Monday, April 30, 2012

April stuff...

Oops. I have not been very consistent at blogging this month. And I actually have lots of pictures to share and things to say, but it's just been busy busy.

And April is almost over, so I figured I would just do a an "April Highlights" post with some of the pictures that I have taken this month. Shorty, enjoy all of the pictures. I was thinking of you.

A few weeks ago, Halle and I took a walk in the "kansas" of our neighborhood.

I loooooove this barn. Aren't the colors awesome?

This is a 2-lane road.

Aunt Terry, I'm including this picture just so you can show my dear UG what the wheat looks like here in April. :)

On April 16th, Tara celebrated her 27th birthday! Halle, May and I took her to an American 50s diner in downtown Rennes. The owner has tried very hard to make it as authentic as possible. It's pretty good!

You can sometimes buy cans of Dr. Pepper in the store, but I've never seen Mountain Dew or Root Beer. And what is Mountain Dew Voltage?? One can of pop = $4.62 Hmmmm.

That looks like a pretty American plate of food, doesn't it? And the birthday girl!!

A couple weeks ago, Rennes played Nice and beat them 4-1! Dan, his boys, Jeremie and I went to the game. It's quite an experience watching the game next to Efrem. He's hilarious; "carton rouuuuuuuuuge!"

The BIG project of the month was taking down the ugly green wallpaper in my bathroom, and painting it a light light gray color!

I learned many things during this project:

1. It's fun working with someone; Halle was a great help and spackled to her heart's content.

2. I hate taping, but was oh so thankful it was there when I was painting

3. I become an ultra perfectionist when it comes to projects such as these...

The walls look yellow in these photos... oops. They are not. I will try to post some updated bathroom pictures soon. But it's REALLY hard to get an accurate picture of the color gray that it is, as it's very very light and there is not great lighting in the bathroom. I'll try.

Did you know that Halle (front and center) is a ballerina? The best there is. She dances quite beautifully and Saturday night she had a dance recital. 

She had so many fans come to see her that we took up almost an entire row. We are VERY proud of her!
Mrs. Thompson, we wished you could've been there!! You'd have been VERY proud of your daughter! 

A little B&W... Love these girlies! Lovely picture, isn't it?

I felt as though I passed a great milestone in finishing the first half of Les Miserables en Fran├žais. This edition is about 1000 pages. But it's soooooo good. If you're thinking about reading it, or wanting to read it, or haven't heard about it, or are deciding which book to read next; READ THIS BOOK!

And then yesterday, was oh so fantastic. I went to see The Avengers. I know it hasn't come out in the US yet, but let me tell you -- GO SEE IT!! It was soooo good! I loved it. Made me want to watch all of the Marvel movies again. Linds, aren't you proud? Oooooh, we should have a Marvel Marathon this summer. Ooooh, and we can call it, "Melissa's Marvel Marathon" :)  Aliteration! Flatty, don't you think Timmy D would be proud??

After the movie, these guys all thought they were superheros and could do just about anything. 

There ya have it. A few April snapshots.

In less than 2 weeks I'll be in Kansas. Crazy. It's been 2 years since I've been in Kansas. Wheat harvest!! Cousins -- get ready for all my questions!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

steph and steph

A couple weeks ago, two of my friends, both named Stephanie, celebrated their birthday. They asked me to make a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and I was thrilled.

I had seen so many pictures with these cool cake top pennant banners, and I wanted to try one.

I personally thought it turned out so cute! However... I don't know if the trend of pennant banners has quite made it to France, because while there were a few dear souls who were excited about my creation, it was more looked at with a skeptical and "hmmm, that's interesting" kind of look. :)

Can you believe that this a double layer, chocolate cake? Yes, my cake pans are 10 inches, and I can't find any smaller ones here. It makes for big and thin layers, but it still worked fine.

We celebrated at Halle's house, and I think the girls had a good time!

I just made 3 pans of cinnamon rolls for Easter Sunday! My apartment smells gooood! 

Time to go make another pot of coffee!

Happy Happy Easter!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

oh geraniums of mine...

Last spring, I bought 12 geranium plants, and enjoyed beautiful flowers all summer long. You remember them, right? 

I heard form experts in the area, that you could leave them dormant over the winter and then they would bloom again in the Spring/Summer. The experts also said that because winters in Rennes are mild, with little to no frost, one could leave the plants on the balcony, under the overhang, and normally they would survive. I thought that sounded like a great and easy way to keep them, because well, as we all know; I need simple gardening techniques. :) 

So dormant they were, all winter long. I gave them an occasional watering and watched them as their leaves turned brown and became very ugly. 

Month after month passed, and then, for a couple of weeks, it FROZE. Literally. I was so busy being cold and trying to stay warm, that I kind of forgot that I had plants resting on my balcony, also "literally freezing". 

(I like this picture... even though it is of dead leaves) 

I wondered if the frost had really gotten to them, and so I decided it was time to see if life still existed in these poor plants. 

I heard that you were supposed to prune down the plants, take away dead leaves, etc. but the youtube videos didn't show me exactly how far down to cut! I also didn't pay attention to whether this was supposed to happen before or after the dormant season? Ha. So I choose option B, and pruned away after the plants had "survived" the frost.

After I finished pruning, I thought maybe I had cut down too far -- how does one know that?

Some of the plants seemed REALLY dead, while others still had some beautiful green!! Do you know how much hope a little green can give a person!?! 

I decided to let them stay in the sun, and see if miraculously they would start growing again.

And then...

Check it out! Hello new life!

Yes, yes, it is indeed a beautiful thing and I rejoice greatly over these two living plants!

However... when I think that 10 others are possibly dead, it grieves me deeply. Especially considering, it's an  83% death rate that I have going on... Yikes.

I've thought about throwing out the "truly dead" ones, but how do I know that they won't start growing one of these days!? What if they are still alive? Ahhh, such great analogies for life!

So for now... I wait. And I admire the two awesome plants that are fighting their way back to blossoming beauty! :)