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Sunday
Dec152013

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.

Sunday
Dec012013

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

 

Sunday
Nov172013

Stuttgart

 

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)

Stiftskirche

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.

Sunday
Nov102013

Weekend Baking: Bunny Cake

 

We served this bunny cake alongside the traditional pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner this weekend (we always celebrate ahead of time, to coincide with one of the early November holiday weekends in France).

A bit off-season, but this is the cake V wanted to make for her grandfather's birthday, also in early November. At the moment she's really into watching bunny cake videos on youtube. And people opening kinder eggs.

Thursday
Oct312013

Happy Halloween

 

Happy Halloween to those of you who celebrate it. It's not Halloween over here until we've put a festive collar on Simon.