Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Bay Area Discovery Museum Today

January 21, 2013

MLK Day at the BADMCome honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy at a special holiday celebration at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito. Create art inspired by the work of African American artists and learn more about Dr. King's life and work in the special family reading area.

Quotes from Dr. King's writing and speeches will be displayed throughout the museum to help your family think about how to celebrate this important holiday.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is normally closed Mondays, but is open today, January 21, from 9 am to 4 pm for this special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration. General admission is $11; infants under 6 months and members are admitted free.

You can also honor Dr. King's memory through the music of SoVoSó, an amazing a capella ensemble that performs a unique uplifting mix of jazz, gospel, world, and R&B. Performances by SoVoSó take place at 11 am and 12:30 pm. Tickets to either performance are $7 for Bay Area Discovery Museum members and $17 general. Ticket prices to the SoVoSó performances include museum admission.

Winter Chili for Game Day

January 20, 2013

ChiliChili is one of those dishes that's great for any time of the year, but especially on a chilly winter evening. It's also a great game-day dish that can be prepared ahead of time. Make it in advance, keep it warm in the crock pot for your guests while you watch the game on TV, too, instead of spending time in the kitchen.

I added some extra vegetables like carrots and zucchini to this recipe, but you can leave them out if you're a chili purist.

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Valentine's Day Tissue Paper Suncatchers

January 19, 2013

Valentine's Day suncatchersAlthough it's been really cold lately, it's also been bright and sunny. Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner, we decided to make these colorful heart-shaped tissue paper suncatchers.

They have a beautiful stained glass look, and will brighten up any room, especially with this bright winter sunlight.

This craft is easy to make and is suitable for children of all ages, with adult supervision.

You don't have to make these just for Valentine's Day—they're suitable for any occasion or any time you just want to make a neat, beautiful craft.

Yummy Whole Wheat Blueberry Mini Muffins

January 16, 2013

Blueberry whole wheat mini muffins I'm always on the lookout for healthy snacks for my kids. I made these mini blueberry muffins with whole wheat flour instead of white flour, and of course blueberries are full of antioxidants, so I feel pretty good about letting the children eat these with breakfast, snack or after school.

You can use either fresh or frozen blueberries. The frozen berries tend to turn the batter purple; if you roll them in a little cornstarch before mixing them in that tends to help a bit. They're delicious made with either kind, even if sometimes they look kind of funny.

I usually have a bag of frozen blueberries (like the organic wild blueberries from Trader Joe's, which I used this time) in the freezer, so I can make these muffins whenever I want, even when blueberries are out of season.

Makes approximately 2 dozen mini muffins or 1 dozen regular muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I used Trader Joe's white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

New Year Sleep Solutions for Little Ones

January 15, 2013

Marin Mommies presents a guest article by infant sleep consultant Sarah Middleton, who offers some tips on how to get your little one back on a regular sleep schedule after the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

I hope your holidays were filled with celebration and hopefully some time catching up on some well deserved sleep.

Often, what can happen is that babies regress during times like the holidays when there is a lot of activity going on and when many of the sleep rules are bent. If your little one seems out of sort, fret not, it is possible to help them sleep well again.

The following are some suggestions for helping them to re-establish good sleeping habits and get back on track.

  1. Begin a consistent and regular sleep routine that involves low lights, quiet voices, and simple play. This can be a bath, a massage, or simply reading quietly in his or her room.
  2. If you have a little one who is at the age where he or she understands your words well, you can also begin to talk to them about the things that are coming up for the sleep routine, i,e. "First we are going to take a bath, and then we are going to read some books, and then it is night night time."

Children's Book Review: A Home for Bird and Bear Has a Story to Tell

January 15, 2013

A Home for Bird Marin Mommies presents another guest article by Marin children's librarian Lisa Katz. This time, she takes a look at two great books about friendship.

In A Home for Bird, Vernon the toad has met a new friend, a small blue bird. Blue bird doesn't seem to be happy and Vernon isn't quite sure why. He asks little blue bird, but bird doesn't talk. He thinks that bird is lost from his home so he decides to introduce bird to his friends and try to discover where little blue bird's home really is.

As the reader, we know from the start that the little blue bird has fallen out of a moving truck where he lived in a cuckoo clock. While Vernon doesn't know this, he tries everything to discover where little bird's home is.

This is a very tender and thoughtful tale of friendship written by Caldecott winner, author/illustrator Philip Stead. The story is not only creative, but the illustrations are richly colored in mixed media and truly display the emotions of Vernon and little blue bird.

"Bird is shy," said Vernon, "but also a very good listener." Isn't that what friends are? This is a wonderful story that can be read over and over again. It is a story that can encourage discussions of what true friendship is and the importance of a home. A must for children ages 3 and up.

Family That Eats Together: Quick and Easy Healthy Pork and Eggplant Stir-Fry

January 14, 2013

Marin 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. Nicole is also the creator of the new Little Froglet line of children's activewear. Here's Nicole's meal plan for this week.

Who needs take out when you can have healthy and delicious Chinese at home in a matter of minutes? I recommend getting the most organic and freshest ingredients possible to make this even more exceptional. If you don't like eggplant, green beans or carrots would be a wonderful substitute but I like how the eggplant seamlessly blends into the sweet pork. My son didn't even notice he was eating eggplant until I told him. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds ground pork
  • 2 Japanese eggplant thinly sliced lengthways into approximately 2-inch spears
  • 4 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot

Waterfalls Await on Mt. Tamalpais' Cataract Trail

January 13, 2013

Cataract Falls on Mt. TamalpaisDuring winter and early spring, and especially after a rainstorm, a family hike along on Mount Tamalpais's cataract trail will reward you with stunning scenery and a series of spectacular waterfalls. This out-and-back hike is about 2.6 miles round trip, and should be manageable by most kids—we saw plenty of families on the trail during out last trek.

The trail is on the Mt. Tam lands administered by the Marin Municipal Water District, and follows Cataract Creek as it flows gently downhill. You'll pass through a magical forest of Douglas firs, oaks, ferns, and moss-covered rocks on the way to Laurel Dell picnic area. Pass through Laurel Dell and the trail heads downhill to the first in a series of waterfalls.

The easiest approach to the Cataract Trail for families is from the Rock Spring trailhead, which is at the junction of East and West Ridgecrest Boulevards. Park here and head out onto the Cataract Trail, the beginning of which you'll find off the center of the parking area. There is an alternate approach from Bolinas–Fairfax Road, near Alpine Dam, but the trail here is largely uphill, and parking along the road can be difficult.

Fairfax Open Circle Arts and Sports Winter/Spring Guide 2013

January 9, 2013

FOCAS in FairfaxMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Anne Mannes, FOCAS Program Director in Fairfax. She highlights some of the classes and events happening through FOCAS this winter and spring.

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! We are looking forward to a great 2013 and encouraging all of you to take advantage of the fun and affordable classes happening via FOCAS.

For the winter and spring sessions we have a little of everything for every age, including our new offerings such as Zumbatomic/Zumba Gold, Yoga for Toddlers, drop-in basketball, ceramics for adults and more. Please be sure to check out our website www.fairfaxfocas.com for our full schedule and/or pick up a copy at Town Hall. Below is a sneak preview of the highlights:

  • Fairfax Moms: In the interest of building a fully supported and sustainable network of Fairfax families with little ones 0–6 years old, we have started Fairfax Moms. It is offered in affiliation with FOCAS and the Town of Fairfax. Membership dues are $30 per year or $50 for two years. Membership dues will enable us to offer the speakers and programs that parents/caregivers want. It will also streamline the process of adding new members and welcoming new folks to town, helping them get plugged in right away. To join and/or learn more about the benefits of this group, please go to the website www.fairfaxmoms.net/ BigTent offers simple profiles, subgroups, a classified section and a calendar. The New Parents Group is part of the Fairfax Moms meeting on Tuesdays from 11 am–12:30 pm at the Community Center. We hope to see you soon!
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