Christmas Tradition #4

In December 2012 I shared some of our food, typically eaten or devoured at Christmas time 😀

the Algarve fig cake – Christmas Tradition #1 and the Aniseed  cookies – Christmas Tradition #2 and then my favorite the King’s crown cake – Christmas Tradition #3

And so for 2015 my sister-in-law is visiting from Portugal and she made these here at home….

Christmas tradition #4 typically from Algarve, south of Portugal (that’s where my hubby is from) this is one of their regional sweets. Ground almonds and sugar and a paste is formed (this is similar to – but it is not marzipan)

fine almond flour

fine almond flour

sugar and water in pearl stage

sugar and water in pearl stage

add sugar to almond

add sugar to almonds

make little balls with almond paste and fill with 'soft eggs'

make little balls with almond paste and fill with ‘soft eggs’

and then form little fruits leave overnight

and then form little fruits
leave overnight

and the final result is this ….

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Little bit of food coloring, paint your fruits and voila you have almond cookies

It looks easy enough but it’s not. It’s not too complicated either but you need some ‘talent’ to make these fruits and not mess the filling.  I made three shapes, one carrot and one fig and the third one went in my mouth because the filling was too much, it was oozing out of the carrot shape and I licked it and realised that’s not a lekker thing to do to the food your guests are going to eat. 😛 So I just ate it – no evidence of bad shape was left

Delicious for once a year only! Something my dad used to say about these makes me laugh every time I see them….Today, 9 years ago he passed away…we still miss him at the Christmas dinner ♥

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My glass jar is bigger  

Last year I filled a glass jar with little things and lots of gratitude. This year on my last day at work, I did the same, it’s amazing when you start writing it down, just how many special moments we had this year. So many things to be grateful for, so many blessings in 2015.

Losing family members and friends. Insecurity and nervousness around workshop moving or possibly closing.

We struggled through with some rough patches and thorns but when I sat down and made notes the blessings were doubled, so much glitter, so many stars and rainbows in our life.

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My hubby’s 50th birthday was special, our 25th wedding anniversary, and our sons 21st birthday. What a year! I am so grateful for God’s protection ♥

Thank you LORD for keeping us safe this year…thank you for everything….

In everything give thanks. 1 Thes 5:18

My glass jar _ 2014 

Zanzibar dreaming …

In October I posted about how we are celebrating our Silver Anniversary and I had this to say – we are taking a little trip, it’s something we have not done for ourselves in all the years together.  We never really went overseas….

So we did take our trip and came back from the most memorable time and holiday!  What do I say about Zanzibar and our time there?  It was so amazing and so memorable and so good for both of us.  After 25 years of marriage, of life revolving around the boys, the school and house stuff, work and bills and so many other mundane things it was quite wonderful that we had other things to talk about.  We talked, laughed and relaxed.  I don’t know what else to say except that the island has lots to see and do and if you want to be a real tourist it will keep you quite busy.  If you want to just relax and do nothing this is also the perfect place for that.  From the minute we arrived everything was just perfect and our time together was unforgettable.

So let me share some photos of two really special days – the day we did snorkeling and our last day on the resort doing what I love most – a walk on the beach at low tide.

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I am scared of many things but this seems to calm me

Snorkeling in Zanzibar

Snorkeling in Zanzibar

...so close to my face and mask

…so close to my face and mask

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I can almost touch them…

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Low tide walking into the ocean

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Star fish kiss

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Relaxing in the warm water

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I love you !

One look and you will fall in love with the color and warmth and beauty of Zanzibar, it’s a little piece of paradise, almost like you are dreaming ♥

Silver anniversary

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9 October 1990

October is a pretty month, the weather is good and the city turns a beautiful light purple because of the Jacaranda trees, there’s a wonderful smell in air, it’s sweet and fragrant especially at night and the air has a magical feel to it.

This year October is extra special because my bear and I celebrate our wedding anniversary, our 25th silver anniversary! Three cheers to me because I have worked the hardest….raising two mischievous very busy sometimes naughty little boys and then a third one – my biggest and oldest child requiring more adult supervision than the other two a.k.a. my husband.  Ok, ok three cheers to both of us 😀

We committed to the insanity, refusing to give up on each other. And I know we are not a dying breed, there are so many special couples around us celebrating longer years together. But I feel that this really is something special for us, almost like we are the only ones.  A silver anniversary to be celebrated and rightly so!  Spending a quarter of a century with one person must be celebrated with a really special occasion and we are sooo doing that. We deserve it.

On the 10th of October we are taking a little trip, it’s something we have not done for ourselves in all the years together. We never really went overseas, I’m purposely not counting the trip together to Portugal in 1995, that was oh so long ago.  Yes there were many holidays here in SA and Mozambique and such awesome weekends away too but these always involved family, the boys, and extended family, sometimes with friends and sometimes with the camera club.  We managed to escape once or twice just on our own too for those ‘dirty little weekends’ 🙂 but no big trips for only two.

Looking back I know we were spoilt, we have made such amazing memories. Our home is filled with little curios gifts, souvenirs & things, shells, bottles and frames from those special holidays.  There are numerous albums and envelopes full of photos, boxes overflowing with slides and there must be millions of digital photos at home…

So blessed, we have truly been blessed in our marriage, I have felt God’s hand & guiding all the time, His presence was always near.

So this month we are doing something extra special just the two of us and I’m dying with excitement I can’t wait to arrive at the airport.  A little trip to an exotic island off the coast of East Africa  ♥♥  to celebrate relax and love. We deserve this.

Hello Zanzibar, jambo, we are coming!!

 

PS:   this was our wedding song, our first dance. I know he remembers this because every time we hear it, if it plays on the radio or somewhere he smiles and always holds my hand

Nothing’s gonna change my love for you, George Benson

It is a serious thing to be alive

It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in the broken world  _ Mary Oliver

Not that I need to be reminded of this but sometimes I do need to see it so I don’t forget it. And I’m not going too far into the past just the last couple of months is enough to put things into perspective.

In September last year my uncle passed away, he had the type of cancer that never gave him a fighting chance

In March this year my last surviving grandparent passed away, granny was 90

In April we lost another family member, another uncle. My godfather passed away

Today I was at a funeral of a beautiful lady with the most contagious radiant smile, a senseless brutal crime took her away

Oh add to all of this that I find out a dear friend of mine has cancer?!

At the same time we have been battling with some serious business issues and the light at the end of the tunnel was so far away and everything was so dark…

We have not been sleeping well. I have been worrying way too much and asking God; how much more can I handle? How long before things get better? Every thought was a question with no answer.

At work we are busy packing for a big move. A whole new office and building, now I’m used to these office moves I have worked in this company for 24 years and I’ve lost count how many times we have moved. Sometimes they can be quite a lot of fun!

This one is not more stressful or hard but moving is rated as one of the top 5 most stressful life situations (Death of a loved one, Divorce, Moving, Major Illness, Job Loss)  So things have been pretty hectic lately, I see this move as a new life, a type of cleansing (so much was thrown away) it was a huge spring clean project in the office. Total office madness!

Emotionally exhausted!!

I am just emotionally exhausted and feeling so tired that I get this type of nervous feeling at the bottom of my stomach.

Today I was a mess and moody and definitely hard to handle and to be around. But still some people stay close, they stick around and put up with my shit.

At the church service we heard “be grateful for the gift of life” and “never stop saying I love you” and “live every day to the fullest” and “be happy to be alive”

And so it is, life is so short and untimely things and events leave us with so much pain sometimes.  As I sat in church our little business issue was somehow being resolved…we have a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, things are working out. Let’s see where this takes us.

For now remember this –

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God has not turned His face away and I have felt His love and protection, as hard as these months have been they have also been wonderful. I have so many people to be grateful for so many things to be happy about that all these feelings are almost confusing ♥ life is incredible and every day I am awake is a gift from God!