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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memorial Day in the Bay Area - 2011

Trying to figure out what to do this Memorial Day weekend? Join the club! Here are a few ideas:

Mary Poppins - the Singalong Version at the Retrodome. I love this movie and the songs. Feed the Birds. Chim Chimmeree. A Spoonful of Sugar. Ah, my kids hate hearing me sing. So we probably won't be there. But you should go. The Retrodome is in San Jose. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Wicked Plants - Botanical Rogues & Assassins - at the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Paralysis, strangulation and derangement. Need I say more?

Carnaval! in San Francisco. This parade is so much fun. The first time we went, my son told the babysitter that we saw naked ladies dancing in the street. She gave us a strange look. Technically, they weren't naked. Carnaval runs May 28-29, with the parade on Sunday, starting at 9:30 a.m. The parade and festival are free.

Great America has a lot going on this weekend. If you're in the Armed Forces (active or retired) you can get free admission - bring ID. Boomerang Bay opens May 28. May 29 is Asian Fest, plus fireworks.

Roaring Camp's Civil War Enactment - we've spent many weekends in Roaring Camp in Felton (near Santa Cruz). This weekend they're hosting a Civil War enactment to commemorate the Civil War's 150th anniversary. The event is May 28-30 (Saturday through Monday), with trains still running. Read a little about what I wrote for FamilyFun Magazine about Roaring Camp.

Bay Area Discovery Museum - if you are part of a military family, you can get in free to the Bay Area Discovery Museum from Memorial Day through Labor Day (I'm not sure if includes the whole Memorial Day weekend, or just starting Monday). This fabulous kids' museum is actually on a former military base at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge - how appropriate! Here's a list of all Blue Star Museums.

Also for military personnel, check this list of 133 Military Discounts posted on Gift Card Granny. Discounts on everything from airfare, hotel stays, products, Legoland, Seaworld, cruises, restaurants, and clothing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hiking with Kids - Tips by Jeff Alt

Our recent post about camping in the Bay Area is a perfect companion to today's post - hiking with kids, with tips by author Jeff Alt, who wrote A Walk for Sunshine: a 2,160 Mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail.

In addition to walking the Appalachian Trail, he also trekked across a 50-mile path of Ireland with his wife, young daughter, and extended family. Some of these tips might be a bit advanced for beginning hikers, so use the ones that work for you, and start small!
Start Early - Develop A Routine
Start hiking with your newborn. Carry infants and children weighing less than 15 pounds in a front body carrier or a sling. Children weighing 16 to 40 pounds can fit into a child carrier backpack. Children weighing more than 30 pounds might be ready to hike short distances and carry a little day-pack.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Free Summer Fun Deals - reading, movies and bowling

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program - Your kids can join Barnes & Noble summer reading program, and read 8 books and get one free.

Scholastic Summer Challenge - encourage the kids to read and win prizes through the
Scholastic Summer Challenge. 

Check with your library for other free summer reading challenges.

Free Bowling for Kids - get up to two games and free shoes (depending on location) every day for the whole summer through the Kids Bowl Free program. Details here.

Cinemark Movie Clubhouse - 10 shows for $5 paid in advance, or $1/show at the box office
Check the individual theater for dates, times and shows. Some of the movies featured include Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Tale of Despereaux, Despicable Me, Megamind, Kung Fu Panda, Charlotte's Web, Ramona & Beezus and Planet 51. How is that I've actually seen ALL those movies????

Take advantage of them at these Bay Area theaters:
Hayward, Century at Hayward 
Newark, Cinedome 7 
Novato, Century Rowland Plaza 
Pleasant Hill, Century 16 Downtown Pleasant Hill
San Bruno, Century at Tanforan and XD 
San Francisco, CinéArts at the Empire 
San Mateo, Century 12 San Mateo 
San Rafael, Century Northgate 
Sausalito, CinéArts Marin 

Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek 14 and XD 

Regal Movies - Summer Movies Express. Get $1 admission on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to the 10 a.m. show. It runs for 9 weeks. The Bay Area is not well represented with theaters, but if you're going outside the area, look into this program.

Buy One, Get One Free Movies on Friday
If you have a Visa Signature card, you can get one movie ticket free when you buy one on Fandango. This is only good on Fridays through 7/29/11. You have to buy and use the tickets on that Friday. Details here. Thank you Cookies & Clogs for the heads-up.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Coming Up: Free zoo entrance Saturday if you wear orange

Tillamook Cheese's Loaf Love Tour (trying saying that one time fast) is kicking off their SF tour at the San Francisco Zoo tomorrow! The first 100 fans wearing bright orange clothes, get free admission, starting at 10 a.m. And everyone gets cheese samples. Look for them at the Baby Loaf Bus. It should be the only bus there that looks like cheese. If you miss out, they'll be in the Bay Area through July 24

Camping with Kids in the Bay Area

If you haven't made your camping plans, you better get started! Campsites book up quickly, and the state recently announced it's closing 70 state parks.

I put together a list of helpful links for camping, many of them from my friend Laure at Frog Mom in California, who has a book coming out in September (you can preorder it now). It's called Best Hikes with Kids: San Francisco Bay Area, and it would make a great Father's Day gift. It's got a very cute cover (alas, not the one I chose, but...)

We'll start off with some the basics of camping with kids.
And then you're ready for great Bay Area campgrounds for families.

Stay local by camping out in San Francisco at the Rob Hill Campground in the Presidio

If you need to convince your kids about how fun camping is, check out these Chipper items - my kids are still singing one of the Chipper songs, several years after they listened to the CD and watched the video. More Chipper info here.

Free National Park Entrance Days - June 21, September 24, November 11-13. Check out which parks are included.

Check out Jeff Alt's post on Frisco Kids, tips for hiking with kids.

Where do you like to camp in the Bay Area?

Find Frisco Kids on Facebook.

Coming Up: Growing a Healthy Baby in a Toxic World

If you're confused about what foods and products are good for a healthy pregnancy and baby, join Julia Getzelman of Getzwell Pediatrics and Molly Arthur of EcoBirth, for advice on what foods to eat, lotions to use, and cosmetics to apply in order to help avoid toxins and to increase your health while pregnant. This event includes a light vegetarian dinner.

It's held at the nonprofit community center called 18 Reasons in San Francisco, affiliated with Bi-Rite Market. Their focus is educating and inspiring the community to make smart decisions about food. 

When: Monday, May 23, 7-9
What: GMO. BPA. WTF? Growing a Healthy Baby in a Toxic World - a dinner conversation
Cost: $20 for 18 Reasons members; $30 for the general public

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Coming Up: Maker Faire

Don't forget, the Maker Faire is coming up this weekend. Science. Technology. Craft. Art. Creativity. As one visitor calls it: "It's a bit like a family-rated, local Burning Man but not in the desert and without naked people.'

It's May 21-22 in San Mateo,  get details here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Win a PlanetBox lunch box

Okay, it's not Earth Day (do we really need an official day?), but my friend Kris at Attainable Sustainable is giving away a very cute metal lunchbox. While I hope I win, I'm giving you the chance too. Check it out, and check out her site too

Get 'Yer Tickets - Lick Observatory Summer Visitor Program

Tickets go on sale today for Lick Observatory's summer visitor's program. At the program, you can look through the 36 inch Great Lick Refractor and the 40 inch Reflecting Telescope. In the event of low visibility (fog, rain), they'll have two programs. Other informal and formal talks go on that evening as well.

Ages 8 and older recommended. Programs begin at sunset, with viewing after dark.

Here are the dates of the program (the latter date) and ticket purchase date per program (the first date). Six tickets per household per date. Tickets are $5 each, including service fee. Get tickets and more information here.

  • May 17 for June 24 SVP
  • May 19 for July 8 SVP
  • May 24 for July 22 SVP
  • May 26 for August 5 SVP
  • May 31 for August 19 SVP
  • June 2 for August 26 SVP

Monday, May 16, 2011

$1 Flip Flop Sale at Old Navy

Granted, I usually get $1 flip flops at Target and the dollar area selection lasts more than 1 day, but if you are an Old Navy fan, you can get $1 flip flops this Saturday, May 21. Old Navy has a 30% off summer toddler and baby items right now, and up to 40% off all swimwear. Use code ONSECRET30 when checking out online only through May 18, for 30% off. There are some restrictions (and it says only for certain customers...maybe only those with the code?).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Coming Up: Kids World Events at Serramonte Center

Come to Serramonte Center for "KidsWorld," a free, fun and educational after school monthly program. 

According to Serramonte, "KidsWorld events include festive, interactive performances with singing, dancing, games, crafts and fun learning opportunities. Each event teaches students a variety of topics including music, culture, art and even etiquette. The after school program also provides a place for kids to come and socialize in a fun, safe and educational environment. Each monthly event is themed and filled with arts and crafts activities, hands-on fun, festive music and more."

Here's the schedule: 

Tuesday, May 17, at 5:30
Tuesday, June 20, at 5:30
Membership is free, and is good for discounts throughout the shopping center, entry into free monthly events and more. 

The event is at the Serramonte Center, in the JC Penny wing, between Diamonds Forever and For Love 21)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Coming Up: Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive - May 14

You have NO excuse to skip the Letter Carriers' annual food drive. All you have to do is fill a bag, however full, with nonperishable food. Pasta. Beans. Rice. Canned soup. Peanut butter. Cereal. All that stuff you bought on sale that's just sitting in your pantry!

Leave it by your mailbox so your postal carrier can pick it up on Saturday, May 14th, 2011.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Toy Story Cupcakes

Check out these cute Toy Story cupcakes - the alien and the pig. the alien uses three white meltable candies, with a dot of frosting on top. Then take some fruit gels and cut them into interesting shapes.

The pig cupcake uses mini chocolate chips on top of the frosting. To make the snout, cut a minicupcake in half, and use the flat half. Use those same fruit gels for the ears.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coming Up: San Francisco Chamber Orchestra Concerts - Free

This weekend, May 14-15, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra is offering free family-friendly concerts in San Francisco, San Mateo and Oakland. The concert is "Voices around the World" with the Cantare Children's Choir of Oakland and the Vallejo Chorale Society. An additional concert is in Vallejo on Saturday, March 27th.

For details, check the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra website.

Free Redbox movie rental Thursday 5/12

Redbox is offering a free movie code on Thursday, May 12 to everyone who "likes" then on Facebook. Details here.

Coming Up: Kooba Game Day at Paxton's Gate for Kids

The unique Paxton Gate store on Valencia Street recently opened up a kids' store, called Curiosities for Kids (check out the photos) - here's the home page - with local art, nostalgic toys, pre-digital era toys and science-type games. Check it out this weekend, when they demonstrate a new game called Kooba, a "totally original and unique physical game, played using a pair of sticks to launch an "Aero" at a wall-mounted game board." It's designed for 2-4 players with rounds lasting 10-20 minutes. This store is apparently the first to have it! Check it out on YouTube.

They'll be demonstrating the game on Saturday - stop by if you're interested. Click here to find out about other events at Curiosities for Kids.

Where: 766 Valencia Street
When: Saturday, May 14 from 2-4
Cost: Free

Monday, May 9, 2011

Coming Up: Maker Faire

Coming up - check out the Maker Faire. Science. Technology. Craft. Art. Creativity. As one visitor calls it: "It's a bit like a family-rated, local Burning Man but not in the desert and without naked people.'

This annual event is sponsored by Make magazine, and from what I've heard. It's a great place to take the kids. Lots of tinkerers sharing their innovations and creations. You can admire, you can learn and you can create.

The event features tons of kid-friendly activities. See a huge mousetrap game (hopefully the mice aren't this big!) The Bay Area LEGO users group has a huge display, including a model train layout made entirely of LEGOs. Kids can build their own blinking electronic bugs. And in case you haven't done the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment at home, you can watch it here, and not have to clean up the mess. There are lots of robots, marshmallow shooters, magic mirrors, a human mouse maze,

For those who like to make things themselves, in the "how to" area of the Maker Faire, you might learn how to becomea  bee-keeper, how to turn toys into jewelry, how to make a robot from paper pipes, how to make a pick a lock (don't take your kids to this one!), how to make and launch a compressed air rocket, how to make 3-D animated sculptures, how to make soap, how to juggle, and lots more.

When: May 21-22, 2010 (Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Where: San Mateo County Event Center (near 92 and 101). Check here for directions and info on free parking lots.
Tickets: get them at the door for $25/adult, $10/kids 4-12, $15/students 13-20. Discount for buying them before May 12. Get them at participating stores and save $5 a ticket. Here's a link to ticket info and participating stores (which include  Whole Foods, Exploratorium, Technology Credit Unions, and Cartoon Art Museum). Group and military discounts area available too.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Review: Synonyms the Game

We’re always looking for new games to play, so I was excited when a game publisher contacted me to review their word game. It’s called Synonyms, which should give you a decent idea what it’s about. I’ll give you a hint – maybe you can think of three other words to substitute for the game title.

The game in a nutshell:  When it’s your turn, you pick a card with a word on it and you have to name a certain number of synonyms within one minute (the synonyms are on the back of the card). If you succeed, you get one of the letters that makes up the word SYNONYMS. When you get all the letters, you win.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Coming Up: Sunday Streets - Free

Sunday Streets  is coming up on May 8! This one will be in the Mission, including the popular 24th and Valencia Streets. Streets will be closed to auto traffic from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

They need volunteers. If you can spare 3 hours (no kids!) you get a t-shirt, lunch and other prizes. Sign up here.

Here are the remaining ones for 2011:
  • June 12: Bayview route, 3rd Street from Mission Bay, Dogpatch to the Bayview Opera House;
  • July 10: Great Highway route #2;
  • August 14: Civic Center/Tenderloin route;
  • September 11: Western Addition route, including North of Panhandle, Alamo Square and Fillmore and Japantown neighborhoods;
  • October TBD; Mission route #2

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coming Up: Annual Sheep Shearing at SF Zoo

Come watch the animals get a haircut at the San Francisco Zoo. From the zoo:  

The Zoo’s Jacob and Navajo Churro sheep and two alpacas will go from wooly to bare. It will be shear fun for everyone!

Children and guests will see the Zoo’s Chief Sheep Shearer, David Melcon, in action, as he shaves each sheep from head to toe. David has sheared sheep at the San Francisco Zoo for more than a decade and is a master at his craft.

Friends of the barnyard will demonstrate the wonders of working with wool through spindle spinning demonstrations, needle felting, and scarf weaving. Visitors will also have a chance to spin the wool and enjoy a variety of other activities taking place at the Zoo’s Family Farm.
The San Francisco Zoo will send the wool to a Native American Reservation where it will be used for traditional weavings. This helps ensure the culture and rituals of weavings among the Native American tribes continues.

Zoo Members will have an exclusive Members’ only preview event on Saturday, May 7, 2011 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Meet the Chief Sheep Shearer and enjoy a fun interactive art activity – make your own sheep using real wool.

Where: Children's Zoo Family Farm (at the SF Zoo)
When: Saturday, May 7 from 10:30-1
Cost: free with admission

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Link love - what I've been reading

Thought I’d share with you some of the sites I was visiting yesterday (when I should have been doing my medical writing assignments).

Ice Cream – what’s your favorite in the Bay Area? I wrote about 3 great ice cream places in San Francisco,  but Red Tricycle wrote about more than a dozen throughout the bay area. Read Red Tricycle’s list here

Best Travel/Family Bloggers – I was excited to see some of our Frisco Kids’ friends listed on the Babble list of Top 25 Travel Family Blogs/Family Bloggers. Those included Travel Savvy Mom, and Ciao Bambino .

California Academy of Science – Red Tricycle posted an insider’s guide to the Academy of Sciences. Read it here: Frisco Kids reviewed it awhile back – you can read our review here.  The Academy also offers birthday party packages – at $75 a child. Read more about that here, along with scores of other birthday party ideas.

Marin - I’m trying to increase my coverage of Marin, and was excited to discover the Marinhood blog, with great lists of things to do in the Bay Area, as well as Marin.

T&L Magazine - Last, if you love traveling (with or without kids), you can’t pass up this deal for a $5 one year subscription to Travel & Leisure, good through May 14. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mother's Day in the San Francisco Bay Area - 2011

Here's a list from Celebrate-Family.

Is it just me, or does Mother's Day seem REALLY early this year? Here are some ideas for you and/or the kids/spouse/partner:

Mamma Mia Singalong - at the Retrodome.
Saturday, May 7 at 2 p.m.
Sunday, May 8 at 4:30
The Retrodome is in San Jose.

May Fete Children's Parade in Palo Alto
Saturday, May 7 starting at 10
Very wholesome. It's on University Ave.

If you're a B of A customer, use your bank card to get in free to museums like the Tech Museum in San Jose, the DeYoung Museum in SF, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Zeum, the Chabot Space Center and more. When I did one of these free days, my bank card covered me only (my husband's card covered him). You might have to pay for the kids.

Sunday, May 8 from 10:30-4:30
Performances, tours, hands-on activities, etc. Free with admission.

Mother's Day Brunch at Chabot Space Center
Have some yummy food and then look at exhibits!
Sunday, May 8 from 11-2

Free TCBY Yogurt 
Mom gets a free cup or cone on Mother's Day
Sunday, May 8
Mother's Day Yacht Cruise and Brunch
Sunday, May 8 from 12:30-4, leaving from Alameda
Cost is about $90 for adults, half that for kids ages 3-11, about $10/kid under 3.

Mother's Day Brunch Cruise from Sausalito
Sunday, May 8 from 11-2, leaving from Sausalito
Cost is $95/adult (or two for $180), kids under 10 are half price.

Almost Mother's Day Kids Concert
Nothing says Mother's Day like Andy Z in concert! Plus crafts and inflatables.
Saturday, May 7 from 11-1
Concert is free, at Courthouse Square in Redwood City

Mother's Day Beginning Bird Watching
Sunday, May 8 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Learn about birdwatching
Alviso, CA

Blossom Birth's Pampering Celebration
Saturday, May 7 starting at 9 a.m. - goes all day. Palo Alto
Sessions on yoga, meditation, getting your passion back, posture, nutrition. Evening music performance. And massage.
Cost: $15-40

Mother's Day Marina Green 5K
Take a run on Marina Green. Kids are welcome for their own run.
Sunday, May 8 starting at 9
Cost: $3-5 (kids' 1/2 mile run is free)

Mother's Day Bunch Cooking Class at Ferry Plaza
Sunday, May 8 from 10:30-1
Leave the kids behind and take a cooking class, where you'll make a delicious brunch and enjoy champagne.
Cost: $75

Mother's Day Celebration at Hidden Villa
Sunday, May 8 from 3-5
Concert with Chelle & Friends. Los Altos Hills
Cost: $15/person

Coming Up: Babes and Babies Event in Marin

If you're a new or expecting mom (or know one who is), check out the Appel & Frank "Babes and Babies" event coming up in Mill Valley.

The event includes 50+ designers and companies offering merchandise including baby and toddler clothing, accessories, gear, resources and more, at a discount. The first 200 in the door will get a complimentary gift bag (look for a special item from Frisco Kids!). A photographer will be on-site, offering mini photo shoots, and you can bring the kids to play in their own play space. Plus there's a raffle with excellent items. See the full invitation below.

Where: Mill Valley Community Center (180 Camino Alto)
When: Saturday, May 14, 2011, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free if you RSVP on the website, or $5 at the door.
RSVP: Here

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Coming Up: Gustafer Yellowgold's SF Performances and Workshops - Free

Coming up - a small, yellow, cone-headed fellow from the sun will be doing a bunch of performances/workshops in San Francisco.

Gustafer Yellowgold’s show 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. 

All performances are free.

           Park Branch Library, 1950 Page Street, San Francisco
WHEN:             Thursday, May 12.   11:00 a.m.
INFO:                (415) 355-5656  
           Bernal Heights Branch Library, 500 Cortland Ave., San Francisco
WHEN:             Thursday, May 12.   3:30 p.m.
INFO:                (415) 355-5663   
           Main Library,100 Larkin Street., San Francisco
WHEN:             Saturday, May 14.   11:00 a.m.
INFO:                (415) 557-4554  
This show will feature a Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive a copy of the Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock DVD/CD set, a Gustafer Yellowgold t-shirt, and a limited edition, signed, numbered, screen-printed Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock poster. 
           Potrero Branch Library, 1616 20th Street, San Francisco
WHEN:             Sunday, May 22.   3:00 p.m.
INFO:                (415) 355-2822
This show will feature a Gustafer Yellowgold “Trilogy” giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive copies of the Gustafer Yellowgold’s Wide Wild WorldGustafer Yellowgold’s Have You Never Been Yellow? and Gustafer Yellowgold’s Mellow Fever DVD/CD sets.
WHAT:              Cartooning Workshop for Children with Morgan Taylor
           Visitation Valley Branch Library, 45 Leland Ave., San Francisco
WHEN:             Tuesday, May 24.   1:00 p.m.
INFO:                (415) 355-2848   

              Cartooning Workshop for Children & Teens with Morgan Taylor
           Glen Park Branch Library, 2825 Diamond Street, San Francisco
WHEN:             Tuesday, May 24.   4:00 p.m.
INFO:                (415) 355-2858  
           Portola Branch Library, 380 Bacon Street, San Francisco
WHEN:             Wednesday, May 25.   4:00 p.m.
INFO:                (415) 355-5660
WHAT:              Cartooning Workshop for Teens with Morgan Taylor
           Richmond Branch Library, 351 9th Ave., San Francisco
WHEN:             Thursday, May 26.   4:00 p.m.
INFO:                (415) 355-5610
           Marina Branch Library, 1890 Chestnut Street, San Francisco
WHEN:             Thursday, May 26.   6:30 p.m.
INFO:                (415) 355-2823