Monday, May 26, 2008

on vacation...

Hi guys,

We're on vacation in Mont Tremblant and Montreal, Canada for 4 days, then we move on to Burlington, Vermont and at last we stay a weekend in Boston, MA.
So for a week I won't update this blog, but next week I will give you an overview of our days here.

Ciao, Mireille

Friday, May 23, 2008

Crazy Hair Day

At Barlow Mountain Elementary school here in Ridgefield they 'celebrated' Crazy Hair day today. So I asked the girls what they wanted to do with their hair. First they said they wanted to dye their hair red like Ariel. So we went to the pharmacy but we couldn't find dye that is washable and we didn't have the time to go to a mall. We started looking around what else we could do and suddenly they saw these blond hairpieces and that was a perfect second choice! Hair as blond as their teachers! Well, that is what they got. However, the teachers don't have hair like this, at least not the style, the color kind of matches, but the girls thought it looked exactly, so happy as can be we went home with the blond hairpieces. For 1 day they will look like their teachers ;-)

Funny how blond hair looks on them, we laughed so loud! These silly hairpieces gave them a new identity for a day!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I just signed up on this website called Kiva. I hear you saying? What is Kiva?? Well, Kiva lets you lend to a specific entrepeneur in the developing world. You can choose the country, the person and the amount you are lending. It is such a great concept. I heard about it a while ago, but forgot to sign up. Then last night I was thinking about it again and so I did sign up just now and share with you the person I've picked to lend money to.

Let me introduce Phoebe Ikhiuwu to you. Phoebe Ikhiuwu sells traditional women's clothes (known in English as a wrapper). She is 41 years old and is married with four children. She is from Edo State, Nigeria. Phoebe has been in this business for the past 6 years. This she learnt for 5 years as an apprentice.
Phoebe is a LAPO client. She needs a loan of $700 to buy more inventory. This will help her to better serve her costumers.

Isn't this a great concept? With small investments you can make a huge difference to other entrepeneurs in developing countries. Isn't this one of the best ways to empower our neighbors, giving them opportunities to become economically independent, improve their standard of living, and alleviate poverty for themselves and their communities.

I like the idea that I am helping another female who is struggling to keep her family alive. I chose a country in Africa since we are moving to that continent pretty soon and I just love the fabrics she is selling. And who knows, maybe I can visit Phoebe some day? I wish her all the best and hope that you open your hearts and wallets and go to Kiva and support a person who needs it. GIVE BIG is Oprah's idea, it feels so good. Well, let me tell you...this feels good too although it is not as big as Oprah's giving, every bit helps. And this is a way that it is so personal and more important 100% of my donation goes to Phoebe! Go Phoebe! I wish you all the succes in the world!!

love, Mireille

Flower Fairies searching for Forest Fairies

14 little girls, age 5+6 were dressed up as Flower Fairies. It was a magical Sunday, a day to remember for a long time. I am talking about the birthday party I organized for Jasmine and Juliet in the forest.We had all the girls dressed up in little flower fairies outfits and they went on a scavenger hunt in the woods to gather items so they could build a fairy house for their friends the Forest Fairies. It was a wonderful day with all these little girls, their imagination running wild, and of course seeing these magical Fairies flying in the air. Only those who believe can see them...of course!
Juliet's class
Jasmine's class
Once they had build the house, they blessed it with homemade Pixi dust to make the fairy house magical and to welcome the new habitants. They were so serious in their cute to see!
Fairies also get hungry, so we had some fairy sandwiches, fairy berry punch, fairy cupcakes and fairy berry cake to celebrate JJ and Jezz's 6th Birthday!

The girls danced and sang songs to attract the fairies to their new homes. We even created a fairy potty....since fairies also have to pee. That was something to experience, so of course all the girls had to go...Can you imagine? I let the details out, but we did it very tastefully and private ;-) as good fairies would do!

The girls had a great time, and so did I!
Have a good one, Mireille

Friday, May 16, 2008

Funny toes or funny shoes?

JJ and Jezz got new water shoes yesterday. So when they tried them on, by accident one of JJ's toes came out, well that was the beginning of a hilarious laughter almost the whole afternoon. Now trying to do both feet and walking around with funny feet. Kids can be so silly about little things...and I must say I lauhged out loud too for a while, we had such a giggle attack. So are these funny shoes or funny toes?? From there to here, from here to there, Funky things are everywhere! It definitely gave us the wiggles and giggles!!

Try as well to find the funny in something small. Makes your day!
Have a great day y'all!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chocopologie by Knipschildt chocolatier

Yesterday I had lunch with the girls and my friend Marion and her children and her friend from Barcelona who was visiting her. It was Montse's last day here in the US. So we wanted to go somewhere special. We went to Chocopologie in South Norwalk.
(la Madeline au truffe; was recognized by Forbes magazine as the most expensive chocolate in the world. One truffle cost $250.00!!) Source: Diana Kuan; for Boston Globe

Chocopologie is the sort of place that will make an addict out of a casual fan. The bonbon case alone shows off more than 20 varieties of chocolate from dark with lavender ganache to white with a Turkish coffee center.
The cafe on trendy South Main Street wouldn't be out of place in the South End or downtown Manhattan. Cool lounge jazz wafts from speakers. An industrial-chic metal grating covers one wall, while the film "Chocolat" is projected onto another. On a stand by the restroom is a dress made for the 2006 New York Chocolate Show, with pastel chocolate buttons attached to the cloth.
Fritz Knipschildt, 34, a Danish-born chef and chocolatier, opened Chocopologie in 2005 as an addition to his chocolate-making operation. He first encountered gourmet chocolates and petits fours as a 13-year-old apprenticing in kitchens around France. "When you start to taste these chocolate creations you fall in love," said Knipschildt. "I started to realize there were many things you could do with just chocolate."
Knipschildt, who was born in Odense and worked in Copenhagen, France, and Spain, came to the United States in 1996 to work at a restaurant in New York's Westchester County. Before long he moved to Connecticut. In 1999, after a lot of experimentation in his home kitchen, he opened Knipschildt Chocolatiers in South Norwalk. "The first week, someone gave a box to Dean & DeLuca, and they began ordering from us," he said. "Soon Oprah found out about the chocolates, and put them in her magazine three times. Which is good, because I never had any money to do advertising."

Instead of just showing off the finished creations in display cases, Knipschildt decided to reveal the entire chocolate-making process. Culinary voyeurs can sit at a counter in the long hallway and watch what's happening in the kitchen through large windows. At one station, a pastry cook fills a mold with dark chocolate. At the next window, another cook dusts full sheets of truffles with crushed pistachios. "I wanted to show people how chocolates are made the real way, not by machine," Knipschildt said.

The menu at Chocopologie offers a range of sensible food you can eat before the sweets. There are grilled sandwiches (which Marion and me had), savory buckwheat crepes (Montse chose one of these), and full entrees such as braised short ribs or duck breast with arugula salad. A variety of coffee drinks and a stand-out spicy hot chocolate are on the menu, too. Even the French fries are from heaven! That's what JJ and Jezz had, but these are served in a pointed bag, just like in Holland and Belgium, with chipotle mayo, however also the regular ketchup ;-)

When your sweet tooth must be served, the best thing to do is randomly choose from the long list of individual chocolates, all with women's names. Try the Hannah, a dark chocolate filled with caramel and topped with sea salt. Or the Charlotte, white chocolate with apricot and basil ganache. For something spicy, ask for the Patricia, dark chocolate filled with ancho chili and tangerine.

If the small bonbons aren't quite decadent enough, the dessert menu tempts with creations such as molten chocolate cake, chocolate truffle beignets, and chocolate fondue.

We were in chocolate heaven! ;-) Try it you will love it!! Next time I only go for the heavenly chocolates, instead of filling my tummy first with sandwiches!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Flower Fairies in the woods

This week I am working on a Birthday party for Jasmine & Juliet. The theme is Flower Fairies and the whole party will be in the woods. So far we have 13 girls that will attend, and I am making, with the help of my friend Suzy, individual flower crowns or halos, whatever you call them. The idea is that the girls will be divided in 2 groups and each group has to find magical fairy items to build them a new fairy dwelling. Items like pine cones, feathers, moss, bark etc..
The girls will be dressed in flower fairy outfits and will get a new fairy name, like Bluebell Twinkle-Toes or Blossom Willow-Tree, Snowdrop Lake-Mist and many others.

After the houses are build we will have a small blessing ceremony with fairy dust (made from glitter, cinnamon, sprinkles, mint leaves and other nice smelling herbs) to make the houses magical and liveable for the Forest Fairies. The girls will be eating fairy sandwiches shaped like pine cones and leaves from the woods, fairy berry punch and fairy cakes. The forest will be 'dressed up' with mosquito netting and flowers to make it more festive and magical.

I just hope that it will stay dry this weekend, since I have to drag a lot of stuff into the forest.... Wish me luck and I will keep you updated with pictures next Monday!

Ciao, Mireille

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Photographer Pierre Javelle

As you maybe know I love photography, so I am always looking at sites from other photographer's. Just to get inspiration, ideas etc.. for my own work. Now I stumbled on this estonian blog: which I couldn't read at all, but I saw these amazing photos. The only thing I could find out is that they are from photographer Pierre Javelle and he has a website called: His photography is so different then what I do, but look at the lighting, the is quite amazing! The work he put into the set up, really great! Check it out, you won't be sorry! (Click on the title to redirect you to his website)

Yeah!! ~ I passed the test!

Yeah, today I did the naturalization test today and I passed!! So pretty soon I will get an American Passport.

It was quite the process again. We had to be there quite early, so the girls went to my friend Suzy in the morning to get on and off the school bus. We drove a little over an hour to Hartfort and waited in line.... the lines weren't too bad, but you always have to wait, although you have an appointed time.

First the officer checked my paperwork, lot's of them! And went through question for question. Then he stumbled upon a few items that he wanted more paperwork for, that I have to send in later. Since our history is not the standard, living here and there, moving so often he wanted some more documentation. So the process isn't finalized yet.

I was hoping that we could finnish this process before we move to SA, but that is not going to happen, so I probably have to fly back...about 25 hours to do the US citizen oath ceremony. Or maybe we can combine that with our next yearly visit to the US. Only after that I can get my passport. But at least I passed the test!! Yeah!!

I thought the test would be harder, but it is quite easy. Out of 100 questions you have to learn (they provide you with a booklet) they'll ask you 10 questions. So no multiple choice! Then you have to write one English sentence and you have to read out loud one sentence. If you fly through this like I did, you'll pass!!

Now it is only sending in some more paperwork and waiting till I hear back from them. But I am happy that this part is over.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day ~ Kent Falls

Wow, what a beautiful day it was today, and was I lucky that I was the one that got spoiled! First I got drawings, cards, perfume and other goodies presented in bed by the girls and Dirk. Then they made fresh cinnamon rolls (with the help of daddy) and after that we went with a few good friends to Kent Falls. A pittoresk and quaint little village in Litfield county. And spent the whole day, playing on the big grassy fields, taking a hike to the waterfalls and playing in the small creek, catching a crawfish and touching a watersnake.

We all prepared some delicious food and to top it off we had 2 bottles of champagne! Not bad for a small town mom ;-)

We had egg salad sandwiches, yummy on rye bread.
We had salmon on toast and crackers.
And we had huge strawberries dipped in chocolate. It was so good, yummy and delicious!

We really had a wonderful afternoon. Suzy and her family joined us and later Edwana and her 3 children came as well. All the children played so well together and we just had a relaxing day. Sitting in the sun, soaking in the fresh air, and while we were sipping champagne, Suzy was testing me on my knowledge for my naturalisation test that I will have tomorrow! I am sure that the champagne will help my score ;-)

It was just a perfect Mother's Day for me! I hope you all enjoyed your day, whatever you did my friends!
Love, Mireille

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

A virtual bouquet of flowers for all the moms out there, who do anything and everything for their children!

Happy Mother's Day, I wish you all a fun day! And I will tell you tomorrow what kind of surprises I got, they better be good! ;-)

PS: I hope these colors make you happy and smiley :-)

Ciao Bellas,

Do you know the answer?

I am studying for my naturalization test this weekend. On Monday I will do the test and soon I will become an American citizen...yeah! There are 100 questions I have to know the answer to. The test will have 10 questions and I have to have 6 right answers to succeed.

Do you know the answers to these questions? Here just an example of the questions.
- How many changes, or amendments, are there to the Constitution?
- What are the 3 branches of our government?
- What is t he legislative branch of our Government?
- What makes up Congres?
- What special group advised the President?

I definitely have to study a bit, so wish me success on Monday, I will be in Hartford!

- What is the most important right granted to US citizens?...The right to vote! YEAH, so I am able to vote in November, that will be great!! Although I will be living in SA at that moment, I am sure I have access to vote there as well. I have to check that out, but I am going to vote!! I like to be part of a change in the US.

However, equal to right come obligations as well, like paying taxes. Not our most favorite thing to do...

Although I am lucky that I don't need to answer this call!

Have a great Mother's Day weekend y'all!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Make your own pizza night.

Last night we made our own pizzas. We had to roll the dough and try to make a nice round pizza. Well, that is more difficult than it seems. When you see these pros rolling the pizza dough and throwing it in the air, it looks so easy. It wasn't...we had the weirdest shapes, thick on one side, thinner in the middle. However, it tasted yummy. Since we made it with love, and anything you do with love is good! But I am not sure we will do this on a weekly basis, we appreciate the store made pizza's so much better now! JJ and Jezz loved it...and that is why we all do this, the make the girls as happy as can be :-)

Have a great day, y'all!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Big kids in the City...

Jasmine & Juliet love to go to the Big Apple, so once in a while they have a modeling gig in the City and they get all excited! A lot of these photo shoots we have to cancel since I don't want the girls to skip school for it. But yesterday, it was georgous weather and they had a modeling appointment for H&M in the afternoon. So after school, we loaded up the car with coloring books, drinks and food and drove to NYC. We actually found a parking lot across the street from the CB studios on W.29th, between 7&8th Ave. They took quite some pictures from the girls, alone and together. So who knows you will soon see JJ and Jezz in a H&M catalog? I'll keep you posted if they use their pictures. Since they always use more children for 1 shoot and the best shots are used of course. It was fun, even if their pictures are not published ;-)
Afterwards we walked a bit through the streets, ate a yummy ice cream and went back home. Just another week day in the Dijkstra household.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Preparing for Ballet recital

Yeah, the new costumes for the girls ballet recital have arrived! Don't they look georgous? Long lavender skirt with a satin sash and a purple orchid, so beautiful and gracefull. All the girls will look so cute!
Jasmine and Juliet were so excited, they were pretending to give me a show. I had to sit in a chair neatly positioned in a row, as if there were other people watching. And they were pretening to be on stage. Music on, you know the whole deal, if you have kids. And first they had to warm up, and then it started...very serious giving me a performance of a life time. It was so cute!....Why can't they stay this age forever??

The girls dance for the Enchanted Garden in Ridgefield, they organise one of the best recitals in the area. They really do such a good job. On May 24th the performance will be held in the Wilton High school at the David F. Clune Center for the arts. We can't wait to see it ;-)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pinco Pallino

These photo's are made by Pinco Pallino, a website from the Netherlands. You see this kind of photography a lot these days in Holland, however I haven't seen it much in the USA. It is a fun site where you can choose out all different dream backgrounds and they just add your child or children into the scenery. How fun is that?!

It would be a great idea to take a photo like that and print it on canvas for your newborn baby's nursery or children's room. Fun, unique art in a modern way.

I am trying to figure out how it is done, by Adobe Illustrator?? If somebody can help me with the information please email me. I really would like to know!

Monday, May 5, 2008

busy weekend....

We planned for a quite weekend since Dirk had his 4 wisdom teeth pulled on Friday. We heard horror stories about it, so we didn't plan anything, so he could just relax and (maybe) be miserable....But it turned out that he didn't have any problems at all and he even went to a bar with his friend Bob for a drink. I went with the girls to a play from another friend of us; Alex. It was a fun play and we had fun, came home so late because the play went on forever. Cute play, but loooong!

Saturday morning, Mia our dear friend did her holy communion. So JJ, Jezz and me went to the church to witness this event and took some photographs for them. She looked so beautiful and her parents were very proud! It was really cute to see all the 7 & 8 year old being so serious. So that's why I thought this picture here was so cute. Mia in a moment chatting with her best friend. For JJ and Jezz it was their first church experience and they were very impressed with the 'popes' who were doing the mass and the Jesus figure hanging on his cross. They were asking questions all the time, while I tried to tell them not to talk so much in church. Living in a family with 3 believes; catholic, protestant and buddhism, what do I tell the children? It is still a dilemma for me. So we teach them to respect other people, be kind and tell them about spirituality in general. But then when a child gets confronted with a huge Jesus crucifixion you can wait for the questions....I don't have the answers in short, definitely not while we are following a service! After the church we went to the Lius' home for a dinner with friends and family and had a great time!

Sunday I went to a movie with 2 of my friends; Patsy and Suzy and we saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which was really funny and we laughed a lot. Afterwards a drink at my house and before we knew it it was late again!

After all, not such a quite weekend, but that always happens at the Dijkstra household. Seize the day!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Takashi Murakami ~ the Japanese Andy Warhol

There is a show running at the Brooklyn Museum called: © MURAKAMI, it runs from April 5–July 13, 2008
It looks very interesting and if I can fit this in my already busy schedule I will try to go and see it before we leave for SA.

Raised by parents who drummed Western art into him, Mr. Murakami studied traditional nihonga painting, and attempted a career in animation, before deciding to become a contemporary artist. Since emerging in the 1990s Mr. Murakami has often been seen as out-Warholing Warhol by giving back to popular culture, as well as borrowing from it and by excelling at branding. Not for nothing is this show titled “©Murakami.”

Mr. Murakami siphons motifs from Disney and Dalí, strategies from Pop Art, and sexual fantasies from Japan’s anime (animation) and manga (comics) subcultures. His cast of variously cute, erotic or grotesque creatures and intense decorative pilings-on range across paintings, sculptures, animations and wallpaper, building at times to a hallucinatory intensity that has more than a touch of darkness.

At the exhibition you will see the enchanting 23-foot-tall “Tongari-kun” (or “Mr. Pointy”), a space-alien, 18-armed Buddha on a lotus throne surrounded by four guardians that dominates the museum’s lobby. Its sinuous designs and rich colors evoke a fusion of Surrealism, Art Nouveau and Japanese kimonos. The label counters by pointing out that the palette and symbols are inspired by Maya art and Tibetan Buddhist imagery.

The Japanese are so innovative....very interesting country and people.
Have a great Sunday, y'all!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Made in South Africa ~ stone fruit floors ~

South Africa is now on my mind all the time, as you can imagine. So I search the web for interesting ideas to decorate my home. I saw these peach pip floors. Although I don't need new floors in my home, I justed wanted to share this with you. Just to show you how 'green' and environmental friendly a country like SA is. Not to mention how modern, I like that ;-) I am sure I will see lot's of new and interesting designs in SA. And if you keep reading my blog, you will be updated as well!

Peach pip floors (aka peach ‘pit’ floors to us yanks) have a long history in South Africa and the warm, natural materials made an early impression on South African gallery owner Allah le Roux. He caught his first glimpse of this unique organic finishing technique as a child on a visit to Klein Zoar in Cape Town. Decades later, in 2004, he bought an 19th century house in Paarl, in the Western Cape, and made his first objective to restore the home with this traditional peach-pip flooring.. In total, he covered an area of approximately 90 square meters with peach pips which, now three years later, appear as if laid yesterday.
The floor consists of peach pips that are packed by hand onto a glued surface and filled with a silica sand and resin mixture, then sealed. The sharp edges of the pips are sanded off to expose the red hue of the pips and give the floor a natural wood feeling - making it warm, therapeutic and comfortable to walk on with bare feet. The floors are uniquely South African, natural and the design and color can be customized.
The house in Paarl is currently run as an art gallery (The Orange Mill) by le Roux with his partner. After numerous requests and compliments regarding the floor, he decided to take it a step further and enter production of peach pip tiles as a business concept in the First National Bank Enablis Business Plan Competition, in which he was a finalist. In February 2007 the tile design and concept was registered. Today the endeavor is in progress as Stone Fruit Floors, creating job opportunities


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