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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It's Gone

When we first moved here in August, I discovered that Jumbo (a popular grocery store over here) carried a type of peanut butter that my children really liked.  We discovered that not all peanut butter is like the Jif we were used to.  Jeremy and Elizabeth were really not happy with the taste (and look) of the other peanut butter.  So, like a good mom, I bought two huge jars of the peanut butter from Jumbo.  I noticed about two months ago that we were down to only half a jar, and I went back to Jumbo to get some more.  I was completely stunned when I got to the peanut butter aisle...there was no more "American style" peanut butter left!!  I hadn't seen it at any other store besides Jumbo.  I immediately started to chastise myself.  Hadn't Nigeria taught me anything?  The number one rule I leaned there was if you see something you really like, buy all of it because you don't know when/if you will see it again.  I had disobeyed my number one rule!

So two months ago, I began rationing the half of jar of peanut butter.  I bought another brand that seemed close to what the kids liked and started to mix it on their sandwiches for lunch.:)  Little by little, I would add more and more of the dutch brand until is GONE!!!!!

Don't tell my kids because they think they are still eating the American peanut butter, and they haven't noticed that they have mostly been eating this brand...

It is exciting to live in a new place and try new things, but sometimes you just want to have some familiar things( and food) around you.:) And when you find you are starting to not have those things around you, it is always nice to know you can bridge the gap with peanut butter.:)

Being an expat mom can definitely have its challenges somedays...but, thankfully today, I think the peanut butter crisis has been successfully averted!:)



I thought I would add some lagniappe to my blog.  For those of you who don't know what "lagniappe" is, it means "a little something extra".  I got used to this term when we lived in New Orleans and it has stuck with me ever since.:)  There was a lot happening this weekend, but none of it is really related.  So, here goes...the lagniappe in our family...

Just in case you were am not naturally beautiful!!! LOL!!! I do have to visit the hair salon and I found a great one in Haren. I got my hair cut and colored for the first time since AUGUST!!! WOO HOO!!!
Looks like I am preventing an alien attack!!:)

The finished product:)

Then, it was Saturday and we were off to Jeremy's soccer game.  He got to play a very good friend of his from school.:)

I forgot to add that when we walked out of the house, there was frost everywhere.  I had to take a picture of the cobwebs on a bike I saw when we got to the soccer game...

yes, folks...that is a frozen spiderweb!!

On Sunday, Guy saw that the ice skating rink near De Vismarkt in Groningen was open and thought it would be a good idea to take everyone ice skating...

Let's just say that the kids got the hang of it...but me..not so much.  You'll have to ask Jeremy about what happened when I tried to stand up on the skates!!:)  Needless to say, there are no pictures of me actually ice skating, but the kids got the hang of it pretty quickly!:)

And when we came back home, we decorated the Christmas tree.:)  The kids always love to put the ornaments on the tree,:)

I think that about sums up our weekend over here.  It's always busy and I am sure I'll have more lagniappe to share with you soon!  It is definitely beginning to look (and feel) alot like Christmas over here in Holland!:)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Girl Can Cook (And Bake!)

The prepping started on Monday...that was when she discovered (and accepted) that there was not a can of pumpkin to be found nor a frozen pie crust in The Netherlands.... wait for it....wait for it....yes, she made a pumpkin pie FROM SCRATCH!!!! ( WARNING: LOTS OF PICTURES IN THIS POST... SHE HAD TO PROVE SHE COULD DO THIS STUFF!)

homemade pie crust...a first for her!!

And we mustn't forget the U.S. turkey which was expertly smuggled in by her husband in our checked luggage this summer.  AHHH...Nigeria taught us well!!:)
 And of course...there was no canned cranberry sauce to be found......
 So..she made it from scratch!!

 And the stuffing, too!!

 We had some small friends over yesterday for a pre Thanksgiving treat!:)
 And today, it was on to the mashed potatoes....
 The green recipe she has never tried...

 She missed her mom who is back in the U.S. ( a.k.a. her partner in crime in the kitchen)....
 A few recipes she used were from this book from a dear friend.:) The girl began to think that maybe she was a pioneer...afterall, the kitchen was a foreign land to her...and she was actually making things from scratch which were good!!

mashed potatoes..her mom's recipe

homemade stuffing/dressing
 She decorated her home in The Netherlands with her Thanksgiving treasures from years past...

 and of course, her wonderful husband has the turkey fryer ready!

Her mini me (in personality only) helped in the kitchen when she got home from school....

 And a new friend she met at her children's school gave her some flowers because she knew it must be hard to be so far from home and family and friends on such a big holiday....
We started this Thanksgiving wreath centerpiece a few years ago Whoever is with us on Thanksgiving writes one thing they are truly thankful for, and we keep it.  Every year, we count all the blessings of our family and friends.:)

The turkey is done!!!:)
Nothing like a good old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner...

They LOVE their chocolate pie!

She is exhausting..but she makes me smile!:)

The girl realized that life as an expat is hard at times when you know you are missing special times with family and friends.  But she remembered that when you remember the ones you love, they are never far from your heart!

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends in the United States today and all my friends from all parts of the globe both silver and gold! Today is a day to remember all the blessings we all have in our lives!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Monday, November 21, 2016


 This past weekend, the four of us took a quick getaway to a small Dutch town just south west of Amsterdam.  Some may not know the name Delft off the top of their heads, but there are some interesting things which came from this small town.  If you have ever heard of the artist, Johannes Vermeer, then you would be interested to know that he was from this town.  He is famous for his paintings "The Girl with the Pearl Earring", and "The Milkmaid".  If you have ever heard of Delft Blue China, then you would be interested to know that this is where it is made.:)  I had always heard about this town, and was even more interested to go when my aunt sent me an article about it before I moved to Holland this summer.

We took a three hour train ride from Groningen.  Before we boarded the train, Elizabeth sat right down at the piano in the Groningen train station to tickle the ivories with her song she has ben working on for her recital.  The kids were super excited because we took a double decker train to Delft.:)

And, someone lost a tooth as soon as we got there!:) Those molars are really coming out to make room for the 12 year molars!
The next morning, we got up and walked around Delft...
Picture of Elizabeth by one of the many canals.:)
We walked by Oude Kerk or as it is referred to "The Leaning Church" or as Jeremy likes to call it, "The Leaning Church of Pisa".:)  To read more about it, you can click here.  It was built in the 1200's and since Holland is basically under sea level and it was not built on a solid foundation, it has actually started to lean to one side...

It is a bit hard to tell in the pictures, but it really is leaning.  and in case you are wondering, no...we did not climb to the top of that tower.:)

Tried to get a pic of the leaning church in the background, but we were facing the sun on a rare day which it decided to poke its head out!:)

Then, we were off to the Royal Delft Museum and Koninklijken Porceleyne Fles.  This is the last remaining factory in Holland which produces the famous blue china.  There were many factories in Holland in the 17th century, but the one in Delft is the only one which remains today.

We started with lunch in the tea room...

Then, the tour began...

Yes, that is a dress made of china!:)

All of the Delft Hand painted china is signed with the insignia below...

Each piece is made from a mold, then painted with a greyish black paint. When it is fired in the kiln, a chemical reaction causes it to change into the Delft Blue we all recognize.:)

Courtyard at the Delft Factory

The Name "Royal" was given to the Delft name when the royal families of The Nether;ands began commissioning the beautiful blue china to be made for special occasions for the royal family...
 Queen Beatirix...
Queen Beatrix abdicated her throne for her son, King Willem-Alexander, in 2013. 

Plate commissioned by the royal family of King Willem- Alexander

King Willem- Alexander and Queen Maxima (Current King and queen of The Netherlands)

Royal Geneology

There were so many beautiful pieces of china, I couldn't take pictures of it all!

There was also a room set up as a tribute to Johannes Vanmeer with place settings which were from the period he lived in Delft...

Replica of Vermeer's painting "Girl with the Pearl Earring"

There are special plates made for special occasions in Holland's history and for Christmas...

Jeremy liked the shoes...

The kids were pretty excited that they got to see one of the artists paint a plate, and we even go to go back in the factory where they have the molds and make the pottery...

I think we even spotted Sinterklauss hanging out in the factory!:)
After the china factory (and purchasing a few treasures), we walked around this cute little Dutch town...

Giant Blue Heart

We even saw Sinterklauss in the city center!

We had a great time visiting this small Dutch town with many hidden treasures.:)  Now, on to get ready for Thanksgiving...don't even get me started on how I cannot find any canned pumpkin here!!

Tot zeinz!