Donating Halloween Candy for Veteran’s Day!

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I may a little late to do things, but this year I was not going to let the chance to donate the kids halloween candy pass us up yet again. They got a ton a candy, way too much for two little boys. Really, way to tempting to stay in the house with that chocolate junky that takes over my body every time she smells that delicious scent.  MMMMMM….wait, were was I?
I researched different ways to contribute and found this great list that I will keep for future reference. Check it out: Sweet Ways to Donate Your Halloween Haul to Those in Need
The one we chose is Operation Gratitude. The only way my boys were going to let go of so much deliciousness was knowing that it was going to some of the people they admire: Soldiers! Once I told them that we would be sending the rest of the candy to soldiers that don’t have access to any where the are at, they were all for it.  They were able to keep 5 pieces each and we packed up the rest. We had 4 pounds of candy!  Crazy! But I could see why they were such a hit…

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Then it was time to get crafty, of course.  We each made a little thank you card for the troops to add a little extra cheer.  T’s is quite artsy, I say.  He chose the colors himself it turned out really beautiful. I wish I had a better picture of it. M’s melts my heart.  He drew a soldier with a feather on his cap.  The little guy in there is himself.  He said he was there to cheer him up and that is why they are smiling. The whole picture tells a story. I love it.  I’m very proud of my little guys.

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While reading about Operation Gratitude, we found that you can send all sorts of things year round!  Save the information somewhere where you can easily access it and send a little love to those so many take for granted anytime you feel like giving. Click Here to save it.
With that, I end this post and say, Happy Veteran’s Day and Thank You to all of the men and women who have served, are serving and will serve for keeping us safe year round! 

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Tears and More Tears

Tears and More Tears

Ever since I can remember, my eyes have teared up for pretty much every expression and emotion possible.  They tear up when I laugh too much, when I get a little too excited, when I get mad, when I talk about something sad, when I cough, when I sneeze, when I yawn and, of course when I cry. If someone cries in front of me, chances are, I will cry with them or at least tear up. Have you ever tried to tell a super funny story and have the eyes of the person you are talking slowly start getting bigger and bigger until they look a little scared because your eyes are starting to fill up? Kind of kills the mood.

This especially complicated things in business since the last thing I wanted to be seen as was the stereotypical girl being too sensitive in the workforce. Being a mom, this little uncontrollable response is really hard for me to deal with when disciplining my children. It’s hard to be a rock and/or scold them without having them see the tears forming in my eyes. 

It never occurred to me how this would affect my parenting skills until now that these little sweet boys of mine are rebelling and acting all kinds of wild. I don’t want them to see me as weak, so I try to hold the tears back until I can leave the room. I think I am getting better at that. I guess it’s all about learning control. I will teach this to the boys as the days go on.  This is one thing we will have to learn together…hopefully.

I did forget to mention, however that along with the tears comes the red face. I have never and will never be able to hide the fact that I cried or even just get over it so no one could tell I had been crying. Unfortunately, both boys also inherited this lovely trait from me. Maybe they will outgrow that, but I still haven’t. The red face lasts for a long time and the red eyes linger for hours. It’s exhausting. That is why I try to stay positive as much as I can. Being sad just wears me out. I just hope that if people see my boys sad little faces sometimes they don’t think they are sad all of the time. I don’t really think they will, though, these are two happy and silly little ones.

Going back to the tears, here is a quick little story. The other day, I was cuddling with M and singing the songs we sing at nap time. I yawned in the middle of it, so naturally, I teared up.  He looked up at me a few seconds later and his eyes teared up, too. I asked him what was wrong and he told me I looked sad. I quickly smiled and explained to him that I was not even a little bit sad and that I just yawned. He smiled back and all was good again. Even if my boys did get the teary eyes from me, one thing they show me is that they have good hearts and a whole lot of empathy. If just seeing tears in my eyes made M’s eyes tear up, I think he is learning how to empathize with others. I love seeing my little ones grow.

What traits did your little ones get from you? What have you learned from seeing them in your little ones?

Walking Tall

Walking Tall white

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.

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.

sopa-fideo-TOSOTT

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.

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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?

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What Gives Me Hope

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Here is a little poem inspired by a Tweeter question from World Moms Blog. I wrote it as I watched them play together. Hope you like it. 😉

What Gives Me Hope?

The look in my kids eyes when they learn something new
The way they sweetly say “Mama, I love you!”
The way they think everything is so wonderful
And how they call those they love beautiful
The hope that I have grows more each day
As they grow and learn and find their own way
What gives me hope?
Well, it’s easy to see
It’s the stars in their eyes
That shine brighter than me

Family Love

My mama and my monkeys

My mama and my monkeys

I saw a great post on Worpress by another bilingual mama that got me thinking. It’s written in Spanish by Viviendo en el Extranjero and is about learning to be a mom away from her own mom. She talks about how she wishes her mom was closer to watch her baby grow, to give help and advice and to just be her best friend. She, like me, lives far from her mom and does get to talk to her often on the phone and through Skype (which, by the way, is the coolest invention yet for families far from each other).  I can relate to her whole story.

We are grateful for every word we share, every image we can gather and every story we can tell through the methods available to us. Being far from each other, however, does get difficult at times. It is especially hard in the holidays because those are the times you should be with those you love, right? Fortunately, we will get to spend Christmas together this year. I am very much looking forward to that. And don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to complain. I know how lucky I am to have such a close knit family no matter how far apart we are. And we love being close to my husband’s family as well. We talk, we share, we joke and they make an effort to get to know my kids. That is something I truly love. My boys talk about Lita and their tias as well as their Opa and Oma and uncle all of the time. They even pretend to drive to their houses or fly to Mexico and New York on their imaginary cars and planes, even in spaceships! Ooo, there is my picture book idea of the day!

So stay close to those you love, treasure every minute you get to spend with them even if it’s only a conversation on the phone or through a silly computer. These are times we will all look back on and treasure. Say hi to those you love today! Love you, family!

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(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

What do you do on a rainy day?

Here are some of our shenanigans today:

crafting, sliding, puppy love, spaceships and playing in a closet! Loving rainy days

crafting, sliding, puppy love, spaceships and playing in a closet! Loving rainy days

How can you not be inspired by these little monkeys. There is a picture book there somewhere.  Love my loves!

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