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Friday, March 29, 2013

Coming up: SF Botanical Garden Family Fundays

The San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is getting set for the annual native plants flowering season. Plus they have some Family Fundays with special activities. We'll start with those, then move on to the every day activities you can do during flowering season.

Family Funday on SundayEnjoy a story in the library at 10:30, followed by a guided walk at 11 through the Garden of California Native Plants, where the guide will connect the morning’s story to living plants. Drop by the garden activity station between 11:30-1:30 to create a garden craft project to take home. 
For: Families with children ages 3-10.
When: Sundays, April 7 & 21, May 5 & 19; 10:30-1:30
Cost: FREE (admission required for docent walks and craft activities following story readings – free for San Francisco residents with proof of residency)
The rest of the time - you can enjoy the seasonal flowering of California native plants - the state has almost 6,000 native ones, more than all other states combined, says the Botanical Garden. The 4 acre Garden of California Native Plants blooms April through mid-May, and there are hundreds of  species on view. You'll see blue wild lilac, golden poppies, white and yellow meadowfoam, purple irises, and more. Check out the Garden’s arroyos, ponds and woodlands. 

Then go to the Garden’s famed Redwood Grove to see the century-old grove, with towering Coast Redwoods, shade-loving ferns, flowering currant, western azalea, huckleberry, and more than 100 species of plants that make their home in the redwood forest.

WhenApril 1 – May 15, 2013; open every day

Time: 9-6 (spring and summer – closing times vary in other seasons)
WhereSan Francisco Botanical Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Tickets: SF residents: FREE with proof of residence (CA ID with SF address, or photo ID and utility bill); Non-residents: $7 general, $5 youth 12-17, seniors and students with ID; $2 children 5-11; FREE for children 4 and under; families of 2 adults and one or more child pay just $15
More info: here or call, (415) 661-1316

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Coming Up: Dr. Seuss' Hats on Display

It never really occurred to me that even though Dr. Seuss drew a lot of crazy hats, he might have some real ones for inspiration.  A dozen of those hats are going to be on display in the Bay Area, along with paintings he did with hats in them.

Read more about Dr. Seuss and his hats, along with the show, in this New York Times article.

When: March 15-31, 2013
Where: Dennis Rae Fine Art (781 Beach Street, San Francisco)

When: April 26-May 12, 2013
Where: Peabody Fine Art (603 Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Park)

When: December 13-29, 2013
Where: Marcus Ashley Gallery (4000 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Puberty Books for Girls and Boys

With a tween girl at home, we've been starting to have "the conversation" or rather "the conversations" (plural). Well, we didn't just start - the talks have been happening for awhile. Friends have taken the Heart to Heart: for Girls Only class at Stanford, for girls and a female adult companion and spoke highly of the class.

The class has a book list of possible puberty books you can share with your daughter. I bought a few of them (plus one for a boy). I read a bunch of reviews on Amazon before buying them. I reviewed these books from an adult perspective because I don't think my daughter wants me to share her thoughts on issues like these.

Puberty Books for Girls
What's Happening to My Body - Book for Girls by Lynda Madaras
This 230 page book is comprehensive. Unlike the books for boys that I reviewed below, it's much more serious and reads like an adult book, with illustrations that are realistic and not cartoonish, unlike what the cover depicts. The book is aimed at girls 10+ and includes quotes from girls on what they think of certain topics discussed. Definitely read this book before giving it to your daughter. It's got a lot of great information, but it is thorough and mature. The book covers:

-puberty (and growth)
-sex and anatomy (with drawings and descriptions of both male/female parts; no drawings of couples together)
-boys' puberty changes (including erection/ejaculation etc.)
-ovulation/menstruation (and how to care for yourself during that time, using tampons and pads and dealing with cramps, etc)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Amusing Spam Comments

I started getting a lot of emails about spam comments on one of my other blogs, and so I went in to clear out the folder. Before doing so I thought I'd share a few of them with you, because they were amusing. Most were from knockoff designer shoe and handbag sites, and some were from sites even less legit. So read on, and know that each paragraph is a different comment.

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as significantly as this 1. I mean, I know it was my option to read, but I truly thought youd have something intriguing to say. All I hear is actually a bunch of whining about something that you could fix in the event you werent too busy looking for attention.

i want to take this review to a clean resturant and then see if i can get to second base.

Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Family Easter Events in the San Francisco Bay Area 2013

Some fun things to do to celebrate Easter with the family in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please add your favorites in the comments section!

What: Spring Eggstravaganza (egg hunt, inflatables, carnival rides, entertainment, carnival rides, food for sale)
Where: Sharon Meadow at Golden Gate Park
When: Saturday, March 30, 2013 from 11-3
Cost: $8/person

What: Union Street Easter Parade (and festival with face painting, climbing wall, activities, characters)
Where: Union Street in Cow Hollow, San Francisco
When: April 24, 2013 from 10-5, parade at 2
Cost: Free

What: Cookie party, parade, Easter egg hunt, dance party, snack, crafts
Where: Tantrum, San Francisco (858 Cole Street)
When: Sunday, March 31, 2013 from 10-3
Cost: $5/child or a donation of 10 filled eggs. $2 discount if you pay by 3/20.
What: Big Bunny's Spring Fling (bunnies, crafts, puppet shows, stories, songs) 
Where: San Francisco Zoo (Sloat/Great Highway, SF)
When: Saturday/Sunday, March 30 and 31 from 11-3
Cost: Free with admission

What: Puppet Company presents "Grandpa Bunny's Egg-citing Day" - where pupptes explain that the color of eggs comes from the "wonder of the seasons." Craft-making follows.
Where: Hillsdale Shopping Center - by Macy's (60 31st Ave., San Mateo)
When: Thursday, March 21 from 3:30-4:30
Cost: Free
Age: 12 and younger

What: Children's Easter Party (puppet show and egg hunt)
Where: Gamble Gardens, Palo Alto
When: Saturday, March 30, 2013, several times available
Cost: $20/child, $10/adult for members, $5 more for nonmembers

What: Tap Dancing Easter Bunnies
Where: Children's Fairyland (699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland)
When: Saturday, March 30 at 11:30 a.m.

What: Easter Egg Hunt (plus crafts and photos with the Easter Bunny)
WherePlay Cafe (4400 Keller Avenue, Oakland)
When: Saturday, March 30, 2013 from 11-1 
Cost: $8/kid

What: Underwater egg hunt, plus egg dying on the pool deck and shallow area games
WhereKing Pool, Berkeley (1700  Hopkins)
When: April 2, 011, from 12-1:30
Cost: $4.50

WhatEgg Scramble and Alameda Spring Fling (egg hunt, face painting, crafts, music, beach exploration) plus learn about low tides and sea creatures
Where:  Crab Cove, Alameda
When: Saturday March 24, 2013 from 10-4 (egg hunt at 11:30)
Cost: Free

SOUTH BAYWhat: Egg Citing Spring Celebration (egg hunt, arts and crafts, photos with Easter Bunny)
Where: Camden Community Center, San Jose
When: March 23, 2013, from 10-1
Cost: $6/kid before March 23, $8 day of event (free for parents)


Where: Hillsdale Shopping Center - by Macy's (60 31st Ave., San Mateo)
When: Saturdays March 16-30

What: Easter Bunny arrives by helicopter (includes free egg, face painting and bounce house)
Where: Hiller Aviation Museum (601 Skyway Road, San Carlos)
When: Saturday March 30, 2013 at 10
Cost: Included with admission

What: Easter Bunny visits/pictures
Where: Great Mall (447 Great Mall Drive, entrance 2)
When: March 17-31.
Cost: visit with bunny for free, photos cost.

What: Easter bunny visits/pictures
Where: Serramonte Mall (Serramonte/Gellert Blvd., Daly City; grand court)
When: now through March 30
Cost: visit with bunny for free, photos cost.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coming Up: Chocolate Salon in SF

You can start drooling now. The 7th annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon is coming up - and that means lots of gourmet chocolate eating. Plus demonstrations, celebrity chef and author talks and wine pairing. There's a chocolate art gallery, games and more.

(If you like chocolate, check out A Little Yumminess' trip to two chocolate stores in SF and the Frisco Kids visit to Tcho. And our successful attempt at making chocolate with Pop Rocks.

When: Sunday, March 24, 2012 from 10-6
Where: Fort Mason, SF
Tickets: $20/early bird adult, $25/adult advanced purchase, $30/door. Children ages 6-12 are $10. Children 6 and under are free (maximum 2 kids per adult or they'll charge $10 for each additional child). Tickets include chocolate and wine tastings and demonstrations.

Photo copyright: Deborah Abrams Kaplan. No reprinting without written permission.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rules for Attending a Wine Festival

I get a lot of press releases. Most I delete or file away for future story ideas (and generally I rarely get back to them). This one made me laugh, especially with Napa and Sonoma so near. Thought my wine drinking Frisco Kids readers would appreciate it.

Do you have rules of your own to share? Do so in the comments.

Rules for Attending a Wine Festival
by Hedges Family Estate, Red Mountain, WA

- Don’t tether your wine glass to your neck
- Don’t pinch your fingers and say, “Just a little.”  Dump it if you don’t want to finish it, but I’m going to pour as much as I damn well please
- Don’t violently lift your glass mid-pour and say, “That’s enough.”  Same deal as above.
- Don’t say, “Give me the biggest thing you have.”  This isn’t NASCAR.
- Let “smooth” take the day off from your vocabulary… the whole day
- Don’t shove.  I mean… really
- Don’t say you hate Merlot. We all saw Sideways. Guess what: Miles didn’t want to drink Merlot because it reminded him of his ex-wife. That bottle he drank in the end—his most precious bottle—had a ton of Merlot in it.
- Don’t tell every winemaker about the winery that was down the street while you lived in Lodi
- Don’t ask how the wine scored… ever.
- Do wear a “Wine’er, Dine’er, 69’er T-shirt
- If you are going to wear one of the those little food trays that has a cutout for your glass, you better be damn sure you are cool enough to wear it.  Note: no one is that cool
- Over-buff late thirties guy: Don’t try to impress your date by contradicting me.  You’re going to fail.  Yeah, try me
- Don’t lick your glass… pig
- Don’t talk about your sulfite allergy.  There is a good chance you have no idea what you’re talking about
- Don’t dump into the water pitcher.  And always look before you drink out of it
- Practice spitting at home; it will come in handy
- Don’t talk about the legs after you swirl the glass.  Here’s a tip: the legs don’t matter.
- Don’t take your heels off and puke in the lobby
- Don’t ask what the most expensive wine on the table is
- Keep the rim of your glass food free
- If you proclaim that you don’t like white or rose, we will make fun of you when you walk away
- NO Perfume!  And go light on the lipstick, honey

Friday, March 8, 2013

Coming Up: Sundays Streets

It feels like summer with Sunday Streets starting up again. This Sunday, March 10, head over to the Embarcadero for the start of Sunday Streets 2013. It includes activities on Fisherman's Wharf, the Exploratorium on the Move and Pier 39. Activities like a treasure hunt, live entertainment, community film making, a levity chamber, rock climbing walls, Segway obstacle course and more. Find the full list here.

One of Best Mom Blogs in Bay Area

We're thrilled to be included in Chatterblock's list of the Best Bay Area Mom Blogs for 2013. Check out the list and see what good company we're in! If you don't know about Chatterblock, they have great ideas of events and family activities.

Coming Up: School Carnival in SF

Support smaller class size and public school programming and have fun too. Argonne Elementary has it Mayfair Carnival coming up to raise money. They'll have circus entertainers, a petting zoo, live band, bounce house, DJ, school talent show, games, food, crafts and more.

When: May 11 from 11-6
Where: Argonne Elementary School (680 18th Ave., SF)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Coming Up: Birding for Families

Here's something different to get your kids into spring and into nature - take them on a guided birding walk.

The event includes "binocular boot camp" - which is a bird-watching hike led by Sonoma Birding co-founders Tim Rusert and Darren Peterie. The goal is to find 20-25 species of birds (over 170 of wintering birds might be found).

What: Bird-a-Thon walk
When: March 24, 2013 from 9:30-11:30
Where: Jack London Park (2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, CA); meet in the upper parking lot.
Cost: $10/person (and $10 parking fee)
RSVP: Space is limited.
Who: Kids ages 8-15 and parents
Bring: binoculars, hiking shoes, warm clothing, snack, water
Details: here


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: The Heavy by Dara-Lynn Weiss

A review!

The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet by Dara-Lynn Weiss
As many people did, I first heard about this book after author Dara-Lynn Weiss published a controversial essay in Vogue about putting her 7 year old daughter on a diet. The comments were terrible and like many mothers I wondered if she did the right thing. I can't even recall if I read the essay or just posts about the essay, but I was intrigued. There was quite a backlash (read this) against the author, and many portrayed her as selfish and shallow. So when the book came out and a friend mentioned she just read it and liked it, I wanted to read it (thanks for the loaner, Gail!).

The book is much less sensational than I expected. The author presents valid reasons for putting her daughter Bea on a diet. She was in the obese category and she did not want her daughter growing up with associated health issues. However she also didn't want to give her daughter a complex about food and weight (something I'm guessing most mothers are concerned about), nor stunt her growth.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: Ballpark Mysteries Books

While my 9 year old son Zack isn't the type who loves watching baseball games on TV, and his one season playing elementary school baseball was a fail, he does love to go to live stadium games. Each year he goes on a baseball trip with his dad, uncle and grandfather, and they visit two or three stadiums to take in some games. I recently heard about the Ballpark Mystery series and gave a few to Zack to read. He sat back and tore into them, not stopping until he was done. He wrote his own reviews (below) for Frisco Kids' readers.

Another book in the series, based in San Francisco (The San Francisco Splash), is coming out May 28th. We'll get Zack's review along with a guest post from the author, and contest to win a signed copy then.

Ballpark Mysteries 1: The Fenway Foul-Up by David A. Kelly
When Mike and his cousin Kate go to the Red Sox stadium, the Red Sox player Big D loses his lucky bat, the Green Monster. Without that bat, he can barely hit the ball. Will Mike and Kate be able to solve the mystery of Big D's bat?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Gustafer Yellowgold Takes the Bay Area in March

Coming up - a small, yellow, cone-headed fellow from the sun will be doing some performances during his Rock Melon Tour. He'll be in the Bay Area over several days, performing shows and workshops.

Gustafer Yellowgold’s Rock Melon Tour is reportedly unlike anything in family entertainment. Morgan Taylor’s story-songs about Gustafer and his pals is performed against a backdrop of large-screen animations done up with karaoke-style subtitles, and creates a world as deep and original as it is beautiful. It’s equal parts pop rock concert and minimally animated movie, but mellow. You can see the past DVDs here.

When: Saturday, March 9 at 11 a.m.
Where: Freight and Salvage in Berekely (2020 Addison Street)
Tickets: are $8/advance, $9/door. 
More info: 510-644-2020

When: Saturday, March 9 at 4 p.m.
Where: All Saints Episcopal Church in Palo Alto (555 Waverly Place)
Tickets: $10/adult, $6 children.

When: Thursday, March 7 at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Sunset Public Library, SF (1305 18th Ave)
Tickets: Free

When: Thursday, March 7 at 4 p.m.
Where: Glen Park Public Library (2825 Diamond St)
Tickets: Free

When: Sunday, March 10 at 10 a.m.
Where: Contemporary Jewish Museum, SF (736 Mission Street)
Tickets: Free with museum admission

When: Sunday, March 10; crafts with Gustafer at 2, performance at 3
Where: SF Main Library (100 Larkin Street)
Tickets: Free

When: Monday, March 11 at 11 a.m.
Where: North Beach Public Library SF (2000 Mason Street)
Tickets: Free

When: Tuesday, March 12 at 10 a.m.
Where: Ocean View Public Library SF (345 Randolph Street)
Tickets: free

What: Homeschool workshops and presentation
When: Tuesday, March 12 at 3 p.m.
Where: 100 Larkin Street, SF
Tickets: cartooning/illustration workshop at 3:00 is $20, songwriting workshop at 4:00 is $20, putting it all together at 5:00 is $20.

When: Wednesday, March 13 at 4:30
Where: Atherton Public Library (2 Dinkelspiel Station Lane)
Tickets: Free