Friday, September 26, 2008

Bilingual Families Connect Offers Support

If you are looking for ways to raise a bilingual family, then check out Bilingual Families Connect. This on-line resource has a comprehensive web site that includes articles on the advantages of being bilingual both in adults and children. One page gives a description of the different approaches used for raising bilingual children, and they also have a resource page that lists numerous organizations, radio stations, web sites, literature/magazines and much, much more.

Perhaps the most outstanding feature is a forum where families can share directly with each other their experiences and tips on how to raise bilingual children, or pose questions for other bilingual families.

A wonderful resource for bilingual families! To visit their web site, click here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spanish Baby Shower Invitations Now Available!

Things have been really hopping this past week at Latin Baby. We have been running around preparing for the State Fair of Texas where we will have a booth set up in the Mundo Latino exhibit. Be sure to stop by to take advantage of special fair discounts and to get a sneak peek of new products!
The fair runs September 26th through October 19th.

In addition to this, we have now added a line of Spanish baby shower invitations created exclusively for Latin Baby. They are designed to reflect the American tradition with a Latin flavor. We are super excited about these new products and are looking forward to adding matching thank you cards as well as more designs in the coming months.

To check out our complete line, click here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TinyGreenApples Features Fun Products for Children

Next, I am featuring Etsy shop TinyGreenApples and it’s owner, a Proud Stay At Home Mom, Monica (I promise you, people, that I am not only featuring Monicas on purpose! It is a coincidence! I am surprised at just how many there are out there crafting away!) The mother of a 5 year old boy and a 3 year old girl, Monica says she has been married almost 10 years to the man of her dreams. Her fun etsy shop, TinyGreenApples, specializes in personalized gifts and accessories as well as handmade dolls. A couple of her products were recently elected Kids Contest Finalists - including this clever Mermaid Tail Towel which is excellent for encouraging pretend play in your children.

For whatever reason, mermaids seem to be really in right now and I have to admit that I really love some of the other sirenas for sale in her shop. She regularly sells handmade mermaid dolls, most with names taken from Mexican dialects - such as the one shown here named Doni (visit the listing in her shop to find out the meaning of the word!) If you’re interested, act fast because these dolls sell quickly.

I also love her personalized products, like her personalized children’s aprons and towels. The shop features a variety of embroidery designs that may include a child’s name or initials.
If you’d like to check out TinyGreenApples, click here.

Random Etsy Favorites

So I am having a tough time keeping pace with la locura that is my life. I am going in twenty different directions all at the same time. I always hear about those women who find the perfect balance between their work life and their home life and wonder how they do it. My two lives constantly battle each other to gain the upper hand – like a bunch of school kids racing for the same ball until they collapse in a giant tangled heap of arms and legs.
For several weeks I have lined up things to post about, so I will do a few quick posts tonight to try and catch up.

First of all, here are a few super finds that I found on etsy. I originally intended to feature this beautiful painting on the left from Sweet Imaginations. Don’t you think it is beautiful? Wouldn’t it make a lovely gift for mamá’s birthday? Unfortunately, though, it has already sold. Ay! Sorry about that, BUT the owner does accept custom orders, and wouldn’t something similar be just as fantastic? She does, however, have many other gorgeous pieces including this little clothespin doll named Josefina. Hand painted, it stands about 4.5 inches high and, though not suitable for children under 3, it would be a great regalito for those of you with older girls. Check out her shop here.

And if you are into scrapbooking, La Chapina has some great artwork that can be used in scrapbooks or simply framed, like this watercolor of a Maya mother and baby. La Chapina has an assortment of scrapbook embellishments, beads, dolls, and other handcrafted items made in Guatemala.
You can find her shop here.

Lastly, if you are looking for some hilarious thank you cards in Spanish, check out this set of 4 hand-stamped "Muchas Gracias" cards by Melanie Kay.

You can find the listing here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Alma Awards Create Emotional Upheaval

So I just finished watching the Alma Awards.

Am I the only one who was clapping and cheering most of the way through? (aside from my kids - who didn't have a clue who they were clapping and cheering for!) I doubt it. I mean seriously, I was impressed by Shakira (more about her later,) ecstatic for Jorge (GO LOST!!!) and crying during Linda Ronstadt's tribute. Man! Those songs bring back a LOT of memories, Amigas! The whole thing made me so terribly, terribly homesick for TX and Latino culture. Especially when mariachis were up there singing one from "Canciones de Mi Padre." Boo-hooo! - pasa me un Kleenex, por favor!!

How many of you out there are like me - removed from your hometown, separated from your familia and cultura? Struggling to pass on your native language, family traditions and favorite memories and to your children? I am a fourth generation Hispanic American. And as we all know, the Spanish language often disappears by the third, second (or sadly even the first) generation. I was fortunate to have spent most of my childhood with my great-grandmother, who spoke very little English. Yet, while I understand it perfectly, having spent the last 20 (more or less) years in mostly white neighborhoods and private schools, college and career choice, my ability to speak it fluidly has been severely hampered. After spending some time talking with amigas or familia, or when traveling to Spanish-speaking countries, my Spanish improves dramatically. But I'm a bit rusty from lack of practice. So with all this said, I was really glad to see Jessica Alba up presenting an award. She has gotten a lot of flack for not having learned Spanish as a kid (parents' fault!), but does not speaking the language make you any less Latino? If you were born in Italy to Italian parents, but didn't speak Italian, would you then not be one either? Bah! Let me make it clear here: all parents should do all that they can to encourage their children to learn a second language. The benefits are astronomical. But just because a person might not understand or speak a native language (in this instance Spanish) does not make them any less a Latino/a. And we shouldn't be made to feel ashamed or embarassed.

So back to the topic at hand - I was awash in tears and sentimental longing after many of these presentations.

But then, of course, I was giggling through Cheech and Chong's brief reunion. Did he really say they were going to go on tour? And I just finished reviewing one of Cheech Marin's children's books for the Latin Baby Book Club. I have to say, that I'm beginning to like him more and more the older I get.

And I was so excited I almost fainted when they announced Sergio Mendez for the final act. But, to be honest, the Brazil '66 version of "Mas Que Nada" was much, much better, if you ask me. (no, I am not fluent in Portuguese, though I do know a fair amount of French!)

Right, enough of my rambling and soapbox rants.

At any rate, if you missed it, these were just a few of the highlights from the show. If you want to see who all was nominated and for what, as well as who won, visit the Alma Awards website here.

Telanovelas....for Babies?

I have to admit that I am a sucker for good marketing. I look for it wherever I go. Cute ways to market products – especially baby products – are quick to catch my eye. And one of the funniest ones I’ve seen in a while is by Whimsical Walney. Mostly featuring a collection of blankets and T-shirts for babies, I was highly amused by their soft baby books, most cleverly named the Telanovela. How cute is that?

Available in four themes – "Out of this World," "Spring Blooms," "Under the Sea," and "Sea, Land, and Space" - these tactile books are great for inquisitive babies. They come with denim covers that sport quilted appliqués matching the book’s theme and the inside pages are made of various textured fabrics such as minky, suede cloth, and flannel as well as cottons with brightly themed patterns. Soft books are great for babies because they can be felt, squished, scrunched, rubbed, chewed on and even be used as drool wipes. Best of all, they’re machine washable!

If you’d like to check out these and other Whimsical Walney products, click here.

Thanks for the tip, Dana!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Day of the Dead is Everywhere!

Only time for a quick post this evening. With one of my kids starting school tomorrow, mi casa is totally crazy. But while on a school supply shopping spree at Target last week, I stumbled across these hilarious pajamas! Is it time for Day of the Dead already? WOW! This year has FLOWN by!
At any rate, I don't think that these pictures do the actual clothes justice. The one with the black top was especially cute with the little sugar skull in the bottom corner. It was a super comfy jersey/knit. The other one was a little too loud for me. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep with all that busy-ness all over me. Sugar skulls were all the rage last year (SO many showed up on etsy!) and I suspect this year will be no different.

If you'd like to purchase one or both sets, just run over to your local Target. Or you can buy them on-line here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dichos de Mi Madre Makes an Hierloom Gift

A few months ago, Latin Baby received a lovely sample of a gift book by Victoria Killeen called Dichos de mi Madre. I thought it was beautiful and it brought to my mind some poignant memories of my 'buelita who was such a happy soul and always imparting her wisdom with a smile. And since we will be celebrating Grandparent’s Day this month, I decided to add the book to our "Gifts for Abuelita" section. This would be a wonderful heirloom gift that could be passed down in the family. In fact, I have decided that within the next couple of days, I will be adding a gift basket, too, (which will include this little book, an abuelita T-shirt and a mirror) for those of you looking for an extra-special gift for the abuelita in your life.

Here is an excerpt from a book review of Dichos de mi Madre that I did for the Latin Baby Book Club...

"Written completely in Spanish, the book is a collection of "sayings" or "dichos" that often are quoted to us by our mamás or our abuelitas. Some of the verses have English equivalents, such as "A caballo regalado no se le miran los dientes" which translates to "Never look a gift horse in the mouth" and "El amor es ciego" which means "Love is blind."
But some are uniquely original to Latin America such as "Gallo que no canta algo tiene en la garganta" which is one I distinctly remember my great-grandmother saying. It means "a rooster that doesn’t sing has something in his throat" – HA! And even better, "Échate en la cama y verás quién the ama" meaning "Throw yourself on the bed and you’ll see who loves you" gasp – MAMÁ!
I also like "Hombre casado, ni frito ni asado," which means "don’t bother with a married man, not even if he’s fried nor grilled."
There are SO MANY dichos in this book it is hard to pick out so few. I have to say that Victoria did a great job collecting them all. She is to be commended for all the effort that I am sure it took to remember and write them all down. She dedicates the book to her mother and is donating all the proceeds to charity in honor of her beloved mother.
Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Victoria completed her studies here in the States, and graduated with degrees in interior design and art history. After getting married, she moved to Atlanta where she and her husband became very involved in the arts community. They are founding members of the High Museum and Victoria has been on the board for many years. Thanks to her husband’s job, she has had the opportunity to travel to almost 100 countries which has made Victoria very aware of in the importance of culture and traditions and the pride that people take in theirs. She wrote Dichos as a way to celebrate both our Latino culture and our mothers who have taught them to us.
If you would like your copy of this wonderful little book, click here. Remember that it makes a wonderful regalito!"

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