Coming This Spring: The Marin Baby Guide!

January 30, 2015

the Marin Baby GuideBeing a new parent brings excitement and joy, but lots of questions, too. But we're here to help! Next month, we'll be introducing an all-new section called the Marin Baby Guide. This comprehensive guide to all things baby in Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area will be a one-stop resource for new parents and parents-to-be.

The Marin Baby Guide will feature listings for pediatricians, doulas, midwives, childbirth classes, baby sleep experts, childcare, services for new parents and families, and more. We’ll also feature articles about outings and activities, businesses, and resources for new parents, as well as great local events. We'll also feature advice and tips from local professionals about how to best care for your little one and yourself, too.

Marin County Swim Team Signups 2015

January 29, 2015

Marin Swim LeagueOne of our favorite sports activities is swimming, and there's no better way to get involved and have a blast than to compete with your local swim team. It's fun, and really builds swimming skills and great sportsmanship.

Now's the time to sign up for swim teams for this spring and summer. Listed below are the 10 Marin Swim League swim teams located throughout the county and their registration dates. Click on the team name to go to their website. The swim team season begins with practices in March and wraps up in mid-July with the Championship meet, usually held at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus pool in Novato.

For more information on the Marin Swim League, including a full schedule of 2015 spring and summer swim meets, visit www.marinswimleague.org.

Larkspur

Mill Valley

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 30, 31 and February 1

January 28, 2015
Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen
Head to the Wine Country and visit Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen this weekend.

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, January 30

  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • Friday Night Jazz
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur
    Friday, 5:30–8:30 pm

    Enjoy live jazz in the outdoor setting of Marin Country Mart at Larkspur Landing. Food is available at a wide variety of restaurants, including Marin Brewing Company, FarmShop, El Hurache Loco, BelCampo Meat, and Rustic Bakery. Free. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, January 31

  • 2015 Waterbird Festival
    Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Tiburon
    Saturday, 8 am–4 pm

    This fun community and family-friendly event is free and will include naturalist led bird walks, bird scope stations to gain a closer look at the waterbirds visiting our Bay, interactive educational activities, and expert speaker sessions. There will also be exclusive fee-based field trips available. Location: 376 Greenwood Beach Road, Tiburon. For more info, visit their website.
  • Hands-on Tam Winter Work Day
    Mount Tamalpais, Muir Beach, and Muir Woods National Monument
    Saturday, 8:30 am–1 pm

    Together, we will work to improve trails, care for natural landscapes, and improve habitat for birds and other wildlife. Our projects provide a wonderful opportunity for hands-on learning and many of our projects are family-friendly and open to volunteers of all ages. Visit OneTam.org to learn more about our work. Register online here.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person; children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 through mid-April. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings! Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), try out some arts and crafts (9 am–2 pm) and Jill from Music for Children will be performing (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes: No Bake Valentine Treats
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Valentine’s Day treats are the tasty topic of the next class designed by Jennifer Tyler Lee, creator of the award-winning food game Crunch a Color and author of The 52 New Foods Challenge cookbook. Together we’ll make three easy, no-bake treats that are perfect Valentine’s Day! Suitable for ages 5–13. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children’s Theatre Association presents Jack and the Beanstalk
    Cowell Theater at Fort Mason, San Francisco
    Saturday, 10:30 am and 1 pm

    Jack in the Beanstock is a musical retelling of an English fairy tale. It is a toe-tapping whimsical comedy with wonderful characters. Happy-go-lucky Jack, his poor mother, Betsy the cow, the Golden Goose and of course the crazy Giant. Entertainment for the entire family to enjoy. Admission: $13 plus $2 processing fee (waived at the door). To purchase tickets, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Morse Code Messages
    Presidio Officers' Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm

    This month the Creative Family Fun events celebrate the amazing maritime history of the Presidio. The Army communicated through Morse code during the 1906 earthquake. Learn how to send your own message by making some Morse code jewelry. Drop-in anytime between 11 am and 4 pm. Free. Read about our visit to the Officers' Club here. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • World on Stage Performances: Murphy Irish Dancers
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday, 11 am
    Performing a variety of step dances including jigs and reels, combined with impressive leaps, this amazing group of young dancers will connect you with age-old Irish traditions and joyous celebrations that are very much alive today. Cost: $5 members; $7 general after museum admission. Purchase tickets here. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Fort Baker, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: Bob Marley's Three Little Birds
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am & 2 pm

    The reggae music of Bob Marley evokes the spirit of Jamaica in this modern-day fairytale about the unexpected adventures of timid 11-year-old Ziggy. Watch out for evil Duppy, but “don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be all right!” Based on the story by Cedella Marley. Recommended for 4 and up. Tickets: $22 adults, $18 children, $20 seniors, $13 groups (10 or more). Location: 2020 Addison Street Berkeley. For more info, call (510) 524-2941 or visit their website.
  • Storytelling Festival Featuring Olga Loya
    San Anselmo Library
    Saturday, 2–4 pm

    Bring the family (all ages) to the San Anselmo library's free fourth annual Storytelling Festival. The featured teller this year is Olga Loya, a nationally known Latina storyteller, performance artist, and author. Loya dramatically and vividly mixes Spanish and English in her performances. Her repertoire reveals the diversity and richness of our collective culture in its commonality and individuality. Kids to grandparents and everyone in between can also share stories too. Location: 110 Tunstead Avenue, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

2015 Animal Care Summer Camps at the Marin Humane Society

January 27, 2015

Marin Humane Society Summer Camps Pet-loving kids can get hands-on experience with a variety of animals with the Marin Humane Society's 2015 Animal Care Summer Camps. These popular camps at the MHS campus in Novato teach children important skills in animal handling, care, and welfare. Children entering grades 1 through 6 can attend Junior Animal Camp, Animal Care Camp, and Senior Animal Care Camp, where activities include animal-themed arts and crafts, games and activities, an introduction to careers involving animals, and daily visits from the MHS's Animal Ambassadors.

Older children entering grades 7 through 12 can attend Teen Animal Care Camp where they will experience the daily work of an animal shelter. They will learn about animal related careers, animal care and behavior, and animal welfare, and get daily hands-on experience with shelter and volunteer animals. Teens can also participate as Teen Counselor Assistants, where they'll assist for one week-long camp session and earn community service credit.

Wonderful Valentine's Books for Children

January 27, 2015

The Day it Rained HeartsMy kids always like to go to the library and check out a big stack of books that relate to the current holiday or season. Valentine's Day of course is no exception, so here are some of our choices for great kids' books to read this week. Find them at your local library or bookstore. The links on each title take you to that book's listing on the Marin County Free Library website.

Counting Kisses: A Kiss and Read Book by Karen Katz
How many kisses does a tired baby need? Find out in this adorable kiss-and-count board book. Perfect for bedtime! For ages 1 and up.

Love Monster by Rachel Bright
Love Monster is a slightly hairy monster who finds it hard to fit in with the cute and the fluffy in Cutesville. Follow his adventures as he sets out to find someone who will love him just the way he is. For ages 2 and up.

Light and Delicious Chinese Chicken Salad

January 27, 2015

Chinese chicken saladAfter any holiday that involves a lot of eating (like Christmas), I'm always on the lookout for recipes that are on the lighter side, but still tasty and family friendly. One of my all-time favorite dishes is Chinese chicken salad, a ubiquitous restaurant menu item that's actually really easy to make at home.

I've experimented with a variety of recipes for this main-dish salad, some involving ingredients like crumbled Top Ramen noodles, but my new favorite version is this one, inspired by a recipe from chef Curtis Stone. It doesn't have any crunchy noodles (but you can add them if you want), but it does have plenty of grilled chicken, crunchy napa cappage, and a sweet/spicy Asian inspired dressing, which does double-duty as a marinade for the chicken.

The 2015 Marin Summer Camp Guide is Here!

January 26, 2015

Supernova at Camp GalileoThe 2015 edition of our annual Marin Summer Camp Guide is here! Marin Mommies' Marin Summer Camp Guide is a comprehensive directory of summer camps in Marin County, with select camps from elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Sonoma County, San Francisco, the East Bay, and the Peninsula, included too.

If you run or represent a summer camp and wish to update your camp's information or add a new camp to the guide, submit the new or updated info in a listing here. We welcome listings for camps within Marin County and the greater San Francisco Bay Area, but if you have an awesome summer camp located outside the area that would be of interest to Marin and Bay Area families, feel free to submit the information and we'll consider adding it to the guide. (Note that all summer camp submissions are subject to administrator approval before they go live, and out-of-area camps will be included at the editors' discretion.)

February Classes and Programs at Parents Place Marin

January 26, 2015

infant yawningParents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. This winter, they offer a wide variety of programs, from childbirth education to classes for parents and children. Here are a few of the programs they offer in February, including classes for both infant-and-child and adult-and-teen CPR and a kindergarten preparedness webinar.

Infant and Child CPR

Learn to recognize an infant or child in distress, rescue measures for choking, CPR techniques, and infant sleep safety. Includes hands-on practice with mannequins. One-year certification provided. Pre-crawling babies welcome. Please come 10 minutes early! With Shanda Manion, CPR instructor certified by the American Heart Association in basic life support. Thursday, February 5, 6:30–8:30 pm. $45. Register here.

The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

January 25, 2015

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookiesFor many years, I've been on a search for the best-ever chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I think I've found it! These oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have crisp edges and chewy centers and taste and look fantastic. The addition of oatmeal gives these cookies a nutty taste, too.

They're based on the recipe published by King Arthur Flour, who in turn got it from the Cookies for Kids' Cancer non-profit. It's King Arthur's 2015 recipe of the year—make a batch and you'll see why.

This recipes makes approximately 20 large cookies if using a 1/4 cup scoop to measure out the dough. You can use a smaller size to get more cookies, but keep in mind that baking times may vary.

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