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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coming Up: Notes & Words Concert and Contest

A great event coming up, and a chance to win free tickets. The event is Notes & Words, combining writers and musicians on stage together for unique entertainment. The proceeds benefit Children's Hospital & Research Center in Oakland.

To win tickets, write a short, personal essay about caring for a child (age 18 or younger) during a crisis (which can include a medical, emotional, or parenting type crisis). They welcome serious and humorous essays.

The winners get a personal phone conversation with:
-Jennifer Smith, Editor at Random House/Ballantine
-Andrea Barzvi, Literary Agent at ICM
-Deborah Way, Executive Editor at O the Oprah Magazine

The winner also gets introductions to:
-Michael Chabon, Pulitzer prize winning author
-Anne Lamott, NY Times best-selling author
-John Hodgman, of The Daily Show and HBO's Bored to Death
-Kelly Corrigan, NY Times best-selling author

And finalists will get 2 tickets to Notes & Words. See the website for official rules.
Entries are accepted from March 7-21, 2012.

WHEN: the concert is April 28, 2012
MORE INFO: Notes & Words (

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coming Up: Run for the Seals

The Marine Mammal Center is trying to raise $100,000 to care for and feed the seal pups during the spring pupping season (love that - pupping season). Consider signing up for or supporting their Run for the Seals on Saturday, March 10th. It's an easy 2 or 4 mile run in the Marin Headlands. It's family-friendly and kids can run (or walk, or stroll) too. When the run is over, head to the Marine Mammal Center for free food, drinks, tours and seal stories.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Summer Camp Planning and Fairs

Are you thinking about summer camp? I am! This is first in a series of summer camp posts on Frisco Kids.

Here are some summer camp resources to get you started:

--The San Francisco Summer Resource Fair is coming up on Saturday, March 3rd from 10-3. It's at the Concourse Exhibition Center (8th and Brannan). They'll have info on camps, classes, art, sports family resources and educational support services. More than 200 exhibitors. They'll have entertainment (fashion show, karate demonstrations, dancers, archery) plus family activities (face painting, balloons, crafts, yoga, dance, karaoke, filmmaking etc.).

--The Children's Summer Program Fair is in Oakland on Sunday, March 11. Lots of camps represented! More info here:

--The Westgate Summer Camp Fair in San Jose is Saturday, March 3 from 10-4, at Westgate Mall on Saratoga. 

--The Marin Camp Fair is on Friday, March 30 at Dominican University (San Rafael) from 4:30-6:45 p.m., with 100+ camps represented. 

--Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo is hosting a Summer Camp Faire on Sunday, March 4, from noon to 4. More than 50 camps represented. 

--You can register for SF Rec Cenbter summer camp starting on March 17 at

--Ross School's Summer Camp Expo 

--Science Camp Directory

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Focus Group: Entertainment Activities

Plaza Research is recruiting for a focus group on entertainment activities:
Who: Males and females ages 21-64

When: Wednesday, March 7
Length/Pay: 2-hours/$100
Where: Downtown San Francisco

Friday, February 24, 2012

Coming Up: Weekend activities in SF Bay Area

What to do this weekend?

A group of Stanford engineering students is designing educational building kits to encourage more girls to enjoy science and engineering. They'll be hosting a free and open session at the Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum) this Saturday from 12-2 (you probably have to pay admission, but the actual event is included).  You can read more about their Colorwheel toys here.

Check out the tulips at Golden Gate Park's Queen Wilhemina's Tulip Garden. They're about to bloom. And Pier 39 is featuring its Tulipmania.

In case you missed yesterday's post about the Monster Jam, with big big trucks running each other over.

from Red Tricycle
from Ronnie's Awesome List
from Savvy Cities

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Coming Up: Monster Jam

Does your kid love trucks? This Saturday is your night! You'll see the world’s best monster trucks battle it out in an event of intense speed, racing, and destruction. It includes 16 massive trucks that will crush each other at Coliseum (formerly Oakland Coliseum). 

Come early for the Party in the Pit ore-show experience, which gives fans access to view their favorite trucks up close, meet the star drivers for autographs, and take photos.

The Monster Jam is a "high-flying, car-crushing explosive event of demolition, speed, power, and unbelievable stunts with the world’s best monster trucks and drivers whose skills provide an awesome spectacle of “rock-and-roar” that will bring fans to their feet cheering for more."

The trucks are about 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide, custom-designed machines that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and weigh a minimum of 10,000 pounds. Built for short, high-powered bursts of speed, monster trucks generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Monster truck jumps can span as long as 125 to 130 feet (a distance greater than 14 cars side by side) and up to 35 feet high.

When: Saturday February 25, 2012. Gates open at 5 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m. The pit party is from 3-6
Where: Oakland's Colliseum
More info: here
Tickets: Adults: $35-160 including fees. Kids: $19-160 including fees.

On Friday, February 24th between 10-11am, Monster Jam is inviting bloggers to the Coliseum in Oakland to get up close and personal with 12 foot tall, 10,000 pound monster trucks Maximum Destruction and El Toro Loco, take photos, and talk to the drivers. Would you be interested in attending?  Let me know and I can put your name at the security gate.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Coming Up: SF Bay Area President's Day Activites

I don't know about you, but I like to travel on President's Day weekend. If you're sticking around, here are some ideas of what to do:

Do you like to hike? A Frog Mom can give you many hiking ideas.

Red Tricycle has a list of weekend events here.

Going to Tahoe? Here are some non-skiing things to do.

Going to Yosemite Valley? Check this out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Coming Up: Scrappy Sundials at the Exploratorium

SCRAP, the nonprofit SF "creative reuse center" that gives art supplies to teachers (and sells recycled items to use for crafts), is collaborating on an "Open MAKE" at the Exploratorium. They'll make Scrappy Sundials from repurposed materials.

When: Saturday, February 18, from 10-2
Where: Exploratorium, SF
Cost: free with Exploratorium admission
More info: Here or here

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Coming Up: Black History Celebration at Habitot

Habitot is celebrating Black History Month with live jazz from both adults AND kids. In the art studio, families can make collages in the style of Romare Bearden, and add to the community quilt. Learn about famous African Americans and their inventions (like the ice cream scoop!). 
When: February 19 from 9:30-4:30
Live jazz performance by Guy Gash and the Sharp Five Jazz Band from 2-3, with young musicians (ages 8-10)
Where: Habitot in Berkeley (2065 Kittredge Street)
Cost: included with admission ($9/person)

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Here's what we're having for dinner. Found them at Costco.

And for dessert:

yummy Valentine's Day chocolate from ChocBite. I'll tell you more about this awesome chocolate company later, but for now, enjoy the look - I'll enjoy the taste and calories!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Link Love - What I'm reading

Sorry I haven't been posting more frequently. I've hit a streak of business on the work/home front. In any event, I wanted to send along a few links I've been enjoying!

The Taj Mahal is in my bucket list of things to do. My friend, travel writer Heather Greenwood Davis, is doing an around-the-world trip with her family and just visited the Taj Mahal. Check out her fun family photos. 

Breast cancer is something that has unfortunately touched all of us - whether it's a friend's, a family member's or our own. One of my writer colleagues is battling stage 4 breast cancer, and writes about it in her blog "It's in the Genes." Here's a recent post which brought tears to my eyes. Her small town is coming together to raise funds for her bills and for her young son's education. It's what community is all about.

Teaching kids patience...the French way. Fascinating!

I love stories of how people meet, and here's a hilarious one from People I Want to Punch in the Throat.

This Wayne Dyer article is something I come back to a couple of times a year - Goodbye, Excuses.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Coming Up: Grand Opening Celebration - Marin Ace

Normally I don't post about store grand openings, but this is a mom-and-pop-owned store (who also owns the Standard 5&10 Ace in Laurel Village, SF), owned by a loyal Frisco Kids reader. They have lots of kids' craft kits (including a Pinewood Derby section for Cub Scouts), tool kits for kids, Tinkertoys and other kid toys.

Where: Marin Ace in Terra Linda (180 Merrydale, northern San Rafael, in Marin)
When: February 10-12.
What: Deals, discounts, giveaways, demos, raffles. Free Jelly Belly samples. 20-50% off housewares and everything else in the store. Lots of deals!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coming Up: Valentine's Day Crafts Activities

Get crafty this Valentine's Day!

SCRAP, the nonprofit SF "store" (a "creative reuse center") that gives supplies to teachers (and sells recycled items to use for crafts), is holding a Valentine's Day party and fundraiser. They'll have Valentine's Day crafts and art projects, live music by Nothin' But Fun, food and more.

When: Sunday, February 12, from 1-4
Where: SCRAP (801 Toland Street, SF)
Cost: $10 (sliding scale), $20 gets you a prize drawing admission, $50

Coming up, a Make It @ MOCFA. They'll be doing a stencil-style with guest artist Stan Peterson.You can make your own stencils or borrow the artist's, to make stylish Valentine's Day cards.

When: Saturday, February 11 from 2-4
Where: MOCFA (51 Yerba Buena Center, SF)
Cost: $5 for admission/materials.
Ages: 5+

Bring the doll for a free party at Pottery Barn Kids.

Where: Pottery Barn Kids stores (Stanford Shopping Center, Valley Fair in Santa Clara, Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton, Village at Corte Madera)
When: Saturday, February 11 at 3 & 4 p.m.
Cost: Free, but RSVP is required, though I'm not sure where you RSVP (the store?)

Come make Valentine's cards, with story time and music to boot. It's at Jamaroo Kids Studio in SF.

Where: (2001 Pine Street, SF)
When: Friday, February 10 from 3-5
Cost: $20/family or $15/child
Ages: 1.5-7

Read last year's post on Valentine's Day in the Bay Area with kids

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Coming Up: Pinkalicious the Musical

Pinkalicious, a gem of a musical, is opening in Berkeley, though the Bay Area Children's Theater. It's about a girl who eats too many pink cupcakes and develops a rare disease turning her pink. She must eat green foods to return to normal. It's based on the Pinkalicious book.

When: opening Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 2 p.m., and playing Saturdays and Sundays at 11 & 2 through March 4.
Where: Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley
Tickets: $20/adult, $17/senior, $15/kids, $12/groups

Dedicated Post: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: Looking into the Heart of an All-New 'Beauty'

This post is brought to you by Broadway San Jose, whose performance of Beauty and the Beast runs March 6-11. Ticket information is below.

By Brendan Lemon

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, now embarked on a lavish and visually re-imagined new tour presented by NETworks, is one of best-loved of all musicals. It’s easy to understand why. Its classic story -- of a beautiful village girl, Belle, who is first repelled by, then attracted to a gruff yet big-hearted Beast -- is indeed, as one of the show’s numbers has it, “a tale as old as time.” The songs (music by Alan Menken; lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice) are almost criminally tuneful. And the musical’s appeal crosses age barriers. Truly, “Beauty” is an experience that can be enjoyed by child and adult alike.

Many of the songs – the charming “Belle,” the infectious “Something There,” and the spectacular hospitality anthem “Be Our Guest” – were written for the 1991 animated movie, which was the first – and until 2010, the only – animated film ever to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. The movie’s status, not just in cinematic history but in critical lore, was cemented when the New York Times’ then-theater critic Frank Rich, called Beauty and the Beast the best musical of the year – in any format.

Disney took the cue, and soon started things rolling for the live adaptation. Several new songs, as well as the book by Linda Woolverton, were written for the stage version, which opened on Broadway at the Palace Theater on April 18, 1994, and went on to become the seventh-longest running production in Broadway history.

Rob Roth, who directed the Broadway premiere and is back at the helm for the new tour, says that the “story of the show is about seeing past the exterior of a person and into his or her heart.” He says that conveying that feeling is key to any production of “Beauty.” What’s fresh about the tour, he adds, is not just the timeless moral but a new approach to the visuals.

“So few directors have the opportunity to work on a show several years later in a new form,” Roth says. “I’m lucky that way, and I’m also lucky because I never get bored with ‘Beauty.’”

Stan Meyer, the scenic designer both for the 1994 Broadway version and for the new production, says that the former staging was, essentially, the 1991 movie made live. The latter is “a departure from that.” He explains: “We did a lot of research that involved eastern-European wood carving and gilded manuscripts. The new version is an illuminated manuscript come to life.”

Audiences will delight in the eye-popping storybook shapes and colors that Meyer and the other original-version designers (Ann Hould-Ward: costumes; Natasha Katz: lighting) have re-imagined. The production’s look, adds Meyer, “is more evocative of whimsy and very, very romantic.”

The smash hit Broadway musical plays the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
March 6-11, 2012

Performances run from March 6-11, 2012. Tickets are on sale now. For additional information, visit or call (408) 792-4111. Tickets start at $20 and there are special prices for groups of 10 or more. For more information on group rates call (408) 792-4131. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. during the week; 8 p.m. on Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 and 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Coming UP: Chinese New Year Festival and Concert - SF Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony's Chinese New Year Festival and Concert is coming up with a lot of great activities. (For more Chinese New Year activities in the Bay Area, click here)

From the symphony: The concert always gets off to an exciting start with the traditional lion dance, with drummers and dancers performing up and down the aisles and on the stage. This year’s concert is also particularly special this year because all of the works are by Chinese and Chinese-American composers. Conductor Carolyn Kuan returns to lead the concert for a sixth year in a row, and she has always been fantastic at keeping an audience full of children engaged and entertained.

-          Dan the Magic Man with Kat the Acrobat
-          Caricature artists
-          Fortune tellers
-          Face painters
-          Balloon artists
-          Chinese calligraphers
-          Airbrush artists,
-          Stilt-walkers
-          Contortionists
-          Chinese plate spinners
-          Arts & crafts station

When: Saturday, February 11; pre-concert festival starts at 3; concert starts at 4
Tickets: $15-68 - buy them at the SF Symphony website, by phone (415-864-6000) or at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office (Grove between Van Ness and Franklin)
More info: here

Friday, February 3, 2012

Coming Up: Free Museums on Us this weekend

Bank of America's Museums on Us program runs this weekend, giving B of A cardholders (credit or debit) one free admission per card at participating museums. We've used this program and love it! It's this weekend, February 4-5 (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:
·         Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum)
·         Chabot Space & Science Center
·         Contemporary Jewish Museum
·         de Young Museum
·         Legion of Honor

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chinese New Year

I'll be updating Chinese New Year activities here, but just to let you know there's an additional entry.

The SF Park and Rec and YMCA are sponsoring a celebration on February 11 from noon to 3. It will have live entertainment, face painting, lion dancers, bounce houses, tai chi, crafts and line dances. The celebration will be held at the Minnie and Lovie Ward Rec Center - 650 Capitol Avenue & Montana in SF.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Coming Up: Chinese New Year - Parade and Celebration in SF

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year to you! This holiday has been a big deal in San Francisco ever since the gold rush in 1847 started bringing Chinese immigrants into California in large numbers, and is a great cultural event to bring your little ones to. Lots of colorful costumes, firecrackers and yummy food to boot! Although the actualy Chinese New Year is on Valentine’s Day this year, most of the festivities take place on Saturday, February 11th. Here’s how to get the most out of the celebration:

Chinese New Year’s Parade – Did you know that the idea of a Chinese New Year’s parade was actually concieved in San Francisco during the 1860’s? Before then, parades in honor of the holiday didn’t exist in China or anywhere else. Now the city’s is one of the largest of its kind worldwide. Attend the parade to see dragons, dancers and firecrackers exploding over the streets. While the most scenic place to watch is in the heart of Chinatown, it can get pretty crowded, so you might be better off watching from the starting point at Second and Market. Here are 10 tips to watching the parade with your kids.

Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt – A great way to see the parade from a different perspective, this scavenger hunt tests your knowledge of San Francisco, your ability to work as a team, and your ingenuity passing back and forth through the parade route as you work to gather clues. This hugely popular treasure hunt is difficult but fun – and there’s no need to be a local. But don't bring young kids. The hunt begins at 4 p.m., just before the parade (giving you more than four hours to complete it). If you don’t come with your own team, you can always join a team of four to nine players when you arrive.

Asian Art Museum
WhatThe Year of the Dragon Celebration
Where: Asian Art Museum in SF
When: Sunday, Feburary 5, 11-4 p.m.
Cost: Free (thanks, Target!)

The SF Park and Rec and YMCA are sponsoring a celebration on February 11 from noon to 3. It will have live entertainment, face painting, lion dancers, bounce houses, tai chi, crafts and line dances. The celebration will be held at the Minnie and Lovie Ward Rec Center - 650 Capitol Avenue & Montana in SF.

SF Symphony - Chinese New Year Festival and Concert 

When: Saturday, February 11; pre-concert festival starts at 3; concert starts at 4
Tickets: $15-68 - buy them at the SF Symphony website, by phone (415-864-6000) or at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office (Grove between Van Ness and Franklin)
More info: here

Chinese Dim Sum – And of course – what’s a holiday without a festive meal? Chinatown is always a good choice of yummy grub, although it’s probably best to avoid it while the parade is still on. Clement Street in San Francisco’s inner Richmond district (my old hood) has plenty of restaurants that are popular with us locals. Try take-out dim sum from Clement Restaurant at 621 Clement Street. They’re known for their barbecued pork buns, and the lines out the door. For sit-down dim sum, try the House of Banquet at 939 Clement.