Sunday, November 30, 2014

Supper at the Farm


So we went to Sister D.'s place for an early winter supper this evening.  We brought T. with us to visit and they had their daughter, my niece and her family with them to visit.

I brought along a little craft activity and the girls and I whipped these necklaces up in less than an hour.  Aren't they cute?  Sister D. picked the primary coulours agains a black ground and S. picked a leopard print.  I think they look very artsy and attractive don't you?

Sister D. has a new look: shorter hair and some magnificent bespoke glasses by Tom Davies.  I am loving this look for her and think that she is loving it too.

Our godson A. was attracted to T. and backed up to him with a book, waiting to be lifted up to share one of his favorite books on animals.  Isn't this sweet?

Picture quality is poor but the subjects' enthousiasm more than makes up for it...

Happy-wife-mother-sister-aunt-tatie-Stella

Friday, November 28, 2014

Winter is Upon Us







Today -21 degrees Celsius.  Yesterday,  the first serious snowfall this season: 30 centimeters. Took these photos on my way home from work today.  Snow plows have worked all night clearing the main roads but the residential areas are, well, thick with it.  I drive a 10-year-old RAV4 and I am glad of it.

Stella-in-the-White-Winterland

P.S. No lives were endangered whilst taking these photos.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Coaching, Shopping and Madeleines

 
I've been supervising student teachers for now, my fifth week.  As my friend Danielle's dad is very sick and she has had to fly home to see him and  I now have her student teachers too, a total of seven (more than double) to see each week and evaluate at the end of their practicum.

The few extra dollars I'm making have prompted me to do a few things after work.

1. I went to fill up the car;
2. While there I had the car's outside cleaned, twice, because the first time was a bust;
3. Went to Michael's to buy:
  • Bernat Handicrafter cotton to make dishcloths over the year for our little Provençal home;
  • Wooden beads to make more necklaces (see yesterday's post);
  • Wrapping paper for Christmas.
4. Hopped along to HomeSense  just to see what I could see and wouldn't you know it, I found a few things I needed/coveted:
  • A Madeleine cookie mould;
  • New scented candles;
  • A sink mat;
  • A cute, cute Carly Dodsley serving plate - I couldn't resist it because we visited the Chateauneuf-du-pape region just a few weeks ago.
I then proceeded to make the Madeleine recipe on the mould's packaging and Voilà! Behold!
(There are only 8 because I burned the first batch because I set the timer but neglected to press "start", sheesh!) The burned ones taste good only they don't look so good,  y'know?  Will repeat the exercise although, I will need to exercise as this recipe requires 1/2 cup of butter!!

Stella-la-patissière

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Little Craft


Via Of Dreams and Seams
Ever since I saw these on Pinterest, I knew that I would have to make them.  Finally, my son arrived from Chicago with the beads that I ordered.  I can probably get the beads in town here somewhere but couldn't locate them on the Internet so I did the next best thing.  Anyhow, they are one inch diameter wooden beads.

The silk is from one of my husband's old ties.  The project is a little labor intensive as you have to carefully take the tie apart. I will never see a tie and not think about the complicated construction again.
The tutorial to make these is here which is the way that  I have made it in the pictures above.  I like the knots that separate the beads... and it's less work! I have three more sets of beads to use and I'm going to try some cheap silk scarves I purchased from ebay next.

Crafty-Stella

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Historical Midi and Pyrénées Triplet 2015

I'm already dreaming of our next stay in France and of course, the next triplet.

We are going to be a little more conservative this year, and explore the Pyrénées region of France.  There is so much to see that it will be a challenge to make this trip a triplet.

Cotignac-Arles-Saintes-maries-de-la-mer-Rennes-le-Château-Château-Verdun-St-Étienne de Baïgorry-Biarritz and back home.  950 kilometers and 4 nights.

For a North-American 950 kilometers is not a big deal. This however, is France and 950 kilometers is DENSE with gorgeous countrysides and things to see.

We could spend a solid week busy all day visiting worth-seeing sights.  As it stands, here are some spots that could make it on our list:

1. Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer: this is where Mary Magdalene is purported to have landed in France.  After visiting the cathedral at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume this year, I'm motivated to follow the footsteps of Mary in France...


2. Abbaye de Fontfroide: a wine-producing former Cistercian monastery with vaulted cloisters;

3. Montségur: a commune famous for its fortification, the Château was built on the ruins of one of the last strongholds of the Cathars;

4. Rennes-le-Chateau: an important site of Da Vinci Code fame where the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene is visited by 10,000 people/year;

Church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

Via Chateau de Gudanes website
The Class 1 Historic Monument was designed by Parisian architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, famous for his neoclassical, architectural symmetry, including the Le Petit Trianon and Place de la Concorde. 
In 2013 it was purchased by an Australian family who have taken on the responsibility to awaken this sleeping beauty after years of neglect;
6. St-Étienne de Baïgorry: a beautiful town in the Pyrénées where velvety-green hills and sheep abound and very good cheeses are made;

7. Biarritz: is a luxurious seaside town (the Atlantic) and is popular with tourists and surfers.  My adoptive Tita and Tonton used to live in this area.  Tonton passed this year and I'm going to say goodbye at the cemetery;
Biarritz - La grande plage via Wikipedia
8. Toulouse: If there is time, I would like to visit Toulouse as it is a town that I haven't visited but know to be a lovely are from Kaari Meng's Château Getaway that takes place every summer just north of the city at Chateau Dumas.  This city is also the birthplace of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec whose paintings I loved as a girl. There is a Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi close by.

About Toulouse,  Wikipedia says:
A city with unique architecture made of pinkish terracotta bricks, which earned it the nickname la Ville Rose ("the Pink City"), Toulouse counts two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Canal Du Midi (designated in 1996 and shared with other cities), and the Basilica of St. Sernin, designated in 1998 because of its significance to the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route.

Over the winter, I'll be reading Ina Caro's The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France to guide our way. I also have to reread sections of Travelling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk-Kidd because she makes a reference to some sites in this general area.

Stella-ever-planning-the-next-trip

Friday, November 21, 2014

He's Home!



He's been away from home for three years.  December 29th, 2011 he left for Anguilla, then Chicago in 2013. He will finish his MD in October 2015.

He's as passionate about medicine as he is poor and indebted.  He lights up when explaining this or that medical condition or how a drug works.  His other passion is, well, us.

We have him for three weeks then he has to head back as he is starting rotations at Mercy Hospital in Chicago.  We won't see him again until July because he has to renew his student visa every 6-8 months.
In 2015 he must:
  1. do 6 months rotations back to back
  2. write the Canadian MCCEE
  3. write Step II CS
  4. write Step II CK
  5. write the NAC OSCE (Canadian exam)
  6. write Step III
  7. put in 75 or so applications for a residency
  8. do interviews between October 2015 and January 2016 for a residency
  9. get a residency somewhere
Pray for him please.

Stella-the-mother-hen

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bundle of Joy

We babysat our godson on Saturday night.  Have you ever known a 17 month old who: doesn't cry when his parents leave, eats everything put before him, is calm, happy, expressive, joyful, is not demanding, loves his bath and reading and goes to sleep in a dark room with the door closed without so much as a peep?

That's our boy!

Love,

Tatie and GUV

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November

Unlike every other November that I can remember, I am cccccold!  I mean, it's normally cold in November and I am a born and bred Alberta girl so why in this, my 56th November, am I sudenly almost always cold?

I am writing this post with half my body under blankets and the top half covered by a shawl my dear Mom knit for me years ago. I don't go outside if I can help it and most of the time, I'm wearing extra layers inside the house.  Where are hot flashes when you need them?

Other than that, I am relishing in the sunshine that is out today and appreciating the views.

Have a good one.

Stella


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Love British Drama

Being home with a cold has me resubscribed to Netflix and trawling the site to see what I haven't seen
and I discover Scott and Bailey a wonderfully written crime drama involving two talented female detectives.

I love the dialogue, the britishisms, the stiff-upper lip, the toughness, the tenderness, the cleverness of this series.   Despite their very different personal lives and their 15-year age difference, these two women are buds, they can count on each other to keep eachothers' secrets and backs.

They exemplify discretion, and integrity in their relationships, they are talented in different ways, Rachel Bailey can instinctively synthesize information and come up with a bang-on analysis. Janet Scott is the best interviewer, self-control, respect and crystal-clear questioning make even the most hardened criminals spill the beans.

Actresses Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp are top in their craft. This series is well-worth watching and it's so much fun that on Netflix, you don't have to wait till next week to see the next episode.  There are four series in all and three of them are available on Netflix.

I give this series a whopping five stars out of five.

Stella

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bucket-List Triplets

I am laid out on my bed, sick with a cold.  What better time to line up my bucket-list triplets.  One can dream can't one?
Several months ago, I talked about triplets (a little trip).  Usually a triplet is usually a few days to a week in duration.  Given that we are in France a few months at a time, we usually allow ourselves a triplet a year when we are there.

Triplets have a lot of merit.  First, they are usually focused on one area.  Second, the triplet because it is short, does not exhaust.  Third, because the triplet is short, the traveller does not OD on: Cathedrals, scenery, history, touristic-type facts that can render dull the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Here are some of my bucket-list triplets.
Photo via Basque Farmouse in France

1. Les Pyrénées: to take in the loveliness of the scenery, to meet a fellow blogger and to get down and eat some of their fabulous cheeses.  (Etorki, Ossau Iraty to name just two).  I'd also like to skip along to Biarritz to visit my adoptive Tonton and Tita's graves.

Photo via

2. La Bourgogne: what's not to love about the region that makes some of the best wines in the world.  After visiting the Chateauneuf-du-pape wine region, I am ready to taste some famous burgundian wines: Clos Vougeot, Montrachet to name just two.  I'd also skip along to visit my family in the area.  They are in the Champagne region.

Medieval village of Estaing

5. La Dordogne:  We have acquaintances who have a house in the Périgord.  I'd go there in October just to have the Cassoulet when it's Cassoulet season.  The Périgord is famous for its: truffles, foie gras, great gastronomic tradition and some pretty good red wines.

Photo via Plisson.com
6. La Bretagne: I've been there briefly but have not done it justice plus all the beautiful seaside and  fish and crepes and Koign Amann are you kidding?


Photo via

7. Corsica: because it's just a boat-ride away and would be a great driving holiday.

Photo via
8. Ireland: because it's just a short flight away and would be a great driving holiday.


Photo via
9. Morocco: Because I've never been to Africa and am taken with the sights and smells of this country in particular.

Photo via

10. Egypt: Because I've never been to Africa and I've wanted to see the Valley of the Kings, Giza and the Nile since I was a child.

What is on your triplet bucket-list?  Just shout one out in the comments section to make my day!

Stella-abed

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Oh! Give me a Blog...


via Google search
 To be sung to the air of: Oh! Give me a Home (where the buffalo roam...)


Oh! Give me a blog
Where readers abound
And the comments are
Numerous too

For seldom is read
An encouraging thread
And the comment section's
Too often dead.

Amen