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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Coming Up: Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco

My favorite summer outdoor concert series is coming up! Here is the Stern Grove schedule. Put it on the calendar!

June 14 - the Doobie Brothers and the California Honeydrops
June 21 - Pacific Mambo Orchestra with Sheila E. and Marlow Rosado, and also Salsamania
June 28 - Randy Newmand and Hot Club of San Francisco
July 5 - San Francisco Symphony, Edwin Outwater, Conductor
July 12 - Amy Hanaiali'i and the Stern Grove Festival Orchestra, Halau 'o Keikiali'i
July 19 - tUnE-yArDs (try typing that - it's not easy!) and DakhaBrakha
July 26 - San Francisco Ballet, with Helgi Tomasson, Artistic Director
August 2 - Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bhi Bhiman
August 9 - Morris Day and the Time, Con Brio
August 16 - Talib Kweli, Zakiya Harris featuring Elephantine

While the concerts start at 2 (and run 2.5-3 hours), they have KidStage from 11:30-1 before each concert (except June 14). Kids can do hands-on art projects in the West meadow. Artists will be teaching workshops on making art with nature, and there will also be an instrument exploration area and dance workshop. It's free.

We did a guide to taking kids to Stern Grove last year, here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bay Area Summer Camps 2015

I've been behind on organizing my own kids' summer camps this year. But it's not too late to sign up for camp still. Today we're going to highlight some interesting camps to check out.

Butterfly Joint - this new woodworking camp in San Francisco offers week-long sessions with objects to make like necklaces, wooden boxes, floating bookshelves and stools. Camps are small, limited to 15 students each.
Ages: 4-12
Times: 9-3
Where: Mission district

Take My Word For It - this writing class/camp focuses on creating self portraits with words
Ages: incoming 6-8th grade
Times: June 1-5; from 1:30-5
Where: private home in San Francisco;

Renegade Girls Tinkering Club - learn hands-on science with fun experiments and STEM work. Only a few spots left.
Ages: 6-10
Times: 9-3 with optional after care
Where: San Francisco

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Coming Up: San Francisco Botanical Garden 75th Anniversary Celebration - Free

The San Francisco Botanical Garden is turning 75! Join them in celebrating at their Community Day at the San Francisco Botanical Garden on May 31.

They're having family-friendly activities including giant puppets and a sing-a-long, a variety of docent-led walking tours, a special stage featuring world music and dance performances, a photo booth and more. You can also buy picnicking items at food trucks from Off the Grid, and beverages of all kinds, including alcohol.

A little history from the Botanical Garden: "in the 1870s, William Hammond Hall tamed the dunes and, planting 66,000 trees, transformed a “howling waste of sand” into San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Hall, the Park’s first superintendent, created the original survey and master plan for the Park, which included a modest 12-acre arboretum.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Coming Up: Balancing Acts, Three Prima Ballerinas Become Mothers

For the next month, the Harvey Milk Photo Center is featuring photos from the book Balancing Acts – featuring Three Prima Ballerinas becoming Mothers. The photos are by Lucy Gray, a Bay Area photographer who has worked on a series of pictures at San Francisco Ballet for 15 years.

When: through June 7, 2015; Gallery Hours Tue–Thur: 4–9 p.m. | Sat: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. | Sun: 12–5:30 p.m
Where: Harvey Milk Photo Center, 50 Scott Street at Duboce

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What makes your family special or different?

Between Bruce Jenner finally admitting that he's not the man we thought he was (he's a woman), and Transgender becoming a TV hit, entertainment is finally breaking out and showing more families that aren't the cookie cutter type. Of course Bay Area families already know that the definition of a family isn't just a man, a woman and 2 kids. There is no one "right" kind of family. Some families come with same-sex partners. Some come with one parent. Some come with no kids. Some come with kids who are adopted and/or are different races or are blended from more than one family. Some come with no partners, but rather a circle of well-chosen friends that become family. Of course I could go on and on, but you get the point.

If you're looking for shows and movies showing different types of families, there are plenty out there now. Here are a few you can find on Netflix.

Gracie and Frankie - this is the latest Netflix original series, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. In this show, the husbands leave their wives to get together with each other. I haven't watched it yet, but I can imagine what these women might go through. It's on my watch list now!

Spy Kids - okay, so I saw this movie years back while babysitting my friend's kids. I didn't have a chance to finish it, so she let me borrow the movie to finish at home. And it's a kids' movie. I loved it. The kids become secret agents and I love how the roles are reversed with them being the heroes and smart ones.

Crash and Bernstein - Am I am man or a Muppet? That's what comes to mind with this show, which features a boy and his puppet brother in an otherwise all female family.

What are your favorite shows depicting less traditional families?

Disclosure: I'm a Netflix StreamTeam member.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Coming Up: Stranded! Tropical Island Survival at the Conservatory of Flowers

The new exhibit just opened at the Conservatory of Flowers. It's called Stranded! Tropical Island Survival. They'll take you on an adventure when t three-hour boat tour goes horribly wrong (cue Gilligan?) on your island vacation in paradise. These plants could save your life.

Visitors to the new exhibit "wash up" on a tropical shore to learn all about island survival. Walking through a living jungle of life-saving plants, you'll discover the best sources of building materials, food and water and see examples of structures and tools-all created with a touch of castaway kitsch. Fun survival facts fill the gallery, including tips for climbing coconut trees and more. You might even learn about how to lash palm fronds together to build shelter, harvest clean water found inside bamboo and fashion a snare from a vine.

When: now through October 18, 2015 (Closed Mondays)
Tickets: San Francisco Residents: $5 general; $3 youth 12-17, seniors and students with ID; $1.50 children 5-11; children 4 and under free. For non-residents: $8 general, $5 youth 12-17, seniors and students with ID; $2 children 5-11; children 4 and under free.
Where: Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park

Friday, May 8, 2015

SF Symphony Under 18 Program - Free Kid Tickets

Take your child to the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra on May 15 (and several other symphony programs through July) and get a free child's ticket for each adult ticket purchased. There are 200 tickets available for each of these performances, and they're recommended for kids ages 12+. Kids can be 18 and under to take advantage, and upcoming programs include Beethoven, Bartok, jazz with Mark Inouye and Russian favorites.

To get tickets: call the box office at (415) 864-6000. These tickets aren't available online.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Stamp out Hunger Food Drive - Saturday

Every year, the postal carriers run a food drive, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. This could not be easier for you! Put out a bag of food along with your mail (if you have any outgoing mail) on Saturday, May 9, 2015. They will take your bag and bring it to a local food bank. They're looking for nonperishable food items (not in glass containers) like: canned meat, fish, soup, juice, veggies, pasta, cereal, peanut butter and rice. Nothing expired. So you don't forget, get that bag ready NOW and leave it by the front door so you trip over it every day until Saturday.