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(page 8 of 10)

KID STUFF

 

Michelle Krebaum

 

STUFF BEST USE OF MOMMY MUSCLE
Autumn Heacox was watching the "Today" show when she learned about a new phenomenon called the cash mob, in which a group of people assemble at a local business and spend money in a show of support. That gave Heacox, who'd recently given birth to her first child, an idea: Why not organize a mob of moms to shop at locally owned children's stores? SACRAMENTO FLASH MOMS held its first cash mob in June at Puddles, an upscale children's boutique in Sacramento's Lyon Village shopping center. The rules were simple: Show up between 10 and 11 a.m. and spend at least $20. About 15 moms attended (many with little ones in tow). "Most of us spent well more than $20," says Heacox, who hopes to attract more cash mob participants at future events. "We need to keep small businesses in town and flourishing." facebook.com/sacflashmoms

BEST PARTY IDEA
Putting on a kid's birthday party can be daunting. How do you keep 20 kids entertained for three hours? Bounce house or bowling? Chuck E. Cheese or laser tag? Thanks to local resident David Carpenter, there's a new option: THE BUSY BUS. Carpenter turned two decommissioned metro buses into party pads on wheels. One is a toddler tumble bus with a rock climbing wall, trampoline, ball pit and rope climb. The other, geared to older kids and teens, is a videogame bus, complete with three flat-panel TVs, Xbox, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii game stations and a wellstocked videogame library that ranges from family-oriented games to the hardcore stuff such as Call of Duty. Each bus can accommodate around 30 kids and costs $395 for a three-hour time block. Let the party begin! (530) 400-6415; thebusybus.com

BEST AFTER-SCHOOL MUSIC PROGRAM
As a middle school music teacher, Nina Vigil faced a vexing problem: Many of her students went on to high schools without orchestras. "They needed a place to play," says Vigil, who took matters into her own hands and started CAMELLIA JUNIORS ORCHESTRA. The string orchestra practices one evening a week from September through May and performs in public three or four times a year. In this era of brutal budget cuts, school music programs are fast disappearing. "For many students, this will be their only opportunity in high school to play," says Vigil, who also runs Camellia Cadets Orchestra for middle school students. "It allows them to continue their musical interests." (916) 929-6655; camelliasymphony.org

BEST GIFT FOR A LITTLE GIRL
For little girls who love to play dressup, there's the aptly named DRESS UP PILLOW. The 18-by-18-inch felt pillow features on one side a girlish silhouette, on the other a heart-shaped pocket filled with felt cutouts of hats, shoes, skirts, tops and dresses, each backed with a bit of fabric fastener so a child can dress and re-dress the silhouette to her heart's content. In Sacramento, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab is the exclusive designer dealer for the $68 pillow. 3252 J St.; (916) 919-3023

 

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