Coco's Blog

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 15:15

Big Brothers Big Sisters #latinobigs

Latino BigsMany people have life changing moments. For me, that moment occurred when I was a high school sophomore and walked into my mentor’s law firm. Lupe was an attorney working a large firm in downtown Chicago, not to far from where I had grown up.  She had asked me to meet her at her office because she wanted me to see where she worked and to meet her collogues. Wow, I was so excited! This visit to her office was really a huge moment for me. 

Lupe was my mentor at an after-school program for low-income, inner city girls in Chicago. Every week I would meet with her with for about 20 minutes – I found her simply fascinating. She had grown up in the same neighborhood where I lived and we attended the same high school. She was a successful corporate attorney, a sharp dresser and always had great advice for me. She challenged me, encouraged me, and most importantly, taught me the importance of serving our communities.

The office was stunning. I loved it – there were large windows overlooking downtown Chicago, people going past in nice suits and her colleagues were so nice to me.  Years later as a college student I ran into her at the same after-school program where she had mentored me, on my way to mentor a young Latina in the same program! I volunteered as a mentor in the same program because I wanted the girls that I mentored to walk away from the program having learned how to strive for their personal best, that an education will open up endless possibilities, and that growth as a person and leader involves giving back to their communities. These were the same lessons that Lupe's mentorship had taught me.

I feel so fortunate that throughout my life good people have mentored me.   In college I heard from an Assistant Dean about a young professor who was working on researching Latino families.  I met with this professor because her research was so fascinating to me – she was studying young children who served as translators for their Spanish speaking families. These kids were essentially the link between their families Spanish speaking world and the English-speaking world. I too had this role as a child, helping my parents and family navigate the world outside of our immediate Spanish speaking community and I thought it was fascinating that someone thought this was important to study. I started working with her and over the next few years I learned so much from her.   Dr. Orellana was such a wonderful example of good work ethic, honesty and a commitment to educating people about the important work that children of immigrant families do as translators for their family and community.

As a young adult I was fortunate to learn about the wonderful work that Big brothers Big Sisters was doing in the Los Angeles area, my new home. Eventually I worked for them and in that time I was so impressed with the work that they were doing. They are simply amazing. Big Brothers Big Sisters match adult volunteer mentors (Bigs) with children, (Littles). Do you know that Latino youth need our help more than ever? It’s true that youth who participate in their programs are more likely to avoid risky behaviors like skipping school, using illegal drugs or drinking underage. I know that my brother, 2 sisters and I “made it” out of very tough neighborhood for 3 reasons – my loving parents, our Church and wonderful mentors. It is imperative that more of us, hombres y mujeres, step up and serve as role models to our youth.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to get involved as a mentor. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money, just a commitment to helping change someone’s life. Did you know that 81% of adults who participated in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program as Littles say their Big Brother or Big Sister caused them to broaden their horizons – to change what they thought possible in life?

There are many ways that you can mentor, but I encourage your to visit www.latinobigs.org or www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org for more information about volunteering as a ‘Big.’

This is part of a supported campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Big Brothers Big Sisters. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

“El Vaso Medio Lleno”is at it again – sharing his message of positivity by launching a new web series that focuses on incorporating positivity into your daily life!  The webshows are sponsored by Toma Leche, and will include ten (10) webisodes that will air from November 5th through January 6th. I am really looking forward to seeing what El Maestro has up his sleeve!

The first webisode is titled “El Mejor Flan del Mundo” and was filmed at popular Los Angeles bakery, Porto’s Bakery & Café. It includes an interview with one of the owner’s daughters Beatriz Portos, who share her family’s recipe for one of their most popular deserts – flan!  Yum!   One of my favorite childhood memories was walking with my father to my local panaderia and buying a treat, usually flan.  Even now as an adult we still do this!   I am in the LA area and my parents are in Chicago, so when I visit my parents we take a walk with my kids to the local bakery.   My kids love this new tradition!

Check out the webisode below!

 

 

What did you think?   I love how milk based recipes are so yummy and make me feel nostalgic, they bring back lots of great and happy memories!   You can find El Vaso Medio Lellno Webshow on El Maestro’s Youtube Channel.  Subscribe to view new webisodes as they are released!

Rice PuddingOne of my favorite milk based recipes is a twist on classic rice pudding, arroz con leche.  This version uses brown rise instead of white rice.  The milk provides the added calcium that my 4 growing kids needs.   The chia seeds provide extra fiber.  It’s delicious!  Did you know that the chia seed originated from Mexico and Central America?  It was staple in the diet of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs!  Their super healthy version of arroz con leche always leaves a big smile on my family’s face!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan cook the brown rice in 3 cups of water over low heat for approximately 40 minutes.   Check on the rice periodically, as you may need to occasionally add more water.
  2. Mix egg and milk together in a separate container.
  3. Once the rice has cooked transfer it to the medium sauce pan and add the milk and egg mixture.  Add all remaining ingredients.
  4. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until brown rice is soft.

This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor Board and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Hasbro LogoMy 4 year-old-son loves superheroes and I am very happy that he does!   I feel like I am constantly reminding him to "act like a gentlemen" or help his sisters or play (nicely) with his bother.  It’s only recent that he’s become fascinated with superheroes and it seems a little easier for him to comply with the behavior that I am asking from him.  Coincidence? I am not sure, but he has come up with the line "super heroes are good leaders."  This kid cracks me up!

Thus, it came as no suprise to me that wanted to dress up as a superhero for Halloween.  I didn't want to spend money on a costume that he would only wear once, but instead wanted one that would provide him with year-long dress up possibilities.  That’s why I excited to review Hasbro’s the Amazing Spiderman Hero FX Mask, Glove and Chest Light.  I knew that he would love dressing up as one of his favorite superheroes!

Hasbro Spider-man maskHasbro Glove Spider-manLight Chest Hasbro

I made the mistake of telling my son about the Spider-Man role-play toys when they were still on their way to us, so naturally he asked about them ALL the time.  He practically ripped through the shipping box when it arrived at our house and could hardly contain himself.  He immeditaley took all the items out of the their packaging, put them on and headed out the back door into the backyard, no doubt to save the world!

The first item that my son wanted to try on was the mask.  This electronic mask features light-up eyes and sound effects.   It also says phrases from the movie!  I'm more practical than my son - I like that the the mask can easily be adjusted on the back.
Spiderman maskSpiderman mask
The glove was a huge hit too!  He loves that by simply moving his hands around, the sensors are activated and produce web shooting sound effects!
Spider-man gloveSpiderman glove

The chest light is so cool as well, it easily attaches to his shirt and features more lights and sound effects.  He had the best time trying out all the Amazing Spider-Man role-play toys.  As a matter of fact, since they first arrived at our home he's played with the them a daily basis.
I LOVE that they encourage him to use his creativity. I am not sure sure how he managed to "create" the webs with my laundry line rope, but he thinks it looks super cool!
SpidermanSpiderman
I understood my son's excitement over the Habro's Marvel superhero themed role-play toys - superhereos are everywhere because kids love them – and they not just for boys either. My 6 and 8 year old girls love them too!   The Hasbro line of Marvel role-play toys can help create the ultimate costume based on popular Super Heroes (like IRON MAN, HULK, THOR or CAPTAIN AMERICA from MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS or SPIDER-MAN and THE LIZARD from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN); but I love that these toys are affordable and will keep my son entertained long after his Halloween sugar rush is over!

You can find out more information about the products that I reviewed at the Hasbro website: www.hasbro.com.

 

GIVEAWAY:

We will be giving away 1 set of the role-play toys just reviewed, which includes: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HERO FX MASK ($19.99) and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HERO FX CHEST LIGHT ($6.99) and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HERP FX GLOVE ($12.99). How cool!

 

 

RULES:

This Giveaway is managed via a Rafflecopter giveaway. Please follow the link to enter.

 

This is part of a product review campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Hasbro; complimentary products were provided. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, 20 October 2012 02:44

The Milk Truck Says It's Time To Go To Bed

Milk Logo

It’s been my pleasure to share with you several posts on how drinking milk before bed may help you and your children sleep better.  As a busy mom of 4 young children, I am always open to ideas on how to help my family sleep better at night.  My favorite blogs covered my family’s bedtime sleep rituals, highlighting what has and hasn't worked for us in our bedtime routine. In another post I shared the importance of incorporating reading at bedtime with my kids and how you too can encourage your youngsters to read at bedtime (or anytime!) with a new collection of fun stories, available for free online. They are available in Spanish and English.  My kids love them, especially these below!

Milk BooksMilk book

One of the best parts of sharing the benefits of milk has been learning about the Milk Truck, which recently visited my blogger friend Nicole Presley (of Presley's Pantry) in her East Los Angeles neighborhood.  How cool!  More than 50 of Nicole’s family, friends and neighbors joined the festivities!  The very cool retro looking Milk Truck made its way through her neighborhood and arrived to a happy crowd, which seemed to throughly enjoy the milk before bedtime.

Look at how much fun they had! Here is a dad with his young children waiting for the truck to arrive.

Milk Truck

And here's the Milk Truck - friendly faces handing outs lots of milk to the kids and families!

Milk Milk Truck

Everyone had a blast as sang they along to the “Ya es hora de ir a la cama” song, while they enjoyed their milk.

Check out the video from the Milk Truck's visit to Nicole's neighborhood!

The kids are super cute!  This totally brought back memories of drinking milk before bedtime as a kid!  I loved that the simple act of drinking milk together brought Nicole's community together on this particular day.  The warmth and happiness is evident in the pictures shared.  Her friends, family and neighbors clearly enjoyed the Milk Truck's visit!

To learn how milk can help you and your kids sleep better at night visit “Maestro del Vaso Medio Lleno” on Facebook.

Y ahora a dormir!   Time for bed!

This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor Board and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Best Buy I recently wrote about my family's trip to Best Buy to pick up our Xbox 360 + Kinect game system.  The kids were so excited to head over to Best Buy to get our own Xbox and they have been enjoying using it in our home ever since!

My website was chosen to work with Best Buy and their Mi Cultura initiative, highlighting mom bloggers and how we are celebrating our “cultura” this Hispanic Heritage month.  How exciting to partner with Best Buy - they recognize the important dates and holidays in our Latino community!

I knew that my kids would love our Xbox,  but I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy it.  Well, I love it!   I have already looked into what fitness games I can purchase and my husband loves playing any game against the kids. Since our game collection is still relatively small, the kids have already added a few games that we have researched to the their Christmas lists!

Here are the kids dancing away!

One of the things that I have most enjoyed about the Xbox is that it has allowed our family to spend some more time together. My husband travels a lot for work and our family life with 4 young children is hectic, so having one activity that we can all enjoy is a great way to spend time together.  Another BIG benefit of the Xbox 360 + Kinect is that my kids are moving around A LOT because their bodies are the control for the gaming system!

Actually, their favorite use for the Xbox 360 + Kinect is the Just Dance For Kids game. The kids love it!  I really like it too because it reminds me of the good times I spent with my cousins as a kid in Mexico. It was so much fun spending time with my cousins in our parents small hometown.  One of my favorite memories was getting the “boom box” out and playing all sorts of loud music in our patio.  We loved traditional nortenas, cumbias and mariachi music.  We would stay up late, just listening to the music and practicing our dancing too!

Check out some of the ways in which Best Buy is committed to it's Spanish speaking clients.

  • Best Buy has over 1,000 stores in the US with Spanish-speaking sales associates in more than 300 locations.
  • Best Buy offers a total Spanish-language experience via Best Buy ESP for your shopping convenience.
  • Sigue @mibestbuy en Twitter y visítanos en Facebook bbyurl.us/MiBestBuy – para una conversación con verdadero sabor Latino.
  • The easiest way to give gifts your friends and familia is with a Best Buy eGift-Cardbbyurl.us/eGiftCard. You can buy them easily on their website and then have them delivered immediately via email.  They have several egiftcard options in Spanish, these are some of my favorites.

Best Buy GiftCardBest Buy Giftcard

And now for two awesome opportunities to win fabulous prizes from Best Buy!

1.  GIVEAWAY:  (1) $100 Best Buy Gift Card!

  • For the mandatory entry, please visit – http://www.bestbuy.com/micultura and comment on this post with your favorite Best Buy product and how it helps you celebrate their culture.

Additional Entry Options (you can also add your own additional entries)

  • Optional: Like vidacoco.com on Facebook!
  • Optional: Follow @vidacoco on Twitter.
  • Optional: Tweet about the giveaway with @vidacoco in the message.
  • Optional: Subscribe to my YouTube channel.

ONE winner will be randomly selected. This giveaway is open to US entries only, ages 18 and up. The contest ENDS October 25th, 2012 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time.

Mi Best Buy

Please note that you can earn up to 5 entries for this giveaway. This giveaway is being managed by Rafflecopter. Please fill out the form at a Rafflecopter giveaway.

2.   Best Buy is partnering with Latina Mom Bloggers to host a Twitter Party in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month on October 15th. We really hope you’ll join us!

The prizes are AWESOME!

Join Latina Mom Bloggers and Best Buy for a Twitter Party to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on October 15th from 9-10:30pm ET!  Check them out the fantastic prizes that you could win!

  • SiriusXM Edge (includes $50 SiriusXM Prepaid Card, SiriusXM Portable Speaker Dock, Hardwire Modulator FMDA & Pro Installation up to $79.99)
  • Xbox 360 with Kinect plus 50% off Xbox Live gold
  • HP OJPro 8600 Printer
  • Panasonic TC-L55ET5 55" HD LED TV (RV $1,499.99)

RSVP: To be eligible to win prizes, you must RSVP at Latina Mom Bloggers and follow @MiBestBuy. Click HERE <http://latinamombloggers.com/?p=2022>  to RSVP.

Rules: For the official rules, please click HERE <http://latinamombloggers.com/official-twitter-party-rules/> .

This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Best Buy. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, 05 October 2012 09:22

Importance of Bedtime Routines #positivismo

Bedtime Bedtime with young children in a home can be chaotic and a struggle. I remember that in my “before life” (as in before I had children) getting to bed was pretty easy. At some point in the late evening I would decide that I had watched enough TV or studied/read enough and after a few minutes in the bathroom I was off to sweet dream land.  Kids, I have discovered, don’t seem to have this built in “on” and “off” switch!

Fast forward 10 years from my “before kids” life to my “now life ” with 4 small kids. Our bedtime resembles a small military operation – a series of steps that must take place in order for the troops to be well rested for the day ahead. We have tried different things at bedtime, leaving some in and taking others out, depending on what works for us at the time.  As our family has grown we have also found that we have had to adjust our bedtime routine to accommodate our children’s various needs and bedtimes. It’s important to remember that while a bedtime routine is key to well rested children, the actual order in which tasks are done and what exactly needs to be done varies from family to family. Right now, a few things work well for us at bedtime.

First, we start our bedtime routine with early. Wh ile our youngest two children (boys ages 1 and 4) have a 7 p.m. bedtime, we actually start to anticipate this about 30 minutes before. Our family eats dinner between 5:30 and 6 p.m. It’s on the early side, but getting through the dinner craze early on is a big help to me since on most evenings my husband is still at work when we eat dinner and start our bedtime routine (he’s working on being home earlier, yay!).

Next, I try to start “quieting” the house down after dinner. I give my boys a bath while my older girls (ages 6 and 8) sit and work on their homework. After bath time, I help my boys into their PJs and I read to them.  This means that we don't watch TV after dinner either.  The girls are allowed to play quietly in their room or read if their homework is complete.

Reading at BedtimeReading is big part of our bedtime routine, as I wrote about in an earlier blog. Lately, my kids have really been enjoying the stories at www.otroscuentos.com.   They are super cute stories in English and Spanish that can be downloaded for free so that you can share them with your kids as part of your bedtime routine.  My kids love the illustrations too! After we read my boys each get a glass of milk. Actually, when they go into the kitchen for their milk my girls usually join us in there too and also get milk for themselves.

Then the kids all brush their teeth and use the bathroom. The boys go to bed and my girls wrap up their homework.  This is the time that I sit with the girls and read with them or have them read to me for about 15-20 minutes.

Before the kids fall asleep, we have a set of prayers that we recite. The prayers are recited in Spanish, just like my mother and father did with me when I was little.  I always sing them a song too, a lullaby that I love in Spanish.

The kids are pretty familiar with the routine, but when we were working on getting it in place I came up with the Going To Bed Checklist that seemed to really help the kids.  I printed the document once a week for each child and placed it in a location where they child could see it as they got ready for bed, like near their bed or bedroom door.  They checked of each item as they completed it.  Using this method seemed to work really well with my kids when they were 3-6 years old.  You can find the templates here.

Going to bed checklist Going to Bed Checklist

Overall, this routine works well for us, but it's not perfect, just a good work in progress.   Through trial and error I have also learned what does not work for establishing a good bedtime routine.

  • I have forgetting to let babysitters who are with the kids at bedtime know the bedtime routine.  I once had my babysitter call me during dinner as to why my daughter could not stop crying.  I forgot tell her about my silly song that I sing to my daughter as she falls asleep.  I didn't expect my sitter to sing it to her, of course, but I should have been better prepared for this.  This prompted me to type up our bedtime routine and leave it out for sitters, so they have something to follow.
  • In addition to avoiding TV before bed, we also don't allow sugary snacks close to bedtime.

bedtime

  • I am working on not reasoning with my kids at bedtime. This picture taken of my son asleep on the floor UNDER the dining room table is proof of what can happen when you do! This is actually something that I need to work on, mostly because I am big pushover if they kids tell me that they want another kiss or hug. Case in point, tonight when I was  helping my girls with homework, I had already put my boys to bed.  My 4 year old kept coming out from his room into the dining room because he was 1. hungry 2. scared and 3. not sleepy.   I gave up trying to get him to stay in bed so I could help my girls with their homework.  At some point he fell asleep UNDER the dining room table!

Do you have bedtime routine tips that work well for your family? What are they?  Sweet Dreams!

To learn more about bedtime routines visit “Maestro del Vaso Medio Lleno” on Facebook.

This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor Board and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

OrganWise Guys

In our home we try to do our best to teach our 4 young kids the importance of taking care of their bodies. A lot of this happens when we shop for groceries or when we make dinner together by simply explaining to the kiddos why it is that we are buying certain foods, why we avoid others or why we prepare/cook food in a particular fashion. However, I am always looking for fun, creative and interactive ways to engage them in learning about health and nutrition. That’s why I was so excited to learn about The OrganWise Guys Inc. and their In The House! kit - it's aimed at helping children form healthy habits in ways that kids love.

OrganWise Guys

The OrganWise Guys Inc. started in 1993 with a simple idea – to inspire individuals to take charge of their health by taking on personal responsibility for their choices. Helping our children form healthy habits BEFORE bad ones set in is such an important lesson to teach, especially when we consider the increasing numbers of childhood obesity! It can be hard for busy families to stay on top of making healthy choices all the time.  That's exactly why it's so essential to help our children form healthy habits early on and give them the tools so they can make healthy choices on their own.

Enter the OrganWise Guys (OWG) – super cute organ characters that love teaching young audiences about making healthy choices. Yes, we all want healthy kids and healthy families! The OWG In The House! kit features 5 of these super cute organ characters in an engaging healthy behavior tracking program that helps families like mine really work on establishing healthy goals with young children.

OWG Kit

 

The OrganWise Guys In the House! Kit includes the following:

Colorful carry case

5 fun-filled books (with healthy tracking tools)

  • Getting Started with In the House
  • Hardy Heart In the House! – Choose Low-Fat
  • Peri Stolic In the House! – Choose High-Fiber
  • The Kidney Brothers In the House! – Choose Water
  • Madame Muscle In the House! – Choose exercise

Plush OrganWise Guys (rewards for healthy behaviors)

 

When the mail carrier delivered my package for this review I made the mistake of opening it in front of my kids. Had I been more cautious I would have read the big letters on the introduction letter that read, “Please don’t open this In The House! box in front of your children.” Why? There are 5 OrganWise Guys beanies that are to be used as rewards after each week of healthy habit tracking, but these are a SECRET. Thankfully my kids didn’t see the beanies, but they knew I was hiding something cool in the brown shipping box, so they kept asking me for days "What's in the box?"

Yes, the kiddos were so excited to FINALLY see what was inside! I am not sure which picture is funnier!

OrganWise GuysOrganWise Guys

Ok, now that were calm again we read the Getting Started book and decided which OWG rule our family wanted to work on during the first week.

OWG OrganWise Guys

This involved A LOT of discussion among the kids, but finally they decided to "Choose Water" with The Kidney Brothers in The House.

OrganWise GuysOrganWise GuysOrganWise Guys

I love that kids are given enough time to really practice putting these habits in place. As a busy mom it can be so hard for me to stay on top of all the healthy reminders that I want my kids to work on, but the tracking system of  7 consecutive days is great! Once your child has completed each book they sign the last page and put the book back "In the House." Then, while they are sleeping you slip the appropriate OWG beanie into the box and then next morning (over a healthy breakfast) your child can find their own OWG beanie reward! Then you move onto your next book for the upcoming week, starting the path to establishing healthy habits with another goal.

In a home like ours where we have more than 1 child, The OrganWise Guys Inc. allows you to make copies of the tracking pages in their books. Perfect! My 8 year-old is “in the know” of the secret rewards and is encouraging her younger siblings to make healthy choices and track their progress.

We are 1/2 way through week 1 and my kids are loving it!  We have also gone to The OrganWise Guys website to learn more about healthy living.   I will make sure to post a picture of my kids seeing their 1st reward!

OrganWise Guys

Well, talking about the OrganWise Guys got my children REALLY excited about making healthy choices this week. Since they love to come up with plays and perform them for our family they decided to come up with one about making healthy lifestyle choices. Check it out!


The OrganWise Guys motto is, “We love who we live in so please take care of us!” I hope that you will take some time to learn about how they can help your children establish healthy habits for life. Some of you who follow this blog may know that I grew up in a very traditional Hispanic community and food was a big part of my life. Unfortunately, a lot of what we ate was not good for our health – Mexican food tends to be high in saturated fat, calories and unhealthy carbohydrates.  With such a high diabetes rate in our country and growing obesity rates among our country's youth, especially Hispanic children, I love that the OrganWise Guys Inc. is providing a proactive solution to these health problems!

Learn more about them at:

Website: http://www.organwiseguys.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/organwise/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OrganWiseGuys

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheOrganWiseGuys

 

GIVEAWAY: Would you like to win your own OrganWise Guys kit? It’s super simple, just follow the directions below.

How to Enter:

  1. Mandatory:  Comment on this post in the comments section below.
  2. Optional: Like vidacoco.com on Facebook!
  3. Optional: Follow @vidacoco on Twitter.
  4. Optional: Tweet about the giveaway!
  5. Optional: Subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Please note that you can earn up to 5 entries for this giveaway. This giveaway is being managed by Rafflecopter. Please fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway form to enter.

ONE winner will be randomly selected. This giveaway is open to US and CANADA entries only ages 18 and up. The contest ENDS October 15th, 2012 at 11:50 Eastern Standard Time.

Mi Best Buy Logo

 

Originally I had planned to go alone to Best Buy, but when my children found out I was going there to get our Xbox 360 with Kinect they were so excited and wanted to tag along. Hmm, I said yes as long as Daddy went too! On our drive there they couldn’t stop chatting about who would “play” first once we were back at home with the Xbox!

Here we are, on our way into our local Best Buy! This was after I had to get over the fact that I forgotten my camera at home and that pictures taken on my phone would have to do, goodness knows we were not going back home to get my camera, we were too excited!

Mi Cultura Best Buy

Baby safely in the shopping cart and off we go!

A very friendly sales associate walked us through all the awesome Xbox features.  Xbox 360 with Kinect allows you to do some really neat things:

 

  1. Play games
  2. Watch movies
  3. Watch live TV
  4. Play games with people around the world!

 

With Kinect for Xbox 360 you can play video games with your body as controller and use your voice to control so many features. I love that the controller-free gaming gets my kids moving!  They seem to have endless energy, so this is a great way to help them do something together AND get some exercise.

An added feature is the Xbox LIVE membership, which allows you to play Kinect games and controller games with friends online.  Wow!

Best Buy Mi Cultura Best Buy Mi Cultura

Best Buy had a Xbox 360 with Kinect set up right in the store - my kids, of course, went straight to it.  Once they got the hang of it there was no stopping them! My kids and our very helpful Best Buy sales associate managed to convince me try it out too! And what better song to dance to than the classic Eye of the Tiger, check us out!

Now that the kids, my husband and I had seen the Xbox 360 with Kinect in action, we were ready to take one home.

Mi Cultura Best Buy Mi Cultura Best Buy

Everything was going smoothly in our shopping trip (with 4 young kids in tow this is quite an accomplishment!) until the Xbox LIVE membership card wasn’t scanning with the correct price. Our sales associate tried a few times, but nothing seemed to work. Yikes! However, the impending crisis was solved SUPER fast. That was good news because the kids were starting to lose it.  They were so excited to go home and set up our Xbox!   See how many friendly people came over to help me? One even helped entertain my kiddos!

Mi Cultura Best Buy

So why Best Buy and Mi Cultura?   Mi cultura is defined by many things, primarily by family.  September is Hispanic Heritage Month, so it's the perfect time to celebrate cultura! Growing up my family spent a lot of time visiting our relatives, in and around Chicago and in Mexico.  I have so many great memories of things that we did together.  I am sure that had Xbox been around back then it would have been part of our routine!  Fast forward some years and I have a family of my own. Between school and after school activities, finding time to do things together as a family can be hard.  I love that our Xbox will allow us to do one more thing together - from the comfort of our home!

Stay tuned for future posts on our Xbox!  Surely we will be enjoying it at home A LOT!

Xbox live

For more information about Best Buy, visit www.bestbuy.com or www.bestbuy.com/espanol

This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Best Buy. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, 28 September 2012 10:48

Milk Helps With A Good Night Sleep & Giveaway!

"It's time to go to bed."   These words are often met with moans from children, but establishing a bedtime ritual or bedtime routine can do wonders in helping your children get to bed a little easier. With school back in session and after school activities in full swing, I need my kids to be well rested so a bedtime routine in our home is important.

In our family, reading has been a part of our bedtime ritual since my oldest child was a still baby. I remember when she was so tiny, often wondering if she had any interest in the words I was reading to her.   Every night I would bathe her, feed her and then snuggle up with her on the bed to read to her.   Eventually, she started to “read” to me – babbling all sorts of things as she pointed excitedly to the pictures in the book.  This time is very memorable to me - mostly because I discovered a whole new set of favorite storybooks. 

When my second daughter was born, I had two little people in the bed with me participating in this awesome bedtime routine. Fast forward a few years and our bedtime reading time still takes place, but this time with 4 young kids! After dinnertime and once we make sure that homework is complete, they have a bath and then we read for about 20 minutes.  It’s hard to get them all in one place for our reading time because they have separate bed times, so usually my oldest (who is now 8.5 years old) reads to one of the kids to help me out.  I LOVE that she wants to read to her siblings and that her siblings love having a big sister read to them - they enjoy the different voices that she gives the characters.  She does a MUCH better job than mom! In the pictures below she is reading "Las Olas De La Luna" (The Waves Of The Moon).  Now that she is old enough to have more responsibilities, she pours the glasses of milk that my kids drink before going bed.  I find that having a glass of milk as part of their bedtime routine helps them sleep better - which is very nice for me!                                                                        

Sometimes we get a little creative with our bedtime routine, like on this night when we attended a “library night" at my daughter’s school. One of the school rooms was transformed into a storytime wonderland, complete with lots of books, live storytelling and milk for the kids.  How cute!

Now that my 6-year-old is reading, she also likes to help me out at bedtime by reading to her younger brothers.  I just love this picture of her reading to her younger brother!  The baby of my family is now 1.5-years-old and although he can't read he sees lots of reading going on around the house.  I am not sure why my pictureless prayer book interested him, but hey, I love that he was babbling outloud pretending to read!

We have many favorite bedtime books and stories around our house, but our latest favorites are found at www.otroscuentos.com. You can visit the site and download some adorable bedtime stories that you and child can read together as part of your bedtime ritual.  The stories are a great way for you and your child to spend quality time together and help them prepare for a good night's sleep. One of my son’s favorites is “Elena The Slurping Monkey” while my daughters LOVE “Benito the Elephant.” These stories are also available in Spanish, which is wonderful since I am always looking for ways to practice it with my kids.  The characters are super cute too!

Make sure to check out the stories, enter our GIVEAWAY (see below) and visit “Maestro del Vaso Medio Lleno” on Facebook.

GIVEAWAY:  One (1) Two month supply of milk via a $40 Walmart Gift Card, and a *hard copy of the Bedtime Stories Book Collection.

How to Enter:

  1. Mandatory:  Visit www.otroscuentos.com and comment on this post on what your favorite bedtime story is.
  2. Optional: Like vidacoco.com on Facebook!
  3. Optional: Follow @vidacoco on Twitter.
  4. Optional: Tweet about the giveaway!
  5. Optional: Subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Please note that you can earn up to 5 entries for this giveaway.This giveaway is being managed by Rafflecopter. Please fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway form to enter.

ONE winner will be randomly selected. This giveaway is open to US entries only ages 18 and up. The contest ENDS October 5th, 2012 at 11:50 Eastern Standard Time.

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor Board and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 24 September 2012 23:12

Comforting Old Sweatshirt

We all have that one piece of clothing that despite it’s obvious wear and tear, we keep wearing year after year. For me that piece of clothing is a University of Michigan sweatshirt that my parents bought for me. I STILL remember the day that they bought it for me at Sears when I was 14.  I was always cautious of not asking for too much when we I was growing up – I would only ask for things that I REALLY wanted.  On this day we were at Sears and in the middle of an aisle there was a stand for college sweatshirts. Maybe it was Fall college football season? Well, I looked at the sweatshirt stand and there it was – a University of Michigan sweatshirt in all it's navy blue and maize glory! After my parents were done with their shopping I brought them over to the sweatshirt stand and I asked and them if I could have one -  they said yes! I was so excited!

I bet I was happy because hand-me-downs were the norm around my house and something brand new was worth a little excitement! I also I knew that I wanted to attend college and the University of Michigan was my top choice. This was a huge deal to me because I grew up in a neighborhood where most kids don’t attend college, but a mentor of mine in an after-school program had gotten me so excited about college over the past few months!   Maybe my parents knew this (or not), but nonetheless I was so grateful for that sweatshirt.

VIntage University of Michigan sweatshirt

During high school on many cold Chicago days it kept me warm, especially on the train and bus rides to and from school. I especially loved wearing it to the Harold Washington Library on Saturdays to study (I was a nerd!). One time I realized that I had left it at the library and I took the train all the way back to find it! I wore it for what seemed like days after receiving my University of Michigan acceptance letter as a high school senior. I wore it during so many all-night study sessions in college and grad school. This is actually kind of funny when you consider that I attended universities that are “rivals” of University of Michigan!

Later in life this comfy sweatshirt was worn many times during my four pregnancies (it’s very roomy!), and at least on two occasions it was worn on our way to the hospital on delivery day! Today, it’s my “go to” sweatshirt when I feel homesick or when I sit with my husband on our patio early in the morning sipping my cup of coffee.

It’s silly, but certain pieces of clothing have this power. To make us feel safe or to remind us of so many warm memories. I think of a child’s security blanket or their favorite toy. Maybe that’s why I am sucker for always going back home for these items when my kids forget them! What about you?  Do you have a favorite piece of clothing that has sentimental value?

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