Toddler Language Learning Fun

Lately, my littlest one actively tries to participate in homeschooling. Many times, I get out the Play Doh, felt books, or toddler games with her. A lot of times, I get the drawing supplies for her to use as well. However, my husband has been going through our vast collection of books and found our Polish-English toddler friendly board book dictionary. I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce her to Polish sounds.


Through my own studies and experiences living abroad, I have had the opportunity to study four other languages other than English, Polish being one of them. I really want my children to learn at least one foreign language. Currently, my kids can say the word for “butt” in several languages, compliments of all of our exchange students. Thanks guys and gals! (I still love my exchange students, and they know my secret…which is that I curse in Polish and Serbo-Croatian in the car.) Through studies, I also know that children hear sounds in other languages that adults do not hear. It is one of the reasons why I have exposed my children to other languages at an early age. In fact, when I was in labor with Crankles, I played music by Darko Rundek. He is a Balkan singer, and I absolutely adore him.

The fun part about doing this too is that it helps me retain some of the languages I have studied over the years. Between my brain injury issues and lack of speaking, sometimes I get a bit rusty. Nonetheless, I would like to continue learning. I also want my kids to learn as well.

Board books with simple words in other languages and music from other countries is a great way to introduce your child to their first foreign language. It is also a great way to learn about the world around them. I strongly encourage it to all parents. You may even learn something too!


Host a Summer Student with Nacel Open Door!

For the past five years, my family has been taking in exchange students. So I wanted to pass this information to all my readers!

Exciting Opportunity ..

Have you ever thought about hosting a foreign exchange student? Now is the perfect time. Nacel Open Door offers you the unique opportunity to host a student from Europe for just 4 weeks during the summer. The students are between the ages of 13 and 17, bring their own spending money and have their own insurances. They are excited and eager to experience life with an American family and practice using their English language skills.

This short, fun summer program is a great way to enjoy hosting a foreign student without a long-term commitment! It’s a fun way to liven up your summer, and help somebody else to enjoy theirs!!

This program is also excellent for families who have thought about hosting school year students, but have been afraid to give it a try–call it a trial run and see how it goes!!!! You could make a life long friend!!!

Host families are still needed for the 2012-13 school year, as well!!

Please visit www.nacel.net for more information. If you live in Berks, Lebanon, Lehigh, or Schuylkill Counties in PA, please contact Sharon Ganz: 717-272-9565 or email blessingsgaloreptl@yahoo.com.

It is truly a rewarding experience and a great way to learn about other cultures and share your culture with someone else!

My Family with one of our Summer Students!


Almost over

In less than a month one of my students will be leaving to go back to Brazil. The other will be staying until after recital. It has been a long year, but I have learned a lot, sometimes more than I wanted to learn.

We will be hosting another girl in the fall, but only one student for the next school year. As much as I love the girls, it is just too hectic to host two students next year. Also with my husband home, we don’t have enough room in our car either.

However, I will miss the girls when they leave. I will not miss all of their shoes and hair supplies, but I will miss them. My children will miss them too. I think Sissy will be lost for a while without her “sisters.” The thing is though that technology is a great thing. It is not like we will not have contact with them. There is Facebook, Skype, email, You Tube videos. Technology has exploded since I was an exchange student.

When I studied in Poland, I had two methods of talking to my family: email and short phone calls. I had one method of talking to my friends: AOL Instant Messenger. I would buy a calling card and get about 5 minutes of call time with my parents, and I didn’t do it often because it was expensive. My mom used to email me from my older brother’s house. However, my mom, God love her, did not understand that the keyboard of the computer was just like one of a typewriter. So her emails tended to look something like this.



Imagine extremely long emails like this! It would take me days to decipher them. However, I was happy she wrote. As I said before, my friends and I chatted through Instant Messenger. However, that could get expensive because I had to go to an internet cafe on campus every time I wanted to talk to them. I will say though that it was cheaper than a phone call. Once one of my best friends called my mom while I was chatting with her so that we could talk to each other using her as a go-between. My how things have changed in ten years. (I suddenly feel old.)

So even though the girls are soon leaving, it will be a lot easier to talk to them than it used to be, and cheaper too! I hope they have had a fun time here. We will definitely miss them.


Cross Cultural 7 Things

This could probably be said if you have teenage girls too! 🙂

1. You suddenly have no bathrooms in your house. I thought we had two. Turns out that I am wrong, especially in the mornings.

2. Hair products seem to multiply with water. I thought I had a lot of hair stuff–curling irons, flat irons, hair dryers, gel, spray, etc… However, the girls put me to shame. And it seems like the amount just keeps multiplying. I don’t even know where they come from.

3. Shoes also multiply with water. The girls have almost as many as the rest of us combined. My four-year old has shoe envy. She wants more, but there is no room.

4. Hair…everywhere! I think the basement bathroom is the worst. Sometimes I think there is enough hair on the floor to start a wig shop.

5. The smell. While having teenage boys may cause the house to smell a lot like feet, teenage girls cause the house to smell sometimes like a Hollister store.

6. Nail-polish found in the strangest places, like my son’s fingernails. Yup, he has had his nails painted by the girls. So has Sissy. She kind of expects it. She plays up the cuteness. Sometimes, I think we have all been suckered by her.

7. Chick Flicks. I have seen more chick flicks since September than in my whole lifetime. I think I actually like a few of them. Oh the Horror!!!

So there you have it. One or two of these items may not necessarily mean that you have a teenage girl in your house, but if you can check off three or more from the list, you might want to call a professional! Just kidding! I really do love my girls!


The trial run

Well the girls are finally home from Hawaii. My exchange students got the opportunity to spend a spring break in Hawaii with other exchange students that are in the U.S. (I am a bit jealous, aren’t you?) They got back last Thursday after being gone for little over a week. They have only a few months left with us, so it was a trial run of our house without them.

I can’t believe that it is Spring already, and there is only a few months left in their stay with us. The house seemed very quiet without them, and while the children stayed busy with schoolwork and trips to Nana’s, they missed their host sisters a lot. I found out after the girls returned that Bubby actually climbed into Mariana’s suitcase while she was packing. He told her that he was coming too. He still says that he is going to Brazil with her while Sissy Girl says she is going to Slovakia with Lucy.

I think we have all grown accustomed to the chaos of having a house of six people. However, I will say that bathrooms were much easier to come by while the girls were away. I did miss their company though. I have no one else to watch chick flicks with.

So last week was the trial run, and we are starting to plan our days for the next few months to enjoy each other while we can and plan for times when they can visit us again after they return to their home countries. This has been our fourth year hosting, and each time has been unique. It has definitely been a rich experience for us and the children and a fabulous way to create our own global family.


‘Tis the Season…

…The season for PROM that is!!! For the first time in the four years I have been hosting exchange students, I have girls going to prom. Okay, so technically Mariana is going for sure, and we are kinda prodding Lucy along on this. I already booked their hair appointments, so they both have to go. Yup! It has been decided.

Ok, so you may ask why this is a big deal for me. You see, it all started back in the summer of 2005. Sissy Girl was not yet conceived, and we were looking for a bigger house because we outgrew our tiny 700 square foot townhouse rather quickly. We looked at many homes before we viewed this one. Actually, I did not even want to look at this house because I had just been denied of my dream home (which still makes me a little sad to this day). Anyways, when we first walked through the door, I fell in love with the staircase. I know, it sounds silly, but hear me out. I could just picture having a daughter walk down those stairs in her prom dress some day.

Well as it turns out, I home school. I am not sure if my daughter will go to prom someday. I am not even sure if we will be in this house when that time comes because of my husband’s job. I mean, we are looking at a good 11-12 years before this event will happen with my daughter. So instead, I get to help the girls get ready and take pictures of them coming down the staircase in their prom dresses. It makes me happy. I know, I am a big sap. Oh well. At least someone will be coming down that staircase in a dress. Works for me!