31 October 2011

Amazing talents

I just did the dishes with one hand (my left) while holding sick baby in other. She's so tired she can hardly sit up, but too sick to stay asleep. It's been three hours of trying now, and still she can't manage to stay asleep in bed. So we're off for night three of probably only a little bit of sleep. Poor baby. We'll be really happy when Papa comes home!

One Month

I promised myself to blog every (week) day for a while and so far, so good. It's taken a surprising amount of discipline to do it, in part because the days seem to go on until about 9:30 or so, then cleaning up and then blog? Oh my.

But it's been good. It's been very good. It's been a wonderful way to reflect on my life. It's given me a reason to get the camera out more often, to notice my life, to look for the positive, to see what is unique about our family and our life. There will be more...

For now, I'm home solo with two little ones while Papa braves the snow at a conference in DC. Pumpkin is sick. She has the absolute most pathetic little scratchy voice cry. She wants badly to be by mama all the time. Peanut is helping a lot. He set the table for breakfast today. When we were done, he cleared it, without being asked. It was so neat.

I'm reading Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, which was recommended by Meg at Sew Liberated. It's having a big impact on the way I talk to Peanut and a positive effect on his behavior. Thank goodness. All the biting, hitting, pushing over (I call it three-year-old tourettes) was driving me nuts. Or I should say, I felt angry when he hit, bit, pushed. It's happening less. We're getting through. There's hope.

Otherwise, we are just having slow days, staying home, eating out of the freezer, and looking forward to Papa coming home!

26 October 2011

My Creative Space

Space in progress

We're surrounded by boxes. In fact, another 32 arrived today. We have one book case and about 30 book boxes. Sometimes it feels like the only thing we're making around here is the biggest pile of packing paper ever – to re-use... because we'll do this all again before too long.

In the meantime, I'm using this little space as my cabinet of wonders. Wonderful things to use. Wonderful ideas to contemplate. Wonderful hours coming up to tide us through what will certianly be a long, grey, wet winter. Taking a moment in my day to peek in here reminds me that the boxes are temporary. We are in-between. We are getting there – and don't forget to enjoy the journey!

Go see more creative spaces!

Silly treasure

Useless and beautiful

I promised myself I'd get one, this silly, useless, pretty thing. Luckily I found it at the thrift store. Het Goed is good! Found any treasures lately?

25 October 2011

Play: Beans, Beans Everywhere!


I've long admired Montessori-inspired activities that appear to challenge all my ideas about what kids can manage, what they should be allowed to play with. The old “sure – give a 3 year old a knife” attitude is one I've had to cultivate. After a visit with new neighbors who have a whole box of adventurous “toys” including a hammer, it was time. A quick trip to the thrift store turned up three spice jars and we were off!


It's a small baking sheet, three jars, a coffee measure, a wooden spoon, a teaspoon and a whole lot of beans from the kitchen. My initial fear was beans everywhere. Beans on the floor, beans under the carpet, beans in clothes, beans, beans, beans. It happened, of course, a couple of times, but pouring into jars, pouring from jars onto tray, pouring from jar to jar, scooping with different tools – it was all much more fun than picking up individual beans from the ground. I think it helped to stay calm about the beans everywhere. I stopped him and started picking up beans. He saw and eventually helped as well. The tray is really helpful – it gives him boundaries.


All in all, it was a fun undertaking. Peanut was fully occupied for half an hour or so. This seems to be the right kind of activity for right now. With winter and lots of Dutch rain on its way, I'm hoping to develop a catalog of similar activities – and find the time to put them together, too. Another idea I have is to cut shapes out of sandpaper that can be used as rubbings. It occurs to me that if we make them together, it might actually get done. Or we could unpack. Hrm.... Any suggestions for more activities we could add to our repertoire?

23 October 2011

Papa's Birthday

Baker's helper

Sunday was Papa's birthday. In our house, you get to decide on the menu for the day. We had pancakes for breakfast and pork chops, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and roasted pumpkin for dinner. We also baked two cakes for Papa to take to work on Monday, a German cheesecake and a marbled poundcake. My special helper cleaned the mixer for me.

Dinner was a huge success. Apparently, I need to make a lot more macaroni and cheese in the future. Peanut sat at the table until the dishes were done, eating beans and pumpkin in exchange for macaroni – both of which he would eat anyway. Macaroni just so delicious he wanted heaps.

The pumpkin and green beans came from the weekly market in Nijmegen. It's around the corner, so we've been going every Saturday. We buy fruit and vegetables, eggs, and cheese. We've also picked up lunch the past couple weeks – herring and lekkerbek, which is breaded, fried, seasoned fish. Also known as the “brown fish.” Didn't get enough this time around – who would have thought a three year old would like herring, with onions?

The birthday, the market, it's all part of building our family traditions. They are events and moments that I look forward to a little bit more every time. And how nice is life if you get to look forward to every Saturday – the mandatory grocery shopping part? It's exciting to watch our rhythm evolve as we settle into life here.

20 October 2011

My Creative Space

Drawing Box

Here's Peanut's perfect-for-now art supply caddy. About a year and a half ago, I bought a set of Lyra Ferby colored pencils for him. It was a difficult but invaluable purchase. They have been one of our best kid buys ever. We received Stockmar Beeswax Coloring Blocks and Crayon Rocks as gifts. Having good materials has made coloring and drawing a lot of fun for Peanut. When he draws, he can become thoroughly absorbed in the task. It is a joy to watch.

We added some Koh-i-noor Mondeluz watercolor pencils to his selection this spring and he really likes them. I wasn't ready to do a big investment, in part because I was unfamiliar with the medium. Instead of getting a box, we only got five pencils; red, blue, yellow, black, and white. I think he likes the feel of a thinner pencil as well as the rich color. He doesn't have much use for the watercolor aspect, though. He doesn't ask for water often and if he uses it, it's to brush over lines as opposed to blocks of color. It's always interesting to see what he draws.

Drawing Box

The Playful Learning blog inspired me to try arranging more purpose oriented spaces or stations in our home. This box contains different colored pencils and crayons, notebooks, stencils, and a few postcards for inspiration. What do you like to work with? Has the type of materials available influenced your or your children's creativity? Which camp are you in, “earn the materials” or “quality materials first”?

Go see more creative spaces!

19 October 2011

Eat: Pesto Cheese Rolls

Savory rolls

I saw some delicious looking savory rolls at the market and decided to try my own version. The dough is half of a batch of Tassajara bread made with 50/50 whole wheat and white flour and no milk (powdered or otherwise). Rolled out the dough, filled, and then rolled and sliced like cinnamon rolls. The filling is pesto, aged cheese (belegen), and walnuts. The result is delicious. One playgroup later, there were only three rolls left for a late night, poorly lit picture.

Lonely rolls

The other half of the dough became a cinnamon sugar loaf. The Tassajara bread recipe is excellent. It's the most consistently successful of all the bread I've tried over the past year or so. The trick is the sponge method, don't even think about skipping it. Yeast, sweetener, all the liquid, and half the flour beaten 100 times before anything else happens. Using the same method also dramatically improved my pizza crust. I'm thinking these rolls might go into a weekly rotation. A batch a week would make a great option for a quick lunch or snack. Any filling suggestions?

18 October 2011

Rhythm: Meal Planning


I'm a stay at home mom. That's five days a week full-time at home with two kiddos and all the joys, diapers, naps, spills, breaks, laughs, quite moments, hugs, and nursing that go with it. Rhythm – reading about it, learning about it, and finally trying to practice it – become a guiding principle for planning our days. We are slowly building more rhythm into our family life. One way we've done that is with a weekly dinner plan.

Actually implementing a dinner plan in our house came about after realizing that dinner planning could be loose, a pasta day, a Mexican day, and so forth. This approach limits my options just enough to inspire creativity. Within a set of parameters (it must work on a pizza crust), I get to find an interesting way to feed our family. This is the plan we are using now:

Monday: one pot meal
Tuesday: soup
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: pasta
Friday: pizza
Saturday: Chinese
Sunday: chicken

Within this framework, I plan a menu for the week, in pencil of course because there is a lot of readjusting! Friday pizza is a hit. We have crust and sauce recipes that are great. Making both has gotten easier every week. I made a quadruple sauce recipe to freeze for future use. Soup night has just moved to Tuesday because that's my new bakery day (German bakery around the corner – yum). Sunday chicken in the oven is always good. We usually have two days of leftovers instead of one. Recently leftovers has meant either a savory pie or ribollita.

It's a work in progress, our dinner rhythm. But even at this early stage, I find it simplifies my life and helps keep cooking more pleasure than pain. Since Papa started his new job, we start cooking when Pumpkin goes down for her afternoon nap. It's a nice part of our day together and Peanut looks forward to it. It's really something when he asks me what we're going to make for dinner. These are special moments – and learning moments for Mama. We have to eat, we love too cook, and we can enjoy it together, too. What are your tricks for feeding your family?

Wash, Rinse,

In other news: we should be getting a replacement dishwasher on Wednesday - hooray!

17 October 2011

Home: In progress


To our surprise and delight, we are living in an apartment in the middle of downtown. We live on the first floor. That's the Dutch first floor, meaning the floor above the ground floor. That's the American second floor. The ground floor is a shopping street. We enter the building from the side and this boardwalk area connects all the apartments. It's actually pretty neat.

The house itself is fairly modern, which we enjoy a lot. There's double glass, the heating system works efficiently, and it's light inside. We're furnishing the house with our furniture out of storage after the year in Chicago. When we sold our house and packed up in the spring of 2010, we also got rid of quite a bit of furniture. It's lead to some interesting and humorous realizations. For example, we moved at least 20 boxes of books with no bookshelves to put them on. We have no printer, no radio, no microwave, and no TV. We do have a fabulous espresso maker and two DVD players.

A lot of our belongings are still in boxes. We're not sure how long we're staying. We have acquired a couple bookshelves. There is plenty of storage space. As I unpack, I'm trying to focus on creating a peaceful, purposeful space for us to live in. The most important space for me after the kitchen was a space for Peanut and Pumpkin.


A bench now serves as a play table and a second hand coffee table is one giant kids table. They help make a space that is just for the kids (mainly Peanut for now). There are a few things I really like about it. For one thing, there is limited storage, so whatever doesn't fit, we don't unpack. Having a large table at Peanut's height has also worked really well. He can stand or sit at it – and do so with a few friends as well. This space will change – and there will be more pictures. For now, it's a good start!

12 October 2011

My Creative Space

Crafting on the Road
Last week, I showed off my little traveling bag – but the real secret is inside. This is the little bag full of big surprises. I made it last spring using the Weekend-away Travel Bag pattern from Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing. The stitching on the outside was inspired by this skirt I saw on the always entertaining Myrtle and Eunice blog. It's made with IKEA linen and quilting cotton, so it's very light weight and squishy. It was a bit fussy to make – I'm not sure I agree with her method for putting the lining together – but it came out nicely.
Crafting on the Road
And it is big. I mean really a big bag. I fit loads of stuff into this bag and can still open it wide enough to find what I need. Don't you love the mushroom print? So adorable.
Crafting on the Road
This is what I fit into the bag – plus the occasional folded-up, written all over, printed out pattern. There are a lot of knitting needles. Someone who lives in my house asked me once why I keep buying more. We sigh, we shake our heads – they'll never understand. Anyway, I think I've used just about everything here at least once. Except the gray yarn I bought to darn socks. Darn socks. The red square thing is my Pinocchio tape measure. You pull the nose. Who doesn't need that?

What's in your bag? What are your essentials?

Go see more creative spaces!

Birth Story: The Difference

Monday: why we chose to plan a home birth. Yesterday: the birth story.

Peanut was born in Haarlem, in the Netherlands; Pumpkin in Chicago, in the United States. Both have dual citizenship. He's kind of fair, like his father. She's kind of dark, like her mother. We're all perfectly balanced out in a silly story book kind of way. I love that our dual-nationality family has one child born in each country. We didn't plan it that way, but it happened and it's nifty.

It means that we did a pregnancy in the Netherlands and one in the United States. Can two countries be much farther apart? The US has a C-Section rate approaching 35%. In the Netherlands, most women go to a midwife unless they have a high-risk pregnancy. Perhaps most importantly, these countries see each other as opposite ends of the spectrum. In the US, a number of natural birth advocates were thrilled to hear I had given birth in the Netherlands. This is in part due to the fact that people like Ina May Gaskin often refer to the Netherlands as the golden land of natural child birth. In the Netherlands, people assume that birth in the US is all epidurals and scheduled C-sections. Neither is entirely true, and neither is entirely wrong. But the differences are far more nuanced

When I was pregnant with Peanut, I went to the local midwives. They took good care of me. It was a practice with six ladies and they were all nice to talk to. My visits were brief – they checked my blood pressure, felt the baby, measured my belly, listened for a heart tone, asked me how things were going, and sent me on my way. I met all but one of the women in the practice. They were patient with my questions and concerns concerning the birth. It was nice.

We elected to have a midwife assisted hospital birth (in the Netherlands, if you are low risk, you can choose whether you want a home birth or a hospital birth) and it was fine. We had a large, well furnished room to ourselves. Everything was there for the baby and husband to stay in the room. The room has double doors (a door, a hall, a second door) for privacy. The lighting was adjustable from low to operating room bright. There was even a refrigerator (for champagne, of course).

During the birth, we were assigned one nurse. She was the only person aside from our midwife who came into the room. When her shift ended, the next nurse took over. We ended up seeing an OB/Gyn at the very end because Peanut ended up being a vacuum-assisted birth, but they way they transformed the room was amazing – apparatus and people rolled in, Peanut was born, and everything went away – all within about half an hour. We ended up staying for 24 hours as a result, but we could all stay and sleep in the room together.

All of this sounds and was lovely, but I'm one of those women who want a natural birth. I was in the hospital, so when we needed the doctor, it was easy. But it's not all beautiful bellies and happy mamas over here. For instance, about half of all home births (for first time mothers) end up in the hospital. That usually means a transport to the hospital in a later stage of labor. If you haven't been in a Dutch house lately – the stairs are often as steep as ladders. Sometimes people are lowered out of windows because a stretcher can't go up and down the stairs. Imagine that.

Up until about three years ago, pain relief in the form of an epidural was not guaranteed. If a laboring woman requested pain relief outside of office hours (Monday through Friday, 9-5), it was at the anesthesiologist's discretion. Why interrupt a family meal or a good night sleep because some woman can't manage her birth pain? This has changed, thank goodness. But back when Peanut was born, I knew one woman who went home to Germany for her birth because she was afraid of not being able to get pain relief. There is a lot of support here for breastfeeding moms, but I've also heard women refer to the breastfeeding mafia – the pressure to breastfeed, whether you want to or not. Most women start, but not many keep it up.

There's also an ongoing debate between midwives and gynecologists over who should be in charge. Midwives aren't always eager to take their laboring mothers to the hospital and I've heard such transfers referred to as regrettable as opposed to necessary. I think it has to do with payments and power, but I'm not sure about the details there.

On the other hand, in the United States, pregnancy and birth are basically in the hands of doctors. This thanks in part to the insurance companies for reasons maybe someone can explain to me because it makes no sense. There's a clear (statistical) tendency towards more intervention and more pain treatment. Women are the objects of a birth, not necessarily the actors. In other words, birth is seen as something that happens to women, not something that women do. Instead of a process, it is an inconvenience between the rose-colored pregnancy and baby shower stage and the rose-colored new mother stage (neither of which are rose-colored, but the cupcakes might be).

If you decide that you do want a midwife or a birth center, the resources are out there. It takes more work on the mother-to-be's part (and partner), but it is possible. If you decide on a home birth, you may have your fair share of “what on earth are you thinking” conversations, as well. It's making a statement to choose for a home birth. The advantage here is that midwives who choose to offer their services to support home births (at least the ones I met) are very dedicated to their work, in part because their work is part cause.

So there are some of my thoughts. I'm curious to know about what birth is like in other countries or cultures. And how closely my observations match the experiences of other mamas. Do tell!

11 October 2011

Birth Story: The Birth

Yesterday: why we chose to plan a home birth.

My midwife, Midwife S, took me on despite the fact that she had been planning vacation time for herself. She was out of town for two weekends right around my due date, but had a back up midwife and general practitioner lined up.

I went into labor on a Monday while Midwife S was out of town. By 9 am, Midwife M, who was Midwife S's assistant, was at our house, along with Midwife #3 (to assist), Dr. W (a general practitioner, required by Illinois state law if the attending midwife is not a certified nurse), and Dr. #2 (a young general practitioner who wanted to attend home deliveries) were at our house. In case you're having a hard time with the parentheses, that's two midwives and two general practitioners at our house, all for me and Pumpkin.

That morning, Peanut and his grandma went to music class. Someone cooked eggs for the group. The doctors read through our stack of New York Times newspapers. Midwife S, started driving back from her weekend away. Midwife #3 left. Dr. W left. Midwife S arrived with daughter in tow. Peanut and grandma got home, and it was two midwives, a general practitioner, and one nice young lady that stayed until the birth.

I remember a few special moments of the birth particularly clearly – like Peanut holding my hand through a contraction, and then going back to the living room to play. I remember a husband watching, waiting, holding, encouraging. She arrived at six in the evening, just as the sun was going down. Moments later, Peanut walked in the room and said, “That's the baby from inside your belly,” and fell in love with his little sister. We all did.

Pumpkin's birth at home was a wonderful experience. It's hard to articulate what made it so special. Those moments with Peanut probably sum it up. The birth of a child is a moment when the mundane meets the sublime. The physicality is overwhelming and the magic of a life is incomprehensible. And it happens every day in every place – including our apartment in Chicago one day last March.

Tomorrow: pregnancy and birth in the USA vs. in the Netherlands.

10 October 2011

Birth Story: The Choice

37 weeks pregnant and looking for a midwife – that was me this spring. This is the story of how we ended up having a planned home birth in Chicago. A home birth was never part of the master plan. My prenatal care was at a university hospital with a fine OB/GYN. We lived close by (perhaps even laboring walking distance). Insurance would cover a hospital birth. But it gradually became clear that a hospital birth wasn't going to work for me.

I arrived in Chicago early in my pregnancy and went to all my prenatal appointments at the hospital. It was my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy and the birth of Peanut all took place in the Netherlands under the care of a midwife – except for the last 15 minutes, but that's another story. The appointments in the Netherlands were friendly and decidedly non-invasive.

The hospital approach was more medical (no surprise there), but that was OK. Sometimes it made me giggle. Before every appointment, I had to fill out a form that included two questions (1) are you pregnant? (2) what was the date of your last period. I had to pee in a cup every time. Except the one time I went to the toilet and forgot to fill the cup. Oops.

As my due date neared, I began asking questions about the birth. Questions like, will I be allowed to eat? How do you feel about me laboring in the bathroom? Will I be able to move around? The answers were not encouraging. Popsicles were fine, I would have to ask permission, and only if I happened to be in one of the two rooms with a cordless monitor.

It also became apparent that some policies were not up for negotiation at all. A fetal monitor was mandatory. Intermittent or cordless monitoring might be an option, but that would all have to be discussed on the day of delivery. Triage would take up to an hour and a half, during which time I would be expected to stay on a monitor. A heplock (an IV starter in my hand) was mandatory. They also expected me and required the baby to stay in the hospital for 48 hours.

Where I had hoped we would be able to negotiate the circumstances surrounding the birth, it became clear that it wasn't going to work out the way I hoped. So I did what I always do – I went on-line. I googled midwives in Chicago. I checked in on a couple of forum, posted questions and got really lovely, caring responses.

In the end, I met with a midwife and liked her. She was patient, curious, flexible, and didn't mind any of my questions. That's something, considering my first question was something like, “who cleans up?” When I walked out the door, it was with a good feeling. When I got in the car with Peanut and pulled out, I knew for sure. I wanted this home birth. It was important. It was right.

Tomorrow: the birth story.

06 October 2011

My Creative Space


I've finally worked up the courage to attempt a Pembroke vest for Peanut. It's a lot more fun and less frightening than I thought it would be. The cable work requires attention, but isn't actually too difficult. Placing a marker at the beginning of each pattern section makes it a lot easier to avoid – or find – mistakes. The shoulder shaping on this back piece is impressive. It's a nicer finish than a straight shoulder. I'm curious to see how it will fit.


This little bag has been my creative space on the road. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling just to look at it and realize how much promise it holds. When we were packing up in Chicago, I put together the tools that seemed like absolute necessities for sewing and knitting, my two Elizabeth Zimmerman books, and Cal Patch's pattern making book and figured that would keep me covered and busy until our shipment arrived in the Netherlands. Two months and a bit down the road, no regrets yet. Between what I can borrow, get on-line, and buy along the way, I've been very happy.

Somewhere, some day, I dream of my own space – a beautiful sunny room with big working surfaces, a comfy chair, and a wall of inspirational images and ideas. But that will just be a luxury. It doesn't actually take much to make a lot. All the stashing, stocking, oohing and aahing are often more distracting than productive. The making time is what counts – it's probably my most valuable space. It's carved out between kids and husband and family and friends and moving and cleaning and cooking and everything else. For now, I'll concentrate on that.

Go see more creative spaces!

05 October 2011

Holland: Home Sweet 'Thuis

It is a huge relief for us to be in our own space at last. When we left Chicago, we had no idea where we would end up. Our previous experience with apartment hunting in the Netherlands was not positive, so it wasn't easy to not worry. In the end we found a great place for our family to live. It's not close to trees like we dreamed of, though. Instead, we are smack in the middle of town. In fact, we are in the newest part of this old town. And oh, the adventures have only begun.

We came to this place by pure chance. After weeks of research on-line, days of planning visits with various realtors, and visits to three possible homes, it came down to 45 minutes one evening and a lucky internet search. We walked my in-laws' house at 4:15 on a Thursday afternoon and hoped to make one appointment for the next day. It worked. A huge sigh of relief.

We had to arrange parking permits for the movers. One of our movers. We had things in storage at my in-laws, our car in transit from Chicago, and our goods in transit as well. Figuring out where we could park and what permits were available took a few phone calls and emails. Only by chance did we find out that the day that our goods from Chicago were scheduled to be delivered was the beginning of a city fair (kermis). The next possible date for a parking permit? Two weeks later. And we went for another round of last minute phone calls. We'll be waiting another week or so for that.

Now our excitement is internet. For reasons I may never fully understand, these things take weeks in the Netherlands. We ordered our internet/phone service about two weeks ago. They sent a modem last week. They were supposed to turn on our service today (we requested it for last Monday). No service yet. Lucky for us the library is next door. I don't anticipate this working out well, at least not in the near term. Grumble grumble grumble.

On the upside, though – mobile phones were a cinch and we have reasonably priced packages. We celebrated Peanut's third (THIRD!!!) birthday last week and he loved it, especially the singing. Apparently we can skip gifts as long as we sing “Happy Birthday” repeatedly. My kind of kid! Our neighbors have a little boy the same age as Peanut with almost the same name. They came by to drop of a sweet gift and stayed for coffee and are nice! For those of you not familiar with the Netherlands – this kind of paying attention to neighbors is almost shocking, it's too friendly. We're delighted. We have guests already scheduled to come and plenty of space for them, too. All in all – life shaping up just fine.

Do you see those chairs? There's a good story there, too.

04 October 2011

Eat: Pear Cardamon Sauce

Staying with the in-laws in September meant we got to pick pears from the same trees my husband picked from when he was a kid. Watching father and son go pear picking is just too sweet, especially because Peanut tends to stand in wooded areas and shout out with delight “we're in the forest!” Never mind that adults see a little strip of trees and bushes squished between a residential parking lot and a horse pasture. As far as Peanut's concerned, it's a forest, and he's right.

I quickly discovered that I had a bit of a problem on my hands. Say you convince your husband that taking a 2-year-old pear picking is a great way to spend an hour or so. Say they come home with a bucket full of pears. What does one do with the pears? It's a lot of pears. How about pear sauce? If apples make applesauce, pears must make pear sauce. So I gave it a shot and wow – the results were delicious! So good that they came back a couple days later with two buckets of pears.

Basically, it came down to peeling pears and putting them in a pot with a tiny bit of water, a few lemon peels (preserve color), and a few cardamon pods (my inspirational moment). They were fairly hard and took a lot longer to cook than apples, but when they were soft I ran a hand blender through it and called it quits. It would be nice to try it with a food press to get more texture. I'm also planning to cook it down a bit next time so it's less damp when it comes out of the freezer.

Pear Sauce with Cardamon

2-3 lbs pears
3 cardamon pods

Peel, core, and cut the pears into chunks. Put the pears into a good sized pot. Use a vegetable peeler to cut three thin slices of peel from the lemon. Add lemon peel and cardamon pods to pot. Cook on low heat for about an hour. Blend or mash as you wish. Cook down a bit more if you want a thicker sauce. Eat warm or cold. Freezes well.

03 October 2011

Read: September Books

Moving Paper
this is the paper I'm spending the most time with lately

A long, long time ago, I used to post about the books I read each month. It's time to revive an old habit that I quite enjoyed. Only now, I'm not the only one in the family reading, so I'll add some notes about what the little ones are enjoying as well.

The List
  • Paul Cohelo, The Alchemist
  • Heleen van Royeen, De gelukkige huisvrouw
  • Harry Mulisch, De Zaak 40/61: een reportage
These were all over the scale of reading seriousness. The Alchemist is an inspirational allegory. De gelukkige huisvrouw (The happy housewife) is modern, sad, raw, triumphant. De Zaak 40/61: een reportage is a psychological analysis of Adolf Eichmann written during his trial for WWII war crimes. All good books. All made me think. Not coherently, of course, but I thought.

I've decided to throw myself at more reading in Dutch. The last time we lived in the Netherlands, I stuck with almost exclusively English language books. This presented some logistical challenges and contributed to an ever-growing collection of books brought back from vacations and thrift stores as a sort of insurance fund in case of book shortages. Book shortages never actually happen. Huge piles of books in our house do. So I'm going to read more in Dutch. Suggestions are welcome!

September Children's Books

We are currently living two doors down from the downtown library in Nijmegen. It makes for happy mama and Peanut. Peanut has already got his library card and is having a blast. Here are some titles from our first run. Two picture books here are particularly good, Hond in de Stad (Dog in the City) by Boiry & Frédéric Thiry and Waar gaat Ollie naartoe (Where is Ollie going?) by Julliette de Wit. They are both books without words, but wonderfully illustrated. I particularly like how very Amsterdam de Wit's book is. I know a bakfiets lover who should have a copy.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...