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Black Velvet
December 16, 2012 – 3:09 pm | 17 Comments

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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Mira, Mira: Dora, Salma and Veggie Cuban

Submitted by on March 5, 2010 – 10:10 amNo Comment

It is happy Hurry Up Spring Friday. Hope you are someplace warm today.

It is Women’s History Month. Let’s start off with a little inspiration: “There is no social-change fairy. There is only change made by the hands of individuals.” – Winona LaDuke.

Here are some ideas for celebrating and honoring the women who have touched your life, and inspiring young women in your life.

Dora has a Happy Birthday
Dora the Explorer turns 10 this year and Nickelodeon plans to celebrate by launching a campaign to help prepare children for school. The celebration launch happened this past week with Salma Hayek Pinault reading a Dora storybook to young children.

Que corazon, esa Salma. The official site, dora beyond the backpack.com, launches next month.

Speaking of reading
Read to your nenes, por favor
Lee y Serás, an early literacy program created by Scholastic. It includes a curriculum for families and child care providers, with plenty of free tips and ideas for creating strong readers and writers.

The site is in both Spanish and English and reminds us to do everything from reading before bed, to visiting the library to storytelling with parents and family. You can can find tips for mixing education into everyday moments.

At the site, if you click on the contents section and head to “Story Time” you’ll find the Spanish and English versions of two great children’s books, Mice and Beans and The Night Eater and you can click “Where we Are” and find free workshops in several U.S. cities.

Why does this matter? Only 14% of Latino fourth graders can read at, or above, basic or advanced grade levels, according to stats the site quotes.

That’s just not right, gente. And, given the projected growth of Hispanics in America, getting Latino children to read — and comprehend — is vital to community well-being and the country’s vitality.

Stuck inside? Organize.
It has been a very long winter, si? Cooped up and feeling cramped with all the cosas in the casa? Good tips from Cristina Acosta at Latina Style.

And now, some fun and food
From the Miami Herald: “Christina Gomez-Pina declared her intention: ”I’m going to tackle Nitza Villapol’s Cocina al Minuto — yes, the Cuban Julia Child’s guide to Cuban cooking — from cover to cover.”

Villapol was the Cuban Betty Crocker, a longtime television personality and the author of the timeless 1951 classic, Cocina al Minuto (”Instant Cooking”).

You can follow Christina’s Julie & Julia-like experiment at the Moms Miami site. Be sure to look at the Pescado en salsa verde recipe.

If you’re willing to give up some meat, try visiting Vegetarian Times, which has a spicy sancocho recipe we’re trying around here this week. Or, if you want to make Nitza poke you from beyond, try this meatless Cuban pressed sandwich.

Blood Orange Caramels with Toasted Almonds and Sea Salt. Oh, si. Did you just fall out of your chair? Visit the supremely talented MattBites for the recipe and for some drooling. (At least reading isn’t calories.)

Happy weekend and feel free to share what you’re reading this week.

Share, por favor!

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