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Wild Animals and Ice Cream at the Sacramento Zoo this Saturday Evening

August 15, 2016

Sacramento Zoo

Kids are back to school… it’s time to celebrate!   Take the family out to the Sacramento Zoo this Saturday, August 20 for their annual Ice Cream Safari.  From 4 to 8 pm, indulge in all-you-can-eat Baskin Robbins Ice Cream.   Cones, sundaes, floats and wash it all down with all the Coca-Cola you can handle….  a kids dream come true!

Along with the ice cream, there will be live entertainment, kids’ activities, face painting and more family fun.

General price tickets are $15 for children ages 2-11 and $20 for adults. Save a few dollars and purchase your tickets in advance on their website or at the zoo. Proceeds of the fundraiser will go towards general maintenance and animal care at the Sacramento Zoo.
So instead of sitting around the house during these hot “dog-days” of summer,  take the family out to the Sacramento Zoo and cool off with some ice-cold sweet treats.   Check out and learn about the wild animals and watch your own little animals have a blast at the zoo!



Our Favorite Sacramento Summer Activities in Pictures

August 9, 2016

It’s hard to believe that it’s the beginning of August and we are already talking about kids going back to school here in Sacramento. Luckily, we’ve had a great summer vacation…we hope you have, too! Here’s a few of our favorite activities and events this summer. In pictures. Enjoy!

The California State Fair at Cal Expo:

July 2015 045Fairytale Town’s Midsummer Night’s Midsummer Night’s Dream & Ice Cream Social:

FTT Midsummer Night Event 13Water fun at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center:

Aquatic Center2Wizard World’s Comic Con at the Sacramento Convention Center:

Comic ConThe USA Track & Field Junior Olympics at Sac State:

USATF Junior Olympics 2016 007A walk through the World Peace Rose Garden in Capitol Park:

World Peace Rose GardenA River Cats baseball game at Raley Field:

River Cats 2A relaxing Sacramento River cruise aboard the Hornblower in Old Sacramento:

Hornblower Cruise 039


Celebrate National S’mores Day while Enjoying the Great Outdoors

August 5, 2016


National S’mores Day is just around the corner – Wednesday, August 10. How are you planning on celebrating?

Did you know that the first official s’mores recipe was published in the Girl Scout Handbook in 1927? Over the years, the recipe was passed from camper to camper and eventually became the most famous fireside dessert.  We have used plain, chocolate, coconut and even strawberry marshmallows to make the gooey treat… it’s definitely a summertime staple in our house! Ever wondered why it is called a s’more? Because you’ll always want “some more” of this decadent sweet!

There are several recipes for smore’s that you can make in your own kitchen or backyard, but I prefer to make mine over a campfire.   Camping season is here and if you haven’t planned a trip for your family this summer, you still have time to sneak in a trip before the kids go back to school. Our family loves to camp, and luckily we live in an area that is surrounded by so many opportunities to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Here are a few of our family favorites that are within a couple of hours from Sacramento and some “tips and tools” to help make your camping experience more enjoyable.

Sly Park Camping (25)Sly Park– 4771 Sly Park Rd, Pollock Pines. Just up Hwy 50, past Apple Hill, is one of our favorite campgrounds.  With beautiful views of Jenkinson Lake, plenty of hiking trails and our kids love to swim and play at the beach – it’s the best way to enjoy nature while being so close to the city (it’s only about a 45 minute drive from Sacramento). Amenities include:  boating, fishing, hiking, general store close by, plenty of picnic tables, vault toilets (unfortunately, it’s not “glamping” and they don’t have flushing toilets but, it is camping after all).

Collins Lake- 7350 Collins Lake Rd, Browns Valley. This resort is a family favorite for many Sacramento residents.  Located in the Gold Country Foothills just over an hour East of Sacramento, this campground offers a wide variety of family activities. Amenities include:  marina and boat rentals, fishing (they are known for their “big bass and trophy trout”, ice cream shop and espresso shop, children’s playground, swimming beach, general store, laundry, showers and flushing toilets.  Yes, ladies. They do have showers and flushing toilets!  This is my kind of camping. The only downside to Collins Lake campground is that it can be crowded and on holiday weekends, so you should reserve sites way in advance.

Lake Berryessa– Hwy 128, Napa Only about an hour drive from Sacramento, Lake Berryessa is our families “go to”. We love the proximity to Sacramento and the lake (when it’s full), is absolutely beautiful and perfect for a day out on the boat. They have several campgrounds around the lake with amenities including:  hiking, children’s playgrounds, boating, fishing, and vault toilets (sorry ladies).

Fallen Leaf Lake– 2165 Fallen Leaf Rd, South Lake Tahoe. This campground is a little bit further from Sacramento, but being “deep in the woods” as my daughter would say, gives you a bit more of the “camping feel”.  They have bear lockers to store your food, and if you are lucky enough to leave your scraps behind, you may just have a visitor in the middle of the night!  The seclusion makes you really enjoy nature rather than just “hopping off the freeway”.

Amenities include:  general store, showers, flushing toilets (Hooray for flushing toilets!), and if you wanting more of a “Glamping” experience- they rent Yurts that have electric heather and lamps, futons and even bunk beds!

Bothe State Park– 3801 St. Helena Hwy, Calistoga Camping in Napa… a wine lovers dream!  Not only do they have regular tent campsites, but they also have Yurts for those of us who would rather not set up a tent and do some “glamping” instead. Amenities include:  showers, flushing toilets, yurts, swimming pool, hiking and biking. The Bale Grist Mill State park is a small hike away and is a very educational and fun experience for the family.

Here are 4 of my favorite camping tips to help make the experience more enjoyable:

  1. Freeze a gallon water jug before you go and then use this block of ice to help keep food cold during your trip.  As it melts, you will have fresh water to drink.
  2. Pre make and freeze breakfast burritos and/or regular burritos for easy meals.  By freezing them ahead of time, they will stay transport easier and will help to keep other food cold.   Just toss on grill and eat – no need for cleaning dishes or pans!
  3. Tic Tac Containers can be used for holding spices you will need while cooking, without the large bulky containers.
  4. Instant Coffee!  Starbucks VIA’s are always a special treat while camping – no need to wait for the coffee to brew and clean out the coffee grinds, just pour and enjoy!

These are just some suggestions of the many different areas to choose from.  Camping is a great family activity and with some preparation ahead of time, you can enjoy a relaxing weekend away in nature while creating lifelong family memories. And most importantly, don’t forget the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers to make the delicious gooey, sticky treat…it’s a camping requirement to enjoy with the family.

By Heather Crivellone


Top 5 Family Friendly Activities in Folsom

July 27, 2016


When is the last time you visited historic Folsom and enjoyed downtown Sutter Street?  If you are new to the area, visiting Sacramento or just haven’t ventured into Folsom lately, I highly suggest you pack up the kids and make a day trip out of it.

Recently, we decided to visit historic Folsom for lunch, and we were pleasantly surprised by all the fun things we could do for the day with young children.

Folsom is located 35 minutes from Downtown Sacramento, and I’m sure everyone is familiar with what puts Folsom on the map…Johnny Cash and the Folsom prison!  But, if country western music isn’t your thing, no worries. There are plenty of activities (aside from the prison) to keep your family busy.

I have compiled a list of my top 5 things to do in Folsom if you have children:

  1. Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park.  A visit to this famous powerhouse will take you on a tour of California’s history.  Built in 1895, this is one of the oldest hydroelectric facilities in the world! If you have little engineers or anyone who enjoys history, this is a great walking tour.   The two-story brick and granite Powerhouse looks similar to what it did in 1895 and you are free to wander around and enjoy the grounds along with the museum where you can learn how the powerhouse generates energy.   Located at 9980 Greenback Lane, Folsom.  This is a nice tour that you can walk to from historic Folsom.
  2. Take a walk down historic Sutter Street and enjoy some “window shopping” and have a sweet treat or lunch.  Our favorite stops are pizza at Chicago Fire and a sweet treat at Karen’s Bakery or Snook’s Chocolate Factory.   You can always catch a live performance at the Sutter Street Theater.   On Saturdays and Sundays they have their family performances.  Now showing through August 21 is “All Shook Up – the musical”.  These are great performances that kids of all ages will enjoy
  3. If you want to get into the “great outdoors” and live on the “wild side” then take a visit to the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary.   Located at 403 Stafford Street in Folsom, the zoo is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9am- 3pm.   This sanctuary offers a chance to see some animals up close that you don’t normally get to see at the other zoo’s in the area:  Bears, Mountain Lions and Coyotes for example.  Animals that may be in our backyard but we wouldn’t dare get close enough to see.   The peaceful setting of this zoo makes it a wonderful morning trip for families… and, they have a park next to the zoo that keeps the kids busy all day!
  4. Busy Kidz, located at 118 Woodmere Road in Folsom is an indoor play city (in miniature) and is designed to encourage children ages 10 and under to explore the most beloved part of childhood:  Pretend Play! If you have younger children and it’s a hot summer day…this is the place to go….  They can play, pretend and have a ball at this indoor, interactive children’s museum.   Each building in the pretend city has a certain theme – restaurant, supermarket, doctor’s office, library, school, etc.  Kids can literally play all day at this unique play house.
  5. If you want to get your kids out and active, then look no further than the Folsom Bike Trail.   Just grab your bikes, some water and sun block and hit the trails from historic Folsom and ride as far as you can see…. Never know, you may end up as far as Old Sacramento if you have the stamina.   Lake Natoma is along the way and you can always stop and rent a kayak to cool off.

So, there you have it. My top 5 activities to keep you and your family busy in Folsom.   You can also visit the Folsom Prison museum, take a swim in Folsom Lake and shop all day at the Folsom Premium outlets.   Whatever you do, enjoy your time in this historic city.

By Heather Crivellone

Ice Cream-filled Donuts: The Newest Summertime Treat in Sacramento

July 19, 2016

Ice Cream DonutIce cream is a staple summertime treat for kids of all ages, and recently I took my kids to enjoy the newest hot spot for the cold, sweet dessert.  The Parlor on Eureka Rd. in Roseville serves ice cream-filled donuts – this takes ice cream desserts to a whole new level! It was an experience for my taste buds. Two of the sweetest treats combined together into an ice cream-filled fried puff…and oh my, was it delicious!

We didn’t quite know what to expect when we first arrived and were surprised at the options. I was thinking they would have only a couple of flavors to choose from, but much to my delight,  the flavors offered were exotic (not the typically chocolate and vanilla) and you could choose between a glazed or plain to be filled with your choice of ice cream. It was a hard decision between Nutella and Green Tea,  but we agreed on Birthday Cake inside a glazed donut.   We could choose a variety of toppings along with whipped cream to finish off this incredible sweet treat. My kids instantly had a sugar rush and it was the perfect end to a 100-degree day.

The Parlor has two locations: 1490 Eureka Rd. #170 in Roseville and  2620 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacramento

If you aren’t looking for something so glutenous, and just want to enjoy a good old-fashioned scoop, then visit one of the local favorites:
Vic’s Ice Cream in Land Park (3199 Riverside Ave)

Gunthers Ice Cream, located at 2801 Franklin Blvd. in Sacramento.

Leatherby’s Family Creamery, with 3 locations in the Sacramento area (2333 Arden Way, Sacramento, 7910 Antelope Rd. Citrus Heights and 8238 Laguna Blvd. Elk Grove).

Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor– 1625 Watt Avenue in Sacramento.

And if you need extra reason to treat yourself to some good ice cream this summer, July is National Ice Cream Month –  so, go out and treat your family to a cone, shake, sundae or an ice cream filled donut…isn’t that what summer is all about?

By Heather Crivellone

the parlor

It is Fun to Have Fun at Seussical the Musical

July 13, 2016

As we streamed through the front gates of the Wells Fargo Pavillion, my 9-year-old daughter and I were giddy with anticipation for the opening performance of Music Circus’ Seussical. The welcoming …

Source: It is fun to have fun at Seussical the Musical

Wake Island Aqua Park: The Largest Floating Water Park in Sacramento

July 11, 2016


By Heather Crivellone

Are your kids tired of swimming in the backyard pool and looking for more of an adventure?  If so, then check out the largest floating Aqua Park located right here in Sacramento!  Wake Island Aqua Park brings fun and excitement to our 100 degree days!  Located at 7633 Locust Rd, in Pleasant Grove (approximately 15 minutes from Downtown Sacramento) this water park will give kids and families of all ages the thrill of their summer.

Try your luck on the floating obstacle courses, have some fun jumping around on the huge floating playground, or just relax on the sandy beach, This place has it all!

My kids and I visited Wake Island with a group of friends to go paddle boarding and I was amazed at all the choices they had available for renting:

Cable (boatless) wakeboards, stand up paddleboards, pedal boats, floating obstacle course, floating “hamster wheels,” power paddlers, swimming beach and more!

Entry into Wake Island is free, you just pay for the rentals you would like to use.   My kids did the Stand up Paddle boards for $20 an hour.   If you haven’t tried paddle boarding yet, you really should – its great fun and can be a good workout!   We enjoyed an hour of paddle boarding, raced on the pedal boats,  had lunch at the Beach Hut Deli (on site) and spent some time hanging out on the beach relaxing… it was a great summer afternoon!

So if you are looking for something fun and adventurous to do with your family, check out Wake Island Aqua Park.  They also offer summer camps, wakeboard lessons and it’s a great venue for a summer birthday party.

Make sure you pack your beach towels and plenty of sunscreen for this fun day out!





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