New Years Eve Fun for the Whole Family

imagesCA076XWLBy Heather Crivellone

The Holiday excitement is over- the presents have been unwrapped and put away and the kids are still buzzing with post holiday excitement.
Now it’s on to the next sha-bang, New Years! I’m sure everyone is frantically eating the last of the Christmas cookies, making their New Years Resolutions and wondering if those resolutions will actually “stick” this year. If this is the year that you are planning on losing weight, exercising more, organizing more or whatever you plan to resolve to do- I wish you good luck on all of them.

But before the New Year begins- we still have one last “hoorah”, New Years Eve. If you are trying to find something fun to do with your family- since the kids (or yourself) may or may not stay up until midnight to watch the ball fall and ring in the New Year, I have a few options around town that may be just what you are looking for!

Bounce U located in Roseville and Rancho Cordova is hosting a New Years Eve DAY celebration. $7.95 per child.  They will have games, crafts, and an NYE celebration to help the kids ring in the New Year. And of course- there will be plenty of bouncing to help get their energy out, so maybe mom and dad can have a peaceful evening.

Crocker Art Museum- Holiday Noon.  An event that everyone can stay awake for!  From 10am-2pm, join others at the museum and “count down” to the new year at noon, while learning about New Years Eve traditions from around the world.  Enjoy live music, entertainment and more at this family friendly event.

Kids Park in Natomas is also hosting a New Year’s Eve Party for the kids and they will open until 12:30am so the adults can celebrate on their own. They will have hats, horns, crafts, games and sparkling cider to enjoy. Reservations are recommended.

Old Sacramento New Years Eve Sky Spectacular.  This is Free family fun event to ring in the New Year with Fireworks, entertainment and fun.  From 9pm- Midnight, put on your gloves, warm jackets and head out to Old Sacramento for the big fireworks spectacular.

So however you plan to spend your New Years, I wish you a very safe a happy holiday and cheers to you and your family and all those resolutions that are to be made!



Weekend Family Fun

It’s the weekend before Christmas and this is what you’ll find:  Santa’s workshop in Midtown, free admission to Fairytale Town on Christmas Eve, a PJ Party at the Sacramento Zoo, shopping at Denio’s, The Nutcracker, and more.  We wish you and your family a very happy holiday!

Through 12/23 – The Nutcracker – It’s Christmas Eve. A majestic tree sparkles and the Silberhaus’ are hosting their annual Christmas party, welcoming the arrival of their guests. Suddenly, Clara’s beloved Herr Drosselmeyer appears and entertains the guests with magical tricks and life-size dolls. Come and be swept away with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince on an enchanted journey through the Kingdom of Sweets where you will meet the adorable sweeties, the hilarious Mother Ginger, the beautiful Sugar Plum
Fairy and her Cavalier, and all of the characters you have grown to love in this timeless tale. Pamela Hayes’ The Nutcracker has been recognized for its unique entertainment approach and wonderful costuming.

Christmas at DeniosThrough 12/23 – Christmas at Denio’s -Denio’s Farmers Market and Swap Meet in Roseville is inviting your entire family to join them this Christmas season to shop local for that unique gift for everyone on your Christmas list. Featuring the largest farmers market in Northern California, you’ll also find all the fresh fruits and veggies needed for your holiday table.

To celebrate the season Denio’s is inviting Santa to set up his workshop for the three weekends leading up to Christmas. Little ones can have their photos taken with Santa, visit Santa’s petting zoo complete with pony rides, and enjoy some delightful holiday treats.

With hundreds of vendors every weekend at Denio’s selling unique, hand-crafted and hard to find items, Denio’s is one of the best places to find gifts for friends and family of all ages and within all budgets.

Wild Nights and Holiday Lights at the Folsom ZooThrough 12/23 – Wild Nights and Magical Lights at the Folsom Zoo – This 3rd annual family holiday event celebrates the magic of the season and helps support the animals at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary.  Highlights include thousands of colorful LED lights throughout the Zoo exhibits, buildings, and grounds; a beautiful enchanted forest of decorated and lighted trees; visits with Santa and Zoo holiday mascot Santa Paws; carolers and seasonal refreshments; Animal presentations by Zoo docents; rides on miniature scale live steam Starlight Express Train (tickets $3/person.)

Santa's WorkshopThrough 12/22 – Santa’s Workshop – Skip the crowded malls this holiday season and bring your wish lists and your camera down to the MARRS Building in Midtown to visit Santa’s Workshop! Santa and his elves will be opening up their workshop every Saturday in December before Christmas. MARRS retailers invite all, big and small, to join them at this festive event located in the heart of Midtown at 20th & J Streets.  Families will have the opportunity to take their own photos or they can purchase an instant photo from the on-site photographer.

San Francisco Family Concert12/21 – San Francisco Family Concert at the Mondavi Center – Sight and sound combine for this charming holiday experience. The short animated film “The Snowman” tells the story of a young boy’s magical friendship with a snowman. The Oscar-nominated short, based on the book by Raymond Briggs, is shown above the symphony as it performs Howard Blake’s heart-warming score. The evening also features performances of kid friendly seasonal tunes and sing-alongs with the Orchestra!

Frog vs. Toad at the Nature Center12/22 – Family Activity: Frog vs. Toad at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Meet the Nature Center’s resident toad and frogs up close and discover how they are both amphibians, yet very different from each other. Discover the “two lives” of these animals and how their skin can breathe.

12/23 – Family Activity: Insects Home for the Holidays at the Nature Center – What’s bugging you this winter? Cool weather may cause insects to seek shelter inside our homes this holiday season. View Effie Yeaw’s preserved collections of insects to see some fascinating bugs up close and learn some earth friendly ways to keep bugs out of your home.

Free admission to the PJ party at the zoo!12/24 – Free Admission Day at Fairytale Town – Bring your family to Fairytale Town free of charge! Fairytale Town offers free
admission as a holiday gift to guests for visiting throughout the year.

12/24 – PJ Party at the Sacramento Zoo – Free admission to the Sacramento Zoo!  Celebrate Christmas Eve at the Zoo, and you don’t have to change out of your pajamas! That’s right, admission is free and the Zoo staff will be in their best PJs too. *Zoo closes early at 1:30pm.

Junie B. JonesThrough 12/26 – Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells – Just in time for the holiday season, Davis Musical Theatre Company’s Storybook Theatre invites your family to spend some time with everyone’s favorite first-grader, Junie B. Jones. Based on Barbara Park’s wildly popular children’s series, this stage adaptation follows the hilarious hijinks of Junie B. as she
draws the name of her arch nemesis, May, for her class’ Secret Santa gift exchange. This delightful holiday show is directed by Jenifer Price, and promises fun for all ages. The cast includes actors from Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento counties, featuring Junie B. Jones (Emily Jo Seminoff), May (Elisha Machado), Herb (Shane Osterhoudt), Sheldon (Tomas Eredia), Jose (Hugo Figueroa), Lucille (Danika Carlisle), Mr. Scary (Adam Sartain), Mr. Toot (James Cubbage), Elf Ellen (Jennifer Nachmanoff), Grampa (Bruce Seminoff), and Philip Johnny Bob (Fiona Cubbage).

Madeline's Christmas: The MusicalThrough 12/30 – Madeline’s Christmas: the Musical – “In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.” So begins this delightful story of Madeline’s Christmas. The day begins like any other day. Miss Clavel takes the twelve little girls on their morning walk. They go to the zoo and then back to school for their French lesson. Suddenly disaster strikes when everyone gets the flu! Every one that is, except for the ever resilient Madeline. Saddened that they may not be able to go home for Christmas, the girls and Miss Clavel take to their beds. But on Christmas Eve, the adventure begins…

Weekend Family Fun

Fairytale Town reschedules Winter Wonderland for this weekend,  hear the story of the Christmas Tree Spider at the Explorit Science Center, visit Mars at the Discovery Museum, and much more fun!

Experience a voyage to Mars at the Discovery Museum12/14 – Voyage to Mars at the Discovery Museum – The Challenger Learning Center simulated space mission is open to the public on occasional Friday evenings. You can experience the thrill of space exploration with your family, friends, scout troop, or small community group. Your adventure begins when you launch into space with the Voyage to Mars program. Working in
the spacecraft and Mission Control, you will experience the wonder of space exploration! See what it is like to work for NASA while you perform hands-on science experiments, operate robotic arms, or build a probe. You will also direct the astronauts’ activities and solve emergencies from Mission Control.

Christmas Memories at the Governo's Mansion12/14-15 – Christmas Memories at the Governor’s Mansion – Get ready to experience lavishly re-created period décor and an impressive array of live holiday music during two upcoming special events. Surrounded by docents in period costume, Mansion visitors will be transported back in time to the very place where thirteen of California’s early governors and their families lived,
spent Christmas seasons, and shared holiday traditions. In fact, then-Governor Edmund G. Brown and his family were the last first-family to celebrate Christmas in the stately mansion. And, to add to the festive activities, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will make special visits to the Mansion to meet excited little ones and be available for holiday photographs.

A Charlie Brown Christmas12/14-16 – A Charlie Brown Christmas at Victory Life Church -Come see A Charlie Brown Christmas this holiday season. Back by popular demand, join Free Fall Stage for a classic, beloved story of Charlie Brown and the gang (with a few little changes that the audience is sure to enjoy). Fun and entertaining for the whole family! Based from the beloved book and cartoon by Charles M. Shultz.

On December 15 don’t miss Special Kid’s Day. Join the cast of A Charlie Brown Christmas after the show for snacks, craft stations, activities, and prizes. Each child will get an autographed picture of the cast (and they’ll get to make their own frame), they will decorate a cookie at the cookie decorating station, and much more. Each station will be led by your child’s favorite characters as seen in the show.

12/15 – Jingle All the Way at St. Francis Assisi Catholic Church – Bring your kids to the Sacramento Master Singers’ children’s holiday concert. This annual holiday concert for children is just 45 minutes in length, and programmed especially for kids.

12/15 – WiWinter Wonderland at Fairytale Townnter Wonderland at Fairytale Town – Celebrate the holiday season with a day of holiday fun featuring arts and
crafts, Santa Claus, and his reindeer! Enjoy festive decor and holiday music throughout the park. Stop by Santa’s (temporary) workshop located in the Children’s Theater and let the big guy know what you are wishing for this holiday season. Photos with Santa will be available for purchase for an additional fee. Don’t forget to visit with two of Santa’s best reindeer in Pooh Corner as they rest up for the flight back to the North Pole. Happy Holidays!

12/15 – Lego Block Party at the Franklin Community Library – Come build and celebrate with a lego block party. The Franklin Community Library will have lots of lots of Legos (and Duplos for the smallest of hands). Just bring your imagination and creativity and build something spectacular!

Legend of the Christmas Tree Spider12/15 – Legend of the Christmas Tree Spider at Explorit Science Center – Please join for the last spider-themed event of 2012. The story of the Christmas Tree Spider is a tale that has been told for generations in Germany. The Christmas Tree Spider is a wonderful legend for all ages—young and old alike—and a tradition that you can carry on in your family. If you have ever wondered where Tinsel came from, the Legend of the Christmas Spider answers that question. Enjoy hot cocoa and make a beautiful glass beaded spider ornament to take home and learn about the legend of the Christmas Tree Spider. All materials
and instructions will be provided.

Pancake Breakfast with Santa12/15 – Pancake Breakfast with Santa at the Discovery Museum – Santa Claus is coming to town—and he’s bringing pancakes! Join the Discovery Museum as they get into the holiday spirit with a pancake breakfast with St. Nick. Get your last look at The Bone Zone exhibit before it closes after New Year’s, visit with Santa, create a holiday craft, and of course, eat delicious
pancakes! Pancakes will be served in the Robotics Lab with a special Pancake Topping Bar! Toppings include crushed candy canes, chocolate chips, whipped cream, butter, syrup, and fresh strawberry sauce.

Christmas Extravaganza12/15-16 – Natomas Christmas Extravaganza at Natomas Crossroads Church – Come enjoy Believe the Miracle: Christmas Extravaganza. Join in for a free community Christmas celebration. The party will be happening amidst some amazing Christmas decorations including thousands of lights, giant-sized Christmas displays, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and more. There will be fun activities for kids and adults, including train rides, instant family portraits, live Christmas music, cookie decorating, face painting, and story time.

12/16 – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – The Sacramento Kings take on the Denver Nuggets in this basketball game at the Sleep Train Arena (formerly Power Balance Pavilion.)

Last weekend to see Pinocchio Now thru 12/16 – Young Performers Theater: Pinocchio at the Davis Muscial Theater Company -You will not want to miss Davis Musical Theatre Company’s Young Performers Theatre presentation of the Prince Street Players production of Pinocchio. Set in the Italian Alps, this classic tale by Carlo Collodi follows the little wooden puppet who longs to become a real boy, and whose nose grows whenever he bends the truth.

Just in time for the holidays, DMTC’s whimsical production will delight audiences of all ages, and includes memorable songs such as “I Don’t Want to Go to School” and “Buon Giorno.” The show is directed and choreographed by Jan Isaacson, with musical direction by Utsav Bhargava.

Wild NIghts and Holiday Lights at the Folsom ZooNow thru 12/23 – Wild Nights and Holiday Lights at the Folsom Zoo – This 3rd annual family holiday event celebrates the magic of the season and helps support the animals at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary.  Highlights include thousands of colorful LED lights on zoo exhibits, buildings, and grounds; a beautiful enchanted forest of decorated and lighted trees; visits with Santa and Zoo holiday mascot Santa Paws; carolers and seasonal refreshments; animal presentations by Zoo Docents; rides on miniature scale live steam Starlight Express Train (tickets $3/person)

Sacramento Artist David Garibaldi Raises $1 Million for Charity

David GaribaldiBy Brandon Darnell

The auditorium pulsed to the sound of the music, the stage lights flashed and panned the audience, and 29-year-old Sacramento artist David Garibaldi ran onto the stage, clapping his hands, and grabbed the microphone.

The man who’d got his start illegally painting graffiti but who now travels the world performing his unique “music and color” show had just reached the ambitious goal of raising $1 million for charity by the time he turned 30.

“I realized that I could take a couple hundred dollars of materials and a few minutes on stage and turn it into something that had value for people,” he told an auditorium full of students at his alma mater, Elk Grove’s Sheldon High School. “I wanted to donate $1 million to charity before I turned 30, and we met that goal about five minutes ago.”

His style of painting to the beats of hip-hop music brought him international fame, and he’s not only performed on “America’s Got Talent,” but also spent time performing in Europe, Asia and across the United States.

Fame and fortune didn’t take him too far from home, however. He attributes much of his success to his mentor, Sheldon High School teacher Shawn Sullivan, who told him to be tenacious and inspired him to pursue his art.

Sheldon High School Principal Paula Duncan said Garibaldi’s talent is without question, but just as important is his character.

“We didn’t call him. He called us,” she said. “He wanted to do this for the kids.”

Garibaldi’s show captivated the students, who roared with excitement as he jumped, spun and slapped paint onto canvas with his brushes and his hands in a way that leads the audience to wonder if what he’s doing has any rhyme or reason. But when he’s finished, there’s no question – he’s a master.

After the show, Garibaldi used his easygoing manner to tell the students to follow their passions and never give up. It served him well, and he said it can serve them well too.

David Garibaldi’s story will be featured on the cover of the upcoming Sacramento Visitors’ Guide from the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, due out in February.

3 Fun And Easy Things To Do With Almonds

Blue Diamond Gift Shop in downtown SacramentoBy Alyssa Green

Christmas is just around the corner, have you finished up your shopping yet?  If you have difficult-to-shop for people on your list,  almonds might be your answer.  Yep, you heard me correctly.  Almonds.

Almonds are known for their abundant health benefits and are constantly being touted as one of the healthiest foods we can eat.  High in protein and omega 3’s, the nut is often called a super food.

Well, did you know that one of the world’s leading processors of almonds is located right here in Sacramento?  Blue Diamond Growers headquarters has been a staple of downtown since 1914 and has seen almond crops grow from 2,000 tons in 1910 to a record-breaking 1.5 billion tons one hundred years later, becoming California’s largest tree crop export.

So, why are almonds so special?  Well, to quote a 1939 Blue Diamond Nutritional Research Guide, “Since the beginning of written history, the almond has been known for its nutritive and health giving properties.  In ancient writings it is mentioned as a confection, food and the oil has been found as a cosmetic and healing lotion.”  So there you have it.

We want to share with you three fun almond recipes that you can make this holiday season to give as gifts, or keep just for fun.  And they are easy enough that your kids can help out too!

Almond Butter Play DoughPlay.  A staple in every preschooler’s play cupboard should be play dough.  And what’s better than the traditional stuff?  Edible play dough!  This simple Almond Butter Play Dough recipe from consisting of almond butter, honey and powdered milk is easy enough for your kiddos to make…and then eat!  Follow the recipe here, maybe add some food coloring, then knead until it feels like your typical play dough.  And….voila!  Your kids will be occupied for hours….well, at least long enough for you to get the dishes done.Homemade Almond Lip Balm

Wear.  Make, wear and give away some almond lip balm.  I don’t know about you, but during the winter months, I must have a good lip gloss/lip balm to protect my lips from getting chapped.   Why spend $2 on a teeny tiny tube of chap stick, when you can make a big batch of your own Almond Lip Balm?  Here’s a quick and easy recipe to make at home.  You’ll need almond butter, shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil, lip color and flavor oil (all ingredients easily found in any health food store.)  Follow the recipe here and then use your imagination to create cute little tubes of lip balm to give away as giftsAlmond Cookies.  Don’t forget to include your daughter in the making…she will LOVE this.  Trust me.

Eat.  You can wear almonds, you can play with almonds, but don’t forget to eat some almonds too!  This easy and delicious cookie recipe is a great holiday treat to give to friends and family.  All you need to make these pretty Almond Cookies are almonds, of course, almond extract, and your other typical cookie ingredients.  Mix, bake and enjoy!

You never knew there was so much fun to be had in almonds, did you?!  And if none of these homemade almond gifts cut it for that really hard-to-shop-for person?  Then you’ll want to head on over to Blue Diamond’s gift shop.  There is plenty of almond snacks, foods, candy, and gifts to satisfy even the pickiest of gift recipients!

Weekend Family Fun

Holiday Magic at the Sacramento Zoo12/8 – Holiday Magic at the Sacramento Zoo – Bundle up the family and come enjoy the holiday season at the Zoo!  The Zoofari Market will be open at 10am for Sacramento Zoo Member shopping. Members recieve a 25% discount with their Membership card. This discount excludes books; disposable cameras; sunscreen; sunglasses; Fair Trade; and promotional, discounted, or sale items.  Food and Toy Drive: Bring a new, unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item and receive a $1…

Capitol Pops at the Captol12/8 – Holiday Concert with the Capitol Pops Concert Band – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as the Capitol Pops Concert Band performs holiday music. Maestro Jerry Lopes will conduct the free concert. Bring your family and friends to enjoy traditional sounds of the season, including solos and classic carols.

Wacky Woodpeckers at the Nature Center12/8 – Family Activity: Those Wacky Woodpeckers at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Woodpeckers are instantly recognizable by their unique behavior of pecking vertically on trees and poles, but how much do you really know about these outstanding birds? We will clue you in! All ages welcome.

old_sac_living_hist_pony_express_category12/8 – Old Sacramento Living History Ball and Pony Express Ride – Enjoy 1850’s style dancing and festivities commencing with the annual Pony Express holiday card delivery.  Abundant covered parking is available at the main parking structure located at 3rd and J Streets. There are a limited number of metered, 90-minute on-street parking spaces throughout the park.

sutters_fort_holiday_2012_category12/8 – Hands On History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas & Candlelight Tour at Sutter’s Fort – Join at Sutter’s Fort for this special seasonal event. In John Sutter’s day, people from around the world passed through the gates, each with their own
customs and traditions for the holiday season. A Simple Emigrant Christmas presents several vignettes showing holiday scenes, including foods, music, decorations, and traditions from other cultures. During the day visitors will be able to dip candles, make cornhusk dolls, and create…

Enjoy Christmas at the Governor's Mansion12/8-12/15 – Christmas Memories at the Governor’s Mansion – Get ready to experience lavishly re-created period décor and an impressive array of live holiday music during two upcoming special events. Surrounded by docents in period costume, Mansion visitors will be transported back in time to the very place where thirteen of California’s early governors and their families lived,
spent Christmas seasons, and shared holiday traditions. In fact, then-Governor Edmund G. Brown and his family were the last first-family to celebrate Christmas in the stately mansion. And, to add to the festive activities, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will make special visits to the Mansion to meet excited little ones and be available for holiday photographs.

Take you kids to see the Elves & the Shoemaker12/9 – The Elves and the Shoe Maker at the California Theater Center -Laugh when two merry elves arrive at a small village in the Black Forest to discover a poor shoemaker who clearly needs assistance. Their good deeds, kindness, and resourcefulness save the shoemaker from a bleak and unhappy holiday in this CTC classic, adored by both children and adults all over the world.  Recommended for grades preK-5

Cold blooded creatures at the nature center12/9 – Family Activity: Cold Blooded Critters – Some have scaly skin, some have slimy skin, some have legs and some do not. Can you guess what they are? Join us at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center and find out! Meet a resident animal up close. Admission is free (parking is $5 per vehicle.) All ages welcome.

Elk Grove Nativity12/9 – 6th Annual Elk Grove Nativity at the LDS Church – Come join with your neighbors as you celebrate Christ’s birth through art and music at the 6th Annual Elk Grove Nativity. Experience the beauty of hundreds of crèches from all over the world. Listen to music from community members singing portions of Handel’s Messiah Saturday & Sunday at 7pm. Watch children bring to life the event that continues to inspire young and old today as they perform a live Nativity. Enjoy a self-guided tour with a scavenger hunt for all ages.