Holocaust Survivor Shares Amazing Story Of Kindness

Wow! Mon Dieu, wow!

This clip from the documentary Human, as told by 82-year-old Holocaust survivor Francine Christophe, is worth your time.

I was in tears throughout this heart-wrenching story that demonstrates the goodness of the human spirit.

Stay human tout le monde. #kindnesswins!

Bisous,

Miss Madame

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France and Italy Travel Journal

“Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails.  Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry,–determine to make a day of it.”

– Henry David Thoreau

It’s hard for me to sum up in words my recent school trip to Europe.

Along with my school’s Italian teacher (aka my roomie: the Frick to my Frack), we teamed up with the educational travel company ACIS and lead a group of 18.

It was a mix of students, parents, teachers, and our two moms. We ranged in age from 7 to 75.

It wasn’t a vacation.

It was a trip.

In 10 days, we packed in two countries – Italy and France – and a handful of cities – Rome, Florence, Pisa, Eze, Nice, Pont du Gard, Nimes, and Paris.

Passengers reported and compared their daily mileage as tracked on their Fitbits and we averaged nine a day.

We were on the go.

This was a trip.

On this trip, I was reminded of all the reasons I travel again and again: Tasting unusual foods, experiencing new cultures, hearing and trying out world languages, meeting locals, laughing over follies, sharing and telling life stories, and learning. Always learning.

Travel changes lives.

For those 10 days we were each other’s people.

I was reminded how important it is to be a helper – to raise each other up, to lighten each others’ loads, spirits, and moods, and to look after one another.

I was reminded to sink into life and be where you are.

It’s easy to sink in on vacation like it’s your job.

The trick is to take a vacation mindset into your everyday. To truly sink it to where you are – be it at home, school, work, traffic, or the grocery store.

I was reminded to carry more ish with me – whenever possible. The ish embodies: I’ll be there at 5ish. It may take 10ish minutes. The ish allows you to savor life and take moments a little slower.

I like ish because it reminds me: “As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are.  Otherwise you will miss most of your life.” (Buddha)

In the end, I was reminded that it’s the people you are with that count.

On this trip, new friendships forged and old ones deepened. I am forever changed by the people on this trip.

This is me with my fellow World Language teachers in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris.

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This is my mom and I in the same park:

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Mama Joan (above) and Mama Judy offered up enough wisdom (and wisecracks) to write a book.

Memories surfaced, such as one of my favorite nights seeing Jamiroquai at the Arènes de Nîmes with my husband in 2005.

That was then … this is now that I texted to my hubs:

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But mostly we created new souvenirs.

We laughed at inside jokes and jotted down quotes.

Who doesn’t love pretending you’re a policier in Paris? …

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I counted to 18 constantly. For days after the trip I looked for our littlest traveler: Seven-year-old Aidan. He was a rockstar, epitomizing diving head first into new experiences.  I ate up his joie de vivre.

Here he’s tossing the boule at our lesson in Nice:

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This is moi in a heated competition at our Boules lesson:

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If you’d like a walk through these 10 days in sunny July, scroll on.

We saw the Sites 

There was the Colosseum, the Louvre, and all of the must sees in the cities we toured.

In Pisa, we posed as all of the tourists do:

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We found out about the bee hives in the Jardin du Luxembourg:

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The park is si charmant to me and there’s always a spot or three where I like to sit for a while:

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We visited many churches: St. Peter’s in Vatican City and the Scala Sancta (the Holy Stairs) and San Giovanni in Rome.

The Duomo in Florence:

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We stood on the Paris Point Zero marker in front of the Notre Dame de Paris indicating we would return to the City of Lights and walked on the original Rose line at the Saint-Sulpice church in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood:

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Church candles fill me with serenity and I like to light them:

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We Soaked in the Views

Ponte Vecchio in Florence:

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I took an early morning jog along the river Arno in Florence and it was so worth the 6 a.m. rise. It was such a serene way to start the day:

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The charming streets in Eze are a treat. I took a mental pause here and imagined a coupe de champagne and a beach read … bliss. But alas, we pushed on to the top.

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The view from the Jardin d’Eze (known as the exotic garden) was worth the uphill, cobblestone walk:

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My mom and I enjoyed looking out at the Mediterranean Sea:

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In Nice, the sweeping panorama at Colline du Château of the Baie des Anges is one of my favorites:

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From the top of the hill, the orange rooftops of the Old Town of Nice (known as Vieux Nice) are picturesque:

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And of course the Eiffel Tower. Oh, Paris comme je t’aime!:

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This was my bakers’ dozenth time in Paris and yet… through new eyes and with new people it was a new experience. In a city that large and historic, there’s always something unique to uncover.

If you can’t get to the top of the Iron Lady, then the annual fête foraine (summer fairground) in the Tuileries is a fun second to catch a sweeping view.

Several people went on the Ferris Wheel and four others (myself included) hopped on the swings. As my 13-year-old rider told me, “This is a good risk.”

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We Remarked on Quirks

We meet Mr. Ed in Pisa:

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I swear as he chewed his bubblegum, it truly looked as if he was chatting us up. We pealed in laughter as we talked to Mr. Ed:

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This man is raking the Boules’ playing court on the quatorze juillet (or as we know is Bastille Day). The French take their Pétanque and Boules seriously.

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We Ate

Our tour guide, Lucy, bought out to an incredible restaurant, Finisterrae in Florence. It’s a new must go.

We tried crêpes, moules marinières, gelato, and pizza. The Japanese teacher was on an exploration of the countries’ potato chips and a French student was on the hunt for the best macaroon.

We landed on our top choice at Pierre HerméThe salty caramel was to die for, i.m.o.

For those with a sweet tooth, there were many bonbons in Paris:
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I bought my girls these ginormous gummy snakes:

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Fresh food marchés and corner stores abound:

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We didn’t hit up a McDo, but could have … it was in walking distance from the Trevi Fountain in Rome:

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The outdoor cafes, bistros, and restaus in Italy and France make for welcome spots to sit on a hot day:

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Or for a quick bite:

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We tried to eat at L’As du Falafel – my go-to spot for lunch in the Marais neighborhood of Paris –  but the line was down the street. We ate at Chez Marianne instead. It was also quite good.

This is the view coming down the stairs from the loo. Bathrooms are so interesting in Europe.

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I love sampling new eats while traveling and this trip’s best takeaway was a goat cheese, sliced watermelon, and arugula salad – miam miam!!

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We Learned: 

So much. Our guides were fantastique!

We learned French and Italian words, food facts, cultural tidbits, and so much history. I wanted to attached a memory tube from the guides to my brain to absorb all that was presented to us.

If you’re wondering how many statues of Lady Liberty there are in Paris, the answer is … je ne sais pas. There’s the most famous near the Pont de Grenelle with beautiful juxtaposition with the Eiffel Tower and then there’s this one in the Jardin du Luxembourg:

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I know this because we learned from the best. ACIS tour guides are knowledgable, hip, and friendly.

Here were are at the Louvre getting schooled by Lou (our Paris guide) on Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People:

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There was charm.

Our rooms at the Hotel Domus Sessoriana are obtained from the cells of the monastery attached to the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.  The air circulation was bunk, but the charm, oh mon Dieu!

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There were crowds at the Vatican (and the Eiffel Tower and Louvre):

 

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There were plane shows and fireworks on Bastille Day: 

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There was street art. 

In Pisa:
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In Florence:

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There was English: 

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There were lots of windows, bikes, and scooters. 

In Vieux Nice:

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In Florence:

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I love the charm of bikes and scooters:

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In Rome:

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In Florence:

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In Paris:

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As always, thanks ACIS.

Bisous,

Miss Madame

Paris: How I Talked about the Attacks with My French Students

Paris was attacked.

And I teach French.

I knew Monday morning, my students would ask, “Madame, what happened in France?”

I knew I needed to address the tragedy.

I knew they would look to me for answers.

Where do I start? What do I say? 

As a journalist, I thought about the who. I thought about the what.

I thought about the when, where, why, and how.

I thought about the facts. The details.

As their teacher, I thought about what message I wanted to deliver.

I spent much time on the weekend researching and mentally preparing. I talked with my family, friends, and my student teacher.

I tested my lesson plan on Veronica, my oldest. I wasn’t sure what would happen at her school the next day and what she would hear. I pictured someone, knowing that I teach French, saying, “It’s so sad about Paris,” and her confusion if she wasn’t in the know. I wanted the news to come from me, so I sat her down on Sunday and talked with her about what took place Friday evening in Paris.

Her response quieted my fears and I knew the next day would be okay.

Sure enough, on Monday morning, the questions started as my student teacher and I greeted our students at the classroom door.

“Madame, I heard about Paris. What happened?”

“Madame, are we going to talk about Paris today?”

“Mais oui,” I responded. “Entrez, entrez.”

Their faces were full of concern and anxiety.

But before hearing their voices, I wanted to set the tone.

First, I showed them this image and asked, “How many of you have seen this?”

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Most hands shot up and the side conversations started.

I continued, “I know you have a lot of questions and concerns, and we are going to talk about them. I promise. But please hold off for a few minutes. I want to show you a couple things first.”

Then we started class as we do every day – with bell focus.

I said, “People all over the world are hurting. People at home, in Chicago, in the United States, in Paris, in Lebanon, in Syria. People all over the world are suffering.”

I explained that we were talking the attacks in Paris because they happened in France and this is French class.

Yet I wanted the students to think not only about the French, but about all the people struggling in the world today and every day.

I tapped on the bell and we took a minute to close our eyes and breath.

We listened as the bell faded away and when it ended I handed each student a notecard to write their thoughts, comments, and questions.

Then I projected a Powerpoint with the following images and quotes on slides while the students listened to two minutes of the song Imagine.

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After, I played this video that showed the candles, the flowers, and the people of Paris. It showed the world standing with France in solidarity. (If you haven’t seen it, take a peek. It’s beautiful.)

Then I started with the known facts – tweaking slightly to make it grade-level appropriate.

I felt compelled to talk about the attacks with my fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. I hesitated to bring it up with younger students out of fear that I would be the bearer of heavy news.

I wagered some knew, but not all.

I was their teacher, not their parent. I didn’t want to be the one.

Little did I know that five of my second graders would come to class full of questions, concerns, and opinions.

So, just as I did with the older students, I let them talk. I listened to them and responded to their thoughts and questions.

I had planned out the videos and images I wanted to show. I had bullet points on what I would say. I mapped on a notecard how I thought the 40-minute period would unfold.

Apart from the bell focus, the Powerpoint I created, and the unity video,  each class took on a life of it’s own.

I was so grateful for my student teacher as her knowledge, words, and support were a lifeline.

The projector was on and we interjected with images and maps to answer and guide their questions. Each class looked a little different, but I showed most a map of Paris that marked the spots of the attacks. Our conversations ran the gamut from Syrian refugees to fears for the United States to the G20 summit in Turkey to why is the world paying more attention to Paris than Lebanon.

There were tears.

There were questions to which I didn’t have the answers.

One student said five times on repeat, “Why would they do that? Why would they do that? Why…? Why…? Why…?”

I wondered as well.

I showed them the SNL opener the day after the attacks. It was spoken in French by cast member Cecily Strong.

My goal was to end class with this video of a pianist playing Imagine outside of the Bataclan concert hall.

My students astounded me with their wisdom, insights, openness, and youthful responses.

They are why I do what I do every day.

France feels far away. Lebanon and Syria too.

Yet our world is a shared one.

As their world language teacher, I want them to think globally, of course. But also I want them to think about Chicago, their homes, and their school. I asked them to think about the following:

  • What can I do today to be a helper?
  • What can I do today to be a person of change?
  • What can I do today to be an instrument of peace?

I want to encourage them to spread a message of hope, peace, and love.

Every day.

In big, in small, and in everyday, meaningful ways.

We talk a lot at our school about being a bucket filler and ways to be kind.

My students know that a smile, a door held, a genuine, “how are you How’s your day going,” can make all of the difference in someone’s day.

These acts matter.

I read on Momastery’s Facebook page, “When the world feels hopeless, we must be hope. When the world feels violent, we must be peace. When the world feels dark, we must be light. When the world feels afraid, we must be love.”

Let’s work to close the gaps in our hearts. Let’s seek to understand each other before we jump in with assumptions, bias, or judgment.

Each day I aspire to bring hope, peace, light, and love into the world.

Sometimes I fall short, but each day I wake inspired to try again.

It is my deepest belief that it helps.

Bisous,

Miss Madame

Listen to Authentic French Music and Learn

Salut tout le monde!

Have you ever heard a song on the radio that you haven’t heard in ages and surprised yourself by singing all the lyrics? Or out of no where you pull out a jingle from your childhood?

Music and catchy rhymes/jingles stick in our minds for years, while verb conjugation charts and memorized data can poof! disappear.

Music activates both the right and left sides of the brain, meaning, if you remember something to a tune, you’re more apt to recall the words than if you just read it or heard it spoken.

Music in another language is not only beautiful, but it opens the students to the nuances of language and culture.

Songs help students learn a world language.

This is why I highly encourage students listen to French in all forms. In class we sing A LOT! We sing when we make a cirlce, when we clean up and when we sit down to start class. If you ask my students how they sit down, they’d likely start singing: Asseyez-vous (clap, clap) to the tune of Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

If you’re looking for ways to do this at home or in the car with your children, I have a few suggestions.

On the web, Radio France, NRJ, and Pandora. On Pandora, I love Carla Bruni and Keren Ann.

Download the app Spotify for free music. My favorite playlists are Nouvelle scene francaise and French Cafe Lounge. You can also check out France Top 50. Touch the browse tab, then charts, and then Top 50 by Country. Finally, click France Top 50.

Download the app Radio Française. My favorite is Radio Nova.

Happy singing!

Miss Madame

Learn French by Podcast

Salut tout le monde!
I found a fantastic FREE podcast that I’d like to share with you. It’s Learn French By Podcast. There are 175 lessons, starting with basics such as Introducing Yourself and Discussing Family to Talking about Superfoods. There are beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.
For example, in the first lesson you’ll learn basic expressions, including how to say who you are, where you live, and what you do. You’ll also be introduced to three verbs.
It’s easy to listen to in the car and offers a thematic dialogue repeated a few times, followed mini lessons on the contents in the dialogue. You can listen to the podcasts for free on your smart phone.
Also, you can find the PDF’s for the lessons on the website for Learn French by Podcast. The PDF’s contain full dialogue transcripts, grammatical analysis, vocabulary, and cultural snapshots. There are five sample lessons for free and then you can purchase credits to get additional lessons.
Bisous,
Miss Madame

52 Weeks of Family French

Bonjour tout le monde!

I want to introduce you to a book that I recently purchased on Amazon, called 52 Weeks of Family French. I’m excited to share it with you and to try it at home with my daughters. We listen to French music (both childrens and contemporary) in the car and read French culture books in English and French, but admittedly we speak inconsistently in French.

Yes, I say bonne nuit and beaux rêves (good night and sweet dreams) to the girls. When I want to get them out the door, I say allez-y (let’s go!).

They know basic phrases, such as je m’appelle (my name is), but I haven’t worked systematically yet or embedded the language daily.

It’s my goal to up the ante this year at home, and in sharing this with you, maybe inspire you to do the same.

The book follow an auditory and oral learning model. There’s no grammar and no vocabulary drills here. It’s a natural way to learn a language. The book contains 52 small, achievable lessons that you can do at home with your child (even if you don’t speak French yet!).

The lessons are short and simple and can get you and your family to speak French in the moments you are together: mealtimes, morning “rush hour,” carpools, and bedtime. If you’re unsure about the pronunciation, your child will be eager to teach you and if that doesn’t do the trick, check out this site.

The first week focuses on Manners and using six French words daily: oui (yes), non (no), s’il vous plaît (please), merci (thanks), merci beaucoup (thank you very much) and de rien (you’re welcome). Practice the words when you’re together and if you’d like an intro to greetings, check out this Muzzy video.

What do you think? Want to give it a go?

Please share with me if you do and if you have any questions, please reach out and I’d love to help answer them.

Bisous,

Miss Madame

Around the World in 10 Books

“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”
– Pablo Casals

Allons-y!

Chodźmy!

Andiamo!

Ας πάμε!

我们去吧 (wo men qu ba)!

Let’s take a reading trip across the globe.

Whether you’re planning a family trip to France or simply want to expose your child to diverse cultures and people on planet Earth, you can bring out your family’s inner explorers through books.

I like to add favorites to our bookshelf at home, but before dropping $7 – 15 bones on Amazon, I usually opt for a first read for free. I search Chicago Public Library‘s online catalog. In Chicago, you can put up to five books on hold and have them delivered to your branch. When the book arrives at your local library, you get an email notification and a deadline by which you must pick up the book.

It’s so easy.

Around the World in 10 Books

Everybody Bonjours: I have an extensive classroom library, but this book my favorite passport to Paris. It’s the first read with my Kindergarteners in September.

If You Were Me and Lived In Mexico – The author, Carole P. Roman, is a formal social studies teacher. Her books introduce children to other cultures and countries such as Greece, Turkey, India, China, Australia, France, Kenya, Russia, Scotland, Portugal, Norway, Peru, and South Korea.

Olivia Goes to VeniceI wrote about this whimsical book here. 

Ruby’s Wish

The Name Jar

What the World Eats

Finders Keepers: A True Story in India

We All Went on Safari

Let’s Visit Istanbul: Adventures of Bella & Henry: This picture book series follows a doggie named Bella, her little brother Harry, and their family as they make stops in exciting cities, such as Dublin, Rome, Athens, Vancouver, Barcelona, Cairo, Venice, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Maui, New York, Berlin, Saint Petersburg, Beijing, Jerusalem, and Rio de Janeiro.

I Live in Tokyo

What’s your family’s favorite title? Please share in the comments.

Bisous,

Miss Madame

It’s Not Bastille Day. It’s Best Deal Day

Eiffel Tower #1

I’m at t-minus two weeks to the end of the school year.

This equals summer break for me, but it also means 14 days until my year-long clothes shopping ban is over.

It’s OVER.

I can shop for clothes again.

I kind of can’t believe I made it.

It may not seem like a big deal, whatever, it’s clothes.

But, for me … it is!

I knew I liked la mode and changing it up – French teacher blah de blah blah. But this year I was reminded that I really love clothes.

There were numerous times where I questioned, why on Earth did I make this promise to myself?  

I’ve come _ close to breaking my hiatus multiple times in the last few weeks. I’ve made it. This is good enough, I rationalized. The weather is turning, I could use a new dress. 

But non! I dove back into my closet and reminded myself of why I started the ban in first place. (Admittedly, last weekend, my sister gave me my birthday present a month early. Sneaky, lovely, knowing-my-needs sissy!)

I’ve learned more about shopping my closet and created both a seasonal list and a wish list.

I’ll post about my experience soon, but man, I’m eager for June 19th.

I want to go nuts, so It’ll take restraint to stick to my lists this summer.

I.want.to.shop.

And shop I will.

In France and Italy.

In July, the Italian teacher at my school and I are taking a handful of our middle school students on a 10-day trip to France and Italy.

It’s special to share and witness “live” education as they lay their eyes on the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, and the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. I eat up the moment when they realize they are stepping on layers of history. Their language skills not only blossom, but take on new meaning.

I’m in it for that and this year three other factors entice me:

1.We’ll be in Paris on July 14th and get to celebrate France’s National holiday, Bastille Day.

2. Our moms are joining us.

3. It’s time for les Soldes! We’ll be in both countries in the middle of the six-week period of Sales!

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In France and Italy sales are placed roughly six months apart – in January and July. The summer sales begin in late June and last until the inventory is gone, which is roughly early August. The discounts are considerable – usually 30-50% and as high as 70% as the sale period nears the end. Every store drops their prices and the bargains are everywhere. It’s major clearance.

We arrive July 7th, so this T.J. girl is over the moon at the shopping opportunity. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have t0 shop, but I’m efficient.

I.want.to.shop.

Recently, my mom was on a walk with one of her besties. She was telling her all about the trip and how both of us have been saving money to shop in France and Italy. She went on to say that she’s been shopping her closet and told her friend about my shopping hiatus.

She explained how going to France and Italy in July is unique because of the outstanding bargains.

My mom continued saying, “Rudey’s especially excited because we’ll be in Paris on Bastille Day.”

My mom shifted the conversation, but her friend thought she was still on clothes and said, “Best Deal Day? You’re going to be there for Best Deal Day?”

She touched my mom on the arm, “Seriously? That is really something. I’ve NEVER heard of a Best Deal Day.”

They walked a minute. Her friend repeated, though barely audible, “Best Deal Day. Wow.”

“Yeah, Bastille Day,” my mom said. “It’ll be really cool to be in Paris. Fireworks over the Eiffel Tower.”

She glanced at her friend and caught how visibly stunned she seemed. It was then that she caught on to the language nuance.

“Best Deal Day,” she said, stopping on the mid-trail and was nearly peeing in her pants.

“It’s not BEST Deal Day. It’s Bastille Day.” My mom giggled as she stretched the language a little differently, “you know, the French National holiday?”

“Oh right,” her friend responded. “Duh,” she recovered herself. “I thought you said Best Deal Day, and I thought, wow, it’s quite a country that has Best Deal Day.”

They laughed until they had tears.

The next day at work, my mom presented her friend with this:

BEST DEAL DAY

I couldn’t resist sharing it.

It may not be the Best Deal Day, but these are some good deal days and there’ll be some best deals had by my mom and I.

I’m packing an extra duffel bag for my “souvenirs.”

I’ve been waiting all year.

Vive les Soldes!

Bisous,

Miss Madame

French Tea Party Ideas

 

I needed to mad dash home – 13 minutes. 13 minutes, com’on!

But it was Friday afternoon in Chicago. No dice on my average commute time. Traffic was crawling. creeping. not moving. Seriously, why are you turning there? 

I was tense, feeling pressed for time. I was co-hostessing a French-themed tea party as a fundraiser for Veronica’s school stat. I needed to move, MOVE! –  from work, to Stella’s school, to my house.

Once home, I had ten minutes to grab some party supplies and change out of the school-spirit wear from my school’s leadership rally and into a fashionable look.

I threw on a party dress, Mary Jane flats, and some black pearls. I misted my face with relaxing (?) lavender essential oil, freshened my locks with a crunchy crunch, and bolted out the door.

Halfway out, I glanced down at my hand and saw the scribbled reminder note – _______ (read: the name of Stella’s preschool)

Shit, mother bleeping shit! I forgot the damn deli ham and cream cheese in the fridge at Stella’s school. The why this happened is no story, just classic Rudey.

Yet ham’s a must for Croque Monsieur, so I busted to the corner store – well, not so corner, it has craft beers, and two aisles of fresh, vegan, and organic selections.

I went old school and grabbed some Philadelphia and some Buddig (sorry about the nitrates! What I originally bought was organic. There were out at Food Smart).

And I was off running.

Shvitzing and frazzled, I drove north, simultaneously reminding myself Slow down. It’s okay. I’ll get there when I get there and cursing What was I thinking having this party on a Friday night? 

Party at 5, I rolled up at 4:57. Luckily I found a spot right in front of my friend’s house. In the nick of time. I gathered the goods from my trunk just as the first little girl was walking up with her mom. I followed them in, handed off a party ensemble to V to change into, and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

A grateful sigh.

Wowowow. The dining room looked gorgeous:

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My friend (the co-hostess) took our blueprint and nailed it.

Months ago, we had turned to Pinterest for French party decorating ideas and settled on shades of pink, black damask, and Eiffel Towers. She ran with it and beautifully designed the room. Très français!

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Thank God for pre-planning, prepping, and her eye to round out the details.

I just needed to show up.

Bonjour! Channeling un peu Julia Child and un peu Madame crazy lady, I cooed Bonjour, bonjour. I pulled out the lesson plan I created and we were ready to roll as five more girls appeared in their party dresses at the door.

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Let the Games Begin

  • Musical Chairs: I wrote statements (such as I’ve been to Florida, I like to swim, I’ve seen the movie Maleficent, I am in second grade.) on index cards. I tacked the cards on the back of vintage French postcards. The girls took turns reading the cards. Every girl that fit the description had to stand and change seats. It was la folie, but a means to get the wiggles out and sprinkle in a few French words like Allez and Bougez.
  • Read Madeline: Page by page, the girls read the classic story outloud. Fresh off a teaching week, it barely fazed me when one of the girls wildly waved a princess puppet in my face and read her page like a monster. I cozied her by my side by and reeled her in with Oh là là and other Frenchiness. We choral read the end: “Good night, little girls! Thank the Lord you are well! And now go to sleep! said Miss Clavel. And she turned out the light – and closed the door – and that’s all there is – there isn’t any more.”
  • Ask Madeline Multiple-Choice Trivia Questions: Did you know the boy next door is named Pepito?
  • Played Madeline, Madeline, Where’s Your Tiger?:  This circle game was a take on Doggy, Doggy Where’s Your Bone? The girls sat in a circle with one girl (Madeline) in the center. Madeline had to guess which friend was the “tiger” (meaning the girl with the tiger token). If she guessed wrong, the girl said Pooh-Pooh. If she guessed correctly, the “tiger” became Madeline.

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  • Do Ballerina Project: We had planned to read another book Degas and the Little Dancer to set the stage for the project. Didn’t happen. We ran out of time. The game part of the party zoomed, so we skipped it. The girls worked on the snowflake ballerina project in the kitchen. We guided them while we finished prepping and platting the food.

Below is the ballerina Veronica created:

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Let Them Eat Cake

On le menu:

  • Pink lemonade served in small porcelain tea cups
  • Croissants with strawberry jelly
  • Baguette slices with Nutella and banana
  • Président Brie with tiny French flags toothpicks
  • Ham and cheese sandwiches with the toothpicks
  • Onion and Goat Cheese Crostini. This wasn’t a hit with the girls, but it was with the moms. I snuck into the kitchen and popped a few between pouring rounds of lemonade.

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  • Bite-sized pastries from the freezer section at Costco – Eclairs, Napoleons, etc.
  • Mini cupcakes in Frenchy muffin cups. The other mom sweetly accounted for V’s egg allergy and made the cupcakes with pumpkin purée.
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It’s not a French party without a Fifi!

In between passing the finger foods, I taught them a few French table manners: Straight posture, look people in the eyes when you say à ta santé (tchin tchin), and wrists on the table are okay, but no elbows.

During dinner I cued up some tunes on my phone. I compiled three French playlists to set the mood. I pulled from Putumayo, Yelleand classic kids songs like Frere Jacques. Spotify also has solid compilations. I like the set: French Chill Out.

C’est Tout

  • To wrap up the party, we gave each girl a French photo booth prop so they could pose for some pictures. I ❤ Etsy.

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  • The giant Eiffel Tower from my classroom served as a backdrop for girls to Oh là là là là and oui, oui, oui. 

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  • Seven o’clock came fast and they were out the door with their goodie bags – I heart Paris hand sanitizer, French stickers, a pin, and a pencil.

Then we popped in a Madeline video for our two daughters while we cleaned up and poured ourselves respective beers and wine. The mamans deserved a bevie.

Leaning over the kitchen island, we recapped the party and slowing sipped away the week …

Bisous,

Miss Madame