Monday, October 14, 2013

Moonrise Kingdom

I took these pics a while back.  Sometimes on a full moon, it comes up over the meadow farmland that surrounds our house.  The forest peeks from behind and I wonder what kind of things are happening in the forest...little fairies dancing in the moonlight, gnome bonfires, hmm....who knows...

Paris with kids

We travel a lot.  One of the great perks of living in Europe is that we are in affordable proximity to many countries.  Adventures await!
Well, sorta.  Add children to the mix and it can throw a bit of a monkey wrench into the ideal vacation.  You have to plan ahead, and take tiny people into account.  Want on the whim travel adventures?  Still possible!  A little anticipation will make your experience in a new place much better and "nearly" stress-free--ha-ha!

We went to Paris last New Years and then again with my parents in April.  I know this post is long, but I would like to share our experience.

First off, travel with a baby is not easy.  Now that I am a mama 3x's I feel confident in my ability to stave off most complications.  Anticipation is the biggest weapon so to speak!  Because Im a weirdo, I imagine all these scenarios that could potentially happen--baby screams bloody murder inside the Neuschwanstein castle (really happened), kids whine loudly that they are hungry, baby has a blowout inside the Louvre, bathroom is just a nasty hole in the ground, kids spill crème brulee all over their shirt, etc, etc.  So many possible scenarios, non?!
My daughter eating Crème Brulee at a lovely café in Paris:
For Paris, as I have taken my other children there numerous times, I felt that I pretty much knew what to expect and also what I would need to take.  We are big metro users, and I knew with a baby, we would need to bring a very light weight stroller and something that would fold up on a whim with the busy Paris rush hours.  The first trip in January, the baby was still in her maxi cosi car seat, and I had that on a phil and teds frame.  Although a great set up and she could sleep, it was bulky for the metro.  A Maclaren is the way to go, also I noticed most Parisian mamas pushing their kids in a Maclaren.  So for the second trip, I bought a 15 dollar umbrella stroller locally, one that I could just throw away when we were done with it.  It took a major beating after miles of cobbles and sidewalks, it just couldn't hold up.  By the end of the trip, it was out of order.  I imagine the Maclaren is tough and for the price will handle the street experience, so I am buying a Maclaren for our London trip coming up.  I like this one:

Eating in Paris with kids is super easy.  You will not be going to any fancy schmancy restaurants with your kids, just get that straight--unless you get a babysitter.  We eat early, so we ate a lot of bakery items, cheeses, charcuterie, which you can just buy at monoprix or any little market and have a picnic in one of a gazillion wonderful parks in Paris. There are many cafes to eat at, sandwiches, salads, you can nearly find anything for a finicky eater.  Staying in an apartment that has a kitchen is also wonderful to eat in and make your own meals. is the site we use to book apartments.

I always have hand sanitizer, extra nappies, and a change of clothes for the baby in a stylish handbag, I can manage to roll everything into something chic, and you can too!  Finding a toilet is important, there are public toilets in certain places on the street, but we always made sure that if we ate somewhere or in a public place like the louvre, to use the toilets always!  Hand sanitizer is essential!  I always use ours to wipe down the seats, my 7 yr old daughter demands to sit on the seat, ewww..I also pack disposable cleaning wipes to wipe the kids faces and hands.  You can find beautiful baby and child toiletries at Monoprix or a pharmacy.  I like Mustela and Klorane.

Paris is a walking city.  We take the metro a lot, then we walk and explore!  I feel it is so important to let the children burn off energy and decompress.  Take them to a park and let them go!  Then they will be happy campers when you cart them to the next museum.

I also think its important to understand that there will be those moments where it will not go the way you want.  They are children!  They will not always be perfect angels, so allow a lot of patience!  It will go a long way (for you and them)!

A few other little tidbits.  We bought a carnet at the metro.  Its 10 metro tickets, as opposed to the big booklet of them.  We found this was cost saving for us.  When traveling with stroller, instead of going through the turnstile, you can go through the side gate.  If an attendant is near, they will buzz you in, or you put your metro ticket in the turnstile and pull the gate to open.  There are a lot of stairs in the metro.  You will have to literally pick your stroller up and carry your child up or down the stairs.  It is common practice and many times, kind people will help you carry if you need help.
On the metro baby!
Most museums are free for under 18's. 

Take the boat tours on the Seine.  Kids love it!  And its a great history lesson!  I recommend taking it at night, Paris is a different level of beautiful at night.
Picture taken at night, with the Eiffel all lit up in its glory:

Parisians are neither rude or smug, I think that is such an awful stereotype.  I have never had a bad experience.  Enjoy the city and be kind to others, don't be the "ugly American".

Wear comfortable shoes, you will do ALOT of walking, be patient and take breaks, and most of all Have fun!! p.s. watch out for dog poo : )
French baby food is the best! 

Keep your schedule open and flexible as not to overwhelm the little travelers.  I think breaks and naps are key.  Good park time is great and wonderful for people watching, enjoying a break with your loved one whilst you watch your little ones play in Paris is a treat in itself.

Dress comfortably for the time of year you visit.  We always dress in layers.  Sunglasses for sun and a happy disposition make any adventure even better!
Even Mama's need a break : )).  My Frye boots kept my feet comfy after miles of walking the Parisian streets.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Beer + cake = YUM!

Now that fall has definitely descended into the German countryside, it only feels right to start baking up a storm!  First on the list was a lovely Guinness Cake, cream cheese frosting.  Was delish!