Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lunch with Angelina and an evening with Cartier

Yesterday morning while Spencer was at work and Hu, Diane, and Hugo were exploring the city my mother and sister Rissie stopped by to pick up an unopened jar chestnuts from Christmas dinner that I wouldn't be able to take back to Australia with me.  When they came I asked if they'd like to check out a place I'd seen on Pinterest the night before.  They were game, so we were off.
The place is called Angelina and it's a tearoom/restaurant/bakery that was founded in Paris in 1903 and has become a very popular place with locations around France.  We chose to go to the one on rue de Rivoli.  There was a bit of a wait but the boys actually did pretty well, all things considered.
Seated at last and checking out the menu.  The insert with colourful pictures of pastries and desserts was popular with the boys.
The interior was beautiful with hand-painted murals and gorgeous woodwork.
Waiting for our food to arrive.
It was well worth the wait!  The hot chocolate was absolutely decadent!
Eliot enjoyed mixing together the melted chocolate, cream, and sugar.
That evening Spencer, Hu, and Hugo took the boys to get sushi (Eliot impressed them with his sushi eating zeal) so that Diane and I could visit the Cartier exhibit at the Grand Palais.
It was incredible to see the pieces they had on display. 
I loved seeing the design drawings alongside the actual jewellery.
Just outside we admired the architecture of the Petit Palais.  And walked down the street a bit to catch a glimpse of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Joyeux Noel!

Christmas morning was a simple affair this year since we had to carry everything home to Perth in our luggage.  Santa found us, though, and left some fun treats for the boys and there was a fun pile of gifts.
Eliot went straight for his stocking and had it emptied in moments.
Peter was delighted to find, in his stocking, the blue race car he had asked Santa for. 
Peter got a book full of trucks and cars,
He settled right in to have a look through it.
Here he's showing Nana all of the fun trucks in the book.
The goose is in the oven!
Driving his new car through a patch of artificial snow.
Dinner was yummy (I give all the credit to Julia Child for her Braised Goose with Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing recipe.)  We ate the goose with sautéed Brussels sprouts and boiled potatoes and finished the meal off with a Buche de Noel.
My sisters I grew up watching old classic films and one of our favourites was Meet Me In Saint Louis.  One of my favourite Christmas songs comes from this film.  It's sung at a point in the story when their future is uncertain and the characters are fraught with worry.  I've thought of it a lot this season.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let you heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yule-tide gay
From now on, our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
Merry Christmas and love to you all!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

'Twas a Merry Christmas Eve

On Monday the boys and I returned to Paris where Daddy had been joined by Grandpa, Nana, and Uncle Hugo.  On Christmas Eve there were errands to run; a goose to fetch from the butcher, a buche de Noel to retrieve from the bakery, and vegetables to purchase at the market.  Then later in the day, while Daddy was getting some work done and Grandpa and Uncle Hugo did some exploring, Nana, Eliot, Peter, and I baked cookies.
When Grandpa and Uncle Hugo returned they had macarons in tow.  Eliot's face expresses how we all felt about the festive treat.
Auntie Patti and Uncle Aaron had sent along cans of artificial snow (just add water!) for the boys.  Eliot was eager to get his going.  It was pretty cool stuff, and the most snow we'd played with this trip--including the week in Norway.
Before getting ready for bed the boys opened one gift each.  Peter's was a book about Thomas and friends.  He was mesmerized by it and chose to take the book to bed with him.
Eliot settled in to look at his dinosaur book with Grandpa.
Once little bodies were washed, dried, and encased in pyjamas, once stockings had been hung on the window knobs and a plate of cookies left out for Santa, the boys snuggled in to read a few Christmas stories with Daddy.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

God Jul! (nearly)

On Sunday Janet lit up the last of their Norwegian advent candles.

Church wasn't until 11:00 so we all sat down to a big breakfast.

Dress at the table was very casual.

Peter loved the waffles and kept asking for a "big one."

At about 9:30 we were treated to a beautiful sunrise.

After church we had a little pre-Christmas gift exchange.

The children all enjoyed warming up their gift opening skills.

That evening the kids and I had a little cousin craft time and decorated ornaments.

It has been so much fun being here this past week.  It has been delightful watching Eliot and James play together and to listen in on their conversations.  Our hosts have been great.  During the course of our visit the number of adults in their home was tripled and the number of children was nearly doubled.  Both boys have had a wonderful time playing with cousins.  We're looking forward to our next get together.  Whenever and wherever.

More Norwegian Adventures

On Friday Janet took me for a little walk in their neighbourhood.  It was a lovely day for a walk (if a little icy) and there were many nice farmland scenes.
The locals were very friendly.
Later we went to pick up the boys from Barnepark and they were happy as ever.
Since Friday was the last day before Barnepark closed for the Christmas break, they had a special treat for the children.  They had told us in advance that it would be a traditional Norwegian Christmas treat, a kind of rice soup.  They suggested we send the children with a small snack in case they weren't fond of the soup.  When we picked them up that day the teachers said that all three of the boys were delighted with the soup and that James had called it "rice pooding."
All five cousins enjoyed a little relaxation that evening.
On Saturday we visited an outdoor museum that showcased traditional Norwegian buildings.
The buildings were all original and had been relocated.
It's a Christmas/winter tradition to hang sheaves of oats on the front gate.  The original idea was to save some grain from the harvest and leave it for the birds to eat and replenish the ground for the next year's crop.  Now that most people don't farm, you can purchase these sheaves at Christmas tree stands.
Some of the homes were open and people in traditional dress were giving demonstrations and samples.  We had some delicious sauer kraut.
The Stave Church from Gol was built around 1200 and in 1884 it was moved to the museum.  It was incredible.