Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Favorites, vol. xv

These are a few of my favorite things from this past week...

1.  Paris being home for a season

K.J. was away at a conference for the International Baptist Convention last week, so after four days of solo-parenting I was happy to get out of the house on my own.  I had a few errands to run in Paris, and as I walked by Notre Dame where hundreds of tourists maneuvered for the perfect angle for their picture it hit me afresh that this is where I live, that many of these streets feel familiar, and I know my way around, and I felt thankful.  

2.  The Christmas line at Marks and Spencer's

Speaking of places that were home, I also felt immensely grateful for the feeling of home I had in this English store Sunday night, filled with things that reminded me of so many memories in North Yorkshire.  When we first moved to Boroughbridge, the local supermarket carried a chocolate orange spread that delighted my husband because we've always loved the chocolate oranges my parents gift us for Christmas (unbeknownst to us, first created in Yorkshire!)  K.J. was ecstatic because not only could he buy said chocolate oranges for one pound, he could spread a delightful concoction on toast in the mornings.  A few months later this chocolate orange spread was discontinued but look what Marks and Spencer brought in for Christmas!  Christmas came early for K.J.

3.  The Canon remote shooting app

I haven't had cause to use it very often, but on a whim decided to take a picture of the four of us that wasn't a selfie.  I've used a remote before, but with my phone I can actually see us on the screen before taking the shot, which is a definite bonus. 

4.  A Child's History of the World

This copy has a super-weird cover, but I love referring back to this book when I want to discuss a topic we're not currently studying in school but is really relevant, e.g. this Sunday is 100 years since the first world war ended, and I wanted to give the kids an overview.  It is well-written and easy to understand.  I highly recommend it.

5.  Crash Course on YouTube

Before looking for a link to give you I didn't realize these two guys were brothers, which makes these even more amazing to me.  If you want a fun, quick overview of something in history or a refresher on something you forgot from your science class, I love watching these.  I often use them to supplement our science and history lessons.

6.  Usborne Illustrated Classics

I love illustrated classics of all kinds, but I mention Usborne because I bought James Treasure Island for Christmas two years ago, and he's just randomly picked it up to read on his own.  I think these beautifully illustrated books make classics much more fun to read aloud together or on their own because the pictures encourage them along through the challenging text.  Two years ago, I also bought Ella this copy of The Secret Garden with illustrations by one of our favorites, Lauren Child.  Plus, who doesn't love a beautiful book on their shelf?  I want to send my kids out into the world with a nice start for their home library.  

What are some of your favorite things from this past week?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Le Grand Trianon

Visiting the palace in Versailles is a popular touristy thing to do when you visit Paris, and we wanted to give K.J.'s parents a glimpse.  They got the more intimate tour because our favorite areas are around the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, and Marie Anotoinette's hamlet.  It's a great place to ride bikes, so while the kids and our husbands went on a cycling adventure  T and I went inside the Grand Trianon, a smaller palace commissioned by Louis XIV.  I love this pretty blue room!

It has been a few years since I last walked through the Grand Trianon, and I was excited to see the terrace again.  It opens up to gardens on the left and a courtyard on the right and is so beautiful!

There's something about that open, light-filled space with that black and white floor that is stunning.

My other reason for preferring this back corner of the Versailles property is that there are gardens with flowers and grass.  The more formal gardens are all shrubs and perfectly trimmed trees along straight dusty paths.  

Our intention was to walk through the gardens to the hamlet Marie Antoinette had built so she could play at life as a peasant.  Unfortunately, I have long had a bone to pick with arrows on French signs.  They twist and turn and point in directions that don't always seem to indicate the direction they want you to go.  All that to say, we took a wrong turn at a sign and missed the hamlet.  We were treated instead to gorgeous fall trees in a quiet space devoid of all other visitors, so we weren't complaining.

I'd be happy to be lost here any day of the week.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

This October

October was such a lovely month, and I can't believe the last two months of 2018 are staring us in the face.  Our family started the month with J's birthday.  He received a fitness watch, so he joined me on a lot more walks to see his step count climb.  We had a retreat with Emmanuel International Church, our first family come visit us in France, and topped off the month with a Hogwarts Hallowe'en Feast last night.  

October 1 - Birthday Morning

October 2 - Forest Walks

October 3 - Autumn Beauty

October 4 - My Favorite Bus Route

October 5 - Architectural Details and a Fun Name

October 6 - Sunny Days

October 7 - Gifts from Home

October 8 - Birthday Present from His Alabama Best Friend

October 9 - City Flowers

October 10 - A Room Fit for a Queen

October 11 - First Eiffel Tower trip for the Grandparents

October 12 - Home

October 13 - Church Retreat Games

October 14 - Church Retreat

October 15 - Giverny with Friends

October 16 - Pointe du Hoc

October 17 - Crepes with the Grandparents

October 19 - La Grande Rue

October 20 - More Glorious Sunshine

October 21 - Sunday 

October 22 - Brownie-Baking

October 23 - Perfect Autumn Walks

October 24 - Red Creeper Everywhere

October 25 - See what I mean?

October 26 - Selfies

October 27 - Around the World Book Club

October 28 - Train Views

October 29 - Halloween Designs by Ella

October 30 - Pumpkin Carving Night

October 31 - Holidays can be a good way to enjoy your favorite stories.