Hairspray: A Mountain Play Treat—Go See It Before It's Gone!

June 12, 2011

Tracy (Kimberly Swanson) and Link (Tyler Costin) on the Corny Collins Show in HairsprayWhere can you see colorful musical theater production with a professional cast in a rustic outdoor setting with panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay Area? The Mountain Play, of course! After a rained-out performance last weekend, we managed to catch the Mountain Play's 2011 production of the popular Broadway musical Hairspray. With an outstanding cast, a fast and furious pace, and loads of infectious song and dance, Hairspray is a must-see on Mount Tam this season. You have two more chances to take in this Marin County outdoor theater tradition: today, June 12, and next Sunday (Father's Day), June 19. Both performances begin at 2 pm. Tickets are still available for both performances.

Based on cult director John Waters' 1988 movie, this musical transports us back to 1962 Baltimore, where hair was big (thanks to plenty of the title substance) and "pleasingly plump" teenager Tracy Turnblad (Kimberly Swanson) longs to not only appear on the Corny Collins show—a TV dance show that's home to the "nicest kids in town"—but to racially integrate it as well. She's

Picasso Comes to the de Young Museum

June 11, 2011

Picasso exhibition at the de YoungThe hot museum ticket this summer is for the de Young's exhibition Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée Picasso, Paris, which opens today and runs through October 9. Spanning the entirety of this 20th-century master's career, the exhibition presents 150 of "Picasso's Picassos"—paintings, sculptures, and works on paper kept by Picasso as part of his own personal collection. The works are part of the collection of the Musée Picasso in Paris, which was established to house the nearly 3,600 works given to the French government after Picasso's death in 1973.

Picasso is a fascinating look into the career of this important artist. Rooms in the exhibition cover every phase in his lengthy career, from his early Blue period in the 1900s to his experimentations with Cubism and Surrealism to late works from the 1960s and '70s. It's a fascinating look at the development of the artist's work over time.

Stuck At A Weight Loss Plateau? Bust Through It!

June 7, 2011

Personal training sessionMarin Mommies is pleased to present another guest article by Marin County fitness expert John Spongberg.

When you started your weight loss routine, you knew it would be a process. After all, you didn’t gain the weight overnight. You couldn’t have expected it to come off that fast. Unfortunately, you’ve hit a bump in the road and your motivation level is starting to wane.

How can you get past a weight loss plateau to see the results you really want? First off, don’t give up! You can bust through your obstacle to see the rewards on the other side. The key is in learning how to keep your motivation high through your plateau and continuing to work in the right direction.

Preserve Tradition at the 2011 Sonoma-Marin Fair

June 6, 2011

Summertime is fair time, and the first fair of the season is Petaluma's Sonoma-Marin Fair, which takes place at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds from Wednesday June 22 through Sunday, June 26. The Sonoma-Marin Fair is not quite but almost a county fair, and offers a wide range of fun and exciting attractions, competitions, events, and activities for the entire family. This year's Sonoma-Marin Fair theme is "Preserve Tradition".

Come see livestock shows, exhibits, chef demonstrations, Hambone Express pig racing, a destruction derby, and even the renowned World's Ugliest Dog Contest! There's also a cowboy boot camp, art, craft, and model-making workshops, wine tasting, and of course traditional carnival rides, including a kiddie carnival for younger children.

And what would a fair be without live music? The Sonoma-Marin Fair has scheduled the ne plus ultra of county fair musical acts, Rick Springfield, along with the Charlie Daniels Band, '70s rock icons Blue Öyster Cult, and more.

Stylish and Eco-Friendly Simple Shoes

June 6, 2011

Simple Take On and Satire children's sneakersA couple weeks ago I noticed a pair of shoes that a friend of mine was wearing. They were exactly what I was looking for—basic white slip-on sneakers for summer. I asked her what kind they were, and she told me they were Simple shoes. I promptly ordered a pair of Take On elastic lace sneakers ($55) online from Simple Shoes' website. They're good looking and with elastic laces, really easy to slip on and off. I was so impressed with them that I had to look into them a little more.

Simple shoes are, as the name implies, simple, basic, stylish, and comfortable shoes. Not only do they look good and feel good on your feet, but you can feel good about wearing them, too. They're made with recycled, eco-friendly, and sustainable materials like recycled car tires, inner tubes, and plastic, organic cotton, natural latex rubber, hemp, and bamboo. Simple Shoes also maintain ethical supply-chain standards, meaning no forced or child labor, and adequate wages, hours, and health and safety conditions for their workers.

Outdoor Safety for Families: Poison Oak is Not Your Friend

June 5, 2011

Poison oakWith our copious amounts of rainfall this season, it's little wonder that we're seeing lush amounts of vegetation in Marin's forests and meadows. Unfortunately, much of this otherwise beautiful greenery is in the form of poison oak, an irritating plant that anyone participating in outdoor activities this summer should be wary of, especially children who may not be on the lookout for this distinctive shrub with leaves grouped in threes.

Please note that this post should not be a substitute for proper medical advice—if you suspect that someone in your family has developed a reaction to poison oak, go see your doctor or a dermatologist.

Chef Daddy Makes Blueberry Waffles

June 4, 2011

Blueberry wafflesI don't know where you stand in the Great Pancake vs. Waffle Breakfast Debate, but I come down firmly on the waffle side. A properly made waffle—crispy on the outside, with just enough chewiness on the inside balanced by airiness—beats pancakes any day, in my opinion. Of course you need specialized equipment like a waffle iron to produce them, but they're not that expensive, and you probably got one as a wedding present way back when. Actually, we have two, which comes in handy when you're trying to make waffles for a crowd. Today's waffle irons are usually non-stick, which beats the ones from back in the day that had to be meticulously cleaned and greased before use to avoid a sticky awful mess.

Volunteers Needed for Angel Island Filming June 14

June 3, 2011

Angel IslandOn Tuesday, June 14, Backcounty Pictures will be filming on Marin County's own Angel Island for part of a PBS documentary about the California State Parks. They're in need of people to include in the film, especially families with children hiking, biking, and enjoying the park. Children in strollers are welcome, too. Approximately six hikers and walkers and four bicyclists are needed for these Angel Island scenes.

Volunteers will should plan on taking the 11 am ferry from Tiburon to Angel Island and returning via the 1:20 pm ferry. Participants will be reimbursed for their round-trip ferry fares.

If you're interested in being part of this exciting project, please contact Amanda Frost by email at or by phone at (418) 832-9934; make sure you include your name, phone number and email address.

Hands-on LEGO Birthday Parties from Play-Well TEKnologies

June 1, 2011

Play-Well TEKnologies LEGO birthday partyAs a typical second-grader, my son is obsessed with all things LEGO. The little plastic bricks hold an undeniable appeal to kids of all ages, and a lot of grownups, too. For his recent birthday party we turned to Marin's Play-Well TEKnologies, who operate an awesome LEGO shop and drop-in LEGO activity center in San Anselmo. In our case, Play-Well came to our house for a very successful, fun, and memorable birthday bash.

Drew the LEGO guy, a friendly college student, showed up at our house before the party with a hand truck and several crates of LEGOs. We figured that he must have brought a couple thousand dollars worth of the plastic bricks and pieces, all of which were sorted by category or color. One bin held only the little LEGO people, one held basic building bricks, one held little weapons and decorations, and so on.

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