Hiking with Kids in Marin: Tennessee Valley Trail

July 7, 2015

Tennessee ValleyTennessee Valley near Mill Valley is one of the most popular hiking and outdoor recreation spots in all of Marin County, and for good reason—it has a combination of easy walks, dramatic views, and a spectacular beach at the end of the trail. Tennessee Valley Trail, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a perfect hike for families, and can be easily managed with an offroad-capable stroller. With few hills, the 3.4-mile round trip hike out to the beach at Tennessee Cove and back is easy for hikers (and mountain bikers, too) of all ages.

Tennessee Valley Trail is also quit popular with equestrians. Miwok Livery Stables is actually located on-site, so expect to see horses pretty often.

Splash, Slide, and Swim at the Hamilton Community Pool in Novato

July 7, 2015

Hamilton Community Pool NovatoIt's summer vacation, the weather's warm, and almost everyone loves going to the pool for a day of splashing and swimming in the sun. One of my family's favorite Marin public pools is the one in Novato's Hamilton neighborhood.

My kids love Hamilton Community Pool especially for the shallow kids' pool with its play structure, water slide, and water sprayers. It's a blast for kids of all ages. There's also a larger more traditional pool for more serious swimming and water play.

The remodeled and renovated Hamilton Community Pool opened in 2010 after a long construction process. We used to go to the old pool, which was left over from the old air force base and dated from the 1930s. The new pool and the surrounding facilities are a real improvement on the somewhat dilapidated old ones. The whole area is clean, modern, well kept up, and definitely worth a visit.

Explore Berkeley's Tilden Park for Family Fun and Adventure

July 6, 2015

Tilden Park Little FarmFor a fun family day out this summer (or any time of year, actually), head east over the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge and up into the Berkeley Hills, where you'll find Tilden Park, a 2,000-acre playground where there's literally something for everyone. Part of the East Bay Regional Parks system, Tilden is so big and there's so much to do here, that it really bears repeat visits!

From hiking trails and campgrounds to a historic carousel and scale steam trains, you'll find a lot to do here. Best of all, many of the attractions are free or very inexpensive. Here are our favorite things to do when visiting Tilden.

Tilden Nature Area and Little Farm

One of the busiest areas of Tilden Park is the Nature Area, and for good reason. This part of the park is home to the Little Farm, the Environmental Education Center, and numerous family friendly hiking trails, as well as group campgrounds, picnic areas, and a playground. It's located right off Canon Drive at the north end of the park.

July Classes and Programs at Parents Place Marin

July 6, 2015

Parents Place 2-year-oldParents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. They offer a wide variety of programs and classes for parents and children throughout the year. Here are a few of the classes they are offering for the month of July.

New Mom, New Baby: A Discussion Group: 4 Class Series

Wednesdays, July 4–29, 10:30–11:30 am
Join other new mothers to discuss the joys and challenges of becoming a mom, make new friends, and network. We will discuss both practical and emotional issues of parenting, including breast and/or bottle-feeding; changing relationships with friends, family, and partner; helping your baby sleep through the night; and taking care of yourself. Babies welcome. With Rebecca Breen, LCSW. Four-week series. Free, but preregistration required. Register here.

Fresh and Healthy Summer Garden Chili

July 5, 2015

summer chiliChili is one of those meals that can be on the hearty, heavy side and not something you necessarily want to serve for a summer dinner—except for this fresh and healthy version. For this summer chili, I lighten things up considerably and take advantage of fresh summer produce like the zucchini growing in our backyard garden and sweet corn.

Serve this chili with a variety of toppings and add-ons so each diner can customize it to his or her taste. You can make it vegetarian (or vegan) by omitting the ground turkey and doubling the amount of beans, corn, and squash. Either way, it's delicious! And our kids even eat it, too. There's probably no reason you couldn't make this year-round, either, although you'd have to subsitute frozen corn for the fresh.

Ingredients

Chili

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped

Meet the Prima Midwives of Marin

July 5, 2015

Midwives of MarinMarin Mommies presents a guest article from Certified Nurse Midwife Sheri Matteo, director of midwifery at Marin's Prima Medical Group.

Having a baby is an amazing and transformational moment for a woman and her family. Having knowledge about the process and the ability to make informed decisions along the way are paramount to a safe and satisfying experience.

Organizations like Childbirth Connection and Choices in Childbirth provide evidence-based information about how to choose a provider (is a doctor or midwife right for you?) and what to look for in a birth facility, such as whether or not a hospital has been certified as Baby Friendly and supports immediate family bonding and breastfeeding. Even the well-known Consumer Reports Online provides researched information such as “10 Pregnancy Procedures to Reject When You’re Expecting”. Recent articles in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Huffington Post have all discussed the virtues of midwifery care for low risk women.

Marin Family Weekend Events for July 3, 4 & 5

July 3, 2015

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

Friday, July 3

  • Marin County Fair
    Marin County Fairgrounds, San Rafael
    Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 11 am–11 pm

    Come to the fair for over 12,000 exhibits, carnival rides, headline entertainment, the barnyard, an international short film and video festival, nightly fireworks, and more! Admission: $20 adults, $15 children 4–12 and seniors 65+, free for children 3 and under. For more information, call (415) 473-6800 or visit their website.
  • Free Children's Garden Series: Caterpillar Puppets
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11-11:30 am & 12:15-12:45 pm

    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Joe Leon’s Caterpillar Puppets don’t just entertain kids and parents. Like his version of the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Bla-bla-blas, or the shy artist mouse Amadeus who needs encouragement from the audience to fulfill his calling. Meet the artists after each show! This show will take place on the Esplanade. For more info, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday: Beaufunk featuring Michael Jeffries. For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday, the Starduster Orchestra. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • San Francisco Opera at AT&T Park: Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro
    San Francisco
    Friday, 7:30 pm

    San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Giants invite you to Opera at the Ballpark on Friday for a free performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, simulcast live from the War Memorial Opera House. For more info, visit their website.
  • Fair Fireworks and S’more Feast
    McInnis Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 8:30–10:30 pm

    In celebration of our nation’s birthday, come see the Marin County Fair fireworks from the top of the Nike Site at McInnis Park. It is an easy uphill stroll from the skatepark parking lot to sweeping views of the bay and surrounding hills. Rangers will prepare s’mores just in time for the firework show that begins promptly at 9:30 pm. Don’t forget to bring low back chairs or a blanket. Hot chocolate and s’more fixings provided. Location: 310 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Fireworks over Bodega Bay
    Westside Park
    Friday, 9:30 pm

    Fireworks show produced by Pyro Spectaculars will start at dark around 9:30 pm. The display can be seen from all around Bodega Bay. Handicap parking at Westside Park. For more information, visit their website

Saturday, July 4

Here are a few of the fantastic 4th of July events taking place in Marin this Saturday. For a complete list of Independence Day events, parades, and fireworks displays in Marin and throughout the Bay Area, check out our article here.

  • The 61st annual Buckaroo Breakfast
    Novato
    Saturday, 7–10 am

    The annual Buckaroo Breakfast is a traditional part of the 4th of July festivities in Novato. Breakfast is served at the Redwood Credit Union parking lot at 1010 Grant Avenue in downtown Novato. Come enjoy eggs, pancakes, sausage, orange juice, and coffee. Hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Novato, proceeds benefit Novato Youth Center. Suggested donation: $7 for adults, $5 for kids. Info: www.novatoparade.com.
  • Firefighters Pancake Breakfast
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Saturday, 8:30–11:30 am

    Join the Marinwood firefighters on the 4th of July for pancakes at the Marinwood Community Center, 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. Adults $8, children under 11 $5, and seniors (over 65) $5. For more info call (415) 479-0122 or visit www.marinwood.org.
  • Novato’s 22nd Annual Fourth of July Parade
    Downtown Novato
    Saturday, 10 am

    Novato’s 22nd Annual Fourth of July Parade is one of the largest in the Bay Area and begins at 10 am in downtown Novato on Grant Ave. between Reichert and 7th Avenue. Every year Novato hosts 15,000 to 20,000 spectators and over 100 parade entries ranging from classic cars and vintage military vehicles to Irish bagpipers and a Chinese drum and bell corps. Along the parade route, you will also find food and refreshment booths and souvenir t-shirts. Info: www.novatoparade.com.
  • Sausalito 4th of July Parade
    Sausalito
    Saturday, 10 am

    Sausalito’s one-of-a-kind 4th of July parade starts at Second and Main Streets at 10 am, and moves along Bridgeway and into Dunphy Park at noon. A picnic in Dunphy Park and games follow the parade at noon. Live music starts at noon and lasts all day. Food, dancing, family games, tug-of-war and famous traditional egg toss help make this an exciting event for the whole family. For more info, visit their website.
  • Santa Venetia Marsh Stroll
    San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Join Ranger Luke Bishop for a stroll around beautiful Santa Venetia Marsh. This low-intensity, one mile hike is a great introduction to exercise for all ages. This is a Healthy Parks, Healthy People event.This event is ideal for all ages. We will provide water and healthy snacks. Friendly dogs are welcome, but must be leashed. High fire danger cancels: Call (415) 473-7191 to get an update. For more info, call Ranger Luke Bishop at (415) 473-2816 or visit their website.
  • Sonoma's Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration
    Sonoma Square, Downtown Sonoma
    Saturday, 10 am-5 pm

    The parade begins at 10:00am and traverses the Plaza before ending with a Wet Zone to cool things off. After the parade, enjoy an old-fashioned carnival with food, drink and game booths run by Sonoma's non-profit organizations. All proceeds raised from the celebration benefit Sonoma's nonprofit community. For more info, visit their website.

Summer Camp and Vocal Arts Academy at Singers Marin

July 1, 2015

summer sing singers marinMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Singers Marin.

Does your child love singing and dancing, drama and performing on stage? Are you looking for a summer camp that offers all of this plus the opportunity to make new friends, be taught by talented, enthusiastic professionals and have lots of fun and laughter along the way?  Then this is the camp for you.

Singers Marin presents its 4th Annual Summer Camp, where children can maximize their vocal potential by learning to sing songs in a variety of musical styles, take part in daily dance routines and deliver group performances for family and friends at the end of each week’s show. During the week, the children will receive group voice instruction, choral and musicianship training and dance lessons including song choreography. Also included will be some art activities based around musical themes, campfire-style singing, body percussion, and so much more.

2015 Marin 4th of July Parades, Fireworks and More…

July 1, 2015

Kids in the 4th of July modeCelebrate Independence Day the Marin County way! Communities across the Marin observe the 4th of July in their own unique ways. Here’s what’s going on in your community on the Saturday, July 4. We will be updating the list as we learn of new events, so please check back. Please keep in mind that event details can change without notice, so please check the event links or call before attending.

You can also add your local Independence Day event to our Family Events Calendar.

Corte Madera and Larkspur

  • The Corte Madera-Larkspur festivities start off with at the 63rd Annual Independence Day Pancake Breakfast—with pancakes, sausages, fruit, coffee, orange juice, and milk—at Larkspur's American Legion Twin Cities Post 313 at 500 Magnolia Avenue. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, with famous 1928 recipe gin fizzes and the Post 313 Renowned Mimosa for $5 each. Breakfast is from 8–11 am; flag raising ceremony at 7:45 am. Info: call (415) 924-6283 or  www.americanlegion313.org
  • Don’t miss this year’s Corte Madera-Larkspur 4th of July Parade and Festival! One of the biggest 4th of July events in Marin, the parade boasts the elaborate floats, precision drill teams, classic cars, and the Corte Madera Town Band. Parade starts at 10:30 am. Accompanying festivities at Corte Madera's Town Park from 9 am–5 pm include arts and crafts, food and drink, carnival games, children's activities, bounce houses, and stage shows. The parade leaves Redwood High School at 10:30 am and winds through downtown Larkspur from Magnolia Street and into Corte Madera by way of Tamalpais Street until it reaches Corte Madera Town Center. The streets will close at 10 am. Info: (415) 924-0441 or www.cortemadera.org.
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