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  School Musings...


     I loved going to school, but not until after Labor Day, because I loved Summer just as much as I loved school, okay liked.  Does anyone want to go back before Labor Day?  I don't think so, not teachers, not students, not administrators, not parents!  Want to know the real reason school starts early?! Just "follow the money." School funds are generated based on formulas involving number of days times number of students in attendance.

     But, let's make the best of it and start easing into a school routine, going to bed and getting up earlier, making lunch the night before, setting out tomorrow's clothes.  It's fun to get new notebooks, pens, backpack, shoes and clothes, think about meeting old friends and making new ones, wondering what will the teacher be like. In the small town I grew up in, we invited the teacher over for dinner a couple of times a year. 

     My all time favorite part of the school day was after lunch-recess when the lights were dimmed, we put our heads down on the desks and listened to the next chapter of a wonderful story. That particular teacher led me into a world of literature that lasts to this day.    

     Do you have a memory of an inspiring awesome teacher, a strict but effective teacher, or a teacher you just didn't get along with?  Can you turn those experiences into stories for the dinner table?  It's a great way to draw out from the children what happened in school.  Happy school days!




Back to School Tips



-Excerpts from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)



  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Avoid clothing, backpacks & bookbags  with your child's name prominently written on it; a child is less likely to fear someone who knows their name.


  • Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Youngsters need a permanent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that offers privacy.
  • Set aside ample time for homework.
  • Establish a household rule that the TV set stays off during homework time.
  • Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child's homework for her.
  • To help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying, it's recommended that youngsters close the books for 10 minutes every hour and go do something else.
  • If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren't able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child's teacher first.

Continue article and read more Back to School Tips...

New! A Guide to After School Programs, and More!

     From Soccer to Art, Dance and Martial Arts, Music or Swimming, Gymnastics, Drama --Santa Cruz County has many fine enrichment programs.  We created a Guide to After School Programs, and more, for your convenience.  It's printable!  Please be sure to let us know about any programs that we may have missed!  If your favorite class or teacher is not listed with us, tell them about us!



(Icons/Graphics) LadyDetectives.jpgEvents


     When an event appeals to you, go to the calendar to find details.  You can select the exact day, or select a range of days, or even categories.  Be sure to check back frequently as a lot of fall activities are coming in now.  Many of the after-school enrichment activities offer free trial visits.

SantaCruzParent Calendar


Fri, Aug 29, 6:30 & 8pm The Tubes featuring Fee Waybill - "She's a Beauty" & "Talk to Ya Later" Beach Boardwalk


Fri Aug 29 - Mon Sept 1, Capitola Begonia Festival(Special Event Page Graphics) BegoniaFestival.jpg

Fri, Aug 29 "Capitola Goes To The Movies"  Dusk on the Beach ... Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Bring the family, a picnic dinner, chairs, blankets and we'll provide the popcorn!           

Sat, Aug 30 Sand Sculpture Contest 8:30-12pm, Capitola Beach.

"Capitola Goes To The Movies"  Dusk on the Beach ... Steven Speilberg's Hook. Bring the family, a picnic dinner, chairs, blankets and we'll provide the popcorn! 

Sun, Aug 31  Horseshoes on the Sand 8am

56th Annual Nautical Parade 1-3pm.

Mon, Sept 1, Fishing Derby 6am-noon, Capitola Wharf

Children's Art Event 11am-2pm, Esplanade Park.

Rowboat Races 1pm, Soquel Creek


Sat, Aug 30, 2:30-5pm Shoe Painting Workshops
Buy a pair of canvas shoes or bring your own and create walking works of art. Art materials will be supplied and there will be an artist on hand to assist you. Cost: $10 Call the Old-School Shoes to reserve your spot!

 SantaCruzParent Calendar

(Icons/Graphics) CampfirePhoto.jpgFridays and Saturdays, Aug, 8 pm, Campfire

Programs, Big Basin

Join us at the campfire center for an evening of interactive and educational entertainment for the whole family. Topics include: the most extreme marine mammals, creepy crawling creatures, the magic of migration, and much more through song, story, and celebration. Wheelchair and stroller accessible.

SantaCruzParent Calendar


Sun, Aug 31 1-3, It's a Small World, Quail Hollow Ranch, Are you curious about small creatures? Do you enjoy looking through microscopes?  Here is your chance to do both in this afternoon of discovery with naturalist Lee Summers.  Look at pond water, fleas, butterfly wings, cross-sections of plants and more.  Space is limited to 10 people so sign up by calling or stop by the park office Weds-Sun.


Fri-Sun, Aug 29-31  The Secret Garden, Theater in the Mountains

Reserve your tickets now!


Sun, Aug 31 4pm Craig Lane's - How To Eat Healthy On The Run, Ages 13+, 5:00p.m. See description below. At Fresh Prep Kitchens.

SantaCruzParent Calendar

Sun, Aug 31 11am, Honey Day The Farm, Salinas. Learn about bees from local honey man Dale Hillard.


Sun, Aug 31 11am-3pm Corn Crazy, Earthbound Farm, Carmel Valley.  Grand opening of the corn maze!  Corn husk doll workshop, corn-on-the-cob eating contest, corn cooking demos and tours.


Sun Aug 30, 8pm Summer Sunday Cinema, Juno, Free Outdoor Movies All Month in Abbott's Square Bring a lawn Chair, and Snacks if you like. The Movie starts at 8:30pm - In Abbott's Square off of Cooper Street, by VinoCruz and the Museum of art and History.


(Special Event Page Graphics) CircusVargasClowns.jpgSept 5-8 Circus Vargas, An authentic Circus under the Big Top, that's right, a TENT!! Daring aerial acts and clowns to make you laugh!


SantaCruzParent Calendar

Take this Class with your Sweetie

and your Teens!!

How To Eat Healthy On The Run

Ages 13+

    This class is for you if you want to eat healthy and feel great, but do not want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen!  Craig has 25 years of experience cooking this way, and has great tips and wisdom to share with you and will also assist you in making sense out of frustrating and confusing dietary systems.

Craig will teach you the following recipes and menus:
*Big one-pot meals with a lot of room for leftovers.
*Raw and healthy crackers, food balls and dehydrated goodies.
*How to culture and save leftover vegetables and foods to prevent spoiling.
*How to combine old leftovers from the freezer and refrigerator.
*Grain and bean delights with proper preparation and cooking.
*Huge containers of salad dressings and sauces that last all work-week.
*Tips for cleansing foods on the run.

About the Instructor: Craig Lane is a certified Nutritionist and Herbalist with a BS degree in Nutrition, author of the book Moving Into Balance, a graduate of the Kushi Institute of Macrobiotics, a Shiatsu Massage Therapist, and a Therapeutic chef.

Culinary Center of Santa Cruz

504 A Front St, Santa Cruz

For help 429-1390

(BUILT IN) (Photos) StarshinePhoto.jpgCould be worse.  Could be Moon Unit.

By Starshine Roshell

You'll never meet a child named Sex Fruit in New Zealand. Nor will you make the acquaintance of Fat Boy, Stallion or Cinderella Beauty Blossom.

The nation's government blocked all of these names, and earlier this year allowed a 9-year-old girl to change her name from the one her parents gave her:
Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii.


"It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap," said the ruling judge.

I don't disagree that the name is absurd, but ... disability? The story sparked comments on countless blogs, where readers lashed out at parents who "cruelly" saddle their offspring with offbeat names.

But I have to tell you: It's not as bad as everyone thinks.


With the exception of Talula, few names are sillier than mine. It comes from the song "Good Morning, Starshine" from the 1960s musical "Hair," in which my dad starred. Between you and me, it's a stupid song, but it was an important moment in our nation's culture and my family's history.

People mistakenly assume I was teased mercilessly as a child. The fact is kids are immature about everything; they'll make fun of a Jack (in the box) or a (plain) Jane just as gladly as they'll poke fun at a Tiger or Venus. And being fairly new to the world, children don't assume Apple is any weirder than Elizabeth - at least Apple's a word they've heard before.

Adults sometimes react rudely to my name, but I've learned it's more a reflection of their own discomfort and (how to put this?) narrow life experience than a "disability" on my part.

That said, we oddly-named folks do have some issues. I flat-out refuse to spell my name for anyone. It's irrational, but if I have to overcome air-head stereotypes and smile politely when people call me Skylight, I have little patience left for strangers who can't sound out a simple compound word.

My friend Skye and I both have trouble remembering other people's names because, during introductions, we're so focused on explaining our own that we forget to concentrate on theirs.

Still, we all love our unique names. "A little ribbing from your peers builds character," insists my friend Seraphim.

We tend to grow into the names our parents give us, like my friend Happy, the grinningest guy I know, with a sense of humor to match. "Fortunately," he says, "I was never confused with the other six dwarves."

The worst part about a quirky name is you can't find it pre-printed on those mini-license plates they sell at tourist shops. And the best part is the foregone conclusion that you're special.

"My name lead to the early realization that there is nobody like me," says my colleague Starre. "And that's pretty awesome."

Most of us think it's such a blessing, we want our kids to share it. "I would hesitate before giving a child a 'normal' name," says my girlfriend Arcadia, whose daughter is Luna. "I don't want to perpetuate mediocrity."

Neither did my friend Linda. "As a child," she says, "I had an artistic soul and always hated how bland and common my name was." She named her son Chance and says he doesn't get teased - but then his buddies are Trip, Doc and Blade.

Who knows how those names would fare in New Zealand, or Sweden, where moms and dads have landed in court for calling their kids Lego, Ikea and Metallica. Last year, Venezuela considered adopting a list of 100 "acceptable" names that parents could legally choose from.

My atypically tagged friends and I are glad the United States has no law preventing parents from calling junior whatever they want. I called County Health Statistics just to be sure.

"If they want to name him X," says the clerk, "they can name him X." Sounds good to me. At least he wouldn't have to spell it.


Starshine Roshell writes a weekly column for the Independent. See more at

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It's a Win-Win!

Be sure to put

your school's name

in the Comments section

and tell us if

you're a teacher, parent

or both!


Call 713.7026

or email us.

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Carden School's

Junior Kindergarten

is for the 4 Year Old

Who Delights in

Learning and Play

in a Nurturing

& Rich Program

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Carden School of Santa Cruz

319 La Fonda Ave,

Santa Cruz


Piano Lessons

by Bike with

Michael Levy

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10 years' music teaching experience
Beginners of all ages welcome
Pop, jazz, gospel, more!
Save a trip-

I'll bike to you

(Santa Cruz and Live Oak)
Always encouraging



fosters a mastery of the basics of reading and math.  Stop in to see how we empower you and your child.  Let us show you our very effective "Number Board! You will be amazed.

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Please see our special offer

in Local Perks


845 Cedar St, Santa Cruz


(Special Event Page Graphics) TyroMan3.jpg  Mark the Dates

  Fri, Sat, Sun

  Oct 26




 at the

Tyrolean Inn

 Get out your

dancing shoes!

 Karl Lebbherz Band

 California Alpine Band

 Big Lou's Polka Band

 Kids Activities

and Bounce House

 Hot Pretzels

 Hofbrau Haus'

Oktoberfest beer

 Beer stein and

Yodeling contests!

 Reservations taken

for large groups.

9600 Hwy 9





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Santa Cruz Sports Central

350 B Coral St, SC

near Costco



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The Right School

for Your Child!

Which school is right for your child? Should you find yourself in a situation that is not working well, it's not too late to explore alternatives. Many schools have a few spaces left and offer visiting days.  Don't be shy.  Call to arrange a visit.  You can learn more about other schools here on


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Fall Play Class

Starts in September!

Free Demo Class

Friday, Sept 12

Call 425.7357

for time & location!


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Kung Fu Kids

A  balance of the

discipline and activity

of martial arts,

support of homework,

fun games,

good friends and

positive mentors.

We pick up from school.

Come visit us!

1570 Soquel Dr.


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Thank you for inviting us into your mailbox!


Bacon and Swiss Turkeyburgers    ~     Cajun Style Jambalaya

Crispy Citrus-Sesame Tapia Fillets     ~     Fresh Peach Bread Pudding

Green Chile Enchilada Caserole     ~     Sicilian Chicken Parmesan

Sloppy Joes    ~   Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Infused Plum Sauce

Slow-cooked BBQ Flank Steak      ~     Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

Sound Delicious?

  In one hour at Fresh Prep Kitchens you can bring home six of these family meals to freeze and have whenever you need them! 

Visit FreshPrepKitchens or call 429.1390

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Santa Cruz, CA