lunes, 5 de febrero de 2018

World Nutella Day

 Last March, I caught Sam doing this.  Yes, Nutella, cocoa powder, and peanut butter do make great building blocks!

But they sure do make a great milkshake!  (Recipe below)

At the same time, I thought--Ooo, I can join World Nutella Day!

What is World Nutella Day?

It started out as a made-up holiday, celebrating all things Nutella.  Once upon a time, Sara, an expat blogger in Italy, fell in love with Nutella.  She wanted to share that love with the world, and declared one day in February to be World Nutella Day.  She enlisted some other expat blogger friends, and slowly but surely, it became a thing.  (For the full story, click here.  For full disclosure, I found out about WND through Sonia at

World Nutella Day, and Nutella itself, gained popularity, and now even Ferrero (the owner of Nutella) officially is in charge of World Nutella Day.  As the founder of WND stated, it´s one way that bloggers changed the world.

Isn´t that empowering?

So, to completely join in, here´s my favorite Nutella recipe.

Peanut Butter Banana Nutella Milkshakes

(Warning:  there are no exact measurements for this recipe.)

Take 2-3 very ripe bananas, and throw them in the blender.

Add one cup of milk for every person who wants a milkshake.

Throw in a few tablespoons of peanut butter, a some generous shakes of cocoa powder, and a few tablespoons of Nutella, and a few more shakes of ground cinnamon.

Blend it up and serve.


martes, 3 de octubre de 2017

It's Time for New Experiment!

I've got a bombshell to drop.

This blog is moving. 

It may be a temporary move.  It may be permanent.  I'm giving myself a year to see if I like the new site better than this one. 


  •         This URL has always made me cringe.  After my first three options were already taken, I signed on as  It worked.  It summed up the point of the blog--my adventures in both Mexico and motherhood.  
  •        But Mexico doesn't throw me for much of a loop anymore. After 10 years here, it's just where I live.  I still love writing about it.  But the longer I live here, I'm not writing so much about my adventures as a foreigner living in Mexico . . . I have a feeling I'd feel more foreign if I were to pick up and move back to the US!  

I'm going to keep writing.  But I'll be writing at  

When you check it out, go ahead and sign up for an email subscription.  When I find new blogs that I want to follow, I'm finding I'm better at reading them more often if I get updates in my inbox.  So that's an option now here, too!  

Well, not here.  

See you there!

miércoles, 30 de agosto de 2017

Northern Flavor

When I started this blog, my intention was for it partly to be an explanation on how northern Mexico differs from central Mexico.  My first taste of Mexico was in Puebla.  Then I spent two years in Morelos, and the first year we were married we lived outside of Toluca.  We just kind of flirted around Mexico City.

Then we got exiled to Saltillo.

At least, that's how it felt when we were preparing to move.  It's so far away.  It's so far from anything else.  And how many people actually live in northern Mexico?

Then we came here.  Right away, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that we liked it.  A lot.

But it can't be denied that northern Mexico is a whole different flavor in comparison to the greater Mexico City region.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  That's just how it is.

So what are northern Mexico's special flavors?

  • Cowboys--This is cowboy country.  Now, in rural areas all over Mexico, cowboy hats are a common sight.  But here, we've got fancy-pants cowboy hats for special occasions, boots and buckles sold all over downtown--they even play country music on the radio here.  And I´m not talking about norteño, ranchero, or banda.  Real, good, ol' boy country music in English.  
          I never knew I liked country music so until I moved to                   Mexico.  Now, living in northern Mexico, I feel like I'm                 home.  Thanks, country music!  (And all you norteños who           insist on listening to it.)  

  • Carne Asadas--Right along with the cowboy theme, beef is king here.  There's not much to write home about northern Mexican cuisine.  In fact, I'm not too sure there are many plates that can be wrapped up under a heading of "northern Mexican cuisine".  
             That's because it's all about the carne asadas.  Beef on the barbie.  Grilled onions.  Flour                       tortillas.  Top it off with some frijoles charros, and you're set for a long night.  Provided that               there's enough beer, of course!  

          Northern Mexican cuisine may be low on variety, but it's high on quality!    

  • Roasted Goat--OK, northern Mexican food is known for one other thing, and yes--it's more meat.  Cattle grazing is rather intense on our fragile desert ecosystems, so goats are traditionally grazed here.  They're also traditionally roasted here, too.  
          The first kid I ate was at the Sunday Market in Arteaga.                 We sat down to eat around noon, which is wicked early by             Mexican standards.  But, apparently, that's the best time to             get the goat.  That kid was slathered with butter, and the                 meat seemed to melt in my mouth.  I've never           been               much of a meat fan, but that first experience with goat was             a transcendent experience.  

         Unfortunately, ever since then, I've been a bit disappointed.            But every year of two, I´ll try it again, for the hope of                    transcending through my tastebuds again.   

As a teacher at my kids' school put it when she was explaining Day of the Dead customs, "A lot of us don't really celebrate Day of the Dead [or other "standard Mexican traditions"].  We're kind of more Texan.

Texan is a pretty apt description for this region.  After all, a lot of those qualities that set Texans apart in the US are also good ways of defining Coahuilans.  In fact, during the colonial era, Texas and Coahuila were one province.  There may now be an imposing border between the two states, but Texas and Coahuila still share much of the same soul.

Texas is just more famous, so we'll keep calling those attributes "Texan".  

What Do I Miss About the Mexico City Area?  

 I miss that prehispanic vibe in the air.  Is it just me or is everything south of Querétaro Nahuatl-infused?  I miss looking out to volcanos with names like Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, knowing the legends surrounding them.  I like the way that names of towns get stuck in your throat when pronouncing them, as that's just the way it is with Nahuatl.

The flavors in the food are both more vibrant and more nuanced, infused with those ancient, nearly-forgotten civilizations that began Mexican food traditions.

But that's the beauty of central Mexico--those ancient civilizations aren't forgotten.  They live on in the majority of the population.  At certain times and places, those traditions are embraced, knowing that this mix of European and Indian is what makes Mexico Mexico.  While here in northern Mexico, we're grazing cattle and goats and building cars (all activities brought over brought over from Europe (and Detroit)).  However, well south of here, the clash of cultures that happened 500 years ago is still easily observed.  Except now, instead of clashing, those radically different cultures dance a complicated quadrille.  But they make it look good.

But that's my observation as an outsider.  I realize that an insider's perspective might be wildly different--and a great deal more authentic than mine.

But for what it's worth--that's my take.

jueves, 27 de julio de 2017

Beating Insecurity: Why Not?

friendly signsHave your insecurities ever stopped you from doing something you really wanted to do?

It's happened to me countless occasions.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, my insecurities were a driving force in my life.  Or, better said, they were a paralyzing force in my life for far too long.  Fortunately, for some time now, I've gotten better and better about pushing myself into uncomfortable situations, if, at the end, it gets me to do something I've really wanted to do.

However, every once in awhile, insecurity still gets the better of me.

Two years ago, it almost robbed me of a chance to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Looking back, I´m still surprised by the series of events that led up to this opportunity.

Twelve years ago, my husband left Mexico for a year to study his master's degree in Sweden.  (Thank you, Sweden and your marvelous system free higher education--we will forever be grateful!)   After he finished his classes, he came back to Mexico with the intention of finishing his master's thesis while he was working.

Ten years later, his university decided that it was time he finally finished and presented this thesis.
downtown Linköping
Therefore, two years ago, we spent two weeks in Sweden in June, so he could FINALLY finish that degree.

Sweden is a lovely place to be in June.  His university was in Linköping, two hours southwest of Stockholm.  (It's pronounced "Lin-sho-ping" NOT "Link-o-ping."  If you need further proof of the goofiness of the Swedish language, check out this video, explaining Swedish pronounciation.  When Mexicans complain that English pronounciation is hard to learn--which it is--throw this video into the discussion!  See--English isn´t the only goofy language!)
historic boat restaurant Linköping

Anyway, in Sweden in June, the grass is green, the flowers are in bloom, the trees are lusciously, leafy green, the sun is ALWAYS out, the birds are singing, and--in Linköping--a river runs through it.

Yes, a river runs right through the downtown area.  There is a system of locks, so people can take boats on pretty extensive river tours.  On the north side of the downtown area, the city put up a beach, so those sun-loving Swedes can enjoy the warmth and the outdoors as long as they possibly can before winter locks them inside again.

But since I was there in June, people were taking full advantage of the river area.  Of particular interest to me--a man was renting kayaks one of the first afternoons I was exploring the city.

I am pretty well-versed in canoe (for being a suburban girl).  But I had never had the chance to kayak.  I really wanted to.  I love the feeling of floating on the water, skimming the surface as if I were flying.  Pushing myself through the water with a paddle, the effort is usually minimal for the amount of distance I can travel.  (I´ve clearly never gone against a strong current.)

And kayaks, being so much smaller than canoes, make me almost positive that that feeling of weightlessness and flying could be enhanced.  I decided that yes, I wanted to kayak.  In Sweden.  Under the leafy trees lining the river in downtown Linköping.

Then, in walked insecurity.

1)  Maybe this was more expensive than it was really worth.
2)  Or maybe I had better wait until next week.  After all, it was my second day exploring the city--that was exciting enough, right?
3)  Or maybe the rental guy didn't speak English.  (Oh, please--Sweden continued to floor me not only about how all Swedes speak perfect English, they also didn't seem to mind that my Swedish vocabulary consisted of five words, of which only two ever found their way out of my mouth.)
4)  Or this . . . Or that . . . and maybe this again . . . ad naseum!

So I sat on the bank and did what I do best--observe.

Then something that caught my attention.  The kayak rental guy looked strikingly similar to Levy, a guy I spent a year volunteering with at NPH in Morelos.  Furthermore, rumor last had it that he was in Sweden.  There was a carseat this guy's car, for a girl who was probably just about the same size of Levy's kid.  And renting kayaks and sponsoring other outdoor recreational opportunities would be EXACTLY the kind of thing he'd love to do.  (Having very few personal funds when we volunteered, he managed to start a successful tae-kwon-do program at the children's home, which he kept running for at least five years on his volunteer's stipend.)  He gets things done, and he does what he wants to do.

Swedish daisy

I realized that if this guy really was Levy, he'd roll his eyes at my indecision, then look me in the eye and tell me, "Jill--get your ass in that kayak."

So I bit the bullet and decided I was going to do it.  Plus, the more I watched, the more I was convinced that I knew this guy, and I´d regret it if I didn't go and find out if it really was him or not.

I weaved my way through the kayaks on the beach and groups of twenty-somethings getting their lifejackets on.  Finally I got over to Levy and got his attention.  I was within arm's length of this guy.

He was shorter than Levy.

Then he started talking--definitely not Levy's voice.

But his English was excellent, and he was clearly happy to have another kayaker for that hour's tour.
After a very basic round of paddling instruction (all in Swedish, which I could mostly follow--thanks Duolingo and body language!) we threw the kayaks in the river, got in, and headed downstream.

It was every bit as wonderful as I imagined.

The freedom on the water, the effortless slice of paddle through the water, the blue sky and the sun glistening off the river--kayaking down the Kinda Canal was hands-down the highlight of my two weeks in Sweden.

These kayaks were only out to be rented on Thursday.  I had considered waiting until the next Thursday.

It turned out that it rained all day that next Thursday.

I'm so glad I took advantage of the opportunity I had when it presented itself.

It's easy to get bogged down in numerous reasons not to do something.  Had I listened to all my doubts, or even the benign "let's put it off until next week", I would have missed out on what turned out to be my most memorable experience of that vacation.

Traveling is a great chance to seize the day.  Let's all channel our inner Robin Williams and "CARPE DIEM!"

Traveling is also a great chance to get overwhelmed.  Everything is different, everything is new.  While the vacation may have been the source of dreams while at home, it can be exhausting to live the experience.  But, so many times, experiences we can take advantage of while on vacation are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Don't prioritize comfort so that it eclipses growth and joy.  Seize the day.

As a friend of mine, who got talked into a cross-country camping trip with her husband and six kids said recently, "Why not?  It´s the new theme for my life."

Ironically, asking that question rhetorically diminishes the pull that all the reasons "why not" have on our decision-making processes.

I think I´ll adopt that motto, too.

Why not?

This month, the South of the Border Sisters Bloggers are having a blog hop with the theme "Travel".  I meant to keep my post south of the border, but it IS certainly about travel!

And let's face it--insecurities keep us from traveling.  But if traveling--even south of the border--is what you want to do, go for it!

Why not?

martes, 18 de julio de 2017

Little by Little--Instilling a Faith Life in Children

Like any parent I have hopes for my kids.  Most notably:

1)  that they grow up to be thoughtful, caring, and compassionate human beings.
2)  that they claim Christianity--any form of Christianity--for their own.
3)  and if they decide to be Catholic--well, that´s just icing on the cake!

But what am I doing to help them turn out this way?


If I want them to be thoughtful, caring, and compassionate human beings, they need to see me being thoughtful, caring, and compassionate.

But I´m human, and I mess up.  I probably mess up most often with them.

So if I know I´ve been wrong, I don´t hesitate to tell them I´m sorry.

They see me reading, they see me writing.  We read together.  We talk about things--politics, religion, social situations, adoption (friends recently adopted two little girls), death, future plans, crazy stories (that´s mostly provided by the five-year-old)--nothing is off-limits.

But writing this down, I´m noticing that we might be falling short on the "compassionate" section.  I'll have to get to work on that and turn some of this talking into action--with something the kids can participate in, too!


If we want our kids to grow up to claim the Catholic faith as their own, we go to mass.  Every week.

However, this last year, our oldest led the charge in getting us to mass regularly.  Our parish has "children's mass" every Sunday at 10:30.  This year, Clara was invited to be one of the angel dancers that stand in front and lead everyone in motions to the songs sung.  She's up there with her best friends, and soaking up the fact that she gets to dance in front of everyone.

I hope she´s soaking up some of the deeper meaning of the mass, too.

But, one step at a time.


Now that the kids are school-aged, they´re also going to catechism every Saturday.  At first, we´d send the kids every other week, and as the school year dragged on, we tapered off our participation when Lent rolled around.


But the teachers keep track of attendance, and last year the kids with the best attendance got prizes.  So, this year, Clara is insisting on going every week.  I´m glad that she´s motivated enough to go.  It helps that her best friends go, too.  

Joey's still in kindergarten.  Sometimes I make him go.  Sometimes, when he says he'd really rather stay home, I let him stay home.

But that ties into Point #4--

Not Shoving It Down Their Throats

I really, really want my kids to have a personal relationship with God.

I really, really want them to be personally motivated to read their Bibles regularly, so they know what they believe and why they believe it.

I really, really want them to develop so many spiritual practices, but I know that one of the best ways of turning them away from religion is to shove it down their throats and beat them over the head with it.

Let's not be counter-productive here.

In the home I was raised in, we went to church regularly, we went to Sunday school regularly, and when we were older we were involved in youth group.  However, we didn´t talk about God much at home, and we rarely prayed together, apart from meals on major holidays.

By the grace of God, as adults, both my brother and I are both practicing Christians--so that approach worked!

But, let's be honest, "shoving it down their throats" goes by a case-by-case basis.  Much like everything else, we need to be attentive to our kids, let them talk, listen to them, understand their perspective, and they´ll be more receptive to being receptive to us.

Memorable Baptism

This is another carryover of my upbringing.  It´s not necessarily the right choice for everyone.  In fact, I´m not even advocating this for others.   It just worked out well in my case, and I´m hoping that will play out equally well in my children's lives, too.

When I was very small, we didn't attend church regularly until I was 4 or 5.  Therefore, I was not baptized as an infant.  Just before we moved across the midwest, my parents decided to get my brother and I baptized.  I was on the older end of 7, so I had to answer for myself whether I believed in God, renounced the Devil, and all that.

While it wasn't my idea to get baptized, I was in agreement with it, and I remember it.  While I didn't understand all the symbolism surrounding the sacrament, I knew that I was spiritually washed clean and officially a child of God.  And it wasn't that I just knew in my head that I was spiritually washed clean.  When the pastor poured the water over my head, I honestly and truly felt clean inside!  It was a great feeling, and I feel blessed that I do actually remember it.

And now, after Easter, when the priest sprinkles us all with water before mass, reminding us to remember our baptism, I love that I literally DO remember mine!

Sometimes I wonder if some of the draw for Catholics to turn to other denominations is that (in some churches) they´re encouraged to get baptized again.  It's a sacrament filled with such symbolism (in Protestant traditions--as Catholics, we tend to take things both  symbolically AND literally!).  But, either way, it's so important and so loaded with meaning that I wonder if some don't get re-baptized in other traditions just so they can remember experiencing the beauty of being baptized.

Now, don't get me wrong--I believe that infant baptism is just fine and dandy.  (OK, for full disclosure, I used to be strenuously opposed to it, now I´m OK with it, and just last week I found myself defending the practice of infant baptism to my Jehovah's Witness friend.  So I guess I've been fully converted!)  The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1250 beautifully states, "the sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant baptism.  The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth."

Oh, I feel the weight of that statement!

Full disclosure--my kids are still not baptized.

My husband and I agreed that we want them to decide for themselves.  I do feel some guilt about not baptizing them as babies.  But it's a gamble that I'm hoping will pay off in the long run.

After all, nothing has been more precious so far than hearing my son decide that he does want to get baptized.
        "Why do you want to get baptized?"

        "Because I love Jesus, and he told us to get baptized."

(I promise, he came up with that response on his own!  Isn't that the most wonderful and profound thing that he's ever said?)

I'm so excited that next Easter, my son will be able to remember his baptism, too--not just figuratively, but literally!  And I hope that experience will stick with him, that feeling of being washed clean and being accepted, so that when other opportunities or doubts or antipathy arise, he'll have that experience to remember and cling to.

My daughter, on the other hand, will be entering 3rd grade this next year.  In our parish, kids receive First Communion when they're in third grade.  Her friends will be doing their First Communions.  But Clara is aware that, unlike her friends, she has to get baptized first.  She's got her godmother all picked out.  She's been eyeing those gorgeous, white dresses for awhile.

But she still hasn't made a commitment one way or another about getting baptized yet.

And we've let her know that's perfectly fine.  She can always get baptized and receive First Communion the following year, or three years later, or whenever she decides she's ready.  She knows it's her choice, and we'll respect her decision if she chooses not to.

Peer pressure may pay a powerful factor here.  That may be a good thing, it may not.  I want her to both be baptized and receive First Communion for the right reasons.  She knows the decision is up to her.  And she usually makes good decisions.

Whatever she decides, she will be required to attend catechism until she finishes junior high, though!

What's Next?

My kids are 8, 5, and 1.  We've all still got a lot of growing to do.  We've all got a lot of learning to do.

It's mid-July, and we're still working our way through our Lenten prayer chain. (But, we are still working on it!)

We often forget to pray before meals.  But something is rubbing off, as about once a week, my son reminds us to pray before meals.

As the second-grader was borrowing my Bible for catechism this last year, we'll buy her a Bible of her own this summer--a REAL Bible, not one of the kiddie picture-Bibles!  It being summer, and we're not bogged down with homework, it would probably be good if we read our way through a Gospel together, too.

Beyond that, I'm open to suggestions.  I've been involved in a Bible study for years, with women of all ages.  When we're off on tangents, the comments that stick with me the most are from the moms that regret not instilling an active faith life in their children while they were young.  I take their laments to heart.

So I´ll do what I can now.

This month, the Catholic Women Bloggers Network is blog hopping with the theme "What I Am Doing Now In the Hope of Keeping My Kids Catholic".

domingo, 14 de mayo de 2017

Discovering My Passions

But I Don´t Know What My Passion Is!

Ten years ago, I was in Jesus Christ Superstar in at a local theater.  While trying to psychologically understand the characters, the director reflected, "Who takes 30 years to understand their passion?"

He was talking about Jesus, of course.  But I was ready to raise my hand.  I was knocking on 30´s door, and had no idea what exactly I was passionate about.  There were topics I was more interested in than others, of course.  But a driving passion?  Nope.

Maybe some people are just born knowing what they are passionate about, like Thom the Director.  Maybe some people have a pretty good idea, but are just waiting for the right moment (like Jesus, I´m guessing).  Then there are people like me, who feel like we´re muddling through life, vaguely interested in all kinds of things, but not on fire for any one subject in particular.

No worries.

Take one of those interests, and pursue it.

I´m in the process of pursuing a few interests.  And I´m discovering quite a lot about myself along the way.

Why Am I Doing This?

After another day of having "practice the flute" hanging over my head on my personal checklist, and stressing out all the while I wasn´t getting it done, I stopped to ask myself, "why am I doing this?"

I don´t really know.

Now, don´t get me wrong--back in January, I listed "getting better at the flute" as one of my New Year´s Resolutions.  Through a number of coincidences, I found a marvelous flute teacher, and I really am enjoying the process of improving my skills.  But, instead of simply dreaming of being better, this is the part where I drag out the blood, sweat, and tears and actually work on improving.  But why am I investing all this time, energy, and money?

I can´t really say.

I have no concrete goal.

But that may be a good thing.  Eight years ago today, I sat down at my computer and, on little more than a whim, and began this blog.  Over the last eight years, I´ve discovered that I really enjoy writing.

Then I found out that I really enjoy writing about Mexico.  In fact, I´ve come to the point that I joke about being evangelical about Mexico.  I say that jokingly, but I really do want others to appreciate Mexico the way I do.  Or, for those who may never appreciate Mexico, I like having a means to explain why I love living here.  

Furthermore, I´ve met some of my best friends through  this blog.

Thanks to this blog, I´ve helped a number of people transition to life in Mexico--which spurred another project, SaltilloExpats.

Thanks to this blog, I´ve submitted articles to other sites and magazines.  Some even pay me for it!

I´ve read that 85% of blogs sputter out.  This one is still going.  And, much like with my flute lessons, I´m not exactly sure why.

I didn´t start out with any goal in mind.

I just thought I´d enjoy it.

And I still do.

So here´s to another eight years!

At the End of the Day

Some projects sputter out, some we continue to work on.  Sometimes projects aren´t always fun, but soldier on!  (Trust me, I´m getting tired of playing endless variations of scales in the key of G--but I know it will pay off eventually.)

If, overall, the project is enjoyable, continue.  The farther we go down a path, the more avenues we´ll find to persue.  Who´s to say where any particular adventure could lead?

I never thought this blog would lead to much of anything practical.  But, thanks to this blog, I have started to organize meetups for the English-speaking foreigners in Saltillo.  Yesterday, twenty of us went to a baseball game together!  Sure, I´m not saving the world, but getting people together to explore unfamiliar surroundings (and to ward off loneliness) is good for all of us.

Who´s to say what else I may be doing, thanks to the influence of this goofy medium, in another few years?

The adventure is in the journey.

So keep at it, whatever your journey may be.

Still not sure what your passion is?  Start a project, any project.  Complete the project.  And see what other projects may grow from it.

To paraphrase Paw Patrol, "No project is too big (or for that matter, too small)!"

Passions don´t need to earn us money.  (Although that would be nice.)
Passions don´t need to excite anyone else.  (After eight years, my husband still doesn´t understand why I spend so much time on the computer.)
Passions don´t need to be easy--or even achievable.

They just need to be pursued.

So go chase that dream.
Or, in my case, run away with that whim!


Need Additional Food For Thought?

Ten years ago (when Thom the Director challenged me), I stumbled upon What Color Is Your Parachute?  It´s a step-by-step guide to help people consider about where their passions are.  While it didn´t give me any concrete goals to shoot for (like the career-changer it claims to be), it was an excellent starting point.

Interested?  Click on the picture to read more about it, or order your own copy!

martes, 9 de mayo de 2017

Learning Geography

Today I overheard my five-year-old belting out, "I´ve got Hawaii!  I´ve got New Mexico!"

Yes, my kindergartener knows his states (well, some of them)--and he doesn´t even live in the United States!

Last summer, I was at a garage sale, and came across The Scrambled States of America card game.  It´s based on a children´s book of the same name.  (I haven´t read the book.)  But I picked up the card game, as I´ve been looking for a states puzzle for my daughter (who´s in second grade), so she could start to learn her US states, as she´s not going to be drilled on that in school here.

We played it last summer, and it was a hit.

Last summer, it was a little too difficult for Joey, who had just barely turned five.  But now that he´s almost got kindergarten under his belt (and therefore knows his letters, and can count, etc.), he´s able to play on his own much better, with minimal help from me.

How to play

Each player has a set of five state cards.  There´s a stack of question cards.  On each turn, a question card is turned over, and everyone has to find a state in their hand that starts with the letter N, or touches 5 other states, or is blue, or is the closest to Missouri.  (Each player gets a US map for reference.)

The first player to answer the question correctly gets to keep the card.  The person with the most cards in the end wins.

Now, normally, the second-grader wins by a pretty large margin.  However, there are some questions, like, "which state is blue?"  or "Which state is wearing something" that are easy for the not-quite-literate set to answer correctly.  Futhermore, the "which state is closer to [insert state name]" questions aren´t timed--the person who has the closest state wins, so slower players get a shot, too.

For younger kids, this could be frustrating.  (And it has been for my own little guy.)

But he keeps hanging in there.

And it´s paying off, because he knows the names of a number of US states, and is getting an idea of North, South, East and West, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans!  I´m pretty impressed.

I think I´ll have to make a Scrambled States of Mexico!


Want a Scrambled States of America for your own?  Click on the picture of the game box shown above, and an additional browser window will open and connect to

Or, better yet, find an independent toy store or game store in your town, and if they don´t have it in stock, I bet they´d be happy to order it for you.  That way, your money stays in your community.

But if that´s not an option, I can hook you up here.