My Kids Are So Cosmopolitan

January 13, 2011

italy nice travel poster vintage

For my 3rd and last post in the Intel AppUp℠ series (post 1 here, post 2 here), Intel asked me: Are your kids using technology to prepare for the big move to France?

My answer: For sure. In fact, a very specific way comes to mind. During our year abroad, we’re hoping we can use our farmhouse as a central home base and travel to other parts of Europe or nearby regions. So Ben Blair assigned the kids to start researching where they’d like to go. He created a simple worksheet with entries that say: City, Country, Three things to see, Food to try, Image.

egypt nice travel poster vintage

The kids take the worksheet, get on the computer or laptop or smart phone and start searching. For the image, they print their favorite touristy shot of the destination and paste it to the worksheet. Then, all the worksheets are compiled in a folder.

So far, they’ve researched Cairo, Venice, Copenhagen, London, Brussels, Berlin and Rome. I wonder how many we’ll be able visit? So exciting to think about!

What about you? What sorts of things would you do to get your kids excited for a big move? Also. Don’t you just love vintage travel posters? They make me smile.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angie January 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm

What a fabulous idea! I understand you’ve compiled them all in a folder, but then what? How will you choose?

I can see a giant wall map in your French home with pins on the cities and strings connecting the research page to each location. Then maybe a set weekend each month you plan an outing and have a family vote. Or a lottery drawing for what location to go to. Maybe it’s a surprise for the kids and they don’t know until the day you leave.

Are there other ideas? So many great places, how do you choose?!


2 Design Mom January 13, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Good question, Angie! We’re not totally sure yet. We’re going to have to map out the whole year and see what we can fit in.


3 Kristen January 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Brilliant! So smart. So fun. So inspiring. Well done, Familia Blair!
(and, yes, love the vintage travel posters.)


4 Design Mom January 13, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Thanks, Kristen. It’s all due to Ben Blair and his brilliant ideas.


5 bdaiss January 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm

THAT is what I would love about living in Europe. And oh Venizia. How I miss you so…

I also adore vintage travel posters. You might enjoy these:
You could pick up the postcard set and take them with to France of a “touch of home”. (Their National Parks series I adore – they even have Mt. Rushmore!)


6 Lenka January 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Gabrielle, we moved to Europe also and we’ve been living here for a year already. The best part about living here is TRAVELING! We’ve been so lucky and blessed to travel almost everywhere, but I have to say, Cairo and Istanbul were pretty awesome. So different. Good luck, you are going to have some serious fun.


7 jenny January 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm


That is all.


8 Suzy Christensen January 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm

When we were over there with our young children we used media to initiate interest in something. For example: The movie Annie- remember when Daddy Warbucks has the option to buy the Mona Lisa and then he puts it in his bathroom? When we were planning a trip to Paris we explained to them where the actually painting was and how important it was. . . you get the idea. We did this all the time with movies and music and it was a great success for us.


9 alli January 13, 2011 at 9:10 pm

You must make these with your children some rainy day:

they will get sticky though!

I can’t wait to follow your journey across the pond ;)


10 Candice January 14, 2011 at 12:13 am

We are planning a big trip from Thailand to Morocco to visit cousins this year. I hadn’t thought about getting the kids into doing some on-line research. Thanks for the idea!


11 Mandorla January 14, 2011 at 12:52 am

I’ve been following your blog for one year or so from Spain and I am fascinated with your decision of moving to Europe.

I hope you won’t forget visiting Spain!!!! It has so much to offer!!!!


12 Nike January 14, 2011 at 3:33 am

Hey there from Hamburg, Germany (where we can offer to visit a REALLY big harbour) !

I like the idea how you get your kids excited about the whole experience.

One city i would recomend to the grown-ups you because its ALL about art and design: Barcelona!
And for the children: visit Germany, there is some old fairytale castles waiting for you!


13 Alison January 14, 2011 at 5:10 am

I second Barcelona 100 times!

It’s been more than a few years but we took two kids there and still couldn’t fit enough in the full week we spent just in the city. My kids loved the ocean, food market, ramblas, Picasso museum, and all the Gaudi buildings just as much as the castles we toured in Germany. Then not too far (by boat or plane) the Balearic Island are full of recreation and agritourismo.


14 Katja January 14, 2011 at 5:25 am

You should visit munich!
I live there! It is lovely!
Biergarten, Chinesischer Turm, Residenz, Englischer Garten, Olympiaturm, Schloß Nymphenburg, Weißwurst, Leberkäs, Kartoffelsalat, Schweinsbraten…
Come and see!

Many greetings from munich!
Yours, Katja

PS Hamburg where Nike lives is another absolutely georgeous city! Go there too!


15 Heather HS January 14, 2011 at 7:37 am

As someone who lived in France for awhile, don’t forget to go lots of places in France. Basically every region’s capital has something neat-o. Check out Reims, Normandy, Bretagne, Calais, etc. And these types of trips are fantastic for day trips or easy overnights. Just head to the train station, resolve to spend no more than 5 euros per person on train fare, and see how far you can go. Since you’ll be north central, it’s also not far to Luxembourg and Leichtenstein – both really cool. Bon Voyage!

PS on Travel Posters… LOVE them. I’m from Northwest Indiana, which is served by the South Shore Train line. Now it’s a commuter line to Chicago, but back in the day they did beautiful posters ( We asked for a whole set for out wedding, and I love them.


16 Jamie January 14, 2011 at 8:01 am

As you will be residing in Normandy, I would suggest Mont St Michele. I’m a product of a military family/upbringing my father is a huge military history buff needless to say the Norman coast was kind of a big deal.
Ryan Air, if it is still in service was a wonderful alternative to train travel in terms of cost & time. Enjoy


17 Camille January 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

Those travel posters are dreamy. I would love to make it back to Europe some day soon!


18 Connie January 14, 2011 at 9:19 am

That’s a lot of places to visit…I wouldn’t be surprised if you and your family end up loving life there so much that your year abroad becomes two, or three, or more!!


19 January 14, 2011 at 10:22 am

Yes, I love the posters. Your children will have a blast. The biggest hiccup you will find is sleeping accomadations. House rentals seem the easiest way to go since hotels in Europe charge per person and often it is hard to find rooms for more than 4. When we lived in Switzerland we did lots of day trips because it was so hard to find places to stay. Nerver the less, you are going to have a blast.


20 Zandri January 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

What a brilliant idea! I love the fact that the kids are able to find out for themselves where the would like to go what they would like to see. You should encourage them to each keep a travel journal as well. This trip makes for such an amazing experience.


21 Michelle Glauser January 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Make sure you add: “Germany, Leipzig/Dresden (close to Berlin); the biggest European monument (the Völkerschlachtdenkmal), the church where Bach worked, the palace in Dresden; Döner (the so-called “Turkish taco”). You’ll love it!


22 Nikki January 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm

What a great idea! From a teacher’s standpoint, I’m so impressed that your kiddos are getting so involved in their trip. They’ll take ownership in the activities you do together. Good for you!


23 Tanya D January 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I love these vintage posters too! I’ve been living in Switzerland for the past 5+ years and we’ve collected postcards from every place we visited since we’ve been here, including every little town or mountain we’ve been to (maybe over 200 by now). My kids love it and use them to decorate their rooms. Vendors often have postcard versions of these vintage posters, so keep your eye out. You can see a few that I’ve collected here:

I’d highly recommend adding the Alsace region to your list, especially since you will be so close. There are lots of towns to visit, but our favorites are Colmar, Eguisheim, Ribeauville, and of course Strasbourg. Impossibly cute. And make sure to try the coconut macarons (not the french meringue kind, which we also love) served warm and fresh out of the oven. It’s best to go in May or June when the towns are absolutely bursting with flower boxes.

And if you need to know anything about Switzerland, I can talk your ear off. Jordan has my email address. Have fun on your adventure!


24 Mary January 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I am new to your website only a few months. I was drawn to it when I noticed you were moving to Europe for a year. I was so intrigued and envious at the same time. My family had the opportunity to visit many places in Europe last spring and my children always talk about it. (8,7,and 3 years old). Some of their favorite spots were Pompeii, Mdina Malta and Villa franche. I am looking forward to following you on your journey.


25 JFPanther January 17, 2011 at 9:18 am

Why not consider Porto, in Portugal? Yes, is my hometown and I am so proud of it! :)
Check it out:
And please let me know if you come to visit, I will be happy to show you around! ;)


26 alejandra January 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

that’s a brilliant idea to get the kids involved and have them do the research!


27 Denise Laborde January 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Really, an excellent idea!

I’m excited for you and your family. And I’m looking forward to reading about your French adventure.



28 Meg January 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Don’t forget Bruges, Belgiumn! It was our favourite place when we visited in Europe in 2009.


29 Dina January 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm

If I might recommend a weekend trip…try to get down to the Basque Country in southwest France, it is absolutely gorgeous, so rich in culture, and my favorite area of France (it’s where my father in law is from).


30 Michelle January 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm

That’s such a benefit of having a home base in central Europe, I’m jealous of your amazing opportunity, live it up!


31 Yvette January 26, 2011 at 12:45 am

This is a fabulous idea and one that can be used for any trip! A big thank you to Ben Blair!
I love the vintage travel posters too (or anything vintage for that matter). I was tempted to create a line for my semester project in my advanced Illustrator class. But think it might be a little too much of a workload on top of day-to-day life. Then I thought maybe creating a children’s book, something similar to This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek, only based on my kids’ adventures in the city. Maybe using my photographs of S.F. (only tweaking them in Photoshop to look like paintings) and using Illustrator to draw the characters. Any suggestions? You always have great ideas!
P.S. I am so excited for the amazing adventure you and your family are about to embark on. And such courage too! I can’t wait to hear all about this new chapter in your life. Any space in your luggage for a stow-away ;)?


32 Auburn February 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

If you make it to London, drop me a line – I’m a resident, and would love to pass on details of all the best places to visit! Think of it as thanks for the inspiration I get from reading your lovely blog :)

Oh, and another recommendation – if you make it to Bavaria (a good base for the weekend would be Munich) go to see Schloss Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for the Disney castle. From a design point of view, it really is magical.


33 Pamela March 8, 2011 at 12:05 am

Your blog was recommended to me by a friend here in Canada Michelle Simpson. The past year and a half I have searched many blogs looking for info about moving to France. I’m very glad to now have found your blog. Already you have help answer many questions.
My husband, three children and myself are moving to France in June of this year. This has been a long time coming. We have been married 9 years and have planned to do this when we were dating. My kids are 8,6, and 3. We will be Living in Lyon.
Reading about the process you have gone through with 6 kids has given me courage. My biggest worry is how the kids will adjust in a new culture and learning the language. My husband will be away part of the time working in Syria, so I need to make sure I make some good friends as well, I hope they are french.

Thanks for the great work you do on your blog, I can tell you are a great mom too.
After you have had more time to sink into your new life there I would like to know more about yours and your kids experience meeting French people and how you find learning the language. Keep up the good work, love all the pictures. Thanks for letting me look and learn a little from your life.


34 Becky July 17, 2011 at 7:03 am

Fun places for kids (and still beautiful for adults!)- Annecy/Nice or nearby Switzerland: great for outdoor activities, boating, hiking, walking the ski slopes, etc. Prague- great Old World feeling, lots of gargoyles, cool bridges. Scotland tour (or Wales if Scotland is to far)- great castles that kids can climb on. England castles are different and a little more structured/formal. Kids will still love them, but in Scotland or Wales you can climb all over and explore. Venice of course, Rome. But if you get the chance to go to Florence, head to some of the markets, or better yet to smaller towns like Lucca, or hiking Cinque Terre by the beaches. Barcelona is AWESOME- my number one choice for kids. They will love the crazy architecture, the Sagrada Familia, take them walking in Las Ramblas, or the Barri Gotic, Parc Guell is a huge park by Gaudi. There is a great Tourist Bus (double decker) that has English headphones/tour guides where you can get on and off as often as you like. I thought it would be kitsch but it turned out to be the best introduction to the city!


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