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(Icons/Graphics) Knitting_1.jpgA Timeless Nourishing Craft is Experiencing a Resurgence


     When I was in a coffee shop last week I saw a group of women and one man, all knitting or crocheting.  They were helping each other, enjoying tea, coffee and conversation. They told me they meet weekly for a couple of hours (their meeting times are in our calendar) and welcome new knitters, experienced or beginners.    


     My friend teaches in a rural, one room elementary school in the midwest.  In her school every child learns how to knit, sew by hand, quilt and crochet, boys and girls both!  They make pincushions, hats, pillow cases, book bags, scarves, etc.  She says that once the children master the basic skills, they enjoy sitting together, working on their projects and chatting.  As the children move up in the grades, the older ones earn the privilege of helping younger children.  It's very soothing and rewarding and gives them skills for a lifetime.  Some of her former pupils now have families of their own and live in far corners of the country.  She still receives Christmas cards thanking her for teaching them how to sit still, make gifts and have good conversation.  Yesterday she received a beautiful hand-knit sweater from a student now living in Maine.


     This is a busy season and when you look at all the events for your enjoyment, you may find yourself wishing you could do all the activities.  I hope you also will find the time to sit still with your family, whether it be in a living room enjoying the magical lights of the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, or knitting together, side by side.  It's amazing how the comfort of creating with the hands enables the mind to sift and sort and bring to the surface comments, thoughts, concerns, memories, wishes.  No wonder knitting is enjoying such popularity.  Come to think of it, what a lovely present for children and friends, yarn and needles.




One Laptop per Child (OLPC): Vision

Give One. Get One.


     My friend has to get on the computer at night after her granddaughter has gone to sleep because she gets tired of negotiating for time on the computer!  When this information came to me I thought of her.  It could bring peace to both her home and another across the seas!


(Ads) One_Laptop_2.jpg     Do you know about this non-profit organization created by an MIT professor? Buy a new OLPC laptop for your child for $399 and a second new OLPC laptop is given to a child in a developing country! The XO laptop was designed especially for children. It has a rugged plastic exterior, built-in wireless, a unique dual mode display that is readable under direct sunlight and software designed for children to encourage exploration, creativity, and collaboration.  Alternatively, you can make a cash donation for $199, the cost of a laptop, to help OLPC's mission to provide laptops to children.


      The company's goal is "to create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future."


      The laptops are very cool looking - lime green, rugged, WIFI connected, and solar powered. They are for younger kids - 6-12. This is not the PC to use in high school or college - but it is a fun machine for the kids - and the great part is - when you buy one, you are actually buying two - all for $399! So for anyone thinking of buying a new laptop for their kids this holiday - they should really look into OLPC - One Laptop Per Child.


     OLPC users can talk to each other and browse the web together. Just just imagine there are children in another country able to do the same thing because you bought an OLPC computer!


     "Pupils go even beyond what I can teach in the class. It's a very interesting thing to use. I personally have a better idea about teaching... We discovered that giving them time to discover something and to do it in their own way, they feel more happy and they are so excited in using it that, 'Yes, I discovered it! Yes, I can get it!! Yes, I can do this on my own!!!' Teaching is getting more interesting and less stressful." ? Mr. O., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

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For more info, go to:




(Icons/Graphics) LadyDetectives.jpgEvents

December is full of fun events!

Try our Parent Planner for Easy Planning.

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Santa is at Marini's Weekends, Come visit Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and enjoy all the festive environment of one of Santa Cruz' oldest businesses. Santa will be waiting for you, each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2pm-6pm through December 23rd.


(Site Photos) Snowflakes.jpgThurs, 12/11 Snow Night Downtown Santa Cruz
A favorite with the little ones, each year the street gets filled with snow for the night and the frolicking begins. Last years event raised over 11,000 pounds of food for second harvest food bank.

Fri, 12/12, 6pm-9pm 2008 Holiday Celebration, Ramsay Park Family Center  Join us for interactive arts and crafts, entertainment, hot chocolate and cookies! Santa Claus will also have his workshop open for those interested in taking a photo with him. Children under 6 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.


Sat, 12/13 11am, Holidays on the Ranch Living History Day, Wilder Ranch State Park, Experience holiday fun from Rancho, Victorian, and early 20th century times. Join in an old-fashioned sing-along around the piano, make and play with a Dreidl, sample Victorian and Mexican holiday goodies, make a holiday craft - sachet and Victorian box, and help decorate the Victorian Christmas tree or create ornaments for your own tree.

Sat, 12/13, 6:30pm-8:30pm, HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA! Boulder Creek Rec Center, Join us for a wonderful evening. We will showcase all our friends and participants who attend programs at the BC Rec Center. Live music, refreshments, and entertainment that will light up your holiday spirits.

(Special Event Page Graphics) JungleBook.jpgFri-Sun, 12/12-14, Disney's Jungle Book, Loma Prieta Elementary and Theatre in the Mountains present Disney's Jungle Book, a fun filled tale for the whole family!
Fri 12/12 7pm, Sat 12/13 2pm & 7pm, Sun 12/14 2pm, $10.00

See full Calendar for Events Details!


Sat & Sun, 12/13 & 14, 10am-5pm  Mountain Parks Foundation 15th Annual Holiday Fundraiser, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park,  Nature's Beauty and the joy of the Season meet as you shop for nature-themed gifts! Win one of the many fabulous prizes in the 12 Days of Christmakwaanzahannustice Raffle. Enjoy crafters and artisans, kid's activities, a fun and wonderful toy train and railroad display, live entertainment, redwoods and more at this magical event! Proceeds benefit environmental and cultural education.


Sat, 12/13, 10am-12pm, Create Holiday Gifts, MAH
Elves have the most fun when they create personal holiday gifts for friends and family. Each gift reflects the love and craftsmanship of the young artist that made it. Sorry, we can't even whisper what we will be making, because then it won't be a surprise! Materials are included. 831-429-1964 x 20 or email to register. $5/person


Sat, 12/13 11am, Uncle Nathan's Day, Capitola Village
Annual Christmas/Chanukah party for local children in need. Everyone welcome! Enjoy visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus, The Grinch, Mickey Magic and a fire juggler.


Sat, 12/13, 2:30pm,  Christmas Caroling, 28 children from Ben Jammin's Academy of Performing Arts wander Pacific Ave singing carols, traditional and otherwise. Free, Parade Launch Zone, Laurel & Pacific, Santa Cruz.


Sat, 12/13, -20, Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Faire, SC County Animal Services
Rescued, medically ok'd dogs, cats and bunnies from c will pull your tender heartstrings; also, free pro advice on care; Capitola Mall near the Sears store.
Sat, 11am-7pm; Tue, Dec. 16, 5-8pm; Sat, Dec. 20, 11am-7pm

See full Calendar for Events Details!

Sat, 12/14 7pm, Zambra Concert, United Methodist Church, Zambra, a female a cappella group, appears in a free holiday concert featuring Celtic, Judaic, European, and early American seasonal songs in the 3 Bells Cafe Concert Series held at the Ten women strong, Zambra sings original arrangements of glorious global vocal music in over 15 languages. Free


(Site Photos) OnceUponAMattressActors.jpgSat-Sun, 12/5-7 Once Upon a Mattress, All About Theatre, Harbor High Theatre (lower parking lot)

Fri, Sat, & Sun - 12/12, 13 & 14 Holiday Lights Train, Boardwalk,The beautiful, decked-out Holiday Lights Train makes a roundtrip from the Boardwalk through the streets of Santa Cruz with music, hot cider, and Santa. It's festive fun for kids of all ages. Children under 3 are free.


Sun, 12/14 Infant Massage Class, Mother and Child, Sutter
A two hour class where parents and caregivers will learn techniques for reducing colic, gas, congestion and teething discomfort. Promtes bonding, mindful communication and sounder sleep; improves digestion; and helps baby learn to relax. Parents will learn to understand baby's non-verbal cues. A combination of Swedish, Indian and reflexology techniques will be included.

Sat & Sun 12/13 & 14, 11am-4pm, Aptos Academy Collects Toys For Tots
Aptos Academy students will collect new unwrapped gift items for children if all ages in our local community in front of Toys R Us in Santa Cruz, including toys, new educational materials, art supplies, clothing or cash donations.


Dec 7-Dec 31, Horse-drawn Carriage Rides, Downtown Santa Cruz, Clip-clop through Downtown Santa Cruz via the original form of horsepower. Fridays, 6-9pm; Saturdays, 4-8pm; Sundays, 1-4pm $5


Sun, 12/14, 7pm, Guitarmy Benefit Music Concert, Vets Hall,  Guitarmy is a group of students from The Musicschool playing classic rock songs along with professional musicians, including Dale Ockerman, guitar (The White Album Ensemble, Doobie Brothers, Quicksilver Messenger Service), Tiran Porter, bass (The White Album Ensemble, Doobie Brothers), David Tucker, drums (Maria Muldaur) and Dylan Rosenberg, guitar (Archer).


Mon, 12/15 8pm, Westside Community Folk Song/Gospel Choir, Christian Life Center, 1009 Mission St., Santa Cruz, Free,Donations welcome

Through Jan 11, Ice Skating, San Jose


See full Calendar for Events Details!




(Site Photos) SukiWessling.jpg

Suki Wessling's Blog

The Parenting Trap

     I received some pearls of wisdom the other day about discipline from a tattooed great-grandmother who works at my daughter's homeschool program.

       My wise woman told me that she never had preschoolers in her care give her trouble about walking in a line on sidewalks. When I expressed my doubt that she'd be able to rein my daughter in like that, she let drop a phrase that has stuck with me. "Oh," she said, "Your daughter has a perimeter. All kids have perimeters. Your daughter's is just a bit bigger than most."    (continued)


Suki Wessling, Aptos, CA,

Writer, stay-at-home mom, educator, web designer, homeschooling parent.




(Site Photos) LorrainePhoto.jpgNext Teleclass

with Lorraine

December 16, 6pm

The 12 Secrets to Parenting Success
In 12 Interactive Phone Meetings with Lorraine

You're about to learn the 12 Secrets to Parenting Success while Creating the Closeness You Crave with Your Child...for LIFE!

I'll show you step-by-step how to do the 'right parent thing' (not always popular with your kids). These 12 Secrets will inspire your child's gratitude for how you raised him or her.

All my love, and can hardly wait to introduce you to the 12 Secrets! You'll love it. -Lorraine

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Schools K-12



Events Calendar for Details


GBK: You're A Good Man Charlie Brown


Loma Prieta: Disney's Jungle Book



Open Houses

Most schools offer shadow days when your child may visit for a day.  Directors welcome you and your questions.  Call to schedule a visit.


Local Perks

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Specials for You!


Our Sponsors



(Business Logos) Kajeet.jpg



kajeet is the only cell phone service especially for kids!

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Made for teens and tweens whose parents want them to have a cell phone but want to maintain control over it. kajeet is a stand-alone, pay-as-you-go phone with no contract, no activation fees and no surprise bills at the end of the month. kajeet allows parents to keep track of calls and text messages and gives parents the option to block calls and/or texts from specific phone numbers that you don't want your child to receive. 


An optional GPS system gives parents the ability to find the phone at any time. kajeet runs on the Sprint PCS nationwide network, providing quality service and coverage.  Phone plans starts as low as $4.99/month and you are able to add or remove services at any time.


Visit: for more details!

Enter coupon code: SCPARENT at check out and receive FREE Shipping and 15% OFF your order. Check the Local Perks coupons for another Bonus discount when you activate your new phone!


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Parks A-Z

State, County, Cities



Open Gym
Parents night Out
Don't miss out on the FUN!
Sat, Dec 13
Ages 3-12
ONLY $30
Sibling discounts




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Tyrolean Inn

Bavarian Buffet
with Special Musical Guests

Wild Game Fridays

 Gluhwein is here!

Traditional spiced red wine to warm your

soul and toes!

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Christmas Eve Dinner

Presents for Children

Tyrolean Inn

9600 Hwy 9

Ben Lomond



Once Upon a Mattress

Come and enjoy this fabulous comedy performed by local talented students aged 7 through 13 years of age, accompanied by a 7-piece orchestra.

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Once Upon a Mattress is a critically-acclaimed musical comedy that opened on Broadway on May 11, 1959 and ran for 460 performances. The play was written as an adaptation of the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea.


All About Theatre

Dec 5-14:Fridays 7pm,Saturdays 7pm,Sundays 2pm,Sat Dec 13 2pm

Special!! Ticket Offer

Here Only

for SantaCruzParent Friends



"I went to Wind in the Willows with my dad on Sunday. I thought it was really funny. When the toad crashed his car it was really, really, really, really funny! Ratty and Mole chased Toad up the aisle of the audience. That was really, really, really, really, really hilarious."

Charlotte, age 6


(Ads) WindintheWillows.jpg


The Wind in the Willows

Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Nov 21-Dec 14

For details go to

full Calendar.


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'Tis the season to give!

Share us with a friend!


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Save Time! Treat yourself!

Try one of Fresh Prep Kitchen's delicious family size meals!

We promise they are delicious time-savers,

and good value for the thrifty among us!

Just look at this is the December "Lite Meal" List.

*All-American Pot Roast      *Aunt Mary's Gooey Chocolate Cake      *Baked Chicken, Chunky Olive and Tomato Sauce      *Baked Tilapia with Chunky Olive and Tomato Sauce      *Baked Tofu, Chunky Olive and Tomato Sauce w/Pasta      * California Cheese-Chicken Sandwich      *California Vegetarian Cheese Steak Sandwich      *Cassoulet with Chicken and Sausage      *Green Chile Enchilada Bake      *Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie      *Roast Pork Loin with Savory Dry Rub and Fresh Shallots      *Seafood Cioppino     *Three Bean Cassoulet-Vegetarian      *Vegetarian--Green Chile Enchilada Veggie Pot

   Fresh Prep  

504 A Front St, Santa Cruz  831.429.1390

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Santa Cruz, CA