Friday, October 11, 2019

Republic of Northern Macedonia

Now that we had completed a brief tour of our closest neighbors, we turned again to our bin of country names and drew one out.  It was the Republic of Northern Macedonia!  It was exciting because knew so little about the country.  We immediately looked it up on a map.

The Republic of North Macedonia is on of the states that resulted from the breakup of Yugoslavia.  It is bordered by Serbia on the north (and Kosovo, a partially recognized state in the southwest corner of Serbia), Bulgaria on the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west.  Completely landlocked, it shares a couple of large lakes with Albania (Lake Ohrid) and Greece (Lake Prespa, also shared with Albania).  Its capital is Skopje, located near the northern border.

Video List:
We had fun using Google Earth to visit the places mentioned in the videos, like walking through Skopje and Lake Ohrid.  I wasn't sure what to do for food, though.  I looked up a wonderful list of Macedonian dishes, but didn't feel up to the task of making any of them.  Tavce Gravce (a baked beans dish) looked like the most likely candidate, but I didn't have a terracotta dish to be authentic. There are no Macedonian restaurants (that I could find) here in San Antonio.  So as a last ditch attempt, I went to Amazon to try and find something from Macedonia - and success!  I found ajvar, a spread made from roasted peppers and eggplant.  It was made in Gevgelija, Macedonia and tastes really good on warm, toasted pita bread.

Saturday, September 7, 2019


Here in San Antonio, we are actually closer to Mexico than we are to any other US state.  Being as close as we are, there is a lot of Mexican cultural influence, from our Fiesta and Día de los Muertos celebrations to the fantastic restaurants and art.

As always, here is a list of videos we watched.  We originally did some study back in 2018 before I got all organized about it.  These were some of the videos we enjoyed then:

Here are the videos that we enjoyed in 2019 while learning about Mexico the second time around:
For food, we went to our local HEB and picked up some fun treats.  There was an entire section of shelves that had snacks from Mexico.  We tried their spicy peanuts (something like this) and some lime cucumber Gatorade (a flavor we hadn't seen anywhere else before coming to the area, and similar to aguas frescas).  I think we also got some sort of galleta - something sweet that I knew my kids would enjoy.  We topped it all off with a trip to Tlahco Mexican Kitchen.  It claims to be very authentic, and all dishes are served on what appears to be handmade terracotta dishes.

Saturday, May 18, 2019


After learning about a couple of far-flung countries, I thought it might be good if we spent a little time learning about those closest to us.  We decided to start with Canada, our lovely neighbor to the north.  I think my kids just took it for granted that Canada is just like the US, so I was excited to show learn about all of the things that make Canada unique.

Here are some great video resources we used:
  • Geography Now! Canada - always a great resource
  • Canada Geography - Kids Learning Tube has several videos like this that are informative and catchy
  • How to Speak Like a Canadian - since Canada also speaks English, we thought we would look at some of the differences in how we speak - very fun! (NOTE: some of their slang is about alcohol)
We also learned about how Canada has the world's largest sub-sub-sub island: an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island.

Here are a couple of additional videos about Canada:
Somewhere we watched a video about Canadian snacks, but I can't find it.  I know if included info about the different flavors of chips available, as well as maple bars.  There was also some video about a road trip across Canada?  From east to west, I think?

Anyway, on to the food!

We stopped in at World Market to see what they might have.  And they had Maple Cream Cookies!  I also couldn't resist buying some Clearly Canadian to drink.  After all, it is from Canada ... clearly.

We also found a Canadian restaurant here in San Antonio - yes, they have those!  It is called eggspectation, and we ordered three servings of their Montreal poutine.  It had haloumi cheese curd, smoked meat, and a house gravy.  It was salty, but oh so tasty!