A Sweet Game

BY TRACY LÓPEZ
(This was originally published on the now defunct CafeMagazine.com on June 14, 2010. Since this piece is no longer available online, I thought it would be fun to reprint it and take a look back at our familia during the 2010 World Cup.)

On Friday, my kids and I gathered around the television to watch the opening game of World Cup 2010, Mexico vs. South Africa.

I was rooting for Mexico, so naturally the kids were, too, (much to the annoyance of my Salvadoran mother-in-law who awakened to the entire household vested in green).

The kids really like fútbol but they have short attention spans, so to make it more exciting for them I promised candy at half-time – but this was not any ordinary candy. This was a mixed bag of “Dulces Mexicanos” from our local Latino market. Luckily my boys are pretty adventurous and were willing to give everything a try. Here is how they rated the Mexican candies, keeping in mind they’ve been raised on chocolate, butterscotch, jelly beans and other traditional U.S. candies. The candies are rated from one star (yucky-face inducing) to five stars (they’d eat the whole bag if I let them):

boycandy

Coconut “banderitas”: The tri-colored green, white and red Mexican flags were pretty to look at and tasted almost as good. Rating: ***

De La Rosa Dulce de Cacahuate: To be fair, I buy these all the time and am slightly addicted, so this candy is very familiar to the boys. They rated it highly and licked the crumbs from the wrapper. Rating: *****

Pica Pepino Relleno con Chile (lollipop): My younger son took one lick and rejected it. The older one took a few licks and ultimately agreed. I thought it was kind of interesting though. Rating: **

Duvalín Dulce Cremoso Sabor Avellana y Vainilla:
My husband really likes these, but the kids weren’t that impressed. Rating: **

Go Mango Enchilado: I think the boys were more put off by the way this one looked than the way it tasted. They barely gave it a nibble. To me it tasted like a slightly spicy fruit snack. Rating: *

Obleas con Cajeta: How can cajeta possibly not taste good? Yet, they didn’t like this one. Rating: *

Eskandalosos Paleta de Caramelo con Chile: I thought they would reject this one immediately but they loved it. They were fruity flavored with just enough spice to make them interesting. Rating: *****

Benyrindo: Deceptively shaped like a Coca-Cola bottle, everyone was fine with this candy until biting into it and releasing the tamarindo flavored juices. Maybe you have to be raised eating tamarind to appreciate these sorts of things? Rating: *

Pica Limón: One child rated this highly and the other rated it low, yet they both kept trying it and laughing. I think the fun of this one is watching people’s reactions after eating it. Rating: ***

In the end, Mexico and South Africa tied 1-1, bitter disappointment for fans on both sides who wanted to see their team win, but my boys’ memories of the game are not bitter; they are sweet like cacahuate, sour like limón and spicy like chile.

Photographing tortas, and other things I do with my phone

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Cricket Wireless as a 2014 Blog Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Despite what Carlos might tell you, I do more with my Samsung Galaxy s4 than just feverishly live-tweet soccer games, check email and text my amigas. Here are three of my favorite uses for my Cricket Wireless phone at the moment.

#1. Playing the “Runaldo” app:

Runaldo

This game reminds me of early Nintendo games which I love, and it’s made by Salvadorans, (which I also love.) The app is pretty straightforward – You’re a soccer player and you’re running with the ball, trying to avoid obstacles. I’m not very good at it yet because every time the chucho aguacatero [street dog] comes on screen and chases me, I start laughing. You can download the “Runaldo” app for free HERE.

#2. Getting directions to find good comida:

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If I ever have to live life again without Cricket Navigator, it isn’t going to be easy. I can’t tell you how many times the GPS has helped me and Carlos find our way – especially when we’re looking for a new restaurant to check out in an unfamiliar area.

This torta was thanks to Cricket Navigator helping us locate Taco Bar. Enough said.

torta

#3. Taking amazing photos:

instagram-profile

If the torta photo wasn’t enough to convince you, have a look at my Instagram – no, not the Latinaish one, my personal Instagram account. I have two accounts because one is for, well Latinaish sorts of things. However, my personal account I take a little more seriously in terms of the quality of the photos I post. Every photo on it was taken with the Samsung Galaxy s4. (And I heard the s5 has an even better camera.)

What do you love to do with your phone?

For more from Cricket Wireless ambassadors, follow the #VidaConCricket hashtag and @MiCricket on Twitter.

Do-it-Yourself: Tabletop Fútbol Playset

Do it Yourself Tabletop Fútbol Playset

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

Summertime is a time for outdoor activity, but during the inevitable thunderstorms and unbearably hot days when you prefer to stay comfortable in the air conditioning, you may need a quiet indoor activity to keep the niños occupied and happy. Here’s a fun, simple, do-it-yourself soccer playset with little peg people players you can make for the kids with just a few supplies!

DIY Tabletop Soccer Playset

Tabletop Fútbol Playset

You’ll need:

Cardboard (Lowe’s sells moving boxes if you don’t have any on hand)
Artificial turf
Scissors
Paint in various colors, including white (you can use craft paint or Lowe’s paint sample sizes)
Craft size paint brushes
Hot glue gun, glue sticks
Ruler or yardstick (if you like to be precise, but not necessary)
Wooden peg dolls (available in the “Hobby” drawer in the Hardware section of Lowe’s)
A small wooden sphere (also in the “Hobby” drawer)
Pencil
Painter’s tape (optional)

Note: You’ll find the artificial turf in Lowe’s in the area where carpet is sold on large rolls and cut by an associate. You will actually get a lot even if you buy the minimum they allow because they have to sell you the length of the roll. It rolls up tiny though! It’s easy to take home and cut smaller.

Directions:

1. Cut the artificial turf to the desired length – this will be the soccer pitch. Mine was already 16 inches wide, and I cut it off the roll so that it was 21 inches x 16 inches.

2. Put the turf on top of the cardboard. Use a pencil to trace around it. Cut the cardboard out – this will be the base for the turf to make it more sturdy.

3. Hot glue the turf to the cardboard. Use a generous amount of hot glue and work in small sections at a time to ensure it adheres well.

4. To kind of “seal” the edges of the turf and keep it from fraying, you can apply a little hot glue to the edges as well.

5. Use white paint and a small craft brush to paint the markings on the pitch. (Here’s one you can use for guidance.) You can use a ruler or yardstick to measure these lines precisely and painter’s tape to guide your brush in a straight line, or you can do it freehand, just kind of estimating. For rounded shapes, look around your house for something to paint around – plastic cups and bowls work well. (If you get paint on them, just wash them off as soon as possible.)

DIY Tabletop Soccer Playset

6. Now for the really fun part! Choose the two teams you want to create, and paint the little wooden peg dolls to resemble them. I found that 5 players per team was sufficient, but if you want to be accurate you’ll need 11 per team. I chose the United States and Mexico. You can invent uniforms and players if you wish, (I even made one of the Mexican players a female. Why not? It’s your playset! Get creative!) Don’t forget to paint a wooden sphere as the ball, too!

Tips: Painter’s tape comes in handy for straight lines when painting uniforms. Also, you can paint your players however you want, but if I were to do it again, I think I’d keep the face simple with just tiny black dots for eyes and no mouth. In my opinion, the more detailed eyes and smiles make them look a little creepy, (but I have a slight doll phobia, so don’t listen to me.)

Team USA soccer player dolls
(Hmmm, which one could be Tim Howard?)

Mexican soccer players dolls
(Chicharito is smiling on the far right.)

Once the players, ball, and paint on the pitch are dry, time to let the niños have a little fun.

DIY Tabletop Soccer Playset

Want more creative ideas?

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Check out more from Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network by subscribing to their Creative Ideas Magazine and E-Newsletter, following them on Pinterest, and by seeing what the other Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network members are up to.

¡Vamos USA!

USA-familia-2

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Crest® and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions are my own.

The tagline of Crest®’s current campaign is “Más lejos llega tu equipo, más cerca estás” and it’s totally true; with each game, our familia gets closer – not just physically during goal celebrations which turn into hugging-jumping-up-and-down-mini-fiestas, but we’ve had a great time bonding and creating traditions.

I always say I’m not superstitious, and I often tease Carlos because he’s very superstitious, but I have a few “traditions” which make me feel more confident about my team winning a game.

When Mexico was still in, my tradition was to put a can of sweet peas next to the television. My kids were confused the first time until I explained that in Spanish, sweet peas are called “chícharos” – and Chicharito’s nickname is “little pea.” Now it all made sense! (Well, sort of. It still might be a little weird.)

peas

When the US team plays, first of all, everyone in the family is required to wear their American flag T-shirt, (we still need to invest in the official jersey now that, thankfully, the team no longer looks like Where’s Waldo.)

Second, we eat hot dogs during every game the United States plays. I like to make my hot dogs sort of “Sonoran style” with a slice of bacon, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, chopped tomato, onion and jalapeño on a bun which I toast for a few seconds on the comal. They’re delicious, but after eating them, your breath will be kicking.

After I finish my hot dogs I usually run off for a minute to brush my teeth, (and hope I don’t miss any of the action!) Since I signed up for this campaign, I bought Crest® Complete + Scope because I wanted to make sure it’s a good product, and that’s the toothpaste I’ve been using. It’s kind of awesome that it’s an “all in one” toothpaste. Not only does it whiten teeth, fight cavities, and prevent tartar, but it has mouthwash built right into it so you don’t knock out any of your family members yelling “¡GOOOOOOOOOOL!”

If you want to #CelebrateCloser and give Crest® Complete + Scope a try, here’s some coupons! (Click here!)

What are your family soccer traditions? How do you celebrate during fútbol games, and which teams are you cheering on? … We can’t wait for today’s game at our house. ¡Vamos USA!

Tostadas de Plátano

tostadas-de-platano-6

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Desde que fuimos a un festival salvadoreño el año pasado y comí tostadas de plátano preparadas con curtido y salsa, he estado haciendo mi propia tostadas de plátano en casa porque me encantan. Tostadas de plátano son mi bocadillo favorito mientras ve partidos de la Copa Mundial, y van perfectas con cerveza o una gaseosa. Aquí está mi receta fácil, (que incluye mi nueva receta de curtido. Este curtido es el mejor curtido que he hecho. Creo que el secreto es un poco de azúcar moreno para garantizar el vinagre de sidra de manzana no es tan fuerte.)

Tostadas de Plátano Preparadas con Curtido y Salsa

Para hacer el curtido necesitas:

10 oz bolsa de repollo, (estilo de corto “angel hair” – o sea, cortado muy fino)
4 tazas de agua
1 cebolla pequeña, cortada en rodajas finas
3 zanahorias medianas, ralladas en el procesador
3/4 taza de vinagre de sidra de manzana
1/2 cucharadita de sal
1 cucharada azúcar morena
1 cucharada aceite de canola
orégano al gusto

Instrucciones:

1. Coloque el repollo en un tazón grande. Deja a un lado.
2. En una gran taza de medir de vidrio, calienta el agua a alta potencia durante 5 minutos en un horno de microondas.
3. Vierta el agua en el repollo. Tapar y esperar 5 minutos. Escurrir el agua. (Está bien si un poco de agua se queda con el repollo.)
4. Agregue la cebolla y la zanahoria al repollo.
5. Mezclar el vinagre, el azúcar moreno, el aceite y la sal en un tazón pequeño y verter a la mezcla de repollo.
6. Sazonar con el orégano. Mezclar bien para que todo el repollo está saturado. Deja a un lado.

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Puedes hacer la salsa con mi receta (aquí), o si quieres la manera fácil, sólo tienes que utilizar su marca favorita de salsa. Me encanta la “salsa casera marca Herdez – mild.” Hago puré de la salsa en la licuadora y después caliento la salsa en una olla hasta que hierva. Deja enfriar. El calentamiento de la salsa no es necesario, pero creo que le da un mejor sabor.

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Para servir las tostadas de plátano, póngalas en un plato, (Goya es la marca más fácil de encontrar. Puedes encontrarlas en el “pasillo hispano” en las tiendas Walmart pero hay otras marcas en mercados latinos.) Encima de las tostadas, añade el curtido y la salsa. ¡Servir y disfrutar del partido!

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Since we went to a Salvadoran festival last year and ate tostadas de plátano prepared with curtido and salsa, I’ve been making my own here at home because I really love them. Tostadas de plátano are my favorite snack while watching World Cup matches and they go perfect with a cold beer or soda. Here is my easy recipe, (which includes my new recipe for curtido. This is the best curtido I’ve ever made. I think the secret is a little brown sugar to ensure the apple cider vinegar is not as strong.)

Tostadas de Plátano Prepared with Curtido and Salsa

To make the curtido you need:

10 ounce bag “angel hair” coleslaw (if you can’t find this, cabbage shredded very fine)
4 cups water
1 small onion, sliced in thin rings
3 medium carrots, processed in a food processor set to “shred”
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
oregano to taste

Directions:

1. Put the cabbage in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In a large glass measuring cup, heat the water 5 minutes on high in a microwave.
3. Pour water on cabbage. Cover and wait 5 minutes. Drain. (It’s okay if a little water remains.)
4. Add onion and carrot to cabbage.
5. Mix vinegar, brown sugar, oil and salt in a small bowl, then pour over the cabbage mixture.
6. Season with oregano. Mix well so all the cabbage is saturated. Set aside.

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You can make the salsa using my recipe (here, or if you want the easy way, use your favorite non-chunky brand of salsa. I love the “Herdez salsa casera – mild” pureed in a blender. I then heat the salsa in a pot until it simmers, then allow to cool. Heating the salsa is not necessary, but I think it gives it a better flavor.

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To serve the tostadas de plátano, spread plantain chips on a plate, (Goya is the easiest to find brand. You can find them in the “Hispanic aisle” of most Walmart stores, but there are other brands available at Latino markets.) Top the chips with curtido and salsa. Serve and enjoy the game!

Club Penguin’s Penguin Cup!

penguin-cup

I’m part of the Windows Champions Program. As a Windows Champion, I have been loaned a Surface Pro 2, a Venue 8 Pro, and, on occasion, Microsoft products such as software to assist me in developing content for my blog posts. All opinions are my own.

Everyone has soccer fever, and if your child plays Club Penguin, you may have heard that The Penguin Cup is coming up on June 19th to July 1st.

penguin-cup-magazine

http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/93889/20140602/club-penguin-codes-2014-coins-spoiler-alert.htm

Some aspects of The Penguin Cup will be accessible only to those with paid membership, so if your child’s membership has lapsed, you may want to sign them back up. My 12 year old still plays Club Penguin (or Club Pingüino, as I like to call it) and he renewed his membership in anticipation. Club Penguin will have new gear to collect, a soccer stadium with games to watch, teams to cheer for, and more! This video gives a sneak peek, (and I love the Spanish-speaking penguin!)

My 12 year old likes to play Club Penguin on our Surface Pro 2 with Windows because he can use the mouse pad or touchscreen to select things and move around. I love to let him play this game because he often switches it to Spanish. It makes me proud to watch him navigate around en español without any problem.

soccer-penguin

Which games do your children play online in Spanish?

Latin American Themed Cellphone Cases

latin-american-cellphones

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Cricket Wireless as a 2014 Blog Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Several years ago I was diagnosed as having carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s a common ailment for writers to develop, and I still haven’t gotten around to having surgery. Besides my hands feeling weak and arthritic at times, one of the worst symptoms of CTS is the increased instance of total butterfinger moments. (Those who have CTS know what I’m talking about!)

For the rest of you, let me explain: I’ll be holding something (an ice cream cone, a book, the remote control) and all of a sudden, my hand will just decide all on its own, that it doesn’t want to hold it anymore. I get no warning whatsoever. A frequent victim of these butterfinger moments is my cellphone.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve dropped my phone – and some of them have been from standing position over concrete. Thankfully I have a case on my phone and so far (knock on wood), my Samsung Galaxy s4 hasn’t been damaged. I’m sure that having a case on my phone has been at least partly responsible for protecting it, so I recently decided to invest in another case, as the one I have on it is pretty boring, (just a cheap grey-colored one.) While looking for a new case, I realized that some of you guys would probably love these as much as I do. Want to help me pick out which one I should buy? I narrowed it down to four and I’m having trouble choosing. Let me know in comments which case I should get!

el-salvador-phonecase
El Salvador phone case from Zazzle/AllWorldTees

sugarskulls-case
Sugar Skulls phone case from Zazzle/Thaneeya McArdle

world-map-case
World Map phone case from Zazzle/PMCustomGifts

frida-1-case
Frida Kahlo phone case from FineArtAmerica/Elena Day

For more from Cricket Wireless ambassadors, follow the #VidaConCricket hashtag and @MiCricket on Twitter.