11 easy steps to organize a birthday party in Mexico

  • Choose a theme – the munchkin says, “We’re at the beach so ocean theme.”
  • Google party cakes and find one that fits your theme.
  • Download the picture to your phone.
  • Visit the bakery and show them the picture. “I can do the icing,” says the young baker, “but not the starfish or the seahorse. My mother could do them, but she’s away.”
  • Go to the candy store, show the picture and buy appropriate beads and stars to decorate the cake.
  • Go to the craft store, show the picture and ask the lady to make a starfish and seahorse.
  • Go to the piñata store, show the picture and order a seahorse piñata.
  • While at the piñata store, buy the party bags and the candy to fill the bags and the piñata.



















  • Three days later pick up the starfish and seahorse. Take them to the cake baker girl.
  • That same day, pick up the piñata.



















  • On the day of the party, pick up the cake, hang the piñata, order the pizza.

Happy Birthday, my darling girl. Feliz Cumpleanos!



The Color of Lightning – Paulette Jiles

Jiles’ story telling almost sparse yet vivid, her world building so strong she had me searching maps to locate and trace the travels of Britt, the Kiowa, the Comanche.
The harrowing experiences of the captives, the harsh life of the Indians heartbreaking and mesmerizing with this masterpiece. The bumbling efforts of the government and sometimes well-intentioned religious groups often making relations between whites and Indians so much worse.

I had read and loved Jiles’ “News of the World” and leapt at the chance to read another of her books. I’m so glad I did.


From Paulette Jiles, author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Enemy Women and Stormy Weather, comes a stirring work of fiction set on the untamed Texas frontier in the aftermath of the Civil War. One of only twelve books longlisted for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize—one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards—The Color of Lightning is a beautifully rendered and unforgettable re-examination of one of the darkest periods in U.S. history.


Ratoncito Perez – Mexican Tooth Mouse

The munchkin had to have a baby tooth pulled. This is what the dentist gave her.




El Ratoncito Pérez or Ratón Pérez (literally translated into English as Perez mouse or Perez the Mouse) is a figure popular in Spanish and Hispanic American cultures, similar to the tooth fairy, originating in Madrid in 1894 when Luis Coloma was contracted to write a story for Alfonso XIII, who had just lost his tooth at the age of 8.

Coloma’s story follows Ratoncito Pérez who lived with his family in a box of cookies in Madrid, but frequently ran away from home through the pipes of the city, and into the bedrooms of children who had lost their teeth. The story details how Ratoncito Pérez cunningly misleads any cats in the vicinity who may be lurking, and includes his interaction with King Buby (Queen Maria Christina’s nickname for Alfonso XIII).

The city council of Madrid paid tribute to Ratoncito Pérez with a commemorative plaque outside the warehouse where the mouse was said to have lived. The plaque reads: “Here lived, in a box of cookies, Ratoncito Pérez, according to the story that the father Coloma wrote for the young King Alfonso XIII.” Ratoncito Pérez thus became the first fictional character honored with a plaque by the Madrid City Council. Coloma’s original manuscript, with his signature and a dedication to King Alfonso XIII, is now located in the vault of the Royal Palace Library.

Statue of Ratoncito Perez



The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter – Hazel Gaynor


I like historical fiction especially when the novel is about a little known individual. In “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter” we meet Grace Darling, who helps to rescue the survivors of a shipwreck and bring them the lighthouse. Her courageous actions turn her life upside down. But more profound are the connections she makes to people she would otherwise have never met. It is their descendents who bring Grace Darling back to our attention 100 years later.

A wonderful read!


1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.


The Fountains of Silence – Ruta Sepetys

I have vague memories of hearing about the Spanish Civil War and Hemingway, but it wasn’t until I read Domingo’s Angel by Jenny Twist, that I had some understanding of what really happened.

In Twist’s novel, a tall, thin, pale English girl wanders into a remote Spanish mountain village, meets a young villager and stays. This is not just their love story. It is the story of the personalities and dynamics of a small community and of the worsening conditions under Franco’s rule.

The Fountains of Silence brings even greater understanding of the harsh conditions and tyranny of Franco’s regime. Ostensibly this is a YA or NA novel, bit it doesn’t feel that way as you read. Daniel comes to Madrid with his parents. An aspiring photo journalist, he pokes his nose where he shouldn’t. Through his eyes we begin to see the horrid conditions in Spain in the 50s.

Well written, informative, with great characters and a nice touch of romance. Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, which add depth to the story.




Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.





Factoring Humanaity – Robert J. Sawyer


Simply put, Robert Sawyer is brilliant and his novels are always intriguing and informative. In “Factoring Humanity” Sawyer juxtaposes our world with its family and life stresses with that of an alien race that sends signals to Earth. When Heather finally breaks the code of the messages, we, along with her husband and daughter, are taken along for an amazing ride.


In 2007, a signal is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. Heather Davis a professor in the University of Toronto psychology department, has devoted her career to deciphering the message. Her estranged husband, Kyle, is working on the development of artificial intelligence systems and new computer technology utilizing quantum effects to produce a near-infinite number of calculations simultaneously.

When Heather achieves a breakthrough, the message reveals a startling new technology that rips the barriers of space and time, holding the promise of a new stage of human evolution. In concert with Kyle’s discoveries of the nature of consciousness, the key to limitless exploration — or the end of the human race — appears close at hand.


Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk – Kathleen Rooney

Delightful in so many ways. I loved the story for its elegant portrayal of Lillian’s life, its revelation of the city she loved (New York), its delightful turn of phrase, (eg “The bulb of every shepherd’s-crook lamppost has been cracked by some meticulous hoodlum.” and its wisdom (eg “The point of living in the world is to stay interested.”).

This book proved to hold more than I expected. Kudos to Rooney for her adroit story telling.


“In my reckless and undiscouraged youth,” Lillian Boxfish writes, “I worked in a walnut-paneled office thirteen floors above West Thirty-Fifth Street…”

She took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy’s to become the highest paid advertising woman in the country. It was a job that, she says, “in some ways saved my life, and in other ways ruined it.”
Now it’s the last night of 1984 and Lillian, 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It’s chilly enough out for her mink coat and Manhattan is grittier now―her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl―but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a walk that takes her over 10 miles around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed―and has not.
A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.
Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is still young.