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September 2017

Bike or Bus? School safety tips

Spirited Kids Focus on their strengths

Find a Sitter For special needs kids

Lunch Ninja

Fast meals


T S E B Y # A D H



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September 2017

Every Issue 6

Dear Reader


Bits and Pieces Viva La Mexico! Everyday Apiaries A Is for Alligator


Fiddlin’ Joy See Snoopy Sing Gourd Yourself



16 Calendar of Events

10 Bike, Bus, Walk Tips for getting kids to school safe and sound.

12 Spirited Away Raising your intense, determined, sensitive child.

Hear Them Roar

27 Cooking with Kids Lunch Ninja

14 Exceptional Babysitters How do you find care for a child with special needs?

26 Pickles Says Hasta La Vista Our local humorist on the farm version of tough love.

14 22 4 SonomaFamilyLife

September 2017


CIDER FEST & APPLE SHOW Saturday, Sept 16, 12-5 Sunday, Sept 17, 12-5 At the Mendocino County Fair & Apple Show

September 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 5

Dear Reader


elcome to our issue dedicated to special needs. Raising children is challenging for all parents, Sharon Gowan but for those Publisher/Editor who have kids with behavioral, emotional, or physical issues, common problems take on new dimensions. For instance, finding a sitter is doubly difficult. Lynne Adams, a child psychologist and mom of a son who has autism, shares strategies that worked for her in “Exceptional Babysitters” (page 14). In terms of day-to-day coping, Cheryl Maguire finds focusing on

her child’s strengths helps. She shares her positive point of view, as well as life lessons learned, in “Spirited Away” (page 12).

Office Manager Patricia Ramos

Whether or not you have a child with special needs, getting to school safely is most likely tops on your list of priorities. Read Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools Steven D. Herrington’s “Bike, Bus, Walk” (page 10) for travel safety tips. Then turn to “Lunch Ninja” (page 27) for advice on packing your child’s lunchbox with quick, healthy meals. May your family’s fall be full of the excitement of learning new things.

Business Marketing Renee Nutcher Marie Anderson Warren Kaufman

Features Editor Melissa Chianta

Production Manager Donna Bogener

Web and Social Media Jean Flint

Nothing runs on empty. Especially 1 in 6 of our Sonoma County neighbors who struggle with hunger. Join the Redwood Empire Food Bank to help end hunger in our community.

Act now at REFB.ORG.

Natalie Bruzon

Contributing Writers Lynne Adams Steven D. Herrington Holly Hester Cheryl Maguire Karen Nochimowski

Billing Jan Wasson-Smith

Publishing Office 134 Lystra Court, Suite A Santa Rosa, CA 95403


Tel (707) 586-9562 Fax (707) 586-9571

(707) 523-7900 | 3990 Brickway Blvd. | Santa Rosa | CA | 95403

6 SonomaFamilyLife

September 2017

Mendocino County Fair & Apple Show September 15-17, 2017

9 am to Midnight Daily • Boonville Fairgrounds



SATURDAY 16 AT 12:30 PM & 6 PM

September 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 7

Bits & Pieces

Viva La Mexico!


n September 16, 1810, a ringing church bell called a nation to arms and began the Mexican War of Independence. In honor of the historical event, Mexico celebrates its Independence Day every year on September 16. Locally, you can join in the fun at the Fiesta de Independencia on September 17, 1–7 p.m., at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. Experience a traditional fiesta—the authentic food, colorfully costumed dances, and vivacious music, including performances by Mariachi Barragan, Banda Toro, and Sonora Tropicana—for free. Go to for more information. ¶

Everyday Apiaries


here’s been a lot of buzz about bees dying. And for good reason, say scientists: These pollinators keep many species of plants alive. Their role is so important that some concerned folks are raising bees in their backyard. If your family is thinking of joining their ranks, go to the “Backyard Beekeeping” class on September 2, 2–3:30 p.m., at the Cloverdale Regional Library in Cloverdale. Find out about the best honeybees to buy, how much money and time you can expect to invest, and helpful resources, too. See ¶

“A” Is for Alligator


hen we’re couch potatoes, we may call ourselves slothful. But are sloths themselves actually lazy? Find out at Classroom Safari, where local wildlife educator Bonnie Cromwell will display and discuss the attributes of a variety of exotic animals, including a baby sloth, and, if they are in the mood, a wallaby, porcupine, serval, fennec fox, and an alligator. Kids will have the opportunity to get up close to the animals while Cromwell shares interesting facts about their habits, physical characteristics, and habitats. The free event will happen on September 2, 2–3 p.m., at the Central Santa Rosa Library in Santa Rosa. To find out more about Cromwell, go to the Archives section of and see our award-winning profile of her, “Have Zoo, Will Travel,” in the November 2014 issue. ¶

8 SonomaFamilyLife

Check out exotic animals at Classroom Safari

September 2017

Fiddlin’ Joy


One Grass Two Grass

pend the evening dancing in a theater of towering redwoods jutting out into a starlit sky at the Old Grove Festival. This year the annual event, which takes place in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville, will feature the bluegrass bands Dead Winter Carpenters and One Grass Two Grass. On September 16, 4:30–10 p.m., indulge in a little brew and a meal or just a sweet treat, and listen to fiddle-fueled sounds in the park’s natural amphitheater. Regular admission is $28–$35, with preferred seating $44–$80; children ages 0–12 get in free when each child is accompanied by one paying adult, otherwise children’s tickets are $8–$10. Food and beverages are extra. See for more information and to purchase tickets. ¶

See Snoopy Sing


harles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip has been making our inner children smile for decades. And where the comic strip leaves off, the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown picks up, as Linus, Snoopy, and the rest of the crew inspire us to delight in everyday moments. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the production’s off-Broadway opening, 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa will put on the show September 1–17. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays–Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $15–$38 and may be purchased at ¶

Gourd Yourself


n heirloom is usually an object that connects us to our past. For a family, it may be a set of vintage china or a watch, but for the Earth, it’s a seed. In this era of hybridization and genetic engineering, heirloom seeds protect the genetic lineage of a vegetable or fruit. Curious about what kinds of produce these seeds yield? Check out the National Heirloom Expo, which will feature an enormous display of more than 4,000 varieties of heirloom produce, as well as a seed exchange. In addition, 80 internationally acclaimed speakers, including Dr. Vandana Shiva and Chef Peter Gilmore, will talk about multifaceted aspects of

sustainable agriculture, and artists and experts will demonstrate everything from seed engraving to aquaponic food production. There will be a dahlia show, special children’s activities, live music, and, of course, lots of locally sourced food. The event will be held on September 5–7, 9 a.m.–9 p.m., at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. One-day admission is $10 and a three-day pass is $25; children ages 17 and under get in free. To purchase tickets and find out more information, including a schedule of speakers and demonstrations, see ¶

September 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 9

the tracks; don’t be distracted by cell phones or headphones. Approach all crossings carefully and be prepared to stop 15 feet behind the crossing gates. Never try to beat a train through a railroad crossing.

Bike, Bus, Walk

Walking It is best for children under the age of 10 to be accompanied by a parent or adult when crossing the street. Playing and running into the street should be prohibited. Children should be instructed to stay on the sidewalk, only cross at a cross walk,

Reduce distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

Tips for Getting to School Safely, from the Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools

By Steven D. Herrington, Ph.D.


ith the start of a new school year upon us, families across the county are relying on a variety of ways to get their kids to school. Rather than driving single-family vehicles, many families opt for walking, biking, riding the school bus, or carpooling. These options take a burden off the environment and help ease traffic congestion. Walking and biking are particularly eco-friendly and give kids the physical activity they need. However, these alternative routes to school come with certain risks that families should keep in mind: In the United States in 2009, approximately 23,000 children ages 5–15 were injured and more than 250 were killed while walking or bicycling. That said, motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death in school-age children, so no travel mode comes without risk. Thankfully, knowledge can minimize the risk. In that spirit, I am sharing some tips for safely getting children to the classroom. Train With the new SMART train up and running, railroad track safety is now more important than ever in Sonoma County. When crossing railroad tracks, stop, look, and listen for approaching trains. Kids should 10 SonomaFamilyLife

be taught never to play, sleep, walk, or ride their bicycles on railroad tracks. Although trains may not seem fast, they move at speeds of 65 mph or more; it can take over a mile for them to stop. Stay alert when near

and look for cars before stepping into the cross walk. The proper way to look for a car is to look to the left, to the right, and then back to the left again. It is important to continue looking while crossing in case a car approaches. Tell children to never assume that a driver sees them or that the driver will stop. As with all pedestrians, children should never walk with their backs to oncoming traffic if there is no sidewalk. When walking past driveways, instruct children to stay alert for cars backing out. Biking Choose a bicycle that is appropriate for your child’s age and size. Helmets and protective gear are also critical. Helmets should be level on the head, buckled, and covering the forehead. Additionally, children should wear bright clothing to help make them more visible. At least one item of clothing should contain some type of reflective material

September 2017

on it. It is also important that children learn and obey all traffic laws. Teach children about hand signals, street signs, traffic lights, and pedestrian lights. It is important to be predictable and ride in the same direction as traffic at all times.

feet ahead of the bus on the sidewalk. Once the driver is in clear view, the student should wait for a signal from the driver before crossing. Children should always cross the street in front of the bus and never go behind it.

Riding the School Bus While at the bus stop, kids should wait quietly in a safe space well away from the road. To avoid falling or being pushed accidentally in front of the bus, children should not play in the street or anywhere near the approaching vehicle. When entering the bus, kids should go directly to a seat, remain seated, and face forward during the entire ride. Students must wait until the bus comes to a full stop before getting off. If a student must cross the street, he or she should walk 10

With the new SMART train up and running, railroad track safety is now more important than ever. Driving Safe driving is just as important as safe biking and walking. Make sure to slow down and be alert in residential areas and school zones. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians, and on curbs. Enter and exit driveways and

alleys slowly and carefully. Watch for children on or near the road in the morning and after school hours. Reduce distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. When parking next to a curb, have children get out at curbside. Never leave a child alone in a vehicle. Always lock car doors and trunks, and keep keys out of children’s reach. I encourage our community to always put safety first, especially when it comes to our children. This list is not meant to be comprehensive but rather a starting point to spread awareness of traffic safety. For more resources, visit ¶ Steven D. Herrington, Ph.D., is the Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools.

REDEFINING FAMILY FUN IN SONOMA COUNTY Indoor Sports • Trampolines Bowling • Arcade • Laser Tag • 7D Thrill Ride Play Structures • Sports Bar • Restaurant Starbucks • Parties/Events Learn more at

September 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 11

uses to describe this quality are committed, decisive, or, my favorite, determined.

Spirited Away

My daughter is the most determined person I have ever met. She learned how to ride a bicycle in three days, at age

When I see my daughter attempting something like climbing a rock wall, I can’t help but feel inspired to take leaps in my own life, too.

4 Lessons Learned from My Daughter

By Cheryl Maguire


recently discovered the book Raising Your Spirited Child (HarperCollins, 2009) by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I wish I had known about it 11 years ago when my spirited daughter was born. I never knew there was a positive classification for her personality.

According to the book, a spirited child is one who is “more intense, persistent, sensitive, and perceptive” than the average child. Kurcinka coined the term spirited when she was looking for information regarding her son and only came across words like difficult, strong-willed, or stubborn. She felt that describing her child using a positive word like spirited would help her to focus on his strengths. When I was in graduate school earning a degree in counseling psychology, I remember a professor saying to me, “You will learn the most from the challenging cases.” 12 SonomaFamilyLife

This comment has stayed with me throughout the years. After reading this book, I couldn’t help but think of how I became both a better parent and a better person from knowing my daughter. Here are a few of the qualities I cultivated because of her. Determination Kurcinka says spirited children are persistent. While this attribute can lead to power struggles with parents, she points out that it is also a positive characteristic, citing examples of persistent people like Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright brothers. Other positive words she

five, mostly on her own. She spent every moment of those three days attempting this skill. It didn’t matter how many times she fell or how many scrapes and bruises she received, she got back on her bicycle until she could ride it without falling. She used the same amount of determination to learn to play the piano. One day she decided she wanted to learn how to play, and instead of asking for lessons, she looked up instructional YouTube videos. She spent the next week practicing the same song over and over until she had mastered it. Everyone in the family was amazed at her ability to play the song, which she learned entirely on her own. When I see her willingness to go after her goals despite any obstacles she may encounter, I can’t help but feel motivated to do the same. When I’m feeling frustrated I merely envision her riding the bicycle or playing the piano, and I realize I can’t give up.

September 2017

©P N


Curiosity Spirited children often are perceptive. “Their senses are keen, drawing in every aspect of stimulation around them,” Kurcinka says. And this quality helps them to think creatively. In my daughter’s case, perceptiveness led to curiosity, which meant she got into everything when she was younger. Today she is always interested in how

My daughter is the most determined person I have ever met. things work and asks lots of questions or, as with learning to play the piano, works to figure something out on her own. Seeing her pursue new things has motivated me to try activities I might normally never consider. I’m a shy person who doesn’t willingly take risks, but when I see my daughter attempting something like climbing a rock wall, I can’t help but feel inspired to take leaps in my own life, too. Patience When you are the parent of a spirited child, temper tantrums are the norm. They are so common, Kurcinka devotes an entire chapter to them, stating, “all kids throw tantrums, but spirited children do it with much more pizzazz, finesse and frequency.” Over the years, I learned to respond to my daughter’s tantrums with patience and understanding. And, as a result, the number of them decreased. Cultivating patience has helped me parent not only my daughter, but my other children as well, and has positively affected other areas of my life, such as when

I’m waiting for a customer service representative to take my call. Empathy “Sensitive spirited kids feel emotions, see sights, hear sounds, and smell odors to a degree that most of us mortals will never know,” Kurcinka notes.

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For my daughter, these sensitivities have translated into a lot of crying, especially when she was younger. The upside is that they make it easier for her to empathize with others’ feelings. She enjoys helping others and making them feel special. On Mother’s Day, she always showers me with various homemade gifts, baked goods, and breakfast in bed. Her fifth grade teacher told me that at the end of every day my daughter makes a point to say thank you. She said in her 15 years of being a teacher, she never encountered a student who did this, yet this simple act made her feel appreciated. For me, my daughter’s sensitivities encouraged me to develop a greater sense of empathy for her feelings and needs. I can see when she is feeling overwhelmed or over-stimulated and respond accordingly. Loving the Spirit Even though being the parent of a spirited child can be challenging, I have loved every moment of it (and not just because she is my girl). My daughter has helped me to accomplish my goals, try new experiences, and most importantly, empathize with and appreciate others. ¶ This article was originally published at Find Cheryl Maguire on Twitter @ CherylMaguire05.

September 2017

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Exceptional Babysitters Find a Gem for Your Special Needs Child By Lynne Adams


used to say that only a Ph.D.-level child psychologist could babysit my infant son. It wasn’t really a joke because that’s what I was at the time. And his other babysitters were my two close friends and colleagues—and my mom.

James was an extremely fussy, unpredictable, hard-to-read baby. Later, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. My main worry was that a babysitter wouldn’t be able to withstand James’s crying, which was long and loud. I was afraid my son was vulnerable to abuse. Only someone who loved him or me could do the job. Thankfully, with a little time, James became less fussy and much more fun to be around. But I remained wary of sitters. With James, the stakes were higher. What was I supposed to do? Hire a “special needs babysitter,” if such a person existed? And how much would that cost? I wasn’t going to call up the teenager down the street, but I thought I could make do with someone experienced, someone older. 14 SonomaFamilyLife

Also, was a diagnostic label, to which I was still adjusting, really necessary in order for the 75-year-old lady across the street to

I troll for sitters at James’s school, looking for people who he already knows and feels comfortable with. put James to bed while my husband and I went out to dinner? Autism Spectrum Disorder can be a hidden disability. It’s not always apparent at first meeting, so a parent has a choice about whether or not to identify his or her child. How would you like your worst qualities highlighted when you are being introduced to new people? “This is Lynn. She’s extremely

nearsighted and more anxious than most people. She’s okay at throwing, but she can’t catch. Oh, and she gets really cranky when she’s tired or hungry.” Turns out I probably should have said something. When we got home at 10:30 p.m., Ms. Veronica was sitting beside James’s crib, overhead light on, singing “Polly Wolly Doodle.” “Does this baby ever sleep?” she asked. “He won’t close his eyes!” James gave me a desperate look, as if to say, “Doesn’t this lady know how to turn out the light and leave the room?” He was tired of entertaining her. As he grew, James was less funny but still had trouble reading people and being read. Because of his autism, he didn’t communicate typically about really important household topics: sleepiness, hunger, thirst, discomfort, anxiety, illness, and basic requests. So this became my tactic. Instead of using the A-word, I’d deliver a clear,

September 2017

focused message about what made James different. Like ad copy: “You know how most kids yawn when they’re tired? Well, this one runs up and down the house like a greyhound.” In this way I graduated from Ph.D.-level babysitters to preschool assistant teachers, Teach for America people, and budding speech/language therapists. That’s

You don’t need an expert, but you do need someone who will keep major routines consistent. where I remain today, when my mom’s unavailable. Most importantly, I troll for sitters at James’s school, looking for people who he already knows and feels comfortable with. Any sitter must be able to accept that some children are different and that parents know their own children better than anyone else. I avoid the Know-It-All, who tries to reassure me that she doesn’t need my instructions, that she’s perfectly capable of handling James, and that he’s not really so different from other children, after all. All these statements are true, most of the time. But no matter how well James does with babysitters, and he does very well nowadays, the stakes are higher because of his autism, even higher than they are for his younger sister. And that’s because, for children with autism and other special needs, major routines are all-important. I’m not talking about which book is read

before bed or how many times you say goodnight. I’m talking about how much and when they eat and drink, when they use the bathroom, when and if they take any medication, and when they fall asleep. A slight variation in any of these can result in such ills as bedwetting, night waking, early morning waking, stomach upset, and fussiness for days afterward. None of which are a good follow-up to my wild night on the town. So that’s it. You don’t need an expert, but you do need someone who will keep major routines consistent. Someone who understands how important that is. And that person is most likely to be someone you already know or someone who has experience with special needs kids. No Ph.D. required.

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Once you’ve met the potty/food/ bedtime requirement, anything else is extra. At our house, the extras are the best part. There was Jessie, the Teach for America teacher who had a rollicking “tuck-in machine” shtick. Then came Marcia, the preschool teacher who served dinner picnic-style on the playroom floor. And now we have Ben, camp counselor extraordinaire, who organizes tournaments that get the kids interested in board games that normally gather dust on the shelf. When we get home from our wild night out, the kids are in bed, bellies full and bladders empty. The next morning, they wake up happy, ready to share stories of the night’s adventures. Just like we are. ¶ Lynne Adams is a child psychologist turned parenting writer. Find more of her work at

September 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 15

September Calendar of Events

Hear Them Roar


o the kids have exceptionally formidable outdoor voices? Let them strut their stuff at the Chewbacca Roar Contest at the Santa Rosa Toy and Comic Con. After they’re finished doing their best Chewie imitations, they can browse through more than 200 booths of vintage and collectible toys and comics, see the latest from toy designers, and then play in a Magic tournament or enter a cosplay competition. The convention will be held September 23, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. Admission is $15–$25; $40–$80 for a family of 4. Find out more at ¶

Friday 1 Funky Fridays at the Hood.

Featured band: A Case of the Willies. Bring a blanket or low-back chair & a picnic. $10. Ages 18 years & under: free. Beer & wine available for purchase. Parking: $10 or free for members. 7–9 p.m. Hood Mountain Regional Park. 1450 N. Pythian Rd., Santa Rosa. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic Broadway musical, based on the famous Peanuts comic strip by Santa Rosa native son Charles

EARN SCHOOL BUCK$ At Lumberjacks

Fifteen percent (15%) of all revenue generated by your school’s patronage will be donated back to your school!

M. Schulz. $15–$38. Thru Sept. 17. Thursdays–Saturdays: 7:30 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays: 2 p.m. 6th Street Playhouse. 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa. 523-4185. FREE Movies in the Park. Bring the family, a picnic & a blanket to enjoy movies on the big screen under the stars. Sept. 1: Moana (PG). Sept. 8: Sing (PG). Sept. 15: Beauty & the Beast (PG). Vendors will be selling food before the show. Movies start at 7:45 p.m. Howarth Park. 630 Summerfield Rd., Santa Rosa.

FREE Shakespeare by the River. Henry IV: Part One. Thru

Sept. 9. Fridays: 7 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays: 3 p.m. Foundry Wharf. 2nd & H Streets, Petaluma. 287-1766.

Saturday 2 FREE Wild Animal Safari. Local wildlife educator Bonnie Cromwell will display & discuss a variety of exotic animals, including a baby sloth, a wallaby, porcupine, serval, fennec fox & an alligator. Kids will have the opportunity to get up close to

Fall activities are here!


Santa Rosa’s Fall/Winter Activity Guide offers HUNDREDS of activities for the whole family!

ActivityGu ide Fall/Winter 2017

Register for classes at 707-543-3737 Register online!


732 E. Washington Street Petaluma • (707) 762-4095

16 SonomaFamilyLife


Experience Fun Family Events!

SCAN to access

Choose from a wide variety of commun ity events. Para info rmacion en

Get Your Play On

Rhythmic gymnast ics, Zumba kids, yout h basketball or socc er


Español, vea pag

ina 58

Challenge Your Fitness Routine !

5K Interval Train

ing, Turbo

September 2017

A JOYFUL EXPERIENCE music & learning

the animals. 2–3 p.m. Central Santa Rosa Library. 211 E St., Santa Rosa. 545-0831. Fermentation Festival. Hosting 35+

vendors of nonalcoholic, artisanal fermented foods & beverages. $25–$45. Under 16: free. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. 175 Fairgrounds Dr., Petaluma.

music & learning for every level for every level

FREE First Saturday Cleanup on Prince Memorial Greenway. Help

take care of restored Greenway. Cleanup supplies provided. 10 a.m.– noon. Olive Park. 105 Orange St., Santa Rosa. 543-3845.

Learning was Discover the power never this much & joy of music based learning. Our programs nurture the potential found in every child.


Roller Derby Double Header.

Family-friendly event. $5–$25. 4–8:30 p.m. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Grace Pavilion. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. sonomacounty

Discover the power & joy of music based learning. Our programs nurture the potential found in every child. Schedule a free preview today.

FREE Rockin’ Concerts at the Village. Saturdays. Noon–3 p.m.

Montgomery Village. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa. See all-events for complete schedule. FREE Backyard Beekeeping. Explore the hobby of beekeeping. 2–3:30 p.m. Cloverdale Regional Library. 401 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. 894-5271. 22nd Annual Cajun Zydeco & Delta Rhythm Festival. Shaded wooden

dance floor. Crawfish/Cajun food & alcoholic beverages available for purchase. $25–$40. Thru Sept. 3. 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Ives Park. 7400 Willow St., Sebastopol.

Tuesday 5 7th Annual National Heirloom Exposition. More than 20,000 farmers

& gardeners & more than 300 vendors. Workshops, speakers, contests, art shows & music. All profits benefit school garden & food programs. $10–$20. Ages 17 & under: free. Parking: $8 & $10. 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Thru Sept. 7. Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

Sonoma County Children’s Music

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SonomaFamilyLife 17

1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa.

Studio. 360 Tesconi Circle, Santa Rosa. Register at

Saturday 9 2nd Annual West Coast Diesels Tractor Pull. Show & Shine &

Friday 8

Wednesday 6 Point Arena Lighthouse Full Corn Moon Tour. Enjoy a panoramic

view from the top of the tower, by full moon. All proceeds support the lighthouse. $30. $50 for 2. Reservations must be made by phone no later than 3:30 p.m. 3 days before event. 7:30 p.m. Point Arena Lighthouse. 45500 Lighthouse Rd., Point Arena. 877-725-4448, ext. 1 or 882-2809, ext. 1.

Thursday 7 FREE Creating an Adoption Lifebook. 10-session class where

adoptive parents create a book that tells their child’s adoption story. Sept. 7, 14 & 21. 6:30–9 p.m. Full Circle

high-horsepowered tractor pull. $15–$20. Parking: $8. Show & Shine: 2–6 p.m. Tractor pull: 6–9:30 p.m. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa.

12th Annual Forestville Youth Park Outhouse Classic Golf Tournament. Dinner & live & silent

auctions at Charlie’s Grill. $150/ golfer. Dinner only: $50. Proceeds benefit the Forestville Youth Park. Registration: 11:30 a.m. Shotgun start: 1 p.m. Dinner: 6 p.m. Windsor Golf Club. 1340 19th Hole Dr., Windsor. Broadway Under the Stars: Gala Celebration. Performances,

community tributes & more. $45–$150. Thru Sept. 10. 7:30 p.m. Jack London State Historic Park. 2400 London Ranch Rd., Glen Ellen. 877-424-1414.

For your next


FREE Health & Safety Fair. Bike

rodeo, bicycle skills/repairs/safety info & bike raffle. Free helmets while supplies last. Car-seat demonstrations & inspections & emergency-vehicle display. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Roseland Village. 555 Sebastopol Rd., Santa Rosa. 543-0153. 60th Annual Art in the Park. Bring

a picnic, chair, or blanket. Live entertainment, art show & sale & food. Thru Sept. 10. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Walnut


Birthday Parties Baseball Teams Soccer Teams Fundraisers



MOUNTAINMIKES.COM Pizza...the way it ought to be. Santa Rosa

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Rohnert Park

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18 SonomaFamilyLife

Rohnert Park

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919 Lakeville St 707-769-8989

Healdsburg 1051 Vine St 707-433-2911


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September 2017

Park. 201 4th St., Petaluma. 762-2978. Water Bark Dog Swim. Well-behaved

dogs are invited to swim & romp on the beach. $5–$7 per dog. Proceeds benefit the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation. Thru Oct. 1. Fridays & Saturdays. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (No swim Sept. 16.) Spring Lake Regional Park Swimming Lagoon. 393 Violetti Rd., Santa Rosa. parks. Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival.

Stephanie Mills, Tower of Power & more. $55–$190. Johnson’s Beach. Guerneville. FREE 2017 Community Open House Series. The Community Advisory

Board wants to hear from residents about infrastructure, affordable housing, parks & police & fire stations. Free Spanish translation. 10–11:30 a.m.: Rincon Valley Library. 6959 Montecito Blvd., Santa Rosa. Sept. 13: 6–7:30 p.m. Finley Community Center. 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa. srcity/org/ CABOpenhouse.

Sunday 10 FREE Grandparent’s Day.

Grandparents receive free admission when visiting with grandchild. (Regular admission prices: Adults: $12. Seniors: $8. Ages 4–18: $5. Ages 3 & under: free.) 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. FREE Fan Fest! Second Sunday Family Fun Series. Wear your favorite sports team jersey. Screening of 49er game in Sports Center Gym. Live music by ’80s cover band Aqua Nett. Kids’ Zone with outdoor activities & face painting. Refreshments available for purchase. 1–4 p.m. Community Center. 5401 Synder Ln., Rohnert Park.

September 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 19

Thursday 14 Just Between Friends Kids’ & Maternity Consignment Sales Event. The largest of its kind in

Northern CA. Free parking. Thru Sept. 17. Sept. 14 & 15: 9 a.m.–8 p.m., $2–$3 admission. Sept. 16 & 17: 9 a.m.–3 p.m., free admission. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. northbay.

Friday 15

Boonville. 895-3011. For schedule of events & ticket purchase, visit

Saturday 16 Open Cockpit. Get an unobstructed view of the inside of a genuine fighter plane, attack plane, or helicopter. $5–$10. Ages 5 & under: free. Military: free with ID. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Thru Sept. 17. Pacific Coast Air Museum. 1 Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa. 575-7900.

Mendocino County Fair & Apple Show. CCPRA rodeos, classic car

FREE Sonoma County Creek to Coast Cleanup. Gloves, tools &

show, sheepdog trials, entertainment, carnival & apple tasting, country music & dancing, hard cider & wine tasting. Sept. 15: 9 a.m.–midnight. Sept. 16: 8:30 a.m.–midnight. Sept. 17: 9 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Mendocino County Fairgrounds. 14400 Hwy. 128,

snacks provided. 9:30 a.m.–noon. Olive Park Footbridge near 1698 Hazel St. (on-street parking), Santa Rosa. 543-3845. Old Grove Festival. Americana

& bluegrass concert in the natural amphitheater in Armstrong State

Reserve. Dead Winter Carpenters & One Grass Two Grass. $28–$80. Under 12: free with one paying adult. If number of children exceeds the number of paying adults, then purchase children’s ticket, $8–$10. Food & refreshments available for purchase. 4:30–9 p.m. Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. 17000 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville.

Sunday 17 FREE Movies on the Green. Disney’s Cars 3. 3 p.m. Green Music Center. Weill Hall & Lawn. 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. FREE 8th Annual Fiesta de Independencia. Celebrate Latino

Heritage Month in Sonoma County. Authentic food, music, games & activities for the entire family. 1–7 p.m.

The REACH School Serving Transitional Kindergarten through 8th Grade

• Project Based Academic Program • Social Emotional Learning Focus • Small Class Sizes


A positive youth basketball league for children ages 6-15. Emphasizing the fun of the sport, while keeping competition in perspective. Practice 1 hour a week with games on Saturdays.


• Focus on collaborative and activity driven learning

This Y program combines technical development and fundamental techniques with safety and fun in mind for kids ages 7-12.

Registration begins September 11th! Call the Y Program Office for more Information at 707-544-1829 or visit to register online The Y is a not-for-profit Community Based Organization. Financial Assistance is available.

20 SonomaFamilyLife

• Expressive Arts Integration

Pre-Enrollment Information for 2017-18 is available at


487 Watertrough Rd, Sebastopol, 95472 September 2017

Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. 546-3600.

Monday 18 Trades on Tap 2017. This event helps to sustain Rebuilding

Together’s efforts to repair the homes of extremely low-income residents. Paella dinner & live music by the Pulsators. $30. 5:30–8:30 p.m. Lagunitas Brewing Company. 1280 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma.

Tuesday 19 FREE Adoptive Parents Education & Support Group.

Parents participate in discussion & learning while kids attend a facilitated social group. 6:30–8 p.m. Parents Place of Sonoma County. 1360 N. Dutton Ave., Ste. C, Santa Rosa. 303-1509. RSVP:

Friday 22 Cinderella, Cinderella! Presented by Santa Rosa’s Theater

for Children. Kids engage with characters & even get on stage. 1 Act. $5. Sept. 22–24 & Sept. 29–Oct. 1. Afternoon & evening shows. Steele Lane Community Center. 415 Steele Ln., Santa Rosa.

ald Shuttles from McDaonnch most Santa R Rosa schools AFTER SCHOOL FARM PROGRAMS Weekly, 3-Day or 1-Day Sessions 1:30-5pm • Riding Lessons • Arts & Crafts • Field Trips • Farm Animal Care • Cooking • Leadership • Archery & more! Programs held at Sky Tree Ranch in Santa Rosa • 707 583-6711

Octoberfest &

Courtney’s Pumpkin Patch

OCTOBER 7TH Downtown Cloverdale Plaza • 12–7pm

Pumpkins & Gourds • Dan Chan Magic Show • Face Painting Pumpkin Fairy Godmother • Halloween Activity House Photos with Giant Pumpkin • Vendors • Halloween Items Silent Auction with over 100 items including Disneyland Hopper Passes German Food • Live Music • Balkan Dancers This community event is a joint fundraiser between Courtney’s Pumpkin Patch, benefitting the Courtney Jade Davis Memorial Scholarship at CHS, local cancer patients, and the Kiwanis Club of Cloverdale.

September 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 21

Saturday 23 All Hallows Art Fest. One-of-a-kind

works of handmade art. Admission: $5. 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Hermann Sons Hall. 860 Western Ave., Petaluma.

repairs, child car seat installation, child ID program, free taco lunch & much more. 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Healdsburg Community Center. 1557 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg.

& collectible toys & comics. Lego exhibition, contests & play area. $15. Under 5: free. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa Toy & Comic Con.

FREE Family Safety Fair. Bike

skills & safety rodeo, bike checks &

Sunday 24

More than 200 booths of vintage

FREE Fourth & Sea’s Sunday Cruise In. Featuring classic cars, music,

food & free raffle. Everything from a horseless carriage to a Superbird. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. 4th & Sea Fish & Chips. 101 4th St., Petaluma. FourthAndSea.



Special Offer

FREE Community Emergency Preparedness Fair. Hands-on

A new school year brings a fresh start—and Mathnasium will help make it a success!


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Cross & Crown Lutheran School 2 - 5 years Preschool Jr. Kindergarten – Kindergarten 1st through 6th Grade

Hair & Skin Care for the Entire Family!

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22 SonomaFamilyLife

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September 2017

demonstrations: CPR, survivalpreparedness equipment, Dutch oven cooking. Free emergency gift given to the first 100 families. Police & fire departments, FEMA, Red Cross, USCG, sheriff’s office & CHP will be on hand. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Walnut Park. Petaluma Blvd. & D Streets, Petaluma. FREE Storytelling Workshop. Book launch for The Right Story at the Right Time: Changing the Lives of Children and Adolescents One Story at a Time. 2–4 p.m. Occidental Center for the Arts. 3850 Doris Murphy Way, Occidental. 874-9392. occidentalcenter

Party for Art: Summer of Love.

Fundraiser to support the Summer Apprenticeship Program & arts projects in the Sonoma County community. Casino games & silent auction. ’60s costumes welcomed. $45–$85. 6–10 p.m. Arthouse. 716 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa.

Saturday 30 FREE Colgan Creek Volunteer Day.

Help the community clean up & nurture the restored creek. Ages 8 & up & adults welcome. 10 a.m.–noon. Elsie Allen High School parking lot. 599 Bellevue Ave., Santa Rosa. 543-3845.

Educators’ Night at Copperfield’s Books. Teachers learn about new

books, author events, title talks & more. Snacks & giveaways. 6–8 p.m. Sept. 26: Grades K–3. Sept. 27: Grades 4–6. Sept. 28: Grades 7–12. 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma. 762-0563.

FREE 31st Annual Petaluma Fall Antique Faire. Show attracts more

than 8,000 collectors. (Mason’s breakfast in Mason’s building. 7–11:30 a.m. $8.) 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Downtown Petaluma. 762-9348.

$600/foursome. 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Windsor Golf Club. 1340 19th Hole Dr., Windsor. 545-9622, ext. 3120.

Tuesday 26

14th Annual CSRG Charity Challenge. Vintage racing,

Friday 29 Heroes for Y Kids Golf Tournament.

Help the Y make a difference in the lives of Sonoma County youth. Register by Sept. 22. $165/single.

charity drawing & charity ride-arounds. All proceeds benefit Speedway Children’s Charities. Online: $12, 2-day pass $20. Gate: $25, $45 both days. Sonoma Raceway. 29355 Arnold Dr., Sonoma. 800-870-7223.



Learn Real Life Skills

• Fun Exercise • Builds Confidence • Athletic Skills • Strength & Flexibility • Improves Focus • Instills Respect • Self Control • Positive Attitude


SEPT. 14-17

Sonoma County Fairgrounds

707-338-2233 • 1880 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa

Save 50-90%

September 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 23




istening to music can quite literally be a buoyant experience at the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival. With the stage just feet away from the water, your inner tube can serve as your seat. Float along as you listen to acts such as Grammy-award winner Stephanie Mills and the iconic Tower of Power as well as Bay Area favorites Con Brio, Frobeck, and many others. Shows will be held September 9 and 10 at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville. General admission is $55 for a single day or $90 for the weekend; a gold pass, which includes reserved seating as well as complimentary wine, is $110 for a single day or $190 for the weekend. Find out more information and purchase tickets at ¶

Mark St. Mary and his Blues and Zydeco Band

Taste the Music n the kettle of New Orleans’s Creole culture bubbles Zydeco, its zesty tempos giving the city its trademark musical flavor. Thanks to Sonoma County Cajun and Zydeco Delta Rhythm Festival, you don’t have to travel to Louisiana to hear it. The festival comes to Ives Park in Sebastopol September 2–3, 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. On September 2, nationally known acts such as Geno Delafose and the French Rockin’ Boogie Band, Mark St. Mary and his Blues and Zydeco Band, and others will take to the stage. Then, on September 3, rockabilly groups such as the Blasters, Kim Lenz and Her Jaguars, and the RevTones will take their turn getting the crowd to move and groove. Besides music, there will be plenty of crawfish and other Cajun eats as well as vendors selling arty wares. Admission is $25–$30 for one day or $40–$50 for both days. For details and to purchase tickets, go to ¶

Sign up online for our weekly enews featuring the best family friendly weekend events.


Got Them River Blues

24 SonomaFamilyLife

n u FBlast!

Live Action Role Playing! kids learn to act out stories & adventures in an imaginary world. Ages 8–18 707-569-4859 Sebastopol

Got Art? We Do!!!

Painting • Drawing Cartooning Mask Making Glass Staining Silk Painting Wood Burning Mosaic • Clay

Celebrating 25 Years

Classes • Camps Birthday Parties 5435 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park • 285-2002


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Lessons Grooming Camps Pony Rides & More!

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September 2017

Classified Marketplace Lessons




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Montessori in Motion & More!

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YMCA Program Office The Y isConfidence, a non-profit community based organization. and Cognitive 9291 Old Redwood Hwy., Bldg. 300D 707.544.1829 Financial Assistance is available. 838-1260 • Academic Skills.

Sonoma County   Child Support Services  3725 Westwind Blvd., Ste 200  Santa Rosa, CA 95403  

Program of First United Methodist Church

Get Mom’s Attention!

Diane: 546-7012

Year-round • Play based Ages 2 - 5 (Pre-Kindergarten) Excellent Teacher-Child ratios Open 7am-6pm

YMCA Office b io’s Program Since 1981 707.544.1829 Montessori School

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Academic Skills. REGISTRATION: & Health & Nutrition, Motor Skil REGISTRATION: Interpersonal Relationships, S Register at the Parks and Recreation Office

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September 2017

Playtime Daycare/Preschool Join our loving family. Spacious playroom, large yard, meals provided. CPR & first aid certified. M-F. Infants & up. Call Wendy 539-7524. Lic. #04746.

SonomaFamilyLife 25

Humor Break

Pickles Says Hasta La Vista A Lesson in Letting Go

By Holly Hester


’ll be the first to admit that our farm is not a well-run operation. Animals running loose all over the place with no clear boundary between human and beast does not exactly create a sense of order and peace. It creates chaos, confusion, and a lot of poop in places poop should not be.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I really like getting to know the animals up close and personal and just hanging out with them. You get to study their behavior and compare it to not only other animals’, but your own. Like our recent chicken escapade. About six weeks ago, my daughter, Emerson, and I discovered that one of our chickens, Pickles, had hatched 12 chicks (a perfect carton of eggs!) somewhere on our property. These chicks couldn’t have been more than a day old when we found them. We quickly brought Pickles and her brood into our house to keep them warm and safe from the other hens. (Given the chance, hens will kill another hen’s chicks. That’s my gross farm fact of the day.) We marveled at Pickles’s wonderful mothering abilities: the way she would sit with all of her babies underneath 26 SonomaFamilyLife

her; the way she would run to them when they would start their frantic peeping; and the way she taught them to peck and scratch and take a nice dirt bath. If there were a chicken-mom award, Pickles would blow away the competition. But, as all babies do, the chicks got bigger as they grew into what are called pullets, which is chicken for teenager. Pickles and her kids had been sleeping inside a cage in our house ever since

A chicken goodbye is quick and clean. Emerson and I had found them. That is until one fateful Saturday. As usual, Pickles and her pullets had run into our house around sundown to settle in for a nice, cozy night. The pullets got into the cage to eat, and Pickles walked up to the cage, but hesitated. She looked at the cage, so crowded now with her big chicks, and then she made a decision—a chicken choice. Pickles turned on her claws, walked out the front door, and headed to the coop. It was like in one single moment

Pickles thought, You know what? I am soooooo done with this mothering thing. I just want to hang out with my friends and have some adult chicken conversation for one friggin’ night. Is that too much to ask? Pickles has not been in our house since. It’s like she doesn’t even remember she ever had children. And even more amazing, her pullets don’t seem to remember they ever had a mother. Teenagers. For a moment, I wanted a more formal goodbye—a long wing-hug and some tears would have been nice, or at least some acknowledgment of the time they shared together. Remember when we all hung out underneath you in the bathtub? That was hilarious. But, as I’m learning on our chaos farm, that is not how chickens are. Their goodbyes are not fraught with drama and tension the way human goodbyes are. A chicken goodbye is quick and clean. Life goes on. After all, there are bugs to catch, and there is sunshine to bathe in. Not a bad chicken lesson. Thanks, Pickles. ¶ Holly Hester lives in Sebastopol and blogs at

September 2017

Cooking with Kids

Lunch Ninja Tips for Fast, Yummy Meals By Momma Chef


hen it comes to packing school lunches, advanced preparation is a parent’s best friend. Here are some tips for making the task that much easier:


Try out recipes on your kids first, rather than surprising them with a new lunch. As a food blogger, I serve culinary experiments all the time.


When I find something they like, I’ll make—usually on a Sunday night—enough to provide a few lunches during the week. My kids’ favorites are Banana Muffins, Hidden Zucchini Muffins, Bourbon Chicken, and Crispy Corn Flake Chicken. Find the recipe for the latter at left. See my blog,, for the others and many more lunchtime meals.


At the start of the week, we also bake up a batch of S’mores Brownies, which we individually wrap so they’re ready for lunchbox desserts. The recipe for them is on my blog, too.


For fruit, I like to throw in small bags of organic apple slices from Costco or Trader Joe’s. Of course, fresh apples are ideal, and autumn is a great time to pick them right off the tree. If you slice them up, do so in the morning, not the night before, so they won’t brown before lunch.


Freeze a box of yogurt squeezers (my favorite is Stonyfield Organic

Strawberry), and include one in the lunch box. It’ll be defrosted by noon and keep other items cold until mealtime. Karen Nochimowski, aka Momma Chef, is a mother of three active boys (ages 12, 8, and 5). On her blog, mommachef. com, find more of her recipes, all of which require no more than six ingredients and six minutes of prep time.

Momma Chef’s Cornflake-Coated Chicken 2 large eggs 2 tablespoons water 4 cups corn flakes 1 tablespoon salt 6 boneless chicken breasts Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, mix together eggs and water. Set aside. In a large

September 2017

Ziploc bag, add the corn flakes and salt, and then crush the corn flakes. Dip each chicken breast in the egg/water mixture and put it in the Ziploc bag. Shake to coat all sides of the chicken. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Serves six.

SonomaFamilyLife 27

attentIon struggles: one mom’s story

“I dreaded every phone call from my son’s teacher!”


aiden couldn’t sit still in class. His mother, Kanika, adds, “Not only could he not sit still, he couldn’t follow along with the material, and he distracted his classmates. Toward the end of his first year at school, oh, how I grew to dread every phone call from his teacher!” At home, Jaiden struggled to focus long enough to complete homework or follow instructions. Even answering questions seemed to stump the kindergartener. His mother remembers, “If I asked him what he had for lunch, he couldn’t tell me. If I asked, ‘Why do you think that bird flew into that tree?’—he couldn’t answer. He’d just say ‘I don’t know.’” Despite his parents’ attempts to help, Jaiden grew frustrated with any task that posed even the smallest challenge. “It was impacting his confidence,” Kanika says. “He was only in kindergarten, but he was already learning to give up before putting forth any effort at all.” Kanika and her husband found LearningRx in an online search for help. The brain training company offered something different from tutoring, using fun, challenging mental exercises to strengthen the skills Jaiden needed to pay attention, remember, and think.

“Within the first week of brain training at LearningRx, I saw subtle improvements,” Kanika says. “And during the second week and beyond, I saw tremendous changes.” What were some of those changes? “I found I wasn’t repeating myself as often, especially with multiinstructions. Suddenly I could say, ‘Jaiden, clean up the table, pick up your dishes, and put them in the sink,’ and he could do it. Or I’d ask him a question like ‘Why do you think that bird flew into that tree?’ and he’d think about it and say something like, ‘Well, maybe he’s trying to get away from something,’ or ‘He likes it there,’ or ‘Maybe he’s tired.’ “Honestly? I was floored.” Kanika says that testing after brain training showed huge improvements in Jaiden’s short-term memory, attention, and other skills, too. “This program was money well spent, and I’m ecstatic about the results. The results were almost magical. In just weeks, he improved leaps and bounds and he’s still continuing to love reading, audio books, board games…he’s Like a different child. Thanks to LearningRx, Jaiden is now a confident, positive, six-year-old who is eager to learn!”

The Power to Pay Attention Starts Here... Call to schedule your child’s assessment today Theprice Power(regularly to Pay Attention Starts Here and receive 50% off the regular pricedBetter at $199) LearningRx Santa Rosa

LearningRx Petaluma

In the Copper Dome Building 100 Brush Creek Road, Suite 102 (707) 890-3200

In the Adobe Creek Shopping Center at Lakeville Hwy. & McDowell Blvd. Other Area Locations: (707) 781-7373 FPA-Attention Power-405

Sonoma Family Life September 2017  
Sonoma Family Life September 2017