A Few Things

February 3, 2012

Hello, Friends! Are you well? I’ve had a fun few days. One of my very best friends from high school has been visiting (her wonderful mom, too!), and we’ve been running around all the touristy places in Normandy. But. It’s the coldest weather I’ve seen since we moved here! So the monuments and hot spots have been completely deserted. It’s interesting to see a place like Mont St. Michel with hardly a soul around. Have you ever toured in the off-season? Did you like it?

Our guests took the train to Paris today, so it looks like we’ll have a cozy family weekend at home. We’ll be keeping the firewood burning, and I’m predicting some baking too. I adore baking when it’s freezing outside! While I think of yummy baked goods, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

- Today I’m inspired by furniture painted by children. Thank you, Karey!
- Did you hear? Alt Summit is offering ONLINE classes. Smart, inexpensive and starting on Monday with a class from famous Erin Loechner. Grab your spot!
- 5 Valentine projects to sweeten up your home.
- I’m a believer, but I like what he has to say.
- Let’s make ribbon wands.
- Have you ever considered life without a TV?
- What a fun party! I want to copy the juice box covers.
- Remember the Swedish workmen? Here are some French ones. Thanks, Claire!

I also write for Babble. Here are this week’s posts:
- 10 candy-free classmate valentines.
- Custom Viewmaster reels with YOUR photos. Genius for a reunion or party!
- The prettiest dishes for kids.
- Makes me think of warmer weather.
- The coolest new ABC book.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. And I hope you stay warm! I’ll be sending thoughts of knitted hats and woolen scarves your way. : ) I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already!


P.S. — Thank you, thank you for the amazing discussions this week. Your stories about taking a leap, and becoming (or wishing to become) a mother have stuck with me.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Helen February 3, 2012 at 9:55 am

We have not had a tv for several years. We love it – our evenings feel so calm. x


2 Carrie North February 3, 2012 at 10:01 am

I saw the painted furniture story on Design Milk the other day, and I love it!


3 The New Diplomats Wife February 3, 2012 at 10:10 am

loooooove traveling in the off-season. Venice for example is great in the dead of winter- it’s cold and damp no question, but something about having the city to yourself to get lost in is phenomenal. We also love the beach in the off season – it has its own kind of beauty. Here we frequently go to St. Michael’s in MD in the off season – something about the gray and the chill of the wind that make it a different experience. Same for the Austrian lakes.


4 TracieOB February 3, 2012 at 10:12 am

So many thoughts in today’s post. I don’t have young children (2 boys 20 & 17) but I love some of the ideas that i can adapt for them/us, even at their ages. When my boys were 12 & 15 we went to the Grand Canyon from California in January. The Hotel was practically empty w/ a hugh roaring fire in the lobby. We took a Western-themed train from Williams to the Grand Canyon. Such fun. The canyon itself was breathtaking. No summer crowds, very cold but clear and sunny. We loved it. We stayed on the rim on our last night. As we were walking around on the last day, it started to snow. aaah. Wonderful, wonderful.
Thank you for the memories coming back
(PS – We gave up cable about 5 years ago – so do not miss it; but we do have Netflix ;) )


5 Giulia February 3, 2012 at 10:17 am

I love off-season traveling – not always, but it can be fun. We visited the Amalfi coast in November and had to keep changing hotels b/c we’d stay on their last day of being open. It was a great way to experience different areas.


6 This Confetti Life February 3, 2012 at 10:42 am

The painted furniture story is delightful!


7 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag February 3, 2012 at 10:53 am

Off-season = good

That ABC book = DIVINE

Ribbon wands and Cakies blog = Very Very Cool!

Happy wkend Miss G!


8 Karin Webb February 3, 2012 at 11:53 am

I’m so jealous Robyn got to come see you! I can’t wait to hear her stories of your adventures together.


9 Genevieve February 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm

We got rid of our TV one summer when our son was 4 and our house became so much more creative. Our kids forgot about the TV and didn’t even ask for it. It was wonderful. I think we might do it again this summer. Very inspiring story!


10 Leslie Janson February 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Hi! I’ve just discovered you via Martha Stewart! Come check my website out? I’m an (aging) but fired up Mom-Crafter!


11 Rebecca February 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Before we got married 9 years ago we decided not to have TV. We have dvds, but everythings controlled and its no big deal. I think its amazing that people sign up for cable like its something you need like air or water to live.


12 Barchbo February 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I didn’t have TV in college or in my 20s – I didn’t have cable in my 30s except for the 18 months that I had a roommate (basic only) and then I got married at 38 and my husband put his foot down about cable. (I did have rabbit ears in my 30s, so I got NBC and Fox. I started watching FRIENDS at Season 6!)
I like to read. The times I didn’t have TV, I never missed it (always had a VCR/DVD player, though and now we have Netflix.)

I also love to visit places in the off-season. We always went to ski resorts in the summer to hike, and I love big cities (London, NYC, Paris, San Fran) in January. Thanks for getting me thinking about where we are going to take our little guy for his first big vacation!

Happy Weekend, Gabby! XOXO


13 mer February 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

seriously cool furniture. thinking I’m going to have to have my boys go at a piece or two in our home now.
happy weekend~


14 Jules February 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I don’t watch very much TV (maybe about an hour a week?) but I have the internet. The rest of my family loves TV. For Lent they are giving up TV, and I’m giving up reading blogs. We’re are excited! Yes, even our young sons.


15 Kim February 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm

My family visited Germany and England in February several years ago, and it was wonderful! Chilly, yes, but we learned to layer, and every where we went, there were no lines and everything was so relaxed. The guards even stopped the conveyer belt at the Tower of London so we could have a better look and told us great stories!


16 Julia February 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm

love the cowboy party photos. and i’m excited about the online alt classes too!


17 Ann February 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Lots of great links! I looked at almost all of them and my favorite is the furniture. What a interesting study and beautiful result! Reminds me a little of seeing my slider in a certain light that shows all the sticky finger prints up to a certain height (when my son was a little younger).


18 Susan February 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Oh my! We love to travel off-season! It’s really the only way we could afford to take our family of 6 to Europe. It’s so much more fun–the other tourists are gone, and we share our destinations with the locals. The pace is slower and you get a better feel for the “real”. One of my favorite memories is visiting the North Sea coast of Belgium and France in February with the 4 kids; 4, 8, 12, and 14. It was an experience that none of us will ever forget!


19 mandi@herbanhomestead February 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm

We gave up TV 8 years ago. However, we do watch movies. So I don’t really consider us TV free.


20 Sarah Jane February 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm

We’ve gone a few places in off season and I love it! I have no desire to see beautiful, inspiring places amidst wild, loud crowds. I’m not a “crowd” person in general. Although I’d prefer it not be so cold! :)


21 classic•casual•homs February 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm

We had lots of visitors when we lived in Paris…it was always fun… I used to like to bake chocolate chip cookies when the kids were young and their French friends though they were great (used delicious dark Belgian chocolate chunks).


22 Christina February 4, 2012 at 6:37 am

Really liked the no t.v. blog post. We have never paid for TV since marrying 14+ years ago. Certain jobs (Managing the ‘married/student housing’ complex we lived in) provided us with T.V., and it was great…and a terrible waste of time. I was the problem, not my husband. I loved the cooking channel, history channel, animal planet, and sure…HGTV, ESPN, etc. But mostly, I loved the good stuff and there was too much of it so the TV was on constantly. When we moved across the country 7 years ago we agreed that we would not pay for cable, antenna, etc. and just use our TV for the FREE movies the library provides simply to save money for adopting more children. Her estimation of how much money they saved is on the low side I believe. We cannot have it all and therefore we chose to save for our children and to be able to visit my family members who are all spread across the country. As a result, our children have more siblings and they have traveled quite a lot. Oh, and they still have their innocence. We do have internet which provides us with some shows to watch and some sporting events. For others, we occasionally go to an in-law’s home for sports (Super Bowl). Let me tell you, each time we are watching an actual event/show live from someone else’s TV, we are convinced that we will NEVER hook back up. The commercials are so offensive and an absolute assault on the innocence of children. Not only that, I don’t need to see mostly naked men nor does my husband need to see mostly naked women.


23 Cathy February 4, 2012 at 6:57 am

My daughter and I visited Mont St Michel in early April 2006. The wind was so bitterly cold that we had to buy several long sleeved shirts to add layers of warmth. We had expected spring and warmer weather. It’s a wonderful place to visit with the beautiful chapel, marshes stretching outward, walking up and down narrow twisting steps in both the town and monastery. In spite of all that, my favorite part was reading the names on the paving bricks – every brick had the man’s name on it who made it. It was fun to count how often a man’s name was there – he who worked the hardest!


24 Carina February 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Yes this cold is quite something. In eleven years here near Paris, this is the coldest we’ve seen it. I feel lucky to be indoors and warm, and feel for the not so fortunate. Thankfully Paris and the SAMU have opened gymnasiums to get the homeless of the streets, to give them a warm bed, dinner and breakfast. Can I post the number here so that if some of your readers see someone in Paris they can call the SAMU and they’ll arrange a shelter? The number is 115 – May everyone be warm, or helping another to be so.


25 Em February 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm

As an agnostic who recently adopted the concept of Family Home Evening, I loved the Atheism 2.0 talk!


26 Angela February 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Love the painted furniture!
Also, my husband and I just saw your family on House Hunters. It was our favorite episode. So fun to watch.


27 Tasha February 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm

A bit off topic, but realized it was FEBRUARY when I (who always gets sick) lasted 6 hours outside by a fire with neighbors in NY last night! And…went house/farm searching in the morning with my hubbie and said, “if you can like a house and property in the dead of winter, it must look good in the spring!” We always “wander” during warm months…crazy winter! Anyone else wishing for snow? (Or am I the only teacher haha)


28 Hannah S February 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I love that cowboy party! Great ideas.
Tell me, what do you think of this aritcle? http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052970204740904577196931457473816-lMyQjAxMTAyMDAwMzEwNDMyWj.html?mod=wsj_share_email
When I lived in Paris I didn’t observe the French habits of parenting enough, only noticed the things I didn’t really like. But I think she has a lot of great points. I am so excited about my cousin Sarah Jane’s new book coming out in April about French children not being picky eaters :)


29 Zsa Zsa February 6, 2012 at 1:43 am

I love painted furniture myself. That peachy hue on the shelf is so pretty.


30 PinonCoffee February 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm

My parents mostly ditched our TV when I was in elementary school, except movies. So it was pretty natural for my husband and I to intentionally not get one in our tiny first apartment. :-) We never felt deprived because we had laptops and plenty of internet. For my latest birthday my sister brought me her old set for our toddler to watch DVDs on, and we really enjoy it.

Now I find I don’t like TV programming going in the background, say at a doctor’s office or restaurant, because I’ve lost the ability to ignore it. I’m not sure if that’s an improvement or not!


31 Robyn D. February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Hey Gabby!
We just saw the post! We are having a great time even though it is super cold:) We explored a snow covered Versailles today and went to the summit of the Eiffel tower. We waited in line for only 20 minutes! There are some advantages to traveling in the off season:) Thanks again!!!!!


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