Dec 142017
 
 December 14, 2017  activities, family, food, Sacramento No Responses »

As parents, life can get so busy that often we have to stop and catch our breath and wonder, where did the time go? I always look forward to spending time with my kids, but practically speaking I actually spend most of my time running errands and doing household chores. Someone is always tugging on my leg asking to play freeze tag or build a fort in the living room, but I usually put them off because there is always a diaper to change, or a meal to cook, or laundry to fold. Trust me, I would much rather build a pillow fort! If you also find yourself struggling to find time to enjoy your family, here are three simple ways to reconnect with your kids – even when you are really busy!

Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of Mighty Kong Muffins for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids – Even When You Are Really Busy!

1. Take Play Breaks

My four year old could play freeze tag all day long. From the moment he wakes up until time to brush his teeth at night, anytime there is a pause in activity (and usually when there isn’t), he asks to play freeze tag. Somehow it always seems like he asks just as I need to change a diaper or when I’m in the middle of cooking. Rather than put him off completely, I try to take short play breaks with him. Be realistic about how much time you have, then set a timer and give your child your focused attention – no checking Facebook, no picking up toys off the floor, or straightening the furniture – just playing with him.

For me, this is usually 10 or 15 minutes at a time on a weekday. (I make sure to do non-timed, longer play times together on the weekends, but these are usually not practical during the week).  This seems like a really short amount of time, but it always seems surprisingly long, considering I am really focusing on him and not multi-tasking like I usually do.

It doesn’t stop him from asking to play again 5 minutes later, but he is more understanding when I have to say no, and I feel less guilty about getting my work done.

2. Play a Game after Dinner

Our kids get screen time in the evenings, yet we noticed that this often resulted in a race to leave the dinner table and get back to electronics. So now we have instituted the rule that we play a game (or do a puzzle, etc) after dinner before we all retire to our corners to relax before bedtime. The kids love it, especially since Daddy is home to join in as well, so no one is watching the clock and rushing to leave the table. As much as I love game nights, this abbreviated version works for us during the week, so we can still get in play time together as a family and make sure we really reconnect with our kids in the evenings.

3. Do Read Alouds

We all know how important it is to read together, and most of us tend to do this at bedtime, which is such a snuggly, cozy time to share a good story. Yet I noticed that we tend to do this with our kids individually (as they all go to bed at slightly different times), plus the stories tend to be shorter because of the late hour.

I loved that old-fashioned idea of a family sitting around reading a great book together, so I started doing family read alouds during the day. It is wonderful bonding time, plus it is a great way to engage kids with slightly more challenging material or to read stories they might not have considered. For example, a younger child might be more inclined to stick with an easy chapter book because of the excitement of reading with older siblings, and another might be surprised to find that they like a story outside of the genre they tend to favor. (For great reading ideas, see my book reviews!)

I have found that the easiest way to keep everyone’s attention, despite the range of ages and interests, is to involve food. Give the kids something to eat at the table, and they are more likely to be sitting quietly and listening as you read. As homeschoolers, we can often do our read alouds over lunch, but it’s also a great way to relax together over an after school snack. This is especially true if you have a child that doesn’t like to sit and talk when they first come home – here is a great way to reconnect with your kids without forcing conversations they aren’t ready for.

Finding a Great Snack to Share

We have recently discovered a new favorite snack, which is perfect to share during our family read aloud. While we do have the occasional treat, I am rather picky about making sure my kids have healthy snacks. So I was excited to find out about Mighty Kong Muffins, a family-run and locally-owned Sacramento business that makes the most delicious gourmet bran muffins in a staggering 22 varieties. (See their interview on a local news show).

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids and Might Kong Muffin Review | Alldonemonkey.com

I know what you’re thinking: Gourmet bran muffins? Yes, it’s true! The ingredients are all high-quality and non-GMO, with fresh fruits and nuts and high grade dark chocolate. You won’t find any flour in these muffins – or any preservatives or artificial ingredients, for that matter. These mini-muffins are a great snack you can feel good about sharing with your kids.

We received a variety pack of the Mighty Kong Muffins and so had fun sampling four different flavors: Ape Dates (date walnut), Naner Naner (banana walnut), Wapple Apple (apple raisin), and the seasonal Rumplepumpskin (cranberry pumpkin). (Note: all flavors are available without nuts). My younger son loved the Wapple Apple, which my older son couldn’t decide between the Ape Dates and the Naner Naner. Personally, I loved the Rumplepumpskin. In other words, every single one was a hit!

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids and Mighty Kong Muffin Review | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Healthy and Fun Lunchbox Ideas

Which flavor will become your favorite? Check out Mighty Kong Muffins and order yours today!

What’s your favorite way to reconnect with your kids?

Oct 172017
 
 October 17, 2017  History, Sacramento 5 Responses »

During my parents’ last visit, I wanted to show them a part of Sacramento they hadn’t seen before, so we picked Sutter’s Fort, a site in the heart of Sacramento that is of major historical importance not just to the region but to the history of the American migration to the West. It is popular site for families and school field trips because it provides great hands on experiences to help investigate our state’s history. It is so convenient that it’s easy to make into one stop in a larger tour of the area, but there is so much to explore at Sutter’s Fort that we ended up spending the better part of a morning there.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Sutter’s Fort: Sacramento History for Families

History of Sutter’s Fort

If you travel in Northern California, you are bound to come across the name “Sutter.” There are the Sutter Buttes (named “Spirit Mountain” by the Maidu Indians) and Sutter County, and of course Sutter’s Mill, made famous by the discovery of gold there in 1848. All of these were named after John Sutter, a Swiss immigrant who received a land grant from the Mexican government in 1839. The settlement he established (named New Helvetia, or New Switzerland) was the first in Sacramento and the first non-native settlement in California’s Central Valley.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Soon after gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, Sutter sold his fort and left, and it was later overrun by gold seekers. In 1871, a movement began to restore the site. and the reconstructed fort was opened to the public in 1905.

We were most interested in the connection between Sutter’s Fort and the Donner Party, which my son is fascinated by. In 1846 the Donner Party set out for California, but because of a late start and a tragic miscalculation in taking an untested shortcut, they arrived at the Sierra Nevada mountains too late in the season and were trapped in a blizzard. They were forced to make camp for the winter, and many soon began to die of starvation. It was five months before all were rescued, and many resorted to cannibalism. Only 45 of the original 81 members of the Donner Party survived.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

When the plight of the Donner Party first became known, John Sutter sent help, and the survivors were eventually brought to Sutter’s Fort to recuperate. Among the artifacts on display at Sutter’s Fort today are items from the Donner Party, including the doll of young Patty Reed.

Many other artifacts from early California history are also on display, some of which can be seen in this online exhibit. They showcase the Gold Rush era, early California statehood, and the Civil War.

Planning Your Visit

Sutter’s Fort is located in midtown Sacramento at 2701 L Street. Parking is available on the streets surrounding the fort, so be sure to bring quarters for the meters. There is a grassy field surrounding the fort if your little ones need to burn off a little energy afterwards.

Be aware that the site consists of a number of buildings surrounding a large open courtyard, so while most of the exhibits are inside, you will spend a lot of time walking outdoors, so you need to plan accordingly in inclement weather.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

As you enter the complex, you’ll be able to visit displays in the various buildings around the fort, such as the general store or the smithy. We had a great time talking to the blacksmith, and my son even got to go in and give him a hand!

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Kids really get a sense of what life was like in those days – from doing laundry and baking bread to what it would have been like to travel cross country with your family in a wagon! My kids really loved climbing up in the tower to see the cannons, which were hung from the ceiling in such a way that they could swing around to point in various directions to protect the fort from attackers.

Sutter's Fort: Sacramento History for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Keep in mind that Sutter’s Fort does host demonstration days and fairs periodically, so check the calendar before you come. You can even come to the “Haunted Fort” just before Halloween! We got lucky and happened to be there on a day with a large school group, so there were even more interactive exhibits than usual.

Also, they work closely with school groups and scout troops, so be sure to contact them if you’d like to plan a visit with a group of students. One program even lets the kids stay overnight!

If you are looking for an interactive history experience, we highly recommend Sutter’s Fort! For more information, visit the state park website or the Friends of Sutter’s Fort.

Many thanks to my parents, who kindly allowed me to use their photographs above.

For more Sacramento fun for families, be sure to visit my Pinterest board:

California Family Destinations

Today we are joining with other California bloggers to share favorite family destinations in the Golden State! Find great resources in this list, plus link up your own below!

Participating Blogs

All Done Monkey: Sutter’s Fort – Sacramento History for Families
Family Review Guide: Ultimate Family Vacation Guide to Marriot Desert Springs Villas
The Funny Mom Blog: Tips for Picking the Perfect Airbnb in Big Bear Lake for Your Family
Mama Smiles: Jelly Belly Factory Tour & More California Fun for Kids
The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide: Free or Cheap Activities for Kids in the Hi-Desert of California
Little Hiccups: Kid-Friendly Fun in the Bay Area


Aug 302017
 
 August 30, 2017  activities, Sacramento 9 Responses »

Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy will be excited to know that a new Marvel Universe Live! show is coming to Sacramento in September! This exciting new show, which will be at the new Golden 1 Center from September 14-17, 2017, will feature Guardians of the Galaxy and more than 20 favorite Marvel super heroes and villains!

Marvel Universe Live Age of Heroes Giveaway & Coloring Page | Alldonemonkey.com

We are big fans of Marvel Universe Live and can’t wait to see a new show at the Golden 1 Center! And best of all, you can win a family pack of 4 tickets to opening night just be commenting on this post and telling us your kid’s favorite Marvel super hero (or villain)!

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to this show for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Don’t miss the action-packed adventure of Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes. Spider-Man and The Avengers will be joined by the Guardians of the Galaxy, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket and Drax. Witness a legendary battle to defend the universe from evil, in this newest production from Feld Entertainment, the world’s leading producer of live touring family entertainment.

What: Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes, featuring Guardians of the Galaxy
When: September 14-17, 2017: Thursday, Sept 14, 7:00 PM; Friday, Sept 15, 7:00 PM; Saturday, Sept 16, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM; Sunday, Sept 17, 1:00 PM & 5:00 PM
Where: Golden 1 Center, 500 David J Stern Walk, Sacramento, CA 95814
Tickets: Tickets start at $20 each! Discount Opening Night tickets available for only $15 each on select seating  (not valid for premium/VIP levels)

Grab your free Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes Coloring Page to get ready for the show!

This September, take your kids out for a show with non-stop action, movie-style thrills and amazing stunts! Immersive video projection and cutting-edge special effects will captivate and transport audiences across the universe from the fantastical Savage Land to New York City and beyond. Spider-Man and Wasp’s dynamic aerial stunts along with Captain America’s daring motorcycle skills will be on display in the ultimate race against time to save mankind.

Tickets now available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or visit the venue Box Office.

*Ticket prices subject to change; tickets may be subject to service charges, facility and handling fees. 

Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes will travel throughout North America on a multiyear tour, including stops in Denver, Las Vegas, Bay Area, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and New York.  After North America, the show will embark on an international tour starting in 2019. For a complete list of North American tour dates, locations and to purchase tickets, please visit MarvelUniverseLIVE.com.

Enter for a chance to win a family pack of 4 tickets to opening night on September 14: Comment below and tell us your child’s favorite Marvel super hero or villain! Winner chosen at random. Contest ends September 6, 2017, at midnight PT. 

May 042017
 

This content has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

It’s that time of year! The weather is finally warming up, and there are more and more beautiful days to get outside and enjoy with our kids. We love going to the playground, but I also love to take the kids hiking, where they can breathe in the fresh air and really reconnect with the natural world. Even if your children are very young, you don’t have to miss out on this fun activity, as many parks and recreational areas have paths that are easy for strollers and little legs. Here are our favorite kid-friendly hikes in Northern California.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Before You Go

Have a plan. Exploring can be so much fun, especially in the great outdoors, but if you have little ones in tow, don’t waste all their energy wandering around looking for the trailhead. Most parks have detailed information and maps of kid-friendly hikes available on their websites, or you can talk to a ranger once you arrive.

Use good shoes. Bring home good memories, not sore feet! Make sure everyone has well-fitting, supportive shoes to wear. Remember that ordinary sneakers often don’t have good grip for outdoor trails, so use hiking shoes when possible.

Wear layers. The weather may be cool when you start, but you will quickly warm up as you walk, so be prepared by dressing in layers. This will also help if you are going to be hiking on a densely forested trail, where it may be significantly cooler than in sunnier areas.

Pack high-energy snacks. Nuts or trail mix are great snacks to keep you and your kiddos going on kid-friendly hikes.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, especially when you are active outdoors! My relatives are always surprised at how much my kids love to drink water, but it’s a habit that we have instilled in them from a very young age. My boys love to run and play, so it’s important to make sure they stay hydrated. And now it’s even easier, with the new 35 pack of Nestlé® Pure Life® water now available at Walmart. It’s such a great value, because it’s the same price as the old 32 pack – that’s 3 extra bottles for free! Find out more about this great offer at the end of this post.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California

Muir Woods National MonumentMuir Woods is simply a classic spot to visit in Northern California, a lush forest of old growth redwood trees that has been federally protected for more than a century. It also boosts easy trail loops that are accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. There are also moderate to strenuous hikes if your children are older, but even if you stay on the easy trails, don’t worry that you are missing out – the views are still spectacular! Be aware that it is usually quite chilly inside the forest, even on warm days, so bring layers.

Lassen Volcanic National Park: Lassen is another area that has been protected for more than 100 years and today is enjoyed by nearly half a million visitors a year. And frankly it is one of the most unusual spots we have visited in California: an active volcano, a gigantic steam vent, a cold boiling lake, and bubbling mud that smells like rotten eggs – it’s a kid’s dream! The most accessible site is the Sulphur Works, and the Devastated Area (its actual name!) has a half-mile hard surface trail with wonderful views. Please be extra cautious not to let your children wander off the trails, especially in the hydrothermal areas, as it could be dangerous.

Mount Shasta areaMount Shasta is the second highest peak in the Cascade Range (which also include Lassen, see above). The mountain itself is awe-inspiring, and while most of its trails are more rugged, its Panther Meadows trail is relatively short and easy (approx 1 mile). But don’t neglect area at the base of the mountain, which has many beautiful areas for families to enjoy nature. The walk to Hedge Creek Falls in Dunsmuir, for example, is just over half a mile from the picnic area, and is accessible even during the winter, when many trails on the mountain are closed. McCloud River and Falls also has kid-friendly hikes, and you can enjoy a walk around Siskiyou Lake using the new Wagon Trail.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Point Reyes National SeashoreOften when we think of Point Reyes we think of the beaches – picnicking or flying kites among the dunes, or climbing the steep steps to the lighthouse – yet the park is actually much more extensive than just the coastline. There are plenty of paved or well-packed dirt trails that are relatively flat and easy for little legs. Earthquake Trail in particular is paved and just over half a mile. And if the beach is what you are looking for, North and South Beach also have short paved paths in the dunes that offer beautiful views of the ocean.

Lake TahoeThe famously clear waters of Lake Tahoe – the second deepest lake in the United States – and the rugged Sierra Mountains that surround it attract visitors from all over the world. It is actually a cluster of state parks and recreational areas, such as Emerald Bay State Park. Some of the trails around Lake Tahoe are quite strenuous, but it is easy to find ones to match your family’s abilities. For example, the Rubicon Trail is a flat, easy trail that goes right along the shoreline. Don’t miss the historic Vikingsholm Mansion!

Russian RiverThe Russian River is one of those areas in Northern California that I feel are underappreciated. It is a gorgeous area with beaches and wilderness areas for families to explore and has miles of trails for a range of abilities. The best known area for kid-friendly hikes is Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. Just north of Santa Rosa, this is an old-growth redwood forest with an easy self-guided trail through the grove.

Effie Yeaw Nature CenterThis beautiful area near Sacramento encompasses 100 acres of woodland to explore along the American River. All of the nature trails are easy and include interpretive signs. You are sure to see wildlife during your walk, and there is always something to explore at the Nature Center. I love the natural playground and butterfly garden!

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Related Post: 18 Most Picturesque Places for Families to Visit in Northern California

Cosumnes River PreserveThis preserve – more than 50,000 acres – is a wonderful place in the Sacramento area to explore nature with your kids. There are two easy trails to choose from, one dirt and one paved. It is a quiet, pristine area, great for spotting wildlife along the trail. Even the shorter, paved trail offers close up views of marshes and wetland plants.

American River ParkwayThis 23 mile parkway is accessible at various points along Highway 50. There are a number of parks inside the parkway, including Effie Yeaw (see above). The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail is popular with bicyclists and pedestrians alike. It is paved and can be accessed from most of the parks within the American River Parkway.

UC Davis ArboretumI am quite partial to the UC Davis Arboretum, as I used to study there when I was a grad student, and my husband and I would go for walks along its trails when we were newly married (eons ago!). Located on the campus of UC Davis, the Arboretum is open to the public 24 hours a day, with no fee for admission. The main path is a 3.5 mile paved loop. There are also plenty of open areas along the way where you can relax with a picnic or play catch. As you walk, you can enjoy plants from around the world, such as the Australia Collection or the East Asia Collection.

A New Reason to Enjoy Great-Tasting Water

As with any type of outdoor activity, it is essential to keep you and your little ones well hydrated when you are headed out on kid-friendly hikes. That is why I was excited to find out that Nestle Pure Life is now available in a 35 pack at Walmart – at the same price as the old 32 pack! The packaging for Pure Life is also new, so look for it in the water aisle or in a special display.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

I want only the best for my kids, which is why I choose Nestle Pure Life, since it is filtered through a 12 step quality process and enhanced with a unique blend of minerals. You can tell the difference because of its great taste!

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

I keep a pack in the trunk of my car so we are ready any time we want to go for a hike or just head to the playground! Even just running errands on a warm day can make you dehydrated, so I make sure that the kids and I drink plenty of water. This new 35 pack makes it even easier to keep everyone healthy on those special days and everyday!

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Please note: Only the 24 pack is available online, so if the 35 pack of Nestle Pure Life is not available in your local Walmart, please ask a store manager about getting the product in your area.

And don’t forget to visit nestlepurelife.com to sign up for promotions, offers and more.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

What are your favorite kid-friendly hikes?

Dec 052016
 
 December 5, 2016  activities, Sacramento Comments Off on Family Bonding: 10 Parent-Child Date Night Ideas

What is a parent-child date night? Simply a way to do something special and reconnect with your child. Sometimes we get so busy with our day to day routines that we can forget that these are not the end themselves, only the means. It’s helpful to take a step back and spend some special time with our children. This is especially true when you have multiple kids! When there is a new baby, for example, older kids will really enjoy the extra attention.

Family Bonding" 10 Parent-Child Date Nights | Alldonemonkey.com

Here are some fun parent-child date night ideas, but keep in mind that the most important thing is spending special time with your child!

Disclosure: I received complimentary passes to VIP Night at Century Arden 14 & XD Theater; however, all opinions are my own.

Parent-Child Date Night Ideas

  1. Go to a live show, like monster trucks or Disney on Ice
  2. Have fun at bowling or a video arcade
  3. Take a cooking or computer class together – they will love seeing you learn something, too!
  4. From Kid World Citizen on Creative World of Varya: Super Noche!
  5. From Moms and Crafters: Playdates with Mom
  6. From Adventures in Mommydom: Mommy-Son Mini Golf Date Night
  7. From Adventures in Mommydom: Daddy Daughter Date: Scavenger Hunt
  8. From Gianna the Great: “When I take my granddaughter out for a ‘date night’ we go have coffee/hot chocolate and a bookstore.”
  9. From Bicultural Mama: “My daughter had been asking me for a ‘Girls Night Out’ so a couple weekends ago she and I went to dinner at the restaurant of her choice, then went holiday shopping at the mall for daddy, then went home to watch Zootopia on Netflix.”
  10. Go to the movies! The boys and I had a blast attending VIP Night at the grand re-opening of the Century Arden 14 and XD Theater here in Sacramento. It was fun to get a sneak peek at this totally refurbished theater, with 14 wall-to-wall screens and custom digital surround sound. But what we loved the most was the luxury loungers – no joke, each seat is an electric-powered recliner, complete with cup holders and footrests.

Family Bonding: 10 Parent-Child Date Night Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

I am nearly 6 feet tall, and often feel uncomfortable in theater seats, plus I am always self-conscious of blocking the view of people behind me. Not so here! I had plenty of room to stretch out and not worry about those behind me – or in front! Aren’t you tired of having to stand up or shrink in your seat to let someone else pass by? (Or okay, let’s admit it – aren’t you tired of being the family that arrives late and makes everyone else stand up or shrink in their seat so you and your wiggly kids can pass by?) I was amazed at how wide the aisles were – all of them, not just those in the middle of the theater. What luxury!

Family Bonding" 10 Parent-Child Date Nights | Alldonemonkey.com

And if you have picky kids in your family, you will also appreciate the self-serve concession stand, where you can get your order just how you want it. So next time you are headed to the theaters, check out the new Century Arden 14 and XD Theater for movie watching in style!

Nov 042016
 
 November 4, 2016  Kid Fun, Sacramento Comments Off on Why You Should Take Your Boys to Disney on Ice

I’m lucky enough now to have gone to Disney on Ice several times, and it is always such a great show. The first time I went, though, I was nervous about taking my boys with me. Would they have fun or would they be totally bored? Is the show really for girls, or can you take your boys to Disney on Ice without regretting it?

Why You Should Take Your Boys to Disney on Ice | Alldonemonkey.com

I’m happy to report that each time my kids have had a blast! So mamas, you can relax and enjoy yourselves: Here’s why you should take your boys to Disney on Ice, too!

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to Disney on Ice for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Why You Should Take Your Boys to Disney on Ice 

It’s not just princesses and fairy dust. This year’s Disney on Ice is subtitled Passport to Adventure, and it is focused on just that: adventure. There is flying and battling with Peter Pan, silly fun with the Lion King, and of course Olaf. My six year old, of course, noticed right away the weapons (“Is Hans using a real sword?”), and both laughed along with everyone’s favorite snowman. There is so much variety to the show that there really is something for everyone.

Why You Should Take Your Boys to Disney on Ice | Alldonemonkey.com

Photo courtesy of Feld Entertainment

Don’t limit your idea of what they would enjoy. Who says boys can’t enjoy a little sparkle and glitter? If you never let them experience it, you may never know what they’d really like. My three year old loves Frozen and is drawn to anything with Anna and Elsa on it, so the second half of the show was a big hit. Even in those moments where I thought the show would be too “girly” for them, my boys loved the theatrics.

It’s a big show with lots cool effects. It is always fun to go out together and see a live show, especially one like this that is designed to really draw in the audience with big gestures and effects. Let’s see – there are fireworks, bubbles, snow, dancing starfish, a crocodile (“Is that real?”), a sea witch, kids that can fly, and set changes that morph and melt into the ice. My 6 year old was particularly interested in how the Darlings were able to fly with Peter Pan and how the lights were used to create different effects on the ice floor.

Why You Should Take Your Boys to Disney on Ice | Alldonemonkey.com

Photo courtesy of Feld Entertainment

You get to check out a cool new venue. If you go to see the show this weekend in Sacramento, you get to check out the brand new Golden 1 Center. (Spoiler alert: It’s really cool!) It is spacious and clean, and the food choices are excellent (very important when you have kids with you!)

You deserve it. As a mom of boys, you’ve seen more than your share of pirates, dragons, zombies, skeletons, and storm troopers. You deserve a few hours of happy Disney characters ice skating to songs you love, so let them watch what you like for once while you sing along with Frozen.

Why You Should Take Your Boys to Disney on Ice | Alldonemonkey.com

My favorite moment: Let it go, Elsa! Photo courtesy of Feld Entertainment

Tip: Boys are less likely to have seen some of the popular Disney movies, so be sure to prep ahead of time by watching some together, like Lion King and Peter Pan. They’ll love the movies and have more fun at the show if they already know the characters and the plot.

So take your boys to Disney on Ice this weekend along with the rest of the family, and you will all have a great time!

WHEN: Thursday, November 3 – Sunday, November 6

Thursday, Nov. 3,  7:00 PM

Friday, Nov. 4, 7:00 PM

Saturday, Nov. 5, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

Sunday, Nov. 6, 12:00 PM & 4:00 PM

WHERE: Golden 1 Center – 547 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at just $20! Special Opening Night discount tickets available for 50% off for select seating (not valid for VIP/Front Row levels). All seats are reserved; tickets are available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745- 3000 or visit the Golden 1 Center Box Office.

*tickets prices are subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

Visit Disney On Ice for more details about this show and the full line up of Disney On Ice productions for the 2016-2017 season.

Oct 242016
 
 October 24, 2016  activities, Sacramento 11 Responses »

Giveaway for tickets to see Disney on Ice in Sacramento

Take your kids on a magical adventure around the world with Mickey and Minnie Mouse as your tour guides with Disney on Ice: Passport to Adventure, coming soon to Sacramento!

On the itinerary? Exploring the African Pride Lands from The Lion King with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyaging deep under the sea to Ariel’s mystical underwater kingdom from The Little Mermaid, and touring London with Peter Pan and Wendy before flying to Neverland to meet up with Tinker Bell. And don’t forget traveling to Frozen’s Arendelle for an extraordinary adventure with sisters Anna and Elsa, their friend Kristoff and everyone’s favorite, huggable snowman Olaf.

I’m excited to see so many favorite Disney characters in one show, plus it will be our first chance to visit the brand new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento! We’ve been following the progress as it was being built, so I can’t wait to check it out!

Disney on Ice Sacramento

Photo courtesy of Feld Entertainment

We are giving away tickets to the opening night show! Be sure to scroll all the way down to find out how to enter!

WHEN: Thursday, November 3 – Sunday, November 6

Thursday, Nov. 3,  7:00 PM

Friday, Nov. 4, 7:00 PM

Saturday, Nov. 5, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

Sunday, Nov. 6, 12:00 PM & 4:00 PM

WHERE: Golden 1 Center – 547 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at just $20! Special Opening Night discount tickets available for 50% off for select seating (not valid for VIP/Front Row levels). All seats are reserved; tickets are available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745- 3000 or visit the Golden 1 Center Box Office.

*tickets prices are subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

Visit Disney On Ice for more details about this show and the full line up of Disney On Ice productions for the 2016-2017 season.

Disney on Ice Sacramento GIVEAWAY

Congratulations to our winner, Jennifer F!
We are giving away a pack of 4 tickets to the opening night show in Sacramento on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7 pm. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post, telling us which Disney character is your child’s favorite! Giveaway ends midnight Pacific Time on Sunday, October 30. Winner will be randomly selected from entries. 

Jul 232016
 

Our 5 top picks for families visiting the California State Fair

The California State Fair is a great place for families, and for many it is a cherished tradition to visit every year. After visiting with my young children, here are my top picks that families won’t want to miss!

Disclosure: Thank you to Pebbles Cereal for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families

Kids Park: If you are looking for old-fashioned (and new!) carnival rides, this is the spot! While there are other carnival rides at the State Fair, the Kids Park has tons that are designed just for kids. There are height restrictions on many, but you can still find some, like the merry-go-round, for little ones. If you plan on going on a lot of rides, consider buying a wristband, which gets the user unlimited rides.

Ag Area & Petting Zoo: We spent quite a bit of time in the Agricultural area, which is where kids can see one of the more traditional aspects of the state fair. My kids loved all the stations (most of which are free), where young kids can play in the corn sensory bin or make music with parts from old farm equipment. They can also use props to practice milking a cow, saddling a pony, and roping a steer. You can see the real deal, of course, at the petting zoo, which for many families is a highlight of the state fair. Be aware that once you enter the petting zoo area, all the (very friendly and docile) animals will be walking all around you, which was a new experience for city kids like mine. Many of the animals are a bit, er, overly friendly, so keep an eye on your clothes and purse, or they might get nibbled on! Also, you are very likely to see at least one animal answer the call of nature, so watch your step (and your shoes).

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Camp Smoky: I loved Camp Smoky because it is a little forest oasis in the asphalt desert of the State Fair. It was so cool and refreshing just to walk around in the shade of the trees and listen to the very friendly young rangers teach the kids about the importance of caring for our forests. Kids can pick up a passport, which they get stamped at various stations (like the school house or the forest trail) to exchange for a bandanna at the end . The super cute puppet show teaches kids about fire safety as well.

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Jest in Time Family Stage: We had a chance to watch the clowns of Jest in Time, and they were awesome! My kids were laughing non-stop during this pair’s antics and gentle humor. There is a special kids’ seating area up front, where young helpers can get picked as volunteers. I don’t want to give away anything, but beware of flying toilet paper in the finale!

Pebbles Play

We spent a long time at the Pebbles Play area, located just next to the Kids Park. It is a fun spot for kids to get creative, explore, and enjoy some treats! This summer the Pebbles Play Tour is traveling to major cities across the US – including the California State Fair in Sacramento from July 22 to 24!! 

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

First off, my kids got to build toy guitars out of recycled materials using kits from YOXO®, a environmentally sustainable toy company. (Don’t miss this video of them making music with one of these guitars!)

And what kid (or adult!) wouldn’t want a chance in a real life replica of the Flintstones Flintmobile?? My kids love pretending to drive anyway, but hanging out in the Flintmobile was just on another level.

They also loved these virtual reality – I mean cereality – goggles, which gave them a 360 degree virtual view of Pebbles World. It was their first time trying out anything like this, and it was love at first sight! 

Finally, don’t forget to grab a sample of the ultra fun Pebbles treats (Cocoa Pebbles or Fruity Pebbles) and get your dollar off coupon for Pebbles cereal (where available and while supplies last). Find out when the Pebbles Play tour is coming to your area!

Get creative this summer with the Pebbles Play Tour

Get Creative at the Pebbles Play Tour: California State Fair July 22 – 24, 2016

Where: California State Fair, 1600 Exposition Blvd Sacramento, CA 95815

When: Friday, July 22 – Sunday, July 24, 10 AM – 10 PM

Who: Families of all ages

How: Come and have fun!

Admission cost: Adults $12, Senior (62+) $10, Youth $8, Child (4 & under) Free

For more info: Visit Facebook.com/PebblesCereal/Events

 

Future Events Include:

Houston
Latin Fest, Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002
1 PM – 10 PM, Sunday, August 14
Admission cost: Free

Chicago
Festival de La Villita, Little Village, 26th St. and Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL 60623
Fri. 6 PM – 10 PM, Sat. 2 PM – 10 PM, Sun. 2 PM – 10 PM
Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11
Admission cost: Free

Connect with Pebbles on Instagram or Twitter with @PebblesCereal or by using the #PebblesPlay hash tag.

Find more tips about the California State Fair here!

Jul 172016
 
 July 17, 2016  Kid Fun, Sacramento, Summer Comments Off on 10 Ways to Get Creative with Kids This Summer

10 fun ways to get creative with your kids this summer

Summer is the perfect time to get creative with your kids. The days are long, the sun is shining, and everyone is on vacation mode. Here are 10 fun ways to get your kids’ creative juices flowing this summer:

Disclosure: Thanks to Post Cereal for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

10. Art Projects: Summer is a great time to do big art projects you might not have time for during the school year. You can take advantage of the sunny weather to do summer-inspired art, like sun melted upcycled crayons.

9. Science Fun: Dive into STEM fun with creative science projects! Whether you do experiments or open-ended discovery, the key is to really let your kids explore!

8. Summer Camps: Camps are a fun way for kids to make friends and explore a topic they are interested in, like art or science. You can also create a DIY summer camp tailor-made for your kids.

7. Scavenger Hunts: I adore scavenger hunts! They are terrific boredom busters and a great way to help kids see their surroundings with new eyes.

6. Sensory Bins: Clean out the cupboards and put together some creative sensory bins for your kids. There are so many fun options and they will stay entertained for hours!

5. Cook Together: Take the time to try out a new recipe together or invent your own. It’s a fun way to explore other cultures, too!

4. Go Outdoors: I am a firm believer in getting kids out in nature. They naturally respond to the outdoors – so much to see and explore! It is sure to inspire them to get creative, whether with play, science, or art.

3. Get Lost in a Book: What better way to spur their imaginations then through reading great books! Reading together or independently is a wonderful catalyst to creative thinking, as their imaginations expand to include new worlds and ways of being.

2. Play Music: I grew up taking music lessons, and it was always a wonderful way to relax in my free time. Summer is a fun time to play music without the pressure of recitals or performance but instead for sheer pleasure. If your child doesn’t play an instrument, it can be a good time to explore one, or simply make your own instruments out of household items and have some fun singing and dancing.

1. Explore, Learn, and Play with the Pebbles Play Tour: This summer the Pebbles Play Tour is traveling to major cities across the US – including the California State Fair in Sacramento from July 22 to 24!! Create, taste, experience, and imagine with the Pebbles Play Tour this summer, where kids (and kids at heart) can:

  • Become an inventor with recycled materials, thanks to YOXO®, the environmentally sustainable toy company
  • Transport yourself to imaginative worlds with Pebbles virtual reality goggles
  • Put yourself in the driver’s seat by sitting in a real life replica of the Flintstones Flintmobile (don’t forget to use the #PebblesPlay hash tag when you share your photo on social media!)

And of course, kids can sample ultra fun Pebbles treats (Cocoa Pebbles or Fruity Pebbles) and parents can grab a dollar off coupon for Pebbles cereal (where available and while supplies last). Find out when the Pebbles Play tour is coming to your area!

Get creative this summer with the Pebbles Play Tour

Get Creative at the Pebbles Play Tour: California State Fair July 22 – 24, 2016

Where: California State Fair, 1600 Exposition Blvd Sacramento, CA 95815

When: Friday, July 22 – Sunday, July 24, 10 AM – 10 PM

Who: Families of all ages

How: Come and have fun!

Admission cost: Adults $12, Senior (62+) $10, Youth $8, Child (4 & under) Free

For more info: Visit Facebook.com/PebblesCereal/Events

 

Future Events Include:

Houston
Latin Fest, Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002
1 PM – 10 PM, Sunday, August 14
Admission cost: Free

Chicago
Festival de La Villita, Little Village, 26th St. and Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL 60623
Fri. 6 PM – 10 PM, Sat. 2 PM – 10 PM, Sun. 2 PM – 10 PM
Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11
Admission cost: Free

Connect with Pebbles on Instagram or Twitter with @PebblesCereal or by using the #PebblesPlay hash tag.

Jun 182016
 
 June 18, 2016  Kid Fun, Sacramento Comments Off on Comic Con with Kids: What You Need to Know

Have you wondered about attending a Comic Con with kids? Maybe, like me, you assumed it was really more for adults, or you just weren’t sure the best way to go about it so it would be fun for the whole family. I just went to my first Comic Con with three young children and we had a blast! I found it to be very kid-friendly, but there are some things you should know before you go, so that you can all have a great time.

What you need to know before attending Comic Con with kids

Comic Con with Kids: What You Need to Know

Disclosure: I received free passes for the show for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Wizard World Comic Con is in town, and I was lucky enough to take my kids to opening day! (Yes, I did get to see Dean Cain!) Here is a look at what to know before you go, so that it is a fun day for everyone.

It Is Fun for Even Young Children: I was skeptical about how the Comic Con would be for my three year old, but he had a great time, and I didn’t see anything that I was uncomfortable with him being around. Everyone was very friendly with my kids, and there were lots of other little ones there.  I can’t count the number of times doors were held for us or people moved to accommodate my stroller.

I asked several fellow bloggers what their experiences were attending Comic Con with kids, and they had all attended multiple times with their children, starting from very young. For many families it has become a tradition to attend Comic Con together. Sandy from Adventures with My Geeklings says: “Mine are 5 & 7 and have gone since the the oldest was 3. Until they were 4 almost 5 they only went one day but it was fine and they loved it.”

Use the Wizard World Comic Con Website to Plan Ahead: The resource center on the Wizard World Comic Con website is really comprehensive in answering any questions you have, like what the guidelines for costumes are and whether you can bring backpacks. There is an interactive map and a schedule, so you can plan on what you’d like to see and when to go. Keep in mind that celebrities may cancel at the last minute, so be sure your children are prepared for this. Also, make sure you leave plenty of time just to wander around – that is so much of the fun!

You Can Bring Your Gear: I have 3 children ages 6 and under (including a baby), so we have a lot of gear. Luckily I was able to bring a stroller and a backpack. Just be prepared to have your backpack or bag searched when you enter. Keep in mind that an umbrella stroller may be a good idea for toddlers or slightly older kids that just need a break from walking around the large convention center.

There Will Be Costumes: One of the most fun parts about Comic Con is the COSTUMES. Fun for anybody, but this is an aspect that is really fun for kids. Many attendees take cosplay (that is, costume play) very seriously, so you can see some really awesome costumes. If your kids want to, they can dress up, too! For many, this is one of the best parts of going.

You Don’t Have to Wear Costumes: Many, many people do not wear costumes, and that’s okay, too. Many of the folks we saw were just in T-shirts and jeans. My kids were excited to dress up, but once we got there they changed their minds, so be prepared to carry around costumes if this happens (or if they just get tired of it after a while).

There Is A Lot of Cool Stuff to See and Do: Often we think of celebrity photo-ops, but that is not all there is to Comic Con! There are backdrops to pose for your own photos, tons of vendors with cool gear, panels and demonstrations, tournaments, and more.  For my kids a real highlight was trying out new video games in the play zone.  This is the same area where they hold the tournaments, but there are also times reserved for casual free play. This can be a nice way to take a break from walking around or to entertain the kids while one spouse stands in line for a celebrity photo-op.

Just be aware that in some cases computers are connected for group play, which is not always well indicated with signage.  My little ones accidentally ended up in a 4 player game with some grownups. My kids had a blast, but not so much their teammates! They were very nice about it, but I made sure to move my kids on to something else as soon as I could.

It’s Not Just White Guys: Many of us have the false idea that the gaming world, etc is made up mostly of white men, but the Comic Con we attended was much more diverse than I had expected, in terms of the attendees and exhibitors. Check out this very cool company out of Los Angeles, 133 Art.  I love their Kid Carvers!

Bring Cash: While many vendors take cards, some do not, and inevitably these will be the ones selling the item your child has to have.  Bringing cash can also help you budget a bit so things don’t get out of hand once your children are surrounded by all that wonderful stuff.

There Will Be Lines: Unfortunately, this is a reality of attending such a big convention. Even just the line to pick up admission tickets that had already been purchased was quite lengthy. And if you want a photo-op or autograph with a celebrity, be prepared to stand in line as well. This is not always the case (the celebrity lines were actually very short when we were there), but it really just depends on when you go and who you want to see, so make sure you are ready for this.

Kendra of Biting the Hand that Feeds You recommends attending with another adult (like your spouse), or attending one day without your kids, so that not everyone has to wait in line: “We took double strollers and I took whichever kid was more interested in seeing the celeb into line with me while hubby took the other shopping. This year I was able to have my sister watch them Friday and Saturday while I got my celebrity photo ops and signatures, then we took them on Sunday in two single strollers so we could split up and take each of them where they’d best like to go.”

There Is A Lot of Stimulation: The volume at the convention was actually fine, but even so there is a constant wave of sound around you, and lots to see and experience. If you have a child with sensory issues, Autism Odysseys has a brilliant article on making conventions more enjoyable for them. (She also has a lot of useful tips for anyone attending Comic Con with kids). For my boys, the problem was that they got pretty hyped up and so I had to remind them to eat and drink.

Think about Food Ahead of Time: There are food vendors there, but it’s hard to know ahead of time what you can find or how long the lines will be, so bring some food just in case.

There are Volunteers to Answer Your Questions: There are many volunteers staged throughout the convention, and they are so friendly and helpful. I had never been to Comic Con before, so I had a lot of questions, and they were always happy to help.  When we went they were all wearing matching T-shirts, so they were very easy to spot.

There Is Free Stuff: My boys scored free headbands from a favorite video game, and I saw at least one vendor giving away free posters, so keep a sharp eye out!

A Lot of Stuff Isn’t Free: Obviously there are are many vendors at the convention, but some things you usually expect to be free aren’t, like taking photos. If a volunteer catches you nabbing a photo of a celebrity with your phone, you will be warned but eventually may be asked to leave. (You can find more info on the Wizard World website).

You Should Always Ask First: The best rule of thumb is to ask first before taking a photo of someone, especially a celebrity. But this courtesy also extends to other attendees. Many wearing great costumes are happy to pose for pictures, but be sure to check first.

Know When to Call It a Day:  You know your child, so you are the best judge of when it’s time to head home. Remember that because there is so much stimulation, they may not be seem very tired until you walk out the doors and it hits them all at once, so watch for their triggers but also keep an eye on the clock.

Have you gone to Comic Con with kids? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Stock images courtesy of Wizard World Comic Con.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial