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Friday, September 28, 2012

Free Public Lands Day

If you're not sure what to do on Saturday, it's Public Lands Day and you can get in free to some National Parks. See the list here. The closest is Muir Woods.

See Your Own Backyard: Movies, Ducks, Boat Tours, Wax Museum, Hornet, Air Tour

If you're been meaning to check out some of the local attractions that mostly the tourists seem to visit, you're in luck. On Groupon today, there's a slew of offers for local family fun at discount prices - links at the bottom:

Okay, this isn't actually a tourist thing, but I had to mention it. Regal Movie Theaters (including United Artists theaters) are offering ticket deals at half off. For $13 get two movie tickets. Read the fine print. No expiration date.

$29 for a holiday twilight cruise (normally $58), includes food, drink, live music. Good November 4 through March 31.

Wax Museum
$16 for TWO tickets (value $32) for this Fisherman's Wharf favorite.

USS Hornet
This Alameda aircraft carrier is awesome. $16 buys you admission for two (normally $32), or $29 buys you admission for 4

Bay Voyager
This Oakland company takes you on two hour boat tours (a rigid inflatable motor boat) to see various historic buildings, island and ships in day or at night. $69 allows two passengers or $139 for four.

Wildlife and Eco Tour
These 90 minute California coast and tributaries tour run $19 for one person, $38 for two, or rent the whole boat and bring 46 friends for $699. (half off)

San Carlos Flight Center
Enough with the boats already. Take an aerial tour for $199 instead of the usual $400, and you'll get a one hour Bay Area tour for up to three people.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

To Frisco Kids' Jewish Readers

Wishing you and your family a G'mar Hatimah Tovah, an inscription in the book of life and a good year! May you have an easy and meaningful fast.

Coming Up: Autogiro Day at Hiller

Never heard of an autogiro? Me either! Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos is featuring these flying machines on Saturday, September 29 in a special day of activities featuring the earliest rotary-winged aircraft. These were the leading aircraft designs from the 1920s into the 30s. And Amelia Earhart set an altitude record flying one at 18,000 feet. They look like funky helicopters.

10-11 Autogiros arrive - weather permitting
10:30-1:30 - rotor roundup exhibition and kids' activities
11-12 - soar with books (preschool reading program - $1.50/child fee for nonmembers)
11-2 - flight simulators, open-helicopter missions available (extra fee)
11 - presentation on autogiros and helicopters by Jean-Pierre Harrison
12 - another presentation by Harrison on James Weir and the development of the autogiro
12 - autogiros depart - weather permitting
1:30-4:30 - whirlybirds away program (advanced registration required; hands-on workshop for grades 1-5; you'll take home a remote controlled helicopter; program fee of $50 for nonmembers, $45/member, includes admission as well)

What: Autogiro Day
When: Saturday, September 29 from 10-4:30
Where: Hiller Aviation Museum

Coming Up: Preschool Science Program - Free

Here's a fun preschool program. Bring your preschoolers for a morning of hands-on science while exploring the wonders of magnetism with the Wornick Day School teachers.  

Where: Wornick Jewish Day School (800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City)
When: Sunday, September 30 from 10-11 a.m.
RSVP: to Judy Thalheimer at or call (650) 378-2635

Monday, September 24, 2012

7-11 Presidential Coffee Poll

Buy some coffee, choose your candidate! 7-"election" is holding a fun new promo (see my Instagram photo). Choose either a red Romney cup or a blue Obama cup, and the store tallies the sales daily.

Not sure how they're doing this, because where I bought my Slurpee, there were very few Romney cups left and tons of Obama, though I'm sure Obama is going to win in this area. So either they're stocking fewer loser Romney cups in that store, or someone is trying to make a statement, or those who shop at 7-11 are Romney fans (though yeterday's tally slip showed them just about even at the store).

Fun stuff.

Get FREE coffee at 7-11 on September 28, from 6-10 a.m.

Research Study: Girls and Breast Cancer

I'm posting this because a friend I trust is participating in the study, and her daughter has found it interesting. If it's of interest to you, please contact the researcher. We've done medical studies with our kids before, and it's a good learning process for them, to help them understand how the research helps us discover new treatments, new medications and how the body works.

The pitch:

I work on breast cancer-related research studies at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, a non-profit organization in Fremont, CA.  The new study I am working on is currently recruiting girls ages 6-13 to participate in a 5-year study aimed to look at things we can do to prevent breast cancer starting from a young age.  This is truly cutting-edge research, especially if there are indeed things that children (and their parents) can do to reduce their risk of getting cancer as adults. 

The study is funded by the National Cancer Institute and is called the LEGACY Girls Study.  We are trying to recruit 270 girls here in the Bay Area as apart of a national cohort study where researchers are aiming to follow them throughout all stages of the pubescent and prepubescent life.  We have already recruited 100 girls!  If you or your friends/family members have a daughter who is 6-13 years old living in the Bay Area, we would absolutely LOVE for her to participate in our study.   

Some details: If you and your daughter agree to participate, there will be a female interviewer who will come to your home and 1) ask your daughter general questions about habits and exercise 2) measure your daughter's waist, hips, height, weight, and foot size and 3) if your daughter is willing, collect a urine and a small blood sample.  Although a blood sample is not necessary to participate in the study, it is a very powerful tool that helps us link biology to behavior and cancer risk.  Both you and your daughter will receive gift cards to fun places like TARGET at each visit as an appreciation for your contribution to the study. More importantly -- everything is strictly confidential! 

I've attached a 2-page brochure about the LEGACY Girls Study (Frisco Kids note: obviously that's not attached here, nor do I have a copy) and here is the link to our website:  The folks leading this study, as well as the interviewers, are AMAZING and they have done a great job making everyone who participates feel comfortable and well-informed about the whole process.  If you are interested, feel free email or call me (my work contact info is below).  I would love to speak to you more about it.  Alternatively, if you know others who would be interested, please pass this message along to them.

Thanks so much for helping out!

                     Meera Sangaramoorthy, M.P.H.
                     Epidemiologist III
                     Cancer Prevention Institute of California

                     2201 Walnut Avenue, Suite 300    |    Fremont, CA 94538     tel  (510) 608-5020  fax (510) 608-5085

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Coming Up: Be a Guinness World Record Holder in Soccer

Want to be part of a Guinness World Record attempt? Here's your chance. Help break the Guinness World Record for the most soccer balls ever dribbled at one time!

The Great America SCORES Soccer Dribble will bring together the Bay Area soccer community with nine other American cities to break the record. Currently it's held by the United Nations, with 2,068 simultaneous dribblers. 

That day, the Great America SCORES Soccer Dribble will also feature individual soccer competitions hosted by iSoccer, soccer clinics and demos, live music and concession stands.  

WhenSaturday, September 29 at 2:30 p.m. Other even festivities run from 1-4.

Where: Candlestick Park
Cost: $5 admission. For $15 you also get a commemorative t-shirt, and for $25 you get admission, a t-shirt and a soccer ball. All proceeds from this event benefit the youth of America SCORES! Get ticketss at any San Francisco Sports  Basement store or online. 
Additional info: No soccer cleats allowed on the field

Friday, September 21, 2012

To Frisco Kids Subscribers - Feedburner is No Longer

Postscript: Sounds like Feedburner IS still working, since readers report getting this post via email. Phew! There is a lot of confusion right now in the blogger world because the last few days of Feedburner data show that we have no subscribers, and there's a lot of information/misinformation floating around about the Feedburner API discontinuation in October. Turns out that may or may not affect us. If anyone  is knowledgeable about this, please do tell. Web stuff isn't my strength. In any case, I was able to download a subscriber list from a few days ago, which at least gives me backup in case something does happen. I'd hate to lose anyone! Thanks to the readers who provided me with confirmation that it's still working.

I just got notice (from another blogger, not from Feedburner) that Feedburner was cutting off service on October 20, 2012. Well, it's September 21 and my Feedburner list is officially at 0. Yes, they cut off and deleted my account with no notice. I will be looking into new subscription services, but if you get your subscription by email (I'm not sure if RSS is affected) and are checking to see where all the blog posts went, keep checking while I figure out a solution.

I apologize for the inconvenience, and for not backing up my list since February, 2010. Yes, I should have backed it up more recently. I'll send everyone on that list an email when I have more information. For more recent subscribers, my apologies.

In the meantime, if you have ideas for good subscription services, please let me know.

Bars - here's the scoop

We eat a lot of bars in our house. As in cereal bars. I once cut out a recipe so I could make my own. Ha ha! Why would I do that when I barely have time to make our dinner? So I thought I'd give the Frisco Kids' scoop on snack bars.

Rickland Orchard's Greek Yogurt Bars - I tried these at BlogHer and they were quite tasty. My favorite is the toasted coconut one (though it has a fair amount of fat, not surprisingly). The bars have dried fruit, granola and are coated on one side with Greek yogurt (and a pretty drizzle on the other side). Downside: they don't do well in heat, so it's not a good one to carry around in the purse as a back-up snack or the yogurt coating melts. They have 5 grams a fiber in each bar, a bonus in my book.

Fiber One bars - we started buying these when our pediatrician recommended them as a fiber supplement to my son's diet. The bar has 9 grams of fiber (she also recommended the 90 calorie Fiber One brownies, which have 5 grams of fiber). He eats one a day for snack. His favorites are the peanut butter ones, but they don't have those at Costco, so we're sticking with chocolate unless I can get the others on sale.

MySuperSnack bars - This new company (MySuperFoods) was started by two moms who wanted healthful bars that didn't have additive or preservatives, and they sell the bite-size granola bars in a resealable BPA-free bag (in case the kids don't finish what they're eating). They sent me two sample bags to try - each bag is a single serving with 4 small bars each. They taste like chewy oatmeal cookies - yum! I couldn't get my kids to eat them because they said "apple raisin" and "blueberry banana acai" on the outside of the bag, and my kids can read (my son is not a big fruit fan). They also carry chocolate chip bars, but I didn't get samples of those. The packaging has cute cartoon characters (super food heroes) on it, which is good for the preschool set.

Quaker Oats chewy granola bars - these are staple at our house, along with their Target generic equivalent. We tend to get the big box at Costco, though those have the raisin ones in it and my kids won't touch those (we donate them to the food bank). We like the s'mores one too. The bars have 90-100 calories, which is not enough for snack. My kids usually take two bars - more waste, but no more grumbling tummies.

Nature Valley Granola bars - the kids love the chocolate ones (chocolate flavoring, not coated), which Costco sometimes sells. They're hearty enough for a snack and there are two bars per pouch. They solid and not chewy, so some kids may not like that. They travel well because they don't get mushy and they don't melt. They may break apart, but you can still dump the crumbs in your mouth. Their chewy peanut ones are good too, but we have to be careful about sending nut products to school.

The Zone Perfect bar - I love these and snack on them. Even though I'm not on a diet. I keep them in my gym bag in case I'm starving after my workout. Any of those covered in chocolate are good by me.

Power Bars - my hubby and daughter's favorite. These are great to travel with and we bring them on hikes and to amusement parks (they're thin enough to sneak in your clothes if the park doesn't allow outside food). I like the chocolate, chocolate cookie and vanilla crunch ones best.

What are your favorites???

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Coming Up: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day - free

Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day makes it possible to visit some great museums - for free! They do this annually, and this year's is on Saturday, September 29th. Download an admission card here, and get into museums like Bay Area Discovery Museum, Hiller Aviation Museum, CuriOdyssey, Cartoon Art Museum, Bedford Gallery, Museum of Craft and Folk Art, Lindsay Wildlife Museum, SS Jeremiah O'Brien, the Lace Museum, and others.

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

Interesting Offers

I wanted to pass along some offers that came through my affiliate network that you might be interested in.

My iPod is full of podcasts, not much music! I spend my time walking to/from school listening to books and podcasts to catch up on reading (and writers' conference panels). So I was interested in this Audible deal, where you can get a month free and a free audio book. If you like it and stay a member, you pay a monthly fee.

If you're into daily deals, Zulily has very cute baby and kid stuff - click on the picture below to check it out. They have their annual "disguise" sale with things up to 65% off right now. You can use code ZUGA912 to save $5 off of $50 purchase.

Nielsen Consumer Panel - the Neilsen scan sounds familiar, right? This is the same company that tracks TV watching. They have a home scan program where if you qualify, they'll send you a scanner for stuff you buy for your home so they can track purchasing trends nation-wide, and you can participate in surveys. By doing so, you get points you can trade in for electronics, toys, household items, jewelry, etc. I've not done it, so I can't vouch for what's involved, but if you sign up, let me know how it goes. To join, click the photo below.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Focus Group: Commerce

One focus group for today, on commerce. It's for Plaza Research in SF.

Who: Males and Females 25-49 years old
When: October 1st
Length/Pay: 1-hour/$75
Where: Downtown San Francisco
To try and qualify, fill out the survey here.

Coming Up: Yerba Buena Family Fun Day - Free

Yerba Buena Family Fun Day is coming up - it's free! It includes admission and hands-on art activities from four museums there, and two stages with live performances.

Museums include:
-Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM)
-Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)
-Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum)
-Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

**Bring your fingerprint creations to life with Creatura at Zeum
**Create a chalk masterpiece for MoAD
**Make story puppets at CJM
**Listen to storyteller Michael Katz at CJM
**Hands-on fun at SFMOMA
**Clowning at the Yerba Buena Gardens Fstival
**carousel rides
Thank you Target for sponsoring.

When: Sunday, September 23, 2012 from 11-4
Where: Yerba Buena gardens
Cost: Free
More info: see the Yerba Buena website

Monday, September 17, 2012

Coming Up: Eat Real Fest - free

If you like food, you'll want to go to the 4th annual Eat Real Fest in Oakland. This food festival will attract upwards of 150,000 at Jack London Square. It's family-friendly and has a Kid Zone, with activities, demos and fun educational guides on how to eat well. they'll have juice and nutritious snacks for the kids.  

What to expect: 
Eat Real Meat! They'll have lots on BBQ, butchery and all things meat, including a Meatopia opening night party (costs extra). 
Jam Bar: Learn the art of mixology while sipping masterful cocktail creations such as the Blood Orange Marmalade Sour with Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey and Sicilian Blood Orange Marmalade from Blue Chair Fruit Company. Probably need a babysitter for this one, though.
Something’s a-Brewin Summit: Friday night (September 21) will be the Brewers Summit, with all 20 brewers vending beer at the festival. There will be a spread of expert panels, instructional demos and opportunities to mingle with local brewmasters.
Kids Zone: Keep kids entertained with activities, demos and fun educational guides on how to eat right and Eat Real. Juice and nutritious snacks will be provided.
Kraut-a-thon: Audience members transform 300 lbs of cabbage in possibly the largest making sauerkraut session ever.
Milk Fed Brunch: On Sunday, September 23 (11:00-2) begin the final day of the festival by sipping on a signature mimosas and milk punch cocktails and enjoying succulent cuts of veal, suckling pig, and lamb (whole animals donated by Belcampo Meat Co.) prepared by Chef Daniel Patterson. I'm guessing this costs extra.
WhenSeptember 21-23
Where: Oakland, Jack London Square
Cost: Free (though you'll pay to eat)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Coming Up: SF Library Giant Book Sale

If you're a book lover (I can't imagine anyone who isn't), there's a huge book sale coming up to benefit the San Francisco Public Library. All children's books are $1 or less. Adult hardcovers start at $3, and paperbacks start at $2. Sunday, the books are all $1. They expect a crowd of 15,000, and they expect to raise about $250,000.

On stock: more than 500,000 books, DVDs, CDs etc.

Where: Fort Mason Festival Pavilion
When:  September 19-23. Members preview is September 18. It opens to the public Wednesday, September 19, ends on September 23.
Hours: 10-6 for public days
More info: Friends of the San Francisco Public Library

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pi in the Sky Day - Look Up!

Did you know today is Pi in the Sky Day? There will be skywriting planes above the San Francisco Bay Area which will create "Pi in the Sky," which they say will be the world’s largest art installation. It's happening today, between 11:45 am and 1:30 pm. 

Five synchronized skywriting planes will draw the first 1,000 digits of the infinite sequence of pi (π) – the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter at 10,000 feet in the air. Using dot-matrix skywriting technology, the aerial numbers will measure a quarter-mile tall and extend more than 100 miles. Follow along on twitter @piZone_dot_org. 

Read more here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Volunteer: Science is Elementary

Now that the kids are back in school, you might find yourself with a few extra hours here and there - even if you're working. I know, not many, but even those volunteering at your own kids' school can get involved. Science is Elementary is an elementary school science program where volunteers go into the classroom to teach fun (but educational) science lessons that kids wouldn't get otherwise. I don't think I have to tell you about the budgetary issues in California. And how kids in the U.S. are thought to be far beyond those in other countries in science education.

In their words, "Volunteer groups of engineers and scientists (1 adult per 5 children) bring "cool" hands-on experiments to the classroom and allow children to explore on their own while asking directed questions to guide their thought processes and investigations. Experiments draw on children’s everyday experiences to show them that science is all around them and is fun."

Science is Elementary is recruiting volunteers (mostly scientists, engineers and healthcare professionals, though I know a teacher who does it) for the upcoming school year. If you, or someone you know, could volunteer only TWO HOURS a month, it would make a huge difference in kids' lives. (Many jobs allow employees time off to do this kind of volunteer work). And the curriculum is already planned.

The schools involved are in Mountain View and Santa Clara. See the FAQ's about the program here. 

Please forward this to anyone you know who might be interested!

Sign up here.

Remembering - 9/11

I just wanted to take a moment to remember those who lost their lives in the horrific events on 9/11/01. Those on flight 93 en route to San Francisco. Those on flight 77 and the those lost in the Pentagon. And those in flights 11 and 175, and those lost in the World Trade Centers. Plus those who lost their lives from the recovery and clean-up efforts.

This is the Empty Sky memorial in Jersey City, NJ, dedicated last year. My photo was taken late August, 2012, and you can see the Freedom Tower (still under construction) rising to the left of the memorial. Looking through the Empty Sky memorial, you can imagine where the Twin Towers once stood.

Photo copyright: Deborah Abrams Kaplan - do not reproduce without permission

Monday, September 10, 2012

Coming Up: California Coastal Clean-up Day

This Saturday is California Coastal Clean-up Day, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon. There are many participating sites, and you should contact the coordinator in advance. Find out more here.

A sample of sites:

Marin: Rodeo Beach - sign up here.
San Francisco: East side or West side - sign up here
San Mateo County: sites in Belmont, Pescadero, Redwood City, San Mateo, South San Francisco and many more - sign up here.
Contra Costa County: sign up here

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Link Love: What I'm Reading

Some links to peruse this Wednesday morning!

I love decorative paper (and wrapping paper). Here's a gorgeous selection of paper from IHeart Organizing.

Another iHeart Organizing item, printable games for road trips. These may not be up for long - she'll be selling them soon on her etsy store.

Do you need travel insurance? I haven't bought it (yet) but I would consider doing so in the future - if we left the country. Why? My travel writer friend Heather from Globetrotting Mama goes through the risks.

Couponing without extremes - from Living on the Cheap

On Creativity - a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert

Inspiring playhouses - from Red Tricycle (awesome pictures!!!)

Popsicle recipes - again from Red Tricycle - yummy

Interesting Google street views

How to retrieve stolen tech gadgets from my favorite visual website, Houzz