2011 what a year! My red letter moments

I always like to take some time out at the end of each year and look back on moments, occasions or events that have really stood out for me. It's so easy to get bogged down and lose sight of all the happy moments  in life. I feel like so much emphasis is placed on the bad, that sometimes it's really important just to focus on the good and it really helps one realize how lucky they are.

So here are the moments from 2011 that have really stood out for me...

My In-laws visit to Korea for 2 weeks. 

It was so just so nice to see friendly faces and family from home. I love the Charlies' folks so much, they are just the most incredibly generous and warm people you could ever wish to meet and I'm so excited I get to be part of their family

Ruaans visit from South Africa

We have been so blessed with visitors from back home since we have been in Korea, as mentioned above Charlie's folks came to stay, last year Chris's best mate came to stay for 2 weeks, and this year another of Chris's friends came. It was his first trip oversea's and we had so much fun exploring Korea with him and showing him around.

Our trip to Thailand

Left: Me torturing Charlie. Top right: Sitting looking at the beach in Phuket. Bottom right: A drunken Charlie picks up his flip flops, they were both the same size, unfortunately they were also both right feet.
Has to be my favorite holiday destination of the year. There was a little bit of everything to do, and we just had so much fun. This trip was filled with countless red letter moments including; elephant back ridding, white water rafting, a lady boy cabaret show and moterbiking around an island together.

Our trip to Vietnam

Vietnam was a huge change of pace in comparison to Thailand, we were always on the go, and there was little time for relaxing. Red letter moments include mountain trekking in Sapa valley, going on a rickshaw through the busy streets in Hanoi and our cruise along Halong Bay. We met some wonderful people and got to experience a very different way of life.

Our trip to the Philippines

This was our first trip traveling with a friend, the lovely Leekalicious. I think traveling together really lets you learn a lot about someone else and maybe even a little about yourself. Moments that stick out for me are our trip to the underground river in Peurto Princess (now one of the 7 natural wonders of the world), scootering around the island, and Boracay in general. Wow, that place is heaven on earth.

Passing a 6month certificate in internet and web design

This one is pretty self explanatory, but I must say the feeling of accomplishment when one achieves something they have worked really hard for is a pretty priceless feeling.

Chris's 24th Birthday

Great food, great friends and the beach. This was just a fun filled day and I got to celebrate the birthday of the man I adore, with the man I adore. How lucky am I.

Christmas with Mike and Libby

Sharing Christmas with friends from home was just so nice and Libby put so much effort into the whole thing, it was really special.

2011 has been a very blessed year and happy year for me, I can't wait to see what's in store for 2012. I hope you all have a very Happy New Year, look after yourselves and keep safe:)

My favorite Christmas moments

To candy from back home, to two real roast dinners, spending time with friends, starting new Christmas traditions, sharing the Christmas spirit with co-workers and students, and to being with the man I love, this Christmas was one I won't be forgetting any time soon. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. xox

Amazing street art- 2011

I recently stumbled across this awesome post showcasing 106 of the most awesome street art pictures of 2011. To see them all to Street art Utopia.

Priceless Reindeer hand puppets

An example I made to give the students an idea of what we would be making.
(I stuck the one antler the wrong way around...opps!)

I've definitely got the holiday fever and I'm trying to pass it onto as many innocent bystanders as I can, and my students have made the perfect targets. My classroom at school is a winter wonderland (others might call it a bit of a mess) of flashing lights, secret santa gifts and hand made decorations. 

Todays classroom activity was to make Reindeer paper-bag hand-puppets. 

Many students stuck to the original template, giving their Reindeers their own personal stamp using glitter pens.

Some students varied slightly from the template...

Then there were the students who took their Reindeer? to a whole new level.
 (This is the finished product incase you were wondering)

Others gave Rudolph a more, (lost fro words here) Grunge look?

Then there were students who reinterpreted the "hands as antlers concept"
 (yes, those pink things are an outline of my students feet)

The naturally there had to be a punk-rock reindeer

And this little cutie too!
I love how creative kids are. It's been such a joy watching my kids having so much fun and getting into the Christmas spirit. I'm really going to miss these little buggers. *sigh

Our Christmas tree 2011

It's not very big, but it's ours and that's what makes it special!

The ghost of Christmas past!

I thought I'd share with you a few family photies of past Christmases!

Christmas Eve 2007, my family home in Pretoria
Christmas 2007, my family home in Pretoria. Decorating the tree is alway such a special time in our house, each ornament comes with a special memory attached to it. 
Christmas 2009, Charlie Brown's family home, Port Elizabeth. Not only was this Christmas especially special because it was the first Christmas Charlie and I would spend together. But also because my family flew down from Pretoria so we could all celebrate together before Charlie Brown and I left for Korea 
Christmas 2009, Charlie Brown's family home, Port Elizabeth. Also My first encounter with a real Christmas tree!
Ah, I love Christmas!

Sick with the flu-achoo!!!

Source: Unknown
I have been super quiet as of late, and I blame this on numerous things, but mainly on the general insanity before Christmas, and also the fact that I have come down with a terrible flu.

Considering I can't sneeze on you in person, I thought I'd leave you with this super cute video of a baby panda sneezing and giving him mom a near-on heart attack!

Jimmy Kimmel: I gave my kids a terrible present

Jimmy Kimmel strikes again, this time asking parents to give their kids a terrible present and film their reactions while they open it.

Man, Kids are priceless.

Are you a fan of the personalized Christmas card?

I guess that the "take a photo of you and your family and pass it on as a christmas card" is more of an american tradition? I stand to be corrected, but the only self-made family portrait card I have ever received was from an american family friend, so maybe thats why I think that.

Anyway, in my experience they aren't a common occurrence in South Africa, at least within my group of friends and family. That being said I personally think they are a really awesome idea!

Last year, as I've mentioned before, was Charlie Brown and my first Christmas living abroad, as we knew our family would miss us terribly (I mean how could they not!) We decided to make our first ever personalized family portrait card, and spam their mail boxes with them so that they would be forced to put our faces on fridges arround South Africa.

So here's our card from last year... I've been a bit slow in making one this year, and our Christmas cards were sent away weeks ago. I still plan on making one, even if its just to post on my Facebook wall.

*Festive cheer in the corridor my dear!*

How cute is this little Santa door hanger! I bought him last year from a 2dollar store in Seosan, he's there waiting to  greet me every evening after a long day at work and puts a smile on my face. I'm the only person in my apartment building with any visible Christmas decorations up...I guess they now all know where the "foreigner" lives:)

A cup of Jo -Tuesday giveaway!

A cup of Jo is giving away this lovely little necklace from Petitor, to enter go to here blog. Hurry though, because depending on what time zone you're in, the winner will be chosen today!

30 days of me: Day 16

A recent picture of me...
This photo was taken by a friend of mine and fellow class mate, Colleen Larsen, during our photography course in Seoul.

Our first Christmas gift for the season!

Last week Chris and I went to coffee with a lovely couple who we'll be spending Christmas day with this year, and they surprised us with the cutest little gift! Normally I would wait until the 25th to open it, but they insisted!

The gift came in this adorable box and I couldn't wait to open it to see what was inside!
2 lovely Christmas decorated plates! Perfect for passing around delicious treats when entertaining guests
during the holiday season, and Santa's cookies and Milk will definitely be presented to him on one of these
this Christmas Eve.
Thanks so much for the gift you two! We love it!

Reminiscing on last Christmas!

It's so easy to get caught up in all the hype of Christmas and just swipe that credit card every which way, Christmas sometimes can feel like a  flat out consumer frenzy.

Our little tree which looks pretty much the same this year.
Around this time each year I like to take a time out and reflect on Christmas's gone by, moments that stand out, and what we did to celebrate. So I thought I'd share with you.

Last Christmas was a big Christmas for Charlie Brown and I, it was the first Christmas we would spend without our family while living in a foreign country. So we had to make sure it was extra special because it was going to be just the two of us. And also because both our families make Christmas so special it was going to be hard to do anything that would compare.

Two of my favorite gifts from last year were this lovely hand made card from Charlie Brown, and this
 hand-made calendar which helped my count down the days from Christmas to our holiday to Thailand and Vietnam (he came up with the idea himself and I just think it's so sweet and thoughtful. Above each day was a Hershey's kiss)

Christmas in Korea is a little different to Christmas in the "West", I guess the holiday side of it isn't so big, so almost all of the shops were open. We took a bus up to Seoul early in the morning, enjoyed a big breakfast together at "the all american dinner" in Itaewon, before leisurly looking arround shops and buing a few odds and ends.
Charlie Brown enjoying a "healthy" breakfast. I opted for something more traditional, bacon and eggs.
In the evening we checked into a fancy hotel that we had splurged on, and met up with two friends of ours (also a couple). We got dressed and ready and jumped into a cab which took us to the most divine resautrant were we paid an exorbitant amount of money for 7 delicious but tiny servings of dinner!

After dinner we caught a taxi and went for a ride around the city looking at all the Christmas lights.

Although Charlie Brown and I had a great time, and it was special because we got to spend it together, I think very little compares to a Christmas spent with family and friends and old traditions.

The flower girl turquoise/silver jewelry *GIVEAWAY*

The Flower Girl blog is giving away this divine jewelry from Little Nell. All you have to do is go here and enter!

*Our own activity advent calendar!*

This Sunday, as promised Charlie Brown and I sat down to make our own Christmas Activity Advent Calendar! We made a whole day of it, going for a walk into town to pick up some stationary, stopping for coffee and watching movies while we decorated our envelopes! To find out more about what an "activity advent calendar is all about go here.

Here are some of our favorites...

We suck some tape to the back of each envelope at the top, and wrote each days activity on the back of the envelope so that it's easy to flip the envelope up and see what the activity is. Alternatively you could just write out a list corresponding with each number and stick that up on the wall too.

I plan on buying a few packs of Hershey's Kisses tonight and sticking two chocolates next too each envelope so we know where we are in the countdown and get a delicious little treat every day:)