Win a New Ecobubs Wool Blend Cloth Diaper

September 21, 2011

Ecobubs cloth diaperAlright, I admit it: My kids both used disposable diapers. Not the best thing for the planet I know, but cloth diapers are a pain in the butt (no pun intended). Ecobubs, on the other hand, are new eco-friendly cloth diapers that have recently hit America's shores.

These wool-blend diapers have long been a hit with parents in New Zealand (where with more sheep than people they know something about wool), and can be machine washed and tumble dried and re-used over and over again. Breathable, soft New Zealand wool is combined with microfleece and a removeable microfiber liner to prevent leaks and keep baby dry and comfy.

Ecobubs are extremely absorbant, dry quickly, and can be laundered and re-used quickly, making them a great choice to wear day or night. Ecobubs don't have any pins or covers, either, and require no lanolizing. They're also cute, available in a variety of colorful striped patterns.

A Family that Eats Together: Bucatini in a Tomato and Eggplant Sauce

September 19, 2011

Eggplant and tomatoesMarin Mommies is happy to present another 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.

This week's meal plan includes braised chicken with dates and Moroccan spices, stir-fried cumin-scented beef, quick and easy baked chicken parmesan, the yummiest peanut tofu stir fry ever, and this pasta dish, made from fresh garden ingredients like tomatoes, eggplant, and herbs.

Book of the Week: The Apple Doll

September 18, 2011

The Apple DollMy five-year-old daughter must love the book The Apple Doll by local Bay Area author and illustrator Elisa Kleven (40 pages, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007). She checked it out from the library no fewer than two times last year and got it again a few days ago. It's easy to see why it's one of her favorites: The Apple Doll is a charming book, and it's another great read-aloud story (with an added activity) for the fall season, especially if you happen to have an apple tree nearby.

The Apple Doll tells the story of Lizzy, a shy little girl who loves the apple tree in her yard and ends up making a doll out of an apple and twigs that she names "Susanna". She ends up getting teased by other kids for carrying around her apple-and-sticks creation at school. I know this sounds a little odd but the book handles the situation in a much better and sweeter way than I'm describing it here. Ultimately, Lizzy's mom takes the now long-in-the-tooth Susanna and makes an apple doll out of her, which inspires a class apple doll project and friendships and happiness ensue.

Marin Playground Profile: Hal Brown Park at Creekside

September 17, 2011

Hal Brown Park at CreeksideBoth my kids were born at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae and subsequently had many checkups at the nearby pediatrician's offices, so we've been fans of Creekside Park, located right across from the hospital on Bon Air Road, for a long time. The park re-opened earlier this year as Hal Brown Park at Creekside, and the improvements make it even better than it was before, and it's still one of our all-time favorite playgrounds in Marin.

With an incomparable setting along Corte Madera Creek, two exciting playgrounds, and quite possibly the best views of Mount Tam in Marin, there's really something here for the whole family.

Preschool Profile: The Kids Place of Novato

September 14, 2011

The Kid’s Place of Novato is a Reggio-inspired school with sister campuses in Corte Madera and San Anselmo. It's located at 84 Martin Drive in Novato's Hamilton neighborhood. Their annual Fall Carnival and Open House takes place on Friday, October 28, from 4 to 7 pm.

We asked the staff at the Kid's Place of Novato to tell us about the programs offered at their campus. For more information on the Kid's Place, visit www.kidsplaceofmarin.com or call (415) 884-0594.

Please describe your school’s educational philosophy. What’s it all about?

Kid’s Place schools are Reggio inspired preschools, where we create an environment that fosters curiosity, wonder, discovery and the potential to grow through stimulating age-appropriate programs, learning materials and healthy social interactions. The curriculum focuses on activities that are success-oriented and instill a positive sense of self-esteem. This environment is essential in promoting awareness and responsibility for self, family, friends, and community.

Mompreneur: Caroline Kandell and Real Life Films

September 13, 2011

Caroline KandellI don't know about you, but I have hours of video footage of my children from birth to the present day. The problem is, it's all lying in various places around the house on tapes, discs, and computers. Marin mompreneur Caroline Kandell created Real Life movies to solve just this problem and make something moving and beautful in the process. Caroline used her extensive experience in television production to put amazing films from your families video footage and still photos. We caught up with her to ask a few questions about herself and Real Life Films.

Please tell us a little about yourself. What’s your background?

I am married to my best friend, Andrew, who constantly keeps me laughing. I am blessed to be a mom of two sweet and crazy girls! My career began in New York City, producing TV commercials. About ten years ago, I began directing longer format programming for TV. I mostly filmed high-profile celebrities, finding unique ways to tell their stories through narrative, beauty imagery, and capturing their real-life moments.

A Family that Eats Together: Crunchy Chicken Cones

September 12, 2011

crunchy chicken conesMarin Mommies is happy to present a 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.

Are you wondering about what to make for dinner tonight? AFamilythatEatsTogether.com has just what you are looking for—meal plans. A Family that Eats Together believes that meal planning will save you time and money. How? Well, if you plan your meals each week, we believe you can cut your grocery bills in half and save you the stress of wondering what to make each night for dinner. Meal planning is simple. You pick the recipes you want to make each week and then you plan your grocery list around what you need. When you shop for only the items you need, you eliminate wasting food that isn't eaten, thus saving you money. A Family that Eats Together believes in bringing the family table back by eating together as a family. We provide you quick and easy recipes that are easily adapted to be kid-friendly by making the meals we, as adults, want to eat, kid-friendly in one dish.

How Does Our Garden Grow, Part V: Tomatomania!

September 11, 2011

A whole mess of tomatoesOne lesson we've all learned is that growing a vegetable garden requires patience—and lots of it. While you can wish and hope and plead for plants to grow and fruit to ripen, it's all going to happen on its own time. Case in point: tomatoes. We spend pretty most of July and August staring at the same hard green tomatoes, waiting for some sign that they would ripen. "Any day now" we told ourselves.

Patience, however, is rewarded. First the cherry tomatoes started to turn red, or in the case of the Black Cherry variety, purple. About a week later some color started appearing on the big boys—the Royal Hillbilly and Paul Robeson heirlooms. Now, it's a full-on tomatomania. The plants are churning out more tomatoes than we can eat, so we're giving quite a few away (which are never refused, of course), and finding creative ways to use our late-summer bounty.

Everyone's favorite variety of tomato seems to be the Black Cherry. They're sweet, but with an acidic edge. They're really really good and definitely on the list to grow next year. The Riesentraube cherry tomatoes are very tasty, too, which is a good thing since there are tons of them.

It's Still Summer at the Park Chalet's JAMBand Family Festival

September 10, 2011

OctopretzelEven though school's back in session, it's still summer. In fact, September usually sees the nicest weather of the year in San Francisco and other places along the coast. Take advantage of sunny September and head over to the Park Chalet at San Francisco's Ocean Beach to catch a fantastic family performance at the free Summer JAMBand Family Festival.

This Sunday, September 11, the whimsical and exuberant Octopretzel takes the stage at 3 pm, followed by Charity and the JAMBand at 4 pm. It all takes place on the family friendly Park Chalet's expansive lawn, where they'll be serving up tasty food, house brewed beers, and cocktails for you to enjoy during the show.

Octopretzel, a group of five Bay Area musicians and educators, performs folk-inspired music that crosses genres and cultures, incorporating a wide array of styles including bluegrass, rock-and-roll, klezmer, African drumming, lullabies, and more.

The Park Chalet is located across from San Francisco's Ocean Beach at 1000 Great Highway (at John F. Kennedy Drive). For more information, visit www.parkchalet.com.

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