Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kiss the Chef!

There are so many wonderful titles available that focus on multicultural foods and food traditions around the world. Some of them focus on one particular ethnic treat while others concentrate on finding the commonalities between popular ethnic foods.

Comparing food between cultures has always intrigued me. For example, that most cultures have some type of portable meal wrapped in bread; Hungarian pierogies, burritos from Mexico, pork buns or egg rolls from China, wraps or sandwiches in the United States, empanadas, stromboli or calzone, the list is virtually endless. Even regional dishes such as New Orleans Po'Boy sandwiches or hot weiners from Rhode Island make the list. Below are some children's titles to spark your interest in exploring new foods with your young ones. Seek out recipes and pair a book with a new meal. Even picky eaters might be interested when they have seen the food in another context or played with it in a non-threatening dramatic play setting.

Some scenarios:

Dim-sum lunch
Read Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger
or Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin

Have fun using the Good Fortune Chinese Food Play Set by Small World Toys or make your own with wooden chopsticks and clay!

Try a simple recipe for one or two items or find them frozen at the market. Pork buns and dumplings are easy to find.

Tamale or Jalapeno bagel breakfast (with or without actual jalapenos!)

Read Jalapeno Bagels by Natasha Wing (for preschool or school-age kids) and then make some!

Read ¡Hola! Jalapeno by Amy Wilson Sanger and pair it up with the Hispanic play food set by Learning Resources which includes a tamale or make real ones!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It takes a village

As we get closer and closer to baby's "birthday", I think about how realistic our plan to raise baby with two languages may or may not be in our community. In my last community in South Florida, I had at least one friend and colleague speaking exclusively Spanish with her young daughter. Here in our current town, I think it's time to find other bilingual families (especially Spanish and English speaking ones) to help model "mommy" language for me and to spend time with in order to foster more language practice and interaction. What are your experiences with building a community of bilingual families in your local communities?

Though I am bilingual, Spanish is my second language, learned while living with a Bolivian family in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia in 1991 and 1992 as a high school exchange student. I am certified as a bilingual teacher but most of my Spanish is now related to education and early childhood vocabulary instead of parenting. Also, my husband is monolingual but has some Spanish and German language background. I plan to use Spanish 100% of the time when interacting with my son, other than some English songs and reading. I plan to also sing traditional spanish lullabies and children's songs and read to him in Spanish.
Has this worked for anyone? I am eager to hear about your experiences! Please leave your comment.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Laptop lunch winner

Even though I only had two readers enter my first giveaway (thanks for the fun rainbow eating ideas!) I used a random number integer generator at random.org and Happy Birdycake is the winner of the Laptop Lunchbox! I am going to offer a choice between the Laptop Lunchbox pictured below or this kid-friendly Bento Box! Just leave a comment with which prize you prefer and it'll be on it's way to you soon! Congratulations!

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Eat the Rainbow!/Laptop Lunch Box Giveaway

For a fun Spring shift in your normal eating routine, why not try eating the rainbow today? Challenge your kids to create a meal using plant products in all the colors of the rainbow! You could design it first and then eat, or eat as your find each color and keep track on a separate page. Green is probably the easiest, (though it might be fun to try something new like kiwi) so here are some ideas for the other colors:

red- peppers, tomatoes, berries, apples,cherries, (kidney beans-protein), watermelon
orange-carrots, peppers, sweet potato,papaya,pumpkin
yellow-peppers, tomatoes, banana, pineapple,tangerine, (garbanzo beans-protein), spaghetti squash or other yellow squash
green-kiwi, avocado, broccoli, honeydew, kale,lettuce, spinach
blue- berries, cauliflower, blue potatoes, blue corn
indigo-boysenberries, plums, prunes, (black beans)
violet-red grapes, blackberries, eggplant, purple cabbage

Leave a comment with a list of your rainbow foods today and be entered to win a Laptop Lunch Box, pictured below*
Can't wait to see your creative ideas! Winner will be chosen at random; contest ends at midnight Pacific coast time on Friday, May 8, 2009.

*Food not included!
Laptop Lunch boxes are phthalate, bisphenol A (BPA), and lead free. Photo courtesy of Laptoplunches.com

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

On the Verge

I am sitting here on the verge of parenthood. In just a few short weeks (more or less) a never before seen human will appear and all of a sudden (I am told) life as I know it will be forever altered. This is big. I know, I am not nearly the first or only person to experience this. But it is the first time I have experienced it. The swelling belly, the tiny movements that belong to someone else within my skin, the "hosting" of a separate being. I have spent hours and hours with children of many ages, but this is something different. I have a host of knowledge about many child-centered topics, yet question marks seem to dot my every thought like buzzing bees in my head. I think what I am saying here is: I know nothing and will only begin to learn through the eyes of my child. So, ideas about bilingual children, organic gardening, or meditation mondays aside for the moment, the journey and the adventure are just beginning.

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