Monday, September 29, 2008

A hike in the woods

We packed a light lunch, picked Payton up at school and headed to the woods for a walk-about. We headed for the botanical garden not far from school. We didn't know exactly where it was and it turned out to be a good thing. We parked much farther from it than we needed to, but this allowed us - made us - walk through the woods. It was a nice day to do so and we enjoyed ourselves. Note that we packed the little guy too. Kathleen hauled Parker around the whole hike. Mostly he just slept through the entire adventure.
We did have a downer at the end of our hike. Payton and I were goofing around in the parking lot after our walk. He fell backwards, smacked his head and then we were in the ER. He split his head open, but it was a small split. In the back too so any scar will be covered. The Doc glued him back together and he is doing fine.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fete de Vendanges

Ah, All 3 boys are napping and Mommy has some quiet time! It's a cool Sunday afternoon, the NFL pregame show is on TV, now if I could just order a good Pizza for delivery I would think I was back home in the US!

Yesterday we went to the Fete des Vendanges. This is a huge event to celebrate the grape harvest in Neuchâtel. I had expected something like a wine festival in the U.S. where each of the local wineries has a booth set up to sell their wines and you could stroll around sampling the offerings.
What we found was more akin to State fair type atmosphere mixed with a little "G" rated Mardi Gras. There was a parade starting out that featured the commune (town) we live in, Corcelles, mixed with marching bands. TONS of confetti was part of the parade and continued to be thrown well afterward. Following the parade we found endless food vendors, carnival rides, and games. Booths seemed to be run by every type of food vendor, restaurant, and social club in the region. What I didn't find was a single Winery! I did manage to get a small glass of Vin Rouge to sip on, but that's all. Given that I was carrying Parker in my baby BJORN carrier, it was probably not wise to get tipsy.
We wandered through the crowds and vendors for some time and then decided it was time to leave the excitement to the partiers. Good thing too because Parker decided he didn't want to sleep last night. Thankfully Stanton and I can pull shifts, but a fussy baby can make for a long night.

Right now, he's sleeping like and Angel....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do the boys look alike?

Click play to find out.

Beware of sending Gifts!

We have on several occasion wondered how economical it would be to ship goods from the US to Switzerland. Especially for gifts or items we just can't seem to find here or to bring Christmas gifts back to Switzerland after the Holidays. We have mail ordered a couple of items and experienced paying import taxes. Basically we pay shipping when we order an item and then have to pay the Swiss Postal service another fee to get the package. It can get quite expensive. Well...... we got a good idea yesterday that shipping gift items into Switzerland is not a cost effective venture.

A wonderful and well meaning friend sent us a beautiful gift for the birth of our new baby. They paid about $60 US to send the gift. We got a nice little note in our mailbox to pick it up from the post office. After paying $55 CHF in Swiss Postal Service extortion fees (I mean import duties) we were able to retrieve our gift.

So, in case you are tempted to send us anything, please resist! Send us a card or an email instead and donate the shipping charges to charity!

US forwarding Post Box: (for letters, cards, etc., basically envelopes)

Taylor Family
Obtech - Switzerland
PO Box 950
New Brunswick, NJ 08903

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bacon Butty Sandwich

Several of the TV shows I watch here - either on the tele or the computer - are British shows. I have heard savory references to a sandwich called Bacon something. It is sometimes hard to understand the British accent, but after rewinding to listen again and again I now know the sandwich is a Bacon Butty. These are very popular in Britain. They are eaten throughout the day. They are what I would call a bacon sandwich, but with a twist. The bacon sandwich I have has mayonnaise on it. A Bacon Butty has HP sauce. HP sauce is a brown sauce and very similar to - if not exactly the same - A1 sauce. This I am going to have to try when we travel to Britain.

Want to try one at home? Start with dry cured, thick sliced bacon and make some snips into the fatty areas. This will keep your rashers (slices of bacon) from curling up too much. Cook until crispy, not burnt or dry. Pile your rashers on a slice of bread. Cover the other slice with HP sauce and then put it sauce-side down in the frying pan. Leave it there a minute or so to soak up some juice and get nice and warm (but not toasted). Assemble your mighty buttie and eat straight away. Sounds yummie eh?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday! Payton is 4!

Today is Payton's 4th birthday! Mama mi made two cakes for him. The first was taken to school this morning to share with his classmates. The second was shared by the three of us when he got home. Parker is of course a little too young to be having cake so he just laid on the couch.
"I'll just huff and puff and blow these candles out."
"Uh? I just blew those out."
"I'll just do it again."
"There. Job well don........."
"Hey what's going on here?"
As you can probably surmise by now we had put trick candles on Payton's cake. These candles tricked us all because neither Kathleen or I knew we bought these. This sort of thing can happen when you can't read the package label. I bought them. Kathleen would have known better. The only French I know is merci, s’il vous plaît and Je me rends! (I surrender!). (Note - Parker is in the background laying on the couch.)
The trick candles didn't bother Payton. He likes blowing out candles - sometimes much to our dismay. We all got a good laugh about them. Though maybe not his school teachers. We put these on his school cake too!
Payton got a bunch of Caterpiller machinery for his sandbox. Time to put away the beach toys he had in there.
His new articulated dump trucks, motor graders, tracked hydraulic excavator, wheeled loader, skid steer loader and tracked dozer are great in his sandbox. Payton seems to like the articulated dump trucks, while my personal favorite is the wheeled loader.

His other present was a scooter. He hasn't quite, but nearly has, outgrown his Like-a-Bike yet. Kids here ride the heck out of scooters - some adults too. They are a bit more practical for transportation than bikes. Around the city and in the parks they're smaller and more maneuverable. And where you can't ride you walk. A scooter is easily carried where you can't ride.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Roman Town of Aventicum

Today Payton and I went on a walk back in time. We traveled about 30 minutes to Avenches - an old city built upon an even older city - Aventicum, the capital of Roman Helvetia. We started in town and walked to see some of the ruins around town. We even searched for and found a Geocache!
The first site was right in town - the amphitheatre. Quite a bit of it remains and it can still be used for events today. In its day it's estimated to have seated about 16,000.
Our stroll took us past an ancient temple, Roman baths and at the far end of our 5 km walk to the east gate to the ancient city.
North of the east gate was a reconstructed tower. It was pretty cool with a great view from the top. It was at this tower we looked for and found the Geocache. Do you see the square holes in the wall either side of the tower? The cache was hidden in one these. Payton kept a key chain from the choice of goodies and I left a 2 franc coin. We had walked for quite a while when Payton spied a bench and had to take a break.
The east gate was on the high ground so the walk back to town was downhill. Our last stop was at the Roman theatre.
This was the end of our hike. Payton was a real trooper and I enjoyed my day with him. One last look at town from the theatre and we headed back...
...not to home, but for some ice cream and a soda. Payton was parched and darn near drank the whole soda himself. Dad wasn't a good hiker - I didn't take any water with us. I'll do better next time.

PS... While Payton and I were out having fun, Kathleen, 'Jack-Jack' Parker and Grandma went to town shopping. They bought baby clothes, chocolate and a purse. Go figure.