Archives for January 2017

Cooking Tips for Special Kids

Chef Darrell “DAS” Smith has been a dad for less than a year, but he already knows a thing or two about picky eaters. That’s because in October, he became director of food services at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. The organization serves nearly 400 children with special needs related to learning differences, autism spectrum disorders and other cognitive, behavior and social challenges. Smith and his team in the Vista Del Mar department of food services and hospitality cook lunch for the 400 students and staff on campus during the school day and breakfast and dinner for the...

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Four Reasons Educating Students With Learning Differences Matters

Have you heard the buzz about the on-the-job construction worker from Toronto secretly recorded while dancing to a hit song by Ariana Grande? The video went viral, boasting tens of millions of viewers, after his wife posted it on social media. Although this was a humorous and entertaining break from the onslaught of political banter we have been overwhelmed with, I long for a world where life-impacting concerns, significant to all of society, become as viral and news breaking as what the Kardashians had for dinner last night. There is need for greater awareness and understanding of and community involvement...

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Film, Music and Autism Come Together In This Lab

Lots of local folks took their films to last month’s Sundance Film Festival, but one has a particularly fun story behind – and above, below and all around – it. “Use Your Imagination,” which premiered at Oculus House at the festival Jan. 22, is a virtual reality musical created in collaboration with, and starring, artists with autism. The film was made with a grant from Oculus VR, makers of virtual-reality equipment. The Oculus VR for Good program paired 10 filmmakers with 10 nonprofits to champion the nonprofits’ social missions and tell their stories. From among 600 submissions, Spectrum Laboratory, an...

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engineering our world

Join Us For Coffee and Big Dreams!

We’ve partnered with the California Science Center to host a special advance screening of the new IMAX film “Dream Big: Engineering Our World” from MacGillivray Freeman Films, and we’re inviting you and the kids. The film celebrates engineering marvels – large and small – that help create better lives for people around the world, as well as the engineers whose compassion and creativity made them possible: Menzer Pehlivan, a Turkish-American who grew up wanting to be a movie star until a huge earthquake revealed another way to make a major impact on the world (engineering buildings that keep people safe)...

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kids and money

Teaching Kids About Money: Spend, Save and Give Jars

When I told my daughter, then 4 years old, that I didn’t have money to buy her a toy, she said, “Just go to the bank and they'll give you money.” I frowned at her and tried again, explaining that I had only a $10 bill and what she wanted cost $20. She said, “It’s OK, just use your card.” I realized she had no idea about the value of money. I really couldn’t blame her because I was never great at managing money as a little girl. I was careless and would leave my purse behind at a restaurant...

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school news

EPA Awards Moorpark Unified School District $25,000 for Cleaner School Bus

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $25,000 to Moorpark Unified School District in Ventura County to replace an older diesel school bus. Funded through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, the new bus will emit less air pollution. Moorpark is one of three California school districts receiving a combined $200,000 to replace or retrofit 11 school buses. "Reducing exposure to diesel pollution particularly benefits children, as their lungs are still developing," said Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "This funding will improve air quality for students as they travel to and from school." EPA has implemented standards...

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7 Don’t-Miss Events For February

We’ve got a great roundup of events in the coming month. On stage you’ll find Alice in Wonderland, Golden Dragon Acrobats, a WWII cat and a vintage circus. On the basketball court, The Harlem Globetrottoers. And festivals this month include Cookie Con and the Ooey Gooey Weekend. Enjoy!

family travel

Reconnecting During Annual Snow Trip to Mammoth Mountain

It was 17 degrees with snow on the ground. My fingers were starting to hurt from the cold even though I had liners underneath my gloves, but I wasn’t about to head indoors. Numb fingers, who cares? I was with my daughters dancing to Flo Rida, Usher, Rihanna and Katy Perry mixed in with some old-school favs like Bon Jovi, Duran Duran and the Go’s Go’s. Friday night of New Year’s weekend, the Village in Mammoth was transformed into an outdoor dance party with the Silent DJ. We each donned our headphones, picked one of the three stations and danced...

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5 Common-Sense Tips For Raising Great Kids

It’s the middle of January and many of us have broken our New Year’s Resolutions and are back to who we were in December. For parents who are looking for a way to raise their children to be respectful, likeable, and successful adults it’s not too late. Here are 5 philosophical tips that will pay dividends for years to come including: Teach your kids to leave a trail of people who have only nice things to say about them. Lead by example. We just came through the nastiest election in history, and if your kids don’t learn to respect others...

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family recipes

Celebrate Chinese New Year With Potstickers

The first day of the Chinese New Year is Jan. 28, and we’ll welcome the Year of the Rooster. The delicious little dumplings called potstickers are a traditional food this time of year because, according to chef Katie Chin, they resemble gold ingots and symbolize wealth. Chin, L.A.-based cookbook author, food blogger, TV personality and mom of 8-year-old twins, also points out that in Chinese culture, food is served family style and meant to be shared. “I think in a lot of cultures, and especially Chinese American culture, food is an expression of love,” she says. “I also think that...

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