Best Playgrounds, Anthropologie Holiday Craft Ideas & Shopping in Madewell

Play Dates at Playgrounds

Take a look at my favorite playgrounds in Marin and other moms suggestions for the best parks in the Bay Area on the Circle of Moms website:


While looking around the sales on Black Friday and over the weekend I found some cute things in Madewell and inspirational holiday items from Anthropologie in Corte Madera The Village.

I love the vintage style jewelry and accessories in Madewell; which is becoming my favorite store.

Black and white stripe bangle:
Madewell Bangle $7.00

Looking glass charm that can be attached to a delicate gold chain with three adjustable loops
Madewell Charm $12.00

These items are on my wish list:

Brown buttery soft leather bag:
Madewell Caravan bag $178.00

Brown leather biker boots:
Madewell Boots $248.00

Holiday Craft Ideas

There are some great crafts and holiday decorations in Anthropologie, I thought these snow globes made out of upside down mason jars filled with salt and little silver trees inside were a great idea to make yourself:

Anthropologie Mason jars $28 - 38.00

These sparkly birds with feather tails are beautiful:

Anthropologie Ornament $22.00

I managed to find a similar one in Michaels, along with the gold garland and glitter bow for my mantelpiece:

You could also go on a nature walk with your little one and collect pinecones, acorns and feathers to paint and make your own little creatures like this one from Anthropologie:

Anthropologie Hedgehog $12.00

Decorate big golden leaves with glitter and turn them into bunting or simply painting pinecones with gold or silver paint and place them on the mantelpiece, shelves or hang from fishing wire. They all make inexpensive holiday decorations and fun craft projects to do on rainy days!

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

Sledding at Winter Wonderland & The Christmas House

If tearing around the stores on Black Friday with your kids isn’t your idea of fun then take them for some fun in the snow with sledding in San Rafael instead.

Also get in the festive mood with a trip around the Christmas House in West End Nursery where you can pick up this year’s tree decoration from 50 different themed trees!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Parade of Lights & Winter Wonderland

San Rafael Parade of Lights & Winter Wonderland, Fourth Street (B St & Lootens), San Rafael, freeview website

Looking for a family activity to do the day after Thanksgiving? Head to San Rafael for the Downtown Parade of Lights & Winter Wonderland where kids can go sledding on real snow! In its 32nd year the event features a holiday marketplace with arts and craft, live entertainment, children’s activities, sledding and one of the largest Holiday Parade in the Bay Area.

It starts at noon with sledding until 4.30 pm and 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm, and the Parade at 5.30 pm. Fun in the snow also continues on Saturday 9.00 am – noon.

The Christmas House

The Christmas House at West End Nursery, 1938 Fifth Avenue (Eye & J Street) San Rafael; view website

This year I will be taking my baby daughter to get her first Christmas ornament to hang on our tree from the Christmas House at West End Nursery in San Rafael. 

You can take the kids to see over 50 different themed trees in the various rooms of the nursery’s Victorian house full of decorative sparkle that will put a smile on their face and get you into the festive cheer! 

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

Harajuka Mini for Target & Thanks for Thanksgiving Book

Harajuku Mini for Target 

Gwen Stefani’s HaraJuku Mini for Target collection arrived in stores yesterday for children 6 months and above. It is a mix of “nerd rock’, “girlie glam” and cute “animal Collective” pieces. Here are some of my favorite outfits:

To see the full collection check out this Target link

Thanks for Thanksgiving 

Book Review

With Thanksgiving approaching next week why not encourage your children to start thinking about what they are grateful for. I reviewed a great book called “Thanks for Thanksgiving” by Julie Markes, full of wonderful rich illustrations by Doris Barrette. It was introduced to us by the great Christopher Smith at his story time at the Book Passage (free every Sunday at 11.00 am). Take a look at the book review

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

Find Sitters Online Through Friends & Facebook Via UrbanSitter

We all need a break once in a while for a date night with our other half or to have fun with friends, but many parents feel a bit stuck as they can’t find a sitter that they trust or rely on to be available when they need them. A new service called UrbanSitter offers parents the ability to find and book trusted sitters online through friends and connections that they know via Facebook. The company founded by three Bay-area moms launched in September in and around San Francisco and is launching in Marin this month!


UrbanSitter was founded by three Bay-area moms: Daisy Downs; the mother of a 16-month old daughter, Lynn Perkins has 3-year old twins and Andrea Barrett  has a 15-month old son.  They started the business with the hope that they will make parent’s lives easier and more enjoyable.

We can do just about everything online these days, but when it comes to finding a trusted sitter that is available when you need her (or him), there’s just no easy way to do it.  Booking a dinner reservations can take just two minutes on OpenTable, but it can take days to find a good sitter. is an OpenTable-esque site that makes finding and booking a trusted sitter more efficient. When moms log in to the site using a Facebook Connect they can see sitters that their friends have used and reviewed. UrbanSitter also includes affiliations (like Southern Marin Mothers Club (SMMC) and Golden Gate Mother’s group, for example) so that if a direct friend hasn’t used a particular sitter, you can see that someone from your group may have, a friend’s recommendation is the ultimate endorsement.

By using UrbanSitter you can search for sitters for a particular day or time and see a list of who is available, and which friends have used them.  When you book, the sitters gets an email and you get one in return when they accept the job.  You can then view and manage all your babysitting jobs in one place online. What’s more, the site allows parents to view and contribute ratings and reviews for sitters.

Daisy Downs explains more to The Marin Scoop:

How and why did you and the founders come up with concept for UrbanSitter?

“It seemed to us that parents should be able to find and book a trusted sitter as quickly as you can find and book a date night restaurant reservation. So we put their heads together and ultimately, created UrbanSitter.”

How does UrbanSitter work?

“It’s easy! Parents sign up for UrbanSitter using Facebook and can view sitters known through friends or affiliations like schools, sports teams and parents groups. They can search for a specific date and time to see which sitters are available, or plan an outing when they know their favorite sitter is open. Jobs or interviews can be booked in minutes. After the fact, parents can contribute written reviews, ratings and Facebook “Likes” to sitter profiles.

It’s just as easy for sitters, who simply post their credentials, as well as availability, hourly rates and location preferences. The ability to see who parents are connected to fosters trust and familiarity and helps them decide which jobs to accept. To protect privacy, contact information is exchanged only after the booking is confirmed, and, unlike with childcare agencies that skim a percentage of wages, sitters keep all the money they earn. What’s more, positive reviews posted to the site help them gain more work.”

What makes UrbanSitter stand out from similar sitter services?

“We take a unique spin on the childcare services that exist today in that our focus is connecting parents to sitters through people they know.  So, first and foremost, UrbanSitter offers trust. We use Facebook Connect and affiliation groups so that parents can find sitters they are connected to.  For example, when a parent registers they can select groups such as Southern Marin Mothers Club (SMMC), their child’s school, or a sports team.  When searching for a sitter, parents can see all the parents from their various affiliations that have used a specific sitter. 

Second, the site increases efficiency. Booking a sitter with UrbanSitter is as easy as booking a dinner reservation on OpenTable.  Parents can search by date and time.  Only sitters who have availability during the requested time will show up as available. For example….let’s say you want to buy tickets to see the latest play in town.  Should you go Thursday or Friday?  A quick glance at US and you can see that two sitters that you know and five sitters your friends know are free on Thursday so you buy the Thursday tickets.
Third, UrbanSitter offer parents a much larger network of babysitters. For parents, more babysitters means flexibility to enjoy more nights out without having to plan so far in advance. Many of our parent members say they love that ability to be more spontaneous!

Do you have any affiliations with mother's groups in Marin?

The three founding moms live in San Francisco and are part of Golden Gate Mother’s Group.  They know how important and influential opinions from mothers in their groups can be, so they've built those affiliations into the site.  When parents in Marin sign up, they'll be able to indicate which groups they are a part of, like Southern Marin Mother’s Club or a sport team or a school, so that they can see which sitters have been recommended by moms in their groups.

So make life easier for yourself by signing up today on UrbanSitter's 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

Land of Nod & Dwellstudio's New Furniture Collection

The new fall collection catalogs are arriving in our mail boxes this month and I wanted to share a couple of my favorites: The Land of Nod and Dwellstudio

The Land of Nod

Their colorful catalogue is full of wonderful gift ideas for the holiday season. Their durable wooden toys will last a life time and my son would love their Firehouse Collection

I grew up in a nation that runs on drinking tea, so I can’t wait to start having tea parties with my daughter, I love this eco-friendly 17 piece Tea Set that she can get her little teeth into, it is 100% recycled from milk jugs!

I am always looking for crafty ideas to decorate the kid’s bedrooms and love this make your own Fabric Chain Garland


I am a fan of Dwellstudio's soft furnishings and their more affordable line for Target so I am super excited about their new furniture collection. Their couches, in particular, look great in wonderful colors and bold patterns. They also have unusual storage units that have a sleek vintage feel.

I dream of the day when the kids are grown, and I can decorate my house with these fabulous pieces without fear of sticky fingers and pen marks getting all over them. View their new Catalog online.

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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