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Our Top Three Picks for Cold, Sweet Treats to Help you Cool Off During the Sacramento Heat

July 19, 2017

Summertime in Sacramento is hot, hot and hot!  We have been seeing double digits on the thermostats and everyone is trying to find ways to stay cool.  One of my favorite ways to stay cool is to enjoy super sweet, super cold and icy ICE CREAM!  Whether it’s Fro-Yo, from a carton, on a cone or in a sandwich…our family loves ice cream of all varieties!

Here are our top three favorite spots to get a sweet, cold treat and cool off in the Sacramento heat:

  1.  Vampire Penguin located in Downtown Sacramento, Natomas and Elk Grove. Not your average ice cream shop as they specialize in shaved “snow”.  With flavors like Green Tea and Smores, it’s not your typical “snow cone” from the little league baseball field.
  2. Smoosh Ice Cream Factory located in Folsom and Rocklin. Ice cream sandwiches made fresh to order… and these are not your ordinary sandwiches!  Choose your fresh-baked cookie (chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, red velvet… to name a few).  Then pick your flavor (too many to choose from) and then whatever toppings you would like them roll your sandwich in.  This is seriously a sandwich from heaven!
  3. The Devil May Care Ice Cream and Frozen Treats located at 322 3rd Street in West Sacramento. New to the area, this sweet shop is gaining serious popularity among the locals and River Cats fans.  New flavors are always emerging and you are never truly sure what you may find when you visit.  Besides ice cream, they have unique floats that are truly worth the visit.  Apple Pie and Pineapple Nutmeg have caught my eye, but my kids prefer good old Root beer.

So go ahead and treat yourself to an icy cold treat this month…after all, it is National Ice Cream Month!

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Ten Things Kids should Do and See at this Year’s California State Fair

July 18, 2017

When the California State Fair rolls around each July in Sacramento, thousands flock to Cal Expo for guilty-pleasure fair food, free lively entertainment, exciting games, thrilling rides and some all around serious fun. The fair is always a good time, no matter what you see and do. But if you’ve got kids and want to make the most of your time and money, here are some suggestions of things to do and see with your kids.

  1. DOWNLOAD THE STATE FAIR APP. First and foremost, download the California State Fair app before you even step foot on the fair grounds. This is a great resource to help you navigate all that is offered. Need a map of the grounds to scout out where the closest restroom is? You got it. Want to know where to get the best cold lemonade? The app will tell you. Looking for your favorite vendor? Piece of cake. Don’t want to miss out on the Crowing Contest? You can add it to your schedule and receive an “alert” when the event is about to begin.
  2. READ TO RIDE. I mention this every year, but still there are people who don’t know about this offer. Butler Amusements, Inc. – the company that provides the rides at the fair, wants to encourage kids to read with the Read to Ride program. Kids in grades K through 8th will receive two free rides for having read two books. Download this form here, have your kiddos write a summary of the books they read, then bring the forms to Guest Services at the front gate to receive two ride passes. Each child is eligible to receive two passes each day they visit the fair.
  3. GO ON A SCAVENGER HUNT. Have fun and collect swag by completing the #50thFairHunt – a fair scavenger hunt that sends you on nine different picture-taking errands throughout the fair. You can find the directions to the scavenger hunt on the CA State Fair app. Once complete, show your digital photo card at any one of the info booths to collect your prize.
  4. EXPLORE THE DINOSAUR EXPEDITION. Head to Expo Building 4 for up close and personal views of 14 animatronic dinosaurs, exhibit walls, displays, artifacts and interactive fun.
  5. SAFELY CLIMB A TREE. If it makes you a little nervous when your kids climb trees, then take them over to the Whale Tale exhibit for a TreeCircus Climb. Sponsored by the US Forest Service, kids can learn how to climb trees like the professionals – safely.  This fun and free exhibit puts kids (and kids at heart) in the climbing ropes in a cool, air-conditioned environment.
  6. INDULGE YOUR TASTE BUDS. Believe it or not, you can feed the kids at the fair without breaking the bank. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, between 11am and 4pm, hungry fair-goers can fill their tummies with smaller versions of their favorite foods for only $2. Which means you can eat more than one of your favorites. Score. Check out the menu here.
  7. SEE A VIDEO SHOW ON THE CAL EXPO WATER TOWER. Each night at 8:45 pm, turn your heads to the famous Cal Expo water tower to see a fun video show project.
  8. VISIT THE TIME CAPSULE EXHIBIT. The California State Fair at Cal Expo is celebrating its 50th birthday. Artifacts from fairs past are going into a s special time capsule, to be opened in 2067. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your kids visited again 50 years from now when it’s opened again?
  9. GET YOUR CRAFT ON AT THE CA FOREST CENTER. Take some down time in the serene California Forest Center while learning about the state’s trees and sustainable forests. Relax, learn, craft, see animals and watch chainsaw demonstrations.
  10. STICK AROUND FOR WEEKEND FIREWORKS. What better way to end a fun-filled day out at the California State Fair than to celebrate with a fireworks show? At closing time – 10 pm on each Friday and Saturday night, look towards the Miller Lite Grandstand to see a spectacular array of fireworks presented by Dish.

What: California State Fair

When: July 14-23, 2017

Where: Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA

Tickets: Starting at $8 per person, with special promotional days for children, first responders, military and senior citizens. Check here for more info.

 

Mom of Four Small Children Braves the Crocker Art Museum and Leaves with Very Happy Kids

July 11, 2017

With four kids under the age of seven, I’m always looking for new ways to get out of the house AND beat the heat. Tired of splash parks and not wanting to go to an indoor play place, we found ourselves at the Crocker Art Museum.  I had been to the Crocker once before, many years ago, for their Wee Wednesday program (which was wonderful!) – but this time we’d be walking around the museum on our own and I was particularly worried about how my 3 and 4-year-old would fair.  I did a little research and found that the Crocker Art Museum offers something called The Story Trail.

If you want to take your kids on the Story Trail, just pick up a book called “Birdy’s Museum Adventure” at the admission desk and it takes you on a little scavenger hunt through the museum. My kids loved it! We were able to walk through many different galleries, ending in Tot Land which was by far everyone’s favorite stop.  It’s a very inviting space where the kids performed puppet shows, read books, and made crafts.

Over all I was very impressed with how kid friendly the Crocker Art Museum is. Not only did the Story Trail keep my kids engaged, but the museum staff was incredibly helpful. As soon as we left the admission desk a docent approached me and suggested a few exhibits the children might enjoy. Another docent encouraged the kids to touch an interactive exhibit (which they were thrilled about since the “no touching” rule had been firmly established!).  And I was thrilled that the museum offers free admission to children age 5 and under.

In addition to Story Trail and Tot Land, the museum offers a host of other kid-friendly activities and events. For babies and toddlers, there’s Wee Wednesdays, a gallery-based art experience, Baby Loves Art where babies and toddlers are free to roam the galleries while interacting with each other,  and Sunday Playday, a program that helps to support school readiness. Older kids will enjoy Sketch It, a drop-in art instruction program, Kids & Co. Gallery Adventure, an educational tour for children five years and older, and Wonder Lab, another drop-in art making program where kids with disabilities are especially welcome. For more information on all of the Crocker’s kids programs, click here.

We can’t wait to go back!

By Kate Nally



 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Way to Cool Off in Sacramento this Summer? Head to the Lake!

July 6, 2017

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Summertime brings longer days, warm nights, heat waves and the constant hum of air-conditioning units.  If you don’t want to be stuck indoors all summer long, grab some sun block, a wide-brimmed hat and head to the beach! Even though we live in the Sacramento valley, and a couple of hours from the Pacific Ocean, it doesn’t mean we can’t spend our days lounging at the beach. Luckily, we have access to many local lakes where we can be playing in the sand within just a short drive from downtown.  Two local “beaches”  that our family enjoys visiting are Beal’s Point and Rollins Lake.

Beal’s Point is located just 30 minutes from downtown at Folsom Lake. Conveniently located off of Auburn-Folsom Boulevard, in Granite Bay, Beal’s Point is a great place for kids and families, with all the amenities for a fun-filled summer day. They have a sandy beach and buoyed swim area with lifeguards present. If you would like to BBQ, there are pits on site, picnic tables and plenty of shade with grassy areas to play on.
Most moms are concerned with “facilities”- and they do have clean restrooms and even a snack bar in case you forget snacks.  My kids love getting ice-cold sweet treats at the snack bar after a long day of playing in the sand!

You can spend the day building sand castles and swimming in the lake, or you can rent rafts, paddle boards, pedal boats and kayaks on site. Summer hours for Beal’s point are 6am to 9pm. If you are feeling adventurous, you can pack a tent and spend the night in their campground (reservations are required).

Rollin’s Lake is another one of our favorite day-trip destinations.  Located between Colfax and Grass Valley off of Highway 174 (approximately an hour drive from downtown Sacramento), this lake has everything a family needs for a day of fun! If you are feeling adventurous, you can rent boats, paddleboards, kayaks or canoes.  For the less adventurous, you can just kick back and relax at the swimming beach.  They have plenty of picnic tables and shade, along with BBQ pits for your day outing.  If you forget something at home – no worries, as they have a well-stocked marina store.  If you have a child who likes to fish, the lake is stocked daily.   We took our children fishing for the first time here, and even though Grandpa or Daddy should have been the ones to catch a fish, it was my daughter who had the biggest “bite of the day”.   She was grinning ear to ear while the men were fuming…oh well. Better luck next time to the real fishermen! Rollin’s Lake also has clean restrooms and showers if you would like to clean off before you leave.

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Both lakes are easily accessible and are fun for the whole family.  So, don’t stay cooped up inside this summer – take advantage of the beauty of our surroundings and spend a day out at the beach!

By Heather Crivellone

 

Sacramento Celebrates the Red, White and Blue this Weekend for Independence Day

June 29, 2017

Throughout Sacramento, you can find events to celebrate our great country this weekend. Fourth of July is just around the corner and there are activities all weekend long to celebrate the “Red, White and Blue”!   Here is a quick list of some family fun activities that maybe in your area. Some are free, some have a small charge, but all will put a smile on your face as you celebrate America’s independence:

7/1- 7/3 – Folsom Pro Rodeo and Fireworks – Enjoy high-energy rodeo fun all weekend at the annual Folsom Pro Rodeo, that has become a Sacramento area tradition for over 50 years! Fireworks every night, non-stop rodeo action fun for the whole family. Get tickets in advance to ensure great seating to this fun event.

7/4- Sacramento River Cats hosts “Fourth on the Field”.   It doesn’t get any more patriotic than hotdogs, baseball and fireworks! Starting at 6pm, your family can enjoy live music, family games, food trucks and of course fireworks! General admission tickets are $10, children ages 12 and under are $5.

7/3-7/4 – Rancho Cordova 4th of July Celebration at Hagan Park – Rancho Cordova Fourth of July is a two-day festival celebrating the local community and our American heritage. Enjoy parades, food and beer garden, a kid’s zone, a BMX show, carnival and more. Don’t forget the spectacular fireworks show each night! Admission to the festivities at Hagan Community Park is just $2 and parking is $10.

7/4 – Military Appreciation Day at Funderland – In honor of the 4th of July, and those who have served or are currently serving with the US Military, Funderland would like to say thank you by extending some very special offers and discounts for you and your family. Remember that Military ID will be required to obtain these offers. Come in early as there are limited quantities of vouchers to give away!

7/4 – Sacramento Independence Day Celebration –  Cal Expo is known for hosting one of the largest-scale pyrotechnics display in Sacramento. This year, celebrate our independence starting at 5pm with free family friendly activities, live music and entertainment. Fireworks are starting at 9pm. Admission is free, but reserved seating inside the Grandstand can be purchased for $10.

7/4 – Salute to the Red, White & Blue in Elk Grove –  Elk Grove has been hosting their annual “Salute to the Red White and Blue” for over 20 years. Enjoy a day packed with family activities, bike and stroller parades, live entertainment, vendors and a fireworks show.   Festivities will begin at 4pm at Elk Grove Regional Park.

7/4 – City of Roseville Independence Day Celebration – The city of Roseville has a full day of fun planned for the holiday. Starting with a 5K/10K Run/Walk. Followed by a parade, carnival, bounce houses, food vendors, music and fun at Royer Park.   Placer County Fairgrounds will conclude the day with a fireworks show at 9:30pm.   No alcohol, glass containers, barbecues or personal fireworks permitted. Refreshments will be available for purchase at the fairgrounds.

Burn Energy and Stay Cool at Rockin Jump in Elk Grove!

June 21, 2017

Rockin-JumpEveryone loves summer… but, with this Sacramento heat, it can cause most people to want to stay indoors and safe from the rising temperatures.  With rambunctious kids, it’s hard to keep them from going stir crazy during these heat waves. 

Recently, my family discovered Rockin Jump and it was the best 2 hours of indoor “cool” entertainment!
Rockin Jump is the “Ultimate Indoor Trampoline Park”.  With large trampolines to bounce, jump, do flips, play dodge ball and/or slam dunk a basketball, you can guarantee your kids (of ALL ages) will have fun getting their exercise in here!

Not only do they have bouncing galore, but, they also have a fantastic rock wall to climb (if you aren’t scared of heights).   This was my daughter’s favorite feature of Rockin Jump, while my son spent the majority of time perfecting his slam dunk and stunt moves on the trampolines.
I especially loved that it was fully air-conditioned, extremely clean and the staff was very helpful with any and all questions we had.   


Our family has visited the location in Elk Grove at 3132 Dwight Rd, suite 900 and again at the newest one in Roseville at 384 N Sunrise Avenue.   Both locations had similar attractions (dodge ball, rock climbing walls, etc), but the Roseville location also has Laser Tag, which was a huge bonus for the rowdy crowd of boys that was with our group.  

To sign up for a “bounce time”, make sure to visit their website, fill out the waivers and choose a time slot.  Admission is based on time:
$9 for 30 minutes
$13 for 60 minutes
$16 for 90 minutes
$20 for 120 minutes

No outside food or drink is allowed into the facility, but they do have a snack bar to purchase treats at.  If you are a busy mom (like me), you will also appreciate the free Wi-Fi… let the kids bounce, climb and play while you get your work done.  It’s a win-win for everyone!  So next time the kids are complaining they are bored this summer… visit Rockin Jump… they will be sure to sleep well that night!

 

 

 

 

Summertime Memories are Made at the County Fair!

June 19, 2017

Big Fun at the California State FairTemperatures have been rising, kids are out of school and it’s time to celebrate those wonderful hot summer nights.  Nothing screams summer fun more than carnival rides, loud music, cotton candy, ice cream and all the fun to be had at a local county fair!
Around the Sacramento region, you can find several local fairs to visit and make summertime memories.  

Here is a list of the local upcoming events:

  1. El Dorado County Fair’s “Ribbons and Rides” will run June 15-18 at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville.
  2. Placer County Fair  “Crazy 80 Years” will run from June 22-25 at the Roseville Fairgrounds.
  3. Annual California State Fair makes its famous appearance July 14-30 at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds.
  4. Amador County will host “We’re Mooving and Grooving” at Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth from July 27-30.
  5.  Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley will host their annual county fair August 9-13.
  6. Yolo County hosts “the original free gate fair” at the Yolo County Fairgrounds Woodland from August 16-20.
  7. Courtland Pear Fair.  Sunday, July 30 your family can enjoy all things Pears!  Pear salad, pear jam, pear ice cream, pear pie… you name it- they make it! 
  8. Sacramento Banana Festival August 12-13.  Live entertainment, food trucks and of course… bananas!

So grab your kids and get ready for some corn dogs, funnel cake and head out to the local fair and make some family memories this summer!