Streamlining my Hopes for this Year: What I'm Loving

Bonjour mes amis,

How did the month of January go for you? Are you still feeling hopeful about 2019? There are a few simple things that have given me a burst of optimism about this year and the future, so I'd like to share what I've found:

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New Books About French Homes: Home Sweet Maison & L'Appart

There's something alluring about anything French, and classic French homes and apartments are no exception. With their high ceilings and windows, ornate molding, decorative mantels, and parquet floors, they simply exude character. Of course, owning a French home or apartment also means one has to deal with antiquated plumbing and wiring, and any renovations one undertakes will require extensive--and expensive--paperwork, permissions, payments, and pain

Paris-based food blogger David Lebovitz knows this firsthand. His recently released book L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home traces his path from San Francisco to Paris as he sought out an appartment to purchase and renovate.

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A Day in Our French Homeschooling Life: Ages 1, 4, & 7

This is our second year of homeschooling if you consider that my oldest child is now seven, but our "education at home" lifestyle has been gaining momentum since that daughter was young and we first decided to take this path. This year we've found a definite rhythm, but that's not to say that we follow a set schedule. With my children's young ages and with my belief in the importance of play at this stage, certain days are far less orderly than others--but here's a typical homeschooling day for us:

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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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5 Brief Lessons Learned for Planning a Family Trip Abroad

Here's a short summary of the top lessons I learned for taking our family abroad. So many parents would love to take their children abroad but haven't yet made it happen, so I thought I'd share the basic tips that I learned during this first stay overseas. I learned one of these tips the hard way, but thankfully you won't have to!

1. Open a separate savings account for the trip. We did this about eighteen months before we left on our trip, and the separate savings account was essential in helping us to be financially savvy and to visualize our progress towards our overseas stay. It was so encouraging to make our planned monthly deposits to this account.

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Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping in Lyon & Paris, France

Bonjour again from Lyon! This is my family's first extended stay in France, so it's also the first time I've had the role of preparing meals for my children here. Living here has improved my meal planning skills and expanded our palates, I'm glad to say! I've consistently tried to plan French meals so my children can enjoy one of the best aspects of living in France--the food and the culture surrounding it. Here's what I'm doing differently here:

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