Friday, May 28, 2010

french friday - part dix

*Please check the end of this post for meanings of the French words and a pronunciation video.*

Vraiment? French Friday is actually back?! Oui, oui. I know, I know... I took a little break from it, but May is such a crazy month! I know I've been causing HUGE disappointment to my loyal French Friday fans, and for that... je suis désolée.

Another reason for not posting is lack of good topics. Don't get me wrong, I have lots of possible posts floating around in my head, but I'm just not sure what you really want to know. So, LET ME KNOW!

Are you ready for today's French topic? Okay, here it is:

Les Chiens. Les chiens are très populaires in France.

They even have little dog-washing shops. Kinda like a car wash, but for your dog. I found this one on the streets of Angers.
This shop is called "I Wash Toutou."
Toutou is an affectionate name for a dog.
And the window says, "Free wash service for our friends, the dogs." This type of "free" doesn't mean you don't pay... it means you're "free" to wash when you please.
Aww, isn't that sweet? :)

Since getting Odie, I've been doing some more thinking about these animals. I especially think about where I can and can't take him to. You know, if I lived in France, I'd have a LOT more options! I remember seeing dogs partout in Paris. Bistros, boutiques, les marchés, parks... pretty much anywhere you want to go, you can bring along your little Toutou.

Great for dog lovers.

Not so great for non dog lovers. Or those with pet allergies. Or those who don't enjoy stepping in crotte. Don't take me wrong. I love dogs and would think it'd be great to take Odie along everywhere! But I'd feel kinda bad for those who don't appreciate them as much as I do.

And the dog poop problem - now that's a pretty serious issue. Think about it for a second. When you take your dog for a walk here in the states, there's usually a sidewalk with grass nearby where the dog does its business and you pick it up and carry on. In French towns, most of the people live in areas where there is no grass out front. The sidewalks butt right up to the houses so when your dog decides to do his business, he does it right on the sidewalk. Now a good dog owner would pick it up, but there are lots of not so good owners who don't and then everybody ends up stepping in it. Beurk.

That's why there are signs like this posted all over:
Translation: Poop not picked up is a fine of 183 euros.

Okay, I need to wrap this up because there's only 30 minutes left of Friday. And I want this to be posted on Friday.

So, here are your vocab words:

vraiment - really
Je suis désolése(e) - I'm sorry (add an "e" if you're a girl)
les chiens - dogs
très populaire(s) - very popular (add an "s" if plural)
partout - everywhere
les marchés - markets
crotte - crud/muck/crap
beurk - yuck

video

And remember - let me know what you want to learn about!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

quite contrary

I do not consider myself to have a green thumb.  It's actually more like a peachish-tan.

But I do enjoy gardening.  My mom always had a garden and taught me how to have one of my very own.  Here are two of my favorite tips when planting tomatoes:

1 - Plant your tomatoes sideways.
Why? 
Honestly, I have no idea, but I've just always done it that way and it's worked for me.  I even plant part of the stem.  It seems I may remember something about the stems being able to grow roots?  Maybe some of you know why.  I suppose I could google it, but I'm much too tired to care right now.

2 - DON'T water your tomatoes!
Seriously.  I rarely water them.  The only times I water them are right after they're planted and then if we go a week without rain.  (Remember - I live in IOWA where we tend to have a lot of thunderstorms in the summer.  If you live elsewhere, you may need to water them more frequently.)  This may sound crazy, but my tomatoes have always done just fine!  Especially considering that our garden is full of clay and not that good, rich Iowa soil.  (When they built our neighborhood they dug down about 10 feet for some reason, therefore leaving us with virtually no topsoil.)  Once you start to water your tomatoes, you will have to keep doing it because they become dependent on it.  They're like little crack-addicts.  If you leave them alone, the roots have to go grow deeper to find water, therefore making a sturdier plant.  You may totally disagree with this, but I'm just saying - it works for me.


You can see from this picture that I also don't use topsoil or compost or potting soil, or whatever is normally used.  I know, I know... I'm sure they'd probably do better with something like that, but I've just always done it this way.  It's much easier and again - it's always worked for me!  I prefer to take the cheap easy way I guess.  But hey, if it works, then why not?  :)

This year I also decided to do my very first herb garden...
... complete with parsley, basil, oregano and dill.
My only question for you is this... I filled in this planter box with potting soil because it's what I had in the shed.  Then after planting them I started thinking maybe I'm not supposed to use potting soil with herbs since we'll eat them.  Does anyone know?  Should I replant them in some other kind of soil or are they okay?

And lastly, my daughters (who have a love for anything beautiful) wanted to plant their very own flower garden this year.  So I took them to Menards and let them pick out a variety of annuals.  I had to dig the holes (remember - I'm digging in clay here...) but the girls told me where to dig, put the flowers in the holes and then filled the holes with water.  All. by. themselves.  :)

I realize it looks a little sparse, but we're hoping they will spread.  Plus, I didn't realize just how big this area was until we started planting.  We may just have to go buy some more to fill in all the empty spaces!

Do you mind if I completely switch topics here?
No?  Thanks.
Tate turned 9 months this week!


And he crawled for the first time on his 9 month birthday!  He's been rolling around like a tumbleweed for months, but couldn't quite figure out the whole crawling ordeal, and didn't really seem to care since he could roll.  But now he's into everything and starting to pull himself up too.  Yikes!



*Warning - I'm switching gears again here*
This week I have been hugging and kissing my babies more than usual.  Some friends of ours had to say good-bye to their 7-month old baby boy this week.  I just can't even come close to imagining what that would  be like.  So tragic.  So sad.  But they know that Malachi is now in heaven and finally whole and comfortable - free of tubes and needles and medication.  And what's even better is that they know that they will be reunited with him one day.  Please read about Malachi's story here and follow up with the family here.  

And join us in praying for them.


Monday, May 24, 2010

highlights

I've been busy.

Very busy.

My blog has been abandoned.  Every time I pass my computer I can hear it's faint little cry to come and type something.  Anything.  But I ignore it.  I've "written" many posts in my head, but just haven't gotten them onto the computer.

I feel like I should apologize, but at the same time... why?  It just frees up more time for you to do something more important than read my blog.  I know... what could be more important than knowing my deep thoughts everyday?  Good question... I'm not sure there's really an answer for that.  ;)  So I guess I'll try and do a better job.  Notice I said "try."  I made no promises.

Although I have some extremely thoughtful posts in my head, I'll save those for another time and just get you caught up on our life this past week.  Hold on to your hats, it's quite boring pretty exciting.  I've even made it a bulleted list so you can read it quickly and efficiently.

  • Garage Sale = Success!  Got rid of tons of baby stuff, and made money doing it!  Not to mention getting to hang out with a pretty cool friend during it.
  • Puppy - LOVE him!  Such a sweet little thing.  Sleeps all night without crying.  Cuddles on my lap.  Follows me around everywhere... yes, I've tripped over him several times.  Kids love him.  Chad loves him.  I've already said I love him, but will love him even more when he's fully potty trained!  :)
  • Do you know a florist?  If so befriend her.  Here's why:
Beautiful, huh?  Just like the sweet gal who gave them to me.

  • Got a free trip to the zoo!  Thanks to another dear friend who I had the pleasure of accompanying and got to enjoy some nice "mommy" conversation!
Tate enjoyed the opportunity to wear his cool new hat.

The girls enjoyed hanging out with another friend.

This tiger enjoyed jumping up on the glass and trying to scare the little ones.
  • I got to attend a real, live SLUMBER PARTY!  Now that hasn't happened since, like, high school!  We watched a chick flick, talked about boys (well, baby boys at least), and stayed up 'til 1:30 a.m.!  Are we cool or what?!
That's all for now.  I know there's a lot I'm missing from this week, but I have a hard time thinking straight past midnight.  I'll try again later.

Good night!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

he's here!

I didn't know I could make room in my heart to love and take care of another being.

 But I've gone and done it.

 I've fallen in love with a puppy.

Odie is his name. You may remember this post when we picked him out at just a few days old.  We've been anxiously awaiting his arrival and are so glad to finally have him home!

It must be the poodle in him, because he's a smart dog.  He sleeps all night in his kennel and doesn't even pee or poop in it!  Yes, he has had a few accidents in the house, but he's actually pretty good about going outside.  I may be completely jinxing myself, but I don't think he'll be too difficult to train.  (Please don't make me eat my words!)


Our biggest problem with him is that he likes to nip.  I realize most puppies do this when they play, but it really bothers Millie and we don't want him biting at everyone.  When he bites us we say "no" in a stern voice and ignore him.  Or when he's nipping at the kids I say "no" and push his face away to make him stop.  But I would love any suggestions from fellow dog-owners!

For some cute footage of our pouncing little puppy, check out this video.

video

Thursday, May 13, 2010

come one, come all!

Sorry I've been neglecting my blog.  I have very good reasons, I promise.  

Like this

and this


and this


and this

Coke anyone?


Yes, today at 4 begins...
OUR GARAGE SALE!!!

It has been CRAZY this week trying to get stuff ready.  But I know that's my fault... remember this post?  Yeah... so I'm a little anal when it comes to my garage sales...  But hey, you can benefit from it!  Come on down (or up, or over, whatever) to our sale!  I'm teaming up with this gal and using this gal's clothing racks to put together one of the BEST sales you've EVER been to!  :)

It's today from 4-7
Friday from 8-4
and Saturday from 8-11

Where, you ask?  Well, for that one you'll have to email me... I'm not really into giving out my address for the whole world to see.  But if you email me (brookska2003@yahoo.com) and let me know who you are, I'll give you my address.  

See you here!  :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

french friday - part neuf

Have you noticed my French Friday post titles always say, "part ___" with a strange word in the blank? Well, those strange words are actually les nombres français (French numbers). I'm sure you've already figured that out since you all are so clever and now I'm totally insulting your intelligence. Excusez-moi.

Counting is important, non? And easy enough that even a 4-year old can do it! So for today's post I worked and worked with Addie to get this video just right. Watch and learn.
video
Darn Dora!

Maybe we can get it right this time:
video

What's that?
 You think I was whispering the numbers to her?
*gasp*  Well, I NEVER!


Okay, so maybe I did help her out a little.  But it's only because there's no cute little French cartoon character to help her learn.  Like "François le Francophone,"  Wouldn't that be cute?  Maybe a little French boy exploring Paris in his beret and toting a baguette...  A little something like this:

photo from roboppy.net

All he needs is his beret.  Don't you just want to eat him up?

But since there is no cartoon character to teach my daughter French, I guess I'll just have to do it myself...  :)

Bon weekend, and don't forget La Fête des Mères!