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Archive for January, 2009

NICKELODEON DVD Giveaway

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan (courtesy Nickelodeon)We’re still celebrating Lunar New Year over here, so this week we’re giving away a “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan” DVD from Nickelodeon’s adorable Dora the Explorer-type series about a little Chinese girl. The DVD includes Kai-Lan’s adventures at the Dragon Boat Festival, at the beach, playing Twirly Whirly Flyers and making hats at a parade. And we want to know, very badly, what a Twirly Whirly Flyer is! We’re pairing the DVD with a soft, cotton Kai-Lan T-shirt (children’s size medium, so depending on your young fan, it’ll either make a cute T or a snuggly night shirt). Sound like fun? All you have to do to win this is click “comments” and tell us, what’s your child’s favorite Nickeolodeon show? Or are you a PBS family? (We’ll draw a winner’s name next Sunday. Congrats, by the way, to Misty who won last week’s Walker & Ping Ping DVD!)

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009
Under: Contest | 14 Comments »

FAMILY TRAVEL: Roller Coasters & Halls of Fame

The Maxwells at the Football Hall of Fame
Think a road trip with kids can’t be fun? Think again. The Maxwells of Danville, CA, spent six days scooting through Ohio, Michigan and Indiana last summer. Here are their discoveries:

THE TRAVELERS: The travelers: Shari Maxwell, Senior Auditor for AAA, her husband Mike, VP of Sales for TaylorMade Water Systems, and her son Danny Olson, 13.

THE TREK: “We were told by many people, ‘No one goes to Ohio for vacation!’ We did, and had a wonderful vacation! Stops included the University of Michigan, Cedar Point (Roller Coaster Heaven), NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.”
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Posted on Sunday, January 25th, 2009
Under: Family Travel | No Comments »

RUMPELSTILTSKIN in Moraga

RumpelstiltskinSt. Mary’s College is famous for its Jan Term children’s productions — these wildly creative reimaginings of favorite childhood tales, staged in the Moraga college’s LeFevre Theater. School buses roll in all week with happy kids on field trips, but the Thursday matinee is always a family extravaganza. And this Thursday, Jan. 29 at 4 p.m., they’re doing “Rumpelstiltskin,” the classic tale of a beautiful maiden forced to turn straw into gold, and the strange little man who helps her – for a terrible price. It’s acted by college students, directed by St. Mary’s prof Michael Cook, and perfect fare for families with kids 4 or 5 and up. Tickets are $8. Call 925-631-4381 to reserve yours now.

Posted on Friday, January 23rd, 2009
Under: Family Entertainment | No Comments »

SCHOOL Headlines: Imaginary Money, IRS Audits and More

Slide 1 We’ve been woefully behind in posting Bay Area school headlines, so hold onto your hats, here come the latest … about imaginary money, IRS audits, murder and more…

In West County, where community members are still aghast over the sudden decision to shutter schools right after a successful parcel tax election, board members are dealing with other issues too – including the possibility of moving children out of two seismically-challenged middle schools, Portola and Adams, which are already on the closure list. Meanwhile, the City of Richmond (!) has offered to buy school district land in a $3 million move designed to keep schools open. It’s a stunning offer. Who knew Richmond had the money? Um, they don’t, says reporter Katherine Tam: “City officials don’t know where they will get the money to buy the land, and they have just three weeks to find it.”

Changes are afoot in the Mt. Diablo school district where a new majority – trustees Gary Eberhart and Paul Strange, and new board member Sherry Whitmarsh – holds sway. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, January 23rd, 2009
Under: Schools | No Comments »

PEANUT Butter Recall Grows

Peanut Butter (Darrell Wong/Fresno Bee/MCT)OK, here’s the good news… the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are safe. And so are the Girl Scout Cookies and Nutter Butters. The bad news? The FDA’s list of recalled products containing suspect peanut butter is growing by the hour. As you may recall, King Nut peanut butter and peanut paste have been implicated in the latest salmonella scare – not the peanut butter you have at home, the big vats that get sold to cafeterias and large scale vendors. Only problem is, those peanut products pop up later, mixed into frozen cookie dough, snack bars and even pet food. A quick glance at the recall list includes Famous Amos peanut butter cookies, Healthy Valley Organic Peanut Crunch Chewy Granola Bars (dang it, I love those), and some Clif Bars, including the Kids Organic ZBar peanut butter flavor. (Fortunately, my family’s other favorite ZBars – the graham cracker one and brownie flavor, and all those yummy fruit twists, especially Strawberry – are OK). But there are 13 lines of granola bars on the recall list, including Luna, NutriSystem and Mojo.

Posted on Friday, January 23rd, 2009
Under: Health & Safety | 1 Comment »

TOP TOT Resources: Music Together

Sheet music (Stock photo by Hiden84)We’ll be at the East Bay Moms’ Preschool & Childhood Resource Fair tomorrow and we’re hoping you guys will come and join us there! We’re bringing our big Wheel of Fortune and tons of prizes – DVDs, picture books and other kid-pleasers – and we’d love to see you. It’s Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been giving you a sneak peek at some of the other organizations who will be there too. Here’s one more…

NAME: East Bay Music Together

THE BASICS: Voted best of the best by Bay Area Parent, year after year, these small group music classes for babies and tots are taught in 13 different East Bay locations, from Alameda’s Yoga Station to Orinda’s smartlounge and Montclair’s Tulip Grove.

WHY IT’S COOL: Run as a 10-week series, these parent-and-tot classes are just a bundle of joyous, musical energy. Kids sing, dance and explore musical instruments – all sorts of drums, marimbas, shakers, flutes, bells and more.

Posted on Friday, January 23rd, 2009
Under: Babies & Tots | No Comments »

TOP TOT Resources: Lango

find-classA closer look at one of the East Bay schools, classes or other family resources that will participate in the East Bay Moms 11th annual Preschool & Childhood Resource Fair. Take a look and then tell us by clicking on “comments” if you have other suggestions for East Bay schools, classes or resources to check out.

NAME: Lango

THE BASICS: With classes for tots to elementary school-aged children, Lango teaches foreign languages using music, games, art and stories — the things kids love best. Sessions are available in Rockridge, San Leandro, Berkeley, Montclair, Oakland, Alameda, Walnut Creek, Millbrae, San Mateo, Foster City and Belmont. Languages include Spanish, French and Mandarin. The company is headquartered in San Francisco (888-445-2646).

WHY IT’S COOL: The most effective way to teach children a second language is to get them while they’re young. International children notoriously rank higher than American children in foreign language proficiency, largely because they start learning at an early age. Lango specializes in language learning for children ages 1-8 (starting with a Tot and Parent class). What’s really great about this program is that the first class is free, so you can check it out for yourself.

Stop and chat with a Lango rep at the East Bay Moms’ Preschool and Childhood Resource Fair — and stop by our table too! — on Saturday, Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland.

Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
Under: Babies & Tots | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Oliver Chin and his new Chinese Zodiac books (Photo by Karl Mondon/CC Times)
1. Catch Bay Area author Oliver Chin (above) reading from his newest Chinese Zodiac book, “Year of the Ox,” at the Albany Library on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (Free)

2. Check out the big Lunar New Year celebration at the Oakland Museum this Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. – lion dancers, acrobats, ping pong demonstrations, hands on art activities, stories and more. (Free with museum admission)
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Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
Under: Family Entertainment, Family Outings | No Comments »

Mmm, Blondies for Young Bakers

Date-Nut Blondie
Bake sales have always stirred a certain maternal angst. There’s the time factor, the pride factor and the skill factor – and you want to make sure your lovingly baked whatever sells. So maybe some people are relieved by the impending extinction of school bake sales.

Seems that in many schools, state nutrition standards now extend to home baked goodies sold on campus. The New York Times did a piece last fall describing the Piedmont High boys’ water polo team, who ended up “selling cupcakes, caramel apples and lemon bars off campus in a flagrant act of nutritional disobedience.”

We’re all in favor of moderation, but frankly, a world without cookies isn’t one in which we care to dwell! So we’re opting for delicious baked goods, cut in very small portions and bearing some nutritional punch. And we thought we’d share this recipe for Date-Nut Blondies (pictured above)…
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Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
Under: Cuisine | No Comments »

TOP TOT Resources: Berkeley Playhouse

playhouseA closer look at one of the East Bay schools, classes or other family resources that will participate in the East Bay Moms 11th annual Preschool & Childhood Resource Fair. Take a look and then tell us by clicking on “comments” if you have other suggestions for East Bay schools, classes or resources to check out.

NAME: Berkeley Playhouse

THE BASICS: This professional theatre group launched its first full season in November 2008. In addition to its adult program, Berkeley Playhouse emphasizes learning opportunities for children, with classes in performance, singing and dancing in real mainstage productions. In February, the Youth Company Performance will be “Willy Wonka Jr.” The playhouse is located at 2640 College Ave., Berkeley (510-665-5565).

WHY IT’S COOL: The playhouse has programs designed for children of all ages, from toddlers to teens. It’s focus on child thespians is unmatched, especially in a main stage setting. Special child-centric programs include “The Make Believers!” which is a theatre-based parent/toddler and pre-K class and Blackbox Theatre, offered in the Spring, which is a one-act play with underscore and ensemble scene work set in a studio classroom. The playhouse also has a school tour program.

Stop and chat with a Berkeley Playhouse rep at the East Bay Moms’ Preschool and Childhood Resource Fair — and stop by our table too! — on Saturday, Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland.

Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
Under: Babies & Tots | No Comments »