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My daughter and I are fighting intolerance and bullying by publishing a book

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Sometimes you get motivated to do a project, influenced by the people who you are entrusted to take care of, your children.

I have been a bit quiet on my blog about a project that I have been working on for the past few weeks. It took lots of hard work, commitment, and determination, and I’m excited that I have, with the help of my 9-year-old daughter, taken on bullying. We have started a Kickstarter campaign to make this project a reality.

 

 

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With the heightened incidents of bullying around the country this past year and the lack of tolerance that has been perpetuated in our communities, we want to encourage people, especially children, to allow love and compassion to influence their actions. We realize that we are at a crucial part of America’s history, where values are being challenged and bullying seems to be validated at a higher level. Let’s help our children reject that perception of how they should interact with others, and allow them to embrace everyone no matter what they look like.

 

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My daughter, Reagan, was instrumental in creating this manuscript and directing the illustrations for our book, “Danny Trample for School President?”. We worked with a book designer who spent 11 years at Random House as head designer in their children’s book department and a Latin American illustrator who felt it was important to collaborate with us to bring this important project to life.

 

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Our Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1602305837/danny-trample-for-school-president campaign will help us deliver our message of love, compassion, and unity to many children and concerned parents, guardians, and educators. Help us reach our goal while getting some really cool perks.

The funds raised will also help us publish the book in Spanish, help with logistics, marketing, promotion as well as fulfilling goal for our added perks. We feel truly blessed to be in a country where there are wonderful people who embrace everyone and not disqualify them as different. We would like to continue to influence our younger generation to always be upstanders and do the right thing.

Thank you!!!

 

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Danny Trample illustrations

 

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Danny Trample illustrations

 

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Danny Trample illustrations

 

 

Decorating our very own mini house just in time for the holidays

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My family was back decorating gingerbread houses at the Four Seasons this past Sunday. What a blast we had!

The best part about the experience was to witness the fun, intensity, and maturity my kids developed since their last experience, a year ago. They were so excited about decorating, that they were strategizing for weeks what candy they would use for different parts of their houses. My eleven-year-old was especially excited since he has developed the tradition of bringing his decorated gingerbread house to his classroom. This year he decided to go a step further and personalized it with his school’s name. My daughter, on the other hand, wanted to create something that she and her siblings can snack on until, well it’s gone.

Unfortunately, this year Stew was not able to join us since he had to leave town on a business trip to the East Coast, but nonetheless, we had fun.The kids brought a friend and, my dear friend and photog Charu, joined us with her daughter. We had a great group.

 

 

This year the crowd was definitely bigger. There was an ecliptic mix of people and interesting teams. There were the girlfriends, the co-workers, the neighbors, the older couples, a fraternity of men with beards, many young families, I even ran into a few families from my younger son’s school. Everyone was just excited as we were to attend this amazing workshop.

 

 

Once again, Executive Pastry Chef Eric Keppler did not disappoint with his step by step tutorial, on how to decorate your Quattro Perfect House: on creating the roof, icicles and hardscape for the gingerbread house. Then he went around giving feedback to each table. He starts preparing for this event right after summer, to make sure that he leaves no stones unturned to create a memorable experience for all.

 

 

 

With the help of a design team, the team at Quattro created a very festive atmosphere. This year the candy bar was circular with miniature houses and a winterscape in the center, and this layout created more of an intimate feel while the snacks and drinks were on an adjacent table. The bar this year was in the same room.

 

The Four Seasons Quattro restaurant team was there every step of the way to guide folks and to supply extra icing, drinks, or to extend compliments to everyone while they worked on their masterpieces. What a fantastic experience!

My children would not allow me to skip this event next year, so again we will be decorating our very own mini Palo Alto house just in time for the Holidays.

15 Amazing family-friendly Holiday events in the Palo Alto Area

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There is no doubt that December is one of the most cherished months of the year – by both young and old. The reasons are quite obvious for everyone: fun-filled Holiday activities, religious traditions, family and friend togetherness, tolerance, generosity and goodwill. As every year, the Palo Alto community puts on its festive clothes and invites everyone to enjoy the seasonal merriness. So are you ready for some traditional wintery fun? Here 15 amazing family-friendly Holiday events in the Palo Alto Area that you can definitely enjoy with your beloved ones.

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Managing your kid’s screen time: Believe it or not there is an app for that

 

So much has transpired since getting back into our groove after an amazing summer: Our 11-year-old started middle school and making new friends; our 9-year-old daughter is now in 4th grade and getting in touch with her creative side; Ronan, our 4-year-old son is in his last year of nursery school and is obsessed with dinosaurs; Stew has been very busy with work; and I have been heavily involved in the Palo Alto Elementary Math Adaptation Pilot as a committee member; Konstella is doing great, as we continue to impact school communication around the country.  I am finding that whatever time I have available, I need to spend it wisely. So taking away and hiding kids devices, in hard-to-find places around the house in order to regulate screen time is certainly not on my ideal task. There is an app for that and it is called OurPact!

 

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Announcing Lemonade Restaurant Palo Alto opening this Friday

 

 

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Great news Palo Alto, Lemonade Restaurant is set to open this Friday, June 24, at the newly redesigned 151 University Avenue location.

 

This will be Lemonade’s second of 6 planned locations in the Bay Area. The first opened two months ago in the Buena Yerba area in San Francisco, and more locations to open in Walnut Creek, Burlingame, Sunset and West Portal.  With  22 other locations in Southern California –  Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County, Lemonade is now heading North to share its highly popular restaurant concept with our Bay Area residents.

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Ten Great Gift Ideas for Teachers – thoughtful and for any budget!

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Ten Great Gift Ideas for Teachers – thoughtful and for any budget!

 

The end of the school year is often marked by the graduations, promotions, saying goodbye, the anticipation of summer, and of course the presentation of teacher’s gifts. It is almost here, and before we take off on the lovely family vacation or make our abode guest-ready, we need to spend some time to help our children pick out thoughtful gifts for their teachers . Teachers have a demanding, yet rewarding job, and we want to show our appreciation by offering an end of year gift that will be thoughtful and carefully selected.

 

There are quite a variety of options, although sometimes it is challenging to figure out what is just right for your child’s teacher.  Take a look at ten of our ideas and don’t forget to involve the kids!

 

Cup or water bottle:

There are many kinds of cups and water bottles so it should be easy to find the perfect fit for the teacher. If you are on a budget, Target sells some inexpensive ones (as low as $6). They come in all shapes and sizes. If you want a sturdy, long lasting cup you can get a Tervis Tumbler. They run from $9 and up – they have tons of themes. If you want to personalize the cup, try Etsy. They have many sleek designs and can be customized, but that takes a little longer. A cup can be enough, however, it is always awesome to put some small things in the cup: lemonade packets, straws, gift cards, chapstick, candy.

 

Grill kit:

What a great idea! It’s good for those hard to think of male gifts. Get a bucket – inexpensive ones at a dollar store, or a sturdy one at any store that has a solid home and garden center. Add some sauces, a new spatula, a pair of tongs, some rubs, and a towel. Make it really personal with a favorite summer-time recipe.

 

Movie kit:

Who doesn’t like a movie? This one is a real winner because it encourages relaxing. Get a popcorn bowl or basket.  Your favorite craft store usually has plastic ones, or you can even try dollar stores. Get a movie theatre gift card or even a Redbox gift card at www.redbox.com/gifts.  Add a bag of popcorn and a box of Skittles or another favorite candy.

 

School supplies:

Not supplies for the classroom, but for the teacher. Give them a pack of their favorite pens or markers. If the teacher is the creative, colorful type, visit any craft store and get some colorful binder clips, pens, and paperclips. Get a practical or fun container to hold the supplies. If you want to add a personal touch, there are plenty of DIY projects for supply holders.

 

Personalized planners or notebooks:

You don’t have to splurge and spend $50 on a Graphic Image Planner for your teacher, but there are other ways to get a notebook or planner and have it personalized. It can be a small to-do notebook from any dollar bins at most of your craft stores. You can stencil, paint, or use stickers to put the teacher’s name.  She or he will love the personal touch that your child will put into creating this special gift.

 

Coffee Gift Certificate:

Buy a mug, from the Dollar Store or the local pottery shop, fill it with a Starbucks gift card that fits your budget. Don’t worry, if you give a teacher this gift and they don’t drink coffee, Starbucks sells a lot of other yummy treats. They’ll use it for sure!

 

Flower pot DIY: 

Buy a terracotta pot (any size will do). Have your son or daughter paint it – finger paint, sponge paint or with a design – you name it. Then, help them write the teacher’s name on it. Make a butterfly out of your child’s feet or hands. If you are really crafty, paint it yourself and have your son or daughter pot the plant! You can do inexpensive petunias or impatiens that tend to do better in the hot summer. Use waterproof paint if you want the design to endure.  

 

DIY photo gifts: 

Let your child pick out one of their favorite pictures of themselves and send it off to Walgreens or Walmart or Shutterfly.com to get an ornament (Of course it is not the Holidays yet). Or have your child make a frame out of popsicle sticks or paint a wooden one from the craft store ($1). The effort a kid puts in touches a teacher’s heart.

 

Summer themed bucket:

This is a great idea that you can tailor to your teacher’s personality. Here are some ideas of things you can put in the bucket: a book (your local library probably has some for sale), gum or mints, a towel, sunscreen, fun sunglasses, a magazine they might like, their favorite drink, small gift cards, candy (but not a lot). The options are endless.

 

Inspirational decorations/a personal message:

Teachers need motivation! You can buy frames and signs and key chains, bookmarks or anything similar with inspirational quotes. If you love DIY, try painting a canvas or a frame and use Modge Podge to secure the quote. Teachers also really personal notes from their students. Many teachers keep boxes or folders of notes from kids. They are some of the most cherished gifts for a lot of teachers.

 

Why the Four Seasons Maui Wailea is an ideal destination for solo travel

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Why the Four Seasons Maui Wailea is an ideal destination for solo travel.

 

I was never a fan of traveling  without my husband, or family, or a girlfriend, and for the past 17 years that I have known my husband, we have often traveled as a couple and explored destinations together.  However, on Mother’s Day in 2014, it all changed and I had to hold the suitcase to a solo ride. The unplanned destiny, however, made me realize that sometimes, it’s perfectly alright to travel alone, where I could be, just me! And spend time doing nothing at all, or perhaps do whatever I want whether it is the obvious spa treatments or long uninterrupted walks or even rest without the sound of screaming kids, or inquiring husband!

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A blog about a family of five in Palo Alto

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