Family Day at Marin History Museum

The Marin History Museum is starting a some new family programs this Spring, including a new regular story time for young ones (details to follow), monthly craft days, outdoor picnics, games and special performances for kids. Most of their events will be free or very cheap (usually under $5), so to be sure to support this local non-profit museum, which is 100% funded by donations!


Activities at Marin History Museum


Saturday April 21, 11.00 – 4.00 pm

Family Day at Marin History Museum,
1125 B. St San Rafael  - Earth Day Celebration! 

Come to the Marin History Museum for stories and activities in celebration of Earth Day 2012. At noon there will be a reading of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and other selected stories. At 1:00pm there will be a special gardening workshop for kids where they can learn the magic of compost and gardening and its connection to Marin agricultural history. Children will have the opportunity to make seed bombs of wildflowers. 


Free workshop; donations welcome. All ages are welcome!


Story Time at Marin History Museum


Al so at 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm there will be a walk and tour of Historic Boyd Memorial Park: Cost: $5 donation (kids under 12 are free). For more info:

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Guiding Boys to Better Behavior

Dr. Mark Schillinger, DC and Zoe Fry CMT bring up another interesting subject in this week’s guest post; helping sons to handle their frustration and anger in the right way.
Dr. Mark Schillinger, DC is an expert in male adolescence and family unity. He is the creator of The Right Way® an integral method of personal growth and the founder of The Young Men Ultimate Weekend , a modern rite of passage initiation for young men.

Zoe Fry CMT is a teacher of Presence and Inquiry and founder of BeAGift. As a mother of two teenagers, she was inspired to co-create the Ultimate Parenting Weekend, which gives parents the tools to create thriving families.

Guiding Boys to Better Behavior


Jerry Kiffer, M.A. manager of the Psychological Testing Center at The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, says that men are more likely to act out their anger when they’re stressed. This may be due to cultural factors (i.e. "boys will be boys") and their tendency to want to fix or change circumstances.
Unfortunately, many men don’t recognize this connection between stress and anger until they have a wakeup call; such as a heart attack. Yet holding anger in does nothing to relieve stress. In fact, Kiffer likens it to shaking a 2-liter bottle of pop with the cap on. Sooner or later the pop bottle will explode, and so will you; probably in the form of a heart attack or some other ailment.
How does this information help parents deal with angry boys and young men? Mark and Zoe explain further:

From our experiences as parents, parent coaches and mentors to young men, the answer has two very important parts that parents must know:
1) Boys get angry. It is natural biology and cannot be changed by a parent's hopes that their son's anger will go away or that they should be "nice boys".
2) Parents can help young men accept their anger and diffuse it effectively, if they know how to accept their own anger and know how to diffuse it effectively.

When a boy gets angry, we strongly recommend that you do not confront him with an equal and opposite force of intensity unless he is going to hurt himself or others. Your direct encounter to show him "who's the boss" will be perceived by the young man as a competition and will impulsively activate his instincts to win at all costs. This may be counterintuitive psychologically, but biologically, many boys relish this opportunity to be defiant. Even if the young man does not get his way, the victory is simply the engagement itself.
The simplest way to redirect the anger is to first accept what's actually happening by mastering the art of “Observation without Reaction”. As if you are viewing the event as a bystander, we recommend you breathe in a relaxed and rhythmical manner. Then, inwardly repeat a word or phrase over and over again that keeps your thoughts and feelings in a dispassionate or compassionate condition. Statements such as, "I accept what's happening", "I accept his pain" or, the tried and true expression, "this too shall pass" can keep your mind focused productively.
Do not leave the altercation as this will be a sign to the angry young man that you are giving up and it is very likely he will follow you and even taunt you. It is very unlikely your son wants to hurt you so stay connected by simply being present without needing to fix or change him or the situation. Even when your son hurls the most intense insults about this meditation you are modeling, remain calm and trust that you are being an effective parent by "holding space" and not leaving.
While it may seem that your son has endless energy, his testosterone and adrenaline levels will eventually decline and the volume of his voice and ferocity of his actions will end. At that point I recommend you simply state;
 "Thank you for letting me know how you feel. I appreciate knowing what's true for you and I will not respond to this style of communication. We'll handle this later, when we're both thinking clearer. I love you."
When the high energy levels have subsided later that day or the next day, gently initiate the conversation where you reveal your values and why your son is expected to respect them. Keep this interaction to just a minute or two, infusing it with your caring intention to help your son deal with the challenges of life. If your son does not respond to you or if he is making believe he's not listening to you, it is simply his inability or unwillingness to surrender gallantly. Yet again, do not make demands or consequences at this time. Thank him for listening and, once more, wait for an even more relaxed time for you to briefly finish what you need to say.

It takes know-how and practice to master parenting skills like the one Mark and Zoe presented in this article. The Ultimate Parenting Weekend and the Ultimate Guide to Mentoring Young Men help parents, coaches, mentors and teachers learn how to lead young men toward lives grounded with self-respect, motivation, happiness and success. 

theBalm Cosmetics are the Bomb!

When you are a mom, you have little time for yourself and your appearance, so when you get those precious few minutes in the morning to get ready, you still want to feel good about yourselves and look great. Finding beauty products that provide multi solutions is important, so theBalm Cosmetics  have come to your rescue and has everything you need!  

Stainiac is a great product from the theBalm Cosmetics which offers a “hint of tint” for both the lips and cheek, just dab it on using your fingertips or a blending sponge for a healthy pop of color. Similar products are guilty of leaving tell-tale streaks but theBalm Cosmetics have created a special formula that gives you more time to see the color develop on your skin before the stain sets in. Stainiac comes in three colors: “Beauty Queen” - sheer berry pink, the “Prom Queen” - sheer rosy pink or the “Homecoming Queen” - sheer soft peach.

theBalm Cosmetics Stainiac 

"Hot Mama!" is the perfect “all-in-one essential” for those you want to live up to its name. It is a pinky-peach blush and eye shadow that fits inside a compact or side pocket of your mommy bag. It adds a great color to the cheeks, a shimmer to the lids, and highlights your best features by illuminating them. Perfect for date nights or cocktails with the girls!

theBalm Cosmetics "Hot Mama" 

After the odd sleepless night, I rely heavily on concealer to look presentable, so finding one that helps me look younger as my children age me, is the answer to my prayers! The "Time-Balm" is an anti-wrinkle concealer that you can apply to dark circles while it protects the delicate eye area from environmental damage. When used on clean skin before bed, the active ingredients including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, soybean oil and panthenol amongst others, set to work fighting wrinkles while you slumber…genius!

thebalm Cosmetics "Time Balm" concealer

All the products have humorous tongue-in-cheek names and come in fun retro packaging so they also make great gifts.

So what are you waiting for? Get your hands on them at theBalm Cosmetics website  


New Mom’s Support Group in Novato

Motherhood is a wonderful gift and can bring so much joy, but the strain of bringing up children can sometimes bring you pain in the form of stress, anxiety, anger and feeling overwhelmed. Many women turn to other moms in the playground, friends over a glass of wine or go to a support group to help them with problems they are going through. Speaking to others who are in a similar situation, face to face rather than on-line, can be comforting and help a great deal.

I have spoken before about how I felt when I first became a mother and how I found support and friendship through the mother and baby group at The Parent Center ((read article)). Now a new support group for moms has begun in Novato run by Rebecca Brandi MFT, Psy. D
 and Andrea Pinkerton Psy.D.

Rebecca Brandi explains more to The Marin Scoop;

Why did you and Andrea Pinkerton decide to start this support group for moms?

Andrea and I were inspired to start a project that we felt passionate about, to acknowledge and bring to light the overwhelming difficulties of motherhood.  As therapists and moms we wanted to provide mothers in our community with a safe, nurturing environment in which they could connect with other moms.  While exploring their experiences, we hope that they will find balance and peace in their lives.  My own personal vision to start a support group began seven years ago through my journey to understand and heal from my own untreated postpartum depression.  Several years ago, I had an amazing opportunity to attend a conference by Postpartum Support International and the Marce’ Society in Pittsburg, where I received training on Perinatal Mood Disorders.  I met and heard similar painful stories from other mental health providers about their own suffering from not being screened by the medical professionals they were coming into contact with after their deliveries.  I realized then that I wanted to help other moms and to focus my clinical practice to specialize in the area of pregnancy support, postpartum adjustment, and behavioral difficulties in children.


What kind of challenges do mothers face when raising their children?

One common experience and area that I work with moms on is around the myths of motherhood.   Societal expectations of what defines a “good mom” cause unrealistic pressure and feelings of guilt when those expectations are not achieved.  Being a mom can be the most challenging job you ever do.  Many moms don’t examine these unrealistic expectations; instead they internalize them and blame themselves for not measuring up.  This pressure causes a storm of internal conflict and suffering.  It can manifest itself in depression and anxiety which affects the family who consequently, absorb some of this conflict.  Another challenge mom’s face is the fact that their family and culture can at times minimize the job.  When they do find the courage to reach out for help to those closest to them, often times they are not heard and do not feel validated.

Moms face the challenge of having so many responsibilities and not enough energy and emotional space to thoroughly complete the numerous duties.  Being a mom is nonstop, you are always on duty.  Often times, the responsibility falls on their shoulders for: education, social development, keeping the house from looking like a bomb hit it, scraping the sand and gum out of the car, trying to nurture a relationship with their significant other after 8pm, being the family nutritionists, and somewhere in there we are supposed to take care of ourselves.  It just feels impossible at times.  The goal is realizing that life is a constant determination to find a balance and learning that the compassion we show ourselves will make the journey more enjoyable.  These experiences have the potential to nurture our soul in ways you never knew possible.

What can mothers expect, learn and take away from participating in the group?

The goal of each session is to provide moms with the opportunity to connect with other moms in a safe and confidential setting.  Moms will learn skills to improve self care and emotional health.  They will learn how to balance their needs with the needs of their family.  Exploring the myths of motherhood has been effective in reducing the feelings of shame and isolation.   Another important area that will be covered is learning how to manage and tolerate your child’s difficult emotional response while remaining calm and in control of your own emotions.  Through this examination we will explore your individual parenting style and family of origin parenting style. 

If someone is looking for parenting and emotional support in confidence, can you offer one on one help too?

Many moms do not feel comfortable to do therapeutic work in a group setting.  I also provide individual therapy and I would be happy to support you in gaining a deeper understanding of yourself while learning more effective parenting and coping skills.  The other area that I specialize in is parent coaching.  As a certified Parent Child Interaction Therapist I will provide you with the practical skills to enhance your parent-child relationship and to improve your child’s behavior.  Parent Child Interaction Therapy is an effective, researched based program successful in decreasing child behavior problems and improving parenting skills.  I also offer home visits for assessment and consultation, where together we can identify the most challenging problems that need attention.

As a mom of three I understand how difficult it is to raise a family and take care of your own needs.   As a psychologist my approach is to provide sensitive, thoughtful support to help my clients resolve and experience relief from both current problems and long-standing patterns.  My goal is to help you develop greater emotional resilience so that you can feel better about yourself as well as better equipped to handle challenges.  I offer individual, couples, family and child therapy.  I provide a sliding scale and a free consultation session. 


Contact Rebecca to register for the mom’s support group on Mondays 9.30 – 11.00 am. 

Rebecca Brandi MFT, Psy.D: Perinatal Mood Disorder Specialist & Parent Child Interaction Therapist at 415-967-2020 & rebeccabrandi@yahoo.com
Registered Psychological Assistant PSB 36197
Supervised by Diane Harnish Ph.D (PSY 24138)

Is there support available for parents of adopted children?

Andrea Pinkerton explains: Being an adoptee, I have a special interest in adoption-related issues. I co-facilitate a support group for adopted teen girls and also work with adoptive parents and adopted adults. It can be difficult for adoptive parents deal with adoption related issues, such as what, when and how to tell their child information about their adoption and birth family. In addition, parents often need help understanding how to deal with any attachment-related issues and how to support their children through the special challenges that can face adoptees as they get older. Each stage of development brings with it different issues for adopted children to deal with and integrate. Increased awareness about these issues will help adoptive parents in the many challenges that can come with raising an adopted child.”

You can contact Andrea Pinkerton at 415-686-7364 or andreapinkerton@mac.com
Registered Psychological Assistant PSB – 35906
Supervised by Diane Harnish Ph.D. (PSY 24138)

Ram's Gate Winery, Sonoma

Afternoon Date Idea

Ram's Gate Winery, 28700 Arnold Drive, Sonomaview website

Last week so we took the rare opportunity to get some time to ourselves and take a drive over to Sonoma to check out the new Ram's Gate Winery that opened in the fall.

It is less than a 15 minutes drive from Highway 101, at the entrance to the Sonoma Valley on the hill site where the Roche Winery used to be. The original building was demolished and a beautiful winery has been re-built. As you enter the courtyard there is a sense of calm and peacefulness that makes your shoulders drop and you feel like you have been transported to another place. They are right when they say: “Ram's Gate is our way of pressing pause”.

Ram's Gate Winery bar

The d├ęcor of Ram's gate Winery is contemporary, tasteful and elegant and the building itself is quite spectacular. The architecture is very in keeping with the natural surroundings of the vineyards, it is very open with high ceilings, a central courtyard with an outdoor fire place and huge glass walls that allows you the enjoy the amazing views outside while inside.

Ram's gate Winery courtyard 

Ram's Gate Winery offers a great selection of wines with fantastic food pairings. I ordered the Pinot Noir with the wild mushroom and goat’s cheese tart. Their benchmark Pinot Noir was an enjoyable blend of spice and red cherry fruit flavors and the delicious tart with shavings of fennel and celery complemented it beautifully. 

My husband wanted to know more and get the whole experience so he ordered the Rams Gate flight which allows you to try the majority of the wines on offer: the Sparkling Brut (my favorite), Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Zinfandel “Late Harvest” which has sweet, rich berry and grape characters, similar to Port. It was so good that my husband went back the next day with his brother and wife, and came home with a bottle. Also their Moscato with its sweet food pairings would make a great dessert on your way home from a day out in Sonoma.

There are plenty of wineries in the area which are great to bring children to, and for suggestions read “family friendly wineries” article. But Ram's Gate Winery isn’t one of them. Some people bring their children at weekend but this is definitely a place to enjoy without the kids in tow. 

Ram's Gate Winery is open daily from 10.00 am – 6.00 pm, unfortunately it is not open in the evening which is a shame as it would be a great place for date night. But if you can get a sitter, it makes a wonderful place to escape for an afternoon date with your other half or friends.

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