Tag Archives: belgium

A Kid’s Life: Belgium

18 Sep

In my life I have ties to three countries.  Italy, Canada and Belgium.  I’ve already done an interview with a Canadian and an Italian family and now it’s time to hear about daily family life in Belgium.  These three countries mean a lot to me and have three very different cultures.  Like I’ve said in the past, we’ve adopted different aspects of all three cultures into our daily routine and it really seems to work for us.  My kids eat dinner relatively early like in Canada, eat chocolate for breakfast like in Belgium and they eat gelato every day in summer like in Italy.

For my Belgian interview I immediately called my sister-in-law Julie.  Julie and I have a lot in common and have known each other for more than 15 years.  We met as young and innocent (!) university students and now we have 6 kids between us and have both opted for the stay-at-home-mother route in family life.

Julie lives in a beautiful house that is full of colour and style.  They’ve slowly renovated it over the years and they were even on a house make-over show in Belgium showcasing their kid’s room in the attic (gorgeous!).  They just welcomed their third child a few weeks ago so they’re busy to say the least (this interview was before little Billie arrived).  And can I just say that Julie and Michael’s kids are absolutely gorgeous?  And I’m not just saying that as a proud aunt…they’re seriously beautiful (and funny)!  Let’s take a look at what their life is like…

What country do you live in?


Are you and your husband the same nationality?


How many languages are spoken in your house?  What one(s)?

One, Dutch.

How many kids do you have?  What are their ages?

Two and a half.  Corneel is 4, Rosalie is 1 and there is a little one coming up in August.{Jillian: Little daughter Billie was born on August 29th!}

At what age do kids start school in your country?

At 2,5, but we only send them when they are  3.

During the school year what time do your kids usually wake up?

Around 8 o’clock.  Rosalie wakes up around half past 7.

What do your kids typically eat for breakfast?

Toast and jam or breakfast cereals and  Rosalie still has a bottle of milk.  On Sundays Corneeltje eats some slices of sugar bread with raisins … his favourite! {Jillian: I have to add here that most Belgians start their day with chocolate.  Whether it’s a chocolate spread, chocolate sprinkles or actual pieces of chocolate on bread…it’s a Belgium custom that wasn’t too hard for me to adopt!}

What time does school start?  What time does it finish?  What is the weekly school schedule? 

It starts at 8.45 and finishes at 4 every day except for Wednesday, then it also starts at 8.45 but it ends at 12. On Saturday and Sunday they have the day off.

Do your kids learn a second/third language at school?  From what age?

Yes, they learn French from the age of 9 years old.

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Immagine d’Estate

28 Jul

There hasn’t been much action around this blog lately.  We’ve been on vacation for the last few weeks and have been having a great time visiting family, friends and doing lots of Belgian-like activities.  We’ve had everything from winter weather to 35 degree heat and we’ve cycled our little hearts out through it all.  It has been an amazing holiday so far.  Here are a few images from the last few weeks…

Standing on their sand castle and waiting for the tide to come in.

A great-grandfather and a great-granddaughter sharing their love of stamps.

Visiting a vintage wallpaper shop in Gent.  The two old sisters who own it are worth the visit.

My kind of beach hut.

Some cows and on old German war bunker on the beautiful bike trails in Lier.

The kid’s set up a traditional Belgian bloemenwinkel (flower shop) on the beach.

Creating with clay with extended family.

A culinary experience involving paling (eel).   And it was (surprisingly) good!


17 Jul

The other day we all piled into the car and headed north to visit family in Belgium for a few weeks.  We started our day in 37 degree heat and air conditioning and ended our 12 hour voyage in 14 degrees and heating.

We are now in the land of chocolate, waffles, beer, french fries, mussels and so much more.  The kids are over the moon to be with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

After a few days of visiting various family members we headed to the sea.  We arrived in the pouring rain to a beautiful seaside apartment (thanks dear Julie!).  This morning we woke up to cloudy skies but dry weather and decided to do a long cycle ride to Holland and back.  The goal for the kids to get through the 50 km bike ride was the promise of the best pancakes in Belgium at the end.  We all got through it and they were indeed delicious.

During our cycle trip we came across an entire town in Holland that was transformed into an outdoor rommelmarkt (flea market).  We stopped and browsed through it and ended up buying these vintage umbrellas.  The kids were excited until hearing from the enthusiastic seller that he found them in an old box from the 50’s in a dead woman’s house.  They are in great shape and were a bargain at 5euro for all three.

I also came across this old book about making old scary looking dolls!  For 1 euro I was tempted to buy it.

Pensive cyclist dreaming of pancakes.


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