Saturday, January 31, 2009

FDD's 1st Anniversary...YEAH!! ... and my Bday!!

A year ago I started this blog on my Bday, and wow did I not know how my life would change!! First I was fiddling a bit with images and the design of the blog and here you see some other examples I was testing...

I just added the text now to this donkey that I had made a bit funkier...

But let me tell you a bit about the last year. It is just amazing how many friends and other bloggers I met while doing this daily blog! Just amazing, it still blows my mind! So many nice, interesting, funny, inspirational and great friends I have met via the world wide web and this blogging world.

I am really happy to have started this blog, which I just did as a sort of learning process, I started reading some blogs and thought how nice it would to keep my family and friends up to date with our ever changing scenery. But I didn't realize that so many other friends I would meet!! It made my life so much richer and fuller by knowing all these new friends, it is really great!!

At first I started reading design and fashion blogs, then I added photo blogs, food blogs, daily life blogs, adoption blogs, SA blogs and once you start reading these blogs and look at which blogs they read, then there is no ever ending lists of blogs... just amazing!! From one blog to the other blog, the designs are fun to see, the text and photo's are addicting to follow and the stories behind each person is just mind blowing. So much better to read a blog than to watch TV!!

Thank you all for being my friend in blogging land!! I became attached to your stories, your comments and your blogs!! Thank you Kate, Annet, Rosemary, Jen and Emm for becoming part of my world! These wonderful women and many more who are reading my blog and I am following theirs! Me being part of yours in so many ways, not only via the blog world, but some of you via Facebook as well and private emails which I look out for all the time :-)

Let's make 2009 another even better blogging year!!
Love you all!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twins... the same and yet so different ;-)

OK, people tell me ALL the time, that Jasmine and Juliet look so much alike. Yeah, I kinda agree (not really), but look at these close-ups and you won't agree anymore! The girls have such a different personality as it shows in their eyes, smiles and the way they talk, hold their heads, move their body.

Jasmine is the shy one, although she hides behind her princess and silly looks. Then she can come out as quite the outgoing personality, but as soon as she is Jezzy again, she likes Juliet to take control.

Juliet is the bold one, the leader, the more talkative one. She protects her sister and makes sure nobody will hurt the princess. When they do role plays, she is the boy and Jezz is the girl ;-)

Since they were at pre-school we color-coded the girls (teachers asked us for that) and since then it is the way the girls pick their clothes. Jezz has the 'girl' colors and JJ the 'boy' colors.

Look for yourself and see, and try to guess who is who. Don't look at the colors of their clothes but at their faces!! The eyes give away so much. JJ has a rounder face and her eyes are rounder as well. While Jezz has a finer face and features with a bit more almond eyes. Can you see?? (Click on the images to see a larger view)

Sweet Jasmine

Vivacious Juliet

Being confident and happy together

Tickle me, tickle me!

Confident JJ

Silly Jezzy

Tomboy JJ

Princess posing Jezzy

How I LOVE my beautiful twins!!

Have a fun day, hope the weather is better on your side, here it is raining already for a few days ;-(

Ciao, Mireille

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life's for sharing....

I am a bit under the weather these days... a stomach bug hit me, so not much to share here with you guys. So the few hours a day I feel a bit human I was checking some blogs and stumbled upon this video and I have to share it with you. It made me feel better so hopefully it will do the same to you ;-)

I still haven't figured out how to add the video to my blog so that you only click on the arrow of the video, for now just click on this link and it will direct you to the video on You Tube that made my day today!!

Watch it, it will make you smile, and you would wish this would happen to you on a daily or at least weekly basis. Fun to see the reactions of the people....

Have a good one y'all, life's for sharing ;-)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Food, Friends and a Hungry Bear

That's the name of another blog; Sunday Nite Dinner I visit frequently. Sunday Nite Dinner represents a gathering of people to celebrate good food and friendships. And since a big part of our life is about food and friendship I thought it was a good title for today.

We have our friends Marisca, Martijn and Justin over for 2 weeks from Holland and the gatherings at night around our outdoor dining table are always a fun and happy time. I like full tables with adults and kids around who enjoy my cooking. But most of all I enjoy my hungry bear, and people who know us, know also who I mean.... I like to cook, but my hubby likes to eat...he is my hungry bear!

I have never eaten so much red meat as here in SA. The steaks are superb here, better than anywhere we have lived so far. The combination with the good red wines and you can imagine that we need to worry about our waistline. Since I am not a big meat eater though, I was happy to know that Marisca is a vegetarian. So at least I can share my love for veggies and fish with her these 2 weeks.

My girls and Dirk are such meat lovers that I am always in the minority at the table, but not these 2 weeks...YEAH!! Since living in SA we use the braai a lot (if you read my blog often, you should know by now that braai is another word for BBQ) and we have a very good recipe (thanks to good old William and Sonoma) and that is Salmon rubbed with a seafood spice rub and then grilled on a cedar grilling plank that has been soaked into water for more than 2 hours. YUMMY! You will get this smoked flavor on your salmon which is so delicious, and you know what Hungry Bear loves this as well!!

So these days my cooking mode is set to vegetarian, but we need to add a bit of meat here and there of course for the rest of the group, and so it is an interesting mix of cooking these days. Which I LOVE!! I am browsing through recipe books, looking online to find some new and interesting meals.

If you happen to have a wonderful vegetarian dish, please email me and help me out, that would be great!! Or if you happen to know a great site where I can find recipes, please do send it to me.

Have a wonderful dinner, what are you cooking??
Love, Mireille

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Year, new day at school, more funny faces ;-)

First day at school I went with my mom to show her the grounds and buildings and pop into JJ and Jezz's classroom. They just had a break and were outside, so I took some pictures of their friends being silly and giddy.... happy to see each other again after a 3 week Xmas break.

Making funny faces.

Acting like fashion models.

I never see fashion models bent that much....but hey I guess that is their interpretation ;-)

From LtoR: Jasmine, Svenja, Kaitlyn and Juliet.

From LtoR: Zahra, Svenja and Jezzy.

None of these kids have the same nationality, the school is very divers. And it is amazing how you see these children develop in English. Some of them never spoke English when school started in September. Well, you can't almost hear the difference anymore. It keeps me amazed every day!

But more important is that they have fun, like to go to school, then the studies follow suit. Because they are happy and like to learn.

Have a good day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Our home here in South Africa

Since we are expats we move about every 4-5 years to a new country. We like that kind of lifestyle, but it is a big thing to move your whole household to the other side of the world. Dirk and me are 18 years together, 14 of these years we lived abroad. We started humble with 2 suitcases each. We moved to Spain, the Canary islands and the maximum of weight was 20 kilo's. We lived on the islands Tenerife and Lanzarote for about 1,5 years and moved for another 9 months to Rhodos, Greece. We were very young at the time, 23 and 24 and just had these 2 suitcases. From there we moved to the USA, (Dirk did his MBA at the UofO in Eugene, Oregon) with again 2 suitcases and lived there for a little bit over a year, and came back to the Netherlands again with our 2 suitcases. It was actually a very free and exhilirating feeling to have nothing to worry about! We rented an apartment, decorated it with goods from Goodwill and hold an Open House at the end, sold everything, packed our suitcases and left the country with only those 2 suitcases!

Moved back to Holland, got married...yeah we lived in sin almost 5 years ;-O and moved to Thailand. This time we had a bit more... a 20 ft container. But the house we had in Thailand was so much bigger than the teeny weeny apartment we had in the centre of Breda, the Netherlands. When we left Thailand to move to the USA we had a 40 ft container with us. Now 5 years later and 2 children we moved from the US to South Africa with a 40 AND 20 foot container. We had almost 600 boxes of stuff with us!! I don't know if this cycle of adding stuff will ever end, but I am working on it to really get rid of stuff we don't need. I still have boxes not opened since we left Thailand, more than 6 years ago! This is rediculous and my New Years resolution is to get rid of a LOT of stuff.

My friends all over the world ask me how we live here in South Africa, a lot of people have different ideas about that. So I will show you some pictures of our house. It is not a Zulu hut or some other simple shack, it is actually quite nice, more than you expect from an African country...believe me we don't have a bad life here!

I'll walk you through it from front door to the upstairs sun deck, the only room I don't have pictures of is the sauna, since it is still a work in progress....

1. First we were thinking to go all the way for a traditional Zulu house, the only problem it had was that our 600 boxes wouldn't fit, not even in the whole village....

2. So we opted for this contemporary house with a palm tree lined entrance.

3. African lady with baby on back greets you at the front door.

4. Hallway with canvas from NYC street scene. A bit of everything we have in our house; Asian, American, European and African pieces.

5. View from TV room, a fireplace opening up to both sides of dining and sitting area.

6. Sitting room, here we drink a vino with guests or read a book.

7. TV room.

8. View to front door and my future photo studio, still waiting for my lighting.

9. Dining room with fireplace.

10. Open kitchen, acutally the whole house has an open floor plan.

11. Kitchen, view from other side.

12. Full bar, you order we serve!

13. Our 'wild' animals protecting the bar area ;-)

14. Outdoor Lapa with gas Weber BBQ and charcoal braai.

15. Pool and garden.

16. Guestroom with en-suite bath.

17. Playroom girls, with a first; their own TV.

18. Girls bedroom.

19. With their own bathroom... I certainly didn't have that as a child!

20. Crafts- and computer room.

21. Master bedroom with fireplace.

22. Master bath with bush bath and almost outdoor shower, it has a glass rooftop.

23. Sun deck off master bedroom (plan is to put a jacuzzi here).

So quite the difference with our first house abroad, although I have to say, we are not more happy than in those first years. It was quite the adventure to travel just with 2 suitcases for a few years. Less headaches and worries about your STUFF!!

A big house is nice, but it can be a golden cage if you are not happy. Luckily we are happy and we enjoy our life style, but many expat families I've met over the years had a big house, great car and everything you think you would want in life, but weren't happy. And then it is sad, because the only thing they want is to go back home and don't see the beauty of that new country they are living in and experiencing...

Have a good one, I hope you enjoyed the peek into our African abode.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bombarded with Baboons!

At our Tshetshepi Lodge we had a chalet next to the river, where many baboons and small monkeys lived. During the day you wouldn't see them much but at 5 am you would hear them screaming, fighting and running in the grass in front of our chalet and climbing on our roofs, checking out our decks and looking into our bedroom window! Yes, they are that cheeky!! They really came upon our decks and were standing at our windows and checking us out!!

So the first morning we noticed that they would come that close, I mean only a thin window was between us, but I didn't have my camera next to my bed and so I missed the opportunity to photograph them. The next morning though we were prepared!! I had opened my bedroom window, so they would wake me up with their screams and we put Jasmine's lion cub in front of our bedroom window. Now we were laying in bed and watching them come passing by. But they didn't pass by as the other morning, no they noticed the lion cub and starting talking to each other. You could hear the change in their voices, amazing to hear! And suddenly about 50 baboons came closer and closer to our window. They were so curious to see what that lion cub was about?? Pacing and pacing in front of our window, while my mom was in the other room and didn't understand why the baboons were not coming in front of her bedroom window....because they were all in front of ours!! So I sent Jezz out to my moms room to come in our room and the 4 of us lay in our bed and just sat there quietly and watching the behaviour of the baboons and the little monkeys.

Look at the 2 baboons in the back, one is checking out the butt of his friend ;-0

Then at a certain moment a big baboon realised that my window was open, had only the mosquito netting in front of it, and they can easily push that open. So then I got scared...although I was behind the glass on the other side, these animals are wild and strong. He walked towards my window and wanted to come inside to get the lion cub, so I stood up from my bed and yelled and waved with my arms. The baboon ran away and all the others as well. I closed my window and we waited again. Here they came again, slowly but surely. Closer and closer to the lion cub. We changed the position of the lion cub to the front window, so the 4 of us could see them better. First we had it on the side, since that window was without a frame I could take better pictures. But I was afraid that such a big window could easily break if a baboon pushes to hard onto it....

Here he comes towards my open I get scared, and chase him away!

So now all the baboons are on our deck pacing along the window, looking at the cub (which by the way really looks real) then I realized that these sliding doors we have in the front of the bedroom who open up to the deck weren't closed. I mean I closed the door, but didn't put the latches on, so just one push of these big baboons and they would be standing in our room. And we heard already from the people of the lodge that many times that happens, if you leave a single window open they are in their within seconds! So after another 15 minutes watching these baboons and they got closer and closer and more cheeky I got scared again (not showing the girls though) and told Jezz to stand up and scare them, so she did. She stood up on the bed an screamed and made waving movements and the baboons went a bit back into the bush, still watching us...I mean the lion cub.... and we closed the latches. Now I felt a bit more comfortable to let the baboons come as close as they wanted and I took all of these shots. But since it was only 5 am I put the camera on night vision, so my flash wouldn't go off all the time.

The left one is ready to grab the lion cub, and the other ones are starting to run away, it was getting more and more agressive and at this point Jezz scared them away!

We had 45 minutes of fun watching these big baboons and little monkeys at 5 am in the morning! We still had a game drive on our schedule and we already had so much fun. What an adventure it was!

And these were the little monkeys that are very curious as well. When we came back one day from our game drive the girls had their stuffed lions in their arms and the monkeys try to come as close as they possible could. Just to see what the girls are having in their arms. So cute!!

We had a great time at Tshetshepi Lodge, definitely worth going back!!


Related Posts with Thumbnails