Posted on Leave a comment

Summer Soirée 2022

Saturday, August 13, 2022 8:30 am to 4:30 pm At the historic Monday Club, San Luis Obispo

On Saturday, August 13, 2022, Rea Berg, Greta Eskridge, and Amber O’Neal Johnston are delighted to gather for this soirée to bring you inspiration, humor, and lots of experience to glean from for your educational journey. Whether you are educating at home, through a charter or private school, or just want to enhance and enrich your child’s classroom experience, there is something for you today! Held at the historic Monday Club, we will enjoy a full day over delicious Scout Coffee and a visit from the iconic SLO Mama Sweets to wrap up our day!

Amber O’Neal Johnston–( is the author of A Place to Belong: Celebrating Diversity and Kinship in the Home and Beyond. Her website is devoted to encouraging families of all backgrounds to celebrate our cultural heritage and embrace inclusivity within their own homes and as they move through their communities.

A Path to Belonging and Kinship

In this talk, Amber will address how our nation is wrestling with defining who we are and what we stand for as a disparate yet connected group of individuals. Sometimes meaningful messages get mired down in polarizing ideologies, but the truth is that we all love our children, value our communities, and want the best for both. Amid all the noise, there is a quiet call for mothers to unite as we raise self-confident children who hold genuine affection for others. As sisters by choice, we can partner as we pour into home–the treasured space where our children form their first attachments and perspectives on the world, where belonging and kinship burn brightly. We can raise children who embrace their unique identities while feeling beautifully tethered to their neighbors, nation, and global community, and we can do it together.

Greta Eskridge–( is the author of Adventuring Together: How to Create Connections and Make

Greta Eskridge–( is the author of Adventuring Together: How to Create Connections and Make Lasting Memories with Your Kids, and her latest book–100 Days of Adventure: Nature Activities, Creative Projects, and Field Trips for Every Season. Greta is passionate about nature, hiking, making lasting connections with our kids, and cultivating a healthy sexual culture in our homes.

Cultivating a Healthy Sexual Culture in Your Family

In this talk, Greta helps parents understand why it’s imperative to give their kids a healthy, counter-cultural view of sex and sexuality. In a culture that oversexualizes everything, and with pornography exposure on the rise, this is becoming increasingly difficult. Knowing this, Greta offers plenty of practical tips to help parents cultivate a healthy sexual culture in their family. She also shares recommendations for books and other resources that parents can use with kids of all ages. Greta’s goal is to help parents feel comfortable and equipped to navigate these challenging topics with humor, love, and grace.

Rea Berg–(, is the founder of Beautiful Feet Books and author of many award-winning guides for teaching history, world culture, and geography through literature, including Around the World with Picturebooks, California History Through Literature, and Early American History Through Literature. She has brought back into print the timeless classics of Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, Brinton Turkle, James Daugherty, Mitsumasa Anno, Genevieve Foster, Albert Marrin, and many others.

How the Children’s Books You Read Can Make the World a Better Place

Stories create human understanding in powerful ways. The books we read to our children from the time they’re little into the young adult years have the potential to nurture fair-mindedness, empathy, and a devotion to justice and equity–compelling forces for the transformation of society. Cuddled together on the couch reading to our children hardly seems a world-changing activity when our children are young. But taken over years of reading together, this single activity has the power to change our hearts and inspire us to live lives marked by kindness, generosity, and humanity.

Please note that tickets are non-refundable but are transferable. If you cannot attend the event, you may sell your ticket through social media. This is an event for women. Only nursing babies under 6 months of age will be permitted into the venue.

Posted on Leave a comment

Monet’s Table–Cooking in Paris

During the soirée weekend, one of the guests remarked on how lovely it is to sit in an actual dining room to share a meal with friends. (Modern open floor plans often eliminate dining rooms.) It reminded me that ten years ago this month, I had the lifetime delight of renting a flat in Paris (with a dining room!) and enjoying a special time with a revolving cast of friends who came through and spent time with me in this amazing city! This post I had started a decade ago, but never finished, so I’m posting it today for a few reasons. The first is that, for a long time, we haven’t been able to gather around a table with friends, but now we can! So, I’m encouraging you to plan that dinner party you’ve been procrastinating on and give the beautiful gift of a meal around a table. You won’t regret it.

Secondly, with Easter celebrations approaching, both of the following dishes–Beef Bourguignon or Moules Crême FraÎche would make a wonderful Easter celebration. Both of these recipes are available in Around the World with Picturebooks Part II in the French section. Or if that’s unavailable, you can follow Julia Child’s recipe for the Beef Bourguignon or any Moules à la marinière recipe for the mussels (but do thicken with crême fraÎche)! Bon appetite!

Towing on the Champ-de-Mars Paris, 1943

From April 2012: Well, as many of my readers know, I’ve been in Paris now for two full weeks, and this is the first morning we are taking a break from tourist sites. It is a dreary Paris day, with intermittent hail, consistent rain, and bracing wind that makes pounding the streets, cobblestone or not, not an inviting option today. We have stood in a number of long lines to see some fabulous sights, despite rain, and biting cold winds off the Seine. A highlight was the Robert Doisneau exhibit–a remarkable French photographer of last century who captured iconic images of French life–particularly the common man. Remarkably, despite having to wait a long time in the rain and cold for this exhibit, the girls have not complained and my traveling companions have been hearty and unflinching! There have been some truly remarkable highlights, but as cooking in Paris has been a long held dream, I’m stopping here.

My dream has been to have a flat where I could cook some traditional French dishes after shopping at the local farmer’s markets. I’ve been able to realize that now in the joy of cooking some fresh Coquilles St. Jacques, Boeuf Bourguignon, and Moules crème fraîche Normandie (my name for mussels cooked in crème fraîche from Normandy). My inspiration for the latter dish came from having had this marvelous dish after visiting Monet’s home in Giverny on a crisp October day last year, and then being given two special gifts. One was a dvd from my daughter, titled “Monet’s Table” after the book of the same name given me by a dear friend (see above).  So now, with the aid of the local poissonnier (who sold me both gorgeous coquilles and moules), I have had the distinct pleasure of making them with authentic Normandy butter and crème fraîche. But don’t despair–you can now buy Normandy butter at Whole Foods. While I would not recommend making a habit of it, (it is so delicious it’s impossible to stop sampling it!) but for a special occasion it is truly wonderful! Served with crusty hot French bread with either of these two dishes will make for a worthy feast for a beautiful Easter. Joyeuses Pâques!