Global Kid Gift Guide - Christmas 2014

December 18, 2014


If you're looking for some gift ideas this Christmas, I thought I'd share a few of our multicultural favorites. We try to be pretty intentional about the types of books and toys our kids engage, and I know many of you do, too. I hope these ideas are useful to you. And please add more in the comments. I'm always looking for new suggestions!

#1 - Soccer jerseys


Soccer is truly a global sport, and we've tried to keep our kids outfitted in team jerseys. This can be a great gift for multicultural kids. Here's links to a few popular teams: Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, United States, Colombia, Costa RicaGermany, Netherlands.

#2 - Princess Sofia


In general, we actively resist "princess culture" in our house. However, I do have one exception. Princess Sofia has been touted as Disney's first Latina princess. There's some controversy and back peddling around that claim. Still, there's been several articles stating that Sofia's father is from a make believe country based on Scandinavia and her mother's fictitious heritage is based on Spain. So when Gabriella begged for Sofia light up shoes, I said okay.

#3 - Books, books, and more books


Of course we love bilingual books. Here are a few of our favorite Spanish selections:

Board books: Global Babies and Buenas Noches a Todos

Story books: Queen Esther (and Jonah and Daniel) and Guatemala ABCs (they offer other countries, too!)

Bibles: The Jesus Storybook Bible (bilingual)

#4 - Doc McStuffins


We try to include a variety of multicultural characters in our toy box. This Doc McStuffins doctor kit is a favorite in our house. She was also Gabriella's choice for her beach towel.

#5 - Baby dolls


We have a couple dolls around our home, and we've been intentional to include varying skin tones. I don't know exactly which ones we have, but here's one option.

#6 - Flags


I bought our Guatemalan and U.S. flags for some family photos. Of course, the kids had a great time swinging them around and sword fighting. But they can be a fun addition to a multicultural household.

Not pictured:

#7 - Maracas


These maracas have been enjoyed by both of my kiddos. They play music, count, and teach colors in Spanish and English.

#8 - Music


Bilingual CDs are another groovy way to keep two languages in the air. Here's one of our favorite Spanish kids worship CDs.

#9 - Movies


We like VeggieTales in Spanish, and have enjoyed this one and this one.

#10 - Spanglish T-shirts


We don't actually own any of these, but I found them online and wanted to share. So clever and cute!

What would you add to this list of gifts for global kids?

The Birth {Advent}

December 16, 2014

Image credit: Waiting for the Word

They say that a baby being born is a beautiful thing. I guess that's true. The baby at least. The being born part was different than I expected.

When Mary went into labor, we were still sleeping in Bethlehem, sleeping in a stable. My aunts gave me the job of taking care of Mary. They were looking after the baby, even though he hadn't arrived yet.

I'm just glad to be old enough to help. I dip a cloth in cool water and wipe Mary's face. Her eyes are closed and she is exhaling deeply. I'm not even sure she knows I'm there. But then she opens her eyes and smiles at me real quick.

She asks for water to drink, and I hurry off to get some. Everyone has had different opinions about this baby. But now that he's coming, opinions are just words. My mother rubs Mary's back while another aunt prepares cloth to wrap the baby when he arrives.

It will be soon. We wait all nervously.

Joseph is outside with the other men. Even though he says it's not his baby, he is anxious. He checks on Mary every once in a while, and he looks at her only with love.

Birth is no simple thing. So much can go wrong, and we've all heard the stories. Mothers lost. Babies who didn't make it. No one speaks it, but we are all focused.

With every groan and every pain, the tension in the stable ebbs and flows. We are accustomed by now to the low moaning of suffering. Mary is not dramatic, but we are all aware of the pain around us.

Finally, it is time to push. My aunts hold Mary's hands. I move out of the way. Everyone is breathing with Mary, ready and waiting. Another aunt guides the baby out into the world.

He cries and we all exhale at once. Peace and joy collide as he cries! The pain is not immediately forgotten, but it has been redeemed in this moment. The crying baby has brought relief to us. And he has unleashed an avalanche of delight.

I wipe Mary's forehead again as she relaxes and lets out a tired laugh. My mother cares for her while the aunts pass around the new baby. Jesus, they call him. They count his fingers and toes and rub his soft head. Everyone is laughing and hollering.

Joseph comes in and sits next to Mary. He pushes her hair out of her face and squeezes her hand. Eventually they will get a turn to hold Jesus, but good luck wrestling him from the aunts! Soon they do hand the baby back to his mother, and tears spill from Mary's eyes. She cuddles him close.

We celebrate healthy birth and a strong mother. It is truly a moment of peace and jubilation in our camp. Welcome to the world, little one!

All posts in this year's Advent series:
1. The Journey
2. The Stable
3. The Birth

7 Bilingual Kid Movies on Netflix [Holiday Edition]

December 15, 2014


As the temperatures dip, kids are out of school, and colds rear their sniffling heads, your TV may be on a little bit more. At least in our house it is!

One way I rationalize extra screen time is finding ways to make it educational. We're big fans of PBS shows that promote literacy, science, and social skills. And since bilingualism is a really important part of our family, I am also always keeping an eye out for ways to incorporate more Spanish. TV can be a perfect way to boost my kids' exposure to their second language.

We utilize Netflix a great deal, and they do offer bilingual shows. Sadly, I have not found a simple way to search for Spanish cartoons on Netflix. Even when I changed my daughter's profile to Spanish, this only affected the menus, not viewing suggestions. Therefore, I have done a little research and compiled my own list to share.

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