Crocker Art Family Adventures

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Sometimes it is the simple things like a fun salt and pepper set that fascinate a 3 year old.

Crocker Art Museum in downtown Sacramento is one of the adventures my grandson and I enjoy together. We started visiting when Cal just started walking, and he loved going up and down the stairwells and walking along the long corridors. He was afraid of the elevators but loved looking at the sculptures and glass sculptures in the stairwells. The museum is a quirky mix of old mansion and new museum connected by long ramps–perfect for toddler legs to run along. Now he confidently explores all parts of the museum.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2becTot Land on the ground floor of the old mansion is always a popular stop. There are a number of structures and activities to keep people under 5 busy. Over the years there have been additional exhibits for kids and by kids. There are also art programs for Wee Wednesdays (ages 3-5) and Artful Tots (19-36 months)–check the calendar for specific dates.

If your child guests are older than 5, you may want to use the Story Trail books available at the admission desk to go on a museum art scavenger hunt.

The cafe has a variety of foods. We bring our own kid snacks and I get a beverage or light snack and relax (briefly) in the light filled dining space.

It is worth a membership to make more frequent trips easy. Then if you are having a fussy day, you don’t worry about a short visit. If you are trying it out for the first time, your visit is free for children under 5, and costs youth to 17 $6, seniors and students $8, and adults $12. Your entrance is good all day and it is walking distance to Old Sacramento, so you may combine your activities.

Get on Board with Stagecoach

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4365 Florin Road, Sacramento, CA 95823; opens at 7 a.m.

There are always landmark restaurants in every town that locals know well, but people visiting might never hear about. And then when a town gets big enough, there are landmarks that people outside of that neighborhood may not be aware of its existence. Such is Stagecoach Restaurant in South Sacramento. My friends who grew up in the neighborhood couldn’t believe I’d never tried it, so we all met up for breakfast on a Tuesday morning.

As you can see by the exterior A-frame, it has been on the Florin Road for a long time. The interior is just as iconic as the exterior. We were in the room in the back with the regular men’s bible study group. The service was very good.

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The ham, eggs, and potatoes were super generous and included a biscuit too.

The portions are generous–enough to make two meals. All of us struggled to make a dent in our plates. The menu has soul food and other hard-to-find breakfast items. My friend Nailah ordered the catfish and loved it.

I enjoyed the Stagecoach and understand why it has stayed open and enjoyed a loyal following.

Southern Fried Chicken, for Real!

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South: tradition reinvented at 2005 11th Street

I finally made it to South, a Sacramento restaurant specializing in southern home cooking. Three of us shared a bucket of chicken, a plate of fried green tomatoes, and biscuits. It was all delicious. Truly, truly delish. We finished the night by sharing a slice of sweet potato pie.

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They have indoor and outdoor seating. First though, you stand in line (and there is always a line, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer) and order/pay. They serve drinks with a full bar menu and have great unsweetened ice tea.

 

 

 

Sacramento Scandinavian Festival Easier Than Travel

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It’s a fascinating aspect of American life that we celebrate our cultural heritage, whether it is Norwegian, Lithuanian, or Persian, in a variety of festivals. Food features prominently. It is also an easier way to experience another culture when you don’t have the time or money to travel. Sometimes it just whets your appetite to go!

The Scandinavian Festival, held on one day at the Scottish Rite Temple near Sacramento State University, features many booths with various Scandinavian themed goods. Then in the main ballroom they sell tickets to buy food and have seating to watch the flag ceremony or the fashion show. Many people are dressed in traditional dresses or Norwegian sweaters. All decedents of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, or Finland are welcome, in addition the Sami indigenous people are also recognized as their own nation although they live across Norway, Sweden, Finland and part of Russia.

Two of the people in our group discovered they were Scandinavian thanks to 23 and Me so they were discovering cultural traditions like the food, like the delicious flatbread lefse made with potatoes. I also discovered there is such a thing as Viking reenactment.  I sent a photo (see above) to my brother and found out that he reenacts being a Viking for his history classes at the Community College where he teaches. I learned something about my family too!

Finding Momo in Sacramento

IMG_6861I wondered: Is Momo going to appear with his person Andrew Knapp in Folsom or on Folsom Boulevard? Luckily there are only two Incredible Pets stores in the Sacramento Area with one being ON Folsom Boulevard. Who is Momo? Oh I can’t wait to share. He is a very clever Border Collie who hides very effectively in the most wonderful locations. His person snaps photos and creates books where you can “find” him. Think “Where’s Waldo” with an adorable black and white dog.

I am a fan. I preordered this book to add to my collection of three books plus a board book for children. My grandson and I enjoy finding Momo.

IMG_6863I was pretty excited to be one of the last people to see Momo and his person photographer/author Andrew Knapp at Incredible Pets. Andrew signed my book and posed with Momo for photos. It was a very satisfying encounter. If you want to find Momo yourself there are a few stops left on the Little Left Coast Book Tour.

February 12 at 7 pm at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA

February 16 at 2 pm at Hicklebees in San Jose, CA

February 19 at 7 pm at Healthy Spot in Canoga Park, CA

February 23 at 3 pm at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, CA

Find Momo at one of these events and follow @AndrewKnapp on Instagram.

Learning to Look, Afresh

IMG_6685Taking a walk with my 2 year old grandson always results in looking at the familiar landscapes with fresh eyes or seeing things I never noticed before. My neighborhood library is in an elegant home donated by Ella McClatchy. It is on the ironically named “Poverty Hill” surrounded by mansions. (And in a flood prone community it is a more desirable place to build.)

One morning my grandson and I explored the library upstairs and down before venturing into the neighborhood. Cal loves to run and I can stay apace through quick strides and distraction. “Look at this, Cal.” is one of my favorite tricks to give me time to catch up. This is how we discovered there are six lions living near the library.

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Can you find the “Mickey Mouse” on this snake? Sacramento Zoo 

“Part of normal human development is learning to notice less than we are able to. The world is awash in details of color, form, sound–but to function, we have to ignore some of it. The world still holds these details. Children sense the world at different granularity, attending to parts of the visual world we gloss over, to sounds we have dismissed as irrelevant. What is indiscernible to us is plain to them.” Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking (p. 26)

IMG_6472Travel can also refresh our ability to see. First, we notice so much more of everything wherever we go because it is unfamiliar. And then we see our own familiar home with fresh eyes and appreciation when we return.

9781683691068One of the other ways we can train ourselves to see more of the rich detail in our lives is through “Eye Spy” type games. Cal and I love Momo books. Momo the border collie hides and his person Andrew Knapp snaps a photo. There is a series of books for all ages and one children’s board book for hardier viewing.  The latest book is Finding Momo Across Europe and it is delightful!

Travel in Imagination with Capital Stage

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This afternoon my mother and I enjoyed the final performance at the Capital Stage in Sacramento, California. The cast members of Mary Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley were each so suited to their characters and the dialogue was lively and fun. We found the performance of Mary and Lord de Bourgh especially charming. A Christmas romance with the Jane Austen’s characters from Pride and Prejudice is a delightful play by Lauren Gunderson and Margo Melcon.

IMG_6651It is a small theater and there isn’t a bad view. I have not ever been to the Capital Stage together.

IMG_6647We ate lunch at the Drunken Noodle Midtown and then walked to the Capital Stage. We arrived early and enjoyed the outdoor courtyard. The toastie warm bathrooms are worth a special commendation.

Going to see a performance at the theater is a way to travel in space and time, such as England in 1815.  This particular venue is in Midtown at 2215 J Street, Sacramento 95816.