Friday, April 30, 2010

Queen's day in South Africa

Queens Day 2010 and we are celebrating it at the private residence of the Ambassador of the Netherlands in SA.
800 Dutch people accepted the invitation and were celebrating the Queens Birthday in the garden of Rob and Marion de Vos. All week it was cold and rainy, but yesterday we had a sunny day and there was lots of activities in Waterkloof~Pretoria where the house of the ambassador is located.

Everybody was wearing orange, or red-white-blue and I even saw some traditional 'cheese girl' outfits. The drinks and typical Dutch food were all free and they had plenty of it!
We were treated with goodies that were flown over by KLM just for this occasion! We were welcomed with an oranjebitter, a typical Dutch drink and the food we had were: bitterballen, nasi ballen, sateetjes, kaasblokjes, and rauwe haring met uitjes and of course dropjes galore! So nothing to complain here, our cravings for Dutch food was over after this wonderful afternoon!

Below some images to get an impression of the fun day!

Everybody in orange, some Dutch wooden clogs and Dirk with our friends Gerard and Marion, laughing about some joke.

Jasmine and Juliet in orange, red/white/blue having fun with some typical Dutch games... and a Dutch kaasmeisje/'cheese girl'.

For the children they had organized some Dutch games like: koekhappen, sjoelen, sponsdragen, pin the soccer ball and zaklopen.

And the little pancakes = poffertjes they served as well are very popular in Holland, they are yummy, served with some butter and icing sugar. Hmmmm....

All in all, we had a very fun day and met some of our Dutch friends and made some new ones.

Soaking up some Dutch culture abroad is always good for the girls, so we keep the Dutch and Thai traditions high in our household. How do you keep up with the traditions in your family??

Have a fun weekend!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Birthday sweet peas!

The girls are 8! I can't believe how fast life goes when you are having fun!
3 months old where JJ and Jezz when we got them, I just can't believe that 8 years have flown by!!

First they celebrated at school, the day before their Bday, since there is no school on April 27th in South Africa because of FREEDOM DAY.
Both classes got together and sang a Birthday song for Jasmine and Juliet and then they could give each child a treat, I ordered cupcakes at our favorite baker TART here in the neighborhood. It is always fun to celebrate at school with all your friends.

Juliet and Jasmine both with their favorite teachers, Mrs. Kelley & Mrs. Clark!

After the cupcakes were devoured all the kids could play outside to get some of that sugar rush out their body and here the girls are posing for me. While the boys are running wild in the background.

from L to R: Paula ~ Jeongwoo ~ Sofie ~ Jezz ~ Zahra ~ JJ ~ Iris ~ Emma ~ Chenika

Then on the day itself the girls opened their presents before breakfast even, they just couldn't wait, still in PJ's and anticipating on what was in those packages... Well, happy as can be with all their gifts. Zhu Zhu pets and DS games where their favorites so far, but more was coming since in the afternoon all our friends with their children would come and more gifts to be opened.

The girls got so spoiled by all our friends and they had many many fun gifts. Thank You to all our friends (Dunke, Tehmina, Candice, Marta, Maryam, Huyn, Stella, Schuyla, Mo and Marisca) who were so generous to our girls!! They LOVED all their gifts!! and of course the Grandparents in Holland who spoiled our girls as well!! It is so fun to be 8!

Such a fun day! And even more fun is coming soon, because we are going camping in 2 weeks with 10-12 girls for a night, so that is exciting!!

Congratulations on your Bday Jasmine and Juliet, we are so happy, proud and thankful to be your parents!! We love you very much!

Up to another fabulous year!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Last day 7

It's the last day that the girls are 7! My babies are growing so big!! Tomorrow is their Birthday but also FREEDOM day in South Africa, that is a bank holiday, so the girls are celebrating their Bday with cupcakes at school today.

For their Bday party we will go onto a camping trip here in the Bush, but this will be happening on the weekend of May 8/9. So more about that later!

Tomorrow we will have some friends over for a slice of homemade cakes...

Have a super duper week!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thailand, soon we come!

As you maybe know South Africa is hosting the World Cup Soccer this year in June. Dirk is a lucky guy, he has 9 tickets and is going to 9 different stadiums all over South Africa. June/July and half August, the girls have winter break.... 10 weeks off from school, so that would mean. Me and the girls are pretty much home alone, while Dirk is going to all his soccer games, which I am very happy for him to be able to do this. Since it is a once in a life time event, living in a country that is hosting the WC. So I let him go to all these games.... under 1 condition! ;-) and you might know me by now, my conditions are good ;-)

The condition is... that me and the girls are going to Thailand for 8 weeks/2 months.... yes you read it correct!! We are going to Koh Samui, I've rented a house on the beach and we are going to enjoy ourselves!
While SA is going crazy about this soccer I want some peace and ZEN in my life, getting some massages on the beach, eating FAB Thai food, doing some cooking classes here and there, checking out the latest spa treatments, reading my books on my new KINDLE that is coming soon!! We will have a blast!

The girls will be introduced again to Thai culture, I am even going to send them to school in the mornings so they can have some basic Thai language, seeing how children live in Thailand and being part of it. Going to visit some temples, introducing them to their mother land... how great is that!! They are old enough now to soak it all in and more important; REMEMBER it! The last time we were in Thailand for our sabbatical of 3 months, the girls were only 3,5 years old, so they don't remember much... but this time they will. And I will MAKE it MAGIC for them!!

So this is the place where we will be staying on Koh Samui, one of the bigger touristy islands in Thailand at a beach called Bang Po, a nice tranquil beach, not too touristy and away from all the hustle and bustle but close enough since I am also renting a car to go places!!

Baan Laem Noi is a small resort with only 7 bungalows, a pool and direct on the beach. We will have the house in the middle.

And this is how it looks like, cute or what? For 6 weeks I will be here with the girls, and my dad is coming to visit for 2 weeks. Then after soccer season is over, Dirk will join us for 3-4 days before we are heading out to explore the rest of Thailand for another 2 weeks.

So while Dirk is having the time of his life in SA, me and the girls are having the time of our lives in our beloved Thailand!! We all have a great deal!!

So if you are in Thailand during June and July, give me shout and we can meet!! I would LOVE that!!

Have a Fabulous Friday!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I LOVE this image, and I love to promote AFRICA!!

The Official First issue of Pop'Africana hits stands in New York, Paris, London, Berlin on April 29th and I spotted it already!
(Just realized that ;-) .... I am such a trend setter... LOL
See for more beautiful images and great impressions of Oroma Elewa a former model with a Nigerian background who lives in NYC. (I LOVE my Nigerian friends, and I am sure they will appreciate it that I found this great magazine). She is the editor and creative director of Pop’Africana Magazine.
She is also a fashion portrait photographer.
Both and this blog, serve as audio-visual continuations of the magazine.
But here, you’ll find her interests, obsessions, discoveries, thoughts, ideas, all that inspires her work as an editor and photographer.

Check Oroma out, it will be a hit soon and then you know about it already!! Via me, your trend setter friend ;-)

Have a Terrific Thursday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Road trip in South Africa

When we drove last month through different states of SA, this is what we typically saw when we entered a new village in the Transkei region. Some houses grouped together, and children on the side of the street waiting for the school bus.

Here we are entering a village in the Transkei.

The Transkei region is a gorgeous region in the Eastern Cape, extending from roughly Durban to East London. Rolling hills, beautiful coast line and picturesque farmlands provide for a delightful drive through this area.
The former homeland Transkei - home of the Xhosa people - is still a very poor part of South Africa.
The past lies hard on the tribe Mandela belongs to. It's a bit of a violent area, so we didn't stop or rest here, but nature is just gorgeous! The Transkei has authentic village life, and the Wild Coast ranks amongst the best beaches in the world.

We noticed that this is a typical set up of a house, a round one with a straw roof and 2 other ones. I bet one is for the cooking, one for sleeping and maybe one for the animals?? If you know more about this set up TELL ME. Because mine is just a guess....

I also wonder if these houses have running water and electricity, since I don't see any electrical poles or other facilities around...

A group of youngsters waiting for the school bus.

What we also noticed is that most of the houses have a little green patch with veggies growing on it, mostly corn (they call it mielies here). And this was way out, so no big factories or office parks to work for. People must almost live off their own crops, goats, chicken and cows, since we saw a lot of these as well.

Maybe you can help me out a bit Emm, where do these people live off out in the country?? Am I right by the explanation above?? I read there is no economic activity there. And it is considered a success if an entrepreneur can earn R500 to R600 ($68-$81) a month - far less than the legislated minimum wage (between R1500-R2500 = $205-$340 depends on industry).

Life is so different here in SA than say compared to the USA or Europe. People have a lot less and live more back to basics. Which in a way is not a bad thing!! But living below the minimum wage is a struggle, that struggle you don't necessarily see when you are driving through the country, but it is there!

Have a Wonderful Wednesday! Do you like road trips, and what is your favorite part of your country to drive through?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday mam!

Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd Mam met je verjaardag!! Ik hoop dat je een leuke dag hebt!!
Happy Birthday to my mom! Wish you a very happy day!!

Hope you enjoy the African table cloth and napkins I made for you ;-)
Liefs van ons viertjes!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The battle of the cakes... update!

OK, I made both cakes and they are indeed quite similar.. the biggest taste difference is that the Dutch cake has cinnamon in it (which my girls really liked) and the German cake has lemon zest in it (which I preferred). So with the 3 of us being in the home, me baking the cakes and the girls trying their tricks out on the skeelers, I must say both cakes are more cake than apples. (By the way, skeelers are skates on wheels, so the Dutch could practice their skating in the summer when their was no ice).

The girls preferred to play inside, since the tiles in the house make it smooth sailing! And it was already dark outside and these girls are scaredy cats!

When I grew up we had more apples than cake in the recipe. These I just plucked off the internet, the pictures looked great and I just wanted to try them out. Since there are almost 17 million people in the Netherlands, and 82 million in Germany you can imagine that there are a zillion recipes for each country for an apple cake. So I just want to let you know that this is NOT the recipe I grew up eating, but just another variation of a Dutch apple cake...

Below the Dutch Apple Cake; Jasmine & Juliet both liked this version the best, for me it was too little apple and more cake. Also it came out a bit too dark. The first 10 minutes in the oven at the highest temperature could have been left out and just bake it for 35 minutes on 350F/180C.

Below the German Apple Cake; for me the WINNER! The lemon zest makes it really fresh tasting and there are 2 apples instead of 1 apple in this recipe, it is a bit more dense (since only 1 tsp of baking powder instead of 2,5 and I like that). Next time though if I make this again, I will try it even with 3 apples! The baking time was perfect!

So if you wonder why I would make 2 the same cakes?? Well, I have a book club meeting the day after tomorrow in my house and I like to make an Apple cake for dessert and I wanted to try one out and see which one taste the best!

It will be the GERMAN APPLE CAKE for sure with 3 apples inside!

Have a Super Sunday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

the battle of the cakes...

OK, I have an assignment for you guys! A great tasting one!

I will give you 2 YUMMY recipes of Apple Cakes, try them out over the weekend or whenever you have time and tell me which one you like better, the Dutch Apple cake or the German Apple cake. So the battle of the cakes, how fun is that?

And Ginster... I am sure you will say the German, but try them both and see which one you really like best!!

Here are the recipes:

German Apple Cake from the book: 'Rustic Fruit Desserts' found on:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into 6 pieces
2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar (light brown sugar)

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 inch round baking pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in vanilla.

Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on a low speed just until incorporated. Pour (more like spoon, it will be very thick) into the prepared pan.

Score the peeled side of the apples with the tines of a fork and arrange the apples atop the batter around the perimeter with 1 slice in the middle (I cut each large slice into 3-4 small slices)

Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Sometimes the batter around the apples looks slightly underdone, but don’t worry; it’s just the moisture from the apples.


Dutch Apple Cake found on

2 eggs

¾ cup caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

85g butter

75ml milk

1 cup plain flour

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2¼ teaspoons baking powder

1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Double thick cream, to serve

1. Line the sides and base of a 20 x 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and the beaters leave a figure of eight pattern (approx. 5 minutes).

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the milk, then slowly pour into the egg mixture, beating all the time. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and gently fold into the batter. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

4. Arrange the apple slices over the batter. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of sugar over the top and bake in the oven at 200C. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 180C and bake for a further 35-40 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Cut into squares and serve warm with cream.

Tip: For something different, substitute the apple for pear or summer fruits such as nectarines and peaches. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for 2-3 days.

Have fun with these recipes over the weekend and let me know which one is your favorite ;-)

Have a Fabulous Friday!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Out of Africa: AfriChic

There's a bold fashion phenomenon emerging in urban cities throughout Africa more and more designers are incorporating African-inspired aesthetics in their collections and accessories.
Africhic is vibrant, daring, original, colorful, sexy and different and its taking the world by storm. Even celebrities like Beyonce are wearing designer outfits with African wax prints these days... and I really like it! These days I am hooked on African fabrics, they are just so colorful and 'make you happy' kind of designs.

So by researching, I found this local website AFRICHIC with established, budding and emerging Indie Artists, very unique styles. The website is a platform for South African designers to sell local made garments, thus enriching local areas, supporting local designers and workers. (Felicity look into this one!)

Its the continent's newest e-boutique for luxury African designer fashion. With stylish South African design, from designers from Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and other parts of the continent. On the website you find exclusive fashion while supporting local trade and designers. And I LOVE that part!!

Look at these impressions I got from the website and blog, there are just FAB! You hardly hear anything from the African continent in the rest of the world fashion wise, which is a shame because there are so many talented people here, so by giving you these links I hope that it will become a bit more known in the rest of the world too, because it is too beautiful to just keep only to myself!!

At the website you will find these designers and their FAB designs (just click on name and it will redirect you to designer).











And if you are living here or really interested in AfriChic go to their BLOG to find daily updates and inspirations!

Another GREAT South African designer is STONED CHERRIE, I can't finish this posting without mentioning her, she has really funky designs for women with curves, like most African women have... and me as well ;-)

And of course there is ETSY who also sells a lot of African wax prints in all variations like bags, dresses/skirts, shoes, check it out, you will fall in love with these vibrant fabrics just like me!

Have a Terrific Thursday!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Songkran today in Thailand

I really love all the Thai festivals and after our first initial shock of getting a bucket of water dumped on us, or been shot at with a water pistol from hundreds of youngsters on Beach Road that first year, we knew later how to celebrate it in style!

If I would ask a Thai person to describe Songkran in one sentence it would be something like this:

Songkran is a long holiday to spend time being happy and excited with family and friends, respecting elders, going to the temple, playing with water, and eating seafood.

The Songkran Festival in Thailand (traditional Thai New Years) is the biggest and most sought after holiday on the Thai calendar. Songkran is usually thought of as a few inebriated day of throwing buckets of water and shooting water guns where everyone is a target.
It is traditional in temples all around the country to make merit by building sand pagodas. In Bangsaen the local people build both gigantic and beautiful sand pagodas.

The Songkran Festival in Thailand is not all about water splashing and having fun. Thai people also take time out to visit their local temples to make merit and also to pour rose scented water over the hands of their elders. They do this in order to receive a blessing and good luck for the new year. Some families also go to their local temple to pray and make merit for dead ancestors. The ashes of these ancestors are often contained in miniature "chedis" which are like upturned hand bells. Once finished, all of the family members will light joss sticks and then squat down to say a short prayer. The pagoda is then sprayed with scented water. Paper banknotes are later given to the temple as part of the merit making.

Traditionally, Thai people pour rose scented water over Buddha images and the hands of elders and monks. They do this in order to receive a blessing and also good luck for the new year.

Thai people also go to the temple to make merit by offering food to the monks and taking part in activities such as "chedi sai" where they build stupas out of sand.

The schools invites monks from a local temple so that the students and their parents could make merit.

One of the main events organized during Songkran celebrations around Thailand is the Miss Songkran Beauty Contest. The contest is a good way to view the most beautiful women in Thailand. However, don't go expecting a traditional Western type competition. The Thai girls are all dressed up in traditional clothes of this region and you won't find a swimming costume category at all. The winner of the contest will take pride of place during the Songkran Parade held in several bigger towns or cities.

One of the best Songkran Parades in Thailand is held in Phra Pradaeng District in Samut Prakan Province. It is traditional for the Mon people in this region to release birds and fish during Songkran in order to make merit for themselves. Many of the townspeople dress up in their best clothes and then parade through the town to Wat Proteket Chettharam.

One of the more traditional events that takes place during Songkran is "song nam phra". This is the practice of bathing Buddha images with rose scented water. Most tourists, and even some Thai teenagers, seem to think that Songkran is only about throwing water at each other. However, it was originally more a bathing of Buddha images and pouring water on the hands of monks and elders. The latter ceremony is called "rod nam dam hua". Over the years people tend to spend more time playing water fights which is obviously more fun.

I got all this information from a website from Richard Barrow, he has extensive info on Thailand about all different kind of subjects, check it out!

The only thing I am worried about for this years celebrations are the Red Shirts that are creating all this commotion and unrest in Bangkok! I believe there are already 17 dead people... I will find out some more info and write about that tomorrow!

But seeing all these images makes me miss Thailand so much, I am so happy that in less than 8 weeks I will be there for 2 months!! Can't wait!

Jasmine and Juliet are still too young to enter a beauty contest, but they would make a chance, no? What do you think?

Have a great day!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Songkran ~ Thailand New Year's festival

We moved to Thailand in April 1999. We didn't have a house yet and my 40ft container with furniture hadn't arrived either, so the company put us in an hotel on Beach road in Pattaya where I would lay in the sun while Dirk was working. I would be searching for houses or condo's during the day, but that was all I had to do the first days. I didn't have a car yet, I didn't know the language, I didn't know anybody, and for sure I had no clue about the local customs.

So when we would go out at night that first week to eat dinner we had no clue what was going to happen to us... We thought: "Wow, it is really busy here on the streets!" And then the water throwing started!! We were surprised and soaked by the end of the evening. Hundreds of people on open trucks throwing water to tourists who had no clue, that is of course the most fun!! People who have no clue... like us!! This was our first introduction to the wonderful land of the Smiles!

This was also the last time I moved to a country without preparing and researching!!

But let me tell you a bit about how to celebrate Songkran in Thailand.

On the eve of Songkran Day, i.e. on the 12Th April, the people clean their house and burn all the refuse. This is a Spring Cleaning Day done as a duty in the belief that anything bad belonging to the old year will be unlucky to the owner if left and carried on to the coming New Year. It is something like a Public Health Cleaning Day but backed by traditional belief has proved more effective to emotional people than prosaic reason.

Early on the first day of Songkran, the 13Th April, the people both young and old in their new clothing go to the Wat or monastery belonging to their village or district to offer food to the monks there. A long table is erected in the compound of the Wat where monk's alms bowls stand in a row on either side of the table. Into the alms bowls the gathering people put boiled rice and into the covers of the alms bowls, food, fruits and sweetmeats. Such a performance can be seen at Wats outside Bangkok on Songkran Day. While the monks partake of their feast, music sometimes is played to celebrate the occasion.

In the afternoon of the same day there is bathing ceremony of the Buddha images and also of the abbot of the Wat. After this begins the well-known "water throwing feast". The bathing of images is done as ritualistic ceremony, but it is no other than a New Year's purification. Younger people will also on this day or the succeeding days go to pay their respect to and ask blessings from their elders and respected persons. They will pour scented water into the palms of the old people and present them with a towel and other bathing requisites. In the old days it was an actual bathing where the young people helped the old people to take a bath and to change their old clothing and put on the new clothes which the young people presented them as an act of respect to the aged on the occasion of the New Year.

Another duty to be done during the Songkran Festival is a religious service called Bangsakun performed in sacred memory to the dead. When a person died and was cremated, the ashes and charred bones of common people were buried at the root of a sacred fig-tree in a Wat. Such trees are to be found in the grounds of almost every Wat. It is a symbol of the Lord Buddha's enlightenment for under such a tree did Buddha sit in meditation and receive his enlightenment. If a person is able to erect a Pra Chedi or pagoda in the Wat the ashes and bones are then deposited in it. In later times a portion of the bones was sometimes kept in the house in a receptacle. On Songkran Day a religious service in sacred memory to the dead may be officiated by a monk or monks at the place where the ashes and the bones have been deposited, or as in some localities the people bring their dead bones to a village wat in company with others where a joint memorial service is performed. In some parts of the country the guardian spirits of the village and town receive also their annual offerings on Songkran Days. Obviously there are reminiscences or traces of ancestor and animistic worship in by-gone days.

So for people in Thailand, today cleaning day, tomorrow the fun begins: water throwing!! I am glad I am not a tourist in Thailand who has no clue!! LOL

If you celebrate Songkran ~ Have a wonderful celebration!
I just love all the Thai festivals!! Wish I could be there, since now I am prepared ;-)


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Car washing for Byron the Cheetah...

A few weeks ago the girls had a real life Cheetah visiting in their classes. It was so exciting for the children. They could see Byron the Cheetah up close and even pet him!! That was a very exciting day for JJ and Jezz!

So last week the girls came home and had a sheet of chores they could do at home to make some money so they could support the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre where Byron lives. I promised the girls each R50 = $7 if they would:
- make their beds every morning for 1 week
- clean up the dishes after dinner for 1 week
- clean up their play room for 1 week (they didn't mess it up all week)
- wash my car
- be good at school (this was the easiest I guess... they mostly are)

So all the chores were done last week and the Easter weekend was a great opportunity to wash my car, I only took pictures of the car washing, but the other ones they did as well.

See here Byron the Cheetah coming to school and the girls washing my car to earn some money to support the cheetah centre where Byron lives.

But then the girls got too wet and hot and they changed into their swimsuits, much better! And then you can sprinkle each other a bit with water too, more fun as well!

Then the car was clean and dry, but now the girls needed some refreshments and they dipped into the hot tub and pool.. the best!

And here an update from the teachers:

Dear Parents,
Thank you, thank you, for supporting the 2nd grade children in their recent efforts to raise money for the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre. We are all very proud of their energy and their success! In total, the children collected R 1,590.00 = $220 by doing a variety of jobs. It was great to see all the ways they helped you around the house.
Earlier in the year we learned that one way to help in the conservation of animals is through education. Together we thought it would be a good idea to raise the money it would cost for Byron to visit another school; one that might not have the opportunity otherwise. In that way, more people would be able to learn about the cheetah, why it is important, and how they can help protect all kinds of wildlife!
We’ve just been informed that there is a community called Ga-Rankuwa, in Northern Pretoria, which will benefit from our sponsorship. It will be exciting to see our ideas turn into action in the very near future. We will tell you more about the event as the planning and the date is finalized.

The Second Grade Team
Beth, Kim, Caroline & Amina

How great was that of the second graders? I am so proud of their teachers and all the children for doing such a wonderful job for a great cause!!

Have a good week y'all,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Brunch & Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Sunday we went out for a Brunch with our Dutch friends Gerard & Marion at an Italian River side restaurant Al Fiume on the river not too far from our house. It wasn't the greatest weather this weekend, but we were lucky and it stayed dry. We had an Italian lunch sitting next to the river, while there was an Egg hunt for the children and a big bunny walking around giving chocolate eggs to all the children. We had a fun afternoon!

Easter Monday I invited 6 families and their children to come over and do a potluck brunch and Easter Egg Hunt at our place. But since it was raining all day we had to do it inside. Wow, about 15 kids... 100+ eggs and just 3 minutes and it was over. Chaos... wild kids... lots of fun... and loads of sugar, you can imagine how wild that bunch was!!

Easter weekend was very fun with tons of activities, meeting great friends and hanging out together with some vino and great food! What else does a person want??

Now back to school and regular life!

Have a great week y'all.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter weekend

The weekend is only half over, but we did already so many fun things...

First Jasmine lost her upper tooth, she looks so different with that huge gap in her mouth, like an old lady, so funny!

We decorated our Easter tree. Normally we have little paper mache eggs on there, but I couldn't find my Easter decoration and here in SA you can't buy anything, so we made all the decorations ourselves. Colored and cut out Easter eggs, 2 on each side with a little string attached in the middle and voila... Then we decorated the tree with some spring flowers and our beautiful tree was done!

We colored some hard boiled eggs the old fashioned way, with food coloring hot water and vinegar, because even Easter dye you can't find here and also no white eggs, so the colors are a bit muted, but still we love them anyway. The girls can't seem NOT to pose even when they are doing their arts and crafts ;-)

And this morning the girls and me made a fancy breakfast. First we made some yogurt with berries and muesli and then we made a egg, ham in a bread cup. Jasmine and Juliet are into cooking, so they are helping me all the time with preparations, fun!

We also made some Easter bread, see below. The only thing was that the dye of the egg bleeded a bit on the bread, which doesn't make it look so fancy, but we still will eat them tomorrow morning :-)

And now we need some relaxation, so we are going to the movies (Nanny McPhee & the big bang) and do some dinner later at the fun Montecasino.

What are your activities this weekend?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday.

In the Catholic Church, Good Friday is the day on which we commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, the act that brought salvation to all who believe. It is the culmination of Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, and it takes place two days before Easter Sunday.

Good Friday (also called "Great Friday" or "Holy Friday") is the most somber day of the entire year. A silence pervades, socializing is kept to a minimum, things are done quietly; it is a day of mourning; it is a funeral. The Temple of the Body of Christ is destroyed, capping the the penitential seasons begun on Septuagesima Sunday and becoming more intense throughout Lent. Traditional Catholics wear black, cover their mirrors, extinguish candles and any lamps burning before icons, keep amusements and distractions down, and go about the day in great solemnity.

Jesus was put on the Cross at the very end of the third hour (the time between 9 and noon), and almost the sixth hour. He died at the ninth hour:

Mark 15:25, 33
And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him... And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.

Because Jesus was on the Cross between the hours of Noon and 3:00 PM, these three hours today are considered the most sacred of all. A devotion called "Tre Ore" or "Three Hours' Agony" might be held at this time; if not, you can do it yourself by meditating on His Passion -- reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion, making the Stations of the Cross by yourself, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Litany of the Passion, etc. Draw the curtains, take the phone off the hook, turn off televisions and radios, quiet your environment and yourself, and meditate on what Christ has done for you. At 3:00, "The Hour" He died, the atmosphere should be as if you are standing next to the deathbed of your father who died a moment ago.

Catholics also focus their attention on Mary this day and tomorrow (Holy Saturday), empathizing with the pain she endured as Our Lady of Sorrows. In another break in the tradition of veiling statues since Passion Sunday, they might dress the image of Our Lady in a black dress or veil, placing flowers of mourning before it in her honor.

As to foods, Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten for breakfast on this day, and are about the only luxury afforded in this time of mourning. Legend says that a priest at St. Alban's Abbey in Hertfordshire gave these to the poor on Good Friday beginning in A.D. 1361, and the tradition was born. I had never seen these, but here in SA people eat them a lot.

As I told you before we are not practicing Christians we don't do any of these things above. But we will be home all day, it is kind of a somber day, cloudy and rainy and the girls are off school so we will color some hard-boiled eggs, decorate the Easter tree and make some Easter bread. I found this really cute designs of Easter bread, round ones with an egg in the middle and sprinkles and another version that looks like a woman wearing a veil, we will draw faces on the eggs. So these ones we will make today and I will show you tomorrow.

Have a Good Friday!
and tell me... what are your traditions on this day??


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