Spanish resources for home or school

I'm excited to share with you a resource that I found for my six year old daughter, who has been interested in learning cursive.  In kindergarten, she mastered printing by using a copywork book, and in her goals for this school year, she decided she would like to learn cursive.  Another goal of hers was to learn to read in Spanish.  We are all bilingual readers in our house, and she wasn't going to be left behind.  In the traditional fashion, I began by teaching her the vowel sounds and progressed with syllable based readers. Since she's already reading in English, the progress has been quick.  Sometimes, I just have to remind her that "me" in English is different that "me" in Spanish.  

Back to the recommended resource.  I have always been a fan of the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum, and was very excited to see that they have a set of books for Spanish learners.  This book is not cute or fancy to look at, but the methodology and instruction inside is just what I like, repetitive with visual and verbal cues for writing.  She feels successful every time she uses it, and is reviewing syllable breaks and pronunciation, both necessary for Spanish reading.  This, while she is mastering the fine motor skills required for cursive writing.  You can find a video of our short lesson @semillas_bilngues on Instagram. (affliate links included)

Connecting with Spanish books

After a lovely  trip to Mexico, and taking a bit of time to have a more traditional summer break, our house like may across the country and world are gearing up to return to school.  Whether that be homeschool , private school, or public school, there always seems to be a feeling of new beginnings, something akin to a New Year's resolution in the air.  How will our children spend their precious extracurricular time?  What things will we prioritize for our families? 

In our home, Spanish language exposure always seems to be near the top of the list. I've shared how I am trying to be more intentional about this with my children in other posts, but reading in Spanish is always something I am promoting, hem, pushing...

My US raised Spanish speakers sometimes have a hard time connecting with authentic Spanish literature.  I am very sensitive to translations, but both of these books speak to my kids in a Spanish that they "get".  Love when that happens and they are in stitches and asking to read more!  Bilingual Mama win!

 there are some good ones available on Amazon.  (affliate links are included)

Insta Pot Love

Ya’ll, I fell in love at first sight with the Insta Pot in Alpine, Texas over shredded chicken tacos.  I couldn’t believe the innovation of  a kitchen appliance that could turn frozen chicken breasts and a jar of salsa into something so flavorful in twenty minutes.  I love my slow cooker as much as any busy parent, but it definitely has its limitations, and somehow, all the food seems to start to taste the same.  I have definitely been in a rut lately that not even Pintrest could get me out of.  I envied friends who took the time to prep ahead or make meals ahead on the weekend. I simply couldn’t get myself to follow through with it regularly.

This past weekend after a few weeks of insane business, that always seem to sneak up on me with May, I decided I had to have one.  Anyone who has chatted with my lately knows that my family has been on a journey of minimalism and intentional living.  I really try to be thoughtful about my purchases, and hadn’t reached they point of convincing myself that I really needed to have this kitchen appliance. Between end of the year school projects, events, family obligations, kids sports activities, wrapping up my teaching semester, my husband’s work commitments, you all know what I mean about May….  I had to do something.  

Like every busy parent, I often found myself with all the ingredients that I needed for my meal, but no time to prep ahead or make dinner before my kids had gorged themselves on every snack possible or revolted.  Our dinners ended at 8 pm, right around the time this mama turns into a pumpkin, and my kids know, “Ya no quiero nada, con nadie.”  I could barely stand to be by myself, let alone starting bedtime routines with any tenderness or patience at that hour.  

So, this morning, while at running errands, I sent my husband a text.  A text informing him that I was purchasing my Mother’s Day gift.  I had begun following Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo, and got excited about the possible menus and extra time.  I brought my Insta Pot home yesterday afternoon, promptly setting it on my counter and hitting Pintrest for recipes for recipes for what I had on hand.  I decided on picadillo, a typical Cuban comfort food, jasmine rice with avocado salad, and roasted carrots.

I picked the kids up from school, and we all excitedly began prepping dinner.  While Selena, not Selena Gomez, blared from our speakers, we chopped the veggies, and I began browning the ground turkey in the Insta Pot. Yes, that’s can brown and saute in the actual pot, and then add the remaining ingredients.  After 15 minutes, our delicious picadillo was flavorful and ready.  I decided to use the same Insta Pot to cook 3 cups of jasmine rice.  I would normally turn to my rice cooker for this, as I am notorious for burning rice in regular pot, but after 12 minutes, my rice was fluffy and perfect.  

Following Michelle Tam’s advice, I began pot of black bean soup, where I sauteed onions, garlic and peppers before adding dry beans and broth to cook for 30 minutes while we ate our dinner.  This was a meal that I usually reserved for a home school day, because of the time it took to soak, cook, stir and watch the beans.  ¡No más!  This is now one of the easiest dinners I will make.   

Cooking with my children is one of the things that keeps us most connected in to the Spanish language, and our latino heritage.  Our family enjoys cooking foods from my native Guatemala, but we also love Mexican, Venezuelan, Spanish and Cuban inspired dishes. Tonight we spoke and sang in Spanish, danced salsa, and fed our souls and our bellies with our delicious dinner.  On another note, I don't think I had to remind my kids once, "En español." Spanish is connected naturally to them on nights like this.  

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Libros de 1 a 3 años, recomendaciones de Gaby

Hola! Estamos emocionadísimas de compartir con ustedes nuestra experiencia en esta aventura de criar familias bilingües, en países dónde el Español no es el primer idioma.

Gracias Rita, por compartir con nosotros la serie de libros para pequeños de 1 a 3 años. Yo soy Gaby y junto con Rita, nos hemos aventurado en explorar diferentes maneras de criar hijos de manera bilingue. Mi esposo y yo somos Mexicanos, llegamos a Houston en Julio del 2008, cuando nuestra hija mayor, Camila, tenía un año de edad. Desde entonces, hemos estado en la ardua tarea de encontrar los mejores métodos para que nuestros hijos sigan viviendo su cultura fuera de su país, pero al mismo tiempo integrando lo maravilloso que nos trae vivir en un país como éste.

Ahora tenemos tres hijos, Andrés y Pablo, son nuestros gemelos, ahora ya de casí 6 años y Camila, que esta por cumplir sus 10 años.  Nuestro idioma familar es el español. Todas las conversaciones, de padres e hijos y entre hermanos son en español hasta ahorita.  

Hablando del tema de libros para pequeños, tenemos nuestros favoritos. Desde la edad temprana, uno de ellos es Nacho. Ha sido un personaje que nos ha acompañado en su desarrollo. Aparte, es muy divertido, enseñándoles rutinas con Los Rituales de Nacho, cómo identificar sus emociones con Las emociones de Nacho, etc.  Mis hijos, como muchos niños, aman los dinosaurios y nos hemos topado con algunos que les queremos compartir. El amor a la lectura es algo muy importante para mi esposo y para mí, éstas son nuestras recomendaciones para pequeños de 1 a 3 años.

By Liesbet Slegers
By Liesbet Slegers
By Jeffers Oliver
Editorial Juventud
By Malika Doray Malika Doray

Son pocos, la verdad es que a esta edad lo que les gustaba eran las imágenes y que puedas como padre apuntar el vocabulario de lo que están viendo. A esa edad, no nos sentábamos a leerles historias largas, pero siempre pendientes que estuvieran en continuio contacto con los libros.