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

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!

Novato's La Michoacana Serves Up Mexican Style Ice Cream and Fruit Bars

March 15, 2014

La Michoacana ice cream NovatoA few weeks ago, my kids noticed that the new La Michoacana ice cream store in Novato was almost ready to open, so we made sure to come check it out on its grand opening weekend around Valentine's Day. Since then, we've been back a few times to this shop selling delicious Mexican-style ice cream, frozen fruit bars (paletas), and other sweet treats. La Michoacana offers plenty of well-crafted ice cream standards, as well as a lot of flavors that you won't find at other ice cream stores, so it's well worth a visit if you're in Novato.

Located on Grant Avenue, downtown Novato's main drag, La Michoacana occupies a brightly colored stylish storefront. The interior is equally bright and cheerful, with a clean, modern feel. There's plenty of seating, and even a kids' area with small-scale tables and chairs for the little ones.

La Michoacana offers so many choices on its menu that it's almost overwhelming. Perhaps the first thing to do is to decide what you want: ice cream or a paleta? Ice cream flavors include familiar offerings like strawberry, pistachio, and cookies and cream, as well as more exotic options like Mexican vanilla, pine nut, mamey (a fruit native to Central America), and piña colada.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for March 14, 15 & 16

March 14, 2014

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 throughout the Bay Area in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, March 14

  • Free Day at the Exploratorium
    San Francisco
    Friday, 10 am–5 pm

    Five annual free days are just one way the Exploratorium remains accessible to everyone, regardless of a person’s ability to pay the cost of admission. This time celebrate Pi Day (3.14) with free admission. Location: Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green St), San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 528-4444 or visit their website.
  • Glow in the Dark Geometry Party
    Diesel, A Bookstore in Larkspur
    Friday, 6 pm

    Kids are invited to a Glow-in-the-Dark Geometry Party at the Larkspur store. Grab your PJs and come down to the store geometry party! We’ll be exploring the wonderful world of geometry, learning and building crazy shapes out of glow sticks and Styrofoam balls. Then we’ll turn out the lights and watch the whole thing light up! For more info, call (415) 785-8177 or visit their website.
  • St. Patrick's Day Stories
    San Anselmo Library
    Friday, 3:30–4:30 pm

    Celebrate the rich heritage of the Celts with Irish native storyteller Maureen Kalbus who will whisk you away to the land of shamrocks and leprechauns. Everyone is welcome to attend! Location: 110 Tunstead Avenue, Council Chambers. For more info, visit their website.
  • Shrek! The Musical
    San Rafael Community Center
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday, 1 pm & Sunday, 3 pm

    Shrek! The Musical, based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film that started it all, brings the hilarious story of everyone's favorite ogre to dazzling new life on the stage. Full of all-new songs, great dancing and breathtaking scenery, Shrek! The Musical is part romance, part twisted fairy tale, and all irreverent fun for everyone! Tickets: $20. Purchase tickets here.

Saturday, March 15

  • Family BikeAbout
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday, 8:30–10 am

    Pedal with your pals while enjoying the sights and sounds of your very own zoological park! Families can bring their bicycles to the Zoo for this informative, 1.5-hour, docent-led cycling tour. It’s great to be in the Zoo ahead of the crowds and watch the animals start their day. Registration includes parking and Zoo admission. Participants must bring a bicycle; the SF Zoo does not provide bicycles to rent. Cost: SFZS members $18 per pedaler and non-members: $23 per pedaler. Location: 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • The 4th Annual Marin Teen Girl Conference
    Embassy Suites Hotel, San Rafael
    Saturday, 9 am–3:30 pm

    From troubled teen to teen empowerment specialist and confidence coach, Kathleen Hassan shares a message of self-worth and personal power that comes from her own real-life experiences. Those hard-earned lessons have become the tools for transformation to help women of all ages find their voice and authentic power within. Kathleen will share the secrets of success that completely transformed her life to one that is beyond her wildest dreams. Registration: $15. Location: 101 McInnis Pkwy, San Rafael. To register, visit their website.
  • Bunny Boot Camp!
    Fairfax Library
    Saturday, 11 am

    Bring the little ones ages 3 to 8 to a puppet show. Lieutenant Longears and his Battalion of Bunnies must complete the final delivery of Easter eggs before Sergeant Cottontail blows his top. However, the Big Bad Wolf has other plans for the eggs. He wants to eat them all! Will Wolf get all the eggs for himself? Will Lt. Longears be able to save the day? Find out in Puppet Art Theater’s Bunny Bootcamp!! Location: 2097 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Fairfax. For more info, call 415-453-8151 or visit their website.
  • Olompali Heritage Foods: Spring Greens!
    Olompali State Historic Park, Novato
    Saturday, 11 am-1 pm

    The land at Olompali has provided fresh and local “California Cuisine” for thousands of years.  Learn about wild foods enjoyed by Coast Miwoks, crops cultivated on the Burdell Ranch and bread baked by members of Olompali’s hippie commune.  An easy walking exploration of the park will be followed by a tasting of miner’s lettuce salad and nettle-mint iced tea. More info: (415) 898-4362 x 204 or visit their website.
  • Baby Loves Disco
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday, 11 am–3 pm

    Baby loves disco is an afternoon dance party featuring real music spun and mixed by real DJs, blending classic disco tunes from the ’70s and ’80s with today’s hottest dance beats. DJ Big G, MC Jesse B, and T Rock will have us rockin' to kid-friendly tunes all afternoon. Urban Sitter will be guiding the fun at fun craft tables to make pipe-cleaner cereal bracelets, do magic scratch, create color-your-own puzzles, temporary tattoos, and face painting. Free with paid Zoo admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Gustafer Yellowgold's Show
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday, 11 am–noon

    Gustafer Yellowgold is a little yellow cone-headed fellow who traveled here from the sun—and the brainchild of musician/artist Morgan Taylor. This show has become an international phenomenon described by the New York Times as “a cross between Yellow Submarine and Dr. Seuss.” Taylor combines whimsical animation with live music and storytelling to create a wholly imaginative and creative experience. Tickets: members $5, general $16 (includes museum admission). For more information, visit their website.
  • San Francisco's 163rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival
    Civic Center Plaza
    Saturday, 11:30 am–5 pm

    The colorful festivities and parade will showcase Irish culture through live performance and entertainment, arts and crafts exhibitors, food and beverage concessions, and children's rides and inflatables. The parade begins at 11:30 am at the corner of Second and Market Streets, where more than 5,000 participants from all over the USA will work their way City Hall. For more info, visit their website.
  • 19th Annual Fairfax Brewfest
    The Fairfax Pavilion, 142 Bolinas Road
    Saturday, 1–5 pm

    Kick off the St. Patrick’s Day weekend early with the 19th annual Fairfax Brewfest at the Pavilion! Come enjoy a day of great beer, music, food, and friends and a chance to support the beauty and vitality of downtown Fairfax. Tickets: adults $30, minors 17–20 $15. Kids 16 and under are free. For more info, visit their website.
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