Got Too Many Strawberries? Make Fresh Strawberry Milkshakes!

June 21, 2014

Strawberry milkshake YUMMY Right about now is the peak of California's strawberry season. It's a great time to get fresh sweet strawberries at the farmer's market, a local strawberry farm, or even the supermarket if you're in a pinch.

We like to visit farm stands like Stony Point Strawberries just north of Petaluma on Stony Point Road (you can't miss it—It's a little shack sitting out in the middle of a strawberry field). We love to try samples and always end up buying a huge amount of wonderful bargain-priced strawberries.

After eating our fill last weekend, we found that we still had plenty of strawberries left over. The presence of vanilla ice cream in our freezer led us to our course of action: make fresh strawberry milkshakes.

Making strawberry milkshakes couldn't be easier, and everyone loves them. Using fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream instead of just strawberry ice cream give the shake a fresher, fruitier flavor that really captures the essence of the strawberries.

Summer Travel Tips: Traveling with a Baby or Toddler

June 16, 2014

During summer vacation, traveling with an infant or toddler can be a unique challenge, especially when it comes getting them to sleep. Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette has complied the following list of handy tips for traveling with children.

Angelique works throughout the Bay Area and across the country supporting families and helping them meet life's challenges. You can learn more about her and her events and classes at

General tips for traveling with a baby or toddler

  • If you will be using a travel crib, the week or two before your trip, practice setting up the travel crib and napping baby/toddler in the travel crib.
  • Good travel crib brands: Baby Björn, Lotus Travel Crib, or Graco Pack-n-Play. Be sure to check limits on age/height as well as airline restrictions for size/weight of travel crib.
  • Check out baby-rental-gear company Baby’s Away. They rent items such as playards, highchairs, cribs, pack-n-plays, and bouncy chairs and will deliver and set up in most major cities.

The Best Way To Chill Out Your Kids This Summer

May 30, 2014

Chi 4 ChildrenMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Marian Brandenburg and Chi 4 Children, now offering summer sessions at the Dailey Method in Corte Madera and Fairfax. Learn more at

Chi 4 Children, a new dynamic based on ancient wisdom, is enrolling now for summer sessions conveniently scheduled at the Dailey Method Studios in Corte Madera and Fairfax. Children can enjoy relaxing plus Mom has the option to get in a great workout, all before dinner. Or how about offering this exciting concept for kids at your next party?

Children can have so much energy. But at what point do they learn to constructively and creatively utilize it to benefit their body, mind and spirit? A long-time mom in Marin with decades of experience as a holistic practitioner, Marian Brandenburg wanted to answer that question. Listening to other Marin mothers who longed for more meaningful youth programs, she developed Chi 4 Children to give kids delightful and easy-to-learn tools that provide them with an early awareness of harmony within themselves. Using ancient knowledge backed by scientific study, Chi 4 Children is an hour long, 4 part fusion class aimed for ages 6–12.

Paws to Read this Summer at the Marin County Free Library!

May 26, 2014

Paws to Read Summer Reading Program Marin County Free Library 2014It's hard to believe that it's almost the end of the school year. You can keep the learning—and fun—alive this summer by participating in the Marin County Free Library's 2014 summer reading program, Paws to Read. Paws to Read is packed with exciting free activities designed to inspire creativity, learning, and exploring. And it's not just for kids—the whole family can participate!

This year's program is built around Reader BINGO, with different cards available for children, teens (entering grades 6–12), and adults. Complete squares or rows on your bingo card and win prizes and get entered in raffle drawings. Kids can earn prizes like a Paws to Read T-shirt; teens can enter drawings for prizes like Giants tickets, gift cards, and even an iPad Mini; and adults can enter drawings for food and beverage gift cards from local businesses. Teens and adults can also choose a free gently used book when enrolling in Paws to Read, courtesy of the Book Place, the Library's used bookstore located in downtown Novato. Download your bingo cards and get started.

Spring Is Here! Skincare Tips and Techniques to Smooth Your Skin into Summer

April 17, 2014

healthy skinMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Karen Horton, M.D., Marin mom and board-certified plastic surgeon.

Spring is finally here! While it has been an unseasonably warm Bay Area winter, we will soon spend more time outdoors with our families. This means greater exposure to the elements and the sun. While some sunshine is important for natural vitamin D production by the body, limiting unexposed UV radiation is vital to skin health! The sun contains three wavelengths of ultraviolet energy: UVA and UVB cause free radical damage and aging of the skin, while highest energy UVC rays are increasingly allowed into our atmosphere as the ozone layer becomes depleted.

Sun damage is cumulative in our lifetime, meaning small changes in our cells occur yearly starting in childhood and add up over time with years of sun exposure. Damage to DNA in deep skin cells is usually not evident until our 30s and 40s, when women often "wake up" to changes in their skin become more interested in sun prevention and skin care. Pigmentation changes such as "hyperpigmentation" (brown spots) and freckles, white spots, "telangiectasias" or spider veins (broken surface blood vessels), fine lines, wrinkles, decreased collagen and loss of skin elasticity are all consequences of chronic sun damage.

Best Lunch Box Recipes: Mini Build-Your-Own Tacos

August 19, 2013

Lunch box tacosMarin 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. Here's her meal plan for this week.

It’s back-to-school time again. As we go out and buy all the prerequisite back-to-school supplies, lunch is always at the top of the list. We are all looking for easy and creative ways to fill our kids' lunch boxes so that they will eat everything. This year, I wanted to create some fun lunch box ideas that are built on some kid favorite foods. So, this week’s feature is a simple build-your-own taco lunch. In this recipe, I use beef but these tacos can easily be made with chicken, turkey or tofu. To make it even easier on you, I recommend making the taco meat the night before for dinner and use it to feed your family tacos, burritos or taco salad and then use the leftovers for lunch the next day. I bet even the adults will want to take this to work!

Lunch Box Fixings

Grilled Chicken with Corn Relish and Avocado Puree

August 5, 2013

Chicken with avocado pureeMarin 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. Here's her meal plan for this week.

This is one of those quick and easy recipes that will wow anyone especially when you use in-season produce. The ingredients are simple but flavorful. Not only is this dish healthy but also everyone will ask for more!

Servings: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes


for the chicken

Grilled Fish Kabobs with Summer Vegetables

July 22, 2013

Grilled fish kebabs with summer vegetablesMarin 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. Here's her meal plan for this week.

Grilled kabobs of any sort scream SUMMER to me. The key to great kabobs is to cut the meat and vegetables roughly the same size. This way they both finish cooking at the same time. I recommend buying the freshest firm fish you can find. In this recipe I use swordfish, which is a great starter fish for kids because it is so meaty, but any firm fish will do. We also love to drizzle my roasted red pepper sauce over top and I serve it on the side for my son as a dipping sauce.

Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Inactive time: 15–30 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes


  • 1 ¼ pound fresh swordfish, shark or any other fresh firm meat fish, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch-thick circles
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces

Make a Summer Journal to Record Vacation Memories

July 6, 2013

Summer journalWith summer vacation in full swing now, it’s really hard to think about going back to school in the fall and answering the age old question: “What did you do on your summer vacation?”

Make that time-honored topic easy to address for your kids by creating fun and colorful summer journals. My kids have already started working on theirs, and over the next few weeks, they’ll write about all the experiences they had over the summer, and fill their journals with photos, postcards, drawings, and other reminders of vacation fun.

There are no hard and fast rules for creating a summer journal with your kids. We use simple three-ring binders, but you might like to use an acid-free sketchbook or a spiral-bound notebook. We like using the binders because you can put all kinds of different things in them. Get out the three-hole punch and you can put drawings, brochures, and other souvenirs from your summer in them. Clear plastic sheet protectors can be used to hold things like postcards, brochures, and pressed flowers.

We also get the kind of binders with the clear plastic sleeves on the cover, so the kids can personalize their journals by sliding a drawing onto the front. Of course if you have a plain binder or other type of notebook you can customize it in other colorful ways, with stickers, paint, glitter, or anything else that your imagination can dream up.

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