It’s time for me to come out of denial. There was a time, a few months in fact, where X would eat anything. As he munched on spoonfuls of caramelized onions, Z and I would smile smugly at each other, both thinking: We are such awesome parents. We so do not have a picky eater. (By the way, all parents have these smug thoughts at one time or another. It’s a way to deal with the lack of sleep and social life. Don’t hate us too much.)
But then, things changed. X doesn’t have much of an appetite, which I find crazy since he is so active, you’d think he would spend half of his life refueling. But nope. He doesn’t eat much and sometimes I find myself near tears, begging him to take just one more bite as he laughs in my face then spits out whatever’s in his mouth. X can be kind of a jerk sometimes. So it’s time for me to ‘fess up: I have a picky eater.
Especially since he is so active, I think it’s all the more important that whatever he does eat is high quality and will help keep his little body growing. He’s grown quite a bit in height since we arrived in Geneva, but has hardly gained any weight, so I’m nervous for his next weigh in. Before anyone freaks out, he does get enough to eat and he is growing just fine, is super high energy and very healthy. But it takes work. As he spat another veggie in my face, I realized that I was going to have to be creative in getting him to eat healthy.
I finally got to break in my sweet new gardening hat … and gloves and dirt when I did some planting this week. This is actually my very first “garden” – other than helping my mom doing some weeding back in the day, I’m pretty much a newbie when it comes to green things. As I started this little project, I really came to the realization that I am a doer, not a planner. You know those people who always get into extensive planning before they start up anything, sometimes to the point that they never actually get started? Yup, I’m the opposite of that. My thought pattern was: I want some plants. Soooo … I guess I should go buy plants.
Fast forward to me at the greenhouse, like an hour later: How many pots do I have again? I probably should have counted. *Shrug* It probably doesn’t really matter. Ooh, that’s pretty. What else do I need? Dirt? No, not dirt. Rocks? Why are they selling rocks here? Fertilizer, yes, I know that’s something need. This looks good … (throws in some fertilizer that I have no idea how to use because I can’t read the instructions). la la la, I guess we’re ready to go home. Pretty garden in no time!
I have an addiction to beauty products. And beauty regimes that I never quite stick to, but so enjoy looking into, especially when it comes to buying things in pretty packages. There’s just something so decadent about a product that promises instant beauty. I know we’re all just supposed to embrace our inner light, but sometimes it’s fun to pamper the outer shell, you know?
So lately I’ve been heading in a new direction when it comes to my beauty kicks: the natural way. I’ve been doing a lot of reading (on the internets, naturally) about how chemical-ridden the shit we put on our hair and body really is and the only reason we actually need all of these products is because we started using them in the first place and it’s a whole big vicious cycle. I already gave up perfume a few years ago after reading how what goes in them is completely unregulated and lots of perfumes have hormones in them that can eff up your ability to conceive. So no more perfume. My next attempt to get off the bad-beauty-product-merry-go-round is giving up shampoo, or going “no-poo” as the movement is charmingly called.
With life being a little crazy-but-good, there hasn’t been many opportunities to sit back and enjoy a good book. That being said, in the occasional stolen minute or two, I’ve gone through a few over the past few months. Some are old favourites, some are new favourites, some weren’t ever going to be a favourite but sometimes you just have to read something that’s going to make your brain soft, right? Here’s the round-up:
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
Book description: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
Now that I have access to all of my cooking equipment again, and the kitchen is slowly starting to take shape, I’m not giving myself any more excuses to not challenge myself, cooking-wise. I mean, I’ve been bragging about all the awesome ingredients I have surrounding me, so it’s time to show them off. So when I was looking for desserts to make with strawberries and this eclair recipe popped up, I immediately dismissed it as too hard. And because that was my initial reaction, I realized I would have to do it. So eclairs it was.
Eclairs actually aren’t always my favourite thing. I find the pastry to occasionally be too dense, or hard, or something. But I would give this a go. I found the recipe on Martha Stewart’s website – a literal goldmine for amazing fruit-based desserts. And as intimidating as eclairs are – to me anyway – they’re not really that difficult. You just have to break it down into it’s parts. In this case, a basic choux pastry, made ahead of time and refrigerated until needed; a vanilla-bean whipped cream; and macerated strawberries with mint. Work-intensive, but not actually hard.
Strawberries are pretty much the most perfect spring fruit. Well, at least here in Switzerland they are. There was an interesting article in the Globe not too long ago called “The real reason the French don’t get fat,” and it’s basically about how food tastes amazing in France (and Geneva) so you only need to eat a little bit to feel satisfied, and you don’t load everything up with sugar, fat and chemicals because it tastes better naturally. And strawberries were the given example: here, there is a bright juiciness to strawberries that makes them so amazing, they taste better than anything I’ve ever had at home and you don’t need to do much to them to enjoy them. Back home, strawberries could be mealy or tasteless. There is no comparison. You’ll also notice that strawberries over here are a little more funky looking – hardly grown for appealing shape and consistency, they come in all shapes and sizes and all of them are wonderful. So here’s how I’ve been enjoying the original crackberry.
We’re getting more comfortable in the city now. Well, I certainly am. One big hurdle that I finally got over today was I finally drove through Geneva. I’ve been dreading this for awhile as something I know I need to do but have no desire to actually do. I finally decided to bite the bullet and just do it. I used to be just fine driving, but ever since I was in an accident a few years ago, it’s like I’ve lost all confidence in myself, or cars, or other drivers. And now, it’s been three months since I’ve driven at all, and this is Europe, where you’re given inches, not lanes, to get by other cars, buses, trains and bikers. Yikes. Luckily, we have the absolute standard of safety in a car. Check out this sweet family ride: