Monthly Archives: April 2013

Goofy Monday: The best parenting tricks

I’d love to share more of the goofy things my kids have said in the past week (and believe me, they have!) but I’m a little pressed on time. So instead I’m sharing the list of 24 People Who Are Really Nailing This Parenting Thing at Buzzfeed.com. These are tricks that parents have used to get their point across at some point in their kids’ lives. From embarrassing photos that may be used as blackmail during the teenage years to enjoying their kids being kids, these parents remind us that parenting is a challenging and rewarding job.

My favorites are these two below.

16. This mom who is teaching her kids to use social media responsibly.

24 People Who Are Really Nailing This Parenting Thing at Buzzfeed.com

24 People Who Are Really Nailing This Parenting Thing at Buzzfeed.com

22. This mom who still knows how to have fun.

24 People Who Are Really Nailing This Parenting Thing at Buzzfeed.com

24 People Who Are Really Nailing This Parenting Thing at Buzzfeed.com

Which ones on the list are your favorite? Have you ever done anything like it? I do have a few photos of my kids I could use for blackmail in a few years, if necessary. :-)

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WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture

Today I’m participating in the WordPress weekly photo challenge and this week’s theme is culture. Having been born and raised in France and now living in the US, I can truly say our home is bilingual and bicultural.

Son #1: “Mama, you don’t know Paul Bunyan because you’re not an American!”

That’s what my six-year old told me this week when he mentioned Paul Bunyan and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, Who? With that statement, my son had a simple explanation for my ignorance. Technically, I am an American by now, but there are still lots of facts I don’t know about America.  Like Paul Bunyan. Thank you, Google and Wikipedia for enlightening me!

I can tell you everything you’ve heard about “culture clash” is true. The first time you’re immersed in a different culture, everything amazes you. Then you start comparing and pointing out things you don’t like in the new, unknown culture. Once you’ve taken the time to learn more about the culture, you can be more objective and point out things you like and don’t like in both cultures.

Here are a few examples. French people can be grouchy, rude, and very loud. I once heard someone say, a French is like an Italian in a bad mood. That about sums it up. Now, I’ll never understand Americans’ obsession with guns and anything “big”: big cars, big homes, big boobs, big food plates, big bellies, you name it. All of these sound like stereotypes, but you soon learn that many (but not all) stereotypes happen to be based on reality. Stereotypes are just exaggerated versions of these facts. Funny how things work.

I want to think our home is a sanctuary where both cultures can live in harmony and it shows in every room. The place where it probably shows the most is in the kitchen. One of our most favorite breakfast food is croissants and pains au chocolat.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - pain au chocolat

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – pain au chocolat

But I also like to make pancakes, in this case, chocolate chip pancakes. Doesn’t everything taste better with chocolate?

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - chocolate chip pancakes

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – chocolate chip pancakes

Sometimes I like making quiche for a meal, here with asparagus and broccoli.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - veggie quiche

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – veggie quiche

But brownies are to be one of my favorite desserts.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - American brownies

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – American brownies

Reading is very important at my house and we read in both French and English. Our bookcases reflect both cultures. Here are a few of my books in French. I have many more in English.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - Books in French

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – Books in French

The kids also have tons of books in French, which tend to mix with the books in English on the bookcase without any problem or tension.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - Children's books in French and English

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – Children’s books in French and English

Finally the way we decorate our house is also very bicultural. I like to see French artists like Monet and Renoir on my wall.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - Monet painting

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – Monet painting

As for the kids, they definitely show a taste for Americana. You can’t be more American than Batman and Star Wars toys!

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - Batman and Star Wars toys and decorations

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – Batman and Star Wars toys and decorations

How much culture is reflected at your house? If you live in an all American house (or English, or whenever you come from), do you have cultural items that represent where everyone comes from?

WWW Wednesdays – April 24, 2013

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows– What I’m currently reading
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I started it last night and it looks intriguing so far. The whole book is a compilation of letters several people send to one another over time. Isn’t it a unique way to tell a story?

– What I recently finished reading
E. Aster Bunnymund and the Battle of the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core and Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies by William Joyce, the #2 and #3 books in the Guardians of Childhood book series, which inspired the Rise of the Guardians movie. My six-year old read these books a couple of weeks before I did, and I really wondered how much he got out of them. After all, they’re each 250 pages long, with very few illustrations. I was pleasantly surprised he really understood the whole story and could recall a lot of details. If Harry Potter didn’t have so many scary parts, I’d encourage him to read the series on his own. I guess we’ll wait a couple of years before we start it.

E. Aster Bunnymund and the Battle of the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core by William Joyce Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies by William Joyce

– What I think I’ll read next
Probably The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. A friend of mine recently read this book and really liked it, so I’d like to see what I can get out of it.

My kids’ bookshelf

What they’re currently reading
Minnie and Moo : The Night Before ChristmasWe’ve been revisiting a few books by Denys Cazet, one of our favorite children’s book writers/illustrators. Almost every one of his books is a laugh out loud experience and the Minnie and Moo series may be some of his best.
Minnie and Moo : The Night Before Christmas. When Minnie and Moo find wrapped boxes in the barn, they realize the Farmer has, once again, forgotten where he hid the grandchildren’s Christmas presents. So they decide to deliver the gifts under the Christmas tree themselves. If you wonder what a cow dressed as Santa Claus looks like, this is the book for you!

Minnie and Moo : The Night of the Living Bed. Minnie wakes up from a nightmare about a giant mouse that eats the last bit of chocolate in the
whole world. The bed they sleep on at the top of the hill starts rolling down and Minnie and Moo gather several barnyard animals on their way to town. It’s Halloween night and Moo figures out that if they play tricks, they could get a lot of chocolate and candy.  The funniest part is when people really believe they’re kids dressed up as barn animals. They ask the cows to speak and all they can say is Moo!

– What they recently finished reading
My Brave Year of Firsts : Tries, Sighs, and High Fives by Jamie Lee CurtisMy Brave Year of Firsts : Tries, Sighs, and High Fives by Jamie Lee Curtis. Did you know Jamie Lee Curtis writes children’s books? And she’s pretty good at it too. I have to borrow some of her books again but we read this new one recently. Frankie is a first grader who learns to ride a bike, tie her shoes, make new friends, etc. She also learns that growing up is about being brave enough to try something new. This is a great book about growing up and boosting a child’s confidence!

Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell. This is a very interesting book that shows a family tapping maple trees, collecting the sap and taking many steps to make the best maple syrup. No wonder that stuff is so expensive…

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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Goofy Monday: What I get for taking my kids to the Natural History Museum

Warning: This post contains some graphic images depicting violence in the animal world. And some pretty silly conversations. Read at your own risk.

We have an annual membership to the San Diego Natural History Museum and visit its exhibits about once a month. A couple of months ago, the museum launched a new exhibit called Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders, where you can see some unusual insects and arthropods in an old-fashioned circus sideshow format. My kids found the setup a little scary the first time, but they enjoyed it the second and third time around.

We were talking about this exhibit this past weekend and our conversation ended up with this question:
Me: “By the way, do you know what an entomologist does?”
Son #1: “Study ants?”
Oh, so close! But I guess someone who studies ants should be called an “antomologist” after all. Don’t you agree?

By the way, let me share what Son #1 spotted yesterday with his eagle eyes while we were strolling through the San Diego Botanic Garden. This is a tiny larva being attacked by an ant (the black spot on the right on the picture). The ant was crawling on the larva and in response the larva was squirming. I’m not sure it was in pain or it didn’t like being tickled. It’s a tough world out there…

Ant attacking larva

Ant attacking larva

But let me go back to the Natural History Museum before I digress. The museum launched a brand new exhibit called Dino Jaws last week and we’re thinking about going to see it next weekend. Son #2 loves dinosaurs and is close to becoming a dinosaur expert (he knows more about them that I do, for sure). I guess the new exhibit inspired him to come up with a few new jokes. Usually his jokes aren’t very elaborate but I think these are actually pretty good for a five-year old. You tell me.

Dinosaur eggs
Son #2: “What do you call a dinosaur made out of eggs?”
Me: “Er… er… I have no clue.”
Son #2: “An eggosaurus!”

How many horns?
Son #2: ” What do you call a triceratops with five horns?”
Me: “Oh, I actually know this one. A pentaceratops!”
Son #2: “No, mama. It’s called a five-o-saurus!”
I can’t believe I didn’t get this one right…

Pentaceratops / five-o-saurus

Pentaceratops / five-o-saurus – Courtesy Wikimedia