At-Home Paint Parties from the Social Palette

February 22, 2012

Looking for a fun and creative birthday idea to have at your home? How about a mobile paint party? The Social Palette, a local at-home art party business, offers creativity-filled birthday parties for kids ages 7–13.

Partygoers will receive a 9"x12" canvas and a variety of paint colors to create their very own masterpiece. The Social Palette brings and set up everything that partygoers need to create their own unique works of art. Paint parties are for all levels of artist, from beginners to experts.

The Social Palette is owned by Angelina Popov, who has been working with youth and in the non-profit sector for over ten years. Her experience has allowed her to observe how effectively activities like art can bring people together, as well as create a fun environment. She started by throwing art parties for friends and family, which eventually led to the opening of The Social Palette.

A Family that Eats Together: Curried Meatballs with Homemade Naan

February 20, 2012

Curried meatballsMarin 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 slow-cooker Mexican chicken, lamb burgers with garlicky spinach, potato and leek soup with homemade croutons, braised chicken with artichokes, and these Indian-inspired curreid meatballs with homemade naan.

Happy Fifth Birthday to Us!

February 20, 2012

Marin Mommies celebrates its fith birthday this month! We are thrilled to be an active part of the Marin County parenting community, and our thanks go out to all our readers, contributors, and advertisers, both new and long-time—you're the reason for our success. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement over the years.

To help celebrate our fifth birthday, we're giving away four guest passes to the amazing California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. To enter to win, send an email to with "Cal Academy" in the subject line by 11:59 pm PST on Wednesday, February 22. We'll choose a random winner on Thursday. Read our giveway rules here.

We'll be holding more fun giveaways throughout the week as part of our birthday celebration, so make sure you check back often.

We're looking forward to another fantastic five years (and more) of bringing you the best Marin and the Bay Area have to offer for parents and families.

Are Your Kids Ready for Ski Lessons?

February 17, 2012

Group ski lesson at Northstar CaliforniaWe recently spent the weekend on the slopes at Northstar California, where our kids took ski lessons with one of their experienced instructors. We were amazed at how much progress they made in just a few hours!

When should you get your own kids started on skis? Mike Hafer, assistant director of the Northstar's Ski and Snowboard School, was kind enough to answer this and a few other questions about ski lessons for children. Mike is also a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) Demo Team and father of two young daughters.

What's the best age to get your kids started on the slopes? Is it ever too late?

When the child is ready. The mountain environment can be very intimidating to a young child. I would recommend that the child experiences snow play prior to learning how to ski or snowboard. Most 2-year-olds will only last about 20–30 minutes at most on the snow with equipment. 3-year-olds will typically go anywhere from a half day to a full day depending on their normal routines. If they are in need of nap time, I would recommend sticking with a half day program.

Win Free Tickets to the March 6 Speak to Me Event in Mill Valley

February 15, 2012

Deanna ZandtSpeak to Me, Marin's premiere series of intelligent, inspiring speaking events for women, presents "How New Media Will Transform Society, Politics and our Future," a discussion with provocative social media and technology maven Deanna Zandt on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, from 6:30–9:30 pm. Zandt is a media technologist and author of Share This!: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking.

As social media becomes increasingly present in our lives, a major cultural shift is underway. Through the power of relationships, sharing experiences, and organizing online, previously marginalized voices are pouring into and shaping public conversations like never before. With the explosion of social media, women's voices are now being heard, and the next generation is growing up in a world where social media brings unexpected freedom and opportunity, as well as potential peril. Deanna Zandt will discuss the power and challenges that this technological revolution brings to our lives, and will explore how the web is changing the course of society, business and politics, and will suggest ways you can best leverage its power for yourself, your family and your community.

Lodging, Dining, and Family Fun at the Village in Northstar California

February 14, 2012

Skating at the Village in NorthstarNote: This is the second of two articles on our experience at Northstar California Resort near Lake Tahoe. Read the first installment here.

During our visit to Tahoe's Northstar Calfornia Resort, we stayed right in the Village itself. The Village serves as the hub of activity at Northstar, and it's a fantastic place in which to stay and to hang out when you're not skiing. It may even be worth a trip in its own right, regardless of whether you're skiing or not. There's a lot to do here, and it's the ideal place for families to stay, play, shop, and dine when they're not up on the slopes. We loved the fact that we didn't have to leave the resort—everything, from ski equipment rentals to dining, was literally right outside our door.

The Village itself has a charming atmosphere—kind of like a small European town with a rustic Sierra Nevada twist. Plenty of outdoor seating areas invite you to linger in the Village's public areas, where strategically placed fire pits allow you to warm yourself if it's chilly.

A Family that Eats Together: Lemon and Feta Roasted Chicken with Tomato Orzo

February 13, 2012

Healthy eggplant parmesanMarin 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 Carne Asada tacos La Taqueria style, Happy Valentine's Day Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Guinness and onion soup with Irish cheddar croutons, and sesame noodles.

Sometimes I just crave fresh flavors this time of year when heavy stews and soups are so prevalent. In this recipe, I use lemon, feta and dill to awaken roasted chicken. With a side of orzo, this recipe will make you feel like you are sitting in a café on the water in Greece.

Family Ski and Snow Fun on the Mountain at Tahoe's Northstar California

February 13, 2012

Family skiing at Northstar California ResortNote: This is the first of two articles on our experience this February at Northstar California Resort near Lake Tahoe. The second installment is here.

While it's true that we've been having an unusally dry winter in Calfornia, it's a myth that there's no snow up in the mountains. We spent last weekend at Northstar California, Tahoe's family-friendly ski resort, and they've been busy making their own snow to augment the stuff that's fallen naturally. As a result, the vast majority of their trails and lifts are open, and it's a great time to visit and hit the slopes with the family.

We've been discussing taking a trip up to the mountains for a while, so the kids were really excited to play in the snow and take ski lessons. The fantastic weather, the wide range of family activities and amentities, the magical atmosphere on the mountain and in the Village, and the amazingly friendly and warm Northstar staff all made for a memorable weekend.

Get Ready for Camp Galileo 2012

February 12, 2012

Camp Galileo art roomSummer camp signups are upon us, and one of the most popular camps in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area is Camp Galileo. Camp Galileo is an art, science, and outdoors day camp that offers campers a wide variety of hands-on experiences and activities, all with the aim to develop the skills and confidence they need to become innovators. Camp Galileo boasts impressive curriculum partners, including the de Young Museum, the Tech Museum, and Klutz.

Camp Galileo serves children from pre-K to those entering 5th grade. Campers are divided into three age groups: Nebulas (preschool and entering kindergarten), Stars (entering 1st and 2nd grade), and Supernovas (entering 3rd–5th grade).

Each week-long camp session has its own creative them designed to spark campers' imaginations, and some are even tied into current events like the 2012 summer Olympics and the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. This year's Camp Galileo sessions include:

  • Galileo Olympics: Greek Art and the Science of the Games
  • Celebrate the Golden Gate: San Francisco Art and Bridge Engineering
  • Leonardo’s Apprentice: Renaissance Art and Inventions
  • Galileo Rocks! The Art and Science of Music
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