The Week of the Young Child in Marin!

April 11, 2015

week of the young child flier imageThis coming week, April 12-18, 2015, has been declared “Week of the Young Child” by the County of Marin Board of Supervisors! Join the County, along with the Marin Child Care Council, in a week of fun to recognize how important early childhood education and great teachers are to everyone.

The week kicks off on Sunday, April 12 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito with a celebration jam-packed with fun literacy, math, and science school readiness activities for little ones. A variety of community partners from throughout Marin and the Bay Area, including UCSF, the California Highway Patrol, First 5 Marin, and the Marin County Free Library, will be on hand to discuss everything from car seat safety to new parent education. Free medical screenings will be provided, too.

Later in the week, families are encouraged to partake in a variety of fun themed activities, including Music Monday, Taco Tuesday, and Work Together Wednesday. On Friday, “Wee Read” will feature local legislators visiting preschools to spend time and read stories.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for April 10, 11 & 12

April 10, 2015
Audubon Canyon Ranch
Take a guided nature hike at Audubon Canyon Ranch's Martin Griffin Preserve in Stinson Beach.

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 throughout the Bay Area in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, April 10

  • Free Spring Concert Series
    Downtown Novato, City Hall
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Bring the entire family to Novato's Downtown City Hall for the free spring concert series featuring the music of Tom Rhodes (Americana). Location: 901 Sherman Ave in Downtown Novato. This Friday, American by Tom Rhodes. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Kenard Pak
    DIESEL, A Bookstore in Larkspur
    Friday, 6–6:30 pm
    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Illustrator Kenard Pak will be here to read you a bedtime story. Get cozy in front of the fireplace, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies, get your books signed, and then head home for bed. Location: Marin Country Mart, 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Night Jazz
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Enjoy live music on Fridays in the Marin Country Mart courtyard! This Friday, Grammy Award Winning Violinist Mads Tolling showcases his flying bow and creatively nimble improvisation and his eclectic arrangements. . For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, April 11

  • 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 kid's storytelling, 9:30–10:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sausalito City Wide Yard Sale
    MLK Parking Lot in Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Come by and see what awesome items you might find. Admission is free. Over 80 different booths! Location: 610 Coloma Street, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.

Strawberry Shortcake Is a True Taste of Springtime

April 10, 2015

Strawberry ShortcakeOne of the best things about spring is knowing that you can get fresh, sweet, locally grown organic strawberries at the farmer's market or grocery store. To celebrate, we love to make this easy and delicious strawberry shortcake dessert. This simple combination of lightly sweet shortcake, fresh strawberries, and vanilla flavored whipped cream is a hit with just about everyone, and is suitable for every occasion, from a fancy Easter dinner to a kids' tea party.

These shortcakes are kind of like sweet (but not too sweet) buttermilk drop biscuits, and don't take very long to put together. If you're really in a hurry, you can use whipped cream from a can, but it doesn't take too much time or effort to make some fresh whipped cream with your electric mixer, and it tastes so much better, too.

You can make the shortcakes and whipped cream in advance and let diners assemble their own strawberry shortcake creations at the table, if you like. It's fun for both children and adults. Whipped cream keeps fine in the refrigerator for a few hours, and you can make it extra-thick and rich by putting it in a strainer over a bowl and letting some of the water drain out.

Spring is in Bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden

April 9, 2015

Japanese Tea Garden

San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden is a favorite spot for tourists in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, but it's also a great spot for local families. I've been visiting since I was a small child, and I've made sure that I introduced it to my children, too. Before I took them there, I had forgotten how magical this place is.

It's especially worth a visit at this time of year when the sakura, or flowering cherry trees, and azaleas are in full bloom. It's a magnificent and colorful spring sight that's really worth the effort to see. The kids love to explore the grounds and get some tea and a Japanese snack at the tea room.

Theater Summer Camps for Kids in Marin

April 7, 2015

Marin Shakespeare Camp If you have a young Shakespearean or budding Broadway musical star at home, why not hone their talents at one of the theater camps being offered this summer in Marin. Here's a list of camps that have a focus on acting and musical theater in Marin County.

Marin Shakespeare Company Summer Camps

Marin Shakespeare Company offers camps for kids ages 5 through teens at locations throughout Marin. The youngest campers can enjoy learning Shakespeare's Stories at the Belrose Theatre in San Rafael or the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross. Older kids ages participate in Young Company (ages 8–12) at Belrose Theatre, Marin Art and Garden Center or Terra Linda Rec Center or Tennis/Drama (ages 8–14) at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre and Marin Tennis Club in San Rafael. Teens can participate in a summer performance of Richard III. Fees range from $325 to $875. Sessions run from June 15 to August 14. For more info, visit www.marinshakespeare.org.

Awesome Marin Earth Day Events, Idea and Activities

April 7, 2015

Stinson Beach Earth DayEarth Day 2015 takes place on Wednesday, April 22. It’s a great time to celebrate and teach our children the importance of preserving our planet’s resources. Families will find plenty of ways to observe the occasion here in Marin County 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 2015
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday, April 18, 9 am–5 pm

    Join the Bay Area Discovery Museum 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: Celebrating Urban Biodiversity
    San Francisco Zoo

    Sunday, April 18, 11 am–3 pm
    Celebrate the fifth anniversary of Greenie’s Conservation Corner at the Zoo. Not only has this space been a focal point of conservation and education, it’s been a fun, hands-on learning space for Zoo visitors and Members alike. Come to the Zoo on April 19 for a special Earth Day Celebration to mark this milestone. For more info, visit their website.

Three Last-Minute Spring Break Getaways for Families in Northern California

April 6, 2015

Cowell's Beach in Santa Cruz

Spring Break for most students in Marin County takes place the week of April 13 to 17. If you haven't made plans to get away, don't worry! Some great destinations for short, impromptu getaways are close by us here in Northern California. Here are three of our picks for fantastic places to visit over Spring Break, all of which are only a few hours away from Marin and the Bay Area.

Santa Cruz

This laid-back seaside town about two hours from Marin boasts beautiful beaches and the world-famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which has been delighting visitors since 1907. You'll also find a surfing museum housed in an old lighthouse, an interactive visitor center for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the nearby Roaring Camp Railroads, and even the Mystery Spot, a roadside attraction that seems to defy the laws of physics.

What's for Dinner: Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

April 6, 2015

chicken and broccoli stir fryI love it when I find a dish that everyone in the family loves and that's healthy, economical, and easy to make, too. This Chinese-inspired chicken and broccoli stir fry is all of those things. Serve it with some plain rice or Asian noodles and it's a complete dinner that comes together quickly.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Shopper's Guide to Pesticides on your Fruits and Vegetables

April 5, 2015

family shopping for produceI usually try to buy organic produce for my family because I'm very concerned about the dangers of pesticides used on fruits and vegetables. I recently read an article that discusses the dangers of pesticides and how they can adversely affect people, especially during periods of fetal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects.

The scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) are concerned, too, and they tested for pesticides on fruits and vegetables collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For 2015, the EWG has categorized produce into either the "Dirty Dozen" or the "Clean 15"—the 12 fruits and vegetables (plus two extras) that you should always buy organic and the 15 with the lowest pesticide levels.

Some of the produce with the highest pesticide loads included family staples like apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, lettuce, grapes, potatoes, imported snap peas, and sweet bell peppers. Needless to say, you should always seek out the organic versions of these foods. It's a great argument for knowing where your food comes from and knowing your farmer.

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