New Storytelling Series at Marin Waldorf School

November 11, 2014

Marin Waldorf School Storytelling SeriesDo you and your kids love a great story? Come to Marin Waldorf School on Tuesday afternoons for their new Storytelling Series!

Stories are presented by Marin Waldorf's preschool and kindergarten faculty, and take place in the school's warm and welcoming classrooms. Stories are appropriate for children ages 3 to 6. Best of all, this program is open to the public and free of charge!

Storytelling Series programs take place from 3:30 to 4 pm on the following Tuesdays: November 11 and December 16, 2014 and January 16, February 3, and March 24, 2015. Please arrive early, as stories begin promptly at 3:30 pm. The first story, on November 11, is A Caterpillar's Voice.

Marin Waldorf School is located at 755 Idylberry Road in the Lucas Valley–Marinwood area of San Rafael. To get there, take Highway 101 to the Lucas Valley Road exit and head west on Lucas Valley Road. Turn right onto Miller Creek Road, then left onto Idylberry Road. Marin Waldorf School will be on your left.

Create a Cute Pumpkin Turkey Centerpiece for Thanksgiving

November 11, 2014

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.

To help you out, we made a template for the turkey head, wings and feathers, that you can download here; it's formatted for a standard 8.5 x 11-inch letter size sheet of paper.

Healthy Slow-Cooker White Bean Soup with Ham

November 10, 2014

Slow cooker ham and bean soupThis healthy and tasty white bean soup with ham is a hit with everyone in our family. It's also a breeze to make; one of those slow-cooker recipes that's truly easy.

Put everything in the slow cooker in the morning, set it on "low" and walk away. Then come back later to dish up a delicious hearty soup at dinnertime, one that's perfect for these chilly winter evenings. It freezes well, too.

This version includes smoked ham, which you could easily leave out for a vegeterian or vegan version.

Thanksgiving Books for Kids of All Ages

November 10, 2014

thanksgiving books for kidsThere are ton of terrific books out there dealing with all aspects of the Thanksgiving holiday. Whether it's about being thankful, turkeys, Pilgrims, Native Americans, or just gathering as a family, there's a book out there to help you and your children celebrate and learn more about this uniquely American holiday.

Here are some of our picks for great kids' books about Thanksgiving. The book links below take you to the online children's catalog of the Marin County Free Library.

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

November 9, 2014

Christmas House at West End Nursery San RafaelTraditionally, 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 on its opening day, and, once again, it's a spectacular as ever. As a matter of fact, I think it might be the best version to date!

The venerable West End Nursery has been operating in San Rafael's Sun Valley neighborhood for over a century—since 1909, in fact. The Christmas House is located on the grounds of the nursery in a Victorian house that's over also 100 years old. It's filled to the brim with Christmas trees and decorations of all kinds, and it's amazing. A visit here will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit, even it you're thinking "But it's not even Thanksgiving yet!"

West End Nursery's Christmas house began back in 1985 as something more akin to a "Christmas corner", but it now showcases over 60 lavishly decorated and lighted trees throughout several rooms, as well as candles, Santas, nutcrackers, angels, snowmen, and just about every seasonal decorative item imaginable. Each room and each tree has a different theme, including kitchen (located in the house's kitchen, naturally), baby's room, outdoors, pirates, music, sports, pets, food, international, and more.

Create Colorful Leaf Prints for Fall

November 8, 2014

Leaf PrintsCreating colorful leaf prints is one of my children's favorite simple fall craft projects. We love to take advantage of Marin's great fall weather and go on family hikes and walks at this time of year. Along the way, the kids collect interesting autumn leaves, which we bring home to use as decorations and to make leaf prints.

Making leaf prints is an easy project that kids of all ages can do, and the results can be really beautiful. To make them you’ll need:

  • Leaves of different shapes and sizes
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons

Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 7, 8 & 9

November 7, 2014
Ice skating at Marin on Ice
Marin on Ice opens this Saturday for another season of open air skating at Northgate in San Rafael.

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 7

  • James and the Giant Peach
    Marin Theatre Company, Mill Valley
    Friday, 4 & 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday,10:30 am, 12:30 & 3 pm

    The Bay Area Children’s Theatre production presents James and the Giant Peach for ages 4 to 11. This exciting new musical is inspired by Roald Dahl’s classic tale about the orphaned boy who escapes from his wicked aunts aboard an enormous enchanted peach inhabited by a bevy of very big bugs. Tickets: $18–22. Purchase tickets here. Location: 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • The 64th Annual Holly Fair
    San Geronimo Community Center
    Friday, 4–9 pm, Saturday, 10 am–3 pm

    Bring the family for some seasonal fun with turkey dinners, kids' games, homemade preserves and pies, silent auction, white elephant sale, and holiday gift boutique. Location: 6001 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Geronimo. For more info, call (415) 488-1757 or visit their website.
  • Throckmorton Youth Performers: Seussical the Musical
    142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 2 pm

    Based on the splendid works of Dr. Seuss… anything's possible! Tickets: $18 general, $14 students, $45 reserved. Location: 142 Throckmorton Avenue, in downtown Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 383-9600 or visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party Katherine Applegate
    DIESEL, a bookstore, Larkspur
    Friday, 6–7 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author Katherine Applegate will be here to read you a bedtime story. Get cozy in front of the fireplace, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies, get your books signed, and then head home for bed.Katherine Applegate's new book is Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla, a picture book companion to The One and Only Ivan. Location: Marin Country Mart 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, November 8

  • 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, kids' crafts from 10:30 am–1:30 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.
  • Harvest Festival
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–5 pm

    Celebrate the turn of the season with a harvest festival featuring a joyous outdoor performance and hands-on activities for the whole-family Indoor performance by The Banana Slug String Band ($3). All other events free with museum admission. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Fort Baker, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Pizza Party on Horse Hill
    Horse Hill, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 9 am-1pm

    We are hosting a broom-busting pizza party and raffle on Horse Hill. We need your help to to clear French and Scotch broom on the preserve. The work requires considerable strength and stamina but it is possible for volunteers as young as 5 years old to join if teamed with a parent or guardian. Some members of association will talk about their horses living on the preserve. Participants will get a chance to meet the horses up close. Meet at the entrance gate across from address 49 Lomita Dr, near the intersection of Lomita Dr.and Greenfield Ct. For more info, visit their website.
  • Holiday Craft Fair
    Petaluma Community Center
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Beautiful and unique crafts for sale, entertainment, food, prizes, and holiday photos with Santa. Admission is free. Location: 320 North McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma. For more info, call (707)778-4488 or visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun
    Presidio Officers’ Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–3 pm

    Bring the kiddos (ages 5 to 12) for some free craft-making at the new Presidio Officers' Club in San Francisco.The Presidio is a beautiful mosaic of natural and cultural wonders. Make your own paper mosaic featuring some of your favorite Presidio scenes. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Presidio Main Post, San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 561-4400 or visit their website.
  • SF Parents of Multiples Children's Consignment Sale
    St Mary's Cathedral
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    If you're looking for maternity wear, clothing for newborns to 5 year olds, toys, high chairs, stollers and much, don't miss this shopping event. Free parking and free admission. Location: 1111 Gough St. (at Geary Blvd.), San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Holidays on the Home Front at Fort McDowell
    Angel Island

    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–3 pm
    Visitors will learn how the Army helped soldiers and their families celebrate the holidays while at the island during World War II. Families will have the opportunity to make 1940s style Christmas decorations to take home, and enjoy refreshments in the East Garrison Chapel and Guard House. Make special holiday decorations using recycled materials, send a holiday greeting to our service men and women, learn about a soldier’s life, and enjoy the sounds and treats of the holidays. For information call (415) 435-3161 or visit their website.
  • Marin on Ice Opening Weekend
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Saturday and Sunday, noon–10 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.

Date Night Marin November: "Date Day" at the Coast

November 6, 2014

Date Night MarinBay Area locals know that the coast can be cold and miserable during the summer, but sunny and spectacular during the fall before the rain arrives in earnest. For November's Marin date night, we decided to take a look at fun activities out in West Marin coupled with a great dinner or lunch. Let's face it—you probably won't be driving out to Point Reyes for a night out, but a day out is a whole different matter!

You can find some ideas for daytime outdoor outings in our special sections dedicated to Point Reyes and the outdoors in Marin.

Do you have a favorite date night (or any time of day) spot that you'd like us to highlight in a future post? Let us know.

Point Reyes and Point Reyes National Seashore have a wealth of fun activities to do with or without the kids. Get in touch with with nature on a long hike, paddle Tomales Bay on a kayak excursion from Blue Waters Kayaking in Inverness, or visit the artisan cheesemakers of West Marin on California's Cheese Trail. Of course, a long walk on the beach might be in order, too.

Hit the Ice! Holiday Ice Skating in the Bay Area

November 4, 2014

Ice skating at Marin on IceEven though it's an activity that you can do year-round, ice skating seems to be something that's especially appealing around the holidays. Marin on Ice is back at Northgate in San Rafael for another season of outdoor ice skating, so you don't have to leave Marin County to go skate! It's the only rink in the county, but you'll find more in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and the East Bay. Here's our list of places to hit the ice in the Bay Area this holiday season.

Marin on Ice

Marin on Ice outdoor skating rink in San Rafael's Northgate Mall returns to offers al fresco skating from November 8, 2014 through January 11, 2015. This year the rink is even bigger, with 6,300 square feet of real ice. Skating costs $15 per person, which includes skate rental, and "Skate Buddies" (the blue plastic chair-like supports) are available for beginnners.The rink will be open daily, from 2 to 9 pm Monday through Thursday and noon to 10 pm Friday to Sunday, including holidays. Marin on Ice also offers birthday parties and private rentals. For more information, visit or call (707) 738-8496. Northgate Mall is located off Highway 101 in San Rafael's Terra Linda area, between Northgate Drive and Las Gallinas Avenue.

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