Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas + the real reason for my lousy blogging ;)

So, as I said yesterday I have been a lousy blogger lately and although some of it really does have to do with sickness, there has been an other reason for my lack of posts...

I´ll let our Christmas card do the talking:

Yes! It's true! 
We are expecting our second baby and a sibling for Micha and we are so excited!


Some of you may know that getting pregnant with Micha did not come easy to us at all, 
his being here is a huge miracle we waited and prayed for, for a long time.
But this time around it was the most unexpected miracle, 
something we and the doctors never thought would happen, but it did!

And we couldn't be more excited and happy and thankful!


Right now I'm thirteen weeks along exactly (second trimester, whoohoo!). 
I'm due on June 27th 2014. 
We've had two ultrasounds and the baby looks perfectly healthy and is growing like a weed. 
We can't wait to find out if Micha will have a baby brother or a baby sister, 
but we will have to wait until my 20 week ultrasound for that information, argh!
I'm feeling more nauseous and tired than with Micha, hence the lack of blogging,
 but the excitement and happiness beats all the yuckiness!
But I hope I'll start feeling better soon!


So, with this happy news I'll be leaving you for a bit. 
I'm taking some time off from blogging for the Holidays, 
but I will be back with lots to blog about!

(I guess I can finally unlock my secret baby #2 Pinterest board, heehee!)

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Love, Maria

Thursday, December 19, 2013

the most wonderful time of the year

the cutest bub last year! He's a bit bigger now! ;)

I'm so sorry for being such a lousy blogger lately, last week we were all sick again! 
And I'm still a snotty, coughing mess as I type this now.
'I shake my fist at you winter!' 

I am really missing the sun and the warmth of summer, 
especially since we haven't had any snow to make up for the lack of sun,  
snow is the only fun thing about winter am I right?

Well, that and Christmas of course! I am so looking forward to next week! 
B. will have the Christmas Holidays off for two whole weeks! 
We're heading to my parents house right after the weekend (in which I hopefully will be able to bake and decorate some cookies and make some yummy surprises to give to my family as gifts.)

It'll be a full house at my parents, my brothers and sisters and their families will be there as well, 
with exception of my sister and her family who live in Canada and my lucky, lucky sister and her family who are visiting them for the holidays. I am so jealous! Have fun sisters!

On Christmas Eve we're heading to a service held outside at a park in my parents town.
We try to go every year, and I just love the experience:
Hot chocolate and Christmas songs, bonfires and a huge big star hoisted up in the air by a crane, you can see it from all over town.
I'll try to make some photo's this year!

Of course we'll be having a big family Christmas feast cooked up by my dad and me. (hopefully, if he lets me in the kitchen) 

And the best thing? 
Celebrating the fact that our savior, Jesus Christ, was sent to earth to live and die for us. Amazing grace!
That really makes this the most wonderful time of the year!

Love, Maria

Friday, December 13, 2013

five things on friday

1. Walk into my home any day and this is probably what you will find. 

A colorful Christmas tree, toys all over the floor, me in warm slippers and Christmas songs playing softly in the background. I love it!


2. Speaking of Christmas songs, I found the perfect playlist on Spotify: Folksy Christmas
Think Sufjan Stevens, Jack Johnson, Mumford and Sons, I tell ya, it's awesome!


3. Micha has been coughing and wheezing for a while now, especially after he's been playing or when he's in bed, but this week it got a bit worse so I took him to the doctor and came home with this:

I'm not that surprised that he has asthma like problems, it's a family thing, 
my brothers have asthma and I also used to have it when I was young. I grew over it luckily. 
Hopefully Micha's wheezing won't progress into anything more serious like asthma. 


4. This is so good. 

It's baklava for those of you who aren't familiar.


5. Happy Weekend! 

Love, Maria

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

a Christmas tradition

Last year I started something which hopefully will become a long lasting Christmas tradition in our household.

An ornament made or personalized by Micha. 

Last year, when he was a squishy five month old, we decorated a wooden Christmas tree ornament with his little fingerprints.


It isn't a new tradition I'm following, when I was young we would make all kinds of ornaments and garlands for in the tree. Remember popcorn garlands, and paper snowflakes, or those paper chains?
Every year we would make new decorations and hang them in the tree together with the ornaments made in years past.
And every year my favorite thing to make for our tree were salt dough ornaments.
My siblings and I would roll out the dough and cut out stars, bells and santa's until our hands were white with salt.


So this year I thought it would be fun to make a salt dough ornament with Micha with his hand print on it.

I was certain Micha would love playing with the left over dough, just like I used to,
thus making it a fun winter day activity.

I was wrong.

Micha was absolutely disgusted by it and after I was able to quickly force his hand onto the dough for the ornament he didn't want anything to do with dough at all!
Which I find so strange because his favorite way to eat his oatmeal in the morning is with his hands.
I never figured him to be so squeamish with a little salt dough.
Strange boy, that son of mine!

Anyways, I was able to make a cute (but because of said squeamishness not very clear, oh well) hand print on the dough and used stamps to add his name and the year.
With the left over dough I made some stars to add to our tree.
I painted the ornaments white and sprinkled some glitter over top.

'what ís this stuff? '
last years ornament

And now they're hanging all pretty and sparkly in the tree!


I love little traditions like this and I hope that when we're old and gray our tree will be full with handmade and sentimental ornaments made by Micha (and if God blesses us with more babies, their ornaments too!)

Love, Maria

p.s. I used this recipe/tutorial for the ornaments.

Friday, December 6, 2013

16 months and a Christmas Tree

'No time for a photo, Mama! I need to touch that tree!'

It's a little annoying to have a birthday on the 31st of a month like you do,  Micha,
because that makes it hard for me to count exactly how many months you are.
So, somewhere last week you turned 16 months.

A few highlights of this past month: 

- You learned to dance. You already swayed to the music whenever you heard some, 
but since this month you've learned to make foot movements too. You are the cutest little dancer!


- Your vocabulary is getting bigger and better by the day. 
It seems like you are learning a new word every day.
Your papa and I need to make a video of you saying all your words soon!


- You experienced your first Sinterklaas* arrival (the moment Sinterklaas arrives in Holland, a few weeks before his big night), and tonight we're opening Sinterklaas presents with friends. 
A day late, but hopefully just as fun!
* Sinterklaas is a typical Dutch winter celebration similar to secular ( Santa Claus etc.) Christmas. 


- We had a photo shoot for our Christmas card, you did pretty well! 

both photo's made by Hans en Lidy Fotografie


- Last year you loved the Christmas tree, probably because all of the twinkly lights, but this morning when we came downstairs you were in complete awe! 
You even did a little jiggly dance when you saw it. 
You pointed to the lights and I showed you all the the ornaments. 
You especially like the little birds on the tree, just like I do!

The tree is a bit top heavy, and on the bottom we hung only the unbreakable ornaments, but so far you are pretty gentle with the tree and only touch the ornaments with one little finger to make them sway.


I can't wait to experience this coming magical month with you! 

Love, Mama


I made the polka dot garland on the branch hanging in front of the window and wrapped around the Christmas tree. 
It was so simple, not even worth a tutorial. 
Just cut out different sized circles from double sided printed paper (choose thick paper), sew them
together and voila! Done!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

it's going to be a colorful christmas

source images: clockwise 1,2,3,4,5,6

We're finally putting up our Christmas tree this evening, and I'm so excited! 
I love everything about Christmas, but the tree is by far my favorite. 

Well, Jesus is actually my favorite part about Christmas, but the tree definitely comes second. 
Or is it the food? Hmm..
Anyways, I love a good Christmas tree!


We have a fake one we purchased when we just got married and so far it's holding up perfectly.
Although I love the smell of a real Christmas tree, a fake one is good for us because, hello, no shedding! 
It's easier on the wallet in the long run, and real trees never look as perky and symmetric as a faker. :)


We've decorated the tree pretty much the same since we've had it, 
but this year I decided it needed a make over. 
I've been pinning photo's of colorful trees and garlands, 
and that is exactly the direction I'm taking our tree this year! 
Color, color and more color!

I found the most perfect hand painted ornaments and I'm making a polka dot garland similar to this one.
I'm planning to make a special ornament with Micha, just like we (actually, it was me) did last year. 
I'm hoping to make that an annual tradition.


I can't wait to see the look on M's face when we come downstairs tomorrow morning, 
he is going to be one excited little boy! 
I just hope he doesn't tear it down the second I leave him alone. Eek!

I hope to post some photo's of the tree tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Love, Maria

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Baking Bread

There isn't a thing in the world that beats the warm and sweet aroma of bread baking in the oven.

I just love the entire process of baking bread.
From carefully reading an interesting new, or old and well loved recipe,
to measuring out the ingredients,
dissolving yeast in warm water and watch it bubble and grow.
Mixing everything together and kneading the until the dough feels soft and smooth.

My stand mixer makes the process oh so easy, but I love to knead the dough by hand for a couple of minutes after the machine has done its work.
I need to feel the dough to make sure it's just perfect.

It always amazes me how beautifully the dough rises 
and even before the bread enters the oven, 
the aroma of the yeast doing its work fills the kitchen.

Once the bread is in the oven, all I have to do is wait.
The smells coming out of the kitchen are heavenly.
I peek in the oven a few times and when I think it might be time I gently tap the top, 
if it sounds hollow it's ready.

I can hardly wait until the bread is cool enough to cut off a slice, 
which I then slather with butter, take a bite and savor the deliciousness that is freshly baked bread. 

It really is one of the best things.

^ ^ ^

I found this recipe shared by Mary Beth from the blog Annapolis and Company 
(great blog by the way),
and tried it the other weekend.
It's a really good recipe and makes a chewy (bring on that glorious gluten!) and soft loaf.
I needed to add a bit more flour then stated in the recipe, 
but other than that it's a simple and easy recipe to follow.

The recipe makes two loaves and I added raisins to one loaf, I actually prefer it that way.
Too bad for me that I'm allergic to hazelnuts, 
but I can only imagine how delicious that would be if added as well.

^ ^ ^ 

Do you love baking bread as well? Have you ever baked bread? 
If not, do it! It is so easy!

Love, Maria