Discovering Luxembourg and Surroundings – Bostalsee

About one hour and a half from Lux city, there’s a fantastic family-friendly resort called Center Parc Bostalsee.

Some of you who know me best would ask: but, I thought you were not a fan of Center Parcs?! Well, that’s indeed true! Even tought there are many details that I’m not a fan of, I have to admit that the advantages of this particular one make me put a pro-vote on it! 

First of all, let me explain the concept for those of you who are not familiar with it! Center Parcs are a group of all-year-round family-friendly resorts that you can find in Europe (mostly in France, Belgium and The Netherlands). The concept is simple: you rent a nice and comfortable mobile home (the level of comfort will depend on you budget) in the middle of a huge park whose center point is a big “dome”. The “dome” is a big building with restaurants, supermarket, playgrounds and the well-known “aqua-mundo”, an indoor swimming pool complex with a tropical theme and warm waters.


The Center Parc Bostalsee has it all, it is quite recent, so you have that “new” feeling, it has a little farm with friendly animals (including poneys) and lies around a big lake. Plus, it’s just by Luxembourg making it perfect for a long weekend or just a day out of family fun (yes, you can visit it for the day!). 


Now, time to say something about the “minus” details: in my humble opinion, Center Parcs are overpriced… In the majority of the deals, nothing else is included in the price besides the overnight stay: for example towels or bed linen or even the final cleaning. The resorts are big, so that means that depending on your mobile home location you migh need to walk a lot everyday. Even though there are golf carts and bikes for rent, again it’s quite overpriced. And so are the onsite restaurants. 


So, my tips to keep the budget acceptable and get the most out of your experience would be:

  • Avoid the high season and long public weekends. Instead, take advantage of those weekends when your kids school is off on a Friday/Monday for other reasons (like staff meetings) and find out about the promotional deals available online
  • Take your own bed linen and towels
  • Plan your meals in advance and take your own food 
  • Bring waste bags (even if you get final cleaning in your package, you’ll have to collect all waste)
  • Bring a kitchen kit (kitchen towel, dishwasher tabs, dish soap and sponge)
  • Take your own bikes if you have a bike rack or consider at least the micro scooters or a kiddy wagon
  • If it’s still cold season, bring your own wood and oil to lighten up the fireplace at the mobile home

Discovering Luxembourg and Surroundings – Bastogne

As promised, here I am again with some ideas and insider tips on places nearby where you can easily spend a few hours or a day in family.  So if yesterday I came up with the Saar Loop idea, perfect for a sunny day, now I present you with an all-weather option. Because, you know, in Luxembourg we can always have sun or rainy or hot or cold… We never know… 😉

Bastogne is just about 80km (1h) driving from Luxembourg and it hosts an amazingly renovated Bastogne War Museum. Especially if you have boys… 🙂

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Plan to be there by 10h so you have plenty of time to visit the Museum. It is a very pleasant surprise to see the high standards of this museum. They offer you the chance to see tons of real war equipment as well as to experience some episodes through 4D movies (in some of them you even experience the cold air of the mist in the forests! Incredible…).

Insider Tip: Take advantage of the included audio-guides, not forgetting the ones for the kiddos as they will have the chance to follow the experiences of a little boy throughout the scenarios.

In the meantime, be sure to call the local restaurant “Wagon Leo” and book a table in the “wagon room” – yes, part of the restaurant is set in a real antique wagon! Little ones will love it, right? And so the big ones, I must say! 🙂

On the way back to Luxembourg, and if the weather is not rainny,   You can stop mid-way at the wonderful Ferme d’Ayaaz, in Attert. It is home to many friendly goats, sheep, poneys, rabbits, chicken… And the entrance is free! Just make sure to check the opening times before hand.

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Useful Information:

Bastogne War Museum

Address: Colline du Mardasson 5-6600, Bastogne
Opening Times: 9.30am to 6pm

Restaurant Wagon Leo

Address: Rue du Vivier 6, Bastogne
Tel. +32 61 21 14 41

Ferme d’Ayaaz

Address: 348, route de l’Ermitage, 6717 Attert

Good to Know: Activities for Mommy&Kids on rainy days

Good to Know

{Updated article – 25/02/2015}

It’s true. We are almost in March and the cold and rainy days are still out there. Almost every single day… And for many of us, moms to little kids, that would mean… “Oh no! How am I going to entertain these little crazy (but oh so sweet) “? So, let’s face it. We definitely need to figure out some options rather than staying at home, right? Here is a compilation of some ideas gathered here and there, most of them already tried and proven by my self, obviously! 😉 This list is especially written for stay-at-home moms, but of course the ideas also apply to all working parents looking for some activities for the weekends. And please, I’d love to hear from you too! I’m sure there are plenty of other fun things to do out there during these rainy days!

1. Mom is in the mood for a coffee/tea…

Coffee

>>>> And your kiddos are still young babies, not crawling around… Then my favorite options would go to:

Konrad Cafe (7, rue du Nord, L-2229 Luxembourg). It is a very cosy cafe and the staff is very nice. Good coffee and cake! It is usually a quiet place during the morning. Best time to go there? Definitely between 10:00 and 11:30.

– Golden Bean (23, rue Chimay, L-1333 Luxembourg). This is the place for truly coffee lovers where you can have a decent coffee and a piece of delicious cake. Although the place is not that big, you can fit a stroller in out of the rush hours with no problem. Best time to go there? Week days and, definitely , between 9:00 and 11:30

– EXKi Grand Rue (72, Grand Rue, L-1160 Luxembourg). It is spacious enough to bring the stroller in and it is usually a quiet place during the morning. Best time to go there? Week days and, definitely , between 9:00 and 11:30. >>>> And your kiddos are already crawling around, running, jumping… Then my favourite options would go to:

– ZigZag Indoor Playground (7, rue Pletzer, L-8080 Bertrange). It is an indoor playground with 2 separate play areas. Upstairs for babies/toddlers up to 3yo and downstairs for older kids. There is a cafeteria in front of the bigger kids play area, but you can also ask to have your coffee next to the baby area (the staff will be happy to bring it to you). It is worth to subscribe the fidelity card as it can easily become expensive to go there very often. Best time to go there? Any day, except for Mondays (closed). Just be sure to check online the opening times as it varies, depending on the day.

Findel Airport. There is a Fischer coffee shop next to the big windows from where the kids can spot the airplanes. Also, plenty of space for the kids to run. The only thig down, I must say, is the price of the car parking.

– Cactus Coffee Shop next to the main Restaurant at Belle Etoile Shopping Centre (Route d’Arlon, L-8050 Bertrange). There is small play area next to the tables, so you can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while the kids play. Then take the elevator to the 1st floor and visit the animal shop. If you are lucky, the staff can even let them cuddle a little rabbit! After, you can also let the kids play with the many electronic cars/trains/trucks in the aisles (actually, you don’t even need to spend any coins, as long as there are no other kids waiting…). Best time to go there? Definitely during the morning or between 3pm and 5pm. Otherwise it is usually crowded, especially during lunch time.

– IKEA (Rue de Grass 100, 6700 Arlon, Belgium). It has a spacious cafeteria with a nice little play corner. Plus, the coffee is free for early visitors (9:45 – 10:00). And, you know, we always need to check around for something useful for the house, right? 🙂 Best time to go there? Anytime really, for a coffee, for a lunch… But definitely less crowded during the morning.

MUDAM Cafe in Kirchberg (3, Park Dräi Eechelen, L-1499 Luxembourg. Although it doesn’t have a playroom, it provides plenty of room for the kids to run. The only thing down is the fact that you need to buy a museum entrance ticket to be able to visit the cafeteria…

Indyland Indoor Playground (11 Rue du Brill, 3898 Foetz, Luxembourg). This indoor playground is perfect for little ones. I would say the age range 2-6yo is the perfect one. Plus, the cafeteria is right in front of all the action, so it’s quite easy to keep an eye on the children.

Gold Rush by Fun City Indoor Playground (33, rue Robert Krieps – L-4702 Pétange, Luxembourg). The brand new indoor playground just opened its doors and it’s located just a few kilometers south of Luxembourg city and it also includes a bowling area for some extra fun. It has two separate areas by age (0 to 3yo and 4 to 14yo) but as they are next to each other, it’s also perfect for moms to more than 1 kiddo. Plus, everything is brand new 🙂

– Atomic Kids Indoor Playground (Rue de l’Hydrion 17, 6700 Arlon, Belgium). This indoor playground is just the right size for little ones to play and it is especially good when you have two little kiddos (or more) in different ages. There is also a small cafeteria just in front of the play area. Definitely less crowded than the other ones in Luxembourg. Best time to go there? Anytime, just make sure to check their opening times online.

– YoYo Indoor Playground (105, rue des Bruyères, L-1274 Howald). This place is perfect for moms with very energetic boys in age range 4 to 10 years old, as the play structure is huge and adventure-themed. However, it is almost impossible to have a constant eye on them, unless you do some ‘exercise’ climbing up and down all the time! The only thing down I must say is the price. Entrance and some food becomes quite expensive… Best time to go there? Anytime during the early morning and afternoons after 3pm. You should definitely avoid lunch hours as this place is also a restaurant serving people working in the many surrounding offices.

– Indyland Indoor Playground (11, Rue du Brill, 3898 Foetz). It’s a big indoor playground perfect for every age, but especially for kids older than 3yo. Definitely less crowded than the other ones in Luxembourg. Best time to go there? Anytime, just make sure to check their opening times online.

– X-Treme Bowling (11, Rue du Brill, 3898 Foetz). Different from the usual indoor playgrounds and good for kids to practice some gross-motor skills (4+). Best time to go there?  Anytime, just make sure to check their opening times online.

2. Mom is in the mood for a lunch…

lunch

Well, sometimes is also good to have a change in weekdays lunch, right? But really, going out with kids for a proper meal without hubby can be quite a challenge! So here are some ideas that can ease that task and make it actually possible and enjoyable! So, what exactly do I look for when I’m alone with the kids for a lunch out? The obvious kids-friendly atmosphere, preferably including a small kids corner and some kids-friendly meal options.

All Indoor Playgrounds (mentioned above) serve meals at lunch time and it also has some kids-friendly options. While waiting for the food, the kids can always spend some energy in the playground.

Little Britain (1C, Route d’Arlon, L-8310 Capellen, Luxembourg). It’s such a cosy place to have a simple and relaxed meal. Plus, you can always combine it with some British/American grocery shopping 🙂

Pizza Hut in Strassen (277, route d’Arlon)  has a renovated little indoor playground. Make sure you go early (by 11:30, preferably) and ask for a table next to the play area (“aire de jeux”). Pizza Hut in Beggen (154, rue de Beggen) is also a very good option.

McDonald’s in Bereldange (1A, rue du Pont, Bereldange) has a nice indoor playground next to the tables. McDonald’s in Strassen (168 Route d’Arlon) has an outdoor playground and also a small indoor playground upstairs. Plus, the staff is very nice and are happy to help you carry your items upstairs. I know, you should be now thinking: McDonald’s?? Fast food for young kids? Well, we all need some fast food every now and then, right? Plus the kids love it, especially when they know that’s a one time special treat.

Antica Trattoria in Belair (166 avenue du X Septembre) is a more fancy option, but quite nice for every now and then. Italian restaurants are always a success with little ones and this one even have a little play corner.

Cactus Restaurant in Howald has a little corner with some tables to have lunch, next to a small play area. As it is a self-service kind of restaurant, it is always easy to get some kids-friendly food.

Cactus Restaurant at the Belle Etoile Shopping Centre (Route d’Arlon, L-8050 Bertrange) also has a little play corner next to the tables, plus the self-service ‘add-on’.

Ikea (already mentioned above) is always an option. Who doesn’t like the Swedish meatballs?

3. Mom needs to meet other moms and be able to chat with someone older that 3yo

– Join the AWCL (American Women’s Club of Luxembourg) and the BLC (British Ladies Club). Both clubs have specific groups for moms and kids and organise several meetings and playgroups every now and then.

– Join some gym classes at LittleGym. – Join some music classes at KinderMusik. Offering a complete range of class options for different ages, Kindermusik program surely engages every child, providing a good quality time for the parent as well. – Join some Baby Swimming classes at Le Coque where you can have fun and learn together with your little one.

– Join the St Georges International School playgroup. This is a playgroup especially designed for mommies with babies 0-3 years old. Except for school holidays, it is held every Tuesday and Friday morning from 9.15-11.15 to allow for parents to pick up their children from school.

4. Mom doesn’t need a coffee or lunch, just an indoor place where the kids can spend some of their endless energy…

swimming

– Have fun at one of the fantastic heated swimming pools in Luxembourg. Just pick one! My favourite ones are Syrdall Schwemm in Niederanven, Les Thermes in Strassen and the Krounebierg in Mersch.

Enjoy the Tramway and Bus museum is a great free playground, especially for boys. You check my complete article here.

– Pick one of the animal shops around here and go for a visit to the cute pets. Here are some ideas:

> Pet shop at the Hobbi Cactus, Howald (4, rue des Scillas, Howald)

> Pet Shop at the Belle Etoile Shopping Centre – “Josy Welter” (already mentioned above)

> Pet Shop at the Gamm Vert, Gasperich (1 rue Fw Raiffeisen, Gasperich)

> Pet Shop at Howald Comercial area – “Fressnapf” (22, rue des Scillas, Howald)

5. Mom just need to get out of the house…

GoOut

– Go to the library “Il etait une Fois” in Gasperich (6, rue Tony Bourg). There are resources in 16 different languages and many arranged activities for kids. You can check the detailed program here.

– Go to the Cinema. Just search for a film with the age restriction ‘EA’ (Every Age) so you won’t have any problem taking a young child to watch it. As it was explained to me a few months ago, as for EA films, it’s up to the parents to decide if the child should watch the film or not! (as long as they are at least 2yo)

– Go grocery shopping and play “groceries scavenger hunt” – and play around with the shopping cart when nobody is seeing you! 🙂

– Dress you and the kids up with some rainy clothes, put on some rubbery boots and go out and sing in the rain (and run all over the park and jump on the mud!). Seems like fun, doesn’t it? 🙂

6. When nothing else works… Simply have fun at home! 🙂

Invite other mum&baby to come over for an hour or two of playdate. Just like you, all other expat moms are secretly desperate to meet you too. Even if you just met them once or twice (after all, we are in the same ‘expat boat’!). Plus, it doesn’t require that much work. Simply do a quick clean to your living room (do remember that the other mom would probably have a messy house too!). Prepare some coffee/tea and offer some store-bought box of cookies (or cook some, if you’re fancy of that). Remember, if you keep it simple, the other mom won’t feel embarrassed to invite you back! 🙂

– Finally, if you’re just home with your kids, relax, enjoy and invent some fun. Here are some ideas: https://expatmuminluxembourg.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/kids-rainny-days-fun-at-home/ https://expatmuminluxembourg.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/fun-at-home-take-2/ https://expatmuminluxembourg.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/fun-at-home-take-3/ Plus, there are tons of other ideas online! Have Fun! 🙂

Sharing Some Fun – Decluttering Tips

SharingPosts
For today’s “Sharing Some Fun”, I’ve chosen to declutter!

Yes, that kind of thing we always, but always, say: “Yeah, well, I’ll do it tomorrow!” So here are some great tips to simplify and start doing it right now! 🙂

http://www.yourmodernfamily.com/10-things-throw-give-away-right-now/
Have some (organized) Fun!

Sharing Some Fun – Activities for Toddlers

SharingPosts
For today’s “Sharing Some Fun”, I’ve chosen something useful for all parents of little busy minds, aka, TODDLERS! 🙂

If you have little ones in the age range from 1 to 3 years old (not know the precise year-range to classify a “toddler”), you know what I mean:

– They are usually very active;

– They need 200% of your attention on a 24h*7 basis;

– They cannot even consider to be quietly sitted and  enjoying a good book…

Well, they are crazy little sweet toddlers, right? Our precious little ones! 🙂
So, for you, here is a very complete list of fun activities you can do with yor toddlers.

http://creativewithkids.com/toddler-years-must-do-list-activities/
Have Fun!

Sharing Some Fun

SharingPosts

Welcome to this new series of blog posts! Every now and then I’ll share with you some of my favourite posts from my online blogging peers.

For this very first post, I’ve choosen something that’s already on my mind in this time of the year: Pumpkin and Apple picking!

Also, if you’re in Luxembourg, make sure you’ll save these dates:

1. Pumpkin Festival in Mersch, 2014 (“Kürbisfest”)
WHEN: 20.09.2014 (17.00-23.00) and 21.09.2014 (10.00-18.00)
WHERE: Hal Irbicht, Beringen/Mersch
WHY: In the past, there were pony rides, a giant sand pit, bouncy house, trampoline, pumpkin painting…
Detailed program (not available in english, sorry…)
– Flyer – Front Page (PumpkinFest_Pag1)
– Flyer – Back Page (PumpkinFest_Pag2)

2. Apple Picking in Steinsel, 2014 (“Fête des Pommes”)
WHEN: 27/28 Sept, 04/05 Oct, 11/12 Oct, 2014
WHERE: Vergers de Steinsel, Steinsel
WHY: For more details on the event, you can read my blog post from last year: https://expatmuminluxembourg.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/apple-picking-in-steinsel/

Have Fun & Be Happy!!

Now, it’s time to share some great blog posts:
pumpkin_200088
http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/10/06/montessori-inspired-pumpkin-unit/

apple_fruit_apple_tree
http://livingmontessorinow.com/2014/09/15/montessori-monday-free-apple-printables-and-montessori-inspired-apple-activities/

Tramsmusée or Indoor playground?

Do you already know about the Tramsmusée in the city? Boys just love it! Here is my review for Wort.lu/en:
http://www.wort.lu/en/view/winter-activities-in-luxembourg-a-visit-to-the-tramway-museum-52e65766e4b0e9996823dbee

E também em português:
http://www.wort.lu/pt/view/uma-visita-em-fam-lia-ao-museu-dos-electricos-53103e6fe4b01171e9aa4199