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FREE November 2021

Time for our annual





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Volume 40 • Number 8 • November 2021


39 in c e 1 9 8 2


in every issue

14 Beyond Food Banks Unique ways to help feed your neighbors

10 Publisher’s Letter & San Diego Military Families

18 Spotlight on Navy Families In honor of Military Family Month

12 Short & Sweet News | Notes | Tips

22 Holiday Toy Guide Part one of our local family reviews

34 November Calendar

Fall happenings, turkey trots and more

30 A Season of Giving Thanks

Photo courtesy of Mattel

A round-up of fall crafts and ways to give back

NEW DIGITAL GUIDE San Diego Babies & Toddlers Arriving Nov. 1 parenting/baby

4 • • November 2021

On the Cover: Jana and daughters Vivian & Eleanor welcome home Lt. Col. Jon VonSeggern (a Weapons Systems Officer for the Marine Corps) from deployment. Cover photo: Anne Alfonzo Photography

Shen Yun is Coming Next Month! A Perfect Holiday Gift. Don’t Miss It! Take a magical journey through 5,000 years of civilization! Travel back to ancient dynasties. Watch myths and legends come alive. Discover vibrant ethnic and folk traditions. Stunning classical Chinese dance, colorful costuming, breathtaking backdrops and enchanting melodies will not only delight your senses but also nourish your soul. Many say Shen Yun is the only performance that three generations of family members can come and enjoy together. Experience the all-new Shen Yun program!

All-New Program with Live Orchestra


The Beauty & Wisdom of Ancient China Before Communism




DEC 28-29 San Diego Civic Theatre JAN 13-17 California Center for the Arts, Escondido

—Broadway World “If you want to teach your kids the importance of hard work, dedication, and persistence, Shen Yun is a living example.” “So much depth, and beauty, and spiritual expression, and art. Amazing!” —Ola Rafalo, opera singer

“Defies description... [a performance] that has overwhelmed, excited, and completely mesmerized. Extraordinary magic.” magic.” —La Voce di New York


It was encouraging. It gave me hope that even in places and times of oppression and darkness, so much light can come out of that. —Paul Skousen, Professor and Author

Presented by San Diego Falun Dafa Association

on the web Get to know, where you’ll discover a plethora of awesomeness for parents.



To enter these contests, visit, go to “Contests”, then “This Month’s Contests.”

Things to Do: Dining & Recipes • Friendsgiving for Kids • Mini Mason Jar Pies

Photo credit:

• Sweet Potato Swirled Cheesecake

For the Kids: Kid Tested Toy & Product Review

Ralphs and Food 4 Less can help create a holiday meal to wow your guests–with awesome seasonal appetizers, main dishes, holiday desserts and baking ideas–while saving you money. Order your holiday meal online this year at or Enter to win a $100 gift card to use at Ralphs or Food 4 Less. Contest ends Nov. 29.

• Count Down to the Holidays + DIY Advent Calendars

Get a jump on gifts for the holidays!

Can’t find what you’re looking for on our website? Enter key words in the search bar and browse our articles.

Follow Us: San Diego Family SDFamily

San Diego Family Magazine sandiegofamilymagazine

6 • • November 2021

The Big Dig Special Edition

We’re making the season bright by giving away select toys from our kidtested toy review on page 22. Enter today for a chance to win! Contest ends Nov. 29.

Enter to win a Literacy Advent Calendar (Stack of Books!) for your family. Contest ends Nov. 29. Discover fun ways to count down to the holidays at

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Editorial Publisher/Editor in Chief Sharon Bay Managing Editor Lisa Gipson Calendar Editor Linda Bay Editorial/Administrative Assistant Adrienne Sigeti

Design Art Design/Web Design Rik Thiesfeld

in partnership with

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Cover photo: Anne Alfonzo Photography

Editorial Guidelines Find editorial guidelines at (“Editorial” at the bottom of the home page). Submission does not guarantee publication. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

Distribution Locations Pick up a free copy of this month’s issue at Albertsons, select Vons and CVS stores throughout the county.

San Diego

Out & About

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Giovanni Baldan 619-685-6987 • South Bay, San Diego Downtown, Uptown 619-685-6970 • All other areas San Diego Family Magazine is published monthly by San Diego Family Magazine LLC. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily the opinions of this publication.

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November 2021 • •


Our San Diego

Publisher & Staff Sentiments


During Military Family Month (November), be sure to thank a local military family for their service and sacrifices.

This Thanksgiving I am extra grateful to San Diego’s healthcare and essential workers who have sacrificed so much during the pandemic. ~Adrienne Sigeti

HM2 Don Williams of Santee and his son Theodore (2.5) at the USS Portland Command picnic in front of the United Through Reading (UTR) van. Don used the UTR van to record himself reading a story so that Theodore and Don’s daughter Sunday (3 mo.) can watch the recording and read along while he is deployed. The USS Portland deployed on August 4 and will return in the spring of 2022.

Our teen son was born with a rare genetic deletion on Thanksgiving weekend. Every year we celebrate his health and think about the incredible life-saving capabilities of San Diego doctors who repaired his heart. ~Emily Dolton With all the various doctor visits lately, I am grateful I’m alive, somewhat healthy, and spending time with my loving wife of 31 years, Joy. ~Giovanni Baldan On behalf of the San Diego Family staff, thank you to our readers for continuing to enjoy our magazine, whether it be in print or via the digital issue at A big thank you to our partners who have continued advertising throughout the last two years—and to the companies and schools who are now advertising again. We love connecting your events, programs, products and services with our readers. Thank heavens our country is getting back in order. My family and staff are healthy. We are able to travel more. My five grandkids are doing great in high school and college. We will all be together for Thanksgiving! ~Sharon Bay

Cece Cearley and her kids Dean (2) & Alexandria (1) welcome home husband/dad LCpl Troy Cearley, who just returned from a seven-month deployment in Africa. He serves in the Marine Corps; stationed at Miramar Air Station.

Photo credit: Foreveraholic Photography

We Are So Thankful!


Main Office: 1475 Sixth Avenue, Fifth Floor, San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: 619-685-6970 Fax: 619-685-6978 Email: Mission Statement To enhance the quality of life for San Diego County families by providing information and resources that support the importance and pleasure of parenting.

10 • • November 2021

Photo credit: Master Sergeant Blanca E. Gonzalez-Phelps of MCAS Miramar (a mom of three) hugs daughter Victoria (7) at a Marine Corps retirement ceremony where Blanca was recognized for 20 years of honorable service. “I gave a speech thanking my family for their sacrifices and support during my years of service,” she says. Now Blanca looks forward to school drop-offs and pick-ups, field trips, and just being Mom.

Brian Hutchinson, RT, of Point Loma (pictured with wife Tia and daughters Brianna, 9, and Ava, 5) has a leadership role in the Sigma Alpha Gamma Military Fraternity. The group meets regularly to feed the homeless downtown; they also volunteer to place flags on the graves of fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

Lydia and daughter Ava (4) welcome home Sgt. Burkhart of MCAS Miramar after an 11-month deployment.

HOLIDAY MAGIC IS HERE! Gisella Mancilla, husband GYSGT Friedman of the Marine Corps and son Brandon (4) reunite after a deployment tour. They live in Point Loma.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park invites you to enjoy six enchanting model railroads, including a Toy Train Gallery decorated for the season! Peek into our past through historical railroads and exhibits, and find the perfect gift for a train lover in our gift shop. Open Thursday - Sunday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day. 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park | 619-696-0199 | November 2021 • •


Short & Sweet

Lisa Gipson Needed – Caring Resource Parents

Editor’s Picks

There are many San Diego County kids in foster care who need a safe, stable, nurturing home while they wait to be reunited with their families. Register for a virtual orientation to learn more about becoming Resource Parents for a foster child in need. Learn more at the Live Well San Diego website:

Thankful by Elaine Vickers is the story of a little girl who makes a “thankful chain” every year that lasts through December. Featuring charming, diorama-like illustrations by Samantha Cotterill, this picture book will quickly become a favorite as it inspires families to discuss everyday things they are thankful for.

Tips for Military Families Jennifer Eason of Poway had a 3-year-old daughter and 6-month-old twins when her husband deployed. Here are some of her tips to help kids feel connected when a loved one is on deployment: • We put a chocolate Kiss in a jar to give Daddy his “nightnight” kiss. When he was on deployment, we sent them in a care package (sealed in a baggie in case they melted).

Paige’s Pantry provides free produce to families in need while helping teens and adults with developmental disabilities learn organizational skills, communication, administrative skills and more. How can you help? They’re always looking for volunteers! Paige’s Pantry also needs produce donations from local farms, organizations and backyard growers to expand their reach. To volunteer or make a produce or monetary donation, visit

• A daddy or mommy doll is great because it features a photo of the parent (check Hug-a-Hero online). There are also people who make teddy bears out of old uniforms to comfort children. • I bought recordable books from Amazon (or Hallmark) so the kids could hear a story in Daddy’s voice while he was gone. My daughter really liked that! • When we received his return date, we made a paper chain as a visual countdown to Daddy coming home.

12 • • November 2021

Sunday isn’t Sunday unless there’s a big family gathering and lovingly prepared meal at Granny’s house! What’s on the menu? You’ll have to read Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham to find out, but here’s a hint: the book includes a recipe for baked mac & cheese. Yum! Available Nov. 16. Where Three Oceans Meet by Rajani LaRocca is a beautifully illustrated book that follows the journey of Sejal, Mommy and Pati (three generations) as they make their way to the southern tip of India and Kanyakumari, where three oceans meet.

Makers Unite! Get a jump on your holiday shopping at the San Diego Made Holiday Market, featuring 85 locally curated makers, food trucks, music and more. Nov. 13, 10 am–5 pm; Admission is $5. JULEP Venue, 1735 Hancock St., Mission Hills.

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Beyond Food Banks

Unique ways to help feed your neighbors As we approach the busy holiday

season, let’s remember those who are struggling with hunger. Consider expressing gratitude this Thanksgiving (or any time of the year) by volunteering with your family. Here are unique opportunities to get involved and support families experiencing food insecurity. Volunteer if you’re able; the life lessons for children are endless— and it feels good to give back.

Share Your Passion for Cooking If cooking fills you with joy, Lasagna Love offers the fulfilling experience of making lasagna for a neighbor experiencing hard times. “Lasagna Love is the most heartwarming project that I’ve ever been a part of,” says Regional Leader Freddi Pakier. The organization feeds hundreds of San Diegans each week with home-cooked meals. Volunteer chefs sign up online, choose the frequency they’d like to provide a meal (minimum once/ month), preferred driving distance, and if they’re able to accommodate special dietary needs. Leaders connect volunteers with families and then arrange contactless delivery at a mutually agreed upon time. Volunteers deliver a hot dish ready to eat or one to reheat.

Volunteer Outdoors Spend a Saturday in a North County backyard or small farm picking

14 • • November 2021

Cherie Gough

citrus from overloaded trees. Fruit is donated weekly to 26 local nonprofits for distribution to the community. ProduceGood recovers fresh produce from various sources (backyards, orchards, farmers markets), diverts it from landfills, and moves the produce where it’s needed most. There are many ways to help: • Donate fruit from your own tree(s). Register online to have a bumper crop of unused fruit picked by volunteers. • Volunteer to pick fruit. All ages welcome. See calendar online to sign up. • Donate. $10 provides 38 servings. For more information on getting involved, visit

Support Food Justice Founded in 2020, nonprofit I Love to Glean stocks the South County Food Hub and delivers nutritious meals to neighbors who disproportionately lack access to healthy foods. In the kitchen, volunteers package meals twice a week that are crafted using all parts of fish and imperfect produce that would otherwise go to waste. Other volunteer opportunities include packing food boxes in the warehouse and distributing boxes at events throughout the county. Volunteers ages 5-17 must be accompanied by a parent.

Donations, including wish list items, are welcome and will be used to help the organization expand and work at full capacity.

Work Behind the Scenes Most large food pantries don’t set aside and stock specialty foods for people with food allergies. Porchlight Community Services in Kearny Mesa allows clients to book appointments to “shop” for food based on dietary needs. Founded in 2016 by a single mom, this organization rescues imperfect groceries and excess prepared meals, many of them vegan and glutenfree. Their clients (more than 3,500 families) include senior citizens, foster families, and those who are immunocompromised. Volunteers help organize and restock shelves, pick up excess food from local businesses, and assist remotely with clerical duties.

Share Your Garden’s Bounty Newly established nonprofit Produce for the People allows home gardeners in Rolando and North Park to drop excess produce and pantry items curbside anytime. The program donates 25–100 pounds of produce to We All We Got SD in City Heights for weekly distribution to vulnerable neighbors in need. Their mission is to promote health equity to those experiencing disproportionate poverty





winter wonder AT













and lacking access to fresh foods. To donate, message founder Britany Rodarte on IG @dietitian.cooks for drop off locations.


Get Your Hands Dirty

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Solutions for Change in Vista works to break the cycle of homelessness using a holistic approach. One unique way to get involved is by volunteering at the aquaponics farm that raises fresh produce for program residents while teaching job skills. Teens and their families can volunteer to build, harvest and more. Families with kids of any age can also volunteer to prepare and serve dinner for new program residents. For a less hands-on approach, consider sponsoring a TransFARMation box of produce to send to a family transitioning from homelessness. Volunteers must submit an application and attend a brief orientation. take-action/volunteer.html

Have Brunch in an Urban Garden Support refugees participating in MAKE (Merging Agriculture, Kitchens and Employment) Projects. Enjoy a globally-inspired meal on Saturdays in the MAKE Café’s lush, urban garden in North Park. Each dish is inspired by refugees’ home countries and made with seasonal, organic produce grown onsite. After brunch, take a short tour of the garden, led by an intern. If takeout is more your style, order a family meal with a cultural theme through the Project CHOP (Creating Healthy Opportunities) Kitchen (also a MAKE Project). Global-To-Go meals allow for pick up and delivery Wednesday–Friday in North Park. MAKE Projects prepare refugees and immigrants for successful jobs throughout San Diego County. Their dynamic, hands-on learning engages English learners and youth to gain real-world work experience and confidence to enter American work culture. v Cherie Gough is a home-gardener and food justice advocate who loves volunteering with her family.

16 • • November 2021

1/3 of households with children ages 6-17 lack a high-speed internet connection 25% of teens are often unable to complete homework without a reliable computer or internet access 91% of Cox Connect2Compete enrolled parents agree low-cost internet service at home gives children a leg up for high school graduation 95% of parents enrolled in Cox Connect2Compete say that internet improved communication with their child’s school for full details

November 2021 • •


November is Military Family Month—a time to celebrate local

service members and their loved ones, who greatly enrich the San Diego community. Whether they’re serving those in need, raising great kids, or building relationships that matter, let’s take a moment to recognize the military-connected individuals who make our neighborhoods better.

Photo credit:

Spotlight on Navy Families

Anne Malinoski

The Sanders Family (l–r): Keevon, Krislyn, Leonie, K.D., Kambria, Karrey Jr.

The Sanders Family: Finding Community Leonie Sanders has relocated many times to support her spouse’s Navy career. Still, she considers San Diego home. There’s something special about the food here and she loves that her four kids can experience life in a major city while enjoying family-friendly vibes in surrounding neighborhoods. Most importantly, San Diego is where she met her husband, Capt. K.D. Sanders, who is currently serving as commander of Amphibious Squadron 1.

18 • • November 2021

K.D. began his 35 years of active service (and counting) as a boatswain on the USS Midway. He met Leonie at SDSU after being selected for an enlisted-toofficer commissioning program. The Sanders are both transplants to the area—Leonie is the child of an Air Force veteran and a Thai immigrant—but they are glad to have returned many times over the years. “Not having any extended family in the area, we had to create our own community,” says Leonie. “We have watched our military friends grow and move all over the world and we are thrilled when we make it back to San Diego at the same time.” Both Leonie and K.D. are biracial. For them, community always begins with fellow military families as well as the local black community. One thing that helps them feel at home here—and wherever the Navy sends them—is their membership in two African American service-based organizations: Jack and Jill of America and Alpha Kappa Alpha. “I call and introduce myself and let them know my family is coming,” she says. “I seek advice on everything ranging from doctors, schools, neighborhoods, extracurricular activities and hairstylists. Having the connection brings instant friendship for my kids as well as myself and my husband.” The family feels lucky that their children have experienced the best of two worlds. They’ve lived all over the country, but also experienced the gift of lifelong friends, whom they’ve returned to again and again—enough to feel that they’ve grown up together. “You never get used to the deployments and it never gets easier,” says Leonie, “but having a community to lean on does make it tolerable.”

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8:40 AM

Avery Alfonzo: Giving Back For 17-year-old Avery Alfonzo, volunteerism is a family value. The Mt. Carmel High School senior was recently awarded the Presidential Service Award for volunteering over 100 hours in the span of a year. “Growing up as a military kid, I was raised to understand the importance of service both to the country and our community,” she says. Avery is currently managing her seventh annual toy drive to benefit Operation Homefront and Becky’s Gift. As the child of a Navy helicopter pilot (dad Brent retired as a captain in 2020), she knows the pain of family separation during the holidays. On one especially tough Christmas morning, the family opened gifts while Dad Skyped in from Qatar. That experience inspired Avery to spread holiday joy to fellow military kids as well as families dealing with cancer. To date, she has collected more than 1,000 toys for children in need. Last year, while volunteering for the San Diego Food Bank, Avery learned that the number of food insecure people in our community doubled due to the pandemic. She enlisted the help of her mother, Anne, and together they collected half a ton of food to bolster the food bank’s efforts. “I had an overwhelming response to my food drive and saw how willing the people of our city are to help out,” she says. “I’ve learned to be comfortable asking complete strangers for donations and I’m amazed at how giving people can be.” The mother-daughter duo are also longstanding members of the National Charity League. Through the organization, they’ve volunteered for Make-A-Wish Foundation, Poway Library, After School Homework Club and more. “I am thankful that she has stuck to her endeavors,” says Anne. “It’s been a lot of work, but also very rewarding.” C








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The Davis-Muñoz Family: Raising the Next Generation Samantha Davis-Muñoz always dreamed of becoming a mother through adoption. She now shares four children with her wife, Petty Officer 1st Class Leandra Davis-Muñoz, an operations specialist in the Navy. Soon after their wedding, the couple began thinking seriously about fostering babies. “I discussed the need in foster care,” says Samantha, “that the kids were going to need extra support aside from just love. Luckily, my wife is amazing enough to have jumped on board immediately.” In December of 2017, the family welcomed 6-month-old Montgomery. He had been born the same week they applied for a foster license—it felt meant to be. Other babies entered the home and left, but his adoption was finalized one year later. Around that time, the family experienced a difficult goodbye with one of their foster children. They wanted to take a break. But a social worker called seeking temporary care for a baby girl who hadn’t been placed with a family due to her location. “We couldn’t sleep knowing she was in a group home,” says Samantha. “We picked Ventura up from a parking lot at 10:30 p.m. with her big, chubby, round cheeks.” They fostered their daughter for two years, welcoming opportunities to connect with her half-siblings and family. Their efforts to keep those relationships strong eventually paid off in the most beautiful way. “It was so humbling and such an honor to have her biological mother and family ask us personally to be her forever family.”


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San Diego Babies & Toddlers! The adoption was finalized soon after. Samantha says that thankfully, her family rarely faces discrimination as a same-sex couple fostering children in San Diego. However, there have been a few derogatory remarks directed their way. “We never let that stop us from what we believe our path to be,” she says. “We simply wish them well and carry on.” The Davis-Muñoz family is in the final stages of adopting two more children, both of whom entered the home through foster care. Samantha says that building her family through fostering has been a rewarding experience—one that has taught her to give herself and others more grace and support. Her advice to families considering this process is to become trauma informed. “Also, consider that fostering is more than fostering a child it’s fostering a family,” she says. “The goal of foster care is to help put families back together and the kids always still want to love their families. If the children end up needing a forever home, it’s a beautiful opportunity to create a family through a need.” v Anne Malinoski is a contributing writer and mother of two boys. Her husband served as a Navy submarine officer for the first five years of their marriage.

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Welcome to Part One of this year’s recommended toys—all reviewed by local kids! See the complete list at, and check out our December issue for Part Two. Flip to page 6 for details on how to win a few of these awesome toys, just in time for gift-giving.

GeoSafari Jr. Kidscope $39.99; 5+ Encourage STEM learning with the Kidscope, an engaging introduction to slide microscopes. Includes 15 slides (four unique images on each), science guide, double-eye viewer, focus knob, rotating dial and LED light.

see p. 6

Force 1 Cyclone RC Stunt Car $29.99; 8+ This mini RC rock crawler performs tricks like 360-degree spins and upside-down racing! Oversized, all-terrain LED tires can drive over carpet, grass, sand and more. Perfect for beginner RC car drivers.

see p. 6

Find 20 fun holiday countdown ideas (advent calendars and more) at LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar $39.99; 7+ This year’s Harry Potter Advent Calendar includes a playable board game! Each day reveals a unique gift, including six Harry Potter minifigures. Also available: Star Wars, Marvel, LEGO City and LEGO Friends advent calendars.

The Big Dig Special Edition $52.99; 3+ Kids love to dig in, move and dump sand in the backyard, playground or beach! The Big Dig features two-handed controls, a contoured seat, 360-degree rotation, and heavy-duty steel that supports up to 110 lbs. “My son loves to play in our sandbox with this!” says mom Jackie.

see p. 6

22 • • November 2021

Adoption Day Dolls $43.95; 3+ Just in time for National Adoption Month (November), Adoption Day Dolls include an adoption certificate, hospital wristband, blanket, diaper, and rocking cradle. Three skin tones available. “He’s so fun to play with and he’s mine,” says Demi, age 4.

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HOLIDAY TOY GUIDE 5 Second Rule, Disney Edition $19.99; 6+ Think it’s easy to name three Disney characters or movies in five seconds? Think fast and shout it out in this fun, fastpaced game. “We played it in the car on a road trip,” says mom Lynn. “It’s perfect for any Disney-fan family—and everyone can play!”

Discover more games for Family Game Night at kid-tested-toy-product-review.

Toniebox Starter Set $99.99; 3+ Toniebox is a portable, screen-free audio system that brings stories to life. Designed to foster imagination for children, the soft Toniebox “speaker cube” works in combination with Tonies, hand-painted characters containing stories, songs or educational content. The starter set comes with Playtime Puppy, a charging station and instruction manual. Additional Tonies are $14.99 each.

Paint & Create Easel Case $24.99; 4+ “Crayola offers a great, compact and sturdy kit for little artists,” says mom Alicia. “My daughter likes the selection of colors and media (paints, watercolors, colored pencils). The creativity doesn’t stop!” Includes a dual-sided tabletop easel and 65 art supplies.

24 • • November 2021

Adjustable Inline Skates for Kids $60.99; 5+ Xino Sports inline skates (kid sizes: medium 1-4; large 5-8) feature double-thick threading for seams, high-grade plastics clasps, rust-resistant, reinforced aluminum frames, and wheels with flashing LED lights (no batteries needed). Secure construction ensures a smooth, swift glide.

Colorforms 70th Anniversary Boxed Set $24.99; 3+ Take a trip down memory lane and introduce kids to Colorforms, featuring vinyl, repositionable pieces that stick like magic! Provides hours of open-ended, imaginative play that encourages storytelling. This year, Colorforms celebrates 70 years with a special anniversary set.

Galaxy Interactive Target Trainer $149; 8+ Galaxy Stars offers a live experience shooting at soccer targets on a 4’x 5’ electronic mat that can be set up against an outdoor or indoor wall. Electronic scoreboard and speakers provide a stadium feel, making it fun for all ages. Requires 4 AA batteries.

Bluey & Jean Luc’s Caravan Adventures $29.99; 3+ Inspired by the Bluey camping episode, here’s the coolest RV on the road! “This playset is well made, has great accessories, and is compatible with the Bluey car,” says mom to Veronica (age 3). “Fans of the show will love it!”

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Kindergarten teachers love students from our programs!



Get in the pool today! FREE Introductory Lesson* *Check for available times & enroll today.

Winter Science Camp Theme: The Art of Science Students will participate in hands-on experiments and activities using art to create scientific models. Subjects including, ecology, chemistry, art, nature journaling, computer design, and more. * Students will be in groups by age/grades ~ Grades 2-3 • Grades 4-5 • Grades 6-8

• Infant to adult • 3-to-1 student/ teacher ratio • Warm 90o indoor pool


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Enroll in one of the two following weeks! Dates: December 20 – 23, 2021 (4-Day Camp) Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Price: $220 Discount: $15 OFF for Siblings or Active Military

Dates: December 27 – 30, 2021 (4-Day Camp) Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Price: $220 Discount: $15 OFF for Siblings or Active Military

* Please note that the activities and subjects will be the same each week.

BE A FRIEND, TELL A FRIEND Please let other families know about our programs! Refer interested families to our website

For more information, or to register, please visit 608 51st Street, San Diego, CA 92114 • 619-263-2302 •

Poway Gymnastics

GREAT PARTY PACKAGES! • Birthdays • Scout Troops • Mommy Groups • Kid Camps • Bridal Parties

Featured on

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Kids & Adults


Air Conditioned Facility!

Visit our site to see what we’re doing to keep your kids healthy and safe!



• No Age Limit • Drop-in or Reserve • No Studio Fees • Fast Turnaround

Come In, Relax & Enjoy Creating Liberty Station 2770 Historic Decatur Rd. Barracks 14 (619) 223-1339

November 2021 • •


Military Family Month • National Adoption Month • National Gratitude Month

Day Out with Thomas

Hop on board for a real train ride with Thomas and Percy and grab your party pass to pick up favors at stops along the way. Say hello to Sir Topham Hatt, stop in the party corner for lawn game fun, have a blast in the bubble zone and more. Nov. 6–7, 11 & 13–14. $17–$21. Visit website for times. Southern California Railway Museum, 2201 S. A. St., Perris. Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

monday | 1 Candy Buy-Back at The Super Dentists. Kids can exchange candy for cash through Nov. 5; $1 for each pound. Six locations (see ad on p.3). Digital Me. Over a dozen larger-than-life exhibits in technology, art, play and media that delve into the realms of geolocation, facial recognition, artificial intelligence, computer vision and more. Through Jan. Visit website for times and tickets. Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park. Halloween Candy Buy-Back. Exchange candy for toys, activities and gift cards. Today & tomorrow, 12–6 pm. RSVP at Brain Balance, 10175 Rancho Carmel Dr. #124 & 310 3rd Ave. #C7, Chula Vista. A Year with Frog and Toad. Frog and Toad take a musical journey and discover that the differences that make them unique are also what makes their friendship so special. Through Nov. 14. $16–$18. Visit website for times. Casa del Prado Theater, Balboa Park.

26 • • November 2021

Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch. Pumpkins, corn maze, apple cannons and tractor rides. Through Nov. 8. Sun.–Thurs., 9 am–7 pm; Fri.–Sat., 9 am–10 pm. $5; 5 & under free. Additional fee for activities. Carlsbad Strawberry Fields at Cannon Rd. & I–5.

tuesday | 2 FREE Old Town Día de los Muertos. Traditional candlelight procession past over 50 traditional and contemporary Día de los Muertos altars (ofrendas). Live music, traditional face painting, mask making and more. 6:30 pm. Old Town San Diego.

friday | 5 “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favorite son through the musical’s unforgettable songs. Today & tomorrow, 7:30 pm; Nov. 7, 2 pm. $35–$60. California Center for the Arts, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido.

saturday | 6 FREE Antique & Craft Fair Vendors Day at the Farm. Crafts, collectibles, antiques and more. Nov 6–7 & 13–14, 9 am–3 pm.

15602 Olde Hwy. 80, Flinn Springs. Nature Studio: Moths & Butterflies. Get a closer look at museum specimens and create original artwork. Saturdays, 10 am–2 pm. $11.95–$19.95; 2 & under free. San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park. Sunset Train Special. Enjoy a beautiful sunset ride through East County’s rugged backcountry. Saturdays, 7 pm. $9–$18; under 3 free. Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, 750 Depot St., Campo.

sunday | 7 FREE The Carlsbad Village Street Faire. Over 750 unique vendors, children’s rides and more. 8 am–4 pm. Grand Ave. from Carlsbad Blvd. to Jefferson St. Sensory Friendly Mornings. Families with children on the spectrum or with sensory sensitivities can enjoy the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in a quiet and accepting setting. Today & Nov. 21, 10 am–12 noon. $9.50. 320 N. Broadway, Escondido.

Photo courtesy of Mattel


Still looking for last month’s events? Check out the digital edition of our October issue at

monday | 8

friday | 12

Mechanics Alive! Explore small, surreal worlds through mechanical sculptures in this interactive experience that combines science, technology, engineering, art and math. Visit website for times and tickets. Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Over 100 acres of beautifully decorated park, including a towering sea-themed Christmas tree and a holiday music-activated tunnel of lights. Through Jan 2. Visit website for tickets. Interstate 5, exit SeaWorld Dr.

Balboa Park Carousel. Open daily, 11 am–5:30 pm. $3 per ride or 4 for $10. Corner of Zoo Pl. & Park Blvd., Balboa Park.

saturday | 13

wednesday | 10 “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Celebrate the holidays as the Old Globe Theatre is once again transformed into the snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Whohash. Nov. 10−Dec. 31. Visit website for tickets. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way.

thursday | 11

Family Space Night. Blast off into the universe and put your astronaut skills to the test with hands-on activities about space exploration, Mars Rover, astronaut jetpacks and more. 5–7:30 pm. $15. Preregistration required. San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, 320 N. Broadway, Escondido. Fall Garden Festival. Outdoor demonstrations and tours. 10 am–2 pm. $4–$8; 2 & under free. The Water Conservation Garden, 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. W., El Cajon.

FREE Veterans Day Ceremony. 11 am. La Colonia Park, 715 Valley Ave. Solana Beach. Veterans Day Celebration at the USS Midway Museum. Virtual and onboard celebrations honoring our service members. 10 am–4 pm. Visit website for tickets. 910 N. Harbor Dr. FREE Veterans Day Ceremony. 11 am. Veterans Park, 14134 Midland Rd., Poway.

thursday | 18 FREE Family Arts and Literacy Night. Enjoy a live performance, an art project for the entire family and a free book for each household with a new theme each month. 6:30 pm. The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 6845 University Ave.

friday | 19 Friday Night at the Drive-In: “Polar Express.” Gates open, 7 pm; movie, 8 pm. $20 per vehicle. High Tech High parking lot, 5331 Mt. Alifan Dr.

tuesday | 16

“Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show.” Cheer on Ebenezer Scrooge’s rediscovery of the Christmas spirit in this riotous Dickens mash-up filled with music and laughter—all set in “wintery” San Diego. Through Dec. 26. Visit website for times and tickets. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way.

“Hairspray.” Join 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad in 1960’s Baltimore as she sets out to dance her way onto TV’s most popular show. Through Nov. 21. Starting at $35. Visit website for times. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave.

FREE Santee Holiday Lighting Celebration. Sledding, carriage rides, Santa photos, live music and more. 5:30–8:30 pm. Santee Trolley Square, 9884 Mission Gorge Rd.

wednesday | 17

saturday | 20

Paws and Pages. Kids in grades 1–5 read to and interact with a reptile. 5–6 pm. $10.

Brick Fest Live. LEGO exhibits, live stage shows, life-sized LEGO builds, shopping

Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

Veterans Day

Helen Woodward Animal Center, 6461 El Apajo Rd., Rancho Santa Fe.

y Family Christmas Tree Farm


• Select and cut your own Monterey Pine! • Fresh cut Noble, Douglas and Grand Fir trees! • Tree delivery and online orders available! • Your whole family will love Family Christmas Tree Farm!

Opening date, Friday November 26th Come Experience a San Diego Tradition!

$10 off

any snow flocked tree


$5 Off


Purchase of $50 or more

300 Pepper Drive • El Cajon • 619-448-5331 • • Open 7 days • 9a.m. to 9p.m. November 2021 • •


Calendar • November and more. Today & tomorrow. 9 am–5 pm. $25–$50; parking $10. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. Holidays at LEGOLAND. Live entertainment, twinkling lights and festive cheer await. Nightly tree lightings of the Park’s LEGO Christmas tree decked with spectacular lights and LEGO ornaments. Through Jan. 2. Activities included with admission. One LEGOLAND Dr., Carlsbad.

trees, potted rosemary, wreaths, garlands and poinsettias. 9 am–9 pm. Through Dec. 24. Del Mar Fairgrounds Horsepark, 14550 El Camino Real.

story led by a cast of talented actors on board a real train. Today & Nov. 26–28. $44–$50. Visit website for times. Southern California Railway Museum, 2201 S. A. St., Perris.

FREE Mother Goose Parade. Balloons, floats, equestrians and more. Visit website for time and route. El Cajon.

FREE Home for the Holidays. The iconic resort shimmers and shines as its signature red turrets are draped in thousands of sparkling lights with magical Christmas trees, snowy surprises and garlands galore. Through Jan. 2. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado.

monday | 22

FREE Holiday Street Fair. Over 450 unique food, arts and crafts vendors plus entertainment, children’s rides and more. Today & tomorrow, 9 am–4 pm. Downtown Encinitas.

Skating by the Sea. This spectacular beachfront ice rink features stunning views of the Pacific and benefits Make-A-Wish San Diego. Through Jan. 2. $35. Visit website for times. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado.

sunday | 21

wednesday | 24

FREE Pinery Christmas Trees. Pick from a wide selection of Noble and Douglas Fir

The Polar Express Train Ride. A magical re-creation of the classic children’s

In-Studio and Virtual




PROGRAMS Specifically for students aged 7-11, this class focuses on the creation, magic and collaboration of comics! Spots are limited so email us today to hold a spot!




(619) 356.1103 • WWW.LILFISH.US

Jewish Montessori Preschool in La Jolla • • • • • •

Children ages 9 months to 6 years Proven Montessori Method and Philosophy Learning through hands-on experience Integrated secular and Judaic curriculum Bilingual Program Skilled teachers, trained in early childhood development • Secured, state-of-the-art facilities

Classes are filling up quickly! For more information, contact us at

(858) 452-3030 or Beth Montessori adheres to the principles of Association Montessori International (AMI)

8660 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

Tel (858) 452-3030 • Fax (858) 777-9199 •

28 • • November 2021

thursday | 25 Thanksgiving Day O’side Turkey Trot 5M or 5K Run/ Walk. Move your feet before you eat with a costume contest, live entertainment on the course and more. 6:45–11:30 am. $28–$43. Downtown Oceanside. Encinitas Turkey Trot 5K & 10K. Start your Thanksgiving holiday fun with friends and family. Race starts and finishes under the World Famous “ENCINITAS” sign on Coast Highway 101. $48–$58. Coronado 5K Turkey Trot. Move your feet before the feast. 8–11 am. $18–$48. Tidelands Park, 2000 Mullinex Dr., Coronado. Coronado/Coronado5KTurkeyTrot Thanksgiving Brunch. Enjoy all the festive trimmings with San Diego’s incredible views from the water. $59.93– $79.90; 3 & under free. 11:30 am–1:30 pm. 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr. Thanksgiving Day 5K. Help Father Joe’s Villages provide meals to feed the hungry. 6:30–11:30 am. $30–$50. 1549 El Prado, Balboa Park.

friday | 26 Comic-Con Special Edition. The three-day conference includes exhibits, programs, cosplay, gaming and other events. Through Nov. 28. Visit website for details. San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Dr. VIRTUAL San Diego Jazz Fest. Traditional jazz, swing, blues, ragtime, boogie-woogie, gospel and rhythm and blues. Through Nov. 28. Visit website for tickets and

schedule. Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle N. FREE PB Christmas Trees. Through Dec. 24. Mon.–Fri., 10 am–10 pm; Sat. & Sun., 8 am–10 pm. 870 Garnet Ave. FREE Christmas Arts, Crafts & Vintage Market. Handmade wares, Snow’s Pony Rides & Petting Corral, Kids ‘n Paint and face painting. Through Nov. 28, 9 am–4 pm. Bates Nut Farm, 15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center. North Pole Limited. Enjoy hot chocolate, cookies and Christmas carols as you head to the North Pole to pick up Santa. Today and tomorrow, 5 & 7 pm. Starting at $30. Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, 750 Depot St., Campo.

saturday | 27 FREE Village Artisan Faire. Handmade artisan products, art objects, live music and holiday delights. 9 am–3 pm. Downtown Fallbrook. Small Business Saturday. Supporting small businesses is a great way to show your neighborhood some love this season. For details visit Boarded! Be sworn in as part of the ship crew. Be trained in: how to navigate, sword fight, bail water from a sinking ship, escape from the King’s Jail, swab the deck and other pirate skills. 10:30 am & 12:45 pm. $25–$60. Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 N. Harbor Dr.

tuesday | 30 “My Fair Lady.” The story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” Through Dec. 5. Starting at $30. Visit website for times. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave. Want us to spread the news? Email and include the name of the event or activity, a brief description, event address, date, time, cost, contact number and website. Submission does not guarantee publication. Deadline for the January issue: Dec. 1.

Discover the World of Montessori

East County MONTESSORI CHILDREN’S HOUSE OF LEMON GROVE Toddler/Preschool Lic. #376614702

8121 Braddock Place, San Diego 92114 Lemon Grove

“A Montessori Student is a Future Citizen of the World”

North County Coastal CENTRAL MONTESSORI SCHOOL Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten


San Diego Coastal BETH MONTESSORI Infants/Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten Lic. # 376700496

Encinitas, Cardiff, Carlsbad, La Costa

8660 Gilman Dr., La Jolla 92037-2202 La Jolla

ENCINITAS COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Preschool/Elementary/Middle


Two Locations in Encinitas Encinitas

2640 Soderblom Ave., San Diego 92122 La Jolla, Pacific Beach, University City

Lic. #376700910


Lic. #372005943



Lic. #372005444 • AMS Affiliated School


Begin Your Journey

at The Learning Choice Academy

A FREE Public Charter School for Grades K–12 As a public hybrid homeschool, we offer families the flexibility of homeschooling, with the support and community of a school. Our teachers are caring, our community is small, and our model is personalized.

WASC accredited. Se habla español.

Chula Vista • La Mesa • San Diego (Clairemont)

Learn more and sign up for a virtual information session at or call 844 GO TO TLC (844-468-6852) November 2021 • •


Lisa Gipson


Season for Giving


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake Made with pumpkin puree, aromatic spices and chocolate chips, this delicious fall dessert from The Seaside Baker is a total crowd-pleaser! Find this and other seasonal recipes in our round-up of “Pumpkiny Goodness” at

Giving Back Visit to find these articles, which offer a plethora of great ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude: • How to Inspire Thankfulness in Kids • 24 Ways to Give Thanks • 9 Ways to Thank a Veteran Find more ideas on how to celebrate this season at seasonal-happenings/thanksgivingheadquarters.

30 • • November 2021

Photo credit:

We love this time of year! Fall is in full swing, Thanksgiving is upon us and the holidays are right around the corner. Giving thanks is always in style, but especially this month as we count our blessings and pay it forward.

Crafts Thankful Turkeys Plan a day to create Thankful Turkeys with your family. A little crafting and time reflecting on what you’re grateful for quickly turns into festive table decorations or place settings. Get instructions at

Thanksgiving Party Favors These fall party favors can stave off pre-feast hunger pains or can be used as place cards for guests to take home. Learn how to make them at

Fall Luminaries by Art with Alyssa Light up the Thanksgiving table (or your porch) with beautiful, glowing luminaries, easy enough for the kids to make! All that’s needed is colorful tissue paper, Mod Podge, and whatever jars you have on hand. Place a candle or battery-operated tea light inside to illuminate. Details at crafts-for-kids/fall-mason-jar-luminary.

BE SAFE. NEVER GO NEAR A DOWNED POWER LINE. Report downed power lines to 911 or call 1-800-411-SDGE. If a power line has fallen to the ground:

• Always assume power lines are live. • Stay far away and never touch a power line. • Never touch any person or equipment that comes in contact with a power line.

If a vehicle is involved and you are in it:

• Sit calmly until help arrives. • Warn others not to touch the vehicle and direct them to call 911.

• If the vehicle is on fire and you must leave

it, open the door or window and jump clear without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time.

Get more tips at

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