Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Early Chinese-American History Books for Kids for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month | Blog Hop & Link Up

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month is a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States: the cultures, traditions and histories. Encompassing the Asian continent, Pacific Islands and Polynesia, this is a celebration of many varied and rich cultures. 

Learn more about 10 notable Asian Pacific Americans with Scholastic

After spending a year learning about China, it seems fitting for our family to learn a bit more about the history of Chinese-Americans. The Chinese were the first Asians to arrive to the US in large numbers, with thousands arriving in California during the gold rush of the 1850s. They would sign five year contracts to work in the mines, and when they were done they would prospect or work as laborers, domestic workers and fishermen. 

Chinese working on the transcontinental railroad
Photo source: The Library of Congress
Because of labor shortages, in 1865 the Central Pacific Railroad began recruiting Chinese laborers to work on the transcontinental railroad. By 1868, 80% of the Central Pacific workforce was Chinese. The work was dangerous and difficult, the conditions harsh, and the pay meagre. Despite this incredible contribution, Chinese immigrants suffered increasing prejudice, taxes and restrictive laws. In fact, in 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act - the first American immigration restriction aimed at one ethnic group, this act prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers and was in effect until 1943. 

Children's Books About Early Chinese-American History

Historical fiction is a great way to learn about heritage and culture. Following are a few books we particularly appreciated that explore Chinese American history for all ages. 

Please note some links to book titles are affiliated with Amazon. Any purchases made through these links may earn this blog a small commission. Thanks for your support!

Coolies by Yin is the beautifully illustrated story of two brothers who immigrate to the United States to work on the Transcontinental railway. This is a great book for kids to learn about the dangers and discrimination faced by the Chinese railway workers that made such an important contribution to American history.
Age range 7-10 (but would definitely be enjoyed by older elementary kids)
Brothers by Yin, a sequel to Coolies, is the story of a young boy who just arrives in San Francisco from China to live with his brother who runs a store in Chinatown. This beautifully illustrated story gives a sense of San Francisco in the 1880's, the fears and prejudices experienced by Chinese immigrants, and the power of looking beyond racial differences. There's also an endpage with historical information about Irish and Chinese immigration, as well as the development of Chinatown. Age range 7-10 (but would definitely be enjoyed by older elementary kids)

Earthquake by Milly Lee is a picture book describing one family's experience during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. This book is based on the true story of the author's mother and includes a fascinating end page with historical information about earthquake, and the struggle for safety many faced. 
Age range 4-8

Landed by Milly Lee is another great, informational picture story book about early Chinese immigration. Based on her father in law's true story, a 12 year old boy leaves China for the "Gold Mountain" in America. Because of the 1882 Chinese exclusion act, he is detained at Angel Island for weeks. This is a great book to learn about the fear and preparations many Chinese went through in hopes of finding a new home. 
Age range 9-12

Paper Son: Lee's Journey to America (Tales of Young Americans) by Helen Foster James is another beautifully illustrated book telling the story of young Chinese immigrants who hope to move to America for a better life. Being a paper son means he has to pretend to be the son of a family that already lives in America, which means weeks of preparations to answer the hours of interrogations found on Angel Island. 
Age range 7-11

The Gold Mountain Chronicles by Laurence Yep follow the lives of the extended Young family as they migrate from China to America, and their changing lives in the US over 150 years. The books can be read as stand alone or as a series, with Mountain Light, Dragon's Gate (Golden Mountain Chronicles, 1867) *, and Dragonwings * especially shedding a light on the plights of early Chinese Americans. 
*Both of these books are award winners. 
Age range: 8-12

Want more books and activities to celebrate Asian-Pacific Heritage Month?

  • Pragmatic Mom features books and book lists galore. You can find her recommendations tagged for Asian Americans here
  • Crafty Moms Share put together an excellent resource of books featuring the various cultures celebrated for Asian-Pacific heritage month that can be found here
  • All of the books featuring China and the Chinese culture that we read and enjoyed in 2013 are tagged here
  • Our Top 10 posts of 2013 exploring the Chinese culture can be found here.
  • Tutorials to learn about the Four Great Chinese inventions with far reaching and historical impact can be found here.
  • My pinterest boards to explore China Japan, India and Hawaii
  • Check out the great posts put together by the co-hosts of this blog hop that celebrate these diverse cultures and the various activities linked up to the linky below.
Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Hop - Multicultural Kid Blogs
In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Multicultural Kid Blogs is sponsoring a blog hop, and you are invited! We are celebrating the cultures and peoples of this diverse region by sharing our posts and asking other bloggers to do the same! Our hope is to create a wonderful resource for celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month with children. Be sure to visit the co-hosts of the blog hop (listed below) and share your own posts at the linky at the bottom! You can find even more resources on this region in our Asia and Australia and Oceania boards on Pinterest!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell

This weekend we had a great day out Saturday, and a quiet day in Sunday for homework, not being ones to balance the work and play :) 

The city's greenhouses opened their doors to the public for the day, and I took along a rather dubious family who doubted the level of interest to be found - as you can see from the above photos, I was proven right. (Really, they should just accept that I am bound to be right. Ok, 95% of the time.) We spent well over an hour traipsing through the five or six greenhouses and surrounding areas, the girls taking in the myriad of plants soon to be planted throughout the city, most famously the Public Gardens. Pea took over 100 photographs, and Elle left with her hands full: potted pansies, succulents pieces for propagation, fallen flowers and dried bits of interesting form. 

We treated ourselves to poutine for lunch, wandered around (getting lost) in the city's large, multi trailed park, then treated ourselves to more fried food: fresh, old fashioned donuts. It was a day for greasy food treats. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fantasy Coffins in Ghana | Designing our own caskets

Fantasy coffin on display in art gallery
Photo Credit: Sharen
The above hen isn't your average gigantic wooden hen - it's a casket, also known as a fantasy coffin from Ghana. 

These colorful coffins have become a custom in Southern Ghana since the early 1950s with the Ga ethnic group. It is said that a fisherman wanted to take with him into the afterlife that which had sustained him and ordered a coffin shaped as a fish for his burial. This quickly became popular in Accra.

The Ga believe that death is a transition into the world of ancestors. Ancestors are believed to have a very powerful influence on the life of their living relatives, and therefore it is considered of utmost importance to honor them. For some this begins with a personalized coffin. These caskets are only meant to be seen on the day of the burial, when it is buried with the dead.

Fish casket
Photo credit: John Nash
These elaborate coffins are meant to symbolize the life of the deceased. This representation is often based on occupation: for example, a fisherman would be buried in a boat or a fish; a professor in a fountain pen; a farmer in an onion, a pepper, an ear of corn; a carpenter in a hammer. They may also be representative of the deceased's aspirations (a plane or luxury car) or of their habits and vices (beer bottle, cigarette). Animals are often used to represent their clan totems (lion, crab) whereas others have specific symbolism: a hen represents a mother; an eagle represents a chief.

Bottle casket in construction
Photo credit: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep
Completed Coca Cola bottle casket - habit? Vice?
Photo credit: John Nash
These coffins are made with basic tools and incredible craftsmanship. Internationally they are considered works of art, and have been displayed in museums and art galleries around world.

You can view more fantasy coffins here - which one was the most surprising to you?

Cow, plane, and cocoa pod
Photo credit: Bookbird
Despite the niggling feeling that it was a bit morbid, I had the girls design their own fantasy caskets :) When your inspiration comes from giant colorful fish and hens, it can't be that morbid, right? The girls thought for quite some time as to what would somehow represent them, and then hid themselves to draw their caskets. It was rather interesting what they came up with! I think these will be quite fun to look back on when they're older.

Elle's design - she is all about accessorizing, and the amount of nail polish she owns is shocking. Seems a rather fitting design :)
Pea's design is.. half lynx, half mermaid (not fish, she was adamant about that). Even she had a hard time conveying what it represents, but I'd say her vivid imagination :)
What would your casket represent? 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"It Takes a Whole Village to Raise a Child" | Learning about Community & Markets with a West African Proverb & Children's Book

"It Takes a Village" by Jane Cowen-Fletcher is a picture book based on the West African proverb "It takes a whole village to raise a child". The story takes place in a village market in Benin, where we follow a young girl who is taking care of her baby brother while her mother is busy selling mangoes. When her baby brother wanders off, we are taken through the market as the various friendly village vendors watch over him. The story gives a sense of the bonds of community and the illustrations are representative of what can be found in a village open air market in Benin. The end page goes on to describe the role of village markets. This book is recommended for ages 4-8.

The author, Jane Cowen-Fletcher, served in the Peace Corps in Benin where she heard the proverb that represents core values found among most West African villages, communities, and families. Children are a blessing for the entire community, since they will grow to contribute in many ways, helping their family and their community. Raising children is a communal effort, and the responsibility is shared with the extended family. Older kids look after younger kids, and extended stays with grandparents, aunts and uncles is fairly common. As a child, your family, neighbors and community look after you; as an adult you share in this responsibility, as well as contributing to the good of the community and the elders in your family. 

Photo Credit: Terrie Schweitzer
There are proverbs across Africa that refer to the shared responsibility of raising children: 

  • In Tanzania: "One knee does not does not bring up a child."
  • The Swahili of East & Central Africa: "One hand does not nurse a child."
  • Uganda:"A child does not grow up only in a single home."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Around the World with Pancakes: Kenyan Vibibi | Coconut Rice Pancakes

We're trying out pancakes from around the world, looking beyond fluffy pancakes and beyond breakfast food

This past weekend we made Kenyan Vibibi -coconut and rice pancakes - and the girls devoured them. 

These pancakes are known as kibibi for one, and vibibi for many. They're commonly eaten as breakfast or snacks by the Swahili along the Kenyan coast. These aren't made from rice flour, but from ground rice and coconut milk which gives them a distinct flavor and texture. The batter is easy to prepare - everything is thrown in the blender - which works great with kids. There's a lot of waiting time however, the rice needs to soak overnight, and the batter needs to rest for 1 1/2 hours. I had forgotten about the batter needing to rest, and took advantage of how exhausted the girls were after the weekend, reading in bed until mid morning thinking we could whip up the pancakes - in the end, we enjoyed them for lunch :)

Kenyan Vibibi

Recipe adapted from Stella's Meza
Makes 8-10 pancakes

  • 1 cup white basmati rice (cover in water, let soak overnight, then drain completely)
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp rapid rise yeast (make sure it's rapid rise)
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • oil to cook the pancakes - I used coconut oil, but vegetable oil works too
*When I opened the can of milk, the top half was solidified at the top, with liquid at the bottom. I microwaved it all, whisked it together, then measured out 1 cup. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell

This weekend, we had to divide and conquer. My incredible sister graduated with a degree in education, Elle had a weekend long regional soccer tournament five hours away, and Pea was mostly locked up in her room with a backlog of homework.

My incredibly amazing and inspiring sister returned to school a couple of years ago to get her degree in education - no small feat especially when juggling family with a young energetic child and part time work. She graduated this past weekend, and I couldn't be any prouder. Her passion and devotion will inspire every child who passes through her classroom door.

With my father down for the celebration, we spent plenty of time doing what our family does best -playing dice games :) We also managed some outdoor time with Pea and her grandfather exchanging photography tips.

Elle and Hubby spent the weekend in Cape Breton, for the regional games for the Jeux de l'Acadie (Acadian Games). This has been Elle's first foray into soccer, having only joined her school's soccer team a few months ago. She was quite nervous, but she and her team were impressive, and in fact they won gold! She had a great time with her friends, and is now recuperating with little left of her voice and sore muscles throughout :) Now, we have to plan for the finales at the end of June. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Scenes of West Africa - Calabashes: The Many Uses of Gourds

Calabash basins
Photo credit: Carsten ten Brink
A calabash is a gourd, and it's incredible how many uses it has in West Africa, especially in rural areas. These gourds get hollowed out and dried and immediately put to work.

Calabash bowls
Photo Source: Biodiversity International 
Calabash are used as storage for dry goods, and basins to carry water, and clean dishes or laundry. Smaller calabashes are used to drink and eat from, especially for palm wine. They are even used as buoys (as seen in the Nigerian Argungu fishing festival).

Friday, May 16, 2014

"Only One Cowry: A Dahomean Tale" | Learning about Brideprice & Cowrie Shells with a West African Folktale

I just love reading a fun folktale that leads to discussions about culture and history. Only One Cowry: A Dahomean Tale by Phillis Gershator does just that. The Dahomey King, from Benin, wants a bride but rather than parting with his wealth for a proper bride-price, he wants to offer nothing more than one cowry. Cleverly, Yo takes on the challenge to find his king a wife, and through trade grows the cowry into a sizable sum. More clever still is his future bride who tricks the king into providing a bride-price fitting to his stature. 

This is a fun, cumulative story colorfully illustrated through paper collage. There is also an endnote that gives a general explanation of bride-price and the role of cowries as currency in Africa. 

Photo Credit: Thalo Porter Tempest
Though increasingly controversial (and sometimes abused), bride-price continues to be expected among traditional families in many parts of Africa. Before a marriage can occur, the husband to be is expected to give money and/or goods (sometimes cattle) to the bride's family. This "gift" is considered a symbol of good faith, bringing two families together. At one time, cowries served as bride-price.

Of all the currency in history, cowrie shells have been used the longest. Initially used in China over four thousand years ago, cowries were used in Africa as currency for centuries until the mid 1900s. Originally, they were so valuable in Africa that two cowries would be enough for a bride-price. When western traders recognized the value of cowry shells in Africa, they flooded the market with them. By the end of the 1800s, a cowry bride-price required 100,000 shells. 

Photo Credit: Carsten ten Brink
No longer used as currency, cowry shells continue to be used in many ways in West Africa. The are a worn as jewelry, they adorn clothing, boxes and masks, and they are used as part of musical instruments. To some they are ornamental and to others they symbolize prosperity or fertility. In The Gambia, cowrie shells are threaded onto a waistband worn around a woman's hips in order to increase her fertility. They are also considered an important tool for divination in West Africa, the answers read based on what side the shells land when they are used. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell

Letterpressed card made by Hubby & Elle during Artist for a Day
This weekend heralded the annual Artist for a Day program offered by the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. We had such a great time last year I had been looking forward to this for weeks. This free day long event includes a variety of artistic experiences guided by students and alumni, for children and adults alike. 

Having missed out last year, we beelined it to the pottery section, and Elle and I both tried our hands at the pottery wheel. What an incredible tactile experience - with many trials and error, Elle completed a bowl that is still drying at home, and I decided to relinquish my clay to someone else, though I thoroughly enjoyed the process. 

From there, we learned a few tie-dyeing techniques and made indigo dyed silk scarves. Pea tried a variety of techniques on her piece including hand sewing and pulling, and mine was wrapped in a sushi mat. Elle's beautiful scarf became a lovely mother's day gift for her mom. We also created prints while playing with letterpress letter blocks, stamped leather slats into bracelets and Elle discovered an appreciation for hand weaving. Not surprisingly, I am already looking forward to next year!

Sunday was a lovely day for Mother's day. Hubby, as always, made a delicious breakfast, and Pea presented me with a beautiful charcoal drawing. While Paige caught up on homework, I spent most of the day indulging in guilt free pleasure reading to the unusual sounds of Hubby cleaning the kitchen and taking care of my much anticipated mother's day gift: a thorough cleaning to our car :) As for our 30 minutes outdoors - Pea brought out her homework, and I my novel, and we sat on the deck. 

The beautiful gift from Pea.

I hope everyone had a splendid weekend!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Our French Canadian Roots: Recipe for Pouding Chomeur

Sharing our French Canadian heritage with a monthly recipe from our childhood, hoping to inspire similar traditions and memories for our daughters

"Pouding Chomeur" is literally translated to "poor man's pudding" - made with the most basic ingredients: butter, flour, sugar, milk. The sauce can be made with brown sugar, maple syrup or both - though it hasn't been in my lifetime that maple syrup is affordable to the poor! I grew up with this made with brown sugar - it is almost too sweet, but not quite :) and is such a comforting dessert. My sister and I used to love digging into this treat, and now the girls relish it just as much. The cake bakes in the gooey sauce, and as it is best eaten warm, you don't have to wait long after it comes out of the oven to enjoy. We all appreciate that!

Friday, May 9, 2014

How to Make Beads Inspired by Krobo Beads {Beads in West African Culture}

Beads are an important part of the culture throughout Africa. Worn by men and women, in West Africa beads are used for adornment, indicate status and wealth, and are often considered to be imbued with magical powers. Whether for style, symbolism or magical properties, beads adorn hair, neck, arms, legs, waist, wrists, ankles, and are worn as sashes and as headdresses. They are commonly used in West Africa as waist beads: worn around the waist to promote the health of a child, and on young women are considered attractive and a means of promoting fertility. Sometimes beads are used to monitor a child's health and growth rate: if the string of beads loosens, this tells the mother that her child is not well.

Girl from the ethnic group "Fulani" in Benin
Photo Credit: Dietmar Temps

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell

Taking a moment to enjoy the scenery during our walk around the Frog Pond
After 5 days of living off of small portions of beans and rice, in various disguises, I greeted Saturday morning and its promise of eggs, toast, and hollandaise sauce with gratitude and excitement :) We picked up a grumpy and tired Elle from a sleepover, and I dragged the family off to the park to enjoy sunshine we hadn't seen in days, and nature we hadn't spent time with in weeks. Though they started out grumbling, within 5 minutes, Pea was immersed in shrub, taking photographs and Elle was climbing rocks and gathering odds and ends. The trail around the pond takes no more than 30 minutes to complete, but we were out there for nearly 2 hours, replenishing our batteries. We spotted a turtle further out and tried to dig our way through the brush to get closer (we never did); Hubby and the girls tested the theory that tree sap softens lips (though I chose to accept their hypothesis without first hand experience, I ended up with sticky cheeks from sticky kisses); Elle found various tree "forts" to squeeze into; we discovered a rather well camouflaged and large spider sitting just inches away from my feet after 10 minutes of idly sitting on a rock (and after a short moment of panic mingled with fascination, we took pictures of it). 

Pea's photography. Do you see that spider in the corner?

Continuing with my bid to spend more time outdoors, we had breakfast in the backyard Sunday morning, greeted by the birds. After homework and housework, Elle and I made nesting balls for our backyard birds in the hopes that it isn't too late in the season. 

Nesting ball
Have you been enjoying the spring weather outdoors? Looking for motivation? Check out the 30x30 Nature challenge - spending 30 minutes a day outdoors, for 30 days. Personally, I'm hoping to get out of the habit of hunkering indoors, and creating a new habit of needing some time outside daily. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Global Citizenry: 5 fun and simple ways to make a personal & global impact this May

If "It Takes A Village..." then we are at a most fortunate time in that our "village" can be found with our geographical communities as well as with the online community at large. Gathering at home and with these communities, here are a few simple things our family will be doing this month that will benefit us, and either directly or indirectly, benefit others. With one exception limited to Canadians, this includes 4 activities and initiatives open to anyone. By making small changes and taking small steps as a community, we all have the chance to make a global impact.

Share The Table

Help provide groceries and meals to low-income Americans by having a meal with your family. 

The #ShareTheTable initiative from Barilla encourages families to connect by sitting down together, distraction free, around the table for mealtimes. Studies have shown that sharing a family meal reaps many benefits, from higher self esteem to lower rates of obesity and eating disorders. Personally, I just love how much we connect when sitting together - sharing our days, and laughing together. 

Barilla has included another benefit: they will donate the equivalent of 10 meals to Feeding America for every picture shared (on facebook, twitter, instagram) of a family sharing a family meal. Find details at Share The Table on how to easily enjoy a meal with your family and help feed those less fortunate.

Diversify Your Shelves

Read books with diverse characters.

Reading books that reflect the diverse world around us teaches empathy, and is an important step in guiding our children to become global citizens. By reading diverse books, we learn about experiences and perspectives wholly different from our own, and with that comes growth and understanding. By reading about various customs, celebrations and relationships, we move beyond encouraging tolerance towards celebrating diversity, in our neighborhoods and around the world. Unfortunately, only 10% of children's books contain multicultural content. That is especially disheartening for those kids who find very little representation of themselves in literature. The more diverse books are borrowed from the library, the more librarians will purchase and stock them. The more diverse books are purchased, the more publishers will recognize their value and publish them. By reading more diverse books, your family will benefit, and hopefully the publishing world will respond. You can read the great response from people from around the world about their reasons for the need for diverse books here.
Go one step further: Anytime you read a book from a diverse author or featuring a diverse character, take a picture of it and post it to Twitter with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag. This will continue to put this need to the forefront of the publishing world.

Here are a few great book lists that feature diversity in kids lit for ideas on what to borrow or buy:
  • Pragmatic Mom has an excellent comprehensive round up of various multicultural book lists for all age ranges
  • Playdough to Plato has a list of 50 multicultural books for ages ranging from preschool to 12.
  • What Do We Do All Day has a list of 35 multicultural early chapter books
  • Teach Mama offers a list of 10 must read multicultural books for kids, from younger children, to YA fiction
  • Visit the Multicultural Kids Books pinterest board by Multicultural Kids Blog contributors
  • Jump Into A Book also outlines their successful multicultural children's book day with various contributors.

Chatters National Cut-A-Thon

Get your hair cut at any Chatters salon across Canada and help build two schools in Northern Uganda.

On May 25th, Chatters salons will donate 100% of funds received for haircuts to build and refurbish two schools in Norther Uganda, with donations starting at $20 for adults & $10 for kids. I've been in dire need for a haircut for a few months now, so am really looking forward to this :) Pea and Hubby will be do for a trim by then as well.

Take the 30 x 30 Challenge and spend time outdoors

Spend 30 minutes a day outside in nature for 30 days.

Although a Canadian initiative through the David Suzuki Foundation, anybody can join and reap the benefits of spending more time outside, in nature. I've noticed the girls become much more affectionate and jovial when we spend time in nature, and for me that could be reason enough. Spending time outdoors increases creativity, problem solving ability, empathy and community involvement. When we spend time outdoors, we connect with nature. This connection translates to a better sense of stewardship and responsibility towards our natural environment, which benefits us all, locally and globally.

Did you know that our children's generation spends less time outdoors than any generation in human history? As much as I love spending time in nature, I have to admit to an indulgence in paresse (that's laziness in French - sounded better, didn't it?), and since working from home I can go days without stepping outside. I have not been a good example. By taking this challenge, I'm hoping to create new habits for myself and our family. I'm also hoping this will mean our yard and gardens will be better groomed this year :)

Looking for inspiration of how to spend those 30 minutes? Below are a few websites with ideas. Ultimately though, kids who find themselves in nature just love to explore and imagine.  

Our family favorites? Going for a hike in the woods, walking or playing at the beach, having a picnic, and skipping rocks.

Live Below The Line

Raise awareness about extreme poverty around the world.

Live Below the Line is a campaign to raise funds and awareness to help eradice extreme poverty: 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, which means they live on the same purchasing power as a little over $1 a day for all of their expenses. The challenge is to spend five days eating and drinking on less than: $1.75 CAN; $1.50 US;  £1.00 UK each day. My sister and I have taken on the challenge, which you can read more about here. Taking the challenge itself is not so simple, but there are others ways to raise awareness within your family. 

  • Go to the grocery store and see what you can buy with five days worth: $8.75 CAN; $7.50 US; £5 UK - go one step further and buy that amount and see how many meals you can make with it. This can put in perspective how little choice and food others have to eat over a week.
  • The average cost of my main meal's portion each day came to $0.65: Create a meal for the family that costs less than $0.65 per person/portion, based on approximate cost of proportions of the ingredients you use. This is also a good math exercise :) Go one step further and try to create a family meal that costs less than $1.00*
  • Talk about what other expenses need to be covered by $1/day - we discussed what our mortgage payment and cell phone payment comes out to each day - the phone created more of an impact on our teens:)
  • Talk about how little variety and nutrients are had on such a limited diet - the most affordable and filling food is starch based, but what about fruits, vegetables and protein?
  • Learn about the various organizations working towards eradicating extreme poverty in a myriad of ways, many of which can be found at Live Below the Line. If you can, consider supporting one of these organizations or sponsoring someone taking on the challenge. Never underestimate a $5 donation - every bit helps. You can read about mine and my sister's experience here.
* By $1 - I mean in its various equivalents according to the LBL challenge: $1.75 CAN, $1.50 US, £1.00 UK

I hope you get a chance to read a great book, share a great meal, enjoy the outdoors and have an important conversation - you'll be doing yourself, and ultimately the rest of us, a great service.  

You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see how we fare in these initiatives. And do share your pictures with us!
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