Teacher Appreciation Luncheon ~ Celebrating Our National Parks

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon ~ Celebrating Our National Parks

I wish there were a national contest for the most outstanding Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. I’m certain that the parents of students at Rolling Hills Country Day School would come in first place. Every. Year.

Going way beyond creative, in the past 5 years these parents have turned an ordinary auditorium into mysterious colorful Morocco, a charming Farmers Market, an all-star Ballpark, a clever Eco-Friendly environment, and a delightful Asian restaurant …

And now – into a National Park!

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon ~ Celebrating Our National Parks

On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service turns 100! The Centennial will celebrate the achievements of the past 100 years and kick off a second century of stewardship for America’s national parks and for communities across the nation.

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon ~ Celebrating Our National Parks

Camp Rolling Hills Country Day

“Please join us for a woodsy afternoon luncheon at RHCDS National Park in honor of our Teachers & Staff and the 100th year celebration of U.S. National Parks.

So grab your hiking boots and camping gear as we adventure and explore the beauty of the great outdoors.

We’ll gather around the campfire for stories and s’mores.”

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon ~ Celebrating Our National Parks

Wearing our nifty new Outdoor Adventure T-Shirts, we arrive at the “national park” to find a fabulous Glamping-Style Buffet, and upon further exploration we find that our campsite features S’mores Around a “Live” Campfire, a General Store where we can take our cool new backpacks to fill with all the supplies we’ll need on our adventures.

These include a picnic blanket, canteen, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, lip balm – all embossed with the Camp RHCDS logo. Also included  – a neat little Pelican LED flashlight. Thanks to the generous parents, we’re equipped and ready to enjoy the great outdoors now and all summer long.

To ward off hunger along the trails, we are supplied a red bandana which contains a s’mores kit. Plus, we visit the Happy Trails booth to customize trail mix for the hike, choosing from a wide assortment of dried fruits and nuts and seeds. And finally we visit the Bear Country Bakery booth for bear claw brownies, muffins, and cookies plus hot coffee for energy. We definitely won’t go hungry on this trip.

Come, take a hike with us and check it out!

Maybe we’ll even spot a bear???

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Brouwerij West: A Unique Venue for Our Holiday Party

Brouwerij West along with Jay's Catering Co. provided a Unique Venue for Our Fabulous Holiday Party

It was my pleasure, once again, to host our annual Rolling Hills Country Day School holiday party. Workplace events can be challenging to plan, given the wide range in age and interests of the guests. We are so fortunate to work with a wonderful group of gracious, talented, fun people. And with the help of fabulously creative colleagues, an extraordinary caterer, a cool venue, and attention to the party details below…this gala was another huge success.

Brouwerij West along with Jay's Catering Co. provided a Unique Venue for Our Fabulous Holiday Party

Guests were invited to begin the evening at Crafted, a marketplace where local artisans sell one-of-a-kind creations, then make their way next door to Brouwerij West, a restored 1940s-era warehouse where craft beer production has recently commenced. The massive industrial building came to life with sparkling lights, glittery Christmas trees, and pizazzy beer-centric decor. Brewmaster Brian Mercer gave personalized tours of the sprawling production brewery.

Waiters passed trays of delightful fig tarts and mini beef wellingtons. A bruschetta bar where guests helped themselves to an array of toppings helped kick off the cocktail-hour where various beer tastings and wines were offered while the DJs played a mix of Christmas and party music. Jay’s Catering Company custom-designed an informal dinner buffet of delicious foods that pair well with beer. Toasts of gratitude, fond memories, and good cheer led into the holiday gift giving. After a visit to the All-American dessert bar, guests took to the dance floor where DJs Chris and Christian rocked the house.

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Teacher Appreciation Luncheon: Welcome to Morocco!

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon: Welcome to Morocco!

Welcome to Morocco!

Welcome to Morocco? We all have our favorite day in the school year – mine is by far the Annual Teacher & Staff Appreciation Day. One look at the 2013 Baseball Theme Luncheon here and 2012 Eco-Friendly Luncheon here and you’ll know why I absolutely adore this event! Beyond the fabulous lunch and enjoyable camaraderie for faculty and staff – I’m amazed and inspired by the artistry, the ingenuity, and the talent of these parents!

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon: Welcome to Morocco!
Each year the generous, creative parents of children at Rolling Hills Country Day School transform our auditorium into a delightful oasis in the middle of the workday.

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon: Welcome to Morocco!
A couple weeks before the event we receive an invitation to “Fly Away on a Magic Carpet for a Colorful Afternoon of Moroccan Food, Tarot Card Reading, and Henna Tatoos.” And while we know the general theme of the event, the decor remains a surprise until we walk through the auditorium doors. We’re always dazzled and downright blown away when we enter the room! This year, the transformation was simply incredible!

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Annual Library Luncheon & Mrs. Love’s Black-Eyed Pea Squash Salad

library luncheon READ
Welcome to the Evelyn Dawn Memorial Library, where librarian Mrs. Love is holding her annual Appreciation Luncheon for Parent Volunteers to thank them for their energy, support, dedication, and enthusiasm in helping maintain the library throughout the school year.

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Eco-Friendly Teacher Appreciation Luncheon

Come Celebrate

Spring

Mother Earth

You

Join Us for the Annual Staff Appreciation Luncheon

This year’s event will be entirely eco-friendly.
Come see the many creative ways to reuse trash.

“Because waste is a terrible thing to waste.”

This year for Teacher & Staff Appreciation Day, our wonderful parents chose an eco-friendly theme, transforming the auditorium into a charming recycled oasis. On this day the parents go all-out to express their gratitude for the faculty and staff. While some parents graciously serve the food and set the tables at the luncheon, other parents are in the classrooms with the children so teachers may have an extended lunch period to relax and enjoy the fabulous meal. We are so fortunate to work at an outstanding school with such a dedicated parent population.

Recycled cereal boxes were painted and made into enchanting wall art. Magazine covers were cut into butterflies that flittered above the tables. Cat food cans and light bulbs were refitted with wire and hung as mini vases for flowers. Centerpieces were made out of twigs and recycled beer & wine bottles, decorated with labels made from old calendars. They re-purposed buttons and corks, newspapers, soup cans, and paper bags.

Personalized wishes for teachers from students were hung on a “wish tree.” Lunch was served on natural areca leaf plates. Several moms made homemade cupcakes and apple pies for dessert. After the delightful lunch, we were given seeds to grow our own butterfly garden which came in a darling flower pot with cookies and pencils and the message, “thank you for helping us grow.”

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butternut squash lasagna, tomatillo sauce

butternut squash lasagna, gluten-free lasagna, vegetarian lasagna

roasted butternut squash & corn lasagna
layered with corn tortilla, shredded mozzarella, and tomatillo sauce

butternut squash lasagna, lasagna,

Already? The school year is winding to a close. It’s time to thank the parent volunteers for their energy, support, and dedication in helping maintain the library at Rolling Hills Country Day School. As is tradition, our  librarian recognizes all the parent volunteers at a special “Luncheon in the Library” held in their honor. Not only is Mrs. Love an inspiring passionate librarian and mother of three Country Day students, she is also a fabulous cook! I’m thrilled to have her share her recipe here, it was a smashing success (vegetarian & gluten-free too)!

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A Very Special Potato Crusted Salmon

Evelyn Dawn’s Potato Crusted Salmon
Sautéed Vegetables, Lemon Dill Sauce
@ Gina Lee’s Bistro, Redondo Beach, California

Evelyn Dawn was my grandmother-in-law. She passed away at 93 years of age in the year 2000.

As a tribute when Evelyn passed, my dear friends Scott & Gina Lee, proprietors of Gina Lee’s Bistro, named this dish after her. They keep her memory alive in their fabulous restaurant. New patrons ask, who is Evelyn Dawn and why is the salmon named for her? They are quick to tell about Evelyn; an independent woman ahead of her time, with impeccable taste, a successful businesswoman, friend, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and educator of hundreds. A framed photograph of Evelyn sits atop the sideboard in the restaurant.

Gina said of the salmon dish, “This is a crowd favorite. Lots of people remember Miss Dawn the founder of Rolling Hills Country Day School. She came in the restaurant nearly daily and always had the salmon professing that the omega 3 fatty acids kept her going at top speed. We’ve had former students and teachers come in, they marvel that she lives on, on our menu.”

Miss Evelyn Dawn
July 8, 1907 – July 16, 2000

Evelyn in her 90’s with a glass of red wine and a cigar!

Rolling Hills Country Day School was founded by Evelyn Dawn who began educating children in the early 50’s. She bought and operated her first school in Manhattan Beach, California – a preschool. In 1961, Miss Dawn, with very little assistance, broke ground on a beautiful piece of land on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and realized her dream of a Kindergarten through Grade 8 School. She named it Rolling Hills Country Day School, now about to celebrate 50 successful years of educating children in the South Bay.

I previously wrote about Evelyn Dawn’s Potato Crusted Salmon in 2008. We are dining on the salmon and remembering Evelyn again this July, the month of her birth and 10th anniversary of her passing. Rest in peace Nana.

Evelyn Dawn’s Potato Crusted Salmon
Sautéed Vegetables, Lemon Dill Sauce
Recipe from Scott & Gina Lee
Ingredients:
  • Salmon
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Hash Brown Potatoes
  • Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
Cut salmon on a bit of an angle into 3.5 ounce portions. Dust in flour. Dip in egg. Roll in hash browns to which you have added salt and pepper and coarsely chopped Italian parsley. Put aside.

Lemon Dill Sauce:

  • 3 cups White Wine
  • Juice of two Lemons and their Zest
  • 1/2 cup of chopped Shallots
  • One bunch of chopped Fresh Dill
  • 1 cup unsalted Butter
Heat first four ingredients in a sauce pan. Reduce by 1/3. When reduced, strain and slowly add 1 cup of all melted butter. This is your sauce. Keep warm. The salmon is pan sauteed in olive oil on one side, flipped and then put into a 450 degree oven for 7-10 minutes depending on how you like it cooked. The salmon is served pan roasted side up…on top of zucchini, yellow squash and carrots that have been sautéed in olive oil and mirin. For plating…vegetables on the bottom, salmon on top, coat with lemon dill sauce and a dash of fresh lemon juice.


Gina Lee’s Bistro
211 Palos Verdes Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA
310-375-4462
Gina Lee’s Menu here.

Luncheon in the Library

Each May, Mrs. Parker recognizes all the parent volunteers for their time, energy, and dedication in helping maintain the library at Rolling Hills Country Day School by hosting a fabulous luncheon in their honor.

Library Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

Mrs. Clifford works her usual amazing magic by setting out such a charming buffet on top of the lower bookshelves. The menu consisted of Mrs. Parker’s curried chicken salad, mixed baby greens with Parmesan, sunflower seeds and vinaigrette, rolls served in an adorable picket fence corral, the perennial favorite deviled eggs, cream puffs, chocolate eclairs, flower-shaped sugar cookies, fresh strawberries and lemonade.

The buffet was decorated like a precious garden with flowers and seed packets and books (of course).


Mrs. Parker has been the beloved librarian at Rolling Hills Country Day School since 1983. Her daughter, Leslie, started attending the school in 1982. A year later Mrs. Parker came on board and has been here ever since. And Leslie has gone on to graduate from Georgetown and receive her MBA from UCLA.

Mrs. Parker’s specialty: Curried Chicken Salad. She makes it exactly from the recipe found in Gourmet June 2002 issue. There is a synergy in this combination of ingredients. Everyone loves it, year after year. Chicken, curry, yogurt, lime, honey, ginger, red onion, mango, red grapes, cashews…intrigued? Go here for the complete recipe. You’ll be glad you did!





Library Before and After

I love before and after photos. In the summer of 2005 it was my pleasure to update the library at Rolling Hills Country Day School.

It is amazing what color can do to enhance a space. The remodel consisted of a new paint palette, new computers, bookshelves, lighting, carpet and rug, furniture, and other design elements. I worked with Mrs. Parker to make sure we met the needs of the students while preserving some of the historical features in the library. We retained the old card catalog (no longer in use) and installed special shelving for Mrs. Parker’s antique books.

Those big red leather chairs continue to be a magnet for the children. Sometimes we’ll find three of them sitting in one chair, reading one of the books that Mrs. Parker has painstakingly chosen for the library. It is an awesome space, warm and inviting, enhanced by Mrs. Parker’s enchanting personality and love of children and books.

Alas, there were no Legumes at the Library Luncheon, but don’t let that stop you from submitting your fabulous legume-centric dish to the global event taking place the entire month of May. My Legume Love Affair, go here for details!

And remember, as a special treat to one of the lucky participants in My Legume Love Affair, there is a GIVEAWAY. A book, how apropos! A World of Dumplings – Filled Dumplings, Pockets, and Little Pies from Around the Globe by Brian Yarvin.

Do join us, won’t you?

Evelyn Dawn’s Potato Crusted Salmon

Evelyn Dawn’s Potato Crusted Atlantic Salmon
Sautéed Vegetables and Lemon Dill Sauce
Gina Lee’s Bistro, Redondo Beach, California
THE RECIPE CAN BE FOUND HERE.


Evelyn was my grandmother-in-law.
She passed away at 93 years of age in the year 2000.

As a tribute when Evelyn passed, the proprietors of Gina Lee’s Bistro, Scott and Gina Lee, named this dish after her. They keep her memory alive daily in their fabulous restaurant, as waiters are constantly asked by new patrons, who is Evelyn Dawn and why is the salmon named for her? They are quick to tell about Evelyn; an independent woman ahead of her time, with impeccable taste, a successful businesswoman, friend, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and educator of hundreds. Scott and Gina keep a framed photograph of Evelyn in the restaurant.
Evelyn was often asked about the secret to her vitality at her age. When someone would ask her age, she would tell them the truth, and they wouldn’t believe it. She would reply, “Do you really think I would lie and increase my age?” She had a great sense of humor too.
Scott and Gina said of the salmon dish, “This is a crowd favorite. Lots of people remember “Miss Dawn” who among other things founded Rolling Hills Country Day School. She came in the restaurant nearly daily and always had the salmon professing that the omega 3 fatty acids kept her going at top speed. We’ve had former students and teachers come in and marvel that she lives on our menu.”

Miss Evelyn Dawn
July 8, 1907 – July 16, 2000

Here’s Evelyn in her 90’s with a glass of red wine and a cigar!
Rolling Hills Country Day School was founded in 1961 by Evelyn Dawn who began educating children in the early 50’s. She bought and operated her first school in Manhattan Beach, California—a preschool. Seeing growth opportunities along the beach area, Miss Dawn sold her Manhattan Beach school and bought a new facility in Redondo Beach that also included two swimming pools. There she taught swimming and the ABC’s to hundreds of local children. Every year her preschool program grew and eventually she needed a site that would house her dream: to provide a high quality educational experience for children. In 1961, Miss Dawn, with very little assistance, broke ground on a beautiful piece of land on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and realized her dream of a Kindergarten through Grade 8 School, that is Rolling Hills Country Day School.
Today would have been her 101st birthday.

Afternoon Tea

I attended an absolutely lovely event co-hosted by the 7th Grade Girls and Mothers to honor the graduating 8th Grade Girls at Rolling Hills Country Day School in Palos Verdes, California.

This annual event, which has been taking place for decades, is held at the home of one of our families at Country Day School. This time it was at a beautiful home on the bluff overlooking the Pacific.

The 7th grade girls passed tea sandwiches, little cakes and tarts, and served tea and punch to all the attendees.

In addition, the 7th Grade Girls performed a delightful song for the 8th Graders by Rascal Flatts called “My Wish.”
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,

Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,

You never need to carry more than you can hold,

And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this, is my wish.

The girls were darling, as always, and as the 7th grade girls did the serving, the 8th grade girls performed the role of gracious hostesses practicing their conversation skills with the adults. As you can imagine, I also have some adorable photos of the girls which I look forward to sharing with their parents.

Mini Scones were served with Devonshire Cream and Lemon Curd.

Early on, it was a little overcast with the temperature in the mid 60’s. The sun came out towards the end of the event. The view was breathtaking.

I am sending this photograph “Centerpiece Overlooking the Pacific at Afternoon Tea” to Sandi at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking for her Centerpiece of the Month (COTM) event, an event which I have been meaning to participate in for forever.
And apropos of my Afternoon Tea post, today is the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day. Originally Mother’s Day was marked by the wearing of a single white carnation. Mom may get a big bouquet now, but the sentiment remains the same.
Happy Mother’s Day!
P.S. I love you, Ma.
May 14: Carol at Paris Breakfasts has linked Afternoon Tea in her “Tiny Teapots” post. If you haven’t already, please visit Carol and check out her fabulous watercolor paintings (of which I have 5 hanging in my home).