Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sister Play

Niamh and Muriel playing one Friday morning while Rowan was at school. They play so differently when Rowan is not here!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

iPhone Prints

I just received prints of several of my iPhone photos in the mail. I used Mpix, and most of the photos turned out beautifully. Really, I still can't believe how nice some of them look printed. There were a few that didn't work so well, but by and large they were great. One problem I've run into is the odd size of some of the photos when run through different apps. I think that should be easily remedied though if I can just figure out how to use Photoshop Elements to put the odd sizes on a white canvas for printing. The largest size I printed at was 8x8, which looked so nice that next time I'm going to see if I can go even a size larger and still get good quality.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


A week or so ago Rowan took a couple of rare afternoon naps. Must have been a hard week!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Recent Drawings By Rowan

Spaceship. Go to Flickr to see Rowan's extensive notes on what everything is.

Airplane. Again, there are notes on Flickr as to what everything is.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Festival du Chocolat

On Saturday we rode the train to Versoix to attend the chocolate festival. There was a lot of chocolate crammed into a fairly small tent. For someone wanting to sample one of everything the festival was a little overwhelming. 100 CHF doesn't buy as much chocolate as one might think!

I love empty eggshells filled with chocolate (have seen these in the States at Cost Plus), so got a couple of these for the kids.

It seemed like every other person was buying these little chocolate cakes from Philippe Pascoet, so I naturally needed to try them too. They were quite good, but I wish I had not bought them because I'm certain they could be made easily enough at home. I also got a small box of his chocolates. So far I've only eaten one, the thé chocolate (jasmine tea). It was fabulous. I think tea is one of my favorite flavorings for chocolates. I'm glad he has a place in Geneva, because I will definitely be going once or twice before we leave in July!! If for nothing else than a box of filled with only the thé flavor!

Just a random little girl sampling some chocolates. We took the kids in for about five minutes before deciding it would be best if they waited outside with Pat while I took photos and acquired chocolate. There were way too many people-it was shoulder to shoulder inside the tent.

These macarons from Sebastien Brocard were for sure the best macarons I've ever had. Take that with a grain of salt though because haven't actually sampled very many macarons. Every time I've had them, even from nice patisseries, they don't taste very good. Or often, like anything. But they're so pretty, I keep trying them occasionally. Thank goodness for perseverance! These macarons were delicious. I'm not sure what flavor the black were, but I liked them a lot. There was also a tea flavor (early grey, I think) that was very nice. My favorite were the caramel with salted butter filling.

Rowan and Niamh each got a chocolate duck from C. Boillat (no website).

Niamh confirmed my suspicions that she is quite possibly the messiest eater ever.

Muriel even got her very own little chocolate bunny.

More photos are up on Flickr, as usual!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy First Day of Spring!

The tulips are coming up!

It is a gray, slightly rainy day here in Morges, but it is warm(ish) and smells and feels decidedly like spring. Hooray! We celebrated by going to the Festival du Chocolat in Versoix. More on that to come.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patrick's Day 2010

Our St. Patrick's Day was filled with a lot of Irish cheer--a mischievous leprechaun turned the milk green and left some chocolate gold coins and new books for the kids. Rowan and Niamh did a bit shamrock filled drawing, green cookies were made, green clothes were donned, and Irish music filled the apartment.

That evening we were graciously invited to our neighbor's apartment for some cookie decorating and a lovely and delicious dinner of Guinness stew over mashed potatoes, with Irish soda bread on the side, and shamrock shakes for dessert. Yum!

This past week we've been making our way through Tales From Old Ireland. This is a fabulous book, but the stories are a bit above Niamh's head, and I don't think she's been really listening. In spite of this, she is so excited because tomorrow we're on the last story which is her story, about Princess Niamh.

There are more photos from yesterday up on Flickr!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Devenish Island Ruins, Ireland.

The Library of Congress has uploaded some really cool old photos of Ireland. You should check them out if you haven't seen them (via Flickr blog)!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Marker Memories

One of the things Pat brought back from his recent trip to the States were some Mr. Sketch Scented Markers. Like salamanders, M&Ms, Campbell's Chicken & Stars soup, Madame Alexander dolls, Froggy-Went-a-Courtin', and The Giving Tree, these Mr. Sketch Markers always remind my of my grandparents. They were kept upstairs in the office and my sisters, cousins, and I used to draw with them on the back of old documents that had been cut up for scrap paper.

This is Niamh's drawing of a rainbow with snow from yesterday afternoon. She worked a good 30-40 mintues on it, and was very deliberate about every detail. With Rowan's growing interest in drawing, she too has become increasingly interested (of course--she must be just like Rowan in virtually everything), and has started to do something other than just scribble. No picture from Rowan because he kept making mistakes with his attempt to draw an "Indian horse". He has gotten very particular about his drawings, which I suppose is not too surprising.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Baking: My Survival Tool

While Pat's been gone I've done a lot of baking to pass the time. Too much, probably, considering the extremely small size of our freezer and that Niamh can't eat eggs. I think my pants are feeling a little bit snug. No wonder:

-chocolate pudding from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook: fabulous! though perhaps making a double recipe was a mistake, even though we did have four extra people for dinner that night. There was an obscene amount of pudding.

-St. Louis gooey butter cake from Smitten Kitchen: delicious! Loved the top, but am not sure about the bottom. Wondering how the top would taste on top of the blondie recipe from Baking Illustrated. That might be too rich. Will have to try on Pat's next business trip, which is all too soon.

-whole wheat apple muffins from Smitten Kitchen: wonderful! I did have a problem with the batter curdling when I added in the yogurt. This has never happened to me before, so I didn't pay much attention to her warning. I think next time I'll follow the muffin mixing method from one of my Cook's Illustrated cookbooks. In spite of the curdling, the muffins were very, very good.

-thick chewy granola bars from Smitten Kitchen: (yes, I'm on a Smitten Kitchen kick at the moment. I don't see it ending in the foreseeable future either, because while writing this post coconut milk fudge has caught my eye.) really, really good! Next time I think I'll try adding a bit more almond butter to see if I can make the granola bars stick together just a little more.

-corn muffins with cheddar and bacon from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book: so-so. Could not taste the cheddar or the bacon. What was the point?

Several of the recipes called for corn syrup which can't be found in Switzerland, so I've been using wheat syrup as a substitute. Seems to work fine!

I wonder if Europe uses wheat the same way that America uses corn. I couldn't really find any info about it with a quick google search.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Random iPhone Photos From the Past Week

Pat's been in the states on business for the past ten days. The weather here was nice for the first couple of days, but then turned clear, windy, and cold. Very windy in fact, making the already cold temperature very cold. So other than the big kids going to school, there's been lots of time spent inside the apartment. The lone outside photo here was taken outside Ro's school. Not good when you have a serious case of spring fever! But at least Pat returns tomorrow. Hooray!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Sea Serpent and Me

Every time we get to the last page of The Sea Serpent and Me Niamh spends the next five minutes thinking about the little girl in the story.

"Mama, I want to go to her house."
"Mama, where is her bed?"
"Mama, I wish I could play with her toys."

Sweet Niamh!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Back to Where it all Began

Things are finally certain enough that we can formally announce our upcoming move to Colorado, where Pat and I met when he was 20 and I was 17. Seems like ages ago! We will probably be moving in July. Perhaps a bit before, but not any later.

We are very sad not to be returning to Seattle, but glad that at least we'll be in Loveland where we already have good friends. This photo was taken on our last intentional visit to Colorado in 2005 (we accidentally ended up staying one night when returning to Seattle from a Switzerland preview trip and we missed a connecting flight in Denver). A lot has changed--John and Jen have another child, we have two more children, and my sister Amanda (not in the photo. I think she was at school in Tennessee?) and brother-in-law Mike have sadly moved to Oregon.

Rowan is very excited to be living at the bottom of the Rocky Mountains. A while back my mom gave us two books about the Rocky Mountains, Trails Above the Treeline and Who Pooped in the Park. We have been reading them both a lot lately, and Ro is eagerly anticipating all the animals he will see. Yesterday he pointed out to me a dinosaur in a different book that has a dew claw just like! some of the animals he's been reading about in the Rocky Mountain books.