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Monday, December 12, 2016

Coming Up: San Francisco Marina Small Craft Harbor Holiday Event

Join the SF Marina Small Craft Harbor for their holiday event. The event will feature a lighted boat parade, live music, rock climbing wall, and light holiday refreshments. The San Francisco Fire Department will have their old-style fire truck with Toy for Tots as well.

When: December 16 from 4-7

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Coming Up: Family Fun at the Presidio Officers' Club

The Presidio Officers’ Club is hosting Family Fun, an afternoon of kid-friendly holiday craft-making. Make winter bird hand puppets, decorate cookies, learn about park wildlife at the Roving Ranger truck, and explore the Presidio Nature Lab, an all-ages, hands-on exhibition that makes the great outdoors come to life. Free snacks available for all – and the first 100 families will receive a special Presidio goodie bag. This event is hosted by Presidio Trust and Golden Gate Mothers’ Group.

When: Saturday, December 3 from 11-2
Where: Presidio Officers' Club

Monday, November 14, 2016

Coming Up: Butterflies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

Butterflies! See 20 species at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. Walk through part of the Conservatory's Victorian era greenhouse into a colorful cottage garden where they butterflies fly free. At the Butterfly Bungalow, you'll see them as they emerge from their chrysalis stage.

For an additional donation, you can become a member of the Butterfly Patrol and learn how to release a newly emerged butterfly into the exhibit.

When: November 17, 2016 - June 30, 2017
Where: Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park - San Francisco

Coming Up: Fall Chocolate Salon - SF

You can start drooling now. The fall holiday chocolate salon is coming up - and that means lots of gourmet chocolate eating. Plus demonstrations, celebrity chef and author talks and more.

photo copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan. No reprinting without permission

When: November 20, 2016 from 10-5
Where: Hotel Kabuki, Japantown SF
Tickets: $25/advanced purchase, $30/door. Children ages 6-12 are $10. Children 6 and under are free (maximum 2 kids per adult or they'll charge $10 for each additional child). Tickets include chocolate and wine tastings and demonstrations.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Coming Up: SF Bay Area Birth and Baby Fair

The SF Bay Area Birth and Baby Fair is coming up. At the fair, you'll find Bay Area resources plus locally made goods, workshops and demonstrations on popular parenting topics such as sleep techniques, baby sign language, potty training, etc. There's a play area for tots, and a pampering area for moms with complimentary threading and make-up consultations. They're partnering with Just Between Friends to offer a selection of new and nearly new consignment items for maternity, newborn and toddlers. There's a raffle to win a grand prize stroller and other prizes. The first 100 families receive a special goody bag!

What: SF Bay Area Birth and Baby Fair
Where: Presidio Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, San Francisco
When: Sunday, November 13 from 10-4
Cost: $12 online or $15 at the door; ages 18 and under are free
Tickets: here

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Coming Up: Improv Night for Kids

Do your kids like improv? Drop them off for an improv workshop which will introduce it to them. Students are introduced to the basics of improvisation through games and exercises in a fun and friendly atmosphere. No prior experience necessary - watch or actively participate in improv games! Maximum of 15 students, so register soon.

Pizza, snacks and drinks are provided.
Ages: 8-18
When: Friday, November 18th from 5:30-7:30 pm (parent pickup at 8 pm)
Cost: $12 online/$15 at the door
Where: Hillbarn Theater in Foster City

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bay Area Tree Lighting Ceremonies 2016

It's more exciting to watch a giant tree get lit up, than watch your own. So head to these tree lightings for some holiday fun.

What: Rec and Park's 87th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting
When: Thursday, December 1, 4-8
Where: McLaren Lodge, Golden Gate Park
Activities: Music performances, snow play, holiday train rides, carnival rides, cookies and Santa visits.

WhatUnion Square, Macy's 27th annual tree lighting
When: Friday, November 25, 2016 at 6 p.m. for the ceremony, actual tree lighting at 6:40
Where: Union Square
Activities: entertainment by Aloe Blacc; it gets crowded so arrive early

WhatGhirardelli Square Tree Lighting
When: Friday, November 25, 2016 (activities 4-9)
Where; Ghirardelli Square
Activities: live music, kids' entertainment, Santa visit, food and gifts to purchase

Thursday, October 27, 2016

More Fall Theater for Families

We recently posted some theater of interest to Bay Area families. We have more to add.

What: Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Where: Julia Morgan Theater, Berkeley
More info: "Based on the Oscar-winning animated film, celebrating its 25th anniversary this holiday season... the international smash-hit musical gets the Berkeley Playhouse makeover as Producing Artistic Director Kimberly Dooley helms this all new production featuring a diverse and multi-generational cast of more than thirty actors from across the Bay Area. Featuring some of Disney's most popular songs and characters, audiences young and old won't want to miss this magical musical adventure."
When: November 10 - December 23

What: Nutz Remixed
Where: Hammer Theater Center, San Jose
More info: The Nutcracker for the 21st century. "An exuberant re-staging of the treasured classic, The Nutcracker, this magical madcap retake features more than 30 world-class singers, dancers, and circus artists, ranging from Mexican Folklorico dancers to hip-hoppers, ballroom dancers, and gymnasts in a zany holiday spectacular."
When: November 18 - December 24

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Coming Up: Bay Area Science Festival

10 days - 50 events. You're bound to find something you like! And most events are free.

The Bay Area Science Festival starts tomorrow, October 27, with Explorer Days events all around the San Francisco Bay. Some activities are adults-only, and others welcome kids. Go through the schedule and see what interests you.

Here are two geared at families on Saturday.  Head to Concord for Contra Costa Discovery Day. They'll have 20+ hands-on science booths for kids 5-14, and a STEM mentorship program for high school students. There's also a program at the Sonoma County Fairground, from 10-4 on Saturday. They'll be dissecting a squid and will have a space station museum. They'll have 100+ hands-on exhibits.

The festival concludes on November 5 at AT&T Park with a Discovery Day geared toward families, with kids up to age 14, It's free, no tickets needed. They'll have  for a free science extravaganza from 10-4. They'll have 150 experiments, shows, games and more. It includes robots, STEM programs, life sciences, marine science, and chances to meet scientists and engineers. They expect 30,000 people to attend!

Halloween Fun in the Bay Area This Weekend

Lots of Halloween fun this weekend! If you missed our Bay Area 2016 Halloween round-up, here it is. 

But we have a few more things to add.

Treasure Island Flea
This Saturday and Sunday, head over to Treasure Island for the Treasure Island Flea (in costume) for some Halloween fun and shopping. They'll have trick-or-treating at 400 vendor stalls (bring a bucket!), a costume contest for adults, kids and dogs at 2:00 each day, a pumpkin patch with 1,000 free pumpkins and a free design-your-own workshop. Each day, the first 500 people there can get a pumpkin and join the workshop. The Flea runs from 10-4. Entry is $3/adults - free for kids, pets and cars.

Jack o' Lantern Jamboree
Head over to Children's Fairyland in Oakland this Saturday and Sunday for the usual fun, PLUS goody bags and treat stations, bounce houses, balloon twisters, pirate school, parades, unlimited rides, special performances and more.

Marin Halloween Faire
This annual faire in Strawberry includes a carnival, bounce house, costume parade, candy and prize hunt. It's on Sunday, October 30 from 11-12:30.

Palo Alto's California Avenue Trick-or-Treat Carnival
This 22nd annual event features a ton of activities, including live music from Andy Z, to story time with the library. Get photos, watch dancing, check out the fire and police trucks, and trick-or-treat at the local stores. Plus a costume contest.

Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California's Carnival
Celebrate Halloween in San Francisco's Japantown on Friday night. Decorate a spooky rice ball (onigiri), play games and enter the costume contest.

Halloween Hoopla at Yerba Buena Center
Check out the interactive performances and games for kids 10 and under. Lots of live music, ecocrafts, palm reading, pumpkin patch and parade. It's on Sunday from noon - 2.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Books We're Reading: ADHD Nation, Parent Hacks and The Art of Risk

We wanted to share some books we've been reading lately, that you might enjoy.

ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an Epidemic by Alan Schwarz

I have to admit that given the title of the book and some brief comments I read from others before reading it, I thought this book would try to discredit the existence of ADHD and make parents feel bad if their kids were diagnosed with it, like they were all suckers. That was not the case at all. Author Alan Schwarz (a colleague from my college newspaper days and a highly respected former New York Times journalist) clearly did a ton of research, interviewing more than 1,000 people for the book, from researchers to doctors to patients. He doesn't dispute that ADHD exists and is treated by the medications on the market.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

2016 Halloween Family-Friendly Events in the Bay Area

In case you weren't aware, Halloween is coming up! I wanted to add some more to this post but realize that I'm running out of time. So I'll add more as it comes in, but I wanted to make sure none of these events passed!

Here are some Halloween 2016 events for families in the Bay Area

What: Stern Grove's Scaregrove
When: Friday, October 28 from 3-9
What: Haunted house, hay rides, arts and crafts, inflatables, carnival rides
Cost: $8/person - all inclusive (free ages 2 and under)
Who: the whole family

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fall Children's Theater in the Bay Area

We wanted to share some fall theater shows to take the kids to. We'll add more as we get them.

What: Peter and the Starcatcher (Berkeley Playhouse)
Where/When: September 22 - October 16
Tickets: here

What: The Jungle Book (Marin Theater Company)
When/Where: October 29-November 6
Tickets: Marin Theater Company

What: Seussical (Bay Area Children's Theater)
October 8 - November 6 - Berkeley (Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse)
November 12-13 - San Ramon (Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center)
November 19 - December 11 - San Francisco (Children's Creativity Museum Theater)
Tickets: here

What: A Christmas Carol (Bay Area Children's Theater)
Where/When: November 11-20 - San Jose (Montgomery Theater)
Tickets: here

What: Hairspray (Children’s Musical Theater San Jose)
Where/When: December 2-11 - San Jose (Montgomery Theater)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: Demi Hugger for Luggage

Every year I go to a conference in New York, and wheeling my suitcase with a briefcase (holding my computer) on the handle. And every few minutes the briefcase slides off. It drives me nuts, but I've never figured out a solution.

Recently I got an email from Demi Hugger, showing me their product. It seemed like a problem solver. They sent me one to try, and I have to say it worked. I took it on a trip recently where I didn't have my briefcase, but rather my trusty backpack, pictured below.

How it works:
The Demi Hugger is like a big sash with velcro. The velcro strip can attach anywhere on the long neoprene strap. It can be wrapped horizontally or vertically. There's an opening so the Demi Hugger fits over the handle/pull, attaching it securely to the luggage. Actually, there's an opening each way to fit it on the handle. It weighs very little but feels quite strong.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Customized Invitations and Announcements - Endless Options from

This post is brought to you by, but all writing and opinions are my own.

When my kids were born, I printed out their baby announcements on special vellum paper, attaching it to card stock with ribbon and then sending them out to friends and family. This was not a good project for a new mom. It was time consuming and required my husband bringing home his office cutting device, standing over the printer feeding in the vellum, and then ordering new ink when I ran out. In decade-plus that’s passed since then, there are so many better options for designing and ordering beautiful announcements online, at a very reasonable cost.

Baby announcements from Basic Invite.

We get our photo holiday cards online. We get customized thank you notes online. We’ve gotten birthday invitations online.

So when it was time to order my son’s bar mitzvah invitations, did I call to an invitation person?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Coming Up: Eat Real Festival

If you like food, you'll want to go to the 8th annual Eat Real Festival in Oakland. This food festival will attract upwards of 150,000 at Jack London Square, with activities, demos and fun educational guides on how to eat well.

What to expect:

Cookbook Cook-off: Friday night live cooking demonstrations featuring food from new cookbooks. Look for local chefs like Anya Fernald (Home Cooked), Russ Moore (Camino), and more.

Drink Real: Sample tasting flights and engage in sommelier demos, 'meet the brewer' panels, alcohol pairings, the return of the Jam Bar for craft cocktails and the popular Beer Shed, with over 20 taps of local craft brews flowing. Those happen all weekend.

Urban County Fair: The place the kids will love. Look for DIY in the pavillion, which showcases the how-tos of the sustainable urban home and garden, with especial focus this year on reducing food waste. They'll talk about surplus produce, backyard bees and lowering your carbon footprint.

Eat Real Main Stage: Enjoy live bands, chef demos, an all-female butcher showdown and more, with various pop-up entertainment venues throughout festival grounds.

Bring lots of cash, as not all vendors accept credit cards. They'll have ATM booths there as well.

When: September 23-25
Where: Oakland, Jack London Square
Cost: Free (though you'll pay to eat)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Coming Up: Snow White on the Big Screen

Have you and the kids seen Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the big screen? I didn't think so. It's coming to the Camera 12 Downtown this weekend. Costumes encouraged!

When: Friday, August 19 at 7 pm
Saturday, August 20 at 7 pm
Sunday, August 21 at 3 pm
Seating begins at 30 minutes prior to showtime. The event starts at the published start time and includes a 15-20 minute audience warm-up (no need to arrive early for the "pre-show").

Where: Camera Cinemas: Camera 12 Downtown (201 S Second St, San Jose)
Cost: $18. Discount for advance purchases: $15 + box office service fees. Discount for advance purchases for students, seniors: $12 + box office service fees.

Your reservation includes reserved seating (choose your own seats), a fun pack of props, a 15-20 minute pre-show including costume, trivia, and/or singing contests, and possibly on-screen lyrics (when available), free validated parking (when using the attached covered parking garage attached).

The movie is 83 minutes plus a 20 minute preshow

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Get 'Yer Tickets: Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily Circus

The Ringling Brothers retired their elephants, so now is the time to head back to the circus. Their new show, Out of this World, comes to San Jose and Oakland in August, and it looks like a great time. Check out the video on their website for a preview.

From Ringling: "In Out Of This World, audiences will be riveted by an interactive, action-packed storyline filled with space-age family fun and technology, which deepens their connection to the performers. Through the lens of a magic telescope capable of discovering the most spectacular circus stars in the galaxy, they will join the Circus Space Fleet on a heroic mission of good versus evil to bring performers back to Earth, traveling to interstellar worlds of sand, water, fire and ice.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Coming Up: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Release Party

I can't believe the first Harry Potter book was released in 1997, and here we are today awaiting the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Rowling's first book since the series ended. Harry is now an adult!

If you're a Harry Potter fan, you won't want to miss the fun release party this Saturday in San Francisco. Bookshop West Portal, an independent bookstore is the heart of the celebration, which spills out to other parts of West Portal.

Here's what you can expect:
The courtyard adjacent to the store will morph into Diagon Alley,

Monday, July 11, 2016

Coming Up: Doctor Noize Concerts - Free!

Check out these two free album release concerts which would be fun for the family.

Doctor Noize (Cory Cullinan) is from Los Altos, and uses electronic music and studio technology to create a fresh, modern pop style for kids. He'll be releasing his new kids' album Phineas McBoof Crashes the Symphony, which brings orchestra and musical theater to kids. During the concert, he'll debut several songs from the album.

He's a one-man-band playing an armada of instruments, with electronic music looping technology, and he records music live onstage. He sings and plays guitar, keyboard, saxophone, percussion and kazoo. During his shows, he brings kids onstage to solo on keyboard and drums and record their own vocals into loop recordings, using a Mac laptop and technology to build up songs for a big sound.

The album is a "screwball musical comedy" written by Cullinan, His upcoming children's musical, The Ballad of Phineas McBoof, was commissioned by Palo Alto Children's Theatre and will premiere there from November 3 - 13, 2016.

What: Doctor Noize Live! A Phineas McBoof Crashes the Symphony Album Release Party
Where: Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, 180 Woz Way, San Jose
When: Noon, Thursday, July 14
Cost: Free with paid museum admission

Where: Palo Alto Children's Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto
When: Sunday, July 16 at 3
Cost: free

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Coming Up: Presidio Kite Festival

The Presidio Kite Festival is coming up this Saturday, from noon to 5. Head over to the Presidio’s Main Post A for the second annual celebration.

They'll have kite-flying demonstrations and contests (for both amateurs and professionals), ground displays, stunt kite fliers, champion aerobatics and stunning kites - tiny to gigantic. You can bring your own or make one on site at the Presidio (reservations required).

Monday, June 13, 2016

This Summer: Strandbeests Exhibit at Exploratorium

A year or two back, my mom told me about Strandbeests, the work of Theo Jansen. Tough to explain, these self-moving art pieces are like creatures, but made to move without motors. They use simple parts like PVC pipes. The Exploratorium is hosting the West Coast's only installation of Jansen's tour, and is live now. At the exhibition you'll be able to interact with the Strandbeests, see drawings of their creation, watch immersive video and see live demonstrations.

The Explortorium exhibit runs through September 5, 2016. You can read more about the Strandbeests and exhibit at this SFGate article. You'll need a special ticket for the exhibition.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Coming Up: Warriors Viewing Party in SF - Free

Tonight, cheer on the Warriors at an outdoor viewing party at Civic Center in SF. It's game 4 of the NBA Finals, and you and the kids can watch the game with other fans on a jumbo screen. Grab some eats from the Off the Grid food trucks. No alcohol allowed at the event, so it will be more family-friendly. There will also be basketball themed youth events. The game starts at 6.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Coming Up: Jack of all Trades Market - free

This weekend, take the kids to the Jack of all Trades market at Oakland's Jack London Square. In addition to 100 vendors and food trucks, they'll have more than 10 DIY workshops, fun for you and the kiddos. Look for the kids' zone with a giant Nerf gun obstacle course and life-size bubble sumo wrestling (I want in on that!). Go before noon and the games are free, otherwise there's a fee.

Ditch the car and come by ferry from Alameda or San Francisco, and bring your dog - pets are welcome.

When: Saturday, June 11 from 11-5.
Where: Jack London Square
Cost: free

Coming Up: Sunday Streets in Great Highway/Sunset

The latest Sunday Streets is this Sunday - Great Highway/Sunset district. You'll have access to more than 3 miles of Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway, from 11:00-4. Combine this with Golden Gate Park’s weekly car-free Sundays on JFK from Stanyan to Park Presidio, and that makes Golden Gate Park completely free of car traffic for one day of the year. Also this weekend is the Haight Street Fair, so don't miss that. Bring your feet or your non-motorized wheels to enjoy the day.

You can find Sunday Street details here.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Coming Up: Frozen Singalong (Plus Mamma Mia and Sound of Music)

I know this is last minute, but if you are looking for something to do with the kids this weekend, and they love Frozen (who doesn't?), get your tickets to the Frozen Singalong at the Retrodome in San Jose. Seats are limited for the matinees, so hop on it!

While you're at it, consider getting a three-pack of tickets to other singalongs, including the Sound of Music and Mamma Mia.

Frozen Singalong: April 29-May 1
Mamma Mia: May 6-8 (a great Mother's Day outing!)
The Sound of Music: May 13-15

Where: Camera 12 Downtown, 201 South Second Street, San Jose
Tickets: $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Your reservation includes reserved seating, a fun pack of props, a 15 minute pre-show that includes contests, previews and/or trivia, on-screen lyrics and free validated parking when using the adjacent parking garages.

Coming Up: Bay Area Theater Productions Fit for Kids

Here's what's happening in children's theater right now.

To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee just passed away, which makes this a great time to delve into this book. Have the kids read the book, and then get tickets to see it live at the Berkeley Playhouse.

When: April 30-May 22
Where: Berkeley Playhouse, 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley
Tickets: $25-60

Rickshaw Girl
The show is about a daughter in a Bangladesh village, where boys can work for pay, but girls are expected to stay home and help with the cooking and the cleaning. The girl, Naima desperately wants to help her father earn more money, and she thinks she knows just how to do it. Includes theater, dance and music. This is a world premiere, and it's recommended for age 6 and up. The book author will be at the May 22 performances to sign books.

Tickets: $18-22 at Bay Area Children's Theater
When: now through May 1
Where: Children's Creativity Museum Theater, San Francisco

When: May 7-22
Where: Osher Stdio, Berkeley
Elephant and Piggie, photo courtesy of BACT

Elephant and Piggie's We are in a Play
This play based on a Mo Willems book is so popular it already sold out in Berkeley and San Francisco (and the SF performances haven't even started yet). Good news: there are tickets available for the San Ramon performances. What's it about? "Piggie is excited, because she has no idea what is going to happen today—which means that anything is possible. Like skipping. Or ping pong. Or a party invitation! Party invitation?! Good thing Gerald knows how to party!" The characters sing and dance and celebrate friendship. Recommended for all ages.

When: May 7-8
Where: San Ramon, Dougherty Performing Arts Center, 10550 Albion Road.
Tickets: $18-22 at Bay Area Children's Theater

Monday, April 11, 2016

Coming Up: Old Enough to Vote at Habitot - Free

This Saturday, Habitot Children’s Museum has a free admission day to celebrate its 18th anniversary, with an “Old Enough To Vote” theme. Families are encouraged to come dressed up at politicians, suffragists, or famous presidents. They'll have a voting box for the kids to stamp their vote for cutest insect. This week, the kids can also vote on the Habitot Facebook page to vote on their favorite color playdough, best juice flavor, and cutest insect. In the art studio, the museum will have an enormous three-foot sculptural birthday cake for kids to douse in paint, glue, sparkles and confetti.

This is a great time to teach your kids about the voting process, if you haven't started already, since the presidential primary is June 7.

When: Saturday, April 16 from 9:30-4:30
Where: Habitot, 2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley
Cost: free

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Art of Risk (and Family Travel) – a Q&A with Author Kayt Sukel

As a family travel writer, I often hear that going abroad with my kids is a risky proposition—and it’s always confused me a bit. Kayt Sukel, a fellow writer and travel blogger at Travel Savvy Mom, has been fed that line a time or two herself. Her new book, The Art of Risk: The New Science of Courage, Caution and Chance, takes a hard look at “risk” – what it is, what it isn’t, and why we should, as parents and individuals, be encouraging more of it, at home and abroad. I’m excited to share this Q and A with her—and encourage you to pick up a copy of the book (I'll be posting a review myself soon)!

Frisco Kids: You’ve traveled with your son across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. What do you say to people who tell you that it’s too risky? 

Kayt: I usually start by quoting Mark Twain and say something about travel being fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness—and that I think it’s a bigger risk for my children not to explore and learn those important skills. For those who are terrified of travel, that usually ends the conversation. They think I’m nuts and we just agree to disagree. But for those who are honestly curious—and, often, I think, looking for permission to travel with their own kids—it usually leads to a wonderful discussion about how to best travel with kids. I usually learn a thing or two myself in the process.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Coming Up: The Wild Bunch - Conservatory of Flowers

The Conservatory of Flowers is getting ready for a new exhibition. Called the Wild Bunch, they're featuring "some of the more ornery gangs of the plant world." What does that mean? They'll have plants that hoard water (cacti), "fat" plants called caudiciforms, and succulents. "These fleshy, and often thorny, plants are distinguished for their ability to survive the most extreme, arid conditions, and their swollen stems and leaves come in a stunning variety of weird shapes and unexpected colors."

You'll see hundreds of varieties like Lithops, which look like pebbles, some Dr. Seuss-like fat plants such as the flowering Adenium obesum or desert rose. You and the kids will learn about how the succulents have unusual adaptations to hostile environments, like their water storage abilities, drought resistance and sharp defenses against predators (hello, cacti!).

What: the Wild Bunch: Succulents, Cacti and Fat Plants – a special living exhibition that explores the dramatic world of water hoarding plants
When: May 6 – October 16, 2016. Closed Mondays.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays – Sundays
Where: Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Cost: San Francisco Residents: $6 general; $3 youth 12-17, seniors and students with ID; $2 children 5-11; children 4 and under FREE Non-residents: $8 general, $6 youth 12-17, seniors and students with ID; $2 children 5-11; children 4 and under FREE.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Coming Up: ADHD with Katherine Ellison

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Ellison will be talking about ADHD at a special evening at Kepler's. Her new book is ADHD: What Everyone Needs to Know.

She'll be in conversation with Melissa Belle Anderson. She'll discuss all of the most controversial ADHD topics, including:
-does it even exist?
-is it just for kids?
-how much do meds really help?
-how does it affect women differently than men?

Rates of diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are skyrocketing, throughout America and the rest of the world. U.S. rates of youth diagnosis have increased 40% from just a decade ago. Adults with ADHD are now the fastest-growing segment of the population receiving diagnosis and medication. The disorder is painful and sometimes disabling for individuals and tremendously costly for society; yet, widespread misinformation, skepticism, and unanswered questions have jeopardized effective diagnosis and treatment. The book is researched and written by Stephen Hinshaw, an international expert on ADHD, and Ellison.

Moderator Melissa Belle Anderson is the mother of two, and was diagnosed with ADHD late in life. Since receiving treatment, she is now a full time, first-generation college student, entrepreneur, and ADHD advocate.

When: Thursday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m.
WhereKepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park
Cost: free

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Coming Up: Jack and the Beanstalk live in Marin

Jack and the Beanstalk comes to life in March.

Actually, it's Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Giant, and the Goose, and the Really Truly-Uly Rotten Day, a one hour, interactive musical . This fractured fairytale version of Jack and the Beanstalk includes singing and dancing, plus comedy and magic.

Stay after the show for a meet-and-greet, photo opportunity with the characters. The show is put on by the Masque Unit Junior Theatre of Marin, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization. This is its 54th consecutive year presenting fully produced stage performances retelling classic children's stories.

For: Ages 3+

When: Saturday, March 5, 2016
Three performances at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Tickets: $10 and $12; $10 children (up to 12 years old); $12 adults Get them online here. or call the Marin Center Box Office at (415) 473-6800.

Where: Theatre Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Feeding America: Teaching Your Children About Hunger

Many of us are fortunate enough to have enough food to feed our families. But food insecurity is a huge problem in the United States.

Here are some facts:
-In the U.S., 1 in 6 struggles with food insecurity
-16 million American kids are food insecure - a higher percentage of households with food insecurity have kids
-hunger/food insecurity is an issue in every U.S. county
-54% of those helped through Feeding America (it has a network of 200+ food banks and other programs to help those who need food) have worked in the last year.

Have you tried to make it through an afternoon meeting when you're hungry? How do your children behave when they need to eat? Imagine going through this daily. As parents, we have an opportunity to help our children see the impact of hunger on those around them, and to get them in the mindset of helping others.

Here are some ways that my family helps to combat hunger in the U.S.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Super Bowl City and NFL Experience in San Francisco and Santa Clara

Do you have tickets to the Super Bowl? Probably not. But you can still get in on the excitement at Super Bowl City and the NFL Experience through this weekend. Here's the scoop:

Super Bowl City

Friday, January 29, 2016

Coming Up: Treasure Island Flea

Check out the Treasure Island Flea Market this weekend! In addition to the 400 vendors, you'll find 25 food trucks, live music, drinks (cocktails, wine and beer) and a great city view. The Treasure Island Flea is held every last weekend.

When: last weekend of each month - January 30-31 - from 10-4
Where: Treasure Island, Great Lawn, Avenue of the Palms
Cost: $3/person for those 13 and older. Free for 12 and under.
Other: free parking and pet-friendly

Get 'Yer Tickets: Bad Kitty

You've read the Bad Kitty books by Nick Bruel. Now see the show. It's a world premiere!.

Bad Kitty brings to life the comic adventures of Kitty, her family, and her assorted quirky animal friends.

For: Ages 4+ (the show is 60 minutes)
When: Now through February 21 in Berkeley at Freigh and Salvage Coffeehouse (walking distance from BART)
February 27-28 in San Ramon at Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center
March 5-26 in San Francisco at Children's Creativity Museum Theater
Tickets:$22/adult, $20/senior, $18/kids, $13/groups (15 minimum). Get them here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Coming Up: Hamlet for Kids

Kind of like a Cliff's Notes for kids, take the kiddosto see Hamlet from Shakespeare on Tour, tonight. The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's touring troupe is doing an abridged version, where you'll see this tale of a prince whose royal family is disrupted by revenge and corruption. There's swordplay and word play, plus "to be or not to be" that may sound familiar to you and the kids. It's recommended for elementary and middle school age kids.

When: Thursday, January 28, 7-8:15 p.m.
Where: Foster City Library, 1000 E. Hillsdale Blvd.
Cost: free

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

TrueCare24 for Families – House Calls and a Doctor at Your Fingertips. Dedicated Post

Sometimes when you or the kids are sick, the last thing you want to do is leave the house. Maybe you just want to lie on the couch. Or you have a sick kid at home, and who wants to drag a sick child out where they’ll not only feel terrible, but they might puke in your car? And what if you have more than one kid? You’re going to bring multiple children to the doctor’s office, or drag them along when you go to your own doctor? Heck, no.

So this is what’s great about TrueCare24, a new California-based health service. Get a telehealth visit via video on your phone, tablet or computer. Or get an actual clinician to make a HOUSE CALL that won’t break the bank. Have you ever had a house call from a pediatric specialist? I know! It’s like living in the Norman Rockwell era.

Here’s how it works:

Monday, January 4, 2016

How to plan a ski trip on a budget

Skiing is not a cheap sport. But you can still do it, even on a budget. I gathered some resources for you to help you plan a ski trip this winter, even if your means are more limited.
Photo courtesy of MorgueFile

A mom named Evelyn in San Francisco is the keeper of a lending closet of infant and toddler snow gear. She has clothes ranging from 3 months to 4T available for anyone to borrow for free. If you have gear to donate, especially for larger sizes like 5 and 6T, please reach out to her. She'll also accept mittens and gender neutral clothing to loan out. If you're interested in borrowing or donating clothes, fill out this form.

If you're flying into Reno, you can ski the day you arrive, for free. Details here.

Looking into season passes? Check out the over/under here.

How to plan a ski trip on a budget - a round-up of great links from fellow family travel bloggers.

I wrote a piece last year for Gothamist on where to ski free. A couple of the options are good for the Bay Area residents, including the Shell's Ski Free deal (if you want to ski in Colorado), and getting a Tahoe license plate from DMV, which gives you 2 ski tickets in Tahoe.

Here's another great round of up travel bloggers on planning the perfect ski trip with kids,

And another round up from travel bloggers on 30 Skiing Tips for Beginners, by RWeThereYetMom.

What are your best tips for skiing on a budget?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Coming Up: Bay Area Youth Orchestra Festival in SF

If your kids are musicians, taking them to hear excellent performances of other kids (we're not talking about school shows!) can be an inspiration. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra as well as the El Camino Youth Symphony, Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra, Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Young People’s Symphony Orchestra are performing a benefit concert for underserved youth. You'll get to see more than 500 kids perform!

This is the sixth Bay Area Youth Orchestra Festival (BAYOF). Each ensemble performs separately, concluding with a piece by the “Festival Orchestra” which includes selected musicians from all five ensembles and led by Festival Orchestra Director Alasdair Neale.

When: Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 3 pm
Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco Tickets: $70 reserved seating, $25 general admission, half price for 17 and under in general admission only. Get tickets online or by calling (415) 864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office.