Thursday, December 31, 2009


Look below for an actual "New Year's Post!"  See You Next Year!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Obligatory Look Back At 2009

Well the year is over.  Since I’m pretty sure I will not be updating tomorrow, I decided to make this one the last of the year.  And I have decided to celebrate the end of the year with an oh-so-popular look back at the past twelve months.
So, here are twelve important events in my life in no particular order…or, well, in no order of importance…I mean of course they’re in chronological order…people are just always say “in no particular order” and I typed it and didn’t want to delete but of course writing this explanation took longer and more effort and finger exertion that pushing and holding the delete button…
Ok sorry…Chronological order…

I rang the New Year in right with the yacht club, some bubbly, and five* pairs of sunglasses…
*four real, one fake

I studied for, took, and passed the CBEST

I celebrated my 23rd birthday the way every birthday should be celebrated…

I experienced the loss of an idol...RIP Bea

I was in my very last play ever at UCI and formed some lasting friendships in the process…


I got to be the Maid of Honor in my best friend's wedding to her high school sweetheart

I met the President of the United States of America…
Ok ok...At Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in Las Vegas

I spent some time saying goodbye to all my friends back home…

I moved 5371 miles away to be an aupair in the Netherlands and starting writing a blog about it…

I spent my first night in Amsterdam and met my fellow aupair friend Lily with whom I will have great adventures…

I celebrated Sinterklaas for the first time.

So there you go.  I guess all I can say's been quite a year.

Word of the day: onthouden - remember

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My American culture in fifteen phrases or less (hint: it's less)

So I have just signed up for my visa-required dutch course.

Of course it’s not actually required strangely enough.  Because coming to work here is supposed to be mostly for the cultural experience, on the visa application, the family must list certain things they plan on doing with me to introduce me to Dutch culture.  Taking a language course just happens to be the easiest thing to fill out.  So it’s not actually required, it’s just one of those “you should take it anyway, so why not make the family pay for it?” things.  In fact, a couple of my Columbian friends who are aupairs are actually planning on taking an English course instead.  Plus Caro and I are going to have days where I help her with English and she helps me with Spanish.  She already knows a lot of English from being taught it in school.  I already know some Spanish from Dora…not the California Public Schooling system unfortunately.

Anyway, back from the tangent. As you may have noticed, I’ve been writing words of the day every…well…day.  I’m learning more and more every day with the help of the parents, Fien, various print I read, and of course television.  But today I really noticed how much English I’ve taught my family.  Especially Fien.  What’s actually the most fun is attempting to explain what they mean.  Try it…how would you respond if someone said, “what is this ‘dude’?”  Or “What is the girl ‘bro’ called?”

So, here’s a list of terms, words, quotes, etc. that were not common in this household until I came along.

-Get it, got it, good

-Swiping (as in “Swiper no…”)


-What’s Crackin?
-C is for cookie…

-Sounds like a plan Stan
-Hit the road jack

-Sign language for “more”

-Sign language for “all done”

Nina – Unfortunately I have yet to get Fien to say “you’ve got it dude.”  But soon, have no fear!

Ok, so there you go.  Hope you enjoyed that.  There’s no word of the day today because really, I just gave you 14.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

5 dinners, 4 families, 3 languages, 2 shopping days, and a partridge in a pear tree

So a lot has happened and I’ve been too busy to write anything.  So I figured, I’d do a quick rundown of the last few days to let you know what I’ve been up to…

December 23rd
Where - Noordwijk, Main House
Dinner With – Mags and Ester

Dinner of – Glazed Ham, Roasted Red Potatoes, Orange Juice Carrots, Green beans, pumpkin soup, and the infamous Pumpkin Pie (with fresh honey whip cream)

Dinner Made By – ME!!!!
Presents – Ping Pong Balls from Mags and Ester for us to practice and go play (and win) this strange “American Drinking Game” we’ve heard so much about
Best Part of the evening – Fien getting to see Mags and Ester again

December 24th
Where – Amsterdam
Dinner with – Lily
Dinner of – stir fry and way too many cookies
Dinner Made by – stir fry - Waka-mama, cookies - Erika
Presents – Oprah’s Holiday Magazine with Ellen on the Cover

Best Part of the Evening – Waking up to a WHITE CHRISTMAS!!

December 25th
Where – Noordwijk, Oma Ria's House
Dinner with – Rogier’s Family
Dinner of – Turkey, scalloped potatoes, carrots and broccoli
Dinner made by – Oma Ria
Presents – I got to give my presents to the family!

Best part of the evening – Skype with family in California at end of night

December 26th
Where – Edam
Dinner with – Suzan’s Family
Dinner of – mushroom soup (politely declined), fresh fish platter
Dinner Made by – the fisherman of Volendam
Presents – Lots from Pere Noel (French Santa Claus) for the kids!! Calendar of Holland for me!!

Best Part of the Evening – Listening to Suzan and Rogier speaking Dutch, Suzan’s sister and brother-in-law speaking French, Oma and Opa speaking both, and me sitting in the middle watching Mickey Mouse clubhouse with the kids in English

December 27th
Where – Noordwijk, My House
Dinner of – Pasta with chicken, brussel sprouts, and green beans
Dinner Made by – me!
Presents – From me to me at Holland’s version of Black Friday
Best Part of the Evening – Talking with family in Arizona on skype later tonight!!

So there you go.  I know it's quick and there's not a lot of details, but you now have all the needed information to deduce that my Christmas was AWESOME!!!  Although I did miss my family at home, I'm glad that I was able to be a part of another family for the time being.

Word of the Day - Joyeux Noël - Merry Christmas (in french)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Should this even count as a post?

It's Christmas time, and I've been too busy watching movies, eating too much food, talking to family back home, and wrapping presents to write anything of substance.  I mean can you blame me?  The food comas alone should be enough of an excuse.
But, do check out my guest blog over at Miss Ali Dubrow's blog!
And since I don't want to leave you compeletely's Fien and me having some fun at Christmas Dinner...

More later...maybe not tomorrow but definitely the 27th.

Word of the day: cadeaujes - presents

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Libby’s Pumpkin Pie with a two year old on the Side

Well as many of you have read and seen, I’ve been craving pumpkin pie this holiday season and have been unable to make it thus far because…
   a. lack of canned pumpkin availability
   b. lack of crust/graham cracker availability
   c. lack of knowledge by locals of what a pie is (I’m serious…they have
       tarts, but that’s about as close as you’re getting)
   d. lack of a correct pie tin in which to bake it
   e. lack of time

I mean don't you find it a bit ironic that I, Libby, have a hard time making pumpkin pie...

But today all these things changed…allow me to tell you how.
   a. I used FRESH pumpkin
   b. I made my own kruidnootje crust
   c. I already gots that knowledge, and don’t no one else need it
   d. We found one buried in the back of the closet…it’s shallow but it’ll
   e. Would you believe Fien slept in today AND took a nap AND wanted
       to help? (I wouldn’t either but trust me it’s true.)

Ok so when parts a. through e. come together, and with their powers combined we get: CAPTAIN LIBBY! Super Baker!!
Libby doesn’t just stand for unattainable American canned goods anymore!!
You could use this recipe, or you could follow mine (I guarantee mine is a lot more fun.)

So... here’s how you make a pie in the Netherlands, with a two year old (forth known as 2yo) at your side, no graham crackers, no canned pumpkin, no pie tins, a tiny forced air oven, and most importantly…patience.

First, the crust -
1. Smash large amounts of kruidnootjes into fine crumbs.  They're a little harder than graham crackers since they’re spice cookies that were on sale because it’s no longer Sinterklaas.  Use various instruments such as a rolling pin, nutcracker, hammer, plastic bag, cake pan, etc., until desired amount is reached an hour later.  This is best done the day before.  Make extra.  You’ll see why.  Watch out for 2yo's practice of slight of hand by hiding every fifth cookie in her pockets, smashing her fingers, and attempts at eating the finished product…
2. Mix one and a half cups with a fourth a cup sugar and 6 tablespoons melted butter.  Convert everything (slightly incorrectly) into metric units.  Kruidnoot is sweetened already so the sugar is not needed.  Forget that fact and add it anyway.  Pat into makeshift pie tins to form a crust while keeping the 2yo from eating the mixture straight from the bowl... Make two smaller ones as well.
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 until overdone…
4. Have 2yo succumb to her attention deficit by climbing on the counter while you’re washing your hands and drop the Nutella onto the pie tin crashing it to the floor.
5. Throw original pie crust away…it’s ok, you burnt it a little anyway...
6. Remember that extra kruidnoot you smashed? Repeat steps 2 and 3.  Marvel at how well it looks this time...

Onto the pumpkin-
7. Stare at the Dutch version of a pumpkin and wonder where it came from…certainly not the county fair...
8. Cut in half and think “so that what it looks like inside without two eyes and a toothy mouth…”
9. Scoop out seeds and stringy stuff and place in bowl with the intention of making pumpkin seeds.  These will be thrown away later when you realize you have no such desire….
10. Cut pumpkin again and place in a pot with about an inch and a half of water.  Cover and boil 15-20 minutes or until soft….
11. Remove pumpkin from water and scrape most of the flesh off of the skin.  It will come off pretty easily if you’ve boiled them long enough.  DON’T boil them long enough the first time.  Place goop in bowl…
     *note: the “hot pumpkin water” can be saved for most
                vegetable soups to substitute for “water.”
12. Puree the pumpkin until it’s nice and slimy…
13. Drain the pumpkin using coffee filters to remove excess water.  Remove a chicken from the freezer for dinner…

Now the filling!
14. Get out everything you need and realize you have to go to the store for more sugar and milk.  Nearly fall walking there as the snow has turned to ice.  Come back with all needed ingredients, plus chocolate…
15. Combine 2 cups pumpkin goop, 1 cup evaporated milk (koffee melk for those of you in the bulb land), 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl…
16. Blend well.  Wonder how something that looks gross now can taste so good later (lick the beaters clean and realize it also tastes good now)...
17. Pour into pie crust till almost brimming and likely to drip all over should someone hit your elbow while carrying it.  Do the same with the two mini pie tins.
18. Place in oven at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 for another 45-60 or until fork test shows it’s done...
19. Forget about taking out the mini pies early and take them out one minute before they probably would have turned black.
20. Turn on Dora…
21. Make a yummy and healthy pasta dinner…
22. Take pie out of oven and set to cool and immediately “test” one of the mini ones to make sure it turned out…
23. Say “I am GOOD” because trust me, you are.
24. Put in fridge to await reheating at your traditional American Christmas dinner the following night.

Well there you have it.  I'd say that's easy enough. Hope you enjoyed the recipe and had as much fun as I did making it!
See you tomorrow!!!

Word of the day: pompoentaart - literally, pumpkin cake


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