Thursday, July 31, 2014

Let's travel with Little Passports {review}

Growing up I remember dreaming of traveling the world, perhaps that is why I loved History and Geography so much. I remember as if it were yesterday looking at maps in my geography book and thinking where I would travel to when I grew up. It is most likely why I chose to study International Business in University and took German during High School and French in University. I've had the opportunity of traveling, maybe not as much as I dreamed of when I was younger but nonetheless I've traveled. I've experienced cultural differences and learned history by traveling the actual place. 

As parents we want our children to learn about the globe, learn about different cultures and travel to other countries. We feel that travel opens up so much conversation and the experiences you have through it are unlimited, fun and help you become a better person because when you travel you get to see what you read in books. 

This is one of the many reasons why when Little Passports contacted us to see if we were interested in collaborating with them to review their product we were very excited. We had read many great reviews about them, we'd seen their advertisements on printed magazines and we had visited their site to learn more about them.

When we first opened the Little Passports package we knew we'd find a suitcase, a very cute sturdy cardboard suitcase in a bright blue color that would hold information to the country chosen for us. When the kids saw the country chosen for us was Brazil they were beyond excited! You see through the past month my family and I have been living, eating and breathing soccer well more like the World Cup it probably had to do with the fact that we currently live in a soccer country: Costa Rica and that here everything revolves around soccer. If you were to ask my 4 year old about soccer he would say he loves Neymar and that he wears #10 on his jersey and is from a beautiful, colorful country called Brazil.

As soon as we opened the suitcase we saw a world map for the kids to pin the country we were learning about, souvenirs from Brazil which was a  photo of a red uakari monkey and an amethyst still in its natural state, a passport for the kids to "stamp" with the sticker of our chosen country,  a letter from a boy and a girl named Sam and Sofia explaining how they got to Brazil and what they saw during their visit and 2 boarding passes containing different codes to access fun activities and games from the Little Passports site.

The passport is not your usual passport, this passport is special and unique as the inside pages contain several questions to talk about with your children and make this a fun family activity in which everyone participates. Our 8 year old enjoyed asking us questions contained in the passport such as: "Ask your parents to name 3 countries they have visited or would like to visit" it was a great way to start the conversation on travel and where we'd love to travel again or would love to travel to for the first time. We then turned the tables around and asked the kids where they would travel to and our 4 year old said with excitement "Brazil!" he truly wants to visit Brazil and after reading about the animals they have and the culture and listening to Brazilian samba music he is even more excited.

When we were finally at a computer with internet access we logged onto the Little Passports site to "board" for our travel to Brazil, the site has activities in which you learn about the world and the specific country you were mailed. We learned that the wildest river in the world is the Amazon and that Capoeira is a martial art in which you can't use your hands and you dance to the different rhythms. We also learned that the capital of Brazil is Brasilia and not Rio de Janeiro. 

The wildlife in Brazil is colorful and exotic with toucans, macaws, jaguars, colorful frogs, anaconda and endangered red uakari monkey among many many more animals that can be found within Brazil particularly in the Amazon River Basin.  

There is so much to do in the Little Passports site, not only have our kids been visiting the site often but I have been on it too learning about Brazilian culture and I learned that the Brazilian dish "Feijoada" is a delicious stew of pork and black beans served over rice with fresh orange slices. I already searched for the recipe to try it out soon. 

I asked my 4 and 8 year old what they thought about Little Passports and they both responded by asking me when the new suitcase would arrive. That's how much they liked it. 

Little Passports is a subscription program that can be purchased for 3, 6 or 12 months. The first month you receive a package called "The innovative explorer kit" in which you will receive a suitcase, a letter introducing Sam and Sofia and their magical scooter. You will also receive a wall-sized world map to track Sam and Sofia's travels, an activity sheet and a collectible boarding pass with a secret code to access games in the online boarding zone. There are two types of subscriptions: World Edition and USA edition.  

Little Passports is a San Francisco based company and was founded by two moms that wanted to create a fun way for kids to learn about the US and other countries. My family agrees that they achieved making it fun, specially with the two characters Sam and Sofia that are also kids and children can easily relate to. This is the perfect gift for children ages 4 and over, it is also ones that keeps giving as it promotes having fun while learning and inspires you to travel. If you're on Pinterest, you should follow them as they share all about traveling with children, school lunches from around the globe, culture, festivals and much more! 

Disclosure: We received an explorer kit to facilitate our review. All opinions and images are 100% my own. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Live A Happy Life...

You see the bracelets I wear? They are a reminder of where I've been and where I want to be. They are a reminder of why I am where I am...

It's been a month. I'm sitting here with a thousand thoughts going through my mind. I sit here at my desk ready to let my fingers type everything in my mind. 

All the new memories that were made during the past month. Taking it all in while looking at images that captured those special moments, those moments we spent with family, moments spent with friends. 

Someone once said "to remember is to live" {"recordar es vivir"} or something like it, so true. In the age of digital technology in which you can take unlimited amounts of pictures. I took over 700 pictures in a month during our first trip back home since moving to Costa Rica. Perhaps it sounds like a lot, but in reality and in my case I tend to take many pictures. This trip was different, this vacation I was not behind the lens as much or as often as usual and I was completely ok with that. Specially when we were with family or friends I was there, in the moment 100% there listening to all their stories and sharing our experience living as expats. I was there savoring each bite of every single meal we had. 

Then I heard my mom mention to someone "they're visiting from Costa Rica, but have 10 days left before they go back" those words came back to mind in the middle of the night and I have to admit for a moment I panicked. I felt sad and overwhelmed with emotions. I tried to be as busy as I could which meant that the next few days were the busiest out of our entire trip,  I felt I needed to do more than I could because I knew the end was near. 

As the day approached and it was time to say our "see you soon" to family and friends, we were on an emotional roller coaster that when it came time to leave for the airport I felt time stood still, I do miss all our family and our friends. I do miss spending time with each one of them over a delicious meal from home, but as we arrived in Costa Rica I felt I was arriving where I should be and that is with my husband and kids. Our little family of 4 is once again home in Costa Rica and we are enjoying the memories made while on vacation and we are also enjoying our time here. 

This time around, our arrival in Costa Rica was smoother. I am calmer, I am at peace and happy to be here, I got this! 

Our friends have come by to welcome us back, one neighbor brought me flowers and she also brought cookies for my son and pomegranates for my daughter. We don't know for sure how much longer we will be here, but I've promised myself I will be in the moment and enjoy it. I will let the positive outshine the negative and I will accept and embrace the differences because that is what being an expat is all about.

To Live A Happy Life! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Vamos mami, Baila! {Latin inspired playlist}

By the time you're reading this I'll be traveling for the first time in a year outside of Costa Rica, it's our first trip back home to enjoy family and friends and all we miss. I'm sure we are going to miss the rain, the scenery around our house and the birds waking us up at 4:30 in the morning we'll also be missing the music that keeps us moving all day long. I'm talking about bachatas, regaeton, reggae and more! Which is why today I'd like to help you update your workout playlist with another Latin inspired set of songs to keep you dancing through your day. 

Right before our move to Costa Rica I shared a list of songs I was enjoying dancing and walking to, but that was a little over a year ago. 

1.- "Mueve tu cuerpo - Pegaíto Suavecito" By Elvis Crespo ft. Fito Blanko

2.- "Mal de amores" By Juan Magan

3.- "Pajaritos en el aire" By Yandar & Yostin 

4.- "Don Juan" By Fanny Lu ft. Chino & Nacho

5.- "Ayer la ví" By Juan Magan 

6.- "6:00 a.m." By J. Balvin ft. Farruko

7.- "Ven conmigo" By Daddy Yankee ft. Prince Royce

8.- "Bailando" By Enrique Iglesias ft. Descemer Bueno & Gente de Zona

9.- "Adrenalina" By Wisin ft. JLo and Ricky Martin

10.- "La noche es de los dos" By Daddy Yankee & Natalia Jimenes

Some are from this year, others from last year and I think one is from 2012 but I just discovered since moving here. Hope you enjoy working out to these songs as much as I do. 

Is there a song I should add? 

If so please let me know in the comments section so that I may add it to my playlist.