Friday, August 5, 2016

Toddlers Learn To Write

A Toddler Learns to Write
Photo by Leticia Alaniz © 2016
At an early age, children become aware that written symbols, such as letters, pictures, or lines from their imagination represent real objects that have meaning for other people.  This awareness lays the foundation for them to become writers and readers.  As soon as they understand that letters stand for sounds and that groups of letters become words, thus begins their lifelong journey of communication.

If given the tools for writing and drawing, a toddler can learn to make scribbles that develop his imagination and writing skills as early as 18 months.  Soon enough, he will achieve motor coordination in his hands and will develop a special meaning that lays the foundation for learning.  

Children naturally become enthusiastic if they’re encouraged and their “art” is appreciated.  His daydreaming and curiosity could be a clue of developing stories that he may want to express.  By the age of three, a toddler may be talking full sentences and therefore, crafting his stories.  

As Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”


Every child learns at his own pace, some toddlers are interested only at looking at pictures or playing with other toys, while others seem to be restless or find it difficult to be seated for longer than three minutes.  But the most important thing to remember is to be encouraging, give lots of hugs, and enjoy the special moments of his learning milestones through this wonderful journey as he explores his world.


By Leticia Alaniz

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Love in the Time of Kahlúa

Photo by Leticia Alaniz © 2016
If Love in the Time of Khalúa sound like words you might have uttered or read before, that’s because they’re a play on words based on the great classic novel, Love in the Time of Cholera by beloved Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez.  They’re words that lead you to a delicious cocktail that includes as it’s main ingredient the novel (of course) and the Mexican coffee liquor Kahlúa. 

“Never settle… even for a doctor… with a hot accent.  Otherwise you could go for a half-century till you find the real thing.”

Tim Federle, an award-winning American novelist, actor and theater librettist came up with the clever novelty cocktail recipe book, Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist based on his own mother’s book club which involved great literature and good wine of course!

“In Márquez’s version of romance, the zipper-straining desire of the trio of lovebirds is practically an illness eating his characters from the inside out.”

Those who have read the novel know exactly how the fifty-one year romance lead to the two lovebirds eventually being reunited after the first husband (the doctor) dies.  The main characters, Florentino and Fermina, lovers in their youth, exchange several love letters but Fermina realizes that her relationship with Florentino was nothing but a dream and she breaks off their engagement to marry a doctor with a good reputation in society (not to mention that he’s rich).  

Florentino, even after she broke off their engagement and she married, continued to wait for her.  Five decades pass… you might as well prepare several of these Kahlúa cocktails because it’s a juicy read.   It’s in the time of the cholera epidemic…  It’s hot, humid and it will cool you off.  

The doctor, Juvenal Urbino at his elderly age climbed on a ladder to attempt to get his pet parrot out of a mango tree, only to fall off the ladder and die.  It’s Florentino’s chance to proclaim his love for Fermina who is now a widow still wearing black dresses.  He hardly even waited for the funeral to be over, what a nerve! 

Love in the Time of Khalúa is one of the many cocktails that will inspire you to read more of the classics or if you’ve read them, then you can revisit them with a good cocktail that evokes rich literature.  Other cocktails in Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist include, One Flew Over the Cosmo’s Nest, A Cocktail of Two Cities, Howards Blend, The Count of Monte Cristal, A Farewell to Amaretto, The Malted Falcon, and many more.

Other titles by Tim Federle:

The Great American Whatever
Gone with the Gin: Cocktails with a Hollywood Twist
Better Nate Than Ever
Hickory Daiquiri Dock: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist
Five, Six, Seven, Nate!
Tommy Can’t Stop

For the cocktail:

1 Part Kahlúa
2 Part Rum (or Vodka)
1 Part Heavy Cream
1 shot of cold espresso

Fill a  rocks glass with ice cubes.  Add Kahlúa and Rum, finish up with a cream layer.  You can sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg or cinnamon on top and drink to passion.