Our Family’s (2nd) Year in the South of France
Kids and Castles - Our year with kids in the South of France

Sabbaticals are the Mother of Invention

A year is an odd length of time for a trip. We don’t want to acquire stuff, but we do want to be comfortable. Trying to find the balance requires creativity.

Last fall the wasps decided to build a nest inside the stone wall of the house – of course right beside the patio table where we ate most of our meals. JM used France’s most common household item to solve the problem – a wine cork. It worked great.

Wine Cork - the Natural Solution for Wasps

The house we’re renting is mostly used as a summer home, and there are a few things that are missing for winter living. Our landlords have been fantastic and told us to buy what we need, but the spirit of “make do” has kicked in, plus we don’t know the stores or the brands so it becomes a huge effort to buy anything out of the ordinary. We couldn’t easily find a coat rack to buy, but we did find a ladder in the basement. Add a couple of those “over the door hangers” from the supermarket, toss a couple of baskets underneath for mittens, and Voila!

Designer Coat Rack

L turned 7 last month, and she asked for a pinata for her birthday party. In California I would have just gone and bought one, but I had no idea where to do that here and the “How to Make a Pinata” video on YouTube seemed pretty straightforward. It turned out to be a lot more complicated, but we figured it out and every kid got at least one turn before the pinatas broke.

Pinata in Progress

Pinatas Ready to Hit

Of course, there are limits to making do. We have invested in a few key things that we won’t take home with us. The printer/scanner has been a lifesaver many times.

When the battery on the car got too weak to start on cold mornings, JM figured out how to start the car by rolling it down the hill to get enough momentum to turn the engine. Creative yes – but  that was definitely worth the effort of fixing before we ended up with a dead car at the bottom of a hill somewhere far away.

2 Responses to “Sabbaticals are the Mother of Invention”

  1. GBK Gwyneth says:

    I love how resourceful and creative you all have been! It reminds me of the time we made mac in cheese in the coffee maker in a hotel room!

  2. […] Kids and Castles: Sabbaticals are the Mother of Invention I love how resourceful and creative this family has been during their stay in France! It reminds me of the time we made mac in cheese in the coffee maker in a hotel room! […]