Friday, April 30, 2010

french friday - part huit

I asked you what I should write about for French Friday and a few of you mentioned French recipes.


Do you really think I spend hours in the kitchen making fancy French recipes with titles like Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon while my baby and toddlers play peacefully at my feet?  Well that does sound heavenly, and I really do enjoy cooking and wish it worked that easily, but having 3 kids at home puts a totally different spin on how much time I can actually spend in the kitchen.   So let's just say I haven't yet mastered this book:

So I was just going to throw this idea out the window, but then I remembered... Hey, I've made French desserts before! That counts, right? And what is more popular than the French crêpe? So here's the recipe I use. Enjoy!
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp salt
*Mix all ingredients in blender until well blended.
*Refrigerate batter for at least 30 minutes so the batter has a chance to "rest." It's just been through a lot of turmoil in that blender. Give it some time to learn to trust you again.
*During this 30 minutes, make sure you have strips of wax paper ready to place between the finished crêpes.  This can be disastrous if you forget and try and tear waxed paper off in the middle of making your crêpes and you can't get the stupid paper to rip off.  Burnt crêpes, anyone?

*Before you begin the actual crêpe making process, make sure your baby is happily playing in his exersaucer.

*Place your pan (preferably a small 8-10 inch one) on a medium-hot burner. Once hot, brush with a little oil or butter.
*Hold pan in the air with one hand while you pour 2-3 tablespoons of the batter into the pan with the other hand.
*Swirl pan around until batter coats the bottom.

*Return pan to burner. When the edge is light brown, flip the crêpe.

*Flipping can be difficult, so I was unable to get a picture of the actual flipping part.  But I always use my spatula to nudge the edge and then use my fingers to flip it so it doesn't tear (it should be thin).  But be careful not to burn your fingers!  There's another technique that involves using 2 pans, but I prefer not dirtying another dish.  I'd rather burn my fingers.
This looks kinda like a pancake, but is much thinner.  Trust me.  The picture doesn't really show it.

*Cook for about 15 seconds on second side and then remove with spatula (or fingers).
*Stack finished crêpes with wax paper in between each so they don't stick together.
*Fill crêpes with a yummy topping, such as Nutella (yum!), strawberries and whipped cream, ham and cheese, etc.  Pretty much anything you like can be rolled up into a crêpe.

Unfortunately I didn't have any Nutella in the house, so we filled ours with jam instead for a yummy breakfast.
Please pay no attention to the overflowing laundry baskets in the background... Hey, at least they're clean clothes!  :)
Millie really liked them!

I put the rest in the fridge to save for this recipe I'll be trying this evening.

Crêpes can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months!  So, make a huge stack and you'll have easy breakfasts, desserts, and meals ready in no time!

Bon Appétit!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

dance mania

Our house was shaking tonight.

There were 8 teenagers jumping around in our living room. Make that 8 teenagers, 2 toddlers and 2 adults. Yes, even Chad and I got sucked into it. Our youth group "small group" came over tonight and one of the kids brought the "Just Dance" Wii dance game. How could we say no when the song titles consisted of "U Can't Touch This" and "Cotton Eye Joe?" Although I'm still trying to get over being told that these songs are "oldies."

The best part was that ALL the kids got involved and had a blast! Addie and Millie enjoyed it too. This video was taken after most of the kids had left, but it's pretty stinkin' cute.

Monday, April 26, 2010

playing catch-up!

We had a special visitor last week!

Make that two special visitors...

We got the privilege of having Nana B. stay with us all week and Uncle Mark came down for a few days too!

We got spoiled with pretty matching dresses.   These ones even twirl!

We also got to go to the zoo!

If you look closely, you can see a peacock showing off all his beautiful plumage!

We swam (well, kinda...) with the sea otters.

And we narrowly escaped being this tiger's lunch.

We got to witness Tate turning 8 months on Saturday!

And although he's not yet crawling, he'll roll his chubby little self nearly anywhere!

We were sad to say goodbye to Nana yesterday, but we thoroughly enjoyed our week with her!

And to all of you who were anxiously awaiting French Friday, sorry I failed you.  My excuse?  None really... just busy-ness!  But I will try my hardest to make sure that doesn't happen again this week.  Maybe you can help me out by telling me what you want to learn!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a little makeover

Our living room just got a little perkier...
and our children are larger than life.

Thanks to Sarah.  
(Seriously... how many times can I link to her in a week's time?!)
She's one of those cool photographers who just charges the fee for taking the pictures and then sets you loose with the CD complete with all the edits.

That's especially great when your Sam's-Club-card-carrying-mother-in-law is in town.  Those poster-size prints were only around $8 each!  Crazy cheap!  And I know you can't tell from the above picture due to the glare, especially on Millie's face, but the prints were all so beautiful!  

They're really sprucing up my home...

Please ignore the crazy lady's reflection...

And I must give my friend, Carrie J, props for the poster-size prints idea.  She's a genius.

On a side note... thanks to those of you who sent get well wishes.  My fever broke Monday night and I woke up yesterday feeling 100% better!  I'm still praying that no one else here comes down with it.  They would've caught it by now, right?

Monday, April 19, 2010

great eyeballs of fire

Yup, I knew I had a fever again today when my eyeballs were burning up.  I woke up in the middle of the night last night very sick and spent the whole day in bed.  Luckily, my mother-in-law is here for the week so she took care of the kids.  I don't know what I would've done without her since I couldn't get out of bed without wanting to throw up.  I guess the flu bug has been going around and must've bitten me.  I'm just praying no one else in my house comes down with it.

For those of you who aren't my facebook friends,  I had to show you the pictures that Sarah took of the kids last week.  They're on her facebook page here.  I was really impressed with all the great shots she got.  We started outside and it was warm and windy, but made for great pictures.  Then the wind got really strong and the rain started falling so we ran inside the Botanical Center to finish up.  She does such great work!  Thanks, Sarah!

Sorry this post was written so poorly.  I'm burning up and just want to go to bed.  Good night.

Friday, April 16, 2010

french friday - part sept

S'il vous plait, excusez-moi today.  I am très occupée (very busy).  I have to leave for MOPS soon, pick up my belle-mère at l'aéroport (airport) after that and then head back to l'église (church) for a conference I'm helping with.

I didn't want to leave you hanging, so I thought maybe you could learn the French alphabet.  Teach it to your kids!  They'll love it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

picture day!

With these outfits:

and these kids:

what could possibly go wrong?

The kids are excited to get their pictures taken this afternoon!
I'm just praying that the rain will hold off so we can get some good outdoor shots.  You know... bare feet, rolling in the grass, all that good stuff.  At least we'll be here if the weather doesn't cooperate!

On a side note... my wonderful mother-in-law is flying in tomorrow!  However, I'm a little concerned that she's going to be mad at me... She hasn't seen Tate since Christmas and she told me to not let him get too big...

Hmmm... here he is at Christmas:

And here he is now:

So, did I succeed... or fail miserably?  ;)

Can't wait to see you, Nana B and Uncle Mark!

Friday, April 9, 2010

french friday - part six

Où sont les mains?  
(Where are your hands?)

Specifically speaking... where are your hands when you're at the dinner table, but have finished eating?

If you're American, I'll bet they're on your lap.  That is, if you're a polite American.  If you're more of the impolite type, then maybe you have your elbows resting on the table.  Didn't your mother ever teach you anything?  :)

However, during my stay with a French family, I was trying so hard to do the right thing so I didn't come across as une américaine stupide.  But I was told quite frankly (at our first family dinner) that I was being impoli (impolite) by keeping my hands in my lap.  But it's also rude to put your elbows on the table... so where do your hands go?

Something like this:

Les poignets (wrists) rest on the table.
Aren't they cute?  These are the girls of the family I stayed with.  They were they only highlight of living in that certain family... but that's a story for another time...

I was told that this tradition goes back to the "olden days" (whenever that is) when it was feared you could be concealing a weapon by keeping your hands under the table.  Intéressant, n'est-ce pas?  I assured the family that by no means was I hiding a gun in my lap, but to make them more comfortable, I ate the rest of my meals with my hands in plain sight.   

That's all I've got for today.  Sorry - not even a video.  My brain is too tired.  I promise to come up with something mind-blowing for next Friday.  ;)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

wanna be a winner?

My good friend, The Sneaky Mommy, is giving away an amazing children's book on her blog this week.    You should stop by and try and win it too!  And don't stop there - check out her blog for tons of fabulous recipes and of course her always anticipated Thifty Thursday!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

you choose

In reading my All You magazine (which I LOVE), I stumbled across this website.  Let me just warn you... once you get started, you may find yourself wasting away a few nap times.  But boy, was it fun... and totally FREE!

You start with a plain "before-type" photo of yourself. (minimal makeup, hair pulled back)

And soon, you can transform yourself into a celebrity!

Maybe you like the Jennifer Anniston straight and layered look...

or Eva Longoria's luscious locks...

or Carrie Underwood's country girl style, perhaps?

Maybe you've always wondered what you'd look like as a red-head...

but with bangs...

Or perhaps a blond...

but without bangs...

Or what if you went for the messy look...

or needed a good 'do for the Oscars...

Maybe you like the '50s Hollywood look...

or have always dreamt of being a mermaid...

But, of course, my absolute favorite is the vampiress...

I thought it'd be fun to make one of these pictures as my Facebook profile picture.  And I thought it'd be even more fun to let you choose.  
So, what do you think I should be?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

Hope you all had a great Easter!

We started the morning with a little egg hunt in our house followed by Daddy telling the real Easter story from the Bible.   Then we tried to capture a picture of the kids together.  This is the only one we got before our battery died.
Hey, at least no one is crying.

Next we enjoyed an amazing service at our church celebrating the Resurrection. Then we headed to Nana and Baba's house for a delicious meal and another hunt!  And we did get some great pictures of the kids on their camera, but unfortunately I have no proof yet.  

Enjoy this little video of the kiddos!
Easter 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

french friday - part cinq

Joyeuses Pâques!
(Happy Easter!)

This week in honor of Easter, and since today is le Vendredi saint (Good Friday), I thought I would let you in on some Easter traditions held by the French.


Les Cloches Volantes (the Flying Bells)
Apparently, this tradition goes back to the 7th century. On Thursday evening before Easter (last night), all church bells are silenced and French children are told that the bells have flown away to Rome to mourn the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. While in Rome, the Pope fills them with les chocolats (chocolates) and sends them back to their churches on Sunday where they are rung again in full force, declaring Jesus' resurrection - la Résurrection. Along the way, however, the bells drop the chocolates in the children's yards for them to discover on Easter morning.

Sound crazy? Well, think of how silly our tradition of the Easter bunny seems. A giant bunny who lays eggs? Really? At least the French tradition is centered around the real meaning of Easter. Although the Easter bunny is becoming more popular in France as well.


l'agneau (lamb)
Roast lamb is traditionally served on Easter Sunday in France. The lamb represents Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial lamb through his death on the cross. Serving la couronne d'agneau (crown of roast lamb) also symbolizes le Christ Roi (Christ the King).


le Poisson d'Avril (April fish)
Something that may surprise you in the windows of les chocolateries (chocolate shops) is the appearance of chocolate fish along with the bunnies and eggs. Les poissons (fish) are traditionally an April Fools trick, but are also enjoyed throughout the Easter season. The trick is for children to stick a paper fish on the backs of as many adults as possible and then run away yelling, "Poisson d'Avril!" Cute, huh? It's said that this originated from a mean trick of sending someone to the market to buy fish that was out of season. Apparently, all French know which foods are in season. I would have definitely been the April fool on the butt of that joke.

Our girls got in on the fun last night after bath time by making their own poissons and pranking daddy:
He completely forgot about the fish on his back and started to go outside to do some work.  Fortunately for him, I'm a nice wife and reminded him.  I should've just let him wear the fish...


For some beautiful pictures of French Easter chocolates, take a look at this blog post from Paris Breakfasts.

And yes, you will still get your vocabulary video for today. However, I found a way to keep my face off of it... :)

And here's a shameless plug:
If you're in the Des Moines area and looking for a great place to remember Good Friday, hunt for Easter eggs, or to celebrate Easter, check out my church.  I guarantee you won't be disappointed!
I'll even save you a seat.