Holiday Store Exclusives at American Girl

For almost a decade, our holidays have been inexorably tied with American Girl. ...more

A diamond in the rough: Donnelly Chocolates

When people visit Santa Cruz, they usually head for the Boardwalk, the Pier, the Wharf, downtown, or one of the many beaches and coves. They don't usually find themselves driving on Mission Street. It's one of the main arteries of Santa Cruz (it eventually becomes Highway 1), and it's full of stop lights and cars ....more

Five Must-Do Holiday Traditions at the Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort is always crowded during the holidays, and for good reason. No, it's not just because everyone is on holiday. It's because Disneyland has the ability to create special holiday experiences that turn into family traditions ....more

Las Vegas with my sisters

On November 4, Alfie and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. It's hard to believe that it has been 15 years since Elvis married us in Las Vegas! ...more

Revisiting The Cheesecake Factory

When I lived in Boston, The Cheesecake Factory was my go-to-restaurant for family meals. My sister and brother-in-law introduced me to the place, and we ate there on special occasions. You'd think I would have been happy when The Cheesecake Factory opened a branch in Palo Alto, but in the last fifteen years we've only eaten there twice ....more

Halloween at The Yahoo Lady's House

The Must-Do Halloween House in our neighborhood is, without question, The Yahoo Lady's House. That's what all the kids call Marissa Meyer's home (they used to call it The Google Lady's House until she moved to Yahoo). She has a home just across the street from the kids' former elementary school, and just from looking at it, you wouldn't really think that it belonged to a multi-billionaire tech giant -- unless you happened to pass by during Halloween.Marissa is always the subject of a lot of press, and not everyone likes her, but say what you will about her, she puts on an over-the-top Halloween show for the neighborhood ....more

Five Must-Do Attractions at Great America's Halloween Haunt

We've been going to Halloween parades and festivals since the kids were babies, and now that they're older, we're starting to get into the spookier side of Halloween. This year we visited our first honest-to-goodness haunted house. To be more precise, we visited five, and all were at California's Great America Halloween Haunt ....more

Guac-O-Lantern Dip

Want to hear something scary? October is almost over, and I haven't written a single Halloween-themed post! ...more

Pumpkin Food and Drink at the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

Before I came to the Bay Area, I didn't really like pumpkins. I hated the calabaza (squash) and spinach broth that was a fixture of my childhood dinner table, and I figured pumpkins didn't taste any better. All I really knew about pumpkins was pumpkin pie, and I can't stand pumpkin pie.I still hate pumpkin pie, but over the years I've fallen in love with pumpkins ....more

Five Tips for enjoying the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

Free weekends are a rare and precious thing for our family. We're constantly carting our kids to soccer games, dance rehearsals, band performances, birthday parties, and Girl Scout campouts. When the stars align and we no events scheduled, more often than not we end up crashing on the couch, grateful to rest and watch TV and do nothing.We're enjoying one of those free weekends right now -- but we're not staying home! ...more