Father and Daughter LUAU

Grandma Kc wrote this on June 23rd, 2015 28 Replies

May and June always get so busy around here with everything that goes on at school that I always get behind on my blog posts. Let me start by telling you about the 4thAnnual Father and Daughter Dance!

Jenna and Mo

I remember when I wrote about the very first Father and Daughter Dance I took time out to tell you that Jenna and Mo were running for Co-Presidents of the PTA. They went on to win and do an amazing job for the next 2 years. Last year they each took PTA board positions but not as presidents. Let me announce that they are going to recreate their roles as Co-Presidents of the PTA for the 2015-2016 school year.
I am so proud of both of them.

Now back to the dance. This year’s theme was a Father and Daughter LUAU – no coconut tops permitted! They had to put that on the flyer because Santiago is a K-8 school and you can’t take the dress code for granted! The Dads were all thrilled as Hawaiian attire is simply shorts and a flowered shirt and sandals – the kind of attire they are most comfortable wearing!

Father and Daughter LUAU

Just like every year, a lot of work went into this dance done by a great committee headed up by Mo with Jenna as her right hand. The Father and Daughter Dances exist because it had always been Mo’s dream for her daughters to attend a Father and Daughter Dance as she had done with her own dad! So she has made it happen. I love being part of this committee each year. I get to do fun things like go to Ola Hawaiian BBQ to sample the delicious food they were going to cater. I also spent one Sunday afternoon with some of the moms and their kids making beautiful table decorations – flowers made from coffee filters and sprayed with different food colors. These were placed in tin cans wrapped in burlap and tied with a ribbon. They were beautiful and reminded me of hibiscuses.

A table full of paper flowers

It amazes me that each dance is better than the one before and with even more students in attendance. I think the final count this year was 275 attendees. The weather was perfect again! When setup time finally got there, we covered the outdoor lunch tables with brown butcher paper tied down with tulle. Mo had made a special trip to the beach to get us some sand and we spread it down the middle of the tables. It looked like you were at a luau on the beach. We also added sand to the little tin can vases to hold them down before filling them with the paper flowers. We’ve had trouble with the decorations trying to blow away in past years. This year we were ready for Mr. Wind who always seems to come around dusk. We even found a great place to set up for photos that gave us some protection from him. Green crepe paper hung around the area to look like hula skirts. There were tiki torches around the grounds. Mo even got us a yellow VW convertible with surfboard sticking out of the back seat for ambiance! In fact, we had surfboards strewn around the area. All these little details made it extra special.

The yellow VW with surfboards

This year the check in table had Hula Dancers! One of the playground supervisors is part of a Hula Dancing Team and they offered to come to the dance and help. As each Father and Daughter entered the dance, they could get Hawaiian lei to wear! The Hula Girls placed the leis on the Dads and girls just as they would in Hawaii. Everyone loved it. Later during the evening, they did an amazing demonstration for everyone! All the little girls were trying to learn it! I should also add that the male dancer used to be a student at our school.

The Hula Dancers performing for the crowd

Photos courtesy of Jenna

Jenna found a cute idea for the photos on Pinterest! Someone had used a white washed looking fence with surfboards balanced against it as a backdrop! We liked the idea and managed to find some awesome corrugated paper with a white washed fence pattern on it. We borrowed a couple of surfboards from one of the Dads and we had our backdrop! Just like prior years I didn’t get to see much of the dance – I took my last picture at 8:22 but I did have one of the best views of the night. I got to see every couple – many of them I have photographed the previous 3 years and it is amazing to look back and see how much some of these students have grown.

4 years of Father and Daughter Dance photos

I also got to hear the “ews” and “ahs” from all the students in the photo line when the Kona Ice Truck pulled in – this was their dessert and they couldn’t wait to go get it!

The Kona Ice Truck of Orange County

Just like I have taken the photos for the last 4 years, Amara’s Grandma Judi has handmade Amara and her Daddy’s outfits for each dance. They looked so cute in their matching outfits and the blue in that dress just made Amara’s eyes pop!

Jenna, Amara and Justin at the 2015 Father and Daughter LUAU

In keeping with the luau theme, Mo asked all of the volunteers to wear flowered or Hawaiian styled attire. Jenna and Mo still haven’t learned their lesson about shoes — both of them had very sore feet by the end of the dance! But they looked good and they did an amazing job.

Our favorite family

Mo works hard to make sure the dance is kept within budget. To help with defraying the cost of the dance we always have a lot of raffles! This year’s prizes were amazing. One family had even donated Disney tickets! All of the raffle prizes were intended to give the winning daughter and dad a second date. I’d had fun the month before going with Jenna and Amara to get donations – which of course meant we had to stop and have yogurt! With all of these wonderful raffle prizes, Mo’s budget was safe.

Amara and Justin dancing

One of the students brought two of her ukuleles. She even let the students use them as props to pose with for the pictures if they wanted to. Her Grandfather, who is the one who escorted her to the dance for the 4th year, has taught her to play. Later that evening as I was tearing thing down she serenaded me with it! Playing her ukulele She was impressive and it was the perfect way to end my evening!

These are the other Father and Daughter Dances Amara has gone to.

While I was gone

Grandma Kc wrote this on June 21st, 2015 31 Replies

I am back. I know it has been a while but May and June are very busy months and this year was certainly no exception! The biggest focus was the Father and Daughter Dance and everything that came before the actual event. I promise to tell you all about that in the very next post – which I promise to write soon. Let me just say it was spectacular.

But I was telling you why I have been gone and about some of what has been happening. The week after the Father and Daughter Dance, I got to see Amara’s 5th grade class play, “Alice’s Adventures in Idioms”. Her teacher invited Jenna and I to attend the dress rehearsal the day before the opening show so that we could bring our cameras and take lots of pictures without interfering with the audience enjoying the show. I hope to share more about that soon, too.

It turned out to be a great thing that she invited us as by that night the pinched nerve in my left hip was stabbing me so hard that I couldn’t go anywhere or do much of anything. Opening day was out for me. I blamed it on the days I had spent sitting at the computer working on the dance photos with my legs crossed! I know better than to sit for long times with my legs crossed! So for another week I had no way to sit and blog!

Thankfully I got to see the doctor right away and on the way home stopped and got a big bag of frozen peas – my new number one first aid measure. In a few days I was feeling well enough to go to the Volunteer Tea that Amara’s teacher had invited me, too. Every year the staff and teachers invite volunteers and say thank you by serving all kinds of goodies. It was wonderful and I’m so glad I didn’t have to miss it.

The next day I woke up with big ugly red welts. My first thought was that it was a reaction to the medicine I was taking for my hip pain. Yet I just wasn’t sure that was really what it was and so for the second time that week I was off to see the doctor.

I had shingles. I am so glad I went right away. Hopefully it means I won’t ever have to deal with them again. PLEASE if you are over 60 and you haven’t had the shingles vaccine, make an appointment and get it. I’ve been lucky in that it hasn’t been as bad as I have heard others tell but it has definitely not been fun! And completely avoidable if you don’t procrastinate like I did! Grampy has an appointment to get his vaccine next week!

Once I really began to recuperate there were all kinds of wonderful things going on! Again, no time to sit and write! Jenna was honored at the City Council meeting for being Parent of the Year at Santiago Elementary. It was even televised on the local TV channel! I have it on the DVR I just can’t figure out yet how to get it to a flash drive or something to save. There will be more on Jenna coming up soon, too!

Last week was the last week of school filled with class parties, graduation ceremonies and fruit pops to be sold every day. Plus I really wanted to try to catch up on my reading before I focused on writing. I am almost there! It has been a fun couple of months and I know it is going to be a fun summer, too! I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

My Pony Persona

Grandma Kc wrote this on May 18th, 2015 29 Replies

A couple of months ago during one of our sleepovers I was putting Amara to bed and we were just chatting. She told me she was getting very good at using paint.net on her computer. She knows of my love of Photoshop so I love hearing about what she is learning to use. She’s also been learning GIMP! I told her that I would love it if she would show me some of what she is learning online. I love that she not only spends her Saturday afternoons at art class using brushes and paints but is also becoming very adept at using a mouse and stylus to create electronic art.

The next morning after we finished making more of our awesome pancakes Amara took her chalk outside and started drawing. It came out beautiful but it was too windy outside and headed for the computer. Amara's drawing a My Little Pony with chalk Amara remembered that I wanted her to show me paint.net. She had to create a painting to show me how it really worked and so “Lady” was created. My very own My Little Pony Persona! It was so fun as she explained all the tools and how to use them.

Amara's electronic drawing of Grandma's Pony Persona

What a great way to spend the morning!

Pretty Ballerina

Grandma Kc wrote this on May 9th, 2015 28 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

I think we’ve all had favorite toys as children. One of mine was a wonderful toy squirrel! It was about the size of a real squirrel and he had a little nut in both hands that he held to his mouth while he sat up on his back two legs. You wound him up and he would hop across the floor while his tail rotated until it hit the floor and it would roll the squirrel over. I really loved that little squirrel.

My favorite stuffed animal was my big purple rabbit! She was about 3′ tall and had beautiful long ears that were purple on the outside and white on the inside. She had long, shiny fur and a pink satin bow around her neck. My parents had given her to me for Easter. I named her Flopsy and she slept sitting in a chair next to the bed I shared with my sister.

I had almost forgotten about my favorite doll until my cousin Suzi sent me this picture of the beautiful ballerina doll that she was making for her great granddaughter. This is the same Aunt Suzi who made Amara so many amazing dolls and doll clothes. She is a doll expert! Seeing her doll made the memories of my own ballerina come flooding back.

Suzi's handmade ballerina doll

I had found my ballerina in the Spiegel’s catalog. She was about 24″ tall and her legs were jointed so that she could do the splits. Her ankles were also jointed so that she could stand “en pointe”. She wore a pink leotard and tutu, white tights and pink satin pointe shoes. She even came with a black stand to hold her and a carrying case. I must have been about 8 years old and I really wanted that doll. I had shown her to my mother and after much begging she had promised to order her for my birthday.

I tried to wait patiently for her to order her but I knew that my mother was not the most reliable person. Just because she said she would order it didn’t mean she would ever get around to actually doing it! It would be one of those cases where my birthday would arrive and she would swear she had ordered it and that it was, “all the stores fault.” I knew my mother. So after a week or two I decided that I would write a letter to Spiegel’s and order it myself. Then I could just get her to write the check and all the hard part would already be done.

It was probably another week and I still had not gotten her to write the check so I had a brainstorm. I was sure this would work! I put the letter, the one that said there was a check enclosed, in a stamped envelope and addressed it to Spiegel’s. Do you remember stamped envelopes? I then — in bold pencil, wrote on the front of the envelope C.O.D. I was sure this meant they would send the doll and make my mother pay for it when it was delivered.

The lady at Spiegel’s called my mother. I had confused her and the mailman who had delivered my letter. I think I even answered the phone when they called! I remember quickly explaining to my mother what I had done and why. I knew I shouldn’t have done it and I didn’t see the whole thing ending well.

It was one of those very rare times that she didn’t get angry. Maybe she was feeling guilty for not having ordered it for me but I sure was surprised. She told the Spiegel’s lady that she would stop by their store the next day and give them a check. And she did.

Weeks later, my doll arrived. She was everything the catalog said she would be but I have to admit I was a tiny bit disappointed that she wouldn’t dance on her own! 8 year-old little girls have high expectations!

Marshmallow Madness

Grandma Kc wrote this on May 3rd, 2015 31 Replies

I can’t remember where I saw the idea but I had told Amara about this idea for coloring marshmallows. We do a lot of stuff with food color these days! She liked the idea so I had a fresh bag of marshmallows waiting when she got here. All you do is mix food color with water and put the marshmallow on a tooth pick for dipping. You can dip in multiple colors and multiple directions. We found their color got much brighter after they had dried. Watching Amara make them was so much fun.

Amara coloring marshmallows

But nothing was as funny as the Chubby Bunny Challenge she took with Grampy afterwards. I’ll let Amara explain it to you!


These two are so much fun! For the record Grampy ate a total of five in the challenge. Amara ate a LOT more marshmallows than that today!

A Great Week for Amara

Grandma Kc wrote this on April 28th, 2015 18 Replies

I think Amara had a great birthday week! It started with us putting her on the news and ended 6 days later her with her happy and exhausted! Her Mom & Dad were exhausted, too!

Since Amara’s birthday fell on Tuesday there was a big party planned for the weekend. That worked out great as Tuesday ended up being the day Jenna got her award from the School Board for being the Parent of the Year at Santiago. I was so excited that I could go with them! I have never been so proud! Amara was obviously proud of her Mom, too! As Jenna walked on stage, all of us were screaming and cheering for her! Two young girls sitting in front of us turned around to stare and Amara just beamed and said, “That’s my Mom”.

Jenna receiving her award for Parent of the Year

But that didn’t stop it from being Amara’s special day, too! We all have our routines when we come home and Amara’s is to head straight for her bedroom to put down her backpack and her trumpet. Her parents know this routine and when she got home from school Tuesday and headed to her room, you could hear her screams of delight almost to our house when she found her new purple bike in her bedroom!

Amara and her new purple bike

Wednesday Grampy and I picked her up after school and took her out for an ice cream. Amara and I made the plan to do this on the way to Mommy’s award ceremony and I asked if Amara could have two scoops and a waffle cone in honor of her birthday. Jenna said – in front of Amara – “when she is with you and Grampy I don’t care how many scoops she has!” I turned to look at Amara as she burst into a huge grin and held up 10 fingers! “10 scoops!” I thought 11 scoops for an eleven year old sounded even better and we all laughed! When we got to B&R, she decided she didn’t really think she could eat more than two scoops and this time she got a waffle bowl!

Amara and Grampy eating Baskin & Robins

When we left Baskin & Robbins to take Amara home I suddenly remembered that we needed to stop by the house before we took her home. I went in ahead of Amara and Grampy because I wanted to make sure that Twursula wasn’t lying on Amara’s bed. She was, I moved her, and she wasn’t at all happy. This was all a ruse so that we could give Amara her birthday gifts! She got all new My Little Pony sheets, comforter and reading pillow. Oh and two pairs of MLP PJs, too! The look on her face says it all!

Amara and her My Little Pony bedding

Saturday brought the big party! Amara and 9 of her friends at Boomers! having the time of their lives. Amara had actually won the party last year for raising the most money at Jog-a-thon but she hadn’t used it yet! Unfortunately, the party was cut short as it started to sprinkle. If you aren’t familiar with Boomers! the go-carts, bumper boats and miniature golf are the biggest attractions and when it started to sprinkle all of the outdoor attractions were shut down. Good news was they give all the kids passes to make up for it!

Amara and her birthday cupcakes at Boomers!

When the party ended Amara and 7 of her friends headed for Amara’s house and the slumber party! It was an evening of video games, movies, hot dogs and ice cream and apparently very little sleeping! They feasted on pancakes the next morning followed by one of Justin’s famous Orbeez Wars! It was beautiful outside Sunday morning and those girls had a blast pummeling Mr. Justin with those Orbeez!

Justin, the Orbeez Master

We didn’t get to go to the Imaginology Art Show this weekend but Amara did have one of her art pieces featured! She has had her art displayed in past years and we are always so proud of her. Thanks to Lois for getting us a picture of it.

Amara's art exhibit

It really was a great week to be Amara!