The Story of Today

Off she goes...
Today was Olivia's first day of school and I must admit, it was not an easy day. Dropping your kid off at school for the first time is a completely different emotion than dropping her off at daycare. It symbolizes a milestone, a big step in her evolution.
One step further away from mommy & daddy.
So, this morning not everything went according to plan, we were running late, we did not have time to adapt together with her, which made us feel very anxious and nervous about her first day - and she felt it too, but we put her in the teacher's arms and ran off to make the drama as short as possible .
We got back home and I cried for a good hour, I'm not going to lie.
Luckily we have the sweetest friends and family that supported us with snapchats, messages and so on. So after the little break down, Lolo went to work, I went to the supermarket and my friend Anne invited me over for coffee until it was time to go get her again (thank you for that).
When I arrived at the school, she was sitting on a little bench, together with some little boys, with her coat and her backpack - waiting for the bell to ring. She saw me, smiled at me but she stayed put, sitting there completely at ease, as if it was already normal.
At that moment I felt reassured, especially when her teacher told me she was very brave and that she adapted very well to the new situation. I was so filled with love when she ran to me and gave me a big kissie.
All afternoon, she was happy and crazy as always, so I guess it was a good day after all.
Tonight at bed time, while normally we read stories, she preferred telling me about her day. She said she had a good time with the other kids, playing with the train and the cubes. So I asked her if it was okay to go back tomorrow to play and she said yes.
We will see how it goes tomorrow.
Very proud parents over here!


Don't be a baby, mama!

 This goldielocks has passed another stage in her young life today: it was the last day in daycare today. From Monday on she will be going to school. I am not sure how I feel about that. I'm not sure how her dad feels about that. It certainly means she is not a baby anymore, and I think we have more problems with that than she does. I really hope she blooms and learns lots of new things and enjoys going. You go, little bumblebee.
 We are already so proud of you.

Also a big thank you to the girls of the daycare who helped her grow into this sweet little girl.

Saturday delight with the boys

Last Saturday we were invited our my good friend Sven's house for a (sorta) Valentine's day dinner.
We really had a good time with the boys. Kris turned out to be the new Tom Cruise in Cocktail, fixing us a wonderful perfumed Gin & Tonic. Sven worked his magic in the kitchen with a starter of scallops & a tompinambour - chestnut puree, a main with duck, celeriac and porcini and Kris made us a lime-strawberry lemon tartelette. After dinner there was even some dancing going on. Olivia was unstoppable - dancing to 90's beats and she really connected with the boys. 
It was a fun night! Thanks babies...

Amour(s) de ma vie

 We don't really celebrate Valentine in our couple, but my (wonderful) man surprised me anyway with a little something special on Saturday morning. He really is the best man. I could not wish for more. 
I saw this sweater on a few weeks ago, and I just had to buy it. It says 'Amour de ma vie' and I love it! It is so me!
A sunny mid-winter Sunday walk with les 2 amours de ma vie -there is nothing more precious. 
Have a nice week!

Thursday Dinner Lasagne

 Yesterday we invited my grandparents for a simple lasagne dinner: A vegetable Lasagne with roasted tomato sauce. All fresh veggies, roasted, marinated, nice herbs and a gorgeous cheese sauce, enhanced with an egg in the bechamel. 
It makes all the difference.
This is a slow cooking dish - so count 2 hours to get it done.

My grandparents are still young at heart and enjoy playing with Olivia.
Olivia enjoys playing with them too and she made 'bumpa' drive her around on her bike  for ages. But he is happy to oblige.

Serves 4 
Roasted bell peppers
3 red bell peppers, quartered and seeded - 2 tablespoons pure olive oil - 1 teaspoon thyme leaves - Salt and pepper to season
Parmesan cheese sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter - 1 tablespoon plain flour - Pinch sea salt - Pinch freshly ground white pepper, to taste - 125ml milk - 125g coarsely grated parmigiano reggiano - 50g ricotta - 1 egg
Roasted tomato sauce
750g  tomatoes, quartered - 40ml extra virgin olive oil - 1 teaspoon sea salt - Freshly ground black pepper, to taste - 1 small red onion, finely chopped - 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped - 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped - 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped
300g eggplant, cut into 5mm slices - 5g sea-salt - olive oil - 400g green zucchini, cut into 5mm slices - 300g roastedbell peppers (about 8 pieces) (see recipe above)
250g dried lasagne sheets - 300g parmesan cheese sauce (see recipe above)

1.Preheat oven to 220°C.
2. For the roasted bell peppers; Place peppers and olive oil in a large bowl, season with thyme, salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking paper-lined oven tray and roast for 20-30 minutes or until blistered. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with cling film. Stand for 5 minutes to loosen skin. Peel and discard skin.
3. For parmesan cheese sauce; Melt butter in medium saucepan, stir in flour; cook stirring for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper and gradually add milk, whisk until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, cool slightly. Add parmesan and ricotta and mix through. 
4. Stir in egg until combined. Season to taste. Cover with a round of baking paper so a skin doesn’t form.
5. Preheat oven to 140°C.
6. For roasted tomato sauce; place quartered tomatoes, skin side down in a roasting pan, drizzle with 20ml olive oil and scatter with oregano, margoram, salt and pepper. Slow roast for 1½-2 hours or until slightly dehydrated. Cool slightly.
7. Heat remaining 20ml olive oil in a saucepan; add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until onion is translucent.
8. Chop tomatoes into 5mm dice, add to onion mixture with any juices and cook over medium heat until sauce is slightly thickened. If too thick add a little water; pass through a moulis or sieve to remove skin and seeds. Check seasoning and consistency, add a little extra olive oil and some pepper if desired.
9. Place eggplant in a colander, toss with 5g sea salt and stand over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and pat dry. Brush both sides with a little olive oil and sear in a hot frying pan 1-2 minutes each side or until golden and tender. Remove to a board.
10. Brush zucchini with a little olive oil and sear on both sides in the hot pan until zucchini is golden and tender. Remove to board and trim vegetables to fit dish.
11. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook lasagne sheets to almost al dente. Refresh in iced water and drain well. Cut pasta sheets into rectangles to fit dish.
12. Lightly grease four 2-cup capacity (12x8cm ceramic dishes) with a little olive oil, line base and 2 long sides with a sheet of baking paper extending 3cm above both long sides.
13. To assemble, place a piece of eggplant in the base of prepared dish, followed by a piece of pasta.  Spread with parmesan cheese sauce, then top with a piece of roasted bell pepper,  then top with about 2 strips of zucchini, then a piece of roasted bell peppers,  followed by another pasta sheet, then parmesan cheese sauce and finally place another 2 strips of zucchini. Fold baking paper over and cover with foil. 
14. Repeat this process with the remaining lasagne. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes until lasagne is tender.

 Recipe inspired by here

on Bouncy Castles and Doll Houses

Our Sunday activity this weekend was '4Kids2Play' - a local initiatif in our town for kids to come and play on a cold Sunday with bouncy castles, bikes and all sorts of fun stuff. After being stuck inside for most of the week with her sick mother, the kid needed a break. We took her godmother with us and off we went. The funny thing was that after some jumping on the bouncy castles, she always went back to the doll houses and the trains - things she has at home too. We asked her 20 times if she would not rather play on the other attractions because we don't have them at home, but NO was the answer every time. This kid of mine... I love her to pieces, but she has a mind of her own.
Oh yes, and she insisted on putting on some lipstick, I don't know who she was trying to impress.
Thanks Jana to go 24 times down the slide with her :)