Shake your Turkey Feathers this Thanksgiving for a Good Cause at One of our Local Fun Runs

 

Loosen up the belts and get ready – Thanksgiving is around the corner! For most people, that means football, mashed potatoes, stuffing and food galore.
This year, why not join other local Sacramento families and find a way to give back, earn that calorie intake and enjoy the beautiful fall weather Sacramento has to offer.
Across the region, you can find several “Turkey Trots” and fun runs to participate in with your family. Most are stroller friendly for even the youngest of participants and it doesn’t matter if you are an avid runner, walker or weekend warrior. Just lace up those sneakers and hit the streets for some community fun and exercise before the feast.

Here are my top 5 to choose from:

Saturday, November 18: Davis Turkey Trot. This family friendly event hosts eight different events and distances for all fitness levels. Enjoy the stroll through Davis’ residential neighborhoods and green belts. Live music, arts and crafts booths for the kids, vendors and fun is to be had at this event.

Thanksgiving Day: Run to Feed the Hungry in Sacramento is the largest Turkey Run in the country!
Join hundreds of people in support of the Sacramento Food Bank on Thanksgiving morning. This fun run begins at the Sacramento State Campus and winds through the beautiful tree-lined streets of East Sacramento, You can choose between the 5K or 10K option.

Thanksgiving Day: Turkey Trot for Teal 7 in Herald. Join other families at the 6th annual Turkey Trot for Teal. Walk, run or jog 3.1 miles and help raise money for the children’s cancer foundation. Once you are finished, enjoy treats and raffles to get you ready for your big day with family. Race begins at the Herald Community Center.

Thanksgiving Day: Folsom Turkey Trot. Choose from a 5k or 10k to participate in, starting at the Folsom zoo park. This fun run will benefit the Twin Lakes Food Bank. Registration sells out early, so if you are in the Folsom area make sure you check to see there is still space for you and your family.

Thanksgiving Day: Roseville Turkey Trot to support the Placer County Food Bank. This course will begin and end in Downtown Roseville on historic Vernon Street.

So this year, don’t feel guilty about going in for seconds with the candied yams. Burn those calories before you sit down at the table and support your local community at one of the many fun runs in the area.

 

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Celebrate Dr. Seuss at Lakeshore Learning Center in Roseville this Saturday

lakeshoreBy Heather Crivellone

Are you looking for a way to keep your kids entertained on the weekends during these wild stormy days?

There are many options (some are even FREE) to keep your kids engaged, creating and using their imaginations on those “boring” Saturday mornings. Lakeshore Learning Center in Roseville has FREE crafts for kids every Saturday. Each Saturday, you can drop in to the store and have your child create one of their “crafts of the day”.  Every week is something new…and this weekend (February 25), your child can even celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday at a special Birthday Bash!

Beginning at 3pm, kids can enjoy an afternoon of crafts, games and rhyming away with the great Dr. Seuss.  They will have activities, gross-motor games and hourly readings of the classic Dr. Seuss books.

During the mornings, from 11am-3pm, kids can create a one-of-a-kind craft.  Here is a list of the upcoming activities:

Saturday, February 25:  “Pup in a Cup!” Craft

Saturday, March 4:  “Looking Sharp” Pencil Holder

Saturday, March 11:  “Lots O’ Luck Hat” for St. Patricks Day

Saturday, March 18:  “Rockin’ Guitar”

Saturday, March 25:  “Honeybee House”

Hopefully this gives you and your family an idea of something to do on these rainy Saturdays, and remember… the sun will eventually come back out- enjoy the quiet times with your family while you can.

 

Top Family Friendly Restaurants in Sacramento

Many families come to Sacramento on business, stop in for dinner on their way to the mountains or just live in our wonderful capital city.  Whether you are visiting Sacramento from out of town, live in the area or are just passing through, we have plenty of family friendly eateries to choose from so you can get those kids fed and back on the road.

Downtown has so many wonderful options to choose from, especially if you are not wanting to go to a typical chain restaurant.  Of course, when you think of “kid friendly”, some may instantly have nightmares of a giant mouse, loud video games and screaming kids.  We do have those more entertainment options in the area, but if you are searching for a nice evening out, we have you covered!

Downtown Sacramento offers a wide variety of options.  From farm-to-fork local eateries, to quick order-and-go stops, to the typical chain restaurant.  I took a poll of the best family friendly restaurants in the area and this is the list we came up with.  You may have your own family favorite, and please feel free to let us know where and why.

My family likes to try new places, so we have been to several on this list. But there are a few are new spots we are excited to try. So, next time you are in the area or you just want a break from cooking, check out one of our local hot spots:

For those who love Italian:

 Paesanos in Midtown has been voted as the best Italian Pizzerias!  Located at 1806 Capital Avenue, they have a menu that is sure to please everyone in your family. Pizzas, pastas, salads and they even have a gluten-free menu for those with diet restrictions.   The last time we were there, my kids were given a ball of dough to play with… they were kept busy and happy until the food came!

Old Spaghetti Factory in Downtown and Roseville is a unique dining experience.  Kids will feel comfortable with the colorful decor and can even request to sit in one of the old trolley cars!  My kids always find something on the menu to keep them satisfied and the price is perfect for families.

Pizza Rock

Pizza Rock located at 1020 K Street in downtown Sacramento is definitely a place to visit if you haven’t been there.  With a large semi truck hanging from the ceiling, a loud and fun atmosphere to distract the kids and great food… it’s worth searching for parking downtown to have dinner here.   They are one of the few restaurants that I have found that really believe in getting the kids dirty in the kitchen.  Every first Saturday of the month, they host Kids in the Kitchen where kids can make their own pizzas and the money raised goes towards charity.  What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

California Pizza Kitchen has several locations throughout the Sacramento area.  They are very kid friendly, have great food and offer a selection of gluten-free menu items to keep those with specific restrictions enjoying dining out with the family.

Skipolinis, located at 6600 Lonetree Blvd in Rocklin is definitely a kid friendly option!  They have an indoor play area that the kids can climb through while waiting for the meal.  Plenty of televisions playing all the latest sports games and they have a great menu to choose from.  This is one of our favorites when we want to go out for a “family night” but would rather have more “adult” time talking while the kids play.

For those who prefer good old American fare, we have plenty of options:

Red Robin, yes, it’s a chain restaurant but they definitely are kid friendly, have plenty of menu items to choose from and have always been fast in getting us in and out when we are in a hurry.   Kids love the decor and who can’t complain when you are served bottomless French fries?

Chili’s, yes another chain that has several locations throughout the Sacramento valley, but they offer one thing that not all the other restaurants do… kiosks at the tables, loaded with games to keep the kids busy! Even if you don’t want your kid to sit and stare at a screen all dinner long, it is nice to have that option until the food arrives.

Empress Tavern located at 1013 K Street in Downtown Sacramento.  This may seem more like a date night spot, than a family friendly location, but don’t let the appearance fool you.  They are very family friendly and offer a menu that can be served family style with some of the freshest ingredients around.

Now, if you have more adventurous palates, then check out some of our local sushi and seafood restaurants. My 7-year-old is always begging to go to sushi – it’s his favorite meal!  We have tried many restaurants in the area and have found a couple that really are our favorites in terms of freshness and cost to take out a family of four.

mikuni-midtown-011

Mikuni can be argued as the best sushi is Sacramento.  We love the atmosphere and that they are very kid friendly (as long as you don’t go at 8pm on a Saturday night). They offer a kids menu, chop stick “helpers” and gave my kids fun goodies to play with at the table even though my son doesn’t order off the kids meal anymore. While it can get expensive, the food is great!

Raku is an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant located in West Sacramento and Rocklin.   The thought of all-you-can-eat sushi seemed a bit disgusting to me at first, but once we tried it, we were hooked! Great prices for the amount you get, the fish is fresh and the rolls were tasty.  Kids were in heaven when we told them they could continue to order rolls after they thought they were done.  They have special pricing for kids vs. Adults, so it’s worth checking out if you have a sushi loving family.

There are so many more dining options than this in our wonderful city, but I’m hoping this gives you an idea of some new places to visit with your family. Bon Appétit!

By Heather Crivellone

 

You Don’t Need to Jump Out of an Airplane to Experience Skydiving in Sacramento

 

Have you ever imagined jumping out of an airplane and flying through the air?  Do you have children who are thrill seekers and are searching for the next big “dare”?  Do you know someone that has skydiving on their bucket list, but just can’t take that leap?   If so, then, check out iFLy in Roseville – they make the dream of flight a reality by giving customers “wings” in a safe and reliable environment.

iFly opened its doors this past spring, and it’s all people can talk about!  The ability to free fall in a safe environment and have the experience of skydiving, without actually stepping into an airplane- it’s a genius invention for those thrill seekers who just aren’t ready to make that final plunge.

The idea behind iFly is simulating the true free fall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel, giving their customers the indoor skydiving experience. Pretty much anyone can enjoy the iFly experience – the youngest of flyers can enjoy the free fall experience, as long as they are in good health and can follow instructions. Recently, a friend of mine took her daughter for her ninth birthday- and she loved the experience.

When they arrived for their flight time, they had to be at the facility 60 minutes early for training.  Training includes an instructional video, getting suited up into a safe flight suit, goggles and helmet.  They were able to watch the instructor’s complete aerial stunts and maneuvers and have the full skydiving experience. Once the flyers were suited up, trained and ready, they went into an outside chamber to the wind tunnel, where they were chosen individually to step into the chamber.   Within just a couple of minutes, they were flying in the chamber where they learned to use their bodies as flying devices at over 100 mph! The girls each took their turns and loved every minute of it.

Ifly is an experience you have to actually see to believe.   The cost for indoor skydiving starts at $60.  Flight packages vary in cost based upon the number of flyers in your group; whether you have flown before and how much time you want to fly. My friend purchased a package for $140 and that was for two flyers for approximately 4 minutes of flying experience.   That seems like a lot, but for the one on one training, the reassuring and knowledgeable staff and to not have to watch my child actually jump from an airplane to get her thrills…. I’m all for this cost!

iFly is located at 118 Harding Blvd. in Roseville, approximately 25 minutes from downtown Sacramento.  Flying hours are Sunday- Friday 9am-10pm, Saturday 8am- 11pm. Call them at 916-836-4359 for questions and to book a flight.

I have no desire to jump from an airplane and I actually get sick when I think about heights.  This is not an activity for me, but my daughter is a daredevil through and through.  She has been asking to check this place out since they started construction on the facility, so I’m pretty sure we will be making a visit to iFly in the near future.

By Heather Crivellone

 

Family-Friendly Earth Day Celebrations in Sacramento

Celebrate the Earth Roseville

It’s springtime and the temperatures are up. April is the primary month for Earth Day celebrations.  Families get an opportunity to learn, eat and play together.  Most people choose a festival that is closest to their home or one that they’ve been to before.

We like the Celebrate the Earth Festival at Mahany Park in Roseville. It has free parking and a good variety of things to do and see.  Families are encouraged to use alternate forms of transportation, such as buses and bicycles, if they live nearby.  Mahany Park has a nice playground and a library (Riley Library) in case the kids need a distraction.  There are vendor booths, animals, demonstrations, food trucks and lots of kid’s activities.  The vendors typically provide handouts and fun stuff for the kids to do at home.  Check it out on April 16th from 10am-3pm.

If you want to have a weekend getaway, try the Whole Earth Festival in Davis. It’s happening on May 6th-May 8th.  The theme this year is RAW.  Each year, U.C. Davis strives for a zero waste event.  No paper plates, cups or silverware are used.  Alternate forms of transportation are encouraged.  Daily activities are posted on the website: https://wef.ucdavis.edu.  They have a variety of entertainment including: bands, demonstrations and kid’s activities.  Food and vendor booths are located on the quad area.

Here is a list of other upcoming Earth Day celebrations in the Sacramento area:

April 14 – Earth Day, California State University of Sacramento. 10:00 am-3:00 pm.

April 16 – Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup with California State Parks Foundation. See individual park locations for cleanup times.

April 19 – Earth Day Celebration, Sacramento, Cesar Chavez Park, 9:00 am-2:00 pm.

April 20 – Earth Day Upcycle, American River College, 8:00 am-3 pm.

April 23 – Earth Day Celebration, City of West Sacramento, 10:00 am-2:00 pm.

April 24 – Sacramento Earth Day, Southside Park Sacramento, 11:00 am-4:00 pm.

By contributing author Lara Brandon

It’s official…the Holiday Season is here!

By Heather Crivellone

It’s official…even if you have been trying to deny it (like I have), the fact is, it’s here -the holiday season is upon us!
So with the hustle and bustle of preparing for the festivities, why don’t you take a break from the holiday cooking and start the season off with the annual tree lighting ceremony in Old Sacramento.

On Wednesday, November 21st, join other families in Old Sacramento at Front and K Streets to watch the kick-off of the holiday season with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Music and festivities begin and 5:30 and the lighting of the tree will take place at 6:30pm.
Along with the tree lighting, there will be live performances, a visit from Father Christmas and much more!
Following the tree lighting, Old Sacramento’s Theatre of Lights will begin at 7:00pm.

The Theatre of Lights is a unique state-of-the-art live staging of the classic ’Twas The Night Before Christmas. The show blends a symphony of lights, sounds and visual effects which will take the audience back to a time when the beloved poem ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas was first introduced in Sacramento in 1857 in The Sacramento Bee. The beloved poem comes to life on the balconies and rooftops of Old Sacramento’s historic buildings on K Street between Front and 2nd Street.

The Theatre of Lights will take place through the holiday season with two 20-minute light shows at 6:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday until December 31st.  Monday December 24th will show at 6:15 and on New Years Eve 7:00 and 8:00pm.

This is a FREE family fun event… so wrap up the kids in their cozy sweaters, grab some hot cocoa and enjoy an evening in Old Sacramento. This is a great way to get into the holiday spirit (and escape the kitchen from all the pre-Thanksgiving baking and prep work!).

Other Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies around the region include the annual West Sacramento Tree Lighting at the City Hall on Friday November 30th from 6:00-8:30pm.  In Roseville at the Fountains they will be have a tree lighting ceremony on Sunday November 18th at 5:00pm.
And in Natomas, you can join families at the South Natomas Community Center on Thursday, November 29th.

There will be plenty more festivities to come in the following weeks,  so prepare yourself for some fun and excitement…and most importantly- have fun and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

The Fountains in Roseville… a fun spot to break from shopping and cool off!

By Heather Crivellone

As promised, we have been visiting local spray grounds here in the Sacramento area all summer long.  Last week I wanted a change of pace, so we headed to the Roseville Galleria for some “back to school” shopping and decided to keep cool across the street at the Fountains Spray ground.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit and shop at the Fountains in Roseville, then you are in for a treat.  This outside, upscale mall features plenty of boutiques that caters from newborns to adults and everything in between.  Some of the shops include:  Anthroplogie, Vera Bradley, Lucy, Crazy 8, White House/Black Market, West Elm to name a few.
But what attracted my family on this particular shopping excursion was the mini playground and spray area.  The spray ground is a small area that sprouts water out of the ground and the kids can jump, run and hop through the water fun while mom sits back and enjoys a late afternoon java boost from the back to school shopping frenzy…that’s what I’m talking about!

They also have a small scale train that runs through the mall for the kids to enjoy at a small fee.  So between the splashing, climbing, sliding, playing and even a train ride-  your back to school shopping can be a bit more fun and relaxing than just hitting the mall.