Lucky Charms

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Alexis and I were grocery shopping in Nîmes one afternoon and we came across Lucky Charms in the international section.  Alexis loves Lucky Charms and we were a little excited about taking a box home with us until we saw this:

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That’s right, 9,49 euros or $10.69 for 16 ounces of Lucky Charms!  They were not that enticing after seeing the price tag and they did not end up in my shopping cart!:(

Chemin de Candordy

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Chemin de Candordy is the name of the road that our little “Impasse”, or dead-end street, stems from.  These are the cute ceramic road signs in our village.  The hand painted drawings are different throughout the village.  They add a little extra character to the normal (French) street signs.

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This is Dennis and Ann Marie’s gate and entrance to their house.  They are one of five neighbors on our “Impasse”, or street.  We see this white gate every time we come or go from our house.  Most home owners have gates.  Property is very private and if you visit someone you have to ring at their gate.  One does not even get to the front door.  Most gates are automatic, like a garage door in America.  Ours is not.  If you notice in the above photo, there is a small light on the right hand side of the gate.  When their gate opens/closes this light will go on to warn anyone of the operating gate and/or someone pulling out of the driveway.  I have noticed this light at many residences.

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This is the intersection of our “Impasse” de Candordy with Chemin de Candordy.  The property with all the shrubs and trees is Patrick and Denise’s house.  They have been great neighbors, especially during the floods.  Their grandson, Adrian, goes to school with Jack and Sophie and he is often found at our house.  In fact, Jack and Adrian argue like brothers.  Adrian is 9 years old.  They usually like to play soccer.

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This is a view looking down our Impasse/street.  Around the bend to the right is our house, 6 Impasse de Candordy.  We have loved our little street.  Last weekend our street had a “neighborhood” party.  It was at Ivan and Caroline’s house.  They live at the end of our street.  They have a son who is in his 20’s.  Ivan had Mojitos ready for all of us to drink and we had to kindly decline!  Ivan and Caroline are known for their crazy and fun parties.  Ivan brought out his guitars and my boys tried to play with him.  We were all singing and enjoying each other’s company.  It was so fun!  When my kids started feeling a little tired, around 10:30, they were saying goodbye to everyone and we noticed the french were a little surprised by this.  Aaron and I asked if it was polite that they leave and okay for them to leave (after all, we just lived one house down) and they all responded that it was fine, just unusual.  Usually the kids all stay up late with the adults.  Aaron and I did not leave until after midnight.

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Citron Vert

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Today I went to the store to pick up a few things.  One of the items on my list was limes. I can’t always find limes, so I was happy when I saw a few.  I picked up the remaining limes, 8 to be exact.  They were 5 for 1.50 euros.  At the check out counter the lady got to the bag of limes and looked at me and said, “These are 5 for 1.50.  You have 8.  That won’t work.”  I looked at her and said that was all that was left and I needed all 8 limes.  She then said, “Well, I don’t know what to do.  You need two more.”  She then looked at the other cashier and asked if she knew what to do because I needed all 8 limes but the store did not have any more and how was she supposed to do the transaction.  The other cashier did not know and so she had to make a phone call to the manager.  I was laughing!  How could this be a problem that she did not know how to solve?  What if I only needed one lime?

She talked to a manager and I was charged for 10 limes and I was told to go to customer service so I could receive a refund for the 2 limes that I was over charged for!  How funny is that?  I went to customer service and received 60 centimes (like 60 cents) for the difference.  France!

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While I was at the grocery store, Aaron was at the specialty pool store to get something for our pool.  He said the door was open and he noticed a worker in the back.  He walked up to the counter and said, “Excuse me, can you help me?”  The worker looked at his watch and said, “We are closed right now.  We will open in 10 minutes.  Please come back.”  Aaron politely walked out the open door and waited for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes the man helped Aaron.  France!

The majority of stores in France will close anytime during lunch, 12-1:30/2 pm.  The French usually are not out shopping at lunch time.  They take their mealtimes seriously and those that work expect that time off.  It can be very inconvenient but we have gotten used to it.  The major grocery stores stay open at lunch time, which is the time I like to go shopping because I know not many people will be there.  They are all eating lunch! Speaking of lunch time, Aaron and I are going to miss our 1 hour and 20 minute lunch we have with Jack and Sophie.  I do love that my kids all get to enjoy their lunch time and they never feel rushed.

Paris with Alexis

Last week I enjoyed taking Alexis and her roommate, Rebecca, to Paris.  Rebecca was leaving for America and, of course, Paris was a must see.  We visited all the popular sites.

The Eiffel Tower

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The Louvre (the below pictures are of Napoleon III Apartments)

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Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie (I didn’t get many photos.)

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Ladurée

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No photos:  Versailles, Notre Dame, Champs-Élysées, Place de Concorde, Tuileries Gardens, Metro, RER, delicious restaurants, crêpes, Arc de triomphe…

Wild Aparagus

I am constantly learning new things about the resourcefulness of the French.  One morning, while Aaron and I were hiking, we noticed a couple with a basket in hand “hunting” for something.  Being the outgoing husband that he is, Aaron approached the couple and asked what they were looking for.  They replied, “asparagus”.  Aaron and I looked at each other with smiles on our faces and said, “Really?  That’s so cool!”  This couple handed a small stem to me and we each tasted a small piece.  It was delicious!  I noticed their basket had a lot of asparagus stems inside.  We thanked them for the information and went on our way.

As we were hiking I began to notice a few small stems of asparagus popping up along the trail.  I was so intrigued and happy that we had discovered another way the French love their country and food!

On a different hike a few days later, Aaron and I passed a group of people and one of the men had a small plastic bag filled with wild asparagus!  The asparagus we have seen is not very thick like the stems one finds in the store or market.  They seem to be thin and a little deeper green in color.  I think all the wild asparagus has been picked because I haven’t noticed any along the hiking trails!  (I found this photo online.)

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Cannes

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We spent the weekend in Cannes, France with our friends the Serrano-Milone’s.  Aaron had a business meeting Saturday afternoon, so we all decided to make a fun weekend out of it.  We really wanted to get to Spain and Portugal, but the older boys had youth conference at the beginning of the week and Alexis comes tomorrow (YEAH!!!)!

The Côte d’Azure is beautiful!  Cannes is known for its’ Film Festival:

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The Cannes Film Festival takes place in May so we did not spot any Hollywood stars! That’s okay, because the boardwalk is so crowded anyway without celebrities nearby.  We enjoyed driving through the hills and neighborhoods of Cannes.  Aurore lived in Cannes when she was a little girl and her mom is buried there, so we got to see the “real” Cannes!

We spent saturday on the Med.  Aurore, myself, Noami (the wife of the Serrano-Milone’s friends) and the kids all hung out on the beach while the kids enjoyed the sand and water. It was an overcast day so our kids were the only ones swimming.  It was fun!  Our kids have a great time together!

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When the sun began to fade away we all loaded up and went to Noami and David’s house near Saint-Raphaël.  They live in the beautiful hills/mountains between Cannes and Saint-Raphaël.  The city lights of Cannes could be seen from their backyard.  They had a potato farm just beyond their stone “fence”.  Also, on our way up the hills/mountains we saw a group of wild boar grazing in the fields. It was so cool!  Noami made a delicious spread of food (I wish I had taken photos)!  We didn’t start eating until 9:30pm.  I love how the french take their time in preparing and planning their meals.  She made a few fresh salads, homemade “french” fries, a delicious olive tapenade, sausages, hamburgers, homemade mayo, a cucumber salad…  It was awesome!  We enjoyed great food and great company.

The next day we went to church in Cannes and met Noami’s father.  Fun family!  Her father has one of the largest “The Cure” memorabilia in all of France!  Aaron “died” (the last area he served) in Cannes on his mission.  It was so awesome for him to go back and see the church building and see some familiar faces from 25 years ago.  We had a fantastic weekend!

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Olive Oil

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Doesn’t this jar of olive oil look beautiful?!  This is straight from an olive vineyard in Italy. Our friends, the Serrano-Milone’s, brought a huge jug back from Italy and they shared a little with us!  Elias is Italian and his sister-in-law’s father grows and presses his own olives for oil.  We have only had it for a week and you can see how much we have already used!  We feel so spoiled!!!!

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Condiments

French condiments are a little different than in the States.  For example, Aaron, Sophie and I sat down at a little outdoor cafe, in Vars, to get some hot chocolate and a snack. The waiter brought us some tartine.  Tartine is an open face sandwich, and at this little cafe it was slices of delicious french baguette and condiments on the side to spread on the baguette.  The condiments consisted of little jars of Bonne Maman confiture, small packets of delicious french butter and little packets of Nutella!  That’s right, Nutella!  I love this!  America needs to get with it and start serving more Nutella!  (I have Nutella in my food storage back in the States!)  You can always find Nutella everywhere here!  Ice cream parlors serve Nutella ice cream, most dessert menus have something with Nutella, the grocery stores carry large jars on multiple shelves and locations, every holiday has some type of chocolate with Nutella/hazelnut… the list goes on and on.

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Another fun condiment that one can find here is dijon mustard.  I have been known to sneak miniature jars of dijon mustard out of a restaurant just because they are so cute and irresistible!  I love dijon mustard.  Instead of the typical little plastic packages of yellow mustard, I can enjoy little glass jars of dijon to put on a sandwich!  Love it!

Easter in Toulouse

Friday after all the kids were home from school we loaded up the van and went to Toulouse to visit our friends, the Serrano-Milone’s.  We met them, Elias, Aurore, Maëlle, Gabrielle and Josh, back in October when Elias was visiting our Nîmes Ward.  We have gotten together with them as much as we can being 3 hours away from one another.  All the kids get along so well!  It helps that their two girls are the cutest and sweetest young women in all of France! :)

While we were there, everyone talked, laughed, danced, played hide and seek, watched movies, shopped, went bowling, played football, rope swinging, catching frogs, went to the skate park (for a minute because it started raining), ate yummy homemade food (Aurore made some delicious couscous), watched a little General Conference, made a fort, had an easter egg hunt, and laughed some more!! We had a blast!  This was a nice break from our stressful week with Sophie’s finger!  We were all so occupied with “fun” that I didn’t get too many photos.

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I could not find any plastic easter eggs that are so common in America.  Here in France, most of the chocolate that is for Easter are chocolate eggs.  The best are the Kinder Surprise chocolate.  They are egg shaped hollow chocolate with a cool toy inside.  So, there were no plastic eggs filled with American chocolate or easter candies.  But, it was fun finding the chocolate eggs filled with new surprises!

Vars #2

We arrived at Vars on a Sunday evening and it began to snow, thankfully, after we made it up to the top of the mountain!  The Moreau’s had sleds and as soon as we got our belongings out of the van and into the hotel room the kids went straight outside for some sledding!

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The children were so excited to be in the snow!  After a few sledding runs down the hill, we walked down through the village to look for some dinner!  While the kids were sledding Jack and I quickly remembered that he did not have snow pants.  We did not have a pair for him from the States because they were too small and the next size up was an 8/10. So, Monday morning I had to run to the village to find something in his size.  Because it is close to the end of the season, a lot of the stores did not have his size.  But, I got lucky and found a little boutique nestled at the end of the shopping village that had one pair of size 6 snow pants!  Hooray!!!

We found a few good restaurants while we were in Vars.  The kids like to take pictures of their food! :)

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Because our hotel room only was equipped to sleep 5/6, Tristan stayed with the Moreau’s.  What is it about a hotel room that gets kids and adults so excited and happy?! My kids love to experience new sleeping accommodations and this was no exception!:)

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Sophie made a new friend while we were in Vars!  We didn’t find out her name but we will call her the “lift” friend!  For three days the same sweet lady worked the bunny slope lift.  I watched her for hours as she helped and instructed beginner skiers.  She knew Sophie’s name within a few hours and Sophie had interaction with her every single time she went on the lift.  The day I skied, this lady was helping and encouraging me too.  By the time our trip was over, I realized she knew so much about our family and I didn’t even know her name!  How selfish of me to not get to know her as she was so quick to become acquainted with us!

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