FREE Apple Camp at the Apple Store for Kids

I love to keep my kids heads busy learning during the summer, so I will be sharing some great summer educational opportunities within in the next few of weeks as a part of my  Summer Educational Series.

This year my daughter learned how to create a power point presentation at school. She loves to take pictures and has made several “movies” on her tablet. So I am more then excited to see this FREE three day Apple Camp.

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Apple Camp is for kids ages 8-12. They learn how to shoot their own footage, create an original song in GarageBand on an iPad, and put it all together in iMovie on a Mac. This free workshop, held at the Apple Store, spans three days and ends with campers debuting their masterpieces at the Apple Camp Film Festival. This camp fills up quickly, so sign up  and respond quickly when registration opens up.

Click on the link to sign up for Apple Camp email notifications.

 

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Join the Great American Backyard Campout

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The 10th annual Great American Backyard Campout is Saturday, June 28. National Wildlife Federation is encouraging people to camp outside on June 28th, or a night of your choice.

National Wildlife Federation’s Board of Directors and other friends have offered to donate $2 in support of NWF’s wildlife conservation work for every person that participates in this year’s Campout— up to $400,000! You can register at the NWF site. You can camp in your backyard, balcony or a campground. They also provide a Campsite Finder  which offers you the chance to join other camping teams. National Wildlife Federation hopes to connect more people and families with being in the great outdoors.

National Wildlife Federation also has some Camping Tips, games, songs, stories and recipes on their website.

As a Girl Scout leader I must ask that you please don’t forgoet the s’mores. Did you know that s’mores first appeared in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook, Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. 

I”ll  keep you up to date on our upcoming camping plans and recipes. We just recently acquired some great camping equipment and I can’t wait to use it.

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No School = No Food

Summer vacation is just a couple of weeks away for us. I’m planning our schedule and finding events to keep my children busy.

For a lot of parents, the thoughts go so much deeper then that. Some parents are trying to think of ways to keep their children from going hungry during summer break.

In Orange County about 43% of children depend on the free and reduced lunches at school as a majority of their nutrition each day.  So for many children no school = no food.

                                                                      SPSP landing page_0

How can you help?

Raise awareness and refer people: The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps low-income children continue to receive meals when school is out. The program provides children healthy meal options for breakfast and lunch in the summer months at Kids Cafes and other sites. Summer site information varies by state and is available when the school year ends. Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish speakers) to find a free, nutritious summer meal site near you.

http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/raise-awareness

Donate or Fundraise:  Start or join a fundraising page or donate funds.

https://www.crowdrise.com/whyhunger

Volunteer:  Volunteers help with basics like transporting food, setting up or cleaning up a site.

http://www.serve.gov/?q=site-page/endhunger-sfsp

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pictures courtesy of http://www.whyhunger.org/

 

 

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Easy Peasy No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

 

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 (pictures and recipes from http://www.grocerybudget101.com/)
My Mother-in-Law came to visit a couple of weeks ago and shared with me how she soaks her oatmeal in water overnight. I tired it and liked it so I went to the internet in search of more soaked oatmeal recipes. I found these Refrigerator Oatmeal recipes from http://www.grocerybudget101.com/content.php/611-Easy-Refrigerator-Oatmeal. Can I just say I feel like Jasmine singing a “Whole New World”.
These recipes are great on the budget and very healthy. I put one together last night. My daughters and I enjoyed out Refrigerator Oatmeal this morning. This is soooo easy and filling, I’m still full from breakfast.
I changed this basic recipe a little bit. I was all out of yogurt so I substituted it with cottage cheese. I used half almond milk and half water. For the fruit, I used dried cranberries, for some crunch I used sliced almonds and ground Chia to thicken it up. I also used a little bit of Agave to add some sweetness. It was great!
By the way, if you don’t have mason jars don’t let this stop you from trying these recipes. I used a plastic container with a tight lid and made a big batch for the family.
Here’s the recipe from http://www.grocerybudget101.com/)
Refrigerator Oatmeal Basic Recipe 

You’ll Need:
1/4 c. Old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
1/3 c. vanilla almond milk (Homemade or store bought)
1/4 c. vanilla yogurt
2 tsp chia seeds

(see below for various flavor choices!)

Assemble your ingredients:

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Measure the rolled oats, chia seeds, yogurt and almond milk into the mason jar, put the cover on, seal and shake to combine.

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Uncap and and add your choice of fruit & flavorings from the list below. Replace the lid and attach the jar seal tightly, use within 4 days.

Refrigerator Oatmeal Amazing Flavors:

 

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20 Pharses to Encourage Your Children

As parents It’s easy to get into the habit of saying “good job” or “you’re so smart!” as words of encouragement to our children.   

I thought I’d share this printable list of 20 encouraging phrases from http://rachelwojo.com/  these phrases focus on the value of kindness, hard work, improvement and perseverance.

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You can click on the link to get the printable PDF Encourage Your Children Printable.

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Children’s Gardening Workshops and tons of fun at OC Great Park

We stop here often after church to let the kids play and explore. Yesterday I read a blog about Movies on the Lawn at the OC Great Park. They start tonight at 7:30 from http://cruzinmama.wordpress.com/ (thank you for the reminder CruzinMama). I thought I’d share some great (and mostly free) family fun things to do at the OC Great Park along with of the some fantastic educational opportunities they offer.

Educational opportunities are:

Children’s Gardening Workshops: FREE monthly hands-on workshops for kids 3-9 years old. Each month is a different theme, they learn about sustainable gardening and do ààààaààvarious actives.The workshops take place from January through June on the second Sunday of the month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., every 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the last one for this season is on June 8th.

  The Web of Life: Did you know that plants, animals, insect, humans, and the environment are all interconnected and depend on each another for survival?  Come discover how it’s all woven together, as you make your very own Web of Life to take home with you.

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 (photos and information courtesy of OC Great Park)

Farm + Food Lab: The Farm + Food Lab is a two-acre agriculture garden that showcases themed planters with items like fruits, flowers, vegetables and herbs. a Pizza and Spaghetti Garden, an “Ethnic Garden, a Fruit Salad Garden and a Sensory Garden. The Farm + Food Lab usually has someone there from the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Orange County that you are able to talk to and ask questions. There is a chicken coop with beautiful chicken. (I long to have a chicken coop).

Walkable Historical Timeline:  The Walkable Timeline is 2,604 feet. It includes 162  historical events.

Palm Court Arts Complex: This area includes the Great Park Gallery and Great Park Artists Studios, they feature publicly-accessible artists-in-residence program. Preserving El Toro’s World War II era atmosphere and architecture. This area serves as the Park’s cultural campus, supporting development of the public arts programming.

Incredible Edible Farm: This 4.5 acre farm provided fresh fruit & veggies to Second Harvest Food Bank. The City of Irvine and Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County have partnered to operate the Farm. They also provide volunteer opportunities (a great way to serve your community).

 

Family Fun:

Great Park Balloon: The balloon holds between 25 to 30 passengers and goes up 400 feet high. Due to my fear of heights, I haven’t been on the balloon but my family tells me the sights are  beautiful.Great Park Balloon

  • Adults (19 and older): $10
  • Children (12-18 years old): $5 without paid accompanying adult
  • Children (18 years old and younger)*: Free with paid adult
  • Family & Friends Pass: $40 for five adult flights

Thursday–Friday: 10 am–3 pm, 7 pm–10 pm
Saturday–Sunday: 9 am–3 pm, 7 pm–10 pm

*Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult on Balloon flights.

Kids Rock Playground: a playground that is inspired by and focused on educating kids on conservation ecology and water cycles They can climb rocks and go into “underground tunnels”.  The playground floor is made of recycled rubber flooring that resembles lakes and streams. There is plenty of seating and tables available for the entire family.

Check out Free Sports Equipment at the Visitors Center: You can check out a football, soccer ball, Bocce ball set, Frisbee or jump rope and play on the many acres of open lawn around the Great Park. Hours are :

Monday-Wednesday: Closed
Thursday-Friday: 10 am-10 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 9 am-10 pm

Great Park Carousel: 

  • All-Day Pass: $3
  • Single Ride: $2
  • Family & Friends Pass: $20 for 10 all-day passes

Thursday–Friday: 10 am–10 pm
Saturday–Sunday: 9 am–10 pm

Reflecting Ponds and Viewing Pier: There are two reflecting ponds and a 2,200 square-foot redwood viewing pier.

Farmers Market: Every Sunday, the Certified  Farmers Market offers locally grown fruits and vegetables and handcrafted artisan products. There is live entertainment, gourmet food trucks and picnic tables.

Terraced Lawn: This area serves as an outdoor performance venue for Great Park events such as:  Movie on the Lawn series and Flights & Sounds Summer Festival.

 

I hope you can visit soon.

 

http://www.ocgp.org/

 

 

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Best Family Movies

 

There are some days I just want to stay home and relax with my family. I found this list of 22 Best Family Movies from http://www.the36thavenue.com/

A few of these we’ve seen but there a few I’ve forgotten about and a couple I’ve never heard of.  This list will come in handy during our summer break. Hopefully I can get a few days in here and there for well needed downtime.

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For the complete list visit Best Family Movies

 

 

 

 

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SciGirls Encourages Girls (and boys) in STEM

 

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SciGirls is a GREAT show for kids target ages 8-12  (but my 7 year old loves it!) it encourages kids curiosity with all things STEM. Each episode features a different group of tween girls that put science and engineering to work by creating and exploring.  Your kids will see scientific and math principles applied to real-life scenarios. I also love that the show displays teamwork and conflict resolution.

They have a fantastic website filled with games, videos and projects submitted by kids. The viewing schedule times are a little difficult for us but you can watch the entire episodes through the PBS website and YouTube.

SciGirls Website

 

 

The following is from PBSkids SciGirls website:

Tips for Encouraging Girls in STEM

How can you help?

Supporting girls in basic ways offers a great foundation for their science success:

  • Encourage Questions

    Encourage girls’ natural curiosity about the world. Scientists are professional question askers. Let her know that it’s perfectly acceptable to not have all the answers, and encourage her to explore and discover!

  • Offer a STEM-friendly Home

    Science happens everywhere. Gardening, auto mechanics, construction, cooking and plumbing all use STEM skills. Encourage safe experimentation and discovery in the kitchen and backyard, where she can practice predicting, measuring, observing and analyzing. Offer basic supplies, Internet access, a library card and a space where she can get a little messy.

  • Provide School Smarts

    With the growing importance of science and technological literacy, it is important to strengthen girls’ engagement, interest and confidence in middle school. Once in high school, girls will make choices that will either open or close doors to continued STEM studies and eventual careers in the field. Help them make educational choices and see the connections between science and math classes and future career options. Start early!

  • Help Girls Access Opportunities

    Great science learning happens outside the classroom as well. In addition to programs such as SciGirls, learning opportunities for kids can be found at science museums, zoos, scouting organizations and STEM clubs during afterschool hours, weekends and summer breaks. These programs often provide girls with introductions to working female mentors, who can help girls navigate the course of becoming a scientist.

  • Talk the Talk

    Talk to girls in your life about math and science. Ask them about what they are learning in school. Encourage them to share their struggles and their successes!

 

 

 

 

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You Say Potato I Say Potahto

 

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Either way you prefer to say it didn’t seem to matter to the kids at the garden yesterday.

Our class harvested the potatoes they planted in January. They absolutely loved it! It is so exciting to see kids excited about gardening.

They learned the entire process by doing. Our kids now know how to plant and grow potatoes but the most obvious reward for them was digging those beauties out of the ground.

No one cared about getting dirty or that their classmate just tossed dirt on them, they just keep digging. Every time one of them would find a potato we would hear the joyous sounds of a child  yelling “I found one”!

Everyone went home with potatoes. My daughters were both so anxious to prepare and eat their potatoes for dinner. I originally choose to volunteer in the garden not only because I love to garden but also because this the one spot at school that I could bring my little one along with me. They both had a great time digging into the earth to gather potatoes. I was thinking of finding another way of volunteering at school next year but all of this enthusiasm might have just sealed the deal for  my commitment in the garden for next year.

 

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Mini Horse Camp

 

 

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Let me be clear, not mini horse’s but a mini version of a horse camp. My Brownies voted on using a portion of the money earned through cookie sales  they earned to ride horses. With that in mind, safety first. So I found the Carol Fallon Riding Center (part of Sycamore Trails Stables) located in San Juan Capistrano.

I found a council’s own try-it so they could earn a badge during this experience. Carol worked with me to provide my Brownie’s with a Mini Horse Camp that fulfilled all but one step of the badge.  They learned about safety (safety first),  how to care for the horse’s, how to groom them, equipment needed and tacking up.

For the Grand finale, they learned how to get on a horse and went for a short ride. This was a great introduction to horses. This is just one more example of the wonderful opportunities they get through Girl Scouts. All of my Brownies , except one, groomed and rode the horses. Their faces were gleaming with pride. Hopefully, this a memory they will never forget.

http://www.carolfallonridingcenter.com/home.html

 

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Take Action Project and the Ronald McDonald House

 

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My troop is finishing up their Brownie Quest Journey. They decided to make their community aware of the on going needs of the Ronald McDonald House as in for their Take Action Project.

Our Brownie’s reached out to the their family, friends and community to collect items for the Ronald McDonald House while raising awareness at the same time.

I wasn’t able to get a picture of all the donations but they did fantastic! We delivered our items and took a tour of the house. The house is walking distance to CHOC hospital in Orange, CA. It provides a warm and comfortable place to stay while their children are receiving care at the hospital.

Through donations, the house provides everything from food and lodging to clothing and toiletries. It has a total of twenty rooms and serves up to eighty people. It has a large living area, dinning area, office complete with computers and printers, toy/play room, a relaxation room and beautiful indoor and outdoor sitting areas.

The kitchen has everything you need to prepare a meal but volunteers provide and cook meals in the beautifully equipped kitchen at dinner time and breakfast on the weekends.

After our tour, our lovely little Brownie’s helped out yet again by cleaning up all of the dinning tables, chairs and high chairs in the dinning room.

I’m very proud of my Brownies and all their efforts for bringing awareness to such a worthy cause.

https://ronaldhouseoc.org/

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“Your never persuasive when your abrasive” Rick Warren

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It’s amazing how whatever stays on your mind throughout the week is addressed at church. God’s funny that way.

This past week my mind keeps a going back to several moments when people around me have been less then kind. Actually, down right abrasive with no good reason.

Their behavior leaves me feeling baffled. You see it’s not just one person this week its a few. I can’t help but think that it must be so hard to carry the burden of being mean on purpose. To be unhappy on purpose requires so more much energy then just smiling.

When faced with these moments I need to remind myself not to let their actions ruffle my feathers. As always, God reminds me I need to extend grace to these people and be a better person.

So if for some reason you suddenly see me stand back, you just may be the person who’s being abrasive. Don’t worry, I’ll be praying for you.

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Does Girl Scouts enrich your daughter’s life?

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Yes! I can not say enough to describe the value of girls scouts. Above and beyond the leadership program it teaches girls to care for others, to be respectful and mindful of their actions. Girl Scouting teaches basic human values.
Sometimes I look around and am saddened by the lack of basic human values and priorities that some of our young people have. Then I step back into my Girl Scout world and am comforted by all the young ladies I seeing living the Girl Scout law. I see how these young girls are going to make a big difference one day and how girl scouting took a major part in that role.
I found this article today on Disney Family.com about the benefits of girl scouting. I can only hope that my daughter continues to realize the value of Girl Scouting to achieve her Gold Award.

 http://family.go.com/parenting/pkg-teen/article-786714-the-benefits-of-being-a-girl-scout-t/

The Benefits of Being a Girl Scout

How Your Daughter Can Make a Difference By Being a Girl Scout
Not all teenagers are content to rest on their laurels. In fact, there are 13 who haven’t. Out of a pool of 250 applicants – who already won a Girl Scout Gold Award, no less – they earned the honor of being one of the National Young Women of Distinction, a recognition offered each year to Gold Award winners who show extraordinary leadership.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is presented each year to the top 5 or 6 percent of Girl Scouts ages 14 to 18, so to be in an even more elite category is clearly impressive. “Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and an external committee comprised of high-profile professional women selected [the honorees],” says Kathy Cloninger, CEO of GSUSA. “Each honoree has spent one to two years on a community service project that has far-reaching effects in her community and beyond.”

The 2007 National Young Women of Distinction were honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 12 during a celebration of the 95th anniversary year of Girl Scouting.

Two Shining Examples

Rebecca Schultz, 17, of Sunrise, Fla., is one of the Young Women of Distinction who will be at that ceremony. This high school student is seriously concerned with the deterioration of natural reefs along the coastal waterways. Under the direction of the Department of Environmental Resource Management, Schultz took action by constructing and deploying artificial reefs along the coast of Florida. Her awareness campaign includes an educational program for middle school and high school students.

Schultz says she had a lot of inspiration for her project, which started when she got her scuba certification and began going on many dives in the South Florida area. “It was then I noticed that many of the coral reefs were deteriorating,” she says. “I really wanted to do something about it.”

Schultz’s project has actually been taken up by the Marine Biology class at South Plantation High School. The middle schools will continue with the educational program as well as maintain the monitoring at the reef sites. This summer, Schultz will work with the teacher to help incorporate the project in her course. This fall, despite being at college, Schultz will be close enough to help with several of the outreach events.

When asked what she learned from her experience, Schultz says, “I have learned many skills. Time management, money management, people skills, an ability to give proper directions for things that need to be done and the strength and motivation to get a project up and moving are a few of them. They’re all a part of leadership.”

Schultz hopes that other teens will learn about the importance of their waterway environments and how we affect them without really thinking about it. “As we become more aware of our environment, hopefully we will work to preserve it,” she says. “It is important for everyone to know that even as one person, we can make a difference.”

The project began as a relatively small idea, to help provide for a stable environment for corals and other marine life, to clean up and maybe establish a small artificial reef. As time went on, Schultz says it was clear that community awareness was even more important. The project grew as more people and organizations became aware. “My one small voice has become many – one reef ball has become several dozen,” she says. “I hope that by seeing what I have been able to accomplish, the project will also give teens a little encouragement to come up with their own ideas to help the environment. Be creative, be flexible, it can be done!”

Another of the 13 honorees is Elizabeth Okrutny, 18, of Tipp City, Ohio. Knowing that the hometown police department was too small to employ a sketch artist, Okrutny saw a need to produce composite computerized drawings with minimum effort. After presenting her initial findings to the chief of police, Okrutny implemented a software solution, along with a training and reference guide. The Tipp City Police Department was able to put her tools to work in order to apprehend criminals.

Okrutny’s choice of a career in forensics and facial reconstruction led her to contact the police department to learn about needs they had that could be served by a Gold Award project. “Upon learning about the value of composite sketches to investigators and the time and cost obstacles that keep this tool beyond the reach of many police departments, I knew I could apply my art and computer skills to develop a means to make the ability to produce composite drawings possible for any law enforcement agency,” she says.

A Girl Scout Gold Award project is required to include a plan for its continuation or maintenance after the project is completed. An animated self-study class, quick reference document and training instructions document that Oktrutny developed will allow training to continue. Electronic versions are also available for other agencies. The teaching elements have been made available to Okrutny’s university, and she’ll be using resources to teach facial compositing to gifted high school students this summer.

“From doing my project, I know that I can do the career I’ve chosen and that it’s the right choice for me,” Okrutny says. “By pursuing something you’re interested in, you can have an impact on those around you that you might not have thought about. Work on things that interest you, but look around every once in a while to see what it does to everybody else.”

“The 2007 National Young Women of Distinction epitomize Girl Scouting as the world’s best leadership experience for girls,” Cloninger says. “By discovering, connecting and taking action, these inspiring teenagers are defining what it means to be a female leader in today’s global society.”

 

 

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Quinoa Chili

Quinoa-Chili

I haven’t made Quinoa Chile in a few months now but  seeing this recipe today reminded me of how well this went over in my house.

This recipe from http://damndelicious.net/ sounds delicious. One of the many ways of working on refining my life is by eating foods that have value. I believe that God gave us everything we need to heal ourselves. It’s our job to put all these wonderful ingredients he gave us together to create something yummy. This recipe meets the mark all the way around.

Quinoa Chili

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