Category Archive 'Parenting'

Highly recommended Spanish books for infants or toddlers (6-21 months old)


Since we’re raising our son in to be , we’ve spent a ton of time trying to find multimedia to supplement his speaking. This spans the gamut from enrolling him in Spanish-speaking playgroups and trying to find Spanish speaking-preschools to finding YouTube videos and, of course, books where possible. When we visited Spain in the past, we always loaded up on Spanish books and lugged our heavy suitcases back to the States.

In case you’re reading this post looking for recommended multimedia to help raise a bilingual child, here are a few that have been our son’s favorites for Spanish. I thought it might help other parents given how much time we’ve spent looking for and even dollar-wise on books:

Our son really loves any of the Señor Coc series (Spanish version of Mr. Croc) by Jo Lodge. These books are pop-ups and the stories all end roughly the same way, with the main character jumping out and trying to “eat” the reader, but surprisingly, our son always found this an amusing rather than a scary surprise. Might depend on the toddler. The first book we bought was (theme of the book is about how to tell time), but have since supplemented it with (about getting dressed to go out) and Imita al Señor Coc (moving body parts like nodding, waving, etc.) and (a larger, 11″x11″ lift-the-flap book to find Mr. Croc’s friends).

, the Spanish version of “The Way I Love You” by David Bedford, is a sweet picture book about a girl and her dog. The Spanish version rhymes whereas the English version does not.

(Spanish version of “Goodnight Gorilla”) by Peggy Rathman. We have the board book version. I admit when I first picked up this book off the shelf, I was put off by the colors, but I thought the drawings were well done. It’s one of those books your infant can grow into as a toddler too. It’s a simple story, but pay attention to the details in the drawings. Our son enjoys finding the moon and the balloon (the latter is at least partly visible on every page), and it’s a fun book for adults too if you’re one of those people who like noticing differences between before-and-after and those newspaper puzzles that quizzed you on differences between picture A and picture B.

, published by Dorling Kindersley. It’s small enough to be transportable and a key favorite at mealtimes. After learning the names of all the objects, you can ask your child “¿Dónde está el teléfono?” (“Where’s the telephone?”) and he’ll happily flip through the book to hunt for it.

There you have it, just a few examples of different books we’ve found that have worked so far with our son, who’s now 21 months of age. Do you have books that you’d recommend? Feel free to include them in the comments below!

Life insurance for new parents

Insurance, Parenting, Personal finance

I’ll be honest. I’ve found myself overloaded with finance for the past several months. My job is already in finance, but on top of that, we’ve also been looking into estate planning and education funds like Coverdells and 529s now that we have a son, figuring out what to invest in given recent conditions and even starting our house hunting process (which, in the Bay Area, means you’re still in for sticker shock even though prices have supposedly dropped dramatically).

Still, these are things you have to do once you’re a parent. One thing that became evident through the estate planning process we’ve begun is that we’re woefully underinsured. My husband and I had always just signed up for whatever default life insurance was offered by our employers, but all that’s changed now that we have a child.

So, the last several weeks have seen us looking into . There are actually many types of life insurance policies, but we opted for term since it’s the simplest and inexpensive, and suit our needs.

Here are some things we learned through the process so far:
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More valuable than money


As you may have guessed, I’ve been on hiatus from blogging because some other things have come up in life that have taken precedence. Back in early December, our baby boy came down with a urinary tract infection at less than 5 months of age. Subsequent tests showed that he had a congenital condition called hydronephrosis due to a , a blockage causing urine to build up in his right kidney. We’ve been in and out of the pediatrician’s office, clinics, and children’s hospitals off and on for the past few months. We should find out at the end of this week whether or not he will need surgery.

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Personal finance steps we’ve taken for our baby so far

Parenting, Personal finance

In the 4 months that we’ve had our baby, my husband and I have found ourselves taking a lot of steps already in researching and preparing him finance-wise for the world. I’ve was surprised at how much there was to consider. Maybe we’re jumping the gun, but in case it’s useful, I thought I’d document what we’ve done so far for our son:
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The best way to take baby passport photos (and for just a few cents!)

Internet, Parenting, Personal finance

I found this great, essentially free service to use to take our baby’s passport photos called . Actually, this method works for anyone’s passport photos, not just a baby’s! However, trying to get a squirming, few-weeks-old infant to sit still for a passport-compliant photo is a unique challenge in itself.

The site’s tagline is “We put an end to the passport photo rip-off” and they really do make it easy assuming you have a digital camera. Even better, they can create passport photos that are compliant for the US as well as 60 other countries.

The part that took us the longest was getting a usable photo of our baby. Eyes have to be open, background white, mouth closed, no shadows on face or background, looking straight at the camera…I think we took 50 shots before we found one that was usable of him that we liked. We tried putting a white sheet on the crib and shooting there but ended up with too many shadows. Finally, a white pillowcase on cushion, filler flash and ambient light did the trick. I can’t imagine how much longer and more frustrating it would have been to go to Walgreen’s or somewhere to get his pictures taken.

Once you’ve got your photo, you just go to the site, upload your picture, and click-and-drag a box to make sure the photo you’re using will fit within the required passport dimensions. There are two green boxes to make sure you’re doing things right.

Once that’s done, if you have a photo printer at home, you can print out your photos for free. We don’t, so I signed up for a snapfish account and then had the photos printed out to the local Walgreens for $0.19 and picked them up 30 min. later. I’m so pleased with the service (and no, I’m not receiving anything from them for this post) that I’ll definitely be using it for my own photos in the future. Finally, a way to get decent-looking passport photos!