Awesome Ice Cream Shops in Marin & Beyond

July 26, 2016

Lala's Creamery Petaluma

Ice cream is one of those foods that's synonymous with summer, although it's pretty wonderful at any time of year! On a hot day, there's not much better than getting a big scoop of your favorite ice cream on a waffle cone. To help you find that summer joy, we've put together this guide to our favorite ice cream scoop shops in Marin County (and we've thrown in a couple of our Sonoma County favorites that are worth the trip, too).

Eco-friendly Lunchbox Supplies for Back to School

July 25, 2016


When it comes to back-to-school, green is the way to go! Instead of throwing away plastic and paper products and sending them to the landfill every day, why not invest in some reusable eco-friendly lunch box supplies for your kids this school year?

The examples listed below are stylish and durable and should last for years. Our family owns several of the products that I’ve listed here, and we use them all the time for school lunches, snacks, and picnics. Many of these products can be purchased at local retailers throughout Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Reusable Lunch Bags and Boxes

  • PlanetBox
    San Rafael-based company PlanetBox creates stainless steel lunch kits that fit neatlly into soft cloth carrying cases. They come in three different sizes—Launch, Rover, and Shuttle—in a variety of designs and colors. Sets come with a cool magnet set of your choice with which to decorate your lunchbox. Prices start at $39.95. (Pictured above.)

A Relevant Education in a Nurturing Environment

July 25, 2016

Caulbridge School Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from the Caulbridge School in Fairfax.

Learning is a natural process when you integrate nature, arts, movement, friendship and academics. We believe children learn best with structure, warmth and encouragement. Children do not learn when they feel disengaged, anxious and unsafe, or when the classroom environment is overrun with distraction. Our teachers develop genuine relationships with students because children learn about respect by being respected.

Caulbridge School is committed to courageous learning and positive self-concept along with academic strength. We intentionally focus on courageous learning as a student outcome because the ability to step outside of one’s comfort zone relates to success in academics, relationships and life. We believe that in times of increased stress or challenging situations, positive self-concept serves as a source of resiliency and compassion for self and others. By positive self-concept we mean the ability to evaluate oneself in positive and self-affirming ways across situations and contexts, even when falling short of one’s expectations or hopes; the ability to demonstrate pro-social behavior, ethical decision-making, and a striving for genuine and caring relationships.

Spend a Day at the Horse Farm!

July 24, 2016

Horse CampFor real summer fun come to Fairwind Farm in Santa Rosa for an all day extravaganza for kids ages 5 to 17. Activities include picking juicy blackberries and making homemade ice cream; harvesting vegetable and flower seeds to take home and plant; various art projects including decorating horseshoes, making birdhouses and dream boards; horseback riding (four horses are available for everyone to ride in the arena).

Participants can also fish for bass that you can take home and have for dinner or catch and release; hike the more than 87 beautiful acres with views of Petaluma, Penngrove, and Rohnert Park; play music and sing along (you can even bring your choice of instrument if you wish), and pick and plant vegetables and make yummy lunches.

There are only three Friday Horse Camp sessions left this summer: July 29 and August 5 and 12. The cost is $75 per person for kids ages 5 to 17 and includes lunch. For questions and to sign up, contact Lisa Marvier at (415) 730-6917 or Fairwind Farm is located at 2276 Crane Canyon Road in Santa Rosa 95404.

Family Fun at Marin County Beaches

July 24, 2016

Marin County Beaches

My 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 summer (and also spring 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.

Dining with Kids in Marin: Grilly's Mill Valley

July 23, 2016

Grilly's Mill Valley

When we're in Mill Valley and are in need a quick and healthy lunch, we often stop at Grilly's on Miller Avenue for fresh and tasty Cal-Mex fare. Grilly's has been a fixture in Mill Valley for over 24 years, and specializes in traditional Mexican-style favorites prepared with fresh and healthy ingredients.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for July 22, 23 & 24

July 22, 2016

Sonoma County Fair
The 2016 Sonoma County Fair opens this Friday, July 22 in Santa Rosa

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, July 22

  • Sonoma County Fair
    Sonoma County Fairgrounds
    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11 am–11 pm

    The Sonoma County Fair offers both a classic full-scale carnival with plenty of excitement for thrill-seekers and a separate kiddie carnival area for the little ones, with scaled down thrills and lots of excitement. Fair admission is free every day for children 6 and under; Friday is Kids' Days, with free admission for all children 12 and under. Carnival rides are an additional charge. Admission is $12 for ages 13 and up, $6 for children 7–12, and free for children 6 and under. For more info, visit
  • Children's Garden Series: Unique Derique
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11–11:30 am & 12:15–12:45 pm

    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. A beloved Bay Area institution, the Unique Derique is a prince among clowns, an internationally esteemed performer who has honed a singular blend of physical comedy and hambone body percussion. For more info, visit their website.
  • Anime Your Way
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 3:30–4:30 pm

    Learn how to draw in the style of Japanese cartoons known as anime with artist Carlos Nieto. He will teach you how to create your own character step by step, including facial expressions and poses. Visiting from SoCal, Carlos has worked as a layout artist on The Simpsons, as well as visual consultant at Disney. For middle school aged youth (grades 6–8). Space is limited. Please register at the Children’s Reference Desk. Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights at the de Young
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 5–8:45 pm

    Friday Nights at the de Young are after-hours art happenings that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. The café offers a delicious prix-fixe menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. This Friday: MEX-I-AM. For more info, visit their website.
  • Music in the Park
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Enjoy Friday evenings in the park, featuring live music, delicious food by Marinwood Market, wine, and beer. This Friday: Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This week: Revolver. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday: Lost Dog Found. For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.

Saturday, July 23

  • Ranger Led Dog Walk
    Baltimore Canyon Open Space Preserve
    Saturday, 8–10 am

    Join a ranger on this fun and informative walk in beautiful Baltimore Canyon. Take a relaxed walk along the fire road and discuss local plants, birds, and trail etiquette. This event is ideal for all ages. Don’t forget to bring water and snacks. Dogs must be leashed. Meet at gate at the end of Crown Road in Kent Woodlands. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm, face kids' crafts from 9 am–2 pm, children's music or storytelling from 9:30–10:30 am, and more live music from 11 am–12:30 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • Junior Chef Classes: Tools & Techniques
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    Hey, kids! Learn how to use some cool kitchen tools, from a garlic press to a grater, as we cook some amazing recipes! You’ll be well equipped to prepare tasty meals for your family and friends. Cost: $30; includes Williams-Sonom gadget set. 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.
  • Puppet Show: Chanticleer the Rooster
    Fairfax Library
    Saturday, 11 am

    Magical Moonshine Theatre presents Chaucer's Canterbury tale about the beloved rooster who is caught by a flattering fox … but foxes can be fooled as well! Assisting Chanticleer is a wise ant, a pig, sheep, goat, dog, hen and farmer. Medieval costumes and live, ancient music (including a 1710 version of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm") make for a delightful, interactive family program! First come, first seated. Location: 2097 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Fairfax. For more info, visit their website.

Free Family Night Out to This Saturday's Summer Nights Concert at the Osher Marin JCC

July 20, 2016

Tea Leaf Green Osher Marin JCC Summer NightsThe Kanbar Center for the Performing Arts at the Osher Marin JCC invites Marin Mommies readers to a free Family Night Out to Summer Nights, their series of family-friendly multi-cultural concerts at their outdoor venue in the hills of San Rafael! This offer is for the Summer Nights concert this Saturday, July 23, where San Francisco's Tea Leaf Green brings their signature indie rock and California Jamgrass sounds to the JCC. Opening the show is San Francisco's own celebrated bicycling beat boxing cellist, Cello Joe.

To secure your free tickets, email by noon on Friday, July 22, 2016 and include your name and the number of adults in your party. Kids 17 and under are admitted free to all Summer Nights concerts, so no tickets are necessary! Please have your entire party with you when you check in at will call the night of the concert.

O’Hanlon Center for the Arts is hosting the KidZone that evening, and will have your kids enthralled in an arts and crafts projects. The Summer Nights venue also offers a safe, fun, and enclosed playground for your kids to enjoy while the concert is taking place. Bring a picnic or purchase dinner from Toast Novato's pop-up restaurant. Cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, snacks and dessert also available for purchase.

Explore Nature and Science with Half Acre Woods

July 20, 2016

Half Acre WoodsMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Half Acre Woods, a new outdoor enrichment class for kids ages 2 to 7 in Marin.

Bugs, birds, seeds, and science make up the wonderful world of Half Acre Woods! We are a new outdoor enrichment class designed to engage kids, from the ages of two through seven, in the skills and practice of science. Exploring the world with our senses we smell bay leaves and mint, listen to the crackling of madrone bark, watch for woodpeckers and fence lizards, and touch anything we can get our hands on! (Except for poison oak that is.) Based on the new Next Generation Science Standards that California adopted in 2013, we strive to provide a strong basis for success with science in the classroom while enjoying all the benefits of outdoor education.

The majority of our day is spent observing natural phenomena, like quail families scurrying along in a line, and discussing our findings as we explore. Our approach focuses on the fundamentals of observation, evidence based argument, and construction of explanations. Our dedication to science practice and skills is steeped in a deep understanding and appreciation for positive social emotional development. As we explore we discover opportunities to practice sharing, volunteering, and considerate communication as well as working to build an understanding of the connections between our feelings, our actions, and the natural world.

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