Letter To Our Son: Celebrating Your 2nd Birthday (2010)

**In 2 months little man turns 5! So I'm doing a count down to his 5th birthday by writing a letter to him on each birthday he has celebrated. This is his 2nd birthday letter.**

Dear son:

Here I am again wishing I had written a letter for you on your 2nd birthday, but I didn't. I can't remember all of the details of your 2nd year, but I can remember one thing. At the tender age of 2 there was a little girl in the daycare center that called you her "boo." Yes, that's a women's grown up word for boyfriend!  When I heard about this (your grandma actually told me because the little girl told her) my mind was racing with so many thoughts, and I just couldn't fathom a little girl calling you that!  I'm not going to write in this letter what I thought, and how I felt so maybe one day I will share it with you. For now, just think of it as a funny anecdote your Mom is going to share with you when it's time to talk about "girls."  :)  

This letter is about your birthday celebration. For your 2nd birthday celebration you actually had two parties.  Since your birthday fell on a weekday, we wanted you to celebrate with your friends at the daycare center you were staying at while I was at work. We went with the Elmo theme because you loved Elmo. You had Elmo cupcakes, and you had an Elmo piñata!   You loved hitting the piñata with your plastic blue bat, but closed your eyes when batting it! LOL The kids in the center had fun catching the goodies, and celebrating with you on your day. Since your Abuela, and cousins were there we also sang the happy birthday song in Spanish! 

For your second party on your 2nd birthday. We had a small gathering with your Daddy's friends, your grandparents, and the rest of the family from Puerto Rico in our home. Your Daddy is the king of the grill, so we also had some BBQ!

We were blessed to have your Abuela, and primas visit. Your Titi Gladys actually surprised us on the day of the party! She wanted to be there to celebrate with you. The funny thing is that she was almost left stranded at the airport! (I'll tell you that story another day.)   Back to your second party. :)  We had planned to have the BBQ birthday party outdoors, but your birthday being  in the midst of July the heat was unbearable!!! Everyone stayed inside, but your Daddy still had the grill going. 

Cutting the cake. :) 
Say cheese! But you just wanted to play with your gifts. 
Taking a look at the table. So many Elmo stuff! 
Fun with family and friends. 
Son, you're such a happy and blessed child. We give thanks to God for allowing us to celebrate your 2nd birthday. The pictures you see here, are just a snapshot of your celebration. We have tons, and tons of pictures of your birthday party, and of course, of you!  

Don't ever forget how loved you are, and how you continue to brighten our days!  Happy 2nd birthday!


Your Mommy and Daddy

Thank You Letter from an OCC Shoe Box Recipient

This is going to be a very short, and sweet post.  

As a family we've been packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child for 2 years now: 2011 & 2012.  When we pack shoe boxes we pray that our gifts will touch the lives of a child through God's love, and we love to know what country our shoe boxes will go to.  Our first year we made our donation on-line so we can track the shoe boxes through "Follow the box", however last year we were unable to do so; and wrote a check instead.  So we really didn't know where the boxes will go and who will receive them. 

This past weekend we received a very unexpected surprise in the mail! It was a letter  from a 9 yr. old boy from Malawi a country in Africa! In his letter he was thanking us for the gifts he received from us! My son and I were beyond excited! Especially since the envelope was addressed to our son. :)  I've heard stories from people who have received letters from the children who received their shoe boxes, but I never really expected to receive one! 

After I read the letter to our 4 yr. old he understood the reality of how other children live. He was empathetic, and noticed that the boy in the picture didn't have shoes on, and that his pants were torn. He immediately said, "Momma, we will have to pack another shoe box, and send him pants, and shoes."  This warmed my heart, as it shows how compassionate my child is.  

This year we're looking forward to packing more shoe boxes. We're so grateful that God is using us to touch and change the lives of these children.  For more information on how you too can pack a shoe box go to:  Samaritan's Purse.  

Life Lessons for My Preschool Graduate

Hearing from my four year old's little mouth "Mommy, I'm a preschool graduate!" really resonated in me.  I had mixed feelings, my baby was growing up too quickly! I was happy, I was sad.  In a flash, I saw his young life go through my mind from the day we found out I was expecting until the memorable day that he graduates from preschool. 

I also thought of the life lessons that I wanted to pass on to my son. Much of them we have begun instilling in him. However, I wanted to write them down in the hopes that one day I can make a book out of this blog, and he can read them. 

He has accomplished one milestone in his walk through life, and as he heads out into this world I want him to always remember these life lessons: 
  1. Always put God first in anything you do in your life, and pray about it.  If it's meant to be it will, if it's not God will remove it. He has a purpose, a reason and a time for everything. 
  2. Learn to laugh at your mistakes, and missteps that is how we learn. 
  3. Don't let anger get the best of you. Inhale, exhale. 
  4. Remember where you come from. Embrace your uniqueness, and your two cultures. You are Black and Latino. 
  5. Continue to be inquisitive. Always question the why, what, how, when and where. 
  6. Be kind and generous.  Give to others, and always remember those less fortunate than you. 
  7. Respect others as you want them to respect you. Don't make fun of someone because he or she is different from you. We are all God's children. 
  8. Education is vital. It's the stepping stone to bigger things in your life. Read, learn and live. Knowledge is power. 
  9. Remember your manners: good morning, please, excuse me, etc. 
  10. The planet we live on is not ours we coexist with other living creatures.  Take care of it. 
  11. Always smile! You never know who will see your smile, and you can make their day. 
  12. Respect, and cherish your elders. They have a wealth of knowledge, and wisdom that someday you can use.  
  13. Always be grateful, and don't forget to write thank you notes. 
  14. Use your creativity! Your mother has encouraged you through painting, playing, arts & crafts, so put it to use. 
  15. Always remember to put family first. They will always be there for you. 
  16. Don't be afraid of trying new things or taking risks. Like your Abuela once told me,  "There is nothing written about cowards, you only read of brave and courageous men and women..."
  17. Always speak the truth, even if it hurts.
  18. When looking for love, look for the one that will make you happy, and accept you for who you are.
  19. Don't forget to call your mom, even if it's to say "hey." :)  
  20. Always remember that both your father and I love you unconditionally! We will always be there for you, and at times we may not agree with your decisions but know that we will support you always. 
Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

What other life lesson would you add to this list? I would to hear from you! Please comment, like or share. 

¡Hasta luego! 

Reseña Libro de Niños: Lucas en un Día en la Playa

** For my English speaking readers, please click on the "Translate" found on the right side of this post. However, please note that some words may not be correctly translated. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate in asking via the comment box.  Thank you!** 

Lucas en un Día en la Playa

Se me ha concedido la oportunidad de revisar una copia avanzada del libro de niños Lucas en un Día en la Playa escrito por la autora Giselle Shardlow. Autora también del libro de niños: Sofia en una Aventura por la Selva el cuál tuve la oportunidad de revisar

El libro de cuentos es sobre un niño llamado Lucas quien visita la playa con sus compañeros de clase y su maestra.  Durante su visita a la playa los niños se colocan en poses de yoga según van visitando las diferentes áreas; pero se encuentran con basura. Los niños preocupados se proponen a deshacerse de la misma. 

El libro de cuentos no sólo comunica un mensaje de concientizar sobre el cuidado al medio ambiente, sino que también es divertido;  y provee la oportunidad a los niños lectores verse representados en la diversidad cultural de los personajes. 

La mejor parte del cuento es cuando los niños se conectan con su entorno a través de las poses de yoga que realizan.  Al concentrarse realizando las poses de yoga crean una conexión más íntima con su medio ambiente, permitiendo así una experiencia única... tal como lo describe la autora: "Sintieron el sabor salado de la espuma y el olor fresco de la brisa de mar."  En otra pose de yoga, " Sentó quieta y en silencio. Cerró sus ojos y escuchó los sonidos del mar..."  

Lucas en un Día en la Playa es un libro de niños que no debe faltar en ningún hogar. Recomiendo que incluyan este libro en su colección de libros.  A mi hijo le encantó el libro, pero tenemos que seguir practicando las poses de yoga. 

El libro estará disponible para la venta a partir del 1ro de junio de 2013.  También estará disponible en la versión en Inglés. 

Política de divulgación:  Recibí una copia electrónica del libro para propósito de la reseña.  No recibí compensación monetaria, y todas las opiniones expresadas son mías. 

Letter To Our Son: Celebrating Your 1st Birthday (2009)

**In 2 months little man turns 5! So I'm doing a count down to his 5th birthday by writing a letter to him on each birthday he has celebrated. This is his 1st birthday letter.**

Dear son: 

I wish I had written this letter to you when you turned one. However, it is never too late to write a letter to la luz de mis ojos (your Abuela always calls me that, and now I'm calling you the same).   I can't recall a lot of details from your first year,  but I can vividly remember the day we celebrated your first year. 

Having been born in the US, and being away from our extended family in Puerto Rico was a good enough reason to have your first celebration in La Isla del Encanto.  There was so much excitement, and anticipation that la familia was overjoyed that we were going to celebrate your big one in Puerto Rico! Our extended family from New York also came to Puerto Rico to celebrate with you: your god parents, your cousin, and your grandparents.  

We had you smash your birthday cake, but you weren't too thrilled about it.
Though when both Daddy and I licked your fingers, you were tickled! 
Your 1st birthday party was a BBQ/pool party with a sports theme.  We had a small gathering with friends, and family. Your Tio and Titi had graciously offered their home to celebrate your birthday. It was a  beautiful day under the sun; although it rained it didn't ruin the party and the fun. Your Daddy had the grill going with pork chops, chicken, hot dogs, and burgers. Of course, he also had his famous BBQ sauce. Your Abuela made some yummy arroz con gandules, and we also had chips, baked beans a perfect combination of Southern and Puerto Rican cuisine.

Top left: After the party was over we had you open up all your gifts. You seem to like the dinosaur to scratch your gums.  Top right: Daddy working on the grill.  Bottom left: your two Tíos & Grandpa, and bottom right:  your cousin. 
Top pictures: Group picture of all of the family, and friends. Bottom left: You played in the pool with your oldest cousin. Bottom right: Your titi, and I!

Your 1st birthday was special, and we all had a blast! When you had your first dip in the pool, you didn't even cry! You had sooooo much fun! You're the youngest of all your cousins, the youngest grand baby on my side (back then because you know have a baby cousin), and the only grand baby on your Daddy's side. You're so loved, and everyone was there to celebrate your big day!

During our stay in Puerto Rico you went to beach for the first time ever. Sadly enough it was a cloudy, and rainy day. So we didn't stay for long.

We also celebrated your prima's Sweet 15, and it was a grand party!  We visited the caves in Camuy. Although, you weren't very thrilled about the darkness en las cuevas. While sitting in the your stroller, you stretched out your little arm, and I held your little hand all through the tour. We did a little bit of sight seeing, and visited some friends. 

You may not remember your first birthday, or our trip to Puerto Rico so I hope that this letter, and pictures will serve as a reminder of what a wonderful day it was; and how truly loved you are! 

You're our sunshine, and both your Daddy and I are so immensely happy to have you in our lives. 

Te amo mi niño lindo, la luz de mis ojos, mi príncipe hermoso and my little munchkin! Never forget that!  Happy 1st birthday! 


Your Mommy and Daddy 

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #4

Hi!  Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #4

This week Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop features: 

Now that you've checked out our featured posts, link up to our blog hop! 

It's very easy, and simple to participate! Just follow these simple guidelines:
  • Be a sweetheart, and kindly follow your hostess and co-hostesses: 
  • Follow us via email, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.  Please let us know you're following us, and we will be sure to follow you back. 
  • Link up any creative kids culture posts. Such as language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no  giveaways, shops, stores, etc.  When you link up your blog will also be shared simultaneously on our co-hostesses websites. :) 
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  • Don't be a stranger, and share some comment love! Visit the other links, and comment. Everyone loves comments! 
  • The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop will go live on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. It will run for a week. The following blog hop we will feature a previous link up post, and if you're featured, don't forget to grab the button below:  
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  • Want to know when is our next Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop? Click here
    Thank you for linking up,and happy culture blog hopping! If you'd like to co-host, please send me an email to anelenterprises(at)gmail(dot)com.

    Blogger Sunshine Award

    When I started blogging I did it with my son in mind, but having fellow bloggers recognize my work, time and effort is an honor!  Olga, The European Mama has nominated my blog, and I accept the The Sunshine Award! :) 

    The Sunshine Award is a blogger-to-blogger award given to those who write positive and inspiring articles and bringing some sunshine into the life of others.  As with any blogging awards this one too has rules and requirements:
    1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, and link back. 
    2. Post the award images in your blog
    3. Tell 7 facts about yourself.
    4. Nominate 5-10 other blogs and let the writers known about their nominations!

    Thank you! 

    So here it goes, thank you so much to Olga The European Mama! She's a Polish mother living in the Netherlands with her German husband and two daughters about parenting, multilingualism, being European, and much much more. I enjoy reading her adventures as an expat mom. :) 

    Seven facts about myself:

    1. I am multi-tasker, and just wished there were more hours in a day! 
    2. I am a planner, and like to visualize what I have planned out. If plan A doesn't work, I will always have plan B, or plan C. This annoys my husband :) He hates to plan, and says it never works out as he planned it, but those are his plans, right? LOL 
    3. I like to be punctual, and on time. It annoys me when people are late. 
    4. I struggle with my weight (never ending story). 
    5. I don't have pets, because I don't like them. That doesn't make me an evil person! 
    6. I love to cook. On Sundays I cook all of the meals for the week; but haven't been able to do so in months (read fact #1). 
    7. I am older mom, and only have one child. Had I been younger I would have had three children like my Mom. 

    My nominations are:  (♫♫ drum roll please!♫♫) 

    Spanish Home Lesson: Learning The Shapes (Las formas)

    Little one has been verbalizing the shapes in Spanish thanks to Pocoyo's TV show!  Having him watch his favorite cartoons in Spanish is paying off! To reinforce his shapes in Spanish I found a cool multilingual puzzle at the dollar store! It's in English, Spanish and French!  I could not pass on not buying it so I bought it and used it for our Spanish home lessons.  I also had at home Spanish flashcards with the shapes.  He loves puzzles, and had fun putting it together as we practiced our shapes in Spanish.   

    I also had him draw the shapes, and he wanted use the same colors as the puzzles. He cut them out, and glued them on to a construction paper.  We used the flash cards, and the puzzles to learn the shapes in Spanish.  He had fun putting the puzzle together, and drawing the shapes. 

    His drawings of the shapes, and then I wrote the name in Spanish underneath each one. 

    Multilingual puzzle for a $1! Can't beat that! 
    During this session we also went over the colors. We also looked for things around the house with the shapes that he had just learned.   

    What fun things do you do to teach your child another language? Would love to hear from you! Please comment, like, share or pin! 

    ¡Hasta luego! 

    Backyard Barbecue Bloghop: Grilling Season

    First Annual Backyard Barbecue Bloghop

    Announcing the first annual Backyard Barbecue Bloghop!

    I can't tell you how excited I am to be joining other bloggers in the first annual Backyard Barbecue Bloghop!

    Of course, the first thing that crosses my mind is grilling season!! My husband loves, loves to BBQ! He even has his own special barbecue sauce recipe (sorry, but my hubby refuses to share his recipe). However, I will share with you a honey barbecue sauce that I enjoy. 

    Honey BBQ Sauce

    1 1/4 c. ketchup
    1/3 c. white vinegar
    1/4 c. molasses
    1/4 c. honey
    1 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. onion powder
    1/4 tsp. chili powder

    Combine all ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.

    We love this time of the year, and it has become a family tradition even our son has his own barbecue grill! :) My husband usually preps the meat: pork, chicken, ribs, and steaks with seasoning salt, garlic salt, worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Then he sets them on the grill, and slathers them with the barbecue sauce. I'm off the kitchen that day, except for getting the sides ready for example, like baked beans, corn, rolls, etc. We then enjoy the long summer days with some yummy barbecue with our family! 
    Grilling season is on! 
    Even little one has his own barbecue grill! :) 
    Please link up below all of your family-friendly summertime ideas below. Share with us your wonderful recipes, activities, and crafts that summer time brings. The linky will be open through July 13, so be sure to come back later in the summer to share more of your great summertime posts!

    The Backyard Barbecue Bloghop is brought to you by:

    With our wonderful co-hosts:

    Stamp Out Hunger: Cultivating Compassion in Our Child

    Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive is an initiative to help feed America's hungry.  Every year on the second Saturday of May letter carriers deliver our mail, and at the same time pick up donated food items from families across the country that are left by their mailboxes.  The donated food items are taken back to the postal station where  they will be sorted, and delivered to a food bank or pantry for needy families.

    Last year was our first year participating in Stamp Out Hunger.
    Last year's donation to Stamp Out Hunger. Sixty food items purchased by shopping for items on sale, and using coupons.  

    For Stamp Out hunger I purchase food items on sale, and I also go through our pantry with little one for canned goods. On the day before collection, little one helps me put the food items in bags, and he and his Daddy place them by our mail box.  As we're bagging the food I use this moment as an opportunity to talk to my son about how other families are not as fortunate as we are, and that it's a blessing for us to be able help them.  I pray that doing this as a family we are instilling  in our son the gift of giving, compassion and helping others.

    This has not been the first time we've donated to those in need. In the past, little one and I have gone through his clothes, toys, and books to donate. He's been very happy to give his things away, and he knows that he's helping another child in need. :)

    We're so blessed to be able to participate this year in Stamp Out Hunger, and we would love for every family to look into their pantry.  Even if you just leave one can of food in your mailbox that would make a huge difference. Every little bit counts! So check your pantry, and see what food item you can donate.

    Thank you in advance, and may God bless you abundantly!

    I would love to hear from you! Please comment, like, share or pin. 

    Surprise Breakfast for Teacher Appreciation Week

    His current pre-k teachers. 
    To celebrate this week, and thank little one's teachers we surprised them with breakfast! We set the breakfast in the cafeteria's counter, and waited for them to come in. The menu consisted of sweet tea (we're in the south so that's a must have), fresh fruit salad, and pastry. 

    Little one's pre-school is a small school with three classrooms of 3 & 4 yr. old children.  However, the teachers  just can't step out of the classroom leaving the children unattended.  Thankfully the surprise breakfast was possible due to the staff's team effort.  (I am so grateful that the director, and the administrative assistant took over the classrooms so the teachers can enjoy their teacher appreciation breakfast.) 

    As soon as they walked in little one and I were supposed to say, "Surprise, Happy Teacher Day!" But, I found myself saying it alone since he hid behind me, and was being all shy. LOL    

    Group picture with all of the teachers. 
    The teachers were thankful, and enjoyed a little "me" time away from the kids to celebrate their week.  I forgot to mention that little one also made some drawings in a card for both his teachers. (Now how did I miss that picture!) 

    How are you celebrating the teachers in your children's lives?  Please comment, like, share or pin! 

    ¡Hasta la próxima!

    Playtime with Chalk Spray Paint

    It's a beautiful day outside so what is a Mom to do with her 4 yr. old? Make chalk spray paint!  I love,love Pinterest, and I found a simple recipe for the chalk spray here.  The only ingredients you need is 1/2 cup of  warm water, 10 drops of  food coloring, and one tablespoon of flour!  Simple as that! (I doubled the recipe so little one can have more chalk spray paint). I found the spray bottles at the Dollar Tree, and little one helped me make the chalk spray paint. 
    He loved spraying the chalk paint, and even mixing colors.
    As you can tell he was pretty excited with chalk spray painting everything!  Even our oak tree got a little bit of color. 

    He even sprayed his arm to see how it looked. ;)  Spray painted some rocks, and almost anything he can get his little eyes on. He wanted to spray paint our cars, but I told him no. Can you imagine? Luckily the following day we had some heavy rain, and most of the colors had been washed off. 

    Would love to hear your comments! Please like, pin or share! Thank you! 

    Spanish Home Lesson: Learn and Play in Spanish: Primavera (Spring)

    I love how little one is so motivated and excited about learning new Spanish words! So I want to keep things fresh, and new for him!  So, why not learn and play at the same time?  I refurbished an old cork board into a felt board.   Our Spanish lesson theme was "Spring", and as a guide I used the mini-book that I copied from the book My First Bilingual Little Readers: Level A: 25 Reproducible Mini-Books in English and Spanish That Give Kids a Great Start in Reading (Teaching Resources).  This book has great mini-books, you can check out my previous post on how we used it here

    I started by cutting out the sun, a cloud, stems, a flower, leaves for the flowers, and the grass; until my 4 yr. old insisted on helping cut out the rest of the flowers, another cloud, the sky, some more grass, some leaves, and the trunk of the tree. You can tell which ones he cut out.  :)  He also cut out a rainbow that you'll see in one of the pictures.  (Very original I must say!) 
    As he was cutting them out he would say the names, the colors, and even counted the flowers in Spanish. 
    After he finished playing with the felt board, we read together the mini-book Almost Spring/Ya casi es primavera.  The mini-book provides short, and easy to remember sentences on the first signs of Spring.  Once we were done reviewing the words in Spanish, and going over the mini-book he pulled out his crayons, and started coloring his mini-book.  This was a simple, and fun lesson while learning Spanish! 

    Would love to hear how you make learning fun for your children! Please comment, like, share or pin! 

    ¡Hasta la próxima! 

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