Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mandarin on my mind

Summer is nearly over and in just a few days my 5 year old will be going to kindergarden. Making education choices for you kids at such a young age can be extreme these days. We have always believed that there will be no other time in her life when she will be so free to play as she is we are always more apt to choose play and experience over strict education. Still, we were faced with some tough choices. One of them was the decision to enroll her in a 50/50 Mandarin immersion program (half the day in nothing but Mandarin and the other half in English).

Our local public school just happens to have a Mandarin language immersion program but we would have gone their either it was a very tough decision for us. We know other families whose children are in Spanish immersion programs and are gaining amazing experience in both dual language learning as well as learning another culture. Both wonderful. A special bonus for us is our girls are one quarter Chinese, so a connection to some of their own roots is also appealing (thought we do not speak the language).

I want my daughter to have confidence and be brave, to take risks and to believe she can do things beyond her limits. I want her to know that there is more to life than what even her parents know... More to experience than just the American way. This is a extremely unique opportunity to try to incorporate more than just reading, writing and math into her learning. But will it be too much? Will we all have culture shock? Will we be able to hang tough when it gets hard, or doesn't make since (both the language and the culture)? This will be a true lesson for us all in judgement and patience.

I'm hoping to share more of our experiences here as we get started. I know there will be ups and downs in this experience and I know that I will always struggle with the balance between our dreams and hers... But this is what living more is all about right? We are showing her how to embrace risks and new things. As long as we allow her to remain a child during the experience I think we will all have a bit of fun. I hope you will look back here as I hope to write from time to time about how it is going.

Below is a terrific article that I really liked about some reasons to learn in a bilingual setting and I also encourage anyone interested to follow my friends blog United By Language. She has been journaling about her sons first year and has a lot of advise and facts about programs that really have inspired me to take this journey. If you have any questions for me let me know and I'll try to answer them.

United By Language

Why It’s Smart to Be Bilingual

So full of wonder and amazement.... What an amazing journey this will be.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I've missed thankful Thursday actually... I have obviously been thankful for summer since we have been out enjoying it and not blogging here. But this week I'm going recount a conversation I recently had with my older daughter which seems to fit well with the thankful Thursday theme - it went something like this:

"Mom, bees sting and I don't like bees!t"

"Hmm.... its true that bees sting but they only sting when they feel there are in danger. If you don't hurt them I don't suspect they will try to hurt you."

"So, are bees important?"

"That is a great question - lets think about what bees do?"

"Bees make honey. Oh, I like honey"

"How do they make honey?"

"By collecting nectar from flowers.... "

"A huh, let's think about the food that we eat. Lots of the fruits and vegetables we eat start as a flower right?.... When bees are making honey - they are also helping those flowers turn into yummy things to eat. Cool huh?...."

...and after a long conversation about bees, honey, flowers, and food....

"Wow, bees are the most important animal mom!"

"Yep, I'd say they are pretty important - to us at least"

So this week, thanks to my daughter, I'm thankful for bees. We of course went on to have similar conversations about why the trees are important and the moon is important.... and I'm sure she will have more "important" thoughts for me on the car ride home today. I'm so thankful that she is reminding me of what is important and how much there is to be thankful for.

 Image credit:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Meatless Monday - Half Homemade Burritos

Ok yep... I've been away for a while. Ok, longer than a while. I'm hoping to get back here and blog a bit more so I'm starting simple with Meatless Monday. Only this thing isn't so simple anymore. The campaign over at is now growing rapidly (as is their kids cook Monday campaign which we also try to participate in). So if you have been wondering about the campaign, why we participate, or just want more ideas I encourage you to hop over and give the site a once over. If you do, and you are excited to participate be sure to let me know.

So this week we actually did a half homemade meal for dinner. What's half homemade? Well, We had plans to do some sort of bean burritos, but didn't have rice. My genius chef husband thought just far enough in advance to stoop at our corner Mexican food restaurant and grab two sides of rice to go. Brilliant. It is the one item that takes a while to cook (assuming your beans are already cooked) and so it saved us a ton of time. When you have a 5 and 22 month old who are hungry these kinds of little tricks seriously make your day.

There you have it... take one tortilla, add in some black beans, rice, and some sautéed mushrooms and yellow squash from a co-workers garden (again grateful for someone else's over abundance) and you have a yummy burrito. Wished I had an avocado or some sour cream.... But all in all everyone was happy and had a full tummy in plenty of time for frozen yogurt and baths.

I'll be headed over to Meatless Monday to check out more recipes and I'm hoping to blog here more about our upcoming challenge to go meatless for two weeks to raise some money for the Northwest Earth Institute (we did a challenge last year as well). I'm trying around here a bit more than just that. But one step at a time.