Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

It is Halloween today, and the girls have a party, parade and trick 'r treating at school. Tonight we'll have trick 'r treating in our estate. And street Braai's (BBQ). So when the kids go around the block collecting the candy the parents are in front of their house having a BBQ, a braai as they call it in SA, and of course sipping some delicious pinotage ;-) Not bad, since it is spring here, the weather is just gorgeous! We don't need layers of clothes under the costumes for once, what a nice change! As I told you before the girls are dressed up as vampires today, but first let me show you an overview of the girls costumes over the years:
2002, this was not really at Halloween, but it is their first dress up. We were still living in Thailand and this picture we used for our adoption announcement.

2003, Their first real Halloween. The girls had no clue yet why they had to dress up. It was georgous weather and we had these beautiful pots of mums on the deck. Fall is such a nice season, especially in the North East!

2004, JJ a dragon and Jezz an unicorn. They really start understanding the concept of Halloween by now, and they think it is really fun!

2005, Jezz as a chicken and JJ as a pumpkin. Jezz gives JJ a 'chicken kiss'

2005, since we have more than 1 party to go to, they also wanted a princess outfit!

2006, by now they are 'pros' at the dress-up department and 1 outfit is for sure not enough! Here in traditional Thai Akha style, but it wasn't princess'ish enough so we also had to buy these brides outfits. Since the Xmas tree shop has really cheap outfits, I didn't mind that much...and they look so adorable!

2007, JJ as a witch, Jezz as wonder woman, but same deal as the last years. They used some older outfits this time to go to different parties, one as a bride (JJ) and groom (Jezz)and the other one as 2 witches. They even made this whole witch brew that I had to drink!

And this year, they are both vampires. This picture is taken at school today, they didn't wear their wigs with really long hair. And for once we only have 1 costume, since here in SA we don't have the abundance of choices we used to have in the USA. But they are fine with it, and happy to be a vampire....aarghh!

Jezz on the left, JJ on the right, first time (besides the Thai costumes) that they wanted the same)2008, trying to look really scary! They look so big already, only 6 but in this picture they seem so much older!

Enjoy your Halloween, trick 'r treating, BBQ's or Braais or other Halloween gatherings you are invited to tonight! Don't make it too scary ;-)


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween outfits

So there are tons of outfits out there on internet and for sale, especially in the USA. However, here in SA the choices are limited....And since the mail system isn't that great, I rather not order online ;-( Here I found some wacky, cute, scary and sexy outfits for you to get inspiration for this year or maybe the next.
How cute is this?

Or look at these 2 adorable outfits, I am not sure the kids like it as well?

And here some cute outfits for your pets:
Pug in Pig hilarious!

And here some cute and sexy outfits for the big girls, Rosie O'Donnell and Martha Stewart and a wacko jacko mask!

How scary is this?
Enjoy the anticipation of Halloween, the big day is tomorrow!! Are u ready?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween treats

Friday it is Halloween, so the children are getting more and more excited. Since we breath and sleep Halloween these days I thought I better share some with you today and the next 2 days.
Halloween is an international holiday celebrated on October 31. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving jack-o'-lanterns, reading scary stories and watching horror movies. Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is celebrated in several countries of the Western world, most commonly in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and occasionally in parts of Australia. In Sweden the All Saints' official holiday takes place on the first Saturday of November.

So now you know the background a bit, google Halloween if you want more info, there is tons of information out there. I rather share the treats and the yummy drinks with you today.

These cupcakes and cocktails are from Real Simple and they look so yummy and delicious.

Of course I can't leave out Martha Stewart, she is the domestic diva in the US and has a great site with all kinds of Halloween creapy treats, but also different crafts to do with your children. The pictures are always so fresh and modern, but it is harder than it looks. I've tried several Martha recipes and this is definitely not for the beginner! But these recipes are proof tested, the outcome is just great! The bootiful cake and ladyfingers are hers.....iieeks!

The Foodnetwork has these scream cookies on their site, looks very cool to give out as treats. Our compound has a price for the most original maybe I am going to try one of these?

And what about these eyeball cupcakes from Epicurious, another great recipe site. These look scary and yummy at the same time!

Just to give you an idea what you can make for Halloween this year. There are tons of site out there on the internet to get you going! This is just an inspiration for you. I haven't decided what we are up to this year. Jasmine and Juliet will go to school on Friday in their vampire outfits...the scarier the better this year!

What are your plans for Halloween, share them with me!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thanksgiving on the Dolphin Coast

For the long weekend at Thanksgiving the children have off from school and we just booked a magnificent villa directly on the beach close to Durban.
Just north of Salt Rock and virtually ten minutes from Ballito, is the beautiful beach of Sheffield with its sheltered coves and wonderful rock pools that invite little people to spend hours collecting shells and admiring sea anemones. I am sure JJ and Jezz will love this fact ;-)

Renowned as one of the better fishing and diving spots on the Dolphin Coast, snorkelling here is a way of life, and if you want to know where to fish, just follow the local fishermen who head out here on a daily basis to partake of nature’s bounty.

There are certain spots on the beach that afford the most spectacular views of the coastline and, in similar fashion to Salt Rock and Blythedale, Sheffield is increasingly being regarded as yet another suburb of Durban, as property in Umhlanga becomes a little thin on the ground. But as yet, the coast is unspoilt and there are regular sightings of dolphins and whales in season.

Not every year that we can lay at the beach while celebrating Thanksgiving! Not a bad life style here in South Africa. We'll keep you updated on our stay ;-)

Have a good day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Japanese fashion ~ street styles ~

I talked before about Harajuku girls in a previous posting on February 12th. Since this posting is one of the most clicked on of all my postings I decided to dig a bit deeper into this subject and guess what. I found some other Japanese street styles.

Gunguro and Yamanba girls...I can hear you saying what kind of girls?? Well, let me explain a bit and show you some pictures, very colorful and interesting how these Japanese girls want to distinguish themselves from the rest. The West and the US seems to be a kind of boring when you see this ;-)

Gunguro appeared as a new fashion style in Japan in the early 1990s and is prevalent mostly among young women and women in their early 20s to this date. Gunguro began as a emulation of what Japanese girls interpreted to be a Southern California look.
In ganguro fashion, a deep tan is combined with hair dyed in shades of orange to blond, or a silver gray known as "high bleached". Black ink is used as eyeliner and white concealer is used as lipstick and eyeshadow. False eyelashes, plastic facial gems, and pearl powder are often added to this. Platform shoes and brightly-colored outfits complete the ganguro look. Also typical of ganguro fashion are tie-dyed sarongs, miniskirts, stickers on the face, and lots of bracelets, rings, and necklaces.

Yamanba (ヤマンバ), is a newer term often used to describe extreme practitioners of gunguro fashion. Yamanba feature darker tans and add white lipstick, pastel eye makeup, tiny metallic or glittery adhesives below the eyes, brightly-colored contact lenses, plastic dayglo-colored clothing, and incongruous accessories to the gunguro look. Some yamanba wear stuffed animals as decorations.

I am not sure I get this form of expressing yourself, and the older generation in Japan is also not too happy about it. They think that the rest of the world thinks every Japanese looks like that. But since we are all very educated people we don't think that and know that it is only a certain group among teens who dress like this!

Maybe a new look for HALLOWEEN??
I'll ask JJ and Jezz if they like to dress up like this, I'll bet they will look cute in this crazy Japanese street style ;-)

By the way: I wouldn't mind going to Japan for a posting after SA, it seems there is a lot to see and it is a very interesting culture. Talking about broadening your horizons... hmm definitely an option for me! Who knows ;-)

Have a good one!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Circles of Support: Children's Voices

I found this PDF file of Circles of Support which meets the needs of orphans and other children made vulnerable as a result of the HIV and AIDS epicemic. One of the countries involved is Swaziland, a country that almost lies within South Africa. Look at the map below.
I am deeply moved by this project and wanted to share this with you. It gives you an idea how a lot of children live their lifes here in African countries. (If you click on the title of this post it will direct you to the link of the PDF file).

One of the primary objectives of the project is to ensure that children continue with their schooling, this can be achieved by creating support networks for the children in their communities and schools. The purpose of this report was to document children’s perspectives of their lives and the project, in order to
assist the project to better understand and meet the priority needs of children.

The project gives you the background of the children: family composition and their daily lifes.
Challenges that the children face; lack of time to study, food during the day, walking long distances to school, school fees, being sickly, herding cattle, fetching water and firewood, cooking and cleaning, domestic violence, seperation of parents and so many more challenges these innocent and precious children have to face on a day to day basis. It breaks your heart when you read the stories they have written themselves in this document!

However it also talks about their resilience, their community, family, places that are important to them like church, hospital, library, neighbors. What makes them happy and how they get their local support. These children have the same feelings and aspirations as many of your and our children, they laugh about the same silly jokes as our children do. However, the hardship they often go through is difficult to read about, but then again if you see these beautiful faces and their big smiles when they are in front of a camera it melts your heart!

This research was written by Kgethi Dlamini in 2005 and was done with children of primary school age (7-12 years) and with children of secondary school age (13-18 years)

Reading these articles makes me humble and thankfull about the good things we have in our lives. Good fortune, being healthy, having healthy and happy children. A roof above our heads, nothing really to worry about. These children can't say that!

Think about it, and do a good deed. Donate something to your favorite charity, Christmas is coming up. If we all do something it will help!

Have a good Sunday,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

SA humor

Naughty, but funny.... if you live here!

Hell is no joke … But this is a reallity in South Africa - A man dies and goes to hell. There he finds that there is a different hell for each country. He decides he’ll pick the least painful to spend his eternity. He goes to German Hell and asks, “What do they do here?” He is told first they put you in an electric chair for an hour. Then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour. Then the German devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day”. The man does not like the sound of that at all so he moves on. He checks out the USA Hell as well as the Russian Hell and many more. He discovers that they are all similar to the German hell.

Then he comes to the South African Hell and finds that there is a long line of people waiting to get in. Amazed, he asks, “What do they do here?” He is told: first they put you in an electric chair for an hour. Then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour. The South African devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day. “But that is exactly the same as all the other hells. Why are there so many people waiting to get in?” he asks.

“Because Eskom is struggling and is powerless, there is never any electricity, so the electric chair does not work. The nails were paid for but never supplied, so the bed is comfortable to sleep on. And, on top of that, the South African devil is a government employee, he wont come to work till he gets his 12% increase, which of course will never happen”!

A joke I found on this blog about South Africa, indeed that is how life is in SA, click on the title to bring you there.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 24, 2008

African cookbooks

We discovered a new bookstore here in Fourways mall and I just couldn't resist a few African cookbooks.
Sprigs is a food shop in Durban run by 2 sisters; Fiona and Clare Ras who have delicious fresh food and the best coffee in town appareantly. Well pretty soon we can try it out since we are going to the coast of Durban for Thanksgiving. In the meantime I am drooling over these delicious recipes in their new cookbook. Recipes like Moroccan Turlu Turlu with Feta, Beef and Lentil Bobotie, Labne Pate with curried nuts, Calamari, Avocado and Fennel skewers, Grilled Kingklip on Chorizo mash and so many more....YUMMY! and only the freshest ingredients are used in this book. The pictures make you want to go to your kitchen and cook!

The African Kitchen is a culinary and visual feast, a food lover's tour of this fascinating continent. The guide is leading safari chef Josie Stow, who takes us through a day in the life of her bush kitchen. Today's most popular ingredients are used in exciting combinations with recipes for all occasions. Englsih-born Josie Stow was a private chef to the family of children's author Roald Dahl before moving to Africa to work for some of the continent's leading safari reserves. And since I love the safari recipes so much, they are most comparable with the spa recipes, healthy, new fusion with fresh ingredients. So this book is right up my alley! This book is full of neat pictures of african life in the bush. Let me share some of the goodies in here. Sweet potato, onion and thyme pancakes, Bacon-wrapped Eland wors with milies and lemon leaves, Elephant food bread, Masai mara, Jeanette's charkalaka, Roast vegetable pizzas with biltong and harissa, Imfulafula and so many more excotic sounding and looking recipes I am dying to try out!

And the last book I bought is a small cute book with original classic recipes from all walks of life and tradition. It includes Xhosa, Cape Malay, Zulu, English, Indian, Afrikaans, Portugese and new South African recipes. And the booklet has the cutest drawings about SA. Recipes inlcude: Fish frikkadels, Smoorvis Snoek, Sousboontjies, Baked pears in red wine, Butternut soup and many many more.

Well, if I made you wanting to know more, just drop me a line and I can copy a recipe for you out of one of the books. I will come back with feedback and reviews in a few weeks and let you know if they taste as well as they sound ;-)

Happy cooking for you all during the weekend.
Enjoy, Mireille


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