Posts Tagged ‘celebration’


Halloween seems to finally be catching on in SA, and our neighborhood was no exception! The homeowner’s association put on an organized walk-around, and told us there would be about 35 kids. I don’t know if they mis-counted, or we had some gate-crashers, or if it just seemed like 200 kids in the chaotic candy-grabbing, but we were overrun! I manned the door with our 3 bags of candy while John ransacked the pantry for anything remotely sweet (including a giant tray of fancy Ferrero Rocher chocolates, which made the trick-or-treaters QUITE happy).

Ghosts and witches and goblins, oh my!

Ghosts and witches and goblins, oh my!


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Minute to Win it

The travel wrap-up really counts as the rewind post for August, since the trip and the recovery took up most of the month, but I do need to pop back in time for one more post…

The day that the Chucks arrived was our friend Steph’s birthday – a big one, ending in “0”, so it definitely warranted a celebration! She requested a “Minute to Win it” themed party, and that’s exactly what Terry delivered. (They were kind enough to hold the party during the day so that we could attend prior to our airport run).

If you haven’t seen the game show (hosted by loud Food Network star Guy Fieri), it’s a series of challenges based on household items (rolling a marble on a tennis racket, building a tower of hex nuts with a chopstick, wiggling an Oreo from your forehead to your mouth without using your hands, etc) which you perform up against a 60-second timer. So we set up a series of games around their backyard and turned the peeps loose!

It was hilarious to watch — especially the challenge that had players dangle a banana from a string tied around their waist and use it to push/roll two oranges into a target zone. It was a bit more pelvic thrusting than I’m accustomed to on a Saturday afternoon, but awesome to see everyone get so into the spirit of things.


Master of Ceremonies Guy Fieri (with a ton of silver hairspray – Johnny may be going gray, but not this quickly)!


JG and Steph show off their skillful banana maneuvers

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Rewind: May

So after a nice visit with the folks for a few days, we were off to Richmond to attend the wedding of two of our favorites (and our first-ever visitors in Africa, waaaay back in 2008!), Phil and Marguerite. The wedding was perfect, and just so uniquely ‘them’. Johnny and I had the honor of giving the wedding toast, and we gave it a travel theme to fit our two buddies who have literally traveled the world together:

When thinking of an analogy for your lives together so far, and for the future of your marriage, we both thought first of your world-traveling ways. When traveling, you have to choose your partner very carefully. You’ll have to make difficult decisions, often on the fly and in the face of uncertain circumstances. Youll have to reach agreement on financial matters. You’ll have to make tough choices regarding your destination, the route you take along the way, and the menu and sights you’ll enjoy each day. You’ll have to lean on each other when it seems like everyone around you is speaking a foreign language.

You two have experienced this everywhere from Colombia to Morocco, Spain to South Africa, and now you’re embarking on the greatest trip of your lives. Some days will be like a five-star Ritz Carlton; other days will be more like a Turkish youth hostel – but we have no doubt that the two of you will rock this next adventure with all the joy and zest that you bring to every trip, and every day of your lives.

Gah! I’m getting all choked up again. Love you P + M!!

Adorable Phil and Mizzy right after their “I do”s.

Phil with some of his other best girls (have I ever mentioned that I am the short one in our group of girlfriends?…)

After a quick stopover to hang with my sister and her little peeps for our last night, we were back on a plane to SA — arriving just in time for another sendoff for the Aussies (their “official” going-away party, although 3/4 of them would linger for another 5 weeks and 20-some farewell events) (love you, Moffitts!) I guess word of our toast-making abilities had spread, so we took over the mic again and poured our hearts out to yet another pair of our faves embarking on a major life moment.

There was definitely some mush and sentiment and love and whatnot, but there was also this:

Maybe one day we’ll see Sam on TV representing his new country in one of our beloved national sports like catfish noodlin’, corn hole throwin’, or moonshine drankin’. In fact, to give you a leg up on that hobby and just a little taste of the good Southern life you’re going to enjoy so much, we’ve brought you a genuine jar of homemade contraband Virginia moonshine. This particular jar is watermelon flavored and was made in an illegal still by a full blooded redneck named Crazy*, buried in his back yard, dug up and given to my brother, then bequeathed to me to be smuggled into SA to be given to you as a welcome-to-the-South gift.

*names may have been changed to protect the guilty

Bequeathing of the moonshine

Nikki gets her first taste of the South

Sam approves of Crazy’s handiwork!

Not a going-away event, but one of the small Aussies celebrated his (February) birthday in May (hey, they’ve had just a few things going on) and requested “green cake pops” for his cake. I aim to please.

Cake balls make kids go completely nuts. Who knew?!

Apart from celebrating our 7th anniversary (not really – we were so exhausted from the rest of the month that we stayed home and threw a steak on the grill), we just chillaxed for the rest of May. Onward to June!…

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Aint it Sweet

We needed a good theme cocktail for the America party, so set out to craft up some sweet tea vodka. I stuffed 4 teabags each into 3 750ml bottles of mid-grade vodka and let it steep for about 6 hours, then combined with a lemon simple syrup and topped it off with water. Tasted like a Virginia front porch in August!

Some 'before' shots probably would have been nicer-looking, right?

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We had all of the peeps over on Saturday for a 3-pronged party: a housewarming for our sweet new pad; a celebration for our buddy Langa, who just secured his American green card; and the 3-year anniversary of our arrival in SA!

The dress code was red, white, and blue, and we feasted on chicken wings, burgers, dogs, brownies, and jello shooters. America, F yeah!

Johnny and Langa celebrate American style! And don't be fooled by JG's decidedly unpatriotic outfit - this was his third costume change of the evening (the first of which was Modern George Washington, of course).

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The only thing better than a birthday is a birthweek! My friends who couldn’t make it to my birthday lunch (which we admittedly didn’t organize very well in advance) threw me a surprise braai on Friday, complete with this stunning and delicious Bar One cheesecake. Thanks, ladies!

A birthday cake that I didn't make? Yes, please!

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I celebrated an incredible birthday on Sunday, filled with flowers and friends and maybe just a few recovery cocktails.

I’m so thankful for everything that’s happened in the last year — especially having made so many great friends. (A studied contrast to last year’s birthday when I went to dinner with John … and Roxy. Seriously – how cute is it that he called the restaurant to ask if we could bring our dog because we had just moved to town and his wife was sad that she didn’t have any friends?!) Anyway, a great day, all around!

The day started with a bit of toast -- keeping it light in preparation for the cheeseburger I had my sights set on for lunch!

Champagne + multiple sets of flowers. So spoiled!

We had 8 peeps for a lovely al fresco lunch. And I got my cheeseburger!

"Lunch" spanned 7 hours and 2 tables, as the chilly evening drove us inside (what, you think we'd take a cue and leave?! Never!)

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