Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Leaf Crowns

This morning we headed out bright and early and were in the park collecting leaves for an art project by 8:20. Not too impressive considering I'd been up since 4am with Niamh (running a fever, was fine after some ibuprofen).

We made leaf crowns which were an easy fall project, though they didn't require as much kid involvement as I'd have liked.

But the kids loved their crowns and had fun racing around in them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Middle Age Military

On Saturday evening I went to Chateau de Chillon for the Middle Age Military displays. On Friday and Saturday night they had actors dressed as if they were from the middle ages. Many of the actors were doing demonstrations or explaining life in the middle ages with a significant emphasis on weapons. Children could also shoot arrows and do some sort of jumping exercise which I think had to do with showing strength, but I couldn't keep up with the language.

I think the kids would have liked some of the activities, but there was a very loud black powder rifle being fired about every five minutes that would have driven the kids to tears.

This was the weapon display in the dungeon. It was very interesting and I understood most of explanation. At the end somebody asked if either of the ladies doing the talking spoke English. This was excellent news, as I was able to pick up what I missed during the french version.

I am not sure what was happening here, but the boy had to do quite a bit of jumping while holding the stone.

Fighting demonstration


Sunday at Signal de Bougy

We spent a lovely Sunday morning at Signal de Bougy. We got there first thing in the morning when it was still a bit wet from rain the night before, but that didn't stop the kids from having fun.

In fact, they all came home a bit wet--the degree of wetness depending on the age. Muriel was extremely soggy, Niamh a little less so, and Rowan the least. But even Rowan needed new pants when we got home. Though Muriel is standing in the picture above, she spent most of her time on that particular piece of playground equipment sliding about on her tummy, gleefully mopping it all dry with her whole body.

We stopped by the park's artisanal bakery where the bread is cooked in a wood fired oven, and got a loaf of bread, some sugar rolls, and ham croissants for snack. All fabulous!! Poor Niamh was stuck with an ice cream cone (she didn't mind too much).

And in other news, Muriel took her first official steps last Thursday. It was just four or five, but every day she's been walking a bit more. She's our earliest walker yet at 11 months! She's been on the verge for so long, I've been waiting not-so-patiently for her to walk for the past month.

Muriel walking naturally made me think about the other children's first steps, and I'm a little appalled that I can't remember Niamh's at all. I know she was not walking on her first birthday. I know she was walking by the time we took our first trip to Paris later that year when she was fifteen months old. But can't remember at what point in that three month time period in the middle she actually took her first steps. Poor Niamh!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Grand marché d'automne

Saturday the market was bigger than usual, I'm not sure of the reason (on the Morges website it's just listed as a Big Autumn Market), but it was fun! Instead of the usual one street closed off, there were two streets closed off and full of all sorts of vendors and musicians. Rowan and Niamh enjoyed it so much they went back twice that day with Pat.

Rowan and Niamh loved the horses that were pulling the barrel of wine

Fresh pressed apple juice was a big hit

the stand that had these calves were giving out free liters of raw milk

Friday, September 25, 2009

If It's Not Honey Maid, Use Caution

Months and months ago I bookmarked a recipe for homemade graham crackers that I found while browsing around on 101 Cookbooks. I pretty much forgot about it immediately and didn't think about them again until August when my Seattle friends started talking about National S'mores Day at Theo Chocolates (I'm still sad to have missed it!). The final catalyst for my foray into homemade graham crackers happened a few weeks ago when there was a small ripple of excitement among a few Morges Expats. Graham crackers had been discovered at an Asian store in town. Of all places! That really should have been our first clue.

The very next day Pat took the kids out in search of these graham crackers. He came back with two packages and we eagerly opened one up while thinking fond Honey Maid thoughts. Unfortunately they tasted terrible. In the interest of full disclosure I should tell you that Rowan thinks they are delicious. Rowan won't eat chips, hot dogs, chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes, pretzels that aren't turtle shaped, etc. But cardboard masquerading as graham crackers? Bring it on! He's a mystery.

Anyway, after that huge let down it was definitely time to give the homemade graham crackers a go.

They turned out pretty good. I think the main thing I need to work on (other than aesthetics--these are definitely not as pretty as the ones from Theo) is their thickness.

The kids loved them in spite of being too thick. And I hear that even the kids of our fellow American neighbors thought they were great! They were super easy to make, just a bit time intensive with all the chilling. I think next time I'll try cutting out the initial chilling of the dough. Seemed like by the time I rolled out the crackers they'd returned to room temperature, so what was the point of that first round of chilling?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wine In a Juice Box

I spotted these at Coop the other day and thought they were hilarious. However, wine in a juice box is apparently not just a European thing: 2006 USA Today article Really? Okay, okay, Pat and I have a very limited knowledge of wine. I suppose it's something I could have missed. And it's been 16 months since my last visit to the States (not that anyone is counting or anything). A lot can change in 16 months. It does appear though that these mini wine boxes do not come with a straw in the States. Can anyone confirm that?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Engine Shed!

Niamh, Rowan, and I went to the CFF open house in Lausanne yesterday. We had a great time checking out the trains. There were multiple engines, passenger coaches, and the fire/rescue train. They were also a number of people that seemed to be giving details about the trains, but it was all in french so I did not pay much attention to them.

Rowan and Niamh checking out the controls on one of the older engines.
Niamh and Rowan in the cab of a modern engine.

Rowan climbed into this engine and said "this engine is even older than Big Bumpa Charlie." He was wrong.

Niamh and Rowan check out the inside of the older engine.

The controls of the older engine.

The nameplate (?) on the older engine.


Rowan wasn't too excited to be in the pictures. He just wanted to look at the trains.

The kids checking out one of the new coaches.

These are some of the engines in the shed that we did not have access to.

Checking out a switcher in the yard.

Checking out more coaches.

Running for first class.

Checking out the view from first class.
The turntable in Lausanne

The engine shed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Smoke Free?

I believe smoking is no longer allowed in public places in the Canton of Vaud. Of course, I may have translated this incorrectly.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Signs of Fall

Chestnuts on the ground

These are actually, I think, châtaigne (horse chestnuts), which are not edible. Rowan and Niamh love collecting them, though we'll have to be careful this year because of Little Miss Eat-Everything-Including-Cigarette-Butts. The chestnuts that are sold roasted at stands are marron. I have not seen any of the edible variety around yet (roasted or chocolate), but it shouldn't be too long. Hooray! It also won't be too long until the chestnut festival in Fully. We've never been, I hope we can go this year.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fishing for Letters

I think most of you know that I've been getting a taste of what home schooling might be like by teaching Rowan to read English just in case we end up being here for a while. We've been doing this since May, and are taking it pretty slow (we're only on lesson 55 of 231 in The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading) since there's no real rush.

Tuesday's lesson was a huge success. It was so great to see him excited about lessons, as he is not usually too enthused!

I wrote letters (and a few letter combos) on small index cards and attached paper clips to each card. Then made a finishing pole with some string, a ruler, and a magnet. Next he had to read the word that was made when he put the letter(s) next to an ing, ang, ong, or ung card. It was so much fun for him that after we had finished and it was quiet time, he asked me to leave out all the fishing supplies so that he could continue to fish during quiet time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Thanks for the three big boxes of Os Grammie and Bumpa!

Baby or Puppy? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Serious Business.

Little Chipmunk.

When her tummy was full Muriel discovered that making Os jump is fun.

After that got old she found that dropping them on the floor was cool too.

Rowan had wanted to eat Os dry like Muriel, but in the interest of making the boxes last as long as possible I told him no. I did tell him he could eat the ones on the floor that Muriel had dropped. His response? "YESSS!"

Everyone was super excited to see all the Cheerios in the package from Grammie and Bumpa yesterday morning. It was Muriel's first taste of regular cheerios. You can buy Honey Nut Cheerios in France. You can buy Multi Grain Cheerios at Migros' online store (I've not done this yet). But regular cheerios are a rare treat! After lunch yesterday Rowan chose a bowl of Cheerios for his special treat instead of a piece of chocolate. And Niamh would have as well, except she took too long to eat lunch (way past quiet time) and so had to wait and have her bowl for snack.

Thanks again, Grammie and Bumpa! As you can see, they were well received!