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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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Friday, May 30, 2014

{Outlet Scores}

Always a pleasure to find great Outlet Scores and we are often successful in Florida.
This Escada jeans suit we found at +Escada Outlet Store in Florida, right after I came out of the hospital, when I got almost completely paralyzed because of a rare auto immune disease. I had lost so much weight that I barely could keep any pants on my hips...
Here I wear it again with two new Oultet Scores from the +Wolford outlet.
Yes, those Outlets are great for Men's clothes as well.
Here husband Pieter is wearing his favorite jeans brand: Zegna with a nice vest from Last Call by +Neiman Marcus.
Pieter captured me laughing at one of our cats; they always follow us like doggies!
You can see the Cotton Velvet Wolford top with the leather belt.
Lovely belt with roses... that was a pre-surgery gift when we were in Florida for a relaxing vacation in September of 2013, but with horrible weather.
Got so lucky that this was in the Wolford Outlet at Orlando, FL
On our latest trip we learned that they closed in February.
But there is one in Fort Lauderdale at The Colonnade!
With Last Call by Neiman Marcus and Escada Outlet store at the Colonnade that makes it super...
Do you also treasure such Outlet Scores?

Related links:
{# 148 and my blog is 1 year old today!} | previous post by me with mention of being paralyzed
{Our Citrus Aurantifolia - Key Lime} | previous post by me from stay at Key West after being paralyzed


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

{Airline Baggage Weight and Campbell Dinosaur Soup}

Thinking about HOW much we have carried inside our suitcases over the years... it is hard now for bringing anything besides your clothes and toiletries for the total allowed baggage weight of 1 piece of 50.5 lbs or 23 kg at present. We did the lion share of our travel on +KLM and back than it was 2 pieces of 70.5 lbs or 32 kg each! In the mid 90s when flying from the USA to The Netherlands, we did even have CANS of CAMPBELL DINOSAUR SOUP + CAST IRON DINOSAUR MUFFIN PANS as a gift for our Dutch nephews...
Courtesy of Campbell Cares is this original photo from such a can of Dinosaur Soup.
Thanks guys +Campbell Soup Company your courtesy is highly appreciated!
Having been both International Consultants, we did spend a lot of time aboard KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Just slightly tagging behind husband Pieter's total Mileage...
We always have valued KLM's Royal Dutch Airlines Courtesy Card!
Above is the one we had in Italy, while working and living there, just like we had before in the USA.
And again, continuing with our Royal Wing card in the USA...
We had so many benefits because of that.
Getting an upgrade to Business Class whenever Economy got fully booked.
Being allowed to check in at the Business Class counter, even with others that traveled with us.
Making use of the Business Class Lounge, we also did on the way over to the USA when all 4 of us used the Van Gogh Room at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport.
Mom & Dad even got an upgrade to Business Class, just like I had, when flying to Amsterdam from Atlanta, USA in May of 1987.
Mom & Dad sat in two seats next to each other and I shared a seat with a widow traveling back home after having stayed with her ailing brother in the USA.
Always easy for getting out of the roomier chair instead of sitting with 3 or even 4 passengers in narrow chairs.
But the Coach Class did allow Two (2) pieces of 70 pounds / 32 kilograms each!
Can you imagine?
That's how we could afford to travel with One (1) piece filled with gifts and things for relatives and friends.
Can you imagine the anxious recipients upon our arrival?
There was snow upon arrival in The Netherlands, on March 2, 1995 and we did tote all this weight into the train, with 2 stop-overs along the way.
Muscle power...


Hand delivered on March 8, 1995. Our 7 and 5-year old nephews loved their Dinosaur soup!
Were we crazy or what?
This is unthinkable for present time travel with its luggage weight restrictions!

Monday, May 26, 2014

{In 2005 President George W. Bush visited Margraten - Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in my Province of Limburg}

Tomorrow, May 26 is the official Memorial Day for the USA. We honor all the fallen men and women in service. 
Photo taken by my brother Martin Van den Munckhof
You can view more photos and read about it in my previous post, see below.

We are proud of President George W. Bush's visit to Margraten, Netherlands at the American Cemetery and Memorial in my Province of birth; Limburg.

12½ jaar L1 - Amerikaanse president in Limburg | President George W. Bush visits Margraten on May, 8 in 2005. He did stay at +Château St. Gerlach and was very complimentary towards the Staff.
Proud of my Province of birth; Limburg!
President George W. Bush was so nice and you can hear about it in this short video (link above) and it is mainly in English so you understand this TV program from my Province of birth, Limburg's L1.

President Honors and Commemorates Veterans in the Netherlands - Margraten, The Netherlands | From White House Archives May 8, 2005
Above link gives you the text of President's speech.
The Dutch have their Memorial Day earlier in May...


Related links:
{MEMORIAL DAY - FREEDOM HAS ITS PRICE} | previous post by me about husband Pieter's personal story


Sunday, May 25, 2014

{Gift Bird Feeder}


When we were in The Netherlands we did receive a very special gift...
Such a hand painted Bird Feeder by little kids' hands is unique...
Indeed, made in The Netherlands WITH LOVE!
Serious painting...
Here it is hanging on a tree...
Holding some yummy bird food.
Guess it will need a perching stick for birds to actually sit on when snacking.
Stick got added yesterday so birds can now sit on it!
It got moved towards our huge dogwood tree and you can see it to the right.
This is the main Bird Restaurant area of our garden and we always can watch them from the bay window of our kitchen during breakfast and such.
Our Spicy girl loves to go there after her breakfast but the early birds have already eaten!
Now the wooden perching stick has been added and a lot of the seeds with peanut butter have been eaten away.
Those two kids did a great job and it blends in with nature so well!
Do you also feed your wild birds?

Friday, May 23, 2014

{# 1111 - Our Golden Live Oak 'Quercus Virginiana Grand View Gold' changing color}

Needless to say that it is in the spring that Our Golden Live Oak 'Quercus Virginiana Grand View Gold' is changing its color to look SPECTACULAR!
Our Golden Live Oak got planted on January 17, 1996... so it's 18 years old now.
This was on April 23... Glad we got these photos as we left for our Florida vacation on April 29...
Thought this is a perfect entry for my 1111th post!
From the front of the house, on the corner of the new tiled patio.
Front of the house with the striking GOLDEN Live Oak 'Quercus Virginiana Grand View Gold'...
Our Black Gum Nyssa Sylvatica to the right in the photo has not yet opened up its leaf buds.
Our Pot Plants on the Patio are growing in number.
Quite striking contrast with the different Acer trees we got.
One of our felines is sitting under the Palm tree.
The tree in the front is our Ulmus parvifolia - 'Drake' elm or Chinese elm.
And we are standing under the canopy of our Live Oak 'Quercus Virginiana'...
Exotic looking next to our palm (minus the Dish for our Satellite Internet)...
Drake elm in front and the Italian Cypress to the right.
Three Acers with best show of colors for spring.
From the left: Acer Negundo Kelly's Gold - Acer Rubrum and Acer saccharum Marshall or Sugar Maple tree. The very tree for the maple syrup!
Stepping back and looking now towards the street.
Sure enough there is always the presence of felines in our garden. Spunky is spotted to the left of the palm tree... Also a better view of our Drake elm to the right.
Our Spicy girl is walking on the concrete walkway.
Our Italian Cypress trees have grown quite tall.
Two oak trees next to each other in this photo. One is shedding all its leaves and this golden one just renews in the spring but is evergreen.
Do you like its GOLDEN leaves?

Related links where this stunning Quercus Virginiana Grand View Gold, can be seen:
Wow...I think this deserves a thread! Golden live oak! | GardenWeb discussion...
{Lush Green Garden} |previous post by me
{Golden Live Oak 'Quercus Virginiana Grand View Gold' in Sunshine at its BEST} | previous post by me
{Our Golden Live Oak 'Quercus Virginiana Grand View Gold' with Catkins} | Previous post by me
{Our Mrs. G. G. GERBING Azaleas} | previous post by me
{Our Patio Tiles in the Front} | previous post by me
{RARE Icicles in Our Garden} | previous post by me
{Energy Efficient GREEN Roofing Arrived} | previous post by me
{My Powder Blue Escada Jeans Suit} | previous post by me showing me in front of Grand View Gold
{Our Lovely Lilac Clematis 'Silver Moon'} | previous post by me showing young Grand View Gold
{Our Different Oaks} | previous post by me
{My Silk Quilted Vest Creation and YOUR Opinion Requested...} | previous post by me showing golden oak
{Our Live Oak got a Haircut}| previous post by me

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

{DIY Squirrel Proof Bird Houses}

Having such a vast property with gardens and trees, results in having lots of birds. 
Since we received our Backyard Wildlife HABITAT Certificate, we always have provided shelter for our garden residents.
But HOW to make Squirrel Proof Bird Houses?
DIY Squirrel Proof Birdhouse built from Scraps.
Since squirrels love to gnaw at the in-flight opening and ruin it, this PVC pipe is the solution!
Front of Bird House is a Natural Red Oak Plank, left from our Office renovation last spring.
Sides, top, bottom as well as back is made from other scraps.
Perch makes it a luxurious New Home for our Feathered Residents!
Husband Pieter created this one, for some of those Birdies that preferred to Go GREEN...
You can see our Wood Trail to the right.
No House NUMBER...
Do you like them?

Related link:
{Our Backyard Wildlife HABITAT Certificate from August 1997} | previous post by me

Monday, May 19, 2014

{Our Squawroot}

At the base of our huge oak tree, next to the white vinyl fence, we always can see a Parasitic Plant called: Squawroot.
This is it! Very strange looking parasitic plant!
The light was just perfect for making photos on April 10.
Wondering what that bumblebee is doing in there...?
Does that mean there is some pollen on those young Squawroots?
They almost resemble some sort of pine cone.
There is quite a crop for 2014!
You see the huge trunk of our oak tree.
To the left at the top you can barely see our white vinyl picket fence..
This is it, in the corner to the right you see some more, they are in a large circle around this tree.
Does any of you have this combination of oak tree with parasitic Squawroot?


Saturday, May 17, 2014

{Our Oxalis}

We do have several different Oxalis in our garden.
These pink ones look so lovely early in spring and they bloom all through summer!
They really do spread, once you planted some little bulbs.
We used to have a giant variety as well but we lost that one...
A happy mass of Oxalis flowers!
Yes, we're zooming out...
Oxalis Triangularis or Purple Shamrock
Almost buried beneath those long pine needles in our wood garden.
Purple Shamrock with white flowers.
Do you have any in your garden?

Related links:
{OXALIS in Our Garden} | previous post by me
{Dead Trees due to HOT & DRY Summer} | previous post by me


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