Thursday, May 26, 2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass

We went to the premier of "Alice Through the Looking Glass" and we loved it! 

My Review (By Justina Rodriguez)
 In Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” an all-new spectacular adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories, Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.

At first, I didn't pay mind to the sequel of Alice in Wonderland--I’d felt the revival was overrated, the best sort of excuse to dive into a funky Victorian aesthetic for a few hours.

But as I watched our heroine fall, time and time again (she does physically fall several times) into more problems, into the fantastic world of Wonderland, I found myself deeply enjoy the film. Beyond the quirkiness of Wonderland it was a breath of fresh air. It’s extremely rare to watch a film aimed at the youth where a young woman and a man have a strictly nonromantic relationship as friends, and it remains as that. Alice and the Hatter both establish that they are friends, and even as friends they are willing to believe in the impossible, to do the impossible if it'll mean the other will be okay. How often do we see this sort of thing?? Among people of the same gender, sure. But not in a movie where we have a female protagonist, yet here it was.

At risk of spoiling the rest of the film, I will refrain from discussing the other nonromantic relationships I've seen develop in this movie. Just trust that they’re worth watching.

On symbolic and straight forward levels, Alice Through the Looking Glass does a lot to entertain. I can honestly say that the CG animators, set designers, costume designers, writers, spared no expense to produce a film I'd gladly pay to see again. So much to consider for the analyst viewer, heartfelt moments for the emotional, and humor for the comic enthusiast. Really, with an absolutely sharp attention to detail and of course time themed puns at the expense of a new character, it was silly to even think I couldn't love this film.

About Alice
In Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” an all-new spectacular adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories, Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Directed by James Bobin, who brings his own unique vision to the spectacular world Tim Burton created on screen in 2010 with “Alice in Wonderland,” the film is written by Linda Woolverton based on characters created by Lewis Carroll and produced by Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd and Tim Burton with John G. Scotti serving as executive producer. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” reunites the all-star cast from the worldwide blockbuster phenomenon, including: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter along with the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall. We are also introduced to several new characters: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter’s father and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock. Alice Kingsleigh (Wasikowska) has spent the past few years following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London, she comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Wonderland and her friends the White Rabbit (Sheen), Absolem (Rickman), the Cheshire Cat (Fry) and the Mad Hatter (Depp), who is not himself. The Hatter has lost his Muchness, so Mirana (Hathaway) sends Alice on a quest to borrow the Chronosphere, a metallic globe inside the chamber of the Grand Clock which powers all time. Returning to the past, she comes across friends – and enemies – at different points in their lives, and embarks on a perilous race to save the Hatter before time runs out. Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.

Watch here a peek of the movie. 

Free Printable 

Visit Alice in the official website: Alice through the looking glass
Follow Alice Through the Looking Glass on : Facebook/DisneyAlice , Twitter Instagram.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How to Make a Minecraft Party

If you have kids who are totally obsessed with Minecraft, you'll want to look this post over. We're in the same boat here, and you know what they say, 'if you can’t beat them, join them'.  I knew next to nothing about Minecraft, but since my daughters love this game of construction, mining, and creepers, here I am making crafts inspired by Minecraft! All of this for Lucy who had recently turned seven and chose this game as her theme.

The truth is we couldn't find any premade decorations close to home, but I already had some ideas in mind. For this party I made blocks of gravel, blocks of dirt, a creeper piñata and a diamond sword. Of course some of the parents had no idea what this all meant, much less a grandparent entranced by the cubed treats. What was all this, they thought.

 Not to worry, I'll explain everything. 

Minecraft is a video game where players can essentially construct anything from different sorts of block shaped materials. Players may also mine for precious stones as the name implies while fighting creepers (destroyers) and other characters. this game offers modes where space and supply of any material is infinitely available so players can build with no limit beyond their imagination. Which, is why they insist on playing for so long, as parents this troubles all of us…

Anyway, back to the birthday. I've made a bunch of really simple snacks and decorations, though like anything, they take time so I won't promise a party in five minutes. But I can promise that your kids will be delighted with the party.

As always, my husband and I work as a team and birthdays are no different. Generally, he cooks and I prepare the sweets and some salads. For this occasion he found square indoor turf and they perfect for table decoration. We also made "gold nuggets" by butter popcorn in gold and yellow cupcake paper. As a centerpiece arranged colored mini cupcakes into the shape of the famed and invincible "diamond sword", and to finish off I made a creeper piñata . It was a wonderful party, Lucy her friends, and everyone loved it!

 Minecraft  Blocks

Ingredients for the gravel blocks

  • 1 bag of marshmallows
  • 1/2 stick of butter (50g)
  • 1/2 cup of Black candy melt
  • 1 box (9oz) of unsweetened rice cereal
Ingredients for dirt blocks
  • 1 bag of marshmallows
  • 1/2 stick of butter (50g)
  • 50g Cocoa powder
  • 1 box (9oz) of unsweetened rice cereal
  • Green icing and green sugar sprinkles

For all the blocks, the process is the same. Well, there's a key difference in two processes: for one cocoa will be added to the mix and for the gravel blocks, black candy melts will be added with the rest of the ingredients.  First grease the pan until it's very smooth. Then we melt the marshmallows at medium heat in a large pot along with the butter and mix until even. When the mix is uniform in color and texture, turn the heat off and add  the cereal. Mix until the cereal is fully and even integrated with the marshmallows and color agents. Before it fully cools and hardens, place in the greased pan and spread as evenly as possible.  After about ten minutes of cooling cut the treats into squares of about 1.5 inches. 

As for the dirt blocks, I iced the treats with green icing and green sugar sprinkles to represent grass.  

I hope you all liked the treats for this party, if you have questions please leave them in the comments. In the next post I will demonstrate how to make piñata and the diamond sword.

Lee este post en español 

Monday, May 16, 2016

I don't want to be a Princess I want to be a President

I don’t want to be a Princess, I want to be President.

When I found out I was pregnant with my fifth child, I was convinced I'd seen it all, more so when the doctors told me the baby would be my fourth daughter. I was positive I knew everything and thus was 100% prepared for her arrival. I'm thinking now, that I'd been very naïve. From the moment Lucy had been born, she taught me thing  that would change the way I perceived girls, gender, and preferences.

I had spent time before Lucy was born and while she was a baby picking out dresses, planning hairstyles--she had hair that could win a beauty pageant. Just seeing her gave me so much joy. But this baby's personality shone through almost immediately, she was so restless and expressive. At eight months she'd climb out of her playpen within seconds! Lucy preferred to walk everywhere instead of riding in the pink stroller. She'd pick her own clothes as  a toddler, only wearing a few dresses or skirts that she deemed as the exception. At four she found a collared shirt with a tie and wore it all the time! Ever since she learned how to ask for gifts she's been all about monster trucks, cars, or airplanes. And we got them for her. Do you know why? Because we respect her choices and her personality. But this isn't the case for all families. I know of families that try to change, suppress and even punish children like Lucy who deviate from social norms.

I don’t want to be a princess, I want to be President.

Once when Lucy was about four we were walking in the mall and I suggested that she should wear a princess dress for Halloween, she replied "If you like the princess costume so much, you should wear it," and that's been ingrained in my mind ever since. She was so sure of her own preferences why was it so difficult for me to understand? The same thing happens with other parents, who can’t understand these kids with open minds and other perspectives. The world isn't divided by princesses and princes, or blue and pink. There's a whole spectrum of colors in the rainbow--it's all beautiful, why shouldn't we appreciate it?

We are teaching our children fit in molds that only fit some.

I always loved arts and handcrafting. When I was in high school I would have loved to transfer into a technical school where I could study architecture, or engineering and I never did it. While the technical school was co-ed an overwhelming majority of the students were boys; I didn't want feel isolated in a place I wanted to be in. Not to put down my past self or my parents but maybe if they encouraged my dreams I would have been able to transfer without any drama.  I don’t want this for my own children, not my daughters or my son. They are free to follow their dreams, to experiment, I don’t want them to be limited by the labels our society places on them. Furthermore it tires me to constantly watch girls be portrayed as the passive figures, the beauties, and the discreet, like princesses. There' so much lost potential in our society that forces us all backwards, we are missing women in important institutions like the government where we as a people need to be equally represented, in the high levels of corporate leadership, in hospital direction, and in many other places need and lack a woman's point of view. A woman's story is often treated as something to be consumed rather than a thoughtful narrative. Our society had more than enough beauty pageants, and conventionally beautiful women on the covers of magazines--so we treat it as odd for a woman to be reported on for anything other than her aesthetics. If we had more women in the government, how different would our society be? Women currently make up only 20% of the US Senate. Let's not even get into ethnic diversity within those few.

It's been proven that in societies where women are given equal opportunity and encouragement in education the community changes for the better. The impact of women's education or their job market changes everything. Women know  what their families need from backing their communities from home. They know what could be improved on a domestic level for health, education, accessibility, recreation among other necessities. Thanks to social assistance and a safer world, we can go out to work  and better the opportunities for our children as they inherit them in time.

Once I saw a shirt that read

"I don’t want to be a princess, I want to be President"

And that's been stuck in my mind ever since I saw it. I wonder what it would have been like, to see something like that as a child, to have questioned my place in the ordinary school. Maybe if that was already a normal thing in my youth I'd been able to transfer to that technical high school without any issues, it could just be something normal. I am a woman and that's why I earn less than a man doing the same work I do, even men decide on my rights to reproductive health and even go as far as to decide what form of contraception is best for me. My income dictates what I am able to provide for my family and the education for my children, which then in turn effects their financial future. If society continues to go on this way, it’s not men's fault that women remain passive and expect them to make decisions with us mind. We have to take action to help ourselves.

If in my youth I had seen princesses but with the clarification that: she plays like a princess but she doesn't have to wait for her prince to start her life. Or to have seen that a girl doesn't have to be kissed to wake up and go about her day  or even a message that says a girl doesn't have to clean just because she is a girl. Every day I think of all my kids going to college one day (I'm not sure how, but they will go to college), and how it depends on them to look out for themselves and search for opportunities, see what's best for them and for their loved ones. For instance, the right to vote gives them a chance to make a difference in the community and see other's point of view.

An so I told Lucy "You're right my love, you don’t have to wear the princess costume, you're much more than that".

Monday, October 8, 2012

5 Things Every Parent Of A Child With Autism Should Know

Jennifer Cerbasi
Jennifer is an educational consultant who works with families and educators to establish healthy and productive routines in the home and school. Adapting behavior management techniques she implemented for years as a special educator, she helps parents and teachers adopt these tools to fit their unique needs and priorities. In addition to her one-on-one consulting work, Jennifer speaks to parent and education groups on current topics in education and children's health. For more information, go to

1) A diagnosis does not define your child.

Don't listen to anyone who limits your child because of his diagnosis. The diagnosis is helpful in that it assists in getting your child the services he needs but when discussing his progress, clearly defined goals are what makes the difference. It is important to look realistically at what skills your child is struggling with and address them systematically. 

2) You are part of your child's educational team. Speak up.
Your participation in your child's education is not limited to helping with homework. You have the right- and the power- to ask questions of your child's teacher, case manager, and the school district. Meet with your child's teacher. Attend Board of Education meetings. Get involved in the Parent Teacher Organization. Make sure the school knows who you are and that you are an active part of your child's educational team.

3) Find reliable information. Don't rely on word-of-mouth recommendations.
Both federal and state's Department of Education websites have information regarding the laws, statistics, and grants that are available. Another good resource for information is Wrightslaw, a special education advocacy website. Find practical tips for maximizing your child's educational experience.

4) The teaching assistant assigned to your child has the most impact on your child's education. 
Though the teacher and therapists create and monitor IEP goals, the teaching assistant or shadow working directly with your child spends the most time with her. Since most teaching assistants are not required to hold a teaching certification, ask an administrator what training and support they provide for these important team members throughout the year. Invite the teaching assistant to the IEP meeting so she can contribute to the planning and reporting of goals.

5) Siblings of children with autism are greatly affected by the disorder.
You do your best to balance your attention between all your children but no matter how hard you try, autism will change your family dynamic. Make sure your typically-developing children have an opportunity to express themselves and find support, whether it's talking to you, a counselor, or a support group. The sibling of a child with autism feels a great many things, ranging from frustration to disappointment to even pride in his sibling, and it's important to make sure he feels he has an outlet for all of those emotions.
Lee este articulo en español aquí. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ My favorite soccer player

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ enjoying the summer

Monday, July 16, 2012

School district and talented teachers

Today I learn that my son's teacher was let go from our school district. I am referring to a very special person and a excellent teacher. This exceptional person was my daughter's teacher for 4 years as well as my son’s teacher for 2 years. She taught my daughter how to read; and so many others skills that have changed my daughter's life forever. This Teacher saw my daughter's potential and constantly push her forward. I know this person have touch my kids life in such a positive way.
As happy as we were when we learned that my daughter was taken in to our district along with her teacher; nowwe sadly learned that this teacher is not longer working with our kids.  
This is sad because we though she would be my son's teacher next school season. Sadly, this kind of situations are happening very often where districts waist theses talented teachers. Those teachers that intent to push the districts to give the best for the student and use existent resources to the fullest they find themselves without job, Just likethey were doing something wrong when the funding are there.
This king of situations show one more time how districts instead of use this talent to improve the education of our children toward a higher level they get rid of them as a stone in their shoes.
ask to myself what we can do as a parent regarding this issue. Which are our options? After all these kind of decisions affects the life of our kids directly. Aren't we the taxpayers? Who is going to tell me this is the best decision toward the education of my child or that the new teacher is better than the one that is living?
Not only these teacher is good teaching the kids but also training others teachers in her lunch time, trying to get her colleagues to understand better students with special needs. This is also a huge gap on the education system.
I know there are more teachers like her with little or not support from superiors, and unfortunately often timessome districts suck their good energy out of them leaving them exhausted.
Ultimately, I personally do not want to sound negative. I want to push all the parents to advocate for our children.To consider being part of the Child Study Team and participating in our children's I.E.P. When we get active in our school, supporting the education of our children not only we are helping them, but we are also helping thewhole district get better. All parties can benefit from participating and helping.
Aqui si quieres leer este artículo en español.