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


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


Billingual Children

When we <a href="#6"><strong>started having kids</strong></a>, my husband and I agreed that it was very important that they be bilingual. At the time, we thought it would be simple. My husband is a native Spanish speaker and I am fairly fluent as well. We thought it would be simple. We thought they would just absorb the language simply by being exposed to it within the home. And it did happen that way to a degree, especially when they were very young. As they grew, and especially when they started school, I started to notice a few things that made me realize that a more concerted effort was needed in able for them to achieve fluency. First, I started (unknowingly) speaking more English to them. As their vocabulary grew and topics of conversation became more detailed and profound, I found that I couldn’t express myself as well in Spanish as in English. Secondly, we have no Spanish speaking family and very few Spanish speaking friends nearby, so the only Spanish that they were hearing came from my husband and me. All of their peers spoke English and they started to prefer speaking English to us, even in response to a question asked in Spanish. I soon realized that in order for us to be able to give them this gift of bilingualism we would need to make a much greater effort for <a name="6"><strong>more exposure</strong></a> to Spanish, both in the home and socially. We enrolled them in a Spanish immersion charter school, we started attending mass and other cultural events in Spanish and I made (and continue to make) it a priority to have a wide variety of Spanish language material (books, music, movies, websites) available to them. The following are links to sites that I have found useful (and be sure to check out my absolute favorite site for kids learning Spanish!) BLOGS Mommy Maestra SpanglishBaby Spanish Playground Spanglish Aventuras Multilingual Mania Jugar y Colorear WEBSITES WITH GAMES FOR KIDS IN SPANISH Spanish Language Learning Games Foreign Language Learning for Kids Spanish for Kids ClicClicClic  <————-THIS ONE IS A PARTICULAR FAVORITE Mi Mundo en Palabras

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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Bilingual, Children, Homeschooling, Spanish


The first passion

I’d like to say that I am a hugely devoted follower of Christ and that I set aside time daily to make sure that my spiritual needs are met and that I am growing closer to God, but….well….at least I am not a liar.  I wasn’t raised going to church, which puts me at a huge disadvantage as far as developing routines that are centered around God and His Word. My faith is coming to me slowly. I have a suspicion that if I devoted more time to reading the Bible and praying then I would become more pious and less prone to stereotypical Christianity that only seeks God when times are tough.

I like reading the Bible. I enjoy praying. I feel good when I move towards God.

My oldest daughter is preparing for her first communion right now and I am having a hard time with it. My husband was raised Catholic, but I wonder sometimes if he is more Catholic by culture than by religion. I’m not sure that I am comfortable with all of the teachings of the Catholic church and I have a nagging feeling that my faith would flourish among a slightly different group of people. It’s not something that I have explored in too much depth yet, but the feeling is there and it’s not going away any time soon.

This is currently one of favorite songs for prayer and meditation…

“Your Words Are Spirit And Life” by Bernadette Farrell

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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in God, Música, Spiritual Development


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.

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