jeudi, juin 11, 2015

Fruit trees

Last November, we planted an abricot tree in our garden. It was a 7 years old tree. This spring, I spotted two abricots growing from this small tree. What a delight.
 Last year, I did not get to enjoy any fruits from the garden. The birds ate up all the cherries before we had time to pick them. This year, I bought a net and Seb and I put it over the cherry tree. Good thing the cherry tree was not too big. The harvest is plenty for this young tree. I am waiting patiently for the cherries to turn bright red. This evening, I picked 7 red cherries and the boys enjoyed them. I tried one and it was sweet and firm. Delicious.
As for the apple tree, there was no apple last year. This year, there were bees working in the garden and they helped to pollinate the fruit trees. I am expecting a big harvest of apples too. However, I have to check for aphids everyday. The ants are protecting the aphids. So I have to destroy the ants and the leaves infested by aphids and its eggs.I found this website that explains the interesting relationship between the aphids and the ants.
And when I see the ladybird, I leave it alone because I know that it is my ally. Ladybirds are just as important as bees.
My first contact with aphids, ants and ladybirds did not start in the garden but on a boardgame few years back. Seb bought A1 a game when he was in USA. It was the Ladybug Game. The players choose their ladybugs and try to reach the finishing point by collecting as many aphids as possible and avoiding the praying mantis. Near the end, the players must have enough aphids to give to three lazy ants to continue the journey home. We enjoyed this game a lot as a family. But these days, it's UNO and Monopoly that we play. I would have to dig out the Ladybug game to play with the boys and then show them these real insects on the apple tree.

jeudi, juin 04, 2015


A1 received a checker set for his birthday. We taught him the rules and he understood quickly. It was not easy for him in the beginning to apply the rules as he forgot that the piece can only move forward unless it was jumping over an opponent's piece to capture it.
When we played with A1, A2 would join us to watch and tried to understand. He picked up the rules fast too.

In no time, the two boys started to play against each other. Seb or I would watch to make sure the boys do not break the rules and to teach them some tips here and there.

Last weekend, the boys were playing checkers just before we headed out of the house. I told them to pause their game and get ready to go. I was amused to see that the only remaining pieces were the kings.
Seb told me that once the board was cleared of the many pieces, the boys' aim was to avoid the opponent's pieces and reach the other end. They were trying to get as many kings as possible.
This is the first time I saw that many kings on a checkers board. When we reached home that evening, the boys did not have time to continue their game. At the end of the day, I kept the game. A1 was disappointed the next day. We have no idea who the winner was. It looks like a dead lock to me looking at the picture above.

mercredi, juin 03, 2015

Mother's day

In France, mother's day was on 31 May this year. Last wed, after school, I noticed that A2 had glitters on his hand and face. I asked him what he did in school and he told me it was a secret. I replied 'Oh, you are doing something for Mother's day.' A2  immediately got very upset. He said 'But maman, how do you know?' I laughed out loud and assured him that everyone knew it was Mother's day on sunday. A1 added that even his teacher knew. He told his brother the most important was to keep the present he was making in school a surprise for me. A2 started to say that the present was a plate. A1 shouted 'Shhhh.' to keep his brother from revealing futher. Kids. They were so funny.

On friday, Seb fetched the boys from school and helped them to hide the surprises. 

On sunday morning, the boys came into my room once they woke up to give me the surprises. 
A2 made me a glittering necklace made from beads and pastas. It was wrapped up on a beautifully decorated paper plate. He wrote 'BONNE FÊTE MAMAN' on the plate.

A1 made me a big card with hand drawn flowers. In the card was a poem. The thing with the french education system is that once kids learn the capital letters, next is the cursive handwriting of small letters. A1's writing was beautiful for a 6 year old. However, I always have problem reading french cursive handwriting. I could tell that A1 took time to write this neat poem.
Though I am not his mother, Seb bought me flowers on this day. That was so sweet of him. He told me he got it for me on behalf of the boys. The flowers were exotic. 
A2 wanted me to wear the pasta necklace. I did but for 5 minutes cos it made my neck so itchy with the glitters. It was beautiful but just not wearable. It shall stay on its paper plate on my night table.

mardi, juin 02, 2015

Cycling in the domain of Chambord

We drove to Chambord on Pentecost holiday. Chambord is about an hour and twenty minutes' drive away. Along the way, it rained and we wondered if the weather forecast was accurate. We were planning to cycle on a cloudy but not rainy day. When we were about a few kilometers away, we stopped by a supermarket, bought lunch and had a pinic lunch by the bank of the Loire river. There was a playground and the boys played after their sandwiches lunch.Once we headed back to the car, it rained again.
 Upon arriving at the domain of Chambord, Seb and I each rented a bicycle and as a family, we cycled around the Chambord Castle. The dark clouds slowly cleared.

After stopping every five minutes to take the different angles of the beautiful castle, Seb was getting impatient with me. It was difficult to resist taking photos as the castle was too beautiful. We rode around the main grounds of the castle before heading to the forest trail.

 Along the way, there were look out spots to watch swamp animals. We spotted ducks, swans and coypu(water rat).
 There were also look out posts for viewing wild animals like deer and boars. However, we did not have the patience to wait for the random animals.

Once on the forest trail, we decided to take the blue trail but the boys started to complain. Seb asked them if they were tired or lazy. They both said they were lazy. So we followed the green trail which was shorter. When we got back to the castle, we returned our bicycles and settled down for ice cream and coffee.

As A2 had a small bicycle, he had to pedal three times more than us to catch up. As I was behind him, I noticed that a lot of tourists watched him pass by with a smile on their faces. He was one sportive boy working his legs more than us. Just adorable.

We drove back home and the boys slept in the car. Once we reached home, the boys cycled in the garden while I cooked. Next time, we would stick to the blue trail or even take the red one I told Seb. These little boys really had endless energy.