Pretty much ideal.

I have a hard pregnancy with all small kinds of symptoms, which were signs of heading to an early delivery. I was put on bed rest for a week twice till I had to stop working mid November.
And all I did was take care of Chris and Noah, knit and sew a bit, and sleep. I slept pretty much all the time for the last 10 weeks, and honestly I could take a nap right now. My body is just worn out. Probably not just because of the pregnancy, but the years before have been rough on me.

But this is the first week of my maternity leave (34 weeks), so we started our count down. I’ll try to write more often again.

how to create a personal holiday

It is still 17º C outside, sunny, and Daylight savings hasn’t even ended yet… and still.

The black Pete discussion started all over again about  month ago while Sinterklaas will not be here for another 6 weeks. Christmas is till 3 months away, and yet I am starting about the holidays.
While I still try to convince Chris and Noah that all the candy and goodies are leftovers of last year and we have to wait till Sinterklaas has arrived for a new load, I already started looking at the calendar and quietly planning.

sinterklaas 2

First of all, checking the custody schedule. I am lucky, the boys will be with us at Sinterklaas night, and Christmas will be split.

Next thing, how much, how big? With extended family, or just the four of us? And what about presents? I should probably order some already, before stores are driving up the prices.

Noah told me he isn’t too excited about Sinterklaas, as it will not be as much fun as last year. Then the 2-homes Pete had a surprise:

Sinterklaas comes on “pakjesavond” (present night, always December 5th), but the boys were at their father’s place that night. This is the story I came up with.

The letter I wrote came from Grandpa Pete (All Sinterklaas’ helpers are called Pete and their function/personality is included, like presents Pete, Pete chief, Pete Panic) telling the story how Sinterklaas didn’t what to do, but that the “2-homes Pete” had an idea. He opted to bring the presents a day early to myplace and Sinterklaas liked that.

“But sssht, not a word to mommy, she doesn’t know it yet.”

After dinner, the boys received a second letter from Grandpa sinterklaasPete. He had put a present in the basement. There the boys found the present and another letter, which let to my dad’s car where 2 more presents were hidden and another letter, which let to the balcony. The boys loved this game and it also helped taking breaths in between the gifts.
We had a wonderful evening together as a new family. Thank you, Sinterklaas!
This is probably that last year that both boys are ‘believers’ and I think Sinterklaas will have a big treasure hunt this year. Looking forward to a another personal holiday with family fun and not so much about presents.

pregnancy fit

I have to admit, this whole pregnancy is freaking me out. Isn’t it weird? We longed for another child for quite some time, but now that it is reality, it is scary.zwanger buik 2

My pregnancy with Chris and Noah was everything but easy. After

finding it was twins (help!), the doctors also found the boys had TTS. Two or three times a week I drove to the nearest specialized OBGYN, an hour away, to have an ultrasound to found whether they were alive or not. Not at all how I wanted to be pregnant.
While I hardly suffered any problems myself, I was far from fit. I was over-weighed, exhausted and had a love affair with the toilet during most of the pregnancy.zwanger buik

So here I am, pregnant again, and I just feel like I do not want to have the same experience. There was nothing I could do about the TTS, of course. But I really wanted to enjoy this pregnancy and I decided to stay fit. Having (just) one this time and not dealing with TTS is definitely helping.

Stay fit
How to stay fit? There are so many ways that you easily find yourself lost. My church friend, Laura, ran during her pregnancy. I prefer team sports and have been playing korfball most my life. But korfball is a contact sport. So, safety first and I decided to stop playing at 17 weeks pregnancy.

But what’s next? Stop being fit, pregnancy fit, is not an option.zwangerfit I decided to go for ‘ZwangerFit‘ {PregnancyFit}, a training program with a physiotherapist for pregnant woman. The awesome thing about this, you can keep doing this all the way till labor (the record in the gym is 41+3!). And 3 weeks after labor you can start training again.

I am excited to stay as fit as possible. And I so hope and pray this will help me to be much more fit, especially after labor.

you’re getting a baby sibling

The boys came back home from a 3 week visit with their father. It had been the longest three weeks of my life. First of all missing them is one the hardest things. It just never gets easy. Plus this year, I wanted to tell the boys the most exciting news in years for us: the expectation of a baby brother or sister.

So when they finally arrived, I had to bite my tongue for a while as I wanted them to settle down and be ‘home’. So, after a few days we had a coffee moment in the morning and I placed cupcakes with “muisjes” (a Dutch anise treat, traditionally given to families by the birth of a newborn).

Geboortetraktatie-cupcakes-muisjes-300x224Picture credits:

The boys were quite surprised by such a treat with our morning coffee (tea/lemonade). We told them that we are expecting a baby sibling. They asked a million questions, even more than usual. We patiently answered all questions, about where the baby was going to sleep. Then went off to play outside again and told all their friends in the neighborhood.

A few days later I brought the boys with me to the ultrasound. And even though it was hard to realize that this baby is actually in my belly, it became much more real. I have to say the ultrasound technician did a great job explaining to the boys how big the baby baby 1was. At some point the baby was showing her hands (yes, I do think it is a girl) and the lady said: “look, the baby is waving at you!” Chris and Noah were just staring at the big screen and Noah waved back.The bonding process has started.

and it became quiet…

I am sorry for not writing for a long time, but I honestly just ran out of energy and inspiration for a while. We had a heatwave early July and I just slept pretty much all the time. I am not really good with heat, so I figured that I was simply overwhelmed by it.

We were all tired. The school year was about to finish, everybody seemed to be ready for a much needed break. And on top of it all, I had my monthly week early. It wasn’t too surprising I was exhausted.

Summer break started, the boys went to their father for 3 weeks, and I had to see a doctor about a cyst (I have had several in the past, nothing too scary). They checked me with an ultrasound and there it was… a small tiny heartbeat!

Yes, we are expecting a baby! Adding some new genes to our blended family. What a huge blessed surprise for us! And it explained the exhaustion much better than a bit of heat.

We couldn’t be more excited.expecting

By now we’re in week 14 and I am less tired. I will try not to overwhelm you with weekly baby updates, but we’re definitely starting a whole new era.

blogging anniversary

Today, it has been 10  years since I wrote my first blog post:

“So, here it is. Our own weblog. As from today you can see how we are doing on the road to and at Ithaca. It will take some time to find out how things work…. we’ll see!”

Yes, 2005, it feels like yesterday, but it was the year:

  • YouTube was launched;
  • Touristic bombing in London;
  • Lance Armstrong retired;
  • Hurricane Katrina hits the Bahamas, Florida and New Orleans;
  • Saddam Hussein was on trial;
  • The 6th book of Harry Potter was released;
  • Of Brokeback Mountain…sneeuw

And the summer I moved from The Netherlands to the USA. The blog was more like a travel journal of all things we (my ex-husband and I) encountered while starting over with 4 suitcases. I wrote about getting my driving license again, looking for a job, unexpected hardship with permits, and just daily life. The website was simple, plain, and mainly for friends and family.bobs lake

During those years, I became a mom, writing about the first years of Chris and Noah. I made some blog contacts of other Dutch people in de USA, and actually met one of them.

After 5 years we moved back, I switched writing from Dutch to English, and the website become sort of a diary the other way around. Over the years it become less of a journal, and more of a diary, blog, less of our family, more personal. I started writing about things that matter to me.

Chris and Noah, 10 weeks pregnant

After the divorce, I decided to start a new website. I started all over in life, and also online. The old blog address even carried my ex-husbands name. The website is gone now, the host (Weblog) doesn’t even exist anymore. But I kept it all; it is for Chris and Noah, they will be able to read all about our adventures, the first years of their life with mom and dad.

It became time for something new. A new life as blended mom, a new focus. I still write quite personally. I like to share our positive story of a blended family and the contradictions of parenting.

Blogging changed, 10 years ago people wrote as a journal, hardly any advertising. Commercially blogging, making money with your blog, was hardly known (I still don’t). But for sure, your blog needs to be more fancy. The options are endless.

Also the risks are known. I never thought someone would steal pictures, change them and use them for their own benefit. I know friends who stopped blogging or put passwords on their site. I became more careful as well, Chris and Noah are not real names, no more last names, no mentioning of where school or work is.

Slowly, but surely, people started to recognize my writing and blog. I got asked to write for , my articles are quoted in several American online magazines, and I still enjoy it. Of course, I still dream of a second home somewhere in France, where I will be making money with writing while sitting in a vineyard. May my dreams come true!

10 years… happy blogging anniversary to me!

all about our blended family, parenting, happy homemade, and decorating