Marin Family Weekend Fun for February 7, 8 & 9

February 7, 2014

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 Event Calendar.

Friday, February 7

  • Kids' Pajama Party
    Diesel, a bookstore Larkspur
    Friday, 6–7 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Authors (and sisters) Shirin Bridges and Natasha Yim will be here to read you some bedtime stories. Get cozy in front of the fireplace, listen to the stories and have some milk and cookies. Then get your books signed and head home for bed. For more infor, call (415) 785-8177 or visit their visit their website.
  • Father-Daughter Valentine’s Dance
    Belvedere Community Center
    Friday, 7–8:30 pm
    This evening begins with a flower being presented to each young lady and picture taken of the father and daughter(s) as a memento of the occasion. A dessert buffet will be served and daughters can enjoy creating a special valentine craft. Guests will enjoy dancing to the music provided by a DJ. Semi-formal attire is encouraged. Cost: $50 per couple, $15 per additional daughter. Location: 450 San Rafael Avenue, Belvedere. For more info call (415) 435-4355 or visit their website.

Saturday, February 8

  • 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 listen to music (9:30–10:30 am). Special Event: Toy Crazy (in Larkspur Landing) welcomes kids ages 2-8 to enjoy a "Do-A-Dot" Valentine Art Project during the farmer's market from 11 am-noon. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nature for Kids: Indian Valley
    Saturday, 10 am–2 pm

    Bring the kids for some outdoor fun and exploration. We’ll look for early blooming flowers and see what kinds of insects are visiting them in search of nectar or pollen. WE'll take a break for lunch. David Herlocker will lead. If it's raining, please call (415) 893-9527 on the morning of the walk for a recorded message to see if the walk is cancelled. Meet at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus in Novato, parking lot 6 (1800 Ignacio Blvd). For more info, visit their website.
  • Babysitter Meet & Greet with UrbanSitter
    Belvedere Community Park
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Join UrbanSitter at Belvedere Community Park for crafts and playtime. You'll have the opportunity to interview a few local babysitters, build your network of go-to sitters and learn more about UrbanSitter! This group of sitters will have availability over Valentine's Day and weekend. Location: 450 San Rafael Ave., Belvedere. For more info, visit their website.
  • World on Stage: 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: Members $7; General $18 (includes Museum admission). Purchase tickets here. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Fort Baker, Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Valentine's Day Storytime: Love Monster
    Barnes & Noble, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 11 am

    Join us Saturday, February 8 at 11 am for Valentine's Day Storytime featuring Love Monster. Stories, activities and Valentine's Day treats. Location: 313 Corte Madera Town Center. For more info, call (415) 927-9016 or visit their website.

Jumpstart Your Passion at Speak to Me's Lunch & Learn on February 11

February 7, 2014

Dianne MorrisonJoin Speak To Me (Intelligent, Inspiring Events for Women) on Tuesday,  February 11 for "Jumpstart Your Passion" featuring Dianne Morrison, principal at MorrisonMcNabb and leadership coach with over 25 years experience. Dianne will share her expertise on how to snap your life, business, or career out of its holding pattern. Learn about the power of building solid relationships and how to use this tool to achieve off-the-charts performance in all parts of your life.

Dianne specializes in working with entrepreneurs who are growing companies. She is an expert in leadership development, team building, and management effectiveness. Dianne has worked successfully with entrepreneurial leaders in a variety of industries, with a recent focus on helping clients reinvent themselves and their businesses to be effective in the new economy. This impactful work consistently produces unprecedented business results.

"Jumpstart Your Passion" takes place on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Piatti Restaurant in Mill Valley. Single tickets for Speak to Me's Lunch & Learn events are $45 each. Learn more about the Lunch & Learn and order tickets online, visit, or call (415) 888-2329.

2014 Animal Care Summer Camps at the Marin Humane Society

February 6, 2014

Marin Humane Society Summer Camp Kids can get hands-on experience with a variety of animals with the Marin Humane Society's 2014 Animal Care Summer Camps. These popular camps 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-centered 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.

Make Your Own Pink and Red Playdough for Valentine's Day Fun

February 6, 2014

Play doughSculpting with Play-Doh is always a favorite activity for kids, and it can be even more fun to make your own quick and easy Play-Doh style modeling clay (AKA "playdough"), especially on a rainy day. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!

We colored our latest batch pink and red for Valentine's Day projects. You can, of course, use any color you like. If you want multiple colors, it's best to make more than one batch, as you add the food coloring during the mixing stage to make sure the color is distributed evenly.

Pull out your Valentine's Day cookie cutters to make heart-shaped cutouts. Just roll out the dough and let the kids go to town with cookies cutters or by hand.

To make your own dough, get the following ingredients together:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt

Jelly Belly Factory Tour is a Sweet Treat

February 4, 2014

Jelly Belly Factory in FairfieldWho doesn't like Jelly Belly jelly beans? You probably knew that they come in practically every flavor imaginable, but did you know that they're made just up the road in the Solano County town of Fairfield? Did you know you can tour their factory for free? The Jelly Belly factory offers a fun, tasty, and informative tour daily that's a perfect outing for families and groups.

The Jelly Belly Visitor Center is open every day (except for New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) from 9 am to 5 pm, and guided tours of the facility operate daily from 9 am to 4 pm. No reservations are required—just show up at the factory at 1 Jelly Belly Lane in Fairfield. Tours leave every 10 to 15 minutes and last about 40 minutes or so. Typically, you'll have to wait for about 15 minutes for a tour, but during really busy periods like holidays, spring break, and Christmas vacation, you can expect to wait for an hour or more.

When it's your time to go, you'll be handed a paper Jelly Belly cap (the wearing of which is mandatory, unless you brought your own cap or hair net) and your group will move upstairs to start the tour. No photos are allowed in the factory, but along the way you'll see just about every part of the plant, including the candy kitchen, the packing and shipping areas, and the place where they coat and polish the jelly beans as a final step in their manufacture. My kids were amazed by all the giant bags of sugar stacked on the factory floor. ("You mean they use all of that?!")

Now in Marin: Tender Tracks Outdoor Preschool

February 4, 2014

Tender Tracks Outdoor PreschoolMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Tender Tracks Outdoor Nature Awareness Preschool. Find out more about this unique program at their informational night on Friday, February 28, from 6 to 8 pm.

Tender Tracks Outdoor Nature Awareness Preschool is coming to Marin! This unique preschool program honors and respects the inherent need for young children to have ample time with nature, in order to develop a healthy bond and relationship to the natural world and all who dwell therein. Through stories, songs and explorations, children will go on playful adventures into the heart of nature.

Tender Tracks families drop off and pick up their children at various local natural settings. Children then participate in a morning circle with stories, songs, and a snack to get ready for the adventures and explorations of the day. If it rains, students put on boots and rain gear! Extra clothes are always kept available so the children can change into dry things after wet or muddy adventures.

Wonderful Valentine's Books for Children

February 4, 2014

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.

Where Is Baby's Valentine?: A Lift-the-Flap Book, by Karen Katz
Help Baby find her very special valentine in this glittery, shiny, special lift-the-flap book. 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.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, by Eileen Spinelli
One winter day, the postman delivers a mysterious package with a big pink bow to lonely Mr. Hatch. "Somebody loves you," the accompanying note says. Mr. Hatch wonders, who that somebody could be, and eventually discovers who his secret admirer is, much to his surprise! For ages 3 and up.

Create Your Own Heart-shaped Crayons for Valentine's Day

February 3, 2014

Heart shaped crayonsCreating these beautiful custom crayons is a project I've wanted to try for a long time, and we finally got a chance to make these this past weekend. The results really exceeded our expectations!

These crayons look amazing and professional and are so easy to make. Plus, if you have kids, you probably have the materials to make them lying around the house already. These make a fun and pretty gift for Valentine's Day, as well as neat party favors. They even look great as decorations around the house.

To make these, the first thing you need to do is round up all the old crayons in your house. If you're like us, this should not be very difficult. Of course you can also go out and buy a box of crayons to make this craft, since they're not that expensive. (Once you make a batch of these, you'll find that you're always careful to bring home the leftover crayons that restaurants give you with the kids' menu.)

Chef Daddy Cooks Food Your Kids Will Eat: Beef Bourguignon

February 3, 2014

Beef BourguignonNow that it seems that it finally wants rain once and a while this winter, it's time to make some stick-to-your-ribs comfort food classics. One of my family's favorites is beef bourguignon.

This timeless dish of beef braised with red wine and vegetables is easy to make and I have yet to find anyone who doesn't love it. It's one of my dinner party staples, since you can throw it all together in the early afternoon and just let it go on the stove so you can socialize instead of slave away in the kitchen.

One of the other great things about beef bourguignon is that you can make it from an inexpensive cut of meat like chuck, which the long braising time renders tender and delicious. I like to buy locally raised grass-fed beef from Marin County producers like Stemple Creek Ranch and Marin Sun Farms when I can, and this is a great way to prepare a quality ingredient without breaking the bank.

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