Thursday, October 31, 2013


Last week Thursday we took the kids Trick or Treating. Yes, I do know that it is an entire week too early but there is a reason for it.  Halloween is not bit in Belgium, yet. But because there is an ever growing expat community things like Trick or Treating is growing. Plus, have you ever heard of a kid who didn’t like getting free candy.

So as far as I know some years ago a couple of American moms who all lived in a specific area decide to organize it for their kids. Other parents heard about it and it grew and grew. This year I heard that more than 200 kids took part.

It is super organized. In September you get an email reminding you that it is nearly that time of the year. 3 Weeks before the night you get another email with the link to enroll before the cut-off date.  There is an entry fee of 15 euro per child. Every child will then get a wrist band and you get a map of all the houses which will be taking part. The 15 euro is to pay the houses which are taking part for the candy and a percentage of the money also goes towards charity.

There are 3 entry points in the area and the streets are closed off and only kids with wrist bands are allowed in.  You can easily tell which houses are taking part since they all have orange balloons outside.  Some of them really make a lot of effort with their decorations.

There is also a free hot chocolate stand and this year there was a mini concert at the end of one of the streets. They had put up a stage and a couple of high school kids did a mini thriller dance show.

After wards Noreen and I took the kids to McDonalds for dinner and to swap out their sweets, cause Alannah wanted marshmallows and I told my kids that I wanted their reeses cups. (I love them but you only get them in a couple of stores here not to mention what they cost!)

Tonight we have a massive party planned at the pub.  I don’t expect them to close before 5 tomorrow morning … but the kids and I will be having a quiet evening at home watching scary movies.

Hope you have a super spooky Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Part fish part girl

I am one proud mom let me tell you. Yesterday Cat took part in her first ever swimming competition. All the hard work and hours spent in the pool clearly paid off. Our girl won 2 gold medals!

One for the 100 m breast stroke and one for the 100 free style.  Then she took part in the team mixed 8 x 50 relay and was both the starter and the last swimmer since one of the kids had gotten sick.

Her times:
·         100 m breast stroke--> 1:57
·         100 m free style --> 1:38

She told one of the coaches that she is planning on swimming for Belgium one day … who knows, she might just get there.  If she does, just remember that you read about it here first.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pretoria - aka the Jacaranda city

It’s not often, but once in a while I get a little pang of ‘home-sickness’ for South Africa.  It’s not that I still consider it as being home but there are just some things that you can’t replace.  The smell of the air, the dry heat. O boy do I miss the heat!

Right now it is spring and a very good friend sent me a couple of pictures, (actually, I’m not so sure if she is such a good friend at the moment) just to remind me of what my home town looks like at the moment.

For the record I have no idea who should get the credit for these pictures but I hope they don’t mind me sharing them with you all.

We actually lived on a street that would look like this in spring

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Whos the boss?

My big, big boss is retiring at the end of November. This morning we had our meet the new boss meeting, at 9!

Usually I’m in the office between 8:30 and 9, all depending on the train service. But the last week my trains have been running late, in the morning and in the evening. So I had to make sure that I was at the office on time this morning.

The kids were great about getting up earlier this morning:

Cat had some advice: ‘To make a good impression I have 3 pieces of advice for you: 1. be on time, 2. smile and 3. dress nice’

Tiger: ‘Don’t worry, you are going to get there on time this morning, I’m wearing my lucky shoes’.

I don’t know if it was the lucky shoes or not but I was on time, actually I was even a bit earlier. The earlier train was running late so I could get it and made it to the office by 8:15. ( I stopped and gave directions to a lady, else I would have been even earlier).

Did I make a good impression? I don’t know, she came in and met 35 people … I’m not going to be working with her on a one to one basis but I’m pretty sure I didn’t make a bad impression.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Girls day

On Saturday Cat & I had a girls day in Antwerp with my friend Noreen & her daughter (Cat’s ‘cosmic twin’) Alannah.

A friend had given the girls a free mani-pedi for their birthday in September and we were finally all able to meet up.

We got up early and took the train to Antwerp.

Let me tell you these girls are so spoilt. Drinking kiddie champagne & eating pretzels while having their nails done.

Alannah got a french manicure while Cat got her nails painted blue

After lunch at Pizza Hut we took them for a bit of shopping, cause really what girls day is complete without some shopping.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Last night my kitchen smelt sooo good!

Every Thursday someone in my department brings breakfast to work for everyone, between 20 – 25 people.  So each of us have to do it roughly twice a year.

Let me tell you, you never feel quite as popular as you do on that day. That is, unless you are late, or forgot. Then you are treated like an ugly step child would be in a movie.

Today it was my turn.  So I went home last night and baked up a storm. Really we even had thunder and lightning (it might rain a lot here in Belgium but we very seldom have thunder and lightning)

I baked a bacon and corn bread … and it was nice but a bit on the heavy side. I think the next time I bake it I might not add the cream style corn.  This bread was very popular but it is heavy so a single slice goes a long way.

I also baked pumpkin muffins and they were DELICIOUS, even if I have to say so myself.
I will for sure be baking them again.  I did not stick to the recipes very strictly but the end result was fantastic and that is all that counts.

That plus some fresh bread from the bakery, cold cuts, cheese, and fruit juice … the breakfast menu was complete.

please excuse the quality of the photo, taken with my phone at around 11 last night

again, bad photo, taken last night before the glaze was added. for some reason the photo I took of the glazed muffin did not want to load.

Bacon & Mielie bread
(mielie (pronounced mealie) is Afrikaans for corn.
PS. This is not the recipes I used but I think it is a slightly better one since it does not call for the creamed style corn.

  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 8 Rashers of Bacon, Diced
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • ¼ cup Butter, melted
  • 3 cups Corn Kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 2½ cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 170 ºC and then start by frying up the bacon bits until crispy.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together.
  3. Whisk the melted butter, milk and eggs together in a bowl.
  4. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and blend well.
  5. Add the corn kernels, cheese and bacon bits to the mixture and blend well (mixture will be thick).
  6. Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin and top with half a cup of grated cheese.
  7. Bake the bread for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow the bread to cool before slicing. Top with butter and enjoy as a side or for breakfast.
Credit goes to:
Serves: 12

Pumpkin muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can)**
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice***
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar****
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

* I used 2 ½ cups
** I bought a small pumpkin and made pumpkin puree from scratch, you can’t buy pumpkin puree here in Belgium. It came to about 1½ cups worth of puree
*** yet another thing that you can’t buy here in Belgium so I just added 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp - ish of  ground cloves & about ½ tsp of nutmeg
**** I used nearly a cup of brown sugar but because that was all I had in the house and all the shops were closed I used plain old white sugar for the rest. Also, I might have used more than ¼, but whatever.


Whisk* together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl. (I did not do this at all)
Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture (again, didn’t do this at all). Bake at 350F / 170 ºC until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. (I think I baked them for about 18 min in a fan oven, so just keep an eye on them)
Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.
* I used a metal whisk and whisk it all by hand, that way you don’t over mix (don’t they always tell you not to over mix muffins?)

Before going to work this morning I quickly made a glaze to drizzle over the muffins.
I didn’t measure anything out, just a blob of butter, melted in a pot, some icing sugar, a dash or two of vanilla and some syrup. Mixed together and drizzle. I’ve run out of maple syrup but I think if you used maple i/o regular it would be even better.

credit: the basic recipes, before I got hold it can be found here

Monday, October 7, 2013

Last of the single digits!

Okay this is just unbelievable, where has the time gone?

I put an 8 year old to bed last night and woke up a 9 year old! 

Honestly, I feel like he should be turning 7 not 9 ... it just doesn't seem possible.

Other than the fact that this kid surprised us by being my brothers clone the past 9 years has been mostly a pleasure.

Pokemon is big in our house at the moment
Clearly hard to open 9 year old eyes

Cat & Tiger
Opening his present - he only asked for one
I don't know who is happier him or me cause it means that there is one less thing to fight over in our house


Happy 9th Birthday to our Tiger - we love you boy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Danger - passion in progress

And I’m not talking about pulling a muscle from trying that move you read about in the cosmo …. 

  • a woman (30+) died while her partner (41) lost his legs when they were hit by a train while making love on train tracks.  According to the police in Zaporozhye (the Ukraine) they "failed to overcome their natural passion when walking home ... and wanted to experience an extreme sensation near the railroad tracks." They were hit by a train early on Saturday morning and is believed to have been drunk at the time. in 2008 a couple were killed in South Africa after being hit by a train during their moments of passion. According to the driver of the train he saw them, repeatedly hooted at them but they just continued with their business.
  • last year a Florida woman flew into a rage when her boyfriend asked her if she brought the Pam cooking spray to the room. She didn’t have an issue with him wanting to use the cooking spray as lubricant but lost her temper since his ex-girlfriend was called Pam and she thought that he was referring to her. She was arrested on domestic battery charges and taken to jail. also in Florida last year a frisky threesome ended up with the SWAT team being called to a couples house after the girlfriend discovered her boyfriend getting it on with her girl friend without her. 
  • Police in Wisconsin have accused a 46 year old man of enjoying curbside sex with a discarded sofa.  According to the police the man was getting it on with a couch left on the side of the road. In Manatee County, Florida (again) a man called 911 after his girlfriend attached him for, basically being selfish in bed and not satisfying her.

FYI – I had no idea that this is what I was going to blog about today. I just happened to come across the first article and then it just went from there.