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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Paris Trip: Food

One of my favorite parts of Paris was all of the yummy food.  In general, Parisians eat a small breakfast, a large and relaxed lunch, and usually a small dinner, although dinner can also be a multi-course thing like lunch, but it doesn't start until at least 7:00pm if that is the case.  And it's expensive.  Going out to eat was easily a $50 excursion, but we had planned on spending a good chunk of our spending money on enjoying food, so that was okay.

We adapted to this schedule for the most part. Most days we bought a baguette and some fruit on the Rue Cler, a street with many open stands and stores, which was conveniently located about a block from our hotel.  We also bought a jar of strawberry jam at the beginning of the week that we ate with our baguettes.  It was delicious! This was our usual breakfast, although we also went out for breakfast a couple times. 
When we ate out for breakfast, it was a croissant (so perfectly buttery and flaky!), orange juice, coffee or hot chocolate, bread, and jam. We got the American version, which included all of that plus one egg and a piece of ham.  It was so good, we actually went to the same restaurant twice for that breakfast.  And I don't remember the name, but it was a little place on the Rue Cler.

One thing that is different is that most stores are specific to one kind of food. You have your boulangerie (bakery), your patisserie (sweets), your fromagerie (cheeses) and so on.  Hopefully I spelled those right...There are also grocery stores, but they are a lot smaller than our typical stores, and have a lot more fresh produce.  Love that! We also found the "Aldi of Paris", a store called Leader Price, where we bought bottled water and cheap chocolate bars for snacking.
One afternoon we treated ourselves to Nutella crepes while walking. They were amazing!

We also bought several treats at chocolate shops, including Jesse's white chocolate turtle with little treats inside.

We didn't buy this big egg.  It was huge though!

I was quite content to be pregnant and enjoying the food, because there were so many yummy baked goods to try! Here is a caramel eclair:

And the best macarons of the entire trip! A chocolate and salted caramel from some random shop.

Although I enjoyed a cafe au lait (coffee with milk) several times after lunch, we did have an actual coffee date while walking on the Champs Elysses (the big luxury shopping road). Because of the location, and because things are just generally more expensive, this coffee date was actually almost $20 for the 2 drinks! It was definitely the best coffee I had on the whole trip though!
I got a caramel latte and Jesse got a hot chocolate. We drank them while people watching and waiting for some rain to pass.
Also on the Champs Elysses was Laduree, the most famous bakery in Paris.  These are supposed to be the best macarons (I thought the ones I had earlier were actually tastier, but these were still yummy!).
They had a big long counter with piles of macarons, as well as lots of other delicious baked goodies.  I got a box of macarons and enjoyed them over the next few afternoons.

Our last night in Paris, we splurged and went out for a fancy dinner. It was delicious!  Every meal at a restaurant comes with bread, and it is all soft, fluffy, and amazing.  However, I was just about at my bread limit by the last night.
 We also got garlic croutons with a cheesy mustard sauce. They were pretty good too.
 Our appetizer was fish soup. It was a new experience for me, and very fishy, but pretty good overall.
 Jesse's entree: filet mignon and mashed potatoes.
 My entree: chicken with ratatouille underneath and a creamy sauce.
My dessert: chocolate pudding and fritters (little donuts)
 Jesse's dessert: chocolate lava cake
A lot of the restuarants had English menus, which was helpful, although there were a few times we still got things a little different than what we had thought, like the lunch I ordered a salmon and avocado salad and the salmon turned out to be raw.  Yay sushi? It was still pretty tasty, but unexpected.

One of my favorite meals was actually our first lunch, where we had the most amazing eggplant lasagna. Unfortunately we were both so jet-lagged and tired that the slow pace made us sleepy, but the food was delicious.

May Goals

Even though the month is already half over (!), here are my goals for May. I've started working on a few of them already, but I have quite a bit to do over the next couple weeks!

  • Potty train Matthew.
  • Get Hannah used to her sippy cup and get rid of at least one of her three daily bottles, if not two.
  • Work on my spring cleaning list (more below).
  • Move? We may be getting into a 3-bedroom apartment in our building, either this month or next.
  • Read Sugar, Salt, Fat by Michael Moss and 1 book from my Kindle.
  • Organize France pictures, upload them to external hard drive, and start working on Shutterfly book about the trip.
Spring Cleaning List (these are things I've noticed could use a little bit of extra cleaning in our apartment):
  • Wipe down microwave shelf
  • Clean out vacuum
  • Wipe down blinds in boys' room
  • Wipe down blinds in our room
  • Wipe down outside of kitchen cupboards
  • Wipe down top and knobs of oven
  • Vacuum inside coffee table and couch cushions
  • Wipe down light switches
  • Mop kitchen floor (because it's a small area, I usually just spot mop with a rag, but I figure it's time for a good mopping)
  • Catch up on scanning and shredding paper statements

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Iron Craft Challenge #9: Inspired By Art

This was the perfect time for this challenge, because I just got back from a week in Paris! There is a ton of great art there to be inspired by. However, I only had two days to finish my projects once we got back, so that kind of limited what I could do...Even so, I was able to do two colored pencil drawings inspired by the trip.

We went to a neat little bookstore called Shakespeare and Company, where I picked up this notebook. Perfect for sketches and journaling!
I even raided the kids' art supplies...

Here's inspiration for drawing #1, probably one of my favorite photos of the entire trip:
And drawing #1:
The Eiffel Tower is easily my favorite thing about Paris. It has been for a very long time.

My second drawing took inspiration from two things. First, this neat looking lamppost we saw while walking one day:
And secondly, Van Gogh's Starry Night, my favorite painting.  We did get to see a Van Gogh exhibit at Orsay while we were in Paris, but this one was not one that they had borrowed for it.
And here is drawing #2:
I was very inspired by Van Gogh's paintings, and I plan on attempting a Van Gogh-esque painting of my own, but I know that will take longer to accomplish than the two days I had left by the time we got home.  Still, I haven't drawn like this for a long long time, so it was fun to revisit that!

Image credit for Starry Night here. All other images my own.

Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm Back!

After a busy Easter, and a week in Paris, I have returned! It will still take me a few days to get things up and running on the blog, but I do have several things planned, including more details from our trip, as well as the usual Menu Plans and such.  For now, I'll leave you with a sneak peek at a few pictures...

Check back soon!