Fun Places to Feed the Ducks in Marin

February 25, 2013

Feeding the ducksOne of childhood's time-honored rituals is heading down to a local pond and feeding leftover bread to the ducks. Not only is it fun for small children, but it helps get ride of that leftover bread in your pantry, too. Feeding the ducks is something my kids always loved to do, and even still enjoy, and there are a few great places in and around Marin County where hungry ducks are plentiful.

Of course feeding the ducks isn't without its risks—pesky and aggressive gulls and Canada geese often try to elbow their way into the action, and they're pretty much ubiquitous in the Bay Area these days. We always try to make sure the ducks get their fair share and try to find a way to outwit the avian interlopers!

The Marin Civic Center

The Marin Civic Center in San Rafael is home to a large pond that's home to numerous waterfowl. There's also a new playground, nice paved walking paths, lawns, picnic tables, and even an island. It's fun to go feed the ducks after an outing to the nearby farmers market on Thursdays and Sundays.

Noah's Ark Preschool Open House in Novato Tonight, February 5

February 5, 2013

Noah's Ark Preschool in NovatoLooking for a preschool and daycare for your child in Novato? Noah's Ark Preschool and Daycare is holding an open house tonight, Tuesday, February 5, at 5:30 pm. Teacher introductions and a general information session will be followed by an interactive tour of the school's classrooms.

The Marin Christian Academy's Kindergarten teacher will also be on hand to answer questions about Kindergarten readiness and give a tour of her classroom. The Marin Christian Academy offers a fully accredited K–8 program at its campus in Novato.

Noah's Ark Preschool is for children ages 2 to 5, and also offers a transitional Kindergarten program. They're located in Novato at 1370 South Novato Boulevard. For more information, call (415) 892-5713 or visit

Photo courtesy Noah's Ark Preschool.

Young Writer/Artist Bookmaking Workshop at Northbay Artworks

October 28, 2012

Young Writers BookIf your child is naturally talented in writing, artistic or just loves to tell stories, then check out the Young Writer/Artist Bookmaking Workshops this fall at North Bay Artworks in Novato. In this workshop, children will work with writer Brenda Zahn and artist Alice Orth to create and publish a children's book of their very own.

This workshop will be offered once a month on two consecutive Saturday mornings from 10:30 am–12:30 pm or in one four-hour session from 1–5 pm. Every month has a theme.

In this four-hour art and writing workshop you'll get a professional quality published book of your child’s story and artwork, a working journal of your child's notes and sketches as tools for the future, and a fun adventure for your child for building skills and confidence!

Share this special memory and order more copies of your child’s book—they're great for holiday gifts!

Check Out the Chicks of Novato on the Pleasant Valley Coop Tour

September 7, 2012

Chickens and coopLove backyard chickens? Thinking of taking the plunge and setting up a coop for your own feathered friends? Then check out Novato's second annual Pleasant Valley Coop Tour, taking place on Sunday, September 9, 2012. You'll get to tour some of Marin's swankest avian homes, learn about the art of backyard chicken keeping, the finer points of coop construction, and the rewards of chicken ownership. You'll also be supporting Novato's Pleasant Valley Elementary School and its outdoor education programs, so it's all for a great cause.

Tickets for this self-guided tour and innovative school fundraiser cost $10. You can order them online or in person at Novato Horse and Pet Supply at 7546 Redwood Boulevard.

All that chicken coop touring will make you hungry, so lunch is available to purchase with your ticket, too. Featuring locally organic ingredients and prepared by Novato's White Rose Ranch, box lunches cost $15 for adults and $7.50 for children.

A Farm-to-Table Dinner at Novato's Farm Girl Nursery

September 2, 2012

Lisa Marvier and chef Suzanne GriffinA few weeks ago, we had a fabulous time at the first-ever Farm-to-Table Dinner at Novato's Farm Girl Nursery. The nursery, a labor of love by Novato resident Lisa Marvier, has really taken off as a local resource for fresh produce, seeds, plants, and food education. Our kids even attended one of the nursery's summer camps and had a blast.

The Farm-to-Table Dinner featured five amazing courses prepared by Marin chef Suzanne Griffin, as well as wonderful conversation with some really interesting people. Dinner guests chatted over wine before dinner and toured the beautiful Farm Girl Nursery property, where we even met some goats and horses. Later, we all sat down for dinner outdoors at a rustic table. As the name implies, all the courses, from the opening Caprese salad to the the closing berry tart with a date-and-nut crust, featured ingredients sourced from Farm Girl Nursery's gardens.

While everything was delicious, my favorite course was the green Farm Girl gazpacho served as the second course. It was so fresh and cooling (the dinner was on one of those rare really hot days this summer), and was a wonderful amalgam of different flavors. Chef Suzanne was gracious enough to share the recipe with me, and it follows below, so you too can amaze your dinner guests with something this good!

Join Studio 4 Art’s Fifth Birthday Party with a Free Art Day!

August 22, 2012

Free art day to celebrate Studio 4 Art's fifth birthdayNovato's Studio 4 Art celebrates its fifth birthday with its annual free art day from 10 am to 1 pm this Saturday, August 25. Come be part of the birthday festivities and create your own original piece of art! Studio 4 Art is located in downtown Novato at 1133 Grant Avenue.

Reserve your spot for the free art day through Studio 4 Art’s Facebook page—state the number of people in your group when reserving your time slot of 10 am, 11 am, or noon. You can choose to create in clay, painting, or illustration.

Studio 4 Art continues to grow and bring new programs to Novato and the surrounding areas of Marin and Sonoma. Last year the studio announced the opening of its second art workspace on the property called the Annex and it has been bustling with activity from workshops, to camps, to birthday parties, and student art shows. Also this past year, programs expanded to include the very popular teen-only art camp and portfolio building class, giving the middle and high school set an opportunity to work with peers in a focused manner to learn and hone in specific art interests and skills.

"Dive-in" Dinner and Movie at the Rolling Hills Club

August 21, 2012

Dive In Dinner and a Movie at Rolling Hills ClubJust because school begins this week for many in Marin doesn't mean there aren't plenty of fun summer activities to still enjoy. This Saturday, August 25 from 6 to 9:30 pm, take in an outdoor screening of Pixar's classic Finding Nemo and a family dinner at Novato's Rolling Hills Club at their first ever "Dive In" Dinner and Movie.

Participate in fun pool games and enjoy a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and garlic bread before you settle down to watch the movie on a giant, inflatable, 25-foot screen. The "Dive In" costs just $30 per family for club members and $35 per non-members family, so it's an inexpensive night out, as well as a great way to come see what the club is all about. The price also includes lemonade, and beer or wine for those 21 and over.

Bring your swimsuits, towels, and pool toys (you can even bring floaties and watch the movie from the pool!) as well as sleeping bags, blankets and pillows so you can get comfy on the pool deck. The movie starts at around 7:15 pm, but get there early to get a good spot, enjoy dinner, and participate in the activities.

Farm Fresh Food at Dolcini Farm Stand

August 19, 2012

Dolcini FarmstandIf you've driven the stretch of Point Reyes–Petaluma Road between Novato and Petaluma lately, you've probably seen the signs for the farm stand in the barn near the entrance to Red Hill Ranch, just north of Novato Boulevard. We decided to check it out the other day and are glad we did!

Pull into the driveway and follow the signs directing you to the farm stand. Owner Kitty Dolcini offers a wide selection of fresh seasonal produce, free-range farm eggs, and grass fed beef at her small stand in on of the ranch's old barns. Much of her produce is grown on the ranch, which leases some of its land to County Line Harvest, a leading local organic producer. Other produce—like summer fruit—comes from quality growers elsewhere in Northern California.

Learn More About Novato's New Charter School this Sunday

July 13, 2012

North Bay Educational FoundationInterested in learning more about Novato's proposed new progressive charter school? This Sunday, July 15, at 4 pm there will be the third in a series of public meetings to inform the community about the school, which will be Marin County’s first Core Knowledge curriculum pre-k through 8th grade public charter school.

The meeting will include an overview of the proposed charter school, a detailed look at the Core Knowledge language arts program, the grade-by-grade curriculum sequence, and an interactive Q&A. North Bay Educational Foundation (NBEF) will also present general charter admissions policies and guidelines, and attendees will have the opportunity to sign a consideration of intent to enroll. In addition, there will be opportunities for interested community members to get involved in bringing this educational opportunity to Novato.

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