Hey Kids! is a weekly feature looking at what’s coming up for families and kids of all ages.

The sun is still kissing us and that vitamin D overdose must be good for folks around here because everybody seems friendly and smiley…how I enjoy the neighborly Mission!

Wednesday May 5th came and went, and in case you missed it in favor of bundling, bedtimes and bottles, you can still get your Cinco de Mayo yearly fix this Saturday. A family friendly gathering (read no tequila shots) — the Cinco de Mayo Festival — staged by the Mission Neighborhood Center, will be held in Dolores Park.

But truly, this weekend is about mothers. We could head to the fancy, flowery brunches held all over town, but the Husband and I like nothing better than a weekend toiling in our neighborhood, enjoying our own experience of motherhood, past and present.

My own, deeply beloved mother is no longer of this dimension, and I miss her more than I can express. That unmistakable voice and sharp wit, her assuaging touch, her unconditional love… they never dim and grow brighter every day. If I manage to be half the mother to my son Ernesto as she was to the five of us, I will have been a success at my most challenging job.

To honor her memory, here is an array of delightful to do’s that I like to think my mother would have enjoyed this weekend — I call it “If I were my mother”.

Here’s to you, my mamma adorata.

If I were my mother, I would revel in my grandson…

Exploring Cultural Diversity
Help construct and decorate a child sized teepee at Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids on Valencia and 19th Street on Saturday from 2 to 4pm.

If I were my mother, I would knit while…

Telling Stories
Every Thursdays, from 11am to 12pm, local authors at Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids on Valencia mesmerize the 0-5 set with great stories.

If I were my mother, I would steer my grandkids into…

Appreciating and Understanding the Arts
Enjoy a rendition of Mozart’s The Magic Flute by The Marsh Youth Theatre, on Saturday and Sunday.

At Bollyhood Café on 19th Street, every Sunday morning children 6 to 12 years of age can learn rhythm and percussion with teacher Juan de Diós. Bring your own instruments or use what is there, $8 per class or save with a monthly pass.

On Saturday between 1 and 4pm at Gallery 3175 on 17th and South Van Ness, Root Division, a local art and education community, will present the fruits of the labor of youth arts programs around the city. The program asks for a sliding scale donation, and will include a family art workshop, food and drinks, a reading by 826 Valencia and music by Blue Bear School of Music.

Second Saturday of the month! It’s time for the Friends of SFPL monthly book sale at the Donation Center. All books are on sale for $1and proceeds benefit the San Francisco Public Library

If I were my mother, I would stand by my son-in-law in…

Supporting Public Education
On Sunday, head to Precita Park and join Plus One for Schools. A group of independent food carts vendors will gather from 12 to 3pm in support of SF Community School. Patrons will have the chance to add a dollar to purchases of small plates, and participating vendors will match the donation.

(Note that this is the brainchild of my husband John Fox and SF Community the school my little one attends. A little biased, I know, but very worthy nonetheless! And by the way, all you public school families out there, our aim is to turn this into a recurring event benefiting a rotation of public schools. If you are interested, please contact us at

If I were my mother, I would cherish and celebrate my age by….

Being Silly and Getting Smarter

Tree Frog Treks will host a free Family Discovery Day at Parque de Los Niños this Saturday from 10:30am to 2:30pm. The facilitators are great at taking the yuck factor out of slime of all things reptilian and amphibian, while creating respect and awareness of the earth’s biodiversity in children of all ages. All animals are rescued.

About Buitoni: Born in Italy to jet-setting high school sweethearts, transplanted by her love for the Husband from NYC’s Upper West Side to SF’s Mission and all to mother Ernesto, the light of her life. Likes to: travel between those three places, seriously cooking, books, opera and theatre. Loves to: keep on making the Mission home.

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A native Italian, US-based professional with 30 years of multifaceted experience in the field of Italian food, Viola transitioned to teaching 10 years ago, with the goal of getting home cooks to gather daily around the stove and table. She believes that from our kitchens, we can make the world a better place. By cooking good food at the intersection of Italian table culture and local agriculture, she teaches people to enjoy and value good food, and understand its critical role to the overall well being of our communities. For more details on registering for Viola’s classes and other food-related activities go to her website.
For more details on registering for Viola’s classes and other food-related activities click here.

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