Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 19, 20 & 21

December 19, 2014
the Nisja's Bear's House in Marinwood
Visit the Mickey Mouse House in Marinwood this weekend. It's open nightly from 6–10 pm.

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.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers, and amazing decorated holiday houses. Also, check out our North Bay Christmas Tree Farms and Lots article.

Friday, December 19

  • Family Holiday Tea
    Haas-Lilienthal House, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, noon & 3 pm

    Celebrate the holidays by stepping back in time through the doors of the festively-decorated Haas-Lilienthal House for a traditional Victorian afternoon tea. Crown & Crumpet promises to delight with its perfectly-blended pots of tea, savory finger sandwiches, scrumptious scones and holiday sweets. Tea will be served in the formal dining room and parlors. Tickets: $48 adults, $24 for children 12 and under. Location: For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 & 7 pm
    San Francisco Ballet’s awe-inspiring production is like no other, with colorful, larger-than-life scenery, over 200 dazzling costumed characters, and of course Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Performances of Nutcracker run through December 29. Ticket prices start at $26. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or visit their website.
  • Family Concert: A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live!
    San Francisco Symphony, Davies Hall
    Friday, 4 pm, Saturday, 2 pm & Sunday, 2 and 7:30 pm

    Iconic Peanuts characters come to life in this colorful live-action performance, with animated backgrounds on the big screen, dancing, singing, and more—all with live accompaniment by the Symphony, Chorus, dancers, and narrators. This unique variety show opens with vocalist Lisa Vroman, the SFS Chorus, and the Symphony performing holiday classics. Come early and enjoy a family-friendly reception. The lobbies will be filled with festive decorations and activities, including gigantic trees, holiday photo booths, and special Peanuts décor. Tickets $12.50 and up; 17 and under half-price. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Sunday, 5–8 pm

    Come get a feeling for the San Francisco Zoo at night under magical holiday lights! Make your way from Entry Village to the Elinor Friend Playground for some magical playtime under the stars. Stop by to see Santa Claus to put in some last-minute requests. Grab some hot apple cider or cocoa and head over to the Playfield Lawn pay a visit to Santa's special reindeer Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. And there will be light snow flurries at Zoo Lights, so bundle up! $7 adults, $5 kids 4–14, free 3 and under. For more information, visit their website.
  • Le Petit Cirque de Noël
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday, 6–7:15 pm

    Let Petit Cirque de Noël presents A Magic Box under the Big Tent at Marin Country Mart. Tickets: free for children age 18 and under; $15 adults. Tickets required for seating and can be purchased at the Trading Post or on Brown Paper Tickets. To reserve tickets, call the Trading Post at (415) 448-5043. For more info, visit their website.
  • Young Performers Theatre: Peter Pan
    Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
    Friday, 6:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday,1 & 3:30 pm

    The Young Performers Theatre presents Peter Pan. For all ages. Tickets: $10. Location: Building C, Room 300, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.

 Saturday, December 20

  • 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 am–2 pm adjacent to the farmer's market, arts and crafts by SCRAP from 10 am–1:30 pm, and children's entertainment from 9:30–10:30 am. Santa Claus will be at the Poppy Store from 11 am to 2 pm for complimentary photos. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Walk: A Winter Wonderland 

See "A Charlie Brown Christmas" Live with the San Francisco Symphony

December 18, 2014

Charlie Brown Christmas SF SymphonyThe holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas is always on our must-see list every holiday season, and this year it's being performed live at the San Francisco Symphony! A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live! features the animated backgrounds on the big screen, dancing, singing, and Vince Guaraldi's music performed by the Symphony.

This special family concert also features vocalist Lisa Vroman and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, who, along with the symphony, will perform hoiday classics ranging from an Irving Berlin medley to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". You'll also be able to add your voice as you sing along with some of your favorite carols.

Wondering What It’s Like to Homeschool in Marin County?

December 16, 2014

Homeschooling activity in MarinMarin Mommies presents a guest article from Marin mom and homeschooler Julie Schiffman, M. Ed.

Why would anyone choose to homeschool in a county where nearly every neighborhood is prized for its distinguished, award winning schools? Lots of reasons…

Deep learning—one of my favorite things about homeschooling is allowing my children the time and space to learn all about their curiosities and interests. Their school day never ends, so they do not have to stick to time schedules and are not bound by state standards for subject matter. Some of our favorite "curriculum units" have been Animal Rescue, Agriculture, How It’s Made, and Our Community. Because these themes were interesting to my kids, we have participated in many field trips in and around Marin--the Humane Society, Richardson Bay Audubon, Wildcare, Petaluma farms and dairies, Heath Ceramics, Mrs. Grossman’s, Jelly Belly Factory, Marin County Fire Dept., Marin Municipal Water District, Muir Woods, etc. are just a sampling of the many hands-on learning experiences we’ve had.

Go Play in the Snow! Great Places for Family Snow Play in Northern California

December 16, 2014

Tubing in the Sierras

Most schools have winter break starting next week, so it's great time to get away and go play in the snow. While we love the skiing and winter fun at Lake Tahoe, we know that not everyone's a skiier, and sometimes families just want to go up and have some fun in the snow. While many of the Tahoe ski resorts like Northstar, Squaw Valley, and Heavenly have tubing parks, ice skating, and other winter non-skiing activities for the family, there are plenty of places in the Sierras where you can get your snow play fix without the ski resort hustle and bustle (and price tag).

Most of these snow play sites are within a few hours' drive from Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area. While some have tubes and sleds to rent, others, most notably the California State Sno-Parks, offer little more than a place to park your car so you can go play in the snow. For a list of Lake Tahoe ski resorts that offer both skiiing and snow play activities, read our article here.

A Family That Eats Together: Ziti Frittata

December 16, 2014

Ziti frittataMarin 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.

Hummm… bacon and eggs for dinner? Count us in! Sometimes it just seems right. Think of this dish as a take on quiche but instead of a crust I use cooked pasta. Add in some veggies and the kids will never know that you sneaked them in because my frittata is just that good. The best part is that this recipe is so quick and easy it is a perfect weeknight dinner. It can also easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the pancetta.

Servings: 8–10
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

Get Crafty and Create Your Own Holiday Cards With Buttons

December 15, 2014

Button holiday craft cardsMy kids have always loved to make their own cards for special occasions, and the holidays are no exception! This year, we made these cute cards using colored plastic buttons as decorations. Get different sizes of buttons and make Christmas trees, candy canes, snowmen, snowflakes, and any other design you can think of.

The results really are delightful, and they're easy enough for any child to make, with an adult's help, of course. Because you made the cards yourselves they are a neat keepsake craft, too.

To make these holiday cards, you'll need:

Get Comfortable with Saving Energy and Money

December 15, 2014

Nugget Marin Mommies Presents a sponsored article from the Bay Area Regional Energy Network and Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade.

Energy Efficiency Improves Your Living Space and Pays You Back

With the holidays fast approaching and temperatures getting colder, many Marin families are looking for ways to make their homes more comfortable. What a lot of families don’t know, is that a home improvement project designed to make their home more comfortable in the winter months can also make their home more energy-efficient all year round, and qualify for rebates through Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade.

Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade offers rebates for energy-efficient home improvements such as air sealing, duct sealing, attic insulation, wall insulation, and high-efficiency furnaces, cooling systems, and water systems—all designed to enhance indoor comfort and air quality, lower utility costs, add value to your home, and protect the environment. Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade is funded by PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission, with additional funding from the Bay Area Regional Energy Network and Marin County.

Make Your Own Holiday Gingerbread House

December 14, 2014

Gingerbread House

Every year we create a gingerbread house using the nice kit sold by Trader Joe's, but last year, after constructing a house from the kit, my daughter decided she wanted to take our gingerbread house building experience a step further and create another one—this time from scratch! Fortunately, as we found out, it's easy to do and fun.

First thing you have to do is come up with a design for your house. We created a template for a basic gingerbread house that's simple to create and put together. (You can download our template, formatted for two letter-size sheets of paper; get page one here and page two here.) You can embellish and elaborate on this little house and make it your own special creation.

Christmas in Marinwood: The Nisja Bear's House

December 13, 2014

the Nisja's Bear's House in Marinwood

Marin is home to many communities that really go above and beyond the call of duty when getting into the holiday spirit, and of all the places in the county I think Marinwood, the neighborhood sandwiched between Novato and San Rafael, has the most decorated holiday houses per capita!

It's only natural then that one of our favorite Christmas houses happens to be located in Marinwood: the Nisja Bear's house, which has been delighting Marin and Bay Area families for over three decades. Every year there's something new to look at, and plenty of old favorites to visit again.

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