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Visiting Artist Victor Hugo Zayas

Visiting Artist Victor Hugo Zayas

Having enjoyed over sixty exhibitions to date, Victor Hugo Zayas is best known for his paintings, vigorous depictions of landscapes and cityscapes, as well as still life and figural subjects that mediate between realism and expressionism…

Their subdued palette evokes the tonalism of Rembrandt, Velazquez, and Manet, but their expansive, forceful brushstrokes hark back to Titian and even van Gogh. by Peter Frank of Visions Magazine

Thanks to Photos by KAG, we were able to visit the artist Victor Hugo Zayas at his home and studio in Los Angeles after spending the morning Stand Up Paddleboarding during our trip to Southern California.
stand up paddleboard in Redondo Beach

My kids were able to hang out with their cousins and were on their best behavior at Victor’s art studio.

Visiting Artist Victor Hugo Zayas

My brother-in-law met Victor Hugo Zayas years ago in South Central Los Angeles, and photographs him at work in his studio. It’s always a treat to see how an artist works. Victor’s studio is 6000 square feet of creativity.

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25 Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

25 Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

I was in a pretty good habit of doing a daily Random Act of Kindness when I turned 48 that carried on for a year or so, but I’ve fallen off the wagon. It’s just so easy to speed through errands in a possessed way, and not notice or take the time for a small act of kindness. I need a reminder!

https://www.pragmaticmom.com/2013/01/randon-acts-of-kindess-rak/

I’m using my DIY Acts of Kindness Gratitude Advent Calendar as a kickstart. It feels like doing an act of kindness during the busy month of December is impossible, but I am finding that it’s really not. It’s just a mindset and a looking for an opportunity. Just keeping it top of mind helps immensely.

DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar

So, here are mine. Most are small, but all, as I note, are truly appreciated!

Dec 1

Ran out to hold the door for a mom with a singing toddler in a stroller at the post office. She told her child how nice I was to hold the door.

Dec 2

Ran ad in Craig’s List and Newton FreeCycle to donate my son’s old bike to someone who needs a gift for their child this holiday season.

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Things to Do With Kids in Long Beach California

Things to Do with Kids in Long Beach California

Things to Do With Kids in Long Beach CaliforniaMy husband grew up in Monterey Bay and just from living there, knows more about marine biology than I do, and I studied Ichthyology in college! I grew up in a beach town also in Seal Beach, Southern California, but there wasn’t an aquarium nearby back then. But now there is!

The Aquarium of the Pacific is next door to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, one town over from Seal Beach. While the Aquarium of the Pacific can never match up to Monterey Bay Aquarium from location alone (it’s on the ocean’s edge where it dips into a deep cavern), it’s still a pretty nice aquarium to visit.

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Bee Barf is Honey? Bee Books & Videos for Kids

Bee Barf is Honey? Books & Videos for Kids

Does it stress you out that bees are in trouble? The state of the Amazon rainforest, frogs and toads, and bees are probably the three things about the environment that I worry about. Not that I know exactly what to do. I guess the first step is educating. And then action. So here’s my self-education journey about the plight of the bees.

If your kids like Bee Movie, they’ll like this PBS video on how honey is made.

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Be Fearless Be Kind

Hasbro’s Global Day of Joy

Did you know that the holiday season alone, Hasbro donated more than a half million toys and games (valued at $6 million) to children and families in need? Their goal is to put a toy or game in the hands of parents, so they can have a present for their kids on their holiday.

They also believe in a philanthropic mission to empower childhood by bringing hope, play and service into the lives of children. And they put their money where their mouth is:

In 2015, Hasbro contributed more than $14 million in total philanthropic support, impacting 3 million children. In RI, more than 20,000 toys and games donated, one for every child in need to Toys for Tots. Hasbro is also a long-time partner supporting Toys for Tots; 19 years with approximately $3 million worth of toys and games donated annually.

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7th Grade Books from a 7th Grade Girl

7th Grade Books from a 7th Grade Girl

Today’s book list comes from my “adopted” daughter Sidnie. Despite a busy summer, she’s managed to read an impressive 16 books!

I should note that Sidnie isn’t bothered by graphic violence or scary books. In fact, against PickyKidPix’s horror, she read The Hunger Games in third grade. PickyKidPix herself defied me by reading it in fourth grade; I wanted her to wait at least one more year. They both wanted to read the book before seeing the movie which how that went down.

With PickyKidPix‘s influence (they both did their book reviews for me at the same time), she tells it like it is: the good, the bad, and the boring.

 

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

That was a really good book about a girl standing up for women’s education and it’s a true story. [autobiography, ages 11 and up]

A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, A Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home by Thomas Nelson

This was my favorite book that I read this summer. It was about an orphan boy who had to go through a lot of bad things but he found his way out. [adult memoir, ages 14 and up]

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My 2017 Newbery Predictions

My 2017 Newbery Predictions

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

This is the true story of how children’s books came to be, the brainchild of John Newbery, considered the father of children’s literature. In 1726, there were no children’s books at all. His first book, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, was marketed as a book and a toy! It was a hit! For kids who appreciate Newbery books, have them read this engaging picture book biography, about the man whose name is a book award, but his own story largely unknown. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

I’ve been trying to pick Newbery winners for some time now, analyzing what pundits have picked and noting what books seem to be getting buzz all year. Sometimes this is a good predictor; sometimes not.

I have a few theories about what I think makes a good Newbery pick, but, of course, the actual Newbery committee pays no mind to what I think and has their own criteria which may or may not change slightly from year to year. Who knows?

A Newbery Book Should Have Broad Age Appeal

There’s nothing worse, in my mind, with a Newbery winner that is too high such that only the most advanced elementary school readers can attempt it. The Westing Game is a good example of that for me. It won in 1978.

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DIY dog biscuits for charity

Join Us for 2016 Joy Maker Challenge

This is a sponsored post for Hasbro and generationOn. I wanted to share some easy and fun ways for kids to give back through the Joy Maker Challenge. My opinions, as always, are my own.

“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.” ~ Malcom Bane

I’m so excited to tell you about the 2016 Joy Maker Challenge. Hasbro and generationOn, the youth division of Point of Light, have partnered for the seventh annual Joy Maker Challenge, a campaign encouraging youth ages 5-18 to spread joy to people in need during the holidays through volunteer service. Since the campaign’s inaugural year in 2010, more than 960,000 total acts of service have been completed, with 6 million dollars’ worth of toys donated to Toys for Tots by Hasbro.

Joy Maker Guide Challenge for Kids

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” ~ Albert Einstein

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Our 2017 Caldecott Predictions

Our 2017 Caldecott Predictions

I’m no expert in predicting the Caldecott but it’s a fun exercise. While it’s an award for illustration, I think it’s more than that.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

dis·tin·guished

successful, authoritative, and commanding great respect.

Caldecott medal

Caldecott Picture Books Should Appeal to a Wide Audience

The Caldecott is determined by adults, first and foremost, so the picture book has to appeal to adult sensibilities who then imagine this book for a young audience. I think this broad audience is also a fundamental characteristic for winning a Caldecott. In fact, the broader the better, both in age and in subject matter.
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