Sep 192014

Acts of Kindness for Fall |

This post is part of the Mega Cash Giveaway and Fall Linkup from Kid Blogger Network- see details below!

Teaching my children values like showing kindness to others is central to how I am trying to raise my sons.  I draw inspiration from other bloggers who have found many creative ideas to do acts of kindness with their kids, many of which are showcased in our Random Acts of Kindness series.  Now I’m excited to be sharing some wonderful ideas for acts of kindness especially for the fall season!

Acts of Kindness for Fall |

Acts of Kindness: Supporting Schools

Coffee Cups and Crayons: 25 Ways to Make a Difference This School Year – Everything from donating school supplies to waving to school buses!

Sense of Wonder: Reaching Out to a Community in Need – Great ideas for helping underprivileged students

Tutus & Tea Parties: Donate School Supplies – Take advantage of donation drives in your area

Glittering Muffins: Helping Hands: School Supplies – Showing that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a difference!

Kids Yoga Stories: Back to School: Acts of Kindness – Ideas for teaching your child to be a respectful and kind class member.  I love that she includes acts of kindness to do for yourself!

Pennies of Time: Thank a Teacher with Yard Signs – Fun and inexpensive way to thank a special teacher in your child’s life

All Done Monkey: Top Ten Ways to Support Teachers – There are lots of ways to get involved with schools all year round!

Acts of Kindness for Fall |

Acts of Kindness: Hunger Action Month

September is Hunger Action Month!  You can find lots of ways to get involved through Moms Fighting Hunger and No Kid Hungry

The Good Long Road: Ten for Tuesday: Simple Ways to Fight Hunger – From bake sales to playing games!  I love her emphasis on empowering kids to make a difference!

Pennies of Time: Fall Harvest Boxes for Meals on Wheels – Organize your friends and neighbors to give back to the elderly

KC Edventures: Host a Neighborhood Food Drive – An easy tutorial for a food drive you can get ready in less than an hour!

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail: Mini Can Food Drive – A great way to teach kids to give!

The Pleasantest Thing: Easy Ideas to Get Kids Involved in the Fight Against Hunger – Wonderful ideas to get kids involved, including decorating food donations and collecting fresh produce

Coffee Cups and Crayons: 13 Ways Families Can Help Fight Hunger – I love the read-a-thon idea!

The Good Long Road on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Making a Difference Globally and Locally for Hunger Action Month – Great ideas for how to make a difference in your community and beyond
Acts of Kindness for Fall |

Acts of Kindness: Fall Holidays

Toddler Approved on Life Your Way: Make a Fall Kindness Wreath – A wonderful fall craft that also serves as a reminder for how to show kindness

Makeovers & Motherhood: Fall & Holiday Kid-Friendly Service Projects – I love the idea of visiting a senior home for Halloween!

Toddler Approved: Halloween Kindness Box – Such a creative way to keep kids focused on others during a holiday that is often “me me me”!

Happiness is Homemade: Free You’ve Been Booed Printables – If you’ve never participated in this pay-it-forward game with your neighbors, it is a super fun way to spread Halloween cheer!

Pennies of Time: Fingerprint Turkey Notes – This is a darling craft you can use to show kindness to your neighbors

The Pleasantest Thing: Thankful Nature Walk – A beautiful way to show kindness to nature as well as teach kids gratitude

Live Craft Eat on Lasso the Moon: Thankful Hearts – Sweet activity to help kids recognize others for their kindness


You can find more great ideas on my Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest board:


KBN Mega Cash Giveaway

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As a busy mom to two active young kids, I spend most of my day on my feet – cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, wiping noses, or running around the park.  It is easy to get burned out this way, so I try to remember an important lesson I learned from my own mother and take some time for myself to recharge and regroup.  I often tend to just go go go and sometimes need a reminder to take time to just sit and relax.  This is good not just for me but also for my kids, who get to have a happy, refreshed mom to play with!  It’s also crucial for them to learn by example that everyone needs time to rest and take care of themselves – even Mom!

As fall approaches, my favorite way to do this is to curl up with a mug of this yummy vanilla oatmeal steamer, a family recipe from Costa Rica.  Known as atol, it is also a favorite kids’ drink.  It is nutritious, with all the benefits of milk and oatmeal, with just a touch of sweetness.

Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal Steamer (Costa Rican Atol)


Milk (whole milk is best for real creaminess) – approx 1 1/2 cups per serving

Oatmeal (either instant or rolled, depending on desired consistency)


Dash of vanilla

Whole cloves

Cinnamon sticks (or can use powdered)

Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal Steamer and Learning to Take Time for Yourself |

The exact amounts of each ingredient depends on your preference.  For example, I like a lot of oatmeal, while others like just enough to thicken the milk.  As seen above, powdered cinnamon can be used, though it will give the drink a light brown color.

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and hit on medium-low heat, stirring constantly until thickens.  Remove cloves and cinnamon.  Serve warm!  Best enjoyed with your feet up and eyes half closed :)

Be sure to check out more Mom wisdom and great ideas for enjoying milk!

Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal Steamer and Learning to Take Time for Yourself |

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sep 152014

Costa Rica Craft: Carretas {Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop} |

Today is Independence Day in Costa Rica, so we have had fun making a special Costa Rica craft!  If you have traveled to Costa Rica, chances are that you have seen the beautiful carretas, or ox-carts, that have become a popular form of folk art.  These carts, which once were necessary to carry coffee beans from the country’s central valley to the coast for export, are today used mainly as decoration.  Indeed, we have several miniature versions around our house, including a refrigerator magnet!

Costa Rica Craft: Carretas {Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop} |

Carreta on display at a hotel in Costa Rica.  Most are painted red, but all have beautiful designs like the ones shown here.

The carretas are recognized internationally.  In fact, in 2005 UNESCO declared the oxherding and oxcart tradition of Costa Rica as a masterpiece of the intangible heritage of humanity.  Here is more information (in Spanish) on this beautiful tradition, and here you can see a present-day carreta workshop.

So this past week the Monkeys and I have been hard at work to create our own carretas, to celebrate, as Monkey put it, Costa Rica’s birthday. (Costa Rica, along with most other territories in Central America, became independent from Spain on September 15, 1821).

Costa Rica Craft: Carretas {Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop} |

We started with two open cardboard boxes, which we gave a base coat of (mostly) red paint.  They also painted the wheels – Monkey with the traditional red and Little Monkey with his own design.  I had originally planned on using the tops of large yogurt containers, but the boys spotted some small paper plates in my craft bin and insisted on using those.  Because these aren’t as strong, I ended up gluing several together for each wheel and reinforcing them by gluing the yogurt lids to the underside.

The next day was designated for decoration, but I think the boys were not quite as excited as they had been the previous day, because after making a quick dot pattern on one side of his carreta, Monkey declared that he was finished, and Little Monkey soon followed suit.

Costa Rica Craft: Carretas {Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop} |

Still, there was renewed interest several days later when it was time to attach the wheels.  I made holes in the boxes and wheels with a knife, then threaded them together using sturdy straws as axles.

The fun thing about this craft is that you can actually play with it when you are done!  Next I plan to stabilize the wheels a bit more, but for the time being the Monkeys and I are satisfied with our tico-americano creation.  Happy Birthday, Costa Rica!

Costa Rica Craft: Carretas {Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop} |

Be sure to check out our craft last year – a Costa Rican farol (lantern)!  You can also find more great ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month on my De Colores board on Pinterest.


heritagemonthWelcome to the Third Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop, hosted this year by Multicultural Kid Blogs and 22 of our member blogs! Don’t miss our amazing giveaway, and share your own posts at our linky!

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15 every year, “celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America” (from

Be sure to visit all of the participating blogs (listed below) and follow our related Pinterest boards:

MKB HHM Twitter PartyDon’t miss our Twitter party “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage with Kids,” Tuesday, September 23, from 9 – 10 pm ET! Follow #mkbhhm to participate!

MKB Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop: Participating Blogs

Multicultural Kid Blogs

All Done Monkey

Spanish Playground

Kid World Citizen

Mommy Maestra

Inspired by Familia

Entre Compras y El Hogar

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Spanglish House

Crafty Moms Share

Toddling in the Fast Lane

Mama Tortuga

Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Our Whole Village

Changing Plate

A Life With Subtitles

Spanish Mama

Pragmatic Mom

Daria’s Music

My Favorite Multicultural Books

Trilingual Mama

Mundo Lanugo

The Good Long Road

Ana & Zelli

Hispanic Heritage Month GIVEAWAY!

This year to celebrate we are giving away fabulous prizes! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post for a chance to win!

Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.

Grand Prize Package

Smart Play PadSmart Play Pad (SRP $ 24.99): Interactive tablet like electronic toy makes early learning fun and exciting for little ones. More than 30 touch sensitive keys teach language and pronunciation skills to help prepare children for school. Bilingual feature helps kids learn in English & Spanish. Lightweight and truly portable for on-the-go learning. Ships to US and Canada only.

Traditional Mexican toys and games.

A basket of fun from Escuela Falcón in Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico. This prize includes educational games, ceramic Day of the Dead skulls, a hand-painted ceramic box, wooden toys, and a certificate for 5 hours of Skype Spanish lessons with Escuela Falcón.

LanugoA basket from Lanugo that includes Lanugo’s new book, “Lula la Consentida,” a limited edition “Latino de Corazón” infant apparel, and Seventh Generation’s earth conscious baby product essentials. US shipping only.

Spanish games for kids.

A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.

DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.

DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.

Bilingual poetry book from Lee and Low.

Spanish poetry book for kids from Lee and Low.

A Movie in my Pillow and Poems to Dream Together – Books of poetry in English and Spanish from Lee and Low.

First Prize Package

Peru prize basket - Kid World CitizenA child’s sweater and bag from Peru courtesy of Kid World Citizen. The handmade, wool sweater is typical from the Andes and might fit a child ages 2-4. The little backpack is also handmade with gorgeous details typical of the region.

Spanish games for kids. A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.

Spanish songs for kids.

Chocolalala – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.

Spanish songs for kids from Mariana Iranzi.Hola Hello – A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.

Spanish poems for kids.

Mis primeros poemas – A book of poems and audio CD for Spanish learners from All Bilingual Press.

Spanish color activities from Mundo de Pepita.

Digital download of Spanish Colors Activities Pack with printable minibooks, games and activity pages from Mundo de Pepita.

Lingua ToysSpanish activity book with an audio CD with listening exercises for kids between 3-10 years old (value: 12€) from Lingua Toys.

Bolivian GuiroHand-crafted guiro (traditional instrument), hand-carved from a gourd in Bolivia with a sun and moon pattern. Great instrument as well as a piece of folk art. From DARIAMUSIC. US shipping only.

Second Prize Package

Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua.

Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua courtesy of Spanish Playground.

Spanish ABC book from Libros Arellano.

Spanish book for kids from Libros Arellano.

¡Las letras! and Señorita Bienvenida en el aeropuerto – Two children’s books in Spanish from Libros Arellano.

Spanish songs for kids from Mariana Iranzi.

A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.

Children's songs in Spanish from Mister G.

ABC Fiesta – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.

High frequency words books in Spanish.

Digital download of 6 printable Spanish high frequency words books from Custom Literacy.

Guatemala purse - Alarcon RestaurantsHand woven and leather Guatemala coin purse, a fun and vibrant gift. Given by – from their Gift Gallery in Antigua Real Restaurant, Mukwonago WI.

Bonus Prize: France Shipping Only!

Las piñatas de LalyBeautiful piñata created especially for this contest by Piñatas de Laly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Link Up Your Posts Now it’s your turn to share your posts! The linky will be open through October 15, so come back and share throughout Hispanic Heritage Month!

Sep 112014

Learning About Culture Through Play: Saudi Arabia |

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it. This month we travel to Saudi Arabia!

We are behind in cooking our dish, but we have been having a lot of fun learning about Saudi Arabia in the meantime!

Learning About Culture Through Play

Monkey and I love to read together, but I’ve also found that he really enjoys (and ultimately retains information better) when we do hands-on activities.  For a Westerner, one of the most striking aspects about Saudi culture is dress.  And since kids love to play dress up, I realized this would be a great window into Saudi culture and a way for Monkey to really imagine what life there might be like.  Read about traditional Saudi dress.

Learning About Culture Through Play: Saudi Arabia |

I found an old long-sleeved work shirt of mine, which was so long on Monkey it mimicked the flowing thawb worn by Saudi men.  I used a white pillow case as the head covering and secured it with a black cloth headband.  He looked adorable!

Two important aspects of culture that emerged were 1) ideas about modesty and 2) practical ways to deal with the local environment.

Modesty was a new word for him, but we had talked about privacy for your body.  We talked about how people in different parts of the world have different ideas about modesty.  So just like we wouldn’t go outside in just our underwear, people in other cultures wouldn’t go outside with bare arms and legs.  So the dress in Saudi Arabia serves the purpose of helping people be modest.

Learning About Culture Through Play: Saudi Arabia |

But it is also a practical way to deal with the extremely hot environment.  We talked about how we are used to wearing less clothes in hot weather, but this is not the case in other places.  Why would this be so?  As it turned out, we did have some examples where we layered on clothes when it was hot: we wear hats when it’s really sunny out, and the Monkeys wear shirts in the pool.  Covering up can protect us from the sun!

It was also a great opportunity to introduce more science by talking about how light colors, especially white, reflect the sun’s light and so help keep us cool.  This came in handy soon after when I had to convince Monkey not to wear a black T-shirt outside on a very hot day!

Learning About Culture Through Play: Saudi Arabia |

A lot of learning packed into an afternoon of dress up!  And just as important, Monkey had so much fun!  This type of experiential learning is so important when learning about other cultures, as children really learn what it is like to “walk in someone else’s shoes.”

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Saudi Arabia, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:


Sep 082014

Outdoor Fun with Kids: Explorer Unit |

This post is part of the Fall Outside Play Ideas for Kids from All Things Kids.  See the end of this post for more details and to link up your own posts!

Looking for ideas for outdoor fun with kids?  Promote your little ones to the Explorer Unit!  Pack up your bags, head out to the woods, and wait for instructions from HQ in this fun DIY adventure:

Today’s post actually comes to you courtesy of my amazingly creative older sister Amy.  She is the one who should really have a blog – except that she’s far too busy being awesome!  So instead it falls to me to share with the world one of the many super fun adventures she has with her kids:

This morning, I told the kids that there was going to be some pretending … Then when I could get them by themselves, I said that I’d gotten a secret message the night before, I didn’t know who from, to go to a certain place by 9:15 and to be ready for adventure. We went to a park with trails.  I had set up my phone with an alarm that they’d never heard on it before, and at 9:15, the alarm went off: “Guys! It’s Headquarters! We’ve been promoted to the Explorer Unit!”

I then hit snooze (for 20 min), and each time the alarm went off, they knew it was HQ calling!  First HQ revealed that there were backpacks for each of us in the back of the car, and in each of these was a badge (fancy, right?) and our mission: My daughter’s was to make a map of this uncharted territory, my son’s to keep track of animals that we saw, and mine to write other observations.

HQ also called us with the Explorer Unit promise that we had to recite: “Explorer Unit works together — ALWAYS!”, which we pledged, putting our hands together, about 50 times on the trip. When we realized we had no lunch, HQ told us that they had dropped our lunches from an airplane up ahead (awfully easy to drop these around in the woods while the kids are spread out looking).

We had a BLAST!!!! Secret missions are a HIT!

Some Fun Variations

- scavenger hunt at the zoo
- collecting as diverse a set of leaves as possible. To submit our collection to HQ, we picked out the best and “laminated” them between two adhesive sheets and sent them off.  On my own, I cut them out of the sheets and then put them in the mailbox on Thanksgiving.  The kids got a special letter from HQ telling the kids that HQ was finished with the leaves and wanted to return them for a Thanksgiving decoration (which was lovely, by the way — they spread them out on the table and hung some of them up).

Fall Outside Play Ideas for Kids | All Things Kids

Today the bloggers of All Things Kids are bringing you a series of great Fall Outside Play Ideas for Kids from All Things Kids.  Be sure to check out all the links!

But we also want to see your great outdoor fun ideas!  Share them below:



Sep 052014

Children's Books that Teach Life Lessons |

I was provided complimentary copies of The Pandas and Their Chopsticks and The Horse Raid for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Sometimes books are just for fun, and Monkey and I love laughing over them together.  But I also love finding books for him that teach a lesson, especially when done well.  A book that makes a great point is valuable, but only if the kids will actually read it!  Finding that fine balance between teaching and entertaining is difficult – it’s something I struggle with in the character building classes I help teach for Monkey and his friends.  The books below strike this balance well – they keep kids’ attention without diluting their message.  In short, we think they’re great!

Children’s Books that Teach Life Lessons

Children's Books that Teach Life Lessons |

The Pandas and their Chopsticks by Demi is a lovely collection of animal tales with a moral at the end of each.  Similar to Aesop’s Fables, most are only a page or two long.  Kids love animal stories, and all of the tales are all so clever that kids (and parents!) will be totally charmed.  Many of the stories – like the turtle who could not keep his mouth shut – are guaranteed to get big laughs, while others are more thought-provoking.  All are sure to become bedtime favorites!

Children's Books that Teach Life Lessons |

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael B. Kaplan is hilarious.  Betty Bunny is a self-professed “handful,” and kids will enjoy Betty Bunny’s love affair with chocolate cake.  More importantly, they will relate to her struggles to be patient and wait to have her dessert until after dinner.  My favorite part is the dialogue among Betty Bunny and her siblings, which rang very true for me.  Monkey and I both enjoy reading this one again and again.

Children's Books that Teach Life Lessons | Red or Blue, I Like You! is another wonderful Sesame Street book.  I mean, how can you go wrong with Elmo?  While the metaphor of red and blue monsters is not exactly a subtle way to talk about race, it’s one that young kids can understand easily.  I love that Elmo is so nonchalant about the different colored monsters (and even humans!) in his neighborhood.  This book is a great way to show the power of friendship to overcome stereotypes and demonstrate that, in the end, we all love to just eat and play together!

Children's Books that Teach Life Lessons |

The Empty Pot, also by Demi, is another real gem.  It is a simple tale, beautifully told, that elegantly demonstrates the courage needed to tell the truth, and the rewards that come from this powerful act.  The Emperor holds a contest among all the children in the land to determine who will become his successor.  But when Ping feels he has failed at the task they were given to perform, he must decide whether presenting his best – an empty pot – is good enough.

Children's Books that Teach Life Lessons |

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson is a very popular book, and it’s easy to see why!  The main character’s father has a clever way to get rid of an enemy – make him enemy pie!  While his father cooks up the mysterious dish, the boy must do his part by spending a whole day with his enemy and even being nice to him.  The suspense of the book is wonderful, and ultimately it seems to me like a modern version of Never Say A Mean Word Again, which I reviewed recently, as the boy learns that the best way to get rid of an enemy is to turn him into a friend.

Children's Books that Teach Life Lessons |

Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior by Paul Goble is a wonderful find for older children.  Younger children will enjoy the incredible illustrations, which are a treasure in themselves.  I love that the book comes with well-researched introductions that rescue the practice of horse raids from the negative light in which they are typically cast by outsiders.  Instead, these notes and the story itself show how the raids were a respected way of demonstrating bravery and establishing oneself as a warrior, as the main character attempts to do in this suspenseful tale.

Sep 022014

Cottage Cheese Cake and Learning About Ukraine |

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.  This month we stay in Europe to learn more about Ukraine, the beautiful country currently going undergoing so many hardships.

We were getting ready for a trip, so I chose to make a simple cottage cheese cake, called zapikanka.  (Monkey and I had fun saying this!)  It is so yummy!  You can make it with any kind of fresh fruit.  I opted to use raisins (most of which seemed to disappear into the mouths of my little helpers).

Cottage Cheese Cake and Learning About Ukraine | Alldonemonkey.comDon’t be fooled!  They are just stealing the raisins.

It is just as light as described but quite sweet – for my taste it is more of a dessert than a breakfast dish, as suggested in the recipe I found.  Ultimately, whether you like this dish or not hinges on whether you like cottage cheese.  Though it does bake up like a cake, this doesn’t change the texture so much that someone who doesn’t like cottage cheese would become a fan.  But if you do like cottage cheese (even just a bit), this will be a big success!  I really loved it and was only a little sad that the boys didn’t – more for me!

This time I tried to do more extension activities to teach Monkey about Ukraine.  We did a weather around the world activity, comparing the temperature in Ukraine to that of other places around the world.  While it does get much colder there during the winter, at this time of year the weather is quite similar to ours.

Cottage Cheese Cake and Learning About Ukraine |

I also asked Monkey to make a Ukrainian flag out of Legos.  Two seconds later he showed me the flag on the right.  When I asked him to make one, you know, bigger, promptly took another two seconds to make the one on the left.  Smarty pants.  I took the hint and moved on to another activity…

I didn’t find many contemporary stories from Ukraine, but we read some wonderful folk tales.  I was interested to see that most of them (like many folk tales) had some kind of violence in them, a testament to how life was (and perhaps, how it still is).

Sirko and the Wolf: A Ukrainian Tale is a beautiful book that tells of the friendship between a wolf and a dog.

The Cat & the Rooster was definitely Monkey’s favorite.  It is the story of a clever cat who saves his friend Rooster from the sneaky Fox.  I was skeptical that it might be a little s-c-a-r-y for Monkey, but if he was psychologically traumatized, he didn’t show it!  In fact, he asked for it again and again.

The Rumor of Pavel And Paali. A Ukranian Folk Tale.  This tale of two brothers was an interesting read for me but one that I didn’t share with Monkey.  It was just too violent, as the kind brother takes out his eyes to trade for food from the greedy brother.  Ultimately a tell of the triumph of good over wickedness, good to discuss with older children.

 Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Ukraine, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:


Aug 292014

Dances of India: Multicultural Children's Book Review |

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

I absolutely love discovering new multicultural children’s books for the Monkeys, especially ones that are so fresh and different.  Dances of India by Kyra Khanna, Malini Sekhar, and Alyssa M. Torres is just such a book – unique, colorful, and engaging.  The boys adore the book, and I love that it appeals to both of them despite their age difference (preschooler and toddler).

Since we spend so much time focusing on Latin America and the boys’ Costa Rican heritage, it is a treat for me to have such a great resource on a different part of the world.  I truly felt like I was learning right alongside them, as we read about the various dances of India.

Dances of India: Multicultural Children's Book Review |

Dances of India takes kids on a journey throughout the musical subcontinent, as they discover four very distinct forms of dance.  I can only imagine how difficult it must be to make this vibrant art form come to life from the flat page, but that’s exactly what happens.  Little Monkey always bounces in his seat as we read this one!

What really stands out about Dances of India are its lively illustrations and a rhythmic text that fairly dances off the page.  It is so fun to read!

Dances of India is the first book in the Little Loka Series, created by two moms who wanted more multicultural books and experiences to share with their young children.  Even better?  These amazing mamas feel so strongly about paying it forward that part of what they earn will go to support young leaders/social entrepreneurs in India!  Definite win-win for everyone :)

Dances of India: Multicultural Children's Book Review |

Their vision is to provide more than just your average board book – rather, they want to provide an experience for children and adults, so you will find ways to continue the fun and learning on the Little Loka website, such as an overview of how to “free your dance” with your kids!

So if you are looking for a new, unique book to enjoy with your kids, I highly recommend Dances of India, the first in the Little Loka Series!

Aug 262014

Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Pops -

It was my turn recently to take snacks for the virtues class I help put on for Monkey and his friends.  I was inspired by my friend Frances’ recipe for Puerto Rican limber (an alternative to ice cream).  She was kind enough to chat with me about it, and soon the idea came together for a treat taking advantage of the last of the wonderful ripe summer strawberries: strawberry cheesecake pops!

They were easy to make, and the kids and moms all enjoyed them.  I should add that it also tastes good without freezing, as a sort of milkshake.  Here’s how you can make your own!

Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Pops -

Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Pops


1 lb cleaned and sliced strawberries

3/4 small can of sweetened condensed milk

6 – 7 crushed animal crackers (could also use 3-4 graham crackers)


Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until well blended.  Adjust to taste.  Keep in mind that you should make it slightly sweeter than you normally like, as freezing tends to dull the sweetness.

Pour into small Dixie cups and freeze overnight.  Enjoy!

Aug 212014

Family Travel: Benefits and Challenges of Traveling with Young Children | Alldonemonkey on Kid World Citizen

Traveling with young children presents particular challenges: You have to figure out what to pack and how to keep them occupied on long plane rides and car trips. But it also offers certain benefits, such as experiencing the wonder of new places through your child’s eyes. Many parents of little ones debate whether it is worth the trouble or if it is better to simply wait until their kids are older. What should you do?

Today on Kid World Citizen I am sharing some factors to consider as you make a decision: Is travel with young children worth it?  What do you think?

Family Travel: Benefits and Challenges of Traveling with Young Children