Good-bye 2011, It Was a Blast!

Boo Hoo. I’m not ready for 2011 to come to an end. It’s been a great year.

I thought I’d close out the year with 11 favorite things of 2011.

Did you do something wonderful in 2011? I would love to know what we should plan for in 2012 so please do share! 🙂

Enjoying Some Free Fun San Diego Style

In no particular order…

1. Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland
2011 marked our first visit to Mickey’s Halloween Party, which required its own special $49 ticket (no passes allowed). The park shuts down to anyone without the Halloween party ticket, which means it was less crowded than I could have imagined. There were lots of free trick-or-treating stations throughout (they were shoveling candy at us even as we left the park!), a fun, all-ages dance party, special “villain” meet and greet opportunities and, best of all, little-to-no-waiting on all rides. We are making this a family tradition!

Feeding Guinea Pigs @ Zoomars!

2. Daily Deals
Groupon, Living Social, Circle Buzz, Plum District and Juice in the City were a few of my favorite things in 2011 because they afforded me the opportunity to do so much more with my kids than I would otherwise have been able to do. I especially loved buying the family memberships to museums (Chula Vista Nature Center, San Diego History, Museum of Making Music…)

3. Pennypickle’s Workshop (The Temecula Children’s Museum)
If I didn’t have a friend in Temecula with a daughter the same age as Mallory, I might have missed out on this most unique children’s museum. I can’t count the number of times my kids have asked to go back, which is interesting to me since they are really a bit young to completely “get” it. The museum’s focus is on science and experiments, but it’s funky and fun for all ages, and my kids have literally asked to go back more than they’ve asked to go to Disneyland.

Silly Science Fun @ Pennypickle's Workshop

4. San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum (formerly the Escondido Children’s Museum)
When The New Children’s Museum opened, I imagined that it was going to be the kind of hands-on awesomeness that the former Escondido Children’s Museum actually is. I will say that the new location of this museum is not fully operational, so it is less wonderful at this moment than it was the last time we were there. But when the outdoor area opens in the spring, it should be completely fabulous again.

5. The Royal Fairytale Princess Camp
This was the first year we let Mallory attend a camp, and what a wonderful choice we made. There were mini-manicures, dancing, crafts, stuffed animal making, tea parties and more. Just the type of sweet, girly-fun we were looking for!

6. Zoomars Petting Zoo
For this one I can thank the daily deal companies again because, while I had heard of Zoomars in San Juan Capistrano, it was unlikely that I was going to make a special trip there just to pet some animals. However, when several daily deal companies starting offering discounted tickets, and when our favorite San Diego petting zoo closed (Victoria’s Gardens), we headed north. The visit was so worth it for the mini-train ride, the pony rides, the playground and petting zoo that I bought the deal the next time it crossed my inbox and, we want to go again! The part my kids enjoy most is the bunny and guinea pig corral where there must be 100 little animals hopping around for them to cuddle with and feed. My advice to you…get there early before those animals are stuffed and weary of being man-handled. I know several families who enjoy taking the train from San Diego to San Juan Capistrano and then staying for a lunch at Ruby’s Diner.

Jammin' at The Museum of Making Music

7. Park in the Park @ Petco Park
Parents enjoy the vibe of a professional sports events while the kiddos enjoy the freedom of running around the park area just outside the stadium, rolling down the hills and hitting balls with the help of Padres staffers. A limited quantity of these tickets are sold for each home game, so get yours early in the 2012 baseball season.

8. Snow!
We aren’t sure how we managed to live in the East County for five years before discovering that just a half hour away, near the Viejas Outlet Center, lies a winter wonderland called Mount Laguna. Thanks to our playgroup buddies, we made a spontaneous trip up there after a particularly rainy and chilly week and, voila, see for yourself!

9. Feed the Ducks, Ride the Trolley, Go to the Beach
There are a lot of free or cheap things to do in San Diego that thrill kids as much as anything else. It’s one of my personal goals for 2012 to enjoy more of the simple things our fine city has to offer.

San Diego Winter Wonderland

10. Circus Vargas
I really never had an interest in going to the circus with my children because I’ve been completely spoiled by Cirque du Soleil and find every other show to pale in comparison. But I’m so glad that we went to Circus Vargas, and we will definitely be back in 2012. There were motorcycle stunts, trapeze artistry, balancing acts and some of the best clown comedy. While it wasn’t as polished as Cirque du Soleil, Circus Vargas did a fantastic job of entertaining.

11. Fancy Nancy Tea Party
Each year the Junior League of Orange County hosts a super fun Christmas shopping extravaganza at the OC Fairgrounds. At this year’s children’s event, the illustrator and the author of the Fancy Nancy book series were the special guests at a Fancy Nancy Tea Party. It was stupendous, fantastic and fabulous for the kids. The best part of the event for me? Meeting the ladies behind the series and, now, working with them to bring a Fancy Nancy tea party to San Diego in 2012! More details to follow, but let me just say, it will be splendiferous!

Family Fun @ Petco Park

Happy 2012 Everyone!

26 thoughts on “Good-bye 2011, It Was a Blast!

  1. momsguide says:

    Congrats Carrie! You win a pair of tickets to Toy Story on Ice!! Send me your mailing address to so that I can put the vouchers in the mail to you!

  2. momsguide says:

    Congrats Myriam! You win a pair of tickets to Toy Story on Ice!! Send me your mailing address to so that I can put the vouchers in the mail to you!

  3. momsguide says:

    Congratulations to Carrie and Myriam who are both winners of a pair of tickets to this month’s Toy Story on Ice at the Valley View Casino Center (formerly Sports Arena). Thanks for entering everyone!

  4. Myriam Mendez says:

    There are many things I am looking forward to doing with my Oscar this year. He is 2 years old, and I think it is an age that I need to cherish and take advantage as much as possible, so I want to play and spend more time with him this year, so I can see him grow up healthy and active. Hopefully, we can all go on a trip to visit Walt Disney World, myself, my boy and my husband, but to start the year by going to see Disney’s Toy Story on Ice would be great!

  5. Maria Jones says:

    Our first family vacation longer than two days in over 10 years!! Seems every time we plan one, I get pregnant! Oh, shoot! Did I just jinx myself?! We are taking Disney Cruise in October. (o:

  6. Jackie Howarth says:

    I hope to teach 3 of my 4 kids to read by the fall. 🙂

  7. Kelli says:

    I’m looking forward to homeschooling my son. I’m excited that I get to see his triumphs and share his struggles.

  8. Aline Grigorian says:

    Actually taking Josie to her first ice show is something I’m planning on doing this year! I’d also love to take her somewhere to play in the snow (haven’t figured out where yet), and am looking into celebrating her second bday with a party at an indoor play place. It’s going to be a fun year!

  9. Dawn Moody says:

    I am so excited for this year because the twins in my belly are going to be born at the end of March. I’m looking forward to the challenge!

  10. Ruth McCallister says:

    Looking forward to some trips back east to visit daddy and spend some time with my family in NYC.

  11. Ileana says:

    Family is taking a vacation to Walt Disney World in March! We can’t wait!

  12. Brandi Smith says:

    I am looking forward to my daughter starting kindergarten. So exciting to enter this next step in our lives. I am going to miss her so much but can’t wait to she her grow and flourish.

  13. Rena T. says:

    2012! So glad you are here! It was a financially rough 2011 for us. I have three girls 11, 8, and 5…this is the only year they are all at the same school, same schedule. Not getting many hours at my job, I have learned the in’s and out’s of the freebies for kids! I am looking forward to becoming more active outside(parks, beaches, hikes), participating in more library programs (the free in and out burgers were awesome!), planning more camping trips(we love Julian), free museum days at Balboa Park, and also planning my 11 year olds 5th grade graduation day…unbelievable that she will be out of elementary! I plan to soak up individual mommy and me days with her while I can! We have not been able to afford an ice show in over 2 years, would love to attend! Happy New Year!

  14. Carrie says:

    Entry for Disney on Ice! 🙂
    I am looking forward to getting more active outside with my kids. It was too hard to go out by myself with a newborn and 3 yo, but I am hoping it will be easier with a 2yo and 4yo. Looking forward to beach, swimming pools, crafts, picnics

  15. Jennifer S says:

    As I type my husband is making camping reservations for 2012, most open for reservations today and will be booked up for the season fast. My kids love camping, making smores, cooking over a fire, and most enjoyably playing outside and return covered from head to in either sand or dirt…..can’t wait, 2 long weekend trips planned and hopefully some spontaneous quick trips to follow.

  16. Michelle says:

    Looking forward to spending time with the husband.

  17. Virginia says:

    We’re looking forward to going to Legoland and hopefully time for more visits to the Zoo.

  18. Leinani Manabat says:

    We just moved here from Seattle, so in 2012 I am looking forward to enjoying the beautiful sunshine and going to the beach with my daughter a lot this year. Rarely did we ever get to play at the beach in seattle so this is a real treat for our family! We are also looking forward to meeting other moms with little ones and going to the zoo!!

  19. Grace says:

    2012 is going to be full of spontaneous mini trips/vacations…the beach, snow, camping, legoland, seaworld, etc! I love surprising my kiddos first thing in the morning with our plans for the day or the weekend! And can’t wait for the Fancy Nancy Tea Party coming to San Diego!

  20. I made a New Year’s Resolution to take the kids to the beach more in 2012. We live in sunny San Diego, and I’m sad to say that we only went to the beach TWICE in 2011! And we live 2 miles away!! Not this year….we are going to enjoy the beautiful beaches that this great city has to offer….NO MORE EXCUSES! 😉

  21. Martha Nabor says:

    In this 2012, I’m really looking forward to finally paying off our credit card debt! Also to our 15 yr anniversary, to our yearly tradition of the SD County Fair, to my sons attending the same school as my they enter 2nd grade and Kindergarten and to my daughter starting preschool.

  22. Devon Franco says:

    I am looking forward to my daughters first Monster Jam experience 🙂 celebrating her 2nd birthday in feb AND hopefully experiencing her first time at Disney on Ice!! ;D

  23. Izarel Estrada says:

    This 2011 me and my daughter waited for her daddy to come home from a year deployment in sept he left back in sept of 2010 so we were super happy that he was coming home safe from the unsafe place that he was home. No more missed birthday nor special moments cause he was home. Also this year my daughter found out she is going to be a big sister on dec 29 2011 after her daddy and me have been trying for quite some time and it finally happened. So this 2012 brings the family one more baby into our family which we desired for quite some time. Also that my husband will be home for good after his contract ending for the marines back in Dec so no more worrying about his safety and us finally be together as a whole.

  24. Monica Fischer says:

    I’m looking forward to my son’s third birthday coming up January 28th. He loves music so it’s going to be a rockstar theme. Then i’m taking him to see “The Fresh Beat Band” next month. It is his favorite show on NickJR and he is going to be thrilled seeing them in concert!!

  25. momsguide says:

    Thanks for the reminder! Monster Jam is on our list too 🙂

  26. Andria says:

    Our yearly tradition of Monster Jam. And our first time whale watching too.

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