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:

cricket-navigator-2

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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.

_____

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!

20 Salvadoran Slang Phrases (in GIFs)

This Spanish Friday I’m going to do things a little differently than usual. Instead of a post in Spanish followed by the English translation, I decided we’d have a little fun and I could do a Salvadoran version of this Mexican slang post on Buzzfeed, complete with animated gifs. Note: Guatemalans and Hondurans may also use some of these words/phrases – and some are probably not appropriate to use around your abuela. ¿Listos? Here we go!

hola-beauty-queen

1. ¿Qué onda, bichos?
Rough English translation: What’s up, guys?

puchica2

2. ¡Púchica!
Rough English translation: Shoot! [Can also be used as a positive exclamation when impressed.]

hiju

3. ¡Hijueputa!
Rough English translation: Son of a bitch!

magico

4. Ta’ chivo, ¿vá?
Rough English translation: It’s cool, isn’t it?

cabal

5. Cabal.
Rough English translation: Exactly.

chucho2

6. El cipote está afuera juegando con en chucho.
Rough English translation: The kid is outside playing with the dog.

patas2

7. Tus patas están bien chucas porque no usaste chanclas.
Rough English translation: Your feet are really dirty because you didn’t use sandals.

ride

8. ¡Ey, chero! Dame un rai!
Rough English translation: Hey friend! Give me a ride!

nervioso

9. Me da nervios.
Rough English translation: It makes me nervous.

paja3

10. Pura paja habla esta maje.
Rough English translation: This idiot tells nothing but lies.

cipitio

11. ¡No seas bayunco!
Rough English translation: Don’t be goofy/stupid!

chindondo2

12. ¡Ay! Golpeaste. Por cierto vas a tener un chindondo.
Rough English translation: Ouch! You hit yourself. You’re going to have a bump for sure.

pisto

13. ¿Tienes el pisto de la cabuda?
Rough English translation: Do you have the cash from the lending circle?

paco-flores

14. ¿Dónde está el bolado?
Rough English translation: Where is the thing?

bolo

15. ¡Qué bien baila el bolo!
Rough English translation: How well that drunk dances!

pupusa-bailando

16. La fiesta estaba bien vergóna. Estaba toda la mara allí.
Rough English translation: The party was really awesome. The whole gang was there. [And by "gang", I mean group of friends, although "mara" can also refer to criminal gangs as well.]

caida

17. Jajaja, ¡te pelaste!
Rough English translation: Hahaha, you screwed up!

vaya-pues

18. Vaya pues.
Rough English translation: Okay then.

yuca

19. Está yuca.
Rough English translation: It’s difficult.

vos

20. Vos.
Rough English translation: You

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?

La Cerca (The Fence)

Image source: Orange Grove Media

Image source: Orange Grove Media

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!

Uno no siempre puede saber todo sólo mediante observar. Ser observador es importante, pero sólo si uno recuerda que como ser humanos, nuestra abilidad de ver algo con los ojos y destilar la verdad, es imperfecto, limitado e influenciado por nuestras propias emociones, experiencias, y creencias.

Tomemos por ejemplo esta sencilla cerca. ¿Por qué estaba construida? ¿Los dueños quieren privacidad? ¿Es por protección o un sentido de seguridad? ¿Quieren previnir que salga su mascota o sus niños? ¿O que no entran extraños y animales desconocidos? ¿Tal vez van a construir una piscina o tienen un perro que muerde, y no quieren poner sus vecinos en peligro? ¿Es por razones estéticas, que se ve bonita la propiedad? ¿Quizás quieren vender la casa y están agregando valor a la propiedad? o es que ¿No quieren que su vecino les moleste?

Lo único que sabemos es que hay una cerca, pero no podemos saber por cierto por qué hay una cerca sin preguntar a los dueños. Pero ¿por qué estoy hablando de las cercas y los supuestos? Estos pensamientos se inspiraron en una hermosa serie que he estado leyendo en The New York Times. La serie se llama “The Way North“, y se trata de la inmigración.

The Way North: Day 25” es una entrevista con una mujer que se llama Francene en Wichita, Kansas. Francene ha vivido toda su vida en Wichita en la misma propiedad. Ella cuenta tanto las experiencias positivas y negativas que ha tenido con los inmigrantes mexicanos en la communidad que han estado moviendo a las casas en su vecindad. Ella contó sobre jovenes mexicanos que quebrarón una ventana, y entraron en un edificio de su propiedad, dañaron y robaron cosas. Contó también del hombre mexicano y su hijo que hicieron las reparaciones a la ventana y trataron de cobrar menos por la reparación porque se sentían mal por lo que le pasó. Una parte de la historia menciona a la familia mexicana que vive detrás de la casa de Francene. Anteriormente Francene les llevaba sandías cada domingo durante sus barbacoas familiares … hasta que se construyó una cerca.

Al final del artículo, nos encontramos con Leonel, el vecino mexicano que vive detrás Francene – El mismo vecino que construyó la cerca. Cuando el escritor del artículo hablo con Leonel y le dijo cómo se sentía Francene, Leonel expresó sorpresa. “¿En serio?” dijo Leonel. “Ella es una buena persona. Yo no sabía que iba a molestarse. Simplemente lo hicimos para hacer la casa más bonita.”

Esta historia me puso muy triste, porque estos tipos de malentendidos y suposiciones dividen a la gente más que la cerca física. Es una lección de no saltar a conclusiones.

¿Qué “cerca” estás malinterpretando en tu vida?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

One can not always know everything simply by observing. Being observant is important, but only if one remembers that as human beings, our ability to see something with our eyes and distill the truth is imperfect, limited, and influenced by our own emotions, experiences, and beliefs.

Let’s take for example this simple fence. Why was in built? Did the owners want privacy? Is it for protection or a sense of security? Do they want to prevent their pet or children from going out? Or prevent strangers and unknown animals from coming in? Maybe they’re going to build a pool or they own a dog that bites, and they don’t want to put their neighbors in danger? Is it for aesthetic reasons, to make the property look nice? Perhaps they want to sell the house and they added the fence to increase the property value? Do they not like their neighbor and want to make it more difficult for that neighbor to bother them?

The only thing we know is that there is a fence, but we can’t know for sure why there is a fence without asking the owners. But why am I even talking about fences and assumptions? These thoughts were inspired by a beautiful series I’ve been reading in The New York Times. The series is called “The Way North“, and it’s about immigration.

The Way North: Day 25” is an interview with a woman named Francene in Wichita, Kansas. Francene has lived all her life in Wichita on the same property. She recounts experiences both positive and negative that she’s had with the Mexican immigrants in the community who have been moving into her neighborhood. There are the Mexican teenagers who broke a window, entered a building on her property, damaged and stole things. There is the Mexican man and his child who made the repairs to her window and tried to undercharge her for the repair because they felt badly about what had happened to her. One part of the article mentions the Mexican family that lives behind Francene’s house. Francene used to bring them watermelons each Sunday during their family barbeques… until they built a fence.

At the end of the article, we meet Leonel, the Mexican neighbor who lives behind Francene’s house – the neighbor that built the fence. When Leonel was told how Francene felt, he expressed surprise. “For real?” Leonel said, “She’s a nice person. I didn’t know it was going to bother her. We just did it to make the house look nice.”

This story made me really sad, because these types of misunderstandings and assumptions divide people even more than the actual physical fence. It’s a lesson in not jumping to conclusions.

What “fence” might you be misinterpreting in your life?