Spring is here and Easter is on its way! Find egg hunts in and around Marin, spring and Easter crafts, breakfasts with the Easter Bunny, and other seasonal family events here in our special Spring and Easter section.
One of the best things about spring is knowing that you can get fresh, sweet, locally grown organic strawberries at the farmer's market or grocery store. To celebrate, we love to make this easy and delicious strawberry shortcake dessert. This simple combination of lightly sweet shortcake, fresh strawberries, and vanilla flavored whipped cream is a hit with just about everyone, and is suitable for every occasion, from a fancy dinner to a kids' tea party.
These shortcakes are kind of like sweet buttermilk drop biscuits, and don't take very long to put together. If you're really in a hurry, you can use whipped cream from a can, but it doesn't take too much time or effort to make some fresh whipped cream with your electric mixer, and it tastes so much better, too.
You can make the shortcakes and whipped cream in advance and let diners assemble their own strawberry shortcake creations at the table, if you like. It's fun for both children and adults. Whipped cream keeps fine in the refrigerator for a few hours, and you can make it extra-thick and rich by putting it in a strainer over a bowl and letting some of the water drain out.
If you haven't been to the beautiful and picturesque Slide Ranch in Muir Beach, now is your chance. Come to this non-profit teaching farm overlooking the ocean to celebrate food, family, and fun at this year's Spring Fling this Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.
This year's Spring Fling includes live kid-friendly music, local organic cuisine, and hands-on farm and craft activities for all ages. Learn where your food comes from by milking goats, feeding chickens, and touring the garden, or making bread, butter, and cheese. See how a sweater is made through sheep shearing, carding and spinning wool, and other wool crafts. Attend an informative bee keeping workshop with Marin Bee Company Family. Come reconnect with the land on a guided coastal hike, or simply relax on a picnic blanket while eating delicious offerings from local farms.
Live performers at Spring Fling include Sofi Rox, Fire and Oak (Marin Academy acoustic band), Tim Cain, and Helen King and the Star King Stompers.
San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden is a favorite spot for tourists in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, but it's also a great spot for local families. I've been visiting since I was a small child, and I've made sure that I introduced it to my children, too. Before I took them there, I had forgotten how magical this place is.
We just went this week one day after school, since at this time of year the sakura, or flowering cherry trees, and azaleas are in full bloom. It's a magnificent and colorful spring sight that's really worth the effort to see. The kids love to explore the grounds and get some tea and a Japanese snack at the tea room.
The Japanese Tea Garden is lush and tranquil with all its spring flowers blossoming, and even with the many tourists roaming around it still had the feeling of being a peaceful retreat from the bustle outside. We always try to make it a point to visit every time we're in Golden Gate Park, no matter what the time of year.
Get your tickets for the Mad Hatter's Spring Tea Party at San Rafael's Falkirk Cultural Center on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, 2013. There will be two tea party sittings, at noon and 3 pm each day.
Join Alice, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse for this Wonderland tea party, complete with tea sandwiches, beverages, and dessert. The company of characters in original costumes, from the Stark Ravens Historical Players, will entertain and make the little ones giggle and dream as they sip their “tea”. Falkirk’s beautiful and elegant Victorian setting is the perfect place for this spring tea party.
The cost is $27.50 for adults and $22.50 for children, which includes all the food you can eat and a goodie bag for each child. Bring your camera for great photos! Reservations are required; call (800) 838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.
Spring in California is spectacular, with an abundance of wildflowers, waterfalls (provided it rains), and wildlife. Before the summer heat bakes the hillside grass brown, get the family out on the trail at one of these great Marin hiking spots. These hikes are perfect for a family outing at almost any time of year, but are especially nice during the spring. These trails are easy enough for everyone in the family to tackle.
Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve near Tiburon is home to spring wildflowers and spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and Mt. Tam. The trails here are great for kids of all ages and even offroad strollers. Best of all, it's located right near Tiburon and Corte Madera.
Martin Griffin Preserve at Audubon Canyon Ranch near Stinson Beach offers miles of easy hiking trails for families, as well as fun and fascinating educational opportunities. This preserve, a nesting site for Great Herons, is only open on weekends from mid-March through mid-July.
Easter is just days away, and my kids and I have been busy creating festive holiday crafts to decorate the house for our big family celebration. My daughter insisted on making a cute and decorative wreath for the front door, so we came up with this fun and easy Easter egg wreath paper craft.
If you don't want to create your egg shapes freehand, I made a basic egg template that you can download and print onto colored paper. Get it here.