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 mixed up a bunch of ingredients like this

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Beatrice could hardly contain her excitement. “Mama, what kind of party do you think Papa is going to have? Are all his Fah-Wends coming,” she curiously asked. She suspects he is having a “spider man” or a “prinnn cesss” one.

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She loved every minute. Including recipe hunting, grocery shopping, , baking, cooling, icing it took all day. It was GREAT …even when the red food dye spilled on my shorts and all over the counter *sigh* *smile*.

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Whitaker was not interested in baking. He was, however, very interested in entertaining us with the sounds and races of his trucks, motocycles and cars.

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Nothing glamorous. Made with a whole lot of time and love, though.

I hope Brian isn’t offended that we made him a red velvet cake for his birthday.

Happy birthday, Red. We love you to the MOON!


Beatrice debuted her dancing skills before her parents last week. It was the first time we have seen her in class. It was so much fun. We were really impressed. Mom kept Whitaker so that we could fully enjoy the performance. Brian and I both smiled the entire hour. It was so funny.

These were impromptu. Brian recorded from his phone so ignore the clarity. I hope you enjoy them!!!

Beatrice says, “cheeeese” for Papa before her first day of preschool. She is going to Mommy’s Morning Out two mornings a week. She was so excited this morning. And, so were we!


Then, she watered the flowers.

“I ready to go to schooooo now,” she says.

I took a couple of pictures with my phone after school:

Note: Beatrice loves backpacks and leashes and things like that. This morning she was looking for a bag to carry so I grabbed this backpack. The fun thing about this super cute pink gingham backpack is that it was mine!  If you look closely, you can see the initials PJ on the bottom left side of the pack. Aunt Peggy made it for me when I was a little person. She is so proud to wear it. I love it!

Oh, God. Dear God. I think you have a misplaced pawn.  There is a piece on the wrong spot on the board.  I think I am meant to be a Parisian. I love, love, LOVE, Paris, France!

Here are a few of our pictures:
 

Papa and Beatrice getting their Photos for the Carte Orange

         


 To all those who have lost their heads and lives here…
    
 The boy wants a cold Coca cola, please.  


 Beatrice and I feel so small…
      

At the Notre Dame of Paris


On the way back from the Normandy beaches in Northern France we made a special trip to Le Mont St. Michel. The pilgrimage to the shrine was worth the time, effort, and drive.

Despite our attempt to avoid pricey tours, we couldn’t resist. The 17.50 Euro per person price was worth the spectacle of this Normandy attraction that rises from the hazy expanse of sand and waves.

It is a bonus that our arrival fell during the night time tour, which included music.  Musicians with instruments were individually placed throughout the 2000 year old Monastery. It was neat to bend around a corner to hear a deep hum of a Cello being played.  Or to hear the chanting of the choir dressed in white hooded robes.  The music was an added bonus for a family traveling with a toddler because it drowned out Beatrice’s deliberate ignorance of the OBSERVE SILENCE signs. More, it drew attention away from her occasional curiosity of the echo of her voice. She seemed to be amazed of the sound of her voice ringing through the halls. 

This Mont has been used as far back as the 6th and 7thcenturies. With amazing tides spanning 14 meters between tides, quick sand, salt marshes, and the invasion of the highest tides in Europe reaching the Mont can be a feat. The waters are among the most dangerous in the world. Luckily, we reached the destination during low tide. Upon reaching the Mont you travel by foot up the Grand Rue which is a shop, hotel, and restaurant lined street toward the Abbey.  The Grand Rue seemed like a trap to welcome the wallets of  >3 million tourist a year as we felt we weren’t far off from a theme park. 

I had hoped to taste the famous frothy omelette of this area.  It is a souffle of nontraditional ingredients they make right in the windows before cooking in a wood fire oven. 

And, I wanted to taste, agneau de Pré Salé which is the delicate lamb that wonder the salty marsh. Considering the omelette’s cost, which equals 45 dollars according to Brian’s calculations,  the experience wasn’t worth the bet on Beatrice’s dining behavior.

Despite the fine smells, the grand reputation, and the site of happy diners we skipped the food of the Mont to delve into the morsels of our cooler and pilfer the loot of our supermarket binge. Only great strength, and the cry of a toddler could have made such a decision.  I guess, I can use this Norman omelette recipe at home. Somehow, it loses it’s appeal  without the ambiance.

Brian told me on the way home, “We are coming back to France…just you and I…we are going to eat and drink and enjoy life as the french do…with no worry of children…we will bike and camp and stay in hotels.”  I am hoping his comments are a promise.

We will take you along our tour:

 Here, share an apple (un pomme) with us before we go.

 

Take a break with us upon completing the great stairs. We are at the top!

Wow. It is majestic.

Look down with me. Oh, it is a long way down. It is a twinge scary.

I can barely see the people at the bottom. Can you?

From the top, it all looks surprising. The strength of nature, the prodigies of medieval architecture, the light…

Stop. Two french lovers asked us to take their photos from this point. We requested a return of the favor. One…two…Three…Say Cheese! Note, this is our only photo with all three of us.

 

 

 

 I hear the beautiful sounds of the monks. Lets enter the Abbey. We feel so small.

 

Slow down, now. Beatrice wants to play inside the Benedictine Abbey under the columns of the cloister. The Cloisters has elegant marble columns, an example of early 13th-century Anglo-Norman style. The buildings of Mont St. Michel are constructed of granite, but there is limestone in the cloister.

A small group of Benedictine Monks still inhabit the monastery. It is so damp and windy. It must be a very cold place to live during the winter when the wind blows off the English Channel. Brrr…

 Look at the pulley we have found! This is the Goods Lift Wheel inside the Benedictine Abbey. After the Revolution when the Abbey was turned into a prison, the cargo elevator was operated by prisoners trudging inside like a Hamster wheel.  As the wheel turns a ladder is lifted from the ground up carrying goods. Surely, one of Satan’s demented fantasies.

 Can you hear the Cello?  
 The mirror of the Knights Hall makes for a perfect self portroit. One of our two, now.
 Walk with us now as we leave the Merveille Building and Gardens to descend this granite marvel.

 Look up the Abbey for one last glimpse into history.  Suspended high upon the rock it seems to call you to discover the wild ambition of it’s builders.

 Sand is sand. Sea is sea. “A man-made marvel shines no brighter than the natural beauty of the landscape,” Beatrice reminds us as she INSISTS on playing in the shore. Take your shoes off as we did. Feel the thick-clay-like sludgy sand.

Dip your feet in the cold water.  It is clear and chilly. It feels good.  

Au Revoir, Le Mont St. Michel. We enjoyed your rocky mountain, salty meadows, medieval town, and benedictine Abbey. Salut!

Thanks for visiting. Thanks for coming along.


We decided to spend a day at the exchange home last week to rest and relax. 

I made an impromptu Quiche from scratch for brunch.  The difficulty level is upped when you consider I can not read french. No comprende (yes, I DO know that is spanish). I just have to read the packages and recipes while mustering every ounce of Latin Studies from a rarely visited crevice of my brain. Thank goodness French is a romance language.  I have a little comprehension.  Upon Brian and Beatrice’s approval I was so proud of my regional culinary dish.  Bon appetite!

 We sipped wine while B played football. We played a little, too. It was fun – especially after a few glasses of Chardonnay.
 We took breaks from the game to discover each other and the fun of doing “nothing.”
 We laughed.
 We smiled.
 And, we pointed and played.  It was a fun day!

Get ready. Get Set. We are off to the park on an afternoon stroll.  

Here we go.

Past the cute houses we will go.

Through the trees we look.

Through the round about

Follow close. It feels like a hobbit is just around the bend.

Yay. We are here. Wow. What a view.

Up ladders
 
Down the slide
in the middle of the corrider
all smiles on the see saw
 Down the baby slide we go
 Now it is time for us to go.
Back through town.
Passed the shops
And, the charming houses
Beyond the window boxs

Past the sweet smell of the restaurant.

on to home we go. Thanks for strolling with us!