Summer Sports Camps in Marin County

April 7, 2014

Summer Sports Camp in MarinMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from the National Academy of Athletics, which offers over 40 fun sports camps throughout Marin County this summer. Find out more at

Everyone has their favorite summer camps, but let me share with you a resource that we are very lucky to have, right here in Marin County.

Aaron Locks—who grew up in Mill Valley, played at Tam High and went on to play college basketball in Oregon—is the founder and CEO of the National Academy of Athletics. Aaron worked directly with John Wooden, Rick Barry, George Karl, Pat Riley, Don Nelson and others as he formulated his expertise through 27 years of developing and coaching sports camps for kids. “Our camps provide a great way for kids ages 6-9 and 10-13, to fall in love with team sports. Through our camps, boys and girls can learn the fundamental skillsets needed to play their favorite sport, and they can do it simply by having fun.” Many Marin County parents have found that these camps not only send their kids home happy and tired, but also better, more confident players of the sport in which they choose to participate.

We all know that there is tons of documented proof that shows how kids’ involvement in sports, especially team sports, contributes to their overall success in life. Here are Aaron Locks’, top 5 reasons why you should get your child involved in sports:

A Family That Eats Together: Butternut Squash Risotto

April 7, 2014

butternut squash risottoMarin 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.

Finding Butternut Squash puree in the freezer section at the grocery store last week was like finding gold. I don’t know why I never knew about it but, boy am I happy I found it.

In our house butternut squash might be one of the most adored veggies. We love it in ravioli, pasta, soups, and alone as a side dish. One of our favorite comfort foods is risotto and I am always looking for ways to make it as healthy as possible so when I found the butternut squash puree in the freezer section, I knew exactly what to do with it.

Serves: 6
Prep time:
5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice

The 2014 Marin County Fair Wants Your Entries!

April 6, 2014

Marin County FairAlthough the Marin County Fair doesn't take place until this summer, now is the time to start thinking about your entries for the fair's many competitions. The deadline for entry to all competitions is on or before Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 5 pm.

Children ages 5–18 can enter any number of Junior Division competitions, including arts and crafts, hobbies, cartoon art, performing arts, photography, and creative writing, not to mention traditional preserved food, horticulture, and floral categories. Do you have a prize-winning cow, goat, or chicken in the backyard? Kids can enter all sorts of livestock in the fair.

Don't have a farm animal? Don't worry—kids can also enter their furry friends in the Guinea Pig, Rabbit, or Pocket Pet (mice, rats, hamsters, turtles, and other critters) competitions.

This year the Marin County Fair theme is "The Happiest Fair on Earth," inspired by the magic of Disneyland, the whimsical Children's Fairyland in Oakland, and the Marin Art and Garden Fair in Ross. The 2014 Marin County Fair takes place July 2–6 at the Marin County Fairgrounds near the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael.

Family Fun at Marin County Beaches

April 5, 2014

Chicken Ranch BeachMy family loves to go to the beach, and there are plenty of places to do this in and around Marin. While many of the beaches along the Pacific Ocean are unsuitable for swimming, there are also many beaches that are ideal spots for swimming, wading, and splashing in the water, especially on warm spring, summer, and fall days. Here are some of our favorites. Click on the links for more info.

Abbotts Lagoon Beach

A one-and-a-half mile hike takes you over bridges and sand dunes to this beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. It's home to many shorebirds, including the endangered snowy plover. A great beach for playing in the sand, but not for swimming due to dangerous surf and rip currents.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for April 4, 5 & 6

April 4, 2014
Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve
Take a wildflower hike at Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve this weekend.

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 4

  • Easter Bunny Photos
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday & Saturday, noon–8 pm and Sunday 11 am–6 pm
    While your kids are waiting for the big day, they can visit the Easter Bunny and have their picture taken with him at his whimsical spring house at Northgate in Terra Linda. He'll be at the Macy's wing starting on April 4. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights at the de Young
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 5–8:45 pm
    This Friday, the de Young hosts the ninth annual preview of Discarded to Divine with St. Vincent de Paul, live kora music with Keenan Weber, and hands-on art making for everyone. Programs are free; admission applies for galleries and special exhibitions. For more information, call (415) 750-3600 or visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Kathryn Otoshi
    DIESEL Bookstore, Larkspur
    Friday, 6–6:30 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author Kathryn Otoshi 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. Kathryn Otoshi is a cat lover and the award-winning author and illustrator of Zero and One, which won ten awards, including the E.B. White Read Aloud Honor, the Young Voices Foundation Award, and the Teachers' Choice Award. Location: Marin Country Mart, 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. For more info, visit their wesbite.

Saturday, April 5

  • Museums on Us
    Various Locations
    Saturday & Sunday
    Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holders get free general admission on the first full weekend of every month. Present your card and a photo ID for admission (one free general admission per cardholder). Get full details here. Participating museums include the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Chabot Space & Science Center.
  • 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

    With over 90 different booths to browse through, the Sausalito City Wide Yard sale is truly a fun place to come and find some useful home items, gifts or secret treasures! Admission is free. The Sausalito Dog Park will be selling hot yummy food items to raise money for the park and there will be coffee donated by our local Starbucks in the morning so come early! Location: 610 Coloma Street, Sausaltio. For more info, visit their website.
  • Santa Venetia Stroll
    Santa Venetia Marsh, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    This is a Healthy Parks, Healthy People event. Come join Ranger Felicity Hartnett for a stroll around beautiful Santa Venetia Marsh. This low-intensity one-mile hike is a great introduction to exercise for all ages. Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water. Questions: contact Ranger Felicity Hartnett at (415) 473-2816. Meet at the Vendola Drive entrance (across from the old McPhails School). For more info, visit their website.
  • The Pigeon Needs a Bath! Storytime
    Barnes & Noble, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 11 am

    It's bath time and Pigeon won't go willingly! Join us April 5 at 11:00 am for a reading of The Pigeon Needs a Bath!, followed by more stories and pigeon activities. Free special event. Location: 313 Corte Madera Town Center. For more info, call (415) 927-9016 or visit their website.

April Classes and Programs at Parents Place Marin

April 3, 2014

Parent Place MarinParents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. This spring, they offer a wide variety of programs, from childbirth education to classes for parents and children. Here are a few of the programs they offer starting in April:

Infant and Child CPR

Learn to recognize an infant or child in distress, rescue measures for choking, CPR techniques, and infant sleep safety. Includes hands-on practice with mannequins. One-year certification provided. Pre-crawling babies welcome. With Shanda Manion, CPR instructor certified by the American Heart Association in basic life support. $45. Thursday, April 3, 6:30–8:30 pm (please arrive 10 minutes early). Register here.

Infant Sleep Solutions

Learn some great techniques to help your little one—and you!—sleep. We will discuss baby sleep needs and the best ways to help young ones learn good sleep habits. We will cover the importance of a baby schedule, challenges to baby sleep habits (developmental milestones), new SIDS research and guidelines, pros and cons of various sleep methods (Ferber, CIO, low/no-cry methods), infant/child sleep products, and choices: family bed, crib, and room sharing. Pre-crawling babies welcome. With infant sleep expert Sarah Middelton, MA, CD, PCD. Friday, April 4, 10 am–noon. $35. Register here,

Easy Craft Project: Adorable Egg Carton Lady Bugs

April 1, 2014

Get a jump on the spring season with this ladybug craft made from a recycled egg carton. These ladybugs are adorable, easy to make, and of course environmentally friendly. Use colorful paints to brighten and make these cool ladybugs standout. My daughter loves to make this craft with our old egg cartons and then use her ladybugs to decorate her bedroom windowsill. 

Supplies you'll need:

  • Empty egg carton
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Small or medium black pom poms
  • Small wiggle eyes
  • Crayola or other watercolor kids paints in black and other colors
  • Paintbrush
  • Small sharp knife

Art and Technology Rule at the Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco

March 31, 2014

Children's Creativity MuseumKids can get hands-on with 21st-century technology and the arts at San Francisco's Children's Creativity Museum in the city's Yerba Buena neighborhood. Formerly known as Zeum, this fun and educational resource on the roof of Moscone Center is the perfect place for families with kids of all ages. You can literally spend all day here working on projects and having a blast.

The Children's Creativity Museum offers numerous opportunities for imaginative play and learning, and features a stop-motion animation studio, a music studio, a design studio, an innovation lab, art galleries, and more. The museum also boasts a fantastic 1906 Looff carousel, which is currently undergoing an extensive renovation. It and its hand-carved menagrie of 65 animals is due to re-open on Saturday, April 26, 2014, so you won't have long to wait to ride it again!

A Family That Eats Together: Pasta with Spring Peas and Pancetta

March 31, 2014

Pasta with spring peas and pancettaMarin 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.

There is something about Spring Peas and Pancetta that ring in springtime for me. This dish is a perfect marriage of the two with pasta and Pecorino-Romano cheese. It is something like a modern day mac and cheese kicked up a notch!

Serves: 6
Prep time:
10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 1 pound your favorite pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
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