26 December 2014

La Poésie de Noël

At school, the children in Jane's class work on memorizing a new poem each month. I'm amazed with Jane's increasing capacity. We still have to look up a lot of the words for meaning, but her pronunciation is incroyable! 

A Christmas poem from Jane to you!

19 December 2014

Mistletoe on the Water Spigot

The children are home from school and Christmas Break officially has commenced. We are all most happy about this.

It feels rather significant to have made it to this season of rest and celebration. Our Christmas will be quiet this year. We shall miss our dear ones, to be sure, but two weeks of a virtually blank calendar seems like heaven. Fireside evenings, holiday food, festive lights, day-trips, and lazy mornings ... and just each other.

In this intensely nutty adventure we are on, we are also gifted with much more stillness than ever before. These days of extremes both stretch the muscles of our very being to a point of pain and exhaustion ... and then there is recovery in days heavy with joy and quiet.

07 December 2014

French Yogurt Wishes You Joyeuses Fêtes!

We have been trying to be very mindful of purchases here. Not only to watch the budget (oooh, it's expensive to live in EU!), but also because when we return home in the future, we have to get everything back home the way we came ... all on the plane! No moving crew or shipping containers here.

But. One thing I have become rather infatuated with is ... the terracotta yogurt cups. I've already mentioned what an art form yogurt is here, but oh these little glazed tubs have me. Thick, rich, seriously good yogurt made by La Fermière in little tubs that couldn't be any more delightful.

 And what did I find this last week at the market? Christmas pots! Oh the joy! My plan is to squirrel these purchases away into visitor's luggage with the promise to hold on to them for me! "We'll put you up in our farmhouse ... you bring home my yogurt pots." It's a good trade-off, no?

Any suggestions on how we should use these to decorate this season?

02 December 2014

Simple Christmas Decorations: Orange Pomanders

Do you remember making orange pomanders as a child? I do, with fond memories. Such a fun, do-able craft that leaves you with something beautiful, smelling gorgeous ... and you don't have to pack up and store when you are all done enjoying them!

On Thanksgiving Day this year, we had a gloriously sunny day. While still brisk, it was lovely to be outside. So with a bowl of oranges, toothpicks and cloves (whole, not ground!), we set to work.

The easiest way I've found is to poke a hole with a toothpick and then insert a whole clove. Pops and I were both reminiscing and laughing over doing this very activity as kids and both remarked at the lack of toothpicks in the venture and feeling so aggravated as each clove broke off and we ended up with really sorry looking pocked oranges. Use the toothpicks.

Another great thing about making these pomanders is the artistic license one can assume. Spiral, random, stripes, or the "royal orb" as we liked to christen the cross like pattern.

We approached the patterning pretty nonchalantly, but a quick Google search will give you tons of impressive ideas.

 And as mentioned, even Pops got in on the fun. But straight-up crafting is too pedantic for Pops. He had to work out the best clove/toothpick/orange/hand-movement methodology for maximum efficiency. (Notice the two-handed approach in the photo.)

 All in all, it was a really lovely family activity. Super simple, instant gratification. I am truly loving this kind of "natural" approach to holiday decorating this year. Necessary, since we don't have any of our stuff, but also a joy in its simplicity.

 We've set the tray-full on the living room coffee table and I think we are all pretty proud of them. Plus they smell so good! A fun way to start off the Christmas excitement.

*Have you ever tried this with ribbon? I think they could make good friend/neighbor gifts if made so you could hang them by a ribbon!

*I've also heard that you can let these pomanders dry naturally and they will stay scented for a year!