The Insider's Guide to the 2014 Mountain Play: South Pacific

May 9, 2014

The Mountain Play 2014 South PacificOne of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theater experience high on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for over a century! This year's 101st Mountain Play production is Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, the Broadway classic set in a tropical paradise during World War II and based on James A. Michener's novel Tales of the South Pacific.

Featuring classic songs like "Bali Ha'i", "Younger Than Springtime", and "Some Enchanted Evening", the Mountain Play's production of South Pacific is directed by Linda Dunn and features Taylor Chalker as spunky Ensign Nellie Forbush, Peter Vlikin as French plantation owner Emile de Becque, Tyler Costin as Lieutenant Joseph Cable, and Mia Klenk as Liat. South Pacific also features Randy Nazarian as Luther Billis, Lily Tung Crystal as Bloody Mary, and James Dunn (veteran director of many Mountain Play productions) as Captain George Brackett. Musical direction is by Debra Chambliss.

Make a Classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake for Mom

May 8, 2014

Pineapple upside down cakeThis Mother's Day, why not make an old school dessert for Mom—pineapple upside down cake. Pineapple upside down cake is really old school, dating back to the 1920s when canned pineapple from was introduced to the US market by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which would eventually become Dole Foods.

Featuring moist and light cake topped with sweet pineapple and a caramelized brown sugar topping, it's no wonder this dessert has been popular for nearly a century. In our recipe, we use fresh pineapple, but you can substitute canned if you don't want to mess around with cutting up and trimming a fresh one. It's equally good with both.


For the topping:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

Kids Bowl Free this Summer at Country Club Bowl in San Rafael

May 8, 2014

Country Club Bowl bowlingThis summer, San Rafael's Country Club Bowl is again participating in Kids Bowl Free, a popular summer activity program where any child aged 18 and under can bowl two free games a day! There's no catch to Kids Bowl Free—all you do is register online, and you'll receive a weekly printable coupon that allows your children to bowl for free.

Kids Bowl Free was created as a way to give back to the community and offer a safe, secure, and fun way for kids to spend time this summer. Kids Bowl Free also helps local teachers with their classroom costs—elementary and middle school teachers can apply for grants to help offset the cost of classroom supplies. For more information, visit

Kids Bowl Free times at Country Club Bowl are Monday through Friday from 11 am–7 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am–2 pm, April 15 through August 15, 2014. All participants must wear bowling shoes (bring your own or rent them at the bowling alley), and the family pass coupon is not good for daycare, business, or club outings, birthday parties, or league and tournament play.

The Downtown Novato Farmers Market Opens at its New Location Tonight

May 6, 2014

The downtown Novato Farmers Market opens for its 2014 season this evening, Tuesday, May 6. The market takes place from 4 to 8 pm at their new location on Grant Avenue between 1st and 4th Streets. Come check out an abundance of fresh produce from local farms, pony rides, bounce houses, live music, and fresh prepared foods from local vendors.

Bring the family for an evening of fun on Grant Avenue. Each year the Novato Farmers Market grows and improves, and boasts an impressive array of some of the Bay Area’s finest food purveyors, producers, farmers, and ranchers.

The Novato Farmers Market takes place every Tuesday evening from 4 to 8 pm from May 6 through September 30, 2014. Customer parking for the Farmers’ Market will be offered at the old Pini’s lot located at 1107 Grant Avenue. For more info, visit their website.

North Bay's Largest Children's and Maternity Consignment Sale this Weekend!

May 6, 2014

Just Between Friends saleCome shop until you drop at this weekend's North Bay Just Between Friends Sale at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Grace Pavilion in Santa Rosa. Taking place Friday through Sunday, May 8–11, 2014, Just Between Friends is the North Bay's largest children's and maternity consignment event.

Get a great deal on over 100,000 consignment items in 40,500 square feet of shopping space, including toys, games; outdoor gear; mommy supplies; furniture; crafting, school and party supplies; and more. You'll save 30–90% off retail prices on tons of gently used and even new items. Cash, checks, debit cards, and Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Bring your own bags, baskets, or even a wagon to carry your deals.

A $3 admission is charged on Thursday, May 8, and $2 on Friday, May 9 for attendees ages 18 and over, but you can get in free by printing and presenting this coupon at the door. Admission on Saturday and Sunday (when all items are 50% off) is free. Sale hours are 4 pm to 7 pm Thursday, 9 am to 7 pm Friday, and 9 am to 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Easy Weekday Meals: Mujaddara

May 5, 2014

MujaddaraMujaddara is tasty, easy to make, and my kids love it. This dish is a mix of lentils, rice, and caramelized onions and is a popular comfort food for everyone from Israelis to Palestinians to Egyptians to Jordanians. It's perfect for a vegetarian or vegan main dish (and gluten free, too!), and fantastic as a hearty side dish for kebabs or roast chicken. Mujaddara is also versatile: it's hearty enough for a chilly evening, but also great served at room temperature as part of a summer lunch. With its subtle spices, mujaddara is an exotic change of pace, but not so much so that your kids won't eat it.

Not only is mujaddara tasty, but it's healthy, too. Lentils are considered one of the super foods—high in fiber, protein, vitamin B, and iron, and when combined with rice make for a complete protein dish. Olive oil and onions have plenty of health benefits, too. We usually accompany mujaddara with one or two different fresh Mediterranean-inspired salads, such as cucumbers and yogurt, or tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions.

Family-Friendly Mother’s Day Brunches in Marin

May 5, 2014

brioche french toastMother's Day is on Sunday, May 11. Brunch is always a popular outing in honor of mom, and here are a dozen of our favorite family friendly spots for a Mother's Day brunch in Marin.

All information is correct at time of publishing, but please check with the restaurant to confirm. You should also make your reservations soon, as Mother's Day brunches fill up pretty quickly.

Click on highlighted links for more info.

  • Brick & Bottle in Corte Madera features a Mother's Day buffet brunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Brunch items include eggs benedict, brioche French toast (pictured above), beet salad, and special selections at the hot table. Dessert includes Meyer lemon tart with fresh raspberries and chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies. $40 for adults and $17 for kids 12 and under. Reservations recommended: (415) 924-3366. Brick & Bottle is located at 55 Tamal Vista Boulevard, in the Marketplace shopping center.

Make Something Delicious for Mom for Mother's Day Breakfast

May 4, 2014

Chocolate Dutch BabyMother's Day is coming up, and one of the traditions for this holiday is to make breakfast or brunch for Mom (serving it to her in bed is optional). Here's a selection of delicious and easy-to-make breakfast recipes that we've published here on Marin Mommies, all of which would be perfect for a Mother's Day breakfast! So go get Dad and the kids ready to cook something up in the kitchen early next Sunday morning…

A breakfast treat that's fun, delicious, and easy to make is the oven-puffed pancake or "Dutch baby". We like to incorporate fresh fruit into this big eggy pancake that you cook in a skillet in the oven. Let the kids beat the eggs and do the mixing, but a grownup should handle taking the hot skillet in and out of the oven. Try this version with fresh blackberries, or, for something really special, make this chocolate variation and top if with fresh sweet strawberries from the farmer's market.

French toast is our favorite way to use up leftover bread. Use any sort of crusty artisan bread in our recipe for French toast with homemade berry sauce. If you want to get really fancy with your French toast, check out this recipe from our friend Chef Scott Howard (formerly of Brick &

A Cool and Fun Mother's Day Craft

May 4, 2014

Mother's Day Brooch CraftMother’s Day is coming up, and one of my favorite gifts that I've received is this whimsical and beautiful heart brooch made from decorative buttons and gold paint. My son made one of these for me when he was in kindergarten, and I was amazed at how creative and sophisticated it looked. We even entered it in the kids’ jewelry design competition at the Marin County Fair where it won first place! Whenever I wear this brooch, I get compliments on it, and I’m sure most moms would love one of these for a Mother’s Day gift.

Fortunately, this craft is easy, fun, and inexpensive to make, so why not have the kids make one for Mom or Grandma this Mother's Day? All you need are a few supplies, many of which you may have on hand already, and otherwise can find at any craft or art supply store.

To make this craft, you’ll need:

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