Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Christmas 2012

Christmas time is always so much fun! I have to admit it's one of my favorite holidays! For this Throwback Thursday I'm re-posting a blog post from my previous blog hosted on Google Sites: Holiday Season with the Garcia's from 2012. Enjoy!

This is the most wonderful time of the year! This time of the year is always filled with family, friends, and fun!

Here is the boys' annual picture with Santa! Jelo sat on Santa's lap and shared he wanted a cash register for Christmas while DJ stayed in my arms off to the side watching the entire interaction. When it was time to take the picture, we quickly put DJ on Santa's lap, yelled cheese and took the picture. Jelo smiled, DJ screamed! This picture is classic! The boys' shirts say "I'm on the nice list". Hmmm...nice most of the time, not all the time!

One of the first activities of the season was a trip to the December Nights at Balboa Park the first weekend in December. Good friends Mikey and Joyce decided to join us. We parked at Petco Park to catch a shuttle, only to find the line for the shuttle went around the block and down the street. We decided to talk a nice walk down Harbor Drive, across the new Harbor Drive pedestrian bridge, walk along the convention center and soak in the sights and sounds of Seaport Village.

Putting up our Christmas decor this year with out two little helpers. We decided to throw away all the breakable ornaments and not put up all the decor we usually do. Jelo was a great helper! DJ just wanted to put everything in his mouth! It's neat to see the pictures each year and how small the boys look next to our Christmas tree. We have lots of great memories around our costco tree!

Espero Photography did our annual family pictures again this year. Jelo was in a "bad mood" the entire session so there aren't very many pictures of him smiling. We have lots of beautiful pictures from the great team of Sheryl, Sherwin, and Stephanie!

Sea World is a great place to enjoy in the middle of the winter in San Diego! We had a great time at Snow World in the 70+ degree sunny weather! As soon we walked in, DJ saw the giant Christmas tree and was trying to jump out of his stroller to make a run for it! We also had a fun time with Elmo who gave the boys a giant hug! We spent lots of time in the new turtle reef exhibit where we watching the swimming turtles and played the turtle race game.

Our Disneyland annual passes expired at the end of 2011 so we decided to get one more visit in before the year ended. Jelo and DJ love Small World, all the more it was decorated in celebration on the holidays around the world. In Critter Country there were some live reindeer and activities for the kids to do. During this visit, every time there was live music DJ would jump out of his stroller to dance! It was so fun!

The holiday season isn't complete without a visit to the Christmas lights of the local neighborhoods!

On Christmas Eve, the boys wore their Harajuku shirts and bowties (because I don't have a girl to dress cute) and daddy matched with his own bow time from me! We attended mass with Lola and Tatay and headed to their house for dinner. We opened a few gifts before heading home!

I helped Jelo write a note to Santa before he went to bed!
He modeled his note this year after his new favorite, Charlie Brown!

Christmas morning the boys, including Don, woke me yelling "It's Christmas Mommy! Wake up! Let's go downstairs!!!" Wrapping and tissue paper starting flying all over! Boxes being ripped open! I didn't even know what came from who! All I know is Santa granted my wish and got me my megaphone! Yay!

Christmas Day we were greeted in Lola and Tatay's drive way with Jelo and DJ's new car! They quickly put on their helmets and drove around the cul-de-sac! Auntie Tara joined us but she wasn't feeling to great, we think it was food poisoning! After having something to eat, we opened more gifts!

The boys and I went to the Big Bay Balloon Parade on December 27th. As we walked through downtown, Jelo said, "Mom, are we in New York?!" The parade was very crowded and people were invading our personal space. The parade wasn't paced right either, some parts passed by us really fast and then 10 minute gaps. We didn't stay for the entire parade, the boys got bored!

We ended 2011 with the Garcia's and Castano's over for NYE dinner. Don and I toasted in the new year with some Yo-Cool and Soju in our family room with our boys passed out on the floor and toys all over!

We started 2012 doing one of our most favorite things, spending time with the Luansing cousins! We met up for lunch at Maggiano's in Los Angeles, and did a $5 white elephant gift exchange! It was super fun! We walked around The Grove and the LA Farmers Market a bit and headed to Lamill Coffee to enjoy some java and conversation!
We ended 2011 doing things we love with the people we love! Best wishes to all of our beloved friends and family for a wonderful and blessed new year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014 Garden of Lights at San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas

Holiday season in San Diego is filled with many family friendly activities to help everyone get into the holiday spirit!

The Garden of Lights has been a long time treasured tradition for many North County families to enjoy a sparkling night at one with nature. You can sip on mulled wine as you walk the elegant garden pathways lined with 100,000 beautiful, twinkling lights with holiday music, a horse drawn ride, marshmallow roasting and sledding.

Our family was fortunate to check out the Garden of Lights on a beautiful Sunday evening. The weather was cool and crisp, perfect to enjoy the sights! 

Our two little boys and two nephews loved the walkways twinkling with lights! The smallest one at 18 months said "wow" and "ooooh" at every turn of new light displays.

We spent quite a bit of time roasting marshmallows where they couldn't get enough of the warm, yummy goodness!

The night wasn't complete without a quick stop to say hello to Santa with one more reminder we've all been "nice" this year! 

We had so much fun at the Garden of Lights! I want to personally invite you to 2014 Garden of Lights at San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas with a 28% discount through North County Deals who are offering $10 tickets (originally $14) Monday-Wednesday only for the Garden of Lights (5pm - 9pm).  

We had a fun time! We hope you do too!

LtoR: Sis-in-law, nephews J and N, DJ, Mommy Garcia, and Jelo

We received complimentary entrance in exchange for his blog post and shares on social media. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Mixer Holiday Fun with AT&T San Diego!

Guest Post by Daddy Don Garcia

I've got gadgets and gizmos a plenty,
I've got whozits and whatzits galore,
You want thingamabobs? I've got twenty!
But who cares? No big deal,
I want more...

That's the tune that pops in my head at work when I get a delivery of new devices. I get to play work with many devices in my chosen profession. iPhones and iPads, Android tablets and smartphones, there's even a Xbox one set up to test with.

So it probably comes to a surprise to my wife that it wasn't the fact that it was an AT&T party that perked my interest, it was the fact that it was at Extraordinary Desserts that made me want to go! Extraordinary desserts is one of my favorite places to go for sweets.

Thanks to Gable PR and AT&T San Diego, wifey and I were able to check out the latest in mobile technology offered by AT& at one of the best restaurants in San Diego! Double score!

 I'm so glad I went. It was really informative on AT&T mobile and u-verse services (more on that later). I got so many ideas for stocking stuffers: portable batteries, Bluetooth speakers, activity trackers and car chargers are all great ideas for the tech savvy person in your life.

Conversing with one of the executives, he asked me what I do for a living. I told him how I test the video on demand and live TV features for the AT&T U-Verse mobile application. He asked me, "So do you work with the AT&T digital life project?"

AT&T Digital Life was something I've heard of before but didn't really know too much about. He informed us that AT&T Digital Life is an all in one package security and home automation solution and proceeded to give my wife and I a demonstration. He showed how he was able to control door locks and lights from his iphone. He had the basic package, but noted that subscribers to the service can also give access to their house to visitors or service people. They can control lights, thermostats, check to see if their garage door is open, monitor their house with a web camera or even look at a log of events. All features can be tailored to the user’s home. Super cool!

I’m going to look into adding the AT&T Digital Life service to my current u-verse service. It’s a great way to safeguard my family and provide a much needed convenience and peace of mind when we are home or away. Maybe I'll add it to my Christmas Wish List!

As Christmas draws near, here are some of AT&T’s tips for mobile holiday shopping!

1. Use apps like Evernote and One Note to get organized with a list of prioritized discounts you need, time sensitive deals, and when retailers open.

2. Make a shopping list and save it as your ‘wish list’ on This will enable you to view the price of products using the Amazon mobile app,and compare. Not everything on sale during December is cheaper than online prices.

3. To make sure you know about the best deals being offered by retailers, shoppers should follow their favorite retailers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter; watch for posts and tweets about deals from your device of choice.

4. Check your email on your phone or tablet wherever you are throughout your shopping extravaganza because retailers may send emails with additional discounts that can be used in the store for more savings.

5. Use your smartphone’s camera to scan barcodes and QR codes, which synchronize with apps like and eBay Red Laser to compare prices.

6. Bookmark price comparison websites in your mobile browser like, and for easy browsing while hopping from store to store.

7. Get a gift for everyone on your list this season by browsing Pinterest’s gift guide. Search for gifts by type or brand, and find creative ideas for your family or a friend who has everything (or so you think).

AT&T is offering big savings on devices, services and the newest smartphones to spread holiday cheer. Make sure to check it out!

Thanks to AT&T for include wifey and I at the AT&T Merry Mixer! I even won the raffle and scored myself a Braven speaker!

Guest Post by Don Garcia - Hubby to Lysa of Don has worked in the telecommunications industry for over 10 years working with mobile device media and software. He loves the LA Lakers and enjoys laid back days in front of the TV with his two boys!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Technology Tuesday - Operation Math

My first grader's math homework scares me. The presentation of addition math problems is not what I remember. Here is a sample of the math problems we are doing for homework:

image from
What happened to pictures of the 2 apples and the 3 apples to make 5 apples? With "common core" instruction and assessments, students are expected to display higher level thinking. The math problems above definitely make my 6 year old think about math differently than I did when I was his age. 

Being the techie family we are, I had to find an app for the iPad that would help my sons with his math. We found Operation Math which my boys love! It plays like secret-agent breaking a code with math problems coming on the screen!

With 105 exciting missions, Operation Math combines basic math drills with a fun introduction to global geography. The more they play, the more they’ll master division and other math skills in an exciting spy game that offers a great addition to homework and flash cards.

To my surprise, here is my 4 year old I caught on video on his big brother's iPad using Operation Math! He was doing pretty good until big brother started giving him the answers. He didn't like that!

This app is a must download for math practice! Operation Math math is available for iPad and Android.

What are your favorite learning apps?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Perfect Gift for Your Active, Techie Kids!

My six year old Jelo has been a technology geek since he was born! He always gravitated towards the pretend laptop or cellphone as toys when he was very little. As he grew older, he'd rather play with an iPhone or iPad than Legos or action figures. 

A few weeks ago, Dad bought himself a Samsung Smartwatch and Jelo couldn't keep his hands off of it. 

He'd ask his daddy a million questions about what it cold do, what is was compatible with and so on! Jelo asked if he himself could get a Samsung smartwatch and of course the answer was "no way!"

Then comes along the LeapFrog LeapBand which looks like a kids version of the Samsung Smartwatch
Everytime we've seen this toy in the store, Jelo begs to have it. We've encouraged him to write to Santa and maybe he'd get it for Christmas if he's been good. To my surprise, after a day at grandma's house, Jelo got his LeapFrog LeapBand. I couldn't be mad. He's been such a good boy, especially when little brother was in the hospital a few weeks ago. Jelo really deserved his early Christmas gift from grandma!

Here he this morning explaining what the LeapFrog LeapBand does:

The LeapFrog Activity Band is a children's activity band that encourages physical activity through fun challenges. Kids run, jump and play to earn rewards and power a customizable pet pal that lives on the band. You can reload LeapBand with 50 active challenges that get kids moving, like "Pounce like a lion!" The parent controls on LeapFrog Connect make it easy to set play times, challenges and more. I love how the LeapBand encourages active play, nurturing and healthy choices!

For only $24.99 on Amazon, it's such a great deal for all the awesome things the LeapBand does! It's the perfect gift for your active, techie kids like mine!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Meet and Greet Baymax and Hiro!

We just saw Big Hero 6 in theaters and we loved it! When we saw pictures on social media of  Baymax and Hiro Hamada greeting guests at Disneyland, we had to check it out!

During our latest visit to Disneyland, we headed straight to Tomorrowland and got in line right outside the Starcade. We got in line a little after 10AM with the Meet and Greet stating at 10:30AM. The line was about an hour and a half wait total, but it was so worth it! The boys did the cool hand shake with Baymax and Hiro, and I got my big hug from Baymax!

Check us out:

The Hiro and Baymax Meet and Greet is now open at Disneyland in the Starcade in Tomorrowland,

Are you planning to meet Baymax and Hiro?