Win Tickets to The Snowman at the San Francisco Symphony

December 10, 2013

The SnowmanThe 1982 animated film The Snowman is one of our favorite holiday classics, and it's even more magical when accompanied by a live orchestra and choir. It's a great way to introduce kids to the symphony, too. This season, The Snowman is part of the San Francisco Symphony's special All is Bright Christmas matinee concert featuring the Pacific Boychoir, directed by Kevin Fox.

The first half of the All is Bright program will feature orchestral holiday favorites and sing-alongs with the Boychoir and soloists. Highlights include A Christmas Festival Overture and Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, Carol of the Bells, Do You Hear What I Hear?, and more.

The second half of the program includes the 26-minute animated film The Snowman accompanied by the orchestra. All concert-goers will receive a complimentary glowing concert favor from the Symphony. Performances take place on Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21 at 2 pm.

Gingerbread Waffles for a Holiday Breakfast

December 22, 2012

Gingerbread WafflesGingerbread is one of my favorite holiday treats, and nothing makes the house smell like Christmas more than a batch of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven. If you're like me and simply can't get enough gingerbread during the holidays (or any time of year, for that matter) try making these gingerbread waffles for breakfast or a holiday brunch. They're subtly sweet and spicy and can even be used for dessert (try topping them with some good quality vanilla ice cream).

Don't worry if you don't have all the spices that this recipe calls for in your pantry. Ginger and cinnamon are the mandatory ones, and feel free to add something else, like a little cardamom or allspice, to make things more interesting. Try serving these waffles with fresh fruit and whipped cream, but they're also good with butter and maple syrup.

12 Days of Holiday Books: Olive the Other Reindeer

December 18, 2012

Olive, the Other ReindeerWhile listening to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Olive the dog hears the mondegreen "Olive, the other reindeer" (instead of "All of the other reindeer"), and decides that she, in fact is the reindeer in question. So begins the contemporary Christmas classic Olive, the Other Reindeer (40 pages, Chronicle Books, 1997) by local author and illustrator team Vivian Walsh and J. Otto Seibold.

Olive undertakes an arduous journey—involving no fewer than two buses—to the North Pole and assists Santa Claus using the talents that come naturally to a Jack Russell Terrier. Olive, the Other Reindeer pairs Walsh's charming, funny, and inspiring story with Seibold's cool retro style illustrations, in a book that both children and adults will love. For what it's worth, the book is far different, much simpler, and in our opinion better than the animated Christmas special that's based on it.

Holiday Gift Guide: Organic Produce from Bloomfield Farms

December 16, 2012

Bloomfield Farms CSA shareThis holiday season, why not give the gift of fresh organic produce? This Christmas, our friends at Bloomfield Farms, a family-run certified organic farm outside Petaluma, are offering CSA gift certificates for you to give to family, friends, and colleagues. It's the perfect gift for a family that enjoys delicious, healthy, and locally grown food!

Gift certificates are available in amounts of $75, $100, and $150, and the recipients can redeem them at one the convenient drop-off locations in Marin or Sonoma Counties. Learn more about giving a CSA gift from Bloomfield Farms here.

Bloomfield Farms is also offering an "80 for 80" holiday special—80 pounds of certified organic, dry-farmed Yukon Gold potatoes for $80. Yes, this is a large amount of potatoes, but the price is much lower than what you'll pay at a market like Whole Foods for the same thing (Bloomfield Farms supplies Whole Foods in addition to a number of other local grocery stores).

Go in with friends and neighbors and split up a bag! After all, it wouldn't be the holidays without mashed potatoes, would it?

Give the Gift of TLC this Holiday Season!

December 14, 2012

The Gift of TLC

This holiday season, Marin Mommies is partnering with local Marin County business Dhana EcoKids and other community organizations to help promote the Gift of T.L.C—Thoughts, Love, and Care. All kids are invited to send an original doodle to the children impacted by Hurricane Sandy this holiday season, including those from the New Jersey town of Lavellete, which was especially hard-hit by the storm, and whose residents are only being allowed to move back home this weekend!

So go ahead, make a child's day and share your thoughts, love and care and doodle the Gift of T.L.C. on a plain piece of paper. Make sure you sign your kid’s first name, age, city, and state on the front of the paper with the doodle. Submissions can be a photo of the doodle, the original paper, or a scanned image of the doodle.

Kids are encouraged to send up to three doodles of their creation. Please send them via email to, or post it on the Dhana Eco Kids Facebook page, or mail it to Dhana EcoKids, P.O. Box 1634, Mill Valley, CA 94942. All doodle submissions must be received by Monday, December 17, 2012 to be part of this wonderful campaign.

Holiday Gift Guide: LEGO Games

December 4, 2012

LEGO Hobbit GameKids love games as holiday gifts (especially ones the entire family can play), and kids love LEGOs. Why not combine the two? LEGO games, produced by the world's favorite maker of interlocking plastic building bricks, do just that.

As you might expect, LEGO games are constructed of LEGO bricks. As with all LEGO sets, part of the fun is actually putting the games together, and part is playing them. Kids can also rebuild the games into different versions, or even make their own creations. You can even modify the included six-sided die to tweak the rules of your game.

Many of the LEGO games are German-style board games, which are designed and played differently from traditional American-style board games. These games emphasize short game play times (20 to 30 minutes, tops), repeatability, social interaction (nobody gets kicked out of the game, like in Monopoly, so everyone keeps playing), and the use of strategy to win. Because they're intended for an international audience, there are minimal reading requirements and words involved, except for the instructions. Feel free to modify the rules to your liking, too. We can vouch for the fact that LEGO games are a lot of fun!

Some of our favorite LEGO games include:

  • Creationary, which is similar to games like Pictionary, except instead of drawing you create things out of LEGO bricks
  • Ramses Pyramid, where you race to the top of an Egyptian pyramid, avoiding mummies along the way

Holiday Fun at the San Francisco Zoo

November 28, 2012

San Francisco Zoo Reindeer Romp and Wild LightsThis holiday season, get up-close-and-personal with Santa's favorite reindeer friends Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet! These four reindeer will be on exhibit at the zoo through New Year's Day. Swing by the reindeer area near the Lion Fountain to visit and learn more about this unique animals. Reindeer Romp is free with Zoo admission.

Later on in December, the Zoo comes to life at night with Wild Lights. Take a nighttime stroll through the Zoo as it sparkles under magical holiday lights. Visit with the reindeer, get some hot apple cider or cocoa at the Zoo's Leaping Lemur Cafe, take your family's picture with the beautiful Princess Zoo-roar-a, and enjoy special holiday entertainment every evening at on the Main Stage at 6 pm. Wild Lights takes places December 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 from 4:30 pm to 8 pm. Admission is $5 for adults and children over 3 years of age; free for Zoo members.

The San Francisco Zoo is located at Sloat Boulevard and the Great Highway in San Francisco. Regular hours are 10 am to 4 pm (last admission at 3:30 pm). Regular admission prices are $15 adults, $12 seniors 65+, and $9 children 4–14; children 3 and under are free.

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah

November 27, 2012

Chanukah Lights EverywhereMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin children's librarian Lisa Katz, who highlights some fantastic Hanukkah books for kids.

While we are resting our bellies from a grateful evening of our delicious Thanksgiving meals, we now have to quickly switch gears and prepare for Hanukkah. With only a short time until the first candle is lit on the menorah (Saturday, December 8th), we must get ready for our holiday treats. It is time to get out those dreidels, chocolate gelt, menorahs and candles. Here are some fabulous Hanukah books to share with your family and friends. They make for some great presents too!

I have put asterisks next some wonderful stories for children who celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in their homes. I have also included a short poetry list as well as the PJ library list.

It's a Wonderful Life at Marin Theatre Company - Win Tickets!

November 27, 2012

Marin Theatre Company It's a Wonderful LifeTonight is opening night for Marin Theatre Company's family friendly production of It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Running through December 16, Joe Landry's adaptation of Frank Capra's beloved film stages the story of everyman George Bailey as if it was a live radio play, with the audience playing the part of the live studio audience.

Five talented actors perform the voices of dozens of characters, as well as create foley sound effects to accompany the action. Directed by Jon Tracy, this unique version of the classic heartwarming holiday movie is perfect family fare for the holiday season.

Evening performances take place Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 pm, and Wednesdays and Sundays at 7:30 pm; matinees take place every Sunday and Saturday December 1 and 15 at 2 pm and Thursday December 6 at 1 pm. Tickets cost $36–$57, with discounts available for seniors and those under 30. Children under age 5 are not admitted. Bring your family or some friends and save up to 45% off regular price tickets to It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Show with a Family Four Pack! Good for tickets to any performance. Use the code MMWONDER when you order by phone (415) 388-5208 or online. Must purchase 4 general price tickets to activate coupon, only one coupon per order, subject to availability, not applicable to previously purchased tickets.

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