Joyeuses Pâques! Sweet Easter Gifts & Artful Activities

C'est vendredi saint--It's Good Friday today, or Holy Friday as they say in French, and I'm remembering the beautiful ways that Easter is celebrated in France. Instead of an Easter bunny bringing eggs there, they tell children that the church bells ring to Rome, and when the bells echo back to France, the bells bring chocolates back to France. I have fond memories of hunting chocolate eggs at my host family's chalet in the Alps years ago.

Last spring I was in Paris to run my first marathon, so I was able to bring back small chocolate chickens for my children for Easter! Inside the hollow chickens were little chocolates in various forms. French chocolatiers make the most wonderful chocolate animals for Easter--not just bunnies, but even chocolate lobsters, dolphins, fish, and seashells! I'm not sure why the ocean theme exists at Easter there, but it's delightful to see the variety of chocolate forms.

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Bastille Day 2016 in Oregon - Vive la France!

The biggest French national holiday is arguably Bastille Day, though the French don't call it that. En français, It's simply le 14 juillet. And for fourteen years now, the Alliance Française of Portland has organized a Bastille Day festival the weekend before July 14th. This year's fête was held outside the Portland Art Museum, with the usual mélange of colorful vendors' booths, live accordion music, a wine garden, and mouthwatering treats for gourmands of all ages.

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Weekly Meal Planning Made Simple

Bonjour! How was your weekend? On Saturday we celebrated my daughter's seventh birthday by going ice skating, then warmed up with steaming bowls of pho (beef noodle soup) at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant. (Birthdays in our family always seem to be accompanied by pho--usually homemade!) Speaking of food, I want to share my weekly meal planning routine with you because this is such a fast, practical, and fun method. I usually do this on Saturdays so I can relax on Sundays & honor the Sabbath. Ready? Here it goes:

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Beginning February: L'Amour and Crêpes

Février est arrivée--Now that it's February, I'm glad to guide my children through some simple activities connected to love and light. One of the clearest descriptions of love, the apostle Paul's summary in 1 Corinthians 13, lends itself to a simple bilingual project:

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Playing in Paris with Little Ones: What Local Families Know

Bonjour les amis! We've been back from France for four months now and I'm feeling the distance. It's been nice to send and receive new year's cards this month (as the French do so throughout the month of January), but a completely unreasonable part of me wishes we could have stayed for the whole school year! Some of you are hoping to take your children to Paris someday soon just as my husband and I did. If you go, you should know about these two lesser-known family-oriented places that will give your children opportunities to play and speak in French:

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How I Enrolled My Child in Preschool in France (for one month)

Bonjour les amis! Je m'excuse--I've chosen to focus on homeschooling and homemaking lately, and I took an unforeseen break from blogging. Nonetheless, I missed writing and I definitely look forward to the times I get to reconnect with you. Today I want to answer a question posted on Intentional Mama's Facebook page about exactly how I managed to enroll my three-year-old son in public preschool while we lived in Lyon, France. We were only there until the end of September, but attending French school was an opportunity I didn't want my son to miss! I can't promise that you or your friend would be able to enroll your child based on these two steps, but honestly the process was far easier that I expected and it's worth trying!

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Making Travel (in France) with Toddlers Easier: Taming the Ts

Last week I received a request for tips for traveling in France with very young children, and how to avoid stressful moments with them when possible. As I look back on our three months in France (and especially our two weeks in Paris), here's what I learned that made our family vacation and travel times easier:

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On Returning to Oregon

We're back in Oregon! I'm a bit embarrassed to tell you that we've returned because I wasn't able to blog consistently from Lyon like I had hoped, but now that we are home I can still share posts about France in retrospect. How are you? Have you settled into a school routine? Can you believe it's already October and we're entering the last quarter of the year?!

Winding down and preparing to leave Lyon was emotionally difficult because our rented apartment felt like home from the start, particularly because we loved getting to know our new neighbors and we jumped right into school and meal routines.

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