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sonoma

YEARS

FREE!

July 2021

Nursing Twins Pros & cons

Perfect Preschool Find the best fit

B-Day Bash 8 fun ideas

Garden ofKinder Kids prep


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July 2021

Every Issue

10

6

Dear Reader

7

Cooking with Kids Chicken Meets Chickpeas

8

Bits and Pieces Under the Big Top Phoenix Rising

Features

The Fair Is Back!

10 Party Like It’s 2021

Theater in the Park

How to hold a birthday bash in the age of COVID.

12 It Takes a Village Creating parenting community in kindergarten.

14 A Garden of Kids How to help children prepare for their first school year.

16 The Perfect Preschool Find out the right questions to ask a potential school.

18 Tandem Nursing Twins

Rock Out Outdoors

What’s great—and not-so-great—about this practice.

20 Don’t Worry! Help kids cope with anxiety.

’Toons & Tales

24 Calendar of Events 28 Humor Break Mommy Has a Brand-New Suit

22 Kids’ Astro-Guide to Friendship How teens do friendship, based on their signs.

7

8 4 SonomaFamilyLife

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com

9


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Learn about top private & charter elementary schools, tutoring centers & after-school activities— all from the comfort of your home! WWW.SONOMAFAMILYLIFE.COM Want to exhibit? Contact Patty for more info: patty@family-life.us • 205-1539


Dear Reader

S

onoma Family Life is excited to

celebrate 30 years of providing Sonoma County families with the highest quality information about parenting and local Sharon Gowan events. In 1991, when Publisher/Editor Sharon@family-life.us I had my first child and started this venture, the magazine was just a black-and-white flyer listing area breastfeeding support groups. To my surprise, within six months the distribution reached several thousand. And so my journey as a magazine publisher began. In the beginning, the magazine was called The Mother’s Journal, and I did everything from writing articles to selling ads to finding new distribution locations. But then my staff grew—along with the magazine’s reach. Today we serve 57,000 local families, and I couldn’t be happier. During these uncertain times, Sonoma Family Life’s role is even more important than ever. In this issue, we continue our tradition of publishing top-notch editorial, focusing on helping little ones—and you— prepare for those first precious school years. “The Perfect Preschool” (page 16) details how to thoroughly check out a preschool before deciding on whether or not it’s right for your child. Meanwhile, “A Garden of Kids” (page 14) delivers ideas for getting your child ready for kindergarten. And “It Takes a Village” (page 12) offers advice for easing your own first-day-of-school anxiety.

Office Manager Patricia Ramos patty@family-life.us

Business Marketing Renee Nutcher renee@family-life.us Warren Kaufman warren@family-life.us

Features Editor Melissa Chianta melissa@family-life.us

Production Manager Worry!” (page 20) for tips on how to help them cope, as well as how to know when it’s time to seek professional help. Of course, there’s nothing like laughter to make the worry bug disappear. Check out “Mommy Has a Brand-New Suit” (page 28) for some moms-only humor. Last but not least, in honor of those early days of the magazine, this issue features a breastfeeding article, “Tandem Nursing Twins” (page 18). Thank you, our loyal readers, for making Sonoma Family Life what it is today. We look forward to continuing to offer you the local information you need to raise your family well.

Speaking of anxiety, there’s a lot of it in the air these days. Kids are especially vulnerable to this feeling. Turn to “Don’t

Donna Bogener production@family-life.us

Cover Photographer Dennis Urbiztondo

Contributing Writers America’s Test Kitchen Karen Bongiorno Natalie Dal Pra Tanni Haas Malia Jacobson Christina Katz Amanda Melrose Jan Pierce Nikki Van De Car

Billing Jan Wasson-Smith

Publishing Office

Celebrating

P.O. Box 351 Philo, CA 95466 (707) 586-9562

#1 resource for local families magazine • web • email • events 6 SonomaFamilyLife

YEARS July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


Cooking with Kids

Chicken Meets Chickpeas A Protein-Packed Summer Entree By America’s Test Kitchen

H

earty chickpeas are ideal for salads because they

absorb flavors easily and provide

Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Chickpea Salad

substance. We added the classic

• 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Mediterranean flavors of lemon,

• ¼ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)

smoked paprika, cumin, and

• 1 teaspoon honey

fresh mint to canned chickpeas for an accompaniment to

• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika • ½ teaspoon ground cumin • Salt and pepper

quick-cooking pan-seared

• 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed

chicken breasts. Reserving a

• ½ red onion, sliced thin

few tablespoons of the dressing

• ¼ cup chopped fresh mint

for drizzling on the chicken before serving helped reinforce

• ½ cup all-purpose flour • 4 (4- to 6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

chickpea salad. ¶

Note: Smoked sweet or smoked hot paprika can be used interchangeably in this recipe.

Reprinted with permission from the Ultimate Meal Prep Cookbook: One Grocery List. A Week of Meals. No Waste. (America’s Test Kitchen, 2021); americastestkitchen.com.

1. Whisk ¼ cup oil, lemon juice, honey, paprika, cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in large bowl until combined. Reserve 3 tablespoons dressing. Add chickpeas, onion, and mint to remaining dressing

the smoky, tangy flavors of the

www.sonomafamilylife.com

July 2021

and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. 2. Spread flour in shallow dish. Pound thicker ends of chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to uniform ½-inch thickness. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in flour to coat, shaking off any excess. 3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place chicken in skillet and cook, turning as needed, until golden brown on both sides and chicken registers 160 degrees, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle reserved dressing over chicken and serve with salad. Serves: 4

SonomaFamilyLife 7


Bits & Pieces Flynn Creek Circus

Under the Big Top atching someone twist into knots or fly through the air makes our jaws drop. And that’s just what the Flynn Creek Circus acrobats, aerialists, and contortionists want: to inspire awe. See their daring feats during the circus’s summer spectacle, Fairytale. The touring outdoor show will arrive at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa in July. Shows will be held under the big top on July 8 and 9 at 8 p.m.; on July 10 at 5 p.m., with a 21-and-older show at 8 p.m.; and on July 11 at 1 and 4 p.m. In order to follow COVID safety protocols, tickets will be sold to pods of two, four, or six people for $70–$400 per group. Find out details and purchase tickets at flynncreekcircus.com. ¶

TIM CARL

W

Pete Floyd

Phoenix Rising

F

or a troubled kid—any kid—music and the arts can be lifesavers. It’s part of why the Petaluma Phoenix Center offers music and arts, along with health and mentoring programs, for Sonoma County youth. The Aqus Foundry Fest aims to raise money for the center with live performances from three local acts: Dan Durkin, Smokehouse Gamblers, and Pete Floyd. The festival will be held on July 24, 3–10 p.m., at the Foundry Wharf in Petaluma. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased in advance, via eventbrite.com or tinyurl.com/ by6dh4jr. The event will adhere to county COVID regulations, which could mean requiring entrants to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. ¶

The Fair Is Back!

I

t’s not in full gear, but it’s still here. This year’s modified Sonoma County Fair will feature a carnival, live adult and children’s concerts, youth garden and livestock exhibits, and, for separate fees, rodeo and monster truck events. The COVID catch? Limited capacity. That means that only a certain number of people will be able to visit the fair each day. So purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. The fair will be held July 28–August 1 and August 4–8 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. Advance tickets, which can be purchased at sonomacountyfair.com, are $10 for ages 13 and older, $5 for ages 6–12, and free for ages 5 and younger; ride wristbands are $25. ¶

8 SonomaFamilyLife

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


The Lion King Kids

Theater in the Park

T

he Lion King is one of the most successful musicals on Broadway. So it makes sense that a children’s version was created—The Lion King Kids—that young thespians can perform. The local youth arts troupe North Bay Theatrics will bring this pint-sized version of the show to La Plaza Park in Cotati on July 23 and 24 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is a $5 donation. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket to this outdoor performance. Find out more at facebook.com/NBTCotati. ¶

Rock Out Outdoors

F

eed the body and the soul at the Rohnert Park Farmers’ Market, which will offer free live music outdoors this summer. The Sonoma Shakers will play rock and R&B on July 9; the Igniters will churn out classic rock on July 16; Petty Rocks will do Tom Petty covers on July 23; and Levi Loyd and Friends will strum the blues on July 30. Concerts will be held 5:30–8 p.m. at the City Center Plaza in Rohnert Park. For a complete performance schedule, see tinyurl.com/cvxcz5rf. ¶

The Igniters

’Toons & Tales

J

oe Wos has been a professional cartoonist since he was 14 years old and a maze maker since he was 7. He also loves to tell stories. His Outdoor Storytelling and Cartooning event at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa weaves together all these passions. At the event Wos will lead a cartooning activity, give a storytelling performance, and sign a book from his A-Maze-Ing Maze series from Barron’s Educational Books. It all happens on July 29 at 3 and 4 p.m. and is free with admission, which is $5–$12 or free for ages 3 and younger and museum members. Prior to the event, on July 28, 2–5 p.m., Wos will render caricatures of patrons’ pet cats or dogs (or iguanas or rabbits) outside the museum entrance for a $5 donation. Find out more at schulzmuseum.org. ¶

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July 2021

SonomaFamilyLife 9


include pin-the-tail-on-the-unicorn, unicorn ring toss, or build-your-own unicorn headbands.

Party Like It’s 2021 8 COVID-Friendly Birthday Ideas By Natalie Dal Pra

B

irthday parties in 2021 may look a little different, but there are still plenty of ways to make the day special for your child. Whether your kiddo requests an epic outdoor bash or a chill night with the family, these creative ideas will help make it a milestone to remember. Movie Night Bring the magic of the theater into your home by setting up a portable movie projector and screen (a sheet works well in a pinch!), creating a cozy place to lounge, and loading up on lots of snacks. Cake pops or a candy station are easy options instead of a traditional birthday cake, and don’t forget the popcorn! If your little one has a summer birthday, bring the fun outdoors with a movie night under the stars.

10 SonomaFamilyLife

Unicorn Soiree Unicorns have been a party staple for the last few years and continue to maintain their popularity with the younger set. A whimsical unicorn soiree doesn’t have to be complicated, either. You can often find decor featuring the magical creatures at the dollar store and Target. Add in a glittery backdrop and pastel-colored cups and plates to complete the look. Party games could

Drive-Thru Birthday Parade You may think drive-by birthday parties are so 2020, but parades are still popular this year, especially for those who want to maintain social distance. The concept is simple: Friends and family take turns driving by your house with signs, balloons, gifts, and other surprises

A pirate party is unique and gender neutral. to help celebrate your child’s big day. Make the occasion even more fun by blasting kid-friendly tunes and decorating your yard. Considering how exciting a birthday parade is, this is one trend that could last way beyond the pandemic. Camp Out Night Sure, you could drag the family out into the wilderness for the weekend, but a camp-out at home can be just as fun (and the access to indoor plumbing is a huge plus!). Keep the birthday dinner easy by roasting hot dogs over a fire pit, passing out individual bags of chips, and enjoying everyone’s favorite camping treat, s’mores. Play backyard games like cornhole and badminton, and end the evening with a round of spooky stories. Sleeping all night in a tent is optional. Trampoline Park A lowmaintenance party that also gets your child’s wiggles out? Win-win. Head to the local trampoline park for the ultimate sky-high celebration. Kids can bounce around for hours, then

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


enjoy pizza and cake after they’re all tuckered out. Super Hero Extravaganza With new action-packed superhero movies hitting the big screen every few months, it’s easy to see why kids still love all things Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, the Incredibles, and more. To make the occasion ultra-special, buy or rent costumes of your children’s favorite characters. Guests can also get into the spirit by dressing up as their favorite hero or heroine. Pinterest is full of awesome themed snacks, like Hulk Jello Cups, Superman cupcakes, and Captain America pretzel “shields.” As for activities, have children change into swimsuits, hand them squirt guns, and host an epic superhero showdown.

Art Party Budding artists will love a chance to express themselves with an art-themed celebration. Keep the activities informal by setting up art stations, providing protective smocks, and letting the kids go wild with different supplies. Crafting areas

You may think drive-by birthday parties are so 2020, but parades are still popular this year. could include canvases and finger paints, sculpting clay, and glitter and glue. Colorful cupcakes are the perfect dessert for the occasion, and guests can take home goody bags containing crayons and stickers.

IN-PERSON SUMMER CAMPS!

Pirate Palooza Ahoy, mateys! A pirate party is unique and gender neutral—plus there are so many ways to make the occasion special. Party stores have plenty of cool pirate-themed invites available, like treasure maps or a message in a bottle. Pirate flags make the perfect decoration, along with overflowing “treasure box” centerpieces (think beaded necklaces and gold coins from the dollar store). Take the tots on an adventure-filled scavenger hunt or have a foam sword “fight,” then enjoy grub like Pirate’s Booty, “golden” chicken nuggets, Goldfish crackers, and fruit “sword” kabobs. ¶ Natalie Dal Pra is a freelance writer and mom of one.

Join us for our

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Learn more at: www.FunMusicLessons.com 707-664-0123 • info@FunMusicLessons.com 8500 Gravenstein Hwy. Suite A, Cotati July 2021

SonomaFamilyLife 11


day when he and I, and other parents, came to pick up our children after school.

ItConnecting Takes a Village with Kindergarten Parents By Karen Bongiorno

K

indergarten! Sending your child off to kindergarten is a huge milestone! It will be a big adjustment for you and your child. This is the beginning of what may seem to be an unending stretch of years when your lives revolve around school days and school calendars.

As you leave your child, other parents will be leaving their children at kindergarten for the first time too. You will all be caught up in the emotion and excitement of this day. You may not think of this at present, but some of these children will share the next 13 school years with your child as you will share these years with many of their parents. When I first became a mother, I hadn’t heard the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” When I did hear it, I understood its wisdom. I remember quite clearly leaving my daughter at kindergarten. She didn’t 12 SonomaFamilyLife

look back! The teacher closed the door, and I walked away, feeling dazed. I thought, Now what? I had focused so much attention on getting her ready for kindergarten that I hadn’t thought about how I would feel when I actually left her there. Now I was literally shut off from my child. Two years later, when my son went to kindergarten, he didn’t look back either. Of course, being a second child, he had been around the school campus for two years and felt like he already belonged. He also knew many incoming kindergarteners, as he had met them on the playground after school each

As I left my daughter at kindergarten that day, my son, who was three and about to begin preschool, was with me. Together we went off to take a walk and to get something to drink. I got hot chocolate for my son and coffee for myself and tried to sort out the confusing thoughts and feelings I was experiencing. My daughter had grown enough to begin kindergarten! Wow! and Huh? were my most prominent thoughts, not very illuminating or descriptive. But I knew this was the beginning of a new phase for my daughter, for me, for my son, and for our family. I didn’t have much time to think about what this meant as I was still taking care of my son. But it did mean I would now have extended alone time with him for the first time in his three and a half years. When it was time to pick up my daughter after school that first day, my son and I went to the kindergarten playground. We wanted to be right there when the bell rang and my daughter emerged. Other parents were waiting too. We greeted each other and asked one another, “Do you have a boy or a girl?” “How did your child do, going into class?” “How did you do with your child starting kindergarten today?” Our common experience gave us an immediate connection with one another. The gnawing hole in my stomach and the hyper level of alertness that had been with me all day began to recede as we talked about our children, their new beginnings, and

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


how these events were affecting us. I realized we all felt much the same way. What was common for each of us was the pride we had in our children and excitement for these new beginnings. This was mixed with our apprehension of the unknown, not knowing how our children were doing, and hoping they would be fine.

I remember quite clearly leaving my daughter at kindergarten. She didn’t look back!

Back to School Resources scoe.org/covid

Our children were animated as they burst out of the classroom at the end of that first day. They were happy to see us and ready for snacks and some downtime.

During these unprecedented times, many parents of Kindergarten-aged children may be wondering how to prepare their children for in-person learning in the fall.

Going forward, each day after school, an assortment of parents and caregivers would be waiting for our kindergartners. We’d meet and talk. Those of us with younger children could let them play on the playground while we waited. It was pleasant and easy to spend time together this way. Gradually, we began friendships and became familiar with one another as neighboring families. You’ll share the path of parenting with many mothers, fathers, teachers, coaches, school administrators, counselors, and other caregivers. Some will become part of the village and even become lasting friends with whom you will share memories of your children growing up together. ¶ Adapted with permission from ABCs of Being a Mom: Advice and Support from the Mom Next Door by Karen Bongiorno (She Writes Press, 2021).

The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) has you covered!

A Parent’s Guide: Getting Ready for Kindergarten: Download SCOE’s kindergarten readiness guide! Click below to access our kindergarten readiness guide, developed by early childhood education experts at the Sonoma County Office of Education. English

Spanish

Click below to access our family reading guide. For families looking for help supporting their young readers, check out our Raising Readers guide. English

Spanish

scoe.org

Find out more at karenbongiorno.com.

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Raising Readers: Download SCOE’s family reading guide!

July 2021

SonomaFamilyLife 13


“Children who’ve been given autonomy at home in developing preferences and making meaningful choices,” Kropp says, “are able to transfer this skill to the school setting, thereby exerting confidence in making wise choices within the classroom setting.” Assign chores. A way to make your kids more independent and autonomous is to assign them household chores. Charity Ferreira of GreatSchools.org, an education think tank, says that parents should give their kids chores, such as setting the table before dinner, folding the laundry,

A Garden of Kids Help Children Prepare for Kindergarten

By Tanni Haas

T

here are few moments more exciting to kids than the first day of kindergarten. It represents the day when children officially become “big kids.” How do you prepare them for that day and all the things they’re supposed to learn in kindergarten? Here’s what the experts say. Teach independence. Kids are expected to be able to do many things on their own by the time they start kindergarten. Tracy Galuski, a professor of early childhood development and education, says that kids should be able to dress themselves, including putting on their shoes and putting on, taking off, and hanging up their coats. They should also be able to use the bathroom on their own and wash their hands afterwards (without reminders), as well as unpack their lunches and wipe their faces after they’ve eaten. These skills, Galuski

14 SonomaFamilyLife

says, will take your kids “from the coatroom to the lunchroom and beyond.” It’s a good idea to spend the summer before kindergarten helping your children to practice them. Promote autonomy. Work on your kids’ ability to make good choices. Merete Kropp, an experienced kindergarten teacher and expert on child development, says that kids should be able to make many choices. This includes choosing among different activities in the classroom and friends on the playground.

Make reading an important part of kids’ lives before they start school. and tidying up around the house. “These types of activities,” Ferreira says, “will automatically transfer over into the classroom and help your child feel successful and comfortable.” Build self-confidence. It’s one thing to have certain skills; it’s quite another to have the confidence to show those skills in front of classmates. Amie Bettencourt, a child psychologist, says that demystifying kindergarten, explaining to kids what will happen there, can help children feel more confident. She suggests that parents spend time before kindergarten starts talking to their kids about what the school day will be like. Organize playdates. Organizing lots of playdates over the summer is another way to help children develop self-confidence. Many schools distribute class contact lists before the school year starts. If you receive

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


such a list, set up playdates with some of your kids’ future classmates. That way, when your kids walk into class on the first day of school, they’ll see some familiar faces. “A lot of what makes kindergarten a tough transition,” Ferreira says, “is that kids suddenly find themselves in a big group all day long. The more social skills kids have, the easier it’ll be for them to concentrate on learning.”

a bath, put on pajamas, brush teeth, read favorite story or sing favorite song, and get a goodnight hug or kiss.” Read books. Kindergarteners learn a lot just by listening to the teacher reading aloud. So make reading an important part of kids’ lives before they start school. “Get your child a library card, take her to

A way to make your kids more independent and autonomous is to assign them household chores.

Create routine. In kindergarten, kids are expected to be able to follow the school routine. Help them prepare for that kind of structure with a clearly explained schedule at home. Ferreira suggests that parents create a fixed schedule for when to wake the kids up in the morning and put them to bed at night. Bettencourt adds that the nightly routine should include a predictable order of activities: “Take

the library to check out books, and be sure to read to your child every day,” Galuski says. Melissa Taylor, an education expert and author of Imagination Soup, a well-known blog, agrees: “Reading to your child

teaches her many things that we adults take for granted. Kids learn basics, such as how to hold a book, left-to-right reading, wondering what will happen next, and discovering new words.” Acknowledge feelings. While you prepare your kids for all the exciting new things they’ll learn in kindergarten, also acknowledge any unease they may experience. Melanie Dale, the author of several books on parenting, says that parents should let their kids express their feelings: “If they say they’re nervous, rather than say, ‘Don’t be nervous,’ ask them why they’re nervous and validate that feeling. Share a time when you were nervous and how it worked out.” ¶ Tanni Haas, PhD, is a college communications professor.

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707.468.1138 (Boys) 707.468.3896 (Girls) www.igdvs.org

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• Clear rules and regulations, health/ illness policies, and pickup and drop-off times. • Clean, well-kept facilities with adequate indoor and outdoor play areas. • Qualified, caring staff. • Stimulating curriculum and age-appropriate toys. • A philosophy and climate pleasing to you and right for your child’s temperament.

The Perfect Preschool How to Find the Best Fit for Your Family

By Jan Pierce

W

hen it’s time to search for the perfect preschool for your little one, you want to be sure you’re making the right decision. If you’re lucky enough to have friends who’ve done their research and are happy with their choice, you’re fortunate. You’ll have first-hand recommendations.

Be aware of the difference between day care and a functioning preschool. Day-care facilities provide custodial care, but don’t usually offer an educational curriculum. They often take children of all ages and offer extended hours. A preschool usually has limited hours and may or may not offer care before and after school. In a day care, children of all ages may be grouped together while a preschool offers segregated age groups. 16 SonomaFamilyLife

Where to Begin? There are many considerations before choosing, but be sure you start your search early. Many excellent preschools have long waiting lists. In general you’ll be looking for a school that provides the following: • The convenience of proximity to your home and/or your workplace. • A solid reputation and up-to-date accreditation and licensing. The state has approved the school.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a database of accredited preschools that you

Be aware of the difference between day care and a functioning preschool. can access at families.naeyc.org/ find-quality-child-care. This site lists currently accredited day-care facilities and schools across the nation and is updated weekly. Questions to Ask You’ll want to do your homework to find the right school for your family. Here are some questions to ask before narrowing your search and visiting several schools: • Is there currently room for my child? Is there a waiting list? • What are the fees? How and when are we billed? • How do you communicate with parents (phone calls, e-mails, newsletters, website, etc.)? • What is your staff-to-student ratio? (NAEYC recommends one adult

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


to every four to nine children as optimal at ages 2–3 and one to eight to ten for ages 4–5.) • Do your staff members have credentials and training? Are they background-checked? Up-to-date on CPR? Receiving ongoing training? • What is your educational philosophy (academic-oriented, exploration, faith-based, etc.)? Some distinct philosophies include Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio-Emilia. • What health/hygiene standards are enforced (immunizations, sick-child rules, hand-washing, etc.)? • How do you handle discipline? • Are meals and snacks provided? Are naps taken? • What safety precautions are in

place (strangers on campus, release policies, sign-in/-out)? • Can you give me a list of references? (Be sure to follow up and call them.)

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a database of accredited preschools. • Can you provide a sample of your weekly curriculum and activities? How often do you change the activities?

school. Decide whether you want to visit with your child or on your own. You’ll be looking for the qualities of a good school, but more than that you’ll want to get a “feel” for the facility. Do you feel welcome? Are the children busy and engaged in work or play? Is the facility aesthetically pleasing and orderly? Do you get the sense that you’d feel comfortable leaving your child in this school’s care? Are the children happy? If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable with the school environment, trust your instincts and look for another school.

As you gather information you’ll be able to narrow your list down to two or three good choices. When you’re ready, go ahead and schedule a visit to the

Jan Pierce, MEd, is a retired teacher and the author of Homegrown Readers and Homegrown Family Fun. Find her at janpierce.net.

“Where children learn to play and play to learn” Ages 2 years, 9 months–5 years We are passionate about providing a supportive atmosphere of discovery, joy, and creativity where children learn about the world around them through social interaction and hands-on learning.

707-546-7330 2095 Franklin Ave • Santa Rosa www.franklinparkpreschool.org www.sonomafamilylife.com

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only drained one side. (I mean this in all seriousness.) • You won’t have to worry about leakage on the non-nursing side— potentially wasting precious drops of liquid gold. Although there is something called a Haakaa to address this issue.

Nursing is so important, but nursing twins can be challenging.

Tandem Nursing Twins B The Good, the Bad, and the Doable

By Amanda Melrose

reastfeeding your children is a wonderful thing, for so many reasons. If you’re planning to breastfeed your twins, even part of the time, that’s awesome. You may be considering trying tandem nursing your twins, just as I was when I was pregnant with mine. There are some really great things about breastfeeding twins together, and also some not-so-great things. I am sharing my experience with it in the hopes that it can help set you up for success with nursing your twins. What’s Good So what are the pros of tandem nursing twins?

• It helps keep babies on a schedule. While I am not a schedule person, I know many twin moms swear by having their twins on a schedule. If that is something you want to do, tandem nursing will help. 18 SonomaFamilyLife

• You spend less time overall breastfeeding. • The experience of nursing both babies together can be very special. • It can be relaxing if you get yourself set up right and have someone there to help. • You won’t walk around with lopsided boobs because your baby

• If both twins are hungry at the same time, you won’t have to make one wait while the other twin nurses. What’s Not So Good Here are the reasons I don’t like tandem nursing so much: • There’s less freedom of movement. Getting set up to tandem breastfeed twins takes some effort, and once you have both babies settled and latched, you’ll be stuck in that position until they are done. • There’s less one-on-one time with each twin. • It’s very difficult to do alone (although this is often when it is most necessary). This does get easier once they get bigger and are able to latch without your help. • Feeding them together on purpose gets them on the same schedule, which is something I want to avoid. • If you’re not tandem nursing all the time, you might not have enough milk to satisfy both babies at one feeding and may need to give them both a bottle after. This happened to me a lot even when I was trying

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


RELENTLESSLY PURSUING EXCELLENCE FOR ALL STUDENTS to tandem nurse my twins around the clock. This ended up making each feeding take a long time. Nursing is so important, but nursing twins can be challenging. So while I don’t tend to enjoy tandem nursing, I have learned how to do it. If I start nursing one twin and the other wakes up hungry, I’m not about to just let them cry. So I grab them and get them latched, too, no matter how awkward the position I might

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The experience of nursing both babies together can be very special. find myself in. In those moments, I don’t have time to grab that nursing pillow or stool and set myself up on the couch. I make it work, even if my back is close to breaking and my arms are ready to fall off. That’s what being a mom is like a lot of the time, especially with twins. Being a mom of twins can be tough, especially when it comes to nursing. Even with all the advice out there, there are going to be so many things you have to figure out as you go. Remember not to be hard on yourself. Life can get in the way of your best-laid plans, and that’s OK. Whatever you decide for your baby is the right decision. ¶ This article was adapted from the post “Tandem Breastfeeding Twins—the Good and the Bad,” published on the blog Twenty Tiny Toes. Amanda Melrose is the author of the blog Twenty Tiny Toes, twentytinytoes.com.

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July 2021

SonomaFamilyLife 19


up, and put one foot in front of the other, whether things always go our way or not. Pack three meals plus two protein snacks. Make sure your child is not suffering from low blood sugar, which can increase anxiety. If your child shows signs of sugar lows, like shaky hands or emotional

Don’t Worry! Teach Teens to Navigate Anxiety By Christina Katz

C

an you anxiety-proof your kids? Probably not completely—especially during the pandemic—but, using these tips, you can help them feel calmer.

Affirm nerves are normal. Wouldn’t life be dull if there was never anything to get anxious about? Of course it would. Talk to your child about facing, showing up for, and walking through life’s challenges and how all of this makes us stronger and more confident. You might be tempted to minimize challenges for an emotionally sensitive child, but confronting a steady, manageable flow of age-appropriate challenges is not only educational in the short run, it’s also healthy in the long run. Teach self-soothing. Multi-sensory experiences can immediately shift a child out of a nervous mood: taking a bath, 20 SonomaFamilyLife

singing songs out loud, or vigorously exercising outdoors. Experiment with tension-relieving activities in low-pressure settings so you have something to turn to when you need it. Get in the life-long habit of consciously lowering anxiousness and then redirecting attention in a more productive manner. Let excitement feel scary. Is your child excited? Even healthy excitement can feel a little scary sometimes. Not knowing how things will turn out usually makes the heart rate go up and is part of the joy of living. We don’t get to control every outcome, which leads to suspense. So our job is to feel the excitement, show

Multi-sensory experiences can immediately shift a child out of a nervous mood. outbursts between meals, blood sugar might be an issue. Make a habit of grabbing a sandwich or a protein pack before a stressful event, no matter what the time of day. Avoid sugar and caffeine. Avoid sodas and candy. Consider eliminating all foods with high fructose corn syrup from your family’s diet. If your child has food sensitivities or allergies, take steps to address them so foods don’t become an anxiety trigger. If sugar and caffeine are often consumed, let them follow meals so they don’t trigger a blood sugar roller coaster. Accept personality quirks. Never assume your child can handle something simply because you would have been able to handle it or because your child’s siblings or friends can. Part of letting your child be an individual is not comparing her to others. After a challenging experience, ask her how she feels, rather than assuming how she should feel. Be interested in the ways your child experiences life differently from you and from others. Support her individuality by validating her uniqueness.

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


Cheer them on. We have so many jobs as parents, but being a cheerleader is one of our most important roles. Don’t take yourself so seriously as a grown-up that you can’t come down to your child’s level and say, “You can do it!” Your child needs you next to her,

Even healthy excitement can feel a little scary sometimes. encouraging her, not scowling down from on high, fretting about outcomes. If you want your kids to be brave, don’t pressure them— cheer them on instead. Weather disappointments. As a parent, you must be able to see your child cry without over-reacting. Teaching a child to avoid crying at all costs is like saying that experiencing

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disappointment or sadness makes them weak. When we teach kids to embrace challenging emotions, to dig deep and be honest so they can express feelings no matter how challenging in the moment, they become more resilient, empathetic citizens. Reward bravery. We live in a fairly unpredictable world, so it’s a great idea to teach kids how to take healthy risks. Kids who learn to push themselves to achieve goals will have less energy to channel into risky or adrenaline-fueled behavior. A great end-of-the-week dinner topic for families is: Who gets to wear an invisible crown of bravery? Reward the daring, rather than the results, and then kids will learn that courage is its own reward. ¶ Christina Katz is an author and writing coach.

When to Seek Professional Help If your child consistently displays the following symptoms, consult a mental health professional. 1. Anxiousness to the point of headaches, stomachaches, and tiredness with no other known physical cause. 2. Chronic sleeping problems, including going to sleep, waking up, or staying asleep. 3. Low self-esteem characterized by being excessively hard on the self for no logical reason. 4. Consistent excessive worry about everyday things such as school, friends, grades, teachers, etc. 5. Avoiding school, withdrawing from friends, being irritable with authority figures, experiencing successive high-highs and low-lows, using substances, obsessing over food and weight, or other self-destructive behaviors.

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Check out the schedule on our site sonomalibrary.org/summerreading2021 July 2021

SonomaFamilyLife 21


their feelings and their experience. Try not to let your feelings get hurt by this; different people handle their emotions differently. LEO You are so much fun! You are goofy and charismatic, and whether you notice it or not, people are always paying attention to what you’re doing. Make sure you are paying attention back, because sometimes you can hurt feelings without meaning to.

Kids’ Astro-Guide Astrology to Friendship for Teens By Nikki Van De Car ARIES When you like someone, you make sure they know it! You are generous with compliments and affection, and you love to go out and do things with your friends. Make sure you remain patient with those who aren’t quite as energetic as you are, and pay attention to whether you’re being overly bossy. You know it happens sometimes! TAURUS Your friends can always rely on you. You are a calming influence. Because you always know what’s really going on, you can help your friends see through their own confusion. But make sure, little bull, that you don’t give in to your natural stubbornness—other people have good ideas, too!

22 SonomaFamilyLife

You really care about the world around you. GEMINI You love having a big circle of friends, and because you are able to see so many different points of view, you tend to like a wide variety of people. Just make sure you give yourself the space and freedom to spend some time alone. If you don’t, you’re likely to get overwhelmed by all the demands on your time. CANCER Your naturally empathetic nature makes you such a good listener, it’s no wonder so many of your friends love you so! Remember that they might not all be as emotionally mature as you are—or as willing to talk about

VIRGO Your caring nature means that you are always the person your friends call when there’s a problem— and you’re always capable of handling that problem! Whether it’s for advice or just a listening ear, your friends can depend on you. But if you don’t

You are reliable and loyal, and your friends love you for it. pay attention, you’ll end up feeling resentful, because you’ll start feeling like you do all the work. Remember, you get to ask for help, too. LIBRA Your thoughtfulness and ability to understand all sides of a situation make you a valuable friend, and don’t ever doubt it! Sometimes, your shyness might keep you from feeling like you can let your friends really know who you are. Trust them! SCORPIO It takes a little bit of work to get past your protective shell, but once someone works their way into your affections, you are an amazing friend. You are fiercely loyal and will stand up for your friends in any situation. Try to take a little advice from Libra and remember that there are two sides to every story—and you might not always be right.

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


SAGITTARIUS Your sense of adventure and fun draws people to you—particularly people who want to follow along with your interests. You’re optimistic, and if someone doesn’t get you, that’s fine, because you’re on to the next thing! Make sure you stop and look occasionally, though, because you might be missing out on something (or someone) great.

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CAPRICORN You are reliable and loyal, and your friends love you for it. You’re the planner of the group, which is good because otherwise you all

You are so much fun! You are goofy and charismatic. might just sit around all day! Allow yourself to have fun, too—you can’t be responsible for everyone! AQUARIUS You’re imaginative and fun, and you have a big heart—you really care about the world around you. You can get a little stuck in your head sometimes, and your friends might think you’re mad at them for something. Make sure to let them know that you aren’t! This is just how you are. PISCES You are a dreamer and a lover. You idealize your friends, but you also know exactly who they are— you can help them become the very best version of themselves. You are so easygoing, though, that sometimes your friends might take advantage of you without even realizing it. ¶ Excerpted, with permission, from The Junior Astrologer’s Handbook: A Kid’s Guide to Astrological Signs, the Zodiac, and More by Nikki Van De Car, illustrated by Uta Krogmann (Running Press, 2021).

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July

Calendar of Events

Thursday 1 FREE Common Ground Support Groups for Special Needs Families.

For parents of disabled, special needs, or unique-need children. Facilitator will provide support & education on a variety of topics. Groups meet outside & follow COVID-19 guidelines. commongroundsociety.org. FREE Autism Online Support Group.

Child Parent Institute facilitator will provide support & education on a variety of topics. Meets first Thursday of the month. 9:30–11 a.m. Info: 872-7242. Register: calparents.org. FREE Functional & Beautiful: Plants of Many Uses. Short science

spiel on Sonoma County parks, including Q&A, via Facebook Live. July 8: Try Your Hand at Nature Journaling. July 15: Mosquitos, Oh My! July 22: Sea Urchins. July 29: Owl Pellets: What Was for Dinner? 2:30–2:45 p.m. (En español 22 de julio a las 2 p.m.) facebook.com/ sonomacountyregionalparks. Hot Dog Thursday at the Air Museum. A family event that takes

place on the field among the airplanes & helicopters. $6–$9. COVID-19 guidelines followed. 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Pacific Coast Air Museum. One Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa. 575-7900. pacificcoastairmuseum.org.

Friday 2 Old High School Movie Night. Drive-in

movie under the stars of Tomales. Benefits the Shoreline Unified School 24 SonomaFamilyLife

District. Wine, beer & snacks available. July 2: The Sandlot. July 9: Weekend at Bernie’s. July 16: The Great Outdoors. July 23: What About Bob? July 30: National Lampoon’s Vacation. $40 per car. Dusk. William Tell House. 26955 Hwy. 1, Tomales. williamtellhouse. com/music-events. FREE Friday Night Live & Street Fair. Concerts, vendor booths

& a variety of family-friendly activities, including jumpy castles & rock-climbing walls. July 2: Maxx Cabello Jr. (R&B) July 9: Kingsborough (rock). July 16: B-Side Players (Latin, global & funk). July 23: Mestizo Beat Quintet (Afro-Latin soul). July 30: David Luning Band (Americana). Fridays. 6:30–9:30 p.m. Downtown Plaza. 122 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. 894-4410. cloverdaleartsalliance.org.

Saturday 3 Lavender Daze. Walk lavender

labyrinth & visit geese, ducks & chickens. $10 per car. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Bees ’N Blooms. 3883 Petaluma Hill Rd., Santa Rosa. Registration required: beesnblooms.com.

Sunday 4 4th of July Kids Parade & Duck Dash. Kids are encouraged to dress in costumes & arrive on bikes, tricycles & wagons decorated in red, white & blue. Live music, games & races. 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Parade: 11:30 a.m. Healdsburg Plaza, Healdsburg. rotaryclubofhealdsburgsunrise.org.

Thursday 8 Flynn Creek Circus. A rurally based, award-winning circus bringing international talent to the North Bay. Food/drink for purchase. July 8 & 9: 8 p.m. July 10: 5 & 8* p.m. (*Adults 21+ only). July 11: 1 & 4 p.m. Luther Burbank Center. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. flynncreekcircus.com.

Friday 9 FREE Party on the Plaza. Farmers’ market, outdoor concert, food & craft vendors. Fridays. 5–8 p.m. Rohnert Park Library. 500 City Center Dr., Rohnert Park. rpcity.org. FREE E-Waste Recycling. Accepted:

TVs, computers & microwaves. Not accepted: appliances, batteries & fluorescent lamps. Thru July 11. Sponsored by Zero Waste Recycling. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Lucchesi Park. 320 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. Visit website for full list of acceptable items: zerowastesonoma.gov.

Saturday 10 Science Saturdays. Small-group, kids-only activity hour. Meets second Saturday of each month. Ages 6–12. Parking $7 or free for Regional Parks members. Two sessions: 1–2 p.m. & 3–4 p.m. Environmental Discovery Center. 393 Violetti Rd., Santa Rosa. Registration required: parks. sonomacounty.ca.gov. Info: kalen. roloff@sonoma-county.org. FREE Wine Country Canine Fun Run. Benefitting Marin Humane.

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


Specialty Camps for Kids Theme is 1960s All American County Fair. Prizes for best outfits of 1960s TV characters. COVID-19 guidelines followed. Free for spectators. 7:30 a.m. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. sonomacountyfair.com.

Join us and enroll your child this summer in one of our many specialty camps including adventure, animals, art, engineering, science, sports & more! Register now at SantaRosaRec.com

Wolf House Tour. Jack London

State Park. Hike is 1–1.5 hrs. $10 per car. Tours depart 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays. Jack London State Historic Park. 2400 London Ranch Rd., Glen Ellen. No reservations required. jacklondonpark. com/wolf-house-tour.

HOME OF

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Sunday 11 FREE Sunset Beach Needs Some TLC. Help remove litter & other debris. All tools, gloves & materials provided. Two sessions: 9–11 a.m. & 10 a.m.– noon. Sunset Beach River Park. 11403 River Rd., Forestville. Registration required: tinyurl.com/53a5eypb.

Friday 16 Shrek at the Drive-In. $25 per

car. Food for purchase. 7 p.m. Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. 175 Fairgrounds Dr., Petaluma. Registration required: visitpetaluma. com/event/shrek-drive-in-movie.

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Faith Formation Classes 20% off packing and moving

Spaceballs at the Drive-In. $30 per

Catechesis Supplies. of Good Shepherd Pre-K (ages 3-6) Sacramental Preparation or Religious Education Classes (Grades 1-5) Online and hybrid classes beginning September

car in advance, $35 at the gate; $15 for walk-ins & $5 for students. Gates: 7:45 p.m. Healdsburg Community Center. 1557 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. avfilmsociety.org.

6001 Commerce Blvd. Rohnert Park, CA 94928 707-588-8878

Salvation Army Car(e) Show. Car

ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON CHURCH FAITH FORMATION

show, food & music. Petaluma Salvation Army fundraiser for school supplies for local kids. $25. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Casa Grande High School. www.sonomafamilylife.com

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July 2021

SonomaFamilyLife 25


333 Casa Grande Rd., Petaluma. eventbrite.com.

p.m. Foundry Wharf. 625 2nd St, Petaluma. eventbrite.com.

Friday 23

Wednesday 28

Mamma’s 3-Day Empowerment

Sonoma County Fair. Modified fair

& Yoga Retreat. July 23–25. $1,287.

will feature a carnival, live adult & children’s concerts & youth garden & livestock exhibits. Rodeo & monster truck events for separate fees. Fair admission: $5–$10; free for ages 5 & younger. Carnival wristbands: $25. July 28–Aug. 1 & Aug. 4–8. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. sonomacountyfair.com.

Isis Oasis Retreat Center. 20889 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. sharaogin.com/pages/mamma-retreat. The Lion King Kids. Outdoor

performance featuring North Bay Theatric students. Bring blanket or low-back lawn chairs. Suggested $5 donation. July 23–24. Seating: 6 p.m. Show: 6:30 p.m. La Plaza Park. Old Redwood Hwy., Cotati. facebook.com/ nbtcotati.

Saturday 24

Pet Caricatures with Joe Wos.

Bring pets for a personalized caricature. Donation of $5. 2–5 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. schulzmuseum.org.

CALL BY JUNE 30

Aqus Foundry Fest. A small live

music festival. $25. Sells out fast. 3–10

Thursday 29 Outdoor Storytelling & Cartooning with Joe Wos. Live cartooning &

storytelling performances, both to be followed by a book signing of Wos’s A-Maze-Ing Maze book series. Free with admission ($5–$12; museum members & ages 3 & younger free). 3 & 4 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. schulzmuseum.org.

Saturday 31 Transformation: Rolla Duets & Beethoven Quartet. Live show in the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. $50. 5 p.m. Hanna Boys Center. 17000 Arnold Dr., Sonoma. valleyofthemoonmusicfestival.org.

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July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


Enjoy Cider Tasting in the Orchard RESERVE A TABLE Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

We’re excited to welcome you to California’s first-ever Cider Tasting Orchard! Enjoy cider in its purest form, right where the apples grow and the cider is made, while you relax in the shade of 100-year-old apple trees. There’s fresh air, blue skies, and plenty of social distancing here for you. DOGS WELCOME

www.gowansheirloomcider.com

707-205-1545 • (1/2 mile north of Gowans Oaktree) Highway 128, Philo


Humor Break YMCA. Sporting a stretched-out old top in a pool full of wiggly kids sounds like a recipe for disaster, and it was: I inadvertently flashed the entire pool full of kids and their stunned parents when my top slipped down during the “jumping fish” song.

Mommy Has a Brand-New Suit One Mom Embraces Sensible Chic

By Malia Jacobson

W

hen I haul my kids to the local pool, I sport a spanking-new swimsuit. With its sturdy straps and sensible seat coverage, it doesn’t resemble anything you’d see on a runway. No whimsical flight of poolside fancy, this baby is built to withstand ultra-chlorinated kiddie pools and over-zealous laundering. Jelly fingerprints and sippy cup mishaps are no match for the industrial-strength fabric.

the pace of mom life. Like many of motherhood’s lessons, this one dawned slowly. My first inklings came after I spent several seaside afternoons sprinting after my toddler in a woefully unsupportive top. Soon after, I realized that my fashionable swimsuits were quite a bit of work. I was constantly adjusting my top and feeling up my own rear end for tactile evidence that my bottoms were still on. Not pretty.

It’s a mommy suit, and I’ll wear it with pride. When I slip on this wonder of engineering, I’ll join legions of other moms slapping on sunscreen and proffering towels in suits built for endurance, not style.

I knew change was in the air. That knowledge, however, was insufficient. It took a starring role in a peep show at a toddler swim class to drive the point home.

I’ve learned that the pretty swimsuits of my youth aren’t built to withstand 28 SonomaFamilyLife

One Saturday morning, I made the mistake of wearing a bandeau-style bikini to a parent-child swim at the

By the time I felt the breeze tickling my upper torso, it was too late to hide the damage from the extremely embarrassed dad standing five feet in front of me. Carefully avoiding eye contact with everyone over the age of two, I scraped together a few shreds of dignity, hoisted up my top, and swore to get a new suit. Post-flash, I’m approaching the world of swimwear with a new perspective. In the weary trenches of early parenthood, function trumps fashion. Bikinis don’t stand a chance in the chaotic world of the toddler pool. Suits designed to look good in a lounge chair require constant monitoring and repositioning, and we moms can’t be bothered. We’re too busy monitoring and repositioning our kids. Judging from the countless moms I’ve seen in near-identical suits, I know I’m not alone in my appreciation for sensible swimwear. So I’m embracing my one-piece. It won’t win me any admiring glances or a spot on the yummy-mummy list, but it will stand up to whatever the summer dishes out. And I don’t have to worry about any more swim-class wardrobe malfunctions. The local Y, its pool patrons, and the entire toddler-swim community will thank me, I’m sure. ¶ Malia Jacobson is a nationally published journalist and mom.

July 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com


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hat sparkles and shines and starts with a vroom? Cars, of course. A fascination with vehicles can start at an early age. For those who have engine-lovers in their families, there is the Salvation Army Car(e) Show. Music, food, and awards will be part of the event, which will be held on July 17, 10 a.m.–3 p.m., at the Casa Grande High School in Petaluma. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased via evenbrite.com or tinyurl.com/k53vwe4y. Proceeds will go toward purchasing school supplies for local children. ¶

Get Mom’s Attention! Parties

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It’s Movie Night!

G

ood things come in small packages. Just ask the tiny town of Tomales, which is hosting outdoor movies this summer. The Old High School baseball field will be turned into a drive-in movie theater, complete with a 40-foot screen. This month’s schedule is as follows: The Sandlot, July 2; Weekend at Bernie’s, July 9; Great Outdoors, July 16; What About Bob? July 23, and National Lampoon’s Vacation, July 30. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 per car and may be purchased via williamtellhouse.com/ music-events. The series, which runs through August 27, benefits the Shoreline Unified School District. ¶ www.sonomafamilylife.com

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