Coco's Blog

Saturday, 21 January 2012 08:44

Budget Thanksgiving Day Decorating: Banner

Thanksgiving Day Garlan

This Thanksgiving Day banner is the perfect touch to decorate your mantel or any area in your home where you will celebrate your Thanksgiving Day meal.  It's very easy to make and it's budget friendly.   I love that you can get very creative with this project and you can involve your kids.

  • For this banner I used cardstock in chocolate, gold and burnt orange.  Think "fall" colors for your color scheme - browns, burnt oranges, dark greens, even golds and purples.  I didn't have any patterned paper on hand, but that would work well too.
  • First, cut your cardstock to the size that you want.   I cu t the gold cardstock to 5x7 pieces. The brown cardstock is from Papersource (my favorite paper store, BTW!) and it was precut.  I cut the burnt orange paper in the oval shape by using a homemade template.
  • Next, I used glue dots to glue the cardstock pieces together.
  • The letters are stickers, so I simply adhered them to the burnt orange paper, but depending on your color choices you can also just print letters directly onto your cardstock and cut them out.
  • Use a long piece of ribbon to string your letters together.
  • Finally, add embellisments. I used an edge trimmer to give the gold paper the rounded look.  I have a few of these around the house from scrapbooking - you can buy them at any number of craft stores.   I outlined the letters with mini beads...you can also use glitter, looks very nice too. You could try adding leaf cutouts or stickers.
  • Get creative!   I made a similar styled banner but in different colors for my son's Baptism, you can see it in this post.
  • This banner reads "Give Thanks" but you could try:  Happy Thanksgiving, Gratitude, Be Grateful, Be Thankful, etc.
  • An internet search for "Thanksgiving Day banner homemade image" will give you lots of ideas too :)

Thanksgiving Day Banner

Monday, 12 November 2012 18:03

Budget Thanksgiving Day Decorating: Part 1

Thanksgiving Fall MantelThanksgiving Decor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLES & MANTELS

I love decorating for the Fall season, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday. It must be the beautiful colors that are all around! It may be my weakness for pumpkin anything too! The Fall season is the perfect excuse to surround myself with my favorite colors, smells and tastes.

Thanksgiving Day TableMy favorite way to decorate the house for the season is to bring in the outdoors.  Yesterday, I took my 3 year-old son on a long walk and we found lots of pinecones and these beautiful maple leaves.  We collected enough to decorate our fireplace mantel by simple alternating the leaves and pinecones with some little tea lights that I already owned. You can also buy similar decorating items at craft stores like Michael's or Joann Fabrics for about $10 for the entire look. Take the same idea and make a beautiful centerpiece like the one pictured to the right.

NAPKIN RINGS

I love the napkin rings below.   Simply buy a few sheets of your favorite Autumn or Thanksgiving Day themed paper from any local craft store.  Two sheets will make plenty of holders - about 40!   Buy 1 sheet of stickers - again themed is nice, but any simple design, like gold foil, would be good. Cut 1 inch thick long strips out of the paper and cut those into 2 strips.   You should have 2 strips that are each 1 inch thick. Simply wrap around a rolled napkin and secure with your sticker.  This works well for your nice napkins and easily dresses up your paper napkins.   If you use this idea for paper napkins you can place the utensils inside of the napkin. Super easy - you can even have your kids make them as a craft the day before your get together. The total cost for the napkin rings is about $5 for 20.

Thanksgiving Day napkin holders

 

Stay tuned, more crafting and decorating ideas for the holidays are coming soon! Now for more of my pumpkin latte!

Master Logo For the past few weeks we have been sharing the #positivismo campaign. It’s been fun to blog about why we love milk as part of a healthy lifestyle….AND we’ve been continuously motivated by the Master of the Glass Half Full. His daily dose of wit and positivity makes us laugh and inspires us to find happiness in little things. The Latina Mom Bloggers who are part of this campaign have also inspired me. They are a group of very talented Latinas! So please join us me, the Latina Mom Bloggers, the Positivity Ambassadors and The Master of the Glass Half Full for a Twitter Party on November 16th from 9-10:30 pm ET (6-7:30 pm PT).

Porque? The conversation and PRIZES of course! The discussion will focus on how to incorporate milk into your family’s healthy diet, tips for leading a more positive life AND the Master of the Glass Half Full will be there with his words of wisdom! I would love to hear from you too! How have you incorporated milk into your family’s healthy diet? What are your favorite milk based recipes? With the holidays just around the corner, I hope to learn about some cool new recipes too!

 

WHEN: Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, at 6-7:30 pm PT or 9-10:30 pm EST

WHERE: Twitter hashtag #Positivismo

FOLLOW: @vidacoco (that’s me), @maestropositivo a.k.a. El Maestro del Vaso Medio Lleno (The Master of the Glass Half Full), @SassyScorpYM, @Eva_Smith, @michellerivera5, @daytrippingmom, @unknownmami, @shesnachomama, @darielacruz, @nibblesnfeasts, @yvonneinla, @spousesprite, @presleyspantry, @colombianaenCA, @mamanoticias, @LatinaMomBlogs, @JollyMom, @Eva_Smith

RSVP: You must RSVP at LatinaMomBloggers.com. Click HERE to RSVP. Gracias!

PRIZES: And, yes, the prizes, check them out! Which one would you like?

Twitter Party Prizes

  • Oster Classic Beehive Blender with a Six Month’s Supply of Milk
  • Two (2) Six Month’s Supply of Milk
  • Tree of Life Yoga Kit with a Six Month’s Supply of Milk
  • NOOKColor & skin with a Six Month’s Supply of Milk


OFFICIAL RULES: Make sure to read the Official Rules at Latina Mom Bloggers.

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor’s Board and Latina Mom Bloggers.

 

I look forward to you joining us on November 16th!

 

 

Monday, 29 October 2012 23:41

Healthy Halloween Treat & Snack Ideas

Halloween Healthy Treat

Is it possible to have healthy Halloween treats? Halloween and sweets go hand-in-hand, so they are allowed in our house more than normal around this time. However, I try to explain to the kids that candy and sweats are an “every now and then” food.  I have a major sweet tooth and I know that my kids do too around this season, so I don’t expect for candy and other treats to be banned in our home, but we do work on limiting the amount - for their appetite, nutrition and teeth. With your trick-or-treaters you can hand out healthier and fun treats that they will enjoy - and that their parents will appreciate!

Here are suggestions to help curb the sweet tooth overload this Halloween:

  • Consider handing out healthy snacks in mini boxes/packages of:
    • Animal crackers
    • Angie's Kettle Corn, which is gluten-free.
    • Baby carrots (BabyCarrots.com has packaged them as Scarrots)
    • Buddy Fruit Bites (My kids LOVE these!)
    • Apple slices
    • Goldfish crackers
    • Granola bars or cereal bars
    • Sugar-free hot cocoa
    • Pirate’s Booty
    • Pretzels
    • Raisins or yogurt covered raisins
    • Roasted pumpkin seeds
    • String cheese
    • Trail mix
    • Sugar free gum
  • Hand out non-edible treats, similar to what you may find in a goody bag.
    • Miniature toys like mini yo-yos tiny pinball games, bubble sets, jacks and ball sets, mini Rubik's cubes, bouncing eyeball balls, sidewalk chalk, inflatable mini balls, mini Uno games, any card games like Go Fish, slide puzzles.
    • Plastic jewelry with Halloween themed spooky characters like ghosts, black cats, spiders, skulls, pumpkins, etc.
    • Crazy accessories like pirate eye patches, vampire fangs, glow in the dark fingers, necklaces, silly bands, and temporary tattoos.
    • Halloween themed craft items or school supplies like pencils, sharpeners, erasers.
    • Stickers, small coloring books, slap bracelets
    • ;
    • Small containers of play dough or wikki stix.
    • Online stores like Oriental Trading Company and U.S. School Supply are great for finding these types of items at affordable prices. Don’t forget your local party supply store and dollar stores.
  • Pumpkin MuffinsDepending on when your kids will go out for trick-or-treating, make sure that they have a healthy snack or dinner before they head out to avoid having them fill up on sweets.  Some of my favorites snacks are pumpkin spiced muffins made with whole wheat flour.  I LOVE this recipe from lunchboxbunch.com - they are so good! Try orange or cantaloupe slices, cheddar cheese with whole grain crackers, carrots with ranch dip…add a little orange food coloring to the dip! I love the apple cuts out pictured above, but peanut butter or even better, yogurt, would be a much healthier treat, but I do love caramel! Simply cut about 5 granny smith apples into thin slices and use assorted mini cookie cutters to cut shapes into the apple slices, use both the cut outs and apple slices.  This yummy and easy to make treat comes from fancyflours.com.  Great sites for additional healthy ideas are ivillage.com and fitsugar.com.

Apple Bites Check out my other favorite apple treat (I love apples!)- all you need are granny smith apples and slivered almonds....this idea comes from familyfun.go.com.  My kids also love pumpkin cookies - check out our favorite recipe from Kristine Lopez here.

Finally, to lower the amount of candy in your house after Halloween, encourage your kids to participate in Halloween Candy Buy Back. This is such a great national program – it pays kids $1 per pound of sweets that are shipped to U.S. troops overseas.  It's also a good idea to store the candy out of sight, like in a kitchen cupboard that only you can reach.   Limit candy intake to one a day during a set time, for just a few days then get rid of the candy.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011 12:10

Back to Basics: La Leche

“La leche, corre!” That’s what my mom used to say to me when we heard the milk man was making his way down the street in our small town in Mexico. I grew up in Chicago, but many summer vacations were spent in El Tepozan, the small town where my parents were born. This town had a few tiny store-front grocery stores that carried the basic necessities, but once a week the milkman would drive through town – we knew he was around because his truck played this certain music and he'd announce his presence on his loudspeaker.  When we would hear him my mom would make me rush outside the house, so we could signal him to stop. My mom would make sure that we would stock up on milk!

This memory always make me smile…living in Chicago and getting your milk at the grocery store just didn’t seem as cool as this method, waving down the milkman in Mexico! Years later, when I lived in the college dorms, when my parents would drop by for a visit, my mom would always bring me milk in a little cooler, for me to keep in the mini-fridge in my dorm!

So you probably aren’t surprised that milk is a staple in our house! However, this was only the case after my 2nd child was born and I decided that our family needed to become healthier. After college my milk consumption dropped and I started to drink a lot of juice, and years later, so did my kids. It was when my husband and I took a series of healthy cooking classes that I was really surprised to learn that some of the health choices we had been making until that point were really not that healthy at all. I realized that our kids (and us) were drinking way too much juice – WAY too much! The dietician that we worked with suggested that we replace their juice intake with more water and milk. Ah yes, milk!  

Here are my two oldest enjoying a glass of milk after school - check out the milk mustaches!

My Girls drinking milk after school

My kids enjoy milk by itself, but it's so easy to incorporate it into their daily diets.  Some of my family's favorite ways to do so are below:

  • Making smoothies with milk and lots of fruit!
  • Having whole grain pancakes, like those from kamut, are so much better when made with milk!
  • The kids love making homemade pudding with milk.
  • Try adding low-fat milk instead of water to oatmeal and hot cereal.
  • Mac and cheese with low-fat cheese, a little milk and veggies like cauliflower and broccoli is a big hit around here.

To learn more about the benefits of milk Link to The Master of the Glass Half Full on Facebook and on Twitter. And remember to vote for the the“Little Masters” Facebook Photo Contest.  Vote HERE.

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor’s Board and Latina Mom Bloggers.

Tuesday, 04 October 2011 11:41

HUGE Contest!

The Little Masters of the Glass Half Full Photo Album/"El Album de Los Maestritos del Vasito Medio Llenito"

Facebook Photo Contest

Today we are announcing the start of a contest!   The prizes are AMAZING and entering to win is super easy.   Last week I announced that vidacoco.com proudly became a Positivity Ambassador because I believe in the many health benefits that milk can provide us and our families.   With the help of the “Master of the Glass Half Full,” (aka the milk guru) we will be posting a series of posts between now and the end of the year on how we can incorporate milk into our healthy lifestyle….and I’m am loving the positive attitude that the Master of the Glass Half Full brings to the campaign!   So, would you like to win a new fridge, bike or a year’s supply of milk?   Check out the contest details below and enter today, but first read the letter from Master of the Glass Half Full to Vidacoco fans.

letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The details:

Starting October 3rd through October 21st the Master of the Glass Half Full will hold a Facebook photo contest.  It’s fun and super easy to enter! Simply submit pictures of your child/children holding a glass half full of milk, like the milk Master likes do to do.   The best picture imitating the Master will win!

Master of the Glass Half Full

Photo submissions will be accepted from October 3rd through October 21st, followed by on-line voting from October 24-28th. Winners will be announced on Monday, October 31st. You may submit pictures and learn more about the contest here. The Master of the Glass Half Full is always looking to spread his love of milk and positive attitude - find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Check out my kids with their impressions!

Milk CampaignKids with Milk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milk Campaign

 

The PRIZES!

Contest Picture

Grand Prize/1st Place: French door stainless steel refrigerator with a year’s supply of milk

2nd Place: Bicycle with a front child seat and a year’s supply of milk

3rd Place: Professional blender with a year’s supply of milk

 

As a side note, one of the things that I am enjoying about working on this campaign is it’s focus on staying positive with the help of The Master of the Glass Half Full and his daily dose of positivity. This got me thinking…For years my husband has told me that so much of life and what we can make of it begins with PMA – a positive mental attitude.   Yes, it’s a little corny and easer said than done, but it’s true!   I admire my husband and his daily dose of PMA – he inspires me to look at the glass half full.  I think that his PMA inspires and motivates others too.   Who inspires you to do the same?   Are you that person that inspires a positive attitude in others?   I certainly need to work on this :)

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor’s Board and Latina Mom Bloggers.

Monday, 26 September 2011 12:35

Positivity Ambassador For Milk

I love milk and I am certain I know why. Yes, it tastes good and it has many health benefits for myself and my family, but I’m convinced that my love of milk comes from spending many summers in México as a child and many winters in Chicago.

I lived in México until I was 5 years old and then went back to visit almost every summer until I was an adult. One of the most vivid memoires from my time trips was watching my aunt milk the family cows. She would wash her hands, grab her red bucket from the kitchen counter and always ask me if I wanted to go with her. I really enjoyed going with her to milk the cows. I liked this quite time with her and I felt great to be picked for such an important chore in the house. Milking the cows seemed to take forever and I swear my aunt would sweat a little bit - it was hard work after all! When we were done, we would head back to her kitchen. The moment the milk made its way into the house we had an instant party. Family members seemed to just pop into the kitchen for a glass! My tia would get to work right away – the milk usually ended up in a rice pudding that afternoon or in a delicious gelatina, yum! In the evenings the adults poured it liberally into their café con leche, of course.

Back in Chicago, my early memories of milk take place on cold Chicago evenings. I grew up with 4 kids in a small Southside apartment and I’m certain that we contributed significantly to the local economy with the amount of milk that our family consumed. I can recall so many evenings when the snow was on the ground and the temperature outside was bone chilling. Then my mamí would announce “aye, la leche!” when we were almost or completely out of milk and that was REALLY bad in our home. My brother always had cereal before going bed and my father needed it for his oatmeal first thing in the morning. My mamí would get dressed and walk to the local market in that bitter cold, just for milk. Many times I went with her. When I run out to the grocery store at 10:30 p.m. so that my kids won’t wake up to a milkless house I always think of my mamí and her late night milk runs, but I live in sunny southern California, thank goodness!

In college I had a small fridge in my dorm room – always with a small milk container, of course! Fast forward many years to my life now. I am mother to 4 young kids. In our home, milk is a staple part of our diet. For the most part, my kids only drink milk and water.

Given my appreciation for milk, I am very proud to announce my role as Positivity Ambassador. I have teamed up with the California Milk Processors Board and some amazing Latina Mom Bloggers to share with you the many benefits of making milk a part of a healthy lifestyle. Between now and Christmas I’ll be doing a series of posts on milk’s benefits, easy tips on incorporating milk into our busy lives and my favorite milk based recipes.  I will be sharing this information with you with help of the campaign’s fun (and fictional) mascot, The Master of the Glass Half Full, aka “El Maestro Del Vaso Medio Lleno.” Check out this video of The Master at work - he certainly has a passion for milk!

He is basically the world’s most passionate advocate for milk, so I like him already, but it’s his positive attitude and outlook on life that I truly love. No matter how much he drinks or pours, the Master’s glass of milk is always half full – always! What a great philosophy to live by, to see the positive in all things (I could use help in this area!).

Master of the Glass Half Full

To learn more about The Master of the Glass Half Full, follow his updates on Facebook and on Twitter.

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor’s Board and Latina Mom Bloggers.

Saturday, 24 September 2011 13:06

Early Parent Mornings

Growing up, the sun rose early in my home. My father had a job in a neighboring state, so he was always gone by 4:45 a.m. My mother would get up early too, to help my father get out the door on time. Often times, my mother would not go back to bed after my father left and I could hear her in the kitchen. She was doing dishes, folding laundry, or sewing.

Today I am up early, working on my computer while a load of laundry for today’s soccer game is drying. Not all my mornings start so early, but this has been a busy week. Actually, the stillness of the house is nice. I have coffee too!  Today I needed to get up early if we are going to be at the soccer fields by 8 a.m.

Right now I feel grateful for my parents…I am sure that on so many mornings like today my parents wanted to stay in bed, especially during the freezing Chicago winters! Honestly, growing up I didn’t understand why my mom would be up so early. What could she be doing? And then there were the nights when I would get up to use the bathroom and she was up, sewing a sibling’s prom dress at 2 a.m. or working on some other project! I thought about her two nights ago when I was up at 4 making cupcakes for a bakesale because I had fallen asleep on the couch the night before and forgot to make them! Mom and dad, I don’t say this often to you, but thank you for your early mornings (and late nights) – I appreciate them so much more now that I too have them as a parent. I don't always want to get up - sometime I hate it....I am sure you did too, but thank you!

I love this picture below, reminds me of those early mornings in Chicago.

Sunrise in Pilsen

El sol salía temprano en mi casa. Mi padre tenía un empleo en un Estado vecino, por lo que él siempre salia a las 4:45 por la mañana.  Mi madre se levantaba temprano, para ayudarle a mi padre poder salir a tiempo. Muchas veces mi madre no volvía a la cama después de que mi padre se había ido a trabajar.  Ella lavaba los platos y la ropa o hacia costura.

Hoy yo estoy hasta despierta temprano,  trabajando en mi ordenador mientras que estoy lavando los uniformes el para juego de fútbol. No todas mis mañanas comienzan tan temprano, pero esta ha sido una semana ocupada. En realidad, el silencio de la casa es agradable. También tengo café! Hoy tenía que levantarme temprano si vamos a estar en los campos de fútbol a las 8!

La verdad es que me siento agradecida por mis padres.  Estoy segura de que en muchas mañanas como hoy mis padres querían quedarse en la cama, especialmente durante los inviernos fríos de Chicago!  Creciendo yo no entendía por qué mi mamá se despertaba tan temprano. ¿Qué podría estar haciendo? Y hubo noches cuando me levantaba para usar el baño y ella estaba despierta, cosiendo un vestido de baile o trabajando en otro proyecto! Pensé en esto hace dos noches cuando yo estaba despierta a las 4,  haciendo cupcakes para la escuela porque se había olvidado hacerlos la noche anterior! Papá y mamá, no digo a menudo esto, pero muchas gracias por sus mañana tempranas (y noches largas). Agradezco todo esto mucho más ahora que yo también las tengo como madre.

Me gusta este retrato, me recuerda de esas mañanas tempranas en Chicago.

 

 

I love café, yes, café, not coffee. There is a difference…..coffee is delicious, it’s one of my indulgences. But there is nothing like a cup of café, the way my abuelita prepared it. It’s funny how certain foods can bring back so many memories. Café is one of those for me. I remember mi abuelita and tias having their cup of café, late in the evening, sitting on her porch talking about the day and la familia. Even to this day when I have “un cafecito” I think about those wonderful evenings on my abuelita’s porch in Mexico. I miss them!

Javierr Poty Castillo and VidacocoI was excited when Nescafé Clásico recently invited Vidacoco and a small group of bloggers to breakfast to meet Javier ‘Poty’ Castillo. Poty is the director of choreography for Mira Quien Baila, the popular Spanish reality dance show. He is currently promoting the instant coffee’s “Celebra Nuestro Ritmo” campaign. I was also excited because mi abuelita only had Nescafé in her house, so I’m very familiar with the brand.

With the goal of celebrating Latin culture through dance, the “Celebra Nuestro Ritmo” campaign encourages Latinos to embrace their inner rhythm and passion for dance as a means to an active and healthier lifestyle. Poty is certainitly the right spokesperson for this campaign! Poty has a dynamic and energetic personality that is contagious, both on and off screen. He shared with us how he joined the military and then proceeded to study ballet as an adult. Despite the odds, he became a part of the national ballet of Spain. He definitely believes that a positive attitude can move mountains – love it! And just like dance, Nescafé Clásico has been a part of his life, so their partnership on the “Celebra Nuestro Ritmo” campaign seemed very natural to him.

You can learn more about Poty and the campaign, download recipes and find instructional dance videos and healthy living/eating tips on Nescafe Latino's FB page.

SWEEPSTAKES
Are you ready to dance?  Enter and register to have the opportunity to win a trip to New York, a private dance class, two tickets to a show, dinner with Poty, director of choreography for “Mira Quién Baila”, and many weekly prizes!   Vidacoco fans can enter here.

GIVEAWAY!

Nescafe giveawaye

See the awesome giveaway pictured here? One lucky Vidacoco fan will win this Nescafé Clásico Gift Package - it could be yours!

It's simple, post on your facebook page the link to this blog.  Let us know when you have and we will enter your name in the giveway, which runs through Friday September 16th.

This package includes:

Nescafé Clásico Coffee Set of Four (4)Exclusive Ceramic Mugs, product samples and an Autographed photo of “Poty”

Giveaway ends midnight September 16th 2011.

 

 

 




 

Friday, 26 August 2011 19:07

Parent Blog Award - please vote!

parents logo

Parents.com Blog Contest

Thank you so much for your nomination for Best All-Around Mom Blog at Parents.com.   We would really appreciate it if you could vote for vidacoco.com here.

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