Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banned Books Week 2012

One thing I hate is when "the man" is trying to censor what I read, write or watch.  Am I not an adult and can make my own decisions? Shouldn't I also be the one to censor what my child reads or watch?
This is what Banned Books Week means to me.  Exercising my First Amendment Right:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I did skim through the books listed on Censored books and I will admit that my teen has read a large portion of the books listed but that was OUR decision.  

A book is not going to change her.  
After reading Huckleberry Finn, neither of my children went around calling people niggers.  
After reading Harry Potter they did not practice wizardry.  
This is OUR decision to make.
Exercise your right and ye to the library!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gentlemen Prefer Bimbos

Often times I have my children read a book for our literature class or because it won an award or it was highly recommended.
Many times it starts out with a book they do not like from beginning to end.
Other times, they get to the middle of the book and they are already on our local library's website looking to check out other books from the author.
I decided if I have to "make" my children read selected books maybe I should too. A very funny author suggested the book Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos.
I am half way through the book and I can't like it.  All the spelling errors is driving me BANANAS.  Every time I come across one, I have to read the sentence and try to understand what she was trying to say.
Do "gentlemen" just prefer women who are so unintelligent that they feel good about themselves?

Please forgive my misspellings and grammatical errors from this brunette. :-)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Platanos...For the Dominican in Me

Yesterday I spent almost the entire day going through my wallet.
Dividing receipts. Shredding the ones I didn't need.  Shredding cards I no longer use.
We carry so much in our purses and wallets and it just seems to drag us down.  Physically and mentally.
I thought maybe that was the reason why I have had such a hard time sleeping.  Money is always an issue for us.
My husband is a high school math teacher and we barely survive with his paycheck.  Never mind the furloughs.  How about the fact that his Godsend of a check comes once a month.
One thing it has taught me was to be a saver.
Not like hoarder but a money saver.
We recently joined Costco after a 5 year break from them.
Smart and Final is across the street from me but prices have gone up slightly and they no longer sell bulk items in foods I normally buy.
Things like coconut milk, beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and other canned goods is now sold individually.
That just doesn't work for me.
I'm shelling out more money and more visits to the store.
Our first day back at Costco came with a nice surprise.
They sell Morning Star and other similar products very well known in the vegetarian/vegan community.  They sell tofu now by the case!
My heart is happy and I know I'm saving some money.
They don't have everything I need so I will still visit Smart and Final for some fresh produce Costco doesn't sell and Whole Foods for my nondairy cheese, etc.

Yesterday I introduced my family to baked maduros (yellow plantains).  I haven't had these in a long time and was very happy that my most picky eater loved it.

Maduros Asados

6 medium/large yellow plantains

preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
cut a 2 inch slit in each plantain and wrap with aluminum foil.
bake for 40 minutes.
peel the plantains and arrange them on a serving platter.
drizzle with this....

Garlic Dipping Sauce

6 peeled garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt

add everything into a blender or food processor.
store, tightly covered in the refrigerator.

You will have plenty left over.
Store the leftovers in the fridge and use it tomorrow as a dipping sauce for other platanos.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

REPOST! Sofrito and Quick Bean Stew

September 15 is the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month.  I will be doing my part here at home to cook more meals from my parent's home countries.  It is very difficult for me to do here in California since so many ingredients I grew up here are not readily available to me.  Also so many of the dishes I grew up eating had meat as the main dish.  I will be doing a whole vegetarian spin on all of the dishes.  Many I came to terms with not eating again.  Of course, everything with fish and all the meats available.
Yesterday instead of buying the sofrito at the Cuban store, I went and bought the necessary ingredients for recaito.  It took some figuring out what I could and couldn't use.  I couldn't use Italian frying or cubanelle pepper but instead used a poblano pepper.  Instead of using sweet chili peppers (ajitos) I went for red, yellow and green bell peppers. I could not find recao leaves so I used a bunch of cilantro. 
If anyone has the readily available to them, please send me your seeds.  I would really appreciate it.

Basic Recaito
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 Italian frying pepper or Cubanelle pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 sweet chili peppers or bell peppers or mini bell peppers
3 recao leaves or 3 cilantro sprigs
1 sprig cilantro
1 tbsp olive oil

cut and remove seeds from all peppers.
combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.  

Refrigerate or freeze in 1/4 cup batches.  Good for stews and beans.

Vegetarian Bean Stew
(habichuelas guisadas vegetariana)

1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Recaito
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups water or vegetable stock (I like to use the stock to give it more of a nutritional value)
1/4 lb calabaza (West Indian pumpkin or whatever you can find) Peeled and diced.
1 cup alcaparrado (a mix of olives and capers but it does boost its flavor but if it's not your thing it's OK to omit)
2  cans of beans (black, pinto, kidney) drained and rinsed
1 tsp black pepper 

heat the oil in a pot.
add the recaito and tomato sauce and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
add the stock and calabaza.
bring to a boil and the alcaparrado, beans and black pepper.
bring to a boil again.
reduce and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes

You can enjoy this with rice, quinoa, or alone with some crusty bread and vegetables.

I Am Not Drinking the Kool-Aid On Purpose

After almost 30 minutes in the store, trying to figure out which phone will have the privilege to live in my pocket, I went with the iPhone 4.
Only because it was free.
I was loving the Samsung Galaxy but could not afford it.
I had to say adios to Android.
But only for a short moment.
My husband's phone will be up for an upgrade in the new year and he said he would be OK keeping his current Motorola or taking the iPhone and storing the Motorola as a backup.
I'm hoping that one of the Samsung Galaxies will be available for super cheap (read free) by that time.
For now I have to deal with the iPhone.
The iPhone that will not allow me to download my friends contact information from Facebook.    
The iPhone with it's small screen and the heaviness of  free weights.
But I do have my Pandora back. :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Quest for a New Cell phone

My beloved Samsung Infuse was murdered...okay broken over the weekend. 
So Saturday night I informed my cell phone provider that even though I wasn't due for a free upgrade, I have been a long time customer and wanted it now instead of later.  
After being on hold for about 5 minutes customer service said sure which phone do you want?  I did not want to pay for another phone, actually.  I wanted something free or very low cost.  
The Infuse was free and before that my iPhone was $50.  Yes.  I am a cheap ass. I was only given 2 choices and chose the free phone.  It was with a Windows Operating System and decided to try it out.  
What the fuck!  That piece of shit! The app store is laughable and WHAT?!?!?! NO PANDORA?!?!?! I LIVE ON PANDORA!!!!
Today I am returning the phone in hopes to find a really cheap ass or free Android phone with a larger screen than 3 inches.  
My previous phone was 4" and it packed a punch (that's what she said).  
I could clearly see the screen and not have to pinch and expand to read 3 words at a time.  
Today I continue on my quest for my new phone.  A new phone to fall in love.  A new phone to take to bed with me when I have a bout of insomnia and have no new books to read.

In other news, Saturday is the first day of Hispanic Month.  Going to introduce my younger kids some foods and will be converting A LOT of recipes vegan.  It should be interesting.  
I think I will need a mojito.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Carta de Amor a los Mal Informados

En menos de 7 días, 2 personas me han dicho cosas más tonta sobre homeschoolers.
Aún más tonta es el hecho que conozcan mis hijos, pero todavía tienen la necesidad de decir el más ignorante de cosas.

1. ¿Tienen amigos y cuando tienen la oportunidad de socializar?

¿En serio? ¿No conozcan mis hijos? Conozco adultos que son socialmente torpes (ejem) y han estado alrededor de gente sus propias edades desde preescolar hasta la universidad. Mis hijos tienen la oportunidad de estar cerca de personas de todas las edades, géneros, clases, razas y nunca han tenido un momento incómodo. Se adaptan a cualquier situación.
Mi hija adolescente fue a una escuela de ladrillo y mortero por la primera vez este ano y sabes qué fue lo primero que notó? Los grupos de niños que sólo salían con chicos que parecían de ellos, vestido como ellos, y estaban en el mismo grado. Ella no podía entender por qué estudiantes de 8vo grado no estan "permitidos" a sentarse con los alumnos de sexto durante el almuerzo. Estoy orgullosa de decir que ella se sentó con todos. Viajaba de una mesa a otra era la forma en que mi mariposa social pasó su tiempo durante la hora del almuerzo.
¿Cuántos niños puede hacer eso?
De hecho, vaya a su página de Facebook y elegir cualquier persona al azar que usted tiene en su timeline y desplazamiento a través de su lista de amigos. Apuesto a que tiene más de un amigo cuyo amigos miran como ellos.
La socialización de hecho!
No es que haya educadores en el hogar que pueden estar bajo las paraguas de lo que los medios han retratado a ser educadores en el hogar.
He conocido a muchos, pero mis hijos, no es uno de ellos.

2. ¿Están aprendiendo algo? Ellos no pueden aprender en casa! Eso es una locura. ¿No te cansas de estar cerca de ellos durante tanto tiempo?

Ese tipo de pregunta que me hace reir tanto.
Recuerdo cuando mi, entonces 1er grado, se fue a la casa de los abuelos para el día llevandose libros en el bulto de Hello Kitty. Estaba leyendo La Serie de Eventos Desafortunados. El abuelo se sorprendió que supiera ella leer. Cuando llegó a casa esa noche y me dijo como paso el dia y me dijo que sorprendidos estaban que ella sabia leer. Ella, en torno, le miro bien a los ojos del y dijo "¿qué se creen que hago todo el día?"
Tal vez pensó que comiamos chocolate y mirando episodios de I Love Lucy todo el día. A una edad temprana les enseñé la cantidad que realmente puede amar a su biblioteca y todas las maravillas que puedes encontrar en ese gran edificio grande. Allí fue donde mi chiquilla salio de su cochecito y descubrió el pasillo donde se puede aprender todo lo que usted siempre quiso saber acerca de los insectos.

Por supuesto, es mucho de trabajo. Una madre comentó lo mucho que digo "nosotros" cuando hable de la forma en que hacemos la escuela en la casa. Trabajamos a partir de las 8am hasta las 3:00pm.
Nos tomamos descansos y tal vez caminamos por el bloque durante nuestro dia.
Nosotros aprendemos sobre la historia del mundo.
Nos encantó la lectura de los clásicos de Mark Twain.
Sí. Yo digo que mucho digo "nosotros".

Ni siquiera voy a pedir disculpas por no tener la niñera en el speed dial.
Por supuesto, tengo mis momentos en los que necesitamos tiempo a solas.
Gracias a Dios por la YMCA donde durante los últimos 10 años, mis hijas tenían clases de ballet, gimnasia,  natación, actuación y clases de baile.
Esta Mami ha tenido mucho con ella misma.
A medida que avanzo en otro año homeschooling con mi chiquilla, no me arrepiento.
Bueno, por lo menos puedo tener un lote grande de chocolate todos los días.

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