Camping – 1st time for the kids

Now that the kids are in Beavers and Cubs and I’m hoping as an Assistant in the Beavers group, we decided to join the group for an overnight camp out.

I didn’t take many photos but as Nils was dropping us off, we did get this photo of the three budgies going in.

three budgies on our first camping trip

It was a great time had by all.  It involved an orienteering mission, games, camp fire for the Cubs, sleeping in tents (boys in one and girls in another).  I suspected a few upset kids going to sleep without their parents and in my case without me, but not a tear.   It did take them a bit longer to get to bed, I think the Cub boys were up until 12:45 am or later.
I had my own single person tent which was fine – though if I ever do it again, as i’m sure we will, I need to invest in a proper sleeping mat – perhaps a self-inflating one.  A single foam yoga type mat is just not soft enough.  The seeping bag I had was perfect!  Loads of space, cool yet warm.

While I have been camping many times over the years with friends in New Hampshire, which was really side of the road, Kangamangus Highway camping where it was a booze fest, loads of fun and we would have to put our food in the coolers in the trees to be sure we didn’t attract bears.  Those we we have never camped as a family so it was extra special and fun.   Hopefully we can convince Nils to join us if we make it a “glamping” trip in a cabin??

But the worst part is the One HUNDRED THOUSAND MIDGET BITES ON SOREN’S HEADand Maebh’s face!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pancakes The Enchanted Forest Pannenkoekenhuis Het Betoverde Bos

Our kids love a good Pannenkoekenhuis when we are in The Netherlands.  In fact, they have one favorite one in a cute village called Esch.  It’s the Pancakes The Enchanted Forest or Pannenkoekenhuis ‘Het Betoverde Bos’t.  It’s not far from Pake & Beppe’s house and it’s yummy and loads for the kids.

12743578_1036178593092348_1064866376049132473_n

hdr

Inside seating

On Soren’s last day of football camp, we took him here for pancakes to celebrate his hard week – football and 100% Dutch kids so language was tricky!  Though he loved it!

dav

Pirate Pancake

bty

Princess Pancake

Inside is quite pretty – a small play area for kids, a trail inside where you find letters and butterflies hidden to decode a secrete message and the shop which you can buy cheap plastic made in China toys for your tokens which you earn based on what you buy.   They tend to get 10 silver coins so end up with a frisbee, sword or skipping rope.  Each time it differs and each time within 24 hours, the item is broken.  But it’s all fun and they love it so why not.

Outside is a great open terrace and a play area with a giant bouncy pillow, swings, a tunnel and two in the ground trampolines so loads for the kids to do while us parents enjoy our beer in the sun – harassed by wasps in the summer.

While Maebh did cartwheels on the pillow, Soren did flips on the trampoline – giving me a near heart attack.

The only one problem we have here is that they never take foreign credit cards and there is no bank machine nearby so remember bring cash!!

I have more photos from a past trip – will see what I can find and post here.

I swear this is the best business idea around – easy to make pancakes which all kids love! And if we are ever living in Hollands, I am sure birthday parties at the pancake house are very popular!

Fall in Ireland = Blackberry picking

Back home in New England it’s a big tradition to visit farms, go apple picking, pumpkin picking and leaf peeping and eat all things pumpkin spice in the autumn. It’s the season I miss most!! 

Here, sadly, we might spy a colourful tree and  I freak out. There is this ONE tree near the Dart station which I point out each time I drive by on the way home.   f I remember, I’ll take a photo of this poor one tree.  Weather permitting, we’re going to pop over to the Botanic Gardens next weekend – hopefully some nice leaves will be on the trees/ground.

Soren was at soccer practice, Maebh and I set off behind Deer Park and picked some blackberries.

For some reason, all the lovely bushes along Howth Celtic were crushed down by a bulldozer – not sure why but I must ask Michael next home game.

hdr

Sadly all these bushes were toppled and crushed.

I have no idea what to make with them so they are in the freezer until we decide what to do – probably a crumble.

 

 

Soren’s hair cut! :(

A week or so ago, Nils picked me up from work with both kids. Unknown to me, he had booked in a haircut for himself – which is fine but for Soren too!  Grrr…. I didn’t want his hair cut off…. still very handsome just makes him so much more grown up.

My “baby boy” is no longer a little guy but has a short haircut!  Thankfully not too short but short enough that it’s drastic enough for me to be slightly shocked. Yes, still handsome but I prefer the longer hair.

But I totally agree that his hair at Christmas was way too long!

wp-image-812724019jpg

Maebh has super long hair and I am certain he’d never allow it to be cut without my approval, so she just had plaits (braids) put in – super cute!

mde

Maebh’s long braids

hdr

Lovely long hair

 

First lost tooth: Maebh

So a couple years ago, Soren lost his first baby tooth at 7 years old.  Fast forward two years and it’s Maebh’s turn and coincidentally she too is 7. In fact, I just checked the dates and it’s exactly 5 days difference…

Yesterday at her first day of camp, her “new best friend” who is in from New Zealand on holidays and she can’t remember her name knocked it out.  Lol. Apparently she was taking off her cardigan and it banged Maebh and she saw something why fly down and it was her tooth.   When I got home from work, excitedly she ran over to tell me.  So cute!!

When it was bed time, Maebh put her sparkly box which she bought at Sostrene and Greene in Den Bosch especially for future teeth.

While we were sleeping, the tooth fairy came and brought $2.00 from the American tooth fairy and €10 from the European one.  It wasn’t until 5 am this morning, I re-read the post of Soren’s first tooth and realised she gave a €2 coin vs €10, so quickly, I opened the little container from underneath her pillow where she was asleep and swapped the tenner for a €2 coin.  Surely, they have to be the same as this would be a discussion for a long time.

Speaking of cute, she also changed into a red and black outfit to act like a girl lego character.  Don’t mind my horrible voice….

 

Fast forward another few months – tooth #2 finally came out. It took weeks and was ust hanging in turning sideways but finally came out.

dav

±

Ireland Road Tripping: Donegal

Last October during the October half term break, we booked three night stay in Letterkenny, Donegal, but after much consideration, we cancelled it and headed to Clifden at the kids’ request. We agreed, we’d head there during the “summer” in the hopes that we had better weather and could do more exploring.

Now fast forward 9 months and we’re heading that way for a 3 night break.  This time, we’ve booked in the Gweedore Court Hotel, which is located in the Gaeltacht heartland, An Chuirtli. With only 66 rooms, it is not as large or modern as the hotels we would prefer, it’s closer to the ocean than Letterkenny and works for us.  Plus it was the only hotel in the area with a pool, pub and availability for the time we chose. The hotel’s pool seems okay but the kids club is only for kids under 8 so we won’t bother. I’ll post photos of the place when we arrive, but while it’s listed as a 4 star hotel, I am not holding my breath that it’s anything special.  Though all the reviews say it’s a very clean hotel – we’ll see.  The views from the area are amazing.

One day we’re going to have to visit Leo’s Tavern.  It’s supposed be renowned for its music being the family home of world famous musical talents Enya, Clannad and Moya Brennan. Not sure we’ll enjoy a Trad session as it tends to kick off at 10 pm (when kids in pubs are banned).

There is just nothing available in any part of Ireland for the long weekend (well, in our budget!)  Clearly, I was not thinking ahead for this weekend away the way I normally do.  I booked Christmas in July and May at Christmas.

Gweedore

I have “Friday Summer hours”  so once the kids are done at camp and me from work, we’ll head up to Donegal. I suspect it will take a good four hour drive but as it’s a new destination, probably a bit longer.

Gweedore from Dublin

As we’ve never been to Donegal before, I’ve been doing some research on things to do and see while there.   I’ve come up with the following list.

View the Kilclooney’s Dolomen – which, according to my information, we must first knock on the cottage and ask the old couple permission to go up and view it. The kids are going to love that part!

Amazing Beaches:  It’s no secret the area is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Ireland so we’ll be sure to stop off at some.

Killybegs – We’re definitely going to stop by this “town” to check it out. I suspect it will be a combination of Howth and Cobh.  The fishing heritage of Howth but the cruise ships visiting like Cobh.  The tourist information says to stop by the visitor centre and get info on the Killybegs Heritage Trail which will take you on a journey back in time to discover this historic harbour town of years gone by.  Maratime Museum in Killybegs looks like something we’d do too.

Glenveagh National Park:  It looks like a beautiful place to explore.  And on Monday of the August bank holiday (Aug 7th) there will be a family nature walk from Stalker’s Hut.   Their site says to book a place on our trail walkers bus at 10am from the car park.  Enjoy the walk down the Bridle Path and meet the education guides at the Stalker’s Hut from 11 am.  Toast marshmallows by the camp fire, traditional music and nature crafts.  Or another idea would be to rent bikes and cycle around the park and walk to the waterfall. For this we’ll certainly have to book in advance if we do this.

Tropical World:  If it’s really bad weather and we need a place to go indoors, we can visit this place.  But then again at €28.00 for our family to visit, they might have more fun bowling, movies or even a giant indoor water park like Waterworld Bundoran which we’d pay €45 for the four us. At 7 & 9, they’ve visited many zoos and butterfly houses in the past so not sure can justify the costs. 

Now not sure if we’ll get there as it’s 1.5 hours from our hotel, but how cool would it be to visit the “Most Northern Point in Ireland – Banba’s Crown on the Inishowen Peninsula, near Malin Head.  Especially since we’ve visited Mizen Head which we always thought was the most Southerly Point but later learned it’s Brow Head, County Cork (though until I just did a search and this map, I no idea were that is exactly!)

mizen head vs brow head

If we do go that far, then I think we should stop off at Dunree Fort too.

One thing is for sure, my new charger & battery for my “better” camera better be here by then as it’s on backorder.   I want some good photographs from this trip!

This post is a work in progress as I find new places to explore and of course will update with photos once there.  

I’m Back to Work – FULL TIME

After 9 years of being a SAHM – “Stay at home mom”, I’ve finally returned to work and today was my first day.  It’s 7:25 pm and I’m exhausted.    At 3 pm, I officially hit a wall and needed to get some tea from the cafe.  Being a very early bird doesn’t help so I have to try and adjust that.  If I can stay up past 9 pm, it might help – just nearly impossible 🙂   No point in being up hours before the rest…. so need to work on that.  My hours are around 9 (could be a few minutes after for the rush) and out at 5 pm.  Going to look at the exact hours soon as I do NOT need/want a full hour lunch and a few breaks during the day.

As expected, going around the office meeting about 100 people, I will never remember all their names, their roles, etc. but I’ll do my best.

As the kids get out of school early next week, we’ve had to be creative with our child-care.  For now Nils will be in Dublin for the first couple weeks while they are in camp so he can still work and get the kids at 3:30 pm from camp.   Come August he’ll be gone in The Netherlands from Monday to Wednesday and we have a lovely childminder who can help us in August after her holidays.  Plus how great is this – I’ll take a WEEK OFF in August – so that will help with the childcare and we might even get to have a long weekend away.  But I’m working on getting my folks to come for a visit – how great would it be for them to come here for a few weeks to see the kids.  They’d LOVE it to see their grandparents in their own turf.

I got home from work today and did some housekeeping – but as I’ve read on tons of sites and friends have told me… family comes first, housework second.

So lets see how this goes I’m sure it will be amazing.  Some non-Mommy time I’ll get to contribute to projects, adult conversations, project manage things, take a break from the school and find some ME time!!

Wish me luck – I am sure the first few weeks, will be a struggle with meals, schedules, emotions from me and the kids.  Then again after school the kids do their homework and don’t “need” me.

My youngest at 7 came to me today in near tears and said “Mommy, what about my last day of school -we won’t be able to go to the movies?”  My reply, yes we can instead of the 2:00 pm movie we can see the 6 pm movie.   She was also asking if I was around for Mid-Summer’s Arts day on Friday  which I will not be – a sad look came on her face. Truthfully, while I want to be there to help with the project, I just can’t and this will be good for all of us!

Did I mention it’s for a leading chocolate confectionery company in Ireland – so I need to avoid the samples! 🙂

UPDATE; Exactly one week in and I’m getting more into the groove of it.  I’ve got the morning routine down, and I am happy to say I am not as tired come 3 pm.  Also,while I do not have the entire stuff’s names memorized yet, I am getting better and have remembered tons.