This post is dedicated to Alyse, a 28 year-old grad student who just moved to Fresno from Texas last week. I met her at a service at People’s Church this weekend. She asked what locals do for fun around here, which churches to attend, and where to meet people. Here’s a recap of our conversation:
There are over 400 churches in Fresno (75% are probably on Nees Ave. if you haven’t noticed already). With the amount of friendly faces, small groups, and ways to get involved and give back to the community, it’s an easy choice for newcomers to Fresno to meet new friends. Among my church recommendations was The Well, where I was embraced with open arms several years ago. I said it was the happenin’ church with several campuses and a lot of young people. Another location I personally will be visiting soon is Via. They’re a new-ish church plant of NorthPark Community Church.
Here are some pics from other churches (and their activities) in town:
I chuckled to myself while standing in the church pews saying, “you know where you can really meet nice people in this town? Any place that serves craft beer.” I couldn’t mention every spot, but I did tell her not to be afraid to go downtown or to the Tower district. Both of those communities as a whole are incredibly welcoming. Peeve’s, Spokeasy, and Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen were the first spots to come to mind. I assured Alyse that she would feel comfortable (and not get creeped out) just going and sitting at the bar to make new friends.
As an Ambassador for the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, I naturally had to mention our monthly mixers and events. I told Alyse it will give her a chance to see what businesses are opening, growing and thriving in Fresno.
Thanks to the Fresno Chamber, I had an extra ticket in my wallet to this year’s Greek Fest! California’s Premier Greek Festival is happening August 28-30 at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Featured food includes: Gyros, Souvlaki, Vegetarian Plates, GreekFries, Fried Calamari, Moussaka, Pastichio, Spanakopita, Tiropita, Olives, Sausage, Greek Salad, Feta Cheese, Dolmades, Greek Chicken, Lamb Shank, and more!
I still get a kick out of this video from a few years ago:
Fresno has fantastic events that unite and celebrate the uniqueness of our community. Visit the FresYes.com events page to keep up to date.
I only had about 10 minutes to list out as many things as I could to my new friend from Texas. What would you add?Well friends, it’s happening, summer is coming to an end. This means a couple of things…No more trips to the beach, waking at noon, swimming at 1pm, playdates with friends, marathons on Netflix, or lounging on the couch all day. You know what else it means? BACK TO SCHOOL!
Before long, I’m sure everyone’s Facebook feed will be inundated with first day of school pictures, just like it was a couple months ago with last day of school photos. (I’ve loved seeing the differences between the first and last day.) This year I will have an 8th and 1st grader. My daughter is homeschooled, so I doubt I’ll be sharing any first day of school photos of her. My son, on the other hand, will be all decked out with a new haircut, new shoes, and a new backpack. He also will have to be taken to the bus by my grandfather. You see, I’m also in education, and my first day back to work is on the first day of school. (Because, well, it’s my first day of school too!) I’m so sad I won’t be there to drop off my son, or make sure he gets on the right bus! Although, I know many parents are in the same boat as I am. Bummer. Maybe I’ll take second day of school pictures. 😉
In preparing for Monday’s big day (I realize Central Unified went back Wednesday, and Clovis Unified doesn’t go back until the 24th), I started thinking about the back to school, or first day of school, traditions we have in our family. It started when my daughter was entering Kindergarten. It was such a special day-the first day of school-ever! My friends and I took my daughter out to eat. We gave her presents. I gave her a book, which is my usual present to my kids. My friend gave her some clothes and school supplies. We enjoyed the last night of summer at one of her favorite restaurants-Red Robin. For many years after that we did the same thing. Friends and I would head out to dinner the night before school started, give presents, enjoy a kid friendly meal, and savor the last day before school.
Then the next day was the big day. Do you guys remember your first day of school? I use to love the first day of school. (I still love seeing all the school supplies in Target-it must be the educator in me.) Getting dressed in my new school clothes. Doing my hair. Getting ready to meet new friends, or see old ones. Check out classes, and compare schedules with my friends. Such fun! Anyway, for my daughter’s first day of school, I would walk her to her class, or the blacktop. Kindergarten I cried, of course, but for some reason 1st grade was worse for me. I cried ALL DAY LONG! I was also pregnant with her brother, so that could have had something to do with it. Every year for the first day of school, I’ve tried to make the day special for each one of my children.
This got me thinking about those of us in FresYes community and what we do for back to school. I asked some of my friends and here’s a small list of traditions they shared with me, that I’d like to share with you.
*Ice cream or frozen yogurt after school was popular among many of my friends. (How about trying a local place for your after school visit this year? Like Ampersand Ice Cream.)
*Read the Kissing Hand, and make these cookies to go along with it.
*Write notes for their children to find in their backpacks once at school.
*Put a little note in their lunch boxes.
*Go to the Cheesecake Factory and talk about their first day of school.
*One on one time with each child the day before, and then mommy and daddy take the first day of school off from work, so they have a date, and then can hear all about the first day of school stories at pick up. (Love this!)
*Visit the school a couple of days before, so the child can check out the room and get familiar with things.
*Take first day of school pictures. (Some people do really cute signs for these!)
*Make a back to school cake. Each year my friend makes a new school cake for her kiddos when they arrive home from their first day. The actual design is a surprise, so the cake for this year is still a secret-but I can’t wait to see it!
Here are a couple she’s done over the years. I love this idea!!!
*Attend a Boo-Hoo/Yahoo Kindergarten Parent Party. My son’s school did this last year for Kindergarten. It was a chance for the parents to cry, or be happy (I cried) with the first day of Kindergarten. The parents mingled with other new parents and it was a nice opportunity to form new relationships.
Now it’s your turn! What sorts of traditions do you guys have leading up to, or for the first day of school?