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December 2015

Valley Fire Tale A silver lining X-mas Lights! 24 sparkling spots

Go Local! Get great gift ideas

Interfaith Families

A holiday how-to


Extended Holiday Shopping Hours Monday - Saturday 9am to 9 pm • Sunday 9am to 6pm Christmas Eve - 9am to 5pm • Christmas Day - Closed Saturday, December 26 - 9am to 6pm


enjoy play

Santa and Mrs. Claus

Beginning Saturday, November 28, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in their Photo Studio in Village Terrace every weekend from 11am to 3pm. All proceeds benefit the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County.


Chanukah Festival

Sunday, December 6 • 4pm in Village Court The Chabad Jewish Center invites you to Celebrate Chanukah. Join us for a Menorah Lighting Celebration. Hot Latkes, Live Music, Dreidels, Gelt, Prizes and More. For information, call 707.577-0277.


The Secret Santa Marathon

Thursday, December 17 • 6am to 9pm While wrapping up your holiday shopping and enjoying the givestrolling entertainment, help us fulfill every last Secret Santa wish from our neighbors in need. For more information about Secret Santa, call 707.573.3399.


enjoy play

give gifts

The Gift of Endless Choices

Montgomery Village Gift Certificates are redeemable at all stores and restaurants in the Village. Plus if you purchase $100 or more in Gift Certificates at the Village’s Management Office you will receive a See’s Candies Certificate (good for 1 pound of See’s Candies, while supplies last). For details or to pre-order, call 707.545.3844. A PREMIER HOLIDAY SHOPPING EXPERIENCE




Imagine Your Child Cavity Free Petaluma Dental Group has created the Discovery Hub program, which takes place during the kids’ one-hour dental checkups. This fun hands-on learning helps kids develop knowledge and behaviors to support a lifetime of health.

‘more than a dental checkup’

Call for an appointment today!

Join the Club!

www.petalumadental/discoveryhub | 1301 Southpoint Blvd, Petaluma | (707) 520-4300

Birthday Parties Afterschool Programs, Classes Kids ages 4 to 14


December 2015

Every Issue

12 Features


Dear Reader


Bits and Pieces Sweet Digs Hit the Ice Krazy for Klezmer Honey, I Shrunk the Town Not Your Average New Year

24 Crafting with Kids

10 Great Gifts for Giving Perfect presents for kids.

12 Money for Makers How North Bay Made helps local artists grow their businesses.

16 Silver Linings A Valley Fire victim finds healing among the ashes.

18 Tell Me All About It Pass down family history through intergenerational interviews.

20 Ho-Ho Hanukkah! How to blend Jewish and Christian traditions.



It’s a Wrap

26 Calendar of Events Holiday Harmonies

40 Cooking with Kids In Praise of Pumpkin

41 Dear Teacher Turn Around a Lousy Day

42 Humor Break

22 It’s Easy to Be Green Eco-friendly ways to celebrate the holidays.

25 Ultimate Guide to Christmas Lights Stroll through neighborhoods that shine and shimmer.

16 4 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2015


Sweepstakes & Cover Contest Our Selfie Elves will be hanging out at these participating locations, waiting to have their selfies taken and e-mailed to, before December 30TH. Scandia Family Fun Center Debbie’s Pet Boutique Great Clips Sports City Mountain Mike’s Pizza Laser Tag of Santa Rosa Rebounderz Rohnert Park Redwood Empire Gymnastics Made Local Marketplace Western Farm Center Restyle Marketplace Fundemonium Toys


Take a ‘Selfie with Our Elfie’ for a chance for your child to be on a future cover!

sonoma December 2014

Selfie with Our Elfie

Cover Contest Winner!

Our New Website 7 great features

om Dolls Heirlo by a local mom Made

Check for Elf addresses

e-mail your selfie to

Join the

‘Selfie with Our Elfie’

Swe epst ake s

Ice Hit thel rink s 4 loca

Dear Reader


Sharon Gowan Publisher/Editor

appy holidays! It’s the season of carols, lights, and strolling through your local downtown, looking for just the right gifts. Don’t let the stress of holiday shopping get the best of you.

Make it fun with Sonoma Family Life’s “Selfies with Elfies” contest. We’re giving away tons of prizes and a chance to have your child’s face grace one of our future covers. Entering is easy. Just go to any of the dozens of participating locations in your area and take your Selfie (or a picture of your kids or pets) with our Elfie. (See page 5 for a list of locations displaying Elfies near you.) New “Selfies with Elfies” locations are sprouting up all the time. For the latest list, visit, and join our e-mail list for updates and news. Snap your Selfie at all the locations for more chances to win. E-mail your Selfies to by December 30. We’ll choose winners in January.

Office Manager Patricia Ramos

When you make your annual gift list, remember to go local! See “Money for Makers” (page 12) to find out about retailers who sell the work of local artisans and farmers.

Business Marketing Jolie Cook

As holiday hubbub grows, let Valley Fire survivor Tim Gill’s moving essay “Silver Linings” (page 16) keep your eye on what truly matters: family and love.

Renee Nutcher Marie Anderson

We hope your holidays are full of bright smiles, warm hearts, and buckets of joy. Thank you for sharing them with us!

Features Editor Melissa Chianta

Production Manager Donna Bogener


3 year olds class 4 year olds class Transitional Kindergarten

Contributing Writers Sara Barry Joyce Beydler Tim Gill Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts Holly Hester Christina Katz Sara Marchessault Kerrie McLoughlin

Calendar Anna Freeman

Publishing Office 134 Lystra Court, Suite A Santa Rosa, CA 95403 Tel 707-586-9562 Fax 707-586-9571

707-539-1486 6 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2015




Available in our stores and online:

Published by Scholastic


December 2015

SonomaFamilyLife 7

Bits & Pieces

Sweet Digs


gingerbread house could never last around a sweet tooth for too long. Frosting trim, M&M shingles, candy-cane trees—those are some seriously munch-able digs. At Once Upon a Gingerbread House, little builders can use graham crackers, frosting, and way too much candy to create their own edible abodes. The free event will be held on December 19 at 10:30 a.m. at the Guerneville Regional Library in Guerneville. Ages 4 and up, with caregivers, are welcome. See for more information. ¶

Family fun at the Union Square Rink in San Francisco.

Hit the Ice


ou don’t need a frozen pond in your backyard to enjoy the winter thrill of skating outside. Pack up the kids for a special trip to the iconic Union Square Ice Rink in San Francisco, or stay local and go to the Outdoor Ice Skating Rink in Napa. The Union Square Rink is open through January 18, 2016. Ninety-minute skating sessions run 10 a.m.–11:30 p.m. and are $11; under 8, $7. Skate rental is $6 ( Meanwhile, the Outdoor Ice Skating Rink in Napa is open through January 10. Skating sessions are $13, including skates. Check website for times (

Other urban rinks include the Holiday Ice Rink at the Justin Herman Plaza at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, and the Little Ice Rink at the South Shore Center in Alameda. The Holiday Ice Rink is open 10 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Sunday–Thursday, and 10 a.m.–11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through January 3, 2016. Ninety-minute sessions start every even hour. Admission is $11; kids 7 and under, $6. Skate rental is $5 ( The Little Ice Rink runs through January 18. Hours are Monday–Thursday, 3–10 p.m., and Friday–Sunday, noon–10 p.m. Admission includes skate rental and is $16; kids 8 and under, $12 (

Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble

Krazy for Klezmer


he toe-tapping rhythms of Israeli music will fill the air on December 12, 2–3 p.m., at the Cloverdale Regional Library in Cloverdale. Listen to the Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble’s clarinet, accordion, and bass, as well as a Yiddish singer, churn out festive melodies, both ancient and modern. The event is free. See for more information. ¶

For indoor skating fun, check out Snoopy’s Home Ice at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena in Santa Rosa ( ¶ 8 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2015

2016 Y

Not Your Average New Year

ou don’t have to be a night owl to go to a New Year’s Eve bash. On December 31, watch the ball drop when the clock strikes 12 (noon, that is) at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. The Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! event will be held 10 a.m.–4 p.m., with root beer toasts at noon and 3 p.m., and crafts for kids. Admission to the museum gets you into the event: $10; ages 4–18 and 60 and over, $5; and 3 and under and museum members, free. See for more information. ¶

Honey, I Shrunk the Town


ee an itsy-bitsy winter wonderland at the annual exhibit Small World: Tiny Toys and All Things Miniature, which runs Wednesdays– Sundays, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., through January 3, 2016, at the Healdsburg Museum in Healdsburg. Let impossibly small churches and stores, horses and buggies, and even a model train, invite kids to imagine what life might be like if they were two inches, instead of two feet, tall. Admission is free. ¶


adapted from

Charles Dickens Adapted for the stage by


Michael Wilson Directed by

Craig A. Miller Starring

Charles Siebert* as Ebenezer Scrooge

December 2015

SonomaFamilyLife 9

Toys & Games (continued)


Spiral Art Design Center

Lakeshore, $19.99, www., Ages 4-11

Worry Eaters

TONKA Mighty Dump by Dynacraft

Dynacraft, $349.95,, Ages 3 and up

The Haywire Group, $22.99,, Ages 3 and up

Apps, Tech Toys & Websites Early Learning Academy

Age of Learning, $7.95 per month (subscription),, Ages 2-7

Bluebee Pals

Kayle Concepts, $59.99,, Ages 3 and up


Speakaboos, $4.99 for a 1-month subscription and $49.99 for a 1-year subscription,, Ages 2-7

Books HOUSE OF ROBOTS by James Patterson - Audiobook Edition

Hachette Audio, $17.98,, Ages 8-12

I AM MALALA (Young Readers Audiobook Edition): How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World Hachette Audio, $22.98,, Ages 10 and up

10 SonomaFamilyLife

Music Together Singalong Storybooks: Hey, Diddle Diddle, Ridin’ in the Car and Two Little Blackbirds Music Together, $9.95 board book; $13.95 hardcover,, Ages 1-8

December 2015

Music & DVDs

Deep Woods Revival

Red Yarn Productions, $15,, Ages 2-8

Miss Melodee’s “Find Your Melody” Album

Melstar Entertainment, $14.99,, For the entire family

French for Kids: Allons Danser! (Let’s Dance!) Whistlefritz, $14.99,, For the entire family

Simpatico by Renee and Friends

One Melody Records, $11.99,, For the entire family

Meet the Pod Squad

NCircle Entertainment, $9.99,, Ages 3-7

The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child Double Feature NCircle Entertainment, $19.99,, For the entire family

Tomorrow Is a Chance To Start Over by Hilary Grist The Secret Mountain, $16.95,, Ages 2-8

The Wonder Years Complete Series Time Life, $249.95,, Ages 8 and up

Julie Kertes is General Manager of the National Parenting Publications Awards.


Visit to access our digital holiday magazine, Jingle: Your Guide to Holiday Fun. Read about ways to save during the holidays, get DIY gift ideas, try the best winter recipes and enter to win our holiday sweepstakes worth $600 in toys, games and more! Sweepstakes ends Dec. 11, 2015.

December 2015

SonomaFamilyLife 11

Money for Makers

“There is a whole movement across the country to bring back local manufacturing and local making. The gist is to identify products that are made in our region, help promote those products, and actually get those makers into additional retail outlets,” says Kelley Rajala, who ade in China. Made in Honduras. officially cofounded North Bay Made with weaver Made in Mexico. Flip over or check Pam Dale in 2013. the tag of practically anything you Dale and Rajala are also co-owners of Made Local Marketplace, which features hundreds of locally buy, and chances are that it’s made made fine crafts. (See facing page for a sample of somewhere else. Even if it’s made the work they sell.)


Nonprofit Helps Local Stores and Artists Thrive

in the US, it’s probably not made locally. Unless, of course, you shop at Made Local Marketplace in Santa Rosa or any of the other 14 Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake County stores that participate in North Bay Made, a nonprofit that connects local makers and retailers.

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One of the purposes of both Made Local and North Bay Made is to help makers gain access to local retail stores. Both institutions have a different part in the process. Made Local assesses makers’ capacity to take on a larger market, helping them hone their product designs, packaging, and pricing, explains Rajala. Meanwhile, North Bay Made helps “established makers

December 2015

Dennis Urbizondo Photography

Kelley Rajala and Pam Dale, cofounders of North Bay Made.

Olive Oil from SunHawk Farms

Crocheted Wire Jewelry by Benedicte Moens

get into other retail stores to increase their sales and visibility,” she says. Besides makers, North Bay Made also works with stores, helping them find local products that are a good fit for their clientele. For instance, the owners of the Mendocino Country Store in Mendocino, parents Michael and Corinne Gordon, went through Made Local’s inventory with a clipboard in hand and selected products that appealed to both of them. “We connected them to probably 35 local and regional artisans that they now carry in their store. So that was great for them because it would have taken them a long time to hunt down those people. And it was great for the makers because now they have an outlet [in a local] store,” says Rajala. One of the first local businesses Rajala and Dale worked with was Westside Renaissance Market, owned by Scott Cratty. The Ukiah grocery, the last neighborhood market in the area, was revived by Cratty 7 years ago to

Woven Scarves by Pam Dale

“There is a whole movement across the country to bring back local manufacturing and local making.” —Kelley Rajala

outpost in the back of my store that they help maintain and keep up,” he says. “Then reciprocally there have been a lot of Mendocino products that they wouldn’t have otherwise encountered that they [have brought] from my store over there. When we started working together, their store didn’t have any refrigeration in front and essentially no food things, and my store had very limited nonfood things.” So does North Bay Made actually work? Are local makers expanding their businesses?

Pottery by Jessie Stimson

become a hub for locally produced food, and thanks to the help of Rajala and Dale, fine crafts. According to Cratty, Westside Renaissance Market and Made Local are “models” of what North Bay Made hopes to achieve: stores with a “whole bunch of product exchange” between them. “[Rajala and Dale] brought [some products] from their store to…a little December 2015

“Yes,” says Dale, adding that a good maker-store fit “creates the potential for substantial growth.” For example, North Bay Made helped the award-winning Sonoma Chocolatiers, run by Sebastopol parents David Gambill and Susan McCarn, sell their chocolates not just in their Sebastopol tea shop but also at the Mendocino Country Store. (Gambill and McCarn are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on sonomachocolatiers. com to help fund further product development and marketing.) SonomaFamilyLife 13

Chocolate from Sonoma Chocolatiers CLIMBING, TRAINING, COMMUNITY

WINTER CAMPS! Our Winter Camp Vertical Dec. 21-25, 9am-12pm

Everyday that week EXCEPT Christmas Day. Cost is $120/participant.

BEST GIFT EVER! GIFT CARDS AVAILABLE This holiday season come get your climb on at VERTEX!

Discounted group rates for non-profits

707-573-1608 3358a Coffey Lane • Santa Rosa 14 SonomaFamilyLife

Soap from Plum Blossom Farm

Sebastopol potter Larry Robinson and Petaluma potter Candace Birchfield have also seen their businesses grow with the help of North Bay Made. Robinson’s “stuff just sells out constantly up in Mendocino,” Dale

Buying local products gives consumers a connection to their communities. enthuses. And Birchfield “has enough income coming in from her expansion into the North Bay Made retail outlets that she can...expand her line,” she continues. Meanwhile, Made Local has provided a successful retail outlet to several Mendocino County products, including biodynamic olive oil from Sky Hawk Farm in Hopland and goat cheese from Shamrock Artisan in Willits. A lot of the businesses that North Bay Made supports are, like Sonoma Chocolatiers, run by moms and dads: Gowan Cider, a new Philo-based company that makes award-winning hard cider; Sebastopol’s The Kefiry, which

produces non-dairy kefir products; Forestville’s Billy’s Mini Goat Farms, which rents out grazing goats and makes goat milk soap; and Poppy’s Creations, a Manzanita-wood candle, clock, and lamp maker in Middletown, are just a few examples. When Virginia Allen and her husband, Ray, owners of Billy’s Mini Goat Farms, first started making soap, they weren’t even planning to put it in stores. They were content to sell the soap, which they initially made for their daughter, at farmers markets. Then someone suggested they try to sell their product at retailers, including Made Local. Their soaps are now in several local stores, and are so popular, the company is expanding their distribution to San Francisco and Berkeley. Rajala says that giving makers like the Allens a chance to nurture their businesses and make a living at what they do is what North Bay Made is about. Retailers get an opportunity to grow, too: Made Local has just moved to bigger digs on Fourth Street to accommodate its burgeoning selection of products. Right now, nearly 300 makers sell their work in the store,

December 2015

Gift of Giving which is looking for even more artists to participate. Meanwhile, North Bay Made is reaching out to retailers to join the collective. Along with makers and retailers, consumers also benefit from “going local.” Small businesses create jobs, invest in local services and nonprofits, and draw in tourists, who are attracted to the one-of-a-kind items they sell. Buying

1% of company proceeds are donated to nonprofits and schools. When you buy or sell through us, you can choose where funds are donated.

Buying or Selling?

707-515-6683 License #01913386

Wooden Toys by Lee Miller

North Bay Made helps makers gain access to local retail stores. local products also gives consumers a connection to their communities. “When you have a product that you love, that somebody hand made, and [making it] is what they do for a living, it just has so much more meaning than [something] made in China,” says Rajala. If you want to add more meaning and a greater sense of community to your holiday season, Rajala and Dale invite you to consider purchasing any number of the handcrafted products that are proudly North Bay Made. ¶ To find out more about North Bay Made, see

December 2015

SonomaFamilyLife 15

longer there. I was really struck by the finality of what has happened. That the space in which that memory was created is gone forever. However, I also realized that, in a way, the fire gave that memory back to me. Despite replaying it, the images were not as crisp as they were when my boys were 3 and 7 years old. They

Silver Linings Healing from the Valley Fire By Tim Gill


was on a Southwest flight to San Diego tonight. As we were taking off, I closed my eyes and replayed the same memory I always do when my plane takes flight. During the more than 14 years since I left my teaching position at Middletown High School, I have flown at least 100 times for various reasons related to my job. When my sons were little, they would always have the same response when I would get home from a long trip. They would run over to

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our front door and, one at a time, as I came around the corner, yell “Daddy!,” running as fast as they could into my arms. I would give them a big bear hug, flip them over backwards, and then land them on their feet. That moment when they would yell “Daddy!” and jump into my arms is the memory I replay during every takeoff. When they got too big for me to flip, they would still yell “Daddy!,” and run and jump on me. Then when they became teenagers, they would yell “Daddy!,” and I would get a high-five instead of a hug. My sons are 16 and 20 now. Before the Valley Fire, the last time Jake, the elder, was home, I came home from work, and he and Connor yelled “Daddy!,” and we all had a good laugh. So tonight, when I instinctively closed my eyes and hit the play button, I realized that the home where this memory was made is no

Photo by Amber Sheridan

The Gill clan: Son Connor; Tim; Tim’s wife, Jamey; son Jacob; and Jamey’s dad, Jim Thompson. The family plans to rebuild their home, which was lost in the Valley Fire.

Thanks to the fire, many of my once-faded memories of living in our Cobb Mountain tree house are coming back to me. had faded a bit. Tonight, however, that memory was as clear as if it had happened last week. That wouldn’t be true if we hadn’t lost our home in the Valley Fire. As we headed toward 35,000 feet tonight, I realized that, thanks to the fire, indeed many of my once-faded memories of living in our Cobb Mountain tree house are coming back to me. It makes me happy to think of these moments, many of which I haven’t thought of in years. I had the middle seat and tears in my eyes; the two strangers on either side of me must have thought I was crazy. The tears were happy tears, though. Silver linings are sometimes hard to find when you are looking through the ashes. I found one tonight. Tim Gill works for Kelseyville School District. He and his wife, Jamey, have lived in Lake County most of their lives. They owned their home on Cobb Mountain for 16 years, and plan to rebuild.

December 2015

Have You Had Your Apple Today?

Find our award-winning Sebastopol Ratzlaff Ranch’s

Apple-A-Day Cider At These Local Stores

Andy’s Produce in Sebastopol, Pacific Markets in Sebastopol & Santa Rosa, Speers Market in Forestville, Bill’s Farm Basket in Sebastopol, Bohemian Market in Occidental, Glen Ellen Village Market in Glen Ellen, Oliver’s Market in Santa Rosa & Rohnert Park, Petaluma Market in Petaluma, Sonoma Market in Sonoma, Santa Rosa Community Market in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol Community Market in Sebastopol, Sheltons Natural in Healdsburg, Whole Foods Markets in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Sonoma & Petaluma.

Also at Ratzlaff Ranch, 13128 Occidental Rd., Sebastopol Hours: Mon.–Fri. 8am–5pm • Closed Sat. • Sun. 9am–5pm


Tell Me All About It Conduct a Family Interview

By Sara Marchessault


ids are always crazy happy when winter break starts. But how do you keep them occupied so that you don’t actually go crazy yourself? Family interviews. Chances are, you will have a house full of out-of-town relatives or you’ll be on your way to visit them. See them as walking encyclopedias of information, family stories, and life experiences just waiting to be mined. When your child interviews Aunt Joann or Grandpa George about holidays of old or what life was like when they were kids, the path is paved for meaningful intergenerational connection as well as the preservation of family history. And you get to keep your sanity to boot! Here’s how to do it. 18 SonomaFamilyLife

Choose the tools. How will the interview information be collected? A voice recorder? A video camera? Pen and paper? Keep in mind that some folks don’t

Prepare a list of questions. Encourage your youngster to think of questions that will invite people to share their stories. (See sidebar for some examples.) Of course, some family members will be eager to talk. In this case, it doesn’t hurt to have a few strategies planned for keeping conversations focused. Ask for the interview. Once your preparations are made, it’s time to think about how you will invite family members to be interviewed. One approach is to ask in advance via e-mail or phone call. Another is to just wait until the holiday family gathering and ask in person. Make time and space. When the big day arrives, make sure the interviewer and interviewee have a reasonable amount of time and a quiet place to talk. Set up some glasses of water and a bowl of snacks to create a welcoming environment.

like being videotaped, but are okay with having their voices recorded. Once you’ve chosen a device, give your budding journalist an opportunity to use it before the interview begins. It’s a good idea to have more than one tool available, in case of technical difficulties.

Copy, edit, present. After the interview is over, copy the video or voice recording file, and save the original. Then edit the duplicate as necessary. If your kids don’t know how to edit, they can use online tutorials or instruction manuals to increase their skills. If the interview was captured via handwritten notes, type them up. Just the raw text is a treasure in and of itself, but if you want to go the extra mile, create a slideshow

December 2015

using dialogue from the interview and a combination of old and new photos. Another option is to prepare the information in a story format.

Encourage your youngster to think of questions that will invite people to share their stories. Say thank you. Have your kids send the final presentation to the interviewee, along with a note of appreciation. However it is packaged, the interview will be a wonderful gift. ¶ Sara Marchessault is a writer, coach, and mom. Learn more about her work at

Conversation Starters


ood questions are the foundation of a great interview experience. These queries are focused on the holidays, but your young interviewer can ask about anything: careers, vacations, advice to a young person, or even where to get the best pizza. Sometimes open-ended invitations like “Tell me about yourself” or “Tell me about your life” elicit the best stories of all. There’s plenty of room to make different queries and see to what the interviewee most eagerly responds. Where and when were you born? How many people were in your immediate family? What were the holidays like when you were growing up? What traditions did you have in your childhood? What new holiday traditions have you introduced to your children? What was the best gift you ever received? Who gave it to you? What is the gift from your childhood that you most remember? Did you have any holiday disappointments when you were a kid? If so, what happened? Was the situation ever resolved?

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Talk to each other. The bottom line on celebrations, holiday or otherwise, is to always do whatever you and your spouse deem best for your family. The only way to come to an understanding about what this means is to discuss it

Holiday joy can be doubled when you choose to light the menorah and decorate the Christmas tree.

How to Honor Different Traditions in Interfaith Families

Ho-Ho Hanukkah! By Christina Katz


s a woman who was raised Catholic and has been happily married to a Jewish man for the past 13 years, I can attest that once you become a parent in an interfaith family, you quickly become accustomed to not being able to please everyone. But since the wisdom of your hearts brought you and your partner together in the first place, why not call on that same source of wisdom to guide you through creating your own version of happy holidays? Holiday joy can be doubled, rather than halved, when you choose to light the menorah and decorate the Christmas tree. Here are a few tips about how to honor two traditions with grace. 20 SonomaFamilyLife

with each other. Be prepared for this to be an ongoing conversation, and probably one that you revisit each year. Protect your joint point of view. Never let bossy or opinionated family members home in on conversations that rightly belong between you and your partner. You only have one spouse, and that’s the person whose opinion you should value most. Your kids come next and the grandparents after them. Don’t treat your parents like children or allow them to treat you like a child. This behavior will only create conflicts between you and your spouse. Ignore disapproving outsiders. Never apologize for being an interfaith family, even if people in your extended family or circle of close friends do not approve of your union. You are not seeking their permission—as Perchik expressed so boldly in Fiddler on the Roof—you are asking for their blessing. Creating harmonious and joyful dual holidays in your own home is your parental right and your familial duty, even if it means agreeing to

December 2015


disagree with certain members of your extended family. Keep both sets of traditions. At our house, we celebrate as much of both traditions as we can, without a worry about whether the holidays overlap or not. For me, this means a Christmas tree, presents, cookies, and a big dinner. For my husband, this means lighting two menorahs (one for him and one for our daughter) for eight nights of Hanukkah, and having our daughter’s friends over for potato latkes and some lively dreidel games. Focus on the beauty of ritual. You may be amazed at how moving such simple rituals as lighting the menorah candles can be, even on busy

The bottom line is to always do whatever you and your spouse deem best for your family. school nights. Likewise, look for quiet, awe-inspiring Christmas moments, such as ending the day admiring the decorated tree and window lights. Don’t double your gift budget. We make an effort to celebrate the bounty of two holidays without going overboard. If you are an interfaith family, your kids’ friends may consider them “lucky” because they assume that they get double the gifts every holiday season. However, that’s not necessarily the case at our house. Our daughter typically gets a little present on the first day of Hanukkah and a bigger present on the last day of Hanukkah. One set of grandparents sends a couple of little Hanukkah gifts and a check, and the other sends a

couple of stocking stuffers and a check. The amount of gifts she receives is essentially the same as it would be if we only celebrated one holiday. Share the love. Another thing we enjoy about celebrating two holidays is that our daughter can share rituals from both traditions with her friends, no matter what religion they follow. This may expose her friends to a culture they may not have had the opportunity to learn about otherwise. Participate wisely. When invited to join a new or old tradition on either side of the family, give the ritual a chance. We will try just about anything once. But we reserve the right to say no to pressure or anything that makes us feel uncomfortable. Maintaining an atmosphere where you can say yes or no without stern chastisement may not come easily in your extended family system. But start trying it, or you’ll never get there. Honor the choices of others. We don’t try to protect our family members from our choices. They need to be exposed to what we value, if we expect them to understand and accept our decisions. However, we also try to respect the choices that each of our family members make without imposing our values on them. Jewish families get Hanukkah cards and Christian families get Christmas cards. With interfaith families, we go with “Happy Holidays.” ¶ Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz loves celebrating the winter holidays with her family and friends. Each year her family enjoys exchanging ornaments for the tree, and inviting a new group of friends over to play the dreidel game and eat potato latkes.

December 2015





ENROLL NOW Come for a tour. Our doors are open!

sebastopolschools.ORG (707)829-4570 SonomaFamilyLife 21

It’s Easy to Be Green

you can even find real treasures— out-of-print books, vintage toys, and custom-made furniture and clothes. In addition, things like family heirlooms and nicely framed old family photos make meaningful presents.

It turns out being green is good for your wallet!

10 Holiday Tips for Saving the Planet— and Cash!


Recycle. Before the holidays even begin, make room for incoming presents by getting rid of existing clutter. Donate items to friends or to a local charity. Maybe someone will find your “trash” the perfect holiday treasure.



By Kerrie McLoughlin

suppose the winter holidays have always been one big clutter-and-junk accumulating fest. Our landfills are bulging, and more people are realizing it’s time to start thinking green for the holidays. But how can you do that with so many people to shop for? These 11 ideas will help you not only make eco-friendly choices, but save some cash, too. It turns out being green is also good for your wallet!


Reduce. Consumer polls have shown that millions of Americans are still paying off in October credit card debt accumulated over the holidays. Why do we do that to ourselves when the holidays are not about money, but religion, tradition, heritage, history, and family? Here’s an easy way to get into a green mood: Pretend you

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have a total of $100 to spend on everyone on your gift list. You’ll soon be thinking of creative gift ideas to cook, bake, make, and more.


Reuse. There’s no shame in purchasing used items for presents. You’ll spend half of what you would on new presents, and at places like and as well as thrift shops,

Package sustainably. Cloth bags are an excellent substitute for wrapping paper. (Check out page 24 for directions on how to make your own.) You can also wrap presents in pages from old atlases, magazines, newspapers, or phone books. My mom sometimes wraps a present for me in a nice dish towel—a gift in itself!


Make it useful. Give herbs in pots, stainless steel water bottles, or beloved books that can be read again and again. Make your own gift certificates for services like babysitting, car washing, or some other helpful act. For a teen, how about an iTunes gift card, eco-friendly cosmetics and bath products, organic T-shirts, or a solar-powered desk lamp? Check out’s annual Green Gift Guide.


Join in. My mom likes to buy us a family membership to our

December 2015


3 LESSONS FOR $99! local zoo, which we put to use many times throughout the year. Other ideas include a membership to a children’s museum, an indoor pool, or the World Wildlife Federation (


Donate money. Consider giving money to a charity in the name of each person on your gift list. Not only will you avoid using paper to wrap presents, you’ll get the satisfaction of helping another human being as well.


Stocking stuffers. Instead of filling stockings with cheap junk that’ll end up in the trash in a week, try art supplies like colored pencils and crayons. has a great selection of products made from environmentally friendly materials.


No gift at all. Although you may feel inadequate about not giving everyone a present, realize that not everyone wants one. When my grandma told us that she didn’t want any holiday gifts, it felt strange at first. Then we realized how much stuff she already has in her home; it made sense that she would not want to add to the clutter. We don’t even miss giving her gifts because we make memories in other ways. Kerrie McLoughlin is a writer and mother to five children. Find her at



Give an experience. For adults, event tickets, a spa gift certificate, or cash for a date night and a sitter fit the bill. For kids, how about tickets to an upcoming circus or children’s music concert?



Call 707-538-2000 or visit


HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Take a ‘Selfie with Our Elfie’ Locations EASY ONLINE ORDERING


Santa Rosa

2280 Santa Rosa Ave 707-544-2828


Rohnert Park

1451 Southwest Blvd 707-795-4433


919 Lakeville St 707-769-8989

December 2015

Healdsburg 1051 Vine St 707-433-2911

San Rafael 2100 4th St 415-454-4300

Santa Rosa

3781 Cleveland Ave 707-595-6505

SonomaFamilyLife 23

Crafting with Kids

It’s a Wrap

Make Your Own Cloth Gift Bags

By Sara Barry


t may be hard to imagine the holidays without gifts wrapped in crisp, shiny paper adorned

with ribbons and bows. But imagine this: Four million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags crumpled in trash bags and thrown away. That’s a lot of waste, and despite tradition, it isn’t necessary. Cloth gift bags are beautiful and reusable. Inspired to reduce the amount of paper she used during the holidays, mother of five Beth Plummer started making her own cloth shopping bags a few years ago. She and the kids have never looked back. Opening gifts may sound a little different—no more crinkling and ripping—but it’s not any less fun. It’s Sew Easy to Build Your Stash If you have basic sewing skills, putting together your own bags is really simple. Cut rectangles. Hem both short edges. Then fold the rectangle in half to form a square (right sides in). Sew up both sides. Turn right side out, and you have a bag.

24 SonomaFamilyLife

Plummer recommends starting off making bags that are 12 inches square, a size that fits many items. Use scraps for making smaller bags. Tie close your finished product with

To reign in costs, build your stash of bags over time. pretty cloth ribbon or twine, and make your own gift cards out of recycled greeting cards. There is an initial expense involved in switching to cloth bags. To reign in costs, Plummer recommends building your stash of bags over time, reducing

your use of paper as you go. Start with fabric you already have on hand or buy some on clearance. Come January, you’ll find sales on holiday-themed fabric that you can use next year. As you switch from paper to cloth, you may need to reimagine what your wrapped gifts will look like and what opening them will sound like, but give it a try. Likely the biggest difference will be in the amount of trash you haul out to the curb. ¶ Sara Barry writes about seasonal family topics. She uses cloth bags to wrap gifts for her daughters.

December 2015

Find Your Ultimate Guide to Local

Christmas Lights

Proud of your neighborhood?


undle up and head on out to enjoy these amazing displays created by our neighbors!

Santa Rosa 2235 Vallejo St. 309 Michael Dr. 4481 Montecito Ave. 200 Arboleda Dr. All of Walnut St. 1632 Jenna Pl. 1673 Hopper Ave. 2440 Valley West Dr. 571 Graymont Dr. 252 Brittain Ln.

Petaluma 1201 San Juan Way 1907 Winchester Ln. 1728 Capella Ct. 1602 Perseus Ct. 1622 Lancaster Dr. 390 Albert Way 91 Wilmington Dr.

Share your favorite Christmas lights locations at

Rohnert Park 1190 Cielo Cir. 1531 Maria Pl. 4412 Hamlet Ct. 959 Emily Ave. Windsor 322 Alexis Way 1019 Ventana Dr. 530 Quince St. These are houses that traditionally have hung Christmas lights in the past. Go to for updates.

December 2015

SonomaFamilyLife 25

December Calendar of Events

Holiday Harmonies


ut your vocal chords to good use at the Redwood Empire Sing-Along Messiah on December 19 at 7 p.m. at the Jackson Theater in the Sonoma Country Day School in Santa Rosa. Copies of Handel’s Messiah will be handed out to the audience. Participants will join a 100-person on-stage choir and full orchestra in singing this great work, including the famous “Hallelujah Chorus.” Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at ¶

Tuesday 1 Magical Christmas Train. Put on

your favorite winter pajamas & enjoy hot cocoa & treats while being entertained by storybook characters & Santa. The Christmas Train will depart afternoons & early evenings daily from Willits or Fort Bragg, Dec. 3–Dec. 23; & from West Sacramento weekends & some weekdays thru Dec. 23. $34–$61. 800-866-1690. A Christmas Carol. $15–$37.


Street Playhouse. 52 West 6th St., Santa Rosa. 523-4185 ext. 101. FREE Open Mic Night at Hopmonk Sebastopol. Musicians, comedians, beat boxers, jugglers, hula hoopers. All ages welcome. 7:30 p.m. Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. FREE First Tuesday at the de Young Museum. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., Golden Gate Park. San Francisco.

Dec. 20. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. 6th

Union Square Ice Rink. 90-minute

skating sessions. Thru Jan. 18, 2016. 10 a.m.–11:30 p.m. $11. Kids under 8 $7. Skate rental $6. Holiday Ice Rink. Union Square. San Francisco. Outdoor Ice Skating in Napa. Open

during the holidays. Thru Jan. 10, 2016. Check website for hours. $13, including skates. 575 3rd St., Napa. onicerinks. com/napa-on-ice. Santa Rosa Symphony One-for-One.

Get one youth (ages 7–17) ticket for free when you purchase one adult

Keep the kids busy over winter break with Santa Rosa Rec & Parks


It’s not just


It’s confidence for a lifetime!

Winter Camp Vertical (Ages 7-14) Winter Gymnastics Camp (Ages 5-14) Co-ed Winter Basketball Clinic (Ages 9-12) Winter Day Camp (Ages 6-12) (707)543-3737

26 SonomaFamilyLife

Take a ‘Selfie with Our Elfie’ Location

• Tumblebug Program for preschool-aged children • Boys & Girls Classes Recreation 6–12 • Tumbling & Tramp Classes RECREATION & PARKS



redwood empire gymnastics

December 2015

Book a Birthday Party...

Take a ‘Selfie with Our Elfie’ Location

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Offer limited to one topping pizzas. Limited to party packages that include food. Expires: 12/31/15

327 O’Hair Court, Santa Rosa • 575-KIDS

HAVE A BLAST! Sports, Crafts, Games & Non-stop Fun!

Youth All-Sports Camp

DECEMBER 21-23 4-6 years or 7-12 years 8am-12pm or 8am-5pm

SPECIAL OFFER If you register for all 3 days of the Full day camp you will receive $15 off.

Take a ‘Selfie with Our Elfie’ Locations • 707-526-2884 • 921 Piner Road, Santa Rosa •

December 2015

SonomaFamilyLife 27

Take a Selfie with the Sonoma Family Life Magazine Elfie! Win

prizes! Be our cover kid! Find elves at Scandia, Great Clips, Sports City, Mountain Mike’s, more. Thru Dec. 30. E-mail your selfie to

Wednesday 2 FREE Bibliobop Dance Party for Preschoolers. Ages 0–5. 11 a.m.

Windsor Regional Library. 9291 Old Redwood Hwy., Bldg. 100, Windsor. FREE Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market. Open year-round. Wednesdays. 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturdays. 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. FREE Santa Rosa Community

Windsor schoolchildren, carriage rides. Bring your letter for Santa! 5–8 p.m. Windsor Town Green. 701 McClelland Dr., Windsor. FREE Light up a Life. Heartland Hospice Tree Lighting Ceremony. Cherish memories & help celebrate our community. 5–6:30 p.m. Montgomery Village. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa.

Festival of Lights. The gardens are decorated with colorful holiday lights. It’s a spectacular scene. Handicap accessible. Adults $10. 16 & under free. Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays. 5–7:30 p.m. Thru Dec. 20. Santa visits Dec. 12 & 18. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. 18220 N. Hwy. 1, Fort Bragg. 964-4352. The Sound of Christmas. With the

von Trapps and the Justin-Siena Choir. $25–$45. 8 p.m. Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater. 100 California Dr., Yountville. 944-9900. Zoo Lights. Enjoy the San Francisco

year-round. Wednesdays. 9 a.m.–1 p.m. & Saturdays 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Veterans Building. 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa.

Zoo under twinkling lights. This year’s lights will include the brand new, warm, indoor South American Tropical Rainforest and Aviary as well as the Little Puffer Steam Train. 5–8 p.m. Fri.–Sun. thru Dec. 13. Dec. 18–30: Fri.–Wed. Jan. 1–3: Fri.–Sun. San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. Sloat Blvd. at the Great Highway, San Francisco.

Mary Poppins! This enchanting Disney musical is filled with irresistible characters & high-flying spectacle. Ages 6 & up. Thru Dec. 6. 1:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. $12–$22. Santa Rosa Junior College. Burbank Auditorium. 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. FREE Windsor Holiday Celebration 2015. Train rides, musical concert by

28 SonomaFamilyLife

l $4

9 senio


SONOMA COUNTY PARKS Annual Park Membership includes:

Free parking at all county parks Free night of camping Discounts on park outings

Friday 4

Farmers Market. Live music. Open

Thursday 3

gen era

$ 69

ticket on Classical Series concerts. Call 707-54-MUSIC. Prices vary. Sonoma State University. Green Music Center. 1801 E. Cotati Blvd., Rohnert Park.

Give the gift of endless outdoor experiences.

It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play.

Thru Dec. 20. Times vary. $10–$25. Dec. 12 value night: $12. Raven Performing Arts Theater. 115 North St., Healdsburg.

Gift Memberships available at

REI, Oliver’s Markets, Sebastopol Hardware, Sonoma Outfitters, Garrett Ace Hardwares, Sonoma County Whole Foods Markets, True Value Hardware of Guerneville and online at

Give the Gift of Health

Holistic Integrative Medicine for the Whole Family! Mention this Ad for 10% off your first office visit! Illumina Natural Health Dr. Melissa Wenzel, ND 130 S. Main Street #203 • Sebastopol 707-595-0980

December 2015

Handmade gifts for everyone on your list!

Take a ‘Selfie with Our Elfie’ Location

Stocking stuffers welry Kids toys & clothing • Jewelry Hats & scarves • Pottery Wood creations • Food & sweets Clothing & fiber arts • Soaps & beauty SUPPORT LOCAL MAKERS

529 4th Street, Santa Rosa as of Wed, Nov. 25 707-583-7667




Confidence • Respect • Self-esteem Character Development • Leadership Coordination • Power • Flexibility Focus & Concentration • Balance • 707-331-7626 2688 Santa Rosa Ave. Suite C, Santa Rosa

Dec. 21st thru Jan. 1st


Birthday Parties Public Skating Fundraisers Private & Group Instruction



Give the gift of FUN, FITNESS and FRIENDSHIP Stop by the Sonoma County Family Y today to purchase your Y Gift Card.

1111 College Avenue SR, CA • 545-9622 •

While you’re out Christmas Take a ‘Selfie with shopping... Our Elfie’

Gift Certificates Available


Sweepstakes & Cover Contest

Roller Skating & Blading Center

email your selfie to


December 2015

SonomaFamilyLife 29

FREE First Friday Night Sky. Stars,

Winter Workshops & Kids Night At the Charles M. Schulz Museum

December 12-December 30, 2015

call (707) 284-1272 for reservations or visit:

constellations, planets of that night at Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Planetarium. 7 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. Arrive early for free parking pass. SRJC. Burbank Auditorium. 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. FREE Bodega Marine Laboratory Tours. Explore the dynamic

biodiversity of the Northern California Coast. Fridays. 2–4 p.m. Closed Dec. 25. 2099 Westside Rd., Bodega Bay. FREE Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers Market. Open

year-round. Fridays. 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Arnold Field. 241 W. First St., Sonoma. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The


favorite pediatricians

Same day and after hours appointments

Manage your child’s healthcare online; lab results, prescriptions, appointments, and e-mail your doctor with questions 24/7

Convenient locations

Network of Pediatric subspecialists for complex cases

Most health plans welcome

fantasmagorical musical live on stage. Presented by Cinnabar’s Young Rep. Thru Dec. 6. Times vary. $10 & $15. Cinnabar Theater. 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. Little Women, The Musical. Thru Dec. 20. Times vary. $16–$26. Spreckels Performing Arts Center. 5409 Snyder Ln., Rohnert Park. Miracle on 34th Street. Thru

To find the Pediatrician that’s right for you, call 1-888-699-DOCS (3627) or visit

Dec. 13. 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. $18. $12. Cloverdale Performing Arts Center. 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale.

Saturday 5 Teddy Bear Tea. Children

of all ages are invited to bring their favorite stuffy for a very festive English-style Holiday Tea with entertainment. Reservations required. Very limited seating. Also Dec. 13. Muir’s Tea Room. 330 S. Main St., Sebastopol. 30 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2015


Featuring a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

Loma Vista Immersion Academy Charter School

Take a ‘Selfie with Our Elfie’ Location

Featuring the internationally acclaimed Dual Immersion language model

Miwok Valley Language Academy Elementary Charter School Featuring a focus on language and hands on experiential learning

Old Adobe Elementary Charter School

Featuring a focus on Arts and Ecology

Sonoma Mountain Elementary Charter School Featuring a focus on Arts and Music

845 Crinella Drive, Petaluma • 707-765-4321 •

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Sonoma Family

December 2015

SonomaFamilyLife 31

G re at y H olid a G if t !

FREE Hands on Hanukkah Family

Great Dickens Christmas Fair. A

Celebration. Get your picture taken

Victorian Christmas card come to life! Thru Dec. 20. Weekends. 10 a.m.–7.p.m. Adults $12–$25. Under 5 free. Cow Palace. San Francisco.

with Danny the Dreidel. Decorate a Hannukah-themed cookie. Raffle & prizes. 1–4 p.m. Fundemonium. 579 Rohnert Park Expressway, Rohnert Park. FREE Tree Lighting Ceremony & *Mu *Ar


Skating Exhibition. Join Snoopy and Les

son tC s fo las r all s es age s *Da inc nce ludi ,Yo ng Ce ga, *Bir ramic s Dra thd ma ay Classe Par s ties & Ca mps


Art & Soul Music School • 707-575-7701 4861 Old Redwood Hwy., Santa Rosa

The Sound of


friends for a memorable evening of ice skating and holiday cheer. Two RAMA OGA | D shows: 6 & 7 p.m. is free | YAdmission E C AN D | but tickets ART are required for entry. MUSIC | Maximum 4 tickets/person. Public skating until 10 p.m. after second show: $5 all ages. Skate rental included. Snoopy’s Home on Ice. 1667 W. Steele Ln., Santa Rosa. 546-7147. FREE Introduction to 3D Printing Workshop. See the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer in action! All ages. 1–2:30 p.m. Healdsburg Regional Library. 139 Piper St., Healdsburg. Occidental Community Choir: Got Nog? Dec. 5 is Community First Night Special: Family Sing-a-Long for $7. (Other performances weekends thru Dec. 13 at various locations.) Occidental Center for the Arts. 3850 Doris Murphy Ct., Occidental. FREE Science Saturday. Tangible

A Catholic High School in the Lasallian Tradition

experiments & projects let children explore the natural world. 1, 2 & 3 p.m. Parking $7. Environmental Discovery Center. Spring Lake. 393 Violetti Rd., Santa Rosa. FREE Oakmont Certified Market.

Open year-round. Saturdays. 9 a.m.– noon. White Oak Dr. & Oakmont Dr. 32 SonomaFamilyLife

Nutcracker. Stapleton Ballet.

Beautiful dancing, sets & costumes. Thru Dec. 6. 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Adults $35. Seniors & students $22. Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair. Live

entertainment both days. Thru Dec. 6. Dec. 5: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Dec. 6: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. $2. 12 & under free. Finley Community Center. 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa. 36th Annual Holiday Open House.

Thru Dec. 6. Free rides on Rosie the Trolley to the Holiday Craft Fair. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 12 & older $2. Luther Burbank Home & Gardens. Santa Rosa & Sonoma Aves., Santa Rosa. (Free parking on First & D Streets.) FREE 20th Annual Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade. 7–8 p.m. Downtown Lincoln Ave. between Cedar & Stevenson, Calistoga. Performing Arts Academy of Marin Holiday Spectacular. Performers

ages 4–16. Thru Dec. 6. Dec. 5: 7 p.m. Dec. 6: 2 p.m. Adults $20. Kids (12 & under) & seniors (65 & over) $16. Marin Center. Showcase Theater. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. FREE Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.

Petaluma Marina to the Turning Basin. 6–6:30 p.m.

December 2015

The Norcal Fit Expo. Test your

limits with a 5K obstacle race, fitness classes, more. 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Grace Pavilion. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. Elves’ Workshop. Make holiday

gifts for family & friends. Many craft projects to choose from. $1 per craft, includes wrapping. San Miguel Elementary School. 5350 Faught Rd., Santa Rosa. FREE The Pine Needles. This acoustic band draws upon pop, jazz, world, classic country, rock, folk, bluegrass & jam band sounds. 2 p.m. Sonoma Valley Regional Library. 755 W. Napa St., Sonoma.

Sunday 6 FREE Windsor Certified Farmers

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Market. Dec. 13: Kidz Dig It

Holiday Cookie Decorating. 11:30 a.m. Market itself runs 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Windsor Certified Farmers Market. 701 McClelland Dr. at Market St., Windsor. FREE Boating at the Barn.

Volunteers help you try a nonmotorized vessel on the Petaluma River, including canoes, kayaks, rowboats, or sailboats (yours or theirs). Open year-round. Sundays. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. FREE Rohnert Park Farmers Market. Open year-round. Fresh local produce. Sundays. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. North Library Parking Lot. City Center Dr., Rohnert Park. FREE Sebastopol Farmers Market. Accepting

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across from Whole Foods Market.

Holiday Festival. Handmade arts

lighting celebration, hot latkes, live music, dreidels, prizes, more. 4–6 p.m. Montgomery Village. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa.

& crafts from 60 local artisans. Live entertainment, silent auction, raffle, Santa & Mrs. Claus, children’s activities, food. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Center for Spiritual Living. 2075 Occidental Rd., Santa Rosa.

Rock-n-Glow Bowling. Family fun

with LED lane lighting & automated scoring. Special bumper rails for kids. Mondays. 5–10 p.m. $10 for 2 hours. Shoes included. Windsor Bowling Center. 8801 Conde Ln., Windsor.

Wednesday 9 FREE Foster Parent Information

They LOVE our work & you will too

Meeting. 565-4274 to register. 6 p.m. Family, Youth & Children Services. 1202 Apollo Way, Santa Rosa.

Thursday 10 FREE Gift Crafting for Teens & Tweens. Each participant will

receive a free book. All supplies & snacks provided. Ages 10–17. 4 p.m. Rohnert Park–Cotati Library. 6250 Lynne Condé Way, Rohnert Park.

Friday 11 Mayflower Chorus: This Shining

• Family owned and operated for 33 years • Excellent personable service • Free loaner cars & rental deals • 10% off deductible

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34 SonomaFamilyLife

FREE Artisan Craft Faire &

FREE Chanukah Festival. Menorah

Monday 7

5 Star Yelp Rating

Saturday 12

Night. Favorite seasonal songs & rich harmonies of 40-voice chorus. Thru Dec. 12. Dec. 11: 8 p.m. Dec. 12: 2 p.m. Adults $18. Students & seniors $15. Kids 12 & under $5. Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Showcase Theater. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael.

FREE Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble. A trio made up of clarinet, accordion & bass players. Ancient to modern Israeli music. 2–3 p.m. Cloverdale Regional Library. 401 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. FREE Triple Goddess Crafts Faire.

Dec. 12 & 13. 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Suggested donation $5–$13. Kids free. Sebastopol Community Cultural Center. 390 Morris St., Sebastopol.

Sunday 13 VOENA: Voices of the Season— Cameo. Children’s voices representing 35 cultures. 4–6 p.m. $30–$40. Napa Valley Opera House. 1030 Main St., Napa.

Wednesday 16 FREE Gingerbread Houses for Little Ones. All materials provided. Ages

0–5. 10 a.m.–noon. Rincon Valley Library. 6959 Montecito Blvd., Santa Rosa.

Thursday 17 Time Out of Mind. Award-winning

film starring Richard Gere, Kyra Sedgwick & Jena Malone. Includes a post-film discussion exploring how youth homelessness impacts young people living right here in our own community. Admission is $10 gift cards to Big 5 or Target to benefit

December 2015

homeless youth in Sonoma County. 6 p.m. 3rd Street Cinemas. 620 3rd St., Santa Rosa.

VOENA: Voices of the Season—

Saturday 19 Stolen Moonlight. Le Cirque de

Friday 18 Hoppin Holiday Slumber Party at the Y! Supervised swimming, games,

movies, crafts, more! Snacks & breakfast. Grades 1–6. 7 p.m.–9 a.m. $20–$35. Sonoma County Family YMCA. 1111 College Ave., Santa Rosa. The Nutcracker. Sebastopol Ballet.

$12–$22. Thru Dec. 20. Dec. 18: 7 p.m. Dec. 19: 11 a.m. & 4 p.m. Dec. 20: 2 p.m. Complimentary pre-matinee Sugar Plum Parties. 824-8006.

Bohème. Old-style circus in the French tradition of the 1920s. Unicycler, contortionist, juggler, hand-chair balancer & more. $18–$55. Shows on Dec. 19, 20, 26, 27. 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. CornerStone Sonoma. 23570 Hwy. 121, Sonoma. FREE Winter Craftapalooza!

Explore your creativity! Snacks & supplies provided. Ages 5–13. 11 a.m.–noon. Sebastopol Regional Library. 7140 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol. Tea with Santa. Dine

and take photos with Mr. Claus. 11 a.m.–noon. Muir’s Tea Room. 330 S. Main St., Sebastopol.

Cameo. 140

children in Victorian costumes singing in more than 20 languages. This world music choir has traveled the globe with its shows, which incorporate music, drama, dance & percussion. $25. 7 p.m. Glaser Center. 547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. FREE Once Upon a Gingerbread House. Children

create a gingerbread house using graham crackers, frosting & way too much candy. Ages 4 & up (with a caregiver). 10:30 a.m. Guerneville Regional Library. 14107 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville. Last 10K & Final 2-Mile Run. Online registration deadline Dec. 16. Run starts at 9 a.m. Nonmembers $10.

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SonomaFamilyLife 35

Latkes and Lights


ight a menorah, nosh on hot latkes, and play with dreidels as you listen to live music at the Chanukah Festival in Montgomery Village in Santa Rosa. The free event, held December 6 at 4 p.m., will feature special guest Santa Rosa Mayor John Sawyer. Similar festivals will be held at the Community Market in Sebastopol on December 7 at 5 p.m., Oliver’s Market in Cotati on December 8 at 5 p.m., Whole Foods Market in Sonoma on December 9 at 5 p.m., and Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg on December 13 at 5 p.m. Learn more at or by calling 577-0277. ¶

Howarth Park. 630 Summerfield Dr., Santa Rosa. Redwood Empire Sing-Along Messiah. A benefit for the music

education programs of the Santa Rosa Symphony League. 7 p.m. $20. Jackson Theater. 4400 Day School Pl., Santa Rosa. FREE Spring Lake Family Nature Walk. Families

can return to the Environmental Discovery Center after each hike for nature-themed crafts & explore the touchable tide pool. Every 3rd Sat. 1–4 p.m. parks. Marin Dance Theatre: Sophie & the Enchanted Toy Shop. Dickens-style street scene that comes alive with gypsies, townspeople, schoolchildren, more. 1 p.m. &


Y Winter Kids Club

Located on site at the Main Y! Located at the Main Y in Santa Rosa, kids will have traditional day camp fun in the middle of winter! Two 3-day sessions are available. Activities will include crafts, games, songs, baking, field trips and swimming at the Y!


AGES: 6-12

* Children who are 5 may attend if currently enrolled in kindergarten.


SESSION DATES & THEMES: Session 1: Dec. 21-23 Session 2: Dec. 28-30

Theme: Sledding into Fun Theme: The New Year is Knockin’


8:30-4:00pm each day

* Extended hours available 4:00-6:00pm for additional fee


$105Facility Member/ $120Program Member/ $140Non-Member


Call the YMCA Program Office at 707-544-1829 or Sonoma County Family YMCA 1111 College Ave. Santa Rosa, CA 95404 • 707-545-9622 F 707-544-7805 The Y is a non-profit Community Organization. Financial Assistance is available.

36 SonomaFamilyLife

#1 local resource for for 24 years local families

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December 2015

Cross & Crown Lutheran School

Where the JOY of learning meets the JOY of the Lord

5:30 p.m. Teddy Bear Tea Party 3 p.m. Adults $40. Students & seniors $30. Tea Party $7. Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael.

Pumpkin Fairy Godmother for a schedule

Register Now for 2015/2016

Thursday 31

2 - 5 years Preschool Jr. Kindergarten - Kindergarten 1st - 6th Grade Preschool license #490100475

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!

Balloon drops at noon. Crafts for kids. Root beer toasts at noon & 3 p.m. Museum open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. Noon Year’s Eve. Watch the ball drop, dance to jams by DJ Mancub & design a festive party crown. 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Bay Area Discovery Museum. 557 McReynolds Rd., Sausalito.



Call or email to visit our school:


(707) 494-5490

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EST. 1951 A Place to Play. A Place to Learn. A Place to Grow. • 2 & 3 year old class and a Pre-Kindergarten class for academic & social Kindergarten readiness • Positive Discipline tools and classes for parents • Oooey gooey fun environment combined with teaching communication and responsibility skills.

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SonomaFamilyLife 37

Classified Marketplace Services




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Professional Piano Tuning 20% Off - Mention this ad 18 years experience, Sonoma County Ron Sondergaard Piano Service

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38 SonomaFamilyLife

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Choose from science or art activities


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December 2015



Montessori In Motion

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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.

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

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December 2015


The Y is a non-profit community based organization. Financial Assistance is available.


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

Preschool•Kindergarten The Y is a non-profit Parent-Toddler Class community based Ages 18 months organization. to 6-years

Financial Assistance is available.

Diane: 546-7012


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Children’s Circle: 2.5–3.5+ yrs. Kinderclub: 3–5 yrs. Montessori In Motion: 3–6 yrs. 7:1 Teacher Ratio License#490110699

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The Bridge School. Located in Central Santa Rosa, 1625 Franklin Ave. Year-round full/half–day. Rich nurturing environment. Center based program for ages 3–5 with separate 2’s program. Caring, qualified teachers. Julie & Andrew Day; owners. Lic.#493005697. 575-7959.

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 39

Cooking with Kids

In Praise of Pumpkin By Joyce Beydler


ake cooking an educational experience this holiday season with the help of this recipe, gleaned from the very first colonial cookery book, The Compleat American Housewife. Your kids will learn about 18th-century America while cooking up a tasty, traditional dessert. Colonial Pumpkin Pie Ingredients 1 3-4 pound culinary pumpkin (also called a “pie” pumpkin) 3 eggs 1/4 cup butter (let soften at room temperature) 1/2 cup whole milk 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 teaspoons vanilla 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 frozen piecrusts Directions Note: The italicized portions of this recipe are excerpts from The Compleat American Housewife. 1. Stew a fine sweet pumpkin till soft and dry. Cut the pumpkin into chunks. Place the pumpkin in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer until the pumpkin is soft. Imagine doing this on a wood stove! When the

40 SonomaFamilyLife

A Holiday Favorite with a Historical Twist

pumpkin is done, drain, let cool, and peel. 2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. 3. Rub it through a sieve. For a more authentic take, use a fine mesh sieve or food mill to puree the pumpkin. For convenience, you can also use a food processor. If you don’t have any of these tools on hand, mash the pumpkin using a potato masher or sturdy fork. Measure 2 cups of pumpkin puree and place it in a mixing bowl. 4. Mix with the pulp six eggs quite light. Eggs have gotten larger over the years. If you compared a modern egg to an egg from the 18th century, it would be twice as big! Whip three eggs (instead of six) with a whisk, and then combine with the pumpkin. 5. a quarter pound of butter... There was no refrigeration in the 18th century, so butter was kept at room temperature. Let the butter soften on the counter before use. When soft, add the butter to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Colonial housewives measured ingredients by weight. Standardized measuring cups came later. 6. half a pint of new milk... Add the whole milk to the pumpkin mixture. Baking with half-curdled sour milk

was so common in colonial times that when fresh milk was used in a recipe, it was called “new milk” to avoid confusion. 7. some pounded ginger and nutmeg... Add the ground ginger and nutmeg to the pumpkin mixture. Ginger could be harvested locally, so it was a popular spice in the colonies. 8. a wine glass of brandy, and sugar to your taste... Add the vanilla and sugar. Brandy has a powerful, sweet flavor and helps enhance other flavors, but vanilla is more commonly used today. 9. Put a paste round the edges, and in the bottom of a shallow dish or plate... Unwrap the frozen piecrusts. Colonial bakers made “paste,” or dough, as they needed it. 10. Pour in the mixture, cut some thin bits of paste, twist them, and lay them across the top. Pour the pumpkin mixture into one of the piecrusts. Cut shapes out of the second piecrust and arrange them in a pattern on the pie for a decorative touch. 11. Bake it nicely. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 50–60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and dry. To find out about other seasonal activities like the Colonial Pumpkin Pie, sign up for free at

December 2015

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By Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts Question: How do you boost your children's spirits when they come home feeling low because something bad happened to them at school? —Baffled

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Answer: You want to avoid pooh-poohing what happened at school by saying things like, “That was nothing,” or “You’re making too much out of what happened.” The child obviously thought that it was a big deal at the time. At the same time, avoid blaming the child by asking, “What did you do or say that caused the teacher or another student to upset you?” If you do, it well may stop the child from communicating with you in the future. The best approach is to let your child vent and talk about the upsetting incident. You can agree with the child that what happened was upsetting to him or her. Quite often, this is sufficient to calm the child down. At this point, you can ask the child to consider what he or she might do in the future when faced with a similar situation. Together, you can discuss the child’s ideas. Plus, you can build the child’s confidence by bringing up that he has handled many unpleasant situations successfully in the past. Finally, if a situation is truly a serious one that is likely to continue, like bullying or a barrage of criticism from a teacher, it is time to step in and ask the teacher for help. And extra hugs and treats can also limit children’s low feelings. ¶


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December 2015

What more could a parent ask for? ST NOT JU E FOR TH IRISH!


SonomaFamilyLife 41

Humor Break

The 12 Denials of Christmas

Holiday Hazards I Won’t Avoid

By Holly Hester


I will not send out Christmas cards late this year. Sending a Christmas card after New Year’s does not say “Merry Christmas.” It says, “Behold, my disorganization!”


I will not send my mother-in-law another gift that contains nuts. She is allergic to nuts and even though I know this, I keep gifting her with heavily nut-laden products. At this point, even a casual observer would think I was trying to kill her.


I will not eat sugary desserts the entire holiday season. The roof of a gingerbread house does not constitute a healthy breakfast regardless of its raisin chimney.


I will not forget about the mailman’s present again. I can’t just hand him a bunch of cash like he’s my drug dealer.


I will not go out and buy a bunch of crappy toys. Just because my kids want a megaphone that makes farting noises and a plastic dog toy that vomits on the floor doesn’t mean I actually have to buy these things. It also doesn’t mean that a relative has to buy them either. If Aunt Marge wants to give my kids

42 SonomaFamilyLife

a potato gun that shoots ACTUAL PIECES OF POTATO around our house, then she can get her butt out of assisted living and clean up my mush-covered walls.


I will not let my children pick out the Christmas tree. The inside of our house is not the size of Rockefeller Center. It cannot accommodate a 50-foot tree with a family of bald eagles living in it.


I will not let my children string the lights on the Christmas tree. A tree with 4,000 lights wrapped tightly around it’s base and absolutely no lights on top looks strange, and I’m pretty sure is a fire hazard.


I will not lose all the receipts. This year, I’m going to buy a large box, stick all the receipts in it, and bury it in our yard. Then when all the crappy toys I swore I wouldn’t buy start breaking, I can proudly announce, “I have the receipt for that! Will someone please hand me my shovel?”


I will not wait until Christmas Eve to realize we’re out of batteries. Sure, I can send my husband out for the fifth year in a row to look for batteries at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve. And yes, he will

return with batteries. But he will not return full of Christmas cheer.


I will not use the busy holiday season as an excuse not to exercise. Actually, I will. Forget I said that.


I will not just say, “Oh, whatever” when my family asks me what I’d like for Christmas. Because “Oh, whatever” means a bathrobe.“Oh, whatever” means another loofah scrub. I’m not Aunt Marge. I want some fun presents. Like skateboarding lessons, a tube of bubblegum flavored lip-gloss, and a solar-powered margarita blender.


I will not forget that Christmas is actually about love. That late Christmas card is just a way of saying “I miss you.” All those odd presents are just a way of saying “You’re in my heart.” Christmas is also about the moments. Making hot cocoa together and watching the marshmallows disappear into the chocolate. Reading “T’was the Night Before Christmas” and feeling excited children squirm on my lap in footed pajamas. Hearing my son whisper, “Mommy, you know what? I love you.” Those are things I don’t need a list to remember. Happy, happy, happy holidays. ¶ Holly Hester lives in Sebastopol and writes about life on her blog, Riot Ranch. Find her book, Escape from Ugly Mom Island!, on Amazon.

December 2015


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Sonoma Family Life December 2015  
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