Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's Halloween

It's Halloween! It's Halloween!
The moon is full and bright
And we shall see what can't be seen
On any other night.

Skeletons and ghosts and ghouls,
Grinning goblins fighting duels,
Werewolves rising from their tombs,
Witches on their magic brooms.

In masks and gowns we haunt the street
And knock on doors for trick or treat.
Tonight we are the king and queen,
For tonight it's Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween at Lugano Sud

Tomorrow night is THE night!

Halloween is a very unusual night:
There’s only one night like this all year.
Only one night when spirits appear;
An evening meant to be spent outside,
Yes, it’s Halloween, and you cannot hide.

When the ghosts come out 
and the goblins creep, 
And the skeletons rattle.
How can anybody sleep?
And the monsters march, 
while the witches take flight. 
Yes, Halloween is a very unusual night.

Drop your fears and off you go,
Join the traveling costume show.
Grab your sack and attack the street,
But you better start to trick or treat.

If you are desperate, your kids are nagging about trick or treating and your neighbourhood has not organized any activities, why not pop down to Lugano Sud on Thursday? You'll be sure to find hordes of people, however, the kids will get to participate at the Halloween party organized by the Centro Lugano Sud where creative workshops, face painting and many tasty treats will be awaiting them.

Venue: Halloween Party
Where: Centro Lugano Sud, 6916 Grancia
Date: Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Time: 10:00 to 21:00

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween cupcake recipe

So, I've given you decoration inspiration, video guides to spooky make-up, an activity booklet to download and a party to attend to celebrate Halloween. All you need is something to munch on.

These aromatic pumpkin cupcakes are perfect for Halloween, but you can eat them any time of the year, especially if you use canned pumpkin, as the recipe states.

Pumpkin CupCakes
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground cloves, ginger, nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
One 15-oz. can of pumpkin

3/4 cup of walnuts, pieces
Decorations: gummie candies, candied fruit

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3.) In a large bowl, place butter and sugar and beat together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
4.) Add the eggs to the wet ingredients (large bowl) one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
5.) Stir 1/3 of the flour mixture (from Step 2) into the wet ingredients (large bowl), then 1/2 the can of pumpkin. Follow that with 1/3 flour mixture, then the rest of the pumpkin and then the remaining flour mixture.
6.) Pour the batter into each cup until three-quarters full.
7.) Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8.) Let the cupcakes cool completely in their pan on a wire rack. Then take each cup carefully out of the tray.
9.) Frost each cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting and add decorations on top.

Cream Cheese Frosting
This scrumptious frosting works really well as a topping for our Pumpkin Cake and Cupcakes. It's delicious as a cookie topping or as filling between cake layers.

Two 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
Two 1 lb. boxes confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

1.) Place the cream cheese and the butter in a bowl. Beat with electric mixer until soft and evenly combined.
2.) Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat until combined and smooth.

If you want to turn it into chocolate frosting, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup dry cocoa during Step 2, according to how rich you like it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Zircus Knie is in Lugano

As the days become shorter and the fog descends onto Lugano, not only has autumn knocked on the door but also ... the circus Knie is coming to town.

Circus Knie is back at the Cornaredo with its new show called “Emotions”. For the 95th time the family Knie is touring around Switzerland.

When the “Cirque National Suisse” took its name in 1919, it was already the fourth generation. The Circus Knie goes back to the beginning of the 19th century, more exactly to 1803!  Today Circus Knie is like an institution in Switzerland. Who has not heard or been once to a circus performance or visited the children’s zoo in Rapperswil. Circus Knie is run by the two brothers Freddy and Franco Knie. Their wives, sons, daughters, grand-children and extended families all take part a way or another in the performances or work at the tent or with the animals.

Just like the title of the new program “Emotions”, you can expect to go through various states of mind during the two hour show. You will laugh, feel excitement, be joyful, be scared, feel thrills and most of all be in admiration.

So, hurry to buy your tickets. Click here!
For a detailed programme click here!

Venue: Circus Knie
Where: Pratone di Trevano (next to Stadio Cornaredo), Via Giacomo E Filippo Ciani, 6900 Lugano
When: November 14th to 17th, 2013
Time: Thursday: 20h15, Friday: 15h00 et 20h15, Saturday: 13h30, 17h00 and 20h30, Sunday: 10h30, 14h30 and 18h00

The Circus Knie in numbers:
Tours Switzerland every year for 8 months
Started in March in Rapperswil and will end on Nov. 17th in Lugano
Gives over 350 performances
Visits over 40 places
Covers 3500 km
100 people needed to install the big tent and work at the buffet and at Landiwiese zoo
50 artists work for the Circus
66 people at every performance in addition to the artists
100 caravans come with the circus where many live

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Expat with Kids turns THREE!

Googling the meaning of the third anniversary I came up with this answer: "The 3rd wedding anniversary is basically when a couple is aware of their strength of their relationship."

So, I am not married to my blog - eventhough my hubby begs to differ sometimes - but it has become a relationship, a place where I continue to share practical information with wacky facts and fun news.

It started out as a challenge. A computer lover, but complete novice when it came to blogging, I sat myself down for 48 hours to set up what is today my blog "Expat with Kids". With people in mind who are living through the similar experience of landing in a small, unfamiliar city searching to connect with locals and the few expats at the same time.

It has been a fun journey allowing me to connect online with many of my followers with specific requests or compliments. Once in a while, I ventured out to meet up with one of a my readers personally and I can honestly say that everytime I did, we connected in a way only expats can and intense!

Although I must admit we moved to Paris over two years ago, I enjoy continuing my Expat guide about Lugano and am proud of my 10'000 views per month.

Under the motto If you can't bet 'em, just join 'em I have started a second blog in Paris called Expat with Kids in Paris.

A big, hearty thank you to all my supporters and followers who - by clicking my link - encourage me to keep going and allow me to follow my passion by sharing this lovely corner of the world.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

English Movie night in Lugano

Should you enjoy watching movies in their original language, here is an opportunity to see a delightful English movie: “Song For Marian” (also known as “Unfinished Song”)

Click here to see the trailer:

The stars of the movie are the great British actors Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp. One reviewer wrote: “It's unabashedly sentimental, but thanks to reliably powerful performances from a well-rounded veteran cast, Unfinished Song proves a sweetly compelling character piece.”

Venue: Movie "Song for Marion" (Original version)
Where: Lux Cinema, Via Giuseppe Motta 61, 6900 Lugano
Date: Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
Time: 19.00 Welcome Drink - Movieto start promptly at 20:00.
Price: CHF 15:00 (Welcome drink included).

For any further question please get in touch with Yvonne Amiconi at

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You're invited to a spooky party at Swiss Miniature

Ghostly creatures take to flight
on this dreary, frightful night…
Bid you join us…if you dare
for a treat or a scare!!

Thursday October 31, 2013
from 8:00pm til midnight
Cost: CHF 35.00
(includes finger foods, drinks, music and dancing)

Bring your husbands, wives, partners, friends, but
"No creatures of the night who have seen fewer than
18 hallowed eves"

RSVP to the Lugano MeetUp team
by Thursday October 24, 2013
Corbin Moro
Helen Roowalla
Zuleika Tipismana
Kathleen de Marchi

Monday, October 21, 2013

Be Drop Dead Gorgeous - Halloween Make Up

Looking for Halloween make-up ideas I came across a UK site. The tutorials with the super talented Emma Pickles are simple and fast . You don't need a great deal of make up just a few sponges and some inspiration. You'll be on a roll and off to spook out your neighbours and friends. Have fun.

Sexy witch:
Using lime green face paint and red lipstick for maximum impact!

Scary doll:
Create a scary but cute look! Include big eyelashes and wig.

Zombie bride:
Create a Halloween bride makeup look which could be used for a zombie bride, a ghost bride or a corpse bride costume.

Skeleton make up:
Create a scull look with a difference for Halloween, so you'll be sure to stand out.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween Activity booklet

This Kids' Halloween Activity Book is jam-packed with spooky word puzzles, creepy math games, boo-tastic brain benders, and more. Print it out now and get your children in the Halloween spirit!
Perfect to keep them busy during those rainy days. Just click on the picture to download.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fun ideas for Halloween decoration

Pumpkins with Faces

Make 'em laugh! It doesn't take much to transform a parade of pumpkins into a casual crew. For noses, a carrot or root vegetable adds character; other facial features come courtesy of a marker and paper cutouts. Scour the house for an old hat and sunglasses to round out the display.

Spiderweb Doormat

Set the mood and welcome guests with this easy doormat idea. First, cut a 3x4-foot mat into a 36-inch diameter circle with heavy shears. Using chalk, draw a spiderweb on the mat. Cut pieces of clothesline to fit your design. Singe the ends of the clothesline to keep it from fraying. Use heavy-duty white glue to adhere the pieces to the mat, covering the chalk lines.

Glittery Pumpkins

Add some glam to your indoor pumpkin decor with a bit of glue and glitter in this fun Halloween crafts project. To make this shimmering faux pumpkin arrangement, use a paintbrush to coat strips of each pumpkin with clear-drying white crafts glue. Add glitter to the pumpkin, working in small sections at a time so the layer of glue doesn't dry out.

Spooky No-Sew Cat Tablecloth

This hair-raising tablecloth can be made in minutes with our scaredy-cat pattern, available below. Download our free pattern and cut out the cat shapes from black felt. Attach the shapes to a large piece of gold felt using fusible web or fabric glue to finish the tablecloth.
Get the free scaredy-cat pattern.

Jack-o'-Lantern Luminarias

These no-fuss pumpkin face decorations require no messy pumpkin carving and can be made in minutes. Cut the smiling pumpkin faces from black cardstock and tape the shapes to orange cardstock that has been cut to fit the lantern panels. The finished product will brighten railings or steps during the day, but can also light up the night when you put battery-operated candles or flashlights inside the lanterns. For a longer-lasting decoration, put the jack-o'-lantern faces behind the lantern's glass panels.
Download a face stencil.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lugano Photo Days 2013

LuganoPhotoDays' second edition is taking place from October 12th to 20th, 2013.

René Burri's exhibition "Impossible Reminiscences" is the cherry on the cake of the event. The author of the Che smoking a cigar or LeCorbusier in his workshop exhibits - on the occasion of his 80th birthday and for the first time in Ticino - a series of colour images. Virtually unknown to the public, and displayed in chromological order, situations and portraits captured simultaneously with the black & white ones, deliver a unique vision of the creativity of this great master of photographyʼs spirit from 1950 until today.

The programme of the International festival of photography provides the very much appreciated workshops and conferences. It has been enhanced with a selection of thematic exhibitions, individual portfolio reviews and the presentation of book by emerging photographers.

For more details click here:

During LuganoPhotoDays, the Lugano MeetUp group would like to invite you to the aperitivo accompanying Fabrizio Capsoni photo exhibition BEIJING 2008 on Friday, October 18th, 2013 at 18:00 featuring a very interesting reportage of 250 photos telling the story of China during the Olympics.

Should you be looking to spend a nice evening together with other Expats just stop by and introduce yourself to the Organization team to sign up. Have fun!

Venue: Aperitiv & Photo Exhibition
Date: Friday, October 18, 2013
Time: 6:00 PM
Where: Galleria/Libreria ART...on paper
Via Cattori 5a
Via S. Salvatore 2

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Swiss Educational System

Often I am asked the question: "How many years does Primary School last in Switzerland?" The answer is: "It depends in which part of Switzerland you live."

With the Intercantonal Agreement on Harmonisation of Compulsory Education, the cantons which have joined the agreement are harmonizing the duration. Implementation is to occur by the start of the 2015/16 school year at the latest. From now on, the primary school level will last 6 years in all cantons except for Ticino.

The big picture of Swiss Educational system:

Most students in Switzerland (95%) complete compulsory education at the state school in the municipality in which they live. 5% attend a private school.

State schools play an important role in integration: children who have different social, linguistic and cultural backgrounds all attend the same school.

Responsibility for compulsory schooling lies with the cantons. Schools are run by the local municipalities. Because education is locally rooted, tailor-made solutions can be implemented. Attendance of state schools is free of charge.

The language of instruction is German, French, Italian or Romansh, depending on the language region, though Romansh-language communities are a special case. Traditionally, language learning has an important role in Switzerland. During their compulsory schooling in most cantons today students learn at least two other languages. These are one of the other languages spoken in Switzerland, and English.

For a more specific picture on Ticino's education system click here:

For a more detailed information on Swiss education click here:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Festa d'Autunno di Lugano

This weekend Lugano celebrates the beginning of Autumn with a festival dedicated to local products and eventhough the weather forecast is not brilliant it is worth a stroll.

You will be able to find Ticinese gastronomic delights, a lot of folkloric music and above all the celebrations of the grape and wine. The center of the city will welcome the visitors in numerous grottini operated by local companies which will offer typical Ticinese specialties, such as polenta with stew or beans and mortadella or roast pork, risotto, minestrone, gnocchi and many other exquisite local delights.

Swiss and foreign guests as well as the local population will be able to taste and relish, in cheerful company, the best the region can offer. Why not stock up with some delicious food items and try a new recipe?

In Piazza della Riforma, there are games for children: face-painting and temporary tattoos. There is also a Ludobus with wooden games and snacks on a boat. It’s a chance to play and for kids and parents to have fun together.

Piazza della Riforma / Pier
Saturday 05.10 / 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday 06.10 / 10:00 – 18:00

Rich costumes and the fun of many popular music groups breathe new life into the downtown area. People in traditional Ticino dress hand out grapes. A real grappa distillery will be on hand to offer demonstrations for anyone who is interested. There are also free excursions by boat or on foot.

Via Nassa, Via Pessina, Via Magatti, Via Soave.
Friday  04.10 / 16:00 – 22:00
Saturday 05.10 / 10:00 – 22:00
Sunday 06.10 / 10:00 – 18:00

To download the detailed programme click here:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Train the world

3 teams - 4 weeks - 6 continents

They have buried treasure, conquered mountains, brought mammoths back to life and put themselves at the mercy of Switzerland’s wild and dangerous animals. They have boldly put their survival skills to the test and, with polonaises on the train and International BBQs, brought a smile to many people’s faces.

I am talking about the three teams that won the TRAIN THE WORLD competition and are now being sent straight off on their incredible journey. So, from 19 October, Team Wanderlust, The Package and Team Funa are really going to TRAIN THE WORLD and you can read all about it by following their blogs:

They will travel in pairs across two continents over a period of four weeks – taking the train much of the way. Travel costs, equipment and spending money will all be taken care of.

In return, the teams will be reporting on the preparations for their trip and writing daily blogs from mid-October about their travel adventures. The winning teams will not only tackle local challenges but also the tasks set by the online community.

The Wanderlust guys are travelling in Asia and Australia, The Package! have got Africa's wild animals to look forward to and the Funa team are packing for North and South America, where their trip will take them over one or more peaks.

In the coming weeks the three teams will be blogging about their travel preparations on this very site. So keep an eye on it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

World Vegetarian Day - October 1st

Did you know that today is World Vegetarian Day?

World Vegetarian Day, October 1, is the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. It is a day of celebration established by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977 and endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union in 1978, "To promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism."

World Vegetarian Day is here to encourage you in a new way of living. Personally, I like my steak but why not give it a try. To celebrate this occasion I will be serving a veggie dish to my family tonight.

Here is Lisa's stewed lentil dish. You'll find this and many more recipes on my Expat with Kids recipe blog:

Lisa's stewed lentils

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups large diced yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups large diced carrots (3-4 carrots)
3 garlic cloves , minced (about 1 tbls.)
1 (28 ounce) can plum tomatoes
1 cup french green lentil (7 ounces)
2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves , chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon good quality red wine vinegar

1. )  Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and carrots and cook over medium low heat for 8-10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

2.)  Meanwhile, place the canned tomatoes, including the juice, in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped. Rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones.

3.) Add the tomatoes, lentils, broth, curry powder, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pan. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check occasionally to be sure the liquid is still simmering.

4.) Remove from the heat and allow the lentils to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar. Season to taste and serve hot. Enjoy!

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