Ella Lucile
I got to spend a little time with my niece, Catalina, and her beautiful daughter Ella. She is adorable and  so much fun! I sang and talked to her in Spanish and we played some of Mamina's games. She reminds me so much of my sister Nina (her grandmother). Here is a picture of Nina as a baby. They look alike, don't they?


 I'm 7 years older than Nina, and have fond memories of playing with her as a child, dressing her up like my very own live doll, putting on shows when she was a little older. Playing with Ella was like going back in time to those days of playing with my little sister!

This is another game I learned from my mother. It's like "This little piggy went to market…". You say the verse as you touch or wiggle the child's fingers or toes. There are several versions out there, here is my mother's version:


Este se encontró un huevito,
este lo llevó a la casa,
este lo cocinó,
este le echó la sal,
y el pícaro gordito se lo comió!


This one found a little egg,
this one took it home,
this one cooked it,
this one put salt on it,
and the little chubby rascal ate it!

 Thank you Catalina, for letting me play with Ella and for the video and photo.



Mamina loved when her daughters sang her songs and games with her grandchildren. Now we sing them with OUR grandchildren, her great-grandchildren. I picture her smiling as we do so. I believe she is happy that we remember and are keeping the traditions going.

Here is a favorite of the little ones. It is done by placing the child on your lap, facing you. The rhyme is said as you lower the child back, away from you (while holding on to their hands or arms or even supporting their head, depending on the child's age). Then you pull the child towards you. The leaning back and forth is like a seasaw, or wood sawing motion.


Aserrin, Aserran

Los Maderos de San Juan
Los de Juan piden pan
Los de Pedro piden queso
Los de Enrique, alfeñique
riqui, riqui, riqui….


Sawdust, sawing wood

The woodworks of St. John
Those who are John's ask for bread
Those of Peter ask for cheese
Those of Henry, little sugar figurines
(the riqui, riqui is the sound you make as you tickle them)

Here is a short video, so you can see it done. My little grandson, Link, loves Aserrin, Aserran! Towards the end we are playing another game, TOPI, TOPI, TOPI TO. No translation, just sounds as you touch heads together. 

I searched on line and found a different, rather gruesome version of Aserrin, Aserran.  I think  children's songs and fairy tales have been used to express things that could not be openly spoken of. 
I don't know if there really are different versions of Aserrin, Aserran, or if Mamina sanitized it for her children's sake. Either way, this is my mother's version. 

Anyone else remember it this way? 

PALMITAS- Hand clapping game for babies

I have mentioned before that my mother loved children. She doted on her daughters, her nephews and nieces and  most of all her grandchildren. She played many games, and sang many songs to them. I also sing her songs and play the same games with my grandchildren. 

The other day I was playing with one of my grandchildren. The child was on my lap and I was clapping his little hands together when a little rhyme my mother used to sing came into my mind. I had forgotten all about it, yet there it was. It was as if Mamina were whispering in my ear!

You can tell from the words used, that it is a very old song:


Palmitas de manteca, para Papa que da pesetas,
Palmitas de cebada, para Mama que no da nada,
Palmitas y palmones, para la Abuela (o abuelo) que da doblones 

You can substitue other names for Papa, Mama y Abuela. Maybe it is "Tia que da pesetas"


Palmitas: the palms of the hands are "palmas", "palmitas" makes it a diminutive. Clapping small hands together, or little hand claps. 

Little hand claps made of butter, for Father who gives money

Little hand claps of barley, for Mother who gives nothing (*)
Little hand claps and big hand claps for Grandfather who gives doubloons (or gold coins)

(*) How preposterous to say that "Mother gives nothing"!  Children's songs are crazy sometimes.

Here is a short video, with my sweet little granddaughter. 


Cucumbers from my garden, unpeeled

I love vegetables, I love salads, but that was not always the case. My mother used a lot of vegetables in the soups she made for us when we were children, but did not try to convince us to eat other vegetables. 

Mamina loved this very simple, quick salad. Sliced cucumbers with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. As a child I refused to eat it. I thought cucumbers were boring and that I didn't like vinegar and oil. Yucky adult food, would not even try it. Thank goodness we get to learn and grow in this life! 


Cucumber Salad

1 Cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Real Salt or sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Peel and slice the cucumber. Add vinegar, olive oil and salt. Sprinkle with black pepper. Stir and taste. Enjoy.

I'm glad my children and grandchildren are not as silly as I was. They love this salad and if I make it and leave it on the counter, it usually gets eaten up before the rest of dinner is finished and served! 

Here is a video with my granddaughters, making Pepino salad.

Breathing Life Into Dreams

Hello friends and family,

My friend, Whitney Johnson, invited me to do a guest post on her Dare to Dream blog. I wrote about what I learned from my parents about daring and dreaming. You can read it here:

Breathing Life Into Dreams

And thank you, so much, for your interest and support!




This type of tortilla has nothing in common with corn or flour tortillas, it is a Spanish omelet, similar to an Italian frittata.  My mother made tortilla often, and after my parents came to live with us, she always made extra to share with us. She knew her grandchildren loved it, even if they referred to it as "Potato Pie", to Mamina's chagrin! 

After my son Skyler returned from serving as a missionary in Madrid, he thought our tortillas were "not quite right".  I had to remind him that ours is a Cuban tortilla de papas, very similar to our ancestors'  Tortilla Española, (also called Tortilla de Patatas), but somewhat changed by the magic of the Caribbean!


3 medium potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
Enough olive oil to cover the potatoes when frying
½ cup chopped onion
4 eggs
dash of salt

Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them up in small irregular pieces about 3/4-1 inch in length. I was cubing them, but my mother said they would cook better if they were irregular. They can also be cut in thin slices. Toss with teaspoon of salt. 

Heat oil on medium high. Add potato pieces, careful not to add any water as it will make the oil splash and burn you. Cook gently for 5-7 minutes, turning often, until crispy outside and soft inside. You can test by taking out a piece of potato and smashing it with a spoon. Should be easy to smash. You can cook the onion separately, in just a little oil, or add to the potatos half way through cooking them. 

When the potato pieces were soft, my mother would fish them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. I don't bother to drain them, but rather put them directly into my ceramic non stick pan. That way there's already enough oil in the pan to be ready to add and cook the eggs. 

Beat 4 eggs, add a dash of salt.

If you drained the potatoes, then coat the bottom of a non-stick pan with a little oil. Put in potatoes and onions. Pour in the beaten eggs, trying to spread them evenly all over. Cook on medium till the eggs set.

Carefully put a plate on your pan like a lid, flip omelet into it, put it back in the pan 2-3 minutes longer to cook the other side. 

My children and husband like to put catsup or salsa on their tortilla. More heresy, as far as my mother was concerned! However, she had no problem adding garlic, spinach, or other vegetables to her tortillas. 


I'm trying to get into this blogging thing, but I'm not very good at it yet, it's been almost 3 months since I posted anything! I have been doing all kinds of other things, and if I had the blogging mindset, I could have written about my adventures. 

In December we helped our oldest son and his family move from Arizona to Atlanta area. After driving for 4 days, we celebrated the arrival to their new home at a local, delicious, Cuban restaurant--but I forgot to take pictures of it. 

Walking on Hollywood beach with MaConcha

With Tia China & cousins, including beautiful new baby! 
Later we enjoyed a wonderful visit with my family in Miami, and they prepared a Cuban feast for us. My dear Tia China made  her delicious roasted pork, cousin Gladys added all the Cuban trimmings like black beans, yuca, platanos maduros, etc. My cousin MaConcha made her signature key lime pie (recipe below). The food was great, but the best part was being with my family, and meeting my newest little cousin! I wish we could be together more often!

Formal night on cruise

Also, my husband and I went on a Caribbean cruise!  During our first cruise, 28 years ago, I got very sea sick and was given medication which we then discovered I was allergic to... not much fun. I was not very eager to experience that again, however my husband has always wanted to go on another cruise and has waited patiently for me to decide to give it another try. He has a significant birthday this year, so I decided to be brave and give it another chance. I wore sea bands the whole time and did just great! I also brought along some ginger, but didn't need it. We ate lots of great Caribbean food, but again I was so enjoying the moment that I didn't even think to take food pictures. 

One thing is for sure, I have been enjoying life!  My parents taught me a lot about enjoying life. My father was always busy, he liked to do many things. When he was not working, he was always creating, planting gardens, fixing things, building, inventing, but he always made time to visit with family and friends, that was his greates joy! 

My mother's first priority was her family, beginning with her brothers and sisters for whom she learned to cook, then her husband, children and grandchildren. She loved feeding us, sewing for us. However, near the end of her life, she confessed to me that she had a great regret. She had always wanted to perform, act, recite poetry, sing (she had a beautiful voice), but had been too afraid to do so, except in very private settings with family or very close friends. 

My goal is to live life with no regrets, so I make time for the things I love: family, friends, good food, books, acting, Zumba, etc. And I try not to let fear keep me from doing what I want to do. Though sometimes it takes me a long time! 


Key lime pie is a Floridian dessert, popular with Cubans because we use limes a great deal in our cuisine.

MaConcha is what our family calls my cousin Maria Conchita.  She is an amazing and dedicated cook. There is a lime tree in her backyard, and when it's producing limes she picks them all, squeezes the juice out and freezes it in measured quantities, so she can make her wonderful key lime pie year round. Here is her recipe: 

1 can sweetened condensed milk (use 2 cans for a deep dish crust)
2 eggs (wash before cracking them open, since they wont be cooked)
½ cup lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 8 oz container of whipped topping
1 graham cracker crust*

Mix the sweetened condensed milk, eggs, lime juice and vanilla  till smooth

Then fold in the whipped topping. 

Pour into graham cracker crust. Put in freezer till set, at least 2 hours. Take it out and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. Five to ten minutes, depending on how warm it is where you are serving it. You want it soft but not runny. Enjoy!

* The crust in this picture looks funny, because instead of a graham cracker crust, I made a raw gluten free nut crust so I could eat it. I'll post the recipe on my other blog, in case you want it. RAW GLUTEN FREE NUT PIE CRUST