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December 2016

Local Lights 36 hot spots

Give Back 25 ways

SAT Smarts 6 prep tips Holiday Fun 67 local events

give Extended Holiday Shopping Hours Beginning Friday, November 25 Monday - Saturday 9am to 9 pm • Sunday 9am to 6pm Christmas Eve - 9am to 5pm • Christmas Day - Closed Monday, December 26 - 9am to 6pm



Santa and Mrs. Claus


Beginning Saturday, November 28 through Sunday, December 18, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in their Photo Studio in Village Terrace every weekend from 11am to 3pm. All proceeds benefit local non-profit organizations.

Light Up A Life


Thursday, December 1 • 5pm to 6:30pm Please join us at Santa’s Village in Village Terrace for the Heartland Hospice Tree Lighting Ceremony and help to light up lives, cherish memories and celebrate our community.


The Secret Santa Marathon Thursday, December 20 • Village Court While wrapping up your holiday shopping and enjoying the strolling entertainment, help us fulfill every last Secret Santa wish from our neighbors in need. For more information about Secret Santa, call 707.573.3399.

give gifts

enjoy play

Chanukah Festival Monday, December 26 • 4 pm 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 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.

give gifts












Sports City’s Child & Player Development Programs provide a fun introduction to sports while helping children 18 months to 8 years reach age-appropriate developmental milestones.

Our trampoline park features Rockin’ Tots dedicated play time for parents & children under 44”.



Upscale Bowling Center, Arcade, Laser Tag, Laser Frenzy, XD Dark Ride, Ballistics Mega Play Structure, Toddler Play Area, Clubhouse Grill, Victory House Sports Bar and Restaurant–All Under One Roof!

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December 2016

Every Issue

39 Features 10 The Season’s Best Find the perfect presents.

12 Wishes Come True Creative ways to brighten someone’s day.

14 A Circle of Caring How to help a family who needs it.

16 SAT Smarts Prep for college exams with confidence.

18 Forever Families Illuminating the adoption process.

20 Let Love Rule Helping your blended family get along.

22 A Holiday Reading List


Dear Reader


Bits and Pieces Sweet Digs Art, Wine & Song Shop Local Happy 2017! Nautical Night Out Lace Up Your Skates

28 Cooking with Kids C Is for Cookie

29 Crafting with Kids Easy-Peasy Decorations

30 Calendar of Events Scrooge’s Redemption

42 Humor Break Reluctant Reveler

Books to introduce kids to diverse celebrations.


24 Dancing to Their Own Beats Cultivate the separate personalities of twins or triplets.


26 Healthy, Wealthy & Wise How to have fun on a budget.

39 Guide to Local Christmas Lights Take a tour! 4 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2016



ENROLLMENT FOR 2017 STARTS DEC. 12TH La Tercera Elementary School

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Trips Dec 3 - 23 707.964.6371

December 2016

SonomaFamilyLife 5

Dear Reader


is the season to focus on family and giving to others. Not sure how to help those in need? “A Circle of Caring” (page 14) and “Wishes Sharon Gowan Publisher/Editor Come True” (page 12) list some great ideas. From dropping a few coins in a bucket to making a meal for a neighbor, there are plenty of ways to lend a helping hand. Sometimes we are the ones facing challenges during the holidays. This may be especially true if we’re trying to get along with a blended family. “Let Love Rule” (page 20) shows you how to do it with grace.

Probably the best method for creating family harmony is to simply have fun together. Try taking in neighborhood decorations. Our “Guide to Local Christmas Lights” (page 39) will direct you to the best places to go. (For a touring map, see Or turn to our Calendar of Events for an array of activities in your own backyard, including plays, parades, and lots of places to visit with Santa. We hope your holidays are full of joy, togetherness, and, of course, love.

Office Manager Patricia Ramos

Business Marketing Renee Nutcher Marie Anderson

Features Editor Melissa Chianta

Production Manager Donna Bogener

Web and Social Media Jean Flint

Cover Photo Bob Rider

Contributing Writers Patrick Hempfing Greg Kaplan Christina Katz Julie Kertes Sarah Lyons Don Orwell Jan Pierce Laura Lyles Reagan Meagan Ruffing Denise Yearian

Billing Jan Wasson-Smith

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

About the cover: Photographer Bob Rider (aka “Kid Whisperer”) captured Madison Edwards for our cover. He also took photos of Sylvan Buonaccorsi (top) and siblings Dylan and Sawyer (bottom). If you want to be part of our next shoot, stay tuned to us via Facebook, web, and print. 6 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2016

Want to plan an



Find LOCAL schools, profiles, after-school options, educational activities & family fun


January’s Special School Issue Plus: e-mail updates (free sign-up online!) Marie: 205-1547 | Renee: 694-0390

Bits & Pieces Sonoma Valley Winery Gingerbread Contest

Sweet Digs


ith cookie walls, frosting mortar, and candy walkways, gingerbread houses capture the imagination—and the sweet tooth—of young and old alike. As part of the Sonoma Valley Winery Gingerbread Contest, area wineries will showcase some elaborate edible abodes at various locations throughout Sonoma County. Get a map at, go visit the displays, and then vote on your favorites through the end of December. Every vote cast gets you a chance to win a case of wine from a Sonoma Valley winery. See for further information. ¶

Art, Wine & Song

David Luning


ainy winter days may be a bit glum for some, but for the folks participating in the Wine Country Winter Festival, December is all about dynamic creative expression. Participants can listen to more than 15 musical groups such as the Bootleg Honeys and the David Luning Band; watch jugglers’ awe-inspiring tricks or local ballet dancers’ elegant moves; peruse through the wares of local painters, ceramicists, jewelry makers, and other artists; taste local wines, microbrews, and ciders; and enter a gingerbread contest. Kids can hop on a mini-train for a ride, get their faces painted, decorate cookies, do crafts, and, of course, visit with Santa. The festivities will be held 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on December 3 and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on December 4 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. Tickets are $8–$15, free for kids under 12, and may be purchased at ¶

Shop Local ant to support local creatives with your holiday shopping? Go to the 42nd Annual Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair at the Finley Community Complex in Santa Rosa, where more than 70 artists will be showing their work. See all manner of ceramics, wooden objects, gourd art, textiles, jewelry, glass art, home and garden décor, and photography. Admission is $2, free for kids 12 and under, and will run December 3, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., to December 4, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. (Visit for details.) You can also find the work of Bay Area artisans, as well as listen to local musicians, at the 22nd Annual Goddess Crafts Faire, December 10 and 11, 11 a.m.–7 p.m., at the Sebastopol Community Center in Sebastopol. Suggested admission donation is $5–$13; kids are free. (See Also check out the free Occidental Holiday Crafts Faire December 10, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and December 11, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., at the Occidental Community Center in Occidental. (Check out ¶ 8 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2016

Morgan Caufield


Happy 2017!


hy stay up until midnight when you can celebrate the New Year at the sane hour of noon? At the Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! kid-friendly event at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa on December 31, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., you can expect falling balloons and root beer floats instead of descending disco balls and champagne toasts. Admission is $5–$12 or free for museum members or children ages 3 and under. See for more information. ¶

Nautical Night Out


he Petaluma River becomes a canvas for shimmering lights at the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. See decked out speedboats float along with holiday panache on December 17, 6–8:30 p.m. Vessels leave the Petaluma Marina at 6 p.m. and arrive at the Turning Basin in Petaluma at 6:30 p.m. The event is free. See for more information. ¶

Lace Up Your Skates


his time of year, colder states are dreaming of having a white Christmas. While we don’t see much of the white stuff here in Northern California, we do have ice skating rinks. Ukiah will get its first outdoor one in December, thanks to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center (UVMC) and the City of Ukiah. UVMC constructed the rink in celebration of its 60th anniversary. It will be hosting free public skating on December 4, noon–4 p.m., along with live music, kids’ games, and food. Free skating will also be offered on December 5 and 6, 3–8 p.m. After December 6, unlimited skating is $10. The rink is situated next to the Alex R. Thomas Plaza on School Street. During December 7–22, hours will be as follows: Monday–Friday, 3–8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, noon–5 p.m. During December 23–January 8, the rink will be open noon–7 p.m. except on December 24, 25, 31, and January 1, when it will be open noon–4 p.m. For more information, see

December 2016

SonomaFamilyLife 9

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Best Your Guide to Holiday Shopping

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December 2016

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December 2016

SonomaFamilyLife 11

Wishes Come True 25 Adventures in Giving

By Christina Katz


ere come the holidays and with them, the spirit of giving. But who says you have to give the same way every year? If you have a holiday giving tradition you love and want to stick with, that’s great. But maybe, like my family, you enjoy shaking things up each year as you explore new ways to enrich other people’s lives. Here are some ideas to get your family brainstorming.


Take a ticket. Look for giving trees in stores that support local charities. Contribute a longed-for toy or donate experiences like going to the zoo or to the theater.

to bell-ringers and others asking for a holiday handout. This is an interactive way to teach children that it is as much a blessing to give as to receive.


Go through your shelves and remove books you no longer love. Donate them to your local library or resale shop.

Feed your community. Connect school-organization fundraisers to local charities by inviting event attendees to donate a non-perishable food item or two in exchange for admission.


Think stocking stuffer. Buy trinkets for family helpers like babysitters, yard workers, and dog walkers. A little bit of thoughtfulness goes a long way.


Donate warmth. Dig through your closets and find old coats or even new coats that seldom get worn. Offer them to a local coat drive or tax-exempt charitable resale shop.

5 12 SonomaFamilyLife

Fill those pots. Keep change in your purse to give donations


De-clutter all year. The less clutter you have, the more generous you have been. Gather donations after the kids go back to school, make another round of donations after the holidays, then de-clutter once more after school gets out for the summer.


Let kids sort, too. A month before the holidays, ask your kids to go through their rooms to make

December 2016

space for the new. Consider the best ways to donate based on what they have to offer.


Use sock sense. Shelters often need donations of new socks. Watch for sales on socks all season, gather as many as you can, and contribute them to a regional shelter.

Keep change in your purse to give donations to bell-ringers and others asking for a holiday handout.


Connect directly. Join an online community discussion group and watch for requests for holiday assistance from local families. Be sure to choose a safe place to meet up to make any exchanges of goods or food.


Volunteer as a family. Contact local senior centers, soup kitchens, or animal shelters, and see if they offer families a way to participate together.


Roll up a sleeve. Save a life. Take eligible teens with you to donate blood. Make it an annual tradition.

15 16

Spread seeds. Make a feeder for winter birds, and keep it full of birdseed you buy in bulk.


Get crafty. Come up with a fun, simple craft or recipe project so each child can make gifts for friends. Pinterest is always a good place to look for inspiration.



Create a brief letter or list that describes your year, and mail it with school photos to faraway relatives.



Sweets for the sweet. Write thank-you notes to teachers and instructors, and include a gift card for something tasty.


Bundle them up. Go through your old hats, mittens, and gloves, and donate them to a local family shelter.





Double your donation. Participate in a matching-gift program of some kind. Ask your employer what is available.


Create good karma. Pay for a cup of coffee or cocoa for the person behind you at the local coffee shop or drive-up window and make someone’s day.

Turn the page. Go through your shelves and remove books you no longer love. Donate them to your local library or resale shop.


Ship to soldiers. Send holiday boxes to military personnel serving our country overseas. Put yourself in their shoes before you shop. What would surprise and delight you?

child pick out something to contribute. Or choose a gift yourself.

Shop win-win-win. Buy some of your holiday gifts from a store or organization that supports others. Sustainable gifts, shared profits, and sales that support the community in some way are all fair game.

Spread cheer. All season long, encourage your children to slow down, smile at others as they go by, and wish them “Happy Holidays” once they make eye contact. Hide a surprise. Put a cookie plate or box of chocolates in the mailbox for your delivery person. Put the flag up or post a sticky note on the box to let them know it’s in there.

Consider ongoing giving. Together, come up with ways your family can give year-round. Charities are often flooded with donations around the holidays but could use more support during the rest of the year. Spring and early summer are common dry periods for food banks. ¶ Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz loves the feeling she gets from giving as much as she enjoys the feeling of receiving. And her family has become more generous as a result of her example.

Be thoughtful. Create a brief letter or list that describes your year, and mail it with school photos to faraway relatives.

Treat a kid to a toy. Watch for toy baskets at local businesses you frequent. Have your December 2016

SonomaFamilyLife 13

A Circle of Caring

Help with pets. Kids aren’t the only family members that need attention. If the family is making trips to the doctor or hospital, offer to feed the cat or walk the dog while they are out. This will help ease their minds so they can focus on what is important.

9 Ways to Support a Family in Need By Sarah Lyons


hen a friend is struggling through a difficult time, it is natural to want to lend a hand. But since those who need the most help are often reluctant to ask for it, it’s hard to know what to do. Here are nine ways to show your support: Bring a meal. This is an age-old idea. When a parent is not able to cook a meal for her or his family, friends and family often send casseroles like lasagna. Try thinking outside the 13 x 9 pan. Why not bring the family the fixings for breakfast and lunch rather than just dinner? Stock the freezer with easy, ready-to-make items like pizza, pasta dishes, soups, and crockpot meals. Then the family can pull something out of the freezer when they are not up for cooking. Crunched for time or don’t feel like making an extra meal? Bring the

14 SonomaFamilyLife

park, swing by and pick up their children for the afternoon. This gets the kids out of the house and gives the parents a break. Driving the kids to school or activities is also a big help for a family that is dealing with change.

family their favorite take-out or send a gift card. Set up a meal train. When one meal just doesn’t cover it, set up a meal train using websites like or takethemameal. com. Discuss with the family the most convenient dates and times to deliver meals, and solicit friends to fill all the open spots. Social media is a great place to recruit people you might not think to ask. Offer to babysit. Show support by offering to babysit, even if it’s just for a couple hours. If you are taking your own children to the

When you visit, listen attentively and offer your support. Sometimes a long talk is very therapeutic. Clean the house. Sweep the floor, change laundry loads, vacuum, do dishes, or fold some laundry. Even a little bit of picking up can make a big difference. A clean house can bring some much-needed calm during a chaotic time. Run errands. If you are on your way to the store, why not send a quick text and ask if the family needs anything—toilet paper, diapers, or snacks? Does Mom want a coffee or some lunch? If you get several bags of groceries, you might offer to help put them away, too.

December 2016




MARK WEST STABLES Put a surprise on their doorstep. If the family is not up for visitors, leave a care package outside their door. Include special treats, magazines, snacks, and


Call 707-538-2000 or visit


Driving the kids to school or activities is a big help for a family that is dealing with change. a card. A delivery of flowers is another great way to cheer them up without interrupting family time. Take food to the hospital. It is common knowledge that hospital fare is not gourmet. If someone is in the hospital supporting a family member, offer to deliver food to him or her. Bring homemade meals to warm up later or offer to sit at the loved one’s bedside while he or she takes a walk and gets some fresh air.

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Listen. When you visit, listen attentively and offer your support. Sometimes a long talk is very therapeutic. Call and check in on family members, even if you just leave a voicemail. In these times of texts and e-mails, receiving a phone call shows you will go the extra mile to support friends. On the other hand, if you are worried about honoring their need for space, an e-mail or text offers support while letting them respond when the time is right. Âś Sarah Lyons is a writer and mother. After the birth of her triplets, family and friends showed their loving support for many months. She will forever be grateful and now enjoys helping others even more.





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SonomaFamilyLife 15

SAT Smarts By Greg Kaplan

6 Tips for Entrance Exam Prep


igh school parents face a crisis each fall: how to get their children into college. In 2015, 92,000 applicants applied for a mere 5,800 spots at UCLA. Parents often ask about the best things they can do to improve their children’s odds of admission. The answer: effective SAT/ACT prep. The better the score, the better the odds of admission. Learning how to answer a few more questions correctly on the SAT can be the difference between acceptance and rejection. Finding the right SAT/ACT prep program for your child can be challenging. It is hard to identify which tutors/programs are worth the (high) cost. Students and parents can also be guarded with information that makes anyone else a competitive applicant. Consider the following strategies:

16 SonomaFamilyLife


Take the PSAT/PreACT (diagnostic tests for the SAT/ ACT) sophomore year to assess your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Save the score reports to discuss with a tutor. Your child’s starting point will dictate the amount of prep she or he needs to obtain a competitive score for the colleges she or he is interested in attending.


Start your search for an SAT/ ACT prep program early. Often the most effective tutors and prep programs fill up one to two years in advance of a test date, so begin looking for the best ones during freshman or sophomore year. This

The return on investment for an SAT tutor is far greater than a trip to visit colleges. will ensure your child is fully prepared to score well on the SAT/ ACT during the junior year of high school. (See tip 6 for more info about test timing.)


Prioritize SAT/ACT prep over any other part of the college application process. Private SAT/ ACT tutoring can be very expensive. However, it is the best investment your child can make to improve her

December 2016


favorite pediatricians

or his odds of admission at highly selective colleges. The return on investment for an SAT tutor is far greater than a trip to visit colleges.


Many high schools publish a list of colleges seniors will be attending. Find students that are going to your child’s top choices, and ask them or their parents which SAT/ACT tutors they worked with.


When meeting with potential SAT/ACT tutors or prep program coordinators, ask about

Prioritize SAT/ACT prep over any other part of the college application process. their track records, specifically with other clients who started with similar scores as your child (refer back to the PSAT or PreACT score report).


Aim to take the test fall of junior (not senior) year. Prepping over the summer alleviates the pressure of attending to schoolwork and taking the SAT or ACT at the same time. In addition, if your child needs to take the test an additional time, she or he will have plenty of time to do so. If she or he waits until senior year to take the tests, there won’t be another opportunity to re-take the exams. ¶

Greg Kaplan is a college application strategist, author of Earning Admission: Real Strategies for Getting into Highly Selective Colleges (2016), and the founder of Soaring Eagle College Consulting. See earningadmission. com for more information.

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SonomaFamilyLife 17

six, and Anastasia, who was eight, so we decided to adopt them to keep the family together.” John and Jo-El Azato took a different adoption route and went through a private agency to find an international child. “We had seen an ad in the newspaper about a seminar on domestic and international adoptions, so we went,” recalls Jo-El. “We knew we wanted an international child who was about one year or two years old.

Forever Families The Trials and Triumphs of Adoption

Waiting, says experts, can be the hardest part of the adoption process. But while families are on hold, there are things they can do.

By Denise Yearian

And after doing research, we decided to go with a child from China.”

here are many reasons why people consider adoption. For some, it’s a result of failed fertility efforts. For others, it’s a desire to enlarge their family and make life better for a child. But for all, it’s a way to bring people of diverse cultural and racial heritage into the bonds of a loving family.

During the 14 months the Azatos waited for their daughter, Nina, they busied themselves with preparations. “We had a baby shower and prepared her room,” says Jo-El. “We also read a lot about parenting and asked friends who had kids lots of questions.”


Tony and Nancy Rivera’s reason for adopting was to enlarge their family and find a companion for their child. “When our son Tony was eight, we went through the state foster-adopt program to find a playmate for him,” says Nancy. “We told them we wanted a child near our son’s age, but when they contacted us, it was for a two-month-old boy named Alex.” At first the Riveras declined the agency’s request, but when subsequent phone calls came in, Tony and Nancy reevaluated their 18 SonomaFamilyLife

decision. “The third time they called us we said Yes,” Nancy continues. “We figured if they contacted us that many times, maybe this was the child we were supposed to get.” But the Riveras got more than they planned for. “Two months later, the agency called again. This time they said Alex had a two-year-old brother named Alfonzo who was in foster care and asked if we wanted to adopt him. So we did,” says Nancy. “Then a year later, we found out the boys had two sisters, Candice, who was

Waiting, says experts, can be the hardest part of the adoption process, whether it’s waiting for the paperwork to go through or waiting to receive the referral. But while families are on hold, there are things they can do. “When I talk with couples, I tell them to use the time productively,” says Sam Wojnilower, LCSW. “Read about adopting and raising children, attend workshops, find a pediatrician—that kind of thing, so they’re already being active parents.”

December 2016

Although the Riveras didn’t need a primer on childrearing, they did have to learn how to help their adopted children adjust to a new environment. “I think it was harder on Candice and Anastasia because they were older than the boys,” says Nancy. “I had to tell the girls they

During the 14 months the Azatos waited for their daughter Nina, they busied themselves with preparations. weren’t going to see their biological parents anymore. I’m not sure Candice totally understood, but Anastasia took it very hard. She was a little weepy and apprehensive, maybe even confused. I spent a lot of time with her letting her know she could come and talk with me. I told her it was okay to talk about her mom and dad and I would listen. I tried very hard to build a relationship and establish her trust.” This is exactly what adoption consultant Mary Lou Edgar suggests. “One of the best ways to help newly adopted children adjust in their environment is to close in and establish those family relationships. There’s a natural inclination to want to celebrate with family and friends, but that can come later,” she says. Wojnilower agrees. “Children need time to adjust to their new family. They also need to establish a consistent routine as soon as possible. This is even truer with international adoption where things like food and times zone are different,” he asserts.

Although Nina was only ten months old when the Azatos adopted her, she, too, had an adjustment to make. “I think the hardest part of the adoption process was that we didn’t bond right away,” recalls Jo-El. “When we first got Nina, she was well aware we weren’t her regular caretaker and the hotel we were staying in was not the orphanage. She wouldn’t eat and covered her face with her hands. She also cried a lot.” But three days into the adoption, things changed. “We were still at the hotel and Nina had fallen asleep on the bed. When she woke up, she rolled over and I caught her before she fell off the side. She laughed; she thought it was a game. From that point on it was completely different. I knew we had bonded.” Perhaps the one who had the biggest adjustment was young Tony, who went from being an only child to sharing his parents with four other children. “Tony did okay when we got boys, but when Candice and Anastasia came, we had to have a talk,” Nancy remembers. The Riveras didn’t know for certain the girls were coming until that morning, and Tony had already left for school. “When he got home, the girls were there, so I pulled him aside and explained why we wanted to keep them all together,” says Nancy. “It was hard but I think he understood. It’s funny, though, the last thing he said to me was ‘Mom, I’ll let them come in, just don’t paint the house pink!’” ¶

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Denise Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines and the mother of three children and four grandchildren.

December 2016

SonomaFamilyLife 19

Let Love Rule

respond by saying, “Tell me how your mom does it. I might want to try it like that sometime.” If the child says, “Daddy’s Christmas tree has the ornaments I made when I

Tweens and teens may need to take their time embracing an extended family. was little,” a wise stepparent might say, “That must be really special to have those ornaments on the tree. Will you help me make an ornament for our tree?”

Holiday Survival for Stepfamilies

By Laura Lyles Reagan


s a clinical sociologist and divorced (and remarried) parent, I know that the holidays present special challenges for stepfamilies. Many experts believe it takes approximately five years to blend a stepfamily. There is not a perfect holiday family activity or meal that will make everyone suddenly feel closer. There is no perfect gift that will heal divorce. There are only opportunities to connect, and connection can be defined in a variety of ways.

Let Go of Expectations Tweens and teens may need to take their time embracing an extended family. My husband invited our daughters to his parents’ Christmas Eve dinner, but he did not push them to go. They were older and had their own traditions established with me as their biological parent, so they chose to go to dinner but leave before the gift-giving extravaganza between the extended family members. 20 SonomaFamilyLife

Be Open and Flexible Learning to live with different people who have different styles of relating is a positive skill that will serve kids as they grow into adults. Biological parents might support the stepfamily dynamics by saying to a child, “Not everyone does things the same way, and we can try a new way.” If a child says to a stepparent, “My mom doesn’t make the turkey that way,” a brave stepparent might

Keep It Simple Uncomplicated, easy activities may diffuse tension, and help new family members get to know each other. Here are a few for starters: • Watch a holiday DVD and string popcorn for the tree. • Go to a movie. • Go Christmas caroling around your neighborhood. Laugh with each other and let the kids be silly. • Go to church, synagogue, or mosque. • Volunteer at a charity or nonprofit. • Bake holiday cookies. • Make New Year cards for military service personnel. • Trim the Christmas tree together as a family. Family is about being loved and accepted for who you are, no matter how family is configured. ¶ Laura Lyles Reagan, MS, is a parenting coach and author of How to Raise Respectful Parents. Reach her through her website at

December 2016




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SonomaFamilyLife 21

A Holiday Reading List

Find Out about Diverse Celebrations

By Jan Pierce


his time of year, we hear a

Hanukkah Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Biscuit’s Hanukkah (HarperFestival, 2005) Malka Drucker, Grandma’s Latkes (Harcourt Children’s Books, 1992)

lot about Christmas but not

Michelle Edwards, Papa’s Latkes (Candlewick, 2004)

so much—if anything at all—

Naomi Howland, Latkes, Latkes, Good To Eat (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2004)

about other celebrations. Authors and illustrators love to bring all

Nina Jaffe, In the Month of Kislev (Puffin Books, 1995) Eric Kimmel, The Magic Dreidels (Holiday House, 1996) Fran Manushkin, Latkes and Applesauce (Scholastic Paperbacks, 1992)

the tradition, celebration, and

Roni Schotter, Hanukkah! (LB Kids, 2014)

fun of diverse winter holidays to


life in the pages of their books.

Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, Celebrating Kwanzaa (Holiday House, 1994)

Look through the lists below to

Karen Katz, My First Kwanzaa (Square Fish, 2014)

find informative and beautiful children’s books about Hanukkah,

Kathy Ross, All New Crafts for Kwanzaa (First Avenue Editions, 2006) Synthia Saint James, The Gifts of Kwanzaa (Albert Whitman & Co., 1994) Donna L. Washington, The Story of Kwanzaa (HarperCollins, 1997)

Las Posadas, Kwanzaa, and

Nancy Williams, A Kwanzaa Celebration (Little Simon, 1995)


Las Posadas Tomie dePaola, The Night of Las Posadas (Puffin Books, 2001) Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, Las Posadas (Holiday House, 1999) Tony Johnston, The Magic Maguey (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1996)

Ramadan Reem Faruqi, Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story (Tilbury House, 2015) Suhaib Hamid Ghazi, Ramadan (Holiday House, 1996) Qamaer Hassan, Raihanna’s First Time Fasting (CreateSpace, 2016) Karen Katz, My First Ramadan (Square Fish, 2015) Sylvia Whitman, Under the Ramadan Moon (Albert Whitman and Company, 2011) ¶ Jan Pierce, M.Ed., is a retired teacher and freelance writer. Find her at

22 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2016




Look for these Holiday Picks in our stores and online!


December 2016

SonomaFamilyLife 23

Dancing to Their Own Beats By Denise Yearian

Help Multiples Establish Individual Identities

Twins, triplets, and other multiple-birth children share a special bond. But these relational ties can also impact their personal, social, and emotional development. To help children of plural births establish individuality and build self-esteem, experts suggest focusing on minor activities.

“One of the developmental tasks for any child is to attach to the family and separate from it, and for multiples that task is exaggerated,” says family therapist Tom Crichton. “They are already in a group and have less time with each parent but are trying to find their own identity.” Rather than referring to them collectively as “twins” or “triplets,” Crichton suggests parents acknowledge each child by name. Equally important is to create 24 SonomaFamilyLife

opportunities for individual time, as Tricia Clendening has done. “From the time I brought the last child home, I established a bedtime routine where I would keep one of the three up 20 minutes later than the others. Then I’d rotate nights,” she says of her now 14-year-old triplets, two boys and one girl. “As they grew it evolved into ‘child of the day’ where one not only got to stay up later, but had other privileges like making group decisions or running errands with me.”

Lynn Lorenz, author of The Multiples Manual: Preparing and Caring for Twins and Triplets (2007) and owner of, thinks singled-out circumstances is a good idea, particularly where both assertive and nonassertive personalities are involved.

“When they are first starting out, it’s fine to sign them up for the same activities for convenience purposes. But once they express an interest in a particular area, take their lead.” —Lynn Lorenz

“Each child benefits in that there is no competition for attention and the parent can focus on that child’s personality and highlight his

December 2016

strengths. For the less dominant one, there’s an added bonus: He can be encouraged to speak and be reassured what he has to say is important,” she says.

Rather than referring to them collectively as “twins” or “triplets,” acknowledge each child by name. Single mother Stephanie Zambudio has stringent time demands raising triplet boys and working full-time, so her parents divvy up the days spent with the kids. “Since my mom and dad live with me, they get to spend a lot of individual time with the boys while I’m at work,” says the mother of her two-and-a-halfyear-olds. “If the boys are sleeping and one wakes up, Dad will take him to the store or out with the dog. And Mom spends one-on-one time with them reading, doing puzzles, or having them help in the kitchen.” Clendening calls on family, too. “My in-laws live the closest and for years have taken the kids individually on weekends,” she says. “Also each child has [his or her] own set of godparents, so sometimes they’ll go to the movies, horseback riding, or back to their godparents’ house by themselves for the day.” Festivities are yet another way to foster individuality. “Birthday celebrations are really about honoring an individual for who he is,” says Lorenz. “Very early on, give each child his own cake. As

the kids get older, let them pick the type of cake in the colors or theme they want. Also take time to find a special gift suited to each child. And sing ‘Happy Birthday’ three times if you need to, so each one feels special.” “This past birthday I made three cakes based on what each child liked,” says Zambudio. “One was an airplane, one was a fire truck, and one was an M&M. Each child had his own section of gifts, too.” Separate clothes, drawers, and cubby spaces may promote individuality, as may professional portraits that include solo as well as group shots. Children of multiple births may even want to follow their own pursuits.

“Birthday celebrations are really about honoring an individual for who he is. Very early on, give each child his own cake.” —Lynn Lorenz

I did without my brothers. If one child has a friend over, let the others go with different friends or spend time with a parent.” “Until two years ago, my three did everything together, mostly with other neighborhood kids. In sixth grade they were separated in school so they met other friends who lived farther out and eventually wanted to go different places. But they still enjoy some favorite pastimes together,” says Clendening. Although these triplets have established their own identities, their mother thinks they will always find strength in numbers. Denise Yearian is a former educator and editor of two parenting magazines, and the mother of three children and four grandchildren.

Read Up Books William and Sheila Laut, Raising Multiple Birth Children: A Parent’s Survival Guide

(Chandler House Press, 1999).

“When they are first starting out, it’s fine to sign them up for the same activities for convenience purposes. But once they express an interest in a particular area, take their lead. It may be inconvenient to run in different directions, but consider it an investment,” says Lorenz. Individual interests may be followed by separate friendships. “I think it really helps if multiples have their own friends,” says Crichton, who is also a triplet. “When I was in high school, I was in the table-tennis club and it was special because it was the only thing December 2016

Lynn Lorenz, The Multiples Manual: Preparing and Caring for Twins or Triplets (, 2007). Betty Rothbart, Multiple Blessings: From Pregnancy through Childhood (Harper Perennial, 1994). Websites SonomaFamilyLife 25

Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

your word together throughout the season.


Instead of buying whole holiday albums, let each child download four or five songs to make her or his own holiday mix. Combine everyone’s choices into a family album for the year and keep it on shuffle. In the future, you’ll remember each year by its unique soundtrack.


Serve bowls of hot, steaming oatmeal for breakfast as a tasty, satisfying way to start each day. Add a dash of ancient grains to your usual dried fruit and nuts for some added crunch and nutrition. It’s cheaper, healthier, and more satisfying than boxed cereals.

12 Simple Ways to Save During the Holidays

By Christina Katz


hether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, when money is tight, stress runs high. In lean financial times, holiday family fun can become scarce.

Don’t let financial concerns rob your family of holiday memories. Saving cash during the happiest time of the year does not have to leave your family feeling unhappy. Teach your kids to feel savvy and empowered about saving money during the holiday season, when over-spending is a common pitfall. Thrifty families have more time, money, and energy to give back to the world during the season of giving. And 26 SonomaFamilyLife

being money-mindful may even spark some new favorite family traditions. Here are 12 ways your family can enjoy the season to the fullest without spending too much and going into debt.


Be sure that everyone understands the deeper meanings of the holidays beyond the mere exchange of gifts. When you anchor the holidays in meaning rather than spending, everyone feels wealthier. Have a holiday family keyword like gratitude, abundance, or generosity. Explore the meaning of


Scour the house for plugged-in appliances you do not use in the winter. Unplug everything you can. Store away items you will not use in cool weather to make room for holiday décor.


If you need several baked goods for the week, make them all in one day. Then you won’t need to

Rather than take an expensive getaway, camp out in the living room next to the tree. repeatedly pre-heat the oven. As a bonus, your kitchen will be toasty all day. Offer homemade cocoa to anyone who pitches in and helps.


Before you head out to shop, visit websites where you can search for relevant coupons. Spend

December 2016

five minutes checking recent mail and e-mail to see if you received any discounts for stores on your list. Scan store flyers once you arrive at each store. Avoid using any discounts on items you don’t want or need.

When you anchor the holidays in meaning rather than spending, everyone feels wealthier.


Visit a tree farm and cut your own tree. Cut branches from the bottom of the tree for wreaths and garlands. Make it a day of tree decorating. You’ll gain a family memory, photos for the album, and fresh greens that last longer than store-bought.


Go for engaging gifts. One of my best holiday shopping tricks is to make sure my daughter will fall in love with at least three of her gifts. A book she’ll cherish, a DVD she has been wanting, or some kind of kit or craft that will hold her attention for hours rather than just minutes after the wrapping is torn away.


Love holiday music? Check neighboring towns for free performances and festivals. Meet up with friends for a low-key afternoon or evening of listening. High schools and colleges often have free or inexpensive music performances right before school gets out. Or go caroling and make your own sounds.


Visit the library each week for a steady supply of reading

materials and educational media over holiday breaks from school. Keep a large, sturdy tote bag in the upstairs hallway where everyone can fetch or deposit items between library visits.


Stay healthy by getting adequate rest. Encourage napping by throwing comfortable pillows and blankets on couches and beds. Set a daily naptime when everyone can snooze if they want or just be quiet.


Visit a Christmas Bazaar or holiday gift shop and give each family member five dollars to spend any way they wish. The only caveat is that it must be a present for them.

Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz treasures inexpensive holiday rituals and is always on the lookout for more ways to save.


Fun Exercise Chinese Language Make new friends!

Swim Lessons SONOMA COUNTY FAMILY YMCA Rain or Shine the Y swim lessons will be taught in our indoor heated pool by caring, skilled instructors. 707-545-9622 x 3138 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.

Authentic Kung Fu Training • Chinese Painting Acrobatics • Games & Fun Activities

Week long session January 2nd–6th 707-338-2233 • 1880 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa December 2016

SonomaFamilyLife 27

Cooking with Kids

C Is for Cookie Celebrate the Season with Healthy Treats

Apple Spice Cookies

By Don Orwell


f there is one thing we all look forward to during the holidays, it’s indulging in sweet goodies. Parents, though, may not be so thrilled with how much sugar their children are consuming. These easy-to-make, nutritious cookies will please kids’ taste buds without the sugar rush.

Apple Spice Cookies • 1 cup unsweetened almond butter • 1/2 cup raw honey

Superfoods No-Bake Cookies

• 1 egg & 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1 apple, diced • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated Instructions Heat oven to 350°F. Combine almond butter, raw honey, egg, and salt in a bowl. Add apple, spices, and ginger and stir. Spoon batter onto a baking sheet 1 inch apart. Bake until set. Remove cookies and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

28 SonomaFamilyLife

Superfoods No-Bake Cookies • 1/2 cup coconut milk • 1/2 cup coconut oil • 1/2 cup cocoa powder • 2 cups finely shredded coconut • 1 cup large flake coconut • 1/2 cup raw honey • 2 teaspoons of ground vanilla bean • 1/2 cup chopped almonds or chia seeds (optional) • 1/2 cup almond butter (optional)

Instructions Combine the coconut milk, coconut oil, and cocoa powder in a saucepan. Cook the coconut mixture over medium heat, stirring until it comes to a boil and then boil for one minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the shredded coconut, large flake coconut, raw honey, and the vanilla. Add additional ingredients if you want. Spoon the mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. ¶ Excerpted from the Healthy Kids Cookbook by Don Orwell (Superfoods Today, 2015),

December 2016

Crafting with Kids

Easy-Peasy Decorations Fun Projects to Do with Kids

Straw Christmas Tree & Wire Wreath

By Meagan Ruffing


he holidays are so much brighter and livelier when we see them through a child’s eyes. I know my three kids’ innocence and wonder keep me amazed. I do decorate differently now that I have kids, though. Breakable ornaments are up a little bit higher and, after seeing what tinsel looks like strewn about my house, it’s become a thing of the past. I’ve replaced these things with kid-friendly decorations and crafts like these:


If you have young children, invest in projects that are easy to put together like the pictured straw Christmas trees. This takes the stress off you and instead puts the energy into where it needs to be—having fun with your kids.


I used to stress a little bit (okay, kind of more than a little bit) about my kids asking me if they could wrap someone’s gift. I adored the thought, but I always ended up rewrapping a few things. I have chilled out quite a bit in this department and have decided that beautiful wrapping paper can make anything look better. Who cares if it is a little messy with extra tape? My kids love being able to pick out which wrapping paper they want each person to have.


All of our holiday decorations are stored in tote bins. One of my most favorite holiday traditions is watching my kids’ eyes light up as they go through the bins and remember something special about each item.


There is something so inviting and cozy about a homemade wreath decorating a front door; it subtly says “Warmth and friendship inside.” Don’t let do-it-yourself wreath-making intimidate you. Follow these simple tips and

you will have yourself an expensive-looking decoration for not a lot of money. • Pick up a grapevine or wire wreath from your local craft store. • Decide which type of ribbon you want (solid color vs. floral pattern). • For the grapevine wreath, just wrap the fabric tightly around it, super-gluing the end piece of fabric on the back of the wreath. For the wire wreath, use a basket weave with the ribbon, and then tie a simple knot on the backside. • Hot glue pretty bulbs, silk flowers, or decorative items wherever you would like on the front of the wreath. If you are feeling really creative, pick up a cardboard letter for your last name and paint it; then hot-glue the letter to the front of the wreath to make a monogrammed decoration.


Stockings are always a favorite in my house. I usually hang the traditional monogrammed ones outside my kids’ doors, but this year I opted to go with those featuring images of their animated characters: Tinkerbell, Elsa, and Dory. Yes, it’s different decorating when you have children, but let that be more inspiration than limitation. Think outside the box and let your kids get their hands messy with chocolate, tape, glitter, and glue. You’ll be making memories and creating connection for the best year yet. ¶

December 2016

Meagan Ruffing had the best time making crafts for this article and looks forward to finding more ways to decorate her home with her children.

SonomaFamilyLife 29

December Calendar of Events

Scrooge’s Redemption


he story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from bitter miser to compassionate giver is a season staple. See the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future work their magic on the iconic villain’s hard heart at the 6th Street Playhouse production of A Christmas Carol, starring Charles Siebert. Performances will be held in the G. K. Hardt Theatre in Santa Rosa Thursdays through Sundays until December 23. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on December 10 and 17 and Sundays. Tickets are $15–$33 and may be purchased at ¶

Thursday 1 Festival of Lights. The gardens are

decorated with colorful holiday lights. $10. Ages 16 & under free. Fridays– Sundays. Thru Dec. 18. 5–7:30 p.m. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. 18220 N. Hwy. 1, Fort Bragg. 964-4352, ext. 10. 8th Annual Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove. More

than 200 decorated trees. Thru Jan. 1. Nightly “snowfall” at 5:30 &

7:30 p.m. Old downtown Windsor. The Bluebird. Theatrical performance. Dec. 4: 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. $5–$17. Free K–12 matinees Dec. 1 & 7 at 10 a.m. Sonoma State University. Evert B. Person Theatre. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Guerneville Holiday Open House & Tree Lighting. Food, drinks,

shopping, caroling, Santa Claus & more. 4–8 p.m. Tree lighting: 7 p.m. Main St., Downtown Guerneville.

FREE Windsor Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting Ceremony. 5–8 p.m. Windsor Town Green. 701 McClelland Dr., Windsor. A Christmas Carol. Play based on

the classic Dickens’ tale. Thru Dec. 23. Thursdays: 7:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday: 8 p.m. Saturday & Sunday (except Dec. 3): 2 p.m. $15–$33. G. K. Hardt Theatre. 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa. City of Lights Driving Tour. A

self-guided tour of beautifully

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 7-12) Winter Gymnastics Camp (Ages 5-12) Winter Day Camp (Ages 6-12) (707) 543-3737

30 SonomaFamilyLife

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



redwood empire gymnastics

December 2016

decorated homes & businesses. Maps available online & at the Petaluma Visitors Center. 210 Lakeville St., Petaluma. FREE Guerneville Holiday Open

FREE Light Up a Life. Heartland

House. Merchant open house:

5–9 p.m. Tree lighting: 6 p.m.

FREE Festival of Trees. Bid on one-of-a-kind trees. Benefits victims of Lake County fires. Raffle items, strolling carolers, hot cocoa. 6–9 p.m. Thru Dec. 3. Petaluma Woman’s Club. 518 B St., Petaluma.

Hospice Tree Lighting Ceremony. 5–6:30 p.m. Montgomery Village Terrace. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa.

Friday 2

Joy to the World. From

Crazy, Awesome Science! Fridays.

Sebastopol Holiday Tree Lighting.

5–8 p.m. Sebastopol Town Plaza. Sebastopol Town Plaza. Hope. The musical play explores

the immigrant experience. Thru Dec. 18. Thursdays–Saturdays: 8 p.m. Sundays: 5 p.m. $15–$25. Main Stage West. 104 N. Main St., Sebastopol.

Transcendence Theater Company’s Broadway Under the Stars. Broadway showstoppers, holiday favorites & modern twists on the world’s most uplifting songs. Thru Dec. 4. Dec. 2: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3: 2 p.m. Dec. 3: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4: 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. $35–$65. Luther Burbank Center. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. joy-to-the-world.

2 p.m. $10 (admission to museum). Children’s Museum of Sonoma County. 1835 W. Steele Ln., Santa Rosa. FREE Hands-On Shabbat. For the whole family. Bake your own challah. Pre-Shabbat musical singalong. Make your own Kiddush. Matzah ball soup. Shabbat stories & games. 3:30–5 p.m. Free with RSVP: jewishpetaluma. com/handsonshabbat.


2016-17 SEASON

Saturday, December 10 • 10 am- 4 pm Come celebrate community!

The Peking Acrobats®

Celebrate the season with old-fashioned fun… and lots of hand-made arts & crafts by over 60 local artisans…Great gift items!

Tue, January 17

Free Admission Live Entertainment

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters Wed, February 8

Silent Auction Raffle Santa & Mrs. Claus Kidz Creativity Corner Food

A Year with Frog and Toad April 9 Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School May 4 ADDITIONAL GENEROUS SUPPORT PROVIDED BY:



Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa 2075 Occidental Rd • 707 546-4543

December 2016

SonomaFamilyLife 31

Peter & the Starcatcher. Imaginative

FREE 34th Annual Holiday Lights

musical fantasy that serves as the prequel to Peter Pan. Dec. 2–4, 9–11, 15–18. Thursday: 7:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays: 8 p.m. Sundays: 2 p.m. $16–$26. Spreckels Performing Arts Center. 5409 Synder Ln., Rohnert Park.

Celebration. Kids’ activities, holiday

Carlos Varela Concert.

World-renowned Cuban singer-song writer. 7–10 p.m. Cornerstone Sonoma. 23667 Hwy. 121, Sonoma. FREE Holly Days & Nutcracker Sweets Family Storytime. Stories

& sweet treats to make or take: gingerbread, sugar cookies & pretzels. Holiday crafts: paper chains, snowflakes & Ojos de Diós. 10:30–11 a.m. on Dec. 2, 9 & 16. Northwest Santa Rosa Library. 150 Coddingtown Center, Santa Rosa. Santaland Diaries. David Yen

performs David Sedaris’s one-man tale of an out-of-work, anti-hero who decides to become a Macy’s elf during the holidays in order to make ends meet. Thru Dec. 18. Thursdays: 7:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays: 8 p.m. Sunday: 7 p.m. $10–$26. 6th Street Playhouse. Studio Theatre. 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa. 523-4185.

Saturday 3 Magical Christmas Train. Featuring

Santa, elves & storytellers. Music, hot chocolate & cookies. 90-minute round trip. Depart from Willits & Fort Bragg daily. $34–$44. Thru Dec. 23. Call or visit website for schedule. Fort Bragg Depot. 100 W. Laurel St., Fort Bragg. Willits Depot. 299 E. Commercial St., Willits. 964-6371.

music, Rancho Cotate Band & Choir. Tree lighting: 6 p.m. City Center Plaza. 475 City Center Dr., Rohnert Park. Elves’ Workshop. Kids can create crafts for gift-giving. $1 per craft. 9 a.m.–noon. San Miguel Elementary. 5350 Faught Rd., Santa Rosa. Nutcracker. Performed by the

Stapleton Ballet. Thru Dec. 4. Dec. 3: 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Dec. 4: 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. $24–$36. Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. productions.php. FREE Hora de Cuentos para Niños/ Bilingual Storytime. ¡Bienvenidos

a la Hora de Cuentos para Niños en español e inglés! Vamos a leer cuentos en español e inglés. Para niños de 0–5 años ¡Gratis! 10:15 a.m. Roseland Community Library. 779 Sebastopol Rd., Santa Rosa.



Petaluma Merchants’ Holiday Open House. Shopping deals, festive


holiday treats, horse & carriage rides from Putnam Plaza, balloon art & face painting. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (Rides, balloon art & face painting: noon–4 p.m.) Downtown Petaluma.

Two great offer expires 1/31/17ways

validsave with any offers. Limit during one coupon to time TwoNot great ways per customer. Good only at listedways locations. Two great back-to-school. to save time during to save time during back-to-school.

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Wine Country Winter Festival. Arts

& crafts, live entertainment & wine, beer & spirits. Gingerbread house competition. Music by: Jason Beard & Samantha Vigil, Gator Nation, Lost Dog Found, David Luning Band & others. Dec. 3: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Dec. 4: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. $8–$15. Under 12: Free. Santa Rosa Fairgrounds. 1350 $ Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa.

Rohnert Park: 360 Rohnert Park Expressway Santa Rosa: Coddingtown Mall 750 Farmers Ln. (by Ross) 2240 Mendocino Ave. (by Safeway) 750 Stony Pt. Rd. (by Starbucks) 1425 Fulton Rd. (by Raley’s) 2700 Yulupa Ave. (by CVS) ANY HAIRCUT ANY HAIRCUT Windsor: 9018 Brooks Rd. (by Mary’s Pizza) $ 99 $ 99 Healdsburg: 1017 Vineyard Plaza Sonoma: ANY HAIRCUT ANY HAIRCUT 19217 Sonoma Hwy. (Maxwell Village Center) 99 ANY $ 99 Terra Linda: HAIRCUT ANY HAIRCUT Northgate One Shopping Center 701 Sonoma $Mountain Parkway. $ Petaluma: 99 99




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32 SonomaFamilyLife

Not valid with any other offers. Limit one coupon per customer. At participating salons.

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December 2016

*No purchase or payment necessary to enter to win. Contest starts 7/15/2014 and ends 9/5/2014. Open to US/Canadian residents 18 and over. Other restrictions apply. For prize details, odds of winning, complete Official Rules and to enter go to Void where prohibited.


gen era

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Give a Parks Membership

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Annual Parks Membership includes:

Free parking at 50+ regional parks

Holiday Gift Guide

Free night of camping Festival admission

Gift Memberships available at

Regional Parks’ Office, REI, Oliver’s Markets, Whole Foods Markets, Sebastopol Hardware, Sonoma Outfitters, Garrett Ace Hardwares, Guerneville True Value, Trek Bicycles and Fleet Feet Sports

Winter Workshops & Kid’s Night At the Charles M. Schulz Museum

December 10, 2016-January 6, 2017

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




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

Gear up for the holidays

1111 College Avenue SR, CA • 545-9622 •

Sporting Goods • Camping • Fishing Hunting • Clothing • Accessories Footwear • Toys & Hobby Everything you need to get out & play!

Hair & Skin Care for the Entire Family!

(707)585-1500 5195 Redwood Dr. • Rohnert Park

Champagne Hair Lounge

7981 Old Redwood Hwy. • Cotati

December 2016

Happy Holidays!

Gift Certificates available Call for an appointment 707 665-5826 7 days a week SonomaFamilyLife 33

Le Cirque de Boheme. Somewhere. A winter circus for the holidays. Dec. 3–4, 10–11, 17–18. Shows at 3 & 5 p.m. (except Dec. 3 shows at 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.). $22–$30. Cornerstone. 23570 Arnold Dr., Sonoma.

6 p.m. Parade: 7 p.m. Downtown Guerneville. Main St., Guerneville. index.php. FREE Lighting of the Snowmen. 4

p.m. Cornerstone Sonoma. 23667 Hwy. 121, Sonoma.

Terrace. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa.

Sunday 4 Ukiah on Ice. First ever skating rink to

Guerneville Holiday Parade of

Sonoma State University chorus is accompanied by the symphony on works by Rachmaninoff. Dec. 3: 8 p.m. Dec. 4: 3 p.m. Dec. 5: 8 p.m. $20–$80. Sonoma State University. Green Music Center. Weill Hall. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park.

Lights. Annual

Santa & Mrs. Claus. Visits at the

be held in downtown historic Ukiah. $10/day of unlimited skating (includes skates). Opening Day Dec. 4, noon–4 p.m., hosted by Ukiah Valley Medical Center includes free skating, live music, food & children’s activities. Thru Jan. 8. Mondays–Fridays: 3–8 p.m. Saturdays: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Sundays: Noon–5 p.m. See website for special hours during Dec. 23–Jan. 8. Next to Alex R. Thomas Plaza on School St., Ukiah. 463-6231.

Christmas couple’s photo studio. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Montgomery Village

Astronaut Lullabies. Local “thought-rockers” Jim & Kathy

42nd Annual Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair. 70 local artists sell

handcrafted holiday décor, home goods, jewelry, bath & body products & edibles. Dec. 3: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Dec. 4: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. $2. Ages 12 & under: Free. Finley Community Complex. 2060 West College Ave., Santa Rosa. holiday parade full of bright lights, colorful floats & live music. 5:30–8:30 p.m. Tree lighting:

Santa Rosa Symphony: Poetic Bells.


34 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2016


Ocean orchestrate a planetarium show with original live music. $10–$15. 3 p.m. Santa Rosa Junior College Planetarium. Lark Hall. 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa.

Monday 5 Star Dust. Cardinal Newman High

School fall dance show. A tribute to iconic heroes & idols. Thru Dec. 6. 7 p.m. $10–$15. Sonoma Country Day School. 4400 Day School Pl., Santa Rosa. cfm?p=577

Wednesday 7 FREE Cuentos y Cantos—Bilingual Story & Play Time. Exploraremos

cuentos, cantos y rimas en ingles y español. Explore books, songs & rhymes in both English & Spanish. Ages 1–5. 5:30 p.m. Rohnert Park– Cotati Regional Library. 6250 Lynne Condé Way, Rohnert Park.

Thursday 8 FREE Tween Anime Club. Crafts,

mini manga club, anime. Ages 9–14. 4 p.m. Second & fourth Thursdays. Central Santa Rosa Library. 211 E St., Santa Rosa.

Friday 9 FREE Mindful Minis. Kids yoga & meditation workshop. Playful yoga practice & exploration of mindfulness through fun activities. Children will learn tools for home & school to increase awareness, self-esteem, balance & how to calm those busy

minds. Ages 6–12. 4 p.m. Healdsburg Regional Library. 139 Piper St., Healdsburg. Sebastopol Holiday Home Tour.

Spend day touring decorated homes & historic Pleasant Hill Christian School. Proceeds benefit the school. $10–$120. Pleasant Hill Christian School. 1782 Pleasant Hill Rd., Sebastopol. sebastopolholidayhometour.weebly. com/2016-homes.html.


Artisan Boutique. Dec. 9: 5–9 p.m.

Dec. 10: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Dec. 11: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Pleasant Hill Christian School. 1782 Pleasant Hill Rd., Sebastopol. 829-1729. sebastopol

Saturday 10


FREE Artisan Craft Faire & Holiday Festival. Handmade arts & crafts by

60 local artisans. Live entertainment, Santa & Mrs. Claus, Kidz Creativity Corner, silent auction, raffle & food. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Center for Spiritual Living. 2075 Occidental Rd., Santa Rosa. 546-4543.


FREE Holiday Crafts Faire. Local

arts & gifts, raffles. Delicious lunch & baked goods. Dec. 10: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Dec. 11: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Occidental Community Center. 3920 Bohemian Hwy., Occidental. craft_faire_info.html. The Goddess Crafts Faire.

Community celebration of the coming of winter with women’s art, music & dance. Thru Dec. 11. 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Suggested donation: $5–$13. Kids: Free. Sebastopol Community Center. 390 Morris St., Sebastopol.

December 2016


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

sebastopolschools.ORG (707)829-4570 SonomaFamilyLife 35

A Charlie Brown Christmas.

FREE Once Upon a Gingerbread

FREE Winter Magic with Magician

Presented by the 6th Street Playhouse School of Drama. Dec. 10: 2 & 5 p.m. Dec. 11: 2 p.m. Dec. 17: 2 & 5 p.m. Dec. 18: 2 p.m. $10–$15. G. K. Hardt Theatre. 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa. 523-4185.

House. Construct a gingerbread house with graham crackers, candies, cereal & more. Supplies will be provided. Ages 4 & up. Rohnert Park–Cotati Regional Library. 6250 Lynne Condé Way, Rohnert Park.

Mike Della Penna. 2 p.m. Sebastopol Regional Library. 7140 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol.

Family Portraits Individuals • Families • Events • (707)245-5321

Sunday 11 FREE Menorah Workshop. Build your own menorah. Snacks & music. 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Parental supervision & RVSP required. Orchard Supply Hardware. 1390 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. 559.8585.

Wednesday 14 FREE Tinker Thinkers: Electricity & Magnetism. Explore electricity using

magnets & circuits. Make your own batteries out of ice cube trays, nail & vinegar. Ages 5–12. 4 p.m. Sonoma

STS For Less Stress, Fly

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Portland (PDX) ©P N


Nonstop Service to & from Wine Country

HEY MOM, GIVE US A SHOUT! We want to know what you think. • What did you like in this issue? • What do you want to see more or less of? • Know a teacher, coach, or special person that makes local family life better? • Know of an upcoming event or fun family outing? • Want to write stories, recipes, or blog for Family Life?

e-mail 36 SonomaFamilyLife

Sonoma County Airport


Las Vegas (LAS)

Los Angeles (LAX) Orange County (SNA) San Diego (SAN)

Phoenix-Mesa (AZA)

December 2016

Valley Regional Library. 755 West Napa St., Sonoma.

Thursday 15

Book a local house cleaner online for $35 per hour in less than 5 minutes.

FREE Holiday Book Exchange Party! Bring a gift-wrapped book in good condition & participate in a white elephant exchange. Snack provided. Ages 12–18. 4 p.m. Rincon Valley Library. 6959 Montecito Blvd., Santa Rosa.

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Friday 16 25th Anniversary Nutcracker.

Performed by Sebastopol Ballet. Complimentary pre-matinee sugar plum parties. Thru Dec. 18. Dec. 16: 7 p.m. Dec. 17: 11 a.m. & 4 p.m. Dec. 18: 2 p.m. $12–$22. Analy High School. 6950 Analy Ave., Sebastopol. Magical Adventures Slumber Party at the Y. Dec. 16: 7 p.m.–Dec. 17: 9 a.m.

52 W. 6th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95401


Charles Siebert* as Ebenezer Scrooge

$20–$50. Sonoma County Family Y. 1111 College Ave., Santa Rosa. 544-1829.

Adapted from

Charles Dickens Adapted for the stage by

Michael Wilson Directed by

Craig A. Miller

Saturday 17 FREE Santa at Pacific Coast Air Museum. Santa flies into the air museum in a helicopter. Treats & jumpees for kids & a chance to sit on Santa’s lap. Hot food & drinks. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Pacific Coast Air Museum. 1 Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa. Valley of the Moon Chamber Ensemble Gala Holiday Concert.

Complimentary wine & hors d’oeuvres. 5 p.m. $125. Madrone Vineyard Estates. 777 Madrone Rd., Glen Ellen.

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Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.


Parade of decorated boats in the Petaluma Turning Basin. 6–8:30 p.m. The Petaluma River Turning Basin. 10 C St., Petaluma.

Reg. $10.00 • Expires 12/31/16

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House. Construct a gingerbread house with graham crackers, candies, cereal & more. Supplies will be provided. Ages 4 & up. 11 a.m. Windsor Regional Library. 9291 Old Redwood Hwy., Bldg. 100, Windsor.

Sunday 18 Valley of the Moon Chamber

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Ensemble. 10th Anniversary Holiday

Concert. 3 p.m. $30. St. Francis Solano Catholic Church. 469 Third St. W., Sonoma. Chanukah Storytime. Chanukah

stories, songs & crafts. 11 a.m. Toy B Ville. 136 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. RSVP:

Tuesday 20 Secret Santa Marathon. Fulfill wishes of neighbors in need. Montgomery Village Terrace. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa.

Friday 23 FREE How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Hear the story read aloud & then do Grinch-oriented crafts. Ages 5 & up. 11 a.m. Windsor Regional Library. 9291 Old Redwood Hwy., Bldg. 100, Windsor.

Monday 26 Chanukah Festival. Menorah lighting

ceremony, hot latkes, dreidels, gelt, live music, prizes & more. 4 p.m. Montgomery Village Terrace. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa.

Tuesday 27 FREE Chanukah on the River.

Grand Menorah Lighting. Greetings by Assemblymember Marc Levine. Light-up & fire juggling magic by Dan Chan. Mega 9-ft. menorah. Latkes, jelly donuts, chocolate coins, Chanukah crafts, music, grand raffle. 5–6:30 p.m. Water St. Promenade. 100 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma.

Saturday 31 FREE Happy New Year Charlie Brown! Hands-on crafts for kids.

Up-Down & Baby Balloon drops at noon. Root beer toasts at noon & 3 p.m. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. New Year’s Eve Party. Food, drink

& music. 8 p.m. $18–$25. Sebastopol Community Center. 390 Morris St., Sebastopol. Murder at Joe’s Speakeasy. Mystery

dinner theater. 7 p.m. $68. Charlie’s Restaurant. 1340 19th Hole Dr., Windsor.

Happy Holidays


Maria Grace Wilson, Attorney at Law 38 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2016

Your Ultimate Guide to Local

Christmas Lights


ome see these amazing displays put on by our neighbors. Go to for best viewing times and a driving tour map. Rohnert Park

Santa Rosa

1201 San Juan Way

1128 Emily Ave.

1632 Jenna Pl.

726 Eda Ct.

1622 Lancaster Dr.

1190 Cielo Cir.

1673 Hopper Ave.

18592 Melody Ln.

1907 Winchester Ln.

6026 Elsa Ave.

200 Arboleda Dr.

18847 Nikki Dr.

390 Albert Way.

954 Emma Ct.

2045 Filamina Pl.

601 8th St.

959 Emily Ave.

2235 Vallejo St.

1019 Ventana Dr.

91 Wilmington Dr.

7333 Circle Dr.

2440 Valley West Dr.

150 Melva Ct.

509 4th St.

957 Emma Ct.

252 Brittain Ln.

530 Quince St.

1724 Clairmont Ct.

4481 Montecito Ave.

363 Blazingstar Ct.

1725 Clairmont Ct.

5421 Evonne Ave.

509 Crinella Dr.

3254 Hartley Dr.

2029 Cross Creek St.

309 Michael Dr.


December 2016



SonomaFamilyLife 39

Classified Marketplace Lessons

These Trees Touch Lives


f you are looking for a way to simultaneously help others and lighten your Christmas to-do list, the Festival of Trees is at your service. The annual fundraiser of the grassroots local nonprofit the Fabulous Women of Sonoma County auctions off decorated trees and gives the money to local youth organizations and people in need. If you aren’t looking for a tree, you can choose to give by buying a $20 Christmas Passport, which gets you ten raffle tickets and 15% off purchases made at local participating stores and restaurants. Proceeds from the passport sales go to helping families who lost their homes in the recent Petaluma fires. The free event will feature entertainment by local high school groups, choruses, and dance companies as well as Santa visits, sweets, and even a succulent garden shop. It all happens December 2 and 3, 6–9 p.m., at the Petaluma Woman’s Club in Petaluma. See for more information. ¶

Le Cirque de Bohème


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etween juggling parties and school concerts, planning vacations, and worrying about how kids will behave in front of the in-laws, the holidays can feel like a three-ring circus. At Le Cirque de Bohème, you can relax and let professionals literally keep all the balls in the air. The theatrical performance, produced with 1920s Parisian bohemian flair, will feature unicyclists, trapeze artists, hooper aerialists, hand-to-hand acrobats, tightrope walkers, and clowns and mimes, among other performers. See it under the big top in the gardens of Cornerstone Sonoma in Sonoma on Saturdays and Sundays through December 18. Shows are at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. except for December 3, when there is only one 11 a.m. show. Tickets are $22–$55 and may be purchased via The show is not recommended for children under four years old. A portion of all ticket sales benefits the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance. ¶ 40 SonomaFamilyLife

Walking a Tightrope

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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 41

Humor Break

Reluctant Reveler A Dad Is Nudged Toward Joy

By Patrick Hempfing

“I love the holidays!” my 11-year-old daughter, Jessie, exclaimed 12 days before Christmas last year. If we were playing a game that asked for a word to complete the sentence “I _____ the holidays,” love wouldn’t be my verb. Let’s face it—life gets busy. Demands fill our days with stress and anxiety. Who has extra time to shop, decorate, and navigate across airport terminals or interstates? On a Sunday afternoon, Jessie suggested that we decorate before her mom, Mattie, returned from a nine-day business trip. After eight and a half days of holding down the fort, the last thing I wanted to do was to pull out boxes of lights, ribbons, and bows. “Jessie, it’s not worth decorating since we’re leaving in a few days and Christmas will be over by the time we get home.” Actions speak louder than words and my daughter is good at using both to accomplish her goals. Before I knew it, the decoration process had begun. I carried the heavy box containing the nativity set into the living room. Mattie took ten years to find the perfect one, so Jessie always hears the “be careful with each piece” speech. Instead of stressing as she handled each fragile item, I opted to take a nap and let Jessie run with it. She, like her mother, prefers to be in charge. I awoke to a scene with the camel 42 SonomaFamilyLife

figurine next to Baby Jesus, and Mary off to the side petting the sheep. As Jessie showed off her handiwork, she pulled Baby Jesus from the manger and said, “Look, Baby Jesus fits in the camel seat!” Concerned that it might fall out of the chair and break, I quickly responded, “No, it’s best to keep Jesus in the manger.” I had hoped to get away with the nativity set as our only decoration, but Jessie wanted to decorate the entire

After eight and a half days of holding down the fort, the last thing I wanted to do was to pull out boxes of lights, ribbons, and bows. house. As I headed to the garage and pulled items from boxes, my decorating supervisor followed close behind. I carried in the Christmas stockings, the wooden Nutcrackers, some holiday stuffed animals, red ribbons, and Christmas wreaths. Jessie played the radio as we decorated, but I didn’t enjoy her song selections and asked her to put on Christmas music. Was I getting into the Christmas spirit? Jessie made a video and posted it on Instagram. She played the role of Clara and danced across the room with the Nutcracker as she repeated,

“I love the holidays.” I smiled and noticed that my frustration and stress had turned to joy. After Jessie taped two candy canes together to form a heart, she strategically placed stuffed animals all over the house. Finally, I retrieved a string of lights for her headboard, nightstand, and cabinet. Jessie noted that if she had another string, she could go farther. She went to the garage and brought back two more sets of lights. “Hey, we might have enough to go around your entire room,” I said. It was only after we were done hanging them that I realized how intense they were. “Jessie, I think it’s going to be too bright for you to sleep.” She shook her head in disagreement. As I stacked the empty boxes against the wall in the garage, Jessie walked out and wrapped her arms around me. “Thank you for decorating for Christmas, Daddy.” I’ll never forget that hug. When Mattie returned home that evening, Jessie quickly showed her our afternoon’s work. Christmas came 12 days early…and I loved it. ¶ Patrick Hempfing is the author of MoMENts: A Dad Holds On (2016), available on Amazon. Follow him at

December 2016


Santa Rosa, CA



Minimum border thickness must be 1/4 (0.25”) thick plus the 1/8 (0.125”) bleed for correct print ready artwork. Total border size from the bleed line is 3/8 (0.375”). Border example on the left.


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SonomaFamilyLife 43

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Sonoma Family Life December 2016  
Sonoma Family Life December 2016