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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Coming Up: Pet Palooza

This weekend, bring your dog/s to Pet Palooza at Palo Alto at Town and Country Village.
The pet-centric activities include a pet psychic, doggie sundae bar, pet sketch artist, pet photos, CPR demos, adoptable rescue dogs, a doggy red carpet, Stutt Your Mutt Spring Fashion Show Contest, Palo Alto PD K-9 Unit agility demos, pet resources and more.

Pooch owners are invited to gussy up their pets in the latest spring “pet” attire and walk the red carpet. All entrants will receive a doggy swag bag and prizes will be awarded to the top dogs! Pet owners can register their pets to participate online at or in person. The fee is $20 and all funds raised go to the Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter.

When: Saturday, May 31 from 12-4; fashion show is at 1
Where: Town and Country Village, 855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto                                                                        

Friday, May 23, 2014

4 Great Bay Area Outdoor Markets

Some days you want to stay inside. And some days you want to take the kids and go window shopping. Outdoors. Here are 4 Bay Area outdoor markets where you can enjoy the sun (or fog) and shop for treasures. This post originally ran first on Mommy Nearest.

You know that island. The one in between San Francisco and the East Bay , where the Bay Bridge changes direction and style. You can get off there to go treasure hunting once a month at the Treasure Island Flea. There are 350 vendors, plus wine tastings (at least a dozen wineries), food trucks, live music, a farmer’s market and a maker’s area, with cheap/free DIY classes.
Family fun: try the scavenger hunt. Find the hidden item and win $20. Plenty of other games and activities for the young ones, maybe including giant bubbles, bungee jumping, balloons or hula hooping
When: Go to the fair the last full weekend of each month, Saturdays and Sundays. The next one is this weekend!
Cost: Entry is $3 for adults, free for kids and pets.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Moms' Night Out: Finding Your Balance as a Mother

Spend an evening relaxing, socializing and learning with an evening about finding your balance as a mother.

The event is sponsored by SF Mom Entrepreneurs.

Speakers are Michelle Long of Bloom Retreat, and Jadah Sellner of Both are moms and entrepreneurs. They'll share their journey, with ideas on balance and making your life what you want.

The evening includes wine, light snacks and conversation.

Where: Sports Basement on Bryant Street (between 7th/8th) in San Francisco. Plenty of parking available.
When: Thursday, May 22 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Cost: $15

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Coming Up: Junie B. Jones Bus Tour

Many of us are huge fans of the Junie B. Jones series of books, so you'll want to go to the "Junie B. Jones Stupid Smelly Bus Tour" at Kepler's in Menlo Park on Monday, June 2, at 5.00 p.m. - a national tour that brings Junie B. live and in-person across the country to meet her fans. 
Bring your family to watch Junie B. ride into Menlo Park in the Stupid Smelly Bus (and yes, you can take photos next to it!). Come and watch Junie B. in a hilarious  live theatrical performance based on the bestselling series, grab a Junie B. giveaway, and get your books stamped by Junie B. herself! 

Tickets are $5 (plus a $1.17 service fee) here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bay Area Dinner Delivery Services

It's tough finding time to cook every night. Sometimes you want a home-cooked meal but you don't want to cook it. Here's the answer to your prayers. Good food, not too expensive, and they deliver!

Chop Chop Go

Motto: "On Chop Chop Go you’ll find fresh, healthy meals that are simple to execute, connected with personal shopping at your local grocer. Add a week of meals, or individual recipes to your order in just one click. Your groceries will be hand selected by personal shoppers who are as picky about freshness and quality as if they were shopping for their own family. Schedule pickup, or have everything delivered to your doorstep."

How it works: Choose from several options. Build a meal online using their proposed ingredients (check or uncheck what ingredients you want to buy - price estimates are included) or from weekly menus. You can add your own grocery items to the shopping list too. They'll do the Whole Foods shopping and delivery (or you can JUST have them do the shopping and delivery). 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Get 'yer Tickets: Gilt City Sale

You probably know the flash sale site Gilt City. They're having a warehouse sale in San Francisco (1270 Sutter Street) on Friday-Saturday, May 30-31 (well, Friday is sold out), featuring designer brands, including men's (John Varvatos, Paul Smith, and GANTand women's fashions (Helmut Lang, Missoni, Vera Wang, Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, Prada), home accessories, kids goods and more. Prices are up to 90% off retail.

Sadly, you have to pay to enter! Cost is $10, but you do get some drinks (cocktails, wine and chilled espresso drinks) and snacks (by KIND bars) with that, plus DJ music to get you in the mood. And some mini beauty treatments if you want. Also sadly (or not) - you can't bring the kids. But you'll only get entrance for two hours, so babysitting (or spouse sitting) shouldn't set you back much. And don't forget your credit card. Your cash is no good with them.

Saturday it's from 9-5

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Coming up: Moms in Transition Free Workshops

Are you a mom in transition? Learn how to survive and thrive as a busy mom with these free workshops.

Time Management – "time for family, time for me, time for my partner, meal planning, etc. Conquering the mommy guilt; Managing/creating new schedule at work; Marriage – masculine vs. feminine energy in the home; forgiving your partner on not being a mind reader or perfect; how to bring sex back; etc. How to manage pumping at work – managing milk, etc and much more!"

Results of the WorkshopFinding resources (aka someone to talk/vent to); Creating a toolbox to manage the stress of being a mom. Leave with quick easy techniques to calm down; Solidarity with other moms – know that you are not alone! 

WhenMay 19th at 11 a.m.
WhereDailey Method, 11 First Street, Corte Madera. 
Phone: (415) 927-1133 

WhenMay 21st at 11 a.m.
WhereDailey Method, 2399 Greenwich Street, San Francisco – Cow Hollow 
Phone: (415) 345-9992 Let her know if you will need childcare. 
Seminar by Andi Wickman

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Focus group: Tracking physical activities/exercise - $100 payment

The Oracle Applications User Experience team is looking for people who have tracked their exercises or physical activities in the past to participate in a 1.5 hour focus group on the topic of employee wellness. 
It takes 1.5 hours, done on site at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores on May 19, 2014. Participants get a $100 e-gift certificate for participation and you'll be fed lunch or dinner.
If interested, sign-up at: They'll call you if you qualify. 
Please write "Debbie Kaplan - Frisco Kids -" in the referral spot. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Art Classes for Kids in the Bay Area

Most kids love to create art. And where better to make a mess as well as masterpieces than somewhere you don’t have to clean up? Here are some great art studios for kids in the Bay Area.  

San Francisco:
This art center focuses on process-oriented art, meaning that they guide with art materials and techniques, but don’t tell your child what to make. The nonprofit is located in Fort Mason, and they offer classes for ages 22 months to 10 years, with weekend workshops, Friday night parents’ night out, mini camps and birthday parties.
Art Camp offers fine art classes to preschool and elementary school kids, plus summer camps. It’s open to kids ages 4-8. They get exposed to the art, and then make a project in response to what they've seen. It’s run by Miss Christine, who has a long background in early childhood education and a degree in art history.

Art teacher Mary Finlayson offers in-home (or outdoor) classes as project or technique-based lessons. Discover print making, painting, drawing, or make 3D wall hangings, puzzles, wooden dolls or a pressed fairy journal.

Pixie Hall Studio in Noe Valley offers summer camps, workshops and alternative (Reggio Emilia inspired) preschool. Check out photos on their blog.

ARTifact offers summer camp, plus school time classes for kids up to age 12. They even have a playgroup for kids under 3 (and their caregiver). Kids will learn about artists, may sing songs and play games and do other things to boost their creative spirit. Plus they’re always looking for reusable/recycled materials to create masterpieces (you can donate some!).

East Bay:
MOCHA, the (Museum of Children's Art) in Oakland offers drop-in art, family programs, Saturday stories (art and literacy), field trips, parties, camps and special programs.

4Cats in Kensington (Berkeley) and Portrero Hill (San Francisco)
4Cats offers summer camps, workshops and parties. Art projects might include sculpy, splatter paint, clay, acrylics, sculpture, mixed media or paper mache, and may focus on the work of one artist, like Henri Matisse. They have a class for almost every age, starting with 2 year olds, going through adulthood. And sessions for homeschoolers too.

Peninsula/South Bay:
Kids from kindergarten on up can take courses in a variety of media at this Santa Clara museum. They offer many courses in the school year and summer, including for homeschoolers.

Learn technical drawing skills in this afterschool Milpitas program.

Where do you like to go?

My post initially ran on Mommy Nearest, a free on-the-go app with location-based activities, food, shopping and more - everything a parent needs. Check it out.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Movie Musicals

Our Netflix Stream Team theme for the month is musicals! Personally I love to sing, my kids don't. Well, they don't love it when I sing. So perhaps I'll have to watch these movies alone - or with duct tape over my mouth.

So here are some musical movie suggestions if you're looking for entertainment.

I may be one of the few people on the planet who saw Rent live, and didn't like it. The movie version stars Idina Menzel (or Adele Dazeem, if you're John Travolta). I may watch it just to listen to her. I just saw her in If/Then on Broadway - she's fabulous.

Okay, I LOVE Grease. That one is definitely on the list. In college we did a lip sync version to Summer Lovin' (dressed as the opposite genders) and won second place in a contest. We should have won first. Just saying.

Gotta cut Footloose. That one brings back some memories. Kevin Bacon! Let the kids' education continue.

Yes, these are for the older kids, but there are some for the younger ones as well, including:

Shrek the Musical - saw this one on Broadway, and loved it. Now it's a movie. Based on a Broadway show. Which was based on a movie, based on a book. Confused?

The Prince of Egypt - I still remember that this came out over Thanksgiving weekend. Crazy, huh? I haven't seen it yet.

Disclosure: Netflix has given me products/services in exchange for posting. As always, all writing and opinions are my own.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Is it a good idea to buy a home in the Bay Area?

My parents are REALTORS®, so when the California Association of REALTORS® approached me about promoting home ownership in the Bay Area, it was a "no duh" type of match.

The one hitch is that buying a home in the Bay Area is super expensive. So I'll acknowledge up front that not everyone can afford to buy in this market, one of most expensive markets in the country. For some it makes a lot more sense to rent. I certainly welcome your thoughts about home ownership in the comments section.

I rented in San Francisco for 8 years after college and am kicking myself for not buying something there when it was less expensive. That would have been a fabulous investment. We ended up later buying on the peninsula, closer to my husband's work.

Here's what we love about the Peninsula, and the easy day trips from it:
The shoreline - at Foster City
Easy access to the East Bay via the San Mateo Bridge

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Girls in the U.S. and Africa: a guide to getting your period

In my last post, I talked about girls getting their period, and kids in general starting puberty. You can read that here. The call was sponsored by HelloFlo, which is a subscription box service offering women their monthly supply, which comes a few days before you need it, so you don't get caught having to run to the store at the last minute.

You might have heard of HelloFlo from their awesome video that went viral, Campy Gyno. It is hilarious, and something you might even want to share with your daughters because it's so funny.

I participated in the call because I was interested in hearing what Dr. Cara Natterson had to say about puberty and the period, since I have a daughter in that age range. But as thanks for participating in the call, Hello Flo sent us a period starter kit, which I was interested in seeing. Hello Flo Founder Naama Bloom wanted to help parents help their daughters figure the period out, and to celebrate its arrival, not to treat the period like the beginning of a monthly dreaded event.

Here's what the package contained: