Monday, November 22, 2010

Cinderella Ball

This past Saturday, the base hosted a Father/Daughter Cinderella Ball! And Johann got to take our lovely ladies out on the town.

We love to dress up around here! So the girls were giddy with excitement about getting all dolled up. The invitation specifically says, Attire: Formal ~ Ball gowns and tiaras encouraged!

You don't have to tell US twice to put on a tiara or two!

Granny even got excited about the vision of her Spanish Grands and ran out at her lunch time to grab some fancy ball gowns for the girls and had them in the mail the very next day.

Rayna's dress came in 5 days!

Reese's still isn't here...tee hee :-)

But never fear! There is no shortage of ball appropriate attire in these girls' closets...

We spent ALL day doing hair (cause these girls have a LOT of hair)...and Johann snuck upstairs around 5 to get ready...

At 6pm...Johann presented the girls with their corsages...

They posed for pictures...

...and headed out the door to the base gym for the festivities!

There was a program...with cupcakes!!!

Special guests - Princess Tiana

And Cinderella and Prince Charming...

There was....


And a horse drawn carriage ride!!!

After the dance, Johann took them into Puerto for Tapas and dessert. I think he's setting the bar pretty high, which is just where it needs to be!

We keep this up, by prom time, we'll be OLD PROs!

Princesses in the kitchen!

So, Auntie Val sent some goodies here as a 'Thank You' for hosting her visit to Spain and in the box-o-goodies were stickers, arts and crafts AND a "Cooking with Tiana" cookbook. (For those not up on Tiana, she is the newest Disney princess from last year's 'Princess and the Frog' movie.)

R&R have been watching P&theF in their usual rotation of their favorite movies, ( listening to the soundtrack in the car), and have been obsessed with all things New Orleans: Jazz, Mardi Gras, and especially, Beignets...

I guess they looked SO delicious in the movie that they HAD to be fiction along with the talking frogs...but no...I confirmed that not only was New Orleans a real place ...but Beignets are VERY, VERY real and soo soo delicious!

The girls are anxious to try the recipe for them in the book, but we started with a simple dinner.

Buford's Fish Fillets!

Rayna gave the tilapia a nice bath in the melted butter, lemon and egg wash...and Reese gave them a dip into the parmesan bread crumbs and spices!

And Voila!

Muy Delicioso!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Soccer is over!

The soccer season lasts 6 weeks for the kids here in Spain. It was pretty grueling though...Reese had practice on Mondays, and games on Wednesdays AND Saturdays. And Rayna had practices each Tuesday - so we were at the soccer field almost everyday for the last month and a half and we are POOPED!

But, what fun we had!

Rayna's practices were arranged so that every 15 minutes the groups of children rotated to different stations where they would learn to dribble the ball between cones, kick in straight lines, kick-pass, kick diagonally to partners (the parents), throw the ball in after a foul, and score goals with their POWERFUL super kick!

Reese's team, RED STORM...

... did a fantastic job and lost only one game, tied two games and won the rest!

Saturday was her last game (they tied 1-1). And the end of the season pizza party was held immediately after the game at Pizza Villa on the base.

The kids had a great time eating and playing together and then Coach Lamb passed out their trophies! He also made a little speech about each of the players and Reese was his "Most Improved" player!

I agree, Reese did become QUITE a soccer player over the last few weeks. Particularly since this is our first time playing soccer AND our first time with a team sport. Previously, Reese and Rayna were DANCERS (an arguably individual sport).

Rayna's end of the season pizza party followed at 2pm and she also got a trophy!

They were both VERY proud of themselves! They kept telling each other in the back seat, "This is my FIRST trophy!!!" And discussing where they'd put it in their room!

And since the weather was so nice, (and Daddy wanted to golf) I thought it would be a great day for the beach. Not hot enough for bathing suits, but PERFECT for lounging with a book while the girls played in the tide and collected sea shells!

Another perfect day in Spain!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


So, the Spanish DO celebrate Halloween, but it's not really's El Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead. And it's not October 31st, but November 1st...and it's a real, the post office is closed and everything...

The Spanish dress up in very bloody costumes...mostly witches and whatnot. The little kids in our neighborhood also came to our house Trick or Treating on Halloween and actually said (in English) "Trick or Treat"... but I'm told they do this mostly because there have been Americans living in these homes for the last 30 years and that's just the custom here.

The base celebrated Halloween all week long. Many commands put up Haunted Houses (we visited Johann's group's house and Reese and Rayna were SO brave (before they went in) and neither of them made it more than 3 feet into the house before they were being carried (eyes closed, ears covered) through the maze and out the back door.

Rayna even grouched that she was going to "tell her Grampy that we TOOK her into the Haunted House"....sigh...I had to remind her that she WANTED to go in and that Grampy was DONE spanking me a LONG time ago! Hahaha

The girls did get to Trick or Treat on the base. Thursday, the MWR group hosted a "Little Munchkins Party" for the 10 and under set to come out and trick or treat in a group of homes known as Mimosa Plaza.

I just recycled old Halloween costumes...we love dress up around here so there was no shortage of options...

Reese decided to bring back her Wonder Woman outfit from 2 years ago (it was a little big then and its a little small now)...but she looked cute and it worked! Her costume was a big hit and many of the parents came up to me later to say Reese was their favorite costume!

Rayna wore a Belle gown and was just beautiful...I think she knew it too. :-)

On the base we saw lots of our friends and had a good time. There was music and LOTS of candy! Different groups dressed up in theme at each Trick or Treating station...

At the Red Cross station, McGruff the Police Dog greeted the girls by name!! (It was really our friend Mr. Alex!)

And now it's time to try some candy!!

I might have to invest in new costumes next year though...these girls are growing so fast!

Zeke the Wonderdog!

So, Zeke is growing like crazy! He probably weighs about 60 lbs now...and is spoiled rotten...he will ONLY sleep on a blanket on the floor in our bedroom. Last night I took his old blanket out to wash it and he just paced and paced and paced until I gave him a new blanket to lay on.

Additionally, he has been VERY naughty...he has been DIGGING up my used to be flowers there...

and he and his little friend next door (Perdita - see her on the other side of the fence) have been demolishing the thatch fence that separates our homes.

Sigh...I tried googling reciepes for Chocolate Labrador Retriever but nothing really seemed appetizing... He might be good in a pasta...what do you think???

Here are the replacement flowers I'm going to plant...

Zeke, you BETTER not tear these up or you're in TROUBLE, BUSTER!!! Don't you give me those big brown eyes!!!

Oh, ok....We still love you Zekey!!!

Ronda for lunch, Marbella for dinner!

Sunday, after Rayna's birthday, we decided to go on another road trip! First stop, Ronda!

Ronda is a gorgeous pueblo blanco sitting atop an enormous mountain range...I think they said it was 750 feet above sea water. The Rio Guadalevin (river) runs through the city, dividing it in two and carving out the 'El Tajo' canyon upon which the city is perched. There are three bridges spanning the canyon and connecting the town from old to new (new being the 1700s). The views from the bridge over the canyon are just stunning and I can't wait to go back and spend more time there.

Just breathtakingly beautiful!

We also saw the Plaza de Toros de Ronda which is the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain still in use. We took a tour and saw the ring and the museum artifacts with ancient artillery (a huge room full of guns), matador costumes, posters and advertisements from old Bull fights and beautiful oil paintings of Bull fighting scenes.

I loved the little chapel where the matadors would pray before fighting the bull! :-) And the girls had fun chasing Johann around the bullring yelling, "Toro, Toro, Ole!!"

Another thing I love about Spain are the play grounds! I LOVE that the planners put them in front of the most beautiful scenery literally, in the world. Here are the girls swinging and sliding in paradise...

And some views of the city...

This is across the bridge into the "New City". We didn't walk across, but we drove across on the way out and the shopping there looks awesome...Definitely going back!

Here is Rayna posing in the garden with a statue of the traditional Spanish woman from Ronda. And below that, the girls being silly. :-)

And the street named for Ernest Hemingway because Ronda is the location of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and he wrote it here.

My mom, in the city, posing in a Jamon store - Notice the MOLD growing on the don't eat the outside obviously...they have a special cutting machine that thinly slices the ham and it is eaten as a delicacy. I'm not a HUGE fan, but it'll do in a pinch. :-)

And Johann and the girls, waiting patiently while Mom and Val did some souvenir shopping!

There were storm clouds brewing and we still had to get to Marbella, so we hit McDonalds for lunch! (So American!!! tsk, tsk, tsk) ...and got back in the car for a VERY curvy (nauseating) drive down the gorge to the Mediterranean coast of Spain. There was a VERY narrow two way road and we were literally on the very EDGE of the mountain overlooking a 700 foot DROP. AHhhhhhhh! (I had to put my head between my knees...).

We stopped for some fresh air (and so I wouldn't barf in the car) and Johann spotted his dream golf course (in the gorge below). I'm sure there will be a "Boys Golfing Trip to Marbella" in the near future...

Marbella is considered the "French Riviera of Spain" and is where all of the glitterati hang out. We didn't see anyone famous, but we saw tons of very fancy $400,000 cars, beautiful yachts in the marina...I drooled a bit over some 1084 Euro Jimmy Choo stiletto leopard skin shoes and we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe!

It was a fun, fun day!