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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Coming Up: Cars and Croissants - Free

If you or your kids are car enthusiasts, you'll want to head to Santana Row once a month to check out their program, Cars and Croissants (and if you have an exotic car, bring it). This is a monthly gathering for exotic car owners and car enthusiasts where the exotic cars are invited to park and display them on Santana Row Boulevard from Alyssum Lane to Tatum Boulevard, and hang out with other enthusiasts. The morning meet-up for coffee, croissants and cars drew 400 people and 60 cars during the first event and continues to grow in popularity. This event is free and open to the public.

When:  December 27 from 9-noon
Where: Santana Row (Alyssum Lane to Tatum Blvd)
Cost: free

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Year's Eve with Kids in San Francisco Bay Area - 2014

What to do with the kids on New Year's Eve in the San Francisco Bay Area? Here are some family-friendly options. Goldstar is listing New Year's Eve events (at a discount!)  - some you may need a date for!

What: Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve
When: Wednesday, December 31
, 5-9 p.m
Where: The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Details: Live music by local favorites the Bone Drivers, delivering a fun and dance-party-inducing soundtrack with which to ring in the new year. There will also be menu and drink specials all night long, and when the ball drops on the East Coast (9 p.m. West Coast time) the TVs in the bar will be showing it and everyone at the Brewing Company will celebrate like it’s 2015.

What: Noon Year's Eve
Where: Bay Area Discovery Museum - Sausalito

Saturday, December 20, 2014

What to do on Christmas in the San Francisco Bay Area 2014

Looking for something to do on Christmas, other than going to the movies?

One of our favorite traditions is heading to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for their annual event. This is an admission-free, fun-for-all extravaganza with free performances by The Pop Ups, art making for families and a chance to see the new family-friendly exhibition J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch.
Where: 736 Mission Street, SF
When: 11-4
Cost: FREE!

The San Francisco Zoo is open - check out the reindeer!

Go ice skating! If you know your timing, get tickets online first.
--The downtown San Jose ice rink is open from 2 p.m. to midnight on Christmas. Find all the details here. 
--The Union Square Holiday ice rink is open from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Here's a list of other Christmas Day activities from and from Red Tricycle.

Friday, December 19, 2014

All Hail King Julien! New series starts today

If you're looking for some fun stuff to watch as winter break starts, I have good news for you. The first five episodes of All Hail King Julien launch today on Netflix streaming, from DreamWorks! If the character looks familiar, it's because he's from Madagascar.

According to Netflix (I haven't watched yet), this is a "totally original, totally hilarious and totally insane new series... A favorite character from the Madagascar franchise, King Julien will take on the jungle's craziest adventures in the new comedy series, along with his loyal sidekicks Maurice and Mort plus a whole new cast of colorful animals."

Watch it as soon as break starts, or save it up for a marathon night on New Year's Eve. Let me know what you think! I'm saving it up for winter break.

This post is part of the Netflix Stream Team #streamteam

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Free Shipping Day - December 18

If you've been procrastinating about holiday shopping (or really Christmas shopping, since Hanuakkah already started), today is the day. It's the 7th annual Free Shipping Day. This one-day event helps you save some bucks on last-minute holiday gifts (or other purchases) by waiving the shipping costs. You'll get delivery by Christmas eve, and there's no minimum threshold for the free shipping. More than 1,000 retailers are participating.

I already get free shipping at Target, with my Red Card, but Target rolled out free shipping on all orders through December 20, so you have a few more days to take advantage of that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Coming UP: Chronicle Books Warehouse Sale

If you love Chronicle books (I do!) pay attention! They're having a warehouse sale Wednesday through Friday from 9-7, with 80% off everything in the store. Details in the graphic. The store is 680 Second Street, between Townsend and Brannan.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Focus Group: Insurance

Fleishman Field Research has two opinion studies coming up in San Francisco on December 22, on the topic of insurance. The first is 60 minutes and pays $125, the second is 2.5 hours and pays $150. If you're interested, fill out this qualifying survey.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Family Holiday Entertainment in the Bay Area 2014

It's the most magical time of the year! If you haven't started booking up your holiday shows and experiences, now's the time. Here are some great events and performances in San Francisco. Of course there are plenty of holiday activities all over the bay, but this will give you a place to start.

What: Holiday Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz-Carlton
When: November 29-30; December 5-7, 13-14, 19-23. Seatings at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Cost: $110 per guest, inclusive of tax and gratuity for both adults and children.
Details: Children bring their favorite stuffed animals to the Ritz-Carlton Terrace Room for holiday treats and this popular family show featuring an entertaining elf and his animated sidekick and a giant Teddy Bear. Each child will receive a teddy bear gift and photo with the giant Teddy Bear to take home. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area.

What: Peter and the Wolf, Rita Moreno narrating
When: Saturday, December 14 at 1 and 4 p.m.

Thinking about alcohol abuse this holiday season - dedicated post

'Tis the season for making merry, which often includes cheerful holiday cocktails and spirits. While there are lots of parties and good times, it can be a stressful time for many, bringing up difficult family issues and other feelings of distress.

Given the number of festivities, it's a time that many people notice their loved ones' drinking habits. You may even wonder if someone you know and love is a functioning alcoholic.

In fact 7.2% of adults 18+ have an alcohol use disorder, and 10% of kids live with an alcoholic parent, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. That statistic blew me away.

If alcohol is negatively impacting your loved one's life, maybe this is the holiday season to look into treatment options, and to approach him or her with your thoughts and support.

There are a lot of ways of getting help. About 8% of those in need get treatment for alcohol use disorders each year at a specialized facility (per NIAAA).

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Where get Santa photos in the Bay Area - 2014

It's that time of the year again - show how your kids have grown compared to Santa. Here are some places to get Santa photos in the Bay Area. You'll also find some places to bring your pets for Santa photos too.

When: now through December 24 -
Where: Westfield San Francisco Centre, 865 Market Street

When: now through December 24 -
Where: Stonestown Galleria, 3251 20th Avenue
More info: save 30% by buying your package ahead of time

When: December 6-7 and December 13-14 from 1-5
Where: Japantown (East Japan Center Mall)
More info: Bring you own camera for photos - no professional photographer available.

Friday, December 5, 2014

What we can learn about sustainability from the rain forest

A few summers ago, my family went the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador. Seeing the dense forests, the foliage and meeting some of the people who live there was a fabulous experience for me and for my kids. Our guide spent a lot of time talking with us about the problems the native people there have had, most of which involve outsiders coming in and cutting down trees and drilling for oil. It’s a constant tug of war between preserving the rain forest and all its benefits, and making a living and providing the world with its constant need for oil-based products (including fuel) and lumber.

While I won’t get into all that here (it’s something I recommend reading more about, especially with your kids.), I was contacted recently by Pure Energies, a North American solar energy company. They wanted to share photos and videos from a recent trip that their CEO and some employees took, along with the International Conservation Fund of Canada, to the Brazilian rain forest.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Focus group on cars

If you are interested in doing focus groups, here's one that is currently qualifying participants. Take the survey (I just did it - it takes 2 minutes) and they'll contact you if you qualify.

"We have a 75/180 minute ($150/$200) in San Francisco or 75 minutes Nationwide ($100) by computer/phone. San Francisco dates are Friday, December 12th and nationally on December 11th." The subject is automobiles. Here's the survey. It's with Fleishman Field Research.

Coming Up: Story Time - Hanukkah - I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel

Hanukkah is later this month. Join in story time with Caryn Yacowitz. She'll be reading from her book I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel on Saturday December 6, at 11:00 a.m. The book is a hilarious take on the world's greatest works of art! You'll love this old lady and will want to visit her every Hanukkah for years to come.

About the book: "A family drives through the snow to visit their beloved bubbe, who spreads out a Hanukkah supper for everyone to enjoy. But one dish goes a little wrong. Beyond the joy of a Jewish take on this most American of folk songs, the illustrations here offer hilarious parodies of great works of art by da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso, and other masters."

Where: Kepler's Books (1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park)
When: Saturday, December 6 at 11 a.m.
Cost: free (book is extra, but you don't have to buy the book to attend)

Coming Up: Bank of America's 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, December 6-7 (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, San Jose and East Bay area:
· The Tech Museum of Innovation
· The San Jose Museum of Art
· Chabot Space and Science Center
· Contemporary Jewish Museum
· de Young Museum

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Coming Up: SantaFest

This Saturday is SantaFest. Kids can enjoy gingerbread house decorating, Santa photos, breakfast, balloon artists and crafts.

This is a unique fundraising event to support Children of Shelters, a San Francisco based 501c3 nonprofit organization that works to provide support and education for children living in or being served by the homeless shelter system. They provide unique educational opportunities, cultural experiences and enrichment activities for the children they serve. "Our grants support children’s academic achievement and character development. We believe that education and self-esteem are the keys to breaking the cycle of poverty."

One way to support this organization and mission is by attending SantaFest this weekend. Following SantaFest's morning event, about 100 families they serve will participate in the annual Holiday Shelter Dinner. You can read more about that here.

What: SantaFest
When: Saturday, December 6
Where: Golden Gate Club, the Presidio (135 Fisher Loop)
Tickets: start at $125/child (parent is free).

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday - toy/clothing drive, Passports with Purpose

As you probably know from your mailbox (especially all those charities), today is #givingtuesday. It's a way to call attention to helping others at this time of year. I'll be posting many giving opportunities this month, but wanted to highlight a few for today. If these don't work for you, consider finding some way to get your kids involved in giving today, explaining how while we're shopping for ourselves and our loved ones, that we can take a day and think about others who may not be on our lists.

It doesn't have to be buying things either. It can be volunteering or sending holiday cards to troops overseas. It can be baking something tasty to take to the elderly person in your neighborhood, or calling Grandma to say hi.

Check out our post that just went live today for Passports with Purpose, where bloggers are raising money to help farmers raise crops in a sustainable way, in Honduras. You can win fabulous prizes donated by Bay Area sponsors Schoola and Breathometer, as well as many others, through this contest and fundraiser. More here.

If you have some clothing or toys to donate, Mommy Nearest provided a list of a few clothing/toy drive drop-off locations, which you can see in the graphic below.

Another option is Serramonte Center in Daly City, which is collecting toys and jackets, through One Warm Coat and Operation Santa Claus.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Win $100 Schoola credit - and Help a Family at the Same Time

For the last few years, Frisco Kids has participated in Passports with Purpose, a fundraiser organized by travel bloggers to use our connections to do something impactful in the world. We do so with the help of generous prize sponsors like Schoola (see below for details), who is giving one winner a $100 credit to use on Schoola.

In the past, we've raised:
-$84,000 to build two schools in Mali (2013)
-$116,000 to build 5 wells in Haiti (2012)
-$90,000 to build two libraries in Zambia (2011)
-$60,000 to build houses for 25 families in India (2010)
-$28,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia (2009)
-$7,500 for Heifer International (2008)
You can see how this fundraiser has grown!

This year the project is through Sustainable Harvest International (SHI), with the goal of providing Central American farmers and their families the tools and training to overcome poverty while farming in a way that doesn't damage the rain forest.