Happy Thanksgiving

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This morning we brainstormed some things we are grateful for, as you can see, Santa is on the list. My 8-yr old is very grateful for Santa, believe me. We should be thankful everyday of our lives, but somedays you just can't, somedays, are just blargh and you don't want to be grateful for anything. Thanksgiving reminds us of just that. It reminds us that we have things to thank life for each and everyday.

I used to do a daily exercise of writing down 3 things that made me grateful that day, but a lot of times, I just wrote the same stuff over and over. It's a great exercise to make us dig deep, after all, each day we can find things that make us happy, even on those days blargh.

So, enjoy Turkey day for those in the US or those who aren't in the US, but celebrate Thanksgiving.

Why I didn't throw My Daughter 1, 2 or 3 yr Old Birthday Parties

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Brazilians are famous for partying.  This stereotype is not unfounded, I for once love a good party. I love to dance, to chat and to have a drink with friends. I enjoy the whole vibe and energy from a party, everyone having fun and enjoying themselves, except... when it's a 1yr old party... or a 2yr old... To be honest I don't have anything against the party itself, why would I? My whole thinking is... if you're throwing me a party, I want to remember it (at least the start of it :o) ), but a 1 or 3-yr old, they'll never remember the party.  I can totally understand the mum wanting to celebrate the newborn phase being over, now I'm really going to have haters here, but seriously, joking aside, I don't remember anything from when I was younger than... 5? Maybe older? My daughter doesn't remember hardly anything from our time in England (we moved to the US when she had just turned 5).

The issue is... the parties in Brazil are not like...  let's get a cake at the supermarket and invite the grandparents, uncles and aunts kindda thing. They are more like, let's invite 150-200 people, spend R$10's of thousands and our adorable little princess/prince can fall asleep before we even cut the cake...

Picture taken from google - www.karaspartyideas.com -

So, I did throw her a party when Victoria turned 1, I bought a cake and I put it right in front of her, so she could get it with her bare hands and stuff all over her face, ha!

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The grandparents celebrating from the other side of the world

When Victoria turned 4, we threw her an actual party, it was a kid's party, we invited the kids in her classroom, she had the best time ever, played like crazy on the bouncy castle, came home and passed out until the day after. It was a party for her and her friends, not a party pretending to be for her, but, instead, for the adults. Now we have a rule to throw her a party  on every even birthday, 4-6-8...

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I know different countries throw big parties as well, especially for the 1st birthday. It celebrates kids' surviving their 1st year, but hell, I should have had a party for myself, for surviving the 1st year. The kids.. they won't remember.

Someday I will write about kids' birthday parties in England and in the US.

Easter in the USA

Traditions, traditions...

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In the US, this is the first place that I've lived where there are so many people celebrating Easter, and even some schools and workplaces have Good Friday off. I've always loved Easter, loved, loved. It always reminds me of my childhood with houses full of cousins.

Great memories all around

In the past 3 years, Paul and I have been trying to get into the swing of things, the American way. Before kids, it was easy, we kind of mixed both mine and his culture, celebrated a little, no pressure, but with Victoria it's all different, as we want her to just have fun.

So I get up early and go hide the eggs, with arrows and small plastic eggs as it's the culture here in the US. At the end of the trail we usually get her a basket with stuff. I made the one this year, but in previous years we just bought baskets.

One thing we both miss is chocolate easter eggs. It's so hard to find it here! I've seen tiny little ones, for like 4 bucks. Instead, people buy chicks and bunnies, and they fill small plastic eggs with sweets, prizes or money for the kids to hunt.

The first year we were here, we took Victoria to Encanto park for the famous Easter Egg hunt. It was fun, except that everyone else had the same idea, the park was beautiful, but sooooo packed! You had to stand in line for ages, just to get the kid signed up, then another q for them to go hunting for like 30 seconds. Been there, done that, now no more.

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One year we colored eggs and every year in the morning I wake up really, really early (my daughter is an early morning child) and go hide the eggs.

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Second egg hunt, in the afternoon with the neighbors

I hope everyone had a great time with their families, if you celebrate Easter.

The Day After Christmas in England

Christmas has come and gone... oh noooo! I do have to say, it gets better with kids around. I've always been a New Years kindda girl. Celebrating hard to bring in the new year, but after having my daughter (after she'd grown a bit) it just got really great to see the sparkle in her eyes when she sees the Christmas tree. If you live in England you have something to look forward to after Christmas... the January Sales!!! Yes baby, amazing deals on all sorts of stuff, which also means crazy people all over the place, but hey, if you plan well you can get some good stuff.

Shoppers pass in front of a large "sale" sign

Ok, but this is NOT the reason for this post. I talked about Christmas in Brazil, in the USA, now I want to talk about Boxing Day (St. Stephen's Day) in England. One of the theories is that it all started centuries ago by farmers who would pack up all the left over food (or money/gifts) and give to their servants the day after Christmas.

In the UK (and other countries of the Commonwealth) it's a public holiday, hurray!  So, you can just relax or enjoy a day of craziness shopping. You get to eat Christmas leftovers and watch a football match from the Premier League.

Joe Hart & Fraizer Campbell

A great boxing day recipe, I've always enjoyed:

Bubble & Squeak

  • 2 Tbsps Olive Oil (a healthier version from the fried bacon, and lard used on the traditional one)
  • Onions and garlic
  • Left over turkey (all shredded)
  • Left over veggies
  • Left over mashed potatoes (do you notice a pattern?)
  • Salt/pepper
  • Fried egg, optional

Preparation:

  1. Put the olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic. Once they are soft, add the turkey until it's a little fried.
  2. Next, add the veggies and after they are warm, add the mashed potatoes. The potatoes will make everything glue together.
  3. Shape it as a disc (you can make it one big one to share, or many individual ones)
  4. Serve once it's brown on both sides with the fried egg on the side and some HP brown sauce.

It's serious stuff.

Happy Boxing Day!