Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to JJ & Jezz!!

Happy Happy Birthday to our beautiful girls!!

Our sweet peas, turning 9 today!!

Every other week the elementary school at AISJ has assembly. The kids who have a Bday or other celebrations are mentioned. The kids who like to perform a music instrument can do so. News and other information is shared. It's a nice way to stay in touch with what is going on.

Going to school to celebrate. At morning assembly all the kids with a Bday these coming 2 weeks will get a pencil and the whole elementary school sings for them.

Not only Bday celebrations, in this case Amelie, the girl next to JJ is leaving for the UK and everybody sings a goodbye song for her.

Then time for cupcakes for 40 kids, 2 classes.

We decided to celebrate together both classes, so I can be there at the same time.

All the kids ready to sing.

JJ making a wish before blowing out the candle.

Juliet with her teacher Mrs. Westerbur

Jasmine with her teacher Mrs. Aurora

Eating the cupcakes at recess, from L to R: Emma, Doriana, Valeria, Jezz, Elle, JJ, Cathlynn, Rose & Jordan.

A fun day at school, celebrating with their friends. On Friday we will have a huge Disco Foam Party and Cocktail party for the parents as well. So about 40 children and 20 adults I expect. Since it will be the last party in this house we better celebrate well!

More about the second part of the celebrations on Saturday. For dinner tonight the girls can choose where we will go...
Have a fun FREEDOM DAY, because today is also a special day not only for us but for whole South Africa!! 17 years ago ALL South African's had the right to vote!!
Mireille xx

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter weekend at Leopard Leap Lodge

We went to Limpopo for the weekend to celebrate Easter in the bush veld and we stayed at Leopard Leap Lodge were Maya and Jan were our hosts. Our friends Lene, Claus and their children Clara, Noah, Elliott and Friia joined us for the weekend.

A 4 hour drive and we were in the middle of nowhere, where a heaven of silence, beauty and nature waited for us. Time to camp, hangout by the campfire and make lunches and dinners around the fire pit.

The lodge

And the view on the look-out point

The view on the water hole and surroundings from the lodge

The 4 girls, Jasmine, Friia, Clara and Juliet in front of their own house, Hansel & Gretel

Having so much fun together!

We did some nature walks, safari drives, looking for animals foot steps, egg hunting, egg painting, but mostly just relaxed had some great food and drinks while the kids were exploring the wilds, enjoying their Hansel & Gretel house all to themselves.

Ready set go! To find the easter eggs, then divide it equally and color some easter eggs, what fun to have Easter weekend in the bush!

Beginning of our nature walk, full of energy with Maya leading us.

All the kids, except Friia, posing on a branch during our walk

Jasmine, Clara & Juliet relaxing on a tree trunk, they had such a good time together!

We saw many footprints

And found a beautiful feather

Being silly, from L to R: Clara, Friia, Juliet, Jasmine, Elliott and Noah.

Time for a snack and a drink, we made it!!

After the 2 hour walk mostly downhill, we were so glad that Jan picked us up to drive back to the lodge, instead of walking back!

A really fun weekend, with beautiful sunsets and gorgeous views over the wide open spread valleys and hills of the Waterberg mountains.

We saw some gorgeous sunsets

We made beer butt chickens on the braai, the most tender chicken roast you can imagine!! YUM YUM! There is a beer can shoved into the cavity of the chicken to keep it moist :-) Click for recipe HERE

Our braai area, which we used 24/7 to keep the chill at bay!

The tented camp where the Astrups stayed. There are 3 of these tents with each their own outdoor showers.

Last breakfast at Leopard Leap Lodge before we leave for the White Lion Breeding camp, more about that later. From L to R: Dirk, Lene, Claus and Elliott.

Thank You Maya & Jan for the wonderful weekend we had at your lodge!! We truly had a magnificent time and for sure we will be back! Your lodges and self catering tents are beautiful and we felt instantly at home by your hospitality!!
Mireille xx

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What is your parenting style?

I was wondering what my parenting style is and what would be the results when my girls grow up. After reading this interesting article here, I was being forwarded to this test online, about different styles by asking these kind of questions:

Do you think it’s important for parents to be strict? Do you think it’s necessary for children to have clearly defined rules? Is it okay for children to act out or disobey from time to time? Based on analyses of several hundred parents, our results revealed three dimensions of parenting styles.

This is the test that I found on the website. Go HERE to do the test yourself!

THIS IS MY SCORE, after doing the test twice this came out, WHAT IS YOURS??

When it comes to: Shaping Their Character ~ You're Involved but Flexible

Involved but Flexible ~ While you believe it's important to set expectations for your children, you're not too rigid about it. You recognize that sometimes they may deviate from your considered instruction to follow their own path, and that's okay. When it comes to modeling behavior for your children, you take it very seriously, but you also recognize and appreciate outside influences that may shape their behavior; they'll learn from situations and people they encounter in the world - the inspiring scout leader, the beloved Sunday School teacher, even the flaky neighbor or annoying kid up the street. Overall, you want your kids to learn the best lessons they can, whether those come straight from you and your spouse, or another source.

When it comes to: Making the Rules ~ You're Authoritative

Authoritative ~ When it comes to setting rules and expectations with your kids, you're the grownup and you know what's best. And since this is the case, it's not really necessary to always explain the logic or rationale behind your rules and expectations. you're also scrupulously fair: you do your best to apply your standards equally to each child. Parents who take this approach believe that it's important for parents to make decisions for their kids and that, generally, rules and expectations shouldn't be open to discussion.

But this also came out of the test when I did it again!

When it comes to: Making the Rules ~ You're a Benevolent Ruler

A Benevolent Ruler ~ When it comes to setting rules and expectations with your kids, you're sort of a benevolent dictator – in the nicest way. When you know what's best for them, there's no need to discuss your decisions. But when it's appropriate, you're happy to take a more democratic approach and let your kids have their say. This kind of combination of firmness and fairness means that you can have open discussions with your children while still being able to assert your authority when it matters.

When it comes to: Enforcing Discipline ~ You're Firm but Fair but also Lenient

Firm but Fair ~ You're firm, but fair. In general, you take an assertive approach to discipline. You think it's best, since being direct lets kids know what's expected of them. At the same time, parents like you indicated that children should be allowed some room to be free and explore; you're happy for your kids to experiment and take chances (within reason), as long as they respect and obey their parents. There's no purpose served by being overly strict.

Lenient ~ When it comes to discipline, your watchwords are tolerance and lenience, and you tend to avoid punishing your children for behaving inappropriately. As far as enforcing rules and expectations goes, lenient parents like you don't think it's necessary to get upset with kids for not obeying instructions. It's certainly not appropriate to use spanking to get children to behave, and could be self-defeating. In your opinion, kids should be allowed to do what they like without being told exactly how to behave.

Do the test by clicking HERE. Be aware that you have to register to see the results.

I find the results pretty good, this is exactly how I parent!

Let me know your results!!
Have a good day,
Mireille xx

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Weekend in the Bush

While you are reading this we are on our way to the African Bush. Going for a camp out and celebrating Easter weekend in the Waterberg Bushveld in Limpopo. We will be staying at Leopard Leap Lodge, owned by a Dutch couple Maya & Jan, who moved to South Africa in 2007 to run this 787 hectares gamefarm. The farm is a refuge for Giraffe, Zebra, Eland Antilope, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, Oryx, Leopard, Serval, Caracal, Brown Hyena, Jackal, Porcupine, Pangolin and many other smaller species. There is also abundant birdlife on the farm. So hopefully we will run into some of these :-)


Together with another family, friends of us with 4 children, we will be doing some Easter crafts from Bush findings, baking Easter bread on the Braai instead of in the oven. And looking for Easter eggs while running into some (not so) wild animals. Sounds fun to me!!

Planning to cook our meals under the stars and listening to the lions roar in the background, hopefully not too close by!! Haha.. there are no lions here, but maybe we hear some other animals sneaking through the bushes while we are sitting around our campfire and grilling our Beer Butt Chickens. Have you ever had these before? They are the most succulent and moist roasted chickens you will ever taste!! And if you don't like to use the beer, just empty the can and add apple juice instead. Although you don't really taste the beer, it just makes the chicken moist. You have to try it, you can buy these racks to put the chickens on top and then put the whole rack on the BBQ and 1,5 hour later voilà a perfect roasted chicken!!

Just being outside and having a hike on the game farm, being in nature and enjoying the beauty of Africa, relaxing by the campfire and reading a book and just doing nothing if you don't want to do anything.

Hanging out with friends, while having some vino or the African Amarula drink... I think; life will be good this weekend!!

Have a GREAT EASTER WEEKEND everybody!!
I sincerely hope you will have as much fun as we have... ;-)

Love, M xx

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A peek into our real estate world...

So you know I am looking for a new home. Not easy to find something that equals the house we are living in now, since we love it so much, got used to it and really wanted to stay here till the moment we move COUNTRY. Which will probably be in another 2-3 years. So I was not prepared for this!! But this is the life we lead, and expat life has no securities in terms of how long and where you will live...

So back to house hunting! I mean some of the houses are beautiful we are looking at, but each house has something we DON'T like, either it is the flow of the house, or it is too big.. too bombastic, or the garden is too small, or too close to another home (since we live in secured estates, sometimes the privacy is not there as much as we would want).

But in the end I have to choose one of these that are available now, I can't wait a month, it has to be this week, so as you can imagine limited choices. What if you just had chosen one, but then the week after your DREAM HOUSE comes on the market... well, too late for that!!

So let me introduce you to a few houses we have seen, I know some of you are dying to see this, so here some links... one of these house will become ours soon, or there will come a few on the market this week I don't know about yet now. And we like even more than these ones...

I put them up randomly, so which one you like best?? Just click on them to see the link.

Malaysian Magic on the River.

Bliss on the fairway.

Farm house heaven.

Lovely Family Home.

Entertainments Dream. This one has it's own movie theatre, so the girls want me to pick this one!

Classic with modern finishes.

Modern and spacious home.

So these are just a few I have been looking at, and probably one of these it will be, unless there are this week coming out a few new ones... Each one has nice features, but also things that we don't like about it, so now we just have to make a list with the pros and cons and see which one comes out on the top! I will keep you updated....

And then the big move starts... packing, but also throwing out a lot that I don't need anymore (well my maids will be lucky, since whatever we don't need goes to them...)

And then re-decorating (which I like the best) but that probably will happen when we come back from our long break of 8 weeks.... now I don't want to go on vacation... I want to get it over with!!

Do you move a lot, do you like to look at Real Estate, how long have you been living in your house??
The girls are a bit more excited now, that they know there is one house with its own movie theatre in it, of course they want me to pick that one!! They can see themselves already sitting in there with their friends and popcorn... LOL
We will see how it goes!

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!
Mireille xx

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Shoe fetish anyone?

If you don't know what to do with your old shoes... take a closer look, maybe an idea for your garden?? I've seen this at the 12 Decades Art Hotel in downtown Joburg.

The Art hotel is part of Main Street Life, which has seen the transformation of a 1970s industrial building into a mixed use complex offering live/ work studios, retail shops, a rooftop events venue and an Art Hotel. The development is designed to inspire creativity and innovation. It's a very cool area with shopping, eating, art & exhibitions. Very artsy fartsy!

Here we are at the rooftop with incredible views of the skyline of Joburg, but also and this my hubby will love... a bar and a place to hang-out and listen to music. So next time Dirk you have to come with us!

Besides the rooftop there is an Indie market inside the building and a tea/coffee garden with restaurant. Home made jellies, chili paste, cookies, chutneys, breads, all kind of things for sale. All organic and home made... YUM YUM!

Inside an art gallery and photo exhibition, that changes all the time. And an art shop with cool books for sale.

A really great and fun way to spend a Sunday morning!! At least I had fun, while Dirk was hanging out on the driving range with the girls... also fun, but I am sure next time when he comes he will enjoy this as well. Because the street food they sell and normally is from the Durban region and you won't see here much is a.... BUNNY CHOW. A hollowed out piece of bread with a chicken curry stuffing. See what you missed Dirk, when shall we go again! LOL

What I really liked was the Ethiopian Coffee that this lovely girl served us in these cute cups under the beautiful olive trees. It was strong but smooth... so delish!!

If you like to go it is at the Corner of Main, Maritzburg and Fox Streets ~ and called The Maboneng Precinct Johannesburg city.

Have a great day!
Mireille xx

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to my mom!

It's my mom's Birthday today! So Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd Mam!! Ik wens je een fijne dag toe!!

I only have pictures of her from 1 and 2 years ago with the girls, so it is time we will get a new and updated picture! Luckily for us we are going to Holland in June, so I need to make sure we will have a few new pictures with Oma and Opa and the rest of the family!!

That is the downside of living in another country, that we don't see the family that often. Especially for the kids ~ No Fun!!

Enjoy your day mom, we are thinking of you!!
Big hugs and kisses to you!!

PS: If you have troubles posting a comment to my blog, just go back and try again, then it works!!

Love, Mireille, Dirk, JJ & Jezz xxx

Monday, April 18, 2011

Upside down seasons...

It's funny how the seasons throw you off... My whole life I lived in the Northern Hemisphere and around Easter spring has arrived. When I think about spring and most of you do the same, you think about crocuses, daffodils, tulips and the hyacinth to name a few.

I love it when everything is still grey, dark and there are no leafs on the trees yet, but then suddenly these beautiful fresh colors pop up from nowhere!!

New life is starting, that I associate with spring and EASTER! Little lambs hopping in the fresh green meadows, daffodils everywhere. But this is NOT happening here in South Africa or Australia for that matter...

NO, we are in the middle of FALL or AUTUMN, the leafs are falling, it is getting chilly, the weather turns grey, dark, raining... while your world is emerging with new life we are going down under with dark afternoons, and EASTER is fallen leafs....

But now living in the Southern Hemisphere... It is WEIRD, I can't get used to it!! Even though I live here now for 3 years, I still think of Easter of new life, but now I need to think about mushrooms, stews, soups, long socks, thicker sweaters, boots, jackets, fire place... it's like living in an upside down world!

Next weekend we will have our Easter break and we are going with another family, friends of us, to the Bush. A game farm in Limpopo, but I am thinking we need warm clothes, make sure we are able to make huge campfires, bring boots instead of the usual flip flops! It still will be fun, just a bit cooler!! And I am sure the Easter bunny will still hide a few eggs here and there, so the kids will be excited!! This time I will try to make the Easter bread on a campfire... let's see how that works out!

So what do you associate with Easter? The same things I used to do? Or are you also from the southern hemisphere, I like to know, because it is still a bit new to me these upside down seasons!

Have a smashing day!!


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