Jolly Phonics

Adella completed her first year of pre-school last spring (which she loved), and will attend the same school for another year before entering kindergarten. We understand that the first year of pre-school is geared more towards social development and getting comfortable being in a classroom, away from Mimi ;o). However, Adella showed a lot of interest in reading and writing, especially during the last month of school (figures). We didn’t push her to do much at home, but we always made sure to read books everyday and occasionally talk about letters and the sounds they make. I was concerned with the coming summer that she would forget everything she learned in school – especially since she started catching onto writing towards the end of the school year. Luckily, a good friend of mine, Katie Kohn, returned from her year-long stay in Czech where she taught Jolly Phonics: a multi-sensory, systematic phonics system. Katie shares:

“Jolly Phonics teaches 42 sounds (not just the alphabet) including digraphs such as ai. ou, oi, ee…..  Every sound has a story, song and action that goes with it. Jolly Phonics can be introduced at age 3 and goes through Kindergarten. It is then followed by Jolly Grammar.  It was created in England and is used in numerous schools in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It is also found in over 100 Countries!  It is research based and best of all super fun!”

It sounded like a perfect way to keep Adella interested in learning to read and write over the summer. After checking out some of Katie’s materials, and seeing how much her own 4 year-old daughter loved it, I decided to give it a try. I purchased the “Jolly Stories” book, a few workbooks and the “Jolly Songs” CD.  Jolly Phonics is not taught in alphabetical order; it is taught in 7 rows of 6 sounds, the first row is S,A, T, I, P, N. After learning just 6 sounds Adella started to blend and read words such as sat, pin, tip, pan, spin, snap, pat, nap….


Adella is just as thrilled as we are, and her confidence soared after learning the first 6 sounds. She now begs me to do Jolly Phonics everyday! We usually work on three letters at a time; reading the story, singing the songs, and writing in her workbooks. Nolan enjoys singing the songs too, and Adella teaches him all of the actions that go along with them… perfect!

Jolly Learning ( and Katie are hoping to bring the program into schools in California. They are offering 6 public schools a FREE pilot program which includes free materials and free training for teachers! The Jolly Phonics materials include: song books and cds, workbooks, story books, leveled readers, puppets, interactive whiteboard software, DVD’s, computer games CD, resource CD and more! It is intended for school use but the materials can also be purchased for in home use.

Katie is a California Credentialed Multiple subject teacher with MA Education. She has taught in the US, Czech Rep and Finland (for over 10 years).

To purchase in the US and for more information please contact Katie Kohn.
Facebook- USA Phonics


Nolan’s 2nd Birthday!

Nolan turned 2 last weekend!!!! My baby boy isn’t a baby anymore, and I think it might be time to ease up on the coddling… We celebrated Nolan’s birthday by doing everything he loves most: going to the beach, eating mexican food, and watching the Cars movie. While it’s fun to plan and host big parties, sometimes its just as fun spending time with the family and avoiding all the hustle and bustle of big celebrations. Next year will be very different; he will have his first big birthday bash with friends (when he can actually understand and remember it all). But this year couldn’t have been more perfect, and we all loved having a small celebration with our own little family!

Neiman Marcus Fall 2012 Trends

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Neiman Marcus Fall 2012 Trend event at their Newport Beach store. Fall is my absolute favorite season for fashion, and every summer I anxiously await the arrival of my September issues. So, when it came time to attend the press & media event at Neiman’s, I couldn’t have been more excited!

Attendees were greeted with tasty bites, smoothies and iced latte’s… a wonderful way to kickstart the morning before the presentation of fall trends. Some of my favorite looks included: leather leggings, smoking slippers, and beautifully tailored jackets. I had to keep myself from drooling over a gorgeous Tom Ford jacket and my favorite studded Valentino pumps (a girl can dream)! Once this heat wave we have been having subsides, I will be ready to incorporate the essential fall trends presented by Neiman Marcus:

Mixed Greens – solo or in combination, greens spruce up any wardrobe

Alice & Olivia

Navy : The New Neutral – pair it up with black or brights

Haute Hippie

Borrowed From The Boys – menswear influences tailor-made for her.

Stella McCartney

The Smoking Slipper – the luxury loafer is flat-out chic.

B Brian Atwood

The Jacket – goes over everything – keep it top of mind.

Donna Karen

The Leather Leg – second-skin tight or cut like a trouser, leather has legs.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Digital Prints – patterns made modern.

Alexander McQueen

The High-Impact Handbag – size and details matter.


Brooches – one adds newness, a cluster adds drama.


The Fall Face – get juiced with the cherry lip.

Cle de Peau Beaute

images via Neiman Marcus

5 Year Wedding Anniversary

Today marks our 5th wedding anniversary! Five years ago we were married at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, on the Big Island of Hawaii. We had a beautiful sunset ceremony in the sand, with all of our closest friends and family. I wore a gorgeous Monique Lhuillier gown, which I once made the mistake of taking out to show Adella – she threw a fit because I wouldn’t let her try it on (we spent a fortune having it properly preserved). I know everyone probably thinks the same about their own wedding; but ours was definitely the best party I have ever been to! The food was to die for, all provided from local resources on the island, and no one ever saw the bottom of their glass! Tim and I plan to celebrate with some rum drinks, pupu’s and island inspired food sans kids, cheers!

all photographs via Cassandra Dieterle Photography

Adella’s 4th Birthday Party (Part 2)


As promised, here are more photos of Adella and her guests at her 4th birthday party, enjoy!!

You can check out more photos (part 1) of the party details by clicking here! Also, Dorothy treated Adella and her guests to a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, and you can view her performance on YouTube.