A Sparkle of Genius 2014-10-01T17:03:37Z http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/feed/atom Melissa Au <![CDATA[Nintendo Unveils Play Nintendo Website]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10421 2014-10-01T17:03:37Z 2014-10-01T17:03:37Z   I remember getting my first Nintendo.  The Nintendo Entertainment System.  I was thrilled.  It was probably around 1986 that we received it for Christmas.  I remember sitting around the Christmas tree and my parents telling us that there was one more gift from Santa downstairs.  We ran downstairs and found our NES.  We were […]

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I remember getting my first Nintendo.  The Nintendo Entertainment System.  I was thrilled.  It was probably around 1986 that we received it for Christmas.  I remember sitting around the Christmas tree and my parents telling us that there was one more gift from Santa downstairs.  We ran downstairs and found our NES.  We were so excited and spent much of Christmas playing Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt.  Where technology has come a long way since then, my kids have the same passion and excitement over their new Nintendo games and consoles.

PlayNintendoWebsite

I just got word of Nintendo unveiling Play Nintendo Website.  My kids get 30 minutes of computer time every day, so they will each get a chance to check it out after school today. Play Nintendo is the newest place for both kids and parents to interact in fun ways with Nintendo’s treasure trove of characters and franchises. It’s a child-friendly online destination where kids can get to know beloved Nintendo characters like Mario, Luigi, Bowser and Peach and their games through fun, interactive play.

Don’t worry, as a parent, Nintendo has your back, “over on the Nintendo parents site, we’ll be continually updating the site with content like which games are right for your family, new games on the way, crafting ideas, Nintendo-themed recipes, suggestions for how to balance screen time with outdoor play and thoughts about which Nintendo releases are best for beginning gamers.”

Check out the new Play Nintendo Website.

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[5 ways Boy Scouts helps my son #BuildanAdventure]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10416 2014-09-30T20:42:52Z 2014-09-30T20:42:52Z   I received compensation for participating in the Boy Scouts of America with The Motherhood Build an Adventure Program. All opinions are mine. I grew up in a scouting family.  My brother was an Eagle scout and I was a girl scout. I remember so many family events surrounded around parades, scout night, activities and badges. […]

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BoyScoutsofAmerica

 

I received compensation for participating in the Boy Scouts of America with The Motherhood Build an Adventure Program. All opinions are mine.

I grew up in a scouting family.  My brother was an Eagle scout and I was a girl scout. I remember so many family events surrounded around parades, scout night, activities and badges.  These are all fond memories that I have because I saw my brothers love of scouting and felt the passion in myself.  Scouting to me is so wonderful because it teaches commitment, hard work, goal setting and family involvement to truly exceed.  Now that I have a son who is in Boy Scouts, I want to help him find the same commitment and passion that my parents taught us about scouts. I have already found it to be difficult, though.

I don’t know what it is about today, compared to when I was young, but life just seems so much busier.  As families, we are always on the go.  We have scouts, dance, baseball, school, and so much more. My son LOVES scouts.  He looks forward to it every week.  He come home excited to talk about what they did and what badges they are earning. Other activities, he comes home and doesn’t have much to say about them.  His love of scouts and passion about achieving his scouting goals makes me realize that for him, this is something that I have to make time for. It is important to him, so it is important to me.

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The Boy Scouts of America recognizes that a Parent’s life is busy.  They also recognize that kids need activities.  Kids need to build self confidence, learn new skills and spend time outdoors.  Did you know that “the average American boy or girl spends as few as 30 minutes in outdoor play each day (source), and youth ages 8-18 devote an average of more than 7 hours a day to using entertainment media across a typical day (source)”. Crazy, huh! Luckily, this statistic isn’t in my home but I can definitely see it being true.

In efforts to help families, the Boy Scouts of America have started Build an Adventure initiative to encourage families to get their kids away from the television screens  and video games and help by putting them in Scouts. “Choosing to put a child in Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts today is part of the foundation that can help him reach his full potential and become a successful adult. Scouting truly makes the most of the little time parents have to make a positive impact on their children.”  I love that scouts gives him a positive place to learn and grow that I can support him with but he receives the help of scout masters and friends to fill in where my time doesn’t allow. For example, my son is able to have so many scouting adventures like fishing, exploring caves racing cars and camping out that I wouldn’t have been have to give him.

“The Build an Adventure campaign features fun and diverse adventures for youth and demonstrates that Scouting builds a solid foundation of character, values, and education that will stay with them throughout adulthood.”  I have already seen this to be true in my own home.  The skills my son has learned, the person is becoming and the opportunities scouts has given him will be with him always.

Here are 5 ways Scouts has helped my son Build an Adventure:

1.  For a homework assignment, my son needed to build a tool out of materials he found outside.  Using the skills he learned from Boy Scout, he was able to creatively design and build a working hammer using twine, boy scout knots, a large rock and a stick.

2.  My son was struggling learn how to swim.  He was older then most and unable.   He learned about the Scouting Merit Badge for swimming and set out to learn to swim so he could earn this merit badge.  He was able to pass it off this summer.

3.  Scouts has always taught my son that service and kindness is important.  Through their service projects through the program, my sons troop earned over $1000 to help benefit kids with cancer.  Opportunities like this teach our kids what really matters.

4. My son has learned more about his community and taken an interest in keeping it beautiful.  From visiting fire stations and police stations to weeding flowers beds on the side of main street, scouts has taught my son the importance of where he lives.

5.  It doesn’t matter where we have lived, the scouting program has given my son some of his closest friends.  I think this is because they have a common goal, learn hard things together, accomplish goals and see the joy that each other receives from scouting.

My son is a better person because of scouts.  Scouts has given me a way to relate with my son and help him with something he loves.  On the BSA website it tells about some of the benefits of scouts in the 12 points of the Scout Law: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Brave, Clean… just to name a few.  In my home, there benefits of scouts are worth the world!

I loved this video and wanted to share:

For more information on the Build an Adventure campaign, follow hashtag #BuildanAdventure on BSA Facebook and Twitter.

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[The ProFlowers “The Best of Me” Prize pack Giveaway]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10411 2014-09-29T22:51:31Z 2014-09-29T22:49:28Z If you had the opportunity to read Nicholas Sparks book, The Best of Me, I am sure that you are really excited for the movie to come out.  I have not yet had the chance to read this book but I have heard a lot of good about it so I will definitely be reading […]

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If you had the opportunity to read Nicholas Sparks book, The Best of Me, I am sure that you are really excited for the movie to come out.  I have not yet had the chance to read this book but I have heard a lot of good about it so I will definitely be reading it before the movie comes out.  I am a big fan of Nicholas Sparks and enjoyed the trailer so I have no doubt that I will love this story as well!  If you haven’t had a chance to watch the trailer, here it is:

Looks cute, huh!  The Best of Me will be in theaters on October 17th so you better an hurry and read the book so you can go see this on opening day.  Not sure yet if it will be a date with hubby, or a night out with the girls!  Here is some information on the movie if you are not familiar with the story: “Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.”

Because we are so excited for this great movie to come out, we are celebrating with a really fun giveaway.  Seriously, are these not beautiful?  Yes, these can be yours if you win!!

Best of Me Pro Flowers Bouquet

One lucky A Sparke of Genius Reader will win:

-          ProFlowers gift code to purchase “The Best of Me” bouquet
-          Copy of The Best Of Me (paperback, movie tie-in edition)

Prizing valued at $90
Open to US Mailing addresses only
Courtesy of Relativity Media and ProFlowers

This ProFlowers “The Best of Me” bouquet,  is beautiful and inspired by the film and brought to you by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks. “The Best of Me” bouquet draws from the film’s picturesque garden scene, where the two main characters unite to give their love a second chance. Reaffirm your own love, just like the characters in the movie, and shop “The Best of Me” bouquet.

“The Best of Me” bouquet features:  8 red roses, 5 burgundy gerrondo gerber daisies, 5 lavender spray stock and 5 ruscus.  This limited edition bouquet will be available to purchase until October 31.

So who wants to win this awesome prize??
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Strawberry Kids – The Dolly Jacket]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10402 2014-09-29T21:47:18Z 2014-09-29T21:42:33Z  I received Strawberry Kids – The Dolly Jacket for review.  All opinions are my own. I can’t believe it, but we are actually getting close to the time of year that we need to pull out our winter coats. My kids love winter because that means playing in the snow.  Me, I love watching them out […]

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StrawberryKidsCoats

 I received Strawberry Kids – The Dolly Jacket for review.  All opinions are my own.

I can’t believe it, but we are actually getting close to the time of year that we need to pull out our winter coats. My kids love winter because that means playing in the snow.  Me, I love watching them out the window while they play.  While I read a book and sip hot chocolate.  I truly love watching them, though because the LOVE playing in the snow.  I love their smiles and their laughter as they build snowmen and have snowball fights with their brothers and sisters.  Lets be honest, though.  There is one thing that can quickly take a good snow fun day to a bad snow fun day and that is when your kids gets cold.  When it comes to winter clothes, it is extra important to me to find them items that are quality and will keep them warm.  There are many features of the Dolly Jacket that I am highly impressed with.

StrawberryKids

The first thing you will notice about Strawberry kids coats are the bright, fun colors and adorable patterns.  Their coats are designed for ages 6 months to 4 years.  I can imagine that many toddlers with love the fun colors and designs. Right now, they have the dolly, birdie, zoo and robot jacket designs. They are all adorable and give a great variety to personalities of different kids. The photo above shows you close up of the jacket print. I love the designs and colors and really makes an adorable toddler coat.

StrawberryKidscoatliner

The Strawberry Kids Coats are very thick and warm.  This is so so so important with these younger kids because if they are not warm they are not happy.  One of my favorite features about this coat is that it has a polar fleece lining for extra warmth. This makes the jacket extra layered, soft to wear and very comfortable.  I thought the purple color they used was a very cute choice. I prefer the dark color, too because it is easy to keep clean.  Cool fact:  Even if it got dirty, its okay.  Because Strawberry kids coats are MACHINE WASHABLE!  Yep, you heard me right!  Win/win for everyone!

StrawberryKidsHood

I hope you can tell in this picture but one thing I LOVE about this jackets is the hood design.  You can tell from the photo that the next are is longer with a zipper so this coat better keeps the warmth in around your child’s neck and cheeks.  The fleece lining keeps in comfortable and the design helps keep your child warmer.

StrawberryKidsCoatLily

We are looking forward to an adorable and warm winter thanks to our Strawberry Kids Dolly Jacket!  If you are looking for the perfect coat for ages 6 months- 4 years, look no further.  These coats are bright, fun colors, affordable, durable, machine wash-able, water resistant, very warm and super cute!  Everything that a mom would want and everything a kid would want!  Plus, the Strawberry Kids Coat is currently 25-30% off on Amazon!  

So your kid can be extra cute and extra warm this winter, we have a FANTASTIC giveaway for you!  One reader will win a Strawberry Kids Coat of their choice!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Math Apps for Kids who struggle with math #VZWBuzz]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10398 2014-09-29T20:09:17Z 2014-09-29T20:06:15Z I will be completely honest with you.  Math was never my best subject.  Now that I have kids who are learning math I don’t always feel that I am able to help them learn the best that they can.  My oldest son is very smart, but math is not is subject.  He struggles and often […]

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Math Apps for Kids who struggle with math

I will be completely honest with you.  Math was never my best subject.  Now that I have kids who are learning math I don’t always feel that I am able to help them learn the best that they can.  My oldest son is very smart, but math is not is subject.  He struggles and often I am not able to help him.  We have found that he struggles with the basics and needs to work on memorizing those problems to help harder problems to be easier.  Here are some great Math Apps for Kids who struggle with math.  Not all of these are free, but they are all ones that we have found to be helpful teaching the basics so they don’t get behind.

Math Apps for Kids who struggle with math

Fractions App by Tap to Learn  


Fractions by Brainingcamp  


Fraction Factory 


Montessori Math


Motion Math Zoom 


Number Line 


Everyday Mathematics 



Fractions and Decimals 


Fun with Fractions: Like and Unlike 


Math Decimal Addition 

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Pinners Conference Promo Code!]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10383 2014-09-27T01:03:35Z 2014-09-27T00:58:13Z   I went to the Pinners conference last year and had so much fun.  I made the most adorable crafts, learned about relationships,  was given tools for getting out of debt and so much more.  If you weren’t able to attend last year, I highly recommend going this year!  I look forward to hearing about […]

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Pinners Conference Promo Code

I went to the Pinners conference last year and had so much fun.  I made the most adorable crafts, learned about relationships,  was given tools for getting out of debt and so much more.  If you weren’t able to attend last year, I highly recommend going this year!  I look forward to hearing about what classes they will have on their schedule this year.  There is so much to do that I definitely recommend going for both days, but if you only have time for 1 day, this is not an event that you want to miss!  Here are some of the crafts I did at the Pinners conference last year:

Pinners12DaysPinnersJoyPinnersOrnament PINNERSturkey

About Pinners Conference and Expo

November 7th & 8th 2014

Pinners is two great events in one. It’s a conference featuring over 80 classes taught by the best presenters in the nation. And it’s also an expo with 150 top exhibiting businesses providing beautiful options in the worlds of DIY, crafts, wedding planning, baby and children, cooking, photography, party planning, nails, scrapbooking, holiday, beauty and fashion and all sorts of other great things. What’s Pinners? It’s where your pin boards comes to life. And it’s your new favorite event!
Visit us in Salt Lake City, at the South town Expo Center, November 7-8, 2014 and see the world of craft and hobbies come to life in one great place!

http://www.pinnersconference.com/  don’t forget to enter pinners conference promo code  SPARKLE for $5 off your ticket!

 

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[The Cutest ever Boxtrolls Cookie Pops! #TheBoxtrollsCC]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10380 2014-09-27T00:34:10Z 2014-09-27T00:34:10Z The wait is finally almost over! These weekend, the Boxtrolls comes to theaters.  My kids have been excited to watch all of the different trailers and movie clips to get ready for the movie.  Speaking of getting ready, are these Boxtroll cookies not the cutest ever? What a great way to celebrate the movie  by making […]

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BoxtrollsCookies

The wait is finally almost over! These weekend, the Boxtrolls comes to theaters.  My kids have been excited to watch all of the different trailers and movie clips to get ready for the movie.  Speaking of getting ready, are these Boxtroll cookies not the cutest ever? What a great way to celebrate the movie  by making Boxtrolls Cookie Pops.  You can download the recipe here.

This Halloween, join in on the fun and build your own creation out of cardboard and share it via social with the hashtag #TheBoxtrollsCC for a last chance to win an Imagination Box Prize valued at $5000! Learn how to enter-to-win and to see some of the amazing TheBoxtrolls inspired creations by visiting: www.TheBoxtrollsCardboardChallenge.com.  Here is a guide to making your own Boxtrolls costume!

Follow:

https://www.facebook.com/TheBoxtrolls
http://instagram.com/TheBoxtrolls
https://twitter.com/TheBoxtrolls
http://www.TheBoxtrolls.com/

THE BOXTROLLS releases in theaters on September 26!

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[What to expect when you get a MRI]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10370 2014-09-25T21:01:02Z 2014-09-25T21:01:02Z I had to go and get my first MRI yesterday.  I was very nervous and had no idea what to expect.  I didn’t know if it would hurt, feel uncomfortable or really just be an easy procedure.  I did a few what to expect google searches but nothing that really answered my questions.  This is […]

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WhattoexpectwhenyougetaMRI

I had to go and get my first MRI yesterday.  I was very nervous and had no idea what to expect.  I didn’t know if it would hurt, feel uncomfortable or really just be an easy procedure.  I did a few what to expect google searches but nothing that really answered my questions.  This is my experience getting an MRI, not everyones will be identical, but this gives you a general idea. Also, I am not a doctor, this is just my experience in my words.

What to expect when you get a MRI

1. You will check in and wait in the waiting room until they are ready for you.  I was lucky and only had to wait a few minutes. They recommend coming to your appointment 15 minutes early just in case you have any paperwork to fill out or if you need insurance cards copied, etc.

2. I was then taken to a changing area with lockers where I was given a pair of scrubs to change into.  I had previously read online that if I wore all cotton clothes without any metal on them then I wouldn’t have to change.  This was untrue where I went, and I still had to change into scrubs.  Woman need to take their bras off and leave them in their locker because many bras have underwire in them.  You have a locker where you can lock your clothes and personal items.  You need to leave your cell phone on silent or turned off in your locker. Your technician will hold the key for you while you are getting your MRI.

3.  If you are having an MRI with Contrast, a technician will take you to an exam room at this time and put an IV in your arm.  This is just a quick poke and doesn’t hurt bad but is necessary so they can inject the contrast material.

4. I was then taken to the room where I would be getting my MRI.  I was asked to lay down on the MRI bed.  The MRI machine is a long tube that you go into for the procedure.

5.  I was warned that the MRI procedure was very loud and my technician gave me the option of wearing Ear plugs.  I am glad that I was given this option because it is loud.  If you don’t receive this option, you could probably ask for it.

6.  My body and head was surrounded with small Pillows to hold body tight in place and to make me more comfortable.

7.  My technician gave me a Stress Ball type object to squeeze if I felt any concerns during the procedure.  This made it so I could notify him if there was a problem or if I needed him.  Luckily, I did not need to use this.

8. When you are getting your MRI you can communicate with your technician. Your technician steps out of the room during the procedure where he can monitor you, and ask you questions through the monitor.

9.  They reminded me that it is important to hold perfectly still during the whole procedure.  Movement can blur the results on your testing so this is very important.

10.  While in your procedure you will hear random Tapping sounds and loud buzzing sounds. They are really loud, and the sounds change through out the whole procedure. This made me feel uncomfortable and first because it was so loud, but you get used to it.

11.  Above my head in the MRI machine, I had a small mirror that allowed me to see the technician and I could keep track of what was going outside of the MRI machine.  I appreciated this mirror because it made me feel more comfortable to see what was going on.

12. My procedure took about 30 minutes, but MRI’s typically can take up to 1 hour.

MRI’s don’t hurt (minus the minor poke for the iv) , they are not uncomfortable, and really just take time.  If you are claustrophobic, you may have a different experience but they can help you with that.

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Finding the Quest that will bring purpose to your Life #FindtheQuest]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10375 2014-09-26T03:10:10Z 2014-09-25T02:39:21Z   I received a compensation and a copy of The Happiness of Pursuit from Random House.  All opinions are my own.  When I think of a quest I think of a grand adventure.  I think of a treasure map, pirates , riding on a pirate ship, and a great prize at the finish line.  Where I […]

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PirateAuFamily

 

I received a compensation and a copy of The Happiness of Pursuit from Random House.  All opinions are my own. 

When I think of a quest I think of a grand adventure.  I think of a treasure map, pirates , riding on a pirate ship, and a great prize at the finish line.  Where I am not a pirate, and I will not be riding on a pirate ship, a personal quest involves a personal treasure map and prize.  So what is a quest?  To me, it is a journey started with a desire followed by meeting set goals until you accomplish what you set out to do.  The journey and the goals are the personal treasure map and the final accomplishment is the treasure.   Have you ever had that moment in life. Maybe a feeling of discontent or sadness.  A feeling where life wasn’t right what you wanted it to be.  Not that life is bad, you just want more.  Sometimes it is in those moments that a quest is born.  In that moment where you can find the quest that will bring purpose to your life.

AuthorPhoto-CreditStephanieDZito

Photo credit to: Stephanie D Zito. Chris Guillebeau is an entrepreneur, traveler, and New York Times bestselling author. His first two books were The Art of Non-Conformity and The $100 Startup. Recently, he completed his quest to visit every country in the world before the age of 35. Host of the World Domination Summit, an international gathering of creative people, Chris is focused on encouraging individual quests while also “giving back.” His main website, ChrisGuillebeau.com, is visited by more than 500,000 people per month.

In the book The Happiness of Pursuit, by Chris Guillebeau,  achieved his goal or “quest” to travel to every country in the world by the age 35, and on the way he collected and shared the stories of fellow “questers” whose goals range from travel to athletic or artistic pursuits to battles against injustice or poverty and more. Before reading the book, I had a general goal that I wasn’t really passionate about.  A goal that seemed like a good quest, but not one that was really achievable.  Through reading the experiences of Chris Guillebeau and others in his book it opened my mind to possibility and to the grandness of the quests we can take in our life.  These quests are different for each person.  Like Chris, they may be travel.  For others learning a new instrument, speaking a new language, buying a cabin in the woods, or watching baseball game in every stadium (my husbands).  

I sat down with my book on my lap and a notebook and pen in my hand and made a list of worthy quests for me.  Quests that would bring me happiness.  It was a very exciting moment for me where I took the moment to think of myself and my wants and set achievable goals towards making my quest become a reality. As a mom, sometime I think the hardest part about embarking on a quest is realizing that it is okay to think about your own needs and wants.  Because the moment your needs are taken care of, you can better take care of the needs of others.

“The most courageous act is to think for yourself.  Aloud.”  -Coco Chanel

TheHappinessofPursuit

In following Chris Guillebeau’s advice in searching for a quest, I came up with 5 important steps to Finding the Quest that Will Bring Purpose to your Life.

Finding the Quest that Will Bring Purpose to your Life

1.  Brainstorm:  Think about the moments when you are happiest.  Think about the moments that you are the saddest. Think about your dreams and wishes for your life and make a list of all those items.

2.  Make a to-do list of all the steps that are needed to complete your quest or journey.  I like to be really detailed in this section so I know exactly what step needs to be done to get to the next.

3.  Share your quest with your close family and friends.  They may or may not approve of what your are set out to do, but it is always nice to find support.

4.  Set out, step by step following your goals.  Make sure they are realistic and achievable and keep a positive attitude.  Each milestone you make towards achieving your final goal should be a happy and celebrated moment.

5.  Keep a journal or notebook of your journey.  Refer to it often to keep yourself excited and accountable.  When you can visually see how far you have come it is easiest to continue.

I remember when my 9 year old daughter first told me that she wanted to climb everest.  My first instinct was to tell her all of the reasons why that would be a bad idea.  I wanted to discourage her from doing it and help her choose a different dream.  But then I remembered that this is HER dream.  HER quest and we are all allowed to have a person quest to bring purpose to our own lives.  So how about it, let us all dream.  Let us all take a moment to think about our own needs and build that personal quest.

One lucky reader will win a copy of Chris Guillebeau’s book, The Happiness of Pursuit

ABOUT THE BOOK

“One of the most common laments among people everywhere is how easy it is to feel that routine has taken over our lives. Chris Guillebeau is not one to bogged down by routine, but instead takes a “make every day count” approach to life.

With this attitude he completed his goal of traveling to every country in the world by age 35; and has learned that happiness comes from incremental striving (a “quest”) where we see taking shape, right in front of our eyes, the concrete evidence of what our life has been building toward. Throughout his 193-country journey, Chris met hundreds of questers like himself who were committed to years-in-the-making projects: jaw dropping, and often thought provoking.

Attempts to blaze a new artistic trail, reach an intellectual summit, change the world through philanthropy, or undergo an endurance-testing adventure—just to name a few.

In The Happiness of Pursuit, Guillebeau draws on interviews with hundreds of fellow questers, revealing their secret motivations, their tricks for leaping the hurdles of time and money, the role played by friends and family, and the importance of writing it all down.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[My Interview with Sally Dreyers #cbxmas]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10357 2014-09-23T04:32:03Z 2014-09-23T04:32:03Z I love this time of year.  My husband grew up in Northern California where the fall and winter holidays don’t get very cold but they are overcast and rainy. This weekend we had overcast and rainy weather here in Utah and he talked about how it felt like the holidays for him because this was […]

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I love this time of year.  My husband grew up in Northern California where the fall and winter holidays don’t get very cold but they are overcast and rainy. This weekend we had overcast and rainy weather here in Utah and he talked about how it felt like the holidays for him because this was the weather that he always had during the those seasons.  Yes, its only september, but because he was feeling in the holiday spirit after enjoying some Christmas music as a family, we sat down and watched our favorite Charlie Brown holiday specials.  Since it is now fall, we started with It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and  Thanksgiving specials, followed by A Charlie Brown Christmas. These are shows that we watch every year around the holidays and I enjoy watching them with my kids.  It was fun to start the holiday season a little early watching some of our favorite classics.

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You may remember last month I shared with you an interview with Jill Schulz and told you about how Peanuts Worldwide is kicking off a year-long celebration of 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas.  I recently had the chance to interview Sally Dreyers, the voice of Lucy. I love doing these interviews because they give me a behind the scenes look at the classic shows that my family loves. I had the chance to share these interviews with my kids after we watched the movies and talk about what went into to making these fun shows.  I hope you enjoy the interview with Sally Dreyers:

10703954_10152377814697058_7865686305846896465_nQ.  What was it like for you to to do this as your first job?

Yes, my first job at age 8! It was unknown at that point, an experiment. Lee Mendelson had approached Charles Schulz for years to do an animated special, and Schulz always said no. Finally, he said, “I’ll do it, but it has to be real kids’ voices.” For me, it was a fun way to get out of school. We didn’t know what it become, for sure!

Q.  Can you describe the process of how they recorded your voices?

There were a group of kids in Southern California: the boy who played Linus, Peter Robbins [Charlie Brown], and the original Lucy were in Los Angeles, where they recorded with Bill Melendez. Lee Mendelson recorded with us in San Francisco at a studio on Van Ness Ave.

They’d record us one at a time: Lee Mendelson would say a line to us, and we’d repeat it. We’d try to repeat with inflections he gave us. Sometimes we’d hit it on the first try, and other times we’d have to go over and over and over again.

I remember when we were recording the Great Pumpkin, the girl who played Sally spent hours trying to say “You owe me restitution!”

The miracle was done with editing. They’d use the lines they wanted and assemble it all.

I think we went to studio 3 or 4 times. There were some group lines, like “You blockhead, Charlie Brown,” that we did as a group. We’d have to make 3 or 4 attempts.

10606534_10152377815567058_3903252632193408975_nQ.  Were you excited to be cast as Lucy?

It was a good thing. I had no idea how bratty my voice was, but all my neighbors were like, “Oh yeah, she’s Lucy all right!”  The neighborhood knew before I did!

Lucy was more fun to play. You get to say what you think!  She’s such a smart aleck. You get to really embrace that crabby person within you and it’s okay.

Q.  Do you have any favorite anecdotes from the recording sessions?

I suppose one of my favorites was when we were all sitting as a group, having lunch at The Hippo, which was a hamburger joint. They were trying to figure out who to cast as Peppermint Patty. One of the daughters of a producer spoke up and said, “Please pass the salt.” Lee Mendelson said, “That’s it!” She had a wonderfully raspy voice. That’s about how free-form it was.

My sister worked for Lee Mendelson, and one Christmas he called the house and said, “I’m here with Lee Guaraldi and we’re trying to write the lyrics for ‘Christmastime Is Here.’ What represents Christmas to you?” We were all sitting around the table offering ideas: happiness, cheer, fun for all. So I feel that in some ways my family contributed to the creation of that song.

Jefferson Airplane was recording in the studio when we were, and they were more excited to meet us than we were to meet them! But I think we were pretty tickled.

Q.  What did you think of finished shows?

It was pretty abstract. I remember my sister worked so hard in helping to produce them, I think we critiqued them more based on that.  Hearing your voice, you think, “I don’t sound like that.” I was disconnected to it, really.

Q.  What did you get paid?

I got paid a whopping $100 per show!  It was the 60s and an unknown thing. My mother’s philosophy was, “Whatever—just have fun.” That’s what it was about. I occasionally get residuals, sometimes 9 dollars and 33 cents, sometimes a couple hundred dollars.  I had to put it in a college fund. Fortunately, I went to a state school in California!

Q.  Were you a celebrity among your friends?

I think so, but it was so short-lived. As teens, we didn’t watch it at all. I was kind of mortified to be that cranky girl. But I don’t have that problem anymore.  Now I love it.

Q.  Did you ever meet Sparky? 

Yes, I met him at least 4 times. We went up to Santa Rosa to do a photo shoot for a book called Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz. He was working on a strip at his drafting table, and he explained to me that he felt he had to do a term paper every day. He was a kind and gentle and soft-spoken, very impressive guy.

Q.  Do you watch the specials?

I watch occasionally if I happen to be home when they air.  It is funny – several years ago there were “Get Met” commercials, and I heard Lucy’s voice and thought, “That sounds a lot like me.” There was a period after our voices changed that the cast didn’t sound like the originals, and they had to get new actors to correct that.

Q.  Were you a fan of Peanuts before doing the series?

No, I didn’t know very much about it at all.  My mother read the comic strip in the San Francisco Chronicle, but I wasn’t familiar with it at all.

Q.  Do you have any insider info on the new movie?

No, I don’t know anything about it!  I guess I need to fish around a little bit.

Q.  Is Lucy your favorite character?

Snoopy’s got to be my favorite character, really. I love Lucy’s frankness and willingness to say anything, but Snoopy’s the most entertaining thing ever.

Q.  Do you have any Peanuts memorabilia that’s special to you?

I have a whole display case of things that people have given me over the years and some cels that Charles Schulz signed to me.

Q.  Tell us about your store.

My partner and I live in Jerome, AZ, and run a store called Nellie Bly, selling art kaleidoscopes and art glass. We also sell the making-of A Charlie Brown Christmas and Great Pumpkin books in the store. The lady who runs the Christmas store down the street also sells the book, and she will say, “Hey, we’ve got Lucy right down the street!”  I’ll be in the middle of something completely normal, and then get a call that someone wants my autograph!

Q.  Do you ever find yourself using the dialogue in your real life? 

Oh, absolutely—all the time! I work as a volunteer dog technician in an animal clinic, and I always say “Dog lips are not poison! No iodine! No ‘blecch’!”  I’ll find myself saying, “I got a rock!”  It’s always right there.

And to truly enjoy Lucy, here is a fun clip for you:

To help you further enjoy these holiday classics I have a really fun giveaway for you.  One reader will win the pictured items:

PeanutsGiveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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