Wednesday, August 27, 2008
What the heck is going on? An article in the Washington Post states that many Latinas feel trapped between two cultures that oftentimes demand the exact opposite of each other. Laura Sessions Stepp states in her article Crying Out for Help – Suicide Attempts Reveal Strains on Young Latinas, that these young women are "torn between an American popular culture that encourages them to be sexy and assertive, and family expectations that they be modest and submissive." She also quotes Edgardo Menvielle, a psychiatrist at Washington’s Children’s Hospital, who says that the key to a young Latina’s ability to overcome the cultural identity crisis is her relationship with her mother. A supportive mama who listens to her daughter (regardless of whether or not she agrees with her daughter’s choices) is most likely to help her daughter to avoid the depression that stems from feelings of isolation or abusive relationships. The article states that mamás (especially single mothers) are often swept away by the stress of trying to provide for their families, making them less communicative and understanding. Patience is lost somewhere between hitting the alarm clock and brushing our teeth.
If you have any daughters, take a moment to stop and think. After reading this article, I sat back and thought hard about my relationship with my daughter. Granted, she’s only 4, but what kind of groundwork am I laying down? Do I praise her accomplishments enough? Do I stop and listen? Do I take enough time to play with her like she wants me to? Am I really showing her that she is important to me and that I love her? I tell her many times a day how much I do, but do my actions strengthen or weaken her belief in these words?
I’ve always rolled my eyes and clicked my tongue at moms who are so worried about being a friend to their kids that they refuse to discipline their children or deny them anything. I’m always saying "they’ll have plenty of friends over their lifetime, but they’ll only have one mother." But I wonder if I am being too strict and critical. I think that I need to work harder to find a middle ground. I want to be a good advisor, but I don’t want to be telling her what to do all the time. I want her to make her own choices – and hopefully they will be wise ones.
While researching this, I stumbled upon the Circle de Luz Giving Network. It is a wonderful operation that is working to "inspire and empower" young Latinas to pursue higher education by providing scholarship funds. The recipients are selected while they are still in the 7th grade and are awarded scholarship funds to pursue an educational program of their choice. They also enter into a 6-year program that includes "book discussions, cultural and educational events, and reflection groups."
The organization was created by Rosie Molinary, author of the book, Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, a collection of commentaries by over 80 Latinas about their experiences of growing up in the U.S. When repeatedly asked what people could do about the problem, Molinary came up with one way for people to help.
Donors may sponsor a young girl by committing to donate a minimum of $90 a year for six years. For those not wanting such a long term commitment, artist Mary Alice Mitchell has designed three different necklaces (one is shown above) whose purchase will benefit Circle de Luz. They are beautiful and each one is priced differently. Click here to take a look.
And if you would like to nominate a school in your area from which the Circle will choose its scholarship recipients, click here for the requirements and directions.
There is so much more I have read and could write on this topic, such as the poverty and dependence that most often results from dropping out of high school. About domestic violence and the importance of self-image. But I better wait and save these for another day.
However, as a Latina mom, I would highly recommend reading the article I mentioned above. You can find it here.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
First of all, a big, giant thanks to Fashion Mannuscript for the wonderful article. It came out really well and I appreciate the opportunity. This magazine really is a wealth of information and I have a few leads for some upcoming posts on Mi Cielito Lindo. So stay tuned!
Friday, August 22, 2008
The arrival of a new book in the mail never fails to lift my spirits and fill me with excitement. And I’ll even admit right here that I am a bad critic because there are very few books that I have read that I haven’t liked. And, hey, I’ll even admit that with the birth of mis niños, it is like having the chance to relive my favorite part of childhood – the books!
But let me tell you, amigas, this week my excitement was fully justified, when I received my first order of books from Frijolitos Inc. Dedicated to creating educational toys that celebrate the traditions, folklore and culture of Latin America, their first two books do not disappoint. Filled with culturally relevant illustrations and themes, both books present the text in both English and Spanish.
Picadillo the Armadillo/Picadillo el Armadillo is the first book in the series and follows the mischievous antics of Picadillo when he is found and taken in by an excited young girl named Lilia. He is accompanied by Albondiga, the Mariachi dog, who at first tries to keep Picadillo out of trouble, but finally winds up joining in on all the naughty fun. The ending is warm and sweet and teaches a good life lesson about not judging a book by its cover.
But my favorite book is the second one in the series, Tuguita Tere: A Home for My Books/Un Hogar Para Mis Libros. The book centers around (surprise!) Tuguita Tere as she celebrates her 5th birthday and eagerly applies for her very own library card. Tuguita is an imaginative bibliophile, always dreaming up adventures based on the books that she reads. I really like how the book references historical figures (ie, Frida and Sor Juana Inés to name a few) – this would be a great way to introduce your children to other historical children’s books, too.
The back of Tuguita’s book even includes a history of the piñata (Did you know it was originally an Italian game? I didn’t!) and a nice little section with tips about reading to your child. Both books even include lesson plans for teachers and parents in the back.
So if you’d like to pick up your very own copy of one (or both!) of these fun books, click here.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
And while surfing the internet looking for cool down recipes, I found the most wonderful site!
Chef Melissa de León is the founder of The Panama Gourmet. The ultimate Cooking Diva, one look at Melissa’s resumé will make your head spin. She has studied cooking all over the world…esta chica must be busier than the columpios at recess! At any rate, her blog is filled with wonderful recipes that I think many mamás would be eager to try. I had a hard time narrowing down my recipe choice for today, but I think I have found the perfect one for the end of the summer…
(recipe and photo taken from panamagourmet.blogs.com)
3 cups fresh, ripe and sweet papaya, cubed
2/3 cup light brown sugar or light corn syrup
3 tablespoons fresh lime (or mandarin orange) juice
a pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Puree papaya in the blender with enough water to make 24 oz.
Combine papaya puree with the other ingredients and transfer to the ice cream maker. Then, follow the directions of the ice cream maker to freeze and finish this nieve.
For better taste store the nieve 3-4 days in the freezer.
To check out the Cooking Diva’s recipe-filled blog with its , click here.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Our first few posts are up and running and more will be added from all of our contributing bloggers before the week is done. I am especially excited to have this great group (all Latinas for the moment!) of blogeras. If you'd like to learn more about them and the LLBC, pop on over to the LBBC's official blog here.