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Monday, November 30, 2009

Congratulations Leapfrog Tag Jr. bundle winner

We have a winner...and her name is Danielle. Congratulations to Danielle and we hope she and her kids enjoy the Leapfrog Tag Jr. Reading System.

Thank you to all who entered and tweeted about it. This was obviously a popular item to win!

Disney Deal: Spend $40 and get a free ticket to the Princess & the Frog

I can't remember the last time I spent $40 at the Disney Store (that's what grandmas are for), but here's the deal:

Spend $40 or more at the Disney Store by December 10, 2010 (single purchase), and get a voucher toward admission to the Princess and the Frog. The voucher is worth up to $8 toward a child's movie admission. There are some other fine print details (like you can't make your purchase online) - so read the details before buying if you're trying to get the deal.

Free Movie at Redbox today

Redbox has a new code out, though the don't guarantee how long it will be valid.

If interested, get your free movie ASAP!

The code is SPNSV9. Another code valid code to try is BREAKROOM.
Find a Redbox near you.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' Tag Jr. bundle giveaway!

$5 Magazine Subs - Real Simple, Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine etc.

Ah, I can't resist a sale on magazines. For only $5 at Amazon, get subscriptions for yourself or someone else to:
-Real Simple
-Food & Wine
-Travel & Leisure
-Smart Money
-Southern Living
-People Style Watch
-Cosmo
-House Beautiful

and more...

The sale ends tomorrow, December 1st.

Discounted tickets for Disney on Ice - Worlds of Fantasy

Get 30% off tickets for Disney on Ice - Worlds of Fantasy at the HP Pavilion (February 24-28, 2010) and Oracle Arena (March 3-7, 2010).

This is the last day for this discount. For more on this deal, and for online coupon codes, check this Bay Area on the Cheap post.

Focus Group for moms of kids ages 4-8

Plaza Research is looking for mothers of at least one child age 4-8 years old. This study is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2nd and Friday, December 4th. You must be the female head of household, age 25-49. Interviews are 75 minutes long and in the afternoon or evening.

If you're interested, call them at (415) 984-0400 and ask to speak to a recruiter regarding the "Mom" study. You need to answer some questions to qualify first.

Pay is $100-$140

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest! It ends today!

Coming Up: Family Activity Day at Museum of Craft & Folk Art


The first Saturday of every month, the Museum of Craft & Folk Art hosts Family Activity Days from 1-3 p.m.
This month it's a Japanese ‘tea party’ featuring fabulous Bay Area artists working in the Japanese tradition. The event includes an origami demonstration (then try it yourself and take home your creation). Also, see the whimsical illustrations of Japanese artist Tomoko Maruyama, sample Japanese snacks, and more!

To register for the Family Activity Day, call (415) 227 4888 x 10.

The museum also offers 18 hands-on workshops for kids at schools (or in groups), looking at ancient and contemporary indigenous life around the world. Check out workshops here, like learning about African American quilting patterns, ancient Greek ceramics, India's palm leaf bookmaking, and rice as food and folkart.

So if you're looking for an interesting group to bring into your kids' classroom, this would qualify!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Contest ends tomorrow: Tag Jr. system bundle - $57 value



A $57 value, this Tag Jr. system bundle could be yours. Contest ends tomorrow. Be sure to check the link above for all the ways to win.
Good luck and happy reading!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Free shipping day December 17th

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Just in time to make sure all your holiday gifts arrive...take advantage of Free Shipping Day. More than 500 retailers are expected to participate in this day, December 17th, the last day gifts are guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas Eve.

So far, these retailers are on board: Toys R Us, Babies R Us, FAO Schwartz, eToys, Baby Universe and Crate & Barrel.

Last year, companies like Macy's, Game Stop, J. Crew, Apple Store, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Ave, Target, West Elm, Neiman Marcus, Omaha Steaks, Sports Authority and Disney were involved.

For a list of participating retailers, click here.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Coming Up: Craft Classes at Scrap SF

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

SCRAP in SF is offering some fun workshops to get you ready for the holidays. Here's a list:

December 12, 1pm-4pm: Gocco Rhymes With Cocoa - Designing and Printing Your Own Cards, Gift Tags and Wrapping Paper with Print Gocco
$15 workshop + $8 materials fee
At SCRAP: 801 Toland Street, SF

Offsite Workshops
December 3, 6:30pm - 8pm: Gift Boxes & Bags, San Francisco Library, Richmond Branch, 351 - 9th Avenue.
December 8, 6:30pm - 8pm: Gift Boxes & Bags, San Francisco Library, Noe Valley Branch, 451 Jersey Street.

SCRAP stands for Scroungers' Center for Reusable Art Parts, and is a great resorce for teachers and artists (and anyone who likes crafts) in the Bay Area. If you have questions about the workshops, call them at (415) 647-1746 - their website events list wasn't up to date when I initially posted this.

They have a few shows coming up in case you'd rather peruse, and not create yourself:

December 13, 12 Noon - 6pm: Bazaar Bizarre, San Francisco County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park - off 9th Avenue and Lincoln.

December 11 - January 29: SCRAP Art Show, reMake Lounge, 50 Post Street (Crocker Galleria) and Eco-Center, 11 Grove Street (San Francisco Department of the Environment)

December 11, 6pm - 8pm: SCRAP Art Show opening reception, reMake Lounge, 50 Post Street (Crocker Galleria)

January 14, 6pm - 8pm: SCRAP Art Show reception, Eco-Center, 11 Grove Street (San Francisco Department of the Environment)

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Don't forget about free airport wi-fi this holiday season

A reminder that Google and Virgin America is sponsoring free wi-fi at many airports from now until January 15, 2010. Get free wi-fi at 47 airports and on Virgin flights.

San Jose is participating. San Francisco is not.

To find out the other participating free wi-fi airports (because you're going to have to return from another aiport), click here.

Don't forget to enter the Frisco Kids' Leapfrog Tag Jr. Bundle giveaway!

San Francisco Family Travel Tips

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kelly Clarkson tix in San Jose and Reno this weekend- $15

If you love American Idol, you'll love this! Travelzoo is offering Kelly Clarkson tickets show tickets for $14.99 (regularly $55). She's in concert with opening acts Eric Hutchinson and Parachute.

Get discounted Kelly Clarkson tickets to these two shows:

Reno: Saturday, Nov. 28 at Reno Events Center at 8 p.m.
San Jose: Sunday, Nov. 29 at San Jose State Event Center Arena at 7:30 p.m.

There are a limited amount of tickets available at this price.

Click here for tickets and more info.
Click "Find Tickets" next to Reno or San Jose.
Look for the box marked "$14.99 Breakaway Ticket" to get discounted tickets.
Note: Additional $6.15 fee per ticket.

Don't forget to enter the Frisco Kids' Leapfrog Tag Jr. Bundle giveaway!

Focus group: laundry and cell phones

Two new focus groups recruiting (same company, Plaza Research - who I vouch for). I verified the links. If they don't work for you, chances are they filled the study.

-LAUNDRY~
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30TH ­
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1ST
2-HOUR FOCUS GROUP IN THE AFTERNOON OR EVENING

Requirements: Female head of households ages 25-60
Incentive: $100.00

If you are interested in the LAUNDRY study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/yl2h856


~CELL PHONES~
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30TH ­
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1ST
2-HOUR FOCUS GROUP IN THE MORNING, AFTERNOON OR EVENING

Requirements: Males and females ages 19-45
Incentive: $85.00-$100.00

If you are interested in the CELL PHONES study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/yfte8ur

Don't forget to enter the Frisco Kids' Leapfrog Tag Jr. Bundle giveaway!

Celebrate Holidays the Old Fashioned Way

Interested in celebrating the holidays the old-fashioned way? Check out Frog Mom's recent blog post, where she highlights some Bay Area Victorian holiday offerings, from the 1700s up to 1901.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Get 'Yer Tickets - Golden State Warriors tix for $8 - no fees

Cheap tickets for next Monday's Golden State Warriors vs. Indiana Pacers game - November 30th.

Upper Level Center seats are just $8 (reg. $40)
Lower Level seats are $40 (reg. $65)
Ticket fees have been waived as well, a savings of about $10/ticket.

Game is at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on November 30th.

To buy tickets, click here and use the code"WARRIORS" in the box marked "Special Offer Code." Create or login to your Ticketmaster account on the next screen and use the pull-down menus to select the tickets.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' Tag Jr. bundle giveaway!

Redbox code - free movie rental

Redbox has a new code out, though the don't guarantee how long it will be valid. If interested, get your free movie ASAP!

The code is DLLNS26.

A few other free codes reported on Redbox's site as valid today:
DVDONME
84MARS3

Find a Redbox near you.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' Tag Jr. bundle giveaway!

Ayelet Waldman and hubby Michael Chabon in conversation...about their parenting books

Remember Ayelet Waldman? She's the writer who told the New York Times she loved her husband more than her kids? (read that Modern Love story here). Well after my kids' behavior this afternoon, I can't say I blame her. BUT, her remarks, which caused quite the uproar, spawned a book: “Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace.”

This talented writer is married to another talented writer, Michael Chabon. He won the Pulitzer Prize, among other honors. He's out with a new book of essays, "Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son."

Hear both of them speak at the Berkeley Rep on Monday, December 7, at 7:00 p.m. They'll be in conversation with SF Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll.

The event is a fundraiser for Park Day School's financial assistance program.

Tickets are $30.

As a Frisco Kids reader, you can get a $5 discount ordering online. Just select the student rate and when you pick up your tickets at will call, tell them “I got the Bad Mom Discount.” I know, I'd be embarassed to say that too, but that's what you have to say to save five bucks. Maybe just go for the full price.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yosmite Valley - with Kids - in Winter


You may have been to Yosemite Valley with your kids. But have you been in winter?

We went last December - read about it here. We had so much fun we're going back for more!

Here's what you can do at Yosemite in winter:
- Sled!
-Cross country ski at Badger Pass

-Downhill ski at Badger Pass, starting December 18, 2009
- Get the kids involved in ranger activities at Curry Village's Winter Family Celebration
- Do Wee Wild Ones Junior Ranger activites in Yosemite Valley
- Check out the visitor center (with a great movie called Spirit of Yosemite)
- Listen to Story Time at the Ahwahnee Lodge
- Improve your photography, taking a Photography Walk
- Visit Ansel Adams Gallery for truly inspiring views and art
- Watch a video of Yosemite from your computer

Friday, November 20, 2009

Star in the Food Network with a Private Chef

This in from San Francisco CityMommy:

The Food Network seeks local families for a new show featuring private chefs. They are looking for families planning upcoming events or announcements. If you want their professional chefs to prepare a meal for your event (not holiday parties) contact them. The production is shooting in Northern California from December through February. The chef's services come at no cost to you.

If interested, email tsarazen@hotmail.com and describe what kind of event you are planning and when you are having it.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Get 'Yer Tickets: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory at Pied Piper Players

Get 'yer tickets now for Willy Wonka, the musical based on Roald Dahl's book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The show is put on by Pied Piper Players, a youth theater group on the peninsula. I go to lots of their shows and they're great.

When: Friday-Sunday, December 4-6 and 11-12
Tickets: $16/adults, $10 for kids/seniors- available online, by phone (650) 992-7433 or at the door (they do sometimes sell out).
Where: Bayside Performing Arts Center, 2025 Kehoe Ave, San Mateo

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Bay Area Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks

It's time to get out those skates and gloves, and pretend we live in cold country. Here are three outdoor ice skating rinks in the Bay Area:


Holiday Ice Rink - Embarcadero (Justin Herman Plaza)
(adjacent to Four Embarcadero Center and across from the historic Ferry Building)
Dates: through January 4, 2010
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sunday – Thursday
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. on Friday - Saturday
Session: 90 minute sessions starting on every even hour
Information: (415) 837-1931 or its website
Cost: $9/adults, $5.50/seniors/children ages 10 and under; rates good Monday – Friday until 6:00 p.m. (50 cents more at other times)
Skate rental: $3.50
Birthday parties: $250, includes admission and skate rental for up to ten people, a decorated party area, birthday cake and soft drinks. Skating guests in excess of ten will be charged an additional $12.50 each.



Union Square Ice Rink
Union Square, downtown San Francisco
Dates: through January 18, 2010
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sunday – Thursday
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. on Friday - Saturday
Information: (415) 781-2688 and its website
Cost: $9/adults, $4.50/children ages 8 and under
Weekends cost 50 cents more. Advanced tickets available on their website.
Skate rental: $4.00


San Jose Downtown Skating
Downtown San Jose: 120 Market Street
Dates: through January 18, 2010
Hours: vary – check the website
Session: no set session –skate all you want, though no in/out privileges
Information: (408) 279-1775 and its website
Cost: $15/over age 13; $13/ages 12 and under
Skate rental: included in admission

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tree Lighting and Menorah Lightings in Bay Area

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

This post comes thanks to Lydie at Travel is More Fun with Kids. She did a great round-up of holiday tree lighting ceremonies and menorah lightings that I wanted to share. Please visit her blog for great write-ups of cultural activities to do with kids here and abroad.

From Lydie:
Share a magical moment with your children: the lighting of a Christmas Tree. It is magical whatever religion you believe in. Almost every city will have one ceremony so check your local newspaper to see when it will be happening in your city.

All the lighting ceremony also provide entertainment and appearances from Santa. If you click on the links, you will find all the details.

Here is my selection:
Tuesday November 17
San Jose Santana Row Tree Lighting 7:00pm-8:00pm

Friday November 20 Embarcadero Center’s Building Lighting 6 p.m.
(ice show, fireworks display and Winter Carnival at the Holiday Ice Rink)

Hyatt Regency Tree and Interior Lobby Lighting 7-8 p.m.
(guest performances from “Wicked,” ACT’s “A Christmas Carol” and others.)

Sunday November 22 Tree Lighting Ceremony at Pier 39 - San Francisco
2-4 pm: meet your favorite Disney pals
2-5 pm: live holiday entertainment
5:30 pm: tree lighting celebration

Friday November 27
Santa Rosa downtown at 6 pm
San Francisco Macy's Annual Tree Lighting at Union Square, 6 pm
Ghirardelli Square Christmas Tree, 5:30 pm
San Rafael Parade of Light and Winter wonderland all day event

Monday November 30
San Francisco Huntington Park Tree Lighting 5:30 pm
San Francisco Castro Holiday Tree Lighting 6 pm

Wednesday, December 2
San Francisco Ritz-Carlton - 5:30-7:30 pm

Thursday, December 3
Sebastopol Town Plaza, 5 pm
San Francisco Bayview Opera House Tree Lighting, 5:30-8:30 pm

Friday, December 4
San Francisco Presidio Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony, 5:30-6:30 pm
Oakland, Jack London Square Lights Up the Holidays 5:30-7:30 pm

December 12
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay Tree lighting ceremony from 4:30-6:30 pm

Dec. 11-19, 2009 Chabad Menorah Candle Lighting Ceremony at San Francisco Union Square
Here is the schedule:

Friday, December 11
Lighting the first candle 3–4 pm

Saturday, December 12
Lighting the second candle 7:30- 8:30 pm

Sunday, December 13
Lighting the third Candle
Festival of Lights event with music 3-6 pm
Ceremony/dignitaries 4:30
Lighting the Menorah 5 pm

Monday, December 14 - Friday December 18th
Candle lighting each night 5– 6 pm

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Coming Up: Diva Night at Laurel Street Arts

Get the gals together for some girl time and indulge your artsyness.

Laurel Street Arts, a paint-it-yourself pottery studio (where you can also create mosaics, fuse glass or make silver jewelry) is hosting a Diva Night. Make some presents or something for yourself.

When: November 20th at 8:00 pm
Where: Laurel Street Arts, 733 Laurel Street, San Carlos
RSVP: by November 19th to pay a reduced fee of $10 to (650) 591-1005
Cost: $10 if RSVP in advanced, $15 at the door
Bring: your own food and drinks

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coming Up: Cycle World International Motorcycle Show

If your kids (or even you) are infatuated with motorcycles and other moving vehicles, take them this weekend to the Cycle World International Motor Show. With hundreds of two and three-wheeled dirt bikes, scooters, dual sport bikes, etc.

It's not just look-and-see. The show features interactive family activities and shows as well (2-3 a day). Plus you can sit on hundreds of the bikes.

When: November 20-22
Where: San Mateo County Event Center (2495 S. Delaware St., San Mateo)
Tickets: available online at or onsite.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Coming Up: Embarcadero Holiday Lighting with Disney on Ice

The Embarcadero has an exciting holiday lighting event this year! Disney on Ice is doing a free preview show (Worlds of Fantasy) at their ice rink. Plus a free winter carnival with crafts, card-making, balloon animals and more.

For more detail, check out Bay Area on the Cheap's listing.

When: November 20, 2009 starting at 4:00
Where: Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco
Cost: free (including parking starting at 4:00)

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Contest! Tag Jr. Giveway


The last blog contest on the LeapFrog Tag Reading System was so popular, we're doing another. This one is for the LeapFrog Tag Jr. bundle. So if you have a younger child, grandchild, niece or nephew (age 2-4), this is the perfect contest to enter.

What do you win? A Tag Jr. reader bundle which includes a cute little handheld reader, sampler book (If I were...with 16 activities and 70 audio responses) plus two books: ABC Animal Orchestra and Winnie the Pooh. Each book promotes different preschool learning skills.

Value: about $57.

Like the Tag Reading System, you can follow your child's progress online to see what skills are being explored, and get additional learning ideas and articles. They'll probably try to sell you more stuff there, too.

We haven't the Tag Jr. system, but we do have the Tag Reading System for the older set, and we enjoy it.

How to win?
--Leave a comment on this blog and
You must do both to win.
When you leave a comment here, either leave me your email address, or email it to me separately (noting which comment is yours) at blog@friscokids.net. No email address, no winner.
--You can get an extra chance to win by tweeting this contest. I'm @friscokids. If you don't use @friscokids I won't know you tweeted and you must let me know.

The contest ends Monday, November 30 at 3 p.m. Pacific time. The winner (meeting above criteria) will be randomly chosen via random.org and has 24 hours to respond with shipping information.

You can get five more chances to win by entering at these fine parenting blogs:
3 Carnations

ReadyMom

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Coming Up: The Producers

Well, it's not Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, but...

Aragon High School is putting on The Producers, Mel Brooks' hilarious Broadway musical adapted from his own 1968 film of the same name.

Where: Aragon High School, San Mateo
When: Saturday, 11/19-21 at 7pm;
Sunday, 11/22 at 2pm
Tickets: online tickets are $15.00 for adults, $10.00 for students and seniors. At the door you'll pay $17 for adults, and $10 for students and seniors.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Free copy of Navigating Your Health Benefits for Dummiews

If you're trying to figure out your healthcare payment options, check out the free book now available: Navigating Your Health Benefits for Dummies. The freebie is sponsored by AETNA and the Financial Planning Association. You do have to fill out their information form, but it looks like they won't or share your name. You can get the book sent to you by mail or you can download an e-copy.

The guide helps you maximize your health benefits, answers questions on buying your own benefits and using tax-advantaged accounts.

Friday, November 13, 2009

San Francisco and San Jose outdoor Ice Skating Rinks

It's time to get out those skates and gloves, and pretend we live in cold country. Here are three outdoor ice skating rinks in the Bay Area:

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Embarcadero Ice Rink - Justin Herman Plaza
(adjacent to Four Embarcadero Center and across from the historic Ferry Building)
Dates: November 12, 2008 through January 4, 2009
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sunday – Thursday
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. on Friday - Saturday
Session: 90 minute sessions starting on every even hour
Information: (415) 837-1931 or its website
Cost: $9/adults, $5.50/seniors/children ages 10 and under
Monday – Friday until 6:00 p.m. (50 cents more at other times)
Skate rental: $3.50
Birthday parties: $250, includes admission and skate rental for up to ten people, a decorated party area, birthday cake and soft drinks. Skating guests in excess of ten will be charged an additional $12.50 each.

Union Square Ice Rink
Union Square, downtown San Francisco
Dates: November 11, 2009 through January 18, 2010
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sunday – Thursday
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. on Friday - Saturday
Information: (415) 781-2688 and its website
Cost: $9/adults, $4.50/children ages 8 and under, Monday – Friday until 6:00 p.m.
50 cents more at other times
Skate rental: $4.00

San Jose Downtown Skating
Downtown San Jose: 120 Market Street
Dates: November 20, 2009 through January 18, 2010
Hours: vary – check the website
Session: no set session –skate all you want, though no in/out privileges
Information: (408) 279-1775 and its website
Cost: $15/over age 13; $13/ages 12 and under
Skate rental: included in admission

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' LeapFrog Tag Jr. giveaway contest!

Coming Up: Once Upon a Mattress - Junior Version

This one's for the younger set. Once Upon a Mattress (the Junior version), a funny musical comedy based on the fairy tale "The Princess And The Pea," will be performed this weekend by middle schoolers, studying at the Hillbarn Conservatory.

When: Friday, November 13th at 7:30 PM & Saturday, November 14th at 2 PM.

Where: Hillsborough's Crocker Middle School (2600 Ralston Ave).

Tickets: $5 - buy at the door or call the Hillbarn Box Office at (650) 349-6411 x 2

Coming Up: Golden Gate Express at Conservatory of Flowers


The Golden Gate Express, last year's popular train show in the the Conservatory of Flowers, is back.


The model trains and cable cars wend their way through the conservatory's foliage and dwarf plants, while zipping past mini versions of San Francisco landmark buildings. Included are Ghirardelli Square, the Transamerica Pyramid, Ferry Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower and Chinatown's dragon gate.


These monuments were made from recycled and repurposed materials like corks, wine boxes, cheese graters, cutlery and more. For example, the Ferry Building and Transamerica Pyramid are studded with more than 600 computer keys.


New this year: six landmarks including City Hall, the Palace of Fine Arts and the Castro Theater.


Also new this year: two interactive trains for children.


When: November 19, 2009 - April 18, 2010. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year's Day.


Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays ­ Sundays


Where: Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco


Cost: $1.50-$7.00 depending on your age and city of residence. Children 4 and under FREE


One Warm Coat Drive


This is one of my favorite charities, because it's easy to give and it makes a difference.

If you have extra winter coats hanging in your closet, or can buy some easily, you're good. Help out someone who could use a warm coat this winter, donating your coat through a One Warm Coat Drive. Past national coat drives have brought in 500,000 coats in one season, given out through charitable organizations (the donation center chooses the organization).

Click here for a list of Bay Area One Warm Coat Locations. Make sure to scroll through the pages, so you can find one near you, and check the dates!

On fun upcoming event to collect coats is at Epi Center Med Spa in San Francisco. On Tuesday, November 17th from 6-8 p.m. they're hosting a drop-in drive for St. Anthony's Foundation. Bring a coat for men, women or children. They're offering $50 gift cards for services at Med Spa for you and any friends you bring. Plus they're having a free raffle, some discounted treatments and products, and wine/food.

To attend, email rsvp@epicentermedspa.com. They're at 450 Sutter, Suite 800.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coming Up: Understanding your Options in Tough Economic Times

Community service announcement:

Jewish Family and Children’s Services is offering a free workshop in their Palo Alto office, called "Understanding Your Options in Tough Financial Times." It features a panel of experts who will answer financial questions like: What are my options to keep my house, sell, or transition to other housing ? How do I decide if bankruptcy is appropriate ? What are my legal options? What services, assistance, and financial resources are available in my community ?

Where: JFCS (200 Channing Avenue (at Emerson) in Palo Alto
When: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 6:30-8:30 PM
Cost: Free

Also: JFCS, along with Jewish Vocational Services, is offering a Job Search Strategy Group in the Palo Alto office on Friday, November 20 from 10 am to 12 noon. Reservations required to attend.

Open to all - you do not need to be Jewish to attend.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring Veterans and Military Personnel on Veteran's Day

Thank you to all our veterans and active service miilitary personnel for your service and dedication.

Photo copyright: Deborah Abrams Kaplan 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Free Airport Wifi through mid-January

I hate going to the airport with my computer and having to pay for wi-fi. Google and Virgin America to the rescue!

From now until January 15, 2010, they are sponsoring free wi-fi at 47 airports and on Virgin flights. San Jose is participating. San Francisco is not.

To find out the other participating free wi-fi airports (because you're going to have to return from another aiport), click here.

Free Meals & Deals for Veterans and Service Personnel

Several restaurants and stores are offering free meals and deals for military veterans and active service personnel in honor of Veteran's Day.

--Free entree at Applebee’s on November 11th
--Free doughnut at Krispy Kreme for veterans and active military personnel on November 11th.
--Outback Steakhouse offers veterans and active duty military a free bloomin onion appetizer and a free beverage.

Lowe's and Home Depot offer active, reserve and honorably discharged retired military personnel a 10% discount subject to some fine print.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Coming Up: Justin Roberts - singer


Get 'yer tickets for Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players.

Brief synopsis: rare West Coast performance. Sing along together to tunes like Meltdown, My Brother Did It, Taking off my Training Wheels and Stay at Home Dad. Listen to tunes here. See video here. Tickets are only $13 in advance (it benefits the Mountain View Parent Nursery School). Who isn't behind a preschool education?

We went last year - mucho divertido! (much fun)

When: Sunday, November 15 at 11 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. (each show is one hour)
Where: Foothill College’s Smithwick Theater (12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos)
Cost: $13 each in advance, $15 at door. Buy tickets here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Get 'Yer Tickets - the Nutcracker

Don't forget to enter the Frisco Kids' Leapfrog Tag Jr. Bundle giveaway!

It's not too late to get tickets for the family-friendly Nutcracker ballet. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, so feel free to add your favorites by commenting below.

Here are a few places to start.

San Francisco Ballet - many shows throughout December. Six family shows where kids can get photos with dancers, and free snacks at intermission. Call for tickets: (415) 865-2000

Oakland Ballet Company - Shows December 24-27. Call (510) 452-9288 for tickets

San Jose Ballet - Shows December 10-27. Call (408) 288 2800.

City Ballet School - Four shows - December 12-13. Get tickets at the ballet school, or Fort Mason Box Office or call (415) 345-7575.

Ballet America in Redwood City - one day only, December 5.

Peninsula Ballet Theater - December 12, 13, 19 & 20. At the San Mateo Performing Arts Center. Greet the dancers after every performance. Call 800-595-4849 or check website for tickets. Order in November for 10% discount.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker - November 28 at the Flint Center in Cupertino. For discounts, click here.

Dance-along Nutcracker - December 12-13 at Yerba Buena Center. Not traditional. You can dance - any style. Band is fun and does Nutcracker highights music, plus other tunes as well. Tickets are $25 (more for gala night).

Friday, November 6, 2009

Review: Tanque Verde Dude Ranch in Arizona

I grew up in Arizona, with two summers of horseback riding camp. The idea of getting my kids on horses is appealing. So is the idea of a dude ranch, where you not only ride horses several times a day, but someone else cooks for you and watches your kids.

Sitting tall in the saddle

Last time I was in Tucson visiting family, I spent a morning at Tanque Verde, a highly regarded dude ranch on the city’s east side. I’d written about dude ranches for magazines, but hadn’t yet actually had the experience. I dragged my seven-year-old daughter Dori with me – she was NOT excited about riding on a horse. I used my motherly charm to convince her to go, saying “they’re giving you a horseback riding lesson and you’re going to take it.”


Read the rest at Travel Savvy Mom.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Free Second Sunday at the Tech Museum in San Jose

Cool museum for free! Visit the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose the second Sunday of each month, for free!

This Sunday, November 8th is the date.

Coming Up: Free Museum Admission this Weekend

Okay, the blog title was slightly misleading, but if you're a Bank of America customer, YOU can gain entry for free to many SF and San Jose museums this weekend. On the first full weekend of every month, B of A offers its cardholders free entry into select museums. This Saturday and Sunday, November 7-8 is your lucky weekend. Okay, so are December 5-6, and January 2-3.

Where to go?

San Francisco
the Museum of the African Diaspora
deYoung Museum
Contemporary Jewish Museum
Legion of Honor

San Jose
San Jose Musem of Art
the Tech Museum of Innovation

Free Exploratorum Admission this weekend

Today's posts are all about free admission to museums this weekend. The Exploratorium is celebrating its 40th anniversary by offering free admission on Saturday and Sunday. This world-renown hands-on science museum will have special programs, including bubble magic, Iron Science Teacher, Cutting Ice into One with a Motorcycle, behind-the-scene floor walks, and Operate!

When: November 7-8
Where: Exploratorium (Palace of Fine Arts, Marina Blvd. & Lyon in SF)
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Coming Up: PJ Library with Diana Shmiana for preschoolers

The PJ Library is sponsoring a "wake up" program with Diana Shmiana. This interactive, lively and entertaining program for preschoolers features of Diana's songs, clowning, storytelling, puppetry, magic, and shtick.

The program is aimed at kids under 6 (older siblings are welcome). Members and non-members welcome.

If you're not familiar with PJ Library, check out my previous post about it.

When: Sunday, November 8th, 10 – 11 am
Where: BJE Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco
Cost: FREE - Snacks provided
RSVP: by November 1st, to VivienB@sfjcf.org or call (415) 499.1223 x 8106

SATW Travel Auction - get hotel rooms & travel packages at a discount

In this economy, travel is something we have to think twice about. Especially with kids. So here's a fun way to get a discounted trip, or even a cheap hotel stay for a visit to see your family. The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) sponsors an annual auction, where most items go for much under their retail price. Whether you're looking for a hotel room in Seattle, or a 6 day Windjammer cruise for your anniversary celebration, you should check it out.

The auction ends November 20th, and you have the option of watching items or bidding now.

Some of the offers:
-2 nights at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa (current bid is $165)
-2 night Napa Valley package at Silverado Resort (current bid is $300)
-2 night stay at Sonesta Bayfront Hotel Coconut Grove in Miami, FL (current bid is $50)
-2 night stay at Le Petite Hotel in Montreal (opening bid is $25)
-$50 Otterbox smartphone protective case (opening bid is $10)
-collection of children's travel books (opening bid is $10)
-2 nights at Fairmont Chateau Whistler - hotel looks like a castle (current bid is $50)
-3 nights at the all-inclusive Gran Caribe Resort in Cancun (opening bid is $200)
-7 night Spa Classic stay for two at Ixtapa Spa Hotel & Golf Resort in Mexico (opening bid is $200)
-2 night stay at Scottsdale Fairmont Princess plus Willow Stream spa treatment (current bid is $200) - (personal note: I just stayed here for a conference, and the place is family-friendly, and the spa is FABULOUS)

Let me know if you win!!!

Free customized luggage tags

Get your free customized luggage tags from KLM Airlines, and enter their contest to win a free pair of tickets (look for the "Design your own free luggage tags" box on the bottom left).

About the contest entry - it is laborious and a several step process which involves downloading pictures from their website and posting things. I ended up not entering, so no free tickets for me. But the luggage tags? Hopefully on their way in the next 3 weeks.

Thanks to Lydie and Inflightout for the alert on this.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are...at the SF Contemporary Jewish Museum

You've probably seen the trailers for the new Spike Jonze movie, Where the Wild Things Are. And chances are...you've read the book too. A few thousand times.

While not specifically related to the movie, the Contemporary Jewish Museum has a retrospective right now, called "There's a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak."

You'll see more than 100 original watercolors, drawings, rare sketches, and never-before-seen working materials by Maurice Sendak, who wrote and illustrated this 1963 book (and 100 others as well).

The museum promises that even though the exhibit has many adult themes, it's perfect for families, with kid-friendly elements like activity cards that challenge them to look for objects on display, and also feature Sendak characters they can use to create their own stories.

Plus my kids' favorites: touch screens (in this case, with Sendak interviews where he tells about the characters, monsters and hidden themes)

Read this reveiw from Lydie at Travel is More Fun with Kids.

When: now until January 19, 2010
Open: daily (except Wed.) 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. & Thursday, 1 p.m. til 8 pm.
Where: Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission Street, San Francisco
Cost: $10.00 adults, $5 on Thursdays after 5 PM. Youth 18 and under FREE.

Coming Up: Meet the Composers - SF Chamber Orchestra - free

The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra has three free concerts coming up this weekend - Meet the composer (Vivaldi, Beethovern...and a live composer - Gabriela Frank.

When/Where:
Saturday, November 7 - SF Conservatory of Music (Concert Hall, 50 Oak St, SF) - at 2 p.m.
Sunday, November 8 - Julia Morgan Theater (2640 College Ave, Berkeley) - 12 noon
Sunday, November 8 - College of San Mateo (1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd., San Mateo) - 3 p.m.

Programs run about an hour and are meant for the whole family.

Coming Up: East Bay Baby Fair - Free

This weekend, get set for the free East Bay Baby Fair, which touts itself as THE event for new and expecting parents in the East Bay.

What to expect? Education, shopping and other family-oriented activities.

Shopping vendors include several local specialty children's shops, including Maternity Xchange (mid to high-end maternity apparel priced up to 75% off retail prices). You can purchase books, toys, kids' clothes and more.

Education and resources includes local pregnancy, birth and parenting groups/vendors like doulas, midwives, massage therapists, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, photographers, Au Pairs, chiropractors and music programs

Free workshops cover topics include breastfeeding, vaccinations, tantrum training, fatherhood, alternatives to inducing labor & cloth diapering. Register for the workshops here.

Be one of the first 150 families and get a free goody bag.

For the kids: face painting & henna art all day, plus story time and raffle prizes.

What: East Bay Baby Fair
When: Saturday November 7th, 2009
Time: 11am to 3pm
Where: Albany Veteran's Memorial Building (1325 Portland Avenue, Albany)

Cost: free

Coming Up: Children's Book Week Author's Festival - Peninsula

The San Mateo County Library System, along with local schools, is hosting an Author Festival this week. It features children’s authors and illustrators, whose books and art work inspired children nationwide.

Here's what's left:
--Elisa Kleven, author of A Carousel Tale (and many other great ones)
Tuesday, November 3 at 4:00 PM – East Palo Alto Library
--Deborah Gilson, author of Humanimals
Thursday, November 5 at 8:30 PM – Woodside Library
--Ingrid Law, author of the sensational new children’s book Savvy
Friday, November 6 at 4:00 PM – Belmont Library

Coming Up: Michael Chabon talks about Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures & Regrets of a Husband, Father & Son

Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Kavalier and Clay (it's a great read) is coming to the Belmont library to talk (in public) with San Francisco Chronicle book editor John McMurtrie. A free wine and cheese reception begins the event at 6:30 pm., with the talk at 7:00. Both are free and open to the public.

Chabon will also read from his book Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son" (click here for NYT review). This is his first long book of personal writing.

This event is being cosponsored by M is for Mystery Bookstore and the Friends of the Belmont Library. You can purchase copies of the book there for signing or bring your copy (with a receipt from M is for Mystery) to get it signed.

When: Wed, November 4 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Belmont Library

Monday, November 2, 2009

Get 'Yer Tickets: Anne Lamott & the Writing Mamas

Acclaimed Bay Area writer Anne Lamott will perform at the Mama Monologues in Sausalito. You may know Lamott's book Operating Instructions, a witty take on her son's first year of life. She's written other books on faith and on writing, including Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which is a bible for many writers.

The evening also features short, funny monologues by some of the Writing Mamas (check their website for more on them), plus socializing with food and wine. Lamott gets the stage for an hour, sharing book excerpts, stories and answering questions.

The event benefits Jacquelyn Mitchard, another best-selling writer who apparently lost her life savings in what she thought was a conservative investment (but turned out to be a scam). Check out my previous posting where if you buy Mitchard's new novel No Time to Wave Goodbye, you can pick out another of her books for free - and get it signed by the author. The buy one get one free deal is good through Thanksgiving. If you haven't read her books, you've probably heard of her Oprah book club pick The Deep End of the Ocean.

Date night or girls' night out - get it on the calendar! It should be fun.

When: November 14th from 6-9 pm
Where: Church of Christ (Campbell Hall & Garden, 70 Santa Rosa Avenue) Sausalito, CA
Tickets: $30 for one, or $25 each for two or more. Order tickets here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Coming Up: Hiller Aviation Museum programs

This in from Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos:

Flight Explorers Half-Day Programs Join an exploration into the world of flight with our popular Flight Explorers programs. Three different topics are offered on select weekends and holidays this fall. Each program features a hands-on model aircraft construction project, an exclusive Gallery Tour, and a special flight simulation mission in the Museum's Flight Sim Zone.

For: Kids Grades 1-6
When: Saturday Programs on November 7th, November 28th & December 5th
Holiday Programs November 11th and November 27th
Time: 1 PM-- 4 PM

After-School Aviators Afternoon Programs Launch a four-week after-school adventure for young aviation enthusiasts! Programs meet one day per week for four consecutive weeks at the Hiller Aviation Museum and provide an in-depth investigation into a particular area of aviation. Fabulous Flight students build and fly model aircraft, and Test Pilot Lab participants pursue a challenging series of flight simulations using a variety of aircraft under increasingly difficult conditions.

For Kids Grades 1-8
When: Test Pilot Lab (Grades 4-8) Thursdays 3:30-5 PM November 4th

RSVP:
Space for all programs is limited and advanced registration is required.
Call (650) 654-0200 or visit website here for additional information or to download a registration form.