A Blog with "Class"

Writing is something I can remember enjoying since I was in the second grade. I’ve always kept a journal; blogging has replaced my journal and made me a more thoughtful writer. I still prefer to pick up a pen than to type and most of the time I still do. I find my thoughts flow more freely when I put a pen to paper.

Letters are also something I very much enjoy sending; I used to want to be a mailman because I thought what a great job it would be to deliver letters. Handwritten letters are not as common as emails and that makes them a lot more personal and special when received. I love to see someone’s personality shine through their handwriting. I would know my friend Jen’s handwriting anywhere, it’s just so Jen!

I adore children’s journals. They are honest, usually to the point, and sound just as they would if the writer were speaking to the audience.

As a classroom teacher I send a lot of emails to parents. Brief and informative as they may be, it’s still a piece of the day and could be considered journaling/letter writing/or blogging.

More teachers are embracing blogging in the classroom. I think the parents appreciate it because it gives them more personal insight to their child’s day. Teachers are with their class most of the day. When a child gets in the car to go home and the parents ask to tell them about their day, most children will leave out a lot of details if they even get past the word “good!”    

Teachers can show off what their class is doing with a blog? It gives most parents an opportunity to see what you do during the day and sometimes to relearn what their children are learning.

Last year I had my class write a script to share with our French Exchange students. They came up with songs and basic greetings. After practicing their script in a center, they recorded themselves and I uploaded the recording; they created a podcast. That same day, their parents were able to listen to it on my website.

There are plenty of ways to record. My favorite is with my phone because we’re not tied down to sitting at the computer. I use apps called “audioboo” and “voice memo.” These are great for when we’re on the move. We can be out and about, I take out my phone, the kids can record something, and then I upload it and...voila!

Another benefit to blogging is that the parents, grandparents, and other students can comment on a post. This will give kids pride and acknowledgement of their work, and some understanding that there is a world out there other than their home town! My class was so happy when we received a letter or email from our French Exchange students. It’s that same feeling that comes with commenting on a blog; they will love it when people from different places respond, and will especially love it when their parents comment.

Blogging might not be for every teacher! There are plenty of other ways to integrate technology into the classroom. Will blogging add more work to your already overflowing teaching schedule? Yes, because blogs require thoughtful monitoring and timely feedback. Is it worth it? Yes because the blogs add substance to classroom instruction, extending learning to places outside school and country, encouraging students to write and reflect, providing increased opportunities for social communication, and providing a way for parents to be a part of classroom activities.

What ideas can you think of to get parents, teachers, and children blogging? I think you will find that it can be a safe and effective way to learn today’s technology and most importantly…WRITE!

Classroom Blogging Ideas:

·         Share a photograph of your classroom. Explain about the different parts of it and how it is being used. Invite other teachers and classes to write a similar blog post explaining about their classroom. Encourage children from your class to leave comments about what they like about it or even suggestions for changes they would like to see.
  • Publish children’s art work and create a gallery.
  • Publish their poetry and stories.
  • Share your classroom rules. This can be done at the beginning of the year.
  • Share a photograph of a classroom bulletin board.
  • Posting images from a digital microscope for the children to comment on. “What is under our microscope?” Children might ask for people to guess what the image is and to comment on the suggestions.
  • Posting homework tasks like math problems and having children comment as their task.
This is an example of one of my favorite books and a fabulous way to introduce blogging into the classroom.

Back to School: Fashions, Backbacks, and Bento boxes


There’s nothing like back to school shopping to put you in the mood for fall. This time of year is almost as busy as the holidays. It’s like there is something crisp in the air that gives off a fresh new energy. I love it.
With the autumn season rapidly approaching I am reminded of the movie You’ve Got Mail.  I loved what Tom Hanks says about back to school smells and the fall season, It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. I also love the scene when Meg Ryan comes into her shop and picks up a roll of Scotch tape and says, Can you beat that?

I loved the dress I wore the first day of first grade.

Walking into my classroom I’m excited about the smell of new crayons but also the visual display of first day of school outfits. I remember what I wore the first day of school every year. The pictures my mom took on that first day show the excitement and anticipation of that moment; I always felt good about that first day outfit. It’s part of making a great first impression and having an outfit you feel happy in.
This is a special year for me because my daughter will be joining me at school (my work) . She is starting Kindergarten; and as an elementary teacher, I’m thrilled that we will be going to school together.
Fashion has always stimulated me and I’m tickled to see my daughter developing her own opinion on colors and textures. She’s picked out three first day outfits and loves to try them on to play fashion show. It is my hope that this year she will dress herself and feel good about what she’s wearing.
I’m always impressed with mothers who encourage their children to dress themselves. If your child has an opinion about what they like to wear then they’re probably capable of choosing their own outfit.

Not long ago, I had the pleasure of teaching a little girl named Isabelle. I loved seeing her explore her fashion sense; she would come to school with multiple patterns, glittery scarves, and hair accessories all in one day. The scarf might turn into a belt at recess and the fancy shoes might be changed to sneakers but she was so proud of her style. Her look  worked because she had confidence and her mom had given her enough direction and freedom to explore her fashion-sense; that resulted in choices that were all weather-appropriate, tasteful, and fit her body.
I recently cleaned out my children’s drawers in preparation for back to school shopping; you could say I went shopping in their closets first! This way I was able to do an inventory and organize what they already have that still works. Naturally you should do this for yourself too; but it’s always easier to do for someone else isn’t it?!
When my daughter came downstairs from getting dressed I could tell she had fun picking out her clothes because she had forgotten about the many adorable clothes she had hiding behind her favorite Hello Kitty shirts. She was so excited and proud of her fashion selection.
The tricky part of going back to school is that it’s still summer and here in Texas we won’t be ready to pack up our summer clothes for a while. This is why I love layers; they allow you to mix and match until the seasons really do change then you can add more layers.
I think it’s fun to play with patterns…stripes, stars, and polka dots all together? Sure, a child can own that look and it can make you long for your Punky Brewster days! Think bright colors and happy patterns that can still work with the favorite Hello Kitty shirts!
I’ve never been one to just buy from a single store; like my daughter, I like to mix and match! I have many favorite stores when shopping for my children. I love to have that European feel mixed with classic American staples. This fall, I coveted Janie and Jack (for classics), Hannah Andersson (basics), Mini Boden (undergarments, especially tights), H&M kids (inexpensive tops) and Garnet Hill (backpacks and lunch totes).
You know the saying, If you look good, you feel good? Happy colors and patterns with pizzazz will add zip to everyone’s step and truly make you and those around you feel good.
As a teacher, I know how observant children are to each other!  Just think of how good it feels when someone compliments you on your outfit; children are more comfortable to freely complement each other and do it often. If your child dressed themselves AND received compliments, you can feel good knowing that you have a confident child who is comfortable with their decisions and are not afraid to express themselves through fashion AND in the classroom.
Besides clothes, other fun things on the list to shop for are lunch and backpack gear. Garnett Hill’s patterns have always been some of my favorite. My daughter studied the backpacks as seriously as if she were picking out her Halloween costume. They also come with a complimentary lunch bag.
What you place inside the lunch bag is just as important. The Japanese are whizzes at making whimsical joyful characters that are usually animals. Bento boxes are all the rage; not only are they adorable with frogs, pandas, bunnies, and even Hello Kitty characters but they make for smart food choices in a neatly presented way and encourage children to eat a variety of foods.
This fall when you’re doing your back to school shopping, involve your kids in the planning and have fun together! Helping children learn to make decisions about their clothing pays dividends for other decisions they must learn to make later.


A French Country Sunday

Sundays are a time to enjoy good food, family, and friends. When everyone is seated around the table it can feel as cozy as Thanksgiving. A Sunday meal that lingers on for hours can be a true pleasure. Imagine a table with plenty to eat and the hum of good conversation and laughter, it can feel festive (even if it’s not a holiday). 
If you've ever seen the French movie, "A Sunday in the Country" you know the kind of Sunday I mean, a relaxing summery Sunday with a French country kind of feel. A meal surrounded by beautiful gardens, and exquisite yet simple foods. Maybe after the meal you will take a nap, read a book, sip some tea, take a swim...these little pleasantries are simple yet heavenly, especially on a Sunday.
People eat a bit more slowly on Sundays, drink a little more wine and purposely lose track of time.
I imagine Claude Monet had many Sundays spent like this in Giverny.
When The Julia Child Book Club met last Sunday to discuss the book Claude and Camille it was as if we'd stepped back in time to the French country side and became oblivious to the time. After all, it was TIME that we took a little more of, and eventually lost track of.
I read that Monet believed beautiful dinner service was one of the keys to a successful meal. This seems so French to me. It’s all about the details in the preparation that make a meal special and memorable.
I hope this brings you inspiration to have your own French country Sunday. And please, remember to take your time. Salut et bon appétit! 
Recipes from the Julia Child Book Club:
Mia’s Gougères
6 T unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 C water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of white pepper
1 ½ C flour
6 large eggs
2 C coarsely shredded gruyere cheese
Preheat oven to 400. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; then remove from the heat and stir in the pepper and the flour with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium. Return to the heat and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to film the bottom of the saucepan, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time. The dough should have the consistency of a thick mayonnaise. Stir in 1 ½ C of cheese. On a buttered and floured baking sheet drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, spacing them 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with remaining ½ C cheese. Bake about 25 minutes, until the puffs swell to almost triple in size and become golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Ashley’s Soupe Au Pistou
2 medium leeks
3 stalks celery
2 medium carrots
6  slices pancetta
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound small red potatoes
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2 zucchini
1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence
Salt to taste
Clean and dice the leeks, celery, carrots and potatoes into approximately 1/2 inch pieces or slices, as the case may be.
Slice the bacon into 1 inch slices, and in a large pot, cook the bacon until mostly crisp.
Add the olive oil and the vegetables, and sauté over medium heat until the leeks and carrots start to get a little tender, then add the chicken broth and water, add a pinch or two of salt, cover, and simmer over medium low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork.
Meanwhile, cut the zucchini into 1/2-1 inch pieces, and when the potatoes are starting to get tender, the zucchini. Salt to taste.
For the pistou:
4 oz basil, leaves only
¼ cup pine nuts
2 ounces parmesan
¼ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and process until it forms a smooth paste.
To serve, ladle the soup into large bowls, and top with a large spoonful of pistou.
Linda’s Lemon Basil Sorbet
3 C water
2 C sugar
2 T lemon zest, divided
1 ½ C fresh packed basil
3 C fresh lemon juice
Prepare a lemon simple syrup with the water, sugar and 1 ½ T of the lemon zest by combining all three in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cook mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat. Once the simple syrup is ready, add the basil and salt. Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours, or overnight. Strain the chilled mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Turn on the ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and mix until thick.
Leslee’s Soubise
1/2 cup rice
4 quarts rapidly boiling water
1 1/2 tablespoons salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (one-half stick) butter, plus 2 tablespoons softened butter
2 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon minced parsley.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Drop the rice into the boiling water to which has been added the salt. Boil five minutes exactly and drain immediately.
Heat the 1/4 cup of butter in a three-quart flameproof casserole and when it is foaming, stir in the onions. When they are well-coated with butter, stir in the rice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cover and cook very slowly in the oven for one hour, stirring occasionally. The rice and onions should become very tender and will usually turn a light golden yellow. Taste and re-season. (The recipe may be prepared to this point several hours in advance. Reheat before proceeding.)
Just before serving, stir in the cream and cheese and then the softening butter.
Olga’s Potato Galettes
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
1/4 tsp crumbled dried rosemary
1/4 tsp crumbled dried thyme
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grate the potatoes roughly. Using a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the rosemary, thyme, green onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together the butter and the oil. Brush the bottom of a small cast-iron skillet with some of the butter mixture. Heat the mixture over moderately high heat until it begins to sizzle. Ladle a layer of the potato mixture approximately 1/4 inch thick and fry over medium heat for several minutes, until the base is golden brown. Flip and brown the other side.
Margot’s pork tenderloin Wellington and gravy
Seasoned the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. Sear in a bit of olive oil to brown on all sides. About 1 1/2 minutes each side. Transfer to a cutting board to drain and let cool off completely.
Use the frying pan with the drippings and melt 1/2 stick of butter. Add 1/2 onion (thinly sliced) and sauté till golden. Add 8 oz of white mushrooms and sauté until they are starting to brown. Add white wine (1/2 cup) and reduce. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and reduce. Taste and add salt, pepper and finish with heavy cream to get consistency you like. It will thicken as you finish.
In another pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 small onion (thinly sliced) and sauté for about 4 min. Add 16 oz of white mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and liquid is evaporated. Add 1/4 cup of Sherry and cook until mixture is dry, about 4 min. Add some freshly chopped parsley and cool to room temperature.
On a floured surface roll out puffed pastry into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. If using store bought you may have to overlap two pieces. Put some of the mushroom mixture in the center of the pastry. Place tenderloin on top of the mixture. Top the tenderloin with more of the mixture as well as the sides. Fold the long sides of the pastry and seal the seam with egg-wash. Trim the ends if necessary and fold up and seal. Place the tenderloin onto a baking sheet seam down. Chill for at least 2 hrs or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400. Place a baking sheet on the center rack until hot about 15 min. Brush the top of the tenderloin with egg-wash and cut 2 - 3 slits to let the steam vent. Carefully transfer the tenderloin onto the preheated baking sheet and bake until the pastry is golden brown. About 60 minutes. Cover with foil if it gets too brown during cooking. Let rest on the cutting board for 10 min before slicing.
Terri’s Chocolate Tarte
A word about the chocolate for this recipe before you begin. Good quality chocolate is essential for this recipe. I use chocolate that has an absolute minimum of 50 % cocoa. I think darker is better but tastes vary.
For the pastry:
½ cup butter, cut in small pieces
1 ¼ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sift together flour sugar and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives, leaving small peas sized pieces of butter throughout the mixture. Add egg and vanilla and mix together only enough to make a dough form. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for a half hour before rolling out.
You can make your dough the previous day but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 10 minutes to warm slightly before rolling out.
Roll the dough into a 12 inch round and place in the bottom of a 10 inch tarte pan or pie plate. You will need to blind bake this crust for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F before adding the filling. Blind baking is essential so that the bottom crust will not get soggy.
To blind bake a crust, simply place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil over the dough and cover the bottom of the pie plate with baking weights. (Marbles, dry beans, peas, rice or barley work just as well as anything else.)
For the chocolate filling:
7 ounces (by weight) dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
7 ounces whipping cream
3 ounces milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 large beaten egg
Bring the cream and milk just to boiling and pour the hot liquid over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes and whisk together until smooth. Cool for about 10 minutes before whisking in the beaten egg and vanilla.
Pour into the blind baked shell and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. The center can still be a little wobbly at this point. The surface should still be shiny. Cool thoroughly before cutting and serving. Garnish with crème anglaise.
½ C milk
½ C heavy cream
½ vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
¼ C sugar
Mix the milk and cream in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the pan, then add the pod. Bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes or so to infuse the dairy with vanilla flavor. Partially fill the largest bowl with equal parts ice and water, and set the larger of the remaining bowls on the ice. Set a strainer in place over that bowl. After the vanilla has infused the dairy to your satisfaction, remove the vanilla pod, then return the pan to gentle heat and stir frequently. In the third bowl, quickly whisk the yolks and sugar together. Once the dairy reaches a simmer, remove it from the heat and whisk about a tablespoon of it into the yolk and sugar mixture, Continue adding the dairy to the yolk and sugar mixture slowly to avoid curdling. Once the dairy, yolks, and sugar are fully incorporated, return the custard to the pan and return the pan to the heat. Stir constantly for 1-4 minutes until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Pour through the strainer into the bowl over the ice. Stir until cool, cover, and refrigerate. If it sits overnight the vanilla flavor will be more pronounced. Serve cold, room temperature, or even warm over your dessert.
Enjoy with our club’s sommelier pick, Brandi’s French white wine: Les Jamelles Viognier

Terri’s Crème Anglaise

Claude Monet and his muse Camille

The paintings of Claude Monet are some of the most recognizable and popular in the world. They tend to have a very strong effect on viewers and make you feel romantic, relaxed, and happy. How lucky are we that Stephanie Cowell chose to write about Monet’s life and the love of his life, his muse, Camille?

My book club recently read Stephanie Cowell’s Claude and Camille. We all loved it so much that I think we could have talked about it for hours. It was so easy to get lost in Monet’s world…romance, art, gardens, beauty…

As I was reading, I couldn’t help think of what Mikhail Baryshnikov said about being in the arts, “People of art should never get married and have children, because it’s a selfish experience.” This is so true! No matter the art: music, dance, painting…all art consumes the personal life and self of the artist.

Camille's support system included Claude's friends. One of his closest friends, Frédéric Bazille, completed an interesting triangle.The three were harmoniously together quite often and deeply cared for one another.  
The struggle of these previously starving but now famous artists: Renoir, Bazille, and Pissaro, Cezanne, Manet is now known to us all. They were bohemian Impressionistic nomads who attempted to get their art into the annual State salon at the Palais de L’Industrie.  The tight bunch of friends lived on beans, wine, coffee, and bread, and would take turns sleeping on the floor.
From one painting Monet entered in the salon (Impression, Sunrise), a new art movement began and Monet emerged as the leader of the whole group (Frédéric Bazille, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley) due to a hostile critic who coined the term “Impressionists.”

Looking back on his life at sixty-years old Monet said, “I was born in a circle entirely given over to commerce, and where all professed a contemptuous distain for the arts.”

Camille grew up in a bourgeois upper class family and left behind her well off fiancé and family when she ran away with Monet. Once she met Monet, she knew she wanted to rebel. She threw away her life of privilege to be with him. Camille became Claude’s true inspiration, his muse.

It's no wonder Camille's family was not pleased with their daughter's decision to run off with Claude because they knew he could not support her. Monet had a different idea of what work was. His father (and Camille's) could not convince him to take on a "real" job.

I read that he hated school and always wanted to be outside; loving the open-air, he had an obsession with sea cliffs. He grew up in the sleepy sea town of Le Havre were his dad sold supplies to fisherman.

Monet brought sunshine into his art work. More than any of his colleagues, he loved to be outside and find inspiration for his paintings. He was fascinated with how sunlight made colors look different at different times of the day.

Monet once said, "I have so much fire in me and so many plans. I always want the impossible. Take clear water with grass waving at the bottom. It’s wonderful to look at, but to try to paint it is enough to make one insane." It seemed part of Camille's job as his muse was to keep Monet from going insane.

Reading Claude and Camille I also thought of the book The Girl with the Pearl Earring.  Authors Tracy Chevalier and Stephanie Cowell have a common theme in their books. Vermeer, like Monet, had a beautiful woman as his muse. A muse is someone with a powerful inspiration who gives rise to the creator and has a deep and powerful effect on an artist. It seems most great artists have a muse.

As family life became more important to him with the birth of their first son Jean, Monet's art took on an emotional richness, and a depth; at the soul of his painting was Camille.

Camille had a hard time finding herself. She tried her hand at writing and acting, realizing it wasn’t for her she became depressed.

When my book club discussed Cowell’s book, one of the hot topics was if we thought Claude was selfish. I believe it was unanimous that we all thought he was selfish and should have tried supporting his family in another way while they were literally starving! As my friend Linda said, “He puts his pants on just like everyone else.”

We agreed that he was dedicated to his art to the point of selfish irresponsibility but his paintings make up in beauty what he could not give to his loved ones.

Monet was prepared to make any sacrifice and have his family undergo discomfort for the sake of his art. For Monet, art came first and family second. Monet truly loved Camille but he had a difficult time balancing his two loves (art and family). Painting was how Monet dealt with reality and relationships.

Camille had such a profound effect on Monet’s career. She was as mysterious as the water lilies that he strove to capture on canvas. She was complex and kept a lot of secrets. I think she was very much a free-spirit and loved Claude. He painted her for years, even in death. He felt as long as she was on his canvas, she was with him; she haunted him in life and death.

His Water Lily series is like the Sistine Chapel of Impressionism because it’s the ultimate expression of impressionism painting. When I saw Monet’s Water Lily panels at the MoMA. I remember tears filled my eyes; it was an emotional experience to stand in front of such a BIG and POWERFUL work of art. Cowell writes in Claude and Camille, "Of all his portraits of her, these paintings of the water lilies were the truest ones, for within them he had captured her beauty, her variability, and her light."

Cowell beautifully expresses how much Monet loved Camille, "My love for you is deep, deep inside myself like something below the water. Only with my brush when I can paint again will I express it."

Camille's sister Annette blamed Claude for Camille's death. Reading Cowell's book you get a better understanding of Monet's thinking..."Annette, I wish I were a better man than I am; I could wish it a thousand times,” he replied. “All I know is that Minou loved me and I loved her. You wanted a certain life for her, but she had to choose her own. She chose me and my work. I’m not separate from my work. She was very clear in what she chose, and she didn’t choose to die. I’ll never believe that. And if I ever betrayed her, I’m sorry a thousand times."

Monet’s second love, Alice Hoschedé was a cultured woman from a very comfortable middle-class background. Alice took a huge risk (a lot like Camille) when she went to live with Monet with her six children who was then a penniless artist. It was actually Camille's idea to invite Alice and her children to live with them.

Another hot topic to our book club discussion was that we wondered if Camille knew Claude cared for Alice when she invited Alice and her six children to live with them. Oh to have a time machine that could take you back to find out details!

Early on with Camille, he hardly made any money, not being able to pay rent and owing everybody. Monet relied almost entirely on his paintings to keep his family alive. Sadly, Camille never experienced the good life he eventually had in Giverny with Alice and their combined eight children.
I visited Claude Monet’s house in Giverny when I was seventeen; I remember the vivid colors and the calm and happy feeling of the painter’s beautiful garden and pink house. It was full of bourgeois character and charm. The color palette and décor is something I knew I wanted in my home, especially the yellow dining room because it’s such a cheery color.

Claude Monet is so identified with his home in Giverny. This book mostly focuses on a time before Giverny. He spent forty-three years there and created most of his great work outside in his garden.

Monet painted in many different settings throughout his life: Algeria, (painting the African sun when he was in the military), England, Holland, and the countryside and seasides of France. During his entire career, he always loved to be outside.

Cowell changed the way I look at Monet's paintings. She made me more observant to the emotions in his art. I imagine if you read Claude and Camille you will feel the same way.

In the end, Monet lost both wife’s (Camille and Alice), his eyesight, and his beloved stepdaughter. Sometimes through tragedy comes the creation of great beauty. Monet's breathtakingly beautiful work gives him (and Camille) immortality. Cowell painted the images of the characters in the readers mind through her words and truly brought Monet's art to life.

The Julia Child Book Club met and had a French country meal fit for Monet’s house in Giverny. I think Stephanie Cowell would have been pleased with our little club, Claude and Camille too.  Salut et a bientot!