Get Creative This Easter with Watercolor Eggs

April 18, 2014

Watercolor Easter EggsEvery Easter, we always end up buying one of those egg-dying kits at the supermarket (tradition dies hard in our house), but that doesn't stop us from trying out different ways of coloring our Easter eggs, like making and using natural egg dyes. Recently, a friend mentioned that her family likes to paint their Easter eggs with watercolors, so we thought we'd give it a try.

Watercolors are fun to use because they're kid-friendly, dry quickly, and really allow for a lot of artistic expression. Plus, painting your eggs is a lot more fun than just letting them soak in a container of dye, and the colors are vibrant and varied. Even I really got into the whole process, and I think I was actually enjoying it more than the kids.

To do this, you'll need a set or two of watercolors—they don't have to be the expensive ones from the art supply store (save those for another project). I bought a set of Crayola watercolors at Target for a couple dollars. You'll also need brushes in a variety of sizes. Large broad brushes work best for laying down paint on the eggs, while smaller ones are ideal for detail work. The little brushes that usually come with watercolor sets aren't very useful, so pick up a set of different brushes if you don't have one.

Create a Marin Family Tradition at Pixie Park's Spring Fair

April 17, 2014

Pixie ParkSpring has sprung at the Marin Art and Garden Center and Pixie Park’s Spring Fair is about to bloom! In fact the Fair has blossomed at MAGC each year for the last 56 years making its occurrence almost a rite of spring. While many generations of Marinites have enjoyed the Spring Fair, you don’t have to be from Marin to soak in its nostalgia. Kids of all ages are welcome to step back in time and explore the Fair’s Candy Land, Autopia, and Tot Town. The fair also offers families rides on an old-time train, storytelling performances, and a petting farm. Admission is free so there is really no reason not to make Pixie Park’s Spring Fair a new family tradition.

The Pixie Park Spring Fair takes place Sunday, April 27, from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Marin Art and Garden Center, located at 30 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Ross. Admission is free; games, rides, and food require paid tickets. There's a $10 fee for parking at the Marin Art and Garden Center. Proceeds from the fair support Pixie Park member parties (like Halloween) and park maintenance as well as the Marin Art and Garden Center.

Spring Is Here! Skincare Tips and Techniques to Smooth Your Skin into Summer

April 17, 2014

healthy skinMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Karen Horton, M.D., Marin mom and board-certified plastic surgeon.

Spring is finally here! While it has been an unseasonably warm Bay Area winter, we will soon spend more time outdoors with our families. This means greater exposure to the elements and the sun. While some sunshine is important for natural vitamin D production by the body, limiting unexposed UV radiation is vital to skin health! The sun contains three wavelengths of ultraviolet energy: UVA and UVB cause free radical damage and aging of the skin, while highest energy UVC rays are increasingly allowed into our atmosphere as the ozone layer becomes depleted.

Sun damage is cumulative in our lifetime, meaning small changes in our cells occur yearly starting in childhood and add up over time with years of sun exposure. Damage to DNA in deep skin cells is usually not evident until our 30s and 40s, when women often "wake up" to changes in their skin become more interested in sun prevention and skin care. Pigmentation changes such as "hyperpigmentation" (brown spots) and freckles, white spots, "telangiectasias" or spider veins (broken surface blood vessels), fine lines, wrinkles, decreased collagen and loss of skin elasticity are all consequences of chronic sun damage.

Bird's Nest Cookies for Easter

April 15, 2014

Bird's Nest Cookie These cute and clever bird's nest cookies are the perfect treat for Easter. Light and airy coconut-filled meringues really look a lot like birds' nests—you can complete the illusion by adding a few egg-shaped Easter candies. We like the Cadbury mini eggs, but malted milk eggs or even jelly beans will work equally well.

The kids love to help make these, and of course love to eat them. These treats are a great addition to Easter baskets, too. Give them a try, and you'll probably find that they earn a spot in your spring baking repertoire.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar

Awesome Marin Earth Day Events, Idea and Activities

April 15, 2014

Stinson Beach Earth DayEarth Day 2014 takes place on Tuesday, April 22. It’s a great time to celebrate and teach our children the importance of preserving our planet’s resources. There are plenty of ways to observe the occasion here in Marin and the Bay Area, and we've created a list of local events that either celebrate Earth Day or help families learn about nature and the planet.

Fun Events for Earth Day

  • Earth Day Celebration 2014
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday, April 19, 9 am–5 pm

    Join us on Earth Day to celebrate the natural beauty of our environment. Every day, the museum seeks to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards by encouraging children to immerse themselves in our unique place by the Bay. All activities included with admission unless noted otherwise. See schedule here.
  • Earth Day: Come Play for the Planet
    San Francisco Zoo

    Saturday & Sunday, April 19 & 20, 11 am–3 pm
    Head to the zoo for some fresh air and good ol' fashioned fun themed around conservation and caring for the environment. Activities include live entertainment with the Raytones, games, a scavenger hunt, wild recycled crafts with SCRAP, face painting, costumed animal characters, keep talks, a Family BikeAbout, and more. Learn more here.

Classic Coconut Mini Cupcakes for Easter

April 14, 2014

Coconut cupcakesOld fashioned coconut cake is an Easter favorite. We decided to give this classic treat a kid-sized spin and made a fun mini cupcake version.

These light and sweet little cakes with a marshmallow-like frosting are great for parties, playdates, and get-togethers, and of course as dessert on Easter! Sure, you can use fresh toasted coconut on the outside, but we love the old-school white flaked sweetened coconut from the grocery store's baking aisle.

This recipe makes about three dozen mini cupcakes. You can use it to make regular-size cupcakes, too, but of course you'll need to increase the baking time by a few minutes.

A Family That Eats Together: Thai Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry

April 14, 2014

Thai basil chickenMarin Mommies presents this week's guest recipe from Nicole Cibellis, Marin mom and author of the blog A Family that Eats Together, where she shares meal plans and recipes that will please foodies and children alike.

This recipe makes cooking Thai more simple than you can image. In less than 20 minutes dinner is served and it is sweet, savory and delish! Did I mention it’s also healthy? After you make this, you will wonder why you ever ordered out for Thai food. Serve with brown rice.

Serves: 3–4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless cutlets, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

Marin County and North Bay Easter Egg Hunts 2014

April 14, 2014

Easter egg huntEaster is just a few days away (it's on April 20 this year), so it's time to start planning for egg hunts, breakfast with bunny and other special events. My children love this time of year when the flowers bloom, and the Easter Bunny hops into town. Part of the fun is celebrating spring and the Easter season with a traditional egg hunt, and there are Easter egg hunts scheduled at communities throughout Marin County. Here's our list of fun Easter egg hunts and events taking place in Marin and other locations in the Bay Area. We'll update this list as we find out about additional events. If we've left out your favorite Marin or Bay  Easter egg hunt, please let us know and we'll add it to the roster.

Easter Bunny Photos

While your kids are waiting for the big day, they can visit the Easter Bunny and have their picture taken with him at his whimsical spring house at Northgate in Terra Linda. He'll be at the Macy's wing from April 4–16, 2014, Monday–Saturday from noon–8 pm and Sunday 11 am–6 pm and April 16–19, Wednesday–Saturday, 10 am–9 pm. The Easter Bunny is located in the north mall entrance near Macy's. For more info, visit their website.

Corte Madera

  • Easter Egg Hunt
    San Clemente Park in East Corte Madera
    Saturday, April 19, 10 am sharp

    Bring the little ones out for the 3rd Annual Easter Egg Hunt at San Clemente Park (east side of Corte Madera).The egg hunt will stat at 10 am start time - don't be late! Over 1000 eggs. Separate areas for under 3 yrs and big kids. Little ones can trade in their empty eggs for a baby/toddler safe stuffed animal and big kids can "recycle" their eggs (after they empty them of their treasure of course!) in exchange for a prize. Free pictures with the Easter Bunny. Bring your own basket. For more info, contact jessicapridemore@gmail.com.

Fairfax

  • Fairfax's Annual Easter Egg Hunt
    Bolinas Park
    Saturday, April 19, 10 am (sharp)

    Children 8 and below are welcome to come and participate in the Spring egg hunt. Grab your basket and get ready to hunt for eggs at 10 am sharp in Bolinas Park! There will be facepainting, music by James K, and bubble entertainment for the little ones. This event is sponsored by Park & Rec, and is for ages 8 and below. Following that, there will be an eggstravaganza for the tweens in Peri Park, from 1-4 p.m. The celebration continues into the evening, with a movie at the ball field from 8-10 p.m.! The event for older kids is sponsored by the Youth Commission. and fun. For more information, visit their website.

Larkspur

  • Easter Celebration & Easter Egg Hunt!
    Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Saturday, April 19, 9 am–2 pm

    Children will dye eggs in bright colors, and creatively decorate them with reusable materials provided by SCRAP. Baby chicks and a small animal petting zoo will be on display at Victoria's Fashion Stable, where children can also enjoy a pony ride. There’s children's musical entertainment from 9:30–10:30 am, with an Easter egg hunt with the Easter Bunny to follow. The Easter egg hunt begins at 10:30 am at Poppy Store, located just steps away from the Farmers' Market in the Marin Country Mart. For more info, visit their website.

Mill Valley

  • Spring Faire
    Strawberry Recreation District

    Saturday, April 19 from 10:30 am–noon
    The Spring Faire is for children of all ages. Play carnival games, make a basket, get your photo taken with the bunny, bounce in the jump house, and gear up for the candy hunt! $8 per child. 118 East Strawberry Drive. For information, call (415) 383-6494 or visit their website.

Safe Sleep for your Baby

April 14, 2014

Safe sleep for babiesMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from the Marin Child Care Council and its Safe Sleep Campaign. For more information, call them at (415) 472-1092 or visit www.mc3.org.

As parents and caregivers, our top priority is the health and safety of the babies we care for. But are we doing everything we can to keep our babies safe in Marin? The Marin Child Care Council’s Safe Sleep Campaign would like us all to consider these facts:

  • Last year in Marin, 2 babies died in their sleep!
  • Each year in the US, close to 4,000 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly of sleep-related causes (often referred to as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death or SUID).
  • Half of these unexpected deaths are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), defined as the sudden unexplained death of a baby younger than one year of age without a known cause.
  • The rest of these infant deaths are largely due to accidental causes such as suffocation and strangulation in bed—and are 100% preventable!
  • Research shows that there are concrete steps we can take to reduce the risk of SIDS and prevent most other sleep-related infant deaths.
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