Day of the Dead | Guatemalan Traditions

Day of the Dead | Guatemalan Traditions

Hello, I would like to take a moment to share the traditions practiced in Guatemala during Day of the Dead – Dia de los Muertos. Originally form Guatemala, I have true connections with my beloved Tierra of Guatemala. So, please take this beautiful journey with me, Ana Alarcon from Ana & Zelli and Alarcon Restaurants (Alarcon Restaurants on Facebook) – Wisconsin mom blogger and restauranteur.

Day of the Dead is actually a three day celebration, starting from October 31st to November 2nd. October 31st being used for preparation for all the festivities and to start the mourning of passed loved ones. November 1st being All Saints’ Day being dedicated mostly to the memory of beloved children – angels. November 2nd All Souls’ Day being dedicated to all passed loved ones and family. All three days are mainly celebrated at grave sites and enjoyed with family and it is truly a time for celebration and should not be mistaken as a time to be scared or sad.


Example of an alter we have done at our restaurants.

The four elements, plus other traditional items should be represented at these celebrations. Fire, is represented by the burning of candles, to help guide the dead to be amongst the living for the festivities. Water, is represented as an offering to go along with food offerings. Earth, is represented through food like Tamales, Ayote en Dulce, Fiambre and Pan de Muertos (day of the dead sweet bread – not too sweet); the aromas are also used to invoke spirits. Cempazuchitl or marigolds – the yellow flower of the dead is used to decorate the graves. Air/Wind, is represented through Papel Picado – cut out tissue paper and in Guatemala through kite flying. At the altars beautiful keepsakes of passed ones are brought, decorated sugar skulls represent and honor loved ones and photographs are shown for remembrance.


Example of food we have made in celebration.

Guatemalan Traditions:
There are two prominent festivals for the Day of the Dead in Guatemala and stand out from other places. One being the Giant Kite festival, where giant room size handmade kites are flown above grave yards to honor the dead and at the end when the kites have been torn by the wind they are burned, so the smoke guides the dead back up to heaven. This is remarkable to me, because it takes days, weeks to make these beautiful handmade giant kites. The other festival is Todos Santos, a horse race like none other. It is for sure a silly event, because the night before and even during the event, the men party and drink to celebrate. They wear traditional clothing and celebrate by remembering passed loved ones in this kind of crazy celebration.


I hope you enjoyed this brief look into the celebrations of Day of the Dead in Guatemala and Guatemalan Traditions. Make sure to participate in anything you can in your home towns for Day of the Dead. In Wisconsin, we have a wonderful Day of the Dead Parade and many people even paint their faces like skulls to celebrate, like I did and do. Please make sure to like Ana & Zelli on Facebook, view our events and learn more about us on our blog page Ana & Zelli, Gracias!


Me (Ana)

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5 Tips of Illness Prevention for your Children


The seasons are changing, and in the Western Hemisphere, winter is fast on its way. Many cultures debate the easiest and best way to prevent respiratory illness in a child. Therapeutic mud baths are practiced in various areas of the world, including Europe, Asia and North America. Many health care professionals feel mud baths are helpful to build the immune system.  Others recoil at the idea of dousing their child in mud.

Whether or not your child bathes in mud, let’s face it, children have contact with other people. By doing so, the risk of illness increases. A “cold” virus is easy to acquire, despite any prevention techniques you may see. Viruses are passed from child to child easily. The following advice may help prevent illness in your child.

During the first two months of life, do not to place your baby around any adults or children who are sick. You can take your baby out for a walk, but avoid stores and places where sick people may visit. He is working on building his immune system, and in the first two months of life illness may progress quickly. If you will be around people in the first three months of life and you feel contact is inevitable, use a baby sling to carry your baby on your chest. This will minimize unwanted hands on your baby and reduce close contact with others. Definitely don’t pass your baby around to others during this period. Don’t be afraid to pass the hand sanitizer or ask others to wash their hands in warm soapy water before holding your newborn baby. If you are able to breastfeed, do so as long as possible. Breast milk has important chemicals that help reduce your baby’s risk of illness.

After your baby’s two-month check up, if your baby is healthy and vaccines are given, your doctor will typically tell you your baby can be around other people. Still, continue to proceed with caution. The immune system is still building its illness fighting capacity—vaccines do offer good protection but don’t cover all illnesses.

After approximately three months, the immune system is best built through contact with the outside world. Research has shown that your child’s world does not have to be continually sanitized. For example, children who are placed in day care may have less asthma. The proposed reason for this is called the hygiene hypothesis. More industrialized nations, like the United States and Europe, tend to have better access to hygiene prevention, such as frequent hand washing, cleaner homes and facilities, and less crowding of children in one space. The current thinking is that the immune system is better developed by more contact with other children.

A 2008 study published in the European Respiratory Journal showed that children of mothers who lived on a farm during pregnancy had 50% less hay fever (allergies) and eczema (allergic skin). This study suggests that mothers are able to pass immune benefits to their children during pregnancy that has lasting power well beyond birth.

Placing your older baby or child in isolation does not help build the immune system or help stimulate the social skills needed for your baby to develop. However, the more people your child is around, the more likely he is to pick up illness. Illness is a normal part of childhood. Babies in day care will pick up, on average, seven to nine viral infections in a year. Still, responsible prevention of serious illness exists and can be easily instituted. The following list may be helpful for you when deciding to place your child in a person’s home or child care center.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????5 Tips for Illness Prevention Outside your Home:

1. Hand washing is your best prevention tool.  All children and adults should practice hand washing before eating, after toileting, and after any change of activities. In America and many areas of Europe, hand washing is mandated for childcare center employees and parents attending.


2. Health Care Provider checks. Make sure your child is having regular check ups, and immunizations are current.


3. Sick children stay home and be cared for outside of the well child area. Children with fever, diarrhea, vomiting or any obvious contagious illness should be required to go home. In addition, ensure you will be notified if a child is sick. This will help increase your awareness of any new symptoms your child may exhibit.


4. Food preparation area separated from contact with children and bathrooms. The food preparation area should be clean, and those who prepare the food should wash their hands. Ensure the bathrooms are properly sanitized.


5. Eat a healthy diet. Yes, what our mothers have always told us is true. Have your child eat a well-rounded diet that includes many different fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have phytochemicals, which are helpful to combat illness and fight off current infection.





Dr. Lisa Lewis has been a practicing pediatrician for 17 years and is currently serving the Fort Worth community at Kid Care Pediatrics. A married mother of two, she has traveled the world extensively and has an interest in medical and parenting philosophies of other countries. Dr. Lewis’s interest is helping families and children enjoy cultured, healthy futures. Dr. Lewis can be found on her website




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Retaining your Roots: Tips for Expat Parents

One of our biggest concerns as expat parents is assimilating our own culture in our lives, as much as we love learning about other cultures, especially of our host country. Depending on where you live, this may be a difficult or easy task. Some countries are open about allowing different cultures to thrive, while others may have policies about protecting and promoting their own.

Still, as parents, it remains our responsibility to ensure that our children grow up knowing their roots, especially if you plan on returning to your country. We are lucky that way to be staying in Dubai, which is a melting pot of cultures. This allows us to learn about other cultures and stay in touch with our own at the same time. There are many Indian expats in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) which is a good thing, because it provides opportunities for cultural events and activities. Our son is only two, but as he grows older, I want him to develop an understanding of our origin country and culture in ways that interest him.

Retaining your Roots: Tips for Expat Parents

There are many ways in which you can keep in touch with your culture as expat parents. Here are a few suggestions:

Retaining your roots: Tips for expat parents

Learning the language

Learning a language, or at least being familiar with it, is a window into another culture. Teaching your children your traditional language will open up opportunities for them to delve more into your culture. This is not a prerequisite, of course, but valuable for building a bridge between them and their original roots. Often, children fail to pick up a second language because the country they are staying in may not provide opportunities for them to use it. In that case, it’s up to you to create the right environment at home to practice it. Here are a few tips on making sure that your children aren’t passive bilingual.

Reading cultural literature

Children’s literature or cultural and scientific magazines can also be a gateway into understanding your roots. If these books aren’t available where you stay, you can always ask friends back home to mail them, or order online. It is important to choose the right books that demonstrate different aspects of your culture, such as social norms, music, dance, food, and everyday living. Folk stories are also rich in culture, and a good way to connect with mythology and symbols. For ideas on good books, see the Read Around the World Summer Series, or check out these tools for exploring culture around the world.

Attending and participating in events

It would be a good idea to keep an eye out for events organised by your embassy or cultural associations from your country. Children would benefit from watching live performances of drama, or music, and participating in similar events. Some communities also organise language or culture classes for expats.

Children’s films and TV shows

With online television, it’s now easy to access kids’ shows being broadcast in other countries. Through local language shows, children can get understand cultural references which would help them adapt when you visit home, or move back. Mythological children’s shows, such as those shown in India, are replete with historical and cultural information. You can also check for listings of children’s movies shown at film festivals.

Getting into the festive spirit

Celebrating your own festivals on whatever scale you can is a fantastic way to connect with your culture. You could do this by performing some traditions, having friends over, or joining in community celebrations. Often, festivals supersede their religious origin and become social and national celebrations. Holi, celebrated in India, is a good example of this. Try to explain the history and traditions behind each festival to your children.

Learning through fun activities

Children learn best by doing things, and there are many ways you could incorporate culture in the fun activities you already do. You can use artcraftcookingmusic, pretend play, or games to teach your children. Or how about this virtual tour, which is a great idea for understanding culture using different types of resources? The more creative you are, the more likely your children will develop an interest in their cultural background.

Staying in touch with family

I think the most important thing for retaining your roots is staying in touch with family. Family members, especially grandparents, can do so much by passing down stories, folklore, and family history. While life is definitely fun for expat kids, it is even better if they cultivate an identity which is a combination of where they live, and where they come from.


Tarana Khan - Sand In My ToesTarana Khan is mom to a toddler, living an expat life in Dubai. She loves writing and has done her stints as a copywriter, reporter and content editor, before embracing parenthood full time. She blogs at Sand In My Toes, where you can drop by to read more of her parenting and other adventures! You can also catch up with her on TwitterFacebookPinterest or Google+.

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Rosh Hashanah family traditions: Apples and honey for a healthy and sweet New Year

In our family, we celebrate the “New Year” twice a year.

On December 31, we try to stay up late so we can shout “Happy New Year” as the clock strikes midnight (or at least until the ball drops in Times Square in New York City at 11 pm our time). This year, we welcomed 2014 on the Gregorian calendar with a quiet evening at home with our family.

Each fall, we join other Jewish families around the world in heralding the start of the Jewish New Year with a family dinner. The date of the Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah, changes each year as it’s tied to the Hebrew calendar, with the holiday taking place at the beginning of the month of Tishrei. This year, my family will join other Jewish families in welcoming in the year 5775, beginning the evening of September 24, 2014.

No matter which date Rosh Hashanah falls on each year, our holiday traditions remain the same. And, at the heart of our celebration is always apples and honey – and a wish for a healthy and sweet New Year.

Happy New Year!

Welcoming in the “head of the year” on Rosh Hashanah

The Hebrew word Rosh Hashanah is often translated as “head of the year.”

Rosh Hashanah is one of two holidays considered to be the holiest ones on the Hebrew calendar. It is followed 10 days later by Yom Kippur, a day of atonement for Jewish people.

The High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offer Jewish people a time for introspection, allowing time to assess any wrongdoings made that year and to also look ahead for ways to make amends and learn from those mistakes in the coming year.

Dipping apples in honey for the Jewish New Year

Each year, my sons can’t wait to eat apples drizzled with honey. They love the combination, but they tend to reserve it for the annual holiday, making it extra sweet and special each year.

The tradition of eating apples and honey is done as a way to help usher in a sweet New Year. We drizzle our hopes onto our sweet, healthy apples, raising them in a virtual toast to a life filled with happiness, benevolence and good cheer for the coming year.

With Rosh Hashanah happening during the fall season, apples are abundant on the trees and burst with the sweetness of the new harvest. Apples also symbolize the beginning of another phase of the growing season – and the never-ending cycle of life.

Apples growing at a Midwest orchard

Eating a round challah on the High Holiday and other family traditions

For Rosh Hashanah, Jewish families eat a circular-shaped challah rather than the typical braided bread enjoyed throughout the year. The circular shape symbolizes the eternal circle of life and the shows us how the end of one year is connected to another.


Rosh Hashanah Cookies

Many Jewish families also attend services at a synagogue. During the service, a shofar made of a ram’s horn is blown to invite everyone to begin preparations for the High Holidays and to remind Jewish people to make actionable changes to improve their lives in the New Year.

Often, children are given small, plastic shofars of their own to sound their excitement for the New Year.

At the end of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, many families toss small pieces of bread into a flowing body of water (like a lake or river) during a tashlikh ceremony. In doing so, they hope to cast away their sins of the year, helping them begin anew with a clean slate.

Toasting to a healthy and happy New Year

With the start of the High Holidays upon us, we raise our apples and honey to all and wish you a healthy and sweet new year.

How do you celebrate Rosh Hashanah with your family? What foods do you like to enjoy during the holiday? Which holiday traditions do you share with your family? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


About the Author

Aimee Thompson_Raising World Citizens
Aimee Thompson
, her husband, and her two sons live in Chicago. She chronicles her family’s efforts to learn more about the people, places and cultures of the world in her blog, Raising World Citizens. You also can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For the Jewish New Year, Aimee is busy trying to find a time to go apple picking in the Midwest – and to dip the fresh-picked apples in lots of honey.



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Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #19 – Now on Multicultural Kid Blogs!

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #19 - Now on Multicultural Kid Blogs!
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!
Created by Frances of Discovering the World through My Son’s Eyes and previously co-hosted by Kristin of Toddling in the Fast Lane and Leanna of All Done Monkey, the blog hop has now found a new home at Multicultural Kid Blogs.  And now, our members can co-host as well, so look for some fresh faces in the coming months!
This month our co-hosts are:

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place for you to share your creative kids culture posts. It’s very easy, and simple to participate!

Just follow these simple guidelines:

  • 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, such as 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.
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 3rd Sunday of the month. It will run for three weeks. The following blog hop we will feature a previous link up post, and if you’re featured, don’t forget to grab the button below:
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
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Here’s my favorite from last time:

Cameroon Toghu Cloth CraftAs part of the World Cup for Kids project, Marie’s Pastiche created this colorful craft to teach kids about Cameroon!

Thank you for linking-up, and we can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!

LeannaLeanna is a stay at home mother to a sweet, funny, rambunctious four year old boy and his adorable, smiley baby brother. She draws inspiration from the Writings of the Bahá’í Faith and tries to raise her Monkeys in a fun, spiritual, loving environment. She and her husband, who is from Costa Rica, are raising their boys to be bilingual and bicultural but more importantly to be “world citizens.” All Done Monkey is dedicated to sharing this journey with you!

Leanna is the co-founder of Bahá’í Mom Blogs and founder of Multicultural Kid Blogs.

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Day of the Dead Crafts and Activities

Day of the Dead Activities- Kid World CitizenHave you ever heard of the “Day of the Dead?” Also called Día de los Muertos (by Spanish speakers in the US) or Día de Muertos (in Mexico), it is a holiday celebrated in Mexico, other countries in Latin America, some places in the US with large Hispanic populations, some countries in Europe, and the Philippines.

Originally based on the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, combined with Aztec indigenous rituals, “Day of the Dead” is a day to remember loved ones who have died, often commemorated with visits to the cemetery. Families often light candles at the graves and leave offerings of food, drinks, and flowers (especially marigolds, “cempasúchiles“), or for children, sweets and toys. Many people also make an altar in their home, dedicated to their loved ones who have passed away.

Here are resources to learn about this important holiday with your kids, plus discover Day of the Dead crafts you can make at home or school! Continue reading

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Call for Bloggers: Princess Nevaeh World Book Tour

Call for Bloggers: Princess Nevaeh World Book Tour!We are so pleased to announce the launch of a world book tour for Princess Nevaeh: Lessons on Self-Discovery by Paulette Harper, part of our Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services!

Join the World Book Tour

If you are a blogger, join our world book tour to promote the delightful children’s book Princess Nevaeh: Lessons on Self-Discovery by Paulette Harper. Sign up below to participate. Once you receive your electronic copy of the book, write a review on your blog and Amazon and promote through at least one social media platform. Once you have completed your promotion, email your links to multiculturalkidblogs(at)gmail(dot)com.

The first TWO bloggers to sign up will be eligible to do a giveaway for the book on their blog!

DEADLINE to complete your promotion: October 17, 2014.

About the Book

Paperback: 34 pages
Publisher: Thy Word Publishing (August 27, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0989969142
ISBN-13: 978-0989969147
Genre: Children

Book description:

Six year old Nevaeh wants to be something she already is. She will soon learn that her wish to be a princess takes a little more than just asking. Lessons on self-discovery are taught by her Mimi who makes her understand that being a princess takes work.

Buy Links:

Amazon paperback:
Barnes and Noble:

About the Author

Paulette HarperPaulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole, Living Separate Lives and The Sanctuary. She resides in Northern Ca.

Social Links

Twitter: @pauletteharper HASHTAG #PRINCESSNEVAEH

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Fun during Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States to recognize Hispanic Americans and their contributions to this nation throughout the years. As a Latina living in the US for over 13 years, I feel proud of my culture and honored that my heritage is being recognized and embraced.

This time of celebration is perfect for bringing communities together by celebrating festivals, educational activities, food feasts, and many other events. It is the perfect time to teach our children the importance of cultural diversity and how enriching it is to be open to learning and embracing others no matter where they come from. We are all united in many different ways, and the US has opened the doors to Latinos to be part of this wonderful mix of cultures.


Latin American countries have many differences and similarities among each other, and Hispanic Heritage month is a great way to celebrate and blend them all together.

Join in on the fun

Join in on the fun of celebrating this special month and share it with your children. There are many ways this can be done, either through cooking delicious dishes from different Latin American countries, such as Venezuelan Arepas, a Peruvian Ceviche, Cuban Croquettes, a Dominican Sancocho, or a tasty Mexican Quesadilla, to playing outdoor games like A la Rueda Rueda, Las Cortinas del Palacio, and El Corazón de la Piña. Also reading books written by Hispanic authors and talking to your children in Spanish or even watching their favorite cartoons in this language.

Dance to the beat

Another entertaining idea, and one of my personal favorites, is listening to different Latin songs and dancing to their beat. Music serves as a way of connecting people from all around the world, and getting kids involved to the rhythms of the Latin culture is always a fun way to make them fall in love with it even more. Dance merengue, salsa, son, bachata, cumbia, and tango and simply have fun with it. Laugh, twist and turn around a room; I assure you the children will love it.

Mundo Lanugo, Music

We are unique

It is our joy, energy, humility, family traditions, love and respect for life, for others and for our heritage that make us Latinos special and unique. Let’s share our culture with our children, our neighbors, our friends, and families, no matter their nationality. And let’s make this Hispanic Heritage month a special one for our little ones, after all, they are the generation that will follow our steps and will be in charge of keeping our heritage alive.

¡Hasta la próxima!

Anadel AlbertiAnadel Alberti Sahdalá was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She moved to the US at the age of 17 to pursue her career in Int’l Business and Marketing Communications at Manhattanville College, and then her MBA at the University of Miami. Project Manager at Lanugo – the first Latino-inspired lifestyle and entertainment brand for Hispanic American pre-schoolers empowering Latino de Corazón™ (Latin at Heart) cultural pride. She currently resides in Miami, FL and spends her days in Mundo Lanugo with the entire Lanugo team, creating and sharing tools to help parents raise children with a strong sense of identity. She is a proud Dominican and, of course, always has been, is, and will be Latina de Corazón™.

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!

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Markets around the World

Markets around the world Summer is ending, new vegetables and fruits adorn the markets’ stands and we will soon start to prepare pumpkin soups and grilled chestnuts here in Germany. But what of markets in other part of the world? How do they look like? What type of food and other local products are sold? To answer these questions, I have asked members of the Multicultural Kid Blogs community to provide some pictures and thoughts on this subject. I must say that I am now in great desire of visiting all these places! Helsinki Amanda is a traveler [Maroc Mama]. She lives now in Marrakech, Morocco, and visits the local market quite often but her loves of travel brought her for example to Helsinki, Finland. She took this picture of an indoor market and you can see that wood is everywhere…Quite typical and lovely, don’t you think? Morocco

In the very inviting post Spanish Food Market, Anna talks about her first encounter with a Spanish market. The pictures she has taken make us travel and we can even (nearly) smell the delicious food cooked there! Don’t hesitate to read more of her blog Multicultural Kitchen, you will find some yummy recipes and meal plannings!


Tsukiji Market in Tokyo is billed as the world’s largest and busiest fish market. It is often on the top of the must-see list of many tourist who view the Japanese capitol city. Most tourists go for the 5 am live tuna auction and then get in long lines to each fresh sushi from one of the sushi counters that line the market. Just across the street from where they hold the live tuna auction is a bustling market where you can buy fresh fish, sample Japanese street food, and savor a true taste of Tokyo. Aimee, Raising World Citizens

Libourne, Gironde Jennifer, American Mom in Bordeaux, has written a post about the Libourne market place. Libourne is a french town in Gironde, where flow the river Dordogne. You can either buy food, clothes or everyday life items… And speaking about France, Phoebe of Lou Messugo has some pictures that make me feel quite nostalgic… (I lived in the South of France near the Spanish border from 2 to 22 years old, markets were part of my life as much as the sunny summers and the Tramontane blowing away the umbrellas. Sadly, I have no pictures left from my youth.) In a blog post, she explains how important markets are in Provence, illustrated with luscious photos:

My nearest lovely market is Valbonne in the Alpes-Maritimes which takes place every Friday morning.  It spreads out through all the little alleyways of the medieval village and sells a great mix of locally grown seasonal vegetables and local products such as olives, olive oils, cheese, saucisson, honey, spices, lavender-based goods like soap, essential oil and bags.  It also has clothing, provencal fabrics and tablecloths, accessories, pottery, things made out of olivewood and plenty of other things.  It attracts huge numbers of visitors but it’s also very much used by locals to buy their weekly vegetables etc.  Markets are very much part of everyday life in France, not just for tourists!  These pictures were taken in spring.

ValbonneBelfast Crystal, from Crystal tiny treasures St. George’s Market in Belfast, Northern Ireland (United Kingdom). It was built between 1890 – 1896 and it was named the UK’s best Large Indoor Market in 2014. HRH Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh visited St. George’s this summer for the first time to take in the diverse range of local food, crafts, music and atmosphere. Borough Market

Borough Market is a London treasure. Nestled near the London Bridge, it’s a fantastic spot to wander, check out the fresh and prepared foods, and plan your next meals. The market, which dates back to the 13th century, offers fresh produce, cheeses, olives, pastries, fish & chips, and even Pims!  Aimee, Raising World Citizens

Puerto RicoFrances blogs at Discovering the world through my son’s eyes and share with her reader her love for her native country Puerto Rico.

Costa Rica Have you seen these peach palms fruits? Markets in Costa Rica offer fresh tropical fruits and other yummy food. Leanna, All done Monkey, has written an article about them, check it out!

In USA, Mary Anne, alias Mama Smiles, had written blog posts about her first visit to a farmer’s market in Massachusetts and the second time too… because you can’t have enough moments like these! Click on the links to discover the joy of going to a market with kids. Chicago Green

Green City Market takes place twice a week in Chicago’s Lincoln Park and Fulton Market neighborhood. It runs during the summer and moves indoors in Lincoln Park during the winter, allowing Chicagoans to get locally produced, fresh foods all year round. Chicagoans flock to the market to buy produce, breads, meats and prepared foods. It’s easy to spend all day there shopping for food, sampling market treats, listening to music, watching chef demonstrations, and more. Aimee, Raising World Citizens

Chicago Logan Square

The Logan Square Farmers Market takes place every Sunday in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. It moves indoors during the winter, making it easy for Chicagoans to shop for fresh food during the cold weather. The market is a true community gathering place, and its vendors reflect the diversity of the neighborhood. You can buy French baguettes, Asian tofu, Mexican tacos, Italian pasta, British sausage and more. It’s the perfect place to eat, listen to music, and people watch from a cozy spot in the grass. Aimee, Raising World Citizens


 “Zagreb has a fabulous Market called the ‘Dolac Markets’, which is over 80 years old. You’ll find the markets located within a few metres walk of Trg Bana Jelačić Square. The markets are easy to spot, just keep your eyes peeled for ‘Kumica’ at the top of the stairs at the entrance into Dolac. Once you see this peasant lady with her basket on her head, the open space will be filled with rows, and rows of red umbrellas. Then you’ll know you’ve arrived.” SJ de Chasing the donkey.

Frankfurt The indoor market in the center of Frankfurt is a place full of life, delicious smells and tasty discoveries. A nice place to buy a focaccia or some tapas after shopping for Grüne Soße herbs and fresh fishes. If you come to Hessen in Autumn, visit Oberursel and its St Martin’s markt (local producters and medieval games)… and if you are around during Advent, many Christmas markets take place in the cities around Mainhattan (the nickname for Frankfurt).TaunusDanube Riyadh When I asked Haboona [NNNN] for pictures of markets in Saudi Arabia, she kindly told me that, because of the extreme heat, there are no outdoor markets. But they do have places to buy foods… So here you go: two sets of pictures of supermarkets in Riyadh, full of fresh products, spices, oils, starchy food and non-alcoholic drinks! Hyper Panda, Riyadh If you stay in Sao Paulo, Brazil, save time for the 5 markets worth a look in this big city. Annabelle [The Piri-Piri Lexicon] has enjoyed them greatly with her child. When she traveled to Istanbul, she also strolled through many Bazaars. Take a look at her photo gallery, Istanbul colors are delighful. Sao Paulo Isemark, Hamburg

Isemarkt is one of Hamburg’s oldest markets (it turned 100 in 2012). It takes place bi-weekly under the viaduct of Hamburg’s first metro line. A whole kilometer long, it is the longest open air market in Europe and has over 200 merchants. Ilze, Let the Journey Begin.

Weilheim, Bavaria Adriana [Changing Plate] goes every week in the market in Weilheim in the South of Germany. Held weekly in the center of the town, this market brings together local farmers and vendors of delicious products. Everything is fresh and seasonal and it’s easy to find organic produces, cheeses and oils. As Italy is roughly 90 miles away, you could often find Italian vendors (on the picture, you will see one from Tuscany). On the pictures in the top left corner, you can see decorations made from hops and fresh currants, flowers and other vegetables/fruits. As one of her friends said “Not only do we drink beer, we put it on the walls!!” 

I will finish with the website: You will find pictures and informations about markets in all the world (in “find a market all around the world”). It has also a blog where the author shares his visits in markets. It seems that the love for markets – farmers markets, local craftmen markets, flea markets and so on – is shared in every part of the world. That’s not something I will ever complain about!

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Blogging at La Cité des Vents, Eolia writes about her life as a French expat mom in the Frankfurt’s area. Between discovering her new surroundings, her children’s funny antics and what she likes about life, she has always something to talk about!

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4 Reasons Why Your Child Is Passive Bilingual

Have you ever met a family where parents speak to a child their heritage language but a child responds back in the community one? Or maybe this is the case in your multilingual family?

It certainly could be frustrating: you were always speaking the target language with your child and maybe he/she even spoke it to you back as a little kid but eventually started to use more majority language with you and finally completely switched to it.

But be positive, your child is still bilingual with the level of bilingualism called passive or receptive, when she accumulates the language enough to understand it but chooses not to use it for various reasons.

What are these reasons and are there any solutions if you would like your child to be an active bilingual?

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I asked this question to the MKB community of multilingual researches, bloggers, parents and language activists and received great answers that could help you determine the reasons of passive bilingualism within your family and how to find ways to turn it into active one.

 Reason#1: Lack of Real Need For a Language

The NEED to speak the language is the essential ground for its developing.

Adults who acquire a second language almost all do it because of a perceived need. Whether it’s travel, business, or even romance (learning a partner’s language), there’s a concrete motivation.

A very few adults learn languages for the fun of it, or as a purely academic discipline, but in nearly all cases there’s a need. So why should we expect children to work any differently?

Many of my peers agree that creating a real need is vital for a language development and they give great suggestion on how to create one:

Ute Limacher-Riebold of ExpatSinceBirth:

“Children use the easiest strategy when it comes to languages. When they see that you understand and talk other languages that are more important at the moment (social environment, school, and friends) they will prefer those dominant languages. If the language you want them to use becomes more valuable, due to other people talking it, situations of full immersion or not sharing other languages with people they need to interact with, they’ll try to talk the language.”

Yzabeau On of Expat-Lang:

“The usefulness of the language is very important. A child will use a language if it is useful to him or her. I have teenager boys and they love interacting in the various languages they know. They play with them and I really enjoy that. Showing the usefulness of the languages, or what some people would call the need for them is what makes them enjoy those languages so much. Motivation is one thing, but if you do not see the need, or the usefulness, I feel it is not enough”

Annabelle Humanes of The Piri-Piri Lexicon:

“Create a need. To me, this is vital. There are many ways to do this: other kids speaking that language, full immersion, etc.”


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Cousins are perfect to practice heritage language.

Rita Rosenback of Multilingual Parenting:

  “The older the children are the more important it is to find something that creates a real need for them to use the language. Don’t compel, but make it compelling for them .”

Maria Babin of Trilingual Mama:

“I’d definitely agree with those who say you must create a real need if you would like your child to actively use your heritage language. This can be done through playgroups with others who speak the same heritage language, watching movies in the heritage language, as well as trips to the heritage country. Pen-pals and Skype work well too to create a need to communicate in that language. And of course books, lots of books, in the heritage language! Picture books when they’re little and chapter books as they grow. Books in subjects they are naturally interested in…”

A very good way to create a real need is to regularly connect your children with people who do not speak your kids’ majority language:

Becky Mladic Morales of KidWorldCitizen:

 “This is precisely my kids!!!!! If my kids know that they person does not speak English, all of a sudden they are fluent in Spanish! ha:)”

Amanda Ponzio Mouttaki of Marocmama:

 “One thing that we do is leave them with family that only speak one of the minority languages. This way they have no choice but to use it. For example we went to Finland for a week and the kids only spoke Arabic for that week. Wouldn’t you know their vocabulary had expanded in a big way in just that short time! We also try to get them to do things that interest them in the minority language like taking karate lessons from a teacher who speaks language 2 or 3 or playing games in a minority language.”


Reason # 2: Low Fluency and Vocabulary

As you can see now creating a real need is the fastest way to get to your bilingual destination. But what if you don’t live in the diverse community and meeting a stranger who speaks your language is almost equals meeting a family member?  (I know this feeling – I’ve been knocking on the shower door in the public pool because I’ve heard Russian speech behind it). In this case organizing play dates and regular interaction with your target language speakers is a pain, but there are still ways to keep up with your heritage language.

As Amanda Hsiung Blodgett of Miss Panda Chinese defined it:

“Vocabulary is a key building block for learning a language for all age groups. If a child does not have sufficient words/expressions to use in the target language s/he would very likely to switch to the community language or his/her most fluent language to communicate with us.  When my kids were younger (< 5 years old) I would interpret what they said to me in English into Mandarin Chinese. If they said it again in English I would repeat the same context again in Mandarin. Now my children are older (ages 8.10) and what I do the most is to expand their vocabulary in target language so they have sufficient words/phrases they need to tell me about what they have learned in science class, in social studies class, and other subjects they have at school. Sometimes I have to look up specific terms in Chinese for them but it helps them to use the target language as much as they can.”

Guest Post MKB

Word by word build your child’s vocabulary.

Here are some practical suggestions on how you can be improving children’s fluency on a daily basis:

Galina Nikitina of Raising A Trilingual Child:

“In order to keep a child interested in speaking / using minority language, his/her life in that language needs to be as rich and eventful as it is in the community language. The key is to keep developing child’s minority language in all areas of knowledge, evenly enriching his imaginational world in all of the languages.”

Aimee Schmitt Thompson of Raising World Citizens:

“My sons are native English speakers, but go to a French immersion school. On the playground or after school, they tend to speak English with their friends. To help keep up their French, we’ve tried to set up play dates with native French-speaking friends. We also try to attend French storylines or movie viewings that allow for discussion and interaction with the teachers and other participants. We’re also always on the lookout for any games, websites or apps that let them build their language skills.”

Ayesha Siddiqua of Words N Needles shares her tactics:

“I say, ‘sorry, what is that in *insert language*’. If he ignores and doesn’t listen, I ask his dad to translate.  We have nephews and nieces who do that a lot… that is what our family does.”


Reason #3: Lack of Consistency and Discipline

Every big success is made up of little successes, each building on the previous and compounding over time. Reaching your goals is achieved by the DAILY effort you put into what you do, not by some magic success formula, new miracle product, or new language dvd’s.

Whatever you do to raise your child bilingual – do it consistently. Creating habits helps to automate your interaction with a child so this way there is not even a question on why do we need to speak this language, read the books, practice writing etc.

Adriana Kröller of Changing Plate shared with us:

“My little on is only 10 months right now but I’m taking the same approach my mom used with me…I’m planning I never speaking anything but English to her no matter what she answers me back in. I think if you keep speaking it to them they will never forget it”

Diana Limongi Gabriele of LadydeeLG of gives us very practical advice on how to set up good bilingual habits:

“I actively correct Enzo when he answers me in English… today he said he wanted me to read the book in English… but the book was in Spanish. I mostly read only in Spanish. I try to put his cartoons in Spanish as well. His grandparents only speak in Spanish to him, that helps a lot. I think the best thing is travel, even if it is for a short amount of time.”


Reason #4: Peer Pressure and Lack of Pride

This is often the reason why your talkative bilingual teen all the sudden cuts down on interaction in the heritage language.

Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou of DariaMusic shares a perfect example:

“Wow – this happens all the time in Peru! Kids understand Quechua but don’t want to be caught speaking it. I think that parents and adults can be positive role models using both languages and including the kids in events and activities that encourage racial pride and make it fun. My relatives on the Jemez Pueblo did something different. They saw the kids using less and less “Towa”, the language of the pueblo. So they organized a kids drum group that sung in Towa and it became “super cool” to be part of this travelling group and to speak and sing in Towa. With Native American languages, language is all mixed up in unpleasant racial stereotypes, so I think we struggle a bit harder with this question.”

Anna Watt from Russian Step By Step told us:

“My daughter is 3.5 and we did not get to a point where she would refuse to speak Russian (minority language) but she definitely knows people who speak only Russian (like grandparents) who speak both (some of our local friends) and who only speak English and she will always chooses the language that the person uses to speak to her. Some of our Russian friends speak mostly Russian around her and that’s what she uses while other will mostly use English (although they speak Russian) and she will speak English to them unless asked or prompted to speak Russian. I totally agree that if it is useful and there is consistency she is totally fine speaking Russian. I have heard from a lot of friends that 10-11 is the age where it was getting harder to continue speaking Russian as the children wanted to be more like their peers and not differ from them.”

There is also a lot depends on parents enthusiasm towards the language.

Maria Babin of Trilingual Mama nailed it:

“A lot has to be said about the attitude of the parents towards the language. A little enthusiasm goes a long way as does encouraging all of our children’s efforts with minimal correcting and avoiding criticism”.

What Is Next?

OK, by now you probably realized what the reason is for your child being passive bilingual. I hope you will take steps to improve your language environment and will try most of the above suggestions. But what if your child still remains in a receptive bilingualism zone?

Relax. Enjoy your time with your kid with a peace in your heart that you are doing a lot to keep his/her language alive.

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Raising happy children is our ultimate goal.

All of the mentioned parents and researchers agree that passive bilingualism is a very useful skill and at some point can quickly turn into an active one with the right need. Who knows, maybe just in 8-10 years your son will meet the girl of his dream and will have a lot of motivation to use the language? Or your daughter will travel to the country where all the sudden speaking her second language will be vital?

And for the “dessert”, enjoy this inspiring story from Varya Sanina-Garmroud of Creative World Of Varya:

“ Recently I had a revelation – continue doing what you are doing: speaking, singing, reading to them and watching shows in your heritage language. At some point they will be put in a situation where they will realize how powerful this knowledge is and will naturally find a way to use the language. My mom was here this time for the birth of our 3rd. So my girls had no choice but to speak Russian to her. And I saw at some point my talkative 5 year old just started using more Russian than she ever did before and I heard her say words and phrases I had no clue she knew.”


Olena Centeno Avatar Small

Olena Centeno is a Ukrainian who lives in USA, a happy mom of three wonderful kids ages 2, 6 and 10 and a wife to the great man. She speaks three languages herself and is raising her kids to be multilingual in English, Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish. She founded Bilingual Kids Rock where she helps families on their bilingual journey. She also enjoys photography and video making as a way to preserve precious moments of life. You can connect with her at

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