Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Off to Europe

1 March 2011: DH leaves London and heads off to Geneva to start a new job. I stay behind with the boys... and baby-to-be... and the move... I cannot find the words to express the level of stress that accumulated until D-day of 15 April.

The removal took place on 14 April and, in addition to our "survival" kit in our two suitcases, there were still the equivalent of two boxes scattered around the house when the truck left. Thankfully, our friendly neighbour managed to ship all this to us after we left. I was exhausted but somehow relieved when we reached our temporary destination in the remote Swiss mountains in the evening of 15 April. We enjoyed a pleasant dinner with my parents and with my second brother and his family. They had prepared the beds for us and kindly carried our belongings to our eagle's nest. We stayed there until 12 July, virtually undisturbed, save for occasional visits from my parents and from DH. As the boys grew in strength and stamina, the 1,650 meter altitude literally weighed on my growing bump. There was so much to observe, discover, explore though, it was overall a very good experience for the boys and me.

London scene

This photo shows us on the London Underground in February 2011. We were on our way to the Science Museum, in Kensington. I used to assume that we needed an hour to get anywhere, which was a fairly good estimate. So I always travelled with snacks, books and what not, sometimes ending up carrying DS2 on the way back home, too. Now we have moved out of London to provincial France, I dearly miss the frequent buses just on our doorstep, and virtually cannot do anything without a car. Luckily, the school is just round the corner, so no commuting time for me here.

Dressed up

DS1 and DS2 dressed up for the christinening of our friends' daughter, Elspeth. Having been used to wearing formal trousers as part of the their school uniform, they have never been reluctant to wear clean, formal clothes for one-offs or simply for a smarter Sunday look.


Still about a year ago, we celebrated the Chinese new year of the Rabbit with a lovely homemade sweet and sour dish and some hand-made rabbit masks (starting with plain paper plates). We have not really thought about dragons yet for this year...

It's been a while...

I have not had a chance to post for a very long time, so let me take it slow.

Last spring, we used Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World to explore the lives of Ancient Egyptians and Sumerians. It involved growing seeds to simulate agriculture in the Nile's fertile crescent, painting hieroglyphs on papyrus and writing cuneiforms on soft clay.

Monday, 14 December 2009


We celebrated our first family Thanksgiving this year, trying to teach our children the value of giving thanks for everything we enjoy without noticing it.

I prepared a turkey with lovely pistachio and cranberry stuffing, along with potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, gravy and cranberry sauce.
There was also pumpkin pie with maple syrup whipped cream.
The whole family loved it all, and we have several frozen servings of turkey for the months ahead.

DS2 prepared a Thanksgiving card, gluing feathers on a turkey I had drawn, and we had jolly turkeys on our napkins that day.

A Gingerbread crib

We decided not to display our traditional, fragile Italian-made crib in our home this year, for fear of having to replace most of its figures by the end of the year.
Instead, we opted for an ephemeral version.
I designed patterns for two stables, as well as a manger and a couple of fences. We prepared the gingerbread house dough and cut it following the patterns (the rest was used to make St. Nicholas figures). Assembling the lot was a little testing, but the stables are still holding strong (the fences were discreetly nibbled on, I'm afraid).
The hay in the manger is marzipan coloured with yellow food colouring and pressed in a garlic press. The figure of Mary is also made in marzipan, coloured in blue mainly. I have not had a chance to help make other figures, as the children happily contributed their Schleich animals to the scene (and of course oats and water for more realism!).