Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eggs, Bunnies, and Hunts...Easter in the US of A

Are any of you familiar with the figure above? Many of you probably recognize this as a rabbit...yes, it is a rabbit, but it's a little different. It's actually the Easter Rabbit, or most normally called the "Easter Bunny." "Bunny" is an informal way of saying "rabbit," and it usually refers to a small or young rabbit. During Easter time in the United States, many people paint (or dye) eggs. These eggs are then hidden by the Easter Bunny. Look at one family's Easter creations:

As you can see from the photo on the right, eggs are dyed (or painted) using food-coloring mixed with water. By leaving the hard-boiled eggs in the colored water, after a few moments the shells take on the color.

On Sunday (Easter morning), children take their Easter baskets and "hunt," or search, for the eggs. Some of them are the dyed eggs and others are plastic eggs containing sweets inside.

It all makes more sense now, doesn't it? The sweets are the main motivation of the Easter egg hunt! Do you think all these children would be running so fast for hard-boiled eggs??

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Celebrating Sebastian

The last two weeks have been filled with celebration...and quite the cultural experience for me! Before last year, I had never celebrated Saint Sebastian--in fact, I didn't even know he was celebrated at all! In the United States, we don't celebrate too many saints--the one that I'm most familiar with is the Irish Saint Patrick. I took advantage of being in Palma for this special event and had a great time eating on the street, going to free concerts, seeing a laser-light show in the Plaza del Cort, watching the parade of demons with their firecrackers, and an amazing fireworks show in front of the cathedral. I especially loved the torradas, or as I think we would say in English, the barbecues. While barbecuing in the United States most likely means eating hamburgers or hot dogs, I was perfectly satisfied with my sobrasada and chorizo. How delicious!

...But did I mention the most special part of these celebrations for me? I've also been celebrating another Sebastian. The newest member to my family and the one that has made me an aunt! My little nephew is the son of my sister, and my parents' first grandchild. Born on January 4th, here's a photo of him in his first weeks of life:

How cute is he?!

I hope you all--like my nephew--had a wonderful San Sebastián!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Well, I've been back in Portland for a week now and it's been great to be home. Christmas in Portland is just as I remember it when I was little. There are Christmas lights on houses, stockings on fireplaces, and stars on tree tops. My family has got a really big, live Christmas tree up in our house. I was just helping my mom decorate it last night. I've been able to see my grandma, Kitty Jo, as well. We've knit a little bit, but I still have a lot to go on my projects. I've also been able to see most of my family and friends and catch-up with them. (To "catch-up" with someone means to find out what has been happening in the person's life and share what has been happening in your life.) I will be going to a Blazer game on Christmas day with my brother that I'm really excited about. The one complaint that I have is....the rain! It seems that it hasn't stopped raining since I've arrived. The weather forecasters are saying that the rain just might turn to snow tonight....will Portland have a white Christmas? I'll let you know if I'm making any snowmen...until then, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting Cozy

It seems that in the last few days, the winter has finally made it to Mallorca. Considering the fact that I went swimming in the Mediterranean just last weekend, I’ve had no reason to complain about the weather. Meanwhile, Portlanders (the official term used for people from the city of Portland) have been enjoying rain and low temperatures since September. Well, to welcome the cold and the holiday season, I’ve been playing Christmas music and…knitting! I’m hoping for a white Christmas like the one we had in Oregon last year, and in preparation for the winter weather I’ve taken out my knitting needles and yarn. To keep me warm for this season I’m making a magenta scarf and dark-brown leg-warmers!

My grandmother, Kitty Jo, taught me to knit when I was 10 years old and I’ve been doing it ever since. She’s an extremely special woman and a verrrrrrry experienced knitter. She’s even had much of her work published in knitting magazines! Lucky for me, I’ve got her as my own personal teacher. She helps me fix any mistakes that I make which, unfortunately, are made more often than not. Every time we are together we easily pass hours chatting and practicing the beautiful craft that she taught me. There’s no doubt that when we see each other in a few short weeks, we’ll be knitting away by the fireplace—-getting cozy in the winter wear we make!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good Eats...Mmmmm

Photo courtesy of the September 26, 2007 New York Times article entitled, "In Portland, a Golden Age of Dining and Drinking" by Michael Rubenstein. Here's the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/26/dining/26port.html

As many of you have already noticed, I’m very proud of my hometown. Portland, Oregon—-known as the “City of Roses”—-has got more than just the beautiful flower it’s known for. This beautiful city is the home to many
wonderful things—-parks, bikes, and beer are just a few of those that I’ve mentioned. In addition to these, the city has what is known as good “eats”—-this informal, colloquial term means to say that the city has got delicious food. It seems there are always new restaurants and coffee shops popping up all over Portland. Every time I go home I never have enough time to see or try it all. Lucky for me, a good friend of mine is particularly talented at finding the best “eats” in Portland—-and all at a reasonable price! Her name is Danielle and she’s got a blog known as Mangia featuring the best places in town to get yummy food for cheap!

You can browse her website and check out her post about one of my all time favorite pizza places in Portland: American Dream Pizza. Here’s the link:


She has visited restaurants throughout the city ranging from unique sandwich shops to the tastiest place to find desert, from yummy bakeries to the best pizza, from Greek to Mexican food, and so much more. Take a look! Where would you like to eat in Portland??

Monday, October 26, 2009


Halloween isn’t even my favorite holiday, but seeing as it’s the official day this Saturday, I couldn’t help but talk more about it—-but don’t worry, this will be my last pumpkin post, alright?

Choosing your pumpkin at the pumpkin patch is only half the process of the Halloween pumpkin fun. (Try saying that five times fast!) Once home, they empty the guts, or insides, of the pumpkin so that they can then carve the pumpkin with an expressive face or design. I remember that when I was a child, I always carved happy faces on my pumpkins. My brother always preferred scary faces. What face would you put on your pumpkin?
Hopefully it would be a little happier than the pumpkin in the photo above. Traditionally a candle is placed inside the pumpkin after it is carved to illuminate the expression. While children dressed as witches, ghosts, wizards, and in all other sorts of costumes go from house to house saying “Trick or Treat,” they see the carved and illuminated pumpkins at the doorsteps of the houses.

I hope you all celebrate this special holiday. Dress up in costume! Carve a pumpkin! Eat sweets! Have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Pumpkin Patch!

Fall is here and as we put away our flip-flops and short-sleeves, say goodbye to the summer warmth and begin to prepare ourselves for colder weather, I am reminded of one of my most favorite American traditions. While it's not unusual to dread the yearly transition of summer into fall there's one thing that, since my childhood, has always made me look forward to the month of October with excited anticipation...Halloween and all the fun traditions that go along with it!

My very favorite: The Pumpkin Patch.

Around this time every year, thousands of Americans head to the pumpkin patch to pick their very own pumpkin. Walking along the pumpkin farm (referred to as a pumpkin "patch"), everyone searches for the perfect pumpkin to take home with them. It can be big or small, round or oddly-shaped, bright orange or even green--it all depends on what you want!