4 Days To Christmas

Ho Ho Ho! Santa Claus is coming to town!

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Four days before Christmas…our tree is up, decorations in the house are all set, gifts are wrapped and ready. All I need now is my husband to come home. OK, two more nights to wait and it feels like eternity.

For  a couple of days now, I’m  kinda sad at some point despite being busy with having friends over for lunch and attending my little Martin’s Christmas party. I know it has something to do with Thomas being away, I’m a little envious to those families  out  together doing their things for Christmas.  So can’t wait for Sunday!

Here are some of my decorations I made this Christmas.

My Christmas Calendars 

Advent Candles

Advent Candles

My Christmas Wreath

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The Orange and Cloves Ornament

Living room decoration

Living room decoration

Our Christmas Tree

My little assistant

My little assistant

We are having my in-laws over for Christmas and it is our little Martin’s 2nd Christmas so for sure he will going to enjoy it. He just loves playing around our Christmas tree, picking the balls and other ornaments.  The good thing is, he haven’t figure out he can unwrap the gifts but he knows that after his nap he can open a treat from grandmother’s advent calendar.

Merry Christmas! Wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and the best of 2014!

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DIY Project: Glass Bottle Decor

IMG_4864The original idea is to create a Christmas decoration but I end up using it as my flower vase. I picked up some roses from the garden luckily I still have some of them and I added some twigs. As soon as  I put it down, my son Martin started playing with it, took a while before he realize he is not supposed to play with. Love it! Cheap and beautiful.

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Clean and remove the labels of the bottles. Soak with hot water and use a little bit of soap for easier cleaning.

Let it dry then paint.

I used acrylic paint and a paint brush to paint the bottles. Spray paint will keep the job easier but I stick to what I already have at home and that saved me couple of bucks:-)

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In the Kitchen: Marshmallow Pops

I made this very pretty yummy pops for my friends baby shower the other day. As one of the organizer of the party, I tried to made something simple yet beautiful. And this cute pops are loved by everybody.

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For this marshmallow Pop I used
2 bags of pink and white marshmallows
2 White chocolate
desiccated coconut as sprinkles
Shaved Daim chocolate (optional)
Pink coloring
Plastic cake pops stick
(can use any sprinkles you like)

Easy to make. I inserted the cake stick into the marshmallow and put them in the freezer for minimum 5 minutes. Then I melted the white chocolate in the microwave and add some coloring on half of it. I tried to do it by batch. When chocolate is ready I took the marshmallow and dip them into the chocolate working quite fast to add the sprinkles. The frozen marshmallows made the chocolate harden very quick.

When everything is ready, I arranged it as a flower bouquet and Voila! A very nice pink centerpiece for our friends baby shower.

A week in Provence, France

I mentioned on my last post that after the campsite we stayed in this very beautiful, old house in Lorgues, Var, Provence France. A whole week of good food, plenty of French wine, a lot of fun and bonding with the whole family. The house is surrounded with a lot of olive trees, beautiful view wherever you look and has a swimming pool where the kids spent their time most of the time.

The pool

The pool

The House in Lorgues, Var France

The House in Lorgues, Var France

The view from the house

The view from the house

During our stay, we went to the “French Market” in the village of Lorgues on a Tuesday. In the market, were stalls of fresh produce, stalls of fruits and vegetables, stalls of cheese and bread and stalls of clothes and bags standing alongside each other. Locals and tourists are wandering the streets up and down enjoying the cozy experience.  When you get tired of all the walking you can treat yourself a glass of beer or two.

Tage buying some Provence spices

Tage buying some Provence spices

Sausages stall

Sausages stall

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Emily dancing

The next day, we drove to The Grand Canyon of Verdon or Gorges du Verdon in the Alpes de Haute of Provence. It is very beautiful view from top to bottom. It was a long drive if we continue to the other end of the canyon therefore we decided to turn and head back to Lac de Sainte Croix or Saint Croix Lake. A very relaxing beach with its own beauty  and pristine blue water plus the magnificent view.  The lake is a busy place for everybody, a place for picnic and swimming. Sailing, boating,  kayaking, pedal boating are some of the activities here.

The Grand Canyon Du  Verdon

The Grand Canyon Du Verdon

on top of the world

on top of the world

Lake Sainte Croix

Lake Sainte Croix

DSCN3278We rented two electric boat and sail for one hour, it was a “WOW” trip because of its irresistible charm.  Amazingly beautiful, worth a d day to explore.

Farmor and Farfar together with hannah and Emily

Farmor and Farfar together with hannah and Emily

Electric boat hired

Electric boat hired

The youngest captain

The youngest captain

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A quick dip at Lake Saint Croix

Yes, one very hot day in Saint Tropez when we visited the place. Swimming in French Riviera helps a lot to freshen everybody. Martin always loved the water, there is no exemption this time.  We enjoyed the trip despite the heavy traffic to get in and out in Saint Tropez.

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Enjoying the swimming st French Riviera

At Saint Tropez

At Saint Tropez

Thanks to my in-laws and Thomas’ brother and family for a great vacation we had. I can’t wait for another free holiday from Nanette and Tage (fingers cross) just kidding. Until next time.

In The Kitchen:Chiffon Butter Cake

I made this cake for Millie’s 8th birthday. I used the recipe of the chiffon cake and a butter cream frosting I had been using for quite a long time now. Since then, my cakes are almost at every friends birthday party.

Tiramisu cake with butter

Chiffon cake with butter frosting

A.
1 1/2 cup self raising flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar

B.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

C.
6 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 180C.
Sift together the A ingredients then add the B ingredients and beat together until smooth for 2 minutes with a mixer.
Set aside.

Beat together to form soft peaks the egg white and cream of tartar.

Gradually beat in the sugar under C ingredients. Continue beating until very stiff and shiny.

Fold egg yolk mixture into the meringue until blended.

Turn into ungreased 10 inch round pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touch.

Invert and cool in pan. When cool, loosen edges and remover from pan.

 

Camping in France

For our family Summer vacation this year, we went to France for almost 3 weeks, a combination of camping and a  vacation house in South of France rented by grandparents. The first week, together with Thomas’ girls, Hannah and Emily and our little Martin we stayed in a campsite Camping Les 3 Lacs du Soleil, a campsite in the town of Trept.

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As this was my first experience as a camper, it was a big shocked for me.  I complained a lot of things that in the beginning I did not enjoy being in the campsite. Yes, the place is beautiful and very peaceful, we are surrounded with a lot of trees and lakes, a lot of activities for the kids and teenagers which is very important in our case having 3 kids in tow. Complains like: I have to share the shower and toilet with hundreds of campers,  the tent is a little bit messy and disorganized but I tried to tidy up;-) Of course I felt better after a couple of days, Thomas just keep telling me not to look for the small things that made me not to enjoy the experience.

With our little campers helping Daddy

With our little campers helping Daddy

So, I did  enjoyed it. We went swimming in the lake where the kids love so much including Martin in his baby float. Hannah and Emily played and swam like there is no tomorrow.  They loved being in the campsite,  splashing in the swimming pool everyday, horse back riding which they love the most. It was also nice we went to see and explore the Caves of La Balme and the beautiful Cascade de Glandieu nearby.

Cascade De Glandieu

Cascade De Glandieu

Small church inside Cave La Balme

Small church inside Cave La Balme

The good side of staying in the campsite was meeting new people who sometimes end up to beginning of new friendship. Thomas met a Danish guy and I met a Filipino girl, a very nice girl who helped baby sit Martin when we had to packed down the tent.

Making funny face with Daddy

Making funny face with Daddy

 While staying in the campsite I noticed 1 thing about Dutch people when it comes to washing the dishes. They rinse the dishes to remove remnants of food then wash it with dis-washing soap  then wipe it off with tea towel to dries up without rinsing with clean water first. The first time I saw them wash their dishes, I just stand and watch them wondering why not rinse with water.  I asked the Filipino girl who is married to a Dutch guy and she said it’s their way of saving water.

Enjoying the water

Enjoying the water

Hannah & Emily while horse back riding

Hannah & Emily while horse back riding

After 5 nights in the campsite, we then drove to our next destination in Lorgues, Var, France where we stayed for a week at the old house together with Thomas’ family. I will write more about it on my next post.