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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Craft: Edible Sukkah


The high holidays are over and now it's time to eat in the hut, during Sukkot. For those of you who don’t know what a sukkah is, it’s the Hebrew word for booth or hut. Long time ago, our ancestors used to build a sukkah during the harvest. Instead of returning to their homes each night, the farmers could retire to the sukkah placed in the field. It provided some shelter, and was easy to put up and take down. The sukkahs (actually the plural is sukkot) were also used by the Jews when wandering through the desert for 40 years, on their way from Egypt to Israel.

Now we celebrate the holiday by making a sukkah in our yards, and eating in them for a week (and sometimes even sleeping in them). It’s kind of like the Jewish Thanksgiving. Plus we get to decorate the sukkah with lights and decorations. So don’t feel bad for us that we don’t decorate trees in December – we’ve gotten the Martha Stewart thing out of our system by then.


Here we have a kids’ craft project that’s fun to do. The edible sukkah. We did it in my son’s class on Friday.

Supplies:
--Graham crackers
--Frosting
--Pretzels
--Fruit Loops or fruit-shaped cereal (or Runts)

You need three square graham crackers per kid, plus a handful of pretzel rods (make sure they’re long enough) and some kind of edible glue. That would be either frosting, peanut butter, or the stuff you use on gingerbread houses. I prefer frosting because it comes in a can and most kids aren’t allergic to it. For decoration, you’ll want something colorful like Fruit Loops. In the past I found fruit-shaped cereal, but I couldn’t get it this year. Best is Runts, the fruit-shaped candy that can break a kid’s teeth. It looks more authentic. And you can also use Fruit by the Foot for the roof – the green kind.

Put frosting on the bottom edge of one square, and the side edge. Stick it onto a plate. Do the same on another square – and make a three-sided structure. Frost the top edges of the two parallel graham crackers, and then put the pretzel rods on top. For decoration, put a little frosting on the cereal and stick it to the top or bottom of the pretzel rods. You can also drape the fruit leather stuff across the pretzel rods. Jewish tradition is that you have to be able to see the stars when sitting inside, so if you want to be kosher, leave some gaps.

This project will fall apart very easily, resulting in many tears. Make sure the kids understand that this is supposed to be a TEMPORARY structure, and even the real ones fall down sometimes (especially in wind). It still tastes good when it falls down.

For holiday reading for the younger set, our staple is Leo and Blossom’s Sukkah by Jane Breskin Zalbin

Coming Up: Earthquakes Soccer this Saturday


Get ‘Yer Tickets for the October 3rd Earthquakes soccer game against the New York Red Bulls, for this Saturday.

By buying tickets through this site (forkids foundation), you can help the San Mateo-Foster City school district raise money for school music programs and more, while also having a GREAT TIME!

You can also bid on at an autographed soccer ball valued at $85 and two Premier Midfield seats valued at $130.00 for October 3rd game. Bid here.


Where: Santa Clara University – Buck Shaw Stadium
When: October 3rd, 2009 at 8 p.m.
Cost: $25/ticket - for sideline seats. Buy them here

The End is Near - Win the Leapfrog Tag Reader System - must enter by tonight!!!


You know you want it. It's free to a good home. But you have to ENTER first. How? Click here to win. Don't post your comment below or you won't be qualified. Contest ends at midnight tonight...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Coming Up: Getting to 50/50 - 2 talks

Flexperience & UC Hastings Law School is presenting an interesting program on October 14th called "Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All By Sharing It All".

Parents Place in Palo Alto is also sponsoring a talk (details at the bottom) - on October 13th.

Here are details for the San Francisco one:

Author Meers will discuss "Getting to 50/50" her new book co-authored with Joanna Strober.

According to Flexperience, "after interviewing hundreds of of parents and employers, surveying more than a thousand working mothers, and combing through the latest government and social science research, the authors have discovered that kids, husbands, and wives all reap huge benefits when couples commit to share equally as breadwinners and caregivers. Mothers work without guilt, fathers bond with their kids, and children blossom with the attention of two involved parents.

The starting point? An attitude shift that puts you on the road to 50/50-plus the positive step-by-step advice in this book. Here are real-world solutions for parents who want to get ahead in their careers and still get to their children's soccer games; strategies for working mothers facing gender bias in the workplace; advice to fathers new to the homefront; and tips for finding 50/50 solutions to deal with issues of money, time, and much more."

What: Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All By Sharing It All
Times: 5:30-6:00 (check-in, plus wine/cheese reception); 6:00-7:00 Sharon Meers' presentation; 7:00-7:30 book signing
When: Wednesday, October 14th
Where: UC Hastings, Alumni Reception Center, 200 McAllister Street
Cost: Free!
RSVP: rsvp@uchastings.edu


Parents Place - Palo Alto
Author event and book signing (you can purchase there). Childcare is available, but you must preregister by phone for childcare.

When: Tuesday, October 13 from 6:30-8:30
Where: 200 Channing Avenue, Palo Alto
Cost: $15/person
RSVP: Required - click here or call 650-688-3040. Call that number for childcare.


Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Upcoming Focus Groups - up to $200 in pay

Plaza Research is recruiting for these focus groups. I've worked with them before and vouch for them. I've also tested all the links, so if you click on a link and goes to the generic Survey Monkey page, the study is probably full.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

~EYE CARE PATIENTS~
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1st, 2-HOUR FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION DURING THE AFTERNOON
Requirements: Males and females ages 21-39 who currently wear soft, disposable contact lenses
Incentive: $100.00
If you are interested in the EYE CARE PATIENTS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/ybfqgk7

~OPTOMETRISTS~
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1st ­ FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2nd, 2-HOUR FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION DURING THE EVENING
Requirements: Must be a certified Optometrist
Incentive: $200.00
If you are interested in the OPTOMETRISTS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/ntd6qu

~GROCERIES~
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30th, 2-HOUR FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION DURING THE AFTERNOON
Requirements: Females ages 35-55 with no children living in the household who shop at club stores and Supercenters.
Incentive: $100.00
If you are interested in the GROCERIES study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/ma5e4w

~MEDIA CONSUMPTION~
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1st ­ FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2nd, 90-MINUTE INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW DURING THE MORNING OR EVENING
Requirements: Males and females at least 18 years old who are parents of 2 or more children
Incentive: $125.00
If you are interested in the MEDIA CONSUMPTION study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/naxohl

~INVESTORS~
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7th ­ THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 2-HOUR INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW DURING THE MORNING, AFTERNOON OR EVENING
Requirements: Males and females at least 30 years old who currently own mutual funds
Incentive: $125.00
If you are interested in the INVESTORS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/ybl4xut

~FINANCIAL ADVISERS~
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7th ­ THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 2-HOUR INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW DURING THE MORNING, AFTERNOON OR EVENING
Requirements: Registered Financial Advisers
Incentive: $150.00
If you are interested in the FINANCIAL ADVISERS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/yaw47ax

~SKIN CONDITIONS~
MONDAY, OCTOBER 12TH ­ THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15TH, 90-MINUTE IN HOME INTERVIEW
Requirements: Males and females at least 18 years old who have psoriasis and/or eczema
Incentive: $150.00
If you are interested in the SKIN CONDITIONS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/n93g5v

~FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT~
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 60-MINUTE IN-PERSON INTERVIEW IN MOUNTAIN VIEW
Requirements: Males at least 25 years old
Incentive: $75.00
If you are interested in the FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/n6zjto

~FOOD PRODUCTS~
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14th, 2-HOUR FOCUS GROUP IN THE EVENING
Requirements: Males and females ages 30-50
Incentive: $85.00-$100.00
If you are interested in the FOOD PRODUCTS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: http://tinyurl.com/y9z2dyk

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Coming Up: Be the Change Day

Be one of 1,200 volunteers on Saturday, October 3rd, to Be the Change with Hands on Bay Area.
Make a difference in your community by volunteering a few hours on this Saturday.

Some of the projects:
--Lake Merritt in Oakland - 100 volunteers will restore the downtown oasis.
--Francisco Middle School in SF- 50 volunteers will paint and garden here.

Other projects are at Coit Tower, Muir Woods, Heritage Rose Gardens, Alcatraz, Legion of Honor, SF Food Bank...and more!

What: Be the Change Day
When: October 3
Where: various Bay Area locations
RSVP: Click here to find a project and RSVP.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Coming Up: Yoga for Toddlers in Millbrae

Coming up - Yoga For Toddlers

Toddlers (ages 2-4) and their caregivers will work together to promote physical health and emotional well-being. These fun exercises can help promote calmness and an increased sense of body awareness. Dress comfortably!

When: Wednesday, September 30 at 10:30 AM
Where: Millbrae library, 1 Library Avenue
Cost: Free

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Free - Will & Trust Kit from Suze Orman

If you don't yet have a will and trust set up for your kids, now's your chance! Suze Orman is offering a free download of said documents from September 27th through October 3rd.

To get your free download, click on suzeorman.com and click on the will and trust link. Then click the gift code button. The code is 898989.

Do it for your kids!

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Coming Up: Free Theater in Bay Area

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

TIX Bay Area is offering its annual free show nights. More than 100 theater companies are offering free tickets for multiple shows and nights this fall. You have to act quickly - they release tickets once a week online and its first-come, first-served.

Usually there are a few kid-friendly shows, but consider a date night!

Some participating theaters include:
Beach Blanket Babylon
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked)
Big City Improv
American Conservatory Theater (November)
Smuin Ballet
Hillbarn Theater (Steel Magnolias)
Broadway by the Bay (the Full Monty)
Solano College Theater (the Producers)
San Jose Rep (Groundswell)

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Coming Up: Free admission to Zeum this Saturday

Check out Zeum this Saturday- it's free admission day! This San Francisco's Children's Museum, in Yerba Buena Gardens is a fabulous hands-on place. Hightlights include an interactive claymation studio, music production lab, Lil Z's Play Lab (for tots), and exhibit galleries.

While you're there, you can ride the historic Carousel on 4th St. and Howard (I think it's $2/ride) and play in the free Yerba Buena outdoor playground. Plenty of restaurants nearby for lunch too.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Special Deal: But Jacquelyn Mitchard's new book - get a free SIGNED one

Okay, so the subject line was kind of long, but...our friends at Madison on the Cheap are running a promotion along with best-selling Jacquelyn Mitchard. Her new novel No Time to Wave Goodbye (sequel to Oprah book club pick The Deep End of the Ocean) is out now. Buy a copy (or more than one) by Thanksgiving - and save the receipt.

For doing so, Ms. Mitchard will give you a signed copy of one of her other books - your choice.

For more details on how to take advantage of the offer, check out Madison on the Cheap.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Free Car Seat Safety Checks in Berkeley this Saturday

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Did you know…four out of five car seats are installed incorrectly? Get your car seat installation checked for safety, and receive a free pass to Habitot Children’s Museum. The free Car Seat Checks are sponsored by State Farm Insurance, and done by officers from the Berkeley Police Department.

They’ll be on the 5th level of the Allston Way Garage, 2061 Allston Way between Milvia and Shattuck in Berkeley. Parking will be validated by Habitot.

Time is 10 a.m. to noon
-September 26.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Coming Up: Spiderman at the SF Zoo

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!


Spiderman may now be owned by Disney, but he'll be at the San Francisco Zoo this weekend. You can meet him and get pictures taken with him. The zoo is celebrating its Insect Zoo's 30th anniversary. With more than 70 species, the San Francisco Zoo has the largest Insect Zoo west of the Mississippi (I wonder which one is larger on the east banks).





Entertainers Sandi and Stevie will sing bug songs, and the kids can do crafts as well.





WHEN: September 26 & 27, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

COST: Free with San Francisco Zoo paid admission

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Free Cold Stone today!

While raising money for Make-a-Wish foundation, Cold Stone is giving out free ice cream today from 5-8 p.m. They're giving out 3 oz servings of Jack's Creation (sweet cream ice cream with brownies, rainbow sprinkles and caramel).

Make a donation and get a cup!

The website notes that about 85% of donations will benefit Make-a-Wish. Not sure who gets the other 15%.

When: today - Thursday, September 24 from 5-8 p.m.
Cost: donation to Make-a-Wish
Where: Cold Stone - find a location here

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coming Up: KidsFaire in Pleasanton

This weekend, take the family to KidsFaire in Pleasanton. Dorothy the Dinosaur from the Wiggles will do a concert, plus other entertainment like a wild west show, Troy and Gabrielle from High School Musical, a princess pavillion, camel rides, a pirates treasure hunt challenge, Barney, Spongebob, and Dora too. In addition to the entertaiment, they'll have family-friendly exhibitors and crafts.

What: KidsFaire
When: September 26-27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Alameda County Fairground in Pleasanton
Tickets: Download discount tickets here. Otherwise they're sold at the gate.
Regular admission is $8/adult, $5/kids ages 2-12. I don't know how good the discount is for getting tickets online.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kids' giveaway - a Leapfrog Tag Reading System!

Coming Up: Free Museum Admission thanks to Smithsonian

We had a great day at the Exploratorium last year - for free! Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day made is possible, and they are doing it again on Saturday, September 26th. Download an admission card here, and get into museums like Hiller Aviation Museum, the Exploratorium, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Bedford Gallery, Blackhawk Museum, Chabot Space & Science Center, and others.

The card is good for you and one guest - one card per household. California museums are listed here.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Coming Up: Wilton Halloween Treats Demo at Michael's

It's never too early to plan out the treats for Halloween. Michael's is offering a free Wilton Halloween demo on Saturday, September 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. Click here to find a Michael's near you (look for the store locator button on the top).

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Coming Up: Uncle Jer's Bee Show in Woodside

Learn about the birds and the bees, er, well - the bees at Uncle Jer’s Bee Show. See live bees and get a taste of honey during this 45 minute question and answer program aimed at children age 5 and up and their families.

Where: Woodside library, 3140 Woodside Road
When: Thursday, September 24 at 3:30
Cost: Free

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Coming Up: Free Screening of California's Schools: America's Future by John Merrow

I know, the title line doesn't do the event justice. But if you care about public education in California, this actually could be quite interesting.

The San Mateo-Foster City Education Foundation is hosting a free educational forum and screening of John Merrow’s documentary, “California Schools: America’s Future,” an update to “First to Worst, the Roots of California’s Education Crisis”.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Peabody Award winner, John Merrow. Panelists include San Mateo-Foster City District Superintendent, Dr. Pendery Clark, San Mateo County Superintendent, Dr. Jean Holbrook, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Delaine Eastin, and former State Assemblyman, Gene Mullin. San Mateo-Foster City School Board Trustee, Lory Lawson will emcee.

When: Wednesday, September 23 from 7-9 p.m.
Where: Bayside Theatre (2025 Kehoe Ave., San Mateo)
Cost: Free

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Coming Up: Special Needs Jewish Kids Cooking Workshop

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo will be hosting Special Needs Cooking Workshops on October 4th and December 16th, from 10:00 – noon.

The themes will be Jewish cooking and Jewish Special Needs.

Jewish parents and their kids with special needs will have the opportunity to meet other families and to cook with their children. Children ages 5+ with physical, developmental, or cognitive issues and their parents are encouraged to join in the temple kitchen. Kids should be kitchen safe, since they will be cooking.

RSVPs preferred, so organizers can plan around food allergy issues.

Where: Peninsula Temple Beth El (1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo).
When: October 4 and December 16th from 10 a.m. to noon
RSVP: to PTBE at 650-341-7701
Who: kids ages 5+


Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Coming Up: Grease Sing-Along in SF - Free

As if my kids aren't embarassed enough about me singing Grease out loud in the car. Now they'll have to suffer with me singing it out loud in PUBLIC.

The San Francisco Film Society and the Presidio Trust will indulge my love of Grease by kicking off their fall seasons with this free Film in the Fog showing on Saturday, September 26.

Show up at the Presidio's lawn (99 Moraga Avenue at Montgomery) for a FREE family-friendly picnic and comedy show, plus the screening of Grease. They'll even give you free popcorn. Just swallow the popcorn before you start singing. In case you don't remember all the lyrics, the film has subtitles so you won't sound like an idiot. Well, your voice may sound idiotic, but if you mess up the lyrics, you're on your own.

The event starts at 5:00 p.m. with PI: The Physical Comedy Troupe. This seven-clown ensemble uses mime technique, acrobatics, juggling, eccentric dance, live music, improvisation, puppetry and more.

The Grease screening starts around 7:00.

And I'm sure nobody but cares about this but me, but in college, I was part of a Spring Fling lip-synching competition. My group "sang" Summer Loving from Grease. We cross-dressed. I was one of the boys. We won 2nd place, but really should have won first. All our friends said so. Just look for me dancing out my part on the Presidio lawn when that number comes up.

When: Saturday, September 26
Time: 5:00 for PI, 7:00 for Grease
Cost: Free
Location: Presidio's lawn (99 Moraga Avenue at Montgomery)

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coming Up: Free cookie at Mrs. Field's October 1

Stop by Mrs. Field's on October 1st, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and get a free cookie! October is apparently National Cookie Month, which is a good enough excuse for me to eat cookies.

What? Your kids are in school then? Too bad - you'll have to eat the cookie yourself.

Find a Mrs. Field's near you.

Have you signed up yet on Frisco Kids' Leapfrog Tag Reading System giveaway? What are you waiting for?

Coming Up: the Bubble Lady

Take the kids to see the Bubble Lady this Monday, September 21 at 4:00 at the Atherton library.

From the library: "Be amazed and entertained as you enter Bubble Land and meet the entire family of bubbles - even one big enough for you to fit inside!:

For ages 4 and up.

When: Monday, September 21 at 4:00
Where: 2 Dinkelspiel Station Lane, Atherton
Cost: Free

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coming Up: American Girl Craft at Michael's - free

Michael's craft program, the Knack, is offering a free family event to make an American Girl project.

Every child can make a gift inspired by American Girl books. Three projects to choose from!

September 19, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To find a Michael's store, click here and enter your zip code at the bottom.

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Get 'Yer Tickets: Disney's Live Rockin Road Show

Get your tickets for Disney's Live! Rockin' Road Show.

Mickey Mouse stars in this show, which also features Minnie, Goofy and Donald, Buzz and Woody from Toy Story, Cinderella, Tigger, and more. Singing and dancing galore. Woo hoo!

Order tickets by September 28 and get a discount using code ZDL5

Shows in Oakland are January 8th at the Paramount Theater at 3:30 and 7 p.m.
Shows in San Jose are on January 9-19 at the San Jose University Event Center at noon and 3 p.m.

Cost: Tickets are $20-60 each. Order through Ticketmaster or by calling (800) 745-3000

Enter the Frisco Kids Leapfrog Tag Reading System giveaway!

Coming Up: Sonoma County Book Festival - free

Thanks to a Frisco Kids reader for recommending the Sonoma County Book Festival this Saturday. It's free, and families will enjoy readings, music, special events for kids in the Children's Tents, new and used books for sale, and the chance to meet real authors!

The children's area features authors like Uncle Dave, Tina Stollberg, Hillary Homzie, Shirely Castro, Jennifer Caloyeras and Elisa Klevin. I had the privilege to attend a talk/presentation by Elisa Klevin a few years ago with my daughter. She's an illustrator as well a an author and I really enjoy her books.

It's great for kids to meet authors and learn how the books were conceived and written. If you have a chance to make it to the festival, you won't regret it!

What: Sonoma County Book Festival
When: Saturday, September 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa
Cost: Free

Don't forget to enter Frisco Kid's Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Coming Up: California Coastal Clean-up Day

Get outdoors and do some good! It's time for the California Coastal Clean-up Day. Last year, more than 70,000 volunteers cleaned up 1.6 million pounds of trash and recyclables from California beaches and lakes.

This year, you and the kids can join them. Each county lists its own sites. For example, in San Mateo County, you can go to San Gregorio State Beach, Pescadero, Half Moon Bay, Burlingame, Belmont and more.

In Marin, many sites including McNear's Beach, Marin City Marsh, Drakes Beach, Stinson Beach...

Saturday, September 19 from 9 a.m. to noon.
To sign up and view the locations, click here.

Don't forget to enter the Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Castle Birthday Cake

Hopefully you've enjoyed seeing my friend Linda's Bakugan cake and Slumber Party cake in recent Frisco Kids' posts.


She also made this adorable castle cake.



To make it, Linda baked several sizes of cakes (using cake mix). She thinks she made several 9”x13” cakes, and then a couple 8”x8” cakes and a few big muffins and some mini muffins. She put the larger cakes side by side and then used the other sizes to make it look like a castle. She used the big muffins at the base of the turrets to hold the ice cream cones, which were dipped/painted in colored melted chocolate, like these Wilton candy melts. She used the mini muffins on top of the castle.

She used plain white frosting and Wilton food coloring gel to get just the right color (they have tons of different colors, she says). For decorations, she used Swedish fish for the moat, Kissables, licorice, Dutch mints (the pastel balls) cookies and rock candy for the drawbridge area (not this kind of rock candy). She said it was time consuming, but fun to make!

The figurines came from her kids’ rooms, and her talented nanny made her son an exact copy of the prince costume to wear to the party. I'm sure her kids were awed, as were the other moms.


Here are some other cakes featured on Frisco Kids
--Easy Race Car Track

--Train Birthday Cake

--Flower Cupcakes and Princess Castle Cake

--Disney Cars Birthday Cake


Don't forget to enter the Leapfrog Tag Reader System giveaway - $78 value!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Contest! Win a Leapfrog Tag Reading System


It's time for another giveaway! This one is awesome - a Leapfrog Tag system, with the Cat and the Hat, and two bonus books ($78 value). I'm joining forces with 9 other blogs, so you actually have ten (yes 10) chances to win.


Have you seen these Tag systems? It's a smart "pen" you use with specially configured books (like Olivia, Cat in the Hat, Star Wars and Spiderman). The tag pen can read the book aloud and let the user play (educational) games. And the kids won't realize it, but they're actually learning. Shhhh. Don't tell them.


The Tag Reading System so far has won 28 awards in 6 countries and the Toy Industry Association named it the Best Educational Toy of 2009. It’s also the best-selling reading system in the world.


Sarah at Parenting by Trial and Error wrote an excellent review of Tag system. Please read it and tell her I sent you. She organized this blog giveaway,


Tag Systems are targeted at kids ages 4-8. We won the Tag system when Sarah did her last giveaway. To be honest, I planned to give it to my younger niece, but then decided to keep it for Zachary, who was 5 at the time. He loves it.


What's interesting about Tag: By periodically connecting the Tag pen to my computer system, Leapfrog updates our account and send me emails about what's Zachary has done on the books. It tells me which books he read, how many times, what games he played and how he did in those games (good for all you competitve parents who want to be sure your child is getting 100% scores). In the email, Leapfrog tells you what areas your child might want to focus on, and offer sales pitches on products you can buy to accomplish that. Well, that's the cynical part of me.


Of course if Zachary's sister uses the Tag, all bets are off as to whose progress we're tracking.


How to Enter
Okay, enough blabbering from me. You want to enter to win?


1. You enter by leaving me a comment below, along with your email address. If you don't want to leave your email address, send me the address at blog@friscokids.net, and tell me which comment is yours.


2. Bonus entries by tweeting about the contest (I'm @FriscoKids) - you have to tell me you retweeted it.


3. Bonus entry by posting about the contest on your blog or website, and letting me know about it.


4. Bonus entry by subscribing to Frisco Kids via email (see the box on the right).


The Small Print:
Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, Wednesday, September 30, 2009. Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. The winner will be chosen by using random.org. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to notification with shipping info. If no response, another winner will be chosen.


After entering here, head over to these fantastic blogs and enter there. Each blog might have different entry requirements. Tell them Frisco Kids sent you. Good luck!



Participating Blogs:
Blogging ‘Bout Boys
Blog Salad
Confessions of a Mean Mommy
Ready Mom
The Adventures of Supermom
3 Carnations
My Semblance of Sanity
World of Weasels
Parenting By Trial and Error

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Get 'Yer Tickets - Gilroy Gardens for $10 a ticket

Gilroy Gardens is offering an awesome Back-to-School special price:

Get into Gilroy Gardens for only $10 a person (actually $9.99, but who's counting?).

Print out their coupon for a $33 a person savings, valid through 10/11/09.

Until October 25, enjoy Creature Kingdom, a petting zoo for the little tykes, including pony rides.
From October 31-November 29th, they're featuring a fall treasure hunt with a Middle Earth theme. That's hobbits, dwarves, goblins and more.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Slumber Party Cake


This is the second in a cake series from my friend Linda - I'm now going to call her the cake doctor, because she's a doctor by day, and makes awesome cakes for her kids too - she's very talented.

Frisco Kids last featured her Bakugan cake, but this is her latest creation: the slumber party cake. Guess what kind of party her daughter had?

Here she used a 9”x13” base and then 8”x8” cake bed. She used white frosting tinted with Wilton food gel coloring. She purchased Wilton fondant (at Michael's Arts & Crafts), rolled out for the sheets and covers, as well as the stars, hearts and words at on the base. She also used the fondant for all the faces. For the hair she used a garlic press – very creative! By the way, she purchased the fondant already tinted, which made the process easier.

While Linda purcahsed fondant, you can make your own with this Wilton recipe or this recipe for rolled fondant.
Here are some other cakes featured on Frisco Kids

Friday, September 11, 2009

Get 'Yer TIckets - Music for Families - Symphony, Jazz, Peter & the Wolf, Nutcracker

My friend Lydie at Travel is More Fun with Kids wrote an awesome and comprehensive post on Music with Famlies events. She agreed to let me post it here. Check out her site, which has lots of great ideas for cultural things to do in San Francisco (and abroad too).

Buy your tickets now for these Musical Families Events. Here you'll find information about the family performances of the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Performances, SF Jazz, Cal performances, and the Nutcracker. There are great events that the whole family will enjoy.

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY
Friday, October 16th, 8 pm San Francisco Symphony Hall
Come listen to music from Fantasia, Cinderella, Pinocchio and other Disney Classics. This event will celebrate the opening of the Walt Disney Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco.

Music for Families

Concerts at Davies Symphony Hall:
Saturday, Oct 4, 2008 2:00 pm
Happy Birthday, Lenny! A Special Birthday Tribute to Leonard Bernstein

Saturday, Dec 13, 2008 2:00 pm
The Symphonic Sound

Sunday, Mar 29, 2009 2:00 pm
The Composer is Dead! An Unforgettable Musical Afternoon with Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket, narrator

Saturday, May 2, 2009 2:00 pm
The Four Elements of Music: Composer, Conductor, Musician, Audience


Concerts at Flint Center
Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 3:00 pm
Happy Birthday, Lenny! A Special Birthday Tribute to Leonard Bernstein

Saturday, April 4, 2009 3:00 pm
The Composer is Dead! An Unforgettable Musical Afternoon with Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket, narrator

Saturday, May 9, 2009 3:00 pm
The Four Elements of Music: Composer, Conductor, Musician, Audience


Peter and the Wolf
Flint Center, Cupertino
Saturday, Dec 13, 2008 2:00 pm

Davies Symphony Hall, SF
Sunday, Dec 14, 2008, 1:00 pm
Sunday, Dec 14, 2008 4:00 pm

SAN FRANCISCO PERFORMANCES
Family Matinees
Saturday October 10th, 11 am
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Peter and Zoltan Katonoa, piano Christopheren Nomura, baritone

Sunday December 6th, 2 pm
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Marino Formenti, Piano

Sunday January 24, 2 pm
Novellus Theater at YBCA
Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company

Saturday, March 20, 11 am
Herbst Theatre
San Francisco Quartet

Sunday May 2, 11 am
Herbst Theatre
San Francisco Kronos Quartet

Family matinees are an hour-long and they are designed to introduce family audiences to great music and dance. $8 children and $15 adults


SFJAZZ
Family Matinees
Saturday April 18th, 3 pm and 8 pm
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
Adam Theis: Brass, Bows, and Beats: a hip-hop Symphony

Saturday June 20th, 3 pm
Herbst Theatre
Linda Tillery’s Cultural Heritage Choir
$5 children and $10 adult with children. Adult alone: $15

CAL PERFORMANCES
Family Fare for the 2009/10 Season

Nov 7, 2009 Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Love's Labour's Lost

Jan 23 and 24, 2010 Peking Acrobats

Mar 6 and 7, 2010 Dan Zanes & Friends

May 2, 2010 Ballet Folklorico "Quetzalli" de Veracruz

Get the family subscription and pay for ages 16 and under: $55 - $95 and for adults: $95 - $160. Of course, you can always buy tickets for only one of these events.

THE NUTCRACKER - (I just posted about the SF version, but here's some additional information.)

Tickets for performances by the San Francisco Ballet will go on sale on September 8th

Oakland Ballet Company: check their website or call them at 1 866 711 6037 after September 15th.

San Jose Ballet: the tickets are on sale already. You can not buy tickets on the website yet but you can call their box office at (408) 288 2800.

Book your $35 Massage for the Cure!

Massage Envy is sponsoring Massage for the Cure on Tuesday, September 15th. You'll get a 50 minute massage for $35 - and $10 of that goes to the Susan G. Komen organization which raises funds for breast cancer research.

Massage Envy hopes to raise $500,000 that day, but will at minimum, contribute $250,000.

I booked my appointment! There are a bunch of Massage Envy locations in the Bay Area (and they're national, in 40 states). Just tell them you want to book a Massage for the Cure appointment.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coming Up: The Lizard Lady

Coming up: the Lizard Lady!

Check her out on Saturday, September 12 at 2 pm in the Taube Room at the Belmont library.

The Lizard Lady will be bringing several different reptiles including snakes to the library! Come learn about these scaly creatures! Best for ages 3+.

When: Saturday, September 12 at 2 pm

Where: 1110 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont

Cost: Free

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, September 13th is the date.

Coming Up: Free SF Zoo Admission for Grandparents/Grandkids

Normally I'm not big on promoting Grandparents Day, but this is an event worth noting.

The SF Zoo is offering free entrance to grandparents and their grandkids on Sunday, September in honor of Grandparent's Day.

Thank you to the Bernard Osher Foundation for sponsoring your free visit!

When: Sunday, September 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: SF Zoo
Bring: a crayon-colored picture of a zoo animal to get your free admission for each child and the grandparents

Coming Up: Welcome Party for Rebecca - American Girl - at Kepler's

We've not yet gotten into American Girl, but I think the days are numbered until we do. For those whose kids are American Girl addicts, here's a fun party!

Kepler's Bookstore in Menlo Park is hosting a welcome party for Rebecca Rubin, the newest American Girl. Rebecca is a lively nine-year-old girl growing up in a big Jewish family in New York in 1914. She has big dreams of becoming an actress. Don't miss Rebecca's welcome party! There will be fun and games, plus one lucky raffle winner will take home an 18" Rebecca doll from American Girl.

When: Sunday, September 13, 2:00 p.m.
Where: Kepler's Bookstore (1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park)
More info: 650-324-4321
Cost: Free

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Coming Up: Baby Sign Language Intro Workshop in Atherton

The Atherton library is offering a Baby Sign Language Introductory Workshop.

According to the library:
Jump-start your child's verbal skills! Stop guessing what your baby is trying to tell you. Baby Sign Language gives parents the opportunity to communicate with children long before babies can verbalize their wants and needs. This workshop introduces basic baby signs that are based on American Sign Language (ASL) and is designed for parents with hearing babies who range in age from birth to 18 months old. You will learn about the latest research and all the tricks on how to teach your baby to sign. Fun activities and songs will show you how easy it can be to integrate simple signs into your everyday routine to jump-start your child's verbal skills. Space is limited.

When: Monday, September 14, 10:30-Noon
Where: Atherton library
RSVP: by phone (650.328.2422) or when you visit the library
Cost: Free

Get 'Yer Tickets - SF Nutcracker Tickets go on sale TODAY

I can't believe I'm posting about the Nutcracker in September, but those in the know actually buy their tickets this far in advance to make sure they get good ones! The SF Nutcracker is a great show - for kids and adults.

The ballet offers six famiy performances, where the show runs off the stage as well as on. One hour before curtain time, the costumed characters trek out to the lobby to greet the kids and pose for pictures. And the first 500 kids to arrive get a special gift - so show up early! If that's not enough, you don't even have to sneak in your own snacks, or stand in line at the concession stand. Lucky Supermarkets gives out juice and cookies at intermission.

When ordering your tickets, consider making a $20 donation the the SF Ballet Children's Enchantment Fund so Bay Area kids in need can go for free.

The ballet runs December 8-27
Family performances are:
Tuesday, December 8 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, December 9 at 7 p.m.
Friday, December 11 at 2 p.m.
Sunday, December 13 at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, December 15 at 7 p.m.

Those shows are also group show nights, with extra discounts for group sales. So get a group together and make it even more fun, and more affordable!

The show runs 2 hours - of course if you can't make it on family night, there are many other performances scheduled.

Balcony tickets start at $18 and go way up from there.
To order tickets, call 415-865-2000 or get them online.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bakugan Birthday Cake




When my son saw a picture of this Bakugan cake, he said “Awwwwwwesome!” And then he had to know how it was made.

This cake is part of a new cake series here on Frisco Kids, thanks to my friend Linda. She’s my new cake hero. Doctor by day – cake maker/decorator by night.

Linda started the Bakugan cake with a frosted but undecorated sheet cake from Costco. Brilliant!
She used Wilton spray paint in red and yellow, to color it (making some look orange, too). She placed chocolate covered graham crackers in the middle for the Bakugan battleground and real Bakugan cards with real Bakugans on top. (And yes, her son got to keep the Bakugans - another question my son had about the cake - I didn't tell him they were probably her son's already).

The closed Bakugan balls are unwrapped Lindt truffles (mostly white, but some milk and dark chocolate too), painted with Wilton pearl dust (in different colors) with a tiny bit of vanilla, so that it became like a water color paint. After the paint dried, Linda used Wilton icing (not gel) to decorate. She put the balls on toothpicks to make it easier to decorate, and her daughter suggested she leave them on the toothpicks to place them onto the cake, which was a great suggestion, according to Linda.

Not surprisingly, Linda's son thinks she's the coolest mom ever, and I happen to agree.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Date Night: David Sedaris Performs at San Jose Center for Performing Arts

Either you think David Sedaris is brilliant, wacky and funny...or you just don't get him. If you're in the former camp (which means we'd get along well), then get your tickets to hear David Sedaris. He'll do readings, recollections, Q&A and a book signing in a one-appeance stop in the Bay Area.

And if you haven't heard of David Sedaris (I only mention this because I talked about his book with someone once and they hadn't heard of him. I was shocked), then get one of his books - "When You Are Engulfed in Flames", "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim", and "Me Talk Pretty One Day." They are hilarious.

I don't know if this promo code will work, but try "doncox" or "FLAMES" when you order.

Where: San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
When: Monday, November 2nd at 7:30
Tickets: are $53-$78 - buy them here

Friday, September 4, 2009

More focus groups - up to $500 compensation

Okay - I'm highlighting two companies today with focus groups. I've worked with both companies before.

Fleischman Field Research has upcoming paid opinion research sessions on Health & Wellness. The research is taking place in the daytime on Monday, September 14th at their downtown SF office . If you qualify and are invited to participate, you will be paid $100 for your time and opinions on an interesting and fun topic.

If you are interested in participating, click the link below to take our short pre-qualification questionnaire.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=b5GziIYxMvkf0UlIJGSpOQ_3d_3d


Plaza Research has a BUNCH of studies...

~LAPTOPS~
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14th ­ WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th,
90-MINUTE IN-HOME INTERVIEW
Requirements: Males and females ages 25-55 who own an HP, Acer or Sony laptop

Incentive: $150.00

If you are interested in the LAPTOPS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=LtW3b2gkGolmfgweOTQw_3d_3d

~MEDICAL OFFICE MANAGERS~
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4th OR TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th,
1-HOUR IN-OFFICE INTERIVEW DURING THE MORNING, AFTERNOON, OR EVENING
Requirements: The person(s) responsible for managing the front and back office operations of the practice

Incentive: $100.00 per respondent + $100.00 to practice

If you are interested in the MEDICAL OFFICE MANAGERS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=M9jGf5qA41BwxiDZUJ1Q_3d_3d


~LAB SUPPLIES~
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15TH,
2-HOUR FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION IN THE EVENING
Requirements: Males and females who work in a lab

Incentive: $175.00

If you are interested in the LAB SUPPLIES study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=MFywjfzUbqssJ7e5xM_2fg_3d_3d

~FOOD PRODUCTS~
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17TH,
2-HOUR FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION IN DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO DURING THE EVENING
Requirements: Males and females ages 25-54

Incentive: $85.00

If you are interested in the FOOD PRODUCTS study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=R_2br3vP3O_2fKa6BC_2f37hQA_3d_3d

~SMALL BUSINESSES~
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15TH & WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH, IN-PERSON INTERVIEWS IN PALO ALTO AND MENLO PARK AND A PHOTO DIARY
Requirements: Small Businesses

Incentive: $100.00 - $500.00

If you are interested in the SMALL BUSINESSES study, please click on the link below and fill out the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=2TCw_2fqPZPwcp5VUqEPpw_3d_3d

Coming Up: Sunday Streets in SF

Friends keep telling me how awesome San Francisco's Sunday Streets are, so I'm posting about the last one of the season.

Sunday Streets says its a "a safe, fun, car-free place for people to get out and get active in San Francisco neighborhoods." Last year, the event drew more than 15,000 people each weekend. The streets are open for people to "participate in a wide variety of activities, including: dancing, biking, skating, walking, hula hooping, yoga, and just people watching."

This Sunday, September 6th, take to the street on the Great Highway from Golden Gate Park to the SF Zoo along Ocean Beach, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get the map here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hiller Aviation Flight Explorers Programs for Grade-Schoolers

Hiller Aviation Museum is offering two awesome looking programs for grade-schoolers.

From Hiller:
Flight Explorers Half-Day Programs
Grades 1-6
Monday September 7th (Labor Day)
Saturday October 3rd, November 7th
1 PM-- 4 PM

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.

After-School Aviators Afternoon Programs
Grades 1-8
(Fabulous Flight) 4 Wednesdays 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
(Test Pilot Lab) 4 Thursdays 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM

Four-Week Sessions Begin:
Wednesday October 7th and Thursday October 15th

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 in adverse conditions.

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Coming Up: Free Bowling this Saturday

Pull on those bowling shoes on to roll a free game in honor of 2009's National Bowling Week (cheers, applause).

Download your coupon for a free bowling game for this Saturday, September 5th. You get one bowling game (up to $6 value) per name/email address. You still have to pay for shoe rental.

Plenty of bowling alleys in the Bay Area are participating. Find out which ones here. So get rolling and get those strikes!

Coming Up: Free Museum Admission Labor Day 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 Labor Day weekend.

In the first full weekend of every month, B of A offers its cardholders free entry into select museums. This Saturday and Sunday, September 5-6 is your lucky weekend. Okay, so is October 3-4, November 7-8, 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

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coming Up: Kings Mountain Art Fair Labor Day Weekend - Free!

King's Mountain Art Fair, Labor Day Weekend, September 5-7, in Woodside 10:00 a.m. -5:00 pm. Admission and parking are free.

Labor Day weekend means one thing to the Kaplans: Kings Mountain Art Fair.

We end up hundreds of dollars poorer each year, but it's fun and in a woodsy outdoors setting.

The kids love Kiddie Hollow, with spin art, puppet making and other fun activities run by local high school kids. Tickets run $3 for 12 tickets (I think it’s a few tickets per craft), and they have books you can read the kids while lounging on comfie beanbags too. Just outside Kiddie Hollow, the local school moms sell enormous home-baked cookies for $3 as a fundraiser.

The fair also features expensive face painting and some booths selling kid-stuff. You can meet the firemen.

The quality of the crafts is excellent, and the fair features NO corporate sponsorship. It's a community-run affair, benefitting the fire department and elementary school.

If you bring a stroller to this gorgeous wooded setting, make sure the wheels can handle the dirt and small hills, since most paths aren't paved.

The fair runs Saturday to Monday from 10:00-5:00. Go early - parking is tough. The festival is on Skyline Blvd, about 6 miles south of Hwy 92. It’s a twisty narrow road and parking is where you pull onto the shoulder in the dirt. The later you get there, the further you park (though they have shuttles). One idea is to get there in time for the pancake breakfast (8:00 to 10:30) – and then parking is much easier. (They sell lunch too).