Surviving the first day of Kindergarten


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1st day of kinder

I have two little girls, Fia is 7 and Isa is 5 years old. This week was Isa’s first day of Kindergarten. I was worried about her happiness and how well she was going to adapt to a new school, a new teacher and new friends.

The week prior to the beginning of school, we had the chance to meet the teachers and see the classrooms. Isa freaked out! she begun crying and not wanting to be anywhere near her teacher. It broke my heart to see my daughter so stressed out about school. Not fun! Not fun at all!!!

I spoke to several friends who either have experience as a teacher or children psychology. One of them gave me the best idea ever! She told me to “pave” the going to school by “acting out” the day. brilliant! For those of you who do not know what “paving” is, “paving” is a way to prepare a person by talking about what is going to happen when… we go to the store, go on vacation, meeting a new person, explaining a job, etc…

So, off we went to pave the way for Isa. On Sunday, we decided to have Family Home evening, which is like a family night but with a spiritual focus, and taught about the importance of learning both spiritual and secular things, and moved on from there.

This is how we survived the first day of Kindergarten:

  1. We talked about how God wants us to learn about him at church and “seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118)
  2. Asked the girls to put on their uniforms
  3. We had a “pretend” breakfast and made their “pretend” school lunches
  4. We “pretended” to be in my car and went for a “pretend” ride to school. I had them kiss me goodbye. My husband was waiting for them at the gate of the “pretend school”.
  5. Then pretended to have a full day at school with classes included.
  6. At the end of the “pretend” day at school, my husband “drove” his “pretend” car to pick them up from school and I welcomed them home with open arms.
  7. My husband gave them a Father’s Blessing for the upcoming year.
  8. Finally, we drove to the actual school and dropped the girls and husband off at the gate, drove around the block and picked them up.
  9. Had watermelon at home as refreshment.

I am very happy to inform you that this little “paving for school” worked like a dream! Fia and Isa were so happy to go to school. Isa was still nervous but not nearly as stressed out as before. To this day, day 4 of school, Isa is very happy and wanting to go back to school with her teacher and her new friends. I feel very blessed!

ART & Dine in Las Vegas


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I know what you were thinking this morning, you thought, “Belle, how can I make the month of June more fun for me? I wish you knew how.” Well, I do! Come join me for an ART & DINE at Rachel’s Kitchen Restaurant on June 5th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. You will get to create something unique you can take home and brag about… for years to come. We will be painting with acrylics on canvas. Ages 12 and up are welcome. No experience necessary, just your willingness to have fun!

Also, don’t miss ART CAMP for this summer. Kids 5 yrs. old and up can sign up.

8.5 x 11 poster

10 Things to do in Las Vegas with little kids


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So, you have decided to come to Las Vegas with little kids. There are plenty of attractions for teen age kids and older. However, as a local, I can give you a few ideas on what to do and where to go with little kids while visiting Las Vegas. In no particular order:

1- Discovery Children Museum
360 Promenade Place
Las Vegas, NV 89106
(702) 382-3445

We love this museum. It is very kid oriented and teaches children a plethora of really cool stuff like: how sound works with our ears, science, art, dress up areas. The first floor is our favorite! It has a huge room were kids can play with water, a pirate-dress up ship and an area for little toddlers. A must do to give the little ones a break from the strip.

2- Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
The Mirage Hotel and Casino
(702) 791-7188

The coolest thing about this place, aside from the amazing dolphin show, is the zoo. They have white tigers and white lions on display! They are gorgeous! It’s not San Diego Zoo by any means, but nevertheless, a very well kept and big enough zoo for a couple of hours of entertainment. Your kids will love it.

3- Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino
(702) 632-4555

This place is amazing!! They have a gi-normous main aquarium you can walk through it in a tunnel. You can see all the sharks, different fish and turtle swim all around you. it is a great experience. It’s the closest you could get to sharks without getting wet. they also have exhibits on many different kinds of fish, a hands-on manta ray area, jelly fish, octopus, etc… This is an aquariums that you’ll be talking about for years to come.

4- The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden
Bellagio Hotel and Casino
FREE – 24 hrs. a day/7 days a week

I love this garden. It is truly a magical place to visit! It is an exposition with live, natural flowers from around the world. It changes according to the seasons through very whimsical themes. The attention to detail is astounding. The passionate display of nature in all its awe-evoking glory – quite simply, sensational! You will be pleasantly surprised at its size and the wonderful aroma you can detect as you approach it.

5- Tournament of the Kings at the Excalibur
Excalibur Hotel and Casino
(702) 597-7600

Haza!!!! This is probably one of the most entertaining things to do in Las Vegas, even without kids. It’s a dinner show with Invading armies! Dancing maidens! Jousting! Fireworks! And eating with your fingers! Its true, you don’t get silverware, LOL. We usually dress up our kids in princess costumes to make it more fun for them. There are horses, live music, cheering, singing… a great night in town!

6- Gondola Rides at The Venetian
The Venitian Hotel and Casino
(702) 414.4300

A more romantic and low-key place to visit but still fun! I have been to Venice, Italy, and I can honestly say that they did a fabulous job replicating the scene. Piazza San Marco, at a 10th of its real size, is extremely cute and a very pleasant walk to let your kid run a bit. The Gondola rides are great because each gondolier sings to you “opera style”! you don’t necessarily need to ride a gondola to enjoy the music, but it adds to the magic of the moment. When there, make sure to get some gelato as well.

7- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
3205 State Route 159
Las Vegas, NV 89161

(702) 515-5350
Location: About 20 miles from the Vegas Strip

Nature lovers, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area presents awe-inspiring views most wouldn’t expect to see near a major metropolitan city. In contrast to the bright lights and hype of the Strip, Red Rock offers desert beauty, towering red cliffs and abundant wildlife. Our favorite hike with our kids is Lost Creek/Children’s Discovery; however, here is a list of hikes for all hiking levels.

8- Hoover Dam
Boulder City, NV
(702) 494-2517 or (866) 730-9097
Location: The Dam is 35 miles south of Las Vegas on U.S. 93

This dam is huge, dam huge!!! LOL It is a wonder of engineering that should not be missed. They have tours where you can see the power plant, or if you feel like spending a little more money, you can venture into the Dam Tour for $30. Due to 9/11 attack, security is tight, so be prepared for a car check. $7 for parking.

9- Wet n’ Wild Water Park
7055 S. Fort Apache Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89148.
(702) 979-1600

Las Vegas can get HOT! very hot! and there is nothing more refreshing than cool, fun water. They have rides for all ages and “darers”. Its a little pricy if you ask me but very entertaining for the whole family. It’s true you’ll have a pool at your hotel, which you should take plenty of advantage of during the summer. However, this place is just fun! plain and simple.

10- Las Vegas Mini Grand Prix
1401 N. Rainbow Blvd
Las vegas, NV 89108
(702) 259-7000
Location: About 20 minutes from the Vegas Strip

My kids LOVE this place. We go here often for mommy/daddy daughter dates. You can drive carts with your kid next to you or they can drive their own little carts. They have a small roller-coaster and other “fair-like” attractions. the best deal is a wrist band and pizza. You can get a wrist band for your little kid and ride with him/her for free. Granted, this is not an available feature for ALL the rides but it is worth the money.

So there you have it, 10 things you can do with your little kids in Las Vegas. Have fun and enjoy the city that never sleeps.


Easy school lunches

My oldest daughter is going to 1st grade this year. I have been freaking out, not about her teacher or her school, but about her lunches. What should I use as container? making it fun, healthy, good, something she’ll eat….

I have been doing so much research, you have no idea. Totally freaked out, right? LOL

After so many worries, pictures and materials I have come to a decision, I can only give her what she will eat, everything else is just for show! So here is what I came up with, any combination of the following would be just fine and she would love them too:

lunch box stuff

Now, these are all based on what my kid likes. I am planning on adding to this list as time goes by. Shoot, I might just give her money to buy her lunch at school on Fridays, it’s pizza day . You can do something similar for your child with all the things that she/he likes. Of course, making the lunch look cute is up to you.  Here are some of the things I think are useful to me which you can find in Amazon under lunch:

Cookie/veggie/cheese cutters

Disposable container with three areas for food

Rectangular silicone baking cups

Thermos for hot meals such as soup, pasta, etc…

    • Contigo Autoseal Kids Trekker Cup, 14-Ounce, Magenta

      Water cup with lid. I like the ones without straws.

    • Lunch box. This is actually really firm inside.

      Ice coolers. to keep things fresh



SAM_3224_2OMG! Did I have fun doing art camp this year? YES. Yes I did. I have been extremely impressed with the quality and talent the children brought to these classes. THEY WERE AMAZING!!

I had 5 different sessions during the 2014 summer. I taught 5 yrs old and up. they created and learned all kinds of things. The classes begun with an introduction to “liquid watercolors” and water color paper. Learning about the differences of “tooth” or “roughness” of different paper. They also learned about perspective and how objects seem to change in size when seen from a distance.

We also talked and learned about making prints with ink and foams on paper. Learned about the differences between watercolors and acrylics. The Final projects were done on canvas with acrylics. This was their favorite project through out the week of camp. Here are some examples of the work done or you can always visit my “Arts and Crafts with Belle” website to see more. Maybe if you are in the Las Vegas area you might want to join in.

Acrylic on Canvas

Acrylic on Canvas

Masks done with papier mache and acrylics

Masks done with papier mache and acrylics

pen and ink mermaids

pen and ink mermaids

Print making with ink and foam

Print making with ink and foam

Acrylics on canvas

Acrylics on canvas

Party special: Halloween


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It is that time of the year again when I begin to get ready for parties. We have a Halloween party coming up, “my little pony” birthday party for my oldest turning 6yrs old, Thanksgiving and then Christmas. All within two months, more or less.

So, I will be presenting my preparations for each as they come.

This year’s Halloween party will be goth. I don’t want to make it bloody or scary. Last year my kids could hardly sleep with a giant spider hanging from the balcony. This year I will concentrate on bats and goth with a touch of whimsy.

This is what the invitation looks like. To save on postage I will hand deliver them. I’m just going to print them at Costco 4×6. Nothing complicated.

halloween party for blogI used old Victorian ornament clip art, same for the bat. For fonts, I used Sabon bold for the regular copy, Shipped Goods (from and Roman Antique for the title.

I have found the following pictures as inspirations for the decor:


15 Cute Halloween Food Ideas

I’ll show you how the decorations progress as I go. The only question is, where do I get candelabras from? Wish me luck!


Arts and Crafts: July 2013


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We had a blast during July. We explored the artists Eric Carle and Paul Klee, as well as line and form. The kids were so excited to participate and are very much looking forward to my August class. We will be focusing on Picasso, one of my favorite artists, as well as line and form. There is just so much to learn about it.

Here are a few examples of what we did during our July class:

The little kids created these caterpillars and butterflies using their hands body and wings. We used tempera as medium.

Little painted hands created these cute little guys.

Little painted hands created these cute little guys.


Painted tissue paper

Painted tissue paper

Painted tissue paper

Painted tissue paper

Painted tissue paper

SAM_2567 SAM_2568 SAM_2569 SAM_2570We created our own patterned paper a la Eric Carle. You do this by painting tissue paper and then cutting the paper out to create a picture. It was so much fun. After words, we made either bugs or animals. I have very creative students. SAM_2576 SAM_2577 SAM_2578 SAM_2579 SAM_2580 SAM_2584 SAM_2615SAM_2618  SAM_2620 SAM_2623 SAM_2625 SAM_2626 SAM_2628

Arts and craft classes


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Arts and crafts topI decided to open up an arts and crafts class/school for children, so, in my way of just doing things, classes begin the first week of July. I will be teaching children from the ages 3-12 years old. I’ve had a few teenagers interested in my classes as well.

For the month of July, I will be teaching line and form. Since the ages of each one of my classes vary, this is how I will break it up:

We will be reading the book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”.

With this book, we will learn about color, shape and form as well as about the artist behind this book, Eric Carle, during our first two weeks of class.

3-4 and 5-6 class — Will learn about hand painting and cutting with scissors. We will be making the following projects:

7-9 and 10-12 class — Will learn about the process Eric Carle uses in order to make these fabulous illustrations and will be making our own bugs. Here is the process of his genius. we will end up with something like this:
Abdulla's Flying Insect
The last two weeks of class we will learn about line and shape. To this end we will study Mr. Paul Klee. He is famous for his simplistic yet evocative art.
The work I am most interesting in sharing with the students is this one, Du gris de la nuit surgit soudain, 1918:
Based on this work, the children will learn about line, color and negative space.
We will also be working, on the last two weeks of July, with the book The Dot, by Peter H. Raynolds.

The US Constitution and me


I became a citizen of the United States in 2010. I have been in this country since 1993. It took me 10 years to become a legal resident, and 7 more to be a citizen.

I remember, several years ago, I was talking to some friends about how me and my family celebrated Thanks Giving. Being from Chile, I had to learn the meaning of this American holiday and how it was celebrated. Believe it or not, other countries do not care about what holidays the United States celebrates or its history.

I was about to tell my friends that we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as most Americans do, when a very rude person, completely out of nowhere, just busted out loud “WELL, IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, THEN GET THE F_ _K OUT OF HERE“.

I was shocked. I would have thought that a country that lets you burn the flag as a sign of political disagreement would let me, little old me, finish a sentence. Life in the USA has been extremely better for me that it ever was back in Chile. Only the rich live the way I do here. And I’m just a middle class person.

In retrospective,  I wish I had had the presence of mind to say something like…. “No. Stop. You are misunderstanding my meaning. While there are several things that I do miss from Chile, food and people, life is better here. Here I can say and do almost whatever I want. Here I can speak freely of any topic I wish. Here I don’t have to be scared for my family. Here I can agree or disagree with everyone and everything. So, as you can see, if YOU don’t like what I have to say, you can get the flip out of here yourself.”

It is not easy to be an immigrant in the United States. I get discriminated all the time. Funny, but terrible really, I get discriminated by regular folks for being Latina, Hispanic, a woman, a mother, my accent, and some ordinary ideas.

Being a citizen makes me feel more secure and sure of myself. I watched a PBS show about the United States Constitution that really helped me understand a few things about my rights.

I wish that “rude person” had let me finish my sentence that day. She would have learned that “we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving like most Americans do. We eat a turkey, which we bake in the oven, butterfly style. This way it takes a lot less time to cook. My dad would spice it up with several condiments of all kinds. We would then have several salads and cooked potatoes. After lunch, we would watch movies ALL DAY LONG, “picking” at every scrap of food left from the feast.”




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No (2012 film).jpg

I don’t know if you already knew this about me but I am from Chile. During the time of the Oscars, a movie from Chile was nominated for best international movie. It did not win, but the fact that a movie from my native country was nominated is just awesome. You can watch the movie trailer HERE.

When I was born in Chile, there was an air of uncertainty and despair.
On September 11, 1975, there was a military coup, in which they took power, and 15 years of dictatorship followed. We had to stand in lines to get flour and eggs and rice. There wasn’t enough food but there was enough people disappearing… and found dead.

My dad used to be the secretary for a small group of workers who were under the direction, of the now dead, socialist president. Because of this job, he was taken away by the militia. They made him drive a truck, all around town, picking up other men, some of his same group, to be taken to a near by stadium and be assassinated. My dad disappear for three full days. My mom was desperate not knowing what had happened to him. to the family’s relief, he showed up after the third day. He said that he had been released by pure luck. but that some of his friends did not make it out alive. We moved that very day, leaving everything behind, to another city.

Then, in the late 80’s, the dictator, Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, decided to have a plebiscite to see if the “pueblo” loved him enough for him to stick around. The plebiscite was simple, “si” for him to stay for another eight years, or “no” for him to go away and have the people decide whom to elect in his instead. You must understand that up to that point people where still disappearing and found dead all over Chile. Fear was strong.

A month before the plebiscite took place, ad campaigns about the “SI” and “No” were played on TV. Each section would get 15 minutes of air time. The “NO” was pushed to be played after midnight every night. After you watch the movie you will see what this “NO” campaign did and how the country decided for the “NO”.

I remember well the day this anticipated news came to life. It was amazing chaos combined with the most beautiful happiness we had known until then. We all went out to the streets and celebrated. The militia came off later on to send everyone home, but after that day, a new air of freedom and change was being breathed.

As for Mr. Pinochet. well, he decided to become a high ranked senator vitae in congress. No one could kick him out of power. A few years later, bodies were being found that had been buried up in mass graves. people that had been tortured under the regime, came forward, and so on so forth. For some reason, that I am willing to research in the future, Pinochet could not be touched. Allegations were filed but he could not be blamed. It took England to extradite him for some crimes committed against humanity. no prison for him.

Pinochet went back to Chile and was placed under house arrest. He died, in 2006, with over 300 criminal charges against him. he never paid time in jail.

1973 Coup