Posts Tagged With: Birthdays

Birthday cheesecake (Or: Too many choices)

On Saturday Marco and I picked up some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Company in celebration of my birthday last week. This was our first visit in 2021. Last year we went right before the country went into a soft lockdown (talking with the owner about “the corona situation” while sipping our coffees) and we picked up some cheesecake later in the year. These days the company has a new owner to carry on the proud American cheesecake tradition. The store still sells the same flavors (and of course some new ones too), so it’s going fine.

For my birthday I chose lemon lime, Marco chose lime blueberry and for Roger we chose blueberry banana. (Do you see the nice chain of flavors we made by doing that?)

I couldn’t help but take a picture of some uncut cheesecake just waiting to be put out on display:

Lots of flavors!

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Decadent delights (Or: Three mini birthday brownies)

Earlier this week I received a small box in the mail. In Dutch it’s called brievenbuspakje. Brievenbus = mail box, pakje = little package. (A normal package is called pakket and the Dutch have the habit of adding -je to the end of the word to make it cute and tiny. If you’re interested in the reasons why, feel free to read Make it small: the Dutch love affair with diminutives at iamexpat.nl.)

But I do love brievenbuspakjes or brievenbuscadeautjes (mail box gifts). For whatever reason I am not a fan of having a company deliver something to our door, probably because the doorbell for downstairs is so heart attack inducing when you press it too long. Or something like that. I will go out of my way to order something at bol.com (effectively Dutch Amazon) if and only if it has the option to deliver to the local Albert Heijn grocery store.

But brievenbuspakjes are even better because they are guaranteed to fit in your mail box, meaning you don’t have to be at home and the deliver doesn’t have to spend time ringing your doorbell. Just put it in the mailbox and move on to the next delivery.

But back to that small box I received in the mail. I was thrilled to see the tiny gift in our mailbox earlier this week, though had no idea who it was from. The spoon is in the back of the picture to give a bit of reference to how small this box is.

It was from work to say happy birthday! It was a brownie from a local Dutch site, www.mmoodwineandfood.nl. At first when I read the flavors on the card (caramel, white chocolate and m&m topping) I thought it was one really, really extragent brownie. But no, luckily it was separate flavors:

It was so rich Marco and I split the one on the left, the m&m toppings. (Also, I’d not call that m&ms. They were more smarties size, aka the UK chocolates (English Wikipedia). Which apparently pre-dates m&ms by a few years.) The other two brownies were saved for another day.

But: yummmm. Even though we weren’t able to get to them for a few days it was still moist and delicious.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Categories: Food, Working & Volunteering | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

I’m two in corona years (Or: Birthday time)

I’m now officially two years old.

(in corona years, of course)

Today’s my birthday. At least this year and last year I have a good excuse for not knowing what I want, since official birthday parties are out and non-essential stores are closed. Let’s ignore online shopping for this excuse. I have definitely reached the age where I am okay with not knowing what I want. Especially since my birthday falls on a Tuesday and that is not an ideal time to take off work or having a big celebration. But I received some nice cards and a few small presents from friends and family which I enjoyed going through.

To give you an idea of how today went: last week I told Marco that I was excited to choose something a bit less healthy for my birthday meal (think something American like a deluxe hamburger and fries, nachos, chili cooked in a slow cooker, or similar). And then yesterday and today I promptly forgot about it. I was in meetings most of the afternoon so I suggested something easy (but still tasty): tomato soup and a tosti, a ham and cheese sandwich with a fancy name. Still tasty, but not extragent birthday material.

Marco was however on top of his game, surprising me a small apple crumble pie from Albert Heijn, my favorite:

It’s my favorite because you get a bit of powdered sugar on top but it’s not too thick or messy, so not too filling. And that’s whipped cream on the side, slightly deflated since I didn’t take a picture right away. (I had to make the required cup of coffee first. It’s required.)

Check out this homemade card from Marco’s dad and his wife (best described as “beautiful” and “clever”!):

This is a birthday card on steroids. And what’s best is you can open it up:

The card stays in that position since you can rest it against the white rose. I also like the 3D element with the butterfly wings. I’m always amazed by the creations I get from them.

Here’s hoping I don’t turn 3 in corona years!

Categories: Friends&Family, Marco&Niki | Tags: | Leave a comment

Birthday cupcakes (Or: Delivered at a safe distance)

I am one of the lucky folks who should be celebrating a birthday during these corona times. Officially I’ve said I’ll celebrate it later in the summer (I mean come on: when will I ever have a chance to celebrate my birthday in the summer again? Who could pass up that opportunity?).

On Friday I received an email from my workplace’s HR department, wishing me a happy birthday and telling me they would be delivering cupcakes on Saturday (yesterday).

The delivery itself was anti-climatic but still tinged by the coronavirus: Someone rang the doorbell. I open the door. The box of cupcakes have been carefully left on the doormat, with the deliveree standing at the edge of the stairs at a safe distance. She points to the box, we exchange the standard pleasantries, and then she is gone again.

Cupcakes! Yum!

Categories: Working & Volunteering | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

A cook’s birthday card (Or: Illusions of beer)

Here’s a photo of the birthday card that Marco received from his dad and his dad’s wife:

Homemade birthday card and 'beer' for a cook

First off, check out the birthday card on the right. As you see it folds open to display an oven, complete with utensils and condiments on each side. And pizza!

On the left we have a glass of beer. Or do we? It’s actually made of hair gel (the yellow bubbly stuff) and a layer of styrofoam for the ‘foam’. The only mistake we made was taking to long to take it apart, since the black plastic ladder decided to react to the hair gel and melt a bit… Opps! But still, really cool. And it’s not the first birthday card they made for us. Or check out this other birthday card and this Christmas card.

Categories: Friends&Family | Tags: | 2 Comments

Hot and cold (Or: Brownie, ice cream and coffee!)

Ice cream, coffee and a brownie!Work is insanely busy these days! But here is a photo of:

  • Coffee! Yum.
  • Brownie. Handmade by Marco.
  • Vanilla ice cream. Also handmade by Marco!

That’s right – guess who got an ice cream machine for his birthday! Lekker!¬†

Categories: Food, Marco&Niki | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Lunch and sugar cookies (Or: Summer fun)

Yesterday we celebrated Marco’s birthday at Little V, a Vietnamese restaurant. This was our first time going to Little V for lunch and it did not disappoint. I ordered an ‘eenpansgerecht’ or ‘let’s throw everything into one dish for ya’, with beef and chicken.

Lunch bij Little V (beef and chicken)

My drink was an awesome looking (and tasting) lemonade made of rose water.

Rose water lemonade by Little V in The Hague

And as a blog post bonus… a week ago I made lemon cookies! That is of note because I don’t really do the baking in the house. But this time I chose the recipe, did most of the work, and Marco was my assistant! (For the first time ever.)

Thuisgemaakt citroenkoekjes

The recipe was really good and I followed it exactly. Next time I would probably use less sugar, but I don’t have the sweet tooth I used to have so there is that. They were awesomely chewy (honest to goodness chewy!) and the lemon favor shined through perfectly.

See the recipe at Oh My Foodness (in Dutch) – including a very helpful video for people who don’t ever bake. Like me. See also her general recipe list.

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Public service announcement (Or: I love trams)

(Public service announcements, or PSAs. Basically messages that are freely distributed to the public because they are in their best interest.)

Trams rule! I never realized this while growing up in the US because there wasn’t much public transportation around. Or when there was, it was just buses, and I am not as big a fan of those.

Here’s the birthday card Roger made for me. Front cover – a look at the Avenio trams, the newest model. Some of the tram lines have started to use them (2 and 11) with 1, 9 and 17 next. You can just make out the top of the tram where he edited the sign to say “Niki’s birthday”.

Tram themed birthday card - front

Inside you can see a map of The Hague (at the very bottom), and then a tram service schedule on the left side, with a picture of an older, yellow tram sign you would find at a stop on the right. Roger even added a picture of gourmetten in the middle since that’s what we ate on my birthday. Finally, in the middle you have a look at the tram lines throughout The Hague.

Tram themed birthday card - inside

And a look at the two books that I currently have checked out from the library:

Two books about trams in the Netherlands

The larger book is a photographic history of trams in The Hague since 1945 (until 2011). The smaller one is a non-fiction book written by a journalist who spent a year working as a tram conductor in Amsterdam.

I love trams. No interest whatsoever in driving them, but I love reading the latest news. Try htmfoto.net or HaagsOVforum.nl. The first one includes way more than just tram stuff, or even HTM stuff. There’s a lot of old pictures of the city to lose yourself in.

Categories: Transportation | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Birthday presents (Or: A year wiser?)

Last week I celebrated another birthday. Here’s a look at some (but unfortunately not all) of the highlights…

First, a bouquet of paper flowers made by my father-in-law and his wife. Still wrapped:

Paper flower bouquet (still wrapped)

Unwrapped:

Paper flower bouquet

A close up of the butterfly. Do you see what the roses are made of? Wrapped chocolate and the best paper you could make flowers out of — 5 euro notes!

Continue reading

Categories: Friends&Family | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Birthday notes (Or: Puzzles from Marco)

Yesterday was my birthday. Fun times were had all around, between sharing a beer with Marco after work (we went to the Plein) to doing gourmetten with Roger that night.

I will have a few other photos later, but for now check out what Marco did:

image

Sticky notes!

In the morning I woke up to sticky notes everywhere. My favorite hiding place was on the toilet paper roll (not visible until you use it) and in my jacket sleeve, so that when I put my jacket on it popped out. There are 34 notes in all — numbered, thankfully — which read:

“Mijn lieve Niki, weet je dat het jouw drie-en-dertigste verjaardag is vandaag? Ik ben blij dat wij dat samen vieren want ik hou echt heel veel van jou! Je rare man – Marco (34 alvast voor het jaar dat nu begint).”

“My lovely Niki, do you know that it is your 33rd birthday today? I am happy that we can celebrate it together because I love you very much! Your silly husband – Marco (34 in advance for the year that now begins).”

Awww!

Categories: Marco&Niki | Tags: | 10 Comments

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