Saturday, December 22, 2012

Modern Day Treasure Hunt- Geocaching | @GoGeocaching

Who doesn't like treasure?

When I was a kid, I used to make up pretend treasure maps and search for buried treasure! When I went out onto boats I could picture myself as a pirate looking for sunken treasure.

There is something about the thrill of a hunt to find something hidden that gets your blood pumping and heart racing. Especially if you are trying to not get caught doing it!

There is a way that millions of people participate in treasure hunts every day!

Santa's Wonderland- A Review


Who doesn't love seeing the happy faces on our children's faces? The wondrous looks they get when they think of that magical creature called Santa Claus?

Today my children and their friend had the chance to see Santa's Wonderland, up close and personal!  We drove to Irvine where the Jolly Elves had set up shop to share with their many fans.

In an industrial area of Irvine, nestled a large warehouse with colorful signs noting that we were indeed at Santa's Wonderland! We were greeted by our own special Elf to guide us through the maze of wonders that was our destination for the afternoon.  Colorful Christmas tree's adorned the lobby and we could hear Santa in the next room. 

We were led through the warehouse which had been set up to resemble the North Pole.  In each room lay a new activity and wonder for our children.  We started in the control room where all of Santa's activities on his special night were followed.  The large map showed the kids just how much distance the trip covered. 

In the following rooms, the kids assisted in quality control for toys, toy testing, and even making special reindeer food to keep them going on their big night! The children also got to try their hand at wrapping gifts! 

The next room was a very important room for the children.   It was the Mail Room!  This is where all of their holiday wishes might come true.  The children received special Santa Letter paper where the elves assisted in helping them write their special requests.  When they were done, they dropped off their specially postmarked letters into Santa's own mailbox. The kids were very excited!

Would the children receive the presents they asked for? In the next room the kids were interrogated about whether they had been Naughty of Nice by a head elf.  After assuring the elf that they had been good, they received their certificate of the Good List and was ready to move on to the Elf Academy.  For a fee of $10-25 the kids could get dressed up and facepainted just like their elf friends!

Reindeer games are a favorite area where the kids get to burn off a little energy playing a variety of games from golf, darts and bowling to an obstacle course meant to increase their rooftop stamina.

Large benches and candy filled the next area.  It was time to decorate gingerbread cookies!  The cookies were colorful and tasty and were no extra charge.  Even my friend and I decorated. 

We could hear laughter coming from the room behind us, so we investigated.  It was "SNOW"! There was a room dedicated to playing in the snow, indoors.  Who doesn't love having a good old fashioned snowball fight or making snow angels?  While the snow wasn't cold, it was a little damp and messy.  The kids spent a good half hour playing with their elf friend and others in the snow before looking for the big man himself.

We were all excited to see Santa and tell him in person which gifts that we would like.  Santa was very friendly and took his time to get great holiday photos for us parents.  The elf helper even took a photo to give to us for a free gift!

The kids were getting a little hungry so we took a break and ate our cookies while the kids took turns driving Santa's Sleigh.  We enjoyed watching the kids roam around playing with the other kids and called it a day. 

We really enjoyed how much the kids enjoyed each room/area.  It was simply created and the kids loved it. 

 I recommend this place for kids up to 7 years old.  The older the child, the more detail they like.  While it was adorable and the kids loved it, I don't think the older kids would see the "magic" in it.

The people were super helpful and very nice.  It was fun to let the
kids run around with the elves while we enjoyed from the sidelines.                                         

Comfortable, Environmental Friendly, Luxury Beds!


Have you been looking to buy a new bed but there are SO many options and prices out there?  If you are looking for a environmental friendly bed with all the comfort of luxury, look no further!

You aren¹t dreaming (at least not yet)! Hästens' annual floor model sale begins December 27th. Hästens is offering their showroom beds; and offering existing ones for extraordinary prices. Hästens makes beds like no other ­ by hand in Sweden, using pure natural materials.



The vision of giving the world the best sleep, and therefore the best bed, allows for no shortcuts. We use only the finest natural materials in our beds. Sustainably resourced horsehair, cotton, wool, flax, Swedish pine and steel provide the ultimate in comfort, support, quality and durability. For our efforts in environmental sustainability, Hästens is exclusive among bed manufacturers by being the very first to have our beds awarded Swedish Swan environmental certification.

In a Hästens bed:
    - you fall asleep faster with a higher quality of sleep.
    - you add years to your life, 8 hours at a time.
 The Hästens CA locations are below!

Beverly Hills
8827 Beverly Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048                     
Santa Barbara   
909 De La Vina Street 300
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
San Jose
300 Santana Row, Suite #2005
San Jose, CA 95128

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Santa's Wonderland in Irvine! GIVEAWAY!!!

Have  you checked out Irvine's newest Santa's  Wonderland?


It is an indoor 23,000 sqft two story building of fun located in Irvine! It has Reindeer Games, Santa's Office, giftwrapping area, gingerbread cookie station, "snow" play area and much more!

You even get to write your letter to Santa and mail it in the mail room after getting a picture with him! There is an Elf Academy where your children can be made up to be honorary elves!

You can buy special discounted tickets by using the Code MOMS10OFF!

You could PAY to get into this fun new adventure or you could WIN tickets by entering the Giveaway below!

Pictures courtesy of Jennifer W. of Toddler Trails

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A great new Holiday tradition! CHILL! A Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

Tonight, my family and friends had the pleasure to enjoy the new holiday tradition at the Queen Mary, CHILL. The whole area was beautifully decorated with
candy and nautical decor.

There was a cute maze of candy and snowmen that the children could run through as we strolled in, that gave a wintery feel to a southern California day. As we walked further into the outside pavilion, the wonderful smell of sausages and pizza overwhelmed us! It made our mouths water but we wanted to check everything out first before we gave in to our appetites.

Just past the food vendors lay the outdoor ice rink. It was a good size rink but was closed due to the rain that had taken place all weekend. We would check it out later, before we left.

In front of us was the historical dome that once housed the Spruce Goose! It was an incredibly large hanger that held many wonders of the holidays. As we walked in, we were greeted by a large ice slide that we inter-tubed down. Fun was had by all! The children begged for more as they were seeing who could slide all the way to the end and bump into the pads. When it came time for us adults to have a try, the kids got sulky! They wanted to slide some more but their turns were up. We hauled our inter tubes up the stairs and slid down like we were kids again! It was just as much fun as it looked!

We saved three rides for the kids to end the day with and continued to explore the large dome. There were several stores that held an assortment of holiday decorations and served coffee and sweet treats. One of the stores held a Gingerbread making station while Santa looked on from across the room. Santa and Mrs. Claus were as kind as could be but one of our little ones seemed to have a guilty conscience and refused to go near.

As we pressed on, the air started get chilly! We walked through an archway where we were greeted and handed large blue parkas! How cold was it going to get? 12 degrees!!! Yes, you read that correctly! We knew it would be cold since the area we were about to enter held ice sculptures but we really had no clue how cold 12 degrees was! I highly recommend bringing snow hats, scarves and gloves!

As we entered this frozen wonderland, we were astounded by the artistic beauty that was created in ice! A whole Santa's Toyland was created with the stunning colors of classical toys never forgotten.

A frozen castle stood guard over a Unicorn pulling a carriage while a penguin paradise greeted us as we walked into the amazing Queen Mary room!

A ship with Queen Mary's likeness took up the majority of this large space. Next to it was a small ice slide where the children could slide down through a whales mouth! For the more adventurous, a large ice slide stood tall over the stern of the ship which deposited them on a path that guided them into the most wondrous scenes of them all.

The Nativity Room depicted the birth of Christ in the manger while the animals and wise men looked upon him. It was a magical room where despite the bitter cold, one could feel at peace.

About 20 minutes later, we could endure the cold no more and returned to the what felt like a stifling 65 degree external pavilion. We warmed up with steaming cups of hot chocolate and coffee. We had explored for about 2 1/2 hours and the kids were getting hungry and tired.  They had school 
the next day and we had to go home.   

We were unable to try the yummy smelling pizza and sausages due to time restraints but enjoyed the smell as we walked back out through the Candy Lane maze. We had enjoyed our time exploring the many rooms of the Ice Kingdom and the lights and decorations really put us in the holiday mood. I would have to say as amazing as the ice sculptures were, everyone's favorite of the day were the Ice Tubing and the internal ice slides.

While we had a great time enjoying the beautiful frozen art, I cannot stress enough about bringing your own snow gloves and scarves at the very least while attending the Ice Kingdom! My fingers were painfully cold in the 12 degree air, especially while taking pictures. There were so many great opportunities for holiday photo ops and I am having a have a hard time choosing which one I like best!

There were no carolers singing at the time we went, from 3-6pm so I would recommend checking the times for the performances ahead of time so that you don't miss them. The ice rink had reopened by the time we were ready to leave but unfortunately, we ran out of time. We did stop and enjoy the skaters in the holiday lit arena that stood in front of the brightly lit Queen Mary. 

We will make a point in making more time to see and do more on our next outing to CHILL at The Queen Mary!

Now that I have given you a glimpse into the Ice Kingdom at The Queen Mary, I would like to give you a chance to win tickets to see it yourself!

Enter my giveaway drawing for a chance at winning 2 free tickets to see CHILL at The Queen Mary!

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Queen Mary CHILL!!!


If you have not heard, the newest holiday tradition has hit Southern California! 

The Queen Mary has turned the famous dome that once housed the Spuce Goose and the surrounding area into an Ice Kingdom!

Bring your Family to enjoy a new tradition of holiday fun!

CHILL has a little something for everyone.  Beautiful decorations, fun activities such as ice skating and ice tubing, and yummy mouth watering treats! Walk through the scented Candy Forest taking in the breathtaking mouthwatering scents!

Take your holiday photo in front of the many beautifully decorated trees or with Santa himself in the Holiday Village!

CHILL also has a special tribute to the History of the Harbin Festival with beautiful and colorful Ice Sculptures!

Join us for this amazing event from November 17 thru January 6th!

Check back soon for a Raffle Giveaway for 2 free tickets to this great event!

JUST ADDED!!! Tickets 50% off!!! CHECK IT OUT!

To buy tickets now click here!

Tickets are priced individually for each of the activities:

Ice Kingdom Adult- $24.95
Ice Kingdom Child- $19.95
Ice Kingdom Group 10+ $19.95
Ice Slide (5 runs)- $12.95
Ice Skating Adult- $12.95
Ice Skating Child- $12.95
Skate Rental- $2.95

The Queen Mary realizes during the holidays money can be scarce so I am happy to annouce discounted rates for special days!

Parishioners using discount code will be admitted to Ice Kingdom at $5 OFF every Sunday.
While supplies last. Sundays Excludes Holidays. Cannot be combined with any other offer.
Code CHURCH must be redeemed online at time of purchase only. Limited Supply.
Active duty military personnel will be admitted to Ice Kingdom FREE every Monday. While SuppliesLast. Mondays Only. Excludes Holidays. Cannot be combined with any other offer.
Active Duty Military ID must be presented at the time of purchase. Limited Supply. Not available online.
Teachers will be admitted to Ice Kingdom at $5 OFF every Tuesday. While Supplies Last. Tuesdays Only.Excludes Holidays. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Valid Faculty ID must be presented at time of purchase. Limited Supply. Not available online.
Radio Disney kicks off the Toys for Tots Drive with an onsite radio broadcast 12/1 2pm – 4pm. Donate a new unwrapped toy and receive $5.00 OFF entry to Ice Kingdom. While Supplies Last. Saturday December 1st - Friday, December 7th. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Toy must be new and unwrapped. Toy must be donated on date of ticket purchase. Not available online. Limited supply.
Residents from the city of Long Beach will be admitted to Ice Kingdom at $4 OFF on Wednesday December 5th. While Supplies Last. Valid for entry on 12/5 only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Valid ID with "Long Beach" listed as the city must be presented at the time of purchase. Limited Supply. Not available online.
All visitors who wear their USC gear OR use the promotional code online will receive $5 OFF Ice Kingdom on December 6th. While Supplies Last. Valid for entry on 12/6 only.Cannot be combined with any other offer. Code must be redeemed at time of online purchase. OR USC Team logo gear must be worn visibly at time of box office purchase.
All visitors who wear their UCLA gear OR use the promotional code online will receive $5 OFF Ice Kingdom on December 13th. While Supplies Last. Valid for entry on 12/13 only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Code must be redeemed at time of online purchase. OR UCLA Team logo gear must be worn visibly at time of boxoffice purchase.
General public will receive $5.00 OFF entry to Ice Kingdom with donation of approved wishlist item. OR $3.00 OFF with use of Mc Donalds Coupon. - $2.00 of every ticket sold underthis code will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Beach. WhileSupplies Last. Sunday - Friday Only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Item donated must be one requested on the Rondald McDonald Wishlist online. Itemmust be new, unused and donated on date of ticket purcahse. I$5.00 discount is not available online. If not donating an item, code can be redeemed online for $3.00 OFF. Limited Supply.
All visitors who wear their Collegiate Greek Affiliation OR use the promotional code online will receive $6 OFF Ice Kingdom on December 20th, While Supplies Last. Valid forentry on 12/20 only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Code must be redeemed at time of online purchase. OR Greek Affiliation Letters must be worn visibly at time of box office purchase.
College Students with valid College ID will be admitted to Ice Kingdom at $5 OFF on Thursdays. While Supplies Last. Thursdays Only. Entry before 6PM. Excludes Holidays. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Valid Student ID must be presented at the time of purchase. Limited Supply. Not Available Online.

All visitors who wear their favorite sports team gear will be given $4 OFF admission to Ice Kingdom every Friday. While Supplies Last. Fridays Only. Entry Before 6PM Excludes Holidays. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Team logo gear must be worn visibly at time of box office purchase. Not available online.

Pictures courtesy of The Queen Mary

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Modern Day GOLD RUSH!

Nowadays, it seems everywhere we turn, someone is trying to get you to sell them your unwanted gold. The reason that everyone is gold hungry right now is that 1 oz of gold is worth over $1700!!!

When you consider how much old jewelry we have laying around that Is broken or outdated, this can be very appealing if you got $1700 for it! Realistically, after the gold places take their cut, you will be lucky to get 30% of that which is about $510. It is still an okay number but many places do not give you money for the gemstones that are attached to the gold. Sometimes they give you the stones back but if it is a shady place, they often don't.

If you have an adventurous side, you can go find gold for yourself! Be a part of the modern day Gold Rush.

SAY WHAT???!!!

"Gold Rush" brings up memories of sitting in history class looking at scruffy, bearded, dirty men living in tents with a gold pan at a stream.

While there are still scruffy, dirty, bearded old men, it has in recent years become very family oriented. There are many children and women catching the gold fever and joining in the fun to find the elusive shiny yellow rocks.

My husband's family has been prospecting since he was a teenager and they have created many memories and friends. When I met my husband, he told me about going camping and looking for gold. Naturally I thought they were crazy! Nobody did that anymore, it was all found during the "49" Gold Rush, wasn't it?

They assured me that there was plenty of gold to be found. I became more skeptical when they drove me to the desert! Where was the water? In every picture that I had ever seen about people gold prospecting, they were using a sleuce box or a gold pan alongside a river or a stream.

We set up our camp and I followed my in-laws to an area where there were about 30 men, women and children digging.  On the top of each digging area was a funny looking machine that everyone was throwing the dirt into.  It was called a "dry washer".

It had what looked to be a sleuce box on the bottom with a screen on the top to get rid of large rocks.  Attached to the sleuce from the bottom was a leaf blower that blew air into the bottom of the sleuce where the heavy metals(gold) settled to the bottom and the light dirt was blown down the box such as water would do.

The Dry Washer made sense when you looked at it and I was eager to get started.  I think I had started getting the "fever" as I saw one of the guys show me a half ounce of gold in a vial that he had dug up the day before.  I dug along side my father in law and husband for what seemed like hours and finally we stopped for a break to see how we did. I found out quickly that even though there was no running water, you always need a gold pan to sort through the "concentrates" at the end.  While I didn't find a half an ounce of gold, I did find myself a very nice piece of gold that I could pick up with my fingers called a "picker" amongst a good share of fine gold.

I was HOOKED! This is a LOT of work but when I saw gold at the bottom of my gold pan, it made it all worthwhile!  I beg my husband to take us out digging at least once a month!

My children have grown up doing what kids love best, digging in the dirt!  They love looking for gold in their pans and get as excited as us adults!  Besides gold digging, we also metal detect for lost relics such as coins and jewelry.  Our clubs hold coin hunts for everyone to find using metal detectors twice a year and prizes are given out to the winners. 

My family belongs to several Gold Prospecting Clubs; The OC 49ers, Lost Duchman's Mining Association and Gold Prospectors Association of America.  The esiest way to find gold is finding a "mining claim".  Becoming a member of an active club provides you with the use of the club claims instead of doing all of the research, paperwork and funds involved in owning your own.  You do keep all that you find being an active member and often actually win gold and coins at their monthly meetings!

There are many ways of finding gold besides dry washing, sleucing and metal detecting.  You can find rivers that you are allowed to just take a gold pan and a shovel and dig too.  Always do research before you start digging though, you might be "claim jumping" on someone elses claim.

Besides digging in the dirt, we come together as friends and a community to hold potlucks, BBQ's and holiday parties.  I enjoy getting out into the outdoors with my family and I hope that others will join us!