Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008!

I am all ready for it.
The house is cosy, candles are burning.
The wine is chilled.
I've got some delicious food waiting for us.
I almost can't wait ....

Good health and happiness for everybody who happens to read this!
Happy 2008!
May all your wishes come true,
and if they don't ....
may you be blessed with something even better!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Weekly Winners ... Christmas party

Here's to you ...

good health and happiness

lots of presents ...

fingerfood ...


and lots of giggles ...

lots and lots of pictures too ...

Don't worry, we didn't set the house on fire, it was just dessert!

Visit the homeblog of Weekly Winners, the one and only Sarcastic Mom!
Find out who else joined this week!

Now that we've found love, what are we going to do, with it?

Okay, now we can all start whining :
" OMG, what have I done",
"I wasn't thinking straight", or even
"I did not want to join I just wanted to check it out!"
.... patatee, patatàààà !!

The truth of the matter is, we were all so tempted right from the very minute that e-mail hit our mailbox!
We have given it at least ...
* some
* a little
*a lot
* or some serious THOUGHT,
* maybe lost some sleep over it ( I did!)
before we hit that sign up button!
But the bottom line is, we joined 365, huh?
Okay, okay, I did... I'll speak for myself!

Now what?
Well I know I'm not alone, for starters.

We will pray to God that our computers do not break down.
Maybe in due time we will pray for a temporary lapse of ... internet!
We will swear yeah, we might even curse, if anything does go wrong.
Maybe we will even worship other Gods, begging for inspiration.
By the end of March, we may even post pictures of the content of our refrigerator
( I've seen them do it), or huge piles of laundry!
Right Sandy?

We will march like Roman gladiators.
We will tag each other to death with meme's and hoopla's or whatever we can think of!
We will whine if we loose our inspiration.
But that's okay, whining is content too!
We will do Wordless Wednesdays and maybe even create **Breathless Fridays, why not?
We will persue our toddlers, grandchildren and even our cats or dogs with our digital camera!
But I guess we already do that huh?
By the end of the year, our fingers will be strangely deformed.
By then our eyesight will have become very poor too!
As long as the men in white coats don't fetch us, we'll be just fine, right?

Of course we might have to blog in hotel lobby's!
Yeah well, that's not new, I already did that anyway!

We might hate ourselves for signing up for this, but at the same time ...
... we will enjoy it !

** Don't steal my title, I might want to do something with it,
I like the sound of that one! I hope it does not exist yet?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

All right, who else is up there?

I got this e-mail today :
"Hey, NaBlo members! Anyone interested in an even bigger challenge than posting every day for a month is invited to head over to the Blog365 group, where members will be trying to post every day in 2008."
My God, I never would have imagined it would be so tempting!
I saw Sandy there, went back an hour or two later and saw that Melissa had already joined in on the fun too! I'm sure Smiler and Storyteller will do the same before the night is over!
And I must be going insane even considering it, but I am!
Does anyone have a strategy on this?
I post every day on my other blog, but that's in written Dutch.
That wouldn't count, ... or would it? Does anyone know?
What do you think?
Should I join?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hoopla!!! Hoopla!!!

We don't call them memes anymore, they say that is a dreaded word,
that's why they invented a new word for it ... A HOOPLA !!!
First of all, let me taste this word and then I'll tell you what it reminds me of.

HOOPLA ... hmmmm...

That name kind of makes me think of things suddenly appearing or quickly dissapearing again!
I mean, you know when David Copperfield makes a plane dissapear, they lift the cloth and HOOPLA ... it's gone!
They lift it again and HOOPLA ... it's there again! And you never saw it coming!
Only here in this town, I think you can see them coming allright!
You can run but you cannot hide, or the other way around, I don't know!
Anyway... yes, I've been tagged, Sandy did this to me! ...
And here are the rules:

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a ‘hoopla’ and not the dreaded ‘m’-word
3. You have to specifically tag people when you’re done. None of this “if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged” stuff is allowed…then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you — but the more, the merrier to get this ‘hoopla’ circulating through the Blog-o-sphere. 4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it.

So here we go.
Oh my god TWELVE things? ???
1. I have a very early memory, I don't know if it was Christmas or not, but it has a very Christmassy feeling to it, so...
I must have been a toddler still. It had been snowing very hard, I saw huge amounts of snow.
The smaller you are the huger the walls of snow seem to be, don't they?
We went to my grandmothers and they fetched us with a horse and carriage.
I can still see the horse in front of us, ploughing through the snow,
it has left a Dickensy picture in my memory, looking a bit like this ... See?
Looks Christmassy enough, now does it?

2. I remember decorating the tree with my mom and dad. They kept the decorations in a box up in the attic, and my dad would climb up there to get them. When that box opened, we discovered all those little treasures again, wrapped in very thin craccled paper. We had to take turns to hang them, and be very careful not to break them.
3. We had a little silvery bird with a clip at its feet. It had a little white brush for a tail. And it still sits in my parents tree every year.
4. When I was a very little girl about 8 or 9, I think, we attended the midnight mass with my grandmother's sister and her family. Afterwards we returned to the house and had a meal together.
I can still remember what the church looked like, it was something like this ...

5. When I was a little bit older, we used to celebrate Christmas at my mothers cousin's house.
She always had a huge Christmas tree, way too much food, and awesome presents.
I remember the cartoons on the television, the pope having a speech,
and an anual ski-jumping contest in Aspen or something ...
6. In the seventies it was very fashionable to decorate the tree in very weird colours, electric blue for instance. I did that once too! Awful!
7. When I was seventeen, I remember doing a dance performance in the church at midnight.
We all had white body stockings, and coloured ribbons at our arms.
It was a very modern dance, and the music was a jazzy version of Glory Hallilujah.
8. Years later, in Meetkerke, where my grandparents used to live, there was a very special midnight mass. They had real sheep, even a donkey, all of this in a midieval setting of a very tiny very old church ... I never attended it, and I still feel I missed something extraordinary.
9. At Christmas family parties one of us tends to get very drunk.
Last year it was my father, the year before it was my sister...
even my brother in law once held the toilet pot in a loving embrace once.
10. I plead guilty for last year ... we made gin fizz in a cocktail shaker!
We started to throw the shaker at each other.
Can any of you imagine after a couple of gin fizzes things got slightly out of hand?
We had way too much fun shaking and throwing ...

... and then my sister got the damned thing smack in the middle of her face.
I will not publish the messy pictures my sister took!
11. This year's hot new item was the personalized agenda my sister made for all of us!
It is a wonderful way to enjoy the pictures of previous events, parties and hollidays. It was a gift for my fiftieth birthday, and now everybody either has one or wants one!

12. I've been married to Santa Claus for 26 years now, but sssssssssshhhhhhttttt! Ho ho ho!

It is stunning how very old memories all come back to you while doing this ... Mmm.. Hoopla!

Now, who will I tag? I have to, they told me, so...
And the winners are ....



Weekly Winner's Mother Nature's own White Christmas...

It was not really snow,
I think it was Mother Nature having a little fun with a snow spray
to decorate our town in time for Christmas!

Just a touch ...

very gentle,
very subtle...

Just a touch of whiteness on some black and white berries...
A black bird in a white tree...

And some garlands of course,
.... the finishing touch!

Please visit the homeblog of Weekly Winners, the one and only Sarcastic Mom!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Just a simple nutty recipe ...

See this?

And this?

Christine started this!
We were both doing Nablopomo,
and we had this conversation going on one day,
when she commented on my apple pie recipe ...
"I think the speculoos recipe sounds good... spicy Christmas cookies...yum. While I am at it I think I should make some Peppernuts. My mom is Norwegian and they take her back to her childhood. I have not ever tried to make them. I can buy them at an excellent German resteraunt that we sometimes go to.They are homemade. They are expensive. They are addictive. "

At 8:33am on November 18th, 2007, heaveninbelgium said…
"Oooohhh!! Could you post the recipe for the Peppernuts? I have never had them, but I sure would like to try making them?"

At 5:16pm on November 19th, 2007, Christine Braun said…
"Sure...give me a couple of days...have to go and work tomorrow plus have a list as long as my arm of things that I have to do."

The next day, or the day after that, she posted it.
Ever since that day I wanted to make them,
but something always came up, and I didn't get to it!
You know, first I had to "translate" the measurements and the Fahrenheit degrees.
Then I had to go out and buy the ingredients, molasses for instance.
I had never even heard of molasses before, so I looked it up at Google,
and found out it looked a bit like our black candy syrup.
And then I had bought all of that, I had done all of that research,
I had a lot of time on my hands since my husband had a cold and we would not be going out,
so I thought it would be a good time to get started and bake those Peppernuts!
That was more than a week ago!
But then I discovered I had no eggs! Geee!!!

And then a few days ago, I got another comment from her, saying ...
Jientje...I gave you the wrong recipe for Pepper Nuts. I have posted the proper recipe today. I hope you did not try that recipe! I can just visualize you baking even as I write and ending up with a disaster. I am sorry.christine

Good for me a had not tried it yet! Hehehehe!
So I went back to Christine's Coop and got the right recipe.
And then I got another comment from her, saying ...
"I made the pepper nut cookies. I make them tiny...smaller than the recipe says...they should be about the size of a bottle cap when they are done. John says they could have a little more pepper but I like them the way they are just fine. I substituted 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. ginger for the cloves. What a picky job. don't start unless you have time to kill.christine"

Don't start unless you have time to kill!
Yep, that's right! But I did it anyway, and I made pictures all the way!
So maybe next week , I will post my version of the peppernut recipe,
but I'll tell you one thing though, .... they are delicious !!!
The whole house smells of them, a winter day's delight!
Want to see Christines Peppernuts? They are here ...

While exchanging recipes we became friends, funny isn't it?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meme of 7

I found this over at Momisodes last week, and I thought it would be a nice thing to do for me, since I'm fairly new in this town, and you probably still don't know much about me.

Here it goes, first of all ... the rules :
Link to the people that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blog’s.
Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm not sure I can do the linky tagging business,
but if any of you feel like doing it, just let me know! ...
(In fact, I do know who to tag, but I haven't got the nerve!)

1. I do not read regular or "normal" books.
Instead, I read dictionaries, and I devore cookbooks.
2. I buy way too many magazines. I keep them piled up on my kitchen table.
If the pile gets too big I try to sort them out a little,
but there is usually a surprise or two in there I didn't know I had!
I even buy the same issue twice without even knowing it!
Oooohhh, must be an early stage of Alzheimer, I know!

3. I only learned how to shower properly about four years ago.
Before that I could not stand the water in my face,
and I didn't know how to wash my hair under the shower.
I do now, and it's much quicker!!
4. First thing I do in the morning is have coffee with my cat!
But I guess I've already told you that one! ( Does that one count, or not? hehehehehe!)
5. I have a digital camera growing out my arms, but that's pretty obvious too isn't it?

6. I always leave the kitchen cabinet doors open when I'm cooking.
In my own kitchen or in anybody elses for that matter, the doors are always open.
Tall people, beware if you ever join me in my kitchen while I'm cooking!!!!

7. I wish I was a little bit taller.
Being small has its advantages too though, I can walk underneath the kitchen cabinet doors ... !!

Well, that wasn't too hard, I even saved some other weird things for later!
And I'm tagging anyone who wants to be tagged!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Weekly Winners, White Christmas ...







I am sorry but the link does not work yet, but please visit the homeblog of Weekly Winners,
the brainchild of a sarcastic mother, who makes wonderful pictures!
She invited me when I was doing Nablopomo, and every week I look forward to do it!

Throw me a hand!

There is a legend on how Antwerp got it's name, and it goes like this ...
Once upon a time, there was this terrible giant, called Antigoon.
The ships coming to Antwerp had to pay very high taxes,
and if they didn't he would chop off one of their hands.
But one very brave Roman soldier killed the giant.
He cut off the hand of the giant and threw it in the river, the Schelde.
The soldier's name was Brabo and he's the figure on the statue in front of the town hall.

So the first part "ant" means hand, and "werpen" is to throw,
That's why Antwerp means "throw a hand".

There's another saying I have read somewhere:

"If it's two o’clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday and you’ve got an amber colored Bolleke
in your hand while you watch a mythical giant get his hand chopped off... you might be in Antwerp."

That is true, look ...

Well, in fact it was on a Saturday, and it as about ten to twelve , but never you mind!
Drinking a Bolleke is an exellent idea if you come to Antwerp.
As far as the hand chopping is concerned, I am very happy to let you know ...
... that we don't do that anymore!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The days of lollipops and bubble gum ...

Early sixties, in the small rural village of my grandparents.

I was about nine years old, and my grandmother and I went to the village to replenish our supplies at the local grocery shop. The shop was next to the church, at the corner of the street.
The lady at the shop was married to the the caretaker of the church.
She had very red lips, and two irregular thin black streaks above her eyes.
Her black hair was put up, very fashionable back then...
but it looked a bit like a crow's nest to me.
Her name was Jeanne.

You could buy just about anything there, shoe polish, salt, pepper, flower, sugar... soap ...
I can still remember the smell of the sunlight soap,
or the brown soap my grandmother used to clean the floor with.
My grandmother ordered a kilo of flour,
and Jeanne scooped it out of a big container into a brown paper bag.
She put it on the scale on the counter to weigh it,
putting the bag on one side and the brass weights on the other.
I remember watching the needle stop exactly in the middle.
While my grandmother and Jeanne exchanged the latest gossips,
I looked at the glass candy jars on the counter.

My grandmother used to let me choose something, and I was trying to make up my mind.
That was kind of hard, there was so much to choose from.
There were toffees and peppermints, sweet and sour hearts, lollipops in so many different flavours, chewy little wine gums in the shape of little bears or mice, and of course, bubble gum ...
The bubble gum was pink, and inside the wrapper was a free tattoo.
I think it was printed on waxed paper sort of, and you had to lick it and put it onto your skin.
My mother would not let me have them, but my grandmother bought them anyway.
It took me hours and hours of practice to blow a big bubble, as I had seen other kids do.
I can still remember how proud I was, when I managed to do it for the first time.
And I can still feel that bubble collapsing in my face ...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Weekly Winners, an impression of a winter's day in Belgium...

The sky at night...

Or very early in the morning...

raindrops ...

and rain ...