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.

 

 

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

mayma-and-reagan

 

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.

 

 

Danny_Trample_for_School_President

 

 

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

mayma-and-reagan

 

 

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.

 

 

danny-trample-jacket-front-new

 

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.

 

dannytrampleforschoolpresident_int_spreads3

 

 

 

dannytrampleforschoolpresident_int_spreads5

 

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.

 

dannytrampleforschoolpresident_int_spreads14

 

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!!!

 

dannytrampleforschoolpresident_int_spreads6
Danny Trample illustrations

 

dannytrampleforschoolpresident_int_spreads8
Danny Trample illustrations

 

dannytrampleforschoolpresident_int_spreads9
Danny Trample illustrations

 

 

Mother’s Day Brunch and Dinner in the Palo Alto Area

 

SPRING

 

Mother’s Day is that special time of the year when we all want to show our love and heartfelt appreciation to those special persons in our lives who dedicate their whole time and efforts to genuinely and unconditionally loving and guiding us. And what better way to show them we truly care than with a special brunch or dinner? This year, in an attempt to help you offer the special mom in your life a moment of pure relaxation and culinary excitement, we have worked on a list of ten exquisite restaurants and hotels in the Bay Area that offer special Mother’s Day menus.

Continue reading

10 Useful tips when entertaining in a small space

entertaining in a small home 2a

 

If you are like me and you live in a small home in Palo Alto, entertaining could be a bit of a challenge. But there’s no need for it to be so! Especially during the holidays, don’t let space become a setback to embrace your festive self and ring in the holiday with friends, loved ones, and a healthy dose of holiday cheer.

At my home in NY, entertaining during the holidays was something that I always looked forward to. With various rooms at my full disposal, entertaining was a breeze.

This year, I decided not to let space stand in my way! It took me 2 years to figure out how to entertain in a small space. Here are 10 useful tips (based on my own experience) that might help you organize a special holiday event that your guests will surely remember with pleasure.

 

1. Don’t overload your guest list

 

We all want to have as many friends as possible by our side, especially during the holidays. But you have to be realistic! Overloading your guest list will only make you and your guests feel uncomfortable and crowded. I have decided to host a few small gatherings to be able to extend an invitation to accommodate more people.

 

2. Add that personal touch

 

First Communion celebration place card menu

 

To help create a unique experience for your guests, you can opt for personalized napkins, place setting, or you can even pick a theme for your party. It’s a great opportunity for you to use your event as a creative outlet, and simultaneously adding personal, special touches along the way.

 

3. Set up different stations

 

entertaining in small spaces 10

 

Separating food stations helps spread your guests, making it easier to navigate around and not have everyone congregate over that one food station. You can have appetizers on the coffee table, drinks on a side cabinet, and dinner on your dining room table.  It all comes down to using all your available space to offer your guests a pleasant experience without them feeling crowded.

 

4. Create great atmosphere by playing on all 5 senses

 

first Communion Flowers1

 

 

To help create great atmosphere, use candles for smell and ambiance lighting, fresh flowers and a beautiful table setting or attractive display platters to please the eye, great tasting foods to tantalize the palate, and great background music from your smartphone’s playlist with wireless speakers for the ear to enjoy. Touch you guests’ hearts with your kindness :- )  This is such a great recipe for entertaining.

 

5. Choose a food theme to help simplify your menu

 

 

entertaining in a small home 3 entertaining in a small home 6

 

Most times, it is easier for us to stick to our favorite dishes that we know how to prepare. But having a theme makes for a more focused menu. I recently hosted a dinner party for 6 and opted for a Mediterranean inspired theme and chose various dishes to help crystalize the theme: Couscous, Moroccan lamb, Falafel stew, rice rilaf, etc. This past Wednesday, I also hosted a special birthday dinner for my husband, and the kids wanted a seafood inspired menu.  This made the cooking much easier, as many other options were easily eliminated in the name of maximizing space for this plated meal.

 

6. Rent it

Gone are the days when finding the right linen, glassware, table or chair for your event meant that you had to order an extra piece of furniture or accessory from the store, and then figure out a place to store it.  You can rent dishes, tables, linen, glasses, and anything else you might consider necessary. I do not have a large table and I still have only 4 dining room chairs. So, to create a uniform look for an event, I rented 6 narrow ballroom chairs. They cost around $6 per chair and worked great in the space.  There are many other options and prices. Check out Danny Thomas Party Rental.

 

 7. Get help

 

entertaining in a small home 7

 

There are many vendors out there who are just waiting for a sign to make your event memorable and wash away the stress of hosting a party! You can hire caterers, chefs, bartenders, or servers.  I found this company on Craigslist who has servers to help out at events. They help keep things organized while you enjoy your party and the presence of your family and beloved friends.

 

8. Don’t forget the kids

 

If you have picky eaters, create a special menu for kids and then set them up in a bedroom or play room where they can have their own fun, and not be in the way of great adult conversation. If the children are older, there maybe no need for a babysitter. If they are younger, you may want to get some help. High school students are perfect for this role.

 

9. Bring out the China

 

 

entertaining in a small space 9

 

Not every gathering may be fine china necessary.  Nonetheless, I believe that china is always more special than papergoods.  When you are catering to a very large group of people, it is easier to just use disposable. However, I find that any type of china, be it casual or elaborate, always makes a great impression, and at the same time helps protect the environment.   I have collected quite a few china sets over the years, so I enjoy mixing it up a bit, although I enjoy using simple white.

 

10.  Be a gracious host

 

No matter how big or small your party is, you will definitely want your guests to have a great time. It is extremely important to keep calm throughout the party and talk to each one of your guests. Make sure that they have everything they need: drinks, food, and, above all, pleasant company to enjoy.

I hope you will find these 10 tips useful. I’d love to hear about your experiences if you decide to use any of them while entertaining in your small or even large space!  Happy Holidays! We will reconnect in the New Year.

Getting my daughter’s ears pierced

reagan

 

Getting my daughter’s ears pierced

 

Though many people take the opportunity to pierce their daughter’s ears when they are babies, my husband and I have always thought that we should wait till ours is old enough to help us make that decision. And yes, we have been under pressure from family members who wanted to know why we had not pierced our daughter’s ears. We felt that there was truly no need for it, especially since we were not culturally or religiously obligated to do it. We grappled with the idea and felt that, if she truly wanted it when she was past the age of 8, we would guide her through the process.

 

Our lovely princess, sandwiched between the two boys, had developed this fascination with earrings: I wear them, her aunties wear them, her friends wear them, and, as the only granddaughter, her grandma wanted her to have hers when she passed away. So she really felt that she was missing out on something. We certainly did not want to be the ones to force it on her.

 

When she turned 8, she became persistent. So I decided to show her videos of girls getting their ears pierced to try to see if she would be deterred. But it only fueled her curiosity. I myself had not gotten my ears pierced until I was 13, and so I felt that she should wait maybe a little longer, just as I did.

 

She had become more persistent over the last few months. So this past weekend, I researched areas around Palo Alto where you can get children’s ears pierced, and was thus introduced to Claire’s, a few tattoo places and salons, and Piercing Padoga, which by the way was just what we were looking for. The closest one is in Milpitas, at Great Mall of the Bay Area (238 Great Mall Dr, Milpitas, CA 95035). She and I ventured out and got their in about 30 minutes.

 

I had prepared her on what to expect, and, when we got there, the lovely sales associates made it seem so easy.

 

There is a slight process we had to go through:

  1. She chose the earrings that she wanted (she chose a crown). Piercing is free with the purchase of an earring.
  2. I had to sign some legal documents.
  3. Clean the earlobes with sterilized wipes.
  4. Mark the spot for the hole with a narrow marker.
  5. They use a piercing system which loads and snaps the earrings into place. Two people worked on her at the same time to make it easier for her.
  6. The area was dabbed with a sterilizing solution.

 

daughter's ear pierced palo alto

 

She was so pleased! It was over in a few seconds. She said that she only felt a burning sensation for a few minutes and then it was all gone. I use a swab and liquid solution every morning and evening and she has not complained since she got it done.

 

FullSizeRender (10)

 

Afterwards, we celebrated with pizza and Cinnabon. I think that our experience was fantastic, especially since she not only understood the whole process, but she was also an active participant, and indeed a great mother and daughter bonding moment.

 

My son’s low stress 3rd birthday party

palo alto park birthday party 1

 

Our younger son turned 3 last Friday, and we were elated to celebrate with him on his birthday. For our family 3rd birthdays are a big deal as we think that it is the right age that they truly can appreciate a birthday party and can be active participants. For our first two children, we went all out on 3rd birthday parties, (custom cakes, personalized favors, custom invitations mailed out, large rented spaces, more stress) and it may just be a New York thing to do. Moving here to Palo Alto, we are gradually learning that low key birthday parties are welcome, and for Ronan, having his party in Los Robles Park, one of the many parks that surround Palo Alto was just right. He is king of the playground, and extremely active, so it was a no brainer that we highly endorse park parties, especially for younger active children. Read our post about  birthday party ideas for kids in Palo Alto.  

Continue reading