Life Lately: A Ramble & French Women

Well hello blog friends! Or likely just my sister now, hi Meredith! It has been awhile. I’d love to say that life has been great in the interim, but it hasn’t. The last three months have been hard, destabilizing and heartbreaking with several weeks where sheer survival was an accomplishment. A couple of sudden deaths, a divorce and the sale of a house that was owned for over 50 years in brief. Needless to say, our family gatherings are now reduced by at least a third.

On the bright side, our little family went to Boston for 10 days in late April and early May and had a fantastic time. Leonora was a great traveler… hooray! Boston was a dream for a couple of history buffs and we loved visiting the historical sites and museums. We easily could have spent another 10 days going through the museums we didn’t make it to, but maybe another time!

Since it has been so long, I’ll give some highlights on life and then maybe write separate blog posts on some of them another time.

Recipes & Cooking: I am still completely obsessed with the Cookie and Kate blog. Almost everything I make is from her blog or cookbook. For any bread, waffles, pancakes, or baked good, I still love the America’s Test Kitchen GF Cookbook.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time each week grocery shopping (5 days a week), cooking, meal planning, and looking at recipes. After reading French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure a year ago, I like to think that I’m just French at heart or in my stomach. In the US we tend to associate thin or fit women with deprivation not foodies. However, in France according to the book, thin women are MORE obsessed with food in many ways than any American women regardless of dress size. The difference is in France going to the market every day, brainstorming delicious uses for fresh, seasonal produce, and cooking meals is NOT viewed as chore, but a joy. There is equal or more pleasure derived from those activities than devouring a hot, juicy burger and fries.

Since I have so many allergies and eating out is not very enjoyable or varied, I appreciated this perspective and try to view those tasks as fun, a hobby even, instead of drudgery. I admit that this is extremely difficult some days, when you are going through borrowed cookbook after cookbook looking for vegetable-heavy, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, low-fat, and low-sugar recipes!

Despite the provocative title, I loved the French Women Don’t Get Fat book and even a year later think about points in it often. There are so many diet books and so few resources on just living a balanced, healthy life. It is a favorite. Maybe I will read it again soon and review it.

Since I mentioned diets, I have to say that I’m frustrated with all the fat heavy diets that are STILL trendy. After attempting a couple over the years, I have learned that a low-fat and low-sugar diet work way better for me personally. I always felt awful on the Paleo or Atkins type diets, but feel great eating lots of beans, fruit and some whole grains while really limiting the fat to oils on salads and in cooking. Basically Mediterranean diet versus a fat fad.

OK, so that was a lot of discussion on nutrition and French women. It is time for some quick hits on everything else!

Exercise: I am working hard on this front. I finally learned that I just need to nap when Leonora naps after a super hard workout. So I do a couple days a week. It has been a game changer. Working hard on getting back to that pre-pregnancy fitness… 19 months later. Unfortunately that was also the fittest I had ever been, but lofty goals are good as long as you have a nice foam roller. Also a higher tolerance for a messy-ish house. Once I realized that cleaning or maintaining a perfectly clean house was about 10th on my list of priorities, it was freedom!

Leonora: I will definitely write a day in the life and maybe a summary of  all of her current tricks soon. She suddenly seems like nearly a preschooler and is so helpful and sweet. She is still a complete mama’s girl and it is great.

Books: I have read a lot of fiction in the last few months, but not a lot of non-fiction. Other than Survivor, which – yes – is still on TV and is still awesome, I don’t watch television or movies much, so fiction reading is basically a mindless TV equivalent.

I did read Please God Don’t Let Me Screw This Up after I read this article about a Super Mother with 16 Children. I enjoyed the book and found her absolute pleasure in motherhood and children to be a refreshing contrast to current culture. Unlike many super large families, the parents are well-educated, articulate and relatively affluent which was a unique perspective as well.

This weekend I started and finished reading half of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. I did not read all of the middle and high school sections and won’t as those years are a ways out. I found the book very useful even with only a 1.5 year old. I definitely plan on a classical education approach for Leonora. The portions I am less sold on in their philosophy are math and science. I am currently reading some math education books that were recommended in the Well-Trained Mind and will continue to research that side.

Well, Leonora is up from her nap and this turned into a long post. I hope my sister and maybe a friend or two enjoyed this ramble. Cheers!



One thought on “Life Lately: A Ramble & French Women

  1. Love you! Thanks for the update. I always like to know what is going on with you guys. Looking forward to more in-depth categories at a later time. The Survivor thing made me laugh. Before I left for the ship I had basically watch every Survivor challenge available on YouTube. It was kind of fun and made me think of our childhood.


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