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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Homemade cinnamon buns

We got a bread maker recently - a hand-me-down. My husband was not pleased - one more appliance to clutter up the house. But then I made these cinnamon buns and now he wants me to keep it!

This was a loooonnng process - about three hours. Made the dough in the breadmaker and then rolled it out, slathered it with melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, rolled it up and sliced it.

Then they sat for awhile, before going into the oven to bake. I should have baked them longer because some were a little doughy at the bottom (not that anyone complained). Here they are fully baked, but without the icing.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Coming Up: Figaro Family Workshop - Free

This Saturday (tomorrow), take the kids to learn about opera and the Marriage of Figaro in this free San Francisco Opera workshop. You'll learn about Mozart's comedy classic. Here's what htey say about it: Do you know Figaro? Join Merola and the San Francisco Opera Education Department as we introduce families to the magic of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. 

When: Saturday, July 27 from 1:30-2:30
Where: War Memorial Opera House (enter through the stage door on the north side of the Opera house - on Franklin between Grove and Fulton Streets - across from the SF Ballet)
Who: 7+
Cost: Free
RSVP: email
Info: more here

Coming Up: Recycling Camp

We did a lot of camp posts for this summer, and I realize that there's still time left! I saw this and had to post.

Diablo Recycling is offering two hours camps every Thursday in August in Pittsburg, CA. The kids can learn about recycling first hand - at a recycling site! Campers get a tours of the 90,000  square foot facility featuring the recycling machine (Big Blue) and his buddy, the baler (Big Wall-e). You'll learn about the 4 Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle, respect the earth). You'll learn about what types of recycling materials are acceptable, play interactive games and make art from reusable items. They even provide a healthy snack!

When: 10-noon, Thursdays in August (you would attend one session) - August 8, 15, 22, and 20
Who: all ages - adults welcome - camp limited to 30 participants
Where: 1300 Loveridge Road, Pittsburg, CA
Cost: Free
RSVP: Adriana Medina by phone: (925) 771-2721 or email

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Coming Up: Sunday Streets in the Mission

The next San Francisco's Sunday Streets is in the Mission. Are you going?

Sunday Streets is a "a safe, fun, car-free place for people to get out and get active in San Francisco neighborhoods." They'll have free activities like hip hop dance lessons, climbing wall, car show, live music, free bike rentals, yoga, pilates, arts/crafts and more. 

This Sunday, July 28th, Valencia and 24th Streets, from 11-4. Details and map here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Please vote for Frisco Kids!

The new Circle of Moms 2013 top 25 Norcal Moms blog list came out - though to stay on that list I'll need your votes. Please stop by - it will only take a few seconds (seriously!) and vote for Frisco Kids. And you can check out the other Bay Area blogs on there too - as long as you vote for mine. You don't even need to register. You can vote once every 24 hours. Thank you in advance for your support!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Coming Up: Chronicle Books Sale - 65% off

Chronicle Books is having its back to school warehouse sale, where everything in the store will be 65% off. This is a great time to get holiday and teacher gifts! They'll have cookbooks, kids' books, lifestyle and home, art/craft/design, photography, travel, pop culture and music titles. And journals and stationery.

Where: Chronicle Books Corporate Headquarters, 680 Second Street, San Francisco
When: Wednesday - Friday, July 31 - August 2; from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m

Friday, July 19, 2013

Review: TCHO Factory Tour in San Francsico

I've been wanting to tour TCHO, and finally had the chance. I didn't realize it was so close to Fisherman's Wharf and right next to the Exploratorium. We managed to get on a tour last minute (thanks to those who didn't show up - we owe you one!). (Please note, TCHO moved to Berekeley in March, 2014)

TCHO is the phonetic spelling of the first syllable of chocolate. They call TCHO the new American chocolate. It was founded in 2005 by a NASA space shuttle engineer and founders of Wired magazine, who wanted to make chocolate used by professional companies (i.e. not just eaten by consumers). They partner with companies like Sam Adams, and many chefs/restaurants as well, including Per Se in New York City, Smitten ice cream (interesting New York Times article about that).

At TCHO you'll see

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Ride the Ducks Tour - Fisherman's Wharf San Francico

**San Francisco Ducks closed in Sept 2015**
We recently did a very touristy thing in the name of research: Ride the Ducks (warning: if you click on the link, the music starts automatically). We were hosted guests.

Of course this was during the BART strike, so we were concerned about how hard it would be to get there. Turns out it wasn't so bad. Oddly, the Duck route roughly mirrored (in reverse) our trip from Caltrain to the wharf, via the #30 bus. Here's what you'll see on the tour.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What to do in San Francisco with Kids - the Family Travel Blogger Recommendations

In the past few months I've gotten a bunch of requests from friends on what to see with teens in San Francisco. I've been doling out a lot of advice. My travel blogging group also has some members requesting advice (for different age groups), and so I'm compiling a list of their blog links about visits to our great city.

Two days in San Francisco by Travel with Bender - seeing the highlights in a short amount of time - with great photos!

Kristine Dworkin, Trekaroo's Northern California Guroo recommends West Bluff Beach in the Presidio (especially in warmer months like September). Kids can make sandcastles in view of the Golden Gate Bridge, also with great views of Alcatraz. If you walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, she likes the souvenirs at the Round House near the toll plaza. "They'll put hard hats and orange vests on your group, then shoot them against a green screen and have you select a background that makes you look like a work crew high in the bridge towers." Trolley line too long? Go to the Cable Car Museum instead.

Want to take it easy? Head to Golden Gate Park says Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby. There's a lot to do outdoors and indoors, with good restaurants close by.

Wandering Educators recommends five places to go, not all of which are on the typical tourist track.

While hotels abound, several of the family travel bloggers recommend booking an airbnb place. You'll be renting from actual Bay Area owners, not hotels, and accommodations are often more spacious than hotels, with a neighborhood feel.

A few past posts about traveling in San Francisco from Frisco Kids:
Check out some Bay Area factory tours - many of which are free and (almost) all are child-friendly.

Personally, I like to do ice cream (self-guided) tours - here's a list of great ice cream places in San Francisco.

Be a tourist in San Francisco with kids - whether or not you're local! Lots of ideas and links.

Goldstar has a bunch of discounted tickets (and look under the "comp" section because some are free). Here are some ideas:

Red and White Fleet's Golden Gate Bay Cruise - Tickets are $14 (half off) for this hour-long narrated boat ride.

Rocket Boat - this one is more the kids' speed, because it goes really fast! Tickets are $12 (half off) for the 30 minute speed ride in the bay. We did something like this in NYC and it was a blast.

Ride the Ducks - this land and sea based tour takes you in one vehicle from the road to the water. Tickets are $17.50 (half price) for the 90 minute ride. (Frisco Kids review coming soon)

The Tech Museum - one of our favorite places, The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. Tickets are $10 (normally $15) which buys you hours of fun and education.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bay Area Factory Tours

I love going on factory tours, and thought I'd put something together in case you're looking for some fun ideas for the summer. What are your favorite factory tours? Have you been on any of these? Are they worth it? Leave a comment below!

Boudin - a staple in San Francisco since 1849, Boudin's sourdough bread is my favorite! The Fisherman's Wharf location has a huge restaurant, store, big window baking area and self-guided museum and bakery tour. Watch a short YouTube video of the dough preparation and baking process here - via Samantha Brown. The tour has historic and interactive exhibits and you can look down into the bakery as they work from the second floor. You can also watch the bread shaping process (free) from the street. A baker explains what he/she is doing and you can ask questions.
Where: Fisherman's Wharf (160 Jefferson Street), San Francisco
When: Daily 11:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
How long: self-guided - 25-50 minutes
Cost: $3, but free after dining there or if you go when there's no one standing at the kiosk.
Reservations: None needed.

TCHO - artisan chocolate maker offers great tours of their factory, plus chocolate tasting! Frisco Kids TCHO tour review here.
Where: Pier 17, San Francisco (next to the Exploratorium) moved to Berkeley in March, 2014
When: Daily 10:30 and 2
How long: 40 minute tour, which includes a video/talk, factory floor viewing and tasting
Cost: free

Coming Up: Crosspulse - free concerts in SF

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is coming - with two free family music/dance shows from the African Diaspora. What will you see? A rowdy music and dance show with audience participation, sing-alongs and dancing. There's call and response singing, questions of the audience, and encouragement to shout out and move.

You'll see lots of instruments like bamboo tubes from Haiti, quitiplas from Venezuela, cajons - log drums from Krim, and other instruments as well.

When: Friday, July 19 at 11 a.m. and 12:15
Where: Yerba Buena Garden, between Howard and Folsom/3rd and 4th Streets - SF
Cost: free

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Coming Up: Sue Bierman Park Playground Opens in SF

A new playground - the Sue Bierman Park Playground, opens on July 20 with fun festivities including games, arts and crafts, carnival rides and food trucks.

When: Saturday, July 20 at 10 a.m.
Where: Sue Bierman Park Playground across from the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero (at Washington).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Help End Cancer - Historic Opportunity to Participate in American Cancer Society Study

Do you know someone who has had cancer? Of course you do. One-third of all women will get cancer if their lifetime, as will one-half of men. We know some things about cancer, like the link between smoking and cancer, which was discovered from the first generation American Cancer Society study in the 1950s.

In fact, the ACS made over 500 scientific findings about a wide range of cancers since then - including the impact of hormones, physical activity and diet on cancer risks. And the link between aspirin use and the reduced risk of colon cancer. The ACS played a role in almost every cancer breakthrough in recent history.

Do you ever wonder how they make these discoveries? It's through studies involving volunteers like you. Right now the ACS is recruiting for its third generation study on cancer, looking at how lifestyle, the environment and genetics affect cancer risks. Imagine what kinds of discoveries could be made and how much pride you'll take in knowing that you helped. Imagine knowing that you helped eliminate or prevent cancer for future generations. (Sign up here)

The Bay Area is a prime recruiting target, given its diversity in ethnic make-up and the LGBT community. If you've ever asked someone you know with cancer what you could do to help, then this is the study for you. They can't study a population that doesn't enroll. This is a way to help that does't cost you money and doesn't take any more time that making dinner. (Did I mention you can sign up here?)

Yes, it's a long-term commitment (20 years or more), it's only once every few years for less than an hour. Volunteers for the past two generational studies are so committed that more than 90% of them continue to fill out their surveys over that time period.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Treat of the Day: Cream in Palo Alto

If you're walking down University Avenue in Palo Alto, and wonder what this line is...

it's the new Cream - an ice cream sandwich store that sells delicious treats (that are quite reasonable too). It opened in the old Swensen's spot. Those in the East Bay know Cream, since one started in Berkeley in 2010. Now peninsula residents can get in on the fun. (Davis and Walnut Creek stores are opening soon).

How it works:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sponsored Post: Home Swapping with Knok

This post is written and sponsored by Knok. We've never tried a home exchange, but I'd love to at some point!

Do you have a holiday destination in mind that you have always wanted to travel to but “things” seem to constantly get in your way? Or does the thought of organizing a holiday with your children exhaust you before you even look at a brochure? If so Knok, a new generation home swap community is the solution for you! With thousands of homes in over 159 countries, it is the perfect platform for families to enjoy new experiences from the comforts of a real home.

Imagine travelling all over the world and still being able to prepare your favorite meal in your own personal kitchen and have access to your own laundry appliances, but better yet watch your children play with the families toys while relaxing in your own private lounge area. Imagine if your own pool or car is included in the deal? Indulge in the new local culture thanks to the recommendations left behind from your home swap partner.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Writing Classes for Middle & High School

Kepler's bookstore in Menlo Park is offering two summer sets of writing classes - one for grades 5-8, and one for high school kids. Here are the details:

Engaging Reluctant Writers (grades 5-8)
This class encourages students to move past their writing phobia, and will choose writing projects that excite them, seeing it through to completion. They'll write about any subject that interests them, in a research paper or illustrated book. Through the instructors, they'll learn to see this as an exciting opportunity to share their knowledge and passion rather than as a chore. The class will be a workshop model, with teachers interacting 1:1 with guidance and feedback. Each class features an interactive lesson, writing time, individual mentoring and time to share works in progress. Read more about the class and the instructor here.

When: Monday-Wednesday August 5-7 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Kepler's Bookstore (1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park)
Cost: $225
Register: here or call 800-838-3006

Writing the Personal Essay (grades 10-12)

With the college essay in mind, this class focuses on writing an attention-grabbing personal essay that shows your intellectual and creative abilities. The class works on key features of the personal narrative, and students will complete the course with a polished, ready-to-submit personal essay (more details here). Lessons include handouts, short lectures, fun and dynamic activities, writing time and 1:1 mentoring. Students should bring a laptop or notebook and an essay draft or ideas.

When: Monday-Wednesday August 5-7 from 2-4
Where: Kepler's Bookstore (1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park)
Cost: $300
Registerhere or call 800-838-3006

Friday, July 5, 2013

Do you give a cup?

When I got my Keurig single cup coffee maker last year, I was very bummed to find out there were no Peet's cups available. In fact, after buying a fill-your-own cup Keurig brand cup (that didn't work for my Keurig machine - be warned! I had to return it), I resorted to jerry rigging previously used K-cups and filling them with my own Peet's coffee. It works - most of the time.

But Peet's recently came out with their own Peet's single cups so I no longer have to fill my own, cover with tin foil and hope that it works (and clean up the mess after if it doesn't). Plus I won't have to gross out my friends who wonder why I'm too cheap to just buy prefilled K-cups.

Peet's is taking their single cups on the road, sampling them in different cities depending on what people like you decide in their Do You Give a Cup quest. Each week they're coming up with a new question.  You click whether or not you "give a cup." If the majority do, they'll do the sampling at the site mentioned.

Unfortunately we already missed the San Francisco samples, which took place in June at AT&T Park. But you can decide the fate for other citites. Do you give a cup?

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, but I love Peet's coffee and you'll see that I post about it frequently on Frisco Kids without any sort of pay.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July. Now eat some Ice Cream in San Francisco

Given the historic nature of today, and the recent warm weather, I thought it was time for an ice cream post. Don't just trust me on these awesome ice cream places. Post your own favorites below!

Mitchell’s Ice Cream (688 San Jose Avenue): You’ll find plain vanilla at this Noe Valley ice cream institution, around since 1953, but it would be a shame to pass up Mitchell’s unique flavors, like grasshopper pie, Mexican chocolate, tropical fruit, halo halo, Kahlua mocha cream, ube (purple yam), sweet coconut, avocado, and lychee. They specialize in Asian flavors. Prepare to take a number and wait. And wait. The store is small. The line is long. But it’s worth it. It's a bit tricky finding parking near there.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Coming Up: Bank of America's Museums on Us

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, July 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:
·         Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum)
·         Chabot Space & Science Center
·         Contemporary Jewish Museum
·         de Young Museum
·         Legion of Honor

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Coming Up: Run or Dye

If I had to choose between "run or dye" I'd definitely choose dye. Or even die. I hate running. But many don't. So for those of you who like to run, get yourself and your kids registered for this "colorful" 5K coming to Candlestick Park (wait, isn't that AT&T Park?) on July 6 at 9 a.m. You won't be tired from the fireworks anymore and.

Here are the rules:

  • FIRST RULE: Don't worry - be Happy! Run or Dye is for everyone. No need to worry about if you are too fast or slow, too old or young or too sexy! Just come experience the magic of the most colorful 5k this world has to offer!
  • SECOND RULE: You are your own canvas Wearing all white may show off the color - or get costume-CRAZY wearing that old wedding dress, 80's leg warmers - or those snakeskin pajamas. See you at the Starting Line!
  • LAST RULE: Get ready to DYE and go to Heaven! The Dye Zone is where the magic happens! Our Color Crew is specially trained to administer Random Acts of Color with total efficiency. (HINT: we also love subliminal messages such as begging and pleading, striking that pose that makes us all uncomfortable, or dancing like a maniac. These are all code for "HIT ME WITH COLOR!")

Sign up here.