Explore Spectacular Slide Ranch in Muir Beach

September 13, 2016

Slide Ranch

Muir Beach's Slide Ranch is one of Marin's favorite family destinations for educational programs, camps, and more. But did you know you can visit the ranch's spectacular grounds any time you like? Since Slide Ranch is located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it's open to the public every day, with no admission fee.

It's truly an amazing place, with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, hiking trails, tidepools, a farm to explore, and one of the most amazing picnic areas we've ever encountered. It's a great place to visit even if there are no programs going on. Pack up the kids and a picnic and make a day of it!

Five Fantastic Fall Family Hikes in Marin

September 12, 2016

Tennessee Valley Trail

Fall offers some of the finest weather of the year in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area, so make sure you take some time to hit the trail and take in a hike before the weather turns cold and wet. The coastal areas in Northern California are particularly nice in the fall, and are often warmer and clearer than inland.

Here are five of our favorite fall outdoor excursions in Marin County that are perfect for families.

Tennessee Valley

The Tennessee Valley trail is one of Marin's most popular spots for outdoor recreation, and a favorite with hikers, cyclists, and trail runners of all ages. This easy 3.4-mile out-and-back hike has its halfway point at Tennessee Cove, home to a beautiful beach that's a perfect place for a picnic or mid-hike break. It's manageable with an offroad jogging stroller, too. Go during the week or in the mornings to avoid weekend crowds in the parking area.

Easy Lasagna Roll Ups

September 12, 2016

lasagna roll upsI don't know anybody who doesn't like lasagna, and this rolled version is simple to make and delicious. With all the same ingredients as traditional Italian-American lasagna, I find it easier to assemble and serve. The kids like to help assemble the rolls, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe or 24–26-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese

Back-to-School Recipes from Hip Chick Farms

September 11, 2016

Hip Chick Farms mini meatball subs Coming up with new healthy and kid-friendly lunch and after-school snack ideas can be something of a challenge, but local business Hip Chick Farms makes it a little easier! Hip Chick Farms, a parent-run company based in Sebastopol, has made a mission out of creating a healthier, more sustainable version of that children's menu staple, the chicken finger.

Available at numerous grocery stores in Marin and the Bay Area, including Whole Foods, Mollie Stone's, Woodlands Market, Mill Valley Market, and others, their products are made with Mary's air-chilled chicken, and organic and gluten-free versions are available, too. They also make chicken meatballs and sweet-and-spicy chicken wings. They're all delicious, too! (We've tried them all.)

We asked Hip Chick Farms' Chef Jen a few questions about the business, and she even provided us with a couple of tasty recipes that utilize their products, both of which are perfect for a quick and easy lunch or after school snack.

What was your inspiration for starting Hip Chick Farms?

I began my career working with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley. It was there that I became passionate about creating food that incorporates only the freshest, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. It was actually my work in Ann and Gordon Getty’s kitchen as their personal chef that motivated me to share my recipes with the world. Part of my job included cooking meals for all the children attending the school in the Gettys' home. My cooking became a pretty big hit with all of the kids – particularly my chicken fingers. This became the inspiration for our Hip Chick Farms’ line of artisan, transparently sourced frozen poultry products; convenient for busy families. Our chicken products contain no artificial ingredients; it’s like I’m in your kitchen, making it for you fresh.

What makes your product different from the others available out there?

What’s Important to You in Maternity Care and Childbirth

September 11, 2016

Mom and new baby in hospital Marin Mommies presents a guest article from Sheri Matteo, CNM, Director of Midwifery at Prima Medical Group, who is conducting a survey about maternity care in Marin.

I am a Certified Nurse Midwife working in Marin. I am also a mom of two, living and raising a family in this beautiful county.

For the next 18 months, I have the good fortune of working with the California Health Care Foundation as a Fellow in their Leadership Program. As part of my work with CHCF, I am interested in hearing your thoughts about maternity care, what affects your healthcare decisions, what is working well in maternity care and what is lacking.

Please take a moment to answer a brief, anonymous survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QQTVYG8.

Women who are pregnant or are contemplating pregnancy, women who have already had a baby, partners, and other family members are all welcome to participate.

Fall Family Fun Runs in Marin and the Bay Area

September 10, 2016

Marin Turkey Trot
Work up an appetite for Thanksgiving dinner at the Marin Turkey Trot on November 24.

Running is a fantastic way for the whole family to get outside, get fit together, and enjoy the beauty of the Bay Area. Families have plenty of opportunities to race together in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area this fall, from family fun runs and walks to cross-country half-marathons! There's something for every fitness and experience level.

September

Clo-Cow Half Marathon

Sunday, September 18
Downtown Petaluma

The 6th running of the Clo-Cow Half Marathon & 5K is set for September 18, 2016 in Historic Downtown Petaluma. This beautiful half-marathon course takes you through rural Sonoma County farm country, over rolling hills where you'll be cheered on by sheep, horses, and of course cows! The trip out there is a challenging one, but the inclines just make the views even more rewarding! Find event details and registration here.

October

Marin Color 5K

Saturday, October 1
Indian Valley College, Novato
A 5K walk, run, hop, skip, leap, mosey on a designated route. Along the way, participants go through stations where they are sprayed with colored powder. After the 5K, everyone will gather for a fun festival. Find event details and registration here.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for September 9, 10 & 11

September 9, 2016

Our go-to spot for family hikes and outdoor excurisions in Marin is the Bear Valley Visitor Center at Point Reyes National Seashore.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, September 9

  • Breakfast with Enzo
    Sports Basement, San Francisco Presidio
    Friday, 10 & 11 am
    Enzo Garcia plays guitar, banjo, accordion, musical saw, jew's harp, enzotar, appalachian dulcimer, slide flute, percussion and more. He has been performing and recording professionally for over fifteen years, the last ten of which he has spent in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recommended for children 7 and under. Drop in any time. Cost: $15 for one child & $10 per each additional child siblings under 7 months free. Lots of free parking too. For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • French Storytime (L'Heure du Conte)
    San Anselmo Library
    Friday, 11–11:30 am

    For children of all ages and their parent or caregiver. Talk, sing, read, and play together. Share books, stories, rhymes, music in French. No registration required. Parents/caregivers are expected to stay with children during all storytime sessions. Free. Location: 110 Tunstead Avenue, Council Chambers, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    The popular Picnics on the Plaza events feature music and family fun in downtown San Anselmo. Bring your picnic basket or buy food at the event. Sponsored by the San Anselmo Economic Development Committee. Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights at the de Young
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 5–8:45 pm

    Friday Nights at the de Young are after-hours art happenings that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. The café offers a delicious prix-fixe menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. This Friday: Everything and Nothing. For more info, visit their website.
  • Parents' Night Out
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–10 pm

    Drop off the kids and enjoy a night out! While you relax, the kids will be having fun with the Marinwood staff. Games, park time, arts and crafts, dinner and a movie at the end of the night! Activities include a toy room, dodgeball or just hanging out. Cost: $23 per child. Register here. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Stars & Blankets Movie Night
    Nicasio Square Ball Field
    Friday, 6:30 pm

    Bring the family for a picnic and movie at Nicasio Square Ball Field. Enjoy the movie School of Rock on the big screen. Cost: $20 donation per family or $5 per person. There will be a snack shack open with hot dogs, popcorn, drinks and more. Make sure to bring your picnic blankets. Call (415) 237-3218 with questions. For more info, visit their Facebook page.

Saturday, September 10

  • Farmers' Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Shop for great local food and have fun at Marin Country Mart. Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10:30 am–2 pm adjacent to the farmer's market. Arts and crafts and face painting for kids from 9 am–2 pm and kid's entertainment from 9:30–10:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Program: Young Naturalists
    UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley
    Saturday, 10–11 am

    Learn to identify some key California native plants and create your own field guide journal. This engaging walk and hands-on workshop is perfect for children ages 6 and up and their accompanying adults. Take what you learned on your next hike or outdoor adventure! Children must be accompanied by a paid adult chaperone. Wear appropriate clothes for dirt paths and sitting on the ground.  $15, $10 members. Register online, by calling (510) 664-9841, or by emailing gardenprograms@berkeley.edu. For more info, visit their website.
  • Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival
    Johnson's Beach, Guerneville
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    The Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival returns to Johnson's Beach in Guerneville with a lineup including Keb Mo', Sheila E., Chaka Khan, and Jonny Lang. Enjoy an international food court and water activities, too. Kids tickets available, and ages 5 and under are admitted free. For more info, visit their website.
  • A Year With Frog & Toad
    The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Downtown Berkeley
    Saturday & Sunday, 10:30 am and 1:30 pm
    The Tony Award-nominated musical, based on Arnold Lobel's beloved stories, is back in Berkeley at a new venue! Come celebrate friendship in glorious song, as our heroes, Frog and Toad, hop through a season of comic adventures with their animal friends. Recommended for age 3 and up. This performance runs 65 minutes with no intermission. Purchase tickets here. Location: 2025 Addison Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: All Hands on Deck for Cute Crustaceans
    Presidio Officers’ Club
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–6 pm

    Drop in for imaginative craft-making based on the Presidio’s natural and cultural heritage. Featuring different crafts every weekend. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Pershing Square (across from the Presidio Officers' Club), San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Pixie Park Open House
    Marin Art & Garden Center, Ross
    Saturday, 10:30 am–noon

    Open Houses are a great way to learn about the history of Pixie Park and what it means to belong to this co-op playground. The new member open house is conducted in a casual environment where you can speak to a board member about the benefits and responsibilities of being a Pixie family, as well as ask questions and meet other prospective families. After learning about the park, interested families can sign-up and receive their key. Location: 30 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Ross. For more info, visit their website.
  • Cartoonist: Svetlana Chmakova
    Charles Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa
    Saturday, 1–3 pm

    Meet, watch, and talk to internationally published, award-winning manga author Svetlana Chmakova. Chmakova was recently nominated for an Eisner award for her graphic novel, Awkward, which has been honored as one of the Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2015 by School Library Journal as well as one of the Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens 2016 by YALSA. Museum admisson applies. Location: 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival 2016
    San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, noon–5 pm

    Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is excited to invite you to the annual, two-day chocolate celebration that has transformed into a true San Francisco staple. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival hosts over 50 vendors, culinary demos by top dessert professionals, a silent auction, and the popular Chocolate & Wine Pavilion. The best part? 100% of the profits from this event are donated to San Francisco non-profit, Project Open Hand. For more info or to purchase tickets, visit their website.
  • Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China
    Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley
    Saturday, 2 pm & 8 pm

    Among its country's most celebrated troupes, the Shanghai Acrobats of the People's Republic of China dazzle with a vivid new spectacle that celebrates their colorful, kinetic hometown. Expect daring stunts like giant trampoline somersaults, hoop-diving dragons, aerial silk ribbon dances, juggling, and a signature gravity-defying jumping routine that has earned the acrobats a Guinness World Record. Family friendly; ages 16 and under half price! Tickets starting at $30. Purchase tickets he e.
  • Free Shakespeare in the Park: The Winter's Tale
    Presidio, San Francisco
    Saturday, 2–4 pm
    Bring a picnic and your family to the Free Shakespeare in the Park production of The Winter's Tale featuring a cast of the Bay Area's best actors, including six of SF Shakes' Resident Artists. Location: Presidio’s Main Post Parade Ground Lawn in San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.

Easy Gravenstein Apple Dumplings

September 9, 2016

Apple dumplings

With all the apple picking we do in the late summer and fall, I find myself looking for apple related recipes of all kinds. This is one of my family's favorites: old fashioned apple dumplings. They're basically peeled and cored whole apples stuffed with butter, sugar, and cinnamon, wrapped in pie dough, and drizzled with a syrup that turns into a gooey caramel in the oven. This is a perfect dessert for upcoming cool fall evenings, and it makes the house smell wonderful when it bakes.

You can make these using your own favorite pie dough recipe, but I usually opt to save some time and effort and use the frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe's. They're really very good and as far as I can tell are indistinguishable from homemade!

Family Fun Under the Redwoods at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival

September 8, 2016

Blue Fairy at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival

On September 17 and 18, artists from around the country will gather beneath the redwoods at historic Old Mill Park for the 60th annual Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival. This popular family-friendly festival features the work of over 140 artists, great live music, and kids' entertainment ranging from puppet shows and magic to sing-alongs and storytelling. It all makes for a magical weekend under the trees!

The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Family entertainment, emceed by the Blue Fairy, includes performances by the Fratello Marionettes; magic with Brian Scott and the Wizard of Ahs; storytelling by Scott the Storyteller; drumming with Mike; and music by Singers Marin, Dave Fromer, Octopretzel and the PAAM singers. Performers on the main music stage include Aaron Redner, Chelle's Juke Joint, Yacht Club of Paris, Faust & Fox, and Deep Blue Jam. Check their website for a complete entertainment schedule.

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