My kids love LEGOs, so naturally we're big fans of Play-Well, the amazing LEGO activity center in San Anselmo. Play-Well operates on the belief that kids learn best through play, and their activity center is a fantastic place for children to explore, problem solve, and create through the world of LEGO. My kids always have so much fun here they don't even realize they're learning about engineering!
Play-Well will be holding a free preview of their summer camp offerings on Sunday, June 16, from 1–5 pm. This summer, kids have the opportunity to create with more LEGO than they know what to do with. With access to over 100,000 pieces of LEGO, they can tinker, experiment, invent, and explore engineering in a fun safe atmosphere through play.
During the preview you can:
Get a tour of Play-Well Marin and find out about their workshops, camps, and parties (their birthday parties are fantastic!)
Enter the LEGO BattleTrack Challenge and participate in other fun LEGO games
Looking for a fantastic and fun magician for your child's next birthday party? Local magician and children's performer Julian Sterling offers parties for kids of all ages where birthday boy or girl ends up being the star of the show!
Julian is the youngest professional magician in Marin County, and has tailored his amazing magic show specifically for kids' birthday parties. The birthday child is always the star of the show, receiving several magical gifts during the performance, and even peforming a trick of their own in front of everyone! Julian has performed over 1,000 magic shows for clients in Marin and the Bay Area. His tricks are designed to make kids laugh, and are fun, friendly, safe, and age-appropriate.
Julian's a pro who arrives on time, brings all his own equipment, and cleans up afterwards. All you have to do is buy pizza and cake and invite your party guests! Birthday magic programs start $195, and shows last up to one hour. The birthday child even gets a complimentary magic set!
If you haven't yet planted your summer vegetable garden, then May is definitely the month to get your plants in the ground! Creating raised beds is really the way to go, and making your planter boxes is really easy if you use the new M Braces from Art of the Garden. Distributed by Marin mom and mompreneur Lisa Marvier (of Farm Girl Nursery fame), these nifty braces make setting up your garden a snap.
M Braces are sturdy brackets welded from recycled steel (right here in California!) that make up the four corners of your raised bed planter box. They're really easy to use: simply get your wood cut into lengths to fit your space (you can get them cut to length at the lumber yard if you don't have a saw) and insert the lumber into the M Braces, and you have a box—no nails or screws required.
This weekend, visitors to Bloomfield Farms' u-pick event will not only be able to pick their own certified organic produce, but plant it as well! Bloomfield Farms was selected to help grow the heirloom squash, pumpkins, and gourds for the giant tower of vegetables at this year's National Heirloom Exposition at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds.
Families visiting the for u-pick on Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5, can help plant these heirloom seeds (contributed by the Petaluma Seed Bank and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds). Then, come back in the fall to see how they've grown and pick a pumpkin, gourd, or squash (nature permitting, one per customer).
As usual, you'll also find a variety of great organic produce, including, kale, lettuce, chard, artichokes, leeks, broccoli, and more. We hear their new strawberry patch is in full swing now, too. Also, Chef John Lyle will be on hand again this Sunday for a "pay-what-you-can" Farm Fun Brunch. If you haven't been to u-pick yet this is a great weekend to check it out.
This spring and summer, the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden on the grounds of College of Marin's Indian Valley Campus is a great place to get organic fruits and veggies. A project of College of Marin, Conservation Corps North Bay, and the UC Cooperative Extension, this 5.8-acre certified organic education farm and garden is open to the public for produce shopping on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm.
Bring your own bags and browse the farm stand for a wide variety of seasonal produce grown right there on-site. Right now, you can get artichokes, beets, radishes, chard, kale, leeks, and more. They also sell plants like poppies and other flowers, fruit trees, and several kinds of strawberry plants.
The Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden is located on the Indian Valley Campus at 1800 Ignacio Boulevard. To get there, take Highway 101 to the Ignacio/Bel Marin Keys Boulevard exit and head west on Ignacio Boulevard. Follow Ignacio Boulevard all the way to the end of the road near the campus police station. There's a $3 parking fee during the week. The farm is a short walk from the parking area near the baseball fields.
Marin’s newest spot for fun and games, Toy Crazy, will open in mid May. Located at Marin Country Mart, the shop will offer a wide variety of toys from dress up to board games, dolls and more. Marin Mommies contributor Gabrielle Cullen sat down with owner Melissa Moore to find out a little bit about what makes her tick, inside tips on the best items for folks check out and other great info about Toy Crazy.
How did you end up as the owner of toy stores?
When I was in high school my father’s colleagues wife owned a local toy store. She offered me a job and I continued through college. On school breaks I’d work there. When I graduated I was offered the management job at Toy Attic, and I was hesitant but after a not-so-fabulous experience in the industry I had hoped to work in, I asked the owner if she would ever be interested in selling. She agreed and I managed with the intent to buy. It worked about beautifully for everyone.
U-pick time is almost here! Starting April 14, Bloomfield Farms will be open on Sundays for you and your kids to not only see where your food comes from, but to pick your own seasonal organic produce, too! This certified organic family farm is located in the rolling hills west of Petaluma, and it's a short scenic drive from anywhere in Marin. It's a lot of fun, and at $30 for a large box of vegetables, it's a great deal, too.
This year, the farm has plenty of new activities and events in store, including a farm stand featuring farm-made products and plant starts for your own garden, and visits from local chefs, musicians, and artists. There will even be a strawberry patch later on this spring and pumpkins and other heirloom squash this fall.
The Collins Family, general manager Nick Papadopoulos, and the staff at the farm are warm and welcoming and happy to help and explain about the different crops growing at the farm.
Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin mom and writer Gabrielle Cullen.
Here in Marin, we mommies are fortunate to able to frequent many unique and often times independent locally owned toy stores. A place to take the kids while looking for the 20th birthday gift of the year. A place where the person behind the counter is usually the owner, a member of the owner’s family, or a longtime manager who knows everything there is to know about toys. There are usually samples out and about, great for playing, and there are items guaranteed to bring back a major sense of nostalgia. Yes, the toy store of yore—some still exist! They’ve managed to survive the arrivals of gigantic retail monsters who’ve plopped themselves down in a cool 20,000 square feet of space in a strip mall somewhere down the road. So next time you need a gift, a new addition to the household stash, or just maybe a half an hour of peace, hit up one of these super cool spots. Not only will you be supporting a local business, but the kiddos will have a blast to boot.
Our friends at Bloomfield Farms, a family-run certified organic farm outside Petaluma, are offering a great winter CSA special! Sign up for 24 shares (boxes) of their amazing organic produce and get six for free. Bloomfield Farms offers two convenient pick-up locations for Marin families: the Tiburon Tavern in Tiburon and Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, as well as numerous location in Sonoma County.
Boxes run $20 to $35 depending on size, and include goodies like lettuce, potatoes, kale, and broccoli. Learn more about Bloomfield Farms' CSA program here, or sign up online on Farmigo if you're ready to subscribe.
This special CSA offer is valid only until midnight on Sunday, February 24!
CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture," and by buying your veggies this way you get great healthy food for your family, help support a local farming family, and help build a healthy and vibrant local food system.