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July 2012
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October 2012

September 2012

Left handed or right handed.

This week when I went to go pick Maximilien up from tennis practice, his tennis coach asked me if Maximilien was left handed or right handed. I responded right handed because that is the hand he writes with now. He told me he wasn't sure because he hits the tennis ball from both sides and that he doesn't with much ease that he suspects he could be ambidextrous. He went on to tell me that he'd teach him to hit back hand and forehand to Max on both sides. Having played tennis for many years I know how this can be an advantage. I thought about it as we walked home and actually Max throws with both hands and doesn't really favor one over the other.  I'm not sure when things like this iron themselves out for good. Maybe he's ambidextrous? :)

For his cousin, Appoline's baptism. #maximilieng

I also have witnessed him when he's in an intense coloring session he will switch hands when one hand gets tired and he colors pretty well with both hands. As we walked home he was so excited to tell me how he can hit the ball the same way with both hands and that he LOVES tennis. I am happy to see his tennis coach taking notice in him like this. I was afraid Max wasn't really having fun at tennis because he wouldn't really tell me much after his lessons last year except, "We ran. A LOT.". I'm glad I stuck with my choice for him to take tennis again this year. At least we will give it two years before we decide if he wants to do something else. Soccer has been a topic of conversation for a while but finding a team before the age of six can be hard. 

First day of dance class.

Alixe has started "danse" as she calls it. It's really a motorskills  and movement class but they can to dress up in ballet outfits so to her it's "danse". She says dance in english but with a cute little british accent. Not sure where she picked that up but it's cute all the same. Watching Alixe is very obvious she favors her right foot when doing movements and she uses her right hand almost exclusively for eating and coloring. Sometimes for fun we play let's swtich hands which whatever we are playing and she does it but then switches right back to using her right hand exclusively. This class has done wonders for her physically. Literally in the three weeks she has been going to class I have noticed she is much lighter on her feet as she walks. She recently learned how to walk on her toes and she does it all the time. So very cute. 

Dance class and tennis make up our activities for Wednesday. The kids don't have school this day and I have to say I enjoy spending the entire day with them. We have a more relaxed schedule this year without too much running around. Even have time to get Alixe down for a nap (which she still needs) while Max and I relax (which he needs) because he's much more tired this year in Grande Section than he was in Moyenne Section. I hand the kids off to Julien at 6pm and then head to the tea house to host knitting night. At least one thing is for sure I am pretty right handed when it comes to kniting. I have tried to knit with my left hand it's a disaster. 

Grande section, petite section.

This is the start of a new chapter in our lives. Maximilien and Alixe are both in school. I love the new routine as tiring as it is. I have to say when my head hits the pillow I am out like a light. 

First day of school for Alixe!!

It's hard to believe that my two and half year old is in school already. In the US she would be in pre-school except here in France instead of going half days and only a few days a week, Alixe goes to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30am-6pm. There isn't school on Wednesdays in France. She also stays for the after school program because I need to bake in the afternoons. I thought it would be too much for her to stay at school that long but she gets a good two hour nap during the day from 12:30-2:30pm and honestly, she is just so happy to be at school.

When I come to pick her up she is a whirlwind of stories. Today she told me she had blé (wheat germ) for lunch and that she sang at school and that she got to have chocolate and oranges at gouter. Also that she got to play with Lily (her friend from the creche) and she saw Maximilien at recess. All in that order and all that in one  cute run on sentence. She has already grown up so much in the last two weeks.  Her vobaulary in French has really blossomed. Where she used to baby talk a lot, she is speaking more clearly now. 

First day of Grande Section & Petite Section. September 2012.

Maximilien is the king of his school. Being in Grand section he is exactly that. Grand. BIG. His first day was as expected, he walked into his classroom to learn that his best friend, Sebastie was in his class.  Those two walked off together and there was no looking back. Julien and I looked at each other, waved goodbye to Max who was engrossed in a book with Sebastie. He didn't even see us leave.

This year his teacher is Claude, le maitre. We had heard great things about Claude from other parents so we were thrilled to find out he was Max's teacher. I can tell that Max really likes him because everyday he tells me something new he's learned from his teacher and it's always Claude said this... and Claude said that... and Claude, Claude... Claude.  This means Max is impressed if he's talking about his teacher this much.  The interactions that I have witness between Claude and Max have been really sweet. Claude is firm with the children but gentle at the same time. I really appreciate that. It's just what Max's needs.  I am looking forward to see how this school year unfolds. 

First day of Grande Section & Petite Section.

Everyday I pick the kids up from the after school program and I try to sneak into the courtyard so I can spy on them a little. All this week, Maximilien and Alixe have been playing together so gently and sweetly that it takes my breath away. I have even seen some of Maximilien's classmates taking care of Alixe while they play.

As I walked up the hill today, Maximilien's best friend, Sebastie, ran to get Alixe when she saw me to tell her that I was there. I think I interest the other kids because I am always speaking in English with them. Last year I just stopped speaking in French to the other kids. I am always speaking in English with Max and Alixe and I found it tiring to swtich around to French. After a while, I just would talk to them in English. They don't really understand what I say but they copy me. They are fascinated and I know it makes me memorable.

Last year I would hear as I walked up the hill to the school, "Heeeeelllooooo Maman de Max !" "Maximilien, ta maman est là !" Now I hear, "Heeeeellloooo Maman de Max et Alixe !" "Max et Alixe, ta maman est LÀ !!!". I love it. It is something I look forward to everyday. 


Easy dinners chez nous: Pizza tricouleur.

It's a lot of juggling when you run your own business and your household at the same time. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband who helps me a lot. Lately though he's been working late on an important project so that means the evening routine is all me. Evening routine consists of me leaving the tea house between 5:30pm and 6:30pm to pick up the kids from school. It makes for a long day for the kids but the after school program is fun and they get to play with their friends, Max espcially he spends the afternoon with his two very best friends. Anyway, I bike over to the school and pick up the kids. If I get them early around 5:30pm we usually head to the park and play for 30-45 minutes before heading home. Tonight, it was raining so we came straight home. The kids had time to destroy play in their room while I prepared dinner. Tonight's dinner was homemade pizza or as my kids afffectionately call "Jenny's Pizza". We had this pizza for the first while visiting our friends, Jenny & Olivier in Normandy this summer. Lucky for me, she is the one who taught me how to make bagels too. :) Tonight's pizza was thrown together with ingredients I had left over from last week's market run. 

I didn't make my own crust. Remember this is an easy dinner so I use a premade pizza crust or pate à pizza. Herta is a really good brand. I like their pie crusts and their pizza crust is very tasty. I don't have a circular pan for circular crust so I buy their thick cut rectangular crust. I start by cooking the bacon bits  or lardons. While the bacon is cooking I unroll the crusts onto cookie sheets. You don't need to grease your pans the crust comes rolled in parchement paper that you just unroll onto the cookie sheet. Easy! I let the crust sit while I prepare the fixins for the pizza. At this time I start to make the pizza sauce. This is probably the most labor intensive part of making the pizza. I cut half an onion and press two cloves of garlic and sauté it all together in olive oil until the onions are slightly translucent. Really hard work that smells awesome and at this point the kids always run to the kitchen and tell me over and over again how hungry they are. Your house will smell like bacon, onions and garlic. Three of my favorite smells.

Easy pizza ingredients. #formyblog

Once the onions are translucent you will add the tomato sauce or coulis de tomates I really like the Panzani brand. It's really tasty and saves you time instead of reducing tomatoes down to make your own sauce. For two pizza you probably need 1/4 of a bottle. I used half a bottle because I make tomato sauce for another dinner later on this weekend. You let the coulis de tomates simmer with the onions, garlic and olive oil until it starts to reduce down. You will notice that it will get thicker and slightly lumpy. Season as you like. I use Knorr Secret d'arome which is a pretty handy mix of salt, pepper and herbs that taste lovely when mixed with tomato sauce. Again, remember this is easy tomato sauce. Easy is the name of the game here. I let it simmer for little while longer. Meanwhile, the bacon is probably done. I've been cooking for probably 15 minutes now. I turn off the heat off from the tomato sauce and remove the bacon from the burner.  At this time I pre-heat the oven to 220° C.

Tonight I wanted to make cheezy crust with the pizza so I sprinkled a nice helping of gruyère on the crusts of the pizza. Then you spread the tomato sauce onto the crust. The key here is to only put enough on to thinly coat the crust. Two heaping soup spoons of sauce is enough. If you put too much sauce on there the pizza crust won't cook through in the middle. Then you add your fixins. Tonight I had on hand raw spinach and yellow tomatoes. I had left over grated mozzerella and I sprinkled that all over the place. Again, don't go too crazy on the cheese or else the middle of the pizza won't bake all the way through.  Once done your pizza will look like this:

Tricolor pizza tonight. Bacon, yellow tomatoes and spinach. Gruyere cheesy crust. #dinner

Bake the pizza for 13-15 minutes. My kitchen started to smell heavenly about five minutes in and the kids were back in the kitchen again asking when dinner was ready.

I think I baked my pizza about one minute too long but it still came out really well:

Bon appétit!

Check out that crust! It was amazing. Next time I will add more spinach! I wans't sure what the spinach was going to do in the oven as I had never baked spinach like this before. It baked beautifully and while I was eating dinner tonight I wished I had more spinach on the pizza. Alixe wasn't too keen on the spinach but Maximilien told me he wanted more spinach next time. 

During the school week the kids need to be in bed by 8pm or else they are a wreck in the morning. Dinner needs to be done by 7:30pm so that we have enough time to brush our teeth, read a book or two and go to bed. Getting the kids to bed by 8pm leaves me the evening to finish tea house work or blog and watch a movie which is what I'm doing tonight. Yes! 

If you live in France it will be easy for your find all ingredients at your local supermarket. What kind of easy pizza will you make? 


Getting back to things I love...

Things were pretty hectic there for a while. Being pregnant with Alixe and juggling the tea house and then trying to get through the post partum depression after Alixe's birth, I sort of let go of my blog. I sort of let go of everything I liked to do just so that I could get through the to the next day. Next thing I knew, Alixe is two years old and the fog has lifted. I look back through my blog archives over the last couple years and there are just a handful of blog posts about random things happening in my life. I am grateful for those snippits and it reminds me of a hectic time. I look at my life today and feel better that I am in better place with more energy and motivation. 

I see that a lot of my favorite bloggers have moved one to other projects but I don't feel ready to stop writing here. I've always enjoyed having an outlet to put down my thoughts and know that it will be important to me to share these thoughts with my kids someday. 

I've decided to do something with this blog... I may need to find some help with the design of my blog as I am looking for something new and fresh for PutYourFlareOn. Perhaps I will change the name of my blog... I don't know. I am sure there is a process for all this... I'll figure it out. In the meantime, I've rediscovered my kitchen. We recently (last year) had it renovated and I love working in it again. Not really working, just messing around with new recipes. I've been pinning like crazy at Pinterest recipes that I'd like to try. Lately, it's been bagels. The kids love them. Julien loves them and they are surprisingly very easy to make.  

My second try at bagels. I made whole wheat bagels this time and I am thrilled at how they came out. Bagels & Lox for dinner tonight!

Tonight we will have whole wheat bagels and lox for dinner. Looking forward to that! I love that I had my entire day today to spend with my brother, William who is visiting. We had time to go to lunch at my favorite pho restaurant in my neighborhood and then a little grocery shopping and housework and even time for baking before picking up the kids from school today. 

Kids as in Maximilien and ALIXE (!) are in school now. Blog post with photos coming for sure. This is another reason why I feel like things are falling back into a healthier routine for me. We have fallen back into our daily routine that I have grown to love very much. 

So, here's to la rentrée d'ecole for the kids and my own personal rentrée de vie where I find my way back to lost passions and the little things in life that make me smile.