Do you donate to your local food bank?

Last year all the provincial broadcasters got together to coordinate a giant food donation drive for the food banks in the Netherlands.

This year they are doing this food drive again.

voedselbankactie

Last year I donated lots of food. This year I intent to do it again. But what is best to donate? Mum in the Madhouse made a lovely list, that I could borrow for this post!

  1. Tuna – It’s packed full of protein and can be cooked as part of a meal or eaten straight from the can
  2. Things with ring pulls – Yep, This is probably one of the biggest tips I can give you! Homeless people often don’t carry tin openers due to the amount of stuff they have to carry around so if the tin of food you give doesn’t have a ring pull on it then they might not be able to eat it. Such a little thing that can make a difference!
  3. Baby formula. As anyone who has formula fed a baby knows, formula is a big drain on your finances. This is a great way that you can support familieson a low income with young kids.
  4. Nappies. Yep, same thing. No one should be worrying about how often they can afford to change their child’s nappy or if buying a new pack means less food that week.
  5. Chopped pork or corned beef. These both used to be cheap sources of protein but the price of them has really risen. They’re super versatile as like tuna, they can be used as part of a meal or can be eaten cold.
  6. Baked beans. And yes, apparently the value ones are more than ok to give!
  7. Tinned curry. A great way to help people have a nice meal with some flavour in it. They also often contain some vegetables in them which is helpful.
  8. Irish Stew. This is also something that gets requested a lot.
  9. Kids snacks. As all parents know, kids can eat a lot and need topping up with food regularly!
  10. Pot noodles. A good source of protein and carbohydrates.
  11. Big Soups. Tinned hearty soups need to be better nutritionally than others.
  12. Rice Pudding. Stodgy, filling and very popular.
  13. Coffee and tea.
  14. UHT Milk for people who don’t have access to a fridge.
  15. Financial aid rather than sleeping bags. If you want to give a sleeping bag for a homeless person then it’s very much appreciated, but food banks and homeless centres don’t always have a lot of additional room for storage though and can also often get deals when buying sleeping bags in bulk, meaning that your money can go further.
  16. Help throughout the year. Your help and support at Harvest and Christmas is really, truly appreciated, however please don’t forget food banks throughout the rest of winter. January, February and even March can be exceptionally cold and people living on the street or in poverty need your help just as much then.
  17. Feminine hygiene products. You really don’t want to choose between buying food or tampons. And, lets face it, tampons are expensive enough when you do have money.
  18. Animal food. Animals can’t help their owner have hit a rough patch in life. They need help too.
  19. Laundry detergent.
  20. Sugar.

The last four are added by me, as I know these things will often get overseen and most people on a very low income don’t have the money to buy these more expensive things. If you have to choose between food and tampons pr laundry detergent, I know what I’d choose…

 

thank you, mum in the madhouse, for letting me use your post! Make sure you check out her blog!

Christmas Shopping

Today I went grocery shopping for Christmas…

I tried to do it online, but the grocery stores won’t deliver in our town. So off I went. I knew it would be madness, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad…

I was glad to find a parking spot relatively close to the stores, parked my car and headed for the first grocery store. Only to find they ran out of carts…

So I waited until someone returned a cart. The handle was warm and sticky. Too late I realised there’d been a kid sitting in it who may or may not have been drooling all over it.

I had worked out a route beforehand and thought I could walk through the store without any major problems. Boy oh boy, was I wrong.

Upon entering I was hit by the blast of the heater, slamming millions of germs in my face. Only inches from the door there was a stepladder. I still have no idea why, but it might have been there to trip me up. Then I heard a buzz, as if thousands of bees were swarming around. It was worse, much worse. Lots of people, most of them complete families with the average 2.4 kids. Very little parents actually looked out for their kids. I got rammed by several carts, slammed into several people myself because they were walking backwards and got rammed by more carts.

But I made my way out of the chaos and went to Aldi. Now the Aldi in our town has just moved into a new building. It’s light and most of all big. Upon entering the store I found just a handful of carts at the entrance. So I expected the worst. But oh boy, what a peace. Yes, there were a lot of people, but in contrast to the other store Aldi was at peace. The shelves, the fridges and freezers, all were full with stock. I could even get my hands on a ham on the bone. Which has been sold out in the other store for several weeks now.
There were a few kids running around, but they got told off by the staff, something I much appreciate!

I managed to cross the road back to my car after a few minutes of waiting. I was packing everything in the car when I noticed something behind me. Two cars, one on each side, were waiting for me to get out of my parking spot. And I couldn’t help it, I packed slower and slower. I than brought my cart back to the store and walked off. I had more shopping to do…

Memories of Holidays Past

When I was a child, Boxing day, or the second Christmas day, as it is known in The Netherlands, was spend at my grandparents house. My grandfather celebrated his birthday on December 26 and the whole family gathered around coffeetime to celebrate.

I remember clearly everyone bringing food and drinks, to put less strain on my grandparents. We started with coffee and cake, quicly turning into a lager for my dad and my uncle. Which my grnadfather loathed. He was teetotal. I don’t really know if he simply disliked alcohol (like me) or if he disliked the things alcohol does to you.

My uncle always cooked dinner, every year the exact same thing. I think my brother and I were to blame for this. We absolutely loved endives with ham and cheese.

Endives

recipe for two

Ingredients:

  • 750 gr of endives
  • 10 slices of ham
  • 150 gr of grated cheese
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Chop the endives in quarters and remove the heart. Cook the endives for 10 minutes. Drain it off. Roll the endives into the slices of ham and place them in an oven dish. Remove excess liquid with a clean towel or kitchen paper. Put the grated cheese on top and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a hot oven (225 °C) for 20 minutes.

 

Enjoy!

This post is written for the Daily Post.

Thanks to Sunday Driver for the photo.

 

Christmas Wreath

Ever since I got my own place I’ve had a Christmas wreath on the front door. It’s been the same one for well over ten years and it’s become very tatty in those years. Ornaments kept falling off and the whole whing changed colour. So last year I decided it was time for a new one.
But apparently it’s hard to find a nice Christmas wreath which can go outside. I haven’t been able to find a nice one at a reasonable price.

A few days ago I was scouring the internet again and found a nice one made from ornaments, mainly balls. I thought I could make something like that myself.
Today, I had a go at it. And I think it looks really good.

Lights on

What you need:

  • Straw wreath (mine was 30 cm diameter)
  • Ribbon
  • lots of ornaments, both mini and midi (I used about 140)
  • String of beads (about 6 meters)
  • Battery powered LED lights (20 a string)
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks

Begin with placing the ribbon around the wreath and glue it in place.  Place some ornaments on the outside, spaced at regular intervals. Then, begin filling it up. Place the lights in where you want as you are placing the ornaments. I kept turning the lights on to see if I liked the placing of them. Try to fill most of the holes with balls or other ornaments you like. Don’t worry about the smaller holes. The can be filled with beads.
Glue the beads to the ornaments to prevent them from dropping off when you hang your wreath. The last thing you do is glue the batteries to the back of the wreath.

It’s really that simple. I love how my wreath has turned out and I’m amazed that I can make such a lovely thing as I’ve never been this creative before…

lights off

You can also use this as a table decoration. You can make it as big as you want, simply by using a bigger wreath. But make sure you’ve bought enough ornaments. I’ve ended up driving back to the shop a second time, as I didn’t even buy enough for half of the wreath…

The end of Sinterklaas?

Open letter to Chairperson of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, Verene Shepherd

 

Dear Ms Shepherd,

I’m writing this in concern to your statements about Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). Although I’m sure you will never read it. As you seen way too busy to try to ban things that you know nothing about. For someone who says she’s a researcher you’ve sure seem to have done very little research into this matter. So let me tell you a bit about the history of Sinterklaas (or Sint Nicolaas).

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet:
Sinterklaas or Sint Nicolaas is based on the Bishop of Myra, who was a historic 4th-century saint. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. He’s the patron saint for children, amongst others.
Originally, the Sinterklaas feast celebrates the name day, 6 December, of Sint Nicolaas. Half of his bones are buried in Bari, a town in southwestern Italy. In the middle ages this part of Italy was part of the Kingdom of Aragon and later of Spain.
Sinterklaas is assisted by many mischievous helpers with black faces and colourful Moorish dresses. During the Middle-ages Zwarte Piet was a name for evil. Nowadays, the tasks of the Zwarte Pieten are mostly to amuse children, and to scatter pepernoten, kruidnoten and strooigoed (special sinterklaas candy) for those who come to meet the saint as he visits stores, schools, and other places. Sinterklaas arrives on a (steam) boat from Madrid with Zwarte Piet and his horse Amerigo.

Children and Sinterklaas:
Traditionally, in the weeks between his arrival and 5 December, before going to bed, children put their shoes, traditionally next to the fireplace chimney or the radiator, near a window.
The next day they will find some candy or a small present in their shoes.
On the evening of December 5th, the children will get toys, chocolate (can be dark, might be white, do you have any problems with dark chocolate Ms Shepherd?) and marzipan. In the olden days, if you were naughty you would get a lump of coal (which is also black) or a bit of salt.
Adults and older kids give each other presents, accompanied with poems.

History of Santa Claus:
I’ve read on more than one occasion you, Ms Shepherd, have said:

What’s wrong with one Santa Claus, why have two Santa’s?

Really Ms Shepherd? Really? Have you done any research at all into the history of your Santa Claus? Because I don’t think you have. You are just being narrow-minded and you must think you are always right. Let me tell you what came first.
Your Santa is derived from Sint Nicolaas (the name is a dead giveaway). The Dutch, who set up a colonial town, on the banks of the Hudson River, called New Amsterdam (it’s now called New York) took their traditions to their new homeland. But to have Sinterklaas arrive from Spain was a bit much, so over the years the traditional Sinterklaas feast was transformed to Santa Claus.

This would mean that we should ban Santa Claus, as he’s clearly an impersonator of Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas is the “real” one, Santa is not. Just because you get your gifts from Santa, doesn’t mean we Dutch should go along with that. You are not always right, Ms Shepherd!

Is Zwarte Piet racism? 

As a black person, if I were living in the Netherlands I would object to it. As a member of the working group, I am obliged to do further investigation.

Why am I not surprised Ms Shepherd? You have always plaid the racism card, why is that? Because you’re black? Do you feel you have to protect your people from all evil? I’ve worked in many stores and from what I’ve seen the black population plays the racism card ten times more than other minority groups. I’m sorry I have to say this, but it’s true. So I’m not at all surprised you’ve plaid the racism card.

I don’t think Zwarte Piet is racism. Do you really think Zwarte Piet depicts black people? Do you wear a large afro, big earhoops and do you wear very bright red lipstick that covers almost half your face? If the answer to all these questions is yes, I’d say it’s racism. But I’ve seen pictures of you, Ms Shepherd, and I don’t think you look even close to Zwarte Piet.
I wear glasses, but does that make me look like Dame Edna? No, it doesn’t. Same goes for black people and Zwarte Piet. Zwarte Pieten are mostly white people who wear huge amounts of make up to look black. Which makes it look ridiculous. Black people are much nicer to look at (well, most of them, but that goes for white people as well).

Santa Claus:
Santa has helpers too, Ms Shepherd. Little helpers. They are called elves, but are plaid by dwarves in many occasion. Wouldn’t that be more racist than putting make up on white people?
For pictures of these “elves” you might want to go here. Tell me what’s more disturbing Ms Shepherd? I’d say the “elves” are…

Sinterklaas/Santa Claus:

So, let me get this straight Ms Shepherd.

Sinterklaas has jolly helpers called Zwarte Pieten, white people who put on make up to look black. Santa Claus has little helpers called elves, but they’re really dwarves.

Sinterklaas has one horse, a domesticated animal. Santa has a bunch of reindeer, wild animals which he keeps locked up.

Sinterklaas Sinterklaas lives in Spain, a nice and warm place for such an old man. Santa lives somewhere on the North pole, but nobody knows exactly where.
Trading standards can visit Sinterklaas to see if he takes good care of his workers, but they can’t visit Santa, as nobody knows where he’s at.

Sinterklaas has a normal posture. Santa is extremely obese.

Tell me which one is better!?

All in all:
I think you’re claim to Zwarte Piet being racism is clearly ridiculous. I can understand you are hurt by your ancestors suffering under slavery. I can understand you feel the need to protect your heritage. But can you please leave an innocent celebration, one that makes so many children happy, alone? You are not always right Ms Shepherd, even if you think you are!

Regards,

Me

Christmas tree

Despite not liking Christmas trees or rather, not liking to decorate a Christmas tree due to my OCD, we bought a tree yesterday.

CHristmas 2012

I put the lights in, rearranged them over a dozen times, got the balls, rearranged those several times. Forgot to add the guirlandes, found them again and put those in as well.

I’m sure I’ll rearrange everything several times over the coming week, and when I’m finally done with it, I’ll be sick of the tree and throw it out on boxing day…

An AngelFrouk Christmas

Northernmum asked how other bloggers spend their Christmas, so I thought I’d share our Christmas rituals.

Christmas Cat

On Christmas day we usually stay home. We have a nice lie-in til around 9 AM (we are usually up around 6 AM). Then I take my meds and pre-heat the oven. We have breakfast with hot buns, croissants and freshly pressed orange juice. After breakfast I take a shower and we get dressed. Then it’s usually spending time behind the pc, do some gaming or (if the weather’s nice) go for a walk.

Boxing day is usually spend at my parents in law’s. We arrive around 11 AM, have cake and other yummy food. Around 2 PM we go for a walk (if the weather lets us). At 5 PM my sister-in-law and her boyfriend arrive and we sit down for dinner. Sis-in-laws boyfriend usually drinks too much, gets really annoying, so after dinner, if they don’t get out, we go home pretty quick. Funny thing about having dinner at my parents-in-laws is we all get to cook our own food! table barbecue, they call it. I call it laziness (but still love it).