Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday to me! #31

Again a year has flown by and it is time for my Birthday again. 45 years I am today... (deep swallow ;-)

A beautiful bracelet I got from my friends with glass from Ghana, Ebony, Brass & Bone from Kenya and Brass and Bronze from Mali. A true African memory to keep forever!! Accompanied by a handmade card.

I am not so sure if I am happy or not about it... well, as long as you can celebrate your birthday it means you are alive to celebrate it... so that is GOOD!

But the fact that your body gets older... well, I am not so happy about that part.

So mixed feelings here, I can tell you that I was WAY more excited about my birthday when I was still in the single and early double digits :-)

But at least everybody around me is also aging, and I am not the only one ;-)

Last weekend we already celebrated with a few friends my Bday and went out to a cool restaurant named Orient in Melrose Arch. We had a great evening, hired a taxi van and spent a fun evening with 5 couples. These happenings are fun and this morning I got spoiled by Dirk and the girls, and there is even more to come. So celebrations enough... that's not it..

BUT... and I might be in a bit of a contemplating mood but Bdays don't make me that happy anymore even with all the celebrations going on. I am starting to understand why older people feel that way and don't want the fuss or gifts for their Bday.

I am starting to feel that way too. It is just another day... only it remembers me on numerous occasions during that day via the FB and email messages that I am getting older.

Dirk always surprises me with a huge bouquet of flowers :-)

I got some tickets to the Phantom of the Opera from the girls, which includes tickets for them as well :-) and this cookbook, the BIBLE of South East Asian food. This is the BEST book you can have if you are interested in Asian food, which I am :-) No pictures, just the BEST and most AUTHENTIC recipes you can find!! ME = HAPPY!!

Even more on my Bday I have to think about the rest of my life and what is still coming. And I hope lot of fun things, exciting stuff to experience, lots of traveling still ahead of me, all the good things that are awaiting me which is fun and exhilarating but then I need to make some changes. (I am telling myself!)

I am not taking care well of my body, I need to loose weight, I need to exercise more frequently, since now I do it on and off, and more off than on. So my good intentions for this year is changing my body, mind and soul to a healthier version of me, so I can enjoy all the exciting stuff that I still want to do for the next 45 years... at least, since I am planning to become really old! LOL

So I am telling you this, to make myself accountable. To keep myself on track. Not only did I make a resolution to blog each day of this year (which so far I have done), I am also going to transform my body.

Well... there I have said it out loud, so NOW I have to do it. Not only needs my body on the outside a change I need to take care of the insides too! That is another thing I am going to work on. I need to address my problems I have with my endometriosis, my hormone levels that are out of whack..

so 2012 will be a year full of body and soul renovation!!

Watch this space and keep yourself updated on my progress... and above all... wish me luck!!

Mireille xx

Monday, January 30, 2012

Neighbourgoods Market #30

Two weekends in a row I went to the Neighbourgoods Market here in Braamfontein, downtown Johannesburg. It is just amazing!!

Local farmers or little shops with specialty artisan goods are showcasing and selling their yummy foods and drinks. You think about fresh made fruit juices, to home made cupcakes, to spreads, chutneys, organic meat products, home made beers, raw food, Thai food, pancakes & pastries of all kinds, huge pans of paella made in front of you. Balkan Burgers, delicious pizza's, champagne with oysters, instantly made margaritas.... all this in one market!

So first you walk around, get your mouth watering by seeing all these yummy foods and drinks, then pick one and order, and go upstairs to enjoy!

People are sitting on long tables, or standing on the side with a neat little side table, enjoy your order and hang out with the local hip crowd!!

They even have a kiddo section to keep the toddlers busy with coloring and playing. You have to keep an eye on them yourselves though.

Such a fun way to spend your Saturday... because it is only open 1 day a week!!

Go and see for yourself, so fun, so hip, so cool, so yummilicious!!

I can't wait for another Saturday :-)
Mireille xx

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sisters through thick & thin #29

I have put these pictures on FB already, so some of you have seen these, but not everybody who reads my blog is my FB friend... so here again.

I was looking through my pictures of India, the trip I made last year with Jasmine and Juliet and saw so many nice images. That trip was just amazing! They don't call it Incredible India for nothing!!

I really want to go back and explore more of India, I mean I have only seen Mumbai and Delhi... there is SO MUCH MORE!!

Then when I was looking through the pictures I noticed that Jasmine and Juliet often grab each others hand or touch each other in one way or the other. So good to see that close bond between the 2, hopefully that stays like that forever!

I know that siblings not always have a strong bond, like me and my brothers, there is not much bond going on. As a kid yes we played a lot together, but now as adults we hardly talk or hang out. Well... that part is also harder because I don't live in the Netherlands, but even if I would I probably would not hang out with them. We are just so different!

So I am hoping that JJ & Jezz will be always best friends and keep that strong bond. Probably it will... because I haven't read many stories of twins that are not good together, but you never know.

For now... let's enjoy these smiles, giggles, holding hands and having fun together...

And hopefully they don't want to kill each other in a few years, or not hang out with each other as much anymore. Because now these girls are joined at the hip. Which this momma likes :-).... a lot!!

BTW If you like to know how I got the effect on these pictures... I first turned them into Black & White and then went to PICNIC a free photo editing program from PICASA and added the 1960 tool to it, and it turns the pictures in this lovely pink hue and makes the corners round, just with one click of a button!

Nice or not??

Enjoy your Sunday!
Mireille xx

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Markets, what's not to love? #28

Last year I started to write a blog post about all the local markets, it took me a long time to get this post together. Researching and writing the text, and linking it so everybody could see more details and addressses and then just before I wanted to post it.... my connection was gone and I lost the post without saving it!!

I was MAD!! And didn't feel like doing the whole thing again.... and then just know I stumbled upon a link to the best country markets of South Africa. So now I just copy and paste and we all can enjoy the info!

You are welcome!! I know I am nice :-)

Going to a market is a nice way of starting your weekend, finding those homemade goodies, organic spreads, warm and fresh baked breads, what's not to love??

So here's my list, I got them from a link from the Eat In website, see here. I only print the local markets from Joburg and Pretoria, but on the website you will find even more markets from the rest of the country.


Blubird Whole Food Market
This Sandton market has many delicious international options, including Polish, Lebanese, Indian, Swiss, Turkish and Italian delicacies.

Bryanston Organic and Natural Market
At Joburg’s first outdoor organic market you’ll find organically-produced fruit and vegetable stalls stand alongside clothes made from natural fibres, locally roasted coffee, naturally fermented breads, sauces and preserves, baked goods, raw chocolate, sauces and ice creams.

The Farmers’ Market at Bamboo
This vibrant rooftop market stocks succulent vegetables and free range eggs, piles of olives, handmade cheeses, sausages, raw honey, biltong, bread, coffee and vegetables. It will inspire your home cooking.

Jozi Food Market
A relaxed, casual outdoor market in the midst of Joburg’s hustle and bustle. Pick up everything from organic veggies and potted herbs to gluten-free cakes, fresh granola and Green Bean coffees.

Market on Main
This city-slicker market is the place for Ethiopian coffee, organic veggies, scrumptious cup cakes and grow-your-own gourmet mushroom kits.

Neighbourgoods Market
Sister to Cape Town’s Neighbourhood Goods Market, this Sunday market is a great place to pick up seasonal fruit and veggies from the Free State, delicious mini Mediterranean quiches, meat from Braeside butchery in Parkhurst and beers from Darling Brewery.

Rosebank Rooftop Market
A hectic, colourful flea market in the rooftop car park at Rosebank shopping mall with around 600 stalls with clothing, arts and crafts, carvings and jewellery.


The Green Market
This open-air market offers organic vegetables, free-range eggs and vegan treats. Pick up a solar oven, a wormery or some vintage kitchenware.

Hazel Food Market
Fashionista foodies frequent this market for fabulous artisan breads, herb-laden pâtés, organic vegetables, Mediterranean-style pickles, cherry nougat and even sexy gingerbread ladies in iced purple bikinis.

Irene Village Market
Situated in the grounds of the Smuts House Museum, pick up mocca pavlovas, homemade nougat, gluten-free cakes, Karoo lamb, artisan breads and organic cheeses.

Pretoria Boeremark
Here you’ll find many farmers selling their organically grown products or the finest meat directly to shoppers. Discover the finest artisan cheese, best boerewors, traditional fare like melkkos or crackling as well as a selection of Italian breads.

And here are some links to Organic Food producers that deliver to your house, not bad huh?? Found link here.

Foxglove Herbs & Delicacies
Sue Vingerhoets • www.foxglove.co.za
herbs@foxglove.co.za • 011 466 9977
0866 888 500
Suppliers of organic boxes from their shop with a weekly list of available products emailed to clients for them to choose from.

Organic Emporium
Deborah Logan • www.organicemporium.co.za
ivette@organicemporium.co.za • 011 704 0786
011 704 5475 • 083 225 0861
A large variety of organic produce (including fish, vegies and cleaning materials) delivered to your doorstep in Johannesburg's northern suburbs.

Wensleydale Farms
Tim, Sue or Crispin Jackson • www.wensleydale.co.za
sue@wensleydale.co.za • 012 650 0064
086 511 44 71 • 082 410 3479
They grow and distribute certified organic fruit and vegetables. They also have a vegetable box scheme where they deliver fresh organic produce direct to the public.

So now you dont' need to be bored again during the weekends... or complain that you can't get some good organic veggies or meat around here!


Friday, January 27, 2012

The Best of the Best in Joburg #27

Top things to do in the City of Gold…

I was reading the House & Leisure magazine and found this best of the best list, and like to share with my local friends here. I hope you enjoy!! BTW I noticed that the list in the magazine is a bit longer, so buy the magazine if you want the complete list. I blog this on Friday, so you can go and pick a few for the upcoming weekend :-)

Nice or not??

Best for Modernist Furniture It’s a tie between Modernist in Parkhurst, modernist.biz and Decade (011-482-3059) at 44 Stanley. The former opened earlier last year, adding a shot of Fifties elegance to Fourth Ave with its mahogany display wall and the simple designs and clean lines of its jaw-dropping furniture selection. The latter is similarly impressive, though with a more eclectic mix of retro pieces.

Best Designer Furniture For elegant and timeless pieces look no further than Mezzanine in Greenside. It’s all comfort-meets-style here, from their own bespoke designs to their immaculately sourced collections. They’ll customise pieces to your exact needs, and offer a full decor service. 011-888-3986, mezzanineinteriors.co.za.

Best Indie Movies The Bioscope at Arts on Main is a gem for cinema-philes. Covering special-interest genres and local and international independent films, this little theatre (a classic old-school bioscope!) makes for a captivating nostalgia-tinged experience. 073-284-1372, thebioscope.co.za.

Best for Vintage Browsing The inner city Market on Main feels like a cross between a thrift store and a boutique, with stalls brimming with wares by talented young designers standing alongside those selling vintage dresses and retro bags. It’s a browser’s delight and often the go-to place to spot (and set) new fashion trends. marketonmain.co.za.

Best Arty Day Out A 15-hectare sculpture park in the Cradle of Humankind, Nirox is an inspirational spot for jaded Joburgers in need of a shot of aesthetic upliftment. Every few months the Nirox Foundation hosts a new exhibition and the streams, grassy mounds and woods are transformed into an outdoor gallery – a wonderland studded with artworks. niroxarts.com.

Best Live Music All the best rock bands play at Tanz Café in Fourways. Its warehouse ambience adds an air of rock ’n roll grittiness, while you’re guaranteed to find one of SA’s hottest local artists or the occasional high-profile international starter on the stage. Great for a loud night out or good laugh during their comedy nights. 011-658-0277, tanzcafe.co.za.

Best Gourmet Burger Dukes in Greenside serves classic burgers with a seemingly endless number of elegant spins. Try the Big Bird, an ostrich patty covered in red-wine and chocolate sauce, and topped with butternut and fresh rosemary. 011-486-0824

Best Hipster Coffee Stop You can feel the youthful, creative urban energy at Post, on the prime spot on the corner of 70 Juta Street, Braamfontein. Pop in for a fine coffee or homemade lemonade – they also serve simple but delicious breakfast and lunch dishes – and kick back while listening to a cool selection of vintage vinyl. 072-248-2078, post-bl.tumblr.com.

Best Gourmet Portions When your hunger for flavour outstrips your appetite, there’s only one place to go: Cube Taste Kitchen in Parkhurst for the bite-sized portions. This concept kitchen is all about flavour, texture, taste, aesthetic appeal and innovation. 082-422-8158

Best Traditional Shave A real institution, Roma-Paris has been going for about 45 years – originally in Braamfontein and now in Parkhurst. For a special occasion, a shave with a cutthroat razor by a real Italian barber, while sipping a drink and puffing on a cigar, will transport you to a different age. 011-880-8311, bottegacafe.co.za.

Best Vinyl Shop Deerhunter in Greenside is like taking a journey though a time machine. It’s the go-to spot for vintage collectibles such as toys, old school magazines and a great range of vinyl records you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. 082-496-9253, deerhunterjunkshop.blogspot.com.

Best Second-Hand Books Bookdealers in Rosebank is the real deal. With a fantastic range of special interest sections and constantly updated stock, there’s always something new to ferret out from its bursting shelves. Look out for the special sales, where you’ll strike some amazing finds. 011-442-4089, bookdealers.co.za.

Best Flowers Dunkeld Fruit and Flowers has been around for 30 years, with its courtyard of freshly cut flowers the destination for beautiful blooms (not to mention the herbs and veggies in the shop behind). A tip from the top: the big delivery arrives on Tuesdays. 011-341-0343

Best Cape Cuisine in Joburg District Six Eatery is compact and oozes Kaapstad flavor and culture. The decor adds a nostalgic ingredient to the space, while the menu features traditional dishes like snoek and potatoes served with tomato gravy. 011-486-7226

Best DVD Hire The starting point for some of Jozi’s best nights in, Craighall’s Video Spot has a seemingly endless stash of DVDs. Somehow, it seems that the film you can’t find anywhere else is lurking on the shelves somewhere here. There’s an excellent selection of old and new movies, and some special interest categories too. 011-447-1401, videospot.co.za.

Best for Local Fashion Sassy Jozi fashion blogger Milisuthando Bongela (aka MissMilli) joined forces with Cape Town designer Doreen Southwood to open a branch of clothing emporium Mememe in Parkhurst earlier this year. It stocks an unbeatable selection clothes and accessories by local designers. 011-447-1497, mememe.co.za.

Best Nail Bar Both Polish Nail Spa (011-447-7952, polishnailspa.co.za) in Parkwood and Toast & Co (011-325-5184, toastandco.co.za) in Craighall get our nod of approval, offering superb manis and pedis, and allowing for a post-pampering spot of shopping to boot.

Best Paint Shop Barney’s in Emmarentia combines real expertise and excellent advice in a sophisticated shop, but with the down-home atmosphere of a local hardware store. Always friendly, efficient and ready with an answer, it’s the best DIY destination when you need to colour your home beautiful. barneyspaint.com, 011-646-9012.

Best for Unusual Ingredients When your shopping list is ambitious, there’s a very good chance you’ll find that elusive item at Thrupps in Illovo. The grand dame of groceries, its shelves are home to rare and difficult-to-find ingredients so authentic there’s a notice above the game birds warning that they may contain buckshot! 011-268-0298, thrupps.co.za.

Best Joburg Inspired Design Batch.co.za has a great selection of young SA designers work, and one of our favourite designs was informed by the city’s skyline. Fanie van Zyl’s Joburg-inspired bookends add an air of urban chic wherever they find a home. batch.co.za.

Best Steakhouse Thundergun in Northcliff has been in business for over 40 years, so its authenticity is beyond question. It’s the real deal – a proper steakhouse with memories of an era when we knew what a steakhouse should be like. Don’t mess around – just order the steak! 011-678-7224, thundergun.co.za.

Best Seafood Deli This seafood supplier is one of Joburg’s best-kept secrets – or at least a firm favourite for those in the know. Count yourself among them. Servicing the city’s restaurants might be its main concern, but you can head there for the freshest fish in town, and all the extras like calamari cleaning and oyster shucking. 011-997-0500, lamarinafoods.co.za.

Best One-Stop Decor Shopping The Design Quarter has all the big flagship stores under one roof. There’s Coricraft, Boardmans, @home, Bakos Brothers, the Plascon Showroom, and much more. And there’s always somewhere to stop and grab a coffee or a bite to eat, when your hunger for decor becomes a hunger for lunch. 011-467-5152, designquarter.co.za.

Best Mountain Biking Northern Farm Nature Reserve, also known as Diepsloot Farm, is a hidden haven for mountain bikers. It’s a beautiful natural setting with grasslands, woodlands and dams. No worries for beginner mountain bikers as there’s a path carved out just for you, leaving the advanced riders with two other adrenaline-inducing trails. northernfarm.co.za.

Best Chinese Supermarket Set up on Commissioner Street by one of the first generations of Chinese immigrants to South Africa, ‘China Town’ boasts Sui Hing Hong (011-833-7704), a gift emporium stacked with imported Chinese groceries, utensils and more, and The Swallows Inn (011-833-2946), Joburg’s oldest surviving Chinese restaurant.

Best Seafood Pasta Bistro Vine in Parkhurst is known for its café-style setting and tables that spill out onto the pavement. Less well known is that it serves the city’s most delicious seafood pasta: fresh shelled prawns, mussels and calamari simmered in a white wine, cream and thyme sauce, fresh Italian parsley and parmesan. Not convinced? Try a tasting dish for just R20. 011-327-4558

Best Gallery Shop It’s hard to come away empty handed once you’ve popped your head into the gift shop at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) on your way out from an exhibition. Enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff and an unbeatable selection of art books. 011-720-0543, joburg.org.za.

Best for Getting in Touch with your Roots Pop into the Origins Centre to check out the rock art collection and gain some perspective and insight into the history of modern humankind. In just two hours you can go back 80 000 years. 011-717-4700, origins.org.za.

Best Indigenous Nursery Random Harvest in Muldersdrift is the first stop for local gardening fundis in search of the best selection of water-wise indigenous plants. Expert and helpful staff make the experience all the more gratifying. 082-553-0598, randomharvestnursery.co.za.

Best Elderberry Granita Life at Hyde Park Shopping is a real asset to mall life – it even allows you to forget you’re in the middle of one. It’s the best spot for before- or after-movie meals, snacks and drinks. Speaking of which, the experience wouldn’t be complete without their flagship drink – the elderberry granita. It’s a mix of lime and berries garnished with mint. Just try one. 011-325-4350/5371

Best Inner City Park With a new set of cast-iron impala, the revamped Oppenheimer Park is a bite-sized oasis in the middle of the bustling CBD. Grab a few moments of restorative solitude on one of the word-sculpture benches or work off some stress on the basketball court. joburg.org.

Best Hotel Restaurant Chef David Higgs, formerly of Stellenbosch’s award-winning Rust en Vrede restaurant, moved to Sandton in 2011 and has fast made the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel All Day Restaurant a culinary destination, where discerning palates go to celebrate special occasions. 011-286-1000, radissonblu.com.

Best Casual Lunch For lazy weekend afternoon stroll, or a quick lunch break during the week, Salvation Café never lets you down. Take a seat under the trees in the courtyard at 44 Stanley, and know that you’re about to enjoy some of the best dining Joburg has to offer. It’s that simple. 011-482-7795, salvationcafe.co.za.

Best Luxury Guy’s Stuff The little boutique Croft and Co in Parkview offers the ultimate in masculine sophistication in a shop that’ll make you feel like you’ve just stepped off a street in London. For high-end men’s (and ladies’) accessories, it is final proof that masculinity can be a refined and elegant thing. Anything from the most luxurious shaving accessories to undercover umbrellas and ‘high-end guy’ overnight bags… you’ll never be short on gift ideas again. 011-646-3634

Best Tapas This little gem on the corner of Corlett Drive and Oxford in Illovo puts a spin on traditional tapas – serving the local Venetian variation, chicetti. There’s also a full menu with delicious meals from rabbit to spagetti and meatballs, which has kept it buzzing since it opened earlier this year. But what better way to enjoy a summer night than a selection of tapas? 011-025-5225

Best Men’s Shirts For shirts that fit better, look better and are made better than anywhere else, bluecollarwhitecollar on Fourth Street in Parkhurst is your destination. They’re locally designed and made, and come in an exhilarating variety of fabrics and prints. But the real joy is in the details. Dress them up or down, it doesn’t matter, each shirt is an artwork. 011-024-1380, bluecollarwhitecollar.co.za. (PS: they moved, so call them first to get their new address!)

Best Boutique Hotel A relaxing retreat and an urban hideout, The Winston Hotel is the epitome of luxury and style. It melds colonial and contemporary decor with ease and the restaurant’s local and international cuisine is perfect for both business lunches and guests. 011-268-3140/1, thewinstonhotel.co.za.

Best for Coffee Beans One of the most intimate shops on the main Parkhurst drag is 4th Avenue Coffee Roasters in the Cobbles, corner 11th and 4th. They import their beans from over 10 countries and roast them themselves. 082-378-2109

Best Smart Restaurant DW 11-13 is Joburg’s favourite contemporary, smart restaurant. The food is simply outstanding – when M&G editor-in-chief Nic Dawes said (amid much controversy) that the best Joburg restaurants all look out onto parking lots, we’re almost certain he had DW 11-13 in mind. Look no further for a special occasion. 011-341-0663 or 011-325-2843, dw11-13.co.za.

Best Vintage Clothing An institution, Reminiscene is a wonderland of pre-70s clothing jewellery, accessories, shoes and more. Victorian, Edwardian, 1920s jewellery, dresses from the 50s and 60s. There’s a magnificent past to discover. 011-726-7905

Text: Graham Wood, Tiisetso Noxolo
This original article was featured in the January/ February 2012 issue of House and Leisure…

Well, I hope I did you locals a favor by posting this blog post.

Enjoy your weekend! I know I will with so many new inspirations and funky spots to visit :-)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Job Day at AISJ #26

Yesterday the girls had Job Day at school.

So they had to dress up as a professional.

Juliet decided she wanted to be a Chef. My friend Candice had a chef's hat and glove for me from the Ratatouille movie, and I had a white apron, so her outfit was easy.

Jasmine wanted to be a professional Ballerina. When she saw that I made a black tutu for her the day before she decided she wanted to be just like the Black Swan, with make up, wings and the whole shebang. Well... she could do the black outfit, wings, but NOT the make up I told her... too much work at 6am!!

See here some pictures of the girls acting out in their profession :-)

So much fun these projects they do at school! I wonder how the rest was dressed up?? Maybe the teacher can send me a picture and I add it to the blog later.

BTW: if you like to make a tutu skirt yourself, it is a real easy project. Here is a tutorial for your own DIY no sewing tutu skirt.

Cut out strips of tule (height 80cm/ 30 inch and width 8cm / 3 inch) and measure an elastic band for the waist of your child. Don't make it too tight, since it will be tighter when the strips of tule are folded around it. Then just tie the strips around the elastic band by folding it double and looping it around the elastic band. No sewing needed, project done in about 45 minutes. You need about 50-75 strips. Depends how wide the waistband is... slide them close to each other, so you don't see the elastic band anymore.

Have a terrific Thursday y'all!
Mireille xx

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hip Hop classes at school #25

At AISJ, the International American school the girls attend started with Hip Hop classes as an afternoon activity.

So I decided to sign the girls up... they did not really agree with me. But these girls are super lazy sometimes and don't want to do anything after school. They rather come home and read their books.... the only thing they want to do is reading.

So as a good mother I want them to be all-round and let them try different things in life. After trying and they still don't like it... OK then they can finish the classes and not sign up again for a next semester. But once signed up... they have to finish! That is the deal!!

So very reluctant they went to the first class last Friday... and I was a bit anxious to see how they liked it or not.

When I saw their big smiles on their faces when they came back home... I knew I did the right thing!

'Mom, Hip Hop class is AWESOME!! and the music is totally COOL!!' ...is what they told me!!

Me happy.... the girls happy!! Sometimes life can be so good :-)

They wanted to show me what they learned in this first class, some pics below. And also they told me what the best thing is to wear on Fridays from now on....

Some moves the girls learned after just one class.

'And this is how you end' ...they told me :-)

NO skirts, (Jasmine was wearing one) but short pants with a legging (this was JJ's outfit and perfect) or long pants, because you swirl on the floor and if you have a skirt or short pants it will hurt your skin. "And if you jump too high everybody can see what is under your skirt Mom"... even though she was wearing a legging underneath.

OK ~ no problem, we can do that :-)

So Fridays is Hip Hop Day for the girls from now on!! I am glad that they do something besides the Pilates class on Wednesdays, because these girls turn into a recluse if I let them. They simply have enough company between the two of them, they really don't need much interaction with other people.... but this mommy will not let that happen!!

How are your kids? Social butterflies or rather a bit a loner??

Enjoy your day,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yummy homemade soups #24

I am still on my A-Soup-A-Day thing... although we had some days in between that we didn't have soups, because even though I told the girls we will do this for a month, every day when I served them the soup they said: Soup Again?? as if they thought what happened to my mothers imagination?? These kids are spoiled food wise!! I mean they are connoisseurs. I almost NEVER make the same thing, not like when I grew up and the ritme was every week the same thing... no this is not happening in my house!

That can be a good thing but also a bad thing, because when you look back at your own childhood you like to remember that special dish that your mom or grandma would make all the time. This is not happening in my house, so lately I was actually thinking I should at least make 1 dish a bit more often, a dish that the girls really enjoy and when they look back later on their childhood they will say to their friends... my mom made the best so and so.

So I decided that THIS soup will be THE DISH that the girls talk about later as one of their favorites, and this is MY Khao Tom ~ Thai Rice soup.

It is SO yummy! The girls and me can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which we do if I make it, we eat it all the time till it is gone. Because you get at least 10 servings out of this soup so the 3 of us get at least 3 times this soup and maybe one bowl for Dirk. He likes it too, but he prefers his Dutch style sandwiches for breakfast....

The star of this soup is the broth, without a good delicious broth this soup is boring. I mean it only has rice, some meat, either chicken, or pork or beef meatballs. Then some veggies, different all the time, sometimes carrots, or bok choy, bean sprouts, some green onions, chives, cilantro/coriander and lastly on top some fried onions from the Chinese store. Most of the time we add cooked rice but lately we add rice noodles to the dish instead of the rice and then it becomes more of a Vietnamese Pho instead of the Thai rice soup. But the base is the same.

I either make it as a chicken stock and I boil a whole chicken for 1,5 hours or I do the beef version and I add oxtail and beef bones and simmer that for 4 hours. OKAY... I see you thinking: THAT is TOO much work, but believe me I throw it in the pan in the morning and by the evening we have the most delicious soup. And you just let it simmer on the stove... it is not that you have to be there. I just tell the housekeeper to turn the heat off either at 1,5 hour or 4 hours later! In the meantime I go shopping :-)

I am just kidding, I know you guys don't have a housekeeper and actually I don't use mine for cooking or looking after the kids, that is MY department, but in the meantime I am updating my blog, checking my mails, Facebook, Pinterest while this soup is brewing, bubbling and getting delish!!

You can really taste the love goes that into this soup! And when I give the recipe to my friends and they tell me it doesn't taste the same, I always ask them: 'Did you put some love into it?' And they look at me with this face, what is she talking about, but it is so TRUE cooking with LOVE makes all the difference. I am a true believer!! So next time use this secret ingredient and really tend to your recipe like your baby and it will totally taste different!!...... don't forget to tell me later if it worked :-)

EMAIL me if you like the recipe!

Now onto some other soups I made. Clearly me and the girls like soups with a clear broth the best, those creamy soups that go into the blender... no not our thing, but I am still trying because only clear broths is also getting boring, so we kind of swap. One day this, one day that.

Below is a white bean and zucchini soup. Recipe here. Nice, but next time I would add more beans to the mix. The girls and me loved the beans, but we wanted more. Really a nice soup, but kind of average, so I am not sure if we would make that again. I told you so we are connoisseurs or food snobs, so ONLY the BEST recipes are keepers and come back once in a while.

Then I adapted a silky cauliflower soup from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs. Her recipes don't disappoint. But I changed the recipe quite a bit, since only cauliflower and some add ones was a bit too bland for our taste. So I added dry roasted cumin seeds and then grind, turmeric and some smokey paprika. Taste was good, but the thing that it goes through the blender reminds me of baby food too much, so next time I just don't put it through the blender. I think both the girls and me would enjoy that more!

The wild mushroom crostini I whipped up on the side was actually the best part of this meal! Jasmine, Juliet and me had each 2 slices and loved it!! It was so flavorful.... hmm hmm hmm (again email me if you like the recipe...)

Dirk was on a business trip, so he missed all these soups!

Jennifer H: I am going to try your African Peanut soup and will blog about it later :-)

Ciao bellas and beau's, enjoy your day!
Mireille xx

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Lunar New Year!! #23

Happy Chinese New Year to all my friends who celebrate this festive season!!

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4710 begins today on Jan. 23, 2012.

source: here

The Lunar New Year begins on the first new moon of the new year. For many Asian families in the Far East and around the world, the Lunar New Year is a celebration of change.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

source: here

Breathing Fire into the New Year

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave, and passionate. Salvador Dali, John Lennon, and Mary-Louise Parker were all born in the year of the dragon.

Fireworks and Family Feasts

At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

The Lantern Festival

In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events.

The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend. In addition, many Chinese-American communities have added American parade elements such as marching bands and floats.

source: Peter Tsai

What can we expect for 2012 ~ The year of the Water Dragon??

In 2012 this Dragon year begins on January 23rd and continues until February the 9th in 2013. It indicates a transformational time for world events and important turning points for individuals as well as a high degree of luck. The calm perceptive nature of the Water Dragon will make it a good year that should also incorporate a few surprises.

source: here

Dragon years in Chinese Astrology are usually noticeable times of change when they involve Dragons associated with the other elements of Earth, Metal, Wood or Fire. When, as in the case of the year 2012, Water is the driving element influence, it still brings with it transformations but they are calmer. This is because the Water Dragon has more patience than the other Chinese Dragons and is not so reckless in his decision making. He prefers to evaluate situations before taking action and his domination of the year 2012 will introduce only essential important changes. These may be when you least expect them but you can be assured that they will be beneficial in the long term. Adjustments in society structures and peoples world views and development are highlighted during a Water Dragon year.

All years of the Dragon have a traditional association with new beginnings, happiness and good fortune and 2012 is no exception. The Chinese consider Dragon years to be the best times to get married and have children or start a business. There are lots of positive energies for growth at work in 2012 courtesy of the Water Dragon's influential progressive spirit. The Water element influencing this Dragon calms him long enough for him to emit his aura of positivity and direct it sensibly rather than recklessly. His influence will be concentrated in the right places and directed at those who will benefit the most from his lucky air of wisdom. In a Water Dragon led year everyone should be inspired to contemplate the grasping of new opportunities and directions that may present themselves in 2012.

2012 promises to be a dynamic year with plenty of changes underway and the Water Dragon has a valuable message. He advises us to ensure we resolve old issues during this time and to aim to build strong new foundations. The first few months of the Year of the Water Dragon will appear to be quiet and quite uneventful. Once the Spring arrives in 2012 this Dragon's influence will be at its peak as this is this mythical creature's favorite season. We will be reminded of our weaknesses and how to be resourceful and adaptable when faced with difficult challenges. The period around May the 20th to the 18th of June will see the appearance of a Dragon Moon. This is when a Water Dragon's perception is at its most intense and so creates a fortunate time to begin planning anything for the future. This short lunar period's luck for initiating actions applies equally to society as a whole and to individuals.

The Summer and Autumn of the 2012 Water Dragon year is predicted to be filled with a steady flow of additions, corrections and positive developments. This is as the Dragon prompts adjustments and improvements with a sway towards less dependence on artificial foods and materials. The remainder of 2012 is destined to be quieter giving a time of reflection to assess the first results of any changes. This quiet year end may have a couple of unexpected occurrences that although unanticipated are forecast to improve our environment. Any ideas generated in this favorable timespan are likely to be groundbreaking and highly advantageous to mankind's future. There are plenty of ways to take advantage of a Water Dragon's reign on the year if we trust his intuitive vibes of optimistic fearless progression. His message of reassessing situations and determinedly moving forward will make 2012 a year to remember for the enrichment of knowledge and understanding in many areas of life.

Let's see if the predicaments will come out, next year around this time I will come back to this post and see if the Chinese astrology came out!!

Do you believe in astrology??

What animal are you in the Chinese horoscope? If you don't know, look here. The girls and me are horses, while Dirk is a sheep/goat.

Read your 2012 Chinese horoscope here!!

If you want to find out more of the relationships between Chinese astrology and Western Zodiac. Which I found VERY interesting and so true for the 3 of us, see here!

新年快乐!= Happy New Year!
Mireille xx

Sunday, January 22, 2012

TIA ~ This Is Africa #22

Before I start with my blog post... did you noticed that I added a PIN IT button to my site? Now you can add any of my pictures to your pinterest collection. How great is that? Just click and add :-)

I was googling Dutch and Johannesburg and came upon this article from 2010:

"A group of 36 Dutch women were arrested in Johannesburg on Monday because they were dressed in the wrong skirts.

FIFA officials discovered them in the Soccer City stadium and reported them to police after the Holland-Denmark duel. The girls wore orange miniskirts, so-called Dutch Dresses, supplied by Bavaria brewery, a competitor of FIFA's official sponsor Budweiser. The officials acted against the Bavaria girls on the basis of the contract with Budweiser, which stipulates that other beer brands are not allowed to advertise in the World Championship stadiums.

Bavaria initially denied any involvement, claiming that the 36 women belonged to a student group who purchased the skirts and paid their own expenses, including the trip to South Africa. But Bavaria's Managing Director Peer Swinkels told reporters that he was appalled the Dutch Dress girls were arrested. "There is not even a brand name on those skirts, so what are we doing wrong? Since when are there clothing conventions during football matches?"

Mr Swinkels admitted that Bavaria had footed the bill for the Dutch Dress campaign. Barbara Castelein, a spokeswoman for the so-called Oranje Babes said they were shocked by FIFA's rough-shod handling of the case. "We were forcibly manhandled, some girls were covered in bruises. All of a sudden the action lost its innocence." They were held in police cells for four hours. Ms Castelein says the group was having second thoughts about a follow-up to the dress action".

Can this only happen in Africa, or is this a FIFA thing??
Mireille xx

Saturday, January 21, 2012

High Tea #21

Last weekend we were invited to a friends house for a High Tea.

The girls were ready for it... shiny dresses and huge flowers in their hair, like a proper young English lass.

The cakes were amazing!! Came from Tart, close by at Leaping Frog shopping centre. YUM!!

Everybody was dressed in flowery or colorful dresses, some with hats, but most of us just a flower in our hair...



Do you like to go to themed parties like this?
Mireille xx

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lucky Ducks #20

The most wanted gift for Xmas this year was a laptop. Since the girls and us travel so much, we thought a net book was even a better idea since it is lighter. So easier to take on planes etc...

The girls are super happy with their new Sony Vaio net books!! Although Jasmine doesn't look like it on this picture, but she was more annoyed that I had to take a picture of her... while playing on her new 'toy'....

Like their Iphone Touches the colors are lime green for Juliet and pink for Jasmine, so it is easy to keep track of whose is whose...
They even have both a desk chair in lime green and pink, so color coordinated these girls :-)

Such Lucky Ducks!!

What was your child's most prized toy or gadget this year??
Mireille xx

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two Peas in a Pod #19

What more do I need to say?

They are each other's best friend...

Almost never fight!

And like to be together always.

They still sleep, play, shower and hang out together ALL the TIME!

How are your children together? Like 2 peas in a pod, or the total opposite??
Mireille xx

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A different view #18

In July 2008 we moved to South Africa. So January 2008 was our last snowy winter. I was looking back at my folder of 2008 and came upon this picture. Taken from my covered patio looking into the garden and this is what I saw.....

A view on water... a small lake called Fox Hill Lake in Ridgefield, CT. It was a magnificent cedar wooden house, just a gorgeous setting. You walked right into the water from our garden. We had snapping turtles and big fish in that water and we always told the girls to NOT put their feet in the water. They never did, but some of their friends tried... luckily the snapping turtles were never close by! This picture was taken in January 2008, in the middle of the winter.

This is the view looking into our garden from the covered patio now here in South Africa.

Again a view on water... just a different kind of water, a pool. And it is summer in the middle of January 2012. Also a beautiful home and the view is not bad, but not as spacious and wide open as the other view. Nonetheless a nice view. No snapping turtles, but hadedas ibis, weaver birds and an accidentally snake that crowd our garden now. The girls dip their feet in the water on many occasions :-)

How is your view from the house? Do you have a good one?
Ciao, Mireille xx

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brownie baking & Beauty treatments #17

Just add E.G.G.S. and B.U.T.T.E.R.

The girls love these simple baking packages!

They can do it ALL by themselves, no help needed.... the only thing I do is put the oven on the right temperature.

Mixing, pouring, decorating.... they are like little pro's in the kitchen :-)

And then while waiting for the cake to be done, have some lunch and a beauty treatment... all with a facial mask on while eating some fried rice!!

H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S. !!!!

Are your kids into home making or beauty treatments?
Mireille xx

Monday, January 16, 2012

Home work #16

Every day some Math & Reading....

NO PROBLEM for these girls!

Most of the days already done in the bus, but instead of 30 minutes reading they do at least 2 hours!!

They finish a book a day, if not more!

BTW; did you notice how JJ is sitting again?? Thai style.... ;-)

Nature vs Nurture?? Definitely nature!!

Enjoy your Monday!
Mireille xx


Related Posts with Thumbnails