Thursday, December 06, 2012
It's not been the best of weeks for Sparking for me. I've been mega-busy at school with end of term holiday activities. I've also enjoyed 2 Christmas lunches and have a party to look forward to on Saturday evening. It's turning into a bit of a "mince pie and sherry trifle" fest. Because of extra work commitments, I've done very little exercise. Consequently, the scales are telling me that I've (unsurprisingly) not lost any weight this week. But at least I've not put any on. Today, I gave myself a bit of a talking to and decided that the Christmas food fest is on hold now until Christmas Eve. Today I've stayed within my calorie range for the first time this week!
Last night was an occasion for much excitement amongst the local kids - the eve of Sinterklaas' birthday, when children look forward to a visit from the Sint. They leave a shoe by the chimney with a carrot and sugar cubes for Sinterklaas' horse, a bottle of beer for his helper Zwarte Piet and a cup of tea for the Sint. Then they sing a few Sinterklaas songs before going to bed and hope that the shoes will be full of presents and candy when they wake.
This morning, there were lots of happy faces amongst the Elementary and Early Years kids. They had an extra surprise - the Sint came for one final visit before he boarded his steamboat for the long trip back to Spain. A quick chorus of Happy Birthday and the Dutch equivalent Lang Zal Hij Leven and the Sint had gone for another year.
Sinterklaas arrived on his horse, Slecht Weer Vandaag....
His helpers, Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes)
Singing Happy Birthday to the Sint
I quite like the Sinterklaas tradition. It's the main gift giving time, leaving Christmas to be a religious event which is celebrated in the way it was meant, without the commercial influence. And it means I can do my Christmas shopping without having to battle the crowds, as the locals have finished theirs now!
Sunday, December 02, 2012
It's barely above freezing, so I was surprised to hear a familiar squawking in the garden this morning. We enjoyed flocks of these when we lived in Qatar. It would seem one or two have followed me to Belgium!!!
(Not a brilliant picture, taken with my "point and click" camera, but it's a parakeet....)
Friday, November 30, 2012
It's been a good day. Apart from the beautiful (albeit it freezing) weather, family harmony even at breakfast time and a lovely comment from one of my English students this morning, I am delighted to say that the scales have been kind to me too, declaring another 2lbs of excess weight gone. This takes me to 15lbs loss in total. A bit of a milestone for us Brits, as it's the first stone (14lbs) lost.
One of my favourite Spark friends commented "whatever you're doing, it's working!" (you know who you are!). Well my reply is, I've tried this before but the difference this time is the friends I've made on SparkPeople and the constant encouragement and kind words I receive from them. Their comments have kept me focussed and given me the motivation to keep going even when I haven't really felt like it.
A huge thank you to you all, you lovely people. With your continued support, I know the next 15lbs are soon to be history too!
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