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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What movies do you want to watch without your kids?

With the end of school, things have been crazy. I know I'm not alone. I've been spending very little time in front of the television, instead going to school concerts, counting Box Tops to send off with my co-chair, and working working working to finish up all my assignments before vacation.

But when the kids go off to overnight camp, I plan on doing some marathon TV watching. Things that they can't watch with me. We had fun this weekend watching Keeping up with the Steins and Paranorman with the kids. But there are a lot of shows I can't watch with them.

Like Orange is the New Black. Yes, the new season came out. I still haven't finished last season. And Scandal, which I haven't seen at all. And Portlandia. And House of Cards.

Of course I also plan on reading a dozen novels, which you can't do while watching a movie. I'll have to figure that out!

What do you want to do with your adult free time this summer?

Disclosure: I'm a Netflix Stream Team member.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

16 things I learned on my trip to Disneyland

A few years back I posted the top 12 things I learned at Disneyland. I thought it was time to update it. So here are my top 15 things from this year!

1. If you wearing matching outfits to Disneyland, you'll be easy to spot. And that's a bad thing as well as a good thing. 

2. Wearing Star Wars hats still give you hat hair.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to Choose a Vacation Rental By Owner Property

Recently I spent a moms’ weekend in another city. With six in our group, decided to rent rooms in an inn – going the rental by owner route. And we hated our rental.

How can you avoid the mistakes we made?

How the services work
You’ve probably heard of - or maybe even used - services like Airbnb or VRBO (vacation by owner). There are a handful of companies that act as a listing service for these owner rentals (the one we used isn’t mentioned in this posting).
Owners list their property at no cost. They upload a profile and photos, and pay the service a fee per booking.
Each agency has its own vetting process. That does not usually include a site visit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stern Grove - Guide for Taking Families

I have many happy memories bring a picnic blanket and basket to Stern Grove on summer Sundays, for a free concert with friends. Somehow the weather always seemed perfect as we walked down the entrance ramp into the grassy grove. I wondered how that would change when I had kids.

Fast forward to now. I have kids. And the Stern Grove Festival has a ton of activities for families to enjoy. Here’s how to take advantage:

Kids Days

The Best Bay Area Science Museums

The Bay Area is rich with tech AND science. Here are four of the best science museums in the Bay Area.
Photo courtesy of Flickr - license here
Sitting atop the Berkeley Hills, the drive and stunning Bay view are almost alone worth the price of admission (if it’s not foggy). You’ll drive through University of California at Berkeley’s campus and the football stadium, snaking uphill until you get to the top. First stop: climbing on the giant strand of DNA sculpture outside the museum, or off the slippery stone whale. Go for it – and enjoy the view. Through September 1, little entomologists will love the temporary bug exhibit, complete with an enormous tarantula on the building’s exterior. Also inside are a planetarium, a hands-on biology lab, a KidsLab for those in kindergarten and younger, and other fun activities.

Coming Up: Tillamook Pop-Up Store - Free Food!

Get some fun and tasty Tillamook samples this weekend, as Tillamook puts up a pop-up store in the Sunset. They'll be sampling cheese, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream and butter. But better yet - free hand-scooped ice cream cones and grilled cheese sandwiches. They'll have every one of their products available to taste.

Best part - affogato happy hours from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, June 13. Have you ever had affogato? It's my ALL TIME favorite dessert, which I first had in North Beach in my very young, single days as a downtown SF working girl. It's a scoop of gelato or ice cream with espresso poured over it. Make me one of those, and I'll give you whatever you want while I'm eating it. Mmmmmm.....

Saturday, they'll have local wine and beer pairings with cheese from 5-8 p.m. And Sunday at the same time, you can make your own ice cream sandwich, probably more kid-friendly than the other, but as we tell our kids, sometimes you have to do things for your parents. And that just could be affogato or wine/cheese.

Tillamook is an Oregon farm-owned cooperative brand, celebrating its 105th birthday!

When: June 13-15, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: in the Sunset - 403 Irving Street, SF

Monday, June 9, 2014

Youth on Course - Golf to Build Life Skills for At-Risk Youth

Build life skills and values through golf! The NCGA Foundation's Youth on Course program gives at-risk youth access to this, plus $5 rounds of golf at select times and golf courses. They also have clinics, internships and scholarships.

More than 100 golf courses participate, and more than 9,000 kids are involved each year. Once the child signs up, they complete a life skills education program that teaches responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship, patience, perseverance and honesty.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Father's Day Gift Guide

I don't normally do big gifts for Father's Day. In our family, Dad gets to whatever he wants that day. Often it's hiking - often it's without wife and kids. And that's okay. I get it. I've been known to spend Mother's Day without my family too!

This year, though, I put together a small Father's Day gift guide of some items that I think dads would like - especially traveling dads.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Coming Up: Museums on Us - Free Admission this Weekend

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, June 7-8 (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 and San Jose area:
·         The Tech Museum of Innovation
           The San Jose Museum of Art
·         Chabot Space & Science Center
·         Contemporary Jewish Museum
·         de Young Museum
·         Legion of Honor

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bay Area Guide to Plan Ahead for Summer

Summer approaches! If your kids aren’t out of school yet, they will be soon. Mark your calendars for these 10 fun things that families can do this summer in the San Francisco Bay Area. What are your faves?

1.  Attend a San Francisco Giants game. Fun family-friendly promotions include a Hello Kitty Giants Plush (June 8), Giants Garlic Fest (June 27), Pixar Day in the Park (June 29), Giants slumber party (July 30), and Giants Star Wars Day (August 31).

2.  Everybody loves a county fair. Choose from the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, which runs June 18-July 6, and the Marin County Fair, running July 2-6. Highlights of the Alameda County Fair include horse racing, hot dog eating relay, cake pop contest, soap carving contest, the kids’ tractor pull, all-Alaskan pig races, reptile shows, motorcross, rides and a kids’ park. At the Marin County Fair in San Rafael, enjoy competitions like building a Ferris wheel from recycled materials, stroller decorating and parade, plus farm animals, a film festival, concerts by Huey Lewis and the News and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Night Ranger, the Chinese Circus of Beijing and of course, rides.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bay Area 2014 Summer Reading Programs

Keep the kids reading this summer. Libraries offer free reading programs with goals and prizes to make it even more fun. There are lots of programs listed here. If you know of one not listed here, please put it in the comments section! 

San Francisco Summer Library
Kids through age 12 get a 
Summer Read SF Book Bag for reading (or getting read to for) 10 hours, and can enter a raffle. Teens (13-18) and adults get a Summer Read SF Book Bag for reading/tracking 30 hours, plus raffle tickets for great prizes. All reading counts toward the goal, including books, magazines, e-books, audiobooks and online reading. 

Sign up through a neighborhood library, bookmobile service or online at