Wednesday, December 18, 2013


     Four more days, three more days, two more days...I count down the days each morning not only to myself but to Dear Daughter as well during breakfast.  The end of the semester is near and I keep stressing to her not to lose focus...nose to the grindstone and all of that.  Can I really expect a 12-yr old to understand?  Is my focus as strong as it was earlier in the school year?
     The days and weeks have flown by since we moved to Belgium.  In some respects, I think that we all feel that we have not really had the chance to get out there and really explore.  It isn't because we are lazy. It isn't because we have just wanted to stay at home (although on some Sundays, that has been a glorious alternative).  It is that we are really busy right now.  Every weekend for the last month has been taken by swim meets and the daily practices are a bit of a grind at the moment.
     However, the end is near.  Two more school days and then two weeks of vacation.  Friday, we will celebrate by visiting our favorite town, Ghent.  I am looking forward to strolling through the tiny Christmas market  and visiting one of the cafes along the river.  While it might be too cold to sit outside, I am guessing that the outdoor heaters will be in full use - making it possible to enjoy a light lunch or coffee.  Our first stop will be the soap store to visit the owner - who remembers us every time and rewards us with new restaurant recommendations.  Then I suppose, we will visit our favorite little bar along the river to try a new Belgian beer.  We will stroll down one of the longest pedestrian- only shopping districts in all of Europe and visit favorite stores.  Dear Daughter will obviously want to visit the frites stand and have a huge paper cone filled with hot, steamy, delicious french fries.
     A friend of mine has told me about a farm about 30 minutes away that sells the most delicious foie gras and various other duck products.  I am hoping to have time to visit in the next few days as I envision foie gras on toast with a glass of champagne as Christmas Eve's first course at dinner.  Today, Dear Daughter and I will shop for Christmas Eve dinner and the meals for Christmas Day.  Here is what I have planned thus far:  For Christmas Eve, we will have a wonderful cheese fondue.  Our brunch on Christmas Day will consist of Crabcake Benedict - a crabcake topped with a poached egg and hollandaise and served with a small potato gratin and bacon.  Dinner will be a hearty Veal and Chestnut Ragu served with a big, full bodied red wine.  The wood guy comes on Saturday so we will have plenty of firewood.  Eggnog is in the fridge.  Our favorite Christmas movies are ready.  the tree is up, lights are on and everyday a few more presents are added.  Saturday, we will have our own little tree decorating party.  We are 

One and a half days to go!

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