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Friday, December 20, 2013

Maligayang Pasko! a Filipino Christmas

"Maligayang Pasko!" 
Merry Christmas, Filipino style!
Christmas season is in full swing! It's such a perfect time to inject some familial heritage into the festivities, and keep Mag tapped into her roots between visits with Kam's side of the family.

Of course, to truly embrace Christmas, Filipino style, we're about 3 months behind! Yep, that's right: in Philippines, the Christmas season encompasses the final FOUR months of the year! My Midwestern tendency, upon hearing this, is to imagine the cause is the shorter days/longer nights of the season. But we can't forget that, being so near the equator, the duration of daylight in the Philippine Islands varies by only about an hour between the longest night of the year and the shortest night of the year.

So why do they do it, then, if not to escape the darkness of the long nights of the season? No one in the family has any idea... but is sure sounds fun!

Well, here in the good ole U.S. of A., we can't incorporate a 4-month celebration into our current lifestyle. But our family has managed to enjoy some of Kam's fondest memories of childhood Christmases in Philippines, beginning with PAROL, or Christmas lanterns, which seem to be popping up everywhere this year (like here and here).

photo attribution: Keith Bacongo

In Philippines, these Christmas lanterns can be small and simple, or enormous and elaborate. We made a paper version that children grow up making at home. Since Kam couldn't quite recall the how-to of homemade parol all these decades later, we followed these very user-friendly youtube directions to recreate the memories.

We made it into a family project, each person working on one "arm" of the star, with good results!

Of course, no self-respecting Filipino celebration would be complete without a FEAST! Traditionally, lechon (a whole roasted pig) would be served.

photo attribution: Arcade
Since we had just had lechon at Thanksgiving, we went a little more low key for our pre-Christmas Filipino feast. Our local Filipino grocer supplied beef and chicken empanadas (my fave!) and puto (steamed rice mini cakes). We made an enchilada-esque dish that was Kam's mom's recipe, and the pièce de résistance: BIBINGKA!

photo attribution: Roberto Verzo
Bibingka is a Filipino Christmas cake, made with rice flour and coconut milk. It can be baked directly in a ceramic baking dish, or baked in a dish lined with banana leaves. Because this was our first time making binbingka, we decided to go all in, and baked in the leaves. We combined elements of each of these three recipes (one, two, three), to come up with this version:

(click recipe for printable pdf version)

I hope you enjoyed this little peak into Christmas in Philippines. We had such a wonderful time celebrating Kam's roots this week that we are planning to incorporate more traditions into our festivities on Christmas day!

Wherever you are, and however you're celebrating, I hope it is just as joyous! Merry Christmas!

Love learning about "Christmas in Different Lands"? Head to the Multicultural Kid Blogs world tour... so many fun traditions, so little time!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Kindergarten Spanish Sight Word FREEBIE! Gingerbread Edition

Remember my favorite childhood flashcard practice game that has been resurrected for Mag's Spanish endeavor? The December word list and the corresponding "Yo tengo/¿Quién tiene?" game have been added to the November set.

Grab the FREEBIE here:

Shared at:
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Big Discounts at My Fave Language School!!!

You might remember a while back I mentioned that when Mag was about 18 months old, we took part in a Parents and Tots French play group at a phenomenal center called Language Stars. Later, she also participated in Kids Only French and German classes there.

While we loved the program, the center, and the wonderful teachers, we haven't continued with Language Stars since Mag began a language immersion program at school, surrounded by Spanish for 7 hours a day. But I have had it in mind to get her back into French once she seemed settled in her new school routine.

With that thought rolling around in my head, I was thrilled to receive this email today:

If you live in Chicagoland, check it out! There are 14 locations in the greater Chicago area, offering 5 languages, and now a super awesome 40% discount for enrolling for the summer program before December 31st.

Currently, there is also a 25% discount for the remainder of the academic year tuition.

Click the image to get to the website. (And no, I'm not on their payroll, nor do I receive commission or sponsorship... just love the place and want to share!)

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Noël, Navidad, Weihnachten...

The Multicultural Kid Blogs: Christmas in Different Lands event begins today!

Every day from now until December 24, bloggers from around the world will be sharing their local Christmas traditions. I'll be posting on December 21 with traditions from Kam's homeland of Philippines.

You can get the complete schedule of bloggers and countries, as well as checking out the linky party of other traditions, crafts, and recipes of Christmas around the world, here.

So grab a mug of gløgg and a buñuelo, and get ready a festive trip around the world!