Category: Parenting

Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie: Raising Bicultural Children

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Below a real-life scenario in our home:

 

The World Baseball Classic is on.  United States vs. Puerto Rico are playing the final game to see who will be the champions.  Puerto Rico has been playing seven undefeated games through out the season and United States actually lost a game to them.  I have been pumped, excited, and cheering like a crazy woman, “¡Wepa!” during all of the games.

On that last game,  when they announced the Puerto Rico team my child started cheering them on! He too is saying “Wepa!”  I’m like, “¡Vamos Puerto Rico!”  Then the United States team is announced, and my child says, “Boo, boo!” and for a split second he stops.  He looks at me confused, and says, “Wait a second Mamá!  I’m from United States, too! Why am I saying ‘Boo’?”

At that moment, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud! I said, “Yes, papi (Puerto Rican term of endearment) you are from United States, but you’re also Puerto Rican (because of me). You should feel proud of both teams, but in this game we’ll be rooting and cheering on for Puerto Rico!”

It was in that moment that I realized that I have been doing a good job on raising a bicultural and bilingual child.  A child that although has never lived in Puerto Rico, feels a deep connection to the island, to the culture, and to the people.

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  I received a complimentary copy of this book for purposes of review. All opinions are my own.  Read my full disclosure here

 

However, getting to this point wasn’t easy.  Many times, I found myself at a crossroads between balancing two cultures for our son. Not knowing how to raise a bicultural child I created heritage board for him when he was 3 1/2 years old.  I was desperately looking for ways for him to connect with both cultures; and at times felt that one would “take over the other” (which is not true).  My son is a true Southern boy!   For instance, why does my child insist on having gravy on his arroz con gandules (Puerto Rican rice with pigeon peas).  Whaaaaat?!  Ha! I struggled with this but soon came to realize that his upbringing is bicultural. He will always have a good dose of his African American culture because we live in the U.S.A. but it is up to me to make sure he has an equal dose of his Latino culture as well.

 

Back in 2008, I wish I had the book Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie by Maritere Rodriguez Bellas. In Chapter 3, Maritere explains that it is possible to balance two cultures.  It is inevitable when raising bicultural children. Remember my dilemma about finding a balance?

 

This is the Latino parenting book I needed when my baby was born!

 

Maritere’s book is a compilation of stories collected throughout the years, and she too shares her own struggles as well. This book is for the immigrant mother, for the second or third generation Latino parent, for the single Latino parent or any one who is raising bicultural children.  Another chapter that really touched me was Chapter 6.  I love how she talks about disciplining your children bi-culturally.   How we questioned how our own parents disciplined us, yet we are like them; and how to find the perfect balance.

 

You will find topic like this, and much more in every-single-chapter.

 

Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie will make you laugh, will make you smile and will make you feel that you’re not alone in this bicultural  journey. It is a Latino parenting book with resources, tips, anecdotes, and of course, the author’s very own arroz con pollo and apple pie recipes.

Clikck here to learn more about the author Maritere Rodriguez Bellas.

 

 

Nurturing Lifelong Friendships

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There is truly nothing like having friends.
Growing up with friends,  sharing experiences, bonding with each other, and eventually becoming adult friends has so many benefits.  Friendships will boost your happiness especially when they are lifelong friends. 💗
My son is an only-child, and I strive to make sure he has friends.  He actually has some very close friends since he was a toddler, and although at times its hard for them to meet-up because of the parent’s busy schedule (including myself) he knows they are his friends.

Read More…

Categories: Parenting

Is Santa Real? Telling My Son the Truth about Santa

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Last night my child sits down to write to Santa and to the Three Kings.  He’s done this since he was a toddler  where he’d scribble what he wanted.

He starts writing, and says to me “This year I didn’t go overboard with toys. I only have five things.”

I smile.

He then looks up, and asks, “Mamá is Santa real?”

Gasp!!!!

In the past years, many, many kids have told him that Santa is not real, but I reassured him that he was, and he continued to believe. I wanted to keep the magic alive, and the excitement of a jolly old man who brought gifts to him.
Listen ya’ll I was torn last night!
In my mind, I thought, “OK it’s time to tell him the truth!” Then I would second-guess myself, “But why, why now? He’s growing too fast!”
Then I bit the bullet, and casually told him, “Not really.” He looks at me confused, and eagerly looking at my face waiting for an answer.
I told him that Santa as we know him now really doesn’t exist, but a man named Saint Nicholas did. He was kind man who gave to the poor and needy. As years passed St. Nicholas evolved into what we know Santa today. We as parents are kind’a Santa’s helpers.
He responds, “So you and Daddy got me my gifts.” I’d say, “Yes.” Then he said, “No wonder I never got EVERYTHING on my list.” I laughed.
Then I tell him, “Can you imagine if Santa was “real” how many millions of kids he’d have to get toys to? So yeah, that’s why parents are really Santa’s helpers, and the ones that buy the gifts.”
He continues to write, and now he’s on the second letter to the The Magi. He pauses, and looks at me. “Mamá how about Los Reyes (The Magi)? I know they’re real because we read about them in the Bible.”
I said, “It’s the same with them, too. They followed the star to Bethlehem bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for baby Jesus. In Puerto Rico it’s a tradition that parents get toys to their children to remember the wise men and their journey to meet baby Jesus.”
As he continued to write I told him, “Just because they are not ‘real, real’ doesn’t mean there will be no Christmas.”
He says, “Yeah, I know.”
I ask him, “Do you know the real reason of why we celebrate Christmas?” He says, “Yes Mom, it’s to celebrate the birth of Jesus!”
When we go to bed he says, “I love Christmas and I love you” I respond, “I love Christmas, and I love you too! Good night!”
Sigh……….. so there goes that! It is bittersweet for me.  
He knows the truth! LOLOLOL
Initially I thought he was going to have full-blown melt-down. He took it like a champ, and I truly believe he knew all-along that Santa and The Magi weren’t real.
Nevertheless, we will continue to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and for fun (as long as he’s up for it) he’ll write a letter to the jolly old man, and the Three Wise men.
Categories: Parenting

A Free Anti-Bullying Resource for Parents and Teachers: We Are All Created Equal

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I have been struggling with the dark cloud that has been overcast on our country during this past year. I was also deeply disturbed with the election fiasco, and all of the  negativity in social media.  I needed to take a step back, disconnect and regroup.   

As an adult, I was overwhelmed and really sad.  I could only imagine how a child could feel.  Hopeless, sad, and uncertain of their future.  Feeling harassed, and bullied by their peers by children just like them. 
I find it hard to believe that in this year 2016,  our children are literally terrified to go to school, to step out of the safety of their homes, and of what will happen to them and their families.

Yet during this time, I am reminded that after every storm the sun always comes out and shines upon us. 

I’m happy to share with you A Free Anti-Bullying Resource for Parents and Teachers: We Are All Created Equal.  
Mommy Maestra has created a packet to promote kindness, respect, and appreciation for diversity. Sometimes parents, and even teachers don’t know how to address bullying in the classroom.   This guide will be helpful even for your children with a one-sheet with three steps on how  kids can deal with bullies.  
What else will you find in this guide?

  • posters to be placed as visual reminders
  • an educator’s guide
  • discussion questions & guide
  • resources for parents
  • phrases parents can use when talking to school officials about their child being bullied
  • plans for students on how to deal with a bully
  • writing prompts
  • writing pages
  • and a recommended reading list
Get your free resource guide: 
Print this packet, share it with your kids, your school, and let’s help our children.  Let’s promote kindness, respect, diversity and love! 
You guys will never guess where this Statue of Liberty is located at, and no it’s not Ellis Island! Nope! And this is not the real statue either. It’s actually a replica of our beautiful Lady of Liberty! Did you know there are hundreds of replicas across the world? Argentina, Peru, United Kingdom, France, Israel, Japan, and many more countries. 🌏 Now more than ever I don’t take lightly what she represents. She represents friendship between nations and freedom from oppression. Before air travel, ships would sail into New York Harbor and Lady Liberty would welcome their passengers, many of them being immigrants traveling to the United States for the first time. Lady Liberty is one of the first sites when sailing into the harbor, and she is symbolic of freedom. ⛵ Want to know where this replica is located? It’s in Puerto Rico! Yes, my beautiful li’l island, and this replica is located in a historical area in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. 💕 There’s also an engraving on the base (can’t see in this picture) that reads: “Del Pueblo, Por El Pueblo y Para El Pueblo.” (Of the people, from the people and for the people). . . . . . . . . #replicastatueofliberty #statueofliberty #ladyliberty #estatudadelalibertad #arecibo #puertorico #viajarconniños #viajarconpeques #viajarenfamilia #travel #mkbkids #familytravel #exploretheworld  #kids #purejoy #wanderlust #instatravel  #travelwithkids
A photo posted by Latina Blogger, Writer (@discoveringtheworld.frances) on
Categories: Parenting

Online Piano Lessons: Busy Kids Do Piano Review

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I have a confession to make. I have always wanted to learn how to play the piano, but I don’t have a musical bone in my body!

Now my son on the other hand, he does have an innate talent for music. His late Grandfather was a musician and played the piano superbly. Excited to continue his legacy we signed him up for piano lessons! However, piano lessons at $70 an hour proved to be a bit too steep for our budget. After 2 months, sadly we had to end his piano lessons.

When I heard of the opportunity to review Busy Kids Do Piano I literally jumped on it! It couldn’t have come at a better time, and I was excited to have my son take piano lessons again.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary subscription for the purpose of reviewing it. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase through this link I will receive a small monetary compensation at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

What is Busy Kids Do Piano? It is online piano lessons for the busy kid.

The course is 20 video lessons in 4 different modules, 3 bonus activities including composer worksheets (great way to explore the world!), listening activities and a rhythm ensemble piece. It is a wholistic and relational approach to music so that parents will learn to be a musical companion for their child. There are lots of materials to support the parent in learning alongside their child as they also guide their child through the course: a Parent Guide, with specific notes for each lesson, gives practicing strategies for every single piece. A parent checklist at the end of each lesson’s materials helps the parent decide if the child is ready to move onto the next lesson.

About the author:

Carly Seifert has been teaching piano lessons for 13 years and is a member of the Music Teachers National Association and state and local teaching organizations as well. She currently teaches 35 students out of her home in private and group lesson settings, and also created Busy Moms Do Piano – an online piano course designed specifically for the Busy Mom

My thoughts:

The piano lessons are easy to follow, and divided into modules with supporting materials that can be downloaded and printed. The online piano lessons are really geared toward the busy kid (and mommas, too!)

The lessons can be adjusted to fit your needs. As a parent I don’t have to worry about what “needs to be learned” because the material provided such as, the practice checklist and the parent guide makes it easy for me to teach him piano from the comfort of our home.

With Busy Kids Do Piano my son can work at his own pace, and time. Watching the videos is like having Carly right here at home with us. My son loves to pause the video, and follow her prompts and instructions. As a busy momma with an equally busy kid I like that the lessons are short and fun to follow.

Having him take piano lessons again has rekindled his love for learning to play the piano. Initially, he was really upset when we couldn’t afford the lessons. But, now with Busy Kids Do Piano we can continue to teach him piano from the comfort of our home.

You know what is the best part of online piano lessons? The price!

The price per course is $49.95 and that’s just $2.50 per lesson!!!! This is an excellent deal! You can’t beat that!   These online piano lessons are affordable, and they can be adjusted to meet your busy kid’s schedule.

If you’re looking to teach your child, and don’t have the time to be running around from one place to another, and looking for affordable piano lessons then this is the perfect on-line program for you!
Categories: Parenting

El Chavo A Childhood Classic and the Life Lessons He Taught Us

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El Chavo is a timeless sitcom, and a classic in the homes of many Latin American families.

My sweet nephew also a big fan of el Chavo! 

I grew up watching El Chavo del Ocho (the original version) not the animated one.   Every afternoon we would all prop ourselves (including my Abuela) in front of the TV to watch el Chavo and his friends from la vecindad in their daily adventures, and mishaps.

Having now my own child, and sitting together to watch the animated version with him is reminiscing of my own childhood memories.  We are bonding through laughter with el Chavo and his friend’s “ocurrencias” (funny things that they get into).

What I love about this time together is that it’s done in Spanish.  He’s listening to phrases such as, “con permiso dijo Monchito”, “chusma, chusma, chusma”, and “fue sin querer queriendo.”  Phrases that my son has used, and I just chuckle.  The episodes are short, as well as the dialogues. Thus, enabling my son  to learn new words in Spanish (including the Mexican slang ha!).

There are also many lessons to be learned watching el Chavo del Ocho:
  • Imaginative play – When el Chavo, Quico, and la Chilindra got together  to play,  magic ensued in the form of imaginative adventures, fun, and games! 
  • Money is not the equivalent of happiness – El Chavo was a poor orphan little boy who lived in a barrel and he was content with what he had. 
  • Family – Family goes beyond blood ties.  His extended family were his neighbors from la vecindad.  
  • Forgiving and pardoning – Get a whole bunch of kids together,  disagreements and fights are bound to happen.  The kids  in la vecindad were constantly in trouble, and most of the time el Chavo would get the blame. Sometimes they would end up fighting with each other but at the end of the day they knew when to say sorry, and when to forgive. 
  • Education – Profesor Jirafales would always tell all the kids that you need to study in order “to become someone in life.”  
  • Hustle (slang for anything that you do to make money) – Don Ramón always needs to pay his 14 month’s of rent. He and el Chavo would come up with ways of making some money.  Most of the time they failed but they kept hustling. 
  • Value of work – El Chavo would always find a way to get a task or something to do in exchange for una torta de jamón or a chance to play with la pelota for a while.  
  • Hygiene – It was important to take a shower, and wipe la mugre (dirt) from your hands.  
and last but not least, 
  • Good attitude – “Ante el mal tiempo, siempre siempre debe reinar la buena cara para verlo todo por el lado amable.”  (During bad times we should always put our best face forward and always see it on the bright side.) 
So this brings me to Hispanic Mama’s post on her 7-year old not liking el Chavo.  She ponders, ..on how many of the Latino children that were born outside Latin America would “get” this Latino classic.”  I can think of three little boys including my son, and nephew (cutie in the picture above) who were born outside of Latin America; one of them a non-Latino that love el Chavo!!!  They actually “get” it and they laugh with el Chavo and his friends from la vecindad.

My sister Diana shared with me, “El Chavo was always my favorite character growing up so seeing Nico loving it gave me great joy. Chavo was a character who gave me not only a connection to my Latin roots but a booster to help me get to school in the mornings. Dad thought the humor would help me and it did as I suffered from anxieties before school.” 

Looking for a timeless classic in Spanish for your kids?  Introduce them to El Chavo!  Who knows he/she may or may not like it. 🙂

You can also check out these fun and easy Spanish books for kids, and there’s also a free app Aprende con el Chavo available in Google Play and in the App Store.  

The pictures below are affiliate links. It means that if you purchase using the links below and if you make a purchase I will receive a small monetary commission. Thank you!

Categories: Parenting

Gardening with Kids {Remembering Loved Ones Memorial Garden}

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Today will be 3 months since the passing of my sweet father-in-law. A man who loved his family unconditionally and adored his only grandson, our son.

Since his passing I was thinking of ways to keep his memory alive.   I decided on a memorial garden for him. We couldn’t do anything back in January, so we were looking forward to Spring to start planting. 
Sunday after church, we spent the day gardening. It was a beautiful cool Spring day.  Little one was eager to help, and plant the flowers. For the memorial garden we used a variety of blue and white flowers. My late father-in-law’s favorite color was blue, and he loved gardening as much as he loved playing the piano. 
As I cleared the garden area of weeds I was very emotional. I remembered my sweet late father-in-law’s love for flowers, and gardening. Creating this memorial garden was important for our son to keep his Grandpa’s memory alive. All of the flowers that we planted are annuals so that means that every year they will bloom. 
I strategically placed a mix of blue and white flowers in the garden.  Little one helped dig up holes to plant, and was excited!  Since it’s his garden for his Grandpa he wanted to have his dinosaurs decorate the garden. I bought a flat stone as a plaque too. I asked him to write, “In Memory of Grandpa 1/5/16” and he wanted to draw a picture of him and Grandpa. I choked and wanted to cry when I saw him draw a stick figure of himself and Grandpa. 

Gardening with my son was truly special, and having him do this for Grandpa makes it even more meaningful. 
May the sweetest Grandpa ever RIP. We miss you dearly… {tears streaming down my face}. We love you! 
Categories: Parenting

The Tale of an Almost Lost Lovie

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It was early Wednesday morning we were bustling through the famous TSA check-in line at the airport. 
We were like 10 people away from getting through the gate.  
My very chatty 7 yr. old was excited that we were soon getting on the plane to head back home. 
Until…
He turns around, face red, and rivers of tears streaming down his cheeks; and in between sobs, he tells me that he has lost “Moosie.” 
Moosie is a pillow-pet that the Three Kings left for him at Abuela’s house that morning.  The morning that we were returning home. His most precious and new lovie… was GONE! 
My first instinct was to tell him, forget it we’ll get another one!   But, that’s wasn’t the point.  It was a gift from Los Reyes.   So I quickly shifted thoughts, and attempted to calm him down. We had been in the line for a while; and I desperately looked around trying to figure out what to do.  
He’s still crying by my side, I have 2 carry-ons with me, and I don’t want to get out of the super, long line.  Against my wishes, I get out of the line anyways! I walk to an airport employee who’s mopping the floor on the other end. I quickly call to her, and she comes to me. I tell her in Spanish, “Mi nene acaba de perder un peluche marrón y no sé dónde puede estar.” (My child just lost his brown stuffed animal and I don’t know where it is.)  
She reacted right away, and started going through the line asking folks if they had seen a stuffed animal.   All this while my 7 yr. old is still crying his little heart out!  
People in the line started talking among themselves, and a lady yells that she saw it at the far-end of the line, another one, says she saw it on the floor.
After what seemed like an eternity (probably like 3-4 minutes) but seriously for me it was an eternity! A man in the line stretches his arm out with Moosie!   He yells,  “¿Es éste el peluche? (Is this the stuffed animal?)” 
I yelled, “¡Si, si!” 
Everyone started clapping! 
My child stops crying, and I am ever so thankful to the airport lady, to the man that found him, and everyone else in the line!  Moosie was passed down from hand-to-hand all the way to a happy 7 yr. old, and an extremely relieved mama! 
This whole situation played out like a movie scene. Moosie would not have been found (or who knows someone could have kept him) without the help of the folks waiting in the TSA line. 
To ALL of you ¡Gracias!  Thank you! 
Categories: Parenting

Our One and Only Child

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“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
These are statements that I hear quite often. Too often if you ask me! In this past week I have answered these same questions at least four times, all in different circumstances, and situations. Although, the questions are well-intended, they are getting annoying.   Especially now that our precious little angel turned 7 years old this past summer.
There was a time in my life that I dreamt of having a large family with a minimum of three kids. However, my husband and I met later in life; and we became “older” parents.  Our friends, extended-family, and even my siblings have grown children!  Some of them are even grandparents! They talk about their kids working, going off to college, dating, and getting married.  While we were focusing on a good day care, and  changing diapers! 
Even when I was pregnant, I thought of the possibility of having another child.  Hubby wasn’t completely convinced, and I didn’t push the subject.  I was so blessed to have a good pregnancy, considering I was high-risk pregnancy to start with.  
Then our bundle of joy was born, and we were immersed in the joys of raising our baby.  Little one grew, and became more independent! He was potty trained, and diaper-free! Yay!!! And the thought of starting all over again (with another pregnancy) was slowly being pushed to the back of my mind.

With that being said, my answer to the questions above are: “No,  we are not planning on having any more babies.  No, my son doesn’t need a sibling because you say so. No, I am not leaving him alone in this world. He has family, cousins, and friends.” 

During all these years, our child has never ever questioned not having a sibling. So the last question, I never really gave it much thought. 
Until recently.
To be quite honest I was a bit thrown off by his question: “Mami, why don’t I have a sister or brother, and how did we become a family?” 
I smiled.  
I said to him, “When your Daddy and I met we fell in love, and got married. Then we found out we were having a baby!” 
He responds, “Me?” 
I tell him, “Yes! We were so happy and we loved you from the day we knew you were going to be our baby. When you were born you were a sweet little baby, and we knew then that you were all we ever needed!” 
He smiled, and gave me a hug!  Of course, I added that although he didn’t have any siblings he had cousins, and lots of friends!  
He’s happy with the answer to his questions, and I wholeheartedly believe that he never really “misses” having a sibling because he’s grown-up with some amazing friends.   There have been countless playdates, parties, gatherings, and outings with friends. He has quite the “social” life!   He’s active in sports, and we have many extracurricular activities together as a family.  He also has a relationship with his extended family even from a distance he knows they are there for him.
He’s a happy well-rounded little boy, and he’s our one and only. Truth be told we wouldn’t have it any other way! 
Categories: Parenting