Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Focus Groups - many many to choose from

I love doing focus groups, and just got this recruitment email from Plaza Research. I've done some for them before, so I'm comfortable putting this out there.

~CAT FOOD~
TUESDAY, APRIL 6TH AND WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7TH
2 HOUR FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION IN DOWNTOWN SF IN THE AFTERNOON OR EVENING
Requirements: Cat owners age 23-59
Incentive: $115.00
If you are interested in the CAT FOOD study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/cvolpd

~DOG FOOD~
TUESDAY, APRIL 6TH AND WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7TH
2 HOUR FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION IN DOWNTOWN SF IN THE AFTERNOON OR EVENING
Requirements: Dog owners age 23-59
Incentive: $115.00
If you are interested in the DOG FOOD study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/c8ypjt

~ECOMMERCE~
MONDAY, APRIL 6TH TO THURSDAY, APRIL 9TH
45 MINUTE PHONE INTERVIEW, VARIOUS TIMES AVAILABLE
Requirements: Business owners whose business sells through a website to businesses or consumers
Incentive: $75.00
If you are interested in the ECOMMERCE study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/dg4saf

~COMMUNITY ISSUES~
THURSDAY, APRIL 9TH
2 HOUR FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION DURING THE EVENING
Requirements: Males and females age 25-69 who are registered to vote
Incentive: $85.00
If you are interested in the COMMUNITY ISSUES study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/c7hpvu

~SMALL BUSINESSES~
MONDAY, APRIL 13TH TO APRIL 30TH
3 HOUR INTERVIEW IN YOUR OFFICE DURING THE MORNING OR AFTERNOON
Requirements: Small business owners, partners or operation managers who use online applications to support their business processes
Incentive: $300.00 American Express Check
If you are interested in the SMALL BUSINESSES study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/dhbw94

~IT PROFESSIONALS~
THURSDAY, APRIL 16TH
90 MINUTE FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION IN DOWNTOWN SF IN THE AFTERNOON OR EVENING
Requirements: IT Professionals who work in a medium to large-sized company
Incentive: $150.00
If you are interested in the IT PROFESSIONALS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/csoox6

~BEVERAGES~
MONDAY, APRIL 20TH
2 HOUR FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION IN DOWNTOWN SF IN THE AFTERNOON, OR MONDAY, APRIL 20TH - THURSDAY, APRIL 23RD
3 HOUR IN HOME INTERVIEW/SHOP ALONG, VARIOUS TIMES AVAILABLE
Requirements: Males and females age 25-55
Incentive: $125.00 - $225.00
If you are interested in the BEVERAGES study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/cb546o

Monday, March 30, 2009

Free Movie Day - Redbox free code here

This is no April Fool's joke! (Though this code is for Wed 4/1 but somehow got posted as Monday).

Haven't tried out the free movie deal at Redbox yet? Hurry! The weekly free movies are about to end. (this might be the last one).


The Redbox code for today (good through midnight) is MMM401

The rental is good for 24 hours. Find a Redbox near you (in the Bay Area, they're in lots of Lucky's stores along with some others).

Mom's Night Out: Distracted at TheaterWorks - with 2 talk-back sessions with ADD experts


April starts the regional premier of Distracted, a Broadway show starring Cynthia Nixon (of Sex & The City). Unfortunately Ms. Nixon isn't coming here, but the show is. This is a comedy about a family dealing with ADD. According to the producers,


"Jesse's got problems. Mom needs to solve them. At school, at home, this plugged-in kid is easily distracted and readily riled—just like his anxious parents, the neurotic neighbors, the clue-challenged doctors, the whole revved-up, wacked-out webcast of modern life. Could it be Attention Deficit Disorder? And what if it is? Honest, insightful, and hilariously offbeat, this LA/Ashland hit by the author of Living Out is a dramedy for our times, texting for answers in a world too frazzled to text back."


“A passionate emotional journey…moves with impressive comic swiftness.” Los Angeles Times


The show runs April 1-26, with two talk-back sessions.


The first is on Thursday, April 2nd at 6:30. Dr. Janet Dafoe, founder of the ADHD School Success Center in Palo Alto, will talk at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts. Artistic Director Robert Kelley will moderate. The session is free and open to the public.


On April 17, Dr. Larry Diller, MD author of “Running on Ritalin,” (he consulted with playwright Lisa Loomer on DISTRACTED) will talk after the performance.


The show is at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Click on that theater name or call 650-903-6000 for tickets.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Who is Your Local Hero? Win an Alchemy Spa package

Willow Glen merchants are sponsoring a fun contest: Beautifying Humanity. They ask: who is your local hero? Nominate someone who has touched your life - a friend, relative, teacher, etc. Ten finalists will be pampered with spa treatments and Willow Glen gift baskets, with one winner announced at an award dinner at Vin Santo.

No fee to enter. Pick up forms at participating Willow Glen stores. Nominate your local hero until April 3, 2009. Voting then goes until April 18, leading up to the April 28 award dinner.

Thanks to Frisco Kids reader Teri for passing this along!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour: Turn off your lights at 8:30

First there was Earth Day. Now there's Earth Hour. One hour to turn off your lights. Join with the Empire State Building, and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur. Wembly Stadium's Arch, the Acropolis in Greece, and the lights on the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Sphinx. Make a small statement about global warming this Saturday - and turn off your lights for one hour starting at 8:30 p.m.

Coming Up: Free Admission to Habitot for their 11th Anniversary on April 18

Join Habitot for its 11th Birthday Bash on April 18, 2009. The FREE Admission Day is sponsored by Life is Good Foundation with a jazz performance by Guy Gash and his Sharp Five Jazz Band from 2:00-4:00pm.

Special appearance Lovee the Clown, with bubbles, puppet shows and songs from 11:00-12:30pm.

In the Art Studio, children and families will help decorate Habitot’s giant birthday cake with icings and sprinkles. Also, birthday stories in the Multicultural Reading Tent at 10:00am-1:00pm.

Habitot is in Berkeley at 2065 Kittredge Street. For more info call (510) 647-1111.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Recycle old Electronics and Get Free Sony Product this Saturday

Do something good for the environment and get a reward! This Saturday, March 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sony is sponsoring a recycling event at Shoreline Amphitheater. Bring your oudated electronics to the Amphitheater in Mountain View during the listed times, and Sony will recycle them for free.

The first 2,000 cars to bring by the items, receive a coupon for a $100 Sony product, redeemable at Sony Style stores at Valley Fair or Stanford Shopping Center.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Coming Up: Stretch the Imagination Open House Sunday in Marin


This Sunday, head to Marin to check out the grand opening of Stretch the Imagination, a center for yoga, art and creative discovery for young kids. This San Francisco studio is opening its second location - in Corte Madera.

Stretch the Imagination focuses on exploring the arts, movement, and music as a learning process to promote child development and curiosity. It's inspired by Reggio Emilia's philosophy that kids are competent, resourceful, curious, imaginative, and inventive, and possess a desire to interact and communicate with others.


Learn more at its free open house this Sunday March 29, 2009 from 10:00am - 2:00pm. Singer James K will perform. The studio is at 47 A Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, in the Book Passage shopping center.

More info: 415-927-2616 or click here

Coming Up: Easter Eggstravaganza at Stanford Shopping Center

If you need to go to the mall with kids, Stanford Shopping Center is a good choice.

And on Saturday, March 28, they’re hosing the Simon Kidgits Club Easter Eggstravaganza.
Join the Easter Bunny from 11 a.m .to 1:00 and let the kids loose in a shopping center egg hunt (let’s hope they hide some See’s chocolate eggs). Then from 2:00-3:30, watch a children’s fashion show with musical performance by The Music Within Us.

Free!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bounce U open in San Carlos - Bay Area Birthday Parties and Open Play


Pump it Up used to be the only game in town. Not any more! Welcome Bounce U, with locations in San Carlos and Pleasanton.
They offer open play time, fundraisers, field trips and team parties and of course, BIRTHDAY parties.
The San Carlos Bounce U opened on March 1st, and is now booking parties and hosting open play times. Here's the scoop:
Drop In:
Preschool Bounce: Monday - Friday from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Open Bounce: Tuesday - Thursday 3:00-4:15 p.m.
Wedneday night Family Bounce: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
First Tusday Autism Night: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Temporary Sunday Morning Bounce: (call first - it's being offered probably through April until they get parties booked) 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Cost:
All open bounces are $7.95 per child, except preschool bounce, which is $7.
Or buy a 5-pass for $30. Free for parents.
As for parties, each party is 2 hours, with 45 and 35 minute sessions in each "stadium." Up to 25 kids (best for those age 3 and up), using the bounce rooms for 75 minutes, plus 45 minutes in the party room. You can bring your own cake and ice cream, but need to order food through them. They have add-ons like balloons, goody bags, and more.
The Spectacular party includes everything (2 slices pizza per kid, drinks, invitations, half sheet cake, balloon bouquet, goody bags, t-shirt for birthday child) - costs $399 plus tax (up to 25 kids).
Or book the Premier party, with a flat fee, and you add on extras like food, goody bags, balloons, etc. Fee is $235 (Monday through Thursday) and $275 (Friday through Sunday plus holidays).
More info:
San Carlos: (650) 592-6862
Pleasanton: (925) 416-0888

If you want to feel like a good parent...

A short break from the regularly scheduled program of Bay Area events, discounts and travel...I'm catching up on email. Just read through a blog post that made me laugh out loud and made me appreciate that I'm not the only mom out there who isn't picture perfect.

For example, do you eat your kids' holiday candy without guilt? Do you say "hang on, I'll be right there" and hope your kids will forget they called you? Do you sometimes put your kids to bed early so you can have a break? So do I. And so does Sarah Ludwig, author of Parenting by Trial & Error, who wrote the blog post that made me feel better about myself and my mothering techniques...

Check out her blog post here: Parenting by Trial & Error.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Outdoor Exploratorium - now open - and FREE!

Looking for an outdoor activity this weekend? Check out the Exploratorium's new (free) outdoor annex! Last week, they opened 20 new exhibits and piees of artwork on the waterfront at Fort Mason (look between the Aquatic Park and the Marina district).

There's a bridge thermometer, which has a calibrated spotting scope, mounted on an Upper Fort Mason trail and trained on the Golden Gate Bridge. It allows you to see how much the span moves up and down as the structure contracts and expands in reaction to temperature changes (it can rise and fall by as much as 16 feet).

Look for the pier piling pivot, where you can see the plant and animal life living in this part of the shoreline. And learn about thermal optics from the architectural mirage exhibit.

The interior Exploratorium isn't far away - so put that on your list to visit too!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Coming Up: Persian New Year Celebration at Habitot

Haven't heard of the Persian New Year (Norooz)? Well come and learn about it on Saturday, March 21st at Habitot in Berkeley.

The interactive performance about Norooz history is part of Habitot’s Persian New Year celebration. Families celebrate the coming of spring with Norooz customs like painting “tokhme-morgh” eggs and planting “sabzeh” wheatgrass. In their Art Studio, kids can use flower petals, seeds, and other natural materials to make spring collages.

The performance is from 11:00-11:30 am, followed by Iranian children’s stories at noon, 2:00 pm, & 3:30 pm in the Multicultural Reading Tent.

Habitot is open from 9:30 to 4:30 and costs $7 for adults, and $8 for kids. 2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley. (510) 647-1111

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Free movie rental today at Redbox

Many of you took advantage of last week's posting about free movie rentals at Redbox.

Well, it's another Wednesday and another chance to catch up on those movies you don't get out to see. To get today's Redbox code for a free rental, click here.

To find out where the closest Redbox kiosk is, click here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bay Area Golf at a Discount

I’m not a golfer, but I know it’s not a cheap sport. Lisa Mann at Sonoma On the Cheap told me about this golf website (golfnow.com) offering up to 70% off green fees. Recently they offered golf in Napa for $14, Oakmont Golf Club starting at $19, Sea Ranch from $22, and Brentwood from $18.

If you’re a golfer, let me know if the site works out for you!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Coming Up: St. Patrick's Day - Where to Celebrate?

Zachary and his class made leprechan traps at school this week, and the kids are busy figuring out if there really is such a thing. Good think Zack has an older sister to dissuade him from believing in all that fairy stuff! Only the tooth fairy is real, apparently.

My memories of St. Patrick's Day are of wearing green (when I was younger) and drinking beer (when I was older). Have some fun with the various Bay Area celebrations this Tuesday. I'll highlight one:

Habitot's Shamrock Celebration Day includes traditional Irish folk music by the Shamrock Ceilidh Band from 10:30 am to noon on Tuesday. Kids can make a shamrock crown in the art studio, and hunt for hidden "gold" throughout the museum from 10 a.m. to noon.

If you'd like to see more happenings, Lydie of Travel is More Fun with Kids has an extensive listing (plus explanations of the holiday) on her blog. Check it out!

Spring Break Ideas for the Bay Area


**Check out Frisco Kid's Spring Break 2010 ideas for
-spring break in San Francisco
-spring break in Lake Tahoe
-spring break in Arizona

For many, spring break is almost here. Just in case you’re staying local, Frisco Kids has a list of ideas to keep you and the kiddies busy and not bored.

Take a day trip to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. Make it more fun by taking the train there.

Indulge your sticker fantasies by touring Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory in Petaluma.

Go to a museum you’ve never been to (see my list on the right). Try a smaller one that’s less known, like the Randall Museum or Palo Alto Junior Museum.

See the model trains at Golden Gate Park’s Conservatory of Flowers

It’s crowded, but head to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. See the 3-D bug movie, the planetarium, the aquarium, and albino alligators Bonnie and Claude.

The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve has great tide pools! Spot the sea anemones, sea stars, hermit crabs and more.

Splash around at the indoor swimming pool/play structure at the Silliman Family Aquatic Center in Newark.

Come up with some creative things to do at home or in the neighborhood, with this list of 60 things to do with your kids.

Have a culinary day – tasting gourmet cupcakes and taiyaki or exploring San Francisco’s Ferry Building (kids love Taylor's Refresher and the Ciao Bella gelateria).

Take a day trip to Monterey. Here are 5 family favorite things to do in Monterey.

Spend the day at Fisherman’s Wharf, eating Ghirardelli ice cream, riding the carousel at Pier 39, watching the sea lions on the pier and looking at all the arts along the street.

Movie Day! Get some Netflix, library movies or a free Wednesday rental at Redbox, and cozy up to the kids and popcorn.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Coming Up: Docent-Led Hikes on Mid-Peninsula - FREE

If you like hiking but aren’t sure where to go, hook up with one of many volunteer-led hikes in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District preserves.

These free hikes are a great week to see a new area, and learn something too. They're led by trained docents. Hikes are listed by difficulty level. They do have some specifically for kids, though I don’t see any of those listed for the upcoming months.

But there are several flat hikes (perfect for my slowpoke complaining son), including one titled Slimy Slugs at Purisma Creek Redwoods (3/22/09) and an Introduction to Geocaching at Russian Ridge (4/5/09).

Some hikes require reservations, which can only be made within two weeks of the hike, but it’s free.

Thank you to Elizabeth for telling me about these! Check out her blog, Tech for Luddites.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Coming Up: Firefighter Storytime in Brisbane

Nothing better than a firefighter...telling stories! Take the kids over to the Brisbane Fire Department on Monday, March 16 for story time and a truck tour. It's free!

When: Monday, March 16 at 11:30
Where: 250 Visitacion Avenue (415/467-2060)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Coming Up: San Francisco Family Resource Fair this Sunday

Not sure of your summer plans? Check out the 4th annual San Francisco Family Summer Resources Fair this Saturday, March 14 (try saying that one time fast).

They'll have 200 exhibitors offering...family summer resources. Learn about camps, arts and crafts, activities, jobs (for teens), classes and sports. there are some free kid activities, a climbing wall and massages for the parents (yeah, good luck getting to the front of the line there!)

The event is free and is at the Concourse Exhibition Center at 8th and Brannon. 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more info check sfkids.org.

Coming Up: Your Career Compass Event for Jewish Women

I wanted to alert my readers who know (or are) Jewish women looking at their careers. There's a great event coming up Tuesday, March 31 in San Mateo. It's called Your Career Compass. Here's the blurb about it.

"This inspiring and interactive session led by expert coaches will help you find career and life fulfillment. Hear 'before and after' stories of women who have undergone life-changing career makeovers. Begin the process of your own transformation through thought-provoking career exploration exercises that will help you define your goals and market yourself confidently."

Coaches Barbara Gottesman and Rebecca Zucker will lead the session.

The event starts at 5:45 with networking and a light dinner (great wine and Whole Foods catering - yum!). The program is 6:30-9:00.

This is the second in a series (though they stand independently so it's okay if you only attend this one). I did got to the last one, and it was fabulous. Great women and a lovely, inspiring evening.

It's brought to you by the Jewish Vocational Services and the Jewish Community Federation. And it's sponsored by Bare Escentuals (they gave us mini make-overs an a $60 mineral powder starter kit last time - and I think they're doing the same this time), plus Mills-Peninsula Health Services and Sprint.

I'll be there and hope some of you can join me! Space is limited. It's $30, and last time women came from San Francisco, the Peninsula and the South Bay. To RSVP click here or call 650.349.1523

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thank You For Making Frisco Kids One of the Most Popular Bay Area Family Blogs

A shout out and thank you to my loyal readers for making Frisco Kids one of the most popular blogs by and for families in the Bay Area, according to SFKids.org!

From Laure Latham Guyot's post on SFKids.org:
"If blogs can shape a generation of parents, it’s time to take a closer look at what blogs San Francisco and Bay Area parents rely on to survive the urban jungle...For the first time, SFKids.org surveys the major blog resources for families in the Bay Area. They were mostly discovered through parent referrals, as popularity is a sure sign of blog quality, but also through basic internet cross-referencing.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it will give a taste of only-in-San Francisco blogs (FriscoKids)..."

Read the entire story and list of cited blogs here.

Get ‘Yer Tickets – Positive Discipline Talk with Guru Dr. Jane Nelsen


You’ve read the book (okay, you’ve at least heard of it, right? There are 17 of them on the topic). Now come hear Dr. Jane Nelsen talk about Positive Discipline for Developing Capable People. Dr. Nelsen is a licensed marriage and family therapist (also a doctorate in educational psychology) and she’s making a rare Bay Area appearance (actually 2 appearances) and they’re both on the peninsula.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009 from 7:00-9:00 at Carrington Auditorium (Sequoia High School, Redwood City). Get tickets for that talk here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009 from 7:00-9:00 at Smithwick Auditorium (Foothill College, Los Altos Hills). Get tickets to that talk here.

Tickets are $15/person in advance, $20/person at the door. They expect to sell out, so if you’re interested, grab the tickets soon.


Review: The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas


When I told my friends I was going to Las Vegas, I got a lot of jealous comments. Especially since I was going without my kids. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to post some reviews of things to do, see and eat in Vegas - whether you're with the kids, on a "girls go wild" weekend, or a romantic interlude with your significant other (or even on a business trip).

Rather than retyping my review of the Ventian Hotel in Las Vegas here, I'm going to point you to it on Travel Savvy Mom. I'm a contributor there, and it's a great website for kid-friendly hotel reviews and informative but always fun travel essays.

So, read the reveiw and spend some time poking around the site!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Win a LeapFrog Tag Reading System

My friend Sarah at Parenting by Trial & Error is giving away a LeapFrog Tag Reading System.

She says: "To celebrate National Reading Month, LeapFrog has started a One Million Hours Reading Pledge and is also sponsoring a giveaway of their Tag Reading System on ten selected blogs."

Well, her blog is one of them. Check out the LeapFrog system, pledge your reading hours and enter to win the $78 package at her site.

Free movie rental today & on Wednesdays thru April 1 at Redbox

I’ve seen those DVD rental kiosks in the grocery store before, but always forget to use them. Well, now’s my chance. Redbox (inside many Bay Area Lucky’s stores and elsewhere) is offering a free movie rental on Wednesdays in March and the first Wednesday in April.

They just released Rachel Getting Married, Milk, and Boy in the Striped Pajamas, among others (like such soon-to-be classics like Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Spongebob vs. The Big One).

The Redbox code for today (good through midnight CST) is: JBG123

To find a Redbox near you, click here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy 50th Birthday Barbie! Get your newly introduced doll for $3




Well now I don't feel so old. Today Barbie turns 50! And to celebrate, Mattel is introducing a new look for Barbie. What will it be? Don't know. We have to wait until midnight tonight. I'm sure you'll all be up waiting!


But here's the exciting part - the new doll will sold for one week (March 9-14) at the "throwback" price of $3. Let's hope we don't have anyone breaking the doors down at Walmart to get these dolls before they sell out.

So here's your chance.
Do you plan to get one for your kid/s? For you? Is this the next Cabbage Patch doll or a real collectible? What do you think?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Need a New Job? Print your Resume for Free at FedEx Kinkos

Whether you're looking for a better job, or heading back to the work force, save a few bucks compliments of FedEx (formerly known as FedEx/Kinkos, formerly known as Kinkos).

On Tuesday, March 10 head to your neighborhood FedEx for "FedEx Office Free Resume Printing Day.” They'll print up to 25 copies of each customer’s resume for free on resume-quality paper.

This offer is good in their 1,600 stores, for 25 single sided black-and-white resume copies per customer. Orders must be placed and picked up in the store. You can place your order by submitting your resume on paper or digitally.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Kids Eat Free Mexican Food - Oatmeal for a Buck at Jamba Juice


It's time for a cheap eats post! Jamba Juice Oatmeal, Chevy's and El Torito.


Jamba Juice continued its oatmeal for a buck promotion for the next month. Click on this Jamba Juice link for the coupon - good through 3/31/09. Thanks for the tip, June (and she says the oatmeal is fabulous and hearty - she went several times during the last promotion).

Every Tuesday at Chevy's, kids eat free all day (the date changes in different locations so call first). One kids meal free per adult entree ordered. No coupon needed.

Also, you can sit in the cantina between 5 and 7 p.m. and get half priced margaritas ($3 each, another quarter for mango) and $3 appetizer plates. Our family went last week and three appetizer plates were more than enough for my hubby and me (he's a big eater too). And they gave the kids meals to us for free (I'm thinking they should have charged, since we didn't order an entree, but...we left a good tip). So we ended up with 4 margaritas, 3 appetizer plates and 2 kid meals for...$22 plus tip. Not bad! Of course I gained three pounds...

El Torito is offering a limited time special of "kids eat free on Saturdays until 3 p.m." Same deal as Chevy's - one kid meal per adult entree purchased. Good for kids 12 and under. No other coupons or discounts accepted.

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Coupon for Restaurant.com - save 50%

I recently posted about a huge sale at restaurant.com. This website sells discounted certificates to local restaurants (as in pay $5 and get a $25 discount on your meal). For more on how it works, check my last blog post about it.

So they have a new special right now that I'm sharing with you, since that last post was quite popular with readers.

Between now and midnight March 9th, get a $25 certificate for $5 (instead of the usual $10). Use the code CHEF when you check out and the discount will pop up.

Happy dining!

Addendum: My friend Elizabeth (a writer and techie), says she bought herself a gift certificate on restaurant.com that gives her a credit on the site for the amount purchased (i.e. you can purchase $300 worth of certificates for $25 or so). She can go in and "redeem a gift" by choosing a restaurant, and the amount chosen is reduced from her credit.

The great thing about doing it this way is that you can use the coupons at restaurants in other cities or states. And buying in California means the credit doesn't expire - it says so on the terms and conditions.

Coming Up: Thomas & Friends Live on Stage - A Circus Comes to Town


The circus is coming! No, not Ringling Brothers, but Thomas & Friends, live on stage. Join Thomas, Sir Topham Hatt and others for A Circus Comes to Town this weekend in Cupertino, and next week in San Rafael.


When: Friday, March 6-Sunday, March 8 at the Flint Center in Cupertino

Monday, March 9-Tuesday, March 10 at the Marin Center in San Rafael


Tickets: call (408) 988-tixs http://www.ticketmaster.com/

Cost: $18-50 for adults, $9-50 for kids


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Review: Jonas Brothers 3-D Concert Experience


What's better than taking your kid to see the Jonas Brothers' 3-D Concert Experience? Having someone ELSE take your kid to the movie. Yes, last weekend we sent our daughter off to the theater with her friend (and her friend's big sister) for some girl-time. You know - Sex in the City for seven year old girls.

The best part: "I got Dibbs and popcorn!"

Oh yeah, she enjoyed the movie too. Even though she's never heard their music before.

Dori said the movie was "funny." Like the part in the beginning where 100 teen girls were chasing the Jonas Brothers around because "the girls all wanted to marry them." And the part where someone in the movie showed an empty popcorn container and pointed into the audience, asking the person in the red shirt for their popcorn. THAT was funny. According to Dori.

One scary part - the flock of birds that looked like it was flying into the audience. Dori fell off her seat for that part, and her friend had to look away.
So hurry on out to get your tickets - it's in 3D theaters for a limited time!
Contest: I have a mass-produced small movie poster from the Mercury News for one lucky, adoring fan. I'll mail it out to the first fan who sends me his/her home address (for purposes only of this contest). Use the subject line "Jonas Brothers" and email me at blog@friscokids.net to win!


Day Trip: California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento


This is Mark Kaplan, Debbie’s husband and today’s guest blogger. You may know me from this website for the snarky comments which have been attributed to me. But today I get to go beyond the snark, and write about my trip to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento with Zack and my stepfather.

Two words: Boy Heaven.

Much of the museum is dedicated to telling the story of the transcontinental railroad: initial funding (learn how Leland Stanford made his money), laying first tracks, and the challenges of building over the Sierra. The Western terminus was in fact two blocks from where the museum sits. Every hour there is a fine 20 minute film on the subject, and a half-hour lecture right after.

The museum also has scads of historical engines, railroad cars, and railroad memorabilia from both the 19th + 20th centuries. While most of the cars you could only look at from the outside (needless to say they did not capture my son’s attention) some you can actual go inside of (e.g. a dining car from turn-of-the-century, mail car from 50 years ago, sleeper car from the 20s).


I enjoyed seeing the china and silver place settings, from an era of far more gracious travel than we have today (well, if you could afford it), although my 26-year old self who was bored to tears registering for china at Macy’s would shake his head in shame at the middle-age suburbanite I’ve turned into.

There’s more on the second floor: antique toy trains, a giant model railroad with 4 trains going, and – best part – a giant Thomas play area where the kids play and dads can read The Economist (grandpa read The NY Times on his Kindle).

There's a nice gift shop (thanks Grandpa! Dad wouldn’t have been nearly so nice) and lunch spots within walking distance. In fact there are other attractions in the “Old Sacramento” area (Leland Stanford Mansion...the Capitol), but for my 5 year old son the Railroad Museum was plenty for one day.

Getting there can be half the fun. You could take I-80, but it’s pretty blah (unless you stop in the Budweiser factory tour in Fairfield…look for that on my kaplanbachelorparty.net blog). What better way to get to a train museum than…the train!

The Museum is two blocks from the Amtrak station; take the Capitol Corridor which runs several times a day in each direction. It goes along the Bay and through the Delta region for a very scenic and relaxing ride. Better yet, catch the California Zephyr in the morning in Emeryville and you can sit in the lounge car for a great view. Just don’t sleep through your stop or 40 hours later you’ll end up in Chicago!

And a shout-out to my friend Lorne for telling me about the Museum in the first place.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Coming Up: Free Kids’ Workshops at Home Depot


The first Saturday of every month, Home Depot offers free workshops for kids. This Saturday, March 7, they’ll be building a wooden raceway.

The workshops teach tool safety plus your kid gets to feel like Daddy or Mommy, making things and using real tools. Not only is the workshop free, but the kids get to take their project home, and get a kid-sized Home Depot apron as well.

Workshops are for kids ages 5-12 and are generally between 9 a.m. and noon. Check with your local Home Depot for more details.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Get 'Yer Tickets: Crazy for You - Discounted Family Matinee


I wanted to alert you, my loyal readers, to a fabulous show coming up, with hugely discounted tickets for the family matinee, that you will only hear about HERE!

Crazy for You is a Gershwin musical (as in music and lyrics by George & Ira Gershwin), "the story of Bobby Child, a well-to-do 1930's playboy, whose dream in life is to dance. This high energy comedy includes mistaken identity, plot twists, and fabulous dance numbers. A three time Tony Award winner, the N.Y. Times critic Frank Rich hailed Crazy for You for "some of the greatest songs ever written" including "I Got Rhythm," "They Can’t Take That Away from Me," "Nice Work if You Can Get it," "Embraceable You," and "Someone to Watch Over Me."

Okay, so I've got your interest. Tickets are normally $33-45, but for a special family matinee on April 11, you can get tickets for $15/adult, $5/kid.

The show is put on by Broadway by the Bay, a fabulous theater group. I know, because I usher for them and see all the shows. Call soon to get the best seats.


Where: San Mateo Performing Arts Center, 600 North Delaware Ave, San Mateo

When: family matinee is Saturday, April 11 at 2 p.m. (other shows are April 2-19, but no discount)

Cost: $15/adult, $5/kids for April 11 show. Otherwise $33-45 (still worth it)

Tickets: Call box office at (650) 579-5565. To get the discount, mention cast member Alyson Chilton. You can't get the discounted seats online.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Website for tracking all-things baby


I've passed the stage of tracking dirty diapers, feedings and baby milestones, but this new website would have come in handy. Bobohelper was recently introduced as a free website for parents to track everything from baby firsts, to doctor's visits and vaccinations, to breastfeeding (was it the left one last time, or the right?). Log in, and online charts let you track it all in one place.

There's also a shopping section, with one-stop shopping by sale, coupon, store or brand. And of course, message board to connect with other new parents.

Try out Bobohelper and let me know what you think!