Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Little Chefs eBook

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had been working on the Little Chefs Project. The project includes not only the Cook-Alongs, but also an eBook and recipes. I'm so pleased to announce that the Little Chefs eBook is now available online. This free, online book was written by 40 moms who share their tips, recipes, and ideas on cooking with kids.

As you can tell from the post my friend Becky shared yesterday here on MommyMaestra about the history of Calabaza en Tacha, I love learning about ways to use food and cooking to supplement school subjects. So my chapter in the ebook is focused on Teachable Moments, specifically on how to use food to teach history.

But the book also covers other areas and is divided into six chapters on the following topics:

- Feel Like a Kid Again

- Teachable Moments
- Everyday Fun
- Family Time
- Fun with Flavors
- Family Traditions

The book is not only a valuable resources with plenty of ideas on how you can use your kitchen with your children, but is also a visual treat. You can also find  the recipes mentioned in the book, and many others on Chef Boyardee's site. Before getting involved in this project, it never occurred to me that I could use Chef Boyardee cooking kits to create a variety of meals from a single boxed kit.

So far three Cook-Alongs have taken place, but there are still three more left! I hope you'll join us for these live recipe demos and online chats.

Enjoy this wonderful ebook. I know you'll find some great ideas to use in your own kitchen with your children.

Un abrazo...

Disclosure: I am working with The Motherhood and Chef Boyardee on the Little Chefs project.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Calabaza en Tacha: History and Recipe

The following is a guest post by Becky Morales from Kid World Citizen.
We often associate pumpkins with Halloween in the US, but did you know that many varieties of pumpkins have been cultivated in Mexico for thousands of years!? In fact, archeologists have found pumpkin seeds in tombs in Mexico dating back to 7000 BC! They also found evidence that indigenous farmers cultivated the pumpkin from 6000-5000 BC in Oaxaca and Tehuacán in Central Mexico (which coincidentally is also where the first maize was ever cultivated). The pumpkin shell was used as a recipient and cup by the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican indigenous groups, and pumpkin seeds were ground in sauces (such as mole or pepián). 

The Aztecs celebrated Mictecacihuatl (Queen of the underworld and afterlife) during their fall festival commemorating the dead- which eventually combined with the Catholic “All Souls Day,” and evolved into the current Day of the Dead celebration. During this fall festival, they cooked the pumpkin pulp in clay pots. This dish- “calabaza en tacha”- is enjoyed by people around Mexico and Guatemala during the fall when pumpkins are harvested. Typically bought in mercados or ferias (fall festivals) to celebrate Day of the Dead, here is a version you can make at home. It’s a simple, delicious, and nutritious recipe that your kids will love!



1-2 pumpkins that will fit in the pot you are using

piloncillo (dark, unrefined cane sugar)

the juice from 1 orange

cinnamon sticks

optional: butter, cloves, anise seeds, sweetened condensed milk;

Piloncillo is normally sold in Mexico in conical shapes. I ran out of the piloncillo I had brought home from Mexico, but fortunately found that Goya makes and distributes it in this packaging in the US at local supermarkets. If you cannot find it, you can use brown sugar and molasses (in the US), or golden syrup (in the UK, Australia, New Zealand).

First, cut the pumpkin into wedges. Normally in Mexico they leave in the seeds and pulp, but sometimes I remove them to roast the seedsJ. My daughter also like me to take out the “strings.”

In a large pot, put in the pumpkin chunks, the piloncillo, the cinnamon sticks, squeeze the juice out of an orange, and add a couple of inches of water. Sometimes cooks in Mexico add in anise seeds and or cloves to the water, and some cooks also put in a couple of pats of butter.

Cover and simmer until the pumpkin is very tender (15-30 minutes- keep checking), spooning the juices over the pumpkin and stirring the slices so they all get down in the syrup.

Serve warm with the juicy syrup, and if you have some on hand, sweetened condensed milk (this is my family’s favorite part!).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Live Blogging: STEM: The Foundations to Create a Better Future for All

I'm preparing to live blog about a panel going on here at Latism'12. Please check back and refresh the page regularly!

Moderator: Alberto Sardinas - is with Univision
Emily Kirkpatrick - is with National Center for Family Literacy
Alberto Roca - founder of MinorityPostDoc.org
Jesse Martinez - A Start-Up Expert
Monica Vila - founder of the Online Mom

Es el Momento received 100,000 impressions on twitter during their Education Week.

Monica: Less and less of our kids are entering STEM fields, which limits our skill and achievement in this area.

The image is the probelm: STEM is not "sexy," the students are too "geeky."

Emily : How STEM relates to learning. Their goal is to bring parents and children together to learn.

Literacy and STEM go hand-in-hand. Both can help each other.

2/3rds of our countries 3rd graders cannot pass benchmark tests on math.

1/5th of our adults are not proficient in literacy.

Wonderopolis is the first online community dedicated to online learning. Wonderopolis is a site that shares wonderous topics that develop vocabulary and concepts. It encourages further learning, deeper understanding. Subscribe to receive a Wonder-of-the-Day - it is FREE!

En Camino: bilingual online modules to help families to start conversations about college-going.

We all learn best when learning about subjects that are interesting to us.

Litera-Seeds Mini-grants:
Awarding 10-20 grants of $500 each

NOV 1 - Applications accepted for the Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year will receive a 20,000 grant.

Jesse -
Creating an organization to support Latino entrepreneurs. They are also supporting tech entrepreneurship at a high school level.

Their after-school pilot (using google adwords and analytics, creating Facebook apps, building a website) has led to the establishment of a class available for students that teaches them online skills and technology.

Alberto Roca -

Is a scientist interested in DNA repair.

Helps people who are getting doctorates in STEM navigate the system. Problem: we don't have enough Latino staff to serve as role models.

Is now publishing a newsletter, called Diverse Scholar,

Richard a Tapia, PhD, Rice univ. has received ;

Eurgene Cota-Robles, PhD, UD-Riverside
- there is a Graduate Student Fellowship in his honor.

SACNAS - The Society for the Achievement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

Our problem now is that we have a generation of Latino faculty who are retiring and leaving us.

We need more people who are Diverse Scientists who are Blogging to create science journalists

Isis the Scientist: Lab Goddess
M. Garcia: Chemistry-Blog
C.A. Rodriguez-Rosari: Minus Two Fish
H. Hernandez: On Life and science
L.L. Espinosa: STEM Watch
C. Santa Maria: Talk Nerdy to Me (vlogger)
M. Cinces: SoScience
Univ Washington SACNAS chapter
CienciaPR (Puerto Rico) Spanish/bilingual

Roberto has put together the Diversity in Science Blog Carnival
hosted by Elisa Maldonado, PhD

submission form is on MinorityPostdoc.org

Roberto asks: Why is there no interest in STEM?
Jesse says we need to change the perception that it isn't "cool" or attractive.
Emily says that we don't make the subject fun.

Roberto asks: Are moms worried about the way STEM is presented in school?
Monica: There is an incredible difference in the way we teach our kids. Our education has fallen behind and is still teaching for factory jobs.
Check out the video: Did You Know?
She advocates introducing children to technology with proper monitoring.
There's a lot we can do at home, if we can't change our school systems.

Roberto: The trouble is implementing educational goals at a local level. Specific challenges include: Kids need to understand there are certain skills that must be mastered to achieve their dreams (depending on what they are).

Organizations are calling for change in the way science is taught.

Jesse: One of the biggest challenges is the student's home life and what they're support system is like.

Education is not indoctrination. It is giving them the skills they need to apply in the future.

Abróchate a la Vida

Just a reminder...


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Send a Message to the Students in Bolivia

I know that both educators and parents are going to love this opportunity, because it allows your students and children to communicate with and help other students in another country - Bolivia!

Part of raising children who do not see in color, but in words and actions, is teaching them to see with their heart and find the beauty in differences. It's teaching our children to understand that there are others like us, in another part of the world, who may or may not look like us, but have the same hopes and dreams that we have.

The World Food Programme is working in Bolivia to provide nutritious meals for children in schools. As part of their project, they are inviting other people from around the world to get to know the children in the Huarimarca School in Bolivia, who benefit from their program. Your class or children, can ask a question to the children in Bolivia. The message may be in English or Spanish and will be translated (if needed) and delivered by Ximena, WFP’s Communications Officer there.

What a fantastic opportunity for your kids! You can learn more and send your message here.

Watch this video to learn more...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Pumpkin Moon Empanadas

I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled when my friend, Clementina, who has the most delicious and amusing blog, told me that she has published her first children's book. Of course, I (politely) demanded a copy, eager to see Clementina's wonderful gift for storytelling channelled into a format specifically for children.

And I was not disappointed. The Pumpkin Moon Empanadas is a lovely tale about young Paloma, whose hard-working Papi loves her so much that he promises to bring her the moon. And then one day, he does! So Paloma and her Mamá get to work making the most delicious empanadas out of it that anyone has ever tasted.

The vibrant illustrations lovingly capture the joy and tenderness of Paloma's relationship with her father. Young readers will be especially drawn to the sweet, colorful images.

The story is written in English with Spanish words and phrases embedded throughout. The English translation immediately follows, encased within brackets which can be a little distracting at first, but native speakers can skip past them easily and there is a glossary in the back of the book, too.

But possibly one of the best things about the book is the delicious recipe for Mexican pumpkin empanadas that is included in the back of the book. Perfect for making with your own little chef!

I love this special little story about how sometimes the greatest gifts we can give our children are imagination and hope.

Best suited for children ages 4 and up.

To purchase your copy of The Pumpkin Moon Empanadas, click here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Día de los Muertos Minibook {PRINTABLE}

'Buelita left this morning, so we're all a little sad over here. :(

BUT I'm grateful for the help with the kids that allowed me to get a lot done. Including this Day of the Dead Minibook - it might be my favorite printable yet! Short and sweet, this minibook includes six pages perfect for children in Pre-K through 4th grade. An introduction to the Día de los Muertos holiday, each page focuses on one element that is closely associated with the holiday. Children can color in each page then read about each one in English or Spanish. Just print, read, and color.

Remember, you'll have until midnight Friday to download your free copy. After that it goes into the MommyMaestra TpT store.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Apply NOW for the #DestapaSuFuturo Scholarship Fund

When I was growing up, I was completely immersed in my culture. Spanish was my first language, and my childhood was filled with culture like Las Posadas, making tamales, driving to our town's tortilla factory to pick up fresh corn tortillas, the smell of chilis in the blender, big family birthdays, piñatas, annual trips to Mexico to visit family or simply to relax, and a million other little things. We moved in with my 'Buelita (she was actually my great-grandmother) when I was about 8 years old, and I spent my nights sleeping curled up next to her short, huggable body, and days playing in the kitchen while she sang and cooked, stirring giant pots bubbling with Mexican culinary masterpieces. 

But my 'Buelita died when I was 12. And after that, I began to lose my culture little by little.

I attended excellent schools, and eventually graduated from college with a degree in English - Writing Emphasis and a minor in Social Work. I didn't know where those fields would take me, because I was working as a zookeeper at the time, but I pursued them anyway. For years they settled quietly in the back of my mind, silent dreams waiting to be put to use.

But when my daughter was born, something beautiful happened. My sweet, love-filled childhood came back with a vengeance. Memories long forgotten surfaced and I was heartbroken that my own children would never know those wonderful traditions, would never experience those cultural ties that bind us together with our families and friends in such meaningful ways. I was afraid that my kids would not learn to think about how others struggled to survive yet found happiness even in hardship. That they would never experience laughter in friendships built on shared culture, traditions, and even language. So I found my college education again and put it to work.

Today I am a writer. I write about education for Latino families. I'm working to make a difference, not just in my own children's lives, but those of others, too. And I was trained by excellent schools, but inspired by my children and my heritage.

If you, or someone you know, is thinking about college, but worried about the financial aspect of it, then you should know about the Coca-Cola #DestapaSuFuturo campaign. Coca-Cola has had an extraordinary relationship with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund for more than 30 years and are committed to helping them meet their goal of having a college degree in every Latino household by the year 2025. Through the Uncap Their Future Scholarship program, more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded.

From now through October 31st, students can apply for a scholarship at www.hsf.net/cocacola by answering three thought-provoking essay questions. Students must reflect on how their heritage affects their career goals, the importance of education in their lives and their community service experiences.

Hurry and spread the word, because students only have 12 days left to apply for this scholarship!

Be inspired. Make the decision to go to college. Follow your dreams and don't let little (or big!) things hold you back.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Coca-Cola and Latina Bloggers Connect.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teachable Moments Cook-Along & GIVEAWAY

I'm so excited to invite you all to attend a virtual Cook-Along that I will be co-hosting this Thursday at 2 p.m. ET. As I mentioned on my Facebook page last week, I've been collaborating with some other bloggers and The Motherhood on The Little Chefs Project. The project consists of a new free e-book (more about that soon) and a series of live chats called Cook-Alongs that take place every Thursday between now and November 15th. (The first one was actually last week. Did you watch?) Anyway, each week focuses on a different topic around cooking with kids, and mine is about - what else? - Teachable Moments in the kitchen. It addresses how you can use the kitchen as a fun, practical classroom to teach anything from math to culture.

At Thursday's Cook-Along, you'll get ideas on how to let your recipe box and cooking supplies help you make learning fun for your kids! And the best part: at the end of the lesson, you can all enjoy the meals you created together. Find out how you can work math, science, culture, and even history into kitchen time with your Little Chefs.

To join me for this 30 minute Cook-Along, just click on this link:

Once you click on the link, you log into The Motherhood using your member ID (if you don’t have one, it’s easy and free to sign up), and chat away in the text-based comments. We’ll also have a video feed running during the half-hour Cook-Along, so you’re welcome to show up simply to watch if you’d like!

The Cook-Along is sponsored by Chef Boyardee, and it is hosted by The Motherhood.  You can visit Chef Boyardee online at
http://www.chefboyardee.com/ or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/chefboyardee.

I’ll be there with several other bloggers to co-host the class, and I hope you’ll join us!  The fabulous people who will be co-hosting with me are:

Amee, Madame Deals http://www.madamedeals.com

Caroline, Smarty Pants Mama http://smartypantsmama.com
Janene and Christine, More Than Mommies http://morethanmommies.net
Maureen, Wisconsin Mommy http://www.wisconsinmommy.com/
Mel, MamaBuzz http://www.mamabzz.com

Tiffany, Sweet Phenomena http://sweetphenomena.com

Here's the entire schedule in case you'd like to participate or watch any of the others...


Feel Like a Kid Again – Thursday, Oct. 11, 2 p.m. ET

Teachable Moments – Thursday, Oct. 18, 2 p.m. ET (with me!)

Everyday Fun – Thursday, Oct. 25, 2 p.m. ET

Family Time – Thursday, Nov. 1, 2 p.m. ET

Fun with Flavors – Thursday, Nov. 8, 2 p.m. ET

Family Traditions – Thursday, Nov. 15, 2 p.m. ET

Today, we made our own pizza using the Chef Boyardee Pizza Maker kit. My kids love getting involved in the kitchen and learning about how mixing ingredients can result in new edible concoctions. The Pizza Maker is great for learning about everthing from fractions to yeast. Here's a peek (Yes, I know the cheese is a little burned, but my son is still learning how to use a timer. He's in 1st grade, so you'll understand)...


And to help get you in the mood and set up your own Little Chef kit, I'm super pleased to offer you this great giveaway from Chef Boyardee.

One MommyMaestra reader will receive:

• Kids’ kitchen measure and prep kit
• Kids’ recipe box
• Scrapbook album
• 2 Chef Boyardee chef hats
• Chef Boyardee adult apron
• Chef Boyardee child apron
• Chef Boyardee pizza kit
• Time capsule
• 2 coupons for free Chef Boyardee Beefaroni
• 5 Chef Boyardee recipe cards

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment below.The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Tuesday, October 23rd. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)
And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Share with me how you use your kitchen to teach your child.

2) Follow the MommyMaestra FB page.

Follow me on Twitter and tweet the following: Win a #LittleChefs kit from @LatinMami & @ChefBoyardee http://bit.ly/R3CbUn #giveaway

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!

By entering this giveaway, you agree to
the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!

Disclosure: I am working with The Motherhood and Chef Boyardee on the Little Chefs project.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New from Music with Sara: Los Monstruos

In case you haven't already seen it, here's a new video from Music with Sara. You can download your own copy here. So cute!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Celebrate World Food Day with the GROW Method

Part of being a parent is teaching your children to be responsible and respectful...of themselves, of others, and of the world we live in. It is a mindset we have to nurture. Teaching it is easy, but requires constant attention: Turn out the lights when you leave a room. Hold the door open for others. Brush your teeth twice a day.

Eat all your dinner. Don't waste food.

We own and live on a small farm. We keep two cows, two donkeys, a handful of chickens, and even tend our own little garden. The only meat we eat most of the year is venison, thanks to my husband and our freezer chest. All our food scraps go back to the chickens or the dog. So in my house, there's a pretty good understanding of where food comes from.

But not everyone has this opportunity. When we lived in town, we didn't think twice about where our eggs came from, running to the grocery store for some tomatoes, or throwing leftovers in the trash.

This coming Tuesday, October 16th, is World Food Day, and OxFam America is encouraging families to think about our global food sources. They've put together five principles - called the Grow Method - to help us all make wise decisions when it comes to improving our global food system.

Did you know that this world creates enough food to feed everyone on the planet, yet nearly 1 billion people still suffer from hunger? Sadly, about 1/3 of our food gets wasted or lost between the moment it is harvested and the moment it is set on our tables.

By using the Grow Method you help reduce the amount of waste through responsible practices. These five principles include:

• Reducing food waste (things like storing your fruit in the refridgerator so they last longer, keeping leftovers...)
• Buying fair trade to help small scale food producers
• Cooking smart to use less water and energy
• Buying foods that are in season
• Eating less meat and dairy

You can learn more in their short eBook, available for viewing here.

You can also make a difference and support World Food Day signing up to host a World Food Day dinner discussion. Oxfam has tons of free materials including a discussion guide, placemats, and recipe ideas from acclaimed chefs Jamie Oliver, Mary Sue Milliken, and others. Everything can be found at www.oxfamamerica.org/worldfoodday.

Or if you are already a conscientious consumer and would like to share some recipes that employ one or more of the above principles, you can Share GROW method recipes on Pinterest and we’ll add them to our GROW Method Cook Book! Just tag your pin with #GROWmethod to add it.

Or why not snap photos of your World Food Day meal on Instagram and tag them with #WFD2012? Then check out their site to see photos from all over the world.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Día de los Muertos Bilingual Mobile {PRINTABLE}

Abuelita flew in yesterday...but she's sick. So that means lots of juggling going on over here, but I wanted to get this posted for the weekend. My son had the best time putting our bilingual Day of the Dead mobile together, so I think your nenes will, too.

This mobile features Día de los Muertos themed images, and are labeled in English on one side and Spanish on the other. It is colorful and easy to put together. Just print, cut, and glue. (You'll also need glue and something with which to punch holes.)

Remember, you'll have until midnight Saturday to download your free copy. After that it goes into the MommyMaestra TpT store.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why My Children's Education Matters

© lenets_tan - Fotolia.com

As a mother of two young children, education is subject that I am extremely passionate about. I know that a good education is the best gift I can give my kids. It provides protection from poverty, increases their self-esteem, and gives them an opportunity to pursue their own dreams.

Earlier this year, I heard education expert Mariela Dabbah say that college graduates typically earn a million dollars or more as adults than those without a degree. I expect this has to do with the fact that college students are motivated to work hard and excel in their field of interest - otherwise, why bother going to college, no? And the fact that the knowledge and training they receive in college makes them better qualified for higher paying positions. And while making money is not really the point I want to emphasize with my kids, it certainly is nice when you can get paid well for making your dreams a reality. 

I've always felt that if you go to college, you're investing in your career. And to me there is a big difference in a career and a job. A job is a place you go to earn some money. You may or may not enjoy it. But a career is where you invest your time, effort, knowledge...in effect, a little part of yourself. You build a reputation and rely on it to provide you with additional opportunities to better yourself and your field.

Education Matters to Me

I know that for me, college was one of the best times of my life. I learned so much about the things I was passionate about and laid the foundation to my current career. (I was an English major with a writing emphasis.) I travelled, met my husband, and learned without a doubt who I was, what I valued, and what I wanted to do with my life.

I want the same for my own children. I want them to find fulfillment in knowing their work is valued, that they've done their best, and made a difference in the world.

I look around me now and see so many people who have lost their focus and are leading lives they have "settled for" rather than ones with which they are joyful and satisfied. I don't want that for my kids. And I know that the one thing I can give them to help them avoid this lackluster future is their education.

In our house, there is no question about whether or not they will go to college. We talk about it openly and they take it for granted. Though they are only in 1st and 3rd grade, I am always keeping an eye out for resources to help me pave their path to higher education.

And I'm always willing to share those resources with you so that you, too, can encourage and support your college-bound children.

Here are a few of the college-bound resources for Latino families that I have shared here on MommyMaestra: 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Día de los Muertos Hundred Chart {PRINTABLE}

Today's printable is for the math learners. This download includes two different Día de los Muertos themed hundred charts to help elementary students learn their numbers, and counting by 1's, 2's, 5's, 10's, odds and evens, etc.

I use the hundred chart with my first grader, but it is good for students in PreK through 3rd grade. Hundred charts are used heavily with Saxon Math, but the chart is pretty boring, so if you would like a fun one, consider these.

Remember, this printable is free for download until midnight EST tonight! After that you can find it and other MommyMaestra printables in my TpT store.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Día de los Muertos Note Cards {PRINTABLE}

I promised that MommyMaestra readers would always receive an opportunity to download any printables that I create for free. So in honor of Día de los Muertos, I have quite a few printables coming this week, but each one will only be available for free to MM readers that day until midnight EST. After that, you'll have to stop by my TpT store to purchase a copy.

There's been a lot of toiling going on over here. The creative juices are flowing, Mamas! And so my first printable is one of my favorites: Día de los Muertos note cards. This set includes four different printable designs. Blank on the inside, they print up two to a page, so that you trim it straight down the middle. They are so adorable!! Perfect for writing an invitation to a Day of the Dead party, or simply to jot down a quick note to 'Buelita, these cards will liven up even cold, rainy days.

Here's a peek of the cards:

To see other MommyMaestra printables, please visit my TpT store.

Un abrazo!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Healthy Self Image Begins at Home

© kmiragaya - Fotolia.com

How many of you have daughters? I have one. And she is smart and beautiful with a mind of her own. I look at her and wonder if I was ever as self-confident as she is now, determined to do great things, knowing she is fully capable of anything she puts her mind to.

But when I look at her, I also worry. I worry about how she will feel about herself in a few years when she enters high school and experiences being compared to others. When media and society begin throwing certain ideas her way, telling her she's not beautiful unless she looks a certain way or wears certain clothes. Whether it be another person or her own mind that takes measure and finds her lacking, I wonder if she will be strong enough to always feel beautiful and proud of herself.

I remember that it wasn't until I was in my late teens when I realized the value of inner beauty. I think it was when I overheard someone say that one of my best friends wasn't beautiful. I was outraged because, of course, I thought she was. But when I started thinking about it, I realized that maybe she wasn't what most people would consider beautiful on the outside, but to me she was lovely because of who she was as a person. I knew she was sweet and kind and joyful. And that inner beauty spilled over and out into her smile, her laugh, and gentle touch.

The reality is that outer beauty is subjective. It fades and changes as we grow. I remember my 'Buelita...actually, she was my great-grandmother on my mother's side. And she was truly one of the most beautiful women I've ever known in my life. She had gray hair, wrinkles, beauty marks, moles and age spots. She was round and huggable. And she is my lesson in life when it comes to beauty.

I tell her story to my daughter. I show her pictures. And I know that my daughter recognizes that beauty is what you make of it. I point out other people we know and ask her questions like, "Do you think [Insert Name Here] is beautiful? Why or why not?"

So it makes me really glad when I see companies tackling this issue, too. This weekend is the 3rd Annual Dove Self-Esteem Weekend. They kicked it off in New York with a silent march to Times Square, which perfectly represents all the noise and distractions that women - moms, grandmothers, tías, hermanas - have to break through to reach girls. "Let's Talk" is this year's theme, encouraging women to start the conversation with their girls.

For so many young girls, anxiety about their looks begins at an early age and affects their self-esteem. It holds them back from pursuing goals, friendships, opportunities, and dreams. According to Dove global research, 74% of girls (ages 10-17) feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful, but only 11% are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves. How horribly sad is that??!?

Of course, everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in a girl's self-esteem, but more than half of young girls around the world say their mother is their #1 role model. As a mother to one beautiful daughter, this reminds me to be mindful of the things I say. And I would encourage all of you to take time to start a conversation about beauty with your own daughters. And try to do it on a regular basis.

You can visit ViveMejor.com (Dove's Spanish site) to download free tools to motivate and inspire a girl in your life. Here it is in English. The Let's Talk Toolkit includes a discussion guide to help moms and mentors start a conversation on beauty and self-esteem. They have one-on-one activities for mothers and daughters (I LOVE THEM!!!), as well as classroom activities.

Let's help our girls develop a healthy self-esteem, valuing themselves because they know they are beautiful.

How do you develop your daughter's self-esteem? Please share your tips with us...

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Dove and Latina Blogger Connect. All opinions, though, are strictly mine.

Are You Going to LATISM'12?

I know there are a fair number of bloggers out there following MommyMaestra, so I'm taking a moment to encourage those of you to attend this year's Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) conference in Houston. Last year was the first time I was able to attend their conference (in Chicago) and nothing but great things came as a result of it. I made some fantastic connections that allowed me to share more education materials and resources with you, as well as additional opportunities to encourage more Latino families to get involved in their children's education.

Regardless of whether you are an experienced education blogger or a beginner, the conference will provide you with a chance to expand your knowledge base and network with others of similar interest. You can focus on how to get into blogging, how to become a better blogger, or attend workshops on more specific topics such as how some are leading bilingual students to success, creative uses of technology in education and more.

The LATISM conference focuses on four tracks: Education, Health, Business, and Technology. And there are companies who are really interested in investing in these areas sponsoring or attending the conference. As a result of last year's conference I made contacts that helped me to become a PBS Ambassador, Plaza Familia contributor, and write a few articles for other sites, such as FOX News Latino. 

So if you have the opportunity to attend, and especially if you live in the Houston area, I want to personally invite you to attend. They only have a few tickets left, so get yours soon!

Friday, October 5, 2012

NASA Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

This year, NASA is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a series of short videos featuring many of their Hispanic team members.

If you have time to watch, you'll get an opportunity to see the diversity of Hispanic people they have working for them, and learn a tiny bit about each one's background and what their job entails.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Becky of KidWorldCitizen to participate in a Cinderella Around The World book review project. Her goal is to show the diversity found within the "Cinderella" stories of different cultures. So I chose Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story (aff link).

Adelita is not an especially old tale. One of my favorite children's book authors/illustrators, Tomie dePaola, wrote it in back in 2004. But I absolutely love the cultural spin on the traditional tale. Adelita, as I'm sure you can guess, is our Latina Cinderella and the heroine of our book. The story begins with the (short-lived!) love story of Adelita's parents, Adela y Francisco. But her mother dies shortly after she is born and Adelita is raised by her beloved papá and his trusted family maid, Experanza. Adelita, of course, grows up to be a beautiful young woman. But her happy childhood takes a turn for the worse when her father marries the selfish Señora Micaela de la Fortuna (who happens to have two ugly, vain daughters of her own).

Next thing you know, Francisco has passed away unexpectedly, and Doña Micaela forces Adelita to work like a slave. Esperanza gets the boot out of the house and Adelita must work alone...she's lonely. There is no magical Bibbety Fairy Godmother in this story, but sweet Esperanza comes to Adelita's rescue in much the same manner when Adelita is not allowed to attend a neighbor's fiesta in honor of the return of their son.

This book is so delightful for me because of all the Mexican touches dePaola gives to the tale. The story includes embedded Spanish words, as well as cultural situations. But perhaps the best part of this book are the illustrations. From Adelita's traditional dress, rebozo, and even hairstyle to the colorfully decorated setting, this book fairly oozes Mexican culture. And you'll love how they've replaced the glass slipper issue!!

It has won a special place in the heart of my own daughter and rests on her special shelf of books never to be sold or given away.

This book is available on Amazon and Book Shop. Or request it from your local library!

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Third Latinos Rumbo al College Webinar Airs Tonight

Don't miss tonight's third episode of the four-part bilingual webinar series, Latinos Rumbo al College. Tonight's episode centers around the theme, Finding Mentors and Building a Support System. It will be presented in English at 7 p.m. EDT, followed by the Spanish version at 8:30 p.m. EDT.

Registration is free and is only necessary once for access to all the webinars in the series. Hosted by Mariela Dabbah, an award-winning author and expert on education and career
issues, this bilingual series is geared for both English- and Spanish-speaking families who are interested in sending their children to college, but are wondering if they can afford it financially or have questions about the college application process. Mariela gives sound advice and step-by-step information to help students and their parents make a college degree a reality.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mango Jicama Salad {RECIPE}

by Angelica

The first time I tried Jícama I was 6 years old. My mom picked up this brownish rough vegetable and placed it in our grocery cart. She noticed the look in my eye and said, "Trust me you will like it."

Why do ALL moms say this?
Later that day I spotted her peeling the jicama and curiosity got the best of me and asked her if I could try a piece. Hmmm crunchy, juicy and crispy I LIKED jicama. I smiled at my mom and she had that look in her eye, you know that I told you look.

Okay mom you win. Since that day Jicama has been one of my favorite foods. I toss it with lime juice and salt for an afternoon snack or dip thick slices into guacamole at dinner. But if I had to choose my favorite way to eat jicama it would be in this salad. My mom made it for my 7th birthday party and I loved it so much we have served it at all my birthdays since.
When Mommy Maestra asked me to share one of my favorite flavors for Hispanic Heritage Month I knew I had to shine a light on Jicama.

In my best mom impression "Trust me you will like it."

The name jícama is from the Nahuatl word, xicamatl. Jícama is the name of this native Mexican plant, as well as the name of the edible root. It also goes by the names ofyambean and Mexican turnip.Jicama can weigh up to twenty kilograms, but you will never see them in the stores this big. Usually they are between one half to one kilo (1-2 pounds) in weight.

Jícama has a water content of 86-90%, and is high in dietary fiber. Their nutritional claim to fame is that they are an excellent source of prebiotic fiber.

Ensalada de Jicama, Mango y Pepino

Serves 6-8
1 jicama, peeled and sliced in 1/2 thick matchstick slices
3 mangoes, peeled and sliced as jicama
3 cucumbers, peeled as jicama
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Pomegranate seeds for garnish

Combine pomegranate juice, olive oil, cilantro and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with jicama, mango and cucumber. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.


Angelica ~ A 12-year-old homeschooler with dreams of becoming a pastry chef.

Addicted to comics, food network, and carnival rides, Angelica loves taking over her mom's kitchen. She is currently working on perfecting her pie crust while her family reaps the benefits. You can find her sharing her baking skills over at Sweet Life.


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