Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shopping for Navidad: Culturally-Inspired Gifts

Tostobueno® offers its “Trio” that makes three plantain chips at once. And if you want to make plantain cups to stuff with any filling you can imagine, just flip it over and place the slice in a deep flat bottom mold for three perfect cups every time. This Old Fashioned Plantain Smasher™ will help you get away from boring party food and serve an exotic dish that’s eaten in Latin America and throughout the Caribbean every day. Tostobueno® is the Ultimate Tostonera® because it takes an old fashioned idea and puts a new age spin on it. For more information, visit

Gregorio Ties is a unique company who specializes in cultural designs on high-quality products. Their stunning handmade 100% silk ties, feature designs that tell a distinct story of Latino culture. Their new collections for Fall 2009 include Guadalupe, Lotería and Duality. This year, they launched their new silk scarf collection for women. "What motivates our Virgin of Guadalupe design is her message of love and compassion, her promise to help and protect all mankind." To learn more about the design, please visit

Los Pollitos Dicen (The Little Chicks Say) are so cute and reminicent of Latin childhood's that they'll have you singing "Pio, Pio, Pio'' with your little ones.The t-shirts, onesies and hats are 100% cotton, American-made and most are packaged in a wooden keepsake box. It's the perfect new baby gift all year round. Pick up your LPD products at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shopping for Navidad: Bilingual Toys for Toddlers

North America Bilingual Map Puzzle

Ingenio Toys are THE biggest thing to hit the bilingual toys market. They have a great selection of educational products that parents raising bilingual children will love, like this N. A. puzzle. "Children will love to play with this colorful & informative puzzle while gaining an early appreciation for geography. Helps you teach your child about your heritage and all the wonderful places that you have been to. Includes illustrations of all 50 U.S states, 32 Mexican states and all other North American countries. Learn country & state names in English & Spanish (if different). This puzzle is BIG -over six square feet (0.55 sq. m) when fully assembled! The puzzle pieces are extra thick and sturdy to last a long time . There are 48 large & easy to grasp pieces and store easily in the re-usable box." To check out their other great products, click here.

Bilingual Zingo!

For ages 4 years and up. Bingo with a twist, this game encourages pre-readers and early readers to match pictures and words on game tiles to the pictures and words on their challenge cards. First child with a full card yells "Zingo!" Find these and many other bilingual board games, here.

Magnetic Poetry
Kids Spanish Kit

Fun, fun, fun! 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. Created with the help of native speakers and language educators, 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. Ages 5 and up. Find out more here.

Spanish ABC Puzzle Blocks

From Learning Resources. "Help children learn the Spanish alphabet (A through Z, plus ch, ll and n) with these two-piece wooden puzzles. Each kid-friendly puzzle features a fun picture of something beginning with a given letter and unique die cuts that match the shape of that letter. The wooden storage box with a plastic lid contains 29 two-piece solid wood puzzle blocks measuring 2" x 3.75" each. Box measures approximately 12" x 4.5"." To purchase your set, click here.

Loteria The King of Things/El Rey de las Cosas

From La Mano Press. This awesome boxed set includes beautifully illustrated cards that introduce both Spanish and English words. This fun and educational game can be enjoyed by everyone in the familia. You can find it here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shopping for Navidad: Bilingual Toys for Bebés

I am happy to see so many bilingual toys hitting the market. They are creating many opportunities for learning, acceptance and help to foster a healthy self image. Here are a few of MCL's favorite educational toys for the bilingual baby...

Spanish Alphabet Blocks

Piomu offers a Spanish language set comprised of 28 blocks that provide 4 complete alphabets, 3 sets of numerals, and 28 different animal pictures. The set includes the Spanish letters "CH", "Ñ", and "LL". Made from Michigan basswood, brightly colored with child-safe inks, and handcrafted with attention to detail. The blocks are a generous1 ¾” (44mm) cubed a perfect size for small hands! Check out these and other fine products here.

Bilingual Board Books

New on the market this year, are several products by Bilingual Readers, a new publishing company based out of Madrid. They have released some neat bilingual books and flashcards that are perfect for children learning Spanish or English. We love their set of animal books, which come nicely packaged in their own sturdy slipcase. Sea Animals/Animales del mar and Jungle Animals/Animales de la selva are perfect for children ages newborn to 3 years. The emphasis is on simple vocabulary, and each page focuses on one animal with the name in English above and the name in Spanish below. Parents will love how both board books come with rounded corners and washable pages (Wooohoo!) Learn more about Bilingual Readers here.

¡Bebé Baby! by Sassy

Well, at least someone's trying, no? And I have to admit that this little Piñata Burro Take Along is lindisimo! According to their site, Bebé Baby products combine significant traditional icons of Hispanic culture with fun and innovative attributes of today’s toys, giving parents a unique way to teach their children about the culture and traditions of their home country. Hmmm. Take a look and see what you think...

Baby Abuelita
This company has been around a while now, but their products are still just as good today as they were when they first launched. They feature five soft dolls each of which sings several traditional Spanish lullabies (the favorite in our house is Baby Tita). The best part is that each doll sings a different set of songs, so you can collect them all! Baby Abuelita also carries musical books and has released their first DVD. To learn about all their products, click here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

GIVEAWAY: The New Fragrance from Antonio Banderas: Seduction in Black

Trying to find the perfect regalito for the man in your life? Perhaps he might like Seduction in Black, the new fragrance from Antonio Banderas (seriously, who cares if he likes it? I'd buy it just for the picture!!!)

Seduction in Black suits any man who is confident and seductive. This unique and sensual fragrance is topped with notes of citrus, combining Italian bergamot and black currant with a blend of cassis. The overall scent is tasteful, charming and arousing.

Phew! Sounds good enough to eat, no? Well, I was fortunate to receive five samples from Bratskeir & Company, and I went ahead and opened one to see what it smells like. Let me tell ya, Sisters, all I can say is, I have the picture you see here propped up by my desk and I sprayed the perfume on the lampshade. Now I am having a rendevous with A. B. every day when I sit down to check my email.

And you want to know the best part? If you still aren't sure this is the gift for your man, YOU can get your own sample of Seduction in Black by being one of the first four readers to leave a comment below. Come on, mamas! Let me know what you think (but let's keep it clean, por favor!)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bilingual Christmas Cards from Nos Vemos Greetings

Nos Vemos Greetings is one of the premier lines of bilingual greeting cards in the U.S. If you’re looking to buy one set of cards that you can send to your friends and family who speak either English, Spanish or both, check out their collection. They have six designs available for Christmas, and if you just can’t decide which one you like best, they offer a variety pack.

They also have a wide range of cards to celebrate almost any occasion, including quinceañeras, bodas, get well, birthdays and many more. And be sure to check out their line by award-winning singer, actor and comedian Jade Esteban Estrada. (They are SOOO hilarious! My favorite is his Mother's Day Card...)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

MCL’s Best Latin-inspired Gifts for 2009

Navidad is almost here and I have been scouring the web for some of the best gifts for Latino families to give this Christmas. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some of my favorite finds and maybe you’ll find the perfect regalito to give to your familia, amigos, children or co-workers. Check back with us as we have several awesome giveaways as well!

To kick of in the spirit of the season, check out these wonderful handmade ornaments by CasaQ's Querida collection of fine hand-painted glass designs include La Catrina, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star Piñata and many more symbolic treasures that reflect the Hispanic culture. Each treasure is nestled inside a free luxury gift box with a legend card that describes the history or symbolism behind the ornament's design. Perfect for gift giving, they have been featured in the ALMA awards™, Latin GRAMMYS™ and People en Español's Celebrity gift baskets. Designs measure 3.5" to 6". Prices range from $18 - $35. An elegant and beautiful present for friends and co-workers (or la Tía Concha who’s already got everything else.)

And check out Latin Baby’s Christmas line for infants and toddlers. Help your niños celebrate the holidays in style with a little help from our Feliz Navidad Collection! Treat your bebé to one of our super soft 100% certified organic cotton bodysuits. These lap shoulder creepers come with the sweetest "Feliz Navidad" design embroidered on the front. For toddlers, check out our popular emerald "Donde 'stá Santa Claus?" tees and our crimson "Feliz Navidad" sweatshirts. Prices range from $18.95 - $24.95. But MCL readers get an additional 15% discount by using the coupon code MC21209101 between now and December 31st.

Having a Christmas party or hosting a posada? Why not decorate with some flores de noche buena? These papel picado banners are handmade by Ay Mujer! on etsy. Each banner is 10 feet long with six flags. A most beautiful way to decorate la casa while keeping the sabor Latino. If you have never visited their store before, then stop reading now and get over there! They have some of the most amazing papel picado designs and are happy to do custom work.
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