Dozens of things to do for you and your whole family.
It's Father's Day in a few weeks, and we have one of our most favored posts for homemade Father's Day gifts. If you make any of these or have some ideas of your own for Father's Day or all-around summer fun, drop us a note at or on our Facebook page.


It's a fact. Dads and Bar-B-Ques go together like burgers and cold beer. Just watch any backyard makeover show on TV, and you'll see: the number one request from guys is always a brand new Bar-B-Que. So whether the dad in your life is the Patio Daddy-O, the King-of-the-Grill, or more of the Grillin-and-Chillin sort of guy, treat him to a Father's Day that's all about the 'Que.

Now, there's nothing wrong with letting someone else cook if you want to give dad a break on his day. Pick up some of the best BBQ in town at Gus's in South PasadenaJake's Roadhouse in Monrovia, or Canyon City BBQ in Azusa. Then, give dad a BBQ gift that will keep on giving long after Father's day is over.

(If dad is vegan or vegetarian, there is clearly an opening in the market for a barbecue joint or menu that caters to you. While you can find barbecue options like a pulled "pork" jackfruit sandwich at Sage, there's no full barbecue menu catering to a plant-based diet. At least not yet. Here's hoping!)

First, make a customized BBQ apron. Pick up an inexpensive apron and some fabric paints or pens at a craft store. Personalize the apron with dad's nickname (Grill-Meister, perhaps?). Have the kids finger paint, handprint, or create a unique design just for dad. You can also customize a plain potholder just for grilling!

Next, make a rub. This is a fun project that involves measuring and mixing. Still, it's simple enough to do in a short amount of time. Rubs are simply a mixture of spices that are literally rubbed right onto meat before it's grilled. They're easy to put together, last for months, and you can make any combination of flavors to suit any kind of meal.    

Most rubs consist of some salty, some sweet, a little heat, and a variety of different spices, depending on what kind of flavor you like. You can go Italian, you can go Asian, you can go provencal or kick-your-butt spicy. Always start with the freshest herbs and spices you can get your hands on. For a step-by-step explanation of how to make a rub, check out this site.

A couple of general tips before you get started:

  • Start with a 1 to 1 ratio of salt to sugar, then up the salt or the sugar, based on the type of meat dad likes to cook most.  Click here for more specific information on the salt to sugar ratio, along with some tips on what kinds of herbs go well with different types of meats. 
  • A salty rub is better for a more significant cut of meat, like a tri-tip or a brisket. The salt will help the meat retain moisture. Too much sugar will cause it to burn.
  • Use a rub with more sugar for smaller cuts of meat like chicken or pork chops. The sugar will caramelize and give the meat a nice crust. 
  • Rubs that you would use for chicken or pork are often also suitable for vegetables. There are a TON of rub and marinade recipes online for plant-based barbecue lovers, including this one
  • For pepper, use a more mellow spice like chili powder or paprika to start. You can always kick up the heat with freshly ground pepper, ground chilies, or other hot spices later on in the mix.
  • Add pepper and hot spices with a light hand - remember, if you add too much at the get-go, you can't take it away later.
  • If you're adding garlic or onion, use powders. If you want to use salts, figure them into your salt-sugar ratio.

Give him some tips on what to add, based on the type of spices you've used. When dad is ready to cook, mix a little bit of liquid into the rub. Use a little bit of oil, then add flavor with beer, bourbon, mustard, fresh minced garlic, honey, or yogurt. Add just enough to make a paste or make it more liquid to use as a marinade.   

Here is a recipe for an easily customizable basic rub. Remember to adjust your amounts and flavors for the type and cut of meat you'll be using. 

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sea salt or kosher salt
  • ¾ cup paprika or chili powder
  • ¼ cup onion powder
  • ¼ cup garlic powder

recipe for vegetables from Vegetarian Times is pretty similar to this one but with a couple of additions and different proportions.

  • Add about 2 teaspoons (each) of your favorite spices - cumin, basil, oregano, dry mustard, rosemary, etc.
  • Add heat in ¼ teaspoons – cayenne pepper, ground chilies or white pepper.

Rub enough of your mixture on the meat to coat it thoroughly, then let it sit for 1 – 12 hours before grilling. 

Be sure to seal your rub in an airtight container. You can make your rub look really cool by layering the ingredients in a glass jar. (When dad uses it for the first time, he'll mix it up.) Think of some wacky names for your rubs- For example, "oink" for pork, "moo" for beef, "cluck" for chicken, "sprout" for vegetables. Make customized labels for each rub you make. 

Then, relax and enjoy the smell of Bar-B-Que wafting through the backyard all summer long. 

Happy Father's Day!


This article was first published in The Orange Cat Issue #208 and has been updated.



Bubble Planet at Kidspace

Get your bubble on with an all-new, all-outdoor bubble-themed experience for your kids. The sudsy fun starts on June 13 (members get early access on June 11 and 12). Tickets required.



Beginning Coding for Kids

Using a fun, web-based game featuring a cheeky beaver, your kids and Tweens (5-12 year-olds) can learn how to code sequences and loops. The zoom session is on June 8, from 3:30 PM till 4:30 PM. Registration is required, and spots are limited. 



How to Draw Cartoons Virtual Tutorial

Monrovia Library invites your artistic kids to register for fun, creative, and interactive cartoon drawing classes. Each 45-minute video will remain online and available for 30 days after its original posting. Each tutorial requires individual registration, and links are provided by email. Here's the schedule:

  • June 10: Mo Willems
  • June 24: World of Cartoons
  • July 8: Captain Underpants

Registration for the Mo Willems class closes on July 9 at 5:00 PM.

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Celebrating PRIDE as a Family

The Pride Month Kit includes everything you and your kids need to create a beautiful rainbow using found materials. Sign-ups for kits open on Thursday, June 10, at 9:30 AM. Supplies are limited. Kits can be picked up from the Santa Catalina Branch library. The event is scheduled through June 30.



Windows and Mirrors Book Club

Your 5th - 7th grader is invited to meet online every other month to discuss a contemporary and realistic middle-grade book featuring kids with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Perhaps they will see themselves in one of the characters (the mirror part) or get a view into a life different from their own (the window part). This month the club is discussing The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy and learn about Pride Month. See the site for details on reserving a copy in physical, ebook, or audio format. Registration is required, and spots are limited.

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Yarn Crafts for Teens

The door are closing on this teen craft program! Your teen can get their Yarn Llama or Rainbow kits from the Monrovia Library through June 5. Crafting happens on the library's Discord server on Monday, June 7, at 4:30 PM. Registration required.



Colorful Coffee Filter Butterfly

The Take & Make series brings you a color mixing project for your kids and tweens (3-12 year-olds) starting Tuesday, June 8, at 9:30 AM and going through the week. You'll need coffee filters, a spray bottle or water dropper, and washable markers or food coloring. Supply kits with project instructions can be picked up at the Santa Catalina Branch while supplies last. Kit reservations are required. The event is scheduled through June 30.



Tiff and Tosh June Crafts

Tiff and Tosh are back on the Pasadena Library's Instagram Live with some unique crafts for June. Check them out on Monday, June 14 and 18, at 3:00 PM.



Camping 101

Los Angeles Times writer, editor of The Wild newsletter, and Sierra Club outings leader, Mary Forgione will lead a zoom presentation on what you and your family need to know to camp in Southern California. Registration is required. The presentation kicks off on Tuesday, June 14, at 5:00 PM. 



Busy Bag: Colors

The Santa Catalina Branch Library has yet another color-filled activity for your little ones (0-5 year-olds). Explore colors by planting flower seeds and seeing what colors you can grow. Sign-ups for Busy Bag Kits begin on Tuesday, June 15, at 9:30 AM and can be picked up at the library. Event is scheduled through June 30.



Bixby Marshland Virtual Tour

Your whole family and join this virtual tour of the Bixby Marshland on Wednesday, June 16, at 5:00 PM. The Bixby Marshland is a remnant of a formerly extensive, natural freshwater wetland known as Bixby Slough. Since the marsh has been rejuvenated, a large variety of plants, birds, fish, and animals now call it home. Registration is required and spots are limited.



First Page Friday

Every other Friday, Altadena Library's Youth & Family Services Librarian posts a video on the YouTube channel reading the first chapter of a Children's or Middle-Grade title available through the library's online book service. The next posting will be Friday, June 11.



Mario Kart Tournament

Kids through Teens (K-12) are invited to show off their Mario Kart skills in Altadena Library's virtual Mario Kart 8 Tournaments! The six races that make up a tournament are held every Friday at 4:00 PM. See the site for requirements. The top 3 racers in the Final Tournament on July 30 will win prizes! Registration is required.



Stories In Motion: Outdoor Storytime

Your little ones (Infants - 5-year-olds) can experience stories differently through an active, high-energy storytime in the park on Tuesday, June 15, from 10:30 AM till 11:15 AM. Children of all ages and abilities will be encouraged to move, jump and dance along to the story. See the site for details on social-distancing requirements



Virtual Tidepool Field Trip

Your children and tweens (Infants - 12-year-olds) can join a virtual field trip to Leo Carrillo State Park on Wednesday, June 16, from 11:00 AM till 12:00 PM. Guides will walk them through the tidepools and teach them about the plants and animals that make it such a unique and fantastic place to visit and protect. Registration required.



Our Story Elementary Writers Workshop

Young writers (grades 3-6) are invited to join the biweekly online writing workshops to learn about different writing styles, use writing prompts to create something new, and read their work together. The next meeting is on June 17, at 4:00 PM. Registration and an Altadena Library card are required. See the site for more details.



Tweens and Teens Get Perspective

The Draw Along with Jake art series focuses on one and two-point perspective drawing on Tuesday, June 8, at 4:00 PM. Registration required.



Book Party: Going to the Zoo

Your kids are invited to a book party on Friday, June 11, at 4:00 PM. There will be a reading of Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton and then a lesson on how to fold their own origami monkey at home. Registration required



NOTE: Story times are subject to change. Please check the sites. Recorded story times are generally available on library YouTube channels.

Teen Inspiration

Check out Altadena Library's Teen Instagram account for BTWN TiTLES, their biweekly posts of book reviews, creativity experiments, and more.

Pasadena Public Library regular storytimes:

Social Media Storytime: Preschool on Mondays at 10:30 - 10:50 AM on Facebook Live and Thursday at 3:00 - 3:20 PM on Instagram Live


Social Media Storytime: Toddler on Tuesdays at 10:30 - 10:50 AM on Instagram Live


Chinese Mandarin Storytime on Wednesdays at 3:00 PM on Instagram Live


Social Media Storytime: Hora de Cuento en Español on Wednesdays at 4:00 - 4:20 PM on Facebook Live


Social Media Storytime: ASL (American Sign Language) on Friday at 4:00 - 4:20 PM on Instagram Live

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