Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Movie review: "Frozen"

I've said it before, I'll say it again... Disney movies never rarely disappoint...they're just so great and full of beautiful messages that it's very hard to avoid them...
"Frozen" is the new Disney masterpiece...what a great movie! I'm sure a lot of my readers will agree with me once they see it..this one is definitely a keeper!
Here's my review... I promise I won't spoil it for anyone so don't be afraid to read...
"Frozen" is about two sisters (Elsa and Anna), who have a seemingly normal childhood, until it is revealed that Elsa has a special power that makes her freeze everything she touches...
This special power turns into her biggest enemy when she happens to hurt her baby sister by accident, the event makes her go into some sort of seclusion where she has little to no contact to the outside world in order to hide her power.
Years and tragedy pass and Elsa is about to be coronated as the queen; she can no longer hide her power and this is where the story unfolds....
After an unfortunate event at her coronation, she decides to leave her kingdom but everything gets complicated and her sister Anna decides to begin a quest to find her....
She meets some special friends along the way and ultimately finds her sister Elsa....
Many things happen in this adventure and the most powerful message about love and selflessness is revealed....
The voice overs are great and the music is very powerful... Some of the dialogue is sung, which I thought was a bit loaded for kids, but in the end it worked out very well...
I found some resemblance between the "Frozen" characters and the ones from "Tangled", but it didn't bother me since I loved that movie too.  The animation is beautifully done and the colors are gorgeous.
I really liked the fact that the movie was only 102 minutes long and the plot was simple enough for my kids to understand; they remained engaged during the whole time and came out asking to buy the video!
I give this one 5 out of 5 stars... we will definitely be adding it to our movie collection once it comes out! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving with a "Latin twist"

Being a "latina", it is fair to say that Thanksgiving doesn't come "natural" to me.  I have lived in the United States for 17 years and consider myself an "americanized" girl, however, when it comes to eating turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, my latin blood just can't take it... There's something about all those southern dishes and casseroles that my palette hasn't gotten used to and I'm ok with that since there are always tons of alternatives....
I was recently contacted by Pillsbury in regards to showcasing possible Thanksgiving recipes with a "latin twist".  It is no secret that Hispanics LOVE to eat... and we also love LOVE to cook, so these recipes always come in handy, especially during the holidays.  
Here are some interesting facts about Hispanics, gathered through a recent survey conducted by Pillsbury:
The survey uncovers what the nation is cooking up this Thanksgiving holiday and challenges many face when making and planning for their beloved holiday meal. From the Hispanics surveyed:

* 85% feel that preparing homemade foods shows their loved ones how much they care. 
*Almost nine-of-out-10 (88%) homes will be filled with the familiar scent of turkey roasting but some will choose to add their family’s cultural twist to their meals by offering pork or tamales as the main dish.
* More than half (66%) of the Hispanics surveyed think this is the most stressful meal to prepare
* Seven-out-of-10 are looking for tips and tricks to prep the meal quicker
* Fifteen percent of Hispanics are more likely to try and add new dishes to their Thanksgiving menu compared to the average American, and one-third of Latino families are willing to swap their traditional side dish with something new.
* The main dish will be accompanied by some kind of stuffing (69%), batatas (63%) and cranberries (54%).
* The survey show how more and more people are adding vegetables to the Thanksgiving table. A total of 72 percent of Latinos will have corn with their meal this year.
* For nearly eight-in-10 (79%), the meal is not complete without pie. Many Hispanic households have adopted the traditional pumpkin pie (64%). Others will infuse flavors from back home such as guava, lemon and mango, among others.

So, I have teamed up with Pillsbury to share two amazing recipes, that will give everyone the experience of Thanksgiving with a "Latin twist".  I know we all like to try new things, so why not start in the kitchen?
You can follow these links to the recipes.. and I promise you will not be disappointed:

Easy Poblano and Corn Casserole

New-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

So.. happy blogging.. happy cooking and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Trip to Bogotá, Colombia

Traveling is always so much fun...there's something about exploring new places that excites me so much... such experience is even better when I get to do with my love, which was the case for our latest trip to Bogotá, Colombia.
I will be honest and say that traveling in South America is not my forte, while I have explored many places around the world and several states within the US, my visits to the south have been limited. 
This was a great experience in a beautiful city; Colombia is such a captivating place with a culture so rich that every visitor can feel at home.  Its clean streets and beautiful scenery give that sense of modern tourism and wonderful adventures. 
The city has amazing restaurants, incredible monuments and a lovely weather.  We were able to visit several iconic spots such as "Catedral de Sal" in Zipaquirá, several museums, exquisite restaurants and even the Google office in Bogotá.. it was definitely a great trip!
Here are some pictures from our little rendezvous...

Monday, November 18, 2013

8th Wedding Anniversary!

Today we celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary and I feel so honored and lucky to say that I'm more in love with Iggy every year that passes...
We are so blessed to have a healthy and loving marriage and I thank God for it every day. 
I remember our wedding day so fondly and love reminiscing by looking at old pictures...
Nothing will ever compare to the happiness I felt that day...
Thank you, my love, for these amazing 8 years.. the first few of an eternity together! :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Report card madness!

The grades are in!
As we close the first quarter of this school year, I have received reports cards for both girls!
I will say that this part of school always makes me giggle a little since I honestly believe that way too much emphasis is placed on letter and number grades...
I'm not implying that grades aren't important.. yes, they are a visual way to measure a child's performance in school, but I would be lying if I said I don't think they are somewhat silly at this age...
Gaby is 4 and she got a full report card describing her math, language and writing skills!  Really? You mean to tell me my FOUR YEAR OLD is supposed to be learning math already? and she's being graded for it?  Laughable..yes.. totally laughable... (I'm sorry, teachers... I mean no disrespect to you whatsoever)...
Olivia also came home with a report card.. a very complex one by the way.. She has at least 7 subjects and multiple letter and number grades.. I got confused reading about all the areas where she is being evaluated.. she did great, by the way!..but please!?!? Does a 6 year old really need a full on report card? And if she does, where is the area where her gentleness, friendliness and kindness are graded?  What about her respect? and her manners? Does that even matter?
In today's decaying society, I believe schools should be more focused on teaching kids how to be nice, respectful and considerate... they should also put more emphasis on developing healthy relationships, understanding moral values and so on...
With the insane amounts of homework kids get every night, we get lost and neglect teaching these kids real life skills... You could say I'm challenging traditional education or that I'm one of those rebellious moms that just don't conform to norms... You can also say that I'm a concerned parent who believes there isn't a "one size fits all" when it comes to kids and I strongly feel that all teachers and parents should be aware of this so that we can overcome the challenges and develop the right tools to guide our children and help them change this world for the better!

Happy blogging! 

Movie review: "Free Birds"

It has been sort of "slow" in the kid movie department since the summer ended, so we were destined to watch "Free Birds" since it's one of the few family friendly movies out right now!
This movie is also very fitting for this holiday season...with Thanksgiving approaching and all...
Let's start by saying that the voice overs are pretty awesome.. there's just something about Owen Wilson's voice that always gets me.. to me, he's one of the funniest guys out there, so a character with his voice is a win-win on my book....
Now.. let's get to the story..."Free Birds" is about some funny turkeys traveling through time with the sole purpose of getting turkey off the Thanksgiving menu, hence the whole "let's save the turkeys" theme...One of the turkeys (Reggie- voiced by Owen Wilson) happens to be the "pardon" turkey, who is living the life in the White House after being saved by the first child and is recruited by Jake (Woody Harrelson) to travel back to 1621 and save all the turkeys!  It is a fun and creative concept, but I think the execution is less than perfect...
The movie is very slow and even a bit complicated for young children; the story gets lost in how complex it becomes and some of the characters fall flat.  While the dialogues are pretty funny and the sarcastic references (intended for adults) did get a chuckle out of me, I don't think the movie is all that great!
I think the story was repetitive and lacking innovation; it was also missing music and action... they could have made so much more with this concept...but oh well!
I give this one 2.5 out of 5 stars... maybe wait for the DVD? 

Monday, November 4, 2013

"The Marriage You've Always Wanted"

This past weekend, Iggy and I attended a marriage conference with Dr. Gary Chapman.
The conference is called "The Marriage You've Always Wanted" and it is designed for married (or engaged) couples, who are looking to make the best of their relationship, by understanding how to love one another and how to always give the best to their marriage experience.
If you're interested to know, the cost of the conference is $100 per couple with lunch included.
For those of you who don't know, Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of the very famous book "The 5 Love Languages", which has sold more than 8 million copies and has been translated in over 50 languages.  It is one of the most amazing books I have read and I recommend it to anyone who would like to be a better person overall. Trust me, you will not regret picking up this book; it will teach you so much about yourself and others.. it is truly life changing....
So.. back to the conference.. what a great experience.. I am so blessed to have been able to experience this amazing speaker alongside my dear husband; I believe every couple should attend a similar event in their lifetime.  This conference reminded me just how important it is to fully invest oneself in marriage and how important it is to keep God in the center of every relationship.
The conference was also a great opportunity to bond with my husband and share thoughts and ideas about the way we love each other, what our expectations are, what are the areas of improvement and so on... I wish we could do it all over again.. that's how much we loved it. Not only was Dr. Chapman very knowledgeable but also very funny, kind and accessible to all attendees.
I strongly recommend many of the books by Dr. Gary Chapman, he is really onto something and I know that he has saved so many marriages along the way; during the conference I met several couples who gave their testimonies and really encouraged me to deepen my knowledge about marriage and relationships...
Please check out Dr. Chapman's site for details about upcoming events and recent publishings....

Thank you, God (and Dr. Chapman) for this unforgettable experience!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween 2013 photo dump

Here are some photos from this year's Halloween celebrations!
Pre-school had a special costume parade and Gaby had a blast!
We took the kids trick-or-treating at night and they got lots and lots of candy...
Memorable holiday.. as usual! 

And a bonus picture... Olivia in her "Mary" costume on All Saints Day (since school her school doesn't celebrate Halloween, only All Saints on Nov. 1st)