Saturday, August 29, 2015

End of Summer - Back to School TIme

 Author: Jose G. Barr

 It is hard to believe that we are at the end of the summer and, at least for Joseph, school is about to start.  Where has the time gone?  It seems like just yesterday he was cleaning up his desk in 1st grade and getting ready to begin his vacation.

Over the past 3 months we have done some fun stuff together as a family and as part of the cub scouts.  We have tried to make the summer as fun as possible for Joseph, letting him have fun while still learning something new. While he was not in school, he still had his math and reading program (Kumon) that kept his skills sharp for the coming year.  The scouting activities included the Rain Gutter Regatta, where they learned about how wind moves a vessel across a body of water, and attending the Boy Scouts of America NOVA program.  We also went bowling several times, improving our skills with each game we played. Overall I believe that it was a great summer for my little buddy.

Kumon was started by Toru Kumon who, in 1954, designed math worksheets to allow his son to improve his math skills.  It was a fathers love for his son that gave birth to the program that Joseph attends today. The basic principle is to allow students to work at their own level, allowing them to grow their abilities at their own pace. Not only do they grow their abilities in mathematics and reading, they are also growing their confidence, knowing that they can learn and solve problems on their own.  For Ruby and me it was an easy decision to enroll Joseph in Kumon. We want him to succeed in all he does, and this is providing the foundation for his future endeavors.
Universal Studios - Summer 2015

The Boy Scouts of America Nova Awards program was started to foster the love of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in scouts.  There are 3 different programs, for cub scouts, boy scouts and Venture scouts.  The complexity of the program increases with the age of the children. For the cub scouts its all about simple, fun science experiments that foster their love of learning.  During the Saturday class the boys performed an experiment on candy. They used different liquids to see the effects they had on candy. Imagine my surprise when nail polish remover did nothing what so ever to an M&M.  It was a truly fun day for Joseph and Nicholas, learning and having fun together.

Bowling has been one of my favorite sports since I was in high school. At first it seems like such a simple thing to do, roll the ball and knock down some pins at the end of the lane. Simple right? Well, anyone who has ever bowled knows that its not that simple.  The ball seems to take on a life of its own once you release it, never quite going where you want it to go.  The more you play, the more you begin to learn how best to release the ball to get it to do what you want. Bowling alleys today include automated bumpers that rise into place for the younger players. This allows them a better opportunity to score while developing their bowling skills. Joseph enjoyed having his cousins Alyssa and Aileen as well as his Aunt and Uncle Ricardo and Sandra with him for the fun.

From Kumon to bowling and scouting, this summer has been one to remember. Joseph had a full, fun filled learning adventure with family and friends. The memories that we made will last a lifetime. We have loved and laughed, we have made the most of each and every day together because time is precious.  As a father I sometimes despair at the thought that my little boy is growing up.  He is so much more independent now and becoming more so with each day.  Next summer will present all new adventures four our little family. Ones that will be different from this past summer, but still a part of the fabric of who we are.
With his Cousin - Summer 2015
Aboard the USS Iowa, Summer 2015

Making Senior Green Belt (with Master John Park), Summer 2015
4th of July - Summer 2015
4th of July Fun - Summer 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Podcast - Old Time Radio Drama for the 21st Century

Author:  Jose G. Barr

The development of the radio in the early 1900’s allowed new, free entertainment opportunities to be developed for the public. By the 1930’s, and with the depression in full swing, these radio broadcasts were a way for people to escape from the reality of their lives, even if only for an hour or so.  Families would gather around the radio in anticipation of the nights broadcast, whether it was a drama, comedy or the news it did not matter, it was good entertainment for free.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cub Scouts Rain Gutter Regatta

Author: Jose G. Barr

The new cub scout year is off to a great start for our pack here in Redlands, California.  The boys all brought their best catamaran boats out for a fun afternoon of racing and friendly competition.  Being that this was Josephs first regatta, we didn't do to bad.  There were a few lessons learned as well as some design consideration that we observed on the other boats in the regatta.

One of the greatest lessons learned is that you can put together a winning catamaran within a few hours.  My good friend Frank and his son Nicholas left no doubt that this is possible, they placed first in the pack regatta. Congratulations my friends. Joseph and I spent a few hours the day before shaping, painting and assembling his catamaran. Most of the boats were built along similar timelines from a few hours to a few days.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

10 Tips to Make your Universal Studios Hollywood Visit Amazing

Author: Jose G. Barr

Universal Studios is one of my favorite locations in Southern California. We enjoy going there for the day, often ending the day at Universal Citywalk for dinner and a movie. Below are my top ten tips to make your visit to Universal Studios Hollywood amazing for both you and the kids.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

10 Things You Need To Know To Make Your Disneyland Visit Amazing!

Author: Jose G. Barr

Image result for disneyland california logo flickr

A family visit to Disneyland is a time to get away from every day life and enjoy the amazing world that Walt Disney created for all of us. Its a time to enjoy yourself and forget the every day worries of the real world.  Every time we have go as a family, we go to feel like kids again and enjoy the magic.  Joseph loves being able to interact with his favorite characters from Cars and Toy Story, while Ruby and I enjoy the cheerful and friendly atmosphere.

These tips will help you to enjoy Disneyland and Disney California Adventure just a bit more, whether you are returning again or visiting for the first time. Read the tips below and enjoy your visit to the Magic Kingdom.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Summer Time Homework: A Father and Son Activity

Author: Jose G. Barr

Its Saturday morning and I am sitting here with my little boy while he does his homework.  It hasn't always been as easy to get him to do his homework as it is today.  There are days that he does not want to do it and will sit, refusing to do anything. As I start to get frustrated I wonder what I can do to change his behavior?

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Family Dinner at Chili's Grill & Bar

Author: Jose G. Barr

The first lunch date that my wife and I went on was to Chili's Grill and Bar. It's been over 23 wonderful years since that first date and we are still avid customers. We have always enjoyed the food and the atmosphere.  Our son Joseph is now a big fan of Chili's,  but it's not necessarily just for the food, he loves their new Ziosk system.

Since the introduction of the Ziosk, Joseph has asked to go their to eat often. He loves the games that are available and can spend the entire time playing. From a father's perspective,  it gives us time to relax and enjoy our meal without him getting bored and constantly asking when we are leaving.  For the adult customers it is an amazing bit of technology. The Ziosk is a tablet like device that allows us to enhance our visit by taking food and drink orders when we are ready. Chili's still has their amazing servers to enhance the overall experience. It's up to you which way you order your meal. We like to place our initial order with the server and then Joseph places the dessert order via the Ziosk. At the end of the evening I use it to pay the check. It has really simplified the dining experience and made it more fun.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sunday Family Gathering

Author: Jose G. Barr

The family gather at our home yesterday to enjoy some good food, laughs and enjoy the company of family. We don't gather like this often enough and it is nice when we can.  I know that my father-in-law wishes that we did this more often and I agree wholeheartedly with him.  We have an opportunity to catch up and tell some great stories about work, life and everything in between.