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The New Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Grand Opening Did Not Disappoint


A few weeks ago, my children and I had the wonderful opportunity to view the new Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at its grand opening. The new facility, which includes added square footage, making it the largest children’s hospital in North America and the most technologically advanced in the world, is nothing short of spectacular. 
The hospital was designed to advance health care in a world of ever-evolving innovative technology. New technologies such as robotic surgery and next-generation imaging tools will improve the way patients are cared for. Fortunately, more families will be able to benefit from this state of the art facility with the expansion of surgery, imaging, and diagnostic capacity and incorporating the latest technology to allow kids the opportunity to have the best and most coordinated, collaborative care, and of course lots of beds. 
There was a strong emphasis placed on the needs of families during the design and construction of the new hospital. The facility boasts of well-designed bedroom suites not only for the comfort of its young patients, but also to accommodate parents. The suites all have tub and shower; two television screens; smart room designs with features such as caring team members names will pop up on the screen when they enter the room; family offices, so parents can have some quiet work time; simple design elements, like floors that absorb sound so patients and loved ones are not distracted by constant heavy walking. 

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There are other neat features at the new hospital like the healing garden, outdoor play areas, indoor play areas, Harvest Cafe, Tribute Wall, the amazing art pieces, and so much more. 
Since our three children have had surgery at the old facility, and at that time we felt that it was still cutting edge, we wanted to know the fate of the old facility. We were told that it will focus on neonatal careOh, how I wish our experience was at this new facility.  They certainly would not be able to get rid of us.  Those of you who will be having your children at the new hospital, you are lucky. Your children will be very well taken care of, with the most advanced technology and in the care of some of the world’s best doctors.  The environment will help put you in a better frame of mind, no matter what your family may be going through. This facility is truly a gem and will be fully opened in December.  

Seeing is believing!


After school care programs with transportation in Palo Alto

kids transportation in Palo Alto


Welcome back to school! If you live in Palo Alto, and your child/ren attend a school in the Palo Alto Unified School District ( PAUSD), congrats on getting through the first two weeks of school.


Although your kids may be happily settled into their school routine, however, finding reliable after school care options remain one of the biggest challenges facing busy and working parents. Many depend on nannies to pick up their children from school, others rely on friends and neighbors and some choose to have their children enrolled in after school care programs, where the children get to be supervised, they are engaged in extra curricular activities and most importantly they are picked up from school.


If you are looking into having your child or children picked up from school and transported to a supervised facility where you can pick up later, here is a list of after school programs that cater to kids in the Palo Alto area.


Palo Alto Community Child Care PACCC


This is one of the most convenient types of after school care in Palo Alto. Since many of the childcare centers are located on elementary school campuses around Palo Alto, it simplifies the kid’s experience making the transition easy. The kids are escorted by a staff of PACCC from their school to the center.


The program is identified as Kid’s Club at each site. So for instance, at Hoover, the center is called the Hoover Kids Club. They are run by the City of Palo Alto, and usually due to the proximity to the schools these centers offer a seamless transition for children moving from school to after school care.  The waitlist for Kid’s Club is usually very long, and parents are urged to apply early in the calendar year to be able to secure a spot for their child. Kids may also be able to register in another Kids Club than their neighborhood one if they are able to provide transportation. For more information about PACCC check out their website http://paccc.org/centers/what_paccc_offers


ACME Afterschool Program


ACME offers after school childcare for children K-6, and the program also provides transportation from the various schools around Palo Alto. ACME’s academic enrichment programs have a focus on Chinese immersion. The program also includes homework help, and a variety of enrichment classes like Math Olympiad, chess, drawing, etc. The center is open until 6:00 pm and located at 4000 Middlefield Road, at Cubberley, (650)565-8286. For more information check out their website http://www.acmeschool.com/


Nine Fruits


This is an academic Chinese program, where children K-6 learn Mandarin, Chinese culture, and traditions and are also exposed to some electives like chess, arts, lego and Kung fu. The program offers childcare until 6 pm. They are located 2484 Old Middlefield Way (650) 669-3515 / (650) 962-1900  For more information https://www.ninefruits.org/


Mustard Seed


Also with a focus on teaching Mandarin, the program also offers homework time and free play. Mustard seed offers after school care and transportation from K to 5 as well as Mandarin classes for middle schoolers. The program has been serving the Palo Alto community since the 1990s.  They can be reached at 650-494-7389 or visit them at 2585 East Bayshore Road for more information visit them at http://www.mustardseedlearningcenter.org/after-school/


Twisters Kids Club (No longer offers transportation from Palo Alto)


Since Twisters is also a gymnastic club, it offers quite a few specialized classes like Dance, gymnastics, tae kwon do, as well as study time, movies, arts and crafts, and other fun activities. Located in Sunnyvale, twisters offers care time 6:30 pm for children K-5. Twisters pick up from various schools in Palo Alto. Contact them at (408)734-3547 1165 N Fair Oaks, Sunnyvale. http://twisterssportscenter.com/kids-club/


Club J


This after school care program is located within the facility of the Oshman Family JCC and offers quite an extensive array of enrichment programs including humanities, physical activities like swimming, literacy, other interest based enrichment classes including chess, legos etc. The program offers some of the most diverse after school activities in Palo Alto and under the umbrella of the JCC, the offerings are an extension of the variety of in-house programs they offer. After school care is offered until 6:00 pm and the children are picked up from the various schools in Palo Alto and for their Sand Hill School location, children are picked up from Nixon and Escondido. They are located at 3921 Fabian Way, and for more information visit their website at https://paloaltojcc.org/Club-J


Genius Kids


Genius Kids is located at  569 San Antonio Road offers after school care to children K-5 until 6:00 pm. They offer homework help as well as several other fun, enrichment activities all under one roof including arts and crafts, science experiments and public speaking. Their curriculum encourages their participants to become productive, engaged students. Genius Kids can be reached at  (650)847-1821 or visit them on the web for more information http://www.geniuskidsonline.com/child-care-center/genius-kids-san-antonio-road-palo-alto-ca.


Please note that some of the programs may offer space to children in the Yong Fives or Transitional Kindergarten programs. Some of them pick up from schools twice daily so that your children may also enjoy afterschool enrichment program at their respective school, then transported to the after school care program.  Be sure to contact the site directly to get detailed information about their programs.


Let us know if we omitted to include any other after school care programs with transportation in Palo Alto.



The new Marshalls/HomeGoods opened last week

The new Marshall/HomeGoods opened last week in Mountain View

Marshall HomeGoods Lighting


Last Thursday I attended the Grand Opening of the Marshalls/Home Goods store in Mountain View and was so pleased with the wonderful variety of cool stuff that was on display. The store features a wide selection of curated pieces for the home in every category: fantastic linens, glassware, decorative accessories, garden and floral, decorative pillows, storage and more.


Regional manager Dustin mentioned that this is the 12th combined stores in the region and more to open soon. TJX Company is making it easier for frugal shoppers like myself, who appreciates the convenience of being able to shop fashion and home under one roof.


This is my favorite TJX store in the Bay Area, which in the United States includes TJ Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls. This particular store is always clean, well organized, with great selections and the staff is super friendly. Under the leadership of Store Manager Mei Mendiola, this store functions as a service oriented store where the staff is willing to go above and beyond to make sure shoppers find what they are looking for.  Some of you who visited the store during the two month long renovations noticed that the existing Marshalls was minimized to accommodate the inclusion of HomeGoods.  What a challenge it was for those wanting to explore their design creativity. Now a rebirthed design oasis is awaiting you at this location. There are lots changes including the checkout system.


The new Mountain View Marshalls/HomeGoods store has also taken on a new partnership with the Community Services Agency of Mountain View to assist with their ongoing programs to help those in need. Manager Mei donated $10,000 to the organization on Grand Opening Day to show their commitment to the organization.

Check out the lovely photos. You may just be inspired to start your new decorating project.

1040 Grant Road, Mountain Vew.  Marshallsonline.com/store-finder/345

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College Terrace Market Opens in Palo Alto

College Terrace Market Opens in Palo Alto


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A new grocery store that has added to this list of fantastic places to shop for locally grown foods and locally sourced products, opens here in Palo Alto. The long awaited College Terrace Market located 2100 El Camino Real, had its soft opening this past Wednesday, and will officially host its grand opening in two weeks.

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Our Book launch is on May 13, Mother’s Day weekend



Yay! My daughter and I are excited to host our first public book reading at the Mitchell Park Community Center, on Saturday, May 13, 12:00-1:30 pm. We are extremely pleased that this wonderful project we started a few months ago, is finally here, and thrilled that our inspiring book, “Danny Trample for School President?” is now published and is available on Amazon. It has been a very long journey with our Kickstarter campaign, while getting the support of friends and family, then getting the books printed and shipped, and actually being able to see the book, feel the beautiful hardcover book, and realize that sometimes the simplest things we do can make a huge difference in the lives of others and bring about change.






We wanted to make an impact, to help kids understand that there are learning opportunities all around us. Even though the main character in the book, Danny may have been considered a bully, in the end, he learns valuable life lessons from his friends. They help him realize his potential, and that is the beauty of our world. We can touch each other’s lives with small gestures of kindness and compassion.


Danny trample for school president launch


Please join us as we host our first public reading and official launch, on Saturday, May 13th, from 12:00 to 1:30, in the Adobe Room. Refreshments and snacks will be served.


Ten great Valentine’s Day menu options for every budget in Palo Alto

Valentine's Day in Palo Alto  


Maybe you are one of those organized, lucky or determined folks who have already chosen your perfect spot for Valentine’s Day dinner. Or if you are like me, you wait until the last minute to reserve a table, at an area restaurant, to spend some quality time while enjoying a great meal with your spouse. The wonderful thing about living in the Palo Alto area is that there are lots of dining options, and for Valentine’s Day, we wanted to offer lots of options based on menu, atmosphere and most importantly, cost. Here are ten great Valentine’s Day menu options for every budget in Palo Alto.



Madera Sand Hill Valentine's Day 

Madera at Sand Hill $125

Madera, located in Rosewood Sand Hill on Sand Hill Road, is a fantastic place to spend Valentine’s Day. Madera boasts of an intimate bespoke and romantic atmosphere and food that does not disappoint. With tantalizing menu items like Hawaiian Walu, Liberty Farms Ducks, and Lychee Rose, your special one will not be disappointed. Check out their $125 fixed price menu. To make a reservation contact: (650) 561-1540. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/579fd9ce03596ed4bfa11879/t/58866315d482e99da9a61c4e/1485202197691/menu_Valentines_2017.pdf


Sain Michael's Abbey Palo Alto Valentine's Day


Saint Michael Alley $95

Saint Michael’s Abbey is a known around Palo Alto as the most romantic restaurant and located in the heart of Palo Alto on Homer Street.  It offers a quaint and welcoming atmosphere with a menu that speaks volume.  Their $95 Pre Fixe menu features items like Tuna Carpaccio,  Grilled Filet Mignon with Truffle  Sauce and Thai Red Curry Carrot Bisque. Check out their menu http://www.stmikes.com/. To make a reservation please call: 650) 326-2530.


Couple Drinking Glasses of Cognac



Quattro at Four Seasons $275

Filled with romance this Valentines and looking for a great place enjoy Valentine’s Day Dinner? Quattro at Four Seasons offers the ultimate atmosphere and an inspiring menu of Wagyu Rib Eye, Sea Urchin, and White Truffle.  Come hungry, as you will be transformed through a seven-course culinary journey. The Pre Fixe menu price is $275. Book your table (650) 566-120.  http://quattrorestaurant.com/romantic-valentines-day-7-course-dinner/


Sea By Alexander Valentine's Day Palo Alto


Sea by Alexander Steakhouse $175

The Sea by Alexander Steakhouse is located in Southern Palo Alto on El Camino. This restaurant boasts of a fantastic marriage of land and sea. This Valentine’s Day they won’t disappoint. Check out their $175 Pre Fixe menu for more information contact (650) 213-1111. Link to Menu http://theseausa.com/files/TheSeaVDAY.pdf


Tamarine Restaurant Valentine's Day Palo Alto 


Tamarine $90

Tamarine, located on University Avenue, is a great modern place to spend Valentine’s Day with your significant other. Last year, my husband and I were lucky enough to get a table and to experience an amazing gastronomical feast while surrounded by beautiful artwork.  Their $90 Pre Fixe tasting menu boasts of  Seared Branzino Bass, Chocolate Fondue and Grilled Oyster Gratin, and worked disappoint the romantics at heart. Telephone 650 325 8500. The link to Menu https://tamarinerestaurant.com/


Calafia Palo Alto Valentine's Day



Calafia $80 Vegetarian,  $110 Regular

Calafia, located in Town and Country Shopping Center is a place where both meat and plant eaters can both enjoy a meal made to suit the palate With experienced specialists, Calafia café offers delicious foods farm to market foods in friendly relaxed atmosphere. The pre fixe vegetarian menu is $80 and the meat eater menu is $110. Telephone (650) 322-9200. https://calafiapaloalto.com/menu/#valentines-day


Dinah's Poolside Restaurant Palo Alto Valentine's Day


Dinah’s Poolside Restaurant $65

Dinah’s Poolside Restaurant is located in Dinah’s Garden Hotel Palo Alto, in Southern Palo Alto.  Dinah’s Poolside Restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining options in a very relaxed environment. With menu items like sweet potato and lobster Bisque and Valrhona Chocolate Mousse. Their $65 Pre Fixe menu will not disappoint. Book your reservation at (650) 798-1314. http://media.dinahshotel.com/d/dinahshotel/media/pdf/2.14.17_Valentines_Day_menu_e78f8e.pdf


Buca di Beppo Valentine's Day Palo Alto



Buca Di Beppo $49.99

Buca di Beppo is located in downtown Palo Alto on Emerson Street, and if you and your spouse are Italian food lover, don’t hesitate to go Buca di Beppo for Valentine’s Day. Their appetizing menu items include heart-shaped lasagna and chocolate chip cannoli. The pre fixe menu price is one of the lowest at $49.99.  http://www.bucadibeppo.com/valentines-day-reservations/


Pampas Valentine's Day Palo Alto



Pampas $68

A very popular Valentine’s Day hang out spot, Pampas is located at 529 Alma Street. The atmosphere is a bit more festive than romantic, however the food is quite the experience and their $68 Pre Fix menu includes Unlimited Rodizio & Sidebar, Glass of Sparkling French Brut Call Telephone 650) 327-1323. Menu link: https://www.facebook.com/pampaspaloalto/


Vino Local Valentine's Day Palo Alto



Vino Locale $80.00

Vino Locale located in Downtown Palo Alto, is part wine bar part restaurant. And on Valentine’s Day what better place to toast the night away than a being surrounded by a myriad of art, wines from around the world and live entertainment. Vino Locale wants you to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Pre Fixe tasting menu of $80. The four-course menu features items like Butter-Poached Lobster and Red Velvet Cake. Contact them at (650)328-0450 to book your table. Please see menu link: http://www.vinolocale.com/valentines-day/

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




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.





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.








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.




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!!!


Danny Trample illustrations


Danny Trample illustrations


Danny Trample illustrations



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



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.

A blog about a family of five in Palo Alto

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