It wouldn't be fall without a trip to the apple orchard. We were so lucky that the weather was absolutely beautiful...no coats necessary! This farm is just 10 minutes from our house, and usually has all kinds of fruits and vegetables. We tried to find some zucchini and peppers, but those fields seemed pretty empty. Oh well...we got lots of apples and picked out some pumpkins for Halloween. It was so nice to be out in the fresh air and sunshine!
After two months in this house, the end is finally in sight! The end of unpacking, painting and hanging things on walls, that is. We painted the living room and the girls' rooms right away when we moved in (before all the furniture was in the way) but we've only just managed to get to the baby's room and the kitchen. Why is it that we always move in August, at the same time as school starting, signing up for activities for the girls, etc.? It seems like there are so many places to go and things to buy in late August/early September. Well, the rush is finally behind us, and just in time too! My due date is less than three weeks away, so we need to have all our ducks in a row.
Saturday night Kevin and I spent a luxurious night at the Trianon Palace Hotel in Versailles. It wasn't quite a "babymoon," since it was only one night, but it was a wonderful end-of-pregnancy get-away. I suppose you could say it was our last "hurrah" before the baby, where we could lounge around and pamper ourselves. The hotel is right at the edge of the Versailles gardens (in the picture, the gardens are just to the left and behind the hotel).
One of the hardest things about moving to a new country is leaving behind your old favorite foods. For me that meant abandoning (or seriously adapting) taco night and giving up our favorite pizza places. It takes some time to find new favorites, but once you do, you can't imagine giving THEM up! One of our family's new favorite recipes since moving to France is this cheesy-potato wrap that is pretty easy to make. I made it up, after finding the pastry squares at the grocery store, and there are endless ways to change it according to what ingredients you have on hand and what you like. When I go back to the States, I use puff pastries to get a similar result. Note: don't use Pillsbury crescent rolls - I tried it, and it comes out WAY too bready and thick. Yuck. Below are the ingredients that I use, but the cheeses and spices can be substituted according to taste and availability. This only takes about 30 minutes, and it's easy to keep the ingredients on hand (you can keep puff pastries in the freezer). Enjoy this little taste of France!
Mmmm..Mexican food. It's great to be in Paris, where there are so many amazing restaurants and food is a serious art, but sometimes I'm just dying for good Mexican food. Coming from Chicago, we were used to going out for Mexican at least once a week, and I went into serious withdrawal when we got to France. We spent the first two years here trying to find a good Mexican restaurant. We tried a few after getting recommendations (both in Paris and in the suburbs), but nothing was really great. One place had good food, but the tacos had goat cheese in them! Tasty, but not what we were looking for! Then, at the end of the second year, one of my students recommended a restaurant in his town, Marly-le-Roi, about 20 minutes outside of Paris. So, we tried it, and it turned out to be pretty good! I wouldn't put it on the same level as the authentic Mexican food you can get in the Chicago area, but it's the best we've had in France. I've been craving it lately, so we went last weekend. The pictures turned out kind of blurry, because we had the camera on the wrong setting - oops! Anyway, you can still get a feel for the place.
Moving from America to France with two preteen girls, two dogs and a cat was an incredible adventure. After four years living just outside of Paris, the Family McLean is back in the U.S. (minus the cat, but with a new baby boy). There's always something new to discover, whether it's a family outing, a new recipe, or the next fun vacation.