Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The smaller things in life...

that keeps the girls fascinated! Like a little snail that was gliding on our doorstep this morning when we went out to catch the school bus.

After putting it safely back into some green shrubs the girls were happy to go to school! According to Jasmine, she wanted to come and visit us here in paradise.

Paradise you think, well.. I have to tell you this conversation I had with her 2 weeks ago. We whisked our bunny Winter away from our garden and brought it to the local pet store, so she could mate with a male bunny. We left it there for 1 week to make sure she is really pregnant. But Jasmine was a bit worried and sad to leave her behind in the pet store. Because she told me that Winter would miss 'Paradise' (our home and garden where the bunnies live freely). I said to her that Winter will come back soon and then she has babies in her belly and we can give even more bunnies a life in Paradise.... she thought about it for a moment and then her face cleared up! Jasmine and Juliet will have to take care of a litter of baby bunnies in about 2 weeks, they can't wait!! Luckily gestation time for a rabbit is only 28 days.

So now we have another pet that lives in 'Paradise'... our newly made friend the snail ;-) Little things that make kids happy!!

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I ♥ Faces, Week 38: "Blue' photo challenge

At I ♥ Faces this week the challenge is Blue. This can be a color or a feeling/mood, as long as it is prominent.

This is a picture I took when visiting Lesedi cultural village here in SA, about half an hour from our house. Different tribes from South Africa live here. These woman are Ndebele women and are always very colorful dressed, just like their houses. All the primary colors are used in their dress and paints. But the blue comes out to me, in their necklace and skirt of the lady on the left. Juliet and Jasmine are a bit unsure to sit in between them... so funny!

Check out the other contestants at I ♥ Faces, there is a lot of blue!

Have a Magnificent Monday!

Friday, September 25, 2009

More pictures from Tatjana's shoot

Here are some more pictures my friend Tatjana took of us last weekend. I am starting soon to study Photography as well. At first I wanted to do the same course my friend is doing, but decided that a full-time course is hard to combine with my family life and all the other things I already am involved in. So now I am starting on October 6Th at the College of Digital Photography These are part-time courses and I can adjust them to my schedule. I am starting with the Fundamentals of digital photography (mandatory) and then I will do the more advanced photography like Photographs with impact, people photography, outdoor photography, creative photography and studio photography. I don't think I will do the wedding photography, but who knows I decide later to add that as well. And on top of these photography courses they also have basic and advanced Photoshop that I will add to the mix.

So enough classes to follow! Each subject has 3-5 classes. In total this will almost take 1 year to finish, with my vacations in between for sure. But I am looking forward to start on October 6Th and I will show you some of my results while I need to do my assignments an I like you to be my judge and give some feedback please!!

In general there is a rule, your face in or out of the shadow, but not like JJ's face here and her moving hand, so Tatjana cropped this picture and just showed Jezz, but I still like JJ's sweet face in this, so I kept it like the original :-)



And all of us

I like the different angle in this picture, not so traditional

So soon some work of mine!
Enjoy your weekend! Dirk flew off to Europe and is gone for 9 days, I need to entertain myself! Probably end up beading a lot... need to show you some of my work, soon!
Love, M

Thursday, September 24, 2009

SA Heritage Day 2009

South Africans across the country will celebrate their rich and diverse culture today, Thursday 24 September, the country's national Heritage Day.

During September, in line with the Heritage Month theme of "celebrating South African craft", the Department of Arts and Culture has been paying tribute to the crafters, many from rural areas, who have contributed to the development of the country's rich heritage.

South Africa's crafters have over the years produced a vibrant craft legacy using natural resources and recycled products such as plastic bags, paper, cardboard boxes and wire.

Although the craft industry has moved from being an expression of artistry to entrepreneurship, practitioners still lack protection from exploitation.

The main Heritage Day event will take place in the rural village of Moroke in Tubatse, which falls under the Greater Sekhukhune District in Limpopo province.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will join the people of Limpopo when they kick-start the day's activities with a cleansing ceremony at Tjate Heritage site in Sekhukhune.

The cleansing ceremony takes place every year as part of the festival, which commemorates the legacy of King Sekhukhune I, who resisted British colonialists on the battlefield at Tjate in Ntsoaneng village in 1878.

The celebrations became an annual event in 2004, when the statue of King Sekhukhune I was unveiled in Ntsoaneng, where women and children used to seek refuge in times of war.

During the annual ceremony, the Kgoshikgolo (supreme king) slaughters a goat and the elders come together to pay respects to the Sekhukhune ancestors.

The cleansing ceremony will be performed by both traditional leaders and healers.

The girls have still school, since the American International school follows the American holidays and not the SA. However, Dirk has a day off, so we are going to play a round of golf before he leaves to make a trip to Europe for the next 10 days.

Have a Terrific Thursday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Picture updates

Last Saturday we did a photo shoot with the 4 of us. My father-in-law is turning 75 this month and he wanted a picture update of all his 3 children and families. So we went out to Dainfern and took a session near the river in the afternoon, so the light was soft. Tatjana a friend of us, who is studying at the National College of Photography took these pictures. I will show the rest in another posting.

We blew one up and it will be placed in a frame for his upcoming Bday. The one that is hanging in his living room right now is 4 years old, so the girls were tiny... so much has changed.

September 2009

September 2005

Have a wonderful Wednesday! I am off to my 'tried & tested' cooking class today!
Love, M

Monday, September 21, 2009

I ♥ Faces: week 37 ~ 'Completely Candid'

For this week's theme I knew exactly which picture I wanted to use. We just had moved to the USA from Thailand. Jasmine and Juliet are 1,5 years old on this picture and playing with a hamper from Ikea. Climbing in and out and having so much fun!

Go over to the website of I ♥ Faces and see the other contestants this week!

Have a grand day!

13th Anniversary!

Yesterday we celebrated our 13th Anniversary! We had a great weekend celebrating it. The girls had a slumber birthday party on Saturday, so the evening before we had the kingdom to ourselves! First we went out to eat and then to the movies. Not the greatest choice we made on that one! We went to District 9, which was filmed in Joburg, so we thought a good movie to see, but jeezz.. what a horrible movie I thought it was! Blood and insides splattering around, black vomit and fluids coming out noses, weird creatures.... everybody is raving about this movie, but it made me grinch the whole time! Especially not a good choice for an anniversary... a romantic comedy would have been better!!

On Sunday, our day, we had a romantic breakfast Dirk prepared for us complete with 13 Red Roses!... the girls were still at our friends home and after we picked them up we went to Melville. That is a great artsy area in one of the neighborhoods of Joburg. Very cute! There is a designer lifestyle center called Bamboo which has an art gallery, some cute artsy shops and boutiques, a glass blowing place, where you can follow classes. A lovely book shop and a delish deli kind of place to eat with the most fresh food around. So we spent the afternoon there, buying some books and hand made jewelry. Having a light lunch since we made reservations for a 6-course dinner later in the evening.

Khetho our housekeeper did the babysitting part for the evening and we went out later for our dinner. Roots is one of the better restaurants and 5-star boutique hotel in the Cradle of Humankind, one of the most famous heritage sites. While we were driving up there we were welcomed by some wild Kudu's and Springboks who just wander around in this private game reserve. On a Sunday night not many people go out for dinner anymore, so it was already quite when we arrived. But they told us that 6 other people booked for tonight, so we wouldn't be the only ones.... Well, it turned out that we WERE the only ones. So this 6-course dinner with wine pairing was totally made for us alone. They opened 6 bottles of wine, each course had a different one... The crew of staff was at least 6-9 people, working just for us... what an experience for our Anniversary!

Let me tell you about the food. We started with a Roots lobster bisque. Next a Ceasar salad, followed by a Pan fried Cod with citrus segments, fennel & leek fricassee. Then a trio of beef with butternut puree, chickpea cassoulet and salsa verde. After that the confit Duck with wild mushroom risotto, spring veggies & jus. And last but not least, hazelnut parfait ice-cream, walnut pumpkin seed nougat with almond financier and orange flan sauce. The food and wine pairing was divine!! I can definitely recommend this restaurant to my friends here!!

We had a fun day at our 13Th Anniversary and are looking forward to the next 13... say the least. If we can top our adventurous lifestyle for the next years we will do just fine! We can't top the amount of continents anymore, since we lived already in 4 during the last 13 years, but we can still top the number of countries, so let's see what the future has in mind for us! We are looking forward to that!

Have a Marvellous Monday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A little fun with whipped cream....

Just some silly pictures of the girls, they like to play with whipped cream as you can see....



Juliet left and Jasmine right

For now I am not so inspired to write a long story, so just some pics today. I am more wondering about Jen & Jeff, they are in Thailand at the moment to pick up their precious Ruby Kate and I can't wait to see some pictures and hear some news!

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Prinsjesdag 2009 ~ Day of the Princelings

Today, 15 September 2009 Prinsjesdag will take place in the Netherlands. On this third Tuesday in September H.M. Queen Beatrix traditionally rides in her Golden Carriage from Palace Noordeinde to the Ridderzaal (Knights’ Hall) for the annual Troonrede (Queen’s Speech).

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, his wife Princess Máxima and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

This is an old tradition, and lot's of people still follow this event on TV. Once a year we have an opportunity to see the Golden Carriage. It's nice to see that the Dutch Royals keep traditions alive!

More of the history if you are interested:

Prinsjesdag (in English: Day of the Princelings) is the day on which the Queen addresses a joint session of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament in the Ridderzaal or Hall of Knights in The Hague. The Speech from the Throne (Dutch: Troonrede) sets out the main features of government policy for the coming parliamentary session. The occasion is prescribed by the constitution, article 65 of which states:
A statement of the policy to be pursued by the Government shall be given by or on behalf of the King before a joint session of the two Houses of the States General that shall be held every year on the third Tuesday in September or on such earlier date as may be prescribed by Act of Parliament.

Speech from the Throne

The first part of Prinsjesdag is the Speech from the Throne at the assembly of the States-General in the Ridderzaal.
At around 12:30 on Prinsjesdag, the members of the Senate and House of Representatives enter the Ridderzaal.
They sit opposite and to the left and right of the throne. The ministers and state secretaries sit to the left of the throne. Behind them sit members of the Council of State, the government’s highest advisory body. They all sit in the enceinte, an area enclosed by unobtrusive wooden barriers symbolising that the head of state is in conference with Parliament.
Outside the enceinte are seats for the other High Councils of State, senior civil servants, high-ranking officers of the armed forces, senior members of the judiciary, the Queen’s Commissioner of the province of South Holland, the mayor of The Hague and specially invited guests.

At the stroke of one, the Queen, normally accompanied by other members of the Royal House, leaves Noordeinde Palace in the Golden Carriage for the Binnenhof, escorted by court dignitaries and a military escort of honour. Outside the palace stand an escort of honour and a military band. During the procession, salutes are fired at one-minute intervals to let the people know that the head of state is on her way to the joint session of the States- General.
As the Queen arrives at the Binnenhof, a band by the steps strikes up the Wilhelmus (national anthem). The Queen and other members of the Royal House salute the flag and mount the Ridderzaal’s steps, above which hangs a canopy.
The president of the Senate presides over the joint session. Shortly before 13:00, he opens the meeting and then appoints a number of ushers from among the members of the two Houses to escort the Queen and her entourage. On this occasion, male MPs wear their most formal dress, while female MPs try to outdo each other with extravagant hats.
The ushers receive the Queen and the members of the Royal House at the entrance to the Ridderzaal. The president of the joint session then announces the arrival of the head of state: a signal for all those present to stand. The Queen then proceeds to the throne, from where she delivers her Speech from the Throne. In her capacity of (formal) head of the Government she announces the plans for the new parliamentary year. The Queen's Speech is not written by the Queen, but by the Prime Minister and the cabinet.
When the Speech is finished, the speaker of the Eerste Kamer proclaims "Long live the Queen!" which is answered by everyone present with "Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!". This brings an end to the joint session of the two houses. The ushers escort the Queen and members of the Royal House to the door. The president then closes the session.
When the Queen leaves the Ridderzaal, the escort of honour again forms in the Binnenhof, and the procession returns to Noordeinde Palace where she traditionally salutes the gathered crowd from the balcony.

Proposal of the next year's budget

After lunch, the Minister of Finance proposes the next year's national budget and the Budget Memorandum to the Tweede Kamer. The offered budget is carried in a special suit-case which has printed on it in Dutch: "Third Tuesday of September", but due to the size of the suit-case, it is likely it only contains only a part of the entire memorandum.
The presentation is followed by a cycle of parliamentary debates on the budget. These are called the algemene beschouwingen. It is the most important moment for parliamentary policy making, as MPs can amend the budget to finance specific plans.


In the 18th century, Prinsjesdag was one of the country's most popular public holidays and was originally used to celebrate the 8 March birthday of Prince William V.
Between 1780 and 1797 — known as the Patriot era — the day was used for demonstrations of loyalty to the House of Orange, which is probably why the name was chosen in the 19th century for the ceremonial opening of parliament.
Historically, the constitution has stated that the opening of parliament should take place on a fixed date and in line with a constitutional revision in 1887, it was decided to hold the opening on the third Tuesday in September.
The opening of parliament was originally held on the first Monday in November in the first half of the 19th century and then the third Monday in October, but when a constitutional revision introduced annual budgets in 1848, more time was needed to debate the budget, so the date was brought forward a month.
Monday was considered inappropriate, because many parliamentarians in distant parts of the country needed to leave their homes on Sunday to make it to The Hague in time, so the 1887 revision moved Prinsjesdag to Tuesday.
Throughout the years 1815 to 1904, the speech from the throne was given in the assembly room of the Lower House of Parliament, or Tweede Kamer, but was moved back to the Hall of Knights after an extensive restoration of the building at the start of the 20th century. The pomp and circumstance is still very much part of the day.

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I ♥ Faces, week 36: "Contemplative"

YEAH, it's Monday again, and we have a new theme for I ♥ Faces. This week it should be a picture with a contemplative face.

I looked through my photo's and found this one of Juliet and Jasmine and think it fits perfect in this category, what do you think?

While we were shooting, we asked the girls some questions to get different facial expressions and this was a moment where both looked contemplative, but never thought about it like that, till this assignment came up and then I immediately knew: this should be the one!!

Go to the I ♥ Faces website to see more of contemplative faces!

Have a Marvellous Monday!
Love, M

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beautiful faces we meet on our travels

Living and traveling in Africa is a different thing than on other continents. The land is vast, empty on most places, the infra structure, the houses. It looks so different than the countries we have lived in so far. And what I notice every time I live in a different country, is the differences in the faces you start to recognize. For Caucasian people they find (at first) that all Asian people look alike, and vice verse. Well, of course that is totally not the case. I learned to recognize the different nationalities of Asian people when we were living in Thailand. There is a huge difference between say for example Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Singaporean, etc.. But at first you don't recognize that, now we do! It is not only the differences in faces, but way of behaving and clothing, makes a huge difference and you learn by living locally to see that.

I am starting to learn to see the differences in African people as well. With its 53 countries and 1 billion people (according to Wikipedia) there is a lot to discover and learn about the African continent! While I read more about their cultures, backgrounds you see the subtle differences which at first you are totally oblivious to. That is what makes living in different continents so interesting! (Our 4Th continent so far) I learn so many new things every day by just being around so many nationalities. Start appreciating so many more cultures, way of doing things that your mind is constantly broadening to other views and ways of living. But you also start to see so many similarities, which is also an eye opening!

I really appreciate being an expat! I am glad to give my children that valuable experience of seeing that no matter what skin color you have, what language you speak, what religion you believe in, down at the core we are all the same!

So here some pictures of beautiful faces we met on our travels here in South Africa. They call SA a rainbow nation, because of the many different backgrounds and nationalities that have settled here and live together in one country. An interesting mix of people and I hear so many different languages around me that I haven't heard in any of the other countries we have lived in so far.

So here some beautiful faces... each with their own story.

This little boy/girl? was doing a heap of laundry by hand outside the house... so young and working so hard already!

Our tour guide at Lesedi, a cultural village where different tribes live and work. A spunky and fun girl!

A little boy and girl who we gave some liquorice, candy that not everybody likes. At first they didn't like it either, but then when they saw us eating it as well, they tried it again.

A Zulu man.

Unfortunately not met in real life, but on a life size poster, the face of Nelson Mandela, or as the African people say: our beloved Madiba.

By the way: I hope that my computer problems are solved by now, and that I can start blogging and emailing again on a regular basis. Wish me luck!!

Hope you had a good week(end)!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

African road signs

Living on the African continent brings spice to our lives! Things that happen here, you wouldn't expect to see anywhere else. An example are these road signs, true or not true... I don't know, and haven't seen them myself either... YET! But I am sure that it can happen here.

Have a chuckle!

Have a Terrific Tuesday!


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