12042016Sun
Last updateWed, 30 Nov 2016 4pm

Food & Wine

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients


photo Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Aged coffee beans join beer in Modern Times’ bourbon barrel stout.

Dark beers like stout highlight flavors reminiscent of coffee and chocolate, resulting in a great canvas for brewers to blend nontraditional in...

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Your Health

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options


Asher Kohn/Town Crier
Shovels in hand, Dr. Peter Fung, from left, El Camino Healthcare District board chairman; Russ Satake, El Camino Hospital Foundation board chairman; donors Donna and John Shoemaker; State Sen. Jerry Hill; and Assemblyman Rich ...

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Your Home

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides  seasonal decorating service

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides seasonal decorating service


Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Amy Fischer of Spectrum Interior Design decorated Los Altos resident Katie Beers’ living room for the holidays last week.

Don’t worry if you have no time to shop for unique holiday decor, decorate Christma...

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On The Road

The Yellowstone experience

The Yellowstone experience


Photos by Gary Anderson/special to the Town Crier
The Andersons’ recent bus tour included stops at Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful Geyser.

With winter approaching, it’s a good time to start planning next summer’s fa...

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Senior Lifestyles

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Members of the ensemble rehearse at Blach Intermediate School.

Something special happens Wednesday nights at Blach Intermediate School. Seventy or so people ranging in age from 18 to 85, of varied backgroun...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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Back to school: Organizing for a fresh start

As an educational consultant, I view the start of the school year as a time for new opportunities and possibilities. Between my own time in school and my work with students, I am entering my 27th back-to-school season. Amazingly, I still look forward to it with a mix of awe and anticipation.

All parents hope and dream that their children will have a rewarding school experience. Below are a few tips to help parents and students move beyond past challenges and create a fresh start in the new school year.

• Organize a late-summer clean-out. Many people think spring is the time for cleaning closets, but it’s also useful to take inventory of clothes and supplies before school starts. Most children experience growth spurts over the summer, so clothes that fit in March might be too small by August.

Before back-to-school shopping, set aside a few afternoons for a proper clean-out of clothes and supplies. Set a timer for two hours to make it a game and create a sense of urgency. Have children sort into three piles – keep, donate and trash.

• Convene a family meeting before school starts. Actively encouraging children to make a fresh start is an effective way to maximize past experiences. Before the school year begins, a collaborative meeting allows children to reflect on strategies that worked well for them in the past and what they would like to change in the coming year. The discussion could take place over a weekday brunch downtown or during a car ride – choose a time and venue that works well for your family dynamic.

• Create a dedicated study space and school-supplies box. Parents often assume that their children’s bedrooms are an effective place to study and complete homework. The vast majority of students, however, readily admit that their rooms are full of distractions – and listening to music or staring at pictures of friends can easily take up 20 minutes of precious homework time. Designating a consistent study space outside the bedroom makes a noticeable difference in efficiency, as does compiling a school-supplies box close at hand.

• Set aside time to organize binders and planners after school begins. Most parents purchase supplies for their children before school starts – ornate binders with multiple pockets, zippers and little gadgets aimed to make life easier. Rarely do such fancy binders end up being more than a minor distraction.

Rather than purchasing supplies before school starts, wait a few days until students know what’s required by their new teachers. In my office, we encourage students to review course syllabi the weekend after school starts and then create their binders for an organized school year.

• Encourage children to develop a screen-free stress reliever. I once worked with a high school freshman who had an incredible amount of work to make up due to a prolonged absence. We met regularly for several hours at a time, and I could easily recognize when he was close to wilting. When he needed a break, I allowed him time off to re-energize. He loved race cars, so he would often spend his break designing and drawing race cars freehand.

The combination of school and extracurricular activities can be overwhelming for students to maintain and balance, so ensuring that children have a built-in way to decompress and relax is as important as developing organizational and time-management skills. Although playing video games, watching TV, socializing with friends online or searching the Internet relieve stress for some, such activities can add stress and drama for many pre-teens and teenagers. Taking the dog for a walk, baking, drawing, painting or building model cars are ideal examples of screen-free stress relievers.

Ana Homayoun is founder of Los Altos-based Green Ivy Educational Consulting and author of “That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week: Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life” (Perigee Trade, 2010). For more information, visit www. greenivyed.com.

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