Holidays

Fun Mid-Winter Break Camps in Marin and Beyond

February 9, 2016

studio 4 artLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming midwinter break? Check out some of the great day camp programs here in Marin. Many of these camps offer drop-in sessions for last-minute fun over the break, as well as before- and after-care.

  • Studio 4 Art
    1133 Grant Avenue
    Novato

    (415) 596-5546
    Camp takes place from February 15–19 from camp times 9 am–noon (ages 4–14) or 9 am–3 pm (ages 7–14). Campers will have the choice of many different projects each day that include painting, drawing, ceramics, mixed media and printmaking, students will create a variety of fine art projects in different art mediums. A sibling discount is offered. Cost: $265. For more info, visit their website.
  • Rolling Hills Club
    351 San Andreas Drive

    Novato
    (415) 897-2185

    The Junior Polar Bear Camp (ages 3–5) takes place February 16 and 18 from 9 am–1 pm, and Polar Beach Camp (ages 6–12) takes place February 15–19 from 9 am-4 pm. This year's theme is "Random Acts of Kindness". Activities include: stories, sensory crafts, and games. Prices start at $60/day. For more info, visit their website.

A Family Tradition Full of Love and Thought... But No Cost

December 22, 2015

Buoncristiani christmas tree with letters Marin Mommies presents a guest article from Marin mom and photographer Danielle Buoncristiani, who shares her family's tradition of holiday letter writing. Danielle specializes in photos of families and children. Learn more about her and her photography studio, Buoncristiani Photography, at www.buonphoto.com.

16 years ago when we were soon to be celebrating the holiday season with our newborn son we wanted to start our own family tradition. A tradition that could be done every year and that would cost nothing but thought and love.

The tradition of holiday letter writing began. Both my husband and I wrote a letter to our 9 month old son; we told him his first words, we talked about how he changed our lives, and he heard stories of what had occurred during these months that he came into our lives. My husband and I also wrote to each other. Life gets so crazy busy that often we don’t tell the people we love what makes them so special to us, tell them why we are so proud of them, and talk about some goals for the upcoming year.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

December 15, 2015

Tanya SteinhoferMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Tanya Steinhofer, CFA,CFP®.

With the holidays upon us, my thoughts have turned to gift giving. My kids are already preparing their lists for Santa. While it can be tempting to fulfill their every request, have you ever noticed how quickly they become bored with the toys and games you buy them? How about giving them a gift with longer-term benefits? Here are a couple of ideas:

  1. Fund a 529. You could allocate a portion of your gift budget for your kids to a 529 plan for college. You can even get grandparents and other close family members involved. Some 529s even offer a gift link that you can email out to family members to make their contribution easy. 529 contributions grow tax-deferred and distributions are not taxed if used to pay for qualified education expenses. Paying for college is a great way to give your child a gift they’ll remember long after they’ve broken the plastic toy from China you gave them when they were young.

Lights, Camera, Santa! in Downtown Novato

December 11, 2015

Lights, Camera, Santa!This holiday season, visit the Novato Theater for Lights, Camera, Santa!, featuring photos with St. Nick himself! Santa will be on hand at the theater every Saturday until Christmas (December 12 and 19) from 11 am to 3 pm for holiday photos against the coolest Santa photo backdrop in Marin County.

In addition to photo ops with Santa, there will be holiday music, entertainment by your favorite princesses, and snacks. Photos cost $5 or two for $8. All proceeds support the ongoing restoration of the Novato Theater. For more information, visit the Downtown Novato Business Association website.

Just in Time for the Holidays: Best Kids' Books 2015 from Diesel

December 6, 2015

Diva and FleaThe holidays are here, and great books always make fantastic gifts for kids! Clare Doornbos, the children's book expert at Diesel bookstore in Larkspur, saves us all a lot of time and stress by highlighting her picks for best kids' books in 2015.

You can join Clare for storytime at the bookstore every Thursday morning at 10:30 am, where she reads classics, new kids' books, and hidden treasures. It's perfect for families with children 5 and under. Diesel is located in Marin Country Mart at 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle in Larkspur. For more information about Diesel and a complete schedule of events, visit www.dieselbookstore.com/larkspur or call the store at (415) 785-8177.

Board Books

Through the Town by Craig Shuttlewood
A sweet rhyming journey through a jolly cartoon town. There's an indented line which runs through the board book which you can trace with your finger. So, you and your little one get a really interactive experience.

San Francisco Symphony's "Charlie Brown Christmas" Is a Holiday Treat!

December 21, 2014

A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live! SF SymphonyThe San Francisco Symphony always presents wonderful family concerts for holidays. We've always really enjoyed their offerings, and this year was no exception! This season's family holiday program is A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live! and we were lucky enough to attend a performance this Saturday. The classic Christmas special A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of our family favorites, too, so we were really excited to experience this concert.

Concerts begin with a family friendly reception in the lobbies of Davies Symphony Hall. If you go, make sure you get there early to meet Peanuts characters, pose for pictures in Lucy's psychiatry booth and Snoopy's dog house, take in the amazing decorations, and listen to some holiday music. Drinks, including hot chocolate and Shirley Temples, and snacks are available for purchase, too. Our kids loved "Candyland", where you could buy a box and stuff it with as much holiday candy as you could for $5. (No, they didn't eat it all in one sitting.)

'Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences

December 20, 2014

Cal AcademyThis winter break, take in some holiday cheer and meet some real live reindeer at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Through Sunday, January 4, you can take in not only classic Cal Academy sights like the giant T-Rex skeleton, aquarium, planetarium, rain forest, and African hall, but special winter-themed programming and attractions as well as part of its "'Tis the Season for Science" lineup.

Visit with Willow and Yukon, a pair of live, six-year-old reindeer, in the east garden and learn about how they live in their cold northern homeland. Then, step inside the Snowman Theater to see Roaming with Reindeer, a family-friendly show that explores what life on the tundra is like for these amazing creatures.

While you're there, you'll also enjoy indoor snow flurries, caroling special holiday performances, and more. You can even meet "Santa Claude", the Academy's albino alligator mascot, and watch "Scuba Santa" at work in the Steinhart Aquarium.

Get Crafty and Create Your Own Holiday Cards With Buttons

December 15, 2014

Button holiday craft cardsMy kids have always loved to make their own cards for special occasions, and the holidays are no exception! This year, we made these cute cards using colored plastic buttons as decorations. Get different sizes of buttons and make Christmas trees, candy canes, snowmen, snowflakes, and any other design you can think of.

The results really are delightful, and they're easy enough for any child to make, with an adult's help, of course. Because you made the cards yourselves they are a neat keepsake craft, too.

To make these holiday cards, you'll need:

Rainy Day Holiday Fun: Easy Playdough Snowmen

December 11, 2014

Playdough snowmanKids love sculpting with Play-Doh, and it's easy to make at home for a fun rainy day activity. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!

We whipped up a batch of white "snow-dough" to make some cute holiday snowman decorations. It was an easy and fun craft for the kids to make. This recipe makes quite a bit of dough—equivalent to two large cans of Play-Doh. If you don't need that much, feel free to cut recipe in half.

To make your own snow-dough, you'll need:

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