Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Scenes from our weekend

This past weekend was peaceful and only semi-eventful which was just how I like 'em. In addition to all the usual weekend stuff we normally do like hitting up the supermarket and spending a few hours at the park, the Professor and I had a nice, long, quiet lunch at a small cafe in Les Corts (we seem to have hit upon the most successful way to dine out: schedule them during baby's nap times!) and on Sunday we checked out a children's book fair in the Old City which was absolutely charming.

Here are some scenes from our weekend:

 The timing of the book fair was meant to coincide with  El dia de San Jordi (the Day of St. George) on April 23rd which is also known in Catalunya as the day of the book and the rose. On this day, men give their sweethearts a red rose and women, in turn, give their men a book and everybody gives their kid a book. So off we went to see some books. But in this picture, you can also see the dragon. With hipster glasses on. hm.

I loved this book globe sculpture. They really did have book from all over the world there in all different languages. I could have spent all day there looking at it. 

Of course the little one thought it was an enormous ball and rushed at it, trying to grab it. He was very disappointed that he could neither kick it nor roll it nor throw it nor bite it. 

At the event, there was live music, workshops about books for children and for parents, story time, and arts and crafts. I also really liked this dome of chalkboards. Isn't that a great idea? 

Most of the kids drew predictable things: suns, flowers, hearts, their names. But some of the kids drew really interesting things. I mean, how many kids would draw an elephant's behind? And how does this tie into the snowflakes and the balloon? I really want to hear this story, don't' you?

You know what's funny and frustrating at the same time? When you and your husband decide to go out and do something just for your child like attend a children's book fair and when you get there, you discover that your child has no interest in the books, the story time, the craft workshops or the music. No. What your child wants to do is grab a plastic chair and push it all over the fair. 

So we spent a good hour watching him rearrange the furniture. Surprisingly enough, he wasn't the only little kid doing this. We saw another toddler moving a table and a multi-tasking four year old hauling around six chairs. They could go into business together. 

So that's what we've been up to lately. What about you guys?

P.S. Here's what we did last weekend in case you missed it. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Scenes from our weekend

So over the weekend, spring happened. Totally out of the blue. Last week, we were wearing wellies, puffer coats, and grumbling about the cold, wind and rain. Then on Friday, the sun came out and decided to stay awhile-yay! We spent the weekend celebrating a birthday, walking around town, Skyping with family and getting caught up on laundry now that it's dry and sunny enough to hang the clothes outside again. 

Here's some more stuff we did on our weekend:

Isn't that an adorable little one? This young lady turned one year old on Saturday and like most babies her age, didn't really care that much about it. She was more interested in eating a few toys but she did dig into that tiny homemade cake that her mom made her. As she was going to town on her cake, I was remembering how almost a year ago, my own little one had his first birthday (remember this?). The time really does go by so fast. I kinda hate that.  

While we were out walking over the weekend, we passed by this amazing bookstore called Fabre on Rambla Catalunya. I was originally intrigued by this place because of the display in the store window, with tons of toys and some hanging paper eggs for Easter. But it's even more impressive once you go inside. It's kind of a combination book store and toy store but the toys are not of your Toys R Us variety. They tend to be wooden, hand painted, non-battery operated and stacked high on bookshelves that almost reach the ceilings. It was fun to walk around this little place and feel as though you had stepped back in time. 

Another view of the window display at Fabre. I have to say that I love the Spanish word for window display much better than the English one. The Spanish word is ´escaparete´ and at least in my mind it conjures up an image of something that takes you away from your daily life, an escape, which is what a well designed window display should do, am I right? P.S. How cute is that red bike? I know someone who'd love that thing but he's still a bit too little to ride it.

Have you ever held a tasmanian devil in your arms? No? How about a 21 month old who doesn't want to take a picture with you? Same thing. This is me trying to hold a squirmy little boy who would rather run around in circles and have me chase him for a few hours. Sigh. When will we want the same things?

So that's what we've been up to over here. How about you guys? Do anything fun over the weekend?

P.S. Here's what we did last weekend, in case you missed it. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Scenes from our weekend

Spring is in the air! Technically. But it seems Barcelona missed that memo. This past weekend was drizzly, overcast, chilly and so windy that on one of our walks on Saturday afternoon, the wind practically carried the little one away (it almost felt like this! But not in Italian obviously). Apart from getting blown about, we had lunch with friends and their little girl, got caught up on some work that had laid idle during our Miami trip, and I finally saw the Great Gatsby. Honestly, I was expecting better since I like Leonardo DiCaprio and loved Moulin Rouge. I would definitely say that the second half of the movie is better than the first but I definitely prefer the book. Apart from that, we had a pretty relaxing two days.

Here are some scenes from our weekend:

It's that time of year again people! The calçot season is upon us. Actually the calçot season is almost over so if you're in Barcelona currently, gather your friends, head out to the country and light up your grills. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, click on this link
For lunch with our friends, we revisited Tonka Bar in Poble Sec. I wrote about this place before here and I can now say that the lunch is as good as the carrot cake. Plus! It has this little room where the little ones can play while they wait for the food to be served (and for two hours after they've eaten while their parents gab away at a table on the terrace). 
The little one is finally over his jet lag, hurray! The first four or five days back in Barcelona were pretty brutal. The Professor and I were practically sleeping in shifts since the little one woke up every few hours and decided he wasn't sleepy anymore. We had to re-sleep train him which seems to be necessary after every trip no matter how long. It definitely puts me off travelling a little bit I have to say. :/
Chocolate chip cookies. The best home remedy for when-is-the-cold-weather-finally-going-to-be-over-itis. With a dash of sea salt sprinkled on top. Because I'm fancy like that. 

So that's what we've been up to around here. What did you guys do?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Scenes from Miami

Well we're back in Barcelona after a month and a half long vacation in Miami. As I mentioned in a previous post, we originally went there because my big sister got married (woo hoo!) but we ended up staying a bit longer so that the Professor could do some research with a colleague at a university there. We had a great time with our families and friends as we always do but coming back from a month long trip has definitely been difficult for everyone especially the little one. We arrived in Barcelona on Friday and it's now Tuesday and Roman is still jet lagged. He takes naps at odd hours, is frequently cranky and fussy and he won't go down in his crib without going into hysterics as though he thinks he'll never see us again. Sigh. But let's not linger on the negatives! Below are some of the positives.

Here are some scenes from Miami:

The newlyweds! Aren't they a handsome couple? You know what's funny? Everyone thinks that me and my sister look identical even though we have practically none of the same features. A friend of mine was recently at my house in Barcelona and she saw a photo of my sister and her then-fiance on their Save the Date card and she said to me, 'Um, why are you posing with your sister's fiance?`. Lol. 

One of the best parts of the wedding was this photo booth with props that was set up in the reception hall. We had tons of fun taking pictures of ourselves acting and looking ridiculous. This is a picture of the bride and groom, my best friend and myself with cat eyes (meow!) The other great thing about the reception was the music. The dj was killing it and I, who am not a known boogeyer, got down to 'I saw her standing there' and 'Livin on a prayer.´ 
While my sisters and I were tearing up the dance floor, the little one was passed out upstairs. Thank GOD the wedding and reception were at a hotel and my best friend had a room because Roman only made it until 8:30 and dinner before his eyelids started getting heavy. So the Professor spent most of the reception watching basketball and checking twitter on his phone while he babysat the little one. Since the Professor's not really one for dancing, he ended up having a pretty good time too. 
While we were in Miami, a friend told us that Thomas the Train would be visiting the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Homestead. As the little one is a Thomas fanatic, we were very excited to go and everyone had a great time. You get to ´meet´ Thomas and go for a ride on him, you get to meet Sir Topham Hat, and they had tons more activities like arts and crafts, obstacle courses and train sets. Homestead is a bit of a trek but if you have little ones who love trains, it might be worth a visit, especially if Thomas is in town. 
Can you see the chimpanzee in the picture? He's a bit camouflaged. This picture is from a visit to Zoo Miami when the little one went with the Professor and his brother. Roman loves books about animals like Dear Zoo and Good Night Gorilla so he was so excited to see the animals from his books in person. I think for little ones it's so thrilling to see something in person that they've only seen before on TV or in books. At least for Roman it is.  :)
Roman also got a chance to feed this kind giraffe some lettuce. He squirmed with delight and maybe disgust as the giraffe's long, slobbery tongue grazed over his hands. But he liked it enough to feed the giraffe seconds. 
We got the little one his first pair of Crocs while we were in Miami and so far we're pretty satisfied. I think Crocs are the kinds of shoes that only look good on little kids and Mario Batali. This is a picture of the little one trying to wake the komodo dragons.
This is a picture of a piece from the newly opened Perez Art Museum in Miami. This museum was amazing and I highly recommend you visit it if you're in South Florida. I will write a separate post all about this place later this week. 
A picture of my dad teaching the little one how to brush his teeth. Even though Roman loves his toothbrush, (remember this post?), he obviously can't brush correctly at his age so his papa and I still need to do it for him. But we're not that consistent about it to be totally honest and we noticed a few months ago that Roman had some light brown stains on his teeth. I was worried that the stains might be a sign of tooth decay (did you know babies can get cavities?) so we took him for his first dental appointment while we were in Miami and they did a professional cleaning which was not a fun experience for anyone. Fortunately, the dentist told us that the stains were not tooth decay and could have been caused by dark colored foods or antibiotics.
Whenever we're in Miami, we're normally obligated to have meals in the homes of every single relative and friend we visit. This is not a bad thing at all when you have friends that are such great cooks. This is a picture of a Cuban dish called arroz con pollo (chicken with yellow rice) made by an extremely talented old Cuban man who is in the process of writing a cookbook. 
Another Cuban specialty, and one we greatly miss in Barcelona, are these pastelitos filled with guava, cheese, or a mix of both. They're sweet and flaky and soft and delicious. Best when accompanied by some cafe con leche. Yum!
This seems like such an innocuous picture right? But actually something bad happened on that day. The little one hurt his ankle coming down from one of these big kid slides and suffered a mild sprain. It's a bit heartbreaking to see him limping about but according to the doctor, it should heal on it's own in a week or two. Thank god babies are so resilient, huh?

So that's what we were up to in Miami. What about you guys? Gone anywhere lately?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Brothers and Sisters

When I got pregnant with the little one, I always thought he would be a GAP baby because I LOVE that store and that's where I shop myself and where the Professor buys most of his clothes (I should mention that I am the one who picks out the Professor's clothes :).  But since I moved to Spain, where, sadly, there is no GAP, I buy most of the little one's clothes from Zara baby (actually called Kiddy's Class in Spain). So imagine my surprise and delight when I visited the Zara website today and saw them feature the adorable and stylish children of some bloggers I follow! I love the effortless chic of these looks and am actually a little envious of how much more stylish these children are compared to myself!
Head on over to the Zara site if you'd like to see more.

(Photos: Zara)

Hello from Miami!

Oops! I forgot to tell you guys that I'm on vacation in Miami and am thus not tending to my blog. Sorry about that! We came to Miami in mid-February for my sister's wedding and we're going to be here until next week. I know you guys are probably used to my sporadic blogging style but I just thought I'd give you a heads up that I'm still alive and well and I haven't given this thing up. I can't wait to share some pictures of what we've been up to over here. Until then, here's a glimpse of the Professor and the little chickpea outside the Perez Art Museum overlooking Biscayne Bay.

stay well and see you soon!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sopaipillas (again!)

At this time of year you can probably still find butternut squash at the markets (or at least we can here in Spain), so I thought I'd repost the recipe for sopaipillas that I wrote a few years ago. I also recently realized that this recipe has gotten a ton of repins on pinterest so I suppose that there's quite a few people out there looking for something to do with squash besides the usual butternut squash soup and butternut squash risotto. So here goes! (For more pictures of the cooking process, here's the original post).

You will need:

  • 1 butternut squash 
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter 
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 6 cups of flour + more for rolling
  • vegetable, corn, or canola oil for frying
  • confectioner's sugar, cinnamon, or your favorite jam to serve

1.  Peel the butternut squash and chop it into small cubes. Remember that the smaller you chop them, the faster they will cook. 
2.  Put the cubed squash into a pan and add just enough water to cover them.  Cook the squash until you can pierce it easily with a fork. Then drain and allow to cool.
3.  Once the squash has cooled slightly, mash with a potato masher. 
4.  Add melted butter, salt, baking powder and flour.  DO NOT dump all the flour in. Add the flour in cup by cup. If you see that your dough is so wet that you can not roll it, add more flour.  You may need less than six cups, you may need more. Use your judgement.
5.  Once you feel the dough is ready, turn it out onto a flat surface and roll it out into about 1/2 inch thickness. Then use a cup to cut out little discs and pierce the discs a few times with a fork.
6.  Heat the oil on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot CAREFULLY place the discs inside the oil. Have a plate with a paper towel waiting nearby.  When you see the edges of the sopaipilla get a little golden, flip and fry the other side.  Once both sides are golden, place the hot sopaipilla on the paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
7.  While the sopaipillas are on the paper towel, dust them with as much confectioners sugar as you like. It is important to do this right away so that the sugar can stick to them.
8.  Serve with an extra dusting of sugar, cinnamon, or your favorite jam and a cup of coffee.