Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Penny Spelling Game"

I'm a stickler for spelling and as such I always try to find fun ways to teach my kids how to spell correctly. I think spelling and grammar should be a priority at any age, but the issues gets very serious after 3rd or 4th grade (at least for me!).
I've said it before and I'll say it again.. in our family, Gaby is the "challenging" one so we always have to find ways to "spice it up" for her.
I recently came across a cute spelling game called "Penny Spelling Game" on a great website called education.com which offers a lot of educational resources for all grades up to high school.... it is truly fascinating and such a great way for parents to help their kids learn through games and fun activities.
So the "Penny Spelling Game" is very simple and even though this one in particular might appeal to children younger than mine, I assure you there are tons of resources that could fit everyone's needs. For now, let's just play with some pennies...

What You Need:
50 or more pennies
What You Do:
Have your child arrange the pennies in the shape of letters and spell out words. Practice vocabulary words, spelling words, or (best of all) words related to Presidents like "Abe", "red", “blue", or “USA” with your child.
Turn the spelling game into a quick history lesson by pausing a moment to look at one of the pennies with your child. Show her the president on the face side and the memorial on the other side of the penny. Ask your child what year the penny was made. What else does it say?
You can also expand this activity into an English lesson by discussing phrases and idioms in the English language that use the word “penny". Example phrases include “a pretty penny,” “a penny saved is a penny earned,” “without two pennies to rub together,” “a penny for your thoughts,” “a penny to my name,” and “penny wise and pound foolish.” Has your child heard these phrases before? What do they mean?

Monday, September 25, 2017

This is 2!

Our little buddy is 2 today! What a happy day! He is growing before our eyes and we are loving every minute of it! What a sweet little boy he is!
Oliver is nothing short of amazing; he's the typical "mama's boy" and I am soaking in his cuddles and love as much as I can.  He loves giving kisses and hugs and everyone just loves him!
He stands tall at almost 36 inches and 34 lbs, a chunky buddy that wears size 3T and steals everyone's heart with a simple smile. 
Oliver has got quite the personality; he's self-driven, a fast learner and very observant.  His language skills are pretty amazing as he fends for himself in two languages and definitely makes his voice be heard.  He loves playing with his sisters and his dad is the center of his universe. 
Oliver loves Legos, Mickey and might be slightly obsessed with Sesame Street at the moment; he knows all the characters' names and can sing all the songs; it's so sweet to watch him sing and dance all the time. He also loves going to Disney and going on all the rides!
He also loves dinosaurs and is especially good at imitating roaring sounds.  He has recently moved himself to a full size bed so the crib days might be over soon since he has refused to sleep in it for the past two weeks.  How did this happen so fast?!?
He's not potty trained yet but seems to be more aware and is becoming better at alerting us of poopie diapers and such; I will probably give potty training another go in the beginning of next year...fingers crossed!
Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for sending us this beautiful gift but on the day of his birthday, I thank Him a million times more!

Happy Birthday, little buddy! We love you so much! Enjoy the "terrible twos" that cannot possibly be so "terrible" with your beautiful smile and sweet soul!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Strong Opinions

**Disclaimer: This post isn't directed towards anyone in particular, just a bunch of thoughts that I wanted to get out and right now seems to be the right time to do so**

Today's post is about "Strong Opinions" and the consequences associated with having them. 
When I think of opinions, a classic scene from the movie "Inside Out" comes to mind; in this scene Joy knocks down two boxes containing facts and opinions and while she desperately tries to clean up the mess, she exclaims "Oh no! These facts and opinions look so similar" and Bing Bong replies: "Ah, don't worry. Happens all the time!" I love that scene for so many reasons and every time I talk about opinions I bring it up because it illustrates my point so well. 
Often times I've been called "opinionated" by many people; some have told me nicely and some not so nicely..but I guess calling me opinionated is also an opinion, right?...oh, the irony! The truth is that YES, I have a lot of opinions, but who doesn't? I frequently voice some of those opinions in this blog, which is my personal platform and my safe space.  I am aware that some of my opinions ruffle some feathers and I am also aware that the problem with strong opinions is that they elicit strong reactions and once something is said, it's pretty much out there forever.
The official definition of the word opinions goes as follows: "a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge" so clearly opinions are NOT facts but rather someone's personal beliefs about any given subject. 
I have recently gotten notes from people saying my opinions are "too strong" or that I'm "harsh"; I also know for a fact that some people visit my blog to purposely get annoyed at what I write, a fact that I find incredibly baffling and a bit masochistic but it happens and I can't prevent anyone from reading this blog since it's public.  The point is that I am aware that some of the things I say don't sit well with some people but I am of the believe that "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything" so I write, and I opine and I own up to what I say and while stating my opinions is never intended to hurt or offend anyone that's something I can't possible change because I don't have control over people's reactions. 
While many people claim to be "tolerant" and "understanding" the truth is that people can't stand it when others disagree with them and they tend to gravitate towards like-minded people because it's just easier to hang out with people that agree with them. Of course there are exceptions where people enjoy a good, healthy debate and don't mind taking the time to back up their opinions with facts... or at least try.  I personally don't mind being challenged and have actually learned a lot from people with opinions different than mine...debating is good..arguing isn't.
Coincidentally, on my last post I wrote an opinion about a comment a friend made regarding hurricane evacuations; this person reached out to me and we both agreed that our differences in opinions are not stronger than our friendship so we said our peace, apologized and moved on, no harm done! I am thankful for friends like him who take the time to approach me individually and delve deeper into my arguments... it's actually refreshing!
So my advice to anyone who gets annoyed by what I write is very simple "Don't read it!" but if you must then please don't confuse my opinions with facts; they might be facts to ME but I'm ok with them not being so for others.  To me, writing is therapeutic and I don't plan on stopping any time soon so if you've ever been offended by any of my posts... oh well...it is what it is! 
People don't have to agree on everything to be able to love each other... heck, I rarely agree with my own mother and we love each other to death!
So keep on opining and keep on rocking!
Happy Blogging!



Saturday, September 16, 2017

Haters gonna hate!

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you've probably heard about Irma, a category 5 hurricane that pummeled the state of Florida and wreaked havoc in a bunch of cities, all while forcing thousands and thousands of people to evacuate...
The predicted path of Irma was as terrifying as they come; some people say that Florida got "lucky" but I'm not sure "luck" is the right word to use in a situation where many people ended up homeless and cities were destroyed. Some Caribbean islands were not as "lucky", with many being completely washed out by the wrath of Irma and the forceful winds and rains that came with it. 
Some of the evacuees (us included) took the chance to make "lemonade out of lemons" by turning the unwelcome evacuation into an unexpected vacation; some people drove as far as Boston in their attempts to escape the hurricane and naturally enjoyed their time away despite the given circumstances. 
In our particular case, we were blessed to spend a few days with some dear friends in their North Carolina cabin, we visited Iggy's alma mater  in Tennessee and caught up with some friends there and also spent a few days in Savannah, which is a wonderful city.  All the while I was worried about my family members that stayed behind, the possible damages to our house and our city and the overall risks this monster hurricane posed for our entire community... this was no joke!
Once the hurricane passed, it was time to assess the damages, both local and worldwide and to get ready to help all the victims however possible.  Many of our friends organized food/supply drives and coordinated ways in which to help through different channels...and the efforts haven't stopped.
It was also time to thank God for keeping us safe and for allowing us to, well, make lemonade out of lemons and enjoy the said "hurrication". 
Now... everything was fine and dandy until I was scrolling through my FB feed and saw this comment by a "friend" (direct quote, copy and past). I suppose I could have responded to him in his own wall, but I'm not up for confrontations with a hater. 

"Amigos y Amigas; if you left Florida because of Hurricane Irma, it was NOT a vacation, or "hurrication". People lost valuables, others died, it was a stressful week. Have some compassion. Ironically the ones doing this also thank God for keeping THEM safe, cause you know, screw everyone else. So go somewhere else with those pictures of your "hurrication". AdiĆ³s ."

(The comment wasn't directed towards ME, but it might as well could have)
While I understand the sentiment behind the comment, I also wonder, why are people such haters? Why can't they see the silver lining within a tragedy, and if they don't, why can't they let others do such, then?  I find it incredibly ridiculous that someone would assume that because people decide to make the best of a bad situation, then they're not concerned about others; or that because people thank God for their safety, they're indirectly saying "screw everyone else".  Are we supposed to sit and cry over how miserable the world is?  Are we supposed to stop living life because there's a natural disaster?  Are we supposed to stay at home during a hurricane because other people decide to "ride out" the storm? 
I am not one to post a million pictures of my "hurrication", or boast about how much "fun" I had while evacuating, but I am for people making the best of things and dealing the cards they've been given. There is nothing wrong with someone saying they "enjoyed" their time away;  in my humble opinion, it doesn't make anyone inconsiderate, insensitive or less empathetic, it just makes them positive and grateful. 
I have many friends that evacuated, many of those also posted pictures of their "hurrication", and many admittedly enjoyed their time away and feel blessed to have been safe during the storm.  These same friends are also some of the most empathetic, sweet and helpful people I know, people that would do anything in their power to help anyone they can, ones that were worried sick about what the hurricane could do, people that spent hours on the road trying to keep their families safe, etc..so assuming they don't care about others is plain stupid. So all my "friend's" comment shows is ignorance and hate on his part...maybe a bit of jealousy too?. 
So people, keep enjoying your "hurrications" with no shame...and if "Maria" makes her way around the Atlantic, get ready for more hate and envy if you do decide to evacuate! Because Haters gonna hate.. and we can't change that! As for me, I will continue to see the silver lining and let hate roll.. 
Happy blogging!