Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reconnecting - Part 13.....the end of the trip!

Well after one month in the beautiful South Africa, surrounded by the ones that I most love on this earth, we packed our bags and had to once again say goodbye.

You know you think that you did this 10 years before and it was hard, this time it will be's NOT, not by a long shot, if anything it was harder for all of us because now there were children involved. Little hands holding tightly and crying into our necks, begging us not to leave...cries of "I love you I'm going to miss you" and watching my grandmother fall apart and sob before me. It broke my heart and it made me more determined than ever to return next year, because time with your family is precious and it flies by, before you know it, another 10 years have past.

It was a hard day for us all, we tried to be strong, we sat around eating (that's what portuguese people do best lol), we tried to get caught up as quickly as we could and then we were at the airport, boarding an airplane headed to Amsterdam.

It was a weird bitter/sweet moment. On the one hand you see the faces of your loved ones and your heart breaks and you want nothing more than to turn around and run into their arms again, then on the other hand, you have your home, your dogs and your own life waiting for you at the end of the trip.

One thing is for sure, today we're all agreeing that in the end we still left so much unsaid, so much undone. A true reminder that time DOES fly when you're having fun.

After saying goodbye to the family we checked in our bags and headed to the gate....the way the photo looks depicts exactly how I felt at the moment.

Amsterdam Airport, that was the KLM flight that brought us from Johannesburg

Anxiously anticipating the flight to St. would be another 8 hours and 40 minutes but at least there's movies and individual tv's with video games for the kids etc.

Flight was taking longer than usual....boredom abounds

All settled in and ready for the long flight...
Miss Jasmine getting her tv set up to watch movies

The last few shots are views of Amsterdam from the airplane, it's absolutely gorgeous and I would love to go back and visit some day

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday with a Twist!

As much as we all love slow cooking recipes, I know that some days it's hard to find a good recipe to share, so I thought that today we would have a little can share a slow cooking recipe OR any other recipe that you've recently come across and love OR a family favorite that you just want to share with others.

Does that sound good???

So here's some that I love and want to share with you all:

Sandra's Egg Rolls

Grandma's Gingersnap cookies

Chicken Tetrazzini
And of course I couldn't leave out a Slow Cooker Recipe....

Crockpot Pizza Rigatoni

All my slow cooking recipes are now online and starting today, I will add all the recipes shared weekly to my online site too. So if you're wanting to find ALL the slow cooked recipes that have been shared since the first SLOW COOKING THURSDAY, here is the link for you.

Don't forget to add your name to Mr Linky and a link back to your SCT post so others can come by and see your recipe too.

Summer Days!

A couple of you asked what her name would be if she was a dinosaur.....the t-shirt I made for her says "If I was a dinosaur my name would be........Jasminesaurus (Jas-min-sau-rus) LOL

I had her draw a picture of a dinosaur and I uploaded that graphic to Cafepress and made the t-shirt, it's really cute and Nicholas has one that says "If I was a dinosaur my name would be......Nenesaurus (Nee-Nee-sau-rus) LOL

No time for chatting, we're enjoying the fresh air, the warm weather and the energy exuding from little bodies as they scramble to get in all the fun before school starts in two weeks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Crepes anyone?

Come on in and sit with me, I have hot coffee and some warm crepes I just finished making. The kids ate most of them but there's still enough to share.

It's a beautiful morning here, not a cloud in the sky, not too hot right now and a small breeze, just perfect.

I don't know about you guys, but doesn't it seem that the blogland is very quiet lately? The comments have tapered off, the posts are sporadic, I think everyone is out enjoying the last few weeks of summer before school starts and fall arrives.

We're gearing up for school to beging here August 11th, the day after my birthday, how is that? Perfectly timed I think. Saturday I have to head to Walmart and get all the school supplies and some clothes for the kids too, yes I know it's Walmart, but I for one like their cheap inexpensive clothing and with two kids in school now, I'm sure my clothes budget for the kids is going way up.

Something else that is going to go up is my sadness LOL Any other moms with little ones starting kindergarten want to come cry with me??? I can cook and bake???? Food is not a problem, we can just eat and cry. *snicker*

Yesterday morning, I reopened by SparkPeople account and I'm determined to loose weight, I was going to do the whole weight watchers but I couldn't bring myself to pay the money for it just for someone to tell me how many points I can eat a day. I don't like that, I don't do good with being told what to do LOL I know you may find that funny, but it's the truth, I prefer allowing myself to eat healthier and watch my calories because the minute I tell my body that it's only allowed so and so points or this or that food, that's IT, it rebels, it goes beserk and I start binging.

So, I'm sticking to Sparkpeople, I've lost weight on it before, I go in and track my food each day, track my calories, increase my water and exercise and it works. We'll see how I do.

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I'm glad you've all been enjoying the South Africa trip posts, it's coming to an end though, I only have a few photos to share with you. Like these, from our trip to Hartbeesport Dam the day before we left.

We drove around for a bit, ate lunch at a great Portuguese Restaurant and then stopped at a local flea market for some african souvenirs.

Great day!

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Well my Pilates is calling my name, OUCH, I tell you I did it yesterday and today I'm in so much pain, there's muscles I had no idea existed LOL
I will leave you with some linkies to some great blogs I've found this past week:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reconnecting - Part 12

We were so sad to leave the Kruger National Park, I mean, this place is like a little peace of paradise on earth. There is nothing but nature and animals around you, there's birds singing in the morning and crickets chirping at night, the huge expanse of the night sky filled with stars and nebula's and the sound of far away animals......and there's quiet, this encompassing non TV and cellphone and craziness, quiet. It's what everyone needs right?? We have far too much noise during our daily lives, so when you find yourself away from it all it's not only relaxing but recharging to the soul.

We made our way back to Johannesburg, back to family, to old neighborhoods and to one of the best parts for me....the FOOD. Oh the glorious food, I don't think I could begin to tell you just how good Portuguese food is, if you've never had it you have no idea what you're missing, but if you're one of the lucky ones to live near a Portuguese community, say for instance in Massachusetts, Newark, New Jersey, San Francisco or even up in yourself a favor, go to a Portuguese restaurant or to a bakery and just try it....then come back and tell me what you think.

We arrived back in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon and did nothing for the rest of the day, just hung out at dad's house, chatted with family and ate good food.

I had to take the kids and Curt to the Portuguese bakery Belem. They hadn't tried any cakes yet, so I think we pretty much got one of each LOL

From the left: Pasteis de Nata (cream cakes), Bolas de Berlin (filled donuts), Pasteis de Arroz (Bean cakes)....I know the last ones sound weird, but believe me, they are to die for.

Sunset view from the backyard of my parent's house

If you look to the right, you see the city lights in the distance....that's Johannesburg
Dinner that night was typical Portuguese, Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa.
The next morning we woke up refreshed and ready to go....but not before Curt enjoyed a game of Guitar Hero LOL

Oh and I almost forgot to show you Jasmine's new cute is that?

This morning we were heading out to take some photographs of my old houses, schools etc. It was a part of me that my children and husband had never seen and I was eager to show them around. Little did I know that some of those old houses would bring tears to my eyes and not in a good way.

My brother Miguel's house

My brother Paul's house....this is the house that I lived in before getting married and moving to the States. My parents moved to a different house down the street and my oldest brother moved in with his family.
Now let's turn to the left and head down the street. Boy do I remember this street, I walked up and down every single day morning and afternoon when I was in High School, which is just at the end of the road

And here's my old high school, The Hill High School

Now we're traveling up Geranium street towards the middle of Rosettenville. I spent many afternoons here after school with my friends, I also walked up and down this street with my grandmother to go shopping.

Middle of Rosettenville, so much has changed, there's buildings that are gone, there's businesses that have since closed down etc.

If you look to the right, do you see that dark brown building that says Bombay Bazaar? That's where you go and buy the school uniforms. LOL I remember those days, the days of dark green dressed, white button up shirts and BROWN shoes. YUCK!

Yum, Steers, one of my favorite burger places, my friends and I ate lunch here many times
Good old McDonald's LOL

This is going up Main street, to the right you have Spar, it's a big grocery store

Rio Douro Fisheries, the fresh fish market we go to back home

In 1988 we moved to Portugal and within 4 months we had moved back to South Africa, we didn't like living in Portugal, it's a long story and a whole other post LOL

When we returned, we moved into this house, it was my grandparents home and we stayed with them for a bit until we got our own place.....nowadays, it's empty and it looks like there may have been a fire at some point. It was just sad to look at!

The famous 167 Church Street, this was the haunted house, the horribly haunted place that forced me to stay away all night long with the light on, the house where I woke up in the middle of the night with hands around my throat, or the time I lay in bed and looked to the window and saw what appeared to be my greatgrandmother standing there while she actually lay asleep on the bed next to me. Horrible house, but it was a pretty house and I was saddened to see the state it's in now. That metal gate was not there, nor were the HUGE walls.

The other haunted house where my Uncle Carlos got choked in the bathroom. It also looks completely different, it had a beautiful driveway and big open doorway, that wall was NOT there before. Again a shock and a sadness to see it this way.

Continuing with the shock factor we go to 197 Prairie Street...I mean what can I say? It's not even a house anymore, it's a business LOL

My Elementary School, I have the best memories from this place and it pretty much looks the same, except for the big tall green fence. Welcome to Africa people!

Fred Street, there weren't that many bars on the windows when we lived there, but times have changed.

And that was it, we drove back to my parents house with a feeling of sadness. I have to tell you that as much as I loved being back home in South Africa and walking down memory lane, it struck me that 10 years really had gone may not seem like a long time, but it is. So much changes and I'm greatful for the memories that I have of all these houses during my childhood, because the memories I have etched in my heart do not mirror the dilapidated, run down and scary looking buildings that I saw this day.