Help Local Foster Children – Hope4Kids Festival and Run

Save the date! Join in to help some foster children and if you are into road races, you should check out this upcoming 5K/10K and mile fun run happening in Camarillo on April 29:

Hope4Kids flyer - event to help foster children

All proceeds from the races, the festival, and a huge silent auction they are having will benefit foster children in Ventura and Los Angeles counties through the group RaisingHOPE. Here are some sobering facts from them:

There are approximately 1,200 children in foster care in Ventura County and 28,000 children in foster care and Los Angeles County. Many of these children are in group homes or are shipped out of county because there are not enough foster families to care for them. These situations disrupt a child’s ability to live in a healthy family and impede their schooling, family visits and they even split siblings. Without our community getting involved many of these children have no one. They are essentially cared for by a system of paid staff in homes with other children. We aim to bring the children to the community so that each citizen can do something to help our most vulnerable children. We help hundreds of youth annually through our programs as follows.

For more information and to see how else you can help, visit RaisingHOPE’s website.

Nintendo Switch Preview

Kids playing video games

Last weekend my boys and I got to play some games on the new Nintendo Switch! We attended a launch event in Hollywood, and as I noted on Instagram, it was totally worth the drive. 

video game player and girl with multicolored hair

We’ve been anticipating the Switch’s arrival for months, and the boys were really excited that it is finally here. I’m still super old-school, so I am content to play LEGO Star Wars on the Wii U (and let’s face it, I would have been fine playing Atari for the rest of my life if things hadn’t evolved from there) but I was definitely curious.

Mario party

The selling point of the new Switch gaming system is that it can be used as a console hooked up to your big screen TV, or taken on the road and played like a tablet. So it’s sort of a cross between the Wii U game pad and the Nintendo DS systems. When the Switch is in console mode, you use the little “Joy-Cons” as multiplayer remote controls, docked in a Joy-Con grip so you can use them like a pro controller, or just use a pro controller. When you go portable with it, the Joy-Cons re-attach to the Switch and you use them both to play your single player game.

Nintendo Switch product photo

There’s a great video to demonstrate these different ways to play here.

At the launch event, the kids and I mostly used the Switch in console mode, but I did take a moment to pull the unit out of the Switch dock to see what the graphics looked like when I was playing the new (and also hotly anticipated) Nintendo open-world video game Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The graphics were great on the big screen, but you can really see the definition on the Switch unit itself. It looks better than any hand-held and certainly better than the DS or 3DS.

Boy playing Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

The game is awesome. We only got to play a 20-minute demo version, but it was enough to make us all wish for a Switch and the game. Kit wakes up from a 100-year nap and gets a cool magic tablet that shows him where to go on his quest. But as Kit’s controller, you get to choose where to go, what to discover, and what to do. It’s like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, but in a video game.

Breath of the Wild screenshot

We also played some neat games that you control with the Joy-Cons: Arms (first person knock out game, which my kids mastered instantly but I could not seem to grasp) Poyo Poyo Tetris (like playing Tetris, but with Gremlins), Splatoon 2 (another kid-favorite: you get to move the world around by tilting the Switch in handheld mode), 1-2 Switch! (quick-draw fire at your opponent game), and Just Dance 2017:

You can barely see the Joy-Cons in our hands because they are so small. It makes dancing much easier than with the bulkier Wii U remotes. In these pictures we are totally rocking out to “Cake by the Ocean.” The kid beat me with his sick moves.

The launch event was a gamer’s theme park. It was the coolest arcade this side of the 1980’s, no quarters needed. (These kids today. They have no idea.)

woman under giant Mario hat

We need much more time with the Switch to give it a thorough review, but from this limited experience, I can see that it’s going to be a big hit. The Switch goes for $299.99 and game cards are $49.99 and up, not compatible with the Wii U or Wii. So it’s basically a platform replacement. This is a paradigm shift for the one-at-a-time console family, like we have been since getting our first system in 2009.

Not that it matters much at the moment. The Switch has sold out everywhere already! And with a game release schedule spreading out the awesome new titles for several months, I’m betting they’ll continue to fly off the shelves (and out of online retailer warehouses) as fast as they come in! Check out the Switch website for more details and videos.

Harlem Globetrotters Return to Southern California (Ticket Giveaway)

Harlem Globetrotters are coming back to Cali in February. Win tickets here or use our discount code below when purchasing.

harlem globetrotter little girl

My kids and I have gone to see the Harlem Globetrotters at STAPLES Center a few times now, and each time it’s a great show. It’s totally worth the trek downtown and I don’t say that lightly. Wherever you live in SoCal or if you will be visiting during their shows here, there is a Harlem Globetrotters event coming near you! And new this year (we have GOT to see this) the Globetrotters will debut basketball’s first 4-point line! I have no doubt these superheroes of basketball can hit those shots.

Celebrating decades of smiles, sportsmanship and service to millions of people worldwide, the world famous Harlem Globetrotters will return to the Los Angeles area Feb. 11-19. It’s a great family adventure of wholesome fun that makes for special memories. Their one-of-a-kind show is unrivaled in the world of family entertainment with incredible ball handling, hilarious comedy and loads of fan interaction, including a post-game autograph signing.

For $7 off your tickets use the promo code: CALI when you visit: http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/socal

  • Ontario at the Citizens Business Bank Arena on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m., and 7 p.m.
  • Anaheim at the Honda Center on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Mission Viejo at the Saddleback College Gym on Monday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m.
  • Los Angeles at the STAPLES Center on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 12:30 p.m., and 5:45 p.m

I’m giving away a 4-pack of vouchers good for tickets to any of the above shows! Leave a comment on this post (not Facebook!) to enter by 11:59 PM on Thursday, February 2. Winner will be chosen by random drawing from qualifying entries. As soon as I receive your mailing address, I will mail the vouchers to you. Extra entry if you follow Agoura Hills Mom on Instagram or like my page on Facebook (just let me know in your comment).