Baby and Infant Swim Lessons in Marin

February 28, 2017

infant and toddler swimming lessonsBeing safe and comfortable around water is extremely important, and it's never too early to introduce little ones to the basics of water skills. Many infants actually take naturally to the water! Infant swim classes in Marin County start as early as six months old, and are usually parent/child sessions where you or a caregiver can enjoy the water with your child. While most of these classes don't teach infants to swim per se, they do introduce parents and children to the water and important safety skills.

Below is our list of infant and toddler swim classes in Marin. Although many of the facilities listed are private clubs, unless otherwise indicated, all locations offer public lessons open to all. Most programs require pre-registration; follow the links or call to sign up or for more information.

Mill Valley

  • Infant Swim Marin
    Mill Valley
    (415) 578-0966

    Survival swimming lessons for children ages 6 months - 6 years. Lessons for a 6-12 month old focus on teaching the child to roll onto their back to float, rest and breathe, and to be able to maintain this life-saving position until help arrives. Lessons for children 1-6 years old focus on teaching the swim- float-swim survival sequence. Children learn to swim with their head down; roll onto their back to float, rest, and breathe; and roll back over to resume swimming until they reach the side of the pool, where they can either crawl out or until they can be rescued.

March Classes and Programs at Parents Place Marin

February 28, 2017

Parents Place Marin

Parents 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 March. Classes take place a Parents Place Marin, 600 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael 94901.

First-time Family Camping Spots in Marin and Beyond

February 27, 2017

Slide Ranch Family CampIntroduce the kids to camping at Slide Ranch's Family Campouts at their spectacular seaside location. Photo: Slide Ranch

It's never too early to get the little ones introduced to camping and the outdoors, but let's face it—camping with small kids in tow isn't always easy, especially when you have gear to pack in and camp at a site that's lacking some expected creature comforts. With that in mind, we've put together this guide to perfect places for a first-time camping experience with the kiddos. All these are family friendly car camping spots where you can pull up to your campsite, set up your tent, and then have fun.

Many of these campgrounds are booked up for spring and summer weekends months in advance, but you can often find reservations during the week, and cancellations are common, too. California state parks, like Samuel P. Taylor and Sugarloaf Ridge accept reservations through the ReserveAmerica via their website or by calling 1(800) 274-7275.

Three-Cheese Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower

February 26, 2017

mac and cheese with cauliflowerWho doesn't love macaroni and cheese? The stuff in the box pales in comparison to the homemade kind, which has been gracing American dining tables since Thomas Jefferson served it up at a state dinner in 1802. While it's delicious, it's not the healthiest thing you can make, but sometimes we try to make it a little more wholesome by adding fresh veggies, in this case cauliflower, which blends in nicely with the macaroni and white cheddar cheese sauce.

My kids actually like cauliflower, so this isn't one of those "hide the vegetables and hope they don't notice" recipes, although if you wanted to cut the cauliflower up into little pieces it might work that way. You can also use broccoli or whatever other veggie you can think of. I happen to think that the cauliflower goes particularly well with it. Try using orange, green, or purple cauliflower to jazz things up a bit, visually.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or other tubular pasta
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (about half a head)

2017 Best Books for Kids from the American Library Association

February 26, 2017

ALA Books

It's awards season: we've seen the Grammys and the Golden Globes and the Oscars take place tonight in Hollywood. But did you know it was awards season for kids' books, too? The American Library Association (ALA) announced the winners of its annual youth media awards for 2017, including the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott medals for children's books.

Since 1922, the John Newbery Medal has been awarded to the author of the most distinguished American children's book by the Association for Library Service for Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA. This year, the Newbury Medal goes to The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill, published by Algonquin Young Readers. The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a coming-of-age fairy tale that tells the story of Luna, a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a tiny dragon. When the people of the Protectorate endanger the Xan, the kind, gentle, and unfortunately misunderstood witch who lives in the forest, it's up to Luna to save her. Find it at a local Marin library here.

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

February 25, 2017

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.

Most of the time, the farms choose what goes in subscribers' boxes, but that's usually a good thing, since they know what's at the peak of season. Prices for CSA boxes vary depending on the farm and the size and frequency of the box.

Sound interesting? Here's our list of local CSAs that deliver to areas within Marin County. Many of them deliver or offer drop off sites in San Francisco, Sonoma County, and the East Bay, as well (check their websites for exact locations). We've made sure to note which CSAs offer delivery right to your door, too.

Marin Sun Farms

West Marin's pioneering producer of grass-fed beef and other sustainable pasture-raised meats provides CSA subscribers with packages that include either meat or poultry. Since Marin Sun Farms raises a variety of livestock, you might receive beef, chicken, lamb, pork, goat, and duck. CSA boxes are delivered directly to your door. More info: www.marinsunfarms.com

Win Tickets to the Little Folkies Spring-Sing Concert at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley

February 24, 2017

Little Folkies Family Band at Sweetwater Mill Valley

Come down to the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley for an all-ages concert of folk music for grown-ups and kids alike! The Little Folkies Family Band performs its Spring-Sing Concert on Saturday, March 11, at 10:30 am. Read on to learn how to win tickets to the show.

The Little Folkies Family Band features some of the Bay Area's finest Bluegrass pickers performing original Little Folkies tunes and traditional folk songs for both children and adults. The four-piece band features Irena Eide (creator of Little Folkies) on vocals and guitar, Danny Vitali (Okee Dokee Brothers) on stand-up bass, and Andrew Fahlander (T Sisters) on mandolin and fiddle.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for February 24–26

February 24, 2017

mount burdellCelebrate the grand opening of the new Presidio Visitor Center this Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm

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, February 24

  • Disney On Ice Presents Worlds of Enchantments
    Oracle Arena, Oakland

    Friday, Saturday & Sunday, various times
    It’s one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantments. Tickets start at $20. Children 2 and up need tickets. Purchase tickets here. Location: 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland. To purchase tickets, visit their website.
  • Kid-O-Rama
    Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows, Lake Tahoe
    Friday–Saturday, all day
    Kid-O-Rama offers non-stop fun for kids of all ages, including the Big Truck Event—featuring fire trucks, snowplows, and grooming machines—as well as street parties and kids’ concerts, an all-kid game and craft room, crazy helmet day, and more. Kid-O-Rama continues through Saturday, February 25. For more info, visit their website.
  • Special Exhibit: Rainforest Adventure
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm

    Rainforest Adventure
     is a multisensory expedition that introduces children to tropical rainforests around the world, highlights the challenges facing these unique ecological wonders, and suggests ways that people can make a difference. Learn more here. Cost: museum admission applies. Location: 557 McReynold Road, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • 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.
  • French Storytime (L'Heure du Conte)
    San Anselmo Library
    Friday, 11–11:30 am

    For children of all ages and their parent or caregiver. Talk, sing, read, and play together. Share books, stories, rhymes, music in French. No registration required. Parents/caregivers are expected to stay with children during all storytime sessions. Free. Location: 110 Tunstead Avenue, Council Chambers, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Make a Star Wars Figure out of Pipe Cleaners
    Novato Library
    Friday, 1–3 pm

    Come to the Novato Library and fashion a Star Wars figure out of pipe cleaners. Materials and basic hands on instruction provided. Light snacks. This program is for students in the 6th—12th grade. Space is limited. Signup required. For more information or to sign up, call (415) 473-2050. Location: 1720 Novato Blvd., Novato.  Visit their website for more info.
  • Crazy Awesome Science!
    Children's Museum of Sonoma County
    Friday, 2 pm
    Bring the kiddos for a scientific demonstration followed by hands-on science. Past topics include: SPF, Elephant Toothpaste, Dry Ice Bubbles, Fizzy Rockets, Sheep Eye Dissection and MANY more! Museum admisson applies. Location: 1835 West Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, February 25

  • Complimentary Yoga & Meditation Class
    Old Mill Park Amphitheatre, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 9–9:55 am

    Come enjoy a rejuveniting morning Vinyasa flow outdoors, led by Yogi Mateo. Experience the great redwoods and breathe with others as we end class with guided meditation and grounding. No pre-registration is required. Meet at Old Mill Park Amphtheatre 10 minutes before class. For more info, call (415) 383-1370 or visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings! Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), try out some arts and crafts (9 am–2 pm) and listen to music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Spring Birds Family Farm Day
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach

    Saturday, 10 am–2 pm
    Learn about the many birds that live at Slide Ranch, from the majestic great horned owls and delicate hummingbirds to our free-range chickens and ducks. Through guided hikes and activities your family will enjoy this rich coastal ecosystem while learning about and interacting with our feathered friends. This program also includes milking the goats, meeting friendly farm animals, exploring our organic garden and more. Cost: $25; children 2 and under are free. Location: Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway). For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Theatre Company's Hare & Tortoise
    Mill Valley
    Saturday, 10 am, 12:30 pm & 3 pm, Sunday, 10 am & 12:30 pm
    Young, excitable Hare wants nothing more in this world than to race his friend--the older, slower Tortoise. While Hare speeds through daily life and does everything he can to make the time pass faster, Tortoise slows down and takes her time, whether doing chores or having fun. Hare and Tortoise is a fun, fast (and slow) show for 4 to 8 year olds about friendship, the passing of time and the excitement of growing up. Tickets: $18–$22. Purchase tickets here. Location: 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 388-5200 or visit their website.
  • Presidio Visitor Center Community Day Grand Opening Celebration
    Presidio, San Francisco
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Celebrate the new Presidio Visitor Center with a free and fun public celebration that features live music, dance performances, hands-on activities, food trucks, tours, and more! Family fun includes lawn games and activities, a selfie photo-op at the Presidio Photo Booth, craft-making at the Presidio Officer's Club from 11 am to 4 pm, and Whiffle Ball on the Anza Esplanade from 1 to 4 pm. Other activities include ranger-led history walks and performances by Ohlone dancers, taiko drummers, Mexican folk dancers, musicians from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and more. Free, registration required. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • Tennessee Valley Hike
    Tennessee Valley, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Join Ranger Al Blank on a walk up the Marincello Trail. We will leave from Tennessee Valley and walk up to the Miwok Trail. Bring your camera, good hiking shoes, and dress in layers. The walk is moderate to strenuous but the views are spectacular. Families welcome. Heavy rain will cancel. Bring water and even lunch if you’d like. For more info, visit their website.
  • International Polar Bear Weekend
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    In honor of International Polar Bear Day, a global event to bring awareness about a warming Arctic and the impact on polar bears, attend the 12:30 pm Keeper Talk all about SF Zoo's own polar bear "Uulu." The talk will focus on climate change and caring for aging animals. There's also interactive opportunities to learn by building crafts and discovering fun facts about polar bears. Zoo admission applies. Location: Sloat Boulevard at the Great Highway, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Art Making
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Saturday, 10 am–3 pm

    The Family Art Making table offers a drop-in art project activity and gallery guide led by professional teaching artists.  In February, Family Art Making will focus on Mesoamerica. Artists of all ages are welcome to join. Free; museum admission required for gallery activity. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Theatre Association: Aladdin and His Wonderful, Magical Lamp
    Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
    Saturday, 10:30 am & 1 pm

    Children’s Theatre Association of San Francisco presents Aladdin and His Wonderful, Magical Lamp at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco’s Marina district. Aladdin and His Wonderful, Magical Lamp tells the story of a poor street boy, Aladdin, in the ancient Arabia, who (with the help from 3 Genies, a dragon, a monkey, and his family) uses his wits to outsmart the evil and powerful magician, Jammal, and win the Princess Jasmine’s hand in marriage. Tickets: $15. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Matinee: Marcus Shelby Orchestra
    SF Jazz, Miner Auditorium
    Saturday, 11 am

    Bring the entire family to experience jazz with Marcus Shelby. With special guests from the Lyric Performing Arts Academy, the Marcus Shelby Orchestra celebrates the stunning musical stories of the Underground Railroad, and honors the memory of one of history’s most important champions of freedom: Harriet Tubman. Cost: adults $15 and youth $5. Location: 201 Franklin Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • STEAM Saturday
    San Rafael Public Library
    Saturday, 11–11:45 am

    Come to the San Rafael Library for STEAM powered stories, rhymes, songs, crafts, experiments, and sensory experiences for preschool children ages 3–6 and their caregivers. Registration required: register at the children’s reference desk or call at (415) 485-3322. Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Bookmark Buddies
    Presidio Officers' Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm
    Read Across America day is coming up on March 2! Save your place in books with style by making your own cool page corner bookmark, inspired by Presidio animals. Drop-in any time between 11 am–4 pm. Registration not required, but preferred. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Concert: Octopretzel
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Saturday, 11 am (doors open at 10:30 am)
    Their skilled musicianship and magical way with children guarantees a dance-able, sing-able and fun experience for the whole family. Their most recent album, Inspiraled, brings together ALL NEW fun, engaging and creative songs that range in themes from stars, animals, imagination, different instruments, and lots more. Tickets: $10 advance, $12 at the door. Purchase tickets online here. Location: 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Dr. Seuss’s Birthday Storytime
    Barnes & Noble, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 11 am
    Join us in celebrating the beloved Dr. Seuss's upcoming birthday (March 2). At this fun celebration you can pin the tail on Horton, decorate your own hat from Cat in the Hat and more. Featured titles include What Pet Should I Get? and The Cat in the Hat. Don’t miss out on this fun-filled storytime! Location: Corte Madera Town Center. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Button Craft
    Corte Madera Library
    Saturday, 11 am–noon

    Bring your family or come solo to learn how to create button people. For ages 8 and up. Space is limited-call 415-924-6382. Location: 707 Meadowsweet, Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Jr. Rangers Program: Exploring the Marshlands
    Vallejo Home, Sonoma
    Saturday, 12–3 pm

    Join the Sonoma Petaluma Parks department for a Jr. Rangers exploration. During the wet season, a large part of the open space in the park turns to marsh and wetlands. Come out to learn and explore this interesting environment. Suggested: Rain boots or water- proof shoes. See what type of plant & aquatic life exists in the pond areas. Look for the green State Parks ATV with a flag parked along the bike path near the Vallejo Home driveway. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nike Missile Site Open House
    Marin Headlands, Sausalito
    Saturday, 12:30–3:30 pm

    Unique in the National Park Service, this restored Cold War anti-aircraft missile site has intriguing stories to tell. Take a ranger-guided tour of this restored facility, and learn about its history from volunteers, many of whom served at sites like. Free. Read about our visit here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Launch Event: The Luna Center
    Larkspur
    Saturday, 1–3 pm
    Join us at The LUNA Center on Saturday for our launch event which will include a special free fitness class for pregnant & postpartum mamas, followed by a guided Mamasté Meditation. Meet the LUNA team, and enjoy yummy snacks, organic pregnancy & mother's milk teas, and lots of exciting raffles and giveaways. You can pre-register for the event through our website on our Workshops & Events page. Location: 1165 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. For more info, call (415) 724-8181 or visit their website.
  • Raise a Glass Winter Wine Tasting
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Saturday, 2–5 pm

    Come experience some local wines, live music and hors d'oeuveres at the Marinwood Community Center in San Rafael. There will be childcare available for kiddos 2–8 years old for $10/child. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

Mompreneur: Leslie Dempsey and GYMGUYZ Marin County

February 23, 2017

Gymguyz

After having kids, Marin mom and mompreneur Leslie Dempsey went on a fitness journey that led her to become the owner and operator of GYMGUYZ Marin County, a mobile personal training business that brings the gym to you. Leslie answered a few questions for us about her, her business, and her family.

Please tell us a little about yourself, what’s your background?

My name is Leslie Dempsey and I am the owner and operator of GYMGUYZ Marin County. While it has always been a priority for me to be in shape and exercise, I am new to the fitness industry. My background is in psychology. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and I received my master’s in counseling psychology with a double emphasis in marriage and family therapy and school counseling from St. Mary’s College of California.

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