A Whole Lotta French Stuff


April 7, 2011

Remember that teacup my husband said he bought me from Anthropologie? He really did, and here it is:

Isn’t it beautiful? He said he wanted me to have something sunny to look at through the long winters here.

And here are the bowls I got for Christmas from my mom-in-law:

I think they look Hawaiian!! I LOVE them!

Lots of love today. I am loving this, which is brand spanking new at Trader Joe’s, according to Mr. Trader Joe’s Man:

It is yummylicious.

Something else I super-love is Julia’s Petit Pan mobile. Do you all know about Petit Pan? It is a French company based in Paris that makes all kinds of textile objects for children based on vintage fabrics (blankets, pillows etc), as well as the most amazing kites and mobiles. Their products are handmade in China by artisans skilled in kite-making. The mobiles are light as a feather and strung on bamboo frames.

If Julia ever tires of this, I will hang it elsewhere in my room or my kitchen!

I ordered ours from an online shop called Comptoir d’Enfance for about $20 dollars. This site used to be U.S. based but I noticed recently that their prices are now listed in euros so I assume they have moved . . . somewhere. In case you were wondering, it is currently about $1.43 for every one euro, if that helps anyone who wants to order something!

Check out this cute French book I just saw the other day:

Very simple, light on text, big on pictures. I think that preschool kids and kindergarteners would enjoy this quite a bit.

If anyone wants to be Super Baker and try making these macarons de Parisienne (again, TRADER JOE’s – I had a picture of the box but the photo did not cooperate):

You can try the recipes by French pastry chef Cecile Cannone here:

(For the more lazy, try the Trader Joe’s version. Julia and I fight over them!)

Ode to Anthropologie


April 6, 2011

My friend Samantha calls Anthropologie, aka Shop From the Heavens, her “temple of loveliness.” Truer words were never spoken. I know it is probably wrong to worship a retail store but I am going to anyway.

I want to LIVE in Anthropologie! When I win the lottery, everything I wear will be from Anthropologie, everything I eat and drink from will be out of Anthropologie, and my home will be a giant shrine to Anthropologie. (At which point my husband Andrew will move out.)

EVERY YEAR I ask him to buy me a Christmas present from Anthropologie. HE NEVER DOES. He says he cannot for the life of him figure out which $50 door knob I want. Silly goose. I don’t want a door knob. I want everything else!

He could buy me one of these. ANY ONE OF THEM.

(Andrew says: Holy *%@#! I did buy you a teacup from Anthropologie. Do you not remember?)

Well I guess after 10 years of constant nagging, it finally paid off. Moving on. Look at these! VERY French Provencale!

I think this Monet-inspired dress and Parisian bakery scene tea towel are Very Necessary To My Happiness:



(Andrew thinks this dress looks like someone threw up flowers.)

One needs tea towels . . . .

. . . to wipe plates like these!

Check out the coolest coloring book ever, by illustrator Herve Tullet, who is apparently known in France as the ‘Prince of Pre-School Books.’

(Andrew here again. I beg to differ. This is the coolest coloring book ever.)

I almost, almost bought this, but I am going to wait until we are going on a trip.

I also found this classic gem by M. Sasek –-

Um, that’s a very interesting mustache you have there, Mr. Postman. (I think he was actually modeled after French president Charles de Gaulle.) There is a whole series of these children’s fact and fun travelogues – London, Rome, Ireland and Venice and more. (I would say for ages 5+, there is actual history discussed.)

Le sigh. J’adore.

I was rushing out the door when I saw this, I have no idea what is inside --

But I am guessing it is really an Anthropologie catalog in disguise!

( I see you looking at me suzani chair. I love you too! )

(Andrew’s comment has been deleted as spam by the moderator.)

All things lovely from Anthropologie can be found here. I did compare the pricing of the books against Amazon, and sadly, Anthro does not win in the price department, so if you fancy the books, I would order them from Amazon.

Tiny Tot Tuesday (petit enfant mardi)


April 5, 2011

Ah what a tremendous plaisir it is to have another opportunity to butcher, I mean, master the beau (belle?) langue de francais!!

Skip. That was my heart. Or arrhythmia? Flutter. There it is again!

Could it POSSIBLY be that something has arrived to fill the gaping cavern of desolation that was left in me by the demise of Cookie magazine??????

(Losing Domino was a blow. Losing Cookie was ...something I’m still recovering from. It really is a toss-up as to which crushed my magazine loving soul more.)

(Yes, I saved every last one of them!!)

Soooo I was PRETTY DARN EXCITED to see that Luckykids has arrived! (an offshoot of Lucky mag) So far it appears that it will be released only twice a year, but there is an online site to keep us occupied in the meantime.

(we have those little crayon rocks, they are FUN! You can find them here.)

Well, I have to say that I liked it. I didn’t loooooooove it. It isn’t Cookie, with all of its fabulous articles on parenting and its cooking section and whatnot. A little too much emphasis on the fashion side, which, well I already have enough issues that my kid has better clothes than I do. But Luckykids was cute and fun and I’ll definitely check it out in the future!

I did like the kids’ rooms décor spread a lot:

On to Parisian books! OF COURSE I have to have Madeline in French week! I feel like classics are sometimes ignored, precisely because they are classic and not the new, cool modern thing on the block. The great thing about these stories is that the art and rhyme structure are engaging for the smaller set, as well as transitioning really well as your kid ages and really gets more of the actual story.

Have you all read Madeline? Even if you have, chances are you and your kids may not have read every Madeline story and you should check them all out! Or read them ENCORE.

“In an old house in Paris/that was covered in vines/lived twelve little girls in two straight lines/…..the smallest one was Madeline.” –- Madeline

Grandma gave us the complete collection for Julia’s birthday.

It took me a surprisingly long time to realize that Madeline lives in a fancy boarding school, not an orphanage.

What doesn’t happen in these stories?? Amazing illustrations, plucky little girl, naughty neighbors, circuses, gypsies, heroic dogs and of course, appendectomies! Julia was extremely interested in that part of the original Madeline story.

And for those of you also still in mourning over Cookie, check out these sites: www.dinneralovestory.com/ (I can vouch for many many recipes!!) and momfilter.com/. Both are great and written/run by former editors from Cookie.

Lanterns, Mochi & Totoros


April 1, 2011

Hey! Check out our lanterns! Easy peasy lemon squeezy. I have to say that I am NOT crafty. I have some friends who are so crafty and talented and make/sell amazing things – it’s all I can do to open a bottle of glue. Sometimes even that is a challenge. Someone should make a book called Crafts for Dummies, I’d run out to get that book!!

Honestly, with these it’s all about the paper. The paper would make anything look good! Here are the basic directions I followed.

I made this last year, we use it to keep stickers in. Basically I took fancy paper and wrapped a shoe box and its lid like I would a present. There was a great deal of tape involved but it has held up pretty well!

More Japanese treats that are Really Extremely Good:

These are available at My Favorite Store, aka Trader Joe’s! This yumminess is ice cream inside a soft, chewy rice dough covering. Julia LOVES mochi.

So, here is what Julia got this year for Christmas:

This is what I am imagining you are saying to yourself right about now – what is that insanely bizarre looking cat creature and what the hey are those round bunny-esque thingamabobs and what is up with those little girls (??) with the smushed faces?

Well, here is a little story for you. While I was familiar with the work of Japanese director and illustrator Hayao Miyazaki, especially Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, I had no idea that he had made movies for smaller kids. My friend Christina told me that I had to run, race, sprint to go see My Neighbor Totoro with Julia and my friend Nick told me that I had better sit Julia down in front of Kiki’s Delivery Service ASAP.

If you and your kids have NOT seen this film, I have just given you a BIG present. Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday! Happy-Almost-Tax-Day! I know I tend to talk in superlatives and get super excited about …most everything…but this I think is the best kid’s movie I have ever seen.

This film is so far removed from the standard, flashy Disney fare, (Disney is great don’t get me wrong), but Totoro is just in its own Universe of Coolness. It is BEAUTIFUL. The story is about two sisters, Mei and Satsuki, who encounter kindly forest spirit creatures in the woods close to their home. The girls (ages 4 and 10) and their professor dad have moved to the country to be closer to the girls’ mother while she is recovering from an illness in the hospital (don’t worry, she comes home at the end of the movie).

A totoro, Mei’s father tells her, is a magical keeper of the forest that only children can see. In addition to the totoro,the girls also meet tiny little dust creatures called soot sprites as well as the Catbus, who shuttles them all from place to place. After Julia first saw this movie, she then watched it everyday for the next 10 days straight. It is amazing.

Julia loves this movie about Kiki, a witch-in-training and her cat Jiji, almost as much. Kiki moves from her village to the big city for a year of witch practice on her own and uses her flying skills to start a package delivery service. By the end of the film, Kiki has gained self-confidence in her abilities, made new friends and found her direction.

You can find Totoro toys here and I got the Mei and Satsuki thumb dolls for about $4 on Ebay.

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