Monday, May 31, 2010
The girls are still young and I am afraid that a meeting with the Bmother and seeing the surroundings she is living in maybe a bit too shocking for them to understand and comprehend. What if the girls have nightmares later, I want to protect them maybe a few more years. And go back when they are teenagers and understand the situation a bit better....
WHAT DO YOU THINK? OR WHAT WOULD YOU DO??
My fear is that it will haunt the girls, and they will be constantly worried about how she is etc.. They are still young... 8 years old, but I am also afraid that considering the average life expectancy is not that high in the poorer community in Thailand and that in a few years when the girls are ready to meet her that she is not around anymore, or so sick that it will be even more traumatizing to see her.... She is now 49 years old, but looks quite older, and she doesn't look like a healthy, vibrant fairytale woman that the girls have in mind!
I am in a dilemma!! And I need your input!! When I read the article below, I am thinking maybe NOW is the time for a meeting! But I am afraid for the unknown and want to protect them! They don't ask that many questions yet, but I know there will come a time that the girls are wondering who they look like, who's brown eyes do I have? Do I look like my dad or my mom etc.. etc..
So read the article below and please give me your input. What would you do if you have the opportunity to meet the Bmother and maybe even the Bfather, do it now or wait??
If you have ever read the children’s book, “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman, you have some idea what people who are adopted feel like.
Can you imagine not knowing simple, taken-for-granted information about yourself? For instance, knowing your medical background, the time you were born, what hospital you were born in and many other important and emotional facts.
Do you know who you look like in your family? Adoptees are not able to answer this question unless both biological or natural parents and the adoptee “voluntarily” — usually after many years — are in good enough health and mental capacity to actively register and agree to physically connect or share pertinent information.
There can be medical conditions in the family, but the adoptee is not privy to that information unless the voluntary registration has occurred, which requires a fee to the adoption agency and or the state. Imagine not being allowed to know your medical history. If you have children, they also are unaware of at least half of their history.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day become filled with mixed emotions. I was very fortunate to have been placed for adoption through the Onondaga County Department of Social Services. My natural mother saved me from a life of poverty in a family where I would have been the seventh child. She made a very difficult decision to release me to what came to be a wonderful, two-parent family who later added a son. My experience is a good one, and there are many who are not this fortunate.
All adoptees go through life wondering about themselves and have an empty space filled with the unknown. It is always possible that we live in the same community as our natural family and neither party is aware of it. Consider always staring at people in public, wondering if because they have a similar nose, they just might be related; looking over your shoulder in a checkout line, wondering if he or she could be your mother, father, brothers, sisters or other extended family members.
I have got to believe that since all three of my children strongly resemble me, my natural family has very strong physical similarities. You probably know someone who has adopted, is adopted or has placed a child for adoption. It is also possible you know one of these cases and are just not aware of it. Please help these people you know find the lost part of themselves by supporting the bills to amend adoptees’ rights. We need to improve the bills — A8410 and S5269 of the Health Law — by adding section 4138-e. This will allow adoptees, when they reach the age of 18, to receive a copy of their original birth certificate and updated medical histories.
Remember, it is possible one of these situations is or can be part of your family history. Let’s help everyone to have their true family background. Genealogy has become a big concern for families. Please help to keep our histories well-known, especially for the future of our families.
by Susan Trody Huppmann.
Let me know how you feel! I appreciate your input!
Have a Marvellous Monday!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Africa, second-largest of the Earth's seven continents - covering about 30,330,000 sq km (11,699,000 sq mi), which makes up about 22 per cent of the world's total land area.
Sudan, Republic of, republic in north-eastern Africa, the largest country of the African continent. Sudan has a total area of 2,505,800 sq km (967,490 sq mi).
The smallest African country is The Seychelles covering an area of 453 sq km but Gambia is the smallest of the mainland African states, covering an area of 11,300 sq km (4,363 sq mi).
Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is the largest city in Africa with an estimated 9.2 million population
Mount Kilimanjaro - Uhuru Point - (5895m/19,340 ft) in Tanzania
the lowest is Lake 'Asal (153 m/502 ft below sea level) in Djibouti
is Cape Blanc (Ra's al Abyad;) in Tunisia
is Cape Agulhas in South Africa
The ancient Egyptians slept on pillows made of stone.
Apart from Muslim nations, Ghana has the lowest per capita consumption of beer in Africa, yet its brewery industry is one of the most competitive
Did you know that in Africa it is almost impossible to hold a small wedding? The idea of a private wedding is unknown and is greatly frowned upon. Friends and relatives expect to be invited to a wedding and to play a role in the ceremony.
90% of all malaria cases are in sub-Saharan Africa
3,000 children under the age of five die each day from malaria in Africa
1-5% of GDP in Africa covers costs of malaria control and lost labour days
Did you know, that Africa would have been an estimated US $100 billion better off in 1999 if malaria had been eliminated years ago?
17 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have died of AIDS
At least 25 million people in Africa are HIV-positive.
12 million children who have lost their parents to AIDS face a precarious future.
The world's biggest hospital is in Soweto, named
The world's largest diamond was the Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa, which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless colour and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels.
Did you know there are about 280 000 windmills on farms across South Africa, second in number only to Australia?
Most Populated Country
With a population of more than 113 million, Nigeria is easily the most populated country in Africa and the 10th most populous country in the world.
I hope you enjoyed these facts, and learned a few things about this huge and interesting continent of AFRICA.
I wish you all a Fabulous Friday and Wonderful Weekend!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Have a Wickedly Wonderful Wednesday!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Wherever you come and go you will see flags on cars, from all nations but of course SA rules! People are selling everywhere paraphernalia on the streets in all colors and shapes. You can buy t-shirts, jackets, flags, covers for your mirrors on the car, vuvuzela's, mascots, bandanna's... it is crazy!!
The countdown to the World Cup has really started with the arrival of the Panini stickers: 638 players, teams, stadiums and badges to be collected and stuck as neatly as possible – harder than it sounds – into the appropriate numbered slot in the album. The boys at school are trading these soccer cards. Buying and swapping football stickers is expensive and frustrating, but it’s also totally addictive! Although it is not only for the kids, I even heard stories of men AND women who collect these quite expensive stickers... if you like to fill your book completely it will be at least $100 and that only depends if you are lucky and get around with some quality swapping and without buying too many new ones, just to get that ONLY ONE you still need to fill the slot!
Not only on the streets and in the shops it is World Soccer craze, also on the radio, all you hear is soccer, soccer, soccer. But at least they have some great theme songs. I don't know why there are 2 official theme songs, but these 2 call themselves both the official theme song for the Fifa World Cup 2010. Maybe somebody can explain to me why there are 2?? Anyway, they are both FAB songs!
Here the official FIFA World Cup song by K'naan.
K'naan born Keinan Abdi Warsame in 1978, is a Somali-Canadian poet, rapper, singer and instrumentalist. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, K'naan spent his childhood in Mogadishu and lived there during the Somali Civil War, which began in 1991. His aunt, Magool, was one of Somalia's most famous singers. K'naan's grandfather, Haji Mohamed, was a poet. He is Muslim, and his name, Keinan, means "traveler" in the Somali language. He spent the early years of his life listening to the hip-hop records sent to him from America by his father, who had left Somalia earlier. When he was 13, K'naan, his mother, and his three siblings, older brother, Libann, and younger sister's naciimo, Sagal were able to leave their homeland and join relatives in Harlem, where they stayed briefly before moving to the Toronto, Ontario neighbourhood of Rexdale, where there was a large Somali Canadian community. His family still lives there. In his new country, K'naan began learning English, some through hip hop albums by artists like Nas and Rakim. Despite the fact that he could not speak English, the young K'naan taught himself hip hop and rap diction, copying the lyrics and style phonetically. He then also began rapping.
But there is another official theme song from Shakira ~ Waka Waka ~ this time for Africa!
Both great songs that sweep the nation and you hear it on the radio's all day long!
Are you coming to South Africa to join the craze?? Well, as most of you know, I will be LEAVING!! I think it will be a mad house here during the World Cup and I rather go here:
Me and the girls are going 8 weeks to Thailand, and 6 weeks we will be on our paradise island Koh Samui, relaxing and just listening to these FABULOUS songs on the Ipod while relaxing under a palm tree with some fresh coconut juice.... hmm I can't wait to leave this mad house!!
Have a good one y'all! Whatever you do during the World Cup, ENJOY it!!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
A trend which merely goes around teenagers in Japan, and it is dressing up like popular or cult figures from manga, television, games or other media, including fast food franchise branding, and interprets them as dress-up. Dress up is not necessarily reserved for a special occasion, it's part of the fabric of self-expression. They call it otaku culture. Kids meet at special places like Harajuku, or conventions to show off their hand-made creations. Make new friends with another character that looks exactly like themselves while dressed-up, this whole phenomenon intrigues me! What about you?
So why CosPlay??
The CosPlay phenomenon quite related to, though not a direct extension of the whole rebellious attitude of dressing in Japan. Grey and blue suits still predominate the urban landscape, white shirts and ties still are the norm.
Cosplay is a restrained form of self-expression. It is easily undone. Most of the piercings are either fake or very discrete. Most of the tattoos are washed away at the end of the day.
If you go to Harajuku early enough, you'll see the kids changing into their outfits, because there's no way they'd walk around their home neighborhoods in that garb.
Wild hair color is pretty normal in Tokyo, so much that even the elderly often sport a green or purple 'doo. It's interesting to note, though, that the top selling hair colors for young Japanese are the natural blacks and browns, because kids know that if there's a wedding or a funeral or a job interview or a visit from a rich relative, respect must be shown with a return to conformity.
So I guess what I'm getting at is that unlike the US, Japanese kids are having fun playing dress-up, not forging some sort of self-styled identity like their American counterparts. Although that is just one opinion, there are many others who believe there is a deeper sense of identity crisis, not knowing where to belong, attention seekers and looking for a moment of fame.
To me, it's an escape for these kids, a chance to stand out from the crowd and get a bit of attention for their creativity and sewing skills - it's weird, but it gets their picture in the Asian edition of Time Magazine about once a month which may be all they're really after... And it is FUN and cute!!
There are shops and magazines to order these costumes in Japan, but the real fan likes to make the costume herself/himself, putting a lot of effort into the details and materials used. The purpose is not to alienate the mundane masses (though that happens inevitably), it's just to look pretty in an incredibly elegant and detailed way.
What do you think of this kind of hobby? Dangerous or innocent, weird or funny? Artistic, creepy or just a way to have something to do during the weekends? Hang out with same kindred spirits? At least I got some ideas for Halloween for the girls.. LOL, but I am not sure they are into this kind of CosPlay??
Have a Fantastic Friday!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
See these pictures below, Africa meets Neon! How great is that?! A series of interior sets designed by German Interior Stylist & Stage Designer Irina Graewe. The combination of objects, staging, pop colours together with the West/Central African fabrics is great. You know I am always on the look-out for these beautiful fabrics and once again I am not disappointed with what you can do and how to incorporate these beautiful fabrics!!
I love this funky couch and chair below! So cute with those fabrics!!
This is what the TREND CURVE (international authority on color & design in home furnishings) says:
Neon could not be newer! So don’t forget to include it in everything from the brightest yellow to purplish blue.
Don’t be shy with corals — they’ll be taking reds and pinks to all-new levels.
To think forward, go back. These rich time periods will be informing trends, as well as new colors:
Tudor (through Elizabethan) England will bring back voluminous velvets, tapestry accents and tear-drop pearls.
The 1940s will again inspire features in light maple, pecan and walnut, as well as seersucker, jersey and cable knits.
Mayan, Incan and Hopi tribal influences will give us geometric florals, trapezoids and primitive portrayals of the sun.
So it’s time to put away the winter blahs and greys – 2010/2011 is going to be all about bright, bold colour! The neon trend is making its way across the continents in the coming years, so expect to see lots of fearless colour to wash away that gloomy winter parlour that may currently be festering in your living room.
Are you ready for a change?? I am definitely going to incorporate some of these funky colors in my house.... because Funky Doodle Donkey is all about unique, groovy, sassy, swanky, hip, bright, bold & funky stuff that gives you the wiggles & giggles!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Both lost their 2 bottom teeth on the way when we moved to SA, 2 years ago. Till now they had not lost any! But now they are catching up. Jasmine has her whole 'rack' loose. Almost all of her teeth are wobbly and crooked like an old lady. She looks really funny and her expression is so different these days! What teeth can do to your appearance!
Juliet is a bit behind, although she is the first born, she only lost 3, so 2 two years ago and now just 1 this week, but she also has a few loose ones... so soon she will look like an old lady too and will lisp a bit like her sister!
The new ones that are coming in are of course so BIG compared to the other ones, it really looks not right at first. And they had such a straight pearly white teeth before, but now it is all crooked and not as white anymore.
The girls are growing up! I will miss this baby phase... Maybe time to adopt a new one??
We talked about it at home with the girls and Dirk, but all 3 decided NO in unison. I tried and said: but what about a cute little boy and you can be the big sister?? No, boys are ANNOYING said JJ and Jezz, I even tried with Dirk and mentioned that he can play soccer, but he is happy with his 3 girls... (Nice that he includes me as well ;-)
So soon, no more tooth fairies coming to our house ;-(
I am alone in my quest... but really I wasn't so sure either. I don't like to jeopardize the family unit we have now, and it is so much easier with all the travels we do. 2 kids a lot easier than 3 kids.... So the Dijkstra family is complete!
What about you guys? Are you ready for another one, now or a bit later?
By the way: do you know the origins of the tooth fairy? I looked it up at Wikipedia and here is what it says:
In early Europe, it was a tradition to bury baby teeth that fall out. This combination of ancient international traditions has evolved into one that is distinct to Anglo-Saxon and Latin American cultures among others. The tradition is still very much alive and well in Ireland and Great Britain, where it is common for young children to believe in the Tooth Fairy. When a child's 6th tooth falls out it is customary for the tooth fairy to slip a gift or money under the child's pillow, but to leave the tooth as a reward for the child growing strong.
Tooth tradition is present western cultures under different names. A Ratón Pérez appeared in the tale of the Vain Little Mouse. The Ratoncito Pérez was used by Colgate marketing in Venezuela and Spain.
In Italy, the Tooth Fairy (Fatina) is also often replaced by a small mouse (topino). In France, this character is called La Petite Souris ("The Little Mouse"). From parts of Lowland Scotland comes a tradition similar to the fairy mouse: a white fairy rat who purchases the teeth with coins.
In some Asian countries, such as India, Korea and Vietnam, when a child loses a tooth the usual custom is that he or she should throw it onto the roof if it came from the lower jaw, or into the space beneath the floor if it came from the upper jaw. While doing this, the child shouts a request for the tooth to be replaced with the tooth of a mouse. This tradition is based on the fact that the teeth of mice go on growing for their whole life, a characteristic of all rodents. In Japan, a different variation calls for lost upper teeth to be thrown straight down to the ground and lower teeth straight up into the air; the idea is that incoming teeth will grow in straight.
In parts of India, young children offer their discarded baby tooth to the sun, sometimes wrapped in a tiny rag of cotton turf.
The Tooth Fairy is less common in African cultures.
Rosemary Wells, a former professor at the Northwestern University Dental School, found evidence that supports the origin of different tooth fairies in the United States around 1900. Folklorist Tad Tuleja suggests postwar affluence, a child-directed family culture, and media turned the myth into a custom. The Tooth Fairy, a three-act playlet for children by Esther Watkins Arnold, was published in 1927. On May 28, 1938, MGM released The Little Rascals short entitled, The Awful Tooth, in which the gang agreed to pull their teeth out to make money from the tooth fairy. A reference in American literature appears in the 1949 book, "The Tooth Fairy" by Lee Rothgow. Dr. Wells created a Tooth Fairy Museum in 1993 in her Deerfield, Illinois museum. In a March 1961 Peanuts strip, the new character Frieda asks if the prices are set by the American Dental Society. The Tooth Fairy has appeared in several children's books, an adult book, and films, and the eponymous radio series.
A somewhat similar practice is found in Guatemala, where worry dolls are told a worry by children and placed under their pillow. During the night the doll is believed to worry so that the child can sleep, and sometimes to actually address or resolve the worry. As with the tooth fairy, parents may remove the doll at night to reinforce the child's belief in the myth.
Have a Wonderful Wednesday!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
South Africa is known for its sour milk, which is often drunk among the Xhosa, Sotho and Zulu people, and is commonly referred to as maas, or amasi. It's a fermented milk that tastes a little like cottage cheese or yoghurt, and is usually eaten with a spoon out of a clay pot. These days however, you can buy it neatly packaged at your local supermarket! It is also popular with Indians who use it to make a cucumber salad served with biryani, or as the main ingredient in raita.
Traditionally, Zulus believe that amasi makes a man strong, healthy and desired. During taboos (e.g. menstruation or when there has been contact with death) the affected person must abstain from amasi. Milk is hardly ever drunk fresh ('green milk'), but it is sometimes used to thin amasi which has gone too thick to be used.
Speaking of sourness, the legendary Umqombothi (Xhosa) is a heavy, mean-smelling beer, made from maize, sorghum, yeast and water. It actually doesn't have a very high alcohol content, but when I tried it into a local shebeen on my Soweto tour I couldn't stop saying 'yeeeurrrghhh!' I mean, I am not a beer lover anyway, but this is nasty stuff! Umqombothi is considerably less expensive than traditional "clear" beer, that is, beer brewed from barley. We also had to drink it out of a recycled milk carton, shared by a few others... which wasn't my cup of tea.. so to speak! But hey it is cheap and gives you a high!
African cuisine has a number of mouth-watering delicacies, which don't involved eating termites or buffalo intestines. Venison, particularly in South Africa, comes in many forms, with the most popular being springbok, kudu, gemsbok, ostrich, warthog, all of which can be eaten as biltong (dried strips of meat, seasoned with spices, similar - but much better than - beef jerky).
The most common thing that will happen to the squeezed worms is that they get dried and end up in a bucket on the market from which they get sold. You can eat the dried worm without a problem. Although the taste is not bad (a mix between vacuum cleaner dust and a peanut) the dry texture can be unpleasant for some. Another way of preparing them is by soaking them in water and later stir-fry them with oil and some garlic. Next time you are in Africa and it is worm-season. Go for it and give it a try. Let me know what you think! I haven't tried it, and I am thinking that I am not going to try it for as long as I don't need to!!
There are other local foods that aren't as adventurous, but better sounding to me, like Bobotie, vetkoek, boerewors and sosaties, just to name a few.
What about you, are you the type that likes to eat and try all those exotic snacks??
Have a Terrific Tuesday!
Monday, May 17, 2010
About 2-3 weeks ago the girls had a project at school, to make a 'little machine' and write/draw about it and then give a speech and explanation how the machine works, to the other students of the elementary classes and of course to all the parents who would come and visit.
Juliet with her 'crane' explaining how it works...
Jasmine with the same project, I am not that technical enough to create 2 different ones.... especially in 1 day!!
And here some other children of their class, with some amazing projects.. there are some handy moms and dads out there ;-)
I was impressed to see all the different machines the kids (and their parents) made! Although this project needed some help from the parents the children still learned a lot about how machines work, and in the end that is the goal of this whole project!
Learning while having fun creating!! Great job to the teachers for making learning so fun, well done!!
Have a great week y'all!
Friday, May 14, 2010
These recipes are all adapted from JIM LAHEY. He is the owner of Sullivan St Bakery, originally planned to spend his life as a sculptor. His passion for art and natural beauty took him to Italy, where he found a new medium for that sculptor's urge: bread. Inspired by the bakers of Tuscany and Rome, he returned to New York City determined that the "peasant" bread of the Italian countryside could find a home in America. In November of 2006, Lahey's no-knead method drew the attention of "The Minimalist" columnist Mark Bittman. His articles about it in the New York Times sparked a worldwide home baking revolution.
I was living in the USA at 2006 and remember the hype of the no-knead bread and tried it even a few times, but now I am going to try it again with some variations on the recipe that is still going on STRONG all over the world, and by me posting it on FDD maybe some people will read it that haven't seen this recipe before, who knows!
280 grams bread flour (all purpose works fine as well)
100 grams large flake unsweetened coconut
150 grams bittersweet chocolate chunks
4 grams salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
280 grams room temp water
1. Combine your ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and let sit for at least 12 hours and up to 18 (longer would probably be okay too).
2. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and shape into a round boule. Lightly grease a large bowl and place a long strip of parchment a few inches wide in the bottom. Place dough ball on top of parchment strip. Cover with a towel and let rise for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.
3. 30 minutes before the end of the second rise, preheat your oven to 450 F with your dutch oven inside (any large baking vessel with a lid will work too).
4. Gently lift your dough using the parchment as handles and place into your pre-heated dutch oven and put the lid on. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 15-20, depending on how dark you prefer your crust.
And now the other one:
1 small apple (I used a pink lady), peeled, cored and chopped into small bits
65 g (~1 cup) of chopped dried apple slices
280 g (~2 cups & 2 Tbsp) bread flour
20 g (~ 2 Tbsp) whole wheat flour
4 g (3/4 tsp) salt
1 g (1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 g (1/4 tsp) cinnamon
250 g (1 cup) apple cider
In a medium bowl, stir all ingredients together with a wooden spoon. The dough will be wet and sticky. Cover and let sit overnight (at least 12 hours).
Dust the dough's surface with some flour. Using well-floured hands, form the dough into a ball by tucking the edges of the dough under the center. Dust a tea towel with flour or wheat bran. (If you like you can lay out an apple slice to crown the loaf.) Gently transfer the dough to the towel, seam side down and wrap the towel around to cover it. Allow to rise for one or two more hours. The dough is ready when it's almost doubled in size and pressing your finger into the dough leaves an indentation that doesn't spring back.
About 30 minutes before the dough is done rising, put a large cast iron (or ceramic) dutch oven with its lid in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 450 F.
When everything is preheated, use pot holders to remove the preheated pot from the oven and remove the lid. Quickly and gently invert the dough from the towel into the pot, replace the cover and return to the oven for 45 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue to cook until the bread turns a chestnut brown color - no more then 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until the bread stops "singing" - making crackling noises - about 20 minutes.
The no-knead pizza dough I will do on another day, but if you are dying to try it out this weekend, just go to Jim Lahey's website or just click here. Let me know how it goes!
Have a fun weekend, what are your plans??
Thursday, May 13, 2010
And guess what it turned out that they had to play against each other, so I was cheering for both, but knew already that only 1 could be the winner!
First all the teams from the elementary school gathered together on the soccer fields and paraded with 'their' flag. Here comes SA.
My friend Schuyla's daughter Cherokee (with the red/white/blue bandanna) was playing for the USA and they did a little cheering dance, so cute!
The whole class was playing at once, so not just 11 players in the field, but about 15-16 on 1 team... a lot of kids running behind 1 ball! LOL
Although Jasmine & her friend Zahra rather stayed behind and chatted away... not really interested to run behind the ball!
It was definitely the boys of the teams who did most of the work, and the girls were meeting now and then for a chat..
And mind you, the game was only 15-20 minutes, but running behind a ball in the sun is exhausting....
Argentina won with 3-1, but of course it helped a lot that 2 mothers; Dunke & Patricia were cheering them on with the flag, so much more motivated was the class of JJ to win!!
Another fun day at school! Does the school of your children do fun stuff? What was the latest they organized?
Have a Terrific Thursday!