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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Free Fishing Class This Saturday in SF

This Saturday, there's a free fishing class put on by Park and Rec, at San Francisco's Lake Merced. It's for kids ages 8 and up, and it covers basic fishing techniques taught by their experienced staff. Lake Merced has common species like rainbow trout, catfish, black bass, carp and sunfish. They'll provide the equipment, but if you're 16 or older, you need a fishing license.

Here's the catch (get it?): this class only accommodates 12 students, first-come, first serve. Buy your fishing license at the California Fish and Wildlife website at or at your local fishing shop.

When: Saturday, August 30, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m
Where: Lake Merced Boathouse, 1 Harding Drive, SF
More info: email

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kiva - Help a small business and get $50 in promo codes to loan others

I've been a big fan of Kiva and have made microloans through it. Have you heard of Kiva? They coordinate loans of around a few thousand dollars to help individuals and those running very small businesses fund their business in one of 78 developing countries around the world. Your small loan of $25 or so is mixed with loans from other people, so that an entrepreneur in another country can do something like buy chickens to resell at market or buy auto parts for a small repair business. The repayment rates are extremely high - 98% - and you choose who you loan to. While the money is paid back, you funnel it into another loan after, so you don't actually get repaid yourself. Kiva is a nonprofit.

I've been making microloans through Kiva, $25 at a time for a few years.

Kiva has a promotion right now for new lenders who make their first $25 Kiva loan during August through their Go Far campaign page. Do so and you'll get two $25 promo codes by September 3, which you can use or share with others.

Please lend, and let me know who you helped fund!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Coming Up: Korean Culture Day in SF

The Asian Art Museum is presenting Korean Culture Day this Sunday. There will be arts/crafts, performances, food tastings and gallery talks. You can learn how to make fun accessories based on the bojagi, Korean wrapping cloth. Learn how to beauty and hair tips to look like a K-pop star. Watch a dance performance by the OngDance company. And view the current exhibition Gorgeous, based on the concept of beauty. You can see the schedule here.

When: Sunday, August 24 from 11-4
Where: Asian Art Museum
Cost: Free admission, thanks to the Korea Foundation

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Coming Up: Speedsitting in SF

Looking for a new babysitter? This weekend there's a speedsitting event in San Francisco. There will be free childcare while you're there. You'll meet a new babysitter every 5 minutes, hosted by UrbanSitter.

Where: DayOne Baby in Pacific Heights, 3548 Sacramento Street, San Francisco
When: Saturday, August 23 from 2-3:30
Cost: free

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Coming Up: Treasure Island Flea

Check out the Treasure Island Flea Market this weekend! They keep adding more fun to the mix. This weekend's theme is Dog Days, with a dozen vendors selling pet things, plus a doggie bar crawl. Pick up a map of which vendors are giving away dog treats. Meet Rodney Martinez in his Mobile Pet Boutique. He was featured on Rachael Ray, when he was a 13 year old entrepreneur. 

Other family fun includes a bounce house, face painting, ponies and scavenger hunts. There's a farmer's market, with at least 15 local farm stand vendors. They also now have Maker's Square, with classes like "make your own terrariums" or "how to waterproof your jeans." If you like DIY classes, come for these! Some are free, and those that cost are affordable.

In addition to the 400 vendors, you'll find more than 30 food trucks, live music, drinks (cocktails, wine and beer) and a great city view. 

When: last weekend of each month - August 30-31 - from 10-4
Where: Treasure Island
Cost: $3/person for those 13 and older. Free for 12 and under.

Other: free parking and pet-friendly

5 Must-Do Bay Area Activities for Families Before Summer Ends

Summer is almost over, and kids will return to school soon. Want to squeeze in a few more fun activities before summer is over? Here are some ideas.

San Francisco – Sunday Streets: 
Typically the weather gets much nicer in San Francisco as we get closer to September and October, so this makes it a perfect time to celebrate the outdoors with Sunday Streets, which has the bonus of being free. This casual outdoor festival means that the city closes down major streets to cars in the designated neighborhood, bringing out vendors, entertainment, crafts and other diversions to explore on foot or bicycle. The next two Sunday Streets are August 24 in the Mission, and September 14 in the Western Addition.

Marin – 5 Little Monkeys: 
Picking five things to do in the Bay Area wouldn’t be complete without including the children’s theater show 5 Little Monkeys, playing through September 7th at the Bay Area Children’s Theater in Mill Valley. Shows run Saturdays and Sundays, with several matinees each afternoon, making it easy to work around nap time. It’s recommended for kids ages 2-7.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Coming Up: Joanie Leeds concert in San Jose

This should be a fun concert at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose. And it's free with the cost of museum admission.

"At this special show, Joanie Leeds will perform with her husband, Dan Barman, a Cupertino native. The show will be a high energy, interactive experience from start to finish, showcasing an array of genre-hopping tunes from Joanie's newest album, Good Egg, and bringing back Joanie's song "Helmet," which she wrote for the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose during Bicycle Safety Week several years ago. The song proved so popular at Joanie's shows that she recorded it for her last album, Bandwagon. Watch Joanie Leeds in action on her Youtube channel here. While often found serenading families in her hometown of NYC, Joanie performs in dozens of cities across the country, and her music has been highly praised in People Magazine, Parents Magazine, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Bring a lunch to the concert."

What: Joanie Leeds and Drummer Dan Rock Out
Where: Outdoors in the Cadence Amphitheater, Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, 180 Woz Way, San Jose
When: noon, Wednesday, August 27
Cost: free with Museum admission
More info: Call (408) 298-5437 or visit the CDM website
J"Leeds has one of those big, beautiful rock 'n roll sopranos that can go full-out or soft and tender, and she uses it to full effect. Her tuneful melodies and rich, funny and thoughtful child-respecting lyrics give depth and irresistible zip to songs." -- Parents' Choice® Gold Award review of Joanie Leeds' I'm a Rock Star NEW YORK -- One of New York's hottest kindie rock artists,  Families are invited to bring a healthy lunch to enjoy during the performance, which is sponsored in part by a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Coming Up: Free Movie at Roxie Theater for Kids

2Roxie Graphics-kids
Roxie Theater in San Francisco (3117 16th Street) is offering one more free film this summer for kids 12 and under ($7.50 for adults). They selected films to appeal to kids and adults - and not the typical Hollywood films either. These are more artsy. They want to expose kids and adults to more independent and foreign films. They'll be showing:

1016680-roxie-kicks-summer-family-friendly-film-seriesAug. 24th (Sunday) 2 pm

Astro Boy

Buy Tickets

Directed  and written by Osamu Tezuka Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga, Father of Anime. He gave much inspiration to Hayao Miyazaki. A science fiction series set in a futuristic world where robots co-exist with humans. Astro is a powerful robot created by the head of the Ministry of Science to replace his son, who died in a car accident. Astro is shown fighting crime, evil, and injustice. Most of his enemies were robot-hating humans, robots gone berserk, or alien invaders. Almost every story included a battle involving Astro and other robots.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to school - with kindness

My kids' school is promoting the book Wonder this summer, as a shared reading experience. If you haven't read it, you should. It's the story of a boy with some physical disfigurations, and his experience entering school for the first time.

As your kids start school this year, teaching your kids about kindness is something to think about. Kids can encounter a lot of cruelty at school. Other kids are not always the nicest and it's tough to be at school - a new one or one they've been going to for years - when other kids are making it difficult socially. Of course no kid wants to hear lectures on how to be kind.

Instead, let them learn through books like Wonder, and through movies. Or with crafts. I really like this craft from KSLCrafts, which combines a "punch box" (where you physically break through covered holes on a box) with random acts of kindness.

I just put Derek on my list to watch on Netflix, an original series I hadn't heard of until now. As a Ricky Gervais fan, I'm totally interested in watching this - especially since its kid friendly. The show is about a "simple man" - a nursing home worker worker who finds the good in everyone.

What books, TV shows and movies do you like your kids to read/watch, that also has the kindness theme?

This post is brought to you by Netflix, but all opinions and writing are my own.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How Schoola Can Help Your School Raise Eays Money - Get 20% Off

I recently posted about how Schoola can help you raise money for your school - by just sending in your kids' used clothes. Have you requested a bag yet? I did.

I was fishing around on the site to find schools that have made money. Audubon Elementary School in Foster City has already made $39 - from ONE BAG OF CLOTHES, with only 67% of them selling so far. One parent sends in those clothes - no effort. Schoola sells them and gives Audubon 40% of the proceeds. How easy is that?

We're getting ready to send our bag of clothes in. My daughter cleaned out her closet earlier this summer and we've been trying to figure out what to do with the clothes. Some we gave to my niece, but she's gotten pickier about her style. We often donate clothes to Goodwill, but now we have another option - to send the nicest clothes to Schoola to benefit out school of choice. My daughter knows that she's lucky to have enough clothes to wear and that we make sure all of our used things in good condition don't go to the trash - they go somewhere where someone else can use them.

The other post has a bunch of helpful information on how Schoola works, how your school can make money, how you can help other schools by shopping for discounted kids' brand name clothing, and how you can easily help other schools with $1 donations - without it costing you a thing. What are you waiting for???

Try shopping at Schoola and get a 20% off your purchase (one time use only) through August 20, using the code BacktoSchoola20.

This post is brought to you by Schoola, the best place to buy discounted kids clothes all while give back to schools in need. Click here to learn more about Schoola. Click here to see what people are saying.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

S'mores Dip

I recently posted a review for S'mores Dip, which I said we were going to try. Well, we did and I wanted to report back. It was a hit! My daughter had a backyard campout and we had this dessert instead of real s'mores, because we didn't have a campfire going. The girls LOVED it.

You'll find the s'mores dip recipe here, but it was very easy. I took someone's advice and mixed some graham cracker crumbs with butter on the bottom of the pan. This might make cleanup easier (if you don't burn the crumbs like I do). I would have skipped this part, however we had a bag of crumbs leftover from a pie crust and I wanted to use them up. I put too many in the pan.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What to look for in a cell phone case

My last cell phone had the pull out keyboard, but it's hard to get a cell phone case for that. The phone died (good riddance, even though I loved the keyboard and hate typing on the screen) and so it was time to shop for a cell phone case. The options were endless and I realized I had to figure out what I wanted in terms of function, but also what the case said about me.

The Statement Case
This is the case that brings out comments. Your kids won't know what the hell this is, but your peers will. "Hey, why are you carrying around a cassette tape?"
The "Statement" phone case

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer Products Review: Sunscreen Bands, Powder Sunblock, AttachaPack, Travel Square

I got some summer products (including a back-to-school one) to review for you. These were all given to me to test out - as always, they include my honest opinion.


I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to sunscreen, since skin cancer runs in my family. Not like it's genetic, but my skin is pale (my kids' skin too) and I grew up in Arizona. So we bring the sun block everywhere. I was very interested in trying out these sunscreen bands that let you know when it's time to reapply sunblock and when to get out of the sun.

They're one time use bands made of some type of plastic, and they are adjustable. You take one

Monday, August 4, 2014

Coming Up: American Craft Council San Francisco Show

Interior design lovers - don't miss the American Craft Council's San Francisco Show. It features Bay Area interior designers John Anderson, Alison Damonte, Tyler Dawson, Chad DeWitt, Jiun Ho and April Power, plus others. It's part of the second annual "Make Room: Modern Design Meets Craft" showcase, with six craft-inspired room vignettes that you can explore. The theme this year is "Let's Entertain."

It's also the largest juried fine fine craft show on the West Coast. They expect 12,000 attendees.

When: August 8-10 from (times vary)
Where: Fort Mason
Cost: $14 for one day pass, $30 for three day pass. Friday evening admission after 5:00 is $5. Free for kids 12 and under. You can get advanced tickets here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

UCSF Study and After School Transportation via Boost

I have a couple of things for you today that are completely unrelated. One is a paid study at UCSF, and one is the opportunity to win a $100 Target card for purchasing after school transportation through Boost.

UCSF Study
Researchers at UC San Francisco are looking for 7-12 year old boys and girls (and their parents) to participate in a study of parent and child social interactions. This study involves a single 90 minute lab visit that includes several shared interactions between you, your child, and members of our research staff. They are interested in an individual's physiology during social interactions so they will use skin sensors to measure things like heart rate and blood flow. In addition, a set of questionnaires will be completed, at your convenience, prior to the lab visit.

For completing the study, you'll get $80 and your child will receive a $10 Target gift card. Also, you will be contributing to the knowledge of child development while engaging in new experiences with your child! If you are interested in participating, please email or call: Sara Waters (650) 380-6835 or

Boost by Mercedes-Benz
I got a lot of positive comments from readers when I posted about the Boost by Mercedes-Benz after school transportation service (user review here). With school getting closer, they're running the Boost Back-to-School Shopping Spree Promotion, and giving away a $100 Target gift card. If you need rides to/from camp, they are doing summer rides as well.

As for their promotion, from now through Friday August 8, every person who registers and/or makes a Boost purchase will automatically be entered into the promotion. They'll announce the winner on Monday, August 11 by email blast and on the website.

Coming Up: All Families Day Celebration at the SF Zoo

Tomorrow, the San Francisco Zoo is hosting an All Families Day Celebration honoring the LGBTQI community. The event is free with paid Zoo admission and will be held at the newly renovated Elinor Friend Playground. The event welcomes all types of families and celebrates the current growth in diverse families – especially within the LGBTQI community.

Swirl Radio and Television personality Michelle Meow will host the day of games, prizes, giveaways, and entertainment. Families are encouraged to bring picnics and spend the day enjoying the Zoo in a welcoming interactive format. Discount coupons are available here.

Schedule of events: 
11:00 am Welcome by Michelle Meow and Our Family Coalition
11:15 Pop Artist Xavier Toscano
11:30 Bebe Sweetbriar Live Performance
11:45  PL Dance Group (youth dance group)
12:00 pm Bebe Sweetbriar Live Performance and Musical Chairs
12:15 Hokey-Pokey and Dance-Along
12:30 Kids Music DJ; lunch and picnic
1:00 Scavenger Hunt
2:00 Book Reading and Cynthia Chin Lee: Operation Marriage
2:00–4:00 Media Tent hosted by KOFY TV where kids can see what it’s like to be on TV

When: Saturday, August 2 from 11-4
Cost: free with admission

Coming Up: Museums on Us - Free

Bank of America's Museums on Us program runs this weekend, giving B of A cardholders and Merrill Lynch card holders (credit or debit) one free admission per card at participating museums. We've used this program and love it!

It's this weekend, August 2-3 (some museums are only one day). The website won't let me give you an individual list of cities to click, so just check the main website and look for California in the pull-down menu. Participating museums in San Francisco and San Jose area:

· The Tech Museum of Innovation
· The San Jose Museum of Art
· Chabot Space & Science Center
· Contemporary Jewish Museum
· de Young Museum