Splash, Play, and Learn at the Rolling Hills Club Summer Camps

March 22, 2014

Rolling Hills Club Summer CampStill looking for a fun camp for your kids this summer? Novato's Rolling Hills Club has been a favorite spot for summer fun for many Marin families for decades, and this season the club offers a full program of exciting and active summer camps for kids ranging in age from 3 to 13.

Nestled at the foot of Mt. Burdell, the club's seven-acre campus features two outdoor swimming pools, 12 tennis courts, two racquetball courts, an outdoor sports court, an outdoor playground, grassy fields for outdoor play, and more—making it the ideal place for the perfect summer experience.

Summer camps at Rolling Hills Club for 2014 include:

  • Sports & Splash Camp for ages 5–12, features fun weekly themes like "Time Traveler", "Animal Planet", "Wild Wild West", "Ancient Egypt", and "Willy Wonka". Campers will be divided by age into Rookies (5), All Stars (ages 6 and 7), and Pros (ages 8 and 9), and will play basketball, tennis, soccer, and wild and wacky games. Of course swimming, in the form of free swim or group lessons, is offered every day, too. Weekly sessions run from June 16–August 15, Monday–Friday, 9 am–4 pm. $270 members/$320 guests per week, or $60/$70per day for drop-in.
  • Junior Sports & Splash Camp is for kids ages 2–5 and features the same themes as the the version for older children. Campers will participate in games, activities, art projects and more. Snacks will be provided, and junior campers will not participate in swimming. Campers must be potty trained to participate. Junior Sports & Splash Camp takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays June 17–August 14 from 9 am–1 pm. $40 members/$50 guests per day

Six Spectacular Spring Hikes for Families in Marin

March 20, 2014

Ring Mountain WildflowersSpring in California is spectacular, with an abundance of wildflowers, waterfalls (provided it rains), and wildlife. Before the summer heat bakes the new hillside green grass brown, get the family out on the trail at one of these great Marin hiking spots.

These hikes are perfect for a family outing at almost any time of year, but are especially nice during the spring. All the trails mentioned here are easy enough for everyone in the family to tackle, too

Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve near Tiburon is home to spring wildflowers and spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and Mt. Tam. The trails here are great for kids of all ages and even offroad strollers. Best of all, it's located right near Tiburon and Corte Madera.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for March 21, 22 & 23

March 19, 2014

Spring Family iStockPhotoHere 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 21

  • Bouquets to Art
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 9:30 am–5:15 pm

    The de Young's annual floral extravaganza never fails to impress! Local floral designers interpret works of art from the de Young's collections in creative flower arrangements. Free hands-on activities for kids on Saturday and Sunday. Cost: $23 adults, $20 seniors 65+, $19 students, $13 youth 6–17, and free for children 5 and under. For more information, call (415) 750-3600 or visit their website.
  • San Francisco Flower & Garden Show
    San Mateo Event Center
    Friday and Saturday, 10 am–7 pm & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    The San Francisco Flower & Garden Show is one of the largest of its kind: a world-class flower and garden show for today's gardener. Hands-on children’s activities include designing, planting, and nurturing a small container garden. Tickets $15–$30; kids 16 and under free. For more information, visit their website.
  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, Downtown San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • Marin Primary and Middle School: You Can’t Take It With You
    Showcase Theater, Marin Center
    Friday, 7 pm, Saturday, 1 & 7 pm & Sunday, 1 pm

    Marin Primary and Middle School presents a production of Moss and Hart's classic musical You Can't Take it With You. Tickets: $18, 8th grade and under $12. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, March 22

  • Giant Indoor Yard Sale
    Corte Madera Community Center
    Saturday, 9 am–3 pm

    Lots of stuff at bargain prices! All kinds of household items, toys, games, books, clothing, jewelry, accessories, linens, collectibles—you name it! This is the Corte Madera Women's Club's annual fundraiser for scholarships and community projects. Cash and checks only, no credit cards. Location: 498 Tamalpais Avenue, Corte Madera. For more information, visit their website.
  • 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 listen to music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day Party
    Chronicle Books at the Metreon
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Bring the kids to the free Eric Carle Day celebration at the Chronicle Books' Metreon location. Kids will paint their very own sections in a Very Hungry Caterpillar community-made garland that will be strung throughout the store. Location: Chronicle Books at the Metreon, 165 4th Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marinwood Children's Toy and Clothing Sale
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Marinwood's semi-annual children’s toy and clothing sale takes place this Saturday. Get there early to get the best bargains on children's clothing, toys, books, baby equipment, and more. The Marinwood Community Center is located at 775 Miller Creek Road in San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nature for Kids: Deer Island
    Deer Island Open Space Preserve, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Join naturalist David Herlocker for a nature hike on Deer Island. We'll look for salamanders, slugs, and millipedes, lizards and butterflies. We'll explore the different habitats and try to answer these questions about the changes in the animal life we encounter as the seasons change. Meet at the gate on Deer Island Lane Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Grand Opening Event: Sprout Mill Valley
    Sprout Mill Valley
    Saturday, 10 am–6 pm

    Check out the new natural and organic children's boutique in downtown Mill Valley. Bring the kids for a fun-filled day of events that include kids yoga, story time and music and more. Location: 12 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 389-1312 or visit their website.

Family Hike and Picnic at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen

March 18, 2014

Jack London State Historic ParkLast weekend, we visited one of our favorite outdoors spots in the Bay Area, Jack London State Historic Park. Located in the small Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen, it's about a 45-minute drive north from Marin, and it's a great destination for a family outing.

The park is made up of land that was at one time the Beauty Ranch owned by renowned writer, social reformer, early sustainable agriculture advocate, and rabble-rouser Jack London (1876–1916), author of classic adventure tales like The Sea Wolf, The Call of the Wild, and White Fang. Jack London State Historic Park is always a destination for us in early spring—the wildflowers are in bloom, the weather is cool and clear, and it's breathtakingly beautiful.

Nestled at the foot of Sonoma Mountain, the park is full of stunning scenery, historic buildings, and short easy hikes that are perfect for families. There are also longer treks available for those who don't have kids in tow.

Farm Day 2014 Comes to Marin Center

March 18, 2014

Farm DayCelebrate all things agricultural on Thursday, March 20 from 9 am to noon at the 2014 Marin Farm Day at the Marin Center Exhibit Hall in San Rafael. This free event, celebrating its 30th 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, and environmental education from more than 30 Northern California ranchers, growers, producers, and educators. Participants also include local 4H clubs.

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

A Family That Eats Together: Whole Wheat Chicken Chow Mein

March 18, 2014

chicken chow meinMarin 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.

Do you love chicken chow mein but want a healthy alternative? Making it yourself is not only quick and easy but you control what you are putting into the dish unlikely what you might get at a restaurant. In this recipe, I use whole-wheat pasta as a healthier alternative for noodles. The sauce is simple with easily found ingredients from most any grocery store. Don’t order out, eat in with a dish you will be proud you gave your family!

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


  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Seven Ways to Encourage Your Child Today

March 17, 2014

encourage your kidsMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Tom Limbert, Bay Area parenting author, parent educator, and author of Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time. Find out more about Tom at www.parentcoachtom.com.

Children give us countless reasons every day to discourage their behavior. That makes it all the more important to make a conscious effort to encourage whenever we can. You want them to listen to you. Trust me, they’ll be more apt to listen when they know you’re on their side. Wouldn’t you be? Here are seven ways to encourage your child today:

  • Believe: It all starts here. You can motivate and energize your child simply by believing in her. It will color all of your interactions and buoy your child’s determination and self-confidence.
  • Articulate: Don’t be shy—we’re all family here! You want to encourage your child? Tell him clearly you believe in him and formally acknowledge his efforts. Help him get in touch with his intrinsic pride by asking him how he feels when he achieves.

Make Your Own Version of the Famous "Shamrock Shake"

March 17, 2014

Shamrock ShakeWhen I was a kid, I used to love the time around St. Patrick's Day, mainly because that's when McDonald's came out with their famous limited-time-only Shamrock Shakes. I thought I would try to replicate this seasonal treat at home, and it ended up being not all that difficult to do, and tastes remarkably like the real thing. (It's probably healthier, too, since you control the ingredients that go into it.)

OK, I realize that the Shamrock Shake is not exactly a traditional Irish drink, but I always associate it with St. Patty's day, in the spirit of childhood nostalgia. Its basically a peppermint flavored vanilla milkshake with some green food coloring added to it. Not that difficult, right? You might even have the ingredients in your kitchen for whipping up one of these treats for your kids today. The following recipe serves 2 to 3, and can be doubled to make more.

The green food coloring is entirely optional. We all know artificial food coloring isn't very good for you, so use the natural kind (available at Whole Foods) or leave it out altogether—it won't make it taste any different, but your nostalgia quotient will be lower.

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

March 16, 2014

Shepherd's pieWith St. Patrick's Day coming up, my kids have been asking for Irish food for dinner. Since corned beef and cabbage is not exactly something you throw together after school, I've been making other appropriate dishes 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 regardless of 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 chopped leftover roast beef or lamb for the ground beef.

This recipe serves 6 to 8, so we usually get two dinners out of it, reheating the leftovers on a weeknight. It actually tastes better after sitting in the refrigerator for a day or two!

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