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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Deal of the Day: Pump it Up

I'm a big fan of Pump it Up's drop-in sessions, where you can let the kids run (and jump) free during non-party hours. The San Francisco location is offering a deal for the next two days - get a ticket for 10 drop-in sessions for $35 at the Mendell Street (SF) location. It's good through August 31, 2011 and is half-off the normal price. And better yet - you can use it for one kid ten times, or bring in a group of kids and get use one session for each kid with you (insta-playdate).

Get the Pump it Up deal here, at Mamapedia.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coming Up: Sunday Streets

There's a popular San Francisco Sunday Streets this Sunday, August 22nd!

Get out and walk, run, bike, skate - all without cars on the road. Check out the schedule here.

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Great Highway, Golden Gate Park
Cost: free

Future Sunday Streets:
September 19 - Western Addition
October 24 - Civic Center, Tenderloin

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Deal of the Day: Discounted Membership at Children's Fairyland

This was passed along from another list I'm on. Children’s Fairyland in Oakland is offering a discount on their membership until September 15th. they're offering a $60 membership in honor of their 60th birthday. membership is regularly $87. The membership includes two named adults and up to three named children. This is a full benefit membership.

Take advantage of the deal by clicking on the Family membership link here. When the membership form pops up, indicate that it is a gift membership. In the Giver’s Name field enter "Livie and Luca."

If you'd rather complete your membership form by fax, mail or in person, write "Livie and Luca" at the top of the form.

Children's Fairyland is a great place to visit with the preschool set. It's on the banks of Lake Merritt in Oakland. They have kiddie rides, puppet shows, story time, and some other fun activities.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coming Up: Alien Day at Habitot

I guess it's appropriate that I'm typing this on the same day I rented and watched Avatar and Planet 51. Theme: aliens.

Habitot has a Family Alien Day coming up on Saturday, August 28 from 9:30 to 4:30. Kids are encouraged to arrive dressed in costumes from another planet – those in alien costumes will even receive an outer space prize! Families can use glow-in-the dark face paint in Habitot’s Face Painting station, and create alien antennas and build recycled planet sculptures in the Art Studio. Look forward to outer space-inspired games  including planet bowling and crater making. Plus Moon punch and crater cookies at noon.

Where: Habitot (2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley)
When: August 28th from 9:30 to 4:30

This event concludes Habitot’s summer of special space science activities related to the Rocket Ship and Mission Control exhibit. Regular admission rates apply. For more information about Habitot's events and free days, please visit

Coming Up: make a handprint at Michaels Arts & Crafts

If your inlaws or parents are the types who love your kids' handprints, send them (or just go yourself) to Michaels for this project. Trap your child's handprints in Crayola® Model Magic® and take it home for free. Bring kids ages 3 and up. Not sure why they don't want younger kids, but that's the age group they "welcome."

Where: Michaels (find a store at the bottom of the web page)
When: August 28, 2010 from 10 to 2 - while supplies last

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Coming Up: Baby Stuff Swap in San Rafael

A nonprofit organization, peace. love. swap. is hosting a kids' swap. No, don't swap your kids. Swap their stuff. Clothes, High chairs. Strollers. Come and bring your stuff. It's like a giant garage sale where everything is free! Bring/get stuff for ages 0-14, plus maternity clothes.

Anything not taken will be donated to charity afterwards.

What: peace. love. swap
Where: Gymworld. 3040 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, CA
When: August 29, 2010. Drop off between 11 a.m. & noon. The swap is 12:30 p.m. to 2.
Cost: $5 (free for volunteers) - plus your stuff

Find Frisco Kids on Facebook.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Coming Up: Kids World Events at Serramonte Center

Come to Serramonte Center for "KidsWorld," a free, fun and educational after school monthly program.

According to Serramonte, "KidsWorld events include festive, interactive performances with singing, dancing, games, crafts and fun learning opportunities. Each event teaches students a variety of topics including music, culture, art and even etiquette. The after school program also provides a place for kids to come and socialize in a fun, safe and educational environment. Each monthly event is themed and filled with arts and crafts activities, hands-on fun, festive music and more."

Here's the schedule:
Tuesday, August 17, at 5:30 p.m. – Back to School
Tuesday, September 21, at 5:30 p.m. – Spanish Heritage
Tuesday, October 19, at 5:30 p.m. – Halloween

Membership is free, and is good for discounts throughout the shopping center, entry into free monthly events and more.

The event is at the Serramonte Center, between the Elephant Bar and Starbucks (formerly the Mervyn's wing)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Coming Up: Circus Bella in Foster City

Check out this one-ring circus, Circus Bella, at the Peninsula JCC on Sunday, August 22nd. The show is open to all. You'll get live music, clowns, aerials, acrobatics and more.

When: Sunday, August 22 at 4 p.m.
Where: PJCC - 800 Foster City Blvd, Foster City
Tickets: in advance: $8-15 (kids under 2 are free). At the door, $12 & $16. More info here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coming Up: Dance with the Rockettes this Saturday

Your kids can learn to dance with the Rockettes this Saturday in San Jose. The famed Rockettes will give free dance lessons and share info on what it takes to be a world-famous Rockette (same thing it takes to get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice?). Bring a camera - photos are welcome, and the kids who participate get an  "Honorary Rockette" certificate.

Plus, if you spend $50 at Macy's that day, you'll get (free) pair of tickets to the Rockettes Radio City Christmas Spectacular coming to Oracle Arena on December 8 and 9th. You can also enter to win a chance for an exclusive VIP Meet and Greet with the Rockettes plus 4 tickets to the Oracle Arena show at this event.

When: Saturday, August 14 at 2 p.m.
Where: Macy's Valley Fair in San Jose

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ringling Brothers Circus Tickets - Half Off

I was waiting to post that great Travelzoo deal that comes along every year for the Ringling Brothers Circus. It arrived. Get your tickets for half-price - details on this previous Frisco Kids post (at the bottom).

Coming Up: Friday Nights at Bay Area Discovery Museum

If you're looking for something fun to do with the kids on a Friday night, check out the Bay Area Discovery Museum's summer evening events.

In addition to the usual museum attractions, they'll have special performers based on a theme (noted below). Bring a picnic dinner or buy one there.

Tickets: $5 for members, $8 general. This is a separate admission from the daily admission. Buy tickets here.

Friday, August 13 from 5-8 p.m. - One last chance to see Living In Space before it blasts off! Celebrate space travel with a retro evening of fun featuring 60's grooves from DJ Mancub all evening long. The Short Attention Span Circus will delight with comedic juggling, magic, contortions and more all evening long.
As you might know, the Bay Area Discovery Museum has panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay and is at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. It's one of my favorite kids' museums - great exhibits, great space, great view and a fabulous playground. It's in Sausalito.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Club with Frisco Kids

I've been trying to do a lot of summer reading, and thought I'd share what I read with you. Think of this as the first edition of the Frisco Kids' book club. Please post what you've been reading in the comments section!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - this book is the fascinating true tale of Henrietta Lacks and her life-saving HeLa cells. Back in the day, there was no such thing as continued cell reproduction in cell culture, and there were no medical ethics rules about using someone's body tissues for research without asking. Lacks, a poor, black woman in Baltimore, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. During her hospitalization, biopsied cells were taken for medical experimentation - and researchers successfully grew them in cell cultlure - a first. The cells are still used worldwide, 60 years later, and were instrumental in advancing IVF, developing the polio vaccine, developing drugs to treat leukemia, Parkinson's and hemophilia and more. The book looks not only at Lacks' life (and the complicated saga of her family after Henrietta died), but the science and medical ethics issues that arose after. A fascinating and highly recommended read.

The One that I Want by Allison Winn Scotch - If you could see the future, would you want to? After reading The One that I Want, I certainly wouldn't. Follow Tilly Farmer in her quest to learn more about her marriage and what she wants out of life. While her husband (formerly her high school boyfriend) thinks about moving on to live out his boyhood dream, Tilly is left wondering why things are changing and what she can do about it. The bittersweet novel makes you take a good look at your own life and the decisions you make, and appreciate what others go through in their marriages.

Secrets of the Moneylab by Kay-Yut Chen and Marina Krakovsky - this book comes out in September, by Bay Area HP Labs researcher Chen, and journalist Krakovsky. It looks at behavioral economics, and how consumer and business research can save a company money. While aimed at businesses, this is still an insightful book for consumers. The experiments it describes are relevant to every day life. In the chapter on  reputation, you learn concretely how much more you can earn on your eBay sales depending on your reputation there. You'll learn how a company's product guarantees affect what you buy, and how charities get you to give more through the power of reciprocity. And for gamblers - learn how the casino odds are stacked against you (you think you know how, but you don't).

Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Last Straw and Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days by Jeff Kinney - I took these books from my daughter to read - they are laugh-out-loud hilarious. No big take-home message from them, other than your kids are normal and you were a dork too, when you were in middle school. Plus you see from the kids' point of view what an idiotic parent you are.

For all the Tea in China by Sarah Rose - did you know that the British stole tea from China? It turns out China was the only country producing the plant, and the British East India Company decided to steal the plants after losing its trade monopoly in the 1800s. The book combines history, economics and a cultural insights, along with a traveler's tale of the aptly named Robert Fortune, the botonist hired to steal the plants. Even non-tea lovers will find the book intriguing.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Review: Nowhere Hair by Sue Glader

I’ve had three close friends diagnosed with breast cancer in their 30s – all have kids. So when I heard about Sue Glader’s new book picture book Nowhere Hair, I knew I had to read it. It’s not aimed at me, though. It’s a kids’ book, gently talking about a mother’s cancer. The imaginative narrator, a cute little girl, wonders if Mommy’s hair is being used in a sparrow’s nest, or perhaps by a cat needing a warmer coat.

She learns, of course, that her mother has cancer and the medicine is causing her hair to fall out. Without getting complicated or preachy (and with no talk of death), the girl learns that Mommy’s cancer isn’t any fault of her daughter’s, and isn’t contagious. She sees that Mommy has hats for every mood: sleepy, grumpy silly and happy (fortunately lots more hats for the happy Mommy).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Coming Up: Sleepovers at the California Academy of Sciences

This sounds like fun! It's Night at the Museum - but without all the scary stuff.

Spend the night at the California Academy of Sciences - in the Penguins and Pajamas Academy. Here's what they say about the event:

"Doors will open at 6:30 pm, when sleepover guests are invited to come in and explore the Academy after it’s closed to the public. Participants can take in the evening songs of the rainforest birds, sing “twinkle twinkle” to a sea star at the Discovery Tidepool, and watch the fish cruise under the moonlight in the Philippine Coral Reef tank. Then, guests can catch a special penguin talk, and become stargazing gurus during an after-hours planetarium show.

Before bedtime, sleepover guests can grab a snack of cookies and milk and settle in for story time, featuring “Pierre the Penguin,” the true story of the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin. When the lights go out, participants can unroll their sleeping bags in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, it’s time to rise and shine, then head over to the Academy CafĂ© for breakfast before the sleepover event ends at 8:30 am."
The package includes parking at the music concourse garage, next day admission to the academy, breakfast, snacks and a special commemorative gift.

What: “Penguins and Pajamas” sleepover program
Who: Open to children ages 6 and over; an adult chaperone must accompany every group of up to five children.
Where: California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco
When: 6:30pm – 8:30am starting on Friday, August 13
Tickets: $119 ($99 for Academy members), at

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's for Dessert?

The kids have gotten into cooking recently. For dinner, Dori made soup, using only salt water, carrots and parsley flakes. Delicious! At least the first bite...

Last week they made dessert.

With the idea that there's no thing as too much sugar, here's what we ate:
-chocolate peanut butter ice cream with
-chocolate chips
-butterscotch chips
-Girl Sout cookies
-chocolate sauce
-5 types of sprinkles
-Jelly Bellies

For the first time ever, I could not finish dessert.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Coming Up: Urbia Adventures at Stern Grove - Free!

Check out the URBIA Adventure series that uses "Questing" to take kids and families on different nature explorations throughout the city (Rocky Mountain at the Randall Museum, plants at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, and Butterflies at the Moraga Steps).

For this one, at Stern Grove, you'll follow clues that guide you from the famed grove of giant trees, along an ancient creek to discover a gem nestled in the bottom of the valley: one of San Francisco's only natural lakes. The activity booklet is designed for families with kids pre-K through 6th grade and the route is stroller friendly. You'll need 1-2 hours to complete the booklet. There will be a special drawing to win a free subscription for a year of URBIA Adventures!

Pick up your adventure packet at the URBIA table on the east side of the stage area of the Stern Grove
What: A Midsummer URBIA Adventure at Stern Grove
Where: Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Blvd in SF
When: Wednesday, August 4th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: Free - donations welcome
RSVP: recommended - email:
Questions: Call Barbara at (415) 730-6188 or email address above

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Coming Up: Free National Park Entrance

Vaationing at a National Park has to be one of the best bargains around. But the national park service is offering free entrance several times in 2010. So mark your calendars and make your plans. About 100 national parks are included in the list, with 12 from California. Those include Lava Beds National Monument, San Francisco's Maritime National Historical Park, Muir Woods, and Yosemite. You can see the entire list of 100 free parks here.:

--August 14-15, 2010
--September 25, 2010 (Public Lands Day)
--November 11, 2010 (Veterans Day)

You still might need to pony up for camping reservations, but the entrance fee will be waived.