Nov 25th: 'Thanks for Thanksgiving' book review, 'Studio4Art' in Novato & Festive Events this weekend

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year as it makes us stop and appreciate the wonderful people and things we have around us, so this week I feature a book that helps teach children about giving thanks for what they have. I also suggest a great art studio in Novato where kids can get creative on rainy days. After we have all finished our turkey and pumpkin pie leftovers, we can enjoy some festive tree lighting events in San Francisco, or the parade and sledding fun in San Rafael!

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!



Weekend Events


Friday November 26th

Parade of Lights & Winter Wonderland’, Fourth Street @ A Street & Lootens. San Rafael; 
Snow sledding from noon – 8.00 pm, Marketplace at 3.00 – 8.00 pm, Entertainment & Musical Performances at 4.00 – 8.00 pm & Parade at 5.30 pm
31st Annual holiday parade and Winter Wonderland featuring free snow sledding, a marketplace full of arts and crafts, live entertainment and children’s activities. Following the parade, Santa, Ms.Claus and other costumed characters arrive with the Major of San Rafael to the City Plaza to light the Holiday Tree.




Macy’s 20th Annual Union Square Tree Lighting’ from 6.00 – 6.30 pm, Union Square, Downtown San Francisco, free
Singer Katherine McPhee performs “Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You” and is also joined by the SF Boys Chorus ‘The Glide Ensemble’, UC Berkeley Men’s Octet, SF Giant’s Barry Zito and the cast members from Shrek the Musical. Santa will be leading the countdown to lighting of the 85 foot Shasta white fir tree with thousands of twinkling lights and ornaments.


Ghiradelli Square 46th Annual tree Lighting’ at 5.30 pm, Ghiradelli Square, 900 North Point Street, San Francisco, free: http://www.ghirardellisq.com/events/tree-lighting-ceremony/tree-lighting-ceremony
Free live music and children's entertainment from 2.00 pm, leading up to local weather anchor Roberta Gonzales hosting the turning on of the Square’s tree lights by Santa.


Charities Get Gifted’ at 12.30 pm at Northgate Mall, address, free; website
Local organizations and charities host a frantic race to unwrap a mountain of packages every Friday (3rd, 10th & 17th) leading up to Christmas by the Food Court of the Northgate Mall.


Saturday November 27th


‘Santa’s Arrival’ from 11.00am, Golden Eagle Shopping center, E. Washington Street, Petaluma, free: 
Santa and Ms.Clauss sail into the Petaluma River Turning Basin aboard a tugboat at noon, and disembark in the Golden Eagle shopping center to greet children and distribute candy. Performers from the Petaluma's School of Ballet's Nutcracker will entertain crowds from 11.00 am as they wait for Santa’s arrival.


Parade of Lights & Winter Wonderland’, Fourth Street @ A St & Lootens, San Rafael;
Snow sledding & Kids activities from 9.00 am – noon.

Clay Gingerbread House Workshop at Studio 4 Art, from 10.00 – 12.00 pm, address, $40 per house, all ages; preregistration is required; website: www.studio4art.net
Families can work together to build a gingerbread house out of clay and paint it!




Saturday November 27th & Sunday 28th


'Gingerbread House Extravaganza' from 11.00 - 1.00 pm, Bay area Discovery Musuem, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, $30 per kit: http://www.baykidsmuseum.org/programs-and-events/holidays/ 
Kids can build sweet bejeweled gingerbread houses using frosting, gumdrops and candy canes at the BADM this weekend. 



Play Date of the Week


Studio 4 Art, 1133 Grant Avenue, Novato, open 10.00 am – 5.00 pm, Mon – Fri: www.studio4art.net

My son and I have been going to a weekly ‘Art for Toddlers’ classes at Studio4Art in Novato for a few weeks now, and wanted to let others know about this great local business.

The toddler class is for children from 20 months up to 3 years old, and works out reasonably priced if you sign up for 4 classes, plus you can choose which day of the week you would like to attend. If you are part of a playgroup then groups of 4 children or more receive a 20% discount. A great idea is to design a special holiday or theme inspired playgroup, and focus on handprints in clay or a special painting on canvas that can be framed for a gift. For those wanting to get some holiday shopping or errands done while their kid’s create art, then drop ins are also available for ages 4 and over. Clay, painting, drawing and mosaics are available. There are also special workshops available such as the clay gingerbread house building (in listings above) or you can build a clay jewelry/treasure box or mosaic flower pot together. See website for details.

Each week the ‘Art for Toddler’ class begins by drawing with colored pastels, pencils or pens, and then moves onto modeling with clay. The clay can be manipulated with their hands to make a 3D object or rolled out flat and cut out using variously shaped cutters or tools to create patterns in the clay. Our instructor Kebby  McInroy tells us that moldings with clay is a great skill to learn at a young age as it builds strength and versatility  in the hands and fingers.

The clay objects are then painted and fired so we can see the finish product the following week. The children also do painting on mini sized easels which is a lot of fun to watch, as they mix their colors and take different approaches with their paintbrushes onto the paper.

We just wish our 40 minute class wouldn’t go by so quickly!

A few minutes drive away from the art studio is Pioneer Park, which is a beautiful place this time of year. It is surrounded by rolling hills and green open spaces. It has a fantastic playground with exciting play structures to climb, and an intricate sand activity table in the sand box, check it out next time you are in Novato!





Book of the Week


'Thanks for Thanksgiving' by Julie Markes , illustrated by Doris Barrette

The entertaining Christopher Smith read this book at the Book Passage’s story time on Sunday (every Sunday at 11.00 am, Tamal Vista, Corte Madera) and the kids loved it, I loved it too and had to take it home for us to enjoy leading up the holidays.

Each page gives thanks to various things and people in a family’s life, starting off with: “Thanks for Thanksgiving, for turkey and pie.” Then continues to describe the time of year; “for fall and gold leaves floating by”, and continues to describe fun things the children like to enjoy such as music and dancing, play dates in the park, games like hopscotch and piggyback rides. Giving thanks for the fun things associated with this time of year like rain boots and puddles, and rides on a sled. Then for the warm, cozy cuddles and tucks into bed. Finally for the people; “But MOST of all thanks for the family I love!” with a picture of all members and generations of the family sitting round the table for Thanksgiving dinner.

Each page tells a story with lots of detail that is beautifully illustrated by Doris Barrette with wonderful bright colors and character. These pictures make it a real joy to read and make us want to read it throughout the winter season and not just for Thanksgiving!




Mommy Treats Links



'Eat, Pray, Love'; film version of Elizabeth Gilbert's inspirational book, starring Julia Roberts.


'The Kids are Alright'; comedy drama starring Julianne Moore & Annette Benning. 









Weekly Calendar of Ongoing 
Toddler Activities in Marin



Monday

10 .00 - 10.30 am - Kid's Story Time Club, Pharmaca, 7514 Redwood Blvd, Novato

10.00 – 10.30 am – Book Babies, San Anselmo Library, 110 Tunstead Ave Town Council chamber

10.00 -10.40 am - Toddler class, Studio 4 Art, 1133 Grant Avenue, Novato (until Dec17th)

10.30 – 11.15 am – ‘Music Together of Marin’, The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, 47 Tamal Vista Blvd


9.00 - 1.00 pm - 'Jack and Jill' indoor play space, 217 Western Avenue, Petaluma (every day)

10.00 - 6.00 pm - 'Jump n Bounce, 718 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo(every day)



Tuesday


9.30 – 10.45 am – Baby Bounce Story time – Larkspur Library, 400 Magnolia Ave, 1st Floor

10.00 – 10.30 am - ‘Baby Bounce’ Story time at Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

9.30 – 10.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (up to 24 months) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael


10.30 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (24 months & up) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Play date for 2 and under’ at The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

10.15 - 10.45 am - 'Music Circle', at The Parents Center, Heller's Store, 514 4th Street, San Rafael

11.00 - 11.30 am – ‘Book Club Story Time’ at ‘Pottery Barns Kids’ store, Corte Madera Village



Wednesday

9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, suite 3, Novato

10.00 -10.30 am – Music Together, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 – 10.45 am - ‘Music Circle’ (Under 1 yr),The Parents Center, Heller’s, 514 4th St, San Rafael 


10.00 - 10.45 am - Fun & Funky (age 2 - 4), Fairfax Community Center, 

10.30 - 11.30 am – Adventure Club Drop in Play, MLK Gym, 610 Colma Street, Sausalito

11.00 - 11.30 am – Story Time at Giggle Store, Corte Madera Village

11.00 -11.30 am – Preschool Story time, Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, Corte Madera


Thursday

8.00 – 1.00 pm – Farmers Market, The Civic Center

9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, Novato

9.30 – 10.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (up to 24 months) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (24 months & up) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 -10.45 am – Toddler Story time (2-3 yrs), Mill Valley Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley

10.30 – 11.00 am – Story Time at San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

11.00 - 11.30 am - Story Time at Barnes & Noble, 313 Corte Madera Center

3.30 - 4.00 pm - 'Stories with Phil Sheridan', Sausalito Library, 420 Litho Street



Friday

10.30 - 11.30 am - Story Time with Sarah Bonnet, San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 – 12.00 pm – Jumping Jacks, Strawberry Recreation District, 118 Strawberry Drive, 2nd floor gym

10.30 – 12.00 pm – Free Playgroup (Under 5), Marin Head Start, 610 Drake Ave, Marin City

Nov 17th: 'Jump n Bounce' & 'Comforts' in San Anselmo, Tree Lighting events in Marin & San Francisco

Plenty of festive events happening this weekend to get you in the mood for the holidays with tree lighting ceremonies in Marin and San Francisco, be sure to check out the Disney characters appearing at Pier 39 and the opening of the Ice rink at the Embarcadero Center this weekend. 

This week I suggest a great place to release your kid’s bounding energy in San Anselmo and then enjoy a bite to eat further down the road. Also a reader shares her secret pasta sauce and fruit smoothie in ‘Eat Your Veggies’.


Weekend Events

Friday November 19th

2nd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony’ at 6.30 – 8.30 pm, Northgate Mall, Oak Plaza (behind Kohls), free: www.shopatnorthgate.com

See Santa arrive at the Northgate Mall in style in an antique cable car, and then watch him light up the Oak Tree for the holidays at 6.45 pm. The crowd can help by waving their magic wands, and there will be fun entertainment including balloons artists, jugglers, face painting and even snow! The Mistletones take center stage for a dance and sing along to traditional popular songs. Also shoppers can jump on the cable car to take people on various stops round the mall to start early gift shopping!


‘Visit Santa at Northgate Mall’ from 11.00 – 8.00 pm, Sunday 11 – 6.00 pm until Dec 24th, Northgate Mall, Los Ranchitos Rd & Las Gallinas Avenue: www.shopatnorthgate.com
Visit Santa at the Magical “Wishes” display in the Macy’s wing of Northgate Mall, sit on his lap and have your picture taken with the man himself and receive a free gift!


Embarcadero Center Building Lighting Ceremony’, 1,2,3 7 4 Center, San Francisco, free: http://www.embarcaderocenter.com/ec/Holidays/index.html
‘Winter Carnival’ is 4.00 – 6.00 pm & ‘Building Lightning Ceremony’ is 6.00 – 7.00 pm
A free festive events for children and adults that begins with a Winter Carnival full of games, crafts, cookie decorating, face painting, pony rides and a petting zoo. Entertainment provided by the performers of the Great Dickens fair & Holiday  Party including holiday carolers, an organ grinder and his monkey and characters such as Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the red Nose Reindeer and more.

The Holiday Building Lighting performance is a segment by Disney on Ice at 6.00 pm with Toy Story characters Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear along with Tinkerbell!

The Countdown to the Holiday Building Lighting will be led by Captain Chesley B.”Sully” Sullenberger followed by the lighting of all four centers and a fabulous fireworks display. The Holiday Ice Rink will be open after the ceremony until 11.30 pm. Regular hours through to Jan 2nd 2011 will be Sun – Thu from 10 – 10 pm and Friday – Sat from 10-11.30 pm.


Saturday November 20th


The Christmas House’ at West End Nursery, 1938 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael, Mon – Sat 8 – 5 pm & Sun 9 – 4 pm: www.westendnursery.com
The Victorian home of the founder, Richard Lohrmann comes alive in the lead up to Christmas and features over 50 elaborately decorated trees each with a different theme. The house is brimming with holiday goodies from all over the world such as ornaments, centerpieces, cookie cutters, wall d├ęcor, gifts and much more! A beautiful site to see, so go and support this local business!

Visit Santa a The Village Corte Madera’, from 11.00 – 7.00 pm & until 6.00 pm on Sundays, The Village Corte Madera, Highway 101 & Paradise Drive; www.villageatcortemadera.com
Visit Santa near Macy’s and let him know what you want for Christmas, take your photo with him and receive a free gift.


Sunday November 21st


Pier 39 Tree Lighting Ceremony’ from noon – 6.00 pm, Pier 39, Beach Street & The Embarcadero, San Francisco, free; www.pier39.com
From noon – 3.00pm come and meet some of the Disney characters while enjoying the Cantabile Youth Singers, followed by the Contra Costa Children’s Chorus from 2 – 3.00pm and then the tree lighting celebration at 5.30 pm.


Performance by Enzo’ (ongoing) from 10.00 am – noon, at Mill valley Golf Course Clubhouse, 280 Buena Vista, Mill Valley, $5 per person & siblings under 7 months are free.
Two sing along sets by Enzo beginning at 10.00 am and 11.00 am.








Play Date & Restaurant of the week



Jump n Bounce’, 718 San Anselmo Avenue, open every day from 10.00 am – 12.30 pm until Sunday December 19th, $5 per jump session, tel for info: (415) 459 8978.

‘Comforts’, 335 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo; http://www.comfortscafe.com/


If you are looking for a fun activity play date followed by a hearty lunch then San Anselmo Avenue offers both!
‘Jump n Bounce’ is a small indoor space with giant inflatables that opened just over 6 months ago, and is available for kids under 10 years old. The sessions are for children age 2 – 6 yrs at 10.00 am – 4.00 pm, and for older kids 7 – 12 yrs from 4.00 – 6.00 pm, there is a limit of 8 children per session so everyone gets to have fun without overcrowding, just remember to bring your socks.

Jump n Bounce is also available for private parties, so check website at weekends before visit. It offers other special events like a “Mommy/Daddy and Me” session for little ones under 2 years old on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9.30 am. Also call for information about their care nights when adults can get the chance to enjoy a date night while the kids stay and jump around, another option which I found genius was the chance to get a manicure while the kids bounce!

After working up an appetite head further down San Anselmo Avenue (5 minute walk) to Comforts which is a popular neighborhood eatery that offers sit down table service or counter service. It is buzzing with families and locals tucking into healthy, delicious "home comfort food" that can be enjoyed inside or out in the sidewalk patio.

Our family got cozy in a small booth and took a look at the menu which apparently changes weekly, full of fresh sandwiches, salads, pasta, breakfast and brunch specials. My husband ordered the tuna melt sandwich with dressed greens. The sandwich was deliciously moist on really tasty wheat bread, but the dressing on the greens was a little heavy and probably should have been ordered on the side. I thoroughly enjoyed the smoked salmon scramble eggs and bagel with cream cheese and sliced tomato. I was also pleased that the scramble eggs were not overcooked as I sometimes find that they can be plastic and capable of bouncing off the walls!  We ordered the kid’s scramble egg with rice (or potatoes) and toast for our son which he liked but enjoyed my salmon scramble eggs much more. Both eggs came with fresh pineapple, melon and orange slices which was enough to take some home too. Unfortunately my son didn’t get a look in on the strawberry jam that came with his toast, as I hadn’t had jam in a long time and devoured it while he was still sucking on his oranges.

The service was friendly and speedy which impressed us considering how busy they were during a Sunday lunchtime rush, we were pleased we opted for table service as the line next door at the counter was extremely long.

We were very tempted by the array of wonderful looking pastries, muffins, cookies and homemade cakes on display but just couldn’t eat another bite so rolled ourselves home after a very satisfying lunch!




Eat Your Veggies


Readers to this blog are asked to share their recipes and tips on how yo get their children to eat their vegetables in a creative and maybe less obvious way. Danielle shares her secrets to help her daughter eat her vegetables in a homemade pasta sauce and fruit smoothie: 


Danielle’s Homemade Pasta Sauce


“We eat this sauce with pasta and my daughter also uses it instead of ketchup with chicken strips and hot dogs.”


Ingredients:

One can of tomato sauce (unsweetened)
2 medium sized tomatoes chopped
1/2 an onion
A meat of your choice (optional)
Three cups of cooked veggies (I use carrots, zucchini, spinach and collard greens because those are our particular battles)
One tablespoon of brown sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste


Add the first four ingredients into a slow cooker (you can also do it on the stove) on low heat. Puree the three cups of veggies and add to the slow cooker. Cook on a low heat for four to five hours. Add brown sugar
and seasoning and serve. 


Danielle’s Banana, Blueberry & Spinach Smoothie


Ingredients:

One banana (frozen)
One cup of frozen or fresh blueberries
One cup of frozen chopped spinach
Yogurt or soy milk 
Ice Cubes

Blend ingredients together and add a straw because she will drink ANYTHING out of a straw!



Please email me at sophialdavies@gmail.com or tweet me your recipes and tips to get featured in this section! 






Weekly Calendar of Ongoing Toddler Activities in Marin



Monday

10 .00 - 10.30 am - Kid's Story Time Club, Pharmaca, 7514 Redwood Blvd, Novato

10.00 – 10.30 am – Book Babies, San Anselmo Library, 110 Tunstead Ave Town Council chamber

10.00 -10.40 am - Toddler class, Studio 4 Art, 1133 Grant Avenue, Novato (until Dec17th)

10.30 – 11.15 am – ‘Music Together of Marin’, The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, 47 Tamal Vista Blvd


9.00 - 1.00 pm - 'Jack and Jill' indoor play space, 217 Western Avenue, Petaluma (every day)

10.00 - 6.00 pm - 'Jump n Bounce, 718 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo (every day)



Tuesday


9.30 – 10.45 am – Baby Bounce Story time – Larkspur Library, 400 Magnolia Ave, 1st Floor

10.00 – 10.30 am - ‘Baby Bounce’ Story time at Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

9.30 – 10.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (up to 24 months) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael


10.30 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (24 months & up) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Play date for 2 and under’ at The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

10.15 - 10.45 am - 'Music Circle', at The Parents Center, Heller's Store, 514 4th Street, San Rafael

11.00 - 11.30 am – ‘Book Club Story Time’ at ‘Pottery Barns Kids’ store, Corte Madera Village



Wednesday

9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, suite 3, Novato

10.00 -10.30 am – Music Together, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 – 10.45 am - ‘Music Circle’ (Under 1 yr),The Parents Center, Heller’s, 514 4th St, San Rafael 


10.00 - 10.45 am - Fun & Funky (age 2 - 4), Fairfax Community Center, 

10.30 - 11.30 am – Adventure Club Drop in Play, MLK Gym, 610 Colma Street, Sausalito

11.00 - 11.30 am – Story Time at Giggle Store, Corte Madera Village

11.00 -11.30 am – Preschool Story time, Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, Corte Madera


Thursday

8.00 – 1.00 pm – Farmers Market, The Civic Center
9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, Novato
9.30 – 10.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (up to 24 months) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (24 months & up) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 -10.45 am – Toddler Story time (2-3 yrs), Mill Valley Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley

10.30 – 11.00 am – Story Time at San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

11.00 - 11.30 am - Story Time at Barnes & Noble, 313 Corte Madera Center

3.30 - 4.00 pm - 'Stories with Phil Sheridan', Sausalito Library, 420 Litho Street



Friday

10.30 - 11.30 am - Story Time with Sarah Bonnet, San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 – 12.00 pm – Jumping Jacks, Strawberry Recreation District, 118 Strawberry Drive, 2nd floor gym

10.30 – 12.00 pm – Free Playgroup (Under 5), Marin Head Start, 610 Drake Ave, Marin City


Nov 13th: "Taki' Japanese Restaurant, 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' Book & Events

The sun is still shining but there is a chill in the air, perfect weather for warming up with a bowl of soup and a warm muffin after a nature hike. There is a great cheddar & Squash muffin recipe in “Eat Your Veggies” section that allows parents to offer their recipes and advice on how to creatively get your kids to eat their vegetables in a less obvious way. Talking of food, I review a great little Japanese restaurant in Novato, and we go on a Bear Hunt in ‘Book of the Week’.

Photo: China State Camp by Adam Davies


Weekend Events


Saturday November 13th


‘Manor School Winter Faire’ from 10.00 – 5.00 pm, 150 Oak Manor Drive, Fairfax, free entry; www.winterfaire.com
Go sledding on a giant sled created with hay bales and trucked –in snow! Bounce house, big slide, a take home what you made craft table, book sale, silent auction, bake sale and chili cook off. There is food available from ‘Sol Food’ and ‘Strauss Family Creamery’. Also live music with various bands starting at noon. Proceeds from the faire benefit the Yes! Ross Valley School Foundation & the Manor PTA.

‘Family Hike & campfire’ from 5.00 – 7.30 pm, Headlands Institute, 1033 Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito, $10 per person; www.novemberfamilycampfire.eventbrite.com
All members of the family are invited to explore the great outdoors for a family friendly hike and then sing songs round the campfire as you roast some S’mores. Baby carriers suggested for kids under 4 years old and pre-registration required 24 hours before the hike.



Sunday November 14th

Preschool Gallery Hour: By George, You’ve Arrived!’ from 10.00 – 11.30 am, Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission Street, San Francisco; www.cjm.org
The opening day of ‘Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H.A Rey’. Tour the exhibition, listen to some Curious George stories, make a Worldly Travel Tag and monkey around with the all-women clown troupe; Circus Finelli



Restaurant of the Week


‘Taki’ Japanese & Sushi Bar, 452 Ignacio Boulevard, Novato (no website)


Taki Japanese restaurant is located in the Ignacio Plaza by Paradise Foods, it is a cute place with booths, normal height or low tables, a sushi rolling bar and some outdoor seating in the front patio. It also has great Koi fish pond in the middle of the restaurant that kids love, especially as the fish are so friendly and bob up to say hello!

I initially went on a little dinner date with my young son and we shared the ‘Combination Dinner’. We started off by sharing a bowl of miso soup, my son couldn’t get enough of it and especially loved the small pieces of Tofu in it. We also ordered the Gyoza appetizer, which is 8 pieces of Japanese style potstickers, and almost ordered a second potion as they were that good!

Next came our Chicken Katsu and Chicken Teriyaki with a bowl of rice, delicious cabbage salad and tsukemono. The Chicken Katsu was absolutely wonderful, so was the Chicken Teriyaki, we have also enjoyed the Lemon Chicken on another visit which was fresh and zesty. The combination dinner proved a good choice to share with a little one, as there are a good variety of things for them to try, and the Japanese tray is perfect for kids to eat off of. You can also order the combo dinner with Sukiyaki, Tempura, California or Tempura Rolls, Saba shoyaki and Tonkatsu. Alternatively there are children’s potions of the combo dinner if you would rather enjoy the wide selection of sushi and sashimi. The service is efficient and polite, and it a great place to go for lunch too, as there are various specials; sushi, sashimi, cooked lunch or combination bento lunches. 

We ordered the Tonkatsu; fried breaded pork cutlet, for my husband to take home and he absolutely loved it, so much so that he wanted to go back and eat in just a couple of days later!



Eat Your Veggies!

Last week I asked parents answer the question: “How do you creatively get your kids to eat vegetables?”


Ashling’s Cheddar Squash Muffins Recipe

2 eggs
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of roasted squash (mashed)
1 1lb box of oatmeal muffin mix
1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of chopped scallions

Roast the butternut squash by cutting in half, lengthwise and scoop out seeds, then roast at 400 for an hour. Add mashed squash to the rest of the ingredients and bake the muffins at 400 for 15 – 20 minutes.

My daughter ate her muffins by dipping them in her tomato soup, and she loved the roasted pumpkin and butternut squash seeds, too.  The next day I toasted the muffins and put avocado on them and she ate them up for lunch!


Melissa’s Tip of the Week

“I can get my daughter to eat her carrots by mashing them into her mac n cheese. I also add spinach or shredded zucchini to her scrambled eggs. We also make zucchini bread, a little less nutritional value but she still gets the vegetables!”



If you have any great tips or recipes please email or tweet them to me!




Book of the Week


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen, illustrations by Helen Oxenbury


My sister introduced this book to us when my son was just 5 months, and he enjoys the story more and more now that he can join in with the story.

The story features a father, four children and their dog going on an exciting bear hunt through the great outdoors. It has a repetitive verse that the first few pages begin with:” We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one, what a beautiful day! We’re not scared”.

Along the way they come across various obstacles in their path such as a deep cold river, thick oozy mud, a big dark forest, and a snowstorm. At each obstacle there is a repetitively sequence that reads; “we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, oh no, we’ve got to go through it!” You can then make the sounds together whether it is splash splosh through the river, or squelch squelch through the mud or hooo hoo through the snowstorm. The family finally get to a narrow gloomy cave that they tip toe into only to come face to face with “one shiny wet nose, two big furry ears and goggly eyes, it’s a bear!” They then have to run back through all the obstacles they faced on the way with the bear following them, until they get back to their house, and jump into bed, get under the covers and declare: ”We’re not going on a bear hunt again!’

English author Michael Rosen’s repetitive rhymes turn this book into a sing along story and the funny sounds you make along the journey make it an animated read for your little one. The wonderful illustrations in water colors by Helen Oxenbury also make this book a modern classic, which celebrated with an anniversary edition last year. I hope you enjoy going on a bear hunt soon!




Weekly Calendar of Toddler Appropriate Activities in Marin



Monday

10 .00 - 10.30 am - Kid's Story Time Club, Pharmaca, 7514 Redwood Blvd, Novato

10.00 – 10.30 am – Book Babies, San Anselmo Library, 110 Tunstead Ave Town Council chamber

10.00 -10.40 am - Toddler class at Studio 4 Art, 1133 Grant Avenue, Novato (until Dec17th)

10.30 – 11.15 am – ‘Music Together of Marin’, The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, 47 Tamal Vista Blvd


9.00 - 1.00 pm - 'Jack and Jill' indoor play space, 217 Western Avenue, Petaluma (every day)

10.00 - 6.00 pm - 'Jump n Bounce, 718 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo (every day) 


Tuesday

9.30 – 10.45 am – Baby Bounce Storytime – Larkspur Library, 400 Magnolia Ave, 1st Floor

10.00 – 10.30 am - ‘Baby Bounce’ Story time at Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

9.30 – 10.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (up to 24 months) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael


10.30 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (24 months & up) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Play date for 2 and Under’ at The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

10.15 - 10.45 am - 'Music Circle', at The Parents Center, Heller's Store, 514 4th Street, San Rafael

11.00 - 11.30 am – ‘Book Club Story Time’ at ‘Pottery Barns Kids’ store, Corte Madera Village



Wednesday

9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, suite 3, Novato

10.00 -10.30 am – Music Together, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 – 10.45 am - ‘Music Circle’ at The Parents Center, Heller’s store, 514 4th St, San Rafael 


10.00 - 10.45 am - Fun & Funky (age 2 - 4), Fairfax Community Center, 

10.30 - 11.30 am – Adventure Club Drop in Play, MLK Gym, 610 Colma Street, Sausalito

11.00 - 11.30 am – Story Time at Giggle Store, Corte Madera Village

11.00 -11.30 am – Preschool Storytime, Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, Corte Madera

4.00 – 8.00 pm - Farmer’s Market, Bolinas Park, Bolinas Road, Fairfax


Thursday

8.00 – 1.00 pm – Farmers Market, The Civic Center
9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, Novato
9.30 – 10.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (up to 24 months) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (24 months & up) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 -10.45 am – Toddler Storytime, San Rafael Library, 1100 E St, San Rafael

10.30 – 11.00 am – Story Time at San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

11.00 - 11.30 am - Story Time at Barnes & Noble, 313 Corte Madera Center

3.30 - 4.00 pm - 'Stories with Phil Sheridan', Sausalito Library, 420 Litho Street

3.00 – 7.00 pm – Farmers Market, Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross

6.00 – 9.00 pm - Farmers Market, 4th St, between Lincoln and B St, San Rafael



Friday

10.30 - 11.30 am - Story Time with Sarah Bonnet, San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 - 11.30 am - Tot's Club, City Hall Parks & Recreation, 420 Litho Street, Exercise Room, Sausalito

10.30 – 12.00 pm – Jumping Jacks, Strawberry Recreation District, 118 Strawberry Drive, 2nd floor gym

9.00 – 2.00 pm – Farmers Market, Alto Shopping Center, Mill Valley

9.00 am – 2.00 pm – Farmers Market, Bank of America parking lot, Downtown Sausalito
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