Back to School Deals from Marin Kids and Maternity Consignment

August 17, 2011

We asked Marin Kids & Maternity Consignment's Stephanie Brandelius to tell us a little about the back-to-school bargains that can be found at their retail store on West Francisco Boulevard in San Rafael. They try to live up to their motto, "Saving the Earth, one outfit at a time" by offering a great selection of gently used (or "new-to-you") children's apparel and more, much of it perfect for back-to-school! Marin Kids & Maternity Consignment is also a great place to sell your old children's clothing and maternity wear. They're located at 814 Francisco Boulevard West and open Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm. Visit them online at

As parents of young kids, we all fall someplace on this continuum... We are so ready for school to start that we are counting the minutes to the first day, all the way to those who would give anything (short of home schooling) to get a few more long lazy days with our kids. Most of us fall some place in between as we gear up for the next academic year. Loving school, missing freedom, and (yes!) still waiting for the heat!

What Now? Preparing for the Long Road Ahead

August 16, 2011

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

On August 8, 2011, the S&P lost 6.7% of its value, and most investors are still suffering from whiplash caused by the market’s ups and downs last week. Whether you watched your portfolio plummet, saw the drop as a good time to buy, or sat on the sidelines stunned, I have some advice… take a deep breath and exhale slowly. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

It seems like every time a piece of economic data shows positive signs of a recovery, there is updated “official” economic data saying that the previous quarter is revised downward. Just like the market, if you drop 600 points and go up 400 points the next day, you are still down! So what can you do to better handle this volatility and prepare yourself for a long road ahead? Here are some simple steps:

Know what your money is for. Every account or pot of money you have needs a purpose. If you need it within the next three years, make sure it is liquid. Liquid means that you can quickly and cheaply convert it to cash. While stocks are “liquid”, you run the risk of needing to sell when the market is down.

Take the Guesswork out of Meal Planning with Relish (and Enter to Win a Slow Cooker!)

August 16, 2011

RelishI don't know how it is in your house, but for us meal planning can be something of a challenge. Sure, we have the best of intentions, but all too often end up in the typical weekday dinner rut—grabbing a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket or calling the pizza delivery guy.

I recently had the chance to check out Relish, an online meal planning resource that helps take the guesswork out of the daily question "What's for dinner?" Each week, Relish offers its users 15 delicious and easy recipes. The recipe selection changes every Thursday morning, and you have the option of choosing kid friendly, vegetarian, simple gourmet, or super quick recipes. Each weekly menu comes with a custom grocery list that you can print out and bring with you to the store or farmer's market, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to write down any necessary ingredients. With Relish, the cost to purchase groceries for five dinners and side dishes averages $90. Not bad for a week of stress-free dining.

Mompreneur: Nicole Cibellis and Little Froglet

August 15, 2011

Nicole CibellisMarin mompreneur Nicole Cibellis turned being laid off in the economic downturn into an opportunity to design her own line of children's clothing. Her company, Little Froglet - Real Clothes for Real Kids, just launched this month, and so far her products are a hit with both parents and children. We asked Nicole to tell us a little about her and how she started her business.

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

I am a wife of a supportive and wonderful man, Evan, and a mom to a fun and rambunctious two-year-old little boy named Nolan. Nolan really has been the catalyst of all the change in my life over the past few years. Prior to him, I worked for 11 years at many different Bay Area specialty retailers in their corporate offices focusing on buying, sourcing and product development.

How did you get started creating your own line of children's activewear?

In 2008, I finally got pregnant after trying for years. Unfortunately, my employer laid me off the day after I returned from maternity leave. With the economy melting down I wasn’t sure what would happen with future employment opportunities. One day while playing with Nolan and his friends at a playground, it struck me that kids need to have a more functional jacket when it is cold. My son and his friends didn’t want to wear gloves and hats so the Ultimate Year 'Round Jacket was born and it was time

Take 15% Off Kids Konserve Products for Back to School!

August 14, 2011

Kids Konserve waste-free lunch kitSend your kids back to school with stylish, eco-friendly, and non-toxic lunch kits from Kids Konserve! Through October 31, 2011, Kids Konserve is offering Marin Mommies readers 15% off their orders using the coupon code marinmommies.

Kids Konserve offers some great reusable lunchtime products to help make school lunches greener, cleaner, and waste-free:

Surf's Up at Hamilton Pool's Family Fun Day!

August 13, 2011

Water slide at Hamilton Pool in NovatoSurf's up today at Novato's Hamilton Community Pool at their Family Fun Day from 1 to 5 pm.

Admission to the pool from 1 to 5 is half price—Novato residents pay just $3 for adults and $2 for youths and children, whil non-residents pay $4 for adults and $3 for youths and children. Have a great time at Novato's newest community pool, which features shaded picnic areas, lawns, and a fun waterslide and water play structure in the kids' pool. Read our review of the Hamilton Pool here.

For another $5, you can take part in additional Family Fun Day activities. Your wristband entitles you to a raffle for great prizes like a free season pass, and private lessons,unlimited bounce house entry, games and activities like a diving contest and swim race, and  sno-kone, too!

A Funny and Energetic Circus Adventure at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage

August 12, 2011

Circus Adventure"How many of you have ever been to a circus?" asks Regina the Ringmaster (Felicity Hesed) asks at the start of Bay Area Children's Theatre world premiere production of Circus Adventure, at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage weekends through August 21. If your answer is "no", you're in for a hliarous and exciting introduction to the arts of the circus. If it's "yes", you're still in for a great time at this enjoyable production for the whole family.

In Circus Adventure, KaiKu the Clown (Calvin Kai Ku) finds himself shot halfway around the world from a circus cannon, far away from his home and friends at Circus Familia. In his effort to get back home, he encounters numerous fascinating and funny characters, who perform often amazing circus acts to help move along the story. There's plenty of audience participation, with cast members heading out into the aisles to interact with everyone (this is helped by the Freight & Salvage's small and intimate setting).

Book of the Week: My Hands Sing the Blues

August 10, 2011

My Hands Sing the BluesIn her last book for children, Marin author Jeanne Walker Harvey chronicled the journey of a Marine Mammal Center patient in Astro: The Steller Sea Lion, In her latest work, My Hands Sing the Blues ($17.99, 40 pages, Marshall Cavendish Children, 2011), she shares the story of African American artist Romare Beardon's childhood move with his parents from North Carolina to New York City, where Bearden would go on to become a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

Inspired by her work as a school group docent at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Harvey has created an evocative book, with text influenced by the rhythms of jazz and blues and by Romare Bearden's painting titled Watching the Trains Go By. The colorful illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon pay homage to Bearden's distinctive collage style. Kids will love the pictures and the unique rhymes of the text, and it's a fantastic introduction to the work of one of America's important 20th-century artists.

Hands-on Kids' Cooking Classes for Fall from ITK Culinary

August 9, 2011

Cooking class for kids at ITK Culinary in SausalitoAre your kids interested in food and cooking? They can roll up their sleeves this fall and take part in a two-hour culinary journey with the kids' classes offered by ITK Culinary in Sausalito. The Culinary Dude, Scott Davis, leads the programs and combines his background in early childhood development with a culinary degree to guide students of all ages through preparation, cooking, setting the table, and clean-up.

Courses range from comfort foods, French, Italian, and Chinese to vegetarian and just about everything in between. Most classes last two hours and culminate in the group sharing their hand-made meal together. “The emphasis is on the process not the product” said Davis, who allows the kids ample space to put their own spin on dishes if they want. “We’ve had kids come through who were picky eaters and by the end of the class, they were enjoying food they’ve never had. Not because we told them try, but because they were proud of their accomplishment.”

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