Posts Tagged ‘My Faves’
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.
11-11-11My daughter was due on 11-11. I spent that evening at Jack’s in La Jolla sitting on a comfy couch in the bar balancing things on my belly like an entire bottle of wine.
11-11 came and went, and no baby, but I still loved that day. My first due date. And this year it’s especially special. 11-11-11 seems worth celebrating, so I am with ELEVEN giveaways.
To win, simply comment on this post with the giveaway you want to win. I will award the prizes in order of comments received until they are all gone.
Hope 11-11-11 is a lucky day for you!
Prize 1: Got a son? Win the Boy Mom Designs shirt of your choice. I’m super excited to get my green army man shirt with matching toddler version for my boy in the mail this week. Visit www.boymomdesigns.com to choose YOUR favorite shirt!
Prize 2: Need a night out? Win this 4-pack of Ultrastar movie tickets and you can enjoy a moms’ night out, a double-date or a trip to the movies with the hubby and kids. I love that Ultrastar’s Parent Movie Mornings and Baby’s Night Out means you don’t have to miss the blockbusters just because you’re a new mom!
Prize 3: Java Mama is the original kid-friendly coffee shop in San Diego, and they are especially close to my heart since they opened right down the street from my house just when I was ready to venture out with my new baby. Win this prize and enjoy 2 passes for supervised play and a tasty beverage of your choice. With free WIFI, yummy food and awesome play spaces, Java Mama is a safe, clean, friendly place for you and your little ones to visit!
Prize 4: If you don’t live in the North County, you may not have experienced the pure joy of Nothing Bundt Cakes. But with a new store opening this December in Mission Valley, all of San Diego should be able to treat themselves to the rich, dense, wonderful awesomeness of a Nothing Bundt Cake. Choose this prize and you’ll get a single-serving “bundtlet” from the Mission Valley store each month for the next year! YUMMMMM
Prize 5: My girlfriends and I love, love, love happy hour at Serenity Spa in Sorrento Valley…$30 for a 25-minute treatment that comes with the cocktail of your choice and delicious 1/2 priced appetizers. Win a 50-minute Swedish massage and visit this delightful spa during happy hour or whenever you need a stress-buster!
Prize 6: At a craft show last weekend I bought the cutest bows and headband for my daughter from BowBees. Fun styles and great quality at terrific prices = NEW FAVORITE. With Christmas around the corner, you might like to win this fancy red, green and white headband holiday bow for infants and toddlers.
Prize 7: Why pay $17 (plus tip) for a kid’s hair cut when you can get one for free? Kids’ Hair Salon is open 7-days a week at Grossmont Center Mall, and they’ve done a great job with my daughter’s hair for nearly 6 years. This gift certificate entitles you to one free child’s hair cut.
Prize 8: If 2 is better than 1, you’ll really love winnng TWO kids’ haircuts compliments of Super Cuts in Scripps Ranch! Each certificate entitles you to one free junior haircut at the Super Cuts on Hibert Street (near Java Mama!)
Prize 9: Moms on the move need this awesome, custom-designed Creative Travel Mug! Carlsbad mom, Melissa Badour,designs these high quality, environmentally friendly, stainless steel hot/cold travel tumblers with customer’s personal photos. Win this prize and choose up to 16 of your favorite photos for use in your new mug! (includes an additional sport lid)
Prize 10: If you love Christmas, save the dates of December 16 – 18 and join me for A Christmas Tabernacle at Liberty Station in Point Loma. Win these two adult admission tickets and enjoy all of the events and entertainment the Christmas Tabernacle has to offer for free. From the live nativity show, to the snow play village, to performances of the Nutcracker by San Diego Ballet…it will be a wonderland for kids and adults alike. Psst…check out Plum District on November 16th when they will feature A Christmas Tabernacle tickets for 1/2 price!
Prize 11: When I think “lucky” I think LOTTERY. No, I don’t usually play, but I will today, and so can YOU. Win this prize, and I’ll buy you $11 worth of lottery tickets. Will you split the jackpot with me if you win???
You live in San Diego, you’re blessed with children…even if you don’t win one of these prizes, you’re a very lucky lady already! 🙂 Have a great day!!!
2012 Mom’s Guide to San Diego…let’s get together!
Well, it’s nearly a month later than I had planned, but the 2012 Mom’s Guide is finally printing, and soon there will be 10,000 copies to distribute to moms like you who are looking for great deals, handy-dandy kids-eat-free and events calendars that you can keep in your car or diaper bag, terrific resource listings on places you can (and should!) go with the kiddos and helpful articles written by some of our county’s coolest moms.
I want to thank the many advertisers whose participation in this year’s guide makes it possible to print and distribute across the county. If you’re wondering who they are, just look to the right of this post and, if you’re so inclined, please click the tile ads to visit their websites!
And I want to thank the companies that contributed to our special “Life’s Better When You BOGO” section. Get your guide, and you’ll be treated to more than $50 in BOGOs at:
Mon Petit Chateau
My Kids Clubhouse
Seaport Village’s Antique Carousel
The UTC mall Kiddie Train
If you are a military mom, please check with your Fleet & Family Support Center…they will have guides in offices across the county for you beginning next week!
If you are a playgroup organizer, please use the contact form to request copies of the guide for your members.
And if you’re a mom like me who loves to be out on the town with the kiddos, then let’s meet up this month! Remember, it’s Museum Month, and that means that from February 1 through February 29th we can get into 40 San Diego museums for 1/2 price. What a great time to check out some of the family programs we’ve been eager to attend. I will bring your copies of the 2012 Mom’s Guide with me to the following events, so mark your calendar, visit Macy’s for your Museum Month Passport, and let me know if you’re coming!
Thursday, February 16th: Mac’s Kids’ Corner at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
Monday, February 20th: 10-11 a.m. it’s History for Half Pints “All Aboard A Train Adventure” at the San Diego History Museum.
Thursday, February 23rd: We’re going to check out the miniature train display and pot a plant at the San Diego Botanic Garden for their Thursday toddler playdate from 10-11 a.m. That afternoon from 4-6 p.m. we’ll be at Kid Ventures in Pacific Beach with Positively Kids playing “I Choose To Be Happy Bingo” and meeting Captain Positive! Click here for more info. and, be one of the first 25 moms to give us the secret code CAPTAIN POSITIVE because you do NOT want to miss out on the fab grab bags being handed out.
Friday, February 24th: From 2-4 p.m. we’re headed to the Lux Art Institute for the Family Friday tour, nature trail walk and an artist-led art project!
Saturday, February 25th: It’s Family Science Saturday at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Join us from 1-3 p.m.
Sunday, February 26th: We’ll be hanging out with Ms. Frizzle @ the 2:15 p.m. Wacky Science Sunday show at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Hope to see you in February!
A Gem of a Day
If you’re making the hour-or-so-long trip to Julian to pick apples this fall, you should consider staying a bit to enjoy some of the town’s other family-friendly activities.
We arrived in Julian around 9:30 on a Saturday morning, while the air was still a bit cool, and the orchards were relatively quiet. Each kid got to “pick a half peck” of apples, which took about 20 minutes.
We then spent the next three hours down the street at the Julian Mining Company enjoying a hay ride, throwing tomahawks, panning for gem stones, making apple cider, feeding farm animals and checking out tee pees.
You can’t see it too well, but the above shot is of my son throwing his first tomahawk… the best part of the day for a 5-year-old boy! These activities are part of the Julian Mining Company’s fall tour schedule, and definitely worth the $6 per kid we paid. We paid extra to do the gem panning, and that was well worth it too.
Just next door to the Julian Mining Company is the Wynola Farms Marketplace with a children’s play area, picnic tables, coffee, ice cream, wine tasting and cute little shops. It was a good place to unwind after all of our outdoor fun.
And nearby is Jeremy’s on the Hill, a wonderful restaurant featuring farm to table cuisine. The kids had chicken strips and fries, but the adults enjoyed garlic and leek soup, candied walnut salads, roasted chicken with roasted brussel sprouts.
On our way in and out of Julian we had to stop on the country road for wild turkeys crossing. We passed a group horse back riding and drove past the beautiful Lake Cuyamaca where kids can fish for free every Saturday.
It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. The next time we plan to spend the night at one of the cute B&Bs and make a whole weekend out of it!
Apple Days Are Here Again
The Julian apple orchards are open for business, and we’ll be there early this year.
Last year I purchased a voucher from Living Social for a bag of apples from Raven Hill Orchards, and its 8,000 dwarf trees were picked bare before we made it out. I guess it was a mistake trying to wait for a cool day to visit the historic town of Julian. There’s a Living Social deal for 1/2 priced bags now, so if you get one, don’t wait.
This year we’re going to head out in September — whether it feels like fall or not — to avoid disappointment. And while we’re there we’re going to check out some of the other fun things Julian offers families.
As you drive up to Julian you’ll pass the breathtaking Lake Cuyamaca. This year we plan to stop and check it out. There’s a free fishing class every Saturday and a fishing derby for kids on September 22nd, but you can get a permit and rent a pole anytime. To save time, they suggest purchasing a license online, but permits can also be purchased on site.
My neighbor swears that panning for gold is a must-do activity in Julian. The Julian Mining Company is open to visitors on the weekends and offers gem and gold mining. Pioneer Ways offers gold panning as well as a 1-mile train ride on the Smith Ranch & Julian Railroad.
I know my kids would love to visit the California Wolf Center, a one-of-a-kind education, conservation and research center that was founded to educate the public about wildlife and ecology. The Center currently exhibits several gray wolves.
While we’re in the town of Julian itself, I think we’ll take the 15-minute, narrated carriage ride offered by Main Street Carriage Company. But one of the things we likely will not do is eat pie, even though it’s readily available in many of the town’s charming shops and restaurants.
Why? Well, when we get home with 2 bags of apples we will have enough to bake several pies of our own. It will be a nice way to wrap up one of our favorite fall outings. We’ll talk about gold and wolves and fish as we watch our pies baking.
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
Boy Mom Love
Even though I too have a son, I have to admit that I get that “bless your heart” feeling when I meet moms with more than one boy or moms with just sons and no daughters. (Shout out to my friend DeSaix who just had twin boys!) I mean, it’s sometimes a little odd being a woman and having a boy, don’t you think?
They’re so LOUD, so rough and tumble.
They think it’s funny to burp and fart long before they understand that there’s such a thing as potty humor.
They (boys like my son, Gage) love dirt and grime. They lick the bottoms of their shoes and pick scabs for the fun of it. Really?! I really don’t relate.
But, I love my boy beyond words. I love all of his silly ways. I thank him for helping me understand so dramatically that the differences between men and women begin at the beginning (of life).
And, it’s true (in my case at least) what they say…little boys ADORE their moms. He seriously can’t get enough mommy time, which suits me just fine (most of the time).
When I saw Amy’s adorable Boy Mom line of shirts, I was psyched. They just spoke to t-shirt wearing me because, even though I’m a girly-girl, I’m also a very proud boy mom. And I knew Gage would get a kick out of seeing me in a brand that spoke to him too. He never wears his “green army man” shirt without asking me to wear mine. And he thinks my “football” hoodie is pretty cool.
These Ts are super-comfy, wonderful quality cotton, made in America by a fellow boy mom. It just can’t get much better than this if you ask me!
I want to give them as gifts to all of my friends pregnant with boys whose first thought might be “oh no!” There’s such joy ahead for the mom of a boy.
Ok, there are quite a few headaches too, but if you’ve got a son, you are in club “Boy Mom.” And Boy Mom Designs has created a uniform for those of us happy to be in the club!
See a Boy Mom Design that speaks to you? Tell me which one you like, and you’ll be entered to win =-)
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
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.
Children & Nature in San Diego
Last weekend’s beautiful weather has me thinking about the bounty of spring events San Diego offers. You don’t need your own garden to inspire a love of nature in your children.
There are many wonderful ways to introduce kids to gardening, farm-to-table cooking, conservationism and the cycle of life in the next couple of months. We’re planning to attend next weekend’s open house at Olivewood Gardens, an indoor-outdoor classroom for children and adults that provides science based environmental education lessons, hands-on gardening, and hands-on cooking to students. We’ll be back at Olivewood on March 8th for hands-on cooking demonstrations and children’s garden activities at the the Kids in the Kitchen event, produced with the help of the Junior League of San Diego.
Nothing quite says spring in San Diego like acres of rolling hills covered in orange, yellow, pink and red blooms. The Carlsbad Flower Fields will open on March 1st and will celebrate Kids’ Day on March 30th. The season lasts a quick 6-8 weeks before the flowers die and the park closes so mark your calendar!
The Japanese Friendship Garden cherry blossoms are also blooming, just in time for their 9th annual Cherry Blossom Festival on March 1st.
On March 8th Alta Vista Gardens presents Kids in the Garden, “Farmer Jones” will lead children in a fun-filled day of learning about planting and eating an edible garden.
The San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy presents a Spring Egg-ucation at its March 29th Family Day. Kids will get an up-close look at all kinds of critters that hatch from eggs. Families will discover an egg-themed Trivia Hunt around the Nature Center Loop Trail.
The Water Conservation Garden celebrates the opening of its new Butterfly Pavilion with a Butterfly Festival on Saturday, April 5th. Participants can learn how to create a butterfly garden, get up close with larvae, caterpillars and butterflies, march in the pollinator parade and more.
Also on April 5th is one of our favorite annual events, Lady Bug Day at the San Diego Botanic Garden. Kids search for lady bugs, make lady bug crafts and create beautiful lady bug-attracting floral arrangements with the help of garden volunteers. It’s a sweet way to spend the day.
If these events are not enough to satisfy your appetite for earthy-outings, spring is also U-pick strawberry season. Yum!
Community Day at Legoland
One of the largest enrichment organizations in San Diego, The Kid’s College, is being honored at Legoland, and you’re invited!
The celebration begins with $25 admission…
…and ends with more than 500 children from 27 North County schools performing on the MINILAND stage between 2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Community Day at Legoland will take place on Saturday, May 3rd. This fourth annual event opens the doors of Legoland to families at a discounted price with a portion of proceeds benefitting The Kid’s College, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has provided affordable enrichment programs since 1996. The Kid’s College’s professionally taught educational enrichment classes align with and enhance school curriculum in Art, Science, Technology and Life Skills. They offer a wide variety of classes in visual arts, performing arts, science, technology, engineering (STEAM), languages, financial literacy, life skills and healthy living.
Community Day tickets are valid only on Community Day, May 3, 2014, 1 pm – 8 pm. To order your tickets, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “tickets” in the subject line, and instructions will be emailed back to you. Or visit this link to download the ticket order form.
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!
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/.
Get Your Guide
Let’s have a Mom’s Night Out this Thursday night at Humphry’s! The mom’s guide will be in SD Mom’s Night Out goody bags for the first 50 guests, but I’ll be happy to give one to guests number 51-200 if you just ask 😉
Shop for great-priced, gently used kid and baby gear this weekend and pick up a mom’s guide while you’re there. San Diego Kids’ Consignment is taking place this weekend, March 1st through the 3rd in Oceandside.
O’s American Kitchen will hand out mom’s guides to families on Tuesdays during their kids eat free promotion. If you like O’s, you’ll want to get your mom’s guide 20% off coupon! Visit the Carmel Mountain, Mira Mesa, Mission Valley or El Cajon locations. While supplies last.
Join me at the Just Between Friends consignment sale in East County March 8-9. There will be enough mom’s guides available for everyone. And, like all of the other consignors, I’ll be parting with quality kids toys for CHEAP!
Mon Petit Chateau is the best place in South Bay for moms to pick up a guide. Just ask them at the coffee bar for your copy. No purchase necessary, but it will be hard to resist the cuteness you’ll find inside their boutique!
Art Soup in Encinitas is a great North County location to get your guide. Drop in rates are only $12 and your child will have a seriously good time. Again, no purchase necessary to get your guide.
Jungle Gym & Cafe is also a fabulous East County indoor play space that is giving out the guides. They are behind the reception desk so you’ll need to ask for one when checking in. No purchase necessary. Here’s the calendar of mommy workouts and cool kids classes to reference when planning your visit.
In April I will have a booth at the Hullabaloo Family Arts Festival with enough guides for all who visit. Look for the Creative Travel Mugs/Mom’s Guide booth…Melissa and I are sharing a space and looking forward to the new venue, Del Mar Fairgrounds, which will better hold the ever growing crowd following Hullabaloo Band around town!
If you’re in the market for a new pediatrician, be sure to visit Children’s Physicians Medical Group, which has great docs all over the county. Three of them contributed to this year’s mom’s guide, and they are handing out guides to their new patients and at the various community events they attend each year. I am so pleased to partner with quality health care providers in this issue on articles like “Is My Kid Normal?” “The Scoop on Poop” and “Good Night, Sleep Tight.” Thanks CPMG!
Are you a playgroup captain? I will arrange to ship or deliver enough guides to your members asap. Just send me an email @email@example.com so we can arrange the details.
MOPS, Mom’s Club, Mothers of Multiples…check with your local chapters to pick up your copy.
Military moms, check with your local Fleet & Family office.
You can also have an individual copy of the guide mailed to you for a small shipping/handling fee of $2. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you enjoy this 5th annual guide! -Jennifer
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! 🙂
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Happy 2012 Everyone!
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!
This exhibition uses sophisticated animatronics and imaginative displays to explain the good, the bad and the downright ugly about runny noses, body odor and much more.
With displays involving burps, farts, digestion, vomit and a display of the stinkiest bodily odors you can imagine, it brought hours of snorts giggles and the request to go back the very next day.
Grossology opened during the last week of May, which happens to be the same week that The Fleet kicked off its new “Check It Out” program. Families that use the Check It Out pass enjoy the benefits of annual membership for two weeks including free admission for two adults and up to six children under 18 and discounts for IMAX film tickets, in the museum gift shop, on digital and planetarium shows and in the cafe.
Each City of San Diego’s 36 libraries has two Check It Out passes, and they are as easy to get as a library book. If the passes are checked out, the library will put you on the waiting list, and you’ll receive an email or phone call when your pass is ready for pickup.
If you’re looking for something fun and educational to do with your children this summer, be sure to check out The Fleet. Grossology will be on display until January 1st of 2013, and the Check It Out program will be in place thanks to the support of ScholarShare, for the next 24 months. Added bonus: you can gross out dad this Father’s Day for FREE! Dads get in free on the 17th 🙂
Hip Hip Hooray! It’s Gymboree Day!
Full disclosure: Gymboree is an advertiser in the print edition of The Mom’s Guide to San Diego, and my kids attend free classes at the Solana Beach location. That’s just ONE reason that I enjoy driving them from La Mesa to Gymboree in Solana Beach each week. Now here are some reasons you may like to check out that location or one of the other three San Diego Gymboree centers…
1. QUALITY: If you’re confusing “Gymboree Play & Music” with Gymboree, the children’s clothing store, you’re not alone. Both are owned by the Gymboree Corporation. Gymboree = quality and value in both clothing and classes (oh, and they have the BEST bubbles you’ve ever seen, on sale at both the clothing stores and play & music centers!) Enroll in the play program after your trial class and enjoy these Gymboree store special offers:
* 20% off coupons for Gymboree Clothing, Janie & Jack and Crazy 8
* $25 in GymBucks
* FREE Gymboree Shopping Bag
2. MOMMY & ME: Gymboree is an excellent place for mommy and me classes. We enjoyed it when Mallory was just a crawler. You’ll get music, bubbles, parachute play and as much as activity as babies and toddlers are capable of. Gymboree is bright and cheery with lots of cool (and heavily padded) structures to climb and explore. If you are looking to get out of the house with your little one, want to mingle with other moms or want to find a great playgroup weekly activity, Gymboree is a fabulous place to start. Don’t forget to take your free trial class. OR, on this article to be entered to win one free month of classes!
3. OPEN GYM! No matter their age, I don’t think there is anything a Gymboree kid likes more than “open gym,” meaning they can explore and climb to their heart’s content during the free play hour. Sit back and enjoy mom! Open gym is available several times a week and is included with membership.
4. SPORTS SKILLS: My kids are older now, so I wasn’t sure if they’d love Gymboree as much as they did as toddlers. But the Sports skills class is a real winner for kids 3-5 years. I love that my two are able to take the class together. And during the course of our membership, they’ve been introduced to golf, soccer, track and field and tennis. Not only have they had a blast, they truly picked up some skills. Each class began and ended with open play, and they loved to see the different way the gym equipment was set up every week. Ms. Amanda, their teacher, is a mom herself and most excellent with these kids. Added bonus…sports is a drop off class meaning moms get a 1 hour break. Enough time to get a pedicure next door, hit Starbucks or power shop.
5. ART: If you add the art class for ages 3-5 like I do, you get to drop your kids off for another hour and the kids get to express themselves with paint, glitter, glue and more somewhere other than your kitchen table (no clean up for you!). Every week there’s a new theme, and Ms. Rachel in Solana Beach is as sweet as can be. My kids are so proud of the many mini-masterpieces they’ve brought home.
6. SOCIALIZATION: Moms are often concerned about making sure their children are “socialized” especially if they don’t attend preschool. My kids have had a lot of opportunity to share, partner and play with other kids in their Gymboree classes. And now Gymboree even offers a “School Skills” class where they can build key social, emotional and intellectual skills. There’s art, music, science and play…sounds good. Sign us up!
If you’re looking for any of the above, simply leave a comment below, and you’ll be entered into the raffle to offered at the Solana Beach or Clairemont locations. And mark your calendar for their end of summer open house featuring the live music of HULLABALOO! We’ll be there to enjoy parachute time, bubbles, art activities and more!
Gymboree Solana Beach
End of Summer PaRtY
971C Lomas Santa Fe Drive
Sunday, August 28; 3:00-6:00pm
FREE for currently enrolled members.
$5 per family for those not enrolled.
Children under 5 only please.
How Do You Spell Family Camp? F.U.N.!
I had a most wonderful and memorable Mother’s Day weekend. There was no spa in site. Nor a gourmet meal. Although we did eat well, and I didn’t have to clean up a thing. Our kids did all of the cleaning for five meals in a row. Enthusiastically, I might add.
I don’t recall my kids whining or complaining once in the two days we were gone, and they played outside happily all day each day without asking for IPads, TVs or XBox.
Where is this magical, electronics-free land where kids clean up and moms don’t cook? As close as Julian, a quick 1 hour drive from East County, at the 92-year-old Camp Marston.
Some of my best childhood memories were made at a similar YMCA camp in Texas. Our days were filled with horses, hiking, sailing, swimming, archery, rifle shooting (yep!), crafts, songs and friendship. I’ve thought many times that I would like my children to experience the same type of fun in the great outdoors, and last weekend they did. We ALL did!
YMCA Camp Marston in Julian is much like the Y camp I loved many years ago. In addition to its overnight camp program, Marston offers “family camp” four times a year when the whole family stays in a lodge cabin together and participates in a variety of activities including canoeing, archery, target shooting (with BB guns instead of .22s!), games, crafts, climbing wall and more.
Our very good meals were provided in the camp dining hall and served buffet style. The camp cook told us that they prepare 98% of what is served and even bake their breads from scratch every night. During Mother’s Day Camp weekend we enjoyed sandwiches made with that fresh bread, yummy lasagnas and pastas, wonderful salads, a spectacular fresh fruit buffet, sausage, eggs and cooked-to-order pancakes.
YMCA camp strives to teach kids about responsibility, so campers are responsible for cleaning up their own mess. This was possibly my favorite part of each day.
Now, I realize that not every mom is a “camper.” But the beauty of Camp Marston is that you do not have to pitch a tent, pee in the woods, freeze in the cold or swelter in the heat, cook a meal, organize activities, etc. You and your husband might suffer a bit in the single bunk bed, but your kids will love it and you’ll have heat, a fan, a clean bathroom with showers just steps away and activities to keep the whole family entertained for the weekend.
At 5 and 7, our children were the perfect age for family camp. We met many lovely SoCal families, some with older children, some with younger. Most had attended family camp numerous times before. Those experienced family campers came prepared to fish Lake Jessop with their own fishing poles and bait. Many also came prepared to participate in the annual talent show. Next time we’ll be ready for both!
The next family camp will take place over Memorial Weekend, and it’s already sold out. If this type of outing seems like fun to your family, be sure to register early for the upcoming Halloween or Thanksgiving family camp weekends. Maybe we’ll see you there!
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. 🙂
Kids’ Favorite Things
Pretty exciting stuff…Oprah’s Favorite Things is coming back to TV this Sunday, Nov. 18th, and viewers will have a chance to win! So if you’ve ever wished you were sitting in the audience when Oprah shoveled goodies into it, well, here’s your chance.
Now that I’ve got favorite things on my mind, I think I’ll share a few of my kids’ favorites; toys and treasures that have stood the test of time in our home, just in case you’re looking for holiday shopping ideas 🙂
When Mallory was four, we threw her a princess birthday party and “Sleeping Beauty” gave her this adorable CD with all of the Disney princesses singing to her. Three years later, this is the music she listens to night after night while drifting off to sleep.
Each CD costs between $19.95 and $24.95 and, in addition to princesses and Mickey Mouse, cds can feature the characters of Veggie Tales, Elmo and The Wiggles all signing to your child. Just select a CD, select a name and watch your child’s face light up!
I’ve seen this guy at TJ Maxx recently. He’s a toy, but also a real comfort when heated up in the microwave and handed to a child who could use a little TLC. Our Sootheze bear has been with us for several years and never disappoints.
This teaching cash register has been fun for both of my kids and all of their friends before any of them could count money or even understand what money was.
Although it comes with fake coins that can be inserted, the cash register takes real money as well and counts it as it’s dropped through the slot. They’ve never been gentle with this toy, and yet it has held up for at least three years!
Now, onto mom’s absolute favorite thing when it comes to gift giving. It’s a little thing called Amazon Prime, and you can take a 30-day free trial just in time for your holiday shopping.
Just today I saw our toy cash register on the daily deal site, Zulily.com, for $34.99 plus shipping, which is normally $6.95 or so. But it’s also currently available on Amazon for $35.80 and because the “prime” logo is visible, that means the toy will ship free to your home in only 2 days!
I’m no Oprah, but I think you’ll love these favorite things if you give them a try. 🙂
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
Little League Love Affair
With closing ceremonies this weekend, our third Little League season has officially ended. I say “our” because Little League really is a family affair.
From the dads (and a few moms) who volunteer to coach, to the other family members who work the snack bar, keep score, plan the celebrations and happily sit together during weekly practices and games cheering their children, siblings, teammates – even opposing team players – for their progress.
We became a baseball family when Gage joined Rolando Little League T-ball at age 4. So, of course we see every baseball movie, including Million Dollar Arm. This PG rated movie, in theaters now, is funny, inspiring and uplifting. My kids liked it better than Frozen. (comment below for a chance to win tickets and see if your kids agree!)
We also make it out to cheer the San Diego Padres each chance we get. Little Leaguers have a special day at the stadium, but any kid under age 14 can become a “Junior Padre.” Registration is free, and every Sunday Junior Padres enjoy events like batting clinics, running the bases, playing catch on the field and special autograph signings.
The Padres’ commitment to kids doesn’t stop there. The team helps refurbish baseball diamonds across the county and, since 2012 they have generously donated more than 14,000 jerseys and caps to local Little League teams, including ours. Families so appreciate the cost savings and love to see which of the twelve different styles their team will get.
The Padres even support The Mom’s Guide, offering a generous 50% discount on select games, especially the ones featuring Junior Padres activities. Woo hoo!!
While this year’s Little League season has come to an end, here are a few ways your baseball-loving children can still enjoy the game…
- Purchase Padres tickets to select games at up to 50% off using the code SDMOM14
- Watch “Angels in the Outfield” for free on June 7th at the Summer Movies in the Park
- Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see “Million Dollar Arm” at UltraStar by commenting below
- Sign up for Little League “fall ball” or the 2015 season by joining your community team.
In 2014 the boundary rules for Little League were changed allowing families to choose a league that serves either their home or school community. For more information click here. If multiple teams come up in your search, and you are not sure which league is the appropriate one, click on the link for the District Administrator in your area, and he/she can help you identify the correct league that serves your area.
Love to Play?
Did you see this awesome deal from PlumDistrict.com for a $65 semi-private party at Play Town? Play Town is a great place for kids 6 and younger, and my 6 and 4-year-olds have loved going there since they started walking.
I am fond of East County’s first indoor play space for so many reasons. Before we had Play Town, we used to drive out to Poway for this kind of indoor fun!
I like that there is space for non-walkers as well as bigger kids, free WiFi and that families are allowed to bring in their own food and drinks. They have a wonderful calendar of events chock full of character visits, face painting, specialty classes and boutique shopping days. Play Town’s owner, Jillian, is a fun, sweet fellow mom who purchased Play Town from its original owners after hosting her son’s 2nd birthday party there. “I took over Play Town when I got separated and needed to provide for myself and my son. I thought owning an indoor playground would still allow me to enjoy all the great things that come along with being a mom.”
AND Jillian has generously provided mom’s guide readers with a buy-one-get-one free coupon in the 2012 printed resource guide. In honor of Friday the 13th, the first 13 moms who comment on this post will be mailed their own copy of The Mom’s Guide to San Diego with its Play Town BOGO coupon.
Have a great day!
Mai Tais at Sunset
So I have one final favorite that I want to share with you this Mother’s Day. Here’s a hint…it includes mai tais at sunset.
If you live near Pacific Beach, you are probably familiar with the annual summer luau party that the Catamaran Resort hosts. You don’t have to be in Hawaii to feel like you’re on vacation. The Catamaran luaus are pretty authentic and are definitely a great way to spend a San Diego evening.
From the moment you step foot onto the grassy lawn that overlooks Mission Bay, you’ll be serenaded with tropical music, greeted with colorful leis and handed your soothing cocktail. After the ceremonial entrance of the pig, a fabulous buffet of fresh salads and fruits, Kalua pig, pork loin, miso glazed salmon, guava chicken and assorted rice and vegetable dishes awaits you.
While you feast, you’ll enjoy the sounds of the South Pacific and authentic dances and stories of the islands. As the sun goes down, the fire dancing begins, delighting all ages.
The Catamaran Resort Summer Luaus start in late June and run through August. There are generous discounts for military, and their children are invited to attend free. But readers of The Mom’s Guide to San Diego have the chance to win a pair of tickets to the Tuesday evening luau of their choice. (an $116 value!)
To enter to win, simply reply here with how you are planning to spend Mother’s Day. This prize will be awarded to one reader this Sunday!
SoCal attractions are kicking-off Christmas this week — yes, the week before Thanksgiving. There are so many ways for you to make merry memories with your families that you’ll need to start now to fit it all in. This list is not inclusive, just a few of our favorite things, and a few newbies we’re looking forward to experiencing this year.
Expensive But Extra-Special
It’s hard to believe that Disneyland could be any more magical for kids than it already is, but Christmas is an extra special time to visit. We were among the first to see Disneyland transformed for Christmas this week. Not only is the park beautiful and the crowds relatively light, but every night on Main Street there’s the sweetest Christmas music, the “Believe in Holiday Magic” castle lighting with “snow” fall, spectacular fireworks and a wonderful Christmas parade. This is our newest favorite family tradition.
Visiting the “North Pole” via the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s North Pole Christmas Limited train will cost a family of four $100 or more, but for fans of The Polar Express, it’s worth every penny. I thought about skipping this event in favor of something new this year, but the kids said “no way!” Step aboard the train, and you’ll be treated to Christmas carols led by elves, a reading of The Polar Express, hot chocolate and warm cookies baked by the Polar Express chef and a personal visit to every seat by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Kids will love taking the train to pick up Santa. It’s truly something special.
Most people know that Dr. Seuss himself lived in San Diego, so it’s only fitting that How The Grinch Stole Christmas at The Old Globe has been a beloved San Diego tradition for 14 years. We’ve seen this show several times (even before we had children!) and think that, by far, the first Sunday performance followed by the Christmas tree lighting in Copley Plaza is the best. Not only are the tickets reasonably priced since it’s more than a month before Christmas, but the after party (aka tree lighting) is super fun with the opportunity to see the cast up close, sing carols and enjoy snowfall on the plaza.
Christian Youth Theater of San Diego presents Traditions of Christmas, a musical journey of greatest Christmas songs and traditions from around the world. We are not among the 250,000 San Diegans who have already seen this show, but it comes highly recommended by my playgroup captain who has gone for 4 straight years so it’s on our must-see list this year!
Have you gotten your tickets to A Christmas Tabernacle yet? I’m excited about this first year event and hope it turns into a San Diego tradition. Just check out this line up of wonderful musical and dance performances…all free with admission that is as low as $9 per ticket if you catch one of the daily deal specials running this month!
Last year we took the kids who, at 3 and 5, surprised us by how much they enjoyed the jazz house band at Anthology performing favorite Christmas songs. This year we’re turning it into a date night experience. The food is excellent, and the atmosphere is sultry. A perfect way to ring in the holidays with your honey.
Obviously we don’t get much real snow in San Diego County, but this holiday season you’ll be able to enjoy snowballs, sledding and snowmen with your kids at the following venues:
A Christmas Tabernacle’s Snow Hill…be sure to check out the snow board simulator too!
Legoland’s Holiday Snow Days … build a Lego snowman while you’re there!
Seaworld’s SnowWorld … we can’t wait to see The Polar Express 4-D show too!
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!
Mom’s Time Out
On February 28th I’ll attend the SD Mom’s Night Out event at Humphrey’s. These events have never let me down. The food, the free flowing wine, the venue, the raffle prizes — always terrific. For only $30 per ticket it’s a great night out.
While the SD Mom’s Night Out events started as a way to mingle with local mom-preneurs, I think they have evolved into evenings that celebrate all moms, working or not. I hope to see you there!
On April 28th I’ll be attending the 20th annual Spring Fantasy Luncheon benefiting the Scripps Parent Connection.
Not only have I attended this event many times, but I co-chaired it a few years ago, so I know first hand that it is a fun time with your gal pals. If you love to shop and get a deal, don’t miss the SFL. All of the best companies donate auction items to this 30-something year old charity, so this event always has the BEST auction items for moms and families.
You don’t need to be a member of the Parent Connection to enjoy this 20s-themed ladies luncheon with wine and champagne at the Del Mar Hilton. You just need to be a momma who’s in need of a good time. Who’s in?
More is Less
This weekend has been crazy with Little League closing ceremonies, Girl Scouts bridging ceremony, a summer kick off party at our school, La Mesa’s Flag Day Parade, a family volunteer stint with the Arthritis Walk, my volunteer obligation to the school rummage sale, church, a mother/daughter Jamberry home party and a dinner in Coronado with friends.
While not every weekend is this jam-packed, the entire school year has felt hectic to me. There were many things I wanted to do with my kids and never got the chance to thanks to our ever-busy weekends. Yesterday, I began to think that our summer family motto needs to be “less is more.” I want less of a schedule and more time to relax, connect, be creative and be together.
Everyone says, “enjoy them while they are young, time flies by so quickly.” My kids and I seem to spend more time apart than together each week thanks to school, work, sports, extra-curriculars, play dates, parties, etc. etc. This summer I want to make a conscious effort to slow things down and not feel so scheduled. Aren’t they supposed to be “lazy” summer days?
So while our friends are planning their week-long summer camps, I am planning to purchase a Aztec Aquaplex membership so we can spend our days at the pool when we’re not at the beach. While I am at work, I plan to have a sitter to the house so that the kids are still able to play with their own toys, with each other and with the neighborhood kids. And instead of sending them here and there to learn wonderful things without me, I plan to do wonderful things with them like taking a sewing class with my daughter at Sew Inspired, learning to make perfume at Tijon, fishing with my son at Santee Lakes and panning for gems at the Julian Mining Company. I want us to spend a day at Old Flieglers Farm and visit Keys Creek Lavender Farm before it closes for the season. I want to take an OC outing where we do things other than Disneyland including our first trips to the American Girl Doll Store, Discovery Science Center and Medieval Times.
By the start of the next school year, when we get back to full school days and weekends full of social and sports activities, I’d like to be able to look back on summer and feel like we truly had a break from crazy schedules. I want to make sure we slept in a lot, learned some new things and, most importantly, that we had less stress, less chaos, less obligation and more togetherness.
Less is going to be more.
Mother’s Day Just Weeks Away
In a few weeks I’ll celebrate Mother’s Day for the seventh time.
It might sound terrible to say, but at the end of the day for each of those past Mother’s Days, I’ve told myself “Next year what I really want is the entire day off.”
While I do love being showered with presents (at the crack of dawn), feasting on kid-cooked breakfasts (that I get to clean up), and being treated to fancy restaurant meals (where I struggle to keep my children entertained at the table), it has crossed my mind for six years that the perfect gift for a mother might be a few hours where she doesn’t have to mother anyone.
So I decided to remind myself this year that a day off was my one and only request. Of course that means either I would have to leave the house or they would, because if I’m anywhere near the family, I’m in charge, I’m needed and I am wanted.
But now that we’re just a few weeks away from Mother’s Day, a funny thing has happened. My kids don’t get up at the crack of dawn anymore. In fact, almost every day lately I wake up before they do.
And now that Mallory is in school until 3 each day, I kind of feel like I don’t see enough of her.
And my baby boy who used to follow my every step can play quietly in his room for a long, long time.
Things have changed quite a bit for us since last Mother’s Day. And sometimes, when I’m holding my boy’s hand, I imagine him as a teenager who doesn’t need a hand to hold, and I have to fight back a tear.
So I won’t be taking the day off on May 13th. In fact, I’ve started to think that the perfect gift just might be another baby…….
October is Awesome in San Diego!
It felt like an East Coast fall day in Julian yesterday, which just increased the pleasure of picking crisp, juicy apples and eating them right off the tree. It was the perfect way to kick off fall, and got me thinking about all of the wonderful activities that will happen in San Diego during the next several weeks…
Fall Festival at KOA San Diego
October 18-20 and October 25-27
You might recall how much we loved our first stay at KOA San Diego Campground. If we can swing it, we want to head back for their Fall Festival weekend. KOA has its very own pumpkin patch and is hosting a pumpkin carving contest over the weekends of October 18th and October 25th. There will be hayrides, movie under the stars (Hotel Transylvania), safe trick-or-treating, pancake breakfast in the park and more.
For more information visit http://koa.com/campgrounds/san-diego/.
Weekends September 28 – October 27
We’re going to enjoy SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular this year and,while we’re there we’ll be checking out the Dine with Shamu dinner show for the first time (kids go free in October!). The spooktacular weekend includes special shows and activities, photo ops with wacky characters and gob of ghoulish goodies. Kids are encouraged to come to the park in their costumes.
Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26 – 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Ghosts, goblins, pirates and princesses alike will love this scary storytelling session aboard the Star of India as storytellers reveal the eerie legends of the past and tales of ghostly encounters. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes, and creepy treats will be handed out to all who attend. The Haunting Tales are included with Maritime Museum admission.
For more information visit www.sdmaritime.org.
Marie Hitchkock Puppet Theater
Kids love the Balboa Park Puppet Theater. And who wouldn’t love to spend a fall day in Balboa Park? This year there are two non-scary Halloween productions scheduled.
October 23-27 is “The Polka Dot Ghost” about a not-scary ghost who needs help getting ready for Halloween night.
October 30-November 3 is “Witches Brew” about a witch who plans to become a nice person.
For more information about these Halloween-themed shows and others, visit www.balboaparkpuppets.com.
HAUNTED AQUARIUM: Shipwrecked!
Discover what lurks beneath the surface at Haunted Birch Aquarium: Shipwrecked! Enjoy close encounters of the fishy kind, BOO-gie down with Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters, and explore our wreckage for sunken treasures. Wander the aquarium’s galleys for tricky treats and discover a sea of glowing creatures while having a monstrous good time. Dress to impress!
For more information visit www.aquarium.ucsd.edu.
Balboa Park Halloween Family Day
Saturday, October 26 – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
With more than a dozen Balboa Park museums “treating” children 12 and under to free admission with paid adult admission, the 5th annual Balboa Park Halloween Family Day is sure to please. Participating museums will also present special, spooky activities, tours, storytelling and other goodies.
For more information visit www.sandiego.org.
Spooky Sleepover at the San Diego Zoo
October 19 and October 26 – 4 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Get into the spirit of the Halloween season with a Spooky Sleepover at the San Diego Zoo led by ghostly camp director, Dr. Zoolittle. Participants get to make their own personalized treat bags and take an exclusive bus tour to visit some scary and strange animals. Families will then settle in for the night at “haunted” Camp Timbuktu where they can partake in a costume parade, ghost stories, dinner, snacks around the campfire and an optional night prowl through the Zoo.
For more information visit www.sandiegozoo.org.
October 5, 12, 19 and 26 – 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Held every Saturday in October, the Brick-or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND boasts several special areas open late, including Miniland USA, Land of Adventure and Castle Hill. Activities include a dance party, the “Mail Order Monsters Show,” a live performance from a group called The Witchettes, a magic show and a costume contest.
For more information visit http://california.legoland.com.
Ode to East County
Long before two became four
We lived in PB close to the shore
Sunsets and bonfires were always fun
But our condo was no place for little ones
So after the babies we headed East for
A home that offered us space galore
“Won’t you miss your life at the beach?”
Friends didn’t think we would love the East
“It’s sunnier, more affordable, great for families,” I’d say
There are more fun things to do than time in the day
The cross at Mt. Helix is fantastic to behold
And the farms offer wonders for the young and the old
And something extra special that many don’t know
We’re only 30 minutes away from some fabulous snow
Coronado, Little Italy and Balboa Park is just minutes away
And a trip to Seaworld is easy any day
We have block parties, trick-or-treating, an old-fashioned neighborhood
Yes, our life in East County is truly oh so good
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
Once Upon A Time…
Once upon a time there was a sweet little girl who loved to dance, get manicures, dress up, create beautiful crafts, go to tea parties and make new friends. Happily, she was able to do all of her favorite things at a magical place called The Royal Fairytale.
For four wonderful afternoons this summer the little girl enjoyed the best of girlhood during The Royal Fairytale’s princess camp. She learned how to create a rainbow of carnations using food-colored water. Her new favorite toy bunny, “Sugar,” came to life at the Fairytale’s stuffie station. She learned how to sip tea from a china cup with “pinkies up.” She enjoyed a first — blue fingernail polish and purple toe polish– and she performed a special dance with her new friends to the song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
Her mother, the Queen (ha, ha), loved that princess camp cost only $99, that it was offered by the sweet store owners of The Royal Fairytale whom she likes and trusts very much, and that the camp was limited to 12 girls so that every princess got the royal treatment she deserved.
If you have a special little girl in your life, check out The Royal Fairytale. There are only a handful of spots left in the last session of princess camp, but she can feel like a princess all year long at the store’s birthday parties, monthly tea parties, pajama parties, glamour parties, stuffie station and adorable gift shop.
The Royal Fairytale
Westfield Parkway Plaza
Pick A Peck of Pumpkins
Ahhhh, fall is finally in the San Diego air, and I’m glad that we chose this weekend for our annual pumpkin picking. And, yes, you can pick a peck of pumpkins! From what I can tell your peck will weigh anywhere from 8-24 lbs. (pecks aren’t translated easily into pounds) But that’s a whole other confusing subject.
Anyway, each year I write about our favorite fall activities and, while you can find inexpensive carving pumpkins at local grocery stores, it’s sooo much more fun for the kids if you make a trip to one of San Diego’s pumpkin patches.
I was hoping to experience Bates Nut Farm for the first time this year, but with gas at nearly $5 a gallon, I’m not eager to take the drive to Escondido from East County.
Instead, we spent yesterday evening at our preferred patch, Oma’s Pumpkin Patch, where we ran through the hay maze, slid down the cotton seed hill, played some games and picked a few pumpkins. There is also a petting coral, playground and hay rides on the farm all included in the $8 per child price. One adult is free with each child admission, and each child will leave with a small-to-medium-sized pumpkin, which is also included with admission.
There are no pumpkins to pick at next weekend’s Fall Harvest Festival but it is another fabulous way to celebrate the season.
At only $5 per child for Parent Connection members and $10 per child for non-members, kids will get their faces painted, make fall art with the terrific staff of Art Soup, dance to the kid-friendly music of Hullaballoo Band, sit for storytime with the author “Becka and the Big Bubble,” have a caricature made by Court Jones and decorate cupcakes compliments of Cupcake Love. You don’t want to miss it!
If you’re looking for a low-key pumpkin picking experience, you should visit Summers Past Farm.
I see that they are having a fall harvest festival of their own next weekend, and if it’s anything like their annual Fairy Festival, it will be a zoo (a fun zoo, but not low-key). However, last year we visited Summers Past and had a really enjoyable and quiet afternoon of wandering through rows of pumpkins.
What’s your favorite fall tradition?
Playgroup Buddies are the Best!
If one of the things you felt thankful for this past week is the love, support and friendship that your playgroup buddies give you, then this blog is for you.
Eight years later, I still treasure the meaningful friendships that grew from my original Parent Connection playgroup.
We’ve decided that, in 2014, the mom’s guide is going to be all about honoring, rewarding and supporting San Diego playgroups. If you, the moms and kids you hang with on a regular basis would be interested in winning a playgroup party, listen up!
During the next twelve months, every registered San Diego playgroup will have the chance to win incredible in-home parties, fabulous field trips and memorable moments courtesy of San Diego’s best local businesses (and mom’s guide sponsors!).
Our 2014 prize list includes:
And that’s just what we have planned for the kids. For moms, we’re giving away…
If any of this sounds like the type of fun your group would like to have, then register your playgroup anytime for your chance to win. Here’s how:
Email to email@example.com your:
1. Playgroup name
2. Playgroup organizer’s name
3. Organizer’s phone number and email address
4. Approximate number of members
5. Age-range of children in the group
Each time a playgroup giveaway becomes available, captains will be notified and given the chance to enter to win. Each playgroup member can enter for one chance to win! Enter as many or as few giveaways as you’d like.
Here’s some fine print:
No purchase necessary. Unsubscribe from the group email at any time. Winners will be randomly selected. Prize packages are limited in quantity. Large playgroups may need to raffle tickets to certain attractions and opportunities. More details to follow each giveaway. Good luck!
Playing it Safe
Have you had THE TALK with your kids yet? I don’t mean that talk, but rather the one about strangers and bullies and tricks and danger.
Perhaps you’ve told your children, “Don’t talk to strangers.” “Don’t open the door.” But have you told them why?
Did you let your daughter know that even kindergartners can be mean enough to make her feel ugly, weird and un-liked? Have you told your son that saying to someone, “You can’t play with us,” or, “You’re not my friend,” is a form of bullying?
My children just took their first Play It Safe self defense course. We mainly went for the anti-bully training now that it’s back-to-school season, but the class offered much more than that. I felt uneasy as I watched the kids learn techniques for fending off abductors and ways to battle bullies. While I was happy that the course was providing my kids with tools to handle a variety of situations, I sat there knowing that we would be having a serious talk at home about the dangerous world in which we live.
I had never really spoken to them about “stranger danger” before. I didn’t want to terrify them. I guess part of me was hoping that simply saying, “We don’t talk to strangers” would be enough. But, of course, I know it’s not. Did you catch this Dateline NBC hidden camera special? So eye-opening about how easily kids can be tricked.
During our Play It Safe course, the kids were shown pictures of “strangers” –an older couple, a woman, a man dressed as a physician — and asked to identify the “good” people and the “bad” people. The point of the exercise was to let children know that it is hard to tell who is good and who is bad simply by looking at them. I could feel my kids wondering, “In what way could those harmless looking people be bad?”
They were asked, “Do some people make your stomach feel funny when you meet them?” by instructor Tracie Arlington. She had a cute way of asking it, but I am certain my children did not really understand what she was talking about. So I made a mental note to talk about gut instincts and intuition with them.
The Play It Safe staff acted out a few scenarios of how a stranger might try to trick kids into getting into a car like asking them to help look for a lost dog, offering them candy, etc. I’m sure mine were wondering why anyone would want to take them away.
This is scary stuff to me, but when I got home and asked my kids about their experience, they were not as confused or upset as I had thought they’d be. In fact, they seemed empowered. The role playing really engaged them. From how to turn away from bullying to how to kick adults in the shins hard enough to escape their grasp, they learned a lot from the class.
In The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, author Michele Borba stresses the importance of role playing over and over again so that children feel comfortable with how to handle difficult situations. Watching the Play It Safe staff act out scenarios with my kids illustrated to me how receptive they really are to this kind of instruction.
The best part, to me, of the self defense course was how it opened the door to conversations with my kids that I had been avoiding. What is more important than teaching our children how to be safe in a not-so-safe world? I’m so glad we went.
Play It Safe offers age appropriate self defense for children between the ages of 5-11. For more information visit www.playitsafedefense.com.
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.
Moms, sorry for the confusion. I told you in my post earlier this week that I would contact Seaworld for more information about their newest, most awesome promotion, the Preschool Pass, and here it is! Yes, you will need to visit the site and fill out a new form, but, hey, it’s worth it, right?
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.
What mom doesn’t want more pampering and time with her girlfriends? Before I had children, it didn’t seem possible that I’d have to work at making myself a priority in my own life…that carving out time for myself would actually become a new year’s resolution.
But that’s where we are, so I’m thankful for Serenity Spa for helping me kill two birds with one stone. Last night, eight of us headed to Sorrento Valley for Serenity’s spa happy hour, enjoying cocktails, delicious 1/2 priced appetizers and fabulous mini-spa treatments.
I’ve loved Serenity for years now specifically for their high quality, affordable happy hour treatments that each come with a cocktail of choice. There’s a sauna, jacuzzi, pool and relaxation room to sit and chat with your girls. This spa is connected to the Hilton Gardens hotel. When I first noticed that, I had low expectations. But I promise you will not be disappointed with the quality of the treatments or the food that is served from the hotel’s Bistro 39.
Last night, from the happy hour menu, I had fresh crimini mushrooms baked with boursin cheese and white wine, served with toasted baguette slices and jumbo marinated artichoke hearts quick-fried and served with parmesan cheese and garlic aioli. YUM! My girlfriends had the grilled mahi tacos and said they were excellent. My sister raved about the ahi.
The total cost for my 25-minute “stress buster” massage, an awesome 25-minute scalp massage, two glasses of white wine, two fabulous appetizers plus a generous tip was a whopping, $82. Four fun hours at the spa with my girlfriends…PRICELESS!
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 Hills Are Alive…
I love that my kids think that the San Diego Junior Theater‘s production of The Sound of Music is the best junior theater musical they’ve seen so far. I totally agree, but I wasn’t expecting that reaction from them. The performance is intended for children ages 6 and older because of mature topics like falling in love, becoming a nun and the Third Reich. But the music and the talent of those young actors transcend the grown-up themes and leave even little ones humming “The hills are alive, with the sound of music….” all day long.
The Sound of Music opened last weekend and is the first of eight shows coming to the Casa del Prado Theater in Balboa Park for the 2012-2013 season. Some performances, like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and Guys and Dolls, are recommended for ages 10 and older, but others will be fun for all ages including Doctor Dolittle, A Little Princess, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Go, Dog, Go!
Just before The Sound of Music began, the sweetest little girl was brought up on stage and everyone in the theater sang “happy birthday” to her. She was presented with a personalized and autographed show poster and, apparently, had partied with the cast before the 2 p.m. performance. I didn’t know that the San Diego Junior Theater offered birthday parties in addition to camps and classes. In light of how much Mallory loved The Sound of Music, I wish I had booked her birthday party with this cast. What a special memory that would be.
It doesn’t have to be your birthday for you to get a chance to treat your family to The Sound of Music or another Junior Theater production because I’m giving away a family 4-pack of tickets good for the 2012-2013 season show of your choice. If you would like to be entered to win, simply reply below with your name and whether or not your children have ever been to the theater for a live performance.
The Power of a Playgroup
Last week one of my playgroups took a trip to FUNbelievable, and it was fun. As we sat around watching our kids play, we chatted about our upcoming Disneyland mom’s night out and the birthday party for a 4-year-old that was happening the next day.
But the party didn’t happen, because that very night his dad died of a sudden heart attack leaving behind that little boy and his 7-months pregnant mom.
Now, I am a huge fan of playgroups. I am on the board of the Scripps Parent Connection, which has been known for its ability to connect young moms through play groups for more than 30 years. My own Parent Connection playgroup first met nearly 6 years ago when our babies were only a few months old, and just last week we were together again for one last middle of the day meetup before our kiddos were off to kindergarten. In addition to my PC group, I belong to a MOPS group and several Meetup.com groups like the one that was chatting happily with its member on the very day her husband would tragically die.
For as much of a playgroup advocate as I’ve been for 6 years, I never imagined how one would pull together to help a member in need. The FUNbelievable, Disneyland, Meetup.com group pulled together in person and through Facebook to raise more than $2,000 in just a few days to support this member. The owner of Playtown generously opened her business for an after hours fundraiser. Members who sell products and services like Thirty One Gifts, Stella and Dot jewelry and Pampered Chef donated proceeds from sales and silent auction items. Lots of people simply contributed money to a Pay Pal account that was set up to take donations. Others are sending meals to the family. It is a total outpouring of support like I’ve never been a part of before.
Let’s hope that the only support you and I will ever need from our playgroup pals is for our sleepless nights with newborns, our desperate days of potty training, the bitter sweet celebration of kindergarten, friendship and Moms’ Nights Out. But, it’s nice to know that they will be there for much, much more if necessary.
Please feel free to submit your own playgroup link in the comments section below if you’d like to be added to the new “playgroups” resource tab on this website!
The Reason for the Season
We took our first trip to Bethlehem last weekend, compliments of Faith Chapel‘s “Bethlehem Story” Living Nativity.
We had no idea what to expect, and were awed by what a terrific job the church and their members did to bring alive the times of Jesus.
As far as I know, none of the congregation are professional actors, but they certainly created believable characters who peppered the streets of this “Bethlehem” bazaar selling their wares, making arts and crafts, tending to animals and telling Bible stories.
Gage enjoyed chopping wood and sharpening knives.
Mallory learned how to write Shalom in Hebrew.
Faith Chapel’s Living Nativity took place last weekend, and we enjoyed it so much I’ve started to research other nativities in San Diego. Here are the ones I am aware of, but please comment if you know of some that I have missed.
Bethlehem Walk; First United Methodist Church in Escondido:
Friday, December 13, 2013 – 5:30 pm to 8:55 pm
Saturday, December 14, 2013 – 4:00 pm to 8:25 pm
Sunday, December 15, 2013 – 4:00 pm to 7:55 pm
Living Nativity; St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Clairemont:
Saturday, December 14 at 5:00 pm
Walk-thru or Drive-thru Live Nativity; Pathways Church in Santee:
Friday, December 13, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Saturday, December 14, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Living Nativity; Grace Lutheran Church in Escondido
Friday, Dec 20 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, December 21 at 6:00 pm
The Word of Mom
I’ve always really appreciated the word-of-mouth of moms. All of the best things we’ve experienced have been suggested by others. So in the mom’s guide I pass on all of my favorites as well as those things I have heard were fantastic.
San Diego Junior Theater performances are wonderful, so even though we were not planning to attend the current production of Disney’s Peter Pan, I wanted to let subscribers know about it. When I received this message back from a mom, I decided to make time for this play…
“I wanted to say thank you for your email of events a few weeks ago which included the Peter Pan play in Balboa Park. We went last weekend and it was a fun family outing! I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. Thanks so much!”
So tonight we were there in beautiful Balboa Park in a packed theater watching the live performance of a show we’ve seen so many times in cartoon form, and it was definitely a “fun family outing” as the mom’s guide reader had exclaimed. The young actors were very talented, the set was fun, and the music was lovely.
More than the actual performances, I love watching my kids watch other kids performing. Neither of them has expressed any interest in being on stage, but they are mesmerized by those young actors. Gage, who normally wants nothing to do with photos would not leave without meeting Peter Pan. When I asked him if he wanted to take lessons or attend the Junior Theater camp this summer so that one day he could play Peter Pan, he gave me his biggest signature smile.
There are five performances of Peter Pan left, and tickets start at $8. If you go and like it, be sure to spread the word…
I Love Ya, Tomorrow, You’re Only A Day Away…
I’ll probably have that song in my head for days now that we’ve seen San Diego Junior Theater‘s production of Annie. But that’s OK, it’s a great little song, and it was a great musical to take the kids to.
Neither of my children has expressed any interest in taking acting or singing lessons, but they certainly enjoy watching other kids perform. Our bonus today…our neighbor, Brooke, was one of the orphans, and she looked great on stage. All of the child actors were adorable. The adult talent was really impressive. (Did you know that San Diego Junior Theater alumni include Dennis Hopper, Raquel Welch and Annette Bening?) The live orchestra was especially captivating to my kids. (oh yes, and we all loved Sandy the dog too!).
San Diego Junior Theater offers fantastic family entertainment at affordable prices ($8 – $14 for Annie). The child actors are students of San Diego Junior Theater’s classes and camps. I imagine the packed audience consisted primarily of friends and family of the actors, but even if you don’t know the talent, you should consider making it to a performance with your child of any age. The theater is incredibly family-friendly, and after the performance we were able to meet the cast outside of the beautiful Casa del Prado Theater in Balboa Park.
Are your school-aged children looking for something to do during Thanksgiving Break? Click here for details on San Diego Junior Theater’s new Thanksgiving camp. They also offer winter, spring break and summer camps that might jump start your little star’s career and make you one of those enthusiastic audience members at a future Junior Theater performance.
San Diego Junior Theater is the oldest continuing children’s theater program in the country. Its productions have entertained well over a million theatre-goers since its beginning in 1948.
For more information about the organization, performances, camps or classes, visit www.juniortheater.com.
Treat Your Pumpkin to the Fall Harvest Festival
Looking for a sweet way to celebrate the season with your little pumpkin that doesn’t involve huge crowds and spending lots of money?
If yes, join me on Sunday, October 5th for San Diego’s annual Fall Harvest Festival where for just $10 per child (adults are free), your family will enjoy the kid-friendly tunes of Hullabaloo Band, pumpkin decorating, animal encounters, face painting, crafts, obstacle courses, bounce houses, story time activities, professional photos and more.
That’s right…more…and for only $10 per child. No activity tickets or long lines.
We have loved the Fall Harvest Festival for years. I keep waiting for Mal & Gage to outgrow it, but every year the Parent Connection adds something else we want to try. This year it’s laser tag for the older kids. They’re also looking forward to the “spooky” petting zoo and meeting a skunk and lizards up close.
The Fall Harvest Festival will be held in Carmel Mountain Ranch at Manna’s Martial Arts. Activities will be held both indoors and outdoors. Food trucks will serve up lunch and tasty treats like gluten free cupcakes and organic cotton candy. Hope to see you there!
Oct. 5, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Manna’s Martial Arts
12285-B World Trade Drive
San Diego 92128 (in Carmel Mountain Ranch near The Home Depot)
$8/child for Parent Connection members before Oct. 1
$10/child for nonmembers
$10/child on or after Oct. 1
Children under 1 year old and adults will be admitted FREE
Tickets on sale now at www.sandiegoparent.com
Tickets will be sold at the door
The post you’re about to read was updated in 2014 here: https://www.momsguidetosandiego.com/2014/05/san-diego-water-break-2014/
It’s heating up in San Diego, but there are lots of ways to cool down. Of course, you can head to the beach and the neighborhood pool, but spray pads and water parks are also a great way to celebrate summer in our town.
Here’s a list of places toddlers to school-aged children (and their parents!) will enjoy.
Santee Lakes Spraygrounds: For ages 13 and younger, this is a terrific play area with buckets that dump, water that spouts from the ground and it all overlooks the beautiful lakes of this park. The cost is $3-$5 per car to drive in and $2 per child to play on the sprayground. Have a picnic lunch and feed the ducks while you’re there!
Hilton Head Park: Also located in the East County, this Rancho San Diego park includes a popular pirate-themed aquatic park free of charge.
Mountain Hawk Park in Eastlake: This South Bay park overlooks Otay Lakes, nearby mountains and offers a tot lot and picnic shelters in addition to the play fountain. Also in South County you’ll find the Sweetwater Regional Park‘s aquatic park for kids.
Viejas Interactive Fountain: There are lots of fun things to do at the Viejas Outlet Center with the kiddos in addition to the interactive fountain including a new mini-golf, bowling alley and, in the winter, ice skating and an ice princess show!
Otay Ranch Town Center Popper Fountains: Located right in the middle of the food court, this is a great opportunity to splash around. Those who want to stay dry might enjoy coloring the walls of the garden with the provided chalk.
McGrath YMCA Spray Pad: Look for this new addition to the East County Y this summer. We love their water playground in Santee.
The City of San Diego has at least two Recreation Center Pools that have water features designed for kids. Carmel Valley Pool has two water slides for the big kids, a spash-zone, and a zero-depth entry pool that is perfect for toddlers and parents alike. The Tierrasanta Pool features a children’s pool along with a 30 foot slide and play area.
Splash Landing at La Costa Resort: Why not take a family stay-cation and check this one out?
Seaworld Bay of Play: This pop up fountain is just perfect for little kids. Of course at Seaworld you can get soaked in a variety of ways including sitting in the soak zone of the shows and riding Shipwreck Rapids or Journey to Atlantis.
Legoland Water Park: New to the Legoland Water Park this summer is the Splash Zoo toddler area. Splash Zoo features interactive spray pads, fountains, a teeter totter and giant interactive DUPLOÒ animals.
Knotts Soak City: Better known as a way to entertain older kids, Knotts Soak City does offer a children’s pool and activity area called Gremmie Lagoon.
As I always say, there’s never a shortage of fun things to do with kids in San Diego!
Welcome to My World
We had our new neighbors and their two little boys over for a BBQ this Memorial Day weekend. They just moved to San Diego and can’t wait to discover all that our county has to offer. Of course I’m full of suggestions and thought I’d tell you what I told them just in case you’re also a newbie or are just in need of some reminders of why San Diego is the best place to be a mom with young kids…
So, next Tuesday will be the first Tuesday of the month of June, which means it’s a great time to visit some of the most kid-friendly museums in Balboa Park because they happen to be FREE. During the first, second, third and fourth Tuesdays of each month many of the museums are free to residents of San Diego County (ID required) as well as to active military and their dependents. We love the Air & Space Museum’s Kids Aviation Action Hanger, Ms. Frizzle at the Natural History Museum and everything about the Model Railroad Museum. But probably our favorite Balboa Park museum is the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. For years it was a go-to spot because of its toddler and preschooler-friendly Kid City discovery area. But now that my children are a bit older, the rest of the museum has become a wonderland. We really can’t wait to check out their newest exhibit, Grossology, “The Impolite Science of the Human Body,” AND I snagged a free two-week family membership through their new Check It Out program. More on this later in the week.
One of the best things about being an East County mom is our proximity to fun farms tucked below beautiful rolling hills. Summers Past Farm will host its annual Fairy Festival this Saturday. And in honor of National Dairy Month, Van Ommering Dairy will host Family Day this Saturday (probably a bit more fun for our neighbor boys than the fairy festival will be). A real working dairy farm that boasts a cotton seed hill for “sledding,” a petting corral, a hay bale maze and more, Van Ommering’s is also known as Oma’s Pumpkin Patch, a great place to pick a pumpkin each fall.
Another exciting East County outing for kids of any age is the Wings Over Gillespie Air Show in El Cajon’s Gillespie Field. They’ll have stationary displays as well as performing aircraft on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. And La Mesa’s annual Flag Day Parade will take place on June 2nd starting at 10 a.m. If you’re looking for a real taste of Americana, check out our small town event. Did you know that La Mesa is 100 years old this year??
Between all of the special events like these and trips to the beach, zoo or Seaworld, we love spending time at any of the cool indoor play spaces that are a short drive from our home. FUNbelievable has a great toddler area, a huge climbing structure with awesome (even for moms!) slides. Playtown always has a calendar full of special events from face painting to character visits to craft making. (but we think the indoor jumpy, air hockey and play structures are fun enough!) Kid Ventures in Chula Vista is always good for hours and hours of imaginative play. Mon Petit Chateau is a dreamy spot for moms and kids alike with a gorgeous boutique and a bright, cheery play space. And My Kids Clubhouse is still a perfect outing for my kids offering a rock climbing wall, ball pit and its own wonderful climbing structure with slides.
Listen, I could really go on and on about all of the wonderful things my neighbor can do with her kids in our part of San Diego, but I don’t need to overwhelm her. I think this is a good starting point 🙂
Yoga Camp Giveaway
Are you living a hurried, stressed life? Too much to do and not enough time? How might that be affecting your children?
A nice yoga class helps adults and kids alike learn to breathe deeper, look inward and start to slow down. It’s important to me to give my children this type of coping skill since life will only get more hectic for them as they age. And what kid doesn’t love stretching like a dog, balancing like a flamingo and standing strong and tall like a tree?
Mallory and Gage’s first yoga experience was with the wonderful Aryn Rannazzizi. This summer Aryn is offering a yoga camp for kids, ages 3-8.
The five week program runs June 19 – July 17 and July 24 – August 21 and costs only $45 per session.
Yoga Camp for Kids will take place at Infinite Yoga, 2400 Kettner Boulevard in Studio 115. Enter for your chance to be the one lucky mom’s guide reader to win a spot! Simply comment below with your favorite yoga pose.
Winner will be announced next weekend. Namaste 🙂