Happy Thanksgiving And Life Lately In LA

Happy long, amazing, social, lazy, and gluttonous Thanksgiving, everybody! I am thankful for having readers like you coming to this site every day. I super appreciate the support.

This weekend we are hosting Thanksgiving and a Friendsgiving. We have parties to attend, friends to see, food to eat, and many spirits to drink. My favorite Holiday of the year…

Because this is family time, I would like to share a post about what we have been up to lately. I haven’t shared a personal entry in a long time, so this is the perfect time to do it, hopefully. If you are not up for it, be back on Monday! I will be sharing some Christmas DIY projects next week.

If you have kids in LA, this is a good post to read too, because it has lots of ideas of what to do with children in this city.

We have been BUSY lately. This Summer and Fall have been crazy, as it always is when you have small children. We had trips, visitors, work, many, many family outings, and that One Room Challenge.

I am thankful for this little family of ours. I am thankful for my handyman and healthy children. Not so thankful for the misbehavior, crying fests, and constant hitting, but let us forget about reality today and pretend life is perfect.

Here are some photos of our lives (and activities) in LA these last couple of months:

jestcafe-life-lately-29Victor graduated from preschool last June. Sniff. Can I say anything else?jestcafe-life-lately-12jestcafe-life-lately-11jestcafe-life-lately-27

Family Festival at the Getty. I like the Getty and find any excuse to visit it. It was my dad’s favorite place in LA. He would go every day to see the art and have lunch at the fancy restaurant. Going there transports me into a different world.  Such a beautiful setting. The Getty hosts two Family Festivals a year with many activities for children. We always try to go to at least one of them.jestcafe-life-lately-30L.A. Urban Nature Fest at the Natural History Museum. LA Urban Nature Fest is a great festival for families. There are many booths with crafts and activities for children and they are not crowded. For the Fest, you can easily stay at the museum all day and keep your children entertained with the fun events: butterfly stamps, bracelet made with flowers, studying spiders or snakes, drawing insects, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on.jestcafe-life-lately-26Intrude – Public Light Art Installation – DTLA. This installation closed months ago but it was fun to visit. I mean, what is more fun for kids than giant bunnies!!!!!?? Also, it gave us a good excuse to go Downtown, which is my favorite neighborhood in LA.
jestcafe-life-latelyvictor-and-max3jestcafe-life-lately-10The Broad Museum – The same day we visited Intrude, we walked outside the Broad Museum. There is a small green park where the kids played for a long time because you can hide behind that white wall and scare your mommy. Well, at least we can say we have been there, even though we have never been inside!!!! Getting tickets is not easy. The waiting list is huge and tickets get released months in advanced, but I promise we will visit soon enough.

jestcafe-life-lately-15First day of Kindergarten with that whale.
jestcafe-life-lately-21First day of preschool with the doggie.

Newport Beach. Nice to have lunch and walk around the Marina. jestcafe-life-lately-32Santa Monica – A beach day is always a good choice in LA.
jestcafe-life-lately-41Max turned three with a Blaze and the Monster Machine cake and a giant three balloon number.
jestcafe-life-lately-39 Ojaijestcafe-life-lately-37Dirt angels by filthy children.
jestcafe-life-lately-38jestcafe-life-lately-40jestcafe-life-lately-20Camping near Ojai – Ojai is a beautiful little town to visit. My favorite activity was walking around the city looking for vintage shops, because yes, I am obsessive compulsive. What do you think of that purple cactus above? It is REAL! If you follow my Instagram account, you have seen it before, if you don’t, you better follow it here, please!jestcafe-life-lately-31Yes, Jenis!!! When I saw this Jenis truck in DTLA, I cried with happiness. The love is real.
jestcafe-life-lately-35Mcconnell’s Creamery in Santa Barbara. If I am in Santa Barbara, I make sure to stop at this creamery because it is amazing, nothing else. I know there are some in LA too, but not close to my place, so I guess I have to go all the way to Santa Barbara to enjoy the place… I make a lot of geographical sense.

My friend soul mate, Paloma, and her son, Diego, visited in September. Do you have a friend soul mate? Another human that you became best friends with instantly and that also looks like you? I have that soul mate. We have been friends for 20 years.
jestcafe-life-lately-36 jestcafe-life-lately-19 jestcafe-life-lately-18El Capitan Canyon. We went glamping near Santa Barbara. It is nice to go “camping” without having to deal with the tent and dirty bathrooms, isn’t? Waking up surrounded by nature is a nice treat when you live in LA. Also, that beach is pretty cute, too.jestcafe-life-lately-45 jestcafe-life-lately-44 jestcafe-life-lately-43 jestcafe-life-lately-42jestcafe-life-lately-22Día de Los Muertos Altars at Grand Park. It was raining when we went but it was still a fun morning. Grand Park is a nice place to go to with or without altars. The kids like the water games here, plus, the park is well taking care of. The altars were colorful and cute. I love Dia de los Muertos decorations and my kids do, too, because, as a parent, you have a big influence on the taste of  your small and naive children.jestcafe-life-lately-24A selfie with my one and only.jestcafe-life-lately-46

Exercising 4 times a week. One of my goals this year was to exercise 4-5 times a week. Well, last September, finally, I started to do it and it feels good. Going up these stairs in Jefferson is one of my regular workouts. It gets me tired and it doesn’t bore me, plus, this amazing view awaits me at the top of the hill.

Now we head into this long weekend. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving if you live in the US, if not, I hope you have a great Holiday month coming up.

Thanks for stopping by.

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An Outing To The Aquarium Of The Pacific


My friend Paloma and her son, Diego, came for a visit, so we took them to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. It is one of my five top places to take friends with children when they come to LA. Kids (and adults) love it so much.

(Places like this remind me of how different was my childhood from the one my kids are having. I was born and raised at the “end of the world,” one of the southern most cities of the American continent Punta Arenas, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and people, but not much access to the “world”. My kids, on the other hand, have access to almost everything the world has to offer, including an amazing, gorgeous, and informative aquarium with hundreds of sea creatures just 30 minutes away! They are spoiled. I know it.)

So, let’s talk about the Aquarium of the Pacific. It is not a HUGE aquarium, but it is big and you can easily spend 5-6 hours there if you enjoy the different events and special exhibitions they have. If you just want to see sea creatures, you can be done in 2 hours. It has two floors and an outdoor area.

My favorite things to look for are the aquariums inside the building with the Horses and Dragons. Sea horses have all the colors and shapes you can imagine. My kids’ favorite is the Shark Lagoon. The sharks and stingrays get fed a couple of times a day; which is a lot of fun to watch. The Lorikeet Forest is a highlight, too. You are allowed to feed the birds while they walk all over your arms and hair. Did I mention there is a baby penguin? And a tunnel that runs in the middle of a seal swimming pool? Yeap, lots to do, for sure.

Here are some photos:

jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific15jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific28jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific26 jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific23 Nemo!!! All kids know Nemo and love seeing it in the natural habitat. jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific22 jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific20 This is a shark egg. That right in the middle is a shark. Kids can see all the different stages of shark development inside an egg. Precious.
jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific18 jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific16jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific6 Look at these glowing colors. Just WOW! Don’t you think?
jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific5 jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific4jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific3 jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific2 jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific13jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific12Jellyfishes are beautiful. So graceful and serene.
jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific24jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific14jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific17 Yes, this is a sea horse, can you believe it? jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific1jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific27jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific21jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific11jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific7 The Lorikeet Forest. More and more color. jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific9 jestcafe-com-aquarium-of-the-pacific10

Paloma and Diego. Love you both!

My only problem with the Aquarium is that is expensive. It is better to buy a family membership and use it many times through out year to make it worth it. Otherwise, you will pay $29.95 for adults and $17.95 for children every time you go there.

Tips for your visit

  • Get there early to avoid crowds, especially on weekends.
  • There is a restaurant where you can buy food and drinks. They have healthy options.
  • There are some water games in the outside area. Some kids can get wet, so you might want to bring a change of clothes.
  • It is hot outside during the summer, bring sunscreen!

Hope you like it!

Aquarium Address
100 Aquarium Way,
Long Beach, CA 90802

Open 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m – Every Day of the Year, Except Christmas Day (Dec. 25) and During the Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 15-17, 2016).

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Park Politics: How To Handle Children (And Parents) At The Park your children to the park requires high social skills. Meaning that, as parents, we need to make wise decisions about our kids’ interactions with other kid, and, most importantly, with other parents.

My favorite method is to sit back, read a book, and let children do their thing. Interceding only when necessary, aka when a kid is crying or close to death.

95% of the time conflicts get resolved just fine when adults don’t get involved, but figuring out when the other 5% of the situations are happening, that is the art of parenting at the park.

My kids are not the worst behaved in public places, but they are not the best either. I wonder if this is a boy thing, but they are always at the verge of making trouble. Pushing others too hard, throwing random elements to the sky, or not taking turns at the swing. These troubles don’t fly well with some parents, so I get involved. have come to realize that most of the time I reprimand my kids is not because they are doing something very bad, but because of how other parents are judging the situation.

For example, your child goes to another child and takes away a toy (this has happened to me around 197 times, but, who is counting). The other kid doesn’t seem to care. He/she moves on to the next thing, but you look at his/her parent and the story is different. That parent didn’t like your kid stealing something away from his/her kid, so you intervene and scold your child and return the toy. That, right there, is the perfect example of park politics, my friends. An unnecessary action to protect yourself from the hate of another adult. It has nothing to do with your kids or parenting, as you see, but everything to do with the desire to be liked by others in public spaces (or in life).

The difficulty for me is that I want my children to explore freely, but I also want them to be polite, and we all know that polite boundaries for children are widely different than those ones for adults, don’t you think?

How do you handle awkward situations that involve young kids, other kids, or adults in public spaces? Any special advice you can give? Do you care about other parents judging you? Or, do you think kids should do their thing? Just wondering.

Thanks for stopping by and, here is a post about criticizing how others do parenting, and how many kids are enough.

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A Couple Of Ideas To Entertain Kids During The Summer

Now that the kids are on vacation, I have been coming up with ideas to keep them entertained at home. Here are a couple of activities we have done in the last couple of weeks with great success.

(In the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t love staying home alone with the kids. I will much rather go out. Wouldn’t you agree that at home the kids get restless, rowdy, and annoying? Well, at least mine do. There, I said it, now let’s move on)

Making Masks


  • Paper Plates
  • Cardboard – different colors
  • Scissors
  • Multi-purpose glue or glue gun (I used a glue gun in low temperature but be careful with the children)
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Tape
  • Bamboo skewers or short sticks
  • Animal children books for inspiration (or the Internet)
  1. I asked the kids which animal mask they wanted to make. Víctor wanted a frog, Max a puppy. I looked over children animal books to find the features that made those animals recognizable. The frog, for example, needed high eyebrows, something I would have never thought about without looking at frogs in children’s book.
  2. Cut the holes in paper plates for the eyes. Make sure the distance between holes is similar to the distance between your kids eyes. I have a punch hole but it wouldn’t reach the place where I wanted to cut the holes, so I drew them and cut them with an utility knife.
  3. Draw the different shapes you will need to create the masks on the cardboards. You can be very creative about this. The kids can help cutting them.
  4. Assemble the mask to make sure it looks like you want it to. If it does, go ahead and glue the different pieces to the plate starting with the ones at the bottom.
  5. Tape bamboo skewer to the back of the mask so your kids can grab is and play with it. A Teepee

The morning of 4th of July, my kids were pretty restless so I built a teepee for them in the backyard. 3 hours later they were still playing in there! They took food, books, and toys and played with each other for what it felt like a beautiful eternity. If you don’t have a yard, you can do this inside home, too.


  • Large blankets, sheets, or tablecloths.
  • Long sticks. Any material would do. Be creative! We even used a ladder.

Built the structure with the sticks. The best is to position all the sticks on one branch and spread them out to create the teepee style figure. Cover the sticks with whatever you have available. I used blankets and tablecloths.

Don’t forget to give your kids some snacks and toys to play in there. You will see the teepee will become their secret magic place for a whole morning. Good luck!

Here is another craft idea for your kids, in case you are looking for more.

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