Over The Top Mommy

Locca Churros + Tea Now Open Inside Union Market at Kaleidoscope Center

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

Have you heard the latest news about Union Market at Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo? Locca Churros + Tea is now open! Locca Churros + Tea  offers handcrafted tea drinks, bubble teas and made-to-order churros using fresh ingredients, and you’re going to be all over their entire menu!Locca recently purchased the popular Milk Box location at Kaleidoscope and is still serving the award-winning boba and milk tea menu that Milk Box was known for, along with new tea drinks Crazy Brown Milk Tea, Strawberry Jasmine Tea, Strawberry Matcha Tea, New topping options include Popping Boba Strawberry, Lychee Coconut Jelly, Fruit Mix Jelly, and Popping Boba Mango. Drink prices start at $3.50.Locca has also introduced fresh-made churros and ice cream. Churros, made fresh to order, are available with cinnamon sugar or dipped in real Belgium chocolate, and can be ordered with ice cream and a selection of toppings. Churros start at $4.50.

“Southern California is an epicenter of great food and food trends, and we hope to add to that, with our carefully handcrafted, freshly made churros, teas and boba. These are the perfect drinks and snacks to enjoy with friends, business colleagues at lunch, or as dessert after enjoying a meal, movie or other entertainment with your family here at Kaleidoscope.” – said co-founder Emre Yenici.

Locca Churros + Tea is part of Union Market Mission Viejo on the upper level of Kaleidoscope, at 27741 Crown Valley Pkwy., adjacent to the 5 Fwy., in Mission Viejo. For more information, please call 949.420.9191 or visit http://www.thelocca.com.

images and logo are property of Kaleidoscope and Locca Churros and used with permission.

Great Wolf Lodge’s Spring-A-Palooza Returns March 16 + Have Tea With the Characters

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Great Wolf Lodge is springing into 2019 with the return of its fun-filled Spring-A-Palooza celebration. Families staying at any Great Wolf Lodge between March 16 – April 28, 2019 are sure to have a pawesome time as the resort comes into full bloom with a collection of exclusive spring-inspired events such as bubble dance parties and a special character-led tea party. Guests will splish and splash in the 84 degree waterpark and create memories that will last a lifetime.Along with a vibrant and colorful transformation of the lobby, here are some additional entertainment options for families to enjoy during the six week Spring-A-Palooza event:
Northwood’s Tea Party with Violet & Friends: new for 2019, beloved wolf Violet will host a tea party on select days of the week. Violet and friends’ tea party will feature songs, dances, cookie decorating, crafts and games. Of course, no party would be complete without a special character meet and greet.Other Spring-a-Palooza offerings this year include:
Bubble Dance Party: This special Spring-a-Palooza event fills the Grand Lobby with cascading bubbles while Great Wolf Lodge’s Ambassadors of Fun keep energy-levels high with a family-friendly dance party.Spring-a-Palooza Story Time: Great Wolf Lodge’s nightly Story Time takes on a spring theme with a new tale featuring the Great Wolf Lodge characters called “Natural Wonders.” Kids are encouraged to wear their favorite jammies to the Grand Lobby for this event and will have the opportunity to meet one of the Great Wolf Lodge characters in person.Jelly Bean Guessing Game: A gigantic jar filled to the brim with jelly bean candies sits in the Grand Lobby and guests are invited to enter a contest guessing how many delicious treats are within the jar. The guests closest to the correct number without going over will be entered for a chance to win a Great Wolf Lodge Gift Card.Spring Themed Crafts: During Spring-A-Palooza, the resort’s Ambassadors of Fun will host several spring-inspired craft making events for kids of all ages. Character-themed crafting projects include Oliver’s Crazy About Bugs Jar, Violet’s Springtime Noodle Doodle, Brinley’s Don’t Blow Away Kite and Wiley’s Can You Spot It Binoculars.Along with the always complimentary water park entry for all overnight guests, all of the Spring-A-Palooza events are complimentary for guests staying at the resort. A complete listing of daily activities and times can be found in the Lodge Life event schedule provided to guests upon check-in.For more information on Great Wolf Resorts and its brands of indoor water park resorts, please visit greatwolf.com.

Some images are property of Great Wolf Lodge and used with permission. 

Disney Sponsors Anaheim’s First Ramped Playground for Children with Disabilities

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

More than 300 volunteers from the Disneyland Resort, city of Anaheim and Anaheim Family YMCA will join KaBOOM! on Saturday, Jan. 26 to transform an empty site into a playground with accessible play features for children with disabilities in just six hours at Barton Park in Anaheim. The new playground is the 11th Disney-sponsored KaBOOM! playground in Anaheim, and will be Anaheim’s first ramped playground for children with disabilities.

The unique equipment and accessibility features allow children to play together regardless of ability. Numerous features also were included with the visually impaired community in mind.

Play is essential to the physical, creative, cognitive, social and emotional development of every child.

The idea of adding accessible play features to this playground came from Disneyland Resort cast members in the CastABLE diversity resource group. CastABLE is one of several diversity resource groups at the Disneyland Resort that makes sure the experiences that Disneyland Resort provides are inclusive and relevant.

In September, children from the surrounding community, including students at Barton Elementary School, came together to envision and draw their dream playground. The playground is based off their drawings and will provide more than 650 kids in Anaheim with a great, safe place to play.

This playground is one of many made possible with support from Disney, as part of The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to creating healthier generations by bringing the gift of active play to kids and families who need it most.

The ceremony will feature speakers from the Disneyland Resort, KaBOOM!, Anaheim and Anaheim Family YMCA.  Here is a tentative schedule for Saturday, January 26:

  • 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Kick-off ceremony
  • 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Best viewing of playground construction
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Final construction phase
  • 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Ribbon-cutting ceremony

Barton Park is located at
1926 Clearbrook Lane
Anaheim, CA 92804

 

Mickey’s Mix Magic at Disneyland + Download the Song from the Show

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

2019 is off to an extra special start at The Disneyland Resort as Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration is in full force! It’s the biggest party for Mickey and Minnie in Disneyland history and celebrates 90 years of magic with the beloved pair! As part of this special celebration, guests will discover new and enhanced entertainment for a limited time and last night we had the opportunity to stop by and watch the all-new “Mickey’s Mix Magic”! (Download the wallpaper below from Disney Parks Blog HERE.) 

“Mickey’s Mix Magic” is an all-new, high-energy projection show that creates a family-fun dance party throughout Disneyland park nightly. The show immerses guests in an all-new experience with projections, lighting and lasers (plus fireworks on select nights) while “DJ” Mickey spins a twist on Disney classic songs.

The other night, I stood in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A., which is one of the three viewing areas in the park for this, and danced and sang with 1,000,000 of my closest Disney friends to “It’s a Good Time”, which is the celebration song from the show. I was enamored as I stood and watched all of the amazing projections light up the store fronts, at the same time the fireworks were happening! Here’s a video of the show from where I was standing:

Where to Watch the Show
There are 3 different viewing areas inside Disneyland Park that guests can watch the show:  Main Street, U.S.A., the façade of “it’s a small world” and the water screens of the Rivers of America (when “Fantasmic!” returns in March). Each of the areas has a custom projection design, which makes for a unique show experience wherever guests are. More than two dozen video projectors bring “Mickey’s Mix Magic” to life throughout the park, and 14 of those are on Main Street, U.S.A., alone.

The Music from Mickey’s Mix Magic
The new celebration song “It’s a Good Time” was written and produced specifically for the “World’s Biggest Mouse Party” that is underway at Disney Parks around the world, celebrating 90 years of magic with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Guests will also dance and sing along to these tunes during “Mickey’s Mix Magic”:

  • “I Wanna Be Like You” (The Jungle Book)
  • “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” (The Aristocats)
  • “Friend Like Me” (Aladdin)
  • “Grim Grinning Ghosts” (theme song from The Haunted Mansion attraction)
  • “Un Poco Loco” (Coco)
  • “Let It Go” (Frozen)

The musical score of “Mickey’s Mix Magic” is inspired by the irresistible beat of “house music,” bringing energy and fun that appeals to the whole family. The multi-speaker audio design in “Mickey’s Mix Magic” supports the “dance party” feel of the show throughout the park, immersing guests in surround sound. (Download “It’s A Good Time” HERE.)Other Fun Facts about “Mickey’s Mix Magic”

  • Nearly 100 special lighting fixtures are utilized throughout the show, and they sit atop 10 different rooftops throughout the park.
  • Disney Parks Live Entertainment collaborated with the team behind the latest Mickey animated shorts to bring the youthful, playful and mischievous personality of Mickey Mouse to the show. Minnie Mouse is also featured, showing off some of her dance moves from the pair’s popular international cartoon adventures.
  • Much of the mapped video projection of “Mickey’s Mix Magic” is original content. Instead of cinematic scenes, favorite Disney characters are creatively showcased amidst kaleidoscopic patterns that move with the music beat.

“Mickey’s Mix Magic” was a truly magical experience and something I really want to go back for again and again. Have you experienced it yet?  Leave me a comment and tell me what you thought.

Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration is a great reason to plan a visit to Disneyland Resort, especially while the limited-time Southern California Resident Ticket Offer is going on.  To read about some of the other things that are new for 2019 at Disneyland Resort, go HERE.

Some images, wallpaper and artwork are property of Disney, Disney Parks Blog and iTunes. 

Marie Callender’s Whole Pie To-Go Sale Jan. 18 – Feb. 28

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

Marie Callender’s Whole Pie-To-Go Sale is under way! From January 18 through February 28, guests can choose from more than 20 varieties of Marie Callender’s, starting at just $7.99 plus a tin deposit. Fruit Pies are offered at $7.99 plus a tin deposit and include:

  • Apple: Sliced sweetened apples, spiced with cinnamon.
  • Apple (No Sugar Added): Contains natural apple sugars, spiced with cinnamon.
  • Cherry: With juicy, tart, red cherries.
  • French Apple: Our traditional apple pie with a crumbly cinnamon streusel topping.
  • Peach: With thick sliced peaches.

Cream Pies are offered at $8.99 plus a tin deposit and include:

  • Banana Cream: Fresh ripe bananas, rich vanilla cream, fresh whipped cream or a fluffy meringue.
  • Chocolate Cream: Chocolate blended with our creamy vanilla custard.
  • Coconut Cream: Coconut folded into our rich vanilla cream.
  • Custard: Real vanilla and a dash of nutmeg accent this rich egg custard.

Specialty Pies are offered at $9.99 plus a tin deposit and include:

  • Chocolate Satin: Rich chocolate fills a chocolate cookie crust, with a rim of freshly-whipped cream.
  • Cream Cheese: A melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese filling in a graham cracker crust, with a pure sour cream topping.
  • Kahlua Cream Cheese: Kahlua mocha throughout our velvety cream cheese pie in a chocolate cookie crust.

Please note: Pie Sale excludes cheesecakes, seasonal fresh fruit pies, and promotional pies.

You’ll want to stop by Marie Callender’s more than once during their Whole Pie-To-Go Sale, especially on January 23, which is National Pie Day! Do YOU have a favorite kind of pie at Marie Callender’s? Share with me in the comments! For more information, including a complete listing of pies and to find a location nearest you, please visit HERE.

Images are property of Marie Callender’s and used with permission.

House of Blues Announces BluesBusters Program Featuring Monthly Deals

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

House of Blues, the world’s premier live music and restaurant brand, announced its new BluesBusters program, allowing fans to enjoy custom restaurant promotions and unique experiences at preferred pricing.Every month a new offer will be revealed and will only be available for purchase during that month’s promotional period, after which a new offer is revealed HERE

“Our customers are always looking for new ways to experience House of Blues and we’re really excited about launching BluesBusters with an amazing restaurant offer. As part of Live Nation we have the ability to interact with new and existing customers and have built a program that reaches the right customers through a variety of different channels, providing them a great product that rewards them for being loyal fans of House of Blues or encourages them to give us a try. We’re going to have a lot of fun with this, with great offers all year long” Felix Mussenden, EVP Operations House of Blues Entertainment.

Offers will vary throughout the year and will be inclusive of the restaurant, retail store and even live concerts and VIP experiences with more exciting features be added such as deals of the day and special opportunities for fans during guests’ birthday month. The first BluesBusters offer kicks off the program in a big way and gives fans an extra $20 in value if they purchase a $30 restaurant certificate, a savings of 40%. Having just celebrated their 25th Anniversary, House of Blues has welcomed tens of millions of fans through its doors for legendary live music and their renowned cuisine and hospitality. To learn more about BluesBusters, please visit http://www.houseofblues.com/bluesbusters.

About House Of Blues
Founded in 1992, The 13 House of Blues are located throughout the United States and form the country’s pre-eminent group of intimate music venues. Each features state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology in one-of-a-kind custom designed environments aimed to bring fans as close as possible to the artists. Every location’s restaurant and bar is adorned with signature original folk-art – part of the world’s largest collection – combined with the House of Blues legendary hospitality and tantalizing southern-inspired cuisine.

Logo and image property of House of Blues and used with permission. 

Celebrate Lunar New Year and the “Year of the Pig” at Universal Studios Hollywood Starting February 2

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

Universal Studios Hollywood will usher in the “Year of the Pig” and celebrate Lunar New Year beginning February 2 and continuing through February 17. Uniquely-themed programs will feature Hello Kitty, DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda masters Po and Tigress and a Mandarin-speaking Transformer’s MEGATRON. This spectacularly-themed Lunar New Year tradition will take place within Universal Plaza, located at the heart of the theme park. Under a curtain of customary red Chinese lanterns and stunning plum blossom Wishing Trees, the festivities will come to life as guests discover the 12 zodiac animal signs accompanied by their symbolic attributes.The centerpiece of the Lunar New Year festivities will feature DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda Jade Palace Performance Stage and the exciting Dragon Warrior Training Show based on the beloved Kung Fu Panda franchise. The energetic experience is designed to engage guests of all ages in an interactive martial art demonstration performed by Master Po and friends. The immersive event will also feature seasoned animators teaching guests techniques to draw Po and the Furious Five as keepsake mementos.

Some of the Lunar New Year festivities this year will include:

  • DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda’s famous Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop is back by popular demand to serve up delicious culturally-themed food such as Po’s Dumplings, Dragon Warrior Bao, Oogway Eggrolls and Secret Ingredient Stir Fry Noodles. Mr. Ping himself will be on hand to interact with guests and take memorable souvenir photos.
  • Beloved global pop icon Hello Kitty, created by the global lifestyle brand Sanrio, will further complement this year’s Lunar New Year celebration when she steps out in style wearing her signature red bow and specially-designed Lunar New Year attire. Hello Kitty will be available to meet guests at the Hello Kitty Shop located within the new Animation Studio Store.
  • Keeping with Universal Studios Hollywood’s Lunar New Year tradition, a Mandarin-speaking Transformer’s MEGATRON will greet guests at the entry of the festivities. The imposing 12-foot-tall robot leader of the DECEPTICONS will interact with guests, engaging them both in Mandarin and in real time conversation reflective of his persona. A resident of Universal Studios Hollywood, MEGATRON is one of the stars of Universal Studios Hollywood’s thrill ride, “Transformers™: The Ride-3D.”
  • Illumination Entertainment’s Minions from the theme parks’ popular Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride will also join the festivities, stepping out in style and dressed up in brightly colored traditional Lunar New Year attire.

Uniquely themed experiences offered in Mandarin include the theme park’s signature Studio Tour and the exclusive VIP Experience, both of which provide two distinctive and revealing looks at an authentic movie and television studio. Featuring expertly-trained Mandarin-speaking tour guides both opportunities provide insight into the world of movie-making magic as guests enjoy a front row seat and behind-the-scenes access to one of the largest production studios in the world. In-language park maps are also available for guests.

Guests can continue their Lunar New Year celebration at Universal CityWalk’s Dongpo Kitchen restaurant featuring upscale and modern Sichuan cuisine. Inspired by China’s premier restaurant Meizhou Dongpo, Dongpo Kitchen offers the comforts of a casual dining environment with both indoor and al fresco seating and caters to an eclectic palate with a variety of signature dishes.

Universal CityWalk’s newest restaurant, Vivo Italian Kitchen, serving freshly prepared authentic Italian fare in a newly designed modern setting, also invites guests to toast the “Year of the Pig” offering its haute cuisine menu in several languages, including Mandarin.

With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, why not consider grabbing the all-new 2019 Season Pass, which invites guests to experience the fun all year long for just $139 when purchased online. More details about it can be found at http://www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com

Images and video are property of Universal Studios Hollywood and used with permission. 

 

A Dog’s Way Home Now in Theaters + Simple Pet Portraits for Kids

 I received promotional items in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. 

As a pet lover and pet owner, I always get excited for anything and everything pet-related! Whether it’s a cute animal coffee mug, a contraption to help me better improve my selfie with my pet, or an animal film.  I literally melt for dogs, cats, horses, pigs, you name it! Animals are such kind and gentle creatures and if I could have an entire house and farm full of them, I know I’d be living my best life! Today I’m excited for the release of “A Dog’s Way Home” in theaters everywhere! Watch this cute clip from the movie:

I teared up in a big way just watching that clip of the film. It definitely pulls on your heartstrings. I’ve also already read the book with my daughter, which was a great read too. It’s written by W. Bruce Cameron, who also wrote the screenplay and co-produced the film.
Here’s a synopsis of A Dog’s Way Home:
As a puppy, Bella finds her way into the arms of Lucas, a young man who gives her a good home. When Bella becomes separated from Lucas, she soon finds herself on an epic, 400-mile journey to reunite with her beloved owner. Along the way, the lost but spirited dog touches the lives of an orphaned mountain lion, a down-on-his-luck veteran and some friendly strangers who happen to cross her path.

One of the things my students get excited about in the classroom is art! Anytime they get to draw, color, paint, cut and/or glue, first graders are elated! I know this because it’s almost impossible for them to hide their excitement and keep calm about art, and this makes me happy! During our morning meeting time this week, many of my students have shared how much they were looking forward to seeing “A Dog’s Way Home”. So, I set up an independent work station during our small groups and set out the book that the film was adapted from and let them create their own tiny pet portraits! How cute did this one turn out? “A Dog’s Way Home” is now playing in theaters. Purchase your tickets ahead of time here. You can share your own story about your dog’s journey home by uploading photos, video and your story on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #ADogsWayHome and #ShareMyDogStory. for a chance to be featured on their site too.

 

Tips for Fostering the Love of Reading in Your Child

I received promotional items in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. 

Let’s talk about reading , as in reading for leisure. Do you have a book you’re reading right now? Up until recently, I’ll admit that I did not. With the start of a new year, one of the things I’m trying to do more of is leisure reading. I now make a conscious effort to carry a book in my purse so I can just pull it out to read whenever I have a little bit of down time.One of the main reasons I want to read more this year is because I’ve noticed a big decline in the amount of reading my own daughter has been choosing to do “for fun”. As a teacher and a mom, this was starting to concern me. After doing a little bit of research about teens and how much they actually read for pleasure, I  found one study that says:

Less than 20 percent of U.S. teens report reading a book, magazine or newspaper daily for pleasure.

That is an eye-opening statistic. Digital media and technology have a lot of influence on kids (and adults as well) and they almost seem to be reducing in the amount they’re reading for pleasure (or at all). So, I decided that I was going to try my hardest to continue fostering that love of reading in my own daughter.I put together a list of useful tips for helping to further a child’s love of reading and I want to share it with you.

  • Model what leisurely reading looks like – This is a big one. If you’re not reading for fun, your child won’t have that modeling and may not realize just how important it is to be doing so.
  • Have a “book chat” – I’ve always tried to stay current on the subjects my daughter is studying in school, including the assigned novels she reads for her classes. I also try to have knowledge of books she’s reading on her own. I feel like my showing interest in what she’s reading and even having little “book chats” keeps her more motivated to read independently. It also helps strengthen our mother-daughter bond.
  • Spend time together at your public library or local bookstore – My daughter and I love to visit our public library together but also find ourselves sitting for hours in a local bookstore. It’s so much fun to get lost in books while sitting side by side.
  • Set up a cozy reading corner or reading nook at home – When my daughter was really young, she used to have a “reading tent” set up in our family room that she would spend hours at a time inside of, just reading books. She outgrew the tent a few years ago but it’s fun to have an inviting area set up at home, such as a corner with big pillows or a sunny windowseat where you can sit and read comfortably.
  • Make it fun with some thematic snacks – I feel like having snacks on hand always makes reading better. Thematic ones are even better. We made some adorable dog bone-shaped
  • Make connections between literature and film – One of my most favorite things to do with my daughter is to find a book we both enjoy, that is being made into a film, and read it together because the film comes out in theaters. After we watched the trailer for “A Dog’s Way Home” a few months ago, I knew this book, written by W. Bruce Cameron, was next on our “to read” list. It’s such a heartwarming story and because we’re big animal lovers in our home, it was a story that made us very emotional. Now that we’ve both read it, we’ll be ready to see it when it hits theaters on January 11th!

“A Dog’s Way Home” chronicles the heartwarming adventure of Bella, a dog who embarks on an epic 400-mile journey home after she is separated from her beloved human. Oh my heart!

You can watch the official trailer here: 

This film has an all-star voice cast featuring Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King,
Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi and Bryce Dallas Howard and will be in theaters in just a couple more days. Will you be heading out to see it? After reading the book, I know we will!

For the latest updates on the film, please visit HERE.

 

Some images and trailer are property of Sony Picture and used with permission.