Win Tickets to the March 19 Speak to Me Event with Laura Ling

March 13, 2013

Laura LingSpeak to Me, Marin's premiere series of intelligent, inspiring speaking events for women, presents "Journey of Hope: A Story of Courage, Love, and Determination" a discussion with journalist, host, and reporter for E! Investigates Laura Ling on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at 6:30 pm.

In March 2009, many of us remember hearing about the frightening experience of two foreign correspondents for Current TV who had been violently captured by soldiers along the Chinese–North Korean border and imprisoned in North Korea. Laura Ling and Euna Lee found themselves at the center of an international standoff between the US and one of the only countries with which it has no diplomatic relations. It was 140 days before President Bill Clinton and Laura’s sister, Lisa Ling, were able to secure the two women a pardon, which released and allowed them to return home. Laura will share her inspiring story of determination and courage as she recounts how she was able to survive her imprisonment, and how the experience has forever changed her view on life.

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk at the Parents Place

March 12, 2013

Julie KingAre you getting worn down by bedtime challenges, morning-rush madness, dawdling, whining, and other challenging behaviors? Do you find yourself too often resorting to threats, bribes, or raised voices? Learn practical strategies to improve cooperation and discipline, strengthen character, and enhance your relationships at home. Based on the bestsellers by Faber and Mazlish, this entertaining workshop consistently receives rave reviews. Here’s what one participant said:  “…immensely helpful, practical, and insightful.”

This workshop is led by Julie King, JD. Usually a four-week series, it's being offered as a one-day intensive for those who can’t attend for four weeks.

Julie is a highly regarded Bay Area workshop leader and presenter who has been educating and supporting parents for more than 15 years. A graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, Julie holds certificates in organization development consulting skills and life coaching. She has also completed extensive training in conflict resolution, mediation, and coaching.

This workshop takes place on Sunday, March 17, from 10 am to 4 pm, and is for parents of children ages 3 to 8. The cost is $199 per person or $299 per couple; the fee includes a $10 workbook.

Fun Shamrock Potato Prints for St. Patrick’s Day

March 12, 2013

Shamrock potato printsMy daughter loves working with paint, so I thought this would be the perfect craft for her to make for St. Patrick's Day. These potato print shamrocks are a fun project for the little ones. We made a bunch of these cool shamrock prints and hung them throughout the house to decorate for the holiday.

This project is really easy and fun, and the kids think it’s neat that they’re using something they usually eat to create a colorful craft.

To make these potato print cards you'll need:

Family Dining in Marin: Moylan's in Novato

March 12, 2013

Moylans NovatoMoylan's Brewery and Restaurant has the distinction of being Novato's first (and to my knowledge only) brewpub. Operated by the same people who run Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur, Moylan's offers pub grub fare with some traditional Irish favorites thrown in, and a nice selection of good house-brewed beers to go along with it. Couple that with a reasonably priced kids' menu, and it's no wonder this is a destination for north Marin families.

Located in a distinctive building across from the Rowland Plaza Cinemas, Moylan's is an ideal place to grab a bite before or after the movies. The main dining room is a cavernous affair that can get noisy when it's busy, but that's not a big issue when you've got kids in tow, right? There's a long bar overlooking the brewing area, with several TV screens showing various sports games.

The kids were given the usual coloring menus and crayons. An added twist is that they could turn in their coloring sheets after dinner in exchange for a prize from the basket by the front entrance.

One-Pot Asian Chicken, Rice, and Bok Choy

March 4, 2013

One pot chickenMarin 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.

This recipe is adapted from a clay-pot chicken recipe. I love clay-pot chicken but I don’t have a clay pot to cook the chicken in so this is my translation of the recipe using a Dutch oven. The first time I had clay-pot chicken was at the Slanted Door in San Francisco. It is so warming and delicious. Charles Phan the owner and executive chef makes his clay-pot chicken with a Vietnamese slant. My recipe it is more Chinese-inspired.

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

The Stay-at-Home Challenge

February 27, 2013

Diana ChiarabonoMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Diana Chiarabano, owner of Rent-a-Parent Personnel Services. Diana has been helping Marin families and nannies for 29 years. You can reach her at (415) 435-2642 or

Lucky for you if you are a parent who can be home with your child. Usually this is the mother, but there are a lot of stay at home dads as well. Most of the time it’s the mother who gives us a call saying that even though she loves being there for her children, it would be great to have some scheduled, regular time every week to do a variety of things (go to the gym, have lunch with a friend, volunteer at the older child’s school, etc.). If you have 2 children under the age of 4, then juggling their needs and yours becomes especially challenging. If you are considering hiring someone to come into your home, here are some tips for stay-at-home parents.

  • Start with really being honest with yourself as to what kind of person will be a good fit for you. Of course you want someone who is kind, loving, and attentive to your child, but how about meshing with your personality? Is being neat and organized important to you? Are you more interested in having an artistic, creative type working by your side? What kinds of duties do you want the nanny to do solely on her own and which do you want to share? Don’t be shy in asking questions when interviewing. You want to hire someone who sees the job as partnering with you. That is very different than hiring a nanny who performs her duties by herself.

Fun Places to Feed the Ducks in Marin

February 25, 2013

Feeding the ducksOne of childhood's time-honored rituals is heading down to a local pond and feeding leftover bread to the ducks. Not only is it fun for small children, but it helps get ride of that leftover bread in your pantry, too. Feeding the ducks is something my kids always loved to do, and even still enjoy, and there are a few great places in and around Marin County where hungry ducks are plentiful.

Of course feeding the ducks isn't without its risks—pesky and aggressive gulls and Canada geese often try to elbow their way into the action, and they're pretty much ubiquitous in the Bay Area these days. We always try to make sure the ducks get their fair share and try to find a way to outwit the avian interlopers!

The Marin Civic Center

The Marin Civic Center in San Rafael is home to a large pond that's home to numerous waterfowl. There's also a new playground, nice paved walking paths, lawns, picnic tables, and even an island. It's fun to go feed the ducks after an outing to the nearby farmers market on Thursdays and Sundays.

Organic Produce CSA Box Special from Bloomfield Farms

February 22, 2013

Bloomfield Farms CSA shareOur friends at Bloomfield Farms, a family-run certified organic farm outside Petaluma, are offering a great winter CSA special! Sign up for 24 shares (boxes) of their amazing organic produce and get six for free. Bloomfield Farms offers two convenient pick-up locations for Marin families: the Tiburon Tavern in Tiburon and Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, as well as numerous location in Sonoma County.

Boxes run $20 to $35 depending on size, and include goodies like lettuce, potatoes, kale, and broccoli. Learn more about Bloomfield Farms' CSA program here, or sign up online on Farmigo if you're ready to subscribe.

This special CSA offer is valid only until midnight on Sunday, February 24!

CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture," and by buying your veggies this way you get great healthy food for your family, help support a local farming family, and help build a healthy and vibrant local food system.

Roll into Fun at Cal Skate in Rohnert Park

February 20, 2013

Cal SkateRemember those days at the roller skating rink back when you were a kid? The disco ball, the DJ, and doing that arm thing when they played YMCA by the Village People? (Am I dating myself here?) If you're nostalgic for the days of skating gone by, head up to Cal Skate in Rohnert Park, which hasn't changed all that much since I used to skate here when I was a kid.

We visited Cal Skate a few months ago, and had a blast—my daughter keeps asking me when we can go back. The kids loved the music, the lighting, and the disco ball, as well as skating, of course. They definitely picked roller skating up faster than ice skating, which they also love to do.

Lace up your skates—you can rent them or bring your own, if you have them—and hit the rink. Cal Skate offers special Kids' Skate sessions for families during the week, on Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:30 am. These sessions for children ages 2 to 10 cost $6 and include instruction and quad skate rental, and parents can walk out onto the rink to lend a hand. They also offer a family night on Saturday evenigs from 6-8:30 pm and public skating during the week (times vary). Check out their weekly schdule here.

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