A Few of My Favorite Things {October 2015}

October is a divine month in Atlanta. So I decided to set aside the impending doom of winter and embrace fall this month. See, here are my kiddos next to pumpkins. We're totally fall.

So here's the skinny on October. 

Favorite Awkward Experience

The month kicked off with me and the hubs at a stand-up comedy show. Now, this is not our regular type of gig. Nothing makes me sweat more than sitting in the audience while someone holding a microphone tries to be funny.

I have always had a very strong empathetic heart, and stand-up comedy just crushes it. I want you to be funny. Maybe more than you want to be funny. Not so I can laugh, but so you don't embarrass yourself. It's very stressful for me to watch stand-up.

But one of Billy's friends was performing. (Oh my word. Someone we know? I'm never going to make it through this.) Then, to really top off the situation, I saw this:

Oh no. I don't think so, buddy.

But I must say, we had so much fun. People were actually funny. (And a few just rambled, but I made it.) And the environment just created laughter. Even if a joke was meh, how can you not laugh when someone's mom is cracking up hysterically in the audience? And only once did a guy ask, "Do we have any interracial couples in the audience tonight?" and we did not raise our hands. No, we did not.

If you want a little Netflix comedy, Anjelah Johnson has a third show out called "Not Fancy." I enjoy her in general, but I thought this show was one of her stronger ones. Happy chuckling!

Favorite Facebook Convo

Over on my Facebook page this month, we had a couple of fun conversations. My favorite discussion was this one where we shared expressions that don't really translate well into English.

One of my favorites added was "fregando la pita," which means "goofing off." Literal translation? Messing the string. If you want to like my page, click here. And I'd love for you to add your examples of expressions that just don't translate.

Favorite Instagram

We took our kids on their first camping trip this month. Well, we went "glamping" (glamour + camping). I gotta tell you... I'm never going back. We slept in a yurt, which is like a canvas cabin, that had bunk beds, a heater, and a back porch overlooking the lake. The kids had an absolute blast, and Ella was thrilled to sleep in her very own sleeping bag.

I'm including a second one because it's a tie this month. Our neighborhood got a brand, spankin' new library, and I fell in love.

Favorite App

I've used the YouVersion Bible App to, you know, read the Bible. But I recently discovered their Plans menu. They have topical devotional series, as well as Bible reading plans. Every day, it gives you some devotional content to read and accompanying Scriptures.

I thought I'd share because I've been using this app for so long without realizing that these plans existed. Even when I clicked over, I saw just a few featured and thought that was it. But there's a whole library of options. I'm currently reading through "STAY FIT: Strengthening Your Connection To Jesus," and it's had some terrific content.

Favorite Photo Shoot

October is Picture Day at my kids' preschool. Last year, I accidentally sent Isaac in his pajamas.

I feel like it's worth noting that this is the only day the boy has ever gone to school in his pajamas. And it happened to be Picture Day. Ah, well. It's one of my favorites!

But this year, I decided to go the more traditional route, and actually dress Isaac up for his photo. I gotta say, little boys wearing little man clothes are so adorable!

All the Links

Here's a few favorite links I shared this month:
(For all the links all the month, I'm on Twitter or Facebook.)

15 Hilarious Parenting Comics That Are Almost Too Real - If you're a parent, you'll relate to this funny comics. You'll laugh, and then you may cry just a little bit.

My Life in Japan: A Very Awkward Fireworks Festival - This hilarious story of intercultural dating and cross-cultural life was one of my favorites this month!

Gilmore Girls Limited-Series Revival Set at Netflix - This Is Not A Drill - Basically the best news I heard all month.

[VIDEO] Things Bilingual People Do - It's basically my life dream to be able to eavesdrop on people. **Must buy Rosetta Stone.**

Costume Ideas for the Church Halloween Festival - This one took me back to the days of balling up aluminum foil and paper clipping it to my ears. Queen Esther in the house, y'all!

How To Make Your Last Name Plural This Christmas Season - To apostrophe? Or not to aprostrophesize?

And here are some posts on A Life with Subtitles that readers enjoyed:

What NOT To Do: 3 Cautions for Monolingual Parents In Bilingual Families - I find hassling people is not as effective as I'd hoped!

Who Am I? The Ultimate White Girl Question - Language can be tricky, but I find there is value in both the individualization of identity and collective identity.

When Naming Your Child Is Your First Mistake - I was excited to write this guest post for Coffee + Crumbs about walking with our daughter as she develops her bicultural identity.

Shout out to Leigh Kramer for her hosting this link-up monthly. What did you love in October?

3 Spanish Worship Leaders To Check Out

Spanish worship leaders you gotta hear!

Whether you're looking for ways to include more Spanish in your life or you want to praise God en español, worship music is a great resource. Here's 3 Spanish worship leaders you may enjoy. Please include your favorites in the comments, too!

[If you're reading this via email or RSS, you may need to click here to see the videos.]

Julio Melgar

Julio is one of my personal favorites. He recently released a new CD that I haven't heard yet, but here's one from his album Vuelve.

Hillsong United en Español

If you listen to Hillsong in English, you'll recognize many of these tunes. I love the song Oceans, and it's beautiful in Spanish.

Marco Barrientos

This recommendation is from Billy. (I promise it's not a hardcore worship band - is that a thing?) I also really enjoyed Marcela Gandara featured on this track.

I'm always looking for great suggestions, so I'd love for you to share your favorites in the comments!

When Naming Your Child Is Your First Mistake

The challenge and gift of naming bicultural and multicultural kids

If you're a mom and you haven't visited the Coffee + Crumbs blog, you must check it out. The site is wonderfully beautiful, and the heartfelt essays on motherhood, pregnancy, work, and more will touch your heart. Here's one of my favorites: Imposter Mom.

I'm so tickled to be writing for them today about the trickiness of naming our bicultural babies. You might say it hasn't turned out exactly how we planned. Here's a sneak peek:

"What's your name?" the little boy asked, poised at the bottom of the slide. 

My daughter, halfway up the rope ladder, turned to her new playground BFF and responded, "My name is Gabriella, but you can call me Gabby." 

I nearly fainted. 

Like all parents, my husband and I had agonized over the naming of our first-born. Well, I had agonized while he casually dismissed all of my ideas. When I asked for suggestions instead of only negative feedback, he handed me a piece of paper with five names and way too many z's and x's. I refused to name my daughter Xena. 

One challenge we faced was our desire for a multicultural name. My husband is Guatemalan and a primary Spanish speaker, whereas I was born and raised in the U.S.. We wanted a name for our little one that allowed fluidity between both birth cultures, a name that would help establish the bicultural, bridge-building identity we were praying for our baby. 

The name Gabriella had been a last minute surprise.

Shout Out To All The Super Cool Multicultural Marriages!

Hooray for Multicultural Marriages!

I was hunkered down in a coffee shop, working on an upcoming presentation on multicultural marriages. It can be a tricky topic to research as I haven't found a ton of really useful material over the years.

Then I googled "talking about money in cross-cultural marriage." Here is what I got:

Let's see what stands out, shall we?

        * sobering advice
        * external stressors are magnified
        * disappointments when cultural assumptions are unmet
        * 4 good reasons not to rush into it
        * unusually challenging

While I don't think anyone should rush into marriage (says the girl who was married eight months after meeting her husband - ha!) and I will admit intercultural relationships have unique challenges, none of these results feel helpful.

In fact, I read the first article. It was basically basically telling me to run in the other direction.... fast. I even found myself thinking, "OHMYWORD, would Billy have married me if we'd met in Guatemala instead of here when he was lonely????"

Please note: I wasn't searching "Should I marry across cultures?" I was looking for practical advice on how to talk about money, and all the top results are just shouting DON'T DO IT!

This is my second time presenting this multicultural marriage workshop, and both times I have often thought, "What am I doing? Who on earth am I to talk about marriage? I'm not a counselor or a therapist or a pastor. I'm just a married person. And I really haven't even been married that long."

But I keep doing it because blogging has introduced me to so many beautiful, multicultural couples who are talking, praying, and laughing. We are committed to our partners and to our marriages. And we want to support each other. And we need support.

I have received great encouragement and laughter from real-life couples, but there rarely seems to be many solid resources available. (If you have some ideas, please feel free to share!)

At the end of the day, whether some stranger on the internet thinks we should have gotten married matters not. We are married. And we love strong.

So I guess I will be that stranger on the internet shouting something else: We can do this! We are living out God's beauty and reconciliation! Our children are the future of the church and the spirited, creative, multilingual bridge-builders revealing God in brand new ways.

Yes, we have our challenges. But we can celebrate our differences and nurture what makes us strong! And we will do it with our head's thrown back in laughter because it's simply the most fun way to enjoy the ride.

So I say, "Hip Hip Hooray!" for all the intercultural/interracial/cross-cultural/mixed/multicultural marriages. If you were near me, I'd give you a big hug or a high-five! Or if I was feeling really crazy, I'd kiss ya!

And thank you for being a part of the multicultural marriage cheering squad. You have encouraged my heart many times over. So let's all kick up our heels and eat cake. You are my super cool party people! And now, all the super cool party people bid you super cool adieu!

P.S. If you're coming to this year's CCDA Conference in Memphis, let's connect! I'm teaming up with David Park and the one-and-only Billy Quezada to talk about marriage. We're discussing communication, parenting, in-laws, money, and more. Also planning some videos for those of you who can't make it! More on that coming soon.

Is Our Bicultural Parenting Lopsided?

We want to raise bicultural kids. But has our bicultural parenting gotten too lopsided?

In the 6th grade, our English class scribbled letters to celebrities. I chose Jody Adams. Because at 11 years old, there was no one more famous in my mind than the point guard of the University of Tennessee women's basketball team. (Richard Dean Anderson received Letter #2 ... because MacGyver.)

But echoing gyms, squeaking shoes, and chanting crowds have occupied delightful years of my life. Of course, less  A fact that delights me. So when I got an email announcing kids' leagues at our local YMCA, a surprise giddiness washed over me. I cannot wait to be a basketball mom.

I know... I need to hold it loosely. And I definitely don't want to live vicariously through my children. But still. I want wooden bleachers and sweaty french braids back in my winter routine again.

So I checked in with my kid. "Gabriella, would you want to play on a basketball team at the Y?"

"No. I don't really like kicking the ball that much."

I'm sorry. What? Do you not know what basketball IS?

"Honey, that's soccer. I'm talking about basketball, where you dribble and..."

"Oh, the one where you throw the ball?" she asked dismissively.

"Yes! Would you want to play on a basketball team?"

"No. I think people might throw the ball at me, and it will push me down."

This conversation hovered at the edge of my thoughts. It wasn't her sudden fear of physical contact. I didn't even feel sadness in her showing zero interest in something so important to me. It was this weird realization that she's had little to no exposure to such a big part of my life.

Do I focus too much on her Guatemalan-ness?

Since before she was born, I have been intentional about nurturing her Latina identity. We encourage bilingualism with Spanish songs and books and conversations. We dress her up. We celebrate Guatemalan holidays. We crush piñatas. We travel. We attend a Spanish church. And when it comes to sports, we watch, we talk about, and we cheer for our footballers. Soccer.

But have I neglected my own Southern culture, assuming she will just absorb it living in Atlanta? What about fall football (which, let's be honest, is really "marching band season" with the killer drumlines and arching plumes)? Does she know the taste of chili and cornbread like she knows frijoles? Has she really never captured a lightening bug and peeked at its glow between her fingers?

And is it possible I have never even taught my kids the lyrics to Rocky Top? Because you just can't shake poetic goodness like Once I met a girl on Rocky Top. Half bear, the other half cat. Wild as mink, sweet as soda pop. I still dream about that. Classic.

An ever-expanding bicultural identity

I said "I do" to multicultural marriage already carrying a love for culture and exploration. It's been easy to jump in and adopt my Guatemalan husband's traditions. I embrace Nochebuena with sparkly enthusiasm. I learn to cook ponche and serve it to our friends. And I get hyped about the World Cup because it's an easy way to love my husband and engage global cultures.

As these traditions become a part of my daughter's childhood experience, I am reminded that I also want her to feel connected to her mother's culture, to my Southern-ness. I want to nurture and expand her true bicultural, mashup identity.

So yes, my child, you will ride your very first roller coaster at Dollywood because there is no greater amusement park south of the Mason-Dixon line. And yes, after our "what-is-this-basketball-of-which-you-speak" conversation, I took her with me to my next women's game. And it did my heart good to see her run onto the court after the game to toss granny shots in the vicinity of the hoop.

Next up, I'll need to teach her this little ditty: Rocky Top you'll always be home sweet home to me. Good ol' Rocky Top. Rocky Top Tennessee. 

What are the nuggets from your childhood and culture that you want to share with your kids? 

How To Pick Up Strangers {The Friendship Project}

"Come here often?"

"How old is your kid?"

"Want to be my new best friend?"

How do we pick up strangers? Adult friendships can be a huge blessing, but sometimes they are tricky at the start. How do you meet new friends? How do you show interest? How do you "take this relationship to the next level"?

Billy, my Guatemalan husband, thinks I make these interactions unnecessarily awkward. (Let's be honest, that's kind of my MO.) But over time, we've also noticed some cultural differences about meeting strangers and making friends. 

I'm talking about our perspectives, our awkwardness, and how I'm growing over at Osheta Moore's blog today. If you've never visited Shalom in the City, I encourage you to read and get to know her amazing self! Her current series is entitled "The Friendship Project," and it's part of the #31days blogging challenge. I'm excited to write with her. Here's a sneak peek:

My daughter zipped down the slides and dug in the mulch. I sat on the park bench, enjoying the sunny weather and the short reprieve from addressing the frenzied demands of a toddler. Another woman sat next to me, her stroller occupied by a sleeping infant.

We began chatting, and I quickly learned she was kind, interesting, and smart. I also discovered this snoring baby was her only child. Her presence at the park and her words told me how lonely she was as a new mother. Her isolation was compounded by the fact that she was a newcomer to the United States.

My heart went out to her. My husband Billy immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala in his late 20's. He has often recounted to me those early, achingly lonely days. His Central American sensibilities were completely thrown off as his experiences with Americans felt cold and unwelcoming.

When I told Billy about the woman at the park, his first question was, "Did you get her phone number?" 

Why You Need Jane the Virgin In Your Life

I was pretty stoked about the return of Jane the Virgin to the CW last night. I mean, I even figured out how to turn my TV to watch something in real time! But can you blame me? We ended Season 1 with Jane's baby BEING KIDNAPPED from the hospital! Also, her son is named Mateo (swoon) and just the cutest baby you ever did see.

The first episode of Season 2 delivered in a way I didn't expect. For an outrageous show with villainous stepmothers (I'm looking at you, Rose!), accidental (and now not-so-accidental) artificial inseminations, and of course, chanting monks in the lawn (why not?), Jane the Virgin balances all the ridiculous with a down-to-earth, modern family.

In this episode, we watch as Jane discovers early motherhood: the constant crying, the real challenge that breast feeding can be, the worries of infant weight loss and kidnapping. (It's a balance, I'm telling you.) We see this intergenerational family of women come together to raise this new baby, each worrying about the other and supporting each other 100%.

I have always appreciated how Jane the Virgin depicts a modern, Latino family in the U.S. Their Spanglish household is just a fact of life as Abuela often speaks Spanish, though responses are in English. They have real worries about Abuela's immigration status, but it's not something they think about everyday. And we naturally see cultural nods, like telenovelas and Catholicism, woven throughout the episodes.

But last night, I was again reminded of the beauty of how much I can relate to these Latina characters. We are all mamas: Jane, Xo, Abuela, and me. I was literally crying as I watched Jane wobble out of bed to go find the kidnapper and get her baby back. Xo sat holding her phone with both hands and staring at it as she waited for the call that everything was ok. And Abuela was praying in Spanish. We mamas fight for our little ones!

In the same way that Jane the Virgin balances the outrageous with the day-to-day, I believe it paints a fuller picture of a family who decidedly Latino but also your everyfamily. Any of us can relate to the Villanuevas. In a media context where Latinas are so often hypersexualized or playing minor (often house keeping-related) roles, Jane the Virgin stands out offering a nuanced view of a modern family.

Season 2 is off to a great start. If you've never watched the show, Season 1 is now on Netflix for your binge-watching pleasure. And the narrator (yes, there's a narrator) does a pretty thorough recap before each episode, so jump on in!

Are you watching Jane the Virgin? What did you think of the premier?
P.S. For all my #TeamRafael besties, here's a fun Justin Baldoni fact: He recently became a daddy in real life! In fact, in the mommy circle last night, we saw his real-life wife and baby. Awwwwhhh

Who I Am? The Ultimate White Girl Question

Who is a white girl? At this time of year, we become the poster children for Pumpkin Spice Lattes and infinity scarves. But this, of course, is a caricature. And I mean, really, who doesn't dig a PSL? Yes I will happily sip one as I listen to Gangsta Party on my way to preschool pick-up.

I write a lot about race and culture. And inevitably, when a post on this topic goes live, it's not too long before someone gently points out that I misspoke about race.

My husband is of European decent, which explains his light, white skin. Um... Europeans are not all white.

Most of our friends are American or Latino. Um... those two categories are not mutually exclusive. (So true.)

I'm American! Um... are you referring to Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Paraguay, or Chili?

So how do I - white girl - identify? I think one of the challenges facing white folks who desire to talk about race is the real difficulty in naming our own cultural background. What am I supposed to call myself?

To say I'm "white" can dismiss Latino, Middle Eastern, or other ethnicities with members who also identify as white. To say I'm "American" may be more indicative of my cultural background, but it doesn't acknowledge the reality of white privilege and is confusing in a global context with both North and South Americans.

Saying I'm "United States-ian" is not a thing in English. I often use "Southern," but that can still mix up with the actual global South. And both of these labels again include a wide array of skin tones and lived experiences.

Sometimes I say "Georgian," but that's rarely used and hello, there's a country called Georgia So that doesn't really work. And maybe my last ditch effort is "5th generation German," but nothing feels further from my lived experience.

Of course, no one word can pin point my exact cultural background.

I am an olive-skinned white girl who grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee. At 14, we moved to a small town in Kentucky with a high school that boasted its own tobacco barn and considered becoming an "agricultural magnet school."

After my freshman year of college at a private, Christian university, I moved to downtown Atlanta to live and work in an almost entirely black environment. Then, I moved to Nashville and attended another private, Christian university with diverse friends from all over the world. After graduation, I moved into a retirement home for a year (things seemed to be winding down, I suppose) before starting grad school at the University of Kentucky.

Then, I moved straight to Filipinotown in Los Angeles before settling in my South Central LA neighborhood that was 70% Latino and 30% black. There, I married an undocumented, white Guatemalan. Soon after, we moved back to Atlanta into a predominately black neighborhood, except for a few months when we lived in Buenos Aires. And for the last few years, we've been home in Atlanta and attending a Hispanic church with a significant Cuban presence.

No one word can sum that up. Not to mention the fact that this narrative ignores class, religion, and gender. It also cannot include all the other cultural touches along the way: when I worked for a predominately Jewish summer camp in Vermont, our Kiwi roommate, or sitting inside a one-room apartment eating boiled pigs' feet on someone's bed.

Of course, this is the part where we're sometimes tempted to throw out the baby with the bathwater. This is why we shouldn't use labels! They are ineffectual and only serve to divide us! We're all part of the human race! We shouldn't talk about culture at all!

Part of this response is our fierce individualism in the U.S. We want to think of ourselves as defined solely by our own experiences, our own thoughts, and our own accomplishments. We want to feel like we "poofed" into existence devoid of privilege or hardship, starting on a clean slate in a fair world. I understand that temptation, but it's simply not true.

The reality is that few of us feel like our one to two word labels are a true descriptor of our entire cultural paradigm. And we're right. Still, language is used as a shortcut to help us have a starting place to understand each other and learn from each other.

I will still identify as a "white American," even if it is a flawed label. Because while it may not describe my exact, individual experience, it does help to acknowledge my collective experience in the world.

It tells you that English is likely my first language and that I had access to at least a 12th grade education. It means I can vote in one of the most watched countries in the world. And it also suggests I probably did not experience persistent, direct racism growing up.

I will keep writing about race and culture, even if I stumble on the words to use sometimes. Words are important to me, and I work to use language that promotes dignity. But I also encourage us all to be gentle with one another as vocabulary proves inadequate and we seek to define ourselves and understand others.

We all have a unique story to tell. And we are all part of a larger story happening all around us. And sometimes that's all just a little tricky to explain. Okay, off to find a pumpkin-flavored beverage!

What "label" do you most identify with? And feel free to share your paragraph-long cultural identity as well! You know I love it!

What NOT To Do: 3 Cautions for Monolingual Parents in Bilingual Families

Tips for monolingual parents raising bilingual kids

From the moment that first test read "pregnant," it didn't take long before I was ordering books on Amazon. Of course, I skipped the standard topics and read next to nothing on childbirth, attachment parenting, or sleep training.

Nope. I was sitting on a plane, cracking open 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child. I was discovering the OPOL method and other acronyms related to giving one's child the gift of two languages.

Friends asked me about my birth plan, but I thought nothing of it. Birth was just a means to an end. Language development and raising a bicultural baby were what occupied by parenting fantasies.

The only problem? Well, I don't actually speak two languages. I would be relying 100% on my Guatemalan husband Billy to make all my bilingual baby dreams come true.

Maybe it's because I know what it's like to be monolingual in a multicultural world. I nod and smile in Spanish-speaking circles (while running through approximately 43 crazy thoughts), and I freak out at church when they say my name into any kind of microphone.

I think these experiences contribute to why it's so important to me that we pass on both Spanish and English to our kids. Of course, we've been trying our hand at this for a while now, and I've learned a few things as the English-only-speaking mom in a bilingual-ish household. Here's some things you should not do.

Badger the Bilingual

The first year of our daughter's life, I repeated two phrases. "Why are crying?" (Which almost 5 years later continues to be a mystery. Oh, you dropped a piece of popcorn on the floor? I thought maybe your finger had been cut off based on this reaction.

My second go-to was "Speak more Spanish!" Almost anytime I heard my husband talking to our infant in English, I would utter this phrase. I tried polite. I tried exasperated. I tried sing-songy. It never really seemed to work.

What I learned is that it's lonely talking to a baby. Especially before they can really understand or engage you. Naturally, our survival instinct was to make jokes or talk "for her" for each other's amusement. Billy often spoke to her in English because he was really talking for my benefit. He wanted me to hear him bless her, sweet talk her, or mock her. (Parents of the year!)

That first year was so intense, and we were learning how to be a parenting team. My constant nagging for him to exclude me held no appeal.

Take Over

This strategy is the second cousin of the first. But when I wanted to stop begging, I tried more "subtle" tactics to remind Billy to speak Spanish. I just went for it. That's right. I can get that bilingual ball rolling!

Except I really can't.

Taking over the bilingual education can be an ill-advised strategy for the monolingual parent. For me, it involved a lot of Spanglish or just trying to roll my r's in the middle of English words.

I finally recognized that I needed to provide the space for my husband to take some ownership over our child's Spanish language learning. Me doing it was just going to confuse everyone.

As time has gone on, he has become significantly more invested. He loves hearing her try to ask him questions in Spanish. And as he witnesses our kids struggle to communicate fluently with Spanish-speaking relatives, he has a renewed sense of personal passion.

Complain About Being Left Out

This is one of my favorite things to do! After I badger my husband to speak more Spanish, I like to freak out when he does. (He loves this game, by the way.)

One of my sincere insecurities from the moment I read that book on the plane was that I would feel like an outsider in my own home. In my imaginary future, Billy and our teenagers are sitting around the dinner table, joking in Spanish and throwing their heads back in raucous laughter. I am pushing peas around my plate.

The first time my daughter spoke her first, uncoerced mixed-language sentence, that same fear resurfaced. But time has helped me recognize how important bilingualism is for them and how it will likely always be an uphill battle, so I need to stay committed.

And I find renewed motivation to pursue my own bilingualism. Hearing it at home and church has definitely helped. But of course, I still find myself just randomly shouting out words like "candela!" because it sounds pretty and confirms the idea that you just add an "a."

Raising a bilingual, bicultural has been a rich source of joy for us. It hasn't been without its challenges, but I will always encourage other families to go for it. And if you're a monolingual parent gently encouraging your bilingual spouse to teach your kids, I hope these tips help.

A version of this post originally appeared in on the bilingual parenting resource site SpanglishBaby, which is no longer active. 

5 Must-Reads for Hispanic Heritage Month {Round-Up}

Image credit: Texas Military Forces

Did you know that's it's Hispanic Heritage Month? It took me a while to get used to the September 15 - October 15 schedule that is HHM. But after almost eight years of marriage to a chapin, Guatemala's Independence Day (Sept 15) now pops up on our shared Google calendar.

Guatemala shares her Independence Day with several other Central American countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. And Mexico's Independence Day is the very next day. It now makes a lot of sense to me why we kick of HHM on September 15.

In celebration, I've created this round-up with some great articles and resources around the web. Enjoy the list, and feel free to add your own favorites in the comments!

1. 18 Major Moments In Hispanic History That All Americans Need To Know - Do you know when the U.S. extended citizenship to Puerto Rico? Or who the first Hispanic U.S. Senator was? There's likely something all of us have to learn about the Latino contributions to history.

2. Hispanic Heritage Month Activities for Kids - There's all kinds of goodies in this resource post. Free coloring pages of country flags, making paper fiesta flowers, and music crafts, to name a few.

3. Celebrate Your Hispanic Heritage with These 17 Dishes - Like to eat your way through the holidays? Try making Guatemalan Banana Bread, Sopa de Arroz, or Steamed Yuca with Mojo.

4. 8 Badass Latinas Every American Woman Should Thank - You may see some familiar and unfamiliar names in this list, but I always love learning about women pioneers and leaders.

5. Hispanic Heritage: Learning About Immigration Through Books - This post features a middle-grade novel that incorporates immigration, but there's also links to more kids' books on the topic. Finally, don't miss the HUGE giveaway at the end. You can still enter to win!

What have you been reading this month? Share your favorite links for Hispanic Heritage Month in the comments!

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