Thursday, December 2, 2010

CSN Review

I recently had the opportunity to choose an item from CSN stores to use and review. They have a wonderful variety of products for the whole family from toys for the kids to home decor. This time I actually chose something for myself. One of my goals for the next year is to cook a greater variety of dishes but I lack quality kitchen tools. When I saw this Calphalon Unison Nonstick 12" Covered Omelette Pan I knew that it would be perfect addition to my kitchen.

Calphalon Unison Nonstick 12" Covered Omelette Pan - 1757199

Here is a picture of my first dish cooked in my new pan, a chicken stir-fry. The meal come out delicious and healthy in part due to the non-stick surface. The pan was also very easy to clean.

My experience with CSN was very favorable. The product was shipped very quickly and arrived within the time stated on the order. The product was properly packed and arrived in good condition. I would recommend this product and CSN stores in general.

Disclosure: I was provided the opportunity to choose and review a product from CSN stores. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CSN Review

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from great cookware to beautiful wardrobes to chic lighting pieces!

A couple of months ago I conducted a giveaway for a gift certificate to CSN stores. Now they have generously offered to have me review a product. Stay tuned to see what I chose to review....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Muy chido

I just thought that this was muy chido (very cool). Diego used his shape blocks to make this casa for his spiders.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


October is fire prevention month and a firetruck will be visiting Diego's school next week. To prepare we made our own firetrucks and read a ton of books from the library.

For Mateo's projects I have to prepare the pieces ahead of time and he sticks them together with his much-loved glue bottle. We talk about the shapes, colors, and sizes of the pieces.

Diego's projects are completely independent. I love to see what comes up with. Unlike Mateo, Diego hates glue and will only use tape.

Finding material in Spanish is always a challenge. I am always thrilled when I come across some free bilingual material like this Fire-Rescue Department Coloring Book from the city of Dallas.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Halloween Letters

Last year Diego and I made several fun Halloween projects and I am in the process of planning this year's projects. Here are a couple of our Halloween-themed letter projects from last year.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My little pajarito

Like I mentioned before, Mateo and I do a letter project while Diego is at preschool. This day we made the letter "C" decorated with "corazones" of different sizes and colors. This isn't a particularly interesting or creative project but I took a picture because Mateo decided that he was a bird and insisted that before we started he needed wings. He tore a piece of paper in two and handed it to me. With just a little bit of tape I had a happy little pajarito. Two year olds are so funny.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

StArt- Frida

One of my favorite artist is the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. I was fortunate enough to see some of her original works and visit one of her homes while staying in Guanajuato, Mexico.

I was very excited to find a children's book that discusses the life and art of Frida Kahlo. We own the Spanish version of this book but it is also available in English. It is worth checking out the book just to see the unique and interesting illustrations.
Frida (English Language Edition)

One of the things that we learned about Frida was that she learned to paint by copying the paintings of other artists while she was bedridden with illness. We had not painted for quite a while so on this lovely autumn day we drug out the easel and painted out in the backyard. The boys (well, Diego) tried to copy some of the paintings from the book. Mateo, who LOVES to paint, had fun mixing colors and ended up painting his arms and face and calling himself "Hulk."

Diego did SEVERAL paintings but one of my favorites was this copy of the skeleton seen below. We will definitely do this process of copying works from different artists again. It was good practice paying attention to detail and sparked his interest in artists.

I am linking this to StArt at A Mommy's Adventures.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hispanic Heritage Month

In the United States Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. We started our activities on September 16th which happens to be Mexican Independence Day. We talked a little about it the day before but I was surprised at Diego's interest in the day. When he woke up on the 16th, I asked him what day it was, expecting him to say "school day." Instead he sat up and reminded me that it was "el día de la Independencia de México." He, of course, was correct and wanted to immediately start to make a flag of Mexico. So before breakfast he made this flag to take to school to show his teachers. I was particularly impressed that he remembered the eagle with the snake in its beak standing on a cactus. :)

Mateo, of course, had to get in on the action so we tried to make a torn paper flag, thinking that he would love to tear the paper. He was not very interested so the flag was never finished.

We read our favorite book about Mexico, Nos vamos a México several times. There is an English version as well called Let's Go to Mexico. I highly recommend it for preschoolers since the illustrations are beautiful and each page takes you on a journey through different parts of Mexico.

After reading the book, Diego searched the pages for symbols of Mexico to make a "pared de México" (Mexican wall.) One of Diego's favorite things is to make a "wall" of different things we are studying. Our house has become quite colorful.
Finally, we talked a lot about how much Mexico means to our family. We looked at maps and discussed that abuelo and abuela used to live in Mexico. I showed Diego the cities that I have visited in Mexico and we looked at pictures of my travels. Here I am on top of a pyramid outside of Mexico City while on a college trip.

I also pulled out the items in our house that came from family members and my travels around Mexico. Here Diego is posing with an onyx chessboard.
We tried to play "balero." Something that I am convinced I will never be able to do.
I think Diego's favorite part would be the fact that he learned that he has been to Mexico and not his little brother. I was three months pregnant with Diego when I took a group of high school students on a trip to Mexico. He will proudly tell you that he has been to the top of a pyramid but he couldn't see anything. :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another great giveaway from Spanglish Baby

I own two puzzles from a great bilingual company called Ingenio. It is very hard to find quality bilingual learning tools for my boys so I would love to win this Mexico Learning Puzzle that is being given away at Spanglish Baby. Check it out and enter to win by October 10th at midnight.

Giveaway- Spanglish Baby

Spanglish Baby is giving away a personalized item of clothing from a fun internet company called Make A Fan. You can choose t-shirts, bibs, or baby items personalized with your child's name to show your support for your favorite Mexican soccer team or national pride celebrating the Mexican Bicentennial. Run over to Spanglish Baby to enter to win.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Learning French- Frog Puppets

One of the biggest challenges to teaching my children French is that I do not know it. Teaching them Spanish has been fairly easy since I just speak and play with them in Spanish. I have needed to run to my Spanish/English dictionary on occasion but for the most part it has not required a lot of work on my part.

My decision to learn French along with my children has reminded me how difficult is it to learn a language as an adult. I am now fluent in Spanish but it has taken me twenty years to get to the level of fluency that my four year old has obtained in the last two years. This has just reinforced my determination to continue with the French while my children are young and they still have the ability to soak up languages like a sponge.

The two keys to success for a non-native speaker to teach their children a foreign language are preparation and fun. Since I do not know the vocabulary or phrases in French myself, I have to learn them beforehand. I make myself cheat sheets with the words and phrases that I want to use during the lesson.

In this lesson I wanted to say (in order):
Are you hungry?
I am hungry.
I am not hungry.
Do you want a fly?
I want a fly.

***Correction from card below. Forgive me, I am a beginner. :)
I am hungry. J'ai faim
Fly. mouche

After I am prepared, I try to make it fun. We painted these green frogs since it was frog week.
Finally, we play in French. I would ask Diego's frog if he was hungry and if he said yes, we would still a fly to his tongue. When his frog's tongue was full of flies, we practiced saying that he was not hungry.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Frog Unit

Our topic of study of the last two weeks has been "ranas" (frogs.) The majority of our activities included reading a ton of books about frogs and various worksheet about the life cycle of frogs that I have picked up from various places.

One of our fun frog-related art projects was these handprint frogs from Handprint and Footprint Arts and Crafts.

A fun surprise this week was finding this little guy out on the patio. He must have known that it was frog week. :) I think the best lesson of the week was researching to decide whether our new friend was indeed a frog or actually a toad. We finally decided that he must be a toad based on his rough skin. It was a great lesson in comparing and researching.

We also spend a great deal of time discussing the life cycle of the frog. A few of our library books gave us enough information to make our own representation of this cycle. We began with the eggs, then the "renacuajos" (tadpoles), then the tadpoles grew legs, and then finally they became frogs.

As usual Diego was a very good student and participated in all of my planned activities. When we are done, however, he always has his own plan. As soon as we finished the life cycle of the frog, he wanted to do the life cycle of the bear. This entailed us taking turns drawing the bears getting bigger and bigger. He is such a funny little guy. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Weren't we going to learn French?

I will admit that our French lessons were non-existent over the summer. Language is very much a use-it or lose-it type of skill so we have had to review a lot of our previously learned material. We are back in the swing of things and I am trying to find fun ways to add a little French into our daily lives. To review some of the vocabulary that we learned at the beginning of the year, I made this simple board game. We use a regular dice and you have to say the name of the object or color in French if you land on it. It is not fancy, I know, but Diego loves to play board games right now so it works for us.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Geography Placemats

I have mentioned these before but I just love the travel magazines that I still receive since I took a group of high school students abroad to Mexico several years ago. Diego loves to flip through the pages and ask me questions about the places that he would like to visit. This day Diego decided to make placemats using the pictures from the magazine.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What Mateo has been up to..

One of the benefits of Diego being in school two days a week is that I can finally spend some one-on-one time with Mateo. I am sure that it is normal for the second child to lack alone time with parents but it has always bothered me.

My children could not be any different. If one likes an activity, you can be sure the other does not. Diego not like to paint with water colors at all. On this morning I discovered that Mateo LOVES it. He painted several pictures for his Papi who was working out of town.

Now I have to correct myself, the boys do have something in common. They both love to build. Mateo has the best fine motor skills of any two-year-old that I know. He can build anything with the tiniest Legos and manipulate these TRIO blocks that used to be difficult for Diego. In this picture Mateo built an "avión."

By this age, Diego knew all of his letters. Mateo can just now identify the letter "M." We are starting to do a letter of the week project to introduce his letters and to work on his vocabulary and pronunciation. Mateo is seeing a speech therapist for a speech delay and other speech-related problems.

Of course when Diego came home he had to make an "abeja" as well. I love his use of bubble letters. I asked him why he wrote like that because I had never seen him do it before. He told me that he wanted to write that I did on the banner we made for Papi when he went out of town.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

End of Ocean Unit

We finished up our summer-long ocean theme a couple of weeks ago. Due to many issues, I am way behind on posting. My blog is a scrapbook of my activities with the boys and I hope that I can keep it up. I am sure that we will redo several projects in the future and it is also helpful to look back and see what we already did. Yesterday I was scanning our activities from last fall trying to get ideas for this fall.

We put most of our projects in the "ocean" that we painted earlier in the summer. They will be hanging in the playroom for a couple more days and then it will be replaced by the next bulletin board. The boys really enjoyed displaying their artwork this way and watching as we filled up our little ocean scene.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Florida Vacation

We were fortunate enough to get to visit my grandpa who lives in the Florida Keys again this summer. My husband could not come with us on this trip because of work but my wonderful mother came along to help keep the kids safe and me sane. :)

Here are some random pictures from our trip. If anyone is planning a trip to the Florida Keys with kids, let me know. I have experienced it twice now and I can give you some pointers to survive, I mean, have a good time.

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