A Family That Eats Together: Whole Wheat Penne with Kale Pesto

November 26, 2012

Whole wheat penne with kale 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. Here's Nicole's meal plan for this week.

My son has been averse to kale so in my attempt to convince him of how good it is, I introduced it as a pesto. After one bowl, he was asking for seconds. The saltiness of the parmesan cheese with the toasted almonds and caramelized onions makes this leafy green nutty and sweet in this savory pesto.

Servings: 6–8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 5 cups chopped kale
  • 1 medium onion, chopped

Infant Sleep Solutions at Parents Place Marin

November 26, 2012

Baby sleepGetting a good night's sleep for both your baby and you can be one of parenting's biggest challenges. If you're interesting in learning  some great techniques to help your little one—and you—sleep, the Parents Place in San Rafael is offering a one-morning course "Infant Sleep Solutions" for parents of children from birth to 12 months on Friday, December 7, from 10:30 am–12:30 pm.

Participants will discuss baby sleep needs and the best ways to help young ones learn good sleep habits. You'll also cover the importance of a baby schedule, challenges to baby sleep habits (developmental milestones), new SIDS research and guidelines, pros and cons of various sleep methods (Ferber, CIO, low/no-cry methods), infant/child sleep products, and choices: family bed, crib, and room sharing.

Non-crawling babies are welcome.

This class is led by Sarah Middelton, MA, CD PCD (DONA), a mother, infant sleep consultant, and parent coach specializing in the transitions that occur in the first year after the birth of a child. She is also trained as a childbirth educator, and birth and post partum doula (DONA). Sarah has studied with Angelique Millette and uses a variety of sleep methods and tools to help parents of infants with sleep issues.

Taking Photos of Babies and Toddlers with Your Smartphone Camera

November 24, 2012

baby photo by Glen GravesMarin Mommies presents a guest article by San Rafael family photographer Glen Graves, who offers some tips on how to get the most out of your smartphone camera.

Even though smart phone cameras will never compare with the quality of an image taken with a professional quality digital camera in the hands of a thoroughly trained and skilled photographer, they can be incredible. Once you figure out how to use them, they are great for both spontaneous and “staged” shots. It is my hope that when time permits you will to go on to learn the craft of photography from a reputable teacher and begin to explore this wonderful and rewarding art-form.

Determine what style of image you want: soft and sweet, Anne Geddes-ish “Baby in the Watermelon” or something in between. I have mined Pinterest for some great maternity, newborn and toddler ideas.

Preparation, organization and a little practice are extremely important. First of all, make sure that the lens on your phone’s camera is clean. Use lens cleaner and a microfiber pad or very old tee shirt, never use window cleaner.

Family-friendly Holiday Concerts from the San Francisco Symphony - Win Tickets!

November 23, 2012

San Francisco Symphony family friendly concertsIntroduce your children to classical music and the centruy-old tradition of the San Francisco Symphony with the Symphony's acclaimed Music for Families concerts, special holiday concerts, and other family-friendly events.

Ticket prices range from $7.50 to $70, depending on the program. Kids' concert tickets (for children under 17) are half price! Most concerts are recommended for children ages 7 and older.

This holiday season's family-friendly offerings from the San Francisco Symphony include:

Deck the Hall: Children's Holiday Concert and Party, Sunday, December 2, 11 am and 3 pm
Deck the Hall performances and lobby activities offer tons of fun for the entire family, but the really special thing about this event is that it raises money to present a Community Deck the Hall performance that hosts over 2,000 children from Bay Area schools and local charitable organizations who might otherwise not be able to attend a symphony event. All of the beautifully decorated trees in the lobbies of Davies Hall are sponsored by local organizations and decorated by community groups, and they remain up for the entirety of the holiday season.

A Family That Eats Together, Thanksgiving Edition: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Graham Cracker CrustMarin 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 and family dining ideas that will please foodies and children alike. Nicole is also the creator of the new Little Froglet line of children's activewear. Check out Nicole's meal plan for this week.

This week, we feature a selection of Nicole's fantastic recipes for Thanksgiving. We'll start with dessert first—a pumpkin chiffon pie with graham cracker crust, and highlight more delicious dishes throughout the week.

Ingredients

Graham cracker crust

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly warm
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

How to Not Break the Bank this Holiday Season

November 14, 2012

Tanya SteinhoferMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Tanya Steinhofer, CFA,CFP®.

The holiday season is upon us. This time of year can be filled with lots of fun activities and positive emotions. However, it can also be a stressful time for many, running from one party to the next, trying to get it all done in time and wondering how you are going to pay for it all. Here are some tips to help reduce the anxiety associated with the holiday season.

  1. Plan Ahead. The earlier you start planning, the less likely you’ll make last-minute impulse purchases and decisions. Start saving money in January into a gift or holiday account so you don’t rack up a big credit card bill during the holidays. Keep a list on your phone or computer where you save gift ideas, whenever they come to you during the year. This list will help you avoid making last minute impulse purchases that may not be appreciated. Many stores offer discounts to those who shop early. For example, many of the photo websites offer significant discounts if you order your cards and photo books early. Starting early in the fall, make a list of all your potential holiday expenses, including gifts, cards, entertaining, charitable gifts, postage, etc.
  2. Build a budget. First, decide what you can afford to spend in total on all holiday expenses and include everything. For example, you might decide you can only afford to spend $2,000 during the holidays. Of that, $1,000 will cover holiday gifts (including shipping), $500 holiday cards (including postage) and another $500 on entertaining. Make a complete list of all the people you’d like to give gifts to, including family members, friends, teachers and service providers. After you make your list, decide how much you can afford to spend on each person. Be realistic in your gift decisions. Also, consider giving people baked goods and other home-made items instead of buying gifts. This type of thoughtful gift can be less expensive and is often more appreciated.

How to Find Your Mothering “Zen”

November 13, 2012

Melissa LapidesMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Melissa Lapides, Marin mom, licensed marriage and family therapist, and parent educator.

As a mother, it is sometimes hard to find peace in a busy day. I am not just talking about the kind of peace that you experience by the few valued moments that you actually get to sit down and relax, but about the inner peace that makes you feel connected to your purpose in being a mother.

Sometimes you can get so caught up in the daily routines and emotions that it is hard to connect to what you are really working towards as a parent. Raising children can feel busy and repetitive at times and sometimes you can loose sight of what you are really trying to accomplish. Are you working towards how many activities you can successfully get your children to participate in or are you working towards raising your children to be self-confident, self-reliant adults.

As a parent, you want to provide not only love and compassion, but also rules and guidelines to live by so that you can send your child out into the world with a sense of value and self regard. The main point in discipline is not to have children become good followers, but to have children develop a sense of self-discipline and worth.

When you can connect to your own sense of purpose as a parent, the role becomes so much more rewarding and the daily repetition can feel much more meaningful. If you are going about the day without a sense of being connected to your purpose as a parent, the child will internalize these feelings and have a harder time connecting to their own sense of worthiness.

Ski Season Starts This Wednesday at Northstar California!

November 12, 2012

Northstar California Resort opens November 14Are you and your family ready to hit the slopes this winter? Thanks to last week's early season storm (and of course the snowmaking machines), our favorite Tahoe ski destination, Northstar California Resort will open early this year.

The ski and snow fun start this Wednesday, November 14. Four lifts will be open, as well as a beginner magic carpet lift for new skiers and riders. Ski school, on-mountain dining, and Northstar's 9,000-square-foot ice skating rink will also be open starting Wednesday, and of course all the dining and shopping in the Village, too.

Learn more about what Northstar has to offer for familes in our article here. We're looking forward to heading back up later on in the season, toasting some marshmallows for s'mores at one of Northstar's fire pits, and meeting Marsh Mellow, the Northstar marketing wonder dog (pictured here—my daughter's obsessed with him).

A Family That Eats Together: Breadless Meatballs with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Ricotta Cheese

November 12, 2012

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 and family dining ideas that will please foodies and children alike. Nicole is also the creator of the new Little Froglet line of children's activewear. Check out Nicole's meal plan for this week.

In my on going search for carb free meals, which are satisfying, I tried this recipe from David Rocco. I love how light and airy the meatballs become using nonfat ricotta cheese and braising them in homemade tomato sauce. The trick to fabulous meatballs is using the freshest organic grass fed and leanest ground meat you can find. With the addition of the tangy sundried tomatoes you will never know what is missing from these meatballs. My family gobbled them up so fast that their plates were “licked” clean.

Servings: 8–10
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

for the meatballs

  • 1 pound organic grass fed very lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup nonfat ricotta cheese
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