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:

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:
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:
‘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:
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;
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;
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;

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.”


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


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 or tweet me your recipes and tips to get featured in this section! 

Weekly Calendar of Ongoing Toddler 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, 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 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


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


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


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

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