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Words for Graduates




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Your Child's Horse Dreams!

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Your Child's Purpose!

Week Long Day Camps


Ranch Responsibilities

Ages 6-16

Willow Pond Ranch
Home to Mild Mannered Rescued Horses
Host to Children
Who Love Horses


10 minutes from
Soquel Village



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Wise Words for Graduates



     Someone very dear to me is graduating from high school this month. I've tried thinking of special words I could say that would have a profound influence on her next stage in life, such as "Always do the right thing, Never say "Quit", Tell the truth."


     Yet the perfect words are not forthcoming, partly because I realize she is chomping at the bit to go out into the world,  partly because I know she must live her own life, learn from her own mistakes and experience her own triumphs, but really because I don't remember a single word of advice from any of my graduations.  I just wanted to get on with "Next!" The real learning was in the doing.


     However, just in case she's listening a little, I shall borrow some words from a very wise man whom I believe she will respect and from whom she may even draw direction.  It's Dr. Seuss!  Yes... I think she will pick one of these quotes and hold it close.


"You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own."


And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go."


"The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."


"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."


"Be who you are and say what you feel because

those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."


"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."


"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."


"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."


"The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."


"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.

Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat.

I'm all ready you see.  Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"


     Congratulations Clare!  Congratulations Graduates!  Congratulations Parents of Graduates!



Spotlight on Non-Profit!

Willow Pond Ranch, Horsemanship Camp and Service  



(Site Photos) WillowPondGroupLesson.jpg     We drove into Willow Pond Ranch on a gravel road profusely lined with sweet peas trailing wildly and gloriously along the wood fence. Around the bend a breathtaking valley greeted us. Gentle golden hills dotted with oaks and bordered with redwoods, surround indoor and outdoor arenas and the horse barn. A duck pond, plenty of shade, lots of green areas, a trickling stream called Love Creek and abundant flowers greeted us.



(Site Photos) WillowPondGirlsHorse.jpg     We had arrived right as lessons were ending for a group of girls, ranging in ages 10-14. They began grooming the horses, putting away equipment, chatting among themselves, under the careful eye of their instructors. They seemed to like all aspects of taking care of the horses. The horses were quite attentive to the girls also, nudging them gently and enjoying the brushing and attention. These girls were in an after-school class. I asked them if they were planning to attend summer camp and received a chorus of "YESes!" and "In the summer we get to come all day!"




(Site Photos) WillowPondTwoRiders.jpg     Owner Sharon North explained that summer horsemanship camps for children with gentle horses and kind instructors teach them much more than riding. In riding lessons they must focus, concentrate, utilize fine and gross motor skills. In the process they increase their physical fitness, self-confidence and pride. They learn to work as a team, to be responsible for tasks, to set boundaries, to be innovative and think creatively. That's quite a lot to gain from having so much fun!


     We also learned that the horses at Willow Pond Ranch are not your "ordinary run-of-the-ranch horses." They are rescued horses who have been rehabilitated and are some of the nicest and best mannered horses around. Connecting with rescued horses brings forth compassion in children, introducing them to the concept of service and making a difference.

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     It's intriguing that Willow Pond Ranch is a non-profit organization which donates a special program for children from CASA.  Equine therapy, matching rescued horses who were once abused with children who have been abused is a special field of therapy that has proven helpful in healing children who are on a path toward learning to trust again, as have the rescued, now re-habilitated horses. 


Visit to learn more. Better yet, call Sharon to arrange a visit, 477-7058.






Show support for parks. Visit them! 
Local rangers have prepared many rewarding activities for us.

Details in Calendar

Fri & Sat, 6/5 & 6, 7pm, Campfire Programs, State Park Big Basin, Join us in our historic campfire center for an evening of song and story. Serenade the glittering stars and learn about redwood ecology, creatures of the forest or stories of the park while relaxing in the shadows of the towering trees. Fire lighting and marshmallows (we provide the marshmallows and sticks!) at 7:00 pm and program begins at 7:30 pm  Good dogs welcome!


Sat, 6/6, 6-9pm, Full Moon Madness,  Henry Cowell, This family event highlights the phases of the moon with telescopes, night hikes, crafts and music. Guest speaker Mr. Robert Brauer from NASA Ames Research Center shares knowledge about the moon. Bluegrass music by Shoreline in the afternoon and Jazz by the Steve Abrams Trio from 6-8pm.


Sat, 6/6, 10am, The Roof of Big Basin, Big Basin Redwoods, Join docent Philip Shear on a five-mile, three-hour hike to Buzzard's Roost and the top of Big Basin for some of the best views in the park. Moderate two-mile climb going out, with an easy return. This hike is not recommended for small children. Bring lots of water, a snack, hiking shoes and a hat. Meet at Park Headquarters.


Sat 3pm & Sun 11am, 6/6 & 7, Junior Rangers & Nature Club, State Park Big Basin, Discover the fascinating secrets of the forest. Explore, practice outdoor skills and play games as you learn about plants, animals, geology, and more. Kkids ages 7-12. Sorry parents, this program is for kids only!

Sat 4:30pm & Sun 10am, 6/6 & 7, Big Basin Nature Club, fun program designed for children ages 3-6 and their families. Pretend, play, sing and explore! Wonders of the redwood forest.


Sundays, Natural History Hikes, Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center, Join Naturalist Laura Shaw for an hour long hike to explore what lives here and why.


Sun, 6/7, 12pm, Creeping Forest Ramble, Big Basin Redwoods, Explore the natural history of this less-visited trail of Big Basin with docent Doreen Devorah on a three-hour, 2.5-mile hike up and down the "creeping" terrain, along creeks, through fire-scarred redwoods and over log bridges.

Details in Calendar



Events for You!


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6/4, 8pm, Flashback Flix at Cinema 9, Jump back in time for classic films on the big screen. All Seats $5, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


Sat, 6/6 8pm, Back by public demand, the White Album Ensemble returns for "IMAGINE," a concert with members of the Santa Cruz County Symphony. 60's attire is suggested! This concert offers a rare opportunity to hear treasured Beatles music live with full rock and symphonic instrumentation.

Calendar for Details

Sat, 6/6, 9am, Junior Guards Tryouts, Simpkins Swim Center, 17th Ave, Live Oak, All new Junior Lifeguard applicants must pass a basic swim test to enroll.


Fri, 6/5, 3:30-8:30pm, ZooFest for Kids! San Francisco Zoo, The best family fundraiser of the year returns with more performers, educational activities and delicious treats.


Fri, 6/5, 7pm, Contra Dancing, or Traditional New England Folk Dancing, Santa Cruz Dance, Ages: 7+, Felton


Sat, 6/6 10am-3pm, Children's Health Fair , "Green Green Body, Green Mind" Aptos Academy, Llocal resources for healthy choices in nutrition, fitness, non-toxic homes and yards, and safe neighborhoods.  Information on drug-free support for learning challenges. Horse rides, bouncy house and other fun activities for kids, live music, martial arts demonstration.


Sat, 6/6, 11am-5pm, Strawberry Festival, Walnut Ave Women's Center, Come enjoy delicious BBQ, strawberry shortcake, chocolate dipped strawberries, strawberry ice cream, fresh strawberries and more. Take a turn at the Dunk Tank and get your favorite local celebrity wet, or enjoy carnival games, live music, a giant bounce house, etc.

Sat, 6/6, The 5th annual Woof to Woof, Skypark Soccer Complex, This doggie play day and assistance dog expo will feature contests and special prizes, guide dog demonstrations, microchipping and vaccinations, a raffle and silent auction, and delicious food and beverages throughout the day.

Sat, 6/6, 11am-12pm, Bug Walk, Earthbound Farm, $5/child, Kids of all ages learn about beneficial insects and help us release ladybugs into our fields. Fun for the whole family! $5/child (includes goodie bag), adults free.

Sun, 6/7, 1-4pm, Snakes Alive! Quail Hollow Ranch, Have you ever held a snake? How about a lizard? Come to Quail Hollow Ranch for a chance to hold king snakes, gopher snakes, and various other reptiles.


Sat & Sun, 6/6 & 7, "A Taste of the Mountains", Santa Cruz Winegrowers Association, The Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association will hold its 19th annual Vintners' Festival "A Taste of the Mountains."  The Festival offers participants a self-guided tour in which they take part in barrel tasting, meet winemakers and enjoy music, art and good food.


Sat, 6/6, 7am-4pm, Knights of Columbus Flea Market, There will be bargains in books, kitchen items, garden items, furniture, tools, electronic items and more.


Every Day, 9am-4pm, Full Bloom in the Rose Garden at Roses of Yesterday & Today in Corralitos. Peak Bloom is usually around mid-May with some of the old garden roses opening until the first week of June.


Tues, 6/9 11:45-1, Brown Bag at the Library: Small Business Survival Series, Repair Your Credit Now!! Bay Federal Credit Union Will Teach You How.

Sun, 6/14, 11-4, B-B-Q, Grilling and Smoking 101.  Blackboard Catering presents a fantastic 6-hour workshop and hands-on class where you will learn from the pros the best way to bbq, grill and smoke your favorite meats, veggies and more. Get ready to taste and savor these methods of cooking have to offer!


Calendar for Details

Fri, 6/26 12-8pm, US Women's Expo, For the woman on the go...Who wants to stay in the know. The Expo is everything that will help to empower women in their every day lives. The U.S. Women's Expo is a one stop shop for the woman on the go who wants to stay "in-the-know" on the latest in beauty, fashion and so much more! Santa Clara

Calendar for Details


Parents Night Out!
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Kids too!

Saturday, June 20


Bring the children to

Santa Cruz

Sports Central

for a fun evening of gymnastics and games.

Ages 3-12




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Bavarian Buffet!

June 4th

This will be the last buffet performance with David, our accordionist. This is a great event to introduce your friends to Gemutlichkeit!

Hwy 9, Ben Lomond



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Aimee Citron's


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"Should My Wife Go Back to Work?"


Reader Question: My wife stopped working when our daughter was born. Our daughter is now a year old, and we're pondering whether my wife should go back to working outside the home. Living on one income has been an incredible strain financially, and would be a disaster if I were to lose my job. She has been looking for a part-time job, but had absolutely no luck finding one that would be profitable after paying for daycare. Recently, she was offered a high-paying job that is full-time. It seems like my wife working full-time will be really hard on all of us. What should we do?

Answer! >>>>>

 Suki Wessling's


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Just in Case


You know how when you move into a larger house, and at first it seems like you have so much space, and then suddenly every last nook and cranny is filled?


Imagine if you had a barn...


My sister and I finally did what we'd been threatening to do this past weekend: we went...>>>>>




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Come on over!

Dinner's Ready!

Asian-Infused Tri-Tip

Bleu-Cheesey Stuffed Beef Burgers with Kaiser Buns

Bourbon Glazed Pork Steaks

Cod Cakes with Fresh Parsley & Lemon

Infused Salmon Filets

Lasagna Primavera

Savory Turkey Meatloaf with Apricot Pepper Glaze

Southwest Beef Fajitas

Southwest Chicken Fajitas
Southwest Vegetable Fajitas

Summertime Chicken and Vegetable Pockets

Summertime Vegetable and Tofu Pockets

Call and it will be waiting for you to pick up!






Fresh Prep Kitchens



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click to view: movie review: Waiting for Superman book review: The Great Truck Rescue
travel review: Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA parent blog: Antiques Roadshow: The Hottest Ticket in Town
recipe club: Thumbprint Cookies feature article: Parent & Kids

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