Tag Archives: Holland

Dutch Surprise

29 Nov

It’s that Sinterklaas time of year again.  I have three really excited children in the house who have been busy writing letters and making drawings to send to the Sint (even my two oldest who don’t believe anymore).

Last week Sinterklaas arrived by boat on Lago Maggiore.  There were hundreds of little Dutch speaking kids (and a few locals as well) that got to shake his hand and fool around with the Zwarte Pieten who handed out the traditional pepernoten and candies.  The parents got to drink hot mulled wine and eat thick pea soup to keep warm while the kids ran around in a Sinterklaas frenzy.

And now the kids have to wait until the 6th of December for him to come and leave gifts and lots of chocolate.  It’s the favorite day of the year for all Dutch speaking children.

Another tradition that the Dutch have at this time of year is called “surprise” (pronounced sur-preeze).  People buy a gift for someone and then write a poem and wrap up the gift in creative ways.  The person receiving the gift has to guess who it’s from.  It’s a lovely tradition that has so much more meaning than just buying a gift and giving it.  My kids are all doing it in their classes in school so they have been busy crafting elaborate ways to wrap their gifts.

One of my daughter’s picked her sister’s name out of the hat (for the second year in a row).  She decided she wanted to make a working piano out of a shoe box to hide her gift in (a puzzle).

It was an elaborate design that included bells and corks and wooden skewers.  And surprisingly enough it works!  All three keys.

My other daughter picked one of her best friend’s name out of the hat.  She knew right away that she wanted to make a jumbo sized paper cupcake.  She hid lots of cupcake related gifts inside.

We used cotton batting for the “frosting” and decorated with a fabric cherry and paper sprinkles.  The whole top lifts off like a lid.  Very sweet.

And last but not least my son picked a classmate who he plays basketball with.  So a papier mache basketball was a must. He left a little hole in one end so he could fit a little stuffed monkey inside.

And the part I love the most is the poem you write about the person you’re giving it to.  It is usually quite funny and full of little jokes and compliments about them.  I think these little notes are kept for many years afterwards.

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A Kid’s Life: Holland

1 Nov

Time for another interview from my A Kid’s Life series.  Over the past months I’ve absolutely loved doing these interviews and learning about what families from around the world are up to on a daily basis.

Today’s family lives in Holland but is by no means the “average Dutch family”.  Both parents are from Colombia and have lived all over the world over the last 20 years.  Giova (the Mama) told me that she has adopted traditions and customs from all these different cultures and integrated them into their daily life.  I can relate to that!

Giova is one of the writers behind the charming blog One Bunting Away (the other is her sister who lives on the other side of the ocean).  She’s a creative soul and sweet as can be.  The sisters write about their lives and what they find beautiful and inspiring.

Giova is the also the proud mama of two boys of very different ages.  As you’ll see from her photos that there is nothing cuter than a big brother holding his little baby brother’s hand.  Heart melting really.

Now let’s hear a little about their daily life….

What country do you live in?

We live in Holland, but we are not Dutch.

Are you and your husband the same nationality?

Yes, we were both born in Colombia. We left 20 years ago.

Do you both work?  Or does someone stay at home?

We both work from home

How many languages are spoken in your house?  What one(s)?

Spanish is what we speak between us, but we all speak English, even the little one has started.

How many kids do you have?  What are their ages?

Two. One is 11, and the other is 2

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