Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dutch Queen's Birthday ~ Koninginnedag!

Windmills Orange Gouda CHEESE TULIPS Clogs bicycles CANALS diversity PORT Vincent van Gogh Queen Beatrix
A land claimed from the sea

Hip hip Hooray! It is the Dutch Queen’s Birthday today!!
Congratulations Queen Beatrix with your 70th Bday. I wish you a happy day!

Everyone in Holland will be dressed in orange today. And since the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with 395 people per square kilometers. And to put it into perspective; the US has 32 people sharing one square kilometer, Canada only 3.2! And since we’re moving to SA I like to put that in as well, it has 39 people per square kilometers! So Holland will be orange all over the place from North to South and East to West. It is such a happy color! I wish I could be there to witness the Queen visiting the chosen cities, the people who sell their stuff on the streets (everybody can sell anything just for today). It’s an official holiday in the Netherlands and everybody is on the streets celebrating, checking out the food and goody stalls on the streets. And everybody is wearing orange!

This orange craze started with the soccer games in Holland. Everybody started painting their faces and wearing silly hats and of course marketing wouldn’t be marketing if they didn’t invent something to add to all this craziness and festivities. Berentzen the producer of an apple liquor came up with a belt for the World Cup soccer in 2010 in South Africa, but it is already for sale for todays Koninginnedag; the Berentzen Orange Belt. This belt you can wear when you go out to party or for soccer games. There are small slots on it to fit small bottles of your own liquor, so every time your soccer team scores you celebrate it with a shot of your own Berentzen Apfelkorn!
Fun and sexy at the same time! (at least if you have a body like this ;-)

Although we are not in Holland today, we still will be dressed in orange! And since today Baskin Robbins is honoring America's Firefighters by selling ice cream for $.31 cents per scoop you will find us in Ridgefield at Baskin Robbins at 6:30 pm wearing our orange shirt and enjoying a scoop of ice cream!

Are you coming as well? We’ll see you after dinner ;-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I am posting 2 messages today, since I just discovered this site. Let me introduce rssHugger; is a new website developed to help bloggers promote their blogs, and to help visitors discover new blogs that write about subjects that the readers are interested in. Through the power of the internet and viral marketing, rssHugger looks to bring blog writers and blog readers closer together. If you own a blog, you can get your own page on rssHugger for 10 years for giving an honest review of the site on your blog.

Well, this is my promotion for the rsshugger site, now I have to see if it indeed attracts more visitors to my lovely site ;-)

Ballerina's in training

It's Tuesday again and that means Jasmine and Juliet have ballet lessons after school. Fun to see the little girls in their tutu's and ballerina outfits trying to do the arabesque.
Pretty soon they have a performance on stage, so the weekly practice is getting tougher and tougher. But the girls still love to go, and can't wait to perform on stage. Which excites and frighten's them at the same time. But at the end all the girls get flowers from their parents and that is really what they are looking for... receiving those pretty flowers and having your photograph taken at the stage, like a real princess as they say themselves ;-) The feeling of being in the spotlight is I guess already at a young age a nice feeling. Being 'important' and people looking up at you on that huge stage, they just can't wait. And me either, I am sure we will see some shaky legs up there ;-)

By the way: this picture is created via a website called:
Check it out, really cute stuff you can do with your photographs, easy breezy and free!
Have a great day y'all!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday JJ & Jezz!

Yesterday, April 27th it was Jasmine's and Juliet's 6th Birthday!! We had a big party at the house with our friends and their children. 18 adults and 18 children, so the house was full!
We started our day, really early, since the girls were so excited to open their gifts. Our guests were coming at 3pm, so JJ and Jezz played all day with their new toys, they were quite happy and content. But after a few hours, the day seemed so long for them, since we were up at dawn! They got excited and anxious now for their friends to arrive, so the party could start!
I was cooking food since 8am and just finished in time at 2pm to get myself ready and into the shower before everybody arrived. I made quite some international dishes from SE Asia, India, Kerala and it involved quite some preparation, but I am happy when I am fiddling in the kitchen. Our friend Espen who lives in the City came over for the weekend and the guys were doing their thing, while the girls played with their new Barbie laptop, nail art or make-over doll, while I cooked up a storm.

At 3pm the party started in full swing and we had a blast with all our friends, realizing that this was probably the last big party here at this house.
Well, happy memories for sure!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Nienke Sybrandy

I came upon this website of a Dutch designer and saw these amazing curtains, or as they say in Dutch: gordijnen. Nienke Sybrandy studied textile design at Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Her designs are inspired by those basic items that are often taken for granted. Check out her link at and see more of her designs, that make you think about items you use on a daily basis, she turned them into art!

A house roots underground in a worldwide network of pipes and cables. Everything we communicate through those roots is converted into a language which is the same all over the world: ASCII (American Standard code for Information Interchange). This computer language was invented in times we could not send our pictures by pixels. It was the first form of communication between people and computer. A language as universal as longing to your old window view. You can take pieces of furniture with you to your new house, but the growing tree in front of your window unfortunately not. These curtains visualise a tree which has his roots in the same ground as the house.

The ASCII Code Curtains is a very interesting approach to curtains design that was inspired by the sheer amount of information going through today’s networks. ASCII-Code curtains visualize the information network in a tree, using the very codes that represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that work with text. Gotta love design that is simultaneously geeky and chique.

Maybe an option for my new house in SA?
Have a great week y'all!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Soaking in the sun

The sun is shining for a few days now, and I am enjoying the fresh, crispy, new green buds on the trees. The daffodils that are everywhere. I am just sitting in my yard and enjoying it. The girls are playing outside, collecting bugs, flowers and other great finds. I am thinking about my life, the changes that will happen soon and just realizing that 6 weeks ago we where not aware of any changes in the near future. However, today I enjoy a quite moment for just a tiny moment here in my yard, sitting in the sun and soaking up the beautiful view of the lake in front of me.

The last month was just a whirlwind of activities. We went to SA for a look-see visit and house hunting trip. We rented a house there, after seeing about 30 properties in just 4 days. We came back and put our house on the market, after a quick sprucing up, some paint here and there, some freshly planted annuals in the yard, decluttering the whole house and hosting 2 Open Houses and the house is under contract now after just a merely 10 days on the market! I Can't believe it is happening in this slow market. I have mixed feelings at the moment, everything happening so fast. Although we are happy to find a great person who will buy our home, we are quite sad to leave this beautiful spot..... But that is how it goes in the Dijkstra household, leaving at the peak of the moment, so you only have nice memories left!
Can you imagine: 6 weeks ago; we didn't know we have a house in SA, almost sold our house here and moving the whole shebang in 8 weeks to the other side of the globe again.

I am also getting my citizenship next month, at least I have to do the test May 12th, so I have to start studying for that. We have to do all that paperwork again for our new visas for SA, it is a whole lot of paperwork. Luckily we have done it before, so it shouldn't be too much of a hassle. More paperwork to fill in for the new school for JJ and Jezz. Checking our health updates and immunizations if needed. A lot comes with moving to another country. So, still a lot to do in the coming weeks ahead of us.

But today, I am enjoying the sun, the view of the lake, I listen to the birds tjirping in the yard and just being happy and reflecting on the good times we had here!

Hope you do that as well, once in a while....enjoy the moment!
Have a great day y'all,
Mireille ;-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I am not a plastic bag!

My friend Valerie and I bought this sought after bag in NYC this weekend. Since Central Park was celebrating Earth Day we felt pretty good to walk around with this bag. However, is it an Eco-trend or a fashion faux-pax? The bag was sold out so fast in London, and in New York the shopping totes sold out within 29 minutes at the Columbus Circle branch of Wholefoods the day they came out! People queued up overnight, sleeping on camp beds and chairs to grab a bag when the store opened. On Ebay they are sold for up to $150...crazy isn't it? Fashion trend or not, it seems that folks are hungry for this sort of thing. Following the ongoing global movement to steer consumer culture away from excessive plastic bag consumption. (Banning plastic bags in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Melbourne).
I'm pleased to see reuesable tote bags make big gains in popularity, we used it all the time at home when I was a kid! Then it dissapeared for a while. Only now when the designers make a fashion statement out of it, it becomes trendy again and you'll see eco-chic tote bags of all shapes and sizes. However, the hype and excitement surrounding Anya Hindmarch’s trendy “I am Not A Plastic Bag” design (which sold out of London stores just hours after being released) is somewhat baffling, although we should be happy to see 'eco' becoming trendy. Hopefully it will continue to be trendy for a long time, so at the same time we'll save the planet bit by bit.

Today is Happy Earth Day, and I am trying to tell Jasmine & Juliet about how we can save the earth by Reducing, Reusing and Recycling. This little booklet helps them understand it more on a childs level. That is where we have to start, by teaching the children to take care of our earth. Not by bying designer bags....although if that means that you are not using as much as plastic bags, then you contribute at least. It is a big task, but if we all help a little, it becomes a lot!

Funky Doodle Donkey is all for Reducing, Reusing and Recycling. I believe Recycling is groovy, sassy, swanky, hip, bold & funky that gives you the wiggles & giggles!
Enjoy your Earth!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Great weekend in NYC!

Georgous weekend! Open House planned at 446 Bennetts Farm Road in Ridgefield, so we decide to stay in the City for a weekend. Couldn't have picked a better timing, it was soooo nice!!

Saturday afternoon we drove to the City and stayed in a hotel in Times Square. Perfect location, not too far to walk for the girls.

First we had planned a play at a theather for Children. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (by Laura Joffe Numeroff). When a boy shares his snack with a hungry, demanding mouse, he learns a hilarious lesson about cause-and-effect. "Sixty minutes of theatrical enchantment. This is pure theatre, with a capital 'I' for imagination!" And that indeed was true, the girls had a blast. It was so much fun! Now, we had to buy the book, we walked around to look everywhere, but of course when you want to find something you won't find it. So instead the girls saw Toys'R'Us and bought a Barbie instead...they happy, we happy since the search was over. And we could enjoy the rest of our stay and explored Times Square. Dirk and the girls were making silly faces while walking around, stopping now and then to pose in front of the camera.

After we walked around a bit we decided to go to Queen of Sheba, an Etheopian restaurant. We read on the internet that it was quite authentic, so we had to try it out! The atmosphere is lively and full of excitement. And since it was in midtown and close to our hotel, we went and we were not sorry. Indeed very authentic food and the wine from North Africa we ordered went well with it. Jasmine and Juliet didn't eat much, but loved the 'princess' atmosphere and played with their new bought mermaid Barbies, while we enjoyed our dinner eating only with our hands, since that is the tradition!

Sunday morning we met our good friends; the Liu's, for Dim Sum in China Town. Emmy, Ella and Mia are JJ & Jezz's best friends. So we made their day to meet in the City! Of course we ate so many goodies, but the girls as usual, are more into playing, so after a few bites, they were sitting on the floor and playing and singing away. Atracting quite the audience ;-)

It was Central Park's Birthday, the Pope was in town and the weather was georgous, it was extremely busy in the Big Apple. However, today it was called the Green Apple, since Central Park was celebrating Earth Day, lot's of activities were planned at the park. Such a georgous day, we just enjoyed walking around. The girls getting a face painting and they planted some new plants in honor of Earth Day. So we did some good for the Earth today while having loads of fun!

Being a bit giddy, wild and funny JJ, Jezz, Mia, Emmy and Ella posed for us as the next Super Models. It was almost the end of our fun weekend! We went back to our hotel to pick up the car and the Liu's went back to Central station to get their train back to Ridgefield. While we were driving back we heard this cute song from Yael Naim, called: New Soul. I wanted to share that with you ;-) Perfect ending of our perfect weekend! (check out the bottom of my blog for the video)

And while we were in the Big Apple, we had our Open House and quite some people took an interest in our home. So who knows, maybe we have a deal in our hands ;-)

Let's see and wait!
Tomorrow, school again, spring break is over!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Little Zebra or Kleine Zebra

Not many people might know this, but Belgium is quite the shopping paradise! Very sophisticated, cute, trendy and modern shops you can find tucked away in little cobblestone alleys and on the market squares from the bigger cities. However, this Belgium webshop sells their goods only online. Which is even better for us here in the US ;-)

I like to browse Dutch and Scandinavian websites quite a bit, to get inspiration, see what's in fashion and keep track of the latest trends. Since I know that pretty soon it will be here in the USA as well. Although of course, some trends never make it over the pond.
Lately however, with the drop of the dollar, it is not as interesting anymore to buy in Europe. Unfortunately the Euro is so high that it makes shopping online from overseas too expensive. Especially if we need to pay for the shipping and handling as well. Too bad, because look how cute and funky these items are. These are from an internet shop called 'little zebra' check out the link: It is managed by 3 sisters who all have children and didn't find the items they thought were funky enough for their growing family. So they decided to scout Europe and find the coolest items and voilà, this is the result. A webshop full of unique, groovy, sassy, swanky, hip, bright, bold & funky stuff that gives you the wiggles & giggles! They sell brands like Anne-Claire Petit, Mijnes, Colorique, Room Seven, Pakhuis Oost, Handed By, Rice, GreenGate, BiBib, Birdy nam nam, Cottonbaby, Esthex, Franck&Fisher, Sebra, Kidorable, Petit Jour Paris, Taftan, Present Time and Mimi'Lou.

From there to here, from here to there, Funky things are everywhere!... even and especially in Belgium ;-)

Have a fun day y'all!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Horton hears a who!

Today, we had the Open House for the realtors, so we had to be out of the house for a few hours. And since the girls have spring break, and they were complaining that since we have the house on the market I won't let them get all their toys out of the room and into the living area, that they were bored! So, I decided to go to the movies with them, I kinda felt sorry for them, they had a point there ;) The choice was: Horton hears a who, a Dr. Seuss movie. Great choice! JJ and Jezz had a blast, it is such a funny movie! We also went for lunch to Applebee's, or as JJ says: Applebeans and Jezz: Applebeast.
It turned out today was a girls day & night out! Since as soon as we came home, Patsy a friend of us called us to ask if we wanted to come over for a glass of wine and some dipping in the jacuzzi. So as well as mommy as the girls were happy to say YES to that invitation! Girls have to do what girls have to do... poor daddy is working his @#& off in Dubai. And I am sure wondering where we were when he does his daily call to the home front! So to quote Dr. Seuss (although I changed it a bit): From there to here, from here to there, Funky things are everywhere! You just have to find them ;-)
One day, Horton the elephant hears a cry from help coming from a speck of dust. Even though he can't see anyone on the speck, he decides to help it. As it turns out, the speck of dust is home to the Whos, who live in their city of Whoville. Horton agrees to help protect the Whos and their home, but this gives him nothing but torment from his neighbors, who refuse to believe that anything could survive on the speck. Still, Horton stands by the motto that, "After all, a person is a person, no matter how small".

Another day went by at the Dijkstra's.....

Monday, April 14, 2008

House for Sale

Our house is officially on the market under MLS #98374213, click on it to see a larger image. Go to and check our more details, if you are interested in buying a contemporary waterfront property with 3 beds/3baths in Ridgefield, CT.

We had yesterday our first Open House. It went well and we hope that a nice family will have such a good times in this house as we had. We will definitely miss it!

We were busy the last 2 weeks, with decluttering, sprucing up the yard and painting here and there, so the house looks nice, fresh and updated. The work paid off, it looks nice. Now we just need some sunny days so all the daffodils and the other flowers will come out and some more green in the trees and this yard here on the water will be such a delight! The coming weeks the garden will improve so much, all the grey will be gone and the fresh green will look so amazing here. Every year it baffles me how beautiful nature can be! You will see, I will keep updating photo's as the yard will become more green and green, it will look so fresh and beautiful. And then the newborn birds, geese and swans will come out of their nests, JJ and Jezz love this time of the year. It is so cute to see all these baby animals in our yard. Luckily we can enjoy it one more year before we are heading to South Africa!

Tell your family and friends to come to our Open House next Sunday, April 20th.
Hope to see you ;-)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

SA design & home decor

Before we went to SA for a look-see visit I was thinking already about which things I need to buy in the USA before we move. New things for in the home, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how many modern and up to date design and home decor they have in Johannesburg!! Wow, what a selection! They even have a complete Design Quarter, where I can experience the sensory pleasure of lavish shopping and delectable dinning in a stylish lifestyle centre created for people with a passion for interiors, design and fine eateries. With over 40 sensational stores including concepts stores with cutting edge approach of leading South African retailers. You will find Woolworths home & food, Boardmans, @home livings space and Mr Price Home.
Plus they have coffee shops and small restaurants there, so you can easily spend a whole day without being bored or hungry! I don't need to buy anything here in the US. They have probably even more all in one mall that is conveniently situated next to my new home ;-) So I can't wait to go and explore and shop for new things.

The styles are more European and I am very excited to see which styles are in fashion on the other side of this world. I've seen the styles here, so something new, something fresh.....mmmmm
I can't wait ;-)
They even have an Elle Decoration SA edition and House & Leisure SA, so there must be enough new and upcoming designers to have special editions just for SA.
Mireille is very excited!!
My husband will get a bit worried when he will read this, since he knows how well I can shop! haha...
But I have a good excuse, the house is about 2 times bigger than the house we are living in now, so obviously we have to add a few pieces!

And do you see these lounge chairs next to the pool, arent't they cute and have a fresh design? They probably would look good next to our new pool? Just an option, I have to check first what else they have there in SA. But I like what I see!

Pretty soon you will see me wandering through Design Quarter in SA and picking up some quirky pieces for our new ultra modern home!

PS: If you read this blog and you live in Joburg, please leave me a comment for more shopping tips since I will be new to the area in July.

Have a great day y'all.
Mireille ;-)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

As Art Up

The other day I stumbled upon another blog from a graphic designer Andrea Schreiber from Germany who also teaches art to children. Her work is phenomenal and I wanted to share it with you! Check out her blog at
Her work fits so well into my description of Funky Doodle Donkey; unique, groovy, sassy, swanky, hip, bright, bold & funky stuff that gives you the wiggles & giggles! And that also proves that From there to here, from here to there, Funky things are everywhere! These vibrant colors of Andrea's work make me happy, and soon she is opening a store at Etsy. So keep her in mind if you need something hip, bright, bold and colorful!
Have a great day y'all!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Planning for a moving / tag sale

Okay, what do you think I am doing these days? Preparing my move and going room by room to see what we don't need anymore in SA. Things will be different there, like climate and condition of living. Here we own our own home, so we need to work in the yard, paint the trims now and then. Keep up the house.... all that stuff we don't need to do anymore the next coming years. So that also means, we can get rid of a few things here and there. We will be renting a house, so small maintenance is not of our own concern anymore. The owner of the house is responsible for that...yeah! So the tag sale pile is getting bigger and bigger ;-)

The electricity in SA is 220 Voltage, so bye bye kitchen appliances, TV, radio's, hair dryer, iron, leave blower, grass mower etc..etc.. We have to sell my car, since they drive on the other side of the road in SA. It is not handy to import the bye bye car. Up to something new again...not bad moving once in a while ;-)

The weather is totally different than here in the North East; average temperatures are between 50-85 Fahrenheit. So bye bye winter clothes....not bad moving to a more tropical environment ;-) The weather is more comparable to San Diego, I like that! No more hats and gloves, no more scraping the windshield for a while. However, that also means no more ice skating on the lake in front of our house. But I am sure we will find some other things to do during that mild winter in SA. There is so much to explore.... I can't wait and tell you about it.

But now I have to go and declutter some more.... :-(
I need some more encouragement, don't feel like doing this anymore. I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Our house on the market in Ridgefield

So we made the decission; we are moving to South Africa! That means we have a house to sell. Big job and little time, so busy busy busy!! We are sad leaving our house in Ridgefield. It is such a nice house on a great location, right on the water. The house almost feels like a vacation home. We have a small boat so in the summer we go fishing on the lake. Even with a small Barbie rod the girls catch small fish every 5 minutes they throw a rod into the water. But there are also big carps in there, however, they are too smart to be caught! But just the fun of trying is great! In the fall you have the magnificent views of the the foliage of the trees surrounding the water. And in winter you can ice skate from the backyard. The 'wild life' that we have here, is not so wild as in SA, but we have deer, raccoons, little frogs and turtles which the girls like to play with. We have ducks, geese and swans all in our backyard which is great fun for small kids. So all in all we had a great time here on Bennetts Farm Road. We definitely will miss our spot here on the lake! But we are also looking forward to our new adventure in SA. So it is a good and sad feeling...
JJ and Jezz are especially excited to meet the BIG 5 in SA. The term 'Big Five' refers to five of Africa's greatest wild animals - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.
From where we are going to live we just need to drive about 1,5 hours and you're already in the Bushveld as they call it where you can stay in those quaint B&B's and see the animals roam into the wild. These are smaller parks with all the wild animals. And if we like to drive a little further, we are just 4 hours away from the famous Kruger National Park, the biggest game reserve that offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa and the world.

So we're moving from small 'wild life' to big wild life! I wonder what will be next?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Back from house hunting in SA

We are back from our trip to South Africa. With a flight of 30 hours from door to door from JFK-Dubai-Johannesburg it was quite the trip! Luckily we had a business flight so we could take a nap. Although we didn't do much napping, so much excitement, a lot to talk about and decission making for us. Dirk is offered a GM position in South Africa for his company. We just heard it 2 weeks ago and they asked us to go on a look-see trip and see if we would like to take the offer. At first we were a little apprehensive about the safety, schooling etc.. But once we were there, we felt much more at peace with everything and now we are really excited about going! The company arranged a relocation company to take us around for 3 days to look at everything from houses, to schools to surroundings. We were very impressed with how cosmopolitan everything looked. The restaurants are superb, the wines are out of this world (it is a wine country) and the variety in the shops is more like Europe than anything else. And the best part is, it is much cheaper!!
So our family is moving to South Africa and Dirk is starting beginning of July with his new job. Very exciting!! It is perfect timing, the girls can finish their school year here, have a summer break and start first grade in SA in August. They will go to an American International school, the curriculum is in English, but above that they will have Spanish and Dutch on top of that. We are thrilled with the school. The bus goes from door to door. No picking up or bringing them, safe and convenient! We already found a new home for us to live in, brand new very modern house with 5 beds/5 bath and a swimming pool in the yard. The house is on a secured estate with playgrounds, tennis courts, clubhouse, restaurant and small parks close to Johannesburg and Midrand, where Dirk will be working. So friends and family, there is enough space for you guys to come and visit us! Start saving for your trip to the Dijkstra family and join us on a safari in the bush with the big 5. It will be a trip of a life time!!

Now we have lots to do on this side; We have 3 months to sell our house here in the NE of the US, put all our furniture in a 40-foot container and move the whole shebang to the other side of the world again! We have done this before, so we know the routine. However it is still a bit daunting, since we have now small children and so much more stuff!!

The only sad thing is to say goodbye to all our dear friends here, we've made some really close connections with some great people. And we have to say goodbye, but luckily there is enough technology available to keep us close!


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