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Maybe that first timeshare sales pitch is why we ended up writing a book?Check out our new one-stop shop for cool travel products! There’s books, toys and games for road trips, fun little gifts that make great plane presents, infant gear, safety stuff, packing resources and more.  We’re adding new products all the time so check back regularly.

The Pancake Blog

The Bunny Pancake

The Bunny Pancake

I first started making pancakes when the kids were really little, in animal shapes with chocolate chips melted in for the eyes, nose, and mouth. There was Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny, and Clifford the Big Red Dog, but they were basically variations on the same theme. Over time I tried all the various kinds of pancake mixes, and “won” the pancake basket at one of the kid’s preschool fund-raising auctions. I used white chocolate, mint chocolate, dark chocolate, and butterscotch chips. We quickly tired of basic “syrup” and became conversant in the various grades of maple syrup. One Christmas some friends gave us a waffle maker which further diversified my repertoire. Every Saturday morning I was ritually mixing batter. Sometimes there was bacon. Read more »

Culture On Board: Enjoying your Airline Experience

ENJOYING YOUR INFLIGHT EXPERIENCEThe first time we really noticed culture on-board was on a flight from the USA to Austria via Austrian Airlines.  Instead of waiting 9 hours to arrive in a new country, we stepped instantly from Washington DC into Austria as we boarded the plane.  The Austria-red outfits (including somewhat shockingly red nylons), the classical music, and the Austrian-German accents put us instantly in a traveling state of mind.  They served Ottakringer beer, a delicious light beer made at a Viennese brewery, and Almdudler, something like Ginger Ale and known informally as the national drink of Austria.  We were in the air, but we were in Austria too.  I don’t remember that they served Wiener schnitzel but they just might on some special flights. Read more »

Thailand Close-Up!

All these images and more in our latest post on Wandering Educators.  How can you see a little more on your next trip or keep your kids just a little more engaged?  Go close-up!

Thailand Close Up!

The Family Traveler’s Handbook – New book, New perspectives

When we leave our homes, we leave behind the web of possessions and accumulated to-do lists and focus on spending time together” – Mara Gorman


There’s a new family travel book on the market!  Why would we review the competition?  Well, because it’s a great book with lots of new perspectives to offer.  I read it cover-to-cover, enjoyed it, learned from it, and smiled regularly.  It’s a quick read with no nonsense.  Mara’s inherent philosophy is that everything can be travel.  She describes her first trip with her son – a trip down the block to visit neighbors.  Mara’s vision of family travel encompasses all activities that get parents and kids out the door, exploring the world together.  Read more »

Traveling with Kids – Food and Candy from Around the World

IMG_9296MultiCulturalKids a group of writers excited about raising multicultural children is hosting a video discussion circle in which we ask and anwer each other’s questions about traveling with kids.  The circle starts off with Olga from European Mama asking about travel secrets and then Leanna at AllDoneMonkey wonders about fun travel detours.  Ours was definitely an unexpected overnight in Memphis TN on New Year’s Eve – yes you can get BBQ delivered in a pink Cadillac!.  Then Michelle at Mother Tongues asked us about food and candy – a favorite subject in our family.  Watch our video answer about traveling with kids – food and candy around the world.

The conversation goes on at BilingualkidsRock where Olen answers our question about travel “equipment” that saved the day.  TrilingualChildren, InspiredByFamily, MarocMama, MultilingualMama, JourneysOfTheFabulist, and ThePiriPiriLexicon all contribute.  Jump in anywhere to enjoy listening in, thinking about traveling with kids, and meeting these interesting folks.

American Toilet Candy

Click to watch our video answer about travel and candy

8 Tips for Enjoying a Timeshare Sales Pitch

931We recently attended our fifth timeshare sales pitch.  They’ve all been interesting in their own way – the product itself, the style of the sales pitch, the interaction with the salesman.  The first event we attended was near our Seattle home and probably just months after we were married.  The man running the slideshow asked folks to raise their hand and tell the group what they got for their sixth birthday.  No one had an answer.  Their 10th birthday?  Christmas when they turned 16? There were a few timid answers but not much.  Then he asked “OK, then, tell me about a vacation your family took when you were a kid.”  Hands shot up in the air and everybody started talking.  I know, I know.  It’s unfair because he didn’t ask for a vacation the year we were some specific age and we were all there for a travel pitch because we liked travel, but it was powerful!  Maybe that timeshare sales pitch even changed our lives? Since then we’ve Read more »

What is CostULess Travel?

Cost U Less travel, Cost-U-Less Travel, or CostULess Travel is a “travel program” pitched like a timeshare condominium.  We received multiple offers in the mail advertising an “opportunity” to receive two free airplane tickets and two nights in a hotel in exchange for hearing their pitch.  We love traveling and though we’re not really interested in timeshares, curiosity finally made us cave and we called to learn more.

The woman on the phone was friendly but mysterious.  She would tell me nothing about the free gift (those free plane tickets and hotel rooms that sucked us in) and seemed to know very little about CostULess except that (1) it’s spelled with a “U” instead of a “You”; (2) it is NOT a timeshare; and (3) it’s a discount travel club.  I imagined something like a travel Tupperware party and decided that, at worst case, it was only 90-minutes and we could blog about it.  How bad could it be right? Read more »