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;
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;
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;
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


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) 


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


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


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


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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