School's only a few weeks away, and getting organized both for yourself and the kids is a must. Our favorite way to get organized is with the BusyBodyBook!The BusyBodyBook is a stylish and easy-to-use family organizer designed specifically for families. It allows you to keep track of the entire family's schedules at a glance, and it's something I can't live without. BusyBodyBooks personal and family organizers ($17.95) are available for both 2011–2012 school year (August 2011–August 2012) and traditional January–December, 2011 calendar yearversions.
In addition to their organizers, BusyBodyBook also publishes a neat "family central" wall calendar ($14.95) and an undated weekly grid pad ($12.95) that's handy for the fridge, your desk, a binder, or anywhere else that you need to keep track of your busy life.
The curious little monkey whose adventures have captivated children and adults for 65 years is at the Bay Area Discovery Museum! Curious George: Let's Get Curious opens Saturday, June 18 and runs through September 11, 2011. The exhibition introduces children to the world of Curious George and leads them on a fun, interactive math, science, and engineering-based adventure.
Explore the neighborhood where George and the Man with the Yellow Hat live, and meet familiar characters from the classic books by Margret and H.A. Rey and the PBS KIDS animated series. Different areas to visit include:
The apartment building, where you can operate wheels to move George on pulleys from window to window, climb the fire escape, and play with color, light, and shadow.
The sidewalk produce stand, where kids can pretend to sell and shop and us fruits and vegetables to explore shapes, sorting, weighing, and counting.
The construction site, where you can design a building and get to work with building materials and machines.
Celebrate imagination, children's literature, literacy, and above all fun at the fourth annual Storyland Festival, this Saturday, May 14, from 10 am to 3 pm at San Geronimo Preschool in San Geronimo. This enchanting event is perfect for kids from 1–8 and features exciting activites that bring storybook characters to life and help inspire a lasting love of reading. The Storyland Festival gets rave reviews from local parents and children, and It's always one of everyone's favorite yearly events.
This year's Storyland Festival features roaming story characters, live music by everybody's favorite family recording artist Tim Cain, a bounce house, cookie decorating at the Teddy Bear's Picnic, storytelling and games with favorite characters like Snow White and Curious George; face painting, a petting zoo, arts and crafts, healthy and organic food, and much more. Also on hand is Aladdin's Bazaar, where parents can pick up special treasures for their children.
It's something of a tradition to make Mom breakfast in bed on Mother's Day. Instead of soggy cereal or burned toast, why not try out a delicious recipe that the kids can even help make? Dad will have to get up early and get into the kitchen to supervise, but the results—and the look on Mom's face when she tastes the finished product—are worth it.
The recipe in question is the ABC Fritatta from our friend and fellow Marin mom Michelle Stern's new cookbook, The Whole Family Cookbook: Celebrate the goodness of locally grown foods(182 pages, Adams Media, 2011; $17.95). Try whipping up this combination of fresh eggs, sweet apples, crisp bacon, and cheddar cheese (the "ABC" of the recipe title), and it may very well become a favorite in your house.
Veteran parents will probably remember joking about forgetting to pick up the manual for their new baby when leaving the hospital. Of course there isn't a baby user manual, but the Secrets of a Baby Nurse: How to Have a Happy, Healthy, and SLEEPING Baby from Birth(185 pages, Rising Star, 2011; $17.95), the new book by seasoned maternal-infant nurse and "baby sleep wizard" Marsha Podd, RN, might just be the next best thing! Marsha has over 20 years of experience working with parents and small children, and is the author of numerous articles, including guest posts on Marin Mommies.
In Secrets of a Baby Nurse, Marsha provides new parents with just about everything they need to know about their new baby, especially when it comes to sleep (both yours and the baby's). Her helpful advice and tips are the product of years of experience and plenty of scientific research. It's kind of like having your own personal baby nurse on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I really really wish I had this book when my kids were babies—I don't think my son slept at all until he was three (at least it seemed like it at the time).
Marin Mommies contributor, cooking teacher, and award-winning blogger Michelle Stern has just released her first cookbook, titled The Whole Family Cookbook: Celebrate the Goodness of Locally Grown Foods (182 pages, Adams Media, 2011; $17.95). If you and your kids love to cook together, then this is the book you've been waiting for! The Whole Family Cookbook contains over 75 family-friendly, kid-approved recipes, illustrated with beautiful color photos, that are easy to make, delicious, and healthy. Recipes are clear and concise, with color-coded instructions for kids of all ages. The book is also filled with Michelle's practical advice and tips on cooking with kids, culinary techniques, finding the best local and natural foods, green living, and more.
Chapters are divided into different cooking concepts: breakfasts, including crunchy granola, sweet potato biscuits, and an breakfast burritos; dinner fare like chicken pot pie with biscuit topping, miso-glazed salmon, and pumpkin ravioli; side dishes including oven-fried zucchini sticks, Mediterranean quinoa salad, and kale chips, mom-approved treats and desserts like lemon buttermilk sherbet, peaches and cream cobbler, and chocolate chip pumpkin bread; and finally, a collection of recipes for making your own pantry and refrigerator staples such as pancake mix, hummus, hot chocolate, and pesto.
Spring is everywhere as a Rabbit Town's bunnies prepare their eggs for the upcoming Easter holiday in author and illustrator Jan Brett's The Easter Egg(32 Pages, Putnam Juvenile, 2010). Hoppi the rabbit agonizes on just how to decorate his first ever Easter egg, especially after seeing all the amazing eggs the other rabbits are working on. The first prize winner gets to accompany the Easter Rabbit on his rounds hiding eggs on Easter morning! Ultimately, Hoppi learns a lesson about finding out what you're good at, perserverence, and not getting discouraged.
As with all of Brett's children's books, the illustrations in The Easter Egg are gorgeous and filled with incredible amounts of detail. The Easter Egg will bear repeat readings if only to see what's going on in each of the pages, as well as all the action going on in the page borders. Every page is a celebration of spring, with pussy willows, flowers, and vines framing the action. Each of the rabbit types depicted—and there are many—are lovingly and realisticly depicted, and represent numerous different breeds of rabbit.
Local Marin author Jeanne Walker Harvey chronicles the adventures of a wayward sea lion pup in her book Astro: The Steller Sea Lion (32 pages, SylvanDell, 2010). Astro is the true story of a lost sea lion pup who was rescued and cared for by Marin's own Marine Mammal Center, located in the Marin Headlands near Sausalito. Astro is nursed back to health and then released back into the wild—twice. It soon becomes apparent that Astro is more used to humans than other pinnipeds, and can't be released to the ocean. Don't worry, there's a happy ending for everyone!
Kids will love the heartwarming tale of poor lost Astro, and budding marine biologists will relish the detail spent in describing what goes on behind the scenes at the Marine Mammal Center. Illustrator Shennen Bersani's vibrant illustrations feature some landscapes that will be familiar to Marin readers, and kids should have fun seeing some familiar places in the book. Speaking of familiar places, if you haven't been to the Marine Mammal Center, it's well worth a visit. (It's free, too.) Get the scoop on how and when to visit here.
Fans of Arnold Lobel's classic series of Frog and Toad books will be charmed and entranced by Bay Area Children's Theatre's production of A Year with Frog and Toad. Even if you're not familiar with the adventures of the titular amphibian duo, you'll still enjoy this fun-filled live musical that chronicles the adventures of the best friends Frog and Toad.
A Year with Frog and Toad plays on weekends at 2 pm through April 17 at the Freight and Salvage coffeehouse on Addison Street in downtown Berkeley, and it's well worth the short drive from Marin. Our family took in a performance on opening weekend, and had one of our best children's theater experiences ever!
Charlie Cromer and William O'Neill are a delight in the roles of Frog and Toad, respectively, and the cast of supporting characters is expertly handled by Elana Cowen, Rebecca Pingree, and Reggie White, all of whom tackle the multiple roles of birds, moles, a turtle, a mouse, and more. White, in particular, just about steals the show as the enthusiastic but slow-moving snail who gives a literal read on the term "snail mail".