Posts Tagged ‘great businesses’
5 Ways to Support Your Child in Music Lessons
Thinking about signing your child up for music lessons? Excellent! Introducing your child to music at a young age has many benefits, including improved performance in school and strong development of lifelong skills like goal-setting and patience.
But how can you support your child, without seeming overbearing? How involved should you be? Here are some tips from TakeLessons.com:
1. Be enthusiastic about their interest in music! Ask questions about what they’re learning, including what they like and dislike, what their goals are, and what they think of their teacher.
2. Provide a suitable time and place for practicing. Keep everything (books, instrument, and accessories like a music stand and metronome) organized, and make it a positive space.
3. Find ways to positively reinforce habitual practicing. A practice chart, where your child can add a star on days that he or she practices, can be a great motivator. You might also consider offering a reward or treat once a certain number is reached.
4. Celebrate with your child when they accomplish a goal! Knowing how proud you are can be a fantastic motivator as they set their next goal.
5. Don’t rule out playing yourself! If you can’t sing or read music, select something that doesn’t require it. Triangle, maracas, bongos – there are plenty of options that you can use to “jam” with your child. You might feel silly, but it can be a wonderful bonding experience!
With these tips, you can show your support and increase the likelihood of your child enjoying their lessons and continuing on. Happy learning!
This post is sponsored by TakeLessons, a San Diego-based online marketplace for students and families to connect with the best local, affordable private teachers for various lesson types, including music, performing arts, academic tutoring, and more. Find your perfect teacher here!
My favorite local non-profit, the Scripps Parent Connection, has a Groupon out today! I’ve been a member for more than 9 years and credit them with saving my sanity during the early years of motherhood.
Within three months of delivering Mallory, I was sitting in a Starbucks with another new mom. We both had called the Parent Connection office to say we lived in the East County, had 3-month-old girls and wanted to connect with other mommies. The Parent Connection put us in touch and, as easily as that, the East County Moms Group was created. Within a few months our playgroup had grown to 10 East County moms, and we’re all still friends today!
From training baby to sleep to tackling the terrible twos, the Parent Connection has guided San Diego families through the ups and downs of parenthood for 34 years. Get your $9 Groupon today and start enjoying the benefits like $2 off admission at this weekend’s Fall Harvest Festival and attending Parent Connection-led classes and workshops. Get discounts to favorite attractions like Seaworld, Legoland and Disneyland, and gain access to more than 250 playgroups countywide! Breakfast with Santa is right around the corner … a wonderful way for your playgroup to celebrate the holidays.
I love the Parent Connection so much that I helped organize a Groupon to tell more San Diego moms about it. Click here to view “my” Groupon. Trust me, it’s the best $9 you’ll spend all year!
Now I remember why my favorite pair of linen pants were stashed away on a shelf in my closet.
How pathetic is it that I’m a grown woman who cannot easily mend her own family’s clothes? I didn’t take home economics in school, wasn’t taught how to sew by my mother, and have never made the time for learning as an adult. 🙁
I’m pretty sure they don’t even teach home ec in schools anymore, but that won’t stop my daughter from learning how to sew. We took the first step when one of our Girl Scout Troop moms agreed to lead an in-home sewing tutorial.
Mallory enjoyed making her monogrammed pillow so much that she asked for her own sewing machine. Now it’s time for us to learn how to use it together at Sew Inspired in Encinitas.
Sew Inspired teaches both adults and children the home art (and in some ways the lost art) of creating fashion and home designs. I thought we’d start with needle and thread, but, no, it’s straight onto a machine. If you don’t have one to bring, they will lend you one for the class.
Owner Laura Prince says her style of teaching kid-friendly sewing methods and techniques makes the process fun and easy for kids ages 8 and older. She offers after school programs, Girl Scout events, summer and spring break camps and even sewing birthday parties where kids make their own pillows, messenger bags , sleeping bags and more.
Check out these adorable Sew Inspired mermaid dolls…
I’ve splurged on horse back riding, synchronized swimming and recycled art classes. Now I’m realizing that a practical class like how to mend or hem a pair of pants makes a lot of sense. We have five 18″ dolls in this house who would love new outfits!
Sew Inspired is located at 531Encinitas Blvd. Suite 105 in Encinitas. Call them at 760.908.7853 or visit sewinspired.biz for more information.
4 Sale by Owner
Adorable “like new” Halloween costumes.
Strollers in all shapes and sizes.
Something special for Christmas…
We’re just a couple of weeks away from the famous Parent Connection Family Swap Meet, and just about a month away from the next fantastic Just Between Friends consignment event. If you have something to sell or if you are in search of gently used costumes, toys, baby gear, clothes, DVDs and books, do not miss these two events.
I rarely miss a Parent Connection Swap Meet, and I’ll be there again on Sunday, September 21st as a volunteer and to hand out copies of the 2014 / 2105 Mom’s Guide. Admission to the swap is just $2 per person over age 12. Not only will you get $50 in Mom’s Guide coupons, you’re likely to find just the right something special for this holiday season. 🙂
If you need to make room for your new treasures, consider taking a vendor space for just $30 for PC members and $45 for non-members. You can even share a space with your friend! Download the Parent Connection seller registration form here.
Just Between Friends is also looking for sellers. The beauty of this event is that you don’t have to be there. Just tag your items, drop them off before the sale begins and collect your share of the profits (60% or 70% for those who volunteer) at the event’s conclusion!
Unsold items can be donated to JBF’s non-profit partners. If you want to donate any unsold items, you will receive a receipt for your taxes and will benefit Birthline of San Diego and CASA (helping families in the LMSV school district).
For more information, visit facebook.jbfsandiego.com and sandiego.jbfsale.com.
Parent Connection Family Swap Meet
Sunday, September 21
8:30am – 1:00pm
Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley, 5951 E Village Center Loop Rd,
San Diego 92130
Just Between Friends Sale
Saturday October 11 2-6pm
Sunday October 12 9am-3pm
Monday October 13 half price day 9am-noon
DOWNLOAD THIS GET-IN-FREE COUPON!
A Cut-out of Your Cutie
I’m so glad that I will actually get to participate in this year’s special silhouette event featuring renowned scissor artist Karl Johnson. Now the likenesses of my little cuties will be turned into a work of art just like the children of Reese Withersoon, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Garner and Drew Barrymore.
Karl’s work is currently featured in Restoration Hardware Baby & Child, was on The O List in Oprah Magazine and has appeared in more than 30 other magazines. Each silhouette is cut out entirely freehand. Karl simply looks at the subject’s profile (whether in person or from a photograph) and starts cutting their exact likeness out of black paper.
Every silhouette is an original, one of a kind work of art, signed by the artist. Don’t miss your chance to meet Karl on Sunday, November 16th at Magical Child in Encinitas. Book your 5-minute appointment between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. by clicking here. Each original silhouette costs $25, and duplicates can be purchased for $15.
If you’d like a chance to WIN a complimentary silhouette, email me at SanDiegoMom@hotmail.com. One winner will be selected this weekend and announced here and by email. Enjoy!
Art Soup — Yummy!
My friend and fellow Parent Connection mom, Tiffany Golden, just opened a fantastic drop-in art studio in Encinitas called Art Soup. The kids and I made it out for their $5 morning special (weekdays between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.) and found it to be a perfect outing for a 3-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl.
Mallory took her time creating a beautiful pair of fairy wings. Gage set aside his sword craft in favor of painting a real car (cool!). He played with the Lego castle, attempted to write his name in chalk on the fire truck, and really, really wanted to leave with the painted skateboard that is on display promoting birthday party craft projects.
When her fairy wings were complete, Mal decided it was time to draw. The sweetest Art Soup employee, Nadia, helped her sketch a beautiful picture of Rapunzul using her book cover as the model. Now that’s service!
I asked Tiffany to tell me a bit about the inspiration for her business, her plans for the future and what she wants parents and kids to get out of their Art Soup experience…
Me: Why a drop-in art studio?
Tiffany: My daughter is certainly the inspiration. Kids really deserve a creative outlet especially at the those tender young ages when their hearts and minds are so pure and they often don’t have all of the words to verbally express their emotions. I wanted to create an imaginative hands-on environment that doubled as an art studio and social refuge full of larger than life opportunities for them to explore, stretch their imaginations, and have the freedom to get messy free from the rules and confines of mom’s kitchen. In terms of the literal sense of “drop in” life and kids are unpredictable – you can have everyone loaded up in the car with intentions of making it to a certain place at a certain time but something always seems to come up: a melt-down, spilled drink in the lap, someone gets sick. etc. Moms need flexibility and I needed sanity: which meant not being in the “make-up class” business.
Me: Does Art Soup have a cafe, WiFi, flat screens??
Tiffany: Heck no! Art Soup is where you come to soak in not check out. It’s such a magical experience to see your kids so happy, engaged, and proud while they’re making their creative masterpieces. This is definitely a quality time experience and once you’ve been here, you’ll agree and leave feeling great about the time you just spent with your child as he/she/they carry out all of their adorable art. I’d also like to mention that recycled art rocks at Art Soup. We are all about trash to treasure and welcome parents and kids to bring in butter tubs, lids, paper towel rolls ,TP rolls, corks, tissue paper, etc. Our parties feature over 60 different art projects from rockstar to sports and our events launch April 4th.
191 N. El Camino Blvd., Suite 203 Encinitas
Does this guy look happy or what??
This kind of happy cost us only $12 and a couple of hours at the Build It Workshop in Carlsbad where my son made his own LEGO cars and beat a couple of other kids in a LEGO race.
The last time Gage had this much fun he spent 3 hours inside the “Build & Test” room of Legoland’s Imagination Zone doing exactly the same thing he did at the Build It Workshop. Cost: $70 child’s Legoland ticket.
Build It is more than LEGOS.
I am personally excited to work with the 3d printer or watch my kids participate in one of the daily build projects.
The cost of admission to Build It is $12 per child for 2 hours of build time or $20 per child for an all day pass. Military families receive a discount of $1 per child, and there is no charge for parents or infants.
We loved Build It enough to place it in the “worth the drive” category, but we may not need to drive to Carlsbad for long. Owner Rudy Gonzalez told me he’s already looking in San Diego locations for his second workshop. Woo hoo!
If you have a budding engineer in the family, be sure to visit Build It!
1818 Marron Road, Suite 103
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
Bye Bye Max & Ruby
I’m excited about this weekend’s Just Between Friends consignment event because it’s forcing me to do the spring cleaning that I should have done before the new Christmas toys arrived. I’ll be getting rid of some treasures that we no longer need, but I have to admit it’s hard to let some of them go.
Like our Potty Power DVD. No, it didn’t really help speed up the potty training of either of my children, but it did provide hours of entertainment to them. Potty Power represents a time in mommyhood where toilet training was just about the most important thing going on in our home. Like so many moms, I worried, I was frustrated, and I tried just about every trick in the book including DVDs of little princesses learning to sit on the “royal throne.” Now those days are (thankfully) long behind us, but the video is kind of a bittersweet reminder that I don’t have toddlers anymore.
Ditto with our Max & Ruby video, book and doll collection. Boo Hoo. After years of reading these stories nearly nightly, my big kids now think that Max & Ruby are quite boring. But I feel I owe those sweet little bunnies so much. I seriously believe that Ruby helped teach Mallory how to be a good big sister to Max. (I mean Gage.) I hate to see them go, but they will be loved just as much by some other family I’m sure. (and for up to 90% of what I paid!)
The Just Between Friends sale is this weekend, May 4-5 in San Diego’s East County. It’s not too late to consign and it’s just the right time to think about buying. For more information visit http://sandiego.jbfsale.com.
What: Just Between Friends Consignment Event
When: May 4 & 5
Where: Faith Chapel, 9400 Campo Road, Spring Valley (just off Hwy 94)
There are a number of good places to get a kid’s haircut in San Diego. We live in the East County and have visited nearly every kids’ salon between La Jolla and Chula Vista.
But when Gage was three he gave up kiddie salons in favor of a grown-up, traditional barber shop, and he hasn’t had his hair cut anywhere else since.
From our first visit to Captain Mike’s Hair Dock, I knew we had found an extra-special business.
Captain Mike does not specialize in children’s hair. He doesn’t have any car-shaped chairs, DVD players or toys. He’s just an old-fashioned barber who loves to fish and who gives a great boy’s hair cut for only $9. And, he is very good with my son.
I can’t even remember how we stumbled upon Captain Mike’s Hair Dock in Santee, but I am so glad that we did. He and Gage have a sweet little bond.
If you have a son, but don’t live anywhere near Santee, take a look around your own community for a local barber shop. I bet you have a Captain Mike-type around!
For a good list of San Diego area salons that cut children’s hair, please visit this link under the mom’s guide family-friendly resources tab.
Check it out!
It’s the next chapter in San Diego’s public library system; the public preview of its new Central Library, and a free family street festival happening this Saturday. Stop by the new library, located at 330 Park Blvd., anytime between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. for your sneak peek. Lots of fun activities are planned, especially for fans of the Fancy Nancy book series.
While the library festival is free, Fancy Nancy illustrator, Robin Preiss Glasser, has donated ten separate ORIGINAL mini Fancy Nancy Paintings, which she will sign and personalize for $125 each. All of the money from the sale of these special collector items will be donated. Other fabulous Fancy Nancy activities include:
- Fancy Nancy hair design courtesy of Little Locks children’s hair salon. For a $5 suggested donation, you can receive a wristband (at the Adventures by the Book booth) for a fun Fancy Nancy hair design.
- Fancy clothes courtesy of Mon Petit Chateau, which is generously donating a portion of all sales. At 2:30pm, Mon Petit Chateau will be conducting a not-to-be-missed Fancy Nancy fashion show.
- Robin Preiss Glasser will be signing books and her paintings at the Adventures by the Book booth from 2:00-3:00pm and again from 4:00-6:00pm, so stop by with your fancy children to see her and have her sign your books. Books will be available for sale at the Yellow Book Road booth nearby.
- At 3:30pm, Robin will lead a short mini-Parade around the area, and thru the first floor of the new library (this is a sneak peak as it is not open to the public until Monday), ending at the Adventures by the Book booth where she will sign books until the event closes at 6:00pm.
For more information about the family-friendly events planned for this weekend, please visit the San Diego Public Library website.
Yesterday we got our annual catalog from BuyCostumes.com, and the kids are excitedly flipping through it, fantasizing about which characters they’ll become this Halloween. Yes, it’s barely back-to-school season and here comes the Halloween stuff.
Every year we host a family Halloween party, and every year I do my best to get a good deal on our costumes, starting with the Parent Connection‘s annual Great Halloween Costume Swap. Gage was just 14 months old when I traded in the softest, sweetest Nordstrom blue bunny costume for the “scary” dino costume he wore for the next two years. You don’t have to be a member of the Parent Connection to participate in the exchange, and you don’t even have to trade a costume…simply purchase one for $10 if you prefer. This year’s event takes place on September 23rd at 11 a.m.
Last year we found a terrific Star Wars storm trooper costume (with astro blaster!) at Cory’s Closet, our favorite local resale shop. At checkout we were given a buy-back coupon offering 40% of our purchase price if we decided to return our costume after Halloween. What a deal!
That storm trooper wasn’t going anywhere though. My son was wearing it just the other day. But Cory’s Closet’s costume corner is open for business now so check it out if you’re looking for a great selection and the chance to make a little money back after the holiday. Or check out the mom’s guide list of resale shops to find a deal in your area. Most that I contacted are preparing their own Halloween sections now!
So many of my kids’ costumes no longer fit…princesses, clowns, Mickey Mouse, Power Rangers…and I’m thinking about setting my own price for them and selling them at the upcoming fall consignment events. Trunk Treasures, Just Between Friends and San Diego Kids Consignment each have fall sales scheduled. Consider them for selling or buying your own costumes this year.
P.S. If you love Halloween as much as we do, don’t miss Mickey’s annual Halloween party. It’s a great time and a great value considering the expense of a normal day at Disneyland. Check out last year’s blog article about that. Tickets are on sale now!
Don’t Miss the Santa Train
There are many special ways to celebrate the holidays, but taking a trip on the North Pole Limited is one of the most magical in all of Southern California.
Children munch on chocolate chip cookies, sip hot chocolate and sing Christmas carols as the train approaches Santa’s workshop.
Parents help write letters to Santa in anticipation of the special time they will spend with him.
Elves read the story of The Polar Express.
Then, finally, the train approaches, and Santa can be seen waving and ho-ho-ho ing
After Santa climbs aboard he makes his way throughout the train, stopping to sit with each and every family, listening to Christmas wishes and spreading holiday joy.
Although the Santa train is nearly an hour drive from San Diego and costs $30 per child’s seat $40 per adult ticket, it sells out just about every year. There are only two dates left in 2014.
A great new option this year is a Santa’s Toddler Train on Sunday, December 14th at 1 p.m. for children who are too young to stay up for the trip to the North Pole Limited.
Visit the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s website for more information, and add the North Pole Limited to your list of holiday events.
Dreams Do Come True
Once upon a time there were millions of little princesses who all wanted their next birthday party theme to be FROZEN. Moms everywhere were scrambling to figure out how best to grant their princesses’ wishes. The moms who discovered Princess Parties San Diego were the luckiest in all the land. It’s a magical time for all when Elsa from Princess Parties San Diego visits. Face painting, fanciful crafts and princess make-overs can make any little girl’s birthday the best one yet! Elsa has many fanciful friends who would all like to celebrate with your special sweetie. Discounts are available to the Facebook friends of Princess Parties. Visit themfor more information or to book your next dream event.
This post is sponsored by Princess Parties San Diego. 🙂
Fall Fun & First Friends
Even in light drizzle and amongst more than a couple mud puddles, the annual Parent Connection Fall Harvest Festival is one of our favorite family traditions. But this post isn’t about all of the fun you might have missed today. It’s about the organization that hosts the festival and gives its members so much including a day of music, crafts, games, face painting, jumping and treats for only $5 per child.
When I was pregnant with Mallory, a friend handed me a Parent Connection membership registration form and encouraged me to sign up so that I could find a playgroup to join. Mind you, this was before Facebook and Meetup.com when it was a little harder to find moms with similar-aged children. For more than 30 years, the Parent Connection has been connecting families across San Diego.
In my case, the East County Moms playgroup was born just a few short months after my daughter, and within six months we had more than 10 members who gathered once a week at library story times, for picnics in the park, at Java Mama (when it was in La Mesa) and in each other’s homes. Seven years later, we’re still friends who see each other regularly and are grateful for the support our playgroup provided during those stressful early years.
Don’t need a playgroup? The Parent Connection also supports new moms with a number of complimentary classes and workshops. I’ve taken classes on improving infant sleep, toilet training, turing the terrible two’s into the “terrific two’s,” positive parenting and, more recently, when and how to introduce allowance. Because the Parent Connection is a program of Scripps Memorial Hospital, it has access to fantastic medical experts and professionals who know how to help you achieve your parenting goals.
And then there are the annual special events like today’s Fall Harvest Festival which featured a concert by Hullabaloo Band, face painting, cupcake decorating, craft making (thanks Art Soup!), jumpies, slides and games.
Although my kids are 7 and 5, I still enjoy my Parent Connection membership immensely. On a daily basis I access the group’s Yahoo! message boards, which is a terrific forum for anyone with kids. Need a new plumber? Want to know how to get poop stains out of clothes? Looking for a preschool? Pose your question to the more than 1,000 San Diego moms in the group, and you’re certain to get a few helpful answers.
We also take advantage of the discounts offered to members on special events and attractions like Seaworld, Legoland, the zoo and more.
Being at the Fall Harvest Festival today brought back many warm memories of my early years as a member. With so many new moms following this blog and The Mom’s Guide to San Diego on Facebook, I just wanted to share what this organization has meant to me.
Membership dues are a meager $20 per year. Can you believe it’s that cheap to get all of the fun, friendship and support that the Parent Connection offers? It still amazes me that every mom doesn’t sign up. Check them out at www.sandiegoparent.com for more information.
At 3:45 p.m. today I picked up two exhausted, starving, grimy kids up from their last day of Outpost Summer Camp and took them to the closest Luna Grill restaurant (kids eat free on Tuesdays after 4!). While we were sitting at our table talking about how much they were going to miss camp, our server came over, saw them in their dirt-covered Outpost t-shirts and said, “Oh I LOVED Outpost! I went there every year for 6 years. It was the best!”
Mallory and Gage attended the first session of Outpost’s 2013 summer camp and, from start to finish, it was a great experience for them AND for me.
Every Tuesday and Thursday for 3 weeks I dropped them off at Canyonside Community Park in Rancho Penasquitos. I worried at first that my children, who did not know any other kids at this camp, would feel lost when separated into groups by age and gender. But this forced independence seemed to be part of the fun for them along with silly songs, funny games, daily swimming, fort building, hikes to and exploring of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
I read this on the Outpost website for the first time today, and it really helps explain what my kids seemed to gain from their camp experience; “Most often, parents describe seeing in their child an increase in willingness to try new things, a greater comfort level with social situations, more confidence in making and keeping friends, and a huge desire to return for more camp the next season!”
I am very selective about the programs I enroll my children in, especially if they are going to be fully in someone else’s care. But I felt very comfortable with Outpost thanks to their staff’s excellent communication and organization. The pre-camp open house where the kids were introduced to their counselors and a few camp games was very reassuring to them and to us.
Here are a few other things that I particularly liked:
- We live outside of the Outpost van-service area, but hundreds of other families enjoy door-to-door service with 15-seat passenger vans picking up and dropping off their children each camp day for no additional charge. Talk about convenience!
- During the open house our kids each received two Outpost t-shirts, which made them feel like they were part of a special club. Moms love those shirts when they see the condition they come home in!
- Outpost gives a few options…full week, Tuesday/Thursday or Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedules. As first-time campers, I’m glad my kids went only two days a week. However, they’d prefer to go every day next year.
- The groups are small and there are a lot of staff around to help. The ratio is 1:6 staff to campers and groups are about 8-12 children.
- Excellent communication and a staff that is extremely accessible. I even spoke with the owner on site several times (and so did my kids!)
- Finally, I like the philosophy of Outpost: “What children want most is to belong; to be accepted by a group of peers and the adults that lead their group. At Outpost Summer Camp, this is a central theme of all of our programming. We call this “group-centered camping,” and the focus is on creating an environment in which each camper feels like he or she belongs to the group. This in turn fosters confidence, creativity, social skills, and a positive sense of self and of community.”
There are two more camp sessions this summer. For more information, visit www.outpostsummercamps.com.
Gage and I have spent many afternoons fighting the bad guys from World War II, Desert Storm and battles in between. Hanging out on the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier was our special thing to do while Mallory was in school last year.
After the first “this is AWESOME!!!” trip, I knew it would make sense to buy the family membership for $90.
It’s a favorite place to take our friends and family who are visiting from out of town.
There’s so much to learn, to see and explore whether you are a 5-year-old boy or and 85-year-old man. Even girls enjoy the Midway, as I learned yesterday when we took Mallory and her friends to our special place for the very first time.
We only had time to grab a quick lunch at the Fantail Cafe, take a simulated trip on the F18 Hornet and explore the flight deck, so everyone wanted to plan another trip soon. Lucky us! USS Midway Memberships are half-priced through October!
Our own membership doesn’t expire until February 2014, but I was able to extend it until February 2015 for only $45. A terrific deal given that a regular-priced, single-visit adult ticket is $19.
In addition to the half-priced membership offer, the USS Midway is participating in the Kids Free In October promotion. So now’s a great time to check them out!
Free Car Seat Safety Checks
If you’re not sure about how to install your baby’s car seat, help is available.
Babies R Us and the CHP are teaming up to provide FREE car seat safety checks this weekend. A complimentary car seat safety check event will be held this Sunday, November 2nd from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Babies R Us in Chula Vista.
No pre-registration is required. Just arrive at the Babies R Us located at 1860 Main Ct in Chula Vista between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and let the experts properly install your baby’s car seat.
If you are unable to attend the November 2nd event, here is a list of other San Diego organizations that provide free safety checks:
Kohl’s/Rady’s Children’s Hospital Car Seat Inspection at Kohl’s East Lake, Chula Vista. Click link to schedule your appointment.
Central San Diego
Kohl’s/Rady’s Children’s Hospital Car Seat Inspection at Rady’s Children’s Plaza in Serra Mesa and at the Balboa Kohl’s. Click the link to schedule your appointment.
California Highway Patrol-San Diego , 4902 Pacific Highway twice a month on Saturdays. First come first served, call 619-220-5492 for more information.
La Mesa Police Department at 8085 University Ave. Free inspection on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 9am. First come first served, no appointments needed. Call 619-667-1400 for more information.
California Highway Patrol, 1722 East Main Street in El Cajon. Tuesday mornings, call 619-401-2000 for appointment.
Kohl’s/Rady’s Children’s Hospital Car Seat Inspection; Kohl’s of Rancho San Diego. Click the link to schedule your appointment.
California Highway Patrol, 1888 Oceanside Blvd. in Oceanside. Once a month, first come first served from 9 – 11 a.m. and 1 – 3 p.m.. Call 760-757-1675 for available dates.
Kohl’s/Rady’s Children’s Hospital Car Seat Inspection for Encinitas and San Marcos. Click the link to schedule your appointment.
California Law (Effective 01/01/2012):
Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
Children under the age of 8 who are 4′ 9″ or taller may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
Children who are 8 years and over shall be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or safety belt.
Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.
For accurate, up-to-date car seat safety information, visit http://www.thecarseatlady.com/.
Give A Mom a Break
If you’re a mom, you probably drive a family-friendly car like a mini van or SUV, you’re probably a master at multi-tasking and you’d probably like more breaks than you usually get.
Wondering what this has to do with anything?
Well take a look at this picture. It’s me having my new Honda Pilot serviced at DCH Honda. More precisely, it’s my back being massaged by a Simply Spa staff member, while I’m waiting for an oil change…multi-tasking, taking a break…yes! This dealership actually takes the pain out of routine car maintenance by offering free chair massages and free manicures while you wait!
I love my new Pilot because it’s spacious, gets pretty good gas mileage, keeps the kids entertained on longer trips with a backseat DVD player and keeps us all feeling safe driving on the highways of San Diego.
And I love that we bought it at DCH Honda because my life got just a little bit easier by doing so. Every Tuesday the dealership offers free chair massages to its customers. Every Wednesday we can take advantage of the free manicure service provided inside the dealership. Every day there’s free wireless service and two nice computers to use if you didn’t bring yours. And for the life of my car, I can get a free car wash at this dealership. Get the car washed, get a manicure. DCH Honda knows how to give a mom a break!
What: DCH Honda of Lemon Grove
Great Museums for Kids in San Diego
February is Museum Month in San Diego when 44 local museums offer half-price admission. Families can visit one of the 14-area Macy’s stores to pick up free Museum Month Passes and redeem them at one of the participating museums for up to four half-priced admissions. What a great way to check out some of our county’s incredible museums! A great time to visit the Natural History Museum’s new Real Pirates exhibit, or the New Children’s Museum FEAST exhibit or the Birch Aquarium Sea Days special event.
Of course I love Museum Month, but each year there are a number of opportunities to visit some terrific family-friendly museums and attractions for free or at heavy discounts. We loved being on the USS Midway for FREE last Friday to celebrate the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies.
Several Midway attractions were open to the public, in addition to special events like free ice skating, snow play area and curling demonstrations. We had a blast, and, if we were not already members, we would have likely purchased a membership.
Speaking of memberships, I sincerely believe they are the best deals available. We scored our Midway membership at 1/2 price ($45 for the whole family!) during last October’s special promotion. But we thought it was worth it at full price, as is the RH Fleet membership at $89 for two adults and up to six children. My kids started with the Fleet’s Kid City and are now old enough to enjoy the other permanent and visiting exhibits.
If you don’t make it out in February, there’s always Residents Free Tuesdays to help you explore some of Balboa Park’s top attractions. And each October many attractions and museums are open complimentary to children during Kids Go Free Month. Through our county and city library systems, families can “check out” a two week membership to places like the RH Fleet, The Children’s Discovery Museum, the New Children’s Museum and the San Diego Museum of Art through the circulating memberships program.
We have the most wonderful opportunities to teach our children thanks to San Diego’s numerous museums and educational attractions. Get out and enjoy them!
It’s a Gym! It’s a Playground! It’s a Spa! It’s a…
However, step inside San Diego’s most unique mommy & me play space, and you’ll quickly discover that Jungle Gym & Cafe offers as many goodies for you as it does for your kiddos.
During the hour-long instruction, I had the chance to answer emails using the Jungle Gym’s complimentary WiFi while savoring a wonderful lemon sorbet served in the biggest lemon I’d ever seen.
This afternoon the kids will enjoy a 25-minute yoga class while I kick back and catch up on my reading.
Then they will play with their classmates under the supervision of the Jungle Gym staff while my friend and I take an hour-long yoga class of our own. Adult fitness classes are offered before the Jungle Gym & Cafe’s indoor play space is open and after it closes, so the only children inside belong to the moms taking the classes.
Next week I will take advantage of their free childcare again when I get a pumpkin peel in the newly opened med-spa facilities. There’s also acupuncture and they’ll soon offer massage.
I know it sounds like I go to The Jungle Gym & Cafe to get a break from my kids and to take advantage of some mommy pampering and stress relief. That is true!
But I also have a lot of fun with my babies while we’re there playing badminton and air hockey together.
Join me at The Jungle Gym & Cafe (and spa!) this month. Any two classes are free, and I’ll cover your childcare for up to two kids. Just check out the fitness schedule and tell me which classes you’d most like to take. 5 winners will be selected this week!
People Magazine knows how cool Hullabaloo Band is. Do you? I’m always surprised how many moms I meet who have not heard of this San Diego band that People featured in its “8 Cool Kids’ Albums Now!” spotlight.
We got to know Hullabaloo through the monthly Parent Connection concerts that they still perform. My kids grew to love their original songs as much as the traditional favorites they always play. We own several Hullabaloo CDs and a music video DVD. We even hired Hullabaloo to play at Gage’s 2nd birthday party!
My new favorite way to enjoy this brand of kid rock is sitting on a blanket in the sun with lots of happy kids dancing around at the twice-a-year Hullabaloo Family Arts Festival.
I guess many, many other families agree because the festival has outgrown its original location at the Bernardo Winery and will be held this September 22nd at the Liberty Station NTC Promenade. The festival will feature music, of course, but also art, dance and stories. At just $7 per ticket, this has got to be the most inexpensive way ever to spend time with People Magazine stars. 🙂
Let the Savings Begin!
They say you can divide moms into two groups…Target shoppers and Walmart shoppers.
I was on my way to Target the other day to pick up some frozen waffles and cake mix when I remembered that La Mesa’s new Walmart Neighborhood Market is now open. I know a lot about the neighborhood market concept since I shop at one every summer during our 2-week vacation in Orange Beach, Alabama. The selection is always great, the prices are even better, and since my trip to Target was basically for grocery items, I decided to give La Mesa’s newest market a try.
Wow, 33-cent Haas avocados! $1 for a 7lb bag of ice! The same or better prices on all of the things I normally pick up from Target, but oh so much more to choose from. In fact, Walmart Neighborhood Market is essentially like the Ralph’s grocery store that is just next door, but with those famous Walmart prices on food and pharmacy items.
The neighborhood market looks nothing like a regular Walmart, by the way. Its cheerier colors are bright green and yellow.
And, so far, the staff seems exceptionally well trained to be helpful and friendly. My cashier told me that the neighborhood market will match prices and strives to automatically offer the lowest price in town.
Want to try out the Walmart Neighborhood Market for yourself? To enter for a chance to win a $25 neighborhood market gift card simply comment on this post and tell me whether you’re usually a Walmart or a Target mom 🙂
Let’s Get Physical, Physical…
San Diego’s newest indoor play space for kids comes with a cool twist for parents. Yes, there’s a cafe. Yes, there’s free WiFi. Yes, they offer birthday parties, memberships and drop in pricing. In many ways the Jungle Gym & Cafe is like the other indoor spots your kids love. But for the first time in San Diego we have an indoor play center that offers fitness classes for the whole family and spa services for those of us craving a little extra TLC.
I am so excited for my friends, the Larsons, who are set to open the Jungle Gym & Cafe in Santee this coming weekend. Tonya Larson’s enthusiasm for fitness has led to what I think is a brilliant idea…moms get to work out while the kids are playing. I’m looking forward to cardio dance and athletic yoga. Maybe I’ll add a few pure pump and zumba classes too. If I can get even half as fit as Tonya already is, I’ll be psyched. (so will my husband!)
I also cannot wait for the massage and acupuncture services that will be online in the coming months. Childcare is available during fitness and spa sessions for kids ages 4 months to 12 years. Babies and toddlers have their own special play space, while older kids can jump, run, climb and play on Jungle Gym’s bouncer slides, jumper and obstacle course, safari cycle rides, jungle themed playground with airplane, hammock and rope swings and a campsite and costumes for imaginative play. There’s also badminton, soccer, basketball, foosball and air hockey. WOW!
The “safari cycles” are just one of the many unique goodies you will find at Jungle Gym & Cafe. Kids use their whole bodies to power the animals around the room. Too cool!!
If you want to be among the first to visit this amazing 8,000 square foot indoor wonderland, mark your calendar for the grand opening, this Saturday, August 11th. Take advantage of the 25% sale off fitness and play space memberships through August 18th.
Want to win it?
Leave a comment below for your chance to win a 3-month combination fitness and play membership valued at more than $150. This membership is good for two adults and up to two children and the benefits include:
Unlimited Adult Exercise Classes
Free Childcare for children 4 months to 12 years of age during classes up to 2 hours daily.
Free OPEN PLAY Membership included
Members have no time limit in the Jungle Gym & Cafe.
Unlimited Open Play Visits
All Children’s Classes are FREE!
1 FREE Open Play Guest Pass for a friend
2 FREE Guest passes for 1 Exercise Class (Childcare fee not included)
10% off of any BIRTHDAY PARTY PACKAGE
Meet The Martha Stewart of Men!
It’s not very often that my husband shows interest in my mom’s guide goings-on, but when we were invited to this weekend’s free IKEA store seminar on “refreshing and updating” kitchens with celebrity designer & dad, Stephen Saint-Onge, he volunteered to attend!
This seminar could not be better timed for us since we are planning to update our kitchen this year. If you could use a few design tips, and if you like gift giveaways, why not join us at IKEA in Mission Valley this Sunday at 1 p.m.?
Stephen Saint-Onge is Contributing Home Editor for Family Circle. His work has been seen in This Old House, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Romantic Homes, Renovation Style, In Style and Ladies Home Journal. Stephen has also been a featured guest on Today, The Early Show, CNN, Fox News, Better TV and The View.
If you love IKEA, free gift giveaways and would like to attend this FREE event, join us!
IKEA Life Improvement Seminar
Sunday, March 10th
IKEA Mission Valley, 2149 Fenton Parkway
No reservations required, event is free and open to the public, gift giveaways are limited, this is a sponsored blog post and you get a chance to win a $25 Visa gift card just for reading it and posting your comment below! One winner will be randomly selected on Saturday, March 9th. Good luck! 🙂
Mom, Be My Valentine?
Hopefully you’ll be celebrating in a sweet way on February 14th, but why not give yourself the extra gift of a girls’ night out just before Valentine’s Day? The fabulous ladies of SD Moms’ Night Out have put together another terrific event.
I’ll be there…will you?
When: Thursday, February 9, 2012 from 7-9pm
Where: Sè Spa at Hotel Palomar San Diego, a Kimpton Hotel,
1047 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Parking: Valet $7/hour or Park at Horton Plaza – parking is free for 3 hours with validation
Cost: $20 online through midnight on Thurs., Feb 2, 2012/ $25 at the door – tickets can be purchase on the SD Moms’ Night Out website.
Your MNO ticket includes:
– Entrance to Sè Spa
– Complimentary wine throughout the evening!
– Light appetizer fare courtesy of Hotel Palomar Salt Box Dining & Drinking
– Special discounted mom menu for future spa services when book at the event.
– Hand masseuse and chair massage on-site
– Live acoustic entertainment
– (1) raffle ticket
– Opportunity to win amazing raffle prizes
– Support the American Heart Association. Click here to visit our Go Red for Women Campaign fundraising page and make a donation today!
– A night to relax, mix and mingle with like-minded women
– A fabulous night out!
Oh The Places Your Kids Can Go (for free!) in October
Is your child fascinated with space?
Does she have a thing for seahorses?
Would he be mesmerized by model trains?
October is a great month to explore San Diego with your family since some of our city’s finest attractions offer free admission for children 12 and younger. In addition to 24 museums, Hornblower Cruises, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park each admit children for free with a paying adult for the next month.
Visit the Museum Council website to print your Kids Free in October coupon, then click the links below to find out more about the places you can go!
Barona Cultural Center & Museum, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Coronado Museum of History & Art, Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, Hornblower Cruises, La Jolla Historical Society, Lux Art Institute, Marston House Museum & Gardens, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Oceanside Museum of Art, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (gallery only), San Diego Air & Space Museum,
San Diego Archaeological Center, San Diego Botanic Garden, San Diego History Center, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park, The New Children’s Museum (10/15-10/31), Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, Timken Museum of Art, Veterans Museum & Memorial Center, Water Conservation Garden, Women’s Museum of California
San Diego Cooking Classes for Kids
Today is my little brother’s birthday. He just finished his freshman year at Texas A & M and is ready to learn to cook, so I sent him my favorite Sam the Cooking Guy cookbook and Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer. But I really wish I could have gotten him a cooking class. I caught the cooking bug in elementary school when I took a summer cooking camp and made cream puffs and chicken-salad-stuffed avocados for my family.
They say kids will love healthy eating when they learn to prepare healthy foods, so I’m committed to inspiring my kids before they get to college. This week Mallory participated in Jamie Oliver’s Big Rig Kitchen where she used a chef’s knife for the first time while helping prepare crispy oven baked garlic chicken.
The mission of these free “learn to cook” classes is to improve health and spread food education in underserved communities. It was way cool, and Mal is eager to prepare a dinner for her family!
There is still time to sign up for Jamie’s free classes since the Big Rig Kitchen will be in town until May 31st. But if you don’t make it, here is a list of places in San Diego where kids can learn to cook…
2. Chef Jenn offers private cooking parties for kids.
5. Local grocery stores also offer occasional kids’ cooking classes like the Wholefoods in Del Mar’s Kids’ Club, which is hosting strawberry shortcake from scratch this Saturday.
6. The owner of Cook for Thought instructs this month’s Wholefoods Kids’ Club cooking class. Through Cook for Thought, she also offers cooking classes, summer camps, school assemblies and private cooking events for children.
8. Sur la Table has three San Diego locations, and each offers a summer cooking camp for kids in addition to the occasional child-oriented class.
9. My Cool Kid Cooks provides mobile junior chef cooking classes, birthday parties and summer camps.
10. Harvard Cookin’ Girl in La Jolla offers kids’ cooking classes, camps and birthday parties.
See it for FREE! The New Children’s Museum
The kids and I had an excellent time at The New Children’s Museum recently and, visiting it for free, made the outing especially wonderful to me.
How did I get the three of us into the museum at no cost? I checked out a Circulating Membership through our La Mesa library, a branch of the County of San Diego library system.
New Children’s Museum circulating memberships are also available through branches of the City of San Diego library system. You check them out just as you would a book. Ask the librarian to locate one for you, and for two weeks your family will enjoy the benefits of regular museum membership including $5 parking.
FEAST is the current museum exhibition, and it’s my favorite one yet. It begins with scratch-and-sniff ripe bananas as you pass over the rainbow bridge into the museum, and continues with incredible displays and hands-on activities…
There are quite a few ways to enjoy The New Children’s Museum on a budget. The current Mom’s Guide has a buy-one-get-one admission coupon, Target sponsors the “free second Sunday” program, and there is currently a $5 happy hour admission promotion running. But, by far, the circulating membership program from county and city libraries is the best deal in town to get a “taste” of FEAST at The New Children’s Museum.
Shop Local & Save
I’m not the type to run out at midnight for a great deal or even to follow online retailers for hours looking for something special at just the right price, but I really, strongly believe in supporting local store owners, especially because most of the ones I do business with are moms and dads with young children too. So I will run out this Saturday to use my American Express card at my favorite local retailers since AMEX is going to credit me $25 for doing so!
I first heard of Small Business Saturday last year from a terrific little furniture shop that didn’t make it for the 2nd annual Small Business Saturday event. I’m sure you’ve seen a few of your favorite local businesses shut down in this past year as well.
Thankfully, there have been many new family-friendly businesses that opened up in 2011. The ones that come to my mind are Art Soup, Christy’s Toy Outlet, Chuze Fitness of Rancho Bernardo & National City, FUNbelievable, Just Between Friends consignment events, Kidville Chula Vista, Mon Petit Chateau and Tula-ru in Pacific Beach.
Why drag your children to the not-so-family-friendly neighborhood Starbucks when we have Java Mama and Mon Petit Chateau brewing delicious coffees that you can enjoy while your children play and are warmly welcomed by these locally owned businesses? (FUNbelievable, Kidding Around Playground , Kid Ventures and My Kids Clubhouse also serve coffee. Playtown lets you bring your own!)
Here are a few ways to make the most of your Small Business Saturday experience…
Buy this weekend’s Circle Buzz deal for $20 worth of books for $10 at The Yellow Book Road, and enjoy their Small Business Saturday sale of 25% off!
Head over to Learning Express Toys and use this coupon to buy a special holiday gift. Don’t forget, $25 back on your registered AMEX card!
Click here to register your card and to find out whether your favorite store is participating in this year’s Small Business Saturday event.
Soccer Shots: THE Children’s Soccer Experience Developing Stronger Youth
Introduce your child to the wonderful world of sports through Soccer Shots, starting at age 2!
Soccer Shots is for families who want the best for their young children (2+ years), are actively engaged in their education and are looking for a fun and age appropriate sports activity.
Soccer Shots is THE Children’s Soccer Experience that introduces children to soccer with a focus on character development.
- We are a national organization of caring individuals positively impacting children’s lives through memorable and engaging experiences.
- Our carefully selected coaches are passionate about teaching children, have an intimate knowledge of soccer and are professionally trained in using our acclaimed, creative and non-competitive curricula.
- We provide timely rich communication to families about their child’s enthusiastic participation and the Soccer Shots experience.
Who? We have a 2 year old specific program, a 3-5 year old program and also a 6-8 year old program. Each age group curriculum is different and extremely age appropriate.
What? We focus on having FUN, while guiding kids through imaginative type games that teach basic soccer skills but that also give us the venue to teach the kids the positive character traits that come along with being part of a group and a team and having a coach.
Why? Development of your child’s Confidence, Character, Teamwork, Coordination, and Imagination are all vital to their success in life.
Come try a class for FREE and see why Soccer Shots has been rated the #1 Children’s Fitness Program in the USA by Entrepreneur Magazine year after year.
For more information and to see a schedule of weekly classes at park locations close to you visit www.SoccerShots.org/SDCC, call 619-566-9566 or email email@example.com.
Summer of Soccer
USA! USA! USA!
If your home is like mine, the World Cup is on whether USA is playing or not. Haven’t you heard? Summer is for Soccer!
If your family has soccer fever, check out Soccer Shots World Cup Summer Camps.
My kids have played two seasons of Soccer Shots camps, and both my son and daughter loved the coaches, learned a lot and want to go back again! This weekend Soccer Shots is offering free trial classes, and I’m excited to be able to give one lucky mom’s guide reader a FREE week of summer camp.
Each week this summer, Soccer Shots is offering half-days of action packed fun. Children are split into two different age groups (3-5 years & 6-10 years) and each camp curriculum includes the World Cup, player skill development, and character development.
Soccer Shots camps feature:
• Energetic, professional coaches
• 1:10 coach to player ratio
• Individual soccer skill development
• Team building
• Fun fitness activities
• Coordination, balance, and agility development
• World Cup lesson-of-the-day
Every Camper Receives:
• Soccer Shots T-shirt
• Special end of camp prize
• Summer Camp certificate
• Player evaluation
To enter to win, simply list which Soccer Shots location would work best for your family in the comment section. Choose from:
Carmel Valley / Del Mar
Pacific Beach / La Jolla
Mira Mesa / Sorrento Valley
Mission Valley / Serra Mesa
For more information, please visit SoccerShots.org, or contact Jim Hill at 619-566-9566 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soccer Shots World Cup Camp winner will be selected this Thursday morning while USA is playing. Go Team!
Tea Time San Diego
My friend, Lindsay, of LindsaysTeaParty.com recently met me at San Diego’s newest spot for afternoon tea, Tee Party in MIra Mesa. She and I share a love of treating our children to tea parties, and we compiled this list of local businesses that serve you in their restaurants as well as a few that travel to you …
Visit a local tea room
The Aubrey Rose Tea Room in La Mesa: $22.95 per child ages 5-10 years or $25.95 for the gluten free children’s tea
Coral Tree Tea House in Old Town: $16.95 for children 6-10 years old
The Grand Tea Room in Escondido: $18 for children ages 10 & younger
Julian Tea & Cottage Arts in Julian: $8.95 for children ages 12 & younger
High Tea at Keys Creek Lavendar Farm in Valley Center: Seasonal events, $22.50 for children 4 – 10 years.
Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Afternoon Tea near downtown: $14.95 for children 12 & younger
Tea Upon Chatsworth in Point Loma: $22.95 per child ages 4-10 years
Tee Party in Mira Mesa: $24.95 for princess tea service for two.
Host a tea party in your home
Fairytale Princess Parties: Providing in home tea parties with or without a princess visit
My Cup of Tea: Offering décor and tea setting rentals
It’s My Tea Party: Tea china rentals and party hosting
Starry Eyed Children’s Event Planning & Design: Planning the tea party of your child’s dreams
Tea Time San Diego: Bringing you a traditional English tea experience
The British Bakery: Two British bakers bringing their twist on afternoon tea to Southern California. Perfect for birthday parties, baby showers, picnics and more.
Traveling Tea Party: In home tea parties with costumes, crafts and more
Hotel holiday and high tea service
The Grand Del Mar: $25 per child Wednesday – Sunday except during the month of December when the special holiday tea is $36 per child.
Hotel Del Holiday Tea: December 13th through the 31st enjoy holiday tea. Children 6-10 $27 and 5 and under are free.
Park Hyatt Aviara: Children’s tea is $15 Saturdays and Sundays from 2-4 p.m.
The Westgate Hotel: Ongoing special event teas including Christmas and Teddy Bear Tea service.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know if there are any other tea party businesses that we should add to this list!
The Adventures of Pug & Doug
Do you remember when I collaborated with Adventures by the Book to bring the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy series to San Diego last spring? That event was incredibly popular and will be repeated this year, but I’m super excited to tell you about another Adventures by the Book event for kiddos; The Pug & Doug Drawing Adventure with author Steve Breen at Mon Petit Chateau.
In addition to being a children’s book author, Steve Breen is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist. So, in addition to a reading of his book to our children, this “adventure” includes multiple drawing demonstrations by the author. If your child has shown any interest at all in art, this is a not-to-miss event.
Adults go free with a child, and the child’s $39 ticket includes the event, an autographed copy of Pug & Doug and a day pass to play at the fabulous Mon Petit Chateau. I hope you’ll join Mallory, Gage and me at this unique event next week.
Here’s the scoop:
PUG & DOUG DRAWING ADVENTURE
When: Saturday, January 26, 2013 starting at 2:00pm
Where: Mon Petit Chateau Mommy Cafe
861 Harold Place, Suite 204
Chula Vista 91914
Cost: $39 per child (includes autographed book and Mon Petit day pass); accompanying adults are free
For more information visit www.adventuresbythebook.com