Friday, December 28, 2012

Giant Gingerbread Man {Cooking With My Little Chef}

Christmas in our house is not over, and what better way to have fun during these festivities than to make a giant gingerbread man!  Little one loves to help in the kitchen, and this is a simple, super easy to make recipe!  I am by far a baker, so we're going to make this easy, peasy. :)  

So we gathered up the ingredients, and the supplies. We're ready to start, but wait a minute... little one has a request: he wants to do everything by himself! :) I was happy to oblige since it shows an interest in being independent, and getting hands on with the baking.  I just cracked the egg. He mixed, poured and even looked with amazement how the dry mixture turned all gooey. He also got a kick out of looking into the oven window to see how the gingerbread man was baking. 


I love cooking or in this case baking with little one. It's another one of our bonding moments,  and it's a learning process for him. He's mastering his mathematical skills and learning the science of cooking. He's learning time management and patience. By setting up the timer, and waiting patiently for the gingerbread man to bake in the oven.  He's also using his imagination and artistic creativity by decorating the gingerbread man.  

He was really "into" the whole I'm a "chef" now.  He had his apron, and chef's hat and was very much into character.  After the gingerbread man was out of the oven, I asked him if he wanted to sit and decorate the gingerbread man. I was blown away by his answer, "Mommy chefs don't sit. They stay standing up."  Humm, where did my child come up with an answer like that? Maybe looking at Mommy cook in the kitchen, or perhaps from the cooking shows that I've watched? I have no clue, but I was very proud of him for wanting to do the whole process all by himself.  

From now on, he's going to be my designated sous chef when I'm in the kitchen cooking. :)  What yummy things have you cooked or baked with your child? Would love to hear from you. Please comment, like or share. 

¡Buen provecho! 

Note: The gingerbread man is still in the baking pan because although we followed the instructions to a tee (ungreased mold) it didn't come out! So I let little one do his thing with decorating it, and then I cut it out into large pieces. He was happy regardless! 

Bilingual Playdate: Fun with Boca Beth

During the Hispanic Heritage Month I participated in the first annual Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop Fiesta giveaway. Guess what? I won a  Boca Beth Beginner Backpack! Can I say woohoo!!! 


I love, love the musical CD, the music is familiar to my son's ears, and we sang-along the bilingual words to it!  The songs are so catchy, and fun that I've often heard my son singing the songs without the CD!  The Boca puppet makes it even more fun, and interactive!  My prize also included a backpack, a maraca, a learning activity book, and a DVD.  

My son loves this so much that I invited some of his friends all close to his age for a bilingual play date, and it was a bilingual fiesta! The play date lasted around an hour. We picked 3 of my son's favorite songs. For each song, we had a learn and play session. 
To welcome his friend we started off with the song:  "Hola Amigo/Hello Friend" using Boca Beth puppet, and passing it along to the kids.  Followed by "There are Ten Toys/Diez Juguetes Son" using numbered flash cards. 

After some singing we had a "coloring session" with crayons and pages from the Boca Beth coloring and activity book. To wind them down, I turned the TV on and then we had some DVD time. They really loved the DVD, it's interactive, and they loved looking at the animals. 
Coloring time. :)
DVD time. 

Before ending our play date session we sang the "The Animal Song/La Canción de Animales" song.  I gave the kids flash cards with animals to pass along as they sang the song. 

Using animal flash cards.
Of course, we had a wonderful mommy join us, and sing-along, too. 
I am constantly reminded by my sister to speak to my son in Spanish, and I often struggle with it;  but I've also had my little bits of joy when he has said to me, "Mommy, I know Spanish!"  I still have to consciously make an effort to talk to him in Spanish in hopes of him learning to pick up the language, and at least understand what I am telling him.  I know that the best way for him to learn is by speaking to him in Spanish. In other words constantly being exposed to the language.  

I will continue with our bilingual adventure and have fun along the way with the Boca Beth program. 

Update:  It's March 19, 2013, and I must say that my child loves Boca Beth's CD! We listen to it every day, he has learned his colors, days of the week, greetings among other new words. This program has enhanced his vocabulary and he's putting sentences together based on what he hears in the CD. We're moving forward with learning Spanish. 


What methods or programs have you used to teach your child another language? Would love to hear from you! Please like, share and/or comment. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Tis the Season for Multicultural Christmas Traditions

As a multicultural familia we incorporate both of our American and Latin traditions during the holidays.  Our family traditions are religious, cultural and some of them are really just for fun!   Little one's 1st Christmas was when he was only 5 months old, and as he has gotten older we have incorporated lots of new traditions. Now that he's 4 yrs. old he clearly understands that the "reason for the season" is the birth of  baby Jesus (we always have a Nativity scene with our tree), but he can't help the excitement of looking forward to Santa!

Making Christmas memorable for our son is one of the greatest joy we can receive as parents. So, on that note here's a round-up of our multicultural Christmas traditions old and new listed in one place! 

COOKIES AND MILK FOR SANTA!


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Riverbanks Zoo "Lights Before Christmas" 
Children's Garden Christmas & Kid's Walk

GINGERBREAD HOUSE/TRAIN

It's a tradition to make the gingerbread house with his Daddy!

LETTER TO SANTA

This was his 1st time actually mailing out the letter (that Mommy wrote for him) to Santa.  

STAR ON OUR TREE

One of our son's favorite thing to do is put the star up on the tree.
This was his 1st time and you can tell he was a bit nervous that he may fall.:) 

OUR CHRISTMAS TREE

For some reason, I can't find a picture of our 2008 Christmas tree! It's probably in some disc. ;)  But, in the meantime enjoy the pictures of our Christmas trees during the following years. 

   

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

We started a new family tradition. Packing shoe boxes for children less fortunate.
You can read more about our first shoe boxes here. 
This year little one actively participated by choosing and packing 4 shoe boxes all by himself.
Here he is with Daddy ready to drop the shoe boxes off. For more about our OCC tradition go here.

SANTA CLAUS!

Breakfast with Santa, and again... little one was not very interested in Santa. 

ORNAMENTS & GIFTS
Our fun new tradition making hand print ornaments and gifting them to family members.  
Making play-doh ornaments. Want to know how to make them go here.
A fun ornament  based off a Taíno book.  Read more about it here
A fun craft to keep little one busy for hours shaking the snow globes.
Easy instructions found here
Making lollipop Christmas tree cards for his school friends, and cousins.
You can read more about it here. 

ADVENT

 
Every morning we read the story of the birth of Jesus using the story book set & Advent calendar. 
After I read it, little one puts it on the tree as an ornament. This is our 1st year doing this, and he enjoys getting up every morning and asking "what day is it?" 

NOCHE BUENA (CHRISTMAS EVE) IN PUERTO RICO

Music and celebration during Noche Buena! Read my post here. 
 
Celebrating Noche Buena in Puerto Rico with his Titi, and the rest of the familia! 
For more details go here. 

THREE KINGS DAY

Although far from Puerto Rico, we continue to keep the tradition of the Three Kings. 
For the full post click here

MAGIC REINDEER FOOD

 
A new 2012 tradition! Making magic reindeer food! 

And last but not least or necessarily a tradition, but we had to share! Little one dressed up as Santa for his pre-k school Christmas Program. Where has time gone by?




What fun traditions do you and your family have? Please share, like or comment! Would love to hear from you! 

¡Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Silence and Support for Sandy Hook: A Blogger Day of Silence

As a mother, I can't even grasp what the family, and friends of the Sandy Hook victims are going through. In solidarity today we will have a blogger day of silence. I pray that God grant the parents, family and friends of the victims, peace in their hearts, and strength to overcome such a horrible tragedy.  May God bless you all!  For donations please go here

Monday, December 17, 2012

Random Act of Kindness: A Guest Post for All Done Monkey



PhotobucketSo excited about my guest post for All Done Monkey's  Random Acts of Kindness Challenge Thank you Leanna from All Done Monkey for taking on this initiative, and allowing me to participate. 

This is a new series from All Done Monkey where a group of amazing bloggers (including myself) have joined forces to take the challenge! This weekly series is  inspired by a blogger that dedicated her birthday to commit random acts of kindness with her children.   

What random acts of kindness have you done lately? Take the challenge! Share and comment. :)  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Making Magic Reindeer Food {Lazy Sunday Arts & Crafts}

I love Sundays! They are the days that little one and I have fun with arts, crafts, and cooking! Today we baked some oatmeal cookies, and while the cookies were in the oven we started getting ready to make "Magic Reindeer Food".   Magic Reindeer Food is a magical food that we'll be sprinkling on our yard on Christmas Eve to make sure the reindeer & Santa don't miss our house.  

There are tons of blogs, and websites with instructions and recipes on how to make magic reindeer food.  We found a super simple recipe on-line on Hip2Save's website.   

We had the oats, the glitter (so they can sparkle during the night), and a special ingredient to add a twist to it (this was little one's idea): chocolate sprinkles! Yes, the kind you eat, and top your ice cream with. Of course, we're all in the Christmas spirit so we had our Santa hats on.  I let little one mix, and stir to his heart's content. 
Sporting our Santa hats :)
Chocolate sprinkles check, oatmeal check, and now the glitter! 
Magic reindeer food! Ready to stir, and bag. 
Some one was excited! This is how he wanted the picture taken. 

I am truly enjoying this phase with my son, the magic and fun of Christmas! He's growing so fast, and soon enough he'll find out Santa, and the magic reindeer food isn't real.  So in the meantime, we will enjoy every bit of excitement, wonder, and happiness this brings to our child.  

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the magic reindeer food. 

What fun traditions are you incorporating to your Christmas traditions? I'm working on a blog post of our Christmas traditions, and the real meaning of Christmas with our Advent calendar.  Coming soon! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Celebrating "Noche Buena" (Christmas Eve) in Puerto Rico

Although we're living in the US little one has been fortunate enough to celebrate a Noche Buena in Puerto Rico. Noche Buena is celebrated on Christmas Eve (December 24th) with a huge family gathering, food,  music, singing aguinaldos Navideños (similar to Christmas carols), and at midnight everyone goes to the Misa de Gallo (Rooster's Mass: a solemn and festive Mass). The celebration would go until late hours of the night! 

We also have a gift exchange with all of the extended family members (though little ones will have to wait until morning to see what Santa brought for them, yeah Puerto Rico has been commercialized with Santa Claus, as well!). 

My fondest memories growing up were always on Noche Buena because it was a time to rejoice and celebrate around the Nativity scene for baby Jesus to be born, and to celebrate with the family, and a grand feast with Puerto Rican delicacies such as:  
Arroz con gandules (Rice with pigeon peas), Guineitos en Escabeche (Sautéed Green bananas)
Flan (Puerto Rican Custard), and of course, pasteles (ground green bananas with a filling of meat), arroz con dulce (sweetened coconut rice), tembleque (coconut based dessert), and the famous coquito (similar to egg nog but it's made out of coconut milk, and it has alcohol).  Yes, Puerto Ricans love to eat, and they love their coquito. Luckily coquito can be made without alcohol. 




Little one's first Noche Buena in Puerto Rico! You can see my Mom's Christmas tree, and the Nativity scene below. Singing aguinaldos! My brother-in-law is the one with the Santa hat, and he can sing! 

Little one was barely 1 1/2 yrs. old so I'm hoping that looking at pictures, and this post will help jog the memories that we've created for him. So one day, he can understand that this is part of his heritage and culture. Though we may not celebrate it here at home (US), we will cherish the memories, and look forward to future celebrations of Noche Buena in our beautiful island of Puerto Rico. ¡Feliz Navidad! 

What special traditions do you celebrate? Would love to hear from you! Please comment, share or like! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Snow Globes {Lazy Sunday Arts & Crafts}


Little one was watching Special Agent Oso on Disney Jr. The episode "For Angels with Snow/Dr. Snow" was about helping the kids make snow angels, and snow globes. Special Agent Oso's special assignment is to help a little boy how to make snow globes in three simple steps. Of course, it's Sunday, and guess who wants to make snow globes? :)

This was so super easy to make that we made four in total! (One is not pictured). All you need is:  Glass jars, hot glue, toys, glitter and water!

I had a few glass jars saved, hot glue, the glitter, and little one was to look for toys to put in the snow globes. It was fun picking out what toys to use, but oh my decisions, decisions on what toys to use for the snow globes! It had to be just the right size!  He ended picking a bendy Santa, a bendy snowman, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Daisy. I had him fill the jars with water, while I hot glued the toys to the lid. Then I let him pour glitter to his heart's content! We put the lid on with toys, and let him shake his snow globes. He was so excited! He enjoyed it so much, that he wanted to make more! I told him we'd make some more later on to give as gifts. In the meantime, these are beautifully displayed in our living room. 

What crafts have you made with your kids to give as gifts or just for fun?  Please share, like or comment! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Our Three Kings Day Tradition Featured on Christmas Traditions [From the Mouths of Moms]

I'm so excited that our Three Kings Day tradition has been featured on B-InspiredMama's: Christmas Traditions [From the Mouths of Moms]. Check out the round-up of awesome Christmas Traditions from other mom bloggers! From ornaments, to sneaky elves, reindeer food, music, Christmas lights, trees, and my favorite a birthday cake for Jesus at Christmas dinner!  So many traditions, so much fun! I'm sure you'll find some that you and your family may want to start! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Big Lollipop Christmas Tree Card

I love this time of year, and I love that little one is old enough to help make Christmas ornaments like the ones found here and here. Now he will help Mommy make a big lollipop Christmas tree card!

I remember when I was in elementary school our teacher made a huge lollipop Christmas tree on a poster board. I think I was pretty impressed by it, because till this day I can remember vividly the card! It was made of red and green lollipops, and she'd treat us with a lollipop for good behavior. So I set out to bring that childhood memory to life!  I wanted to recreate the lollipop Christmas tree on the poster board, but instead I'd make a Big Lollipop Christmas Tree Card for my little one to give to his pre-school teachers and friends.

Materials needed:
  • 22x28 green poster board 
  • 21 flat lollipops 
  • stickers to decorate 
  • magic marker 
  • hot glue  
Fold the poster board twice to make a big 11x14 card. Then use your imagination!  I traced the words "Merry Christmas" for little one  to trace over. After he decorated his card, I had him write his name inside; and then I hot glued the lollipops on the card in the shape of Christmas tree. I really wanted red and green lollipops, but couldn't find any. So I guess putting some glittery stickers would do, and little one was happy to help!
Writing Merry Christmas on the card.

Decorating with stickers. 

Decorating the lollipops with glittery stickers. 


Outside view of the card. 

Close-up of the lollipop Christmas Tree. 
The next morning little one was ready to go to pre-school! He couldn't wait to take the Big Lollipop Christmas Tree Card to his teachers and classmates. When we walked in he whispers, "Momma, tell my teacher about the card." I said, "OK, put your jacket away, and we'll go together."  (She was sitting on the floor having circle time with the rest of the kids).   I asked if she had a minute, and told her that our son had made this Christmas card for her, his other teacher, and his classmates (as he handed it to her).  She was so excited, and thanked him. When she opened the card she was gushing all over it! She loved it!!! She told the kids, "Look at this lollipop tree! What do you say to him?" and in unison they all said, "Thank you!" The look on my son's face was priceless, he was so excited and happy!  As I left his class room his teacher says, "Thank you Ms. Crafty Mom!" Ahhhhhhhhh that made my day! I felt like the Mom of the Year knowing that my son has brought some Christmas joy to his school friends, and teacher! 
With his teacher. :) 
This was such a simple and fun "do-it-yourself" Christmas card, that I think we will be making more to give out as gifts. It will also be our new fun family Christmas tradition: Making Big Lollipop Christmas Tree Cards! 

What fun Christmas card, or craft have you done with your little ones? I'd love to hear from you! Please comment, like or share!  

Merry Christmas! 
¡Feliz Navidad! 


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