Tender Tracks Outdoor Nature Awareness Preschool

March 9, 2015

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 Saturday, March 21, 2015  from 6 to 7:30 pm.

The unique Tender Tracks outdoor 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 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 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.

Spectacular Views and Spring Wildflowers Await at Ring Mountain

March 8, 2015

Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve

Early spring is a perfect time to take a family hike at Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve near Tiburon. The preserve's renowned wildflower display will soon be in full swing (it's simply stunning), and you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of San Francisco, Mt. Tamalpais, and the entire Bay Area. It's one of our all-time favorite family hikes.

We took a hike there this weekend, and spotted California poppies, yellow bush lupines, buttercups, Douglas iris, and other colorful flowers coming into bloom. If you haven't been to Ring Mountain, it's definitely worth a visit. Make sure you bring a camera—it's a great place for a family photo.

Shabbat Chai Saturday Mornings at Sherith Israel Are a Lively Celebration for the Entire Family

March 8, 2015

Shabbat Chai Congregation Sherith IsraelTake a break from your busy schedule and join together with other families a few Saturday mornings a year at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco. Known as Shabbat “Chai” (meaning “life” in Hebrew), theses Saturday mornings take the traditional Shabbat service and turn it into a lively celebration filled with activities, elective classes, a family-friendly service, and a potluck lunch.

Sherith Israel started Shabbat Chai two years ago to encourage families to participate in Shabbat morning services together with rich and meaningful Jewish experiences. The three days a year that it’s held are in lieu of Sunday school that week. The next Shabbat Chai takes place on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

10 Cool Camps for Spring Break in Marin

March 7, 2015

Spring Break Camp in MarinLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming spring break in April? Check out our list of 10 great spring break day camps here in Marin County. Unless otherwise noted, camps take place between April 13 and 17, 2015.

  • Studio 4 Art
    1133 Grant Avenue, Novato

    (415) 596-5546
    Studio 4 Art specializes in true traditional art techniques with a modern and contemporary twist. Campers at Studio 4 Art can choose from drawing, illustration, painting (acrylic, oil, and water), cartooning, clay, ceramics, wheel-throwing, sculpture, sewing, mosaics, screen-printing, t-shirt design, mono printing, relief printing, photography, and mixed media. Each camp highlights as many of these topics as time permits. Camps take place April 13–17 from 9:30 am-–1:30 pm. Cost: $315 for the week, $68 daily drop-in (must reserve 24 hours ahead). 10% sibling discount. For more info, visit www.studio4art.net.
  • Rolling Hills Club Spring Break Camp
    351 San Andreas Drive, Novato
    (415) 897-2185

    Come explore spring with insects, flowers, eggs, fun April Fools crafts, and more. Each day has a different theme! Play games, laugh, create crafts, have lots of fun and, of course, we will sports and splash the day away! April 13–17, 9 am–4 pm. Extended care available. Cost: $60 members, $70 guests, daily; $270 members, $315 guests per week. For more info, visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for March 6, 7 & 8

March 6, 2015
tara firma farms petaluma farm tour
Take the fun and educational free tour at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma this weekend. Tours take place Saturday and Sunday at 10 am, noon, and 2 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 throughout the Bay Area in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, March 6

  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Deborah Underwood
    Diesel Books, Marin Country Mart
    Friday, 6–6:30 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author Deborah Underwood 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. Deborah Underwood is the author of many children's books, including the New York Times bestseller The Quiet Book. Location: 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. For more info, call (415) 785-8177 or visit their website.

Saturday, March 7

  • Novato Mothers Club Rummage Sale
    Downtown Novato Recreation Center
    Saturday, 9 am–3 pm

    One-stop shopping for your growing family! All items sold are in good condition. Maternity clothes, boys and girls clothes, toys, and books for infants, toddlers, & preschoolers. Plus everything you need for your baby—strollers, high chairs, & nursing items and more. Doors close from 1:30-2 pm. After 2 pm, 50% all items. Location: 950 Seventh Street, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Fun: Spring Wake-Up
    McInnis Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Come out and enjoy a spectacular spring morning on a one-mile family walk followed by a Health Hub with Zumba, nutrition education, taste-tests, and healthy food to go. On the walk, kids will have binoculars to check out the gorgeous views and look for birds in this beautiful bayside park. Location: 310 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael. Meet at the McInnis Park dock. For more info, call (415) 446-4423 or visit their website.
  • Learn to Saltwater Fish at McNears
    McNear's Beach Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Bring the family to learn how to fish on the San Pablo Bay. A limited amount of poles will be available on a first come, first-served basis. A valid California fishing license is required when fishing from the shore, not from the pier. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Bring your fishing pole; bait and a limited amount of fishing poles, thanks to the Department of Fish and Wildlife will be provided. Location: 201 Cantera Way, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Chinatown Community Street Fair
    San Francisco
    Saturday, 10 am–4:30 pm
    & Sunday, 9 am-5 pm
    The Chinese Chamber of Commerce has planned activities and entertainment for all ages. Enjoy Chinese folk dancing, opera, drumming and much more at the entertainment stage on Washington Street below Grant Avenue. Make sure to get a family photo with the giant puppets, dragon, and other memorable artifacts from the parade! Location: Grant Avenue from California to Broadway, Pacific Avenue from Kearny to Stockton; and Washington & Jackson Street from Kearny to Stockton. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Cowpoke Carnival
    McKinley School Auditorium, Petaluma
    Saturday, 11 am–2 pm

    Bring the entire family for games, cake walk, arts and crafts, music, food and more... Kids can mine for gold nuggets and exchange them in at the general store. All proceeds benefit the Petaluma Parent Nursery School. Location: 801 Madison Street, Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Nature Bookmarks
    Presidio Officers' Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm

    In March, the Creative Family Fun events celebrate National Reading Month! Use natural resources collected throughout the Presidio to make your own special bookmark! Best for kids aged 5 to 12 years. Drop-in anytime between 11 am and 4 pm. Free. Read about our visit to the Officers' Club here. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Headlands Family Art Adventure
    Point Bonita YMCA
    Saturday, 11 am–12:30 pm

    Come to Point Bonita YMCA for a free Marin Headlands adventure in art! We will gather natural objects among the eucalyptus groves or on the beach to create amazing sculptures. Join us after the free workshop for an optional, delicious lunch in the Marin Headlands! Our guests always leave Point Bonita YMCA with a happily-filled stomach thanks to our awesome kitchen staff. Eat great food & enjoy amazing ocean views for only $10 adults and $5 children. RSVP for art and lunch here. For more info, visit their website.
  • MIT Scratch Coding Workshop for Kids
    Larkspur Library
    Saturday, 11 am–12:30 pm

    Want to learn to code? Join us for a 90 minute workshop with Mill Valley Code Club and learn to program your own interactive stories, games, and animations using MIT Scratch. Please note: you must bring your own laptop to participate in this event. For kids 9 and up. Space is limited, and reservations are required. RSVP to (415) 927-5005 or library@cityoflarkspur.org. For more info, visit their website.

Family Farm Tours in Marin and Sonoma County

March 5, 2015

slide ranch family farm daySpring is here! Take advantage of the weather and enjoy a day on the farm. We're lucky to live in an area that's surrounded by some of the country's top agricultural producers, and some of them offer farms tours for the whole family. On a tour, you can meet animals, learn where your food comes from, and find out about the efforts that local farmers take to provide us with high quality food. My kids love to visit farms, especially at this time of year when there are plenty of baby animals to see.

Here are some of the farms in Marin and Sonoma County that offer public tours. Some are free, and some require advance reservations. Please keep in mind that these are all real working farms, some of which raise animals for human consumption. All these tours are suitable for families.

Slide Ranch
2025 Shoreline Highway, Muir Beach 94965
(415) 381-6155
Overlooking the Pacific in Muir Beach, Slide Ranch is a real working farm located on the lands of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Families can visit and explore the grounds, hike the trails, and have a picnic daily from dusk to dawn. The ranch also offers family programs, including Family Farm Days, campouts, and Toddler Days at various times throughout the year.

Masque Unit Junior Theatre's Production of Charlotte's Web Comes to Marin Center This Weekend

March 3, 2015

charlotte's webE.B. White's classic story Charlotte's Web comes to life in Masque Unit Junior Theatre’s annual live theater production for young children at Marin Center this weekend. Masque Unit’s production of Joseph Robinette and Charles Strouse's musical adaptation of Charlotte's Web introduces children to the timeless story of Wilbur the pig, a little girl named Fern, and a spider called Charlotte, and offers an afternoon of delightful entertainment.

This classic story of friendship and community will warm your heart. Come along as Wilbur moves to a farm, finds a new unexpected family, and goes from being the runt of the little to "Some Pig".

Charlotte's Web takes place at the Showcase Theater at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael on March 7 and 8, 2015 at 1 and 3 pm. Tickets are $8 per person, available through the Marin Civic Center box office at (415) 499-6800.

Spend a Day on the Farm at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma

March 3, 2015

tara firma farms petaluma

Petaluma's Tara Firma Farms is a family-run farm that produces humanely raised chickens, pigs, turkeys, and cattle on 300 acres just across the Sonoma County line. In addition to raising and selling their products, they're committed to educating the public about life on the farm, healthy food, and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

Tara Firma farms offers free farm tours on weekends at 10 am, noon, and 2 pm. The tours are a fantastic farm experience for parents, kids, and anyone who wants to get an up-close-and-personal look at where their food comes from. Come experience the sights, sounds, and, yes, smells of the farm first-hand!

Longevity Noodles for Chinese New Year

March 2, 2015

longevity noodlesDuring Chinese New Year, which ends on March 5 this year, we try to make some of the traditional foods associated with the holiday. Foods that are made and eaten during the new year celebration often have symbolic meanings meant to invoke prosperity and good fortune. In this case, the name "longevity noodles" is self-explanatory: the long noodles symbolize a long and happy life. Don't break them up when you're cooking, and try to eat them all in one piece!

This recipe is our adaptation of the traditional dish. We included a variety of kid-friendly Asian veggies like snow peas, napa cabbage, and bean sprouts, and left out the black mushrooms at the request of my daughter, who helped shop for the ingredients. Feel free to vary the ingredients depending on your family's preferences. Our kids both asked for seconds (and ate the vegetables and chicken, not just the noodles).

Also, it helps to prepare, measure out, and set aside all the ingredients in advance. The dish comes together quickly, and having everything ready and at hand makes a big difference.


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