Joanna Anastasia

Lifestyle

“A fish in foreign waters ” book review

" A fish in foreign waters" a book for bilingual children

When children’s books author Laura Caputo-Wickham asked me to review her newest book, I got really exited. You see, this book was written for bilingual children! And as you probably know, I’m raising my kids bilingually ( you can read about it here and here).

And even though here where we live ( Montreal, Canada) there are many bilingual families, sometimes we’re still attracting attention. And that makes me wonder, how my growing daughter feels about the fact, that she is a bit different. A friend told me recently that even though Lili’s vocabulary is pretty developed, she speaks in French with a bit of hesitation. And I never noticed that in a language that we speak together. So it made me think about my daughters perception of bilingualism. Is it positive? Does she see the difference between her and some of her friends as a disturbing one, or rather as an advantage?

And so, when the author of A Fish in Foreign Waters has approached me, I was really happy to see that this book addresses exactly the same issues: the differences between a bilingual kid and the peers, the feelings about belonging (or not) to the group, the family members being different (talking differently) then other people.

So we snuggled and read it aloud. Of course I had to translate it in-to our language (which is Polish) and that’s a bit of a pity, because the rhymes are really lovely. ( don’t you miss the rhymes in children’s books? There’s almost no contemporary books with nice rhymes anymore!) And even though I’m a pretty good translator, and I tried my best, it is better in original ( Laura, you rock!)

But Lili did love it. She loved the illustrations: the cute and whimsical fish family with a pet-crab, the detailed coral town, the colorful undersea party. And she loved the fact that Rosie Ray is just like her. Bilingual.

"A fish on foreign waters" a book for bilingual children

Then she wanted her dad to read it with her. They speak together in French, so he translated it in to French.And again, the lovely rhymes have suffered a bit, bit the story stayed the same.

"A fish in foreign waters" a book for bilingual kids

Then, just for fun we read it in English, as it’s written. Did I already mentioned that the rhymes are so pretty? And the melody and the rhythm of the repetition makes it a perfect bed time story too!

" A fish in foreign waters" a book for bilingual kids

So now the A Fish in Foreign Waters became her new favorite book. The one that she takes with her to the patio to read while we snack, and that she wants to read while snuggled in bed with me.

She even decided that it’s time to explain to her little sister that being bilingual is fun ( and lets be honest here, Rose just starts talking, so that conversation could wait a little!).

"A fish in foreign waters " a book for bilingual kids

They sit together on her bed, while Lili “reads” aloud ( I know, too cute!)and my heart melts.. (only to fight 3 minutes later over who’ll hold the book..)

Sisters

And I loved the lesson that it teaches them, that : “doubling the languages doubles the friends!”

"A fish in foreign waters " a book for bilingual kids

This book is a really valuable tool for parents. It’s a great conversation starter. We talked about the different languages that we speak, and how fun is it that we do have more friends because of that. We listed all the families that we know that speak in more than one language at home. We talked about how we may like different food because of the different language that we speak ( therefore the different culture that we’re from) and how it’s ok.

[bctt tweet=”Even if you don’t raise your kids bilingually, this book is great to teach them empathy @InForeignWaters “]

I also think that even if you don’t raise your kid bilingually, this book is a great way to teach empathy to your child. It’s a great way to teach them about kids who have just moved in from a different country, and how they may feel lonely or sad. And how just by being a friend at school they can help.

And I’m sure that bilingual or not, any kid will enjoy this charming story.

You can also get it on Amazon ( just click on the picture) :

Disclosure: I received this product free for review. All opinions remain my own.

Quinoa burgers

Amazing quinoa burgers that your family will love

Couple of weeks ago I decided that we’ll be having three vegetarian dinners a week. I was stuck in the summer grilling routine, and it just wasn’t healthy nor exiting anymore. I needed a change and a challenge: something beyond meatless pasta recipe. And so I discovered quinoa, and it’s many surprising uses!

This is, hands down, one of the best burger recipe (and, I’ll humbly admit, one of my best creations) They are so full of flavour: the Mexican quinoa burger patties are served with creamy lebneh cheese, chunky guacamole and salsa! And honestly, they were so filling and satisfying that even meet lovers ( my experimental bunnies aka my father in law and my husband) forgot that these were vegetarian (and, the patties on their own are gluten-free!)

Quinoa burgers

What you’ll need:

GogoQuinoa Texmex burger mix
European style burger buns

Chunky guacamole:

2 ripe avocados
1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes ( red and yellow, for the colour)
1/3 cup Fresh Cilantro
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Chilli pepper
1 tablespoon Lime juice

Creamy labneh:

1 cup labneh cheese
( you can replace it with cream cheese mixed half in half with Greek yoghurt)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Salsa ( ok, you can buy this one like I did)

Quinoa burgers

Form the quinoa burger patties according to the instruction (it’s really easy and rather relaxing). Then you can follow the instructions and cook them on a skillet, or like I did, you can cook them on a grill ( ok, so I did left that part to my husband). Either way, they should be ready after around 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your guacamole (you know, mix the avocado in to a creamy paste, add the tomatoes cut in pieces, cilantro, tiny pieces of chilli, salt, pepper and lime juice) .

And labneh. If you’re asking yourself what is it, and why am I insisting, then just imagine a marriage of cream cheese with Greek yoghurt. The result is this really creamy and smooth cheese, but with a delicate taste of Greek yoghurt. (But if you don’t see it in your store, then as I mentioned , just mix cream cheese with Greek yoghurt.) And add all that fresh cilantro. It tastes amazingly with the quinoa burgers !

Quinoa burgers

As for a side dish I opted for the grilled corn and nachos. Simple and fast.

Quinoa burgers

And please just forget about the ketchup, the mustard and the relish. Don’t even put them on the table! I promise you that the mix of flavours from the quinoa burgers, guacamole, labneh and salsa, are much better then these old guys!

So while assembling your burger, start with the chunky guacamole, add the quinoa burger patty,then a bit of salsa, and a nice spoonful of labneh!

Quinoa burgers

I’ll be having these soon, that’s for sure. And do you have any fun vegetarian burger recipes?

Amazing healthy quinoa burgers

Disclosure: I received this product free for review. All opinions remain my own.

Educative screen time for kids

Kids , apps & screen time tips

I remember when I was pregnant first time around, and I was having this mental list of the-things-I-won’t-ever-do-as-a-mom. And believe me, it was a long one. And no screen time before the age of two was somewhere between the: my kids won’t eat fries, I’ll never raise my voice and I won’t let my daughter play with that skinny and unrealistic Barbie.. As you can imagine non if it is still on my list.

I learned to see screen time as a special mix of a cheap babysitter and an opportunity to learn and discover. And I think that it depends from us, parents, which component will be the dominating one.

As you might have read already here, I raise my kids bilingually, so if they watch kids shows, it’s only in Polish and usually on YouTube. It’s always me who’s choosing what they watch ( for now at least). And my three and a half-year old has different rights then my 18 months old. Actually, my baby turning in to toddler can watch a maximum of 30 minutes of animated songs and not more than 3 times a week. And my older one can watch a max of three hours of kids shows a week. And I do count playing on my iPad as screen time. ( And of course, event thought I try to stick to my rules as much as possible, sometimes we do have one of these days when you just let go the rules..)

And believe me, I’m really picky when it comes to choosing apps for my kids. I don’t like it when they don’t teach nothing , or when the illustrations aren’t pretty or when the music isn’t calm and nice ( as a parent I have to endure too much noise!). And being honest, I would like them to play only classical music because it’s stimulating the brain, and because I never get to listen no it anymore.

But I do have a couple of favourites, and DuckieDeck series is one of them. Funny illustrations, calm music and the educational aspect have totally win my heart.

Educational screen time

Playing bird houses was a great opportunity to explain how different birds live in different places, and what are the names of different trees. And then she got to create a bird house. A cute one, to be exact!

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First she got to choose a tree and a bird house shape.

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And then she got to paint it and decorate it. And she even cleaned her room to play it again!

Educative screen time

The Sharing app from DuckieDeck is another one that we played recently.

Educative screen time

There are 6 games to choose from,ball concentrating on equal sharing between kids, and my daughter really liked it!

Educative screen time

The last one that we enjoyed playing was the Collection app, with also 6 games to choose from.

Educative screen time

I think that this one is perfect for a toddler: they can feed animals ( and learn what they eat) clean, decorate cakes, create funny monsters and pick fruits and veggies to see if they have seed or maybe if you eat their or roots.

Educative screen time

What are your favourite children’s apps?

Disclosure : I revived this product free for review, all opinions remain my own.

Healthy pancakes with home made strawberry jam

Quinoa pancakes

These fluffy, easy and healthy pancakes are a breeze to make, even in the rush of a busy morning! With the health benefits of quinoa and the home made strawberry jam, they make for a perfect breakfast. And the best part is that they are made from a GogoQuinoa pancake mix, which means that the preparation is less then 5 minutes!

I got to discover them recently, and I’m so nicely surprised: they are made with only natural and healthy ingredients ( whole grains, gluten free and vegan) and yet they taste really good! ( because let’s face it, a lot of times super healthy products taste like carton, you know that right?) And I really loved how the comfort food all of the sudden became the healthy food!

And for the home made jam, I think it’s so worth making one! Especially now, in the strawberry season. You just have more taste, and less preservatives, and if you have kids they can help and feel like they accomplished something great.

Home made French style strawberry jam

Strawberry jam:

1 litre of cleaned strawberries
1 cup sugar
Juice from 1 lemon

Cook to together on low heat for around 2 hours stirring occasionally. Eat within 2 weeks and keep refrigerated.

Healthy pancakes

Healthy quinoa pancakes :

1 package of GogoQuinoa Pancake Mix
1 egg
1 cup milk ( can be soya milk)

Mix it all together, and place a spoonful on a pan with a bit of butter, cook from two sites until golden. Eat warm with home made strawberry jam or maple syrup.

Healthy pancakes

I got this product free for review. All opinions remain my own.

Deli style, garlic roasted pork sandwich

Garlic roast sandwich

Did you ever wonder how to save yourself time and money while cooking? I did, plenty of times. So one of the answers that I came up with, is to cook once and eat twice. And with this garlic roasted pork, you’ll have a super easy to prepare, yet ultra comforting dinner one night, and enough leftovers to fill at least two delicious lunches!

Garlic roasted pork sandwich

Second way of saving time and money would definitively be bringing your own lunch to work. And Yes, I’m a SAHM, but my hubby does work, and he also hates preparing his own lunches. He doesn’t mind eating the leftovers that much, it’s all the preparation in the morning that discourages him ( and me).

You know, that morning rush, when there is 3 more minutes left and the lunch is still not packed, because you can’t find a lid that won’t leak? Yes, that’s what was discouraging. But I did found a solution to that problem as well :).

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You see, I believe that lunch boxes are not only for kids. They are so practical, they keep the lettuce crispy and they most certainly don’t leak! And this Rubbermaid LunchBlox comes with blue ice on top of it! So you can be sure that this meat sandwich will stay fresh! And you can personalize it the way you want to:

Garlic roasted pork sandwich

So, this is the easiest meat recipe I know, that when served with mashed potatoes becomes the ultimate comfort food:

Garlic roasted pork :
3 pound of boneless pork shoulder
8 cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon Freshly grounded pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix pressed garlic, salt and pepper in to a well blended paste, then spread it all over your meat. Roast slowly on 265F for 4 hours. When it’s ready, take it out of the oven, and let it cool down for around 20 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and a simple green salad.

Garlic roasted pork sandwich

Deli style garlic roasted pork sandwich :
Sliced garlic rosted pork
Bread
Boston lettuce

Dressing :
1/4 cup of mayo
1 teaspoon of ancient style French mustard
Chives

Garlic roasted pork sandwich

Preparation :
Put a generous amount of dressing on your bread slices, add meat and lettuce. Don’t forget that you need to serve it with a dill pickle! It’s deli style :).

Garlic roasted pork sandwich

And since there is a container for a side, a fruit and a snack, you can add what you wish, although I suggest to keep it healthy : grape tomatoes, apple and nuts are a great and nutritious choice! But, if you really feel like cookies, go ahead, the little green box will help you keep your portion moderate :).

Garlic roasted pork sandwich

Here, you might find me a bit over the top, but I like to add a little note from time to time. You know, it takes only 3 minutes to brighten someone’s day :).

Garlic roasted pork

Do you take lunches to work? Or do you prepare them for your spouse and / or kids? What are your tricks to save time and money? I’d love to know !

“Disclosure: I am part of the Rubbermaid Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Little girls jewelry box & CHARM IT! first bracelet

Little girls jewelry box & CHARM IT! first bracelet

Here is a fun little project inspired by my daughter Lili : a little girls jewelry box & CHARM IT! first bracelet, that was the reason for which we decided that we needed one in the first place. You see, in my parenting philosophy girls should have the freedom to be as girly or as tomboyish as they feel. They should be free to express themselves, their passions and interests, and free to change their mind too ;).

So when I was proposed one of these cute CHARM IT! accessories, I didn’t really think twice. I love jewelry, and Lili is always trying to play with my necklaces and earrings. Our love for jewelry is as real as our love for chocolate :). But you see, what is special about this product, is the choice of charms : from girly and sweet, to funny and geeky ! You can find a charm for every occasion, milestone or hobby. Ours came with a range if the cutest charms :

CHARM IT!

When I gave it to her, ( as a gift for a particularity good behaviour 🙂 ) she instantly fell for the little dog with pink glasses, actually insisting that it was a cat! Well, we do have two cats, so obviously she wanted it to represent one of them.

And I love the quality and the thoughtful details : it’s adjustable, the charms are super easy to attach and detach and there is so many different ones to choose from!

Little girls jewelry box & CHARM IT! first bracelet

So then, I decided that it’s a great opportunity to put all of her little girls accessories in one place. I was tired of trying to find a hairband early in the morning, while she’s supposed to be dressing for daycare, but is screaming that she doesn’t want to have her hair done, or that she needs to have two perfectly braided pony tails! (One or the other, depending from her mood).

Little girls jewelry box & CHARM IT! first bracelet

We used an empty spice box kit : a metal box and two little metal spice containers. I give Lili a choice of pretty crafting paper, and we went with a mix & match attitude :). And we didn’t even bother to use Mod Podge , just a simple glue !

Little girls jewelry box & CHARM IT! first bracelet

And voila, a little girls jewelry box, fast to make, and easy to open by these little chubby hands :

Little girls jewelry box & CHARM IT! first bracelet

Honestly, all it took for her, to be more patient while I do her hair in the morning, was this little box that she’s bringing to me now with a smile. And while I do her hair, she’s taking out her adorable CHARM IT! bracelet, playing with it, and inventing stories about the little cat (I know, I know, it’s a dog, but try explaining it to her!) that was wearing glasses and drinking milk..

Little girls jewelry box & CHARM IT! first bracelet

I really think that this is the cutest little girls accessory! Since you can add any funky, funny charm that you can imagine, it truly makes for a lovely gift, and you can get them at any GAP Kids :).

Little girls jewelry box & CHARM IT! first bracelet

Do your little girls wear jewelry ? And what are your tricks for keeping them calm while you do their hair?

Disclosure: I received this product free for review. All opinions remain my own.

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