Great Summer Reads for Kids from Diesel Bookstore in Larkspur

May 17, 2016

Explorers of the WildMarin Mommies presents a guest article highlighting some fantastic summer reading selections from Clare Doornbos, the children's book expert at DIESEL bookstore in Larkspur. Diesel is located in Marin Country Mart at 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. Visit their website at or call them at (415) 785-8177.

School's almost out and summer is almost here! Your kids are booked into camp, the trip to Grandma's house is all planned out, and the beach is calling. Now you just need to get some books together. There are so many great books to choose from for toddlers to independent readers. You already know many of the classics, so Clare from Diesel bookstore in Larkspur has picked out some new books that will keep your kids reading all summer long.

Picture Books for ages 2–4

Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz
You all know that Old MacDonald has a farm, did you also know that he loves monster trucks? This super fun re-imagining of Old MacDonald has dynamic artwork and a range of construction vehicles, all working to transform the farm while the animals help out too.

Cool Off at Marin Community Pools 2016

May 17, 2016

Hamilton Pool Novato Marin County

Looking for a pool in Marin to keep cool on a warm spring or summer day? Here's our list of swimming pools throughout the county that are open to the public and offer drop-in recreational swim hours for families. In addition to daily drop-in fees, many of these pools offer season passes as well.

All schedules and drop-in fees are accurate at the time of publishing, but are subject to change and cancellation without notice. It always helps to give them a call to confirm hours and prices before you go. If you know of another local drop-in swim facility that you don't see in our roster here, please let us know and we'll add it to the list.


College of Marin Kentfield Campus Pool

Physical Education Facility
835 College Avenue, Kentfield
(415) 485-9578


Drop-in Fees
Adults $6, children and students $5, seniors 55+ $4. Cash and check only. Parking permits are required and can be purchased at a cost of $3 per day.

Mill Valley

Homestead Valley Community Association Pool

315 Montford Ave, Mill Valley
(415) 388-0137

Spring hours: April 16–June 12
Open swim Tuesday and Thursday, 4–6 pm, Wednesday and Friday 3-6 pm, and Saturday and Sunday noon–6 pm
Summer hours: June 13–August 14
Open swim Tuesday–Thursday, 1:30–6 pm; Friday, 1:30–7 pm; Saturday and Sunday noon–6 pm

Drop-in Fees:

Homestead residents: adults $8, seniors 65+ and children under 16 $7, babies under 2 free, non-swimmers in pool area $3
Non-residents: adults $10, seniors 65+ and children under 16 $9, babies under 2 free, non-swimmers in pool area $5

Hit the Trail at Indian Valley Open Space Preserve

May 16, 2016

Indian Valley Open Space PreserveOne of the great things about living in Marin is the amount of easily accessible open space. Almost everyone has at least one trailhead right around the corner, so there's no excuse not to take the family on an outdoor excursion whenever possible. One of the most popular areas for hiking, horseback riding, cycling, and more in northern Marin is Indian Valley Open Space Preserve in Novato.

Located adjacent to the College of Marin's Indian Valley Campus, this 885-acre preserve is criss-crossed by a wide variety of trails, most shaded by oaks and California bay laurels, making it a pleasant place to go for a hike on a hot day. During various times of the year you can find a waterfall, wildflowers, and peaceful Pacheco pond, which is often teeming with wildlife like toads, frogs, fish, and newts. It's a popular destination for school groups studying our ecosystem.

Sweet Charity Comes to the Throckmorton Theatre

May 16, 2016

Sweet Charity at 142 Throckmorton This week, Throckmorton Theatre and a cast of some of the Bay Area's most talented youth performers premiere their production of the Broadway classic musical Sweet Charity. Featuring memorable musical numbers like "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This," and "Big Spender," Sweet Charity is a bright and sophisticed show that tells the story of the eponymous heroine who wants to be loved so much she has lost sight of who she is.

Mill Valley resident Cate Hayman stars in the title role. She's a 2016 YoungArts winner for theater and has been accepted into prestigious threater programs at University of Michigan, Penn State, and Carnegie Mellon. Sweet Charity is directed and choreographed by Donna Cerio, with musical direction by Daniel Savio.

Performances of Sweet Charity take place on Friday, May 20 and 27 at 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22 at 1 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29 at 2 pm. General admission tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for students; reserved seating tickets are $35. Order tickets online at or by calling (415) 383-9600. The box office is also open Tuesday through Sunday, from 2 to 6 pm for in-person sales. Sweet Charity does include some mature themes, so parental guidance is suggested.

The 2016 Bay Area Homeschool Fair Takes Place Thursday, May 19

May 16, 2016

Bay Area Homeschool Fair Come see why homeschooling is a popular option for many Marin families at this year's Bay Area Homeschool Fair. It takes place this Thursday, May 19, 2016, at Golden Gate Learning Center in San Anselmo.

The fair starts at 4 pm with a choice of two workshops: "The Cycles of the Kitchen", with Lindy Woodard, MD of Pediatric Alternatives and "Maker Club", with Daniel Ezell, director at Golden Gate Learning Center. Fair tables, with a wide variety of local vendors and homeschooling organizations, open at 5 pm. At 6:30 pm, keynote speaker Blake Boles—author, adventurer, entrepreneur, and founder of Unschool Adventures—takes the stage. The event wraps up with a homeschooling roundtable at 8 pm, followed by a Q&A session.

In addition, there will be games, refreshments, a bookstore, and more. The Bay Area Homeschool Fair is open to the public and admission is free! The event is sponsored by Pediatric Alternatives and Marin Homeschoolers.

Homemade Pizza Night with Chef Daddy

May 16, 2016

homemade pizzaI know some people who say that pizza is one of those dishes that's always better when you dine out. I respectfully disagree! While that might be true for topping-laden old-school American pizza, we've been successfully making some pretty wonderful Italian-style pizzas right here at home. Unfortunately, we lack a wood-burning pizza oven in the backyard (someday…), but we get some good results in a regular home oven with a little preparation and a few tricks.

As for tomatoes, I often use good quality canned plum tomatoes pureed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a clove of garlic. If I have really good fresh tomatoes, I'll often just slice them thinly or puree them on their own. We're really looking forward to later on this summer when we can go and grab some fresh tomatoes straight out of the garden!

Pizza Dough

The refigerated pizza dough sold by Trader Joe's is actually very good, and we use it all the time, especially if we want to make pizza on the spur of the moment. Making your own pizza crust isn't all that challenging, though, so if you have the time, go for it! The results are usually quite good, and you can even freeze extra dough to use later.

To make pizza dough you'll need:

Free Summer Outdoor Concerts in Marin 2016

May 15, 2016

One of my favorite things about summer are the free outdoor concerts that take place throughout Marin. There's something about the warm weather and the long days that make events like these really special. From Novato to Sausalito, there's something for every family!

Pack a picnic and your folding chairs and check out a free summer concert near you. Here's our list of events taking place this summer. If we've missed your favorite, please let us know.


  • Belvedere Concerts in the Park Summer Series
    Belvedere Community Park
    Sundays, 4 pm

    June 19, July 17, August 14 & September 4
    The Concerts-in-the-Park Committee presents four fabulous and free Sunday afternoon concerts for your enjoyment this summer. Bring a blanket, a picnic, your family and friends, and have a great time. For complete list of entertainment, visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for May 13, 14 & 15

May 13, 2016
Pixie Park
Family fun awaits at Pixie Park's Spring Fair this Sunday at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross.

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, May 13

  • Opening Day: Hamilton Community Pool
    Friday, 11 am–6 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 10:30 am–6 pm

    Celebrate the opening day at Hamilton Pool in Novato. This community pool offers a kiddie pool with slide and play equipment, as well as a BBQ and picnic area. Daily drop in admission is $4 for Novato resident children ages 1–15 and $5 for Novato resident adults 16+ with photo ID; non-residents $7 for children and $9 for adults. Location: 203 El Bonito Road. For more info, call (415) 883-7126 or visit their website.
  • Friday Fun Days!
    South Novato Library Parking Lot
    Friday, 10–11 am
    Enjoy an afternoon of fun with the family at the South Novato Library. Whether it’s story, art, music or science, this drop-in program promises to be packed with fun! For All Ages.  Location: 931 C Street, Hamiliton, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party
    DIESEL, A Bookstore in Larkspur
    Friday, 6–7 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Bob Barner author/illustrator of Sea Bones will be here to read you a bedtime story and help you to make collage art of your own. Get cozy, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies and get your books signed before you head home for bed. Location: Marin Country Mart, 2419 Larskspur Landing Circle. For more info, visit their website.
  • Del Mar PTA Presents: High School Musical
    Del Mar Middle School, Tiburon

    Friday & Saturday, 6:30 pm
    Join the students of Del Mar as they present this year's play, High School Musical. Tickets: $12. Doors open at 6 pm. Open Seating. Limited sales at the box office starting at 5:30 pm each evening. Purchase advance tickets here. Location: 105 Avenida Miraflores, Tiburon. For more info, visit their website.
  • Disney's The Little Mermaid
    Spreckels Center for the Peforming Arts, Rohnert Park
    Friday & Saturday, 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 1 pm

    Take an enchanting trip under the sea with everyone's favorite mermaid princess and her crabby sidekick Sebastian, as they battle the evil sea witch Ursula and win the heart of the human prince Eric. Based on the animated Disney film and the hit Broadway musical. Tickets: $16–26. Location: 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. For more info and tickets, visit their website.
  • Fiddler on the Roof
    The Playhouse in San Anselmo

    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm, Sunday, 2 pm
    The Stapleton Theatre Company presents Fiddler on the Roof. Kid-friendly. Tickets: $22 adults, student $16. Purchase tickets here. For more information, visit their website.

Saturday, May 14

  • Tour of Novato and Community Fair
    Novato City Hall
    Saturday, 6:30 am–2 pm

    This Saturday, bike riders from the Novato community ride to support local schools. Day-of registration begins at 6:30 am. Community Fair and Student Showcase begins at 10 am and runs through 2 pm, with face painting, crafts, bicycle safety rodeo, carnival games and prizes, free books for kids of all ages, and more. Admission to the Community Fair is free. Location, Novato City Hall, Sherman Avenue (at Grant). For more info or to register online, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    This Saturday, special performance by Sing-Marin from 1-6 pm. Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings! Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), try out some arts and crafts (9 am–2 pm), Emily Butterfly Puppet Show 9:30. For more info, visit their website.
  • STEM Superhero Series
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Saturday, 9 am–5 pm

    Get ready for some serious fun! The BADM's new STEM Superhero Series invites young visitors to use their STEM superpowers to solve real world challenges. All STEM Superheroes will receive capes to adorn with badges earned at each event; attend all four to complete the mission! Events include special facilitated programs for all ages and performances, all free with admission. This Saturday: "Code Our Future: Super Solving with Robots." Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Fort Baker, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • St. Anselm Festival of Fun
    St. Anselm's School, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 10 am–8 pm

    This free family fun festival offers over 25 attractions, including carnival rides, prize games, music and entertainment, face painting, jumpy houses and slides, and more. Food and drink available for purchase. Admission is free, but tickets must be purchased for rides and games. Location: 40 Belle Avenue, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Living History Day
    Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    All are invited to meet the vaqueros, traders, cooks, crafts men and women, plus others who lived in Old California. Have fun learning basket weaving, candle making techniques, dances from the rancho, and playing games. Bring a picnic and watch history come alive! Admission: $3 adults, $2 children 6–16. Location: 3325 Adobe Road, Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Kids Cooking Class: We Love Tacos!
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    If you love tacos as much as we do, this is the class for you! There’s no end to the amazing fillings you can make—and then you can top your taco with whatever you please, be it sour cream, a yummy salsa or a squeeze of lime juice. Then dig in! Suitable for ages 8–13.  Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sunset Celebration Weekend
    Cornerstone Sonoma
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm

    Sunset is hosting its 2016 Celebration Weekend at Cornerstone Sonoma. Tour the debut of Sunset’s Test Gardens and new Outdoor Test Kitchen; mingle with writers and celebrity chefs; attend seminars on home, travel, food, and garden; enjoy fine food, wine, and shopping.  Kids 12 and under are free on Saturday with a paid adult.  Purchase tickets here. Location: 23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Patchwork Series Children's Show: Octopretzel
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Saturday, 11 am

    In a show as exuberant as their whimsical name, Octopretzel returns to the Freight stage to share exciting new material! For the past year, they've been working on a new album for release this spring. "Inspiraled" brings together new fun, engaging and creative songs that range in themes from stars, animals, imagination, different instruments, and lots more. Admission: $10 advance, $12 at the door. Doors open at 10:45 am. Location: 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley. For more info, call (510) 644-2020 or visit their website.

Insider's Guide to the 2016 Mountain Play: West Side Story

May 13, 2016

Mountain Play West Side Story 2016

One of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theatre experience high on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for over a century! This year's 103rd Mountain Play production is the Tony award winning musical West Side Story. Based on Shakespeare's play about two star-crossed young lovers, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story features unforgettable songs by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and was made famous by its Oscar-winning 1961 film version. It all makes for fantastic family entertainment in the spectacular setting of Mt. Tam!

Featuring athletic choreography and one of the most beautiful scores in musical theatre history, West Side Story is directed by Jay Manley and stars Mindy Lym as Maria, Jerry Lee as Tony, Erica Lamkin as Anita, David Crane as Bernardo, and Zachary Isen as Riff. Musical direction is by David Möschler and choreography by Nicole Helfer.

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