Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ahhh, Oranges and Lemons Galore...

March has been a pretty uneventful month, besides oodles of birthdays and even more oodles of rain-I'm pretty sure I heard the Prince was having an ark built!  So, I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to catch up on this one, but here it is...

Well, it's almost the end of winter and that means the lemon and orange trees are full of fruit and ready to burst.  In Monaco they go around and empty all the Prince's trees to make marmalade.  I can just imagine the Prince in there mashing up the fruit and jarring it for sale. :)  I'm told it's actually against the law to pick the fruits from the trees in Monaco as they belong to the Prince.

The trees down the lane are being emptied of their fruits.

Picking and pruning.
In Menton they have a Lemon and Orange Festival celebrating the season.  Oh the things they can make with these fruits.  Although lovely to look at, seems a bit of a waste of fruit to me.  This season's theme was "Around The World in 80 days".  All the structures are made from lemons and oranges...

The entrance...

Mmmmm, makes me want to go have some lemonade and toast with orange marmalade.  

Now, after all this springy stuff, next post is all about snow....stay tuned!

Sunday, March 17, 2013


So another school vacation came along and we decided to give snow a try.  T had mentioned he wanted to play in the snow and try his hand at skiing so we set about trying to find the perfect location for the whole family.

Well, J set out searching.  Five hours later he came upon an article an English mum had written about the woes of finding a good vacation place for a family with small kids.  The answer to her prayers....Kinder Hotels.  She and her family had happened upon the Sporthotel in Achensee, Austria, and had the perfect vacation.  We were sold and followed in their footsteps.

As the kids named it, we were off to "Snowland" to spend the week...

Lovely from the plane, got us a bit excited...
A ski champion in the making...
After one day on the bunny slope he got to go up on the mountain for class in the hotel's
 special area called...."Snowland"!!
I even got on the skis.  I had one lesson a day and rediscovered I really like skiing.
E and I went on a horse back ride through the local trails.
A little sledding outside the hotel.
Views from up on the mountain, just above the clouds.

Grandpa came along for the holiday and went on daily walks.
This is Achensee lake just down the road from the hotel.  It's super fun here in the summer too
and the hotel has a great summer program of swimming, horse back riding and golf. 

E tried her hand at skiing, but after two classes decided she liked the Kid's Club better. :)

At the end of the week, T had a ski competition.  Each group class competed against themselves.  In his group there were ten students...
The competition was held in the "Snowland" area.

He got second place!!!

A little practice. :)  E thinks next year she'll give it another try.
E and I headed up the mountain for some sledding.  They had a really fun path to sled
down zigzagging through the different ski paths.


The hotel was great.  You can take a peek at it here...

The staff were super nice and helpful, the food was yummy, the location perfect (landscape lovely and directly next to the ski lift), and totally kid friendly without feeling like Disney.  Meaning, while the kids had the run of the hotel and lots of kid areas, the adults still had more adult oriented areas to relax in too.  The hotel was all inclusive with ski lessons for the kids and the adults, food and regular drinks, and a kid's club for the kids to hang out in (supervised until 9pm) while the parents did their own thing.  There's also the requisite adult and kids pools and even a spa (which also does a spa day for the kids).  

Needless to say, we ate like kings, the kids were treated like princes and princesses, we learned a new sport, and had an awesome time.  We plan on making it a re-occurring vacation for a few years.  T and E already want to go back.  They even asked if we could move to Austria.  Sounds like it was a success! :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Princess for the day...

Another year, another birthday.  Our little E turned 4 yesterday!  I can't believe how fast the years zoom by.

Seems I could have saved myself a bit of stress and brought a cake to school and let the kids celebrate there.  No, I was crazy enough to think I could host a party for her and her classmates at my house.  21 3-4 year olds.  I'll tell you, I was a frazzled mess!  But with the help of my friends and an awesome animator, we pulled it off.  The kids had a blast and no one noticed that I forgot the carrot slices or the kid's champagne. :)


It's not common here in Monaco to have cupcakes, I may be starting a new tradition.

She was super happy with her party and settled down afterward in her new Costume and played with her new toys.  Ahhh, now I can relax.  At least until July...then it's a house full of seven year olds.  Oh dear...

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