Tiny improvements from IKEA can feel huge

How to make the morning run more smoothly

Thanks to IKEA for sponsoring this series of posts about improving the first 59 minutes of the day. Last week I went to IKEA in Emeryville in search of a few solutions for the numerous sweatshirts and lightweight jackets that don’t fit in my tiny 1920s coat closet. After browsing the hook and shelf selection, […]

Improving the first 59 minutes of our day

1920s Bungalow Dining Room

Thanks to IKEA for sponsoring this series. The first 59 minutes of the morning may vary from household to household, but I’d take a guess that there’s some daily frustration behind almost every door through which children must exit with shoes on their feet and lunchboxes in their hands. The thing that frustrates me the […]

Behind the scenes at Good Eggs


Last week we popped over to Good Eggs in San Francisco to get to know that business a little better. I think Heather’s inner geeky engineer was enthralled by seeing the inner workings of a warehouse which is essentially an on-demand grocery store that fills up and empties twice per day. Here’s how it works: […]

Backpack picks for a new school year


this post contains affiliate links. When I started to write this post, deal-of-the-day site Zulily had a bunch of backpacks with great patterns and even better prices. Then, I identified the best choices in quality and sized for little ones (preschool thru 1st grade) on Amazon.  Here are my favorites that, by not being sold […]

Mama’s little helper: Postmates

Some of my neighborhood choices on the Postmates app

Have you ever been lying prone, on the couch, telling your throw pillows that you would pay any amount of money if they could bring you chicken noodle soup from Saul’s? Or perhaps you wanted to deliver Summer Kitchen to your friend who just had a baby, but you are getting off the BART after […]

Kids eat free Tuesdays at IKEA


Last month I wrote about why IKEA is so family-friendly on Rookie Moms, and readers were in serious agreement. One thing people like about the giant furniture retailer is the store’s cafe where kids eat FREE on Tuesdays. The cafe is a cafeteria-style layout, and preschoolers will love selecting a metal tray pusher to move […]

Good idea: personalized Father’s Day cards from Treat.com

Adorable personalized Father's Day cards from Treat

For Valentine’s Day, I ordered a card for my husband from Tiny Prints because I was seduced by their offer for me to customize the card. I used our names and a photo of the two of us, and I thought it looked pretty awesome. Hey, Tiny Prints, you’re not just for Christmas cards anymore!

East Bay Mother’s Day Guide


Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 11 — that’s this weekend. Here are the best Mother’s Day ideas for East Bay families we’ve seen announced for this year. Activities Want to help the kids make something, but don’t know where to start? Some local stores have set up workshops to help you. Saturday afternoon, May 10 […]

Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May

Free comic book day

Designed to expose folks both to comic books as an art and entertainment form and also to their local independent comic book shops, Free Comic Book Day is being observed on Saturday, May 3rd by a handful of East Bay locations. The free books, designed especially for this promotion, will satisfy a variety of ages […]

Kid-friendly bookstore events on California Bookstore Day (Saturday, May 3)


California Bookstore Day is a statewide event that rallies independent bookstores to host compelling events for their communities. Here are a few local events that might interest East Bay parents: Scavenger Huntat Books Inc. in Alameda 1344 Park St Alameda, CA 94501 Annie Barrows (Ivy and Bean author) meet and greet at Books Inc on […]

Valentine’s Day Deals and Activities


Here are some fun and free things that we have spotted on local calendars for Valentine’s Day. Make Valentine’s Day buttons. Free activity at Lakeview library on Friday 2/7 Michael’s store drop-in workshop. Make cards on Saturday 2/8. (See my 2013 review of this experience.) Make a heart-themed painting at Michael’s on Saturday 2/15. Barnes […]

Clutter-free gifts for East Bay families aka Gifts for People Who Live in Small Houses


Thanks to Annika Dukes, a 510Families contributor, for helping me with this clever list of holiday gift ideas for East Bay families. My commentary is in italics. Most of the working parents I know lament about the hectic pace of our lives, and how we wish we had more time. I often hear people complain […]

2013 Shop local gift guide

kangaroo stitches home decor to make you happy

When you want to keep your dollars in the East Bay, where do you shop? There are so many wonderful places to shop, play, and eat in the Berkeley-Oakland area that creating a specific gift guide for East Bay families was tricky. Like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, here are a few of […]

Win a bundle of toys from Five Little Monkeys

Holiday giveaway of toys from 5 Little Monkeys

Last week, Five Little Monkeys toy store shared an epic list of hot toys for kids from baby on up through grown-ups! I hope you’ve checked it out as you build your shopping list. Today, I’m thrilled to announce a toy bundle giveaway for fans of Five Little Monkeys and {510} Families! There are two […]

Lovely children’s book store now at Mr. Mopps

Mr Mopps bookstore in Berkeley

North Berkeley has a new children’s bookstore near the intersection of Rose and MLK, near Fatapple’s, but if you’re not paying attention, you could miss it: Mr. Mopps Children’s Books! The store is long and narrow with a cozy reading chair in the back and some seating in the middle. I was impressed by the […]

Drop-in craft projects at Michael’s stores (Emeryville)


My first-grader and I attended a drop-in craft session at Michael’s craft store in Emeryville on Saturday, and she loved it. I loved it because it cost $2 and she was extremely engaged. With rainy weather upon us, it seems like a good time to spread the word about this low-cost, low-commitment activity. Every Saturday, […]

Overwhelmed by holiday cards? Yeah, me too.

Two bad pictures can make a cute series

Find your photos The past couple years, I’ve completely lucked out and had that one (or even two!) perfect family photos for holiday cards, uploaded the image, chosen my card design quickly (or had Whitney choose for me), then had Tiny Prints send all the cards for me over Thanksgiving weekend. I ordered a few […]