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I’ve seen the home of the future, and it is Jetsons-smart!

With the swipe of an app, busy moms like me can turn appliances on and off remotely, adjust our thermostats, view live video of our homes, lock and unlock the doors, get motion sensor alerts, even monitor smoke, carbon monoxide and detect flooding while we are away from home thanks to Cox Communication’s Homelife.

With the “smart” sous-vide, home chefs can monitor their food throughout the day even when away

Your house probably already has a few internet-connected devices like laptops, tablets, smartphones and game systems, but experts say that, by 2020, we will have an average of 50 connected devices. At the Cox Smart Home Tour I was able to experience some of what is coming like virtual reality vacations, bluetooth-enabled medication dispensers and bar-code scanning garbage can devices that automatically add to your grocery list when you run out of something.

These technologies help moms, seniors, the disabled — anyone — better manage their lives.

This smart feeder helps animals get the right portions of food even when you’re away from home


Through the magic of technology seniors can get telehealth checkups with physicians, Facetime consultations with nutritionists and over-the-internet physical therapy, helping them stay safe and connected to others from the comfort of the home they love.

Telehealth lets physicians monitor the patient’s vital signs and conduct a virtual house call


Anyone with health concerns can benefit from a Facetime nutrition consultation

They say that these technologies are a solution for the aging wave that is coming. How about for tweens and teens who are becoming more independent? Smart homes can offer cameras that allow us to virtually check in on our parent or our children. We can tell when doors and cabinets have been opened, We can see who is at the front door. We can even lock up the house remotely.

The “Connected Independence” Smart Home Tour was powered by Cox Communications’ broadband network and featured more than 35 connected devices designed for seniors and busy families from companies like Rendever, which offers a virtual reality platform so seniors can “travel” to favorite destinations; Trapollo telemedicine services so doctors can diagnose and treat seniors from the comfort of their own home and  SimpleC, an intuitive touch-screen app which sends medicine reminders and tracks water intake. Visit them online for more information about how you can create a connected home for someone you love!

The Mom’s Guide thanks Cox Communications for sponsoring this blog post.


SEAsons Greetings & Giveaway

Each week this month we are profiling one of our favorite San Diego non-profits and giving you the chance to enter to win a membership, admission or event ticket in support of that organization. Today’s spotlight is on the Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

What we love: The aquarium displays at Birch Aquarium are mesmerizing to toddlers and adults alike, and the entire campus is easy and entertaining to walk through. Kids especially love the turtle, tide pool and shark feeding events. Aquarium staff help visitors interact with sea stars, sea anemones, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers and lobsters found in the aquarium’s Tide Pool Plaza. In the summer, parents can enjoy live outdoor concerts while the kids play in the plaza.

Families who enjoy the aquarium should “dive deeper” by checking out their off-property education opportunities including naturalist-led tide pooling adventures in La Jolla and Point Loma and whale watching expeditions in San Diego Bay.

my family tide pooling with Birch Aquarium naturalists

What we’re offering: Enter for your chance to win a 2018 family membership to Birch Aquarium good for two adults and up to four children by leaving a comment below. If you become our winner, all year long you’ll have unlimited access to the aquarium, four complimentary guest passes, invitations to members-only events and discounts to camps and educational programs.

When we’re going: Visit this month to see Scuba Santa in action and to participate in the annual Holiday Night Lights event and learn about bioluminescence. Winter is the best time to tide pool in San Diego since there are many low tides during the daylight hours. Birch Aquarium hosts guided tide pooling adventures all season long.

photo credit Birch Aquarium blog

Fine print: The winner of our giving Tuesday/December contest will be announced on December 23rd. Each week a different non-profit will be highlighted, and readers are invited to enter for a chance to win a membership or admission. All entries will be collected and entered. One entry will be randomly selected to win and awarded the prize of their choice. Readers may enter every week during the month of December. Only one name and prize will be selected. 

Merry & Meaningful Christmas Events

I love the whole Christmas season, that’s for sure. But I really, really love the events that capture the true meaning of the holiday. For me, those are the religious events like this week’s Bethlehem Story in Spring Valley and Bethlehem Walk in Escondido where the respective church grounds are transformed into a replica of Bethlehem village as it might have been during the time of Christ.

Walk the streets of a Bethlehem bazaar and be a part of the reenactment of the birth of Christ during Faith Chapel’s Bethlehem Story.


A walk through “Bethlehem” is a breathtaking way to celebrate Christmas. These photos were taken at Faith Chapel’s Bethlehem Story, which includes live animals, music, dance, trades to try, tastes of authentic food served in biblical times, and a visit from the angels proclaiming the birth of our Savior.  Both Bethlehem events are free and open to the public.

Bethlehem Story

Faith Chapel in Spring Valley

Thursday, December 7th– Sunday, December 10th  6 – 9 p.m.


Bethlehem Walk

First United Methodist Church in Escondido

Friday, December 8th– Sunday, December 10th  5:30 – 8 p.m. * pre-released tickets for this event have been taken. Ticket holders are given priority over walk-ins, but walk-ins are welcome


Living nativities are also a beautiful way to celebrate Christmas. St.Mark’s United Methodist Church in Clairemont has been hosting this fabulous event for several years. Children get to participate in the nativity scene then take a walk through the Bethlehem marketplace where there will be a petty corral and other activities.

Living Nativity & Bethlehem Market 

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Clairemont: Saturday, December 16 at 5:00 pm

Through January 6th, visitors to Seaworld will be taken back in time during the theme park’s living nativity musical, O Wondrous Night. Inspired by the original story of Christmas, this incredible show features singing, puppeteering and live animals that help tell the story of Jesus’ birth from the perspective of the animals who witnessed it.

Merry Christmas to all!



No More Urgent Care Visits for Team Mom’s Guide!

It’s a hassle packing 3 kids into the car for a trip to the doctor when only one of them is suffering with an earache, right Tara?


Feeling a little uneasy about bringing baby out for his well check during cold and flu season Lindsay?


What do you do when Nana gets sick during her annual visit, Alison?


There are many reasons to appreciate physician house calls from Heal, especially during the holidays when life is at its most hectic.

Heal, the leader in on-demand doctor house calls, can treat everyone from newborns to seniors. And Heal physicians can treat anything normally taken care of by a doctor in the office, at an urgent care and even minor emergencies. Rapid strep tests, lactation consulting, well baby check for infants, flu shots, blood work, sick visits, STD checks, even stitches and physical therapy are all available via Heal house calls!

I can’t count the number of hours I’ve sat in urgent care over the past few years of motherhood. The kids are cranky, the wait is long, and everyone around us seems contagious. That’s why I love, love, love the idea of in-home care, 365 days a year.

Heal appointments with a primary care doctor and medical assistant are accessible both through your computer or by downloading the free app. Setting up an account is quick, easy and free. Appointments are available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.


Heal house calls are covered by select PPO insurance plans in California like Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare. Don’t see your insurance on the list? Heal house calls are just $99 for out-of-pocket payors.

Wishing you good health and happiness this month and always from the Mom’s Guide and our newest sponsor, Heal.





It’s Snowing in San Diego!

Even San Diego kids get to enjoy snow in wintertime. Check out these fun opportunities to frolic in the white stuff . . .

Snow Mountain at the Coronado Ferry Landing – FREE! Have a snow ball fight, play in jumpies, get your face painted. What a great way to kick off December!  Friday, December 1st, 2-7 p.m. 



San Diego Botanic Garden of Lights — In addition to the super fun sled hill, this annual event runs all month long and includes marshmallow roasting, sleigh rides, visits with Santa and more. Saturday, December 2nd through the month (closed 24th & 25th) click here to see the “chance of snow chart.” snow is weather dependent.

photo credit San Diego Botanic Garden FB page

Santa @ Santee Lakes — FREE! Sled down the snow hill, take a pony ride and even a tractor ride (this is the East County afterall).  Sunday, December 10th, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

photo credit: Santee Lakes FB page


Poway Winter Festival — FREE! If you don’t get enough San Diego snow in December, January provides another great opportunity. At the Poway Winter Festival kids can sled, throw snow balls and even skate outside on the synthetic rink. Friday, January 12th from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, January 13th from 3:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Staff building the Poway snow hill

Giving To You This Giving Tuesday & Month

It’s “Giving Tuesday” and you’ve probably seen a lot of email and social media calls for support from San Diego non-profits today. Here at the Mom’s Guide, we want to give something to YOU!

Each week this month we will profile one of our favorite San Diego non-profits and give you the chance to enter to win a membership, admission or event ticket in support of that organization. We start today with the San Diego Botanic Garden.

What we love: Get out of the house and enjoy nature as a family with wonderful weekly mommy & me programs, Family Thursday Night events all summer long and amazing special events including the Fairy Festival, the Lady Bug Festival and the upcoming Garden of Lights.

Enjoy the garden’s 37 acres of year-round blooms and special children’s gardens like Seeds of Wonder, designed for pre-school age children, and the Hamilton Children’s Garden, with its multi-level tree house and rope ladders.


What we’re offering: Enter for your chance to win a 2018 family membership to the San Diego Botanic Garden by leaving a comment below. If you become our winner, all year long you’ll have free access to the gardens, most special events, complimentary guest passes and complimentary parking.

When we’re going: December is our favorite month to visit for the Garden of Lights event with Christmas carolers, snow sledding, marshmallow roasting and horse drawn carriage rides. The event kicks off this weekend and continues through the month from 5 – 9 p.m. (closed on 12/24 and 12/25).

photo credits: San Diego Botanic Garden Facebook Page

Tickets are $10 for members, $5 for children ages 3-12 and $15-$20 for non member adults, depending on the day.

Use this chart to help you plan your visit.  The snow forecast is a “Best Guess” prediction based on information available at the time of posting. All snow activity days are dependent upon weather conditions and subject to change.

2017 Garden of Lights Activities Calendar

DATE % Chance
of Snow*
Entertainment Horse &
Garden of Lights Garden of Lights Garden of Lights Garden of Lights
Dec 2



Stage 4 Jazz wishing you a musical Holiday Season


Dec 3


YES Peace on Earth Carolers –
A Victorian Christmas
Dec 4


YES The guitar & vocal sounds of ‘JJ’  Jenkins NO
Dec 5


YES Stage 4 Jazz wishing you a musical Holiday Season NO
Dec 6


YES Ecke YMCA dance group  NO
Thur, Dec 7


YES Carlsbad Community Theatre NO
Dec 8


YES Latin Holidays with The Ray Briz Trio NO
Dec 9


YES Glen Fisher Trio wishing you Happy Holidays YES
Dec 10


YES Retro Holiday Celebration-The Jolly Holidays YES
Dec 11


YES Retro Holiday Celebration-The Jolly Holidays YES
Dec 12


YES Moonlight Youth
Holiday Stars
Dec 13


YES The guitar & vocal sounds of ‘JJ’  Jenkins YES
Thur, Dec 14


YES Sacha Boutros singing in the Holiday Season YES
Dec 15


YES Latin Rhythms with
Tommy Aros 
Sat, Dec 16


YES Tripp Sprague wishing you a Jazzy season YES
Dec 17


YES Mariachi holiday celebration YES
Dec 18


YES Retro Holiday Celebration with The Jolly Holidays YES
Dec 19


YES Janet Hammer’s ‘Sweathearts’ trio  YES
Dec 20


YES Stage 4 Jazz wishing you a musical Holiday Season YES
Thur, Dec 21


YES Highland Way X-Mas Show YES
Dec 22


YES Jimmer Bolden Quartet wishing you Jazzy Holidays YES
Dec 23


YES Leonard Patton singing in the Holidays YES
Dec 26


YES Janet Hammer celebrating with Double Take YES
Dec 27


YES Joe Rathburn- An Eclectic Accoustic Holiday  YES
Thur, Dec 28



Latin Holidays with the Glen Fisher Trio

Dec 29


YES Leonard Patton wishing you Happy Holidays  YES
Dec 30


YES Len Rainey & the Midnight Players- Bluesy Holidays YES

Fine print: The winner of our giving Tuesday/December contest will be announced on December 23rd. Each week a different non-profit will be highlighted, and readers are invited to enter for a chance to win a membership or admission. All entries will be collected and entered. One entry will be randomly selected to win and awarded the prize of their choice. Readers may enter every week during the month of December. Only one name and prize will be selected. 

Be One-in-a-Million

A few years ago I was part of a group that helped send 4-year-old Emily and her family to Disneyworld. Emily was terminally ill with cancer, and she died shortly after I received her parents’ thank you note with a photo of their trip.

All kids have dreams, especially at Christmastime. And thanks to Macy’s, you, I and our children can help make wishes come true by participating in the Believe Campaign with a letter to Santa.

For every Christmas letter dropped into the big red letterbox at any Macy’s, or sent online at, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million, to grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses.

Make-A-Wish is a non-profit organization that creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Wishes help kids look past their limitations and most importantly, wishes improve a child’s quality of life, giving them a better chance of recovering.


Be one in a million. Visit your local Macy’s this month to fill out a postcard to Santa. You can also find online letter here and download the postcard template here.   For more information about Make-A-Wish San Diego, visit

The Mom’s Guide team is wishing that all of your holiday dreams come true!

Make & Give These Sweet Holiday Gifts

This is the week when millions of people will begin their holiday shopping. If you’re a new mom, you hold the keys to the sweetest holiday gifts possible.

Join us at Cool Creations in Pacific Beach for our New Mom Mingle  and turn those tiny baby hands and feet into memorable masterpieces. You’ll meet other new moms while checking off an important “to-do” list item.

The Mom’s Guide is partnering with the Parent Connection to bring you this playgroup meetup. Tickets are $10 and come with a personalized tile or a $10 credit toward another pottery piece of your choice. One lucky participant will win a keepsake frame, compliments of Cool Creations.

Cool Creations is a mom-owned business that helps families create personalized pottery. We had so much fun the last time we were there and are looking forward to doing it all over again!

For more information or to RSVP, visit our meetup event page here.

Tranquil Home for the Holidays

If your home is like mine, it is the gathering spot for family during Thanksgiving. It’s also full of kids and pets and feels like it could use a deep cleaning before the holiday guests arrive.

Thank goodness for Tranquil Home, the 2017 winner for housekeeping in San Diego’s Best Union-Tribune Readers Poll. This referral agency gave me the gift of an eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning using natural products that not only get the job done, but are safe for kids and pets.

My Tranquil Home cleaning team arrived with their favorite natural cleaning supplies, mops, brooms and vacuum.  There was nothing I needed to do except enjoy not having to clean my home myself. 😉

Bonjour Bon Ami! This powder cleanser works like the Ajax I normally use, but with five simple, non-toxic ingredients. Tranquil Home only refers housekeepers who use eco-friendly, non-toxic organic products like 7th Generation, Earth Friendly Products, Vinegar, Mrs. Meyers and Dr.Bronner’s Castile soap.

Tranquil Home is a local, female-owned company that has specialized in luxury green home housekeeping for the past 5 1/2 years. This referral agency gets amazing  Yelp ratings and, just in time for the holiday season, is giving YOU 20% off of your first cleaning by mentioning this blog post!

For terrific natural housekeeping tips like how to naturally remove pink mold from your shower, how to build an eco-friendly cleaning kit and how to create a safe carpet freshner, be sure to check out the Tranquil Home blog and this helpful infographic:

This blog post is sponsored by Tranquil Home, an award-winning San Diego based business. 


Thomas is in SoCal for 3 more days!

Over the weekend, a girlfriend and I took our two VERY lucky little boys to not only meet, but actually ride on the real Thomas the Train! It was an incredibly special day for both of them, and almost equally as special for us to witness those ear-to-ear grins that every mom strives for.


Luckily, there are THREE more opportunities for your family to spend a Day Out With Thomas, since the event will continue to run on November 10th, 11th & 12th, with tickets starting at just $21. The drive from San Diego took about 1 hr 10 min, but went by quickly both directions. We were pleased to find a number of food trucks for lunch, and an ice cream treat for the afternoon!

The trains (Thomas & Percy), depart every hour, with a number of additional activities happening throughout the day. Being at the Orange Empire Railway Museum is cool in itself, but add in games and activities from your favorite #1 blue engine, and you’re bound to get smiles all around. Make sure you pick up your adventure map, and stop by each stamp station to claim your Thomas prize before the end of the day!


Tickets are available at Tickets are required for ages 2 and up, and include admission to the museum, the train ride with Thomas, as well as a variety of Thomas & Friends themed entertainment such as arts & crafts, an Imagination Station, temporary tattoos, a petting zoo, bounce houses, storytelling and more! Military discounts are also available.