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Tyrolean Inn - Merry Christmas! | New Leaf Community Markets - Everything for the Holidays!
  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County
Discover the Parks, the Beaches and the Forests
December 23, 2010

A Potpourri of Post-Holiday Organizing Tips
Child Centered Resolutions
"I Smell A Skunk"
This Week
A Visit to Ano Nuevo State Park
What to Do With the Tree
Click to view our Business Directory

(Holidays) Christmas_Boy_NormanRockwell.jpgMerry Christmas and Happy Planning for Next Christmas!

We have organizing ideas for you:  what to do with the tree, the ornaments and the children, how to save money on next year's Christmas!

If it's raining, there's roller skating, Neptune's Kingdom, board games, libraries, favorite dvd's, stringing popcorn for the birds, ice skating in San Jose, a visit to the toy trains at MAH, and more, but if it's sunny there are beaches and parks awaiting us, especially Ano Nuevo where the elephant seals reside in abundance in the winter.  Read more about them in our featured event.

If you have last minute shopping to do, many of the winter camps offer one or half day drop-ins.  They are professionals at getting the wiggles out and returning happy campers to you!

Have a wonderful time with family and friends.


  A Potpourri of Post-Holiday Organizing Tips

(Holidays) ChristmasOrnamentStorage.jpgSetting up for the holidays is much more fun than taking it all down. Try a few simple tips for clean up this year...

PACKING UP YOUR DECORATIONS: Rather than just putting all the ornaments in a box, the garlands in another box, etc. Try packing them up according to where they were in the house (ie: tree, mantle, bannister, table, etc.) Hopefully, this will simplify the set up process next year. Purge worn out, damaged items and make a list of needed replacements.

Keep lights organized by winding each strand around a piece of cardboard cut to fit in a plastic bin (our pieces were 20 by 14 inches). Use scissors to cut a 1-inch slit at the top of one long side and the bottom of the other long side of the cardboard. Secure one end of the lights in a slit, wind lights around, and secure the other end in the other slit. Store stacked light between layers of bubble wrap in bins. (Martha Stewart)

1. Update your Christmas Card List. Input the list into your computer. Shop for cards at after Christmas sales.

2. Check your inventory of wrapping supplies. Buy them now at 70% off in most stores.

3. Make sure you have enough storage containers for all your decorations. Storage supplies go on sale every January. Establish a pre-holiday container. Stock it with everything you will need to get a jumpstart on next year such as wrapping paper, tags, ribbons, Christmas cards - all which you might have purchased on sale - and anything else you might need to kick off the holiday season next year.

4. Open your new planner. Start a shopping list for next Christmas. List names. Add gift ideas throughout the year.

5. Establish a budget for next Christmas. Include gifts, cards, postage, shipping costs, gift wrap, special meals, holiday clothing and baking supplies. Set up a savings account and arrange to deposit monthly.

6. Ask family members what were their favorite and least favorite activities this season.

7. Put Christmas goalposts in your planner. For example, July 15th, complete gift list; October 15th, address cards; November 15th, finish shopping; December 8th, reward self with spa day.

  Child Centered Resolutions

(Icons/Graphics) Reading_Mom.jpgFamily Circle Magazine printed some very good resolutions for parents. They bear repeating because we are raising the leaders and citizens of the future. 

• I will always love my children for who they are - not who I want them to be.

• I will give my child space to grow, to dream, to succeed, and even to fail. Without that space, no growth can occur.

• I will create a loving home environment, regardless of what effort it takes at a given time.

(Icons/Graphics) AdventuringChildren.jpg• When discipline is necessary, I will let my child know that I disapprove of what he does, not who he is. It's a very important distinction.

• I will set limits and help my children find security in the knowledge of what is expected of them. They will not have to guess what is right or wrong.

• I will make time for all my children and cherish our moments together.

• I will not burden my children with emotions and problems they are not equipped to deal with.

• I will encourage my children to experience the world and all its possibilities, taking pains to leave them careful but not fearful.

• I will strive to be the kind of person I want my children to be: loving, fair-minded, giving, and hopeful.

It's a tall order, but these resolutions are all worth the effort. When carried out, they can make a real difference for all our children.

  "I Smell A Skunk"

(Site Photos) SukiRedHead_138.jpgI have two wonderful and rather intense children. Our days can often be quite lovely. Often there's a lot of argument and obstinacy. But all in all, we make it through our days pretty well.

This is not how I would have described my family a few years ago. When my daughter hit the toddler stage, it was as if our family had been sucked into a hurricane. All the wisdom written about in parenting manuals and all the advice from highly experienced early childhood teachers just simply did not apply. Something seemed wrong.

It all came to a head when it became clear that school was not a place our daughter was going to thrive. In fact, it seemed to be a fight to the bitter end: either school would destroy her, or she would destroy the school.

All of this led us to the office of a well-regarded child psychiatrist, who, with very little attention paid to the little girl in front of her, started talking about "rapid onset bipolar disorder." We left the office feeling like something was wrong. After some discussion and reading, we decided not to return.

I'd read enough about this so-called disorder to smell a skunk.... continued>>>>


  This Week

Event CalendarBelow is only a partial list of upcoming events and activities so be sure to click on our EVENT CALENDAR so you do not miss anything >>

Use the PARENT PLANNER to click on events and resources you are interested in and click PRINT MY PLANNER to print or email your list.

Winter Camps  | Movie Showtimes


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Looking for the right school for your child?

Meet with students and representatives from many private schools, Pre-school through 12th Grade at a FREE informational event.


Come learn about the exceptional academic programs and the great variety of enrichment programs of our area schools. Get the information you need to make confident choices.


January 19, 2010 

More Information

Last Minute Gifts

Give the Gift of a Class!

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(Business Logos) SpringHill.jpg

Advanced K - 8 Education


Kindergarten Round Up / Assessments
Sat, Jan. 8, 2011, 9am -12pm
Families Welcome 

Reservations Required

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Spring Hill is a private school where the talents of bright, motivated and gifted children are recognized, nurtured and developed to their full potential.

250 California St, Santa Cruz



Hey Ho! Hey Ho!

It's to the forest we go!

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State Parks

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Christmas Eve Dinner

Tyrolean Inn

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9600 Hwy 9

Ben Lomond



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 A Visit to Ano Nuevo State Park

(Site Photos) Animals_elephantSealPups.jpg"In late December, the females begin to arrive and form "harems" on the beaches of the Reserve. Much smaller than the males, they average ten to twelve feet in length and weigh 1,200 to 2,000 pounds. Three to six days after she arrives, the female gives birth to the pup that was conceived the previous year. Normally only one pup is born to each female, and she nurses for 25 to 28 days.

Ordinarily, a mother nurses her own pup, although if they are separated another female may adopt the youngster. Feeding on its mother's rich milk (55% fat), the pup grows from approximately 75 pounds at birth to 250-350 pounds in less than a month. Some resourceful pups nurse from two or three females. They can weigh 600 pounds and are aptly called "super weaners"."


State Park Ano Nuevo - 3 mile hike over sand and sloping terrain to see thousands of elephant seals, including newborn pups, their mothers, and bulls

Guided Walks every day Dec 1-Mar 31  ~  Auto Parking Fee: $10  ~  Guided Walk Fee: $7/person  ~  No pets, not even left in car  ~  Book Your Walk

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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.

Discover the Outdoors
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  Discover the Outdoors
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Discover the Outdoors
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  Discover the Outdoors
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Horse-drawn carriage rides
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  Horse-drawn carriage rides
Downtown Santa Cruz
Date: Every Su and Sa (Dec 17-Dec 23) from 3:00pm to 8:00pm
Details: Clip-clop through Downtown Santa Cruz via the original form of horsepower.
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Fantasy of Lights
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  Fantasy of Lights
County of Santa Clara Parks
Date: Every day (Nov 1-Dec 30) from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Details: Magical wonderland of thousands of colorful twinkling lights, exciting, animated displays and favorite holiday music
Special Instructions: OPEN DECEMBER 2-30
City: Los Gatos Phone: (408) 355-2201 view all details >>
Toy Trains
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  Toy Trains
MAH and Golden State Toy Train Operators
Date: Every day (Dec 21-Dec 31) from 10:00am to 6:00pm
Ages: All
Details: Experience a mini-universe of model trains that delight the young and young at heart.
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831.429.1964 view all details >>
Track Santa with Norad
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  Track Santa with Norad
Date: Every day (Dec 1-Dec 23) from 3:00pm to 8:00pm
Details: Follow Santa's progress Christmas Eve
view all details >>
Discover the Outdoors
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  Discover the Outdoors
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Guided Elephant Seal Walks
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  Guided Elephant Seal Walks
State Park Ano Nuevo
Date: Every day (Dec 15-Mar 31) from 8:45am to 2:30pm
Ages: All: (Lots of walking)
Details: Elephant seals galore! 3 mile hike to see thousands of elephant seals, including newborn pups, their mothers, and bulls
Special Instructions: Dec 15 - Mar 31
City: Pescadero Phone: (650) 879-2025 view all details >>
Discover the Outdoors
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  Discover the Outdoors
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  What to Do With the Tree

(Holidays) Christmas_TreeandAnimals.jpgAfter the holidays, you don't have to throw your natural tree away! Here are some tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays:

* Removing the tree: The best way to avoid a mess removing your tree is to place a plastic tree bag (which are available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up! You can hide it with a tree skirt. Then, when the holidays are done, pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside. Obviously, you will want to remove the stand before recycling the tree. If some needles do scatter inside, it is better to sweep them up; as needles can clog vacuum cleaners.

* Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden. Mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation.

* Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for river beds.

* Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make excellent refuge and feeding area for fish. Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.

* Living, rooted trees: Of course, next year, you could get a rooted (ball and burlapped or containerized) tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas. (It's a good idea to pre-dig the hole in the late Fall while the soil is still soft.) NOTE: Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates like ours.

* Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup.Recycling options for your Christmas Tree in Santa Cruz, California:

*The easiest option for recycling your Christmas Tree is to have the City of Santa Cruz pick up the tree at your curbside. You can also drop your tree off at local county sites. Call 831-454-2160 for information on scheduled dates in your area for pick up or drop off sites.

*Another option for recycling your Christmas Tree, is to have the tree chipped and shredded into mulch for your garden. Go to Compost Santa Cruz to find information on composting and mulching. This can really benefit your garden by improving and health and fertility of the soil.

*If you have the room in a backyard garden, Christmas Trees can be a perfect bird feeder. Be sure to remove all decorations, hooks, ornaments, tinsel, etc. The tree makes a perfect shelter for the birds and small animals. Leave popcorn strands and the birds will flock to your tree!

*Cut up the branches into smaller pieces and turn them into a beautiful garden pathway.

*Pine needles can be used around your flower beds and act as an insect repellent as well as keeping the deer away.

*If you love the smell of pine, use the pine needles to make potpourri. Add cloves and cinnamon to make it even better!



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