Monday, December 23, 2013

The Pirates Kidnapped Santa! | @PiratesDinnerCA #Giveaway #Review


It is no secret that I love the ocean and everything that goes with it.  Did you know that I absolutely LOVE the romanticizing of pirates as well?  My family attends Pirate Faires on occasion and yes, we all dress up to get into the spirit of the event.  I guess I like the idea of dressing up and pirates can be sexy and fun!  The kids love the sword play and dressing up in general.

I had been wanting to take my family to Pirates: Dinner Adventure on Beach Blvd next to Knotts and Medieval Times for awhile.  It gets hard to squeeze new things in when we enjoy the old things so much.  I was approached by Pirates Dinner Adventure to come review their new holiday show and low and behold, I had a free night available.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gaming On the Go: flarePlay! #SPECIAL OFFER | #Review #ad

This is a sponsored post for review.  All thoughts/ideas are my own.

If you are anything like my family, you have at least 2-3 gaming consoles lying around with a TON of cables!  I allow my children to play games for rewards in school and a little down time on the weekends.  What drives me crazy is trying to keep all of the game disks in an orderly area with the correct consoles and seriously, it gets messy.

I hadn't thought there were any other options really until I was offered a chance to review a new way of gaming(okay, yes my hubby and I enjoy it too... shhhh).   There is a new system that is called flarePlay.  Instead of a large box that takes up a lot of room with even more room for the discs... the system fits into your hand.   The game console is wireless and is of a standard size with the familiar buttons of other systems.

 

The way that flarePlay works is similar to Netflix.  You pay a monthly fee of $10 and you have unlimited instant games where ever you go as long as you have wifi and HDMI capability.  This is standard of any TV newer than 5 years.

There is a small setup that is necessary to start where you enter in the WiFi password and login information and you get the main screen with over 100 games!  It even keeps track of your favorites so they are easily accessible.


I tried a few different types of games available.  The first one I tried was "7 Wonders of the Ancient World".  It is similar to "Bejeweled"8 and other similar games.  LOVED it!


Since I also like RPG(Role Playing Games) I also tried a fun game about trying to find a lost sister and jewels on a secret Island called, "Alex Gordon".   My son will have fun playing this as it is similar to Super Marion Brothers.


When I saw that there was a "LEGO: Harry Potter" game... I couldn't resist!  Yes, I am a geek and love ALL Harry Potter.  It was entertaining while being challenging and otherwise, my son could kick my butt playing it.  I will practice while he is asleep so I don't embarrass myself.


There are so many different choices for games, it seems like a little bit for everyone.

There are some downsides to the program.  They are still adding to their list of games so you are limited to 100+ games.  You also need a good WiFi with a HDMI connector on your TV.  Good thing is that if you take advantage of the offer below, you will get a free gaming console ($99 value) for FREE if you sign up before 12/31/13.*

WHATS NEW:  The new games for this month include, LEGO Batman(5-8), LEGO Harry Potter, H.A.W.X.2, Assassins Creed 2, and Rabbids Go Home.

SPECIAL READER OFFER FOR THE HOLIDAYS:

Pay $30 for 3 months of flarePlay service and the the microconsole($99 value) FREE!*

*Offer expires 12/31/13.   Offer includes one free micro-console ($99 value) with 3 month $30.00 flarePlay basic game tier subscription.  Higher flarePlay tiers, rental services, add'l features, add'l devices, taxes and other fees are extra.  After 3 months, your credit card WILL automatically be charged the $9.99 monthly flarePlay subscription fee.

If the service is cancelled between days 31-90, the micro-console must be returned in the original packaging to:

New Business
1400 Lake Hearn Drive
Atlanta, GA 30319

Otherwise, a $50 disconnection fee will be charged.

flarePlay is available only to California residents 18 years or older.  3Mbps or higher downstream Internet, in-home WiFi, and HD TV set with HDMI port required.  Uninterrupted or error-free service is not guarnateed.  A valid credit card is required for billing.  Limit one offer per unique email address per account.  Offer not combinable with other flarePlay offers, promotions or discounts.  Other restrictions may apply.

**30 day money back guarantee entitles you to a refund of the first month subscription fee, device charges and taxes.  You mus claim refund within the first 30 days of service and the micro-console must be returned in the original packaging to:

New Business
1400 Lake Hearn Drive
Atlanta, GA 30319

For more information or to place your order, please visit their website at playflare.com.

DISCLAIMER:  This is a sponsored post.  I received compensation for reviewing this product.  All thoughts and ideas are my own.  Do not use any photos without permission.



Disney On Ice: Rockin Ever Afer, My View | @DisneyOnIce #RockinEverAfter


This week my family got to go to Disney On Ice for the first time.  As a hockey playing, ice-skating family, we were in our element.  Seeing our favorite Disney characters as graceful ice-dancers, couldn't make it much better.

This year, Brave, my favorite out of the recent Disney movies, was added to the lineup and I couldn't wait to see what they did with the characters on ice.  What heritage are they going to add to the story?  We would have to see.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Winter of the Whales? What Did We See? | @HarborBreezeC #WhaleWatching


Gray Whale season has just started and something astounding has been occurring!  The whale watching boats have see a large variety of whales that are not common to this part of the year!

So far, in the last month, the boats have reported seeing Orca's, Fin whales, Humpback whales, a Sperm whale, and Blue whales!  This is incredible!  Usually this time of year, the Gray whales migrating from Alaska to give birth in the warm Mexican waters.  This trip takes about 3 months to complete each fall/winter.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ring in the New Year at Knotts! | @Knotts #KnottsNYE #Giveaway



The new year is approaching and with a new year means new traditions.  Have you decided on your New Years Eve plans yet?  Did you know that Knotts Berry Farm throws a HUGE New Years Eve party every year?

There is special one-night only entertainment that gives families of all ages a fun new way to ring in the new year.  Check out what is on this years agenda!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Snowy Holidays at LEGOLAND CA! | @LegolandCA #HolidaySnowDays



We entered the park through the special entrance that is for hotel guests for our first glimpse of the park.  The SEALIFE Aquarium sits to the left of the Main Gates with the Hotel to the right.  You can literally throw Lego bricks and hit front gate from the hotel!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tweekaboo: New Way of Capturing Moments Easily | @Tweekaboo #Giveaway #ad


As a parent, I find myself taking a TON of pictures!  In fact, I ran out of room on multiple cell phones, iPad and computers.  I have the best of intentions to send out the pictures to loved ones or put them in the perfect scrapbook for when they are adults.

Well, yeah... that hasn't happened yet.  I have tried a few different photo sharing sites and they work okay but they seem to missing something.  Captions?  Ease?  Print-ability?  I was given the opportunity to work with a new free photo sharing app especially for the iPhone,(although you can use a computer) called Tweekaboo.

Tweekaboo is a life story app that allows you to directly upload your child's moments to a secure memory book that you can share with your loved ones.  I found it extremely easy to use and with no instruction, was able to upload, post and share within a moment of my time.  


The wonderful thing about it is that the people you share it with, are able to make notes and comments with ease as well to enhance your babies journal.  Great-Aunt Rose can keep track of little Johnny's firsts by clicking on her phone or computer.  There is no longer a need to individually send out pictures to the family(although there might be a couple non-tech rebels), simply add them to your "Moments list" and they can check anytime they want.

  

It is not only for babies.  Use Tweekaboo as a pregnancy journal to keep track of your babies first scans and baby bumps.  When delivery day arrives, take your precious babies first photos and instantly it can be viewed by all on your list.

As a parent of school age children, I have amassed several large piles of their masterpieces.  Instead of keeping every piece of artwork, make an art journal that you can print out yearly.  Share instantly with loved ones across the globe.

I am excited to share this with other parents!  Finally I found an app that I like that is useful for all of our on the go lives.  Maybe now my parents will look at the online journal instead of hounding me for pictures?  Who knows!  Miracles can happen.

Download the Tweekaboo App here.

WIN A FREE PHOTOBOOK BELOW!

DISCLAIMER:  This is a sponsored post.  All thoughts and ideas are my own.  Do not use any pictures without permission.

Creating the Merriest of Memories at Knotts Merry Farm | @Knotts #MerryFarm



It's the Merriest time of the year!  Why not head down to Knotts for some good old western fun?  As the oldest theme park in California, Knotts Berry Farm has a long history of tradition.  My newest holiday tradition was to head down for their Knotts Merry Farm!  We love the Western feel of Knotts!   The old fashioned trains, food, activities and of course Snoopy!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Take a Ride to See Santa's Workshop! | @OrangeEmpireRail #Trains


From the railway museum that brought you Thomas, the Orange Empire Railway Museum is celebrating another favorite. Santa! Take a magical evening ride to Santa's Workshop on December 14, 15, 21 and 22! Fun for the whole family, you can enjoy stories and join elves in singing Christmas carols. Children can write and mail out letters to Santa. The train ride takes its passengers to Santa's Workshop where children can decorate cookies, build a toy train car and play with Thomas the Train tables. Enjoy hot chocolate, treats and much more.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Disney On Ice Hits the Southland! Get Discounted Tickets | @DisneyOnIce



This week, Southern California will be home to Disney On Ice: Rockin Ever After at 3 of our favorite venues and I have a special Discount for all SoCal Kids Outdoor Adventures readers!

Creating Magical Memories at Irvine Park Railroad! | @IrvineParkRR #Christmas


Last week, my family was invited to check out Irvine Park Railroad's 18th Annual Christmas Train.

The Christmas Train was originally created to provide a fun and enjoyable experience for children and adults that normally rode the train during the day, to get an extra special experience that included meeting Santa Claus.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Give Back To Others: A List of Local Charities #Charities #Helping


I may have mentioned a few times that I love giving back because I feel that there are so many people out there that have it so much worse that I do.  I am not a saint by any means.  I have many flaws and I like to think that we are ALL a little rough around the edges.

One thing that I have always felt very strongly about is volunteering and helping others.  I am a strong believer that if you show by example, others will follow.  Saying that, I am also a believer that if you give a person a fish it will feed them for a day, teach them to fish and you will give them something more important, self worth.  The ability to be able to provide for yourselves and your families gives a confidence that cannot be taken away.

All year long, I strive to help others even if it is a smile or an encouragement.  I also try and donate time and goods to people in need.  By showing my children that there are good people in this world to offset the bad, I hope to lead by example to make the world  a little bit better.

The one thing that we all have in common with each other regardless of race, religion, political views, beliefs, etc. is that we are all alive. Each of us have needs to survive on Earth. Last year at this time, people were reeling from the devastation of Super Storm Sandy.  There are still people picking up their lives even a year later.  If we all have a little compassion in our own neighborhoods, it will branch out through out the World.

Look around in our communities and see the tragedies and miracles that surround us. People come together to help others, not just for the Holidays but year round.

We think more of the homeless in the Winter months when it's cold and wet outside and we are snug in our houses. Many of these people living on the streets or half-way houses need our help. Many have fallen on bad luck, have health problems, young children, and/or have been abused by the system and others.

When I think of the Holidays, I think of Toys for Tots and Spark of Love. These are local charities that give toys to children who would otherwise have no cheer to open during the holidays! My family and I try to put aside a little money to put a smile on their faces every year.

Money gets me thinking, not everyone can afford to make a gift of money. This doesn't mean that they can't do something for others, it means that maybe they can donate something even more precious, their time. Can we donate an hour of our time to read stories to children at the local library or school? What about seniors that don't have many visitors that could use a cheerful face? Do you have a skill that is in need to help with construction or put on a play?

Everyone of us has something to contribute to others to put a smile on their faces. Helping others really puts a smile on mine! Try smiling at a stranger, you will be amazed at how many people smile back. Then there are also the people who think that we are crazy and keep their children closer because of a simple act of kindness. Keep trying! That person may smile at another stranger and make someone else's day.

I have compiled a list of local charities that are near and dear to many peoples hearts.  I hope that even if you are unable to help by donating money or time, maybe you can donate a smile.

This list is ever growing and I would love for everyone to add to the list. Please email me at Kirstin@SoCalKidsOutdoorAdventures.com your ideas and local charities.

Adoption/Group Homes/Fostercare:
Five Acres
The Orangewood Foundation
Penny Lane
Hillsides
OC FosterCare Auxillary

Animals:
The Wildlife Waystation
The Gentle Barn
Whaleman Foundation
Humane Society of the US
Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Arts and Literacy:
Milk + Bookies
Adopt the Arts
826 LA
LA Conservancy

Cancer and Other Illnesses:
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
The Pablove Foundation
City of Hope
St. Judes
The ALS Association
Jesse Rees Foundation
American Diabetes Association

Children:
UNICEF
Make a Wish Foundation
Girls Inc
Ronald McDonald House
Starlight Foundation
The Eli Home
The Boys and Girls Club
March of Dimes
House of Hope
CHOC (Children's Hospital of Orange County)
Children's Hospital of LA 
Shoes that Fit
KPMG (illiteracy)
Huntington Memorial Hospital NICU
Project Sweetpeas (Care packages to families in the NICU)
Autism Speaks

Community:
Assitance League
Soles 4 Souls
CSP (Community Service Programs) of OC
Operation Warm (Coats)
Vision Literacy
Special Olympics
FARE (Food Allergy)
Goodwill of Orange County

Conservation:
Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup
Surfrider Foundation
Oceana

Cultural:
The Walking Shield

Elderly:
Senior Serv

Families with Grief After a Child has Passed:
The Unforgettables Foundation
Rainbows
First Candle

Homeless:
Mary's Kitchen
The Lunch Bunch
Good Shepard Center
Roosters Foundation
Working Wardrobes

Holidays:
Toys for Tots
Spark of Love
Operation Christmas Child- US

Individual Fundraisers:
The Ride for Jon
Give Big- in Riverside

Military/Fire/Police:
Am Vets
Fisher House
Operation Gratitude
CHP Widows and Orphans

Mothers in Need:
The Sheepfold
Help a Mother Out
VHI Save the Music

Volunteering:
South Bay Volunteer Center
Big Brothers and Big Sisters

Water Pollution:
Water.org

Thursday, December 5, 2013

LA/Orange County Boat Parade Schedule! Don't Miss Them! #Boat #Parade



Los Angeles/Orange County Boat Parade Schedule

SMURFS 2 + Extras Now Out on DVD/Blu-Ray! | @SonyPictures #Smurfs2


In October, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brought us Smurfs:  Legend of Smurfy Hollow.  My family loves it!  Now, just in time for the holidays, they bring us a great stocking stuffer!  Smurfs 2!

My kids don't know that they have the movie already, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and every time they see the commercial for it, they ask to see it.  Smurfs 2 came out to DVD/Blu-ray this week and I can't wait for Christmas morning to watch it with them.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

We Chilled at CHILL With the Queen Mary | @TheQueenMary #QMChill #LONGBEACH



With the coming of winter, most places are getting ready for snow and ice.

In Southern California, we don't see much of that unless we head to the local mountains.  I love seeing the leaves change color, yes, even in California we get a few trees changing.  From the beaches to the deserts, we still enjoy all of our winter activities.

One of our favorite traditions have been to head to the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary for their 2nd annual CHILL celebration.  This year was better than ever!  The adorable Santa's Village and Candy Town gives you that whimsical feeling that brings you to the North Pole.

Light Up Links! Fun GIft for Christmas! | @LightupLinks #WayToGlow #Review


My son making an umbrella out of Light Up Links! 
It's that time of year again... What presents to get our children that they will enjoy for more than a week.  With all the latest technology out, it is hard to get my children to use their creative sides.

I was was approached to review a new product out on the market this year that I think might just help.  It is called Light Up Links.  This new toy was just launched for Christmas!  Don't worry, no batteries required!  The motion of the mechanism creates its own electricity when moved around.  Creativity?  Think Tinker Toys with lights!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Give Back to the Kids! Orange County Fostercare @BPSocial #Nonprofit


During the holidays especially, I seek out different organizations that I can help teach my children how to give back to the community.  We help Spark of Love, work with Goodwill of OC and many other organizations.

I consider myself and my family very grateful to have a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our backs, books to read, and a few extras for bonuses.  I want my children to understand how lucky they are to be blessed with good health and families that love them above all.