Friday, July 27, 2007

And the winner is...

... actually there are two winners! You all were so great and left so many comments that I couldn't give just one box of La Maison du Chocolate, I had to give two! We cut up 291 names and put them in a big jar for my husband to pick the two. And they are:

Life As A Mama

&

Tricia

Congratulations to you two, and thank you to everyone who participated!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Y'all come back now, ya hear!

First, thank you to all those people that have left comments on my giveaway post. As a new blogger, I don't have many readers, so I'm very excited. Please feel free to come back anytime once the giveaway is over. Sniff, sniff... my sad little blog needs some love!
Also, an update on the drawing. It will be on Friday, July 27th (just like everyone else) at midnight here, or 6 pm eastern. For some reason I thought this was through the week, as in weekend included, and I was so excited to get started that I didn't read carefully!

Someone asked about the "cork boards" that I posted about below. These are just like bulletin boards, except instead of flat cork, I use actual corks that I've collected from friends in France. Most people have given me a lot of corks, more than needed to make a board, so I've been able to branch out and make them for others too, especially those that are moving back to the US (the American community here is huge and very transient).
I buy a long wooden frame, stain it, and attach hanging hooks to the back. Then I glue all the corks in place and glue cute "wine themed" charms to regular thumbtacks. It's very cute and a great way to remember your life in France once you move.
I'm making a few this weekend, so I'll try to remember to photograph the steps and post them back here.
In other projects, I'm still making all my daughters food...

These are some meals that we've made using the recipe book, "First Foods" by Annabel Karmel. It is wonderful and worth buying if you have a baby who needs to be feed. They are full of veggies and meat and sometimes a little light spice or cheese for flavor. My daughter LOVES them!

These are some frozen cubes (from an ice cube tray) of fruits that I've pureed. I also do plum from time to time. They are easy to just pop in the fridge to defrost and you can combine different types to change things up.





And now, for all my complaining, here is a compliment to the French. They know how to do frozen food. I found the vegetable purees at a wonderful frozen food store called Picard (yes, they have stores that just sell frozen food... no Wal.mart here, everything is small, specific stores). They come in these long chunks and are so easy to defrost for Love Bug's meals. The best part is that many are organic and they are "flash frozen", meaning they lose very little nutrients in the process. Check them out below...




If they just sold carrots pre-cut, I really think I could live here forever!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Life Is Like A Box of Chocolates

I am so excited to be involved in this giveaway, because I don't think anyone else will be giving this away. I live in France and will be coming back to the US soon, so I need to stock up on gifts for some friends and family. I had a trip to the "Best Chocolate Store in the World"- La Maison du Chocolate planned for next week, so I thought I'd pick up a box for one lucky winner. I have special mail privileges, so I will be able to send it quickly also.

To win a wonderful medium-size box of chocolates, please just enter a comment below (don't be anonymous or I won't be able to get in touch with you) and we'll have the drawing at the end of the week. Friday evening (midnight here, 6 pm Eastern), I'll put the name of every commenter in a jar and have either my husband or daughter pick one. I'll post the winner here and contact you to find out where to ship it. But even if you don't win, please stop by from time to time! Maybe I'll have another giveaway if I get a lot of comments!

Just a reminder... this is completely free! And no, Aunt C, E, Mom or J, you cannot win if you are part of my family or friends (but of course my new "blog" friends can win). So here we go!
Go see Rocks In My Dryer for more Giveaways...
******

Sorry that I wasn't more crafty with my giveaway. I see some great ones, with homemade cards, bracelets, blankets, etc. I've been doing so much "crafting" this week, that I'm exhausted. I'm finally out of my baby haze and I've been trying to catch up on my own projects....

like Scrapbooking!









and making cork boards out of the 600+ corks I've been given. I promise that only about 50 of those corks are ours (okay, maybe more like 100)...







I've even found the wonderful grape, barrel, and wineglass charms online that I'll superglue to thumbtacks... I'm so excited to give these to all my friends before we leave France in a few months.
So, please, comment and maybe you'll win!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lovebug's New Skill


We are now mobile! She is crawling.





Sigh...

Don't get me wrong, I'm so proud that she's crawling and right on schedule at 8 months, but I have to sigh for the loss of a dream. My dream was in the two months we have left, that I would not have to baby proof.

Lovebug took my dream, squished it, and crawled over it. Oh well... to the store to by some crazy French outlet covers that I can never use again! (Only to buy US ones for the grandparents in 8 weeks and then Italian ones 3 months later!)
******
Note- I know I said no pictures, but maybe I was being a little rash?!? Sometimes I get swept up in the moment. Maybe I will post facial pictures on a password protected site... or maybe I'll just get over myself and get back to pictures. But for now they'll be of us, our projects, stuff we love, or just side/general shots of Love Bug. Deleting the ones I had posted was good in a way, as it just makes room in my blog for more pictures. I'm only at 5% now, but that will be gone in a few years...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Our Anniversary...

Today is our 5th wedding anniversary! We went out to dinner and had a babysitter... it was lovely. We decided to go to an Italian place (yes, in France), but we had a good reason. I haven't talked about it yet, but... we are MOVING to ITALY. In a few months, we will be leaving France and spending a few months in the US with family and friends, before heading back to Europe to live in Italy for 3 years. We're very excited and have been studying the language on the side and renting Italian movies. So, we thought the perfect anniversary dinner would be along those lines. And if past experience is any indication, I will really like Italians. Every time I've been there to visit, they are so friendly. It's a little crazy and Mediterranean (they don' t line up for anything, just clump, and things get done very slowly) but that's okay. It's an adventure.

For our anniversary, B got me a beautiful purple/pink/crystal necklace and earring set here. It's perfect and since I wear so much purple and pink, it will go with a lot of my clothes.










I got him a French Horn for our anniversary and his birthday a few weeks ago... and as you can see he's already back playing again. He's out of practice since college, but he'll get there.


Now we just need to buy some music and start practicing... me on piano and him on the horn. It's been a long time but it would be nice to perform again.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Turkey

I was inspired today by Carrie's post about road trip signs. I decided to post a few of my favorite signs that I've found on my travels. These were not from a road trip, but a cruise that we took a few years ago. It's fresh in my mind, because now that I'm home and my daughter actually sleeps a few hours a day, I've been catching up on my scrapbooks. Sadly, I'm still in 2003-2004, but maybe by next year (if I work 4 hours a day, every day!) I'll be caught up with 2008.

Anyway, these are the two signs that I just love:














(Click on this one to see it up close...)

This one is for a toilet that I used. I love that it's in English... they really do cater to us all over the world folks, it's true!
The atmosphere was pretty magical... err, clean anyway. Unlike many other toilets I went in that week. (Not the cruise ship... it was fabulous and clean.)















(Again, click to see it up close...)
This other picture is just outside a watch "stall" on the side of the road. You gotta love their honesty!

Last few pictures are my actual favorites, but they're more meaningful and not so funny...














This first one is of my husband and I inside the 24,000 seat amphitheater in Ephesus. Yes, you've heard that name before, as in the bible chapter "Ephesians". This amphitheater was where Paul preached about Jesus to thousands of people, and we were standing where he stood. It was truly an incredible place to visit.















This one is of the amphitheater from far away... look at all those seats- and just over 2,000 years old. So impressive.

I don't talk about my faith much, because I think it's a very personal thing, but this last shot was very special to me. This is the front of the "House of Mary". It's just a few miles from Ephesus and is the house where most historians are almost 90% sure Mary lived at the end of her life. As a catholic this is a very sacred site for us, but I was pleasantly surprised to see many Muslims praying there. Our Muslim guide explained that Jesus is an important prophet and as his mother, Mary has a high important to them also.
All of us in that small house, of many different backgrounds, praying together... if only it was that simple everyday, in the rest of the world.

Monday, July 16, 2007

We have teeth!

Yes... that was teeth... as in more than one! Just when I thought she'd be teething forever (four months!), Love Bug got her first tooth last Friday (bottom left) and then the second one (bottom right) yesterday! She now has a full set of bottom front teeth, and a pretty full head of hair, and is looking more and more like a little girl everyday. I thought 8 month-olds were still babies...

Happy Birthday B?!?!

About a week ago was my husbands' birthday.... and a big one too. B turned 30!







This is the cake I made...




And a few friends we had over to celebrate...


We also had a babysitter for only the second time, and we went out to dinner the next night. It was wonderful and actually really romantic. I got dressed up and we did valet parking... so nice. We went to one of Michel Rostang's (famous French chef) smaller restaurants, where they test out recipes before they use them in their two and three-star restaurants. It was so good.

So we did have one kinda "upsetting" part to the day, hence the ?!?! in the title. A few months ago, B's brother had a birthday, and I admit that we didn't call him. We mentioned his birthday a few times to each other that day, but every time B was about to call him, something came up or he decided to something else first... so it just never happened. It wasn't that we were living overseas or forgot, because we did send a card. B felt bad and told me so- but even worse, got a lot of criticism from his family for not calling. Well, this really upset me at the time, because we always send cards for both of his brothers' birthdays and almost always remember to call. One is married with kids and we also send his wife a birthday card and send his kids cards and a present.
On our end, we usually only get cards from his parents, but I can't say that for sure. I know I've never gotten cards from his brothers, but he has some years. We usually make phone calls too, and I can honestly say that I don't remember getting calls from them for all of B's birthdays and certainly never for mine.
So, this year his parents call to wish him a happy birthday. Then they ask him to call his younger brother, so his brother can wish him a happy birthday. As you can imagine, I was floored. B not only calls his brothers for most of their birthdays, but now he has to call them on his too? And the older brother didn't call, but he did send an email card. We didn't mention him not calling because we don't want to start playing this game or "keeping score" with family. I know that not everyone has international calling, but you can get a phone card. It's actually twice as expensive to call from France to the US (for us) as it is the other way around, on average. We pay almost 11 - 12 cents a minute (depending on the exchange rate) and a girlfriend of mine who got a cheap phone card at Wal.mart said that the cost was averaging out around 5.5 cents a minute when she called me.
How do you deal with this? Any advice on what I should do? I try to hold my tongue and just cheer him up when these things happen and make him feel bad, but at some point I start getting mad. B mustered up enough "mean" (even though there isn't a mean bone in his body) to say to his brother, "you know this doesn't count as a birthday call, because I had to call you." Good for him, but of course, he laughs and jokes, because he would never want anyone to feel bad on his account.
I wish that there were more people in the world like him.

Friday, July 6, 2007

I love this seat...

We got this incredible new travel high chair that we bought before our vacation. It is a lifesaver! You just blow up the seat, attach the straps in all 4 directions around the seat and back of the chair and then strap in the baby! It takes up no space compared to every other one I've seen. Ours is a French model (Bea.ba), but I know I've seen them in the States (from Fir.st Yea.rs). I would recommend it!

One caution... Love Bug figured out how to push herself back and luckily we saw this before the chair fell over. So we just learned to push her away from the table or turn her sideways. If we were at a restaurant and had no room to do either of those, we put or feet on the bar of the chair, just below the seat. It's a small safely concern compared to the seats that attach on the table. Everyone seems to have horror stories of one falling with a child in it.

Our trip really wasn't that bad... we couldn't lay on the beaches, but they were beautiful and we just enjoyed relaxing as a family.