mercredi, avril 26, 2017

Home made Pinata

A friend asked how do I make a pinata. Here 's a simple tutorial.
There are 2 ways of making pinata. The balloon paper mache method needs a few days of preparation as one has to wait for each layer of paper maché to dry before adding a new layer.

As I started 2 days before the party, I used the other method; with cardboards. I cut up 2 roughly round cardboards and a few long rectangle strips. I used tape to stick up the side of the strips and the round cardboard. 

Then, I put in the sweets and goodies into the pinata.
I added scrambled paper to fill up the pinata. This would help to distribute the weight so that the goodies would not be at the bottom.
Lastly, I used tape to stick the other round cardboard to close the pinata. I marked with numbers as my circle was not perfectly round. The numbers helped to align the other round cardboard. Oh yes, I forgot to add that when sealing the breadth, remember to put in a string for hanging the pinata. I used extra tape to make it strong.
Now that the pinata was completed, I started to decorate it using crepe paper and a plastic plate. I pasted crepe paper on the side first. For the frills, I folded the paper three times before cutting it. I used to use glue to stick it to the pinata. This time round, I found that tape was less messy. If you need more help in the decoration, check out this website.
Hope this little explanation solves the mystery that pinata is impossible to DIY. If I can do it, so can you. ;-)

Minion birthday party

My big boy is 8. He invited 8 friends including his brother for his birthday party last sunday. There was only one girl this time. Jeanne has tennis and football lessons with the boys and as I am a close friend with her mum, these three kids hang out togather very often. 

I made a chocolate marble cake and decorated it simply. I also made banana cupcakes topped with Minion sweets. 
As tradition calls for it, I made a pinata. It was the same design as the home made invitation cards. As one can see, I did not make a big effort on the pinata. One needs a big imagination to see that it is minion and not pac-man. Still, it did not bother the kids. They were eager to break it and get the sweets and goodies.
We did a few games and one of them was to tie a balloon on one's leg. Then, trying to burst the balloons of the others. It was very funny watching the kids running around trying to protect their balloons.
 We also did a stick the eye on the minion game. It was too easy for these kids.

The children ate cakes, sweets, played, ran, screamed etc. It was hard to get a group photo. Still, I managed to get them to wear their minion hats and had this funny photo taken. They looked so Minion, don't they?
A1 is one lucky boy. The weather was sunny and he had lots of fun with his friends.

jeudi, avril 20, 2017

Chateau de la Madeleine

Chateau de la Madeleine is half an hour's drive from our home. I know about this place but never thought of visiting it until Carmen mentioned about it. 

So we headed there last friday afternoon. This castle is perched high on a hill in the Chevreuse valley. The view from the top was beautiful. 
Though the castle is in ruins, it is still worth the visit. In the garden, there are many information boards sharing about being eco-responsable locally. Example like accepting weeds in the garden instead of using harmful weed killing chemicals. 

The boys had fun imagining the old glorious day of this fortress. A1 found a stick and pretended to be an archer launching his arrows through the arrowslit. A2 took pebbles and threw into the well wishing that he could be the fastest runner among his friends in this world. His brother told him that the wish had to be kept a secret for it to come true. But A2 being himself could not keep a secret. The wish of a 6 year old is so different from an adult. I would wish to be prosper. :) But now it is no longer a secret....:(
This free castle visit is short and yet interesting. There is a souvenir shop and free activity book for children.

As we were leaving the castle, the boys and Carmen picked up dandelion flowers to blow. They had such fun trying to blow them fast and strong.
One more castle visit down. We were joking that when Carmen has visited the castles in my area within a 2 hours and a half's drive radius, I would have to move house, to another area with lots of castles.


For Easter this year, we celebrated on saturaday at the grandparents' place as my brother and his family were leaving France on Sunday the 16 April. It was also the occasion for the french family to meet Tim's baby.

On 16 April, the boys went egg hunting at Maison Elsa Triolet-Aragon. Each year, this place organised egg hunting and a concert for children. Each year we missed it as we would be having lunch at the grandparents'.

This time round, we attended the event. Each kid had to search for 5 eggs. Depending on the age group, the kids had to pick different colored eggs. For my boys, they had to look for white eggs. The egg hunt started at 2pm. We arrived at 3.30pm and had a hard time looking for eggs. It seemed that the kids before us had found all the eggs. 

At 4.30pm, we attended the concert and the boys were happy to find 2 of their classmates and tennis friend and karate friend among the audience.

After the concert, the boys went looking for eggs again in the huge park with their friends.

When the event ended at 6pm, we were still a few eggs short. Still, the boys managed to exchange their white plastic eggs for a Milka chocolate and some small chocolate eggs.

It was a lovely event. Just need to make sure if we come back next year, we arrive not too late. A neighbour told me this morning that arriving at the start of the event was no fun because the eggs could be found easily.

lundi, avril 10, 2017

The cross-country runner

Tim and family arrived on wed the 29th March. As I do not work on Wednesday, I was able to go to the airport to fetch them. That day, A1 had his first cross-country event organised among 4 schools. 

Seb and I knew that A1 is a fast runner. Last year, he participated in a race organised in the nearby town. He run 720m and clocked 3min 56sec. He was 10th among 50 kids his age. As it was his first race and we did not know the path, we told him not to run too fast and tired himself out before the end. He finished the race easily and could have done better had we not advised him to run slower. 

The evening before 29th March, Seb and I advised him not to run too fast again. I know, we are weird parents. We did not know the distance of the cross-country and did not want him to be out of breath before the finishing line. We told him to run behind the first boy and just before reaching the finishing line, sprint for it if he still has the energy to do it. For non-runners like us, that was the best advise we could give him.

On 29th March, I picked up the Soh family early in the morning. The other mothers who did not work on Wednesday joined the CE1 and CE2 classes for the event. Near noon, one mother sent me a photo of A1 running with a caption "He won". A1's teacher sent me a photo of my boy with a medal around his neck with a caption "Gold medal". I was taken by surprise. I would love to be there to cheer him on and enjoy his moment of glory. 

When I went to pick up the boys in school, the mothers told me A1 was far ahead in the race. No one could overtake him. No one was able to tell me the distance nor his timing. The teacher told me A1 was his usual modest and shy self despite his achievement.

At home, I asked A1 about his experience. He told me they walked from the finishing line to the starting point. Parents were dropped along the way to guide the kids during the run. A1 chose to walk behind so that when they reached the starting line and turned around, he would be at the front. This is one smart boy. He started with this little advantage and took our advise running behind 2 boys. However, he felt that he could go faster and overtook them easily. When he won, he felt stressed as all the mothers were praising him and his friends cheering. This boy is not used to having such attention on him. 

Seb and I are proud of him. I sent the photos to Seb as he was not in town. He was surprised like me and of course very happy for his son too. 

samedi, avril 08, 2017

Phare du Trezien

School holiday is here again. Tim and family came visiting and we spent a week in Brittany. 
We were blessed with good weather. It was windy at times but we had sun almost every day. 

We visited the lighthouse at Trezien. It is 37.2m high and we walked up the 180+ steps. The guide at the top explained to us the history of the lighthouse. All lighthouses in France work automatically. The last lighthouse keeper here left in 1985.

 From up there, the view was excellent. It was very windy too.

The wall facing the south is painted white to help the ships in their direction.

Beside the lighthouse was the old keeper's house. Now, it is an information center. Below is a model of a lighthouse out at sea. The keeper would live in the lighthouse.
This is a short and meaningful trip. Especially for the boys.