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Cross-cultural Parenting

  • Miami Blues

    If you are Cuban, you have family in Miami. If you live in a cold clime, like Chicago, you welcome going to visit them during the relentless winter. That sounds simple enough, no?  It is. Until you have children. And you’ve gone Green. (Or, “loca”, if your abuela was to describe it.) Packing was easy…
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  • DIY Sazon: The Healthy Way

    Learn more about why you might want this easy, healthy recipe as a DIY alternative for the much-used and loved  Sazon. This recipe is for one meal, but it can be made in large batches, to store. It actually tastes best a few days after being made.  Mix, or grind together 1 TBSP each of coriander, cumin, annato or achiote, garlic…
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  • Spice it Up

    There isn’t a hispanic cupboard in the world that doesn’t contain Sazon. Not one. My mother cooked with it. As did hers. As ubiquitous as salt, Sazon is the Spanish version of…well, salt. I never read its ingredients, as I would always mindlessly toss a box of Sazon in my grocery trolley as one might…
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  • Absolutely (NOT) Fabulous

    This is actually a rather difficult post for me to write. Not literally, but, culturally, and as someone who doesn’t want to offend her partner or family – and who is trembling with indignation at her fellow Hispanics whom have created these chemical abominations. At first, I was going to share what was, hopefully, a…
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  • The Baptism

    As a good Cuban Catholic, my first child was, obviously, to be baptized. He would first wear the family gown, before a costume change into the gown that I had made for him to pass down to his future children, (remade from an antique Edwardian wedding gown that I had found on Etsy), before changing…
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  • Violetas: A toxic cultural tradition

    Violets are Blue 1 (CI42090) If you are Cuban, and old enough to read this, you have smelled like “Violetas.” You were doused in it from the moment that you came from the hospital, wearing red booties to ward off the “evil eye.” The only time you weren’t smelling of violets, is when you were…
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  • Should I take my baby traveling? If so, how do I keep her healthy and safe?

    How to stay healthy–and keep your kid healthy–when traveling, even overseas or in the developing world.

  • Baby On The Go Part 3: Road Snacks

    Travelling is an integral part of the job description of being the drummer of an indie rock band. I usually spend over half of each year on the road whizzing between cities. It is exciting but isn’t exactly conducive to creating rhythm and routines. This is especially true when it comes to meal time. Since adding…
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  • Baby On The Go Part 2 : Cloth Diapering & EC

        Here are 10 tips for taking a vacation with cloth diapers in tow: 1. Bring more than enough detergent. Especially if you are going somewhere where cloth diapering isn’t the norm. We use Nellies All Natural Laundry Soda. 2. Keep in mind that all washers are dryers are different. The rule of thumb…
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  • Baby On The Go Part 1: Packing Essentials

    Here are the 3 questions to ask yourself when you are packing your family for a trip: 1. What you are doing, where you are going, how are you travelling, and for how long? Your packing list is going to change drastically depending on what you plan to do and where you will end up….
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  • How to stay healthy while traveling with children (even in the developing world)

    A few tips to staying healthy and keeping your children healthy when traveling abroad. Also see my blog on compiling a holistic medical kit for traveling and how to travel well with children. Don’t assume that because you are in a poor country the food will be cleaner, unfortunately, the opposite is usually true: there…
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  • No more travel faux pas: How to travel well with a family

    Traveling abroad with a family: keeping safe, having fun, and doing it “green”. I have found that traveling and living in the developing world has been one of the greatest gifts of parenting for my family. While it was for the “greater good of my children,” that I first decided to pack my little girls up and spend the winter in Guatemala, I quickly realized the most immediate benefits were my own happiness.

  • Greening Guatemala: Saving Guatemala’s Children One Family at a Time

    What happens when two ordinary Canadians decide to make an extraodindary difference? Project Somos Children’s Village: A home. A family. A future. For the last few years, I have been involved with a very special project: an EcoVillage of sorts for Guatemalan children. My family and I have visited five times: their story and their project have inspired me and hundreds of others to make a difference. Thanks to EcoParent for originally publishing this article.

  • School of Thanks: Teaching kids to care in today’s world

    I want my kids to know how good they’ve got it. Don’t we all?

    Like most Middle-Class parents in North America, I parent with a lot more: I obsess about their educational experiences, rush off to the doctor at the first sign of a rash, and worry about which summer camp will be the most enriching.

  • The Green Mama’s Guatemalan Adventures: Traveling with children in the developing world

    I am back in Guatemala with my children for the third time. Thus, I have decided to republish and add to some of the previous blogs on my experiences.

    It all began in the fall of 2011 when I decided to take my young children (then 1 1/2 years and 5 years) and go to Guatemala for almost four months. Sin espouso. And, no, I didn’t speak Spanish.

  • Diapers: Another Problem Facing Parents in the Third World

    Last year when I went to Guatemala with my baby and young daughter, I was horrified. Yes, at the spiders and scorpions and Giardia, but even more at the daily dilemma around diapering babies.

  • Are boring playgrounds hurting our kids?

    Do boring playgrounds make our kids playground stupid?

  • Can children be taught to care? A Green Mama Story.

    I am back in Guatemala for the second year with my children. Last year we came for almost 4 months and my eldest daughter attended a special, multi-cultural, Waldorf school in a small Mayan village. From chicken pox to chickens, it was a life-altering experience that I wrote about in a series of articles on this site. I also published an article about our trip and the school we visited in EcoParent Magazine.

  • The Green Mama’s Guatemalan Adventures: Adios.

    Traveling (home from) Guatemala with children: Our goodbyes. Adios is used for comings and goings in Guatemala and means, literally, to God. If a picture says a thousand words, then this photo essay just about encapsulates everything I wish I could say…. (in Spanish).  Leaving. Coming. Adios. 


  • The Green Mama’s Guatemalan Adventures: Visiting Project Somos Children’s Village

    After we left San Marcos la Laguna, we went to visit Tecpan where our friends, Heather and Greg, have founded Project Somos Children’s Village.

  • The Green Mama’s Guatemalan Adventures: To be. Nosotros somos.

     Traveling with children in Guatemala: Life & Death !Nosotros somos!

    Highlights: the most fun under the sun (in Guatemala), losing things, and my near-death stove explosion.

    Me llama Manda. Soy de Canada, pero estoy en San Marcos la Laguna.

    The most fun under the sun

  • The Green Mama’s Guatemalan Adventures: Thirld World Realities.

    Living in Guatemala with children: disease, bugs, and waste…oh my!

    We have had a full couple weeks.  Still heavenly, but a heaven with Giardia, unexplained vomiting, head lice, chiggers and biting flies, and Chicken Pox.

    More on the diseases of Guatemala

  • The Green Mama’s Guatemalan Adventures: Escuela Caracol, Guatemala’s International Waldorf School

    Escuela Caracol is a large reason of why I decided to move my family to San Marcos la Laguna, Guatemala for three and half months.

  • The Green Mama's Guatemalan Adventures: A day in the life

    Third World, Developing World, (Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood is what my friend calls it); whatever you call it, a day in the life here is very different than a day in the life of most North Americans.

    4 a.m. The roosters, which are EVERYWHERE, starting crowing. Loud and persistent.

    6 a.m. Zella starts crowing pleas of hunger. (Mae-la may have already woken me with similar pleas earlier.)

  • The Green Mama’s Guatemalan Adventures: the First Three Weeks

    Living in the Third World with Kids

    Traveling to Guatemala

  • Holistic Travel Medicine for Kids: The Green Mama’s Guatemalan Adventures

    Traveling in the Third World with Kids: Creating a Natural Medicine Travel Kit