“Free” things to do with kids in Antwerp this summer.

Free things to do this summer with kids in Antwerp

Looking for free things to do with kids in Antwerp?

The summer is almost halfway done. Some of you are having a blast, others are struggling with keeping their kids occupied. If you are like me, a single mom on a budget, you want to keep the vacation costs low. So here are a few of my favorite places to go in Antwerp with my 5 1/2-year-old son.

So what free things can you do in Antwerp with kids?

SUMMER BARS

"Free" things to do with kids in Antwerp this summer.
Zomerbar -Sloepenweg Antwerpen

One of my favorite things to do with my girlfriends and kids is visiting a child-friendly summer bar. And “Antwerpen” has a lot of them. For all types of people. The family people, the hipsters, the fancy pants …and so on.

We have been to the “Zomerbar” at the Sloepenweg for a few years now, just because my son loves it so much, heck even my 25 year old and her boyfriend love it.

You have an open-air library and there is even a volunteer who will read a story to the children twice a day.

This year they built this awesome a boathouse with slide up in a tree.

And when it is really hot outside, they put out puddle baths for the kiddos to cool off in.

Coming by electrical bike? Great, you can even charge your battery there.

Have some spending money? Book a circus show. Or order some great food from the food trucs there. Believe me, you will love the Zomerbar, or you will find another one that suits your needs better. Give them a try.

Check out this LINK to see if there is a Summer bar near you.

PETTING ZOO’s (kinderboerderijen)

You have many of those here in Belgium. Most of them also have a tavern and/or a playground in the vicinity. For us, in Brasschaat we love going to the Mikerf Farm. It is situated in the ‘De Mik” domain where they also have a real castle and towers. You can picknick at the lake before or after visiting the farm animals. It is a magical place.

You can even order a “fairytale walk” (sprookjespad) for your child’s birthday. Have a look here, and use google translate.

Other farms that we have visited:

PLAYGROUNDS

But you already knew this idea right?

Our favourite playgrounds?

If you are planning a trip to Bokrijk or would not mind driving out a bit further, we highly recommend the playground next to the open-air museum. IT IS HUGE! You can pack a picknick and easily stay there all day. Read about my review of our day trip to Bokrijk HERE.

BAREFOOT TRAILS

"Free" things to do with kids in Antwerp this summer.

They offer the opportunity to walk barefoot for some distance and to feel the natural ground and various materials with bare feet soles.

In addition, visitors can enjoy balancing or climbing and walk through brooks or even rivers. Some barefoot parks include playground sections designed for bare feet. These healthy combinations of barefoot hiking and playing have become popular tourist attractions.

I’m including a few small free ones, but if you don’t mind spending a bit of money on a memorable trail, then I would strongly recommend the barefoot trail in Zutendaal. (google translate if needed).

We absolutely loved it there. We went there when my son was a toddler and I carried him half way on my back in the carrier and will never forget walking through a deep thrench with water up to above my belly button, with a sleeping toddler on my back. Going back with my 5 year old again for payback time. Ha!

LIBRARIES

Some of them have air conditioning, some organize workshops. Ours in Brasschaat even has a play area. So go look online and make a morning of it.

I like going on Monday’s because you also have the weekly market going on and my son loves to then get the waffle on a stick. Yep, it’s a real thing. And delicious.

Most towns have their own library.

PUBLIC FOUNTAINS

Some towns have play fountains. Just check online or ask in your local towns Facebook group .

The ones we have tried out:

ROOFTOP OF THE MAS MUSEUM

What a great piece of architecture and design. The MAS has free admission. There is only an entrance fee for the permanent and tempory exhibitions.

Located in the trendy “Eilandje” neighbourhood this eye popping museum is a must to do. You have to keep in mind that you do need to take the escalator up 8 flights, but the view is totaly worth it.

Keep an eye on their website, they organize many child activities and workshops like treasure hunts. And this during most school holidays for all ages.

Where?

MAS | Museum aan de Stroom

Hanzestedenplaats 1
2000 Antwerp
tel. +32 3 338 44 00
mas@antwerpen.be

BOEKENBERG SWIMMING LAKE

The swimming facility in the Boekenbergpark in Deurne is an ecological swimming pond. Plants purify the water in a natural way, so the pool contains no chemicals. There is a large pond of 73 m long with a depth between 1.80 and 2.50 m. There is also a small play pool with a depth of 50 cm and a large lawn area to sit and lie on.

Yes, also this place is FREE!

What do you need to bring then?

  • Fitted swimsuit, bathingsuit or bikini.
  • An elastic band to tie long hairs together.
  • A 2 euro coin for the lockers.

Where?

Zwemvijver Boekenberg
Van Baurscheitlaan ter hoogte van nr. 68
2100 Deurne
tel. 03 411 19 95 
zwembad.boekenberg@stad.antwerpen.be

PLAYDATES

I’m going to end this post with the cheapest and for me one of the nicest free activities, and those are playdates.

When it comes to playdates, I choose to keep it simple. I am not winning any “hostess of the year” awards—but I am totally okay with that. I keep the food and fanfare minimal these days, but I like to think that both the adult and child guests enjoy themselves while in our home. The kids get to play with other toys (kids love our dress-up rack) and mom’s get to relax, talk and enjoy some good coffee or tea. As simple as that. When you invite, you get invited back, especially useful in the summertime when in need of a pool. 🙂

Am I missing something you LOVE? Just let me know in the comments below.

"Free" things to do with kids in Antwerp this summer.
Advertisements

If I would have woken up to find that most of the population had disappeared overnight

Dreams I write about

A punch in the gut, a pang in my stomach…. A small anxiety attack with it. 

DAY 1

  • 6:00 AM – I wake up and make my bed like I always do. My 5-year-old must be in the living room watching his iPad. I can hear him. I’m checking my phone and looking at my feed on Instagram. Strangely, none of my friends have posted anything (which is weird since some of the posts at least once an hour). I get up and go to the living room, my eldest daughter of 25 years old isn’t there, but her car is still here and also her electrical bike, so I assume she’s walking our dogs. My son askes where his sister is. I answer that I don’t know. I sit down and turn on my laptop. I watch some Netflix, thinking it’s just a normal day.
  • 8:00 AM –  I find it weird that my daughter hadn’t come back yet with the dogs. This is starting to feel weird. I send a message to my Whatsapp family group. Ok, Canada is still asleep at this time, but my adult children should be answering. My friends should be answering.
  • 10:00 AM – I then hear the sound of my dogs barking downstairs. My daughter obviously didn’t go on a walk. I go down the steps and notice my dogs sitting in front of the front door. I go back upstairs and look out the window, and my daughter’s car is still there. All I can think about is where did she go? Why would she leave without her car? I then go upstairs and open her door hoping she is still home. She’s gone. I text her phone, “Where did you go?” waiting for a response. That’s when I hear the buzz from her backpack and I see that the phone is still in there. I then text and try calling my other son of 23 who lives down the street, but he doesn’t answer either. My nerves are getting at me, so I just pace around the house thinking about where she went and why my son wasn’t answering either. I calm myself down, saying everything’s probably fine and that I’m freaking out over nothing.
  • 10:10 AM– I settle down and turn on the news. All I see is a message saying that billions of people have disappeared over the night and nothing else. I slowly start to cry realizing that I’m all alone. Was this the rapture and was I left behind I though? But the idea dies soon. The Rapture would see around a third of the population gone, not the staggering amount seen now. We still don’t know how many people are left, but two thirds is a hopeful wish that I suspect will be proven just that: a wish. 
  • 10:15 AM – After some time really thinking this through I start crying hystericaly… I just realize that… if this is true… I lost the people I love.
If I would have woken up to find that most of the population had disappeared overnight
  • 10:30 AM – I try to find an e-book online written by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross for dealing with loss and grief. Don’t think that I could get an actual book delivered anymore. More crying.
  • 11:00 AM – I finally dry up my tears and get up. I’m still having a mental breakdown and barely functioning, but I have to start doing something. I have no idea if the power is going to stay on, so I charge up my phone (just in case) and go on my computer. I check twitter, talk to some people, but find no one from my town. Everyone else is just as confused and shocked as I am. Just yesterday, I ate dinner with my two other children, but today, they are gone. That is when I decide to leave the house with the dogs and my 5-year-old. Afraid that they too will disappear. Desperately wanting to find another living soul.
  • 12:00 Noon – I don’t have a driver’s license (The only 40-year-old in town without probably) and decide to give my daughter’s car a try anyway, who will stop me? I put the dogs and my son in the car. With loads of healthy snacks, like it matters. We’re off. Before I get on the highway, I go to my neighbor’s/besties house and look to see if they are okay. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t see what happened to them. None of them are there. I felt relieved knowing that the kids were not left behind with no one to take care of them. Driving down the road and our town of 37,000 people looks completely deserted. Usually, I see a couple of dozen cars, pedestrians, and bicycle drivers on any given day. We live on a very busy street. But now it is just me, my son and our dogs.
  • 1:00 PM – After an hour of driving, I see no one. I decide to just drive into the city of Antwerp, park the car near the central station and wait. There are 498,473 people living there and from what I could tell from on Twitter, 20 of them are still there. So I wait, hoping someone will pass by. There has got to be at least one person, right? I yell out waiting for a response. It never comes. I don’t even hear any animal sounds coming from the zoo next door. Thankfully my son and dogs were napping unknowingly on the back seat.
  • 3:00 PM – I make the decision to just give up on searching. Driving home, utterly defeated, I sit down on our couch with our dogs and son at my side and open up a bag of chips. My son is still not worried, still very happy watching Larva on Netflix and giggling the whole time. I wait and hope that this is just a bad dream that I will wake up from at any moment. We shouldn’t have to be alone like this! I think. I spend some more time crying until I physically can’t any longer.
  • 6:00 PM – I make our dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and eat in silence. I decide that instead of sitting here, I’m going to make the trip to Brussels to look for more people. With a city that large, there should be a lot more people left. I might even see some others driving along the way. It’s about 45 minutes from my house to Brussels so I plan on leaving early in the morning at 6:00 am. I clean up the food, give my son a bath put him to bed and get ready for our big journey. Packing our bags, sleeping bags and a pop-up tent. Utilizing the power still working, I print out the directions and charge my phone. I set my alarm for 6:00 am.
  • 7:00 PM – For the first time ever, I go to bed at 7 at night, hoping to get a long rest. Any other night, I would have been up until 12:00 am, but this wasn’t just “any other night”. My son is again sleeping in my bed, lying in the middle, making me have to lie on my side at the end of the bed. Our two doxies leap on the bed, comforting me so I can fall asleep. Thinking of my two precious other children. The sadness of our situation keeps me awake until I finally give in and drift off to sleep.

DAY 2

  • 6:00 AM – Flipping the switch to turn on my light, I find the power no longer works. It now truly feels like we are in some kind of sci-fi movie. I make our beds like any other day, make a small breakfast for my son (who was very upset that his iPad’s battery had died during the night) and get ready to leave. Opening the door, I remember that I have to grab one thing. I run into the living room and hold on to the last photo I had of myself with my three children and the dogs. With the photo in hand and my son and dogs at my side, we jump into the car. I reverse out of the driveway and drive off, not knowing what will happen next.

This is based on a dream that I had recently.

If I would have woken up to find that most of the population had disappeared overnight

Bokrijk with kids

Bokrijk day trip with kids

Bokrijk with kids. It is more than just an open-air museum! At the Bokrijk open-air museum, history is brought to life in these traditional buildings thanks to talented craftsmen and actors.

If you love history like me, this place is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! But even if you don’t love history, still this place is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Bokrijk with kids? What’s it about?

Well, it’s a park and and open-air museum which displays more than 148 historical authentic buildings dating back from the 17th century right up until 1950.

There are three main clusters at the museum:

-The Kempen

-“East and West Flanders”

-“Haspengouw and the Maasland”

There is also an area dedicated to the sixties but we did not have time to do it as we promised the kids that they could play in the wonderful playground before going home.

We went in near the parking number 1 parking lot. We were greeted by this wonderfully recently restored windmill. It pretty much showed us what to expect from the rest of the museum.

We started in the Kempen and spent the first 1,5 hour there. I thought that was it until my companion said that we didn’t even do a third of the parc yet. Oops! We spent so much time there because of the “Speelschuur” translate: “The games barn”. The kids had a hoot trying out all the different types of “olden day games”.

Next time we visit we will not start there as it was hard to get the children to move on. But it was a fun experience. It kind of made me want to do more of the simple game and life stuff.

You can walk back in time along a path that winds its way through the different parts of the museum site and step into historical buildings that line the pathway, see the traditional working farms and even see people (actors) cooking their meals.

We wandered along the pathway past hedgerows, wildflowers and goats grazing on the lush green grass. The Bokrijk Open Air Museum has a quirky charm. But watch out for the herd of sheep that are being led to another field by their shepherd and the sheepdogs. It was quite unexpected thing to see happening on our path.

Top tips for visiting Bokrijk

THE TRADITIONAL GAMES BARN IN THE MOL – ZELM BARN

Stilt walking, shuffleboard, mast climbing, bowling and much more! This is the place to hone your skills on the Flemish folk games of yore, an experience for the whole family that mustn’t be missed! But do not start here otherwise you will have a hard time getting the kids to move on.

WORKSHOPS

Currently, there is a ‘from grain to bread’ workshop route. Along this workshop route different aspects of the production process come into play. Every day museum visitors can become acquainted with bread dough in the Wortel workshop barn.

THE CHURCH AND SCHOOL IN WAASLAND

Visit the little church and hear the pastor preach from the pulpit and you can even attend a class in the tiny schoolhouse and hear about how children lived in those days. When we attended class, it was 1913, the year before the school became compulsory in Belgium for children from 6 to 12 years old. Not many farmers were happy with this new regulation as children were a cheap help force in the home and on the farm.

One of our children even demonstrates a punishment that was given in class besides wearing the donkey ears. She had to sit with her knees into wooden clogs and hold up two bricks. It looked painful but she thought it was cool. I wouldn’t want to go to school in those days and my son was less than impressed, seeking solace in my arms.

THE PLAYGROUND

This was really what my son was looking forward to at the end of the day. I haven’t ever seen a playground like this before to be honest, it’s quite impressive. You could even sit there for the entire day and still the children will not want to go home.

Mega slides, swings, a climbing net, mini-cars, miniature golf and even a real toddler town with a HOPLA corner! The outdoor playground in Bokrijk is not only enormous, but it was also great fun. There is a zone for every age, and it is fully fenced. For children with disabilities, there are special playthings.

The restrooms are not what you would expect from a public playground. They are new, fancy and clean. There is a first aid post for if anything happens to your little one (or yourself). There is also a food and drink stand and picknick tables all around. Shaded under a tent or not.

To see some pictures of the playground go and visit the “Seeing beautiful places” blog.

We will go back!

There’s still so much to explore and so much that we haven’t seen yet. We will definitely be coming back. Bringing my picknick blanket for sure!

Our group?

We were four adults with 5 children between the ages of 8 and 5 years old.

I noticed that this is one of the few museums where you could bring your dog with you, but dogs are NOT allowed in the playground. Just so you know.

Now go on, plan a visit and let me know what you enjoyed most!

For more information on prices and opening hours follow THIS link.

You might also enjoy this day out at the Museum of Natural Science (the Dino museum) in Brussels!

Bokrijk with kids

My Armor of God

Armor of God

I have been wearing my armor of God.

It has been beaten.

It has been trampled.

It has been stomped on.

It has been crushed.

It has now been pierced.

It still encases my soul, but barely.

I feel that if it receives one more blow, it will be forever broken.

Lord, will you please replace my armor with a new one, before I am fully broken?

Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to You all day long. Rejoice the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul”(Psalm 86:1-4).

Vegan tacos that kids will love

Vegan tacos that kids will love
Disclaimer: This his post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission (enough for a coffee, not enough to buy a pony) if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support!

Vegan tacos that kids will love

One of my son’s all-time favorite books is “Dragon’s love taco’s” and not only do dragon’s love them but so do kids! Especially my kid. And like the dragon’s in the book he likes them WITHOUT spicy salsa.

So as a homage to my son and his love for tacos I want to share with you our favorite taco recipe.

I know, I know, I can see you rolling your eyes at me. Do they need to be vegan? Well, our household has become a pescatarian. I do make chicken once a week because my eldest daughter of 25 just loves meat, even though she wished that she wouldn’t and I do cook fish once a week to, but other than that our meals are usually plant-based. We are not vegan, but I try to I try to limit the amount of dairy that we consume.

So this recipe is one I make almost monthly and both my children, young and “old” (sorry my love) love it. My daughter usually even overeats with this one.

Using the mushroom broth gives it the meaty taste that most of us like, but vegetable broth works as well.

Most people think of cilantro when they think of guacamole, but we are not lovers of this soapy tasting herb, but go ahead.

Use your favorite toppings. We used iceberg salade and cheese, replace the cheese with the vegan variety. Also tasty topped off with some jalapenos, but again, my son does not like it spicy.

Here we go! My take on vegan tacos that kids will love.

Vegan Tacos that kids will love

Cooking the lentils in mushroom broth instead of vegetable broth: it adds a special umami flavor to make the tacos extra savory!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: kids, vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive 1oil
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 3 tbsp tomato passata
  • 1 packet taco seasoning most supermarkets have it in their world section
  • 1 can lentils of choice
  • 50 grams Bulgur
  • 450 ml mushroom or vegetal broth
  • 2 avocado's
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 pack taco shells
  • 1 clove garlic minced

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add half of diced red onion and sauté for 5 minutes until soft. Add the minced garlic, tomato paste, taco seasoning and dried lentils. Sauté for another 30 seconds, then pour in the mushroom or vegetable broth. Allow the mixture to come to a boil over medium heat. Boil, uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to medium-low, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  • While the lentils are cooking, bring 200 ml of water to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan. Add the bulgur to the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Transfer the cooked bulgur into the cooked lentil mixture; stir well to combine.
  • Scoop the avocado halves into a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Add the remaining cup diced red onion, the halved cherry tomatoes and lime juice. Mix well; taste, and add salt as needed.
  • Build the tacos by dividing the lentil mixture among the taco shells. Top with guacamole and serve.

I have to admit, my food picture taking needs some improvement. I’m getting there, but I needed some help and I the tips I got from reading from Jaime over at “Everyday Art” are SO helpful. Shout out to me other tips that you may have. Needing it very badly. So sorry if the pics are not that great, but the recipe IS!

So I hope that you will try out these vegan tacos that kids will love.

Blogging is a challenge I tell you.

Vegan tacos that kids will love

How to help your ​​child’s creativity

How to help your ​​child's creativity

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that we embrace creativity and crafts in our home. For me, it started when my eldest child was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) some 20 years ago.

I looked into ways where I could connect with her and at the same time to help improve her attention span, self-expression, and to help reduce her anxiety.

Twenty years ago I did not have a computer, so no Pinterest and no YouTube tutorials. I did it the old school way. Libraries and workshops/classes.

I found tools that helped, especially using Montessori methods in our daily life like having open shelves in our home to encourage her to craft, read or play a board game, how to learn to have conversations, teaching her daily life skills and giving her freedom to explore and express herself.

This is where I start talking about creativity. I can go on and on about Montessori and I will in the future on this blog but I have started with it because Montessori has also helped us to get creative. It made us think outside of the box.

I’ve learned many things over the years and now we have the internet at our fingertips. Many years later and 4 children further creativity still is a big part of our life. I’m a gap mom, I now have a 5-year-old. He and his eldest sibling are 20 years apart and that means, I’ve had some practice. These are the ways that I encourage creativity in our home.

Create an environment that will encourage them to be creative.

I know many people who rather have their living area unmarked by children’s toys and personality. And all the peace to you. But your child will only be a child for a short period so why not let them take over your home for awhile? As I once saw in a post on Facebook, you will “only” have 18 summers with them.  So enjoy those 18 summers and plan to redecorate after that. Pin Pin Pin on Pinterest!

Having open bookshelves is a must. children usually don’t tend to look for the things hidden away. I have one very big Kallax bookshelf. The bottom row has boxes to store little toys, a box for music instruments, a box for Duplo, and box for cars and so on. The shelf above that one has age-appropriate books. Then we have educational toys and learning material. The top shelf is for board games. Next, to that bookshelf, we have the arts bookshelf. For this, I used the smaller Kallax shelving unit. On top of it sits a tray with craft articles we use daily (pencils, markers, crayons, glue, tape , scissors and paint bruskhes). On the shelves beneath are boxes with craft paper, paint, play-doh and so one. Our friends know that we love getting craft stuff.

Space is also a resource your kids need. Unless you don’t mind creative messes everywhere, give them a specific place where they can make a mess, like room in your attic for dress-up, a place in the garage for painting, or a corner in your family room for Legos. We are lucky to have a lot space where we live now and my son has a playroom. In the playroom I store his building stuff like lego and playmobil and we have a clothing rack with his impressive amount of dress up-clothes. His friends just love going up there.

Join in

What Monkey sees, monkey does. I tell you, if I just go sit down with some art project, mister 5 years-old will surely join in, I have then successfully lured him away from his iPad.

We’ve heard a lot about attachment, so the concept and importance of bonding with our baby seem obvious. Just because our little one has grown to become a lot bigger, smellier and sassier doesn’t mean your bond and connection is any less vital to their development. In fact, it continues to be of the utmost importance throughout childhood. So go on, get the paint out and make some memories, you might even find out that you have a hidden talent.

Encourage children to read for pleasure and participate in the arts. 

Limit TV and other screen time in order to make room for creative activities like rehearsing a play, learning to draw, reading every book written by a favorite author. Maybe they have after-school art classes in your area. One of our favorite outings is our local library. We just like to collect some books and sit on the coach there and read a little, deciding whether or not we chose the right books to take home. We love the library.

Museums. There’s no shortage of research indicating the benefits of museum visits for children. They can provide memorable, immersive learning experiences, provoke imagination, introduce unknown worlds and subject matter, and offer unique environments for quality time with family. Here in Belgium, we are truly surrounded by many fascinating places like the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium or the Natural Science museum in Brussels , the MAS museum and many many others.

Stop saying “good job!”

Of course you can say positive things about their creativity but we tend to say the same things over and over. “Goodjob” “that’s awesome”.

Try to be honest, look at their project and think about how you can be a help towards their improvement at the same time as being encouraging.

I would sometimes say: “wow, you are getting very good at drawing mommy but I think that I might be missing a few fingers”. 🙂

And please don’t do rewards for creativity. Incentives interfere with the creative process, reducing the quality of their responses and the flexibility of their thought and that would be a shame. Just find a special place to hang it up and give them a great big cuddle.

Let them fail and make mistakes

My son is quite the perfectionist. He has this idea in his head that he wants to execute and when it ends up not being as imagined, he can get very, very upset. When I realize that he is getting frustrated, I just sit next to him and ask him to explain to me what he has in mind or what the problem is.

Yesterday he was trying to draw a dolphin, he couldn’t get the flippers right and he was going to give up and rip the page to pieces. I told him to maybe practice it a few times on the same piece paper and that once he got it the way he wanted, he could take a new sheet of paper. I explained that we all need to practice things, and by not giving up we will usually achieve it. Also, I was there and I was going to help him if he wanted me to. That usually gets him motivated again, knowing that he was alone in front of this endeavor.

Well, he drew a mighty fine dolphin and gifted it to his big sis.

Remind your child it is OK to make mistakes. Encourage them to explore, play around, and make those mistakes. This fosters the love of discovery.

Always have music on in the background

Music, creativity and movement are essential parts of early learning. From singing songs with children to having a variety of music instruments in the open shelves area, it’s important that you create an environment that inspires children to express themselves. 

So I have created a few Spotify lists for our family, like the ABC’s and the 123’s, moving and dancing music, classical, children’s songs and worship. I need to create a work-out playlist and have no idea what songs to choose for that, but it’s been my son’s request lately so we could “work-out” together. We are currently experiencing a heatwave this week, so I will put that on hold until after. Until very much after.

My son loves to hand us instruments to join in on the music and we can get very creative then.

Soo…

I hope I got you all as inspired as I am.

I will share some more suggestions for raising creative children soon and how I’ve integrated Montessori methods into our home.

Meanwhile, if you just want to comment or if you have an idea of what songs to put on our Spotify playlist, please let me know!

My recommended read on the subject of children and education : The Natural Laws of Children by  Celine Alvare

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

Looking for a light but very tasty recipe? Then this creamy zucchini pasta with pesto and a delicious moot of salmon might be exactly what you are looking for.

I have become a serious fan of sneaking in some extra veggies after having made my STICKY GARLIC​​​ SHRIMP ON A BED OF BROCCOLI​​​ RICE recipe. So I decided to try out the courgetti. That’s zucchini cut into spaghetti-like strips. How cool is that?

Zucchini pasta or courgetti


You can now buy them ready-made at the supermarket, but you can also cut the zucchini yourself into strips with a spiral cutter or by hand. That is, of course, a bit more work. You can also use half zucchini and half pasta in the recipe if you miss the real pasta. In any case, this is a way to eat extra vegetables.

Baked salmon

How uh-mazing is a salmon filet just slightly pan-fried? Not overly baked and chewy. A gently fried salmon filet pairs so fantasticly well with the courgetti and the pesto. If you are not really a fish lover, you could also use chicken, it goes equally well, but I love my salmon.

Let’s do it!

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Low Carb
Keyword: gluten free, healthy, low carb
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 filet salmon
  • 400 gram courgetti
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • salt and peper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 5 radishes
  • 200 gram green salad

Instructions

  • Finely chop the garlic and slice the radishes.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and fry the salmon in it. Start baking on one side for about 3 minutes, then turn and bake the other side for 3 minutes as well.
  • Take a large pan, heat a little oil and fry the garlic for about 1 minute. Then add the zucchini pasta and stir fry for about 2 minutes so that it does not become too soft. Season with pepper and salt after 2 minutes.
  • Add the zucchini pasta to a plate, place the salmon on top and put the sliced radishes all around. Serve with a nice green salad and olive oil.

And now, enjoy this low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon!

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

5 things you can do besides saying that “you’ll pray” ​

5 things you can do besides saying that "you'll pray" ​

Sharing today with you 5 things you can do besides saying that “you’ll pray”

I’ve done it and I’ve also been at the receiving end of it ( a lot lately). When someone is telling you about how they are suffering or hurting and all you can come up with at that moment is “I will pray for you”. If you are part of a Christian community you’ve probably said this a hundred times. That doesn’t seem quite good enough, but it was all you could think of.

As believers in Jesus, we are charged to walk alongside each other in our pain. We are called to mourn with those who mourn (Rom. 12:14). We are to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). We are to be compassionate, gentle, and patient with each other (Eph. 4:21 Pet. 3:8). So what else can we do?

Let us actually pray

Let us actually pray. I tried to write down the names of people who needed prayer. I tried to sum them all up in my daily prayers, but I am very guilty of often forgetting. I try to normalize praying as good as I can for my children. We live on a busy road and we often hear the ambulance speeding by, or a fire truck or the police. When we hear the sirens in the distance my 5-year-old and I say a quick prayer. “Lord help them”. So immediate prayer works best for us and I try implement that now in other situations. When talking to someone I offer to pray there and then. It’s funny how many Christians this actually throws off guard. “You mean, right now?” “Yes — absolutely. Let’s pray.” I also pray immediately when I read that someone is asking for prayer or is obviously suffering or going through something rough on social media. It doesn’t have to fancy, God knows that I’m a pretty casual prayer. He just loves us talking to Him.

Actually help

“Can I do something?” …People, in general, don’t want to bother others with their burdens. I’m pretty guilty of that. I don’t want people thinking that I am having a pitty party. But I have learned from a few very good friends of mine who have helped me through a crisis that sometimes, as a friend you just need to take over for a bit. People that are overwhelmed by grief have a hard time asking for help and sometimes don’t even know what they need. Like the “Nike” slogan says it, “just do it”. “Just” drop off that meal.” Just” drop by with flowers, “just” pick up the phone and call them. “Just” drop of some sushi or groceries (my favorite). What you sense they need, just do it.

Express sorrow, shock, and regret.

You must enter into the other person’s experience. Try to imagine how they are feeling. What are they thinking? What choices do they face? What might they be feeling physically? What would it be like to see the world through their eyes? What are their greatest fears?

Let them hurt

It’s hard, we don’t want others to be in pain. It makes us sad, it makes us uncomfortable, we don’t know what to do. But sometimes it is what it is and all they can do in the moment is hurt. You just can’t stop it. Acknowledge the inability of words to truly ease the pain.

Follow up

In dramatic life events, people are usually swamped by people’s offers of help and comforting words. But as time goes on people assume that the person has moved on, but moving on implies that the person is able to. Sometimes they are not. Pure and simple. That’s why it’s important to continue to let them know that you are still there for them. They need time and nobody can tell them how much is enough.

This is my personal opinion as how you can help others besides pray. These are things that I have found helpful and try to do for others as well. I would really appreciate knowing about how people have helped you in the past and what you have taken from it towards helping others yourself.

Be blessed, my friends and try these tips as to the 5 things you can do besides saying that “you’ll pray” ​.

5 things you can do besides saying that "you'll pray" ​

Sticky Garlic​​​ Shrimp sitting on Broccoli​​​ rice

Sticky Garlic​​​ Shrimp on a bed of Broccoli​​​ rice

Sticky Garlic​​​ Shrimp sitting on Broccoli​​​ rice. Sounds appealing?

I have to be honest. The first time that I had seen “Broccoli rice” I thought, here you go again, another fad that will pass us by just as Kale has. Ok, many people still eat Kale (I even do), but you do hear less about it, right? So, I did not give it much thought. I mean, I love whole grain rice, especially with a side of Nigerian pepper sauce that my friend occasionally makes for me. So why Broccoli rice? Well, after having passed it by weekly for about year now, I gave in. Mainly because I want to up my veggie intake and also because I was curious after seeing a friend of mine who posted a picture of her meal composed of stuffed peppers and broccoli pesto rice. I yet have to try that. Maybe with some salmon instead of a stuffed pepper.

So I bought the stuff, but what now? What would I normally eat with rice? I don’t really eat meat, except for some chicken occasionally. I love tofu but had none in the fridge and then I remembered the shrimp that I always have in the freezer for moments like these and my mouth already began to water.

I love shrimp! I love how they make it here in Belgium, “Scampi Diabolique”, nice and spicy in a tomato sauce. I love them in a good curry or just nice and simple in some good butter/olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. You need a good fresh bread so you can dip into the glorious garlicky, buttery sauce.

But I was in a salty and sweet mood and this is so quick, I could get to eat it faster! I’m not such a glutton usually, but I had been starved! I had been sick at home with Tonsilitis, and the only thing I could eat for 4 days was actually drinking, some lukewarm soup. And that still felt like I was swallowing a warm beverage with glass shards in it. H-o-r-r-i-b-l-e!

Enough babbling! To the recipe!

Sticky garlic shrimp on a bed of broccoli rice

When I am craving something sweet and salty and I need it quick, this is the recipe I usually go to. Because I like thining out of the box I though that this would pair well with some broccoli rice, and it did. Ready is 20 minutes!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: broccoli rice, gluten free, shrimp
Servings: 4 people
Cost: 12€

Ingredients

  • 400 grams frozen shrimp you can choose your favorite kind, with or without tail
  • 2 tbsp clear honey organic
  • 2 tbsp tamari sauce I'm avoiding glutens as part of elimination diet but if you don't mind you can just use soy sauce.
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger (optional)
  • 400 gram Broccoli rice Nowadays you can buy it premade in stores, but it is easy to make yourself.
  • 1 zucchini
  • 100 grams edename
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  • Whisk the honey, tamari sauce, garlic, and ginger (if using) together in a medium bowl.
  • Add shrimp to the marinade and put away in fridge. I don't have to remind you that if you let it sit overnight it will taste even better. So make it the day before if you can. Only takes a few minutes.
  • Chop the zucchini finely into litte squares.
  • Add the shrimp into a hot wok with coconut oil and cook each side for about 45 seconds, or until pink. You dont want them to be chewy like rubber, but you dont want to catch salmonella either. Am I right?
  • Once the shrimp are done, put to the side. You can either pour out the marinade into the bowl with shrimp or leave some in the wok.
  • Add chopped zucchini to the wok, cook 2 minutes, then add in the broccoli rice for a other 2 minutes. You can add a drizzel of tamari if you would like.
  • Prep your edamame. I also have a bag of frozen edaname in the freezer for snacking on or for in my son's lunchbox. We love it.
  • Once it is all ready, scoop some rice zucchini onto a plate, place the shrimps on top and finish it off with the edaname.
  • If you like it spicy like me, I pour some Sriracha sauce over it.

And voila! Done! Now go on, go and make it and tell me what you think.

And looking for something the kids will love, well try out my delicious taco recipe!

Sticky Garlic​​​ Shrimp sitting on Broccoli​​​ rice