Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The Feast of Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, is an annual event which has been uniquely Dutch and Flemish for centuries. St. Nicholas' Feast Day, December 6th, is observed in most Roman Catholic countries primarily as a feast for small children. But it is only in the Low Countries - especially in the Netherlands - that the eve of his feast day (December 5th) is celebrated nationwide by young and old, christian and non-christian, and without any religious overtones.

Although Sinterklaas is always portrayed in the vestments of the bishop he once was, his status as a canonized saint has had little to do with the way the Dutch think of him. Rather, he is a kind of benevolent old man, whose feast day is observed by exchanging gifts and making good-natured fun of each other. It so happens that the legend of St. Nicholas is based on historical fact. He did actually exist. He lived from 271 A.D. to December 6th, 342 or 343. His 4th century tomb in the town of Myra, near the city of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, has even been dug up by archaeologists.

All Dutch children know that Sinterklaas (the name is a corruption of Sint Nikolaas) lives in Spain. Exactly why he does remains a mystery, but that is what all the old songs and nursery rhymes say. Whatever the case may be, in Spain he spends most of the year recording the behaviour of all children in a big red book, while his helper Black Peter stocks up on presents for next December 5th. In the first weeks of November, Sinterklaas gets on his white horse, Peter ("Piet") swings a huge sack full of gifts over his shoulder, and the three of them board a steamship headed for the Netherlands. Around mid-November they arrive in a harbour town - a different one every year - where they are formally greeted by the Mayor and a delegation of citizens. Their parade through town is watched live on television by the whole country and marks the beginning of the "Sinterklaas season".

The old bishop and his helpmate are suddenly everywhere at once. At night they ride across Holland's' rooftops and Sinterklaas listens through the chimneys to check on the children's behaviour. Piet jumps down the chimney flues and makes sure that the carrot or hay the children have left for the horse in their shoes by the fireplace is exchanged for a small gift or some candy. During the day, Sinterklaas and Piet are even busier, visiting schools, hospitals, department stores, restaurants, offices and many private homes. Piet rings doorbells, scatters sweets through the slightly opened doors and leaves basketfuls of presents by the front door.

Sunday, we were able to see Sinterklaas and Piets in town.  We waited over 30 minutes for them to arrive, when they came in the Piets were dancing and they played a song over the PA that all the kids were singing along with.  Piet shook Cody's hand, and then shook his foot, then he shook my foot.  He was saying something in Dutch but we had no idea so we just smiled :)  After that Sinterklaas was standing in the front looking at papers that I think were made for him beforehand by the kids, and we didn't know what was going on, so we tried sneaking out the back.  The man in charge stopped us outside and made sure the kids got a bag of candy.  That was half of the reason we went, so the boys could get the candy and cookies. 

Zwarte Piet and Sinterklaas


after getting his foot shook

Friday, November 19, 2010


This had definitely been the week for food!  Saturday we saw a weiner mobile on our way down to Schinnen:

Monday night my friend Cameron invited us to go to the Pancake House for dinner since our husband's are working late all week.  I had an apple and banana pancake with cinnamon sugar, and Cody had a pancake with Nutella.  These aren't like American pancakes, they're more like thick giant crepes.  SO YUMMY.  I have been wanting to go there since we got here and I'm glad we finally got to go. 

Apples and Bananas
This week the squadron is being inspected, so since they get stuck out there all day the wives cook lunch everyday.  My day was today, Friday, and I made hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, pork and beans, chips, and cookies.  The deli at the commissary doesn't have potato salad or anything like that, they just have meat and cheese, so I called Grandmom down in Georgia to get her potato salad recipe.  It turned out AMAZING.  And it's super easy.  Here's the picture as promised Grandmom!  It looked better in the bowl but I had to put it in the tray to take it to lunch.
I had to refrain from eating all of it.  I think I might make more for Christmas.
Lastly, today was the first day that Brice at a whole apple.  He actually ate two.  Here's a picture of him eating it, and a picture of what was left when he was done.

Tune in Monday for pictures from the Cologne Christmas Market and Sinterklaas!

Monday, November 1, 2010


The boys have had their costumes picked out for a month and a half.  We borrowed Brice's costume from Summer, and ordered Cody's costume a long time ago to make sure it would get here on time.  Cody had a party at school where he got to wear his costume, and this weekend was the kids party on base.  After the party there was trunk or treating in the parking lot, both boys got candy.  We're having to ration it because they love it so much. 

Cupcakes for the kids party

Punisher cake and chocolate spiders for another party

Daddy and the monkey

Food at the party.  Brice only ate popcorn, of course

Serious Batman.  Cody had a blast playing with his friends and making monster hands with gloves and popcorn.

Digging for goodies in a bucket full of something.  There was also a bucket of water for bobbing for apples that got dumped over twice. 

This year Brandon and I didn't dress up or decorate our trunk for trick or treating.  We will next year though!

New Hats

I had my friend Cheri makes these adorable hats for the boys to match their coats! 


Last week Cody was off of school so we tried to stay busy.  One day we went with some of our friends to a place called Hullie.  It's a big indoor play area with ball pits and all kind of things to do.  We got there as soon as they opened and it was packed within 20 minutes.  It was so loud with all the kids!  We ate lunch there too and had some delicious schnitzel and fries. 

Seperate baby area with it's own ball pit. 

Cody running around the corner

Ferrari Day

Last month there was a Ferrari Day on base for the heart association.  About 50 ferrari's came and gave kids who are heart patients rides down the flight line.  We found out the next day that after they gave the kids a ride they gave everyone else rides too.  Brandon was really sad about that since he missed out. 

There were only 3 cars when we got there and we didn't really know what was going to go on.  All Brandon was told was that there would ferrari races.  We stood there with the cars for about an hour and just watched one after another driving in to the parking lot. 

Movie Park Germany

I started this post 2 weeks ago and never finished it!  Here are the pictures from movie park from Cody's birthday in Germany!  It was SO cold but SO fun.  Luckily there was hot chocolate to warm us up.  We will definitely go back in the summer since they have a bunch of water rides we didn't go on.