Archives for January 2018

Totally Tubular! Rubio’s Celebrates 35 Years of Fish Taco Goodness!

First opened in Southern California in 1983, this year marks the 35th anniversary of Rubio’s Coastal Grill. To celebrate, Rubio’s will be throwing it back to the decade it all began, with the fish taco that started it all.

On January 25th, fish taco lovers and Rubio’s fans can head to any Rubio’s location for a special $5 Original Fish Taco Plate. A Rubio’s staple, the plate comes with two beer-battered Original Fish Tacos, pinto beans and chips. And, as an ode to shoulder pads, parachute pants, and sky-high hair, each restaurant will rock out to 80s music all day long.

 

While the menu has grown to include an expansive selection of grilled seafood over the years, the Original Fish Taco recipe has remained the same tried–and–true favorite since the doors first opened in 1983, and the company has sold more than 200 million to date.

I love Rubio’s and can’t wait to go buy a $5 Original Fish Taco Plate next week! See you there!

 

Self Disclosure: I received free meal vouchers to post but I really recommend Rubio’s! It is truly one of my favorite places! Images were provided. 

The Greatest Showman – Delightfully Fantastic Story, Acting, Music, Songs, Dancing & Costumes

Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Abigail Zoe L. comments, “The movie musical The Greatest Showman is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Everything is delightfully fantastic, including the story, acting, music, songs, dancing and costumes. It also has many thoughtful messages.”  Abraham F. adds, “This movie is super vibrant and colorful, making it all the more interesting. It also proves that you don’t have to look like everyone else to be normal, which I like.” See their full reviews below.

The Greatest Showman
By Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The movie musical The Greatest Showman is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Everything is delightfully fantastic, including the story, acting, music, songs, dancing and costumes. It also has many thoughtful messages.

The film tells the story of the imagination and creations of P.T. Barnum, the successful businessman who brought us the circus.  It begins when Barnum is just a boy and has both big dreams and a big crush on an upper-class girl. Barnum rises from a homeless boy to a very wealthy and successful man. He creates the first museum of oddities and a very entertaining show (known as the circus), full of unique persons such as the Bearded Lady, trapeze artists, the shortest and tallest men in the world and more. Along the journey, he has a lot of ups and downs, but he always seems to triumph over them.

The opening scene with song and dance is my favorite and got me moving in my seat. My other favorite scene is when cups are used to create rhythm in song when Barnum convinces a wealthy young man to partner with him. The costumes are amazing and my two favorites are Barnum’s colorful ringmaster suit and Jenny’s dress with beautiful shiny rhinestones.

Two of my most favorite characters are P.T. Barnum, played by the multi-talented Hugh Jackman and Anne Wheeler played by Zendaya. Hugh Jackman is believably brilliant playing someone who can win, lose and win again. Zendaya has a wonderful singing voice and does her own amazing acrobat stunts.

Additionally, the perfectly written and woven songs in the movie by composers Justin Paul and Benj Pasek stand out in my mind. In fact, these songs tell the story, on their own, of this wonderful movie musical.

Finally, the message of this film is best summed up in the ending credit quote and by P.T. Barnum himself which is, “The noblest art is that of making others happy.” I personally believe this to be true, do you?

As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic I have been extremely fortunate to review many wonderful films and I can say without a doubt that The Greatest Showman is one you absolutely do not want to miss. I think it may also be one of the best films of 2017. I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18 as well as adults and give it the highest KIDS FIRST! rating: 5 out of 5 stars! It opens in theaters December 20, 2017 so, be sure to check it out!

The Greatest Showman

By Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 12

The Greatest Showman is a musical based on the true story of P.T. Barnum. This movie is super vibrant and colorful, making it all the more interesting. It also proves that you don’t have to look like everyone else to be normal, which I like.

 

The storyline explores the life of Phineas Taylor Barnum, a boy dreaming of becoming a performer. Once he becomes an adult, he marries his childhood love, Charity Hallet. They live in an apartment with their two children in New York, until Phineas is laid off from his job. Phineas goes back to his dream of becoming a “Showman” and starts to look for cast members for his show.

 

P.T Barnum (Hugh Jackman) portrays “The Greatest Showman” in a very animated and lively way, making him stand out among others. P.T. Barnum’s partner, Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) is a well introduced supporting character. There are many interesting things about this movie. For example, the music was composed by the same people that composed the music for La La Land. Next, Zendaya did all her own trapeze stunts. Third and last, this movie has been a dream for Hugh Jackman’s since 2009.

 

My favorite part is the bar scene when P.T. Barnum is trying to convince Phillip Carlyle to be his assistant and they start to sing and dance. It leads to Phillip Carlyle joining the circus. The message of this movie is that you don’t have to look like everyone else to be normal, which I like a lot. This movie has a few things you should be aware of, such as a scene when two characters are taking shots at a bar. There might be a few risky things kids might try after watching it such as doing trapeze tricks. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18 as well as adults. This movie opens in theaters December 20, 2017 so be sure to check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Gumby: Gumby’s Arctic Antics – Humorous and Nostalgic Family Entertainment

Gumby and Pokey, television’s legendary clay characters, live one great adventure after another in a timeless world of stop motion magic and wonder. Join our favorite duo in this fun-filled collection of 50’s, 60’s and 80’s episodes! When Santa gets sick right before Christmas, will the holiday be ruined or can the Witty Witch save the day and deliver the gifts with the help of a certain someone? Then, Scrooge escapes from his book and sets out to destroy all of the toys in Toyland, but luckily Gumby is there to save the day. From helping the Pilgrims, George Washington, and even the Moon Boggles, to rescuing a baby mastodon in the Arctic, these unique shows will spark your imagination and bring a smile to your heart. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Even though this collection’s branded as Arctic, there are many episodes that leave the Arctic Circle and dive into history. Some of the best include visiting the American Revolutionary War or the voyage on the Mayflower. Gumby really makes them shine by bringing humor and unique adventures to each one.” Carla P. adds, “I believe the DVD Gumby: Gumby’s Arctic Adventure is a great series because of its claymation and characters. I found it brought cheer to my holidays and made me happy.” See their full reviews below.

 

Gumby: Gumby’s Arctic Antics

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

 

This collection of a dozen Gumby episodes promises to entertain the whole family with great humor suitable for all ages. Its spectacular soundtrack really brings the show justice.

Like many other Gumby collections, this set revolves around Gumby’s adventures which vary from episode to episode, but generally have some light comedy throughout. Something that really stands out to me on this DVD is the moment where Gumby actually talks about some historical facts, bringing a bit of education to this set.
Even though this collection’s branded as Arctic, there are many episodes that leave the Arctic Circle and dive into history. Some of the best include visiting the American Revolutionary War or the voyage on the Mayflower. Gumby really makes them shine by bringing humor and unique adventures to each one. The genius writers even fit in an occasional fact here and there that teaches young viewers about history without it feeling like a lecture. It just feels like one character explaining the situation to another character. However, there are minor issues with some of the plots. Generally, Gumby episodes are very short which fits the style, but many of these are too open-ended and don’t have a concrete finish. Almost all Gumby episodes feel a bit unfinished and seem to do little to address the conflict that made the story exist, which leaves the viewer slightly disappointed.

 

The quality of the stop-motion animation keeps at a superb level, despite these episodes originally being made across three decades, some as early as the 1950s. The writers, for the most part, did well in keeping the episodes interesting. There are some noticeable repeats in jokes or ideas. For example, there are two episodes where Gumby and Pokey somehow destroy an igloo and must rebuild it for the occupants. The two stories vary slightly, but have a very similar conflict. This makes the repeat episode rather boring. Something that the writers excel at (as they always did for Gumby) is the dialogue. The conversations are always natural, smooth and very realistic, despite all the characters being made from clay. These episodes of course also feature the original soundtrack of the show, which is recognizable and really adds to the experience. The music feels light and soothing, yet entertaining and fitting for each story.

 

My favorite episode is Gumby Crosses the Delaware River. In this episode, Gumby and Pokey enter a book about George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River, where he surprise-attacked enemy soldiers. Pokey and Gumby help Washington by sending Pokey in as a spy. The episode is filled with a good sense of humor and does teach kids about some historical facts. It represents a perfect bundle of learning and fun.

 

Like all other Gumby collections, the show revolves around family. There are some jokes here and there that will make teens and adults laugh, but it’s mainly geared for younger kids. I recommend this for ages 9 to 18 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. In general, the episodes are great to watch, but some could have a better or different storyline to ensure uniqueness and the originality of writing. This DVD is available in stores now so go check it out.

 

Gumby: Gumby’s Arctic Adventure

Reviewed by Carla Paz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

I believe the DVD Gumby: Gumby’s Arctic Adventure is a great series because of its claymation and characters. I found it brought cheer to my holidays and made me happy.

 

This DVD is a collection of holiday-themed episodes from the 50s, 60s, and 80s about Gumby and his friend Pokey as they look into famous stories about Christmas, Thanksgiving and the fourth of July. Gumby and Pokey are an iconic duo from the 60s.

 

This type of animation is known as claymation. It reminds me of Christmas movies such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other classics such as Santa is Coming to Town. They poke fun of the fact that the characters are clay by making them melt. I like how they incorporate live action with the animation. In one scene, Gumby and Pokey fall down into a pile of things and they are live action.

 

The characters in the show are fantastic. I love the banter between Gumby and Pokey. Gumby always tells Pokey to pay attention to the story they are watching, but he always disobeys. Instead, he helps the characters in the story.

 

The message of this film is to help people no matter the consequences. It spreads a message about helping friends or people in need. Pokey helps a prince who was scammed by shop owners when they gave him a plum tree with a pigeon in it. So, he tells a man with fairy dust to turn the tree and pigeon into gold. The prince is surprised at what happens and the girl he gives it to is ecstatic.

 

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars recommend it to ages 6 to 9. This is available on DVD now so go check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Famed LA Children’s Chorus Offers First Experiences in Singing Class for 6 & 7 Year Olds Eight-Week Class Runs Wednesdays from January 24 – March 14, 2018, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church

The renowned Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) is currently enrolling children ages six and seven in its “First Experiences in Singing” Level I class, which introduces children to the wonders and excitement of singing and music.  Classes are held Wednesdays from January 24 to March 14, 2018, from 4:15 pm to 5 pm, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.  Geared for children with no previous musical training, the eight-week class is intentionally small in size to provide optimum instruction.

“First Experiences in Singing enables children to explore their voices, which are their own unique instruments,” says LACC Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson.

First Experiences in Singing includes general music and rhythmic concepts and teaches bel canto singing, the vocal style using the head voice for which LACC is acclaimed, with all activities adhering to LACC’s supportive and nurturing tradition of excellence, focusing on the health of the voice.  It also incorporates different learning modalities to engage visual, auditory and kinetic learners while presenting the fundamentals of singing at the appropriate developmental stage to prepare children to audition for LACC’s upper-level choirs.

Children who complete First Experiences in Singing Level I are eligible to continue in Level II, then Level III classes, which are non-performing groups.  Graduates of Level III are eligible to audition for LACC’s Preparatory Choir.

Los Angeles Children’s Chorus is recognized throughout the country for its exceptional artistic quality and technical ability.  Founded in 1986, LACC serves more than 400 children ages 6 to 18 through six choirs – Preparatory, Apprentice, Intermediate, Concert, Chamber Singers and Young Men’s Ensemble for boys with changing voices – and offers First Experiences in Singing classes and a First Experiences in Choral Singing Ensemble for 6-8-year-olds.  LACC has been described as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), “astonishingly polished” (Performances Magazine), “extraordinary in its abilities” (Culture Spot LA), and “one heck of a talented group of kids” (LA Weekly).  Recipient of Chorus America’s 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the nation’s highest choral honor, LACC has toured North and South America, Africa, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Western and Eastern Europe.  LACC choristers can be heard on John Williams’ latest recording, John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection, released in March 2017.  LACC also appears on the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s critically acclaimed Decca recording A Good Understanding, and Plácido Domingo’s Deutsche Grammophon recording Amore Infinito (“Infinite Love”).  The subject of a trilogy of documentaries by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, LACC is featured in the Academy Award-nominated Sing!, about a year in the life of the Chorus; Sing Opera!, documenting the production of the LACC-commissioned family opera Keepers of the Night; and Sing China!, chronicling its groundbreaking tour to China just prior to the Beijing Olympics.  LACC has performed with John Mayer on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and has also been featured on PBS’s “Great Performances,” BBC Radio, and Public Radio International’s nationally syndicated show “From the Top,” among other credits.

The cost of the eight-week First Experiences in Singing class is $300.  Pasadena Presbyterian Church is located at 585 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA, 91101.  For more information or to enroll, please call (626) 793-4231 or visit www.lachildrenschorus.org.

Credit: Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC).

Photo Credit: JP Candelier.

Droopy is Pet of the Week!

Droopy doesn’t just look like a marshmallow—he is a marshmallow! And at around 120 pounds, he’s easily the biggest marshmallow in the bag. Droopy is a 5-year-old pittie who’s a shelter volunteer favorite. He’s well trained, takes treats gently, and loves walks—and he’s so goofy! He’s an owner surrender and lived with young kids in the previous household, so he’s used to a lot of love and so deserves it. Give Marshmallow his just desserts—meet him on of the P. D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village, 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A504961.

(The usual suspects contributed to this rescue)

 

Credit: Courtesy of our friends at the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village.

Healthy food swaps for your family

Deciding to become a family that’s health-conscious and one that educates their kids about the effects their diet has on their bodies, is one of the most sensible and beneficial things you could do.

 

Rewarding is just one term you’ll begin to feel as your family feels happier during your mission to a healthier lifestyle. To kick-start your families journey, here are a few healthy and yummy food swaps for you to try out.

Croutons swapped out for almonds

 

We know that there’s going to be a struggle when you’re attempting to get your kids to try salads: ‘Vegetables? How dare you!’ Is probably among the phrases they’ll be thinking when you hand them a plate of freshly sliced and diced veg.

 

Make it a little more interesting for them by setting out a variety of salad dressings (as long as they don’t drown their salad in the dressing, which would defeat the point) and a bowl of almonds to add more texture. They’re actually much healthier than croutons and they taste just as good!

Butter swapped out for coconut oil

 

When coconut oil is kept below 23°C its form becomes solid with a consistency very similar to butter. The plus side to this, excluding that it’s tons better for you, is that as soon as the coconut oil hits your warm slice of toast, it seamlessly melts creating the perfect spread.

Cow’s milk swapped out for almond milk

 

Often milk isn’t a part of your diet that you’d consider being unhealthy, however, it isn’t as good for us as originally thought. Although it is true that cow’s milk is rich in calcium, it’s actually a little too rich for our human bodies to soak up.

 

Due to this, almond milk is the perfect alternative. It has enough calcium to be beneficial but not too much, so that our bodies can use the majority of the calcium. The kids will love the sweet taste of almond milk too. Brilliant!

Where to find organic food

 

There’s a wide variety of healthy food supplies at Clearspring if you are looking for an organic online food shop, then visiting their site will give you a clear idea of the costs of going organic.  Good luck!

National Hot Tea Day is today! Celebrate with the Tea Council of the USA! Special Giveaway Opportunity!

In honor of the beloved beverage and celebration of National Hot Tea Month (January!), the Tea Council of the USA has launched the second annual #IndividualiTEA Photo Sharing Sweepstakes , to give tea lovers across the nation an opportunity to win $500 and a year’s supply of tea.

Now, how cool does that sound?

Entering is SO EASY: simply post a photo, video or explanation of the unique ways, times, and places you like to enjoy your favorite tea – specifically black, green, white or oolong – on Twitter with the hashtag #IndividualiTEA and tag @TeaCouncil for a chance to win!

We have also teamed up with the Tea Council of the USA for a special Giveaway! I received an amazing beauTEAful basket filled with goodies and tea and I just love it! You can also win your own amazing beauTEAful basket filled with goodies and tea! I love the variety of teas and there are also some delicious cookies!

    

To enter leave a comment below telling us your favorite type of tea! Mine is flavored black tea! One winner will win! Deadline to enter is January 18th, 2018 at noon PST. U.S. Residents only, please. One winner will randomly be selected via Random.org.

Self Disclosure: I received a free beauTEAful basket filled with goodies and tea to facilitate this post and giveaway. The Top photo was also provided. 

Cal Water H2O Challenge for Classrooms and Individuals is a great way to learn to conserve water!

Do you know how important it is to conserve water? It’s truly important that all of us in California conserve water! Cal Water H2O Challenge is a great way to teach kids how to care for water. It’s also a free program and there is a Classroom Challenge and Individual Challenge. I just love how this is a great way for children in grades 4th-6th to learn about conservation. The Cal Water H2O Challenge’s Classroom Challenge is a project-based environment-focused competition for classrooms and is designed in conjunction with NAAEE. the WestEd K-12 Alliance, and Cal Water.

The Cal Water H20 Challenges Individual Challenge is really cool! I love how kids can be creative! The Challenge is a media competition for Individual students. They can submit their original artwork, videos or photos that are focused on caring for water. This one is open to grades 4th-12th who live in So Cal water service areas. There are some pretty great prizes too!

Find out more at https://challenge.calwater.com/.

Self Disclosure: I participated in a Moms Meet sponsored posting. Compensation was received to post.