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The Sequoias – great family getaway

by leeroseemery on July 8, 2016

TreeHere’s a great post from LACityMom’s intrepid Beth Szymkowski, who just returned from a trip to the Sequoias.

“I am not a camper. The thought of hauling my kids along with supplies to feed and house them does not sound like a vacation to me, so I was a bit hesitant when good friends invited me and my two sons to join them for a trip to the Sequoias.

But I was a quick convert when I realized they were suggesting a trip that wasn’t exactly camping. It involved a bare-bones cabin with comfortable beds and electricty, and heated community bathrooms nearby. We stayed two nights in the Grant Grove Cabins in Kings Canyon National Park, about a four-hour drive north of Los Angeles. The park abuts Sequoia National Park and we drove through the latter on our way home, stopping to see Crystal Cave and the General Sherman Tree, a 2000-plus—year-old behemoth that defies description because any word I know to describe insanely huge just isn’t insanely huge enough. Both parks have their share of majestic trees with plenty of hiking trails of various difficulty levels to see them. The cave involved a fairly strenuous hike to get to the entrance and back. I was grateful my kids were long past toddler age.

The entire trip was idyllic. Traveling with another family with kids the same ages as mine meant my two boys, aged nine and 11, had like minded companions. They would pair up with their friends each morning and roam either the meadow below the cabins or the rocky hill above them. The other parents and I let our kids use pocket knives and marveled at how much time they could spend sharpening sticks. It was better than any video game, although they didn’t have much choice. The area is an absolute cellular dead zone. I didn’t get a phone signal in either park, and when I needed to check my email for work I had to walk up to the hotel nearby for its marginal wifi.

Each rustic cabin has a wood stove on its patio and my friends brought a portable gas grill. (Open fires aren’t allowed). We shared meal duties and took turns running to the market nearby to supplement the groceries we’d brought in.

We were lucky with weather and had moderate temps during the days and brisk 40 degree nights, which made the trips to the bathroom as close as I get to roughing it.”

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Summer Sounds at the Hollywood Bowl for kids

by leeroseemery on May 26, 2016

image002If you’re looking for something fun but also cultural to do with your little ones in LA this summer,  The Hollywood Bowl has weekday music performances as well as Art Workshops for kids from  July 11th – August 5th.  This is such a great program and a wonderful way to introduce your children to the joy of music. Here’s all the info and more details below.

SummerSounds is a fun-filled, four-week series of lively concerts combined with art workshops. Join our dynamic hosts as they lead you on a journey to discover music, dance and art from cultures around the world.SummerSounds features four different programs, each highlighting a distinct music tradition – a new show every week! Two performances daily.

Week 1: Jul 11-15

USA, FEATURING ROSE’S PAWN SHOP

SummerSounds opens with a look at the roots of Americana. Drawing from folk and bluegrass traditions, this infectious music will have you on your feet dancing in no time.

Week 2: Jul 18-22

FRANCE, FEATURING LES ZAZOUS

Airy melodies drifting from a Paris cafe – touched with flavors of jazz, cabaret and retro swing – will transport you to the magic of the City of Light.

Week 3: Jul 25-29

JAPAN, FEATURING ON ENSEMBLE

Built on the pulsating beats of taiko drumming, the traditional music and instruments of Japan are blended with styles from the West in ways that will let your imagination soar.

Week 4: Aug 1-5

MEXICO, FEATURING TRIO ELLAS

Come along and experience traditional mariachi music with a contemporary pop twist. Don’t forget your dancing shoes!

BUY TICKETS

Save 20% when you buy all four programs!

$16 per person (age 2 and up) / $13 per person when purchasing all four programs*

Select the 10am Music Performance with 11:15am Art Workshop or 11:15am Music Performance with 10am Art Workshop.

Music performances and art workshops each run 40-45 minutes.
Programs, artists, prices and dates are subject to change.

 

 

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Screenagers Documentary Review

by leeroseemery on March 26, 2016

AR-160129887I just had the opportunity to screen the very topical documentary made by Delaney Ruston, called Screenagers. This provocative film explores the impact that screen time and media addiction has on kids today. This is one of the most relevant parenting issues of the day, and managing kids’ media habits is a huge challenge facing modern parents and teens. Delaney, a doctor, and concerned Mom, like all of us,  is attempting to find the balance between allowing her teens access to the devices they desire, while, at the same time trying to set reasonable limits to encourage them to use the devices responsibly. I can’t think of one parent I know that doesn’t struggle with the challenge of monitoring kids and their screen time.

In the film, Delaney interviews neuroscientists who study the teenage brain who, like her, are concerned about the impact of prolonged screen exposure and its effects on kids’ ability to concentrate. What’s scary is that these devices are still relatively new, and we really don’t fully know the long-term effects of screen exposure. Still, well over half of America’s teens have smart phones. Another frightening statistic is that kids spend, on average, 6.5 hours a day on screens, not including classroom or homework screen time! Kids themselves, in the movie, talk about how they have trouble focusing at times. One boy in the film even had to be checked into a treatment facility to recover from a video game addiction that resulted in his failing out of college. The experts in the film reiterate that addiction is addiction – regardless of the substance. In other words, the brain acts the same way whether it is craving drugs or screen time.

I watched the film with my son, and it sparked such an interesting discussion at our family dinner. One of Delaney’s personal solutions was to instigate “Tech Tuesday” where the weekly family dinner topic in her home, is about how technology is affecting their family’s lives. I recommend seeing this film, either with your family, or your school. Details on community screenings can be found on the Screenagers website. Setting boundaries and limits around technology for adults as well as children is an issue that is unique to this moment in time. The consequences for parents not being “tech savvy” in this regard could have severely detrimental consequences on the health and future of our children. Why not have a family screen night and watch this documentary together? It may be one of the most important and thought provoking family movie nights you have all year.

From the website. “Every week, screenings at schools, churches, synagogues, youth groups, Girl Scouts, community centers, companies and all kinds of organizations around the world mean that more and more people are seeing this film and talking about the important topics it raises. If you don’t see a screening you can attend, learn how to host one in your community.”

 

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Holiday Cheer

December 22, 2015 Uncategorized

One of my favorite things about the holidays is decorating gingerbread houses with the kids. I’d like to tell you that I make mine from scratch. But I don’t. I buy a kit. I’d like to tell you that ours looks like this one on the left, but it doesn’t. We bought our kit at […]

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The Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns at Descanso Gardens

October 11, 2015 Play

This just in from LACityMom’s intrepid Beth Szymkowski: “Autumn in SoCal has always been a bit of mind trick. We know we should be wearing sweaters and sipping hot cocoa as we prep for Halloween, but the reality is October brings some of the hottest days of the year. So I was excited to see […]

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Family friendly fun at the Masters Horse show

September 29, 2015 Play

If you have any horse lovers in the family, there’s a wonderful event coming up October 1-4 at the LA Convention Center. The Longines Masters of Los Angeles will showcase the thrill of Olympic-level show jumping, meet and greets with the world’s top-ranked riders, and of course a chance to see all the beautiful horses! […]

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Spain with kids – Barcelona and Madrid

May 16, 2015 Play

With the dollar catching up to the Euro for the first time in many years, it’s a great time to think about a European family vacation! Here’s a link to a piece I wrote about our recent trip to Spain for family travel site, CiaoBambino. We have found that our family’s European holidays have created so many […]

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Whale of a Weekend at Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

February 6, 2015 Play

I love any excuse to go the Santa Monica Pier and Aquarium. They are hosting a fantastic whale themed event Valentine’s Day weekend which will be great for families. Here’s the info below. Sounds like a whale of a time for sure! “Santa Monica, CA (Jan. 27, 2015) – Sightings of whales along the Southern […]

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CHILL at the Queen Mary

December 17, 2014 Play

This just in from my intrepid editor Beth Szymkowiski, – a great idea for some chilly family holiday fun! “The holidays always get me hankering for some of the snowy fun I enjoyed growing up on the East coast, so I was eager to check out CHILL at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. One […]

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Deck the Halls at Disney Hall, Los Angeles

December 4, 2014 Play

One of my all time favorite things to do with the kids is to go to a concert at Disney Hall. My Dad is an opera buff and I remember as a little girl he would take me to Lincoln Center in New York and then later, when we moved to DC to hear music […]

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