Family Road Trip to Pacific Grove

January 25, 2016

Pacific Grove Asilomar Beach

One of our favorite places for a fun family getaway is the picturesque seaside town of Pacific Grove. Not as famous or flashy as Monterey, Carmel, and its other neighbors in the Monterey Bay Area, Pacific Grove makes up for this in charm, billing itself as "America's Last Hometown" and "Butterfly Town USA".

With a close proximity to the Bay Area, plenty of things to see and do, and an amazing coastal location, Pacific Grove is an ideal place for a family getaway this winter or spring (or any other time of year, for that matter).

Marin County Swim Team Signups 2016

January 23, 2016

Marin Swim LeagueOne of our favorite sports activities is swimming, and there's no better way to get involved and have a blast than to compete with your local swim team. It's fun, and really builds swimming skills and great sportsmanship.

Now's the time to sign up for swim teams for this spring and summer. Listed below are the 10 Marin Swim League swim teams located throughout the county and their registration dates. Click on the team name to go to their website. The swim team season begins with practices in March and wraps up in mid-July with the Championship meet, usually held at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus pool in Novato.

For more information on the Marin Swim League, including a full schedule of 2015 spring and summer swim meets, visit www.marinswimleague.org.

Larkspur

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 22, 23 & 24

January 22, 2016
Bad Kitty BADM
Bad Kitty premieres at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley this weekend. Photo: Bay Area Children's Theatre.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, January 22

  • Breakfast with Enzo
    Sports Basement, San Francisco Presidio
    Friday, 10 & 11 am

    Enzo Garcia plays guitar, banjo, accordion, musical saw, Jew's harp, enzotar, appalachian dulcimer, slide flute, percussion and more. Recommended for children 7 and under. Drop in any time. Cost: $7 per person; siblings under 7 months free. For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • Katia & Company presents: Please Be Seated
    The Playhouse San Anselmo
    Friday & Saturday, 7 pm, Sunday, 2 pm

    Featuring a cast of talented local kids, follows the misadventures of a group of 5th through 8th graders who try to put on their own production of Cinderella. Featuring diva actors, a stressed-out director, and incompetent stagehands—everything that can go wrong, does! Tickets: $15 for adults and $10 for students 12 and under. (Make sure you mention Marin Mommies at the door for your free ticket! One free ticket per family.) Doors open 20 minutes before the show. No children under 3 years old, please. Location: 27 Kensington Road in San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, January 23

  • Family Bird Walk at Olompali
    Olompoli State Historic Park, Novato
    Saturday, 8:30 am–noon

    Celebrate the season with the birds of Olompali. Beginning and experienced birders are invited to join leaders Rich Cimino and Janet Bodle of Yellowbilled Tours to view Olompali's diverse avian residents as we walk the ranch road past the park's reservoir. Perfect for the family. Cost: $8 per car; event is free. Location: new park entrance from Atherton Avenue/Redwood Boulevard in Novato. For more info, call (707) 762-9715 or visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9:30 am–3:30 pm
    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. Cost: $7 per person; children under 16 free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays through late March. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Waffles aren’t just for breakfast—you can eat them from morning ’til night! Join us as we prepare waffles for breakfast, lunch, dinner AND dessert. Suitable for ages 5-13. Call the store to reserve your spot: (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Montessori de Terra Linda Open House
    San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am

    Tour the campus, get an overview of our program, and hear passionate presentations from faculty about the Montessori curriculum. Please call to RSVP at (415) 479-7373 x112.  Adults only, please. More information
  • The Mountain School Open HOuse
    Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am–noon
    Bring the whole family to visit the preschool classrooms, meet the teachers, and chat with Mountain School parents. Refreshments will be served! RSVP to info@marinmountainschool.org or call (415) 924-4661
  • Cascade Canyon School Open House
    Fairfax
    Saturday, 10 am–noon
    Meet the teachers and learn more about Cascade Canyon School this January. RSVP at (415) 448-5125 or cascade@cascadecanyon.org. More information
  • "Your Favorites" Special Storytime Activity
    Novato Library
    Saturday, 10:30 am

    Join us for a special storytime to celebrate the top picture books picked by Novato families! Come experience these stories and listen, read and play with the books you love. Location: 1720 Novato Boulevard, Novato. For more info, call (415) 473-2050 or visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Ice Age Mammal Masks
    Presidio Officers' Club, San Francisco
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm
    Before humans came to the Presidio, large mammals lived here! These ice age ani?mals included Sabertooth Cats, Columbian Mammoths, and Dire Wolves. With your own masks, these ancient creatures can once more been seen in the Presidio. Drop-in anytime between 11 am–4 pm. Free. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre presents Bad Kitty On Stage!
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am & 2 pm

    Straight from the pages of the wildly popular Bad Kitty comic book series, here she sprawls, in solitary splendor, until one day … (loud hissing) PUPPY! Uh oh.  And then … (hair on back standing on end) MOUSE! And then … well, let’s just say life gets complicated.  A world premiere. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Tickets: $22 adults, $18 children, $20 seniors, $13 groups (10 or more). Location: 2020 Addison Street Berkeley. For more info, call (510) 524-2941 or visit their website.
  • Creek Walk to See Spawning Coho Salmon
    Samuel P Taylor Park, San Geronimo
    Saturday, 11 am–1 pm
    With the first hard rains in the watershed comes the beginning of spawning season for Coho salmon. SPAWN-trained naturalists lead creek walks to explore the majesty of the Lagunitas Creek Watershed. Tour will meet at the front Kiosk of Camp Taylor and embark on a journey to multiple creek sites in search of some of these critically endangered salmon. Tours are open to all ages and abilities. Cost: $10 per person donation requested. Register here.
  • Octopalooza!
    Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito
    Saturday, 11:30 am–2:30 pm

    At Aquarium of the Bay, we celebrate cephalopods of the world through an entire week of fun activities, crafts, and presentations! Join us as we bring some of these engaging activities to the Bay Model for this octo-tastic event. We’ll experiment with market squid dissections using squids from the sustainable seafood we feed our animals at Aquarium of the Bay. Plus, we’ll have an “octopus course” with fun challenges to find the inner cephalopod in all of us! Location: 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Imagination Players present: Narnia
    Berkeley Playhouse
    Saturday, 1 & 6 pm

    Berkeley Playhouse presents Narnia. Performed by students in Berkeley Playhouse’s educational program, the Imagination Players. Tickets: $15. Purchase tickets here. Location: 2640 College Avenue Berkeley. Find more info here.
  • Moms Matinee: Gem of the Ocean
    Marin Theatre Company, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 2 pm

    Moms Matinees at Marin Theatre Company feature onsite childcare at no additional cost, in partnership with UrbanSitter. Babysitters will be onsite beginning at 1 pm. Let the box office know if you'll need a babysitter when you book your tickets. This Saturday: August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. Location: 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info and tickets, visit their website.

Montessori de Terra Linda Open House, Saturday, January 23

January 21, 2016

Montessori de Terra LindaMarin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from Montessori de Terra Linda.

OPEN HOUSE 10 am-noon this Saturday, January 23, 2016. RSVP to admissions@mdtl.org or call 415.479.7373 x 112.

Montessori de Terra Linda is an AMI recognized independent school in Marin County serving children from preschool through elementary. Explore our brand new classroom building and natural playscape. Join our teachers and learn how the Montessori curriculum meets a child’s developmental needs at each program level, and how they foster the excitement of discovery in the classroom.

UC Berkeley's Academic Talent Development Summer Camps 2016

January 20, 2016

UC Berkeley’s Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP) Summer CampsMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from UC Berkeley's Academic Talent Development Program, which offers summer camps for kids ages 5 to 17 in Point Richmond and on the UC Berkeley campus. Learn more at atdp.berkeley.edu.

Over the past 36 years, thousands of students have spent their summers learning through UC Berkeley’s Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP), pursuing areas of interest such as architecture, computer programming, law, calculus, seashore science, and endless other disciplines. Our students, ranging in ages from 5–17, come to ATDP ready to learn and willing to be challenged.

ATDP courses are taught by outstanding public school, private school, and university instructors, who are passionate and extremely knowledgeable about the subjects they teach. Students with budding interests in specific areas receive a unique opportunity to interact and learn from teachers and peers with similar interests as their own. By the end of the summer session, students think and understand their subject matters more deeply.

Let the Farm Come to You With a CSA or Organic Grocery Delivery in Marin

January 19, 2016

Bloomfield Organics CSA shareIt's the new year, and that usually entails resolutions about being more healthy. But families are busy, so simple tasks like just going grocery shopping for healthy food can be inconvenient, if not downright difficult. (This goes double for new parents!) Fortunately, you can get healthy, organic food delivered right to your doorstep or to a convenient local pickup area here in Marin County through a local farm's CSA or an organic grocery delivery service. These services all feature locally grown or produced sustainable food—perfect for the healthy locavore family!

Local Farm CSAs

What's a CSA? CSA stands for "community supported agriculture", and it's a way for consumers to get involved with local farms and food producers, support their efforts, and get great seasonal food, too. Every week, or month, or whatever time period you choose, you'll get a box full of fresh produce, eggs, meat, and more, ready to be incorporated into your family meal plan. Some farms, like Petaluma's Tara Firma Farms, offer other benefits to their CSA members, like special events and farm tours.

Let Shuddle's Childcare Pros Drive Your Kids

January 19, 2016

shuddle pickupIt’s amazing how much time parents spend driving their kids around. With school, sports, music lessons, and more, it can really be a chore to chauffeur everyone to their appointed activity. This is where a cool new local startup called Shuddle, the first-ever ride service for busy families, starts to sound really exciting. What is Shuddle,? Think Über or Lyft for families, but with tons of background checks, training and monitoring for drivers as well as a way to track your kids via GPS technology as they’re driven to their destinations.

We had a chance to try out Shuddle earlier this month on the way to the awesome de Youngsters Art Party at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. (Shuddle was a lead sponsor of the event and invited my family to attend as their guests.) They arranged to pick us up in Marin and drive us into the city for the party so we could give them a try.

Debunking Common Infant Sleep Myths

January 18, 2016

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

Very often when I am speaking at workshops and conferences or working with parents in their home, common questions include opinions about infant sleep and sleep development. There are many sleep books available to parents that are "opinion-based" sleep books and not evidence based sleep books. This can be very confusing for parents who want to make an informed choice about how best to help themselves and their babies sleep. Also, misconceptions abound as the field of infant sleep research is limited and the research is primarily focused on one area: behavioral changes. A field of infant sleep is changing very quickly and new researching is debunking much of what we knew about infant sleep.

This article will debunk some of the common sleep myths while helping parents to make informed sleep choices that support their parenting philosophy as well as their infant or child's developmental needs.

Babies' sleep patterns are fully developed at birth.

Babies sleep patterns are not fully developed at birth. In fact, one of the most common reasons babies aren't able to "sleep well" is that the part of the brain that organizes sleep is just beginning to form in the first three to six months. The development of circadian rhythms, the biological temporal rhythms that help our bodies "know" a 24-hour day and the difference between day and night, begins the day your baby is born. The development of your baby’s circadian rhythms is dependent on their environment, i.e. caregivers, environmental cues, light exposure, consistent routines. Parents can help their babies cue their circadian rhythms by bringing them outside, opening the shades in the nursery and other rooms where the family spends time, introducing feed, play, sleep routines, and feeding frequently during the day.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

January 18, 2016

Slow cooker chicken tortilla soupWinter  to use your slow cooker, since it's perfect for making long-simmered comfort food favorites that hit the spot on a cool evening. Try out this recipe for a Mexican-style tortilla soup. The technique couldn't be easier: you just throw almost everything in the cooker and let it go all day, adding beans and corn at the end.

Everyone likes this because you can personalize your bowl with various garnishes, like avocado, cheese, sour cream, and more. Fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika give this soup a delicious smoky flavor, but of course you can use the normal varieties of these ingredients, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 32-ounce carton low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
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