More school resources from wonderful children’s authors: Justine Laismith

Author Justine Laismith has a great page of school resources introducing Chinese culture for ages 9 to 13 years. The videos, activities, and photos are related to her book SECRETS OF THE GREAT FIRE TREE. These wonderful activities cover lots of interesting topics: Chinese culture and diversity: (make a dragon boat out of paper!!) Literacy […]

What is International Book Giving Day?

What is international book giving day? Get the poster, bookmarks and bookplate here. The website suggests 6 ways you can get involved: 14th February is about getting books into the hands of as many children as possible on 14th February #bookgivingday “1 in 8 disadvantaged children in the UK don’t own a single book” […]

Olives and Antifreeze ALWAYS come in Two Colors except when They Don’t.

We have a supposedly American car, a Ford Fusion, but it lives in Germany, so it has to have German antifreeze. Natch. Instead of 5-gallon, yellow, Prestone jugs, Germany has white, soda-bottle-sized Kühlerfrostschutz bottles. I was a little leery about Kühlerfrostschutz, because buying oil for the car was a major research project, even after I […]

4 Things Trappist Monks know about Safe Spaces for Creativity

Abbey and church buildings painted white with red trim against a blue sky

Lately, I’ve been thinking about safe spaces to create art. On the weekend, we visited Abbey Mariawald, famous for its split-pea soup. Judging from the number of motorcyclists, families, and hikers, they’ve hit on something with universal appeal. They also have a private life that soup-eating tourists don’t see. While tourists are welcome in the […]

Life’s soundtrack should be big: Rossini Opera Festival makes a splash

The Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy was over the top! I love watching live orchestras and this one had 5 string basses. 🙂 And the audience was as fun to watch as the opera! I didn’t expect a fashion event. Of course people are well dressed at a fancy cultural event, but there was so […]

Basic Garden Vocabulary in German and a side-trip to Mexican Oregano

I’ve never grown vegetables in Germany–until this year. That means I need lots of new words! If you’re considering gardening in Germany, maybe this list will help you out. Or provide you with a little entertainment. Or I’ll just be able to look things up here when I forget them. 🙂 die Gartenschnur–garden twine, jute, […]

Forgiving yourself for what you did “on purpose”

Whack! The little girl smacked her tiny rainbow umbrella down on the restaurant’s marble table with an unexpectedly loud crack. No one was hurt; nothing was damaged–or even knocked over–but her eyes widened in horror. “But I did it on purpose!” A storm of tears followed and she hid her face against her mother. I […]

7+ English Language Bookstores in Paris

This post is for all you readers of English language books who are living in or visiting Paris. Maybe you need a book for the plane home or presents for your English-speaking grandchildren. Or you just need to browse English books for a while before returning to your adopted home in Europe. Shakespeare & Company […]

The Good Earth: International Gardens

A landmark. The day before yesterday, I was given my first garden plot since we moved to Germany. Turning over the soil stirred up surprising feelings. It’s an International Garden so the invitation was in German and in Arabic. My fellow gardeners are from Egypt, Eritrea, Afghanistan, and Germany. People were talking about melons, chilis, […]