Friday, September 19, 2014

Teaching Children Financial Responsibility: Hard Lessons

Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility

Tonight, my son learned a very hard lesson that I hope and pray will stay with him his entire life. As part of their schooling this year, my children are learning about financial responsibility. I looked a long time for a curriculum to use and finally settled on Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Junior. So far it has been such a wonderful experience for all of us, but especially for me as I have long struggled with the entire concept of an allowance. (But more about that later.)

Anyway, earlier this week my son went through his savings and counted up all his money. He was quite surprised and pleased at the amount and asked me if he could spend $17 of it on a special toy he really wanted. I agreed since he had chosen to put some of his spending into his savings, but told him that he would have to wait until our next trip into town to get it. He wanted me to order it from Amazon, but I refused because I think he is too young to understand the dangers of ordering online. In my opinion, it is too easy to overspend online if you don't understand the idea of budgeting and the value of money to begin with.

Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility
So finally, after three days of waiting (somewhat impatiently), we prepared to go into town this evening. I told him to get $20 out of his savings, but when I walked up, I found him taking ALL of his money out of his savings and putting it in his pocket. I made him put it all back except for a twenty dollar bill. He wasn't mad, but a little annoyed that I made him do so. Then as we got into the car, I told him to put his twenty in his wallet, which he keeps inside the car.

I had a list of errands to run, so we made a few stops before we arrived at the store where he was going to buy his toy. And then we went in to purchase it.

But his money was gone.

He hadn't put it in his wallet like I had told him and somewhere along the way it must have fallen out of his pocket. We headed back out to the car to see if it had fallen out in his seat, but no such luck. As I shut the door and started the car, the realization sunk in and he began to cry.

I felt so bad for him. It was all I could do not to turn off the car and go in and buy him the toy with the $20 I had in my own wallet. I wanted to so badly, but I realized this was one of those invaluable teachable moments that I wanted him to remember forever. I hugged him and told him how sorry I was that he had lost it.

He wanted to go home and get another $20 out of his savings. That immediately snapped me out of thinking about buying him the toy because what kind of lesson would that teach? If you lose money, don't worry, there's plenty more of where that came from? You can just get more out of savings? Or if you lose money, someone will give it to you anyway?

I refused and told him he was going to have to earn it back with chores. Since the maximum he's allowed to receive each week is directly related to his age ($8), it's going to take three weeks to earn the twenty back since he has to put some away in giving (and spending).

He cried pretty much the whole half hour it took to get back home and then had to be comforted by his father for a little while. But fortunately for all of us, he's a pretty happy little kid so he was back to his smiley little self by dinner.

I hope I did the right thing and that the lessons he learned tonight are:
  1. You have to work hard to earn money. 
  2. Money is valuable and should be managed carefully. 
What do you think? Do you let your children suffer loss and make mistakes without helping them out?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 Activities to Practice Uppercase and Lowercase Vowels in Spanish {Printable}

This month's freebie from our sponsor Monarca Language is a wonderful set of activities to practice lowercase and uppercase vowels in Spanish. Perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners, these five pages develop letter recognition.

If you are not familiar with Monarca Language, it is a most fabulous resource for families with preschoolers at home and who are raising them bilingually. If you have chosen to homeschooler your preschooler, Monarca Language has a complete curriculum that you can access online. You can read my review of the program here, and try out lots of free printables from them here on my site.

If you have a 3 or 4 year old at home, it is very important to be working with him (or her!) to prepare him for kindergarten so that he does not start school already behind. Teaching your child is simple, and even more so when you use Monarca Language!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review: Good Dream, Bad Dream/Sueño bueno, sueño malo

This book could not have come at a better time. Lately, Diego has been struggling with bad dreams. He actually says they are nightmares and it really worries me! No one likes to have bad dreams that feel so real. The worst part of our situation is that Diego thinks that what goes on in his beautiful head while he sleeps is all his doing. Therefore, when something bad happens, he thinks he has caused it. Well now we can turn it around!

Good Dream, Bad Dream: The World's Heroes Save the Night/Sueño bueno, sueño malo: ¡Los héroes del mundo salvan la noche! by Juan Calle and Serena Valentino is a perfect book for Hubby and me to read with Diego. We always turn to books to help us start conversations with our boys. Our seven year old loved it too because he really is into comics, can read in English and Spanish, and is going through the exact same situation as the main character, Julio.

We are all learning that children like Julio and Diego have bad dreams. But at Julio's bedside, his papá comforts him and tells him that anyone can summon mythic avengers to conquer their fears. Every culture has its own historic champions who can vanquish scary creatures or villains. And as Julio's father introduces those heroes, Julio learns that his imagination is very powerful and can turn his bad dreams into good ones.

Illustrating the world's iconic defenders in a vibrant comic book style, this bilingual (Spanish) story has global appeal. Facing the ancient Egyptian Ra and Greek archer Artemis, to the Asian Monkey King and futuristic Giant Robots, those monsters under the bed and in the closet don't stand a chance! The book leaves an excellent opportunity for curious minds who want to learn more!

If you are looking for a good bedtime story, Good Dreams, Bad Dreams/Sueño bueno, sueño malo is perfect. Here at Mommy Maestra we really believe that books are great conversations starters for lots of important topics. Dreams shouldn't just be brushed off! Bravo to Juan Calle and Serena Valentino for understanding children and showing just how important and powerful their dreams can be!


Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Free Download: Student Desk Plates in English & Spanish PLUS a Giveaway!

September's free download from our sponsor, Lectura para niños is a set of Student Desk Plates. Aren't they super cute?!? I'm cranking up my laminator in the morning to get mine ready for my kids. Remember, your children don't have to be in school to use these. The desk plates make wonderful posters and refrigerator signs, too!

Leah says:

I love these desk plates! I have them on all of my tables! I also have laminated inside my homework folders of for all of my students. The students use them for reference when doing their homework.

For more awesome Spanish materials, especially those that teach children to read in Spanish, check out Lectura para niños on Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers, Blog, and Pinterest.


Lectura para niños has also generously offered one of their Phonics Centers for making words. They are in both fonts for those teachers who use the opposite font. This is a wonderful tool for educators teaching students to read in Spanish. 

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hispanic Heritage Month Trading Cards & MKB Giveaway

I am so delighted to once again participate in the Multicultural Kid Blogs annual Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop! They have put together an incredible set of giveaways, as well as a ton of fabulous posts by the participating blogs (I hope you visit each one for ideas and resources to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!). Therefore, I want to keep my part of this post short so you can get on down to the good stuff. 

First, if you haven't been following my Facebook feed, I want you to know about the 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month Bucket List that I created for PBS Parents. It's a great starting point for exploring people, crafts, recipes, and traditions that are central to the Hispanic culture. You can download your FREE copy of the bucket list from my post on Adventures in Learning. (It's available in color or black-and-white to save printer ink!)

Next, I want to remind you that MommyMaestra has a TON of HHM resources for you to explore. You can find them all here

And lastly, I want to share with you today's free download: MommyMaestra's Hispanic Heritage Month Trading Cards. This first set features five influential Latinos who have left their mark on our nation's history and culture. They are available in black and white so that your child can color them in, cut them out, and trade them away. We're working on more cards and will share them here over the month as they are completed, so check back often and download additional sets! 

And now, on to the amazing giveaways from MKB!


Welcome to the Third Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop, hosted this year by Multicultural Kid Blogs and 17 of our member blogs! Don't miss our amazing giveaway, and share your own posts at our linky! Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15 every year, "celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America" (from Be sure to visit all of the participating blogs (listed below) and follow our related Pinterest boards:

MKB HHM Twitter PartyDon't miss our Twitter party "Celebrating Hispanic Heritage with Kids," Tuesday, September 23, from 9 - 10 pm ET! Follow #mkbhhm to participate!

MKB Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop: Participating Blogs

Hispanic Heritage Month GIVEAWAY!
This year to celebrate we are giving away fabulous prizes! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post for a chance to win! Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.

Grand Prize Package
Smart Play - Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop
Smart Play Pad (SRP $ 24.99): Interactive tablet like electronic toy makes early learning fun and exciting for little ones. More than 30 touch sensitive keys teach language and pronunciation skills to help prepare children for school. Bilingual feature helps kids learn in English & Spanish. Lightweight and truly portable for on-the-go learning. Ships to US and Canada only.

Traditional Mexican toys and games.
A basket of fun from Escuela Falcón in Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico. This prize includes educational games, ceramic Day of the Dead skulls, a hand-painted ceramic box, wooden toys, and a certificate for 5 hours of Skype Spanish lessons with Escuela Falcón.
A basket from Lanugo with the book "Lula la Consentida,” a limited-edition “Latino de Corazón” infant onsie, and Seventh Generation’s baby product essentials. US shipping only.

Spanish games for kids.
A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.

DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.
DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.

Bilingual poetry book from Lee and Low.
Spanish poetry book for kids from Lee and Low.
A Movie in my Pillow and Poems to Dream Together - Books of poetry in English and Spanish from Lee and Low.

First Prize Package

Peru prize basket - Kid World Citizen
A child's sweater and bag from Peru courtesy of Kid World Citizen. The handmade, wool sweater is typical from the Andes and might fit a child ages 2-4. The little backpack is also handmade with gorgeous details typical of the region.

Spanish games for kids.
A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.

Spanish songs for kids.
Chocolalala - CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.

Spanish songs for kids from Mariana Iranzi.
Hola Hello - A CD of children's songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.

Spanish poems for kids.
Mis primeros poemas - A book of poems and audio CD for Spanish learners from All Bilingual Press.

Spanish color activities from Mundo de Pepita.
Digital download of Spanish Colors Activities Pack with printable minibooks, games and activity pages from Mundo de Pepita.

Lingua Toys
Spanish activity book with an audio CD with listening exercises for kids between 3-10 years old (value: 12€) from Lingua Toys.

Bolivian Guiro
Hand-crafted guiro (traditional instrument), hand-carved from a gourd in Bolivia with a sun and moon pattern. Great instrument as well as a piece of folk art. From DARIAMUSIC. US shipping only.

Second Prize Package

Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua.
Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua courtesy of Spanish Playground.

Spanish ABC book from Libros Arellano.

Spanish book for kids from Libros Arellano.
¡Las letras! and Señorita Bienvenida en el aeropuerto - Two children's books in Spanish from Libros Arellano.

Spanish songs for kids from Mariana Iranzi.
A CD of children's songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.

Children's songs in Spanish from Mister G.
ABC Fiesta - CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.

High frequency words books in Spanish.
Digital download of 6 printable Spanish high frequency words books from Custom Literacy.

Bonus Prize: France Shipping Only!

Las piñatas de Laly
Beautiful piñata created especially for this contest by Piñatas de Laly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link Up Your Posts Now it's your turn to share your posts! The linky will be open through October 15, so come back and share throughout Hispanic Heritage Month!

Enter to Win Monthly Prizes from Fisher-Price® for Your Baby!

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Fisher-Price® and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

A few months ago, I shared with you a new fantastic campaign by Fisher-Price® for mamis with babies who are about to turn 1 year old (or have recently done so). I love their new Mis Primeras Mañanitas campaign not just because it was designed to specifically help Latino families celebrate their child's first birthday, but also because they are giving away products that promote the development of your child's fine motor skills and more. Some of my favorites include:
  • Baby's First Blocks - develops hand-to-eye coordination, building skills, spacial reasoning/depth perception
  • the Little People ® Lil' Movers™ School Bus - develops hand-to-eye coordination, and social concept recognition through imaginative play
  • and the Brilliant Basics™ Corn Popper® - promotes balance, steadies beginning walkers
The Mis Primeras Mañanitas Sweepstakes is awarding monthly prizes and party ideas to Latino parents. When you enter the sweeps, you become eligible to win 12 Fisher-Price® toys for your baby.
But you could also win a Mis Primeras Mañanitas birthday party prize pack with invitations, favors, decorations, and a customized piñata and birthday cake! You will throw the best first birthday party in your town! 

And to help you out, Fisher-Price® has created the most fantastic website to help you plan your nene's first birthday party. You'll find super clever ideas and step-by-step instructions for decorating and recipes, too - all in Spanish! Take a look at some of the images below. You can find easy directions for all of them on the site.

Aren't these fun? I could decide which cake I like best, so I put both of them in here. :)

So don't wait! Enter the Mis Primeras Mañanitas sweepstakes here

And feliz cumpleaños to your bebé!

Friday, September 12, 2014

September Freebie: Chart the Weather in Spanish

The weather across the country has been absolutely crazy! From flash flooding to record heat waves, the climate is up and down and up and down. So this month's Spanish-learning freebie from our sponsor Spanish for You! is perfect.

The Chart the Weather Mini Lesson helps your child learn the weather while keeping a chart. As with all of Spanish for You!'s excellent materials, this one comes with an audio download to help you with pronunciation. 

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some great downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy.

To supplement this activity, here are some great bilingual and Spanish-language books centered around the weather: (These are affiliate links.)

And check out this cute video:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Celebrate My Drive Campaign plus Giveaway

photo courtesy of State Farm's Celebrate My Drive®
This is part of a sponsored collaboration with State Farm and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

The thought of my kids driving in a few years scares me to death, so I'm happy when I see resources and programs that promote responsible driving practices among teens. Many of you have older children who are either learning to drive or will soon do so. That's why I want to be sure and share with you this great program from State Farm.

Celebrate My Drive® is a community program that provides an incredible incentive for schools to foster safe driving habits among their students. High schools that sign up are eligible to win grant money for school programs and a private concert by a GRAMMY® Award nominee band!! Students commit to safe driving practices, such as 2N2®: 2 eyes on the road and 2 hands on the wheel.

I hope that we all agree that safe driving habits must be trained from the beginning when your child starts to drive. Did you know that auto crashes are the number one cause of death among teens in North America? And according to the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, risky behaviors while driving—such as not wearing a seat belt, riding in a car driven by someone who had been drinking, or texting while driving—is higher among Hispanic teens. Not surprising, I guess since Latinos are known to be some of the largest consumers of social media, hence LOTS of texting!

So you can see why I believe in this program. It helps protect our children and our families.

Are you wondering how your school can participate?

First, check to see if your child's school is signed up. If it isn't, talk to your school's administrator and see if you can him or her to sign up at by October 11th.

Then every day, teens and community members can commit to safe driving from October 15-24 in support of their favorite high school.

If your high school is one of the first 100 schools to generate the most safe-driving commitments between October 15th and October 24th, it will win a grant award of $25,000 or $100,000. And the TOP TWO SCHOOLS will win the grand prize: a private concert by a GRAMMY® Award nominee band!

I also love the State Farm Teen Driving Website. It has fast facts, tips, polls, and skill building interactives for both parents and teens. Their Road Aware 3D tool helps teens learn to scan for hazards, which is important because 40% of teen driver accidents are caused by lack of proper scanning.

Don't forget to follow Celebrate My Drive® on Facebook and State Farm on Twitter.


State Farm is giving away a $50 gift card to one MommyMaestra reader. You can use it for anything!

To enter, simply use the rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 5, 2014

Habitats: Biomas del Mundo Giveaway

Earlier this year, I introduced you to an awesome teaching couple from Texas: Linda and Eric Lopez. These two have some of really wonderful materials in Spanish that they've been putting together for the bilingual classroom.

Linda and Eric have generously agreed to participate in this year's Back-to-School Fiesta with one of their Spanish science sets, Habitats: Biomas del Mundo.

This 80-page pack covers 12 major habitats or biomes (shown above):
- tundra artica
- montañas (tundra alpina)
- taiga (bosque boreal)
- bosque (bosque templado)
- selva tropical
- pradera
- sabana
- desierto
- oceano
- arrecifes de coral
- aguas dulces
- humedales

The pack comes with posters, writing sheets, picture cards, vocabulary cards, matching game, and graphic organizers - all in Spanish. You can download a preview of the file here.


I'm so delighted that they've agreed to give a copy of one of their Spanish science sets, Habitats: Biomas del Mundo to two MommyMaestra readers.

To enter to win, just use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Whistlefritz SABOR Spanish CD Giveaway

Do you want your kiddies to dance? And learn? In Spanish?? I always do! I was so excited to receive a copy of Whistlefritz's new ¡Sabor! Spanish Learning Songs CD so that I could review and post a giveaway for a lucky Mommy Maestra reader!

The minute I heard one of the songs, I was hooked. There are salsa, merengue and ballad beats in all the songs. I appreciated listening to lyrics created for children with rhythms that reminded me of growing up with my mami's Spanish cumbias and rancheras!

The best part is that each lively song introduces appropriate Spanish vocabulary for words and phrases children use everyday. A translation guide is included, providing an easy reference for parents and teachers who are learning Spanish, too. I am thankful for the lyrics included in the inside cover of the CD. My boys are already learning new songs. Their favorite so far is En el rancho de MacDonald. It's adorable to listen to the kids sing in the car.

The Giveaway

Whistlefritz is happy to participate in the Back-to-School Fiesta and has kindly offered a copy of ¡Sabor! Spanish Learning Songs CD to a Mommy Maestra reader! Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over

Monday, September 1, 2014

Daily Spanish Writing Prompts for Elementary Giveaway

Do you know about Open Wide the World? It's such a fantastic resource for parents and educators! I've worked with Julie on a project recently, and she is so great at creating fun, educational materials. If you visit her website, you'll find tons of products, links, ideas, and more to help your children see the beauty in places around the world. Go and visit - you'll love all the free downloads she offers!

Her TpT store is full of amazing downloads in German, French, Japanese and Spanish! Her stuff is visually engaging and age appropriate. I think they'll probably interest those of you especially who are teaching your children in Spanish. For example, you'll probably love her:
  • Palabras de alta frequencia
  • El caso de los sonidos secretos
  • Spanish Rhyming Words las rimas for Dual Language


Julie is happy to participate in my Back-to-School Fiesta and has kindly offered a copy her Daily Spanish Writing Prompts for January through May "Mi diario de escritura" to TWO MommyMaestra readers!

To enter to win, just use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Nintendo 2DS Game System & Tomodachi Life at Best Buy {GIVEAWAY}

This is a sponsored post.

In today's technological world, I suppose it is inevitable that our kids will one day ask for some sort of gaming system. Mine have. And rather than deny them the opportunity to play games until they are older, I'm trying to help them develop healthy habits when it comes to technology and digital games.

For me, this means helping them learn that playing games and apps for pure entertainment is okay, so long as they show self-control and make wise decisions. In other words, they aren't allowed to just sit and play games mindlessly for hours. They can play for a reasonable amount of time (30-45 minutes) and then they must go read a book, play outside, or do some other sort of activity. But FIRST, they have to make sure that all of their school work is done. I don't mind them playing hard so long as they work hard, too.

I have to admit that they don't have very many games or apps that are simply for pure entertainment. I have an unspoken rule that most of the apps on my tablet are educational in nature. I've downloaded a couple of games before, but I'd really rather keep those separate from that device.

Enter the new Nintendo 2DS Game System. 

It's a good choice for anyone (including children) buying their first portable gaming device. It plays over 2,100 Nintendo DS, 3DS, and eShop games in 2D. The 2DS is lightweight and easy to slip into a purse or backpack. (I would, however, recommend getting a screen protector.) It comes with a built in camera, too.

Personally, I don't like playing 3D games (or watching 3D movies!) and neither do my children, so I really appreciate that you can play 3DS games on this system without those 3D effects.

And guess what? This Labor Day weekend only, you can get the 2DS for only $99 online at Best!

If you don't really like your child playing games such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf, New Super Mario Bros. 2 or The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, then you might like to know that he can also use it to learn art techniques with Art Academy.

If you ARE looking for games, then I must tell you that when I was growing up, I desperately wanted the board game, LIFE. I played it at my cousins' house and had a blast then drove my mother crazy asking for my own game.

Well, Tomodachi Life is similar. The game takes you to an island where you can create your own Mii cast of characters using your family and friends, or even your favorite celebrities. Your characters can meet each other, get married, move, go shopping, have know, live LIFE! You and your kids can be surprised at the crazy things that happen and have fun while playing this game.


I'm giving away one Nintendo 2DS Game System and a Tomodachi Life to one MommyMaestra reader!

To enter this giveaway, just use the Rafflecopter below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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