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{Guiding Word} Courage

The concept of a guiding word was first introduced to me by Amy of Mama Scout. It resonated with me. The first guiding word I ever selected was compassion, which I've realized it is my guiding word for life. Right now, my guiding word is (drum roll, please): 

       COURAGE
Recently, I realized that so many of the best things in my life came when I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a leap of faith, attempting something I wasn't quite sure that I could do. So, I'm drawing strength from my past as I move forward and focus on living more courageously. Lately, this meant traveling to Rwanda. I spent 2 weeks there and was away from my children/family for 18 days. (I have two kids: Wild Thing, age 8, and Caterpillar, age 6). This was the longest I've ever been away from them. 
It was both wonderful and difficult and much of my writing moving forward on the blog will be about my experience in Rwanda and poems and reflections I wrote while there doing researching for my for…
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{Back to School} Today The Teacher Changed Our Seats

Back to School with Diverse Books

We love discovering new books, especially books that include characters that reflect the diverse world in which we live. Not only does Today the Teacher Changed Our Seats feature a diverse group of students in the classroom as well as an African-American male teacher, but it is also a book that allows for learning discussions and activities around the math concept of grouping and the reality that sometimes teachers do things our children don't like (i.e. separating them from their friends or asking them to sit somewhere new). 


Since grouping is a math concept my 3 and 5 year-old aren't really familiar with, I wasn't sure if the book would engage them, but I was wrong. Wild Thing (my 5 year-old son) LOVES math, so the idea that this book was a book about math excited him. I think he also liked seeing a teacher in a book that was an African-American man, since his dad (who is African-American and Latino teaches filmmaking and digital arts two …

Book Review: Crazy Horse's Vision {Native American Heritage Month Blog Hop}

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month 
Native American Heritage Month is coming up soon (in November). It offers a great opportunity to teach children about Native American history and culture. With my sons, Wild Thing and Caterpillar, I've found that children's books, cultural events and unique outings allow my children to actively engage as they begin learning about Native American history and culture. 
Recently, we've been reading Crazy Horse's Vision written by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by S.D. Nelson. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful illustrations, which look painted. I worried, though, that with 2-3 short paragraphs per page, my boys might not sit and listen as I read the entire book to them. But, they both listened intently.


Crazy Horse's Vision tells the story of Crazy Horse before he was Crazy Horse, when he was a baby and a young boy called Curly, and then as he grew up to be a man, who would, ultimately, lead his people. This time period i…

P is for Plátano: Discovering New Foods

Hispanic Heritage Month: Exploring Different Cultures Through Food
Food, books, music and language are the primary ways we enjoy learning about the world as a family. In April, we traveled to the Dominican Republic, where my husband's mother was from, for a family wedding. 
My boys can be picky eaters, so one of the things I worried about the most was that they would turn their nose up at local food and not respect that their relatives were cooking food for them and learn about another culture through food.
Much to my surprise, they both gobbled Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice), fish straight from the ocean and cooked up beachside and served with fried dough, Dominican salami and eggs for breakfast, and plátanos (plantains) -- both served up as tostones (crispy fried plantains) and fried sweet plantains. Of course, they also ate chicken nuggets and pizza while we were there! 

I have to credit Jessica at Conveying Awareness with Jessica David for inspiring me to focus on plátanos/pla…

Kid Yoga - Mommy & Son Yoga Time with Kids Yoga Stories

Hello, Bali: A Kids Yoga Island Adventure Book 
When Wild Thing (almost 5) brought home his school work at the end of preschool last year, many of the pieces surprised me. In his PreK journal, he wrote often about doing yoga with me. I had no idea how much he enjoyed our Mommy and Me yoga. It made me realize that the older he got (and further away we went from Mommy and Me Baby-Style Yoga), the less and less often we did yoga together. Yet, it was something he truly enjoyed. I realized that I needed to make yoga time together something we did more often. 
Hello, Bali: A Kids Yoga Island Adventure Book from Kids Yoga Storieswas the perfect way for us to engage in yoga together again. Wild Thing loves learning about new cultures, and he loves yoga, so this book is perfect for him. Some of the poses were easier for him and some we will need to practice and practice to get right, but that's what makes it fun.

He's always enjoyed yoga as something he gets to do with mommy, but this bo…

Back to School Tips: Less Stress, More Fun -- Family Traditions and Routines that Work!

Including Ways to Make "Back to School" Special for Younger Siblings NOT Starting School

When a new school year rolls around, I use it as a time to take stock and consider what we need as a family to make us stronger and to reduce stress and disjointed-ness during the busy-ness that often accompanies a school year. I decided to share some family traditions and new routines that have worked my family (or for families I know). Perhaps you'll decide one will work for you or the list will help you assess what your family needs this Fall!



1. Join the Gym (or start another workout routine or exercise experience)

Last year, when Wild Thing (my oldest son) started preschool (his first schooling experience), we used that opportunity to begin a new routine with Caterpillar (his younger brother) as well. I joined the gym with a Kid's Club and introduced the Kid's Club to Caterpillar as his school. (We call it the gym school). Caterpillar has always been a very clingy "mam…

Duncan Tonatiuh Brings History to Life: Diego Rivera in the Spotlight

Read Around the World Summer Reading Series 

We first discovered this book over two years ago when looking for books about Mexico and Mexican history to read for Cinco De Mayo, and we loved it! Duncan Tonatiuh is one of my favorite authors and illustrators. This book, in particular, inspired Wild Thing to explore painting -- something he was previously reluctant to do. It also inspired some cubist play dough activities. We previously shared 4 ways to Move, Draw, Eat and Learn with this fabulous book

I've also added this Tonatiuh book to my "must-read" list: Pancho Rabbit and the Coyota: A Migrant's Tale, which is a modern-day fable that touches on a very important (and timely) topic: immigration. It was brought to my attention recently by Latinas for Latino Lit as they shared a selection of 6 Children's Book About the Immigration Experience.

We're really enjoying all of the books we're discovered through the Multicultural Kid Blogs' Read Around the Wor…