Wednesday, December 30

EVENTFUL: Best of 2015

While waving goodbye to the year 2015, take a moment to look back on some of this year’s most beloved posts and online content. Ranked in order of audience reach and engagement, here are Fairmont’s top posts from 2015!

Top Blog Posts
The last day of school--students look forward to it throughout the school year (even if they secretly love to learn). Students, teachers, and parents yearn for the slightly less structured days of summer and look forward to a well-deserved break from tests and homework…

STEM is a new buzz word in the education field. But what exactly is it? Simply defined, STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM Education Coalition states that incorporating a STEM-based curriculum is critical…

An important lesson while growing up is learning to demonstrate gratitude and thankfulness. In a culture of instant gratification, it is important to foster an attitude of gratitude in your child. Studies show that children who engage in grateful behavior…

The new school year begins tomorrow at Fairmont Private Schools, and hopefully your student is ready to return to the classroom! Here’s a simple checklist to ensure that you and your child are prepared for the first day of school…

Top Tweets


Top YouTube Videos

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, December 28

SNACKTIME: Kid-Friendly Morning Muffins

The holidays are a time for family, celebrations, and snacking on treats. How can we offset holiday sweets with good nutrition? Begin with healthy, easy-to-make, homemade muffins. Store-bought muffins are loaded with saturated fat, sugar, artificial colors, and flavors. Homemade muffins are easy to make and perfect for getting kids involved in the kitchen.

Begin the day strong with muffins made with whole ingredients such as whole wheat flour, flaxseed, or wheat bran for extra flavor and fiber. Increase the nutrition ratio by fortifying with protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

Update your favorite recipes by substituting or adding the following to your original recipe:

White flour: Substitute all or half of the white flour for whole wheat flour to increase fiber and trace minerals such as magnesium and zinc.

More fiber: Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or nuts for extra fiber, flavor, and healthy fatty acid boost.

Fortifying batter: Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite protein powder.

Make simple substitutions to traditional family recipes to deliver a nutritional boost without sacrificing flavor. Adding ingredients such as dried fruit (e.g. prunes or apricots) or freshly grated apple will provide a natural sweetness. Create more festive flavors by adding orange zest, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or nutmeg to the batter.

Bite-size muffins might be more appealing to little ones. Use a mini-muffin pan and colored cupcake papers to create a more celebratory look. Below is an example of a healthy recipe with a holiday edge using whole ingredients and seasonal spices!

Good Morning, Glory Muffins
2 cups grated carrot
1 large apple peeled and grated
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax meal
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place grated carrot and apple together in a bowl and toss. Set aside. Mix together flours, flax, sugar, coconut, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nuts and raisins. Tossing the nuts and raisins in with the dry ingredients stops them from sinking to the bottom. Whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Blend wet and dry ingredients and stir in the grated carrot and apple. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Makes a dozen medium sized muffins.

Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, MS, RD
Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services Company
Image and Recipe Contributed by Sweet Potato Chronicles

Friday, December 18

FRIDAY FOLDER: December 18

Weekly Highlights:

Anaheim Hills Campus

Historic Anaheim Campus

North Tustin Campus

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Wednesday, December 16

FAIRMONT FIVE: Easy, Peasy Christmas Party Games

Spice up Christmas gatherings by organizing a few of these effortless party games that guests of all ages can participate in!

  1. Christmas Carol Charades - Divide guests into teams and act out the lyrics of your favorite carols.

  1. Christmas Movie Trivia - Create questions and group guests into teams to test their knowledge of popular holiday movies.

  1. Who Am I - Tape a card with a famous Christmas character onto each guest’s back. Have a question and answer session later in the evening, allowing people guess who they are.

  1. Elf on the Shelf Hunt - Hide the elf and reveal one clue about the elf’s location every hour until the elf is found.

  1. Christmas BINGO - Create a BINGO card for each guest using specific items or decorations already placed around the areas of your house where guests will frequent.

Reward party game winners with small gifts, such as gift cards, speciality candies, Christmas tree ornaments, scented candles, and small toys for the kids! For an added bonus, set out some Christmas-themed photo props and a selfie stick for guests to create great impromptu memories!   

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools
Image by

Monday, December 14

EVENTFUL: Classic Christmas Movies

‘Tis the season for holiday movies! Suitable for the whole family, pop the popcorn and heat some hot chocolate to enjoy one of these great Christmas films!

A Charlie Brown Christmas (NR)
Nominated to direct the Christmas pageant, then bossed out of his job by Lucy, Charlie Brown is sent to buy an aluminum Christmas tree, but is instead drawn to a small, scraggly tree. As Linus gives a speech about the true meaning of Christmas, the Peanuts gang rallies around the pitiful tree and transforms it with beautiful decorations. Common Sense Media recommends this movie for ages three and up.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (NR)
Based on Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book, actor Boris Karloff narrates the Grinch’s scheme as he plots to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville. Common Sense Media recommends this movie for ages three and up.

White Christmas (NR)
This old fashioned Christmas classic brings together musical stars like Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney who decide to bring New York show business to a struggling Vermont innkeeper. Organizing a televised Christmas Eve special, Crosby and Clooney sing and dance in hopes of drumming up a wave of customers for an old Army friend. Common Sense Media recommends this movie for ages 8 and up.
Miracle on 34th Street (NR)
When Susan’s mother hires Kris Kringle to play Santa Claus at Macy’s department store, Susan’s disbelief in Santa is quickly transformed. Kris’ insistence of his real identity as Santa leads some to question his sanity, however, Susan and her mother come to his defense and work to convince others of the real Santa. Common Sense Media recommends this movie for ages six and up.

It’s a Wonderful Life (NR)
A Christmas classic, Jimmy Stewart stars in this film about the complexities of the adult world and the importance of living with a full heart. Taking several cues from Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, the film’s George Bailey is visited by an angel who shows him what life would be like if he were never born. Common Sense Media recommends this movie for ages nine and up.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (G)
Based on Charles Dicken’s classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Muppets bring to life a cautionary tale of the results of selfishness. Michael Kane stars as Ebenezer Scrooge and is aided by beloved Muppets such as Kermit the Frog, Ms. Piggy, Gonzo, Rizzo, and Beaker. Common Sense Media recommends this movie for ages five and up.
The Polar Express (G)
Based on the popular children’s book of the same name, the Polar Express train transports children from around the world on a once in a lifetime adventure. A roller coaster ride to the North Pole, the children are taken to see Santa Claus and watch as the first gift of Christmas is received. Common Sense Media recommends this movie for ages six and up.
Elf (PG)
Buddy is a human raised among elves at the North Pole who soon realizes that he’s quite different from his elf family. At age thirty, Buddy decides to search for his real father who lives in New York. Traveling to a big city is certainly a shock for Buddy who has spent his years spreading Christmas cheer and building in Santa’s work shop. Common Sense Media recommends this movie for ages seven and up.
A Christmas Story (PG)
With adults muttering “You’ll shoot your eye out,” the incorrigible Ralphie spends his holiday attempting to convince his parents to give him the coveted Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas in 1930’s Indiana. Common Sense Media recommends this movie for ages eight and up.

Look for these films on Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, at RedBox locations, or your local library! Use Yahoo Video Guide, Can I Stream It, or Go Watch It to view streaming options and availability!

Individual parental discretion will determine which films are suitable for a family’s child.

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools
Images by,,

Friday, December 11

FRIDAY FOLDER: December 11

Weekly Highlights:

North Tustin Campus

Historic Anaheim Campus

Anaheim Hills Campus

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Wednesday, December 9

EVENTFUL: Gift Exchange Games

Hosting a Christmas party this season? Keep your friends and family entertained by spicing up the gift-giving tradition with one of these fun variations

The perfect game for shamelessly re-gifting, the Yankee Swap Gift Exchange allows guests to select and swap each other's presents when a more appealing gift has been opened.

Read a Christmas-themed ‘right/left’ story to your guests as they stand in a circle holding a gift. Guests will pass gifts when they hear the words ‘left’ or ‘right’!

Similar to Musical Chairs, guests will be eager to have a gift in their hands when the Christmas carols stop! Pass around one gift per song. The person holding the gift when the music stops, opens their gift and steps out of the circle!

With a present attached to the end of different colors of yarn, weave a large web throughout an area of the house. Guests take the free end of the yarn and traverse a winding trail under tables, through rooms, and around banisters! For an added bonus, hide presents in drawers or cupboards.

Or, for a simple, old-fashioned gift exchange, check out Elfster or Secret Santa for automatic, name-shuffling gift exchange generators!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools
Image by Goodlife Zen

Monday, December 7

EVENTFUL: Holiday Hacks for Parents

With the holiday season in full swing, save yourself some time and hassle by following several of these holiday hacks! Focus on spending time with your family and make lasting memories instead of sweating about the small stuff that makes people crazy during the winter months.

  • Make Room for New Stuff
Let your kids be Santa by cleaning out their toy bins and closets, and donating all unneeded items to charity. Many schools and churches host clothing and toy drives during the holiday season, so take advantage of these events to lighten the load of ‘stuff’ in your home and spread good cheer to those in need.

  • Dollar Store Decor
If simplicity is the name of your game, hit up the Dollar Store for seasonal decor or party necessities. A great place to find inexpensive, yet festive plates, napkins, and small decorations, the Dollar Store’s true beauty comes in the form of cheap wrapping paper. Why spend real money on something that’s just going to be ripped up and thrown out? Take the plunge and find the hidden treasures in the depths of the Dollar Store! For bonus points, skip gift labels for paper wrapped items. Use a marker to write the “To” and “From” on packages. Those pretty noel-boarded labels are just going to be thrown away anyway.

  • Up-cycle Wrapping Paper
Instead of throwing away large pieces of discarded wrapping paper, use a paper shredder to create colorful filling for the next batch of boxed or bagged gifts. If your kids need a project, purchase some butcher paper and let them design their own stamped wrapping paper with washable paints and sponges in holiday shapes!

  • Give Experiences or Continuous Gifts
Instead of purchasing more ‘stuff,’ try gifting experiences or edible presents. Think about signing a relative up for a gourmet food-of-the-month club. From pie to bacon and beyond, Amazing Clubs is a great resource for spreading holiday cheer all year long as your favorite uncle receives a new flavor of jerky or wine each month! Have a friend or family member who loves opera or enjoys going to the theater? Look into purchasing tickets for local concerts, theaters, or sporting events. If your family is large and wants to limit the amount of presents for family gatherings, suggest an ornament exchange in lieu of large gifts. Simply draw names and purchase a special ornament for the person drawn!     

  • Shop Online & Create a Deadline
To save time and sanity, do a large amount of Christmas shopping and try to finish before December 15th. Shipping is usually free after spending a set amount and beats carrying boxes and bags around the mall. There are also lots of online sales and deals during the holiday season. Who doesn’t love ordering gifts from the comfort of their own couch or recliner?

  • Smart Storage
Make next year’s tree decorating a snap by wrapping Christmas lights around the frame of a hanger to keep strands from tangling. Use egg cartons or small plastic cups to store and separate ornaments. Purchase a plastic or cloth, zip-up gift wrapping tote to easily store your gift wrapping rolls and supplies under the bed or hanging in a closet. Protect wreaths and awkwardly-shaped lawn decorations by placing them in old garment bags or plastic dry cleaning bags. Use the bags simply as a protective covering, or hang them up in your garage or attic for extra storage!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools
Image by Batteries in a Flash