Our first blog!

And here it is: our first blog!

1/29/20246 min read

And here it is: our first blog! You probably think: another blog, what will they write about. Well about things that keep us busy. What we like and enjoy doing and might be interesting to you. So you will find a little bit of everything on this blog. And hope you look forward to seeing what we have come up with to share with you!

What interests us is probably what you want to find out. We love to cook, entertain, work in our house or garden, see new places and make memories together and with our kids. We are pretty creative people who go all out for Halloween, Saskia loves to create and Jaco loves to sing. The area we live in has a lot to offer that we will be sharing about. You will find recipes that we love, traditions we value, places we visit and more!

But first things first: an introduction so you know who will be sharing all these things. We are Jaco and Saskia and live (currently) in Marshfield, Wisconsin. We are originally from The Netherlands and moved to the USA in 2008. A leap of faith brought us here but that will be a story for another time (same as our wedding, always a fun story to tell). It’s the 4 of us with our 2 Bernese mountain dogs Bella and Bianca. We have lived in Virginia Beach (VA), Augusta (GA) and Pullman (WA), so we’ve been around. Jaco is managing a bunch of engineers at a stainless company in the area and Saskia just started with a new challenge as a real estate agent. If you are local you will see her name pop up more and more.

Our sons Lucas and Christian are 2 teens. You might see them pop up in the blog. But like every teen they are a hit or a miss with cooperating with photos or what they would like to have shared, and we respect that. Their passion (at this moment) is playing computer games with friends and Magic the Gathering.

We hope to bring you some laid back reading that you can read in your favorite spot in your favorite chair. Bringing you inspiration for next week's dinner, a spot you’d like to visit or just want to see what we are up to in our house or what grows in our garden. That’s how we came up with the name of the blog. One of our favorite spots of the house is our front porch. We love to sit there after a day's work with a glass of wine or on weekends have our morning coffee (tea) and relax. The porch is a huge part of the character of our old house. It only took Saskia over a year from scraping the paint off the ceiling to painting and reattaching the trim. Because you know projects take time and ceiling projects are just a dreadful thing. Especially a ceiling like this that needs to be painted with a brush and has gaps everywhere between the old boards. But it shows to never give up and it will get done (eventually). A thrifted lantern and rocking chairs from facebook marketplace just made the porch the way we like it. Too bad winters are long and cold in Wisconsin so we can’t enjoy it year round but we enjoy it even more when the weather permits us to sit out there.

You have seen a bit of our house so let’s talk a bit more about it, you will see a lot more of it when you follow along. We live in an old farmhouse that was built around 1895 and had a big addition in the 90’s. We have creaky floors, old original windows in the old part, and a weird attic. The addition almost doubled the square footage and has a vaulted ceiling with tall windows over 2 stories. We just fell in love when we saw it! We never thought we would buy a house this old.

Our houses have been so different where we have lived. From

  • 1980’s row house with a z-shape living room (and a blue kitchen) in the Netherlands (not pictured),

  • 1970’s ranch rental with shiny yellow venetian plaster dining room and vinyl kitchen floor in Virginia Beach,

  • Our first own home: a new construction suburb with a crazy big master bedroom but magnificent kitchen in Augusta,

  • Mid century modern with vaulted ceiling with huge windows on a hill in Pullman. We put a lot of work in this house. The purple bathroom with parquet and the galley kitchen just had to be updated. You will see another blog post about that coming this year.

Ok back to our current house! Like I said it’s old and that brings good bones but also means projects take more time (and of course cost more). We’ll show you the good and the bad things along the way.

With the house came 4.5 acres. They used to rent the house and garden for weddings (a lot of people in the area have been here) and that shows. A bit neglected when we moved in (no weddings for a while because of the dreaded covid) but it’s looking a lot better after putting some work in. Cleaned up plant beds, new borders and a vegetable garden that we hope to expand this year. A log cabin, a cute blue shed and ornamental trees make it a really great place to enjoy. We’ll take you along as we do projects here and grow flowers and veggies or have events in the future.

The kitchen will hopefully be one of our first projects. See that stove? Yes looks amazing doesn’t it…..well it’s not a chef’s dream to work with. And have you seen how little workspace we have, it can be really cramped in there especially around rush hours like breakfast and lunch when everyone wants to be in there and make their meal. So hopefully we can tackle that in the future. As with every project though, especially kitchens, we will need to save and plan first before we can get started (which is crazy hard for Saskia who has no patience and wants to start tomorrow). So for a while you will see this stove and counters popping up. It did get a little paint makeover. The magic of paint is amazing!

Talking about meals we grew up with having our meals together at the dining table and that’s what we still do and value. When the boys have friends over we also have our meals together. At first some friends had to get used to sitting down all together and waiting until everyone was finished, which usually leads to chatting a long time after everyone is finished and having the best conversations. Now they enjoy coming over and staying for lunch/dinner. The belly laughs we have at the dinner table are the best! Our dinners are hardly ever the same. We love all different types of kitchens and like to try new recipes. Some are a success and some are a miss (you can ask the boys and their friends). We will share with you our most loved recipes so you can enjoy them too. Saskia loves to bake and will share this along the way too. We were so spoiled with Dutch bread growing up that homemade bread is just the way for us. Unfortunately due to a wheat allergy Jaco can’t enjoy homemade regular bread. Baking wheat free bread and making wheat free meals is definitely a challenge we have been taking on and it’s not always been a success either.

Wow so many things that you can expect from us and then we haven’t even written anything about our exploring and experiences we do outside of the house. Where do we even find time to do them? Well we do! And we have been to some special spots that we will tell you about so you can explore them as well and we will take you on new adventures with us.  We hope you will enjoy reading about our journey through life. If you would like to see anything in particular or have a question, don’t hesitate to comment! You can also find us on facebook: sittingontheporch and Instagram: saskia_zijlstra