Halloween Craft Project: Paper Jack-O-Lanterns

October 14, 2016

Pumpkin paper lanternsKids always love to make fun decorative crafts, especially at Halloween, when they can help make the house or classroom extra spooky. These easy-to-make paper jack-o-lanterns are a Halloween-time take on the traditional paper lantern craft project, and are simple enough that almost anyone in the family can make them. Make a bunch with different face designs and hang them around the house.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Orange and green construction paper (we used 12 x 18" sheets, but letter size will work, too)
  • Black markers, paint, or construction paper

Pumpkins and More at the Tolay Fall Festival this Weekend!

October 13, 2016

Tolay Fall Festival

Many families in Marin and the North Bay have fond memories of visiting the popular pumpkin patch at Cardoza Ranch outside Petaluma. In 2005, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department acquired Cardoza Ranch, also known as Tolay Lake Ranch, turning its 1,737 acres of farmland into a county park.

North Bay's Largest Children's and Maternity Consignment Sale this Weekend!

October 13, 2016

Just Between Friends fall sale Santa RosaCome shop until you drop at this weekend's North Bay Just Between Friends Mega Children's Sale at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Grace Pavilion in Santa Rosa. Taking place today, Thursday, October 13 through Sunday, October 16, 2016, Just Between Friends is the North Bay's largest children's and maternity consignment event.

Get a great deal on over 100,000 consignment items in 40,500 square feet of shopping space, including toys, games; outdoor gear; mommy supplies; furniture; crafting, school and party supplies; and more. You'll save 30–90% off retail prices on tons of gently used and even new items. Cash, checks, debit cards, and Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Bring your own bags, baskets, or even a wagon to carry your deals.

The WorldWideWomen Girls' Festival Takes Place at Fort Mason October 15

October 11, 2016

Girls' Festival

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from the WorldWideWomen Girls' Festival, taking place at San Francisco's Fort Mason on Saturday, October 15.

Do you have a daughter, niece, or granddaughter who could benefit from an event just for girls? Bring her along to the WorldWideWomen Girls’ Festival at Fort Mason in San Francisco on October 15 and give her the gift of confidence and empowerment! This event promises to be a game-changing day of exploration, empowerment and fun for thousands of Bay Area girls (of all ages) and their families.

Fall Family Getaway to Asilomar in Pacific Grove

October 11, 2016

Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds

For a quick family seaside getaway, few destinations beat the Monterey Peninsula town of Pacific Grove (or "PG", if you're a local). There's so much to do there, from visiting the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium to just relaxing at the beach. We recently took a fall weekend road trip down to PG and stayed at the fantastic Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds, which is an ideal place to stay for families and affordable too. 

While Asilomar is technically a conference center, you can reserve rooms there and take advantage of everything it has to offer without going there for a conference. Previously, we'd visited the gorgeous beachfront grounds a few times to marvel at the amazing Arts and Crafts architecture of many of the buildings, but hadn't actually stayed there until now. We were pleasantly surprised, and can't wait to go back. I love the fact that you can walk right across the street to the beach, so you don't need to get in your car. 

A Winter Circus for the Holidays at Cornerstone Sonoma

October 11, 2016

Cirque de Boheme at Cornerstone SonomaThis Thanksgiving and Christmas, Cornerstone Sonoma presents a winter circus for the holidays by Le Cirque de Bohème: Somewhere. Experience the magic of a 1920s-style circus based on the French tradition, featuring an amazing cast of characters including a unicycle, hand-to-hand acrobats, tight-rope funambule, hand chair balancing, aerial fabrics, hooper aerialist, mime, clown, and more.

This intimate circus gathering takes place under the charming tent in the gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma, and is limited to 140 guests per performance. Shows take place Thanksgiving and Christmas weekends only: Friday–Sunday, November 25–27 and Saturday and Sunday, December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 3 and 5 pm. (December 3 shows at 11 am and 1 pm.)

Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

October 11, 2016

I'm a big fan of cooking with pumpkin, which is one of the reasons I love the fall. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, pumpkin ravioli—they're all delicious. My kids' favorite are these pumpkin oatmeal cookies, which are chewy and, I like to think, actually good for you. These cookies are a great treat for the lunchbox too.

I mix in in dark chocolate chunks (chocolate chips work equally well), walnuts, and dried cranberries to make them more interesting. They're also fantastic with toasted pumpkin seeds instead of the walnuts. In fact, feel free to use whatever you like to mix in: white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, and pecans are all good.Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Halloween Craft: Recycled Glass Pumpkin Votives

October 10, 2016

Halloween pumpkin votives recycled craft

This easy craft project is so much fun to make, and the finished product looks fantastic, especially when lit with a flickering candle. Best of all, you can make them using materials from your recycling bin! These Halloween pumpkin votives are simple to make, and are a perfect craft project for all ages, with parental supervision, of course. My second-grade daughter and I created the pair of jack-o-lanterns lanterns shown here.

This project is a little messy, so make sure you have a good work area that's easy to clean up. You can also create variations on this craft: use white tissue to make ghost lanterns, and green to make monsters.

Our Favorite Halloween Books for Kids

October 9, 2016

Halloween NightFall is here, and what is a better way to celebrate its arrival than with a good book? My kids and I love to go to the library and pick out some great Halloween children's books to read together, and fall is definitely one of our favorite times of year.

Here are some of our favorites that we've enjoyed over the years. All of these books should be available at public libraries throughot Marin. You can look to see if your local library has these titles available at marinlibrary.org.

Babies & Toddlers

Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino: This Halloween version of the traditional counting rhyme features bold and colorful illustrations that little ones will love.

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