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Sep
08

The End of Our First Week in Paris

Posted by: Anna | Comments (0)

Wow!  As of tomorrow afternoon, it’ll be one full week in France.  At this point, we’re all settled in.  We’ve got our favorite shops and already see familiar faces at the bistro downstairs and the boulangerie and marche a couple of doors down.  By the way, this is Jordan writing the post.  Just like being settled in, we’ve got a bug/cold working it’s way through our family.  Anna didn’t feel well in Normandy and then, yesterday morning, Kristina starting feeling really bad in the morning while we were shopping at the Sunday outdoor market.  A nice woman selling herbs de provence and salts at the market helped us out with a stool, some wipes, and a glass of water.  She asked me if Kristina was “avec bebe?” — “Non.  Est malade.” was my reply.

We had managed to do our shopping before Kristy got sick (fixings for a nice salad with chicken for dinner, two beautiful French cheeses, and a baguette).  We headed back to the apartment and, at that point, Anna and I also felt “not well.”  Kristy went to bed, Anna and I sat on the couch, Alyssa proceeded to take care of us ALL, and we missed going to church services at the American Church of Paris (next Sunday we are planning on attending services at Mont St. Michel).  Not only did Alyssa get us perrier and orange juice, but she managed to whip up THE BEST chicken soup ever with a few simple ingredients (none of which were planned for chicken soup)…

  • 2 chicken breasts from the Grenelle Outdoor Market
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Chives
  • Salt (from the Brittany coast)
  • Water

I’ll detour for a moment and give you the steps, as dictated to me by Alyssa…

Boil the chicken in a quart of water to make the stock/broth (approximately 15 minutes).  Set the chicken aside.  Saute the garlic, onions, carrots, and chives in olive oil until soft.  Add to stock.  Cut or pull chicken and then add back to stock.  Salt to taste (it’ll take more than you think!)

OK, now back to the post!  We spent the rest of Sunday at the apartment relaxing and trying to get healthy by loading up on GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract for those of you who don’t hug trees regularly).  Anna and I started feeling better by the middle of the afternoon, but Kristina remained sick.  The girls decided to have their own cheese course after dinner.  Anna had picked out (and ordered in beautiful French) a couple of cheeses from the Fromager at the Sunday Market.  Check out the way the girls “plated” their cheese course!

Cheese Course a la 11 and 13 year olds!

Cheese Course a la 11 and 13 year olds!

This morning, Kristina did not feel up to going sightseeing and we had the Louvre planned.  Since Kristina had already seen the Louvre, it was a good choice for the girls and I to explore “sans Kristy.”  With our museum passes, we were able to bypass the lines and go in through the “porte des lyons” entrance without waiting at all.  (Queue the “Everything is Awesome” song from The Lego Movie!)

The Louvre has 35,000 objects on display and more visitors than any other museum on Earth!

The Louvre has 35,000 objects on display and more visitors than any other museum on Earth!

Once inside, the girls dazzled me with their knowledge of art, particularly the paintings (Thank you, Gina, their art teacher!!!!).  Then, we got to the Egyptian Antiquities section and the girls further dazzled me by explaining to me each of the Egyptian gods.  I remember reading about King Tut as a kid but most of what I knew I learned from the Steve Martin song “King Tut.”  Remember “that funky Tut?”

No tourists were injured in the capturing of this photo...I promise!  ;^)

No tourists were injured in the capturing of this photo...I promise! ;^)

It looks like Anna is gasping at the sight of a mummy.  She's not.  I caught her at the start of a yawn!

It looks like Anna is gasping at the sight of a mummy. She's not. I caught her at the start of a yawn!

We spent a good 5 hours at the Louvre and probably only saw 1/20th of the collection, at best!  Overwhelming in size and in beauty.

She's almost as tall as me, but in this picture it looks like she's already past me!

She's almost as tall as me, but in this picture it looks like she's already past me!

We cooled our heals at a bistro a couple of blocks off of the Champs Elysees and then went up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.  It was a lot of fun.  I think there are 287 steps and the girls did not stop…my quads were burning by the top!  I’ll call it exercise.

Looking to the south, back towards our apartment.

Looking to the south, back towards our apartment.

Beautiful!  ...and the stairs are pretty too!

Beautiful! ...and the stairs are pretty too!

A lot of people are carrying around "selfie poles."  Google it.  I brought a lightweight tripod!

A lot of people are carrying around "selfie poles." Selfie Pole? Google it. I brought a lightweight tripod!

After soaking in the sights up top, we headed down and then took the metro back to our neighborhood.  Tonight, Alyssa and I picked up a couple of lovely pizzas “emporter” (carry out) and brought them back to the apartment.  Kristy was able to eat a couple of slices before dozing off.  We’re all hoping and praying she feels better tomorrow.  She loves the Musee d’Orsay and that was our plan for tomorrow.

I hope you’re enjoying the pictures.  I’ll leave you with a statement that I heard Alyssa say today and it made me chuckle.  She called Kristina at the apartment to check on her.

“Hi Mom!  How are you?  We’re good.  We’re on the Champs Elysees and should be home soon for dinner.”

Au revoir!

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Categories : France 2014
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We all see those jokes about those Americans who come to France and, well lets face it, don’t quite have the right accent for the language that they are speaking. But speaking a different language, as we all know, is not an easy thing to do. When we arrived in Paris I, for the most part, had no idea what people were saying.  All I caught was “bonjour,” “oui,” “non,” and a few other very simple words. After this week I am feeling much more confident in my french and I think that my family is as well.

us americans

Here we are

Besides the language difference here, there is also the difference in the culture and food. One of my favorite quotes was from the movie Julie and Julia. and the quote begins when Julia Child’s husband asks her…

What are you good at?” and Julia replies “I am good at eating!”

The reason that I put that quote in is because, when in France, you are not as removed from your food so you can see the butcher handle the meat with his bare hands or go into a cheese shop and watch them scoop out the cream fresh made there and packaged to go. They don’t even call fast food “fast food.”  Here they call it “speed food.”  The point of what I just said  is that when you are able to see your food and take the time to experience it. You can enjoy the differences in culture. To say it in a way I hope that Julia child would have said it.  Yes, you get pretty good at eating.

Dinner at our apartment in Paris!

Dinner at our apartment in Paris

For our family, fully experiencing the culture means trying all the food and also attempting to speak the local language. That is what we will continue to do!

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Aug
30

Packing For France

Posted by: Anna | Comments (0)

Right now I am living in a world of back packs, jumbo suit cases, and excitement!  And I love it.  For most of this final week we have been prepping like crazy.  Making sure everyone is packed and has all the stuff that we could possibly need and still meet the weight requirements.  Fun right?suitcases The thing that I enjoy most abut packing is the fun that is all around.  We usually pack last minute but for this trip we decided to get it done early.  We have most of our packing done 48 hours before leaving.  We are all ecstatic,  and so we wanted to share with you our favorite things about getting ready for a big trip.  Starting with my dad…

He said his favorite thing about getting ready is the building excitement he feels that we are about to go on a trip where he will get to share more of the world with us girls.  And showing us things he enjoys that we have not yet experienced.

My mom’s favorite thing about getting ready for travel is seeing her daughters (Alyssa and my) excitement about the upcoming adventure.

suit case 2My favorite things about getting ready for travel is seeing how much stuff I am bringing ( I am notorious for packing things I won’t use such as screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.) and noticing that my trip is not very far away.

And finally, my sister’s favorite thing about prepping for trip is not  in the days when we pack and get prepared but, in the nights when she can dream about what is to come.

We all are looking forward to the adventure that another country will bring and the joy and closeness our family will enjoy while we are together.

Keep us in your prayers.

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Aug
21

Ten Easy Steps To Chickens

Posted by: Anna | Comments (0)

Our backyard chicken farming started in 2005 when we got 4 laying hens and from then on we have never been chickenless.  We now have seven happy, healthy chickens that give us any where from two to five eggs a day.  Recently we added quail to our flock (we have 11 at the moment) and from them we get four to eight eggs a day.

photo

Nothing tastes better than something that you farm yourself!

This is how I buy, handle, care for, and love  chickens in ten easy steps:

  1. Buy your laying hens as chicks. I like to do this so I can raise them by hand.  By the time they are adults they are very used to me and other people handling them.
  2. Research your breeds before you buy. You have to make sure that you know what you are getting!  A rule of thumb is the lighter breeds tend to be more frisky but the heavier breeds tend to be more docile and slightly easier to handle.
  3. There is always the option of bantams. Bantams, also known as the teacup of the poultry world, are chickens that are 1/4 to 1/5 the size average chickens.  Raising bantams is one of the fastest growing hobbies when it comes to chicken farming.  I love them and I think they are some of the cutest little things ever.
  4. Don’t worry about when they will start laying. Chickens will lay in their own good time usually at about 15-22 weeks old.
  5. Handle your Chickens. A common mistake is that the chickens are not handled enough so they are not used to people.  If you handle them frequently and properly they will be your best friends.
  6. Something I found recently was coconut coir. If you are particularly worried about how chickens are going to smell, use this stuff as your bedding and voila!!  No smells!
  7. Chicken chores don’t have to happen often. I add new bedding and fluff it up and mix it with the old one about every month. and then I really clean everything, pull all the old bedding out and put new bedding in, about every six to eight weeks.
  8. When building Chicken Coops. You will want to build your chicken coop not to the amount of chickens you are first getting, but build for the number of birds that you eventually want to get. That way you don’t have to come back and expand the chicken coop later.  (Like we had to do!)
  9. Make sure every one seems healthy. Chickens are prey so they hide when they’re not feeling well, so make sure they seem happy.  If you really know your chicken you will learn to tell when they are not feeling well.
  10. Wash your chickens eggs, the eggs can be dirty. It is very exciting to get your first chickens eggs but don’t forget to wash them before you use them, but don’t wash them right away.  The eggs have a protective membrane that keeps them fresh longer.  If you wash them immediately, you wash the membrane away and they won’t stay as fresh, so rinse them under warm water right before you use them.

chickens

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Categories : The Ladies
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