Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Coming Up: Treasure Island Flea Market

Check out the Treasure Island Flea Market this weekend! They keep adding more fun to the mix. Now they offer a farmer's market, with at least 15 local farm stand vendors. They also now have Maker's Square, with classes like "make your own terrariums" or "how to waterproof your jeans." If you like DIY classes, come for these! Some are free, and those that cost are affordable.

In addition to the 350+ vendors, you'll find more than 20 food trucks, live music, drinks (cocktails, wine and beer) and a great city view. 

When: last weekend of each month - April 26-27 - from 10-4
Where: Treasure Island
Cost: $3/person for those 13 and older. Free for 12 and under.
Other: free parking and pet-friendly

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coming Up: Frozen Sing-Alongs at the Castro Theater

Sure, you can sing out loud to Frozen at home, but what fun is that? Head to the Castro Theater in San Francisco, and sing with the crowd. They even provide all the lyrics, karaoke style.

When: April 26, 27 and May 4 at 1:00
Where: Castro Theater
Cost: $16 general, $10 kids (12 and under), $10 seniors
More: details here

Monday, April 21, 2014

5 Tips to Keep Children Safe at Amusement Parks

Oooh – character sighting! A parade! Churros! Shiny object!
It’s easy to lose your child at an amusement park – especially if you have more than one. After countless trips to Disneyland, Disney World, Six Flags and smaller amusement parks, here are my fall-back tricks.
  • Take a picture of your child when you enter and keep it on your phone. If you lose your child, it’s easier to identify him if you have a picture of what he’s wearing and exactly how he looks that day. Better yet, dress everyone in matching t-shirts. Yes, you look dorky. But it's easier to find your group in an instant.
This family wore matching tie-dye. It looked awful, but they were easy to spot.
  • Don’t dress him in clothing with his name on it. You don’t need a creepy person calling out to your child with a false sense of familiarity, and your child thinking he should know this person.
  • Make sure your phone number is attached to her, so an adult can contact you when she’s found. There are a ton of identification products out there, including temporary tattoos where you can write your cell phone numberwaterproof disposable wrist bands,child dog tagsidentification bracelets or even your phone number pinned in your child’s pocket. It goes without saying that your child should know your cell phone number by heart. But some kids are too young to remember, or they get flustered and don’t remember (especially the area code).

We've used Call Me Cuffs - pictured here.
  • Have a plan when you enter the park and share that plan with your child. If your child gets lost, she should know exactly what to do, where to wait (we tell our kids not to move from that spot, so we can backtrack and look for them), and who to ask for help. We tell our kids to hold our hands or hold onto the stroller at all times, and never to assume we heard them if they say they want to see something in another direction.
  • Identify the type of people your child should approach for help. Usually that means someone from the amusement park who is wearing a name tag. Show your child different people who are wearing these tags (since they’ll be in different uniforms) and tell them what to say.
Fortunately we haven’t lost anyone at the amusement park (Rockefeller Center at Christmas is a different story), and we don’t plan to. Enjoy the parks this spring and summer and stay safe!
My post was originally published on MommyNearest.

Coming Up: Mill Valley Children's Garden Re-Opening

The Mill Valley Children's Garden has its grand re-opening on Sunday April 27th. Bring the kids for their annual Garden Faire from 12-4.

They'll have a fairy house, wreath making, potion making, bobbing for apples, feather hair extensions, face painting, henna tattoos, live music, specialty foods, and an organic plant sale. Plus a pie eating contest and the Edna Maguire Bake-Off. Pastry chefs with desserts of all kinds are encouraged to apply. To enter the bake-off, contact Suzanne Alpert, 

A private foundation will match dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000 to benefit the garden

Where:  Edna Maguire Elementary School in Mill Valley. 
When: Sunday, April 27 from 12-4
Cost: free (bring money for activities and food).
More info: Call (415) 389-7733, or visit

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Teachers Change Lives

You hear all the time that teachers can change lives. Can you remember an influential teacher in your life? Someone who made you think about things in a different way. Maybe someone who believed in you when you didn't believe in yourself. Or gave you an idea of a different direction in life? Are your kids' teachers influential in how they think? Do they get excited when telling you about something they learned in school?

I was blown away hearing about teachers identified by Office Depot's Teachers Change Lives program. Teachers who who really step outside the boundaries, especially with kids who are less privileged. Check out the video below of an Alabama teacher, Brian Copes, who encourages his students to develop prosthetic limbs for those who need them in Honduras. They make them out of bike and car parts, even though the teacher has no background in this.

You can see more videos of teachers doing innovative work here.

You might know teachers in your own school who spend their own money to provide necessary classroom supplies. Because of budget issues associated with Proposition 1 in California, parents are asked all through the year to bring in classroom supplies - even copy paper for the office. I've always been grateful that our school had enough parents who could donate supplies. What about schools who don't have enough? Should the teachers be digging into their own pockets for this?

Office Depot has an Adopt-a-Classroom project to connect donors and teachers, especially to help those in less fortunate areas. I encourage you to check it out.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Screenprinting for kids

Are you kids interested in learning how to screenprint?

The Grease Diner in Oakland has spots for kids every weekend. They have room for eight people at a time, and they provide the materials, equipment and instruction. They even do birthday parties or group events (Girl Scouts anyone?).

When: Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5.
Saturdays are reserved for ages 8-12, but it's not limited to that age.
Sundays are reserved for ages 13-17, but it's not limited to that age. Teens can be dropped off, but younger kids must come with parents.
Register: or call (510) 379-0190. Drop-ins are fine if space is available.
Cost: $20/kid - parents print free. Materials are extra. See material fees here.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Coming Up; Passover Story Time

It's Passover story time for 4-5 year olds. It's led by Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School teachers. And it's free.

Where: Linden Tree Books (265 State Street, Los Altos)
When: Sunday, April 20 at 2 p.m.
RSVP: to