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Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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Clean Living, Latina Style

Submitted by on April 28, 2010 – 4:41 am11 Comments

Miami, circa early '70s.

Note: Click the headline link to see the video in this Sponsored Post. Details below. Contest runs through MAY 14.

I have an aunt whose nickname is both “La Escobita” and “El Sargento.”

The Little Broom and The Sergeant.

God love her, she’s a trip-and-a-half.

When I was a snotty teen, La Escobita showed up at my grandmother’s, where I was doing nothing more than taking up space.

“Why haven’t you swept the house for your grandmother?” she asked me in Spanish, and holding the broom.

“Because she did it today already and I knew you were coming and you were going to do it all again,” I answered.

My grandmother swept a lot. She even swept and hosed down the front stoop daily, which I thought was a bit insane until I traveled to Cuba and the Dominican Republic and saw lots of ladies in their housedresses and chancletas doing the same thing in the early mornings.

It’s genetic. And, my guess it’s a necessary when you live in the salty-air of the Caribbean.

I hose down my porch just a few times a year to rid it of the green pollen that settles down from the woods around my house. And, I complain about how messy my house is with regularity, to which my non-Latina friends snicker and remind me that my house is pristine next to their own.

So, while I have fallen way short of the standards set by las cubanas in my life, something has stuck. I try. And, while I am a mad stacker —  as my husband calls me — I attempt to attain a working-mother’s version of my grandmother’s obsession with clean. Really, with the cultural dedication to clean. I cannot remember ever stepping into a Cuban woman’s house and thinking it dirty or messy.

Maybe like me, they hid their stacks?

But, I have to admit, it is my gringo husband who each spring announces that it is Spring Cleaning Week in the Woods. It is happening right now. All the furniture has been moved and every single rug and carpet has been steam cleaned. My sinks are sparkling and all dust bunnies have gone to heaven. It is a task I usually avoid by asking him to do it while I am away. This year, here I am.

In any case, when Clorox asked me to judge their “Mi Hogar Mi Orgullo” blogging contest, I said yes because I get it. (And so does the Molly Maid-loving Marta!)

A clean home, an organized home, is a gift to those who live in it.

Details on the contest direct from The Clorox Company

Clorox is opening a contest, “Mi Hogar Mi Orgullo,” to a select group of bloggers for a chance to be a contributor on VidaySalud (http://www.vidaysalud.com/), the largest source of health information and wellness tools in Spanish on the web, and receive a basket of Clorox® products.

Background: Latina Moms take pride in their work at home. Whether we are career women or stay-at-home Moms, we surround our families with tangible evidence that everything we do is done with love and pride – from the food we put on the table, the band-aid we put on our child’s boo-boo, the fabric softener that brings a smell of home to our family’s clothing to keeping a clean home.
Preventing the spread of germs is one way to help keep our families from getting sick. We may not always love doing it but it is a labor of love.  Now that there is still the threat of H1N1 flu activity through the summer, it is important to protect our families and there are ways to achieve this at home, especially because Latinos are four times more likely to be hospitalized as a result of the H1N1 virus (Associated Press). It is in this spirit that Clorox is launching “Mi Hogar Mi Orgullo,” a Mommy blogger contest that collects stories of what keeping a clean house means to her, what gets her through the ickiest chores, and what tips she has to complete her cleaning routine as she juggles so many other activities.

How It Works:
Through May 14, blog about what “Mi Hogar Mi Orgullo” means to you, your cleaning and disinfecting routine, how you protect your family against the flu virus, how you’ve taught them to help prevent spreading germs – or any other cleaning/germ prevention topic that you’d like.Have other Moms comment on your “Mi Hogar Mi Orgullo” stories.

How to Win: Send us the links to your posts at [email protected] so we can see what you’ve written and any comments/buzz generated.

We will pick one grand prizewinner to become a featured colaboradora for three months on VidaySalud, the top Spanish site devoted to health with more than 1 million viewers. The grand prize winner will have a bio, photo and six columns featured in the main VidaySalud site and within the Casa Sana section of the site. All content, including photo and bio, will be archived on the site. The two runners up will win a large basket of Clorox® products. Winner will be selected May 10.

Dr. Aliza Lifshitz, internist at Cedar-Sinai, editor-in-chief of Vida y Salud and health contributor for Univision.
Carrie Ferguson Weir, co-editor/co-publisher of Tiki Tiki Blog.
Ana Lilian Flores, co-editor/co-publisher of SpanglishBaby, an online community and blog for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children.

Frequently asked Questions:

What kind of content is Clorox looking for? Short, compelling, blog posts that do not need to mention any products but that:

· Offer cleaning/disinfecting advice

· Describe how you protect your family against germs

· Talk about how family traditions have influenced your cleaning routine

· What Mi Hogar, Mi Orgullo means to you

Just write the post on your site and email a link to [email protected]. (Also email this address for the official rules.)

Should I submit my entry in English or in Spanish? We are accepting entries in English and Spanish. Should you be selected as a winner, VidaySalud.com is a Spanish-language web site. We will provide any necessary translations should you be more comfortable writing in English.

What is Vida y Salud? Vida y Salud (www.vidaysalud.com) is the largest source of health and wellness information in Spanish on the web. Edited by Dr. Aliza Lifshitz, internist at Cedar-Sinai and health contributor for Univision, Vida y Salud has more 285,000 unique visitors per month and more than 1.5 million total visitors since it launched 10 months ago.

If I am selected as the grand prizewinner, will I be compensated for being a Vida y Salud contributor? There is no financial compensation; however there will be tremendous exposure for the winner. Your name and your blog will be included on Vida y Salud. Your posts on Vida y Salud will be under your byline and will include an author bio and a link to your blog. We will promote you and the fact that you are winning this competition.

How many articles will the grand prizewinner have to deliver to Vida y Salud? During the three month commitment, the winner will be asked to write six short articles under your byline on the topics of your choice (two articles a month) – no more than 300 words per article. As mentioned above, translation will be provided if needed. If you would like to see samples of the articles visit VidaySalud in Casa Sana section.

This post was paid for, and sponsored by, The Clorox Company

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  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tiki Tiki Blog. Tiki Tiki Blog said: On the Tiki Tiki: Clean Living, Latina Style http://goo.gl/fb/XiENf [...]

  • Tia Mirtha says:

    Yes, Carrie she did change the bed everyday. How about the towels? She did that too. LOL

  • Tia Mirtha says:

    And I love your picture with your color tennis shoes.

  • Carrie says:

    Tia, it looks like we’re the only ones willing to admit to the coo-coo cleaning habits in the family?

    Ay, que pena!

  • Sra. López says:

    Alright, Carrie, I will join you. LOL.

    As you know, I’m Anglo and grew up in an Anglo home. I don’t know if we’re generally more laid back about housekeeping or not. Growing up I remember my mother, (who was a housewife for the most part although she occasionally took a part time job when she grew bored), cleaning the house here and there throughout the week. Saturday was the big day though. Saturday, particularly in Spring and Summer, she turned on music, (usually Rod Stewart), and cleaned the house top to bottom.

    I always associate the smell of dusting spray with being forced out of the house. Sometimes my little sister and I would sit on the front stoop eating freeze pops, trying to decide what to do with our day. We loved to play Barbies though and all our stuff was in the house. We’d always try to sneak back in and she’d shoo us back out and tell us to stay out of the way.

    As we got a bit older and my mother decided we were getting too spoiled and needed to learn responsibility, she made a “chore chart” which listed all the chores we had to do and we had to check them off to earn allowance. She did this on and off for a few years but she wasn’t real consistent. Sometimes I guess it was just easier to take care of it herself than to constantly harass us girls to do it. LOL.

    As a new wife and mother I was sort of laid back with the housekeeping but my husband is a major clean freak. He wanted the bed made daily and used to get upset over little messes the kids made. At first this was a major issue in our marriage but eventually I found that keeping the house clean was sort of nice. I won’t ever be obsessive about it like my husband but I’ve definitely formed a habit and my house is definitely cleaner than most people I know.

    It’s funny – I’m not sure where my husband got his obsession with cleanliness. His mother is definitely NOT like that. In fact, my suegra makes more messes around this house than the niños. She’s a seamstress and is constantly tracking thread all over the carpet. When she cooks, she doesn’t wipe down the counters, and she leaves random leftovers in the fridge to grow green mold. She also eats peanuts on the couch and leaves shells all over the place. It drives me a bit batty but she seems totally oblivious that I follow her around cleaning up after her.

    There’s my dirty laundry. Whew! :)
    .-= Sra. López´s last blog ..Tamales =-.

  • Ana Lilian says:

    Wow, Sra. Lopez! You pretty much got your contest entry there! LOL!

    My husband is more of the mentality that what´s the point of making the bed if it´s just going to get undone in at the end of the day! A bit too extreme for me, me pone de nervios no tender la cama.
    .-= Ana Lilian´s last blog ..Celebrating Día, Libraries and Bilingual Homeschooling =-.

  • Sra. López says:

    Ana, I used to be of the same mentality as your husband, but over the years I made the bed each day to make my husband happy. Eventually I got used to it and now I feel like I can’t really have a productive day if that isn’t one of the very first things I do in the morning. Also, it’s nice to climb into a tidy bed at night, especially if the sheets have been freshly laundered. I always sleep better :) I guess it’s a luxury I associated with hotels and vacations as a child, so having it at home still feels special.
    .-= Sra. López´s last blog ..Tamales =-.

  • Carrie says:

    I love how the smell of cleaning spray reminds you of getting kicked out of the house, Sra…

    and, I agree with all that making the bed is a must!

  • Great post – it’s so fun to read about everybody’s cleaning memories! I just posted my entry, called “Keep It Clean”. I hope you enjoy!

  • [...] post is an entry into the Mi Hogar Mi Orgullo contest. [photo source] Liked this? Share with [...]

  • Heidi West says:

    Loved all your stories…I grew up in Chile and yes …we love to have a clean house. My day to clean now is Saturday…Fridays I work! Great blog Carrie

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