Swim With AquaMarin Synchro Synchronized Swimming Team

October 15, 2016

AquaMarin Synchro

Interested in the sport of synchronized swimming? AquaMarin Synchro, Marin County's only synchronized swimming (or synchro) team offers girls ages 10 to 18 the opportunity to learn the sport's techniques and and even compete against other teams in the area.

Swimmers develop strength, flexibility, artistic interpretation, timing, body awareness and confidence in individual and team competition. They also learn to help each other so good habits in the water get reinforced and bad habits get recognized early so they aren't practiced. Swimmers need to be comfortable in the water year round, love music and enjoy the power and grace that the modern sport of synchro demands.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for October 14, 15 & 16

October 14, 2016

Tolay Fall Festival
Don't miss the 10th annual Tolay Fall Festival this weekend at Tolay Lake Regional Park near Petaluma.

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.

Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties are open—see our list here.

Friday, October 14

  • Mill Valley Film Festival
    Various Locations
    Friday–Sunday, various times

    The 22nd annual Mill Valley Film Festival features a variety of fantastic family films from around the world. Location: various theaters within Marin. For a complete listing of films, visit their website here.
  • Just Between Friends Children's & Maternity Consignment Event
    Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
    Friday, 9 am–8 pm, Saturday, 9 am–3:30 pm and Sunday, 9 am–2 pm

    North Bay's largest children's and maternity consignment sales even is held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds' Grace Pavilion—40,500 square feet of shopping awesomeness. Shop huge deals on new and gently-used clothes (0–12 years and maternity), games, toys, furniture, strollers, mommy supplies, etc. Location: 1350 Bennett Valley Road. Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • 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. (Note: The hay used in our maze is seed-free rice straw.) 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
    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.
  • 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.
  • Halloween Harvest Festival
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–7 pm

    Come to Marinwood Community Center for its annual Halloween Harvest Festival for children 12 and under. Activities include carnival games, pumpkin carving and decorating, face painting, trick-or-treat bag decorating, caramel apples, and a bounce house. Tickets: $10 advance or $15 at the door for kids ages 2 to 12; adults free. Food available for purchase. Event website.
  • Campfire Program
    Sonoma State Historic Park
    Friday, 6:30–7:30 pm

    Bring the family for a talk with a park interpretive specialist, songs and a marshmallow roast. Location: Barracks Courtyard, Sonoma Historic Park. For more info, visit their website.
  • Movies in the Park: Inside Out
    Old Mill Park, Mill Valley
    Friday, 7–10 pm
    Come see Inside Out outdoors in Old Mill Park's Redwood Grove. Film starts at dusk. Free with general admission seating. Please bring your own blanket or low beach chair. Snacks will be available for sale. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, October 15

  • 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.
  • Leap Sandcastle Classic
    Ocean Beach, San Francisco
    Saturday, 8 am–4 pm
    This year marks the 34th annual year of the Sandcastle Classic, the biggest sandcastle competition in Northern California.Teams typically comprised of architects, engineers, contractors, designers, corporations, and local elementary school students work together to build giant sand sculptures. The funds raised by teams and sponsors make it possible for Leap to continue to provide arts programs to Bay Area students. Enjoy food trucks and live performances, too. For more info, visit their website
  • WorldWideWomen: Girls Festival
    Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
    Saturday, 9 am–5 pm
    This event promises to be a game-changing day of exploration, empowerment and fun for thousands of Bay Area girls (of all ages) and their families. It's a unique opportunity for girls to have fun, learn, be inspired, and leave feeling ready to take on the world. Tickets are only $10, and children under 12 are free. Location: Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival
    Historic Main Street, Half Moon Bay
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–5 pm

    The World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay celebrates its bountiful fall harvest and autumn splendor with a special display of gigantically enormous, heavyweight champion pumpkins, three stages of smashing entertainment, non-stop live music, the Great Pumpkin Parade, a bone-chilling haunted house, harvest-inspired crafts, homestyle foods, pie-eating and costume contests, and pumpkin carving for fun. Admission is free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Pet Fair
    Marin Center, San Rafael
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Looking to adopt a cat, dog or small animal? The Bay Area Pet Fair will feature more than 70 California pet rescues and shelters in attendance, with over 1,000 adoptable dogs, cats & small animals. Admission and parking is free, and there will be free live shows, free activities for kids and dogs, food trucks, lots of giveaways and loads of vendors. Location: 1o Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Mountain School Apple Faire
    Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm
    The Mountain School, a Waldorf-inspired, early childhood education center in Corte Madera CA, is having their 4th Annual Apple Faire — A celebration of autumn, especially for ages 3–7 (all ages are welcome). Crafts, puppet shows, apple press, carnival games, castle maze, prizes, music and homemade apple treats. Location: 50 El Camino Drive, Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Community Craft Day
    Hamilton MakerSpace, No
    Saturday, 10 am–12 pm
    Please join the Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition For Youth and the Bullying Prevention Committee at a free Community Craft Day. All ages are welcome to attend this fun-filled arts & crafts event! Location: 931 C Street, Novato (Hamilton). For more info, visit their website.
  • McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch
    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. 
  • Learn How to Pier Fish
    Paradise Beach Park, Tiburon

    Saturday, 10 am–noon
    Join rangers to learn the secrets and tricks of the trade when fishing from a pier. A limited amount of poles will be available on a first come, first-served basis. A valid California fishing license is required when fishing from the shore, not from the pier. This event is ideal for all ages. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. Don’t forget to bring a fishing pole. Bait and a limited amount of fishing poles provided, thanks to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Rain will cancel. For more info, visit their website.
  • Fort Ross-Seaview Harvest Festival
    Fort Ross State Historic Park, Jenner
    Saturday, 10 am–6 pm

    Harvest is the time to enjoy autumn's fresh air with friends and family, acknowledging all that the seasons provide us. Harvest Festival starts out with a morning of apple picking in the
    orchard, where we'll gently harvest fruit from these historic trees while enjoying Eastern European singing with Kedry. Next are the windmill turning and Russian bell ringing.The celebration then moves to the historic Fort Ross compound where we'll enjoy the old-world charm of the 19th-century Russian settlement. Admission: $20 per car. For more info, visit their website.
  • Musical Storytime with Melissa
    Copperfield's Books, Novato
    Saturday, 10:30 am

    Fun for music and story lovers of all ages. Melissa with bring her guitar, shaker basket and book for this family-friendly fun event. Free. Location: 999 Grant Avenue, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tolay Fall Festival
    Tolay Lake Regional Park
    Lakeville Highway at Cannon Lane, Petaluma
    Saturday & 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.
  • Goblin Jamboree Fundraiser
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    Bring the whole family in costume to explore all the fun at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Goblin Jamboree Family Fundraiser. Experience the museum as it’s transformed into a spooktacular Halloween wonderland complete with Witches and Wizards school, pony rides, petting zoo, kid-sized hay maze, live entertainment, and more. Tickets available at the door. Admission: $16.95 general, $13.95 members, free for children under 6 months. For more info, visit their website.
  • ZOOtoberfest
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Come to SF Zoo to welcome our favorite season… FALL! 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.
  • Biketoberfest
    FairAnselm Plaza, Fairfax
    Saturday, 11 am–5 pm

    Bring the family to this year's Biketoberfest in downtown Fairfax. Family fun includes bike decorating, a bike parade, and face painting! There will be 70 bicycle exhibitors and a cargo bike jubilee featuring workshops, competitions, and more. Biketoberfest will be offering lots of beer tasting, food, and live music. Location: 765 Center Boulevard, next to Iron Springs Pub and Java Hut. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sharktoberfest
    Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center, San Francisco
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm
    Celebrate the annual return of the Great White Sharks with shark science, shark experts, films, beer, food, and live music. Come in costume for the Ocean Life Parade and costume contest at 3 pm. Location 991 Marine Drive, San Francisco Presidio. For more info, visit their website.

Halloween Craft Project: Paper Jack-O-Lanterns

October 14, 2016

Pumpkin paper lanternsKids always love to make fun decorative crafts, especially at Halloween, when they can help make the house or classroom extra spooky. These easy-to-make paper jack-o-lanterns are a Halloween-time take on the traditional paper lantern craft project, and are simple enough that almost anyone in the family can make them. Make a bunch with different face designs and hang them around the house.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Orange and green construction paper (we used 12 x 18" sheets, but letter size will work, too)
  • Black markers, paint, or construction paper

Pumpkins and More at the Tolay Fall Festival this Weekend!

October 13, 2016

Tolay Fall Festival

Many families in Marin and the North Bay have fond memories of visiting the popular pumpkin patch at Cardoza Ranch outside Petaluma. In 2005, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department acquired Cardoza Ranch, also known as Tolay Lake Ranch, turning its 1,737 acres of farmland into a county park.

North Bay's Largest Children's and Maternity Consignment Sale this Weekend!

October 13, 2016

Just Between Friends fall sale Santa RosaCome shop until you drop at this weekend's North Bay Just Between Friends Mega Children's Sale at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Grace Pavilion in Santa Rosa. Taking place today, Thursday, October 13 through Sunday, October 16, 2016, Just Between Friends is the North Bay's largest children's and maternity consignment event.

Get a great deal on over 100,000 consignment items in 40,500 square feet of shopping space, including toys, games; outdoor gear; mommy supplies; furniture; crafting, school and party supplies; and more. You'll save 30–90% off retail prices on tons of gently used and even new items. Cash, checks, debit cards, and Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Bring your own bags, baskets, or even a wagon to carry your deals.

The WorldWideWomen Girls' Festival Takes Place at Fort Mason October 15

October 11, 2016

Girls' Festival

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from the WorldWideWomen Girls' Festival, taking place at San Francisco's Fort Mason on Saturday, October 15.

Do you have a daughter, niece, or granddaughter who could benefit from an event just for girls? Bring her along to the WorldWideWomen Girls’ Festival at Fort Mason in San Francisco on October 15 and give her the gift of confidence and empowerment! This event promises to be a game-changing day of exploration, empowerment and fun for thousands of Bay Area girls (of all ages) and their families.

Fall Family Getaway to Asilomar in Pacific Grove

October 11, 2016

Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds

For a quick family seaside getaway, few destinations beat the Monterey Peninsula town of Pacific Grove (or "PG", if you're a local). There's so much to do there, from visiting the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium to just relaxing at the beach. We recently took a fall weekend road trip down to PG and stayed at the fantastic Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds, which is an ideal place to stay for families and affordable too. 

While Asilomar is technically a conference center, you can reserve rooms there and take advantage of everything it has to offer without going there for a conference. Previously, we'd visited the gorgeous beachfront grounds a few times to marvel at the amazing Arts and Crafts architecture of many of the buildings, but hadn't actually stayed there until now. We were pleasantly surprised, and can't wait to go back. I love the fact that you can walk right across the street to the beach, so you don't need to get in your car. 

Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

October 10, 2016

I'm a big fan of cooking with pumpkin, which is one of the reasons I love the fall. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, pumpkin ravioli—they're all delicious. My kids' favorite are these pumpkin oatmeal cookies, which are chewy and, I like to think, actually good for you. These cookies are a great treat for the lunchbox too.

I mix in in dark chocolate chunks (chocolate chips work equally well), walnuts, and dried cranberries to make them more interesting. They're also fantastic with toasted pumpkin seeds instead of the walnuts. In fact, feel free to use whatever you like to mix in: white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, and pecans are all good.Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Halloween Craft: Recycled Glass Pumpkin Votives

October 10, 2016

Halloween pumpkin votives recycled craft

This easy craft project is so much fun to make, and the finished product looks fantastic, especially when lit with a flickering candle. Best of all, you can make them using materials from your recycling bin! These Halloween pumpkin votives are simple to make, and are a perfect craft project for all ages, with parental supervision, of course. My second-grade daughter and I created the pair of jack-o-lanterns lanterns shown here.

This project is a little messy, so make sure you have a good work area that's easy to clean up. You can also create variations on this craft: use white tissue to make ghost lanterns, and green to make monsters.

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