Thursday, April 29, 2010

Toys my children ACTUALLY play with- Gamewright Giveaway

In January I reviewed a game that the boys received for Christmas from their grandmother, HISS. This fun matching and snake-building game continues to popular in our house.

I was very excited when the makers of HISS, Gamewright, asked us to review another one their games, Can You See What I See? Finders Keepers Game. Go here to see why we loved it.

Would you like to win Can You See What I See? Finders Keepers Game for your kids? Here is what you need to do to enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. Open to US residents only. Winner will be announced May 15th.

1. Visit Gamewright's website and tell me which game would you child ACTUALLY play with.

For addtional entries:

2. Follow Gamewright onFacebook.

3. Follow Gamewright on Twitter.

4. Follow My Bilingual Boys on Google Friends.

5. For two additional entries, blog about this giveaway.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this game to review but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Toys my children ACTUALLY play with- Gamewright Review

Why we loved it:

1. Vocabulary Building- Many of the hidden objects are uncommon (thimble, spring, top) and so Diego has learned quite a few new words by playing this game. So far we have only played in Spanish but I see this as a great way to build his vocabulary in English and French in the future.

2. Versitile- The game includes the rules for two ways to play. One for younger children and one for older children (8 and up.) This means that the boys will be able to use it for several years to come.

3. Durable- The cards, like the ones found in HISS, are very sturdy and can even stand up to being play with by Mateo. :)

4. Fun- The boys have very much enjoyed playing with this game. Diego is very much into reading hidden picture books so I knew that this game would be a hit.

Giveaway tomorrow...

Please check back tomorrow. I will be posting the Toys my Children Actually Play With post with an added bonus-- a great giveaway from Gamewright.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Giveaway- Spanglish Baby (Ingenio Toys)

Check out this awesome giveaway at Spanglish Baby. You could win 10 (yes, I say 10) toys from a great bilingual toy company, Ingenio.

Buena suerte!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Easter pictures- Better late than never

I am so far behind on my scrapbooking. I would love to blame by blogging but I have always been way behind. I fully intend to continue the boys' scrapbooks but for now I am happy that my precious photos are being preserved here also. With that said, I am posting some of the pictures from our various Egg hunts this year. Between, a hunt at my parent's over Spring Break, one at Diego's preschool, one with the kids from our Mom's group, and one at our house on Easter Sunday, we WAY overdid Easter this year. By the last one, the boys had lost some of their enthusiasm for hunt. Still it was a lot of fun and we made some great memories with friends and family.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Farm living is the life for me.....

Recently Mateo and I had a rare, just the two of us, excursion. We were invited to a birthday party at a farm. We had a great time together and it was fun to spend some one-on-one time with him.

He spent much of the morning following around this farm dog. This kid is quite an animal lover.

He got to explore a wooden train.

And.... he rode a pony for the first time. He did not want to at first but when it was time to get off, he started yelling "MAS, MAS."

Spanish product reviews

We were lucky enough to recently win the CD Sing-a-Lingo from one of my favorite Spanish learning blogs, Wanna Jugar Withmigo.

We have amassed a large collection of children's music CD's in Spanish because I like to surround the boys with Spanish music while they are playing in the house or riding in the car. It is another great way to expose them to more Spanish speakers with different dialects and vocabulary. We also enjoy it just because we like to sing and dance.

Who would I recommend it to: This is a great CD for beginning Spanish students (both children and adults.) The words are very clear and repeated several times. Each song has a theme (such as washing your hands or setting the table) to teach relevent vocabulary and phrases. There is a translated version of the songs included for non Spanish-speaking parents.

Why we love it: Since we speak Spanish at home, the vocabulary was easy for my sons to understand. We still enjoy listening to this CD because the songs are so darn catchy. You can't help but sing along. Our favorite song is Marcha (March). This song teaches commands by having the kids march, jump, run, walk, and dance. I just wish they would put out a French CD too!!

Toys my children ACTUALLY play with- TRIO

It is no secret that my boys love to build. We have many different types of building toys that get rotated through the toy cycle. Diego received a box of Fisher Price TRIO building blocks shortly after his birthday. He enjoyed them a lot but they got put back in the closet and forgotten about for the last couple of months. Well, he spotted them last week and they have been used daily ever since.

Here is the picture of the airplane/helicopter that you can make with our set if you follow the directions.

Fisher-Price Trio Airport

Pros: Great for imaginitive play. (See pictures below.) Diego has created bugs, dinosaurs, robots, planes, a castle, and even a jail.
Great for practicing following directions. The directions for making the items above are easy to follow and Diego can do it by himself. (Although he usually creates his own.)

Cons: The pieces assemble fairly easily except for the blue rods. I remember when Diego first played with this toy a few months ago he would get frustrated because you need quite a bit of strength to insert the blue rods. He now seems to have no problem with assembly.

Overall: This a great addition to our collection of building materials and keeps the boys very busy while I cook dinner. The recommended age is 4-7 and I would agree that four would be the minimum age to be able to assemble the parts.

Here are some of Diego's creations (the middle one is a camel, so I was told:)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Giveaway- Spanglish Baby

My favorite site for all-things bilingual, Spanglish Baby, is giving away another CD. They actually have great giveaways every week. If you are looking for products or articles about raising a child bilingual, you really have to visit this site.

The giveaway this week is a CD called Fiesta Mexicana by Sones de México Ensemble. My husband's family is from Mexico and some of these songs reminded him of his childhood.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What my child is reading...

Our stack of library books stands at about twenty five this week. I declared before we entered the building that we were only going to pick out five new books since we have a few left over at home from last week. Well, I forgot about the ten that I had reserved and waiting for me about our new topic of study, bugs. We have checked out quite a few books lately that neither I nor the boys have liked so they were only read once and returned to the library shortly after. Here our favorites from the last couple of weeks.

The hands-down favorite was Mañana Iguana. We read this book every day for over a week. It is a bilingual book but it mostly written in English with a few Spanish words thrown in. I thought that this would turn the boys off to it, but the funny story and repetition kept their interest. I had to stop at the end of each page the first couple of times through to make sure that they were understanding. Basically, it is the story of the Little Ren Hen, but it takes place in the desert with an Iguana playing the part of the overworked "hen" and his friends, Conejo (rabbit), Tortuga (turtle), and Culebra (snake) as his lazy friends who make up excuses why they can't help or that they will do it "mañana" (tomorrow.) I highly recommend this book. If you do not know any Spanish, there is a pronunciation guide for the handful of Spanish words. I just noticed on Amazon that this is a series of books so I am going to look for more at the library.
Manana, Iguana
We read quite a few bunny books leftover from Easter. Our favorite was the Spanish version of the Runaway Bunny called Conejito Andarin. Diego's favorite part was definitely the drawing of the bunnies changing into trees, clouds, and sailboats. He liked to tease me afterwards about going muy, muy, lejos (very faraway.) He would tell me he is going to Saturno and that I have to change into an astronaut to go and get him.

The Runaway Bunny (Spanish edition): El conejito andarin
Another favorite library book this past week was En el baño (In the Bathroom.) This funny little book was published in Venezuela and I can't find it on Amazon. It is a toliet training book that explains that toilets are very children and adults but they are NOT for animals. Each page shows what would happen if each animal tried to use the bathroom (the elephant would break the toilet, the mouse would fall in, the goat would each the toilet paper.) Little gross, I know, but it kept the boys giggling.

Head over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns to see other great book reviews.

Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

I am participating in the 2010 Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 minutes for Mom. I am supposed to introduce myself so here it goes....

I am a the mother of two wonderful little boys that we are raising bilingual. I am a "gringa" that teaches Spanish part-time and my husband's family is originally from Mexico. We are very dedicated to raising our sons bilingually so that they can communicate with their father's side of the family. I wrote an article for Spanglish Baby discussing our Christmas traditions as a bicultural family.
Photo by Adriana Villalobos

Photo by Adriana Villalobos

In my blog I discuss:
the toddler and preschool activities that I do with my children (in Spanish, of course!)
challenges of raising bilingual children
learning a third language (we just added French to the mix.)
Spanish books that we love to read
foreign languages CD's, movies, and other products that we love
our favorite toys in our weekly Toys my Children Actually Play with McLinkey

Monday, April 12, 2010

Toys my children ACTUALLY play with- Sharing

I do not get to see my sister and niece as often as I would like but we try to get together at least every two to three months. My boys and their cousin most recently enjoyed playing together over Spring Break. One of the most exciting parts about visiting someone else's house is getting to play with someone else's toys. My kids have WAY too many toys but nothing is never as interesting as something new and different. To avoid having to buy many more toys, my sister and I have started swapping toys every time we get together. Diego will pick out four or five items that he is willing to part with and we bring them with us. My niece then trades them for roughly the same amount of toys. This works especially well with board games and puzzles. (There is only so many times that you can do the same puzzle.)

The picture below is Diego putting together a Melissa and Doug castle puzzle that we brought back from our trip. He would never have picked it out at the store for himself since it is "para niñas), but since it belonged to his cousin, it was acceptable.

If you have written a post (new or old) about a toy that your child loves to play with and you would like to share, please link it up below.

Finally Painting..... or not!

I sometimes feel guilty because I avoid some projects because it is so hard to do somethings while juggling two kids. Especially if one of those kids is Mateo, who is always going 90 miles per hour. One day while Mateo was napping I pulled out the paints since we haven't painted in a long time. Here is Diego concentrating very hard...... for about two minutes.

He decided that he didn't want to paint and asked for his markers instead. He drew a great picture of a pirate ship and, to my surprise, wanted to pose for a picture with it. I guess I didn't need to feel guily after all.

Fun in the Sandbox

We have had just gorgeous weather lately and this is pretty much what you will find the boys doing everyday.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

Diego and I recently had a date to go see the 3D movie "How to Train Your Dragon." I mistakenly told him about the trip about a week before and he asked me constantly when we were going. Finally the day before I told him that we were going "mañana." He asked me, as he often does, "Es hoy, mañana?" (Is today, tomorrow?) Well the day finally arrived and we headed to the theatre. It was Diego's first 3D experience and my first time if you don't count the old paper blue and red glasses that they used when I was a kid. He wouldn't keep the glasses on so he watch the most of the movie blurry. The special effects were awesome but there are some intense parts that might scare some sensitive kids. He and I had a great time and I know that he enjoyed the movie because he asked if they would let us watch it again "ahora mismo" (right now.)

Growing Up

Every month until Mateo was one year old, we would take his picture with a little sign with his age and date so that we could see how he grew throughout the year. Some months he did not want to cooperate (see month nine) and some months I forgot (see month ten) but it is fun to look back at these so I am very glad that we did it. On Thursday, we took a two year old picture of Mateo to add to the collection. He was not interested in sitting still at all and this was the best picture I could get out of thirty but that's our Mateo. :)

Toys my children ACTUALLY play with- Stamp set

When my mother asked for suggestions for birthday presents for Mateo, I pointed her toward a Melissa and Doug stamp set that I have had my eye on for quite a while. I chose this one because Mateo is dino-crazy but also because came with great reviews from Amazon customers. It is basically a set of eight dinosaur shaped stamps, two colors of ink pads, and five colored pencils. Even though the top of the stamps are multi-colored, the stamps obviously come out one color and the kids have to color them (hence the colored pencils.) The boys have had a ton of fun with these several times in the last couple of weeks. I have no action shots since Mateo tends to stamp dino-prints on EVERYTHING if I am not paying attention. The only complaint that I have is that the top of the box has no lid so it is easy to knock the stamps out if they are not placed on a high shelf far away from little hands.

Melissa & Doug Dinosaur Stamp Set

Melissa & Doug Dinosaur Stamp Set

If you have a toy that your child loves and that you would like to share, please link up. It can be an old post or a new post.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Feliz Cumpleaños a Mateo

My baby boy turns two tomorrow. I feel extremely grateful and blessed to have a healthy and happy child but a part of me is sad also. We are not having anymore children so this is the end of the baby stage for us. When Diego turned one we started discussing whether or not to have another baby. Now I can not imagine our lives without him. Mateo is such a blessing to our family. He and his brother are best friends and love each other very much. He can be quite a handful sometimes but as soon as he flashes that grin at you, all is forgiven. He is funny, caring, and curious and we love him very much.

Feliz Cumpleaños Matutis!

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