Meet the Midwives of Marin

March 15, 2015

Midwives of MarinMoms-to-be planning to deliver their babies at Marin General Hospital can take advantage of the hospital's and Prima Medical Group's Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) for prenatal, labor and delivery, and postnatal care.

A midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in pregnancy and delivery in low-risk, healthy women. The midwives at Marin General Hospital are all registered nurses with a MA in nursing or public health and are certified through the American College of Nurse-Midwives, which works in conjunction with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Marin General Hospital is in fact the only hospital in Marin or San Francisco that offers midwife services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The 2015 Marin Summer Activities & Camp Fair takes Place Today

March 15, 2015

Marin Summer Activities & Camp FairIf you're trying to make a decision on the perfect summer camp for your kids, save the date for the upcoming Marin Summer Activities & Camp Fair, which takes place today Sunday, March 15 from 10 am to 1 pm at Conlan Center Gymnasium at the Dominican University of California in San Rafael.

As in years past the Marin Summer Activities & Camp Fair will offer plenty of fun for everyone, with free pizza, fun prizes for kids, and a bounce house, as well as representatives from dozens of summer camps. This year the fair is expanding to include other summer options like tutoring and activities, too! Older campers in middle school and high school are encouraged to attend as well.

Easy and Delicious Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick's Day

March 14, 2015

Slow-cooker corned beef and cabbageSt. Patrick's Day is coming up, and for many that means it's time to cook that quintessential Irish-American dish: corned beef and cabbage. Corned beef—usually a tough cut of meat like brisket or round—requires long, slow, cooking over low heat to make it tender, so it's the perfect candidate for preparing in your slow cooker.

Start your corned beef in the slow cooker early in the day; there's a minimal amount of preparation involved. Some recipes call for adding most of the vegetables at the same time, but I think they turn out a bit overcooked. Instead, add them to the pot during the last two hours of cooking.

With the proliferation of vegetables cooked with the meat, there's something here for everyone in the family. Serve your corned beef accompanied by grainy mustard, horseradish sauce*, and gravy** made from the cooking liquid. Also, when it comes to corned beef, bigger is better. Much of the weight of the meat is water, and it shrinks in size during cooking, so budget about one pound of meat per diner for a generous serving and leftovers (think corned beef sandwiches… mmm…). This recipe serves about 4 people, depending on how hungry everybody is.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for March 13, 14 & 15

March 14, 2015
Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve
Explore Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve near Tiburon this weekend for spring wildflowers, amazing views, and wildlife.

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, March 13

  • 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. Recommended for children 7 and under. Drop in any time. Cost: $7 per person; siblings under 7 months free. For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • Free Spring Concert Series: The McNulty Trio
    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 some traditional Irish music in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Location: 901 Sherman Ave in Downtown Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mary Poppins: The Musical
    San Rafael Community Center
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday, 1 pm & Sunday, 3 pm

    Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren't the only ones she has a profound effect upon. Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that "Anything can happen if you let it." and all irreverent fun for everyone! Tickets: $20. Purchase tickets here. Location: 618 B Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, March 14

  • Free Day at the Exploratorium
    San Francisco
    Friday, 10 am–5 pm

    Five annual free days are just one way the Exploratorium remains accessible to everyone, regardless of a person’s ability to pay the cost of admission. This time celebrate Pi Day (3.14) with free admission. Location: Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green St), San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 528-4444 or visit their website.
  • Ocean Exploration Family Farm Day
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday, 10 am–2 pm

    Enjoy ocean-themed activities and a hike to the tide pools. The low tide will reveal sea stars, anemones, and many other marine creatures for you to discover. Each family will receive a free copy of the book, Exploring Low Tide in Northern California. Cost: $25 per person; kids age 2 and under are free. Location: Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway), Muir Beach. For more info, call (415) 381-6155 or visit their website.
  • Kids Cooking Class: Pancake Party
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    Stir up some delicious fun at the next class at the 52 New Foods series! Let’s have a pancake party! We’ll make the batter and flip some flapjacks. You can personalize yours with some good-for-you foods like walnuts, coconut, and flax. We’ll also teach you how to make a hazelnut-chocolate spread, to top everything off. Suitable for ages 5–13. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Roll at Rush Creek
    Rush Creek Preserve, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Families can come join Ranger Ian McLorg for a morning ride along the marsh at Rush Creek Preserve. This activity is moderate. Don’t forget to bring water and your bike. We'll provide healthy snacks. Location: Meet at the Pinheiro Fire Road gate off Binford Road. For more info, visit their website.
  • Open House: Bouverie Preserve
    Glen Ellen
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Hike the trails, learn from docents and enjoy the 500-acre preserve in the Valley of the Moon. Location: 13935 Sonoma Hwy, Glen Ellen.  For more info,call (707) 938-4554 or visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Corncob Pencil Holders
    Presidio Officers' Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm

    Swing by the Presidio Officers’ Club to make your own corn-y pencil holder. Best for kids aged 5 to 12 years. Drop-in anytime between 11 am and 4 pm. Free. Read about our visit to the Officers' Club here. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Storytime: Mustache Baby!
    Barnes & Noble, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 11–11:45 am

    Come to Barnes & Noble for this special, fun-filled storytime featuring Mustache Baby (aka Baby Billy). Activities to follow. Location: 313 Corte Madera Town Center. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco's 164th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival
    Civic Center Plaza
    Saturday, 11:30 am–5 pm

    The colorful festivities and parade will showcase Irish culture through live performance and entertainment, arts and crafts exhibitors, food and beverage concessions, and children's rides and inflatables. The parade begins at 11:30 am at the corner of Second and Market Streets, where more than 5,000 participants from all over the USA will work their way City Hall. For more info, visit their website.

Cloth and Compostable Diaper Services in Marin

March 12, 2015

compostable diapers earthbabyWhen you have a new baby, one of the big questions that comes up is "do we use cloth or disposable diapers?" We all know that disposables are easy and relatively inexpensive, but they aren't exactly ecologically friendly, filling up landfills at a record rate. Cloth diapers have been around for ages, and many parents swear by them. They're ecologically sound, convenient, and comfy for baby. In addition to their eco-friendliness, cloth diapers also result in earlier potty training for children who wear them.

Another recent earth-friendly innovation is the compostable diaper. Wet diapers made of compostable materials can be placed in your home compost container to break down with the rest of your compostable waste. (Not the poopy ones, though; see below for more info).

Regardless of which route they choose, new parents in Marin County who choose not to go the disposable route have a few options to choose from.

Fine Art Summer Camps in Marin and San Francisco

March 11, 2015

fine art camp marinWhile many summer camps in Marin offer arts and crafts activities in their programs, you'll find a few that specialize specifically in art. Here's a list of specialized fine art camps in Marin and San Francisco for your budding Rembrandt or Georgia O'Keeffe. Some of the camps are actually held by museums! To find more fantastic camps, visit our 2015 Marin Summer Camp Guide. Popular camps can sell out early, so reserve your spot as soon as possible!

  • Studio 4 Art's Fine Art Camps take place at their studio in downtown Novato, where professional artists introduce campers to new and contemporary art techniques, procedures and processes. Some of the topics taught will be wheel throwing, cartooning, mosaics, sewing, fashion design, sculpture, pottery, acrylic painting, watercolor painting, oil painting, printmaking, photography, and pastels. Camps take place from 9:30 am until 12:30 or 3:30 pm, and cost from $255–$435 per week or $65–$105 daily drop-in (if space available). For more info visit www.studio4art.net or (415) 596-5546

Farm Day 2015 Comes to Marin Center

March 10, 2015

Marin Farm Day 2015Celebrate all things agricultural on Thursday, March 19 from 9 am to noon at the 2015 Marin Farm Day at the Marin County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in San Rafael. This free event, celebrating its 31st year, provides hands-on educational experiences outside the classroom for kids of all ages.

Families and children can meet farm animals, including cows, horses and ponies, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, and more, and experience interactive exhibition on agriculture, health, animals, gardens, seed planting, spinning and weaving, gardening, and environmental education from a variety of Northern California ranchers, growers, producers, and educators. Participants also include local 4H clubs.

Many of the exhibits and presentations are specifically focused on children ages 3 through 12, but all ages are welcome. Come have fun and learn about the importance of agriculture and farming in Marin County. There will also be elementary school essay, art, and quilt contests, with awards sponsored by various business donors.

Indoor Drop-in Activities for the Little Ones for Marin & Beyond

March 10, 2015

Indoor playLooking for fun indoor play spaces for the little ones? There are several places to take the kids to get them out of the house and burn off all that extra energy, especially on a cold day. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor drop-in activites in Marin County and beyond:

Fairfax

  • Pavilion Playgroup (ages 0-5)
    Fairfax Pavilion
    142 Bolinas Road

    This group happens end of November through April each year on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30am -12:30 pm. Indoor playtime during the soggy season! Join other moms, dads and kids at the charming red building on the hill. Children/infant to 5 years enjoy playing with toys, riding scooters and climbing on a variety of soft blocks and mats. Parents enjoy mingling, playing and drinking fresh coffee and tea. Cost: $6 per child per visit or $50 for a 10 visit punch card. For more info, visit their website.

Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie for St. Patrick's Day

March 9, 2015

Shepherd's pieWith St. Patrick's Day coming up next week, my kids have been asking me to make Irish food for dinner. Since corned beef and cabbage is not exactly something you throw together after school, I've been trying other appropriate dishes from the British Isles, like this rib-sticking, easy-to-make, and kid-friendly shepherd's pie. It's essentially a beef-and-vegetable stew topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven until golden brown. I topped this version with a little grated Irish white cheddar cheese for a bit more authenticity.

This pub-grub favorite is more correctly known as "cottage pie", since it's made with ground beef instead of leftover roast lamb, but it's delicious no matter what it's called. I always try to bulk up the stew part with extra vegetables to make it a one-dish meal. My kids love this and even my picky-eater daughter asks for a second helping. Feel free to substitute ground turkey or ground lamb for the ground beef. You can also use chopped leftover roast beef or lamb in the filling.

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