Monday, July 30, 2012

Movie review: "The Dark Knight Rises"

First off, I'm not a huge fan of Christopher Nolan and his movies so this review may be a bit biased... With that said.. here's my take on "The Dark Knight Rises"...
Despite of the controversy that has surrounded this movie (i.e. the Aurora killings), I went and saw it with Iggy this past week.. I have to say I was a bit nervous in light of the recent events so I had a hard time focusing on the movie...
No matter how many Batman movies I watch, I just don't "get it".. the story is way too dark for me and so is the cinematography...
In this movie, I thought the story was way too complicated and so were the dialogues among the characters.. I even had a hard time understanding what some of the characters were saying, so that took a lot away from it...
Christian Bale was as charming as usual playing Batman but I thought his character was lacking humanity and he didn't click well with the rest of the cast...
The villain in the story (Bane) is almost "too mean" for no reason and the destruction of Gotham is almost out of proportion and completely unrealistic (I know the whole movie is unrealistic, but this was way too much)... I also have to add that the whole thing was way too violent for my taste...
All in all, I don't think I'm cut out for this type of movie and watching it was a total waste of my time.. I give it 2 out of 5 starts.. crappy in my book! 

Tennis camp

My husband Iggy started playing tennis at the young age of 9.  He developed into a great tennis player and his great skill even payed his college career.. He was team captain for the ETSU (East Tennessee State University) for some years and won a lot of awards for his athletic accomplishments...
With that said, it's only natural for him to want his kids to play tennis too... so they will (or so he plans).
Today Olivia started what Iggy hopes will be her great tennis career.. We registered her in a local tennis camp and she had her first formal lesson today... She will be attending every day until school starts..
Iggy was there to cheer her on and he was so proud of her.. He was especially happy since she apparently enjoyed it a lot...(I hope it stays this way)
We'll see what her future holds as far as tennis goes.. I'm sure it'll be quite the ride! ;)
Here's a couple of pictures of today's lesson..

Friday, July 27, 2012

The end of a chapter...

Today was a bittersweet day as we said good bye to Open Valley Academy, the place where the girls have attended school for the past three years... (Olivia started at 2 and Gaby at 1)...
Ignacio and I decided to pull the girls out of summer camp a bit early to give them a chance to rest and properly transition to their new school...
They will be going to our local Catholic school as of August 20th; Olivia will start Kindergarten and Gaby will go to Pre-K 3...
Saying good by was not easy, but I know this isn't an end but a new beginning. I am very grateful for the great experiences and wonderful teachers we met at Open Valley and we will forever cherish the memories made at this school...

Here's a picture of Gaby with THE most wonderful teacher ever.. Mrs. Raquel... 


..the girls posing outside the school..right after we said good bye..


...the girls with Mrs. Leira, another great teacher...


..and here they are with the school's director Mrs. Anais...we will miss you all!

The Culture of "Instant Gratification"


"The psychological concept of Instant Gratification refers to the idea that humans like to have what they want right now, not later...and they don't want to wait"

What happened to the idea of "Good things come to those who wait"? Why are we living in such an impatient world? Why can't we just wait.. a little?
I find the concept of "Instant Gratification" extremely fascinating because I believe it has shaped our culture and it continues to do so every day.. I believe our children have been (and will continue to be) deeply hurt by this idea and because of it, they are bound to face challenges that other generations did not encounter...
Our kids aren't learning the concept of patience and the virtue of kindness... they want it all and they want it NOW.. and the sad part is that we as adults are the ones teaching them those lame values...
Instant Gratification is a dangerous concept because it's helping us create a generation of entitlement and set our kids up to be a failure as adults...it creates high maintenance kids that need to be constantly rewarded even for doing what they are supposed to do... things such as eating a whole meal, or completing a homework in time aren't supposed to be rewarded as they are simple duties and responsibilities that any person has.. Why do we have to praise every action and gratify social and moral obligations?  Why can't we just EXPECT our kids to do their best without having to give them a prize for it?
Instant gratification is also a hard habit to break because it makes people associate actions with immediate pleasure.. it makes people grow used to a state of overabundance and fabricated needs that just make our lives more shallow and less meaningful... We forget that the biggest pleasure come from the little things and in the process we forget to teach our kids the beauty of simplicity and expectancy..
As a mother, I have a duty to teach my kids things such as self-control, patience and hard work.. I want to teach them that not all things can be here and now... I need to help them understand that they need to be grateful for everything they have and they need to value each and every blessing that life gives them...
By working against instant gratification, parents can teach their children to avoid making impulsive decisions and to have better control over their emotions... The culture of instant gratification needs to be reshaped into a culture that is less demanding and more productive...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Birthday Party

This past weekend we had the much anticipated birthday party for the girls, which was held at Ball Mania, which is an awesome party place in Doral. 
The party theme was The Smurfs and the decorations were so amazing... There were tons of balloons, beautiful center pieces and all sorts of goodies. 
We had a total of 100 guests, about half of which were kids ages 1-7... they all had such a blast jumping around in the playground and enjoying the show from the entertainer we hired. 
There was face painting, games, music, food, sweets.. you name it, we had it.. It was such an amazing party and the girls could not get over their happiness...
They also got some wonderful gifts including clothes, toys, accessories, etc...
Thank you to everyone who made it to the party and made the day that much more special...

Here are some pictures from the party:




There are tons more pictures on my FB page. Here's the link to the album:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Movie review: "Ice Age: Continental Drift"

"Ice Age" is one of my favorite movie franchises..I think it's fun, fresh and very entertaining.. especially for kids...so, as a birthday gift, we took the kids to see it...
Let's say that, while this installment is still fun and entertaining, the story line is lacking a little bit... I thought the movie was slow at times and the new characters weren't as engaging as I expected...
The plot revolves around a "continental drift", which causes Manny's family to split up.. everyone faces challenges and tribulations along the way and they eventually reunite...
In the meantime, they all learn valuable life lessons about love, family and friendship...
The movie kept the kids' attention and it also had some great "adult" type of jokes, which were still age appropriate...
All in all.. I think the movie is good (not perfect!)..but definitely worth a trip to the theatre..
I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, Olivia!


It's here.. that day where I get to say "oh my gosh, my daughter is 5!"... It may not sound like a huge deal, but it definitely IS a huge deal to me...
It feels like just yesterday Olivia was just two little lines on a pregnancy test and today she is a little lady with the most awesome personality any kid can have...
Olivia is the most wonderful gift from God.. she is amazing in every way and even though some days she's the most rebellious child on the face of the earth (and drives me nuts!), not a day goes by that she doesn't make me proud and happy...
Olivia is very much into reading, letters and complex stories.. She loves watching movies and finding the meaning behind every little thing...
She loves clothes, shoes, accessories and all things beauty.. definitely a girly girl... She also loves dancing, music and arts and she is quite the little artist.. some of her drawing are very intricate and I really enjoy seeing her discover new things...
Olivia will be starting kindergarten in a little bit over a month and even though I'm a nervous wreck (don't ask me why).. I know this new chapter will be so amazing! Watching her evolve is the biggest reward of motherhood and I can only hope the next few years are half as great as the first 5!
Happy birthday, Olivia! We love you so much!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Gaby!

Today, my sweet, amazing and sassy daughter is turning 3 years old! Wow! She is such a big girl now and I can't believe it has been a whole 3 years since she was placed in my arms for the first time...
Gaby is the greatest joy...she's definitely a tiny person with a huge personality and not a day goes by that she doesn't make us laugh with one of her jokes...
Gaby has really developed an interest in ballet and has been begging me for lessons..which she will start in the fall.. She loves music and dancing and knows the lyrics to most of the songs played on the radio.. it's pretty funny to hear her belt out some of Adele's or Katy Perry's songs...and she's good too! Ha ha!
She is also into fashion and loves picking her own clothes... she loves hair accessories, bracelets, necklaces and anything she can put on.. She also loves playing dress up and pretending to be a princess....
Everything about Gaby is so awesome and I am so blessed to be her mother... She learns new things every day.. but most importantly, she teaches us new things too...
I can't wait to see what the years to come have in store for us...
Happy Birthday, Gaby! We love you so much!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer lovin'

Let's face it, everyone (mostly, everyone!) LOVES summer.. right, right??  Well, we do.. partly because we have no other choice (since we live in an eternal summer here in Miami) and partly because there's just something so fun about summer...
Yesterday was one of those "fun summer days", where we got to lounge around a pool all day and BBQ in the summer heat.. great.. just great!
We went to some of our friends' home (the Guio Family) and spent the whole day soaking in the sunshine, swimming and doing all sorts of summer-y stuff!
The girls had a great time and got to practice some of their swimming!
Viva el summer!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fun stuff...

I feel like we're at a birthday party every weekend (probably because we are!), so our life has been pretty hectic...
This weekend we had two birthday parties on Sunday so everything was super fun...
First we attended Samuel's 3rd birthday party at Ball Mania.. the girls had such a blast...which is good because that's where they'll have their party in a couple of weeks.. it was great!


This is the birthday boy.. who turned 3 in late June...


.. then we went to Mia's 6th birthday party.. which was all about music and fun girls...The decorations were super cute and the girls had a blast getting their faces painted...


This is sweet Mia, who turned 6 on July 4th... what a beauty she is...


Happy Birthday kids! We hope you enjoyed your parties... they were fun for sure!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Crazy About You"

Last night we had a date night at a wonderful place called "Crazy About You", which is a lounge/restaurant in downtown Miami...
We went out with some friends to finish off celebrating Iggy's 36th birthday and it was so great.. the food was glorious and the drinks were delicious too...
It was nice having an "adult-only" night out.. it always does the soul (and the body) good!
So much fun!

Movie review: "The Amazing Spider-Man"

I'm a loyal fan of superhero movies.. I usually find them entertaining and action-packed... I have to admit the plots are usually lacking but all the crazy fight scenes make up for it...
Since Disney acquired Marvel and all of its characters, I knew a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise was inevitable...it was a risky move and I honestly don't think it paid off entirely....
First off, it's hard to get Tobey Maguire out of my mind as the "original" Spidey, so seeing a different person wearing the red suit really threw me off... Yes, of course Andrew Garfield is super cute, but he did a poor job playing the role of Peter Parker.. he was way too fidgety and totally unconvincing...
The villain in this movie was rather disappointing and the plot was lacking depth and I felt like the story was too repetitive (a crazy scientist wants to take over the world)... I also hated the fact that Spiderman kept revealing his identity to others and the love story simply sucked...I must say that I'm not a big fan of Emma Stone so maybe that's why I didn't "feel the love"...
I know this movie will make a lot of money (it already has!) but I'm not entirely sold on the reboot...Yes there was action, entertainment and fun as in all superhero movies, but I just didn't "get it"...
On the plus side, the movie is way more realistic in the sense that Spiderman gets bumps and bruises and the character is not so animation looking...Great scenery and action sequences...
I give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars.. still worth a trip to the theater...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Iggy's 36th birthday!

Yesterday my awesome husband turned 36 years old and we celebrated with some family here at home.
Iggy spent the day working so there wasn't much going on in the early hours, but we were able to get together at night and make the occasion very special...
I made a "Tres Leches Cake", which was delicious... You can find the recipe here.. it is seriously one of the best cakes I've made in a while and everyone really enjoyed it...
Iggy got tons of calls and messages and he was happy throughout the day..
Every year is a blessing and I thank God for another year celebrating my love's birthday!
Happy Birthday, babe! I hope your day was all you expected and more!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

We had a great 4th of July...
We spent the afternoon in the pool at a friend's house and then headed out to our local park for fireworks, which were fantastic as usual...
This is a picture from yesterday's school dress up day (Red-White-and-Blue)...


 ...and here are the girls with their outfits from today...


..they had a great time at the pool.. Gaby even agreed to pose for a bathing suit picture.. ha ha...


 ..and Olivia practiced some of her swimming...


..and here's daddy with the girls enjoying some fireworks at the local park...(these are cell phone pictures so the quality sucks!)


Happy 4th, everyone!

Special Disney trip

As many of you may know, we go to Disney very often....BUT not all trips are the same; some are just more special than others and this last one was extra special...
For the first time we did character dining and had dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet in Epcot.  The girls got to experience one on one time with all the Disney princesses and they really enjoyed it.. It was so awesome to see their faces light up when the princesses came to our table...


..the trip was also extra special because we met my dear friend MaryAnn and her family, who were traveling from Chicago... I met MaryAnn through WTE when we were pregnant with Gaby and Kassidy and we've become close within the past 3+ years... We had such a great time with the Willing family.. so great to see friends...the girls really enjoyed each other's company too..


On Sunday we walked around Downtown Disney, which we hadn't visited in over 3 years... it was such a pretty day and the girls had a blast as usual...


...and this is a bonus picture of the new Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.. it's really pretty..

Monday, July 2, 2012

A wonderful visitor...

Last week we had a great visitor... my friend Jenni came from Venezuela and stayed with us for a few days...it was so awesome...
I've known Jenni for over 20 years.. we met in 1st grade and have been friends ever since...I hadn't seen her in over two years so it was great to have her...
The girls really took to her and we really enjoyed her company...
Thank you for coming, Jenni! We love you!

Banana Bread

A picture of the loaf I made
My friend Jenn gave me this Banana Bread recipe and it was such a hit..
It was so easy to make and the end result was really amazing...additionally, no mixer is needed for this recipe.. you can just whip it up and it comes out great...




Makes 1 loaf
Ingredients:
3 or 4 ripe  bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla.  Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix it.  Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 in loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.  Cool on rack.  Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Yum! Happy cooking!  This recipe was really good!