Family Friendly Recipes for a Memorial Day Barbeque

May 23, 2016

Tri-tipMemorial Day Weekend, that traditional kick-off to summer is coming up! Since it's traditional to have a BBQ in the backyard, we've put together a selection of our most popular family-friendly grilling recipes, along with a few great sides and warm weather treats. So fire up the grill, cook up a feast, and enjoy the weekend!

Santa Maria-Style Tri Tip

Cooked slowly over charcoal with plenty of wood smoking chips, this traditional Santa Maria-style tri tip is simple to make and really delicious.

Barbeque Ribs on the Charcoal Grill

Slow-cook dry-rubbed ribs on the charcoal grill with plenty of wood smoking chips.

All Aboard for a Day Out With Thomas!

May 23, 2016

Day Out With Thomas at Roaring Camp Railroads.

Is your child a Thomas the Tank Engine fanatic? If so, your chance to experience all things Thomas & Friends and even take a ride on a train drawn by Thomas the Tank Engine himself is coming this summer! Tickets are on sale now for Day Out With Thomas: The Ready, Set, Go Tour 2016, which takes place over two long weekends, July 29–31 and August 5–7, at Roaring Camp Railroads in the Santa Cruz Mountains town of Felton.

Hands-on Museums for Kids and Families in Marin and the Bay Area

May 23, 2016

Exploratorium hands-on fun museumMuseum visitors are often told not to touch anything, but not at the museums listed here! These seven local Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area museums offer lots of fun hands-on activities for kids and families. They're perfect for rainy-day outings or any time, really.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Families with kids up to age 8 love Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum for its combination of hands-on fun, exciting programs and performances, rotating special exhibitions (currently it's Curious George: Let's Get Curious), and a great play area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. It's a fantastic place to play away the day and take in the amazing views. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm. More info: www.baykidsmuseum.org or (415) 339-3900.

Rebuild Your Strength with Postpartum Exercise

May 22, 2016

pregnant mom exercisingMarin Mommies presents a guest article by prenatal and postpartum physical therapist Alicia Willoughby.

Being a mom is really hard physical work and it requires strength and endurance to do the job. Most mothers will say that having a baby was when their physical condition started to decline, whether it be chronic pain and discomforts, the inability to run without peeing or the aesthetic issue of still looking pregnant four years later. Pregnancy and birth cause huge changes to a woman’s anatomy, but with proper guidance and dedication, a mother’s body can be strong and discomfort free.

During pregnancy and birth, the muscles that are responsible for stabilizing the spine and pelvis become stretched out and even torn or cut. This causes the brain’s connection to those muscles to become impaired or even lost completely, which means the brain cannot voluntarily activate these core muscles. Without these muscles performing optimally, the risk of pain and injury increases dramatically because the spine and pelvis are no longer being stabilized. Regaining control of these muscles is crucial for a healthy and happy postpartum mommy body.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for May 20, 21 & 22

May 20, 2016
Mountain Play West Side Story 2016
West Side Story premieres at the Mountain Play on Sunday, May 22.

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, May 20

  • KidsFest at the Zoo
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    The most popular family event at the zoo returns! Enjoy exclusive wildlife presentations, live music, face painting, fun activities, and more, as well as free food, beverages, and parking. Tickets: $35 and up; discounts for SFZS members. For more information, visit their website.
  • Maker Faire Bay Area
    San Mateo Event Center
    Friday, 1–5 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival that's part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new! It's an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, engineers, tinkerers, hobbyists, artists, and more sharing what they've made and learned. Tickets: $25 and up. Location: 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Disney's The Little Mermaid
    Spreckels Center for the Peforming Arts, Rohnert Park
    Friday & Saturday, 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 1 pm

    Take an enchanting trip under the sea with everyone's favorite mermaid princess and her crabby sidekick Sebastian, as they battle the evil sea witch Ursula and win the heart of the human prince Eric. Based on the animated Disney film and the hit Broadway musical. Tickets: $16–26. Location: 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. For more info and tickets, visit their website.
  • Throckmorton Youth Present Sweet Charity
    142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 1 pm
    Sweet Charity, the spring Throckmorton Youth Production, is a hit! Bring your family, bring your friends—you will be singing along all week! Have you ever known a girl who wanted something so badly that she tried too hard to get it? Meet Sweet Charity, the girl who wants to be loved so much that she has lost sight of who she is. Charity sings, dances, laughs and cries her way through romances in the all too real… Tickets: $15–$20 general, $35 reserved. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, May 21

  • 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.
  • Open to the Public: Martin Griffin Preserve
    Stinson Beach
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    Audubon Canyon Ranch's Martin Griffin Preserve is open for their spring and summer season. Visitors are encouraged to hike over eight miles of fern-lined trails, discover ponds with newts and other aquatic life, enjoy a picnic under the redwoods and explore our bookstore, as well as take in views of the birds on Bolinas Lagoon. Volunteer ranch guide naturalists are on hand to lead hikes and answer questions. Suggested donation: $15 per person. Location: 4900 Highway 1, between Bolinas and Stinson Beach. For more info, visit their website.

Marin's Five Favorite Playgrounds for Family Fun

May 20, 2016

Pioneer Park Novato

One of the questions we often get asked is "What's the best playground in Marin?" Rather than give our opinion, again, we decided to put that question to our readers via social media, and to let you choose the top five playgrounds in Marin County. So, without further ado, here are the five best playgrounds in Marin, as chosen by Marin Mommies readers, along with the five runners-up. Thanks to all our readers and followers for your input!

Marin Ballet Spring Showcase Tickets for Marin Mommies Readers!

May 19, 2016

Marin Ballet Spring ShowcaseJoin Marin Ballet for its 2016 Spring Showcase performances this weekend! Come support and applaud dancers from level 1 through 9 (ages 7 to 18). Performances showcase students from levels 1 to 4 (ages 7 to 10) and include a student choreography piece from a level 9 student, a piece from our beginning boys class, as well as solo excerpts from two graduating seniors.

Performances are recommended for families and children ages 3 to 8 years old and are approximately 30 minutes long, with no intermission. Information about summer classes will also be available at the performances.

Marin Ballet has reserved 20 complimentary tickets for Marin Mommies readers for their Spring Showcase performances Saturday, May 21 at 1 pm and 20 tickets for the Sunday, May 22 performance at 1 pm. We'll give away the tickets on a first-come, first-served basis until they run out! To claim your tickets, send an email to contests@marinmommies.com with "Marin Ballet" as the subject along with your name, the number of tickets you'd like (maximum 4 per person), and which performance you'd like to attend in the body. Ticket winners will be notified via email by Friday, May 20.

Summer Family Fun at San Rafael's McInnis Park

May 17, 2016

 McInnis Park mini golf san rafael

If you've never ventured out to McInnis Park, in northern San Rafael, you owe it to yourself to check it out this summer. McInnis Park, formally known as John F. McInnis Park, is 450-acre regional park, and a one-stop destination for all kinds of active family fun, from golf and baseball to hiking and skateboarding.

If you haven't been you really should pay it a visit. And if you have, you should resolve to go there more often! Here are some of the things that keep us coming back multiple times every summer (and at other times of the year, too).

Great Summer Reads for Kids from Diesel Bookstore in Larkspur

May 17, 2016

Explorers of the WildMarin Mommies presents a guest article highlighting some fantastic summer reading selections from Clare Doornbos, the children's book expert at DIESEL bookstore in Larkspur. Diesel is located in Marin Country Mart at 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. Visit their website at www.dieselbookstore.com or call them at (415) 785-8177.

School's almost out and summer is almost here! Your kids are booked into camp, the trip to Grandma's house is all planned out, and the beach is calling. Now you just need to get some books together. There are so many great books to choose from for toddlers to independent readers. You already know many of the classics, so Clare from Diesel bookstore in Larkspur has picked out some new books that will keep your kids reading all summer long.

Picture Books for ages 2–4

Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz
You all know that Old MacDonald has a farm, did you also know that he loves monster trucks? This super fun re-imagining of Old MacDonald has dynamic artwork and a range of construction vehicles, all working to transform the farm while the animals help out too.

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