Friday, May 31, 2013

That's My Dog

Yesterday while walking our dog through the park I couldn't help but notice the colorful flowers and thought I'd stop and take a picture.  Between Wordless Wednesday & Instagram, I'm always needing new and interesting shots.  I told our Wheaten Terrier, Maggie, to sit so I could take a clear photo.  She did as requested, and I snapped a few shots.  But when I went to walk out of the shrubs and back to the path I realized there was no tension on the end of the leash.  I looked down to see the leash still around my wrist, but no dog on the end.  Somehow the leash had unhooked from the harness and she was gone.  I looked toward my tot who was oblivious to the dogs whereabouts.  We have a special call/whistle we use for Maggie, so I called her name and whistled.  Here she came like a bat out of hell.  She darted by and continued on.  The way she was running around the park you'd think it was her first taste of freedom.  (In reality, besides normal walks on the leash, she also gets to run free through the woods quite often.)  In and out of the bushes & flowers, out of sight, across our path, her legs spread using all her might.  Yelling "here" and whistling only caused her to dash by, she was in no mood to stop.  So my tot & I walked on, knowing she'd eventually follow after terrorizing the park.  Sure enough she rejoined us after a 5 minute spree, needless to say I wasn't pleased.  But I have to admit at one point while she was running like a mad woman, I had to laugh... "yep, that's my dog," I thought to myself.  This was not the first time it's happened, nor will it be the last.
I wish I had taken a photo of her while she was running passed but that was the last thing on my mind.  I did force her to sit next to flowers afterward for a shot.  It's not her best look, but that's because her hair is still growing back.  And of course I included the lovely serene picture I was taking before the escape!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #55

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Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Smoothie, Yum

When I drink a smoothie, I actually feel my health improving with each sip, as silly as it sounds.  And smoothies have endless possiblities, so they never grow boring.  But they do have their downfalls, fresh fruit & veggies can be expensive, it takes effort & clean up, and they don't store well.  So basically you have to buy the fruit as you go and not make portions larger than a glass, unless you have people you can share it with.  The sharing in our house gets complicated... see my husband rarely drinks a smoothie.  And half the ingredients my tot likes in hers, I can't have.  I end up making mutiple single serving smoothies (like I said, lots of effort & clean up).  I've always liked smoothies, but I originally started making smoothies for my tot so that we could freeze the blend and make healthy popsicles (turns out she also likes drinking them).  Since she has no fruit allergies, I toss in everything, this way the popsicles and smoothies are always surprising.  Some blends she prefers more than others, she'll tolerate some seeds & bits, but I know not to push it.  Now for myself, smoothies are tricky.  During my pregnancy years ago, I developed allergies, and this includes a lot of raw fruits.  Most all of the general ingredients for a yummy healthy smoothie I just can't drink.  So I have to get creative.  I have a couple smoothie recipe books and I keep meaning to gather the ingredients but inevitably I just use what's on sale or already in the house.  I can still manage to make a tasty smoothie despite the fact apple, pear, and strawberries are on my "avoid like the plague" list.  Due to ingredients around the house this past week, I came up with a tasty fruit & veggie smoothie I thought I'd share.  
1 mandarin
2 kiwis
2 cherry tomatoes
5 baby carrots
This mix of ingredients means the smoothie turns a strange orangish color, but who really cares what color it is as long as it tastes nice.  The first time I made one I was overwhelmed with the carrot chunks (luckily I like carrots), so the next time I was sure to blend longer.  And these fruits & veggies are high in vitamin A, C, & K.  A is good for your eyes, C is good for the immune system, & K is good for bone health.  Can't complain!

Hope you give the smoothie a chance, and if not, I'm sure I'll come up with another one you can try out!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Van De Streek Bier

Beer is pretty common in our house, sure we have our favorites but we are also willing to branch out and try a variety of brands (generally those on sale, ha-ha!)  When one of my husbands employees decided to take a personal hobby to the next level and start brewing beer for the public, we jumped on board and ordered a 12 pack.  It took a while but a week or so ago the beer arrived!  I was pleasantly surprised to find two types of beer in the box, a pale ale and a dark roast.  Since it was Friday we popped the beers in the fridge and patiently waited for them to cool.  Now I'm not sure if the dark roast was supposed to be served cold or warm, but I'm not a fan of warm beer so we drank it cold.  (Probably should have asked the brewer.)  Both types of beer were nice but I took to the dark roast, maybe because it's a coffee stout.  One thing my husband had to warn me about was the alcohol content, apparently these beers are much stronger than the grocery store beer.  That was quite evident after even just one.  As far as I know, the beer is only available here in The Netherlands, and since it's a fairly new company they are now trying to get their product into bars.. who knows maybe one day it'll be on the shelf at the store also.  I wish the Van De Streek brothers a lot of success in their endeavors, proost (cheers)!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #54

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Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Het Zandkasteel

This weekend we scored a lot of awesome parents points, we took our tot to the theater to watch one of her favorite tv shows live!!!  Our tot loves one of the educational Dutch tv shows called Het Zandkasteel, and when she saw on You Tube you could see them live we went in search of tickets.

For any of you that have been to kids shows you basically know what to expect from the kids.  A lot of excitement days leading up to the show, sheer pleasure the first 30 minutes, then antsiness, & after all is said and done endlessly looking at photos!  Luckily our tot loved the show, she did every silly thing they asked & even met them afterwards.  Now my husband he enjoyed watching our tots excitement at first but then quickly realized he was actually going to be expected to watch  the show for the next hour.  I don't think he would have survived without his iPhone for entertainment.

As for me, I often hear the show in the background and happily sang along.  Plus having front row seats made it twice as nice.  In the future I think just the moms will take the kids to the theater, ha-ha!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Board Games #2

Last summer I mentioned that my husband & I love board games, and now we are trying our best to get our tot interested also.  When buying games for her I try and pick up things from my childhood, like Hungry Hippo & The Fishing Game.  And now that she's older it's time to move on to actual board games.  Again, I thought back to my childhood and the games I played with pleasure and two popped to mind, Chutes & Ladders and Candy Land.  Enthusiastically I hopped online and tried to order them here in The Netherlands.  It was more effort than I realized, I ended up ordering one through the UK and the other from the US!  Waiting for the deliveries it turned out I was way more excited than her, but to be fair she had no idea what was ahead.  The first game to arrive was Chutes & Ladders.  Of course she won first round within minutes, but the next rounds took longer.  I found that the fact we kept constantly landing on the chutes (slides) and getting sent back made the game last longer than her patience.  Plus the new design of the board is so busy that it's hard for a 3yr old to actually understand where the chutes or ladders start.  But with time and repetition she'll figure it out and appreciate it.  I have fond memories of playing this game with my grandma.  When Candy Land arrived she was fascinated with the board design, and loved the candy theme.  And since it's basically just one trail it was easy for her to follow.  Plus she won again quite fast, which obviously keeps her interest.  So far it's been the big hit!  Chutes & Ladders relies on numbers and Candy Land on pictures which is obviously easier for a toddler.  It's also simple enough for us to explain to her Dutch friends, so now they can all play together.  Do you have any recommendations for toddler board games?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #53

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Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Losing My Mind

The other day I actually questioned my own sanity... those who know me are probably chuckling, my sanity is generally questionable, ha-ha!  In the parking lot of our apartment building there is a patch of dirt & grass, and a huge tree, this has become my dog's 3rd toilet.  #1 is a dog toilet in the neighborhood for speedy walks, and #2 is a strip of grass about ten minutes from where I live.  Bathroom #3 is used between walks, it's just not always possible to run her to allotted dog toilets.  Anyway, back on subject, in this patch of grass & dirt occasionally flowers pop up, it's spring, it's normal.  But then the flowers disappeared, not so normal.  The first time I noticed the flowers were gone, I thought the wind possibly blew them away or maybe they just fell off, it happens.  (I'm not always fully awake when my dog goes to toilet #3.)  Then the flowers magically came back (magic, yeah).  I convinced myself it's spring they're constantly renewing themselves.  And then they all disappeared again.  For a brief moment I thought I was possibly losing my mind, seeing things, who knows.  I knew at that moment I was going to have to start paying attention, my head is quite busy and focusing takes more effort than for others (if you haven't noticed).  It took me all of two days to see the process happen again and again, and then it dawned on me... deep in the swirling of my brain I remembered science class.  And there are plenty of flowers that open and shut throughout the day, dumb*#!  I snapped some pics so I could look the flower up and of course show it to you, turns out it is a Star of Bethlehem.  That's one less unsolved phenomenon in my life, ha-ha!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Center Parcs

As promised, I'm finally getting around to telling you all about our weekend getaway to Center Parcs.  Center Parcs is a huge franchise with parks in multiple countries, but we decided to go with one close to home.  Within 30 minutes from our house lies Center Parcs - De Kempervennen, who knew you could go on vacation so close to home, ha-ha!  But I must admit, I felt worlds away from Eindhoven and when we returned home we all felt relaxed and rejuvenated.  Center Parcs offers cottages you can rent for the weekend or longer, and within the park they offer more activities than I could even start to list.  You can also visit the park for the day, if you're not interested in staying in one of the cottages.  Since we were going with two families we went ahead and rented one of the larger cottages, and this one was even equipped with things for the kids, like a bunk bed and toys.  The cottages are all located in the woods and once you've unloaded your car you're required to take it to a parking lot on the outskirts of the park, which means it's quiet and you walk everywhere.  Besides the cottage being located in the quiet of the woods, ours was also situated next to a pond.  All we had to do was open the door to the terrace and we could walk down to the duck filled pond, and considering we all brought our dogs they too were ecstatic.  You can make the trip as expensive or affordable as you like, you can request every package they offer (even grocery or meal delivery) or you can bring things from home.  Since we weren't travelling far we loaded our cars up with every amenity you can imagine, anything to make the stay more comfortable.  We brought a lot of food but we also were sure to eat at a couple of the restaurants while we were there.  Besides treating ourselves to everything from bbq to pizza, we also made sure to try out a handful of the offered activities.  In the course of the weekend, we swam at the large indoor tropical pool, the kids played at 4 different playgrounds, played midget golf, the guys played basketball, went to a petting zoo, the kids play in one of the many lakes, and even sat lakeside in the sand for lunch and drinks watching people wakeboard & waterski.  There were many more things we wanted to do, but there just wasn't enough time, we'll save things like the swan-shaped pedal boats and the white-water slide for the next trip.  You can even rent bikes, go indoor snow skiing, or play tennis is you like, oh yeah, and instead of the normal cottage I think you can also rent a houseboat.  They really have it all!  Some highlights for me, the underwater disposable camera I brought and the hopefully great shots I took at the pool and on the water slides (still have to get it developed) and the afternoon on the water I felt like I was back in Florida just minus the excruciating heat.  (Wish I could give you more pics but I don't like posting too many pics of my family & friends on my blog.)  A big thanks to the hubby for making this possible! 
And of course to all you mother's out there, especially mine, Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #52

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Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Makes Me Laugh (#2)

Around town I'm always seeing things that make me laugh. When I saw this I burst out laughing and just had to take a picture for everyone.
Would you buy clothes from this guy?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Getaway

I would like to be sitting down telling you all about our great weekend getaway to Center Parcs (De Kempervennen) but instead I am busy unpacking, doing laundry, and preparing for our nieces to visit.  I hope to squeeze in a post before Wordless Wednesday but not sure if my agenda will allow that.  If not, you'll hear from me by the end of the week!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Queen's/King's Day

Queen's Day is was one of my favorite Dutch holidays.  (Since I've been blogging for a while now this isn't the first time you've heard about it.)  But this year's Queen's Day is the last one for a long-long time.  The Dutch Queen has stepped down and her son has taken over, so next year we'll be celebrating King's Day instead.  Not really sure if that will have an effect on the fun holiday or not, a holiday known for its markets, music, and of course orange clothing/accessories.  Since I've lived in The Netherlands I have participated in as many Queen's Day (April 30th) celebrations as possible, and this year was no different.  Well, the atmosphere was different, more subdued... maybe I'm getting older or maybe the Dutch were just more focused on the Queen's abdication.  Last year there were dj's everywhere and lots of space to dance and party.  But this year, there were a lot of tables and chairs, and the weather was cooler, all of which have an influence on the day.  It didn't stop us from having fun though.  And this year I lasted twice as long as last year!  Last year we found one great bar & dj and basically stayed there, this year, we were all over the place.  We hit up at least 4 or 5 venues and squeezed in dinner at an Indian restaurant in between.  As usual I took a ton of pictures, with 7 people roaming mass crowds there was always something going on.  We were even separated for a while!  A couple holidays ago I realized it was quicker and cleaner for me to walk back to our apartment to use the bathroom than wait in line for a port-o-pot or use one at a bar.  First bathroom break went well, second one (after a few more drinks) ended up in a 30 minute search to find our husbands again.  I told my husband we should have picked a meeting point, oh well!  As I mentioned we had dinner reservations, I seriously doubted we would make it but we did, and it was great.  We even had half the restaurant to ourselves, thanks to a partition wall.  In all of my Queen's Days I've learned to stock up on the orange accessories early.  I bought a pair of orange sunglasses for 80 cents in the weeks leading up to the holiday and while we were in the middle of the crowds I saw someone selling the same ones for 10 euros, crazy!  I've also learned don't take anything you value, because you'll either lose it or get it so dirty you'll want to toss it afterwards.  You can only imagine thousands of people littering their food and beer cups everywhere, not quite nice to walk through by the end of the night.  I'll leave you with pics as always, and a big thanks to the old friends & new friends who helped make the day a blast!  And to my in-laws for babysitting!!
And of course, happy birthday Mom (next year the day is all yours because King's Day is on the 27th)!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #51

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Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...