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FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Blackhawk Automotive Museum, Danville
Looking for some weekend family fun? Here’s the round-up
1. Check out the “Amore! Amore!” festivities at Danville’s Blackhawk Automotive Museum Feb. 10 when a “family funshop” celebrates all things Italian — glossy cars, Ninja Turtles and make-your-own heart-shaped pizza.

2. Make Valentines at Berkeley’s Habitot Children’s Museum, then add your own touch to a giant heart sculpture Feb 8-9 from 9:30 to 4 p.m., and Feb. 12-14 9:30-1 p.m. (Bring in Valentine-y art supplies to share and you get in free.)

3. Feel the need for speed? The new “Speed” exhibit opens at Lawrence Hall of Science this weekend. ($5.50-$10)

4. Check out a grand salute to aerial firefighters aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda. Meet firebomber pilots and check out the new exhibit starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. ($6-$14)

5. Or how about an Environmental Family Film Fest? Diablo Valley College and the Kids Environmental Action Network are showing “An Inconvenient Truth” Friday at 7 p.m. at DVC, plus “Who Killed the Electric Car” on 2/21 and more flicks through March. ($4)

Posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2008
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FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Cable Car Museum, San Francisco

Looking for some weekend family fun? Here’s a Fab Five round-up for Feb. 2-3.
1. Gawk at a century’s worth of cable cars at San Francisco’s Cable Car Barn and Museum (pictured above, open daily).

2. Livermore Park & Rec is hosting the Tri-Valley’s biggest super football party on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Livermore Community Center. Enormous 12×14 ft. screen for the game, BBQ concession stands, plus a screening of “Shark’s Tale” and gym games next door if the kids get antsy. (Free, but rspvs are needed, call 925-373-5748.)

3. Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art‘s is doing a family art workshop on Chinese New Year lanterns and dragon puppets, Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. ($7 for materials)

4. Unleash your inner thespian at Berkeley Rep’s free Family Theater Workshop, Sunday, 11 a.m. (Preschoolers and up)

5. Or celebrate the Year of the Rat at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum on Saturday — lion dancers, Chinese percussion, author appearance by Oliver Chin, author of “Year of the Rat,” and art workshops, noon to 4 p.m. (Free for kids 12 and under)

Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2008
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FAB FIVE: Things you may have missed at preschool fair

eastbaymomsfairTheaters for babies. Hand-sewn storyboards. Purple “Gak.” Those are just a few of the things you missed if you couldn’t attend Saturday’s 10th annual East Bay Moms Preschool & Childhood Resource Fair in Oakland. Here are five participants who grabbed our attention. (For a complete list of participants and to order a copy of East Bay Moms’ Preschool & Child Care Program Directory, visit their Web site or call 510-653-7867.)

pacific kid1. Pacific Kid in Walnut Creek — This educational toy company is appealing when you consider the fears about lead-based toys. The gorgeous cloth storyboards and play walls (pictured right) come with hand-sewn felt animals featuring Velcro for easy movability. The animals are made by women in Thailand, which helps their economic situation, says co-owner Karen McHugh.

mandarin2. Small World of Lamorinda and My Early Start in San Francisco — Small World offers Mandarin immersion and music programs for kids ages 1-6. My Early Start sells DVDs that teach Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin has become popular among programs teaching young children foreign languages.

baby brigade3. Baby Brigade at Speakeasy Theaters — Parents with infants 1 year and under are invited to dinner and a movie (where crying babies won’t be asked to leave, promises Cerrito general manager Jenny Martens). Baby Brigade is at the Oakland location on Mondays and El Cerrito on Tuesdays.

gak4. Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley — At the fair, children could play with purple “Gak,” (pictured left) an interesting clay-like substance that looked a little like slime. (Is it any wonder kids were loving this stuff? You can buy the recipe at the museum and make your own.) Thursday evenings the museum offers free admission from 5-7 p.m. See its Web site for a list of activities.

tumble&tea5. Tumble & Tea Cafe in Oakland — The cafe for parents and tots has expanded to include a New Parent Resource Center. Workshops range from support groups to feeding instruction and an effective parenting series (the latter taught by MarRem Remington, LMFT).

Posted on Saturday, January 26th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots, Fab Five | 1 Comment »

FAB FIVE: For the Weekend

It may be drippy outdoors, but there’s plenty to do in the Bay Area this weekend:
1. Louisa May Alcott’s beloved book, “Little Women,” comes to life at the Julia Morgan Theater in Berkeley now through Feb. 3. ($14-$18)

2. Gawk at the stars at the Chabot Space & Science Museum’s Lunar Lounge – it’s science with live music and catered snacks. Great for families with tweens and teens. This Saturday from 8 to 11 p.m. ($10-$15)

3. The renowned Kronos Quartet performs a family matinee Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Herbst Theater ($10-$18)

4. Kick up your heels with the Barbary Coast Cloggers at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito Saturday at 11 a.m. as part of the museum’s cool “World on Stage Ethnic Performance Series.” ($7.50-$9.50)

5. Or how about a newt hike at Sunol Regional Wilderness? Sunday morning at 8:30. Free.

Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2008
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FAB FIVE: For the Weekend

Looking for some family fun? How about…
1. Lions and tigers and new productions of “Wizard of Oz,” oh my! The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center hosts a playhouse production of the classic tale of Dorothy, Toto and the Tin Man gang tomorrow through Feb. 3. ($21-31)

2. Take advantage of the beautiful, crisp winter weather with a hike at Muir Woods. ($5 adults, kids 15 and under free)

3. This is the last weekend to enjoy outdoor ice skating in downtown Walnut Creek. ($15 including skate rental)

4. Take in not just the wildlife but the cool new California Indians exhibit at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. ($5-$7)

5. And Techno Geek Art – who can resist? MOCHA hosts a family art workshop for would-be gadgeteers and sculptors. Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. ($7 for materials)

Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2008
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FAB FIVE for the Weekend

HortonPopUp_3DLooking for family fun this weekend?
1. The Dr. Seuss classic, “Horton Hears a Who,” went pop-up this year, thanks to the artistry of paper engineer David Carter, who will be doing pop-up demos at Pleasanton’s Towne Center Books Friday at 4 p.m., Walnut Creek’s Barnes and Noble  Saturday at 11 a.m., and Menlo’s Kepler’s Books Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

2. It’s snowing! Well, it is in Tahoe, anyway. Pack up the mittens and snow boots and head for the Sno-Park at Yuba Gap.
3. Check out Mad Science at the Oakley Library …
4. Take a family winter walk at Tilden Park
5. Or duck indoors at MOCHA for the Bay Area kids exhibit.

Posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2008
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FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Mochi Pounding by Kaz Tsuruta
This weekend’s storm reports sound a tad daunting, but fortunately, there are plenty of fantastic ways to have fun indoors, starting with …

1) Mochi Pounding at the Asian Art Museum on Saturday at noon, with traditional music, costumes, dance and sweet Mochi rice cakes for all. (Free with admission)

2) MOCHA’s “I’ve Been Framed Workshop” gives kids a chance to mat and frame their masterpieces at a family art workshop Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Then, enter your work in MOCHA’s Singular Creations exhibit

3) Got a hankering for vampires? Edward Gorey’s “Dracula” exhibit’s at the Cartoon Art Museum.

4) Hip hop and storytelling star at this Sunday’s Berkeley Rep Family Workshop . (Free, and perfect for ages seven and up.)

5) Or catch the Fratello Marionettes’  “Peter and the Wolf” at the Berkeley Public Library on Saturday morning at 10:30. (Free, great for ages 3-7)

Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
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FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Asian Art Museum Bell RingingNew Year’s Eve is Monday, but the holiday festivities start early this year…
1) Ring in the New Year – literally – at the Asian Art Museum’s Bell Ringing Ceremonies on Sunday. (Free with admission)
2) Make noisemakers and party hats at Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art family workshops Sunday, 1-4 p.m. ($7)
3) Ice skate at downtown Walnut Creek’s outdoor rink ($15 including skate rental) now through Jan. 21. On New Year’s Eve the rink is open till midnight, with free hot cocoa and snacks ($20).
4) Or take BART into the city and skate at Embarcadero Center ($8 plus $3.50 for skate rentals).
5) Or head down to San Jose and check out the gigantic, roaming dinosaurs at the HP Pavilion. ($30-$70)

Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2007
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FAB FIVE for the weekend

Looking for family fun this weekend? Here’s a Fab Five roundup…
Christmas Revels
1) The annual Christmas Revels take families on a joyous musical ride through the 19th century English countryside this weekend, led by comic actor Geoff Hoyle (pictured above – you also know him as Zazu, his Tony-nominated role in Broadway’s “Lion King”) at Oakland’s Scottish Rite Temple. (Tickets $15-$50)

2) Rialto Cinemas Elmwood continues its holiday kiddie matinees – just $2 a pop and it benefits four local PTAs – this weekend with “The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie” at 10 a.m. and noon Saturday and noon on Sunday.

3) We hear Tilden Park‘s merry-go-round has gone all wintry and fantastical. Hit the steam trains and the Little Farm, then go ride the carousel. ($2)

4) “Wrap It Up!” at MOCHA’s family art workshop this Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Make wrapping paper, cards and decorations. ($7)

5) Or, if you’ve had enough holiday folderol, go rock climbing in Livermore. Livermore Park & Rec is hosting an open house at Valley Rock Climbing Gym, 2455 Railroad Ave., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the 15th. Two free climbs, including harness and shoe rentals. Santa would approve.

Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2007
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FAB FIVE: Go Baby Go Gadgets

I’m a gadget junkie. And now that I’m the aunt of a 6-month-old niece, I’m on the prowl for anything that may help my sister on trips, whether by car to the store or by plane for a visit. Here are five of my recent favorite finds:

bibbi1. Bye Bye Bibbi — This bib features a pouch to hold a full-size baby bottle, plus attaches a pacifier and teether or toy, so baby has something to play with after finishing his or her bottle. Cost — $12.95

dabib2. DaBib — This bib features a “Scrunch Neck” design and a hidden pouch to keep food off the baby and on the bib. Having fed my niece countless times over the Thanksgiving holiday, I quickly realized this is a must-have. It’s from Chez Shea Baby in San Mateo. Cost — $12.99

oopsi3. Oopsi — For any parent who has seen that favorite toy disappear, and then spent countless hours searching for it, this is a savior. A plastic clip attaches one end of a strap to the child, while the other end wraps around the child’s toy and closes with Velcro. Cost — $5.95

diaper bad4. Samsonite Cascadia Mini Diaper Backpack Tote — Call this the compromise bag. A lot of men don’t want to carry the cutesy Nurshery Rhyme over-the-shoulder diaper bag. Samsonite offers a black leather bag, with plenty of compartments, that changes from a backpack (for dad) to a shoulder tote (for mom). Cost — $39.99

juiceboxholder5. No Squeeze Juice Box Holder — This one is ideal for toddlers and young kids. Juice boxes or pouches fit snugly inside a container designed to fit in a car’s cup holder. It’s the perfect spill-proof solution in that transition phase from bottles to cups. Cost — $11.97 for four pack

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
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