Friday, September 28, 2012

Worldwide Cultural Swap from Norway and South Africa

In the first Worldwide Culture Swap that we participated in we were paired with 4 more families. Two from the USA:  Florida and Hawaii (you can read more about the contents of these two states here), and two other countries:  Norway and South Africa.  We were assigned to Group 66!

We were very excited to receive swap packages from South Africa and Norway.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism



This month's host for the September Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism is Leanna from All Done Monkey. My blog post "My Challenges Raising a Bilingual Child" was featured in this month's September Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism .

I especially enjoyed the layout of the carnival:

  • Ways to Encourage Bilingualism
  • Language Development
  • Social Development
  • Dealing with Reality (this is where you'll find my blog post)
  • More than Just Language

Check out the rest of the fabulous blog posts on raising bilingual children. A special shout out to Leanna for hosting this month's carnival, and to our sponsor Bilingue Per Gioco.  

If you have a minute, please comment and/or share! I enjoy reading your comments.



Children's Book on Celebrating Diversity


I absolutely love reading to our son. He looks forward to story time with Mommy, and we read 2 or 3 books at a time. We have plenty of books about shapes, colors, animals, in both English and/or Spanish, and our latest addition is about celebrating his diversity. I purchased three books that we are truly enjoying:

A Rainbow of Friends by P.K. Hallinan

A Rainbow of Friends is a wonderful and a colorful illustrated book. With simple and short paragraphs it talks about the differences between friends (some like sports, some like to read, some dress different), and how friends comes in all shapes and sizes.  As they celebrate how unique and special each one of them are the world becomes a better place.

Whoever You Are (Reading Rainbow Books) by Mem Fox

This is also a beautifully illustrated book with short sentences about the children's physical and cultural differences. That where ever they are, and whoever you are all over the world we are all the same.

We're Different, We're the Same (Sesame Street) by Bobbi Kates
Sesame Street characters portrays the physical differences of each one of us: nose, hair, face, etc. That though we're different, we're the same making the world a fun place!

We're having so much fun celebrating his diversity, learning and growing together as a multicultural family. He's a smart, well rounded little boy who is learning where he comes from and despite the differences he sees among his friends, he knows that we are all the same!

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and/or share! Gracias!


Collard Greens, and Everything Southern!

As a Latina transplant in the South I was in for quite a culture shock in terms of food. My husband is Southern born and bred, and our son is following his footsteps...he loves his collard greens!

Before we got married my husband would often say, "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach." He even asked me if I knew how to cook! Ha! Sure I do, but I was in for a big surprise, he was referring to southern cooking! Uh oh!

I had no clue what were collard greens? How about putting hot sauce on your fried chicken? Huh!!! Fried green tomatoes? Seriously, who eats fried green tomatoes? Southerners, do! Baked beans? Are those sweetened beans, no way! Casserole what? Everything is in a "casserole". Oh, and don't get me started on the turkey's stuffing that's called "dressing" here in the south! Dressing is what I pour over my salads, people; and it's definitely not the turkey's stuffing! OK, enough of my culture food shock ranting. {Big smile!}

I had a hard time adapting my taste buds to this new form of cooking and eating. However, I did an extensive research on southern cooking, bought cookbooks, and looked for recipes on-line. I learned how to cook southern food. My hubby proudly boasts of how his wife can really cook some soul food! My son and husband truly enjoy eating their collards, BBQ, baked beans and everything southern. I especially love it, when little one asks, "Momma, can I have more collard greens please?" I'm proud of myself too! I actually enjoy southern cuisine, and when eating fried chicken I ask hubby to pass me the hot sauce. Ha!

BBQ'ing with Daddy. 

A BBQ feast over the summer! Hubby barbecued ribs, chicken breast, wings, steaks, and we had a wide array of fresh vegetables some from our garden: tomatoes, zucchini squash, and some from the farmer's market: watermelon, and corn. We served baked beans, potato salad, and garlic toast. 

Collard greens, and cabbage were fresh off the garden, and of course some baked beans. 

Fried green tomatoes with a side salad. I had this as an appetizer at a restaurant we visited. 

My attempt at making my own fried green tomatoes. I must admit they were delish! 

 
Nothing like some collard greens, yellow rice topped with gravy, baked beans, and some pork ribs! 

Our son is having the best of both worlds, especially when it comes to food! My next post will be about food that I grew up with: Puerto Rican cuisine! Buen provecho!

Would love to hear your thoughts! Share and/or comment!






Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our Son's Heritage Board

When we found out we were pregnant with our son I knew in my heart that he would face many challenges because he would be multiracial. Once he came into this world, I wanted him to celebrate his diversity and be proud of it.   However, I wasn't sure how to address it. He was barely 3 1/2 yrs. old when I started talking to him of where he came from.

So I came up with the idea of creating a “heritage board" for him.  We went on from where he was born, where Mami and Papi were born; we put pics of us up, and glued some other pics of maps, and things typical to the region (flags, mango from PR, Tainos, Palmetto tree from SC, etc.)


When explaining to him that Mami was Latina and that Papi was Black… making him Black and Latin, he laughs and says “Momma, my shirt has black lines not me!” I laughed too, and left it there. This just comes to show that my child is “color blind” in the sense that he doesn’t see Black, White, or any other color in people.  Now, I was at a crossroads as to "how else" can I talk to my son about race? I had been following Multicultural Familia and I decided to reach out to Chantilly Patiño by sending her a message via Facebook.  She featured my question on her "Reader Q&A Series."  I loved her answer,  and you can read more about it here

I also posted the picture on my personal Facebook page, and received some encouraging comments. 

His heritage board hangs proudly on the wall of his room, and we often go over it.  We will both looking forward to adding fun things about his culture and heritage on his board as he gets older. 






Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Puerto Rican Wedding Tradition: "Capias"


Being engaged, and getting to marry the love of my life was one of the happiest days of my life. Planning a bicultural wedding was so much fun that I actually wanted to bring everything about my Puerto Rican heritage to our wedding! (Shells, and all! But I'll leave that for another post!)  

I wanted to incorporate my Latin culture to our USA wedding.  The one thing that I really, really wanted to share with my husband's side of the family were the famous "capias."   
The "capia"  is a  wedding souvenir that the bride gives to her guests. The one pictured is from our wedding. I still have a few that I'm keeping. These capias are truly special, they are a labor of love, a gift from Mami.  She made them in Puerto Rico, and brought them to me for our wedding.  
The “capia” is made with a thin satin ribbon with the bride's & groom’s name; and wedding date engraved on them.  The ribbon is placed on a lace or other material with a decorative piece on top. A pin is included so that the bride can put it on her guests as a corsage or boutonniere. This way the bride is able to see all her guests, and give them a wedding souvenir.

Featured on Worldwide Culture Swap:  "Puerto Rico - The Capia Custom."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making Colorful Wiggly Worms {Lazy Sunday Arts & Crafts}


Pinterest has spiked my ideas when it comes to kiddie crafts for our son, and I had pinned this Slimy and Sensacional Espaguetis Sensory Tub


Making "Colorful Wiggly Worms"

We tried this over the Spring on a boring Sunday afternoon. I filled containers with food coloring to make the colored water and 1 1/2 pounds of cooked spaghetti make for a fun filled activity! 


Next I let him place in the tubs the cooked spaghetti, and mix them around the colored water. This is a great sensory activity, that allows him to play with colors, mix them, and feel the texture. 


 The best part was letting him mix all of the colored spaghetti together. 


Look at that face! He did it all by himself. He spent a good while playing with them. Trying to separate the colors, then mixing them all together.  We later saved the colored spaghetti for him to use later that week. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


                                            Cutting out letters for hours of fun! 


Another fun activity that I found on Pinterest (which gave me some work to do LOL) is to cut out letters from cereal, cracker and other food boxes. I saved boxes, and later cut out the letters. I saved them in an empty mayonnaise jar for him to play with. He would look for letters to make words. Although he can't read yet, he certainly knows how to find the letters to his name. On a play date with his friend, we decided to make some art work. We used the cut up letters, Bendaroos, and glitter glue. This was the final work of art! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homemade Paint + Kiddo = One Happy Child! {Lazy Sunday Arts & Crafts}

With our busy work schedules, soccer games in the evenings, and running errands during the weekends...we need to take time out to kindle our son's artistic skills. :) What better way than to have fun on a Sunday afternoon with some homemade finger paints! 

Someone shared a picture with me on Facebook of  an easy to make homemade finger paint recipe. (Thank you Lamont!), and sure enough I also found the same recipe on Pinterest, and you can also find the original post here.  

After I made the recipe, we got to working on mixing the colors. 
I gave little one a plastic knife to stir the food coloring, and I did a little mixing myself. 
  
Finally little one was ready to start working on his masterpiece! He actually made three! 
Hubby and I also did some finger painting (hand prints) for our family tree!  
I also saved some empty rolls of toilet paper and had him paint them so we can make owl crafts. 
(Yes another idea that I found on Pinterest! The original post can be found here.) 
As you can see we both had our "painting" shirts on! It was a hot "colorful" mess! Hands were stained with the paint, but nothing that a good wash and soap can take care of. 
We made 6 small containers of homemade finger paint. Since the ingredients are starch, sugar, salt and food coloring I decided to save them in the fridge. So we'll see how long they last. 

   So proud of his owls, he made them all by himself! 

Showing off his owls, and making funny faces!  
Playing with Daddy and his owls! 
   
Our greatest pleasure is to see how happy, and excited our son was while we were making this project. Many times, he'd say, "Momma, I'm so excited!" or "This is so much fun!" We heard giggles and laughter that filled our home, and the satisfaction of seeing his final work of art is priceless indeed. 

Until our next project! 
                                  

Strawberry fun!

Spring is over, and summer is nearly gone. One of the fun things that we love to do as a family is go strawberry picking during spring time!  This is such a great activity to do with little one, since it will show him an important lesson of where strawberries come from, and learn how to make strawberry freezer jam. The recipe that I'm going to share with you is such a fun and easy recipe to do! Sure to please your little one's curiosity in the kitchen. Little one certainly enjoyed it! 



Strawberry Freezer Jam 
Makes 3 (8 oz. mason jars)
Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup(s) strawberries 
  • 2/3 cup(s) sugar 
  • 2 tbs instant pectin 
Instructions:    Mix 2 tablespoons of instant pectin and 2/3 c. sugar. Add mashed strawberries and stir for 3 minutes. Let stand for 30 mins. Refrigerate 3 weeks, and freeze for 1 yr.

We made a total of 15 mason jars of strawberry freezer jam!

 
Look at these beautiful strawberries! Yummm! 

I wash (more of a rinse through water) and then I hull them with a straw. 

Then little helps mashing them up. 

The final product! Delicious, nutritious strawberry freezer jam! 

Can't wait until next Spring!  Gardening season, and strawberry picking.


Introducing Little One to Sports: Soccer & Swimming

Soccer

Playing a sport will teach our son vital life skills such as: discipline, motivation, commitment, and cooperation.       So last year we signed him up for soccer for the 1st time (Wee League 3-4 yr. old), and we registered him again for this year's season. It has been a very fun, and entertaining experience to say the least! Children this age have a short attention span, and most of the time haven't had their motor skills fully developed. So it has been challenging at times, especially for our son, but all and all playing soccer has given him an opportunity to play with other children, and develop sportsmanship.

The other day he was playing pretend basketball with an empty laundry basket, and every time he dunked the ball, he yelled, "Score!" But, when he didn't score he'd say, "Awe I lost!" Then he goes on to say, "It's OK to lose and the important thing is to try again and have fun!" OMG I about died! I hugged him and gave him a whole bunch of kisses!  We are so proud! Our baby is growing up to be such a good sportsman ;)

His coordination skills weren't very good, and he often felt overwhelmed with all of the children running towards the soccer ball at the same time. Can you tell by that look on his face?  :)

Taking a break during half time of the Soccer Jamboree. 

Soccer August 2012

Practicing with Daddy before the game.

Swimming 

During this past summer we signed him up for swimming lessons. The first month was tough! He didn't want to get his face wet! :)


So, how in the world was he going to learn how to swim if he doesn't even get his face in the water? That's the number one basic rule. Even with his reluctance, we still took him to swimming lessons every Saturday, and in every lesson he learned something new.


He took lessons every Saturday from June until August, and we have seen such an improvement! He's no longer afraid of the "water", his self-confidence in and around water has increased greatly! My heart fills with joy when he tells me, "See Momma, I put my face in the water!" or "Mommy I can swim now!" :)

I had posted about his improvement on my personal FB page, and I got back some positive feedback that I had to share:
  • Alleyah: Very proud of him! :)
  • Vincent: Ahh...nothing like building up great confidence and stomping out fear. Go to the MAX, Li'l Cousin , GO!
  • Carmen: Estoy orgullosa de ti y de mi nieto.
Who knows maybe we'll have the next Michael Phelps, or David Beckham! :)  Wishful thinking never hurt anybody. Ha!




"Operation Christmas Child" Our New Family Tradition 2011



Last year our li'l family participated in Operation Christmas Child. What is this? It's the simple power of spreading the word of the Lord, by packing a shoe box for a child who otherwise would not receive a gift during Christmas.
It's a true blessing to be able to teach our child the gift of giving, compassion and love. I pray too, that we can raise an unselfish, caring, and compassionate child; and this is a great ministry to show him how he can help others.  This has become our new family tradition during Christmas.  

Packing the shoe boxes.

We were blessed to have been able to pack 5 boxes for 5 children 
and 5 lives have changed forever. Thank you Lord!  

Getting ready to drop off the shoe boxes at the church. 

My friend Elizabeth with her 2 young children also joined us! 

Love to see the children walking in to drop-off their shoe boxes. 

Church members of the drop-off location standing by the map of where the shoe boxes will be delivered. 

We're almost 2 months away from National Collection Week which will be November 12-19, 2012.  I'm so looking forward to it, and I'm happy to say that I will have more friends & their children joining us this year.   

I already have a few boxes packed with items that I have purchased through out the year, and freebie items that I have been able to collect.  So this year, I'm doing something different with little man. I'm  going to take him to the store, and let him "shop" for one boy and one girl.  This is going to be a great lesson, since he will be actually picking out toys, and goodies for someone else, and not for him. 

I will post pictures, and blog about our 2012 OCC Shoe boxes soon! 

For more information on packing shoe boxes go here. 


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