Monday, August 27, 2012

So you want to be a football player when you grow up?

Every year when I do four-year plans with freshman, I ask THE question:
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

The answer then determines the classes I recommend they take in high school, the extracurricular activities to be involved in, as well as their post-secondary plans: college, military, vocational school, etc.

I do get a few "I want to play in the NBA" or "I want to be a football player" or "I want to play pro-soccer". For many, becoming a professional athlete is merely a dream. They have never played organized sports and their desire stems from their passion of the sport as a spectator.

I do have a several students who have potential.They've played organized sports since they were young. They have even started their freshman year in high school playing junior varsity or varsity sports at our school. They have medals, records, and championships to their names. Above these athletic accolades, they also have great academic records and do well in their studies. 



These students who accel both academically and athletically, should register with the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Eligibility Center. For a student to be eligible, there are a set of courses, SAT/ACT scores, and GPA requirement. Details can be found here.

Registering with the NCAA ensures any athlete who wishes to play at the college level has the academic requirements to do so. For an overview of the process, click here

The sports covered under the NCAA include:

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Indoor Track and Field, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track and Field, Rifle, Rowing , Skiing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Volleyball, Water Polo, and Wrestling

Once a student is registered with the NCAA, they become eligible to be recruited by the colleges and universities to play the above sports. High school coaches my be approached by recruiters, recruiters may attend high school games, etc. Here is some information about the recruiting process.

For an overview of the program and to start registration, students and parents can visit NCAA's Eligibility Center. Please remember, high school coaches and counselors can help with any questions you might have.

As a high school counselor, I haven't yet had a student get recruited by an NCAA college or university. I hope one day I'll be able to see one of my former students win the Super Bowl, NBA Championship, or the World Cup!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Calling all Milk-a-holics!

 My sis-in-law had a great theme idea for her baby shower! It was inspired by the "Hostest with the Mostest"The custom labels, table tents, banner, and poster was all DIY using a laser printer and Avery Labels.


  
The layered "hot cocoa"  containers are from Ikea and filled with Swiss Miss Marshmallow Hot Cocoa, Chocolate Chips, and Marshmallows


The "milk" bottles are from www.freundcontainer.com and filled with marshmallows, white sour balls, and white chocolate covered Gummy Bears


The pushpop containers are some www.amazon.com and filled with a layered Oreo Cheesecake. 



This notebook for baby was purchased at Office Depot in the Martha Stewart section! Again, the inserts were DIY with a pattern from the internet. 

These onesies and bibs were made available to the guests to decorate for baby! 







Cosmopolitan Cake pops (from www.BoozieCakes.com) in the "milkaholic" theme.


Several diaper cakes were made as table centerpieces. 


This party was so much fun to put together! What fun baby shower ideas do you know of?

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Little Men and Yoga

I love yoga. I don't get to do it as often as I'd like to. But when I do, I have such a rewarding and accomplished feeling in end. Savasana, relaxation pose, gets me in such a relaxed state that I've caught myself snore a few times at the end of some of my yoga sessions!

Today, thanks to Next Generation Yoga and JW Tumbles, my little men and I got a chance to try yoga together. My boys haven't tried yoga before so I was anxious to have this experience with them. When we arrived, we were greeted by Jill from JW Tumbles. She got us settled and introduced us to Puja, our yoga instructor for the day. We were the first one's there so Puja and Jelo, my 4 year old, engaged in my son's favorite topic, computers. He talked her ear off about Google, Gmail, Android, and Apple. His usual topics of discussion! All the while my 2-year old was running around and rolling on and around his yoga mat.

The class was small, about 10 kids total, ranging in age from 2 to 4. Bright orange yoga mats were arranged in a circle which allowed us to sit facing everyone in our class. The yoga session started with an introduction song and each child introducing themselves. The theme of the yoga for today was transportation. All the moves we did simulated all kinds of transportation: bike, car, train, airplane, and even walking! We did some seated twists, downward dog, warrior, back bends, and core moves. Jelo followed along well. He seemed to enjoy the activity very much. He was attentive and tried to do most the moves. He did get caught up in watching the others do the moves also. DJ did most of his moves standing, jumping, and waving his arms around. I guess its the "two year old yoga". My boys "tooted" once each during their first time at yoga. The mom next to us giggled a bit. Everyone toots when doing yoga, right?

The end of the class ended with the usual savasana. Each child was given a lavender eye pillow to put over their eyes while the laid on their back and relaxed. The mom's were given a lotion to massage their child's feet while they relaxed. Since Jelo was relaxing, I massaged his feet. He sat still with the pillow on his eyes. I was surprised he enjoyed it as much as he did. DJ was walking around, watching the other relax, he cared less for the foot massage. The savasana ended with the mom's lying next to their child, and their child was asked to whisper something special to their mom, and vice versa. We were also prompted to think about others in our lives we wanted to send good vibes too. We thought of Daddy stuck at work. We all then sat up and ended our yoga with the traditional "namaste".

On our drive home, I asked the boys if they liked yoga. Jelo said, "Yes mom. I almost fell asleep in the end. I want a pillow like that!". At home, Jelo showed off his airplane yoga moves to Daddy. Daddy was super impressed!

I loved the experience with Next Generation Yoga and JW Tumbles. We can't wait to try it again!



Sunday, August 19, 2012

San Diego Saturday Fun Day

Yay for weekends! Saturday was family fun day with some of our extended family!

We tried some new eats at the Little Italy Mercato. From Ranchwood BBQ my hubby tried the BBQ parfait which was pulled pork layered with mashed potatoes, yum! Also, Panache Pantry had some delicious bread crumb blends that are good with meats, veggies, and even ice cream! Yes, ice cream! Iced tea infused with flavored jelly, tamales, and oysters were part of the other flavors of the mercato that we tried.

One of our cousins who was with just recently moved to San Diego from Chicago, so we decided to treat her to one of San Diego's "must eat", Extraordinary Desserts! Between the 5 of us, we tried 5 different desserts! From dark chocolate to fruit tart, all of it was delicious!

Another beautiful day in San Diego enjoy a few of the awesome things San Diego has to offer!

 

Pussycat Dolls Dollhouse San Diego

I'm, so I never was much of a club goer, ever. Birthdays and other special events encourage me to partake in the dancing, drinking, and "fun" of clubbing! And since I've had kids, the club scene is a place a rarely visit.

By chance, I noticed @pcddollhouse followed me on twitter. The famous pussycat dolls franchise is opening a club in San Diego. Their Facebook page had invites for their "soft opening" before their grand opening. I snagged a spot on the guest list for hubby and I. Thanks again to be awesome in-laws for watching our little boys!

No cover, $5 drinks, not a bad deal! The Dollhiuse is now what used to be club "Sway". Techno music was played the entire time we were there. The staff was really nice. We were asked "is everything ok? Do u need anything?" a few times by the staff while we hung out.

Our waitress Andrea was really nice, she even apologized when we were asked to leave our seats for bottle service patrons even though there were other tables/seats available AND some of the other folks sitting were not bottle service patrons either, but whatever.

Because it was the "soft opening", no PCD performances! Boo! The grand opening though will feature Audrina Patridge, I think she's from The Hills show on MTV. The club was smaller than I thought it would be. The stage would create an intimate performance though! There is a swing the clubgoers can use and a private room with two lit-up stripper poles.

Hubby and I left after about 2 hours and headed to Ghiradeli. We sat streetwise while we enjoyed in brownie sundae at midnight. People watching in Gaslamp in the wee hours of the morning is fun! Definitely the cherry on my sundae!

Hubby wants to try the Dollhouse again for his birthday! Until then, then!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Helping your Child Become a Better Student



As a  high school counselor, I often meet with parents who come to me seeking advice on how to help their children succeed in school. By the time the child is in high school, habits and behaviors are set. Maintaining positive behaviors is easier than trying to change negative behaviors. Setting positive behaviors early help in setting up academic success!

One of the first things I ask parents is “What are some of the things YOU do to ensure your child is a GREAT student?”. Raising a good student comes from a home that encourages education. Parents often leave the “educating” to the schools and teachers, but forget that learning needs to continue at home. Parents and schools are partners educating children.

There are three main areas I focus on when meeting with parents about their child’s academic success, they are:
1) Encouraging good study habits
2) Showing interest in his/her progress
3) Supporting academic success

Encourage good study habits

First off it is important for a parent to provide a quiet place free of noise and distractions where your student can study and do homework. The National Center for Educational Statistics identified "providing a place to study" as one of three family characteristics which were significantly related to student achievement.   Creating a “quiet time” every school night when all electronics are off, phones are silent, and the entire house is involved in a quiet activity helps in creating an environment that places importance on studying. 

A parent should also be aware of how much time their child spends on homework. Research says ¨“the important influence of homework on grades, a more focused parent involvement aimed at encouraging students to spend more time on homework might well lead indirectly to higher grades." As children study, parents should be involved also. They should show interest by asking their children student what topic(s) he/she is studying in a particular class.

Parents should also be an audience for their children—listen as he/she recites or shares what he/she is reading in school. Research on recently emigrated Southeastern-Asian families found that in almost half of the families studied, the parents read aloud to their children, either in English or their native language; students from those families earned significantly higher grades. Reading programs at your local library are great places to get the entire family involved in reading. Ask questions to help children clarify or think more deeply about what he/she is reading. Volunteer to help children prepare for tests by asking the questions he/she has written from lecture or textbook notes.

Ultimately, parents should be positive and give praise! When parents praise their children, they should be specific and concrete such that children would be able to learn which behaviors are good and could perform those more frequently. Words like “Great job studying for your tests! See, your grades have improved!” and “Thank you cleaning your room, you can spend some time on the computer if you want!”

Show Interest in His/Her Progress
Parents should consistently talk to their children about school. Parents who talk to their children about school, limit television watching, and communicate high expectations are increasing their children’s social capital so they will be more likely to succeed.

Some ways to start these conversations:
What did you do in school today?
What did you learn today?
What was your favorite activity in school today?
What did you find interesting in what you learned?
What did you understand best?
What questions do you still have about what you learned?
Is there someone at school you can ask for help?

Being aware of the child’s classes and his/her performance in each class is obviously important. High School and Beyond study cited that "Parents might well help their high school children achieve higher grades through monitoring their daily activities, by keeping close track of how they are doing in school, and by working closely with their students concerning planning for post-high school pursuits”.

Take a look at your student’s binder and/or backpack. Returned assignments, forms to be signed, outdated homework will go unattended to if this is overlooked. 

Parents should always find out who are their student’s friends . Parental awareness and monitoring of their child’s behavior has shown to positively affect a child’s welfare. Parents who know their children’s friends and activities, and who set age-appropriate limits have teens with lower rates of risky behaviors. Allow your children to bring their friends over to your house. Plan activities where your children can bring their friends. When allowing your children to visit with friends, ask to talk to their parents. Don’t hesitate to visit your children when they are out (mall, movies, etc.). When children know you are attentive and present, they have reason to ensure the act appropriately.

Communication with the teachers and counselor(s) regarding the child’s progress on a regular basis should be given priority. Student achievement goes up when parents show that school matters by getting involved. Open house, parent workshops, parent institute, school site council are all ways to get involved. Parents who communicate with teachers and get informed about school resources are also more likely to get necessary support for their children.

Support School Success
Parents should be aware of graduation and college requirements. Many school districts graduation requirements may be different from college and university entrance requirements. Knowing these requirements early may help students create realistic goals for their post-secondary endeavors.

Recognizing accomplishments on standardized tests, grades, quizzes, and etc. are a great motivation for children to continue their efforts towards academic success. Going out for some ice cream, a movie, or a few more bucks on the weekly allowance goes a long way. High school students still love to see their work on the fridge! On the flip side, when students are not performing to academic expectations, consequences should be put in place also. One of my favorite suggestions to parents is to take away electronics (computers, video games, cell phones). Hide the power cords, the controllers, whatever you need to do to make it “hurt”. Keep these cherished items until progress is shown. Parents are surprised how well this works!

Encouraging children to become involved in extracurricular activities is also important. Repeated records of high school students have shown that those students who become involved in extracurricular activities tend to be model students and seldom get involved in delinquency and crime. Studies show that students who are involved in extracurricular activities excel above their peers academically. Extracurriculars and community service are viewed favorably in college admissions and scholarships as well!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Darnishi and Me

We all wonder what the future holds for us. I have always wondered: Will I live long? Will I get rich? Will I have more kids? Will I ever change careers?

I've always been curious about psychics and the like. Can they really see into the future? Do they truly have a 6th sense? Will they be able to tell me what the future holds?

My friend Joyce has met with a few psychics in the past. She's attended a few psychic fairs and has one-on-one readings, as well as group readings and workshops. She's invited me to attend these with her a few times but only today did I take her up on her offer.

We headed to the New Earth Expo in Carlsbad, CA for my first psychic experience. There were dozens of psychics, clairvoyants, and healers present. We walked around a bit and finally came to Darnishi. Joyce has attended a group workshop with Darnishi before and has heard good things about her. I added myself to her list of about 6 people deep which was going to be about an hour and a half wait. We checked out a few workshops and booths while we waited.

Before my session with Darnishi started, I asked if Joyce and my cousin Baba, who were with me, could listen in on my reading. She gladly accepted. My 15 minute reading included events in my past that have shaped me, my personality traits and what's important to me, my relationships, my family, and upcoming events in my life. Darnishi did most of the talking, asking me a few clarifying questions throughout. As Darnishi spoke I was in awe, the things she said were things my friends of years would know about me, details only those really close to me would know. She even knew about my boys and even described their very distinct personalities.

At times, I felt like crying. I felt like she was really understanding me and my feelings at this point in my life, even if I hadn't shared those feelings with anyone else. She gave me some advice in dealing with some of my relationships and insight on how to deal with life issues I will encounter. She was very nice, easy to talk to, amicable, it was like having a conversation with one of my aunts giving me advice. As Darnishi spoke, I would see the Joyce and Baba's facial expressions, the surprise on their faces confirmed my shock on how accurate she was!

The most exciting were her predictions about upcoming business opportunities that might arise. She knew about the ideas I've had, the people I've shared them with, and more. She gave me some dates to be aware of in regards to my prospective business.

At the end of my reading, she said she would mail me a CD of our conversation. She explained to me that I could only listen to the recorded reading on the specific dates she gave me and I could listen to the recording the number of times she said in the specific days only. She warned me that people have said that when they listen to their recording, at times the reading changed in parts. She said no to be alarmed, it happens, and their is no explanation.

My fifteen minute reading felt longer than it was. As we parted, Darnishi hugged me and told me to keep loving my boys because she knew they were my joy!

What a wonderful experience! I'm glad my overall reading was positive!

Have any of you had a psychic reading before? What was experience?

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Celeste and Jesse Forever

My hubby and I don't get to enjoy a night out to the movies without our boys very often. With complimentary screening tickets from Mira Mesa Mom, we couldn't resist.

A movie on a week night hasn't happened for us in years! Thanks to my wonderful in-laws, we were able to enjoy Celeste and Jesse Forever at the AMC Theaters in La Jolla, CA.

The movie had an awesome soundtrack! I can't wait to download the songs! One of the songs I liked the most was Porcelain Raft's "Drifting in and out".

The storyline was funny and sad at the same time. The movie follows the relationship of a couple who grew up together and grow apart from each other. The movie is a reminder to me of the intricacies of marriage. Every great marriage embraces compromise. In order for a marriage to work, both parties have to give and take equally. Marriages also have to be complimentary. Husband and wife have to compliment each other. Where one is weak, the other strong, and vice-versa. Husband and wife have to compliment positive traits in one another. At the same time, both parties have to be constructive in helping each other work though the traits that might not be too positive. Lastly, a marriage cannot  function on the "I'm right, you're wrong" mentality. Neither is 100% right if the decision or answer is not in benefit of the couple.

I enjoyed the movie! I love a romantic comedy that makes me laugh a good belly laugh and makes me tear up all in one movie! This is NOT a chick flick, my hubby enjoyed it as much as I did! So, guys grab your girl (or girls, grab your guy) and check out Celeste and Jesse Forever!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Self's Drop 10 Slim Down Plan

 I've been overweight most my life.  After I had my second son, I lost about 40+ lbs on the liquid diet, Opti-fast. It sure was fast, the weight came off within 3 months! During that time, I started running and working out regularly. I even finished my first marathon! But Opti-fast wasn't a realistic solution to my weight problem. After keeping their weight off for about a year and a half, I've gained most of it back! 

I must admit, I have a love affair with food! I love to eat! It's my weakness, my drug. Although I've tried to keep up with my exercise, I haven't been as dedicated as I used to be. 


So, a few weeks ago, I came across a tweet from Self Magazine looking for ladies interested in losing 10 lbs on a special program sponsored by them. I entered and I surprisingly received this email:


This email could not have come at a better time! I'm ready to try to get myself back on track again and I'm hoping this program will motivate me to do so!

Just like my Cupcake 26.2 Virtual Marathon, I'm hoping you all join me on this 5 week program!

The program has two parts: diet and exercise (SURPRISE!).
Here you can find the Self Diet Plan and Self Diet Meals. The diet focuses on super foods like Salmon, Yogurt, and sweet potatoes - all of which I love! The meals are easy to follow and allows for substitutions and can cater to your preferences. Also included are the Month One and Month Two workout plans. The pictures help make sure you do the weight/strength training activities correctly!

To get started, Self Magazine asked for me to send pictures! Here I am at the start of the program!


I encourage you all to join me! I'll be posting weekly updates here on www.GarciaMemories.com and also on twitter hashtag #drop10diet.

Let's start the Fall season with having the pounds fall off!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Tractor Room

For my dad and brother's birthday, I had planned to take them to Hash House A Go Go. I got there a little early expecting a wait. When the hostess said it was going to be a two hour wait, my jaw dropped! She did suggest visiting their sister restaurant down the street,The Tractor Room.

It was an hour wait at the Tractor Room. Since my family was on their way, I decided to wait. The waiting area has a few picnic tables, table games, water, coffee, and table tennis! This made the wait go by quickly. My dad usually gets turned off by long waits, he'd rather go to hometown buffet.

I'm glad he loved his burger and he appreciated the tastiness of the grass fed, organic meat! Our party had the Filet Mignon skewers, chicken Hash, buffalo quesadillas, kids pancake, and two burgers. Yum! Yum! Yum! The French pear cocktail I had a bit to strong for a lunch cocktail, but it was good!

Happy birthday Dad and lil bro!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Don't Make Me Use My Counselor Voice!

My counselor voice has many sides. The calm and consoling voice for students who are feeling down and need words of encouragement. I have the assertive and demanding voice for those students who need reminders on expectations and appropriate behaviors. There is the supportive and understanding voice I use with parents who seek advice on how to deal with their children. 

Then there is THE counselor voice I use when I'm at my wits end, and it doesn't matter if you are the principal, a parent, a colleague, or a student, you will hear what I REALLY think. Sometimes people need a reality check, someone to tell them how it REALLY is...when it's needed...that's THE counselor voice!

I had to wear the shirt below on the Friday of the first full week of school. In the next two days, my team of 6 counselors have to make sure all 2500 students and 120+ teachers have the appropriate classes, taking into consideration classroom caps of 36 students and teacher contractual overall caps of 182 students. 

With recent budget cuts, these numbers are often too difficult to make a reality. Many students are in classes well over 40. Many teachers are well over their 182 cap. Each counselor has a caseload of 400+ students. Students and parents are complaining of class changes and teacher changes that the counselors have to do to meet the "numbers". With Advanced Placement classes, support classes, remedial classes, graduation requirements, and college pre-requisites, the counselors job of scheduling students is a puzzle of 15,000 pieces (2500 students x 6 classes). 

So this shirt is a warning to all those I work with, "Do not make me use THE counselor voice!". 


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Friday, August 3, 2012

Extreme Couponing

This year is first time the school district I work for implemented furlough days. Counselors, like me, have to take 8 furlough days this year which means a few hundred dollars out of my monthly paycheck. 

So, to try and save some money, I'm trying to use coupons. I've used coupons before saving  a dollar here, a few cents there, but nothing like what you see on Exteme Couponing!

Thanks to Free Stuff Times and their "cheat sheet" for couponing, I felt like I had a head start to a successful  coupon shopping experience! Using a combination of manufacturer coupons and store coupons, it look about an hour to sort through and find the best deals pointed out by Free Stuff Times. I found that I have to save all coupons I come across, just in case I happen to coincide with store coupons that become available.  

After all my coupons had been sorted out in a cute  Coupon Organizer I found in the dollar section of Target,  I headed to one of my favorites stores, Target, to give extreme couponing a try! My husband and two kids insisted on coming along so I had them take their own cart and browse the store on their own while I concentrated on my coupons! 

Here are a few things I bought:

This shirt was originally $17.99, it was on clearance for $7.48 and I had a $3 coupon off Merona brand apparel so it came out to $4.48. 

These socks were on clearance for 1.25 each an I had a coupon for $3 off Exhilaration apparel, so it was FREE! 

This shirt was on clearance for $5.38 and I had a $3 off of Mossimo apparel so it was $2.38. 

These pens were $.97 and I had $1 coupon, so it was FREE!

Some of the other things I bought:
4-pack of Chobani yogurt for $.50
3 boxes of KELLOGG'S cereal for $1.35 each
2 Suave kids body wash for $.54 each
Market Pantry fruit snack Fruit Snacks for $.69

The cashier helping me rolled her eyes as soon as she saw my stack of coupons which was a bit discouraging. She also wouldn't take some of my coupons because she thought they were duplicate coupons even though I explained they were manufacturer coupons AND store coupons. I think about $6 of coupons didn't get credited to my bill. Boo! I guess I have to be more assertive next time! Not to mention there was a man behind me in line only had three items and he was growing more and more impatient as the cashier challenged too many of my coupons!

My first extreme couponing shopping trip was a learning experience! I plan to be better prepared next time!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

National Girlfriends Day!

I can remember my first day of elementary school. A girl walks up to me, introduces herself, asks my name, and then invites me to play. She was first girlfriend. We used to walk to school together throughout elementary school, we shared our pre-teen insecurites with one another, carpooled through middle school, and shared half of high school fun together until she moved away. We always stayed close all these years. We both are now married and have two boys. Our times together nowadays are filled with stories of raising our boys. She is one of my dearest girlfriends.

My mom, my ultimate girlfriend, taught me how to be a great wife. I am the mom and wife I am today through her example. Supportive, providing, and always understanding are her most dynamic traits. My taught me how to be responsible at a young age.I was taught to clean up after myself and help with the household chores. At the time, I felt like a 'slave' but I know now it prepared me for my role of being a wife and mother. Having a brother 10 years younger than me, and my mom having me share in his care, prepared me to be the mom I am today.

My cousins, my sisters from other mothers, were my companions growing up. We have found stories from family gatherings growing up. Lots of laughs, fun times, and a few tears. We share in the complexities of the relationships with our parents and often times experience the same pressures and family conflicts. Its been comforting throughout the years to have each other to understand our family dynamic like no one else can. 

My girlfriends from elementary school, middle school, high school, and college with whom I am still close today have shared with me some of the greatest milestones of my life. They have been the people I've leaned on when times were tough, the ones I've laughed with during the best times of my life, and the people I share my life's fondest memories with. We have grown up together. We will continue to share life together. 

Cheers to my girlfriends! Thank you for your friendship and love! Happy National Girlfriends Day!



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