Category Archives: Familia

Hispanic Cultural Events-Portland, Oregon

As part of my mission to raise bilingual and bi-cultural children, I love taking the family to community and cultural events. It’s not only important, but an absolute necessity that a bilingual child be exposed the a second language/culture from many angles in order to value the relevancy of the language in every day life. The following is a list of many of the organizations/businesses that host events that I keep on my radar. Most (if not all) of these events are family friendly. The list in an evolving work in progress.

Centro Cultural (Cornelius, Oregon)

Adelante Mujeres (Forest Grove, Oregon)

El Grito y Fiestas Patrias in downtown Portland (Pioneer Square) on Sept. 15

Someday Lounge (Portland, OR) hosts an all-ages Dia De Muertos parade and altar making celebration.

Various Washington County Libraries have storytimes in Spanish and often hosts Hispanic cultural events

Portland Art Museum- often has exhibitions and events for the Hispanic Heritage Month of October

Grupo Condor– a touring folk music ensemble based in Portland, Oregon that embodies traditional musical styles of all of Spanish-speaking America.

Teatro Milagro– The Northwest’s premiere Latino arts and culture organization

Catholic Churches- Many local churches with large Latino congregations host fiestas for the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th) and Las Posadas (December 16th-December 24th)

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta -Portland Waterfront Park

Educate Ya– fostering social change, cultural integration, professionalism, and wellness education in the Latino communities

Voz– an organization that empowers immigrants and day laborers to gain control over their working conditions through leadership development, organizing, and community education

KBOO Community Radio (90.7 fm in the Portland area) Every Sunday from noon to 7pm is programming in Spanish of interest to the Portland area

PCUN Radio Station-Oregon’s Farmworker Union Radio Station out of Woodburn, Oregon has children’s programming (think Alvin and the Chipmunks in Spanish) on Saturdays from 2-5 pm. You can stream it here.

el Hispanic News Events Calendar

Mirada Latina Magazine on Facebook sometimes lists some fun events. So does Pdxlatino

Portland Latin America Film Festiival- Usually in September or October

Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce hosts a Latino Cultural Festival, usually held in April or May

Salsa en la Calle– A fun, family friendly dance party held on the east side of the Willamette River in August

The Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg hosts a really fun Day of the Dead exhibit in October complete with crafts for the kids

Glenn and Viola Waters Cultural Center in Hillsboro has some fun things going on sometimes

Dia de los Muertos NW appear in costume throughout the year in the Portland area

Washington County History Museum recently had an exhibit about the Bracero program. They might have other culturally relevant things going on!

Ten Tiny Dances is a twice yearly event that features creativity and public performance of many different cultures, including the Hispanic Culture.

Ballet Folklorico México en la Piel, Ballet Folklorico Lo Nuestro and Ballet Folklorico Sol Azteca are the local Mexican dance troupes. Unfortunately, they don’t post events on their Facebook pages or otherwise online, but I love to see them dance!

Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana is usually held in early August


Make a Difference as a Family

  • Babysit for a single mom
  • Teach compassion with a Family Giving Box
  • Write a Family Mission Statement
  • Bake cookies for your local fire dept.
  • Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip
  • Create snack packs for Ronald McDonald residents
  • Welcome a new family to the neighborhood with a dessert and introduction
  • Pray for the poor of the world
  • Color a Smile-print coloring page to be given to lift someone in need up
  • Make a baby care kit for a baby in need
  • Take time each week to unplug as a family
  • Donate your time or treasure to the Make a Wish Foundation
  • Appreciate your church staff in some small, tangible way
  • Do yard work for an elderly neighbor
  • Make a Life Book for a child in Foster Care
  • Read You Were Made to Make A Difference as a family
  • Volunteer to cuddle babies at the hospital (older kids/teens are often allowed also)
  • Read Christmas Jars as family
  • Save loose change in a jar and give to a needy family at Christmas
  • Take a family volunteering vacation
  • Stop and say thank you to grocery clerks, waitresses. Ask them how they are doing.
  • Become a monthly sponsor to help pregnant girls in Kenya
  • Make a birthday cake for an underpriviledged child
  • Serve at home: make each other’s beds, clean up someone else’s mess
  • Write thank you notes to people who serve you: postman, yard guy, doctor, etc
  • Sponsor a child monthly (cannot recommend enough)
  • Make relief kits for disaster relief victims
  • Sew a sleeping bag for someone in need (easy pattern)
  • Volunteer at a non-profit
  • Make up some Hygiene Bags to pass out to local homeless people
  • Take your family on a tour of Red Cross
  • Put a monthly date on the calendar for a Family Service Night
  • Take a meal to a new family
  • Create a card for Habitat for Humanity new home owner
  • Encourage your older children to be a Mother’s Helper to a mom with young kids
  • Fill a backpack to help give a homeless person a lift up
  • Make birthday cards and deliver them to a local nursing home monthly
  • Donate books to Africa
  • Take your kids to a local Food Pantry with canned goods to donate
  • Deliver food for Meals on Wheels
  • Pray as a family on a regular basis for the people in your life.
  • Donate your hair to Locks of Love.
  • Give blood. (Take your kids with you and explain the importance).
  • Donate nice toys to cancer ward at a Children’s Hospital
  • Buy a mosquito net and help prevent malaria
  • Randomly celebrate each other with a special treat, meal, time
  • Donate school supplies to a classroom in need
  • Compliment and thank the teachers in your life
  • Buy a soccer ball for a child in poverty
  • Give a used bike to a homeless person
  • Donate coloring books/crayons to hospital emergency rooms
  • Host a 40 hour famine in your home (fast something!)
  • Give clothes to a family in need (call your church/school to find one)
  • Read to a special needs child
  • Only drink water for 2 weeks, give proceeds for clean water
  • Buy a goat for a family in extreme poverty
  • Give a donation in someone’s name to an organization you believe in
  • Send your used shoes to Reuse-a-Shoe
  • Become Certified Respite Caregivers to give Foster Family’s a babysitting
  • Decorate a Christmas tree at an elderly person’s house
  • Hold a collection drive: makeup, lotions, etc for women at a shelter
  • Find a Food Bank near you to volunteer
  • Deliver fresh fruit/veggies to children at a homeless shelter
  • Offer your pet for therapy to the elderly
  • Decorate nursing home rooms of residents with homemade art
  • Have regular “family nights” with games, ice cream, time together
  • Visit the NICU with treats for the doctors and anxious parents
  • Write to unsponsored children
  • Read to patients at a local hospital
  • Plan a family missions trip
  • Bake cookies, host a bake sale and donate money to the poor or a cause
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter
  • Plant a garden and share the produce
  • Hold a drive for lightly-used stuffed animals for police stations SAFE program
  • Write letters to servicemen
  • Give a micro loan and change a family in a third world country
  • Smile. At everyone.
  • Make care packages for children in the hospital
  • Instead of a birthday gifts, ask for donations for a charity or food for a food pantry
  • Shop fair trade
  • Offer to decorate hospital hallways during the holidays
  • Ask your city about volunteering to remove graffiti
  • Host a Lemon-AID stand and donate proceeds Blood Water
  • Make no-sew fleece blankets for Hospice
  • Collect pencils for African children
  • Send a care package to our military
  • Read the Bible together as a family every day
  • Collect shoes for Shoes for Kids (started by an 11 year old girl)
  • Let kids choose a charity to donate to for one of their Christmas gifts
  • Become a foster family
  • Pay for someone’s drink in Starbuck’s drive-thru. Make sure your kids enjoy the act of kindness.
  • Help your kids starts a neighborhood or school Bible Study with their peers
  • Volunteer to plant flowers for your school/church flowerbeds
  • Make a Care Bag for a child in need
  • Welcome home a hero at the airport
  • Complain less
  • Start a Kindness Club with your family
  • Let your light shine!
  • Look for opportunities to be the difference in someone’s life
  • Host a virtual food drive
  • Start a KidzRap on your street!
  • Purchase gifts through families fundraising for adoption.
  • Make a quilt for NICU familes
  • Pay the toll for the car behind you
  • Invite friends to Vacation Bible School
  • Help keep families together
  • Take someone flowers from your garden
  • Participate in Operation Christmas Child
  • Make Valentine’s Gifts for the elderly at our local care center.
  • Send a care package to our military.
  • Buy restaurant gift cards and distribute to the homeless on street corners.
  • Collect items for restoration bags for girls coming out of trafficking.
  • Prepare New Mommy Blessings bags for our local Pregnancy Resource Center (newborn baby supplies (diapers, rash cream, toy, gender neutral outfit, burp cloth), new mom care items (nipple cream, lotions, etc), wrapped in a cute baby blanket or receiving blanket)
  • Bake cookies for our local Fire Department.
  • Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip.
  • Fill Action Packs for the persecuted church (via Voice of the Martyrs).
  • Adopt an foster child for Christmas through Angel Tree.

“Mama-is Santa Claus real?”

From Proactive Parenting

Dear Child,

Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”

I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.

The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.

I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)

I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the Christmas magic stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.

This won’t make you Santa, though.

Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.

It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.

Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.

With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.

So, no, I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.

I love you and I always will.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Children, Familia, Holidays


Valentine’s Day for kids/Día del Amor y la Amistad

In my quest to make holidays meaningful for my family, I find myself researching age appropriate crafts for my kids to make as gifts and decorations.

I found this easy Valentine’s Day craft on Surviving Motherhood and made one with my 4-year old. She loved it and plays with it and it is a cute reminder of our love for each other.

While I love the idea of passing out Valentine’s cards as a way to take a moment to show each and every person your love and appreciation, I am not a fan of the cookie-cutter 30-per-box punch-out cards (now with candy!) that are commonplace today. Here a few creative alternatives:

Mad Libs Valentines

Recycled Crayon Valentines

Fabric Scraps Valentines

Printable ValenZZZAtines En Español


If I Were A Rich (Wo)Man….

Here are some of the organizations I would heavily support

Friends of Family Farmers – Promoting and Protecting Responsible Farming in Oregon

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon – a statewide association of Christian denominations —including Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox bodies—congregations, ecumenical organizations and interfaith partners working together to improve the lives of Oregonians through community ministry pograms, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, environmental ministry and public policy advocacy.

Adelante Mujeres – working to educate and empower low-income Latina women and families. We provide low-income Latina women and families the tools to achieve self-determination in the areas of education, empowerment and enterprise.

Elders in Action – To assure a vibrant community through the active involvement of older adults

TRUCETeachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (TRUCE) is a national group of educators who work to counteract the harmful impact of media and marketing on children.


My passions-eating locally and seasonally

Call it a fad or a trend, I have fallen victim to the idea that the best way to feed my family is to look to local farmers and ranchers as much as possible. The way I see it, I am not only supporting our local economy, environment and preserving open lands, but I am also providing my family with fresh, healthy, seasonal food, avoiding toxic chemicals, avoiding genetically modified foods and teaching my kids about REAL FOOD.

I found this quote from The Apple Grower by Michael Phillips that about sums up how I am feeling about food:

“Each of us shares in the lasting success of local agriculture. No longer will I assume that food just appears at the supermarket regardless of the season. The local growers who provide my sustenance are people I need to know. I understand that their livelihood is intimately connected to the vibrancy of my community. It matters to me how my food is grown and that it comes from nearby. Paying full worth for a life-enhancing food supply is more than a matter of shopping for the lowest price. Making agriculture sustainable is as much my responsibility as the farmer’s.”

Like with most things in life, it is definitely the journey and not the destination that I find pleasurable. While I am far from my goal of eating 100% locally and seasonally, I’ve noticed that recently I’ve even found the supermarket to be somewhat awkward. I’ve always been a supporter of farmer’s markets and was thrilled when I was offered a job with the Beaverton Farmer’s Market. Now there will be no excuse for me not to shop locally during the market season. But, what to do during those long, rainy winter months? We have to eat! Here are a few options in the Portland Area:

Year-round Farmers Markets:

Many of the farmer’s at the market grow and sell year round. Ask them about year-round CSA options

Other Options:

Here are a few challenges that I am trying to overcome:

  • Finding local sources for bulk, non-GMO, grains, flours and legumes
  • Affordable locally pasture raised poultry and beef
  • Finding the time to preserve the summer harvest


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Familia, Food, Local Portland, Oregon


My Story (how I remember it)

This is the story of a girl, the youngest of 4 born in Oregon in 1976. The little girl was born to a German immigrant mother and a father from a Oklahoma farming family. The little girl spent summers on her grandmother’s hazelnut orchard (filberts, to us locals) in the fertile Willamette Valley helping tend the massive garden, can and process food and the most dreadful chore of all-collecting the fruit and nuts from the trees. It was a family affair and nobody could escape, no matter how creative the children got with their arguments. During the school year they were expected to maintain good grades and help with their fathers business (tax accounting) by cleaning, stuffing envelopes and door-to-door flier drops and later filing and office duties. Now, don’t think that the little girl spent her whole youth working. She lived in a wonderful neighborhood full of young families and had many friends to play with when she was done with her chores.

The little girl had a bit of a problem. She was born with this condition – maybe you’ve heard of it – called strong will. She got it from her father.  It’s effects are intense throughout the lifespan, but can be particularly dangerous during the adolescent years. Yes, she went through some trying times, as did her parents, during those years. The little girl managed to pass, unharmed for the most part, through those years.  Much to her dismay, her condition has been passed to her first born daughter, a fact that is frequently discussed at family gatherings.

She became a young adult, publicly educated and ready to enter the world. Unfortunately, she had spent little time preparing for this transition and didn’t quite know what to do. So she did what many young adults do in similar situations-she got a job, some roommates and PARTIED!! Yes, those were fun times for the girl. Sadly, her job couldn’t accommodate her life style so it had to go.  Two years later (and about $20,000 in credit card debt) the girl decided it was time for a change.  She downsized her extravagant lifestyle, took two jobs and worked very hard. After about a year and a half she managed to pay off the debt and save enough for a congratulatory backpacking trip to Europe.

During that year and a half the young lady spent much of her time at her mother’s house (free food!). It was a newly built house, in a recently cleared area and there was a great deal of construction activity going on in the area. One day the young lady decided to see how much Spanish she could remember from her high school years. She started a conversation with the construction workers next door. Among them was one, a very persistent fellow from the central highlands of Mexico. This man was new to the country, he had been here for only a few months and didn’t yet speak the language very well at all. He did, however, play the guitar. Now, the girl hadn’t noticed this particular fellow yet. You see, her Spanish was not very good and she spent most of the “conversations” talking with the fellows who already spoke English asking them how to say this and that. One afternoon, during his lunch break, the persistent young man came to the mothers front porch and started to play a song for the girl. It was a song that the girl happened to be quite fond of.  After that, he told her that she had “eyes beauty” and asked for her phone number.

The girl and the fellow quickly became inseparable. She taught him American customs and language, he gave her music, dancing and a love for Mexican food and cooking.  A few years later the couple married. The girl decided that being a lover of culture and adventure, she had better learn his language to be able to communicate with his family. The girl, now a woman, went to the university and learned to read and write Spanish. She learned to speak it and truly understand it from the young man and from many trips to his mother’s house in his hometown.

A few months after graduation, the woman had a baby, a little girl Dolores. She was (and continues to be) a spirited little girl. Fifteen months later, little Junior was born. A quiet baby, Junior has always been a lover and still refuses to get out of his mama’s bed. Eighteen months later little Maria came and along with her was born a strong faith in God.  The young woman still struggles to identify herself with a particular religious sect, but her faith was cemented by the miraculous birth of Maria. The family was completed with the birth of Moises.

The woman now spends much time in contemplation. There are still many adventures to come. She is humbled by the awesome opportunity and responsibility of cultivating her own (albeit small) legacy. She looks forward to each day that her children are still young and innocent, for those times pass quickly and are never relived.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Familia, Spiritual Development