Wednesday, 25 January 2012

10 Illegal baby names


http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/blogs/yahoo-lifestyles/10-illegal-baby-names-194006397-3.html

10 illegal baby names


By Orlando Parfitt | Yahoo! Lifestyle – Wed, Jan 18, 2012 16:21 GMT
Paul BanksDiane Wentzel Warmington
You , Paul Banks and 2 others read this
At the start of 2011, the Pope declared war on parents naming babies after celebrities, fruit or popular sports cars. In an address to parents, the ever-progressive pontiff pleaded with worshipers that when thinking of baby names, they should 'give your children names that are in the Christian calendar'.
So Apple, Brooklyn and Ferrari are out, Francisco and Giulia are in.
But Benedict's not the only authority figure to stamp down on one of the sillier by-products of celebrity culture. Various baby names have all been banned around the world for reasons of taste, decency or just plain daftnesss. So without further ado, we present out list of the top illegal baby names.

1) Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii (New Zealand)
New Zealand law bans names which could cause offence to a 'reasonable' person. Good thing too - the country is a stupid name hotspot. We found a couple from the islands who tried and failed to call their son '4Real', but nothing beats the ridiculous moniker above. It belonged to a 9-year-old girl before a judge had her renamed during a custody battle. 'It makes a fool of the child,' he said. It certainly made application forms a pain in the butt.
Has New Zealand banned any other names? Oh yes. The judge listed some that were also blocked: Fish and Chips (twins), Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit. Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence were allowed.
2) Venerdi AKA 'Friday' (Italy)
Maybe this is what the Pope was talking about. Back in 2008 a court banned an Italian couple from calling their child Venerdi (translation: Friday). The judges reckoned the name - taken from 'Robinson Crusoe' - would expose the boy to 'mockery' and was associated with 'subservience and insecurity'. The parents, however, might have the last laugh; they threatened to call their next child Mercoledi (Wednesday).
Has Italy banned any other names? Italian courts can step in 'when the child's name is likely to limit social interaction and create insecurity'. In Turin, Andrea was rejected (and changed to Emma) as it's a boy's name in Italy. Dalmata has also been rejected, as it means Dalmatian.
3) Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (Sweden) 
No, we didn't fall asleep on the keyboard. That is an actual name a Swedish couple tried to inflict on their son back in 1996. Apparently the name is pronounced 'Albin' (we're not sure how), and the parents chose it as a protest against Sweden's admittedly strict naming laws. Tax authorities must give their blessing to both first and surnames before they can be used.
Has Sweden banned any other names? Oh yes. Some favourites include Metallica, IKEA, Veranda and Q. Google was OK though.
4) Gesher AKA 'Bridge' (Norway)
Back in 1998 those nasty Norwegians threw a woman in jail (admittedly for only two days) when she failed to pay a fine for giving her son an 'unapproved' name. Eccentric Kristi Larsen said she was instructed in a dream to name her son Gesher (Hebrew for 'Bridge'), but the court were having none of it. Kristi did have 13 children already though, so maybe she had just run out of ideas.
Has Norway banned any other names? Undoubtedly, though in recent times they have replaced their list of officially sanctioned names with a general ban on monikers featuring swearing, sex and illnesses.
5) Chow Tow AKA 'Smelly Head' (Malaysia)
Unlike many countries which are gradually relaxing name laws, Malaysian authorities have cracked down on unsuitable titles in recent years. In 2006 government killjoys published a list of undesirable names that weren't in keeping with the religious traditions of the country – such as Cantonese moniker Chow Tow – which means 'Smelly Head'.
Has Malaysia banned any other names? Lots more Chinese efforts such as Ah Chwar ('Snake'), Khiow Khoo ('Hunchback'), Sor Chai ('Insane'). Malays should also steer clear of Woti, which means 'Sexual Intercourse'.
6) @ (China)
With more than a billion fellow countrymen, finding a unique name in China is difficult. Perhaps that's why one couple called their baby the '@' symbol – in Chinese characters it apparently looks a bit like 'love him'. Bless. Unsurprisingly, however, the authorities were less sentimental and publicised the moniker as an example of citizens bringing bizarre names into the Chinese language.  
Has China banned any other names? The police have control over all names given to children because they issue identity cards, but details of rejections are not widely circulated.
7) Miatt (Germany)
Country living up to stereotype alert! Surprise, surprise the Germans are somewhat officious when it comes to baby naming laws. Regulation-loving Deutschland has an entire department (the Standesamt) which decides if names are suitable. Miatt was rejected because it didn't clearly show whether the child was a boy or a girl, but sometimes the decisions are somewhat arbitrary...
Has Germany banned any other names? The likes of Stompie, Woodstock and Grammophon were turned down, whereas the similarly strange Speedy, Lafayette and Jazz were allowed.

8) Anus (Denmark)

What is it about Scandinavian countries and name laws? The Danes are even tougher than the Swedes in this regard, with parents given 7,000-odd names to choose from by the government. Special permission is needed to deviate from the list, with ethnic names, odd spellings and even compound surnames forbidden. Luckily for him (we assume it's a 'he'), Anus was one of 250-odd names rejected each year.
Has Denmark banned any other names? Well, Pluto and Monkey had lucky escapes...
9) Ovnis (Portugal)
Before naming your child in Portugal, best consult this mammoth, 80-page government doc (and have it translated to English) that tells you which names you can and can't use. It's pretty strict (and random) – Tom├ís is OK but Tom isn't – and celebs can forget about the likes of Apple and Brooklyn, which aren't even on the banned list. Essex girls rejoice, however – Mercedes is allowed!
Has Portugal banned any other names? There are more than 2,000 names on the reject list, including Ovnis - Portuguese for UFO.
10) Akuma AKA Devil (Japan)
Here's a name the Pope definitely wouldn't approve of. In 1993 a Japanese parent called his son Akuma (which literally means Devil). The authorities decided this was an abuse of the parent's rights to decide a child's name and a lengthy court battle ensued. Eventually the father backed down and junior got a new, less demonic name.
Has Japan banned any other names? Lots. Names must use one of the 2,232 'name kanji' characters decided by the government.


One of my favourite books and its helped us choose both our children's Names .
Michaela Rose and Tristan John
I've written some names in the back of this book while pregnant with both. 
I've also written part of our family tree in the back, so we can pass onto our first expecting grandchild one day...





Monday, 23 January 2012

Ginger Bread House & Ginger biscuits




Ginger Bread Christmas house 2011


Final photo before it was destroyed - note the fingers on the left ...





Little fingers trying to get the house


Making and baking in Oma's kitchen in Empangeni 






cutting out using cardboard stencil
Side walls

Baked and cooling

Some extra cookies from left over ginger bread dough
Yummy left over ginger bread dough from gingerbread house and icing and decorations 


let the feast begin - poor dears had to wait till Christmas day
Even toy hammers where involved in the destruction
hhhhmmm nom nom nom


The face of a happy chappy finally with a piece of the house

Gingerbread is not just for Christmas !!
We make gingerbread all year round ... Yummy yummy yummy....

We love to make all sorts for any occasion - or just to have fun with...


Gingerbread recipes I've tried and tested...
A few notes gingerbread dough and working with Gingerbread !

Gingerbread should be made with all your "brown spices" - but dont over spice - you want the essence not over to over power it 
Dont be heavy handed with the ginger, it can make the biscuits have to much of a bite.

There are 2 types of recipes the type you leave over night (I find these the best) and the type you can make up quickly if you have a gingerbread emergency!!! 

The first one is the over night type - you can make a HUGE double batch and divide it up into several cling filled portions and make the biscuit over a week - or freeze it . I normally make huge batches and bake them with my kids over time or when I have a creative streek or need some biscuits ASAP.

The Hummingbird Bakery Gingerbread Men Ingredients


  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g soft dark brown sugar or dark muscovado sugar
  • 125g black treacle
  • 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 400g plain flour
For the royal icing:
  • food colouring, optional
  • gingerbread biscuit cutters
  • a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper
  • ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 310g icing sugar, sifted

The Hummingbird Bakery Gingerbread Men Directions

For the cake:
  1. First, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Then, put the butter and sugars in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and cream on slow speed until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat in the egg and treacle, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Now, turn the mixer back down to slow speed and slowly add the flour mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time, stopping often to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Once an even dough has formed, take it out of the mixer, divide into 3 and wrap each piece in clingfilm.
  4. After that, leave to rest overnight in the fridge.
  5. The next step, when you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
  6. Take the dough out of the fridge and leave to soften for about 10 minutes. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 4 mm with a rolling pin. Cut out shapes with the biscuit cutters. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for about 10–15 minutes.
  7. Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
For the royal icing:
  1. Beat the egg white and lemon juice together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk). Gradually start adding the icing sugar, mixing well after each addition to ensure all sugar is incorporated. Whisk until you get stiff peaks. If the icing is too runny, add a little more sugar. Stir in a couple of drops of food colouring, if using, and decorate the cookies.


This is a quick fix Gingerbread recipe - no need to leave overnight. 


Gingerbread People

Makes 12
Ingredients
75g (3oz) dark brown sugar, sieved 
3 tbsp golden syrup 
1 level tbsp cinnamon or ground mixed spice 
1 level tbsp ginger 
95g (3½oz) butter or margarine 
½ level tsp Dr. Oetker Bicarbonate of Soda 
225g (8oz) plain flour
To decorateDr. Oetker Writing Icing
Dr. Oetker Soft Silver Pearls
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and lightly grease a baking tray.
2. Put sugar, syrup, 1 tbsp water and spices together in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
3. Remove saucepan from the heat and cut butter (or margarine) into pieces.  Add butter (or margarine) to the saucepan along with the Bicarbonate of Soda.
4. Gradually mix in the flour until you have a smooth dough.  Add a little more flour if needed.  Set aside in a cool place and leave for 30 minutes.
5. Roll out the dough to approx. 3mm (1/8 inch) thick on a lightly floured surface and, using a cutter, cut out the Gingerbread People and place on the baking tray.
6. Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until biscuits are firm and golden.
7. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then decorate using Writing Icing and Soft Silver Pearls for eyes.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Don't Carpe Diem

I absolutely LOVE this article


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glennon-melton/dont-carpe-diem_b_1206346.html


Don't Carpe Diem

Posted: 1/14/12 11:57 AM ET

Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen:
An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast."
Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy everysecond, etc, etc, etc.
I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.
I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."
At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."
That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.
There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"
I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.
Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?
That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it right...in her own way...and she happens to be honest.
Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career stuff...it goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!"
My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."
Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.
Here's what does work for me:
There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.
Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and my God -- she is sobeautiful. Kairos.
Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.
Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.
These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.
If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.
Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.
Good enough for me.
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