Introducing our new summer series: What's Up World


Every summer, I like to torture myself bond with my children by forgoing camp and keeping them home with me to create our own fun. I begin the summer with a picture perfect vision of the upcoming 12 weeks. In the mornings, we’ll practice Spanish and reading and penmanship. There will be weekly tennis lessons, trips to museums and waterparks, and picnic baskets filled with hydrating snacks like sliced cucumbers and watermelon, because one can never be too hydrated on scorching summer days. Then summer happens, and by day three our Spanish lessons turn into YouTube episodes of  Paw Patrol en espanol—not like we can hear the language over the cries of I just want regular Paw Patrol—and reading only gets done when I pay my 6 year old actual money to read something—A…N…Y…T…H…I…N…G. And I quickly realize that tennis rackets would only be used by my boys to beat each other, because every object in our home has somehow transformed into into a tear-producing weapon.

So it’s only natural that I’m here to document our new summer project and ask you to join in on our family fun. We will play and read and eat and learn. Welcome to the What’s Up World Series. Here’s how it works:

Every week, our family will read a different book about a country (we’re reading the Living In Around the World Collection), but you could visit your local library and pick any book about the culture.To start, we'll make stops in Brazil, India, Mexico, China, Italy, and South Africa. My 6 year old will have a chance to practice his reading, but parents of younger kids can read the book to their children, and we’ll all locate the country on the globe. Then together we’ll make a recipe from that country that’s suitable for all ages (my kids are 1, 3, and 6, so this can be something we all can eat.). I will post our recipes and stories every Thursday, and we’ll eat through a total of 6 countries this summer. I’ve always found that cooking with my children is the best way to get them to eat what I’m making, and this will introduce new flavors and expand their palates in a way they can get excited about. Oh and let me not forgot about the beautiful bonding that unites siblings when they cook together. Parents of two kids or more can watch their darlings yank measuring spoons out of their sibling's hand exchange pleasantries like "It would make me happier if you go first, sister."

And the benefits just keep coming: there’s reading, there’s geography, there’s food, there’s culture, there is the insanity of embarking on a new family project and not knowing where it will take you. The adventure begins June 28--first stop: Brazil!