Happy 10th Birthday Maebh

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My Dearest Maebh,

I’ve been talking a lot lately about how grown-up you have become.  And it’s true.  Each time I look at you I’m amazed with the young person that you have become.  Now you’re ten years old and part of the double digits club too!  Remember back when Soren turned 10 – you sooo looked forward to also becoming 10.

Gone are the baby and toddler days.  At 10, you are now a full-fledged individual with your own thoughts and actions and ideas and interests.  As we enter into this new stage of life, I want to tell you some things:

YOU ARE SMART!   Like really wicked smaaat – insert a thick Boston accent!  You’re amazing at geography and trivia!   And can’t begin to say how impressed at how you’ve learned the Dutch language so quickly.  What about Math!?  Sometimes I have to do out the problems on paper and you’ve already calculated it in your head!   Can’t wait for you to learn more about science and biology – you’ll be fascinated!  It’s cool to be smart – never think otherwise!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  You have an infectious smile that lights up a room.  Your eyes are the most beautiful gray/green color and your silky hair, you know how much I love the color of it. But even more importantly, you are just as beautiful on the inside as you are out.

STAY MUSICAL!  Keep on playing the piano, singing and dancing!  Let music continue to fill your days!

IT IS OKAY TO CRY!  Some days you are just going to want to CRY!  Go ahead, let those tears flow.  A good cry is sometimes what is needed and I’m always be there to wipe your tears away.

EMOTIONS ARE NORMAL!  I wear my heart on my sleeve and so do you.  So your emotions will get the best of you sometimes.  Hormones are going to start to rear their ugly faces soon.  Embrace your emotions – feel all of them.  Talk about them.  You’ll learn to control them one day – well, some of them.  I’m still trying to figure this out and I’m nearly 46! J

YOU ARE A LOYAL, KIND & CARING FRIEND!  Your friends should never forget how much of an inclusive, wonderful and caring friend and sister you are.  How you welcome new children into your world without a care and make them feel secure.  Being a new kid to the group and having to start over a few times in life and school has, I’m sure, taught you this very important characteristic.

GIRLS CAN BE MEAN!  The next few years, you’ll understand this more and more.  You’ll make so many friends – many will come and go.  A few true friends will be there forever.  When girls are mean, remember to be kind and talk with me.  Don’t hold it in and try to deal with it alone.  Chances are I’ve been there before.  If not, we can be there TOGETHER!

YOU CAN TRUST ME AND TELL ME EVERYTHING!   Anytime. Anyplace. Anything. Always!  I’m here for you…. No judgement!

I LOVE YOU!    No explanation needed – I LOVE YOU!

You are MY GIRL. You turned my life upside down from the moment you were placed in my arms.  Being YOUR mom is one of the greatest joys I will have in my life. I have always said that you were created for something BIG and I cannot wait to see all that in store for you.

You entered this word very quickly – only 3 hours from the start of my first contraction to holding you in my arms.   And as with Soren, your gender was a surprise.  Deep down inside, I really wanted a girl and was prepared for a another amazing boy… BUT it was SOOO extra special when Papa said, “your wish came true, it’s a girl”.   My eyes and heart beamed – I have my girl.  Ever since then, you and I have been attached – our special “mother/daughter” bond – is one that can never be broken no matter what.

This birthday was going to be a very special one with a trip to the Efteling.  Sadly,  a party with friends will have to wait due to the CV-19 crisis, but I promise you, you’ll have another special day in the future surrounded by friends and family to celebrate YOU!

I really want you to “HAVE IT ALL” and this is my song to you.  You know the one I sing really loudly to you when it comes on my Spotify.  Read the words my darling.

May you have auspiciousness and causes of success
May you have the confidence to always do your best
May it take no effort in you being generous
Sharing what you can, nothing more, nothing less

May you know the meaning of the word “happiness”
May you always lead from the beating in your chest
May you be treated like an esteemed guest
May you get to rest, may you catch your breath

And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows, whoa-oh
And may the road less paved be the road that you follow, whoa-oh

Well, here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it

Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you’ve got free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

All (all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)
I want you to have it (have it all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)

May you be as fascinating as a slap bracelet
May you keep the chaos and the clutter off your desk
May you have unquestionable health and less stress
Having no possessions though immeasurable wealth

May you get a gold star on your next test
May your educated guesses always be correct
And may you win prizes, shining like diamonds
May you really own it each moment to the next

And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows, whoa-oh
And may the road less paved be the road that you follow, whoa-oh

Well, here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it

Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you’ve got free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

All (all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)
I want you to have it (have it all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)

Oh, I want you to have it all
All you can imagine, oh
No matter what your path is
If you believe it then anything can happen

Go go go, raise your glasses
Go go go, you can have it all

I toast you!

Here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it

Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you’ve got free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

All (all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)
I want you to have it (have it all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)
I want you to have it

(All)
Here’s to the good times we gonna have
(I want you to have it all)
Here’s to you always making me laugh
(I want you to have it all)
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
(I want you to have it all)
I want you to have it all

Wishing you the happiest 10th birthday my darling!

Love your biggest fan!

Your mom!

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She had a great birthday considering the CV-19 issue.  Skyped with cousins, received loads of well-wishes on Facebook and Whatsapp.  Received both acrylic and water color paints and a voucher to go buy rollerblades soon – was very happy.   Made a cake with her brother and decorated it herself.  Both kids will continue to enjoy it over the next couple days.     I’ve also included photos from the chocolate chip cookies from a couple days ago – which they loved too.  Both kids felt like they were on NailedIt using my KitchenAid – only I’m not anywhere near funny as Nicole Byers and no one wins $10,000.

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12th Birthday Party @ Hezemans Indoor Karting

Not that long after we moved to the Netherlands, I took the kids to Speelland at Berkse Bergen and it was there where Soren got bit by the karting bug.  While it’s a small track, for €2. you can drive around the outdoor kartbaan a few laps. So he did that a few times the two times we visited and he LOVED it.  He also visited American Road House in Zaltbommel and did karting with his dad.

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So it was no surprise when we asked him if he wanted a karting birthday party this year for a small group of friends, he agreed.  As he didn’t have a kids’ party last year, we really wanted to be sure to do something extra fun this year.  So after looking at our options we chose to drive down and check out Hezemans in Eindhoven.  It’s not that far of a drive and looked like the nicest and most professionally-run place.   During our short 15 minute visit, we were sold and he was so excited.    Here is he is with his favorite driver Max.  

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However we were not 100% sure that the parents of his friends would allow their kids to go karting as most boys around 11 wouldn’t have ever been karting before…  thankfully they all agreed!   

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For kids,  they offer two sizes karts.   Mini karts: for kids who are between 1.20 – 1.45 m and Junior karts:  for kids taller than 1.45 m but younger than 16 years old.  Thankfully all the boys who came along were taller, so they were all able to go into the Junior karts.  Our 9 year old daughter who came along yet didn’t race.  In fact, she couldn’t race with them even if she wanted to join as she’s not yet 1.45 m and they are pretty strict so something to keep in mind when booking this type of party.   We also kept the party quite small – which makes it much more manageable plus we had limited seats in the two cars.

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Kids Party Packages

Hezemans offers different party packages for groups of 4 kids or more;  which include track time, pancakes or fries and a snack.  You can add extra heats and even bowling or cooking your own food on a stone grill in the middle of the table.   All of the info is outlined on their website so you can customize how you want for your needs.   It can take kids a few laps to get the hang of it so they gave them some time for a practice ride and then another 8 or 10 minutes to really start racing.   You could see the confidence build and the lap times getting faster and faster.  They boys were really was impressive.   Our five guys were on the track with another party of four lads – who were celebrating a birthday too.  The one boy who faster than Soren attends their Sunday sessions so has a lot of experience.  I told Soren it might be something could try out more… but for now he had a LOT of fun doing this.    All in all we were there for about 3 hours.    They also have the kids parties on certain days & times  – we did a Friday from 3-6 pm as there is a lot of demand for adult parties here.  For obvious safety reasons, they cannot have the kid and adults on the track at the same time.

We did add 55 minutes of bowling into our party package for €12.50  which was fun and helped make the party a bit longer.  We were afraid of traffic heading out of Eindhoven on Friday night at 5:00 pm so it was great to wait just that big longer.  When we left after eating, there was no traffic – perfecr!!

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Safety first!

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At first we could see all the boys were a bit nervous about what to expect when they were out on the track.  What if they crashed.. how fast do they go, etc.   Their experts first show kids an instructional video and then gear them up in helmets and neck guards. Each child is fitted into a kids’ cart to ensure they can reach the pedals. Drivers aren’t let on to the track until they know how to brake, accelerate and back up, etc.  So the staff questions the kids to ensure they know what they are going.    It was 100% in Dutch so I didn’t get it all but my son did so that is good 🙂  The staff stays on the track to help young drivers who bump into the rails and to keep them in check if any issues.  Which at the end there was a few issues – apparently on the last heat one of the older boys in the other group did some banging into the back of two of our kids and a few tears were shed – which I think came about more in frustration than pain.   After a few minutes – tears were gone and all seemed fine.

Party Planning

The staff at were extremely helpful in figuring out the details of our go karting birthday party and during the party itself.  When you arrive, you are assigned a large table so you can come in and your have a place to leave your coats and keep as your sort of “base”.  As we live about 1/2 hour away, we had the kids first come to our house from school to hang out.  Cleary it’s a new world for me between the conversations and things which come out of the mouths of some of these boys and the fact that they were ALL (well one wasn’t as he doesn’t have a phone yet) playing on their PHONES together… I just had to take a photo.

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As they get out of school at 12:30 pm and we didn’t have to be there until 3, I first had the boys come back to ours.   They first had lunch – requested  Brabants worstenbroodjes, chips & soda = healthy & yummy – NOT 🙂  But I did make two delicious home-made cakes that morning, which they have been eating each day since.

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What I am not sure is if you are allowed to bring your own cake to the place – I assume not as there was a sign on the door that said no outside food allowed – but birthday cakes might be an exception.

Medals on the Podium

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To finish off the celebration, each child received a print-out of their race standings and the all the drivers received the same medal.  Everyone went up on the podium for a photo at once.   I do wish they separated the groups for the photo, but they were all set up at once so with the birthday boys in the 1st position (coincidentally) they were the fastest racers).  So, I have no idea who the kids in the photo to the left and the tall one in the back, other than they were the other group who raced at the same time our kids did.  It happened so fast and then before you knew it half were gone and a new group was there, so I couldn’t retake the photos of group.  I could just barely get them all looking at my phone at the same time 🙂

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Overall, Soren’s 12th birthday party was a definite hit.  All but one of his friends had never experienced karting before and they were beyond pumped after their first round of laps.  I suspect he’ll have this party here again next year and perhaps he’ll inspire some friends to also have karting parties.

I have some videos here is one.

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And of course, I created a photo collage of his favorite things – some old some new.

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Dear Son,

Today as you turn 12, I wish I could go back in time.   I wish I could go back and hold you as a baby. I wish I could go back to the delivery room to when Papa announced you were a boy and I insisted I see your peepee to be sure.  I’d love to see your little turtle face one more time.   Even with your colic and your need to sleep in the swing for the first four months of your life.  I hated to return to work after 12 weeks home with you and bringing you daily to Turtle Funs daycare – so when I had to chance to take redundancy and stay home, I jumped on it.  Being as stay at home mom for years has been rewarding as ever. It has also had challenging times when I felt lost and struggled and questioned if it was the right decision for me as a person.  But I honestly believe you turned out the way you are today because of the time I was able to spend with you each and every day.  I wish I could go back, sit still and be in that same moment just one more time.

When I look at pictures of you in your toddler years with your round cheeks and long fingers, I smile.  Wondering if you’d be a lefty based on the way you held your markers and paint brush or the way you threw a ball.   Inside my heart breaks a little bit because I wish I could squeeze you as you ask me a billion questions in your tiny voice, just one more time.

Now you lay on the couch next to me with your giant feet protruding under a fleece blanket and a telephone in your hands watching the Voice, Wie is de Mol and Hoogvliegers.  How and where has this time gone?  And here you are, this tall boy that will be a man when I blink just a few more times.

You’ve become gifted in the art of rolling your eyes when you disagree, and saying “Mom, just listen to me for a second…”. I’m not always good at listening; we both know that. We don’t always agree and sometimes I don’t handle our disagreements very well; I’m working on that.

But no matter what, you’re still my little boy. Even though your hands are nearly bigger than mine and your feet are now just that much bigger.  I still love your innocence and my help with doing your hair … and the fact that you only wear deodorant after gym les, and you take the LONGEST showers in the world.  You’re still my little boy.  You’ll be my little boy forever.

When I look back at those days when you were just a dream in my heart or a seven pound baby in my arms…I had no idea. I had no idea the incredible young man you would become. I had no idea how my heart would stretch and grow with every day of being your mom..I had no idea how proud or in love I would be.

I wish I could go back, but I wouldn’t want to miss a second of watching you right now. Raising you has been so fun and I’m looking forward to seeing you continue to grow… what will 12 bring … or 13 or 14.

Focus & do well in school – try your hardest and doors will open for you.  Without giving it your all, life will only be harder.   The choice is yours…

Stay curious my boy!!

Love Mom!

Sinterklaas Surprises – Love It or Hate It It’s a Dutch tradition and we LOVE it!

Sinterklaas Surprises – love it or hate it – it’s tradition!  If you have kids group 5-8, chances are your kids are required to make a “SUR-PRE-ZUH” leading up to Sinterklaas.  If you are new to Netherlands, you might not want to get caught off guard and show up with something less than expected – might be uncomfortable for the receiver and of course your child the giver.  This mom writes about her experiences on a local site.

Last year was our first full school year in the Netherlands, so it was our first experience with “Sinterklaas Surprises” and celebrating Sinterklaas.  So we made our own family celebrations  and then each year we add (or subtract) or edit.  This year the kids were looking so forward to all the festivities.  But as we also celebrate Christmas, they knew not to expect too many gifts on the 5th.  Also this was the first year we had two non-believers so it made it easier to set expectations.   Though it was quite sad at the same time as M – who had been questioning it all along was apparently told by the teacher – grrr!  So in the end – she was more mad that sad – asking “how could you lie to me for so many years?”  She is over it now but there was one full night of unconsolable drama and tears….

All in all, what the kids were looking forward to most this year was the Sinterklaas Surprises at the school.  In fact, we visited Vlieland again but this time our plan was to head up on the 5th – so no movie this year.  But when we realized they’d do the surprises in the morning, we moved to the evening ferry so  they could be at school the entire day to participate.   Luckily our school has a study day the next day, so we had the day off and could enjoy our time in Vlieland.   I’ll make a separate post about our time there.

SINTERKLAAS SURPRISES

You can see from this year’s surprises, some kids with and without help from parents spend a lot of time and thought into the surprise and others not much.

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For a child receiving a present which  is GEARED TOWARDS THEM and THEIR PERSONAL INTERESTS & HOBBIES is very special.   Perhaps even especially for girls. They even fill in forms to include their hobbies and interests along with things they do not like.   So with that said, even if you have not a creative bone in your body, a simple google search will turn up tons of ideas like this Pinterest board with nearly 300 ideas50 Nice & Easy Sinterklaas Surprise Ideas!   It is really not that hard to create a surprises but I guess you have got to want to make it and not treat it as a nuisance.

Sadly unlike last year, where she received an amazing surprise – a purple ice skate, [which is still on display in her bedroom] this year, she received one that was let’s just say more suited for a child who plays soccer and probably created in less than 10 minutes the night before.  

So for her and rightly so, she was a bit disappointed.  But as the is a mature 9 year old, and a nice girl, she didn’t get upset or cry, but you could tell when she brought it home, she was disappointed.   I wonder what this boy’s reaction would be if he were to receive a ballet slipper whipped together in less than 5 minutes – I’m sure he’d pout!  Anyway, this was her surprise and it goes down in the record books and went out in the next days recycling.

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My son received one right up his alley – a “MEME”! As he is always posting MEMEs on his friends app and sharing them with me so it was really perfect!

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WHAT MY KIDS MADE MADE

Here are the suprises my kids gave – along with a typed poem – the one of the left was a punch surprise – inside each hole was treats and a big chocolate letter inside.    And the dog looking cat (ha ha) was made out of fluffy cotton balls – inside the tiny box in the front was a package of washi tape and inside was also a giant chocolate letter.

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SINTERKLAAS KOEKJES

On the 5th there is a bit of a class party, Sint and some Piets visit the school, etc so I baked Sint cookies for both kids to take to school.  Extras were given out to the administration, teachers and helper as a thank you.   In fact, as I’m still starting out with my cookies, I did two rounds.

This first photo were of my first set of “oefenen koekjes” = practice cookies which I shared with local kids and my Inburgering classmates.   I picked up this cookie cutter for €1.50 at Dille & Camille but I found it a bit too small.

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Second photo were the actual cookies which were brought into school.  I ended up ordering online a larger Sint cookie cutter for €2.50 from Koekdesign.nl and it was perfect!    I put the in plastic baggies as I assumed some kids would take them home, but turned out they all ate them there.  Good to know for the future – no bags!   Now that I have PME 00 and 0 tips,  I know I can do a better job but they kids thought these were wonderful as is so I was happy about it and they did taste good (according to my kids). 
I never eat decorated cookies – I LOVE making and decorating but I don’t eat them. 

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I’m going to make some Winter themed cookies for their Kerst Dinner.  I’m thinking Extra Large Snowflakes, Xmas Trees, Hot Chocolate Mugs . My son asked me to also make my chili, so I’ll do both.

UPDATE:  Here are some photos of the cookies I made for the Kerst Diner –  slowly I’m getting better with consistency of the icing- still can’t get icing through the tiny  0, 00 and 1 PME to allow for fine details as hoped.   So while the tiny details are still a problem for me, I’m sure the kids are going to love these cookies – or at least I hope! 

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Maebh had a friend over and they decorated some cookies – but using buttercream frosting instead – as there was not enough time to let the royal icing dry.  Here are two photos of their beautiful creations! They are very excited to bring them to school to show their masterpieces.

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While they have 350+ days to wait until next year to start again, the thought of next year’s Sinterklaas Surprises is exciting!

If you are reading this and have an opinion on the whole tradition of Sinterklaas Surprises, do let me know.  Do you love it like us or do you dread it each year?

 

Mother’s Day 2019

Yesterday’s Mother’s Day was the BEST ever!  My kids, at 11 & 9, were totally alone in this effort.  They were downstairs in the kitchen where they made me breakfast and delivered it to me in my bed.  I heard loads of whispers and up comes two smiling kids, with granola, yogurt and cut strawberries and freshly squeezed orange juice.

And look at this drawing of me and the poem – pretty impressive!  I’m so lucky to be the mom of these two sweeties!

Looking forward to next year already! 🙂

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And S forgot his at school so I just got this today. His is in English vs Dutch 🙂

Note: ‘sorry I suck at crafts part’ Ha ha

New Years Eve

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Well, 2018 is finally coming to an end.  It wasn’t a particularly amazing year, but not the worst either.   We relocated from Ireland to the Netherlands – so loads of changes with the kids – school, language, houses, etc all the extra stress of that but we also go to vacation in Boston & New England for a month in the summer which was pretty amazing!

As with most NYE’s – our plans involve staying home, having cheese & chocolate and fondue, playing games and of course fireworks for the boys.

Both kids were telling me this morning they are going to go to bed early so they can wake up at midnight… hummm.   I’m not even sure I can make it to midnight!  I normally am in bed by 9 pm so 12 am is a HUGE deal for me.  I might join her at 9 and perhaps I’ll wake at midnight or not.

Turned out, we never played games and I ended up watching Bird Box on Netflix, while S played FIFA19 in the man cave and N & M took a 3 hour nap!  Now we have loads of nibbles to eat which we’ll do tonight while we watch the Big Friendly Giant or playing some games – or both.

Anwyay, while I cooked, M made slime adding in shaving cream.   Said it was the best slime ever!  It was pretty cool.

FIREWORKS

Before you go any further watch this video from SURVIVAL GUIDE TO THE DUTCH – it is hilarious.

Today, we specifically drove the local Lidl to buy a few of the fireworks they had and then we went to Tuincentrum GroenRijk [beautiful garden stuff btw] on the Graafseweg is clearly Den Bosch’s answer to ‘Where you get your fireworks in Den Bosch?”  It was packed and there was a system – you get an order form from the guy, walk around the shop looking at the items on display – loads were already sold out, place your order, pay and collect your goods.    Some guys were buying €400 worth of fireworks – I joked we’d like to come to their house at 12:01 am!  Personally, I’m a bit of a party pooper – I find them a big waste of money & DANGEROUS so would rather watch others and save my money, but I know N & S find it fun and to spend about €25 was fine!!    I read the Dutch will spend €70 MILLION on fireworks to use on this one night!!

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For the past couple days there has been so many loud bangs throughout the day and night.   And now that it’s actually New Year’s Eve – you can’t go 1 minute without a huge bang and considering where we live in the city center of Den Bosch, it’s quite tame.  There is a joke on my facebook page that just wait – the Netherlands on New Years Eve, is like Bagdad during Operation Desert Storm – crazy!!  Of course that is an extreme exaggeration  – but here is a great example.  A bit like Dublin on Halloween – all the a-holes come out and there is major, unnecessary violence!

Lucky for me, I didn’t have to leave the house to have a nice viewing of fireworks.  Especially from the back windows, M & I saw tons of fireworks going off from behind in the park, nearby houses and surrounding neighbourhoods.    We even saw a crazy guy putting fireworks in the street – turned out to be N! 🙂

Each year, Scheveningen (the North Beach) and Duindorp (the South Beach) compete for the title of the “highest bonfire” in the Netherlands on New Years’ Eve. This year, with winds, it got a bit out of hand and all the flickers from the bonfire we back into the dorp and things were catching on fire – it was a bit crazy.  Here is a video posted on nu.nl and here.

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CHEESE FONDUE

I personally do not like the taste of kirsch, so I don’t use it in my cheese fondue.  Instead I make it using a mix of chicken and veggie broth, crushed garlic and lemon juice, then remove the garlic, add the various cheeses and stir.  Serve with broccoli, carrots, apples, peppers, celery and bread.  It was yummy!

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We were to also have  Chocolate Fondue but we decided to put that off until New Year’s Day as it was too late with M & N long nap.   I woke her a 5 minutes to midnight to watch the countdown on tv, some of the fireworks from the windows, but then she went back to bed.   She was so tired – I know she really wanted to go out with the boys, but she’s too young – maybe next year …. agreed and happily went to bed.   She did join the boys early for a bit of a walk around and lit off a few simple fireworks… so that was her fill this year.

HAPPINESS, GRATEFUL JAR

I saw this on Pinterest – I LOVE PINTEREST!!  and think it’s a great thing for our family.  The kids and I are going to make this today and put in up in the dining room by the fireplace.  We don’t need to do it each day but when there is something good, accomplished goals, memories worth saving, meaningful or overall just something that made one of us happy – write it on this post it, and put it in the jar.   Then on Dec 31st, New Years Eve, we’ll open this jar and we’ll be able to reflect back on 2019 to see all these wonderful moment which  made us happy.

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NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS & WISHES FOR 2019

While normally I don’t make any ‘real ones’, but this year, I’ve asked each of us in our family to come up with some resolutions and wishes for 2019 this is what we’ve compiled.  Some are for the adults and others are for the kids.

  • EAT BETTER – consume less meat & processed foods.
  • EXERCISE MORE – Go for walks, bike rides, overall be more physical
  • LOSE WEIGHT
  • LEARN DUTCH MORE – I stopped my Inburgering lessons and will self-study for the next month or so and see how that goes.
  • SOCIAL LIFE – Expand our social circle of friends.  Host friends at our home more often.
  • READ MORE BOOKS AND THINGS IN DUTCH – oefenen, oefenen, oefenen!
  • ALWAYS GIVE OUR BEST IN OUR SPORTS, DANCING AND PIANO
  • FOCUS ON SELF CARE – BOTH MENTAL & PHYSICAL
  • ASK FOR HELP
  • GET IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
  • GET A PARK TIME JOB
  • LESS DEVICE TIME, MORE FAMILY GAME TIME
  • GET MORE SLEEP – Go to bed earlier & same time each night
  • SLEEP IN OWN BEDS
  • LIMIT ALCHOL – Avoid alcohol during the week
  • PERSUE OUR PASSIONS AND HOBBIES
  • KONMARI A FEW OF THE CLOSETS IN THE HOUSE & MY CRAFT ROOM
  • DON’T PUT UP OBSTACLES
  • VISIT MORE MUSEUMS
  • EXPLORE NETHERLANDS AND NEARBY COUNTRIES MORE OFTEN

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy & prosperous 2019 for all my friends & family near & far!

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Tree Farm: Kerstbomen Liempde, Netherlands

Even though Sinterklaas has not left the Netherlands yet, we wanted to get our Christmas tree up.  I know it’s only Dec 1st but as we were heading to Vlieland for a few nights and I’m scheduled to have surgery, and then Christmas was right around the corner, we didn’t want to wait too long.  Plus it’s cozy to have a Christmas tree up in the house. 

There is a vendor sending selling Xmas trees in the Den Bosch markt but I wanted to find a place to cut down our own tree.   Nearby our old house in Liempde/Boxtel, there is tree farm called Kerstbomen Liempde.   I know the traditional cut your own tree farm with all the extras like hot chocolate, etc would not be had here in The Netherlands but what we did find was perfect too.   I heard about this place from my MIL.  When we arrived, we were pointed to a couple different fields with different types of trees.  I knew what I wanted  – one that had firm needles and wasn’t too full.  I do like a bit of a Charlie Brown tree.  After walking around for a bit I found the one – and to my huge surprise it was only €25.  I think that was a GREAT price considering some years we paid over €85.  

The owner, Richard, was very helpful and friendly and after he cut down the tree, he brought it to our car and did a bit of extra trimming for me.  I wanted to ensure it fit into the stand (which I brought with me).  I’ve learned my lesson getting the tree home and finding out it’s too wide to fit into the stand and as I don’t own a saw, I didn’t want to hack at it with my breadknife (had to do that last year).  Thankfully our car is big enough it fit. 

With a little help from my reindeer the tree was up and we’re enjoying it each and every day!   This year I opt’d for white lights, though I’m sure the kids prefer the coloured lights we had last year.  

Our tree is up and decorated with special sentimental ornaments we collect from our travels and we’re enjoying it every day.