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Archive for September, 2009

FAB Five for the Weekend

Lawrence Hall of Science
BLAST OFF: Forget the moon. The Lawrence Hall of Science’s brand new exhibit is all about “Facing Mars.” Design your own rocket, check out your flight readiness with more than 20 space simulations, and answer that burning question, “Would you recognize a Martian if you saw one?” $4-$12; now through Jan. 3.

ROOT BIERGARTEN: The hills are alive with the sound of German music and family friendly fun at Newark’s Swiss Park Oktoberfest this Saturday from 6 to 11 p.m.
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Posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

ZILLIONS of Sea Lions at Pier 39

SEA LIONS PIER 39 (AP File Photo by Jeff Chiu)
Staggering numbers of California sea lions – a record-breaking 1,585 of them – are suddenly calling Pier 39′s West Marina home. So many, in fact, that the harbor master is planning to install more sea lion floats by the K-Dock. “Usually during this time of the year,” says harbor master Sheila Chandor, “we typically have only a few smaller sea lions on the docks, as the larger males head south to mate.”

No one knows why the numbers are up so much. We wanted to blame the economy – perhaps real estate foreclosures are affecting sea lion condos too – but Marine Mammal Center director Jeff Boehm says a shift in food source availability is likely at work. “The current run of anchovies has a lot of them hanging out in some areas in greater numbers than we’ve grown used to,” he says.

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Posted on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

Helpful Mom Fined $1K for Babysitting a Friend’s Kids

Toy school bus Unbelievable. A Michigan stay-at-home-mom was just helping a friend when she offered to watch a neighbor’s kids each morning till the school bus arrived. The bus stop was at the end of her driveway, the neighbor had to leave for work and it was no big deal – less than an hour, no money exchanged, just one mom helping another. Now Lisa Snyder is being threatened with a $1,000 state fine for running an illegal day care facility. The State Dept. of Human Services says legally, anyone who cares for other people’s kids for more than four weeks per year is running a day care facility. And some nasty neighbor must have ratted the family out. Guess it doesn’t take a village to raise a child – only to make helpful moms miserable. Your thoughts?

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Posted on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
Under: Just Bizarre | 1 Comment »

FREE Get-Into-College Seminars

Harvard If you’ve got a high schooler, you’ve probably got college application anxiety on the brain – so you’ll want to know about this. The Princeton Review is hosting a couple of “Getting Into College” seminars next week. Learn about the admissions and financial aid process, ask questions, and discuss how to find, get into and pay for a college that fits your child’s interests and skills. The seminars are Oct. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Danville Library, 400 Front St., Danville; Oct. 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton, 5115 Hopyard Rd., Pleasanton; and Oct. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th St., Sacramento. It’s free, but they want you to reserve seats for you and your high school soph, junior or senior. Call 1-800-2REVIEW or visit www.PrincetonReview.com.

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Posted on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
Under: College Apps & Angst | No Comments »

HANNAH Montana, Jonas Brothers CD Giveaway

Disney Channel Playlist Got a tween at home? The new Disney Channel Playlist CD is like some tween dream with tunes by Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, et al. Yeah, yeah, we know. We can hear the screaming from here! We’re giving away this little disc of happiness and it can be yours – all you have to do is click “comments” and tell us, who is your kids’ (or your) favorite musical star? Are Jonas Brothers posters plastered all over your kid’s room? Or are you an all-Hannah all the time fam? We’ll draw a winner’s name next Monday.

P.S. Congrats to Abby, who won last week’s DVD giveaway!

NOTE: This contest is now closed – congrats to Kimberly, who won the CD!

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Posted on Monday, September 28th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 23 Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Teens, Stress & More

Communication (Heather McKinnon illustration/MCT) “Communication Skills that Build Connection: A Workshop for Parents”
Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.Orinda Intermediate School – Multi Purpose Room. Workshop moderated by communications consultant Jamie Anderson. Sponsored by OIS. Free.

“Raising a Child who Loves to Read”
Oct. 4 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org. Rona Renner, RN, and Diane Frankenstein, author of Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read, discuss how to raise book-loving kids.

“Art and Skill of a Happy Marriage”
Oct. 10 from 1 to 5 p.m. Founders Grove, Lafayette
A couples workshop to revitalize your relationship and rediscover the joy of marriage, led by Catherine Freemire, LCSW, and Steven Freemire, MFT. ($169 per couple by Sept. 19, $199 after)
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Posted on Monday, September 28th, 2009
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Dragon Festival (San Jose Mercury News)
Paddle a Dragon: The dragons come out this weekend at the annual San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival on Treasure Island. Watch the races, check out the Children’s Dragon Land and enjoy Taiko drumming, live music and entertainment, and tasty food. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; free admission.

Suddenly Sendak: Enjoy the artistry of Maurice Sendak — and a few wild things too — at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum’s “There’s a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak” exhibit. Open daily, except Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets $10, kids free.
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Posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

CLOUDY with a Chance of Meatballs

MovieWeb – Movie Photos, Videos & More

So have you guys seen “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” yet? The reviews have been mixed. Orlando Sentinel movie critic Roger Moore applauds the idea that “between the Jell-O mold diving, ice-cream sledding and the derivative, overdone action finale, (the actors) and the writers deliver a biting message that parents should love — celebrate smartness and ease up on the ‘easy’ junk food before it kills you.” He gave it a B+. And Plugged-In-Online called the movie a “cheery, animated smorgasbord” with some laudable messages about the importance of family and of making wise choices.

But the Bay Area’s Common Sense Media gave the 3-D animated flick a mediocre 2 stars and says that other than meatballs falling from the sky, the movie script is very different from the beloved book’s plot line.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

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Posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
Under: Movies | No Comments »

AMERICAN Girl DVD Giveaway

An American Girl: Chrissa American Girl’s newest girl tackles issues of bullying in “An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong.” This DVD tells the tale of Chrissa Maxwell, newly arrived and quickly tormented by the “Mean Bees,” a trio of bullies. How does she stop the bullying? You’ll have to see it to find out. And we’re sending the DVD to one lucky family. Want it? Click “comments” and share your bully-taming tips. We’ll draw a winner’s name next Monday, Sept. 28.

(Meanwhile, congrats are due to Twito who has a copy of “Gastrokid” headed her way! Great ideas for last-minute suppers from all of you guys. Check ‘em out here!)

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Posted on Monday, September 21st, 2009
Under: Contest | 3 Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Teens, Homework & Strong Marriages

Teen gossip (Illustration by Laurie McAdam, MCT) “How Does Your Teen Learn?”
Sept. 27 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org. This is the first of a 6-part series on “Teen Matters: Navigating the Middle and High School Years.” Rona Renner, RN, and co-host Beth Samuelson, MA, Director of Student Organizational Services discuss teens, learning styles and why your kid struggles with some schoolwork and aces others.

“Communication Skills that Build Connection: A Workshop for Parents”
Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.Orinda Intermediate School – Multi Purpose Room. Workshop moderated by communications consultant Jamie Anderson. Sponsored by OIS. Free.

“Art and Skill of a Happy Marriage”
Oct. 10 from 1 to 5 p.m. Founders Grove, Lafayette
A couples workshop to revitalize your relationship and rediscover the joy of marriage, led by Catherine Freemire, LCSW, and Steven Freemire, MFT. ($169 per couple by Sept. 19, $199 after)
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Posted on Monday, September 21st, 2009
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »