Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkins, Pumpkins everywhere!

Every year we make a point of bringing the kids to a pumpkin patch. Every year we promise ourselves that we will get great fall pictures and the kids will have a blast looking for that PERFECT pumpkin.

Well, this year we were lucky to find the time to go at all. I am taking care of my sister who was in a car accident 4 years ago while my mom flies into the worst storm in 60 years. 

We decided to go to a local pumpkin patch at Westminster Mall before my husband had to leave for work.  We had gone a couple times in the past and our kids ask about it everytime we see it off the freeway. We had about 1 hour to take pictures, find pumpkins, and of course let the kids ride on as many rides as the book of tickets we bought allowed them.

Needless to say, we were pressed for time.

The sun wasn't cooperating no matter what angle we tried and the kids were tired, cranky and wanted to go on rides instead of sitting for pictures. So while the kids had fun on the rides, the rest was a bust.  But the memories we made were...interesting. LOL

The kids ran to the tractor rides where they happily rode around in circles for a few minutes while trying to run each other over and the poor attendant!


Next on the agenda were the bouncy houses and slides followed by the helicopter ride and swings. By this time, my husband was chomping at the bit because he didn't want to be late for work and we rushed out of there.





We ended up not choosing pumpkins because the pictures took too long but we found them much cheaper at $.29/lb at Stater Bros. so it turned out okay.

While it would have been easier to forego our annual Pumpkin Patch ritual, we decided that our kids would enjoy getting outside and having a special treat of carnival rides instead of sitting at home moping.

These little memories are the ones that we hope that our kids look back upon and remember.







 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fishing for the kids!

 
This last weekend, we attended our 4th Kids Fishing Derby with Dan Hernandez at Legg Lake of Whittier Narrows Park!

If you have never heard of Dan Hernandez, let me be the first to introduce him to you!

 
Dan Hernandez is a professional fisherman who has his own TV show. He has made it a personal goal to get kids and their families fishing. Check out his websites for adults.  http://www.sport-fishing.com/ and http://www.danskids.org/calendar.asp for kids.



He has sponsored a Youth Fishing Club called Dans Kids for free fishing events since 2001! He takes the kids free on saltwater and fresh water fishing adventures and shares his love of the sport.

Last weekend's event was co-sponsored by the Montebello Police and due to their hard working volunteers, over a hundred children enjoyed catching fish, eating a free lunch, and winning raffle prizes!

Our friends little girl had never been fishing before and she was SO excited when she caught her first fish!












Whether the kids are catching little blue gills or trout and even catfish, each fish holds a memory for the children.

I remember my children's first fish like it was yesterday and so do they. I hope to bring them many more fishing memories like the ones that Dan Hernandez and his non-profit organization have brought them.


If you have never brought your children fishing, you are missing out on a memory that is savored forever.  Do you remember your own parents taking you fishing as a young child? Teenager? Adult? If you haven't gone fishing yet or in a long time, get out there!

Our family loves being outdoors.  There is nothing like being out in nature to bring the family closer. :-)

The next Dan Hernandez Youth Fishing Derby is November 17th at El Dorado Park in Long Beach.  Please join us for a fun day of fishing and fun!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Piece of History at Rest

On September 21st many of us had the opportunity to see a piece of history. I was torn between sending my son to school where he might not see it or removing him for the day so he could see the end of an era.

I believe that school is one of the most important things for a child but I also believe that teaching isn't always within 4 walls.

We surprised our kids and took them to the Disneyland Parking Structure roof and waited... And waited... Lol

By the time the shuttle flew directly overhead, my kids had forgotten why they were there! It was HOT! After we heard the engines get close, we all got excited! In fact, all thousand of us on the structure got excited and cheered and hooted and hollered! :-) There were few dry eyes up there that day!

While we didn't have the best view like we had hoped, it flew directly above us only a few hundred feet up! It flew over Disneyland and California Adventure and banked towards Long Beach and headed up to LAX.

My son said in his best 5 year old voice that this was the BEST surprise EVER!

Now almost a month later, the Endeavor has made its controversial way down tree cut streets and has found its permanent home at the California Science Center.

I am proud to have been able to show my children something so wondrous!

One day when they are older and learn about the history behind the Challenger and the Shuttle that replaced it (Endeavor), they can look back on our
pictures and video of that hot day on top of the structure with all those other people and remember.





Saturday, October 13, 2012

Prehistoric Orange County! @OCParks #Dinosaurs #ClarkRegionalPark


I think at some point in all of our lives we have wanted to dig up artifacts, dinosaurs and treasures. I know I have!

Today we visited the Pre-historic OC exhibit in Buena Park where they show items that were dug up by acheo-paleo scientists.

Friday, October 12, 2012

For the Love of the Ocean!

Well, this week I turned 37! It seems like there is so much I haven't done in my life! Yes, I know that 37 isn't overly old but I like to live life to the fullest!

This week I took advantage of several birthday deals that go on around our birthdays. The first was at one of my favorite restaurants, Benihana's! During the month of your birthday, you get to use a $30 gift card to use at any of their locations, Monday thru Thursday. Yummy!

The second of my birthday treats was a free trip to Catalina on the fast Catalina Express on my birthday! That save me $70!  Since I spent much of my childhood on the Island, it was like going home. There are so many things to do on the Island with or without children. Since my husband and I made a date of it, we did our favorite thing, SCUBA diving.

The Channel Islands have some of the best SCUBA diving in the world! We have kelp forests that are abundant in colors and sea life.  While you won't find coral reefs here, you do find the cooler water equivalent in sea fans, tube worms, kelp beds, and much more! As we approached Casino Point in Avalon, we enjoyed the beauty of the historical town.


We rented our tanks at the dive truck at the point and suited up. Conditions could not have been much better! The water temp was 76 at the surface and about 71 at the thermocline. We could see past 50 feet clearly and we saw a lot! As we entered, we saw a sting ray swimming away and we persued it to no avail to take pictures of it. It was too fast to get a good picture but we found ourselves in areas that we didn't usually go so we explored.

We saw so many different species of fish! First of all, abalone, which is a protected species because of overfishing and disease, we're all over the park! I had never seen so many! In many of the holes with the abalones, we're the Pacific Spiny Lobster! Yummy! :-) While it is lobster season, we were in a preserve and most of them were too short to be legal. Looking in more holes, we found Moray Eels. While they have sharp teeth, they just wanted to be left alone. One even smiled at us!


Towards the end of our first dive, I looked into another crevice and discovered a Horn Shark sleeping side by side with a sculpin! It was a sight to see as it looked like they were snuggling.

While we surfaced, got more air and returned to the water, we dove out to a sunken ship. Not as glorious as it sounds but fun never the less. There was no sunken treasure but we did see a lot of species of fish.

Garibaldi's were plentiful as our state fish. They are hard to miss since they are bright orange! Calico Bass were in abundance as well.  A few rarer fish we located were the Dragon Wrasse'  and Swell Shark egg case with baby inside. Sheepshead fish are interesting, all of them are born female but when they reach maturity, they hange according to the need of the population. The males grow a larger head and turn red and black where the females stay a neutral color.



It is not unusual to find sea lions or harbor seals frolicking in the kelp but none were seen that day.

While diving is an adult activity, children 10 to 14 may get junior certifications and are allowed to dive with experienced adults and stay above 40 ft in depth. If you want to bring your younger children with you to Catalina, there are plenty of things for them to do. Snorkeling is almost as good as diving! Casino Point and Lovers Cove both have lots to see.

I hope that by sharing my love of the ocean, maybe it might help someone take that step into learning to dive or snorkel. It is a world that cannot be experienced, even in an aquarium!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fishing with Kids

Fishing, what could be more relaxing than having a nice quiet afternoon on the lake waiting to tell the next fish tale?

This was my impression of fishing before kids. Now the thought of bringing a 3 year old and 5 year old fishing and waiting hours before a fish strikes or not at all makes me HATE fishing!

We would love to watch our kids reel in their first fish and take pictures but what about those long hours in between?  My children BEG us to take them fishing! They pretend everything is a fishing pole and tie shoelaces to toys to "catch" fish.

We have discovered a couple of ways to avoid the long hours of complaining that the fish aren't biting.

The first is a wonderful kids fishing pond at the Santa Ana River Lakes off Tustin Blvd/91 freeway.  This is what we call the "Catching Pond". Fish are guaranteed to be caught. You don't even have to have bait, rod, or a license! For a small fee you can rent a rod and bait is provided.

 


During warm months, it is stocked with good sized catfish and in the cooler months, rainbow trout. There is a staff there that will assist your little anglers(and you too) in catching their fish. There is no catch and release but that is how they pay their bills. For every pound of fish you catch, it will cost you $6.50. After you are done fishing, usually 3-4 fish for us, you can have your fish cleaned and filleted for tips ready for you to bring them home to cook up for dinner.

Another great thing about this pond is that is surrounded literally by a petting zoo. There are chicken's, geese, peacocks, goats, rabbits and even Henry the pig.  There is also a large desert tortoise that is friendly and comes over for a pet.





If after your fishing here your kids are bugging you even more to fish there are other, cheaper options.  In California, we have good fishing year round so there are what are called Fishing Derby's for Kids and most of them are free.

Our favorite Fishing Derby's are through Dan Hernandez.  He is an active supporter of putting on the Derby's so that kids who would not have an opportunity to fish, would be provided with a stocked lake with rods, bait and lunch.  There are often raffles that the kids can win also.

In my son's first Derby, he caught his first 2 catfish and was only 3 years old!

Dan Hernandez has a Derby coming up October 20th at Whittier Narrows.  The ages say from 5-15 but they didn't turn my son down when he was 3 and 4.  They welcome kids of all ages! http://www.sport-fishing.com/


I hope this helps you have a couple idea's for bringing your kids of all ages into the world of fishing! I hope to see you at the next Fishing Derby, we will be there!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Life As We Once Knew it Before Kids? The Beginning

Ever feel like when we had kids we had to give up a lot of the fun stuff we did as pre-child adults?

Yeah, me too...

I was so excited when a few months after my husband and I got married that we found out we were pregnant with my son.  A few months later I realized that this was going to change the way we lived from then on.

Would we still be able to go Camping and Dirt-bike Riding? What about Fishing and Gold Prospecting? Now don't get me wrong, we love Disneyland, Sea World, going to the Zoo's and Wild Animal Parks too but there is really only so many Chuck E Cheese parties one can go to without going insane!

What happened to our carefree days of jumping on a dirt-bike and riding for hours?

I was determined that we would still try to do the things we loved with our kids in tow and eventually pass on those loves to them. 

Camping was definitely going to be a challenge with a newborn.  While we were willing to tent camp with a baby, during the summer after he was born, we decided to buy a toy-hauler that would let us bring our bikes and toys camping and also give our baby protection from the elements during the harsher months.

We also have a love of fishing and other outdoor activities such as Geo-Caching, Hiking and Archery.  While some people might think a 3 and 5 year old are too young for such activities, we brought them along! A good baby carrier and stroller goes a long way.

I look forward to sharing our adventures with everyone and hopefully get to meet new friends along the way. If anyone would like to share their own adventures, please feel free to send me an email and I would love to share them with everyone else.

Kirstin