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Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Joys of Domestic Holiday Travel... Really!

Yesterday we left the Midwest to spend Thanksgiving week in California with Kam's family; our first flight since our trip to Europe this spring.

Previously, I would have preferred to remain home-bound rather than face O'Hare International Airport during the holiday season. What is it about ORD that is so disenchanting in the winter? The Chicago weather delays? Or maybe the fact that bad weather anywhere on the continent will somehow delay flights out of Chicago? I don't know, but whatever it is, I have spent far too many hours in lines at gates in ORD, waiting and hoping to get a coveted remaining seat on a back-up flight for my back-up flight.

And then yesterday arrived. I was prepared for anything as we headed toward ORD, just days before the busiest travel day of the year.

Prepared for anything, that is, except a pleasant and enjoyable journey. Just minutes into the airport, it hit me: no matter what the issue, everything is easier to face in domestic travel. In this, our first trip since our travels in Europe,

I realized how many things I love about domestic travel:

  • Being able to read the signs. All of them. Without thinking. Without using context. Without wondering what the symbols mean. I just love to be able to look up at a sign have instant access to the information I was seeking, especially in an airpot.
  • Understanding the queuing system. I won't try to say the North American way of lining up in a neat and polite manner that respects the time and space of fellow queuers is better than other -ahem- systems. No matter where you're from, it's just easier to line up with people whose method matches yours.
  • Clean restrooms. Okay, admittedly this experience will not be shared by all who travel domestically, depending on where your domicile is... but here in the States, it would be on rare occasion that I would cringe at the thought of a public privy. All the more important when traveling with a child!
  • And my newfound favorite part of domestic holiday travel: TREATS!
Treats? Really? Now, I'm not one of those people who sneaks around the big box mega discount stores, trolling for free samples... but I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised to be met, not by weather delays at ORD, but by this happy scene, courtesy of American Airlines, and featuring apple cider (not just apple juice, but apple cider!) and Starbucks coffee, with a little sign offering holiday greetings from the American Airlines family, and three of the happiest airport personnel I have ever encountered!

Not to be outdone, the ubiquitous Starbucks in the world infamous LAX had an employee actually walking through the baggage claim area, offering little cake bites to holiday travelers. In all my years of flying during the holiday season, I have honestly never experienced anything remotely close to the hospitality that met us in our travels yesterday. (And for those who caught the news yesterday, I should say that we consumed our treats and claimed our bags just early enough to miss the LAX shut-down last night... or this might have been a completely different post!)

So thank you, American Airlines and Starbucks, for the pleasant entry to not just the airports, but to this holiday season!

Anyone else who loves world travels find that you love the logistics of domestic travels just a little bit more?

Monday, November 18, 2013

French & Spanish Thanksgiving FREEBIE!

I am mid-project with a super fun Christmat TpT Spanish/French set these days, but just needed to get back into the present season for an afternoon. So it seemed a perfect time to whip up another FREEBIE! (That last one served us well when little Mag was home sick today. So nice to have some Spanish resources at hand to make up for all the hours missed at school.)

If have some kiddos who would like a little seasonal practice with parts of the body in FRENCH or SPANISH, head on over to my little corner of Teachers Pay Teachers for this freebie:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Kitchen Floor Woes, and a FREEBIE!

When we moved to the Midwest a few years ago, we were so fortunate to find the perfect house. (Well, perfect for us. Maybe a tad small for the average Midwesterner, but we have different expectations.) I love almost everything about our home, with two exceptions, one of which is: the kitchen floor. Agh! I despise that hideous (and poorly laid!) dreary linoleum. It is so affreux that I didn't even mind when Kam dropped a knife on it and gouged a hole in it... or did I do that?.. It is just that horrid.

But like many unpleasant things in this world, there is often a bright side. The bright side of this hideous piece of flooring is: flashcard races!

Let me back up a moment...

We recently had our first quarter conference with Mag's wonderful Dual Language kindergarten teacher, Sra. C. She mentioned that reading groups will be starting up in December, and that we might like to practice sight words at home in the meantime. So I did what any TpT addict would do: I raced home to make some flashcards... oh, and bought a bag of M&M's, too!

Click to download!
As soon as the ink was dry on the flashcards and the M&Ms were open,  Mag took her place on one square of the aforementioned hideous flooring. From there, we began one the regular routines of my own childhood: read a flashcard correctly, advance a square on the linoleum. Reach the flashcard holder and get an M&M! (And the flashcard holder, that's me!, gets and M&M, too, of course.)

Right now, we're targeting 10 words, and soon we'll add another 10. If you'd like to join in with some flashcard fun, zip on over to my little store on Teachers Pay Teachers, and grab these flashcards for FREE. The current download also includes a game of "Yo tengo/¿QuiĆ©n tiene?"... with directions, if you're not familiar with the game.

I'll post an update when we add the next 10 words. Hope you'll join us in some flashcard fun... you're welcome to play along, even if your flooring isn't hideous!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan Family Update

Just a quick update, since we have received many inquiries as to the status of Kam's family in Philippines. As of yesterday, everyone was safe and accounted for.

In the next few days, a fellow Multicultural Kids Blogger will be posting a round-up of relief efforts. There are plenty of organizations at work, but Rina Mae has some on-the-ground contacts who are passing along info as to which relief groups have been the most effective at circumnavigating the looting and corruption, and actually reaching the people in need. I will share her round-up as soon as it goes live.

Thank you all for the well wishes and prayers.