Halloween Feltboard

Since October is just around the corner, this weekend I couldn't resist pulling out this Halloween-themed feltboard I made one year ago for my daughter.

Last year at this time she was a little too young for the board -- she didn't really recognize the shapes or know their meaning (other than the cat, since he looks like our Simon), and it took her no time at all to stretch the cat's tail and the witch's broom bristles. So I redid those two and put the board away for a later date.

This time around she could recognize and name almost all of the shapes, though Halloween still remains an abstract concept (if that) for this 3-year-old. One of the broom bristles has already been stretched, the owl has gone AWOL, and the fence is now curved instead of straight (an improvement, I think), but she loves playing a little each day with "Simon", the moon and her "bébé punkins".


Weekend Baking: Apple Pie

Even though apples are widely available several months of the year, I closely associate them with September: going back to school (bring an apple for the teacher), apple-picking at the local orchard...

So pretty much every September I look for a new apple pie recipe to try out. Pictured above is my latest tentative (Apple Pie I, using the recipe for Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough, both from the 1997 edition of Joy of Cooking).

Here are a couple from last year. First off, Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie Cake, from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: from my Home to Yours.


And inside:


Mile High Apple Pie from Martha Stewart's Martha's American Food. Very pretty to look at, and to eat, but the inside was not so pretty as the apples fell and left a large cap between the top crust and filling.


All of these pies are very different, and each one delicious in its own way, but I think my favorite is the most recent one I baked: Apple Pie I (though in all honesty, I almost always think the last one I baked is my favorite).


Summer Vacation 2013

Above: St. Louis Citygarden

Just wanted to share a few pictures from our summer vacation. We spent much of the month of August in the midwestern United States, where I was born and raised. We went to beaches...


...and gazed at several sunsets in South Haven, Michigan...


...took boat rides on Lake Michigan...


...went to the St. Louis Zoo...


...celebrated birthdays...


...introduced my husband and daughter to s'mores... 


...went to the park (St. Louis Citygarden)...


...spent time in big cities (Chicago, Illinois)...


...and in smaller cities (art mural in Quincy, Illinois)...


...and in a Dutch village (Holland, Michigan).


Hope your summer was as enjoyable as ours.



Simon's favorite sleeping place / position of the day, until he got ejected by Bon Bon from her chair


Candy Corn Costume

I'm a member of an American women's group that organizes several activities throughout the year for children, most notably Christmas and Halloween parties. Now that my daughter's getting older (2 already seems old to me!), I'm so excited to finally be able to take her to these get-togethers.

Halloween is not celebrated very widely in France, so despite this being my daughter's 3rd, this was the first year I made a costume for her. I found this incredibly easy, incredibly cute idea for a candy corn costume here. For those of you not familiar with candy corn, click here to find out more.

I made this costume a few weeks in advance, but if you have the materials on hand (colored fleece, sewing machine or simply needle & thread), it could be done at the last minute. There are no seams to be sewn around the armholes or at the hem -- just the sides and straps. I think it took three times as long to make the purse than the dress itself! 

My daughter looked so adorable, but of course I would think that. She did receive a few compliments from moms and kids alike. The costume must have been comfortable too, because she didn't complain one bit -- no yanking or pulling on it either. Don't know if I'll be able to top it next year.