Passing Traditions On To My Kids At Christmas Time {Guacamole, My Way!}

I don't talk about it often, but I'm biracial. My mother is Latina & my dad is Caucasian. I grew up embracing both sides of who I am. I always knew I was "mixed," it never bothered me & I never felt the need to identify with one ethnicity more than the other. I believed, growing up, that I had the best of both worlds. I had Aunts & Uncles, and Tias & Tios. I had a Geat Grandmother & an Abuela. I grew up eating black eyed peas, chicken and dumplings, tamales and chalupas! It was fantastic! Now that I am a Mommy, and raising a multicultural family, (my husband is African American); I want to make sure my children learn about their Mexican heritage. One way I accomplish this, is through the foods we eat.

I love Mexican food- I could literally eat it every day! One of the staples of Mexican cooking is avocados. I prefer to buy Avocados from Mexico, whenever they are available. The world's first avocado was grown in Mexico. Did you know that?! The fertile volcanic soil, and excellent climate make for great growing conditions. Not only do avocados taste good, but they are heart-healthy and low in carbs. They are also full of vitamins and minerals. I like eating avocados as is, with a little salt sprinkled on top. Just peel it and slice it up …yum! I also add them to smoothies for a healthy treat. There are so many ways to use the avocado, and celebrity Chef Pepin and the Posadas recipe page have tons of ideas for you. One of my favorite things to make with avocados has got to be Guacamole! 

I have loved guacamole since I was a child. Back in the day, my mom liked to pay her bills in person. We'd drive downtown, (I grew up in Southern Texas), and she'd stop off at the department store (Joske's) and pay her bill. When all the bills were paid, we'd head to our favorite downtown restaurant… Mexican Manhattan. I'd always order the same item off the menu: Guacamole Rolled Soft Tacos. They never disappointed! The waitress would bring out a plate with two huge tacos on it, those bad boys were bulging at the seams! There was so much guacamole in each one, that I would open them each up, and spoon some of the guacamole out of them and make at least 2 more tacos! (Thank goodness for the extra tortillas they would always bring us with our meals!). This wasn't your normal guacamole… there were no tomatoes, no chunks of onion… just avocado and what appeared to be cream cheese. It was delicious! I will never forget those late lunches, at Mexican Manhattan, with my mom.

Whenever a holiday approaches, I think about what I can serve my family that represents my Latina side. More often than not, I choose guacamole. I make it the way Mexican Manhattan did, no tomatoes, no chunks of onion. I have had many people compliment me on my guacamole and ask me to bring it to parties and pot-lucks. The recipe is very simple and I would love to share it with you!

Guacamole Mommy Powers Style!

4 Avocados

1 8oz pkg cream cheese (softened)

1 lemon

onion powder

salt 

pepper

Cut the avocados in half & peel. Remove the seed and throw away. Place the avocados in a bowl (or molcajete, if you have one), and mash up really good. You can use a fork to mash it up, it will work fine. Add the cream cheese and mash that up in there real good, make sure it gets evenly distributed in the avocado mixture. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out all the juice into the bowl. (Watch out for the seeds!) Sprinkle in some onion powder ( to taste, I never measure it!). Do the same with the salt & pepper. (You can experiment and see how much you like in it, better to use a little and then go back and add more, if needed). Mix everything up and you are done! The lemon juice will keep the guacamole from turning brown. 

If you want to make the Soft Rolled Tacos, put a small amount of cooking oil in a pan and heat it up. When it is hot, place one corn tortilla into the oil. Leave it in there for about one minute, just enough for it to get real soft. Remove from the oil with a spatula, allowing the excess oil to drip back into the pan. Place the tortilla on a plate and place 2-3 tablespoons of guacamole on it. Roll up the tortilla and enjoy! 

What's your favorite avocado dish? Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear all about it! Be sure to check out the other fantastic recipes posted below. Feliz Navidad! 

 

**Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Latina Blogger Connect & I Love Avocados. All opinions are my own.**

Healthy Relationships, Are They Possible? {Mary Mary}

Maintaining healthy relationships can be very difficult, to say the least. Family relationships are no different. I think they might even be harder to maintain than others. Take a work relationship, for example. If you are not getting along with someone at work, it can make for very long, miserable days. But you know at the end of the day, you get to leave your job and that person behind, and head home. Once you clock out, it's all good! 

You can't "clock out" of a family. You are with your them on a daily basis. You interact with them nonstop. Whether it's your immediate family or your extended family; you are stuck with them for life! Why not make the most of it? Always treat others the way you would like to be treated. Respect each and every family member, no matter what their age. Don't talk trash about your family – no matter what! Every family has disagreements, that's just life. Don't let those disagreements get the best of you. Sit down with your family and talk things out, then get back to the business of being family.

Speaking of business, think twice before mixing business and family. That combination has proved lethal to many healthy relationships. If you do decide to risk it all and go into business with a family member, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Family members usually aren't very good about paying back borrowed money. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about! Anytime I lend a family member money, I do so knowing I may never see those funds again. It's just easier that way, for all involved. If I get it back, then I'm very happy…but if I don't, I try not to lose any sleep over it. (Notice I said "try!"). Family is worth more to me than any amount of money I might loan out. Without family, you have nothing. 

Two women that know a lot about mixing business and family are sisters, Erica & Tina Campbell, better known as Mary Mary. It's situations like these that the three-time Grammy® award-winning gospel duo Erica and Tina Campbell face in Season 2 of WE tv’s hit series Mary Mary as they balance being recording artists, mothers, and wives. MARY MARY premieres Thursday, December 6 at 10|9c and moves to its regular timeslot on Thursdays at 9|8c, beginning December 13. Watch a sneak peek here!

Does Your life resemble a reality TV show?! In what way? Tell me all about it! 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of WE tv. The opinions and text are all mine.

Dragons Riders of Berk {Fun!}

Did your family enjoy the Academy Award nominated, DreamWorks movie, How To Train Your Dragon? We loved it! I think I might have liked it more than the little ones, shhh, don't laugh! I can't help it, DreamWorks has been cranking out hits for years now, and I'm a huge fan! The epic story of Hiccup, Toothless, and his fearless friends continues with 4 explosive episodes filled with all-new adventures and exciting, never-before-seen dragons. Buckle up for more high-flying action and fire-breathing fun with this thrilling debut of the animated TV series based on the movie. Dragons Riders of Berk is available now, so check it out!  Here's a cute app for you to enjoy:

Dragons Riders of Berk can also be seen on the Cartoon Network! Yay! 


***Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated for this post, I just love How To Train Your Dragon, and wanted to share with y'all. All opinions are my own. ***

Win a NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband Hotspot! ($300 value)

I don't know about you, but we are a tech-loving family. Whether it's the kids on the PC, little man on my iPad, or hubby on his iPhone; seems we are always hooked up to something! The kids love to play games (educational ones, of course!) on the iPad & it makes the time go by faster if we're in the car, stuck in traffic. They usually have to resort to their hand-held gaming devices, since we don't always have a wifi connection when we're out & about. At least not until I got my hands on the NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband Hotspot! You see this little guy?

There's magic inside that little black box! All I have to do is push a button and I am connected to lightning fast 4G…no matter where I'm at! I had some writing to do the other day and wasn't really sure how I was going to squeeze it into my already tight schedule. I had errands to run, cookies to bake, dental appointments for the kids, and shopping to do! Then I remembered… I have my NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband Hotspot… I can write while I'm waiting for the kids at the dentist's office! Woo-Hoo! I made sure to bring my laptop and NetZero Hotspot with me. (They were the first things I loaded up in my van! heehee!) 

It felt so good to be doing something productive at the dental office, instead of just sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for my kids to come out. That was one less thing I had to worry about when I got home. Writing assignment- done! I can totally see myself going to a little cafe, whipping out my hotspot and iPad and getting down and dirty with some writing! (Yes, I'm geeky like that!) Soccer practice?! I'm all over it! I'm going to be surfing the web and attending twitter parties from the comfort of my lawn chair. My NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband Hotspot is my new best friend, I take it everywhere with me. To be perfectly honest with you, it's even faster than the internet we have at home. Just last night, I was trying to check a blog post and the internet was really slow. Hubby suggested I use the hotspot instead (Why didn't I think of that?!) and sure enough, within seconds I was able to get to the blog. Not only that, but hubby had his iPhone connected to it, and little man had the iPad connected to it… and it was STILL faster than our home internet! (You can actually hook up to 8 devices to this hotspot! EIGHT!). I am really impressed with this technology and cannot stress to you enough how awesome it is! I love it! 

NetZero 4G does not require any contracts, no commitments. They have plans starting at just $9.95 per month (FREE for 200mb or less!). You get fast, secure internet anywhere you go! I really could have used this over the summer when we went on vacation… I hate having to pay for an internet connection in my hotel room. Those fees really add up quick! 

  

How would YOU like to win your very own NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband Hotspot?! Enter below to win a mobile hotspot of your own and 4G connection for three months (a $300 value!). You know you want it! Just visit the NetZero website and tell me one thing you learned there. Follow @NetZero_4G on Twitter and FB. Open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen Dec. 18, 2012. Winner will have 24 hours to claim prize or new winner will be picked. This would make an awesome gift for someone, or keep it for yourself! Good Luck! 

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Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network. Mom It Forward and NetZero partnered in support of this campaign. NetZero compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Cold Season is Upon Us, Pass the Kleenex, Please! {Giveaway}

It's that time of the year again…cold & flu season. Yeah, I know, it sucks. I hope we won't be one of the 62 million folks that come down with a cold this year, but the odds are pretty much against us. Did you know that every year, more than 200,00 people are sent to the hospital with flu-related complications? That's a lot of people! 

I remember when I was little, I was always getting sick…at least until I had my tonsils removed, but that's another story! My mom would take good care of me. I'd stay home from school (Yay!), and hang out on the sofa all day. She'd give me plenty of orange juice and 7-Up to drink. I can still hear her saying, "You need to drink lots of liquids". As a matter of fact, the only time I ever drank 7-Up, was when I was ill. I'd have a box of Kleenex on the sofa next to me, and I'd spend most of the day blowing my nose! I'd eat soup and crackers, and jello (either red or orange), that mom made especially for me. Oh, I can't forget about the banana, she'd always force me to eat a banana whenever I was sick… I couldn't stand bananas back then…but I love them now.

At night, before she tucked me into bed; I'd have to endure the Vick's ritual. (Many Hispanic mothers believe Vicks can heal anything, mine was no different!) She'd slather Vicks on my chest, and the bottoms of my feet. Then she'd put my socks back on. I did not like how my socks would stick to my feet afterwards… all squishy… ewww!  And my nightgown would cling to my chest for the rest of the night, good times! haha! 

Today, I'm the one one taking care of sick children. Now that I'm a Mom, I can appreciate all that my own mother did for me. I know how important it is to little ones to have their mommy taking care of them when they're ill. Sometimes, you just need your mom to tell you everything's gonna be all right. Like my mom, I make sure my family drinks lots of liquids when they're sick. I stock up on juice and water. Soup is definitely on the menu, usually chicken noodle… usually home-made, but not always. And, yes, Kleenex is what we use for all the snotty noses! I have tried other tissues (like when they are on sale at the store & I have a $1 off coupon!), but I have always returned to Kleenex. Nothing else is as soft on my nose, and my little one's noses. Let's face it, when you're sick, you don't want a tissue that feels like sand paper on your nose! That's what other brands feel like to me. 

Kleenex has never let me down. I keep at least 2 boxes in the house at all times, you never know when a cold is going to strike. Another thing I like to use are cold packs, like the Spiderman one pictured below.

I keep several of these in the freezer. They are great for boo-boos and to cool down little foreheads that are burning up with fever. I like to give my little ones individual Kleenex packs that they can carry with them in their backpacks or jacket pockets. Kleenex Share Packs are just the right size to toss into a backpack. 

 You can even send a Kleenex Care pack to someone you love! Care Packs are brand new & include The Kleenex® Brand Care Pack includes: lip balm, 1 oz. hand sanitizer, coupon booklet, Kleenex® Brand Share Pack, Kleenex® Brand Slim Pack, and card redeemable to download four songs from up and coming Universal Music Artists. I can think of several college students that would love to receive one of these! Check it out below!

 Nice, huh?!  I want one!! I grew up on Kleenex, as I'm sure many of you did as well. They are the brand I turn to time and time again. I trust them, I know what I'm getting and I believe they are the best tissues out there. Period! To read more about Kleenex Share packs & Care Packs, visit their website. For my Spanish-speaking readers, click here for Kleenex Espanol.

GIVEAWAY:

I hope you and your family stay healthy this cold & flu season, but just in case you don't, I am giving away a Kleenex Share Pack for one lucky reader! (Great to keep in your purse!). Open to US residents only. To be entered, just leave me a msg telling me how you take care of your family when someone gets sick. That's it! be sure to leave your email address, so I can contact you if you win-thanks! I will pick a winner, using a random number generator on Dec.17th, at 11:59PM. The prize will be shipped to you from Kleenex, not me. Good Luck! 

 

This post is compensated and in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Kleenex.

Reading Horizons-Discover Intensive Phonics Review & Giveaway! {Finally!}

   This review has been a long time coming. I am so glad to finally be posting it! A couple of month's ago, I was contacted by Josh, at Reading Horizons. He asked if I would be interested in reviewing the Reading Horizons – Discover Intensive Phonics Program. I immediately thought back to when our oldest was learning how to read, and the trouble he had (due to his ADHD). We finally ended up hiring a tutor, and she worked miracles with him (Thanks, Miss Anne!). I do not want to have to go through that again, so I will do whatever it takes to give our little one a head start in reading. I told Josh I was definitely interested in reviewing the program!

When my box arrived from Reading Horizons, I was very excited to see what it contained. I must say, I was very impressed with the contents inside. Here's a look at what I received:

  • Volumes I and II of Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself  Teacher’s Manual 
  • Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself Sound Essentials
  • Little Red Book: Stories 1-9
  • Little Blue Book: Stories 10-17
  • Little Green Book:Stories 18-27
  • Little Orange Book:  Stories 28-32
  • Reverse Listening Cards
  • 14 Posters

All of this was inside a black Reading Horizons tote bag, which I thought was very clever. Makes it real easy to take it to Grandpa's house when we visit him! 

 

The program I received is for 4-9 year olds. There are also programs for ages 10-adult. Before I go any further, I need to tell you how important literacy is to me. I was blessed to be a great reader from an early age, I never struggled with reading. That isn't the case for many of our children. Reading is vital for day to day life. Children need to be good readers, it gives them the confidence they need to excel in other school subjects. It gives them self confidence in every aspect of their lives. 

The Discover Intensive Phonics Program uses a research based methodology called The Orton-Gillingham Method. It has been proven to reach multiple types of learners, especially struggling students.  It teaches students the phonetic skills that are needed for effective reading, spelling and comprehension.  In order to accomplish this, the focus is on the 42 sounds of the alphabet and five phonetic skills Children will also learn their two-step decoding system, for those more challenging words.  Using multi-sensory direct instruction, the program cater's to each student’s unique learning style, whether it's auditory, visual, tactile, or kinesthetic. While using this program, parents are seeing an average of 2-5 grade level gains in 40-60 hours of instruction! This program is great for homeschooling beginning readers, struggling readers, and children with dyslexia. (Did I mention there is a 60-day money back guarantee?!)

This program uses phonetics to teach kids how to read… that's how I was taught. Many schools have strayed away from the phonetics approach of teaching, and many schools that no longer teach phonetics have gone back to it. Why? Because it works! Kids learn how sound and letter relationships create words, and they learn fast! This program has been used in schools and in homes for over 30 years. 

I used this program with my little one, and he loved it! We used it for 30mins -1hour each day, Monday-Friday. The materials are easy to understand and teach. My little one is on his way to being a great little reader and I am so very pleased with the program. We are still using it and will continue to… my little one still has a lot to learn, but he is comprehending how letters and sounds work together to form words. He is trying to sound out every word he sees. He is constantly spelling words out loud-eager to learn. 

One of the things I like about Reading Horizons is the FREE webinars  that they offer monthly. The company is very willing to help parents and children and they really care about literacy. They get it, they understand how important it is to be able to read fluently. 

If you have a family member that is struggling with learning to read, or a beginning reader, this is an excellent program for them. I wish I would have had it when our oldest was struggling to learn to read. 

Reading Horizons has been kind enough to let me do a Giveaway! I am super excited to be offering this & I know someone is going to be blessed to receive it! Open to residents of the US only. You will receive the same Discover Intensive Phonics Program that I got to review! Good Luck!

{Disclaimer: I rec'd the Discover Intensive Phonics Program in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are mine and I believe in this product whole-heartedly!}

 

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Just Dance 4! {Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day!}

Do you like to dance?! I Love to dance! I will be the first to admit- the moves ain't what they used to be… I guess that comes with age…and having kids! lol! I used to be able to tear it up on the dance floor (or at least in my own mind I was tearing it up!) Now, I mostly just dance around the house with my little one…though there was that Blogalicious conference a couple months back, we danced the night away with Doug E. Fresh…but I digress!

These days, you can find me on the living room floor, cuttin' a rug with my favorite little guy! Or on the tile floor, having Moon Walk competitions with the family. (I've even been known to practice a few dance moves in front of the mirror in the bathroom, SHHH… don't tell anyone!) As a child, I took tap and ballet lessons, I excelled in both. I've always loved music and dancing.

I can remember in my younger days, going dancing with my friends, we'd dance until we were too tired to dance any more. Those were great times! And dancing is a great workout. You burn lots of calories, get your body moving and the blood flowing and it doesn't even feel like exercise! That's the best part about it for me. I am trying to work-out more and dancing is something I enjoy doing anyways, so why not combine the two?!

When I first saw the commercials for Just Dance 4, I got really excited. It looks like so much fun! My little one immediately told me he wanted to buy Just Dance 4, he loves to dance just as much as me. Actually, he might like dancing a little more than me! He is always dancing. Always trying out new moves and asking me to record him. Here's one of his latest videos:

He's usually down on the floor, breakdancing, but his older brother was distracting him; so this is just a small taste of what he usually does. Trust me, he really gets into it, spinning on his head, doing handstands, tumbling… it is hilarious to watch! I can't wait to get Just Dance 4, I know he will have a blast with it and probably pick up some new moves. I'm looking forward to using it to work out and get in shape. Here's a product description for you: 

"The world's #1 dance game brand is back with Just Dance 4! The latest edition of the record-breaking franchise takes the party to a whole new level of fun, with over 40 all-new chart-topping hits, the coolest dances and unique features for every platform.

Just Dance 4 is your ticket to the best new music with over 40 tracks from a variety of top artists, popular genres and hot billboard songs like "Good Feeling" by Flo Rida, and "Moves like Jagger" by Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera. The tracklist also features legendary artists such as Barry White and The B-52's to get the whole family up and moving. 

Just Dance 4 is the perfect catalyst for the best parties, no matter what the occasion, thanks to innovative new modes like the all-new Battle mode, an upgraded Just Sweat mode, and even more fun, exclusive modes for each platform. Everything you know and love about Just Dance gets even better with Just Dance 4-hot new tracks, fun irreverent dances, and more.

With Just Dance 4, the party never ends! Have a blast dancing, laughing, and breaking a sweat with friends and family all night long."

You can pick up your copy of Just Dance 4 on Amazon, it's the Gold Box Deal of the Day (today, Dec. 4, 2012) on sale for just $22.99! Great stocking stufferClever Girls are also giving away 5 copies of Just Dance 4 on December 4th via Twitter to folks who RT the following: Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day: Just Dance 4! To buy: http://clvr.li/SzFT7r — RT to enter to win a copy! #JD4Gold . 

Tweet for your chance to win! Do you have a dancer in your family? I'd love to hear who it is! 

World Aids Day- Dec 1, 2012 #WAD2012

Today, and every day, 900 children are infected with HIV. That’s 900 too many. Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation knows the number of new infections can be reduced to zero and they’ve joined the global health community in setting a goal to do so by 2015. Every mother has an obligation and a right to protect her child. But 900 times each day, mothers transfer HIV to their newborn babies because they lack knowledge or access to medicine. Every one of these cases is completely preventable.

Donate now to reduce this number.

  • $30 to protect 1 mother
  • $90 to protect 3 mothers
  • $150 to protect 5 mothers
  • $360 to protect 12 mothers

Please donate, if you can. 

AIDS isn’t just a disease “gay” people get, everyone is at risk. I remember back when AIDS first made national headlines, no one really paid much attention to it, unless they were gay males. Attention should have been paid to it, it should have mattered that it was killing gay men… Should have. The face of AIDS has changed. Young & old, black & white, rich & poor… AIDS does not discriminate. AIDS has everyone’s attention now…


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