About La Mother Tongue

La Mother Tongue is my medium to share the joys and challenges of being a new parent as well as to share how we make a conscious effort in our daily life to bring baby up bilingual.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Español Alphabet Pocket Chart

If you have been following my blog or my articles on SpanglishBaby™, then you know that Sofía and I have been learning our Abecedario, our letras and their sounds.  

In order to help facilitate my efforts, I purchased an Español Alphabet Pocket Chart made by Learning  Resources.  We LOVE it!  It is well-made, accurate, and their customer service center is outstanding!  I will definitely purchase their products again!  

The Pocket Chart comes with various picture cards that correspond with each letter and there are many copies of each letter so as to promote spelling too. (both upper and lower case as well as vowels with accent marks!) We can match letters with letters or letters with sounds or pictures with beginning letters or pictures with sounds.  Really it is worth every centavo spent and I know we will be using it for many years! 

This post is a linked additional information section for an article called Reading and Your SpanglishBaby on SpanglishBaby™.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Interactive Abecedario Slide Show Game

If you have been following my blog or my articles on SpanglishBaby™, then you know that Sofía and I have been learning our Abecedario, our letras and their sounds.  Recently I created an Interactive Abecedario Slide Show Game in Español for Sofía and me to play— usually while we eat breakfast.  You arewelcome to download it for your personal use. Once you do, you can also add additional pictures for each letter.  For example, in the Slide Show, A is for Abeja (bee) and you could add in an avión (airplane), agua and árbol (tree) to provide more examples and variety.  Sofía recently has been telling me her ideas of additional words that begin with each letter and thus she has really been creating her own personalized game.  We have been incorporating them in slowly.  (For example, our Gato is now holding a globo!) Because the Slide Show is in Español, you could also use it as a tool for your niños to learn some new vocabulary if Español isn’t one of your languages. Remember that small niños learn through sounds and pictures, so a bilingual (Español/Inglés) Slide Show would need to represent each language with the SAME letter and object.  For example:  A is for airplane and avión.   B is for boots and botas.  C is for car and carro.  D is for dinosaur and dinosaurio. 

Sofía loves the Interactive Abecedario Slide Show Game.  Hope your niños enjoy it también!
This post is a linked additional information section for an article called Reading and Your SpanglishBaby on SpanglishBaby™.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Odd Things I Spied in Alemania

During our viaje a Alemania, I tried to do many things at once—translate for my family, take touristy fotos, remember all the names of the delicioso dishes we ate, and of course, make mental notes and snap fotos of cultural tidbits here and there!  Although I didn’t get as many fotos as I made note of, here are a few to share at least!  In the tienda Globus, Sofía had fun pulling (and pushing) the basket on wheels!
Our buffet breakfasts were really big on honey and this hotel served the entire panel!
I mentioned before that the majority of restaurantes in Alemania were CASH ONLY!  (Yes, even the 5 stars, popular chains, and fast foods!) So all of the waiters carried these black leather expandable clutch purses; they are a cross between a wallet and a coupon filer. I’m not sure what the advantage is for carrying them, but I definitely see what the disadvantages are!

One of the fancy hotels we stayed in had neat modern gadgets. This panel by the front door controlled all the lights in and out of the hotel room. No more guessing which button is for what light! And….no more sneaking the “Do Not Disturb Sign” on the outside of the door while indecently dressed OR trying to close the door quickly before the sign catches in the door!
All you have to do is touch the appropriate button on the panel and a red or green light blares outside on the door plate making it look like a shiny rhinestone on a gaudy gold ring!
I found this add (and its irony), posted in a bathroom stall, for a feminine cranberry product, to be hilarious!
Many Alemanes smoke and this vintage cigarrillo machine still works!  (I remember them from my summer holidays as a child!) Now they have electronic ones which require you to swipe your ID to prove age!  I didn’t get a foto of that one!
How cool is a plastic glove to wear while pumping petrol!  We need THAT!
I am always nagging my esposo to take off his shoes in the house.  He complains that his feet are cold (although he has designated house shoes!).  In one of the castles, they gave us all these oversized slippers to put OVER your shoes!  Now where can I buy a few pair of those??
 All the baby strollers, buggies, prams and carriages had an umbrella attachment!

People EVERYWHERE were using these ski poles (as I refer to them) to walk.  This couple (who didn’t know they were being photographed because of my spy-like skills) were using them to walk the grounds of the Neuschwanstein Castillo.  But we saw people use them in the mall, on flat sidewalks, and in crowds of people. 
Hope you have enjoyed my “Odd Cam”!  I will have to be more diligent on our next trip!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

İSí; This is Real!

Hmmm….how many times have you secretly wanted to be doing this at the park with your niños? Well while in Alemania, we took Sofía to several parks and we found this very cool one in München.  Forgive the poor camera skills…I was secretly taking the foto as we walked by!  Before the beer and cigarillos even came out, I had already pegged this group to be nannies.  (Although I could be wrong…I doubt it!) But when ‘Blond Braids’ came pack with her stein full of beer and lit up her tabaco….I could NOT resist to sneak in a foto and share it!  I did NOT witness this type of behavior in ANY of the other places where we took Sofía to jugar! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mickey D's in Alemania

My esposo is embarrassed to admit that we stopped at McDonald's while travelling through Alemania.  But when one is zooming on the autobahn at a distorting velocity at dusk, sometimes the only restaurants that one can make out are the golden arches, albeit blurred, as their bright color and teetering height can be seen for miles before actually arriving at the location. (But I digress…)

Originally I took these fotos to share with Tamara from Non-Native Bilingualism who speaks Germa with her daughter, but I couldn’t resist pointing out some of the fun cultural jazz here too!   
Like other McDonald's that I have seen in other countries, those in Alemania were also PACKED with people! And Shell must know that as well because if you look closely at the paper tray liner…..Shell has teamed up with McD's and offers a discount off your gas the more you eat at the Golden Arches! 
ofia loved the free globos that McDonald's Alemania offered.  You are free to pick out the one you want without having to wait for someone to give it to you!

The Happy Meal looked chévere so I took fotos of it….I don’t know what they look like in la USA;  I am going to have to check it out then next time we patron McD's. 
What I found to be very, very cool was that the “toy” in the Happy Meal was a really nice hard-back book.  They had several different titles also!

Try to say this five times rápido!
The BIGGEST surprise to us at McDonald's Alemania was not the absence of trash cans and the use of tray holders as waste elimination, it was that (like THE MAJORITY) of establishments in Alemania, it was CASH ONLY! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Even before Sofía was born, I knew that I wanted her middle name to be Magdalena.  Before I even explained why, my esposo sensed that it had some kind of importance for me and agreed immediately.  (Ah…what a great quality to have in an esposo, no?) Sofía has an Abuela, but I had an Oma and I spent a lot of time with my Oma when I was growing up.  I’m convinced that she is the reason why we grew up with more than one first language.  (Well, that’s simple-she lived with us and didn’t really speak English!)

I didn’t really come to understand the greatness of my grandmother until I was an adult.  I grew up hearing stories of her experiences, but appreciation set in much later.  During the war, for various complicated reasons, fluctuations of borders, and explosives egos, my mother and her German, blond blue-eyed, catholic familia were put into a German concentration camp. 

At one point, my Oma’s nephew was placed in a line to be shipped off to some other camp.  She “stole” him out of that line and saved him and when what she had done was discovered, she was severely beaten as a punishment.  Evidently, not even that was a deterrent to my Oma, as some time later (Exactly how long, I can’t remember as my memory is a bit fuzzy from my jetlag.) my grandmother escaped with her three-year-old daughter and her young nephew carrying them both to freedom. That escape was planned for months if not years; my grandmother plotted and learned the routes and contacts she would need to meet along the way.  Freedom didn’t come overnight either, but really took weeks and it wouldn’t be until months later that they stopped running from country to country and the Red Cross arranged for the three of them to live in a small room of a farm house in the middle of Nowhere, Germany.    And this is what that house looks like today.
So my husband drove a rented Mercedes almost from border to border across the entire southern part of Germany so that our daughter could see the house where her Abuela and my Oma lived after my grandmother proved that she was one of the most amazing women to ever live.

People ask me all the time about Sofía’s middle name.  I usually tear up and say she is named after my grandmother and walk away.  If you’ve ever asked me…..now you know why! J

This post is part of the Septiembre Blogging Carnaval on Bilingualism.  You can visit the entire Carnaval here!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Toys in Alemania

It seems that Alemania is famous for their jugueterías (toy stores) and toy makers.  We visited a great jugueteria and had fun looking at all the things for sale that were different.  There were a lot of well-made wooden toys.  I don’t know how the Germans can afford to buy any of the toys because they are extremely expensive!  We also came across a ToysRUs, but didn’t have a chance to peek in—I would have loved to have been able to make cultural comparisons there also!
I really liked these hand-made wooden puppets with different types of characters!

Here is a Lego® vending machine in the metro!  In case you really need something at the last minute I suppose, since the stores close at 8 PM!
My favorite toys were the wooden food toys!  The variety was amazing and a splendid representation of the culture!  Again, they were super, super, super expensive or we would have bought a bunch for me Sofía to play with! 
I really admired this wooden toy—yes it is wooden and not a supermarket packet!  I took the picture because it happened to be one of my esposo’s favorite Schwäbisch dishes!
Many of the food toys were little tin containers (Think Altoids) with tiny wooden hand-made pieces inside!  I thoroughly enjoyed opening all the tins to see what kind of surprise was inside!  (My esposo didn’t enjoy it as much—what a shocker!)
Lastly, we came across this construction kit.  We should have bought it, but we were too tired to think at that point!  If you look closely at the picture of the house, you will see that it is the exact replica of how German country homes are built.  (Coincidently, it is how many of the houses in Latinoamérica are also built!) Included are mortar and trowel too! But we really wanted it to build castles like all of the castillos that we visited!  As you can see…we thoroughly enjoyed the cultural analysis of the toys in Alemania!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Viaje a Alemania

These are my babies.
Somewhere in the hills of Germany’s Moselle River Valley, at Burg Pyrmont, my babies pose for some of the first of what will be quite a plethora of fotos that I will have taken over the past 2 weeks. My esposo and I have been planning this trip for over three years! The first time we had tickets in our hot little hands, I was pregnant with Sofia during the first (God-awful) trimester. We ended up cancelling because I spent the majority of those three months vertical on a couch somewhere. (But I digress!) soo... All our estrellas lined up and we spent dos splendid semanas visiting my relatives and sight-seeing! I will try to write about some interesting points of our trip over the next few days starting with hoy!
Sofía was so excited to go on an airplane again! I love the special treatment given to familias with small niños and I especially love Lufthansa with small niños (even in spite of the strike!).  They gave Sofía a busy packet and one of the azafatas even gave Sofía her wing pin!
Here is a string of fotos inspired by the sticker-badge given to us by the TSA agent at Dulles Airport!
We tried out headphones for the first time during this flight and they worked beautifully!

Friday, September 21, 2012

El Imán

The other day, I created this fun little Science Imán (magnent) box for Sofía and she loved it! I had puchased the imanes from Discount School Supplies and then used a small compartment craft box for the magnetic and non-magnetic gadgets. (If I were creating this specifically for imanes, I would puchase a very shallow box) The big hit with Sofía was the multicolored cut-up pipe cleaners. We did lots of fun things with the imanes both inside the box (with lid open as well as closed) and outside the box. This actividad will no doubt make an appearance at our breakfast table often!
Notice the I for imán! That alphabet keeps popping up everywhere!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sopa de Sofía

Do you know what this is? It's Sopa de Sofía! Ja ja ja. The plates are our new juego from Green Toys. These toys are super because they are made from recycled milk jugs AND the are harmful chemicals-free! This means I don't have to worry about Sofía using her platos to eat, drink, and serve real food and when they are dirty- we just toss them in the dishwasher! The letras in the sopa weren't even my idea!! And speaking of the letras... I do need to mention that they are from Discount School Supplies. I like to take advantage if their free shipping deals when they are offered. DSS has proved to have a wonderful customer service department. Regular shipping usually arrives in 2 days (I kid you not!) AND when I wanted to exchange something because it was slightly damaged in shipping, they just sent me a new product--even when the old was salvageable! ¡Qué excelente!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Seis Miaus

¡Míranos!  We are seis months old!  And as you can tell….very amigos with the cámara!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Abuela's Lipstick for Little Labios

Who doesn't have memories of using her abuela's forbidden (by parents, not abuela herself) lipstick? Sofia LOVED her abuela's princess peach colored labial! Papi didn't get it so much, but that is OK because Mami used to LOVE her abuela's red nailpolish!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Camisas en Espanol!

The store, The Childrens Place, offers great deals if you sign up for their emails. Now, I have another reason to give then a Two Thumbs Up! They make camisas en Espanol! Free shipping AND 30% off make this mami smile!
My favorito is the cumpleanos camisa!
Gracias Childrens Place!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

End of Summer Bugs

The bugs we find at the end of the Summer are diferente than what we found earlier!  How exciting is that!  Look what we found just on our front porch! Then ar Target, we found bug flashcards ( for $1) that help us identify the bug! ¡How cool is that! I am going to print out the names en español on stickers to put on the cards.  This was a dollar well spent-and in the name of Science!

Friday, September 14, 2012

I spy Abecedario Bags

In keeping with our ABC learning theme, I thought I would try out an I spy bag with letras for Sofia to play with. I saw a bunch of great ideas from someone's websight, which I can't find right now!
Anyway-- I used some light colored shower gel that I had sitting around for a while. I also have small gem letters and we put all of the above in a ziplock bag reinforced with tape. This is a super sensory actividad and great for letter recognition.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


 Peruvians eat a lot of camote (sweet potato). Real camote out of the ground--- not the strange mushy stuff from a can. I like to add my own twist--cayenne pepper!
Here is the simple receta: peel and cut camote into 1/4 inch rounds. Toss to coat with olive oil ( in a bowl). With non-stick spray, coat cookie sheet lined with aluminio. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutos. Prick with fork to check desired tenderness. Sprinkle with salt as soon as you remove camote from the oven. Delicios!