Posts Tagged ‘Seasonal Favorites’
4 Sale by Owner
Adorable “like new” Halloween costumes.
Strollers in all shapes and sizes.
Something special for Christmas…
We’re just a couple of weeks away from the famous Parent Connection Family Swap Meet, and just about a month away from the next fantastic Just Between Friends consignment event. If you have something to sell or if you are in search of gently used costumes, toys, baby gear, clothes, DVDs and books, do not miss these two events.
I rarely miss a Parent Connection Swap Meet, and I’ll be there again on Sunday, September 21st as a volunteer and to hand out copies of the 2014 / 2105 Mom’s Guide. Admission to the swap is just $2 per person over age 12. Not only will you get $50 in Mom’s Guide coupons, you’re likely to find just the right something special for this holiday season. 🙂
If you need to make room for your new treasures, consider taking a vendor space for just $30 for PC members and $45 for non-members. You can even share a space with your friend! Download the Parent Connection seller registration form here.
Just Between Friends is also looking for sellers. The beauty of this event is that you don’t have to be there. Just tag your items, drop them off before the sale begins and collect your share of the profits (60% or 70% for those who volunteer) at the event’s conclusion!
Unsold items can be donated to JBF’s non-profit partners. If you want to donate any unsold items, you will receive a receipt for your taxes and will benefit Birthline of San Diego and CASA (helping families in the LMSV school district).
For more information, visit facebook.jbfsandiego.com and sandiego.jbfsale.com.
Parent Connection Family Swap Meet
Sunday, September 21
8:30am – 1:00pm
Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley, 5951 E Village Center Loop Rd,
San Diego 92130
Just Between Friends Sale
Saturday October 11 2-6pm
Sunday October 12 9am-3pm
Monday October 13 half price day 9am-noon
DOWNLOAD THIS GET-IN-FREE COUPON!
A Day at the Ballet
Did I mention that I used to want to be a professional ballet dancer?
I started dancing at age 3 and continued until about age 16, dancing several years with the New Orleans Ballet Company. I envisioned my daughter following in my pointe-shoe footsteps, but she prefers to enjoy ballet from the comfort of the audience.
No problem! We are both looking forward to the August 16th performance of Fairy Tales in the Park by San Diego Civic Youth Ballet (SDCYB). SDCYB has been the resident classical ballet school in Balboa Park since 1945, and this summer marks the 6th annual performance of the whimsical, interactive dance event that engages both young audiences and families, introducing them to the art of ballet through familiar stories they know and love.
Fairy Tales in the Park merges the beauty of ballet with the excitement of unforgettable stories. This one-day event features free outdoor activities in “Fairy Tale Village”; a magical journey through an “Enchanted Forest” theater lobby; and staged excerpts of beloved fairy tales. This year’s featured fairy tales include “Cinderella”, “Hansel and Gretel”, “The Emperor and The Nightingale”, and a sneak peek of the full-length spring ballet, “The Sleeping Beauty”.
Mallory and I will enter a magical land of enchantment where fairy tales come alive on the historic Casa del Prado stage. The performance will be professionally narrated and, afterward, we will visit “Fairy Tale Village” for FREE interactive activities like…
Cinderella’s Closet: Dress-up, dream, and find your own inner princess or superhero with the Fairytale Fashionista.
Coronation Station: Create your own royal crown with San Diego Public Library, as well as sign up for a library card.
Rapunzel’s Salon: Let down your hair and receive a special hair-do by the stylists from Pigtails & Crewcuts.
Sing-Along Square: Make music and create a take-home instrument with Nightingale Music School.
Village Depot: Take the reigns as conductor of moving model trains with San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Knight’s Corner: Learn about chivalry and meet modern day knights from Chivalry Today.
Providing young people with the opportunity to study ballet, regardless of their means or background, is an integral part of San Diego Civic Youth Ballet’s mission. Fairy Tales in the Park helps raise support for the school’s scholarship program for the upcoming school year; last year’s Fairy Tales in the Park helped SDCYB provide over $25,000 in financial aid to families in need in 2013-2014.
If you’d like to join us for a magical day of fun and fairy tales on August 16 in Balboa Park simply comment below with the name and age of your child. One lucky mom’s guide reader will receive two tickets to the 3 p.m. performance.
Shows begin at 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm, and tickets are just $10 (General Admission). “Fairy Tales Village” is open from 12pm-5pm.
WHEN: Saturday, August 16, 2014 with shows at 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm.
WHERE: The Casa del Prado Theater in Balboa Park at 1800 Village Place, San Diego, CA, 92101.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Tickets can be purchased at www.sdcyb.org. All tickets are $10, General Admission.
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!
A Great Escape – Whale Watching
Looking for a different way to spend some alone time with your hubby or friends? How about on board a spacious boat on a beautiful sunny San Diego morning sipping Baileys and hot chocolate while sea-life and birds entertain you with their playful antics? That’s what my best friend and I did recently, and it was so much fun to catch up with the bay and ocean as the backdrop.
This was my first whale-watching trip since moving to San Diego 14 years ago. I can’t believe what I had been missing…
My wonderful whale watching experience was with Flagship Cruises, which partners with wild life experts from Birch Aquarium. In addition to many dolphin and seals, we saw 5 whale tales during the tour. Had we not seen any whales, Flagship would have given us a ticket for a complimentary future cruise.
Flagship’s 3 1/2 hour tour was an exceptional mom’s morning out with my friend, and it would have been great date with my husband. But my 6 and 8-year-olds would certainly prefer the shorter 1 1/2 hour Patriot Jet Boat cruise, also offered by Flagship and Birch.
There’s just about one month left in this year’s whale watching season in San Diego, but with twice-daily tours, escaping your routine to enjoy the magic of migrating whales will be easy to do. Especially if you WIN a free pair of tickets compliments of Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises!
Want to go? Just comment below for your chance to win. One reader will be randomly selected this week.
For more information visit www.flagshipsd.com/whale-watching or call 619.234.4111.
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!
Our little family has quite a few holiday traditions. Today we’ll be going to see How The Grinch Stole Christmas at The Old Globe. Greg and I have enjoyed The Grinch together for nine years now, but it’s even better with kids.
Although it’s kid-friendly, Greg and I prefer to be kid-free when we go to Anthology for the house band’s performance of Christmas tunes.
Throw in a few holiday parties, and it seems like there wouldn’t be time for anything else. But this year we are adding a new tradition…something I’ve wanted to do for years now. And, thanks to today’s Christian Youth Theater’s Black Friday special, just could not pass up.
Our family loves live musical performances, especially when children are part of the cast. We have several friends whose kids participate in CYT’s after school acting programs, and my friends swear that this is the best family holiday event in town.
Christian Youth Theater is offering 1/2 priced tickets today through Sunday on online orders for evening performances. I just purchased seven seats very close to the stage for $130!
They are also generously donating one pair of tickets to a lucky Mom’s Guide reader, good for the show of her choice. To enter for your chance to win, simply leave a comment below and include your family’s favorite holiday tradition. 🙂
Don’t Miss the Santa Train
There are many special ways to celebrate the holidays, but taking a trip on the North Pole Limited is one of the most magical in all of Southern California.
Children munch on chocolate chip cookies, sip hot chocolate and sing Christmas carols as the train approaches Santa’s workshop.
Parents help write letters to Santa in anticipation of the special time they will spend with him.
Elves read the story of The Polar Express.
Then, finally, the train approaches, and Santa can be seen waving and ho-ho-ho ing
After Santa climbs aboard he makes his way throughout the train, stopping to sit with each and every family, listening to Christmas wishes and spreading holiday joy.
Although the Santa train is nearly an hour drive from San Diego and costs $30 per child’s seat $40 per adult ticket, it sells out just about every year. There are only two dates left in 2014.
A great new option this year is a Santa’s Toddler Train on Sunday, December 14th at 1 p.m. for children who are too young to stay up for the trip to the North Pole Limited.
Visit the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s website for more information, and add the North Pole Limited to your list of holiday events.
Every Other Year
We skipped the Del Mar Fair last year (I like to call things by their original names) and enjoyed avoiding the crowds and the cost that come with a fair day.
But this year I purchased the $59.95 fair deal from Costco, which included a parking pass, 4 admission tickets, a coupon book good for a variety of buy-one-get-one deals, four regular sized soft drinks (normally $3-$4) and 50 ride tickets. It was a great day from our parking lot shuttle ride to the fried snickers bar and everything in between. And, boy did we get our money’s worth!
I’m not a scheduled person and think it’s nice to just show up, taste the famous fair foods and stroll around taking in whatever happens to be going on during the visit. However, had I looked at the schedule ahead of our visit we would have definitely made time for some of the more kid-friendly events like the pie eating contest and 3 o’clock fun.
Still, it was a terrific day because the fair wasn’t overly crowded, the day wasn’t too hot or cold, the tickets and food were not too expensive thanks to our Costco deal, and, because everything we did was really fun. Highlights included the swifty swine pig races, a viewing of Hercules, one of the world’s largest horses, watching the charity fair horse show practice from box seats, feeding animals at the petting zoo and riding lots and lots of rides and still ending up with 6 extra tickets!
Everything you need to know about the fair can be found online. I suggest taking a look at the daily schedule to get a feel for what you want to do before you show up. There are so many options it can be overwhelming once you’re on site so planning ahead is a good idea.
It’s also a good idea to find a special promotion that works for your family. Activity, ride and game tickets can add up quickly, and that’s after you’ve paid $10-$15 for parking and $8-$14 for admission. The Passport to Savings book came with our Costco ticket package and is definitely worth the $4 on-site price.
This year’s fair experience was really great and something we will do again…at least every other year!
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!
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.
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.
Nutcracker in the Park
By Sarah Nguyen, Mom’s Guide contributor
Looking for a fun holiday activity for your family? The annual production of The Nutcracker produced by the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, is a lovely, budget-friendly treat for parents and kids alike.
I had never been to a youth ballet before and I was pleasantly surprised. Professional lighting, wonderful costumes and virtually all of the roles are played by ballet students age 4-18. It really was magical and fun to watch. While I had to leave our 2 year old son at home (sitting quietly for two hours would have been a Christmas miracle) our 3 year old, ballerina loving daughter was in a trance the entire time. She loved it.
San Diego Civic Youth Ballet provides classical instruction to students ages 4-adult and produces full length ballets each year in Balboa Park, including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Fairy Tales in the Park.
Performances of The Nutcracker run December 10-21 at the historic Casa del Prado Theater in Balboa Park, with Special Education and Girl Scout shows held on the 10th and 11th respectively. Tickets, $10-$18, and information can be found at www.sdcyb.org or by calling 619-233-3060.
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.
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
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?
Resolutions, part II
Even though I’m a girly girl, I LOVE camping. Greg and I got a tent as a wedding gift in anticipation of romantic trips to Catalina. We’ve never used it though, mainly because I got pregnant two weeks later and have not been brave enough to camp with kids.
But this year is THE year, and we’ll ease into the idea of camping with Family Camp at the YMCA’s Camp Marston. I grew up going to YMCA summer camps, and I want my kids to love them as much as I did. Together as a family we will go canoeing & fishing, enjoy campfires, crafts and nature hikes, pan for gold, practice our archery & BB gun skills and have horseshoe and volleyball competitions. The only reason we haven’t done this sooner is that each session of family camp sells out. I’m sending in my form this week!
Years before I had kids, I spent the night at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for their “Roar & Snoar” safari. It was great, but I imagine it’s much better with kids.
Roar & Snore costs a small fortune…like $600 for our family…but the package includes camp activities, an after-hours look at the animals, guided walks, a campfire program, dinner, snacks, breakfast and, of course, a night “camping” in one of their family tents. If we manage to swing it financially, I’ll be picking a date in March or April so we are able to visit the annual Butterfly Jungle early in the morning before it opens to the public. That will help me feel like we got our money’s worth. (ha ha)
If everyone is still excited about camping after practicing with YMCA family camp and Roar & Snore, I hope we can make it to Catalina.
The ferry ride alone is a great experience for kids. Two Harbors is the more laid, rustic side of the island with very little luxury and where you’ll get the true camping experience. Bring your own tent or rent a tent cabin. There are also cottages and a bed and breakfast. Catalina is gorgeous, and I can’t wait to take my kids hiking there.
We’ll need a bigger tent than the one we got 8 years ago as a wedding gift, but even with the new tent our trip to Catalina will be a bargain compared to family camp and Roar & Snore!
Say Cheese, Santa
Although I have a soft spot in my heart for pictures of my kids crying on Santa’s lap and other less than perfect holiday moments…
There’s nothing like a great photo with Santa.
When my friend Brandi posted this picture of her kids visiting “The Santa Lady” at Seaport Village, it got me thinking about the best places in San Diego for Christmas photos.
La Mesa’s Christmas in the Village takes place next weekend, and we love visiting Santa at his workshop.
We enjoyed our time with Santa on the North Pole Limited this past weekend.
And the amazing “Santa House” will be opening in Rancho Bernardo on Monday. I’ll post directions and photos on Tuesday!
You can also snap a free picture with Santa at City Lights, San Diego’s year-round Christmas wonderland, each Saturday between 12 and 4 p.m.
So where is your favorite San Diego Santa? Tell us with your comment below, and you will automatically be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to City Lights, where you are sure to find something that will make your home a little more magical this Christmas.
Seeking Special Correspondent
I am so bummed that we cannot make it to this weekend’s gingerbread house decorating class at the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad. I would LOVE to make my version of this creation, currently on display at the hotel…
The hotel was kind enough to offer us a free adult class to me or a free child’s class to the kids. But since we can’t attend, I am passing the opportunity onto YOU. Well, one of you who will be randomly selected to go in my place.
The one “catch” is that you must be prepared to share your photos from the class and a brief write up about the experience with Mom’s Guide readers. No experience necessary! I’ll help you pull your post together. It will be awesome!
Here’s the nitty gritty:
Gingerbread House Decorating Classes at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort
Delight in building your very own work of art in our Gingerbread House Decorating classes at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. Learn gingerbread recipes, master expert decorating techniques, and create an epicurean masterpiece to display in your home this joyous season!
Kids Classes – December 7, 21, 22, 23 from 2pm – 3:30pm
Adult Classes – December 7, 14, 21 from 9am – 12pm
The Park Hyatt Aviara is located in Carlsbad at 7100 Aviara Resort Drive.
Please enter to win one admission to this Saturday’s kids’ or adult class. Simply reply to this post with your choice of class. One winner will be selected to win at Noon tomorrow and contacted by email to coordinate details.
What a fun way to get into the holiday spirit! Good luck 🙂 Oh, and check out these other great hotel holiday happenings…
Teddy Bear Tea, Fridays – Sundays, December 6 – 22 at 11am
An annual favorite, Teddy Bear Tea delights kids of all ages while helping a worthy cause. Children are invited to bring new stuffed animals to be donated to Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. This charming holiday tea service is followed by the “Peppermint Princess” who gathers the children around for captivating story time.
Holiday Jazz with Tiba, Friday December 6 & Saturday December 7
Tiba transforms the Lobby Lounge into a Jazz Standards Piano Bar with her sultry voice and stunning stage presence. Spice up your night with a Pink Peppercorn Martini and indulge in an array of tapas as this native New Orleans performer re-creates a luxurious Golden Age for your entertainment. 12/6 & 12/7 from 7 – 10 PM, Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Lobby Lounge. Complimentary admission.
Peppermint Mountain Village in the Lobby
A must-see attraction in Carlsbad during the holidays. Executive Pastry Chef Franck Riffaud and his team of artisans show off their skill and creativity when they unveil the enchanting 10-foot tall Gingerbread Mountain Village. Using more than 22 pounds of gingerbread dough, 400 pounds of sugar icing and 18 pounds of chocolate, this winter wonderland is entirely edible.
Festival of the Trees in the Lobby corridors
A 15-year San Diego tradition! The Park Hyatt Aviara lobby is once again transformed into a magical showplace of the season, the “Festival of Trees.” This silent auction of professionally designed and decorated holiday trees features imaginative and breathtaking displays, and bidding will take place from November 28 – December 22. In the true spirit of giving, hotel visitors place bids as high as $3,000 to purchase these unique creations. Proceeds benefit the Semper Fi Injured Marine Fund.
Snow in San Diego
San Diego: sunny beaches, palm trees, laid back atmosphere, friendly people, and coastal towns. But, San Diego is more than just a beach city. The dynamic county is also home to annual snowfall in its local mountains.
During the winter months when the beaches are cold, northeast San Diego has a few mountain getaways perfect for a snow-day with the family. Moms and Dads, grab your family’s winter jackets, and head out to one of these four destinations for a day of snow playing, sledding, and even some apple pie.
Sixty miles northeast of San Diego, the historic mountain town of Julian rests between the Cuyamaca Mountains and the southern slope of Volcan Mountain. From central San Diego, it is about a 60-90 minute drive to explore the quaint area.
This rural town was founded by Civil war veterans and cousins Drue Bailey and Mike Julian who traveled west to start a new life. Julian was San Diego’s only gold rush area, and the place was named for Mike Julian who was the San Diego County Assessor during that time.
Because of its ideal apple growing climate, Julian is perhaps most famous for its apples, apple pies, and apple cider which are enjoyed throughout San Diego county but can be picked fresh in the mountain area.
The mountain is 4,235 feet high and receives quite a few feet of snow during the winter which generally covers the entire mountain. Besides sledding and playing in the snow, the small village has plenty of antique shops, horseback riding, hiking, wine tasting, mine tours, apple picking, and, of course, apple pie eating to enjoy.
Roughly 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Cuyamaca Peak resides within Cuyamaca Rancho State Park east of San Diego and southwest of Julian. This is on of the highest peaks in San Diego at 6,512 feet. On clear days, the view is absolutely breathtaking with visibility of both the Coronado Islands and El Cajon Mountain. It is not uncommon to have thigh high deep snowfall during the winter ideal for snow shoeing and sledding
Located on the eastern edge of the Cleveland National Forest, this rural community sits at almost 6,000 feet. Mount Laguna is known for its campgrounds adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail. The small town also offers a quaint general store, rustic lodges, and local restaurants. In the winter months, there are plenty of recreational activities from sledding to cross country skiing to hiking and just playing in the snow.
In northern San Diego County, Palomar Mountain sits in the Peninsular Ranges. It is famous for the Palomar Observatory, Hale Telescope, and Palomar Mountain State Park. Until 1992, the Hale Telescope was the world’s largest and most important. Now, two more telescopes reside within the Observatory.
At this California State Park, there are campgrounds for vacationers and other campgrounds specially designated for local schools to use on field trips. A densely wooded area, the forest boasts many hiking trails and unique tree species. Dwarfed by the San Bernardino Mountains, this range is 6,140 feet which is almost as tall as Cuyamaca Peak.
San Diego provides plenty of activities to enjoy year round. And the winter months might be the perfect time to explore its beautiful mountain areas.
About this contributor: Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who loves having family adventures around San Diego. She is also an editor at The Teaching Box. Follow her at https://twitter.com/JessicaSocheski.
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 email@example.com.
Soccer Shots World Cup Camp winner will be selected this Thursday morning while USA is playing. Go Team!
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®
The hills are alive with the sound…wait, that’s not right. But the hills ARE alive with
breathtaking beauty at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®!
The Flower Fields were originally cultivated by horticulturist, Luther Gage, in the
1920’s. The 90-year, rich history of the fields is very interesting and lengthy, but in the
end, Paul Ecke Jr. joined forces with grower Mellano & Company to purchase the land
and create what we now refer to as The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®. Mr. Ecke
knew that tourism was the key to supporting this beautiful local landmark.
In my 10 years in the San Diego area, I had never been to the flower fields until this
season. Boy, was I missing out. After a slow start to the season, the colors are even
more intense and breathtaking than usual. With over 80 million blooming flowers, it
really is absolutely beautiful.
One of the greatest surprises was the number of kid-friendly activities. In addition to the large playground, there is a Sweet Pea Maze, gem mining, tractor wagon rides, rose and theme gardens, a tadpole pond and picnic areas. If you only have time to do one thing at The Flower Fields take some photos of your family in the fields. The colors are just magnificent and our daughter loved being right in the middle of flowers taller than her!
Season: March 1st – May 12th
Open 7 days a week, 9am-6pm
There is free parking every day and food sales on the weekends.
Seniors 60+: $10
Kids 3-10: $6
Kids 3-10: $3
Bonsai Show and Sale: May 11& 12th
Mother’s Day Celebration: May 12th
With just a few weeks left, it is definitely worth your time to make the trip up to Carlsbad for this beautiful site to see!
This post brought to you by the wonderful Sarah Nguyen.
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 Santa House
Disneyland, Legoland, Seaworld…they all offer magical holiday fun this time of year. But, if you’re looking for some simple, low-key and free holiday magic, consider visiting “The Santa House” in Poway.
The Santa House is the private home of the Huish family. Each year they transform their massive front yard, most of the first floor and their beautiful backyard into a Christmas fantasyland and open it for public viewing from 6 – 8 p.m. each evening except Sundays.
When we visited last week, “Arthur Christmas” was playing on the giant Fun Flicks outdoor movie screen, Santa was sitting in his sleigh, meeting with children and taking photos. Mrs. Claus was handing out candy canes, and the elves were handing out one free gift per child.
In the gazebo, kids were writing their Santa letters and leaving them for the Macy’s mailbox, which donates $1 per letter received to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
There were complimentary cookies and hot chocolate. “Snow” was falling from the sky, Christmas carols were playing and nearly every inch of viewing space was elaborately decorated.
Even the port-a-potties are wonderful…complete with lights and running water!
The Santa House is an incredible display of generosity and holiday spirit. Within the home you’ll see displays honoring police and fire fighters and children in need. You’ll leave the home filled with the true meaning of Christmas!
To visit the Santa House on Joyas Court in Poway, take the 15 to Rancho Bernardo Road and turn right.
Turn left on Valle Verde
Go to the end of the street and turn right
You will likely start seeing cars parked and you can just follow the foot traffic to the street and walk up the hill to the house.
To Read or Not to Read
You don’t have to have a child who reads to enjoy the San Diego library system’s summer reading program. Both the San Diego County Library system and the City of San Diego Library system offer a summer full of events for children of all ages. Each and every week your children can be engaged and entertained for free at your local libraries!
Science? Krypton Yvonne and Mad Science are our faves.
Magic? Music? Face painting? Clowns? The companies hired by the libraries are some of the very best entertainers in San Diego County and many can also be found providing quality programming in local schools, festivals and at birthday parties.
You won’t regret making time to hit the library summer programs that are fits for your family. I’ve noticed that most performers will be at most county and city libraries and many have the library schedules available on their own websites.
Because we were at the Serra Mesa library for its 4 p.m. show, it only made sense to grab a delicious dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, Casa Machado, located in the terminal of Montgomery Field airport.
The taking off and landing of planes is enough to keep even toddlers entertained long enough for parents to enjoy a decent meal (and maybe a margarita!).
I hope you’ll add these ideas to your summer bucket list!
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
We Wish You A Twinkling Christmas!
Sometimes it’s fun to just throw the kids in the car and drive around town looking at Christmas lights. Many neighborhoods are already decorated. Others won’t be ready until next week. For a nice list with addresses, check out this article.
We’ve enjoyed so many neighborhoods over the years from Chula Vista, to Santee to Point Loma. No matter the part of town you live in, there is sure to be something sweet to see with your family. We like to play The Polar Express soundtrack when visiting our favorite decked-out neighborhoods…
On the top of our list this year is a visit to “The Santa House” in Rancho Bernardo. This is a private home located on Joyous Court that is transformed into a Christmas wonderland — both inside and out. Families are invited to tour the entire property, enjoy complimentary cider and hot chocolate, sit with Santa in his sleigh, and each child receives a small gift.
Every year it is rumored that this family will retire from their tradition. They don’t do any kind of promotion, so we will just take our chances and drive out. If it is open this week, I’ll update this post with dates, hours and directions. If you live in RB and know more about the 2012 Santa House, please let me know. 🙂
Christmas Card Lane in Rancho Penasquitos is so popular that it has its own Wikipedia page! Although many houses have lights, this community is best known for the plywood “cards” and figurines that grace the front lawns of about 200 homes.
Knob Hill in San Marcos is another popular stop with its own website and regular visits by Santa. On our way back from San Marcos, we like to stop at the San Diego Botanic Garden for their Garden of Lights where we roast marshmallows, take a horse drawn carriage ride through the gardens, play in the snow and enjoy Christmas carols.
Every Saturday from 12 – 4 p.m. through December 22nd, Santa will visit San Diego’s year-round Christmas wonderland. City Lights is SoCal’s largest holiday store with over 28,000 square feet of beautifully decorated trees, Christmas village displays, toy trains and collectibles. Just walking through the store will put you in the holiday spirit!
Keep an eye out for other holiday happenings and GIVEAWAYS that I’ll be posting about this month. Maybe Santa will be sending something special your way!
What to do and How to Save at the San Diego Fair
Wow, the price of everything seems to have gone up in the last year, but Costco’s San Diego County Fair pack costs the same. We bought this last summer and found it to be a terrific deal… 4 adult admissions, 50 ride tickets, one parking pass, 4 drink coupons and a coupon book that gave us great deals on all of the food we wanted to sample at the fair.
Here’s what you should know:
1. Children 5 and under are free every day!
2. Yes, you can bring your own food and drinks (sealed) into the fair.
3. During the Fair, free parking is available at three off-site lots, one that is open each day of the Fair and two that are open on weekends and July 4th. The buses drop off and pick up at the O’Brien “main” gate. On site parking is $10 (cash only) per car.
4. Families love the Pepsi-sponsored pay-one-price ride days when a $35 wristband allows for unlimited rides on select days. Head to your local Albertson’s to take advantage of a $5 wristband discount (with Pepsi purchase). Of course, the pay-one-price days will be the busiest as far as rides go.
5. The fair is more fun with friends! Get a group together to take advantage of great group sales rates like a $14 unlimited visit ticket.
6. Children 12 and younger get free admission to the fair on Kids’ Days (June 24th and July 1st) and any day of their choice if they participate in the reading certificate program. 5 and younger are free each day.
7. Sample fantastic and unusual fair foods for only $2 each during Taste of the Fair days (June 24th & July 1st). More than 100 fair food booths will participate in the popular promotion from the time the fair opens through 5 p.m.
The San Diego Fair is so much more than food and rides. Before you visit, be sure to view the daily schedule of activities to help plan your day. Catch (and even enter to win!) the different daily contests like pie-eating, bubble gum blowing and baby races. Visit the 4H exhibits, petting zoo, turkey stampede and pig races. Check out the equestrian contests and monster truck races. See the magic show, play bingo, visit the Creative Youth exhibit.
The Mom’s Guide to San Diego is giving away one Costco Fair Pack to one lucky reader. Please comment below with your favorite fair activity for kids to be entered for a chance to win. One winner will be selected on Tuesday, June 10th.