Thursday, November 27, 2008

Día de Gracias Sale

Just a quick note to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have spent the day eating and visiting with amigos y familia. I have been enjoying a week with mi mamá - shopping, eating, shopping, eating and a little more shopping! Tomorrow night I even get to go on an actual date with my hubby to a movie of my choice --- AUSTRALIA!

And speaking of shopping, don't forget that Latin Baby is having our annual Día de Gracias Sale with dramatic price reductions on products throughout our store. But we only do this once a year and the sale ends this Sunday, so get it while it's cheap, People!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rewards for Toddlers

Okay, so as promised, I am posting an example of our little "reward list" to accompany the "chores list" that I mention in the previous post.

To figure out what to put on the list, sit down with your child and think of fun rewards together. You might be surprised at what your child comes up with - I certainly was! First thing out of her mouth was "hugs and kisses." Wow.

Anyway, try to think of east things that you may enjoy doing together (i.e., baking a cake, making cookies, watching a movie, playing a board game) as well as extra special treats like a trip to the museum, movie theater, or bowling.

My daughter gets one point for every chore she does. Our chore list has expanded since my last post and she now has 16 different chores to choose from plus two extra categories represented by a star and a smiley face that are reserved for those moments when she accomplishes something important or worthy that is not listed on the page.

I divided her rewards up into three sections: For 0 to 14 points she can get "hugs & kisses/abrazos y besitos" or a "heart (valentine)/corazoncito." 15 to 49 points gets her one of the following: rent a movie, a surprise gift, help mami bake a cake/brownies/cookies, or a new book. And finally, for the incredibly helpful child who racks up 50+ points, she gets to go to a movie or bowling. So get creative and list some really fun things that your child enjoys. But try to limit food related rewards and definitely stay away from candy to avoid repeated requests in the future and unhealthy associations.

To help with bilingual education, I listed all of the rewards in both English and Spanish.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Serenity Now...

So this afternoon was a rough one at home. When picking up my eldest child at school, I was met by the teacher who told me that the morning had not gone well. In a nutshell, my child did not behave today. She was inattentive, rough-housing and not following directions. I thought I would die from the vergüenza. I mean, I knew other kids behaved this way, but not my kid. The final straw was when I asked my daughter on the way home if she had sat in the "thinking chair" (which has never happened before) and she held up two fingers and said, "but only two times!"

She knew she was in trouble.

Later, - much, much later - after I was able to calm down and think about the situation, I realized that things are not as bad as they seem. How often have I read the blogs of mis amigas describing similar behavior breakdowns in their kids? And it occurred to me that it is not too late and my daughter is not on the road to self-destruction with a straw/spoon/fork (or whatever they use nowadays) up her nose wearing black nail polish, chains and leather, screaming "It’s all your fault! Why didn’t you color with me?"

I was able to assess the situation in a more rational way by the afternoon and realized that a) she had gone to bed WAY too late the night before (9 pm is ususal curfew, but I could still hear her up in her room at 10:30) and had skimped on breakfast (usually oatmeal, yogurt and a full glass of milk or OJ, but this morning she had barely finished the oatmeal.) In addition, I am generally somewhat of an anti-TV mom. I think it is unhealthy and inhibits mental growth. But for a number of reasons that I won’t mention here (but basically equal laziness on my part and letting myself get too disorganized in the way I schedule my family time and my work time,) there has been a little too much television watching in this household.

No, I am not making excuses. I am just trying to understand what is going on.

SO, needless to say, I have made un cambio grande in the house. Disciplining la niña includes absolutely no tv for the rest of the week, and even then, only one show in the evening (I’m a sucker for Word Girl) and ONLY if she earns it back. In addition, I am throwing the breaks on the whole daily routine (or lack thereof) and reorganizing our schedules. Being a work from home mom sort of sucks every once in a while because it is such a big balancing routine and if you’re not careful, one thing suddenly starts to shift and then it’s all plftht!

Another change we made this afternoon, was creating and implementing a "Chore Chart." To give her more responsibility and help her focus on following direction. So for those of you with 2 to 6 year olds, I thought I would share ours and maybe give you some ideas of things to list should you decide to create a chart of your own.

Ours lists the normal things like clean your room, make your bed, brush your teeth, set the table, etc. But it also lists a few unique to us, but I think are equally possible like, help mami sort the laundry, put away your clean clothes, clean toys off the stairs, sweep the kitchen, pick up pinecones, feed the chickens/puppy, help carry in the groceries, pick up daddy's dirty calcetines off the living room floor (ewww).... The possibilities are endless once you think of all the things our little "helpers" already try to help us do everyday.

Make the chart fun by adding little pictures next to each chore. Maybe you can make it bilingual to help their Spanish skills (hacer la cama, barrer la cocina, recoger las piñas, etc) And keep a special set of stickers to mark each box and keep track of their achievements. We also personalized ours by having my daughter write her name across the top.

I hope you all find this helpful! Mi niña is already excited about it and was extremely helpful this afternoon and evening. She even made her bed before she put on her pajamas.

Next post will discuss rewards….

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spanish Baby Shower Decorations

I have so many people coming to my web sites looking for information on how to throw a Latin baby shower - from phrasing the invitations, to games to play, food to serve, and how to decorate. Latin Baby has set up several informative web pages on this topic at the Latin Baby web site and also on Squidoo. But I am always keeping a careful eye out for new products or ways to celebrate this special occasion.

I was delighted to find ¡Ay Mujer!s shop which features a number of papel picado designs for decoration. There are a few businesses out there doing papel picado, but Ay Mujer stands out because they will do custom picados for a reasonable price AND because if you are looking for something quick, they already have a baby shower themed set ready to go. Or, if you are looking for something different and beautiful, they have other designs to suit any number of occasions (wedding, anniversary, birthday, etc.)

Yreina and Elsa Flores, "two sisters living deep in the California desert," are the artists behind the company. Their shop offers other products besides the papel picado, including jewelry, art and traditional, beaded moccassins. The moccassins are maravillosos! I just am so impressed by their artistic talent.
To order your set of papel picado, check out their shop here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Pink Turtle Studio Transforms Perceptions of Frida

There are few things I like better than discovering a new artist. I love gazing at beautiful art, and marveling at the talent it takes to create such fine pieces of work. One of the best things, though, is being able to share my "discoveries" with you.
Allow me to introduce Lulu of My Pink Turtle Studio. I recently stumbled upon her store and immediately me quedé enamorada with her folk art paintings and collages. I wanted to buy a dozen different prints and decorate my daughter’s (and maybe my own?) bedroom. I am having a tough time choosing, but hope to pick out a few as Christmas presents.
Lulu lives in Canada (Southern Quebec to be exact), but she loves all things Mexican and has traveled throughout Mexico where she has fallen in love with "la gente, el arte, la comida, todo!" And Frida.
Seriously, Amigas, who knew that Frida Kahlo would influence so MANY people? All my life I have grown up thinking of her as such a tragic figure – suffering, bitter and tormented. Now, however, this image is slowly being changed by artists (like Lulu) who are portraying her as beautiful, peaceful and even childlike.
I had a tough time picking out a single picture to post here, so I just tried very hard to narrow it down to two. But I encourage you to visit her store to see the many other pieces that she has for sale at a very reasonable price. In fact, for the entire month of November, Lulu has a sale going on to celebrate her new shop and for every two prints that you buy, you can get the 3rd free!
Don’t like Frida? No problema! She has many other subjects including fairies, princesses, angels, etc. Some are blonde, some are brunette, some have Spanish words on the painting, and some have French - a lovely variety of subjects to suit your needs. On top of selling at Etsy and Ebay, Lulu says that she also does commissioned paintings and will be more than happy to do a painting following the size and subject specifications of particular clients.
And for those of you interested in a little more, like I am, Lulu also has the most delightful blog which you can visit here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Latino Holiday Gift Guide is Finally Here!

Can you believe it? The holiday season is just around the corner! While pondering what in the world I was going to do this year, I decided that I was going to try and make a few things for friends and family this year. But despite my good intentions, I am sure I will run out of time for some. And there are some people on my list that just don't fit into the "hand-made" category.

SO for all you busy mamis who are in the same boat, I am so THRILLED to announce that the first annual Latin Baby Holiday Gift Guide for Latino Families is now on-line! I've worked hard to find you some great products that are "Latino friendly." Most are from Latina-owned businesses, but all these products should appeal to Hispanic families. I hope all of you will take the time to check out the guide and visit the stores that are represented. Help support these small businesses by purchasing their original gifts that are not manufactured on a massive, commercial scale. There is certainly something for everyone on your list!

With warmest wishes a todos,

Thursday, November 6, 2008


¡Híjole! What a hectic month. Finally, though, the light at the end of the tunnel is here. You all know that I have been working on a little project for the holiday shopping season. With great relief I can now say that it is more or less complete. I will have a nice announcement for you all within a few days.

So I apologize that the posts have been a little scarce lately. It is hard juggling three blogs, a business, two websites (three if you include etsy), a puppy, too many chickens to count, 2 donkeys, a cow, a mule, two kids, a husband, and a new (old) house with a variety of "fix-it" jobs. It took me four months just to peel the wallpaper in the hallway, only to have my husband say "maybe we should tear out that wall and make the bedroom bigger." I wisely kept my mouth shut for fear of the expletives that were lurking inside.

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE our new house. It is just suffering a bit of neglect. Or maybe I should say "we" are suffering it's neglect. Since moving in we've had to fix the washing machine drain line, fix the oven, fix the central heat, and replace the septic line. That's just for starters. Thank goodness my hubby is a jack-of-all-trades because I shudder to think of the expense all this would be if we had to actually pay for labor as well as supplies.

And let me tell ya, sisters, NOTHING spells stress like a toilet that won't flush and house of 3 and a half people (I say half, because my youngest is just starting potty training.) Especially when company is coming to stay.

Today was unusually warm, so to celebrate my freedom from the computer, I spent the afternoon outside with my family making a new flower bed. Created just for the hummingbirds and butterflies that will swarm our house next year, we planted several salvias and asters next to a beautiful flowering camelia, with plenty of room left over for more avian friendly plants. We even set up a nice heavy duty metal bird feeder on a post and filled it with black sunflower seeds - every little birdie's favorite type of feed because it is so high in fat. Perfect for the cold winter months.

Anyway, dear Amigas, hopefully I will be back on track now and able to post with a little more regularity. I have several artists whose work I have stumbled upon and fallen in love with, so during the next few weeks I hope to share them with you.
With warmest wishes to all,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Last Call!

Just a quick note to say this is the last call for submissions to the Latino Family's Holiday Gift Guide. You may still list products after we go live, but the introductory rate will no longer be available. For details, please visit the Latin Baby website here.
I can't wait for all of you to see the guide! We have a lot of great gift ideas listed by a wide variety of businesses. And Latin Baby will be listing a new item to our Navidad Collection. We'll let you know soon!
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