The days are getting longer, the weather is warming up, and flowers are starting to bloom- spring has finally arrived! This is a wonderful time to plan a heap of outdoor activities to get your family physically active and healthy, all while strengthening your bonds and making unforgettable memories. Below are 10 of our favorite spring activities to get your kids outside in the warm weather, utilizing their creativity, and learning just how fun being healthy and active can be!
1) Take a nature hike or walk together.
2) Plant a flower garden.
3) Enjoy a healthy picnic at the park.
4) Visit a farm to see the animals.
5) Draw with sidewalk chalk.
6) Go on a bike ride.
7) Visit the farmer’s market.
8) Fly a kite.
9) Build a bird house.
10) Visit a botanical garden.
After the sun sets, we encourage you to snuggle up together with some of our favorite springtime book apps!
Another fun and successful quarter is in the [digital] books at Oceanhouse Media, which meant we got to celebrate together at our quarterly team outing! Last quarter, we celebrated by volunteering at Feeding America San Diego, and this quarter we were very lucky to feed ourselves at a completely out-the-box experience: a group cooking class at The Center for a Healthy Lifestyle.
The majority of us had no idea where we were going or what we were doing when we showed up to the office before the outing. Last time the team outing was a secret, we ended up at a high-ropes course, so those of us who are scared of heights were happy to hear that we would be spending the afternoon in a sunny garden rather than suspended 50 feet above the ground!
The Boys & Girls Clubs’ Center for a Healthy Lifestyle is an adorable, sunny yellow cottage nestled in Solana Beach, California. The center is dedicated to “inspiring children & adults to live healthier lives through cooking, gardening and fitness”. Complete with a beautiful kitchen space, communal organic garden, and peaceful patio, the center was the perfect place to spend a sunny morning in Southern California!
We were very lucky to have Amanda Mascia of The Good Food Factory, an Emmy-award-winning healthy cooking show for kids, as our joyful and energetic teacher. She curated a menu to coincide with our 5 core values:
-Creative problem solving: brown rice (she taught us the perfect way to bake it)
-Efficient excellence: carrots & thyme
-Always learning: blueberry vinaigrette for our salad
-5 stars or no stars: salmon
-Passion for the work: whipped cream and berries
The first item on our to-do list was to peel a giant box of carrots (not as giant as the box at Feeding America San Diego!), so we all grabbed a peeler and got to work. With all of us chipping in, we were able to peel and chop the entire box in just a few minutes! Amanda had all the recipes we needed printed out so she instructed us just to start cooking and let her know if we had any questions. We all loved that she let us take initiative and figure things out on our own. We were able to modify some recipes to fit certain team members’ dietary restrictions, create our own perfect marinade for the salmon, and pick anything we wanted from the garden to add to our fresh salad! We self-organized into groups to make various items such as the salad dressing, salmon, croutons, whipped cream, etc. It all tasted absolutely delicious! So often in today’s world, meals are rushed and “convenient”, so it was relaxing to slow down and really savor the process of cooking, especially with a group of people. Working together outside of the office was so much fun and really helped us to get to know each other better.
As we ate our lunch on the beautiful patio and took in the gorgeous day, we discussed how the experience relates to our company culture. One aspect we really value at Oceanhouse Media is getting the chance to take initiative on projects, just as Amanda let us do with the recipes. Team members are always taking the lead on new ideas or processes, applying forward-thinking knowledge (always learning), and trusting of one another to try something new- even if it fails. When one team member told the group how much he learned about gardening after one season of an unsuccessful garden, we discussed how important failure is in the learning process (FAIL = first attempt in learning), and how if you are not failing, you are not taking enough risks. Finally, the carrot peeling resonated with us because of how quickly we were able to power through a huge task when we all pitched in and helped. The exercise was demonstrative of how much more efficient we are as a group. Now when an individual employee has a big project to tackle, we all pick up our theoretical carrot peeler and help out!
“Building software is like making whipped cream. Things get mixed up for quite some time and then voila!, something magical appears.” – Greg U.
“Seeing our team in the context of a kitchen made it clear to me that the sweetest things come from working in tandem with one another.” – Chandler
“Our morning with Amanda at The Good Food Factory was really fun and educational. It was so nice to take time as a team to make a healthy and delicious meal together in a beautiful setting where we could grab anything we needed for the meal right from the garden. Working together made the job easy and we all brought great, tasty ideas to the table that resulted in a a fresh and delicious lunch!” – John C.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to The Center for a Healthy Lifestyle and Amanda for making our team outing a wonderful experience!
In October, the Oceanhouse Media team celebrated the end of our third quarter with a team-building challenge at the UCSD Ropes Course in La Jolla, CA. We unanimously walked away from the experience feeling happy, inspired, and most importantly, trusting of one another as a unified team. For the end of quarter four, we opted to celebrate by giving back to our community and making a difference in the lives of others. Healthy and nutritious food is important to all of us at Oceanhouse Media, so we decided to volunteer as a team at Feeding America San Diego (FASD), the largest hunger-relief organization in the county.
We arrived at the FASD distribution center- a 50,000 square foot warehouse in Sorrento Valley- in the morning where we were greeted by our very friendly and enthusiastic volunteer coordinator Theresa, who was fittingly wearing a t-shirt that said “I believe in helping others”. Before getting started, she shared some striking statistics with us that helped put the day’s work into perspective:
-15% of the people in San Diego County are food insecure, meaning they do not always know where their next meal will come from. -1 in 4 children in San Diego are at risk of hunger. -Nearly half the people served by FASD are under the age of 18. -FASD feeds 73,000 children, families and seniors in need each week.
FASD seeks to alleviate hunger in the county by distributing nutritious food items directly into the hands of local students and their families. Because families with a limited budget are often forced to buy cheap, unhealthy food that increases their chances of developing long-term health problems (diabetes, obesity and heart disease), FASD is committed to providing fresh, healthy food by partnering with more than 160 local grocery stores and retailers to claim an average of 800,000 pounds of food each month- this also helps eliminate food waste because 60% of food that would have been thrown away is still edible, nutritious, and delicious!
We helped out with the School Pantry program, which provides nutritious food for low-income students and their families to take home. This program alone serves more than 1,500 children and families in San Diego each month! Our task was to glean (a fancy word for “sort”) through massive boxes of fruits and vegetables to discard any items at the end of their shelf life. After Theresa explained the process, we split into two groups and got to work!
“It is staggering to know that 1 in 4 children in San Diego are not sure where their next meal will come from. Volunteering at Feeding America was simple, easy and very rewarding.” – Greg U.
The “lucky” group started by gleaning a box of oranges, followed by fresh, organic broccoli that looked quite appetizing. The “not-so-lucky” group got to sort through slightly suspicious potato boxes- proving that it is possible to bond while elbow-deep in taters!
For the next few hours we worked in our teams to glean 4,000 pounds of fresh produce for distribution to students through the School Pantry program. The best part was we had a blast doing it!
“It was great to work as a team with OM members! I always enjoy offering my time to help those in need, but working together to do so felt even more rewarding.” – Haley O.
The volume of food the FASD sorts and distributes on a daily basis is mind-boggling- they even had 1,400 pound box of carrots (that’s A LOT of carrots)! FASD depends solely on philanthropic and community support for its mission, so volunteers are essential in making sure those in need have access to quality food. We especially enjoyed sharing the warehouse with a group of young school children who were oh-so carefully bagging sweet potatoes near our station!
“Feeding America has created a great opportunity for community members to get involved and help people receive vital fruits and vegetables. As a member of the Oceanhouse team, I am glad we all got a chance to contribute to their high demand of food packaging needs.” – Cyrus K.
Working together in a new environment allowed us to hone our communication skills and come together as a group- especially for fellow employees who do not work with each other regularly in the office. Stepping away from the office and doing something for the greater good in our community was an easy, uplifting way to raise all our spirits. Overall, volunteering at FASD was an incredible experience and many of us plan to return soon!
“I found our volunteer time with Feeding America to be a rewarding and educational experience. We had the opportunity to learn just how staggering a problem hunger is in San Diego and how many families and children are unsure as to where there next meal is coming from. Taking the time to give back with the team really feels good and I would love to volunteer with Feeding America again in the future.” – John C.
Feeing America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief and charity, and it is easy for you to join their fight to end hunger. Here’s how you can help:
-Volunteer: Get your family, school or office together for a fun and rewarding experience that benefits your local community. Find a list of Feeding America volunteer opportunities near you here.
-Donate Funds: Monthly donations, meal donations, virtual food drives and more- there are so many ways for you to donate your funds so that others don’t go hungry. Every dollar you donate helps provide 8 meals to families in need! Learn more here.
-Donate Food: Large and small food donations from companies can make a significant impact. Reach out to your local Feeding America representative to find out how you can donate food or even organize a food drive.
-Advocate: Raise awareness of hunger in your community and spread the word of the available resources and solutions. You can also get involved with public policy to promote supporting legislative change. Learn more here.
-Educate: Teach your kids about hunger in your community and encourage them to help those in need. It’s never too early to teach your kids how to give, and to show them that helping others can be fun!
Recently, the Oceanhouse Media team embarked on an adventure to Uplift, Educate, and Inspire as we celebrated the end of third quarter at the UCSD Ropes Challenge Course in La Jolla, CA! Led by our friends at Positive Adventures, our day of fun in the sun was full of overcoming challenges, team development, and endless smiles and laughs!
The adventure began the afternoon before the outing when our founder and CEO Michel Kripalani advised us to dress in comfortable clothes and close-toed shoes, but did not give us a clue as to where we were going or what we would be doing! Although we all pried for more information (some of us even attempting to use our expert internet skills to crack the mystery), we were all surprised to find out the next morning that we would be spending the beautiful sunny day taking our team-building to new heights (pun intended).
The UCSD Ropes Challenge Course is a state-of-the-art outdoor training gym located in the heart of the beautiful UCSD campus. Surrounded by budding eucalyptus plants and avid joggers, the course was the perfect setting and we lucked out with clear-blue skies and warm September weather. After lathering on the sunscreen and downing coconut water and kombucha, we were ready for our adventure to begin!
The program kicked off with a variety of team-building activities on the ground to help develop trust and communication. In one particular activity, we were lined up on a log and given the challenge to think of our favorite animal and then arrange ourselves from biggest animal to smallest animal without using human language or stepping off the log!
“They say everyone has a preferred communication style – usually it isn’t mimicking animal sounds while hop scotching over each other on a suspended log. Overall we did a great job on the challenge and quickly learned how important it is to be a versatile communicator!” – Natalie
After a quick lunch, it was time to take on the high ropes Odyssey Course! We geared up in harnesses and helmets and ascended the rope ladder one-by-one to two different platforms 35-55 feet high (talk about “uplifting”)!
As in any group, our team was a mix of phobic height-haters and fearless adrenaline-enthusiasts, but everyone was willing to fully participate and stretch his or her own limits. We spent the next few hours suspended above the ground, moving as a team across four different challenges, providing one another with a helping hand (literally) every step of the way.
“For me, the biggest challenge was not in completing the ropes course, but in completing it TOGETHER. Supporting, challenging and encouraging each other, both physically and verbally, became the focus of the exercise and where I feel I grew the most.” -Greg
One challenge even required that half the team be blindfolded and led by other half across a wire suspended high in the air, demanding complete trust and communication.
“Being able to trust your coworkers walking on a wire and blindfolded at 40 feet makes it really easy to do so on the ground.” -Michael H.
The Odyssey Course ended with a soaring zip line, bringing us safely back down to the ground.
“Our day with Positive Adventures at the UCSD Ropes Challenge Course was a ton of fun. Dangling and maneuvering through the course, I learned just how close we are as a team.” -John
The importance of support and encouragement became immediately apparent throughout the experience, as we were able to overcome our fears and successfully complete each challenge together. At the end of the program, one of the facilitators noted that our team was exceptionally cohesive and passionate about helping each other out.
“Trusting one another and knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses can contribute greatly to a high performance, harmonic and cooperative team.” – Kim
“The support of our team and our ability to work together helped me tap into courage and strength I didn’t know I had.” -Chandler
It is safe to say that we unanimously give the UCSD Ropes Challenge Course and Positive Adventures 5 out of 5 stars! Thank you for the fun and inspiring experience!
Earlier this week Carisa Kluver from Digital Storytime (one of our favorite app review sites) stopped by our office to say hello and talk book apps. Carisa has been reviewing book apps since 2010 so it was fun to chat with her about the many changes in the industry.
We recommend Digital Storytime to any teacher, librarian, or parent who wants to locate good quality book apps in an extremely crowded appstore. Carisa has reviewed over 700 book apps in the last few years and rates titles on interactivity, re-readability, educational quality, originality and more.
She also offers 29 curated book lists for topics including dinosaurs, dogs, seasons, moral stories, feelings, bathtime, sleep and much more. Plus, you can search for book apps based on the device you own (iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet.)
Thanks again for stopping by, Carisa. It was nice to finally meet you!
Carisa previewing an upcoming book app with Development Director, Greg Uhler
“Write me a story that first-graders can’t put down!” This was the challenge that Dr. Seuss accepted that became the classic The Cat in the Hat. The book includes 236 different words that a first-grader can read.
The Cat in the Hat is this year’s featured book for Dr. Seuss’s 109th birthday and our “Hats Off to Reading” celebration. We at Oceanhouse Media in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises are celebrating by putting the digital version on sale for 99 cents and offering The Cat in the Hat camera app as a free download through March 7! In addition, more than 40 Dr. Seuss book, camera and game apps are on sale.
Our award-winning digital version of The Cat in the Hat brings the antics of the infamous mischievous cat to life and has been a top-charting digital book app since its release three years ago. We’ve stayed true to the original words and illustrations of Dr. Seuss (check out the photos from both the original manuscript and the digital version below) when adapting the book into an interactive digital book app, enhancing the story with professional narration by voice talent extraordinaire Joseph Narducci. Now, you can record and share your own narration with the iOS version of the app!
The Cat in the Hat book was published in 1957, the same year as How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (the first Dr. Seuss digital book app developed by Oceanhouse Media to hit the app market). It’s amazing to think that both of these timeless classics were published in the same year!
Did you know that The Cat in the Hat wasn’t the first Seussian feline to don a hat? Dr. Seuss first put a hat on a cat in 1949’s Bartholomew and the Oobleck (an upcoming Oceanhouse Media digital book app).
As Oceanhouse Media celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday, our team is reminded each day the indelible mark that he’s left on children’s literature. We feel honored to bring his books to life in digital form. And, like the Cat in the Hat, what great fun we’re having along the way!
What’s your favorite part of The Cat in the Hat story and why? Feel free to share your comments below. You can even send us your recording of you reading your favorite part of The Cat in the Hat at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear it!
An early manuscript of The Cat in the Hat.
The digital version of The Cat in the Hat stays true to the original words and illustrations of Dr. Seuss.
The Oceanhouse Media staff recently took a field trip to the UC San Diego Geisel Library to see The Dr. Seuss Collection. We had the rare opportunity to get an up-close look at the works of Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) including original drawings, sketches, proofs, notebooks, manuscript drafts, books and other memorabilia from the extensive collection.
As the digital publisher of the Dr. Seuss omBooks, it was thrilling to see Dr. Seuss’s early drafts of several classic books, such as Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! as well as “bone pile” fragments of preliminary drawings, false starts and experimental sketches.
Our sincere thanks goes out to Lynda Claassen, head of UCSD’s Mandeville Special Collections Library, for graciously hosting us and sharing her knowledge about Dr. Seuss and the collection.
Check out the photos below!
Michel Kripalani, President of Oceanhouse Media, holding one of the first sketches for Green Eggs and Ham.
The evolution of Green Eggs and Ham.
OM Staff with UCSD’s Lynda Claassen viewing an early version of The Cat in the Hat.
Oceanhouse Media President Michel Kripalani was honored to attend the San Diego Business Journal‘s inaugural Innovation Awards after being selected as a finalist in the mobile devices category. The Innovation Awards acknowledge local organizations who stretch the boundaries and demonstrate how innovative spirit drives economic value.
We’re grateful to have been a finalist and were excited to hear all about the activities of other San Diego companies. A big thanks to the San Diego Business Journal for putting on a great event. We certainly saw that innovation is thriving in San Diego!
Read Across America is going GREEN this year with reading events across the country based on Dr. Seuss’s children’s story, The Lorax. Explore The Lorax Project for information about being friendly to the environment. Plus, read the story for yourself in The Lorax omBook (0.99 USD) and help regrow the world’s Truffula Tree forests with the Lorax Garden game for Apple devices (FREE until March 8!)
App Friday with Moms With Apps:
We’re kicking off the birthday sale by hosting the Moms With Apps weekly app party on our Facebook page Friday, March 2nd at 10am PST. Please join us for special news, discounts and freebies from this fantastic group of family friendly app developers . . . you’ll be glad you did! And stay tuned all week for more Dr. Seuss celebrations on Facebook!
For the folks down under, our friends at Treasure Kai will be hosting the App Friday kickoff party on their Facebook page from 8am – 9am Sydney time.
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than YOU!” – Dr. Seuss