Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I ♥ Faces, week 12: Pouting

I am a little behind with my entry for this week on I Faces since I traveled to the US last week and I am way behind my blogging and email schedule, but it is still time enough. I am lucky since here in South Africa it is 7 hours ahead of the USA and it is only Tuesday morning here.

This week my entry Juliet and Jasmine are pouting by the pool because it is chilly and too cold to swim. So pouting in two-some :-)

Check out the other pouters at the I Faces website.
Have a good week y'all.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A week away... a culinairy overdose

I am back from my 6 days to the US. Oh my, what a trip!!
First that ugly flight from Johannesburg-Dakar-New York City. A flight of 25 hours without leaving the plane, only to fuel up and clean up the plane for the next stretch. At least I had good seats, but still... painfully long!

I arrived at JFK early morning, rented my car, had some troubles because my voucher was only valid for SA driver's licence... I had a US one! Called my travel agency and she arranged another deal. So finally on the road to Connecticut to my friend Marion and her family. So good to see them again.

We chatted for hours, did some shopping together, we are both infamous for our shopping... ask our husbands :-) I went overload on Zara's this time. Had to get an extra bag to put all the clothes in I bought for the girls, but they will look hip and trendy in SA. Nobody has Zara!!
Briefly I met my other great friend from my life in Ridgefield; Suzy. It was fun to catch up with her, although only half an hour, but great anyway. I will see her more this summer when I am back in CT for the summer vacation.

Then I was off to do my biometrics again, since the last one was done 15 months ago, and they needed an update. This was the whole purpose of my trip, to do the finger printing for my citizenship. It took me 1 hour and I was out of there, 6 days on the road, just for 1 hour of fingerprinting.... crazy huh?

After that 2 days planned with my friends Espen and Evelyn who live on Spring street in Soho. The heart of everything, food, wine and shopping. So I didn't need to walk too much, although any walking in the City is too much for me, since I don't do sneakers and was wearing my high heels boots.... yeah I sound crazy and I am honestly thinking for my next trip I NEED sneakers!! Or some other funky comfortable flat shoes FOR SURE!!

Well, these 2 days were a culinary overdose. Espen doesn't do much entertaining at home, so we went out for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks in between out. So let me guide you through my festive eating and drinking fun...

I arrived at Thursday afternoon, had lunch with Evelyn at Nyonya in Grand Street in Little Italy/China town.

The BEST Malaysian food you can ask for in the City. There aren't much Malaysian restaurants, and this is a good one!! We had steamed whole fish with their Nyonya specialty sauce and fried watercress in oyster sauce. YUMMY!! A good start to my weekend in the City!!

After that some shopping and then the 2 of us met Espen at a wine bar. Just to sample some wines and get an appetite going. Very chic and posh.... and NO South African wines on the menu.... wow, what a disappointment. LOL
After this little wine tasting we went to xxxxxxx the chef will be the chef at the TV show Top Chef, so the restaurant is pretty full these days. Their food is comfort food, like Macaroni & Cheese, simple but fresh and yummy pasta dishes, hearty soups, nice nothing pretentious and real fresh ingredients, just what I needed! Not too fancy, since I was starting to feel the jet lag creeping up on me and wasn't in the mood for fancy smancy dinners.

Friday, since Espen and Evelyn had the day off we could do whatever we wanted to do. A whole day dedicated to food, wine, tea, people watching while sipping a cup of Joe. Nice, nice, nice!!

Starting the day with Dim Sum at Jing Fong restaurant in China town. A huge restaurant filled to the brim with Chinese people and some others. I wanted to go for Dim Sum for so long, so this was a real treat!! Some jasmine flower tea, and all the goodies you can imagine. We had it all from steamed pork buns to shrimp dumplings to custard tarts and of course a soup; broth with spring onions and dumplings. Delicious!!

To get all this food digested we did some last shopping I had on my list, some missing items at Zara's, we bought some goodies and looked for inspiration at Anthropologie. If you don't know this shop, check it out it has the funkiest fashion and home ware! Evelyn wanted to show me some furniture she had ordered at Room & Board and all this is in Soho, so after we took back a cab from Zara's we were in our local neighborhood again and just browsed through the streets of Soho. It was the first real spring day and it was 65F, just unbelievable gorgeous!! So nice to be in the City with this weather!!
Time for some tea, so we went to a tea house in the Village, they only serve teas. We first smelled all the different kinds before making up our mind, nice and relaxing have a cuppa tea. But we started to get hungry so we headed out to this French bistro called Felix, Espen was talking about all morning. Supposedly the hip crowd comes there to watch people, while sitting and having Sunday brunch there. We wanted a place where we could sit outside, or at least where it felt like sitting outside and Felix is the perfect place for that.

Located on West Broadway between Canal and Grand in Soho, the perfect location for Soho shoppers to prepare for—or recover from—a long day in lower Manhattan’s premiere open-air mall. Just like us! We were almost ready when this couple next to us ordered a pitcher of Mojito's... that sparked my thirst, and our next goal was to get some Mojito's!! Evelyn was off to do some more shopping, while Espen and me headed out to this local joint where they served us some delish mojito's... I was a happy camper!! But guess what after a few mojito's you get hungry again and now we went off to Tailor at Broome Street. Tailor is certainly an ambitious restaurant, and an interesting one. It has the courage to showcase the kind of experimental cooking — eccentric, provocative flavor combinations; unusual textures like foams and powders that sounds like molecular-gastronomy. Funky, weird and never heard of dishes are served and it really was a very special evening out.

With dishes like mole churros with caramelized cream, a symphony of sweet and savory and deep-fried goodness, along with several Japanese-influenced fish dishes, including escabeche of Spanish mackerel with lychee tapenade and daikon, and a fluke with “pine needle ponzu” and pineapple or a veal torchon with Parmesan crumble and marrow “beads”. If this tickles your taste buds, go and book your table at Tailor's you won't get disappointed! Check out the menu here.

So if you look back at this day, the only thing it was about was good food, great wines, fresh drinks and some delicious teas and on top of that some shopping here and there, while the sun was shining, not bad for a girl from the burbs of South Africa!!

And one more thing to go to, is after a good night sleep I went out for an Israeli breakfast before heading off to the airport to do this dreading flight of 25 hours back to Joburg!!

But what a week I had! Thanks to my friends Marion, Suzy, Espen and Evelyn... I will not forget this week soon! You entertained and fed me more than I could wish for... now I am planning to start my diet 21 lbs in 21 days, but first my dad comes and visits me for the next 3 weeks.... my life is full!!

How was your week??

Love, Mireille

Monday, March 23, 2009

I ♥ Faces week 11: No flash!

I always look out for Mondays, because a new theme at I ♥ Faces starts... YEAH!!
This week the theme is NO FLASH!

I am entering this picture of my sweet girls Jasmine and Juliet at Sheffield Beach in South Africa. The time was around sun set and no flash was needed to take this sweet picture of my girls.... oh how I will miss them this week, since I am in the USA getting my fingerprints done for my US citizenship and I have to leave these sweet daughters of mine behind... first time in my life I will leave them for almost a week.... not easy!!

I took this picture standing on a rock looking down at them, the pose was so natural for them, they just are 2 peas in a pod and absolutely love each other!!

Look at all the other contestants, you will be amazed by the results, just click here!

Have a lovely week all!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My luck is turning :-)

Although I had a few bad days behind me... my bad luck is turning... YEAH!! I can feel it!!

My picture of the adult leprechaun is part of the I ♥ Faces mosaic!! See below... this makes my day again!

Funny, how small things can make a person happy :-)
Enjoy your Sunday!

Love, M

A lot of things at once....

A lot of things happening at once...
First last Thursday it rained so much here, that we had some leakage in the house. If you have seen pictures of my house you can see that I have almost shiny tiles... well these tiles are very slippery when wet.

It's 6:50 am and I am walking with bare feet in the hallway on my way to open the garage door, to see and hear when the school bus arrives. JJ is at home, she is sick with the flu, Jezz on her way to school. I slip so hard that I fall with both feet in the air, fall into the wall and bump my shoulder into the wall and dislocate my shoulder... can't move, Dirk is gone to work already and I am laying in a pool of cold water unable to move. I yell out to Khetho and we call the ambulance and off I am to the hospital. We missed the school bus, so now 2 kids are at home with Khetho. I am at the hospital with no pain medication and my shoulder is by now almost to my elbow... I almost faint from the pain, but realize that the system here is slow and the day after (last Friday) is my Bronze Wedding Anniversary (12,5 years) and we are off to God's Window in Mpumalanga for the weekend..... well, everything is uncertain at that moment, because the doctor that checked me said that he thinks my arm is broken instead of dislocated...but I feel the same pain as I had twice on the other shoulder. Scans need to be made and I am waiting and waiting...finally they give me some pain medication that only after a long agonizing 30-40 minutes kicks in. So I was without pain medication for almost 2 hours!! TIA = This is Africa!!

Finally they put me half asleep to put my shoulder back into it's place, I was so anxious for this, since the last 2 times they did it without me putting to sleep. I have a dislocated shoulder now in 3 continents and each procedure goes different...so I was very reluctant to figure out how it would work here and didn't have high hopes...but luckily I woke up and the procedure was done. But my shoulder is in bad condition and I need a follow up with a Orthopedic surgeon next week, first we go off for our short weekend vacation. I wish we hadn't gone, as my gut feeling told me... Dirk and the girls are all 3 coughing, sneezing and not feeling well, I am in a sling and the house in up in the mountains between a spooky forest, fog and mist hanging everywhere around us. Beautiful location if it is not foggy... but the house is infested with moths.... hundreds of them!! I feel like I am in a Alfred Hitchcock horror movie and we go home after the first night, didn't get a refund.. still trying to.. but this is Africa!! I don't sleep the whole night, the only thing I hear is the buzzing noise of the wings... it totally creeps me out!
On the way back home, we get into a car accident just to make the weekend even more 'pleasant', nobody is hurt but we are in a spooky and gloomy mountain top... mist everywhere, some weirdo's drive into our car, Dirk pays them off just to get rid of them, no police involved... we want to go home and go to bed and not wake up till the next day... we are all feeling bad and miserable. We drive home in silence, almost 5 hours in the car... what a weekend!!

Finally home, need to go to the hospital again, because my arm is not acting the way I want it, makes uncontrolled movements and my skin is numb... and tomorrow I have to fly to the USA... from door to door almost 30 hours I am on my way, just to make a couple of new fingerprints for my US passport that I am getting soon. Not the right time, but have no saying in this, the longer I wait for it the more hassle it brings.

I am in a sling, my children and husband have the flu and I need to leave the country. The last couple of days have not been very good. And on top of that I feel the sniffle and sneezing could catch up on me as well... some days are better than other days.

There is not even a picture that I can add to this mess, how I felt the last couple days, what happened in those lost moments, a lot of things at once. And I am just writing it down in case you think where I have been the last days.... I have a hard time typing, my right hand is shaking and making weird movements and tomorrow I am off on a 30 hours plane flight...so you won't hear from me in a few days either...

Wish me luck and I hope I had all the bad luck for 2009 in the last couple days....
At least I am certain that your days will be better, worst than mine is not imaginable.

Love, M

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beautiful faces of Thailand

I don't need to say more, just look at these precious faces, just amazingly gorgeous!

And I am the mother of 2 of them, how blessed I am!!

Have a wonderful day,

Wacky Wednesday #5

Jasmine is almost 3 here and she is with interest reading in this little book..... no pictures in it, just jokes and other tips ;-)

It is wacky that she just picks out THIS book. We will be in trouble with this girl, she has a very flirtatious vibe in her. And the boys already are noticing... OH MY OH MY when this girl turns into a teenager. Dirk will be busy keeping the flocks away! LOL

Have a Wacky Wednesday!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years.
On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

Wearing of the Green Goes Global
Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore, and Russia.
Even in South Africa we had a St. Patrick's festival during the weekend and all 4 of us were wearing green ;-) Here the girls with a live green leprechaun.

The Chicago River
Chicago is also famous for a somewhat peculiar annual event: dyeing the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate the holiday. That year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river—enough to keep it green for a week!
Today, in order to minimize environmental damage, only forty pounds of dye are used, making the river green for only several hours. Although Chicago historians claim their city 's idea for a river of green was original, some Savannah natives believe the idea originated in their town.

Symbols and Traditions

The shamrock, which was also called the "seamroy" by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring.

Corned Beef
Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick's Day to share a "traditional" meal of corned beef and cabbage.

The Leprechaun
The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is "lobaircin," meaning "small-bodied fellow."
Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.

I wish you all a wonderful green day!!

Theme week 10 @ I ♥ Faces: 'Green'

The theme for this week at I Faces is 'Green'.

For the kids: Here are Juliet & Jasmine: the grass is green and it tickles on my back!
This photograph is taken in our backyard here in South Africa, the girls were enjoying the last summer rays, since we have reverse seasons and it is getting cooler now. Soon we'll have winter.

And I enter for the first time a picture for the adults. I had this picture taken this weekend during a St. Patrick's festival here in Joburg, and saw a live leprechaun. How fun is that :-) ... and since it is only Monday night I am still in the deadline to add this picture.

Look at the other contestants at the I ♥ Faces site, there are some creative 'green' shots!

Have a wonderful week ahead of you!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bubbles in my Bath

Weekend is over... too bad too soon!

Starting a new school week, so the girls have to be squeeky clean, and they love to sit and play in the bath tub with lots of bubbles :-)



Hope you had a wonderful weekend and are ready for a brand new week :-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fabulous Friday!

When Dirk turned 40 the year before last, I had a surprise party for him. Since his favorites are burgers and beer, I did a Burgers and Beer around the World party for him. It was so much fun organising it!

I went to the local liqueur shop and asked some advice. Since I don't drink beer at all... I had no clue whatsoever to order. I was a lucky gal, since the guy who was working there was a beer connoisseur and he gave me this list to buy, and I did. I still don't know much about beer, but I remember that everybody was impressed with the beers I got! Such a variety and a lot of these beers nobody had tried before. So this part of the party was already turning out well :-)

Lindeman Kriek Lambic, Dogfish Head Fort Ale, Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA, Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout, Berkshire “Shabadoo” Black & Tan Ale, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen, Paulaner Oktoberfest-Marzen, Hofbräu Oktoberfest, Long Trail Hibernator, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Harpoon Winter Warmer and
Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau ‘07

Now the burger part, this is more up my alley, since I love cooking. So I decided to make mini burgers (I was way ahead of the trend that would come up a few months later ;-) since everything mini is really a food trend... and still is!

I wanted to make some burgers that also women like, so I had a choice of:
Jamaican Jerk Burgers with Orange-Chipotle Mayonnaise
The Southeast Asian Turkey Burger
The Moroccan-Spiced Lamb Burger With Beet, Red Onion, And Orange Salsa
Grilled Portobello Burgers with Piquillo Pepper Aïoli and Watercress

Since these were mini burgers you could try them all or at least 2 or 3 out of the four. I must say this was a super duper party, and I am glad I saved the recipes so we can do it again in a few years. Since we are living in another country I can easily do my top rated parties again without people ever noticing that I did this already... there are some advantages of moving every 4-5 years :-)

So talking about burgers, I am thinking of eating a burger today. But since it is Friday and we try to do a wholesome vegetarian dish I found this recipe of the Ultimate Veggie Burger on 101cookbooks. And this is the burger we are eating tonight! Yummie or what?

The picture alone makes me hungry :-)

The recipe is from this book: Super Natural Cooking from Heidi Swanson.

I hope I gave you some ideas for a Fabulous meal on this Fabulous Friday or maybe an idea for your next party? Email me if you like the recipes from the burgers... I am happy to share ;-)

Have a Fabulous weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gold Reef City

Last week the girls had a day off school because there were Parent-Teacher conferences. I did the meetings the day before, and we ended up going to a Theme Park named Gold Reef City. It is a large amusement park here in Joburg. Located on an old gold mine, the park is themed around the gold rush on the Witwatersrand. Park staff wear period costumes of the 1880s, and the buildings on the park are designed to mimic the same period. There is a museum dedicated to gold mining on the grounds where it is possible to see a gold-containing ore vein and see how real gold is poured into barrels.

The park has a big ferris wheel, which was fun to go on.

Rollercoasters.... which the girls couldn't go on yet, still too small.
But the cars they loved!

A little dwarf with a big bird.

And here pretending to be chicks who just hatched...

We were not the only guests, although it wasn't really busy, but this big school class was there... so cute!

The girls won 3 stuffed animals, had ice-cream, pancakes, lolly pops and lots of fun. This was a very unexpected trip and we had great fun!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wacky Wednesday #4

It is harder and harder to find some funny or wacky pictures of the girls, soon I have to start creating new ones. But this one is from September 2004, the girls are almost 2,5 years old. Having fun in the bath tub, they pretend they are aliens ;-)

Can you see who is who? ..... JJ is on the left and Jezzy on the right :-)

Have a Wacky Wednesday! I am off to Slum Dog Millionaires... it finally came out here in SA.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Diepsloot Combined School

As I wrote before I am volunteering at the Diepsloot Combined School every Monday morning. Giving 8 to 10 years old lessons in basic English at a fun way. We practiced some writing (tracing letters and then DIY after example), we talked about families and living situations.

We gave them some coloring pages with rooms of a house. A kitchen, a lounge!, a bedroom and a bathroom. So we discussed these pictures with the kids. But the sad thing was that the pictures on the pages were not really how their houses look like from the inside!! These kids don't have kitchens, bathrooms, or bedrooms like these drawings....and forget a lounge with a TV!! ... we just realized that a bit too late!

But anyway, they loved to color and talk about it. These kids are so grateful for our presence, attention, hugs and high fives! They don't mind the 'small' details about differences in our lives. They were just happy kids!! Look at them, you don't realize that these kids go through a tough life... everyday, still those happy smiles and so grateful.

These are 'my' boys. I go to them every week, same group, same table, same boys ;-)

Their names are: Mfundo, Calvin, Yolani, Mayibongwe, Thokozani and Mduduzi

And here a girls table, sitting next to us. I need to ask their names next time.

And the whole class, about 45 students between the ages of 8-10.

It really humbles me to work here with these amazing kids who have to endure so much!
I also had a peek into the library and the computer lab, see below.

I was actually pleasantly surprised about both rooms, a lot of books and computers.

Mind you, it is a school with more than 1500 kids! And the sad part was, that after the computers were installed they had a break-in and a great deal got stolen!

Have a good day!


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