Friday, June 29, 2012


With just a few more days left in our vacation I can honestly say I'm homesick. I miss my dog (and he misses us!)I miss my bed, my english speaking friends, my own car, my Hulu and Netflix, Internet, my Publix, my beach, my savannah and my family. Three weeks is a long time to be away but it is necessary under the circumstances.
Eric's parents are getting older and it is really important for them to have a relationship with their only grandchildren.
I realize and accept the fact that one day I may have to follow my husband to Holland permanently. I am subconsciously choosing where I would want to live, how I would furnish my home and even what type of car and bicycle I would have.
Next year we may try to spend the entire summer here and each summer after that. Once Andy leaves the nest it will become more of a possibility.
One cool souvenir we will bring with us is Eric's 1986 Honda CRX. It's in mint condition and it is sooooo cool! He had been preparing it to go on a container ship in Rotterdam and it should show up in Savannah in a few weeks. With new tires and a new battery, it cranked right up on the first try! Gotta love a Honda.
Tuesday we begin our long trek home. It cannot come soon enough. Just a few more days, Maxie!

Gerrit putting on the new tires!
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Middelharnis and Wilko

Saturday we visited one of my favorite shopping towns, Middelharnis. I picked up some cool Birkenstocks. They are much cheaper (€49 compared to $80-100 in the states) here because they are made in Germany and they have a rainbow of colors and designs. We had lunch on the waterfront and enjoyed yet another rare beautiful day.
We have been lucky overall with pretty good weather. But it is still our equivalent to March or April as far as the temps. It's hard to believe its almost July here.
After shopping we headed to a small town Mellisant to visit Eric's best friend Wilko and his family. They made burgers and hotdogs on the grill with kip satรจ (chicken kabobs). We all had fun playing with their kids Emily and Jelle (Yella). Gerrit said he wants a baby brother now (um, negative).

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Boys playing on some random spinny thing on the street.

Thijs and his new statue friend.

Gerrit has gas

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Some strange panhandler with this musical contraption. Sorry about the shaky video I was trying to be sly.

Waterfront in Middelharnis

Dutch BBQ

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On Wednesday we went to the zoo, Blijdorp. Wasn't sure what to expect because the only zoo we had ever been to was an American zoo.
The animals, for the most part, we're the same as our zoos. But they also had exhibits that were animals that we would consider pets or even pests.
For example, raccoons. We have only ever seen coons as dumpster diving rodents who like to ruin camping trips. But here they are exotic animals.
Also, hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils (even if it was dead!)
We also noticed that there was very little safety barriers in place for some of the animals. We would see red pandas up in the trees with nothing but a moat keeping it in its habitat.
The highlight of the day was when Thijs grabbed an electric fence and got quite a shock! This would have never been possible in an American zoo. But I guess the Dutch tend to have more common sense to stay away from the edge of the elephant habitat. Not us! I was constantly wondering how the hell they keep kids from getting hurt or maimed.
Overall we had a great day and the kids had a blast!

Not a bald eagle.


Half horse half zebra

Crazy prairie dogs were climbing all over.

The giraffes were so cool.

The Polar Bear or ijs bear had thrown something at one of the windows here and shattered it. Scary.

The fence separating the people from the animals. Notice the electric fence. They trust their animals.

Dead gerbil.

Amsterdam and the Red Light District

Today we took a road trip to Amsterdam. We set out to visit Nemo Science Museum which was so much fun for the kids (and us, honestly).
We took a water taxi to the Centrum. Good God, that place is chaotic! So many people and so much stuff to see. It was quite overwhelming.
After dinner we decided to walk back to the car which led us right through the Red Light District.
We had been teasing Andy for weeks that we would take him. Eric took him down an alley to see what the fuss is all about. At 14, I'm sure this is one thing to be checked off his bucket list. At first he was scared but then he relented after a lot of arm twisting (not). Little did I know that when we parked at 12:00 noon we had actually parked at the edge of the red light district.
As we walked, the houses with "red" porch lights were coming on and the shows were getting started. Unfortunately, the boys all got an eye full as we passed (inadvertently) several peep shows on the way to the car. There were several women getting primped in their tiny panties in all of the windows. There were others just laying casually in their bed right on the street in the window. Unfortunately you couldn't take photos but I managed a couple from a distance :) don't judge me as a parent. My three sons saw more today than most kids see in a lifetime. Note- when visiting souvenir stores in Amsterdam, don't take the kids. There are more XXX rated items than a Spencers at the mall. Also, when passing coffee shops find a creative way to convince the kids that they ARE NOT like Starbucks!
Here's a few pics and videos of our day:

Nemo building. Super cool.

The rooftop at Nemo

Water taxi

Tall ship

Cool row houses on the water in Amsterdam

Andy in the Centrum

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360 view

This place reeked each time we walked by.

Gerrit sitting on a shroom

Gerrit on the water taxi

Sorry. Couldnt resist a photo op.

Yes, the red light district.

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Saying goodbye to the big boys. They returned fairly quickly.

Eric got caught!

Thousands of bikes lining the streets

Poor Andy. He didn't want me to take this pic.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dutch Paula Deen

Yeah, that's me.
The past two nights we decided to give Oma a break in the kitchen and I would try my hand at cooking for the boys here in Holland. Just going to the grocery is intimidating. Not being able to read labels, ingredients, or even use the damn oven is challenging.
I was determined to prove to my husband that I can actually cook Dutch food IN Holland.
Last night I made bratwurst with curry, potat with witloaf prokke. In English- bratwurst with boiled potatoes and endive smothered in Oma's vegetable sauce. I rocked it (if I do say so myself!). This is pretty much the extent of my cooking knowledge here so the rest should be interesting.
I'm off to the store again to figure out tonight's dinner.
to be continued...

Ok so tonight I made bacon wrapped schnitzel (pork chops), with broccoli, homemade Mac n cheese and BBQ mini potato balls. It turned out pretty darn good!
It is traditional to finish the meal with Vla which is similar to vanilla pudding but thinner. The kids LOVE it!

Here's a few pics from the local Albert Hien grocery store and my dinner tonight :)

My induction top stove

The boys eating the Vla

Produce section all behind seamless glass doors. Kinda cool.

I think these are shrimp but I'm not certain and I don't want to find out!

The cereal aisle. Yep. That's it.

Meat and cheeses

Typical Dutch shrimp. About the size of a dime! Not tasty either. :(

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Andy has been so bored that we decided to do something fun yesterday just for him. We drove 40 minutes north to Rotterdam. One of Holland's largest cities and one of the largest shipping ports in the world.
We climbed the Euromast which is like the Space Needle in Vegas but without the insane roller coasters. It was cold and Gerrit was not having fun. He is not a big fan of heights. (maybe this means he won't try anything stupid when he gets older like skydiving or bungee jumping? One can hope)

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A garden as seen from up top

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