With rain in the forecast and Kel with a bee sting to the foot, our outing options were pretty limited today. Since starting this project I have realized how much I enjoy getting out of the house with the kids and I didn’t want to miss the chance today despite these obstacles, so it was time to get creative. With our #localbucketlistchallenge in mind I went through the list of places we still had yet to visit. Light bulb! Despite being a lover of all things French, I had never eaten at our beloved local French bakery/cafe: La Boulangerie. One reason I think I had avoided the cafe was because it is so beloved it’s often very busy which can be intimidating with two littles in tow. After asking around about when would be the best time to go, we decided to go for a mid-morning pastry.
Though I was very excited about the delicious danishes we were going to be enjoying I wanted to make today more of an experience and not just a treat. Off and on over the past year and a half that I have been home with the kids I have created thematic unit plans to help us fill our day. I am a teacher by trade and a type-A personality to the core. When we were doing these units I’d have a craft or an activity related to the theme and a book or two to enhance whatever we were doing. These activities helped break up our day and gave us structure. I realized I could use that same format to turn our outing into a more full cultural experience, so I just needed to find a book and a simple craft to make La Bou more than just a trip to the delicious local bakery. Our morning was planned! Here’s what we did…
Even at ten on a Monday morning the cafe of La Boulangerie was full but luckily it was a beautiful cool spring day outside and there was no one on the patio, so we were off to a great start! The kids (and I) were thrilled and mesmerized by the selection of pastries and cakes in the bakery counter. Everything looked amazing! After much deliberation we made our selections: a Cherry Danish for Kel, a Cinnabon for Bebe, and a Coconut Danish and latte for me. Oh. My. Pastries. It was all delicious!!!
Over the course of our visit a few people came and went on the patio but it was very mellow and the kids were able to roam a bit without me feeling like we were interrupting someone else’s outing. Other than the amazing pastries, the kids’ favorite part of our visit were the cute little birds lingering around our table looking for stray crumbs.That is a happy face, covered in cherry filling!
We returned home and I needed to set up for the craft, so I did a quick search on Alexa through the Amazon Fire and found that Amazon Prime has Madeline, the cartoon based on the book about the little French girl! We popped on episode one and I set up the “French Impressionist supplies” in the backyard. The kids received this Melissa and Doug easel for Christmas, but really any painting or coloring supplies would do. I supplied Kel with Crayola Tempera paint and Bebe with Crayola watercolor paint. Once everything was set I sat with the kids and we read one of our current favorites from Usborne Books & More, Kitty Kat, Kitty Kat, Where Have You Been? I’ve Been to Paris and Guess What I’ve Seen. Super long title. Super cute book! Kitty Kat goes on an adventure all over Paris and explore many of the best sites of the city. This is such a fun book to introduce kids to the beautiful “City of Lights.”
Finally, the kids went outside and were so excited to be “French painters”. Before they got started we talked about how Paris and France in general are known for their appreciation of and contribution to the arts, particularly painting. We talked about the art museums in Paris (with the help of Kitty Kat), and from there they painted. I also meant to put on Pandora’s French Cafe station, but it totally slipped my mind until after.Amazingly they kept it mostly on the paper and they created some lovely works of art!
There are tons of different crafts to do to celebrate French culture (check out Pinterest), but this was easy for us and didn’t require me to buy anything! That is what I have found to be the key to actually doing things with the kids and not just planning them… Keep it simple!