Sunday, December 28, 2014


Yesterday on Richards birthday, it finally arrived.

It made for some happy kids and dogs, and meant that more than a few ski-instructors could breath a sigh of relief!

The irony is that we'll be cursing the stuff when it's still here in april!

But for now it means that jumping of the roof of the sand pit is a little less dangerous than it is in the summer!

The boys thought Richard was celebrating his 25th birthday!  so when I asked them how old they thought I was....44 was their guess!!!  After recovering from that slap in the face I explained that while it isn't impossible, 44 year old women aren't usually married to 25 year old men!

25 - seriously?

Happy 39th Birthday Rich

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dreaming of a white christmas....

... yes, dreaming, in the alps, in December!!! didn't think i'd see the day.
We are having the 'greenest' pre-noël since 1989 and the forecast isn't looking very white!!
Many of our friends,  us included, kinda count on the white stuff to bring home the bacon at this time of year.
No snow =  no ski - simple as that!   A ski-instructor friend recently remarked to Richard that this will be his first christmas day at home with his kids!
Until moving here I was use to family christmases - much merry making and lots of eating!! but no working, well at least on the 25th and 26th.  Chamonix (1035m), being a tourist destination, is open all hours during the festive season, and before having kids, I myself worked on christmas eve, christmas day, new years eve, new years day etc with out batting an eye lid.   But since starting a family, and not working outside the home, I've become fervently attached to 'my traditions'.   So while I stayed home wrapping, baking and singing carols on saturday morning, Richard and the boys took a wee trip to the Aiguille du Midi  (3842 m/12604ft) - where the snow is always plentlyful but the oxygen starts getting rare....

This ridge leads to the famous Vallée Blanche and the Col du Midi - the starting point for many high mountain adventures.  Everything here is off piste, for confirmed skiers and alpinists only.

The gate at the end of the picture leads to the ridge shown in the first photo, I'm glad I wasn't with them, the boys are too close to it for my liking!!!

Sunday afternoon we stayed lower down at a 'safer' and warmer altitude doing a little Stone Balancing...
the peak in the background is the Aiguille du Midi where the boys were the day before!

How did you spend the winter solstice?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's starting to look like christmas...

No sew bunting!  just old christmas cards cut into triangles and threaded on a bit of ribbon.  Nice and easy and anything that doesn't involve my un-cooperative sewing machine is always a winner in my book.

Tino and I put together a new wreath for the front door, and were 'helped' in our efforts by a few furry little friends...

... Bunny got really 'into it'!!


We didn't make any new tree decorations this year, but just pulled out our trusted favorites.  This little guy has seen better days, as has the legless Santa just behind him!!

Teachers gifts are in full production at the moment - muffin mix in a jar and a home 'burned' spoon!

I've got a few scented candles yet to make and then all that's left is the sweet treats - mince pies, peppermint bark and orangettes!!  I've sent all that needs to be sent and am feeling rather organized for once!

How is your christmas crafting coming along?  Is it in the bag or are you still knitting, sewing and glueing etc into the wee small hours?


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yarn Along - Peerie Weerie Things

I swear my computer and my sewing machine are in cahoots to drive me insane!!
While one refused to give any signs of life for about three weeks necesitating a visit to an expert technician, (after much difficulty in finding one), the other has developed a ravenous appetite and chews up anything that it is presented with!!!  Give me a log fire and a basket of knitting any day, the less I have to do with machines the better!!

Color work has been the theme of my knitting of late.  I continue on slowly with my Favorite Things  scarf but hold no illusions to it being ready for this winter!  But I have completed two smaller projects,
both of them from Fair Isle Style (Mary Jane Mucklestone) - I think I'd like to make everything in this book!!
These Mushroom Kellimuffs were a present to myself!

Thankfully I wasn't making them to be gifted to someone else as they came out different sizes!  It's not noticeable when they are worn but put side by side it's very obvious.  I counted the rows and stitches and they are exactly the same, it's just that I must have knitted the first one, which came out smaller, much tighter.

Luckly I didn't repeat the same error with these Peerie Weerie (very very small) Booties as they were a gift for a friends new baby.

Hot off the needles are two pairs of fingerless mitts, one for a wee lassie in Rémi's class and another a christmas gift to be sent across the channel!  My current project is 'hush hush' - if you know what I mean!!

thinking of embellishing them with a few beads...
On a bit of a Dickens reading trip at the moment.  Struggled with the first few chapters of A Tale of Two Cities but once I got a little way in I couldn't put it down!  I even convinced my father, who as a rule shuns fiction, to read it also. Now it's the poor little Pip who is occupying my evening reading time in Great Expectations.

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along and looking forward to catching up with what everyone is knitting and reading this week.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Let's go do the HOP

Fingers crossed...
...last week Sustainablemum invited me to join in a blog hop that was going around.  Unfortunately my computer has not been very co-operative these last few days, ( it's shuts it's self off when ever it feels like it then won't switch on for again for ages) so without further hesitation, I'm going to press publish before it drops off into the land of computer nod again.

What am I working on?
Well on the needlework front - socks for Tino, a Favorite Things Infinity Scarf for me and a Ripple Blanket for the house.
In the kitchen, today, along with dinner, some gluten free brownies.  I like to think of the kitchen as part of my 'creative work' - planning meun's, cooking healthy meals, serving them up nicely  - the table set with candles and cloth napkins - I have to do it everyday, may as well approach it as an artistic endeavor rather than a chore.

How does my work differ from others?
It's been said that 'No man ever steps in the same river twice' (Heraclitus).   What ever I make, even if it's been done before and will be done again by others or myself, each time it will in essence, be different.
(Tough question that one!)

Why do I create what I do?
It keeps me sane!  I create, in some small way everyday.  Cooking aside, I find time to knit or crochet daily.  I've made it part of my routine (wish a could be so faithful to my running!).
I enjoy creating immensely, especially so when it can also contribute to the management of the family budget - cooking from scratch, gardening, making my own washing powder, deodorant etc.
But deep down I think there's other reasons too.  Like control!  I feel empowered when I make things that I would otherwise have to buy.  And handmade always seems so much more 'pure', more environmentally conscious, so maybe I create as my part in trying to fix what wrong with the world or a least in an attempt to not 'damage' it anymore than I have too...

How does my creative process work?
Rather erratically when it comes to knitting - I'm a multi project gal!!  All those lovely blogs and web sites making things look so easy, I just can't help myself.  I'd like to say that what I make I make out of necessity but that's not always true.  However, the difficulty of buying yarn here, without ordering it on-line, means that my wooly impulses are generally kept in check.
In the kitchen it's rather more military style - my 'creations' are planned in advance to cover all the right food groups, seasonal offerings and personal preferences, and there are few, if any deviations to the weekly menu!!!

Thank you to sustainable mum for including me in this.  I'd like to invite Kristina and Meredith to join us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Slow Living Monthly 9 Link Up - September

Time to link up with Linda over at the Green Haven for September Slow Living Essentials

I did the Whole30 again this month, which turned into a whole25ish, when I decided to re-introduce chick peas and oats to my diet during the last week.  I still abstained from all the other non-approved foods for the 30 days and think I will continue to keep my gluten and dairy intake to a very occasional minimum.  As with when I did the 'diet' back in November, again this time I have found myself with much more energy throughout the day. I've even got my running mojo back and am enjoying regular early morning runs to the lake with Ringo.

Pickles -  my garden finally produced enough cucumbers at the same time to make three jars.

Knitting socks at the moment for Tino but thinking of new hats and mitts, we're enjoying very warm days here but the mornings are starting to have a distinct chill to them.


A bit of spit and polish and this old toy box - which itself was originally used for something else - became my new nightstand.

Running hot and cold with the baking soda/ACV hair washing and conditioning method.  I stick with it for a few weeks then my hair starts to get very dry and I end up going back to shampoo.

We're coming to the end of our garden here but Kim, who's climate seems much like ours, is still growing away on her plot.  I'm following her methods attentively to try and prolong our growing season next year.
Here's a great link for autumn gardening tips.

Since the beginning of the new school year, the boys have had school on wednesday mornings.  Up until now  schools in France had only a four day week with a 1 1/2 hour dinner break. These new school reforms were brought in as it was decided that the school day was too long 8.30 am - 4 or in some cases 4.30 pm.  Now they start school at the same time and finish at the same time but have a 2 hours and 15 minutes lunch break, thus making the hours that they actually study, shorter  (and wednesday mornings 9 am - 12 noon). It's all going great at the moment with the lovely autumn weather but in the depths of winter when temperature go between -10° and -20° this super long playtime is not going to be so much fun.  With this in mind I have agreed to be part of the school committee who are trying to put in place some kind of plan to occupy the kids for part this long break with opportunity for inside 'creative and fun' activities on those days were it is very cold or for the kids who don't want to freeze (on an almost zero budget).

Deliciously Ella Despite feeling great after the Whole30, I don't want to follow this eating plan full time.  Ella's website proposes great plant based, gluten and dairy free recipes which appeal more to my taste buds than the 'Paleo' style of the Whole30.  I'm still going to eat meat when I can get good local or organic produce and obviously as I keep chickens I'm not going to give up eggs either.
Thoroughly enjoying Ella's gluten free muesli every morning with home made almond milk or coconut milk yogurt (even if mine keeps coming out a little too runny!)

Fantastic autumn weather here, very welcome after a rather wet and cold summer.   We're doing lots of hiking with the kids who are always very willing participants provided they get ice-cream at some point during the day.  Two sundays ago we visited the Lac du Verny in Italy so they got to enjoy some delicious 'gelati'.

We also have a new arrival - Bunny, she's called.  As expected, the kids love cuddling her but are no where to be seen when it's time to clean out her droppings!!!  Ringo likes her a lot...he manages to sit nice and calm next to her for a few minutes before launching into his favorite game of 'you bite my ears and I'll bite yours' - Bunny doesn't share his enthusiasm for this!!  She stamps her hind legs on the ground when it gets to much for her and he seems to understand that this means 'go away dog'!!!

Hope you are enjoying a great autumn/spring!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Whole 30 - Week 2

Breakfasts are looking pretty much the same as last week but I've tried to completely vary the mid-day and evening meals -

Do you do fruit omelette? My s.i.l used to work in a mountain refuge and on bad weather days when the clients were few and far between, her boss would to make her runny omelette with sugar and jam!  I don't like runny eggs and obviously sugar and jam are out at the moment but I tried some blackberries that the kids had picked, with a kale, bacon and mushroom concoction and it tasted just delicious.

Avocado stuffed with sardines and boiled egg - mushrooms and broccoli.

Salmon and salad

Ground Beef Chilli (minus the kidney beans) over lettuce.

Cauliflower Fried Rice - this would have been even better with some peas but I didn't have any!

 Tuna Steak.

Roasted Veggies with Bolognaise Sauce.

Chicken Stew.

Still going strong, but don't know how I'd get through this with out avocados (which unfortunately are ridiculously expensive here).
Missing my morning porridge!!