The sound of crackling firewood

On Boxing day we took the family to this family winter event at Bokrijk, an open air museum 30 minutes from where we live. There was a nostalgic winter carnival and rides of yesteryear who took us back in time to the childhoods of our great-grandparents. It is good to see that our children still enjoy the same things as our parents and grandparents did. The atmosphere was great and everywhere you could smell fresh cookies, hear the sound of crackling firewood, hear children enjoy themselves, and you could follow the colored lights to the next attraction. There was a magnificent fire theater and fireworks. The first fireworks Olivia consciously experienced. She thought it was wonderful - it is so refreshing to see kids experience something for the first time. 
Really worth going for some fun family time!

Count your blessings

As things will become hectic over here very soon with family coming and of course a wedding. I thought it would be a good idea to take a moment for us and have ourselves a merry little christmas. 
I made some homemade stove-top holiday pot-pourri to get the holiday scent going in the house and we started our day with griddle pan waffles (a Jamie recipe), which turned out great with hot chocolate. Olivia loved them too! 
After breakfast we opened our presents and my wonderful husband got me the best presents and matching sneakers for the kid & me! 
We look too cool!
Some last minute Christmas shopping and some drinks with friends at the christmas market made it a perfect afternoon. We went home to put the bird in the oven (we made the gravy, stuffing and Christmas butter already on Saturday) (recipe) and we prepared our bed for the night in the living room in front of the television - a 3L christmas tradition. Olivia jumped on it like a crazy puppy, she was so happy that she could sleep downstairs and with us. For her it was an extra special night (and a Christmas movie marathon), although our living room looked like a camp site! We had a 'toteman' breakfast (local Christmas bread) after our camp night.
I love creating family traditions for us - so she will remember the holidays as a happy and cozy time. And I think it is working, she is singing Jingle Bells all the time.
In this crazy world, I count my blessings. Every single day.

And so this is Xmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong (if you want it)
And so happy Xmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let's stop all the fight (now)

A very Merry Xmas
And a Happy New year
Let's hope it is a good one
Without any fear
(John Lennon)
-Sadly, the song never grows old-

I discovered something.

I really am a control freak. This wedding we are organizing is a 100% handmade wedding - and sometimes I think: Damn, we should have done this in a venue where you only have to choose the color of the napkins and show up on the day, but I know that that would not make us happy.
Every detail is handpicked by us, every fork, every piece of decoration, every drink, every word, every detail... I can tell you it is a lot of work.
Before I started with the planning, I thought, oh I am going to buy a dress on the internet, I am only gonna wear it once anyway, but before you know it - you are standing in the bridal store, fitting all these expensive dresses and you ask yourself: How did I get from 'a 150€ dress from the internet' to here? And that it just 1 example. You start focusing on details that you would never give another thought otherwise like 'ooh, this glass is not thin enough'. And then you have to stop yourself and say: The only thing that matters is that you are getting married to the one you love.
It is also an emotional ride already beforehand: When I listen to the songs we have chosen for the ceremony, I cry. When I was answering the questions about our love to put together the ceremony, I cried. When writing my vows, I cried. 
I think my makeup girl better does my eyeliner with permanent marker, because otherwise I am going to look like a panda!
This week has been all about the fun things: my bachelorette evening, the tasting of the food, a zen-moment with a facial, getting my wedding dress, trying the make up, having my hair touched up, getting the most beautiful heart flowers made by the kids in Olivia's class.
It's been a good week! 
11 days to go!

Friends Weekend

As mentioned in my previous blogpost, we went on our annual friends weekend to the Ardennes. Last time we went- little A. was still in the belly, and now she is happily playing with our little O.
Oh, how fast time goes! Anyway we had a great chill weekend, we watched dvd's, played cards, read, cooked, went to the Christmas market in Durbuy (twice) and just enjoyed some quiet quality time.
Our little girl was so happy to spend time with her Tati Boum, Booke and Axelle and did not leave their side for a second. The kids are making memories. 
Already making plans for next year!
Thanks C&K for the great weekend! And thanks for loving our girl!