A Family That Eats Together: Not-so-White-Trash Burger with Special Sauce

July 2, 2012

Penne with roasted tomatoes and white beansMarin 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.

Nicole's meal plan for this week features Chicken Bouillabaisse, One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni, Skirt Steak with Haricots Verts, Linguini with Cherry Tomato Sauce, and this Not-so-White-Trash Burger with Special Sauce

Think In-n-Out Burgers gone high-end and you have my Not-so-White Trash Burgers. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t pine over In-n-Out Burger and this recipe is pretty terrific. What makes it "white trash"? Well, that’s the iceberg lettuce and special sauce. I add heirloom tomatoes just to take it up a notch.

Day Out in Golden Gate Park

July 1, 2012

Golden Gate Park CarouselJust across its namesake bridge from Marin County lies a perfect day-trip destination for familes: San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. This urban oasis boasts over 1,000 acres of forests, meadows, lakes, gardens, museums, playgrounds, and other attractions. There's so much to do here that you'll probably want to visit several times to take it all in.

Established in the 1870s, Golden Gate Park stretches from Ocean Beach in the west to the city's Haight-Ashbury district in the east, and is bordered by the Sunset and Richmond districts on the south and north, respectively. Whether your family wants to play at an historic playground, visit the penguins at the Cal Academy, take in some art at a world-class museum, or have lunch with a view of the Pacific Ocean, there's something for you to do here.

Should Kids See the Jean Paul Gaultier Show at the de Young?

June 30, 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier at the de YoungAlthough my daughter is only six, she's dead set on being a fashion designer. She's serious about it, too—she constantly draws pictures of original clothing designs and even makes outfits for her dolls and stuffed animals. When she heard about the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, she decided we had to take her to see it.

I was a little hesitant at first, since the flamboyant Gaultier has the reputation for being edgy and often risqué, and the museum itself put out notices that the show contained "adult content," but I'd also heard great things about it. Rather than pass on what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we decided to go, with the idea that I'd help guide the children through the exhibition.

The show itself is fantastic. Even if you're not into fashion, or if you don't know anything about Jean Paul Gaultier, it's worth going for the spectacle and artistry of it. It's unlike any museum exhibition I've ever been too before, with a musical soundtrack, videos playing in monitors on the walls, and talking mannequins. Yes, that's right: many of the mannequins (including one that represents the designer himself) talk, as well as sing, smile, and even wink. In fact, my son was convinced one of the mannequins actually winked right at him! Even though this effect is accomplished through video projection, it really does seem like the mannequins are interacting with you. It's a little unusual, but it's also fun and mesmerizing and really contributes to the overall atmosphere of the show.

The First Pair

June 27, 2012

Child with glassesMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin mom and licensed optician Divina Helene Coffin.

You’ve just learned your child needs to wear glasses. You know your little one will look just adorable in a pair of glasses, but you’re not so sure how you’ll convince them of that.

The key to getting your child to embrace their new look is to find a pair of glasses that fit well, sit comfortably, and look amazing. Make the process of selecting eyewear a fun one by allowing your child to be involved (they’re the ones who’ll be wearing them after all!). Help them to understand that wearing glasses will allow them to see the world more clearly, and that it’s also just one more way to accessorize and allow their individuality to shine much like a necklace or a baseball hat!

Here are some helpful tips on preparing your child for their first pair of glasses:

  • Get them involved. Ask them about their favorite colors and styles and try to find something that meets their preferences. Don’t worry if the color is completely outrageous or won’t flatter their skin tone (slime green anyone?); there’s always a way to work it into things (think case, cleaning cloth, or sport band).

A Family That Eats Together: Rosemary and Garlic Chickpea Poppers

June 25, 2012

Chickpea poppersMarin 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.

Nicole's meal plan for this week features chicken pot pie, orange and soy beef with peanut noodles, easy chicken cacciatore with red pepper sauce, coconut chicken curry, and Mexican tortilla casserole.

She also offers up this recipe for a delicious and healthy snack—perfect for summer munching.

How about this for a healthy and easy snack for the kids? Chickpea poppers! Katie Workman of The Mom 100 Cookbook has hit on a great idea. I think most of us parents are looking for healthy snacks and I just love this one. Even though I am not big on giving my son snacks, I think I will make a concession for this one. My son relishes savory foods and he gobbled this one right up.

Alternative ways to dress up the chickpeas are with chili powder and cumin or just plain with salt. I am sure many more options are out there. Why not try them for yourself?

Original recipe by Katie Workman.

It’s Kid’s Play: “Bouldering” in Marin

June 25, 2012

BoulderingMarin Mommies presents an article by guest contributor Barbara McVeigh.

Kids like to climb and clamber over rocks—that’s no big secret. But, "bouldering" is a sport  not many kids and families have discovered… and I’m not talking about climbing at groomed indoor gyms.

Ring Mountain in Corte Madera, one of Marin’s precious nature reserves, offers the real deal—an opportunity to scale a 165-million-year-old metaphormic rock that once had been bubbling magma in a deep ocean floor somewhere near Mexico. One of the most popular rocks to climb is called Split Rock.

A group of kids last week donned harnesses and got to experience bouldering with Outback Adventures, a shop located in Larkspur that offers support, equipment and guides. Greg and Jeremy were our guides for they day. And, with their gentle, patient and safety-oriented approach they got the kids climbing high up past comfort zones into new realms of confidence. As a mom it was a delight to see kids conquer fears and then embrace that quiet, peaceful space that can be a challenge to find in our noisy lives.

A Prehistoric Adventure with Plantosaurus Rex at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers

June 21, 2012

Plantosaurus Rex at the Conservatory of FlowersWalking into Golden Gate Park's magnificent Victorian Conservatory of Flowers is always a bit like stepping back in time. But through October 21, 2012, the Conservatory will transport visitors even further back in time than the 19th century with their newest exhibit, Plantosaurus Rex. Visitors to Plantosaurus Rex will encounter realistic model dinosaurs lurking within the Conservatory and surrounded by the plants that they were familiar with back in prehistoric times.

The first sign that something's not quite business as usual is the sight of a Tyrannosaurus Rex's fearsome looking head popping out of the glass Conservatory roof! (Don't worry—it's not really breaking throught the roof, it's just a clever and fun illusion.)

Inside, you'll see numerous examples of ancient plants from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, including ferns, horsetails, gingkos, coast redwoods, and orchids, along with the dinosaurs that ate them, like a life-sized baby Stegosaurus. You'll also see models of fearsome carnivores that ate the plant-eating dinosaurs, like the T Rex (or the rest of it, anyhow) and an Allosaurus.

Don't Miss the Journey to Financial Freedom

June 20, 2012

One best financial life

Marin Mommies presents another great guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.

Is the freedom that money buys worth the sacrifices you make to reach this freedom?

“What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.”—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Setting financial goals and creating your financial plan is all about determining your destination. And if life is about the journey, not the destination, then sacrificing today for tomorrow is a big contradiction. So, how can you live the journey you want and still reach your financial goals?

  • Step 1: Clarify your family’s goals first (financial and non-financial). For example: have six months’ worth of expenses in cash at all time as an Emergency Fund, travel as a family twice per year, be present and grow as a person each day, contribute to society, and retire by age 60.

The Blessing of the Strong-Willed Child

June 19, 2012

Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Melissa Lapides, Marin mom, licensed marriage and family therapist, and parent educator.

Nobody warned you when becoming a parent that there might be times, sometimes more than not, that your child can be unlikeable, maybe even plain-out excruciating to be around. This could very well be the case if you are parenting a strong-willed child. The whining, relentless demanding, and explosive reactions can be downright exhausting for a parent. This is not generally the type of reaction you imagine yourself having toward your child when you are pregnant or planning a family.

Feeling this way toward your child can be an awful feeling for a mother to have or share. The shame around it is horrific and humiliating to even imagine sharing with another mother. You may wonder if you are the only mother that has these feelings towards your children at all. It really does seem like every other mother is adoring and so calm around her children, right?

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