Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cool CD giveaway!

The SpanglishBaby blog is giving a fun contest, ending tomorrow.  You can check it out here.

The habla blah blah CD is meant to be a tool for parents to sing along with their kids and help them learn Spanish.  There are fun songs about getting dressed, eating breakfast, and other every-day activities written by an educator mama.

What makes this CD really unique is that the singers have accents--American accents, that is.  Why would they do that?  To give us confidence to sing along, of course!

As my girlfriend Kathryn used to say, "Why do you worry about your accent when you speak Spanish?  Didn't you always want to get to know the cool foreign guy?  Well, now you're the cool foreign girl!"

This CD is your Kathryn--  Check it out!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: Global Wonders Mexico, Interactive DVD

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I would review an interactive DVD produced by "Global Wonders" that explores Mexican culture. While I do try to limit my toddler´s TV time, I tend to let him watch a bit while I´m nursing the baby so I figured I would give it a try. Unfortunately, I think my 18 month old was a little young for the video.

Instead of giving up then and there, I decided to bring it along to one of his playdates, where one of the boys is 3.

This DVD is one of a series of cultural videos--Global Wonders also has interactive DVDs for African American, Indian, and Italian culture, among others. In this video, there are 3 main characters: Marisa (from Mexico) and her friends Trey and Brianna. As they have a playdate at Marisa´s house, they help the viewer learn about Mexican culture.

The characters are cute and lovable and the animation is very well done. I also enjoyed the "language jams" (where Spanish vocabulary was reviewed) and songs. Preschool age is definitely the appropriate audience. The video was a good length--about 30 minutes.

While I am not, of course, as familiar with Latin America as I am with Spain, I do feel that the video tried to take on a bit much. Topics included the big sister´s Quinceniera, Mexican food, holidays such as The Day of the Dead, leaders and famous people, music and dances such as the Rumba, and more. I felt that it was a lot for a small child to absorb. On the other hand, it would be a great tool to use as an introduction to Mexican culture, followed by detailed lessons on each of the topics.

All in all, I think it was a very well made DVD, a lot of fun to watch and sing along with, and I would be interested in taking a peek at a Spanish Culture DVD if they decide to create one!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ay! Que Pica!!!

The other evening we got together with another couple for a homemade Mexican dinner.  

I was super-excited as I have have not had good, authentic Mexican tacos since we moved to Pittsburgh from Atlanta!  I have had fish tacos a few times, and I never was a big fan, but these were fantastic.  Chuy told us that is was all in the combination of salsas--he is so right!

First, we had salmon tacos:

Small, corn tortillas were heated up and folded in half with soft cheese.  They used mozzarella, but any "queso blanco" will do.  

The salmon was cut into bite-sized pieces and fried in a little bit of olive oil, then stuffed in the taco.

Finally, it was topped with a sweet salsa called "Chipotle con Miel".  ricisimo!

Next, we tried the ceviche tacos:

I have always been intimidated by ceviche, and only order it in restaurants.  However, it was fantastic and seems pretty simple to make.

You take a mild, white fish (they used tilapia) and cut it into small, bite sized pieces.  Put the pieces into a raised dish and cover the pieces with lemon juice.  Leave it in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, add chopped onion, garlic, and spices like freshly chopped cilantro.

Again, the trick was in how you put together the taco.

Here, we used a crispy round taco, topped with guacamole, then the ceviche, and finally a salsa cruda like pico del gallo.  mmmmmm!

After dinner, all was calm:  the adults were talking (the men sipping "Caballo de La Hacienda" tequila), the babies were sleeping and Victor was playing with their daughter Vale....or so we thought!

We looked up and Victor had somehow reached up to the table, grabbed the bowl of salsa picante and a spoon and was now downing it like a soup!  We noticed just as the jalepenos were taking affect....and the screaming began.  Poor little guy--he didn't want to be left out of the feast!  I just hope that his Mexican food experience will be better next time!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Will You Be Mine?

This weekend we got together with some friends for an American tradition: making Valentines Day cards for the grandparents. 

I wasn't sure how it would go (often I feel as if I'm tearing Victor away from such important things as investigating teeny tiny pieces of paper on the ground to do these "silly" crafts), but it was a success--two completed Valentines for his American Grandparents and Great-Grandmother.

If you're in the mood to make some home-made Valentines Day cards, here are some things that worked for us:

  • Office Supply Stores like Staples carry blank 3x5 and 5x7 note cards (remember the stuff you used to make flash cards for all of that foreign language vocab?) that work great for this and fit, folded in half, into a standard envelope.

  • Crayola makes washable "stamp markers" that have kisses and heart designs that are super easy for toddlers to manage.

  • Stickers are tons of fun and an easy way for little hands to make a cool design.

  • You can also cut little hearts and kisses out of construction paper and help your little one stick them to the card stock with a glue stick.

  • Get a washable ink pad or finger paint and make hand and / or feet prints to record this moment.

  • My friend bought an adorable stamp that read "handmade by:" and had the boys (okay, the mommies) "sign" underneath.