Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tough readjustment

From sand:
Djerba, Tunisia

To snow:
Back home in Luxembourg

Not that I'm complaining!  Four days on the beach in Tunisia....  Heaven.  I'll be back soon with an update and some more pictures.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Forest walk bracelets

The kids and I have been taking advantage of the intermittent good weather (okay, a day or two between rainstorms) to enjoy the incredible fall foliage surrounding us.  We recently took a little walk in the forest behind our house and made these bracelets:

I folded over the edges of a piece of duct tape, leaving a sticky strip in the middle, then as we walked the kids gathered interesting leaves, twigs, bugs (!), or whatever else struck their fancy, and stuck it on the tape.  When we got home, we put clear plastic wrap over their finds, then bordered the bracelet with another strip of duct tape on each side.  Punch a hole in both ends, tie with yarn and -- voilà -- a beautiful nature bracelet.

Kate was quite happy that I happened to have purple duct tape on hand.

It was a fun project and really kept them engaged on the walk.

Of course, I can't take credit for the idea;  I read about it somewhere.  Instructions can be found HERE.

Friday, November 12, 2010

One that's probably of no interest to anyone but me...

I've always admired the lovely slate roofs here and have noticed that they all have hooks scattered over them at regular intervals.  My aunt and I were discussing their purpose and concluded that they must be there to help people ascend or stay on in some manner.  But we couldn't quite figure out how.

Then, the other day, as I'm walking through Limpertsberg I spot a roofing van with this photo on the side:
Mystery solved!

 See how they slip the ladder over the hook so they can climb up?

I feel so much better now that I have an answer to this burning question. ;)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nancy, France

I'd heard such great things about Nancy, France, and when I realized it was only 90 minutes away, I decided to pack the kids up for a road trip.  Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!  What a beautiful city.

Kate, racing toward the city center.  Will, racing -- as usual -- away from the camera.
Beautiful sculptures like these were scattered all over the city
 This is the famous Place Stanislas, which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful in France.  I don't doubt it.  The picture is crummy and doesn't begin to do it justice!
Place Stanislas.  I really must remember to bring my real camera, not just the iPhone.

Click here for better pictures!

As you can see, Place Stanislas was enormous and car-free, which made it perfect for the kids to race around.  Can you believe it took Will 74 seconds to run from one side to the other and back?  Of course, he had to do it several times to try and beat his record, which conveniently wore him out.  Mom's no dummy. :)

The Place has beautiful fountains like these, which also helped entertain the children.

In this way, Mom got to spend a very relaxing couple of hours lingering over a delicious lunch on the plaza while the kids -- after gobbling their lunches -- ran around like little maniacs.  It was so nice, and the weather couldn't have been better. 

Incidentally, as we were driving into the city, the kids spotted a McDonalds and the clamoring to eat there began.  Like we'd go to France and eat at McDonalds.  Silly kids.  They pouted a little but ended up being delighted by the salmon they ordered.  It was really good.  Wouldn't it be nice if someday I had to try to talk them into eating at McDonald's?  I'm always hoping that if I keep exposing them to really good food, they'll end up preferring it.  Too much to hope for?  
Kate insisted on a photo in front of the beautiful fountain.
 Here's Kate walking through the beautiful Arc de Triomphe leading away from Place Stanislas.

We really didn't have much of an agenda, and I knew that since we didn't have much time we'd only be able to see a part of the city.  So the only thing on our must-see list was the Place Stanislas and the nearby Parc de la Pepinière, which I'd heard even had a small zoo.  It did, but even better, it also had a carnival!  The kids were in heaven!
Parc de la Pepinière
I bribed Will with carnival rides to pose for this one.  I should've insisted on a smile for the price of those tickets!
 Kate chose this flying dragon ride...
 ...while Will chose this shooting game.  It was a real pellet gun!

He was surprisingly good, popping two out of the three balloons with only three shots!

Then we wandered over to the zoo, where we found this guy.  The kids loved him.  He delighted them by hurling leaves and sticks at us.

More bribery.  This time for a crepe!
The very next day, Will asked if we could please go back to Nancy that day.  A sure sign of a successful outing!

Fall Adventures

As I mentioned, the kids have been off school for the past week because of the half-term holiday.  We couldn't go away anywhere since Roger had to work, but the kids and I have been making good use of the time.  

We finally got around to visiting the Natural History Museum here in Luxembourg:
I'm not sure what this was, but Kate wanted her picture in front of it:

We spent lots of time on scooters, too.  Here's Kate with the one she got for her 4th birthday:

And here's Kate, "cwoss," because her new scooter wasn't "cowopewating":

A couple of days later, the kids and I headed to Belgium to visit the Eurospace Center there.  Will was in heaven, Kate not so much.  But they both loved the real rockets outside:

Especially Will.
He had to pose in front of every one they had:

I didn't complain because normally I have to bribe him to get his photo!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall Scenery

I know I say this every season, but I think that fall has to be the best time of year here in Luxembourg.  I'm shocked to admit this, since I love warm weather and am dreading the cold months ahead, but autumn here is incredible.  The leaves!!  I've never lived anywhere that really had seasons, much less a place surrounded by forests that are transformed into seas of gold, red and orange.  What a difference that makes!

Since the kids have had the past week off for the half-term holiday, we've been taking advantage of the relatively mild fall weather and the beautiful scenery, and have managed to pack quite a bit into this week.

I'll post about all that soon, but for now I just wanted to leave a few photos of the gorgeous autumn scenery:
Overlooking the Grund

From our backyard:


And a few taken on a walk in our neighborhood:  

As you can imagine, living on the edge of a forest means a LOT of leaves fall into our backyard.  Of course, we rake them up every day.  NOT!  But the City of Luxembourg is on the job.  A guy was out in the alley behind our house with a leafblower yesterday morning, blowing all the leaves back in to the forest.

Two hours later, it looked like this:

Don't you think the city could find a better way to spend its money?