Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine VIII. Celebrate love, celebrate life!

If you wonder why I like to go all out on holidays and special days with my kids, I've got three good reasons...

Number one, I learned from a friend that holidays give us a break from the hum drum repitition of ordinary days: going to school, going to work, homework, showers, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals and so on and so forth.

Number two. To that I would add, not only does it break the monotony of our days, but it gives us a chance to celebrate life! Everyday is a gift and holidays may celebrate different things in life, but it's also an opportunity to celebrate love and to celebrate life!

And finally, number three. I've also got a hidden (or not so hidden) agenda: the more diverse our family activities, the richer the opportunities for language development in our two home languages: English and Spanish! Let me explain...

Here the children got to eat peanut butter M&M's that their Papa brought home from Washington D.C. last month. A little bit of American culture, a little sweetness in the mouth, but for the younger ones, it's the perfect opportunity to teach and practice colors!

As you can see, I don't just limit myself to American holidays. The French ones are just as important to me because it is home for our family. It's the way I personally try to adapt to my new culture and world. By embracing the holidays of the culture where we live, I hope to teach my children to embrace and celebrate differences in different peoples. Today it's just in our little corner of the world, but in so doing I hope to open their tomorrows to an international world.

In our home, celebrating holidays is about expanding our creative energy and learning to adapt with materials at hand. I had made mini galettes des rois for my children, but realized too late that I didn't have any crowns. I found some old sheet music, pulled out a container of colorful beads and my trusty glue gun and the children went to town making their own crowns! For me, it's also a way to keep them away from the pull of television and video games and get them interacting with each other!

Baking is a family favorite because not only do we participate in a constructive activity together, but when all is said and done there is a sweet treat waiting to be enjoyed! It's also a way to cultivate resourcefulness in my children. Rather than relying on store-bought treats that are filled with sweeteners and preservatives, we strive to make a maximum of homemade snacks. And as we bake, we practice food vocabulary, measurements and following instructions.

I'm grateful to have a job that allows me to be at home and be at the crossroads for my children. Afterschool snack time (the "goƻter") is the perfect time for telling me about their days - in English or Spanish, depending on the time of the month!

And finally, love notes encourage them to read and build their self-esteem! 

And this is why I love taking advantage of every holiday possible to do something special for my family!

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