U-Pick Apples and More Farm Fun at Chileno Valley Ranch

August 31, 2015

Chileno Valley Ranch

Apple season is getting underway, so why not make a day trip to the farm and pick your own? While most of the apple farms in the North Bay are clustered around the western Sonoma County town of Sebastopol (which is famous for its apples), you can actually pick apples right here in Marin County at beautiful Chileno Valley Ranch.

Located in West Marin's Chileno Valley, this ranch offers u-pick apples every Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm from August 30 through October. Owners Sally and Mike Gale also raise grass-fed beef, sheep, and chickens on the ranch, and there's a lot to see and do there for apple-picking families.

Barbeque Ribs on the Charcoal Grill

August 31, 2015

BBQ ribsUnless you have a smoker, it can be pretty difficult to make real barbeque at home. But you can come up with something close! While it might not make for prize-winning ‘que, it’s a fun cooking project and the results are really tasty. We’ve tried it with ribs and chicken and both turned out really good! It’s perfect for Labor Day Weekend.

You’ll find a lot of recipes for ribs out there that involve boiling them or roasting them and then finishing them on the grill. This recipe uses the charcoal grill only for minimal mess.

Ingredients & Materials

  • 3–4 lbs pork back ribs or spare ribs
  • Dry rub (use your favorite or our recipe below)

Protocol Academy Fall Programs

August 30, 2015

Protocol Academy Got manners? The Protocol Academy, part of Daily Protocol, offers Marin kids, tweens, and teens the opportunity to learn modern upbeat etiquette, life skills, and communication essentials in a fun environment. Here's what they're offering this fall. Classes take place in Corte Madera, Larkspur, Mill Valley, and Terra Linda. For more information, visit dailyprotocol.com.

Communicating Across the Generations Workshop

Grandparents, Seniors, Parents, Tweens and Teens, Unite!

Would you like the younger generation to talk to you more often, or wish they were more mindful of social graces? Join the Protocol Academy and Technology 4 Life in their Communicating Across the Generations Workshop, a program to bridge the generations in communication, through technology and social etiquette.

In this active based, mixed generation workshop, tweens and teens learn life skills such as: Meet/Greet/Introduction Essentials; the Art of Small Talk; Meaningful Conversation; and Communication Cues. Adults, using smart phones or iPads, actively learn to text, send photos, take videos, use social media, and learn the rules of online communication and privacy. The generations work separately and together learning and demonstrating these important skills in a fun and friendly class setting.

Simply Complimentary

Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 28, 29 & 30

August 28, 2015
Chileno Valley Ranch
Pick your own organic apples at Chileno Valley Ranch this Sunday.

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.

 

Friday, August 28

  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    The popular Picnics on the Plaza events feature music and family fun in downtown San Anselmo. Bring your picnic basket or buy food at the event. Sponsored by the San Anselmo Economic Development Committee. Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights on Main: Sam's 95th!
    Tiburon
    Friday, 6–9 pm
    Bring the family to some outdoor dining, live music and dancing on Main Street in downtown Tiburon. This Friday: celebrate the 95th birthday of Sam's Anchor Café with the music of Carlos Reyes Band's compelling fusion of blues, jazz, rock, and latin music. For more info, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8:30 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday, Eugene Huggins and Friends, sponsored by the Golden Gate Tall Ships Society. For more info, visit their website.
  • Movies in the Park: Maleficent
    Old Mill Park, Redwood Grove
    Friday, 7–10 pm
    Movie screenings are free with general admission seating. Please bring your own blanket or low beach chair. Snacks will be available for sale. Free. Location: Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Film Night in the Park: Godzilla
    Creek Park, San Anselmo
    Friday, 8 pm

    Film Night in the Park presents a large-screen outdoor presentation of Godzilla (2014, PG-13) at Creek Park in San Anselmo. Popcorn, candy, and sodas will be sold. Bring blankets, pillows, backrest and low chairs. Film Night suggests leaving pets at home. Free; donations greatly appreciated. Location: 451 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, August 29

  • GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
    Sonoma Raceway
    Saturday & Sunday, 8 am

    Come check out the six drivers who remain eligible for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship at this weekend's finale. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free all weekend with paid adult ticket. Lots of family-friendly acitivities going on all weekend. Adult tickets start at $39. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10:30 am–2 pm, face kids' crafts from 10:30 am–1:30 pm, and live music from noon–2 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. The will also be a children's book Launch Party for the picture book "Leo the Ghost Story" at 10:30 am under the tent at the farmers market. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum: Wells Fargo Day
    Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–5 pm

    Complimentary admission for Wells Fargo employees and their families, or for one adult and one child for Wells Fargo cardholders. Location: 557 McReynolds Road., Fort Baker in Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • 21st Annual Bodega Seafood, Art and Wine Festival
    Bodega
    Saturday,10 am–6 pm & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Live music, dance floor, and a kids' entertainment and games. $15 adults, $13 seniors 60+, $11 ages 12–18, kids under 12 free. Tickets available at the gate. See kids activities here. Food and drink not included in admission price. No dogs allowed. Free parking. Event takes place at Watt's Ranch, 16855 Bodega Highway. For more info, visit their website.
  • Reptile Expo
    Santa Rosa Veterans' Memorial Building
    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Open to the public. All ages welcome. Get close up to hundreds of snakes, lizards, geckos, turtles, tortoises, tarantulas, scorpions, supplies, jewelry, and more at this year's Reptile Expo presented by North Bay Herpetological Society. Cost: $10 adults, $5 kids 6–12, and free for kids 5 and under! Location: 1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes: Pizza!
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    Who doesn’t love pizza! Kids will have a blast rolling out the dough and topping their pizzas as they please. We’ll bake them off and dig in to the best pizza ever! In this class we’ll be featuring Golden Boy Pizza’s SanFrancilian-style focaccia pizza. Suitable for ages 5–13. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Heritage Day 2015
    China Camp State Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm

    Heritage Day takes place every August in China Camp Village. This all-day event brings the community together to celebrate Chinese-American heritage, seafaring culture, and the natural history of our beautiful park. Heritage Day features musical and dance performances, including Lion Dancers and Chinese folk dancers. There are arts and crafts for sale, with 20% of the proceeds going to help Friends of China Camp. Location: 101 Peacock Gap Trail, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Summer Carnival!
    Novato Library Lawn
    Saturday, noon–2:45 pm

    Close out Summer Reading with a wild party! Games, face painting, and a family circus show with Circus of Smiles. These are just some of the events at this celebration. Don’t miss a moment of fun! For families of all ages. This event is outdoors. Bring sunscreen, drinking water and a blanket to sit on for the 2 pm Circus Show. Location: 1720 Novato Boulevard, Novato. For more info, visit their website.

We All Scream for Amazing Organic Ice Cream at Fairfax Scoop

August 27, 2015

Fairfax ScoopWhenever we're in (or near or driving through) Fairfax, we try to stop at Fairfax Scoop, the awesome ice cream shop on Broadway right downtown. It's a tiny little place, but you can't miss it—it's the bright yellow storefront with a line of people snaking out the door.

Fairfax Scoop makes fantastic handmade organic ice cream using locally sourced ingredients. The day's flavors are written on a whiteboard, and can include innovative flavors like vanilla honey lavender, toasted hazelnut, Mexican chocolate, Buried Treasure (peanut butter, chocolate, and Newman-O's), and Controlled Burn (cinnamon with crystallized ginger and red chile!), as well as the usual ice cream parlor suspects like peach, strawberry, chocolate, and mint chip. Vegan-friendly sorbet and soy options are always offered, too. Flavors rotate, so there's usually something new whenever you visit.

Kids' scoops will run you $1.95, a single scoop is $2.85, and a double is $3.95. Portions are really generous, so be sure you're really hungry before you order that double scoop! There's a 25¢ discount if you bring your own reusable container, but we always opt for their fresh-baked waffle cones, which are actually the only kind of cones they have (and they don't cost extra, like at other ice cream shops).

Our Favorite Homemade Apple Pie

August 27, 2015

apple pieAfter all our apple picking excursions in Marin and Sonoma, plus offerings from our neighbors and my mom, we've found ourselves with a surplus of apples. That means I'm always looking for fantastic apple recipes. Of course good old apple pie is one of those that falls immediately to mind.

This is my go-to recipe for this treat. It's an adaptation of the recipe that used to be on the back of the box of Trader Joe's frozen pie crusts. I don't know what it is about it, but it makes what my family thinks it the best apple pie ever. I still usually use the Trader Joe's pie crusts for this, since they're really good quality and make for a lot less work. Feel free to make your own pie crusts or to use a different brand, though.

I like to make this pie with local Gravenstein apples, but any tart apple, such as Granny Smith, will work fine.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds apples (about 6 medium), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 package Trader Joe's pie crusts, thawed

"Mommy and Me" Fall Classes in Marin

August 25, 2015
mommy and me class at pomegranate
Pomegranate Prenatal Yoga & Parent Center, San Anselmo; photo by Fluid Frame

Looking for a local "mommy and me" class for you and your little one? Here is our list of classes throughout Marin County for children and their moms, dads, or caregivers to participate in together.

Sausalito

  • Pre-Ballet: Mommy and Me
    City Hall Exercise Room, Sausalito
    Starting September 9, Wednesdays, 9:30–10:15 am

    This playful class improves motor skills as children perform finger plays, dance to nursery rhymes, and move with balls or scarves to music. Wear comfortable clothing, such as leggings and a stretch top or leotards and tights. Come barefoot or wear ballet shoes. For ages 2–3. Location: 420 Litho Street, Sausalito. More information
  • Family Classes at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Fort Baker, Sausalito
    Various times throughout week
    Explore art, music, dance, sign language, culture and more in the Discovery Museum's Family Classes. Each series offers multiple sessions for deep engagement with the topics, and includes museum admission for one adult and one child. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Ft. Baker in Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 339-3900.

Dine in with Meal Delivery Services in Marin

August 25, 2015

Munchery meal delivery serviceLike many families in Marin, we lead busy lives—so busy that sometimes important things like family meals can get lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, that's where meal delivery services come in! These local culinary life-savers provide you and your family with delicious, healthy meals as well as the opportunity to sit down together at dining table in the evening, without having to resort to fast food or some other quick solution.

Here are some of the meal delivery services that deliver to homes in Marin County. All these services deliver throughout the county (with the exception of West Marin) unless otherwise indicated. If we've missed your favorite, please let us know about it and we'll consider adding it to the list. With all of these services, you can place your order online via the web or a mobile app. We've personally reviewed a few of these services, so read our reviews via the links to learn more.

Most of these services offer gift certificates, too, so it goes without saying that they'd make great gifts for new parents or someone else who needs a little mealtime help.

Munchery

San Francisco-based Munchery delivers restaurant-quality meals by some of the best local chefs. All food is delivered in sustainable, eco-friendly packaging, and for each meal you order, they donate one to someone in need! Offerings include main dishes, kids' meals, sides, desserts, snacks, and drinks. Munchery delivers in Marin County as far as San Rafael for a $2.95 delivery charge. Read our review of Munchery. www.munchery.com

Acing Back to School Nights

August 24, 2015

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from UrbanSitter.

In homes across Marin, parents are preparing to attend back to school events at their child’s school. The evening is a chance for parents to meet their child’s teachers and fellow parents, and find out about the class plans for the year. Here are helpful tips for making the most of the evening.

Find a sitter to cover for you. You wouldn’t want to miss out on seeing your child’s classroom or meeting their teacher, so find a babysitter in advance. UrbanSitter is an easy way to find, book, and pay a sitter online—and you can even find local sitters who have been reviewed and hired by other parents from your child’s school!Introduce yourself to the teacher. Even if you’ve already met, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to say hello and introduce yourself as the parent of a student they’re just getting to know. Every other parent in the room will be waiting to say hello, too, so keep it brief.

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