Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hold the Door Open or Not?

More and more often, I've found myself getting angry after holding doors open for people in public places. It can happen at McDonald's or Roppongi, Ross or Macy's, with old people or young people, white, black, orange, or purple people. It seems like too many have forgotten the manners of holding doors open for other people.

For instance, just today, as I was walking out of Party City, I held the door open for my two boys who were following behind me as we were leaving, and two strangers walked right into the store after my kids walked out while I was still opening the door. No "thank you", no "excuse me", or nod the the head or eye contact as an acknowledgement for me opening the door for them.

Right after that, our family went to have lunch and as we were leaving the restaurant, the same scenario: I held the door open for my two boys who were following behind me, and two strangers walked right into the restaurant after my kids walked out while I was still opening the door, again without any acknowledgement of my holding the door open.


The opposite has happened as well. I can be following right behind a person, they'll open a door, swing the door open, walk in, and not hold the door open. I can be, literally, a step right behind them. I don't expect them to hold the door open and let me walk in before them, but more of when they open the door, they walk in, and hold the door to allow you to grab the door and let yourself in. I've done this myself many times for others.

I was talking to my husband in the car about this and I asked him, "Am I wrong or isn't it common courtesy to hold a door open for people? To say 'thank you' when someone holds a door open for you?". He too had the same experiences and I have had, but it didn't bug him as much as it was bugging me at the time.

As I do all too often, I turned to Google for some answers. Here is some of what I found.

In the Ettiquette of Door Holding, the rules are:
If somebody holds a door open for you, you are required to perform an awkward half-run or fast-shuffle to get to the door as quickly as possible. This effort on your part is required to express appreciation for the person holding the door for you. The maximum Door Holding Length is 10 feet. This means that [you] should hold the door for any [person] within 10 feet. 


Madeline Kunin recently wrote in the Huffington Post,
Holding the door for someone is about manners, it's about time and it's about face-to-face interactions, even when the backward glance is in profile. The exchange is often between strangers who may or may not ever see each other again. It takes a few seconds to hold the door; some are heavy and require effort. But it's not just about the door. It's about making a split-second decision whether to connect with another person -- to acknowledge their existence. 

Madeline Kunin perfectly phrased how I'm feeling about the whole "holding the door" issue I'm having. It is about manners. It is about being nice. Ultimately, it is about acknowledging someone who was kind enough to open a door for you and "acknowledge" your "existence". 

I'm still going to open doors and try to not get angry about it when I don't get a "thank you". It's good karma! What are your opinions and experiences when holding doors open for others or having doors opened for you?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Food Friday: Daphne's California Greek

It's been a long while since Garcia Family has visited a Daphne's California Greek restaurant. Thanks to the kinds folks over at Daphne's, we were able to try out a few of their menu items, most especially the new Cali-Greek Bowl!

Cali-Greek bowl takes its inspiration from Greek cuisine and adds a refreshing, contemporary California flair. The Cali-Greek Bowl begins with a choice of citrus brown rice or rice pilaf, black beans, guacamole, 
salsa fresca, crisp jalapeno bacon, Greek yogurt chipotle sauce and a choice of grilled chicken, savory gyros or falafel. I had mine with grilled chicken and it was very filling! I would've liked more salsa fresca, with less beans and rice. The bowl would be yum with or without the bacon. Other than that, this dish definitely is a mix of California and Greek flavors!


My son had the Margherita flat bread pizza topped with basil pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese and sliced roma tomatoes. Jelo said, "Mom, is is sooooo yum!" and gave me a thumbs up! My five year old is a picky eater so his thumbs up is a huge compliment!


Hubby had the three course dinner with the Lemon Chicken Soup, Gyro Street Pitas, tabouli, and baklava. Hubby raved about the chicken soup. It was perfect for the cold he was trying to get rid of. 


Thanks to Daphne's California Greek for treating us to happy tummies! We can wait to visit again for the filling Cali-Greek Bowl and the "soooooo yum" Flatbread Pizza!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bake Sale Macarons

Since my son started kindergarten, I've been a bit overwhelmed with the numerous activities at my son's school. Parent meetings, fundraisers and social events seem like they happen every other day. Ok, maybe that is an exaggeration but there is lots of activity at my son's school which I wish I had the time and energy to be involved in. But, I did volunteer as a room parent and I'm learning the ropes as quickly as I can.


Jelo, my kindergartner, said to me the other day, "Mommy, why don't you volunteer in my class like the other mommies do?" His question broke my heart. As much as I wish I could volunteer time in his classroom, I had to explain, "I have to work, baby, so we have a house, food, and get to do all the fun things we do. I can't be there in the classroom with you but I can do things from home like send emails, make flyers, and bake for your fundraisers. Is that OK?" He responded "OK, mom..." and gave me a big hug!


So, with the the school's Fall Carnival coming this Friday, I got a head start on my baking with some macarons I made this evening.




My favorite macaron recipe is from Martha Stewart. It's super easy!

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar

STEP 1
Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.

STEP 2
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.

STEP 3
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.




STEP 4
Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)

STEP 5
Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.

For the filling, I used a Chocolate Ganache recipe from All Recipes:Recipe makes 2 cups
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Directions
Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum if desired. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before putting into the macarons.

I can't wait to share these yummy goodies at Jelo's Fall Carnival this Friday! I hope this will be the first of many bake sales for my boys and I!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Bash at Seaport Village!


One of the must visit spots in San Diego is Seaport Village! I have memories of visiting Seaport Village as a child. My mom and dad used to take us to lunch at Greek Island Cafe. It is still one of my favorite places to eat! Anytime we have out of town guests, Seaport Village is a must! It's one of the top spots for our Garcia Family to enjoy the sights of San Diego. 

Celebrate the arrival of fall at Seaport Village, where San Diegans are invited to join the fun at Seaport’s third annual Halloween Bash on the Bay on Saturday, October 26, from 1 to 5 p.m. A week of deals and events leading up to the fall festival will honor San Diego locals from October 21-26. 


The third annual celebration invites little monsters, pirates, witches and superheroes out to the village for an afternoon of fall festivities, including photos with a living scarecrow, costume contest for kids and pets, music including a monster mash band and Thriller DJ, and games for kids.

The costume contest will award prizes for the best superhero, scariest, prettiest, family and pet costumes. In a change to the format, the event will not include candy or trick or treating, but offers many family-friendly activities, including a scavenger hunt, face painting and harvest-themed games.

Locals Appreciation Week precedes the fall celebration with significant deals from Seaport Village’s shops and restaurants to say “thank you” to San Diegans and welcome them back after the summer tourist season. All deals will be listed at http://www.facebook.com/SeaportVillage on October 21. Locals must show valid California ID or SDG&E bill to redeem the discounts and gifts.

Come early and catch the sunset while enjoying dinner at one of the 14 restaurants/eateries and stay late to experience the live music, games and harvest atmosphere throughout the entire village.

Garcia Family hopes to see you at Seaport’s third annual Halloween Bash on the Bay!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Music Monday: Fun Songs for Kids

A few months back, McDonald's Happy Meal gave out Kids Bop CDs as the fun "prize" in the box. My kids insisted we listen to that CD every time we got into the car for weeks. It drove me crazy! Eventually, I made up something about the car wash people misplacing the CD so that was the end of the Kids Bop obsession, or so I thought.

Recently, the boys were reminded of their Kids Bop CD when they saw the TV commercial for the latest "Kids Bop 24" CD. They bugged and bugged and bugged. I gave in. Thanks to Google Play, the download was quick and easy!

Kids Bop 24 is now the only thing we've listened to in the car for the past three weeks! I have to say, it's grown on me! The kid friendly versions of Macklemore's "Thrift Store" and Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie" have me dancing and driving during our daily morning commute. It's fun to watch my kids sing along. They even say "sing with us mom!"

My boys' favorite song from Kids Bop 24 is "Just Give Me a Reason". Here they are singing along with Kids Bop at Grandma's house:


If you are looking for something new to "bop" along with in the car with your kids, try out Kids Bop 24. My kids love it and I'm sure yours will too!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Family Fun in Boston: Day Seven

Garcia Family just got back from a week long vacation in Boston! We did so much while we were there! So much so we "need a vacation from our vacation"!

I love sharing our family vacations with all of you in hopes you too will visit the fun places we've been too!

Since we did so much in Boston, I'll be posting each day of our vacation separately so check back each day for my latest post on our vacation fun!

Day One: Harvard, Tufts, and Feneuil Marketplace
Day Two: Freedom Trail
Day Three: Gloucester and Salem
Day Four: Boston Tea Party
Day Five: Plymouth Plantation
Day Six: College Tour

Before we headed home, we had to stop and pay homage to a part of Boston which has changed the world...the Sam Adams Brewery


The brewery tour was free, with a suggested donation for local charities. We were taken to the tanks where the beer is kept, a little lesson on hops, barley, wheat, and etc. The best part was the beer tasting! We were able to taste “fresh” beer which was fresh out of the tanks. 









We were also able to taste test beers that were not yet for sale! We tasted a “white beer” which was light, sweet, and high in alcohol content! Kids are OK to take along, as we were doing the beer tasting, the tour guide gave the boys root beers to enjoy as well!






We made one last stop to Yankee Lobster to pick up a few souvenirs for my parents!




We arrived at the airport, lost one of our luggage in an elevator, but didn't realize it until we were ready to check-in. Thanks to a friendly Bostonian who called me and stayed with our luggage until hubby went to retrieve it! The one and only hiccup in our awesome week in Boston! 

Everyone in Boston was so very nice! The weather was beautiful! We had a wonderful time and can't wait to travel with our two little boys again! 

I hope our travels to Boston inspire you to visit this awesome city! We had a great visit and know you will too!

For our day seven pictures, click here!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Family Fun in Boston: Day Six

Garcia Family just got back from a week long vacation in Boston! We did so much while we were there! So much so we "need a vacation from our vacation"!

I love sharing our family vacations with all of you in hopes you too will visit the fun places we've been too!

Since we did so much in Boston, I'll be posting each day of our vacation separately so check back each day for my latest post on our vacation fun!

Day One: Harvard, Tufts, and Feneuil Marketplace
Day Two: Freedom Trail
Day Three: Gloucester and Salem
Day Four: Boston Tea Party
Day Five: Plymouth Plantation

Being a high school counselor, I wanted to fit a few more college visits during our time in Boston. Every year, I have a few students interested in schools on the East Coast so visiting some of the schools would help me better advise my students.

Our first stop, on the north side of the Charles River, was Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The student led tour took us to an awesome view of the famous MIT Dome, through the longest straight line corridor in the world, to name a few. We also learned about a fun MIT student pastime called “hacks”. 






The computer labs with computer bits and pieces being put together, displays of mini-robots, as well as the huge chalkboards with mathematical equations in the common areas for students caught my boys’ attention!

Our second stop for the day, on the opposite side of the Charles River, was Boston University. This campus is HUGE and covers several blocks of the Fenway-Kenmore community of Boston. Pushing our two kids on strollers as the BU students were trying to quickly get to class was interesting. I definitely felt like we were in everyone’s way. We didn’t have an official tour here so we just wandered around on our own. Jelo, our oldest, has a fascination with Martin Luther King. So when he saw a special marker on the BU campus honoring Dr. King, he was super excited to know he visited a school where Dr. King had attended! 





Our visit to Boston allowed me the chance to visit Harvard University, University of Massachusetts, Tufts University, Boston University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Each campus community was different - the vibe and culture for each was very distinct. I can’t wait to tell my students all about the campuses I visited!

For all our day six pictures, click here!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Family Fun in Boston: Day Five

Garcia Family just got back from a week long vacation in Boston! We did so much while we were there! So much so we "need a vacation from our vacation"!

I love sharing our family vacations with all of you in hopes you too will visit the fun places we've been too!

Since we did so much in Boston, I'll be posting each day of our vacation separately so check back each day for my latest post on our vacation fun!

Day One: Harvard, Tufts, and Feneuil Marketplace
Day Two: Freedom Trail
Day Three: Gloucester and Salem
Day Four: Boston Tea Party

On day five we went on another road trip, this time south of Boston to Plymouth, Massachusetts


Our first stop was Plimouth Plantation where we traveled to the times of the Pilgrims and the native Americans in the 17th century. First we visited the Wampanoag homesite where we sat in one of their homes and listened to stories of life long ago. We saw a demonstration of how meals were prepared and how canoes were made of huge tree trunks. 






Second, we visited the English village which had about a dozen homes each with a inhabitant living their lives like the 17th century. We were able to visit with them in their homes and ask any questions we wanted. The boys asked about bathrooms and showers. Again, they were told about the "chamber pot" and washing with rags. The "pilgrims" shared that "submersing oneself" was a waste of water since it was so sparse. They also said they "dare not bathe in the ocean" since they believed it set an unbalance in ones mineral balance in the body causing sickness. The boys also asked if they had milk to drink. One of the English ladies responded, "oh we would never do that! Drinking the milk of a cow would cause one to take on the characteristics of a cow. Why would one want to be slow, dumb, and lazy like a cow?" The boys jaws dropped! I thought it was hilarious!




Exploring the homes, gardens, and surroundings of the English Village was fun! The best part was when the boys found a few chickens roaming around. They had a fun time chasing the chickens around. One of the pilgrims warned them to be careful since the chickens "attack". It didn't phase them! 




Lunch was at Carmen's Cafe Nicole where I had the biggest plate of a fried seafood mix with huge scallops, clams, shrimp, oysters, fish, and calamari! So yum!

Our next stop was Mayflower II, where we learned more about the voyage taken by 100+ Englishmen back in the 1600's. The Mayflower II is a replica of the original Mayflower. There were several tour guides and role-players on the ship to bring to life the experience of those who traveled on the Mayflower. 











We didn't forget to stop at Plymouth Rock!




Dinner was at Tokyo Restaurant near our hotel at the South Shore Plaza Shopping Mall. Check out my review on Yelp


For all of our day five photos, check it out here!
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