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    Can you use the words simplify and kids in the same sentence?


(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Mom_Zen_Juggling.jpg    How do you juggle kids, dentist appointments, after-school classes, late night feedings, sleep, bills, laundry, cooking, email, phone calls and an occasional date night and keep it SIMPLE? Some parents  seem to do it all so effortlessly.  I have learned that I need to to organize myself so that things can run more smoothly. If there's clutter with too much stuff or too much to do, I don't function well. Sometimes this means getting help in areas where you can (hiring a housekeeper or a gardener, carpooling with friends, bringing in a professional organizer , etc.) What also helps me the most is doing a little bit everyday so that the piles do not become overwhelming. 


    I like Shannon McGinnis's "10 Minute Tidy" (the entire family picks up and puts away stuff for 10 minutes) and an associate recently shared a little gem called the Power Hour.  Because I work from home, I am always at work. It is so easy for me to work all day and into the night and completely neglect household tasks, not to mention neglecting my family, friends and sweet dog who lives for walks. The Power Hour has definitely come to my rescue. The concept is to split one hour of the day into four 15 minute sections and focus intensely on one task. I've split mine up into

  1. laundry, trash or vacuum
  2. kitchen
  3. pick up clutter
  4. I deep clean one item -  bathtub,  kitchen counters, one blind...

    It's critical to use the timer and not let one project grow beyond its allotted 15 minutes. I also use the Power Hour for business as well except I break the segments into half hour segments. If you decide to try this out, I'd love to hear about how you are using it, and if it works for you. We'll introduce your comments in a future newsletter.

 Simplify Using
    We try to help parents by making information easy to find. We are constantly adding new information, so tour around the website every once in a while to make sure you are taking advantage of everything available...


  • Use our Resource Directory to find everything from camps, kids classes , organizers, cleaning services, party resources, fitness programs, restaurants... if it relates to family, you will find it on If it's not there, tell us!
  • Use the A-Z list when you just need to find a phone number.
  • Looking for fun? Check the Events Calendar for local events and activities. This is also a great place to find out which programs are hosting "date night" for parents.  Looking for weekly classes, playgroups, parent groups? Check the Weekly Calendar .
  • Use the PARENT PLANNER to coordinate camps with other parents or use it when you are planning your activities for the weekend. Click on any resource or event you are interested in and then click to print out or email your personalized list.
  • Organize your closets and clear out your garage by purging all those things you are no longer using and sell them on our Classifieds
  • OR use our Families Giving Back page to find a local organization to donate to.
  • Click on the Recipe Club to find great family friendly recipes with a printable grocery list.
  • Click on Playgrounds for a list of local parks when you plan your next playgroup.  We have many wonderful local parks.  Did we miss one?  Submit your favorite to be added to our list and tell us why you like it.
  • Use the Local Perks section to find great deals & printable coupons.
Does your business offer products, services
or resources for families?


    We like helping mompreneurs and dadpreneurs grow their businesses. Email or call us, 713.7026.  Let's explore options with  It's amazingly affordable.  Other parents want to support you too, if only they knew you existed!




(Icons/Graphics) LadyDetectives.jpgEvents for You!

 calendar details



Thurs, 5/15, 7:30pm Local Expert Talks: Money On the Mind

Lori Lochtefeld is a certified independent financial advisor who knows what living in Santa Cruz means financially because she lives here, too. She focuses on how “going green” can save you money.   Capitola Book Cafe


Fri, 5/15 8-11:30pm, VIPS TEEN DANCE NITE

For ages 13-18 only. With DJ Showbiz.  The Catalyst  1011 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz, $10 advance/$15 door.


Sat, 5/17, 2-10, MAIFEST at The Tyrolean Inn, Ben Lomond(Site Photos) MaifestDancing.jpg
    Its too hard to wait until September for Oktoberfest so we party in May!  Dance to the music of the Al Gruber Band starting at 3pm.
Practice holding your beer steins.  Last year a mother of one year old twins won the contest to the cheers of everyone there!  Come with your dancing shoes! Special Maifest menu and lots of Bavarian pretzels! For the kids, the bounce house is always a winner along with arts and crafts.  And all adults are invited to keep up with the children in the popular Chicken Dance!

Sat, 5/17, 11-4  Nature Notes & Sketches: Keeping an Illustrated Field Journal

Natural Science Illustration often captivates viewers with its stunning beauty.  This one-day workshop will introduce you to the visual and verbal tools for capturing your own alluring images of the colors, shapes, and stories of a day spent outdoors. Natural History Museum


Sat, 5/17, 10-3,  Children's Day Downtown Santa Cruz

Over 30 Booths with activities for children; Dance, Gymnastics and Martial Arts Performances, Climb the Ladder with SC Fire Department; Free gifts from downtown merchants. Pacific & Cooper


5/17, 11-5 Santa Cruz Education Foundation presents the

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an exciting new annual festival celebrating the Santa Cruz's rich cultural and natural resources. San Lorenzo Park's bench lands will be transformed into the "Piazza di San Lorenzo", an aesthetic contemporary arts and crafts marketplace.


5/17 & 18, Boardwalk 101st Season Kick Off!
    Opening Weekend will be a splashy affair when champion high divers return to the beach with a thrilling new aquatic show. From an incredible 80-foot tower dive to wild trampoline antics, these talented performers will keep everyone gasping!  The action-packed day also includes a preview performance by the Amazing Chinese Acrobats!  Sky Divers (Saturday only) wrap up the day with a spectacular beach landing over the Cocoanut Grove!


Mon-Fri, 5/19-23 Story Hours, Play Groups, Weekly Classes here



Thank You, Officer, No Really!

by Starshine Roshell
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    I knew it before his hulking, uniformed frame filled my passenger-side window. I knew it even before his patrol car crept quietly up behind me, centering itself in my rear-view mirror.
     I had been speeding.
     He clocked me at 80 mph in a 65 zone, but I was doing 90 before his radar locked onto my hastening Honda. I was late to fetch my son from preschool. Rather, I was about to be late, because late is not something I allow myself to be. I had left work in plenty of time but then, calculating an extravagant surplus of eight minutes, decided to first stop and pick up a prescription my other son needed. The errand took longer than I had hoped, and my cunning plan was to compensate for the tactical error by endangering countless lives on the highway.
     God forbid my 2-year-old should have to ask, "Where's my mommy?"
There's that highly charged 30-second window between the moment your tires come to rest on the road's shoulder and the moment the officer says, "Do you know why I pulled you over?" Options ricochet through your racing mind: How do you play this? Outright denial? Feigned ignorance? Unabashed groveling?
     For the first time in my life, I chose contrition, straight-up. Even as I sat there, hands at 10 and 2, humiliated by the "gotcha" grins of passing motorists, I knew I had earned the ticket and every inconvenience — fines, court appearances, traffic court — that it would cost me.
    I deserved it. I was humbled by it. And despite what I may have involuntarily muttered about the cop's manhood as I slowed my time-traveling torpedo to a schedule-stymying, efficiency-impeding halt, I was actually (oh, it hurts to even type it) grateful for it. 
    Because the ticket I drove away with is more than a hastily scrawled traffic citation. It's a bright yellow metaphor — and much-needed wake-up call — for the reckless pace of my life.
     I could blame it on Santa Barbara's high cost of living. Or my decision to work full time while raising kids. Or the flawed personality of an over-achiever.
     But the truth is we all struggle with work-life balance these days. We all neglect our health to nurture our careers, and slight our friendships to make time for our families. We all act as though a minute not spent in pursuit of income, or in completion of household chores, is a minute squandered. 
    As busy and goal-oriented as we are, though, we can be shockingly lazy about our vices. We engage in foolhardy behaviors that help us through the day — chugging wine or mainlining coffee, scarfing donut holes, tearing through speed limits — figuring we'll hit the brakes as soon as it gets "dangerous." 
    When I was pulled over by the Highway Patrolman (whose name, according to his expeditious handwriting, is Officer MTcliH) my operating principle was productivity at all costs — and I'm lucky the natural consequence of my folly was a slap on the wrist rather than a body-mangling wreck.
     I was late to pick up my kid from school that day, but I didn't rush through the afternoon the way I normally would. In fact, something odd happened.
     Rather than checking email while my kids watched TV, or folding laundry while they did their chores, we actually played together. Finding ourselves plopped on the driveway beside a bucket of sidewalk chalk, we colored and scribbled all over the tires of my car. Tires that had earlier been pushed to their performance limit now sat idle, their only function to foster our amusement. Our togetherness.
    I still find myself speeding some days, and trying to squeeze too many half-assed accomplishments into too few minutes. But I don't want to spend every waking minute in the fast lane. There's a freedom, really, in acknowledging life's limits, speed and otherwise. I'm no expert at it yet, but I'll get there eventually.
    Better late than never.

Starshine Roshell is a writer and mother of two.

Visit her at



Aptos Academy

School & Camp

Open House



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An excellent education
can be affordable!

Visit us Sunday, May 18

from 2-5pm or call for a tour.

Havana Noches
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Dinner Auction
Live Latin Music & Dancing
Latin Food and Mojito Bar
Silent and Live Auctions
$47 per person
Friends of Carden
for Enrichment Programs
at Carden School
Guests Welcome! 
Call 460.2600 


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Moms Meet Companies! 


    Maria Bailey, the owner of BSM Media calls herself a "connector."  And now, recognizing that moms are the CFO's of the family, she's looking to connect you.


    Maria has introduced Mom Select, a place where moms and mom bloggers can connect with companies who are trying to get the word out about their products and programs.  Visit Mom Select and sign up - you don't have to have a website or a blog that is visited by thousands of people each day, in fact, you don't have to have a website or a blog at all! 


    Mom Select is a group that allows moms to decide whether or not you want to be a part of marketing a company.  You're not contracted to do anything, you can accept or decline anything as it comes along.


    Moms are great influencers.  Maria knows it.  And companies know it too.

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Where the locals shop!
Branciforte & Soquel 


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Kung Fu Kids Camp 


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 Martial Arts
Weekly Day Camps
Offsite Trips
Tons of Fun Activities
with Santa Cruz Local
Luke Gellin
Academy of Martial Arts
1570 Soquel Dr.
Santa Cruz

and also Chinese
with Monica Galvan
of Santa Cruz Spanish 
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All classes include activities, crafts and music so children learn the language and culture while  having fun.
Spanish 1
Basic introduction for students who never took Spanish classes before.  Vocabulary, songs & beginning conversation.
Spanish 2

Prerequisite: Spanish 1 or good command of basic vocabulary (colors, numbers, days of the week, greetings, etc). Reading, playing, learning verbs, vocabulary, and practicing conversation.

 Spanish 3

Advanced conversation and practice using Spanish language and literature.

 Basic introduction for students who never took Chinese classes before. Vocabulary, songs, beginning conversation.
Visit website or call 345.1961

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If you got one good idea
from this newsletter,
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Spring Festival Fundraiser, Branciforte Middle School

Friday, May 16, 7-9pm 

Entertainment, games for all, silent auction,raffle and delicious food.

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Santa Cruz, CA