My Global Pick of the Day!!

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It is my turn to share one of my first posts with you and the Multicultural Kid Blogs readers.  So I thought I would share with you one of my firsts post dealing with my greatest fear.  It’s not snakes, dark spaces or even heights. I’m pretty good with all of these. What is it then? Public Speaking. Can’t do it, even at my age. What’s a mama to do?

Public Speaking: Not in English or in Spanish, Please.

I hope you enjoy my take on it and I would love suggestions on how to help my little ones avoid this challenge.

Thank you!

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Walking Tall

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When I think of raising world citizens, I think of raising children that are open to all that they see and respect anyone they meet. I think of children as being an extension of their parents and caregivers. Parents that do not appreciate the beauty of the world, the amazing traditions and cultures of others and the wonderful people all around may not teach their children about them either. If they are not exposed to the world (be it at home or in a classroom), how can they learn to live in harmony with it?

With that in mind I truly believe that some of the bullies of the world have just never had the opportunity to learn from the differences around them. Children who are not exposed to other cultures and traditions may see others as different from them. They may not understand the world that anyone else lives in.

So far, in my kids’ young lives, they had yet to encounter the infamous bully.  The other day at the park, however, we came across our first bully in the making. We went to play as we usually do when the weather is nice. The park we like has a playground for big kids and another for toddlers.  We always go to the toddler side so they don’t have to worry about the big kids. Also, that park is usually empty which is even better for me.

Enjoying a typical day at the park

My boys were minding their own business, singing and dancing and just being silly.  There is a large raised walkway at the park that kids sometimes use to draw with chalk or parents sit on.  This is both boys’ favorite spot because it looks like a raised stage. They love to march back and forth on it and sing songs from “The Music Man”.  This time only T was marching when a boy that was definitely older than both of them decided to stand in his way, legs and arms stretched out to make sure T couldn’t get through. Here is how I saw it happen…

“Maybe he just wants to play,” I thought granting him the benefit of the doubt as he stood there with a very determined look.

“Excuse me,” said T (proud mama that he was so polite)

“No!” replied the kid.

M sees what is going on, runs over to them and says, “Please move, we are trying to perform.” (Yep, that’s how we roll.)

He still wouldn’t move. M tried everything from asking nicely to asking him if he wanted to play a game.  He told the kid that he could be the gate and they would push a button on the boys belly to see if that would open the door.  I found this hysterical myself since we play that at home sometimes. I guess I have to think about how our silly games translate into the real world.

The boy still didn’t move so M sighed and said, “Come on T, let’s just go this way.” They happily went around the boy, but the boy followed!

The boy went back up to Mario and said, “Wanna fight?” At this point I gasped and was ready to pounce. I told myself to wait to see what happened and stay calm (easier said than done).

Mario’s response was classic, “Fight? No way! Only mean people fight and mean people are yucky!” Proud mama moment again, even if calling people yucky is not so good either.  I knew he was just stating the obvious, though.  Loved it!

The kid then tried to take M’s toy horse away and that is when the (who I assume to be the baby sitter due to her age and lack of attentiveness throughout all of this) finally ran over and took the boy away. She’s lucky she did, or else that kid may have gotten an earful from this mama.

Way too cute to pick on, I say!

Way too cute to pick on, I say!

Point of the story is that if that boy had been exposed to more people and more situations, he may have had a little more respect for my boys and maybe even played with them instead of trying to cause a fight with someone so much smaller. He saw easy targets (smaller children) that were different from him (not just physically but because they were singing show tunes) and decided he would teach them a lesson. Something I’m sure he didn’t learn on his own.  This is a child imitating something that he has seen before.  I only hope that his parents or caregivers become more open and respectful so that this child and any other kid can do the same.

I am proud that my kids weren’t intimidated and stood their ground. I’m also proud that their first response wasn’t that the kid was threatening but maybe wanted to play. I am proud that they acted with respect, didn’t let them affect them and went on playing as if nothing had happened when it was over. Yes, I am a proud mama. I hope I can teach them to keep the respect and the patience they showed that day for always.
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Be proud, my love, you and your brother will reach great heights.

Managing My Time

Managing My Time

So my posts have been dwindling a bit, not from lack of enthusiasm or ideas, but simply from poor time management. Right now it’s Spring Break, so my days are full of kid activities. Before that the kids were sick (nothing to worry about just winters germs) then I was sick then they were sick again and then again me.  I was just tired. We are all on the mend (for good I hope)

There has also been something else occupying my time:  writing books…children’s books. I don’t know if they are any good.  I would like to think they have promise, though.  I even attended a very inspiring conference that gave me a little more courage to get out there and try a little harder. I had one of my stories critiqued by an editor which gave me the fire I needed to get moving on these.  I know what I need to do. I just have to find the time to do it.

That brings me right back to my poor time management dilemma.  I need to find a way to fit everything into my schedule and not completely ignore my children. I mean they are the reason I am doing all of this, right? So this is what I need to fit in every week on the few hours the kids are asleep or in those days they go to school for 4 hours.

  • Research and prepare fun learning activities for kids
  • Find ways to help them love the world and the people in it
  • Write 4 blogs a week (ideally) for the blogs I contribute to as well as my own in English and Spanish
  • Work on my books: edit and work on existing stories to submit
  • Develop new stories
  • Work on website
  • Cook and clean
  • Run errands
  • Exercise
  • Enjoy the quiet!

How in the world? Seems crazy, right? It may just be! I’m reading up on what may help and here are some things I found that I need to try:

Plan ahead!

This one is so important for success! Give yourself time to prepare all that you can at least one day a week.  My mom was a teacher and tells me stories of staying up late cuting up games and crafts for kids every night after we were in bed.  I do not have the patience she has, so I would like to find a way to do multiple days at once just so I had things prepared in advance.

Be flexible

Things come up and schedules get turned upside down. Don’t panic. Take it as light as possible, as hard as that is, and rework your schedule if only in your own mind. You may have to save the schedule you had planned for the next day, but at least you know you have a plan.

Post it!

Not necessarily for the world to see, but for your own peace of mind. Find a spot where you can have your very own chalkboard or dry erase board and write down a list of what you want to do during the week.  Having it in a place you always see without it being right in your face all of the time may help you not feel so overwhelmed.  I keep a little one I found at Target at the corner of my desk helps me glance over when I want to remind myself of what it was I was writing about without taunting me too much.

Here is my board that makes me smile. Sure the list is long, but at least is cute!

Here is my board that makes me smile. Sure the list is long, but at least is cute!

Organize, reorganize, and make it nice! 

Having a messy work space or living space can make you feel more scattered and uninspired. I had a crazy craft room/guest room happening for a while there. There were paints, glues, markers, crayons, construction paper, toys, craft ideas, stickers, yarn, and everything else you could think of in boxes and all over that room.  My Father in law built me a beautiful desk with room for bins and the room has opened up quite a bit.  This is what I now call my office and it makes me feel more centered. So find a place to keep the things you use the most like bins or pretty baskets to make your home feel more organized and put the rest away. Baskets are great for keeping those little toys and cars that end up following you around the house for some reason. Everything in its place may help you keep everything in your head in order, too. That’s the hope, anyways.

My desk.  May not be perfectly organized, but I have plenty of space to write.

My desk. May not be perfectly organized, but I have plenty of space to write.

Make extras

This is especially important in meal planning. Double up your recipes and freeze half. This way you can give yourself permission to do other things some days knowing that you have what you need in the freezer. Just don’t forget to thaw it!

Use the Internet

The internet is an amazing resource to find anything you need. You can find new recipes. You can find out what other cultures do with their kids for fun and try to replicate it if you can. You can learn how to make anything you want really.  I like to use it to find fun projects for the kids, get printouts for our learning times, find songs and games in Spanish and see what the rest of the world is up to. Google away!

Learn when to say no

You can’t be expected to do everything yourself.  Don’t take on too many projects at once or you will drive yourself insane. Make sure you take on only what you know you can easily handle. It’s good to challenge yourself from time to time, though. So if you must, make sure that you are not cutting into family time and it’s a project you really enjoy.

Fall in love with routines

This is good in all aspects of life.  Yes spontaneity is fabulous, but if you are trying to get your life in order it may not be the best way to go. Save those times for something more fun. Set up your days in advance so that you give yourself some time to work on as much as you can.  Don’t expect to do it all at once, though.  Be realistic about what you want to accomplish on a given day and how much time you want to spend on it.

Take care of YOU

Overworking yourself in order to get things done is not the answer. Also, it can be exhausting. If you find yourself a little overwhelmed and worn out, change your plan and try to add time to relax. If you think you may be coming down with something, stop and listen to your body, it may just need a break from running around.

Breathe

Nobody is perfect all of the time, not even you. Remember that your kids are only the age they are now once, you don’t want to miss the special moments each age has to offer just to have a perfectly clean home or three blog post a day in my case.  

Enjoy your days as much and as often as you can. All things will get done with time. Now, go play with your family!

Here are the articles on time management I found helpful.  What has worked for you?

Time Management Tips for Working Moms

Time Management Tips for Moms

Spanish in the Kitchen

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Yesterday was a great day for learning Spanish as well as delicious meals. I don’t know why I decided to experiment a little, but I’m glad I did.  The boys were extremely happy with their meals and that doesn’t happen very often.  There are days that one meal works and another doesn’t. There are also days that meal time can feel like it takes forever because they eat it so slowly.  I can’t complain too much, though, at least they eat healthy. They always eat their fruits and veggies, thank goodness. For that reason I’m so glad we started them early on the love of healthy food. I am also very glad they like to try new foods even if I have to sell it a little. When I found these recipes online, I knew I had to share them with the boys.

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For lunch I decided to try a recipe I found for “sopa de fideo” which is a tomato based soup with thin noodles. You can use actual fideo noodles or if your grocery story doesn’t carry them, then you can just cut noodles you have.  I used angle hair noodles and broke them into small pieces.

We would eat sopa de fideo a lot as kids.  It brings back very lovely memories.  This soup is one of those comfort foods that make you feel so warm and happy inside. I just had no idea how much work went into it at all.  I should ask my mom her recipe for it to compare, but I must say this one was close.  It makes me want to grow a bunch more tomato plants so I can make my own sauces and soups.  I adjusted the recipe here a little as I didn’t have and don’t like onions and garlic (crazy, I know). Instead I added half a teaspoon of cumin which happens to be my favorite spice. 

 As far as a teaching moment with this, I used the whole dining experience to tell them about how I grew up.  We sat at the table and as we ate, I talked about Mexico and yummy food.  We talked about family and how wonderful it was to bond in the kitchen and at the dining room table.  We talked about how important it is to keep traditions alive even if they are just cooking or playing in the kitchen and family meals.  In Mexico, my family has been known to sit for hours at the dining room table, chatting about our lives, laughing at each other jokes, reliving old memories and just being happy together. It wasn’t only a tasty meal, but one that made me feel a little closer to my boys.

Then it was time for dinner.  I let them play while I prepared the main components.  We decided to do our take on “make-your-own-taco” night and it was awesome! I have been reading a lot about how to get kids involved and make them feel independent at the same time.  I saw a  post about letting kids make their own sandwiches on Super Healthy Kids and thought, why can’t it be tacos? I’m so glad I did. I even made our own taco shells.

tostadas

All you have to do is warm the tortillas just a bit in the microwave (no more than 30 seconds) and then spray both sides of a tortilla with cooking spray. Lay them in a preheated oven at a temperature of 375. Place the tortilla over two of the bars of the oven rack as shown and bake for 8 minutes or until crispy.  This makes awesome shells and because of the rack makes them stand up on their own which is great for little hands. I also cut the tortilla in half before I baked them so they could have mini tacos making it easier for them to have full control.

such concentration!

such concentration!

Something as simple as choosing what they put on a taco can do wonders for their self-esteem.  They were so excited that they created their dinner that there was not a single complaint. I think they thought their own taco creation was the greatest thing they had ever tasted because they made them themselves. They devoured them and wanted more! Hooray!

m bitet bite 

 Our teaching lesson this time was naming and recognizing the ingredients.  We would name the ingredients as they filled up their tacos.  They put everything I put on the cupcake tray on their taco which made me happy as they were mostly veggies.

ingredients

green peppers, lime and cilantro, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, cottage cheese and shredded cheese

There is a a game the boys like to play in the kindle which also reviews foods as a guy eats them and says “gracias” (thank you) and then makes munching sounds every time he gets food.  My little one loves this game and at dinner said “gracias” and munched every time he took a bite.  Now that is a compliment in my book! 

 All in all, I feel amazing about the day.  We shared, we learned, we grew, we ate good food.  I have to find a way to keep this going. Any suggestions?

hooray

“Last Stop on Market Street” Book Review

Market street featured image

For Black History Month I was able to review another children’s book thanks to Multicultural Kids Blog. This time our book was “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt De La Peña. I review books based on how my children see them and if they can relate to them. This book is not only bright and colorful but teaches a good lesson to little ones.

The book tells the story of a little boy and his grandmother that take their regular bus ride after church one day. The little boy can’t understand why he can’t stay behind and play or why his friends don’t have to go to where they are going either.  The grandmother then helps him see the beauty in their surroundings when he cannot. When they arrive at their destination, it is revealed to the reader that they were going to volunteer at a soup kitchen as they do every Sunday.

It really is a lovely story that teaches kids about charity, helping others, family and finding beauty in the most unlikely places. I love telling my kids stories like that. My only issue with the book is the grammar. I find myself correcting it every time I read it.  I know that it was written to show the way people sometimes speak, but I have worked very hard to speak English properly and intend to teach my children the correct way to do so as well.  In my mind if I show them how not to say things, they may do it just to spite me. Yes, I know how silly that sounds.  I will try to teach them that people speak differently around the world; not only in different languages, but in different ways in the same language. I will continue to correct them when I can, though. That is just a mama thing. That might be a post for another time.

Back to the book: It was a great story with lovely pictures and a good lesson. I would recommend adding it to your collection. I hope you enjoyed my review. Now go out and read more!

My Global Pick of the Day

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Eight months ago I embarked on a new journey in the blogosphere. Through the support of my family, I have had the time to learn and grow one blog at a time.  I have learned a lot from a very supportive community of bloggers and readers from around the world. For today’s Global Pick of the Day (#mkbglobalpick) I am sharing with you my very first blog post. This is the reason I started blogging and to be able to make my kids proud of me one day as well as proud of who they are and where they come from. I hope you like taking a little look back with me.

I am Bilingual but my Kids are Not, Not Yet…

Mexican Musical Instruments

Mexican Instruments

On our last trip to Mexico one of my uncles gave the boys a variety of instruments indigenous to Mexico. My boys were fascinated with these because of their uniqueness and, of course, the music they made. Now they have so many instruments to choose from when they feel like having a little concert or (our favorite thing to do) have a parade! We usually load up on whatever instruments we can carry and play at the same time and go around the house or the backyard with drums, bells, horns and whistles blaring. These little parades are so fun for me and my boys because we can be as loud as we want to be. Of course, if you were to ask my husband or my neighbors they may not share the same enthusiasm. Sorry about that. We try to be respectful, though, and only do this when it is not too early or too late. These are memories that I will treasure forever, so let’s play on!

When we got back from Mexico, my oldest started asking me what the instruments were.  I did not want to lie to him, so I asked my mom for help.  She and my uncle sent me a little list of the different types of instruments so we could see what they were. Here is what we learned:

  • Idiophones are instruments that make noise through their own vibration either by shaking, hitting of rubbing with a stick. Some of these are instruments made with bells or cymbals, guiros, castanets and maracas.
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  • Membranophones produce sounds by way of vibrating stretched membrane with your hands or sticks. They can also be wind instruments where the vibrations are filtered through a membrane or thin cover such as a kazoo. Drums are the most recognizable of these in my family and probably the favorites as they can be the loudest.
  • drum
  • Aerophones are wind instruments with a column to distribute air like whistles and flutes.

whistles

These last two we do not have at home from Mexico.  I am, however, including them so you may see a couple more classifications that we learned about.

  • Chordophones are string instruments like pianos or guitars.
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  • Electrophones are instruments that require power or electricity to play. They are electric like electric pianos.
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If I forgot to include a category, please let me know. These are just the ones we learned about. I hope they help you classify the instruments you have. The ones that were given to us are like little works of arts. Notice all of the details the people who made them took the time to add. Lovely, don’t you think? And now we know what they are in both English and Spanish. Bonus!

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What instruments are common where you live? I would love to see pictures. If you would like for me to include anything on the blog about your instruments, please let me know.

ATTENTION! We have launched our website where you can find the blog in two languages and so much more. We hope we see you there:  www.bilinguazo.com

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it in our new website http://www.bilinguazo.com/blog.html and on Facebook. We are now also on Pinterest. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter. Thanks a bunch!)

Global Pick of the Day: Bilingual Story Time

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Here is today’s pick for MKB. I wish there were some bilingual story times like this near us that we could go to. It’s so important for kids to be able to interact with other kids in multiple languages. This will help their appreciation for language grow. Enjoy!

Bilingual Story Time: How Does it Work?

9 Kids’ Valentine’s Day Crafts

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Hello!

My latest post on AMB is up.  Please check out these fun crafts to do with your little ones.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids