Recycle Your Electronics for Free at the GreenCitizen Eco-Center in San Rafael

September 28, 2014

Green Citizen San RafaelIf you were wondering what to do with all those old obsolete electronic devices, look no further—Marin County now has a full-time place for e-waste recycling! GreenCitizen recently opened its first location in at 777 Grand Ave in San Rafael. This new Eco-Center provides a place for Marin residents and businesses to recycle their old electronics for free and learn about e-waste recycling. The center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm all year long.

GreenCitizen decided to open its San Rafael center after seeing many Marin County residents recycle at its Eco-Centers in Berkeley and downtown San Francisco. While new to Marin, GreenCitizen has helped over 250,000 residents recycle their electronics and performed over 20,000 e-waste pick-ups from businesses since it opened nine years ago.

GreenCitizen tries to extend the lifetime of the electronics that come through its doors, and 30% of the items recycled there are fixed up so they can be reused. What cannot be reused is responsibly recycled within 150 miles of San Francisco.

Our Favorite Halloween Books for Kids

September 27, 2014

Halloween NightFall is here, and what is a better way to celebrate its arrival than with a good book? My kids and I love to go to the library and pick out some great Halloween children's books to read together, and fall is definitely one of our favorite times of year.

Here are some of our favorites that we've enjoyed over the years. All of these books should be available at public libraries throughot Marin. You can look to see if your local library has these titles available at

Babies & Toddlers

Peek-a-Who by Nina Laden: Little ones love to play peek-a-boo and guess who's hiding in the pages of this fun board book, which includes an owl, a ghost, and a mirror.

Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino: This Halloween version of the traditional counting rhyme features bold and colorful illustrations that little ones will love.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for September 26, 27 & 28

September 26, 2014
Pumpkin Patch
Get a head start on fall at some of our favorite pumpkin patches opening this weekend!

Here are our other 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, September 26

  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm and Sunday, 10 am–6pm
    This is the opening weekend for the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch. Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $5, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. For more info, visit their website.
  • Parents Night Out
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–9 pm

    Drop off the kids and enjoy a night out! While you relax, the kids will be having fun with the Marinwood Camp staff this Saturday evening. This event often sells out—register early! For ages 3–10. Cost: $22; $4 sibling discount. For more info, visit their website.
  • Seals & Slippers: Sleep under the Stars
    The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito
    Friday, 6 pm to Saturday 10 am

    The sleepover is aimed at children ages 6–12. The overnight stay includes eating feeding season with the seals, guided hike around Rodeo Lagoon, dinner, dessert, and continental breakfast. Cost: $85 per person. Register by contacting Kristin Ku at or (415) 289-7330. For more info about the sleepover, visit their website.
  • Film Night in the Park: The LEGO Movie
    Creek Park, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 8 pm

    This Friday's movie is The LEGO Movie (PG). Arrive by 8 pm—films begin at dusk. Popcorn, candy, and sodas will be sold. Bring blankets, pillows, backrests, and low chairs. Film Night suggests leaving pets at home. Donations are appreciated. Creek Park is located in San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, September 27

  • Weekend Along Farm Trails
    Sonoma County
    Saturday & Sunday
    This Saturday and Sunday dozens of Farm Trails members are opening up their barnyard gates to give you a sneak preview of life on the farm. Several Farm Trails member businesses are also offering discounts and specials for visitors this weekend. Register for free and you'll get a map and the itinerary. This is an unique opportunity to meet your farmers and producers on their treasured turf and learn how your food is grown and produced. Offerings include tours, demonstrations, classes, samples, meals, hayrides, animal petting and feeding, to name a few. Plus, picnic spots abound. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    This weekend, Kids Love to Cook! DirectionFive will be joining the Marin Country Mart Farmers' Market for a cooking demonstration and tasting with hands-on participation with children of all ages from 10:30–11:30 am. Enjoy the best local and organic produce and more at this fantastic farmers market. Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), crafts by SCRAP, and children's entertainment (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also ofers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Free parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their Facebook page.
  • Blackie's Hay Day 
    Blackie's Pasture, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9 am–4 pm

    Blackie's Hay Day has become a community tradition that children look forward to every year. Designed for children of all ages, Blackie's Hay Day is reminiscent of an old fashioned country fair with pony rides, relay races, toy tractors, jumpies, a climbing wall, live entertainment, food trucks, and more. General admission $10. Activity tickets $1 each. Children under 2 free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Museum Day Live! at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Fort Baker, Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–5 pm

    The Bay Area Discovery Museum is participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live! On Saturday, the museum will grant free admission to Museum Day pass holders. To obtain a free pass, visit here. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Garden Pizza Party! Family Campout
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday 10 am–Sunday 1 pm

    Celebrate this international day of cleaning waterways and the ocean with family-friendly ocean themed activities. Special overnight programs featuring camping in a spectacular coastal meadow. Activities include crafts and nature exploration, farm fun, a family potluck dinner, a campfire under the stars, and much more. The Slide Ranch overnight camping trip is an educational, unique, fun, and hassle-free way to camp for the whole family! Cost: Fee: $75 per person; age 2 and under free. Register here. For more info, call (415) 381-6155 or visit their website.
  • Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival & Kids Carnival
    Sonoma Plaza on the Square
    Saturday 10 am–8 pm
    & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival is Sonoma Valley’s annual tradition of celebrating the harvest of wine grapes and the yearly crush. California’s oldest festival, this Sonoma tradition is held on the historic town square and is fun for all ages. Festivities include Opening Night Gala, blessing of the grapes, reenactment of the Bear Flag Revolt, firefighters' water fight, family grape stomp, parade, kids carnival, tiny tacks race and 5k run/walk. For more info, visit their website.

Celebrate Fall in Tiburon with Blackie's Hay Day

September 26, 2014

Blackie's Hay DayBring your family to come celebrate fall this Saturday, September 27, from 9 am to 4 pm at Blackie's Hay Day. This annual fundraiser and community tradition is reminiscent of an old-fashioned country fair and helps raise money for children's and youth programs at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library.

Blackie's Hay Day takes place, naturally, at Blackie's Pasture, which is located off Tiburon Boulevard near Trestle Glen. Blackie's Pasture is named after Blackie, a swaybacked horse who stood in the pasture for nearly 30 years and became a Tiburon mascot, after stints in the rodeo and the US cavalry.

The family fun on Blackie's Hay Day will include pony rides, a petting zoo, a rock climbing wall, jumpies, face painting, a spa tent carnival games, a train ride, and more. The event will also include live musical entertainment, including by Doc Kraft & Company, the Wronglers, and others.

Marin Preschool Profile: Little Mountain Preschool in San Anselmo

September 25, 2014

Little Mountain PreschoolLocated in San Anselmo's Sleepy Hollow neighborhood, Little Mountain Preschool is a new preschool that serves children ages 3 to 5. Now entering its second year of operation, Little Mountain Preschool prepares little ones for school through a play-based curriculum. Learn more about the school and its programs at

Please describe your school’s philosophy. What is it all about?

Little Mountain Preschool is a play-based preschool located in Sleepy Hollow in San Anselmo. The program consists of children who are 3, 4, and 5, the youngest being 3 years of age by September 1 the year of entry. Children who turn 5 after August 1 are eligible for our Pre K program. Our Pre K program is a teacher-guided, child-centered program. We give all children tools to inspire and foster critical thinking and inquiry. We are a multi-age classroom. Each child is given many varied opportunities for working and learning through a play-based curriculum. Our school, inside and out, is rich in materials that allow young children to grow physically, intellectually and emotionally. Our goal is to provide a preschool experience that prepares children for future success.

NewborRN Solutions Offers Support from Pregnancy to Parenthood

September 23, 2014

Karmi and WendyNewboRN Solutions is a local registered nursing corporation created by Marin mom and former hospital administrator Karmi Soder and her business partner Wendi Karam, a pediatric RN. The mission of NewboRN solutions is to help educate new parents and provide them with the information and support they need.

Their resources and services include CPR certificaiton, childbirth education, sleep consultants, night nurses, doulas, acupuncture, personal trainers, and more. They server Marin and the North Bay, San Francisco, the East Bay, and the Peninsula. We asked Karmi to tell us a little about herself and NewboRN solutions.

Please tell us a little about yourself

I am a mother of four, pediatric nurse practitioner, and former hospital administrator who wants to help other families! I love being a nurse and getting the "awww" reaction. I love having my children know about my business and how hard parents work to be better parents- and that it is a lot of work but can also be the most fun job ever!

Preserve Memories in Clay with Ceramic Hand and Foot Prints for Babies and Kids in Marin

September 23, 2014

Piggy Print ceramic handprintOne of my most cherished keepsakes is a ceramic oval embossed with the hand prints of my kids. We did it a few years ago with Shawna O'Conner and her wonderful Your Piggy Prints. It's beautiful, and I'm really happy that we made it. After all, the kids will never be that little again! (We profiled Shawna in an article here.)

With the holidays coming up, and since your kids aren't getting any younger, why not create one yourselves? Needless to say these ceramic hand and foot print pieces make fantastic gifts for moms, dads, and grandparents, so go make one now and avoid the holiday rush.

Here's where you can make this unique and priceless clay hand or foot print craft in Marin and southern Sonoma counties.

Five Fantastic Fall Family Hikes in Marin

September 22, 2014

Tennessee Valley TrailFall's weather is some of the finest of the year in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area, so make sure you take some time to hit the trail and take in a hike before the weather turns cold and (hopefully) rainy. The coastal areas in Northern California are particularly nice in the fall, and are often warmer and clearer than it is inland.

Here are five of our favorite fall outdoor excursions in Marin County that are perfect for families.

Baltimore Canyon Open Space Preserve
This 193-acre open space preserve in the hills above Kentfield and Larkspur is a great place to see Marin's version of fall color in the form of numerous stands of Big Leaf Maples the line the trails. The preserve's Southern Marin Line Fire Road is easily manageable by all ages, and those looking for a more strenuous hike can hook up with the Hoo-koo-ee-koo trail onto Mt. Tam, or take a side trip to Dawn Falls, a 30-foot cascade that really gets going during the rainy season (fingers crossed for this fall and winter).

Chef Daddy Makes Pizza al Taglio

September 22, 2014

The other day I was craving really good homemade pizza, but I was also feeling kind of lazy and didn't want to deal with making dough, trying to get the pizza onto the pizza stone intact, and the rest of the work that comes with my other homemade pizza recipe. In a moment of inspiration, I thought about pizza al taglio, the thicker pizza that's cooked on a baking sheet and popular as a street food in Rome. What if I tried to make it with Trader Joe's fresh pizza dough?

I ran over to our local TJ's and picked up two packages of their very good and inexpensive refrigerated pizza dough, as well as some fresh mozzarella and of course a bunch of other stuff that I probably didn't really need. At home, I picked some plum tomatoes from the garden and grabbed some fresh oregano and basil, too, and decided that I had everything I needed.

Here's the recipe that I came up with for a simple margherita style pizza al taglio:

  • Two bags Trader Joe's refrigerated pizza dough
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded (canned are OK, too)
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