Happy New Year 2014


This arrived as I was preparing for last night's dinner party. Couldn't resist taking a picture.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2014!


Holiday Baking: Gingerbread House

We spent Christmas Eve morning making this gingerbread house. And the following days decorating it. V had full creative direction over the house's decoration. I think she did a pretty good job.

Recipe courtesy of Joy of Cooking (1997 version). Candy courtesy of my mother (merci ViGi!!).


Christmas catproofing


Been doing some practical crafting lately. Simon's always enjoyed playing with the figurines ("santons") in our nativity scene. Over the years we've had to glue quite a few heads back on: Joseph, one of the Magi's camels...he even managed to chip the small black cat santon we bought on the occasion of his first Christmas with us.

Keen to avoid any future beheadings, I decided to stitch a few pieces of plastic (office supplies actually) together to keep Simon out but still allow us to see the crèche. So far so good.


Quick trip to Brussels


Last weekend we took a short trip to Brussels. I'd like to say it was to do some early Christmas shopping, but it revolved around a purchase of another sort: brother-in-law's new car (see below).

In exchange for babysitting my adorable daughter - and even more adorable niece - while the men tore up the autoroutes of lower Flanders, I got to spend an afternoon all to myself in Brussels, complete with strolls through the city including my favorite Place du Grand Sablon, a leisurly hot chocolate break and, yes, a little bit of shopping.

More pics on instagram





Above: The Nationalmannschaft’s bus at the Mercedes-Benz museum

Earlier this month we spent a long weekend in Stuttgart, in southern Germany. The city was fairly quiet when we arrived -- not surprising given it was a holiday weekend. Though most museums and shops were closed on the first day, this allowed us to take a leisurely stroll through town.

Neues Schloss on the Schlossplatz

Altes Schloss, on the left hidden behind the trees

Königsbau (former stock exchange)


Of course no trip to Stuttgart -- the “cradle of the automobile” --   is complete without a visit to the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz museums.

First off Porsche (this is actually the showroom + offices, right across the street from the museum).

A special exhibition was organized to mark the 50th Anniversary of the 911 model

I really enjoyed our visit to the museum, even though I’m generally not very interested in automobiles. I truly appreciate them, but I guess I place higher importances on their function than on their form.

Some of these reminded me of insects (sleek, beautiful, fast insects).

Or jelly beans

Loved studying this cross section

View from the museum café

Onto the Mercedes-Benz museum


What was great about this museum was that the permanent exhibition provided the social / historical context alongside the history of Mercedes-Benz.


Eye-catching display

Prior to this visit, I hadn’t realized how many different models were / are produced by Mercedes-Benz

My favorite part, a design center at the end of the tour where you’re encouraged to create new car models.

A few creations -- strawberries, hamburgers, toilets, "Banana Joe"...but no insects or jelly beans

Had to take a picture of these logo-emblazoned Linzer cookies

We ended our trip the way we started it: with a stroll, this time through the Mittlerer Schloßgarten.