Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Spanish Themed Dollhouses

Wow. Can you believe this? I would have died for such a cool dollhouse like this one when I was una chiquitica. In fact, I would have to admit that I started squealing when I saw this on etsy. It is by Adobe Dollhouse Shop. They have two listed and I couldn't quite decide which one I love more. I think maybe the Southwest Mexican Dollhouse because I am such a sucker for arches. How about you? Southwest Mexican (right) or Southwest Spanish (left)?

And on the inside, both houses have a little tiny fireplace (Oooo!) and stained doors and stairways (Aaahhh!) Who knew anything so neat existed? I thought about buying one right away, but then realized, my kids are still too little and might break something which would cause me intense mental and emotional anguish. Perhaps I will wait just a little while longer. Or perhaps, I will have to buy and take care of it myself until they are older....much, much older.

They are a little pricey, but certainly worth it, I would think. On the other hand, wouldn't this make a super science project? Have the kids research different types of structures and then create their own. Hmmmm......

But, if you are like me, then you should just scoot on over to etsy. You can buy one here.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bilingual Magnets Add Poetry to La Vida

It has been a very busy few days with wonderful ideas blossoming since my last post. I have a big announcement coming up soon, but to tide you all over, I am featuring a new item that I discovered and love, Love, LOVE!

Magnetic Poetry has the neatest little pack of double-sided magnets for the refrigerator. With a Spanish word on one side and the English equivalent on the other, these little magnets are a great teaching tool. The kit comes with over 200 bilingual tiles!

I would definitely recommend this for older kids and adults. If you are concerned about buying magnets for your children and want more information on the type that Magnetic Poetry uses, check out their Safety Info page.

To purchase Magnetic Poetry's Kids' Spanish Kit, click here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Life "On the Pampas" Captures el Corazón

Not too long ago, a friend gave me a copy of "On the Pampas" by María Cristina Brusca. Instantly, it became my daughter's favorite and I must have read it five dozen times by now - at least once a day, sometimes twice. Normally, I would get tired of a new "favorite" after a few nights in a row and try to suggest a new one that we haven't read, but this sweet classic has definitely caught my heart.

I don't know of any little girls (or boys, for that matter) that don't like a good story about horses and life on the ranch. I certainly devoured books on this topic when I was a child. And since their infancy, I have seen this burgeoning love and affection for all things equine consume my children.

But for me, "Pampas" has sky-rocketed to the top of our favorite book list because it not only tells a great story about a girl's summer vacation on the family ranch - it tells about una niña's summer adventure on an Argentine estancia. So much of this story brings back childhood memories of times when I visited my father's familia in Spain and enjoyed the innocence, joy and passion of la vida española. I wish that every child could be able to experience the adventure of living in the country and discover the passion for living that the Hispanic culture embodies.

Unfortunately, Amazon only seems to have 9 used copies left, but if I were you, I would boogie on over there and get one. You can find them here.

You will not regret the purchase after you read this wonderful book with your child. Both of mine are totally enthralled from beginning to end. And the illustrations are excellent, as well. I had a hard time picking one out from the book, so I wound up using my two favorites (not in sequential order.)

It is also an excellent tool for teaching your children about the differences and similarities of another culture. After reading the book, take a moment to show your children where Argentina is and, if they are old enough, have them write a report about the country. Better yet, how about a little family vacation? I'm free this July, so just give me a call when you're ready...
And to compliment the book, I am including a recipe of Carbonada (mentioned in the book) which is a typical Argentine stew of meat and vegetables. It is fairly simple and straightforward, so you might even have the kids give you a hand putting it together....

Carbonada Criolla

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds stewing beef, in 1-inch chunks
4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
3 baking potatoes, 1 inch dice
3 sweet potatoes, 1 inch dice
2 ears corn, cut into 1 inch widths
2 zucchini or yellow squash, in 1/2 inch dice
2 peaches in 1/2 inch dice
2 pears in 1/2 inch dice

Heat oil in heavy pot. Brown beef in batches. Remove from pan and set aside. Cook tomatoes, pepper, onion and garlic until soft. Add seasonings, stock and wine. Bring to boil scraping up browned bits, then return beef to pot with potatoes and sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in corn and squash. Simmer 10 more minutes, until vegetables are almost fully tender, then add fruits and cook only 5 minutes more.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Super Sale at Motherwear

Just a quick post to let all you mamás-to-be and nursing mothers know that one of my favorite stores is having a super sale! Check out Motherwear's web site for some great savings. Most of the clothes on sale are from their winter and fall lines, but if you know you'll be nursing this coming fall/winter, why not stock up now? You'll have to hurry, though. The clothes are going fast and several have already sold out. I don't nurse either of my kids any more, but I still wear some of the tops I bought back then because they are so versatile and the styles are such that you would never know it was designed for nursing moms. Maybe I should stock up, too?
To check out their clearance page, click here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Keeping Los Niños Busy This Summer...

Wooh! It seems like forever since I have posted anything on this blog. I apologize for my lack of blogging, but have been spending the last week or so spending some time with my kids now that school is out for the summer. We have been busy with art projects, trips to the park, and even signed up my daughter for a fun class later this summer.

As I have mentioned before, I have been a busy little bee the last few weeks looking for projects and activities for mis niños. While surfing the web, I have found a few sites that are loaded with coloring pages and/or activities in Spanish and are perfect for preschool aged children.

So far mi favorito, hands down, is They are loaded with projects for infants and toddlers on a variety of subjects including science, art appreciation, music, nutrition and so much more! They are the Spanish site of, so if you are not comfortable reading directions in Spanish, but would like to start your kids on the Spanish Alphabet or just want to find the English equivalents for all the activities, you can go to either site. Although it is geared towards preschoolers, there are many activities here that even older kids might like as well.

Another simpler, less complicated site with nice coloring pages of the "Los Animales de Mexico" is Circle Time Kids. You can check it out here.

And, of course, Enchanted Learning has a giant page of printables and short books with Spanish language activities. The best web page for this is here.

Older children might prefer different and more challenging projects like the ones featured in Mexico & Central America: A Fiesta of Cultures, Crafts, and Activities for Ages 8-12. Written by Mary C Turck, the book (pictured above) is available from at a reasonable price and is filled with 35 activities for kids grades 3-7. However, be warned that the book touches on sensitive political topics such as sweatshops, unions, and illegal Latino immigrants, to name a few, so you may want to review it yourself first before you hand it over to your children.

Good luck, Amigas! I'll pass more ideas along as I come upon them...
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