Sunday, July 31, 2011

The reason why

For about 6 months, I took care of you and your (at the time) 4 siblings. There were two of us, two au pairs, to take care of you all.
There was your oldest brother, a very bright kid and very responsible. He was eager to learn and he always got good grades. Your sister just started primary school and reading and writing was what she liked to do best. She was a very pretty girl with long, black, shiny hair. I loved to read to her when she was ready to go to bed. This brother and sister were very good at playing the piano together, dressed in their best outfits.
The next in line was another boy. A bit more shy but at the same time full of life and sometimes mischief. Not meant in a bad way, he was just a little boy who liked to have fun and fool around. He loved to play in his room and the two of us had long conversations.
Then there was you. You had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen. I still have your pictures. All of you children had special names, but yours I had never heard before. You were a special little boy, only 3 at the time. You liked to cuddle and I always thought you would break many hearts because the girls would fall for you by the dozen.. You liked to sit in my lap and we would sing songs together.
Your baby sister just learned how to walk. She was the little princess of the house and we all liked to pamper her.
I got to know my husband and I got pregnant. I left your house. Later, I learned you got another baby sister. There were 6 of you then. A beautiful family in a house like a castle..

I heard the awful news just the other day. It hit me in the face. It was so surreal. You decided you no longer wanted to remain in this world. What happened that life wasn't worth living any more? Why, sweet little boy.. why? I assume you had your reasons and maybe life wasn't that good for you as people thought. I hear you had so many friends. They will all miss you. So will your family. You will always remain one of 6. To me, you will always be that little boy with the bright eyes and the wonderful smile. RIP Augustin. I hope you will find the tranquillity you needed so desperately..

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Minimum of fuss, maximum of flavor. That's how Antonio Carluccio would name this pesto sauce. It's so easy to make and it comes in real handy. Toss it with home made cappellini, spread it on thick slices of ciabatta as an appetizer or use it to cover your gnocchi. It's so good and it can't be compared to store bought pesto. Just give it a try. It's a no fail recipe.

what do we need:
  • 1 bunch of basil or rocket
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 30 grams of pine nuts
  • a generous dash of salt
  • 50 ml of olive oil
  • 60 grams of parmigianno reggiano 
what do we do:
  • Remove the stalks and just keep the leaves. Chop them roughly.
  • Get your blender out of its box and throw in the basil, garlic, pine nuts and salt. 
  • Blend. 
  • Add most of the oil through the opening of your operating blender.
  • Open the blender, add the cheese and some more oil.
  • Blend again.
  • Done!

This pesto is ready to use or can be frozen. I like to freeze it in single servings. Great for a fast one person meal.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pitch perfect

This is my favorite dish of the month: Asian steak salad. It's just pitch perfect! Just try it. I'm sure you won't regret the effort.

what do we need:
  • 2 sirloin steaks
  • 4 baked potatoes, quartered (not peeled)
  • 2 boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • a small tin of lima beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons of cashew nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • mixed greens
  • 2 spring onions, chopped diagonally
  • 1 onion, divided in rings
  • oil
  • marinade for the steak:
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet-and-sour sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • a few drops of hot sauce
  • dressing for the salad:
  • a piece of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid honey
  • a few drops of hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
what do we do:
  • Use a meat hammer to flatten the steaks.
  • Marinate the beef for 15 minutes.
  • Dress your plates with salad, cashew nuts, egg, potatoes, lima beans. 
  • Sprinkle the dressing over your salad.
  • Grill the beef shortly in a hot pan.
  • Cut the meat in wide strips and drape them over the salad.
  • Fry the onions in some oil and top the beef with the onions.
  • Sprinkle with spring onion.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

You look first class!

We drove from Bruges - an unexpected visit to your orthodontist - to Antwerp in no time. We wanted to do some shopping first. Eva needed new jeans and I was thrilled that it didn't take all day to find the pair she had set her eyes on.. We grabbed an Asian lunch in the mall and shopped some more. We had to keep in mind that we're leaving for Florida in two weeks, so we had to make sure we have some money left to spend abroad!

In the afternoon we had a beauty appointment in a wellness center in Antwerp. It was a treat for my little girl.. She deserved this arrangement after a year of studying and working hard in school. She was really excited to get pampered. She first got a foot rub and peeling to help her relax. The facial was her favorite though. Her skin looked so smooth and soft after the massage and oil treatment. Time to wash and blow dry her hair, before someone else took over and gave her a subtile make-up, adapted to her age. I could tell my little girl was happy. And that's all that mattered.. She looked first class!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nighttime lows

Low blood sugars don't bother me too much during the daytime. They get solved rapidly and they don't make me feel too crappy. Nighttime lows though, are not that pleasant. Some are worse than others and some really freak me out. If I experience a 25 mg/dl during the day, I still function and do whatever I need to do. The other night I had a stupid 51 mg/dl, but the symptoms were so different. Sweat drops crawled down my spine, my face was pale and my lips were stinging. I had a hard time to focus and although I keep coke and cookies on my night stand, I decided they weren't good enough so I had to find my way out of the bedroom (that alone was hard enough) and stumble down the stairs. I felt like sh*t although 51 mg/dl is not even that low. I managed to find the right amount of cookies I needed to solve that hypo and started munching on them right away. Just having some juice or coke would've been much more efficient, but at the time, that's not something that crossed my mind. Your mind isn't working real well while experiencing a hypoglycemia. Crawling back upstairs, with my hands full of wrappers and cookies, my eyes had a hard time to focus. Those legs felt like rubber bands and at a certain time, I feared falling down the stairs. At a slow pace I moved on and I took my time to get back to my room. Those cookies tasted like heaven and I could feel life come back into my veins. My heart was still pounding way too fast and that's not normal for 51 mg/dl lows. Strange..

The 124 mg/dl morning reading surprised me though. After that abundance of cookies (I didn't eat the wrappers, but I know I had gobbled way too many carbs...), that is an odd number. I would've expected a reading of at least 250 mg/dl. So maybe that 51 mg/dl was only a sign of a blood sugar that was dropping really fast. Don't mess with me, body of mine. I don't like you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I was surprised when you called me. Not because you never call me - we do call each other quite often - but because you wanted to invite me to have lunch with you. What did you expect? That I'd say no to a wonderful lunch with an exceptional lady? Not!

I had no idea where you would take me, but I knew it would be a nice place. I normally don't like surprises, but I sure liked yours! Belga Queen Ghent was a very good choice! Despite the autumn weather, we could sit outside and enjoy our excellent three course meal. I was real happy to be there with you. Perfect scenery, great company and delicious food. Thanks for the invitation. You rock!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Because I'm crazy

Children and dogs can be compared to a certain degree. Especially if it comes to mischief on rainy days. Do you remember how your children behaved when it was rainy outside? Exactly! It was like they had had a humongous sugar boost, leading to overexcitement, hyper behavior and crazy circumstances..

The whippets are just like kids in bad weather.. They can't keep themselves busy. They want to go outside and then again maybe not. Or just for one minute.. or 10 minutes. Racing through the house like madmen, leaving a trail of wet paws on the floor. Throwing themselves on the couch, barking at one another and making foolish movements. They are just hilarious but very exhausting..

But hey.. don't we all suffer on rainy days? We are grumpier than usual and we have no energy. That's why I have my weekly dose of vitamin D. But I'm not sure whether the dogs need vitamins or not. They look pretty normal and healthy and their fur is shiny and silky smooth. I just know they prefer the sun to warm their bones up to the point where their brain starts to cook. That's when they crawl back inside to find a cool spot. They are so lethargic after their sun bath. A totally different situation of what we can observe at this instant..

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A culinary masterpiece

I couldn't help it, but this message almost made me burst into tears. That was just too funny.

This friend and I both like to cook and we have the same values when it comes to good food. So we send each other recipes and ideas and we love to discuss food and food magazines. When he sent me this link "a culinary masterpiece", I was thrilled to open it and enjoy the pleasure of an extraordinary recipe. He sure made me laugh..

It is a fun idea to do with kids though. Well, that is small kids. Mine are too big for this kind of fun. They would give me that "are you kidding me?" look and I wouldn't blame them.

So buddy: thanks for making me smile. It worked!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Slip sliding away

You girls are so funny! Not that rainy days are the best days ever, but little Inthe is crazy about racing around in the pouring rain. So I couldn't deprive them from going outside for a quick walk around the soccer field. Rebba isn't a big fan of cloudy days and rain is a real turn off. But she didn't want to let Inthe go by herself, so she put on her leash too and she came along.

It was hilarious to see Inthe race around the field with a flat soccer ball in her mouth. She went bananas! Rebba was standing under the roof, looking for shelter. But then again, she felt like stretching her legs too. So we encouraged her until she found the guts to get out there and make some wonderful slidings. I should have brought the camera, to make brilliant pictures of the grass flying in the air and the splattering water coming out of the soil.

Racing around in muddy fields leads to taking a bath afterwards. The girls are not very fond of taking a bath, but nevertheless, they undergo it. I spread an old towel in the tub, before I fill it with warm water. It keeps them from slipping away. No slidings in the bath tub, thank you. You do seem to like the shampoo part and me rubbing your dirty bellies. I have to be real fast to dry you off, before you start shaking your body from head to tail. You smell wonderful girls! And your fur is all shiny again!

Friday, July 22, 2011

An offer I can't refuse

Although I had already done my preparations for dinner, I was happy with your suggestion to go out to dinner last night. Both girls are in summer camp and it's nice to have some private time together. I put the preparations in the fridge for the next day and chose another outfit: my new polka dot dress. After all, if you're invited to a date, you try to look your best huh?

Hubby must have read my mind, since he suggested we'd go out for mussels. I really like mussels, although I don't want to have them that often. Just once or twice a year. I like my mussels pure. No fuss, no cream or alcohol. Just mussels. I skipped on the French fries and bread as well. Because I really wanted to taste what we came for: luscious seafood. And I truly enjoyed my dinner. It felt good to have a date with my husband, especially because he had taken the initiative. Too bad he had the early shift this morning, so we had to end our evening.. Nine more days at work and then: time for vacation!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm gonna pack my bags

It's your turn, cupcake! Your bags are packed and daddy checked your bike to make sure you'll make a safe trip to your destination in Limburg. You and your friends will ride 170 km in 2 days. What a shame it's still pouring out there.. I hope you'll be able to keep yourself warm. There are spare clothes in your backpack and enough snacks and drinks for 2 days. You wanted a chicken curry pasta for lunch and some bread rolls for later on. You do need your munchies!

Your sister isn't home yet and now you're gone too. It'll be quiet around the house. But not for too long. Sweetie pie will be back tomorrow by noon and she'll have a lot to tell. Don't forget to memorize your stories too, huh?

I'm sure you and your friends will have a blast. You always do. You have been looking forward to this summer camp for weeks and it's finally there! Enjoy sweetie!!!!!

Chirolokalen Overpelt Centrum
Chiro Ekyrpak - Lana Joos
Ravotterkespad 2
3900 Overpelt

Photo by Eva Joos

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When will Cupid strike?

Sweet little Inthe... We won't be able to let you run without a leash in the meadow for a while.. You're on heat. There may be potential lovers around the corner, waiting to seduce you. I'm sure you would be very willing to mate, but we have decided you will never be a mommy. Meaning you can't date or find a mate. Does your tummy hurt? You lay down on the couch, looking at us with that special puppy look and then you cry. It's heart breaking. That's when we wrap you in your favorite blanket, so you can take a nap.

Let's hope your period will be over soon. At least, before we leave for Florida. Because in your dog hotel, there are too many handsome male whippets. We just can't take the risk. Around the house, you wear your special black undies, but they wouldn't keep a male dog away.

We'll pamper you sweetheart, don't worry. You're in good hands.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

That's who I am

Photo by Lana Joos
It's so good to see you happy.. You look radiant and loved and very elegant. Is it the age or has something happened lately?

You sometimes worry about getting older and getting more wrinkles. But you know what? The wrinkles don't matter, neither does aging. You are still you, only wiser by the year.

I like to hang out with you. There's always something to talk about and there's not one encounter where we don't burst into tears - caused by pranking jokes or just telling stories.

Happy Birthday SiL! You rock!

Monday, July 18, 2011

There's no place like home..

but it's great to take a break every now and then.

We're getting ready for our next holiday in Florida. This time, Hubby and the kids will join me. We're really looking forward to this vacation. Hubby has worked real hard all year and he's so longing for some time off. I'm making plans for the 14 days we're going to spend abroad. Booking the trip, arranging a rental car (I picked out a wonderful Chrysler - after all, we're in the States, right?), planning our outings, getting our passports and ESTA forms, making reservations at the pet hotels for the whippets and the cat,.. There's still so much to do!

This time, our stay in Florida will be a little bit different from the stay I had in January of this year. This time will be more of a family vacation instead of a vacation with grown up friends. We won't go out three times a day to grab food. I'm sure we'll do breakfast in the apartment, a light lunch on the road and a home cooked dinner at night. We'll definitely go out for breakfast once or twice during our stay, no doubt about that. But I'm sure the girls will enjoy breakfast on the deck a lot more.

We'll do a lot of shopping in the several malls in the Kissimmee area. There's a lot to see in the neighborhood as well. A trip to Cape Canaveral to please dad, combined with a visit to Cocoa Beach to make the girls happy. One of the girls wants to go to Disney, the other one only wants to visit Universal Studios, so we'll have to make up our minds somehow. We'll pay Old Town another visit, because I do want my family to experience the atmosphere of that special Saturday Night amongst cars from the fifties and their owners.

I'm looking forward to sitting by the pool and enjoy the view over the lake. There's no place like home... and Kissimmee is starting to feel like a second home..

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Splish Splash

I just read this text on how men take a shower and I couldn't do anything else but roll over the floor and laugh. This is just too much, but so true!

How men take a shower..

Sit on the side of your bed, strip off your clothes and drop them right by your feet.
Step over that pile of clothes and stroll to the bathroom, a towel tied around your waist.
If you accidently happen to cross your wife in the hallway, drop the towel and shake your private parts.
Look at your male appearance in the mirror. Rub your Humpty Dumpty belly like it's your biggest achievement.
Pull in that abdomen to see if you've already developed some chest muscles (not).
Turn on the water.
Don't look for a wash cloth, since you don't use any.
Wash and rinse your body in 5 minutes.
Wash and rinse your private parts in 15 minutes.
Wash your bum.
Shampoo your hair and skip the conditioner.
Make a shampoo mohawk.
Open the shower door, admire yourself and giggle.
Rinse yourself.
Get out of the shower, look for a towel and smell it. If the smell is bearable: dry yourself and drop the wet towel on the floor.
Step over the wet towel and go back to your bedroom.
If you cross your wife in the hallway, shake your private parts.
Roll over your bed to dry off your back..

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bicycle Race

I still can't believe I signed up for a bicycle ride with my diabetes friends... O lord.. You all know I hate bikes, but this time, the love for my friends is more important than the displeasure riding a bike gives me.
I'm not even going to try to put my bike in the trunk of the car. I'll rent one. That might be safer as well, since my bike is being used for spare parts for everybody else's bike.

There will be around 10 people I guess. It'll be good to see my friends and have a chitchat. That is, if I can still catch my breath.. Is there enough time left to reconsider my registration for this totally out of your mind bicycle race???

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bye bye for a little while

We're all a little nervous this morning. Last night, you packed the last items since today, you're leaving for summer camp. You haven't slept much. Too much excitement, I guess? You will meet up with your friends in Bruges around noon, where all of you will take the bus to Durbuy. Last year, you went to that same summer camp and you loved it! This year will be different. It will also be the moment where you and your schoolfriends will enjoy each other's company for the last time. Most kids have chosen different schools for September. It will be a special week for all of you.

I'm glad I have the chance to bring you to the meeting point. It would be a whole lot more difficult if I would be working. We'll go out for lunch first, before I drop you off at the bus stop. Your bags weigh like you put rocks in them! Sweetheart, come on, 7 pairs of shoes??? You're such a girly girl..

Don't forget to brush your teeth! I'm sure you'll have more candy than you can handle, but that's part of the fun. You picked out your favorite treats at the store and you're looking forward to sharing them with your friends.

The weather is less exciting.. You were really unhappy, since you planned on wearing shorts and skirts and little dresses. Instead, you had to bring sweaters and pants and socks. I'm sure there will be rain cheque activities planned. They won't let you do death rides in the pouring rain. I hope..

Have fun!!! We'll miss you!!! xxx

La Petite Merveille
t.a.v. Eva JOOS
Rue comte Th. D'Ursel 51
Photo by Lana Joos

Thursday, July 14, 2011


There's probably not one cooking show on TV that I don't watch. I love those programs! It's a whole lot of fun and entertainment comes along with it. But I also learn a lot from the candidates and their chefs. How to properly use a cook's knife for example. Or kitchen terminology like chiffonade. I knew the technique, but the name was new to me.

Mise-en-place is a lot of work, but it makes cooking so much easier. By the time you really have to start the cooking part, you're totally zen and at ease. I like to chop vegetables and herbs and get ready to cook. Sorting out the spices and the needy ingredients, will keep you from a last minute rush to the store. It is hateful once you're cooking, to realize you're out of cream or eggs. Some things can be left out or substituted, but mostly it will just aggravate and disappoint you, for not having read the recipe properly in advance. I'm not used to following a recipe to the T, but I do try to use most of the star ingredients. I mean, you can't make a proper béarnaise sauce without tarragon, can you?

Worst cooks in America is the show I've been watching lately. I really feel bad for those grown ups, that simply don't have a clue of what cooking is about. They either never tried it or they dislike it or I don't know what their excuse is, but life is so much easier if you know how to cook simple, healthy meals in little time. It doesn't take 2 hours in the kitchen to prepare a decent meal, as many people think. Going out for take away is probably stealing more time from you than cooking your own meal. It all comes to organization, planning and having ingredients in your pantry and fridge. I dare you: what are you going to cook today?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

High Tea

I believe the English cuisine not to be the best, but their High Tea can surely please me. The atmosphere, the gestures, the special treats.. there's something that really makes me tick.

Something I make on a regular basis, must be English muffins. They cannot be compared to American muffins (a sort of moist cupcake) at all. They are a type of flat bread, roasted in a dry non-stick pan and split and toasted when you are ready to eat them. I normally make a bunch of 24 English muffins and I keep them in the freezer. Whenever we feel like having one, you just split them open and pop'm in the toaster. Spread some home made lemon curd (another favorite High Tea treat) on top and enjoy!

Lana likes to make scones, although she prefers baked goods that don't need that much time to prepare. When I feel like it, I try to make crumpets or even biscuits. Maybe it's a good idea to invite some ladies for a special High Tea!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Na fiesj moesh kele

Languages are wonderful. So many sounds to enjoy, so many words to learn how to pronounce. A language that has always drawn my attention, is Arabic. I know I will take Arabic classes one day! It's great to be able to say some phrases if you're in some islamic country.

A couple of weeks ago, I was shopping with a friend in Holland. Two Arabic men were in a fierce discussion and they were all wired up. I took a look at them, and said: na fiesj moesh kele - meaning: no problem! and I kept going. They went silent right away, turned their heads, looked at me and laughed. They yelled back: na fiesj moesh kele! It warmed my heart to see their smile and they completely forgot what their discussion was about.

I have an Egyptian restaurant in my neighborhood, where I can practice my Arabic vocabulary. They love to hear me talk and every time I frequent the restaurant, the owner and his family teach me some new words. It's a pleasant pastime.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A red flag

If they would hang up red flags in the beginning of the streets that have shoe shops, it would keep me from buying more shoes.. Honestly! I can't grasp how women can enter a shoe shop without buying any shoes? How do they do that? I mean: what's the fun? Window shopping is not in my dictionary. If I shop, I shop well. Every month, I buy at least one pair of shoes. Mostly high heels. I do own some flat shoes, but I hardly ever wear them. My youngest daughter taught me to keep some ballerinas in my oversized purse, for emergencies only. And that was a good idea. Since I like to shop in Bruges and since cobble stones are not very comfortable to walk on, I do need an extra pair of shoes, to prevent my feet from getting blisters. Diabetics need to take very good care of their feet and my podiatrist warned me about the effect of wearing high heels for such a long period of time.  It's just that I'm so short.. I need those high heels to feel feminine and a bit taller. They make your legs look longer and high heels stretch your calves. They may not be the most comfortable shoes, but they sure make a woman look more attractive..

A couple of years ago, I decided I needed a decent shoe rack. Not one store bought rack could please me and was appropriate to display my shoe collection. So I decided to make my own. It took me no more than 2 hours to draw a plan, go to the timber shop and order the boards and screws I needed. That afternoon, I built my own shoe rack and it came out a whole lot better than I had presumed. The rack holds about 40 pairs of shoes and boots. It's time to build a second rack, matching the first. I had to get rid of quite some pairs since my feet seem to have shrunk. Depending on the discounts I can get, my shoe size ranges from 39 over 40 to 41. My feet tend to swell in the afternoon so by the evening I might need a larger size.

Maybe I should ask the girls to photograph my most favorite shoes. That would be a fun idea! I'm sure they would love that. The more I think of it, the more I get convinced that I need to draw out that second shoe rack.. because I feel the need to check out the sales at my favorite shoe shops..

Sunday, July 10, 2011

This is letting go

Photo by Eva Joos
You are so happy! It's wonderful to see the happiness in your eyes.. You and your boyfriend get along real well and I can tell he makes you laugh. He's a fun guy to hang out with and I like to see the two of you have a good time. You even introduced him to your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. He's very welcome at any time.

You're growing up so fast now. Us parents have to let go every day. That's okay. Every now and then, we will step back and let you grow and move on. It will make you a responsible and undependable young woman, who will know what she wants in this world. It gives us a good feeling to see you go through that episode to adulthood and to witness your progress. Enjoy! xx

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Morning breath

I'm so sorry sweetheart, but you have a terrible morning breath.. And not only in the morning unfortunately. I don't know how to solve this. Do you have stomach problems or maybe a bad tooth? We'll have the doctor take a look at it. You reach over to give me a kiss and it really repulses me. I don't want to pull back, but it makes my stomach twirl. Maybe you should change your diet? It's not that you are a big fan of garlic or smelly cheese or anything. Okay, you don't brush your teeth, I know. That would help a lot, but I've never brushed someone else's teeth. It's kinda weird to do so.
You eat well and I don't hear you groan so I guess it's not a bad tooth after all. It surely doesn't bother you (maybe because you can't smell it!).. I still love you Rebba, even with morning breath.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Not at any price

All the time I hear this same line: you'd better work out. I hate sports! Not at any price will I go to the gym or start to run or dance Zumba. Go ahead, feel free and enjoy yourselves. I'm not going. Period.
It's a shame I don't like sports, I know that. It would make things a lot easier if I would be more of the sporty type. It would keep me in shape and healthy. It's just so boring! I know there are many different kinds of sports and yes, maybe I should try something else. It's just not going to happen, trust me. Working out doesn't give me that rush you people talk about. It doesn't give me any highs. I'm just drop dead after a work out and all I want to do is lay down and cry and be left alone. It leaves me with back pain, sore muscles, crazy bloodsugars and an overall crappy feeling. Nothing wonderful about that.. 

So maybe people need to be a bit more understanding, that not everyone is fitted to do sports. I know I'm not the only one out there. Feel free to do whatever you want, but just let me be the non-sporty type.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I know Belgians are not that fond of peanut butter, but I am, together with the Dutch and the Americans. Peanut butter is nutritious and tasty and I use it on a regular basis. As a dip with apple slices or to make a stirfry sauce creamy. Or just on a piece of toast, with or without jelly. My favorite PB is JIF, the creamy type. Over here, it's not that easy to get it. There's one store in Antwerp where I can buy silky JIF. So I stick to the Dutch brand Calvé, that is a lot chunkier and less smooth. But it'll do.

This summer, during our stay in Kissimmee, Florida, I'm sure I'll have my portion of peanut butter. One of the girls is a PB fan too, the other one refuses to try it. She's more of the chocolate spread type, I guess.

Both whippets are huge peanut butter fans. They get to lick out the empty jars. They're plastic, not glass, so they are safe to play with. They drag the jar into their kennel and for some time, you hear no whippets in the house. They are very quiet while they enjoy their special treat.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I don't want to do anything

What a great day we had yesterday! The weather forecast promised a good time, so in the afternoon we decided to go to the beach. The whippets were not invited. Too hot for them, so we gave them a special treat, a bowl of fresh water and the shadow of their outer kennel.

Since we live that close to Holland, we always go to their beaches. Only half an hour away, peanuts! We packed the car with beach seats, towels, goodies and drinks, new magazines and books to read. The girls were all set in their teeny bikinis and off we went.

We parked the car in a meadow near Palm Beach. That's the name of the beach we stranded on. As we had expected: it was a beach for people who like to run around naked.. Not our cup of tea. The girls protested so we kept on walking until we found a strip of sand where people were wearing tank tops and swimwear. It didn't take us long to fall down and get settled. Time flew by and I nearly finished my book on World War II. We left the kids by themselves to go for grown up coffee in the Beach House. That Jamaican coffee was really good and very relaxing.

It's great to be home and be able to go do things with the family whenever we feel like it. I'm sure the girls enjoyed their day out as well. Hubby planned on working in the garden, but he was glad he joined us after all.

Later that evening, we sat outside on the deck and we played cards. We had a blast! It had been too long since we last played a board game together. That glass of South African Chardonnay was refreshing, after a warm sunny day..

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Think outside the box

Flemish people are pretty particular about their food. They like their plate to look as so: boiled potatoes, a nice piece of meat, gravy and some vegetables. It's not always easy to convince them to try a different cuisine for that matter. They don't want to miss out on their potatoes and they are not happy if you skip the meat. Just don't overfeed them on the veggies, because that's the part they like the least.

Am I a real Flemish woman? I mean, I really don't like the traditional Flemish kitchen. I love a more exotic touch to my food and I don't mind to make sacrifices if it comes to meat or potatoes. I do like my greens though.

There are plenty of substitutes for meat, although that's not a word I would voluntarily use. I don't feel the need to substitute my meat. It's not that I'm a vegetarian. I'm more of a flexitarian, meaning I do eat meat, but only when I feel like it. I prefer legumes over meat. How about some lovely kidney beans or wax beans? Lentils and chickpeas? They have so much flavor and no fat. They are very nutritious and yes, they contain quite some calories, but they are healthy and filling. A favorite legume recipe of mine, is hummus. I like to make my own. It's not that difficult and it's so satisfying to make your own chickpea puree. Because that's exactly what it is.

What do we need:
  • a can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), drained (save the liquid though)
  • 80 ml tahini (sesame paste)
  • 60 ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 15 ml good olive oil
  • a pinch of paprika
  • parsley, freshly minced
What do we do:
  • Blend the chickpeas with the tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Add some of the juice until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl.
  • Drizzle the oil over the hummus. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley.
  • Serve with (pita) bread and crudites.

Monday, July 4, 2011

There's nothing you can't be

My little girl is growing up so fast.. Sometimes I still see her as the little girl she once was, but then again, I have to let go of that phantasy and come back to Earth, to see the beautiful young woman she has become.

You have changed so much in the last two years. Being in boarding school, we didn't see that much of each other as I wanted to. I'm sure we missed out on a lot of your activities and we didn't always know what kept you going.

You showed me one of your blogs you're keeping. I was truly stunned.. Wow girlie! You are truly amazing! Congratulations! There's nothing you can't be! I had a great time reading your blog and I will be a follower from now on. I'm proud of you! You are very versatile and your talents are worth mentioning: drawing, designing clothes, making great pictures, being a fashionista and a good friend..
I'm so happy to read you and the fact that you let me in to your blog world, means a lot to me. Keep it up sweetie. You're doing a great job! xxx

Photo by Eva Joos

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dog 'O' Nine Tails

I got to know Lisa Rees on Facebook. Just like us, she adores greyhounds, whippets and all sighthounds. Since she has a webshop, I had already purchased some phone charms with little whippet heads as decoration.

Last week, I ordered two new collars and matching leashes for Rebba and Inthe. They are custom made by Lisa and I must say: she does a very good job! You get to pick the fabric and the width and I asked for matching leashes and to my surprise, not even one week later, the martingales (that's how you call those greyhound collars) and the leashes got here.

The dogs went frantic over their new gadgets and they were ready to go for a walk right there on the spot. I'm real happy with the handmade martingales. The dogs will look their best!

Take a look at Lisa's webshop. Or make her your friend on Facebook: Dog 'O' Nine Tails Store. She's truly amazing!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Changing overnight

Last night, you were just 43 and this morning you turned 44. Just like that! Isn't that strange, that in a snap of your finger, you age one year?

Too bad you have to work today. Keeping that in mind, we treated you in a restaurant this Thursday. Just the 4 of us. You said you didn't want a birthday party. Maybe when you're 50. But not just yet.

You were a little surprised when we handed over your birthday present. The three of us thought it would be nice to get you a new car for your birthday. But since that is a pretty personal gift, we gave you a certificate to pick out your own car. You spend quite some time in your car, driving to Brussels to go to work and although your car is still in good shape, you wouldn't mind trading it in for a newer example. I'm pretty sure you'll stick within the same brand, since BMW is your favorite. You'll make a good choice, no doubt. Although you say that you really don't need a new car, we'll join you to the carshop and help you make the best choice.

Happy Birthday Hubby! Happy Birthday Daddy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

C'est magnifique!

Finally, school's out! The girls did great and studied well for their exams. It's time to relax now and enjoy the upcoming holidays. The schoolbooks of this year need to be returned and new books have to be ordered. Both girls had to decide what they were going to do in September. Lana chose Economics and Modern Languages and we think that was a very wise choice. She's doing so well in school and she's a good student. She's not sure yet about the far ahead future, but she's working on that.
Eva is ready to attend a different school. She'll miss her boarding school and her friends for sure, but she'll get over it. She's a loving girl and she'll get new friends in no time. She and her sister will be riding their bikes to the same school now. Not that they will see a whole lot of each other, since it's a very big school and there are 3000 students, compared to the 340 Eva was used to. Eva has made the best choice for her too: Humane Science will be very interesting for her and I'm convinced she will love the different classes.

I'm looking forward to this summer vacation and to a wonderful time with the family. Congratulations girls! You did real well. We're proud of you!