Apr 152014
 

Baby Shower Favors {Multicultural Kid Blogs Virtual Baby Shower} - Alldonemonkey.com

This post is part of the Virtual Baby Shower being held at Multicultural Kid Blogs.  For more details and to share your own posts, see the bottom of this page.

It seems incredible to me that it has been nearly a year and a half since my baby shower for Little Monkey; yet, when I try to remember our family without his dimpled grin and bright spirit, it seems a lifetime ago.

Today I am sharing the favors I made for his baby shower, inspired by a quotation that to me encapsulates all the hope we carry for the new little beings that enter into this world and the joyous burden that falls to us as parents to help them reach their potential:

“Every child is potentially the light of the world.”        

- Bahá’í Writings

To make these I first create the template in Publisher (download the pdf version here) then printed them on cardstock.

Baby Shower Favors {Multicultural Kid Blogs Virtual Baby Shower} - Alldonemonkey.com

These make lovely cards as is, but I wanted to send everyone home with a little something special, so I simply glued a scented tea light onto each.  I kept several for myself, and they still smell heavenly!

Baby Shower Favors {Multicultural Kid Blogs Virtual Baby Shower} - Alldonemonkey.com

 

Multicultural Kid Blogs - Virtual Baby ShowerAt Multicultural Kid Blogs, we consider ourselves a (very large) extended family, and so today we are taking time to celebrate those members that are about to or have recently welcomed new little ones into their lives. We are so happy for them!

The co-hosts of this blog hop, listed below, have each written posts related to baby showers or more generally about becoming parents, plus we’d love for you to link up yours below.

Also be sure to visit our Facebook page to leave your advice and well wishes for our guests of honor!

Co-hosts

the piri-piri lexicon
Vibrant Wanderings
Creative World of Varya
La Cité des Vents
Spanish Playground
Dad’s the way I like it
Tiny Tapping Toes
All Done Monkey

 


Apr 102014
 

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

As many of you know, we just returned from a wonderful trip to visit family in Costa Rica.  While we were there, we were able to take our little volcano lover to visit two of the active volcanoes in that country, Poás and Irazú.

As a result, I thought this would be a good time to share a fun volcano craft we did a few months ago.  The Monkeys and I actually did it for my husband’s birthday, but it would also work perfectly for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.  It’s easy to do with one child but also makes a great keepsake for siblings, as shown here.

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

We used red and yellow paint for the lava.  Red had the best effect, although yellow turned out okay on the white paper.  If you are doing two or more kids, be aware that the yellow will not show up very well on top of the red, so it is better to either separate the hand prints a bit or do both in red.

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

While Baby was napping, Monkey and I sat down to do step one.  I painted his hand red then made his hand print in the upper half of the paper.  (We did two versions just in case, since this was an experiment!)

Later in the day I painted Baby’s little hand and did my best to do a hand print with them.  He really had fun with the paints!

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

Finally, I added the mountain below so that the hand prints look like lava exploding out of the volcano.  An older child could also do this step.  (Monkey was “too busy working” with his legos at this point so suggested that I do it).

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

I was the only one who thought my humor was funny, but since I had the pen it didn’t really matter lol ;)

Have an explosive day and always remember that we lava you!

 

 

 

Apr 022014
 

Lessons Learned from Language Learning - Spanish Playground on Alldonemonkey.com

Today’s post comes to us from a very dear friend, Jennifer Brunk.  Jennifer writes about language learning and resources for teaching children Spanish on Spanish Playground.

What do children learn as they acquire a second language? Vocabulary, grammar, culture, history, geography… All of these, no doubt, but there are other lessons that come with learning language, too.

I believe that learning a second language shapes children and their view of the world. These benefits may be harder to define than higher test scores or job opportunities, but they are just as important and lasting.

As children acquire more than one language, they learn:

The point of language is to understand and be understood. To be successful, children must learn to listen and be respectful of others.

Languages, cultures and interactions are complex. Children understand that their perception is not the only one possible, because it is interpreted and expressed slightly differently in each language. As they learn two languages, children see that there is a lot they don’t see. They learn to be open to exploring a situation, rather than making assumptions.

Variation is a given. Native speakers of the same language say things differently. Living this reality in more than one language helps children internalize that different is not a question of right and wrong.

Content is more important than form or presentation. Children learning two languages learn to listen for ideas. They focus on the message rather than being distracted by accent or appearance.

Language is powerful and it is a privilege to speak more than one. They can understand that they have a responsibility to use their skills to help others. They learn to appreciate the power of words and to use them carefully.

The globe is theirs to wander and absorb. They learn that each language brings new territory to explore and that when they can’t travel, language will transport them through stories, movies, and music.

Learning never ends. They are aware of what they know in one language and not the other and understand that they will keep learning their entire life.

Photo Credit: David Light Orchard via Compfight cc

Spanish Playground

Jennifer raised her three children speaking English and Spanish, and she has been teaching Spanish to other young world citizens for over twenty years. On her blog Spanish Playground, she shares resources for parents and teachers of Spanish language learners.

Mar 312014
 

Iceland: Pancakes, Chocolate Soup, and Geysers {Around the World in 12 Dishes}

It’s time again for my (this time only a bit late) 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 visited Iceland.  When we pulled out our children’s atlas, of course my budding geologist spotted the volcano and geysers right away.  He has studied quite a bit about volcanoes, so I thought it would be fun to explore about geysers.  We talked some about how they are related to volcanoes then I found some videos online showing actual geysers.  Here is one of the Strokkur Geyser.

Monkey and I got a big kick out of Little Monkey’s reaction to the video.  His eyes got huge, and he cried out “Agua!  Agua!  Aguaaaaaa!”

I showed Monkey some of the recipes I found for Iceland, and no surprise he opted for pancakes and “chocolate soup” rather than fish stew :)

Both were big hits.  Icelandic pancakes are quite a bit like crepes.  I did not alter the recipe I found, so I won’t repeat it here.  They should be very thin and are often enjoyed stacked, sometimes with a filling.  If you are used to cooking the thicker pancakes we make in the US, be careful not to burn them, as these cook much more quickly.  (Not that I speak from experience, ahem).  They would go great with maple syrup!

Iceland: Pancakes, Chocolate Soup, and Geysers {Around the World in 12 Dishes}

The chocolate soup was also delicious.  The spices smelled just heavenly.

 

Iceland: Pancakes, Chocolate Soup, and Geysers {Around the World in 12 Dishes}

I have to admit doubling the amount of sugar for Monkey, who really wanted hot chocolate.  I was curious that the website said that this is often served as a main course, but it made more sense once I realized that it isn’t very sweet.  I remember when I was in Bolivia that a cup of chocolate would often be served as dinner in many poor households.

Iceland: Pancakes, Chocolate Soup, and Geysers {Around the World in 12 Dishes}

Well, ours was served as a delicious afternoon snack with perhaps a few marshmallows, but we still learned about geysers, didn’t we?

What have you been cooking with your children lately?

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 Iceland, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



Mar 262014
 
Today’s post comes to us from my good friend Jaime of Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.  We have a lot in common, including a love of easy, delicious family dinners! 
I love my Crock Pot!! Without it, many nights we would not eat. The kids might enjoy that because it would be popcorn and yogurt every night, lol. I love being able to put everything in it in the morning and walk away and come back later to a meal ready to eat.  The Potato Corn Chowder with Ham is just one of our favorites.
Potato Corn Chowder with Ham~ crock pot dinner
 

Continue reading »

Mar 242014
 

Maple Syrup Fudge from Canada {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you click through and make a purchase on Amazon, I receive a small commission.  We appreciate your support!

It’s time again for my (once again, very late) 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.

I was so excited to see Canada on our schedule.  Not only is Monkey’s perennial favorite Caillou from Canada but so is maple syrup, a recent fascination of his thanks to another virtual friend – Curious George!  Yes, I like to think my husband and I are major influences on Monkey, but the truth is that all he really seems to absorb is what comes from a favorite character (or his preschool teacher).

Ever since Curious George visited a sugar shack (where the sap from a maple tree is turned into syrup), my Monkey has been very curious as well to try maple syrup!  (Btw if you don’t want to invest in a big bottle of maple syrup, our local Target sells small 100 mL bottles that are perfect for quenching your child’s curiosity without breaking your bank).

To get us in the mood, we found some great books about maple syrup.  The first, Maple Moon, is a really beautiful book based on common native legends about the origins of maple syrup.  In this story, a young boy who often feels left out because of a handicap ends up saving his village from a difficult winter when he discovers the golden syrup.

 

 

 

A much lighter book is Pancakes for Supper.  It is all about a quick-thinking pioneer girl’s adventures in the woods amongst the wild animals when she is accidentally bounced out of her parents’ wagon.  I was worried it would be a bit too S-C-A-R-Y for Monkey, but he had fun seeing her convince the animals to put on her brightly colored winter clothes (in exchange for not eating her!)  What does this all have to do with maple syrup?  Well, not too much, except that in the end her parents are so happy to see her again that they all eat pancakes (with syrup!) for supper.

 

 

When the time came to choose a recipe with maple syrup, my problem was narrowing down all the options!  Since we were busy getting ready for a family trip, I decided to go with something easy, this delicious maple syrup fudge, a traditional treat from Quebec.  (Many thanks to Valerie of Glittering Muffins for sharing the link!)

But before we got started, Monkey and I first did a taste test.  I lined up bottles of honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup then had him close his eyes (quite a task for a curious 4 year old!)

Maple Syrup Fudge from Canada {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

As it turned out, to the untrained little tongue it can be difficult to tell the difference among these!  In particular he kept mixing up the agave nectar and the maple syrup, perhaps because of the similar consistency and because he is less familiar with them than he is with honey.  But the funniest part was when he gave his opinions about how they could be improved: “Needs more salt!”  “Add a little milk.”  (I think he thought he was Anatole the mouse, leaving notes on wedges of cheese!)

Once we determined that he loved all of them, it was time to make our maple syrup fudge.  I have to confess here that this was made while packing for vacation, while trying to keep my toddler from dismantling the kitchen, so it didn’t quite turn out as beautifully as in the original.  But let me tell you, the taste was still wonderful!  I mean, let’s be honest: any recipe whose principal ingredients are maple syrup, butter, and cream just can’t turn out wrong.  (I apologize for the quality of the picture – as I said, we were packing for vacation!)

Maple Syrup Fudge from Canada {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

The original recipe is in French, so I am including below an English version (courtesy of Google Translate) with my notes about substitutions.  Enjoy!

Maple Syrup Fudge (Quebec)

Ingredients

500 ml (2 cups) maple syrup
45 ml (3 tbsp.) Unsalted butter
250 ml (1 cup) 35% cream (For the cream you can also substitute 3/4 c of milk and 1/3 c butter – a bit more butter if you are using low fat milk)
5 ml (1 tsp) Vanilla

Preparation

  1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  (I just greased a loaf pan).
  2. In a saucepan, pour maple syrup and butter.  (If you are substituting milk and butter for the cream, add that butter at this time)
  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes.
  4. Stir in cream (or milk) and cook until the temperature reaches 118 º C (245 º F) on a candy thermometer.
  5. Let stand five to eight minutes.
  6. Stir the mixture with an electric mixer ten minutes at high speed.  (I skipped this step because my littlest was tired and ready for bed, but it really does make a different in blending the ingredients together to make creamy fudge).
  7. Pour into mold and refrigerate before cutting.

 

What have you been cooking with your children lately?

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 Canada, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



Mar 192014
 
The following post is from our dear friends The Sugar Aunts.  So excited to share one of their great crafts with you today!

Thanks for having us over to share a craft today, Leanna and All Done Monkey readers!   We are big fans of Leanna and her blog so it’s an honor to share our Fine Motor Flower craft today. 

We are big fans of incorporating fine motor skills for kids into crafts, play, and activities.  We try to make our crafts fun while working on developmental skills at the same time.  This fine motor flower was no exception!

Kids will practice fine motor skills when creating this spring flower
We needed a few supplies for this fun flower: dry pasta, red paint, red construction paper, green paint, green construction paper, tongue depressors, and a recycled egg carton.

 

Fine Motor Flower craft - Sugar Aunts on Alldonemonkey.com
We started with hearts we already had from a previous activity.  We made a Noodle art garland craft back at Valentine’s Day and re-used those hearts for these flowers.  It was a great fine motor activity and also very fun!  With our noodle hearts ready to go, we painted a few tongue depressors with green paint.

 

Fine Motor Flower craft - Sugar Aunts on Alldonemonkey.com

The hearts were glued to one end of the tongue depressors and green leaves cut from construction paper glued in the middle.  We painted a few sections of egg cartons green and cut a slit into the cardboard of the egg carton.  This was a job for Mom, to keep little hands safe!

My Little Guy was able to push the bottom of the tongue depressor stems into the egg carton slits.  He especially loved doing this part of the craft.  Pushing the tongue depressors into the egg cartons is a great way to work on those fine motor skills, as holding the tongue depressors encourages a tripod grasp.  The resistance of the egg carton provides a little feedback and strengthening. 

Our flowers are looking pretty on our window sill and I love that we re-used an old craft.

The Sugar Aunts are three sisters who blog about all things creative in motherhood.  They love playful learning, creative kid’s crafts, sensory and fine motor activities, kid’s party themes, DIY, and so much more.  Between the three Aunts, there are 6 cousins (with more on the way!) who are around each other so often, they are more like siblings than cousins! You can see the action at www.sugaraunts.com.  Follow along on Pinterest, Facebook, Google+Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Mar 182014
 

7 Challenges Faced by Multicultural Families (And Why They Can Be Advantages) - Alldonemonkey.com on Moments A Day

Multicultural families face challenges similar to other families, yet they are complicated by the blend of cultures and family traditions.  Most multicultural families, however, will agree that facing these challenges is more than worth the trouble, considering the benefits of raising children who learn to value differences from an early age.  Some might even argue that multicultural couples are usually quite well prepared to tackle thorny issues… and these issues can even bring them closer together.

Today I am so pleased to be visiting friend Chelsea at Moments A Day to discuss 7 common challenges faced by multicultural families – and why they can be advantages.

What challenges is your family facing?  How are you turning those challenges into opportunities for growth?

Mar 162014
 
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #14 - Alldonemonkey.com
Hi, and welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!
The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can’t wait to see what you share this time!
I am fortunate to be hosting this blog hop with three of my favorite blogging buddies, Frances of Discovering the World through My Son’s Eyes, Jody of Mud Hut Mama, and Kristin of Toddling in the Fast Lane.
It’s very easy to participate in this blog hop! Just follow these simple guidelines:
  • Be a sweetheart, and kindly follow your hostess and co-hostesses:
  • Follow us via email, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Please let us know you’re following us, and we will be sure to follow you back.
  • Link up any creative kids culture posts, on anything from language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no giveaways, shops, stores, etc. When you link up your blog will also be shared simultaneously on our co-hostesses websites. :)
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
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  • Please grab the button code above and put it on your blog or the post you’re linking up. You can also add a text link back to this hop on your blog post. Note: By sharing your link up on this blog hop you are giving us permission to feature your blog post with pictures, and to pin your link up in our Creative Kids Culture Feature board on Pinterest.
  • Don’t be a stranger, and share some comment love! Visit the other links, and comment. Everyone loves comments!
  • The following blog hop we will each feature posts from the previous link up. If you’re featured, don’t forget to grab the button below:
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
<div align="center"><a href="http://alldonemonkey.com/category/parenting/raising-global-citizens/creative-kids-culture-blog-hop/" title="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" target="_blank"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ajb4TxSmYlI/UTDtNW_oCLI/AAAAAAAAGOY/g-TYeax5flc/s1600/featured+culture+button+2-email+small+size.jpg" alt="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

 

Here are my picks from our last blog hop:

Having a Chinese Tea Ceremony - Marie's Pastiche

We learned how to have a Chinese tea ceremony from Marie’s Pastiche.

Great Books for Kids about the Arab World - Pragmatic Mom

We discovered great books for kids about the Arab World from Pragmatic Mom.

Now let’s see what you’ve been up to!

Mar 142014
 

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

From March 2 to March 20, adult Bahá’ís in good health observe a fast in preparation for our new year (Naw Rúz) on March 21.  Today I am so pleased to share with you this post from my friend Chelsea, of Enable Me to Grow about an activity to share the spirit of the Fast with young children.  For more ideas, you can also see our Fast Challenge Bag and follow our Bahá’í Parenting board on Pinterest.

Several years ago, I brainstormed some ideas about family traditions we might like to start during the Fast.  I wanted it to be something the kid(s) could look forward to that makes the Fast a special time, and also some way they can be more involved in the Fast before they can physically fast themselves (at age 15).  Here is an easy project that only took a couple nights to complete.

First of all, the inspiration for this project was from a lovely tradition where the family lit a candle for each night of the Fast (one candle on the first night, two on the second, and so on), so that by the last night there was a lovely arrangement of candles to mark the end of the Fast and the beginning of Naw Rúz.

I loved this idea.  However, seeing as it doesn’t get dark during Fasting time until maybe 9 pm (and my son goes to bed at 7), I decided to modify it a bit and make a “Fasting Tree” using flowers instead of candles.

The day before the Fast starts, we collect sticks for the “tree”, which we put in a vase on the mantlepeice.  Then during family prayers on each morning of the Fast, we place one flower ornament on the tree so that by Naw Rúz there are 19 flowers.

I used store bought flowers in the interest of time, although felted flowers would also be lovely.  I used these Frangipanis, which reminded me of being at the Shrine of the Báb, since there was a Frangipani tree nearby.

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

I simply cut up the flowers as necessary and used green and yellow pipe cleaners I had already to make an easy way for them to attach to the sticks.

In order to help remind us of the purpose of the Fast, I added a short quotation about the Fast on a leaf for each flower so that we can discuss the quote on the ornament during family prayers.  For a full list of the quotations, see the end of this blog post.

I cut the leaves out of construction paper.  To make them more sturdy you could laminate them or use packing tape on each side.  Then I punched a hole in order for the leaf to attach on to the pipe cleaner.  I attached the leaves which came with the flowers back onto the pipe cleaner, so that it will help the paper leaf stay on.

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

Here’s the finished box of flowers.

Spring Flower Countdown {The Baha'i Fast} - Chelsea Lee Smith on Alldonemonkey.com

By Naw Rúz we will have a lovely tree full of flowers!

 

Quotations used for our Fasting Tree:

“We have ordained obligatory prayer and fasting so that all may by these means draw nigh unto God”
“We have forbidden men from following whatsoever might cause them to stray from the Truth”
“We…have commanded them to observe that which will draw them nearer unto Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Loving.”
“Cling firmly to obligatory prayer and fasting.”
“Verily, the religion of God is like unto heaven; fasting is its sun, and obligatory prayer is its moon”
“Observe ye the commandments of God for love of His beauty”
“We beseech God to assist His people that they may observe the most great and exalted Fast”
“protect one’s eye from beholding whatever is forbidden”
“withhold one’s self from food, drink and whatever is not of Him”
“Fast ye for the sake of your Lord, the Mighty, the Most High.”
“Restrain yourselves from sunrise to sunset.”
“Well is it with the one who fulfilleth My decrees for the love of My Beauty”
“We, verily, have commanded all to observe the Fast in these days as a bounty on Our part”
“His Law is a fortress unto you, could ye but understand.”
“Cling ye to the cord of God’s laws”
“fasting and obligatory prayer constitute the two mightiest pillars of God’s holy Law”
“Fasting and obligatory prayer are as two wings to man’s life.”
“Act ye in accordance with what ye have been commanded in the Book.”
“It is not for anyone to exceed the limits laid down by God and His law, nor should anyone follow his own idle imaginings.”

For more ideas, don’t miss this wonderful post from Enable Me To Grow with ideas from other young families on sharing the Bahá’í Fast with children. You can also read about our Fast Challenge Bag and follow our Bahá’í Parenting board on Pinterest.

Enable Me to GrowChelsea Lee Smith is a mother of two and is passionate about empowering families with tools for character education so that they can contribute to making the world a better place. She blogs at Enable Me To Grow offering activities, ideas and resources for character building and more.