Sonoma Family Life December 2022

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Family Dinners Build connection FREE! Public TK 4Cs weighs in December 2022 Happy Holidays 59 local events sonoma Holiday pet care Ho-Ho Fido!
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16 14 Features December 2022 Every Issue 6 Dear Reader 8 Cooking with Kids Bite into a Bimuelo 10 Bits and Pieces Celebrate SOFA Hold a Peanuts Party It’s Raining Gelt! Get a Dose of Disney See Dancers’ Take on Classic Holiday Film Watch a Mexican Christmas Dance 28 Calendar of Events 36 Humor Break Tiny Teachers 8 12 The Rise of Public TK How will it impact local preschools? 14 The Gift of Teens Older kids make the holidays more fun. 16 Ho-Ho, Fido! How to help pets cope with visitors. 18 Family Game Night These apps make great conversation starters. 11 20 Break Bread Together Why eating with one another fosters connection. 22 Say, ‘Please’ Teach manners to every age. 24 Time Out for Mom Celebrate the ways you are good enough. 26 Banish the Blues Practical methods for uplifting your mood. 4 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022
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The holidays are here! If you are looking for Santa photo-ops, light parades, or other revelry, turn to our Calendar of Events (page 28) for a plethora of local fun.

If you are getting ready to host out-of-town visitors, we’re here to help. First, know that science says that dining together with loved ones is a great way to feed not just body, but also heart and mind. Read “Break Bread Together” (page 20) to find out why.

If you are like most parents, you want your children to behave in front of Grandma and Grandpa at the dinner table. While, of course, kids will be kids, you can model and teach manners at every age. “Say, ‘Please’” (page 22) shows you how.

Besides kids, pets need to be on their best behavior, too. But new visitors can freak out furry friends. So turn to “Ho-Ho, Fido!” (page 16) for smart tips on helping little critters adjust.

With all the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. “Time Out for Mom” (page 24) has plenty of ideas for slipping some self-love into your busy day. And if the holiday season is not a happy one for you, “Banish the Blues” (page 26) offers advice on how to elevate your mood.

For stress of all kinds, it is said that laughter is the best medicine. To get your dose, turn to humorist Jessica Guerrieri’s “Tiny Teachers” (page 36), a funny tale of Christmas plans gone awry.

Happy Holidays!

Marketing/ Sales/Events

Patricia Ramos 707-205-1539

Features Editor

Melissa Chianta

Production Manager

Donna Bogener

Contributing Writers

Katy M. Clark

Jessica Guerrieri Tanni Haas Christina Katz Jill Morgenstern Billing

Jan Wasson-Smith Publishing Office P.O. Box 351 Philo, CA 95466 (707) 205 1539

Dear Reader
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Cooking with Kids

Bite into a Bimuelo

A Traditional Hanukkah Treat

Hanukkah is a time for celebrating the triumph of light over darkness. The lighting of the menorah (candelabrum, also known in Hebrew as a hanukkiah) is the central mitzvah, or commandment, of the holiday.

Another Hanukkah tradition is to eat foods fried in oil, symbolic of the oil in the ancient Temple menorah that lasted for eight days. You may already be a pro at making latkes (potato pancakes), but have you tackled bimuelos, a special Sephardic fried dough treat, yet?

Learn how to make these easy and delicious treats to share with your family. ❖

Find a how-to video and printable version of this recipe at Discover more Hanukkah recipes, crafts, and activities at

PJ Library is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which delivers more than 680,000 free Jewish storybooks to kids around the world each month. Now in its 17th year, the program shipped its 50 millionth book in 2022. Jewish families of all backgrounds and levels of Jewish knowledge and observance, including interfaith households, may subscribe. Every child in the home will receive a new, age-appropriate book each month. Find out more at



• 1 ½ cups flour

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• Pinch of salt • 1 egg • 1 cup milk • Vegetable oil for frying

• Optional: honey, maple syrup, or powdered sugar for dipping or topping


Kids can help with making dough, rolling batter, and choosing toppings. Grown-ups should handle all of the frying.

1. Mix the dry ingredients together.

2. Add the egg and milk, and then stir until batter forms.

3. In a frying pan, pour oil (about two inches high) and warm to about 365ºF.

4. Drop the batter by tablespoons into the oil.

5. Fry bimuelos until they are golden on each side, about 2–3 minutes.

6. Use a slotted spoon to transfer finished bimuelo to paper-towel lined plate. Cool and allow oil to drain.

7. Enjoy!


Egg-free version: Substitute 4 tablespoons of whipped aquafaba (the liquid that canned chickpeas are packed in).

Dairy-free version: Use soy or rice milk and whisk in a tablespoon of apple-cider vinegar before adding the milk to the recipe.

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Play real life candy land, learn a candy dance & play fun dance games!

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Learn how to make ice cream & then bust a move on the dance floor!

Flower Power Camp December 29, 9am-3pm (ages 7-12 yrs)

Plant your own fairy garden & learn fun dance moves!

New Year’s Eve Party Camp December 30, 9am-3pm (ages 7-12 yrs)

Count down to 2023 with a balloon-drop, noisemakers & a dance party!

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4 FUN-FILLED DANCE CAMPS! December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 9

Celebrate SOFA

Asofa is an article of furniture, but, in all caps (SOFA), it’s also the name of the arts district near South A Street in Santa Rosa. The little band of blocks is hosting its annual Winterblast, which includes a parade of—you guessed it—sofas, creatively decorated and illuminated for the evening. In addition to the parade, there will also be live music in four locations, open art studios, food vendors, and crafts for kids. The soiree will be held at the corners of South A Street and Sebastopol Avenue on December 10, 4–8:30 p.m. (parades at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.). For more information, see

Hold a Peanuts Party

Want to throw a Peanuts -themed holiday bash? Norene Cox has some ideas to share. The creator of and author of Sweet Treats for the Holidays (Cedar Fort, 2014) is slated to host the Peanuts Party family workshop at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. Participants will make Snoopy’s movie munch, decorate cupcakes with Peanuts ice skaters, and create Charlie Brown Christmas tree treats. The class will be held on December 10, 10 a.m.–noon, and costs $35 per youth. Each youth registration includes one set of supplies and materials. Register at family-peanuts-party

It’s Raining Gelt!

Gelt, gelt, everywhere! The holiday treat will literally fall from the sky at the Chabad Jewish Center of Petaluma’s Chanukah Celebration. How? A drone will drop the little gold-foiled chocolate coins through the air and into the hands of eager children below. The celebration will also feature a mega nine-foot menorah, the world’s largest dreidel, a live DJ spinning Chanukah music, fire juggling, and latkes and jelly donuts. It all happens on December 18, 4:30–6 p.m., at the SonomaMarin Fairgrounds in Petaluma. The event is free, but tickets are required; RSVP at

Bits & Pieces
BOB STENDER, TIBIDABO Winterblast Drone Gelt Drop
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Peanuts Party workshop

Get a Dose of Disney

Mickey, Minnie, and Spidey are classic Disney characters that still have an audience today. The trio, along with other stars from Disney Junior television shows, will share the stage at Pollstar-nominated Disney Junior Live on Tour: Costume Palooza. The concert-style performance, which will feature singing, dancing, and acrobatics, will be held on December 12 at 6 p.m. at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. Tickets are $45–$169 and may be purchased at

See Dancers’ Take on Classic Holiday Film

What happens when the king of Halloween Town stumbles on Christmas Town? The Nightmare Before Christmas. When Tim Burton’s iconic holiday stop-motion film first made millions in 1993, who knew it would become the inspiration for a ballet? The Classical & Contemporary Dance company will bring the production, which bears the same name as the film, to the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park on December 3 at 7 p.m. and December 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for children 11 and younger or $32 for adults, and may be purchased at php?ticketing=spac

Watch a Mexican Christmas Dance

I n Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, La Posada Navideña is a Christian ritual that honors the nine nights that Mary and Joseph trekked from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of lodging. In honor of this tradition, members of the Calidanza Dance Company will don brightly colored costumes, called Jalisco ribbon dresses, and perform folk dances. This 16th Annual Posada Navideña will be held on December 9 at 7 p.m. at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. Tickets are $5–$10 and are available at posada-navidena-2022

The Nightmare Before Christmas December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 11
Calidanza Dance Company

The Rise of Public TK

What’s the Impact on Preschools?

This conversation with Lara Magnusdottir, director of public policy at the Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs), is part one of a two-part series about the newly implemented California public school Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program.

Family Life: What does 4Cs do?

Lara Magnusdottir: We provide subsidized preschools, but we also offer a lot of other services. One of them is that we are a childcare resource and referral agency in Sonoma County. That means that we have a contract with the Department of Social Services to provide public

education, and to monitor and create awareness of the supply and demand of childcare. We have a database of all the licensed providers in our area, and we provide referrals to families.

FL: How is the new public TK program affecting the work of 4Cs?

LM: We speak from the point of view of a resource and referral agency, so

we are thinking about all providers, all of childcare in the community. So thinking from that perspective, public TK is having a huge impact on the field. It is a real structural change to the system. The schools are taking on younger children [four-year-olds] who, at this point, they really don’t have the staff with the training and experience to serve. The field that has been traditionally serving these

children has to be prepared to pivot and figure out how to work in this new environment. We also feel that public TK has been implemented a little too quickly, especially in the wake of COVID. To get the workforce ready, to get the facilities ready, to really do this well, has been a challenge for schools.

FL: Who is the public school system hiring to take care of this particular age group? How does public TK affect the teaching community?

LM: There is a Pre-K through third-grade teaching credential that is in the works, which is great. But private providers and preschools are very concerned that they are going to lose their best teachers. I believe that, at this point, if a teacher has a bachelor’s degree they can have a temporary credential to teach TK. There are a lot of preschool teachers with BAs. And if they have the choice to go teach TK for sometimes twice the salary and much better benefits and time off, of course a lot of them are going to choose that. It is the same

Preschools are very concerned that they are going to lose their best teachers.
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Lara Magnusdottir

with parents. Even if they think public TK is not the best environment for their child, it’s free. So, of course, they are going to choose that. Another way this impacts preschools and childcare providers outside the public TK program is that four-year-olds subsidize providers’ care for younger kids. This is because preschools are allowed to have bigger groups of them [a larger-student-toteacher ratio]. Preschool licensure requires a smaller student-to-teacher ratio for infants and toddlers, so this age group requires more staff. There is no way we can expect families to pay the true cost of infant and toddler care. So if you lose all of your four-year-olds and you pivot to serving infants, toddlers, and some three-year-olds, your cost is going to go up. Either

way, what’s going to happen is that it’s going to be more expensive for families to send kids to preschool or the quality is going to go way down. They are not going to hire people who have the most experience and provide the best care, which hopefully is not going to happen, or they are just going to close.

FL: Can children who have state vouchers attend your programs or any preschool of their choice for free?

LM: The vouchers have a maximum, so there are times when the family has to pay the difference between the voucher and the tuition the provider charges.

FL: The California State Preschool Programs that 4Cs run otherwise cost money, correct?

LM: There are fees that families, depending on their income, have to pay for full-time programs. These fees have been waived during the pandemic. We are advocating that these family fees be permanently waived. Currently, the waiver expires June 30, 2023.

FL: Any parting thoughts?

LM: Public TK is here to stay. There are wonderful things that can be done with it. But we really believe that, when it comes to finding the best education fit for very young children, families need to be able to have access to, and choose from, different options. They need to have a true choice. ❖

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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The Gift of Teens 15 Ways Older Kids Rock the Holidays

Sigh. I’d already made enough runs to the store that I was on a first-name basis with Sue, the cashier from checkout lane 6.

That’s when I turned to my 17-year-old son, who was sitting on the couch looking at his phone.

“Heeey,” I said. “Could you go get me some food coloring?”

“Sure,” he replied. Then he sprang up, grabbed the car keys, and took off.

It was like I had my own Christmas elf! It’s just one of the reasons why celebrating Christmas with teens rocks. Here are 15 more.

1. A bit of financial independence. You know what my son said when I offered him $5 to pay for the food coloring? “That’s okay, Mom. I have money.” Now that’s a Christmas miracle!

2. Hand-eye coordination. I no longer fear that my kids will break the heirloom ornaments, topple over while helping with the outdoor lights, or drop the china when setting the table for Christmas dinner.

3. Mature palates. Gone are the days of picky eating, like the Christmas dinner when my preschooler ate nothing but rolls and the brown sugar meant for the sweet

potatoes. As a teen he’ll eat almost anything. (Okay, he still loathes onions!)

4. Helpful cooks. They can chop the veggies and make the gravy. They can whip up extravagant dishes and desserts, whether because they are taking culinary classes or just want to emulate something they saw on TikTok.

5. Kitchen cleaners. After they’re done cooking, teens don’t need supervision or nagging to clean up after themselves. Well, maybe a little bit of nagging.

I no longer

6. Cold-weather dressers. I no longer have to wrangle them into winter gear à la Randy’s mom in A Christmas Story. Of course, I hope my teenage son wears a coat, but if he doesn’t, that’s on him, not me.

7. Keepers of tradition. Whether it’s putting out the sock snowman they made in first grade or using Grandma’s recipe to make molasses cookies, teens genuinely appreciate tradition and connection with loved ones.

8. (Big) kids at heart. They want to leave a plate of cookies out for Santa. They pile in the car when it’s time to drive around and admire holiday lights. Their faces still light up with joy when opening gifts.

9. Good company. I love being together with them. This is in stark contrast to the days when they were

fear that my kids will break the heirloom ornaments.
Ugh, I’m out of food coloring!” I cried, peering into the cupboard. It was the last thing I needed to finish the Christmas cookies. 14 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022

younger and we’d all be stir-crazy by New Year’s.

10. Easy to gift. I don’t stress about hiding presents or scramble to obtain that deeply desired yet widely unavailable toy. (Do not ask me about the lengths to which I went to get my kids Zhu Zhu pets one year!) And if by chance they are disappointed by a gift, they are mature enough to handle it.

#1 resource for local families YEARS Celebrating


11. Better gift-givers. While I treasure the drawings and painted rocks from yesteryear, it touches my heart when my teens give me a book they knew I wanted to read or a scarf they saw me admire.

12. Grown-up movie tastes. Sure, I enjoyed watching classics like Frosty the Snowman when they were little. But not 13 times in a row.

13. No bedtime. Whether it’s watching our favorite movies together or going to the midnight Christmas Eve service at church, gone are the years when I had to hustle them to bed by a certain hour.

14. Late risers. They no longer rouse the entire household at the crack of dawn to open gifts.

15. Meaning makers. I love that we have profound talks this time of year. I’m touched when I see them donate jackets to the homeless or put their own money in the red kettles. ❖

Katy M. Clark is a writer and mom of two who embraces her imperfections on her blog

Gone are the days of picky eating. December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 15

Ho-Ho, Fido!

5 Ways to

Care for Pets During

the Holidays

The holidays often bring both human and animal visitors into our homes. If you recently adopted a pet, here are tips from the Human Society of Silicon Valley (HSSV) for keeping your new furry friends happy throughout this festive (and sometimes hectic) time.

1. Watch what your pets eat. Dogs may beg at the dinner table, but don’t give in and let them have unhealthy food that’s meant for humans. Instead, give them healthy treats that veterinarians deem safe, such as dog biscuits or cut-up carrots. Absolutely avoid giving them alcoholic drinks, onions, artificial sweeteners, and chocolate— they are poisonous to dogs.

2. Welcome furry visitors. Often a family member will bring their companion animal(s) with them for a holiday gathering. Whether they are staying for a few hours or a few days, it’s important

to make sure every animal has a sense of security and safety. If you have cats who are unaccustomed to the presence of dogs, keep them in a part of your home that’s inaccessible to visiting canines. If you’re introducing two dogs, introduce them outdoors, preferably in neutral territory, such as a parking lot. Keep both dogs on leashes when they meet. When it’s established that they get along, walk them back to the house together. When you are not able to monitor them, be sure to separate them.

and dogs. If you’re hosting a holiday meal or cocktail party, be sure your animals have a safe space where they can rest, away from the noise and activity. Fill the space with some of their favorite things: a blanket, a bowl of water, a fun toy, etc.

4. Tag and microchip. With lots of people coming in and out of your home during the holidays, it’s easy for someone to forget to shut the door, letting a stressed-out cat or dog slip out. Before the festive season arrives, be sure all of your

four-legged companions have pet tags and microchips, just in case they get out. If your pet is already microchipped, make sure your contact information is up-to-date.

5. Let guests know the house rules. If your cat sometimes scratches people or your dog can get nippy, let guests know before they find out for themselves. Setting rules may not seem festive, but visitors will likely appreciate being warned, lest they upset one of your furry family members. Ask guests not to give your pets table scraps or other foods that could make your animals sick (see tip one). ❖



overstimulation. Over stimulation can upset both cats

The Humane Society Silicon Valley needs foster families for dogs and puppies and also has many dogs available for adoption. Learn more about the nonprofit and its programs at

It’s important to make sure every animal has a sense of security and safety.
16 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022
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are a little rusty, play against the app until you feel ready to compete against others.

Spaceteam Apple App Store & Google Play. This game requires you to work together rather than to compete. Team members have to maneuver a spaceship. Each person has a control panel with buttons, dials, knobs, and switches, and receives commands

Family Game Night

Great Apps That Cultivate Connection

If you’re busy preparing for the holiday season, how about taking a break in the evening to get together with the kids for some relaxing fun? Here’s a list of some great family game apps that’ll keep you entertained for hours at a time. The best thing is that they’re all completely free, so download an app—or three!

Cramble Apple App Store & Google Play.

This quiz game uses wacky comparisons between different objects to create intriguing questions. For example, “to match the height of 1 Hubble telescope, how many coconuts would you need to stack up?” Or “how many chickens would you have to pile up to be as tall as 1 Great Pyramid?”

Glow Hockey Apple App Store & Google Play

This easy-to-use hockey

app has colorful glow graphics (hence the name) and great sound effects. You can customize the sticks and pucks, and the phone vibrates every time someone scores a goal. You can also play against the app to practice your skills.

Scrabble GO Apple App Store & Google Play

If you’re itching to play a game of Scrabble but don’t have the board game, no problem; download the app. Play with your family members or, if your spelling skills

that must be executed to save the spaceship from crashing. Some of the commands require instruments that are on the other players’ control panels, so you end up shouting commands at each other. No need to explain how much fun that can be!

Truth Or Dare Kids

Apple App Store & Google Play. The kids’ version of the classic game has hundreds of fun questions that’ll make you look at each other in a completely new way: “What music are you embarrassed to admit you listen to when you’re alone?” or “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?”

Fun dares include “attempt to break dance for 30 seconds” and “wrap a player of your choice in toilet paper.”

What Am I? Riddles

and Answers Apple App Store & Google Play.

Who doesn’t like a good riddle?

This app has lots of them, such as “soft, hairy, from door to door. I’m the pet that always stays on the floor. What am I”?* You can ask for hints

18 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022
Who doesn’t like a good riddle?

if you get stuck and need a gentle push. (*Answer: carpet.)

What Would You

Rather? Apple App Store & Google Play. This game will inspire lots of interesting conversations. Players are introduced to thought-provoking scenarios like “would you rather 1) be able to fly anywhere you want, or 2) stop time whenever you want for 10 seconds?” You vote for your favorite option and get to see statistics on how most other people vote.

Yes Or No? Apple

App Store & Google Play.

Similar to What Would You Choose?, this game will inspire conversations and great stories. It has lots of questions, including “have you ever been lost in the woods?,” “have you ever tried to cut your own hair?,” and “have you ever eaten toothpaste?” This app also tells you how other people vote, so you can decide for yourself whether your family really is as crazy as you think.

4 Pics 1 Word Apple

App Store & Google Play

Millions of people are playing this addictive brainteaser game. Four pictures appear on the screen and you have to guess which word describes all four of them. Sound easy? Not so fast! The first levels are simple and straightforward, but the game gets increasingly harder and more fun as you progress. The letters that you need to form the correct answer are scrambled with other letters, so the game also has elements of Word Search. ❖

Tanni Haas is a college communications professor. December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 19

Researchers believe that’s because homemade meals are healthier than those in restaurants: We eat smaller portions, at a slower pace, and spend more time talking with one another.

Increased Vocabulary Dining

with the family impacts kids’ minds as well as their bodies. Researchers have discovered that dinner-time conversations increase young kids’ vocabulary much more than being

Break Bread Together

The Benefits of Family Dinners

Most families find it difficult to get everyone together at the dinner table on a regular basis. We’re all so busy with after-school activities, late work meetings, and long commutes. Decide to make a change this holiday season. Researchers have learned that eating dinner as a family is extremely important to kids’ physical, mental, and emotional health. As Anne Fishel, PhD, a psychologist and executive director of the Family Dinner Project, says: “Sitting down for a nightly meal is great for the brain, the body, and the spirit.”

Healthier Eating Kids whose families have regular dinners together are much healthier than those who don’t. They eat more fruits and vegetables, and

consume less fried foods and soft drinks. They eat a wider variety of foods, and they continue to do so once they become adults. They’re also less likely to become obese.

read to out loud. So, if you have a choice between coming home early for a family dinner or reading your kids a bedtime story, choose the dinner over the bedtime story. Kids who have a large vocabulary learn to read earlier and more easily than those with a more limited vocabulary. Researchers think that’s because kids constantly hear parents use new words during conversation.

Higher Grades These intellectual benefits carry over into academic achievement. Researchers have discovered that how well kids do in school is determined more by how often they participate in family dinners than by whether they consistently do their homework.

Kids who dine regularly with their families are twice as likely to get “A”s in school than those who only do so rarely.

Fewer Risky Behaviors

Having family dinners is also good

Having family dinners is also good for kids’ emotional health.
20 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022

for kids’ emotional health. When they dine with their families, they’re much less likely to suffer from eating disorders, abuse alcohol or drugs, or experience stress and depression. Researchers believe that’s because parents who spend

time with their kids at the dinner table are more in touch with their children’s emotional well-being and can offer advice and support when needed. As a result, these kids also have higher self-esteem and trust others more.

Stronger Family Bonds Finally, researchers have learned what we all probably know already: eating dinner together enhances family bonds. Kids whose families have regular dinners are much more likely to have good relationships with their parents and siblings. Kids say that talking, catching-up, and just spending quality family time are much more important to them than what’s on the menu. Simply put, eating dinner together creates a strong sense of togetherness and feeling of belonging to a family. Fishel says it well: “Dinner is a time to relax, recharge, laugh, tell stories, and catch up on the day’s ups and downs, while developing a sense of who we are as a family.” ❖

Tanni Haas, PhD, is a college communications professor.

Now Accepting New TK–6th Grade Students for the 2023–24 School Year. 707-542-7375 ext. 4118 • 1000 Yulupa Ave. • Santa Rosa • PREPARING CHILDREN TO BE LIFELONG LEARNERS ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE • CRITICAL THINKING • COMMUNICATION • COLLABORATION • CREATIVITY Sonoma County Family Y • 1111 College Avenue • 545 9622 • Full-day Care • Multiple Locations • Tons of Fun • Ages 6-12 Sonoma County Family Y • 1111 College Avenue • 545-9622 • Full day Care • Multiple Locations • Tons of Fun • Ages 6 12 Sonoma County Family Y • 1111 College Avenue • 545 9622 • Full day Care • Multiple Locations • Tons of Fun • Ages 6 12 December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 21
Kids who dine regularly with their families are twice as likely to get “A”s in school.

Say, ‘Please’

A Guide to


for Every Age

Most of us hope to raise children who are a pleasure to be around, people who take others into account and use common courtesy. How do we lay the foundations for respectful manners and etiquette? It begins earlier than one might imagine.

Ages 0–3 Infants may not have language abilities, but they are always learning, taking in what they hear and see. So model good manners. Let them hear you say “thank you” to the grocery store cashier or “please” when you speak to them. As they begin to learn words, ask them to say “please” or “thank you” when they interact with you.

Family dinners are perfect places for little ones to watch and mimic your behavior. Infants may be too young to pass the peas, but they’re not too young to notice how nicely you asked. As they get older and

their attention span increases, kids can begin to understand that others have the same feelings, wants, and needs that they do. Play dates are good times to introduce toddlers to the concepts of taking turns and being kind to others.

Ages 3–5 As toddlers grow into preschoolers, family meals continue to be an important time to teach manners. Your child can begin to learn to take turns during conversation, appropriate ways to behave when they don’t like what’s being served, and how to show appreciation for the food they do

enjoy. While children of this age range may begin to use manners, it is too early to expect consistency. For example, they may understand the concept of waiting their turn to speak way before they have the impulse control necessary not to interrupt.

Children learn better when they aren’t feeling the pressure to perform. And picture books (see box, “The Picture of Etiquette”) are great instruction tools. For example, if your children often interrupt conversations, pick a time when they are not bursting with information to share and then pull out David Ezra Stein’s book Interrupting Chicken. The humorous tale about a little chicken who ruins story time with his continuous interruptions will provide a good springboard for discussing conversational manners, at a time when your kids can be relaxed enough to absorb the information.

Ages 5–12 Elementary-aged children are capable of understanding what’s expected of them, and they are more able to control their impulses. You can reasonably expect kids of this age range to: say “please” and “thank you” without being prompted; say “excuse me” or “sorry”; greet people when they arrive and say “goodbye” when they leave; and share and take turns like a pro. If you’re really lucky, they’ll even keep their

If you’re really lucky, they’ll even keep their fingers out of their food!
22 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022

fingers out of their food! Of course, there is a big difference between a kindergartener and a fifth grader; you’ll see more consistent behaviors as kids get older.

Ages 13–19 Gigi Lewis, owner of the manners-education company Club Etiquette, says teenagers build on the manners they’ve already assimilated. New behaviors may include self-introduction, and formal and informal dining etiquette as well as interview skills, and relational skills such as self-respect and boundaries. ❖

Freelance writer Jill Morgenstern has 13 years of teaching experience as well as a master’s degree in teaching reading. She has four children.

The Picture of Etiquette

These picture books can be helpful manners-education tools—and they’re a lot of fun to read, too. Sesyle Joslin, What Do You Say, Dear? (HarperCollins, 1986)

Laurie Keller, Do Unto Otters (Square Fish, 2009)

Mercer Mayer, I Just Forgot (Random House, 1999)

Steve Metzger, My Bossy Dolly (Cartwheel, 2006)

David Shannon, No, David! (Blue Sky Press, 1998)

Judy Sierra, Mind Your Manners, B. B. Wolf (Knopf, 2007)

Rowboat Watkins, Rude Cakes (Chronicle, 2015)

Melanie Watt, You’re Finally Here! (Little, Brown & Co., 2023)

Suzanne Williams, My Dog Never Says Please (Puffin, 2000)

Basketball & Dodgeball Camps (Ages 4-13) Dec. 19 23 or Dec. 27 30 9am 12pm or 9am 3pm

Fencing Camp (Ages 7-12) Dec. 27 29: Tue Thu, 9am 12pm Sewing/Craft Camp (Ages 7-12) Dec. 27 30: Tue Fri, 9:30am 3:30pm | 707-543-3737 Keep the kids busy over winter break!
“Whoever teaches the truth enlightens the mind, for truth is the light of the mind.” —St. Thomas Aquinas VISIT STEUGENESCH.ORG 300 FARMERS LANE, SANTA ROSA | (707) 545-7252 Take the next step in your journey. Da el siguiente paso en tu viaje. December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 23

Time Out for Mom

New Year’s Self-Love Challenge

The New Year often ushers in a frenzy of moms who don’t feel like they’re good enough. Mom, are you sure you don’t need to lose weight? Don’t you have a bit too much debt? Shouldn’t you feed your family a homemade five-course sit-down dinner that accommodates everyone’s dietary needs? Are your children doing their best in every aspect of existence, or should we just go ahead and blame you now?

Seriously, the New Year is often not a whole lot of fun for moms. That’s why I’m turning the table on resolutions this year, ladies. I’d like you to celebrate all the ways you are already good enough, for a change. To that end, I’ve gathered up ten ways you can treat your imperfect self to a daily toast in your own honor.

Put the freeze on criticism. Paint a dusting of snow or ice color on your nails. Then pull out your best ice-princess look whenever

anyone suggests it might be time to get busy on those resolutions. If only you could zap them with your fingertips like Elsa in Frozen. But you can use an icy stare instead.

Eat chocolate. Most things call for afternoon chocolate, so don’t save this strategy for a rainy day. See how many variations of hot chocolate you can try (peppermint, caramel, or marshmallow?), and then share the best with the rest of the family.


Sing “Tuppence a Bag.”

Worried about money? A family viewing of the classic film Mary Poppins will put everything in perspective. Then rally the family to install the largest bird feeder you can afford. Keep it overflowing with bulk birdseed from your local big box or farm supply store. You’ll feel absolutely abundant every time you fill it. And birds will follow you around the yard as though you were a Disney character!

Color all over the lines. Did you get one of those adult coloring books for a holiday gift? Great. Now try coloring all over the lines. Seriously, go ahead and break the coloring book rules. See how many ways your bursts of color can spill beyond all those very serious lines. It feels liberating, doesn’t it?

Twist and shout. Hula-hooping is a fun activity for a dreary afternoon when you don’t feel like

Go take a long winter’s
Practice until you are good at it.
I’d like you to celebrate all the ways you are already good enough.
24 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022

dragging yourself to the gym. Crank up some music and hula away the blues. You’ll burn calories and whittle your waist, too. No hoop? Try twisting and shouting until the hoop you order arrives in the mail. Take stock. You have a whole bunch of strengths. You also have an assortment of skills. Most importantly you have a plethora of passions. Make three columns on a single page and list them all (strengths, skills, passions). See how much you rock? Make sure others catch you being awesome.

Get some Zzzs. You got a flat tire, the kids have the flu, and all the people you’ve been trying to avoid are phoning you? Girlfriend, you

need to call on your superpower. Go take a long winter’s nap. Practice until you are good at it.

Talk to your inner girl. Everyone else is crushing their New Year’s resolutions, but will they stick? While you are waiting

Cook up some comfort food. Oh yeah. You definitely did not try enough soup, casserole, and bread recipes over the holidays. You were too busy juggling the hustle and the bustle. So now’s your chance.

to find out, why not write a letter to your inner little girl. Think of a challenging time in your childhood. Tell her what you know now that you wish you had known then. You’ll become her favorite heroine of all time.

Congratulate yourself. You did great today. And as a reward, you deserve a generous slathering of thick, scented lotion on your hands, feet, and elbows before bed. Make this your new nightly ritual and go to sleep floating on a cloud of your own essential worthiness. Ah. ❖

Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz likes herself despite a couple of mistakes she may have made once or most days. She has learned, over the years, to hide the chocolate in her home office and give the icy freeze-stare to anyone who dares to try and take it.

Most things call for afternoon chocolate. 2301 Hardies Lane Santa Rosa, California 95403 (707) 579-4452 ©PNTS DECEMBER 17 –JANUARY 3 Holiday Gift-Making, Winter Science, Art, Cooking, LEGO Animation, Cartooning, Reindeer Games, Snoopy’s Snow Day, and more! REGISTER TODAY ONLINE: PHONE: (707) 284–1272 FEE ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE WINTER CLASSES FOR KIDS December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 25

Banish the Blues

15 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself

Even if the weather outside is not frightful, the blues can take a parent down any time during the darker months of winter. If you are subject to the holiday blahs, a post-holiday crash, or gloomy moods all winter long, this list of blues-busters can come to your emotional rescue.

1. Be honest with yourself. You’ll bounce back from the blues sooner if you can admit, at least to yourself, that something is bothering you.

2. Tell someone you can trust. Never keep the blues to yourself no matter what the severity. Usually the sooner you share your feelings with a trusted friend or ally, the sooner you experience relief. If no one is available right this minute, write imaginary letters to someone safe.

3. Practice acceptance. There is no point getting angry at yourself. This will only make you feel worse. Instead, admit your powerlessness over your feelings. Everyone has feelings and accepting them no matter what is part of being human.

4. Get plenty of rest. When you feel down, getting enough sleep is crucial although getting too much sleep can work against improving your mood. Determine what amount of

sleep helps you feel energized and set the alarm accordingly.

5. Let the sky hold itself up for a while. Sometimes stress brings on the blues. The first thing you can do to create some relief is let go of every responsibility that is not yours. Make a to-do list and then cross off everything you don’t have to do right now.

6. Ask for help. Don’t be a martyr. People who feel comfortable asking for and receiving help are usually not sufferers. If you can’t speak up, it’s time to shake off any victim tendencies you may have and start standing up for yourself.

7. Address anger. If you don’t believe it is acceptable for you to express anger, that unexpressed emotion will hurt you in the long run. Ask yourself, “What am I not allowed to feel angry about?” And then start letting any disallowed feelings out in a constructive manner.

8. Move some energy. If you are feeling down and not exercising, then this is an easy fix. Don’t think about it too much, just move.

9. Express needs and wants. It’s true that you can’t always get what you want. But you should always be able to get what you need. After you have fulfilled your basic needs, it’s time to start asking for what you want.

10. Take responsibility. If you are thinking that the attention of others should be riveted on what you

Your primary job in life is taking excellent care of yourself.
26 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022

need and want, that’s backwards. Let others off the hook and reclaim your happiness. You are the creator of a more joyful life. No one can accomplish this for you.

11. Create a prayer practice. You do not have to be religious to pray. Even if you are an atheist, you can surrender to a greater good or a higher power. Turn over everything stressing you, and ask for help making room for good to flow in.

12. Steer clear of complainers. One thing you can’t afford when you are feeling shaky is the company of negative people. Without explanation, let the voicemail pick up, don’t respond promptly to texts or emails, and slacken any volleys of

communication with anyone who brings you down.

13. Stop guilt-tripping yourself. Don’t let anyone manipulate you into apologizing for increasing self-care. Steer clear of those who use guilt to try to control your choices. Your primary job in life is taking excellent care of yourself. There is no need to apologize.

14. Build inspiration into your daily life. Opportunities for daily inspiration abound in the Internet age. Set up daily uplifting messages to your inbox, listen to radio shows, or stream videos that make you feel good.

15. Focus on appreciation. No matter how badly you feel, surely there is something that makes you feel good.

What About the Can’t-GetOut-of-Bed Blues?

If you are feeling so low that you consistently don’t want to get out of bed, it’s time to talk to a doctor and a therapist. A doctor can help you recover your chemical health and a therapist can help recover your emotional health. Schedule regular appointments with both types of professionals until you regain a consistent stable mood.

There is nothing wrong with feeling grateful for a cup of coffee, as long as you really mean it. Notice your appreciation, feel it, share it, write it down. ❖

Find out more about author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz at

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Calendar of Events

Thursday 1

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove & Tree Lighting. More than 200 decorated trees. Opening event: 5–8 p.m. Tree Lighting: 7 p.m. Tree Grove open daily thru Jan. 1, 2023 (“snowfall” at 5:30 & 7:30 p.m.). Windsor Town Green. 701 McClelland Dr., Windsor.

FREE Sebastopol Holiday Tree Lighting. Free warm beverages, performances & the arrival of a special guest. 5–8 p.m. Sebastopol Town Plaza. Sebastopol. mrx65aht

Scrooge in Love. What happened after A Christmas Carol ? This musical, presented by 6th Street Players, answers that question. $19–$48. Weekends: 7:30 & 2 p.m. Thru Dec. 18. 6th Street Playhouse. 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa.

Winter Lights Rink. Eco-friendly synthetic rink functions just like a conventional rink. Runs thru Dec. 31. Tickets start at $8.50. Thursdays & Fridays: 4–8 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays: noon–8 p.m. Old Courthouse Square. Santa Rosa.

Santa Photo Hours. Take pictures with Santa. Coddingtown Mall. Dec. 1–15: 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Dec. 16–23: 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Dec. 24: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. 733 Coddingtown Center, Santa Rosa.

Friday 2

FREE Cotati Holiday Tree Lighting. Music, free coffee, hot cocoa & more. Crafts for children, story time, special guests. Food & craft vendors. 4–8 p.m. La Plaza de Cotati. 8167 La Plaza, Cotati.

FREE Sebastopol Family Movie Night: Elf. Starring Will Ferrell. Pre-show trivia & Mr. Music singalong. Bring chairs & blankets. Hotdogs (vegan option), snacks & beverages available for purchase. 6:30–9 p.m. Ives Park. 7400 Willow St., Sebastopol.

Mr. Skunk Magic Christmas Tree. Featuring children’s storybook reading & visits with Santa. 90-min. round-trip. $10.95–$59.95. Dogs: $10.95. Kids ages 2 & younger ride on lap for free. 10:30 a.m., 1:30 & 4 p.m. Train runs thru Dec. 31. 299 E. Commercial St., Willits. skunktrain. com/magical-christmas-train

FREE Merry Healdsburg: Tree Lighting Celebration. Carriage rides & live holiday music. 5–8:30 p.m. Healdsburg Plaza. Mattheson St. & Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. tinyurl. com/yckmwvv8

FREE Winterfest & Fiesta Navideña. Food, wine, live music & shopping. 4:30–8:30 p.m. Downtown Plaza. 122 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale.

Annual Festival of Lights. Garden plants illuminated with holidays lights. $10. Ages 16 & younger: free. No dogs allowed. Fridays–Sundays: 5–7

p.m. Thru Dec. 18. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. 18220 Hwy. 1, Fort Bragg.

Winter Art Market. More than 50 artists. Classes to ceramics, clothing to cartoons. Music & wine. Dec. 2: 4–7 p.m. Dec. 3: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Dec. 4: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Saturday 3

Cirque de Bohème. “Gypsy,” a circus holiday spectacle. Adults: $39. Kids (15 & younger): $29. Saturdays & Sundays: 1, 3 & 5 p.m. Runs thru Dec. 25. Cornerstone Sonoma. 23570 Arnold Dr., Sonoma.

Demonstration Farm Educational Tour. Learn about the rich, agricultural history of the ranch & feed livestock. First & third Saturdays. Dec. 3 & 17: 10–11 a.m. Veronda-Falletti Ranch. 175 W. Sierra Ave., Cotati. Registration encouraged:

FREE Rohnert Park Tree-Lighting Ceremony. Photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus, high school marching band performance, children’s activities, free holiday treats & refreshments. 6–8 p.m. Community Center Complex. 5401 Snyder Ln., Rohnert Park.

Guerneville Parade of Lights. 7 p.m. Main St., Guerneville. mrx65aht

FREE Holidays Along the Farm Trails. Farm tours, handmade gifts, workshops & tastings. Most stops are free. Runs weekends thru Jan.

28 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022

1, 2023. Various locations. tinyurl. com/3ma7abzx

Luther Burbank Holiday Open House. Visit the historic home & gardens. Games & activities for kids. Ages 12 & older: $3. Free parking available at First & “D” Streets. Free rides on “Rosie the Trolley” to & from the Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair held at the Finley Community Center. Dec. 3 & 4: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Luther Burbank Museum. Santa Rosa & Sonoma Avenues, Santa Rosa. tinyurl. com/ubw25zb4

Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair. Featuring more than 90 artists. $5. Ages 12 & younger: free. Keep ticket to re-enter fair any time. Dec. 3 & 4: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Finley Community Center. 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa.

Santa Paws at Western Farm Center. Pet & family picture taken with Santa Paws. $25 donation includes a professional digital photo that you can download. Proceeds benefit Canine Companions. Dec. 3: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Dec. 4: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Western Farm Center. 21 W. 7th St., Santa Rosa.

FREE Petaluma Merchant Holiday Open House. Live holiday music from the Pacific Empire Chorus, dancing performances & face-painting. Photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus. Various downtown stores welcome visitors with goodies. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Kentucky Street. Petaluma.

FREE Sebastopol Center for the Arts Holiday Market. More than 45 artists selling ceramics, apparel, decorative household items, photographs & much more. Dec. 3–4.

10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sebastopol Center of the Arts. 282 S. High St., Sebastopol.

FREE Holidaze at Bees & Blooms. Tour flower fields, walk labyrinth & purchase lavender products. Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Runs thru Dec. 18. No reservation required. Bees

& Blooms. 3883 Petaluma Hill Rd., Santa Rosa.

SMART Train Holiday Express Toy Drive. Each adult passenger who brings a new, unwrapped toy to donate will ride free. Kids accompanied by adult will also ride free. Santa Claus will be aboard on Trips 3 & December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 29

4. Schedule:

The Elves & the Shoemaker. The daughter of a terrible shoemaker gets a present from the elves. $5–$10. Dec. 3–4 & 10–11. Saturdays: 7:30 p.m. Sundays: 2 p.m. Cloverdale Performing Arts Center. 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. Available at door or online: tinyurl. com/3epfkfsu.

FREE Meet Santa & Take Photos. Dec. 3, 10 & 17: noon–2 p.m. Petaluma Village Premium Outlets. 2200 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma.

FREE Light Up the Square. A visit from Santa, live music & performances, including Petaluma Pete & a laser light show. Bring a letter

for Santa’s Mailbox. 5:30–7:30 p.m. Theatre Square. Petaluma. tinyurl. com/p6j2z2s8.

The Nightmare Before Christmas. Local dancers perform show based on the Tim Burton film. $20–$32. Dec. 3: 7 p.m. Dec. 4: 2 p.m. Spreckels Performing Arts Center. 5409 Snyder Ln., Rohnert Park. app.arts-people. com/index.php?ticketing=spac

Sunday 4

The Annual Teddy Bear Tea Party. Tea time, dance performance, photos with dancers, raffle & teddy bear giveaway. Net proceeds directly fund SCD Scholarships. $25–$85. 2–4 p.m. Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club. 574 First St E., Sonoma. scdteddybeartea2022.

Holiday Giftaway 2022. Get new-to-you household items & clothing & give away quality, reusable home goods. Volunteer, or donate $10. Noon–3 p.m. Sebastopol Grange. 6000 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol.

Monday 5

We Are One: Celebrating Dance & Music Throughout the World. Performance by Cardinal Newman High School. $10–$15. Dec. 5 & 6. 7:30 p.m. Jackson Theater. 4400 Day School Pl., Santa Rosa. tinyurl. com/2ph5fbd9.

Thursday 8

FREE Once Upon a Gingerbread House. Grades 7–12. Make a gingerbread house. Materials

The Annual Teddy Bear Tea 2:00 4:00 p m Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club 574 First Street East, Sonoma Join us for a local fundraiser for talented young dancers in need Net proceeds directly fund SCD Scholarships Tea Time ✦ Dance Performance ✦ Photos with Dancers Raf�le ✦ Craft Making ✦ Teddy Bear Giveaway TICKETS AVAILABLE THROUGH Brown Paper Tickets: scdteddybeartea brownpapertickets com Sonoma Conservatory of Dance: info@SonomaConservatoryofDance org ✦ 707 938 1424 Sunday, December 2, 2018 presents SONOMA CONSERVATORY OF DANCE Sunday, 2022 SONOMA CONSERVATORY OF DANCE TICKETS AVAILABLE THROUGH Brown Paper Tickets: Sonoma Conservatory of Dance: ✦ 707.938.1424 PRESENTS THE ANNUAL TEDDY BEAR TEA SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2-4PM SONOMA VALLEY WOMAN’S CLUB 574 FIRST STREET EAST, SONOMA JOIN US FOR A LOCAL FUNDRAISER FOR TALENTED YOUNG DANCERS IN NEED NET PROCEEDS DIRECTLY FUND SCD SCHOLARSHIPS Tea Time • Dance Performance • Photos with Dancers Raffle • Craft Making • Teddy Bear Giveaway
30 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022

provided. Kits are available while supplies last. 4–5 p.m. Rincon Valley Library. 6959 Montecito Blvd., Santa Rosa. Other libraries will host this event. See bd333z26 for branches/times.

Friday 9

The Nutcracker. Featuring the Petaluma School of Ballet & North Coast Ballet. $25–$35. Dec. 9: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10: 1:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11: 1:30 p.m. Spreckels Performing Arts Center. 5409 Snyder Ln., Rohnert Park. tinyurl. com/2mnbyb49.

All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914. Musical tells the true tale of an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music & peace. $25–$75. 7:30 p.m. Green Music Center. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. alliscalm

Sebastopol Holiday Home Tour & Artisan Boutique. Proceeds benefit school scholarship. Thru Dec. 11. Pleasant Hill Christian School. 1782 Pleasant Hill Rd., Sebastopol. For more info & hours or to buy tickets, call 707-829-1729. sebastopol

16th Annual Posada Navideña. With the Calidenza Dance Company. Dancers & musicians will perform traditional Mexican holiday songs. $5–$10. $2 lap pass for ages 2 & younger available only on day of show. Free arts & crafts in the lobby starting at 6 p.m. & free Posada celebration following the show. 7 p.m. Luther Burbank Center. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa.

Saturday 10

The Snow Maiden. Sonoma Conservatory of Dance performs choreographed Russian folktale. $12–$25. Dec. 10–11. 1 p.m. Sebastiani Theatre. 476 First St. East, Sonoma. tsm2022.

FREE SOFA Winterblast. Parade of creatively decorated & illuminated sofas. Live music, open art studios, food vendors & crafts for kids. 4–8:30 p.m. Parades: 5 p.m. & 7 p.m. Corners of S. A Street & Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa. December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 31

Cazadero Christmas Gathering. Christmas stroll & tri-tip BBQ. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. (Santa Claus arrives at noon for pictures.) Cazadero General Store. 6125 Cazadero Hwy., Cazadero.

FREE Petaluma Lighted Boat Parade. Boats start at Petaluma Marina at 5:30 p.m. & arrive at Turning Basin at 6 p.m. 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Christmas Bells are Swingin’. Performance by Boston Brass & the Brass All-Stars Big Band. $25–$75. 7:30 p.m. Green Music Center. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. gmc.

Festival of Christmas. Casa Grande Concert Choir, Kenilworth Junior High Jazz Band & Christmas

carolers perform. Children’s crafts & games & living nativity scene plus screening of Charlie Brown Christmas. Food court: $3. Dec. 10 & 11: 4–8 p.m. Petaluma Valley Baptist Church. 580 Sonoma Mt. Pkwy., Petaluma.

Family Workshop: Peanuts Party with Norene Cox. Learn to throw a Peanuts–themed party with Peanuts -themed recipes & clever treats. Youth registration includes set of supplies & materials to use as a family or take home. $35. 10 a.m.–noon. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. Registration required: family-peanuts-party.

Sunday 11

Winter Wonderland Family Concert. Performances by the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Orchestra. $6–$12. 3 p.m. SRJC Campus. Burbank Auditorium. 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. music.

Weekend Santa Sightings. Photos with Santa. Appointments highly recommended. $5. Saturdays & Sundays. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Thru Dec. 18. Montgomery Village. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa. Tickets required: tinyurl. com/58pscn5u

Monday 12

FREE Maker Studio: Light Up Cards. Grades 4–6. Kids will use LEDs, wires & coin-cell batteries

GIVE A CIDER GIFT SET Or Club Membership
32 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022

to make a paper circuit that they will then turn into a greeting card. Materials provided. 4–5:30 p.m. Cloverdale Library. 401 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. Registration required: Other libraries will host this event. Visit for branches/ times.

Disney Junior Live on Tour: Costume Palooza. Concert-style performance, singing, dancing & acrobatics. $45, $59 & $169. 6 p.m. Luther Burbank Center. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. tinyurl. com/2p9pu83r

Friday 16

Nutcracker. Performed by Santa Rosa Dance Theater. $27–$33. Dec. 16 & 17: 7 p.m. Dec. 17 & 18: 2 p.m. Spreckels Performing Arts Center. 5409 Snyder Ln., Rohnert Park.

FREE Professional Outdoor Skating Shows. Outdoor variety show featuring professional figure skaters. Dec. 16: 7 & 9 p.m. Dec. 17: 3, 4, 7 & 9 p.m. Dec. 18: 3 & 4 p.m. Snoopy’s Home Ice. 1667 W. Steele Ln., Santa Rosa. tinyurl. com/3wder29u.

First Annual Holiday Lighted Bike Ride. All ages. Family friendly. 60–75 min. ride. Bring bike headlights, helmets & bells. 5:30 p.m. Start & finish: Aqus Café. 189 H St., Petaluma.

Saturday 17

FREE Wreaths Across America. There will be ceremonies to honor veterans across America. Local events take place at cemeteries in Cloverdale, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, St.

Helena & Yountville. 9 a.m. Cemetery locations:

FREE French Christmas Market. Live music, local artisans & info about programs from the Alliance Francaise of Santa Rosa. Food, mulled wine & hot chocolate for purchase. 11 a.m.–4

p.m. Old Courthouse Square. Santa Rosa.

Common Ground Holiday MeetUp for Families with Special Needs. Fun play structure/jungle gym. Tables & chairs nearby for parents & caretakers. Arcade machines off. Special appearance by Santa. 9–10:30 December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 33

a.m. Epicenter. 3215 Coffey Ln., Sana Rosa. RVSP required: larkin@

Sunday 18

A Baroque Christmas. Performances by American Bach Soloists. $35–$95. 3 p.m. Green Music Center. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. tinyurl. com/2p95sjuu.

Gingerbread Doghouse Workshops. Parent & child will work together to assemble & decorate Snoopy’s doghouse. Also make holiday cards & ornaments. Grades 1–6. $35 adult/child pair. 1–4 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. Registration required at least 24 hours before event:

FREE Lion Dance. Watch the Sonoma Vietnamese Association perform the traditional Lunar New Year Lion Dance. All ages welcome. 2–2:30 p.m. Roseland Regional Library. 470 Sebastopol Rd., Santa Rosa. Limited space. Registration highly recommended. Call 707-755-2029.

FREE Chanukah Celebration. Drone gelt drop, mega nine-foot menorah, the world’s largest dreidel, DJ Chanukah music, fire juggling & latkes & jelly donuts. Sponsored by the Chabad Jewish Center of Petaluma. 4:30–6 p.m. Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. 175 Fairgrounds Dr., Petaluma. Tickets required: tinyurl. com/2p88jza3.

Saturday 31

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! Up-Down Balloon Drop & Baby Balloon Drop (ages 4 & younger) at noon; second balloon drop at 3 p.m. Included in price of admission ($5–$12; free for ages 3 & younger). Doors at 10 a.m. Capacity will be monitored. Admission first-come/ first-served. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa.

Have More Fun & Create Great Memories SonomaFamily visit Get weekly FREE e-mail updates for the best LOCAL family fun calendar 34 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022
TICKETS & INFO downtownsantarosa #winterlights A PRODUCTION OF THE SANTA ROSA METRO CHAMBER, DOWNTOWN DISTRICT AND VISIT SANTA ROSA Plus toddler & adult skate clinics with Snoopy’s Home Ice, skating shows, holiday markets and downtown shopping & dining deals all season long 5409 Snyder Lane · Rohnert Park, CA Box O ce: (707) 588-3400 | Website: General $33 | Seniors $30 | Youth $27 (12 & Under) About Santa Rosa Dance Theater (707) 539-0516 | Ballet · Pointe · Variations · Classical & Contemporary Repertoire Pre-Ballet through Pre-Professional · Adult Ballet · Professional Faculty DEC.17 TH 2PM & 7PM DEC.16 TH 7PM DEC.18 TH 2PM FESTIVE FAVORITES HOLIDAY PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS Amanda (3) Roman & Rory (18 mos.) Olive (8) & Alex (4) December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 35

Tiny Teachers

Kids Bring Us Holiday Lessons

Too many mom-friends have declared defeat.

They would rather entirely forgo putting up the Christmas tree rather than spend the holidays playing an elaborate game of keep-away between the toddler and the sparkly family heirloom choking hazards (I mean, ornaments).

After all, they say, the holidays should not be a hostage negotiation. I, however, refuse to let a tiny human who still needs help wiping her own butt dictate my world.

I intentionally married an engineer so that whenever we faced these décor and other safety hazards, my husband would always come up with a creative and ingenious solution. (Also, I knew that, between his mathematical prowess and my sassy, poetic genius,

we’d spawn the gene pool’s most well rounded offspring.) To wit:

Our vertical “death stairs” have become a functional slide.

Our four-cornered “stitches or staples” concrete fireplace (so named for the type of sutures that would be required if someone went headfirst into it) has become a soft toy chest/loveseat.

And what would have been the plastic eyesore otherwise known as a baby gate has become a Joanna Gaines–inspired, Pinterest-worthy barn door. But my husband’s masterpiece was the aesthetically pleasing barrier he made to keep then-baby Charlotte away from our first family Christmas tree. I’ll never forget it. It was a baby gate of sorts, constructed from wood wrapped in wrapping paper. The idea was that it would resemble giant

presents surrounding the tree. But its real purpose, of course, was to keep Charlotte away from ornaments and other dangers.

While he was building the glorious contraption out in the garage, I took Charlotte over to the tree to begin the tedious task of teaching her to look but not touch.

She had yet to express any real fears at that point. She went to anyone, laughed when our dogs pretended to wrestle, and, if I let her, would body-surf down the stairs (hence the slide-stairs idea).

Charlotte went to touch the tree like Sleeping Beauty did the spindle. Immediately, she jerked her hand back, cried out, and rushed for my lap. By this point, my husband was three-hours deep into MacGyver-mode, and I didn’t have the heart to say that the whole project might not be necessary.

So Charlotte and I retreated to the living room, which had enough toys to rival Santa’s workshop, only for her to make a beeline for the bathroom to play with the toilet paper roll.

The entire situation was a perfectly wrapped, carefully constructed metaphor for what the holiday season is like for children and parents everywhere. The presents ignored in favor of toilet paper, and the no-longer-needed thing that took hours to make, teach us that the real gifts we give each other are not things but lessons. And our teachers are the ones still figuring out the location of their butts.

Jessica Guerrieri is a mom, humorist, and writer. Find her at witandspitup. com and on Instagram @witandspitup.

Humor Break
36 SonomaFamilyLife December 2022

See a Lion Dance

In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year is celebrated with a lion dance, which is thought to impart good luck. Elaborately costumed dancers use a combination of martial arts and folk dance steps to move and shake the many different parts of the “lion.” Watch the Sonoma Vietnamese Association perform the traditional spectacle for free on December 18, 2–2:30 p.m., at the Roseland Regional Library in Santa Rosa. For more information, go to tinyurl. com/5tdpxv2e

Make an Illuminated Card

Trees, posts, the barren wall in the bedroom—is it possible that little lights make everything prettier? How about greeting cards? Sonoma County Library thinks so. At the library’s Light Up Cards class, kids will use LEDs, wires, and coin-cell batteries to make a paper circuit, which they will then turn into a greeting card. The class, aimed at kids in grades 4–6, will be held on December 12, 4–5:30 p.m., at the Cloverdale Regional Library in Cloverdale. Materials provided; registration is required. Go to tinyurl. com/4wb5drhr

™ YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You’ve found your community When you have a child with a disability, medical complexity, or any sort of unique need, it can be hard to navigate alone. Join our local Sonoma County Facebook group and subscribe to our emails. Stay connected and learn about the resources Common Ground Society™ has to offer. You are NOT alone. JOIN A COMMON GROUND SOCIETY™ SUPPORT GROUP Family Meet Ups • Dads’ Group • Moms’ Group Sibling Support Groups • New Family Groups It starts with HELLO, ends with BELONGING. • 1-866-HELLOCG Ask us about our inclusive presentations offered to all age groups. JOIN OUR LOVING FAMILY PLAYTIME DAYCARE & PRESCHOOL 539-7524 Rincon Valley Area. Lic. #04746 keep little bodies & brains active & learning! December 2022 SonomaFamilyLife 37
ENHANCING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE “WHOLE CHILD” (707) 795-7863 5475 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park Preschool license #490100475 REGISTER NOW FOR 2022-23 Cross & Crown Lutheran School Preschool through 6th Grade. Limited class size. Classes start September 6th Kindergarten Sneak peek Nov 15 Dec 6 Jan 24 Feb 7 8am 10am Join us for a Kindergarten Sneak Peek tour for families and prospective students to attend a portion of the kindergarten day RSVP Visit: www presentationschool com Call: 707 935 0122 ext 202 • Paid job training. • Part-time. • Health benefits. • CalPERS retirement. • Winter & Spring Breaks off. • Summers optional. • Paid sick leave, holidays, & vacations. SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS NEEDED! Now Accepting Applications START YOUR NEW CAREER! CALL NOW 707-206-9988 367 West Robles Avenue, Santa Rosa • The YMCA Preschool provides your child with high-quality, age-appropriate activities and enjoyable experiences. Personal attention, rich sensory experiences, and a generous supply of giggles! 707 308-3043 • 2590 Piner Rd. Santa Rosa Part-Time/Full-Time Care Flexible Plans Available Serving Infant-5 Years