4 Kids, 5 Days, Winter Break

My kids have just had a week off school. It’s officially called the “Spring” vacation though I don’t see many signs of Spring anywhere. The kids were ready for the break, I wasn’t. Wasn’t the Christmas vacation only 8 weeks ago?

So, what does one do here with 4 kids at home for a week in the winter? About 50% of the Dutch head out to the Alps for some skiing. We didn’t – I pick the Laurentians over the Alps any day!

Here’s what our week looked like.  And remember, my kids are 4,5,7 & 8, meaning that all of a sudden there are 4 different opinions and ideas to deal with every day (unlike a couple of years ago when I ruled and we still had naps!!!).

Monday: I have a good friend who runs a company called ManicBotanic. She makes amazing hand-made organic soaps, creams – all things skin. She organized a “soap necklace – making” day.  Upon arrival, she had set out all of her non-perfect, though looking very good to me, extra soaps with beads and other great things to add to the chain. The kids went crazy and we now have an amazing smelling house!

Tuesday: We took the bus to Amsterdam and headed to the museum of Science and Technology, called Nemo. The kids learned about Space, Energie Drinks (a lot of sugar) and microscopes on this trip. (This outing is also covered with our Museum pass which we pay a small fee per year for = low cost.) Then all of a sudden I reached my limit of bad lighting and no windows. It’s time to go.  Just as we are leaving, my husband calls and we decide to have an early pizza diner at this great restaurant nearby. Arrive home exhausted but no diner to make!

Wednesday: Decide to have a quiet day at home.  Have you even had 4 little kids inside during the winter all day? It’s not quiet. I’m not sure what I was thinking – well actually I was thinking, nice easy day. We did some baking (had to chuck it… I’m not a very good baker.), did some tidying up while the kids spent too much time on the i-pad, i-phones etc.  At 15:45 I remember that swimming lessons have not been cancelled and start rushing around the house, combing hair, finding bathing suits in order to make the 16.00 start! So much for the quiet easy day…

Thursday: I’ve had enough. Luckily my husband recognized this on Wednesday night and took the kids out for the morning. They went to a museum, which had an exhibition on China. They made Chinese cookies during their tour.  I worked on my English for Lunch course (sideline: I’m teaching English to Dutch kids 2x a week at lunch time).  Afternoon was spent hanging around – I had plans in Amsterdam that night so left at 6pm.  Good balance. A bit of work, kid time, me time.

Friday: Everyone wants to go to the zoo. The zoo is a 20-minute drive from our house, in the center of Amsterdam. We have yearly passes so always a good thing to use. There is a planetarium there so we watched a movie first. Then we headed to the botanical gardens near by, came back to the zoo, made planets out of Styrofoam balls and watch more movies. We are home at 5pm.  I pour myself a glass of wine. We made it through the week!

Why would I fill our days like that? Well the thing is – a day at home in the winter isn’t what its made out to be. It’s ok for a couple of hours but after that, the kids start getting on each others nerve, I start getting irritated by the noise and the mess – it just doesn’t work. Going out let’s me focus on the kids, they learn and have fun, and we get outside.

What I didn’t mention is that I slept in until 9:30 every morning while the kids played downstairs. That I didn’t go out of my way on meals nor did I have to pack lunches every night. Extra-curricular activities (except swimming) were all cancelled during the break so no rushing around either…

I’m happy it’s Monday again and everyone is back at school but all in all, it was a great week! But I am happy it’s Monday again… (oh, did I say that twice?)



  • Helina

    Lots of great ideas for keeping busy




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