Saturday, October 31, 2009
I think the kids had a great day and really enjoyed their first trick-or-treating experience. A fellow American expat that lives in our complex sent out flyers to all 98 apartments explaining the Halloween tradition. Those interested in participating were asked to cut out the jack-o-lantern on the flyer and paste it to their door as a signal to trick-or-treaters. There was a pretty good turnout, and the kids came back with quite the candy stash. More pics tomorrow--I'm beat!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
- Baby Bell
- Léger Rustique
- P'tit Louis
- Vacherin Mont d'Or (an excellent cheese!)
- Pecorino Romano
- Pecorino Brigante
- Pecorino Canestrato Siciliano
- Cathedral City Cheddar (the only cheddar that is available on the shelf in Morges)
- Raclette (not sure what brand)
- Gouda (young - don't know brand)
- Gouda (mature - don't know brand)
- A German cheese that was purchased from the deli (brand unknown - tastes like Gruyère)
- Le Brigand Du Jorat
- British Cheddar (brand unknown - very good)
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Once we got the medical issues taken care of we headed to Trier. It was cold and wet, so we decided to head back to the campground for the day. More info on Trier to come.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Muriel turned out to be a much better car passenger than Emily or I anticipated. On Thursday night I had discovered that we had never adjusted her car seat to account that she wasn’t a newborn. I’m thinking the extra room might have made her a bit happier.
We made good time to Basel with limited screaming (either me or the kids) and pulled off at a mall to search for a sippy cup. For some odd reason the store didn’t open until 10, so we had time for bathroom breaks and to run the kids for a few minutes before finding a replacement sippy cup. We jumped in the car and headed towards France. “Jumped” may have been the wrong word – getting three kids in the car seats isn’t a quick process.
We traveled through eastern France at a very slow rate. At one point we were stopped for about 45 minutes due to a significant amount of hay being spilled on the road. At one point we were passed by a flock (Rowan’s term) of tractors that were going way faster than we were. We had a quick bathroom break at a McDonalds. The older kids enjoyed their McNuggets while Muriel ate her jar of baby food and started in on the fries. The girl behind the counter had issues understanding my horrible accent, but I don’t think my version of McNugget sounded anything like Big Mac, which is what she tried to give me.
The last 2 hours went very well and we arrived at the campground about 3:30. The GPS indicated it should have been a 5.75 hour trip, so we didn’t do too bad given we had three kids and lost 45 minutes due to traffic.
The car has three rows of seats and Rowan was in the very back. It went much better than expected. The kids normally drop their water bottle in the first few minutes and then proceed to complain about being thirsty for the rest of the trip, but Rowan managed to keep his water bottle and snacks within reach for the entire trip.
The mobile home is a bit small. I’m surprised they let 5 people stay here. There isn’t a place for the portable crib they provided unless Muriel sleeps in the living room/kitchen or the beds in one of the rooms are rearranged. We decided rearranging the furniture would be the better option.
- Muriel is much happy in the car seat after adjusting the car seat straps to account for her not being a newborn
- Leaving the camera battery charger at home is a bad idea, especially if the batter wasn't full when you leave the house
- Muriel likes McDonald's french fries
- German hospitals are efficient
- German medical bills are lower than anticipated
- 2 adults and 3 kids are a tight squeeze into our 2 bedroom mobile home
- Emily, and maybe I, disagree with Rick Steves on the best castle in Europe
- It can be very cold in the mornings
- Swiss hot chocolate is better than German hot chocolate.
- Germans make excellent sausage.
- Paying for washing and drying machines is a good way to use up 5 trips worth of smal coins.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
A while back I saw a cloth photo book on SouleMama, and immediately knew that's what I wanted to give Muriel for her first birthday. The problem was that my sewing machine is boxed up in a Seattle storage unit.
My first (really rational) thought was that I could just buy a sewing machine. But do I really want to divert time and money away from other hobbies/interests right now? Sadly, no.
My second thought was--Mom! My sweet mother, of course, said that she'd be more than willing to make a photo book for Muriel.
While I was pondering over making my mom sew the book, I thought about Etsy. How I love Etsy! Sometimes I wonder how I survived Before Etsy. After a little searching I came upon Victoria at ex libris handmade who makes gorgeous cloth books. I asked her if she'd be able to do a custom photo book on relatively short notice (it was one month until Muriel's birthday) and she enthusiastically said yes. As I have a zillion other sewing projects I'd like my mom to do I decided to spare her this one, and save the favor for another time...or two!
Here is Victoria's blog post about Muriel's book, with some detailed pics of the book. It turned out even better than I had imagined, and I can't praise her work enough. Thank you again Victoria!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
They are headed to the cave at the end of the block. This time of year the normally quiet cave is bustling with activity, and the air around it is filled with the scent of fermenting grapes. I'm guessing those giant bins are filled with grape refuse, but am not entirely sure as I have no idea how wine is made.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sunday was a pretty low key day. In the morning we walked down to Fornerod for hot chocolate/coffee and pastries. Later that day there were walks in the park and through the vineyards.
And on Monday morning Uncle Patrick was able to squeeze in one last book just before heading out the door.
However, once we got off things got much better. The weather was fantastic, much warmer than the previous two years. There was naturally a lot of good food and cows, both of which lived up to expectations. Rowan did get lost in the crowd for about five minutes, but Pat was able to find him without too much trouble once we realized he was not with us. He was pretty shook up, and I felt terrible. It was a good reminder that I need to teach him phone numbers and addresses, just in case. The train ride back was a little less crowded and we were able to get seats all together, thank goodness!
Anyway, I was not feeling too inspired photographically, but here are a few shots from our morning.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Yesterday was also a milestone day for Rowan. He sat down at the table to eat raclette for dinner instead of hiding in his room because he couldn't stand the sound of the bacon and sausages sizzling and popping. And how was miraculous feat accomplished? Earmuffs.
Uncle Patrick was kind enough to bring over a small duffle bag of various American items for us, and among those was a pair of earmuffs for Rowan to wear when noises are too much for him. The earmuffs worked even better than I anticipated. By the end of dinner Ro was not bothered at all by the sizzling and popping, and had ditched the earmuffs.
On another note, the above picture demonstrates Ro's own take on the best way to eat raclette which I'm sure elicited a collective gasp of horror from cheese lovers across Switzerland: scrape the melted cheese on top of raw carrot sticks and allow the cheese to harden before picking up with your fingers and eating.