Fantastic Family-Friendly Labor Day Recipes

September 1, 2014

Grilled Mediterranean chickenToday is Labor Day, the traditional last gasp of summer vacation. The weather is wonderful, so we've rounded up a selection of our most popular family-friendly grilling recipes, along with a few great summer sides, desserts, and other treats. So fire up the grill and cook a feast for family and friends today!

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

This Mediterranean-inspired grilled chicken, marinated in fresh herbs and citrus, is a hit with everyone.

Santa Maria-Style Tri Tip

Cooked slowly over charcoal with plenty of wood smoking chips, this traditional Santa Maria-style tri tip is simple to make and really delicious.

Marin Family-Friendly Events for Labor Day Weekend

August 29, 2014

Sausalito Art Festival

The 62nd Sausalito Art Festival takes place this weekend at Marinship Park.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this Labor Day weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, August 29

  • Picnics on the Plaza
    San Anselmo Town Hall Lawn
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    Picnics feature music and family fun. Bring your picnic basket or buy food at the event. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights on Main: Main Street USA

    Friday, 6–9 pm
    Bring the family to some outdoor dining, live music and dancing on Main Street in downtown Tiburon. This Friday: a salute to Disney, with some of your favorite characters in attendance and the music of the Kyle Martin Band performing contemporary and classic rock favorites. For more info, visit their website.
  • 18th Annual Nostalgia Days Rod and Kustom Car Show
    Downtown Novato
    Friday, 4–8 pm & Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    Novato's annual celebration of all things automotive features a salute to American Graffiti with a special appearance by actress Candy Clark ("Debbie" in the movie). Friday night cruise takes place on a loop through Novato, and Saturday features a car show, live music, raffle, and vendors. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Movie Night: Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Stafford Lake, Novato
    Friday, 7:30–10 pm

    The lawn at pastoral Stafford Lake Park sets the perfect stage for this classic outdoor summer event, featuring a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Marin Parks will host the show and provide the popcorn; bring your family, a blanket, chairs, and a picnic dinner or snacks (portable BBQs are allowed). The show will begin 15 minutes after sunset. For more info, call (415) 897-0618 or visit their website.

Saturday, August 30

  • Sausalito Art Festival
    Marinship Park, Sausalito
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–7 pm and Monday, 10 am–5 pm
    The country’s best art and most exciting artists, a top-name music line-up, gourmet food, and fine wines and premium beers all bring more than 30,000 art lovers together in an electrifying atmosphere of creativity, fun, discovery, and magic every Labor Day Weekend. A children and families area features hands-on activities and entertainment for all ages. Featuring local children’s music with local Tim Cain and performers including Benny and Bebe's Magic Circus. Tickets to the Sausalito Art Festival are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors 62+, and $5 for juniors ages 6–12, and free for children under 6. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Baby food cooking and nutrition demonstration with Baby Bites and NewboRN Solutions from 10:30 am–noon. Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 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.
  • Muir Woods Family Walk
    Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 9:30 am–12:30 pm
    Can't stand to see vacation end but too tired to travel? Spend quality time with the family in an ancient redwood forest just 25 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge. Before letting the long, lazy days of summer slip away, take a leisurely walk through an ancient redwood forest. Wear sturdy shoes, dress in layers and bring lunch, snacks and water. Entrance fees apply. All ages welcome. Strollers not advised; backpack baby carriers OK. Reservations required; call (415) 388-2596. For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Reptile Expo
    Petaluma Community Center
    Saturday, 10 am-5 pm

    Open to the public. All ages welcome. Join us as we welcome a variety of vendors and exhibitors offering hundreds of snakes, lizards, geckos, turtles, tortoises, tarantulas, scorpions, supplies, jewelry, and more at this year's Petaluma Reptile Expo presented by North Bay Herpetological Society. Cost: $5.00 for Adults, Kids 12 and under $2. Location: 320 McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Theater for Young Audiences: Five Little Monkeys
    Marin Theatre Company, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm & 3 pm and Sunday, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm & 5 pm

    Those five little monkeys will get into as much mischief on stage as they do in their namesake picture books. Take cover when they make that birthday cake for Mama, meet up with a crocodile, and disappear in the store! The play’s all in rhyme, so you’ll have a great time! Recommended for ages 2–7, 45 minutes. Tickets are $18 for children under 14 and $22 for adults. Order online at, by phone at  (415) 388-5208, or in person at the MTC box office, 397 Miller Avenue in Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Komodo Karnival
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 11 am–3 pm

    Komodo Karnival will feature good ol' fashioned fun with a nod to the Big Daddy Bahasa, the Zoo's resident Komodo dragon. After you stop by and see him at Komodo Alley, try your luck at games like Crazy Ball, Ring the Bottle, Hoop Shot, Milk Can, Fat Cats and Fish Are Jumping; you may even win a prize! After some cotton candy and a hot dog and soda, show off your strength on the Komodo High Striker then make like a dragon and head up our Komodo Klimbing Wall. Free after zoo admission. For more info, visit their website.

Ten Terrific Family Outings for Labor Day Weekend

August 28, 2014

Hamilton Community Pool NovatoLabor day weekend is summer vacation's last hurrah (even if most kids are in school already). Make the most of this last long weekend of summer with a fun family outing or activity in Marin or elsewhere in the Bay Area.

For more fun family events for this weekend, check out the special Labor Day Weekend edition of our weekly event guide.

Fall Classes for New & Expectant Parents at Marin General Hospital

August 26, 2014

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 $200 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.

Kids Eat for Free in Marin

August 26, 2014

Like many families these days, we find ourselves grabbing lunch or dinner on the go probably more than we should. Of course all this dining out adds up after a while and has the potential to be a major drain on the wallet. Fortunately, there are plenty of great family-friendly restaurants in Marin that offer free dining for kids—usually with the purchase of an adult entree (and only when dining in)—one or more days during the week.

Here's our list of kids-eat-free offers, broken down by location. Please note that all information presented here has been confirmed and is, to our knowledge, correct at the time of publishing, but deals come and deals go, so you should confirm with the restaurant before you go, just in case.

Farmer’s Market Fettuccine

August 25, 2014

Marin Mommies presents this week's guest recipe from Nicole Cibellis, Marin mom and author of the blog A Family that Eats Together, where she shares meal plans and recipes that will please foodies and children alike.

With the continued bounty of my neighbor’s gardens and my own, I have been looking for new ways to eat all our succulent summer vegetables. This is a quick and easy raw summer pasta dish which can be easily adapted to fit children’s finicky palates. Just modify the recipe using vegetables that they like the best. In this recipe, I use a vegetable peeler to cut the zucchini into extra thin ribbons, which makes it fun for my son and mixes in nicely with the pasta.

Servings: 4–6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


Birthday Parties with the Miniature Horses of Lovepatch Farms

August 25, 2014

Lovepatch Farms Miniature Horse Birthday PartyLittle ones can have their birthday parties in the company of some other little ones at Lovepatch Farms, a miniature horse ranch now located in Marin. The gentle and approachable miniature horses at this small ranch in Novato's bucolic Indian Valley neighborhood are the perfect companions for any young horse lover's special day.

Birthday party packages at Lovepatch Farms can be in any number of themes, including “My Pretty Pony”, vintage cowboy or cowgirl, “Year of the Horse”, and more, and decorations for your theme will be provided. During the party, each child will have his or her own miniature horse to feed, groom, and even decorate with provided supplies. Additional fun, games, and surprises will be in store, too.

Kids will also create a special art project to take home, and a photos of each child with their decorated pony, as well as a group photo, will be emailed to each partygoer. Pizza, salads, and drinks are also provided. You just need to bring the birthday cake!

There's Something for the Entire Family at the Sausalito Art Festival

August 24, 2014

Sausalito Art FestivalA Marin County tradition for half a century, the Sausalito Art Festival returns to Marinship Park this Labor Day Weekend for its 62nd season. The Festival showcases the works of the finest local, national and international artists, with thousands of original works of art by 260 artists, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber art, fine glass, woodwork, mixed media, and photography.

Of course there are plenty of other things to see and do at the Sausalito Art Festival, including music by legendary headliners and local favorites on two stages. Performers include Taj Mahal, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tommy Castro, Pride and Joy, and Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers. Fantastic food, beer, and wine will be available, too.

The 2014 Sausalito Art Festival also offers a full weekend of entertainment and hands-on activities for children and families. At the special children's area adjacent to the Bay Model look for the Magic Circus Family Show with Benny Bendini the Magician and Bebe the Clown, local children's music legend Tim Cain, and comedy chaos with Mark and Dre Show. Check out their complete list of entertainment here.

Homemade Pizza Night with Chef Daddy

August 22, 2014

homemade pizzaI know some people who say that pizza is one of those dishes that's always better when you dine out. I respectfully disagree! While that might be true for topping-laden old-school American pizza, we've been successfully making some pretty wonderful Italian-style pizzas right here at home. Unfortunately, we lack a wood-burning pizza oven in the backyard (someday…), but we get some good results in a regular home oven with a little preparation and a few tricks.

Our latest foray into homemade pizza was inspired by the summer surplus of heirloom tomatoes from our vegetable garden. The tomato plants seem to be going full throttle now, and we have more tomatoes than we know what to do with. Pizza seemed a great way to help with the problem!

Pizza Dough

The refigerated pizza dough sold by Trader Joe's is actually very good, and we use it all the time, especially if we want to make pizza on the spur of the moment. Making your own pizza crust isn't all that challenging, though, so if you have the time, go for it! The results are usually quite good, and you can even freeze extra dough to use later.

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