Wine Country Family Fun at Cornerstone Sonoma

April 13, 2015

Cornerstone SonomaOne of our must-visit Wine Country family destinations is Cornerstone Sonoma. It's a fun, family-friendly place to explore, play, and take in the beauty of their six acres of gardens and art installations. You can shop, dine, and wine taste here, too. We always make a point of visiting whenever we head up to the Wine Country. It's constantly changing, and there's always something new to see. Best of all, admission to the gardens is free!

You'll find Cornerstone just outside the town of Sonoma, across from the Gloria Ferrer winery on Highway 121, so it's easy to get to. Look for the long white picket fence and Big Blue Chair on your right as you head towards Sonoma, and you'll know you're there.

A Family That Eats Together: Rocket Pesto with Linguine

April 13, 2015

Rocket 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.

Did you know that many countries around the world call arugula "rocket"? Well, that is how I sold this dish to my son. "Rocket Pasta"—he loved the name and the dish. I use baby arugula, which is peppery like its relatives but sweeter in taste. Using walnuts tones down the peppery flavor and makes it smooth like a more traditional basil pesto. Your whole family will be surprised at just how good this quick and easy recipe really is.

Serves: 4–6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


10 Fun Family Outing Ideas for Spring Break

April 13, 2015

Drum bridge at Japanese Tea GardenWhat are you doing on your time off from school next week? Here are a few of our picks for fun things to do with the family around Marin County, the Bay Area, and Northern California during Spring Break. Enjoy!

Marin Parents Place Helps New Parents Embrace the Monumental Changes in Their Lives

April 12, 2015

infant yawningParents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. They offer a wide variety of programs and classes for parents and children throughout the year. Here is a guest article by Rebecca Wood Breen, LCSW, Parents Place Coordinator, Marin County.

You are expecting a new baby, or your precious bundle of joy has just arrived. Congratulations! You must be over the moon.

But beyond euphoria, you may be experiencing many other feelings—fatigue, fear, confusion, and a sense of being overwhelmed—all mixed in with the excitement of your firstborn (or second, third, or fourth child!).

Not to worry. All of these feelings are common and understandable. There are also many techniques and tips available to help you and your spouse or partner manage the new changes in your and your baby’s life.

At Parents Place in San Rafael, we offer many services and programs to help you adjust to the monumental change that has occurred in your life: your new son or daughter! Here are a number of our offerings that will smooth your way:

  • A New Mom Discussion Group. Join other new mothers to discuss the joys and challenges of becoming a mom, make new friends, and network. We will discuss both practical and emotional issues of parenting, including breast and/or bottle-feeding; changing relationships with friends, family, and partner; helping your baby sleep through the night; and taking care of yourself. Babies welcome. With Rebecca Breen, LCSW.  Four-week series. Free, but preregistration required. Wednesdays, Apr. 22 – May 13.

The Week of the Young Child in Marin!

April 11, 2015

week of the young child flier imageThis coming week, April 12-18, 2015, has been declared “Week of the Young Child” by the County of Marin Board of Supervisors! Join the County, along with the Marin Child Care Council, in a week of fun to recognize how important early childhood education and great teachers are to everyone.

The week kicks off on Sunday, April 12 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito with a celebration jam-packed with fun literacy, math, and science school readiness activities for little ones. A variety of community partners from throughout Marin and the Bay Area, including UCSF, the California Highway Patrol, First 5 Marin, and the Marin County Free Library, will be on hand to discuss everything from car seat safety to new parent education. Free medical screenings will be provided, too.

Later in the week, families are encouraged to partake in a variety of fun themed activities, including Music Monday, Taco Tuesday, and Work Together Wednesday. On Friday, “Wee Read” will feature local legislators visiting preschools to spend time and read stories.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for April 10, 11 & 12

April 10, 2015
Audubon Canyon Ranch
Take a guided nature hike at Audubon Canyon Ranch's Martin Griffin Preserve in Stinson Beach.

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 throughout the Bay Area in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, April 10

  • Free Spring Concert Series
    Downtown Novato, City Hall
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Bring the entire family to Novato's Downtown City Hall for the free spring concert series featuring the music of Tom Rhodes (Americana). Location: 901 Sherman Ave in Downtown Novato. This Friday, American by Tom Rhodes. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Kenard Pak
    DIESEL, A Bookstore in Larkspur
    Friday, 6–6:30 pm
    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Illustrator Kenard Pak will be here to read you a bedtime story. Get cozy in front of the fireplace, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies, get your books signed, and then head home for bed. Location: Marin Country Mart, 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Night Jazz
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Enjoy live music on Fridays in the Marin Country Mart courtyard! This Friday, Grammy Award Winning Violinist Mads Tolling showcases his flying bow and creatively nimble improvisation and his eclectic arrangements. . For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, April 11

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 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) and kid's storytelling, 9:30–10:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sausalito City Wide Yard Sale
    MLK Parking Lot in Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Come by and see what awesome items you might find. Admission is free. Over 80 different booths! Location: 610 Coloma Street, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.

Strawberry Shortcake Is a True Taste of Springtime

April 10, 2015

Strawberry ShortcakeOne of the best things about spring is knowing that you can get fresh, sweet, locally grown organic strawberries at the farmer's market or grocery store. To celebrate, we love to make this easy and delicious strawberry shortcake dessert. This simple combination of lightly sweet shortcake, fresh strawberries, and vanilla flavored whipped cream is a hit with just about everyone, and is suitable for every occasion, from a fancy Easter dinner to a kids' tea party.

These shortcakes are kind of like sweet (but not too sweet) buttermilk drop biscuits, and don't take very long to put together. If you're really in a hurry, you can use whipped cream from a can, but it doesn't take too much time or effort to make some fresh whipped cream with your electric mixer, and it tastes so much better, too.

You can make the shortcakes and whipped cream in advance and let diners assemble their own strawberry shortcake creations at the table, if you like. It's fun for both children and adults. Whipped cream keeps fine in the refrigerator for a few hours, and you can make it extra-thick and rich by putting it in a strainer over a bowl and letting some of the water drain out.

Spring is in Bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden

April 9, 2015

Japanese Tea Garden

San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden is a favorite spot for tourists in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, but it's also a great spot for local families. I've been visiting since I was a small child, and I've made sure that I introduced it to my children, too. Before I took them there, I had forgotten how magical this place is.

It's especially worth a visit at this time of year when the sakura, or flowering cherry trees, and azaleas are in full bloom. It's a magnificent and colorful spring sight that's really worth the effort to see. The kids love to explore the grounds and get some tea and a Japanese snack at the tea room.

Theater Summer Camps for Kids in Marin

April 7, 2015

Marin Shakespeare Camp If you have a young Shakespearean or budding Broadway musical star at home, why not hone their talents at one of the theater camps being offered this summer in Marin. Here's a list of camps that have a focus on acting and musical theater in Marin County.

Marin Shakespeare Company Summer Camps

Marin Shakespeare Company offers camps for kids ages 5 through teens at locations throughout Marin. The youngest campers can enjoy learning Shakespeare's Stories at the Belrose Theatre in San Rafael or the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross. Older kids ages participate in Young Company (ages 8–12) at Belrose Theatre, Marin Art and Garden Center or Terra Linda Rec Center or Tennis/Drama (ages 8–14) at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre and Marin Tennis Club in San Rafael. Teens can participate in a summer performance of Richard III. Fees range from $325 to $875. Sessions run from June 15 to August 14. For more info, visit

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