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Archive for April, 2010

FAB Five for the Weekend

Big BIrd (Howard Gale Ford/Bay Area News Group Photo) Lions, Tigers & Grover: Sesame Street LIVE is heading for Oakland’s Oracle Arena in June, but Bert, Ernie and Grover are popping in for a little quality time at the San Francisco Zoo this weekend. Pose for pics, give Ernie a hug and enter contests to win Sesame Street LIVE tickets during the festivities, which from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 17 and 18. Tickets: $9-$15.

Puppets Ole: Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland puppets celebrate Cinco de Mayo a little early with a fiesta show at 11 a.m. and 2 and 4 p.m. April 17 and 18. Stroll around the park, ride the toddler-friendly rides and catch the puppet action when Mondinga the Cockroach tries to choose between her many suitors. Tickets: $7, including rides and entertainment. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Jellybeans, Castles & Book Reviews

jellybeans A slew of new children’s books just hit my desk and I’m doing my best to wade through the piles. But these three particularly caught my attention, so here is a trio of mini-reviews. (And yes, we’ll be giving away copies in the weeks to come. This week, though, the giveaway star is “Party Animals” by Kathie Lee Gifford. Follow the link for details!)

Laura Numeroff,  of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” fame, has a sweet new book out dubbed “The Jellybeans and the Big Book Bonanza.” It’s co-authored with Nate Evans and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, who did the adorable images for “Tacky the Penguin,” still one of my favorite picture books even after all these years. The Jellybeans, as Numeroff fans will know, are a group of four little animals – Anna, Emily, Nicole and Bitsy – who are as different as jellybean flavors can be, but get along just as beautifully. In this outing, they head for the library to find books that are just right for them. The illustrations are very cute and the prose is gentle fun, but unlike the cookie-loving mouse series, there’s none of the wry humor – and little boys will turn up their noses at this very girl-centric tale.  It’s a little spunkier than “Angelina, Ballerina,” not as sassy as “Fancy Nancy,” but it will appeal to the same core demographic. :-) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Under: Books | 3 Comments »

BIRTHDAY Book Giveaway!

gifford We’ve been talking about birthday parties for weeks – and birthday cakes, in particular. But this week, we’re turning our attention to the parties themselves and giving away a colorful birthday book, Kathie Lee Gifford’s “Party Animals.” Yep, that’s Gifford of Today show fame, and the hardcover picture book was inspired by a song off her 2001 children’s music album called, of course, “Party Animals.” The book version, which hits bookstore shelves tomorrow, tells the tale of Lucy Goosy, whose desire to throw the Best. Party. Ever. runs awry when she starts coming up with all the reasons not to invite her friends. Pig will make a pig of himself and Goat, well, Goat’s a grump. It’s told in rhyme, the illustrations are big fun and your birthday kid will love it. And it can be yours!

Click “Comments” and tell us about your best birthday party idea ever. We’ll draw a winner’s name next Monday!

P.S. Loved the answers to our last giveaway question – which asked how you knew you were turning into your mother. Among them:
The first time I realized I was turning into my mother was when my daughter asked “why”? and I answered “Because I said so”. Been there! The book “When Did I Get Like This” is headed for our winner Sarah’s mailbox at this very moment!

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010
Under: Books, Contest | 11 Comments »

Q&A with “Hello, Cupcake” Author

cupcake What fun! You know the “Hello, Cupcake” folks? The ones who turn candy and cupcakes into edible art? I did a Q&A recently with Karen Tack, whose newest cookbook is “What’s New, Cupcake?” And yep, this one has dozens more crazy cupcake ideas, from googly-eyed string monsters to a cupcake that appears to be covered in fried rice, complete with broccoli. Very, very clever. Here’s an excerpt from that interview, along with a recipe for Koi Pond Cupcakes…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010
Under: Cuisine | 2 Comments »

PARENT TALKS…

Inborn Temperament: Understanding Differences
April 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Bananas, Oakland
Temperament expert Helen Neville helps parents see and appreciate their baby or young child’s (ages 0-5) particular combination of inborn traits.

Your Adolescent and Drugs: Communication and the Brain
April 14 at 7 p.m., Campolindo High Library, Moraga
A talk for parents by Ralph Cantor, sponsored by Acalanes Adult Ed.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

FABULOUS Birthday Cakes #4

Sand Castle Cake (Courtesy Family Fun) And we’re baaaack! Our 2010 birthday cake countdown continues with this spectacular towering sand castle cake, from our buddies over at Family Fun Magazine. This fabulous thing uses two yellow cakes, two cans of vanilla frosting, and a collection of clever, re-purposed items, including vanilla wafers (the crumbs make excellent sand), graham cracker sticks, candy seashell shapes and rocks, and various ice cream cones

Get the step-by-step directions here.

Need more cake ideas?

Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2010
Under: Cuisine | 1 Comment »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Lego free play (Bay Area News Group photo)
Lego Fest: Join in the celebration of all things Lego at this weekend’s Bricks by the Bay Lego Convention at the Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley. Check out the Lego exhibits and lavish constructions on April 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets $5 at the door, cash only.

Honest Abe: Danville’s Museum of the San Ramon Valley salutes one of our most beloved presidents with a new exhibit that opens April 9. “Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America” covers Lincoln’s life from his log cabin childhood to the Civil War, including seven learning stations with artifacts on loan from the Lincoln Presidential Library. Tickets $3 adults, $1 children, or $5 per family.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Toddler Temperament, College Anxiety

Children & Sexual Abuse Prevention
April 11 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org. Nurse Rona and Rhonda James, executive director of Community Violence Solutions, discuss sexual abuse prevention and offer tips on when parents should worry.

Inborn Temperament: Understanding Differences
April 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Bananas, Oakland
Temperament expert Helen Neville helps parents see and appreciate their baby or young child’s (ages 0-5) particular combination of inborn traits.

Your Adolescent and Drugs: Communication and the Brain
April 14 at 7 p.m., Campolindo High Library, Moraga
A talk for parents by Ralph Cantor, sponsored by Acalanes Adult Ed.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2010
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

EASTER: Carrot Cutlery

Easter "carrots" (Courtesy Family Fun) Too cute for words – and practical too. Family Fun’s creative crafters have been kind enough to share this spectacular idea for Easter table-ready carrot cutlery. You’ll need dinner-sized orange paper napkins, green cutlery and green pipe cleaners. There are step-by-step directions with pictures here, but basically you fold your paper napkins into rectangles, place a set of cutlery in the lower left cover, fold and roll. Secure with one or two pipe cleaners and trim them so they look like carrot tops. Pile them in a basket on your buffet table and keep the bunnies away…

Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2010
Under: holidays | No Comments »

FABULOUS Birthday Cakes #3

Fairy Cupcakes (Courtesy Parenting.com) We’re continuing our 2010 birthday cake countdown and this one’s a perfect fit for that Tinker Bell party you may be planning. These fairy cupcakes are made from Juicy Fruit chewing gum, vanilla wafers, Jolly Rancher fruit chews, pink heart candies and mini-marshmallows – oh, and some very clever detailing. Get the step-by-step directions here.

Need more cake ideas?

Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2010
Under: Cuisine | 1 Comment »