Autumn Holidays 2015… Week 02 & 03…

This is part 2 of my posts about the Autumn holidays this year… if you would like to read part 1, go here.

So we had a few days in Milan in the first week and that was basically the highlight of the whole holidays. Usually we travel all over Switzerland, checking out different museums or animal parks or some other interesting place. But this autumn after the first week, we kinda took it easy and laze around a bit at home and just did stuff near home.

We visited Castle Hallwyl with some friends who are back in country after some years away. i had always been interested in seeing this castle cos it’s one of the few castles with a moat in Switzerland. When we were there, there was a special exhibition about the big fire which destroyed a fair bit of the castle.

We wanted to join the group tour but was told that the lady doing it that day would be doing it in Swiss-German. So we decided not to join it but to wander around on our own cos it would be hard for us to follow along, especially for our friend’s kids who don’t have the language. However, we did get English audio guides which were great.

The castle has several different parts; a front castle, a rear castle, a tower (prison at one time), a barn etc. It had also undergone reconstructions at various times in its 800-year history. The rooms all show different aspects of its history and the story of the family who owns the castle, as well as life in general, medicine and entertainment during those days.

autumn2015_part2_a
Top Left: Tobias working hard to shape a cannon ball, Top Right: View of the moat from the prison tower, Bottom Right: View of the Front Castle from the Rear Castle, Bottom Left: On the other side of the castle there’s a mill which had an interesting 3 wheel system, only one is left standing now.

Then my Uncle visited us. He only stayed with us for a couple of nights when he arrived and then one other night just before he left. So we only visited, quite briefly, Luzern and our town of Solothurn with him and his travel companion.

autumn2015_part2_b
Left: The entrance to the old city walls in Luzern. Right: View of the walls from the tower.
autumn2015_part2_c
This is the view of the city of Luzern from along the wall. That day was quite cloudy but still a lovely view.

That was pretty much Week 02 – we cleaned and tidied and did those 2 little excursions.

It was lovely to have family visiting, we haven’t had family here since my parents and brother came a number of years ago. And now we have had my Uncle at the beginning of October and then my cousin and her parents near the end of October (we only saw them at the start of their trip and at the end cos they were on their way to Italy). Now in November, my brother-in-law and his family will be here but again we will only see them for a meal cos they are on a group tour.

Week 03 saw us going for a movie, Inside Out, which we had wanted to see for a while. And having cinema vouchers definitely made the decision to go easier. It is a great movie! Loved the characters as well as the whole idea behind it.

We did some squash practice and violin practice (there’s an upcoming concert). But the major highlight for me in Week 03 is Tobias cooking his favourite, Kong Ba Bao (stewed pork belly bun), all from scratch. So proud of him! 😀

autumn2015_part2_d
From Left to Right: Cutting up the meat, blanching the meat, the stewed meat, ready and waiting to go into the bun.
autumn2015_part2_e
Left to Right: Tobias rolling out the dough to make the buns, the shaped buns waiting to be steamed.
autumn2015_part2_f
The finished dish; stewed pork on one plate and the buns on another. You assemble the bun yourself so you can make it as big or as small as you want.

It was YUM! And my Uncle said it was even better than the one they had in Zürich, at a Chinese restaurant. 😉

i got the recipe from an old uni friend who has a food blog. So get the recipe here! Thanks so much, V!

This is not the first time Tobias has cooked. He cooks quite regularly at home. You can read more about what else he has cooked here and here.

Well, that’s pretty much it. Week 01 was all excitement with the Milan trip and Week 02 & 03 was a relax homey holiday.

i wonder what the Christmas hols will be like this year.

Are you planning something special for your Christmas this year? Care to share?

syc

OMG… He’s Inching Closer…

Yep, my boy is most definitely getting closer to the four-letter word… T-E-E-N… He celebrated his 11th Birthday last week!

This year he decided to go for a big party – or at least what passes for a big party in these parts – he invited 10 friends to a bowling center for a wonderful time. Last year, he opted for an intimate water adventure with just 2 friends.

Here are some pictures to share the event with you:

t11birthday20150528a
Here he is, at home, before the party, with the cupcakes and presents (these are from us and his grandparents and uncle).
t11birthday20150528b
This is the bowling center near our place. It’s not glam or big but enough with 6 lanes, and other arcade games as well as billiards/pool. Actually, there were 2 other birthday celebrations the same day we were there!
t11birthday20150528c
The kids enjoying the various games; TopLeft: Pinball, TopRight: Air Hockey, BottomLeft: Bowling, of course, and BottomRight: Ice Hockey.
t11birthday20150528d
The gang 🙂
t11birthday20150528e
And here’s our traditional birthday shot – the 3 of us, celebrating Tobias’ birthday in our new home 😉

The kids had great fun and i had a relaxing time, watching them play and laugh and having a good time. Tobias is already planning for next year’s party.

Yikes! i still can’t wrap my head around the idea that my baby will be hitting “some-teen” in 2 years!

Sigh! i guess that what kids do, isn’t it? They grow up. 🙂

syc

 

Double Digits!…

Yep, my boy turned the grand age of 10! This mama is still trying to wrap her head around those double digits! Wasn’t it just yesterday that we celebrated his first birthday?

This year he picked to have a small birthday party – just his 2 best friends, Sebi and Lars. Last week, we went to a small water-park nearby and the boys had a blast! Unfortunately, i had no water-proof camera so there are no photos of them in the water but here’s a shot of them just before we went into the changing rooms:

They were so excited to be at the water-park!
They were so excited to be at the water-park!

Then we had ice-cream at McDonald’s before heading home for a quick birthday song and presents. It was in the middle of the school week so i wanted the boys to get home early; they still had homework to do.

They sang Happy Birthday in both Chinese (Lars goes to Chinese class with T) & German ;)
They sang Happy Birthday in both Chinese (Lars goes to Chinese class with T) & German 😉
He was so very happy to have gotten 2 sets of Lego Movie legos!
He was so very happy to have gotten 2 sets of Lego Movie legos!
This was our thank-you gift to his friends.
This was our thank-you gift to his friends.

Since it was his birthday party, i let him choose dinner and he chose…

His absolute fav!
His absolute fav!

On Monday night, we did a small family celebration with opening of more presents, this time all from family members.

Presents from family!
Presents from family!
He received a 3DS game, Percy Jackson books, Liverpool jersey, a Kindle and red packets from his grandparents. Not pictured - tickets to a David Garette concert!
He received a 3DS game, Percy Jackson books, Liverpool jersey, a Kindle and red packets from his grandparents. Not pictured – tickets to a David Garette concert!

Yesterday, on his actual birthday, he brought cake to school to share with all his classmates and teachers. This year he asked for a simple one, just red velvet cupcakes 🙂 (Have a look at previous years’ cake request).

Red Velvet Cupcakes - this is the second batch i baked - another batch due this weekend for the Sunday School class...
Red Velvet Cupcakes – this is the second batch i baked – another batch due this weekend for the Sunday School class…

And here’s the traditional family shot:

<3

 

Sigh! 10… a pre-teen! i’m half-hearted about him reaching this milestone… but that’s just my heart… i’m so proud of him, he has grown and matured and even though he is still a kid, he is a big kid now.

syc