Meet Mom Jacoline from the Netherlands…
I am Jacoline van de Meent (29) and founder of Bibelotte. Married with Nico for 7 years, and we have 3 small children. Lucas (5years) who wants to be a farmer! He is always busy with insects, loves his judo lessons and really wants to play the trombone. Josephine (4years) wants to be a fire-man, or she wants to make nice things. She is very creative and always helpful. Femke (3years) is the youngest. Femke wants to be a ambulance car (!) or a princess, she cannot decide. She loves hats and bags and she collects lots of things in one of her many bags. I started making children’s accessories when Lucas was a baby and soon started selling online. Within a couple of years Bibelotte was born and now is a leading brand, sold all over the World.
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 live in a small old house, build in 1923. It has lots of old details and a nice
garden. We love it, but our dream is to buy a farm. We like lots of space, nature, (countryside) the garden and the outdoors. We are looking for a farm, but we are not in a hurry.
Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?
Yes, I like to spend time on decorating my home but unfortunately I haven't much time for this. I love nice stuff but it must be practical, I don't like things for decorating that have no function. Of course I have a lot of accessories and bedding for the children’s rooms. This is my job and I get much of the Bibelotte samples and prototypes for the children. It’s a good test, trying the products by myself!
Do you keep your children’s play areas very separate or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?
We have a playroom but sometimes the whole house looks like a playroom. I find it very important that children can enjoy themselves in a house. So we have reading and craft corners throughout the house but the lego and toys are usually in the playroom.
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
Mostly in magazines and blogs. I mix my own style, I like lots of styles. Modern and design but also vintage or classic. Most importantly, there is a balance and it says something about yourself. An interior should not be perfect, it should just say something about the people, their passion and show memories. And it must be lived in! An interior with some things you like and some you don't really like but they all have a nice memory or where given by someone you love.
I really like the Scandinavian style. I always buy magazines from Denmark. They give me lots of inspiration in.
What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
Children's books! I can not imagine a home without children's books! Our children love them, reading is their favorite pastime. They also love the sofa,they imagine it being a big ship that brings them to America. Or sometimes its a big shovel, lifting the cushions on the sofa with a long rope. I have also a lot of poufs, they use them also for everything. of ..(use them in their imaginative play)
Some tidying tips? Do your children tidy up after themselves?
Oh..that's very difficult. Lucas doesn't like this but Josephine is very tidy. I set the alarm and when the bell goes , everything must be tidy. We make it into a game, we are against the clock!
What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?
I do not go shopping often, usually I order online. I love this site. But if I go, I really like Utrecht or Amsterdam. Another favorite city is Glasgow or Edinburgh!
What's it like to raise a child in your town?
We live in Ede, a village near forest and heathland. We love to go to the heathland for a short walk or to say hello to the sheep. Near the parking area is a restaurant called Juffrouw (miss) Tok. After our walk, we go for a hot chocolate with whipped cream to warm us.
Who do you consider is a good example for your children?
I think it's important to be honest and have respect for others. We encourage our children to get their own opinion but also respect opinions of other people.
This is also important in our business Bibelotte. We established a project in Indonesia “ Give people hope” , where we employ disadvantaged women and give them support and a change of a better life.
What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
Obedient children who do not quarrel….;-) of argue zou ik eerder gebruiken
What is a normal day with your children?
I only work for Bibelotte when the children are at school. When the children get home in the afternoon, we play and spend time together. I only use a child-minder one day a week, I want to be with my children as much as possible………
What do you do on weekends?
Weekends are quality time. On Saturday morning Nico works and I go to the fresh market. In the afternoon we do fun things together, we go to the zoo, a museum or we go to the forest, the Posbank or the Hoge Veluwe. In the summer we play and eat in the garden. On Sunday we turn off our computer and cellphone and do nothing but relax with the children and go to church. No work, no obligations just time for the children.
Tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made.
This summer we had a barbecue in the garden. Lucas was excited and ran in the kitchen: Mom I’ve put the sausages already on the altar!
Any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?
How2talk2kids from Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. They have a lot of great tips! And: they work!
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
We love to paint, with watercolor and also finger paint. Josephine loves drawing. She is very creative. Another nice thing we like to do is making paintings on canvas. We buy cheap canvasses from 20*20 cm. and paint on them. They make lovely presents for grandparents and teachers. Or we make candle lights out of empty jars, we cover the jars with thin paper, just like paper mache. They also make very nice presents and are fun to make.
Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
No! Let your creativity not be stopped by wanting to paint without any mess! But when it's nice weather, we go outside and paint in the garden.
Any decoration ideas on how to hang, keep or use them as presents?
In the kitchen, we have a narrow wall and the children can hang their own drawings with masking tape. They like it!
How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
We have a tradition with the birthday cake. The birthday cake must be very special and is a big surprise. past time Femke got a beautiful princess cake with a “real” princess in the middle.
What kind of sports do your children like to do and are you very involved?
Lucas goes to judo classes which he loves.
Are there musical instruments in your house?
Josephine learns to play the recorder . Lucas is desperate to play the trombone, but is a little bit too young for this, so he has to wait! Josephine would also like to play the violin, but first she has to learn to play the recorder.
What are all time favorite books for the children?
"Piep mag Mauw zeggen" by Frans Lases with great drawings from Tom Schamp or the books of Annie MG. Schmidt. I love them too! Especially Ibbeltje, we have all the radio plays of Ibbeltje and listen a lot to them. It is such good humor! Every holiday we buy books, so they're kind of holiday souvenirs. Our children also receive books on Christmas day.
What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?
They do not watch movies very often but sometimes they like to watch Bob the Builder. I really like Pippi Longstocking but they find that too scary!
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
Both! I really love cooking, but I'm also very fond of eating out. Cooking and baking is relaxing for me, I love to be busy with food and really enjoy good food. When Nico and I go out, we prefer to go for a meal. We love to try new restaurants and new dishes.
Do you cook together with your children? Does Dad cook?
Together we make cookies or bake cakes and the kids help peel apples or potatoes. Nico is very good at making pancakes, when I make them they always fail. Nico is also the man of the salads. He makes delicious salads in the summer, with lettuce and tomatoes from our garden.
What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and without the children?
We really love going to Denmark! There is so much to do, even for the kids! Delicious food, very fresh and tasty. The children go out to the sea to catch shrimps and bring them to us. There are so many lovely things for sale and the country inspires me and I feel very relaxed. Each year Nico and I go for a little break together. Just no work, no kids but time for each other. This is very important for us, we both have our own business and our 3 little children. If we are not careful, we have never time for each other!
Do you keep some sort of travel journal with the children?
It's very important for Lucas to write down every night what we have done. This gives him peace and overview. So it's like a travel journal and it's nice to carry and bring back memories!
What kind of souvenirs can they bring back home?
Femke always finds the most beautiful stones. She carries them with her the entire walk. Back at home in Holland she keeps the stones in one of her many, many bags! And I buy always much nice things like cushions, posters, books in the holiday’s, memories of a great time!
How do you prepare for a trip, any useful tips?
We don't like to plan too much. We often go for a last minute holiday, just decide on where to go, get some stuff ready , pack the car and go . We don’t worry to much if we have everything, if you forget something you can always buy it. The summer-holiday requires more preparation but also here we book briefly before we go.