A dream come true...

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With all the handmade presents to show you and the magical winterwonderland that is happening here in Belgium I almost forgot to tell you about my Christmas present I got from Jurgen and Robert ( Jodi's husband ).

First of all their was this mysterious cardboard box with a bottle inside.  As you can see these are waves and I was the finder of the bottle..... The bottle also carried a lettre......

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Sorry for the english readers but the lettre is half dutch, half english ;-)

It says that the finder of the bottle has to come over to Ireland because he's all alone on the island and he misses me and that he put some money inside to pay for my flight.

Extra information:   Maybe I should tell you first that it is a BIG BIG dream of me to visit Ireland one day.  Since I've met Jodi (Who is originally from North Ireland) this dream got more and more realistic ( Jodi would loooove to come with me) So since last year i've been saving every little extra we have left. 

And this gift sure brings me closer to the BIG moment. 

But this is just the beginning, let me tell you what happened later on Christmas day.

Jodi called me and there was a strange exciting sound in her voice.  She said there was a present under the tree that also involved me !!  It was a return ticket to Shannon for two persons and an overnight at a hotel for the first night. 

I was speechless and shouting at the same time, I double checked and kept asking her, is this real !!?  Ooh yes it sure is real........................................

Ireland Here I come !!!


So we fly into Shannon and than move further west to Doolin were we will stay in a B&B.  Ofcourse we will be visiting the cliffs of Moher and the Aran Island and enjoy the Irish music in the local pubs.

There are not enough words to express how exciting I am for this trip.  Only 12 more weeks and Mama Ilse is in IRELAND, jieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa !!!!!

A day in my live

Tuesday December 9th.

Got up at 6.30am
made porridge for breakfast.
6.45am woke up the kids and we all had breakfast togheter.  All except for Papa, he leaves for work at 6.50am.

7.50am we have to leave for school.  School begins at 8.25am for Stijn and Linde and at 9am for Lander. 
Got back home at 9.10am

On my to do list, doing laundry and ironing, especially the last one was really high on the list.  yes when one has to do Sint Nicholas jobs , one doesn't have time to iron !! ( that's why I like those creative jobs so much, but ssst don't tell my mum ;-)

I finished just in time for my lunch appointment : Croque monsieur with curry sauce, a cup of tea and my first living crafts magazine. ( yes yes all the way from America).  I was so excited when it got in the mail yesterday,  ofcourse I already had a quick look but I planned a magazine appointment for today's lunch.

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For those who have never seen this magazine before .  Hurry up and go check their website, its fabulous.  Once you have seen it, you can't imagine how you have ever lived without it. And that's the same for the magazine.  Jodi and I share an subscription so we get four magazines a year wich we share with each other.

After lunch, I took some time to go over the christmas present for family and made myself a list of what to buy and what to make.  ( sorry that list is still a secret)

Next on my to do list was the nature table.  Now Sint Nicholas went back to spain, it's time to put the stable ready for Jozef and Maria and little Jezus who is almost ready to come to earth.

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Little Jezus still with the angel, almost ready to come the earth.

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We are in the second week of the advent, so we only have minerals and plants on the table, on the thirth sunday we add the animals.

By the time this was finished it was 2 pm and time to leave for my weekly appointment with my favorite local community , who makes organic bread ,milk and yoghurt,.... and lots of more beautiful and fair products. 

3 pm time to pick up Stijn and Linde at school.
Between picking up Stijn and Linde and picking up Lander we have one hour. wich we normally spent in the supermarket or at school talking to other mothers.  Today was different, I didn't had to do errands and it was to cold to talk, so we all got in to the car and had a little time for ourself, wich I used to continue reading my book ' TAKE YOUR TIME' by   Eknath Easwaran. 
Picked up Lander at 4pm and we all went home were I started dinner. Guess what we had.... Heart patatoes....


After doing their chores and talking to papa about their day at school, Lander did some schoolwork and read a comicbook.  Stijn continued building his dinosaur from Lego and Linde helped me (washing and cutting the carrots). 

We all had dinner togheter at 6pm with  two candles burning on the table. 
After dinner I prepared Linde for bed. Stijn was building again and Lander made a drawing with their new glitterpens from St Nicholas.
After all the bedtime routines, the quite returns .  The dishes are still to be done but the first thing I do is check my favorite blogs, read my emails and write my blog for tomorrow.  yes I admit, writing my blog is more important than my dishes ;-).

It's now 9.30pm and time to do those dishes and take a moment to read in my book before going to bed. 

I hope you all had a nice tuesday and may your wednesday be even nicer.
Happy wednesday to all of you.



Something small, something brown, something not-for-doll, something not for Easter...


Yes something for Easter,you probable know what this is going to be... but  I 'm not telling you untill Easter.

I wish you all a nice and sunny Easter time.

first day at work

Today was a special day, the first day at my new job! Yes you hear it correct ! Beside being a mama and a stay at home mama I'm now a work at home in my craftroom mama.
The new plans and ideas are all part of this new adventure.  Not really "new" as in first time because  I do it almost everyday.  And instead of doing it just for fun I desided to see this crafting  as my work! ( just looking at in from a different direction, really opens more doors). So now I'm  creating my own Mama Ilse designs .  This means every idea that comes in my head, every knitting, sewing, drawing, crafty project. I all write them down in my special Mama Ilse inspirationbook and every morning I'll take these ideas to my craftroom and start working.  And when I say work that means NO housework in that time, NO shopping, NO computer,....

Today I started working on some keyholders...



These designs will all be for sale in the near future.  I don't have made any plans on how  to sale them, maybe start a webshop (on Etsy or somewhere else)  ... and ofcourse they also will be for sale at Winke Tinke.  But these are futureplans, first lets start working.

I haven't figured out the exact name for my new job ( just incase someone asked me, you know how that goes)......... And what is your profession?
A craftmama ? one more suggestions?

I did it

Yes I finally got the job done! Cleaning up my craftroom and  while cleaning up also doing a little bit of reorganizing.
The reorganizing :: my yarn and fabric got a new home, I enlarged my working table, actually doubled it and claimed Jurgens bookscloset ( don't panic, he got a new one )
The cleaning :: sorted everything out and put in boxes,.... WITH label !


Can you believe this, I actually feel like in a real yarnshop ! Its heavenly.
And in this shop I don't have to pay and just can stand hours looking at the yarn, dreaming of new projects I want to make without being watched by the shopkeeper.


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After the reorganizing I still wasn't satisfied, their was still something missing in my craftroom....


Curtains !!

And guess what happened when everything was ready.


My boys claimed the table and began to sew...

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Thankgod they have school tomorrow.  So I will have my craft room just for me.


After some difficult weeks.  I finally feel some space/peace in my mind ( that's where the cleaning part did his job) and now I'm ready for a new start, the space and peace in my mind gave me new ideas, and I'm excited to  get started.
Monday will be my first "working" day !!!
More to come about my new ideas....
Have a great start of the week, and if you haven't heard about it, their is a new housework rule!

Book swap

Some time ago, Sarah from in these hills asked me if we were interested in doing a (winter)book swap. A favorite American book for a favorite Dutch book.
We were all very excited for this swap  and began to think, discuss wich book we would send. 

A few weeks ago we were all ready to send our packages and so the swap was no longer an idea but reality.
And what a reality that is, its a warm and loving one. Making and putting the package togheter was so fun to do.  Knowing all of our stuff is going to the other side of the world, living in a new (american) home at a lovely waldorf family.  Well that gives me a warm feeling. ( for pictures, you have to wait until the package arrives at Sarah's home) it has arrived at Sarah's house, she posted some photo's on her blog, and Sarah and I seemed to have the same idea, that beside the books their should be something sweet and handmade in it. I send something typical Belgium,........... ofcourse, yes chocolate and honeycake/bread.)

Last week we recieved Sarah's package.


The postmaster brought it around 11.30u. 
I will never forgive the man for doing that!! That would mean I almost had to wait 5 more houres to open it.
No that wasn't happening, you guessed right, I secretly had a look ( just a small  ) and closed the box.
When the boys got home they were so excited they didn't even notice the box was already opened (ssst).




As you can see their was more in the package than just a book !! Ooh we are so spoiled and happy !!
Beside TWO books we recieved, maple sugar candy ( from that day on, our favorite candy), maple sirop and buttermilk ( for my pancake addiction remember), heartchocolates, two gems, and three lovely soft lavender pillows ( wich are diclamed by Linde for her dolls to sleep on ).


The books we recieved, The mitten and the ox-cart man. 


Stijn really likes the book 'The mitten' and now uses that words when its cold and yes he needs to where his mittens. So cute. I first read the story in English, and they listened and looked at the pictures, they were excited and understood  the  main line of the story.

I really like the ox-cart man, its a wonderful story of a american farm family through the year. 
It gives me that close-to-nature-feeling and I-also-want-to-live-like-that-feeling.

Thank you Sarah and Family for this lovely package.

( I hope the road is free again ,so your postmaster can deliver your post again, I guess our package is waiting to be opened. Enjoy it.)

Giving... I love giving !!
Recieving... I love recieving !!
I LOVE SWAPPING ( did I create a new word, swapping?)





Onze vakantie in beelden/
Deze laatste foto komt precies net uit een boekje, maar het is echt hoor, je kan er gewoon naartoe en heerlijk de sfeer opsnuiven van de oude boerderij/adbij.



Lovely company and delicious fairy cakes with butter icing.  ( I'm learning so many new and yummy recipes)

Besides all the new recipes, I'm working on a big project that needs to be ready by monday. 
Linde is taking a big step, she's going to school. And I'm making her a little tiny first schoolbag.


As you can see, their is still quiet some work to do before you can call it a bag.

Lichtmis ( Candlemas )

Last saturday we celebrated "Maria Lichtmis", the last festival of the christmas light before spring.  On Lichtmis we always eat pancakes.  This year we couldn't decide wich one ( after our american pancake adventure) So we made american and dutch pancakes.

Left: dutch pancakes, middle :american pancakes with apple, right: american pancakes ( new recipe with riccota cheese)

You may guess wich one we like the most........


The recipe with the riccota cheese is just delicious.  Jurgen who is not a pancake eater, eat more than 5 pancakes (and not because he was hungry but he liked them so much !!)  Jipppppieeee !
So thank you Jim for your wonderfull recipe.

For those who are interested in the recipe:

1-1/2 cups almond flour                    1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt                        3 eggs, separated
1-3/4 cups milk                                1/2 cup ricotta cheese (Italian cream cheese)
1/4 cup sugar or Splenda                   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
butter                                               1 pint blueberries (optional)
maple syrup
In a small bowl, whisk the almond flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the milk, roccota cheese, sugar and vanilla extract.  Add the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth.  If batter seems too thick, add a couple more tablespoons of milk.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy.  Beat at high speed until soft peaks form.  Fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks remain.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Heat a large fry pan or griddle, then lightly butter it.  For each pancake, ladle a scant 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan leaving enough space between pancakes. Pancakes will be small.   Cook over medium heat until bottoms are golden and pancakes are just beginning to set, 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle each pancake with a few blueberries and press lightly.  Flip pancakes and cook until golden on the bottom and cooked through.  Transfer pancakes to a platter and keep them warm in the oven while you make the rest.  Serve with maple syrup.  Serves 6 people.
Recipe may be halved but use 2 eggs.    Batter can be made the night before.  Bring back to room temperature and whish briefly before frying.
Blueberries are optional.  You can make them with or without the berries.

1 cup =  236.59 milliliters.

And as promised to Dawn, here is the recipe for Dutch pancakes.

500gr. plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
500ml milk
500ml water with bubbles ( don't know what the english word is) Sparkling water (thank you Ira)
or you can also use 1000ml milk
2 sacks Vanille sugar
2 eggs

whisk flour and baking powder, whisk egg yolk and sugar, put milk (and water) and mixed it to a smooth batter.
whisk the egg white
fold the egg white into the batter.

you are now ready to start baking.
I use a quite large pan ( but it also goes with a smal version, just don't use so much batter)

heat the pan, then lightly butter it.
Put a big spoon of batter in the middle and than turn around with your pan so the batter divides over  the pan.
Remember, dutch pancakes are very thin!
You cook it also on both sides.

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you eat them with sugar ( different sorts) or sirop

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You roll the pancake like a sausage and  cut in little pieces or not .
And as we say in Belgium
Smakelijk !

Our first

But certainly not our last.....


American pancakes !!

I only knew them from watching american movies, and I've always wanted to taste them.
The big moment was last week, with my English friend, remember her ?  yes right, the one with the sweet mince cookies.   She made me some for lunch and they were absolutely lovely.
Since that day I'm in love with american pancakes !
After asking her about the recipe (ofcourse).  I made my first american pancakes.  Did you know you can make them with several diffirent ingredrients, sweet or salt ( I'm not speeking to the English readers now, ofcourse you all know about american pancakes)  So for the Dutch readers, they are realy yummy, you HAVE to try it.  I made some with apple and chocolate,.....

try it:

3 large eggs
115g plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
140ml milk
A pinch of salt for savoury
about 50 - 100g sugar for sweet

Seperate eggs
Wsk egg shites to lorm soft peaks
Egg, flour, baking powder and mild ( sugar or salt) mix in a bowl to make a smooth batter.
fold eggs whites into batter
cook in frying pan on both sides

also good with apples, fresh corn from the cob, crispy bacon, fruit, grated chocolate, blueberries and cream...