9 Awesome Family-Friendly Fall Festivals

Here are some fun family events to celebrate Fall!


Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show

October 26, 2018            

Location: Pleasanton, CA, Alameda County Fairgrounds


2018 Sacramento Arts Festival

October 26, 2018            

Location: Sacramento Convention Center


2018 Auburn Fall Flea Market

October 27, 2018            

Location: Auburn, CA, The Gold Country Fairgrounds


Hot Rods 4 Paws Car Show 2018

October 27, 2018            

Location: Brentwood, CA, Petco

Vendors, car show, and adoption event


SF LEAP Sandcastle Contest

November 3, 2018

Location: Ocean Beach, Great Highway San Francisco


Architects, engineers, contractors, designers and San Francisco school children collaborate every year to create majestic sculptures from sand. Free and open to the public.


Madera Pomegranate Celebration & 5K

November 4, 2017, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Madera District Fairgrounds

1850 West Cleveland Ave. Madera, CA

Free admission, free parking



AUBURN Mandarin Festival

November 16-18, 2018

Gold Country Fairgrounds

1273 High St.

Auburn, CA

$8, $6 parking approx. fees



Indian Arts & Crafts Holiday Fair

November 23-24, 2018, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

2618 K Street Sacramento, CA 95816

Free, cihcfoundation.org


All Nations Craft Fair

December 1, 2018, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. May be canceled due to city budget. Check with city

Maidu Community Center Roseville, CA

Free admission & parking





1.      Care for our World

By Karen Robbins

Your child will encounter dozens of playful creatures in their natural habitats and will learn about the importance of caring for all the plants, animals, and people that call planet Earth their home.


2.      The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig

By Steve Jenkins, Caprice Crane, Derek Walter

The true story of social media sensation Esther the Wonder Pig and her two dads that inspired the New York Times bestselling memoir for adults is now available in a Children's book with adorable pictures, illustrations and a message of love.


3.      That’s why we don’t eat animals

By Ruby Roth

This book uses colorful artwork and lively text to introduce vegetarianism and veganism to early readers (ages six to ten)


4.      We Are What We Eat: Holistic Kids

By Kristy Hammill

Do your kids eat too much sugar? Do you find yourself saying, "eat your vegetables" all too often? Give yourself a break and let these hilarious, rhyming, food characters take over for you!



5.      Eating the Alphabet

By Lois Ehlert

While teaching upper- and lowercase letters to preschoolers, Ehlert introduces fruits and vegetables from around the world. A glossary at the end provides interesting facts about each food.


6.      Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn: For Kids

By John C. Maxwell

Wendy and Wade love to play their favorite sport--Woggleball--and, like most kids, they like to win. But after a disappointing loss leaves Wendy and Wade ready to quit, they turn to their grandpa for advice.


7.      The Lorax

By Dr. Seuss

This classic story chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees.


8.      I Will Never Not Eat A Tomato

By Lauren Childs

There are many things Lola won’t eat, including - and especially - tomatoes. Or will she? Two endearing siblings star in a witty story about the triumph of imagination over proclivity.


9.      A Bad Case of Stripes

By David Shannon

Camilla Cream is very, very worried about what other people think of her. In fact, she's so worried that she's about to break out in...a bad case of stripes!



10.   The Big Umbrella

By Amy June Bates

This sweet extended metaphor uses an umbrella to demonstrate how kindness and inclusion work


11.   Lovely

By Jess Hong

Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!


12.   One

By Kathryn Otoshi

Blue is a quiet color. Red's a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don't like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count.


13.   The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade

By Justin Roberts

Sally notices everything—from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor's ring to the bullying happening on the playground. One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard.


14.   Peace is an Offering

By Annette Lebox

A warm, comforting poem about finding peace in a community of neighbors



15.   One Plastic Bag

By Isatou Ceesay

Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred. ... Something had to change


16.   Tree Lady

By H. Joseph Hopkins

Unearth the true story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens.


17.   Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green

By Eileen Spinelli

When Miss Fox shows up at school riding her bicycle, Mouse asks, "Do you have a flat tire?" "No," Miss Fox tells her students. "I am going green!" Soon everyone in the class is working to keep the earth healthy.


 *These books can all be found at your local library.

3 things you should know about cat litter

A Better Cat Litter


  1. Cat litter is not environmentally friendly

               The bentonite clay that is the main ingredient for most litter is often not ethically sourced. It is often derived from environmentally destructive “strip mining”. Also, did you know that most commercial cat litter is not biodegradable? Since it is meant to hold moisture, the clay will not break down and instead just sits in landfills. Even “flushable” cat litter is not ideal because it can clog toilets over time and potentially spread Toxoplasma Gondii parasites that most cats carry.

2. It can be harmful to you and your cats health

The dust, fragrances, and aluminum silicate (a carcinogen) found in commercial clay cat litter can cause asthma and other breathing problems. Pieces of the clay granules can become stuck between your cats toes and when your cat licks their paws to bathe themselves the clay particles become ingested. This can cause internal blockages (and expensive vet bills) and is especially common kittens.

3. There is a better option

Biodegradable cat litter can be made from a variety of substances, such as wheat, corn, coconut fiber, walnut shells, dried wood, grass, sawdust, or even recycled newspapers. Luckily there are a variety of different eco-friendly brands on the market.

-Yesterday’s News- A paper based cat litter made from recycled paper

-Hartz Recycled Clumping Paper Cat Litter- Color changing litter made from 80% recycled paper

-ökocat Dust-free Paper Natural Litter- Made from natural wood fiber and is 99% dust free

-World’s Best Cat Litter

-Nature’s Miracle

-Next Gen Pet Cat Litter- Made with green tea and cypress wood

-Eco-Shell Naturally Fresh Cat Litter

*Here at CCHEI we prefer to use plain chicken scratch mixed with a “green” litter. It is very cheap and the texture is similar to clay litter which cats prefer. Our local feed store sells 50lb bags of chicken scratch for about $16.

TIP: Always transition your cat to a new litter slowly, adding a few handfuls to the litter box each day until you have fully transitioned.

The New School Year Guide

Here are 5 ways to prepare yourself and your child for an exciting and challenging new year!


     Its that time of year again! When the leaves start changing color and Halloween decorations are lining store shelves (already?!?) then we know its time for the new school year to begin. This can be an exciting and stressful time of year full of new teachers, new friends, new schedules, and more homework. Luckily there are lots of ways to make the transition easier on your whole family. Here are a few tips to help you handle the new school year like a boss!


1.      New Traditions

Start a new school year tradition to get you and your family into “school mode”. This could be a special breakfast on the first day of school or creating a “time capsule” of stuff they love for them to open on the last day of school to see how much they have changed. This will create lasting memories and something that makes the first day of school something to look forward to.

2.      Teachers Pet

Your childs teacher will set the tone for their entire academic experience for the next 9 months. Reach out to them on your child first week by writing a letter or sending them an email. Let them know about your child strengths, hobbies, and personality. Tell them a little bit about your goals and expectations for your child this year and anything you may be concerned about. I assure you your childs teacher will appreciate the insight.

3.      Plan It Out

Plan a specific scheduled time for your child to get his or her homework done and stick to it! Take into consideration any extracurricular activities or appointments. Make clear rules about when electronics can be used well ahead of the first day of school. This prevents arguments in the future by setting clear guidelines and sticking to the homework schedule.

4.      Stock Up

Before school starts pick up some books about things your child is really into. The more excited they are about books and supplies the more they will use them.

5.      Set Aside some “Me Time”

Its easy to put all of the focus on the kids, but a new school year is about you too. Take some time to think about what your goals are this year. Whether it is reworking your schedule to fit in a workout class or taking a few minutes every morning to journal, every bit of “me time” counts!

For more helpful advice on how to manage all of the upcoming challenges this year check out these resources:



All donations made on our website for the month of September will go towards supplying adaptive technology resources for a low performing California school


Healthy recipes for your next Summer barbecue

Recipes for a truly healthy Summer Barbecue!

With Graduation season here, Mothers’ day in a few weeks and Summer right around the corner, its about time to fire up the grill! If you are trying to eat healthier but don’t want to miss out on barbecue parties in the backyard here are some health conscious recipes to help you out…


Summer Pasta Salad

1 pound dry pasta

1 small yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 small red bell pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 small orange bell pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 large seedless cucumber, chopped

1 (12 oz) jar artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup store bought balsamic dressing (use your favorite brand)

½ cup sliced almonds

1/3 cup finely chopped basil

Salt and black pepper, to taste



·        Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain, then rinse with cold water to cool.

·        In a large bowl, combine pasta, peppers, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes. Pour the balsamic dressing over the pasta salad and gently stir to combine. Add the almonds and basil and stir again. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to serve.



Black bean burgers

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup diced bell pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeño, minced

2 cups black beans

1/2 cup corn

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 tsp. cumin

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup flour


·        In a saucepan over medium heat, in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, sauté the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

·        In a mixing bowl, mash the black beans, then add the sautéed vegetables, corn, and bread crumbs and mix well. Season with cumin, cilantro, and salt and mix again.

·        Shape into 6 patties, then coat each in flour.

·        Place a pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cook each patty for about 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.


Grilled corn

1 cup coconut oil or Earth Balance brand margarine

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp. minced parsley

1 Tbsp. minced basil

1 Tbsp. minced chives

Cayenne pepper (optional)

4 garlic cloves, crushed

6 ears corn, husked


·        In a small container, combine the margarine, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, chives, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

·        Spread the herbed margarine over the corn, covering completely. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning often, until cooked thoroughly. Great on its own or add to salsa or salad!


Avocado Lime Popsicles

2 ripe avocados, diced

1 cup warm water

½ cup agave syrup

3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Pinch of salt


·        Dissolve agave nectar in warm water; pour into blender pitcher. Add avocados, lime juice, and salt to blender; blend until smooth. Pour avocado mixture into ice pop molds to about 1/3 inch from the top.

·        Freeze until completely solid, about 6 hours.



Zero-Waste Tips

Zero Waste tips and ideas


More and more people are realizing that their consumer habits directly impact their carbon footprint. The products we buy often eventually end up in landfills, only leading to more environmental damage. Luckily there are so many options out there to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. Here are a few tips and resources to help you live a zero-waste lifestyle.

Shop at refill centers

Refill centers are popping up all over the place! These are stores where you can bring your own container and fill up on your favorite dish soap, shampoo, or other product. Examples of these stores are Green11 in San Francisco, or Refill Madness in Sacramento. The idea here is reducing plastic waste in landfills by reusing the same container. It is also a good deal because you can buy products in bulk therefore saving time repurchasing it all the time.

Buy directly from the farmer

Lots of areas, especially in California, have co-ops or direct-to-market stands where farmers cut out the middle man and sell directly to you. This saves the farmer money because they don’t need to transport the product and it saves you money because there is no overhead fees from the grocers. The fruits and veggies are always fresher, wax-free, and you can bring your own box or bag to fill instead of buying something wrapped in plastic. It’s a win-win!


Composting can save a lot of waste from going directly into the trash. Besides fruits and vegetables, you can also compost newspaper and dye-free paper, wood ash, pieces of natural fiber and cloth, dryer lint, yard waste, grass clippings, coffee grounds and tea, and any plant-based food without oil or salt (including liquids and leftovers). If you don’t want to compost yourself there are most likely several places in your community where you can donate you compost materials.

Donate reusable items

Local schools and artists often will post ads on Craigslist, at Community centers, or on Facebook groups asking for donations of reusable products. This can be anything from plastic containers to store beads or paint, old t-shirts for painting smocks, or magazines that can be used for collage projects. It is always best to pay it forward and donate to those in need.

Get crafty!

There are a multitude of resources online and on Pinterest for how to make amazing crafts out of items you probably have lying around your house. Just search for DIY reuse craft projects and they usually will have step by step instructions with photos. This is especially great if you have children at home that are constantly telling you “I’m bored”. If you are not the crafty type you can always just repurpose your items. For example, a plastic bin can become a storage container for bulk rice, dog treats, or tea bags.


*Fun fact: The CCHEI headquarters is virtually 100% zero-waste! We reuse or rinse-then-recycle all plastic and glass food containers. Cardboard and paper is either used to start yard waste burn piles or added to compost. No animal products are used on-site, so all food waste is compostable or fed to our rescue goats and chickens. All other unwanted items are donated to other nonprofits or community centers.

Other great resources on how to live zero-waste can be found here:






Mineral Deficiency

     Often when we think about a balanced diet we focus primarily on macros, calories, and portion size. Mineral intake is not necessarily something that everyone considers. Minerals play an essential role in all of our bodily functions, so its worth keeping in mind! Mineral deficiencies can lead to a variety of health concerns such as nerve damage, skin problems, lowered immunity, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and more. While mineral deficiencies are not a huge concern for most people, it is something to be aware of if you have any of these symptoms. Often people will seek medical treatment because they think it is a more serious health issue, instead of analyzing their diet and making proper adjustments there first. Many health-related issues can be resolved easily with simple dietary and lifestyle changes. There are a few main minerals that we are often lacking in, so to help, here are some tips to make sure you get enough of each.


Zinc can be found in many beans, legumes, and whole grains. But it is important to note that phytic acid found in these plants can hinder zinc absorption. By soaking or sprouting grains and beans before cooking, the phytic acid is reduced.


You can find iron in leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, lentils, peas, and dried fruits. Adding foods rich in vitamin C will also help iron absorption.


Iodine is primarily found in the ocean, so sea vegetables are an excellent source of this mineral. Most table salt has iodine added to it, but if you are watching your sodium intake you may be at risk of a deficiency.


Dark green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, bok choy, broccoli, as well as fortified plant milks are great sources of calcium.


Dietary sources of magnesium include; whole grains, nuts, dark chocolate, and spinach.

     Please note that anyone can be deficient in any vitamin or mineral, these are just the most common. The easiest way to prevent a nutrient deficiency is to eat a variety of fresh, whole foods. Most of us can get more than enough minerals from a balanced diet, but if you are struggling with keeping track of it all then taking a supplement is a good option. There are a multitude of supplement options on the market, but I prefer the Vega brand simply because they are a widely respected brand that uses quality plant-based ingredients and values environmental sustainability. All of their products are certified vegan and they have a huge variety to fit each persons needs. I would warn against supplementing for iron and calcium however as it is best to get these minerals from dietary sources.

More about mineral deficiency here: https://www.healthline.com/health/mineral-deficiency

Vega brand vitamins and supplements: www.myvega.com

Why food literacy is important

   It seems like we are constantly bombarded with headlines and health advice stating "eat more veggies"..."goji berries touted as a superfood"..."exercise prevents obesity"... 

Most people will never know the protein content of a kidney bean or the historical significance of amaranth, and thats okay! We certainly do not need to be nutritionist to make better choices and become more knowlegable about the food industry that we are all a part of...And it IS an industry!

   We like to think of the happy farmer riding on his yellow tractor in a feild of cabbage that we will soon be buying for our grandmothers famous soup. But the food industry is SO MUCH BIGGER THAN THAT. From elementary school we should be teaching about the "miles of fossil fuels burned to bring a tomato to your supermarket", how different types of calories are calculated and burned, and "the wage of the laborer who harvested your peach." The overwhelming majority of our food comes from commercial agribusiness, not the small time organic farmer down the street. Our food industry is deeply influenced by the political and economic policies of our society, and its all done behind closed doors. 

   You might ask WHY is this important? Why should we teach our young children about how food is grown, transported, sold, manufactured, and marketed? There are 3 main reasons why it is important to teach about the food industry in elementary school.    The first reason is basic knowledge. Some 3rd graders dont know that pork comes from a pig or have never seen an artichoke before. We want our children to be as informed and empowered as possible! 

   The second reason is that doctors agree that some diseases can be prevented and even reversed just by eating certain foods. With obesity, diabetes, and heart disease being the leading killers today, we need to back away from pharmaceutical use and start using foods to fight back! 

   The third reason we should teach our children about the food industry is because they can help make it better. Our children are the future and how we raise them will set the tone for decades to come. Is there a reason we take feild trips to organic gardens but not to slaughterhouses? It is just as important to learn how the steak get to our plates as how the broccoli does. If the reason is that children would stop eating meat, then maybe we should rethink how we think of food.


Credit for potions made in quotations and other reference given to:



Feeding Our Children Right

     Everyone wants their kids to be healthy. With childhood diabetes and obesity on the rise, the consequences of bad dietary choices can be devastating. Obviously, it is best to start making health a priority at a young age, but how?

     First of all, no one is too young to be eating healthy. Balanced nutrition is just as important to a breastfed baby than a teenager. Studies show that breastfeeding moms who eat fast food 5 times a week or more had much higher saturated fat content in their breastmilk than moms who didn’t eat fast food. Make nutrition a family priority and everyone will benefit.

     When the time comes to put your child on solid foods there are numerous opinions on the "best way". Ultimately it is up to you and your baby on what works best for you. But don’t buy into the hype that you have to buy all of the packaged "snacks" like cheese puffs and crackers. It is just as easy to steam a carrot and mash it up as it is to go to the supermarket and buy a puree that likely has added sugar or preservatives. Often the babies fed these food products from infancy become picky eaters because they were not exposed to a variety of textures and flavors early. If you are super constrained on time a good option is the website OrganicBabyFood24.de. You can also find great baby food recipes here.

     The number one tip for helping your kids make better food choices is to avoid "kid foods". Have you noticed that these "kid foods" are the most processed, colorful, sugary, and preserved foods in the grocery store? Why are fruit rollups and lunchables targeted at children who are likely not going to be able to pronounce most of the ingredients? The food companies rely on the parents to give in to their childs pleading and buy them these "foods" that have little nutritional value and lots of scary additives. A good rule is to only buy items if the child can identify all the ingredients.

     How about if you already have a picky eater? We all have foods we don’t really like, and that’s ok, but if your childs list of foods they wont eat is longer than the list of foods they will then you might have a problem. The number one thing to do is KEEP TRYING. Every few years our tastebuds change, maybe the child needs to try the food in a new setting or prepared differently.

     Another suggestion is to get your child involved with the growing, buying, and preparing of foods. Fruits and veggies always taste better when you grow it yourself. Especially if it is a food that looks a little funny (like broccoli), it might help for the child to see the growing process and how the plant grows to look like what we find in the grocery store. There are a ton of community classes and activities at community centers where kids can become "junior chefs" like the top chefs they see on TV. A subscription service I recommend is KIDSTIR which sends meal kits to your home that helps teach your child about culinary arts and makes cooking a fun family activity.

What is a "diet"? And why does it matter?

You really ARE what you eat!


We have all heard this old saying before- “you are what you eat”, but how true is it? When one talks about their “diet” they are usually referring to a temporarily restricted eating pattern. There are more fad diets out there to count and there always seems to be a new trendy diet that all the celebrities swear is the secret to losing those last few pounds. The truth is there is no miracle diet. Furthermore, your “diet” is not something you are temporarily practicing, but rather the food patterns you practice over time.

By definition, a diet is “the kinds of food a person habitually eats”, and the original Greek translation literally means “a way of life”. If you look at it this way your “diet” is not just what you eat, but encompasses your entire lifestyle. This includes everything you consume, not just food. It is the TV shows you watch, the conversations and company you keep, what you read, the things you buy, the music you listen to, and so much more!

In this sense you are not just what you eat, you are also what you buy, watch, work with, discuss, listen to, and encourage. As consumers and global citizens we tend to identify ourselves as individuals by our social engagements and belongings. We become aligned with the values of the things we support and become a reflection of everything we consume and surround ourselves with.

If you look at your “diet” in this way you can see that you are really doing yourself a disservice by adopting trendy fad diets or being overly restrictive or indulgent in certain aspects of life. It is all of our personal responsibilities as global citizens to be aware of our influence and strive to reach our full potential. The things you fill your body, mind, soul, home, and time with is what is what you will have to give back to the world. Be mindful of how you feed yourself- body, mind, and spirit.



Practicing Mindfulness Meditation


To mindfully meditate is to be in the present moment. You’re not thinking about your past or worrying about your future, but you are living in the present moment. During meditation, thoughts will pass and this is okay. The key to this is to only acknowledge these thoughts, but do not label them good or bad. Try not to label them as anything as you are trying to focus on the here and now.

To practice mindfulness meditation, you need to find a quiet and comfortable place where you will not become distracted. While you are sitting there notice how your upper body feels. How does your lower body feel? Notice the tension spots without labeling them good or bad, just notice them. What is your breathing like? Is it shallow and fast, or heavy and slow? These are all the physical signs to acknowledge, but not label, while you’re meditating. Once you have noticed how your body is responding go ahead and drop your gaze. Focus on something that is right in front of you, or you can close your eyes if you would like. The main goal is just to be in this moment. If thoughts come to you while you are mindfully meditating acknowledge them and push them to the side. Go back to focusing on the present. Once you are done with the meditation take a few moments to notice everything around you, including yourself. What do you notice about your environment that you didn’t notice before? How does your body feel? What thoughts are on your mind now?

Practicing mindfulness meditation has so many benefits that everyone should try it. It can improve memory, increase focus, and reduce stress, just to name a few. You can practice this anywhere that you feel comfortable and you can even practice living mindfully in everyday life. Meditation has helped me reduce stress in my life and live a simpler productive life. It also helps with chronic illnesses because it has many physical benefits that come with practicing it as well such as reducing blood pressure, improving circulation, slowing down your heart rate, and putting the body in a homeostasis state.

Blog Contributor:

Ashley Jerzak


Facebook: Ashley Word-Jerzak

Twitter and Instagram: @mywindingroad17

We are seeking guest bloggers!

We are looking for like-minded people that care about issues like... 

off-grid living

childhood obesity

educational resources and curriculum

senior wellness

chronic illness

plant-based diets

renewable energy


yoga and meditation

hiking and outdoor activities

organic gardening

mental health

social issues

environmental issues

issues involving California


If interested please email with a sample or links to writing samples and a little bio about you and your experience/knowledge on these topics. You do not have to be a professional writer or live in California, just be passionate and knowledgeable about health, education and/or sustainability. Blog posts can be one time or recurring. This is NOT a paid position, but it is a perfect opportunity for a hobby writer, student, or anyone who wants to put out more content and be more involved in the online community.