Paris 2011 – update

A little bit more research done in anticipation of Paris 2011!
Check out the “Paris” page for the whole gamut. I haven’t figured out how to add flags to my map yet…

During my second visit to Paris, I bought a Leondardo da Vinci book – in French – planning to one day know enough French to read it. I’ve decided, instead, to use it as a way to learn French by translating it. Page by page. Paragraph by sentence by phrase by word. Ya. I’ll let ya know how that goes. In the meantime, I still have the French CD’s we play in the car to teach Tt.

New research:

“the” perfect sweets: We bumped into this place on our last trip – Gerard Mulot patisserie/boulangerie for apparently “THE” best macaroons. I attempted making these for B’s last bday (France), so I have a new appreciation for a perfect roundness, a light cookie that isn’t chunky with not-so-ground almond flour and a buttercream that isn’t much too sweet. My mouth is watering already… 76 Rue de Seine (6th).

“the” most fascinating food market: We really enjoyed walking through a market that was near a mall, a park, a church and a university or Georges Pompidou. I have no idea – we’ll have to walk about and see if we can bump into it again. In the meantime, I’ve come across another possibility (or maybe the same one!): Marche Monge Market, every Wed/Fri/Sun, a block from Rue Mouffetard, 5th.

Also worth a walk is “The Ultimate Grocery Store”, La Grande Epicerie de Paris, 38 Rue de Sevres, 7th.

“the” most beautiful park: I’ve already been, I believe! Parc Monceau was gorgeous, and I plan to hit it once more with Hubby. (I’ll mark it later). I also read about Parc des Buttes-Chaumont which sounds lovely and out of the way – NE Paris, Rues Manin + Botzaris, 19th.

“the” littlest tea shoppe: This one was on my list last trip, but alas – there was no time for “me” things with 3 kids and a needy Hubby about. Mariage Freres apparently is a “tea lovers paradise” with 450-500 varieties and a museum to boot! 30-32 Rue de Bourg-Tibourg, 4th.

“the” kitchen gadget shop: Passed these two possibilities in a writeup about the arrondissments – A.Simon and M.O.R.A., at 13 and 48-52 Rue Montmarte respectively, 1st. We’ll HAVE to take a look – apparently one of them supplies “the” chefs of Paris! I can’t find a site for M.O.R.A., so I’ll dig further on that one.-

“the” place to find free music: Apparently those “in the know”, know that Thursdays at 12:45pm there are free outdoor concerts at which to enjoy an outdoor lunch break. Place d’Estienne-d’Orves, near Gare St.-Lazare, 9th.

10 things I LOVE – 09.01

1. New Years “things we reflect on” list. Every New Years Eve Hubby and I write a list of things that happened – good, bad + ugly – throughout the just-passed year. It’s always a full, full list.

2. New Years dinners. I can’t believe I missed it this year! I always make my fanciest meal of the year on NYE, but this year, alas, I was too ill. Hubby jumped in and made roast beef and about 5 different starches for our guests. That’s so Hubby.

3. Cafe de Paris. I LOVE this restaurant! We go probably only once a year, but it’s always worth it. Cafe de Paris – Denman St.

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4. SNOW!? I DO still love snow, but rained-on snow is beginning to be a different story…

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5. T’s smile… I just can’t get enough of it. He’s becoming such a young man! (Guess I could have combed his hair that day… it WAS Christmas, after all!) (see blog).

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6. Mini DVD players – ours has come in handy SO many times. YET, it’s not actually ATTACHED to our vehicle, so I’m not stuck saying “No, you can’t watch a cartoon every time we’re in the car, you must actually talk with your Mother once in awhile”.

7. Boxing Day shopping. It still beats out Black Friday for me. Maybe just because it’s so close to home. This year all I found was this one shirt, which wasn’t even on much of a sale…

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8. Starting a fresh daytimer. ALTHOUGH, that said, I do have a 16-month daytimer this time, and it started last September, so I’m still on it. I LOVE this one – my moleskine. LOVE it. Bought it last summer at Chapters.

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9. Reading about Paris. So far I’ve only gotten as far as the Eyewitness Guide, but I even love those. I’ve started re-reading mine in prep for Paris 2011. Ahhh, Paris. I’ve updated my Page – check it out.

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10. Nail buffing. It’s been around for-ev-er, I’m sure, but I used to try to clear polish and my nails would ALWAYS split. The last month or two A and I have been “buffing” and not only does the shine last for weeks, it doesn’t require nasty nail polish remover! Ahhh, my nails are lookin’ FINE.

Travelling with Kids – Paris

In 2004 Hubby and I took B, A and a 4-month old Tt to Paris for one whole week. It was fantastic! And, naturally, we learned a bit more about travelling with KIDS.

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1. Show them where you’re going. When it’s far away, it can be difficult for Kids to realize quite where you’re actually going. We took the time prior to going to show them where we were going and to talk about a bit of the history.

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(Fly RED-EYES! Both our recent flights to Europe we left YVR at 9pm, and the kids ALL slept the whole way over – ahhhhhh.) (Ask for a bulkhead seat if you have a basinette-sized baby – you have somewhere to put them while they sleep. British Airways even had a basinette to put Tt in)

2. Give them a bit of history. Because Paris has just so much history, I knew we would end up at the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and a few other places for sure. I put together a little “handout” with just 2 or 3 interesting facts about each thing. Keep it short – better they learn a bit then think the entire vacation is a bore. (The boys will be different – by virtue of homeschooling they’ll be using travel as school, whereas for the girls it was meant to be a break from school/work).

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(Turn a chore into fun galore! We made a “going up the hill” drama for a regular hill we had to climb to get to a Metro. It was funny and silly)

3. Don’t bother trying to see EVERYTHING. If it’s that great a place, you’ll go back one day. And if you don’t, oh well. There is so much we could have seen while in PARIS, but we chose to try to see one or two things each day, which I had pre-researched. This allowed us have “empty” time to relax and walk aimlessly a little bit each day, when we’d find a few unplanned treasure spots.

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(We decided to learn calligraphy during our trip – it kind of fit in w/ the “old” aspect of Paris. We bought little leather-bound books and a pen while we were there.)

4. Keep each persons interests in mind. I purposely tried to find 1 or 2 things for each of our personal interests. For B it was the Catacombs (I stayed “up” on land w/ Tt enjoying a cafe au lait – see? Something for everyone 😉 ). For A it was a mall (yes, we went all the way to Paris to walk a mall…). For Husband it was a Park to relax (and nap?) in. For me… well, just being there was for me.

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(We took a few sketch books with us – everyone HAD to draw, even Daddy, which of course made it all very, very funny…)

5. Mind the stairs. Tt was only 4 months, so there really wasn’t a whole lot to consider on his behalf. He was content to sit in his stroller, I managed to breastfeed whenever he needed (did I get nasty french glares? who knows, who paid attention, who cares) and other than the first night there was little time-change lag. The one thing we DID plan for was carrying the stroller… THERE ARE NO LIFTS when you need them in Europe. We took only a small easily collapsible umbrella stroller and got the hang quickly of grabbing a side each and just hauling up and down stairs to the Metro etc.

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6. Learn a bit of the Language. Well, I did happen to remember just enough French to get us by, but when my French failed me and we got some grotesque raw steak for dinner, we just laughed and went with the flow. What can you do? I tried teaching the girls/Husband a few words, but to no avail.

7. Do at least one thing “special”. For us, this was a Lunch cruise on the Seine. It was pretty pricey, but we got to dress up (with some of our new things we’d bought!), have some great food and see the City from a new angle.

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(While doing that one thing special, I learned not to get upset if everything doesn’t go to plan… We arrived with our tickets only to find they wanted to charge full child admission for Tt, who, obviously, wasn’t even going to get a chair much less eat… We just paid it and let it go, as getting overly upset and arguing would have just ruined the experience for all of us)

8. Allow for mis-haps. Take it all in stride. If you get stressed, the kids get stressed. When we left, we’d left an important document at home. Fortunately we’d arrived at the airport 3 hrs early and had enough time to RUSH a cab home. B and I had to break a window to get in (longer story), but I refused to be stressed and we just laughed. As we were waiting to take off, Tt pooped. Huge. All over. And I couldn’t get up because the “seatbelt” sign was still on. Disgust, sure, but then laughter.

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(As part of our “something for everyone” approach, we treated the girls to a day at EuroDisney! Although it wasn’t sooo nice as our California park, it was a fun, fun day.)

9. Allow for Rest. We purposely didn’t plan much for the first day, assuming we would be tired, would want to sleep in and recover a bit. We also tried to have some “downtime” in the hotel each day. It seems such a waste to spend precious time abroad sitting in your (tiny) hotel room, but it was worth it to reduce Husband crankiness!

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(We all appreciated a little mid-day down time. SURE, we could have seen more if we’d just GO, GO, GO, but I think we enjoyed what we did see that much better with lots of rest)

10. Pack extra clothes – for just about everyone. On our flight over, we SHOULD have packed: extra jammies for Tt (he pooped all over his); extra top + pants for Momma (he pooped all over mine); relaxing “airplane” clothes to change out of once we landed so we could feel at least a little bit fresh; and those small rollup slippers for each of us because even though it’s carpeted, 2 hrs into an 11 hr flight the floor is just plain gross.

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Paris 2011

Paris! Here I come!

(No, I don’t know how to say that in french…).

I’m starting my research for my BIG 4-0 bday with Hubby in PARIS, France!! Ya, it’s early, and ya, we’re taking a few other trips (we hope…) before then, but this one I’m really looking forward to because it’ll be the first “NO KIDS” trip for Hubby and I since our Honeymoon 6 1/2 yrs ago, at ALMOST our 10 year Anniversary. AND, I just love all things Paris, so it’s a fun thing to google.

Check out my new page (beside “Me + My Crew”) for updates on what I’ve found to do and see in Paris in 2011!

(Oh, and I’ll also be researching a 2 or 3-day excursion to a beach… Nice? Cannes? Biaritz? Who knows!).

10 things I LOVE – 08.11.15

1. Vij’s. My g’friend PT first brought me to Vij’s restaurant (Indian Fusion) about 10 (or more) years ago, and it’s still in my top 5 for sure. It gets a top pick because I’m SOOOO craving the lamb popsicles in curry cream right now. http://www.vijs.ca I even have the cookbook!

2. EGGNOG LATTES. Starbucks, I love you. November 13th. Eggnog. Here. I can’t wait.

my favorite "mug"

3. Freedman’s. I’ve decided to start collecting shoes. All my shoes are either from Shoe Warehouse or Freedmans, and most people can’t tell which are from where. http://www.freedmanshoes.com/. My best summer purchase below… Next up – a new pair of them knee-high black leather boots!

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4. My new necklace. Husband and the girls got this necklace for me for my birthday – I love it. Ok, so it’s not a perfectly clear pic – it’s silver twisted sticks in a circle. It’s a pendant, just a glass necklace, or a place to stick some beads. I originally put a different color bead in for each person in our family. Find the artist here: http://www.catherineweitzman.com/. Also sold at Blue Ruby or Hill’s in Kerrisdale.

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5. JAMESBABY !! I love James Bond. He’s just aaawweesooomeee. AND he’s here the DAY AFTER EGGNOG LATTES! Connery, Moore, Brosnan and now Craig (what “other” bonds?!). Amazing action, “romance” (I don’t really think you can call it that, but…), secret spy stuff – ahhhhh, what more could you ask for. November 14th! (And apparently Bond 23 is slated for 2010!!! I’ll have to add that to my “Movies” list!!).

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6. Oyama Sausage down on Granville Island has YUM of all kinds. Duck confit for my salads, sausages for the BBQ’s in the summer or pastas in the winter, salamis for the boys, pates for parties and CHEeeesssee. I’ve just ordered 3 of their annual frozen cassoulets and cannot WAIT to try them out. http://www.oyamasausage.ca/oyama_sausage_company.html

7. ‘My’ Camera. quotes added because it’s not mine – it’s begged and borrowed, but I’ve sure enjoyed using it. My photos are soo much nicer with it! NIKON D50. Maybe one day Grampa will forget I have it…

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8. Girls nights out. I don’t have photos to back these up, but they do happen on occassion, sometimes with my daughters, sometimes with a friend or two. LOVE ’em and plan to get out for them faaaar more often this coming year.

9. Making older houses new and fab-u-lous. Well, it’s my job, but I sure love taking an older house and making it into something fantastic and beautiful. Now if only I could get my own house done… *sigh*. (or even just my website…)

10. Paris. Husband and I went out for a date last night and I kept saying how excited I am to go for “my 40th” in a few years. I’ve got to start doing some research! I’ve been three times now, but there’s just still so much to explore. Where does one find “the” early morning baguette? Which restaurant has “the” most yummiest cassoulet? These are questions which must be answered.

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