Dec 24, 2010

no time!

I would love to blog more (not in the least because blogging generally means me sitting in a room all by myself in silence, blissful silence) but now is simply not the time for cow blogging! Just typing that sentence used up all the time I had allowed myself at the computer. So I will, once again, keep the chitter-chatter to a minimum and try to dazzle you with pictures, so you won't even notice the lack of text.

We left mom and dad home to enjoy the silence, and we braved the cold and the large number of children to visit the Winter Efteling! Lucky for us Liz wanted to come along, a much needed extra pair of hands (and extra lovely smile!). It was cold, but there were fires that brave Efteling cast-members kept going all day long so that all visitors could warm up in between rides.

Dec 20, 2010

winter wonderland

Had enough of people gushing over how beautiful the snow is? Stop reading here then, for I am an avid snow-lover. We've had some actual snow storms around here and it seems like we'll be having ourselves a white Christmas. And since my sister made it over safely with the kids, I don't care whether planes can land anymore! 

(It's all about MEEEEEEEEE)

Sledding is the BEST. Let it snow!

Dec 4, 2010

i knew i wasn't the only one

Remember how in my last post I talked about needing to see different realities in order to be inspired so we can do and create?

Meet Yokoo.

I found this little clip about her today and absolutely love it. Her words tie in with that last post perfectly, and she's a crocheter to boost!


Dec 3, 2010

never judge a book by its movie

As you may have noticed, I am the kind of gal who goes completely bananas about an activity for a while and then suddenly stops doing it (or to that crazed extent) and moves on to the next activity. Sometimes this is very useful because in the process I acquire new and handy skills such as crocheting and cooking/baking. Other times, like the time I started learning Russian, they end in disaster and feelings of utter incompetence.... and occasionally I manage to aimlessly black out entire weeks of my life, like the time I went on that 'omgihavetowatcheverythingrelatedtorandynewman'-craze. I might still be on that one actually.

Anyway. The reason I'm telling you this is A) because I feel like if I don't share stuff my life is meaningless and B) because it's an intro to this post's topic; books. Lately I have been reading a lot of books. Allow me to compile a list of books I've read in the last few months (for your sake I am excluding the infinite number of fairytales and pop-up books about cars).

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
the Twilight saga - Stephenie Meyer
If On A Winter's Night a Traveler - Italo Cavali
On The Road - Jack Kerouac
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Relentless - Dean Koontz
Elle s'Appelait Sarah - Tatiana de Rosnay
The Help - Kathryn Stockett

One of the reasons I'm giving you a list of books I've read (and enjoyed) is to welcome any and all tips on other good books. I love to switch around with genres. My usual MO is classic - easy to read thriller/fantasy - modern novel. I also love biographies but haven't felt the inclination to read any as of late, but feel free to share thoughts on those as well. I try to read books in the original language when that language is Dutch or English. I've read a few in French but I am by no means fluent so I'll usually go for a translation.

When reading I always try to remember these two quotes:

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.  
- P.J. O'Rourke


The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.  
- James Bryce 
There are of course many many reasons why reading is important. One thing that always comes to my mind is that it is really the only way to really step out of our own reality and into that of a complete stranger, and therefore the only way to really see something differently than ever before. And that inspires. And when you are inspired you are want to do and create, and doing and creating are good for the soul.

Finally, some random facts about me and books:

1. I started writing a book in Dutch when I was 13 about a girl who finds out she's a witch and meets Michael Jackson. I'm pretty sure I could have given J.K. Rowling a run for her money had I finished the thing.

2. My favourite author is Kurt Vonnegut

3. My first ever job at 14 was at a bookstore.

4. Yes, I am an old-book-sniffer.

5. If you were to try to read just the titles of every book ever written, it would take you your entire life (and I'm being optimistic and assuming you'll live to be 90) without sleeping.

6. My Favourite book is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.

7. Mmmm, chocolate.

Have a great Sinterklaas-weekend everybody!!

Nov 30, 2010

i win i win!

Remember how I used to have pictures in my blog posts? That might start happening again soon because we found our camera! Man I was so worried we had lost it. I had just assumed it had disappeared sometime during all the crap-shovelling that goes on in this house on a daily basis and was expecting to find it next to half a mouldy apple underneath a bed next year during Spring cleaning. I almost got it right too: it was in one of the diaper bag's secret compartments, together with a dried out banana peel. Expect pictures again shortly!

I had a bit of a victory today.

I have been battling the evil empire called Neckermann for two months now. It all began when my darling husband gave me a stand mixer for my Birthday this year. All you regular blog readers know this is a vital tool in the Koot kitchen. Unfortunately there is a fundamental wrongness to a woman not picking her own stand mixer and that darling husband of mine, though he meant well and I love him for it, picked a piece of crap. It reminded me of {insert name of random half witted reality tv star here}: shiny but not even slightly useful.

I didn't want to make Sander feel bad so I really TRIED to like the thing. I gave it a good few months before I threw in the towel. The breaking point came when it ruined my umpteenth attempt at butter-cream frosting with its inability to simply cream together butter and sugar. Covered in goop and close to crying I took matters in my own hands and called Neckermann to tell them exactly what I thought about their product.

They didn't care. 

They didn't care that by the time I got the mixer their 7 day trial period was already over, or that they sold me a product of low quality. They didn't care that I couldn't make the butter-cream of my dreams or that the thought of facing the Holidays with this hopeless mixer filled me with fear. They most certainly did not care that I wanted my money back so I could put it toward the much sturdier and infinitely cooler, cherry-red KitchenAid of my dreams. My sole option was to send it in for repair. 

So I boxed it and they had it picked up on October 15th. The big wait began. The Holidays crept up on me, and I found myself going through Thanksgiving dinner preparations with a sore mixing arm, and the fear returned at the prospect of December without a mixer! So I called up my good friends at Neckermann to find out what the progress was. Surely they would have made some progress in a month and a half? A day and many phone calls filled with questions such as 'what was the shipping number again, mrs Koot?' later, they sheepishly admitted that they couldn't find my crappy mixer. I jumped for joy while I told the lady on the phone how awful I thought their service was and that surely now their only option would be to give me a full refund. She wasn't going to do it at first, but I cut her off quickly, speaking very sternly and quickly mentioning something about this not being in the terms of agreement and...
... she caved! 
I won!

Oh how sweet it is. It's little things like this I tell you! So I feel good to face the rest of this week, despite having been sick yesterday and today, because it looks like I will be going into the month of December armed with the Mixer of Mixers, the beautiful KitchenAid! 

Nov 27, 2010

song of the week

Apparently I can't get someone out of my mind because I can't stop listening to this song this week. Comment if you think it might be you...

Nov 22, 2010

In the morning...

... I am two different people.

It sometimes takes me a full hour to even sort of grasp what's going on around me in the morning. Sleep does things to me that seem to go straight to my core and I wake up befuddled and out of the loop, hardly ever refreshed and, for lack of a more appropriate word, awake. I get out of the relative safety of my bed on auto pilot and often an hour later I'll find myself in some place that isn't my home, wearing two different socks, having forgotten to brush my hair, or without milk for the baby. I'm honestly surprised I've never ventured out in my slippers instead of my shoes.

I am Captain Confusion, here I come to fog your day!

For the second half of the morning I turn into a well-oiled machine of effectiveness. I can do a whirlwind session around the house and get the whole place tidied up, the bathroom cleaned, the floors swept, the dishwasher unloaded, the laundry folded, the beds changed and the vegetables for dinner cleaned, in 2 hours. For 2 hours of every day my head is miraculously CLEAR and I can focus on any task at hand and complete it without becoming distracted.
Wow, just typing that made me short of breath!
Only in the morning it seems. As soon as the first part of the day has passed, basically right after lunch time, confusion sets back in and I can literally stand and stare at a wet cloth in my hands for 15 minutes straight, trying to figure out what the best surface would be to clean first, finally throwing the rag back into the sink feeling physically fine but mentally defeated. By a rag.

So anyway :)

Here is a delightful stop-motion music video about mornings in bed!

Nov 16, 2010

I'd like her hair please...

... and her freckles. Did I ever mention I have always wanted freckles?

Postcards From Italy from ForYouLoveMe on Vimeo.

Also one of my favourite songs.
I always feel a little better about being a Molly Mormon when I find fellow Molly's who inspire. Even if they mostly inspire me to work harder on getting those freckles.

Nov 15, 2010

all is well, all is well.

I know I've been a little MIA but I promise all is still well around the Koot house. Here's a little overview of what has been happening around these parts in the past 2 weeks:

- We had an awesome Halloween! We celebrated most of it on Saturday. Liz came over and we baked and decorated sugar cookies, built a fort to keep safe from ghosts and ghouls, did weird makeup and stayed up waaaay past our bedtime watching movies. Paranormal Activity 2 isn't half as scary as the first one (which is a very good thing since the first one had me sleeping with the lights on for weeks) but Sander managed to get spooked anyway and heard weird noises all night.

 - St. Maarten was commemorated at school last week. The children all walked around the neighbourhood with their homemade lantarns singing and singing songs. Traditionally you put a candle out by the window when you want the children to knock on your door and sing you a song, which you reward them for with a piece of candy. At the Wonnebald they take the children by 'stations' where someone has been dressed up and is waiting for them to pass to give them a piece of fruit and listen to their songs. 

- Last Saturday Sinterklaas arrived in Holland and we were at the very front of the line to welcome him back. The kids were dressed as little Sinterklaas's, and waved enthusiastically at the steamboat as it glided past us and into the harbour. After seeing him come in on the boat we went to find a good spot to watch the parade go by with all the Zwarte Pieten and Sinterklaas on his horse. Of course the kids set their shoes by the back door that night with a carrot for Amerigo, tangerines for Piet, and drawings for Sinterklaas. They were rewarded with toys and treats. Everyone loves Sinterklaas!

- Pictures of Sinterklaas will have to follow in another post because another bit of news it how absolutely awful our internet connection has been lately. I don't know if it's our provider, our router, my computer or what, but it's driving me nuts! It keeps cutting out right when I'm about to upload something, or need to check my e-mails. I seem to remember being married to an IT-specialist though so hopefully my problem should be solved relatively quickly.

- I can't stop reading books, aarrrrrgh! Expect a tip-list soon.

- I got stalked. Does this mean I'm finally famous?

- We had a lovely dinner at TexMex with Liz and she and I went to the movies afterwards. A lady with scary red makeup tried to steal our m&m's. 

- I'm learning to play Eva Cassidy's version of 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore'.

And finally a little song for you to make you feel happier when the winter darkness is getting to you ;)

Nov 1, 2010

we had a Birthday Boy...

... who wanted THREE cakes! How silly is that? The sillier thing is that I said 'sure!'. Luckily I had help.
You can tell from Julia's hand and face what her job was.
We wished papa Sander a happy 31st by bringing him cake in bed whilst singing Birthday songs. 

I hope you all had a great Halloween, because we sure did! Expect a spooky post soon...

Oct 26, 2010

RIP music monday

You may have noticed that Music Monday has been on the back burner for a few weeks now and I'm not sure it's coming back. Things have been kind of hectic in my head for a while and that makes it very hard to perform organized tasks such as a weekly theme-post.

But all is not lost! I still have plenty of music to share, I'll just do it in a more random fashion for a while.

How about you feast your ears on these INXS covers that Beck and his entourage of supertotallyawesome musicians have been making?

Or whaddaya say we do a little dancing to this new Lykke Li song?

Lately I've been taking on the daunting task of putting the best selection of ALL the music I have into the mother of all playlists. I've been at it for about 30 minutes every day and have still only gotten to 'R' (I'm doing it backwards from 'Z', I'm a rebel.). So far I believe I have 4 solid days of music lined up, so this list will end up taking 2 days just to load once I finish adding to it. I know I could just throw everything I have into a player but the point is to make sure that only the songs I really want to hear end up in there. I have some crazy stuff and I'd rather not be faced with a hardcore Death Metal song, or one of Weird Al's polka's while I'm trying to keep my head together in this crazy household. I'll put those on when I'm in that specific mood, thank you very much.

How do you organize your music? Do you have it categorized by genre, by alphabet, by year of release? A combination of several of those? What do you do with songs that cross over into several genres?
These questions keep me up at night!

Which music player to you like to use and why? What kinds of playlists do you have, if any?

In other music news: Starting this next Thursday I'll be spending my Thursday mornings teaching piano to my friend Hellen after she overheard me complaining about the limited number of people capable of accompanying the singing in church. I made a pact with her that I would teach her for free, if she solemnly swore to take it seriously and not give up until she could comfortably play at least 5 hymns from the standard hymn book.

Let's see how long that lasts ;)

Oct 23, 2010


... is being in the tender care of a devoted school teacher. Lara with Juffie Monique at the St. Michaƫl's Fest.

Oct 22, 2010

Yes, yes, yes....

... I know it's been all about the kids lately but that only accurately reflects my life. These two keep me busy:
This one keeps cutting her hair:
Then I found the perfect recipe for cake frosting:
And baked a bunch of apple pies after a visit to an orchard:
And I still managed to lose 12 pounds/6kg. I'll probably lose some more tonight as I'm being taken out on my first ever Sushi experience.... wish me luck.

Oct 21, 2010


Elliot has a fever, Max has a fever, both of them wont stop spewing all over me, and I'm coming down with a bladder infection. Want to hear the really disturbing part? I'm still enjoying motherhood.

Oct 16, 2010

for everything..

.. there is a season. It is a well-known fact that an emphasis and recognition of each season and the natural rhythm of the year in the home will help a child develop a sense of time and give them a certain security.

 I remember all too well how comforting it was to come home to a completely differently decorated home when time came to celebrate Easter, Halloween or Christmas. This is one of the major things that makes me happy to be a home-maker, so I can pass that wonderful feeling on and make absolutely certain my children don't miss out on that warmth and fun. 

 The nice thing is: it doesn't have to 100% hand crafted decorating and it doesn't have to cover every single inch of your house (though if that's how you like it then that's obviously just lovely too!). It doesn't take a whole lot of effort to resonate the seasons and the Holidays in your home, especially considering what you get in return: children who enjoy being at home, feel safe there and constantly interested in it. 

Oct 14, 2010

and another quickie...

... because I'm PMS-ing and can't stop playing with my camera/editing tools and eating chocolate chip cookies.

Elliot is 4 months now. Someone please make him stop growing.

Oct 13, 2010

a quickie...

... because I am being single mom for a day and time is a forgotten luxury.

Have a great Wednesday everybody, enjoy the Fall season and carve a pumpkin or two on my behalf!

Oct 8, 2010

i was a paid photographer....

... for a day! Sander's office is revamping their website and didn't want to spend a ton of cash on a professional photographer, so when Sander showed his boss some of the pictures on my blog I was asked if I would help out. I told them I don't have any professional equipment, and I don't actually know what I'm doing, but they seemed intent on the cheap way out and that's how I ended up doing a photo shoot at the beach yesterday morning. I've still got sand in places I shouldn't from lying down to get better shots, but that is greatly compensated by the memory of bossing a bunch of business men around for an hour. I had to bring the boys but Elliot slept the entire time, and Max naturally didn't mind being allowed to play in the sand while the guys were busy striking poses and making love to the camera.
I just spent all morning editing and trying to get the best out of the (mostly incredibly mediocre) shots I made and just sent them all off to The Office. Fingers crossed they'll like them and maybe even be silly enough to refer me to their business friends... wouldn't that be a hoot.

I will now go and do something that doesn't make my eyes hurt.
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