Sunday, December 28, 2008

Santa was good to me!

From all the trouble I got into this past year, you might have thought I wouldn't get anything for Christmas ... but, you'd be wrong! I lucked out this year. ;o)

Some pictures from Christmas day - what nice surprises and I had so much fun.

What's in this? Is this for "moi" ?

All the way from France, a fuzzy blue thing on the end of a fishing pole. This toy is loads of fun and my human "brother" enjoyed playing with me too.

all images copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

I even received a new Christmas mouse from my cat "cousins" in the Untied States (Hmm, "Mom" is stepping in here, Sacha - you know perfectly well that it is the United States , not the "Untied" States. What were you thinking there?? LOL Silly little cat! We might have to make an appointment with the cat psychologist, for you, in the new year. Freudian cat slips! lol ) Thanks again Nigel, Toby and Bill!

First meeting ... hmmm ...

I gave the mouse (muis) a kiss (kus) .
Wat leuk! (How nice!) .

At the end of the day, I took a long nap in my tent that I had decorated for Christmas.

"Sacha's Big Christmas, 2008"
all images copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

doei! (bye)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays from the Netherlands, 2008 ~ Fijne Feestdagen vanuit Nederland, 2008


"Golden Ornament - Christmas 2008"
copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
10h"x 8"w (approx.)
Winsor-Newton watercolors on Bockingford paper, with digital addition of Merry Christmas greeting (you can't possibly imagine I could paint those letters so fine! LOL)

Santa Claus (Kerstman) was spotted last night on the wharf of the Oudegracht in Utrecht!
He stopped in at a restuarant for a bite (maybe cookies) and he waved to us! heh heh ;o)

"Santa on the Wharf - Utrecht 2008"
photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong

We hope everyone has a lovely holiday (whatever you celebrate), and a wonderful new year!

Proost! Cheers!

Judy and Sacha

Monday, December 22, 2008

Baking Day for Christmas 2008

Yep, "mom" baked today.

Fudge Brownies before baking...

Ingredients for the Toll House Cookies (chocolate chip cookies)

Yummy..the batter! Cookie dough!!! (I snuck a lick.. heh heh).

The results; a lovely plate of Toll House Cookies and Fudge Brownies.

Lekker! ( Tasty !)

And me, Sacha, watching all the baking from my regal bean bag chair.
I wonder if she'll bake some cookie mice this year?
Tot ziens,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vreeswijk by Candlelight 2008 ~ ~ ~ Vreeswijk bij Kaarslicht 2008


"Vreeswijk Harbour by Candlelight 1, December 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

On Wednesday, 17th of December, we went over to the neighborhood of Vreeswijk in Nieuwegein (Utrecht) to see the community's display of tea-light candles and torches lighting up the entire old village center for a special Christmas time evening - including the boats in the harbours and canals, the streets and sidewalks, and the private houses.

More photos of the evening - not quite the same as being there, but enjoy!

"House with Tea-lghts in the Window - Vreeswijk 2008"
copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

"Tea Lights Along the Harbour Steps - Vreeswijk, 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

"Vreeswijk Harbour by Candlelight 2, December 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

"Vreeswijk Harbour by Candlelight 3, December 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

"Vreeswijk Harbour by Candlelight 4, December 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

"Vreeswijk Harbour by Candlelight 5, December 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

"Tea-lights and Garden Windmill, Vreeswijk 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

"Houses Along the Canal, December 17th 2008, Vreeswijk"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

"Shopping Street, Vreeswijk by Candlelight, Dec. 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

There were many bands and choirs on the streets, singing or playing Christmas carols and popular Christmas songs.

"Christmas Choir, Vreeswijk by Candlelight, Dec. 2008"
photo copyright Juidth Nijholt-Strong

Everyone gets involved - a real demonstration of "community spirit"; simply marvelous, imo!This is a photo taken through the picture window of a private home - every year this living room is completely decorated with a Christmas scene...the entire living room.

"Christmas Living Room Window - Vreeswijk, Dec. 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

There were also booths where you could buy hot chocolate, mulled wine (gluwein), doughnuts or the Dutch treat this time of year - the "Oliebollen"

Another window of a home in Vreeswijk. I loved this one in particular; so warm & inviting - "gezellig".

"Santa with Tea Lights - Vreeswijk, 2008"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

We had a wonderful evening in Vreeswijk.
It was magical! Tot volgende jaar (until next year).

Tot ziens,


Friday, December 5, 2008

Sinterklaasfeest 2008 ~ St. Nicholas feast 2008


"Feast of St. Nicholas" by Jan Steen
c. 1663-65 , oil on canvas
The Rijksmuseum. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tonight is "pakjesavond" (gifts night) here in Holland, for Sinterklaasfeest (feast of St. Nicholas)! As you can see in the painting by the Dutch Master painter, Jan Steen, this is a very old tradition here in the Netherlands. The good children have received gifts, cakes and treats - while the crying boy in the background on the left, woke up to nothing in his shoe. Looks like his little brother might be holding the "roe" (rod) that awaits naughty children! By the way, the "rod" is not one of the traditions that lasted!!
We've posted about Sinterklaas before on this blog, so if you want to read those posts, you can find them via the links at the bottom of this post or from the side-bar catagory "Sinterklaas". This time, I'm just going to show you some images taken by my "mom" of some of the Sinterklaas treats in the bakeries and candy stores in Montfoort and Oudewater (towns nearby us).
From a bakery in Montfoort: The cookie on the lower left in this photo, with the almonds in it, is the same sort of cookie that Jan Steen depicted in the painting (the diamond shaped cake/cookie on the lower right of the painting above).

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

The Sint (saint ) and his helper Zwarte Piet (black pete) in the window of the bakery in Montfoort.
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Yummy! A Zwarte Piet cake and chocolates in a bakery window in the town of Oudewater.
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
This is a delightfully charming candy store, "Hocus Pocus", also in Oudewater.
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
There were lovely Marzipan Sinterklaas candies in the "Hocus Pocus" candy store. Note the little red "Sintboekjes" (little saint books) made of marzipan. If your name is his big red book without a big X by it, that means you've been good all year and you'll get treats! :o)
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

I was good and this is what I received this year.

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

A "kattenkruidmuis" (catnip mouse)!

photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

Happy Sinterklaas to all my friends!
I hope you were good and got loads of treats!
Doei! (bye)
Links to past posts about Sinterklaas ... with more of the story of the tradition:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sneeuw, Snoep en Slaap ..... Snow, Candy and Sleep

`December already... it snuck up on us!

"Dedo in the Snow" - Dec 2008
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

It snowed today... yep! Poor "Dedo" was stuck outside on our back patio, looking rather unhappy about it. heh heh

"Mom" stayed inside and sketched things on her desk.
These are some little "schuimpjes" (foam candy) for Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas). The "fun" is tomorrow night, but more about that tomorrow.

"Roze Sinterklaas Snoep - Pink Sinterklaas Candy"
copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
colored pencil sketch in Moleskine sketchbook

And I, of course, slept! Here I'm in my newest comfy spot, in the zolder (attic).

"Sacha napping, as always"
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

I'm just dreaming about what Sinterklaas might bring me tomorrow night!
Until then ...

The word list:
Sneeuw = Snow
Snoep = Candy
Slaap = Sleep
Schuim = Foam
Schuimpjes = Small foam candy
Sinterklaas = Saint Nicholas
Roze = Pink
Zolder = Attic

Tot ziens!



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