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

January 15, 2015

Nature for Kids hike with Marin County ParksIt's a New Year, so why not resolve to spend more time outdoors as a family? Get some exercise, explore Marin County's many parks and open space preserves, 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.

Led by experienced and knowledgeable naturalists like David Herlocker, these hikes allow everyone in the family to get up-close-and-personal with insects, reptiles, spiders, birds, and other flora and fauna that call Marin home. The programs are really fascinating and will make you look at our open spaces in a completely different way.

Hiking with Kids in Marin: Rush Creek Open Space Preserve

January 13, 2015

Rush Creek Open Space PreserveHiking with children is a great way to get them into the outdoors and introduce them to nature, but it can be a bit of a challenge. Small legs seem to tire out faster than larger ones, and when they outgrow both the stroller and the backpack it's best to seek out some shorter hikes with few hills or elevation changes that the whole family can enjoy with a minumum of complaining. One of our favorite easy family hikes can be found at Rush Creek Open Space Preserve, on the northern end of Novato.

This 552-acre preserve features wide and gentle trails that are perfect for families. They're easily manageable with an off-road capable jogging stroller, and kids' bikes should be able to tackle the fire roads with ease. You'll share the trails with plenty of hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders, as well as birders checking out the countless shorebirds and waterfowl that make their homes in the adjacent wetlands.

Volunteer and More in Marin on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 13, 2015

Martin Luther King Day Celebration at the Bay Area Discovery MuseumThis coming Monday, January 19, 2015, is the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. While you could just enjoy the day off from work and school, why not make it a day of service to your community? Celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and and make it a "day on" not "day off" to help make our community a better place for everyone.

Here are MLK Day volunteer opportunities for families on Monday in Marin County.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Marin County Civic Center
10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael
Monday, 9 am–noon
Come work together on MLK Day to spruce up landscaped areas at the Marin County Civic Center. All skill levels are welcome and no previous experience is necessary. All ages are welcome; anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a supervising adult. Dress in layers you can get dirty, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water. Snacks and extra water will be provided. Questions: Contact Volunteer Coordinator Kirk Schroeder at (415) 763-2977. For more info, visit the Marin County Parks website.

Classes for New & Expectant Parents at Marin General Hospital

January 13, 2015

Both my children were born at Marin General Hospital. Overall, it was a great experience—their staff is awesome and they’re a great resource for new parents. Not only were we well taken care of, but we were also able to take advantage of the wide variety of classes offered by MGH to help smooth things along for new and expectant parents. These classes are offered to the public.

Some of the classes available at Marin General include prenatal and postnatal instruction classes for expectant parents, infant care, CPR, breastfeeding help, a father class, a free mom’s support group, and help for siblings adjusting to a new brother or sister.

They also offer a childbirth and infant-care “value package” for $230 per couple. This seven-class series covers pretty much everything you need to know about bringing home a new baby, and includes topics like breastfeeding, post partum expectations and realities, care of your newborn, and home and car safety. Classes are two hours each, and the first three classes can be taken as a single one-day childbirth class. Programs take place in MGH’s convenient location at 250 Bon Air Road in Greenbrae.

Slow-roasted Rotisserie-style Chicken

January 12, 2015

faux-tisserie roast chickenA roast chicken can be satisfying and delicious, but it can be deceptively difficult to make. I've been experimenting with trying to make the perfect roast chicken (I'm getting there, I think), and have been using different techniques to see how they turn out. One of the more successful ones is a "faux-tisserie" chicken, which attempts to develop the same fall-off-the bone texture that you get from your favorite rotisserie-cooked bird.

The general technique comes from Bon Appetit magazine, which advocates cooking the chicken low and slow for hours. I decided to flavor it like they do at Gira Polli in Mill Valley, whose wood-fired rotisserie chickens I think are some of the best in Marin. While this is not a whip-it-up-after-you-get-home-from-work recipe, it's really pretty easy. You just need to be around for the 3 hours it takes to cook it.

Super Soccer Stars Comes to Marin - For Ages 12 Months & Up

January 12, 2015

super soccer starsMarin Mommies Presents a sponsored article from Super Soccer Stars.

By popular demand, the country’s most popular child-development soccer program is coming to the Bay Area!

Try a free class at Demo Day:
Saturday, January 17
Mill Valley Community Center
9:30–10:10 am: 2–3 year olds
10:15–11 am: 3–young 4 year olds
11:05–11:45 am: 12–24 month olds (parent participation)
11:50 am–12:45 pm: Older 4–5 year olds

Spaces limited! RSVP to (415) 233-8277 or

Warm up your winter with Super Soccer Stars classes for ages 12 months and up! With the lowest child-to-coach ratios in California, Super Soccer Stars teaches soccer skills in a fun, non-competitive and educational environment. Through an age-specific curriculum, soccer is used to nurture, build self-confidence and develop teamwork. Low child-to-coach ratios and positive reinforcement ensure that each child improves at his or her own pace while having a blast!

Learn the Unhealthy Truth About Toxins in Our Lives with Ken Cook and Speak to Me

January 11, 2015

Ken Cook EWGFancy a little pesticide with you broccoli, some antibiotic with your steak, or a pinch of arsenic with your rice? Is your beloved face cream divine enough to risk cancer or the yummy smell of your child's shampoo worth early puberty? Toxins! They are everywhere… so what's the government doing to protect us? More importantly what are you doing to protect yourself?

Join Speak To Me on January 27 for Ken Cook, co-founder of the Environmental Working Group—a public interest research and advocacy organization focused on protecting human health and the environment—for a revealing discussion on the growing toxicity of our world.

Get the inside scoop on the toxins we unknowingly ingest every day, what the government is (or is not) doing to protect us and what we can do to create a safer environment for ourselves and our for future generations. Get inspired and informed to affect change while connecting with other women in a meaningful way.

New Year’s Resolutions

January 10, 2015

Tanya SteinhoferMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Tanya Steinhofer, CFA,CFP®. 

Judging by the number of inquiries I’ve been getting recently, getting one’s financial house in order is a popular New Year’s Resolution (or an incomplete one from last year!). If you are also interested in doing some financial house cleaning, spreading it out over the course of the year can make it more manageable. Here are a few ideas:

  • January – Update your net worth and cash-flow statements to see where you stand.
  • February – Collect all the necessary documents you’ll need to file your taxes, including re-stated 1099s.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 9, 10 & 11

January 9, 2015
Mochi pounding at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco
Celebrate the New Year, Japanese-style, with traditional mochi pounding at the Asian Art Museum.

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.

Note that the Golden Gate Bridge will be closed to traffic this Saturday and Sunday, January 10 and 11, in order to install a new moveable median barrier. If you're planning on going into San Francisco from Marin consider taking Golden Gate Transit bus, which will be driving across the bridge, or the Golden Gate Ferry. Find out more about the bridge closure here.

Friday, January 9

  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • Last Weekend for Ice Skating: Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday-Sunday, noon–10 pm

    This is the last weekend for Marin on Ice, an outdoor skating rink in San Rafael's Northgate Mall. Bring the kiddos out to for a day of ice skating. Skating costs $15 per person, which includes skate rental, and "Skate Buddies" (the blue plastic chair-like supports) are available for beginnners.  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. For more info, call (707) 738-8496 or visit
  • Crazy, Awesome Science! Fun with Liquid Nitrogen
    Children's Museum of Sonoma

    Friday, 2 pm
    This program often includes a scientific demonstration followed by hands-on science for everyone. Free after museum admission. Location: 1835 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • de Youngsters Family Art Party 2015
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Join other Bay Area families in putting the "art" in "party" at the de Youngsters second annual benefit bash for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Guests both young and "young at art" will enjoy a fun-filled evening at the de Young exploring color and line, a modern treasure hunt in Celebrating the Spectrum: Highlights from the Anderson Collection, teen-oriented activities based on the lively works on view in Keith Haring: The Political Line, plus more surprises! To purchase tickets, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Mac Barnett
    DIESEL, a bookstore Larkspur
    Friday, 6–7 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author Mac Barnett 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. Location: Marin County Mart, Larkspur. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, January 10

  • Family Fun Run/Health & Wellness Fair
    Mill Valley Recreation Center
    Saturday, 8–11 am

    Jump start your New Years resolution with a fun and exciting way to experience health, wellness and community in Mill Valley. Family fun run/walk (around the large lawn area behind community center), bounce house, air brush tattoos, face painting, and food tasting. Free admission. Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family and Youth Winter Bird Count
    Albert J. Boro Community Center at Pickleweed Park
    Saturday, 9 am–12:30 pm
    Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary and WildCare are co-hosting their fourth Youth Winter Bird Count (YWBC). This event will give aspiring young birders, their families, and outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to contribute to conservation while they learn in both Spanish and English, aided by WildCare's bilingual naturalists and volunteer birders. Students of all ages and their families are invited to participate in this fun and educational event. For more information and registration, 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.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person; children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 through mid-April. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Event: McNears Beach Park in Maps
    McNears Beach Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Join Ranger Josh Rosenfeld for an insightful look at the history of McNears Beach Park and the Point San Pedro Peninsula through the layers of time captured on maps. View old maps and browse modern digital imagery of this beautiful park located on the shores of San Pablo Bay. Park entrance is waived for participants. Meet at the snack bar in McNears Beach Park. Location: 201 Cantera Way, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Montessori Open House
    Marin Montessori School, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Get to know Marin Montessori this Saturday at an Open House at their Corte Madera Campus, 5200 Paradise Drive. RSVP required; call (415) 924-5388 ext. 0. For more information, visit their website.
  • The Venus Fly Trap and Other Amazing Carnivorous Plants
    UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley
    Saturday, 10–11 am

    John Bartram was the first to introduce the Venus Fly Trap into cultivation. Family members of all ages are invited to discover some of the fascinating and beautiful plants that can eat insects. Get up close with the amazing leaf adaptations as you learn more about them. Registration required: $15 general, $10 members. Location: 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Your Child's Education—How to Choose?
    San Rafael Community Center
    Saturday, 10–11 am

    With so many types of schools available, how do I choose a school that works for my family? Learn to compare educational approaches and school models. Learn about the latest neuroscience and brain research with a deep understanding of how children learn and grow; balancing current research with collective wisdom. Cost: $10. Purchase tickets and learn more here. Location: 618 B Street, San Rafael.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Cook up family fun by joining us for a series of classes at Williams-Sonoma in Corte Madera. Want to become a better baker and help out mom and dad in the kitchen? We’ll teach you some basic baking techniques and then prepare a yummy breakfast and a baked snack together. Suitable for ages 9–13. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
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