Inspiring Passion for the World through Foreign Language Learning, Books, Music, Food, and Travel!
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Apple Foods and Fun... International Style

We're just crazy about apple season in our household! You might have noticed from my APPLE-themed facebook FREEBIE, my Spanish kindergarten APPLE packet, and my FREE Life Cycle of an APPLE Pop-Up Book. I just love this season, and this fruit, so much that I asked a few international blogo-friends to share their apple experiences and ideas.

Glittering Muffins' Valerie remembers childhoods in Quebec where farmers and neighbors would let you just pick apples right off their trees. (Valerie admits that was a few decades ago. It might not fly today!)

Now in Alberta, Valerie keeps the apple-picking tradition alive with her husband and their young son (who has been picking apples since infancy!). Inspired by her mother's Austro-Bavarian "scheiterhaufe" recipe, Valerie and family share their recipe for a delicious looking crock pot apple pie bread pudding. Find it here. Mmmm.

As a Polish woman with a German husband, Olga (aka The European Mama) has not one, but TWO great recipes to share. The first one I'm going to taste-test will be "szarlotka," or Polish apple pie (recipe here). With a crusty bottom, a meringue top, and apples in between, you can't go wrong!

Check out that same post for Olga's German MIL's recipe for a German covered apple pie. I feel myself embracing the German side of my Alsatian heritage at this very moment!

On a less international note (and less calorie-ridden, too... because, yes, there is more to life than food... who knew?!), Jaime has about a buzzillion ideas for apples and kids on Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.

Painting with apples, apple scented dough, apple books, apple crafts, apple treats... you name it, and if it's about kids and apples, she's got it! I'm kind of intrigued by the apple volcanoes, but I'm pretty sure I know which one Mag will want to try first: apple sparkle slime!

If you have great apple ideas and recipes of your own, you know I want to see them!

Until then, happy picking. And baking. And eating...


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Apple Season is Here! ... a product and a FREEBIE!

For yet another year, the Midwestern summer weather has been a bit strange, having felt like fall for much of the summer... which might be why I feel extra ready for: APPLE SEASON!

This year we missed opening weekend at our favorite local apple orchard. But we did arrive by their 8th day open, so we got all the excitement of the beginning of the season, with a bonus of employees who know how to work the registers! (Last year's note to self: if you head to any seasonal attraction in the first hours of their openness for that season, be prepared for just about everyone working there to have to call for someone else to help them with their job. Be it ringing up your order, knowing how to make the hot chocolate, how much things cost, or where the restrooms are... you name it, they're still training for it!)

Anyway, so yes, we did make it to the orchard and had tons of fun... and tons of apple cider donuts! And thus, upon arriving home, I couldn't help but create a few apple-related products.

This first product is a FREEBIE! And a fun one, at that: a 4-page "Life Cycle of the Apple" pop-up book... in four languages! You can find it here, in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.


I've also been rounding out my Spanish Dual Language/Immersion Kindergarten series of products, which just didn't seem complete without an apple packet! With this apple packet, I am one step closer to having a complete kindergarten series. Yay! You can check it out here. (Designed to support Common Core targets!)


In Kürze (German="coming soon"): more apple fun from around the world!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"The Happiness of Pursuit" ... released today!

"Finding the quest that will bring purpose to your life."

Wow! A quest that will bring purpose to my life? Sounds great, doesn't it? The sentence above is the by-line from author and travel guru Chris Guillebeau's latest book, released today: The Happiness of Pursuit
I received an advance copy of this book, for review purposes, under the sole obligation to provide my honest opinion. I was not required to give a favorable review.

Well, on the one hand, Happiness did not disappoint! In relating a series of interviews with "ordinary people completing extraordinary quests" (like the family of four who spent 33 months biking from Alaska to Argentina!), Guillebeau extrapolates a series of lessons to stimulate all readers to find and follow the dream of their lifetime. Interestingly, the stories themselves are so inspirational that the lessons were almost superfluous. (I mean, really, could dating get any more fun than 50 dates in 50 states?! Twelve years ago, I wouldn't have needed a list of lessons to make that happen; just the idea itself!)

And so there is that side of the book: the side that makes you want to just get out there and do something fun and adventurous. Off the couch. Into the big wide world. Prove something to yourself. Or to others. Or find yourself. Or shock your friends. Or simply break up the routine. Whatever you've been needing, or wanting, or dreaming of. That side of the book makes it a terribly enjoyable read, such that you might even be tempted to complete the book in one sitting (although, at 263 pages, it would, admittedly, be a very long sit).

And then there is the other side of the book: the side that saddens. Yes, Happiness follows along on some very exciting and inspiring quests. But in it, we also are shown the emptiness of the quest. We meet several seemingly misguided souls whose quests evolved out of avoidance of pain, or fear, or even immaturity. Dealing with a terminal diagnosis? Avoid the emotional trauma by distracting yourself with a quest, even to the extent that your children feel ignored. Carrying the teenage need to "fight the man" into adulthood? Don't explore the underlying reason for your pre-teen attitude; simply "show them all" by questing to live in silence, speaking to no one (including family!) for almost two decades. (Be assured that this particular quester himself admits to using his silence to "fight the man." -pg231- I did not arbitrarily designate that as the reason for his silence. Imagine refusing to speak to your loved ones for 17 years, just to assert your independence... not as a 12-year old boy, but as an adult man. Very sad.)

Nonetheless, despite the few stories that emoted a hopeless disengagement from reality, taking into consideration the entirety of The Happiness of Pursuit, I can't help but say I found it an engaging and entertaining read. Happiness has inspired me, not to create a quest to give my life purpose as its by-line suggested, but to make a few fun changes in my every day life. I am grateful for the several questers who have stirred me to explore and develop dreams that have been latent in recent years. And grateful to Guillebeau whose book brought those inspiring stories to me!

Now off to learn photography and improve my Spanish...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Multilingual Coloring Sheets FREEBIE! ... apple-picking theme

Oh my goodness, has it really been over a month since I posted a freebie? Well, then I guess it's time for a new one!

My latest freebie is a "facebook fan freebie." To access these multilingual apple-picking coloring sheets, head to my facebook page, and look for the "free downloads" button on the left sidebar.


Credits: Super cute graphics by Educlips. Frame by Creative Clips.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Je vous présente... Lily

A new member joins the Open Wide the World team. It is an honor and my pleasure to introduce: Lily, my new proofreader! Lily will be proofreading the Spanish language products for my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Lily is a longtime friend, a sister of sorts, from the beautiful city of Oaxaca, México. Lily and I met in high school in our senior year, when I had just returned Stateside after a foreign exchange year in New Zealand, and Lily herself had just arrived as an exchange student in my family's home in the U.S. It was a magical time in both of our lives, a time that passed all too quickly, and has seemed almost a dream when looking back from the years that followed.

In those many long years since our high school foreign exchange adventures, Lily has amassed experience in Clinical Psychology and psycho-pedagogical studies (still trying to wrap my head around that one!), and most recently, my favorite: Bilingual Research Associate at an American university's Early Childhood Education Institute. A gal who loves travel, languages, and children? A perfect match for Open Wide the World!

I hope in coming months, beyond just proofreading tasks, I hope Lily will feel inspired to share pictures and stories of her beloved Oaxaca, as well as maybe a few of her mother's wonderful, traditional Mexican recipes.

In the meantime, I extend to Lily a heartfelt
¡Bienvenida!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

the BTS sale on TpT: 28% off my store (and most others, too!)

Yay, my favorite event of the year is here: the Back-to-School sale on Teachers Pay Teachers!

My entire store is discounted 20% today. Plus, use code BTS14 to receive an additional 10% off sale prices!


Many stores on TpT are offering this same deal. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spanish & French Back-to-School FREEBIE!

It's my favorite time again: FREEBIE time!
Somehow, I love offering freebies as much as I love finding freebies. Here's my latest:

Click  image to find this freebie in my TpT store.

You guessed it: this freebie features graphics from two of my fave clip artists: Educlips and Creative Clips. Thanks, Sarah & Krista!