Over The Top Mommy

Orange County

The 2014 OC Fair: Summer Starts Here!

We are counting down the days until the 2014 OC Fair begins! The theme this year is Summer Starts Here and I can’t think of a more appropriate theme for the kickoff of summer! This year’s  fair will run from July 11-August 10!  It’s going to be 23 days of food, rides, exhibits, animals, music, action sports and fun! In addition to all of that, the venue also features the Toyota Summer Concert Series at the Pacific Amphitheatre and events in The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. I think everyone needs to check out the Super Pass option. It’s offered at one price and gives you entrance into the fair for the entire 23 days plus a bunch of other benefits. To get more info about the Super Pass and to purchase online, click here.

When I look back at some of our pictures from last year’s fair, I get even more excited about it! We absolutely LOVE visiting the farm animals, especially the piglets and the chicks! The farm is the first place we walk through each year when we get into the fair. Emi even thinks it’s fun to milk the pretend cow!

cow says moo

2 fingers

pet a lamb

piglets

faux milking

Emily also loves going on the kiddie rides. Sadly, she’s getting so tall that I don’t know how much longer she’ll be able to ride on them.

rides collage

It wouldn’t be a trip to the fair without some of the delicious fair food. We are always anxious to see what new items will be featured each year in the fried foods category, but honestly, I don’t think there’s anything that can beat the BBQ corn!

new food collage

corn closeup

The Fair is open Wednesday-Sunday. Concert tickets, action sports reserved seats, single-day general admission and the popular Super Pass are available for purchase online at ocfair.com or from the on-site Box Office. Free parking and shuttle service are available on Saturdays and Sundays from the Experian parking structure located off the Bristol St. exit of the 405 freeway.

What are YOU most excited about at this year’s fair? 

Is it something you want to see, something you want to ride, or something you’re excited to eat?

The Time Farrell’s SAVED My Daughter’s Birthday Party AND My Sanity

Here’s the back story: 
In case you didn’t know or hadn’t guessed, I’m the kind of mom who LOVES to throw a house party every year for my daughter’s birthday! I love to plan all of the details, far in advance, utilize Pinterest a ton throughout the entire planning period, seek out unique things to incorporate into the party and find vendors who are amazing but haven’t been very well known (yet). From the invitations to the coordinating printables to the custom cookies and the favors, I love all of it! 
I don’t know what happened this year? I started out with a fun theme in mind for Emily’s 9th birthday, even had a few amazing ideas in my “party notebook”  during the first few months of planning. What happened after that was just a series of hurdles followed by some awful events. The week prior to Emi’s birthday was the MOST challenging for me! Some of the obstacles I attempted to overcome included: a water leak in our ceiling, construction of that area, a majorly unexpected auto repair, a district walk through at my workplace, a heat wave paired with Santa Ana winds, a lady who was coming to do a little spa for the girls backing out, my inability to book someone new to come and do the party and probably the worst thing…..my daughter learning 3 days before her party that the cheer program she’d been in for almost 4 years, with the same coaches, was going to cease to exist as she’d known it! Yep, I had to inform her as I picked her up from school that day and then rush her to try out someplace new with some of her friends, all of which had bloodshot red eyes from crying! I cannot describe how horrible it felt to watch her become uncontrollably emotional and pretty much cry her little eyes out for the two days leading up to her party! 
Needless to say, by Thursday, I knew I had to make a Plan B for WHAT I was going to do to modify this party I was having the next day, with 13 little girls, since I’d had ZERO time to get things ready while dealing with all of the previous. 

Friday, May 2nd

I woke up at 3:45 a.m. and sat straight up in bed, suddenly wide awake. It was the day of Emily’s party. A thought came to mind…Farrell’s! We are HUGE Farrell’s lovers and there’s one very close to our home inside The Shops at Mission Viejo. I went online just to look at the kids menu and saw that there was any area to make a reservation online. I assumed it would only take a reservation for small parties but sure enough, when I entered my date, time and number in our party (13 kids and 3 adults) it took my reservation! I think I let out a big sigh of relief at that point. I think I knew right then, at 4 a.m., that everything was going to be OK.

I remember taking a picture of my laptop screen after I made my online reservation at 4 a.m. because I so overjoyed!

We’ve been to Farrell’s a couple of different times over the past few months, including the amazing grand opening at their newest Buena Park location AND Barbie’s birthday celebration at The Shops at Mission Viejo. I don’t think it’s possible to visit a Farrell’s without having an amazing time! Each of their locations exudes a crazy amount of positive energy and the food and nostalgia are something extra special for me that remind me of my own childhood .
I actually called Farrell’s around 10 a.m. that morning, just to double check with the manager on duty that they’d gotten my online reservation and that it was going to work out for a party our size.  I spoke with “Steven”  and he was so helpful on the phone and he confirmed that he did have my reservation. He asked me a few questions about our party and we decided together that our party would best be seated up front, in the area closest to the ice cream bar. It’s the location where you get the most drum action and that’s a biggie, right? Steven then reviewed the staff scheduled to work that evening and let me know that he’d be having “Michael” as our server, reassuring me that we’d be in good hands. This literally brightened up my day and I hung up smiling.
When I picked up Emily from school that day and told her about the slight change in our party plans, she had a huge smile on her face! She thinks she’s this big Farrell’s VIP because she’s hung with the best of the Farrell’s peeps at some of their different locations! In her world, this party would just be one more event that she could add to her Farrell’s repertoire!
Upon our arrival, it was such a pleasure to meet the manager on duty, Steven. He greeted us at the front desk and made Emily feel special, mentioning that he already knew it was her birthday and giving her a special birthday sticker to wear! He had mustache stickers and menus for all of the girls to color and led us to our table, which was already set up. Steven was so considerate that he even sat the 3 adults at our own table, separate from the table of 13 screaming girls! It was like the reverse of having “a kids table”!

Our server, Michael, came right over to the girls’ table and was ready to get the party started! He was so patient with all of them. I don’t know HOW he had the patience to deal with the craziness of 13 screaming 9 year olds but I can confirm that the guy was like an instant hit with the girls! (obviously)

I can’t even say enough good things about our server, Michael!

I need to point out something else that amazed me about our server…his knowledge of the Farrell’s menu. I’m not talking about their regular menu…I mean the fact that when we informed him about one of the girls who is “gluten-free”, he turned to us and said, “you don’t have to worry, I have A LOT of knowledge about this and I will take care of her!” He then went and grabbed one of their gluten-free menus and helped her with her special order. I think that was the point he definitely won the 2 moms over in our party! (Farrell’s also offers a “nut allergy” and “egg allergy” menu for guests)

Farrell’s has a gluten free menu!
They also have “nut allergy” and “egg allergy” items!

Michael kept the Shirley Temples and strawberry lemonades flowing at the girls’ table! I must’ve apologized to him about 100 times for all of the screaming and craziness coming from their table and he just kept telling me NOT to apologize and let me know that he works with kids like this every day and enjoys it! Ha! And here I was thinking I was the crazy one!

As if the girls weren’t already excited just to be hanging out, 
they let out some extra noise when dinner arrived table side. 
The Kids Mac and Cheese seemed to be a big hit at our table!
I ordered the Grown Up Grilled Cheese!

Dinner was a success and we ready to move onto the best part of all! The girls knew what would come next…a special birthday sundae, a special birthday song and a whole lotta drum….. all in honor of Emily’s 9th birthday! 

The singing hadn’t even started and she was already blushing!
This video can give you a good idea of what it’s like to celebrate your birthday at Farrell’s! (I think Emi was trying to hide) 
And then they all dug into their own kid sundaes! Mmm!
The kids sundaes are a good size and so yummy!

By this point I was so relieved and so pleased at how everything had worked out. It wasn’t just a birthday meal out but a total celebration and all because of everything that Farrell’s has to offer in its dining experience. I just have to say “Thank you, Farrell’s!” not only for saving my daughter’s birthday party this year, but for also saving my sanity! We will be back soon! 

The girls had so much fun at Emily’s birthday celebration at Farrell’s!
For more information about Farrell’s and to check out their regular menu, as well as information about parties, click here.

 

 

Our Perfect Day at the Irvine Park Railroad’s Eggstravaganza

We had so much fun spending an afternoon at the Irvine Park’s Easter Eggstravaganza, which is located inside of Irvine Regional Park. 

In addition to the beautiful natural scenery, it’s all decorated for Easter too! Everywhere you turn, there are adorable children, dressed up in their best spring outfits. It’s the perfect setting and occasion to photograph some precious moments, that’s for sure!

The Eggstravaganza features so many different activities to choose from that we weren’t sure where to start. 
The activities include: 
     *Easter egg hunts
     *Photos with the Easter Bunny
     *Train rides
     *Hay rides
     *Cookie decorating
     *Face painting
     *A bunny bounce house
     *Various picture stands for photo opportunities
     *Carnival games

So, we basically decided to do them all! 

I loved how organized the Easter egg hunt was. We first obtained a wristband for the age-appropriate time for Emi. They created very fair rules for the children, first sitting them all down together, to explain the rules for the hunt, discussing how many eggs they could “find” and take home in their baskets, as well as other candy they might find on the ground. The kids were so excited to get started and sprinted at the cue to begin. 

Although we remembered to bring our own basket, they do have baskets for sale there, as well. 

Emi was mesmerized by how much candy there was in the egg hunt area, in addition to the eggs! 
After the egg hunt, we strolled over to visit the Easter Bunny. He was extremely interactive with the Emily, first playing peek-a-boo with her, which helped make her unafraid to sit with him. That’s something that might be a relief for parents with hesitant children. 

Pictures like this, melt my heart!

Apparently visiting the Easter Bunny makes you hungry, so we stopped by the snack shack for some freshly popped popcorn, before heading on over to the face painting area!

The artists in the face painting booth that would create each child’s ideal design for them. Emi let her artist know that she preferred more of an arm design, as opposed to having her face painted. 

She loved her “tattoo” so much, that I think she hid from the water in the shower hitting that arm for as long as she could! 

I loved all of the different photo opportunities there were throughout the area. Emi tried to convinced me to get in this one, but I let her do the honors! 

I love this one! My little chick!

I was most startled by this one..it shows how tall Emi is getting! She’s only 8! Wow! 

Next, we hopped aboard the train, which for me, is the best part of the entire thing. There’s just something about trains that reminds me of childhood! Emi chose to sit directly behind the engineer! We took the token “train selfie” as we relaxed on the long ride.

For our finale, we visited the cookie decorating booth, where Emi got her very own sugar cookie to decorate with colored frostings and sprinkles. What more could a kid ask for? 

It was such a fun afternoon. 
Head on over before the fun ends on April 19th! 



Irvine Park Railroad Easter Eggstravaganza 2014 & Giveaway

If you have ever been to Irvine Regional Park, you know how much amazing family fun it has to offer! Among some of the activities you can do are hiking, biking ( they even have bike rentals), rent paddle boats, pony rides, visit the Orange County Zoo, and even have a picnic!  If you’ve never been, you need to take your family there right away! 
One of our favorite things to do in the park is to ride the Irvine Park Railroad. In past years, we’ve gone in December for the Irvine Park Railroad’s Santa Train and festivities! 
This year we’re excited to visit for it’s annual Easter Eggstravaganza, which begins on Saturday, March 29th and runs through Saturday, April 19th! Children and adults can ride the train through beautiful Irvine Regional Park. Children, ages 2 through 12 years old, also have the opportunity to participate in an Easter egg hunt, hunting for eggs that are each filled with either candy or a prize.  
You can purchase tickets for your child(ren) to participate in the Easter egg hunts, which begin at 10:00 AM daily. Tickets will be exchanged for a wristband which will indicate a specific time for the egg hunt they’ll be participating in. Don’t forget to bring an Easter basket for each child who is participating in the Easter egg hunt. Irvine Park Railroad will also offer Easter baskets for purchase. Tickets must be purchased on the day of the event, in order to receive a wristband for the Easter egg hunt. Please visit http://www.irvineparkrailroad.com for complete details on the Easter egg hunts, including times and costs.

During the Easter Eggstravaganza, children can meet the Easter Bunny at a cost of $10.00 per family or group. This cost includes a picture that will be taken by Irvine Park Railroad staff and available for pickup shortly after the picture is taken.

There will be other activities to enjoy during the Easter Eggstravaganza including hay rides, a moon bounce, Easter cookie decorating, carnival games, face painting, picture stands and a lot more. Please visit http://www.irvineparkrailroad.com for full details including costs.

Irvine Park Railroad’s other annual events include the Anniversary Celebration, Pumpkin Patch, and Christmas Train.

Become a fan of Irvine Park Railroad on Facebook, follow us onInstagram (Irvine Park Railroad), view pictures on Flickr, and follow our tweets on twitter (@IrvineParkRR).
While at Irvine Regional Park, be sure and visit the parks other activities including Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park bike and paddle boat rentals, pony rides and the Orange County Zoo.

The park entrance fee – charged by the County of Orange – is $3.00 per vehicle on weekdays and $5.00 per vehicle on weekends.
Irvine Park Railroad opens daily at 10:00 AM. The cost for train tickets is $5.00 per person; children younger than 12 months ride free. Irvine Park Railroad is located at 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869.

We can’t wait to go to the Easter Eggstravaganza 2014! 
Emi already has her outfit and her Easter basket ready to go! 
Now for the giveaway….you can enter to win 6 tickets (which can be used to ride the train OR participate in Easter Eggstravaganza activities) and 1 Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park surrey rental (excludes double surrey)! Enter the giveaway in the Rafflecopter below! 
Good luck to everyone! 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to U.S. Residence. No purchase necessary to enter. All fans have an equal chance to win, however, you must enter to win. A winner will be randomly selected via RaffleCopter and notified via email. No cash value. Winner will have 36 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected the same way. Several different ways to earn entries. Not liable for unclaimed prizes or fulfillment. Sponsor has the right to refuse filling prize for duplicate winners from other blogs. Winner’s tickets will be mailed directly to home (or mailing address) and will not be available for will call at this event. 

photos courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad

Christmas Eve Morning at The Disneyland Resort With Our Elf on the Shelf!

What do you do when it’s Christmas Eve day, you don’t have to be at dinner until 6:30 p.m. and you still haven’t had a chance to take your daughter to see Santa yet? You head straight to The Disneyland Resort, that’s what you do! What a beautiful, sunny, Southern California morning it was, too! There aren’t too many places you can be where you actually NEED to wear sunblock on December 24th!

Emily & I decided to visit Disney’s California Adventure first! There was NO LINE to see Santa over at Elias & Company! We walked right in and Santa immediately struck up a conversation with Emily. As you can tell by this photo, she was mesmerized by him.

I’m pretty sure she’s asking him for the Frozen castle here.
I love everything about the setup of this Santa location. It’s just so old fashioned and Christmas-y and if it hadn’t been so blazing hot, I would’ve put Emi in her actual Christmas dress for the photo. Regardless, I think we got some beautiful pictures to add to her memory book.

Santa also had an absolutely beautiful elf named “Tinsel” that was helping him and passing out candy canes to the guests as they exited from sitting for their photo. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic of Emi with her also.

Seriously though, how adorable is this elf?

Emi and I also had another mission on our visit….we had to bring her Elves on the Shelf with us! Yep, they had written her a note, asking if she could take them to Disneyland! They told her that Santa had given special permission for Mommy to touch the elves to move them and take them to Disneyland. We just hadn’t had much time during December to visit the parks and since the elves were returning to The North Pole that evening, this was our LAST chance. The tricky part about this was that 1)only Mommy could touch the elves, because children DON’T touch the Elf on the Shelf and 2)We needed to be careful as NOT to spoil any magic for other children at The Resort. I carried the elves in our backpack and we took them out for a few photo opportunities. There was one incident when two small children spotted them and were trying to tell their mom they had seen them, so we just sat back and pretended not to notice the elves and then as soon as the children were long gone, we grabbed the elves, stuffed them BACK into our backpack and ran! It was pretty funny to have elf shenanigans going on!

Our elves INSISTED on wearing these buttons!
There are always a lot of “good parts” about each trip to the parks but on this particular day, Emi was REALLY excited about getting to ride in the front of Monorail Blue….WITH her elves! Since there weren’t any other children up there with us (who might’ve gotten freaked out), we could have the elves out of the backpack!
Patiently awaiting the front spot on Monorail Blue!
This is Disney Magic at work!
CM Manuel even let the elves help navigate, once we started moving and had to sit down!

It was such a great Christmas Eve morning at The Disneyland Resort! We are so blessed to be able to just run over to the parks for a few hours and be able to do something like this! Happy Holidays!

Home Depot Kids Workshop

In our family, we LOVE going to the Home Depot Kids Workshop every month. These events are held at any Home Depot, are free of charge, and are a great hands-on experience. They’re recommended for children between the ages 5 and 12 and give children an opportunity to build a project by assembling, painting, and often using stickers as the final touch. I already have the 1st Saturday of each month marked on each of my pocket calendar pages, as well as my iPhone calendar. We try to be there right at 9 a.m. sharp because Emi always wants to be the first one! Workshop hours are 9 a.m. until 12 noon.

Emi loves wearing her own personalized, Home Depot apron to the event because, well, she IS my daughter and always needs to dress for the theme or the occasion! (I think I’ve taught her well.) If your child doesn’t have one yet, they can also get one on the day of the event AND put their name on it.

All children receive a special themed pin that matches the project to add to their apron, as well as a certificate of achievement for EACH monthly Kids Workshop that they attend!
Click on the link here to see what the next scheduled workshop is going to be and register!

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