Archive for July, 2010

Week End Wrap Up

July 30, 2010

Can you believe this weekend marks the end of July and the beginning of August?! What do you and your families have planned for the weekend? Back-to-school shopping, perhaps?

If you need ideas check out the ESM calendar page. In case you missed it, check out our most recent East Sac Support business, Cooking Capers. Also, check back on Monday for Amanda’s latest Farm Fresh & Family Friendly post!

We’ll see you there!

East Sac Support: Cooking Capers

July 29, 2010

For many parents, the end of the school year also means a temporary break from the Bounce Town/Chuck E Cheese/Laser X birthday parties their children are invited to on a weekly (at least it seems) basis. As much as I want my child to enjoy time with his friends and participate in certain childhood rites of passage (including the “pizza” served by a giant mouse) I can’t say I look forward to those party days. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why we host those parties as parents– they are easy. We have enough going on in our over-scheduled lives to worry about planning the perfect party for our 4-year-old and entertaining twelve of their friends (of course you could always let Pear Tree Events do that for you). East Sacramento Mom, Karen Zamd got to thinking that in this progressive, food friendly city a cook-from-scratch cooking party business would be very welcome. Let us introduce you to Karen, and Cooking Capers!

Karen Zamd is a Berkeley graduate turned stay at home mom. With two inquisitive and rambunctious boys, Karen has worked hard to find interesting yet affordable activities that educate her kids while simultaneously allowing them to have fun. After having a wildly successful cooking-themed party for her eldest son, Karen received requests from other parents wanting the same kind of party for their kids. Cooking Capers was born!

Karen first began teaching children about food by conducting weekly cooking classes at her son’s school. She is now excited to offer children a fun and hands-on experience while they learn how ingredients come together to form the dinner and desserts they love.

Cooking Capers offers several fabulous party options that allow kids to mix, measure, paint and create their own meals and desserts! They provide all plates, utensils, food and drinks, and chef hats and aprons for each child to keep, and can even provide birthday cupcakes and party favors to add to the culinary adventure.

Cooking Capers will work with you to design a party that best suits your child, taking into consideration any dietary restrictions, and will help you create an education and fun birthday experience unlike any other. First you choose a main dish, such as pizza, kabobs or sushi. Next you select an activity, from cookie decorating to cupcakes to edible jewelry. Customize your party further by adding on a cotton candy machine, favors, pesto, or your own unique twist!

Cooking Capers doesn’t just cater to birthday parties though. If you know someone hosting a large party, a wedding, or another event where there will be children, let them know Cooking Capers is available to set up activity stations at the event to entertain the kids. A smaller scale than individual parties, but the same Cooking Capers quality. Guests will THANK you for thinking of their children.

Cooking Capers is available for parties all throughout the area and for more information check out their website by clicking HERE or give them a call at 916.538.4482.

Be sure to mention that you heard about Cooking Capers through East Sac Mom. Do you know of another East Sacramento Mom with their own small business, non-profit, or group you’d like to share? Let us know! Help us support our community and connect with other ESM’s. You can email us at eastsacmom{at}gmail{dot}com.

2nd Annual Cal Auto Museum Car Cruise

July 28, 2010

Whether or not you’re a “car” person, you can’t help but stare when a perfectly restored cruiser passes by on a Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, July 31 the 2nd Annual California Automobile Museum Car Cruise makes its way through downtown and midtown, showcasing over two hundred unique cars from various eras and manufacturers as they celebrate an American summertime tradition of hot rod cruising with community-wide participation.

The fun begins at the Cal Auto Museum at 3:30PM with a show of the classic cars participating. At 5PM the vehicles will make their way through Old Sacramento, up Capitol Avenue, N Street and finally J Street where there will be a final car show, awards, and entertainment from 6PM to 9PM. Best of all, being a spectator is *FREE*!

The California Automobile Museum is located at 2200 Front Street and for more information click HERE or call 916.442.6802. To check out the full cruise course click HERE.

We’ll see you there!

If you go, we want to hear your thoughts and see your pictures. Be a guest contributor to East Sac Mom and send us your event or activity reviews to eastsacmom{at}gmail{dot}com.

Kidz Love Soccer

July 27, 2010

Occasionally I am asked how I find out about some of the activities and events we feature on East Sac Mom. Basically, I’m nosy. And I ask a lot of questions.

A few weeks ago we were enjoying a cool Saturday morning at East Portal Park and happened to notice a group of toddlers and parents engaging in what appeared to be an organized soccer practice. Intrigued, I walked over (after the practice when the kids and adults all swarmed the playground) and asked the coach who they were and what they were doing there. That’s how I found Kidz Love Soccer!

For over 30 years Kidz Love Soccer (KLS) has been dedicated to teaching children the world’s most popular game within a nurturing environment. At Kidz Love Soccer the emphasis is always on fun! Located throughout the states of California and Washington, KLS provides the foremost in soccer camps and instruction for kids age 2 to 12, instilling an exuberant, skillful confidence, in the young player … through the Kidz Love Soccer method; a session experience includes age appropriate activities: skill demonstrations, fun games, and instructional scrimmages always conducted in a non-competitive, recreational format.

East Portal Park is the home of three KLS sessions that run year-round: Mommy & Me (ages 2 1/2-3 1/2), Tot-Soccer (3 1/2-4) and Pre-Soccer (4-5). Parent participating is required in Mommy & Me as well as Tot-Soccer. There were two coaches during the session we observed and there was more than enough equipment for everyone participating.

Kidz Love Soccer sessions last 8 weeks and cost $80 per child. For more information click HERE or call 408.774.4629. To register click HERE or call 916.808.6060.

East Portal Park is located at 1120 Rodeo Way, near L Street.

We’ll see you there!

Old Sacramento Underground Tours

July 26, 2010

Talk about a local history lesson. Sacramento is the only city in California to have raised its streets, leaving the old streets down below, and now through October 31 you can tour them! The Historic Old Sacramento Foundation (HOSF) in partnership with the City of Sacramento, California State Parks, Old Sacramento Business Association and participating merchants and businesses, is offering educational and entertaining tours of the underground in Old Sacramento.

The entertaining and history-rich “Old Sacramento Underground” tours will provide visitors with a unique glimpse into the massive and dramatic undertaking that took place when the streets were painstakingly raised in the 1860s through the 1870s to protect the city from devastating flooding. Underground tour visitors will have the opportunity to view disappearing windows and doors, dipping alleyways, exposed retaining walls, walk into underground hollow sidewalks and tour historic buildings all while being entertained and educated by tour guides and docents who portray characters true to the period.

Underground tours are an hour-long and cost $15 for adults and $10 for youth (ages 6-17). Visitors need to be prepared to walk on uneven surfaces in areas that have low ceilings and in occasional small spaces (so not an ideal activity for very young children).

Tours are offered every 30 minutes on Thursdays and Fridays from 11AM to 3PM and Saturdays and Sundays from 11AM to 2PM and 3:30PM to 4:30PM.

The tours depart from the Sacramento History Museum located at 101 I Street and for more information click HERE or call 916.808.7059.

We’ll see you there!

Week End Wrap Up + a WINNER

July 23, 2010

What an exciting week we’ve had at East Sac Mom! In case you missed it, check out Amanda’s post on Monday about homemade berry jam and Tuesday’s recap of our Fox 40 interview. Thank you to everyone who entered to win our latest giveaway. Here are the winners:

Sarah (who is a fan of Sellands on a summer night) won the Treasure Chest Pet!

Evelynn (who has spent a summer evening or two strolling around Old Sacramento) won the Baby B’Air!

What do you and your families have planned for the weekend? For suggestions and daily activities and events in the East Sacramento area, check the East Sac Mom calendar page.

We’ll see you there!

Learn about bees with the Co-op

July 22, 2010

Not too long ago the news was buzzing (haha) with concern that the bees were disappearing and the devastating effects that could have on the environment. While it seems the media hype is over, learning about bees and their role in our ecosystem is important.

You and your child (age 3 or older) can join the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op on Saturday, July 31 in discovering how bees help our food grow, chasing and identifying bugs, and snacking on buggy cakes with honey and fresh fruit. Sound like a sweet way to spend some time on a Saturday? There are two time slots available, one from 9:30AM to 10:30AM for ages 3-5 and another from 11:30AM to 12:30PM for ages 6-10. The cost is $10 for Co-op owners and $15 for non-owners and includes one parent and one child.

To register for the 9:30AM session click HERE and to register for the session click HERE. The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op is located at 1900 Alhambra Boulevard and for more information click HERE or call 916.455.2667.

We’ll see you there!

*Today is the last day to enter the GIVEAWAY! Click HERE and leave a comment for a chance to win!*

Zoo Ice Cream Safari + Fairytale Town Camp Out

July 21, 2010

Treat your taste buds to delicious ice cream concoctions, cones and sundaes! Enjoy all-you-can-eat Baskin Robbins ice cream and Coca Cola beverages at the Sacramento Zoo’s Ice Cream Safari on Saturday, July 24 from 4PM to 8PM. There will also be family entertainment, face painting, a “GiRaffle” for great prizes, and access to the whole zoo. There will also be hot dogs and veggie burgers for purchase at the event.

Admission to the Ice Cream Safari is $17 for adults, $13 for ages 3-12 and *FREE* for children 2 and younger. Sacramento Zoological Society members receive a $2 discount per ticket.

The Sacramento Zoo is located at 3930 West Land Park Drive and to purchase tickets click HERE or call 916.808.5888. For more information click HERE.

Since you’ll already be in the area, after the Ice Cream Safari you can head over to Fairytale Town and attend the family camp out! Bring your sleeping bags & tents for a memorable night at Humpty’s house. This fun-filled sleepover includes a special theater performance, arts & crafts, a scavenger hunt adventure, bedtime stories and a sing-a-long. Participation is $20 for ages 3-12 and $30 for 13 and older. Admission includes all activities, an evening snack and a light breakfast.

Fairytale Town is located at 3901 Land Park Drive and to register click HERE. For more information click HERE or call 916.808.7462.

We’ll see you there!

*Have you entered to win our latest GIVEAWAY yet? You have until Thursday night. Click HERE to check it out!*

ESM on FOX + a GIVEAWAY

July 20, 2010

In case you missed it, or you know me and just want to watch it again and laugh, HERE is the East Sacramento Mom segment on FOX news from yesterday.

The FOX 40 crew was so much fun to work with and they made the whole experience easy. As I mentioned during the segment and last week’s Week End Wrap Up, you have the opportunity today to *WIN* some of these items! First, here are the descriptions of the kids’ travel and summer gear East Sac Mom got to test out, as well as our impressions of each one.

SillyBibs ($8.99)

Silly Bibs are 100% silicone bibs, a non-toxic alternative to the various plastic and vinyl bibs on the market. 11 different shaped styles, including Hippo, Elephant, Frog, Tiger, Cow, Shark and more, make SillyBibs the cutest and most fun bibs on the market. Each SillyBib has an adjustable neck and nifty crumb-catching pocket. Can be safely washed in the dishwasher or easily wiped clean. Rolls up for easy storage. 100% silicone lets parents rest assured their child is not being exposed to lead, BPA, phthalates, latex or PVC, as with other products on the market. For children 6 months and up.

These are our family’s favorite bibs now! SillyBibs are everything they say they are– easy to clean, adjustable for pretty much any neck size, and was effective even when my toddler was feeding himself yogurt! No kidding. I removed the bib and discovered that it had caught every last drop. Rinse and done. 

The Snack Trap ($4.99)

The Snack-Trap is a child feeding product (designed for toddlers/kids ages 1-5) that minimizes wasted snacks and saves associated clean up time while promoting the development of self-feeding skills among infants. Consists of an attractive, colorfully imprinted, tip-resistant, handled cup that allows toddlers to grasp and hold the cup themselves with a unique, patent-pending lid with slits that allow toddlers to see and retrieve food with ease themselves but automatically closes when the toddlers remove their hand. Available by calling 248-828-7460 or at retailers throughout North America.

We would have saved literally boxes of Cheerios and bags of dried fruit if we had been using these cups all along. Some of them even have suction cups on the bottom so you can attach them to a stroller or high chair tray, or to a table if you’re out at a restaurant. The Snack Trap will make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Baby B’Air ($34.95)

Baby B’Air is the only safety solution for lap held children while traveling in an airplane. FAA-approved. The Baby B’Air is the perfect solution for all babies, securing them safely to their parent so that both baby and parent are comfortable and there is no potential for baby falling. The Baby B’Air is worn by the infant like a vest. Constructed of 100% cotton and comfortable to wear for baby, the Baby B’Air is used by simply connecting it to the seat belt of the adult. The baby can then he held, fed and even changed while both parent and child remain securely fastened in their seat. The baby is more comfortable than they would be in a baby seat, but is just as securely fastened and unable to fall or pull away.

Oh, how I wish I had known about the Baby B’Air when I was a new mother flying for the first time with my 3 month-old. I’m sure the look on my face when the flight attendant told me that my soundly sleeping infant would need to be removed from his Baby Bjorn was one of sheer horror. “But, he’s sleeping! You want me to risk waking up a sleeping newborn because I can’t have him attached to me on the plane???” If you plan on boarding an airplane with a child who is going to sit on your lap, save yourself the trouble and invest in the Baby B’Air. You’ll thank me.

The AquaJogger Junior ($25.95)

The AquaJogger Junior is a fantastic in-water device that allows kids who are not yet proficient swimmers play water games. The AquaJogger Junior is worn like a belt and comfortably suspends the child wearing it at shoulder level, allowing her/him to breathe normally and move freely while performing a wide variety of water activities. Contoured to fit a child’s body, and both fully adjustable and secure, the AquaJogger Junior is easy to use and comfortable. Includes a Splash Club Handbook featuring water games, swimming tips, and safety information. For ages 3 and up. The AquaJogger Junior can be purchased at retail stores nationwide.

Okay, at first I had to laugh. I had visions of swim classes for the elderly when I saw the AquaJogger Junior. Then I had a friend whose child is taking swim lessons tell me the swim instructor uses AquaJogger Juniors to help the kids learn to swim! It makes perfect sense. Young swimmers are more confident while wearing it and can focus more on learning the skills rather than fight to stay afloat. As soon as my little guy is old enough for swimming lessons we’ll be taking advantage of the AquaJogger Junior.

Treasure Chest Pets ($19.99)

Treasure Chest Pets are the first and only organizers that make putting things away fun and a great way for kids to keep their special things safe. Designed to look like cuddly stuffed animals, each TC Pet has a magnetic, detachable, pillowy stuffed animal head and stuffed animal bodies that contain external and internal compartments for organizing and storing children’s (and grownups!) treasures. Treasure Chest Pets are a great way for kids to keep their special things safe. Six different stuffed animal designs to choose from in 3 three different styles – Accessory Chest Dog and Accessory Chest Pig have a hidden drawer and two secret pockets on the outside, along with secret pockets in both ears. Treasure Chest Monkey and Treasure Chest Cow have one gigantic pocket inside that opens like a treasure chest. Media Chest Bear and Media Chest Horse have a secret pocket inside the head and 3 compartments in the body to store CDs, DVDs, speakers/cables, MP3 player and more.

While my son is a bit too young to appreciate the hidden storage pockets in the Treasure Chest Pet, he did enjoy pulling the head apart from the body and laying on it. I can see this as being helpful for travel. School-aged kids can keep their iPod, crayons, whatever, in the body and when they aren’t using those items they can rest their head on the pillow part and their feet on the body. Now that I think about it, I could probably use one for myself.

There you have it! Five Real Mom Reviews of some pretty neat travel and recreation kids gear. Questions? Leave a comment or email me at eastsacmom{at}gmail{dot}com.  Have your own review of any of these items? Do tell! Now then, on to the good stuff. As a reward for getting to the end of this post, you have the chance to win the following:

  • Baby B’Air – toddler size
  • AquaJogger Junior & Splash Club Handbook
  • Treasure Chest Pet – Accessory Chest Pig

To enter, just leave a comment below telling us WHICH item you’d like to win, along with your favorite East Sacramento summer activity.  The giveaway closes at 11:59PM on Thursday, July 22 and winners will be selected at random and announced on Friday, July 23. There will be THREE winners, one winner for each item. I have to also let you know that I was not compensated in any way by the makers of any of the products or by FOX 40. They did send me samples of the items to test out and review– I did, and that’s why I’m not giving away the SillyBibs or Snack Traps (unless you really want used stuff with my kid’s bite marks all over it…)

Thank you for your continued support of East Sacramento Mom, and for your comments and emails– we truly do love hearing from other East Sac Moms (and dads) in our community.

Farm fresh and family friendly :: homemade berry jam

July 19, 2010

My kids and I went raspberry picking last week (which you can read about here). With last summer’s raspberry jam almost gone, I’ve been eager to make more jam. Despite soaring temperatures outside, this had to be the weekend to make the jam, lest all the raspberries be eaten by little (and big) fingers.

I’m a novice preserver. My mother canned a lot when I was growing up (and still does) but I seldom paid attention or helped. Last year was the first time I tried to can anything and was surprised at how easy it was. Yes, there are many steps and yes you need to follow the instructions. But, fairly simple nonetheless. The strawberry and raspberry jam turned out well last year and I’m hoping for similar success this year.

So…if you’ve always been curious about making your own jam, go ahead and try it.

Most books and websites will tell you to by a canner, a jar grabber, and a jar funnel. If you don’t have access to these items, a huge soup pot, the jar grabber, and jars, lids, and rings will probably suffice. Most–if not all of these items–can be purchased at grocery stores. And of course you’ll need berries, sugar, and pectin. Here are a few resources with far more information than I could ever provide:

Later this summer I also hope to can tomatoes, pizza sauce, and salsa (with my mother’s help, which she has thankfully offered). I’ll let you know how it goes!

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For more urban gardening and cooking tips, ideas, trials, and errors, as well other things from the commonplace scene, please visit my blog at urbanalmanac.wordpress.com.