Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy 2012!!!

2011 is almost over...

Let's celebrate 2011 nice moments!

January 2011

We started the year watching the fireworks in our neighbourhood...

From New Year 2011

A couple of days later,  we enjoyed an amazing day in Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve. I took this photo from the car, already on our way back home...

From Oostvaardersplassen

February 2011

A visit to the Kasteel de Haar. The guided tour was in Dutch and I was able to understand 70% of it. I even spoke a bit in Dutch with the guide. ;-)

From De Haar

March 2011

A Tea in Eemnes in a bucolic and romantic scenery. :-) A suggestion of a blogger friend.

From Eemnes

April 2011

Time to enjoy Keukenhof...

From K3 2011

May 2011

4 magical days in Disneyland Paris...

From Eurodisney

June 2011

Time for sailing ;-)

Stoomboot Rondvaart Almere Haven

From Batavia Stad


I was one of the two winners of the Flevoland Tourism Contest.

From Almere (III)

August enjoy the sun and the sea....

From Grécia 2011 - Kefalonia -


Lisbon... to enjoy family and friends...

From Lisboa 2011


I tasted for the first time a homemade Hungarian Goulash...

From Coisas Minhas - Goulash


London, where I spent my birthday :-)

From Londres 2011

December 2011

One of the angels of my Christmas Tree...:-)

From Natal 2011

HAPPY 2012!!!!

I wish you all PEACE, HEALTH, LOVE and JOY!
Ik wens iedereen een gezond een gelukkig 2012!
Feliz Ano Novo!  :-)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A Sweet Christmas Eve

Last weekend, we have enjoyed a very pleasant Christmas Eve. Let me share with you some of those sweet moments. Specially, how we always try to keep our Portuguese traditions. ;-)

In Portugal we are used to eat cod fish with potatoes and cabbages at Christmas Eve. My mother always offers the cod fish for this special night. However, this time, we decided to eat it "à lagareiro", one of the thousand ways how we eat cod fish in Portugal.

From Natal 2011

Mommy also offered me "línguas de gato" (cat tongues), one of my dearest childhood memories. ;-) So sweet of her! Thank you, mommy!!

My friend A. sent me the chourizos to make "Caldo Verde", our traditional and delicious New Year's Eve soup. Thank you, my dear!

My goddaughter's mother also gave me a very sweet present: homemade decorated cookies. ;-) She knows how I appreciate homemade gifts. :-)

From Natal 2011

A very nice surprise was also my mother's neighbour's gift. She knows me since I was born and she does beautiful and lovely crochet works. M., who is now 87 years, is a very talented lady! Look where I will put the bon bons next time! Several pieces like this one with bon bons make a very special effect on the table.

From Natal 2011

Christmas means traditions and rituals. One is my husband's gift, generally a parfum. This time, I chose Pure White Linen Coral by Estée Lauder.

From Natal 2011
But, he had a surprise for me: two Occitane facial creams. Very useful now with this cold!

From Natal 2011
My goddaughter also wanted to protect me from the low temperatures. She gave me polar socks.

From Natal 2011

A Christmas present that should never be missed in my sock is a book. I was very glad when I unwrapped my godmother's gift: Agatha Christie's autobiography!!! I love you, Madrinha!

From Natal 2011

Finally, the touch of Dutch of this special evening: poffertjes!!

From Natal 2011

I've enjoyed my Christmas Eve very much!

I hope you have enjoyed yours too!

Thank you all for your sweet Christmas Cards, emails and sms's.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Lord's Prayer in Dutch

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!!! :-)

From Natal 2011

Let me share with you this special gift from my friend Raquel.

From Natal 2011

She printed in the same paper an image from The Creation of Adam of Michelangelo as well as the Lord's prayer. She placed it then in this frame, so that I would know how to pray "Our Father" in Dutch. Very sweet of her!
A couple of months ago, we met at the Begijnhof in Amsterdam and we decided at the last minute to attend a Mass in Dutch. Generally the priests talk slower, so I wondered if I would be able to understand a Mass in Dutch. Soon, I realized I couldn't. I was not (and I'm still not) aware of the Dutch religious vocabulary. I also realized that I didn't even know the Lord's Prayer ...
A couple of weeks after, in our next outing, Raquel gave me this frame. :-)
Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I think it's the perfect moment to share the Lord's prayer in Dutch with you. :-)

Onze Vader 

Onze Vader, die in de hemel zijt,
Uw naam worde geheiligd,
Uw Rijk kome,
Uw wil geschiede op aarde zoals in Hemel,
Geef ons heden ons dagelijks brood,
en vergeef ons onze schuld,
zoals ook wij aan anderen hun schuld vergeven,
en leid ons niet in bekoring,
maar verlos ons van het kwade.


Listen to the Onze Vader sung in Dutch ....:-) This music is very cheerful! ;-))


And in Portuguese... ;-)

From Natal 2011

Pai Nosso

Pai Nosso, que estais no Céu
Santificado seja o Vosso Nome,
Venha a nós o Vosso Reino,
Seja feita a Vossa vontade,
assim na Terra como no Céu,
O Pão Nosso de cada dia nos dai hoje,
Perdoai-nos as nossas ofensas,
assim como nós perdoamos
a Quem nos tem ofendido,
e não nos deixeis cair em tentação,
Mas livrai-nos do Mal.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Dutch Christmas Postcards

These are some of the Christmas postcards I've sent to my family and friends.

This one was sent to A. and P. who became parents of a lovely baby girl this year, L.

From Natal 2011

This one was sent to M. and I. This year, they became parents of two adorable boys.

From Natal 2011

This one was to A. who has two cute cats at home ;-))

From Natal 2011

This one was sent to my friend O. and her daughter I. :-)

From Natal 2011

The more traditional ones are also very pretty, I think.

From Coisas Minhas II

There were others, specially from Anton Pieck, like this one.

From Natal 2011

Am I right or not to be in love with Dutch postcards? ;-))

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

O Meu Presépio/ My Nativity Scene/ Mijn Kerststalletje

O Meu Presépio/ My Nativity Scene/ Mijn Kerststalletje

From Natal 2011
sem vista para o canal ;-) without a view to the canal ;-)

zonder uitzicht op de gracht ;-)

From Natal 2011

We are now living in Tussen de Vaarten, not anymore in Almere Centrum...;-)

From Natal 2011

Feliz Natal!
Merry Christmas!
Prettige Kerstdagen!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Between Festivities

I like very much the Autumn and the beginning of Winter in The Netherlands with all the season festivities: Saint Martin's Day, Sinterklaas Arrival , Pakjesavond and finally, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

November, 11: Saint Martin's Day

From Magusto 2011

This year was the most cheerful Saint Martin's Day that I have ever enjoyed! I didn't stop all evening. Many children knocked at my door with their paper lanterns, singing Saint Martin's songs. In the end of the evening, the three bowls filled with candies got almost empty! That means all the children have sung very well. ;-)

We think it's important to participate in our host country traditions. We feel more integrated in the Dutch society.

As you can see by the photo, we celebrated Saint Martin's day in a mixed way: Dutch pepernoten with roasted chestnuts, as we do in Portugal.
We didn't have água- pé, a low alchoolic beverage that we traditionally drink in Saint Martin's Day in Portugal, so we drank Port wine.

November, 12: Sinterklaas arrival

This year we didn't see Sinterklaas arrival in Almere Haven. We were very tired because of the improvements we have been doing in the house. We also have disassembled furniture we didn't want anymore and gave it away. This house is smaller than our previous one and we are struggling to have more space available. Besides, in the previous week to Sinterklaas arrival, I had participated in a very interesting Dutch course in Bussum. I must tell you about it later! ;-)

December, 5: Pakjesavond

From Natal 2011

We enjoyed a very nice Pakjesavond, eating chocolate letters, pepernoten and speculaas, according to Dutch tradition. However, we gave it a Portuguese touch by drinking Port wine. ;-)
As I told you here before, this time, I shared this evening with my beloved goddaughter in Portugal. Also with my mom, to whom I sent a Dutch umbrella as a Sinterklaas gift, perfect to face strong winds.
I think it's very interesting to share with my beloved ones in Portugal the traditions of my host country.

From Coisas Minhas - Chapéu de Chuva

We also enjoyed a couple of meetings with friends during this Autumn.
We met the newborn twins of a Dutch-Indonesian couple. I told you about Meiko, my Indonesian friend, before. Do you remember her Indonesian recipes?

From Coisas Minhas

Another very special ocasion was K.'s husband's birthday. K. is a Dutch teacher. Generally, we meet once a week to practice my Dutch so she can correct my mistakes and in return I give her Portuguese lessons.
K. is also Hungarian. So, for the first time, I tasted a homemade Hungarian Goulash. Curiously, it was made by her Dutch husband.
I want to ask her for the Goulash recipe but I will wait untill January. As I said, these are busy times in The Netherlands, with a lot of Festivities going on and for now our meetings are standing by.

From Coisas Minhas - Goulash

Christmas and Boxing Day

I already finished all the preparations. I painted the kitchen and the living room (this one is almost done). The decorations, the Christmas tree and the Christmas stall are in place already. Also my Christmas postcards are on their way. :-)

From Natal 2011

This year it hasn't snowed so far. I wish it had! I'm a big fan of a White Christmas!
We haven't had the time to go to the Christmas markets in Germany either. Some domestic issues to solve:a broken washing machine, the replacement of the kitchen's tap (I hope we can manage it to do it on the third time), etc.
Nevertheless, we are enjoying the season and we hope to have a quiet and cozy Christmas evening.
In the following days, I will publish some photos of our Christmas Stall (Presépio) and all the Christmas decorations. I also have a special post for Christmas Day ;-) Stay tuned!

Thursday, 15 December 2011


After those wonderful two weeks in Greece, I went to Portugal specially to visit my mother and do her big house cleaning. My mother is now 73, she is a widow and has many difficulties to do some of the chores because of her back and bone problems. Living in a second floor without a lift, it's not possible  anymore for her to carry heavy bags full of old things to the garbage or to take heavy bags full of clothes, shoes and other stuff to give away. My mom has the help of a lady who goes there once a week to do the usual cleaning, but that's all.

Initially, I was planning to stay about two weeks in Portugal, but soon I realized that I would need to stay more time- in fact the whole month- to do the proper visits to my family and friends, and specially to finish my job. The last big cleaning I've done there was five years ago.

I was very tired when I arrived here. I have worked until the last minute, but I was happy because I left everything organized for my mom to enjoy her everyday life in a much smoothier way, like reaching easily the things in the cupboard without the danger of domestic accidents. You already know how careful I am with my mommy.

So, I guess you can imagine how nice it was, after a month of hard work, to arrive in the Netherlands and see the new flowerbed's brick fence in the front garden as well as the pebbles to reduce the amount of weed.
A very nice surprise from my hubby! :-)

From Coisas Minhas - Jardim

I was so happy with the new look of the front garden that I went to Blokker to buy some kabouters or gnomes. I also bought some mushrooms. According to Dutch Mythology, a kabouter is a tiny folkloric man who traditionally wears a pointy red hat, lives in harmony with nature and resides in mushrooms. (Wikipedia)

Do you like my kabouters? :-)

From Coisas Minhas - Jardim

From Coisas Minhas - Jardim

From Coisas Minhas - Jardim
From Coisas Minhas - Jardim

From Coisas Minhas - Jardim

The end result...;-)

From Coisas Minhas - Jardim

Yes, the hortensias changed from blue to pink. That is because of the soil.
Looking at my hortensias, I believe they have missed me during my stay in Portugal, don't you agree? ;-)

I think we have done a very good job in the front garden. As you already may know, during last Spring, we have cleaned the weed, took away the previous plants and the tree in front of the doorway, painted the fences and the doorpost and also planted the hortensias.

I hope next Spring to finish the other flowerbeds. And have more photos to share with you, of course!! :-))

Stay well!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Have Ithaka always in your mind...

 We took our lunch in the lovely port of Kioni.

From Ítaca

"I wish I had a boat like this. I would sail in those blue waters and stop here and there just for lunch, and then, leave again into the sea.",  I thought while sittting in the terrace  ;-)

After lunch and shopping at the local stores, my wish seemed to come true. ;-) We took a boat until Vathy, Ithaca's capital. This journey, our return voyage, was the most beautiful part of the trip.

We spotted these old windmills...

From Ítaca

...before arriving to a green colour water beach...

From Ítaca

...where the boat stopped so we could enjoy a bath...

From Ítaca

... how we regretted to have eaten so much at lunch...we couldn't go into the water...

 Around us some small boats like this one...

From Ítaca

Again I felt I was in Douro...

From Ítaca

because of this liaison between mountains and water...

From Ítaca
From Ítaca

Almost in Vathy, this beautiful chapel nearby the sea...

From Ítaca

I became in love by Ithaca, as you may have already noticed it ;-)
So, I leave you with this beautiful poem about this exquisite island. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. :-)


When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy -
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don't in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn't anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn't deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you'll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy