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"What will you do next Tuesday, Whitney?"⠀
No doubt 2020 has been a difficult and challenging year, yet we have taken it in stride with all its ups and downs. We have re-discovered how much family means to us. We have found out that we can change routines. We can ask for help. We can offer help. We can stretch ourselves and teach our children. We are resilient. 

The first day of Fall arrived the 21st and we welcome the change. The children can barely wait to go to school with friends. Oh please let it be soon, even if it’s a combination of together and virtual! They are enthusiastic about some of the unique online classes we’ve found, in fact they have new interests. We kind of like sleeping in and don’t miss the morning rush.

"What will you do next Tuesday, Whitney?"
"Oh, not much. Make some chevre goat cheese and elderberry syrup from the berries I found down by the stream. Treat Finney the cow to some songs. Watch Tom Turkey show off for me. Walk up a hill with Mr. Piggy to make sure there are no weak spots in the fence. Check the winter garden. Put the chickens, geese, guineas, ducks and goats to bed. Enjoy dinner with my awesome family that is rocking this family/school/work /home thing. We shall talk about Tuesday's debate. I'll share some background with the kids. I made my list of what's important to me and my family and I want to see the debaters each have to say. It will be interesting to see what the kids think. I like to see what they come up with on their own."

Things are opening up so we can get out to a few more places, like the Arboretum, pictured above. Yea!

Be kind to yourselves! Parmalee
Who is Fred?

A query from a local mom, "Does anyone have a Life of Fred book I can borrow so I can see if I like it..." led me on a search, for I had never heard of LoF.

I found the author, Stanley F. Schmidt, PhD, born in Hollister, teacher and prolific author.

Next I found Stanley Schmidt on Amazon. A K-12 Life of Fred 25 BOOK SET includes the following titles: Life of Fred Elementary books (Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Farming, Goldfish, Honey, Ice Cream, Jelly-Beans), Intermediate Series (Kidneys, Liver, Mineshaft), Elementary Physics, Decimals and Percents, Fractions, Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology, Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics, Beginning Algebra Expanded Edition, Beginning Algebra Zillions of Practice Problems, Advanced Algebra Expanded Edition, Advanced Algebra Zillions of Practice Problems, Trigonometry Expanded Edition, Geometry Expanded Edition, Calculus Expanded Edition.

Along the way I learned that he has written over 70 books. Next I found very forthright parent reviews on Goodreads. Enjoy!

Anjanette: My seven year old declared that LoF is "one of the only fun things about school." So, despite the many things that drive me bonkers about these books, I'll keep using them. The kids don't balk at the silliness, and they do learn from them.

Katie: The wackiness of this series would not have served me well as a kid, but my 6-year-old really enjoys it. This book, whose plot involved rescuing dogs, was the least appealing to me of the plots of the four titles we've read so far, but my daughter had no complaints.
Enola: Fantastic as ever...and a little tear shed at the end!
Lewis: Fun, engaging, outside of the box math curriculum. My kids LOVE Fred, his silly humor, and learn much along the way with far less effort than with traditional math books.
A.K.: My kid loves these. I hate them. We read them together because she likes them. The idea that they in any way "teach" math is a joke, but she is entertained.
Sue: Dogs will be my last one in this entertaining series. Not only are new concepts presented (function, angles, adding two digit numbers and carrying in addition), but older concepts are repeated (cardinal and ordinal numbers, addition and subtraction facts, place value). Fred learns a hard lesson about his finances and dog care when numerous dogs are just too much for him and Kingie to handle. Another fun book about math and more! 
Theresa: Didn't like the chapters about life choices (food, 'fat', pie and weight gain chart, tv & 'lazy/ignorant') and didn't like how the euthanasia topic was handled. The religious input seems to be slightly increasing (God loves you). In the end, the math was very good and my son was doing great things. The story was good, ended with a twist, my son loved it. We're looking forward to starting Edgewood.
Charlotte: I've read all the Life of Freds up to Dogs and this is the first one where I felt like we started to start to learn math more. I still liked the first three and all the other things it covers, but this one was more than 4+5 and I was interested to see how he did it.
Congretta: My son is not a big fan of reading or math, but he asks to read these books. The Fred books are so much fun. I wouldn't say they are a complete math curriculum, but they are interesting and educational and so quirky! I love them!!!
Melanie: The story itself was about four stars, but I have to knock one off since I was doing the math as I read it.

Sara: Fred is awesome! Worthwhile and useful in teaching the importance of math in daily use.
Presidential Debates
The topics for the first presidential debate between Republican President Donald Trump and former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden were posted Tuesday. They were selected by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who will moderate the debate next week.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit and nonpartisan group that sponsors presidential debates, posted the selected topics to be discussed at the debate, which will be held Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland. The topics include:
  • The Trump and Biden Records
  • The Supreme Court
  • COVID-19
  • The Economy
  • Race and Violence in our Cities
  • The Integrity of the Election

Each of these topics will be discussed in six 15-minute segments, “to encourage deep discussion of the leading issues facing the country.” There is no particular order of discussion, and the debate may begin with any of these topics.

The debate will begin at 6pm PT and continue for 90 minutes without commercial breaks.

The selected topics reflect recent polling on what Americans view as the the top issues facing the country.

Three more debates will occur the next three Tuesdays.
Family Events
Check websites before you go!
How to Protect Protect Homes from Wildfires - Saturday, September 26 and Saturday, October 3, 10 -11:30am - $65 What can be done to increase the chances that a home survives a wildfire? Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection District - Details
Top Dog Film Festival - Sept 20 - 25, $15
Line Dance Lessons with the Sundance Saloon - Sundays, 6-9pm,
Free - Line dance lessons through live-streaming in the comfort of your own home. Details
New Aptos Branch Library Virtual Open House - September 28, 5:30 - 7:30 pm - A new Aptos Branch Library is on the way! Come see the exciting results of the hard work and collaboration of the community and the County at a virtual open house event. Details
Positive Discipline - Enjoying the Early Years (0-5yrs) September 26 - 9:30-10:30am, Free, 4 week virtual parenting class series Details
Family Support Sessions - Bilingual and Free, Tuesdays beginning September 21, 6 - 7pm - Positive Discipline family support sessions for families within Santa Cruz City School District (SCCS), Details
All the Farmers Markets! Details
Teen Volunteer to Career Expo - September 30, 4-5pm, Free - Get virtual access to local leaders sharing real-life stories of how volunteering can connect, inspire, and inform your future career path. Details
Triple P Parent Workshops: Coping with Stress, September 30, 3-4:30pm, Details
How to Handle Fighting and Aggression, October 8, 3-4:30pm, Details
Elkhorn Slough Photography Contest - September 18-30 Details
Food Trucks & Pop-Up Kitchens at the Grange, Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sun - Come out and support a sustainable food economy! Food truck and pop-up kitchens at the Live Oak Grange Details
We are launching The Museum At Your Side — a collection of hands-on activities, informative articles, and engaging videos to connect you with nature and science wherever you are! Details
Tales to Tails - Mondays 3:30-4pm, Register! Santa Cruz Public Libraries Details
Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour, Sept 18 - 30
Get off the beaten path with Radical Reels/Adventure Nights and explore the edge of believable with exhilarating stories. Details
Lunafest: Films By and About Women, October 1, 7-9pm, $20 - This unique film festival highlights women as leaders in society, illustrated through seven short films by women filmmakers. Details