Parenting

Why this anti-Puerto Rican Day Parade Puerto Rican wants to go to the Parade

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A lot of people who know me in a personal level, knows I am a proud Puerto Rican. And they also know what I have been feeling about the Puerto Rican Day Parade since well EVER. But this year I am happy to be a family ambassador at the parade thanks to ¡Capicú! So what made me change my mind? I want to share with you my pitch to participate in the parade.

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I am Puerto Rican. I love my Island. I love my history and my heritage. I love that we come in all colors and shape. I love our language and our music. There is one thing I DON’T love and it is the way we are represented.

A bit of history: I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. When I was growing up I fell in love with our history (even got the history medal at graduation). As I grew up the only image I had of the Puerto Rican day parade was of people dressed head to toe in a flag. Some of these people hadn’t even been to the island, some of them didn’t know Spanish- but I didn’t care about that. It hurt me that they didn’t know our history. They didn’t know about the Jones Act or didn’t know about el Grito de Lares, or didn’t know about the Taínos. That’s what hurt me. It offended me that they thought they were more proud to be Puerto Rican than me just because they covered themselves in a flag.

I soon discovered I was not the only one who felt this way. To this day, a lot of the people in the Island dislike the Puerto Rican Day Parade. When I moved to New York, I vowed to never partake in the festivities because I felt it didn’t represent my people or me. This also became a bigger concern in 2000 when there were reports of attacks and robbery during the parade.

And then I had kids and I want them to know where they come from. I want them to know my Puerto Rico.

Almost 16 years living in New York and now I want to be part of the celebration. Why? Recently, Puerto Rico has been in the news in the wake of the worst economic crisis the Island has ever experienced. Still, I didn’t think it was important for me to be part of the Parade, until I attended the Diaspora Summit at Centro PR. The summit took place a couple of weeks ago and I attended out of curiosity, since I didn’t think it had anything to do with me. YET, IT HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH ME! It opened my eyes to the state of the Island. It shook me to the core. It touched my roots and made me question my purpose.

If there is one thing that stood out the most during the whole summit, was the importance of unity of Puerto Ricans in order to achieve ANYTHING. Even more important during these times of crisis. So, I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the parade. I did my research and the changes to the parade have been so great. The organizers are really working hard to change the old image of the parade and actually create consciousness of the issues in the Island.

I want to be part of the Parade because I have a different perspective. The Puerto Rican Day Parade is part of the Islands history and therefor is part of me. I hope I do get the chance to spend time at the parade for the first time in my life. I think it will have great impact on my life.

Parenting

Como pasar menos tiempo en la cocina y más tiempo con tú familia

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Cocinar, atender a los chicos, cocinar, limpiar, atender al esposo, lavar ropa, bañar a los chicos. La labor de madre no termina. Por eso dicen que es un trabajo de 24 horas 7 días a la semana. Entonces como podemos cortar el tiempo que pasamos haciendo los trabajos del día a día sin sacrificar eficiencia pero disfrutando más el tiempo con nuestra familia. Aquí algunos consejos que te pueden ayudar!

  1. Prepara las comidas antes de comenzar la semana o tan pronto llegues del supermercado. Yo no preparo comidas para todos los días, pero si limpio y corto los vegetales y las frutas. También los separa por porciones para las diferentes comidas. Por ejemplo, los martes siempre hacemos tacos y fajitas, pues domingo cuando llego del supermercado corto todos los pepinos y cebollas. Ya te ahorras varios minutos de preparación.

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  1. Planea las comidas con anticipación. Ya yo se lo que le gusta comer a mis hijos. Por lo tanto, para maximizar el tiempo y evitar peleas repito el mundo todas las semanas. Los lunes son pollitos con arroz, los martes son quesadillas, los miércoles macarrones con queso, los jueves es día libre y los viernes ordenamos pizza. Claro, aveces cambiamos y si mi esposo está aveces me pide un marisco o algo así, por lo tanto siempre tengo flexibilidad, pero por lo general es un menú fijo.
  2. Los desayunos son los mismo de lunes a viernes. Cereal o waffles con frutas. Los sábados hacemos panqueques y los domingos huevos. La mayoría de las veces yo estoy sola con los 3 chicos y la verdad que esto a sido salvavidas para mí. Ya no peleamos por el desayuno y no estamos tarde al colegio!
  3. Platos sanitarios. Yo se que los platos sanitarios son dañinos al ambiente, pero recuerden también la salud mental. No digo que solo usen platos de cartón todo el tiempo, pero por ejemplo para el almuerzo se pueden usar platos de cartón (y los puedes reciclar). Así te ahorras un poco de fregado de platos. Y también ahorras agua!
  4. Usa el mismo vaso para el agua todo el día. Los chicos piden agua miles de veces. Siempre tratan de usar vasos diferentes creando más cosas para fregar. Empezamos un sistema donde usamos el mismo vaso todo el día. Obviamente solo para agua.
  5. Ten meriendas que ellos mismos puedan coger de la nevera. Siempre tengo queso o frutas o yogurts accesibles para que ellos mismos los puedan coger cuando tienen un poco de hambre. Solo tengo que velar a mi chica que es media traviesa y siempre coge más de dos!
  6. No tengas miedo de usar comidas o vegetales congelados. Aveces pensamos en las comidas congeladas como lo peor del planeta, pero ahora hay mucha variedad que tienen vitaminas, nada de GMO y son orgánicas. A mis nenes les gustan mucho los “chicken nuggets”, trato de darles solo una vez a la semana. La realidad es que no tengo el tiempo de hacerlos yo misma compro los Kidfresh. Esta marca me gusta mucho por que tienen vegetales escondidos. Si quieres saber más sobre ella, tengo una entrada aquí.

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Espero que los consejos te ayudan a aprovechar más el día y pasar menos tiempo en la cocina! Tienes algún truquito? Compártelo con nosotros!

Fashion Just for Mom-Beauty

Summertime!

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Summertime!Kids are not the only ones who have fun during the summer months. I previously posted the essentials to keep kids safe during summertime, but what about mom. Let’s start with sunscreen is ALWAYS A MUST. But for moms is not all about safety, we also want to look stylish and be comfortable to run around with the kids. Here’s my favorite styles for the summer. The maxi dress and sandals work for every event in the summer, from running errands to friends bbq. The sandals have straps so easier to run around than with flip-flops. For the beach a classic black swimsuit will last and go with everything you pair it with.
As far as beauty, KISS, keep it simple silly! A cute lip crayon color- I really like these Neutrogena ones, a BB or CC cream  (make sure it has SPF), and mascara. Because mascara is a must and you want to make an impact without looking overdone, I would do the Younique 3D Fiber Lashes.
Keep accessories simple and one color so you can mix and match them with more prints and styles!
Hope you have an awesome summer! Show you me your style ladies!

 

Swim cover up
choies.com

Swimsuit swimwear
choies.com

Billabong brown shoes
billabong.com

Roxy shoes
$22 – surfstitch.com

Straw Studios man bag
jcpenney.com

Fossil watch
fossil.com

Long necklace
romwe.com

Floppy hat
luxurydivas.com

Lipsy aviator sunglasses
$26 – lipsy.co.uk

Hypoallergenic makeup
youniqueproducts.com

Sun care
zulily.com

Opi nail lacquer
$44 – very.co.uk

Bangle bracelet
burnsjewellersgroup.com

Cancer/Neuroblastoma St. Jude

St. Jude & National Cancer Survivors Day

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St. Jude

You think St. Jude is just another hospital for children? YOU ARE WRONG. There are many things that make St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital one of a kind. For starters this is no ordinary hospital. This is the top pediatric cancer facility in the World. Not only do they treat children with pediatric cancer, they also conduct research, including research for ALS, and they share this research with other hospitals. This has helped increased the survivor rate to more than 80%.*

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Today is National Cancer Survivors Day and it made me think of all the children who got a second chance of life thanks to St. Jude. So how does St. Jude do it? First and foremost, St. Jude treats patients free of cost. This means that even families who can’t afford cancer treatment can receive treatment at St. Jude, this alone increases that child’s rate of survival. St. Jude takes pride in being able to provide top care, because children matter. As a mom who has paid for cancer treatment I can tell you St. Jude is doing something AMAZING, for the families. The monetary burden of cancer can be detrimental to treatment, by alleviating this burden families and patients can focus on the positive and strive while under treatment.

But aside from the research and free treatment St. Jude also stands out because of their facilities. I was blown away during out visit last year. From their long-term housing to the cafeteria, with incredible dining, to the classrooms, St. Jude doesn’t cut corners when it comes to being on top. They really pay attention to every details to make the children’s stay the most comfortable stay possible under the circumstances. A quick example is the little wagons used for transportation. This makes kids more comfortable than a wheel chair or a hospital bed. Catering meals under special circumstances in another way that they aim to please the children under their care.

One of the waiting rooms

One of the waiting rooms

Today made me remember our tour guide Taide. She was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 7 years old, She fought cancer at St. Jude until she was 13. Now she says she works for St. Jude to repay what they gave her. She lives thanks to the hospital, and she’s not the only one. Like her there are many children, all over the world, who benefit from the research findings at the hospital.

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St. Jude is a special place. There is no other place where children are so well taken care of for nothing. All St. Jude wants to do is give these children and all children battling pediatric cancer a chance to be a survivor. I encourage you to donate to St. Jude. Your donation can mean another day to a child. Donate here.

Today I want to celebrate all survivors but of course, I celebrate my special survivor, Glenn. May you continue to live every day to the fullest!

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*Statement from St. Jude webpage. I am proud to be a St. Jude Blogger Ambassador. All opinions are my own. 

Español Parenting

La eterna espera del parto. Consejitos para relajarte y disfrutar el momento

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Estás en la recta final. Cansada, con la barriga enorme, pies hinchados, ansiedad interminable, patadas de bebe, innumerables citas médicas, y la pregunta mayor, cuando nacerá el bebé. No hay momento más frustrante durante un embarazo, que esas últimas semanas de incertidumbre. Pero no todo tiene que ser negativo. Aquí te presento varios consejitos para relajarte y disfrutar esos pocos momentos de silencio que quedan antes de la llegada de un bebé.

  1. Asegúrate que todo está medicamente bien. Hay veces que el cansancio se debe a faltas de vitaminas o la hinchazón a la falta del agua. Chequear con el médico que todo está viento en popa y que bebé no a llegado por que simplemente no es tiempo.
  2. Aceptar la voluntad de bebé. Esto es algo que es sumamente difícil para mamá, especialmente mamás primerizas. Pero bebé va a nacer a su tiempo cuando el decida, nuevamente si todo está medicamente bien es cuestión de esperar.
4 días antes de la llegada de mi tercer bebé- me fuí para Macy's a ver las luces de Navidad!

4 días antes de la llegada de mi tercer bebé- me fuí para Macy’s a ver las luces de Navidad!

Ahora bien, con buen chequeo médico y aceptada la voluntad de bebe podemos hablar de las cositas que podemos hacer para “matar” el tiempo de espera al parto.

  1. Comparte con tu pareja. Por ejemplo vayan al cine, a un restaurante bonito, coman juntos, conversen, paseen. Por que a la hora de la verdad es DIFĪCIL encontrar esos momentos de uno a uno cuando hay un bebé en la mezcla (no es imposible- pero si difícil).
  2. Dedicarte tiempo. Ve al salón y disfruta una pedicura y manicura, las cejas, el pelo. Lo que te haga felíz y te relaje más. Después busca una cafetería o un restaurante y almuerza sola. Solo contigo misma. Está comprobado que lo más que cansa a las mamás es la cantidad de pensamientos que tenemos al día, pues hay que aprovechar antes de que el cerebro se inunde más de lo que ya está.
  3. Un baño no vendría nada mal. Llena la bañera (con agua tibia- no caliente por que sube la temperatura del bebé) y descansa. Remoja los hombros y los pies. Piensa que ese momento es único y para ti.
  4. Pasa tiempo en el cuarto de bebé o arreglando sus cosas. Por lo menos en mi caso, no me dió ni tiempo de terminar todo lo que quería antes que llegara bebe! Y recuerda no poner la ropa de cama hasta que bebé llegue a casa (para evitar el polvo). Yo me acostaba en el piso del cuarto de mi bebé y pasaba rato pensando en como sería la vida de mamá.
  5. Mucho té y aromatizador de camomila y lavanda. Los dos son relajantes naturales que definitivamente ayudan a despejar la mente. También le puedes pedir a tu pareja que te dé un masaje con una crema o aceite de lavanda en los pies (ponte medias después del masaje para atrapar la humectación.
  6. Irte de compras. Y no COMPRAR NADA PARA BEBÉ. Comprate algo para tí. Un bolso que te guste, un labial o alguna blusa. créeme que cuando nazca bebé van a ser raras las veces que te compres algo- así que aprovecha.
  7. Escribir o leer son muy terapéuticos para disminuir el estrés.

Como ayudar a entusiasmar a bebé a llegar?

  1. Caminar
  2. Limitar el estrés. (Mientras más relajada estés- mejor- recuerda todo lo que siente mamá, lo siente bebé)
  3. Relaciones con pareja

Algunas supersticiones de las abuelas son comer comida picante, puntos de precisión, comer piñas, aceite de castor, guiar sobre una calle con muchos altos y bajos, y usar una lampara en la vágina para atraer al bebé.

Cuéntame, tienes algún consejo para la preparación de la llegada de bebé?

Reviews

Fairy Tales Hair Care is the answer this summer

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Thank you to Momtrends and Fairy Tales for sponsoring this post. 

Every summer we have the same problems. Too much time in the sun, to many mosquitos, to many long days, fights for baths and endless splashing around. As a semi over protective mom, I always try to keep what I put on my kids as natural as possible, especially since dealing with cancer, so I get extremely excited when I get to review and try products that are safe for kids and also effective, enter Fairy Tales Hair Care. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar and up to know we’ve been using another brand for shampoo and conditioner so I figured it’d be awesome to try something new.

 

Fairy Tales

I was sent a box with the shampoo, conditioner, and the after-sun spray, bug spray and a lice repellent spray. Why did I get excited when I saw the products? Well for starters the packaging is so cute, I saw a castle and it took me back to my happy place, and second the shampoo and conditioner and after swim spray were from the Sun & Swim collection. How perfect!? I read the packaging and there are no parabens or sulfates or harsh chemicals, this made me even more excited to try them. It had never crossed my mind that I had to protect their hair during the summer but it’s so true, we definitely do. We protect our skin and our eyes so hair should also be taken care off. Especially after days at the pool and those chemicals, the salty beach water, or just playing outside.

What we do all summer!

What we do all summer!

So on Memorial Day, I decided to try the shampoo since we had been out all day at the park. I was very surprised. It didn’t create a ton of lather, but it smelled so good and I felt the difference in my kid’s hair and their curls were as bouncy as ever. The conditioner also smelled amazing and so did the spray. Even their names put me in a good mood, hello Coco Cabana, makes me think of a white sandy beach and a piña colada (moms can dream while giving kids a bath). I didn’t looove the After-Sun Spray, it felt a little dry, almost like a texturizing spray. We’re going to try it again this weekend, and see how it goes.

Fairy Tales

 

Moving on to the bug spray, Bug Bandit, I have to say it was pretty effective, which was incredibly surprising, because it’s deet free, which is a chemical I try to stay away from without any success. My kids are so sweet for mosquitos that we have to use deep woods deet to not get bitten as much, because they still get bitten anyways. The scent is amazing, at least for me because I LOVE essential oils and this smells like eucalyptus, which is one of my favorite oils EVER. I sprayed it all over and felt safe putting it on their face. Usually I use my own mix of essential oils, but I have to say this is a really good alternative and easier to take with us wherever we go. I also liked that it didn’t feel sticky, and this is important considering the amount of things we have to put on our kids skin during the summer (lotion, sunscreen, bug spray).

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The last product is the lice spray. Ok, so a lot of people don’t know that last summer we had lice. It’s a long story and I promise I will give you all the details on that, so after that experience, anything that helps keep those darn bugs off our heads I’m a fan off. What I like about the spray is that you can just spray it on their clothes and their hair and its extra protection. My kids don’t go to summer camp, but this is definitely a must for campers (think about sharing pillows and sweatshirts!). Again, this is another product that just makes life easier without cutting effectiveness. We have a bottle with water and tea tree oil that I spray on my son every morning before school, but the truth is that it smells gross, so he hates it. With this, he doesn’t mind the scent and it makes me more comfortable sending him to school.

I enjoyed these products and will probably be regulars in our home. Just the smells make me happy and the effectiveness really impressed me. Price wise, they are pretty comparable to the other chemical, toxin free products in the market with prices ranging from $10.95 for the shampoo to $12.95 for the lice repellent. Oh and also if you are dealing with lice, they have an awesome kit to get rid of them, with a comb that has the best grip of any lice comb out there. You can check out their whole line of products on their website. If you want a list of all the things that are essential for summers with kids, check out post, of course Bug Bandit is on the list!

 

Parenting

Essential Summer Items for Kids

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Essential Summer Items for Kids
Summer is here unofficially and there are tons of things we need to be aware off. The sun exposure, the bugs, the weather. There are a couple of items that MUST be with us at all times during the summer. What better way to keep your children protected? The most important is sunscreen. To compliment sunscreen a child should always wear a hat for long outings as well as sunglasses (we want to protect those precious eyes). A good pair of shoes that can be used in water (we love Stride Rite Phibians) and mosquito spray is a necessity, especially because my kids are super sweet and get bitten  A LOT. When at home we make our own with witch hazel and essential oils but when we’re out and about we use the Fairy Tales Bug Bandit (full review here). I forgot to add a backpack. But a backpack is a must all year-long. Kids should have somewhere to carry a water bottle (which is another thing they should have all year)  and snacks and put their sunglasses away. As far a recommended backpacks I like the Skip Hope back packs and for water bottles we use Contigo water bottles because they are easy to clean and last!
Don’t forget to label all of your kids gear. If you need labels Mabel’s Labels are really the best. We’ve been using them for a year and they have lasted to tons of washes! Yeap,we wash them in the laundry (we use the labels on clothes), but also on the water bottles and shoes.
Do you have any other essentials that are a must and are not listed? Join the conversation and let us know!
Parenting

Let Harambe Rest in Peace and leave the mom ALONE!

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Harambe

Unless you’ve been away from this planet, you already know about the horrible accident that happened on Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo. A 4-year-old toddler jumped into a gorilla exhibition. He dropped about 10 feet and when he got there the gorilla, named Harambe proceeded to “protect” the child. As we have been told by the news the gorilla was a danger to the child due to his size, therefore it had to be shot and killed to protect the child.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/30/us/gorilla-shot-harambe/

There is not full evidence of what happened except for a couple of witnesses and the zoo staff. As soon as the news broke the Internet went CRAZY! From memes about shooting the mom and bad parenting post, to animal rights activist blaming the zoo for such a terrible outcome. Bloggers all over are weighing in on whose fault it is. This post is not about blaming anyone.

I think this was a terrible accident and we should LEAVE IT ALONE. We weren’t there. We don’t have the facts. This is a sad situation for all parties involved. The gorilla (and endangered specie) is dead, the zoo lost one of their own, the child is traumatized from falling and being man handled by a gorilla and hearing a gunshot, and the mom for feeling all the guilt and bearing all the responsibility (according to the Internet and the million of perfect parents out there).

It’s crazy to think that it has been 2 days and people are still arguing on whose fault it is. At this point it DOESN’T MATTER. It won’t change what happened. Now let this gorilla rest in peace and this child and mom recuperate from the trauma of being so close to death. And for everyone judging the mom or the zoo or the whole situation YOU WEREN’T THERE! Let this poor animal rest in peace and let this family try to heal. That’s what you would want if you were them.

Español Parenting Reviews

Cantícos: Los Pollitos

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Living in NYC, kids are so exposed to culture. Aside from that, my children like many others are mixed, so culture and languages are part of our daily norm. I’ve been accused of harming my children by not teaching them Spanish. Is not that I don’t want to. It’s just very hard. definitely not as easy as everyone thinks, especially if you feel better speaking English yourself.

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But lately the guilt is getting to me and I’ve been putting a bit more effort into trying to make them at least understand Spanish. Needless to say I will take any help I can get, so I loved it when I was asked to review Canticos: Los Pollitos Book. This book is very special. It has the story in English but also has the translation in Spanish. Not only that, there is also an app.

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The book is a board book so is perfect for all little kids. I also liked that it was interactive. Grace loved opening the flaps to discover the rest of the story. She also liked the shape of the book. It flips from one side in English to one side in Spanish. I read it to her in a singing voice and she was just so excited. Especially because I did it in one language first and then in the other one.

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This book is for sure a regular in our home now. It’s also one of those books that you want to hold on to forever. It’s beautifully illustrated with bright colors and bold letters. But for me the dual language is just what makes it the best. It’s very hard to find books that are engaging to the kids that are bilingual and this books does exactly that. It engages the kids not only with the verses of the story but also with the flaps that open and close.

The book also works for any child who is trying to learn Spanish but also any child who is learning English. The book doesn’t need the app, but I think it’s awesome to have an app since children today are so comfortable with electronics. The app has an egg decorating game where they can practice shapes and colors, but what I like the most about the app is that it plays the chikies song in Spanish and my daughter absolutely loved it. She really liked the song and the best part is that we were reading the lyrics on the book at the same time.

Cantícos: Los Pollitos is just a MUST book for any parent raising bilingual children. If you want to buy the book, is available on Amazon.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions and images are my own.

Parenting

3 reasons I match my boys outfits even though they’re not twins

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gaskinkids163

So, I am just tired of hearing

“Are they twins?”

No!

“Oh, because they’re dressed the same”

I get it, twins used to dress the same and I never even understood why, but the point is my kids look like twins because they are dressed the same but really, is this a valid question? The kids look completely different and there’s about a 10″ difference between their heights.

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Now, why do I dress them the same? Simple: I love it! I love to match them and they just look cute. But this is not the only reason. Here are another three:

  1. they are easily identifiable at a public place… i.e. birthday party. Random mom: “which are your kids?” Me: the ones that are matching. BOOM!
  2. No fighting over who gets the coolest Star Wars t-shirt. And yes, this does happen when I don’t match them.

gaskinkids164

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So there 1 love them, easy to spot and no fighting. Seems simple enough. I should also add in Puerto Rico where I grew up, matching siblings and even coordinating the whole families outfits was and STILL a thing. I remember when my mom used to match my brothers or me and my sister!

Anyways matching is fun and I will probably continue to match their outfits until I can’t find matching ones because of size or until they tell me they want to stop.