Over The Top Mommy

Orange County

Knott’s Merry Farm: A Southern California Holiday Tradition Through Jan. 8

This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to attend a media preview at Knott’s in order to write this review. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Part of our family’s holiday tradition every year includes a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm during Knott’s Merry Farm.It’s such a fun place to visit and a true Southern California holiday tradition. If you’ve never been before, you’ll want to get there this year before it ends on January 8.knotts-merry-farm-entranceAll throughout the Park, there are wonderful, festive decorations, special shows, tasty treats, and the usual thrilling attractions for guests to enjoy. As you stroll through Calico Ghost Town, you’ll literally feel like you’ve stepped back in time and right into the town’s old-fashioned Christmas celebration, “Christmas in Calico“.
christmas-in-calicoFor the first time ever, the bustling streets of Calico are overflowing with seasonal joy as its gleeful citizens, from this summer’s Ghost Town Alive!, help guests celebrate the holidays with Christmas in Calico. knotts-merry-farm-mercantileknotts-merry-farm-town-hallNew this year, Calico’s Town Hall offers plenty of holiday activities for all to enjoy.New this year, Calico’s Town Hall offers plenty of holiday activities for all to enjoy. Little ones can pen Christmas letters to jolly ol’ Santa Claus or gather round for a special reading of the holiday classic the Night before Christmas by the Calico citizens. knotts-merry-farm-decorations-birdcageEveryone can also lend a hand around town by delivering gifts to some of the folks in Calico. Just outside Town Hall, cheerful Calico Carolers roam the festive streets sharing the sounds of the season though songs and hand bell chimes. knotts-merry-farm-carolersAlso in Ghost Town, be sure to save time to watch a performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”and O. Henry’s “A Gift of the Magi” brought-to-life at the Birdcage Theatre.knotts-merry-farm-magiYou can also find the toe tappin’, hand clappin’, comedy and bluegrass of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies in the Birdcage Theatre. They’re always a lot of fun to watch!

santas-christmas-cabinDuring Knott’s Merry Farm, the Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town is transformed into Santa’s Christmas Cabin for the holiday season. This is where you’ll find the jolly fellow himself.knotts-merry-farm-santa santas-christmas-cabin-toysSanta is sure to delight the young and young at heart. Send your season greetings to family and loved ones with special picture of the occasion, pictures can be purchased onsite.knotts-merry-farm-santa-photoYou’ll also want to indulge in one-of-kind seasonal treats like Santa’s freshly-baked cookies, mouthwatering pastries, exquisite chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick, seasonal craft beers, gourmet hot chocolate with marshmallows and hot spiced holiday wine, plus much more.knotts-merry-farm-hot-cocoaknotts-merry-farm-north-pole-treatsKnott’s world-famous holiday treats can also be found all throughout Ghost Town, including fresh poured-to-order maple lollipops at the Gold Trails Hotel, delectable homemade holiday churros from the Churro Factory and extra creamy Santa’s Milk and Cookie shakes from Coasters.knotts-merry-farm-ice-showReturning this year, the PEANUTS® gang, and a cast of world class ice skaters perform in the breathtaking ice show, “Merry Christmas, Snoopy!” in the 2,100 seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre. knotts-merry-farm-merry-christmas-snoopyIn this whimsical show, Snoopy enjoys all of the best parts of the season, including trimming the Christmas tree, awaiting Santa’s arrival, and attending the Christmas Ball! This ice show is a must-see and is my absolute favorite thing to go watch at Knott’s Merry Farm every year! christmas-crafts-villageThe annual Christmas Crafts village includes artistic craft holiday shops featuring power chainsaw sculpting and elegant glass blowing demonstrations. Entrance to the Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village is free Monday through Thursday, November 21 –December 8, and is included with theme park admission every day.whats-new-at-knotts-merry-farmYou’ll also want to make sure to check out what’s new for this year at Knott’s Merry Farm:

  • The all-new It’s The Merriest Christmas Show Ever, Charlie Brown at the Calico Mine Stage where the Peanuts gang put on the greatest Christmas pageant ever with Charlie Brown directing!
  • The all-new Calico Tree Lighting Ceremony featuring the Calico Citizens and Bell Choir followed by thousands of sparkling, dancing lights and delightful snowfall in Ghost Town set to beloved holiday tunes.
  • The all-new show A Peanuts Guide to Christmas at the Camp Snoopy Theatre has the Peanuts gang providing an entertaining primer designed to help everyone survive the holidays.

A visit to Knott’s Merry Farm is a true Southern California holiday tradition for so many families. Stop by between now and January 8 to join in on all of the fun!

Connect with Knott’s Berry Farm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For information about Knott’s Season Passes, go here.

 

 

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. 

 

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. 

 

Tickets Now on Sale for Irvine Park Railroad’s Christmas Train + Ticket Giveaway

I am so excited for the real holiday season to begin! Yes, I know Halloween is a holiday but my most favorite time of year starts the day after Halloween because then we get to countdown how many days until Christmas!irvine-park-christmas-train-family-pic-1One of our favorite annual traditions this time of year is to visit Irvine Park Railroad for their Christmas Train! Have you been before? It’s open 7 days a week from December 1-December 23rd and it’s a family event that’s not to be missed! It’s also so popular that it sells out very quickly! (Tickets for the Christmas Train may only be purchased in advance, online and are $12.00 per person. Children 24 months and younger are free. Click here to check the calendar and grab your tickets now!christmas-train-nightIrvine Park Railroad’s Christmas train will take you on an enchanting night ride through the historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. The train departs from the brightly-lit train station and drops passengers off at the North Pole. wish-listChildren can share their wish list with Santa (print out a free wish list to fill out and bring to Santa here.) and have their photo taken with him too. irvine-park-railroad-christmas-train-family-santa-photoIn addition to an option to purchase a Santa photo taken by Irvine Park Railroad, you may also take pictures with your own personal camera.irvine-park-railroad-smiling-with-santaAfter visiting with Santa, you’ll hop back aboard the train and enjoy the colorful Christmas lights and decorations, as well as the magical “Tunnel of Lights”, on the ride back to Santa’s Village.tunnel-of-lightsSanta’s Village is a fun area that includes a variety of festive activities, some require tickets, while others are free.frostys-mazeSanta’s Village Activities include:

  • Ice Fishing
  • Cookie Decorating
  • Carnival Games 
  • Moon Bounce (1 ticket per person for 10 minutes of jumping time.) 
  • Picture Stands (free)
  • Story Time with Mrs. Claus (free)
  • Coloring Corner (free)
  • Frosty’s Maze (free) 
  • Great Food (prices may vary)mrs-claus

Santa’s Village is located at the train station and is free to enter. Please note that if you were unable to purchase tickets to ride the Christmas Train, you are still able to come out and enjoy these fun holiday activities.with-lights

Please note: Regular train tickets, tokens, complimentary tickets, discount tickets, and/or coupons are not valid for the Christmas Train. All customers must ride the train to visit Santa Claus.giveaway-enter-to-win

I’m also hosting a giveaway for one of my lucky winners to win a great package including 4 Christmas Train Tickets, 6 Activity Tickets, and 1 Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park Double Surrey Bike Rental. To enter, go to the Rafflecopter below and follow the instructions. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Connect with Irvine Park Railroad on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.irvine-park-railroads-christmas-train-signIrvine Park Railroad is located inside of Irvine Regional Park, which has a fee to enter. Prices are as follows:
Weekdays $3.00 per vehicle
Weekends $5.00 per vehicle
Holidays $7.00 per vehicle
Parking FREE after 5:00 pm

This is not a sponsored post. I will be attending a special media preview night at Irvine Park Railroad in exchange for sharing about their annual Christmas Train in this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

No Tricks, Just Treats and Family Fun at Knott’s Spooky Farm!

The month of October is literally the start of my favorite time of year….Halloween Season! I can’t think of a better way to spend some family time than by visiting Knott’s Spooky Farm to check out their non-spooky, kid-friendly Halloween offerings. The weather couldn’t be more perfect and the decorations throughout the park, have me feeling all festive!knotts-spooky-farm-logo

knotts-spooky-farm-cauldronThis year, Knott’s Spooky Farm is a limited-time weekend event perfect for families and is open on weekend days during October, as well as Halloween day. All of the fun included in the price of a regular park ticket. (pumpkin and cookie decorating are available for a nominal fee.) Whether they choose to wear a costume or not, guests visiting the park are welcome to join in on all the fun Halloween activities. knotts-spooky-farm-photoHere are the fun experiences you won’t want to miss out on this year:

Ghost Town Treat Stops 
As kids enter the Park, they receive an orange bag for trick or treating. As you proceed down Main Street in Ghost Town, kids have the opportunity to stop at a variety of locations, mingle with the friendly ghosts, and trick or treat. It’s also fun to ring the doorbell of the whimsically themed doors at each location. Don’t forget to say “hi” the to witch also! Costumes for children are allowed but not required.knotts-camp-spooky-friendly-ghostknotts-camp-spooky-friendly-witchLinus’ Great Pumpkin Patch
Did you know that this year is the 50th anniversary of the animated classic Peanuts, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!? I remember watching this as a little girl.knotts-spooky-farm-50-years This year at Knott’s Spooky Farm, you’ll find Linus and Sally in Ghost Town with special Halloween themed activities inside Craft Barn.knotts-spooky-farm-coloring There are some fun activities to do inside like Peanuts coloring, games, decorating your very own pumpkin head,( for a nominal fee), and photo opportunities with Linus! You can also sit and watch the classic Peanuts special. It’s all very nostalgic. knotts-spooky-farm-paint-a-pumpkinknotts-spooky-farm-linus

Dia De Los Muertos 
This year, over to Fiesta Village, Knott’s has created some vibrant, non-scary fun with a Dia de los Muertos educational celebration of the season. Enjoy browsing through traditional shops with cultural creations for sale. For a nominal fee, you can also decorate a Sugar Skull cookie. Don’t miss this new for 2016 offering! knotts-spooky-farm-dia-de-los-muertosknotts-spooky-farm-calaverasPeanuts Dance Party and Pumpkin Patch Costume Contest
In the Camp Snoopy Theatre, there’s a ton of Halloween fun going on with the Peanuts Gang! The Peanuts gang host a spooktacular costume contest every day at 3:45 pm.  Families are invited to bring their festively costumed children for some Halloween fun! After the contest, you can also join the Peanuts characters for a Peanuts Dance Party!knotts-camp-spooky-theater-timesknotts-spooky-farm-theaterAlso, don’t forget to catch a performance of “Monsters Are Coming Charlie Brown!” in the Camp “Spooky” Theater, while you’re in Camp Snoopy. Guests of all ages can sing and dance in the aisles, along with the Peanuts characters to classic Halloween tunes.

Spooky Hallow Maze 
Even the littlest explorers in your family will enjoy the Spooky Hallow Maze in Camp Snoopy. Experience an enchanting adventure through a spooky forest with larger-than-life jack-o-lanternsknotts-spooky-farm-maze-photoWhile you’re at Knott’s for your day of fun, consider making the most of your visit by adding on the All-Day Dining plan. Guests with an All Day Dining plan receive a wrist band at any of the participating locations and enjoy one entrée and one side dish as often as every 90 minutes! knotts-camp-spooky-all-day-diningFor only $31.99 (plus tax) you can enjoy up to seven different dining locations throughout Knott’s Berry Farm. (Drinks are not included with the plan) To learn more about the All-Day Dining plan, go here. knotts-spooky-farm-pose-with-witchDon’t miss out on all the daytime family friendly fun at Knott’s Spooky Farm this year! You won’t find any tricks, just treats!

Connect with Knott’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You can join in on the conversation by following #KnottsSpookyFarm.

 

My family and I were provided with media tickets to Knott’s in order to write this review. All opinions are 100% my own. Logo is property of Knott’s and Cedar Fair.

 

 

 

 

I Got A Peek Inside The Smart Home in Rancho Mission Viejo (It’s Amazing!)

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to visit the Cox Smart Home in Canopy in Esencia, located the in the new, master-planned community of Rancho Mission Viejo. One of the model homes in the Canopy neighborhood was designed as a “Smart Home“. Warmington Residential and Cox Communications worked hand in hand to design this home to be inclusive of several “smart” features that are powered by Cox’s gigabit internet speed.cox-smart-home-in-canopyResidents of Rancho Mission Viejo are lucky to be the first in the area to have access to Cox’s G1GABLAST service, which is 100 times faster than the average U.S. Internet service!  Since Cox is the first broadband communications company to deliver gigabit-internet speed service to Orange County business and residential customers, residents in Rancho MIssion Viejo are basically living “The Gig Life”.

Watch this visual comparison of Internet speeds:

Why We ALL Need G1GABLAST! 
Let’s look at a digital snapshot of my life. There are 3 people who live in my home. Between the 3 of us, we have 3 laptops, 1 desktop computer, 1 wireless printer, 3 cell phones, 2 iPads, 1 mini iPad, and a gaming system. That’s a whole lot of devices! We aren’t always using all of them at once, but there are times when someone is telecommuting from home, while someone else is doing homework, and a 3rd person is on their phone or even blogging on their laptop. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to stop and ask others in your home to get off their device so you can have decent service!cox-smart-home-youll-never-have-to-say

I am so fortunate to live in the neighborhood of Esencia in Rancho Mission Viejo because we have G1GABLAST high speed internet and don’t have to worry about how many devices are running at once. Truth be told, we’re really spoiled now and I hope I never have to go back to “the old way”. I don’t think I would’ve survived with dial-up internet! cox-smart-home-welcomeGetting back to the Smart Home though…it was beyond cool to see the demonstrations they had going on, showcasing the capability of the home’s high speed internet and how it can handle more than 10 interactive, visually stimulating demonstrations at once.Some of what was going on included a Wi-Fi cooking with a food blogger, telehealthy sessions with CHOC Childrens (via InTouch mobile robot), online music lessons that were streaming, a Wi-Fi pet and Wi-Fi pet feeder, virtual educational instruction, and more! With everything happening at once in the home, the heavy bandwidth was really put to the test! cox-smart-home-infoHere are some of my favorite features from that day: 

WiFi Pet and Pet Feeder
It was fun to be greeted by Chip, the Robot pet, right when I walked through the front door. There’s nothing like coming home from a long day at work and having a pet there waiting for you. I realize that chip is a robot dog, but isn’t he adorable?

cox-smart-home-robot

These are some of the hottest toys that kids are asking for nowadays. The home also has “Feed and Go” Smart Pet Feeder set up, which has a built-in webcam that connects via Wi-Fi to the home network. Not only can you set it up to feed your four-legged companions, you can also keep tabs on them via your Smartphone.cox-smart-home-chip-and-biancaCox Contour Service With Voice Remote
Ryland Madison, director of Product Marketing, Cox Communications was on hand in the family room to talk about Cox Contour Service, which is available to all Cox customers. The remote offers a variety of features, which you can access from the couch. I know, firsthand, what an amazing set-up this is. You can even do everything with the “voice” button when you speak into the remote! No more searching through 1000’s of channels to find your show!cox-smart-home-contour

Wi-Fi Enabled Cooking
If you’re a foodie (like me), you may already know of Internet Chef Whitney Bond. She’s best known for her YouTube videos, demonstrating how to put together recipes in 30 minutes or less. Whitney was in the kitchen demonstrating how she prepares some amazing appetizers using a Wi-Fi enabled WeMo slow cooker, which was functioning on the gig-peed internet. She also treated us to some of her delicious cookies!cox-smart-home-whitney-bond-cookies For someone who relies on the internet for her job, having super fast speeds and capabilities within her home is essential. Whitney also showed us how she controls the slow cooker from her smart phone using the free WeMo app, even when away from home.cox-smart-home-whitney-bond-cooking-demoThis could be a game changer for a working mom like me who spends time driving to and from sports practices, but somehow needs to prepare a meal that’s ready immediately after practice, when I have a starving kid! Having the ability to adjust cooking time and temperature from the and and a smart device delivers the ultimate convenience and peace of mind.

Telemedicine sessions with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC)
In one of the bedrooms, there was a demonstration of a telemedicine session. Michelle Jones, the telehealth manager for CHOC Children’s and Dr. Jack Winkle with In-Touch Telemedicine. cox-smart-home-telemedicineDr. Winkle was speaking from the  In-Touch Express Robot because he was off-site at the time.. The capabilities of telemedicine are amazing, allowing the doctor-patient connection at any time to be possible. It’s basically going to be the house calls of the future! 

Streaming Online Music Lessons With Skype
I was so impressed to be able to watch world-renowned violinist, Jason Yang, give a violin lesson via Skype. cox-smart-home-jason-yangHis student was actually in Canada and Jason explained that he relies on Cox G1GABLAST to provide him with the necessary bandwidth to stream while he’s working.

With the increased digital needs of people living in the 21st century, Cox has recognized that gone are the days of having just 1 or 2 devices running in a home. Not only is technology a way of life, it’s also necessary for students and their homework, adults who telecommute form home, families streaming shows and movies at home, and using devices in the home that help make life easier overall. It seems like everything relies on internet speed and service.

      Canopy at Esencia is located at:

                100 Vasto St.

       Rancho Mission Viejo, Calif.  92694cox-smart-home-facadeMy experience inside the Cox Smart Home was nothing short of amazing! To learn more about Cox Communications and the services it offers, visit here.

 

Irvine Park Railroad’s 11th Annual Pumpkin Patch Opens Sept. 17

Fall is almost here and that means the start of pumpkin season is just around the corner at Irvine Park Railroad’s Pumpkin Patch!Pumpkin Patch Sign BoardThis year they’ll host their 11th annual Pumpkin Patch, which will be open beginning September 17th! The family friendly event, located just inside of Irvine Regional Park, includes fun activities for all ages. irvine-park-railroad-pumpkin-patch-2The Pumpkin Patch is located in Locomotive Loop and Miner’s Meadow just behind the train station. Thousands of pumpkins, in all shapes and sizes, fill the areas behind the train station. All visitors are sure to find the perfect pumpkin! irvine-park-railroad-pumpkin-patchThis year’s Pumpkin Patch activities will include:

  • Train rides
  • Hay rides
  • Panning for gold
  • A child-friendly haunted house
  • A hay maze
  • A moon bounce
  • Pumpkin ring toss
  • Carnival games
  • Cookie decorating
  • John Deere tractor racers
  • Face painting
  • Picture stands
  • Great food irvine-park-railroad-pumpkin-patch-cotton-candy

Watch this fun video highlighting the Irvine Park Railroad’s Pumpkin Patch:

New for 2016
This year, Irvine Park Railroad is adding the “Great Pumpkin Weigh Off!” This activity will take place on Saturday, September 24th starting at 11:00 am. Come see if Southern California pumpkin growers have what it takes to grow the biggest pumpkin in Orange County. Cash prizes will be awarded. There’ll also be a live band playing on this day from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. irvine-park-railroad-pumpkin-patch-face-paintingAdmission into the Pumpkin Patch is free. Prices for all other activities vary; please visit http://www.IrvineParkRailroad.com for additional information and costs.irvine-park-railroad-pumpkin-patch-hoursThe Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch is open daily from September 17th through October 31st.

Weekdays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Weekends 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

The parking fee for Irvine Regional Park is $3.00 per vehicle on weekdays and $5.00 per vehicle on weekends. Important parking information: As Halloween nears, visitors are encouraged to plan to arrive early to help avoid crowds, particularly on the weekend. Irvine-Park-Railroad-Pumpkin-Patch-train-2015Visit Irvine Regional Park’s other activities including Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park — fun and unique bike rentals that can be enjoyed by single riders or an entire family — paddle boat rentals, the Orange County Zoo and pony rides. Bike and paddle boat rentals are open daily at 10:00 am.Irvine-Park-Railroad-Pumpkin-Patch-giveaway-2015I’m excited to announce that Irvine Park Railroad is providing a prize package for one of my readers! The package includes 6 activity tickets, 1 Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park Bike Double Surrey Rental, and 1 Paddle boat rental. To enter, go to the Rafflecopter below. Good luck and thanks for reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Connect with Irvine Park Railroad on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

I was invited to visit the Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Getting to Know Kaiser Permanente: My KP Experience

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kaiser Permanente Orange County. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

I recently had the opportunity to visit Kaiser Permanente Orange County (in Irvine) for the first time and experience it through the eyes of a new patient. The KP Experience” is on boarding experience for new members as a way to get familiar with Kaiser Permanente.kp-orange-countyWhat to expect as a new member
Your first visit includes assistance with such things as the check-in process and the scheduling system. On that same visit, you actually meet with your primary care doctor to get to know them and allow them to go over your health and medical history. kp-welcomeAs a new member in a network, health care can sometimes seem hard to navigate, especially when it’s new-to-you health care. There are often different offices or labs to visit. Even having to drive to a pharmacy after an appointment can be another task. Did you know that most Kaiser Permanente Orange County locations include a pharmacy, a lab, X-ray services and more? During my visit, they literally walked me through everything and were so happy to answer any questions I had.kp-hospital-and-medical-officeThere are locations throughout Orange County, as far north as Brea and as far south as San Juan Capistrano, which include Tustin Ranch, Foothill Ranch and the new Radiation Oncology Center located at the Anaheim Medical Centerkp-all-under-one-roofKP members have easy access to services they need. Along with primary care, urgent care, emergency care, and labor and delivery, they have access to a wide choice of specialty services.  Busy families need convenience, and it’s simple to find the care your family needs at Kaiser Permanente Orange County

My Own KP Visit
Upon arrival, I noticed how soothing the decor and design was in the lobby. They brought elements of the outdoors inside. I especially enjoyed the artwork and murals throughout the building. As you walk around the buildings and courtyards, it’s evident that Kaiser is big on preventative care and healthy living as there are many signs with encouraging messages for good health on them. kp-hallway-mural-1I was quickly checked in at the main desk but I also learned you can access all of it on their app as well. (continue reading to learn more about their app)  After I was called into the office, I first sat to chat with the nurse while she took my vitals. They take the utmost precautions to preserve patient confidentiality. I like that you’re not just sitting out in the open, answering private questions about your healthy history, for all to hear.kp-check-in-processOnce I was placed in the room, my doctor came in promptly and introduced herself. As a new patient, this first visit is done with the doctor that’s going to be your primary care doctor. I loved how thorough my doctor she was and I never felt rushed during my visit.kp-choose-your-doctorDid you know that at Kaiser Permanente Orange County, you can actually choose your own doctor? I think sometimes people have the wrong perception and think that you must stay with the primary care doctor they’re assigned to initially, but that’s not true.  You can go to KP.org and search the doctors according to their personality and experience to find the best fit for you.

Going above and beyond traditional office visits
I loved the doctor I was put with so I don’t think I’d switch from her. In addition to traditional in-office visits, Kaiser Permanente also offers video visits with doctors, telephone appointments, and new clinics and a conveniences for their members. Also, primary care doctors can make referrals in office that are pre-approved which means there’s no waiting around for that authorization call after your referral to a specialist. It saves everyone so much time and waiting around. In this day and age, convenience is key and a necessity.

A KP mobile app
Wow! They even have a mobile app where kp.org members can schedule routine appointments, view their past office visit information, refill most of their prescriptions, and view most of the lab test results. Whether it’s at home, at work, in the grocery store, wherever, you can access all of that from your mobile device.
As a health care provider, Kaiser Permanente has been recognized consistently for providing high-quality care by reputable organizations, such as JD Power & Associates, the Leapfrog organization, U. S. News & World Report, WomenCertified and many others.

To learn more about Kaiser Permanente Orange County, visit http://www.kp.org/orangecounty. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter, too.

 

Back to School Shopping at Brea Mall + Enter to Win a $5000 Shopping Spree

I was provided with a gift card in order to shop for this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Back to School shopping is no easy task for a mom like me. It usually involves several trips to get everything that’s on “the list”. Luckily, I live close to Brea Mall. There are 4 major department stores (JcPenney, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Sears) at Brea Mall plus pretty much any other specialty store you can think of, so you know you’re going to find what you need there. (including a Starbucks for yourself!)brea-mall-back-to-school-starrbucksIt’s kind of funny to look at the fashion trends for back to school this year because they remind me of when was in high school! Lots of denim, including denim jackets and acid wash jeans, lace, plaids, chunky boots, preppy pieces, florals, and the best part is that they call a lot of it “vintage”.

Watch this hilarious clip about Moms and Back-to-School Shopping and see if you can relate?

Right now, Simon Malls, which includes Brea Mall, are having a “Throw Back to Back to School” contest. Here are the details:
Did you rock acid wash in the 80s? What about double denim before it was a trend again? Since there’s nothing we love more than a fashion flashback, we want to see your best back to school themed throwback photo from the 80’s and 90’s. To enter, just share your photo to Twitter or Instagram using #tbtbts and #contest for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card, plus a chance at our grand prize $5,000 shopping spree.You can also enter by commenting on your local Simon center’s Facebook contest post with your picture. Click here to go to the Brea Mall Facebook page contest. 

Some of the shops we hit up for Back-to-School shopping at Brea Mall include:

Vans – Right now they have a bunch of Nintendo merchandise including hats and backpacks that coordinate with tennis shoes. My daughter loves Princess Peach and was all over their collection. Word on the street is they can’t keep these items in stock. I guess we lucked out the day we went shopping!brea-mall-back-to-school-vans

Gymboree – I adore the collections at Gymboree because they always feature several pieces that you can mix and match to create different outfits. My niece was excited about the sign featuring Disney Channel’s Sofia Carson, and highlighting some of her favorite Gymboree picks. Everything kitty cat and sparkly gold, including a headband with cat ears on it. I couldn’t resist buying it all for her!  I also loved the superhero merchandise they had for both boys and girls, too! brea-mall-back-to-school-gymboree

Crazy 8 – My favorite thing in this store was the entire wall in both the boys and girls area, dedicated to “8 day denim…wear every day + more!” How clever! That’s exactly up my own alley except it’s just way too tiny. I also found more lunchboxes and backpacks that were matching. They have a ton of cute clothes at Crazy 8 including lots of navy/khaki and white school uniforms, all at great prices.brea-mall-back-to-school-crazy8Champs – Every kid needs tennis shoes. Some wear them every day as school shoes, some kids change into them for P.E. They have a huge selection of shoes in sizes ranging from toddler to adult. Champs also has t-shirts, shorts, workout wear, hats, athletic socks, and more. brea-mall-back-to-school-champs

Lush – Although this isn’t a typical store for shopping for “Back to School”, my daughter will tell you differently and insist it’s a “necessity”! She said we needed to get her all stocked up on these beautiful bath bombs and soaps and handmade cosmetics. I can see why all the girls want to shop here on mall trips. It smells amazing inside the store! brea-mall-back-toschool-lush

Hollister – You can find cute, trendy basics in here like denim jackets, t-shirts, skinny jeans, and cute summer tops. They also have shoes and purses. We’re so lucky to live in California and be able to dress like this pretty much year-round. brea-mall-back-to-school-hollister

Abercrombie – If you’re looking for “preppy” looks, this is the place to shop at. I found a lot of denim in here, as well as jackets, polos, and button-up shirts.brea-mall-back-to-school-abercrombieCharlotte Russe – The first thing that caught my daughter’s eye were the shoes! They had a big selection of the ankle boots that I used to wear. They also have a ton of denim choices and adorable tops and jackets. We found a lot of things to buy for school here. brea-mall-back-toschool-charlotte-russeClaire’s – If you’re a “girl mom” you probably already know about Claire’s. It’s more than just the place to get your ears pierced, it’s the ultimate accessory shop. They have a huge selection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, hair accessories, backpacks and purses, phone cases and holders, tablet covers, stickers, nail polishes and lip glosses and more! The girls were all over the sparkly pineapple accessories!brea-mall-back-to-school-clairesWell, as you can see, we had a lot of luck during our back to school shopping! Have you finished all of yours yet?

Connect with Brea Mall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too.

 

 

 

Celebrate Ghost Town’s 75th Anniversary at Knott’s

This summer has been such an exciting one at Knott’s Berry Farm with the 75th Anniversary Celebration of Ghost Town happening. knotts-ghost-town-signRight now when you visit the Park, you get to experience the Old West town of Calico, in a whole new way during Ghost Town Alive! It’s an interactive experience and will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a time capsule, as you join in on the daily lives of the citizens of Calico and are treated like one of their own. knotts-75th-ghost-town-celebration-saloonHere are just some of the fun activities you’ll should do while visiting Ghost Town:

  • Grab a copy of the town paper ghost-town-newspaper
  • Go to the Barbershop for a “shave” and a mustacheknotts-ghost-town-barbershopghost-town-mustache
  • Play a game of cards with the town Sheriff
  • Have your photograph taken the old-fashioned way knotts-ghost-town-75th-anniversary-photographers
  • Meeting the prospector and his trusty burro, Brutus
  • Get locked up in the town Jail knotts-ghost-town-75th-celebration-jail
  • Visit the animals in the Livery Stable 
  • Help the town folk by drawing “WANTED” posters
  • Participate in the town election and vote for the Mayor knotts-ghost-town-75th-celebration-the-mayor

Every evening, the day’s “story” culminates with a town-wide celebration of 75 years of Calico. You won’t want to miss out on the Hoedown. It’s fun for the entire family. ghost-town-2While you’re at Knott’s, you should also take a ride (or a few) on GhostRider, the longest, fastest and tallest wooden rollercoaster on the West Coast. It was recently re-opened after an extensive renovation and I speak from experience when I say, you NEED to go on it! It’s way smoother to ride now and kept me screaming the entire time! Watch this video of me braving GhostRider, along with my friends from Popsicle Blog, Polka Dots on Parade, and Dandelion Moms. (I’m in the 2nd row.)

Another must-do when you visit Knott’s is to have a delicious meal at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. It’s located just outside the gates of the Park and was also newly reopened after a complete refurbishment, which now also includes an outdoor dining area! There’s nothing quite like a meal from Mrs. Knott’s! To learn more about all of the new additions to the restaurant and menu offerings, go here.

Ghost Town Alive! is happening every day this summer at Knott’s Berry Farm. You’ll want to make sure to visit before it all goes away on September 5.ghost-town-burroConnect with Knott’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I was invited as a guest of Knott’s to spend a day in the Park in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own. Some images and logo are property of Knott’s. 

 

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