27 March 2012

kick back

Oh you happy boy. You hardly stay still. Your smiles are bigger and your laughter louder than ever before. We are so lucky to have you.

24 March 2012

a hint, a whisper

What's it like where you are? It is officially spring here but there are still piles and piles of snow that have yet to disappear. Slowly but surely though the snow's coverage has been shrinking and in the patches where it has melted, now there is just the slightest hint of green. It's that little bit, the small whisper of spring letting us know that it's truly on its way that is making me breathe a little deeper, sit up a little straighter.

The sun is out today.  It's warm enough this afternoon that I've left the window open. It feels so refreshing to be airing things out. Down in the valley, trees are budding; flowers are blooming and the grass has regained its bright green hue. We're moving a little slower than that up here in the mountains, but we're stepping closer to spring nonetheless.

Hope you can soak up a little sunshine where you are!

23 March 2012

on the board

Lately when we've gone on a walk through the village,  Clover steers us in one certain direction, just so he can try to get one foot in the local cheese shop. On a recent family stroll, we actually needed to pick up some cheeses. The little man was over the moon that he got to visit and even peek behind the counter.   The owners of the store are sweet. They find Clover to be rather charming, which is fortunate since he likes to visit them any chance he gets.

They stock their shop with regional, artisanal cheeses and are passionate about their offerings. It's always fun to see what's available.  We opted for a bleu from Piedmont to change things up and a Tomme de Savoie for the sure favorite; both are wonderful.  What's your cheese of choice these days? 

19 March 2012

Auberge de Colombaz

photo credit: JYR
I had a great start to my birthday weekend and it just happens to perfectly coincide with the Love the Place You Live series by Gabrielle at Design Mom. The idea is to get out and enjoy a place close to home, share about it and link up with others that did the same.

On Friday night, we hiked up to l'Auberge de Colombaz, a remote mountain chalet inaccessible by car.  It was a beautiful clear night, the Alps making a perfect outline against the star filled sky.  Dinner was delicious, all authentic Savoyard cuisine made even more tasty by the steep, winding hike just before.  My favorite part, besides the wonderful company, was sledding down the mountain, headlamps lighting the way.  It was a much quicker trip back down on our speedy red sleds.  High altitude restaurants and midnight sledding make for just two of the many, many reasons why I love where we live.

This was also the first time I tried my hand at night photography.  I'm lucky to have a talented photographer friend who showed me the ropes...and then let me use one of his photos when none of mine turned out. Thanks, JYR!

So please share, what are you loving close to home these days?

16 March 2012

all lined up

What do you have lined up for the weekend?  Tonight, we're hiking up to a mountain chalet for a little authentic Savoyard dinner with friends. Saturday, we'll be running errands and Sunday looks to have some fun, low-key birthday activities.

 Clover and Félix got to spend the whole day together yesterday.  Clover is a happier boy for it.  I've already caught him twice today sneaking into the bathroom to put on some of his papa's cologne.  The other thing that he is big into right now is clomping around in Félix's boots.  

The louder he stomps, the bigger I smile. I am looking forward to spending some good, quality time with my boys this weekend. Wishing you a good weekend, too!

14 March 2012

burst of color

I stopped by the florist for a thank you gift the other day and couldn't resist picking up some beautiful blooms for our place, too.   

The bright, fragrant freesia coupled with the sunshine that we've been having lately makes spring feel ever so close. I mean, there are still piles of snow all around the village but it seems almost within reach.

 I hope this little burst of color brightens your day and brings some sunshine to the last official week of winter, or a little bit of light to kick off autumn if you are in the southern hemisphere.

12 March 2012

where snow meets sky

I visited Félix at work yesterday. We skied all over during the usual tour he does to make sure that things are running smoothly. I tend not to fawn over Félix too much on this blog. Just to be clear, it's not because he isn't awesome, he totally is.

 Félix, you make me the happiest girl around.  I have so much fun being by your side.  You inspire me every day.  Your hard work and your dedication to our little family makes my heart burst with pride. You are a wonderful husband, father and friend and I am so very lucky to have found you. Also, you look good in a ski helmet.

It felt so good to be out in the sunshine, skiing with my main squeeze.

It was gorgeous day on the mountain. And the views are... well, what do you think of them? I am constantly amazed by the beauty of the French Alps.

So, I guess the only question that remains is, when are you going to come over and ski with us?  Soon, I hope!

p.s. J & M, we are counting down the days!

05 March 2012

that creepy old man

How do you feel about string puppets?  I find them entertaining but I now know that's not a universally held opinion. A couple years ago, I was on a business trip to Prague. I was looking for a cool, authentic souvenir to bring back to Félix. After casually mentioning the history of marionettes in Prague during one of our nightly phone conversations, I learned that since a young age Félix had found them to be bizarre and rather unsettling. My gaze drifted to the the hand-made, recently purchased and more expensive-than-I-care-to-admit string puppet that was sitting propped up on the hotel room chair.  I quickly changed the subject.

Just before leaving the city, I picked up a small, less-shudder-inducing souvenir and proceeded to carry the delicate and super awkwardly wrapped puppet through the airport and on the bumpy flights home as carry-on luggage.  Needless to say, the white-bearded wizard received a luke-warm welcome into our home.  But Félix graciously helped me find a spot for the small sorcerer in our front room.

And it's pretty much every guest we've ever had over the past few years that seems to share Félix's dislike for that wizard. I've gotten questions that make me laugh just thinking about them, some gems like: Do his eyes follow you around the room or is that just me? Doesn't that wizard make Clover cry? Are you going to keep that puppet there?  And my personal favorite, whoa, who's the creepy old man?

As it turns out, from a very young age Clover has found that creepy old man to be hilarious. He loves to shake the puppet's tiny porcelain hand and pretty much can't stop laughing when we make the little wizard walk around. And the great thing is that even an amateur puppeteer can make it move like it's a real human being, which is, as Félix has correctly insisted from the beginning, bizarre and unsettling, but also, as I continue to lobby, always good for a laugh.

03 March 2012

divisive greens

Brussels sprouts might just be the most polarizing of all the vegetables. It seems that people either fanatically love them or adamantly hate them. I fall into the love category. Félix who is just about the most easy-to-please eater I know, falls into the latter.  I have a braised sprouts recipe that I enjoy so much I have to make it in small batches. For one, I am the only one eating them, and two, this recipe is so good that I could eat to the point of giving myself a stomachache.  And I think we can agree that a brussels sprouts hangover is not a pretty thing.

The recipe that I use comes from Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, who originally plucked it from Molly Steven's cookbook, All About Braising. When I make it, I add in some milk to reduce the cream and almost never have lemon juice on hand but the thing is it doesn't really matter.  After carmelizing the sprouts, they take on this nutty flavor that is just delicious. Addictive, really.

I pinned an avocado lime brussel sprouts recipe from the Little Red House, recently, too. It appears that it might just have that same effect as my tried and true way of making them.

What do you think? Which category do you fall into when it comes to brussels sprouts? Yuck or Yum?

01 March 2012

flock together

There is a certain, quiet stillness in the early morning hours that I truly love. It comes after the snow plows have rolled through town, before the urging of alarm clocks to rise and shine, and prior to the arrival of horn-beeping delivery trucks in the village.  Lately, those fleeting peaceful moments have been filled by a loud, little captive shouting to be freed from the confinement of his crib. It has been a struggle for me over the last week and a half to find something good about getting up with Clover at four-thirty or five in the morning. I kept trying to see a positive side to it but each morning coming up short. The call of slumber and a warm bed proved too alluring to cheerfully greet the dawn.

The other day, I brought the freed little prisoner, all smiles following his liberation, to the front room. We hung out, Clover with his sippy cup of milk and me with my coffee. Wishing for even just five more minutes of sleep, I tilted my head back and sighed. It was then that I heard it - a solitary warble that steadily grew into boisterous chatter. The birds are back! We haven’t heard birds chirping for months. Their happy trills signal the impending arrival of spring.   And so, my sleepy steps are a little lighter now, buoyed by the chipper songs of our feathered friends.   
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