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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several in my Mariette's Back to Basics LLC Boutique, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy |  google.com/+MariettesBacktoBasics 
I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Check out my google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder ABOUT page, where you see my other LINKS and email address; you just scroll down.Thanks!
Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

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Monday, March 30, 2015

{Second Languages}

In husband Pieter's magazine: 'The Rotarian' from February 2015, there was a very interesting article about Facts of the Matter - Second Languages.
TWENTY-SIX PERCENT of U.S. adults and 25% of British adults speak a 2nd language. In the European Union, 63 percent of adults know at least one foreign language. Ninety-eight percent of people in Luxembourg speak at least one foreign language, and 84 percent speaks three languages. In Latvia, the percentage of people who speak at least one foreign language is 95; the Netherlands, 94; Malta, 93; Lithuania and Slovenia, 92; and Sweden, 91.

GLOBALLY, the most widely spoken language is Mandarin Chinese, which has nearly two billion native speakers, and the most popular second language is English, which has 335 million native speakers. More than one billion people are studying English today; it is the most studied foreign language in China. In the United States, Spanish is the most studied; Chinese is seventh.

THE GOVERNMENT of India recognizes Hindi and English as official national languages, but most Indians speak a third language as well: that of their region. All three are usually taught at school.

BILINGUAL SPEAKERS outdo monolinguists at problem solving, planning, decision making, multitasking, remembering directions, and other mentally demanding tasks. They're also better at staying focused and shifting their attention when needed. Speaking two languages may help delay Alzheimer's symptoms.

YOUNG CHILDREN are assumed to be the best language learners: They have twice as many brain synapses as adults and haven't yet burdened their minds with such things as remembering social security numbers or learning to drive a car. But researchers say their real edge is a heightened ability to mimic pronunciation: Studies show that, with ample practice and instruction, adults learn new languages almost as well as kids do, except for pronunciation. Also, adult learners have to master much more vocabulary than kids to seem proficient.

THE EASIEST language for native English speakers to master include Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian; each requires 23-24 weeks or about 600 class hours, to become proficient. The hardest languages for native English speaking are Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, which require 88 weeks, or 2,200 class hours.

THE TOP FIVE languages for business are English, Mandarin, French, Arabic and Spanish. The British Council says English is the lingua franca of publishing, airports, air traffic control, international conferences, science and technology, diplomacy, sports, pop music, and advertising. Eighty percent of the world's electronically stored information is in English. The market for digital English-language learning products is forecast to reach US $ 3.1 billion by 2018.

RESEARCHERS AT THE Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculated the return on investment for English speakers of learning a second language: It boosts earnings only about 2 per cent. For Spanish, the return is 1.5 per cent; French 2.7 per cent; and German 4 per cent. Similar studies in Turkey, Russia and Israel, however, found a 10 to 20 per cent return on investment for people learning English as a second language.  — KATE NOLAN

Saturday, March 28, 2015

{203 Countries Visited - Welcome Timor-Leste}

Already on February 23, the 203rd Country Visited my humble blog - Welcome Timor-Leste!
Timor-Leste is located in Southeast Asia.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

{Theresia Cloister - Theresiaklooster in Meterik, The Netherlands}

Last year, when visiting The Netherlands for Mom's 90th Birthday and Mom & Dad's 65th Wedding Anniversary, our sister-in-law did drop off this local news paper at our VacantieWoningPardoes
In which the Theresia Cloister in Meterik was published. That's where I got my 3-year education in Fashion Design in the mid to late sixties of last century.
This is the link from the HALLO Horst aan de Maas: Straatnamen:Theresiastraat Meterik ←just click it.
Streetnames: Theresiastreet in Meterik, a little town within Horst aan de Maas.
So that's where I went for 3 years, on my bike...
It was the February 19, 2014 issue.
There is a book titled: history of the little sisters of Saint Joseph - For the least of Mine by Gabriella Dorren.

Fond memories of this Theresia Cloister, where also our Great-Aunt used to live, before I even went to this Fashion Design school. The sisters had a kind of a nursing home for the elderly. It was my Paternal Grandfather's sister.

Interesting piece of history...


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

{Allergies? Try to Avoid eating Sugar}

Deborah Enos is a Health Food Spokeswoman and she did point out the affect of sugar on allergies so I want to share with you.
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
Fending off spring allergies
By Deborah Herlax Enos
FIFTY MILLION Americans suffer from allergies.
I have spent the majority of the sprig season indoors and out of the line of fire. After years of dreading spring, I decided to fight back.
Here a few tips that have helped me.
Irrigate. Your nose, that is. Nasal irrigation is a part of one's daily routine in India and Southeast Asia. Look for a neti pot (looks like a little teapot) or nasal saline spray.
Take a shower. Pollen can really accumulate in your hair and on your skin. I find that if I take a shower before bed, my sinuses are clearer, making it easier to sleep.
Avoid peak pollen times. Stay inside from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you exercise outside, do it early in the morning, when pollen counts are lowest.
Shampoo your pet. Pollen can cling to your pet. Get a spring haircut for Fido and wash indoor/outdoor pets often. Keeping your pet out of your bedroom and off furniture can also be helpful.
Start cleaning. Do a thorough cleaning or, better yet, pay someone else to do it. Windows, screens and furnace filters collect mold and dust throughout the season, which can provoke your symptoms. 
Go on an anti-inflammation diet. When you are suffering from allergies, your nose is already inflamed. Avoid eating foods that will cause more inflammation, such as sugar. (This is a good incentive to cut back on your sugar intake).
Limit your dairy intake. Many doctors believe that dairy products increase mucus production, which can agitate and provoke allergy symptoms.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Make sure you consult with your physician before starting any new health program.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

{Salty Foods Compared}

From the French Journal des Femmes I found a great article, related to health, about 'Salty Foods Compared.'
Even if the Bing translation of the page is not perfect, you still get a good idea.
Saltiest food: Royal pizza. Why is it salty? Royal pizza, quiche Lorraine or Flammekueche... All these dishes are generally very salty. And for good reasons: they consist deli, cold cuts of meat.
Surimi or cherry tomatoes?
Why is t salty? Gernerally the aperitif biscuits are salty. In particular, peanuts, chips, mini pizzas and cookies.
Ketchup or tomato sauce?
The saltiest food: ketchup

Soup or Chinese soup?
The saltiest food: Chinese soup
Roquefort or Reblochon?
the saltiest food: Roquefort
Hamburger or suasage?
The saltiest food: sausage
Mozzarella or feta?
The saltiest food: feta
Roast pork or ham?
The saltiest food: ham
Moussaka or lasagna?
The saltiest food: lasagna
Ham or cooked ham?
The saltiest food: prosciutto
Mayonaise or mustard?
The saltiest food: mustard
Fries or green beans?
The saltiest food: canned green beans
Hamburger or sandwich ham butter
The saltiest food: the sandwich ham-butter
Sausage or garlic?
The saltiest food: dry sausage
Rusk (toast) or baguette?
The saltiest food: the baguette

Friday, March 20, 2015

{Mom was only 50 days short of her 7th Dialysis Anniversary}

Mom was so very close to making it into a record for completing her 7th Dialysis Anniversary; only 50 days short!

My beautiful Mom, opening the front door of Afhangweg 8 in Horst, The Netherlands for my 'late' husband - on my wedding day. 
She is so happy looking and this is the house where she came back for her last breath.
Mom in Church on my wedding day, with my baby-brother Jan to the left...
It was on February 9, 1973...
Mom congratulating me after Church... 
Looking oh so happy and for sure she is now together in heaven with my late husband Frans...
~
“The things you can take with you: Love, Trust, Respect, Joy. The things you leave behind: Everything else.”  ― Robert Charles Waldron
Mom during the reception, where guests do present the gifts.
My Paternal Grandmother is seated here and the lady with the black/red dress was my aunt, married to Dad's younger brother. She too went to heaven after having had kidney problems and going through dialysis...

My hair was till my waist at that time!
I will show you my self made simple wedding dress another time.
~
“We should keep the dead before our eyes, and honor them as though still living” ― Confucius

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone. - Harriet Beecher Stowe

Those that attacked us for NOT showing up at Mom's funeral, due to Pieter's health issues because of heart cramps, and me still going to rehab for my hand, we forgive their act of bitterness.
May they too find the Peace that is in our hearts!




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

{Tulips as Patio Pot Plants}

Since Voles do actually snack on Tulip bulbs, we decided to grow some as Patio Pot Plants!
Lovely color and there was just one early bloomer!
Photo is from February 23...
One forerunner and the next planter box contains some Angelique tulips that still have to bloom.
Will share them with you whenever they are ready!

Monday, March 16, 2015

{Happy Saint Patrick's Day Wreath}

Wishing all readers, Irish or not, a Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
During the January Business After Hours from our local Chamber of Commerce (see link under photo header) I did win a lovely door price...
Photo is taken with my iPhone after a walk on the day that we received the metal wreath hanger and Pieter hung it for me.
Cute Leprechaun, even though mine looks a bit constipated; the way he frowned his eye brows...
Don't you love this?!
Door Decor - Wreaths by Julie makes these to order! 
Just click the above hyperlink to see her collection on FB Page.
She uses burlap and all sorts of ribbons in a very talented way.
For sure she will ship one out to you; just ask...
Photo used with permission from Julie's Door Decor -Wreaths by Julie
Such a cute Leprechaun!
~
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

{Our Japanese Magnolia against Vinyl Picket Fence}

Don't know about you but here in Central Georgia, the South-East of the USA, we had a very long winter - quite stubborn. So much about all those idiots that still scream 'Global Warming'...
Usually the Japanese Magnolia bloomed around Mom's Birthday, February 12, but it took till March 5 for 2015!
Gorgeous blossoms! Photo is from March 8...
This and the next photos, except last 3, are taken on March 7.
We did have some frost at night and because we were afraid they would turn brown, the photos were taken...
The final 4 segments of Vinyl Picket Fence have been added. First time that the Japanese Magnolia is having a picket fence backdrop!
The huge pine tree is gone now for over a year and the oak tree to the left had its lower limbs trimmed up, so now the Japanese Magnolia can grow out with enough space and light!
Guess within a couple of years the Magnolia will show more blossoms, it needs time to catch up.
This is how the heat resistant Centipede grass looks like in winter; brown.
The green grass you see here is not Centipede but another variety just to fill in where we had some erosion from the water that came from the higher part of the street. Now it gets blocked by the wall underneath the Vinyl Picket Fence!
So lovely to have spring blossoms!
Blue sky and Magnolia blossoms... Finally some beauty after years of browning due to frost!
We both are very pleased with this beautiful white vinyl picket fence backdrop.
This photo and the next ones are from Sunday, March 8. Just opened up a little bit more.
Perfect light too!
Are these not gorgeous?!
Sunday afternoon we took a long walk in the sunshine, it was still 21°C (70°F) by 6:00 PM and we just did change to daylight savings time the previous night.
Compared with Horst in The Netherlands, where it was by midnight (local time) 8°C, after their first gorgeous sunny day.
Happy Spring to all of you in the northern hemisphere!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

{Fragrant Heirloom Daffodils & My Chocolate Addiction...}

Just being frank and honest; YES I am addicted to DARK Chocolate... On February 23, I did enjoy my LAST (!) piece of dark chocolate letter 'M' with my hot tea. They are all gone and I'm about to make me something chocolaty to enjoy. Do you like chocolate as well? Yes, I know I'm diabetes type 2 but I will NOT give up my dark chocolate. Hell no!
That's a dream, even with the sunshine lacking... 
Fragrant Heirloom Daffodils and a CHUNCK of Dark Chocolate!
If any of you out there love those chocolate letters, try to get some on sale at The Dutch Store Vander Veen's in Michigan, USA. 
Because of those dark days I had to go out on our balcony for having some light...
And there is the sun!
Perfectly teamed up with the  Mason's Mandalay Chartreuse vase and teacup.
Those Heirloom Daffodils are oh so fragrant!
Lovely for having some different fragrant varieties outside as well...
Lovely view from our bay window during breakfast...
We just made a long walk at 4:30 PM till 5:30 PM and look how warm it still was:
Yep: 28°C or 82°F at 16:23...

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