Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 11, 12 & 13

November 11, 2016

West End Nursery Christmas House San RafaelThe amazing Christmas House at West End Nursery in San Rafael is now open.

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, November 11 (Veterans Day)

  • NPS Free Entrance Days
    Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley

    Friday, 8 am–sunset
    Visit Muir Woods and its majestic redwoods for free on Veterans Day! For more info, visit their website.
  • Christmas House at West End Nursery
    San Rafael
    Friday & Saturday, 8 am–5 pm, Sunday 9 am–4 pm

    Get in the holiday spirit and visit the amazing Christmas House at San Rafael's West End Nursery. This magical setting includes lights, decorated trees, and more. It's a holiday must-visit in Marin. Free admission; ornaments and decor are for sale. Read about our visit here. Location: 1938 5th Avenue. For more info, visit their website.
  • Learn to Ride
    Stafford Lake Park, Novato
    Friday, 9–11 am

    Learn to ride pump tracks and rollers with a ranger at the Stafford Lake Bike Park. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Wear comfortable athletic clothing and sturdy shoes. No pets (except service animals) are allowed at this park. Rain will cancel. Questions: Contact Supervising Ranger Adam Craig at  (415) 897-0618. Park entrance is waived for participants. Location: 3549 Novato Boulevard, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square
    San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–11:30 pm

    Union Square, San Francisco's main shopping district, gets into the ice skating spirit during the holiday season with an outdoor ice rink sponsored by Safeway. 90-minute sessions start on every even hour. Admission: $11 for adults, 7 children 8 and under. Skate rental $6. Information: (415) 781-2688 or visit their website.
  • Embarcadero Center Holiday Ice Rink
    Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–11:30 pm and Sunday, 10 am–9:30 pm
    The Bay Area's largest outdoor ice rink offers 90-minute skating sessions Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 9:30 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 11:30 pm. Admission is $11 for adults and $7 for children ages 7 and under; skate rental is $5. They also offer group rates, as well as birthday parties and private rentals. For more info, call 415) 837-1931 or visit their website.
  • Free Day: Charles Schulz Museum
    Santa Rosa
    Friday, 10 am–5 pm

    Enjoy free admission all day in honor of Veterans Day and Charles Schulz's birthday month. Location: 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mediterranean Holiday Bazaar
    Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, Novato
    Friday, noon–7 pm & Saturday, 9 am–7 pm

    This 2nd annual Mediterranean Holiday Bazaar is hosted by the Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church in Novato. The event will be held on the church's campus on Highland Drive, the same venue as the annual Marin Greek Festival, This holiday shopping event will showcase the work of over 30 local Bay Area artisans. Location: 1110 Highland Drive, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday, 2
    –10 pm, Saturday, noon–10 pm, Sunday, noon–9 pm
    This Saturday, Marin on Ice opens for another season of outdoor ice skating at San Rafael's Northgate Mall, where it runs through January 11. Marin's only holiday ice skating rink features 6,300 square feet of real ice and will be open daily for outdoor skating. Skating is $15 per person, which includes skate rental. Private ice cabanas will also be available for rental and "Skate Buddies" are available for beginners. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights at the de Young
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 5–8:45 pm

    Friday Nights at the de Young are after-hours art happenings that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. The café offers a delicious prix-fixe menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Elisa Kleven
    DIESEL, A Bookstore, Larkspur Landing
    Friday, 6–6:30 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author/illustrator Elisa Kleven will be here to read you a bedtime story from The Horribly Hungry Gingerbread Boy: A San Francisco Story. Get cozy, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies and get your books signed. Then head home for bed. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sonoma Evening Nature Hike
    General Vallejo Home, Sonoma
    Friday, 7 pm

    Come out and explore the trail at dusk with the Sonoma Petaluma Parks Association. Interpretation will focus on local wildlife and nocturnal animals.  This is a one mile, slow-paced hike with minor elevation change.  Sturdy shoes and water recommended. Meet at the Vallejo Home parking lot. All ages, free of charge. Location: 363 3rd Street West, Sonoma. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Berkeley Playhouse: Disney's Beauty and the Beast
    The Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, Berkeley
    Friday, 7 pm, Saturday, 1 & 6 pm, Sunday, noon & 5 pm

     Location: 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley. Tickets: $25–40. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marilyn Izdebski Productions Presents Gypsy
    The Playhouse San Anselmo
    Friday, 7:30 pm Saturday, 1 & 7:30 pm and Sunday, 1 pm

    Start the holiday season with the whole family to this classic American musical. Performed by young people from throughout Marin County, is directed and choreographed by Marilyn Izdebski with musical direction by Judy Wiesen. No babies or children under three pls. Tickets: $15. Puchase tickets here. All tickets must be picked up from will call 10 minutes prior to performance. For ages 3 and up. Location: 27 Kensington Rd., San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, November 12

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm, crafts by SCRAP from 9 am–2 pm, children's music or storytelling from 9:30–10:30 am, and more live music from 11 am–12:30 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • Pizza Party on Horse Hill
    Horse Hill Open Space Preserve, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 9 am–1 pm

    Help pull broom and sow native grass seed on Horse Hill. Participants will get a chance to meet the horses up close. The work requires considerable strength and stamina. OK for volunteers as young as 5 if teamed with a parent or guardian. Dress in layers you can get dirty, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water. Snacks, lunch, and extra water will be provided. RSVP’s are appreciated but not required: (415) 473-3778. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Storytelling Series
    Marin Waldorf School, San Rafael
    Saturday, 9:30–10:30 am

    Bring the kiddos ages 3–6 years to this free storytelling series at Marin Waldorf School in San Rafael. This is free and open to the public.  Please arrive early-story starts promply at 9:30 am. Location: 755 Idylberry Road San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-8190 or visit their website.
  • Holiday Bazaar
    Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 10 am–3 pm

    There will be hand made gifts, food, baked goods, a children's boutique, children's activities, music, and more. Location: 410 Sycamore Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 388-4456 or visit their website.
  • Free Junior Chef Class - Thanksgiving Helper: Pumpkin Pie!
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    If dessert is your favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast, this is the class for you! Join us and learn how to bake an amazing pumpkin pie that your family and friends will love. Suitable for ages 8-13. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kindermusik Saturday Playdate
    Novato
    Saturday, 10–10:45 am
    Join us with your baby, toddler or preschool for a fun-filled morning of singing, dancing, instrument play and fun with props like parachute, scarves & balls! Cost: $20 one child, $30 (2) siblings, $35 (3) siblings. Location: 1530 Center Rd #12, Novato. Register online here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Art Celebrating Our Veterans
    Presidio Officers Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–1 pm
    For this special Veterans Day Creative Family Fun event, drop in and create artwork celebrating the spirit of community and service. Open to kids of all ages. Registration not required, but preferred. For more info, visit their website.
  • Pixie Park Open House
    Marin Art & Garden Center, Ross
    Saturday, 10:30 am–noon

    Open Houses are a great way to learn about the history of Pixie Park and what it means to belong to this co-op playground. The new member open house is conducted in a casual environment where you can speak to a board member about the benefits and responsibilities of being a Pixie family, as well as ask questions and meet other prospective families. After learning about the park, interested families can sign-up and receive their key. Location: 30 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Ross. For more info, visit their website.
  • STEAM Saturday
    San Rafael Public Library
    Saturday, 11 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.
  • "Art From the Heart" Trunk Show
    Twin Cities Community Preschool
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm

    "Art from the Heart" is an annual trunk show hosted by Twin Cities Community Preschool for local moms to showcase their small businesses. We will have unique jewelry, clothing, pottery, gifts, and wreaths for purchase - just in time for the holidays. There will be beverages and nibbles as you shop. Please invite a friend and enjoy an hour or two away from the kids for this unique Holiday shopping experience. Location: Twin Cities Community Preschool 56 Mohawk Ave, Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Clay Gingerbread House Building Workshop
    Studio4Art, Novato
    Saturday, 1–4 pm

    Our 9th Annual Gingerbread House Workshop for ages 7+ (children younger are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult). Create your own gingerbread house that with last for several years to come. The cost covers all supplies, tools, instructions, and enough clay to build a 8-10" tall clay gingerbread house, and an additional visit to the studio for glazing (at the customer's convenience). Cost: $55 per house. Register online here. Location: 1133 Grant Avenue, Downtown Novato. For more info, visit their website.

Create a Cute Pumpkin Turkey Centerpiece for Thanksgiving

November 10, 2016

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.

Your Guide to Tahoe - Best time to Visit for Family Fun!

November 8, 2016

Your Guide to Tahoe - Best time to Visit for Family Fun!

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Tahoe Luxury Properties.

Tahoe offers so much more than winter sports. Sure, it’s a winter wonderland of skiing and snowboarding, snow tubing, sledding, ice skating, and snow-filled fun. But there’s also a packed calendar with unique events to make your Tahoe memories for a lifetime. As long time locals, we put together a list of our favorite kid-centric events.

Yummy Fall Minestrone Soup

November 7, 2016

winter minestrone soupI love to make a big pot of soup on Sunday evenings, since it's a great weekend meal and makes for leftovers all week long. This version of the classic Italian minestrone soup uses vegetables that are available locally during the fall months. It's hearty and filling and good for you, too.

Leave out the pancetta to make it vegetarian/vegan. I also like to make this soup using just water instead of chicken broth—the flavor of the fresh vegetables really comes through. I cook the pasta separately and add it to the bowls when serving. That way when there are leftovers it doesn't absorb all the liquid in the soup when it sits.

Ingredients

Marin on Ice Returns to Northgate this Holiday Season!

November 7, 2016

Marin on Ice

Marin on Ice, Marin County's only holiday ice skating rink, returns to Northgate in San Rafael for a fourth season of open-air skating, opening Wednesday, November 9, 2016 and running through January 11, 2017. The rink will be open daily, including holidays. Opening times vary, but the rink is generally open from 2 to 9 pm during the week, noon to 10 pm on Saturdays, and noon to 9 pm on Sundays, with extended hours during Thanksgiving week and around the holidays. Check Marin on Ice's calendar for exact hours.

Prepare Your Child for the Future: 5 Reasons Your Child Should Learn to Code

November 7, 2016

MV Code Club

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from MV Code Club, who offer five reasons why kids should learn to code.

  1. There are now more computing devices than people
    By learning to code, they will be able to master technology, instead of being controlled by it.
  2. Coding teaches problem solving
    Programmers use several logical techniques to solve problems. These techniques are universal and don’t change, even though technology that we use changes all the time.  

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

November 6, 2016

West End Nursery Christmas House San Rafael

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.

Try Cross Country Skiing With the Family This Winter

November 5, 2016

cross country skiing

With more snow moving into the Sierras, it's time to start thinking about winter sports family fun in the mountains. While downhill skiing and snowboarding are synonymous with snow sports to many people, cross country skiing is a fun and low-key alternative to the lift lines. Cross country skiing is fun, easy to learn, and requires a minimum of equipment. Dress in warm active clothing, put on your boots and skis, grab your poles, and you're good to go!

We tried out cross country last winter, and had a great time. My kids picked it up right away—after 20 minutes on the practice loop they were off and hitting the trails. The whole family can join in, too—you can even get a jogging stroller on skis and pull your little one along, and many cross country trails allow dogs, too. An added bonus: cross country skiing is one of the best aerobic exercise activities you can do. It's a great way to get active and enjoy the beauty of the mountains in winter.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 4, 5 & 6

November 4, 2016

The Bay Area Science Festival 6th Annual Discovery Day is this Saturday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

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, November 4

  • Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center
    San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–9:30 pm

    Get ready to skate under the sun and stars along the beautiful waterfront at the largest outdoor rink in San Francisco. Admission: $11, $6 children 7 and under, skate rental $5. For more info, visit their 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.
  • Friday Fun Days
    South Novato Library
    Friday, 3–4 pm

    Enjoy an afternoon of fun with the family at the South Novato Library. Whether it’s story, art, music or science, this drop-in program promises to be packed with fun! Location: 931 C St., Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Camp at the Point Bonita Y!
    Point Bonita YMCA, Sausalito
    Friday, 4 pm–Sunday, 1 pm

    Join the Point Bonita Y for our Family Camp Weekends, focused on getting outdoors and playing, learning, serving and working in our National Park. The weekend will offer activities for families to do together, kid-specific activities while parents get some time to themselves, and service projects to give back to and preserve our parks. All meals and accommodations provided. $275 per family. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights at the de Young
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 5–8:45 pm

    Friday Nights at the de Young are after-hours art happenings that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. The café offers a delicious prix-fixe menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Family Movie Night: Zootopia
    Presidio Community YMCA, San Francisco
    Friday, 5:30–8:30 pm

    Bring the family for an evening of fun. There will be food trucks, popcorn, It's-It ice cream and more. Movie shorts start at 6:30 pm; feature film at 7 pm. Location: 1151 Gorgas Ave, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Movie Night: Zootopia
    Mathnasium of Mill Valley
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Stop by Mathnasium on the first Friday of the month for movie night. Free pizza and soda will be served. Students, parents, and friends welecome. Location: 247 Shoreline Highway, Suite A3. For more info, visit their website.
  • Spaghetti Bingo
    Tam Valley Community Center
    Friday, 6:15 pm

    Bring the family for a night of fun-bingo and dinner. Doors open at 6:15 pm and bingo starts at 6:45 pm. Dinner includes a 3-course spaghetti dinner and dessert. Cost:
    $8/person includes dinner & bingo. Arrive early because event does sell out. Location: 203 Marin Avenue. For more info, visit their website.
  • Disney's High School Musical
    142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday, 7:30 pm (doors open at 7 pm)

    Throckmorton Youth Performers opens their new season with Disney’s High School Musical!  Perfect for the entire family. Tickets: general $20, students $15 and reserved $35. Purchase tickets here. Location: 142 Throckmorton Ave., Downtonw Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, November 5

  • Museums on Us Free Day
    Various Museums
    Saturday & Sunday

    Bank of America cardholders can visit the following Bay Area museums for free! Enjoy the Contemporary Jewish Museum, de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, and the Chabot Space and Science Center. Photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. For more information, visit their website.
  • Free Yoga at Old Mill Park
    Mill Valley
    Saturday, 9–10 am

    The Mill Valley Recreation Department is offering a free Hatha flow yoga class the first Saturday of the month at Old Mill Amphitheater. Prepare to sweat, breathe, align and stretch in this fun, unique environment. Designed for students of all levels, this class will be held in all weather conditions except severe rain. Bring a mat, water bottle and comfortable clothing. Meet at the Old Mill Amphitheater 10 minutes prior to class. Location: Throckmorton Ave and Old Mill Street. For more info, call 415-383-1370 or visit their website.
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