Things to do with a family in Brussels: Blue bells are ringing!

Everything's coming up bluebells (thank you iPhone)
Everything’s coming up bluebells (thank you iPhone)

We got a car. Woot! That means even more fun things to do with little ones and families in and around Brussels. After four years of carlessness, we have a full roster of unseen awesome things and today we checked one off the list, taking in the bluebells at Hallerbos. After doing some reading, I was not holding my breathe on catching them this late in April. With the early spring, I assumed we missed them. I was very happily wrong!

Located about 15 minutes outside of Brussels, Hallerbos is a beautiful forest tucked between small, typical Belgian villages. When you are there, it is impossible to guess you are just minutes from a thriving metropolis. Lots of parking along a country road and several route options depending on the length of your little person’s legs also would be suitable for prams. We had such a fabulous time looking at the blue bells that carpet the forest floor. You can’t help feeling that there is some magic in the air. We played with sticks, looked at bugs and generally took in the outdoorsy-ness of it all. It made me realize that no matter how much time we spend in parks, it is no replacement for the real thing and I have sworn to get my citified kids out in the wilderness much more.

I would say the flowers have no more than a week left in them so get thee to Hallerbos and enjoy the magic show.

 

Shadow Games

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Shadow games

Back from holiday and back to reality. Its a tad on the soggy side and though we were well intentioned to hit Baboes or the Baby Gym today, instead we played and practiced our colors in the studio. That was when Zoe sparked the fabulous idea of playing in the window. The photographer side of my brain couldn’t resist grabbing my camera. The result was magical. Here is our Friday!

Finger tips
Finger tips
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Heavenly things
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Tippy Toes
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Mischief managed!

Welcome to the World Clara!

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Lashes

Fall is really on us now and I am loving every second of it. Just working through my last sessions before our new little one joins the family. I may have made a mental error in thinking that #2 would make an early appearance, similar to his big sister. This is proven to NOT be the case. Come on little guy!

I love newborn sessions. Tiny babies, so sweet and the new families enjoying the moment. I loved having this beautiful new family in the studio last week. I am happy to share these beautiful pictures with you to brighten your Sunday. Cheers!

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A small package
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Pappa’s girl
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Special delivery
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Waiting on an angel

A walk in in the Park with the Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprout blog (1 of 1)

Way back in distant memory, I was medium pregnant with Bababoo and wondering how the heck I was going to manage to have and raise a baby in a foreign country. A Google search did not yield much but it did point me in the direction of the Bxl Sprouts blog by expat momma extraordinaire, Sandra Amorim. Lots of great stuff about local resources, child development and reflections on momming in a foreign land.

Fast forward two years and the thought occurred to me, what a great idea to invite the Brussels Sprouts for a photo session. Well we made it happen! Sandra was kind enough to write about our morning on her blog. You can read all about it here!

If you are not yet following the Bxl Sprouts, you should! Its a great read!

First look: Welcome to the world Naia

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Welcome little angel

It is a very special thing to be ask to take newborn photos. This is one of the most special times to capture and often to then share with family and friends, this is our baby! After a great maternity session, I was excited to hear that Little Naia entered the world in early May and to then have the whole family in the studio a mere 12 days later.

We take our time with newborn session, working at a comfortable pace with breaks for feeding, holding and kisses. It was a blast playing with little shoes and hats, vintage baby blankets and of course plenty of pictures of the new family together. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

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In good hands
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Daddy’s girl
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Caught in the act!
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Kiss waterfall

Things to do with a baby in Brussels: Visit a farm!

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Let me in!

Howdy-ho folks! Spring is here to stay. We are so excited to get our sunshine on! Bababoo has had a busy week, taking first steps, babbling up a storm. One of her favorite things in the world is to read books. One of the big discoveries I have had as a new mom is that it is nearly impossible to find kid’s books that don’t feature animals in one way or another (why would you want to?!). So bababoo is quite well versed in chickens, cows, monkeys, elephants, lions, horses and sheep.

Well I realized the other day they though she knows them well in the pages of her favorite books, besides the occasional dog, cat or police horse, she had not seen many animals in person. Well the sun was shining and birds singing so we decided to pack it up and head out to one of Brussels many animal farms, La Ferme Nos Pilifs.

About a 20 minute drive from Chez Bear & Dragon, La Ferme is a true slice of heaven. In additional to lots of happy, well-cared for animals, they also have a lovely little cafe, organic food market and flower and plant nursery. Another really cool aspect is that it is largely run by people with physical or developmental handicaps, providing them with meaningful work and training.

We started with a quick bite in the cafe and soon took a walk to see the animals. We saw some of the greatest hits for sure. Zoe squealed, smiled, touched and altogether charmed a succession of donkeys, horses, cows, rabbits, geese, chickens, goats, sheep and baby lambs. Also two giant pigs that turned out to be favorites. I can only image that this was her first Disneyland-type experience of watching animals she was familiar with come to life before her very eyes. It was truly magical.

What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. Apparently I had so much fun, I barely took any pictures. 🙂 I know we will be back many times! So check out the Ferme and soak in the sun and giggles.

Where: Trassersweg 347 – 1120 Bruxelles

When: Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 18pm and Sunday from 10am to 18pm

How much: Free!

Here are some other farms to consider. Did not check them out (yet) but they are on the list.

La Ferme de Parc Maximilianhttp://www.lafermeduparcmaximilien.be/

La Ferme du Planois: http://www.lafermeduplanois.be/

Ferme d’Uccle: http://www.tournesol-zonnebloem.be/fr/

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Clutch
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Bunny heaven

Things to do with a baby in Brussels: The Toy Museum (Le Musée du Jouet)

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Ride ’em cowgirl!

Hello people! News has it that today should be 20 degrees. 20 degrees! Its cloudy now but just you wait. I can already feel the warmth coming!

It was on a not so warm Sunday about a month ago that the Bear and I flat out ran out of Sunday Funday ideas. it was just then that I remembered a recommendation from long ago. Check out the Toy Museum. We’re in!

I love museums, the Bear is not so much a fan (protests were quieted after a pre-museum beer) and Zoe’s one adventure to the Barberini Museum came when she was way too young to decide. Anyhow, off we went and I must say, it was an interesting time.  Le Musée du Jouet is a massive four story home turned into a toy wonderland. Very impressive displays of antique and handmade toys. The best part was that it was quite interactive with lots of games for the little ones. Also THE most impressive set of play kitchens manned by a number of over-zealous 6 year olds on a birthday party.

It is a tad on the expensive side (5.50 EUR) per adult, under 4’s for free but still cool to check out. Did I mention they are open 366 days a year. Impressive!

Most recommended for the over two set. Happy playing!

Where: Verenigingstraat 24, 1000 Brussel, Belgium

When: 366 days a year (WOW) from 10 to 12 am and from 2 to 6 pm.

PS Alot of people have been asking how the photography business is going. Great! I am having a blast and meeting all sorts of lovely little ones and families. If you want to learn more about Bear & Dragon Photography, check out our website here. http://bearanddragonphotography.com/

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And around and around they go!
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Putting Easy Bake Oven to shame
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A Bear steals the camera. 🙂

Things to do with a baby in Brussels: Cook & Book

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The couches also make excellent horsies

Well its cold outside…still. Plans for a park picnic no longer make sense so what to do for a fun day out? Today we turn to Cook & Book. After getting recommendations from several people to check out this booky paradise, we finally made it down. Why did I wait!?

Cook and Book is a massive book store with several “kitchens” turning out excellent cuisine ranging from salads and soup, pastas, asian and classic Belgian. Everything we tried was delicious and fairly baby friendly. Booster and baby seats kept bababoo comfortable.

After lunch we ventured into the book sections. I must admit I have a severe weakness for beautiful books. Bababoo seems to be following suit. So we hit up the kids section. The layout was friendly for adult and baby perusal. After careful consideration, we went home three books richer.

Though we did not make it there, I understand the youth section (non-English) is gorgeous with toys, books and play space. Cook & Book hosts many storytelling events that sounds really lovely, especially for the slightly older set.

Enjoy!

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A classic reading space
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Chat and read
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yes we do

Things to do with a baby in Brussels: Playdate at Baboes

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Through the looking glass

Given my love of well stocked playrooms, it is somewhat of a mystery why I just now made it down to Baboes. Organized by the Flemish community but open to all, Baboes is another great place to get out of the house and enjoy some good company with the little one. Targeted towards kids 0 – 4, there are several play spaces. Some for the really small set, and several for the older. My personal favorite is the ball pit, yes, a ball pit! With a slide! Just looking at that sea of little green balls transports me back in time to my own childhood. Wonderful.

Opening hours are geared towards the morning. Oh yeah, THAT’S why we haven’t been much, but one day a week they are open in the afternoon.

There are two locations, one in St Catherine and one near Gare Midi (Nieuwland). The Nieuwland location is newer and really lovely inside but I must confess, rather scary to walk to. I don’t think I will head back that way. The St Catherine location is convenient by metro and to some of my favorite restaurants. Thank you very much.

Please enjoy this lovely space!

How much: Free

When: Open Tuesday mornings (8.45am to 1pm), Wednesday afternoons (12.30pm to 4.30pm), Thursday afternoons (1pm to 5pm) and Saturday mornings (9.30am to 12.30pm).

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Toys ❤
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The deep, green sea
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Welcome to Baboes