Holidays

Gingerbread Cookie Sculpting for the Holidays

December 15, 2009

Gingerbread Play DoughFor many of us, the holidays mean it's time to bake cookies and other seasonal treats. It's always fun to get the kids involved, and this gingerbread cookie recipe via What's Cooking's Michelle Stern is a perfect one to use. It doesn't take a long time to make (no rest time in the refrigerator), and it can be worked and shaped like play-dough. Unlike a lot of cookie doughs it holds its form and doesn't melt into a shapeless blob in the oven.

Gingerbread Cookie Play-Dough

5 ½ c. flour
3 t. baking soda
1 ¾ c. dark brown sugar
¼ c. dark molasses
4 ½ t. ground cinnamon
3 t. ground ginger
½ t. cloves
¼ t. salt
1 c. melted butter
½ c. boiling water
1 egg, beaten

Singing the Hot Holiday Toy Blues

December 5, 2009

Playmobil PyramidThis year for Christmas my son inadvertantly decided that he wanted what turned out to be the hot toy this season: the amazing Playmobil Egyptian Pyramid. While it's apparently a totally cool toy, I never dreamed that it would be something that would be wiped off the shelves of every toy store and big box realtor in west of the Mississipi. In fact, we've noticed that many popular toys, especially things like LEGO and Playmobil, are just gone—as in not there, out-of-stock, backordered, or never there in the first place.

Calling Marin Etsy Moms

November 29, 2009

Etsy home pageAre you a Marin mom making and selling something extraordinary on Etsy? If so, tell us about it! We're looking for some local moms who sell their handcrafted products on Etsy for an upcoming feature on Marin Mommies. If you fit that description, please contact us and tell us about what you're doing.

We're specifically looking for Marin or Sonoma county residents who are creating items of interest to families, such as baby and children's clothing, toys, art, etc. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your work, and of course include a link to your home page on Etsy.

Free Sophie and the Enchanted Toy Shop Preview in Marinwood

November 25, 2009

Sophie and the Enchanted Toyshop posterOn Wednesday, December 9, Marin Dance Theatre and Marinwood Recreation Department present a sneak preview of the popular holiday ballet Sophie and the Enchanted Toyshop. From 1:15 to 2:15 pm, meet some of the characters from this beautiful ballet and watch them perform their dances. This event takes place at the Marinwood Community Center at 775 Miller Creek Road in San Rafael. The performance is free, but reservations are required. RSVP to hschulte@marinwood.org.

If you want to see the full-length version of Marin Dance Theatre's Sophie and the Enchanted Toyshop, it will play at the Marin Civic Center on December 19 at 1 and 5 pm. It's a two-act children's ballet that features over 120 dancers plus professional guest artists. Adults $33, students and seniors $23. For more information, go to www.mdt.org or the Marin Center Box Office to purchase tickets.

Holiday Hike for Families on the Earthquake Trail

December 16, 2008

Earthquake trail in Point ReyesWhen you're sick of shopping... When you can't stand another Christmas song piped in on the sound system... When you can't bear one more cheesy holiday special on ABC Family Channel's seemingly endless parade of TV movies... Maybe it's time to forget about the Christmas rush, bundle up, hit the trail, and take the family outdoors for a holiday hike.

Fortunately for us, we live in California, and winter is almost like our spring: no snow, no ice, and bright green grass springing up everywhere. It's really one of the most beautiful times to head outdoors and take a hike and be thankful that you didn't listen to your older brother and move out to Chicago, where as I write this it's a balmy 8ºF.

How to Choose Toys That Inspire Creativity

December 1, 2008

toys for imaginitive and creative playThis holiday season, how about searching out toys that actually help inspire your children's creativity and imagination and help with their development? Here are a few tips from Meg Stiefvater, early childhood parenting coach for Parenting on the Run, to help you choose toys that will inspire and enable children's imaginitive play.

The holidays are just around the corner. Every ad space out there is trying to convince you to buy, buy, buy toys. Many games and toys entice parents and kids with the wow factor, but it is usually those wow factor toys that end up broken or left at the bottom of the toy chest as kids go back to those great toys that inspire creativity and imagination.

What are toys that enhance development and inspire creativity in children? Toys that hit a variety of developmental areas, are open ended, and can each and everyday offer a child a different way to use it, are materials you want to look for. 

As you navigate the barrage of choices out there think about areas of a child’s development and toys that compliment each area.

The following list of developmental areas and matching toys should start you on your way to long lasting imaginative play:

Special Offer on Holiday Photo Cards from Cardstore.com

November 21, 2008

Holiday photo card from cardstore.comThere's still plenty of time to order your family's personalized holiday photo cards. Cardstore.com, an online store where you can create your own custom photo cards and invitations, is offering Marin Mommies readers 20% off their total purchase with the coupon code NEWCS. This coupon code can be used as many times as you want, in case you need to re-order cards (I don't know about you, but we never seem to order enough and end up rationing the things like they were printed on gold foil or something).

We haven't used them yet, but they've been around since 1999 (forever in InterWeb years, so they're probably doing something right) and offer plenty of really spiffy looking cards. Here's the link: www.cardstore.com

Shop Locally This Christmas: Toy Stores

November 16, 2008

Playmobil toys are one of the things you'll find at local Marin toy stores.This holiday season, why not do your shopping at one of Marin's locally owned and operated toy stores? Not only will you enjoy great service, gift wrapping, and a wide selection of items not found in the big box stores, but you'll be helping support local business as well. We all know how important that is in today's uncertain financial climate.

In no particular order of importance, here's a list of our favorite toy stores in Marin County. If you have one that you'd like to share, leave a comment or contact us to let us know about it.

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