Making Summer Count (1)

I’ve been MIA again for a while, but I wanted to check in and say hi!  So much to do this summer and so little time to just sit and write but I promise we have been trying to keep up with our Spanish every day.  Here is a little recap of the fun we have been having with Spanish.  I hope to find the time to get into more detail on them soon, too.

  • We went to Mexico City and Cancun.  The kids were able to meet a TON of family and really fell in love with the culture and language.  This visit especially made them really excited to learn more!
  • We started Spanish Immersion Summer School (just two weeks, but still a good program).  They came home singing songs and told me how excited they were to count to 100 in Spanish.  Nice! We also took a couple of fields trips with the school to learn about different cultures.  I love that!
  • I also ordered Kids Start Spanish Series.  The boys like the memory game and the flash cards.  The videos are a little repetitive, but then again, repetition is always good, right?
  • Oh, and I ordered Whistlefritz Lesson Plans and hope to be able to summon the teacher spirit that runs in my family somehow to keep them engaged.

What have you been up to this summer?  Any tips to keep your kids on the right track for learning languages?  How do you keep up with individual lessons when school starts?  All suggestions welcome! Hope to chat soon!  Enjoy the rest of your summer! 

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Showing Love And Affection Around The World!

love

Hello World! Hope you are having a LOVELY day!  This month, I am the host of the blogging carnival for Multicultural Kid Blogs and I couldn’t be happier. Although I am not one to celebrate Valentine’s day, as it turns out I AM a bit of a sucker for love. That means this month’s theme is quite fitting.

In this post I will share with you how my fellow multicultural bloggers and I do just that as well as where you can find them. You will read posts about how people greet each other where they are, how parents show love to their kids, how extended multicultural families show their love, how families kiss, greet each other and much more. So let’s get started.

First, let’s learn how to say I Love You around the world!  Check out it out HERE!

新年快樂

Kissing is a common way of showing love all over the world.  But how many kisses are expected depends on where you live. The Piri Piri Lexicon wrote this funny post about kisses in France. Bisous? 1, 2, 3, 4? French greetings: how many kisses? 

pri-pri

Here is a hillarious one also about kissing from Sarah at A Life with Subtitles An American Girl’s Guide To Kissing How many awkward kisses have you experienced?

An American Girl'sGuide to Kissing (1)

Showing love to kids will help them grow up unafraid to show others love as well. Not only that, but it will help them be comfortable enough to show their other emotions as well.  Leanna at All Done Monkey has a very cute post on showing kids love that I will definitely try: Monkey Kisses and Dinosaur Hugs: Creative Ways to Show Kids Love 

all done monkey

Here is a beautiful take on love wherever you are from thanks to Olga at European Mama: Rethinking Intercultural Relationships

european mama

If you speak Spanish or have heard it being spoken, you know that we love our nicknames. They are more than just nicknames to us, though, they are truly affectionate terms.  Elisabeth at Spanish Mama wrote this great post on just that: Terms Of Endearment In Spanish-Speaking Countries 

spanish mama

Here are some more, this time from Puerto Rico thanks to Frances at Discovering the World Through My Sons Eyes. Puerto Rican Terms of Endearment and Expressions of Love 

Puerto Rican Terms of Endearment

Can’t forget Valentine’s Day!  Here is a post from Lisa at Cooking With Languages just in time. Valentine’s Day: Showing Love and Affection in Spain 

cooking with languages

I also wrote this one for MKB last year on Valentine’s Day Around The World with some great ideas (also thanks to many of my MKB friends): Please do check it out.  

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Here is an educational one on co-sleeping with your baby from Lisa at Lisa Lewis MD: Sharing Love: Co-Sleep Safely and Affectionately! As Lisa says “HAPPY SNUGGLES”

I hope you have enjoyed our February Blogging Carnival for Multicultural Kid Blogs! Please follow the group on the MKB site and Facebook page as well as all of our fabulous contributors!  We Love to Share the Love All Around Our Beautiful World! 

How Do You Show Love?

logoMKBcarnival2Multicultural Kid Blogs

Goodnight Around the World!

God natt!-9

One of the most beautiful moments of being a parent is being able to tuck your little ones in for the night.  Most parents I know have a set night time routine that helps get their babies to relax and to understand that the time for games is over for the day. Night time is also the best time for some one on one cuddles.  I don’t know what I will do when they outgrow them.

Our night time routine is pretty much set in stone.  My husband and I run around with them after bath time to let them get that last bit of energy out. Then when it is time to start winding down, we sing a song and say a poem.  The song I chose was one of my favorite songs from when I was growing up. It is a song by Topoyiyo called “A La Camita”.  This song has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.  We watched the show of this little silly mouse when I was little. When I was in high school it was the last song the played at night clubs across the border as a way to let people know it was closing time.  I thought it was such a cute idea that we even chose it as the last song of our wedding reception. And now I am passing it on to my little ones.

After that, each child goes into his own room and my husband and I tag team. He goes into my oldest’s room first and I go in with my little one. We each read them stories and sing songs. I sing to them in Spanish while my husband sings in English. The songs I sing are a montage of songs from a cd that that mom gave us from a group called Grupo Tihui from the album Arrullos Tradicionales De México. It was a gift and I could not find a link to it, sorry.  I highly recommend it, however, if you can find it. It has magical powers.  I would play it for both boys when they were infants and it would instantly calm them down.

After we are done, we trade and do it all over again with the other child.  Well, my oldest and I do shadow puppets for a bit then have a question and answer session where he asks me anything he can think of and I try to answer it to the best of my ability.  (Thank goodness for google!) Last come our goodnight kisses for both and everyone goes to bed happy.

I thought it would be fun to see how the parents around the world on  say goodnight, so I reached out to my friends at Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Here is what they shared.  One thing is universal, songs and lullabies are one of the most beautiful way to cuddle with your little one and teach them a little music while you are at it. Hope you enjoy!

Galina Nikitina (Trilingual Children) shared her routine with us:

We read books and then kids go tho their beds, I tell them a story. They tell me who will be the story characters and I have to come up with the rest. If the kids are still up after the story, I sing to them.

Our family says “Good night!” in three languages: “Buona Notte!” in Italian, “Spokojnoj Nochi!” ( Спокойной Ночи!) in Russian and “Good Night! in English.

She also has a post about Russian lullabies (written in Russian) that you can find HERE.

Lana Jelenjev (Smart Tinker) from the Philippines shared a lullaby called Sa Ugoy ng Duyan

Audrey Kratovil (Españolita…¡Sobre La Marcha!even included a video from YouTube for us to take part in the lovely song Cinco Lobitos

From Morocco, Amanda Ponzio Mouttaki (Marrakech Food Tours) wrote:

We always read a book and say a prayer of protection, tuck them in and then recite a duaa from the Quran to protect the kids and keep bad dreams away. They actually recite it we just help them. (wink)

Rita Rosenback (Multilingual Parenting) added:

The last thing I have said every night to my girls is “Good night, sleep well, sweet dreams” (in Swedish: God natt, sov gott, fina drömmar). My girls are now 22 and 29 and we still do it.”

She even mentioned it on her post HERE. 

A lovely night time routine was shared by Marianna Hennig Du Bosq (Bilingual Avenue):

Both my husband and I put our little one to bed every night (she’s two). We take turns wishing her good night and sweet dreams in English and Spanish and she responds “I love you” to Daddy and “Te quiero mucho” to me. She puts her hands together (like in a prayer) … that’s our sign for “Bendicion” or bless me in Spanish and then I respond by saying “Dios te bendiga.” The last thing I say is what my mother always said to me “Que sueñes con los angelitos,” meaning “May you dream with the little angels.” I am from Venezuela and my husband is American, we live in Germany.

Maria Babin (Trilingual Mama) shared this sweet routine:

Sometimes a bath, then jammies on, brush teeth, a few books and sometimes family prayer. Into the turbulette (a kind of sleeping bag for babies), doudou (stuffed animal), two cars (for my 2 year old Rémy) and a kiss! Good night or buenas noches!

Olga Sokolik (Milk, Crafts and Honesty) shared this Polish night time saying “Dobranoc, pchly na noc, karaluchy do poduchy a szczypawki do zabawki” (Goodnight, fleas for the night, cockcroaches to the pillow and earwigs to the toys)

Haboona Abdullah Hussein (The Ramblings of a Saudi Wife) included that in Arabic people say in the evening “mesa el khair” (evening of good) and the reply is “mesa el noor” (evening of light).

Anna Watt (Russian Step by Step) shared this fun nighttime routine:

(In Russia, you say) Спокойной ночи (spokOJnoj nochi) which literally translates as have a calm night. Some kids love watching a kid tv show that runs right before the bedtime and has the same name. We live in the US now and will do shower/books/lie down in bed together/kisses and hugs and then goodnight in both English and Russian.

Charu Chhitwal (Ketchup Moms) let us into this traditional routine:

In India of most us say Good night to kids after maybe reading their favorite book to them. But when my twins were 8 months old, I had started singing the Gayatri mantra for them. It is a chant that is considered very powerful, protecting and Peaceful. (Find link HERE) Although I had stopped, will start now.  Good night in literal Hindi translation means- Shub Ratri.

Eolia Scarlett Disler (La Cité des Vents) shared this sweet good night:

Personaly, I do this routine: we read them a book/story, pray together, kiss them good night and some evenings I sing a song or two. In French: “Bonne nuit! A demain matin. Dormez-bien mes chéris.” (Good night, see you tomorrow. Sleep well my darlings.)

Tamania Jaffri Naqi (UrduMom.com) added:

In urdu we say ‘shab-be-khair’ that means good/peaceful night. The lullabies sung at night are called ‘looris’.

These are some great examples of how similar we all are no matter where we are from. Our babies are our lives, our hearts and souls. We will sing, read, and be silly for them for as long as they let us. Be free, and be happy and be as childlike as you can be. Enjoy every moment you can with those sweet little ones. My hope is that they will remember the silly times. Hopefully we will have the ability to carry it on for generations to come. I would love to hear your routines.

How do you say goodnight?

Check out these goodnights from around the world (as shared by our Multicultural Kids Blog Family)

Thank you Multicultural Kids Blog families for letting me see into your traditions. I love learning from you all. 

Language is a Bond

Take a walk-3

Did you hear the news?  The US has more Spanish speakers than Spain.  This shouldn’t really come as a surprise due to the size and population differences between the two.  What is amazing to see (for me at least) is how many Spanish speakers there actually are in the United States. A recent study conducted by Instituto Cervantes* found that there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US plus 11.6 million others who are bilingual.  How awesome is that? 
For me this means that I am not alone in wanting to teach my kids to speak, understand and love Spanish. There is an awesome community right outside my door. Thanks to someone special, we were able to put both boys in Spanish summer camp this year. M went last year on his own because T was too little. We thought T was ready this year. That is still up for debate. M loves school, comes home excited about the new words he learned that day, knows a lot of new songs and has made new friends. T cries every time we drop him off and on and off throughout the day. He hasn’t even bonded with his teacher or his classmates. I’m hoping this changes as they have 4 weeks to go. I really don’t like having him be so sad and would pull him if we didn’t think it may just be the terrible twos taking effect for not getting his way. What would you do? 
Once he gets past the tears, however, he does throw out some Spanish words without being asked. He also gets excited when we read books in Spanish at home and when we sing our songs. That makes me happy. We will keep trying with the summer program this coming week and revaluate at the end of it.  
But I digress. As far as Spanish always being a part of their lives, the new study gives me great hope.  Also, with all of the attention being brought to our language and culture in the news today, it makes me proud to see how we have come together as a community no matter what part of the world we are come from. Spanish is our bond, family is our heart and pride is our power. All of these are great lessons for my boys in the long run. Let’s keep our love for languages alive! 

What languages do you speak with your kids?

I’d love to learn more about your love for languages!
Also, if you haven’t done so, please send a family pic. You do not have to include faces if you don’t want to…shadows, backs to the camera, hands held together, etc) for a fabulous future post. Thanks and have an amazing weekend. 
*The Guardian

Global Pick of the Day

Your Family Can Help Boost Bilingualism
As part of my Global Pick of the Day and the mark of my one year anniversary as a blogger last week, I picked one of the first posts I did. I had started doing research on all things bilingual and came across some awesome articles. They have given me some great ideas about how to help my children become bilingual. We still use these tips today as well as so many others I have found along the way through the Multicultural Kid Blogs. It’s fun to look back and see where we are now. It also makes me want to try to remember what the baby photo project I mentioned was. I should write things down more often, (words no blogger should say, ha)…
Enjoy!
Please Click here: Your Family can Help Boost Bilingualism

My Global Pick of the Day!!

Global Pick Image for 4.27.15 Final (2) (600x503)

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!

public speaking image

Spanish in the Kitchen

Learning Through Food (500x419)

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.

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