mercredi, mars 26, 2014

Mega slide

It had been a while since I searched on LeBonCoin for a second hand slide. The boys find the slide they had too small.
The search was over when I finally found the one within my budget and not too far away for pick up.
After we ensembled the pieces, the boys were happily playing with it. They put the small slide beside the big one and used it as a bridge.
On Wed, when my neighbour's children came over, they had fun with the slide too.
When I have the time, I will put up the small slide for sale on LeBonCoin.
Speaking of which, I sold the boys' Bebe Confort Axsis car seats within two days after putting up the announce on LeBonCoin. Such items do sell like hot cakes. LeBonCoin is free and very useful.
Vive LeBonCoin.

mardi, mars 18, 2014

Birthday invitation cards

A1 is turning five in April. For the first time, he is inviting his friends from school to his birthday. As A1 and A2 are in the same class, they are both invited each time to a classmate's birthday party. They attended one just two weeks ago. In another two weeks time, they have another birthday party to go to. Lucky boys.

I asked A1 who he wanted to invite and what theme he wanted. After much suggestions from me, he decided to have a pirate theme. He gave me 8 names and I included my neighbour's children and a friend's son. Seb and I togather with my brother and his wife should be able to manage a dozen of young children.

I wanted to send out the invitation cards fast as the date was set on the Saturday right after school holiday. As I did not have time to go shop for pirate theme invitation cards, I searched on internet and made my own cards.
They were simple to make. I chose the text in french from internet and pasted them in a Word document. I printed out the invitations and rubbed hot tea bag over the papers to give them a browned look. I then crumpled them and let them dried. Once they were dried up, I burnt the edges of the paper with a candle. It was tedious work and I burnt half of a paper away. As a precaution, I did the burning over the sink. The end product had a treasure map kinda feel. (The flash from the camera lightened up the paper a lot). I rolled them up and tied them with stripes of red cloth. That was it.

I wrote the names on the ribbon and was surprised that A1 could recognise his friends' names. This morning, A1 brought them to school to give out to his friends. I hope most could make it to his party.

Next up is looking for ideas for the party to be a success. Internet helps a lot. I just found a site on making pirate hats out of black felt. I shall go to the fabric shop this weekend and get some felt. The challenge is to make a dozen of pirate hats in a month's time.

Blessing in disguise

Yesterday, Seb left at 5am to catch a plane to Italy. As it was a monday and I had to go to work in La Defense, the boys' grandparents came at 6.15am to take care of them and to bring them to school.

Yesterday was also the day where the french government applied a new measure to combat the seemingly unhealthy air pollution in Paris and its surrounding. Only cars with odd number car plates were allowed to circulate into Paris and its neighbouring areas. Over the weekend, public transport in Paris was free. While I applauded the free public transport gesture, the one on alternate days circulation for cars was just not feasible. Many people lived very far from Paris in small towns where there was no public transport to connect them to their offices in Paris. They were also people living in Paris who needed to drive to their offices outside of Paris.

I would have no issue going to work on monday as my car had an odd number car plate. But alas, when I started my car at 6.25am, it won't start. The battery was flat. A1 played in my car on friday. I had driven to do grocery shopping earlier on before picking up the boys. On Sat morning, I realised that the signal light was on and quickly unlocked the car and switched off the indicator light. Over the weekend, we used Seb's car and I did not check if the signal light had used up the battery.

The grandparents tried to help me start the car. We could not jumpstart the car as we did not have any cables for that. As it was very early in the morning, I waited until 8am to call for help. I had no choice but to work from home. I felt bad that my in-laws came over for nothing having to wake up so early.

I called the VW service center where I serviced the car. I was surprised to learn that as I had used a VW service center, I was entitled to free assistance within 24months from the last reviewing of the car. I called up the VW assistance center and in an hour's time, a service man came. He took a portable battery and cables from his car and jumpstarted my car. We then let the engine  run for 15mins. I was told to drive for 10mins to charge up the battery further. I explained to the service man that with my car plate number, I would have gone to work in Paris if not for the flat battery. He told me that there were blockages on the main roads to Paris along the highway and it was a mess entering Paris. As usual, the french did not care about this rule and even number car plates vehicles tried to enter and had to be turned back by the traffic police. There were reluctant drivers trying to convince the police and creating jams.

So it was a blessing in disguise that the car did not start. Still, I learnt my lessons. No more letting the boys play in the car without my supervision even for a few minutes. And always go to the VW service center for car reviewing. It came in handy this time.

The decree for alternate days driving was called off. The pollution level had returned to a normal level. Furthermore, I think the authorities had realised the mess they created yesterday and the unhappiness of the drivers affected. As for me, I will go to office on thurs. Seb will be back tomorrow. If the decree continues, I will use Seb's car on thurs as his has an even number car plate. Or to avoid the mess on the road, I can also drive to Rambouillet train station and take the trains to La Defense. Just that, it would take me 1.5hours to come home instead of the usual hour.

To end off, I went to fetch the boys from school yesterday on FOOT!

samedi, mars 08, 2014

First sunday of March

Last sunday was the last day of school holiday. Usually, the boys did not have chinese lesson during school holiday but that sunday was an exception. We were expecting heavy traffic to Paris in the afternoon from the holiday makers returning back to the capital. So we decided to go to Paris in the morning.
The night before, I suggested to Seb that we could visit a museum. There are a few free museums. As the boys are young with short attention span, I do not want to spend money visiting museum. So Seb had no choice but to check on internet. On the website of the musem of Louvre, we noted that it was free on the first sunday of the month from Nov to March. I was thrilled. And that sealed it. We visited le Louvre.
On Sunday, we parked the car near the chinese school and took the Metro to Pyramid station. The boys were excited with the train ride. We had Japanese at rue Sainte Anne and the boys ate well. They drank miso soup with the tiny tofu cubes and seaweed and all. They ate gyoza (饺子) and fried noodles.
We then strolled to Louvre. We passed security and decided to visit the Egyptian collection. Each time I came to le Louvre, I visited the same painting collections as my visitors wanted to see Mona Lisa.
The Egyptian  collection was amazing. Anyway, all collections in the Louvre are Amazing.

After about an hour, the boys had enough of mummies. We left and headed to the Jardin des Tuileries. I was surprised to see fake branded products on sale openly.

There was a playground in the garden and the boys had fun. There was this big, high structure for older kids. That did not deter the boys from climbing up the structure. At 3pm, we walked back to the Metro station and headed back to Chinatown for the boys' chinese lesson. It was a fruitful day.

It has been a week since the weather is sunny. The cold winter days are over soon. Vive le soleil.

dimanche, mars 02, 2014

Home alone week

I was home alone last Sunday to Thurs. Sunday morning, Seb flew to San Francisco for work and I dropped the boys at their grandparents' place for a week's stay. They were spending their second week of school holidays bonding with their papi et 奶奶 (grandmother).
This was the first time I was alone in the house and I did not sleep well the first night. I missed my family. The subsequent nights were better. I had a good bonding time with Handsome since I walked him every evening in the forest.
When Seb returned, he brought me the usual stuff that I ordered like Resees chocolates, Froot Loops for the boys (very unhealthy but once in a blue moon, it is okay) and peanut butter. On top of that, he brought me some meat stuff he found in SF's Chinatown. One of the biggest Chinatown outside of China. He also bought 2 sets of Chinese DVDs for the boys.
I had not yet tried the Satay beef jerky. Seb had been asking me to open it and try and I think I will do it soon.
As for himself, he ordered a bag from Rickshaw when he knew he was going to SF. He was very happy with his bag. It fitted into his strict criterias for a working bag. I hope his search for his Right bag is over. We do have quite a few laptop bags hanging around. Check out this video to see how his made in San Francisco bag is done. We noticed that there were only chinese in the making of the bags.
We had wanted to go out on dates during the absence of the boys. But with Seb's last min working trip, we were left with Thurs and Friday before getting the boys. Furthermore, Seb was tired. We only had a simple dinner at a Chinese after doing grocery shopping togather on Thurs night.  

On Friday night, I made some pineapple tarts using a recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover blog combined with a recipe for Thermomix. As it was an experiment trying to blend in the two recipes, it took me a long time to get these tarts done. I gave some to my mother in law the next day when we went to get the boys.
The boys were happy to see us. And they liked my pineapple tarts. A1 just ate the toppings though.
School starts tomorrow. 6 more weeks before the next school holidays.