How to Help Your Kids Get Along

My 9 month daughter is crawling, cruising and into everything especially the toys my 3 year old son is playing with. I find it endearing that she looks up to her big brother and wants to be involved in what he is doing…while my son finds it very annoying. He loves her very much but suddenly she is constantly in his space picking up his trucks and cars and smashing his LEGO creations. This is making him mad and causing him push her away, snatch his toys back and bang her on the head with them.

On the days he is off school, it is constant and I have to issue a couple of time outs to let him cool down and think about why it is not nice to hit his sister.

I saw a mom the other day that has children a similar age to mine, I was surprised to see her daughter just one month older than mine running round the soft gym. “I can’t believe she is not only walking but running, and so fast” I said. Her reply was “I think she has learnt it out of fear, to get away from her big sister!”

Sometimes there are quiet moments when they two of them play side by side and I can step away and watch them happily from afar. But the majority of the time I am trying to keep the peace by being the negotiator.

I needed help figuring out the best course of action as this is just the beginning of sibling conflict, so this article on Circle of Moms about ways to help your kids get along gave me some good tools to work with: Read Article

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

My Return to Hawk's Tavern

Hawk’s Tavern, 507 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley; view website

I recently wrote a review about a new restaurant that opened up in Mill Valley called Hawk's Tavern. I was lucky enough to be invited back to sample some more items from their menu, so this time we decided to leave the kids at home and enjoy a date night for my birthday. It was definitely the right decision, as we were able to take the time to enjoy our surroundings, appreciate the fine food complimented by the great service and atmosphere.

Hawk's Tavern dining room

The main dining room and bar area at Hawk’s Tavern has a stylish rustic feel with up-lighted repurposed barn wood walls, vintage framed maps and old illustrations of hawks on the walls. It is designed for comfort and warmth, especially with the modern central fireplace which I was pleased to be sat next to. The interior of Hawk’s Tavern transforms us both back to being in a stylish pub in England, which feels nice.

We were greeted by our friendly waitress who was so informative and attentive all evening by taking the time to fully describe the food and drink menus. She recommended her favorite items and described how they were prepared and served, which not only made our mouths water but made us feel fully involved in our dining experience. Something you lose sight of, when you are juggling two kids and trying to get through the meal as quickly and quietly as possible.

As soon as the appetizer plates hit the table, the collection of wonderful smells got us excited. I started off with a wonderful creamy Organic Burrata served on garlic sourdough with collard greens, crispy kale chips and olive oil drizzled on top. It was so delicious especially with a glass of the Freeman Pinot Noir from the Russian River. 

Organic Burrata at Hawk's Tavern

My husband chose the Tamales Bay Mussels served on toast with patatas bravas (Spanish potatoes), aioli and fantastic Chorizo with “true Spanish flavor”. He washed it down with a glass of the Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale from Goose Island Brewery in Chicago. This was our waitress’s first choice of ale of the evening, fruity yet spicy yeast that was the highest alcohol volume on the menu so served in a wine glass.

Tamales bay Mussels at Hawk's Tavern

For main course I took our server’s recommendation, which was the Wild and Tame Mushroom Pappardelle Pasta which featured meaty Trumpet and Shiitake mushrooms with scallions and Bloomsdale spinach. The crust of herb bread crumbs served on top complimented the saltiness of the lemon caper beurre blanc perfectly, and the fusion of flavors and textures made this dish incredible!

My husband ordered one of the specials that the evening which was a Pork Chop with celery puree with vanilla bean, glazed asparagus, carrots and salsify. The pork was marinated in a brine and sugar solution overnight before cooking, which not only imparted great taste but made it one of the juiciest pork chops my husband has ever had. Who would have thought vanilla and celery could work together, but it was delicious! He also moved onto the Deez English Mild Ale from Dying Vines Brewery in Oakland, this time from a more masculine English pint glass.

Pork Chop at Hawk's Tavern

We were spoilt for dessert, when we couldn’t make an amicable decision and they heard it was my birthday, they decided to bring ALL of the desserts out including a Panna Cotta with blood orange that wasn’t on the menu! 

Panna Cotta at Hawk's Tavern

The rich Warm Chocolate Muc Cake came with a candle and the most wonderful vanilla bean ice-cream and chocolate sauce which almost made me lick the plate!

Chocolate Muc Cake at Hawk's Tavern

The Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake was yellow cake served inside a glass jar with refreshing small chunks of vanilla poached pineapple on top. But the best of the bunch was the amazing Sticky Toffee Pudding which I said I would come back for in my last review, and I am glad I did. It was perfection served with wonderful warm toffee sauce and whipped cream sprinkled with brown sugar. I enjoyed this heavenly sugar feast while sipping a Sparkling Mojito with prosecco, fresh mint, lime and simple syrup…heaven indeed!

Sticky Toffee Pudding at Hawk's Tavern

My birthday had a disastrous start to it but as soon as we sat down and starting to eat and drink, the day’s troubles melted away and sent me off to dreamland as I started to plan when we could come back and do this all over again!

The seasonal menu is created by Tyler Florence and prepared by Chef de Cuisine Rob Lind. We are so grateful and we were given the chance to come back and sample more of the wonderful food, wine and beer served at Hawk’s Tavern.

A private dining room can be hired for up to 12 people or the main dining room can be hired for events or special dinners. The stylish front porch can also be hired and is a fantastic place to relax in the sunshine with a drink and play a game of backgammon, checkers or dominoes provided.

Private dining room at Hawk's Tavern

I hope more restaurants in Marin and the Bay Area will follow their lead and create more seasonally-inspired pub style restaurants as it is a great place to bring the family for an informal early dinner with a pint of beer or shady, a buzzy place to meet friends at the bar and grab some small bites and cocktails…but for me it will be top of my list for future date nights, when we can take the time to savor each delicious bite, just the two of us!

Play Land in Sausalito

Play Land, 610 Coloma Street, Building 6, Sausalito

Looking for an alternative indoor activity to BADM in Southern Marin?  

Play Land is a full sized gymnasium in Sausalito that becomes an inflatable wonderland four times a week. An amazing giant bouncy house takes up the majority of the space with a basketball hoop, a 15 foot inflatable slide and a toddler bouncy zone. There are also plastic cars and wagons dotted around the gym drive around in and mini basketball hoops.

Bouncy houses in Play Land

For younger kids seeking less octane play, there is an arts and crafts room and train table area. There is a padded area for tots between the ages of 1 – 2 years old where they can explore at their own pace by their parent’s side, but the main event here is the oversized bouncy house.

Play Land

You can take a quiet moment away from the play area to enjoy lunch or a snack at the food area with picnic tables where tea and coffee is available.

15 ft slide in Play Land

The space is available for hire on Sundays and there is drop-off available for older children some afternoons. For further details about opening times and cost, please check out Play Land 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

The Novogratz Announce Partnership with CB2

Modern furniture company CB2 has announced a new collaboration with husband and wife design team Robert and Cortney Novogratz! They will be designing new home designs from this summer including this fantastic “Family” rug that was featured in one of their home makeover projects on HGTV's "Home By Novogratz". 

The Novogratz's family rug for CB2

I first became a fan of this design duo when their reality show '9 By Design' was shown on Bravo TV a couple of years ago. They do an amazing job of remodeling houses, hotels and business spaces using new and vintage design elements, while raising nine children! Their coffee book 'Downtown Chic'  which showcases the homes they have revamped from scratch over the years is one of my main sources of creative inspiration.

I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us!

For further information and to find out about future product launches ‘like’ The Novogratz and CB2 Facebook pages! 

Valentine's Day Crafts, Food & Gifts

Valentine’s Day is creeping up so here are some fun activities and gift ideas for the loved ones in your life.

For the Kids:

It is fun to make handmade crafts like love hearts or decorate cute photo frames with glitter and paint.

I adore this LOVE banner in my favorite circus inspired font by Roselyn Hellard, you can follow a tutorial on how to make it on her blog at Second street. You can also make your own version using different colored paper or fabric. 

atsecondstreet blog banner

Let them help with breakfast by making heart shaped pancakes with strawberries or bake cupcakes together with pink frosting and sprinkles. A good tip to create the heart shape is to insert a marble at the top of the paper case before you put the batter inside to create a heart shaped cake or muffin.


For Him:

The new David Beckham range of underwear for H&M was the perfect gift for my husband this year; it also gave me an excuse to gaze at Golden Balls himself. Very sexy…and the underwear isn’t bad either!

David Beckham Underwear for H&M

For Her

A woman can never have too many handbags, so check out this red suede purse ($90) which is perfect for Valentine's Day, and deep red leather tote bag ($135.00) from British fashion designer Julie Williams who deconstructs one-of-a-kind accessories from vintage fabrics especially leather and denim.  

Julie William's red suede purse

Julie explains to The Marin Scoop:

"I am given jeans and leather as donations from friends and family which it makes it inexpensive except for hardware, beads, thread, needles and of course the time and love that goes into making each piece. With the old saying in mind "waste not want not", I would like to recycle that by giving back to the community I live in by donating $1 for each bag sold to Homeward Bound of Marin."

Julie William's deep red leather tote

Julie's love of reconstructing fashion and her one-of-a-kind designs inspires the modern day woman to express herself and her individuality in a fun and stylish way.  

For further information and to buy product check out Julie's Etsy Store 

Studio C Ballet

Fairfax resident and mother of three, Claudia Alfieri-Wallace is a professional ballet dancer who has performed in some of the world’s prestigious companies, such as the Baryshnikov’s American Ballet Theatre at 16 years old and then Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Smuin Ballet, with the best choreographers in the world. Now Claudia wants to give back to her local community and create a place to nurture the next generation of dancers.

Claudia opened a dance studio called Studio C Ballet last November in Fairfax and offers classes for children as young as two and a half through to teenagers and adult classes.

Claudia explains more to The Marin Scoop:

When did your love for ballet begin?

“My ballet lessons began at the age of three.  My mother was a dancer from Australia and my two older sisters were taking ballet already by the time I was born. Wherever we were living (my NYC born American Dad moved the family around a lot for his maritime work) I had pretty much been in a ballet studio waiting room since birth. At three, my mother officially enrolled me in a class even though I’d been dancing around the waiting room and knew all the steps already.  I don't know if my actual love of ballet really set in until I was older and could understand it, but the movement was innate from the start.”
Why did you decide to open a ballet studio in Fairfax?

“I retired from ballet in 2003 and concentrated on having a family with my new husband.  We moved out to Fairfax from San Francisco in 2005 (we always loved the area).  Being an ex-professional dancer I had problems conceiving, so I steered away from ballet and any type of extreme exercise for a while. So I put my past on the backburner and concentrated on building my family. It took a while, but we now have three beautiful children; Joshua 5 1/2 years, Julian 4 years and Eve is 2 years. I started teaching ballet again through the Fairfax Focas Program a year and a half ago and my passion and experience instantly ignited. I hated having to teach ballet after an AA meeting at the Women's Center with no barres or mirrors and a slippery floor!  So, I knew it was time to start my own school.”

How does your ballet studio stand out from other similar dance studios in Marin?

“I know that my experience in the ballet world is very unique! I was starring in ballets on the MET stage at the age of 16 years with 
Baryshnikov’s American Ballet Theatre.  I was touring around the world performing at different Opera Houses, attending embassy parties, art openings, having Christian Lacroix, Santo Laquasto or Norma Kamli design costumes for me. I've been extremely blessed in my career. I'm also a certified American Ballet Theatre teacher. No one in this area has that credential, it's only available to ABT alumni or select ex-professionals so I think that a big factor in setting me apart as a teacher. Also, my Studio C Ballet studio is very small and personal; each student gets special attention and instruction and from an actual professional instead of someone that studied dance in college! It’s a BIG difference. I really do know what I'm teaching in the studio, it's the real deal! But that said, I still offer the tutu dress up's for Pre-Ballet and Ballerina Birthday Parties for the little ones. I'm a Marin mom too!”

When is a good age for children to start ballet lessons and how does practicing ballet improve your physical well-being? 

"Ballet is wonderful training at any age. It's not only graceful and athletic but can be a great way to stay in shape. Ballet is one of the most physically demanding activities in the world. Flexibility and strength are essential; it can open up tight hips, correct posture problems and just make you feel pretty! Whether you’re goal is to become a pro or you just want a good workout, everyone can benefit from this kind of dance training."

For further information on the studio and classes, visit Studio C Ballet

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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