Over The Top Mommy

Winter Fest: SoCal’s Ultimate Winter Experience Opens December 16 + Ticket Giveaway

This is a sponsored post. Some images and clips are property of Winter Fest. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Here in Southern California, we don’t get a lot of snow at Christmas time. Actually, we don’t get any snow ever. So you can see why I’m SO excited about the return of Winter Fest at the OC Fair and Event Center! It’s SoCal’s Ultimate Winter experience and a holiday must-do for everyone! We had the opportunity to go last year and it was so much fun! winterfest-signThis year, Winter Fest will open on Friday, December 16 and go through January 1! There is so much to see and do and you’ll find yourself smiling a lot, among all of the merriment you’ll find there. My daughter hasn’t stopped talking about the snow at Winter Fest since last year! winterfest-its-snowingHere’s a little preview of what you can expect to find at Winter Fest: 

Did you see they have real snow? I’m super excited for it again, as well as a lot of the other activities they’re going to have! I just love ice skating outdoors and also ice tubing, especially in the warm Southern California Winter weather! We are so fortunate to be able to have the best of both worlds: a warm Winter and (faux) snow! winterfest-nightly-snowWinter Fest admission tickets start at just $10 and are a great value. Here are some of the winter attractions and entertainment you’ll find inside Winter Fest this year:

  • Largest Light Display in the OC Stroll Through the Celebration of Lights
  • Ceremony with Snowfall
  • Nightly Christmas Tree Lighting
  • Photos with Santa
  • Unlimited Ice Tubing Down Snowflake Summit
  • Snow Play with Real Snow Blown in Daily
  • Storytime with Mrs. Claus
  • Outdoor Ice Skating *additional cost
  • Gameswinterfest-rides
  • Santa’s Petting Zoo
  • Bounce Houses
  • Train Exhibits
  • Craft Making in Santa’s Workshop
  • World’s Largest Rocking Horse
  • Little Elves Play Area (Ages 3 and Under)
  • Cartoon Character Live Shows with Meet & Greets
  • Santa Takes Flight Snowboard Simulator
  • Nightly Fireworkswinterfest-skating

I highly suggest purchasing your tickets advance and online, so you’ll get the best price possible. To purchase tickets, go here. I forgot to mention how many yummy treats I tried last year! Just look at these giant cookies! Mmmm! winterfest-treatsAre you planning a visit to Winter Fest this year? I hope so! I’m also giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to this year’s Winter Fest that one of my lucky readers is going to win!  All you have to do to enter is follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below! Good luck everyone! Happy Holidays!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Connect with Winter Fest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Guide to the Holidays at Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort is such a wonderful place to visit with your family or friends during the Holidays! This year, Holiday time at the Resort kicked off on November 10 and both parks were decorated and ready to welcome guests who were visiting for some holiday joy. disneyland-holidays-photo-passNow through January 8, guests at the Resort will find many different experiences and offerings. Although it’s possible to see it all in one day, I recommend purchasing a 2-day Park Hopper (or more days) so you can take your time because there’s a lot to see and do. disneyland-holidays-park-hopper-ticketsHere’s my own personal guide to the Holidays at Disneyland Resort.must-dos-at-disney-california-adventure-parkFestival of Holidays
One of the new additions to the Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park this year is the Festival of Holidays. There’s music, dancing, food, and heartwarming holiday festivities inspired by cultural traditions from around the world.festival-of-holidaysfestival-of-holidays-guideWith so many little food and drink themed houses set up in the Festive Foods Marketplace, it’s a foodie’s holiday dream come true! If you’ve ever been to the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, it may remind you of that. It’s so much fun to go “house to house” and sample different beers, wines and savory & sweet treats! Check out the Complete Guide to Festive Eats here on the Disney Parks Blog. festival-of-holidays-christmas-craftsAnother fun part about the Festival of Holidays are the craft tables set up around the park. Kids can sit and spend time learning about different traditional holidays celebrated around the world and make a craft, card, or ornament to take home with them.festival-of-holidays-hanukah-craftsEntertainment during Festival of Holidays
The daily lineup of entertainment includes nearly 50 performances of nine unique shows including: 2 special Disney characters, street parties, cavalcades, musical ensembles and dance performances. The celebrations include Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas/Navidad and Three Kings Day. Guests can look for performances of traditional Indian dance that builds to a Bollywood party, a Klezmer band with a new global sound, the Mariachi Divas and an a cappella vocal group that puts an R&B spin on holiday songs.viva-navidad-wreathThe popular Disney ¡Viva Navidad! is sure to wow you as it also returns as part of the fun at Festival of Holidays.disneyland-holidays-viva-navidadThere”ll also be a wonderful finale to celebrate Three Kings Day (Dia de los Reyes).The special festivities for Three Kings Day will run Jan. 5-8, 2017, including music and storytelling in Paradise Garden. Treats for this holiday will include traditional Rosca de Reyes bread.disneyland-holidays-balloonsMeet Elena of Avalorwelcome-elena-of-avalorSanta at Redwood Creek Trails 
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is where guests can go for Santa’s Holiday Visit. His joyful elves have transformed the trail into a magical playground of holiday fun and games, including opportunities for guests to join the ranks of Santa’s elves.meet-santa-guidedisneyland-holidays-redwood-creekWhen you enter the area, a Cast Member will give you a fun guide to help you find Santa and join in on some fun Elf Games.santas-elves“World of Color—Season of Light
All-new this holiday season is “World of Color—Season of Light”! This nighttime water spectacular that will inspire guests with cherished holiday music and treasured Disney animation. This fourth all-new production of “World of Color” creates a sparkling winter fantasy with magical storytelling, brilliant lights, lasers and high-definition projectors, along with fountains that shoot as high as 200 feet to create the giant screens of water. You’ll want to grab a FastPass for World of Color, first thing in the morning!Disney-Holidays-Buena-Vista-Street

must-dos-at-disneyland-park

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and the Breathtaking Decor
There are so many holiday happenings this time of year in Disneyland Park too. The entire Park is decorated with fun, festive decorations and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is dressed up for the Winter time.disneyland-holidays-castle-dayAt the top of Main Street, U.S.A., you’ll find twinkling lights, festive holiday garland and nearly 1,800 ornaments decorate the soaring Christmas tree in Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A.. It’s an ideal place for guests to begin their holiday traditions. The Christmas tree becomes an enchanting place for guests to take their holiday photos, up close or with all 60 feet of the shimmering tree.holidays-at-the-disneyland-resort-family-memoriesThe classic Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle brightens the park nightly with magical snowfall moments along Main Street, U.S.A., concluding with “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks and its stirring snowfall finale.disneyland-holidays-castle-nightSpecially Transformed-for-the-Holidays Attractions halloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-haunted-mansion-holiday-signGuests at Disneyland Park can enjoy the one-of-a-kind transformations that create “it’s a small world” Holiday, Jingle Cruise and Haunted Mansion Holiday. Now celebrating its 20th holiday season, “it’s a small world” Holiday has added some “Hidden 20s” for guests to discover on their voyage.Disney-Holidays-Small-World-Facade“It’s a Christmas Fantasy” Parade
Celebrate the season in “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, a daily procession during the Holidays complete with floats, music, marching “tin soldiers” and holiday cheer.disneyland-holidays-parade-mickey-and-minnieSanta, who makes a jolly appearance in the parade, also will be found welcoming guests at his special location in Critter Country while he visits Disneyland.Disney-Holidays-Santa-floatThere’s so much to see and do during Holidays at the Disneyland Resort and it’s a perfect time to create new family memories together! For more information, please visit http://www.disneyland.com.disneyland-holidays-carslandA very special thank you to Disneyland Resort for hosting our family for a festive day in the parks

 

 

 

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Book Your Snowland Suite at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California

Make this holiday season a memorable one with Great Wolf Lodge Southern California  as they celebrate their favorite winter howl-i-day…Snowland! Create new family traditions this holiday season with uninterrupted time together under the enchanting spell of Snowland’s twinkling lights, holiday trees and indoor snow showers that melt into perfect 84-degree basking weather in the Great Wolf Lodge water park. The entire resort is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. snowland-snow-in-lobbyStarting November 26 and running through January 1, Great Wolf Lodge will have a limited number of Snowland Suites available, so book yours here today!
Watch this festive “Snowland” video from Great Wolf Lodge’s YouTube:

Snowland-themed suites – Great Wolf Lodge transforms 10 of its suites during “Snowland” into an enchanting Snowland Suites, just for the holidays. Each one comes complete with glimmering garlands, twinkling lights and a fully decorated holiday tree. You’ll open the door to your personal winter wonderland and receive a free copy of the winter story book, “Unique as a Snowflake”. Great Wolf will also surprise your children with an evening milk and cookies delivery by one of our Great Wolf Kids characters! great-wolf-lodge-snowland-suite

In addition to Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor waterpark access, guests will be treated to countless themed activities during Snowland.snowland-mailboxSpectacular decorations throughout the lodge
As you enter the lodge at Great Wolf, you’ll be mesmerized by how it’s been transformed into a magical winter wonderland, complete with spectacular decorations,snowland-1

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Visits with Santa Claus
Santa Claus will make his grand entry on Saturday, November 26 at the Great Wolf Lodge Tree Lighting Ceremony. He also visits regularly throughout the holidays. You’ll find Santa’s “Letter Depot” in the lodge where you can mail letters to Santa in order to make sure he receives them on time.snowland-santaNorth Pole University activities
During your stay, your children can enroll in North Pole University for their winter, 2016-2017 snow-mester. They’ll delight in completing our holiday-themed activities and receiving their official “Snowploma”. They also receive a limited edition Rowdy the Reindeer trading card you can only get here!snowland-university

Life-Size Gingerbread Houses You Can Dine In
The Great Wolf Lodge culinary team spend weeks cooking up and creating the intricate beauty of their life-size gingerbread houses. Each unique-as-a-snowflake masterwork welcomes you with amazingly detailed gingerbread walls, candy trim and plenty of white icing snow. When you dine in, your fee goes to the Ronald McDonald House Charities®! You can request to dine in one when you book your dining reservation.snowland-gingerbreadAs you can see, there’s a lot going on over at Great Wolf Lodge during Snowland. It’s the chance to create some new holiday memories with your family and you won’t want to miss out!snowland-gingerbread

Great Wolf Lodge Southern California
is located at
12681 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, California

Connect with Great Wolf Lodge Southern California on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.

This is not a sponsored post. Images and logos are property of Great Wolf Lodge. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

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American Girl Holiday Programming For the Entire Family

During the holiday season, one of my most favorite things to do with my daughter is to watch family-friendly holiday programming. This holiday season, American Girl has some new entertainment offerings that you won’t want to miss!
An American Girl Story—Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas
Beginning November 25, you can stream An American Girl Story—Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. maryellen-coverThis heartwarming, holiday movie is based on American Girl’s previously launched BeForever character Maryellen Larkin. The special is set during Christmas in 1955 in Daytona Beach, Florida, where middle child Maryellen longs to stand out amidst the hustle and bustle of her big, busy family. A boisterous and artistic girl, Maryellen’s adventurous spirit is sometimes at odds with the era she’s living in: when conformity was valued above individuality. When Benji, a family friend afflicted with polio comes to stay with them and visit Daytona Beach’s hospital for care, Maryellen is inspired to help the polio patients have the best Christmas ever. With guidance and advice from Maryellen’s wise and sympathetic mother, Maryellen learns the key to helping others is through listening.
Here’s a preview:

An American Girl: Lea to the Rescue
Girls can spend a fun holiday night at home, watching An American Girl: Lea to the Rescue, American Girl’s first-ever action-adventure film, which aired November 23 on Disney Channel and is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.lea-movie

In the thrilling sequel to the original book series, Lea must face her fears as she travels deep into the Brazilian rainforest to solve the mystery of her missing brother. In her quest to find him, she helps save endangered animals and must outwit ruthless animal poachers.
Here’s a preview:

An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love Has to Win
We recently attended a private event at The Grove LA to screen An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love has to Win. To read review click heremelody1The story centers around 10-year-old Melody, who is coming of age in Detroit in 1963. In the film, Melody’s eyes are opened to the racial inequality surrounding her, including the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing. As a result, her belief in the “indivisible” promise of our country’s Pledge of Allegiance comes into question as she challenges her teacher on the validity of this given the horrific tragedy. After an emotional journey of self-reflection, her mother gives her the courage she needs by instilling in her that love brings out the best in everyone; reminding Melody that it’s important to “stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard or scary.”
Here’s a preview: 

Have you watched any of these American Girl stories yet? It’s going to be an amazing holiday season with this great lineup of programs. Happy Holidays!

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The Queen Mary’s 5th Annual CHILL Now Open Through Jan. 8

The Queen Mary’s 5th Annual CHILL returned to the majestic ship on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 with a special opening night of festivities including the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. This year, the ceremony was hosted by Pitch Perfect 2 star, Chrissie Fit, and Teen Choice Award nominee, New District, with help from Santa Claus.chill-image Open select dates through January 8, 2017 CHILL is Southern California’s coolest holiday adventure complete with ice-skating, ice tubing, swingin’ sleigh rides, visits with Santa, gingerbread decorating and the all-new interactive attraction, Alice in Winterland.alice-image

2016 CHILL Attractions Include:

  • NEW Light up the night and follow The Queen down the rabbit hole this holiday season with the all-new interactive and digitally immersive Alice in Winterland, a 14,000-square foot walk-through adventure. Experience larger than life lanterns as you venture with Alice and friends into the Hall of Doors, the White Rabbit’s Kitchen, Mad Hatter’s Work Shop, the infamous Tea Party, Hedge Maze, Caterpillar Garden and the newest addition to the beloved story, Queen of Diamonds.
  • Grab a tube and barrel down the 150-foot, two-story Glacier Glide Tubing Run.
  • NEW Experience a one-of-a-kind interactive bar with RFID technology featuring Winterland Vodka Flights and Magical Martinis in the all-new Magic Mushroom Martini Bar.
  • Lace up some ice skates and glide upon The Looking Glass Rink, a 6000 square foot outdoor ice skating rink under the stars.
  • Visit North Pole Post to pen letters to Santa.
  • Test your trimming skills with Crafty the Elf by trimming your very own stocking at Santa’s Stocking Stop.
  • Build the ultimate hot cocoa in a souvenir mug at the Cocoa toppings bar and nestle up with Mrs. Claus for story time at Mrs. C’s Sips and Stories
  • Treat the littles to Candy Lane Bounce House and The World’s Largest Rocking Horse ride.
  • Beware of Snow flurries throughout the day: 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm
  • Stroll through Holly Grove and take photos in front of the larger than life CHILL Christmas Tree while taking in the sounds of the season on North Pole Point Stage
  • Capture memories in Claus Cottage for pictures with the big man in red.
  • Decorate Gingerbread with Ginny the Gingerbread and The Singing Baker hourly in the life size Gingerbread House
  • Test your shooting skills in the Tinsel Toy & Paint: Paintball Shooting Gallery
  • Sit back for an exhilarating ride on Polar Express 4-D Experience in The Queen Mary’s state of the art 4-D theater

Also, this year you can start your Saturday morning with Pajama Breakfast with Santa in Royal Salon on the Promenade of Trees aboard the ship from 9am – 12pm. Decorate gingerbread, photos and stories with Santa, live entertainment, carolers and more!

CHILL is open to the public on select dates and times from November 23, 2016 to January 8, 2017. For a calendar view of available dates, go here.
ticket-info

  • Adult General Admission (ages 12+) starts at $39.99 online
  • Child General Admission (ages 4-11) starts at $29.99 online
  • Skating $15 (includes skate rental)
  • March Hare Hideaways start at $99.00
  • Holiday Date Night for two starts at $69.99
  • Family-5-pack starts at $149.99
  • E.L.F. (Express Lane Fast) Pass starts at $15.00
  • Breakfast with Santa starting at $19.99
  • Additional experience upgrades available onsite starting at $5.00
  • Parking is $20 upon entrance.

The Queen Mary is located at:
1126 Queens Hwy
Long Beach, CA 90802

This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to attend a media preview of CHILL. Images and logos are property of CHILL and The Queen Mary. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

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Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

The holiday season is a fun, busy time which requires a lot of energy and running around. It’s also one of the most common times of the year when people get sick. Busy moms like me don’t have time to get sick and be “down for the count”. I have too much to get done!stay-healthyThis year I got a head start on making some changes to achieve more balance in my life, which has resulted in my being healthier entering into this holiday season. I added things to my daily routine such as drinking more water, eating healthier meals and snacks, and adding in a daily probiotic, which I’ve found have made a noticeable difference in my overall wall-being. nature-made-vitamins-at-walmartAs Fall neared this year, I also decided to add some new vitamins and supplements into my daily regimen because it’s impossible get your entire daily requirement just from food. Nature Made® has a variety of vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) to help support nutritional gaps with your health goals in mind ranging from Digestive Support, Heart Health & Function, Energy Metabolism, Women’s Health and much more!†Nature Made® is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended brand for many key dietary supplement categories* I feel confident choosing Nature Made® brand for myself and my family. I also love that I can run over to Walmart to stock up on them because they’re always offered at such affordable prices, even without being on sale! stay-healthy-during-the-holiday-seasonNature Made® vitamins and supplements: An easy, convenient way to help your body get the nutritional support it needs every day, whether it be to support bone health, immune health or energy metabolism (helping convert food into energy).†For more information on Nature Made® vitamins and supplements available at Walmart and to enter to win one of 60 Walmart gift cards (each worth $50) by taking part in the sweepstakes on the site, visit here. (No Purchase Necessary).

Find Nature Made® on Facebook & Twitter and Walmart on Facebook and Twitter.’

*Based on the 2016 U.S. News & World Report – Pharmacy Times Survey.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

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2016 American Girl Holiday Gift Highlights

The holiday season has kicked off and moms like me are always on the lookout for great gifts to grab that’ll bring a smile to our children’s faces! American Girl dolls accessories, and books are at the top of my own daughter’s list this year! ag-melody-in-windowEver since An American Girl Story — Melody 1963: Love Has to Win, a live-action adaptation of Melody’s series created for Amazon Prime Video premiered back in October, my niece has been enamored by Melody! American Girl’s newest BeForever character, Melody, brings a message of love and hope to girls this season through her inspirational story of growing up in Detroit during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.ag-melody-doll-in-storeMelody’s story comes to life through the 18-inch Melody doll, historically authentic 1960s doll outfits and accessories, and Melody-inspired clothing for girls ages 8 and up (Prices range from $9.99 to $250)melody-in-boxHoliday time is also about spreading goodwill to others, and American Girl’s new WellieWishers line is designed to help teach younger girls ages 5 to 7 the skills of kindness, empathy and being a good friend.wellie-wishers-in-window-2wellie-wishers-in-windowThe WellieWishers line features five character dolls, early chapter books, garden-themed accessories, and clothing for girls (Prices range from $5.00 to $250)welliewishers-groupYoung girls will also delight in seeing the WellieWishers world come to life via American Girl’s first-ever animated series available through Amazon Prime Video.mega-bloks-ag-graces-buildable-home

Girls can tap into their “can do” spirit and have hours of fun with an array of other fun gift ideas and stocking stuffers, including the Mega Bloks American Girl construction line ($3.99 to $69.99), American Girl-themed cookware and cookbooks from Williams-Sonoma ($9.95-$59.95), and engaging advice and activity books ($9.99 to $24.99).williams-sonoma-apron-and-mitttruly-me-styling-spaces-bookLast but not least, girls and their guests can enjoy a memorable day at American Girl’s retail stores nationwide. Holiday-related events and experiences are available throughout the season. For more information or to find an American Girl retail store nearest you, visit here.

This is not a sponsored post. I received product in order to facilitate this post. Some images and logos are property of American Girl Brand. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 
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The Brad Paisley Concert at Stub Hub Center

This is a sponsored post written by me for Frontier Communications. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

I love country music and was elated to be invited to attend a Private Frontier Communications Brad Paisley concert last week. brad-paisley-concert-at-stub-hub-center-signThe Fall weather in Southern California never lets us down, so I put on my best Fall concert outfit (a.k.a. jeans and a tank top), my husband put on his cowboy boots, and we were off!brad-paisley-concert-dressed-and-readyWhen we arrived at Stub Hub Center in Carson, California, we were ready for some good old-fashioned country music fun. This private concert was one of Brad Paisley’s stops while he was out on his “Country Nation College Tour“. Frontier Communications sponsored the concerts on bringing the experience to fans across the country, as a way to show appreciation to its customers.brad-paisley-concert-relaxing-outdoor-lounge-areaBefore the concert started, we spent time in the Fan Appreciation Zone. In addition to a relaxing outdoor lounge area for us to relax in there were also several different stations for us to play at including a Plinko game, a bean bag toss game, “Design Your Own Trucker Hat”, and a fun Fan Appreciation Photo Booth, where photos were instantly emailed to you for social sharing. It so fun to hang with our group over there.brad-paisley-concert-design-your-own-trucker-hat-ipadbrad-paisley-concert-finished-hatI loved the venue because it was held in an intimate location in the Tennis Theater, which is an open-air amphitheater. The warm Southern California weather didn’t even leave us wishing for a jacket that night.brad-paisley-concert-photo-booth-1brad-paisley-fan-appreciation-photoI’d never seen Brad Paisley in concert and let me just say that he was amazing! It’s so fun to sing along with him and the venue was so small that you could practically see his face. Actually, you could see it on the big screens surrounding the stage! I also loved all of the videos playing as he performed on the surrounding big screens. The Brad Paisley South Park footage was priceless! He even looks adorable when he’s animated! brad-paisley-concert-1brad-paisley-concert-with-friendsHave you seen Brad Paisley in concert before? If not, he’s a must see! For more information about Brad Paisley’s latest tour dates, go here.brad-paisley-concert-connect-with-frontier Get Insider Access by following Frontier SoCal on Instagram or join in on the conversation by following #FrontierSoCal.

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Extra Festive Hours at The Shops at Mission Viejo

The busiest shopping season of the year is just around the corner and The Shops at Mission Viejo is one of the places you’ll find me frequenting. This indoor mall has 150 stores and restaurants, including Nordstrom, H&M, Macy’s, Apple, Microsoft, Sephora, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and The Cheesecake Factory. This year, they’ll offer extra festive hours so that you can get more shopping time in and cross everything off your “list”!

extra-festive-hoursThe Shops at Mission Viejo will offer the following special Festive Hours: 
11/24 – 11/25/2016: 6pm – 1am (Thanksgiving)
11/25/2016: 6am – 10pm (Black Friday)
11/26/2016: 9am – 10pm (Holiday Shopping)
11/27/2016: 10am – 8pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/10/2016: 10am – 9pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/11/2016: 11am – 9pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/12 – 12/15/2016: 9am – 9pm (Holiday Hours)
12/16/2016: 9am – 10pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/17 – 12/23/2016: 8am – 10pm (Holiday Hours)
12/24/2016: 8am – 6pm (Christmas Eve)
12/25/2016: Closed (Christmas Day)
12/26/2016: 8am – 10pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/31/2016: 10am – 6pm (New Year’s Eve)
01/01/2017: 11am – 6pm (New Year’s Daysantas-waitingWhile you’re there, don’t forget to stop by to see Santa! He’s waiting for you in the Lower Level near Nordstrom! Catch a visit with him before he leaves back to The North Pole on December 24! ornamentsConnect with The Shops at Mission Viejo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is not a sponsored post. Images are property of Simon Malls. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 
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Thanksgiving Cornucopia Salad Recipe

This is a sponsored post written by me for Evite. All opinions are 100%  my own. #PasstheGiving

 

To celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I teamed up with Evite® and 7 other influencers to compile a special #Passthegiving Holiday Planning guide to help inspire fun, new twists on old traditions. Check out our Table of Traditions here to refresh your holiday celebrations. You can also download the holiday planning guide which has lots of creative ideas you can use for your own celebration! How amazing did our “Friendsgiving” table turn out? (Keep reading to find out which contribution in the photo was MINE!)evite-tableI’m always excited for the arrival of Fall because it means the holidays are on their way. Once Halloween is over, we can fast forward to Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite times of the year to gather with family and friends, enjoy great food, and enjoy each other’s company.memories-of-my-childhood-thanksgivingsWhen I think back about the Thanksgivings of my childhood, I remember my grandmother preparing the entire meal and our families all coming together to spend a day together. I don’t know how she pulled it all off all at once and served it hot! (My grandmother had this thing about her food being hot.) I’ve attempted to cook an entire Thanksgiving meal a couple of times and found it rather challenging.whats-your-favorite-way-to-celebrate-the-dayMy most favorite way to gather together and celebrate is by asking each family member or friend in attendance, to bring something table to share. Traditionally, our mothers taught us never to show up empty handed to someone else’s home, but that meant you should bring a plant, some flowers, or even a bottle of wine. I request each guest to prepare a dish to share that’s special to them. I like to use an Evite to keep track of who is coming and what they’re bringing. Have you seen their adorable collection of Thanksgiving invitations? It’s such a quick, easy way to send out invites with no postage required.  For the past few years, it’s been a real success and I love the variety of recipes that end up on our table.evite-friendsgiving

My grandmother used to make a salad to include as part of our Thanksgiving meal. Although her salad was a childhood favorite of mine, it was basically iceberg lettuce with carrots, tomatoes, and croutons and was topped with Thousand Island dressing. I don’t know many people who would choose to eat that nowadays. Does Thousand Island dressing even exist anymore?a-new-twist-on-an-old-traditionI do love to include a salad in our own Thanksgiving meal but my “go-to” salad is the “Cornucopia Salad“. It’s kind of a like a new twist on an old tradition. My salad combines baby lettuce, green apples, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, feta cheese crumbles, and candied almonds and the combination of the flavors is so delicious. I toss it in a light olive oil-based dressing.bountiful-harvest-salad-add-insCornucopia Salad is something I prepare several times a year because it just pairs really well with pretty much everything. It’s nice to have something that’s so simple to throw together. yet always seems to be a favorite among all of your guests. I’ve even prepared it for the days after Thanksgiving and thrown leftover turkey into it.cornucopia-salad-finished

cornucopia-saladIngredients for salad 

  • 6 cups lettuce of your choice, washed. Tip: Used bagged lettuce to save time. 
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained (I use 2 cans.)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese crumbles (blue cheese also works with this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • the juice from 1 lemoningredients for the candied almonds #EasyAsPotPie #ad

Ingredients for dressing

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

instructionsCandied Almond Preparation
Preparing the almonds is something that can be done ahead of time, like the day before. It is a little bit time consuming but well worth it because the candied almonds add such an amazing flavor to your salad. You’ll find it very “necessary” to sample a bunch of the candied almonds after they’ve cooled down.ingredients for the candied almonds #EasyAsPotPie #ad

  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and almonds and put over medium heat.
  • Continue to stir the mixture every couple of minutes until the sugar starts to melt.
  • Once this happens, continue stirring evenly to sugar coat all of the almonds evenly and then transfer from the pan to some foil, allowing the almonds to cool down and solidify a little bit.

Dressing Preparation
The dressing can also be made ahead of time, but no more than the night before.

  • Whisk together salt, pepper, sugar, and olive oil in a small bowl.
  • Finely chop up parsley and add to the mixture.
  • Set dressing aside and shake well before tossing onto Cornucopia Salad.bountiful-harvest-salad-dressing

Salad Preparation

  • Add lettuce to salad bowl.
  • Cut and core apple and either cut into large apple slices or dice it up. Next, add to salad bowl. If you don’t plan on serving right away, squeeze lemon juice onto apple to prevent browning.
  • Drain mandarin oranges and add to salad.
  • Add dried cranberries, feta cheese crumbles, and candied almonds to the bowl and mix everything together.
  • Set salad aside until you’re ready to toss with dressing and serve.

cornucopia-side-viewDo you have any special dishes that you like to prepare each year for Thanksgiving? This salad is one of the recipes I prepare that my friends and family are constantly asking for more of. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

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