Parenting

Checking in

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So, I know I’ve been active on Facebook Live, focusing on my Spanish show Time for Cafecito (Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9am on Facebook), but I wanted to check in with you, who reads me in English. I am slowly trying to separate the pages into Spanish and English but for now is a blend just my family.

Not a lot has gone down. I miss writing, I really do, but live is so much fun. The interaction with the audience is so awesome. Sometimes the broadcasts are crazy and they suck- but for the most part, we have fun. If there is anything that makes me proud about the show is that I have been able to hold on to my authentic self (sorry if this sounds to hipster for you). Is hard when you work in social media to stay true to yourself. Slowly videos start becoming productions, posts turn into short novels and pictures a work of art, comparable to those of professional photographers. It’s hard ya’ll. And is competitive AF. Which is honestly, the main reason I decided to just focus on broadcasting and doing it in my language. It’s been a real evolution to find my happy place in social media. And although it’s been a very very very slow growth I love turtles and don’t mind slow. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Anyways just wanted to check in. Say what’s up? I’m still here. I still read messages on all the platforms, but really focusing about 90% of my energy to Facebook. To be completely honest, I have absolutely NO ENERGY to focus on 7 platforms at the same time. I truly admire those who do. I am working on a lot of small projects that take insane amount of work, including my health journey. These are also the last couple of months I will have alone with G3 so I’m trying to soak it all in. Is really about priorities. So yes, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat will have to wait (hopefully they’ll still be around when I get back to them).

It’s almost Spring people! I can smell the spring even through the snow and ice. And I can’t wait for what the rest of the year has in store. This year has been off to a great start so of course excitement awaits.

Please fell free to reach out if you want me to write about something or translate. Also I am still working with expecting and new parents as a concierge. So if you know anyone expecting, send then this way! There’s a lot of baby shows coming up that they might be interested in.

Anyways, hope you are all having a great year and are holding up in these crazy times.

xoxo,

Gemarla

Parenting

Concurso Happy Planner y otros goodies!

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A post shared by Gemarla (@themommyelfllc) on


 
Ya empezó el 2017 y que rápido se está moviendo el año. Una de mis metas es mantenerme más organizada y pues que mejor que las agendas para mantenerse al día. Pero para mi, la agenda es más que un libro para escribir mis tareas del día. Para mí, mi agenda es un escape creativo donde diseño mis días con temas diferentes y de acuerdo a días festivos.

Desde hace varios años estoy decorando mi agenda Erin Condren, pero este año estoy usando la agenda Happy Planner. Esta agenda me encanta por que tienes la opción de ponerle y quiarle las páginas. Como era de esperarse estos planners/agendas se han convertido en la moda con cientos de grupos en Facebook donde se comparten ideas y stickers y los “layouts”.

En mi serie de Facebook de Time for Cafecito, comenzé a hacer los planea conmigo en vivo. Es como una terapia. Pues lo prometido es deuda, y aunque ya estamos en Marzo, todavía puedes comenzar a planear con nosotros.

 

Con tal motivo me inspiré a crear este concurso. Habrán dos ganadores. Uno de ellos se llevara un Happy Planner del 2017 en un kit que incluye estampas y otras cositas. Para participar tienen que ver el video del miércoles y contestar varias preguntas. Para una entrada gratis al concurso y para que no te pierdas los concursos que vienen por ahí, subcribete a nuestra página!

Ganate un Happy Planner

Disney Movies

Why I was disenchanted with Beauty and the Beast

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“A tale as old as time”

A tale of a girl who falls in love with a beast after learning to love beyond appearances. I was VERY VERY excited for this live action movie. As a true Disney fan, I was counting down the days. And last night I had the chance to screen it. And my initial reaction, was blah. Why? Is not a horrible movie. As with all Disney movies it was done beautifully, but to me it lacked more than it gave.

The GOOD: This movie is a visual masterpiece. From the cinematography to the visual effects, there is beauty in every image. The colors, the animation of the characters, the costumes, it was pure perfection. I have no doubt there will probably be a few Oscar nominations for this remake. I think the most talked about issue of the movie, the inclusion of a gay character (Le’Fou) is also a positive thing. Why I didn’t mind the gay character? It is Disney’s way to move forward with changing times. And to those who argue that there is no space for gay characters in a Disney movie? You need to take a seat. Yes, this is a Disney movie. But if your concern is about a guy giving another guy googly eyes and not of the other topics in the movie, you have a problem. The scenes in question  are not obvious to a kid and unless you are absolutely looking for the scenes you will miss them. Plus, I appreciated the diverse cast.

There are new songs and a few new scenes which go a bit more in-depth into the story of the main characters. And for all those concerned about the violence in the movie, is really not that dark as earlier reviews say. If your child has seen the likes of Jurassic Park or even the Jungle Book, the scariest scene with the wolves is absolutely nothing.

The BAD: There is really nothing new. Except for an explanation of the moms death, the story is exactly like its animated origins. Let me explain. This is not Disney’s first live action remake, so yes, I was expecting something different and exciting. With Cinderella and Jungle Book, Disney was able to give us something new while staying true to the original, but with Beauty and the Beast there was nothing new. Which takes away from reliving the experience.

Yes, there were new scenes but not enough. Not even 1/3 of the movie is different from the original, so there was no surprise, except the new songs. One of the new songs in particular, was completely unnecessary and I really wish Disney had cut that scene out. It made the movie feel more like a Broadway play than anything else.

The characters felt disconnected. Compared to their originals, who really brought life to the characters, this time around, they fell short. Although I absolutely love Emma Thompson, there’s no way her character was even close to Angela Landsbury performance in the original. The same can be said for Gaston and even the Beast.

Overall: I had really high expectations of this movie. From the trailers and earlier reviews I was hoping to be AMAZED. I expected to feel like I did after Cinderella and I didn’t. Is it a terrible movie? Not at all. It’s still entertaining and visually stimulating. There is something to be said about the amount of trailers and the fact that there’s no new story or byline that innovates or elevates the story. If you are an original Beauty and the Beast fan, you will love it. If you’ve never seen the original, you will love it. If you are like me, who enjoyed the original and was really hoping to be blown away by the live action then not so much.

I didn’t bring my kids, as I really don’t think is a kid friendly movie. Not because the gay character or the scary wolves, just in general the real topic and story of Beauty and the Beast is a bit intense for 6, 5 and 3 yr old. Yes, they saw the original, but being animated really makes it more kids friendly than its live action counterpart. Did it amaze me? Not at all. I was completely disenchanted with it. I was hoping for so much more and I was left wondering what the amazement of everyone else was. And you all know my love for Disney and everything they do, but with this movie I feel they missed the mark.

I still encourage everyone to go and see it and come to your own conclusions, like I mentioned before, it’s still a beautiful movie and does justice to its original script.

Here is one of the official trailers for the movie.

Disclosure: I was invited by The Moms to a special screening of Beauty and the Beast. A lot of people have warned me against posting negative reviews about Disney movies and such since I would love nothing more than to work with them. But, I have to be honest with my audience and myself. I can’t say something was absolutely amazing and blew me away when it didn’t. I have to speak the truth about how I felt about this movie and this was it.

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Una noche en Broadway- Reseña School of Rock The Musical

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No es todos los días que tenemos la oportunidad de ir a ver una de las muchas obras de Broadway. Aunque vivimos en NYC, hay veces que entre el calendario de trabajo y escolar se nos hace un poco difícil. Si bien dicen por ahí que uno no sabe lo que tiene hasta que lo pierde cuando se trata de Broadway es así. Pero este año es diferente. Me e propuesto llevar a mis hijos a vivir la mágia del teatro. El Domingo pasado tuvimos la oportunidad de ver School of Rock The Musical. Esta obra, basada en la película, está dirigida para la familia. Estaba preocupada, ya que mi chico de 6 años nunca a visto la película. Pero para mi sorpresa, quedó encantado. Tanto que no les miento, me dijo que a sido “the most fun I’ve ever had”.

School of Rock, The Mommy Elf

Llegamos al Winter Garden Theater, uno de los teatros mas iconos de la ciudad de Nueva York. El primer anuncio que nos hicieron fue que los niños tocaban sus propios instrumentos. La obra comienza con la historia de Dewey Finn y su sueño de ser una estrella de la música. En su búsqueda de empleo, se aprovecha de su amigo y pretende ser maestro. En el colegio, se da cuenta que su clase es muy talentosa en la música y decide comenzar a darle clases. Con la intención de llevarlos a competir a una batalla de bandas.

Dewey, en su misión de enseñarle música a los estudiantes, aprende a quererlos y más importante los estudiantes se dan cuenta de quienes ellos verdaderamente son y aprenden a apreciar sus talentos. Cuando finalmente descubren la realidad de quien Dewey es, decide irse del colegio, pero los estudiantes van y lo buscan para terminar su misión y participar en la batalla de las bandas. Lo más que nos llamó la atención fue el talento de los niños. La verdad que ellos se roban en show. No solo tocan sus propios instrumentos, si no que también cantan y actúan sus respectivas partes.

School of Rock, The Mommy Elf

Mi hijo quedó maravillado con la música, especialmente el número del final, Stick it to the Man. Fue una noche especial para el, ya que no solo fue su primera obra de Broadway, si no que también fue una noche de atención para el. Luego de la presentación, tuvimos un “talk back” con los niños. La pregunta que mi hijo les hizo, fue ¿si estaban cansados? La contestación fue diferente para todo ellos. Algunos dijeron que si y otros contestaron que la obra les daba la energía que necesitaban y cuando llegaban a su casa no podían dormir.

School of Rock, The Mommy Elf

En resumen la obra está muy buena para niños y para toda la familia. No es necesario ver la película para entender lo que está pasando y me encanta que los niños tocan sus instrumentos. No la recomiendo a niños que no le gustan los ruidos altos ya que pues, Rock n Roll es el tema de la noche y niños menores de 4 años no son admitidos al teatro. . Los boletos se pueden adquirir aquí. 

Para esta reseña nos ¡Gracias a School of Rock The Musical por la noche inolvidable! 

Travel

First time skiing at Camelback Mountain Resort

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We were invited and hosted by Momtrends and Camelback Mountain Resort. 

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Our kids love the snow and I can’t believe it took us this long to take them skiing, and when Momtrends invites you for a special ski day, YOU GO! There are a lot of things that went through my mind before the day trip. The first thing was getting ready. I hadn’t been skiing in over 10 years so this felt like the first time and the kids had never been. immediately I set off to get us ready clothing wise. After our gear was ready and I packed away our stuff we headed of to Camelback Mountain Resort. It took about an hour and 45 minutes to get there from Queens, NY (which is awesome because is really all highway).

When we arrived we received our packed with the schedule of things and passes an all. First thing, was get our boots and skis. NOT going to lie, getting boots for 3 kids and 2 adults and skis for all was EXHAUSTING. If it’s your first time, please pack lightly and don’t have a lot of things with you because you will probably end up carrying about 3 pairs of skis. Something else to keep in mind is, if this is your first time, is that the equipment is heavy. Boots are very heavy, so be ready for some slight pain when you first walk with them. Don’t worry you get use to them and won’t bother you. Once we got our equipment we headed to the kids lesson.

The ski lessons are awesome, I watched the kids for about an hour. The teachers they have are so caring and really take care of the kids. It was excited to see that the kids were paying attention and really enjoying the class. During the class, they teach them different things like how to set up the skis, going down and turning around. The class was an hour and a half and they were so tired by the time they got out it was totally worth it, it was perfect for a first timer. While they were in class, I took a chance and went up the hill myself. OMG, so much fun but physically demanding. Never thought skiing would be so physically challenging. Keep in mind, If you have a child 3 and younger they will need private lessons. After our ski adventure, we headed up to have lunch.

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After lunch, we returned our equipment and headed to the snow tubes. OMG I think this was the most fun-filled part of the day. Not because snow tubbing is fun, but because we were able to do it all together. There are 2 snow tube mountains and the sessions are 3 hours long. We were able to tie 3 tubes together so the boys were together and Grace and I on the other side. At first, I thought she would be terrified, but she absolutely had a blast. She wanted to keep going up and down over and over again. My favorite was to hear the kids laughing. Such a joyful moment for them. What I also loved, was at night they have a light show, which is super cool and also have some fire pits! The spot is perfect to have some waffles and hot apple cider.

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The last stop for the day was at Aquatopia Indoor Water Park. And, how excited where the kids? They couldn’t even believe that they were going to a water park after all the skiing and snow tubbing fun. This was our first time at this water park and the kids were pretty impressed. Their favorite part? The wave pool for sure! We didn’t get a chance to stay at the resort but the lobby is beautiful.

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Overall, we had an amazing time and will for sure return. It was very convenient that everything was in the same mountain and they even have a shuttle to take your through all the activities. I loved having this new experience with the family. It is very special when you get out of your comfort zone and go on a new adventure together. I didn’t really think the kids would love skiing but they absolutely did. I am excited to take them back and embrace this new side of them.

I want to thank Momtrends for the invite and for hosting us and thank you Camelback Mountain Resort for an amazing time. 

 

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Cinco prácticas ecoamigables que educan a nuestros niños

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Colaboración

Por Marielisa Ortíz Berríos

Esta entrada es una colaboración especial para The Mommy Elf. Visita Mama Educa y lee el artículo de Gemarla.

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Hace varias décadas, cuando todavía no había llegado la industrialización o incluso tanta publicidad en los medios de comunicación, no era necesario hacer énfasis en las prácticas ecoamigables en nuestros hogares y con nuestras familias. Claro, si las personas vivían en pleno contacto con la naturaleza, se alimentaban con comidas saludables, hacían remedios naturales cuando se enfermaban y apenas utilizaban productos procesados o químicos.

 

Sin embargo, en el año 2017 se hace imperante esforzarnos a realizar actividades en armonía con la naturaleza y a llevar una vida ecoamigable que nos permita proteger nuestro medioambiente y cuidar nuestra salud. Aunque el ambiente siempre ha sido para mí súper importante, no soy perfecta y todos los días busco aprender cosas nuevas e incorporar nuevas prácticas en mi hogar. En ese proceso he aprendido varias cosas que me gustaría compartir con ustedes:

 

  • alimentación sana – Hace tres meses cambié mi dieta a una vegana. Esta alimentación solo consume alimentos que provienen de las plantas, y no de los animales. En mi casa yo soy la única vegana, pero me esfuerzo todos los días porque mis hijos consuman frutas, vegetales y verduras que les brinden los nutrientes necesarios para crecer saludables.
  • productos naturales – Poco a poco estoy haciendo lo posible por utilizar más productos naturales y menos químicos, como por ejemplo la pasta dental, el repelente para mosquitos, el desodorante y el detergente de lavar la ropa de mis niños. Más adelante me interesa incorporar más productos naturales para la limpieza general del hogar.
  • pañales de tela – Aunque no los uso a tiempo completo, sí lo uso mientras estamos en la casa y ha sido un gran ahorro de dinero, y claro, a la vez estoy evitando tirar a la basura más pañales desechables que a la larga llegarán al vertedero. Los pañales desechables son un problema real, no obstante, cada vez más madres utilizan con sus hijos los pañales lavables y se unen a esta ola de padres preocupados por la salud de sus hijos y del ambiente.
  • reciclar – En nuestra casa reciclamos prácticamente todo: plástico, aluminio, metal, papel y cartón. Ya es normal en los niños, especialmente en el mayor, la práctica de reciclar. También siempre les enfatizo en la importancia de no tirar basura fuera del zafacón. En ocasiones mi niño me ha traído basura que ha encontrado en la calle para echarla en el zafacón de la casa. Eso me pone muy feliz pues la educación va rindiendo frutos.
  • observación de las aves y la naturaleza – Desde muy pequeño, mi niño aprendió a amar las aves y a identificarlas por su sonido y apariencia. En el proceso todos hemos aprendido más sobre los alados y nos encanta salir a observarlos. Aprender sobre las aves les enseña a valorarlas y también a su entorno. Claro, aprenden a amar también el resto de los animales y a la naturaleza en general.
  • sembrar y desyerbar – Como parte de las actividades que hacemos en casa con el homeschooling (somos una familia que educa en el hogar), me encanta incorporar visitas al patio para observar la naturaleza, desyerbar, regar las plantas y sembrar semillas. Me gusta incluir a los niños en esta actividad para que experimenten y aprendan. Esto sin contar el gran beneficio emocional y mental que tiene estar en contacto con la tierra.

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Estas son algunas de las prácticas ecoamigables que realizo en mi casa con mis niños. La educación ambiental es y será siempre uno de los pilares en nuestra casa y en los proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje.

 

¿Qué prácticas ecoamigables realizas en tu hogar? Te invito a compartirlas aquí.

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La autora es fundadora y editora de Mamá Educa, un blog sobre educación en hogar y aprendizaje familiar; y de Atabey, un blog sobre estilos de vida ecoamigables y en armonía con la naturaleza. Es mamá homeschooler de tres niños.

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Visita a Santa en Queens Center Mall

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En la ciudad de Nueva York hay miles de Santa Clauses que puedes visitar, pero de todos los que e visitado, la mejor experiencia a sido en el Queens Center Mall. Este centro comercial lleva varios años en remodelación y re-estructuración. Han añadido muchos restaurantes y tiendas nuevas. Este año el area de Santa Claus está auspiciado por HGTV, la experiencia de Santa HQ. La visita a Santa Claus no es solo una visita como cualquier otra, es una experiencia interactiva.

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Para visitar a Santa, puedes ir directo al centro y hacer la fila, pero también tienes la opción de hacer una reservación. Lo que me gusta y la razón por la que es una experiencia, es por que hay diferentes cosas que los niños pueden hacer mientras están en la fila. Hay una estación donde pone el nombre de los chicos y les dice si se portaron bien o mal (no se preocupen siempre van a salir bien). En esa estación les dan un “sticker” que le tienen que dar a Santa para un regalito al final.

La escenografía tiene varias actividades también para mantener a los pequeños ocupados. Tienen unos diseños que tienen realidad aumentada y salen varias escenas de duendes con regalos. Lo más que me gusta es que hay dos oportunidades de fotografía, no solo con Santa Claus. Antes de llegar a Santa los niños pasan por la oficina de Santa. Ellos también proveen tabletas para que los niños disfruten de la realidad aumentada. Hay otra sección donde los chicos pueden poner su cara en el cuerpo de un duende y hacer un video. Desde ahí mismo te puedes enviar el video a tu correo electrónico.

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El Santa Claus lleva 4 años trabajando en ese centro comercial y viaja directamente desde Atlanta para estar con nosotros durante la temporada navideña. Cuando los niños llegan a Santa se toman la foto y conversan con él y reciben su regalito. Es un libro de actividades pequeño, pero el detalle es excelente. Los paquetes de fotos tienen precios módicos y puedes escoger desde impresión hasta solo fotos digitales. ¿Y saben que? El Santa HQ no está solo en NYC, tienen 15 experiencias en Estados Unidos incluyendo Virginia y California. Para más información pueden visitar su página web aquí. Recuerden tienen hasta el 24 de Diciembre para visitar!

G5 THE MOMMY ELF

Gracias a Santa HQ y Queens Center Mall por auspiciar esta visita! 

Announcements Parenting

Be Ready with AccuWeather

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Thank you to AccuWeather for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

The holiday season is upon us and so is the winter months. With it comes the higher increase in-house fires. Things like stoves and space heaters are the main cause of fires during the winter. AccuWeather teamed up with the FDNY to educate families in safety specially during this time of the year. They created the AccuWeather  Be Ready program which is meant to educate and help people be ready all year-long. If you read the blog you know safety is pretty important to us and being ready so I was super excited to attend this press conference were AccuWeather talked about the partnership.

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We also had the chance to see and experience how they educated first graders in their simulation room at the FDNY Fire Zone in NYC. One of the things that they talked about and I thought was great was using the app to stay informed. I didn’t even know they had an app, which is really convenient for families who are always in the go. I downloaded the app right away, since I’m always on the phone so is perfect for me.

During this press conference the FDNY also talked to us about the causes of fires and how to prevent them. One of the biggest causes of fires during this time are space heaters. People turn them on and put them to close to clothes or even sofas. To prevent the fires while using a space heater, make sure that there is absolutely nothing around it. Also is important to turn it off as soon as you are done using it. Never, ever go to sleep with the space heater on. Another important thing to do is make sure that the smoke detectors are working properly. Make sure the batteries are good and that is not expired.

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If you are in an emergency, always have a plan. Teach kids their address in case they are the ones that have to call 9-1-1. Also make sure they know the families meeting place if you need to evacuate the house. I took time to ask the fire chief, James E. Leonard about some tips or things we should pay closer attention to. The one thing he mentioned was people who sit in their cars or leave their cars on inside the garage. This is dangerous because dangerous emissions are getting trapped underneath the car and could cause an explosion. I also asked him what’s the best age to start training your children and educating them about fire safety, his response: is never to early. Start teaching them as soon as they can understand you.

I think is great that there are so many resources educating and advocating safety and preparedness. This is something I’m so passionate about, because it’s important and it could save your families lives. I’m glad AccuWeather started this program for people to be ready, because weather is super important when it comes to safety, so they go hand in hand. If you want more information on the program please visit AccuWeather but you can also check out more information on their network as well as the app.

Thanks to The Moms for inviting me.