Search This Blog

Loading...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

'Tis the Season

Christmas, Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, New Year's Day, whichever you celebrate, there's no denying the warm, feel-good time of year. Here are ways that you can locally get into the holiday spirit, right in your own backyard!

Family Fun

This annual start to the holidays will take place on Monday, December 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM right behind the library in the Civic Center plaza. There will be live music, a Santa photo-op, light refreshments, and even an artificial snow zone. To give back, you are also encouraged to donate a can of food.


Since 1940, Palo Alto has hosted “Christmas Tree Lane” on Fulton Street and Embarcadero Road. The neighborhood comes together to produce a fabulous Christmas stroll, with most houses on that block decorating with lights, wooden cut-outs, etc. I remember coming here since my stroller days, admiring the houses and soaking in the holiday spirit. Don’t forget to bring your hot cocoa to sip, a camera to take cheesy cute photos, and some good company! The street will be lit up from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM from Saturday, December 12 through December 31st.

Since 1977, Downtown Los Altos has put on a parade filled with floats, marching bands, dance troops, community members, and costumed characters. For a small town, Los Altos puts on an incredible show that really brings the community together. This year, the parade will happen on Sunday, November 27 at 6:00 PM. The crowds will be crazy so get there at least an hour early to stake out your seat. (Bonus: if you’re there, look for me dressed as a princess and say hi!)


Giving Back

Every year, Family Giving Tree fills a warehouse with donated holiday presents for needy children in the Bay Area. You can either donate a toy or help package and arrange children’s gifts on site. I do this every year with my family and friends and it is a great way to spend time with others while also making a lasting impact.


Cops and Gobblers is an annual Thanksgiving food drive that has been put on by the Mountain View Police Department for the past 20 years. MVPD collects donations in order to feed 400 needy families in our community. You can join in on the food basket making and delivery. It’s so special to hand-deliver these baskets to families and witness their immense gratitude for the donation! This year, the event will take place on Sunday, November 20 at 9 AM at the police station.



Get Out and Be Active

What better way to soak up the fresh November air than to get up early and race your hardest, all before most people have woken up? This race never fails to bring out huge crowds on the holiday morning, so it must be a great event.

If you are bored around New Year’s, you can do the Hot Chocolate 5K in San Francisco and get none other than hot chocolate at the finish line!

Play a sports game on the holidays.
If your folks are the sporty type, you might find it much more healthy to spend your Thanksgiving out on the soccer or football field rather than drowning yourself in gravy and turkey. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone.

How will you be getting into the holiday spirit this year? Hopefully you can take advantage of one these opportunities and have a very festive season! 

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Homemade Halloween

Now that Halloween is over, it's time to start thinking about next year's costume!

Forget synthetic fabrics and store-bought costumes for Halloween. The best costumes aren’t the ones that you purchase at the party store the night before, nor the ones that match every other kid trick-or-treating. The best ones are original but iconic, and going the homemade route can really give it that authentic feel.

If you can sew, then think of your dream Halloween costume. Awesome. You can probably make it. Find some amazing patterns at Jo-Ann’s to make your look.
If you don’t have a knack for sewing, never fear, that's why I'm here! I bet with just the items in your closet alone, you can dress up as nearly any human character. Try these ideas to start.

Guys
Go for the decades looks!
Throw on a black leather jacket, blue jeans, and white tee to look like the slickest kid straight out of the 50s. Wear any patterned shirt and pants and you’ll achieve that strange mod look that defined the 70s. Or, throw on your tie dye and hold your fingers in a permanent peace sign to become a hippie.

Do a funny group costume!
Think Wayne’s World, Napoleon Dynamite, Carl and Russel from UP, or Scooby Doo characters.

Be an iconic movie character!
Get a red cap and a white shirt and become Forrest Gump. Run, Forrest, Run! Or, go running as Rocky Balboa in his iconic jog through Philadelphia: just wear several layers of gray cotton sweats and you’ve got it down!

If you’re looking for a specific item, say an orange jacket, that you don’t have laying around, just take a peek inside a thrift store and I bet you will find the perfect thing.


Girls
Channel your childhood!
How fun would it be to dress up as Dora the Explorer? A pink shirt, orange shorts, and purple backpack seals the deal. Or, you could be a “big kid” by wearing some footsie pajamas, a pacifier, and carrying a teddy bear.

Throw it back to 90’s flicks!
Wednesday Addams might be a common costume, but a pretty awesome and easy one at that. Black braids, black clothes, and a permanent frown are all you need. On the other end of the spectrum, you can be one of the girls from Clueless.

Be a strong, independent woman.
It just takes an aviator hat and leather jacket to become Amelia Earhart, or a denim shirt and red bandana to be Rosie the Riveter. Show off your feminism with pride.

I would love to hear how you dress up for Halloween, one of my favorite nights of the year! 



Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Weekend Get-Aways

Congrats! You've survived the first several weeks of school and you'll likely cherish every moment of the weekend. Take care of any school work on Friday afternoon because you're not going to have any time to do it while you're enjoying this weekend!

If you enjoy getting outdoors....

Forget Pokemon Go - go geocaching! If you are planning on going on a hike, make it into a scavenger hunt by searching for hidden caches. If you have data on your smartphone, it's easy! 


Head over to Vasona Lake  or Shoreline Lake for some paddle boating, bike rides, or pretty sunset picnics. 

Drive to the beach! If you like the sun and surf, head to Santa Cruz or Capitola. If you prefer the foggy views, Ocean Beach or Half Moon Bay are the best.


If you want to jam out to music...
Several awesome artists are coming to the Bay! Green Day, Pentatonix, and Charlie Puth just to name a few.

For coffeehouse blues, Red Rock Coffee always has Open Mic nights with local artists.

If you're feeling lazy...
Sleep in late, read a book, take a bath, watch some Netflix.
Bake a recipe you've been dying to try but you don't have the time.
Call friends and family members to spend time together.

Make sure to share how you spend your weekends in the comments. Have fun, you all deserve it!

Images:
https://www.geocaching.com/play/Content/images/preview-lg.jpg
http://abcnews.go.com/images/Sports/gty_super_bowl_halftime_mt_160207.jpg

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Breaking Records is No Longer a Good Thing....

2016 is a record-breaking year.

And here you were all along, thinking it was just another year gone by. Now, I’m sure you’re so excited—more records is more fun, more accomplishment, right?

But believe it or not, 2016 was the year with the hottest summers, the coldest winters, the strongest winds, and the worst fires. Whether we decide to attribute such environmental patterns to humans or not, you’ve got to admit it’s a little scary.

This past June was the hottest month of June ever recorded. And the same goes from the hottest May, hottest April, and the entire last year which has recorded the highest ever monthly temperatures. Yikes! In fact, in June, Iraq and Kuwait brought the thermometer to 129 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature ever other than the historic reading in 1913 in Death Valley.

If you haven’t heard, carbon dioxide is the gas that is primarily responsible for global warming. And carbon dioxide levels have been on the rise ever since cars got on the road. But this year, the carbon rate accelerated, increasing by 3.1 parts per million (ppm) to bring us over 400 ppm for the first time in man's history. YIKES

What more? The Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, was almost entirely killed, it’s coral “bleached” by the warm water current from El Nino. Only 7% of the entire reef escaped bleaching. Y-I-K-E-S.

So you’ve probably heard the joke about the polar bears drowning as their ice melts away. Well, my friends, this is unfortunately not a joke. This year also is on track to have the smallest amount of ocean ice ever-- meaning polar bears and seals lose their habitats, and the sea levels are rising.


Needless to say, if our world continues to warm at this rate, every year is going to be a record-breaking year going forward. Are you scared? Inspired? Either way, take action (https://carbonfund.org/reduce/) to avoid breaking more of these “records.” It starts with just one person, making a difference.

Where I found my facts: 

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fun Facts About Libraries

There's more to libraries than you think. Here are some fun facts about libraries just because! Enjoy.

1) The oldest known library began around 350 BC by Clearchus, a Greek student of Plato and Isocrates.

2) At any of the 150 "human libraries" in the world, you can check out a “person” and listen to their story. This system allows people to share their stories and defeat stereotypes of judging a person by their appearance.
The human library in Toronto, Canada. Source: yongestreetmedia
3) The Library of Congress adds an average of 12,000 items to its collection EVERY DAY! The 162 million items in the library span 800 miles of bookshelves.

4) Haskell Free Library is built on the border of the US and Canada. If you enter on one side, you better have your customs form and passport to exit on the other!

5) In Norway, you can check out a book from one library and return it to any library in the country!

6) With 16,500 libraries, there are more libraries than McDonalds in the US.

7) The smallest book in the Library of Congress, “Old King Cole,” is supposedly the size of a period. Its 1/25th inches wide! Good luck reading that one.

Which facts surprised you the most? I can't believe the teensy tiny book. Hope you enjoyed learning some strange library facts! 

Sources

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Review - Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

16 year old Eon has a lot going on - she's hoping to be chosen as an apprentice to one of the 12 energy dragons, she's training to master the martial arts and energy channeling required for that job, and she's compensating for the injury that has left her lame for most of her life. Oh, and she's also hiding the fact that she's a girl, a fact that would lead to her immediate death if anyone finds out.
There's a lot to like about this book. Eon is a strong female character, capable of doing so much although occasionally making some really poor decisions. She is smart, loyal, and strong, even when she doesn't know it.
The world building is rich and imaginative, clearly drawing much from Asian culture and history. The descriptions of the energy dragons are so evocative, I can clearly picture them in my mind!
There's some romance in the story, and some threatened sexual violence which makes me reluctant to recommend to tweens, but it would be a good choice for 7th-9th grade readers, especially those looking for strong female characters and interesting fantasy worlds. Give to fans of Tamora Pierce's Alanna books and Hunger Games.
Marie, Teen Librarian

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Thoughts on the Rio Olympics

Hello everyone and welcome back to school! While school took full effect last week, I still made sure to make time to watch my favorite television: the Rio Olympics!

The Olympics were absolutely incredible: over 200 nations cametogether to celebrate the peak of athleticism, which is why millions of us tuned in every night to watch. There are tons of crazy things that go on, but when I'm watching, here are my thoughts:

The people chosen to perform were actually indigenous Brazilians!
1. This opening ceremony and environmental theme is AMAZING.
2. OMG look at how they are moving those weird glowing strings.
3. Giselle Bundchen walking across the stadium is one long moment.
4. Yes! Michael Phelps is the flag bearer that makes me proud.
5. The refugee Olympians are perhaps the most inspiring group of individuals and they SO deserve it!

Jessica Parratto and Amy Cozad compete in the synchronized diving from the 10m platform.
6. It's been 24 hours and Katie Ledecky has already broken a record. Casual.
7. Who is this superwoman Simone Biles and why am I only just watching her now?
8. Yes, Laurie Hernandez is the cutest, spunkiest person to ever grace the world stage.
9. The world has been blessed with the beauty of synchronized diving.
10. OMG that platform is 10 meters and they are FLIPPING off it?!
11. Um, hello judges are you awake because that was a perfect 10!

The "Final Five" are all so talented it's impossible to choose a favorite.
12. Doesn't it hurt your brain to wear two swim caps like that?
13. Why does Michael Phelps always wear those headphones?
14. I think Michael's baby boy Boomer is the real MVP here.
15. You keep killing it Katie Ledecky.
16. So many of these swimmers go to Stanford, my home turf! #fearthetree
17. When a female gymnast is 5'3 she looks like a giant.

Phelps is the legend that makes us proud.
18. Aly Raisman is a returning legend and Simone Biles is the new one. Go USA!
19. Madison Kocian you may have got silver but if it were up to me you'd be the gold ;)
20. Michael Phelps is starting his last individual race - don't cry.
21. Michael is swimming (and slaying) his last relay - don't cry.
22. Michael is at his last award ceremonies and he is crying and now so am I.
23. Honestly how is USA so good at swimming?

Simone Manuel (who attends Stanford University!!!) has this priceless reaction to winning gold in the 50m final.

24. So what are those little statues they get at the medal ceremony? (I did some research on this one. As opposed to giving medal winners flowers as the Olympics have done in the past, Rio is extending their theme of sustainability by giving out these Rio figurines/metal holders instead. Pretty cool!)
25. What's the likelihood they tie when they measure to 0.01 seconds?

Mo Farah and Galen Rupp are friendship goals.
26. Track and Field has started and I'm not looking back
27. You're a true athlete when you fall in the 10,000 meters and still win. (Ahem, Mo Farah).
28. Is it okay that I rooted more for South Africa in the 400 m final than Team USA.
29. They just jumped 7'5" in the high jump, soooo yeah.
30. Usain Bolt has arrived. And he has won it. Again. Go Jamaica!
31. The sportsmanship in the women's 5000 meter prelims is beyond inspiring.

Still a little crazed, to be honest. The Bahamas wins with a dive!
32. When I watch the steeplechase and hurdles I forget that they are running faster than I could ever AND simultaneously jumping over barriers.
33. Oh no the Olympics has just a few days left :(
34. I will keep humming along to the Olympic theme every time it plays.
35. It is now midnight and I have watched five hours of this.
36. Team USA is #1 in medal counts. Rep that red white and blue.
37. Tokyo 2020; I'm ready for you.

What are some of your random observations from the Olympics?
I hope you enjoyed this year's games as much as I did! Also, I invite you to check out my predictions from earlier in the Spring for Team USA to compare to the results!

Written by Katia G., Homework Assistant