Wednesday, December 23, 2009

happ house : mac capital of utah.

this is one of my favorite parts of christmas every year.

i think you could say we're a mac sort of family.

the only one not accounted for in this picture is isaac, the youngest cousin (9).  and honestly, i'm not sure if we'll have to wait long ; )

Today and tomorrow are nearly the only two days we don't have to go the airport from December 21st-30th.  We took advantage, by going to finish up some last minute shopping in an extremely crowded mall.

tomorrow we're hitting the slopes!

what are the funny quirks about your family when you all gather together?  identical christmas pajamas? matching ugg boots? (you should see our laundry room)  traditional morning coffee and pancakes everyday?

wishing you a cheery christmas eve tomorrow!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

christmas ornaments.

I was lucky this year, since my family saved decorating the christmas tree until both my sister and I got home from our across the world voyages.  I always love decorating the tree- every year we open up the ornament boxes I feel like it's for the first time.

we have our classic choices, such as this (blurry) bear

the ones from our homemade ornament era.

some of my favorites, the cottonball sheep.

and the newest australian line of ornaments. complete with kookabura...

and 'attack mode' koala bears.

What kinds of ornaments are on your trees?  New ones?  Old ones?



Monday, December 21, 2009

holiday bugs.

Holy christmas trees, I've been gone for awhile!

I apologize for my absence the past couple of weeks.  I got hit by a pretty big bug/virus a week and a half ago, and it totally wiped me out.  Guess that's part of the job package when you work with middle schoolers full of germs all week.  Luckily I have an awesome roomate, who found me some chicken noodle soup and orange juice, which made being sick in a foreign country a little more bearable : )

Last week, getting ready to come home, was jam packed full of last minute Christmas shopping (which still isn't done...) and finishing up Christmas activities with the classes.

And NOW, after a slightly nightmare-ish set of flights between Paris, Chicago, and Salt Lake, I'm finally home for Christmas with the fam.  I'm also enjoying my own bed, soft water, driving everywhere, and the dishwasher!  Mmmm.

What are the little things you're enjoying at the moment?  Heading off to somewhere fun for the holidays?  I'll try to get back to some regular posting, stick with me!



Monday, December 7, 2009

le weekend.

Hello !

How was your weekend?  Full of tree hunting, garland hanging and football cheering? 

My Saturday was full of lots of things and my Sunday was full of nothing, which was glorious : )

Saturday we drove over to Lyon, where they were having their annual,
fête des lumières : festival of lights
It was amazing, btw, to see some blue sky!!

this is place de bellecour, one of the main squares in the centre ville

as it got darker, several buildings downtown were lit up and some had 'animations'
every so often. sorry for the blur, the night shots on my camera are a bit off

this 'animation' was called 'jouons avec le temps' which means,
'playing with time'
it was all about the effects of time and the elements.
there were snowstorms, rainstorms, fires, earthquakes...
everything destroyed the hôtel de ville, and it was 'built up again' between each step.
and then there were flowers : )

there were lights on EVERY street.
and in case you can't tell...
it was uncomfortably packed.

we had to escape the city center, it was seriously claustrophobic.

an artsy pic.

this was in the square behind the hôtel de ville.
it was a sort of laser show.
the pyramid in the middle acted as a clock, with a second hand swinging back and forth.
every time a green laser beam was hit by the swinging minute hand,
it cut the flow to the rest of the laser beams.
a sort of chain reaction.

one of my favorite parts was the flower garden.

The fête des lumières was nice, but I'm not sure it's something I would do more than once.  I expected more light shows- in the end, there was really only one organized performance that we saw.  The rest of the evening was spent literally like a little calf in a herd of cows.  Angry cows, some with baby strollers.  Please explain how impractical you have to be, to bring a baby stroller to an event with hundreds of thousands of people.

It was a nice weekend, and the relaxing Sunday was long overdue.  I feel reenergized, at least so far!  This week is busy busy busy, and at the end of next week I'll be home!  Lots to look forward to, and lots of Christmas shopping to do in the meantime.

How was your weekend?

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your Monday!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

tis the season.

Although the Christmas lights around Beaune have not officially lit up yet, our apartment is slowly building up some holiday cheer.

Alright, I caught it in a charlie brown type moment, but I think our little tree is quite cute.
Nothing compared to fresh pine smell, but it will have to do for the moment!

This is a darling gift I received this weekend- a beautiful hand painted ornament.

I don't feel quite like we're in the Christmas season yet.  Even though it's getting colder and colder on my evening bike rides back from work!  I can't wait for the snow, crowded house, skiing, christmas tree, cozy couches, peppermint ice cream, morning scones and honey, and general wonderfulness of being home.  Less than 3 weeks away!

This weekend we may pop over to Lyon, about an hour and a half away, for la fête des lumières, the light festival that marks the beginning of the holiday season every year.  And after that, it's only one more weekend before Christmas break : )

What are you doing to get into the Christmas spirit?  Love Actually?  Peppermint mochas?  Snowman and reindeer pjs?

Happy Tuesday everyone!


Monday, November 30, 2009

le weekend.

My weekend was one of those that was not originally intended to be cramming-everything-into-three-days, but quickly turned out that way.  But it was fabulous despite the craziness.

Thursday night I trained up to Sens and then hopped in a car to go to the Danré's house for the weekend.  Although, après toutwe seemed to spend more time hopping around to other houses than staying at the Danré's.  

Friday we visited one of Stéphane's university roomates, his wife, and a very recent arrival (3 weeks!) their daughter, Apolline.  She was absolutely adorable and calm as can be.  I guess there's very little to do at 3 weeks besides eat and sleep.  The couple was so nice to have us at their home, as busy as they must be.  After lunch we visited les vaches, the cows on the farm.  Fabien, Apolline's father, raises cows in their village and has quite the barn-ful.  While we were taking the tour we saw a calf that had just been born half an hour before!  Imagine a cute little baby cow, minus the fluffiness, and add in a whole bunch of teenage type awkwardness.  It was pretty funny.

Friday we drove to nearby Reims, where we stayed the night.  We decided to wander around the Christmas market, le marché de noel, and we were certainly not the only ones with the idea.

I wish that was real snow on top of the market roofs, but it was just misting rain : (

I'll certainly be trying some marrons chauds, roasted chestnuts, sometime this Christmas season.

Saturday afternoon we were guests at Stéphane's aunt's house (we literally hopped from lunch to dinner all weekend long).  After a lovely afternoon of homemade boeuf bourgingon, one of Burgundy's roasted meat stew specialities, and wonderful conversation over some champagne and Chateauneuf du Pape red wine (jealous mom!) we headed back to get changed for une soirée on Saturday night.

The soirée was in a great room with a high ceiling and awesome chandeliers.

We went with a couple of Stéphane's friends and cousins.

moi and mr. handsome.

Some ridiculous dance line where the object is to push the person backwards as fast and recklessly as possible.  I don't see how that could possibly be fun.  Every single person ended up on the floor.

After some (not enough) sleep on Sunday morning, we had a slow day around the farm.  More champagne and eating involved.  A certain member of the Danré family was a little excited for us to finish eating and come play.


She was soooo serious in the car as we drove around the little farm trails tracing through the fields.  Every so often we would see some deer or rabbits and she would go NUTS.

We got out of the car for awhile to walk around and see some of the windmills not far from the Danré's farm.  They were big, and made scary whistling noises.  And were incredibly intimidating to stand underneath.

All in all, a nice weekend.  Not quite relaxing, but really fun.

What did you do this weekend?  I heard there were skiers in Utah!  Can't wait to get on my skis in 3 weeks : O


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

looking out for love.


I am so very excited to share this with you.  This summer in Michigan, in between s'mores, late night campfires, shore breakfasts, and lying on the trampoline, I had a very exciting conversation with one of my best friends, Lindsay Poulin.  She is an incredibly talented woman, with a wonderfully contagious passion for all things art.  Her camera is nearly always by her side, her sketches of costume design are something out of the Pride and Prejudice costume closet, and her ever growing collection of greeting cards and stationary are so cute they make you want to keep them instead of sending them away.  I happen to know she's even got a knack for garageband techno songs ; )

One of the projects she's been piecing together over the past months is coming together in a wonderful way.  She was first inspired by two of her good friends at college who spent time in Uganda, Africa at 'God's Heart Orphanage'.  Lindsay recognized the passion her friends had for traveling, volunteering, and sharing their lives with others, and decided to start this project as a way of documenting love all over the world.  She's started a blog called 'look out for love', which gathers pictures of hearts from all around the world.  In her own words,

'The overarching concept I have in mind is that love is everywhere, in everything, for everyone -- and that there is so much adventure and value in looking deeper. It’s always amazing what you can find in the most unexpected places!'

She's designed the blog in a way that anyone and everyone is welcome to comment and post their own pictures of hearts from wherever you find them. Whether it be on a business trip, a study abroad experience, your backyard, your morning commute, the whipped cream in your afternoon latte.... you know, the little things.

This is a participation-oriented blog, so I encourage you all to visit the website she's set up, lookingoutforlove. She's also included guidelines and info on how to submit pictures to the project. I guarantee that once you start looking for hearts, you'll notice them in the funniest places.

Feel free to share the site with your friends and family, and encourage them to post pictures. This project has great potential, and I was just bursting to share it with you, my lovely readers.

keep looking out for love !


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

reading material.

I started Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo a couple weeks ago and just finished it this afternoon.

It's an incredibly intricate story, the characters blending together in interesting ways.  I won't give away the ending, but the tension that seemed to be building up slowly throughout the whole story seemed to creep out just as quietly in the last pages.

In the wonderful surprise package that came my way a couple days ago, was My Life in France, the memoir written by Julia Childs chronicling her adventure in la France.  Seems an appropriate time to read it!

I'm always one for book recommendations.  What have you been reading lately?


Monday, November 23, 2009

following/subscribing to mistinguett.


just a little update to say that i've added a feature on my blog called 'subscribe to'.  if you're a daily blog reader with google readermy yahoo, or own of several others, now you can subscribe to mistinguett and it will pop up on your daily feed whenever I've updated.  you'll see the 'subscribe to mistinguett' on the right hand side of the page, under about me, etc.

another option, if you're a blogspot blogger, is to become a follower.  this is also an option on the right side of the page.  depending on your email settings, you'll be updated when i've put a new post, and other people can see that you're following my blog.

if anyone would like to receive emails when i update, but you don't have a google reader or a blogspot account, send me an email or leave a comment here and i'll add your address to a list i'll send out when i update!

happy reading friends!


life list: run a marathon.

I haven't done a Life List post in awhile, even though I feel like I add something new to The List everyday...
I was thinking about this particular item this morning as I was riding to work.  I love running.  It's a stress relief for me- a time to think and to not think.  I've only run a couple long distance races- a couple 5K's and one 10K.  One of these days (when I have a running partner who will get me out of bed in the morning!) I would love to train for and complete a marathon.  I know it's possible!

Anyone else out there a committed runner?  Ever thought about running a marathon?

Hoping this Monday Morning isn't too hard on you! : )


ps. gotta give a shout out to Mamma and Dad Happ.  I got a wonderful surprise package in the mail with BOOKS in ENGLISH!  One of the things I miss most overseas!  You're the best : )  We should all send surprise packages more often.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

le weekend.

my weekend included:

a concert in dijon.

visiting airports full of gliders, helicopters, kitfoxes, and matco wheels and brakes!  

a middle school basketball game, coached by my roomate.

a dinner of 22 in a cozy french house warmed by a blazing fireplace and kind hearts.

church in a chilly cathedral.

a sunset walk to the park just in time for it to close.

and one of the coolest parts:

a group of sangliers- wild boars!!  common in the woods throughout France, 
but extremely rare to see in such high numbers!
and they ran right across the road in front of us : )

I got to enjoy a lovely weekend.  My students certainly kept it interesting for me this week- one got his second 8 day suspension after I had him in class on Thursday (suspension more due to him pushing the school counselor than him being downright obnoxious in my class).  Oh middle schoolers.  Thankfully I know already that I will not spend the rest of my life teaching you.  

How were your weekends?  What were the highlights?  

Wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday afternoon!


all photos uploaded by mistinguett.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


leaf family

good things about my day :

a beautiful blue sky

a wonderful morning walk around town

remembering my kids singing along in class yesterday to an activity

good music on my ipod

homemade pasta/rice salad made from leftovers

café in town with lovely girls

awesome vintage shop

talk of travels and adventures

beautiful evening sunset

singing class tonight!

what were the good things about your day ?


pictures uploaded by mistinguett.

Monday, November 16, 2009

le weekend.

Well folks, the weekend lived up to my expectations, except for la pluie, the rain, that decided to come and visit as well.  We had about 9 people crammed in our apartment, but we all survived and had a pretty good time I'd like to think!

I'll show in pictures, a little bit about the weekend chez nous in Beaune.

some of my guests this weekend.

inside the wine tasting event.  that we waited for in the rain, for 3 hours.

part of the parade on sunday.  wasn't sure what they were going for with the face paint.

another marching band.  this one traveled from Neuchâtel, Switzerland

that guy on the left is a famous French singer, Patrick Bruel.
It was the funniest thing when a Chinese lady standing next to us
and crazily taking pictures with the rest of the crowd suddenly
came up to us and asked, "Um, actually, who is he?"
She played the role of devoted fan pretty well for having no idea!

a picture inside the auction house where 'la vente du vin' went on.
they auctioned off barrels of wine.  some sold for as much as 40,000 euros!

we enjoyed some delicious escargots, snails!
don't be alarmed by the green color, that's the garlic and herb butter sauce : )

i was SO excited to see they turned on all the christmas lights downtown!

most awesome contest.  who could uncork 200 bottles of wine the fastest.
only in France.

this guy was the winner.  see all the corks lying on the stage?  he finished in about 15 minutes.
his prize:  a solid gold wine opener.

So as you can see, despite the cloudy weather, we still saw lots of stuff in Beaune.  I was so proud of our little town!  As the guy at the wine-bottle-uncorking contest said, in Burgundy when we do something, on le fait au fond, we go all out.

What fun things were a part of your weekend?

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!


all pictures uploaded by mistinguett.  

Friday, November 13, 2009

weekend madness.

I'm sitting in our living room, getting ready for an inCREDibly crowded but I hope just as fantastic weekend.  Tomorrow and Sunday are the annual 'vente du vin' in Beaune (a fancy-smancy wine auction and all around reason to drink vin chaud) so we invited a couple people to come and stay.  Well, a couple multiplied.  And pretty rapidly.  But I'm convinced it's going to be a picture and story worthy couple of days.

Just wanted to share two things I found with you all.  I'm a google reader addict (if you haven't discovered it yet, you should) where I read blogs of good friends and strangers.

This is from a blog called '2 or 3 things i know' which I enjoy.  And I thought the quote gets right to the point.  Something we should remember more often.

The second is way less serious and just as awesome.

Does anyone else remember these books from when you were a kid?  They talk you through how to draw these cute little figures and animals using really simple shapes.  My favorites were the little chick, and the ants : )  You can check out the blog at the space in between.  

Wishing you a very sunny and wonderful weekend!  Anyone else having a house full of crazies?  If not, what are your plans?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

the little things.

a little thing: the gerbera daisies I bought to light up my rainy days a bit.

I had an above average morning, which for Tuesdays is saying a lot.  The kids were calm, my lessons seemed to just snap into place.


Little besides the exact opposite could have applied for this afternoon.  Hello, I realize the reality of having a room full of 14 year olds during their last hour of school a day.  Which is why I tried to plan a fun activity- trying to captivate their attention and run with it a bit.  Unfortunately, seems like the only thing that captivated them was me yelling at them in French.  Which isn't exactly the goal of an English class....  I know I've said it before, but it's just plain tiring to spend half the class 'chhhut' ing (it's what the French say for ssssh!) and moving kids around to try to get something done.


All of that melted away on my bike ride home from work.  I was almost back to my apartment- I had just pulled alongside the high school next to where I live.  The road is kind of narrow at that point, so I usually ride on the sidewalk to get a bit of space from the cars.

At one point, in front of me was a woman walking with 5 young children, completely blocking the path.  I tried to go slow and patiently wait for a space beside them so I could pass, which didn't seem to be coming any time soon.  The four kids were all excitedly pulling on the woman's shirt sleeves, anxious to tell her stories from their day at school.

All except one little guy.  He was doing his own thing behind them, dancing along the sidewalk.  He was the only one who saw me, and before I could even say anything he (with the utmost reverence and seriousness) stepped to the side in a sort of 'attention' stance.  And as if he couldn't get any cuter, he then saluted me.  As if to say, 'safe travels madame, allez-y, go ahead the path is clear'.

That little guy could not possibly know how much he cheered up my evening.  Petit Cadet, I salute you tonight wherever you are.

What are your little things that get you through the day?

Thanks for the recipes and comments by the way!


Monday, November 9, 2009

le weekend.

I was a bit of a Suzie Homemaker this weekend.  Or maybe a Françoise au Foyer if you will (femme au foyer is French for stay-at-home madre).  Last week when I saw a recipe posted for ridiculously easy homemade tomato soup, it was like that motherly-kitcheny-homey part of me switched on.

And in a chain of supermarché events, while I was buying canned peeled tomatoes I saw a big box of pears for a euro and a wonderfully cute and tiny casserole dish and pear tart and quiche lorraine popped into my head.

All three were delicious, despite the glitches (re: lack of blender for the tomato soup ingredients).  Didn't get pictures of the soup, but here are some of the quiche and tart!

quiche in said cute perfect casserole dish.  ready to go in the oven.

er. toaster oven? whatever it works. i feel like writing a recipe book.... 'toaster oven recipes'...

perfectly toaster puffy eggy, cheesy deliciousness (minus the slightly burned crust)

I had crust left over so figured I should pop the pears in there.  It was a little liquidy but still scrumptious.

So there you are- my cuisine centered weekend.  It was also fairly well timed since the weather was pretty crappola over here.  In between the rain storms I managed to wander about town a bit with the other assistants (commiserating about said rain) and take a Sunday run through the vineyards across from our apartment.

What did you do this weekend?


p.s  here are the links to the recipes I used this weekend.  pear tart.  tomato soup.  quiche lorraine. sorry anglophones for the last one, it's in French : )  I'd be happy to translate though!

p.p.s.  care to share some other recipes for me to try in my tiny toaster oven?  I would LOVE suggestions!

food for thought.

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