Jul 132018
 
 July 13, 2018  Education, music No Responses »

Are you planning to take your children to a classical music concert but are afraid they are going to get the wiggles partway through? Are you looking for music appreciation tools to keep them engaged with the music during the concert? Here are three fun activity sheets designed for elementary aged children to use during a classical music concert. No extensive knowledge is needed here – these are meant to help kids keep their eyes and ears open during the concert and start to engage with the music itself.

What are your experiences taking kids to classical concerts? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Music Appreciation: Classical Music Concert Activities for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Music Appreciation: Classical Music Concert Activities for Kids

Recently I had the opportunity to take my children to a weekly classical music concert at a local church. I knew I needed something to keep them engaged and learning during the concert, so I went online to find some activity sheets we could take along.

(Notice that I am studiously avoiding saying “worksheets” because that sounds so boring, even to me, and I love worksheets!)

I found quite a few wonderful music appreciation resources that focused on listening exercises in a class or at home, but I couldn’t find anything related to actually taking children to a classical music concert.

Being a blogger, I of course decided to make some of my own! Here are three fun music appreciation activity sheets you can print out and take with you. Just right-click on each image to print!

The first (Concert Scavenger Hunt) can be used for younger children, as it is mostly pictures.

Music Appreciation: Concert Scavenger Hunt | Alldonemonkey.com

The next two are more geared towards older elementary students. (My third grader really enjoyed them). The Program Scavenger Hunt can be done while you are sitting waiting for the concert to start, as they look over the concert program.

Music Appreciation: Program Scavenger Hunt | Alldonemonkey.com

You will want to print multiple copies of the Listening Sheet, as it is designed to be used for one piece at the concert. (Keep in mind that your child may tire of doing this for every piece. I told my eight year old to do a Listening Sheet for three pieces of his choice). A younger child could do a Listening Sheet with help, focusing mostly on the drawing portion.

Music Appreciation: Listening Sheet | Alldonemonkey.com

I would also recommend bringing plenty of blank paper (or a sketch pad) for them to draw. This really helped occupy all three of my children during the concert, even when their interest in the concert itself was starting to fade. I also used it to do tic-tac-toe with my 5 year old near the end, when he was getting particularly restless.

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Spanish Lullabies

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Peaceful Music for Kids

Jul 102018
 

Want to raise confident kids? We all want to raise well adjusted kids who are ready to take on the world, but sometimes it can be hard to know how to best encourage and support them. Here are 5 pro tips to help you set your child on the path to success.

How to Raise Confident Kids: 5 Pro Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

How to Raise Confident Kids: 5 Pro Tips

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the products below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

1. Support Their Dreams

Kids are full of amazing ideas and have a natural inclination to dream big. Ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, and you’re bound to get some fantastic answers! Yet adults often squash these glorious ambitions with a dose of (supposed) reality – this is often done with good intentions or perhaps just carelessly, but either way it just serves to make a child more self-conscious about their dreams.

Instead, find ways to support your child’s passion without pressure or judgment and give them space to experiment. Let them express themselves creatively without feeling the need to step in with a reality check.

And don’t forget to be a role model for them – share with them your own dreams and how you are following your passion!

I love Mia and the Rocket Ship Tree because it takes children’s fantasies seriously and encourages them to let their imaginations run wild. Author/illustrator Boaz Gavish created this colorful work for his niece when he saw the need for more books with girl heroes. And Mia is the epitome of a girl hero – a great role model for confident kids everywhere! The hand paintings showcase wonderfully Mia’s incredible (and tickly!) space adventures with her robot. This is a book sure to excite your child’s imagination and spark their own imaginative adventures.

But what I really love about this book is that when Mia decides to go on an adventure, she sets off despite the fact that none of her friends will join her. She is confident enough in herself that she doesn’t give up on her quest for a good adventure, even when others tried to change her mind. Beautifully creative book to share with your little explorer.

2. Encourage a Positive Outlook

Confident kids are optimistic about the future and are able to put a positive spin on events that don’t go according to plan. Teach your children how to see mistakes as opportunities for growth, and model flexibility and resilience when the unexpected happens. Being able to adapt to changing circumstances and have optimism about the future instills a sense of confidence in your child that she can handle whatever the world sends her way.

I have been a fan of Nikki McClure and her incredible cut paper art since my sister-in-law gave my firstborn a copy of Mama, Is It Summer Yet? In All in a Day, McClure teams up with Newberry Medal winner Cynthia Rylant to create a gorgeous picture book about embracing opportunities and learning from mistakes. This lovely book inspires young readers to see the beauty in each day. I especially love the message that each day is a chance to start fresh and seize the moment. Also a wonderful book for encouraging a love of nature and taking time to enjoy lying in the grass with a friend.

How to Raise Confident Kids: 5 Pro Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Embrace Their Uniqueness

One of the main reasons kids lack confidence is because they feel different from their peers. As adults we have grown to be more comfortable in our own skin, but children usually want to just fit in and not be seen as too “weird.” Help your child gain self-assurance by encouraging his uniqueness and helping him connect with others who share his interests. In the busyness of our every day, we can often slip into the habit of wishing our kids would just “act normal” – usually to make our lives easier, or perhaps because we think it will make their own more stress-free.

But in the long run, encouraging a child’s unique way of being in the world promotes self-confidence and sets him on the path to becoming a well-adjusted, interesting adult.

One of a Kind is a great book to nurture confident kids by encouraging them to march to their own beat. Here is a character who doesn’t mind standing out from the crowd and doing things his own way, from how he dresses to the music he loves. It also lets kids know that even if they sometimes feel so different from everyone else, they can often find others who share their interests.

I love the bold artwork in this book, which will remind your child of a graphic novel. Great book to encourage kids to not be afraid to make a splash.

4. Arm Them with Knowledge

A surefire way to raise confident kids is to arm them with knowledge. As children enter the tween years and are hit with all sorts of physical and emotional changes, it can be confusing and disorienting. Often children feel unsure of themselves and uncertain of how to relate to their peers, who are going through major changes themselves. Maintain open communication and let your kids know you are available for questions and conversations without judgment. Provide them with resources – books, websites, and trusted adults – who can help them understand the changes they are undergoing and begin to think through the grown up they wish to become.

Boying Up: How to Be Brave, Bold and Brilliant is the sequel to the equally brilliant Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular. In this series, actress and scientist Mayim Blalik dishes on all sorts of changes that happen as you go through puberty. The books are packed full of scientific information, all presented in an easy to read and often humorous way. There are also many personal anecdotes from Blalik about her own and her children’s experiences growing up.

The books cover an incredible range of topics – from nutrition and exercise to dealing with stress and discovering your passions. But what I most love is the respect with which the books treat their young readers and their concerns. I also love the emphasis that there is no “right” way to be or to experience puberty. Some kids, for example, may find themselves suddenly interesting in dating, while others may still run the other way at the mere mention of romance. No matter what you are feeling or going through, Blalik has got you covered and reassures you at every turn that you are completely normal and great just the way you are.

Be aware that these books address all topics, including sexuality, very openly and frankly, so be sure to preview them ahead of time. (And for yourself, don’t miss Blalik’s website, Grok Nation!)

5. Inspire Them

Surround your child’s world with role models and encouragement. Make sure they have other trusted adults in their lives that they can look up to, and fill their minds with real life examples of people who have followed their dreams and made a difference in the world. Because in the end, what really will make a difference to them is what touches their hearts and sparks their imaginations.

Every Voice is a danceable album of catchy tunes you and your kids will find yourselves singing long after you turn off the music. But more than just great music, it shares powerful messages that stay with you as well.

“You don’t have to be a cool girl…You can be a real girl.” The lyrics inspire confidence, compassion, and hope, all delivered via original songs from an award-winning artist.

The album is a departure for musician Kira Willey, who is best known for her yoga albums and mindfulness workshops. While there are slower, softer songs here, the majority are heart-pumping tunes your children will love to dance to. And of course, don’t miss guest singer Laurie Berkner, who also teams up with Willey on her “Music You Can Move To” radio series.

Great music for kids with a message you can feel good about!

What are your pro tips for raising confident kids?

Jun 112018
 
 June 11, 2018  Book Reviews, music, natural parenting Comments Off on Encouraging a Love of Nature: New Resources

Raising the next generation of conservationists means encouraging a love of nature in children. Helping children get outdoors and explore is a large piece of this puzzle, as is providing them with resources like music and books that nurture this spark inside them. I’m happy to share with you new music from an Grammy nominated artist and a lovely new children’s book perfect for budding environmentalists. And you could win a free song, see details at the end of this post!

Encouraging a Love of Nature: New Resources | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the songs and book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Encouraging a Love of Nature: New Resources

We can offer children facts about conservation and its importance, yet in order to really influence them, we must also speak to their hearts. This is where art in all its myriad forms can help.

Katherine Dines - Encouraging a Love of Nature: New Resources | Alldonemonkey.com

I’m excited to share that Grammy nominated pioneering indie children’s music artist Katherine Dines has just released two new songs celebrating the planet and a love of nature (watch for a full album release in the fall!)

Earth Day Singles - Encouraging a Love of Nature: New Resources | Alldonemonkey.com

The songs are very gentle and upbeat, something you and your children will both enjoy listening to! I love the incorporation of sounds from nature and how the use of international instruments underscores the lyrics’ message of harmony and global awareness. “Thanks to the Earth” especially borrows from Middle Eastern music traditions to create a beautiful love song to the planet.

“Thanks to the Earth, Mother of life, wake up from Heaven’s embrace. … let springtime warm every face.”

Both songs are now available for purchase, plus five lucky readers will win a free song! To enter this giveaway, which is open internationally, just comment on this post letting us know what brings you closer to nature! Entries accepted through Sunday, June 17, 2018, at midnight PT. Winner will be chosen by random selection.

Another great resource for encouraging a love of nature is the beautiful new picture book Agua, Agüita/ Water, Little Water. This bilingual book is filled with gorgeous illustrations that perfectly complement the poetic tribute to the life-giving force of water. Tracing its origins deep within the earth, the book follows water through its entire life cycle, celebrating its dynamism and the interconnectedness of the natural world.

I also love that this book celebrates the indigenous heritage of El Salvador, where author Jore Tetl Argueta (now Poet Laureate of the San Francisco Public Libraries) grew up. Illustrator Felip Ugalde Alcántara includes native themes and symbols in his paintings, and the complete poem appears at the back of the book in Nahuat, an indigenous language of the region. Beautiful work children and adults will love!

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Apr 252018
 
 April 25, 2018  music, parenting 6 Responses »

Does your child have trouble falling asleep at night because of fears or anxieties? This is unfortunately a common occurrence, but there are ways that you can make bedtime a more relaxing time for everyone with these 5 tips for helping an anxious child fall asleep. Includes a review of a beautiful new children’s album of lullabies in Spanish – be sure to enter the giveaway at the end for a chance to win your own copy!

Helping an Anxious Child Fall Asleep: 5 Tips for Parents | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of La Luna for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Helping an Anxious Child Fall Asleep: 5 Tips for Parents

1. Know the Triggers

You know your child better than anyone, so keep an eye out during the day for things that may be causing anxiety at bedtime. This could be, of course, a major life event or an incident at school, but you should also be aware of what they are watching and reading. Even media considered kid-friendly may be upsetting for a sensitive child. My son once was afraid he would get nightmares after seeing a photo of a shark in a kids’ encyclopedia! Consider how to minimize or manage whatever is causing the anxiety.

2. Create Visual Reminders

One method for helping an anxious child fall asleep is to give them child a concrete embodiment of their fears, such as worry dolls, that they can interact with. This helps them feel in control of their fears and can help them deal with them more easily. This may seem silly or superfluous to us as adults, but children really do benefit from these visuals. Depending on the age of the child, you could have them use a stuffed animal or doll to represent their fears and have them talk to it. You could also Set up a monster trap in the closet, or hang a dreamcatcher over the bed to catch nightmares.

3. Natural Remedies

Consult with your healthcare provider about the use of natural sleep aids. We have had great success with Hyland’s 4 Kids Natural Calm’n Restful Tablets as well as Bach Rescue Remedy Natural Stress Relief Pastilles.

4. Meditation

Simple breathing exercises can help a child let go of their anxieties and calm down for bed. You can also try doing some guided meditations with them. These are great for kids that just can’t seem to shut off their brains at bedtime. I adore Good Night, Animal World: A Kids Yoga Bedtime Story and Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids – both are fun and easy to use with kids of a range of ages (read my full review).

5. Soothing Music

A wonderful way to set the mood for helping an anxious child fall asleep is to play soothing music. A new favorite album at our house is the beautiful La Luna (Canciones para Soñar) from Latin Grammy-winning 123 Andrés. It is the perfect album to put on at bedtime, though I also love putting it on during the day to bring a little calming influence to our busy household!

These Spanish language songs are a mix of classic lullabies like Velo qué bonito and new gems. Infused with the sounds of the Andes, La Luna (Canciones para Soñar) features guest vocalists from Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and the US. Even songs with which I was already familiar, such as Un elefante, are presented with such fresh instrumentation that I never tire of hearing them.

If you are teaching your children Spanish, there is the added benefit, of course, of exposing them to beautifully done music in the target language. I really appreciate how clearly the lyrics can be heard, making it easy for little ones to understand even if they aren’t native speakers.

And I am thrilled that 123 Andrés is partnering with diaper banks in the US: $1 from every copy of La Luna purchased during the first year of its release will go to support the Greater DC Diaper Bank and the National Diaper Bank Network!

Giveaway

And now you could win your very own copy of La Luna (Canciones para Soñar) from 123 Andrés! Simply comment on this post, letting us know your child’s favorite part of their bedtime routine – is it bedtime stories, or a snuggle with a favorite stuffed animal? Let us know!

Contest runs through Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at midnight PT. Winner selected by random selection. US shipping only.

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Creating a Peaceful Home

Apr 052018
 
 April 5, 2018  family, household, music, spiritual education Comments Off on Creating a Peaceful Home: 5 Tips for Families

One of my goals is to create a calm, loving environment for my children to grow up in. In the daily struggle to complete chores and schoolwork, this can sometimes get lost, but I try to keep this goal in front of me to remind me to focus on the bigger picture, rather than what has just gotten spilled or broken or who pushed whom. Here are 5 tips that have worked for me to create a peaceful home. Share yours in the comments!

Creating a Peaceful Home: 5 Tips for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the albums below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commissions at no extra charge to you.

Creating a Peaceful Home: 5 Tips for Families

1. Focus on Yourself

There is no way you can create a peaceful home if you do not have peace within yourself. Find out what helps you keep balance: whether it’s getting up a few minutes earlier than your kids or staying up a little later in the evening to have some time for yourself, practicing meditation or yoga, or making sure to have a coffee date with your best friend once a week. When you have a calm center, you can more easily keep your cool when things go wrong during the day, as they inevitably will.

2. Focus on the Big Picture

Know that things will go wrong, especially if you have young children. I once saw a program for new parents that stated, “If you want to be efficient, don’t have kids.” In other words, children help you focus on the journey rather than on accomplishing tasks quickly and efficiently. This was a big mind-shift for me coming from the workplace, where the emphasis was on achieving concrete goals.

With children you have to look at the big picture – for example, it may take you longer to teach your child to clean up his own mess, but you are helping to raise a responsible adult. If you stop and look at the dandelions and ladybugs with your toddler, chances are you won’t get all of your errands done before dinner, but you are making a heart connection with your child and nurturing her budding interest in the natural world. Often our frustration comes from the clash between reality and our expectations, so if you often find yourself frustrated, it may be time to look at your expectations.

3. Stay Organized – to a Point

While we do have to be realistic about how much we can get done and how well, we can also look at systemic problems that can be corrected to help our day flow more smoothly. If you are constantly rushing to get out the door in the morning, step back and think about how you might organize your household to alleviate this constant stress. Perhaps your children can take on more of the responsibility to make their own lunches, for example, or to pick out their clothes the night before. I have a snack box always stocked that I can just grab as we head out the door rather than having to put something together each time we leave the house.

Again, keep your expectations realistic, and know that you may still be late – the baby always seems to know to poop just as you are ready to get in the car – but at least you can eliminate some of your stress to have a more peaceful morning as you get ready.

4. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation with Your Children

Whatever your religious beliefs, all children benefit from some sort of mindfulness or meditation practice. Whether it’s prayer, yoga, or simply breathing exercises, it is such a gift for children to learn to slow down and clear their minds. In today’s often frenetic world, we can help give them a calm center to return to, to relieve anxiety or simply help them unwind at the end of an exciting day. A mindfulness practice is a wonderful tool in teaching kids to handle big emotions or to deal with difficult subjects like bullying or the loss of a loved one.

In our family, we do some deep breathing exercises and say prayers together in the morning as well as at bedtime. At least once a week we also do yoga together before starting schoolwork. I keep it short as my children are still very young, though I try to push their attention spans a bit to challenge them to work on their lengthening their focus.

5. Create a Relaxing Atmosphere

An easy way to nurture a peaceful home is to play relaxing music. Music is such a great way to set the mood, and I know for myself that it can really help calm my nerves. Which is why I was so happy to receive two incredible new children’s albums that really do create a warm, relaxing atmosphere.

The first is The Land of Yangalele. Yangalele means “happiness” in Kikongo, a language spoken in Congo, the home of one half of the dynamic duo behind this wonderful music collection for children. “Papa Siama” and “Auntie Dallas” wanted to capture the feeling of a family gathering like those from Siama’s childhood, where everyone would sit outside under the stars to share songs and stories together.

And this warm, easygoing atmosphere is exactly what their music creates. As soon as I hit play the very first time we listened to this album, I could feel an instant change in the air. Suddenly I was more relaxed, and the kids were, too. The rhythms are so gentle and fun, and you feel as though you were gathered at the musicians’ feet, creating and enjoying music together. We often find ourselves singing the tunes throughout the day – my personal favorite is Monkey Games! – and it’s impossible to do so without a smile on your face.

Featuring traditional instruments (listen for the mbira on most songs and the shaker on the beautiful lullaby Nalingi Bosembo) and lyrics in English, Swahili, Lingala and Kikongo, these songs are also an opportunity to learn more about the Congo and make a heart connection with what can seem like a very remote place. The liner notes even include a map, a quiz, and a seek-and-find game. Highly recommended.

Who doesn’t love Ladysmith Black Mambazo? I grew up listening to Graceland and so was thrilled to find out that this world-renowned music group has recently put out a children’s album, Songs of Peace & Love for Kids & Parents Around the World, which was nominated for a Grammy last year. Just as you’d expect, the music is incredible, and I love the focus on themes important to children, such as the trouble of communicating with parents (Everything’s So Stupid!). They also sing about important social issues, like racism, homelessness, and respecting women. My personal favorite is Old MacDonald – sung in Zulu! Great to put on when you want to relax and enjoy beautiful music together.

Apr 212015
 
 April 21, 2015  activities, music, Ridvan Comments Off on Celebrating the Festival of Ridvan with Music

This post was originally posted as part of the Walking Through the Garden of Ridván series and is reprinted here with permission from the author, Chelsea Lee Smith.

Ridván has come again and we are having fun celebrating each day with a little activity.

As we have been doing for the past three years, each day of Ridván the children receive a little note sharing a Ridvan related thought of the day (based on a quotation) with an activity to help discuss it. This year I’ve been putting the notes in our “homeschooling mail box” for them to open each morning after prayers.

Celebrating the Festival of Ridvan with Music | Alldonemonkey.com

Two of our activities so far have been based on music. Music is such a lovely way to introduce ideas to children, and listening in and participating in music-making can really uplift everyone’s spirit as well.

On the first day we attended our community’s Ridvan picnic, and shared a special song about Ridvan written and sung by Diana Howlett called “This is the Day.” The song is based on the three quotes below and you can find out more about the CD and even download the lyrics and sheet music on this page:

Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 10)

This is the Day whereon the Ocean of God’s mercy hath been manifested unto men…” (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7)

This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favours have been poured out upon men…” (Bahá’u’lláh, The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 121)

Today our activity was singing the ever-famous song “Garden of Ridván” (to hear and watch a video, plus find the lyrics, visit this page). I also made it into a game by asking the boys to stand up and clap each time they heard the word “garden.” It was a lot of silly fun and I was reminded again how much children love to play and have fun with even the simplest of “games.”

Celebrating the Festival of Ridvan with Music | Alldonemonkey.com

So there are two songs we know for celebrating Ridván – do you know of any others?? Please share in the comments below!

Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan 2013This post is part of the Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan series, where members of Baha’i Mom Blogs are sharing ideas for celebrating Ridvan during all 12 days.

Follow along by visiting this page!

Dec 052014
 
 December 5, 2014  bilingualism, Kid Fun, music 11 Responses »

Spanish Learning Songs for Kids: Whistlefritz CD Review | Alldonemonkey.com

I received a complimentary copy of ¡Sabor! for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Raising our children to be bilingual is important to us, and we are always looking for fun ways to encourage language learning.   So I was thrilled to receive a copy of the ¡Sabor! – a CD of Spanish learning songs from Whistlefritz – to review.

Music is such a wonderful way to learn language, as it makes it easy for children to absorb the rhythms and sounds of a language.  Plus it keeps learning fun, particularly important when teaching a a child who may not want to learn a language just because his parents think it’s a great idea!  In our experience lessons are learned best through play, especially with languages, since Monkey is often resistant to speaking Spanish.  But he loves music and so doesn’t mind what language it is in, as long as it is fun!

And this music definitely is fun — The themes are ones that speak to children: “Juguetes, jugetes, Yo quiero jugar. (Toys, toys, I want to play.)”  And what child wouldn’t agree that “no hay fiesta sin pastel (it’s not a party without cake)”?

The album features Spanish versions of a few classics that your children will already know – like “En el rancho de MacDonald” – but also new favorites.  My kids love “Caminemos en el Bosque/Let’s Walk Through the Woods” – which features a wolf howl!

Spanish Learning Songs for Kids: Whistlefritz CD Review | Alldonemonkey.com

The music itself is also the type that you can’t listen to sitting still. The songs are also lively and upbeat, and the lyrics are interactive, encouraging the listener to make animal noises, shout out a response, or sing along.

Singer-songwriter Jorge Anaya takes the listener on a journey through a fusion of different world music styles, such as cumbia, salsa, calypso, and merengue.  So not only is your child having fun, he is also absorbing some of the musical culture of Latin America along with the language.

Spanish Learning Songs for Kids: Whistlefritz CD Review | Alldonemonkey.com

As a non-native speaker, I really appreciate that the CD includes a booklet with the full lyrics, in English and Spanish.  But this feature had an added bonus that I hadn’t anticipated!  My reluctant Spanish speaker is also an emergent reader.  He loves to read anything he can get his hands on, and thanks to ¡Sabor! he now spends our car trips reading the album lyrics in Spanish!  Sometimes he reads it like a book (even when the music is off), and other times he reads it along with the music, exclaiming as he recognizes the words being sung.

Spanish Learning Songs for Kids: Whistlefritz CD Review | Alldonemonkey.com

I highly recommend this album, whether your children have already been exposed to Spanish or are just getting started.  It is a fun way to encourage Spanish learning even for the most reluctant speakers!  To see for yourself, you can listen to clips of the songs.  For more on this award-winning line of language learning materials (not just Spanish but French, too!), be sure to visit their website.  You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Feb 172014
 

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

It’s funny how the things that should be the easiest to write are sometimes the most difficult.  I am woefully late in writing 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.  While this past month has been quite busy — with the MLK Day of Service Blog Hop, the Black History Blog Hop, and the Showing Kids Love Series — I can’t help but wonder if I was dragging my feet because I was just so nervous about writing about Perú.

Why nervous?  Because this is a part of the world very dear to my heart.  As much as I love my husband’s homeland of Costa Rica, South America was where, in a way, I started my journey to become the person I am today.  Of course, technically this journey started in Bolivia, not Perú, but the two countries have much in common, plus I did make an extended trip to Perú during the time I lived in Bolivia.  (Forgive the poor quality of my photos, taken nearly twenty years ago).

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

So you can see my hesitation at writing a post on this beautiful country.  My space here is limited, and my time to prepare this post even more so, so I already know from the start that what I write here will be inadequate to express the feeling of being in the Andes; the rush I felt the first time I saw those incredibly majestic mountains through the window of my bus; how when we finally reached the altiplano (highlands) the view reminded me of the surface of the moon; the way the beauty of that haunting music can hook into your soul; the poverty, yes, the desperate living conditions, yes, but also the warmth of the smiles, the richness of the culture and traditions, and the surprising diversity of the people.  (Side note for those of you who also grew up in the US – we are not the only diverse country in the world, no matter what we were taught in grade school!)

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

Performance by Baha’i youth from Sucre, Bolivia

My main memory of the food in Perú was actually of how different it was from what I had experienced in Bolivia.  To understand this, you must keep in mind that I was living at the time in the lowlands of eastern Bolivia, which is strikingly different from the highlands we typically think of.  In fact, culturally eastern Bolivia has more in common with neighboring Paraguay or even parts of Brazil.  The people are largely (and proudly) mestizo (mixed), though at the time I was there (mid-1990s) more and more of the indigenous from the highlands were migrating to the lowlands for economic reasons.

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

At a rest stop in the altiplano

Still, the food in eastern Bolivia was very different from the cuisine in the highlands of both Bolivia and Perú, which was again very different from what we sampled once we traveled over the Peruvian Andes and visited coastal Lima, known for its seafood and African influence.  Also keep in mind that at the time eastern Bolivia was just beginning to turn into the economic powerhouse it would soon become, thanks to the discovery of natural gas in the region.  The first McDonald’s was built there soon after I left, taken by everyone as a sign of things wonderful and modern to come.  (Another side note: Rumor had it that McDonald’s imported potatoes into Bolivia to make French fries – even though potatoes originated in this region!  Apparently these native crops were considered not uniform enough to make good French fries).

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

So when we arrived in Lima, fresh from our months in the less developed regions of Bolivia, it was hard not to be starry-eyed.  McDonald’s!  Pizza!  Tall buildings!  (I should add that we felt much the same way when we arrived in Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, which, for the record, had had McDonald’s for quite a long time).  Needless to say we (being young) were more interested in eating pizza and hamburgers than we were in eating traditional dishes, though I should say we did try these, too.  (I seem to recall olive sandwiches…)

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

Group of Baha’i youth from Bolivia, on our way to a conference in Lima, Peru. Who is that tall white girl in the back?

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

Eating pizza in Lima, Peru

So when I needed to pick a dish to make, I called on a good friend from Perú and asked for her advice.  She told me that most traditional dishes are not quick or easy to make.  They are flavorful dishes that require a lot of time and work – not easy to do with a preschooler!  Instead, she recommended making quinoa, that versatile, quintessential Andean grain.  She often makes a simple but delicious meal of this with her young daughter, adding in vegetables or meat as they choose.

Not having cooked much with quinoa before, I went in search of a recipe, and stumbled on a delightful website for Peruvian recipes: Perú Delights.  And the blog truly is a delight to look at – beautiful photos of mouth-watering dishes, some traditional and some with a modern twist.  I have several pinned to try another time, but what caught my eye was her recipe for sprouted quinoa milk.  I was skeptical that Monkey would try a quinoa dish, but he loves milk and alternative milks, so I thought this would be worth a try.  I love milk alternatives but had never heard of quinoa milk, so my curiosity was piqued!

I followed the original recipe closely, so I won’t repeat it here.  Monkey was most interested in sprouting the quinoa.  This is what it looks like after soaking overnight.

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

The sprouted quinoa

I definitely recommend using the spiced water – it really does add incredible flavor to the dish!

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

Getting ready to blend the quinoa with the spiced water

And if you are just starting to incorporate quinoa into your diet, I suggest straining the milk before drinking, though you quinoa lovers out there certainly don’t have to 😉

I really enjoyed this drink, though I couldn’t convince anyone else to try it.  I think, as so often is the case with quinoa, it is one of those things that you either love or you won’t even try.  But if you like quinoa or just are feeling adventurous, I would definitely try this.  It is a delicious alternative to milk, plus it’s super healthy!

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

cancioncitas-book-cover-smallest-imageFor our cultural exploration this month, I revisited materials sent to me by my amazing friend Daria.  She is a wonderful musician and an incredible resource on this part of the world (among others!).

She recently produced a album for children with music from this part of the world, also with an e-book (pictured at left).  The music, as always, is wonderful, and the book is full of information, but given in a colorful, fun format that is very accessible for children.  There are crafts and activities included as well – I’d like to try making the pan flute out of straws!

For more on quinoa, don’t miss this fascinating interview with the Quinoa Ambassador (did you know there was one??)  If you prefer, you can also read the original Spanish version.

What have you been exploring 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 Jamaica, 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:



Jun 192013
 

Music from Childhood - World Citizen Wednesdays - Alldonemonkey.comWelcome to World Citizen Wednesday!

Each week we pose a question to members of the fabulous Multicultural Kid Blogs group and share their answers here.

To find out more about these amazing bloggers, check out the Multicultural Kid Blogs Facebook page and our new Multicultural Kid Blogs website!

This week we ask…

What music your family listen to when you were growing up?

Leanna of All Done Monkey: We listened to a lot of classical music, plus my mom loved John Denver, Simon & Garfunkel, Seals & Crofts, and Abba.

Niceno of Mixed Race is cool too: Seeing that am from the Caribbean … Reggae Music… Mostly Beres Hammond, Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley.

Frances of Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Latin music! Salsa (Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colón, Raphy Leavitt) and Merengue! and of course, Disco! (The Bee Gees, Abba, Donna Summer). Funny enough, to this day that’s what I prefer to listen to.

Emma of Muslimas’ Oasis: The Doors, Van Morrison, Neil young, Tracy Chapman, The Eagles, The Topp Twins, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton … I guess rock and roll and country mostly. But we listened to all sorts. John Lennon too, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, The Band, Robbie Robertsons later Native American inspired stuff, Bob Marley. Mum listened to different stuff than Dad (they were separated) so it depended who we were with too. I still like a lot of the same stuff and then some.

Madre Exilio of Maternidad en 2 Lenguas: This a good question Leanna I grew up with my dad listening to Pink Floyd, Police and Phil Collins my mum to Boleros (romantic music in Spanish). You made me remember me good times!

Stephen of The Head of the Heard: My dad listened to Irish Country (aarrggh!) music and people like Roy Orbison. My mum was a Stones fan and also loved Motown. We didn’t actually have much music in the house except for Sunday mornings when my dad would take over the record player. One thing I definitely inherited from my dad was an inability to hold a note.

Tara of Tara Kamiya: Top 40, Motown hits, Hip Hop which was new genre at the time. I am 36.

Olga of The European Mama: The Beatles (still my favorite), Rolling Stones, classical music and opera (especially Mozart, Verdi, and Gilbert&Sullivan) American country music (especially Loretta Lynn and Patsy Kline), German “Folksmusik” (my father really did, I still feel traumatized by it), French chansons (Dalida, George Brassens, Ives Montand and Edith Piaff), Russian music (such as Bulat Okudzava), Italian music, fado, Mexican music… you name it, my father listened to it.

Cecilia of Spanglish House: Bolivian folk music, salsa, we (the kids) liked Menudo ha!, the Beatles, Abba. My brother and I loved classics from the 80’s (I still do). My baby brother listens a lot of classical music, so I have learned to appreciate classical music, just listening to him practicing his piano. I love music and dancing!

Carrie of Crafty Moms Share: My parents listened to soft rock like Barbara Streisand. My sister and I loved Shaun Cassidy (as did all the girls our age) and for the most part all the Top 40 music of the time.

Kat of Hapa Mom: 1960s commercials and classical music. Lots of Suzuki method!

Varya of Creative World of Varya: My husband grew up listening pretty much everything 70s and 80s. I grew up listening Russian pop and folk + Classical music and of course – Bollywood!

Kristen of Toddling in the Fast Lane: The Beatles, Paul Simon, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Sesame Street. My dad listened to a lot of new age, Celtic, and my grandma loved the three tenors. My parents were always so surprised that we kids liked their music.

Cordelia of Multilingual Mama: A lot of opera, music like fats domino and classical music. My older brothers introduced me to queen, Jgeils band, the police, pink floyd, Rolling Stones, etc.

World Citizen Wednesdays - Alldonemonkey.com

Thanks to all the bloggers who shared their answers here! You can read answers to earlier questions in our previous installments of World Citizen Wednesday, including tips for traveling with kids!

Find out more about these wonderful bloggers by visiting our Facebook page, subscribing to our Facebook feed, following us on Twitter, or following our group Pinterest board! On Twitter, you can also find us by using the hashtag #multiculturalkids. And now you can visit our new Multicultural Kid Blogs website!

http://toddlefast.blogspot.com/

Mar 102013
 
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop - Alldonemonkey.comHi, and welcome to the first ever Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!
Don’t you love being in on something new? I love that feeling of getting to participate in something that is just starting, especially when I know it’s going to be great!

That’s how I feel about the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! It’s a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids.  We can’t wait to see what  you have to share with us this time!

I am fortunate to be hosting this brand new blog hop with two of my favorite blogging buddies, Frances of Discovering the World through My Son’s Eyes and Jody of Mud Hut Mama.  We had a lot of fun chatting with each other as we worked out the details.  Since we are in three different time zones (West Coast USA, East Coast USA, and Malawi), often I would be just starting breakfast, as Frances was thinking towards lunch, and Jody was preparing dinner!

(A big thank you to Frances, who came up with this idea and put in the bulk of the work to make it happen!)

It’s very easy to participate!  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 Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop will go live on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month and run for a week. 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="https://alldonemonkey.com/category/parenting/raising-global-citizens/creative-kids-culture-blog-hop/" title="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" target="_blank"><img src="https://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>

 

Since we are just getting started, this week we are featuring a post from each of the hostesses, as a way of introducing ourselves.

If you are just getting to know my blog, a good place to start is my ABC’s of Raising a World Citizen series, since it includes some of my favorite posts and resources from around the web.

Frances and Jody are two of my favorite bloggers (and buddies), so I had a really hard time deciding which of their posts to feature!

For Frances, I chose this post about the Spanish immersion classes her son just began.  It has been fascinating to follow Frances’ efforts to raise her son to be bilingual.  She has great insights to offer, and I really admire her persistence.

Spanish immersion classes - Discovering the World Through My Sons Eyes

For Jody, I chose this post about greetings among the Kaonde people of Zambia, where she worked in the Peace Corps.  One of the things I love about Jody’s blog is her insights about the local culture.  This post tells all about the beautiful way the Kaonde welcome people to their village.

 

Kaonde-Greetings-Mud-Hut-Mama

Now let’s see what you’ve been up to!



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