Verde Navidad {Green Christmas} Children's Book

Finding children's book about the lovely tradition of El Día de Reyes, and holiday celebrations in Puerto Rico has been difficult. 

However, I was so lucky to find this children's book Verde Navidad / Green Christmas by authors Mrinali Alvarez Astacio and Juan Alvarez-O'Neill.  

This is a story of Juanito, Victoria, Adelita and Abuela who comes to visit from "el campo" (in Puerto Rico it is referred to be living out in the country) who are excited to celebrate Three Kings Day! Traditionally on the eve of Epiphany children leave grass for the camels (or in this case the horses) and the kings leave treat behind. However, living in the city this has become quite a challenge until their father tells them to get creative.

This book is great for parents wanting to instill the tradition of the Three Kings in their children even if they are not living in "el campo." Or for parents raising bicultural children as in my case. I want my child to feel just as excited for the Three Kings as he does with Santa; even if we don't have green grass because of the cold winters all we have to do is get creative. :)

Are you looking for ideas on how to celebrate Three Kings Day (Día de Reyes) with your kids? 

You can host a Three Kings Day Fiesta for Kids or Cultural Playdate: "Three Kings Day" Story Time and Crafts.  Perhaps read The day that the Three Wise Men were met with Santa Claus Spanish Children's Book and make cookies! Want to know how this day is celebrated around the world? Three Kings Day and Epiphany Around the World. You can also make a Shoe Box Craft for the grass! 

Be sure to check my Three Kings Day Pinterest Board! 

Follow Frances @ DTWTMSE's board Three Kings Day {Día de Reyes} on Pinterest.

Native American Cherokee Trail River Festival

The weather was cool, and the sun was shining. A beautiful day indeed to visit our very first Native American Cherokee Trail River Festival. Upon our arrival we can see the tents set-up with Native American crafts, walking sticks, dreamcatchers, and more. An arena was set in a center circle surrounded by hay bales, and we heard a Native American storyteller accompanied by the beautiful music of the flute.  

We were excited to have the opportunity to learn about the Native American culture and heritage. 

On the Wings of the Condor Spanish Children's Book

Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy take you on a journey of the first inhabitants of Spanish-speaking lands in the children's book En Alas del Condor (Puertas al Sol) (affiliate link) with beautiful illustrations on  the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of Latin America and their contributions. 

Source:  Chasqui,  condor, Taino,  and palafito

Exploring Puerto Rico Landmarks Free Printable

Puerto Rico although a small island it's huge in heart!   Let's explore Puerto Rico landmarks together with your kids, and learn about places you would dream to visit one day! 

Puerto Rico celebrates on November 19,  Día de la Cultura Puertorriqueña y el Descubrimiento de Puerto Rico (Day of Puerto Rican culture, and the discovery of the island). However, in good Puerto Rican fashion the celebration extends to a whole week! Boricuas loves to party!     

Semana de la Puertorriqueñidad is a week of the celebration on one's Puerto Rican heritage, culture, music, idiosyncrasy, identity, and anything that identifies you with being Puerto Rican.  Schools across the island celebrate from November 16-20.  

My Bilingual Child's Secret Language: Spanish

Never in my wildest dreams I could imagine writing about my son's "secret" language: Spanish!  When we started our bilingual journey I had my heart and soul in providing for him a Spanish immersion experience.  It was an unfathomable feat considering we were living in an exclusive monolingual environment where opportunities to nurture a bilingual child were literally impossible.

Nevertheless, my mama heart was set on making our child bilingual against all odds...
Picture on left my 7 yr. old. Picture on right when he was 4 yrs. old and we started our bilingual journey.

Our One and Only Child

"When are you having another baby?" 

"Your son needs a sibling."  

"You can't possibly leave your child alone in this world without a little sister or brother!" 

"What are you going to tell him when he asks you for siblings?" 

Photo source

Peruvian Bird Gourd Craft for Kids

During this month little one, and I have been discovering Peru.  We learned about the ocarina musical instrument, played with hand-made finger puppets, and even cooked a tasty pollo a la brasa, and lomo saltado

Today, we're sharing with you an easy Peruvian Bird Gourd Craft for kids! 

Frida y Diego en el Pais de las Calaveras Children's Book

Some time ago, I saw a picture that someone posted on Facebook with a bunch of books. Among the stack of book there was one that caught my attention: Diego y Frida Te Invitan a Jugar en Su Casa. Ah! A children's book with Diego and Frida as kids!  I searched high, and low for this book on-line but with no luck.

However, I did come across Frida y Diego en el País de las Calaveras. (Affiliate link)   I was thrilled when I received this book, and excited to share it with our son.

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #32

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can't wait to see what you share this time!

Discovering Peru with Kids

I love participating in Multicultural Kid Blogs Global Learning for Kids Series. It gives us as an opportunity as a familia to research, and learn about another country.  

This month's country is Peru.  

We're thrilled to learn about Peru. A beautiful country in South America, surrounded by Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile. 

Official name is Republic of Peru with a Constitutional republic government.  The capital is Lima, and it has a population of  30,147,935.  The official languages are Spanish, and Quechua.  Currency is Nuevo Sol, and the country is well known for it's Andes mountain range. 

The people of Peru are a mix of many different cultures, including Indians, Spaniards and other Europeans, descendants of African slaves, and Asians. 

As an introduction to the music we listened to Daria's Cancioncitas De Los Andes / Little Songs of the Andes.  Music in as excellent way to expose children to another culture. Luckily for me, during last year's visit to the International Festival I purchased a Peruvian ocarina, and a gourd ornament. Little one enjoyed playing the Peruvian ocarina an ancient musical instrument. 

Multicultural toys are hard to come by but are a wonderful resource to introduce your child to a country's culture.  I totally scored big time when I was able to purchase these adorable animal finger puppets from Daria's Little Village Store.  These are finger puppets hand crocheted by women artisans in Peru.  Little one played with them for hours on end, and it gave us an opportunity to learn about the animals in Peru.

Now the most exciting part on learning about Peru was making Pollo a la Brasa! It's a Peruvian-style roast chicken.  So yummy, and delish! I used the recipe found here, but instead of roasting a whole chicken marinated pieces of chicken breast, thighs, and legs.  We let the chicken sit in the marinade for 24 hours, and popped it in the oven the following day.  I must say the aroma was heavenly, and delicious! 

After dinner, we watched this short video "Introduction to Peru." 

For more interesting facts on Peru check these resources out: 

Peru Facts Printable from

Make a puzzle out of an image of statue of Antonio Jose de Sucre and obelisk near Qinua, Peru

Peruvian Bead Necklace

Making a Simple Arpillera with Kids

All About Peru

Kid's Activities About the Country of Peru

Be on the look-out for our next post on Peru with a wonderful craft that the kids are sure to love!

Shake it Morena Puerto Rican Folklore

As the "official" celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end that doesn't mean that we won't continue to celebrate our beautiful Hispanic Heritage beyond this month-long recognition. 

Throughout the year you can continue to learn about the Hispanic culture through crafts, cooking, books, and songs!  Multicultural Kid Blogs has tons of link-ups with posts about Hispanic culture just make sure you scroll all the way down, and don't forget to pin for later!

Shake It, Morena! and other Folklore from Puerto Rico by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand is a book I highly recommend. The illustrations from Lulu Delacre  are beautiful and look like taken out of a painting!  

Day of the Dead: All Saints Day, All Souls' Day and Dia de Muertos

Top photo credit: Flickr/Wurglitsch 
Growing up in Puerto Rico in a Catholic home, we never really celebrated Day of the Dead as it's known in the United States, Mexico, and other countries. We commemorated the saints on All Saints Day on November 1st, and remembered the dead during All Souls' Day the following day on November 2nd. I didn't know about Día de Muertos until I moved to the United States. 

On All Saints Day we celebrate the holy men and women, and ask for their prayers and intercessions. Being raised Catholic we commemorated the saints known, and unknown with a Mass. The church also has a procession with a special participation of the children dressed as saints.

Photo Credit: Commons Wikimedia
The following day the Mass for Los Fieles Difuntos (All Souls' Day) was often held and celebrated at the cemetery.   This celebration also coincides with the popular Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). 

Both Day of the Dead, and All Souls' Day remembers the dead. However, they celebrate very differently. 

While All Souls' Day dates back to the early centuries it is a Catholic celebration. Praying and remembering all the souls' who departed.  Especially those who departed, and are in the process of getting to heaven, through Christ. Catholics believed that some souls are waiting in purgatory, and with our prayers they will be able to go into heaven. 

Day of the Dead on the other hand celebrates the departed, and prepares for their return with a grand celebration with food, drink, music, fireworks, and an altar decorated with flowers, photos of the deceased, and a variety of food offerings for the dead. 

As Catholics we will continue to celebrate, and commemorate the saints' and the souls. We will as a family also learn about this new  and beautiful tradition of celebrating Día de Muertos.    

I am delighted to take part in Multicultural Kid Blogs  first annual Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) Series.  Throughout this month bloggers will be sharing their post on the following dates. Make sure you stop by, and check them out! 

Spanish Songs for Kids - Multicultural Kid Blogs

I love Hispanic Heritage Month! We celebrate the contributions of Hispanics and Latino Americans in the United States, the music, the food, and the culture. 

Clip Art source 

Speaking of music I am thrilled to share with you a post I wrote for Multicultural Kid Blogs on Spanish songs for kids to celebrate throughout this month.  

That is why I'm so happy to share our favorites with you on Multicultural Kid Blogs! Pssst make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom, and participate in the awesome giveway! Follow Frances @ DTWTMSE's board Hispanic Heritage Month on Pinterest.

Puerto Rican Sopa de Plátano (Plantain Soup) Recipe

Raising a multicultural child to love and know his culture and heritage is no easy task especially when we live away from extended familia for instance in this case from Puerto Rico.  He's a true Southern boy, and one way to teach our child to love his Latino heritage is through food.  Oh glorious, and delicious Puerto Rican food.  

Our Favorite Spanish Children's Book Collection via Instagram

Little one and I have been blessed with wonderful friends, and family who are always thinking of us! We've received Spanish children's books from Spain, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and different parts of the U.S.A. how cool is that! Other times, I literally celebrate when I find a Spanish children's book in our neck of the woods.   Below you'll see a collection of our fave Spanish books, and some English one, too that I've share on my Instagram account.

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco is the story of Jacinta, a 12 year-old Mexican-American girl finding herself immersed in a cross-cultural and social status conundrum. In a funny, yet sad twist of fate the lives of a White reporter Kathryn Dawson Dahl and Jacinta's are intertwined.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it.  I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. Thank you! 
“Miss, will you be my Amiga?”
Amiga means "friend" in Spanish, but at the youth center, it meant a lady to take you places.
I never asked myself if two people as different as Miss and me could ever really be amigas.
The White reporter (referred to in the novel as Miss) unexpectedly becomes a mentor for Jacinta. This is where the doors of another world, unbeknownst to Jacinta make way through her life. She's caught in the middle of emotions, and longing of her own life in the barrio; and the excitement and newness of opportunities to come. 

The novelist Judith Robbin Rose does a wonderful job of portraying Jacinta in a way that she can connect with either children in her same situation, or even with children who have never experienced these types of challenges.  

I highly recommend this book.

The novel will spark many questions in middle-grade readers, and will provide for a great topic of conversation in today's news on undocumented immigrants and their American-born children, whom often find themselves in situations just like Jacinta's.

Sharing Our Hispanic Heritage: Ideas for the Classroom & Community

Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time for us as a familia to share our Hispanic heritage with little one's friends at school, and with our community.

Although Latinos are the second largest, and fastest growing minority group in the United States in our small Southern community we don't have a large Latino presence.  This is our opportunity to educate others on the beauty and richness of our heritage so they too can embrace diversity.  This is significantly important due to all  the negative media towards Latinos that we are seeing daily.

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #31

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can't wait to see what you share this time!

Minions Movie Birthday Party

Little one had a grand time during his 7th birthday celebration!  Last year we went all out with a Survivor birthday party. This year, I didn't have the time or energy to plan another one like that. 

A Fish in Foreign Waters A Children's Book Review

Being bilingual has it's advantages and opens the door to a world of new friendships, and relationships. A Fish in Foreign Waters delivers exactly that! This beautiful children's book by author Laura Caputo-Wickham tells the story of Rosie Ray and how she learns to adapt to a new home, friends, and language!  

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it.  I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. 

I read this book to my bilingual son, and his bilingual friends.  Ages 5-7 and they loved the story! They quickly identified with the main character Rosie Ray.  The first thing that they mentioned was that they too were bilingual like Rosie, and ate different foods from what their own friends ate. 

Rosie is having a hard time adapting to her new home, and communicating with friends until she realizes that being bilingual is fun!  

This book is a favorite in our home, and must have in any bilingual home's library. This is a sweet book that any bilingual child can relate to.  It's rhyming prose is perfect to capture the little one's attention, and the soft, pastel illustrations are inviting to look at.

This book is a favorite in our home, and must have in any bilingual home's library.

Cultivating our Child's Heritage Language through Long-Distance Relationships with our Familia

When I moved to the USA, one of the things that my mother and I agreed upon was that we would always visit each other. One year she'd visit, and the following year I'd visit Puerto Rico. Well the I, turned into an us. Married and with a child, now the visits every other year were not only a request but a must. It was important to me that our child know his heritage language, culture, and know his familia who lived far away.
Little one surrounded by his aunties, uncles, cousins, and us in Puerto Rico. 

Music and My Bilingual Child

Music has played a big part in my child's bilingual language learning.   I used music to make his language learning exciting, and ¡divertido!   When we started our bilingual journey, his exposure to the target language was minimal. Besides reading to him in the minority language, and perusing YouTube for cartoons in Spanish, music was and continues to be the best resource to continue to teach my child Spanish.

Birthday Celebrations from Around the World

July is little one's birthday month! I can't believe he'll be turning 7 yrs. old! To celebrate such a milestone, I want to take him, and my readers on a virtual trip to look at birthday celebrations from around the world.  We'll take a look at how moms like you and me celebrate their children's birthdays with birthday cakes, traditions, themed parties, invites, and so much more!

All About Me {Free Spanish Printable}

With summer in full swing I'm looking to focus more on Spanish activities with little one.  An on-line search for an "All About Me" Spanish printable proved to be unsuccessful! So I set out to create a free printable for my readers! He's already used it, and it was loads of fun!  

¡Lee Todo Sobre Mi! was created out of the need to have my son read and write in Spanish, hence reinforcing his Spanish biliteracy.  Little one had his Spanish playgroup come over, and together they completed this activity. 

To make it more fun I printed it on an 11x17 sheet of paper because I wanted it to look like a poster. :)   **Note, the free printable is set to print on a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.

Click below to get it.

Hope you enjoy the free printable as much as the kiddos enjoyed it! 

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #28

A homeschooling month in Spain

The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. 

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place for you to share your creative kids culture posts. It's very easy, and simple to participate! Just follow these simple guidelines:
  • 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.
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
  • Please grab the button code above and put it on your blog or the post you’re linking up. You can also add a text link back to this hop on your blog post. Note: By sharing your link up on this blog hop you are giving us permission to feature your blog post with pictures, and to pin your link up in our Creative Kids Culture Feature board on Pinterest.
  • 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 3rd Sunday of the month. It will run for three weeks. 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:
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
Here's my favorite from this past month's Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! A Homeschooling Month in Spain from Navigating by Joy. Homeschooling in Spain is a dream come true! Who knows maybe one day we'll be able to visit Europe. 

A Homeschooling Month in Spain - Navigating By Joy
Thank you for linking-up, and we can't wait to see what you've been up to!

Seeking Out Opportunities when Raising Global Citizens

We live in a small southern town in the U.S.A. with not many cultural opportunities.  Unlike bigger cities such as, Chicago, Los Angeles or NYC that have major festivals, and are a melting pot of cultures. However, as a parent raising a global citizen it's as simple as seeking out opportunities! Opportunities to have your child exposed to the music, food, arts, and books of other cultures.  

I'm super excited to be participating in Creative World of Varya's A-Z of Raising Global Citizens. My letter is "O" for opportunity!

Cooking with Kids: Kulfi a Frozen Dessert from India

With the hot summer days upon us we have ventured into making a Kulfi Frozen Dairy Dessert. The Kulfi is described as an ice cream. A delicious treat that is put in a mold with stick or in individual custard bowls (that look like little clay pots) and frozen. They are garnished with pistachios, cashews, and cardamom. Mangoes, strawberries and other fruits can be added to it as well.  Kulfi is sold by street vendors, and they keep them in a large pot called Matka with ice and salt.

Discovering India with Kids

Little one has been discovering India through the exhibits that we've seen at the International Festival where he was able to see how a woman was getting a henna tattoo done on both her hands by an Indian woman dressed in traditional attire, and he also had the opportunity to see a small exhibit of Indian dolls, and clay pots. 

He's learned about India through his subscription to Little Passports, about the music, instruments, and culture in the children's book Dances of India; and through hands-on activities such as making a colorful peacock craft the national bird of India.

Discovering India with Kids: Peacock Craft on Multicultural Kid Blogs

We had so much fun making this peacock craft for Multicultural Kid Blogs as part of the Cutting Tiny Bites Around the World Series! Click on the link or the picture below so you can see how you can make it with your kiddos! 

It Takes a Village to Raise a Bilingual Child

When I talk about my child's bilingual journey I often express how I was the "only one" who spoke the heritage language, how we were immersed completely in the community language; and how challenging it was, but in retrospect I realize I didn't raise a bilingual child by myself... it took a village! 

I could have not done this without rallying up the troops directly or indirectly. You may be asking, how do you rally up someone indirectly? Read along, and I'll tell you how.

  • Online community - I often turned to a group of amazing mommas from all walks of life, who were also raising bilingual, and multilingual children for advice.  
  • Spanish playgroup - I was blessed to have met some friends with children who spoke the minority language, hence the Spanish playgroup was created!  
  • Extended family - although at a distance they were a great support system especially little one's Abuela and Titi Gladys.  They often sent books, and materials in Spanish to aid him in his language journey. 
  • Immersion trip to our language heritage country - Being immersed and surrounded by the now community language (Spanish) worked wonders for our son. Listening to everyone from the flight attendant to our family members helped him in ways you can't even imagine.  Even weeks after returning from our trip he started saying words in Spanish that he had heard. 
  • Non-bilingual friends - these are the troops that I rallied indirectly!  By creating a Spanish Summer Camp Language Program for my son's (English only) preschool friends helped and boosted his language learning.  He was my li'l helper during the program, and he taught his non-bilingual friends Spanish.  This boosted his confidence by leaps and bounds. We also had bilingual playdates with non-bilingual friends for the same reason. 
I was never really alone in little one's bilingual journey I had a village all along, and I have many people to thank for making this journey an amazing one! ¡Gracias! Thank you! 

This post was created for inclusion in this month's "Raising Multilingual Children: Blogging Carnival" hosted by Marianna from Bilingual Avenue

Do you have a village to help you in raising a bilingual/multilingual child? Please share! 

Discovering France with Kids: Puffy Paint Flag Activity


Did you know that you don't have to leave the comfort of your home to travel the world with your kids?  In today's post we will be participating in Around the World Series hosted by Cutting Tiny Bites. A fun series aimed toward toddlers, and preschoolers to learn about the culture of a country. 

For our Around the World country we will be visiting France, and making simple and fun activities.  

Authentic Guatemalan Dresses for Girls - Trajes de Chichi

Thrilled with the excitement of my son participating in the children's international costume party, I extended an invitation to his friends from his Spanish playgroup.  I shared with the girls' father a flyer of the costume party, and asked if the girls would represent Guatemala.

I'm pretty sure my excitement was apparent because he was quick to say yes, and he too was excited to have his daughters dress in trajes de Chichi. Guatemalan dresses from Chichicastenango de Santo Tomás in Guatemala.
He expressed that he would call his mom, and ask her to send the dresses.  The girls' Abuela actually makes, and sells these dresses en el mercado (market).   I was able to get a glimpse of  the dresses before the costume party, and I have to admit that I became fascinated with the beautiful colors, and fabric. I started researching on-line on trajes from Guatemala. Apparently, the styles differ from region; and the ones that the girls are actually sold in Chichicastenango, Guatemala.

The girls proudly carried their Guatemalan flag, and paraded in their beautiful trajes de Chichi.  What better way to represent your culture!

Road Trippin' with Kids [Tips from Experienced Mamas]

Long car rides do not make for happy kids! Trust me, I know because I have a 6 yr. old who does not enjoy road trippin'!  With a few road trips planned through out this summer all the way to the end of the year I set out to ask all my mommy friends, and family for their best tip or advice for road tripping with kids! 

Of all of the tips, advice, and words of wisdom these amazing moms shared with me one really struck a chord, and holds much truth to it. Not to say that all of the tips were amazing but her words helps me better understand my child. 

Kid Made Guatemalan Worry Dolls: Muñeca Quitapenas

As part of our Discovering Guatemala with Kids Series we made the Guatemalan worry dolls also known as muñecas quitapenas in Spanish.  They are traditional Guatemalan toys, and according to legend children tell one worry to each doll when they go to bed at night and place the dolls under their pillow. In the morning the dolls have taken their worries away. 

I followed the instructions on how to make the worry dolls from Creativity in Motion.  She has a step-by-step picture instructions that was very helpful. 

I bought wooden clothespin, colorful yarn, and I already had the pipe cleaners.  The kids were indeed excited to make them, but after wrapping the yarn halfway they got tired. (So I suggest this activity for older kids) They each picked a color and made their worry dolls.  My son made one with pants because it was a boy, and the girls made theirs with skirts. Cute!

You can also try making the worry dolls entirely of pipe cleaners (chenille stems) click here for the instructions. 

We've been having so much fun learning about Guatemala! Our next post in the series is about the authentic Guatemalan dresses!