Don't Miss "Cinderella" This Weekend at Marin Theatre Company

October 6, 2015

Cinderella at Marin Theatre CompanyThis Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, Marin Theatre Company presents Cinderella as you've never seen it before in a production by the award-winning Great Arizona Puppet Theater. Don't miss this enchanting story of pumpkin coaches, glass slippers, and handsome princes told by puppets! This production is recommended for families with children ages 4 and up, and runs for 45 minutes.

Performances of Cinderella take place at 10:30 am and 12:30 and 2:30 pm. Tickets cost $18 for children under 14 and $22 for adults. Order online at, by phone at  (415) 388-5208, or in person at the MTC box office, 397 Miller Avenue in Mill Valley.

As an added bonus, Marin Theatre Company is partnering with Amazing Fairytale Parties to offer young theatergoers a chance to meet and have their photos taken with a real life Cinderella.

Our Top 10 Spooky Halloween Movies for Families

October 6, 2015

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were RabbitHalloween is a few weeks away, and there's nothing much better than watching a spooky (but not too scary) movie with the family and sharing a big bowl of popcorn. I polled everyone in our family to find out what their favorite Halloween movies were, and we came up with this list of ten that we think are must-sees.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (G)

This Halloween classic has been family favorite since 1966, so you probably watched it when you were a kid. Charlie Brown still gets nothing but rocks while trick-or-treating, Linus is always positive that the Great Pumpkin will pay a visit to the pumpkin patch, and it's still funny and touching. For all ages.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G)

Wallace and Gromit, the ever-charming cheese-loving claymation duo, star in this clever sendup of monster movies, where something horrible ravages gardens and threatens a village's veggie-growing competition. Cute and clever with plenty of jokes (including a few that only grown-ups will get). Ages 3 and up.

The Blue Angels Return to San Francisco for Fleet Week 2015!

October 5, 2015

Blue Angels perform in San Francisco for Fleet WeekCome and celebrate the men and women who serve in our country’s Navy and Marine Corps at San Francisco Fleet Week 2015. Fleet Week features a variety of events, including a parade of ships, an air show, live music, ship tours, and of course exciting performances by the Navy’s popular Blue Angels precision flying team.

Events take place in a variety of locations on the San Francisco waterfront from October 8–12. The Blue Angels practice on Thursday, October 8, from noon to 4 pm, and they'll perform over San Francisco Bay on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 9, 10 and 11, at 3 pm. They can be seen from a variety of locations on the Bay, including Angel Island and Fort Baker in Sausalito. The Blue Angels' performance is part of a Fleet Week airshow that also includes the US Navy Leap Frogs parachute team, a Coast Guard rescue demonstration, the Patriots jet team, the Red Star Pilots formation team, and more.

The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm in Petaluma

October 5, 2015

The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm

One of our favorite local pumpkin patches is the annual Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm, located in the Two Rock Valley area just outside of Petaluma. The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch is a classic old-time pumpkin patch that's kind of out in the middle of nowhere (which is part of the fun). It's on a real working farm that produces the yummy organic Spring Hill Jersey cheese that you may have seen in farmers' markets or stores around town.

We've been going there for over 10 years, and we've watched it grow in size and scope to be a major fall production. Peter Pumpkin Patch is also quite popular with our readers, as it was the runaway winner in our 2009 Pumpkin Patch Poll has been consistently popular ever year since.

Healthy Slow-Cooker White Bean Soup with Ham

October 5, 2015

Slow cooker ham and bean soupThis healthy and tasty white bean soup with ham is a hit with everyone in our family. It's also a breeze to make; one of those slow-cooker recipes that's truly easy.

Put everything in the slow cooker in the morning, set it on "low" and walk away. Then come back later to dish up a delicious hearty soup at dinnertime, one that's perfect for these chilly winter evenings. It freezes well, too.

This version includes smoked ham, which you could easily leave out for a vegeterian or vegan version.


  • 1 pound dry white beans like Great Northern, Navy, or Cannellini
  • 1 large onion, chopped

Be Prepared with kidSTAT and babySTAT First Aid Kits from Three Mommy Doctors

October 4, 2015

Three Mommy Doctors First Aid KitsA first aid kit is a household must-have, especially for families with kids. Wouldn't it be great if you knew some doctors, who also happened to be parents, who could recommend first aid kit essentials for you? The new kidSTAT and babySTAT first aid kits are exactly that! Created by three moms who are also emergency room doctors (hence their company name Three Mommy Doctors, or 3MD), these kits contain everything a parent needs to be prepared for almost any emergency situation.

We got to check out a review sample of the 3MD kidSTAT kit, and it's really a fantastic resource, stocked with hospital-grade first aid items and detailed instructions and packaged in a neat plastic case. The case is divided into different sections—"aches + sprains", "bites + burns", and "cuts + scrapes"—and each section is packed with the supplies needed to treat injuries in each category, with plenty of bandages, pads, an instant cold pack, burn gel, ointments, and even a pair of EMT shears. There are 91 items—way more than we can list here, but you can get a complete rundown on their website.

A Visit to Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

October 4, 2015

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

This weekend we paid a visit to the popular Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch, a certified organic pumpkin patch that has been a Marin County tradition for 20 years! Located in the small west Marin village of Nicasio, the farm is just west of the Nicasio Village Square right on Nicasio Valley Road. Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch is open seven days a week through Halloween from 10 am to 6 pm, and it's always worth a visit.

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a wide variety of certified organic pumpkins spread out in an expansive meadow on the farm. Pumpkin varieties ranged from your standard Halloween jack-o-lantern types to white ones, green Italian and Australian varieties, and flat European "Cinderella" style squash. The farmstand also offers of gourds, squash, and decorative cornstalks, apples, as well as drinks and snacks.

Experience Life on the Farm at McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch

October 3, 2015

McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin

McClelland's Dairy is a family-run, certified organic dairy farm located just west of Petaluma, and their annual Halloween pumpkin patch just keeps getting better and better every year. McClelland's offers a lot of fun for families, especially if you have small children or are looking for a genuine farm experience. If you haven't been there yet, it's definitley worth putting on your fall family itinerary. This year McClelland's has added a wide range of new attractions, from a giant slide to a pumpkin blaster.

The entrance to McClelland's can sneak up on you a little, so keep an eye out for their signs as you head down Bodega Road into the Two Rock area west of Petaluma. Turn into the dirt driveway and parking it to your immediate left. On your right you'll see their big pumpkin patch, where you're welcome to go pick that perfect Halloween pumpkin off the vine.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for October 2, 3 & 4

October 2, 2015

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Most Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties are now open—see our complete list here.

Friday, October 2

  • Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also ofers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Free parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their website.
  • Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    The Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch, winner of our 2014 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll, offers certified organic pumpkins as well as countless attractions including hay rides, farm animals, pony rides, mechanical bulls, a bounce house and giant inflatable slide, a farm stand, Big Jim's award-winning BBQ and ice cream. Popular children's recording artist Tim Cain performs every Sunday form 11 am–noon. Location: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road (1/4 mile north of Nicasio square). For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm and Sunday, 10 am–6pm
    Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $5, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. For more info, visit their website.
  • Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
    Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
    Friday 10:30 am–7 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–7 pm
    This free annual music festival of bluegrass, old time, country, and more, founded by the late Warren Hellman, takes place in Golden Gate Park's Hellman Hollow and Marx and Lindley Meadows. This year's headliners include T Bone Burnett, Lee Ann Womack, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, Boz Scaggs, and the Brothers Comatose. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, October 3

  • Museums on Us Free Day
    Various Museums
    Saturday & Sunday

    Bank of America cardholders can visit the following Bay Area museums for free! Enjoy the Contemporary Jewish Museum, de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, and the Chabot Space and Science Center. Photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. For more information, visit their website.
  • Celebrate Tam!
    Various Locations on & around Mt. Tam
    Saturday, 8 am-4 pm
    Join us for a variety of walks, talks, volunteer, and health activities all across the mountain during the day on Saturday, October 3rd. All activities are free, but space is limited and registration is required here. For more info, check their schedule here.
  • Vintage Car Races
    Sonoma Raceway

    Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 am–5:30 am
    Vintage race cars from the '50s through the '70s compete at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. Visit the paddock to look at cars and talk to the drivers. It's like a museum on wheels! Adults $12, children free. Sonoma Raceway is located at Highway 37 and 121 between Sonoma and Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Color 5k
    Indian Valley College, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am

    A 5K walk, run, hop, skip, leap, mosey on a designated route. Along the way, participants go through stations where they are sprayed with colored powder. After the 5K, everyone will gather for a fun festival.  Rotary Club of Ignacio event to benefit the Rotary Club of Ignacio Foundation and other charitable organizations. Open to all ages; ages 6 & up must be registered. The 5K starts at 10:00 am. Packet pickup begins at 8:00 am. Register here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Yoga in the Park
    McNear's Beach, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–2 pm
    Begin with service projects that will focus on beach clean-up, landscape maintenance, and habitat restoration, then switch gears at noon and enjoy a 45-minute yoga class on a flat grassy area beside the bay. The class will be led by professional yoga teacher Daniel Rauck and will be suitable for all ages and ability levels. A free, healthy lunch will be provided at 1 pm. All skill levels are welcome and no previous experience is necessary. All ages are welcome; anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a supervising adult. Park entrance fee is waived. For more info, visit their website.
  • McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch
    Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am–5 pm

    Find the perfect pumpkin in McClelland's three-acre organic pumpkin field. Free admission includes pumpkin patch, petting farm animals (including cows, goats, and chickens), and watching cows being milked in the parlor. There's also a hay maze, kids' haunted hay house, hay rides, bounce houses, and u-pick squash, as well as a farm store and a food cart serving organic grilled cheese sandwiches, organic milkshakes, organic popcorn, and espresso drinks. Read our review here.
  • Library 2 Library Family Bike Tour
    Fairfax Library
    Saturday, 10 am–12:30 pm

    Families will learn safe riding tips, then ride bikes from Fairfax Library to the San Anselmo Library. After bike decorating crafts, we’ll ride back to Fairfax Library for healthy snacks and special prizes. All children must be accompanied by a parent. Space is limited; Please register at desk or call (415) 453-8151. Location: 2097 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Fairfax. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sonoma County Harvest Fair
    Santa Rosa
    Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 am-5 pm
    Experience the best of Wine Country at the 41st annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair in Santa Rosa. Activities include: wine tasting, kids grape stomp on Sunday for ages 13 and under, live music, family activiities and more. Gate admission is $5, and tasting tickets range from $25-$55. Location: 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
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