Tuesday, September 24, 2013

keeping my promises to Danae

I have a dear dear cousin named Danae. She is an awesome lady, has a super cool husband, and they live in a very cutely decorated house. We just recently made a deal that for every time I blog about a date that I have with my guy, she will invite me over for dinner next summer. Great deal, isn't it? Right now, she owes me just one meal, but I'm claiming my second with this post. :) 

France did this really cool thing last week. All over the country, at participating restaurants, if you bought a "meal deal" composed of a starter, main dish, and dessert, you would get the second "meal deal" for free! And we're not talking about mcdonald type restaurants (though Joel would've loved that!), we're talking about delicious French cuisine in classy restaurants in quaint cities along the northern coast of France. 

And that is exactly what we did on Sunday. Joel made reservations at this nice sea food place, in a city about an hour away. I am growing in my enjoyment of seafood, and wanted to try new things, especially famous in this region of France, and this was the perfect spot. 

Look how low the tide is!

This was our restaurant of choice

There were lots of good things to choose from on the menu, and it required much concentration. Since it was his date, and he was treating, I asked if I could get the lobster that was going for 11 euros/100 grams (about $15/3.5 ounces) just to see what he'd do. Lucky for him, it wasn't included in the deal we were getting. :) 

We finally made our choice, and enjoyed a very scrumptious meal.
For starters: 
Joel ordered the "Fisherman's plate" 
I guess so! Seaweed and all! I tried 3/4 of the things on his plate -- any guesses as to which one I didn't try? :) It was mostly very good. The bigger sea snails had a piece of rubbery/sticky/slimy part that I just kind of swallowed. Gulp. But the rest of was good! 

I had smoked salmon with grapefruit and orange slices. Soooooooo good! (sorry about the coloring of the picture! Don't know what happened)

For the main dish: 
Joel had mussels with cream sauce, accompanied with french fries. Happy guy. 

I had fish accompanied with pasta. The kind of fish was "cabillaud", and when I was looking it up on the internet, I saw that in English, a cabillaud is a codfish. 

Trivia question. Do you know what Dorsch means in German? CODFISH! I ate dorsch! I liked it! 

It was a loooooot of food

those last french fries were hard to finish -- or not? 

For dessert, we both had crème brulée with a nice cup o' joe and it was gooooooood. Forgot to take a picture.

We had SO much fun! When we were almost done with our dessert, we saw that we were the last ones in the restaurant, and realized we had been there 3 hours already! We thought it was probably time to go when they started vacuuming around us, but how kind of them not to hurry us out of there! 

Shorty, I thought of when I was the last one eating... :)

It was a great experience -- and all of that for half the price it would have normally cost us! This guy... he treats me so well! And he's looking forward to tasting Danae's mmmhmmmm good cooking! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

everyone can use a bit of toilet paper...

Bob and Pauline got married a couple weeks ago,

and then went away on a 2-week honeymoon to some far away islands. 

Joel had the keys to their apartment as he had been Bob's roommate before the wedding, and then stayed there while the newlyweds were on their honeymoon. 

Having the keys to a newlywed couple's apartment while they are on their honeymoon is quite a privilege and definitely something we thought we needed to take advantage of. But what could we do...what would be a gift that would be practical, useful, and fun all at the same time!?
Well, one always needs some TP, right? And it didn't take long for Joel, Jerem and I to decide that it was a gift we were more than willing to give. 

24 rolls to be exact. 

We had a lot of fun in the process. Jerem's favorite thing to do was to TP webs around us, making it difficult for us to move without crawling on our hands and knees.   

only, he got stuck several times too.

Joel was our other partner in crime 

We were quite proud of the hallway, though it was a bit tricky getting out without ripping our masterpiece.

The guys put on the finishing touches, and then army crawled out of the hallway. :) 

I snapped a quick picture of what they would see when they first opened the door, right as one of their neighbors was coming back home. We tried to smile as innocently as possible...

And the finishing touch

Bob called me after they got home and told me he and Pauline thought it was quite hilarious and a great surprise! He also said that they were with Pauline's parents when they opened the door.... oops! :)

We're so thankful to have great friends like them, and I know, I just KNOW they feel the same about us! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

6 euros can go a long ways!

Last night I had a special date night with this really awesome guy. It was a special kind of a date as we decided to do something a bit more creative for dinner.

The rule of the game was simple. Each person was given 3 euros and 15 minutes in the grocery store to buy whatever they wanted, and that would be our dinner.

We weren't allowed to go over 3 euros each (taxes are already included in the price in France, so it's easy to add your total item by item!)

We had to do it on our own... meaning, we couldn't ask (or look!) what the other person was buying.

We couldn't use ingredients I already had at home to add to the meal!

And, whatever we bought was what we would eat, even if both people just bought like tomato sauce.

Challenge accepted, we were off. I thought for sure that he would buy tomatoes because well, they are cheap, he loves them, and we eat lots of them. So the vegetable was covered, now the question was, what to get for the main dish. I walked all around, and it's much harder than you think when you can't use anything from home -- even like a bit of butter, salt and pepper, etc!

I finally decided on some ravioli and tomato sauce, but it only added up to 2.05 euros. 0.95 cents leftover! Woah! Dessert? a small drink that we could split? I saw some really yummy looking coffee pudding type things, and they were exactly 0.95 cents, but I couldn't remember how much my pasta and sauce were exactly, and thought maybe I'd go over by a few cents, which wasn't allowed. Plus, Joel had just called me, informing me that he was done "with time AND money to spare" (exact quote), so I decided not to chance it, and checked out with just my two items.

I was very curious to see what he had purchased -- tomatoes, chips and coke? :) Ooooooh no -- he had a 3 course meal all planned out! Tomatoes for the appetizer, hot dogs and potatoes for the main dish, and bananas for the dessert.

Between the two of us, it was quite the feast! And in fact, we only ate half of the food, and have enough for another meal! 

(It doesn't look super appetizing in the photo below, but it was actually really good! No salt added!!) :)

Our grand total: 4.92...1.08 under budget! -- not bad!!

He told me that he had seen a frozen pizza for 2.89 and that seemed about perfect for him but then again, much less fun than picking and choosing different items. 

He is SO much fun to hang out with, and we had a blast, even when he beat me in bananagrams... :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

monthly craft {september}

A couple years ago, I started having Mallory over for craft time every once in a while. We wanted to have a special time together as "staff kids", seeing as both of our parents worked for the same organization, and well, we understood lots about each other! So we started having a little time, just the two of us, and little by little it grew and became more regular. Last year we met almost once a month with Mallory, Gabrielle, Anna and Julie (all staff kids) and Halle who practically is a staff kid, right? :)

Sadly, Mallory is now back in the states and can no longer join us. We will miss her greatly. In fact, yesterday at our first craft time, we thought we would show her how much we missed her!

It was challenging getting everyone to smile and all of us in the picture at the same time!

En tout cas, Mallory... we truly missed you yesterday! 

Yesterday's craft: felt flowers together. 

Julie loves art and crafts... I was so impressed how well she traced and cut out her circles and did the entire flower on her own! 

Gabrielle also. They couldn't decide whether to wear it in their hair, on their shirt, put it on their backpacks...

Anna was done with pictures at this point...

I love these times! I told Halle beforehand that I think I enjoy the craftiness more than the little girls do. Getting everything ready, choosing a craft, getting cutsie little pink buckets for them... :) I love it all! And to be able to spend some special time with just them (no offense, parents!) is great! Looking forward to many more fun times! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

her first cinnamon rolls!

Ana Carolina, my sweet and hilarious Brazilian friend wanted to learn how to make cinnamon rolls before she left Rennes. Grandma Dorsch's recipe has become a favorite here in Rennes, and it's so fun teaching others how to make them. They are not common here at all.

We had one other little person with us during the afternoon. Little Joshua! Lindsay, you finally get to meet him!! His mama dropped him off for a couple of hours while she ran some errands, and we were more than happy to take care of him during her absence.

He even smiled!!!! Precious little 1-month old boy.

Ana Carolina was a very quick learner and VERY impatient to taste them! :)

It's not as easy to mix bread dough with a baby in your arms

But he was sooooo cute I didn't want to put him down! :)

I don't think I've ever seen anyone SO excited about making cinnamon rolls! 

Her first pan!! Well, they needed to rise again and bake, but she did a great job!! 

She was such a joy to have in Rennes, and I'm going to miss her! But, now she's off to get her PhD, and can make herself cinnamon rolls whenever she wants!