Hi, I am Janneke, I live in Groningen, a city in the north of The Netherlands with Guido and our (almost) two year old son Abel. I am the owner and designer of my labels Hikje and Plaksels and I run an online store called Hikjes in Huis where I sell products for kids and home accessories.
What kind of house do you live in - are you and the kids happy here, or is there anything you find lacking, or would like to change?
We recently moved from a one-bedroom apartment to a ‘real’ family home with three bedrooms and a large attic. After almost two years Abel finally has his own little boys bedroom and we have our own bedroom instead of sleeping in the living room area. Guido and I both have our work studios at home, so it is nice to have a separate living area now.
We live in a very child friendly neighborhood, kids are playing in the streets and we have an amazing playground just around the corner of our house. I love living on the outskirts of the city, surrounded by trees, grasslands, silence and peace, but still being only a ten-minute bike ride away from the city centre.
Do you like to spend time decorating your home, and your child’s room?
Since we just moved, decorating our house is still a work in progress. One of the first things I finished was Abel’s bedroom. I like leaving his room simple but playful. Having an online store with beautiful items means being my own best customer. I like to combine modern and new products with some vintage toys for Abel to play with (which he loves).
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, or blogs?
I absolutely love Pinterest, it’s a place where you can get lost by looking for new ideas.
What places in your neighborhood do you like to shop at?
HEMA! This is a famous department store in the Netherlands, they are known for good quality, but also for great design. I love that they often work with young talented designers/illustrators to design everyday products and clothes. I’m not a big fan of shopping for clothes, but I do enjoy visiting thrift stores. Searching for toys, furniture and books there makes me very happy. For small presents to myself I often visit Een Nieuw Avontuur a beautiful online store with paper goods owned by my friend Martine. I love buying myself some new masking tape (there’s always room for another roll :) Pompoms or stationery.
The days I like best are the days we can spend outside. Getting up early, meeting friends for coffee and go outdoors to the woods or a playground. Seeing your child with a big smile on his face and bright red cheeks from playing outside all day makes me feel very blessed. Most times, the simplest activities with your child like just being outdoors together as a family makes him and us the happiest.
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your child?
At the moment it’s mostly drawing and painting. I often look on Pinterest for craft ideas. I found some great recipes for homemade play dough and puffy paint. Also, we love to make castles out of cardboard boxes (or should I say I like to make them, since Abel can’t hold scissors yet…) It’s a perfect activity on rainy days!
Do you really want to keep your house clean when crafting? Maybe you should only craft outdoors then. I don’t mind the mess, just try to keep your kids in one room so the mess won’t spread to the entire house. : )
Are there musical instruments in your house?
Since Guido is a composer, our house is full of musical instruments. The piano is the most prominent instrument in the house, Abel loves to press all the keys and make ‘music’ I’m not a big fan of playing children’s songs all day long, it drives me crazy! Luckily Abel loves my kind of music too and starts dancing and singing whenever I turn it on.
What are your all time favorite books for children?
Definitely Eric Carle books, but also Jip and Janneke by Annie M.G. Schmidt and all books by Roald Dahl.
How do you buy your books? Bookstores? Online?
I love to buy children’s books in thrift stores. It’s much cheaper and I like the dirty spots and torn pages in second hand books.
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
Both! I grow my own vegetables and herbs in my garden and love to use them in my cooking. Abel sometimes helps me by watering the plants and picking the herbs. I let him taste everything. I’m very lucky to have a kid who’s very easy when it comes to food.
What a lovely Mom Story Janneke, thank you for sharing it with us!