5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Ahh yes, Christmas weekend!  We ended up packing in quite the pile of stuff over the last few days, far more than normal.  Albeit, mostly non-fitness related stuff.  Instead, it was more about enjoying the holiday period.  Here’s what went down!

1) Went to the Zoo

First up on our weekend was heading to the zoo.  Now this may seem like a bit of an odd thing to do in the middle of December, but in actuality it made perfect sense (on paper anyway).  The zoo had Christmas lights all strung up, as well as a skating rink.  Plus you could still see some of the animals.  For example, these creatures:


(I believe those creatures were alpacas, though they were mixed in with some other ones.  Plus, obviously the birds aren’t said alpacas.)

The highlight of said creatures were the penguins.


At least for The Girl:


She loves penguins, and so she was pretty excited that of the handful of animals that were on display between the entrance and the skating rink area, they’d be along that path.


Speaking of that skating rink, we found it:


And…umm…it wasn’t very big.  For that matter, neither was the whole ‘lights’ thing.  Good thing we only paid 5EUR to enter!


It’s quite a trek to get to that part of Paris from where we live. Still, it was a fun journey and (brief) evening, even if the lights needed an extra 50,000 or so bulbs.

2) Off to the market

While grocery stores may be open in the US on Christmas Day for a few hours, that’s certainly not the case in central Paris.  The place shuts down like a locked porta-potty in the middle of a long-run.  So we did all our Christmas Day meal shopping on Saturday instead, the bulk of which we got at the outdoor market behind the house.


That includes olives from the olive man, and cheese from the cheese man.  And of course, wine from the wine man.

DSC_7198 DSC_7199

Then we hit up the butcher lady as well as the vegetable lady.

DSC_7204 DSC_7207

And last but not least, off to the boulangerie for bread.  Albeit, mostly for bread this day.  Can’t be using no day-old baguettes the following day. That’d be uncivilized.

Oh, and this was my little helper.  And by helper, I mean she smiled and giggled at all the old ladies and got us free stuff and bits of extras.


See, it’s handy to have a helper hanging around.

3) Went to Disneyland

After wrapping up at the markets we picked up a Zipcar to head out of the city.  Not just any Zipcar, but Waldo.


I’m not sure if it’s the case in the states, but in France, every Zipcar has a name (and a specific home parking spot).  This is Waldo.  We’ve taken him a few times before, since he lives in one of the closer parking areas to us.

We were of course on the way to Disneyland.  Much to the amazement of many of our friends, we’d never made it to Disneyland Paris before.  It’s actually reasonably straightforward to get to, and pretty quick – about 30-35 minutes.  Or, about 2 hours or so by bike.


The main appeal of going to Disneyland in the cold and barren winter is that they light up the whole place with Christmas lights and decorations.


But, despite that, it wasn’t overly crowded.  Except for Main Street I suppose, but nothing like I suspect it is in the summer on a weekend.


Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of pictures…because I managed to grab two dead batteries for my DSLR.  Thus things were pretty much limited to the above and The Small World.


Still, we had a good time just relaxing and wandering around.  Obviously having the little one with us meant we didn’t go on too many rides, but still, it was nice.  We traded off later in the evening once the park emptied out a bit and there were no waits at all.  So one of us would run in and do a ride while the other held onto the Peanut.

And yes, she seemed to enjoy it too.


First trip to Disney…Mission Accomplished!

4) Then there was Christmas!


Of course – Sunday was all about Christmas!  We enjoyed the day hanging out at home, cooking various meals, and just relaxing.  Even Lucy got a treat or two.

Albeit, our Christmas tree is starting to sag a bit.  Yes, the one we brought home via bike.  Not a strong contender this year unfortunately.

5) Let’s eat!

Of course, we couldn’t end this without talking at least a little bit of food!  After all, I showed you the market.  Now keep in mind it was just The Girl and I.  Well, plus The Peanut and Lucy.  But baby isn’t exactly eating a Christmas ham yet, and as much as Lucy would love to…that wasn’t in the plans for her dog bowl.

To start off brunch I used a bag of leftover oranges to make some fresh squeezed orange juice.  We got one of these commercial-quality juicers for the bakery, and it works brilliantly on our kitchen counter as well.


The previous night The Girl had made an Apple-Chorizo risotto, so we took some of the leftovers and repurposed them on Christmas morning for brunch.  We added some bacon from the butcher, and a fried egg on top.  The perfect combo.


Then for that evening’s dinner, I made filet mignon.  I reduced some red wine, and then made a thyme mushroom bacon sauce.  Plus some quick almond green beans on the side.


As for dessert? By this point, it ended up being quite late in the evening – so chocolate would have to do.  There was a fair bit of that under the Christmas tree, and no reason to let that get stale.  Right?

Hope everyone that celebrates it, had a Merry Christmas.  And for everyone else – hope your weekend went well!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. Tim Churchill

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas

    Looks like you had a lovely Xmas.

    Looking forward to Next years updates and stories of your adventures

  2. Katri

    Merry Christmas! While reading I was planning to ask about the brand and model of the juicer (so could you please share this) and further I thought that considering the quality of your tech reviews I would like to make a x-mas wish that DCrainmaker would spin off to kitchen gadget recommendations as well. Would double my interest towards the blog ;-)

    • Yeah, me and kitchen gadgets are dangerous!

      Though, I’m currently serving a kitchen gadget ban. Else, we’d have had waffles in there. I should have never given my waffle maker to my brother prior to moving. Now I’m waffle-less. :(

      The press is a New Star Foodservice unit, and is highly rated on Amazon (link to amzn.to). It’s a beast, and just kills citrus in one swift press. I used to have one of those that was electric (roughly like this link to amzn.to) that worked fairly well, but somehow the plastic top piece got left next to the oven one day and then melted into a mess.

      I also had one of the Breville Juicers (like this link to amzn.to), but found that they were a complete mess to clean. Just not really worth it.

      Probably my favorite kitchen gadget is simply a Kitchenaid with the pasta roller attachment thing (link to amzn.to). :)

  3. BG

    Yummy breakfast! Google “bacsilog” … a slightly different version from my homeland in South East Asia …Merry Christmas!!!

  4. Jimmy Stevenson

    Such a smiley, cute little peanut!

  5. Doogie

    I had Filet just like you. Now I need some enormous tech talent and to be skinny and we could be twins! Hope you have a great end of year.

  6. Marc Simkin

    ZipCars have names and homes in the States also. They are also experimenting with some ZipCars that have multiple homes, so you can do one-way rentals.

  7. Graham Jones

    I never knew chocolate could go stale, it never lasts long enough in our house to find out…

  8. Raul Freitas

    Hey Ray, I’m in Paris for the week and was right now wondering if Disneyland is enough or if Disneyland + Walt Dlsney Studios park would be a better choice…

    Any take on that?

    Happy holidays!

    • Hi Raul,
      It depends on who you’re going with? For us with the Peanut, just the 1 park was enough. We couldn’t really do much of the rides because she’s only 6 months. So it was nice to just for for 5 hours or so and walk around, see the Christmas lights, some of the characters, and watch others on the rides. We also arrived about an hour later than we had hoped which made a big difference because of sun set these days.

      If your kids are older or its just you and another adult you could pull off both parks as it’s not as big as the Disney in Florida. I think it’s about 10eur more? Don’t hold me to that. Personally I would still just do the 1 park in 1 day even if it was just Ray and I because I hate feeling rushed and I would want to go on every ride and saunter around the park! But that’s me… Ray probably would want to speed walk and time how fast he can get from one ride to the next, making it a strava segment!

      Either way, let us know what you did! Enjoy!

  9. Hoptir

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

  10. Hussam

    Your “free gadget” posts are definitely more popular with comments. Just wanted to wish you happy holidays. Enjoy every moment of your family and little bundle of joy.

  11. Daniel

    Merry Christmas! Seems you had a nice weekend! Enjoy!

  12. gingerneil

    I did beef too this year, but fore rib… Yum!

  13. Stan Sokol

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Just wanted to say that been a follower for a few years and this blog is absolutely amazing, keep up the great work!

  14. Brett M

    Ray, here’s wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  15. Patrick

    Ray and “The Girl,”

    What do you use for the Peanut’s hands and feet when you’re out and about in the cold? Our little man is 8 months old and we live in downtown DC, so like you, we usually travel around town in the carrier and not the car. We found a great fleece suit for him to wear, but we can’t find:

    A) feet covers/socks that are warm and stay on;
    B) hand covers that he doesn’t immediately put in his mouth and soak through or pull off.

    And one teething tip we learned. We used to leave a damp wash cloth and metal spoon in the fridge at all times. Our little guy used to love chewing on both when they were cold!


    • The Girl


      Hmmmm we don’t have the problem with the hands in mouth when using the carrier? The Lille that I use sort of keeps her hands hanging down so they can’t reach the mouth… or shes just too lazy to reach?

      For the boots/sock option. That drove me bananas for the first few walks as I spent the whole time checking if the boots were still there! I happened to luck into a pair of Carters slippers -link below- that had elastic around the ankle and she can’t kick them off. The girl is like Houdini with her socks and boots, so if for some reason she’s wearing a different pair of boots I have tied a ribbon to the back of the boots that I string up through the pants and back down to the other boot. It’s not perfect, but it works.

      link to carters.com

  16. Eric Ericson

    Okay, so this is a random question, but how is the bacon in France in comparison? Every time I’m out of the states, it seems like the one thing that’s never quite as good as back home.

    • It’s really variable.

      Generally it’s cut much less thick than American bacon. In our case, we can ask for whatever thickness we want from the butcher, since they’re cutting it on the spot.

      However, I find that when I get it from the butcher I have to remove two little bone bits (super easy, since they are like the size of a M&M).

      I’d say the butcher stuff is roughly on par with most American bacon, whereas the rare super-market stuff isn’t so awesome.

  17. Jorge

    Merry Christmas! Sounds like a great weekend :)

  18. Stephanie

    My husband would love a power meter
    What is it…. I don’t know!

  19. Steven

    Belief in Santa makes reindeer fly. Belief in penguins makes The Girl fly.

  20. Ray Wright

    Dude, The Peanut is a cutie.

  21. It looks like The Girl is to penguins what I am to pandas. Aka, lose my sh!t :D