Riding the Rails at Sonoma TrainTown

May 12, 2015

Sonoma TrainTown Railroad When we're in the Wine Country, we always make sure we visit TrainTown, the fun and fantastic miniature railroad located in the town of Sonoma. It's a place that I used to visit back when I was a kid, and it's the kind of destination that takes you and your family back to a simpler, less hectic time. Starting May 30, Train Town will be open daily for summer fun.

Sonoma TrainTown offers train-related activities that are fun for everyone, from toddlers to grade school kids (and adults, too), as well as a selection of carnival-style rides. It's also a short drive from pretty much anywhere in Marin, which makes TrainTown a must-visit attraction for North Bay families.

Create a Marin Family Tradition at Pixie Park's Spring Fair

May 12, 2015

Pixie ParkSpring has sprung at the Marin Art and Garden Center and Pixie Park’s Spring Fair is about to bloom! In fact the Fair has blossomed at MAGC each year for the last 57 years making its occurrence almost a rite of spring. While many generations of Marinites have enjoyed the Spring Fair, you don’t have to be from Marin to soak in its nostalgia. Kids of all ages are welcome to step back in time and explore the Fair’s Candy Land, Autopia, and Tot Town. The fair also offers families rides on an old-time train, storytelling performances, and a petting farm. Admission is free so there is really no reason not to make Pixie Park’s Spring Fair a new family tradition.

The Pixie Park Spring Fair takes place Sunday, May 17, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Marin Art and Garden Center, located at 30 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Ross. Admission is free; games, rides, and food require paid tickets. There's a $10 fee for parking at the Marin Art and Garden Center. Proceeds from the fair support Pixie Park member parties (like Halloween) and park maintenance as well as the Marin Art and Garden Center.

A Family That Eats Together: Farmer's Market Pasta

May 11, 2015

Farmer's Market PastaMarin Mommies presents this week's guest recipe from Nicole Cibellis, Marin mom and author of the blog A Family that Eats Together, where she shares meal plans and recipes that will please foodies and children alike.

As summer settles in and the bounties of vegetables fill the stands, I look for new ways incorporate these plump and juicy nuggets of goodness into dinner.

What I love about this recipe is how easy it is. For those of you with finicky eaters, it is easy to dress the pasta and leave all the veggies on the side for the kids. This way they can pick and choose which of their favorite veggies to eat. This pasta dish is flavorful and satisfying while being healthy and delicious.

Serves: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Great Summer Reads for Kids from Diesel Bookstore in Larkspur

May 11, 2015

Such a Little MouseMarin Mommies presents a guest article highlighting some fantastic summer reading selections, from Clare Doornbos the children's book expert at DIESEL bookstore in Larkspur.

Summer is almost here, your kids are booked into camp, the trip to Grandma's house is all planned out and the beach is calling. Now you just need to get some books together. There are so many great books to choose from for toddlers to independent readers. You already know many of the classics, so Clare from Diesel bookstore in Larkspur has picked out some new books that will keep your kids reading all Summer long.

Picture Books for ages 2–4

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner and Mark Siegel
A primer for picture book readers of all ages, this book contains some sage advice about who to read to (it doesn't have to be a person), where to read (maybe outside with hot chocolate) and how to read (using different voices). It's sweet and funny and we could all learn something from it.

Understanding Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

May 10, 2015

mother and babyMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette.

May is Postpartum Mood Disorders Awareness Month and it seems fitting to write about postpartum depression and anxiety since they are so often linked to sleep deprivation in parents. In fact, very often when parents do reach out to me to make sleep changes, not only may they be experiencing sleep deprivation but they may also have symptoms of depression or anxiety or both. In fact, depression and anxiety are so common postpartum that up to 15 to 20% of women will experience some mild mood changes during or after the birth of their child, making mood disorders the most common postpartum disorder. In addition, new research is showing that up to 10 to 15% of fathers will experience a mood disorder such as anxiety or depression following the birth of their child.

Marin Mother's Day Weekend Events, May 8, 9 & 10

May 8, 2015
Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this Mother's Day weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Also, make sure you check our our guides to family-friendly Mother's Day brunches in Marin. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8

  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • Seussical, the Musical
    The Playhouse in San Anselmo
    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm and Sunday, 2 pm

    The Stapleton Theatre Company presents Seussical, the Musical. Tickets: $20 adults, student $14. Purchase tickets here. For more information, visit their website.
  • Concert at Old St. Hilary’s
    Old St. Hilary's Church, Tiburon
    Friday, 8 pm

    The 15-voice women's vocal ensemble Musae and the 16 voice men's choir Ragazzi Continuo will present songs referencing beauty, transformation, and maternalism with works by Guillaume Dufay, Vytautas Miskinis, Stephen Smith, and Zae Munn among others. Expect a variety of musical genres to be included some light-hearted and some serious. Tickets: $20 general, $15 youth and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit their website.

Saturday, May 9

  • Marin Human Race 5K Race
    Marin Center Fairgrounds and Lagoon
    Saturday, 7 am-noon

    The Marin Human Race is the largest collaborative fundraiser in our county! Join over 3,000 Marin residents to run, walk, or roll the five-kilometer racecourse at Marin Center Fairgrounds and Lagoon. Enjoy a community fair highlighting local nonprofits and businesses, kids’ races, live music, pancake breakfast, complimentary refreshments, prizes, kids' fair with games and activities, giveaways and more. Location: 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • International Migratory Bird Day for the Family
    Muir Woods National Monument
    Saturday, 8 am–2 pm

    Bring the entire family to Muir Woods for their 15th annual International Migratory Bird Day. This free event is filled with activities and fun for all ages. If ever you were a little curious about our fine feathered friends, this is a great chance to dive in and learn what you can do to help migrating birds. Reservations not required. For more info, visit their website.
  • Living History Day
    Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
    Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    All are invited to meet the vaqueros, traders, cooks, craftsmen and women, and others who lived in Old California. Have fun weaving baskets, creating candles, playing games, and dancing at the Rancho. Adults $3; ages 6–16 $2; 5 and under free. Location: 3325 Adobe Road in Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mothers Day Art in the Park
    McInnis Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Kids can work with Marin Parks rangers to make a special piece of art to give to Mom on Mothers Day. Supplies, smocks, and healthy snacks provided. Meet at the Hillside picnic area at 310 Smith Ranch Road. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mother’s Day Family Campout
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday, 10 am to Sunday, 1 pm

    Honor your mom with a special weekend that will be fun and memorable for the whole family! Meet the goat and chicken moms at the ranch, explore the garden and trails, cook farm-to-table treats, and make your mom nature crafts like lavender herb pillows and homemade picture frames to take home. A low tide on Sunday will make tidepool exploration possible too. Fee: $80 per person; kids age 2 and under free. Children must be accompanied by an adult. To reserve your spot, call (415) 381.6155 or visit their website.

Awesome Spots For a Mother's Day Picnic

May 7, 2015

While Mother's Day brunch is always a fun outing for the family, sometimes you want to skip the whole fine dining experience and do something a little more original for mom. How about putting together a picnic and heading out to one of the many great picnic spots in and around Marin and Sonoma County?

Here are some of our favorite places to bring our lunch (or brunch) and dine al fresco:

  • Bear Valley in the Point Reyes National Seashore is home to the park's visitor center as well as a large picnic area complete with tables, restrooms, charcoal grills,  and drinking water. Have a leisurely lunch outdoors, and then take a hike—there are a number of different hikes and walks you can do here that are suitable for everyone in the family, including the Earthquake Trail, the Bear Valley Trail, and the trail leading to the Morgan horse ranch. Read more about Bear Valley in our article here.

Make a Classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake for Mom

May 7, 2015

Pineapple upside down cakeThis Mother's Day, why not make an old school dessert for Mom—pineapple upside down cake. Pineapple upside down cake is really old school, dating back to the 1920s when canned pineapple from was introduced to the US market by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which would eventually become Dole Foods.

Featuring moist and light cake topped with sweet pineapple and a caramelized brown sugar topping, it's no wonder this dessert has been popular for nearly a century. In our recipe, we use fresh pineapple, but you can substitute canned if you don't want to mess around with cutting up and trimming a fresh one. It's equally good with both.

Ingredients

For the topping:

Marin Movies in the Park for Summer 2015

May 6, 2015

Film Night in the Park Marin County SummerSummer means its time for Film Night in the Park, the annual series of free outdoor movies presented on a giant screen at parks in Marin County. Show time for all the movies is 8 pm, but arrive a little early for music, a raffle, and a cartoon. Reminiscent of the drive-in movies of yesteryear, Film Night in the Park is noted for its audience participation, with cheers for heroes, boos and hisses for villains, sing-alongs, and hearty applause.

This season's offerings are a fun mix of recent hits like Star Trek Into Darkness, Box Trolls, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Big Hero 6 and classics including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Toy Story, and Bedknobs & Broomsticks. There's definitely something for everyone!

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