Bowling Birthday Parties at San Rafael's Country Club Bowl

January 11, 2012

Fun at Country Club Bowl in San RafaelIf you're planning a birthday party, why not consider bowling? You probably went to birthday parties at the bowling alley when you were a kid, and you probably had a blast, too. Bowling is fun, exciting (remember when you knocked down that first pin?) and makes for a great birthday party experience. Throw in the fact that there's usually food and drink available on-site, and that you don't have to clean up, and it has the makings for the perfect party.

The crash of the pins, getting your bowling shoes, picking out that perfect bowling bowl, and learning to keep score are all part of the experience. It's a fun activity that all partygoers—kids and parents alike—can enjoy, too.

Country Club Bowl in San Rafael has been a local institution since 1959, and is Marin County's only bowling alley. They offer a birthday party package that includes:

  • Two hours of bowling for both kids and parents
  • Food to eat while bowling
  • Rental shoes

Win Free Tickets to January's Speak to Me Event in Mill Valley

January 10, 2012

Speak to me panelistsSpeak to Me, Marin's premiere series of intelligent, inspiring speaking events for women, presents "Passion and Impact: Inspiring Women Changing Our World," a panel discussion with four extraordinary women on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, from 6:30–9:30 pm. Speakers for this event will be Christine Bronstein, founder of A Band of Wives; Deborah Santana, author, philanthropist, activist for peace and social justice, and founder of Do A Little Foundation; Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America; and Sheryl O'Loughlin, executive director of the Stanford Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

There are so many wonderful ways to have a positive influence on the world—the real art is figuring out how to maximize your talents and focus on what you care about most. These four amazing women have each discovered their own unique approaches to changing the world in big and little ways. In this panel discussion, they will share their stories and inspiration, and will discuss ways we can each make our own impactful choices.

Calling All Young Filmmakers: 7th Annual Lark Theater Youth Film Festival

January 10, 2012

Kids filming on locationCalling all young filmmakers ages 10 to 18: Larkspur's Lark Theater has announced a call for entries for its 7th Annual Youth Film Festival. Local youth can express their creativity and filmmaking skills and share their stories, and selected young filmmakers will have a chance to see their creations on the big screen!

Films may be in one of four different categories—narrative, documentary, music, or green theme—in either 10–13 or 14–18 age groups.

Short films (under 11 minutes long) should be submitted on DVD or in Quicktime (.mov) format by March 9, 2012. The 2012 Youth Film Festival will be held on April 29, 2012, and will showcase films selected for the festival by a jury of industry professionals. In addition to the screenings, the festival program also includes an awards ceremony and a youth filmmaker Q&A.

A Family that Eats Together: Gluten-Free Pasta with Avocado Pesto

January 9, 2012

Gluten-free pasta with avocado pestoMarin 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 goes vegan, vegeterian, and gluten-free for the New Year, and features roasted butternut squash and garlic soup, baked sweet potatoes with orange, chickpea-brown rice veggie burger, gluten-free ginger noodles with tofu, and this gluten-free pasta with avocado pesto.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 16 ounces gluten-free pasta
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

The Novato Mothers Club 2012 Preschool Fair

January 9, 2012

Kids Place of NovatoAre you planning on sending your child to preschool within the next two years? If so, you'll want to attend the Novato Mothers Club 2012 Preschool Fair this Thursday, January 12, from 6:30–8:30 pm in the Key Room at Homeward Bound at 1385 North Hamilton Parkway in Novato.

Meet local preschool representatives and learn about the programs their schools have to offer. The Novato Mothers Club (NMC) only hosts a preschool fair every two years, so try not to miss this one!

This year, 21 preschools, primarily from Novato and San Rafael, will be represented at the NMC Preschool Fair. Schools attending the fair include:

  • Montessori for Toddlers
  • T.L.C. Preschool
  • Kid's Place of Novato
  • San Marin Montessori
  • San Domenico School
  • Bright Horizons at Marin Commons
  • St. Francis Preschool

Family Dining in Marin: India Palace

January 4, 2012

Food at India Palace in Mill ValleyBoth my husband and I love Indian food, and we're slowly trying to steer our kids in that direction, too. With its spices and heat, Indian food can be a hard sell with kids, but we take them along anyhow with the hope that they'll grow to appreciate it.

India Palace is located in, of all places, the Travelodge on the Redwood Highway frontage road in Mill Valley. It's been a Marin County Indian cuisine mainstay for as long as I can remember, so they must be doing something right. We've been going here for years, both with kids and without. The interior is nicely decorated and comfortable, and it really doesn't feel like you're dining in a motel.

While it seems that a lot of Indian restaurants have opened up in Marin in the past five years or so, we still love India Palace. Service is warm and attentive, and the staff seem to really like kids. There's a large window between the dining room and the kitchen, and the kids love to watch the chefs put skewers of chicken and lamb into the blazing hot charcoal-fueled tandoor ovens.

CTA Presents Rumpelstiltskin at the Legion of Honor

January 4, 2012

RumpelstiltskinThe Children's Theatre Association of San Francisco (CTA) presents its winter 2012 production Rumpelstiltskin. This live musical stage play for children ages 4–10 runs on Saturdays from January 7–February 11, 2012 at the historic Florence Gould Theater in the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco.

Rumpelstiltskin tells the classic story a poor young girl raised to be a princess, thanks to an odd little man and his magic. Later, she must guess his name or lose her most precious treasure.

The CTA was formed 75 years ago with the support of the Junior League of San Francisco, the San Francisco Board of Education, and the San Francisco Opera and Ballet with the goal of presenting live musical theater to the children of the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 1981, it's been part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco's cultural programs for schools, presenting its productions to more than 6,000 elementary schoolchildren annually.

There are two performances each Saturday, at 10:30 am and 1 pm, and tickets are $12 each. For more information, and to order tickets online, visit or call (415) 248-2677. The Legion of Honor is located in San Francisco's Lincoln Park at 34th Avenue and Clement Street. For more information and directions to the museum, visit

Audition for a Role in the 2012 Mountain Play

January 3, 2012

Mountain PlayCalling all actors and singers! Open auditions take place this month for Mountain Play’s 2012 Production, Meredtih Wilson's The Music Man.

Auditions for the role of Professor Harold Hill only take place on Saturday, January 7 at 9 am (non-AEA) and 11 am (AEA) at The Barn at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross. Auditions for all adult roles (ages 15 and up) take place at 9:30 am (non-AEA) and 1 pm (AEA) on Saturday, January 28 at Drake High School Theater in San Anselmo.
All adult auditionees will cold read and sing. Actors auditioning for the roles of Tommy Djilas, Marcellus Washburn, Ethel Toffelmeir, Zaneeta Shinn, and Dance Chorus should be prepared to dance. Please prepare one musical theater song preferably in the style of The Music Man.

To make an appointment for Harold Hill or AEA auditions or for more information, contact associate producer Eileen Grady at (415) 383-1100 or

Children's auditions (ages 10–14) for the roles of Winthrop, Amayrillis, and Children's Chorus take place Sunday, January 29 at 1 pm at the Drake High School Theater. Children should prepare a reading (available on the Mountain Play website) and one musical theater song preferably in the style of The Music Man.

Please bring your headshot, resume, audition music (accompaniment is provided; no a capella or transpositions) and a completed audition application. All positions are paid. Please note the January 7 audition is for Harold Hill only, January 28 is for all adult roles with the exception of Marian Paroo, which has been precast. January 29 is for all children’s roles.

A Family that Eats Together: Chicken Tostadas

January 2, 2012

tostadaMarin 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 and features slow cooker syrah short ribs with roasted rosemary potatoes, spaghetti all'amatriciana, easy burgundy meatballs with noodles, peanut noodles with tofu and veggis, and these chicken tostadas with homemade refried beans.

Chicken tostadas are a great way to use leftover chicken. This recipe is the same as my vegetarian tostada recipe, all you have to do is add the chicken.

This tostada can be made a number of different ways. Make homemade beans or use canned. Add chicken, beef or pork. Add more or less ingredients than I suggest. Really the possibilities are endless. In this recipe, I have made homemade beans so that you can have the recipe. They are very simple to make and taste so much better than anything you can get out of a can.

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