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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

App Research Project - $175 payment per child

Touchstone Research has a special opportunity for teens ages 12-17 to be a part of a fun app research project with an in-person follow-up session for a popular technology company. Please read the description of the project below carefully, so that you can determine if this is a good fit for your child. They are looking for teens (ages 12-17) to participate in a 3 day diary project plus an in-person interview.

Here are the details:

  • 3 day online diary project starting in November or December
  • Follow-up interviews at a facility in Menlo Park 
  • Teens Ages 12-17 years
  • They pay $75 for the diary and $100 for the in-person session. That is a total of $175 per child.

The survey should only take a few minutes to complete and will help them determine whether your child fits the criteria they are looking for. You will be able to select the times you are available. Please click on this link to take the survey.

IMPORTANT: Please be sure to answer all questions as honestly as possible. Failure to do so will result in the removal of your account. Please click on the link below to take the survey:

This post is sponsored by Touchstone.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Please vote!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Big Book Sale - SF Public Library - at Fort Mason this weekend

The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Big Book Sale is in its final two days (today and tomorrow). Sunday is $1 Day. Buy books, support the Library. It's the largest book sale on the West Coast and EVERYTHING is a $1 on Sunday! It's at Fort Mason, Festival Pavilion from 10:00-6.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Coming Up: Guys and Dolls Jr. and Bring it On at Hillbarn

This weekend, see Guys and Dolls, Jr., and the next weekend, see Bring it On. These full scale musicals are a result of Hillbarn Theatre Conservatory summer program, with four weeks of intense rehearsals and a cast of more than 30 kids ages 11-13

Here's the plot of Guys and Dolls: Gambler Nathan Detroit, tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck; meanwhile, his girlfriend and nightclub performer, Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for fourteen years. Nathan turns to a fellow gambler, Sky Masterson, for the money, and Sky ends up chasing the straight-laced missionary, Sarah Brown, as a result. From Times Square to the cafes of Havana, Cuba, into the sewers of New York City, eventually, everyone ends up right where they belong. This is one of the most revived musicals of all time, an oddball romantic comedy

Here's the plot of Bring It On:  Bitingly relevant, sprinkled with sass and inspired by the hit film, Bring It On: The Musical takes audiences on a high-flying journey filled with the complexities of friendship, jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness. Campbell is cheer-royalty at Truman High School and her senior year should prove the most important of her life – she's been named captain of the squad! But an unexpected redistricting has forced her to spend her final year of high school at the neighboring Jackson High School, where none of the rules seem the same. Despite having the deck stacked against her, Campbell befriends the dance crew girls and, along with their headstrong and hardworking leader, Danielle, manages to form a powerhouse cheer squad for the ultimate competition – the National Championships. With a heart-felt story and insane stunts, this is sure to be a show you don’t want to miss! In August, they perform Bring it On

Guys and Dolls - July 27-28 at 7 pm and July 28 and 29 at 2 pm
Bring it On - August 3-4 at 7 pm and August 4 and 5 at 2 pm

Where: Hillbarn Theatre Conservatory, 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd, Foster City

Tickets: Hillbarn Conservatory tickets online or via phone, (650) 349-6411 ext. 2

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Kids' technology usability study - $100-150

This post is written and sponsored by the organization conducting the study.

We have a special opportunity for teens ages 9-14 to be a part of a fun in-person session for a popular technology company. Please read the description of the project below carefully so that you can determine if this is a good fit for your child. We are looking for kids (ages 9-14) to participate in paired sessions with their friends in the same age range (and same gender) OR with their parents for one 60 minute session!

How can I sign my child up? Complete the survey to determine eligibility, which may be followed up with a telephone interview (about 5-10 minutes).

Here are the details for the in-person session: 
When: July 16th-20th - 60 minute paired sessions between 9:00 AM and  8:00 PM
Kids: Ages 9-14 years with their friend in the same age range and gender OR with their parent
Where: In Bay Area
Pay: We will pay $100.00-$150.00 per child!

Simply click on the link below and fill out a brief online survey to see if you qualify. 

Important: Please keep in mind your child’s ability to participate and enjoy the sessions. We want this to be a positive experience for the children. If your child is especially shy, uncomfortable around others, or might have difficulty sitting and actively participating it might not be a good fit for him/her. Also, it is important that language not be an issue. Please be sure to answer all questions as honestly as possible. There are only a very limited number of slots available so be sure to fill out this survey as soon as possible. We will close this survey when we get the number of participants we need for these sessions.

Kids really love these sessions, so if your child is available on July 16th through July 20th , take this survey and see if they qualify—DON’T MISS OUT!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: The Good News About Bad Behavior

I often look to my friends for parenting advice, and I don’t think I’m unique there. So good thing that several of my friends and colleagues not only teach parenting classes, but write books on the subject. One of the most interesting ones I read lately was The Good News About Bad Behavior by Katherine Reynolds Lewis. It’s a book I was anticipating for a few years, as it stemmed from a Mother Jones article, What if Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids was Wrong? How is that for a provocative title? The premise of the article (and hence, the book) is that bad behavior simply gets worse from the disciplinary techniques that many of us use with our children, including time outs, negative consequences and other punishments. Even positive rewards like gold stars can cause kids to lose their intrinsic motivation, focusing instead on the teacher’s motivation.

What if we paid attention to the reason that kids were not behaving well. Perhaps they’re hungry or bored. Or maybe they have behavioral issues they can’t control, like ADHD. Of course, for each child it’s different, and this can be hard in a school situation when there’s a room full of kids and one or two disruptive kids (or more).

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

GDPR Privacy Policy Update

On May 25, 2018, a new European Union (EU) data protection law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), takes effect. The GDPR gives individuals in the EU more control over how their data is used and places certain obligations on businesses that process information of those individuals. We’ve updated our Privacy Policy to take into account the new requirements of the GDPR.

If you receive posts by email and no longer wish to receive them, you can unsubscribe using the "unsubscribe" link below. If you would like to continue receiving them, you don't need to do anything.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Review: Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio

The Walt Disney Family Museum in the San Francisco Presidio opened in 2009, and I regret that this was my first visit. I can’t wait to go back – there is so much to take in at the museum. Here's my review: Walt Disney Family Museum!

The Walt Disney Family Museum. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Friday, May 18, 2018

Dandelion Chocolate Factory and Cafe in the Mission

When you're in the Mission district getting most excellent burritos and other Mexican food, don’t miss a trip to Dandelion Chocolate factory and cafe. This bean-to-bar factory has tastings, tours (on-site and international), classes and dining. Stop in and get some chocolate bar samples from their single origin bars. Don't forget to try their hot chocolates.

Dandelion Chocolate factory and cafe samplers. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: Smitten Ice Cream

Smitten Ice Cream in Hayes Valley. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

I've been wanting to try Smitten Ice Cream for a long time and am glad I finally did! We went to the flagship location in Hayes Valley, which looks a bit like a pop up store. It's quite charming. There's a beer garden near by, so maybe we'll try that one of these days without the kids.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: KitTea Cat Cafe

We’ve been to two cat cafés, so we wanted to try KitTea Cat Café in San Francisco. I learned not to go late afternoon like we did – the cats are tired and don’t feel like playing. So it was disappointing. Even my son, who begs me to visit other cat cafes, got bored 20 minutes in and asked how much longer we were staying. Given that we paid $20/person for the hour, I was disappointed. It was crowded with people and the cats ignored us. No cats wanted to play!

KitTea Cat Cafe in San Francisco. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A day in Japantown Center San Francisco

A day in Japantown Center San Francisco is one of my favorite ways to spend the day. And my teen son loves it too. We recently went there for a few hours, and here's what we found on this trip. As you may know, Japantown is basically the Japantown Center, an indoor mall, though there are some stores outside there as well.

Japanese Kit Kat. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Here were some of the highlights:

Monday, May 14, 2018

San Francisco CityPASS review

We get asked all the time for the most economical ways to see San Francisco. One way is the San Francisco CityPASS, which we recently got review purposes, over spring break earlier this year. We already planned on seeing many of the places covered by the CityPASS, so it seemed like a good idea - was it? We discuss that at the end. Here’s what we saw.

As you know, the Exploratorium is a world famous hands-on kids’ science museum for a good reason – it’s a great place. It’s huge. You won’t make it through in one visit, but you can still spend a few hours there. Since we were there a few years ago, they’ve added on more outside exhibits, some indoor ones and rebuilt the Tactile Dome (one of my favorite things from it’s old location at the Palace of Fine Arts).
the wall of the tinkering lab. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Day at Fisherman's Wharf

The only time locals usually go to Fisherman’s Wharf is when visitors come to town. But for us it had been awhile, so we spent the good part of a day there seeing some of our favorite haunts. We started off taking the trolley from Union Square. But before that, have you been to the Walgreens on Powell Street between Market and Ellis? Wow! It’s really nice and they sell fresh foods like sushi and sandwiches.

Walgreens on Powell Street. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Friday, May 11, 2018

Battlebots: What it's like to watch them film

My son is a huge BattleBots fan. But the filming was going to be in Long Beach, California and we live in New Jersey. We weren’t making a special trip to watch the filming. Lucky us – after making plans to spend part of spring break in Los Angeles, we got an email announcing that BattleBots filming would start on our last day there.

 Battlebots set - copyright Caroline Jusko

Here’s what it’s like going to a BattleBots filming

Friday, May 4, 2018

Coming up: Island City Waterways - Free

credit: Maurice Ramirez
Join in as Rhythmix Cultural Works presents Island City Waterways, a site-specific public art event animating Alameda’s past and present through music, dance, theater, storytelling, and more. It includes a cast of 40 actors, dancers and musicians leading audiences on an easy stroll around Crab Cove, Crown Memorial State Beach in a 75-minute performance that shares the Cove’s rich history and celebrates the sea. You'll see carnies and bathing beauties starting show off with a walk down memory lane, back to the roaring twenties when this was home to Neptune Beach, an amusement park with extravagant public baths. Following a drum corps, audiences visit “Glory of the Seas,” a WWII-era maritime officer training station, where they will join the trainees for drills. Ryujin the Dragon Queen spins a tale of ecological warning on the shores of the first estuary marine reserve in California, established in 1980. And finally, Japanese taiko drummers, Balinese gamelan performers, musicians, and contemporary dancers take to the beach for a dazzling ‘Island to Island’ finale that pays tribute to our shared waters and the global community’s efforts to protect them.

What: Island City Waterways
Where: Crab Cove Visitor Center, Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda
Dates: Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20 - four performances each day at 10, 11:45, 1:30 and 3:15
Cost: Free
RSVP: Advanced registration is recommended at

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Focus Group: Social Media - $150 or $200

Probe Market Research is conducting an opinion study on April 24 in San Francisco, on social media. If you qualify and are chosen, it pays $150 for one hour, or $200 for 2.5 hours. You can take the preliminary survey at

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Coming Up: Earth Week at the Presidio

The Presidio has some fun events coming up for Earth Week

Back into the Earth Day
Date: Saturday, April 21
Time: 9-12
Where: Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco
Phone: 415-561-4323
Price: Free, but registration is required.
Spring is here, and that means the archaeological field season is just beginning. Join the team as they get “back into the earth” and kick off the Presidio Archaeology program’s 2018 excavation season! As one of the only volunteer opportunities with the Presidio Archaeology team, this is your chance to get dirty with the archaeologists by removing that sand that covers last year’s discoveries on El Presidio de San Francisco, the Spanish-colonial archaeological site buried just below the ground in front of the Presidio Officers' Club. Don’t worry, we’ll provide the shovels!

Creative Family Fun: Back into the Earth Day
Date: Saturday, April 21
Time: 11-3
Place: Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco
Phone: 415-561-4323
Price: Free
Drop in on Saturdays between 11-3 for fun activities, crafts, and learning based on the Presidio’s natural and cultural heritage—featuring a different theme every week. This week the archaeologists at the Presidio open their site for the season. Visit their site and learn about archaeology with hands-on experiments!

Volunteer at Presidio Earth Day
Date: Saturday, April 21
Time: 9-2
Place: Fort Scott Field
Phone: 415-561-4323
Price: Free, but registration is required.
The Presidio's annual volunteer event devoted to celebrating Earth Day, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Earth Week celebration. As a part of this event, Presidio volunteers are invited to bring friends and family for a morning of stewardship projects (9-12) with a BBQ potluck and lawn games to follow (12-2) at the Fort Scott field. All ages welcome, and there will be a volunteer project activity geared towards families with children 9 years-old and younger. Registration is required for this Earth Day event!

Presidio Nature Challenge 2018
Date: Saturday, April 28
Time: 9- pm
Place: Begin at the Presidio Officer’s Club, 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco
Phone: 415-561-4323
Price: Free
The Presidio Nature Challenge is a chance to discover and record the many wild plants and animals that thrive in the Presidio in what is called a “bioblitz”— pairing volunteers with professional naturalists on a scientific adventure. Just bring your smartphone with the iNaturalist app, your curiosity, and your powers of observation to help catalog the natural wonders of our parks and open spaces. All of the observations recorded during the day will help San Francisco win the 2018 City Nature Challenge - a competition between more than 60 cities worldwide to see who can find the most species, and engage the most people. Help them celebrate and record the rich biodiversity of the Presidio.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Coming Up: CuriOdyssey - Bots and Bugs

Interact with robotic creations built by kids and professionals, make and wear technology-inspired art, meet living insects and learn how bugs influence imagination and innovation. Meet the Beetlelady, Dr. Stephanie Dole, and her insects. Meet the students involved with FIRST and take their robots for a drive. See Starship’s delivery robot rove around the zoo. Create a TechInsect from computer parts with the Museum of Craft and Design. Try on Giant Cardboard Robot arms. Learn about a bug you draw from a Customer X robot, or about augmented reality and 3D bugs. Be enchanted by Paul-Lous Agenau’s delightful, dancing teapot robot. Experience CuriOdyssey’s exciting combination of science and wildlife that is unique in the Bay Area.

What: Amazing “Bots and Bugs event
Where: CuriOdyssey
When: April 7-8, 10-3; opening night April 6, 5-8pm

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Easter Events in the San Francisco Bay Area 2018

If you're looking for some fun things to do to celebrate Easter with the family in the San Francisco Bay Area, here's the place to start.

Please add your favorites in the comments section!

What: Spring Eggstravaganza (egg hunt, inflatables, carnival rides, entertainment, carnival rides, food for sale, rib cook-off)
Where: Sharon Meadow at Golden Gate Park
When: Saturday, March 31, 2018 from 11-3 Cost: $10/person (free 2 and under). Get them in advance by calling 415-831-6800 or at the Maclaren Lodge Annex

What: Union Street Easter Parade (and festival with face painting, climbing wall, activities, characters)
Where: Union Street in Cow Hollow, San Francisco
When: April 11, 2018 from 10-5, parade at 2
Cost: Free

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Coming Up: Beautiful Oops! Opening in San Francisco

This Friday, Beautiful Oops!, a musical for families opens. It's inspired by the book of the same name by author-Illustrator Barney Saltzberg.
Andrew Mondello as Pig. Photo credit: Joshua Posamentier

Where: the Children’s Creativity Museum, 221 Fourth Street, San Francisco
When: Friday through March 31. Fridays at 6:30 pm., weekends at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm
Ages: recommended for 3+
Tickets: $15-27 online or by phone 510- 296-4433

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Coming Up: Sunday Streets

This Sunday is the season's first Sunday Streets. Valencia Street becomes car-free. There are two activity hubs at 24th and 16th Streets. Pick up an Activity Guide at their info booths or at the new Intersection Jamborees. Bring bikes or blades - or just walk.

When: March 11 from 11-4
Where: Duboce Ave to 26th Street

Monday, February 12, 2018

Coming Up: Lunar New Year at the Asian Art Museum

Welcome the Year of the Dog with acrobatics, art, drumming and stories! The Asian Art Museum has a big celebration planned:

--Red Panda Acrobats for an afternoon of circus arts and tumbling
--End the day with Lion Dance Drumming, believed to scare away evil spirits and ensure a bright beginning to the year.
--Storytelling with author Oliver Chin, reading his story about Chinese zodiac animals’ characteristics
--Have your name written in Chinese calligraphy
--Make art projects to bring you prosperity in the Year of the Dog.

Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin, SF
When: Sunday, February 18 from 10:30-4
Cost: Free with admission. Always free for kids 12 and under

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Get 'Yer Tickets: Junot Diaz at Kepler's

Junot Diaz, the New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winning writer of  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This Is How You Lose Her, is introducing his new picture book, Islandborn at Kepler's in March. The book is about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination. The book poses questions about identity and belonging, in the story of a young girl's imaginary journey back to her birthplace.

"Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places."

When Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island--she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories - joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening - Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. Through their anecdotes she creates her drawing and comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: "Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you."

When: March 21 at 6 pm
Where: Kepler's Books - 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park
Tickets: $5 (entrance only) or $25 (entrance plus book) - plus fees

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Aero Design Challenge at Hiller - Free Program

There are a few spots left for the final public session of the Aero Design Challenge. This is an annual event providing middle school students with opportunities to experience the engineering process with hands-on. They'll be challenged to design, build, test and improve a catapult-launched glider in an attempt to set a new distance record.

The challenges starts with a series of experiences on the theme of gliding flight, including wind tunnel tests, observations of real gliders and sailplanes, and flight simulation. Participants then work in small teams to construct and test a glider before competing their design against other teams. Aero Design Challenge is available at no charge to participants, thanks to sponsors Peaxy and SAP.

It's a 3-hour program open to grades 5-12. Engineers Week is a 1.5-hour experience for Grades 4-8. During each program, students will explore various stations throughout the Hiller Aviation Museum with their teachers, parents or chaperones while completing a design challenge. A parent, teacher or adult chaperone must accompany participants at all times while visiting the museum.

Registration is required.  Individuals or small groups can register through this link. If you have a group of 12 or more, reaching out to Hiller directly.

Hiller Aviation Museum is in San Carlos.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Free Zoo Entrance Through January 31

Okay, so it's really just free kids' admission to the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens, but that is something! They're letting in all kids ages 14 and younger in at no cost through January 31, 2018, as part of the zoo's “Happy Zoo Year” promotion.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Opinion study: Social Media - $125 or $150 in Menlo Park

Probe Research is doing an opinion study on January 30th and January 31st. The incentive is $125/$150 the time commitment is 30/130 minutes. The study takes place in Menlo Park and the topic is social media.

If interested, fill out their pre-survey at: and they'll contact you if you qualify or they want more information.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Coming Up: Mochi Pounding at the Asian Art Museum

Funny that this came across my desk, as I just saw videos of another travel writer pounding mochi in Japan. Well, now we can all try. The Asian Art Museum is hosting its mochi pounding Japanese new year tradition ceremony and you can get in on the action. This sweet rice doughy treat will be pounded (with lots of entertaining ceremony involved) from noon to 1 on January 20.

Please note that this is on the same day as Women’s March at Civic Center (rally at noon, march at 2 pm), so some streets will be closed. The museum emphasizes that their mochi celebration is about community and building intercultural communication through the arts, which connects to the values of the Women’s March: diversity, communication, and a safe space for all cultures. They encourage those attending the march to come, even if you just want to entertain the kids before the walk begins.

When: Saturday, January 20 from noon to 1 - capacity is limited.
11-2 - paper crane folding
Where: Asian Art Museum - 200 Larkin
Cost: free with entrance - kids 12 and under always free

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures in Tucson - with Kids

We visit Tucson almost every year, and the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures has been on my list to see for the last few. I finally made it a priority, and am glad I did.

This historic dollhouse opens its front automatically to reveal the rooms and dolls inside at the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures in Tucson. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The fun start when you walk in. There's a miniature door on the side, a regular size door within the large door (and a massive handle too). We got a kick out of that. The museum hosts 400 miniature houses and room boxes, with permanent and temporary exhibits. They have three main areas: the Enchanted Realm, History Gallery and Exploring the World.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Review: Tipsy Tea Party in Phoenix

When in Phoenix visiting family, the ladies sometimes go for tea (while the guys find a craft brew pub). With the  2017 opening of the Tipsy Tea at the Camby, we had to go there.

The tea is in the Bees Knees, a dark paneled classic bar with mirrored walls and banquettes. Casablanca was silently playing on the wall above the fireplace. 

Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan