The Spectacular Christmas House at San Rafael's West End Nursery

November 16, 2017

West End Nursery Christmas House

Traditionally, our first holiday outing in Marin is always to the famous Christmas House at West End Nursery in San Rafael. We checked out this season's edition yesterday during its opening weekend and, once again, it's a spectacular as ever. As a matter of fact, I think it might be the best version to date—it just keeps getting better every year.

Indoor Drop-in Activities for the Little Ones for Marin & Beyond

November 15, 2017

Indoor play

Looking for fun indoor play spaces for the little ones? There are several places to take the kids to get them out of the house and burn off all that extra energy, especially on a cold or rainy day. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor drop-in activities in Marin County and beyond:

Berkeley

  • Habitot Children's Museum
    2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley
    (510) 647-1111
    Hours: Monday–Thursday, 9:30–12:30 pm & Friday–Saturday, 9:30–4:30 pm

    Discovery Museum for young children, toddlers and infants. Fun activities, hands on exhibits, arts & crafts, fun classes, music and much more. Cost:
    $10.00 children and adults, Monday–Thursday (free under 12 mo.) and $12 children and adults, Friday–Sunday. For more info, visit their website.

Fall & Winter Break Camps in Marin and Beyond

November 15, 2017

Studio 4 Art CampStudio 4 Art offers Thanksgiving & Winter Break camps in both Novato and Mill Valley.

Looking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming Thanksgiving or Winter Break? Check out some of the great day camps here in Marin and the Bay Area. All the camps listed below offer drop-in camps, too.

  • Andrews Day Camp
    400 Tamal Plaza, Corte Madera
    Ages: Kindergarten and up
    Andrews Camp offers a fall and winter break cammps that includes that offers outings to Scandia, Rebounderz, Six Flags, games, crafts, sports and more. Bring lunch and snack. For more info,call (415) 446-8946 or  visit their website.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
    557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito

    Ages: 4–8
    The BADM is offering fall and winter Discovery Camps provide child-directed, inquiry driven learning through project-based, hands-on activities designed to intentionally boost creativity, STEM skills, and critical thinking. Children come away with the skills and tools to support lifelong discoveries. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit www.baykidsmuseum.org.
  • N.Y. Broadway Training Programs Winter Break Broadway Camp
    Novato High School, 625 Arthur Street, Novato
    Ages: 7–15

    Spend a week off from school singing, dancing, acting, and so much more! Campers will have fun classes in voice, acting and dance as well as rehearsals for a fully costumed "Mini-Broadway Musical Performance" to be performed on the final day of camp. Lots of fun and exciting activities, workshops and events will be scheduled throughout the week. Taught by NYC Broadway Professionals. For more info, visit www.marissajoyganz.com.

Bel Marin Keys Warehouse Sale: A Holiday Shopping Tradition for Over 40 Years!

November 14, 2017

Bel Marin Keys Holiday Warehouse Sale 2017

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from the Bel Marin Keys Holiday Warehouse Sale, which takes place November 16–18 from 10 am–5 pm.

Twice a year, warehouses in the Bel Marin Keys area of Novato open their doors to the public to offer terrific wholesale deals. This sale has become the best "underground" sales event in Marin County.

Holiday Festivals & Parades in the Bay Area

November 14, 2017

The Tiburon Holiday Festival takes place in Downtown Tiburon on December 2 from 2–6 pm

Get the whole family into the holiday spirit with one of these fun celebrations, festivals, and parades in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Fireworks, Carnival & Disney on Ice Show
    Embarcadero Center, San Francisco
    November 17, 4–7 pm

    Four iconic buildings lit with 17,000 holiday lights, fireworks, a free show presented by Disney on Ice, carnival and more. Free. Event details.

Photos Ops with Santa Claus in Marin and Beyond

November 14, 2017

Santa Claus photos MarinPhoto Courtesy Town Center Corte Madera

It goes without saying that every Holiday season Santa Claus is an extremely popular guy. He and his small army of little helpers will be making the rounds for photos and other holiday fun at various shopping centers and other locations in Marin County and beyond. (And of course you'll need to tell him what you want for Christmas, too!)

Nutcracker Performances in the Bay Area

November 14, 2017

Stapleton Ballet's Nutcracker takes place at Marin Center on December 2 and 3.

Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker is time-honored holiday tradition in many communities. You'll find a wide variety of Nutcracker performances throughout Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area this holiday season, from fun introductions for younger kids to puppet shows to elaborately staged, full-length ballet productions. Here's our list of Bay Area Nutcrackers.

  • Just Dance Academy Winter Performance
    Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, San Rafael
    November 19, 2 pm
    Families will enjoy an abbreviated production of the classic holiday ballet The Nutcracker including all the classic characters such as Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Rose Queen and more! A fun, highly entertaining family event! Tickets: $27 adult, $22 seniors and children 12 and under. Purchase tickets.

Sonoma & Napa Wine Country Family Holiday Fun

November 13, 2017

Cornerstone Lighting of the Snowmen
Don't miss the annual Lighting of the Snowmen Holiday Festival at Cornerstone Sonoma

One of the benefits of living in the North Bay is having the Wine Country of Sonoma and Napa right in our own backyard. It's a short trip from Marin but a world away, especially during the holidays, when the area does itself up in style.

Here are some selected family-friendly holiday events and happenings in Sonoma and Napa, as well as a few of our favorite places to visit in the Wine Country. Some of these events require tickets or advance reservations, so make sure you check for availability before you go.

Sonoma Valley

Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza
Downtown Sonoma
Saturday, November 18, 5–8 pm

Experience Sonoma Valley and celebrate the fourth annual Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza. Enjoy 8-acres of 100,000+ sparkling lights plus music and holiday treats! Free to the public and family friendly. Bring a picnic, including wine and beer! For more info, visit their website.

Create a Cute Pumpkin Turkey Centerpiece for Thanksgiving

November 13, 2017

Pumpkin turkey centerpiece craftEvery fall, my daughter is obsessed with pumpkins. She loves all the different shapes and sizes of pumpkins and winter squash, so we end up buying more than we can really use (there's only so much butternut squash soup and pumpkin pie you can eat).

A couple years ago we worked together to create this cute pumpkin turkey centerpiece for Thanksgiving. We've made it a tradition to make one every year! We created it using a small “sugar pie” pumpkin (available at most grocery stores—we got ours at Trader Joe's for $1.99) and craft supplies that we happened to have on hand.

This is a fun autumn project that’s easy to make for children of all ages (with a parent's help), and it looks fanstastic on the dining table. My kids and I like to write what we're thankful for on the paper tail feathers, too.

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