Living

Family

For teens on autism spectrum, improv classes can aid communication

Recently, at the start of an improv class, some teens excitedly joined in while others sat off to the side. Others said they'd rather go home. But after a few games, giggles and encouragement from teachers, all the students participated. Parents in the audience clutched their bellies with laughter and beamed with pride.

Home & Garden

Plumber: Looking for family-friendly toilet seat

Q: Dear Ed: We have a young child about to start toilet training. We also have a small main bathroom that gets a lot of use and we are looking for a good toilet idea. Instead of a separate potty chair or seat, is there a plumbing option to use our present elongated toilet to take care of everyone in the family and guests?

Books

Book review: 'Mae Among the Stars,' simple bio teaches preschoolers about first African-American female astronaut

Parents need to know that "Mae Among the Stars," by Roda Ahmed, illustrated by Stasia Burrington, is a picture book biography of Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut. Since the book doesn't have much concrete information about her life or her path, it's best for the youngest kids, who'll come away with the simple and clear message that when she was young, Dr. Jemison had a dream of what she wanted to do, and her parents encouraged her, even when peers scoffed and her teacher tried to redirect her. A very short afterword gives a bit more information about Jemison's impressive scholarship and accomplishments.

Home & Garden

9 luxe ways to get cozy this winter

For some, winter is all about snowball fights, ice-skating and sledding down your neighborhood's biggest hill. But after the thrill of the first snowfall is gone and the deep freeze sets in, it's time to stay in and get cozy.

Home & Garden

Ask Angie's List: What's trending in interior design this year?

With each new year comes a fresh set of interior design trends. And those topping the list for 2018 are sure to inspire homeowners making updates big and small. Angie's List recently attended the shows at Design and Construction Week for a first-hand look at what's up and coming in home improvement. Here's a look at some of the themes shaping today's interior spaces, according to distinguished designers.

Home & Garden

Yardsmart: Sansevieria is a perfect house plant

Are you a houseplant killer? Do yours either turn brown and crispy or black and soggy? If so, consider growing the never-die house plant that has graced American homes since the 1800s. Sansevieria, known as snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue, began here as a problem-solver for nature-loving Victorians. They lived in dark houses with voluminous drapes on the windows, so they couldn't get house plants to survive. With so little natural light, they needed a plant that could live under such conditions and still look good every day.

Travel

Explore the gardens and wineries of Cornerstone Sonoma

There's no shortage of things to do, taste or sip in Sonoma, where wineries line the lanes and cute boutiques and bistros crowd town squares. It's tempting to scamper here, there and everywhere. But a single multiple-attraction destination can be appealing, especially when the weather turns drippy and damp.

Travel

Napa Valley Reboot: After the fires

I was driving through the Napa-Sonoma wine country in mid-December when a low, dark cloud drifted into my peripheral vision. It was over a vineyard and seemed to be billowing – a scary sight after the October wildfires that killed at least 43 people and burned more than 245,000 acres in Northern California.

Home & Garden

Style at Home: Great furniture: is all in the details

Here's to our upholstered furniture, the comfy pieces that make our down time so gratifying. After a long day, we can't wait to flop down on that comfy sofa in our living room, the enveloping reading chair by the fire or dining chairs that make you reluctant to get up from the table. As if supreme comfort wasn't enough to demand from our furniture, we also expect every piece to be beautiful and on-fashion, show-ready when it's time to entertain.

Family

Social Security: Celebrating our nation's diversity

On January 15 we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as a federal holiday and a day of remembrance. Martin Luther King, Jr. dedicated his life to creating and fostering equal rights for African Americans, and he died during his efforts to make his dream a reality.

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Why you’ll soon have to dial at least 10 digits and what’s next

Changes are coming to how Sacramento makes phone calls starting Feb. 10. Here’s a look at the new 279 area code overlay, and where the next changes will happen.
Sharon Okada sokada@sacbee.com
Why you’ll soon have to dial at least 10 digits and what’s next 2:11

Why you’ll soon have to dial at least 10 digits and what’s next

'He's a super good boy.' 3:20

'He's a super good boy.'

Meet Furiosa, a kitten found dangling from a fence and brought to the Sacramento SPCA 0:35

Meet Furiosa, a kitten found dangling from a fence and brought to the Sacramento SPCA

Baby aardvark tries its best to avoid scale 0:50

Baby aardvark tries its best to avoid scale