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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Get 'Yer Tickets - Meshuga Nutcracker and Santastic

The Retro Dome is featuring two holiday shows - Santastic and Meshuga Nutcracker

The Meshuga Nutcracker uses the traditional Nutcracker score, with new lyrics and some Jewish songs too. Fun! It runs December 1-19, various times.

Santastic runs December 13-18 at various times. It's an original, new musical featuring your favorite holiday characters.

Get tickets on Goldstar for Santastic ($18/ticket) for certain shows. Get tickets at Retrodome for $24-36 each.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Get 'Yer Tickets - My Son Pinocchio

It's time for another fun Pied Piper Players show -this one is My Son Pinocchio - Gepetto's Musical Tale. For those who haven't been, this is a community production where local kids play almost all the roles. Parents do the costumes and sets - and it's quite good! My kids love these shows and I don't dread going. They're fun.

When: December 3-12
Where: Bayside Performing Arts Center in San Mateo
Tickets/Cost: Get tickets here or at the box office. Adult tickets are $16, kids tickets are $12.

Hanukkah cookies and crafts

Hanukkah is very early this year - it starts Wednesday night. I just saw these adorable and oh-so-easy Hanukkah cookies in the December, 2010 issue of FamilyFun Magazine.
They use Fig Newtons, with small cuts on two edges, and a thin pretzel for the holder. Then use icing to outline the dreidel and make the letters. My daughter is now dying to make them. Of course we sent all our Fig Newtons to my husband's office last month after no one at home was eating them. Sigh!

Here are some easy Hanukkah crafts to do with the kids:
Marshmallow dreidels
How to play dreidel
Make your own menorah
Thumbprint menorah
Make your own cut-out Hanukkah cards

Here are some Bay Area Hanukkah happenings.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Get 'Yer Tickets - Wizard of Oz

This should be a fun show for the kids. Linda's Musical Theatre Group (featuring students Kindergarten to 8th grade) are performing "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." This version has a dozen musical numbers on the grand stage of The Lindland Theatre at Riordan High School.  

Wednesday, December 1st at 6:30 PM and Thursday, December 2nd at 6:30 PM
90 minute performance with no intermission

Tickets: online  or at the door or call 415-373-0185
Print out your paypal receipt for entry! No tickets will be mailed.

LocationRiordan High School, 175 Phelan Ave, San Francisco. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Coming Up: PBS Kids at Children's Fairyland

Miss Rosa and Mr. Steve from PBS Kids are making their only Bay Area appearance at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. Mr. Steve will perform his SteveSongs and stories, and Miss Rosa (whose real name is Jennifer.shhh...) will do her thing - apparently exploring new cultures and experience through the Spanish language. I don't have preschoolers anymore, so I wouldn't know first hand!

When: December 4, 2010 from 10:30-11 a.m.
Cost: included with regular admission of $7/person over age 1

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nutcracker Ballet Performances in the Bay Area

If you're looking for some Nutcracker tickets, check this comprehensive list for all the Nutcracker Bay Area performances in 2011.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hanukkah Happenings in the Bay Area


Menorah Lighting in Union Square
December 1-9, 2010 
Join with Chabad and their giant menorah in Union Square. The menorah will be lit each evening, with other festivities scheduled as well.  The big fun day is December 5th, with crafts and music starting at 3 pm., and the lighting at 5 p.m. Free.

Sunday, December 5, 2010 from 1-4 p.m. Free. 
Klezmer music, latke tasting, children's music, arts and crafts, storytelling.  Bring a coat to donate to the One Warm Coat Drive. It's at the PJCC (Early Education Center), 800 Foster City Blvd. 

Menorah Lighting - Burlingame
Thursday, December 2, 2010 from 6-8 p.m. Free. 
Check out this year's ice menorah, live music, latkes, jelly doughnuts and more. Enter the menorah contest! It's at Washington Park, 850 Burlingame Ave. For more info on the menorah lighting, click here.

Interfaith Families Pre-Hanukkah Party - Palo Alto
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 from 5-:30-7:30 p.m. Nominal fee.
The Palo Alto JCC is sponsoring a pre-Hanukkah party for interfaith families. You'll have dinner with traditional latkes, light the menorah, spin the dreidel and more. You'll get your own Hanukkah kit to celebrate the holiday at home. 

Menorah Lighting with Chabad
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 from 6-8 p.m. at the South Peninsula Hebrew Day School (MP room) in Sunnyvale (1030 Astoria Drive). Free

Arts and crafts, candle dipping, lighting the ice menorah, hot cider, balloon twisting, music, latkes, sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts),  Hanukkah "game show," food (nominal charge)

Meshuga Nutcracker

December 1-19, 2010, various times
Tchaikovsky's score combined with witty lyrics and traditional Jewish songs.

For a longer list of community Hanukkah events, see the calendar at the Jewish Community Federation site.

Menorah Lighting with Chabad
Sunday, December 5 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Bay Center in Emeryville. Enjoy live music from the Rockin' Rabbis, latkes, gelt, an ice menorah, a sing-along and face painting.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coming Up: Great Dickens Christmas Fair

The 2010 Dickens Fair opens November 26, running weekends through December 19th. There, you'll find
Since 1970, this fair has been part of the Bay Area holiday culture. What to expect:  "The bustling streets of London, immortalized for all time by the mighty pen of Charles Dickens, form the living backdrop of your excursion into Christmas Past. You are a living part of a Victorian Christmas card come to life!"

Explore London's Christmas shops, festive drinks (hot toddies, ale, champagne), six stages of entertainment, British (and other) foods, tea house with cucumber sandwiches, Christmas flowers, and lots of kids' activities too.

 Discounts: Get a $5/adult ticket discount on the website through December 5th. Bring a toy for Toys for Tots and get $2 off. For more discounts, see Celebrate-Family's post about it.

Tickets: Advanced tickets are $20-21 for adults, $10 for kids. At the door, tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for kids (under 5 are free). Parking at Cow Palace is $10.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Outdoor Ice Skating in San Francisco Area

Embarcadero Ice Rink - Justin Herman Plaza
(adjacent to Four Embarcadero Center and across from the historic Ferry Building)
Dates: November 19, 2010 through January 2, 2011
Hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday – Thursday
10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Friday - Saturday
See website for which sessions are closed for private parties.Session: 90 minute sessions starting on every even hour
Information: (415) 837-1931 or its website
Cost: $9/adults, $5.50/seniors/children ages 10 and under
Monday – Friday until 6:00 p.m. (50 cents more at other times)
Skate rental: $3.50
Discounts: group rates availableBirthday parties: $250, includes admission and skate rental for up to ten people, a decorated party area, birthday cake and soft drinks. Skating guests in excess of ten will be charged an additional $12.50 each.

Union Square Ice Rink 
Union Square, downtown San Francisco
Dates: November 10, 2010 through January 17, 2011
Hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday – Thursday
10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Friday - Saturday
Information: (415) 781-2688 and its website
Cost: $9/adults, $4.50/children ages 8 and under, Monday – Friday until 6 p.m.
50 cents more at other times
Discounts: for groupsSkate rental: $4, regular,$5 hockey
Buy in advance: online

San Jose Downtown Skating 
Downtown San Jose: 120 Market Street
Dates: November 19, 2010  through January 17, 2011
Hours: vary – check the website
Session: no set session –skate all you want, though no in/out privileges
Information: (408) 279-1775 and its website
Cost: $15/ age 11+; $13/ages 10 and under
Discounts: the website lists several.Skate rental: included in admission

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coming Up: SF Zoo Thanksgiving Feasts for the Beasts

Gotta love the name of this event: Thanksgiving Feasts for the Beasts, at the SF Zoo.

The chefs from the zoo’s Leaping Lemur Café team up with animal keepers to create a smörgåsbord of special meals for the grizzly bears, chimpanzees, African Savanna Aviary birds and the meerkats. Each animal will enjoy a delicious silver platter meal and the chefs and keepers will be on hand to show visitors what the animals eat. They’ll also share the details behind these special Feasts for the Beasts and provide guests with their own similar “people food” recipe. It’s a feast fit for the animals and guests!

When: November 27-28
Grizzly Bears: 11:00 a.m.

Chimpanzees: 12:00 p.m.
African Savanna Aviary: 1:30 p.m.
Meerkats: 2:30 p.m.
Conservation Corner: 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m

Cost: free with admission

Where: San Francisco Zoo

Top 15 Things I Learned at Disneyworld

1. Disneyworld’s Speedway is much more exciting if you let go of the wheel and don’t steer. But you may need an Advil after.

2. The Disney Magical Express bus from the airport is neither magical, nor express. But it is free.

3. There’s a reason there is no line for Splash Mountain when it’s 10 a.m. and 60 degrees.

4. If you tell your husband to pack the ponchos for Splash Mountain, make sure he actually does it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Coming Up: Garden Railway in Conservatory of Flowers

The annual Garden Railway opens this weekend at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers. The exhibit celebrate's the park's 140th anniversary!

The model trains and trolleys come back to the Conservatory of Flowers this weekend, through March, 2011. They'll wend their way through mini versions of the park's specialty gardens recreated in detail with hundreds of dwarf plants. Look for water features bringing Stow and Spreckels Lakes to life, and find a mini bison paddock. 

There are also replicas of 10 of the park's landmarks, created from recycled and repurposed materials. You'll find the Dutch Windmill, Japanese Tea Garden, the de Young Museum, the Music Concourse Bandshell, the California Academy of Sciences, the Carousel, the Stow Lake Boat House, the Chinese Pavilion, McLaren Lodge and the Conservatory of Flowers. 

When: Tuesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Exhibit runs November 19, 2010-March 13, 2011
Where: Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park
Cost: $5-7 for adults, $3-5 for youth, free for kids 4 and under
Free for everyone the first Tuesday of the month!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Lighting Ceremonies - San Francisco

I planned on writing a post on holiday light and tree ceremonies in San Francisco, but Travel is More Fun with Kids did such a good job with theirs, that I'll just point you over there. Lots of fun holiday activities noted!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coming Up: Cat in the Hat Meet and Greet

If a giant human-sized version of the Cat in the Hat won't freak out your kids, bring them to Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo on Saturday, November 20th.

The 9:30-10:30 a.m. "meet and greet" is a promotion for KQED's animated TV series "The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That." Bring your camera (or just your cell phone) - your kids can pose for pictures with the Cat.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coming Up: MOCFA Family Saturday

This is the third in a series of monthly Family Days during the exhibition, Volver: Mexican Folk Art into Play. Graphic artist and printmaker, Favianna Rodriguez, will be there. Kids can use the museum's linoleum block-cut ancient Mexican animal pictograms to make their own prints and masterpieces to take home. 

WHAT: MAKE IT @ MOCFA Family Saturday
WHEN: Saturday, November 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: Museum of Craft and Folk Art (51 Yerba Buena Lane, SF)
COST: $5
AGES: 5 and up

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Coming Up: Baby Footprints Workshop

If you want to capture your child's foot or handprints for Grandma, check out the workshop below. Laurel Street Arts in San Carlos has two scheduled Baby and Me painting events.

When: Wednesday November 17 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Thursday, November 18 from 6-7 p.m.

RSVP: by phone for the event (650-591-1005) or just drop in and do it on your own. If you're dropping in with a group, it's helpful to let the staff know so they can prepare to have enough people on hand to help.

Who: footprints are best for kids younger than 12 months. Handprints at any age.

Other classes: for other holiday classes and ideas, click here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Girls Night Out - Evening with Amy Sedaris

Amy Sedaris is coming to Palo Alto - her San Francisco show is already sold out. She's billed as America's funniest hostess.Recently on David Letterman, the Today Show and the CBS Early Show, Amy presents her new book, "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People."  This is not your mother's crafting!  It's crafting through the eyes of the zany, hilarious. Sedaris, who will educate and entertain with some of her best tips and advice for "crafting craftily."

Sedaris is a comedienne, playwright and actress. She performed in the legendary Chicago comedy troupe's Second City and Annoyance Theatre. Her best-known character is Jerri Blank, a middle-aged, former prostitute-turned-high-school student, featured on Comedy Central's cult series (and then movie) Strangers with Candy (a movie I actually didn't think was funny).

She's been on Rescue Me, Sex and the City, Shrek Forever and the upcoming Ass Backwards. She collaborated with Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello on the book, Wigfield, and she frequently appears on David Letterman. And yes, she is also David Sedaris' sister. Under the name "The Talent Family," she and David have written and produced several envelope-pushing plays including Stitches and One Woman Shoe.

What: An Evening of Laughter with Amy Sedaris - a Benefit for Breast Cancer Conections
When: November 17, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Gunn High School, Palo Alto
Cost: $38 for one person and one book, $45 for two people and one book
Tickets: at Kepler's Bookstore in Menlo Park, or call (650) 324-4321, or online.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Family Art Day - make 3-D Turkey Sculpture

Two fun holiday art workshops coming up at Hidden Talent Art Studio in San Jose:

Fall Family Art Day Event: $10 per person
Sunday November 14th, 11:00am-2:00pm
Projects: A 3-D sculpture of a turkey! Fall Leaves stamp painting with oil pastel details on colorful paper!
Winter Family Art Day Event: $10 per person
Sunday December 5th, 11:00am-2:00pm
Projects: A 3-D Model Magic snowman sculpture or ornament! Oil Pastel and chalk pastel drawing of a beautiful winter scene!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coming Up: Safari West Open House - Discounted Safari Tour

Our friends at Travel is More Fun with Kids posted recently about an upcoming Open House at Safari West in Santa Rosa. For those who haven't been (that includes me), this is a real safari experience. They're offering a one hour tour at a discounted price.

When: November 14 and 21
Several times available.

Check out the post for more info.

Have Old Computers? Give them to kids who need them

I just learned about Computers for Everyone, a nonprofit organization serving East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, that is refurbishing old computers (even those 5-10 years old), to give them to K-8 kids in the Ravenswood School District. If you have computers to donate, call (650) 847-5708 or email They also accept help refurbishing them as well as monetary donations.  Their Menlo Park office is open Monday to Friday, 9-5, and is at 3723 Haven  Avenue, Menlo Park, CA. if you want to drop your items off.

They'll be giving computers out on December 6th.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coming Up: Justin Roberts concert for families

It's almost time for Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players.

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

We've been to this concert before - very fun!

When: Sunday, November 14 at 11 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. (each show is one hour)
Where: Foothill College’s Smithwick Theater (12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos)
Cost: $13 each in advance, $15 at door. Buy tickets here or by mail (same link for info). Or at Linden Tree Bookstore in Los Altos.
Don't forget $2 in quarters for the parking lot's meter.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Get 'Yer Tickets - SF Symphony Holiday Concerts

Ring in the holidays with these great San Francisco Symphony concerts that are appropriate for kids.

Deck the Hall - music of the season, along with a post-concert party in the lobby with entertainments, arts and crafts, decorated trees and refreshments. Get an Angel package, and you'll also get a pre-concert reception with Santa Claus.
      When: Sunday, December 5, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Peter and the Wolf - this traditional concert with the Youth Orchestra includes a surprise narrator, plus festive seasonal songs. Kids 17 and younger get half-priced tickets. No intermission at this concert. Get a "Wolf pack" which also includes a pre-concert reception with arts and crafts - for the Flint Center performance.
       When: Saturday, December 11 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (San Francisco)
Sunday, December 12 at 3 p.m. (Cupertino)

Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Jernandez - a colorful celebration of Christmas favorites from Mexico and the U.S., with traditional Mexican music. Half priced tickets for kids 17 and under.
       When: Sunday, December 12 at 8 p.m.

Handel's Messiah - the complete version. Half priced tickets for kids 17 and under.
      When: Wednesday, December 15 at 8 p.m. (Cupertino)
Thursday and Friday, December 16-17 at 7:30 (SF)
Sunday, December 19 at 2 p.m. (SF)

The Snowman - animated film with live accompaniment of holiday songs, plus holiday sing-alongs. Half priced tickets for kids 17 and younger.
      When: Saturday, December 18 at 7 p.m.

'Twas the Night - includes favorite Christmas songs. Sing along - get free drinks too. Half priced tickets for kids 17 and under.
      When: Wednesday and Thursday December 22-23 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 24 at 2 p.m.

Tickets start at $15. For tickets, call 415-864-6000 or check the SF Symphony site.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gilroy Gardens Open Weekends - with Discounts

Gilroy Gardens is open weekends in November from 11am-5pm!  
November 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28. 

Get four people in for $49.99 with this Gilroy Gardens coupon. The main website with the coupon link is here

If you are a Great America 2010 & 2011 Gold or Platinum Pass, you'll get in for free. If you're a Great America 2010 & 2011 Season pass holder, you'll get in for $9.99 (and you can bring a friend for the same price for either deal). 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Coming Up: Curious George at the Contemporary Jewish Museum - SF

I am so excited about this Curious George exhibit, opening at Contemporary Jewish Museum on November 14. While we all know Curious George, how many realized that the story lines (the monkey escapes from the zoo) is very similar to that of the creators, Margret and H. A. Rey. No, they didn't escape from the zoo, but they did escape from the Nazis. 

Hans Augusto Reyersbach, grew up in Germany and later moved to Paris and Brazil. His wife, Margarete Waldstein, was also German. Like H. A., she was an artist, and she studied at the famous Bauhaus. 

This exhibit was just shown in New York City, and when I heard about it, I read the children's biography of Margret and H. A. Rey, The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey.

This picture book, which isn't too intense for kids, is a fascinating true tale of their early childhood, how they met, and how they escaped from Paris on bike (with the manuscripts and drawings in their satchels). Plus it's illustrated with beautiful drawings, similar in style to Curious George. They eventually made it to the United States, with stops in between in Portugal, Spain and Brazil. (The museum does have a parent/educator program on how to talk about the Holocaust to your kids).

In the exhibit you'll see 80 original drawings and watercolors of Raffy and the Nine Monkeys (Curious George got his start as Fifi the monkey - Raffy is a giraffe), their penguin series, and Curious George books. You'll see their personal photos and the journal written about their escape.

The exhibit has plenty of kid-friendly offerings. They'll have drop-in art making classes with Curious George themes, preschool gallery hours, free days with a costumed Curious George, family tours. They also have free Curious George Family ARTpacks to use with kids when visiting the exhibit. They are filled with activities designed for families to explore the exhibition together. Housed in a mini-suitcase, families will find a journey map to view the exhibition and a "Create Your Own Adventure" storytelling game. Kids can take home their own adventure journals and have their exhibition passports stamped before leaving the Museum

WhatCurious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H.A. Rey
When: November 14, 2010-March 13, 2011
Where: Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

Special Family Programming


Every Sunday and Special Holiday Weekends, 1-3 PM
Free with admission. Youth 18 and under always FREE.

Experiment with new materials and techniques as you create art together as a
family. Themes change regularly and are related to Museum exhibitions,
architecture, or holidays and traditions.

Sunday, November 14 & Sunday, November 21
--Worldly Travel Tags
Sunday, December 19 and Sunday, December 26
--Artful Greetings

*Special Schools-Out Drop-In
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri: December 27, 28, 30, 31 - Wire Sculptures
Monday, December 27: Air Mobiles
Tuesday, December 28: Earth Mobiles
Thursday, December 30: Sea Mobiles
Friday, December 31: Outer Space Mobiles

Second Sundays - 10-11:30 AM
Free with admission. Youth 18 and under always FREE.

Sunday, November 14
--By George, You¹ve Arrived! (stories, tour, music)
Sunday, December 12
--De-Light-Ful George! (shadow puppets, stories, music)


First Sundays - January 2, February 6, and March 6, 2011 - 3-3:45 PM
Free with admission. Youth 18 and under are FREE.


Sunday, November 21 - 2:30-5 p.m.
When, How, and What to Say? Teaching Young Children about the Holocaust:
Lessons from Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H. A. Rey
(A Workshop for Parents and Teachers). Cost: $10

CJM Annual Family Gala - Get Curious!

Saturday, December 4 from 5:30-8:30 PM
Adults: $100 for Members/$150 for the general public. Children ages 2-18:
$50 for Members/$75 for the general public.
-Programming & activities including music and dance, art-making, storytelling and family tours
of the exhibition. Proceeds support CJM education and family programs.
-for tickets please visit For more information contact Stacey
Silver at or 415.655.7836.


Sunday, December 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free admission for all SFPL card holders and one guest (bring your library card)
-Stories, storytelling, Curious George appearance. Preschool Gallery Hour at 10 a.m.


Saturday, December 25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free admission for everyone!

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Treasure Chest Cake

Cake doctor Linda had a very busy season! Here's her awesome treasure chest cake.

And a close up:

She used a sheet cake frosted to look like water (notice the blue?), swimming with Swedish Fish. The treasure chest is graham crackers covered with Hersey's bars. Draped over the sides are candy necklaces, and gold chocolate coins are inside. I love it!

If you want to see some of Linda's other cakes, here they are:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ben 10 Cake

My friend Linda, the cake doctor, came through again for her son - and for us! Check out her Ben 10 cake - another masterpiece.
She made this to look like Ben 10's Omnitrix. Look closely at the right corner - and you'll see a little fondant version of Ben!

If you want to see some of Linda's other cakes, here they are:
Bakugan cake
Castle birthday cake
Slumber party cake
Lots of other cakes, including a Cars cake, train cake, aquarium cake, caterpillar cake, spaghetti and meatballs cake and more.

---Win a copy of Lisa Quinn's Life's Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets!---

Last day to win! Life's Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets

Don't forget to enter to win Bay Area Author and Celebrity's book, Life's Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets - your entry is due tonight at midnight!

It's easy to enter - read her Q&A and make a comment here.

The winner will be announced this next weekend.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Coming Up: the Lizard Lady

Lizard Lady's Reptile program - Lizard Lady is bringing an impressive array of reptiles, some local, some from far away, many endangered, to Ingleside Library. This informative program is for children ages 5 and up.

When: Saturday,November 6th at 4 p.m.
Where: Ingleside Branch Library (1298 Ocean Avenue (at Plymouth)

---Win a copy of Lisa Quinn's Life's Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets!---

Monday, November 1, 2010

Go Giants!

Thank you Linda for the photo!

Coming Up: Free National Park Entrance on Veteran's Day 2010

Vacationing at a National Park has to be one of the best bargains around. But the national park service is offering free entrance on Veteran's Day in 2010. So mark your calendars and make your plans. About 100 national parks are included in the list, with 12 from California, including 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.:

--November 11, 2010 (Veterans Day)

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

---Win a copy of Lisa Quinn's Life's Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets!---