Upcoming Events at Almaden Valley High Schools

Almaden Valley high schoolsAlmaden Valley high schools Leland and Pioneer both have exciting events that you can attend over the weekend and next week.

On Saturday, October 20, the Leland Parent Club is hosting its annual music and dance event, the Dandiya Raas Mela. The Dandiya and the Garba are traditional ritualistic dances performed during the Indian festival of Navratri or the “nine nights”.

This event is one of the biggest fundraisers for Leland High School. A special highlight of the event this year is a performance by the “Naach” group, a students club specializing in Bollywood dance. Tickets can be purchased both online and at the door. All proceeds go towards enrichment programs at Leland High. For more information, visit: http://www.lelandparentclub.com/dandiya.html

Next week, from October 24 to October 27, students at Pioneer High will be performing twin fall plays, 12 Angry Men and 12 Angry Women.

12 Angry Men is adapted from the American courtroom drama of the same name, while 12 Angry Women is a feminist adaptation of the same play.

Advanced reserved seats may be booked through phsdrama.ludus.com. Tickets will also be available at the door. So, come with you family and friends to watch this classic adaptation from a highly talented drama team and help raise funds for Pioneer High. For more information, visit: https://pioneer.sjusd.org/index.php/calendar/filter-by/event/699/2018/10/24/

Spring Is In The Air – Prepare Your Home! (Part 2)

prepare your homeSprucing up for Spring – from Hardscapes to Roof

Spring is almost here, and it’s time to prepare your home! In this, the second in our series on home and yard maintenance for spring, we focus on everything from hardscapes to the roof. Here’s the checklist of do’s for this season:

Repair and refurbish hardscapes – After the rains, it is a great idea to clean all hardscapes – walkways, patios, steps and retaining walls which have brick, pavers, stone or tile. Pressure wash to remove any dirt or moss which might make the area slippery. Replace broken tiles or flagstones and fill in new sand in the joints.

Roof check – Check for and replace any broken tiles or shingles in the roof. If there are signs of moss or lichen, call a professional roofer for a clean-up.

Trim large trees – Trim away any overgrowth from trees and shrubs. If you have large trees like oak or redwood, get an arborist, if needed, to trim back branches. This will allow more sunlight into the yard and encourage new growth. It’s also important to keep tree branches at least six to seven feet away from the house.

Foundation vents – Walk around the perimeter of the house and check all foundation vents to ensure that they are clear of leaves, debris or anything that would prevent air circulation in the crawl space. Good air circulation is important for the moisture in the crawl space to dry. Repair any holes or rips in vent screens to prevent rodents and critters from getting in.

Drains, ditches, rafters and gutters – Sweep clean all leaves and debris which may have gathered in drains, ditches and gutters. If possible, connect gutter pipes to the sewage. This will take overflow water away from the foundation of the house. Check rafters for wood rot. Replace any broken ones. It’s also a good idea to give the rafters a coat of paint to prevent wood rot.

Check irrigation systems – With the onset of spring, it is time to check irrigation systems for leaks and repair any broken sprinkler heads. Check rain sensors and booster pump for proper operation. Secure drip irrigation lines properly to respective plants.

Fences and trellises – Check fences and trellises and replace any broken or rotten panels.

Bird baths and fountains – Check fountain pumps and fix leaks if any. Scrub clean bird baths and fill with fresh water.

Spring Is In The Air – Prepare Your Yard! (Part 1)

prepare your yardSpring Gardening

It is not officially spring yet, but with winter on the wane and the days getting warmer, it certainly feels like spring is in the air… and this is the perfect time to prepare your yard! With a little bit of work now, you will have a bountiful spring and summer garden, rich in vibrant colors with plenty to harvest.

There are four main tasks which are recommended for your garden this month.

Pruning and fertilizing

Late winter and early spring is the best time to prune fruit trees. If you haven’t already done it, now is the time. Pruning before the buds bloom will relieve the plants resulting in better growth and a better crop later on. Fertilize fruit trees with an organic fertilizer or compost for better quality yield.

Prune evergreen trees and shrubs leaving out branches in the direction you want to encourage growth. Rose plants and bushes should be pruned before they start budding. For spring flowering plants, wait until after blooming. Fertilize the rose plants at this stage. Fertilize garden beds at the top soil level and let the nutrients percolate down.

Planting

Now is the perfect time to plant fruit trees, perennial crops like berries and spring crops like beets, carrots, peas, spinach, leeks and lettuces. Bare fruit trees root in the winter and begin sprouting leaves and branches through spring summer.

Weeding

Control weeds in the garden while they are young. You can also use a weed preventing product like Preen.

Lawn care

Lawns should be watered deeply once or twice a week at this time, depending on the amount of rain. Avoid overwatering. Spread lawn seeds on bare patches and fertilize.

For more garden maintenance tips, visit:

http://eartheasy.com/grow_garden_early_spring.html

https://www.almanac.com/gardening/tips/CA/San%20Jose/02

 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

garden growHow Does Your Garden Grow?

Imagine yourself in a bountiful spring garden surrounded by tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses and beautiful blossoms in a riot of colors and hues. But how do you bring this spring wonderland to your own front yard and backyard? The answer is, by starting now.

For many of us, gardening projects end in the summer. Yet, fall planting is crucial to a good harvest in spring, be it flowers or vegetables. Here’s how to go about creating a beautiful spring garden.

Picking bulbs for spring blossoms: Right now, garden stores and nurseries are stocked up on bulbs and seeds for planting. Tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, daffodils, irises are some varieties which are sure to give you a blooming garden come spring.

Spring veggie patch: For a vegetable harvest in spring, choose vegetables which can withstand the winter chill and frost. Carrots, cabbages, turnips, broccoli, celery, parsnips, radishes, kale, and brussels sprouts are among the varieties which are most hardy.

Planting time: Plant the bulbs after summer but before the ground gets frosty. October is usually a good time for fall planting, but here in the Bay area, it is safe to plant till early November.

Where to plant: Choose an area in your yard which is sunny and has good drainage. Prepare the soil with compost and fertilize after planting the bulbs.

Mulch: Be sure to spread a layer of mulch. This keeps keep the moisture in and prevents frost from settling on the bulbs in the winter.

For more information, visit https://www.almanac.com/gardening.
For hardiness zones, check out this excellent resource on fall planting of bulbs: https://www.almanac.com/sites/default/files/d6/fall_planted_bulbs.jpg

Kudos to Quixilver FTC team 8404

Quixilver FTC team 8404

Quixilver FTC team 8404Leland Robotics Quixilver FTC team 8404 recently competed against 72 teams from 13 states at the West Super Regional Championships in Tacoma Washington. Of the 203 teams from Northern California, Quixilver 8404 was the only team to advance from the Silicon Valley.

After making it to the top ten in their division in the super regionals, Quixilver 8404 will now compete in the World Championships against 128 teams from 39 countries. The team is now having a fund-raising drive to buy sensors, cameras and other parts. If you would like to help this Almaden team get an edge in the world championships, go to their Go Fund Me page on https://www.gofundme.com/help-ftc-8404-go-to-the-world-championship. For more information about how to get involved with the FIRST Robotics program, contact FTC 8404 Quixilver at ftc8404@gmail.com.

Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Home

Spring is now well and truly upon us here in the Bay Area. After the flurry of storms and a particularly wet winter, it is delightful to see hills covered with wildflowers, bare trees full of foliage and verdant green everywhere.

It is also time to get our homes in shipshape condition for the summer. Here’s a handy spring cleaning checklist for around the home and in the yard.

Spring cleaning checklist - guttersRoof, rafters and gutters Clean out leaves and twigs left by the recent storms from your gutters. Check that the downspouts are properly connected and clear. Look for any broken or missing shingles. Check the frames of any skylights. Get a roofer to fix any damages.

Air-conditioning and heating vents – This includes a change or cleaning of filters as well as the air vents. Check the outside unit to ensure it has clear drainage, and trim away any plants or bushes around it.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Check that these are working, and be sure to replace the batteries.

Carpets – The warm weather is a good time to get the carpets steam cleaned and shampooed. Make sure you choose a time with a few sunny days for the carpets to dry out.

Attics – This is a good time to venture into attics. Check for signs of seepage or mold as well as rodents and insects. If there are windows, let in the air and sunlight. Be sure to do this on a dry and sunny day.

Crawl space air vents – Take a walk around the house and check the crawl-space air vents and netting for any signs of tear or damage. If any, it is important to fix these to keep rodents and little critters out of the crawl space.

Fences and decks – After the wet and stormy winter this year, all the woodwork in the yard – from fences to decks needs special attention. Nail down loose boards, and replace broken or rotten ones. Also, promptly treat decks for any mold and mildew as these could quickly spread to the house.

Spring cleaning checklist - power washingDriveway and walkways – Power washing is a great, low-cost way to restore the driveway and walkways to a brighter, cleaner look. Fix any loose pavers or bricks and fill in the cracks. If you notice extra unevenness caused by the ground lifting in any area, it might be a good idea to call in an arborist and check if the roots of any nearby trees are the problem.

Flower beds, hedges and lawns – De-weeding in spring is very important for all areas of the garden. Treat the soil with fertilizers and spread new mulch. Spread grass seed on the lawns to spur growth in any bald patches and fertilize. Prune all trees and bushes to encourage new growth.

Sprinklers and drip irrigation systems – Test all sprinklers and drip irrigation pipes for signs of damage or leakage. Replace any broken sprinkler heads or cracked pipes promptly.

Read more about spring cleaning do’s on the following websites:

http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/get-your-house-ready-for-summer

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/05/16/12-must-do-home-maintenance-tasks-for-spring

Williams Elementary Auction Dinner – March 3, 2017

Enjoy an evening of dinner and dancing and help raise money for Williams Elementary!

Williams Elementary Auction DinnerTickets are on sale now for the Williams Elementary Auction Dinner, a gala event to be held at the Corinthian Grand Ballroom on March 3, 2017 from 6pm to 11pm.

Several popular events will be auctioned off, like Mother-Daughter Tea, Mom’s Night Out, and an exclusive pizza party for kids at the California Pizza Kitchen!

Besides these, the live auction includes Principal for the Day for your child,  Santa Cruz and Napa Getaway Weekends, an exclusive Sushi Party, and the opportunity to win your own parking spot at school!

Deadline for purchasing tickets is Friday Feb. 17. You can purchase tickets at the Williams School Office or online at: http://www.williamscommunity.com/auction/.

Almaden Valley Youth Opportunities January 2017

Exciting Almaden Valley youth opportunities this month at the Almaden Library and Leland High!

Almaden Valley youth opportunitiesBrain Maps – A Stimulating Workshop for Kids

Almaden children, ages 7 and up, will learn all about brain-mapping in this creative and engaging workshop at the Almaden Library on Tuesday January 31 at 4:00pm. This play and learn event will start off with some fun quizzes about the brain, and then kids will learn about personality and the different lobes of the brain. Thereafter, they will create their own brain maps by drawing on beach balls! For more details, visit https://events.sjpl.org/event/brain_maps_6922

Build a Bot at Leland High

The annual Build a Lego Robot Day at Leland High is coming up on Saturday January 28. Conducted by the school’s FRC (FIRST Robotics competition) Team 604, also known as Quixilver, this workshop introduces students ages 6-14 to the basics of programming and designing robots. The workshop will be held in two sessions from 10-11am and 11:30am-12:30pm.

Earlier this academic year, the Leland Robotics team won the Chezy Champs Robotics competition at Bellarmine College Preparatory in an alliance with Spartan Robotics, Citrus Circuits and Presentation Invasion. Way to go, Leland Robotics! Keep up the good work. For more information, go to http://sjusd.org/leland/

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood for You

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood for You… 

Finding the perfect neighborhoodThe New Year is often a time for changes and new beginnings. For many, that means a new home in a new neighborhood. As exciting as this may be, choosing the right neighborhood requires a lot of thought. Here are some things to think about when finding the perfect neighborhood for you.

Evaluate your requirements

If you have kids, a friendly suburban neighborhood close to schools may be right for you. Or, if you spend long hours at work and would like to cut the commute or socialize after hours, staying closer to the city might be just the thing. Whatever your situation, start with a needs assessment that includes a checklist of must-haves and must-avoids.

Think about your lifestyle

If you are tired of living in the city, moving to the suburbs may be appealing, or vice versa. But think carefully about your needs. Do you need to hit the stores regularly, dine out, be close to the freeways, or perhaps be near medical facilities? Give it serious thought ahead of time to save yourself a lot of inconvenience later.

Consider your finances

You’ve just found the perfect neighborhood, but can you really afford it? Budget-wise there is a lot to consider besides just the mortgage. Look at taxes, upkeep costs, commute expenses, and any other recurring costs which may add on. The perfect place may not be so perfect if it causes a strain on your resources.

Crime and safety

While considering neighborhoods, safety is of utmost importance. Spend some time researching the crime rate of an area. For a crime map, go to www.crimemapping.com. Find out if the area has a Neighborhood Watch group, and talk to friends or colleagues that live nearby.

Research schools

If you have kids, considering schools is critical. Even if you don’t have school going kids, a good school district increases the potential value of your home and any rental prospects. To research schools, go to www.greatschools.org. If you’re considering a new home within Santa Clara County or the Almaden Valley in particular, almadenvalleyrealestate.com has a couple of good resources as well: http://www.almadenvalleyrealestate.com/almaden-valley-schools/ and http://www.almadenvalleyrealestate.com/almaden-homes-for-sale/.

Visit the neighborhood at different times

Visit the desired neighborhood at different times of the day and week to get a better perspective. For example, drive through during rush hour to check out traffic, and late at night to see how well the street is lit up. You can also learn a lot about a neighborhood through social networks like Nextdoor.com.

Talk to neighbors

Talk to prospective neighbors to find out more about the area. They are the best resource. At the same time, you can also assess if you would be comfortable with them. Nothing can mar the charm of a new home as undesirable neighbors. If they are unfriendly and unapproachable or leave their home and yard unkempt, these may be some tell-tale signs to watch out for. Messy neighbors could adversely affect your lifestyle as well as the future value of your property.

Think of the future

Try to picture yourself and your family a few years down the line. A change of residence is a long-term thing. If the prospective neighborhood will not meet your needs a few years ahead, think again. Finally, close your eyes and picture yourself actually living there. Does the thought make you smile? Do you like the neighborhood overall? Your instinct will give you the answer.

You can find more on choosing a new neighborhood in this guide found on RISMedia. And when you’re ready to buy, give me a call!

Internet Safety Reminder for Winter Break

Internet safetyInternet Safety – The holidays are about to begin and your children will very likely spend a lot of time online with multiple devices. Now is a good time to educate or remind them about Internet safety, and to reinforce the need for caution while browsing or posting on social media.

Surfing and Social Media Internet Safety

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 requires that websites aimed at children under 13 must get parental consent. According to the Library of Congress, in the US, three among four children have access to smartphones and social media apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine and Tumblr. And while they are using these apps, most kids never customize the privacy restrictions on their profiles, and many of them even publicly post their address and/or phone number.

Monitoring children’s online activities can be overwhelming and time consuming, but some basic steps should be taken to ensure their protection. Here are some guidelines for both parents and children.

For parents:

  • Educate your children about Internet safety – Include Internet safety and privacy in all “growing up” discussions with your children.
  • Follow and be a ‘friend’ on social media – Your children might be reluctant to let you into their virtual world, but get an agreement on this before allowing them to use social media. Having you on their accounts will make them careful about what they post. It will also help you weed out people who may not really be friends. However, keep some distance and avoid stalking them.
  • Adjust privacy and parental control settings – This should be done on each device before you let them use it.
  • Install monitoring software – There are various software and apps available to track browsing history and block dubious sites from baiting and preying on your children through advertising.
  • Make kids anonymous on the Internet – Avoid posting pictures of your children on social media sites and the Internet. If posted by friends and family, un-tag as much as possible. Ask family and friends to seek your consent before they post any pictures of your children.

It is very important that children understand the reasons behind the rules to ensure compliance. So talk about the risks and keep that dialogue going.

For children:

  • Protect your passwords – Create strong and unique passwords, and don’t share them with your friends. If you think someone has gained access to your password, change it immediately. Use different passwords for email and social media.
  • Select online friends carefully – Do not add anyone as a friend on your social media if you do not know him/her well, and in person. You may be tempted to have more social media friends than others in your peer group, but think carefully before you add people on. Someone doesn’t qualify to be a friend just because you have other friends in common.
  • Privacy Settings – Set your privacy settings to “friends only”.
  • Every post is permanent – Your social media posts, including pictures, remain on the Internet even after you remove them. Increasingly, social media sites are screened by colleges and employers for admissions and jobs. What you post today could impact your future.
  • Be kind and sensitive online – Don’t post anything that might be hurtful to others. Avoid anything that might seem like cyber bullying, which is not just wrong but could also get you into big trouble. A rule to follow is this: if you can’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online.

For more information on Internet safety and protecting your child’s privacy, go to:

https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/protecting-childrens-privacy