Archive for July, 2007

Happenin' Chiquitas … Aren't High School Reunions a Blast?!?!

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

So………….. I traded my wireless mic for an inflated, rubber one from the Oriental Trading Company over the weekend during our Largo High School 30 Year Reunion at the Don Cesar Hotel located on beautiful St. Petersburg Beach, Florida (sounds like a Chamber of Commerce sentence, right?!?!).

Yes – Boca Beth was belting out Donna Summer’s I Will Survive to husbands I have no clue to whom they even belonged (nor did I care at that point of the evening!!!!!!!!!!!!).  My amiga and I had decided to leave our reunion and crash Northeast High’s which was located on another floor and ballroom!!!!!!!!! 

Oh my, oh my – if the little darlins could have heard me singing that song in place of my normal Kiss is a Beso or ¿ Qué hora es ? off our Boca Beth bilingual children’s music CDs.  (But, hey!  Even Boca Beth has to let her hair down every now and again!)

My best high school buddy, Terry, and I were roomies for the weekend and truly proved that 30th reunions can be a blast!

Happy Reunion Crashing!

Boca Beth

BOCA the Costume Character Comes to Life! Bringing Spanish to Life!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

BOCA is truly becoming a 7 – foot costume character!!!!!!!!!  Oh, my!!!!!!!  It’s like watching your dream come to life the next day!!!

I am soooooo excited being the founder of The Boca Beth Program – never when I conceptualized our first video’s story board did I ever think our little Language Amigo BOCA would become more than a simple hand puppet.  I really always had him as the star – the professor in our bilingual educational DVDs for young children.  It was never about ME – the voice behind the puppet.  It was always about him.  Therapists use puppets often in sessions with children…………he truly does elicit the verbalization of the new language for children.

Whether it’s a Latino child learning English or an English-speaking child learning Spanish – BOCA really works his magic!

Now BOCA will be traveling the country as a larger than life character – bringing music and movement to our second language journeys!

Watch for more photos!

Boca Beth

Hola Amigo – Hello Friend

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

We will be singing and dancing and playing in the morning tomorrow at the Lutz Library in the Tampa, Florida area!  It is the last of my Summer Series with children in our local community – mainly sponsored by Friends of the Library.  Each year these people place additional funds into our library systems in order to provide additional programs for families. 

Boca Beth has gone all out this summer and traveled the cities in our neighboring area sharing her love of bilingual fun with music and movement and creativity!  In spite of heart challenges, mom’s death and extensive Conference travel I have tried to really be out there for the children and their second language journeys.  It means a lot to me to give back to my community – so whether it is mission work done gratis or these library events offered at a discount I love doing them!

See you en la mañana – I have props packed to do La familia/The family, ¿Qué hora es?/What Time is it?, Días de la semana/Days of the Week and lots more – soon we will have some of these favorites on music videos for sharing on public access TV and more!  Yippppeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth 

Give Your Child the Bilingual Advantage

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

A new book just arrived to our Boca Beth office – it had been preordered since early this year.  It’s titled The Bilingual Edge and is written by two Doctors who also are two moms and professors of linguistics with one specializing in bilingualism and one in second language learning.

Talk about excited to get a book and begin devouring it!  I am so engrossed in their reports, findings and suggestions!  So far, they are right in agreement with what we create for young children here at Boca Beth and what we share worldwide to promote a fun second language journey for young children. Here are just a few quotes from the book that will motivate you to give your child the gift of a second language and know that you CAN do this even if you do not speak more than one language yourself:

Even parents with limited second language proficiency can interact with their child in the second language, providing important language input.  The value lies in the interaction….it’s a myth to assume you need to be a native speaker to provide quality second language interaction for your child.Any parent can raise a child who knows more than one language, even if that parent is monolingual. Rich, dynamic and meaningful interactions is critical and more important than having a perfect native-speaker model.

What does this all boil down to?  Use our Boca Beth bilingual music CDs and DVDs and coloring/activity book to spark the interaction between you and your children!  Use our FREE resources on our site – suggested activities that bring each song to life, language cards that provide some great beginning reading and easy pronunciation help for you and so much more!  Sing, dance, play and have fun with your children as you introduce Spanish to them at a young age. (shhhh!  Don’t tell too many people, but I have parents and teachers tell me often that they are learning some Spanish along with the kids!)

language card                       language card           

No Bebé – No Baby – Kind of glad, Kind of sad

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

I have been feeling a bit ‘off’ lately breathing wise, dizziness wise, shortness of breath wise and felt that I should really have it all checked out before I begin my next round of Bilingual Fun Travels to share my passion for second language fun with young children!

I already had my annual appointment with Dr. Jones (YES!  THE Dr. Galen Jones of Tampa, Florida!!!).  What is it about our OB/GYNs that make us put them on a pedestal and into some very special category no one else in our human life could ever take the place of?!?!?!?  I love, love, love going to see this man – it’s only once a year (God willing), but I treat him like a king in my mind.

In Puerto Rico, in our haste to depart the hotel before they began charging us the half day rate of $250 for the room, I left my daily birth control pill on the hotel room’s vanity and forgot to take it or take it with me.  I have never totally missed a pill – sure I have been a day or so late but never lost it or left it behind (never to enter my mouth!).  With all of these weird symptoms I was a tad bit sure I might be expecting my fourth child!  I kept it to myself, never told anyone my suspicion, did my patient duty in the cup and waited for the exam. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . Long 15 minutes.  I was thinking, “Okay, so you’ve been reading about older moms, late life babies, in fact, Beth, you have a late life child already.  Having another at 48 will be fine!!!!”  I was really becoming quite used to the idea of a little one again – especially after the H.E.R.I Homeschool Convention where these moms and dads have 5, 7, 10 and even 13 children!  I was really viewing this ‘perhaps-soon-to-be-Butler-Baby’ as one of God’s extra blessings on our family.

But, Dr. Jones, that guy who I hold so high in esteem informs me it won’t be so!  I disguise my somewhat medium level of disappointment and continue on with our delightful discussion about his Mission trip, my recent believers’ baptism, our new Boca Beth Christian bilingual music CD for children and his daughter who will be teaching kindergarten for the first time here in Tampa, Florida.

So, it’s been another day at the office.  Head Start calls and wants me to do a very cool training (God’s blessing), our studio guy feels that we can shoot our new Spanish and English music videos for preschoolers in a way cool studio in Orlando as long as the price is right (God will provide!) and my ‘bebé’ Megan is napping peacefully recovering from a double ear infection (God watches over us all).

I will continue being mamá to my three wonderful children and know that I have been given what I can handle!  Oh, and the symptoms that I have been experiencing?…?…?…?…?  My general practitioner who I also went to see this week says it’s time for me to go back on Beta Blockers for a while to help with the level of stress and level of excitement my keynote and workshop engagements present for my body!  

Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth 

Sing, Dance and Play Teaching Spanish and English Today/Canta, baila y juega . . .

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Puerto Rico last week – Jacksonville, Florida this week.  I am so blessed to be able to travel – to share times with my family and now my sister as we prepare to present our Boca Beth bilingual fun for children to our second homeschool convention.

Our first in Ohio was amazing this past March, and we pray that this one starting in the morning will be just as excellent for us in terms of sales as well as the warm reception from the homeschooling families in attendance.  Below is the abstract I wrote about bilingual education in our country – I simply aim to demonstrate how fun and easy it can be to bring second language fun into homes with little children using our Boca Beth Program!

Abstract for Beth Butler/BOCA BETHSing, Dance and Play Teaching Spanish and English Today!!! 

          Raising bilingual children has become a topical issue for educators, care  

givers, parents and administrators around our country.  Continued research proves  

that introducing second, third, even fourth languages to young children improves  

their mental development.  Bilingual children read sooner, score higher on  

standardized tests’ math and verbal sections, experience greater problem solving  

abilities and become better communicators than monolingual children.   

            There is a reason experts agree: the earlier, the better when it comes to  

teaching a second language to children.  Young children will learn the language  

faster, retain it better and most often speak the new language like a native when  

compared to an adult beginning second language learning.   

            There has always existed a gap between the language learning taking place in 

other countries and that of the United States.  We have done a great disservice to our  

youth by not providing them the tools to get a head start on becoming bilingual  

adults.  Our nation needs to face the challenge to prepare our youth for the global  

society in which we live.  Elementary school programs have had to 

analyze the bilingual vs. immersion methods of bringing a second language to  

children ages five – ten.  Lack of bilingual staff, a true lack of creative and  

comprehensive bilingual programs combined with the ever-increasing ethnic 

diversity within each community has made it seem almost impossible to bridge the 

language barriers. 

            Awareness is the key.  Parents, administrators and staff realize the great benefits of 

being bilingual (if not trilingual!).  Now the responsibility rests on the shoulders of 

bilingual program creators, researchers and educators to share their knowledge and  

motivation to begin the second language journey with our youth.

Happy Educating! 

Boca Beth

Bringing Back the Memories of Tropical Breezes and Mofongo

Monday, July 9th, 2007

It’s so weird……..I can’t stop thinking about the awesome traditional Puerto Rican fare called mofongo.  Pictured here, this somewhat sweeter flavored dish consists of mashed plantains and is then often times filled with lobster or shrimp or meat or vegetables.  I had been warned, “You will either love it or hate it Boca Beth.”

I LOVE IT!!!!  I feel like I am going through detox from not having it for three days now that I am home in Tampa, Florida.  Anyone know where I can find some great, authentic Mofongo today?!?!?!  ¡Ayudame por favor!

Here’s a recipe right off the web for those of you into the culinary skills.  Me?  I am just going searching, out into our diverse community.  I know I will find some good mofongo soon!!!!!!! 

Mofongo
(mashed fried plantains)

Serves: six adults
Preparation time: About thirty minutes. Ingredients:

mofongo

3 or 4 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoonfuls of ground garlic
1 tablespoonful of olive oil
4 slices of bacon
salt to taste

Procedure:

Sautee the bacon slices until most of the fat has melted. Add the salt, garlic and olive oil.

While the above step is going on, fry the plantain slices over medium to medium-high heat in a deep pan with your favorite frying oil.

Remove when the slices begin to turn crisp.

In a large mortar, mash the plantain slices with the pestle, a few at a time, adding the bacon and seasoning mixture gradually. The plantains should form a thick, hard mass.

OR: hollow each ball out in the middle and fill with any tasty dish in a sauce. Some favorites are shrimp (Mofongo Relleno de Camarones), lobster (Mofongo Relleno de Langosta) and stewed chicken (Mofongo Relleno de Pollo). Experiment with variations and email your favorites to us!

Recipes for the mofongo fillings:
Shrimp filling
Lobster filling
Chicken filling

Enjoy!

And…………did I mention I am missing those tropical breezes off the Atlantic Ocean?  The same ones that also come down from the montañas/mountains of Puerto Rico?  The temperature is basically the same here in Tampa as it was there in Rio Grande – the HUGE/GRANDE difference is the humidity here is so high and we have no constant breeze that provides relief just when you think you have reached your max!

Ahhhhh….I so miss the palms blowing every moment, the water swishing up on shore, the sound of the children laughing as they go down the water slide in the resort’s pool….it truly was a vacation!  Relaxing, refreshing and full of quality time for and with my family.  Just how my mom would have wanted it……  For those of you who know me well know my mom passed on to the Lord only three months ago and left us four children just a little money.  I used mine in a way I knew Mom would have wanted to see me use it.  On quality time with my family whom she loved so much.

Thank you Mom.  I miss you so much and hold close to my heart the memories of you every day.

   With love and gratitude for helping make me the woman I am today – your ‘baby girl’ – Beth

The Streets of Old San Juan – Where Children Learn History, Language and Culture

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

I am so blessed, so very appreciative to have had our last day in Puerto Rico end up in the streets/las calles de Old San Juan/San Juan viejo.  It really gave me, my three children and my husband the opportunity to see, experience and feel the San Juan of long ago, of today and of the future. 

I remember reading an article from a travel writer of The Tampa Tribune (Life Printed Daily is their tag line, and I love it!).  He wrote specifically about San Juan, about having a certain budget and making his stay fit that budget – all the while enjoying the local flavor and beat of Old San Juan.  We saved that paper, we read it right before leaving the resort to drive to San Juan, and I am so glad we took the time to do a little research!

My three children loved, loved, loved the forts – my English/History major husband loved, loved, loved the forts, and I (with my vieja rodilla/old knee) loved, loved, loved the quality time we continued to spend in this lovely spot with panoramic views of the ocean.  It was surreal …………………. looking across the cannon gateways into the beautiful blue mar/sea and feeling the ocean breezes upon my Irish freckled cheeks.  Man – I was the total picture of “Gringa gone loca en San Juan.”

As we drove from the resort in Rio Grande (near Luquillo – a very cool beach area my amigas de Puerto Rico had advised us to visit), I reminded our two teens to practice their Español for the last few hours to which they replied, “Oh Mom!”  I swear, I am the only one (other than my vino/wine based husband) who insisted on speaking Spanish even when the resort staff would reply, “I am from Chicago!”  Ay, mi madre.  Could someone get me a native speaker here for the kids’ language acquisition please?!?!?!

It’s kind of like Dr. Kendall King and Dr. Alison Mackey (authors of The Bilingual Edge) whispering in my ear, “Beth, just a few minutes with a native speaker will be terrific today – don’t put all the weight on you alone!”  These two linguistics professors from Georgetown University talk about how children do not need their parents to be native speakers of a language to give their children a sound foundation on which to build skills in a second language.  In fact, one of their “Fast Facts” states:   Sounding exactly like a native speaker of the target language is less important than being able to communicate in the language and enjoying using the language.   

I have truly lived that statement, believed in that statement, raised my three bilingual children using that statement and created a bilingual product line around that statement in a nutshell.  That is why ………….. when you look at or hear or experience any other bilingual or immersion product for young children you will be hard pressed to find a program so integrated, with so many cool resources (many of which are FREE!!!!) like my Boca Beth Program.

I feel proud tonight.  Coming home on the tail end of a five day trip to a country that is a common wealth of the United States – one that struggles with its independence from and co-dependence upon the United States – I feel poised to say we are on the right path amigos/amigas/friends.

Children will feel proud of their heritage, their culture, their native language while also learning a new language that will help them travel successfully through our global society, our ever-demanding world of diversity.  You invest a few dollars in one of our CDs or DVDs or cool coloring/activity books for the trip and your children will be loving the la vida loca and learning the language too!

Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth

Estoy en Puerto Rico … I am in Puerto Rico!!!!

Friday, July 6th, 2007

This is so amazing…………….  I am blogging while sitting at a table in the beautiful Lobby of the Rio Mar Wyndham Resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.  There is hip-swaying, Latin music blaring from the Lobby Bar, my Latino/Latina friends are doing the salsa, the ramba, the merengue y mas/more, but I felt compelled to share before we end our family vacation here in Puerto Rico.

Yo tengo muchas amigas de aqui y ahora puedo entender porque quieren salir para otra vida mejor – otra vida llena de oportunidad.  I have many friends from here and now I understand why they want to leave for a better life – a life full of opportunity. 

Don’t get me wrong – it is an island of beauty, of many natural wonders and mysteries.  But, what it also has, is poverty, crime, crazy driving and a feel all of its own.  I could not live here and be the positive person that I am.  It’s been a terrific family vacation at a lovely resort that does not replicate the life these people live.

I thank God, I thank my husband, my family and my life for what I have.

Buenas noches Puerto Rico – Good Night Puerto Rico –

Boca Beth 

Florida Family Child Care Home Association Shines Throughout Florida

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

How blessed am I?!?!?!?! ………

I sometimes have to really pinch myself to make certain I am not dreaming this journey.

Living my dream…………walking with the Lord at my side………….sharing what I love and what I do well…………….thank you Brenda Ives and Cathy McCoy and staff of FFCCHA (www.familychildcare.org) for allowing me to spend the weekend sharing my message of how easy it can be to bring a second language into little children’s lives.

I was the musical keynote – opened with “Sing Praise for the Children”  and closed with “Movin’ and Groovin'” – thought we all were going to just bust some stitches in our britches with the following keynote from Dr. William Allen Mallory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That gentleman can talk and motivate and educate all at the same time.  He was an inspiration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you all – my daughter Megan was cared for by one of your providers for almost four years after totally sinking in a large preschool setting. 

Hang tight for way cool pictures of this terrific Conference.

Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth