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One Last Summer Fling




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State Parks


County Parks


Neighborhood Parks


Amusement Parks




Nature & Science










For Back to School Shopping


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It's free!
Use our Classifieds
to Sell/Find/Give Away
Your "Stuff"!

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It's free
and it's
Very Local!


Take a Peek

into the


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Right here!


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Fresh Prep Kitchens

Select from

our menu

Swing by to pick up dinner

Kick back with the family!





A friend of this young soccer player let us know that his name is Elias
(not Ross). 
We like his smile,
so here is Elias again!

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"I like the feeling of running down the field with the ball."


Santa CruzSoccer

at DeLaveaga Park



Time for One Last Summer Fling

Vacations have a way of changing your perspective. Over the years we've enjoyed one and two week vacations far away from home base in locations glamorous to us. One week was just enough to start relaxing. Two weeks found us relaxed yet ready to return home.  Our friend Michele, with husband and two children, spent two weeks vacationing from home base, visiting a variety of attractions all within easy traveling distance.


(Icons/Graphics) CarFamilyVacation.jpgAs she described the different activities they selected, I realized that the best part  for her family was not the planning of a new adventure, packing great lunches together, checking out another town's park, discovering a new beach, finding a never-before-visited museum --but being together as a family, strengthening family bonds and returning home with treasured memories.


(Icons/Graphics) CampfirePhoto.jpgUse our Calendar of Events to plan your outings! It includes music, art, food and wine festivals, fairs, summer theater, outdoor movies, free concerts in parks and beaches, entertainment at libraries, campfires with storytelling and musicians, guided hikes and birdwalks, and more!


Visit our Resources for ideas. At the bottom of our home page you can access family friendly entertainment at some of our sister sites: Monterey, Santa Barbara, North SB County, Ventura, Orange County, San Diego, Corona.



Just in Case... Tips from AAA to Help You Breeze Through a Breakdown


(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Car_Repair.jpgAs you get ready to hit the road for your last summer hurrah make sure you're prepared for hot weather driving with these tips for surviving a breakdown.


• Pull over, stop the engine and raise the hood.

• Let the engine cool for at least 30 minutes,

• Then add water to the coolant reservoir and drive to a repair facility. Remember NEVER remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot or warm.

Electrical Failure

• Pull over and raise the hood, but leave the engine on.

• If the alternator belt is broken, turn off the engine and don't drive.

• If the belt is okay, turn off electrical accessories like the radio and heater, and drive to the nearest repair facility.


Suki's Blog: I need a vacation to unwind from my vacation...


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Well, we made it, and I'm exhausted. In the space of four days, we drove straight to Carlsbad, went to Legoland, drove to Morro Bay, did lots of cool beach-related stuff, and drove home. If it doesn't sound like a lot, first take into account the number of traffic jams we endured (one on the way down; countless on the way back up) and the fact that two adults were sleeping (well, OK, attempting to sleep) in a hotel room with three kids.

But aside from the lack of sleep, the fact that my kids can't get along for more than 45 minutes, and the fact that my sister's son asks the same questions over and over ("Where are we going, Mommy?" "Are we there yet?"), we had a fabulous time.

(Site Photos) legolandRideDuneraiders.jpgLegoland had the usual drawbacks: expensive, bad food and lines. But my sister went off with my six-year-old and her son, so that my son and I could do the stuff that he wanted to do. The six-year-olds were all about rides. My son was all about Legos. We went to the Lego workshop and watched a master Lego-builder at work; my son got his Lego driver's license; we spent a lot of time admiring Miniland, where the finished works of the master Lego-builders were displayed.


(Site Photos) Legoland.jpgEntire cities (somewhat geographically condensed so that Lombard Street snaked up the hill right by the Financial District), beautifully created Bonsais for foliage (they were real, not made of Lego), and scenes. My hands-down favorite was the inauguration scene. To see the full photo, click on the miniature to the right. It was truly fabulous. Michelle and Barack have brown Lego faces; the Chief Justice is peach. Michelle's yellow dress. Her daughter's pink sash. The detail was just fantastic. It clearly took many hours of scrutinizing photos and getting every last important detail. YoYo Ma and his cello. Aretha Franklin's fantastic hat. Wow.


Some other highlights were, as my son pointed out, the proximity of the Eiffel Tower to Mount Rushmore and the hilarious depiction of Las Vegas, itself a depiction of somewhere else.

The next day we made our way up the coast to Morro Bay. On the way, I did a sort of navigation system roulette by searching for parks and then choosing "sort by distance to travel." On the list was a national park, intriguingly named Channel Islands National Park. My kids had just gotten their passports at the last national park we visited, so we couldn't resist one that was only five miles off our charted course. It was a great choice for a side trip: a great beach at the mouth of a harbor, sand dunes, a native plant garden, and a fabulous visitor center all about the Channel Islands. My sister and I hatched a plan to get our families to camp there next year. We'll see if it happens.

Onward to Morro Bay. Crappy motel, great pizza on paper plates, boogie boarding and bird-watching. The usual Morro Bay experience! The last day we drove up 1 to enjoy the most beautiful piece of coastline in the world, Big Sur. (Long before we had kids, soon after it opened to American tourists, my husband and I went to Vietnam. We were told it was the most beautiful coastline in the world. It was lovely, but about halfway through our trip, he turned to me and said, "Uh, not to be chauvenistic about our home state, but isn't Big Sur more beautiful than this?")

We went to Jade Cove, my favorite spot in the area. It has naturally occurring jade in the cove, which very adventurous people dive for. We being only moderately adventurous, we made the climb down (not for the faint of heart or large of waistline), climbed on the excellent boulders, played with hermit crabs, and waded in the crystal-clear water.

What's a trip to Big Sur without getting stuck behind an RV towing a car? Then stuck in a traffic jam north of Monterey where 1 goes down to 2 lanes? But despite the fact that I arrived home cranky, exhausted, and desperately in need of a vacation so I could rest after my vacation, it was a fabulous time.

Suki Wessling is a writer and the mother of two kids.  As an initially reluctant homeschooler of one of her children, Suki also explores the home/school environment with a view from both sides of the fence. You can read more of Suki's blogs here:



Voice Your Opinions in Person


     My brothers and I grew up in a small New England town, population under 2,000, with citizen discussions/arguments offered and decisions voted on at town hall meetings by citizens. (Now that's grassroots. What a concept!) Lively, sometimes rowdy, exchanges were held in the Town Hall and we kids were well entertained watching adults duke it out from the balcony above the hall. Times have changed... or have they? This month during the August Congressional recess we can voice our opinions to Rep Sam Farr at his Town Hall Meetings. Of course you don't have to wait to voice your opinions. You may call or fax his offices.


Town Hall Meetings in the 17th District


It's a good idea to check his website in case of last minute changes.


Monterey Town Hall

Aug 10, 6pm
Monterey Institute of International Studies, Irvine Auditorium
499 Pierce St., Monterey

Santa Cruz Town Hall 

Aug 11, 6pm
First Congregational Church
900 High Street, Santa Cruz

Hollister Town Hall
Aug 12, 6pm
San Benito County Board of Supervisors Chambers
481 Fourth St., Hollister

Salinas Town Hall

Aug 31, 6pm
Salinas City Hall Rotunda
200 Lincoln Ave., Salinas



King City Town Hall
Sept 2, 6pm
King City Council Chambers
212 S. Vanderhurst Ave. King City
Watsonville Town Hall
Sept 3, 6pm
Watsonville City Council Chambers
275 Main St., 4th Floor, Watsonville




Sam Farr's Offices


Santa Cruz Office
701 Ocean Street
Room 318
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Fax 831-429-1458

Salinas Office
100 West Alisal Street
Salinas, CA 93901
Fax 831-424-7099

Washington Office
Fax 202-225-6791






Events for You!

Check Full Calendar for Details

8/6-9, 27th Annual Steinbeck Festival, Steinbeck Center
Celebrate John Steinbeck during this 4-day festival filled with speakers, theater acts, and tours. A focus on Steinbeck's life-long passion for King Arthur. Coinciding with the recent Penguin Classics Deluxe edition paperback release of John Steinbeck's book, The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights, the National Steinbeck Center, announces its 29th Annual Steinbeck Festival, "Legends, Myth and Magic".

8/7, 6:30pm& 8:30pm, BANDS ON THE BEACH, Beach Bandstand! GREG KIHN BAND "Jeopardy" Rocker Greg Kihn is a bona fide ‘80s icon whose Top 40 hits include "Jeopardy" and "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write ‘Em)." Kihn, one of the Bay Area's most popular morning FM radio hosts is making his return to the Boardwalk.


8/8, 10am, Soquel Walking Tour, Soquel Lions Park, Learn about the dynamic history of Soquel on a walking tour led by Carolyn Swift, Director of the Capitola History Museum.

8/9, 12-2pm, Jazz Sunday,
Join us for a performance with vocalist Jeannine Bonstelle and her accompanists featuring selections related to the exhibition Musical Notes. Refreshments from Gabriella Café are available for purchase. Abbott Square, SC

8/7-9, Sat 7 Sun 11am-8pm, Cabrillo Music, Art, Food and Wine Festival Two days of outdoor world music and dance, with free art and music workshops for kids. Over 50 art and Kraft vendors. Church St. in front of Civic Auditorium. Check Calendar for many details.


8/8, 6-8pm, Bluegrass Music In The Redwoods, State Park Henry Cowell, Come and enjoy bluegrass on the edge under the cool redwoods. Then, take a nice walk in the redwoods after the show.

8/5-16, The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music,
More new orchestral music in one place, at one time, than anywhere else in the world. The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, led by Maestra Marin Alsop, is one of the most critically acclaimed presenters of contemporary music in the nation. Cabrillo Festival presents orchestral programs with deep intelligence, an informal flair, and musical excellence.  Concert Schedule.

(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) CoupleWine.jpg8/8-9, 10am-6pm, Scotts Valley Art and Wine Festival, Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce, Come enjoy fine art, wine & beer tasting, great food, and live entertainment in an open park setting at Skypark. Over 100 artists from around California and surrounding areas will be displaying a variety of painting, photography, ceramics, jewelry, glass art, sculpture, etching, digital works, textile art and much, much more. The festival also features 14 of the area's most prestigious wineries and award-winning microbreweries pouring their best. Be sure to bring your ID to enjoy the tasting fun. There is also fun for the kids, at the 'Kids Corner'.

Check Full Calendar for Details

Every Th, Fri and Sa 7pm, Campfire Programs, 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 Wheelchair and stroller accessible. Good dogs welcome! Boulder Creek


Every Sat, 7:30pm, New Brighton Campfire Center, Come down to the campfire center, sit back and enjoy the performing arts series of campfire. programs. Featuring a different group of live performers each weekend, this series highlights
talent from around the Pacific Rim.
8/8, 7:30 PM- Western Sing-a-long with Michelle Kiba
8/15, 7:30 PM- Gold Standard Barbershop Chorus
8/22, 7:30 PM- Hawaiian Music and Dance with Michelle Kiba

8/7-9 California International Airshow: "Summer-Time Blues," Salinas Municipal Airport, The Friday Night Fireworks Show is back, bigger and better than ever! Get your tickets to see the Wall of Fire and the Fireworks Extravaganza from Rich's Incredible Pyro and Fireworks America. Kids under 12 get in free with paid Adult. The US NAVY BLUE ANGELS Check out the 2009 Team and Fat Albert TOO!

8/12-16, Monterey County Fair, Kid Stuff! Five days and nights packed with fun for the entire family. Enjoy three stages of entertainment, carnival rides and games, pony rides, children's art and activities area, food from around the world and wine tasting. View the wonderful hand-made exhibits and experience our livestock shows up close and personal. You'll discover that the Fair is timeless fun for the young and young at heart.

Check Full Calendar for Details


Welcome New Businesses!

Claudio Franca

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Whole Foods Santa Cruz


Whole Foods Capitola

Mount Madonna School

Rod Sanfords Traditional Martial Arts



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Save the Date!


in the Redwoods


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Fri-Sun, 9/25-27


Featuring the Karl Lebherz Band, Big Lou's Polka Band and the California Alpine Band.

Kids activities and bounce house.
Hot pretzels and Hofbrau Haus' Oktoberfest beer!
Beer stein and yodeling contests!

Reservations taken for large groups. Wear your dancing shoes!

Tyrolean Inn

9600 Hwy 9

Ben Lomond




Parent Perks!




Splash Dogs

will be at the

Monterey Fair!


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Splash Dogs Competition

The Monterey County Fair

is pleased to announce that

Splash Dogs

will be at

the fair all week.

Splash Dogs

promotes dock jumping events across the United States in a competitive fun family-oriented atmosphere.


All water loving dogs and their owners are invited to join the competition in the high flying canine sport of

dock jumping!




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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Santa Cruz, CA