Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas in Spain {and Polvorones Recipe}

Christmas time in the US is a well known holiday everywhere as the traditions are often shown in movies and TV shows. That's why we wanted to tell you how the holidays are celebrated in Spain.

Christmas in Spain is heavily influenced by catholicism. Even if you are not a religious person, as in my case, most of the Spanish traditions and decorations have their roots in Jesus' birth. And even though many Spaniards define themselves as non-practicing or agnostic, we still follow these traditions just because it takes us back to our childhood, to our abuela's kitchen and sleepovers with our cousins.     

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Not-so-terrible Twos

Last week the eldest Little Monkey turned two. Two-year-olds can be a very challenging as I'm sure you know. They are extremely cute, but have big emotions that often cannot be managed very well. They want to be independent, but they still need us so much... For these and many other reasons, this age is often called the 'terrible twos'.

However, for parents raising bilingual kids, two is a sweet age. Language development really takes off and we start seeing results of our hard work around the little one's second birthday. As we once described it to our blog friend Crecer en Inglés, the first two years of raising a bilingual kids feel like painting in the dark, you cannot really know how it is turning out. But around age two, my friends, you start seeing the light, and it feels incredible!

Also, if it is your first kid, after two years you have gotten used to the 'rules' you have decided to follow in the bilingual adventure. In our case, we are now more consistent and have the rules much more defined than when we started the blog.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Monkeys on Spanish TV

As we announced a few weeks ago, we hosted a TV show from Madrid, Spain. 'Madrileños por el Mundo' is a really fun travel program that visits a different place every week to show how people from Madrid live abroad. 

Even though we don't like showing our faces on the blog, especially the little Monkeys', we are making an exception because it is a stellar show and we truly like how it turned out. Also, we love Oregon and we wanted to share it with all of you.

The overall experience was new and alot of fun. However, it was a little stressing, even more so with two little kids. To the point that we forgot to mention the blog when we were asked about what we do. Yeah! I know!!! You will understand why when you see the video. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween and Día de Todos los Santos

We love Halloween! It's a very fun celebration, don't you think? Even if you aren't the biggest fan of horror (Mama Monkey, isn't!), you can always go for the spooky cute theme, at least while you have toddlers and babies, I guess... Also, considering our toddler's love for pumpkins, every day has been a party over at the Monkeys' lately. After two visits to the pumpkin patch and several to the supermarket we've gathered up 16 pumpkins! If you want proof of his pumpkin-obsession check out the video below.

As we announced on some social media accounts, 'Madrileños por el Mundo', a travel TV show from Madrid came to Portland a few weeks ago and our family was one of the hosts. This is only a sneak peek they have posted on Facebook, and yes, it is our toddler and one of his many, many pumpkins! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Spanglish Recipes {and Super Easy Halloween Cookies}

Have you ever tried to cook something from another country with a recipe in a foreign language? Have you ever lived abroad and tried to cook something from your country? Then, you will understand this post. It is never easy, is it?

We love cooking. We cook dishes from all over the world, but of course, many times we like cooking American or Spanish foods. Mama Monkey especially enjoys baking, and here comes the problem: in American recipes solid amounts come in volumes (cups, tablespoons, teaspoons...) and Spanish recipes come, generally, in weight. Measuring weight is much more precise, but, volume is so much faster and cleaner...

When we were living in Spain, we used to bake American recipes all the time. Until we bought American measuring cups and spoons in one of our trips to Oregon, we would convert from American measurements to milliliters and measure with whatever we had. Believe me, that wasn't easy or clean. Not at all! Now, living in the States, we miss Spanish seasonal sweets. Remember, recipes in grams, and we didn't have a scale till recently! Let me tell you, it has been ridiculous. We went crazy trying to estimate amounts, looking online... And we have had quite a few EPIC FAILS! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Our Favorite Fall Songs

If we haven't made it clear lately, we LOVE fall! And we are trying to enjoy this season as much as we can: going to the pumpkin patch, playing with the leaves in the park, cooking and baking using seasonal products, reading books about autumn... Besides all of that, having a 22 month old, we keep looking for ways to keep him entertained that, at the same time, are educational. We have been making crafts, using coloring pages, and, as usual, dancing and singing a lot.

Today we wanted to share these songs and rhymes, English and Spanish, that we have been singing and reciting lately to celebrate this gorgeous season. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

ABC Flashcards {Free Printable}

Ever since we started buying ABC's cookies (a type of cookies very popular in the USA), the toddler showed interest in learning the letters. We would give him a couple of cookies and tell him: 'Look Monkey, this is a B for boat and a C for car'. And even though he is not even two right now, he happens to recognize quite a few letters. It's clearly too early to go any further, but he loves learning things and showing off in front of friends and family. He is such a character!

It also helped to have a little toy laptop and a toy tablet that Situ (Arabic for grandma) gave him, which teaches the letters, and one of his favorite books: Portland ABC's by John Skewes (a book from the 'Larry gets lost' series).

The problem came when he actually started relating the letter to the word that we told him. Ok, he first learned the letter M (obviously) for monkey/mono and it worked. But, in general, the Spanish and the English words don't start with the same letter. So, if Mama Monkey said: 'Esta es la P, de plátano'. He, afterwards, with his mouth stuffed with cookies, would grab a P and shout: 'Banana!' 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Welcome Otoño!

Our second Fall in the US is starting, and it is awesome! Mama Monkey has always loved it, although she didn't know how much until we moved to Oregon. The reason? You might ask. Madrid does not have a real Otoño. Yes, leaves change their color and eventually they fall, and it is beautiful. But, for some reason, it feels way shorter than here. That being said, Madrileños love fall and like going for walks in 'El Retiro' or one of the other nice parks during this time of year. Weather wise, the most common thing is to go from the mid 90s to the mid 50s in one week. Abuelita likes saying: "We go from wearing a bikini to wearing a coat" and locals say -we write it in Spanish, so you note the rhythm-: "En Madrid hay nueve meses de invierno y tres de infierno" (in Madrid there are nine months of winter and three of hell).

Here in Oregon, fall is an actual season. Leaves start turning yellow, orange and even bright, bright red around mid September and it goes on until way passed Thanksgiving. The temperatures slowly cool down. And it rains. Oh boy, does it rain! This is the not-so-awesome part of this season. But when you are a Portlander you -kind of have to- love and embrace the rain. Mama Monkey is still working on that...

Monday, September 12, 2016

40 Dishes From Around The World That You Should Try (if you haven't yet)

We, the Monkeys, are foodies. We love eating out, but also cooking all kind of dishes. We, obviously, eat many dishes from the Pacific Northwest, from Spain and from the Middle East, but we also eat dishes from many other cuisines on a regular basis.

We have tried many of these dishes while visiting the country or region they come from. What an excellent way of getting to know a culture, Food! From creating the list, we realized:
  • African food is still in our bucket list
  • We really like raw fish
  • We really like sandwiches
  • A list of 40 dishes is not enough!