Nikkei Appreciation Day: UCLA Women’s Basketball v. Baylor

On Saturday we had free tickets to the UCLA Women’s Basketball game through k’s basketball league.  We invited my parents since my dad is a UCLA alum and an avid UCLA sports fan.


It was Nikkei Appreciation Day, so they honored a couple of pioneering Nikkei women basketball players.


The game was pretty exciting.  UCLA trailed in the beginning, then pulled ahead.  Baylor brought it back to a four point differential, but UCLA kept the lead through the end.  According to D, UCLA was ranked #8 and Baylor was #3.


k had fun sitting with her teammates.  However, they were not enthusiastic enough to make the Jumbo Tron.


One of k’s teammates participated in a half-time contest.  She did not win, but it was close, and I am not sure the other competitor completely followed the rules.


The alumni band was there.  We heard the official marching band outside practicing for the UCLA-USC football game that night.

This ended up being practically an all-day event due to horrendous traffic.  However, we were home just in time to watch the Cal v. Stanford game (us) and the UCLA v. USC game (my dad).


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The Possibilities Are Endless With Strictly Briks! #Tryazon #Strictlybriks

We have a lot of Legos at our house, but our kids usually just stick to the model from the box.  Strictly Briks is a new line of “briks” that are compatible with Legos, but encourages kids to literally “think outside of the box”.


Sometimes creativity requires a little mess!


There is an array of base plates available, which allows for building tall towers.  These girls built a penguin house.


Fun for the whole family!


What makes Strictly Briks unique is that they come in different shapes and materials.  For example, they have Creatorz briks, which can be connected on all sides, rather than just the top and bottom.  They also have Silicone Briks and Straps that are flexible.  As shown in this picture, n made an obstacle course for his Lego minifigures.  There are also clear colored briks which add another creative dimension.  Strictly Briks can be bought on Amazon, and I would definitely recommend them to expand the possibilities for any Lego fan.

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Start Your Christmas Shopping Now: #MyCanvasOnDemand

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and that means it is time to start thinking about Christmas presents.  I think photo gifts are always nice for loved ones who do not really need any more “things”.  Canvas On Demand has awesome gifts for everyone on your list.  Based in Raleigh, NC, @canvasondemand has everything you need to get your shopping done early.

They offer more than just canvas prints.  From photo-to-canvas art for parents, Coloring Canvas for kids, and customizable photo gifts, including ornaments & more, Canvas On Demand can help with your holiday shopping list.

For a limited time, they’re offering 60% off your entire order at Canvas On Demand with code USFAM. Select from canvas prints and more! Valid until 12/12/17.

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Our Visit to Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Part 2 #HowDoYouMuseum


And we continued with the animal displays…




The Wall of Fish



D pointed out the exclusive Hello Kitty, the Paleontologist merchandise in the gift shop.


Sanrio has just been on a roll with all of their recent collaborations!


When we were done looking around the inside of the museum, we went outside to explore the garden area.











We could see the rose garden through the fence, but by this point the kids were getting hungry and tired.  Next time!


Los Angeles: You are a pain to visit with all of the traffic, congestion, and lack of free parking, but we will be back soon!

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Our Visit to Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Part 1 #HowDoYouMuseum

We had no school on Friday, and D took the day off of work, so we took a day trip to L.A.  The plan was to use our free IMAX tickets at the California Science Center, but the projector was having technical difficulties.  Fortunately, I had also made reservations at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, which is within walkable distance so our drive to Los Angeles was not all for naught.


I would recommend buying the tickets online before you arrive.  Adults were $12 and kids were $5 with no service fee.  At the door it appeared that they were charging $10 for kids.


Right at the entrance to the museum you are greeted by impressive dinosaur fossils.


The geodes and precious gems were fascinating to look at.  Can you imagine stumbling upon one of these beauties?


This fish totally grossed me out.  I guess someone found it in the LA River??

I had way too much fun taking pictures of the animal displays.  So nice that they stand still for pictures! 🙂




I think we need to watch Night at the Museum now!





There was a whole exhibit dedicated to the history of Los Angeles.


They had a staring contest.  The polar bear won.


k is getting close to 5 feet; n is on his tiptoes!





As you can tell, there was a lot too see.  I will do part 2 tomorrow…



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Ready in 60 Seconds: Barilla Ready Pasta #ReadyPasta #Tryazon

When making pasta, the part that takes the longest is boiling the water.  Enter: Barilla Ready Pasta.  Cut open the packet and microwave for sixty seconds.  Voila–your pasta is ready!  The pasta comes fully cooked.



The pasta comes in several varieties.  We tried the gemelli shape.  For the sampling party, I added olive oil and parmesan cheese.  The color of the pasta was a little darker than what we are used to, but the texture was nice and al dente.  I also really like the ingredient list: Water, Pasta [(Semolina Wheat), Durum Wheat Flour], Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt.  No preservatives!


The parents commented that the Barilla Ready Pasta would be a nice quick and easy meal or snack option that the kids could do by themselves.  You really cannot get any easier!

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Pass The Parmigiano Reggiano, Please!

Parmesan cheese is a staple at our house.  We use it to top our pasta and pizza all of the time.  However, the green canister and packets of crumbly parmesan cheese pale in comparison to real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Parmigiano Reggiano is made in Italy, specifically in and around the province of Parma (hence, the name).  The way you can tell its authenticity is to look for the pin-dots on the rind.
Due to its long aging process, Parmigiano Reggiano is naturally lactose-free.  It is also a good source of protein and calcium, which is what our growing kids need.
There are several recipes using Parmigiano Reggiano at
I tried this Parmesan Twists recipe:
My son had a fun time helping me make these.  First, we brushed a beaten egg on puff pastry dough.   Then we grated the Parmigiano Reggiano with a microplane and sprinkled it on the dough.
We used a rolling pin to roll the cheese on the dough to make it stick better.  We then cut the dough into 1/2 inch strips.
Next, we twisted two strips at a time and baked them in the oven for about 12 minutes at 400 degrees.
They look fancy, but were so easy to make.  The flavor of the Parmigiano Reggiano really makes these special.  Our whole family gobbled them up!
For dinner, we served the Parmesan Twists with my take on Zuppa Toscana soup, which contains sausage, potatoes and kale.  I added a sprinkling of Parmgiano Reggiano to the soup, as well.  The flavors complemented each other beautifully.
A perfect fall meal!
Click here for the chance to win a Holiday Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Feast of your own!
*Samples provided through BrandBacker, however opinions are entirely my own.*

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Blue Sharks End of Season Party

We had n’s end of year soccer party at Chuck E. Cheese last night.  We really liked the coach and team this season.  Too bad his coach is not continuing to coach next season.

The last time we went to Chuck E. Cheese was for n’s birthday party.  We still had extra tokens from back then, but they no longer accept tokens!  They changed to an electronic card system, but it was easy to transfer our tokens to the card.

I made my first .gif of cute k playing Fruit Ninja and messing up.

It was fun watching n receive his certificate and trophy.

The coach said some nice words about each boy.  D had his phone ready to record it…we’ll miss the Blue Sharks!

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Dino Dash XXVII

Well, the kids have another race in the books.  This morning they both ran the Dino Dash 5k with D.  I had the task of holding everyone’s stuff.  🙂

We stopped by the LA Galaxy OC booth and saw some friends from church.  n took a picture with Coach Rocky.

I caught k, D and n crossing the finish line.

Official times:

k–30:06 (18th Division Place out of 129)


n–30:14 (14th Division Place out of 163)

D wanted them to run a little faster, but considering they did practically zero training, I think they did well!

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Who Knew? Beer Is Good For Your Hair: BRÖÖ Shampoo + Conditioner Review #MomsMeet #CraftBeerHair

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

When I first heard about BRÖÖ shampoo and conditioner having craft beer as its main ingredient, I imagined it making my hair smelling like a frat party.  Well, after trying out three types of the shampoo and conditioner, I can say that BRÖÖ does not leave your hair smelling like beer.  Indeed, I was pleasantly surprised that the beer in this line of products really does feel nourishing to my hair!

The first products I tried were the Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner.  According to the package, it is formulated for dry, damaged hair and has a “hop flower” scent.  I am not sure what a hop flower smells like (it did not smell like beer), but I honestly did not care for the scent.  While my hair did feel moisturized after using it, the scent seemed too masculine for me, and it lingered after my hair dried.  Oh well, I am sure D will be happy using the rest of this one.

The second products I tried were the Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner.  This one is for fine, flat hair and has a citrus creme scent.  I did not know what the scent was before I tried it, and I could not quite place it.  It reminded me of a lemon meringue pie (yum!), which I guess fits into the citrus creme profile.  The shampoo itself is a little thinner than what I am used to, but it worked up into a good lather.  My hair did feel noticeably softer and thicker, so this was a definite winner.

The third products I tried were the Invigorating Shampoo and Conditioner.  This is supposed to serve as a daily detox for the hair and scalp and has a “malted mint” scent.   Invigorating is an apt name, as the mint felt refreshing and tingly.  Again, my hair felt soft and conditioned afterward.

B vitamins, proteins, and minerals are the key ingredients that make this shampoo effective.  I also like BRÖÖ’s “6-Pack Promise”: no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no silicones, no dyes, and no fake fragrances.  It is labeled as color-safe.  According to the store locator on the BRÖÖ website, their products can be found at Walmart stores.  Click here for a $1 off coupon!

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