Photo of the Day, What Makes Me Smile

Giving Back

My daughter continues to amaze me. She works hard, loves God and has a giving heart.  And I’m so grateful we have the opportunity to give back to so many other amazing kids and to let them know there are others that love them too.

Today we went to Shriners Children’s Hospital in Sacramento to deliver Girl Scout cookies that the little miss worked hard to donate. The person there to receive the cookies was so lovely. She told us how excited kids are to get the cookies every year and how the little miss should be so proud of herself.

Can’t deny the smile on her face!

IMG_1365

 

We made another stop today. We delivered 18 birthday bags to the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento. Our birthday bags included cake mix, icing, balloons, stickers, crayons, toys. etc.

The receiving home can house up to 80 children, and provides many programs and activities for the children during their stay. We hope these birthday bags will bring joy to each child, and we look forward to more volunteer opportunities here.

IMG_1363

Photo of the Day, Travel, What Makes Me Smile

California’s Gold

Things have been busy and I knew I needed to steal a little time to get away. So after we picked up the little one from her amazing VBS, we headed to the foothills to Coloma.

It’s a town famous for James Marshall finding gold along the river in 1848, and Troublemaker (infamous to Sacramento river rafters). Boasting a population of 529, there is a lot of charm packed into this micro-town. It includes a blacksmith, a post office, a handful of  places to grab food and listen to live music.

After parking, our first destination was the farm-to-fork restaurant, Argonaut Cafe. Our sandwiches were filling and the cookies sweet and warm. It was the perfect place to fuel before we headed for the Monument Trail.

I’m a huge Yelper, and here is a picture of us in the back room of the cafe.

IMG_0497

 

The Monument Trail leads you to the old jail, the catholic church from 18oos, the cemetery with gravestone markers going back to the time of the Gold Rush (I’m creepy like that), James Marshall’s cabin, and the monument erected in his honor in 1890.

Along the trail, we were greeted with this lovely little sign:

IMG_0495

 

We definitely kept our eyes out on this quiet trail. We didn’t see any other hikers, so we decided to sing John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt with the thought it would keep unwanted meetings from occurring.

After the hike, we crossed the Coloma bridge (my family is silly), built in 1915, to grab an ice cream at the Coloma Resort, the place I camped every year as a kid. IMG_0496

After putting our feet in the river to cool down, it was time to come home. It was a quick trip but enjoyable and full of history. Check out Coloma and lose yourself for a little while.

What Makes Me Smile

My Dad

I’m not one to talk about “feelings” and hugs and kisses make me nervous. I’ve never been one to say ‘I Love You’. Not that I don’t feel it, I just struggle to say it. I know my dad knew it, even if I didn’t say it much, but I loved him very much. And each day, I strive to be more like him as a parent, friend, sibling, spouse (one day).

Each passing year has not been made easier that my dad isn’t here to be praised for Father’s Day. I’m not sure it will ever get easier. You just get better at dealing with the pain. But today, on Father’s Day, I reflect on what made him such a great Dad!!

He showed up and participated in all our activities. He was there at every soccer game (even though I was sometimes cranky), every talent show, and every concert recital (where he had to sit through 4th graders on wind instruments). But he was there.  I never had to worry when I looked over in the stands during my rugby games, or the bleachers during band concerts if he would be there.

He wanted us to have great experiences as a family. We were always going on trips, big or small. We would camp, small trips to Solvang, and, of course, DisneyLand. In fact, my parents started taking me to Disneyland when I was a baby. Now it’s in my DNA.

The quality of our home life was important to him. Summers he bbq’d while we swam. Winters we would cut down trees and watch homes movies. When I wanted to redecorate my room, he was there to help me paint all my books shelves in crazy colors. My childhood sometimes feels like a dream.

He didn’t get much time with my daughter, but I know that if he was here, he would still be at all her cheer games, all the talent and fashion shows, and each trip we take to Disneyland.

I miss him a lot still, and I wish I spent more time telling him how much I appreciate everything he did for us.

There are thousands of pictures of my dad being an awesome dad. But I thought I would post some that really conveyed the kind of emotion he had for his kids. He did so much for us and never a complaint. He did it all with his heart.

 

Running, Uncategorized, What Makes Me Smile

Sacramento Zoo Zoom

My daughter is such a huge inspiration to me. She really enjoys running and is always asking me to sign her up for a 5k.  She’s pretty good too!!

So it was a joy to read our local zoo was doing a fun 5k run. We love our Sacramento Zoo. We gladly have yearly memberships there. It is small and quaint, but clean and full of lush trees and majestical animals.

The Zoo Zoom has you running through beautiful Land Park, where streets are lined with classic homes from the 30s and 40s and canopy trees that shaded us throughout.

The “little” pushed and pushed. She never wanted to quit, and our run ended right at the zoo, where we were granted free access for the day.  We quickly replenished with water and snacks and enjoyed the rest of the day watching the monkeys swing and the lions sunbath.

It’s such an honor to share this hobby with her and see her grow into the sport.

 

Travel, What Makes Me Smile

Weekend in San Francisco

My cousin, who I am so very proud of, had a very special weekend which we were grateful to be part of. Not only was it his birthday and promotion to Captain of the South San Francisco Fire Department, but he earned his bachelors in fire science. So we had a lot to celebrate!!

We were thankful for the warm, beautiful sun that greeted us as we headed into Pacifica, which is nestled in-between two lush mountains bordered by a sandy beach and the blue Pacific Ocean. I’m so grateful for my wonderful family – for all the loving hugs we get from uncles and aunts and countless noogies from all the boy cousins that will forever outnumber the Lange female population.

After the celebration, we headed to the infamous Taco Bell located on the beach. I like Taco Bell and I like the beach, so it’s a win-win.  Later that night we strolled Rockaway Beach (still in Pacifica). While I chilled, my brother and other cousin (another boy cousin) headed to Nick’s – Pacifica’s local bar and restaurant operating since 1927.

The next day we headed out for the sea cliffs in San Francisco. That is where you will find the historic Cliff House, the Sutro Baths, and Lands End, which has wonderful look out posts with glimpsing views of the Golden Gate and the never ending ocean with swelling waves crashing against the land. I loved sipping on my latte that I got at the cafe/visitors center, and taking in the view and breathing in the fresh air.

Then we headed to the Presidio for the Walt Disney Family Museum. I’ve been wanting to go for sometime and this was the perfect weekend for it. My pictures of the museum don’t do it justice. It was absolutely amazing. Every detail was thought of and the exhibits were the highest quality. My cousin and brother agreed, we could easily go back and spend a couple more hours just learning all about Walt Disney. Of course, I nearly cried at the end. What can I say, Disney gets to me.

After we spent a few hours at the museum, we drove into Sausalito for some really great burgers. The Napa Valley Burger Company offered quick service and gourmet burgers that didn’t disappoint. Our last stop was the Nut Tree in Vacaville for some sweet ice cream at the Fenton’s Creamery. As we all ate our ice cream, we watched the little run around on the playground. The Nut Tree has become our designation for a quick stop for trips between Sacramento and San Francisco.

The weekend was great. The weather was wonderful. And each place we went just filled in our time perfectly.

 

Crafts, Uncategorized, What Makes Me Smile

Dress for a Princess

It’s my cousin’s little girl’s 4th birthday. She is fierce with a heart of gold – the true makings of a princess. I knew exactly what I wanted to make her. A dress she can wear for when we go to Disneyland or to prance around at home.

I had Disney princess fabric that was waiting to be used for the right occasion. The pattern called for buttons (which I finally know how to do) and a placket (which was easy once I understood how to do one properly). Youtube is wonderful – I was able to watch the proper way to make a placket and buttonholes without screwing up the whole dress.  I love buttonholes now, btw!!!

Here is a glimpse of how it turned out.

 

 

Uncategorized, What Makes Me Smile

Girl Scout Cookie Time

It’s COOKIE TIME!!

You may have seen a flurry of Girl Scouts out in your neighborhood selling those delicious cookies from the classic Thin Mints to the newer, campfire friendly S’MORES. There is a cookie to delight any palette. But that’s not all the Girl Scouts do. I should know. I’m a troop leader for my daughters Brownie troop.

_MG_4458

Since our troop first formed, we have gone to museums, marched in parades, worked on outdoor skills, prepared ourselves for camping, and spent time doing community service projects.

If you asked a Girl Scout what their favorite thing about being a Girl Scout is you will get a myriad of answers. These were the answers from our-then Daisy girls last year:

“I loved making the dog toys for the animal shelter and visiting the animal shelter” 

“I enjoyed our PJ party and being with my friends” 

“I like all the cookies and singing Christmas carols to the seniors” 

Our troop is headed for some exciting times this summer. We will execute our first outdoor camping trip. Try a ropes course. Spend the night in the Monterey Bay aquarium. Take hikes and explore more of Northern California.

IMG_4147

Our local Girl Scout council also provides monthly activities that troops can participate in. Things like Self Defense, Babysitting 101, Night at the River Cats (Sacramento’s       Triple-A team) come to mind.

We are very proud to be part of the scouting community and many families with or without children can find ways to be part of it. There is always a need for strong leaders, people with special skills that can be taught to kids, and troop support.

_MG_4459

If you are interested in more information about Girl Scouts in the Sacramento area, please visit Girl Scouts Central Heart of California.

If you are interested in more information about Boy Scouts in the Sacramento area, please visit Boy Scouts of American Golden Empire Council.

If you or someone you know is moving to Sacramento or the surrounding area, I would love to show them what this great city has to offer.  Please email ucdlaura@gmail.com for a Realtor in the Sacramento area or visit www.sacramentohomesforsale.info