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This Weekend’s Activities in the Bay Area

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This weekend is all about getting your groove on with demo classes and disco. Gather up the little wiggle worms and get out there and shake your groove thang!

Music for Aardvarks Free Demo Class

Here is your chance to try Music for Aardvarks for free before committing to the upcoming spring semester. A modern alternative to mommy and me music classes, Music for Aardvarks is led by two dynamic instructors, and incorporates movement activities, dance breaks, and instrumental jam sessions. The group is great for those babes aged around 4 months to 5 years and their adult parental units. The demo class is this Saturday from 10am to 11am. Space is limited, so make sure to RSVP ASAP!

The Great Baby Romp

The Great Baby Romp is a yearly event that allows babies and toddlers (and parents!) to try out classes before committing to contracts and sessions. From art to yoga, music to sports, your littles will love this day of playtime and bonding. Dance, sing, romp, enjoy discounted children’s lunches, and enter to win prizes. The Great Baby Romp also includes an exhibit hall filled with local businesses, including Parenthoods, geared to make your life a little easier. The Great Baby Romp, held at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, kicks off this Sunday at 9:30am and ends at 1pm following a dance party hosted by Baby Loves Disco.

Baby Loves Disco

Baby Loves Disco is an afternoon dance party for toddlers, preschoolers and lively parents looking for a hip alternative for post-naptime fun. This Saturday from 1:00pm to 3:30pm the DNA Lounge will be baby-proofed and bubble machined out for your tots to shake their stuff to live Djs playing hits from the disco era to today. While tots enjoy egg-shakers and a full spread of healthy snacks, parents will enjoy meeting other like-minded parents and even an afternoon cocktail.

Parents Then & Now

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Generations always beg for comparisons to each other. I mean, I was a 90’s kid with big, and I mean monster truck size, hair. Today, I’m sportin’ the easy, straight, shoulder length, just long enough for the greasy hair ponytail, mom cut.  I no longer wear Madonna bangles and M.C. Hammer Pants of the 80’s, I wear highly stylized fitness-wear and carry lattes around. Yes, I’m Millenium Basic.

Because my style has changed so much I’ve decided to conduct an unscientific survey, amongst friends, to come up with this generational comparison of parents now and then.

Oversight

Back Then

We could meander around the house, eating the asbestos that fell out of the heating duct while having a tea party with the Ginsu knives and no one batted an eye.

Now

Every toxin that is hanging out has been sucked up by your Roomba. You only use essential oils for pest control. Cutlery is relegated to the Knife Safe that is suction-cupped to the top of your fridge. If you could put a drone on your 5 year old, you would.

Food

Back Then

The Era of Already Prepared Food marks our earliest culinary memory. We lived on Spaghetti O’s and Entenmanns. We didn’t have A.D.H.D. We just ate too much sugar.

Now

Family feeding has now provided us with two elements to consider. First, is it local, organic and non-GMO? Second, is the food producer affiliated with Monsanto, anti-gay political contributions or poor working conditions in other countries? Food now must pass tests before entering our mouths.

Bad Habits

Back Then

Back in the day, our moms watched The Phil Donahue show, smoked cigarettes and played card games during the day. Screen time was limited because cable didn’t exist yet so even though we watched the Smurfs – we really only got to see them on Saturday mornings.

Now

Today, we don’t smoke cigs, we smoke smartphones. We have to manage our own screen time because it’s more available than water is. Cultural mom guilt is being caught texting when your child is about to nose-dive off the dresser. We have to be careful to set the good example. Lest we want to have a yoga pant wearing, latte drinking, phone-obsessed 12 year old who is an Amazon Prime member in a few years.

Activities

Back Then

Activities, shmacktivities. Your mom let you go next door, unattended, and drink lemonade given to you by the old man who lived by himself. You only played with the kids who lived on your block. Your mom didn’t really know their moms and had never been in their houses. You drank water from a backyard hose and lived.

Now

You organize your kids weekly activities as if you are an event planner.  You know if the other parents have a cat, gun or peanuts in their house. You check-in on food allergies pre-playdate so you can properly prepare the playdate snack menu. You often consider the term ‘helicopter’ and secretly wonder if you belong to this group. But you let your child buckle their own carseat so you think, ‘no way’.

All this begs the question, will the pendulum swing back and be more like our parents?

 

Guest Blogger Heidi Oelman hopes future generations include Free Krispy Kreme Day on Mondays. Oh, and world peace.

 

This Weekend’s Activities in the Bay Area

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This weekend promises to be the usual 65° and sunny. Take advantage of February in California by enjoying as much as the city as possible. Take a walking tour of the city’s tropical tree treasures, spend a no-strings-attached day with marionettes, or party it up Panama-Pacific style.

Community Day at the Palace of Fine Arts

Enjoy a full Saturday of community events honoring the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Kick off a year of centennial events with music, art, and live performances, along with antique fire engines, and a Wells Fargo stagecoach. Meet Laura Ingalls Wilder, Wild Bill Cody, Henry Ford, Michael H de Young, and other luminaries. Also on the itinerary will be a ukulele band of local players, and the community is invited to bring their own ukuleles to play along. The day kicks off at noon at the Palace of Fine Arts, which was built for the initial expo 100 years ago.

Tree Tour – Tropical and Palm Trees

At some point, you have probably noticed the palm and tropical trees lining parts of the city with their island feel. This Sunday, enjoy a guided tour of the fantastic trees led by Flora Grubb Gardens’ horticulturist, Jason Dewees. Walk among the rare sights of city-dwelling coconut palms, Australian flame trees, and silk-floss trees. Kids can join in the fun by learning more about the trees, landscaping, and their city. The tour meets at the street-side paintings at Wisconsin and 20th Street at the top of Potrero Hill, starts at 10:00am and goes until 12:00pm.  Be sure to wear comfy shoes and bring a bottle of water.

Puppet Show – Mitz Petel

Bring your little ones ages two to eight to see Mitz Petel (Raspberry Juice), a puppet show about friendship, colorful characters, and secrets. Put on by Bay Area puppeteers, Peter Olson and Ilan Vitemberg, the show will delight kids with lovable puppets, imaginative sets, and creative storytelling. This show starts Sunday, at 10:30am. RSVP at ajgreen@jewishlearningworks.org.

 

photo by Michael Fraley

Buying Green Toys Without Leaving Home

Overhead view of a boy painting on the wall.

Toys are fun to shop for, they help kids learn AND they keep kids occupied so that you can maybe, maybe take a shower. But, with all the other things you have to do, who has time to research where toys come from and what’s in them?

Fortunately, there are shops that specialize in toys that are safe for your child and for the environment, at pretty much every price point. These toys tend to be open-ended, encouraging your child’s budding imagination. They’re not branded (goodbye, Elmo! See you later, Elsa!) and sidestep gender stereotypes. And, as an extra bonus, natural toys are also often more attractive to keep around your house.

There are some terrific specialty toy shops in the city, but since having a kid means that it’s almost always inconvenient to leave the house, here’s some places to look for natural toys online.

Bella Luna Toys

You don’t have to be at a Waldorf school to appreciate the amazing collection of Waldorf toys that you’ll find at Bella Luna. From play silks to Waldorf dolls, Bella Luna is a go-to for toys and crafts that will fuel your child’s imagination through early elementary school. Bella Luna is a registered member of Green America, has a strong environmental statement and also supports the non-profit Alliance for Childhood.

Oompa Toys 

This online retailer carries a wide range of sustainable brands including darling French stuffed characters from Moulin Roty and a large selection of Plan Toys wooden toys made from recycled rubberwood. They also regularly donate a part of their profits to various children’s causes. If you’re outfitting a play kitchen or in the market for non-toxic stuffed toys, Oompa is the place for you.

Nova Naturals

Possibly the most complete collection of natural toys and craft materials on the internet, Nova Naturals has you covered from wool diaper covers and amber teething necklaces up to natural science kits for your elementary aged learner. They carry a wide assortment of European toy brands and their sale section features consistently good deals.

Stubby Pencil Studio

Just for crafting projects, school supplies and art materials, this unique shop provides a solution to the eco-guilt caused by kids’ endless use of paper. Stubby Pencil Studio easy source for recycled stationery, non-toxic art materials and eco-friendly birthday party supplies.

Tag Toys

Made entirely in the United States down to the raw materials, Tag Toys was originally created to address a lack of toys for kids with learning disabilities. The shop still conducts research in collaboration with hospitals on how to improve its Montessori-inspired range of educational toys. If your child has a sensory processing or other learning disorder, this site is worth a special look.

Wooden Wagon

This family-owned online store sources most of their toys from Germany. They are a great source for some of the world’s most incredible toy brands, including Grimms Spiel and Holz, Fagus Trucks and Cuboro Marble runs. None are cheap, but sign up for their email list to get online sale codes for 10-15% off (or occasionally, just free shipping).

Etsy 

The well-known handmade marketplace features a wealth of small toy shops, most based in the US or Europe. From felt food to wooden toy gyms, pull toys to toddler busy bags, it’s always easy to get something personalized or made just for you. Some favorite shops include: Aly Parrot, Manzanita Kids, A Summer Afternoon, Franconia Ridge Studio, Hill Craft Woodcraft, Zazu Faure and Laughing Crickets.

Amazon

Of course, Amazon carries tons of natural toys too. So-called speciality toys are seldom the first ones listed when you search, but you can often find the item you are looking for at a lower cost or for less expensive shipping (thank you, Amazon Prime!). Some brand names to search on: Plan Toys, Gween, Uncle Goose, Grimms Spiel and Holz, Green Tones, Automoblox, Animalz, Eeboo, Tegu and Schleich.

 

Guest blogger Margaret Swink’s two year old spent the morning covering her legs in scotch tape, which just goes to show that there’s no toy around that’s more fun than things mama doesn’t want you to touch.

This Weekend’s Activities in the Bay Area

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It’s Valentine’s Day Weekend and Chinese New Year. If you’re not heading to the Parenthoods Party on Saturday we have a few more family fun ideas for you!

Tulipmania

Pier 39 is in bloom with over 39,000 colorful tulips! This weekend, Saturday the 14th take a free tour. Head to the crab statue in Pier 39’s Entrance Plaza at 10am, take a tour then partake in complimentary refreshments at Pier Market Seafood Restaurant afterwards.

Chinese New Year Mini-Procession and Lunar New Year Lion Dancing

Experience the Chinese New Year Parade this Saturday at 10am. The route follows Grant Ave from California to Pacific Streets, and includes lion dancers, giant walking puppets, dancers, stilt walkers and more. Later that afternoon, don’t miss this year’s final Lion Dance performance from 1:00pm to 4:00pm at the SF Main Library ringing in the Year of the Ram.

Playa Painting Demonstration

Andres Amador is a local earthscape artist who is well known for creating colossal sand drawings using a rake as his only tool. Come to Ocean Beach this Sunday at around noon to see an art piece take shape in the sand. Andres will do his thing below the Cliff House, so the views should be good from just about any vantage point. Bring a picnic and enjoy the surf and sand for the rest of the afternoon.

 

photo by IQRemix

Inventions in Parenting – Part II

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What is the saying? Necessity is the mother of invention. And there is no bigger group of folks who have necessary needs than parents. We’ve already seen some great ideas on Parenthoods. We obviously have some Elon Musk types among us… if Elon Musk were wearing babies, holding wipes and having big ideas. Check out some of the brilliant ideas offered up lately.

Biz Sitters

Lauren recently posted this awesome business idea. Add childcare to the therapist offices that offer family therapy or PPD therapy. This would allow moms and dads to negotiate their stance on screen time or the right time to pierce the little’s ears. Meanwhile, junior is in the next room getting their puzzle on.

Angelo thinks that we should add childcare to everything. Bravo. Can you imagine heading to Trader Joe’s WITH all your kids and dropping them off in the Kids Corner while you get your shopping done? Lala points out how this could be an idea for UrbanSitter. Perhaps a division called Biz Sitters? You are welcome, UrbanSitter!

Daddy Retrofitters

Roman has experienced the frustration of taking baby into men’s restrooms that don’t have changing tables. His wonderful idea for the retractable changing table is currently offered over at www.mybabydeck.com. But his comment begs a question. How many of these “archaic gender-biased bathrooms” are dads facing when they are out and about with baby? Yo, dads wipe butts, too!

MomCart

Siobhan L was commenting about her use of the stroller to tote her laundry around. ‘Hooders decided it’d be nice to have one cart with multiple functions. Convertible stroller/laundry/market cart. Momcart. Put one in the trunk, run your errands and call it a day. Boom.

Family Friendly Skies

What if the kids were provided their own plane section? Complete with flight attendant sitters, iPads and kid menus. Su2118 posted this gem of an idea. It would solve the age-old conflict of families and children-intolerant fliers having to co-exist. Parents could choose to sit in the kid section but if they chose to sit in the adult section, they could – gasp – read, nap or have a drink.

Idle, Baby!

How many times has the baby or tot been in the back seat and sleeping like an angel until you commit the worst atrocity known to sleeping babies worldwide; you parked the car and turned it off. It is in this moment when you experience the banshee shriek of a grumpy, woken baby. What if there was a vibrating thingamabob that you could clip onto their car seat. The vibrating clip would keep the ‘idle’ feeling in the car seat going so you could park and turn off ignition. What parent doesn’t want 5-10 minutes to sit in a parked car in peace, stalking Facebook & Parenthoods. Now GoFundMe!

 

Guest Blogger Heidi Oelman thinks Idle, Baby is a better name than ShakenBaby. Or BabyVibe.

This Weekend’s Activities in the Bay Area

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A downpour is coming, but we won’t let that stop our weekend. Grab your galoshes and let’s get a little wet.

Giants FanFest 2015

If your little ones are Giants fans, grab your mitt and head to this year’s FanFest. See the World Series trophies, meet your favorite players (but be prepared to wait in line!), get your face painted, and enjoy over 30 vendors throughout the ballpark. Don’t miss the kid zone, Promenade Level, 140-144, and below the scoreboard. Festivities start Saturday at 10am and go until 3pm. Admission is free!

Meet Stanley: The Reading Dog

Rebecca Barker Bridges, author of the Meet Stanley: The Reading Dog will be at Green Apple Books on 9th Ave with her dog Stanley. Enjoy a story time and plenty of pawesome licks by this famous reading dog. The fun is this Saturday starting at 11am.

Chantey Sing at Hyde Street Pier

Calling all scallywags! Get your sea chantey on during this unique public sing-along. Board a historic ship at the SF Maritime National Historic Park and sip hot cider to warm up those vocal chords. Be sure to wear warm clothes and bring your own mug for the cider.  The event starts a bit late for the wee ones, but older sailors and pirates to-be will love singing sea chanteys led by park rangers. Starting at 8pm this Saturday. While admission is free, reservations are required and can be made by calling 415-561-7171.

A San Francisco Family Valentine’s Day Party

Whether you have Valentine’s Day plans with your significant other or opting to avoid the crowds, we have the perfect event for the whole family from 2pm to 4pm at Second Act on Haight Street.

Come for a performance and music class from Music for Aardvarks, crafts from Sensible Sitters, treats from Fresh Baby Bites and a cash bar for the parents!

RSVP to reserve your spot! Space is limited.

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This Weekend’s Activities in the Bay Area

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While most of us are 49ers fans, there are a couple people in the Parenthoods community who show share their allegiance with both the 49ers and the Seahawks, hint hint. Check out this weekend’s family friendly events for the football and non-football lovers.

Family Friendly Super Bowl Party

Second Act is hosting a Family Friendly Super Bowl Party in the Haight. Watch the game with fellow parents this Sunday at 3:30pm while enjoying some raw juice, piroshkis, Burmese food, crepes and soft service ice cream. Top that off with beer and wine from Magnolia, plus plenty of space for the kids to run around, and we’ve got ourselves a party!

Saturdays Unplugged at the JCCSF

Live music, family Olympics, s’mores, and more! This Saturday come to the JCCSF for a seriously screen-free winter day camp designed to inspire memories of summer camp. This is your chance to unplug and get creative with campfire songs and story time. Camp counselors (adults) will want to stick around for happy hour to enjoy some nature inspired cocktails while the kiddos get s’mores. The fun starts at 3:00pm and is free for all ages.

Story Time and Family Walk at the SF Botanical Garden

Join the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture this Sunday for story time and a tour. The library has a great collection of children’s books on plants, general science, natural history, and nature-related myths and stories. This week, the book being read will be on a Blooms and Branches theme. Suitable for children ages 4-8, the story time event takes place at 10:30am and lasts for about 30 minutes. After story time, join in the tour leaving the Library at 11:00am to visit the beautiful garden. Bringing a lunch to enjoy in the garden is certainly encouraged.

Creative Family Fun: Morse Code Messages

This weekend, bring the kiddos to something unique at the Presidio Officers’ Club. Learn the communication method known as Morse code that the Army used during the 1906 earthquake. Participants will learn about Morse code and local history while making Morse code jewelry. You can attend either Saturday or Sunday from 11:00am to 4:00pm.

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