Dia de los Muertos

It is a Mexican tradition that honors the dead. It takes place on November 1st and 2nd.  It is a reminder that we are all going to die, that death is part of life, and we should celebrate it.

An essential part of the day of the dead is the offerings (ofrendas), also known as “Altares” which are full of elements and symbolism. The most crucial element to me is the image of your loved ones. I have been honoring my grandparents for many years.

Papel Picado represents Joy, Happiness, that’s why it is very colorful and comes in different shapes.

Velas, Veladoras (Candles) are considered as a guiding light in this world.

Flor de Cempazuchil:  It is a symbol of the sun’s glow, which was considered the origin of everything. It serves as a guide for the souls of our loved ones to indicate the path to get home.

Photo: heraldodemexico

Water: Reflects the purity of the soul, the endless cycle of the regeneration of life; a glass of water serves for the spirit to quench his/her thirst after the journey from the world of the dead.

Pan De Muerto: represents the skeleton of your loved ones. It is a moment to bring joy and you display their favorite foods and drinks at the altar. I discovered so many dishes my grandmothers liked, that I didn’t know and I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for this tradition, I also found out that one of my grandmothers used to smoke, she quit when my sister and I were born.

Photo: pinaenlacocina

Copal and incense: Copal is a pre-Hispanic element that cleanses and purifies the energies of a place and those of those who use it; Incense purifies the environment. And it also serves as a guide to our dead, so they can find their way home.

Photo: sagegoddess

I really enjoy putting the altar together as a family and while we are doing we share good memories of our daughters’ great grandparents and get to know them a bit.

It is a way to keep your ancestors and loved ones remembered, who already left this world, in your heart and your mind, you keep them alive while you remember them.

Any questions about Dia de los Muertos? #CallCristobal now!

Halloween Safety Tips

To have an amazing Halloween with your children, I want to share 4 safety tips with you. Let’s get started:

1. Costume Safety

Choose costumes that are bright and reflective, choose the shoes that fits well and use costumes that are short enough to avoid tripping. Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries to light the way for your children and escorts.

2. Safety on the Trick or Treat Trail:

Young children should be with a parent(s) or a responsible adult. Encourage your children to be careful with crossing at intersections and have them use designated crosswalks to avoid accidents. Visit only homes that have a porch light on. As not everyone celebrates Halloween.

3. Treat Distribution

Replace any outdoor burned-out light bulbs and remove any obstacles like garden hoses, toys, bikes, that could cause a child to trip. Have your treats ready by the door, remember to keep your pets away from the front door so they don’t jump or hurt a trick-or-treater. Believe me you don’t want to get sued!

4. Healthy Halloween    

Having a good meal prior to trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from eating along the trick-or-treat trail. All Candy should be inspected. Throw out any candy that appears to have been tampered or that it is not in the original wrapper. Small, hard candy should be removed, as it can b a choking hazard to small children.

This is Cristobal Jimenez with Coldwell Banker let’s make Halloween a fun, safe and happy time for kids.

Any questions? #CallCristobal now!

Our Beloved Great Danes

My wife and I are dog lovers; right after we got married, we decided to get a dog. We ended up welcoming a Great Dane to our family. We did a lot of research about the breed before we committed to it.

I want to share with you 3 elements of this wonderful breed:

History

The origin of the breed seems to be mostly German. Great Danes used to be hunting dogs, when they were in the woods hunting boars mostly, the prey will bite the dog’s ears, to avoid that situation, they decided to crop the ears. And that’s the Great Dane figure that we all recognize.

Types of Great Danes

There are different types of Great Danes:

Harlequin: Mostly white with black patches

Mantle: Black with usually a white chest.

Blue Merle: similar to the Harlequin, they have black patches. However, the coat is mostly dark gray

Blue: Dark Gray

Fawn: Yellow Gold with a Black mask on the face

Brindle: Fawn ad black in a chevron stripe pattern

Black: Glossy Black

Care of the Great Dane:

Great Danes require a lot of attention, especially when they are puppies. You need Raised Bowls to feed them and also for them to drink water. The first two years of a Dane are very critical, in my opinion. During the first two years, the dog is growing, and food is a crucial component of it. They have a very sensitive tummy they don’t do well with cheap dry food. We make our dog rest after they eat for at least 30 mins to avoid bloat.

I walk my dogs every day for at least 1 mile, and they are the best accountability partners to get an excellent exercise first thing in the morning.

They don’t require a lot of space at home, and they want to be with you all the time. They are great with kids, we have a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old daughter and our 2 Danes have been excellent with our daughters. Training is a critical component on any large breed. We professionally trained our dogs with two different trainers, and all that time and effort paid off. Great Danes love to lean, and if you are not prepared, they can knock you down. The larger the breed, the shorter the lifespan of the dog.

The average lifespan of a Great Dane is 8-10 years. However, we’ve met Danes that have gone past this average up to 13 years. We are fortunate to say that our Girl is 8 1/2 years old and still very strong and our boy is seven years old.

These dogs grow a lot and could potentially be heavier than you. Our boy weighs 170lbs and our girl weighs 157lbs. We decided to feed our Danes raw. We did a lot of research before we switched them and they have been in a raw diet for six years now – they love it, and we love it as well.

How about you? We would love to hear your dog stories! Share it in the comments.

Back to School!

Believe it or not, the end of summer is approaching, and school days are just around the corner. Are you getting ready for the early morning schedule, homework, and projects?

We need to start setting our kid’s sleep schedule to school at least two weeks before their start date. It won’t stop the bedtime bickering from happening; however, it will significantly reduce the bickering once school starts.

Start looking for extra curriculum activities that you could involve your kids in, it will keep them active, and it will get them excited to go back to school the following day.

Get your kids used to the school schedule, school start and end time, pick up time, homework time,  refresh them on the rules for electronics and TV.

Start shopping for school supplies early, but doing so you can start picking up a few items each week, and you can take advantage of the specials, and multiple stores will offer. This will keep you from avoiding the masses and overspending in last-minute purchases.