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Archive for October, 2009

TWILIGHT: New Moon Event at Stonestown

New Moon scene (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Kimberley French)
Remember last year when an appearance by Twilight’s Robert Pattinson nearly caused a riot at Stonestown Galleria? Well, guess what? No, it’s not Edward. But there’s a “Twilight Saga: New Moon” event coming to the Bay Area and the tickets – actually wristbands – for the Nov. 9 festivities go on sale tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. at Stonestown’s Nordstrom and Hot Topic. The line starts forming at midnight and it looks like you have to buy a $30 New Moon T-shirt at Hot Topic to score one of the 500 wristbands available. Not sure what the deal is at Nordstrom…

Down in LA, the event itself will include cast appearances and performances by Death Cab for Cutie, Sea Wolf and other bands on the “New Moon” soundtrack.  In SF though, the featured attractions are Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen) and Kellan Luzt (Emmet Cullen), New Moon activities, trivia games and movie-related prize giveaways.

OK, folks. Anyone planning to go?

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2009
Under: Movies | 1 Comment »


Chocolate Spiders Meringue ghosts? Check. Jack o’lanterns? Check. Chocolate spiders? Oh wait, here they come – straight from the pages of Sharon Bowers’ fun new cookbook, “Ghoulish Goodies.”

Makes about 24
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chow mein noodles
¼ cup red hots or red mini M&Ms

1. Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper or parchment. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in a microwave oven on high power 60 seconds; stir well. If not quite smooth, continue to heat in two or three 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst.

2. Stir chow mein noodles into melted chocolate and drop mixture by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Press 2 red candies onto one edge of each cluster to make eyes and lift a few chow mein legs up to give a spidery impression. Refrigerate about 20 minutes to cool and harden. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
— Sharon Bowers, “Ghoulish Goodies”

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2009
Under: Cuisine, Halloween | No Comments »


Ghoulish Goodies We’ve been giggling madly over Sharon Bowers’ clever new cookbook, “Ghoulish Goodies” (Storey Publishing, $14.95), and its scary-fun recipes for peanut butter monsters, Cheddar eyeballs and pretzel rod toes. We’ll share her darling recipe for chocolate spiders tomorrow, but first, here’s a handful of Bowers’ quickie party ideas, in case you still need inspiration for those classroom parties tomorrow:

Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats: Make your usual krispie treats, but after you melt the marshmallows with butter, remove a small portion and tint it green. Tint the rest orange, then add Rice Krispies separately to orange and green mixtures. (Don’t try to tint after adding the cereal as the mixtures won’t dye properly, cautions Bowers.) With buttered hands, mold orange pumpkins and add green stems.

Screaming Red Punch: Rinse a new surgical rubber glove thoroughly. Fill it with cold water and tie the wrist with a twist tie. Freeze solid. In a large punch bowl, mix up a batch of red punch. Just before serving, cut off the glove with scissors and drop in the frozen hand.
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Posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2009
Under: Cuisine, Halloween | 1 Comment »

HALLOWEEN Recall: Molten Flashlights

Recalled Halloween Flashlight OK, this is scary. If you bought your kids Halloween Flashlights, thinking that would keep them safe while trick-or-treating, check the brand. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Target just recalled 610,000 of these flashlights – both the mini kind and those sold with stencils – because they overheat and melt. There have been eight reports of molten flashlights, including one that actually burned the child’s hand. Follow the link for details on specific model numbers. But if you’ve got one, purchased in August and September of this year, return it to any Target for a full refund.

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »


Meringue Ghosts (Photo by Mark DuFrene/Contra Costa Times)
Out of all the tempting things in Julia Usher’s yummy new book, “Cookie Swap,” these meringue ghosts may be the most adorable — and the easiest. They’re filled with date nut balls but you can skip that step (actually steps #2 and 3) entirely and just pipe the meringue directly onto a baking sheet

Makes about 2 dozen
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Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Under: Cuisine, Halloween | No Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

San Francisco Symphony Dia de los Muertos
Five ideas for weekend family fun:
Dia de los Muertos: Once the trick-or-treating’s done, head over to the city for a dash of Mexican music and culture at the San Francisco Symphony’s Dia de los Muertos Family Concert on Sunday. The matinee includes family activities, colorful displays, refreshments and, of course, music. Lobby festivities begin at 1 p.m., concert downbeat is at 2 p.m. $15-$65, children younger than 17 get in for half price.
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Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Under: Family Entertainment, Family Outings, Halloween | No Comments »

CANDY Sculpture at San Jose’s Tech Museum

Candy Heaven (Photo by Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/MCT) Here’s a deal for you, especially if you’re concerned about your little trick-or-treater’s candy consumption. Nestle and San Jose’s Tech Museum of Innovation are turning leftover Halloween candy into art. Starting this Friday, Oct. 30 (and running until Sunday, Nov. 8), The Tech Museum is offering a 10% discount on admission for kids who donate candy – it’s OK, it can be the icky kind, and the museum staff will even give them a little Nestle Crunch bar in exchange. Then renowned junkyard artist Leo Sewell will use the treats to build a rocket ship sculpture comprised entirely of candy. It’s a four day art project – Sewell starts building on Nov. 8 and the whole, fabulous thing will be unveiled Nov. 12.

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Under: Halloween | No Comments »


Halloween treats (Photo by Mark DuFrene/Contra Costa Times) We are in such a Halloween-y mood these days, thanks in large part to Julia Usher’s new book, “Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year” (Gibbs Smith, 160 pages, $19.99). Why, the former Bay Area engineer-turned-bakery diva asks, should the winter holidays get all the good cookies? Halloween ought to get its share of gingerbread too in the form of haunted houses, or spice cookie balls formed into tiny vine-festooned pumpkins.

So today we’re sharing her recipe for candy corn cookies – a particularly yummy take on ye olde sugar cookie, flavored with a hint of maple. Come back tomorrow for more as we count down to Halloween!
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Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Under: Cuisine, Halloween | No Comments »

CHICKA-Chicka Giveaway

Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom So, remember “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” the infectiously delightful ABC book by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault? And it was followed by “Chicka Chicka 1-2-3,” an equally fun counting book. Well, now there’s a DVD version of both and this week, we’re giving ’em away. Simply click “comments” and tell us about your favorite ABC, counting or other childhood book. We’ll draw a winner’s name next Monday.

As for last week’s luverly giveaway, that Yo Gabba Gabba DVD is going to Nicole – congrats!

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Under: Contest | 3 Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Teens, Booze and More

LIFE FAM-TEENDRINKING CC  “Underage Drinking in Our Community”
Oct. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. Miramonte High School Theater, Orinda
Panel discussion on the problem of underage drinking. Panelists include Orinda Police Chief Bill French, Miramonte Principal Adam Clark and medical experts. Free.

“Childhood Matters 7th Anniversary Show”
Nov. 1 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Rona Renner, RN, and guests discuss parenting issues and trends.

“Living with Threes and Fours
Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at Bananas, Oakland
Meg Zweiback leads this workshop on preschoolers. Free.
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Posted on Monday, October 26th, 2009
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »