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Anything avec fromage et jambon

Ah fromage – cheese in France is delicious. It is so good and of course so widely available. We live in a region that created the salted caramel, the crepe, and maybe the cider, but maybe not and even so it is very good.

When we first arrived, we frequented the market every week. On Easter Sunday this year we got a really great piece of ham from one of the food vendors. We’ve been buying our holiday meals at the market just because it is easy to do. Luckily for us, market was open even though it was Easter. Unluckily for us, we went after breakfast but before lunch, which meant we were shopping on a not quite empty stomach.

Good for the vendors, bad for the wallet! I didn’t find turkey around thanksgiving last year, so we didn’t have any of that, but there is always good chicken and ham available. There are a few vendors that roast chicken right there at the market. They usually cook the potatoes directly under the chicken so the flavors get mixed together.

I have discovered that the view of France being extravagant, romantic, Paris, wine, cheese, bread, and walks along the river is just a little off. Meals are simple and it’s not the amazingness of a meal that you enjoy but the company you are in. A favorite of ours is a halved baked potato, topped with chopped gam, cheese, and garlic butter. This is such a super simple meal. Of course this is easily made at home, but the line up of the various options at the market makes it too tempting to take home.

My tip is this: you will probably not find your favorite junk food or snack in the store. But that’s okay. Embrace the experience and try new foods. Enjoy new combinations of foods. I love pickles but here there are cornichon’s, which are small not sweet pickles but not the “regular” pickles in the US. It didn’t take long for me to love them.

Farmer’s Markets

I love farmer’s markets. When we lived in Washington state there was an amazing year round market that we would shop at. It was always crowded, there were always some kind of performers, and of course the ready to eat food was always so good. We have three markets here, the largest on the weekend and the other two are during the week.

When we first arrived in France, we didn’t know that everything was closed on Sunday’s. I don’t mean banks and other businesses, I mean everything. Grocery stores, the mall, restaurants, everything. But the market, that is open for business. It is usually busy when we go, with lines at the favorite shops. We can find anything from clothes and shoes to purses and toys, food from meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, even stands that only sell sausage or olives. There is Apple juice made here that is popular, and of course a few crepe stands.

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The market is a few blocks long, also taking up a couple of side streets. There may be a performer and it’s usually a clown making balloon animals. There are craftspeople who sell handmade baskets from Africa, a gentleman who does leatherwork, photographers, and more. It’s a full market. We have favorite stands – a great place to get chicken and ham, another that sells a sausage and potato dish, and of course the apple juice guy.

The weather turned to sun around lunchtime today and we were rushed out the door by our youngest as he was very interested in riding his scooter. The walk to the market is quiet, we only pass a few people going home, and as we get closer there are more people. The tram runs less frequently on Sunday’s and the only restaurant we know of that is open is McDonald’s.

My tip is this: find out when the market in your town and embrace it. A couple of hours on Sunday is easily spent walking up and down the street before going to our favorite shops to get lunch and dinner and head home.

I Joined A Bee!

Yay I was able to join a bee! I am glad I found this since living overseas makes it a little difficult because of the mail. I am now a member of the Euro Siblings Together Bee. I met Betty at the Fat Quarter Retreat this past summer and she asked if I was interested in joining. I’ve only learned what Siblings Together is at the retreat – a place for siblings to be together when they are separated. I’ve been told that the children that attend pick a quilt for their sibling, that they each pick for the other.

I love this and am happy to participate. I didn’t volunteer to be in charge of a month just yet, but we’ll see what the future brings!

The block that Betty requested this month is a quick one. I picked these blues and light fabrics, and it came together quickly.

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Laundry and Industrial Dryers

When we packed up to move we brought one full luggage each of clothes. The rest of our luggage was full of uniform items, towels, blankets, bathroom products, sewing projects, school books for the kids, and I can’t even remember what else. We did not do an early shipment that the military offers because too many people told me that their express shipment showed up either at the same time or later than their household goods shipment. That just wasn’t worth the risk for me. I didn’t want to do without some things when we were still living in our place in CA (since the express shipment leaves you earlier) and then still not have that stuff in a new place.

Of course what comes with several pieces of luggage of clothes – laundry. The one thing our great hotel did not have was laundry facilities for the guests. The first time we did laundry we took it to a service because we just could not find two different laundromats that people told us about! That was an expensive lesson, but everything came back folded. Bright side right? After that we found the laundromat and hauled our luggage up those blocks and learned a lesson.

What was that lesson? Don’t use the largest industrial dryer even if you are super interested in getting your stuff dry as soon as possible. Even if you try to set it on a lower heat setting, it will fry any lace on any of your clothes

My tip is this: be patient when you are washing and drying your clothes. Take advantage of another country’s kindness and leave your laundry to wash while you look around close by. While we waited for laundry people were in and out starting, switching, and leaving their laundry. I’m sure they lived close by but that was surprising.

Found This Week

My daughter is a big Dr Who fan. And I’m not even sure when it started. Her best friend lives in California and I think she watched it before turning my daughter onto the show. But now she is a huge fan. We went to the Dr Who store in London (which by the way – don’t do that – it was not fun at all – and who I assume is the owner is beyond rude), she watches the show, they text each other about the show, and so I figured they both need something – a tote bag, a wall hanging, something. When I went looking for patterns I found this Dr Who Along! How great is this. My daughter picked out probably half of the patterns as one she would like and I am still debating what to make.

I am finishing up my hexie sewing machine cover and I’m not even sure how I found this, but check out the modern hexie tutorial. This is just so cool, I love the spacing and this one is Christmas fabric! I love Christmas. I am thinking this is a must make and now.

Falling Arrows

Have you ever entered the Bloggers Quilt Festival? I entered I think last spring. I submitted this quilt above. I didn’t win, and I don’t know how many voted for me, but the entire thing is just so fun to see and participate in. I encourage you to enter a quilt!

I’m sure you are familiar with Sister Diane over at Crafty Pod – so have you seen her new English paper piecing Shop!

Bloglovin reader

Which blog reader do you use? I have used a firefox plugin called Sage, an RSS reader, for years and years. I love it. The only downside is that I can only read my blogs if I’m on my desktop computer. I started subscribing to blogs via email subscription and reading when I got the email and that works great! I also use FlipBoard when I’m on my phone. But I admit I really do like reading blogs at my computer. Sometimes commenting systems and my phone don’t agree, so if I want to comment I either just can’t do so or it ends up being a big hassle and I give up.

If you are using Bloglovin I would love if you would Follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Hotel as Home

Anytime we move, a hotel stay is usually figured into the mix. There have been a couple of moves that allowed us to move directly into the home we were renting, but I’m not sure I was fully prepared for what hotel living was going to be like. Since we stayed in a small hotel – family owned, not that many employees – we got to know almost everyone who worked in the place. We only didn’t know one person and she worked one day a week so it makes sense that we didn’t really know her. The rest of the employees we consider friends, we see them regularly, and a couple have even helped us by tutoring our children.

When you spend that kind of time in a hotel, it becomes your home. You need to do whatever you can to feel comfortable in your space. The first room we occupied was the hotel’s apartment. This hotel has one two-bedroom apartment and unfortunately for us it was only available for a short time before it had been booked by someone else. This was a great introduction to our stay. The apartment was spacious, the windows here must all be double paned because despite being on a busy street we heard nothing from outside, there is a computer in the apartment, a stocked kitchen (not food but pots, pans, kitchenware, etc.), and what I think is really high up on my list of best things about apartments here – rolling window shades that are on the outside of the window and create a pitch black room. Seriously, these are amazing and wonderful and I wish we had them in the US. Actually we do, they are the same type of shades used on some storefronts, those pull down things that protect windows from being busted out. The difference is that these are widely used here on home and apartment windows and storefronts.

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This is the master bedroom, taken around 11AM and okay it’s a little cloudy outside and the picture makes the light look a lot brighter/more than it is. Really those are very thing slits, if the blinds were fully closed the room would be pitch black.

Maybe we lucked out and we were able to find this small, not too many employees hotel. Maybe it was luck that everyone working at the hotel is so nice, and they offer really great customer service. And I’m okay with that. I walk around the city now and I see other hotels that I contacted and though I’ve never stayed at any of them, I know we made the right choice. But even better, I know we were able to trust the recommendation from others who stayed there.

My tip is this: be nice to the hotel staff and they’ll be nice to you. Will every hotel have nice staff? No, probably not. And some days those nice staff people will have a bad day. And some days you will. But being nice can get your luggage out of your own space, it can get you to be the last room to be cleaned so you don’t have to rush to get your kids out the door, it can get extra smiles when you are just sick and tired of washing your clothes at the laundromat and you just need your own bed. And it can get you a group of people who can help you with schools, restaurants, best places to hang out at, and more.