"The Magic Poof" Book Review

Let me start this post by letting you know that we call our son "curly top." He has the cutest curls, and sometimes it gets a little poofy! {Huge smile!}
When I read The Good Long Road's review on The Magic Poof  I couldn't help but laugh, and smile! She expressed about how there was finally a book with a character that looked like her children. I too agreed with her statement, and through email conversations she connected me with the author Stephen Hodges. I was thrilled when he offered me a copy of his book to review! I couldn't wait to show it, and read it to my 5 yr. old.  

Culebra, Puerto Rico {History, Culture & Familia}

One of my goals during our vacation this past summer was to spend time with our extended familia in one of the most beautiful places on earth: Culebra, Puerto Rico!  Bonding with nature, immersing ourselves in the culture and language was a priority for my li'l family; and Culebra was ideal for creating memories for ourselves, and the rest of the familia.

However, getting all of the familia (my mom, my sister and her family; and my brother and his family) to coordinate their busy schedules with ours so we can all vacation together in Culebra took months of planning; and  I'm so happy that we were able to pull this off.

Since Culebra is located approximately 17 miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland we traveled by ferry. Once there we checked in at this beautiful condo resort strategically located on top of the mountain. From here we could see the aqua blue ocean, and the magnificent greenery of the mountains. It was breathtaking!

Simple "Friendship" Bead Bracelet {Operation Christmas Child}

We're gearing up for our annual family Christmas tradition Operation Christmas Child. Little one and I made these cute, and simple beaded "friendship" bracelets. He came home one day from his preschool with a similar bracelet, and told me they were "friendship" bracelets. So that's what we called them. 

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #7

Hi!  Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #7
This week Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop features: 

Our Son's First "Real" Spanish Immersion Trip to Puerto Rico

Traveling to Puerto Rico has never been a "big" deal until now! Our child has been to Puerto Rico many times before. However, this trip was important. It would be our son's first full Spanish travel immersion trip. 

Street in Old San Juan in Puerto Rico

"Mommy, is everything in Spanish only?" 

Just having turned 5 yrs. old he was already anticipating what to expect. He worried that he would not be able to communicate in Spanish with la familia, and that he wouldn't understand. I reassured him that I'd be by his side to help.   He would be fully immersed in Spanish for two weeks, and he was aware of it. Both of us had been working hard on his Spanish, and this would be the ultimate test. We were all looking forward to our trip to Puerto Rico!

His only fully bilingual interaction has only been with me, until he heard the bilingual flight attendant speaking over the intercom system on the plane. First in English then in Spanish. He noticed it right away. Then he started asking: "Mommy, do people in Puerto Rico only speak in Spanish?  Do they know English, too?"   I used this opportunity to show him  the importance of being able to communicate in more than one language.  To ease his concerns, I also shared with him that Puerto Rico's main language is Spanish, but many people do speak in English or at least understand it.

As we drove through the expressway he saw a huge billboard of Disney's new movie Turbo. He asked if we can see it, and I said yes. He quickly asked if it was in Spanish, and I told him yes. He was excited! We actually saw the movie twice. During the movie he asked that I translate a word or two but overall he did very well, and understood what was going on.  

"¡En Español, por favor!" 

I have to admit that my familia was very eager to communicate and to talk to our son.  I appreciate their intentions of bonding with him but not in English! :) So I had a strict rule of ONLY Spanish. English with Daddy, and with me only if he needed help to translate.  La familia complied, but it was very hard because I caught them a few times speaking to him in English.

However, even with that small set back I quickly noticed how he was expressing himself in Spanish, and taking it all in!  He would run to his Abuela and tell her something in Spanish like:  "Abuela, el perro está afuera."  Or he'd ask his Titi how to say "come and play here" in Spanish when playing with his little cousin.

While having short conversations with me in Spanish I noticed how he'd pause to think then he'd speak. He has expanded his vocabulary, and is forming sentences on his own.  He responds to everything I say with a "Si Mami", and often expresses himself in Spanish. Like for instance he said to his Daddy, "Esto no es tuyo es mío" when Daddy tried on his baseball cap.

Looking back... 

A year ago, I remember my son telling me very proudly "Mommy I know Spanish!"  Far from being a reality, I realized that it was time to kick into full force to really make this happen!  Today I look back and see how far we have come! I am so proud of our baby, and I'm proud of myself for sticking with it. Since, I myself had many challenges.

Raising a bilingual child is not an easy task, and it takes a lot of commitment from both the child and the parent. This trip, and seeing my child speaking in Spanish has been the best experience in our travel immersion.  It's like the "topping" on the ice cream!

Immersion travel is one of the best gifts you can give your child. Have you traveled abroad? Would love to hear about your experience.

This post has been shared at Best4Future’s Wednesday link-up party.

Spanish Language Summer Program Day 6: Los Animales (The Animals)

Spanish Language Summer Program: Day #6

In my constant search for bilingual books, and websites I came across Read Conmigo. Read Conmigo is a literacy program that promotes English/Spanish bilingualism. When you sign up on-line you receive free access to books, activities and resources. You can download the books to your computer as a .pdf file or to your tablets or smart phone!

Upon signing up, I received via regular mail an actual hard copy of one of their books: Animals Are Unique Just Like You "Los Animales Son Unicos Como Tú" How cool is that! 
I used this book to kick off day 6 of the Spanish language summer program. I love that their books are dual language. You can read in both the target language Spanish, and/or in the community language English. For the Spanish lesson I read the book in both languages.