Local Business

Learning to Walk Is Fun with the New Willa Walker

September 14, 2015

Willa WalkerThe Willa Walker is a cool new baby product launched by five Marin County dads, and it's definitely not something that you think of when you hear "baby walker". It's an innovative way for parents to participate in helping their baby learn to walk, and when we saw it we knew we had to learn more about it. We asked the guy behind the Willa Walker to tell us the story behind this neat new Marin-based product.

What was the inspiration for creating the Willa Walker?

Gabe, the inventor of Willa Walker, is a mechanical engineer and cousin of Willa. He grew up in Tam Valley and went to Tam High. His cousin went kayaking with his wife and left his daughter and co-inventor Willa with him. Willa was a little under one year and was in the transition from crawling to walking.

Gabe is constantly tinkering and inventing fun, so 10 minutes into the babysitting session, Willa Walker was born from some scrap materials in the garage.

Since that time, Gabe has filed for a patent on the design and invited his cousin and three other childhood friends to launch the Willa Walker through their newly-formed Marin-based company, Playful Nature, LLC.

Protocol Academy Fall Programs

August 30, 2015

Protocol Academy Got manners? The Protocol Academy, part of Daily Protocol, offers Marin kids, tweens, and teens the opportunity to learn modern upbeat etiquette, life skills, and communication essentials in a fun environment. Here's what they're offering this fall. Classes take place in Corte Madera, Larkspur, Mill Valley, and Terra Linda. For more information, visit dailyprotocol.com.

Communicating Across the Generations Workshop

Grandparents, Seniors, Parents, Tweens and Teens, Unite!

Would you like the younger generation to talk to you more often, or wish they were more mindful of social graces? Join the Protocol Academy and Technology 4 Life in their Communicating Across the Generations Workshop, a program to bridge the generations in communication, through technology and social etiquette.

In this active based, mixed generation workshop, tweens and teens learn life skills such as: Meet/Greet/Introduction Essentials; the Art of Small Talk; Meaningful Conversation; and Communication Cues. Adults, using smart phones or iPads, actively learn to text, send photos, take videos, use social media, and learn the rules of online communication and privacy. The generations work separately and together learning and demonstrating these important skills in a fun and friendly class setting.

Simply Complimentary

We All Scream for Amazing Organic Ice Cream at Fairfax Scoop

August 27, 2015

Fairfax ScoopWhenever we're in (or near or driving through) Fairfax, we try to stop at Fairfax Scoop, the awesome ice cream shop on Broadway right downtown. It's a tiny little place, but you can't miss it—it's the bright yellow storefront with a line of people snaking out the door.

Fairfax Scoop makes fantastic handmade organic ice cream using locally sourced ingredients. The day's flavors are written on a whiteboard, and can include innovative flavors like vanilla honey lavender, toasted hazelnut, Mexican chocolate, Buried Treasure (peanut butter, chocolate, and Newman-O's), and Controlled Burn (cinnamon with crystallized ginger and red chile!), as well as the usual ice cream parlor suspects like peach, strawberry, chocolate, and mint chip. Vegan-friendly sorbet and soy options are always offered, too. Flavors rotate, so there's usually something new whenever you visit.

Kids' scoops will run you $1.95, a single scoop is $2.85, and a double is $3.95. Portions are really generous, so be sure you're really hungry before you order that double scoop! There's a 25¢ discount if you bring your own reusable container, but we always opt for their fresh-baked waffle cones, which are actually the only kind of cones they have (and they don't cost extra, like at other ice cream shops).

Go Beyond Organic at Green String Farm in Petaluma

August 18, 2015

Green String FarmWhenever we visit Petaluma, we like to stop by the farm store at Green String Farm to do some grocery shopping. Located just east of town on Old Adobe Road, this sustainable local farm is just overflowing with wonderful fresh produce, especially in late summer. Their fruits and vegetables are amazing and affordable, and their farming practices actually exceed organic guidelines—they even have their own "Green String" certification program. If you haven't shopped here, it's definitely worth the trip up to Petaluma.

Green String Farm's farm store is situated in the middle of their 140-acre agricultural plot, where you can take in sweeping views of cultivated fields, orchards, vineyards, and the Sonoma County hills beyond. The farmstand carries just about every local seasonal fruit or vegetable you can imagine, from apples, Asian pears, and stone fruits to peppers, heirloom tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, string beans, greens, beets, squash, and fresh herbs.

In addition to produce, the farm store stocks other items including grass-fed beef, eggs, cheese, olive oil, nuts, artisan bread, handmade beeswax candles, vinegar, and more.

Speak to Me: Intelligent, Inspiring Events for Women

August 11, 2015

Speak to Me 2015Where can you go to hear inspiring talks by fabulous speakers from around the Bay Area and beyond, taste delicious food and wine, and connect with other women like you? The 2015–2016 Speak to Me Series offers all this over four evenings from October 27, 2015 through May 3, 2016.

Designed for women by women, this inspiring and fun series takes place at the Mill Valley Community Center and draws women from all over the Bay Area. Come listen to dynamic and influential speakers like Christin Powell, chief product innovator at EVER Skincare and co-founder of Juice Beauty; world renowned thought leader and educational expert Yong Zhao, Ph.D; and Jennifer Dulski, president and COO of Change.org.

Jump and Play at Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena in Rohnert Park

July 20, 2015

Rebounderz Rohnert Park

Families looking for active indoor fun should head up north to Rohnert Park and check out the new Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena. We paid a visit last week to give it a try and everyone had a fantastic time! Rebounderz features a truly massive trampoline area, foam pits, a giant climbing structure, a dedicated toddler park, and more! There’s also an arcade, a café, and a parents’ lounge with wifi and big-screen TVs where you can watch your kids as they play.

When we first entered Rebounderz, we were astounded at the sheer size of the place. The main jump area has 74 eight-foot trampolines, separated by nets that allow multiple activities to take place at once, including open jump, dodgeball, and tot jumping for kids 5 and under. The indoor playground in the back room is also enormous, and it’s a lot of fun, too. It’s for kids ages 2 to 12, with a separate tot area for ages 0 to 4.

Celebrate Christmas in July at Five Little Monkeys in Novato

July 18, 2015

Christmas in July at Five Little MonkeysFor one day, only, Saturday, July 25, 2015, Five Little Monkeys will celebrate Christmas in July! Come to Novato's independent toy store and get 25% off one item (with a special coupon available here), get double rewards points on any purchase, and enter a fantastic raffle benefitting Novato schools.

The raffle is open online already and takes place in stores on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10. You can enter to win a fabulous prize basket—check out the lineup here—and support Novato School Fuel in the process.

Studio 4 Art Expands to Mill Valley for Classes, Camps, and More

June 9, 2015

Studio 4 Art Mill ValleyMy family has been getting creative at Novato's Studio 4 Art since it opened downtown back in 2008. Now, Studio 4 Art brings its fantastic art classes, camps, drop-in sessions, and more to southern Marin with the opening of a new location in Mill Valley!

Parents may recognize the new location as the former site of the Little Art Studio. It's located at 254 Shoreline Highway, near Almonte Boulevard, in Mill Valley's Tam Valley neighborhood. Studio 4 Art offers a wide range of hands-on art classes and camps for toddlers and elementary school kids at both locations. Classes offered in Mill Valley include toddler and preschool art exploration, Spanish immersion + art, clay play, after-school sessions, and hand sewing.

Marin's Batter World Makes Pancakes Easy!

May 18, 2015

batter world pancakesFor breakfast, nothing beats delicious pancakes hot off the griddle. We love to make pancakes for breakfast, and it seems like we make them every weekend. We always make our pancakes from scratch, and keep a carton of buttermilk in the refrigerator at all times in case the need arises. While it's not hard to make pancake batter from scratch, it does take some time, and it usually makes a mess, so it's not something that's suited to quick weekday breakfasts before school.

That's where local startup Batter World comes in. Created by Leigh Judson and Nicole Palmer, two Mill Valley moms, Batter World offers a line of frozen all natural pancake mixes that you just defrost, shake, and pour. We had a chance to sample all three flavors offered by Batter World—original, multigrain, and gluten-free—and they were all light, fluffy, and delicious. I hate to say it, but they all tasted just as good as our homemade from-scratch pancakes, but were much easier to make… and clean up, of course.

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