Family Fare at Ghiringhelli's in Novato

October 12, 2011

Dancing at Family FareWe finally had a chance to check out the Family Fare series at Novato's Ghiringhelli Pizzeria Grill & Bar. Ghiringhelli's Novato restaurant is a relative newcomer on the Marin dining scene (they've had another location in Fairfax since 1985), and has created this series of Monday night events with families of young children in mind. Each Family Fare event features a local children's musician or performer, arts and crafts, and other activities, in addition to dining from Ghiringelli's menu.

On our visit we ate pizza while local kid music legend Miss Kitty performed. Family Fare takes place in the restaurant's event room, where, in addition to dining tables, a large padded "dance floor" and activity tables were set up. Activity table offerings included coloring and painting, and a Wii console was available on a nearby flat-screen TV for game playing. Tables were covered with butcher paper and cups of crayons encouraged us to draw on our tablecloths.

Win Free Tickets to the Next Speak to Me Event with the Authors of "This Is Not the Life I Ordered"

October 12, 2011

Speak to MeSpeak to Me, Marin's premiere series of intelligent, inspiring speaking events for women, presents "Girlfriends' Guide to Learning from Life's Little Surprises," a discussion with the co-authors of This Is Not the Life I Ordered, on Tuesday, October 18 from 6:30–9:30 pm.

Scheduled to appear are Deborah Collins Stephens, best selling author and co-founder of the Center for Innovative Leadership; Congresswoman Jackie Speier; award-winning broadcast journalist Jan Yanehiro; and Michaelene Cristini Risley, an award-winning writer, director, and human rights activist. These Bay Area women, co-authors of This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down, have experienced extraordinary life challenges over many years of friendship.

Women’s Health Lecture Series by Dr. Lisa Brent

October 11, 2011

Join Dr. Lisa Brent on the second Tuesday of each month for discussions that focus on the most relevant health issues for women today. These one-hour classes will include a lecture, hand-outs and time for questions. Classes begin at 6 pm and take place at the Marin Natural Medicine Clinic, located at 265 Magnolia Avenue, Suite 201, in Larkspur. RSVP to (415) 945-3213 or

Dr. Lisa Brent is a naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist, and Marin mom who specializes in natural gynecology and women’s health at Marin Natural Medicine Clinic. She has more than ten years of experience providing holistic gynecological care, fertility enhancement and hormonal support for women in all stages of their reproductive lives.

Topics for this series include:

  • October 11—Natural Approaches to Fertility Enhancement
  • November 8—PMS and Painful Periods: Alternatives to Medication
  • December 13—A Holistic Approach to a Healthy Menopause
  • January 10, 2012—Weight Loss and the HCG Diet

A Family that Eats Together: Lamb Stew with Pumpkin Polenta

October 10, 2011

Lamb Stew with Pumpkin PolentaMarin Mommies is happy to present 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 includes sake and orange braised short ribs with egg noodles, chicken curry with cashews, roasted butternut squash soup, beef stir fry with snow peas, and this lamb stew with a creamy pumpkin polenta—just the thing for a cool October evening.

Servings: 6–8; prep time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 30 minutes, 1-1/2 hours if roasting the squash the same day

Spooky Halloween Books for Kids of All Ages

October 10, 2011

Room on the BroomAs Halloween nears, kids love to read spooky (and not-so-spooky) stories about ghosts, goblins, witches, and pumpkins. Actually, in our house, we read some of our Halloween books year-round. If you're looking for some great Halloween reads to enjoy with your family, here's a list of some of our current favorites, arranged by age/reading level.

Since many kids (ours included) have a love/hate relationship with the spookier aspects of Halloween, you'll probably want to check and make sure some of these books are appropriate for your children, especially the ones listed for older readers.

The book links below take you to; search for them online in the children's catalog of the Marin County Free Library here.


Pumpkin Muffins: A Tasty Fall Treat

October 9, 2011

Pumpkin muffins on a Halloween platterI just bought a mini muffin pan and it's changed my life. No really, it has—not in a big way, but it's inspired us to experiment with different muffin recipes. A healthy muffin makes a great breakfast treat, lunch box snack, playgroup munchie, or Halloween party goodie. One of our favorite muffins to make in the fall (and year-round, even), are pumpkin muffins. They're delicious, healthy (pumpkins have lots of fiber, beta carotene, and protein), and easy to make. Sometimes we just grab a box of Trader Joe's pumpkin bread mix, but more often than not, we make them from scratch. They make the house smell great when they're baking, too.

The kids also like to help make the muffins, and have a lot of fun stirring, mixing, and cracking eggs. Portioning the batter out into muffin cups and working with the oven are best left to the grownups, however. Feel free to add raisins or chopped nuts if you like (1/4 cup). This recipe makes about a dozen muffins or 24 mini muffins, and can be easily doubled if you're feeding a crowd.

Are Driving Costs Driving You Crazy?

October 4, 2011

Money down the gas tankMarin Mommies is presents another great guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.

When you think of how you want to spend your hard earned money, rarely do you think “I want to overpay for car insurance and spend $70 to fill up my tank!” Car related expenses are a necessity for most families, but there are easy ways to reduce these costs and make sure you are not overspending.

The rule of thumb for transportation related expenses is that they should not account for more than 10% of your gross income. Depending on your salary, this could be a really big number! For example, if you make $150,000 per year the “rule of thumb” says that you can spend $1,250 per month on your cars. This could easily cover gas ($350), insurance ($115), commuting ($50) and a VERY nice car payment. While this rule might make sense in other parts of the U.S., I believe it overstates what a family in the Bay Area should spend given our significantly higher home related expenses.

Marin Independent Schools' Kindergarten Fair This Wednesday

October 4, 2011

If you're looking to enroll your child for kindergarten in a local independent school, make sure you attend the Marin Independent Schools' Kindergarten Fair on Wednesday, October 5, from 6 to 7:30 pm at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center. Each participating school will have a table where parents can pick up brochures, ask questions, and sign up to receive more information. It's a great opportunity to learn what makes each school unique!

Participating schools include Dunham Academy, Brandeis Hillel Day School, Lycee Francais International School, Marin Country Day School, Marin Montessori School, Marin Waldorf School, Saint Mark's School, Ring Mountain Day School, San Domenico School, and others.

The Kindergarten Fair takes place in the JCC's Kurland Lounge. The Osher Marin JCC is located at 200 North San Pedro Road in San Rafael.

A Family that Eats Together: Beer and Chipotle-Battered Fish Tacos

October 3, 2011

Fish tacosMarin Mommies is happy to present another 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.

This week's meal plan includes lamb burgers with paneer and vegetable skewers; orzo with sausage, peppers, and tomatoes; sesame noodles; skirt steak salad with chimichurri dressing; and this simple-to-make variation on classic fish tacos.


For the batter:

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