Archive for August 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Jansen 5 In Holland

Yes, my blogger peeps, we have arrived in the Netherlands for the big tour UNSCATHED regardless of a few tense moments in the air......

a long layover in Frankfurt, Germany........

and some serious JET LAG.

8 of us travelled together arriving on Friday and 4 of us followed the next day, arriving on Saturday, just in time for the first concert.  That meant that one of the members of the band had been travelling for a very, VERY long time and was required to play within 4 hours of landing at Schipol airport.  No time for a nap.  No time for a rehearsal.  Hard to believe that your brain even FUNCTIONS after that much travel but, somehow they all managed.

It's a good thing that there were some members of the group who DID get the chance to rehearse because there are always surprises when you perform.  Surprises such as the fact that no one thought about bringing MUSIC STANDS for the string players.  Good thing there was a SHOE RACK for Junior to use and assorted other pieces of furniture which served to suffice under the circumstances.

And, of course, you have to be prepared for BRAND NEW MUSIC to appear at the last second!

We really enjoyed being able to be part of such a wonderful concert......

especially because we got to see Joost Vanbelzen, our amazing organist again!

In the end the church was packed FULL.....

with some amazing musical talent.

In the back room, Grampa was busy trying to keep the Wee One occupied while her mother played on stage.  It's a good thing there was a sink and some cold water to play with........

or we could have had one serious melt down occur at a very inopportune moment.

At the end of the night we made our way back to Port Zeelande where we have 2 cabins rented on the sea shore.  We decided to stay at Centerparks, a complex where there is fun for young and old.  Situated on the edge of the North Sea, this beautiful location is sort of a cross between a Motel 6 and the waterpark at West Edmonton Mall.  Perfect for a family like ours.  Sailing, swimming, biking and late night entertainment all rolled into one!  Who could ask for anything better?!

I know the Wee One is just LOVING it.......

and so are WE!


Monday, August 22, 2011

The Jansen 5 Get Reviewed

This past Friday I received an email with our first official CD review which was written up in the Nederlands Dagblaad, a wonderful dutch newspaper that is unfortunately DUTCH.  Seeing as my dutch is limited to just a few words like "Hi" and "How much does this cost?" I was completely unable to figure out what the review said.

So, I talked to a few of my dutch friends and got the low down on what the music critic was saying about our attempt at producing a CD.  First of all, he mentioned that you can hear that we're not PROFESSIONALS, which stung just a wee little bit.  Then I realized "Of course we're NOT professionals!  We're just a bunch of farmers from Milner making a little bit of music in our spare time".  I am so glad he pointed that fact out because I'd hate for people to think they were buying a Itzaak Perlman quality sound and be disappointed.

He goes on to say that the enthusiasm with which they play makes it WELL WORTH THE LISTEN!

Woohoo!  He liked it!  We got a 3 star rating.  Not bad for our first review EVER.

So, the Jansen 5 have been busy in the past few weeks with all sorts of important things they needed to accomplish before we leave on tour.  Things like......

Going to the Abbotsford Air Show!

3 of our 5 members sat in the HOT BLAZING SUN all day long and enjoyed some amazing aeronautic acrobatics from the VIP section where food and drinks were included in the ticket price.  I think Junior partook in his fair share of the liquid gold......

and took in far too much sun for good.

He burnt BAAAAD!  Chemical peal bad.  Unrecognizable bad.  Not going to look good on the European tour bad.

That will teach him to listen to his mother and use sunscreen.

My little Angel, our stellar violinist, was there too with her brood of chicks....

checking out the fancy hardware on the tarmac.

Mini Me, violin virtuoso #3, was behind the camera all day, getting the event on film for posterity.  She did, however, come home with an extreme case of LENS ENVY after seeing THIS guy's equipment.

The other 2 members were back at the farm WORKING because not everyone can take the day off together or WHO will get those garden mums out to the stores?!

Then we followed up with a birthday party in the park on Thursday which was attended by 3 alternate members of the  group.  My Little Angel......

our violist, Opera Diva.....

and Mini Me, once again behind the camera lens.

Can you tell she got a NEW LENS?!  Yup, I caved and bought her one with the caveat that she must now take photos for my blog WHENEVER I request it.  I made her prick her finger and swear in blood that she will be my photographer slave forever.  I think I got the better end of the deal!  I mean, look at these beautiful pictures she took for me on Sunday of our newest little sweet pea at his baptism.

We had such a wonderful day yesterday, celebrating together after the service, serving lunch for our whole congregation.  The little Sweat Pea was oblivious to all the festivities......

but we got it all on film.  We'll remember the joy of this special occasion, shared with so many dear family and friends, for a long time.  Thanks to all who stayed to share in our joy!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fall Mums - In Stores Now!

The Big Guy was reading my blog the other day and he casually stated "For a greenhouse blog, you sure haven't posted much about the plants lately!".

Can you BELIEVE it?!  Suddenly I'm living with a writing critic who thinks my posts do not contain sufficient coverage of the greenhouse going's on.  I'm going to have to have a talk with that boy.


after a little scrolling through my recent posts, I did have to agree that I haven't really given much coverage to the FALL MUM crop that has begun to ship to your local BIG BOX store over the last 2 weeks.

It would really be a shame if I didn't share a few pictures of our outdoor production acreage now that it's coming in to BLOOM!

They just look like acres and acres of CHIA PETS waiting to find a good home, don't you think?

OK, enough of that!  Now on to my favorite subject.....


Ya'll knew that was coming didn't you?

This week is full of music and rehearsing since we're going to Holland soon with the whole family.  Everyone is getting organized for the big JANSEN 5 CD release at the end of August. 

The Wee One has become quite fascinated with the METRONOME which the kids are using to keep time.  You see, it's the kind of metronome that TALKS.

"One and Two and Three and Four"

Not only does this metronome talk but it has lots of BUTTONS and LEVERS that move up, down and all around, changing tempo and volume with ease.

I just hope she doesn't figure out which one is the power button or I may have to remove the batteries.

A few nights ago I came home after photocopying more music and concert information about the tour, making sure that everyone knows what songs they need to practice and what time different events will happen.  I walked into the living room to see the cutest sight I have EVER SEEN. 

The Wee One was "playing along" with the rehearsal.  Of course, being just 2 years old, she was quickly distracted by the Big Guy who was trying to catch the whole thing on his blackberry.  The moment she realized he was directing the camera at her she happily obliged with some very big "CHEESE" smiles to ensure he got her best look on film.

Is it any wonder that with all this cuteness going on around here that I tend to neglect my greenhouse posts lately?  I mean, wouldn't you?

Now, I figured that I should make sure my blogger peeps don't forget to stop on by Tootsie's place for Fertilizer Friday where they can see some more amazing gardens and a myriad of flowers.  You will have tons of fun checking out what other places look like after this weird and wacky summer we've all experienced this year!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

54 Days and Counting!

54 days or....

1,296 hours or.......

77,720 minutes or.......

4,665,600 seconds until the BIG EVENT!  That is when Opera Diva and her fiance are getting hitched.  And that also means we have run out of time.   Getting the invitations out to all our friends and family has now become "SITUATION CRITICAL".

So, last week we all buckled under and started to meet together to come up with an invitation design that would fulfill the bride and groom's desire to have a SIMPLE but ELEGANT invitation that wouldn't take weeks and weeks of manual labor to put together.

"Mom" she pleaded "Please don't make it too complicated.  I don't want to be chained to the kitchen table forever, gluing and glittering till the cows come home!  I'm BEGGING you to keep it SIMPLE."

Clearly, she takes after her Father.

"Well, OK then" I grudgingly reply.  "But what does SIMPLE mean to YOU?!"

Thus began the onslaught of emails bouncing back and forth between us with many varied versions of Opera Diva SIMPLE versus Tamara SIMPLE.  

But out of the cacaphony of clearly opposing concepts of what qualifies as SIMPLE, we finally came up with THIS.......

SIMPLE and ELEGANT, wouldn't you say?!

And then we got to WORK!

The troops were called in to help.

You might think that no troops were necessary because we were going "SIMPLE".

Somehow, things just don't work out that way in my world.  

Maybe it was the hand painting aspect of the job.

Each of the invites were lovingly touched up with a dash of purple by our resident artist, Mini Me.

Then a few strokes of opalescent white added a bit of contrast.

Then, of course, we had to give just that little extra BLING factor with a silver pearlized accent.....

added in all the right places.

Simple, right?!  Now, only 99 more to go.

I mean, how long could this really take?  A few hours maximum?

Good thing I was able to call in a few extra peeps to help us get things finished or this might have begun to appear a little less than "SIMPLE".

I mean, what's an invitation without a little RIBBON?!

So, my loyal helpers stuck with me and cut......

and glued......

until, well, until the cows came home.

We're all happy with the final outcome.

Yup.  It's satisfies the SIMPLE and ELEGANT lovers.......

and keeps the BLING lovers happy as well!

Now, all we need to do is get them in the mail.