Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Maple Frappuccino

Today I'm sharing this recipe with you, but first a funny story: 

When we were in Canada a few weeks ago, B. took me out for breakfast on my birthday 
(the big 2-9, one more year in my twenties, eek!). 
We had the most amazing breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit and big stacks of french toast and waffles. 
During breakfast the (really sweet) waitress walked up to us and asked B. if he wanted some coffee, 
and while I was politely waiting for my turn to order ( yes, I'd LOVE / need some coffee!) 
she turned to me and said: 'I'm not even going to ask you if you want some, because you're pregnant'.
Uh, excuse me? 
I know very well that I shouldn't drink too much coffee while pregnant, but my one cup a day is definitely okay, not to mention: needed. 

I have no idea what the girl was thinking, 
maybe the Canadians are super strict with coffee during pregnancy, 
or maybe she heard somewhere that coffee is bad for preggo's, 
but I was a little taken aback by the fact that she decided what I could and couldn't put in my body, how well intentioned it probably was.
After that awkward moment I didn't even dare to say that, in fact, I would love some coffee, 
so I ended up ordering water.

It was a strange moment.


Anyways, back to the coffee, as a part time Barista I love my coffee, 
and my favorite way of drinking it is as a cappuccino. 
A good strong espresso poured into warm and frothy milk, delicious!

But now that the temperatures are rising I also love drinking iced coffee, 
Frappuccinos, to be exact.
I found the perfect way to make them at home and thought I'd share the recipe.


You can change it to you liking. 
I used decaf coffee, this way I can enjoy a frappuccino a few times a day without 'risking' my baby's life :) 

 Homemade Vanilla Maple Frappuccino:

4 cups of strongly brewed (decaf) coffee 
( I used 8 scoops of coffee for 4 cups of water, but you can make it as strong as you like)

1/4 cups of sugar (or 1/4 cups of maple syrup)

1 tsp vanilla extract (I only had artificial on hand, but the real stuff is better)

1 tsp maple extract (if using maple syrup as a sweetener you can skip this step)

(you can use any flavoring you like, I also love it with almond extract, and I can imagine it'll taste delicious with coconut extract)

Make the coffee, while the coffee is still hot stir in the sugar until it's dissolved, add the vanilla and maple extract.
Let the coffee cool a bit.
Pour the coffee into an ice cube tray, I needed about four trays.(about 40 ice cubes)
Once the cubes are frozen you can pop them out and store them in a ziploc bag to save space in your freezer.

To make the frappuccino: take as many coffee ice cubes as you want (I used four cubes) put them in a blender with about a cup of milk (or more, or less, whatever you want) and blend until it's nice and frothy.
Pour into a tall glass, stick a straw in it and enjoy!

If you really want to treat yourself you could top the Frappuccino with whipped cream and drizzle some chocolate sauce over top. Yum!

Love, Maria

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Project 52: a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014

 Micha: Going so fast on your little bike, I can hardly catch up

Baby boy: Growing and kicking like a champ

Love you both so much!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

a song, a book, a quote, a look - # 3

It's been a while since I've done of these, November to be exact. 
So let's get to business with my May picks, shall we?


song - I just love this Ben Howard song, it reminds me of long summer days and freedom.

book - I know, I'm a bit late to the game with this book, but it's so good. 
On the plane one of the movies available to watch was 'The Book Thief', 
but I never watch a movie before I read the book, it feels like cheating to me. 
So when I saw a copy of the book on the shelf at my friends house I stole it 
( just kidding, I borrowed it, I'm not a book thief) 
and it's been one of the best reads I've had in a long time.

quote - This quote is from another book I had been wanting to read for a long time 
and recently I finally had the chance too.
 'A year of biblical womanhood' is one of those books that is really fun to read 
but also makes you think and rethink things you thought you knew. 

look - A little background as to why I picked this look. 
As you know I recently visited my sister in Canada, but we also visited my best friend, Lydia. 
I would definitely say that Lydia and I are soul mates or at least 'twin-sisters from another mother'. 
It's almost scary how similar our lives are, from our decorating style to our similar husbands, 
and from the shows we watch to our fashion picks. 
One morning when we were visiting at her house we both came downstairs wearing the exact same outfit: jeans, a blue striped shirt and a leather jacket, with flats. 
We weren't even surprised, it's happened before. 
So when I came back from Canada and resumed to normal life, 
including browsing Pinterest once in a while, 
and came across this outfit, I knew had to pin it. 
I just really love this look, and the story behind why I pinned it.

Love, Maria

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

a few more weeks

the boy and the belly

Only five (-ish) weeks to go and Micha's (and our) world will be changed for good. 
Instead of being an only child, he'll be the oldest child. 
Instead of having me available all day, every day, 
he'll have to share me with his little brother, and learn to wait for his turn.

How grown up he will seem once his baby brother arrives. 
Even though I know he'll love being a big brother, 
and even though I realize what a good thing it will be for him to learn to share 'his' papa and mama,
these last few weeks will be filled with extra cuddles and probably a bitter sweet tear or two.

Because on that day, when our family of three becomes a family of four,
I will have two sweet bodies to cuddle instead of one, and I absolutely can't wait for that.
But I also find myself wanting to savor these last few weeks with the little boy that made me a mama.
He made me a mama, and that is something I'll never forget!

Just me and him, for a few more weeks.

Love, Maria

Friday, May 16, 2014


Project 52: a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014

Because of all the busyness lately I completely forgot to write a monthly update of you.
You are now 21 months old, and such a fun little handful to have around. 

-You talk so, so much, usually it's pretty entertaining but sometimes my ears just need some rest. 
And you really need to learn not to accidentally insult people, you love calling older women 'Old lady', even if they're not that old. Oops.

- You handled travelling like a pro, no jet-lag for you! And you just loved hanging out with your Canadian friends and relatives, and even learned some more English words and phrases like: 'Opa Dizzy'(Oopsie Daisy) and 'Garbage truck'.

- You found a new love in Canada: little cars and trucks. You are such a typical boy!

- You make me and your papa laugh every day. This morning we were eating breakfast and talking about that papa is a man, mama is a woman and when we asked you what you are, you proudly said: 'Superman'.
So funny!

- You haven't only been all cute and fun though. Lately you think it's okay to hit us even though we strictly tell you not to, and even give you a 'time out' when you don't listen. We busted out our trusty 'Baby Book' by doctor Sears and are also reading his book on discipline. Something tells me we'll be reading that last one quite a bit in the future. We still love you to bits though!


Baby Boy:
Today I am exactly 34 weeks pregnant with you, only 6-ish more weeks to go!
You are quite the active little boy, and love kicking me in my bladder lately (ouch).
We're finally getting around to painting your room, and then I can finally start decorating. 
With Micha things were practically done by now, but you're really getting the second baby treatment, sorry! We love you just as much though!
We can't wait to meet you, little man!

Love, Mama


Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flying with a toddler: what made us happy and what we would have done differently

We did it! We survived an intercontinental flight with a toddler lap child!

Even though it wasn't my favorite part of our holiday, 
(duh, long haul flights never are, are they?) 
I am so proud of how Micha behaved during the flights.
Looking back, there was no need for all the anxiety I had prior to our trip.

Of course not everything went perfectly, having a lap child while pregnant isn't always so comfortable (luckily for me B. held Micha most of the time).
And there were a few breakdowns (luckily with no screaming or continuous crying),
but all in all I'm pretty happy with our flying experience.


What made us happy:

- Getting a free, extra seat for Micha (yay!) on our flight to Toronto, which was a daytime flight.
With hardly no sleeping happening it was good to have some extra wiggle room.
On the way back we didn't get the same luxury, but because it was an evening flight we were lucky enough to have a sleeping Micha for at least three hours of the seven hour long haul flight.

- Small toys, like cars and plastic dinosaurs.
Before our flight I bought a whole bunch of little toys to put in Micha's backpack for the trip.
He especially loved the dinosaurs, they kept him (and us) happy for quite a while.

-A few of his favorite books, which we brought along. Including this one.
Whenever he would get restless we'd grab a book and start reading. Problem solved!

- In-flight entertainment.
We don't own an i-Pad, which I thought would be nice for M. to watch shows on, but I didn't miss it at all. The in-flight entertainment on Austrian Airlines (the airline we flew with) for kids was pretty good, 
Micha has never had so much screen time.
Anything to keep him happy!

- A soother.
M. usually only gets his soother at bedtime and I always think that a toddler walking around with a soother looks absolutely ridiculous, but for our trip we made an exception.
And I'm so glad we did.
I had packed suckers and made sure we had his sippy cup on hand during take off and landing to help relieve his popping ears, but the air pressure didn't seem to bother him at all because of the soother.
Also, it kept him calm and happy during the flight, which is a win in my books!

- A no-spill snack cup, like this one.
On the way there we just used a little container filled with cheerios or raisins, but I felt so sorry for the clean up crew, there was so much spilling!
So when we arrived in Canada, I went out and bought a no spill snack cup, and it was perfect for our flight back. Hardly no spilling, and it kept Micha entertained for a while.

- Snacks like these crackers and cheerios or dried fruit 'candy'.
Even I enjoyed munching on them when I felt hungry.

- Fruit pouches!
I'm so happy we were allowed to bring these through security*, they are Micha's favorite thing in the world and healthy too. Whenever he was hungry or if we needed to cheer him up we would hand him one of these and all would be well with the world.
 (*I was actually surprised how easy going they were with snacks and drinks for Micha, everything I brought along was accepted, only, why the longs faces and grouchy attitudes, security people?)

- Fresh fruit for mama and papa.
For on the way there I had packed baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices,
which we hardly ate, because what we were really craving after so many hours on the plane was fresh fruit.
So on the way back we picked up some fresh fruit cups at Starbucks and it was the nicest snack to have.

- Our light weight stroller.
I'm so glad we decided to take our stroller along, we could just strap Micha in and navigate our way through the airports to the gates. Because it was so light we could take the stroller all the way to the plane and let them stow it.

- A 'misbehaving' child somewhere else on the plane.
I know, how awful is that to have in my list of happy things?
But to be honest, it was nice to know that we weren't the only ones with a (not always happy) child on the plane, and even nicer that our child was more enjoyable for our fellow passengers than the other child was.
So evil of me, hey?

ready to board!

the men keeping themselves entertained

What we would have done differently:

- Less snacks.
I had no idea if Micha would be getting a meal on the plane, because he was a lap child.
So I packed a crazy amount of food -which surprisingly all made it through security- which we hardly ate at all. Turned out that Micha did get a meal and that the things I had packed were not the things we were craving.

- No books for me.
For the flight to Canada I had packed a book in my carry-on luggage, but I never got around to reading it.
It was just extra weight for me to carry along and unnecessary.

- If money wasn't an issue, no unnecessary layovers.
Budget-wise booking a non-direct flight was better for us. But if we have the money next time we'll be booking direct flights. I thought it would be nice to be able to stretch our legs during the layovers, but I would rather have a shorter travel time.

- Letting Micha nap on our first short flight to Vienna.
We traveled from Amsterdam to Vienna and via Vienna to Toronto (no logic in that, by the way!), and right at the end of that short two hour flight Micha fell asleep for about 30 minutes.
At the time we thought it was perfect, but it ended up meaning: no more naps for the rest of the trip to Canada. It would've been better if we had kept him awake, so that he could have a nice, long, uninterrupted nap during the long flight like he did on our way back home.

- Letting the air pressure build up in the sippy cup!
On our first flight, I accidentally sprayed a fellow passenger with apple juice, oops!
Luckily he didn't seem to notice!
I had no idea juice would be squirting out of M.'s sippy cup because of the air pressure, so after that incident I made sure to loosen the lid of his cup to make sure there was no pressure building up inside.


So there you have it! Our experience with flying with a toddler. 
I still wouldn't count it as my favorite thing to do, but it definitely wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Next time we'll be flying with two kiddo's. 
Now that will be a challenge!

Love, Maria 

Friday, May 9, 2014


Project 52: a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014 
(Uhm, not really keeping up to date, but I'm still plugging along)

Behind my sisters house in Canada there is this beautiful old barn, 
owned by a neighboring farmer. 
Inside there is an old tractor, and every day Micha and B. would walk out back to the barn to see it.

I played with the idea to maybe get some official maternity photos done with the barn in the background, - think: cute family photos with a bunch of colorful helium balloons and bunting with baby boys name on it-  but we didn't get around to it, so we'll just have to find a nice place here in Holland to have our pictures taken.


However, we did manage to take some unofficial bump photos and a few cute ones of Micha too, at the barn. Our crappy little point and shoot camera did pretty well considering.


Happy Friday!

Love, Maria

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Home (bitter) Sweet Home

We're back from our two week vacation in Canada! 
It was good, it was fun, it was a little exhausting and a lot great for my soul.


The flights went surprisingly well (more on that in another post). 
None of us had a bad jet lag, the first night Micha from 7 p.m. until 7.30 a.m. , yay!
We brought a super quick, but pretty intense stomach bug along from Holland. (not so fun)

We spent lots of quality time together and shared lots of cuddles -that would be Micha- with my sister and her family and with my bestie, Lydia, and her family as well.

I just can't believe how well Lydia's husband and B. connected and how great it was to see our boys playing together. It's crazy how similar our lives are and how, even after not seeing each other for a few years, nothing has changed between us. Our friendship is so special to me!


I ate the donuts and candy I was craving and thrifted to my hearts content 
(oh, why don't we have such great thrift shops in Holland?). 

I celebrated my 29th birthday by going out for breakfast with B. (another thing I really wanted to do in Canada), having a ladies shopping trip in a street full of boutiques and vintage shops, 
which also happened to be hosting a food truck festival that day 
and ended the day with a little birthday get together, finally with my sister ánd my best friend present!


Some photos of our trip 
(with our horrible point and shoot camera, we didn't have room to bring our DSLR along, grr..)

sleeping on the flight there (it only lasted 30 minutes of the 9 hours)
everyone eating Poutine (except for me and my stomach bug)
first bite of a Tim Hortons timbit
besties! and our boys (below)

us with my sister and her family
isn't it great when your best friends husband and yours get along?
 at the Toronto Aquarium

birthday breakfast!
We had such a great time, but of course it was way to short. 
While I love this little country I live in and the friends and family that are here, 
I always feel torn between here and there. 
It's hard having your heart in two continents.

It's home sweet home again (but just a little bitter sweet for now).

Love, Maria