kids

Holiday at Home: "I enjoyed a family vacay to Mexico, without leaving the house."

Australian Pork
Thanks to our brand partner, Australian Pork

As a family we choose experiences over things, every time. My husband and I often say that we work to travel and we’re happy to drive a beat-up old car if it means we can head overseas every year. As soon as that plane hits the tarmac, we’re thinking, where to next?

With COVID-19 bulldozing our plans for travel this year, we’ve been getting creative and taking imaginary holidays at home with the kids. Last weekend, we decided to have a Mexican fiesta complete with yummy food, art, music and movies. It was a great boredom buster and got us excited about all the adventures awaiting us on the other side of the pandemic. Here’s how we brought Mexico to the Aussie suburbs, and you can too.

Cook up a fiesta feast.

It’s easy to get stuck in a boring routine when it comes to family dinners, feeding the kids the same old dishes week in and week out. Keen to shake things up, we steered clear of the usual chicken and beef recipes and opted for delicious and versatile Australian pork.

Pork is authentic to local cuisine in Mexico featuring in the most popular street tacos, tacos al pastor (shepherd style tacos) and family favourite, chilli con carne. My first thought was to cook up some carnitas, flavour-packed pulled pork that is the ideal stuffing for tacos, burritos or quesadillas.

Pulled pork takes a bit of time in the slow cooker so to keep things simple for my mini chefs, I opted to use pork mince instead. I headed to the Australian Pork website and discovered a simple yet scrumptious recipe for pork tacos that we could cook together.

Ready, MasterChef? Image supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

While my seven-year-old read out the recipe, my five-year-old sous chef stirred the pork mince and onions. I threw in some spices, red kidney beans and tomato paste into the pan and the aroma helped us imagine we were in Los Cabos… instead of week eight of Los Loungeroom.

Sous chef doing a great job. Image supplied.

Once the pork mix was cooked, we laid all the ingredients out on the bench so the kids could assemble their own tacos. They piled their taco shells with pork, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa and sour cream and they were in culinary heaven. The recipe was so popular we had it for lunch the next day… and the next. More Mexican pork recipes please!

Tacos assembled…Image Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT
And dig in! Image supplied.

Get Dad on DJ duty.

My husband cannot dance to save his life but he is pretty good at compiling a playlist. While we ate our third (OK, fifth) taco, he was responsible for keeping the Mexican tunes pumping.

Mexican music is incredibly diverse featuring a range of performance styles and genres. We mixed it up with traditional and modern Mexican music and loved getting lost in mariachi, ranchera, pop, ska, rock and Latin alternative. After dinner, the kids moved the coffee table in the living room and busted a few moves.

Create some cultural art.

In Mexican culture, the sun is an important symbol of life-giving energy and good luck. It often appears in Mexican art to indicate strength, power and positivity. To keep our Mexican fiesta going, we made paper suns using stuff we had lying around the house.

We grabbed some paper plates that were left over from a party plus some paint, paint brushes and yellow paper. The kids traced the outlines of their hands on the yellow paper then cut out the shapes.

Getting our craft on, Mexican style. Image supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

After painting faces on the paper plates, we stuck the cut outs on the back of the plate with glue. While we were completing this fun activity, we talked about the sun and how it relates to Mexican culture. The kids were enthralled.

Definitely worthy of the mantle or fridge. Image supplied.

Learn the lingo.

We love using apps to learn languages, particularly when we’re travelling. Given the theme for the weekend, we thought it’d be fun to learn a few words in Spanish.

ADVERTISEMENT

We got onto Duolingo and within a few minutes the boys were calling each other “el niño” (the little boy) and I was saying, “Yo soy una mujer” (I am a woman). While we didn’t get past basic gender and our pronunciation was subpar, we certainly had some fun.

Host a Mexican movie night.

coco
Two-time Academy Award winner Coco teaches children a deep respect for Mexican culture. Image: Disney/Pixar.

Ever since it came out in 2017, my boys have loved the movie Coco. So, when we were going through options for a Mexican-themed movie night, there was never any doubt which movie they’d pick.

Set in Santa Cecilia, the movie follows Miguel, a 12-year-old boy who gets transported to the Land of the Dead. The movie highlights the magic of music and the importance of family while educating the kids on Mexican culture, including the meaning of the annual Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos). If you haven’t seen it, it’s the perfect choice for your at-home Mexican fiesta. I even enjoyed it for the 218th time.

It’s amazing how a few simple activities with the kids (and some yummy pork tacos) can transform a weekend from mundane to memorable. Our Mexican fiesta at home was a great escape from the monotony of iso life and we learned so much about the vibrant, soulful and inspiring culture.

If your weekend is looking a little same-same, why not take the kids on a magical trip to Mexico that'll open their eyes (as well as their hungry mouths!).

What other Mexican recipes go down a treat in your household?

Australian Pork

 

Get some Pork on your fork.

00:00 / ???