Summer

Homemade Snacks for Summer Road Trips

July 17, 2017

Marin Mommies presents a guest article from Elizabeth Leader Smith and Whole Foods Market.

When I was a child, my family frequently made long road trips to visit family members peppered around the Midwest. The novelty of pit stops at roadside convenience stores lost its luster early on. Instead my family hungered for wholesome foods we could feel good about eating while sitting in the car for long stretches.

By planning ahead, my mom was able to pack with the car with healthful snacks (often homemade) to get us through that stretch from Cleveland to South Bend or Chicago to Green Bay. Today I do the same thing making some and buying others. When I have time to prep ahead, I'll make easy and affordable snacks like Popcorn Trail Mix and other recipes for the road like these:

25 Inexpensive (or Free) Things to Do for Families in July

July 5, 2017

McInnis Park

July is here, and there's so much for families to do in Marin and the Bay Area. You don't have to break the bank to have a great time with the kiddos, either! Here are 25 great ideas for great affordable activities and outings in Marin and the Bay Area in July, all of which are free or really inexpensive. Keep in mind some of these activities require advance registration, so check before you go.

  1. See some art for free at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Fridays through August 18, 5–8:30 pm
  2. Play 18 holes of mini golf with the kiddos at McInnis Park. Open daily.
  3. Visit the seals and sea lions the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands. Open daily, 10 am–4 pm
  4. Admission to the Bay Area Discovery Museum is free on the first Wednesday of the month. July 5, 9 am–5 pm
  5. Magician Brian Scott performs at the Mill Valley Library. July 5, 3:30–4:30 pm

Give Back this Summer by Hosting a Lemonde Stand for the SF-Marin Food Bank

July 3, 2017

Lemonade Stand SF-Marin Food Bank.

As parents, we're often looking for ways to teach our kids how to give back to our community. This summer, the SF-Marin Food Bank, which helps provide food to 30,000 local families every week, has created a cute DIY lemonade stand kit to help kids take action against hunger.

No Campfire? Make S'mores Cookies!

July 3, 2017

s'mores cookies

Summer means cooking outdoors and, of course, s'mores! In case you don't know what a s'more is, it's a treat consisting of a graham cracker topped with square of milk chocolate (Hershey's is traditional), then topped with a warm toasted marshmallow and then another graham cracker. "S'more" is a contraction of "some more," which is what everyone says after they finish their first one.

If you don't have a campfire or fire pit handy today, try making these amazingly delicious s'mores cookies. They incorporate all the ingredients of a s'more in an easy to make and eat cookie form, so you can enjoy the deliciousness of s'mores anytime without having to wait to go on a camping trip. My son said these were the best cookies he ever tasted, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

Fresh and Healthy Summer Garden Chili

June 25, 2017

summer chili

Chili is one of those meals that can be on the hearty, heavy side and not something you necessarily want to serve for a summer dinner—except for this fresh and healthy version. For this summer chili, I lighten things up a bit and take advantage of fresh summer produce like the zucchini growing in our backyard garden and sweet corn cut right off the cob.

Serve this chili with a variety of toppings and add-ons so each diner can customize it to his or her taste. You can make it vegetarian (or vegan) by omitting the ground turkey and doubling the amount of beans, corn, and squash. Either way, it's delicious! And our kids even eat it, too. There's probably no reason you couldn't make this year-round, either, although you'd have to substitute frozen corn for the fresh.

Petaluma's Sonoma-Marin Fair Starts Today!

June 21, 2017

Sonoma-Marin Fair

Summertime is fair time, and the first fair of the season is usually Petaluma's Sonoma-Marin Fair, which takes place at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds from Wednesday June 21 through Sunday, June 25. The Sonoma-Marin Fair is not quite but almost a county fair, and offers a wide range of fun and exciting attractions, competitions, events, and activities for the entire family.

This year's theme is "Great Eggspectations", and you'll find plenty of family fun including carnival rides with a kiddie carnival for younger children, pig races, a safari adventure, "Agventure Land" for agricultural fun, strolling clowns, jugglers, and silly characters, and artst and crafts and a petting zoo at Clo's Kids Corner. You'll also find livestock shows, agricultural exhibits, chef demonstrations, a destruction derby, and more. Of course the fair's famous World's Ugliest Dog Contest, will take place, too!

Cool Off This Summer with Melon Aguas Frescas

June 19, 2017

Watermelon agua fresca

When the weather warms up, one of the things we often cool off with are aguas frescas, those refreshing traditional Mexican-style drinks made from various kinds of fruit. You don't have to go to your local taqueria to get them, either—they're inexpensive and really easy to make at home. Kids love them, and they're a healthy alternative to sodas and other soft drinks.

We often make aguas frescas with melons like cantaloupe or watermelon; whatever we happen to have on hand. It's a great way to use up all that watermelon that's been sitting in the refrigerator, which is what we made out latest batch out of. You can use other fruits, like strawberries and even pineapple, but melon is an economical choice and a delicious one, too.

Awesome Ice Cream Shops in Marin & Beyond

June 18, 2017

Lala's Creamery Petaluma

Ice cream is one of those foods that's synonymous with summer, although it's pretty wonderful at any time of year! On a hot day, there's not much better than getting a big scoop of your favorite ice cream on a waffle cone. To help you find that summer joy, we've put together this guide to our favorite ice cream scoop shops in Marin County (and we've thrown in a couple of our Sonoma County favorites that are worth the trip, too).

Here they are, arranged from south to north. Many of these shops are family owned and operated, but we've included a few of the popular chains, too.

Summer Swim Lessons in Marin

June 13, 2017

Summer swim lessons

Summer is here and one of the season's time honored traditions for children is swimming lessons. Not only are swimming lessons a fun way to get some exercise and cool off on a hot summer day, but knowing how to swim is essential from a safety standpoint.

Below is our list of local Marin County providers of swimming lessons for children. Although many of the facilities listed are private clubs, unless otherwise indicated, all locations offer public lessons open to all. Most programs require pre-registration; follow the links or call to sign up or for more information.

Kentfield:

Larkspur:

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