Sunday, July 30, 2017

Run 7/27/17 1.5 miles

  • Critters that I saw along the way: just one ground squirrel 
  • 101 Days until runDisney Thor 10K race in Disneyland. Click here to read my runDisney story.

Apps being used:
This is a Couch to 10K app. I use it for the pacing. It helps me slow down and speed up, and motivates me along the way.

This is MapMyRun. I like the map, share features, and how it sends me a weekly summary of my workouts.

I'm working on being more conscious of my breathing and calming down and enjoying the run, instead just wanting to be done with it. Who thought breathing was a big deal? But, it is. It makes a difference on how exhausted I feel along the way. 

Per the suggestion of a runner friend, I bought a FitBelt to help me carry my phone, keys, etc. I normally see people using an arm band instead, but after having tried both, I'm liking the FitBelt better. It's lightweight, with plenty of room. It doesn't look bulky and it doesn't flap when I run since it sits firmly around my waist. It has a small built in hook on the inside that you can clip your keys to.  I got it at Amazon, here's the link

Teal's Real Race Supporting Ovarian Cancer Research

I lost my mom recently to Ovarian Cancer. The impact of such a loss has left my heart with a great hole. My world will never be the same. 

If you can, consider participating or supporting the 2017 Teal's Real 5K Run. Click this link to register for the race. 

The non-profit organizer of this event was actually my mom's roommate at Stanford Hospital during her last hospital stay. 

Race information:
September 16, 2017 at 8:45am
Location: Campbell Park on Gilman Avenue & East Campbell Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008

There is a virtual race option if you live too far away to make it the day of the race. You can also submit donations to help the cause. Click here to make a donation. 

Previous posts on this topic:
a. Why I had BRCA Testing Done
b. My runDisney Story
c. Taking care of a parent
d. Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer is Key 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

4 Strategies for Empowering Hispanic Students

I live in California, a state that has a large number of Hispanic students. As a teacher, I see many of these students enter the school system, some succeed, while others fail. 


Here are some strategies to help empower Latino/Hispanic Students:

1. The cup is half full, not half empty
Being able to speak a language other than English is a very handy thing. Give the student encouragement on what they already know and help them feel that the glass is half full, not half empty.
  2. Provide opportunities for self-empowerment and leadership
English Second Language (ESL) Students might not be strong in English, but they have other skills. Use those skills to empower the student. For example, if there's a Spanish class, have the ESL student be available as a mentor to students learning Spanish as a second language. 

3. Provide examples of role models the students can relate to

Jose M. Hernadez, first immigrant farm worker to become an astronaut for NASA. Read to the students or have them read, Reaching for the Stars, an inspiring autobiography of Jose's journey from becoming a typical Latino boy to becoming an astronaut. 

4. Understand how the bilingual mind works
Unless you are bilingual yourself, it is hard to explain what is like to be bilingual. As a bilingual person, I think in two languages. I dream in two languages and sometimes these languages simultaneously cross over. Learning to speak a new language means retraining the student's brain to think in another language. This takes time and practice. Very often the student will think in their strongest language and then translate in their head before being able to speak. That means that they need more time to process the questions being asked in the target language.

Sometimes I amaze my monolingual husband without intending to. I hear something in Spanish, my brain doesn't even register it as a different language, I internalize the information given and then move on. In the meantime, my husband is standing there confused, wondering what just happened. 

How the ELL Brain Learns by David A. Sousa, is a good read, if you are not bilingual yourself and you want to better understand how second language learners think. 

5. Mentor outside of class
Realize the value of showing students you care. A teacher's job doesn't end at 3 pm with the bell, it continues far beyond that. Are your students into sports? Go see one of their games and then tell them how proud you were to see them. Show interest in what interests them, and you will definitely reap the rewards. 

6. Bring outside speakers into the classroom
Find people in your area that have moved beyond their circumstances to accomplish great things. This can be someone who was the first person in their family to go to college or someone who moved up in a company because of their ambition and hard work. 

7. Teach with a "Si se puede" attitude
This phrase roughly translates to yes, we can. A phrase coined by Cesar Chavez, a farm worker who fought against the injustices faced by immigrant farm workers of the time. Don't allow students to say they can't do something. Make "si se puede" a daily reminder that they can do whatever they set their mind to. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Tsum Tsum Sale at JCPenny $1.99

$1.99 Sale price, Reg. price $6. Sale ends 7/29/17. Click here

Some of the Tsum Tsum's on Sale:


Star Wars

Finding Nemo


Are you a Swagbucks member? Get an additional 2% cash back on your purchase. Not a member? Click here to sign up. 

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Spider-Man Homecoming Movie Review

Did you like the film? Why or why not? 
I thought the movie was really good. A big part of the movie focuses on Peter Parker as a teenager. This makes it different to the other Spider-Man movies, making it more relate-able to the teenage crowds. The movie was more lighthearted compared to the other Spider-Man series. The focus wasn't to kill or avenge anyone. It has a few twists which make the movie engaging and thrilling. Overall, it was a good beginning for the new Spider-Man series.

What did you think of the acting, directing, cinematography, writing, etc.?
I was impressed with the actors chosen for this movie. They did a good job of conveying their characters. The effects were well choreographed and planned out, which made the stunts seem real. 

For what ages would you say this film is best suited for?

I would say this movie is good for any age. Kids will enjoy seeing their superhero again on the big screen. Teenagers will be able to relate to the challenges that Spider-Man faces as a teenager of this generation, and the adults who grew up seeing the previous movies can appreciate the changes done to this movie and enjoy the entertainment value of the production. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Natural Way to Get Rid of Annoying Mosquitoes

Having grown-up on a tropical island, I'm surprised I had never seen this plant before. During a recent trip to Home Depot to buy some flowers for my garden, I stumbled across this Citronella plant. I smelled it and the smell was very familiar. Mosquito repellents must have a chemical version of this plant. It's a strong scent, but I would rather have a few plants than constantly spraying myself with mosquito repellent. It's definitely worth a try. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dinner Experience at Goofy's Kitchen in Disneyland, CA

Character meals are usually not one of our first choices for dinner when visiting Disneyland. However, this time, we were looking for restaurants that more than just a meal, we wanted an experience. Of course, the teens thought that meeting the characters for a meal was for little kids. I of course, love the characters and I'm not a little kid, so there goes that theory. 

We arrived early to the restaurant. We wanted to make sure we found it on time. There were a lot of people waiting to get seated. Especially, a lot of big families and groups. There was even a quinceanera party entering as we were leaving. 

While we waited, we were asked to take our photo with Mickey. He was dressed up chef attire, which was really cute. 

We were then taken to our table and shortly after, we ordered or drinks and went to the buffet to make our selections. There were some picky eaters in our group, but they all found things they liked. You can't go wrong with macaroni and cheese. Even though there were some good desserts available, we were stuffed with the entrees. 

As you ate the characters rotated around the room taking photos and greeting the guests. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Chip & Dale, and Goofy. 

The characters were hilarious. Chip messed up my son's hair style and at one point, pushed him out of the way so he could get a close-up shot. Mickey walked behind Dale while we were taking photos and photo bombed it. So cool! 

Overall, the food and entertainment were great. It will definitely be a repeat for us. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Up House DIY Cross Stitch

Disney Family has on their website the pattern for this activity for free. Here's the link. The pattern doesn't come with the DMC color guide, so I had to guess and substitute the colors with what I had available. 

Tip: Put a clothespin at the end of a string of thread to weigh it down. It will make it much easier to separate the threads. Start splitting the thread at the top and let the clothespin whirl. Once at the end, take the clothespin off. 

This is an easy project that you can do while traveling. It will fit easily in a purse and doesn't take up much room. Remember to print out the color pattern before traveling. 

I started with the house and worked my way up.

There are a lot of color changes in the balloon area, this part took the longest. 


I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it now. It will probably turn into an ornament or small wall hanging.

Ran 4.1 miles for runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Race

The race was a 5K, so we only needed to do 3.1 miles. We estimated that loop that we were planning on doing would probably not be enough to meet the 3.1 mile requirement, so we took it a little further and without really realizing it, we exceeded our goal. Woohoo! 

If you're wondering, what's a virtual race? Click here to view one of my previous posts where I explain it. 

I had two apps running on my phone: Map My Run and Couch to 5K. The Couch to 5K app does a good job of telling me when to slow down and walk and when to run. I'm still building up my endurance, so it helps guide my workout. 

The app even gave me a badge for completing today's run. Clever way to keep a person motivated. 

I submitted my time online on the runDisney website and got to print out a completion certificate. 

With this run, you were given the option to make a donation to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, which we gladly did. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Penguin Encounter Tour at Sea World San Diego

We decided to give the boys a special treat. They both knew they were going to Sea World, but they didn't know we have booked them on a behind the scenes penguin tour. We told them about the tour the day before. They were both very excited and surprised. 

The cost was an additional $50 per person on top of the park admission price. 

The tour met in the front of the park. The tour guide checked their names off a list and gave them a sticker, which helped the tour guide keep track of who was part of the group. After that, they were off. They told us that we would be able to see them through the glass enclosure if we happened to be there at the right moment. Hearing this, my husband went over and waited patiently to see the kids behind the glass. 

The kids learned a lot about penguins: what they eat, the different types of penguins, predators, survival skills, etc. Sea World has a variety of penguins in their exhibit, so they could see right away the physical differences between the different species. The tour took them behind the scenes where they could look out into the enclosure, while safely standing behind a short wall. 

The kids said that there were paper cut outs of the different types of penguins and they were most impressed with how tall an emperor penguin could get. They noted that it would probably be intimidating to stand next to such a large animal out in the wild. 

The best part of the tour was when they got to meet a macaroni penguin in person and take photos with it. The kids were over the moon. What a great experience! Even the teenager that works hard to pretend everything is lame, had a huge smile on his face. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Easiest Free Baby or Wedding Registry

Amazon makes it really easy to set-up a baby or wedding registry and receive your gifts. 


Benefits on using Amazon for your registry:

  • Biggest online retailer
  • 90 day money back on most items
  • Manage your registry from any device
  • Free shipping on most items
  • If your registry reaches $1,000 and you are a Prime member, you are eligible for a $100 credit for diapers & wipes. (Baby Registry)
  • Free Bonus Gifts when your friends and family buy from select brands (Wedding Registry)
  • Keeps a detailed list of who bought you what item, so you can thank them later
  • Don't know what to pick? No problem! Amazon has many handy guides created for you.

Click here to sign-up for a baby registry. 

Click here to sign-up for a wedding registry. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Great Room Escape San Diego

While visiting San Diego, we decided to try something new and do one of those room escapes we had seen on ads. The Great Room Escape had 3 different types of escape rooms that you could try: Houdini, Zombie, and Aztec Rooms. We found a Groupon for this company, which helped lower the price. 

There are a max of 10 people for the escape that we chose, which was Houdini's Escape. At first we didn't want to do it with other people, since we thought they would ruin the experience for us, but that was far from the truth. The reality was that it took all of us working together to help solve the various clues. It wasn't easy! An hour flew by as we unlocked one clue after another. 

We sadly didn't finish. We were one lock away from solving the mystery, but we ran out of time. It's so easy to waste time on clues that aren't really clues, but you really don't know it at the time. 

We had a lot of fun. It's a great activity to do with a group of friends or family. It's definitely challenging and entertaining. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

PAWmicon 2017 Dog Show in San Diego

You've probably heard of Comicon, well, this is the dog version of that. It's an event where owners and dogs dress up as super heroes. It benefits the local humane society. It's a 2 hour event that has some games, a costume contest, and prizes. 

So many clever costumes. 

Even though I didn't have a dog to bring to the show, I had a lot of fun taking photos, petting all the pets, and chatting with the owners. I'm glad I wasn't one of the judges, there were too many good costumes. 

USS Midway Museum & Flight Simulator

The USS Midway is a decommissioned Navy Aircraft Carrier that is museum for all to enjoy in San Diego, CA. 

Tickets were a little on the pricey side. $20 for adults, $15 for students, and free for active duty military, fire fighters, and police officers with ID. The price includes the price of the audio set, which you can pick up once you are inside. There are numbers throughout the ship that you type into your headset to hear more about that particular location. 

There are also docents siding in various locations that are retired military that are very knowledgeable in U.S. history. The day we visited there was a docent talking about his military experience. He had served during World War II. Reading about it in a history book is one thing, having someone tell you what they lived through is a whole different experience. Talk about bringing history to life!

There is a 15 minute movie that's included in the cost that narrates the story of the USS Midway. 

The boys gravitated towards the flight simulator. It was $8 per person and there's a two person minimum. There were smaller kids riding with their parents.

They first did a video game version of the flight simulator in order to get the hand of the controls and trying to stay upright. Once that was done, it was into the capsule. You have to leave anything that will fall out of your pockets, since the capsule can fully rotate.

Once the capsule has closed, you can see two screens on the outside, one has what they are seeing inside and the other one is a live video feed of their reaction as they are flying around. Everyone had a great time.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Giraffe Feeding at the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs is a pretty hot place to visit during the summer time. It's best to go early in the morning when the Zoo opens or later in the day when the sun is not too intense. The day we went, it was 109 degrees. There are plenty of places to refill your water bottle in the park. Bring the usual, sunscreen, hat, and a refillable water bottle with you. 

For an additional $5 per person, you can feed a giraffe. You have to be there during feeding time, which was 9am. You pay and get in line. You are then given a sticker that says "I fed a giraffe" and you are given 3 carrot sticks. The zoo volunteers are very knowledgeable on everything giraffe related, so make sure to ask any questions that you might have. 

If you are traveling with smaller kids and want to do the feeding, that's not a problem. Some of the giraffes are not tall enough to reach the top rail. You can either hold the child in your arms and help them feed the giraffe or feed one of the shorter ones through the fence. 

Saw the Cast of Descendants 2 at Disneyland

Image credit: Disney Parks

The Descendants 2 is a new Disney Channel Show that basically follows the lives of the children of some of the Disney Villains. The Disney Channel was doing some live recordings at Disneyland while I was there. The cast happen to walk by me escorted by the Disney Red Vest VIP Guides. 

By the time I reacted and thought of taking a photo, I was looking at the back of their heads. Still a cool experience. 

Disneyland Snacks You'll Want To Try

1) The Kitchen Sink

This very adorable kitchen sink is shaped like Mickey Mouse's pants. The knobs turn and are shaped like Mickey's gloves. 

Sold inside Disney California Adventure in Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream. There are about 4 different ice cream combinations to choose from. Each kitchen sink comes with 3 scoops of ice cream. If you just want the kitchen sink, it will cost you the same with or without the ice cream, so you might as well try to eat it or at least share it as a family. 

Ask for a bag, so you can carry this beauty home. 

2) Churros

Churros are long deep fried pastries that look like long sticks. They are often rolled in sugar, cinnamon and other flavors. 

California Churro Company has a booth in Downtown Disney. They have some exceptionally different flavors. Austin go the Oreo churro and really liked it. I just took his word for it.