Friday, June 29, 2012

A quick update...list form..

Owen is getting soo big!

This month has been extremely busy for us! We are still getting adjusted to our new surroundings, and wishing we could all speak french fluently. That would help a ton! It is difficult when you are in a new place with so much to learn about the area and how things work, but then to add the extra work of trying to translate basic knowledge things into English can make for an exhausting day. For example cleaning much do you mix in with how much water? What do I look for when I need to buy Hydrogen Peroxide? ( I still have yet to find it, I think they sell it in the Pharmacie). It is, as I said, difficult, but with great challenges come great rewards, right?  We are still excited to be learning all of these new things, and are trying to enjoy the challenges as well...some days are good, others, well, we won't go there. ( For those of you that do pinterest, there is a correlation between the number of pins and the type of day I'm having :)  ).   On to our list of current events in the Flamm family.

1. With the help of a wonderful neighbor, Christine, we have been able to enroll Kylee and Carson in the local Maternelle. We will see how it goes for them.
2. We visited the Maternelle for a school carnival, and met another American mom with son that will be in Kylee's class.
3. We have also made friends with some mothers who are french, but speak English very well. We will be getting together with them to hopefully form some type of french/english play date.  They would like to keep their and their children's english skills current, and I would like our family to learn more french. I have my first play date on the 11th of July.  One of the mothers has a sons Carson's age and a daughter's Kylee's age.  These children only speak french, but it will be good for Kylee and Carson to interact with them as they will be going to school with them.
4. Unpacking is quite the feat with two busy toddlers, and an even busier 9 almost 10 month old who wants to get into everything, and who thinks he wants to start walking.
5. Going to the grocery store with Eve, a member of the church, was , believe it or not, fun for me. She showed me different ingredients and how I can use them.
6. Trying new cheeses. We have not ventured out to much in this area yet, but we have tried camembert, the brie cheese here, the comte, and a few others. Still have yet to find one that the children will eat.
7. Baking is different here because of the variety of flours and sugars.  My first attempt to make cookies was somewhat successful. I like a chewy moist cookie, but my usual recipe turned out flat, crispy pancake cookies.  They tasted good, but not the texture I like. With a few more tries, I think I will be able to come up with something better :).
8. Carrefour markets on Saturday are C-R-A-Z-Y!  Think of a packed day at Costco (superbowl weekend), and then double the crazy, and you have the Carrefour Market in Montesson.  I could barely maneuver my shopping cart without bumping into someone.  Ridiculous.
9. I had my first rude encounter with an old french man at the market.  I was with Christine, our nice neighbor, who was pointing out the various cheeses to try, when this man came from behind me and was pushing me with his shopping cart.  At first I thought it was an accident, but when he persisted, I was quite annoyed! Then as we were checking out, the same unpleasant french man was behind Christine and I in line. He persistently and rudely nudged Christine into me, and in front of us was a woman with a baby in a stroller.  No where to go!  According to Christine that is usually the behavior of Parisians and often the older generation.  They have a thing about waiting in line...they don't like it, so watch out!
10. Our bathrooms don't have outlets...blah!
11. Our bathrooms don't have cupboards...blah!
12. We do not have a linen closet...blah!
13. Our towels and sheets are in a box under the sink, waiting to find a nice home.  It is common to move into a house without cupboards in the bathroom and kitchen.  So we were very lucky to find a home with an already built in kitchen :)
14. Our street has a lot of expats from the UK and a very kind Swedish Family.  I think one of my favorite things is when the neighbors ring our bell and ask if Kylee and Carson can play in their english accents.  They sound soo refined!
15.Went to the musical festival in Paris.
16. Sunday drives in Versailles
17. We are loving the 90 cent baguette from our local bakery
18 Picard, a french frozen food chain...very yummy things at decent prices :)
19.Attending a Relief Society Fireside South of Paris to listen to Sister Reeves speak. 4 hours of driving for 45 minutes of listening.  It was a fun evening, and I was able to learn more french.  Everybody has been super helpful!
20. Trying to plan day trips. We will be going to the Loire Valley this weekend
21. I love that Kylee and Carson play together.  They have their bad days with lots of fighting, but on a whole, they are great play buddies!
22. Purchasing a vacuum was a long process (again with the translation adding more time), but we are very happy with our purchase.
23. I never knew that a garbage can could bring me such peace! Owen has been getting into everything, including the garbage, and here you have to separate it out.  So we had three small garbage cans. One for trash, one for cardboard and plastic, and one for glass. These three garbage cans were placed on our kitchen counters ( I know, GROSS, but I think I chose the lesser of two evils...Owen eating garbage or garbage cans on kitchen counters).  So, when we were at Carrefour market we came across one garbage can that had three separate compartments, and a lid.  We hit the jackpot of garbage cans.  It is not that aesthetically pleasing, but oh, how I love it!
24. The humidity in Croissy Sur Seine.  I am not a big fan of feeling sticky.
25. Enjoying listening to a Frenglish book with daniel.  It's a different approach to learning the language.
26. Loving this brand in France bonne maman
27. Daniel and I have been praying for a smooth transition since we made the decision to come here, and the Lord has blessed us by placing many people in our path to help us in getting settled and staying sane :).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hilton Arc De Triomphe

Our first "home" in France treated us very well.  If you look to the far right of the picture, and go up three windows, that was our first room at the hotel, room 309.  We then moved to our very temporary apartment on 28 Rue D'Artois , after which we returned, surprisingly, happily back to the hotel. Our new room would be 208 and 210. Third time was the charm for us. The first suite at the hotel was nice, but we really only had two bedrooms with an adjoining hall, the second stop was the "museum" of an apartment, and the third was a nice suite where one room was the bedroom, and the other room had a couch and was more like a living room. Not to mention, we also had a balcony/terrace that the kids could go out on. We ate outside on a few of the nicer nights.  I was kind of worried about the sleeping arrangements with all of us sleeping in one room and Carson and Owen napping in the same room, but, aside from a few bad nights, the rest went really well.  I don't think I could have handled a one bedroom cabin like the pioneers, but for a few weeks the hotel suite wasn't bad.

Here at the hotel, the kids got to know Elodie, Audrey, and Isabelle. They work in the executive lounge, and are really friendly and helpful.  It was nice being able to visit with them and have them there.  The executive lounge was our second home at the hotel.  Different meals/snacks throughout the day are served at the lounge. Carson and Kylee loved going up there for "spicy" chips and orange juice for their daily snack, and I loved the arrangement of tea time snacks...pretty and delicious pastries. All the desserts were very "petit." Daniel and I had creme brulee served in a shot glass, which I think would be a fabulous idea to serve at a bridal shower or baby shower.  Such a fun way to showcase a decadent dessert. Plus you can take one, and not feel to guilty about eating a mini version of a rich dessert. Anyways, If you are ever at this hotel, and happen to go up to executive lounge, I hope one of these gals are working there, and that you get to try the tea time treats.

Some our our favorite places around this hotel are:
Park Monceau We went here almost daily with the kids.  They loved it and I did to.  This is where we met Svetlana and Felix!
Le Paradis du Fruit We've eaten here several times and have loved it.  If you are near the Arc de Triomphe and want a fun and fruity dessert stop here
Cafe' de lavenue  This place has reasonable prices for pretty good food.  We liked that we could enjoy a nice meal with the kids, while sitting outside.  We people watched, counted busses, and every time we passed the restaurant Carson would remind us of the poor domino delivery motorcyclist boy that got clipped by a car. ( I'm pretty sure he was a little shaken up, but he got up and rode off).  Also, across a couple of streets is a delicious bakery that had unusual hours.  We didn't get to go to that bakery as often as I would have liked.)
Le Monceau This is just down from the hotel, and I got to enjoy a quiet dinner by myself while the kids and Daniel had room service back at the hotel.  I ordered the Brochette de Bouef...a beef shish-ka-bob.  Again, food and presentation go hand in hand.  They brought this suspending knife like skewer of beef and vegetables to my plate.  It was almost like what you see at Tucanos, where they slide the sausage off the skewer onto your plate, but the whole skewer was one dinner serving.  I was surprised by how much I got.
Monop on Rue de Lisbonne This Monop is located just before the above mentioned cafe.  Monoprixs are similar to a super target, and they have these express monops throughout Paris.  Instead of finding household goods, clothes, and groceries, you only find groceries. The kids and I came to this store about 5 times a week. We would buy smoothies, salads, diapers, and something new each time to try. It was fun to have them pick new things. The kids really enjoy Doo Waps .
Bakery on Rue de Lisbonne Also on this street is a bakery.  I liked ordering sandwiches, salads, and chocolate brioches here.  This is where I ordered that yummy pistachio tart/cake I was talking about earlier.

Croissy Sur Seine

Literally translated Croissy Sur Seine is Croissy on the Seine.   A lot of impressionists came here and painted. So, we live right next to the Seine river in the quaint village of Croissy.  Our neighborhood is full of expatriates from the UK, Sweden, and a couple of french families ( one family that just moved back from the states).  We LOVE it!! We've already met 7 of the 10 families that live on this street. Kylee has made a friend with the little girl from Sweden, who we believe is called Louisa, but we are not sure.  Ulriche is the mother, and she has a little boy that is almost 4 months, so Owen could possibly have a little buddy as well.  There are a lot of boys on the street, so Carson is sure to find a little play mate, and our neighbors are so helpful.  I've already been in contact with a local french/english conversation group, a mother who knows a lot about the french school system, and I might possibly go check out a pediatrician for my children.  The only thing that could make this process even better is if I could bewitch myself an orderly home.  You know...just twitch my nose back and forth, and voila!, like magic everything would be in its intended place.  Here's to bewitching...

Ode to the pistachio

As we are trying to get settled in, we have discovered a new flavor combination that we really enjoy.  The French use the pistachio nut in a variety of ways. Food adornment ( sprinkled on chocolate covered strawberries, desserts, etc..), cakes ( I ordered this pistachio cake/tart from the local bakery...yummy), candy bars, gelato, ice cream, and these yummy ice cream bars Magnum Pistache . Smooth, velvetty chocolate with pistachio bits covering cold, creamy, pistachio ice cream.  What's not to love.  Even the kids ate them up. We have these magnum bars back in the state, but we only have a few flavors.  I'm hoping that in the three years were here, these delicious bars will have made their destined journey to the states! Who knew I would love pistachios so?