Peter Pumpkin Patch, Kid's Yoga Class & "The Way" Movie

As it is the last weekend before Halloween, check out a great pumpkin patch in Petaluma where you can dig for potatoes and sample great cheese and fresh made ice-cream. Sign up for a great kid’s yoga workshop in Terra Linda to help gain strength and learn how to relax, also check out a poignant drama starring Martin Sheen about his pilgrimage through France and Spain in memory of his son in "The Way"

Play Date

Peter Pumpkin Patch, Spring Hill Cheese Company, 4235 Spring Hill Road, Petaluma; view website

Last weekend we discovered a great pumpkin patch with friends at Spring Hill Cheese Company in Petaluma. It is called Peter Pumpkin Patch and has great activities to do with the kids. You can take a FREE hay ride to the field to pick your own potatoes, you are given a bag and a fork and you start digging, it’s a bit like a doing a Easter egg hunt in the dirt, my son loved it! There is a hay pyramid to climb, old wagons and tractors to see, and pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to run around. You can look at the baby carves some only 8 days old in their little pins before they can join the other cows in the field, or even see a full size cow close up.

For lunch we enjoyed their cheese that comes in a picnic box with crackers, salami and grapes…but best of all was their fresh made ice-cream in vanilla and pumpkin flavor…a first for my son and for me!

Kid’s Yoga

Embrace Yoga, 600 Manuel t. Freitas Parkway, San Rafael (near Scottys’s Market) Register in advance ($90 for the series); view website
Wednesdays: October 26th – November 30th
Ages 3 – 6 yrs: 3.15 – 3.45 pm with Sharon Cummings
Ages 7 – 12 yrs: 3.45 – 4.30 pm with Sat Rattan

A fun 6 week workshop series that will incorporate yoga and breathing, group games, partner yoga and drawings to help children relax and calm their minds and increase flexibility and body awareness.

Movie of the Week

The Way

Emilio Estevez directs his father Martin Sheen in his first lead role in thirty years in “The Way”. Sheen plays a father who travels to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to bring his son’s body home, when he finds out that he died near the beginning of a pilgrimage to Spain he decides to walk it in his honor, meeting interesting characters along the way.

I found it to be a poignant drama about a man going on an inward journey to contemplate about his relationships with others with some moving and humorous moments. View website

Baby & Toddler 

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Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch, "Express" Store Opening & "Work of Art"

It is beautiful weather in Marin at the moment so get out and visit the local pumpkin patches, our favorite is Nicasio Valley Farms pumpkin patch which has lots of entertainment for both children and adults.

Talking of entertainment, check out the second series of "Work of Art: The Great New Artist"on Bravo TV following various artists competing for their own solo show. 

From art to fashion; a new "Express"store opens in the Northgate Mall today which offers women’s and menswear that will take you from the office to the bar. Have a great weekend!

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio: view website

Our family’s favorite pumpkin patch is located at the Nicasio Valley Farm and opens from 10.00am – 6.00 pm, check it out this weekend as it has so many fun things do and see!

Enjoy live music; Tim Cain will be playing this Sunday at 11.00am.

Get lost in the hay maze!

Take a Hay Ride round the field and get your picture taken on the tractor!

Visit the baby lambs, sheep, carves, piglets, goats and chickens!

Explore nature!

Bounce around on the Jumpy House!

Have fun collecting fruit & vegetables with a kid’s wheelbarrow!

Collect pumpkins in the field

Enjoy a Tri-Tip sandwich or hot dog at Big Jim’s BBQ

Mommy’s Treats


Express Opens in Northgate Mall

Looking for a sophisticated outfit for work or something casual for the weekend? Check out "Express" women’s and men’s fashion forward apparel and accessories store opening in the Northgate Mall this Friday! 

Sign up to get the latest information on collections and an initial 15% promotion through their website to help you get shopping: view website

TV Show of the Week

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist

Bravo TV’s reality competition show set in the art world is back for another season, eccentric personalities thrown into the mix competing for their own solo show at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (Facebook page) makes interesting viewing so far.

Wednesday at 9.00 pm on Bravo TV: Bravo TV website

Baby & Toddler 

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Get "Unplugged" by Enjoying the Outdoors on a Family Hike with "NatureBridge"

After sharing her favorite Family Friendly Wineries with us, Elena McAlpine is back for another guest post to share her experience on a NatureBridge family hike with her two year old daughter in the Marin Headlands to teach children about “Animals Families of the Headlands” and learn about the unique characteristics of animals who call the Headlands home .  

NatureBridge Family Hike

“As an avid hiker, sharing the great outdoors with my child is something I am passionate about. To get outside with my 2 1/2 year old daughter, Mia, I signed up for the nature walk "Animal Families of the Headlands" with NatureBridge. NatureBridge is located at Fort Cronkite in Golden Gate National Park and is dedicated to "Connecting Youth with the Natural World". Their programs aim to get families "unplugged" and outside enjoying nature together. 

Excitement for our big adventure quickly turned into fear of taking our 2 year old out in public. Parents of toddlers know that every time this particular animal is taken out of their natural habitat, their reaction is as unknown as it is deadly. After convincing her that a princess dress, ski hat and mommy’s high heels were not a reasonable outfit for a hike, we were on our way. We had a wonderful drive out to the beautiful Marin Headlands and arrived without incident. To make things even better, soon after our arrival we saw our first animal! A friendly raccoon was crawling around in the bushes of the Nature Bridge campus. We ran over and Mia squealed as the animal played a game of peek-a-boo with us. This was going to be good, I thought!

Next we went into the Nature Lab where a guide put a huge turtle shell on Mia's back. Mia's eyes lit up and I could tell that for just a moment, she thought she had been magically turned into a giant sea turtle. As a parent, there is nothing better than seeing your child's imagination run wild. The lab also provided a great platform for the kids to see all the animals of the Marin Headlands up close. They were stuffed of course, which was good since my kid's first reaction to an animal is to poke them in the eye or pull their tail. The kids really enjoyed seeing coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, fox, voles, snakes and raccoons first hand. After playing in the lab, we ate a local, organic lunch cooked by the on-campus chefs while Aaron Rich, director of NatureBridge’s Golden Gate campus spoke to us about the company and then we got ready for our hike.

We met our guide and began our hike by playing a game called, "Are you my mother?” In the game, we all had shakers that made a slightly different sound. Each shaker had a match in the group. The goal was to find the other shaker that sounded just like ours. This taught the kids how mothers can recognize their young in the wild. Each baby animal makes a unique sound and that is how the mother knows which one is hers (not unlike humans!). This was a great icebreaker among the families and a fun way to learn about how animals communicate.

Once the hike began it was clear the older kids were able to keep up a much faster pace than my 2 1/2 year old. Anyone with a toddler knows getting them to go anywhere is like herding cats. Aside from the fact that they cannot travel in a straight line, they also resist traveling in the same direction as their parents. So shortly after hitting the trail, we let the group go ahead on what looked like a beautiful and relatively easy 2 mile hike along the Headlands. 

Using the magnifying glass in the goody bag provided by NatureBridge, Mia and I spent the next hour looking at everything from bugs to rocks to blades of grass. We sat in the dirt trail, under the sun with the “Blue Angels” flying overhead (Fleet Week was taking place in San Francisco). My daughter found magic and delight in every object we came across.

At one point she looked at the ocean and shouted, "Look mama, the ocean is sparkling!” Her excitement over our natural surroundings was contagious and we were both lost in the moment. I have to admit I have a hard time getting lost in the moment anymore. It seems technology is jumping out of our pockets and purses and hijacking every special moment we have, for better or for worse. A quick check of my email or sending a text message has interrupted time with my family more than I can remember.

We played on the trail until the fog rolled in. Our afternoon outside was unforgettable. The programs provided by NatureBridge for preschoolers up to high school age are a great way to get your kids playing outside, and parents too, if you remember to check your phone at the start. Nature Bridge helped us get "unplugged" just as they promised and we loved every minute of it. Not only did Nature Bridge connect Mia with nature, it connected a mother to her daughter."

If you would like to know further information regarding NatureBridge check out their Website

Also NatureBridge offers useful resources for enjoying the outdoors with children including “Tips for Sharing nature with Children”, “North Bay Family Friendly Outdoor Destinations” and “Books for Parents and Children”:Useful Resources

Baby & Toddler 

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Pedalfest, Off the Grid Food Trucks, Free Family Block Party at Yerba Buena Arts District this Weekend!

Get on your bike to the first bicycle-themed "Pedalfest" taking place in Oakland this Saturday, sample gourmet food with live music at "Off the Grid" in Larkspur on Sunday. Also take advantage of free admission to five leading museums including SFMOMA (would normally cost a family of four $120) at a free family block party in downtown San Francisco on Sunday!

Saturday October 15th

“Pedalfest” from 10.00 am – 5.00pm at Jack London Square, 70 Washington Street, Oakland, freeview website

Oakland’s first ever “Pedalfest” will take place in Jack London Square this Saturday featuring a special kid’s zone, a parade showcasing decorated bicycles, dynamic BMX stunts,  a bicycle rodeo and a vintage and handmade bike show. In keeping with the bike theme, some of the food vendors and Rock-the-Bike sound stage with DJS will be pedal-powered. If you take your bike to the event, the San Francisco Bay Ferry (Blue and Gold fleet) will be free and there will also be a free bike valet service. The beer garden is courtesy of New Belgium Brewery

Sunday, October 16th

‘Yerba Buena Family Day’, Presented by Target from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm, free: view website or Tel; 415-614-3216.

Downtown San Francisco's Yerba Buena arts district is having a free family block party! Five of the area's top cultural destinations including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art(SFMOMA), Contemporary Jewish Museum , Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum)  and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival welcome all ages with a full day of free admission, hands-on art making activities for kids and special family-friendly performances.

Each venue offers visitors a huge array of free opportunities to see and make art. Families can be among the first to experience the redesigned Children's Creativity Museum , unveiling its exciting new Imagination Lab’ for the first time. Kids can ride the historic carousel, experiment with clay animation, and much more. At the Contemporary Jewish Museum , visitors will marvel at Harry Houdini's world famous escape acts in the exhibition; ‘Houdini: Art and Magic’, see a live performance by ‘The Magic of Chin-Chin’ and make their own optical illusions.

At SFMOMA, kids can be inspired by the exhibition ‘Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective’ and sketch, scribble, and squiggle their way through the wonderful world of drawing. Down the block at MoAD families can decoupage their own memory boxes and explore other ways to collect memories after seeing the exhibition ‘COLLECTED: Stories of Acquisition and Reclamation’.

And the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival offers a lively afternoon with multiple performances throughout the Gardens. From hula dancers to Japanese drummers, the main Esplanade Stage offers various musical performances from 12.00 – 3.00 pm. On the Children's Stage near the Children's Creativity Museum, families will delight in the clowning of ‘Unique Derique’ and the grooves of the ‘Venezuelan Music Project’.

The five locations in downtown San Francisco include:

- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) at 151 Third Street (between
Mission and Howard),
- Contemporary Jewish Museum (website) at 736 Mission Street (between Third and Fourth),
- Museum of the African Diaspora (MoMD) at 685 Mission Street (at Third),
- Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum) website at 221 Fourth Street (at Howard)  
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival (website) at Mission Street (between Third and Fourth).

"Off the Grid" every Sunday from 11.00 am – 3.00 pm at Marin County Mart, 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur; Marin County Mart

After the success of the “Food Truck Crush” at Larkspur Landing over the summer, the phenomena that is gourmet food trucks are finally reaching Marin on a permanent basis!
"Off the Grid" has grown in popularity since its first market in Fort Mason Center last year and now travels around San Francisco, San Mateo and Berkeley offering gourmet food vendors with live music. Up to 10 trucks will set up (in the same location as the Saturday’s farmer’s market) every Sunday at Marin County Mart and will run year-round with a 4 week break from mid-December – mid January.  

San Anselmo Memorial Park, The North Face Opens in Corte Madera & Prime Suspect

Have an adventure running around the complex fortresses of the Millennium Playground in San Anselmo. 

For an adventure on a bigger scale be sure to get kitted out in The North Face at their new store recently opened in The Village at Corte Madera

Play Date of the Week

Millennium Playground at San Anselmo Memorial Park, San Francisco Blvd (off Sir Francis Drake Blvd), San Anselmoview website

If you are looking for a park that the children can spend hours having adventures while discovering new areas and hidden corners of the playground then check out the Millennium Playground in San Anselmo Memorial Park.

The playground was built by a team of volunteers in May 2000 and was designed by the local children to reflect various San Anselmo themes. It has a variety of complex designed castle fortresses that represent the Seminary Tower and Town Hall Tower which are a lot of fun to get lost in. There is also a train depot with a wonderful wooden train, a giant dinosaur, sand box, swings and various slides that pop out of the wooden structures.

San Anselmo Memorial Park also has grassy areas, a picnic area, several sports fields, tennis courts and clean bathroom facilities.

Mommy’s Treats


The North Face

The Village at Corte Madera, 1602 Redwood Highway, Corte Maderaview website

The North Face has been making high performance activewear and outdoor clothing for more than 40 years. 

Blending protection from the elements with style, The North Face has just opened a new store in The Village at Corte Madera. Every member of the family from infant to adult can be kitted out for pretty much every outdoor activity. 

Check out their store’s offers and activities through their Twitter page! 

(Stay tuned next week for a write up about the NatureBridge family hike in the Marin Headlands)

TV Show of the Week

Prime Suspect

The new detective show “Prime Suspect” starring Maria Bello in the lead role is shaping up to be one of my favorite shows. It is based on the British show of the same name that Helen Mirren played the tough, straight taking female role in a male dominated world. The show has a good script and storylines with evolving male characters and good humor in the mix.

Thursdays on ABC at 10.00 pmview website

Baby & Toddler 

Weekly Activities Calendars

Looking for something to entertain your toddler or want to reach out to new moms with babies this week?

To view this week’s activities: Click here

NatureBridge Hike, Break a World Record & Ryan Gosling Movies Out Now

Here are a few suggestions of what to do and see around Marin this weekend and early next week, or stay dry by going to see one of the three movies starring Ryan Gosling 
in theaters now!

Event Highlights

Friday October 7th

“The Space Station” opening ceremony in Pacheco Plaza, Ignacio, Novato at 6.00 pm
The W Foundation (TWF) will be opening a new Space Exploration Museum in Novato this evening with ribbon cutting event with legendary astronauts Rick Searfoss, John Herrington and Dick Gordon. The museum and education center will show the history of space exploration and how discoveries in science and technology allowed the U.S to be the leader in space travel. It will be open to the public in November.

Saturday October 8th

“Marinwood Firefighter’s Chicken BBQ” from 3.00 – 7.00 pm
BBQ Area located off Quietwood Drive (through walkway half way down street), Marinwood, adults $9 & kids under 11 $6;view website

Enjoy a tasty BBQ in the woodland area with fun activities for all the family!

Sunday October 9th

“Animals Families of the Headlands” Family Hike from 1.00 – 4.00 pm
‘NatureBridge’, Marin Headland’s Institute, 1033 Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito; $15 per person, pre-registration requiredview website

‘NatureBridge’ is a nonprofit organization that partners with the National Parks Service to encourage families to bring their kids outdoors. This special family hike for all ages will help children to discover the unique characteristics of the animals who call the Headlands home.

“Westend Village Celebration” from 11.00 am – 7.00 pm, 1613 Fourth Street (between F & G Street), San Rafael, free:view Facebook page

A family fun day with live bands including ‘Wonderbread 5’ and ‘The Dig-Its’, great food from local restaurants like Whipper Snapper, free jumpy house, live art galleries, and skate park.

Tuesday October 11th

“Let’s Jump” at Northgate starting at 4.30 pm
Northgate Mall, Oak Plaza (behind Kohls), Terra Linda Exit off Hwy 101;

Help National Geographic Kids break a Guinness World Record in partnership with Cal-Star Gymnastics in Novato. Kids and adults are invited to join together to do a fun warm-up and then everyone will do jumping jacks for ONE minute straight to help break the record! All children that participate will receive a certificate and small gift.
On the following day there will a Jumping Station set up in the Center Court from 1 -3.00 pm for those who can’t make it to the official event.
For further information regarding “Let’s Jump”; view website

Mommy’s Treats

Man of the moment Ryan Gosling is starring in three movies in theaters this week, check them out!

The Ides of March

George Clooney acts and directs this political drama about the last few days before a Ohio presidential primary, when campaign secretary played by Ryan Gosling finds himself involved in a scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the white house, also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman. Facebook page

Crazy, Stupid, Love

When Steve Carell’s character finds out that his high school sweetheart played by Julianne Moore has cheated on him, his whole world unravels and he takes refuge at a bar where he befriends Ryan Gosling’s “playboy player” character who takes him on as his protégé. Funny and moving movie also starring Emma Stone…look out for the ‘Dirty Dancing’ lift scene.


Ryan Gosling stars as a LA stunt driver by day that is steering getaway vehicles by night, he falls for his neighbor who gets involved in the dangerous underworld by the return of an ex-convict husband played by British actress Carey Mulligan (An Education).

Baby & Toddler 
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Swaddling Babies the Natural & Safe Way with "Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle" by Angelique Millette

How do you encourage your baby to sleep better and for longer? What is safe way to swaddle your baby and what are the health benefits?

Pediatric sleep consultant Angelique Millette has the answers to these questions and more, with 15 years of experience helping parents with their children’s sleep problems, she has designed a unique product called the “Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle” which encourages the natural way babies want to sleep in a comforting organic fabric.

“Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle” 

by Angelique Millette

Angelique Millette is a pediatric sleep consultant based in the Bay Area which many exhausted parents have turned to, to get expert advice on how to train their children to sleep better during their various milestones throughout infancy and toddlerhood. Our son didn’t regularly sleep through the night until he was 13 months, so Angelique helped us out a lot and we were also one of the sets of parents that took part in feeding back information on a new swaddle she was developing. That swaddle became available a couple of years later just in time for our baby daughter’s arrival in May, and we were honored to be her first official customer of the “Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle”!

The majority of the baby swaddles on the market force the baby’s arms down next to their hips, this goes against their natural instinct to have their arms curled up and hands over their hearts in the fetal tuck position. After 10 years of helping babies to sleep at night and watching babies struggle with this unnatural swaddling technique, she decided to design her own that would help make nighttime parenting easier. Her doctoral research showed that babies develop in the womb with their hands up over their heart, and then after birth, baby’s hands were forced down at their hips. With new evidence showing an increase in hip dyspepsia due to being swaddled too tightly like this, Angelique designed the first ‘hands up’ swaddle which she named the “Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle”.

The swaddle promotes self-soothing by the placement of the hands over the heart and features swaddle-wings with hand pockets to prevent hands wiggling out and causing the “startle reflex.

Angelique says: “The Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle and sleep sack is what we get when we listen to what a baby’s need, add in a good dose of making parenting easier, and finally add in the science behind baby sleep.”

The Marin Scoop asked Angelique why swaddling was an important method to help newborn babies to sleep and what at the main factors to consider when swaddling:

What are the health benefits to swaddling a new-born infant?

“In the early months, following birth, the newborn’s ‘Startle Reflex’ can typically be strong enough to startle a baby awake from a deep sleep. Swaddling in a blanket or swaddle-type garment makes the baby feel safe and securely held and specifically the baby’s arms and legs are being held. The swaddle can facilitate better sleep for newborn babies since it can reduce the likelihood that the startle reflex wakes the baby up.

There are also studies that show that swaddling can help babies to sleep better and fuss/cry less, especially colicky babies. There are several studies that show that swaddling can reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Swaddling has also been found to be a great benefit to babies with a sensitive sensory system, this can include preemie babies who may need the comfort and security of a swaddle to feel ‘held’ as they were ‘held’ in the womb. Preemie babies can easily become over-stimulated so swaddling can help them sleep. After all, it is during sleep, up to 22 hours for a preemie and 14-18 hours for a full term baby, when babies do most of their growing and developing in the first few months.

At what age is it safe to swaddle a baby?

“It is generally recommended that babies are swaddled until 3 – 6 months, but not after 6 months and that the swaddle is removed once the baby is rolling to side or tummy during tummy time or sleep time. It is also recommended that the baby is no longer swaddled if the baby is active enough when swaddled that they are able to get their hands and arms out of the swaddle since they can easily move the swaddle over their face. Expect a few nights or up to a week of sleep regression when phasing out the swaddle. Your baby will get the hang of sleeping un-swaddled around the time they begin to have greater mobility and can roll into a more comfortable sleep position, such as on their side or on their tummy. Your baby’s increased movement during sleeping and achievement of movement milestones are natural progressions in your baby’s development.”

The 2-in1 Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle has an attachable sleep sack that has a zipper at the bottom for easy nighttime diaper changes without having to un-swaddle the baby. The swaddle can be removed when the baby no longer needs to be swaddled and parents can continue to use the sleep sack. Both items are made from soft, non-dyed 100% organic cotton, produced in the USA. Angelique will also be rolling out a special lovey in the same fabric at the end of the year.

You can order the “Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle” through the Website and it will be rolled to retail stores throughout the Bay Area at the end of October/beginning of November, including all Day One Centers and Carmel Blue in San Francisco. Watch this space for further information on particular stores in Marin that will be stocking the swaddle and also various sizing options, nearer the time.

Angelique teaches sleep workshops and parent’s groups across the country and families in their homes on the phone or via Skype providing individual and unique sleep methods and solutions for parents and their infants and young children, for more information check out Angelique Millette Website

Baby & Toddler
Weekly Activities Calendars

Looking for something to entertain your toddler or want to reach out to new moms with babies this week?

To view this week’s activities: Click here  
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