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Tyrolean Inn Restaurant - Dine by the fire! | Casablanca Inn & Bistro - Best View of the Bay
  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County

December 14, 2011

Plan a Stress Free Holiday

Local and Unique

Pam's back with a turkey blog!
Suki: I am not a homeschool anarchist!
This Week
Guided Elephant Seal Walks
Click to view our Business Directory

(Holidays) Hanucha_ChildrenMenorahWindow.jpg Hanukkah  is not considered a major Jewish holiday the way Christmas is a major Christian holiday.  Nevertheless, it shares a similar time frame with Christmas and the connection enhances our awareness of our shared Judeo-Christian heritage.

Hanukkah, "also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.  This year Hanukkah begins December 22nd.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night."Wikipedia

In the spirit of our Judeo-Christian heritage I make latkes, potato pancakes, and so include what sounds like a great recipe from Eileen Goltz.

A few weeks ago Suki and I read the same article about an "anarchist" homeschooling family. I share with you Suki's reaction to it. It caused me to recall a hilarious visit to a school modeled after the Summerhill experiment -the children had just voted non-stop in-classroom roller skating privileges to themselves.   Would you give your children voting privileges like that?

Refuse to stress! Susan True, Executive Director reminds us how!  You can tell she is experienced at de-stressing within the family.

Give your out of town guests a memorable experience; take them to see the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Park.  If you're taking little people under the age of 3 or so be prepared to carry them after a while.  Trudging through the sand is tiring.

Enjoy the season, Parmalee


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  Plan a Stress Free Holiday

by Susan True, Executive Director First 5 SCC

(Holidays) Christmas_Holly_Berries.jpgIf there were a stress meter attached to parent's arms during the holiday season, we could see that parents have reached and even gone beyond the meter's maximum limit. Being a parent is busy and demanding. You have to manage and balance the demands of your children, partner, household, work, friends and family. It is normal to feel stressed as a parent, whether it is the holiday season or not. When parents often feel a high level of stress, it can be hard to deal with their children's behavior calmly and consistently.

Parents who are overly stressed may not have enough energy to spend time with their children or can become irritable and impatient. Sometimes parents feel so worn out that they are not able to recognize their children for positive behaviors.

If you are a parent feeling overly stressed, you are not alone! There are several steps that parents can take to manage stress levels so that parenting can be more natural and easy. Here are some things you can try right away.

Have realistic expectations of yourself.
This will make it less likely that you will set yourself up for unnecessary stress. For instance, it is not reasonable to think that you can always maintain a tidy house, or that your children will always do as you ask, or that you can always say "yes' to people who ask for help. You may also want to lower some of the "holiday expectations' that you have for yourself. For example, if your list of people to buy gifts for feels overwhelming, consider alternatives that are not as expensive such as your children's art, or certificates for a fun outdoor activity like exploring the season's low tides.

Include your children in holiday preparation activities.
Explain to them what the holidays mean to your family and describe the traditions that you grew up with. When children are included, it will make the holiday preparations fun for them. Some ways to include children are:
• Creating decorations that can be put around the house or on the Christmas tree
• Creating home-made holiday cards
• Wrapping gifts
• Making placemats or centerpieces for the holiday dinner table
• Assisting in making special holiday foods or drinks

Create meaningful routines
that allow your child to contribute means letting go of perfection but building your child's skills and sense of belonging.

Recognize the warning signs of stress can help end the stress cycle before it becomes unmanageable. These include:
• Tense or stiff muscles
• Headaches
• Irritability or anger
• Disturbed sleep
• Tiredness
• Problems concentrating
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Stomach upsets
• Skin reactions
• Low immune system (repeated infections or viruses)

Find a relaxation technique that works for you and use it when you notice any of the above warning signs. Relaxation techniques can include breathing exercises (such as slow deep breaths), muscle relaxation techniques (tensing and relaxing muscles one by one), visualization (imagining being in a nice place), and meditation. Involving your children in some of these techniques will not only give you an opportunity to use the technique(s), but will teach your children how to relax from an early age.

One relaxation technique children enjoy is rubbing lotion on the hands for a few minutes. The repetition, movement and texture help create a calming effect. Try practicing whatever technique you choose with your children everyday for two weeks, even when you are not stressed. This will help you learn to relax as easily as you tense up.

Catch unhelpful thoughts and challenge them.
This will help decrease your level of stress. Unhelpful thoughts usually pop up without warning when you are stressed and are believable at the time you are having them. When looking back at unhelpful thoughts, they are unrealistic and exaggerated. Some examples of unhelpful thoughts are: I can't deal with the holidays anymore I'm done with it; He did that just to make me mad; It's all my fault. When you find yourself having these thoughts, recognize that it is happening and try to challenge them. You can challenge these thoughts by debating the thought with yourself. Ask yourself, "Is what I'm saying really true? Is there any evidence of this?" Look for other explanations to the situation and come up with a more realistic way of thinking about it, such as "I've managed fine all day, it just became challenging while I was preparing dinner. Tomorrow night I will set him up with his favorite puzzle before I begin preparing." It can also be helpful to replace the unhelpful thoughts with some coping statements that work for you.

Some examples of coping statements are:

• I can do this, I've done it before
• It's OK to make mistakes
• It will be over soon
• It's ok to feel nervous, I can cope with this feeling. I'll get through this.

As we enter the frenzy of the holiday season, come up with a plan for yourself. Think of something you can simplify about the holidays, include your children in the plans, come up with a relaxation technique and a coping statement that you and your children can use together and get back to the core of what the holidays are for...enjoying time with your family!

(Logos Business) FreshPrepLogo.jpg   Chile Verde Pork Chops with Organic Polenta
Tender & lean thick-cut pork loin chops coated with  flavorful seasoned coating, simmered with a salsa of mild green chiles, yellow corn and garlic, for an easy and flavorful main dish. Topped with Monterey Jack cheese too! Use leftover sauce on your eggs the next morning for a special breakfast...

Order online or call 479.1390 and pick up at 1601 41st St, Capitola!

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  Local and Unique

Peaceful Valley Farm
I have chutney that will knock your socks off!! (apple or apple plum, lightly spicy and amazing with goat cheese!), strawberry and peach (and a combo of the 2) preserves (super low sugar in these), and roasted bell peppers w/garliic. Apple & Pumpkin Butter coming up. These come in 1/2 pint jars=$5. Also, pints of my very own Bloody Mary mix/juice made from roasted heirloom tomatoes ($8-concentrated and makes 4-6 drinks), and spicy Dilly Beans ($5) to go with. All ingredients are local and organic (except some spices) and made with love! ♥ Free delivery in the SC area!

Greenspace for inspiration on becoming part of the green lifestyle -organic cotton clothing, diapers, toys and bedding for infants and toddlers, locally made specialty items like Noli and Nali's line of organic skin care for baby and mama, and the Twinkle Baby Bonding Dolls organic cotton towels that feel so soft!  They are having a store wide in-stock 20% off sale this Saturday.

Childish Santa Cruz on Brommer at 17th.  If you've never been here you're in for a treat Dyane has scoured the locals for handmade clothing, toys, mobiles that you cannot find anywhere else.  Plus she just loves antiques and sprinkles the store with them. You can find the "latest" retro toys - FisherPrice Retro Changeable Disc Camera, a glob paint kit - made from fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices ~ natural botanical paints, the HaPE-Plane Bamboo Plane and the famous children's Western Chief Rainboot and Umbrellas ~ sizes 4-2 youth.

Way of Life has the most unique stocking stuffers and Santa Mouse presents -you know- wonderful miniatures that children adore, little dishes, unique linens and of course supplements. 

Santa Cruz Hardware on Soquel & Seabright.  Every time I go there with a problem, they have a solution!  This is a great place for guy presents like the stepladder, hammer or drill you need.

Fresh Prep Kitchens has gift certificates for ready-made homestyle meals.  This is a great gift for your friends who have everything or an elderly neighbor.  You simply cannot go wrong giving delicious food.  Some of our favorites are: Jody's Turkey Chili w/Cornbread; Black Bean & Spinach Enchilada w/Cornbread; Citrus Infused Chicken w/Coconut Rice; Chicken Pot Pie w/Dinner Rolls; Asparagus & Chicken Divan w/Rice Pilaf; Thai-Curry Tofu w/Jasmine Rice; Catalina Pepper Steak w/Polenta; Burgundy Beef Stew w/Quick Potatoes and Ricotta Stuffed Shells w/Beef Marinara & Demi Baugette.

Fresh Prep Kitchens is now open at their new Capitola storefront and kitchen! You can walk-in to purchase a variety of fresh dinners (no reservation required) Monday thru Friday from 11am-6pm & Saturday from 11am-4pm.

Capitola Book Cafe and Bookshop Santa Cruz.  To me Christmas is a good book.  I could always count on a good read Christmas morning! The good folks at these local bookstores are very helpful.



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  Pam's back with a turkey blog!

(Photos General) Pam_TurkeyChick.jpgTALKING TURKEY

My favorite thing about living and working on the farm, is how much more connected I feel to the earth. It was thrilling for me to watch the first blossoms of Spring on my new apple trees, the birth of the goats, all the chicks that hatched, and the day I felt the air change completely, as Fall blew in.

The latest thrill has been seeing our turkeys through an entire cycle. Something I never imagined I would do.

Last April, I bought five 8 week old turkey poults. They were a mix of Bourbon Red and Midget White, heritage breeds. According to Mother Earth magazine, these breeds rank #1 and #2 in taste tests, and they were hatched locally, so I was all in!

They were adorable!

I read that turkeys will imprint on you the way geese do, and they did. Every time I went into the coop, they would fight to be the first to jump up on my shoulder or head. Sometimes I would end up with one on each shoulder and a third on my head... continued>>>>


(Photos General) Food_PotatoLatkes.jpgfrom EILEEN GOLTZ, a freelance kosher food writer

Consider the latke (Chanukah's version of fast food). It is, in my opinion, the absolute best-est, most perfect, delicious use for the potatoes, better even, in some circumstances, than the French fry, potato chip or potato kugel. The latke has a dark golden crispy crunchy outside and soft tasty middle.

I suggest that you use starchy potatoes for latkes. Russets and Yukon Gold are my favorite choices. Squeeze as much moisture out of the shredded potatoes as you can. Too much liquid makes for a thin pancake. Try not to make them too large or too thick-the outside will cook up just fine but the inside will be raw. Take care not to overcook and they are best served IMMEDIATELY with sour cream, apple sauce or all by themselves. Last but not least, the question of peeling the potato. You don't have to peel them if you wash them thoroughly. Peeling will give the latke a lighter color but that's about it.

When it comes to latkes there is a great big old debate as to what exactly is the "best" recipe. There are hundreds, nay thousands of recipes, all purported to be the ultimate one. Not all the following recipes are the traditional potato/egg mixture but I promise you, all of them will have you standing in line waiting for the next batch to finish cooking.


You can make silver dollar sized latkes by using a tablespoon.
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 eggs
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and shredded
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs together. In another colander combine the grated potatoes and onion. Let sit for a few minutes and then push down on the mixture to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Add the potatoes to the beaten eggs and mix to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and mix to combine. In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil. Place 1 tablespoon of the potato mixture into the hot oil to see if it's ready. It should start sizzling and brown up quickly. If ready spoon, about 1 or 2 tablespoon per pancake depending on the size you want and leave a little room between the pancakes. Flatten the pancake with the back of a spoon and use the spoon to keep the sides round. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serves 6. 

  Suki: I am not a homeschool anarchist!

(Photos General) SukiRedHead_138.jpgI read with interest this piece in the New York Times: My Parents Were Homeschooling Anarchists. It's an interesting piece that is so resonant of the era in which it took place. I enjoyed reading it and learning what the kids are doing now as adults.

However, articles like reenforce the idea that all homeschoolers are eccentric weirdos who don't care if their kids learn to do math.

So, I'm wondering, can we just call off this idiotic conversation, already? You know the one: Homeschoolers are right-wing separatist Christian child-abusers whose kids don't know how to talk to other people and are learning only the parts of the Bible that their parents agree with. Alternately, homeschoolers are left-wing anarchist child-worshipers who don't discipline their kids and let them run wild with flowers in their hair.

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not telling you that there are no homeschoolers who fit these descriptions. And I'm not telling you that homeschoolers are normal. In fact, fierce pride in bucking societal expectations is pretty much a necessary ingredient in homeschooling parents.

However, I am here to say that homeschoolers, just like everyone else, are not stereotypes....continued>>>>>

  This Week

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Below is only a partial list

of upcoming events and activities.

Click on our EVENT CALENDAR for more!

Submit your event!





Weekend Holiday Fairs







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Mount Madonna Pre-12, "13" the musical, a story about growing up 12/16-18

and Elementary Winter concert 12/19

Santa Cruz Waldorf K-8, Kindergarten Open House 1/14

Camp Flip

Winter Camp

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Call Leslie!


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Please keep checking for new camp postings!

Hey Ho! Hey Ho!

It's to the forest we go!

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State Parks

Guided Hikes and Activities

Home Daycare

with Quality Programs


Visit them all right here!


Angela's Home Daycare
Santa Cruz 425.8516


Auntie Wendi's
Santa Cruz 426-6276


Casa de Kids
Watsonville 252-9170


Free To Be Me
Santa Cruz 430-8591


Leslie's Place
Soquel 462-6771


Miss Jonnie's Aftercare
Santa Cruz 234-8796


Felton 402-3978


Golden Rule Afterschool Care
Santa Cruz 713-5758


The Village Preschool
Santa Cruz 423-3588

Christmas Eve Dinner

Tyrolean Inn

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9600 Hwy 9

Ben Lomond




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 Guided Elephant Seal Walks

(Photos General) Animals_elephantSealPups.jpgState Park Ano Nuevo ~ 3 mile hike over sand and sloping terrain to see thousands of elephant seals, including newborn pups, their mothers, and bulls

December 15 through March 31 By reservation only. Winter is the prime season to view thousands of elephant seals, including newborn pups, their mothers, and bulls. Ano Nuevo State Reserve is home to a large colony of Northern Elephant Seals. The seals come ashore to give birth and mate from mid December through March.

Walks last about 2.5 hours, and consist of a moderately strenuous 3 mile hike over sand and sloping terrain. Be prepared for windy, rainy conditions, as well as muddy trails. Layered clothing, sturdy shoes, and hooded rain gear are recommended. Bring bottled water for drinking as there is none available during the walk.

Reservations guarantee your space!

Public Seal Walks operate daily for individuals, families, or groups. Children 3 and under are free, and do not need a ticket. Children age 17 and under require one adult chaperone for each 10 children.

Open Walk tickets also are sold at the Reserve on a first come first serve basis and cannot be reserved. These tickets are made available at the beginning of each day to visitors arriving at the Reserve without reservations. Ticket availability is limited. The price for the walk is $7.00 per person.

Keeping Calm
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  Keeping Calm
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Keeping Calm
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  Keeping Calm
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Keeping Calm
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  Keeping Calm
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Keeping Calm
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  Keeping Calm
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A Boomer Christmas
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  A Boomer Christmas
Saratoga History Museum
Date: Every Su, Fri and Sa (Nov 21-Jan 25) from 10:00am to 4:00pm
Details: It's a Boomer Christmas-Toys from the 1950's, 60's and 70's
City: Saratoga Phone: (408) 867-4311 view all details >>
Keeping Calm
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  Keeping Calm
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Keeping Calm
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  Keeping Calm
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Keeping Calm
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  Keeping Calm
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Keeping Calm
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  Keeping Calm
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Living History Demonstrations and Ranch Tours
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  Living History Demonstrations and Ranch Tours
State Park Wilder Ranch
Date: Every Su and Sa from 11:00am to 3:00pm
Ages: All
Details: Experience the Victorian era!
Special Instructions: Weekends from 11:00am-3:00pm, tours of the ranch houses at 1:00pm
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 426-0505 view all details >>
Keeping Calm
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  Keeping Calm
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