Monday, April 29, 2013

Rancho Days Fiesta on Cinco de Mayo @OCParks


Heritage Hill Historical Park Presents Rancho Days Fiesta on Cinco de Mayo May 5
 
The annual family event celebrates the 150th anniversary of Serrano Adobe

(Lake Forest, CA) - OC Parks and Heritage Hill Historical Park present the annual Rancho Days Fiesta on Cinco de Mayo, Sunday, May 5.
 
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the historic Serrano Adobe, Rancho Days Fiesta explores what it was like to live in California in the mid-19th century.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Music and BBQ! Queen Mary's 2nd Annual West Coast BBQ Classic! @TheQueenMary


 
 
 
THE QUEEN MARY PRESENTS
 
 
A Delicious Day of BBQ and Music : Sixty Pit Masters From Around the Country Compete for Tastebuds and The Title of “People’s Choice"
 
The finger lickin’ family fun festival features:

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Orange County Youth Expo! What a Great Experience! @OCFair #YouthExpo #ad




What a fun day!  On the day we arrived at the OC Youth Expo, we came with high expectations! I have fond memories of entering fairs as a 4H member in my childhood.  I believe that my days playing with animals and learning how to care for them encouraged my career as a zookeeper!

As we entered the event center, we were greeted by a 10 foot tall cow statue wearing sunglasses.  It instantly put smiles on our faces!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jousting, Archery, Sword Fights, Great Food! 51st Annual Renaissance Fair! April 6- May 19 @socal_ren_faire



Imagine taking a step back in time where chivalry and knights still exist!  Learn the art of fencing and archery and dine on a turkey leg while watching "wenches" and "scoundrels" stroll along their merry way. 


I have been attending "Faire" for 15 years now.  I enjoy getting away from the technology and fast pace life that we live in to enjoy a day with little worries of years long ago.  Yes, I do dress up every year.  My husband goes for the tankards of Grog(beer) and I love the mead(honey wine).  The food is varied and yummy and big portioned! 

Next Meteor Shower- May 4-5 Eta Aquarid

Photo credit: j-dub1980(THANK YOU FOR 50k+ Views) / Foter.com / CC BY-SA



Did you miss the Lyrid Meteor Shower this week? You can still check it out tonight but the last two days were the peak days.  
 
No worries, May 4-5 there will be another Meteor Shower called the Eta Aquarid. 
 
This shower has a relatively broad maximum but is expected to show the greatest number of meteors before dawn on May 5. The waning crescent moon should not really intrude too greatly on this year’s Eta Aquarid show.

At northerly latitudes – for example, in the northern U.S. and Canada, or northern Europe – the meteor numbers are few and far between. In the southern half of the U.S., 10 to 20 meteors per hour might be visible in a dark sky. Farther south – for example, in the Southern Hemisphere – the meteor numbers increase dramatically, perhaps two to three times more Eta Aquarid meteors streaking the southern skies. For the most part, this is a predawn shower.

The radiant for this shower appears in the east-southeast at about 4 a.m. local time (the time at all locations) and the hour or two before dawn offers the most meteors. The broad peak to this shower means that some meteors may fly in the dark hour before dawn for a few days before and after the predicted optimal date. The most meteors will probably rain down on May 5, in the dark hours before dawn.
 
To keep up to date on the next Meteor Showers, check out EarthSky's website!

Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdub1980/8276768098/">j-dub1980(THANK YOU FOR 50k+ Views)</a> / <a href="http://foter.com">Foter.com</a> / <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA</a>


DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post. Any opinions are my own.  Do not use any pictures without permission.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

1st Kids Fishing Derby of the Year! #kids @tvfishing #fishing


Free Kids Fishing Derby! They supply everything, including lunch! Come join us for the fun!  
DISCLAIMER:  This is not a sponsored post.  Any opinions are my own.  Do not share any pictures without permission.

Itn'l Children's Day at the Aquarium of the Pacific! @AquariumPacific Ticket #GIVEAWAY!


 
CELEBRATE YOUR CHILDREN AT THE AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC’S 8TH  ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S DAY

International Children’s Day Festival features traditional ethnic dance and music performed by kids, interactive programs for all ages, face painting, crafts, and more
 

WHAT:           The Aquarium of the Pacific’s eighth annual International Children’s Day is a special festival for kids on the weekend of April 27-28, 2013 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Celebrating the amazing talents of children of all cultures, this festival features international music and dance performances by kids. An international choir, West African, Mexican folkloric, Pacific Islander, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese traditional dance are among the children’s performances. There will also be martial arts demonstrations by American Tiger Martial Arts and Fitness. Kids of all ages can partake in an international percussion circle, Native American traditional weaving, children’s crafts, face painting, mural painting, and Pacific Island children’s games. The Aquarium will honor a local youth with its 2013 Young Hero Award in recognition of his or her efforts to make this planet a better place. Celebrate the children in your life through this special annual event.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Quality Child Care Is So Important! #QualityECE @ReadySetGrowLA



 
 
As a parent of almost 4 and 6 year olds, I have had to go through the struggles of finding the right education for my children.  With my 6 year old, we chose to start his education at 2 1/2 because of my newborn baby.  It was a struggle to find the right daycare that would give him the love and care that I could give him at home. 

I interviewed and toured several daycares/preschools before settling on the one my now 4 year old attends.  It was a scary process that had so much information to process.  I wish that I had a guideline from other parents or educators to help make the choice easier. 

Long Beach Solar Grand Prix! 4/20 Check it out!

Are you looking for something different to do this weekend? On Saturday, children, grades 6-12 compete in the annual Solar Powered Grand Prix!

When: Saturday, April 20, 2013

Where: El Dorado Park - Corner of Studebaker and Willow

About This Event:

Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske is sponsoring the Fourth Annual Long Beach Solar Grand Prix competition in which students, grade 6-12, are invited to design and build a solar-powered model car that will complete a race in the shortest possible time using the available power.

The Solar Grand Prix challenges students to use scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation, and teamwork to design and build high-performance model solar vehicles.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

National Princess Week, Celebrate with Your Prince and Princesses #Queensday @Homedepotcenter #GIVEAWAY!


Any parent that has little boys and girls know that they LOVE to dress up!  Did you know that Queen's Day (April 28th) is a traditional holiday in the Netherlands? It is a day that honors their Queen Beatrix.  Every year children and adults alike are encouraged to gather and dress like prince and princesses(or orange for the royal house) and learn about the Dutch culture.


On April 28th in Los Angeles, the Dutch Community celebrates by holding a large event with live music, traditional Dutch games, bouncy house, soccer tournaments, and a flea market.  Queen Beatrix and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will be there to take pictures with.  Okay, not the real ones but look-alikes but it will still be great for photo ops and the children won't know the difference.

Wordless Wednesday- #iceskating @eastwestice

Take your kids, it's fun!

A Little Bit of France by the Beach, Dominique'sKitchen @DominiquesKtchn

 

I have never been a great cook as my husband and children can attest to.  I do, however, think that I know good food when I taste it!  While my experience with French food is limited, I am always game to try new gourmet food, especially when paired with excellent wine!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Butterflies Are Coming to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles! @NHMLA


Starting April 14- September 2, 2013, for the 15th year, 53 different species of butterflies will be inhabiting the Natural History Museum of  Los Angeles at the Butterfly Pavilion! 20 of them alone are from our native state of California. 

Additional to the beautiful butterflies, the gardeners of the Natural History Museum have incorporated native plants to provide the life giving nectar to our native butterflies.  This helps tell the story of the wild butterflies and how we can help them survive in their native habitats.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Youth Expo at the OC Fair and Event Center! April 12-14 @OCFair


Have you heard about the Youth Expo at the Orange Fairgrounds?  

It's a family event that showcases children from kindergarten through high school.  Children of all ages compete and learn about a variety of agricultural and technological activities.  It also encourage students to become more interested in the professional fields of technology, science, engineering, or mathematics through their Vital Links STEM and the Arts Career Showcase.  The STEM Showcase will also include a robotic competition, competitive competitive exhibit.  







Activities:

  • Tour Centennial Farm and animals
  • Milking demonstrations
  • Visit a large variety of bugs (entomology)
  • Learn about fiber at the textile and fiber farm
  • Free hay rides
Free Hands-On Activities:


  • Make paper pots and plant seeds to take home
  • Pet chicks
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Petting Zoo
  • Little tots play zone and pretend farm
  • Leather stamping on Saturday and Sunday

Youth Projects showcase students talents in:

  • Art 
  • Creative writing
  • Woodworking
  • Science
  • Fashion
  • Photography
Building Industry Education Council (BIEC) 24th Annual Design/Build Competition:

  • Watch as future architects and builders compete to see who are the best SoCal home builders
4H Projects are judged on:
  • Livestock raising
  • Understanding of animal and veterinary sciences
  • Display projects:
  1. Community service
  2. Aerospace 
  3. Entomology
  4. Electricity
  5. And more
Lil Sprouts Jr Farm and Garden Contest gives children an opportunity to show off their green thumb growing fruit, vegetables and flowers.

The Youth Chess Tournament on Saturday April 13 from noon to 4PM is gives chess enthusiasts a chance to compete.  Entry fees are $10/person and $5 for each additional family member.

Centennial Farm:
  • Check out the animal pens
  • Enjoy free hay rides
  • Oxen team demonstrations
  • Scavenger hunts
Amusements and Carnival: Roll around like a hamster in the human powered Land Bubbles or take a spin in the carnival.  All carnival games and rides are subject to fees.


The Youth Expo Experience 2013 is sponsored by YMCA OF ORANGE COUNTY, LEGOLAND® California Educational Field Trip programs, and ScholarShare – California 529 College Savings Plan and is underwritten by the OC Fair & Event Center. For more details on this year’s event, visit ocfair.com/youthexpo.

The OC Fair and Event Center is located off the 55 and 405 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa.  For more information, please visit www.ocfair.com.

How Much Do You Really Know About @Goodwill? @OCGoodwill #FindtheGood


We all try and donate our old and used items.  The question is to whom?

You see containers around town that says donate clothes, shoes, and other items but who really gets the items? Who benefits from your generosity?  You can do research or donate through word of mouth but that takes time.  Why not donate to a charity that helps people in your own community? 

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Whale of a Good Time! Newport Landing Whale Watching! #GIVEAWAY!



A couple of weeks ago, my family and I were attending an Easter lunch in Palos Verdes. As we often did, we chose to take the "scenic route" which is Palos Verdes Drive West.

This brings us along the cliffs of Palos Verdes and San Pedro where we see amazing sunsets over Catalina Island and occasionally whales splashing in the distance. On this day, I was looking out over the ocean at the sunset and SPLASH! What was that? I looked again. Now there were several splashes! There were whales a couple hundred yards off the cliffs splashing in the waves!


I made my husband pull the car over to get a better look and possibly pictures. We pulled into the Terranea Resort parking lot to get closer but to no avail, they wouldn't let us in without paying. We drove down the road a short ways to Abalone Cove and watched from there. There seemed to be two whales making a big splash having a grand time! After a few photographs, we continued on our way. This experience stayed with me for days! I told my husband that it was about time that the kids got to see whales outside Sea World and we needed to take them out whale watching.

Since we both grew up around the ocean, we both agreed that since Spring Break for the kids was the following week, we should look into taking them then. I looked around for specials.

One name kept appearing more often than others for great deals, service and most importantly, the most sightings, Newport Landing.

I looked online and found out the pricing, location, and times. They like you to call for reservations to ensure enough space. We arrived at Davey's Locker, a short distance from the Balboa Fun Zone/ferry, the next day. We were told we would be on the Ocean Explorer with Captain Larry Hartmann.



We found the Ocean Explorer to be a very roomy, accommodating friendly vessel. The crew was pleasant, friendly and answered any questions we had about the surrounding marine life. Several times throughout the cruise, we were offered half off drinks to quench our thirst.


Not even 100 yards off the dock landing, we saw our first Marine life. Several large California Sea Lions had taken over the deck of a sailboat! This occurs often and they have been known to sink small boats and docks!

As we cruised out of the harbor, we were greeted by our first toothed whales, Common Dolphins. Dolphins are toothed whales and are not often thought of as whales but they are cousins to their larger counter parts.



About a half hour travelling south, Captain Larry announces that we might be getting close to a surprise! Sure enough, several common dolphins were playing with 2 Pacific Gray Whales! We had thought it would take hours to find one whale and here were dolphins and Gray Whales frolicking together. We followed them for about an hour before breaking off to see if we could find Fin Whales.

On our way to find Fin Whales, looking out in the waves I spotted a Mola Mola(Sunfish) just under the surface.


Jellyfish, sharks and baitfish(sardines) were also located near a small pod of Common Dolphins. The dolphins were clearly using their sonar to herd the baitfish to the surface where sea birds and sharks took advantage of a good meal. The dolphins were playful in the waves of our boat and we loved seeing them so close.


We spent so much time with the dolphins, we had to head back before spotting any Fin Whales. We did however get to see more California Sea Lions as they sunbathed on the harbor buoy.


As we rode into the harbor, I asked Captain Larry if my children could get pictures with him in the wheelhouse. He was friendly and knowledgeable and made sure that I had a great memory souvenir to bring home with us. I was excited when I learned that since Captain Larry had been driving the Whale Watching boats for many years, he had compiled the best video footage and produced a movie, 7 Miles From Dana Point. It showcased all the amazing wildlife along our Southern Coast.

My family purchased the video so that we can visit the coastal marine life whenever we wanted to. Everyone on the boat that day received 1/2 off coupons to return another day to see even more. We had already decided that we would have to return between May and Nov. because that's when the largest of the majestic whales, the Blue Whales would be making their journey along our coast! The Gray Whales make their journey between Dec and April.

My family's experience whale watching, was incredible! We got so close to these gentle giants and the ride home was filled with questions about the whales and other animals that we saw. It has instilled interest in nature in a way that learning from a book could never fulfill!

If you want to create your own memories, please enter my free ticket #GIVEAWAY.

If are not one of the two winners or want to go before the giveaway is over, I have special permission to give you 1/2 off tickets!!! 

http://www.newportwhales.com/newport_beach_whale_watch_offer.html

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post. My family received free tickets to come whale watching for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Do not use any pictures without permission.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

OC Parks April Schedule of Events! #Outdoors #Hikes #OCParks


 
 
OC Parks April 2013 calendar of events

 

April 2, 13, 16, 27 – Modjeska House Tour 

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Docent-led tour of the historic house and grounds.

Mailing Address Online: 25151 Serrano Road. Lake Forest, CA 92630-2534


Contact: (949) 923–2230

Special Instructions: Advance reservations required. Call (949) 923-2230. Directions provided with reservations. 

April 4 –Fitness Hike at Dilley

8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this strenuous, fast-paced, 5.5-mile hike over steep and uneven terrain (900-ft. elevation gain) with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers.

Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651


Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle

Contact: (949) 923-2235

Special Instructions:  Reservations required, sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities. Ages 15 and up. James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Rd/Sr-133 just north of 73 Toll Road). For questions, call (949) 497-8324.

 April 4, 11, 25 – Tideland Tykes

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Join our preserve staff for a fun-filled parent and child experience that may include arts and crafts, story telling, hands-on activities or outdoor nature walks. Come prepared for an exciting outdoor experience!

Location: Upper Newport Bay. 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660


Cost: $5 per student Parking: Free

Contact: (949) 923-2290

Special Instructions: Ages 2 to 8 years recommended. Space is limited and registration is required. Please call (949) 923-2275, or email unbic@ocparks.com to register. Program will be cancelled if rainy conditions are present.

April 5 – Explore the Plants on the Trail to Barbara’s Lake

9 – 11:30 a.m.

Join us on a wonderful morning walk to Orange County’s only natural lake while learning about our native California plant life. This 2-mile leisurely hike will be led by Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists.

Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651


Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle

Contact: (949) 923-2235

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Healthier New Fast Food at @McDonalds_SoCal! The Premium McWrap #UnWrapSoCal!

 


When people think fast food... fresh certainly doesn't come to mind.  A new wave of healthier lifestyles have forced the major fast food chains to rethink the way their menus look. 

I was invited to McDonalds Premium #UnWrapSoCal party at their Santa Ana location on Seventeenth street.  I was a little skeptical, fresh? McDonalds? Okay... I would give it a try.  I was greeted by pleasant hostesses who offered us apple slices, water, yogurt parfait, and of course a choice of 3 Premium McWraps.  Since I wanted to choose something I wouldn't normally try, I decided on the Grilled Chicken- Sweet Chili McWrap. 


 
 
The first thing I noticed was that they had a new improved packaging that was different that any other I had seen before!  It came in a box that had a pull tap around the middle.  It was easy to unwrap and even easier to eat without food dripping on my clothes.  The colors and fresh food inside the McWrap made me forget that I was at a fast food place. 

Fresh lettuce, cucumbers, cheese, (grilled)chicken, Sweet chili sauce and a creamy garlicky sauce nestled in a warm flour tortilla.  I must say, presentation helps me decide before I take a bite whether I will take a second bite.  I wasn't disappointed.  The flavors came together in a sweet and slight spicy burn that was cooled by the cucumber and was pleasantly filling.  After eating it, I didn't feel full or bloated as I sometimes do with greasy fast food.  I actually felt pretty good! 

My fellow tasters had similar results as I did.  Everyone agreed that this could be the start of a new fast food relationship. 


 
 
So it tasted good, the next question is, how healthy is it really?  The fresh vegetables definitely make me give it a thumbs up.  I chose the grilled chicken which helped keep it low calorie but the count goes up with the Crispy, as all fried foods do.  My Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken McWrap was about 360 calories and 9 grams of fat.  Not bad! A Big Mac with less healthy food inside has about 550 calories and 29g of fat. 

One item that was pointed out at the event, apple slices are now a staple in the kids Happy Meal.  The size of the less healthier snacks such as French fries(yummy!) and soda is getting smaller and newer options like the apple slices and juice/milk/water is getting more prevalent.

I really like the direction that McDonalds is taking with their new menu!  As a parent, my children often ask for fast food.  While it is not a common occurrence, I feel better knowing that there are healthier options for myself and my family without the guilt of buying on the go when we do.

I really enjoyed the company of fellow bloggers at this event.  There were foosball games, basketball and a bowling game that we were able to win cute McDonalds Fry bags! 




The event closer ended with a fun McDonalds Trivia Bingo game that would end in the winner receiving a Ipad Mini!  It was a tough game with questions such as: What was the color of Ronald McDonalds Hair? (red) and progressed into harder questions such as Which city built the first Ronald McDonald House? (City of Orange) While I was in the final running with a fellow blogger Mary of Let's Play OC, we both didn't know the final answer and missed out on the prize. 

I am really glad I had the opportunity to share my experience of the new McWraps, I really hope that the fast food chains keep listening to their customers about wanting healthier options and keep up the good work.

 
Premium McWrap Chicken & Bacon (Crispy or Grilled)-  Creamy Garlic Sauce, Bacon, Jack/Chedder cheeses, sliced tomato and lettuce wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.
 
 
Premium McWrap Chicken & Ranch (Crispy or Grilled)- Ranch sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, sliced tomato, cucumber, cheddar/jack cheese and lettuce wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.
 
 
 
 
 
Premium McWrap Chicken Sweet Chili (Crispy or Grilled)- Sweet Chili, creamy garlic sauce, cucumbers and lettuce wrapped in a warm tortilla.
 
 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was given free samples of the McWrap to review.  Please do not use any of the pictures without permission.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

NESTLÉ® CRUNCH® 75th Birthday Top Bake-Off Showdown! Happy Birthday Nestle!


Anyone who knows me at all knows I have a HUGE sweet tooth!  When I got the invitation to attend NESTLÉ® CRUNCH® 75th Birthday Bake-off in Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance!  There goes my never-ending diet!

Who wouldn't jump at the chance to meet and sample the best sweets on the West Coast? Not I!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

@Cavalia's #OdysseoLA - The Best Show On Four Hooves! Review



I am sure that you have seen the colorful signs throughout Southern California.  The signs that have the mystical and alluring name of Odysseo!

What is Odysseo? Why would you want to see it? Even if you are not a fan of horses, anyone who can appreciate the beautiful marriage of man, horse and nature would be amazed at what an incredible show this is.  According to the Miami Herald, "If Walt Disney were still alive, he might create a show as magical as Cavalia's new Odysseo"!