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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Public Holiday..... NOT .

5 May, as marked on my dutch calendar, is an official public holiday (although, it is official only once every 5 years). Anywayz, it's supposed to be Liberation Day --- and although Liberation Day is celebrated every year, it is officially a public holiday only once every 5 last year, when i thought it was a holiday, it wasn't (@_@)

now, 2010 is the "every 5th" year -- and so i thought, ok, we will be able to enjoy the "holiday" -- but hahaha, it's not to be! cos hubbie's company, for whatever good reason, does not recognise this public holiday.

why do they like to complicate a simple matter such a public holiday?? i am baffled. or maybe it's not complicated at all -- just perceived so by me, the simpleton!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's Up with Kaira in April

she's enjoying the warmer weather -- and always asking for ice cream! sigh .... need to control her.

anywayz, here are just some photos we took recently .... for the grandparents viewing pleasure ;)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What a gorgeous weekend!!!

if this is an indication of the weather ahead -- it's really cause for celebration!! sunny, temperature around 20 degrees celsius, dry .... yeah!!!! i feel happy just thinking about it ;)

this weekend, we decided to take it easy -- cos next week, we may drive to Lille on friday and Gent on Sunday (it's a long weekend next weekend -- celebrating Queen's Day). but yet, i felt that we did alot!! thanks to the weather.

first thing on saturday morning, we did our daily marketing. then had a simple lunch of homemade burgers before bringing kaira to the park to while away a couple of hours. on the whim, we decided that we will drive to Dusseldorf for dinner as felt like having japanese. so at 3.45pm we set off to Dusseldorf. Reached there ard 5.15pm and had some time to pop by the japanese supermarkets to pick up japanese snacks, goodies etc. dinner @ 6pm and after dinner, we had time to do some shopping etc (isn't it great that some shops close @ 8pm instead of 5pm like here in eindhoven!?!). and we made our way home @ 8pm.

it seemed like we didn't do much -- but yet it was a very satisfying day for me!!! just time to enjoy our surroundings, appreciate what we have and luxuriate in the simplicity of life here.

i am looking forward to another relaxing day today (sunday) .... and just go with the flow..... when kaira was younger -- i have to admit that i am quite a stickler for routine and planned itineraries .... ;p must make sure she has her meals on time, be home (or whatever suitable place) on time for her naps etc etc -- it's difficult to just enjoy and go with the flow.... now that she's older -- i think it's time for me to loosen up a little!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day @ Nationale Park De Hoge Veluwe

The weather was gorgeous today so we decided to have some outdoor fun and headed to De Hoge Veluwe National Park, which is about an hour's drive from our place.

There are 3 entrances to the park and we headed to the Otterlo entrance. Our drive there took us via Verlengde Arnhemseweg and we passed by a restaurant Planken Wambius which attracted our attention cos a convoy of sports car (think Porsche, Ferrari, etc) were making their exit from this restaurant. so we took a mental note of this place as a potential "candidate" for dinner ;)

anyway, back to the park.

there are free white bikes provided @ the park and it really makes it so much more convenient! love it. it's my first time cycling on a bike without handbrakes! and dear hubbie didn't tell me beforehand that if i want to brake i am supposed to reverse pedal (ok, now i know!) .... so there i was, trying to use my legs to brake....LOL. anyway, after knowing the "trick", it was a breeze ;p hehehe.

seriously, tell me, do u know that reverse pedalling is a form of brake??? who knows such things? not me .... ;p how does hubby know? beats me! that's y he's the best!!! hehehe.

the park is huge but maybe it's the time of the year so it's still kind of brown. and i was complaining that we are having more "brownery" instead of "greenery", which is what comes to mine when i see the word "park" .... hehehe. and i was disappointed we didn't see any animals ;( mebbe we weren't cycling @ the right areas or maybe cos we didn't venture to the off-beaten track .... guess the animals will have to wait till the next visit.

Was glad that we went to the Kroller-Muller museum. It has a very huge outdoor sculpture garden and some of the sculptures were "interactive" and very interesting. Kaira had a wonderful time running about and "interacting" with art!

Of course, in netherlands, the park is not complete without a children's play area and that made Kaira's day ;)

it was a really leisurely afternoon @ the park (we reached ard 1pm and left ard 530pm. could have stayed longer as it closes at 8pm but the gal was very tired by then) and if not for the rather pricey entrance (7.50euro per adult excluding the museum), i would love to come here more often!

so did we have dinner at plankenwambuis as planned? well, we did go there, but one look @ the setting and menu, we decided to give it a miss. don't think it's a place for toddlers ;p would be better if we made it for lunch or tea where we can enjoy the more relaxed terrace seating area. the dinner setting was way too formal for us. think we will "disturb" the rest of the patrons. hehe. so we settled for a family style restaurant with an outdoor play area for children. the food was not great, but it was relaxing!

so all in, a very nice outing. :)

this year, my goal is to visit as many of the dutch local attractions as possible. this being the first of our list. i have quite a long list, let's see how much we can cover this year ;)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Which currency will depreciate next???

Do you want to know which currency is likely to depreciate next against SGD???

Wellz, please monitor which country we will be heading to next!!! :p

*HAHA* kidding lah.

but on a serious note, it's been 100% correct so far. we went to Hong Kong in 2004 and the HKD just kept depreciating against SGD the whole 4 years we there!! then we came to europe in 2008, and look at the euro today!!

无缘无故 suffer a paycut!!! haizzzzz

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Survival Dutch

yep, that's the name of the class that i have just started attending (first lesson was yesterday)!

i signed up for this last year but in recent weeks have been half-hearted about attending the class ;p laziness is one thing. the other being i am not sure how long we will be here and if i should spend the money on the lessons ??

anywayz, i am quite glad i went. it's a good way to know more people and have more interaction. plus i guess learning the language will always be handy.

but i can't help laughing at myself while trying to pronounce the very simple dutch words, or even the alphabets. so difficult. especially the letters "R" and "U" -- i have yet to master the pronounciation.

anywayz, this is for 10 lessons (of which i will be missing 2 cos we are going away for a cruise in May) and will end in mid-June. let's see how i progress and whether i will progress further???

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

School Update - 3rd week

Today's her 5th time attending school. and she did well today! was very cooperative getting ready for school. when i drop her off @ school, she didn't cry at all and even kissed me goodbye before trotting off to look for the other teacher and children!

when she asked me yesterday when's she's going to school again, i can sense that she really liked school and was hopeful that the drop-off will be better i.e. no or less crying. and today, she indeed did not cry.

i am very proud of her.

i hope that this continues!!

See Me Eat!

it's only recently that i allowed her to hold the chicken drumlette/wing and eat it by herself ... and she seems to be enjoying this new "activity". it's still quite a messy affair but definitely less messy than before!


Monday, April 05, 2010

Luxembourg City + Vianden

This is our third attempt planning a trip to Luxembourg and we finally made it!

Although the wet and grey weather really does little justice to the beautiful city. The rain and grey skies took some charm away i suppose ;(

Why didn't we make it the last 2 times? well, both times kaira came down with fever one day before the trip so we cancelled it.

It was really a smooth 3 hour (slightly under) drive to Luxembourg and we didn't even make a pit stop! so we reached the city ready for lunch. it's really a very small city, so 1 day is more than sufficient for one to explore the place.

and because it was raining, we spend quite alot of our time having lunch, tea and dinner!! ;p o, and Namur, where we had tea was excellent. nice pastries, good ambience ....wish we had more of these around here! ;p

so what's there to see? the Grand Ducal Palace, Petrusse Valley where the Grund, casemates etc are located. it's really a pity that the rain kind of put a spoiler on our plans.

Next day, we made our way to the Les Ardennes region, a town called Vianden. lovely castle, lovely river, small town atmosphere (which i love!) .... a perfect place to while away time with .... more tea!! and food! actually there's a chairlift that we could have taken to the top of a hill but with the wet weather, we decided to give it a miss.

every time we visit a town where a river runs through it, it's always lovely. even with the rain. somehow the river made the difference! and maybe that's y, the songwriter was inspired to write the song "I have peace like a river"!! i can finally understand why!!

this trip is really quite leisurely -- cos so much of our time is spent indoors, eating ;p let's see if there's a chance to visit it again in better weather. i would love the explore the Les Ardennes a bit more :)

Friday, April 02, 2010

School Update - 2nd week

This is her second week attending school (PeuterSpeelzaal) and for a 2 yr 4+month old, i think she's really adapting well and doing great.

yes, she still cries when i drop her off. last week, being her first week, for both days she cried abt 15 minutes before stopping. this week, on tuesday, she cried for 10 mins and today, i believe she cried for 5 mins or so.

yes, she's grouchy and moody in the beginning, but both days this week when i went to pick her, she was very excited to see me and will shout "mummy mummy" and was generally in a jovial mood.

she loves to sing the dutch songs and can count from 1 to 10 in dutch. and because they have been doing Easter-related craft work, she came back and sprouted 2 dutch words -- kip (for chicken) and konijn (for rabbit). good that i know some basic dutch words lah -- so when she sprouts all these -- i can still figure out what she's saying ;p

today when i was approaching the school, i saw the school kids all playing @ the yard (this is quite common, especially when the weather is good!) and my dear little kaira was riding the tricycle -- without any help from the teacher. she could actually pedal and cycle. (altho for a short distance only)

i know she has been working on this skill since she first started school (that's also the reason why we brought her out on her tricycle last weekend to kind of reinforce it) -- but i was really surprised that she can manoeuvre the tricycle all by herself. (guess she also has no choice but to try to be as independent since the teacher is unlikely to be assisting her all the time).

and i guess that's the part of the day she likes best -- getting to play outside.

so all in all, school's going well for her i suppose!


She's always asking me to do art and craft with her. or play new games, read new books, i am running out of ideas at times!

thanks to PP who gave us some activity books when we met up in Singapore, i took them out for her to practice her writing!!

wellz, initially she's quite enthusiastic. practicing the straight lines and curve lines and even manage to finish the "A" worksheet.

but haha, after that, patience went off. keep wanting to skip the pages and go on the B, to C, to D etc......

anywayz, i am not sure if she's really grasping the art of writing now .... just let her be since she seems to find it fun ... ;p