E is for Explore the World: The A to Z of Raising Bilingual Children

A-Z of raising Bilingual Chidrensunday

I’m proud to be part of a global group of bloggers who are coming together this month to write about the A to Z’s of raising bilingual children.  For a list of all the great posts, visit the home page for this fun project.  Of course, we chose “E” for “Explore the World”.

Our kids have been lucky to enjoy a Spanish immersion program through our local public schools so we had lots of support from family and teachers.  The support was desperately needed because neither my husband nor I actually speak Spanish. We wish were bilingual but we’re not.  Bilingualism was a gift we wanted to give our children, but not something that came easily.

Because she could speak Spanish, a roadside caballero offered her his horse!!

Because she could speak Spanish, a roadside caballero offered her his horse!!

The first reason to explore the world is motivation. Our first challenge in helping our Read more »

5 Ways to Promote Multiculturalism through Travel

MasqueradeAs a part of their on-line summit on Raising Global Citizens, Multicultural Kids Blog invited me to share my thoughts on how traveling with kids can cultivate multiculturalism.  Being a true global citizen involves more than simply respecting and knowing about other cultures; it requires skills, experiences, and attitudes that help a person engage with and cherish as wide a variety of cultures as they are lucky enough to encounter.  Traveling with your kids can help them gain these skills, experiences, and attitudes.

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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 »

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!

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 »

Blast from the Past

There really are windmills in The Netherlands.

There really are windmills in The Netherlands.

The whole third section of our book is devoted to reinforcing the memories of a trip well taken and exploring the cultural diversity offered in your own hometown.  But what I neglected to include in those chapters is the memory boost offered by electronic blasts from the past.  Every couple of months I get an e-mail message from Nederlands Openluchtmuseum.  Even before I open it, it brings me a little smile.

Making paper at the Openluchtmuseum.

Making paper at the Openluchtmuseum.

Back in 2007, when the kids were seven and four, we took the whole family to The Netherlands for a scientific conference.  On an off day we took a train and a bus to a museum that was supposed to be fun for kids while documenting the everyday cultural heritage of the region.  We had a great afternoon walking through the period buildings of the “Open Air Museum” and interacting with people in period costumes doing traditional labor like milling grain or smithing. Read more »