Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

October 21, 2014

I'm a big fan of cooking with pumpkin, which is one of the reasons I love the fall. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, pumpkin ravioli—they're all delicious. My kids' favorite are these pumpkin oatmeal cookies, which are chewy and, I like to think, actually good for you. These cookies are a great treat for the lunchbox too.

I mix in in dark chocolate chunks (chocolate chips work equally well), walnuts, and dried cranberries to make them more interesting. They're also fantastic with toasted pumpkin seeds instead of the walnuts. In fact, feel free to use whatever you like to mix in: white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, and pecans are all good.Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Common Core Standards and Their Implementation

October 21, 2014

Mathnasium Mill ValleyMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Scott Rubin of Mill Valley Mathnasium on the new Common Core Standards now being used in many Marin schools.

Central to any discussion of the Common Core is the distinction between the standards established by Common Core and the process of implementing those standards within School Districts.

The Standards are the “what” and “when.”

Hiking with Kids in Marin: Las Gallinas Wildlife Ponds

October 21, 2014

Hiking with Kids: Las Gallinas Wildlife PondsI know it sounds a little strange, but a great hike that's perfect for kids can be found on the grounds of the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District in northern San Rafael. It's a complex of trails and fire roads near the district's treatment plants off of Smith Ranch Road, near McInnis Park. The gravel trails here are wide and flat, and are perfect for off-road strollers and bikes. The paths wind atop levees through the wetlands bordering San Pablo Bay, and offer amazing views of Marin.

A wide variety of birds make their homes out here, and we've seen white pelicans, Canada geese (plenty of them), mallards, cormorants, turkey vultures, several kinds of egrets, black-crowned night herons, red-wing blackbirds, and others. It's kind of a "who's who" of local avian wildlife, so make sure you bring your binoculars!

A Family That Eats Together: Butternut Squash Risotto

October 20, 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.

What Can We Learn from the San Francisco Giants to Help Make Our Children More Resilient?

October 20, 2014

What Parents Can Learn from Bruce Bochy and the San Francisco GiantsMarin 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.

How to Build Resiliency

What Parents Can Learn from Bruce Bochy and the San Francisco Giants

In 2010, the San Francisco Giants were 6½ games back in their division in August. In 2012, they were neck and neck with the Dodgers mid-season, when the Dodgers made multiple blockbuster trades. Next thing you know, one of the Giants’ best players gets suspended for the remainder of the season. Somehow, some way, both seasons ended in champagne celebrations and ticker-tape parades. How were the Giants able to overcome such adversity, stay united, and ultimately attain success?

The Giants did what any group of people does when they encounter a crisis, they looked to their leader. Bruce Bochy manages with a calm, honest confidence. At a lifetime achievement acceptance speech in 2011, he discussed the keys to a leader building resiliency. We all want our children to be resilient and learn to handle life’s inevitable challenges with grace and determination. To that end, there’s much we can learn from Bruce Bochy and the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

The Godmothers of Timothy Murphy School Pumpkin Field (St. Vincent's Pumpkin Patch)

October 20, 2014

St Vincent's Pumpkin FieldOne of Marin County's most beloved Halloween traditions is the Godmothers of Timothy Murphy School Pumpkin Field, AKA the St. Vincent's Pumpkin Patch. This popular seasonal fixture is located in St. Vincent's field near St. Vincent's School for Boys just south of Novato.

As usual, this year's pumpkin patch is really well done. It's attractive both for adults and children, with colorful plywood cutouts for photos ops, and plenty of spooky decorations, figures, and props to keep everyone interested. They don't actually grow their pumpkins here, but have a large selection of them ready to choose. There are wheelbarrows and red Radio Flyer wagons available for you to haul around your pumpkins (or your kids).

Like many pumpkin patches these days, pumpkins aren't the only draw, and St. Vincent's has the requisite bouncy house and giant inflatable slide for kids to play on on weekends. You need to buy tickets for these: $5 gets you on both the bounce house and the big inflatable slide.

Best Trick-or-Treat Neighborhoods in Marin

October 19, 2014

Rombeiro House on Halloween in Novato Marin County Halloween may be one of everyone's favorite holidays, but trick-or-treating is kind of a lost art these days. It used to be you'd just trick-or-treat in your neighborhood, but many communities just aren't Halloween friendly. In fact, it seems that many otherwise bustling neighborhoods become ghost towns on Halloween night (and not the lively Halloween kind).

If you happen to live in a place that does go all out for Halloween, good for you! Otherwise, you might want to seek out another neighborhood in which to find that Halloween spirit—plenty of families do.

Here's out list of Marin County's top (in no particular order) trick-or-treat Halloween hot spots, as chosen by our readers, friends, and Facebook fans. If you're sure you know of a neighborhood where the trick-or-treat action is even better than these, let us know. (Of course if you want to keep your favorite Marin trick-or-treat spot a secret, that's OK, too.)

Delicious Pumpkin Waffles for a Fall Breakfast

October 18, 2014

Pumpkin WafflesWe always experiment with a lot of pumpkin recipes every fall. The hands-down favorite of all our pumpkin creations has to be these pumpkin waffles. With a subtle spice flavor, they're moist on the inside with a crisp exterior, just like a waffle should be.

Serve them for breakfast with butter and maple syrup, or even for dessert topped with vanilla ice cream. They're a great fall treat that's so good we'll probably start making these year-round, since canned pumpkin is easy to come by!

They're easy to make, too, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for October 17, 18 & 19

October 17, 2014

Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Cheese in PetalumaHere 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.

Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties are now open—see our list here.

Friday, October 17

  • Just Between Friends Children's & Maternity Consignment Event
    Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
    Friday, 9 am–8 pm, Saturday, 9 am–3:30 pm and Sunday, 9 am–2 pm

    North Bay's largest children's & maternity consignment sales event, JBF is held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds' Grace Pavilion—40,500 square feet of shopping awesomeness. Shop: huge deals on new and gently-used clothes (0–12 years and maternity), games, toys, furniture, strollers, mommy supplies, etc! Location: 1350 Bennett Valley Road. Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • Halloween Harvest Festival!
    Marinwood Community Center
    Friday, October 17, 5–7 pm

    This fun event is for children 12 and under. Carnival games, pumpkin carving and decorating, Halloween bounce house, trick-or-treat bag decorating, face painting, caramel apples and more! Tickets: $10 in advance here; $12 at the door. Adults free. Food will be available for purchase. Location: Marinwood Community Center, 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.

Saturday, October 18

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm, crafts by SCRAP 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.
  • Tolay Fall Festival
    Tolay Lake Regional Park
    Lakeville Highway at Cannon Lane, Petaluma
    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–5 pm
    The 8th annual Tolay Fall Festival takes place over two long weekends in October. In addition to pumpkins and fall decorative items for sale, attractions and activities include a Native American village, the Nighttime Creatures Barn with Creepy Crawly Critters Room, nature hikes, a giant straw maze, a hands-on children's area and kiddie corral, and hay rides. Admission: $4 adults, $1 children 12 and under; free for Sonoma County Regional Parks members. Parking for non-members is $7. For more info, call (707) 565-2041 or visit their website.
  • Goblin Jamboree Fundraiser
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    Bring the whole family in costume to explore all the fun at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Goblin Jamboree Family Fundraiser. Experience the museum as it’s transformed into a spooktacular Halloween wonderland complete with Witches and Wizards school, pony rides, petting zoo, live entertainment, and much more. Tickets available at the door. Admission: $16 general, $13 members, free for children under 6 months. For more info, visit their website.
  • Halloween Carnival
    Twin Cities Community Preschool, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am–2 pm

    The Twin Cities Community Preschool presents a non-scary Halloween carnival for preschool through elementary aged children. Activities include games, photo booth and arts and crafts. There will also be food available. Free admission; game tickets for sale. Location: 56 Mohawk Avenue in Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival
    Historic Main Street, Half Moon Bay
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–5 pm

    The World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay celebrates its bountiful fall harvest and autumn splendor with a special display of gigantically enormous, heavyweight champion pumpkins, three stages of smashing entertainment, non-stop live music, the Great Pumpkin Parade, a bone-chilling haunted house, harvest-inspired crafts, homestyle foods, pie-eating and costume contests, and pumpkin carving for fun (not a contest). Admission is free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Potrero Hill Festival
    San Franicisco
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm
    Experience the flavor of the Potrero community in this event for all ages, featuring local food vendors and chefs, artists, musicians, historians, homegrown entertainment, and much more! Location: 20th Street between Wisconsin and Missouri Streets. For more info, visit their website.
  • Exploratorium Market Days: Art, Physics, Fun, and Games
    Exploratorium Plaza, Pier 15, San Francisco
    Saturday, 11 am–3 pm

    Bring your children or your inner child for a day of play with an array of fantastic toys old and new. And learn how to make awesome toys of your own. A full-sized Jeep covered in LEGO boards awaits your creative constructions. Explore assorted classic pinball machines from the Pacific Pinball Museum. Learn how to build a marshmallow launcher, a cardboard machine, or a tiny lathe, all from simple materials. See an enchanting puppet show of The Jabberwocky, plus juggling, origami, and much more. Free. For more info, call (415) 528-4444 or visit their website.
  • San Geronimo Fall Rock Festival
    San Geronimo Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 2–6 pm
    The easiest, most relaxed family music venue—see stellar music you'll enjoy while your kids enjoy the free bounce house. Find out why families love to come to these shows—and why highly talented parents love to perform at them! Featuring national touring act New Monsoon and "hard charging Americana" heroes San Geronimo. Takes place in the courtyard behind the San Geronimo Valley Community Center, 6350 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. For more info, visit their website.
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