Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Say #HelloKeurig to the New Addition to my Kitchen

My morning isn't complete without my morning coffee. A day that starts off without coffee is pretty much a day that will not go well!

Thanks to Influenster, I was able to get rid of my old, generic Keurig coffee maker and upgrade to the newest Keurig 2.0!

When I got the giant box, I squealed in delight! Opening the box was like Christmas morning! I set up my Keurig 2.0 and was ready to brew my first cup.To my disappointment, the generic Keurig K-cups that I had did not work on the Keurig 2.0 The screen displays an error message and says that it will only take "official" K-cups. It also will not take the reusable K-cups where you can fill with your own coffee. Thank goodness the Keurig 2.0 came with a few sample cups so I was able to enjoy my coffee ASAP.



The next morning, I tried the carafe function on the Keurig 2.0. The plastic carafe good for up to 4 cups of coffee came with the coffee maker, as well as a few carafe K-cups to get me started. As I brewed the carafe, the smell of coffee filled my house. Mmmmm, smelled so good! As I poured my first cup, the lid of the carafe came loose, spilling coffee all over my kitchen counter. Boo! Seems as if the heat from the coffee stretched or loosened the plastic of the carafe causing the mess.

There have also been a few times the machine as "frozen" while brewing a cup of coffee. 10 minutes have gone by and only a few drops of coffee have come out with the screen still displaying "brewing".

It would be nice if you could control the temperature of the coffee as well. For me, the coffee isn't hot enough.
Also, the Keurig 2.0 give you the options to brew a 6 oz. or 8 oz cup of coffee. Either function I choose, the Keurig still seems to dispense 6 oz of coffee.

Also, the Keurig 2.0 has a hot water function but only dispenses 6 oz of water at a time. I'd rather use my hot water kettle when warming my water for my tea.
The water reservoir hold lots of water, but needs to be refilled at the halfway point each time, or an error shows up on the screen.

Overall, my generic one cup Keurig coffee maker was more useful than the Keurig 2.0 with all the bells and whistles it brags about. I was really hoping my Keurig 2.0 would be all I hoped it would be.

Have you tried the Keurig 2.0? What do you think?

I received a complimentary Keurig 2.0 in exchange for my blog post review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Let's #CleanUpSweetwater! #ANewBeginning for #SUHSD

Over the past year, the Sweetwater Union High School District school board has been highlighted on the news for no so favorable actions. Four of five school board members, were found guilty of accepting gifts from district contractors that exceeded state limits, thus being removed from their seats on the school board.


In addition to the removal of the school board members, both the teachers union, Sweetwater Education Association (SEA), and the counselor union, Sweetwater Counseling and Guidance Association (SCGA), were on the verge of strike due to district violations of the respective union contracts.



Being a member of the Sweetwater Counseling and Guidance Association Executive Board, a few of us spoke at the school board meetings to share our concerns with the actions of the school board members to whom we entrusted our schools, our communities, and our livelihood. 

Here is the text of my address to the school board. Although speakers are allowed 3 minutes, I (along with all the other speakers that particular evening) was cut off after only one minute:
I am a product of the SUHSD. I attended Granger Junior High School, graduated from Sweetwater High, worked as an AVID tutor at Granger and National City MIddle throughout college, taught English at Castle Park High School for 7 years, and now a counselor back at my alma mater for 6 years now. Because of all the teachers and counselors who mentored me, I’m able to give back to my community all these years. Because of the individual attention they gave me, they set an example of how I should build relationships with my students.

There was a time when I would encourage any aspiring educator to join me in this district. I was proud of the work we did and the people I worked with. But now, my trust in the district leadership has weaned. Our board members have betrayed our trust. Our superintendent doesn’t value the work we do. In the new year, I’ll be taking what is equivalent to a 10% pay decrease to provide for my family’s health care needs.
I’m afraid with no improvements in teacher class size and no reductions in counselor caseload, your team of teachers and counselors will be unable to meet the individual needs of ALL students. With the new common core standards and expectations being put on ALL of us, we are spread thin. Teachers still have an average of 35 students in every classroom. Each counselor still has an average caseload of 400 students.
We want our students to be college ready and meet the expectations of common core. Meeting this goal is not just about students completing courses, earning grades, and getting the best test scores. It is about nurturing a student. Building confidence in their capabilities. Giving them meaningful experiences in and out of the classroom to build character and leadership in our students. It’s important to help students establish meaningful relationships with counselors and teachers to really make them college ready. With no decreases in teacher classroom size or counselor caseload, this will be very challenging.

Board members, please regain the trust of the constituents who voted for you! Dr. Brand and Board Members, please recognize the hard work of your employees and encourage your team to be fair in our contract negotiations. Let’s make the best choices to provide the best educational experience for the students of the SUHSD!
This November 4th election, both SEA and SCGA are hoping to #CleanUpSweetwater since all 5 seats on the school board are up for election. Two of the former board members found guilty for accepting gifts over the allowed limit are running for Sweetwater Union High School District school board seats again. Both are not endorsed by the SEA or SCGA.


Both the Sweetwater Education Association and the Sweetwater Counseling and Guidance Association endorse:


Each seat corresponds to a particular area serviced by the Sweetwater Union High School District. 

All the candidates endorsed have strong ties to the community and have a background in education. I encourage the communities of National City, Chula Vista, and San Ysidro make an informed choice for the future of their children in the leadership for the Sweetwater Union High School District. Please share, like, and/or post our endorsed candidates to your friends and family. It will be a really close call and every little bit helps!

For more information, visit:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Let's Get AJ Out of the Crane ASAP!

Having a child in the hospital is no fun. Long days, confined to a bed, and feeling sicky is no way for a kid to spend their days. For the last few days, my four year old has had to stay in the hospital for appendicitis monitoring. Books, iPad, drawing, and TV isn't enough to pass the time and keep him distracted from the numerous tests he's undergoing or from the pain he's experiencing. Every day he says he's ready to go home. My poor baby...


But thanks to the great hospital staff, there is lots to keep him busy: a play room that's set up like a classroom, a Nintendo Wii in his room, as well as a long list of DVDs to choose from. He feels at home and comfortable knowing that the hospital staff want to keep him happy during his staty.

So, when I was asked to share the 13th Annual AJ’s Kids Crane with you all,  I was more than happy to do so!

Starting Friday, November 7th in the IKEA parking lot located at 2149 Fenton Parkway in Mission Valley, San Diegans are encouraged to donate toys in exchange for various prizes and/or activities. The event, originally created by morning radio personalities AJ Machado and Hula Ramos, will feature AJ living atop a 30-foot “crane” – rain or shine – with the goal of collecting 100,000 toys benefiting AJ’s Kids Fund for Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. 


Opening night, November 7th is dedicated to the ladies! The theme is Girl's Night Out and will feature a fashion show, boudoir photo opportunities, manicure/pedicure stations, and more!

Monday, November 10th is Kids Day with lots of fun things to do for families and kids including a diaper derby, exercise with Stroller Strides, music by Hullabaloo, and extra family fun!

There will be several days with different themes for get the community to come out and support.  I'm looking forward to the Taste of the Crane featuring sampling from over a dozen San Diego restaurants! 

Toys to be collected and donated will help the young patients feel more at ease while undergoing procedures or a stay at Rady Children’s Hospital. "It's been incredible watching the community of San Diego grow this annual toy drive over the course of a dozen years. I have faith that we'll have another great event benefitting the amazing patients at Rady's Children's Hospital” says Machado. 



San Diegans are encouraged to donate toys or monetary donations and as a show of appreciation and thanks from ENERGY 103.7 partners will receive various prizes including LEGOLAND® California child tickets, Disney On Ice tickets as well as tickets to an exclusive ENERGY 103.7 SeaWorld® Christmas Celebration – just to name a few. A complete AJ’s Kids Crane schedule of events and prizing will be available beginning November 3rd on ENERGY1037.com.

Check them out on Facebook and Twitter:
@ENERGY1037SD 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Anaheim Packing District - Packed with Great Eats

My social media feeds have had many pictures from the Anaheim Packing District over the past few weeks. The pictures of yummy food and trendy atmosphere quickly had me adding a bookmark to my Yelp!

Since we're frequent visitors to Disneyland, a stop at the Anaheim Packing District was a must. Being just a few minutes away, we decided to stop by before heading home from one of our most recent Disneyland trips!

I loved the various seating areas inside! There some swings to sit in, large benches with big pillows, and a ton of tables for small or large groups. There is even a picnic area on the outside with plenty of grass and tables to enjoy the awesome So Cal weather!




The Anaheim Packing District is a new communal gathering place in the heart of downtown, complete with refurbished historic structures and new exciting uses. The Packing District, located at the intersection of Anaheim Blvd and Santa Ana Street, includes the restored Packard Building & former Car Showroom, Farmers Park and the restored citrus Packing House, including a community kitchen for private use, as well as an intimate backyard & outdoor venue with a fireplace and orange grove. There is also live music on the Mezzanine Stage every weekend! 

So, what did we eat?

The boys and I shared a ramen bowl and sushi from Orange Tei

Hubby had some pretty awesome fish and chips from The Chippy

The long line at PopBar got me curious so we got in line for these yummy goodies!



For more information on the latest happenings at The Packing House, sign up via “Join Our Community” on the main page: www.anaheimpackingdistrict.com


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rockout with the Roxstars at Hard Rock Cafe #ThisIsHardRock #HRRoxtars

Our family loves to eat out! We're always looking for fun ways to enjoy our meals and enjoy each other's company! When I heard about Hard Rock International's rockin’ and rolling new band of cool characters, I was super excited to share it with you! Hard Rock Cafe promised to make your little rock stars’ experience at Hard Rock Cafes® and Hard Rock Hotels® totally awesome!



The Hard Rock Roxtars®, Razzi™, Sir Kingston™, Styler™, Buddy Jr™, and Skiddley™ are hitting the scene and bringing along cool amenities for kids of all ages. Kids who dine at Hard Rock Cafe locations will be given the VIP treatment with Hard Rock Roxtars swag and new healthy menu options, such as Skiddley’s “Not-so-diddley” chicken breast and “Twisted ‘n tasty” cavatappi pasta. Children who stay at select Hard Rock Hotel locations with their families can rock to their own rhythm, catch a live Hard Rock Roxtars performance or take part in musical learning activities!


To launch the Hard Rock Roxtars, Hard Rock Cafe is hosting “Does Your Child Look Like a Rock Star?” Contest to encourage guest interaction with the new Hard Rock Roxtars characters, kids menu, and merchandise. For one night, during the “Does Your Child Look Like a Rock Star?” Contest, kids eat free* at Hard Rock Cafe with a paying adult. Guests can bring their favorite pint-sized rock star dressed in their best costume to the cafe for a chance to win a Hard Rock Cafe gift card or a 2015 birthday party* for eight of the rock star’s closest band members and entourage

For additional information about the Hard Rock Cafe “Does Your Child Look Like a Rock Star?” Contest, contact your local cafe for contest details!

To get you ready to rock out with the Hard Rock Roxtars®, I'm giving away a gift pack which includes a themed guitar-shaped plate, a 6” plush Hard Rock Roxtars character, a Hard Rock adult t-shirt, an activity book, and a $50 Hard Rock gift card!

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


For more information, check out:
· Hard Rock website: www.hardrock.com
· Hard Rock Roxtars website: http://www.hrroxtars.com/
· Hard Rock Twitter: https://twitter.com/HardRock
· Hashtag: #ThisIsHardRock, #HRRoxtars

I'm looking forward to meeting the Roxstars and sharing my experience with you all!

Disclosure:
No celebrity or musician has endorsed the “Does Your Child Look Like a Rock Star” contest. The information, gift card, gift pack and giveaway have been provided to me by Hard Rock International. I also received promotional items in exchange for this blog post.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Family Fun at Knott’s Camp Spooky Halloween

Southern California has so much to offer all-year round! There are so many fun, family oriented activities to keep little ones busy, especially during the holidays! Thanks to Knott's Berry Farm, we were able to check out Camp Spooky and all the fun Halloween festivities!



One of the first things we did was join in the fun while Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang hosted a costume parade in the Camp Spooky Theater. All kids were invited to participate! Children who participate can win all sorts of magnificent prizes! Here is our DJ joining in the parade!


All participants got a cool ribbon!

Our boys loved exploring their spooky creativity at the “Potion Station”. The fun Kool-Aid mixing station was lots of fun! They had a great time using the test tubes to create “Friendship Potions”.






At the “Mini Monster Maze”, we were rewarded with sweet treats waiting for us at the end.



Our family also got to enjoy a few special interactive spooky activities such as Medusa’s Bug Boutique and the many scream-worthy rides!







Its not too late for your family to also to be a part of Knott’s Camp Spooky! Weekends in October and on Halloween Day, Knott’s Berry Farm invites you and your family to join in on the Halloween fun in Camp Spooky. This daytime event is a non-scary celebration of cheer rather than fear with shows and activities all geared for kids ages 3-11.

Admission to Camp Spooky is included with admission to Knott's Berry Farm. NOW is the perfect season to buy a 2015 Knott’s Season Pass. It's the lowest price of the year!

We know your family will have a great time, just like we did!




***Thanks to Knotts Berry Farm for a great time and to GigaSavvy as the contributor for this post. Although we received complimentary admission from Knott's Berry Farm, all the opinions in this post are my own.