Say Goodnight, Kc

Grandma Kc wrote this on January 12th, 2017 14 Replies

For weeks now – OK months I have contemplated no longer blogging. I posted my first blog post to AmaraLand on January 19, 2010. Amara was 6 years old at the time and I still wish that I had started blogging when she was first born. But now Amara is almost 13 years old. She is still the best and most beautiful grandchild ever but she is getting to the age where having Grandma blog about her really isn’t cool anymore. She is at the age where she needs and deserves her privacy. I still get to see her almost every day and we still have lots of fun together but it became harder and harder to come up with new and interesting things to blog about. How often can I tell you about our trips to Baskin & Robins or the frozen yogurt store? The pressure of trying to plan events to blog about was getting to me. I decided it was time to move on.

One last thing before I go. If you read AmaraLand for very long you know how much I really enjoyed volunteering. OCSA, where Amara goes now doesn’t need the kind of volunteer support that Santiago did/does. I have joined the PTO there; attended a couple of meetings and helped out by baking or cooking a few times. But it just wasn’t the same. So in early November I emailed one of my favorite Santiago teachers and asked her if she needed any help with her 1st grade readers. She couldn’t have been happier to accept my offer. So now I work every Thursday morning for 2 hours in her classroom. It is so much fun and so rewarding. The hardest part has been trying to learn 30 students’ names! I’ve explained to them I am old and have memory issues – they just laugh at me! But think about it – one teacher trying to teach 30 students. She breaks them up into 3 groups. She takes one group, I take one group and the 3rd group goes to their computers and then we rotate! I can’t imagine trying to teach all of them at once! She has other volunteers on other days but not full time. I am pretty sure it is that way at most schools. I’ve told my Aunt Phyllis I am taking up her torch! For those of you who might not have read about her, my Aunt Phyllis is 95 and still walks the 3 blocks to the local elementary to help students read. She has been doing it for 15 years now so I am starting early! So my suggestion is – if you have a spare couple hours each week and you want a lot of extra hugs – call the local elementary school. Grandma Power!

But before I go you do need some recent Amara pictures! You can click them to make them larger.

“Goodnight”

Undertale and the Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie

Grandma Kc wrote this on October 21st, 2016 29 Replies

Picking Amara up from school with her Mom often leads to some fun conversations. Remember I told you she had joined the Undertale Club? Undertale is a video game she plays. Well, one afternoon when we picked her up she started talking about Undertale and the legendary Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie. To which I said, “Huh?” Amara patiently explained that in the beginning of the game you always get a piece of Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie and that she had just watched a video where they made the pie. This pie sounded interesting and I am always looking for fun things we can do together so I asked her if she wanted to make the pie. Of course she did! I asked her to send me the link so that I could make sure that I had everything we needed for her to make the pie on her next sleepover.

I watched the video and I have to say this pie was not the easiest recipe but I thought she could handle it. I had everything we needed to make the pie except for one of the key ingredients – Butterscotch Schnapps. This sent Jenna and I on quite the adventure! Santa Ana does not have a lot of real liquor stores. We tried 2 liquor stores and 3 different markets with no luck. So I broke down and ordered a bottle of butterscotch flavoring from Amazon. The only small bottles they had wouldn’t be here for a week so I ended up ordering this huge bottle of butterscotch flavoring that would arrive in 2 days. It wasn’t what I wanted to use because it wasn’t true to the recipe but it would be better than nothing.

Then we found the 3rd liquor store! It was the one! They had the little bottles like you get on the airplane. I had already discussed with Amara that if the pie turned out tasty we would make it again for Thanksgiving so I was going to get 2 of the little bottles but if you bought 2 for $5 you got the third free! Somehow I had it in my head that each pie would need 2 tablespoons so one bottle would make one pie, right? I was so excited that we had gotten it until I got home that evening and couldn’t find it! Where the heck did I put it? Jenna didn’t have it and we both looked under my car seats and everywhere else trying to find it. The gigantic bottle of butterscotch flavoring arrived the next day but now it really wasn’t what I wanted to use! So we went back to the liquor store – in case I set it down on the counter and walked out. I hadn’t so… fortunately he had 3 more bottles I could buy. I felt like such an idiot – what the heck had I done with it? Of course I woke up the next day vividly remembering having stuck the little bag down next to the emergency brake. And there it was! All of this and the recipe actually called for 1 teaspoon in the whipping cream!

Amara and the Butterscotch Schnapps bottles

Amara spent the night last Saturday night. We ate pizza and watched Ghostbusters 2016 which was much better that the critics had said it would be. We enjoyed it. We went off to bed dreaming of Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie.

Amara woke up early Sunday morning so that we could start. The plan was to make the pie and then have it when Mom and Dad came to pick her up around noon. We weren’t having breakfast. We weren’t having lunch. We were having pie! Amara did a wonderful job! She braided the pie crust; she browned the butter and she made the filling. Grandma just kept her company and did the dishes as she worked. Oh, I did teach her to make cinnamon rollups with the left over pie crust! When the pie was out of the oven it had to cool for 30 minutes before going into the fridge to cool for 30 more.

30 minutes is the perfect amount of time to take a Pokey walk with Grandma! I never seem to get all my steps in on the weekends so our walk had 2 purposes – gem and step collecting! We went and visited the new park on the corner and complained that it wasn’t there when she was little! We would have been regulars there. Also just want to mention there were no swings. Most of the parks no longer have swings and it just saddens me. So glad we had a swing set in the backyard while Amara was growing up.

Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie Collage

We got home and moved the pie to the fridge and started on the fresh whipped cream. You forget how truly delicious the real stuff is and this was flavored with cinnamon, powdered sugar and the Schnapps. Yum! We put it in the fridge with the pie and waited for Mom and Dad to arrive. Amara cut and served her pie – I added the whipped cream for her. It was delicious! We all agreed it wasn’t quite chilled enough but we didn’t care it was yummy and we will definitely make it for Thanksgiving.

Now the question is what am I going to do with the rest of that Butterscotch Schnapps? Each one of those little bottles has 10 teaspoons in them!

Butterscotch Flavoring

Not to mention that giant bottle of butterscotch flavoring!

Awesome and Amazing

Grandma Kc wrote this on October 17th, 2016 24 Replies

Hard to believe that it has been a month since I last blogged and I have lots to share.

Amara loves OCSA! We hoped she would! I am lucky and get to go with Jenna most days to drop Amara off in the morning. We’ve been trying to go to the gym afterwards on at least 3 of those mornings and so far we are doing pretty well. Many afternoons I am lucky and get to go with Jenna to pick up, too. It is pick up that is the most fun. Jenna will ask her how her day was and the answer is always “Awesome” or “Amazing”. She loves all her classes and has made some new friends.

Amara in her cat headphonesIt was on one of those pick ups that she told us about the clubs she had joined. They had 2 days where they could rush the different clubs during lunch. The club meetings are held during lunch on different days. Amara joined The Teenage Grannies, The Cat Club, Steven Universe Club and the Undertale Club. We certainly weren’t surprised that she joined the Cat Club. Her nickname at school is Cat because she always has a cat eared headband or her cat eared headphones on! Plus she does have 5 cats! They are going to make cat toys for the Animal Shelter and maybe arrange to go walk the dogs. So of course when it was Spirit Week and they had to come as their favorite animal was there any question about what she would be? The Teenage Grannies drink tea, crochet and knit! Steven Universe is a cartoon that they are all into at the moment. Amara tends to rush her speech and for the longest time I thought the show was called Steve and the Universe! Silly Grandma! Undertale is a video game that all the kids are playing! More on Undertale coming up later.

Amara the Cat Collage

A couple of times at pickup we have gone for ice cream at Baskin & Robins. A couple of times we have gone for frozen yogurt. One afternoon we took her to buy tap dance shoes for her MT dance class. She already had jazz and ballet shoes and the teacher had said they didn’t HAVE to have them so with Amara growing at supersonic rates Jenna said no to tap shoes. I had taken tap as a little girl and I loved my tap shoes so I asked Jenna if it would be OK if Grampy and I got them for her – that is if she really wanted them. So I asked her, “do you really want to have tap shoes or do you not care?” She thought for a few minutes and said that honestly, she would like to have them. So we went shoe shopping!

I was in the car last week when Amara got in the backseat bursting with excitement and told Mommy that she had gotten one of the leads in the MT Dance Showcase in December! I’ve been there to hear Amara talk about how tough their dance teacher is. They’ve been learning to do planking and if one of the students falls before they are done the whole class has to start over and add 10 seconds! So having him give her one of the leads was extra fulfilling!

Justin setting up for the Engineering and Science Fair

We’ve all visited Santiago Elementary too. A few weeks ago they had their 2nd Annual Science and Engineering Fair and they invited Justin back again. We had been there to help with the first one and this one was even better! Again the students could sign up to “Ask a Scientist” and they were very interested in Justin’s demonstration of his company’s software. Grampy went this year and was very impressed with Justin’s presentation.

One of the things we love about OCSA is that modified day (early out) is on Fridays! She usually gets out at 3:30 but on Fridays they get out at 1:30 which meant the 3 of us girls could go to Santiago last Friday and get paletas (fruit pops). It was the first time they sold them this year and we’ve been going through withdrawals! Amara got to see some of her friends again and we all got our paleta fix!

I also joined Jenna, Justin and Amara a couple of weeks ago at the Downtown Santa Ana Art Walk. They have one every Saturday evening but this one was extra special as Santiago’s Intermediate Drama was presenting An Evening with Charlie Chaplin. Each student did their own pantomime and it was such fun to figure out what each of them was doing and it was so great to see old friends – especially for Amara.

Art Walk Collage

Amara’s first year is sure off to a great start! She got her first 6 week progress report on Friday. She got a B in Spanish and the rest were all As! That’s our girl!

We are very proud of her!

Fun with Amara

Grandma Kc wrote this on September 17th, 2016 25 Replies

I better get this posted before Amara comes to spend the night again this weekend and I get that much further behind!

Amara and Grandma Kc at the Book Fair

Let me start by saying that if you didn’t get to see it on Facebook a couple of weeks ago – I got another purple calendar date! Jenna had told me that I was going to be asked to help out at the Book Fair for Back to School Night at Santiago. The PTA has always had Book Fair open during Back to School Night and while they sell lots of books to the parents that attend because those parents are visiting the classrooms it is really hard to get volunteers to work. So we all got to help! Justin was the bouncer, I ran the line directing customers to one of the 3 registers. One of those registers was manned by Miss Jenna. Even Amara worked the Book Fair and she was so fun and entertaining! You will notice in the photo of us that we are standing in front of a large board of numbered small ticket items the students/parents could purchase. As they reached the head of my line Amara would go into her Vanna routine, “Would you like anything from the wonderful board of colors and wonder and magic!!!” (Jazz hands) I just love this child! Why didn’t I think to get video of her? It was so much fun working next to her and getting to see lots of old friends.

Jenna at the Book Fair

Amara slept over that weekend. We couldn’t decide what to eat so we decided on dinner at Red Robin. Yum! We all had hamburgers and were pretty stuffed but Grampy and Amara “needed” dessert! They knew they wanted milk shakes but they just couldn’t decide! So Grampy got the cookies and cream shake and Amara ordered the cupcake shake (without sprinkles because Grampy doesn’t like sprinkles) and they both had them split! So they each got 2 milk shakes! I love going out with the 2 of them. It is so fun and entertaining! Oh and they forced me to order the molten lava cake so they could have some of that, too! I think I got 2 bites. It was really more than I wanted!

Amara and Grampy at Red Robin

Our plan for after dinner had been to come home and watch “the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” on Amazon. Amara had recently read the book and Rich and I had read it a long time ago. We’d also seen the movie when it came out but couldn’t remember any of it so thought this would be fun! Then we got home and Amara thought it would be lots more fun to watch Cake Wars – so why not!

Sunday morning Amara and I were off to the Orange International Street Fair! The Orange Circle and surrounding streets are all closed to traffic and each area is devoted to a different country. There were food vendors and shopping booths down the middle of all the streets. It was in the mid-70s and it was perfect out! We went early as parking is terrible and the crowds start to get pretty rowdy by noon! Between almost every food vendor is a beer wagon! Even OCSA had one although theirs wasn’t open at 10 AM.

The OCSA Beer Truck

Amara, like most of her friends and family is into Pokemon Go so we did at least 2 laps around the Circle catching Pokeys! I don’t have the game on my phone but I do have a lot of fun walking with her and hearing all about everything she has caught or that is hatching! I just smile and nod! After about 2 laps of that Amara put her phone away and we got down to some serious shopping and eating! One of our favorite places to go at The Circle is The Perfect Circle Cupcakery – they’ve been on Cupcake Wars! I was worried they would be closed as most of the shops were. We were in luck and we took a break from our walk to share mini-cupcakes! I bought some Christmas gifts and Amara bought some peppermint bath salts. We had such a good time!

Amara and her mini-cupcakes

Maybe this weekend we will get that movie watched!

The First Week of School

Grandma Kc wrote this on August 28th, 2016 28 Replies

Amara’s first week of school is officially over and she absolutely loves it! Justin took her first day of school off so that he could go with Jenna to drop off and pick up. Jenna supplied us with lots of pictures of that day but for Grampy and I the best part was when she phoned us after school. The excitement in her voice was contagious.

Amara on the first day of OCSA

Amara has block schedule so she only had half of her classes that first day but so far Spanish was her favorite class. She had made new friends and they had lunch together. I asked her if they had eaten all of the gummies she had taken with her. Not all of them as no one was very hungry. She felt they had all over packed their lunches. I think it was just the excitement level. She told us about the little grocery store across the street where students go to purchase things. Remember how I told you that Amara had tested to get into Advanced Math? Well she is one of 2 or 3 7th graders and all the rest of the students in her class are 8th or 9th grade! She was very proud of this. She’d had a great first day at her new school.

I got to go with Jenna to drop Amara off and pick her up on her second day. The campus really is huge and there were so many students milling around. It reminded me of being on a college campus. This would be another day of all new classes. Today’s favorite class was Lit & Comp. We went and had yogurt after school and got to hear all about it. She told us about the different teachers. She has all female teachers except for her M/T Dance – Modern Theater Dance! I have to stay up on the lingo! I think that may be the most challenging class as her legs were really sore by the end of the week. Of course that might be from having to walk up 7 flights of stairs for one of her classes! She has one class that is a “tea class”. The teacher would like them to bring cups and tea to enjoy during class! She has another teacher that not only allows chewing gum but encourages it! So many details!

Friday was wonderful. To wrap up the first week they had a Welcome Week street fair. It was mostly for the students but parents were encouraged to come and that includes Grandmas! Fridays are early out for OCSA so the festivities started around 1:30. There were food trucks and each conservatory had a table. At those tables you could win raffles tickets to use either in the prize drawings or at the dunk tanks where teachers were scheduled to be. There was face painting and a DJ but the best part was the young dancer dressed all in red. He was so fun and entertaining and he got students all up and dancing including Amara!

It really is such an amazing school filled with so many talented students.
Amara is going to have a wonderful year.

Grandma Pen Pals

Grandma Kc wrote this on August 21st, 2016 30 Replies

It all started back in February of 2013. I had written the blog post “STAR Awards” and it featured this picture.

Amara and the girls getting STAR Awards

This is a picture of Amara and 2 of her best friends — best friends both then and now. They had all gotten STAR Awards. STAR is the “Standardized Testing and Reporting Program”. I had gotten permission from both of the girls moms to post the photo. It was at this same time that I had been nominated for Grandparenting Blog of the Year for 2013 and I needed votes! The Mom of one of the girls in the photo sent my blog post on to her Mom to read (and to solicit her vote) and I got the sweetest email from her that evening. I’d posted a picture of her granddaughter! That is her in the middle. We soon became Grandma Pen Pals! She lives in Michigan which is where I grew up. We had granddaughters who were best friends and daughters who were best friends. How could we not be friends, too?

Grandparents Day 2009 at Preschool with Amara and 2 friends

The fact that this Grandma lives in Michigan gave us another thing in common. In fact, it is because she lives in Michigan that her granddaughter and I had become special friends long before the STAR post. She and Amara went to preschool together and I got to be grandma for the day to her and another of Amara’s friends at the Grandparents Day Celebration. Long distance Grandmas can’t always be there so I had 3 granddaughters that day!

First Day of School

You know how I love to take pictures. I had tons of pictures of this girl and her entire family that I could send her and I did. I know how lucky I am to get to see all the everyday stuff that she was missing out on. I was always at school with my camera and I just made it a point to try and remember to get pictures to email her. We have even gotten to meet a few times when she has visited California.

Last Day of School 2016

So fellow bloggers — get involved at school and take some pictures. You never know what Grandma you could be helping out or what friend you might make!

This post has been linked to the GRAND Social blogging event at Grandmas Briefs.