"The Jungle Book" Opens at Marin Theatre Company Next Weekend - Win Tickets!

October 22, 2016

The Jungle Book at MTC

Marin Theatre Company's Family Series continues this fall with their original production of The Jungle Book, opening next Saturday, October 29 for 10 performances only! Adapted by Greg Banks from the beloved stories by Rudyard Kipling and directed by Logan Ellis, this production is special in that MTC will be featuring the protagonist Mowgli as a girl! Here's what MTC Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis says about this artistic choice:

"We, led by director Logan Ellis and our cast and crew, feel it is imperative to give our girls the opportunity to see themselves portrayed onstage in a classic adventure story normally reserved for boys. We doubly believe it is important for young boys to see girls in powerful hero roles this year as our national conversation is rife with bullying, sexism and gender discussion."

Marin Family Weekend Fun for October 21, 22 & 23

October 21, 2016

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.

Check out our list of Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties—see our list here.

Friday, October 21

  • The Amazing Maze
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Friday, 9 am–4 pm and Saturday–Sunday, 9 am– 5 pm

    Children experience the joys and surprises of black light in this glow-in-the-dark hay maze. In this special exhibit, children are challenged to navigate a 150-bale hay maze—complete with tunnels, netting, and a slide—all under black light! In addition to the winding maze, there is a glow-in-the-dark dress-up station with white clothes and accessories for kids to try on, as well as a fluorescent Shoot-A-Hoop game. Admisson applies. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Fort Baker, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also offers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Activities are free and so is the parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their website.
  • Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
    Nicasio
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm
    Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a wide variety of certified organic pumpkins spread out in an expansive meadow on the farm. Kids activities: jumpy houses, inflatable slide, hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, farm animals to visit, a climbing wall, and face painting. Some of these attractions have an admission fee, and some are available only on weekends and select days. Shaded seating area with picnic tables, so you can relax and take in the scenery, listen to some great live music, and even eat lunch. If you arrive hungry, Big Jim's BBQ is on hand on weekends. Tim Cain performs on Sunday from 11 am to noon. Location: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio. Read our review here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Godmothers Pumpkin Patch
    St. Vincents, Marinwood
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    This long-time favorite pumpkin patch at St. Vincent's near Marinwood offers a variety of pumpkins as well as attractions and activities like bounce houses, a hay pile, face painting, snack shack, and a picnic area. Groups welcome. Read our review of St. Vincent's Pumpkin Patch. For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm, Sunday, 10 am–6 pm
    Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $6, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. Some of these attractions have an admission fee. 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.
  • Tam Valley Haunted House
    Tam Valley Community Center, Mill Valley
    Friday–Sunday, various times (see below)

    The theme for TCSD's annual Tam Valley Haunted House is "Aftershock"—after the Big One, anything can happen. The Haunted House has three different tours: 3:30–4:30 pm: Not Scary, for children under 8 with all the lights on and a fun tour of the different areas; 5-6:30 pm: Scary, for children over 9; closed 6:30–7:30 pm to feed the volunteer monsters then back open 7:30–9 pm for a truly horrifying experience. Cost: $6 per person. Location: 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Novato Horsemen Haunted House
    600 Bugeia Lane, Novato
    Friday & Saturday, 7–10 pm

    Bring the kids out for a night of scare and fun at the Novato Horseman Haunted House in Novato. Admission is $5 per person. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, October 22

  • 2016 Bioneers Conference & Family Fair
    Marin Center, San Rafael
    Saturday & Sunday, 8 am–6 pm

    The Bioneers Conference highlights breakthrough ideas for solving our most pressing ecological and social challenges. Come learn from some of the country’s top nature-inspired education masters and have fun exploring a wide array of experiential education activities. Free events on-site including the Family Fair (10 am–4 pm). For more info, visit their website.
  • Thomas and Percy's Halloween Party
    Roaring Camp Railroads, Felton
    Saturday & Sunday (various times)

    Dress up for Halloween with favorites Thomas and Percy for a 20-minute train ride, entertainment, and fun filled activities for the entire family. Activities include temporary tattoos, Face Painting, Story Telling, Videos, Train Play Tables, small pumpkins for little ones, cookie decorating, photos with Sir Topham Hatt, a Thomas store, and live entertainment. Also, Thomas the Tank Engine will be able to talk to his fans! Event website.
  • Non-Spooky Halloween Carnival
    Twin Cities Community Preschool
    Saturday, 10 am–2 pm

    Calling all ghosts, goblins, Pikachu and princesses! Fun for preschool through elementary aged children! Free admission and open to the public. Bring your friends and neighbors for games, prizes, food, a photo booth and arts and crafts. Location: 56 Mohawk Avenue, Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch
    Petaluma
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Find the perfect pumpkin in McClelland's three-acre organic pumpkin field. Free admission includes pumpkin patch, petting farm animals (including cows, goats, and chickens), and watching cows being milked in the parlor. There's also a hay maze, kids' haunted hay house, hay rides, bounce houses, and u-pick squash, as well as a farm store and a food cart serving organic grilled cheese sandwiches, organic milkshakes, organic popcorn, and espresso drinks. Some of these attractions have an admission fee. Read our review here. For more info, visit their website. 
  • ZOOtoberfest
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Bring the family and navigate through San Francisco’s largest hay maze, a 5,000-square-foot structure made from 600 bales of straw and incorporates play areas within the design. Jump in the bounce house, challenge your friends to a friendly game of ring toss and use the festive Harvest Hallow setting for photo ops. SF Zoo’s “Zoo Brew Haus” at the Depot Grill is pouring a great selection of brews, and cooking a full smorgasbord of German-inspired dishes. During lunch, dine to the upbeat sounds of a live band playing traditional polka music. Free after zoo admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Domenico Upper School Open House
    San Domenico School, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 10 am–noon
    This comprehensive event includes an opening welcome from the administration, mini sample classes, a student/faculty panel, and a fair exhibiting academic and extracurricular programs. Location: 1500 Butterfield Road, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Annual Pumpkin Patch & Train Festival
    Western Railway Museum, Suisun City
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Get your Halloween pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns, test your strength with the pumpkin launcher, explore our huge hay bale fortress, and enjoy a train ride too. Gather the family and begin at the Western Railway Museum. Doors open at 9:30 -- The first electric express train leaves at 10:00 AM with departures every half-hour until 4pm. Cost: adults $14, children (2–14 yrs) $10 and seniors $12. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: Seussical TYA
    Saturday, 10:30 am & 1:30 pm
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley

    The whimsical world of Dr. Seuss springs to life in this imagination-infused musical! Horton the Elephant discovers a dust speck is actually an entire planet, Gertrude McFuzz wishes she had a flashier feathered tail, and Jojo the Who's elaborate thinks keep getting him into trouble! The Cat in the Hat is your magical master of ceremonies in this sensational smorgasbord of Seuss stories. Recommended for age 3 and up. Tickets: $25 adults, $20 children, $23 seniors. Location: 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tolay Fall Festival
    Tolay Lake Regional Park
    Lakeville Highway at Cannon Lane, Petaluma
    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–5 pm
    The 10th annual Tolay Fall Festival takes place over two long weekends in October at the site of the old Cardoza Ranch off Lakeville Highway, which was famous for its pumpkin patch. In addition to pumpkins and fall decorative items for sale, attractions and activities include a Native American village, the Nighttime Creatures Barn with Creepy Crawly Critters Room, nature hikes, a giant straw maze, a hands-on children's area and kiddie corral, and hay rides. Admission: $5 adults, $3 children 12 and under; free for Sonoma County Regional Parks members. Parking for non-members is $7. For more info, call (707) 565-2041 or visit their website.
  • Presidio Pumpkin Carving Festival
    Presidio of San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, noon–5 pm

    Create your own Halloween décor! Basic tools and pumpkins are provided. Bring your own stencils and stickers. Food is available for purchase. Free, but registration required. Location: Main Parade Ground, Presidio of San Francisco. For more info and to register, visit their website.

Three Deliciously Spooky Halloween Treats

October 20, 2016

Mummy hot dogsIn October, my kids and I love to make fun Halloween-themed treats for parties, snacks and school lunches. Not only are most of these healthy, but they’re fun to make and eat, too.

These recipes also make a great playgroup or play date activity or girl scout or cub scout project. Feel free to vary the recipes as you see fit.

Hot Dog Mummies

Ingredients

Brief Therapy Packages for Busy Couples and Parents from Lisa Nave, MFT

October 20, 2016

Lisa Nave, MFTMarin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from Lisa Nave, MFT.

Is your schedule so busy that therapy doesn’t become a priority until a crisis occurs? Studies tell us couples often wait six years after conflicts arise until they finally begin therapy. And they often don’t seek therapy for child or family issues until there is a crisis. But the longer you avoid therapy and addressing your issues, the more entrenched or damaging they become.

These brief therapy packages were developed for those who are too busy for traditional therapy. Brief therapy is solution-focused and addresses core issues and conflicts through education, research-based strategies, exercises and goals with action plans. You may choose from 4–8 session packages, and come to sessions in my Mill Valley office or by Skype.

Best Trick-or-Treat Neighborhoods in Marin

October 18, 2016

Rombeiro House on Halloween in Novato Marin County

Halloween (which takes place in less than two weeks!) may be one of everyone's favorite holidays, but trick-or-treating is kind of a lost art these days. It used to be you'd just trick-or-treat in your neighborhood, but many communities just aren't Halloween friendly. In fact, it seems that many otherwise bustling neighborhoods become ghost towns, so to speak, on Halloween night.

If you happen to live in a place that does go all out for Halloween, then you're in luck! Otherwise, you might want to seek out another nearby neighborhood in which to find that Halloween spirit—plenty of families in Marin County do.

Nature for Kids Hikes with Marin County Parks Are Fun and Fascinating

October 18, 2016

Nature for Kids Marin Parks David Herlocker

Spending time in the outdoors as a family this fall can be both fun and educational: get some exercise, explore Marin County's many parks and open space preserves, take advantage of our often lovely fall weather, and learn about the natural wonders that can be found all around us. A fantastic and eye-opening way to get out and experience nature in Marin is to take part in one of the naturalist-led family outings offered by Marin County Parks.

The parks department's Nature for Kids outings take place at Marin's many open space areas, and feature a leisurely, kid-paced hike with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way. The hikes are informal and unstructured, and perfect for kids of all ages, although they seem geared for kids ages 3 to 12.

Healthy Slow-Cooker White Bean Soup with Ham

October 17, 2016

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.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry white beans like Great Northern, Navy, or Cannellini
  • 1 large onion, chopped

You’re Invited to the Bioneers Free Family Fair October 22 & 23!

October 17, 2016

Bioneers Family Fair

Bioneers is bringing back their popular Family Fair on Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23, 2016 at the Marin County Fairgrounds in San Rafael. This unique learning-and-play program is free for families with kids 12 and under. Come learn from some of the country’s top nature-inspired education masters and have fun exploring a wide array of experiential education activities.

Attendance to the Family Fair is free for families, or check out the Bioneers Conference with a Tandem Ticket, allowing the kids to do kid things while two adults trade off experiencing the conference and hanging with kids at Family Fair.

Get Your Tickets for San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker

October 16, 2016

San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker

December will be here before we know it, and for many families, the holidays won't be complete without attending a performance of San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker. Experience 200 costumed characters, dazzling scenery, Tchaikovsky's beautiful score performed live by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and the opulence of the War Memorial Opera House decorated for Christmas. Tickets to this time-honored holiday tradition are on sale now and going fast!

Many different performances of Nutcracker take place in the Bay Area during the holiday season, but San Francisco Ballet's is the one that sets the standard. Did you know that San Francisco Ballet was the first ballet company to bring Nutcracker to America, way back in 1944?

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