• travel,  learning

    You Should Tour a Mine at Least Once

    Everyone should tour a mine at least once in their lifetime. It is a tangible and interesting way to understand the effort, danger and environmental impact that goes into extracting natural resources from the ground that are used in everyday items we find indispensable. Your cell phone alone contains many natural resources that come out of the ground such as copper, gold, silver, palladium, crude oil, and lithium. Now, I’m not encouraging you to tour an active mine or to get lost in an abandoned mine. No, no, no. There are plenty of tourism opportunities all around the country and world to take a guided tour of an inactive mine.…

  • education,  gift and learning,  learning

    Books My Kids Are Reading Part 11

    It has been longer than usual since my last “Books My Kids Are Reading” post. We’re still consuming stacks and stacks of books, but not as many that I’m reading out loud to the kids. In fact, there are only three in this list that I read aloud to the kids and there’s a reason for that. My 3rd grader needed to work on reading comprehension. Since I am a sucker for reading “just one more page” when the kids ask, it was cutting into his nightly independent reading time. We did a nighttime reset so that he has a solid 25 – 30 minutes of independent reading time. When…

  • i have something to say poem by ann l olsson 1999
    education,  gift and learning,  learning

    An Original Poem for Poem In Your Pocket Day

    Tomorrow is Poem in Your Pocket Day. I think more of us are into poetry than we might realize. Many of those short sayings that get passed around on social media are actually poems or portions of poems. A perfect example of this is one of my favorite poems by William Butler Yeats. Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B. Yeats Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread…

  • Family,  learning

    Books My Kids Are Reading Part 6

    Books, books and more books! Welcome back to what has become an on-going series sharing the children’s books my kids and I are reading. Before I get to the list of books we’ve enjoyed recently, I want to show you a neat booklet our local Irish library system publishes. It is a reading guide for different age groups from toddlers up to young adults. It includes both fiction and non-fiction recommendations. The library must have a fairly robust budget to produce this booklet and I have no complaints about that! The reading guide is compiled by a group of ‘book doctors’ who are all children’s book specialists. They have backgrounds…

  • Family,  learning

    Kid Wisdom: Everyday Superpowers

    Picture it. The kids and I are on a packed commuter train at 8:27 a.m. We’re standing, of course, because it’s a Monday morning and everyone has to get to work on time on a Monday. By Friday they won’t care as much and the train will be less crowded. I’m wearing my son’s backpack because 2nd grade homework is HEAVY and holding my own backpack with my left hand. With my right hand I’m holding onto one of the vertical bars to keep my balance as the train stops and starts. The kids are clustered next to me attempting whatever movement they can get away with in a packed…

  • Family,  Ireland,  learning

    We’re Not Catholic, but I Sent My Kids to Mass

    My kids went to Catholic Mass today. We’re not Catholic. We’re American expats living in Ireland where the public school system is run by the Catholic Church with public tax dollars. Even many private schools are Catholic-influenced. Our kids (now 7 and 10) attend a private school that is not Catholic run. As a percentage, there aren’t a lot of these schools in Ireland, but they are growing in number and popularity. Twice a year our school offers the children an opportunity to attend a community-wide Mass during school hours. All the various primary schools in the parish attend. Of course, as parents, we have the right to opt our…

  • Family,  learning

    Why a Good Book is a Secret Door

    We have books in almost every room in our home. It wasn’t a conscious decision…just a reflection on the importance we place on learning and imagination. And, in all fairness, when it comes to my husband’s ugly computer books…I like to decorate by hiding them in plain sight too. My grandma was a first grade teacher and she retired before I would have been in her class, but she didn’t stop teaching in retirement. No. She taught me how to read before I started school. To say she gave me the greatest gift is an understatement. Reading unlocks all the world’s possibilities for a child. That’s why this TED Talk given by…

  • Family,  learning

    Kids Write the Funniest Things

    My after-school routine contains the following: 1) Kids ask to play with their friends while they are waiting for the bus driver to tell them it is safe to cross the road. I yell at them to pay attention to the bus driver, you know, so they don’t get run over. 2) On the days when they can’t play with their friends, the kids immediately announce they are STARVING because they: a) haven’t eaten anything in two hours b) didn’t want to eat the apples and/or sandwich in their lunch c) all of the above. 3) They hand me their backpacks (or try to) because they are suddenly too heavy to…

  • learning

    Interesting 5-Minute Reads

    Let’s get a little random today! I haven’t read any books worth talking about lately, but I have read some awesome essays on a variety of topics. Regardless of whether or not I agree with the opinion or topic, I love it when an author propels me to contemplate the issue at hand. Here are 4 articles I found interesting this week. Having It All Kinda Sucks I have wasted far too much time questioning my life choices related to working and motherhood. It’s ridiculous and I know I’m not alone. The essay Having It All Kinda Sucks by Amy Westervelt sums the issue up much more eloquently than I ever could. That Amy,…

  • Food,  learning

    Learning Fractions the Banana Bread Way

    Last week bananas were piling up on my kitchen counter. It was quickly becoming a DEFCON “EWWW” situation. I needed to bring resolution to the predicament ASAP because I really, really don’t like to waste produce. Enter my favorite banana bread recipe which uses 4 bananas. Not a problem! I had 6 bananas. I was going to leave the other two bananas sitting there all lonely and forlorn on the counter when I realized I didn’t have to waste them. I could make a batch and a half of banana bread because I’m good with fractions. I went to public school, folks. I know what you are thinking. “Annisa, this is starting off as…