It’s not always easy packing a lunch for your school-aged kids. There are some notoriously picky eaters out there, and you never want your child left hungry at school and coming home with a half-eaten lunch.
You don’t want to find yourself stuck in that rut of packing the same old lunch or not knowing what to pack today, tomorrow or next week. It can be quite easy to add some variety of your kid’s lunches with these seven quick, healthy and fun ideas:
[Dip away] – Kids love to dip things. Use cookie cutters or simply slice vegetables, fruits and other items like bread to make fun shapes. Serve with hummus, yogurt or ranch dressing for dipping. Kids also love to dip chips and salsa.
[Grilled cheese with a twist] – Slice up a traditional grilled cheese and serve with a small container of tomato soup so kids can dip their sandwich slices, or pour the soup over the top.
[Creative taco box] – Pack ingredients like guacamole, salsa, sour cream and cheese in different compartments and let your kids get creative making their own tacos, like these beef and black been corn tacos.
[Already ready] – This lunch with leftovers – meatballs, mozzarella, garlic toast and marinara – can be pre-packed and go straight from the fridge to the lunch box with almost no fuss.
[Pizza Bento Lunch box] – Tired of packing the traditional lunch box, and looking for something more creative and even healthy? This bento box idea includes veggies, berries, cheese and ham. Kids can even help by cutting the veggies into their favorite shapes.
[Pasta salad] – It doesn't get much easier than this pasta and vegetable salad (such as broccoli) with parmesan cheese which can be made ahead of time.
[Hot and ready chili] – A warm meal at lunch is nice, and this one is filling too. Put leftover chili in an insulated container to keep warm, and pack chips and cheese to let kids put it all together.
The brick towers of El Segundo High School rise over Main Street in the picturesque town that has grown from its roots as a company town for Standard Oil (now known as Chevron). You’ve seen it in a number of shows and movies including 90210, Superbad and Party of Five, and as students mill about the picturesque lawn when the bell rings, it’s easy to understand why. By the Numbers - Grades 9 through 12 - Student population of approximately 1270 - More than 150 courses including Advanced Placement, Honors, Special Education and more - 63% of students complete the University of California “a to g” requirements - 37% of students are accepted to 4 year universities - 60% of students continue in community colleges or vocational education Awards and Endorsements - ESHS named California Distinguished High School in spring of 2003 and 2007 - ESHS named in the top 5% of high schools nationwide by Newsweek Magazine in 2008 - El Segundo Unified School District honored as one of Standard and Poor’s twenty-nine “academic out performer” school districts in California
Galloping around and sporting their green and gold colors, Mira Costa High School has so much to be proud of. These Mustangs are a notable and unstoppable force in the South Bay’s education system. Trying to maximize the unique potential of each student, Mira Costa offers students with a wide range of curricular and co-curricular opportunities, and includes a well-maintained faculty with a vitality for learning and educating. Mira Costa High School offers programs for students from sports, to language, to music, to debate, to science and math. Each of these programs have proved successful in their mission and value with the victories to show for it. In winter 2011, Mira Costa’s Model United Nations debate program ranked as the nation’s best. And their football and volleyball program are celebrated for their strings of CIF and national victories over the years. These are just a few examples though. “21st century learning” is a philosophy that Mira Costa’s principal, Ben Dale, strives to pursue. An environment that is conducive to today’s technologies and tools that can enhance student learning and further skills in life after high school. They have recently added wireless internet access to nearly every classroom area on campus and many teachers have received iPads purchased by the PTSA. The breakdown: - Approx. 2500 students - 25:1 student/teacher ratio Recognition: - Mira Costa was named by the Easy Reader, a local newspaper, as the “Best of the Beach” Public School for 2012. - It is among the few public schools in California to receive a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 10 out of 10. - For the second year in a row, Mira Costa High School was named a California Business for Education Excellence Honor Roll School for 2011 for raising academic achievement - Mira Costa High School has ranked 72nd among high schools in California, according to U.S. News & World Report, and 400th nationwide.
Take a look over this high school and it seems to be as large as a small college campus. That’s because the more than 50 acres it covers is, in fact, as big as some small college campus’. Their standard of excellence is now reflected in the new facilities including athletic fields, Student Union (cafeteria), main office and Library Media Center, among others. Students have the opportunity to select from a variety of classes and to challenge themselves in Honors and Advanced Placement classes with teachers who have engaging and stimulating lessons and an impressive AP pass rate. In 2012, there was an 83% pass rate with 677 students taking 1371 AP Exams. Despite being around for 100 years, Redondo looks to the future in offering new classes like AP Chinese and Expository Reading and Writing, and programs such as STEM, which includes Biomedical Science, Engineering, and Environmental Pathways. They provide students with many opportunities to take part in whatever sparks their interest, and to provide guidance in these programs so students can gain confidence and learn the skills that they will use in life after high school. The journalism and yearbook program, for example, have Adobe software that is used by premier newspaper and design organizations. Additional Programs & Honors: - Academic Decathlon – Placed 6th in LA County and participated in the state competition. - Academy of Health and Fitness- a school within a school focusing on career paths in Health and Fitness. - AVID – Advancement Via Individual Determination provides academic preparation for middle-performing students who desire to attend college. - Beach Cities Robotics –award winning program inspires interest in science and technology by partnering students with adult mentors. 2010 World Champions in the FIRST competition. - ELD-designed to support students of limited English Proficiency - MCJROTC – A leadership education program, which instills a value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment. 2010 Naval Honor School. - Outstanding Achievement Award for performing in the top 5% of all California schools. - Safe School Ambassador and Link Crew implementation. - Special Education- special instruction in a Special Day Class or Resource Specialist Program for students with identified special learning needs. - 30 CIF Championship Finals in athletic programs. - 2003 – 2006, 2008 & 2009 Pacemaker Finalist, the Pulitzer Prize of high school journalism in both yearbook and newspaper. - 2009/2010 National Scholastic Press Association All American, 10 times in 11 years and NSPA Hall of Fame. Quick Look: - Redondo Union High School (RUHS), a comprehensive high school, is located approximately ten miles southwest of metropolitan Los Angeles. - RUHS is a public four-year secondary school in the city of Redondo Beach. - The community is comprised of primarily professional middle and upper income families. Enrollment is just over 2,500 students taught by a faculty of over one hundred teachers. - 58% of teachers have earned the equivalent to a Masters degree or higher. - RUHS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and has regularly received six-year accreditations.
[Palos Verdes High School http://www.pvhigh.com/index.html] has launched a new program called “Capstone Projects” which acts as a program for graduating seniors to work on real projects in the following fields: -Arts, Media & Entertainment -Education, Psychology & Public Service -Engineering & Environmental Science -Health Sciences & Medical Technology -Business, Marketing & Sales The project is designed to help students gain valuable knowledge in various areas of study, aided by industry partners who are there to help mentor the student projects and help these college bound seniors gain a leg-up on the competition. They do this by implementing a process called [project based learning http://www.pvhigh.com/academics/pdf/acad_senior_project_8_Essentials_EdLdr_2012_version.pdf] which defines the benefits of working on projects rather than just classroom desk work. They hope that with continued refinement of the initiative that Palos Verdes High School will again cement itself as THE go-to education center in the South Bay. Want to get involved? Join the initiative as a [Capstone Industry Partner http://www.pvhigh.com/academics/acad_capstone_industry_partners.html]. You can sign up and help students with job shadowing or even become a guest speaker, donate a little time and make a big difference in your community today.
[The Torrance Unified School District (TUSD) http://www.tusd.org/], a college prep district, has its act together. According to Newsweek 2012, [Torrance High School http://ths.tusd.org/] was ranked among the top 1000 schools in the nation, coming in at 750. You may say to yourself, “That doesn’t sound all that impressive,” but when you consider the fact that California is languishing near the bottom as far tax dollars per classroom are concerned, Torrance High's placement well within the top 1000 schools in the entire nation is fairly impressive! There are approximately 26,407 public secondary schools total in the U.S. Torrance High School By The Numbers -100% graduation rate -94% of grads are college bound -An average SAT score of 1568 Check out this article [Torrance schools: Excelling in tough times http://www.tusd.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=wE6RzhdQX1k%3d&tabid=290] for a full report of just how well Torrance schools perform, on average, compared with the rest. In addition to impressive statistics, Torrance High also recently finished 144th in the Washington Post High School Challenge Index which rates how effectively schools prepare their students for college. As a California Distinguished School, Torrance High School is known for its plethora of academic options and is now creating quite a reputation for churning out college ready grads, despite California public schools falling victim to more and more budget cuts.
Moving to a new school during the school year can be a scary situation for kids. They spend a great deal
of their time in the school environment, so it’s an important space for them to have a strong level of
comfort and familiarity.
The time surrounding a school change can be filled with emotions like fear, doubt, anxiety, and
excitement. But as a parent, you can do a lot to ease your child’s adjustment with a little organization
and positivity. Here are eight easy tips to help your children adjust to a new school.
Focus on open communication. Openly talk with your children about the change and how it makes
them feel, and discuss expectations and the challenges they are likely to face. Make them part of the
Keep the focus positive. Reassure your child about their concerns and present the challenges in a
positive light as opportunities to try new things, make new friends, and join new activities.
Learn about the school. Find out everything you can about the school, from class sizes to activities, and
tell your student to help ease fears about what to expect.
Explore new territory. Before the switch takes place, try a visit to the school or better yet, a tour. Try to
meet some of the teachers, if possible. Take some time with your child to go over where to go and how
to get there, including the safest route to school.
Encourage involvement. Talk to your student about getting involved in an activity, club or sport that
they might be interested in. Discuss that it’s also a way to expand their group of new friends.
Deal with the stresses. Expect that it won’t always be a smooth transition for your child. Make some
extra time to be there for them when the road gets bumpy, and plan to help them deal with the extra
Get involved yourself. Make sure to introduce yourself to teachers if you get the chance, and take
advantage of opportunities to take part in school activities to familiarize yourself with the new school.
Get a healthy start. Make sure your child gets enough sleep in the days before and after the change so
they aren’t starting from behind and are used to the new schedule. A healthy breakfast and snacks will
also help during the day.
You might be ready to buy a home, but are you prepared? Regardless of whether you are a first-time home buyer or an experienced owner, it’s good practice to conduct a pre-purchase reality check before buying a house. Before you jump into the financial commitment of the purchase, give careful consideration to your financial situation and whether you are truly prepared to buy.
Here is a six-item checklist of items to check off before buying a home:
- Strengthen your credit score. In general, the higher your credit score, the lower your down payment and monthly payments, which impact your buying power.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you’re truly serious, do your research on rates and have your financing in place before you walk through the first house to know how much you can afford, and to make a stronger offer.
- Have your financial house in order. Beyond what your credit looks like, don’t change jobs, change banks, buy a vehicle or any big-ticket items. Avoid inquiries into your credit, don’t be late on payments and don’t charge excessively.
- Save for a down payment and closing costs. The national average for down payments nationwide is 16 percent, [according to LendingTree https://www.lendingtree.com/blog/blog/2013/06/12/lendingtree-report-average-down-payment-drops-9-4-percent/]. Also know the average closing costs in your area.
- Build a healthy emergency fund. Have several months worth of mortgage payments set aside, so lenders can see you’re not check-to-check, making you a better loan candidate. Plus, repair issues and home emergencies always come up.
- Control your debt and know how much you can afford. Gain control of the debt you already have, starting with high-interest debt. Know how much payments you can afford, with a safe formula that expenses should not exceed 28-31 percent of your gross monthly income.
Looking out over the Pacific Ocean, amid a lush garden and surrounded by trees, [Wayfarers Chapel http://www.wayfarerschapel.org/] resides in Rancho Palos Verdes. Made almost entirely of glass, the chapel allows visitors to look through its walls and take in all the nature surrounding it, including the ocean view. Whether religious or not, the beauty of Wayfarers Chapel is for everyone to experience.
Completed in 1951, Wayfarers Chapel is the work of Lloyd Wright, son of pioneering architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Its attributes were inspired by the theology of the Swedenborgian Church (which it is sponsored by) that focuses on connecting God's natural world and the inner world of mind and spirit.
Wright saw the trees of the redwood forest and wanted to create a tree chapel. While it is known as the glass church, the trees surrounding the chapel are a very prominent feature and are seen through the glass, forming living walls and a roof.
It is called Wayfarers as an attribute to the travelers who could come and rest here. Originally, when there weren't freeways and easy road access, the travel to this church could take an entire day. It is still applicable today even though it is more easily accessed, since we are all travelers to get to the church. As Reverend Harvey Tafel says, we are also all travelers on the journey of life.
The chapel performs weddings, baptisms, and other services along with worship services. In addition, they have a garden and visitors center for anyone that would like to stop by and see the chapel, taking in all the beauty that resides in and around it.
Point Vicente Interpretive Center and Lighthouse
To the everyday wanderer, the Point Vicente Lighthouse provides an idyllic reference point along the Palos Verdes Peninsula. With beautiful walkways around the cliffs of Palos Verdes, the lighthouse is the perfect place to bring friends, family and even dogs (as long as they are on a leash).
The Point Vicente Lighthouse is also an important landmark for ships and pleasure craft. This station has been guiding vessels to and from the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbors since March 1926. Today it is owned and operated by the United States Coast Guard. The Point Vicente Lighthouse is open for tours on the second Saturday of each month from 10am to 3pm PST.
The Interpretive Center stands adjacent to the lighthouse along the peninsula. The original building was opened in 1984 to present the history of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The now almost 10,000 square foot center re-opened in July 2006 features exhibits on the early inhabitants of Palos Verdes and the local sea life, with emphasis on the Pacific gray whale. With its prime location, the Interpretive Center is a premier whale watching site during the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale, from December through April. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, and park grounds are open until dusk.
Take this opportunity to see the picturesque view of a lighthouse on a cliff surrounded by palm trees with Catalina Island as a backdrop, and bring your camera!
Check their website [http://vicentelight.org/] for more information.