Posts Tagged ‘Worth the Drive’
Now I remember why my favorite pair of linen pants were stashed away on a shelf in my closet.
How pathetic is it that I’m a grown woman who cannot easily mend her own family’s clothes? I didn’t take home economics in school, wasn’t taught how to sew by my mother, and have never made the time for learning as an adult. 🙁
I’m pretty sure they don’t even teach home ec in schools anymore, but that won’t stop my daughter from learning how to sew. We took the first step when one of our Girl Scout Troop moms agreed to lead an in-home sewing tutorial.
Mallory enjoyed making her monogrammed pillow so much that she asked for her own sewing machine. Now it’s time for us to learn how to use it together at Sew Inspired in Encinitas.
Sew Inspired teaches both adults and children the home art (and in some ways the lost art) of creating fashion and home designs. I thought we’d start with needle and thread, but, no, it’s straight onto a machine. If you don’t have one to bring, they will lend you one for the class.
Owner Laura Prince says her style of teaching kid-friendly sewing methods and techniques makes the process fun and easy for kids ages 8 and older. She offers after school programs, Girl Scout events, summer and spring break camps and even sewing birthday parties where kids make their own pillows, messenger bags , sleeping bags and more.
Check out these adorable Sew Inspired mermaid dolls…
I’ve splurged on horse back riding, synchronized swimming and recycled art classes. Now I’m realizing that a practical class like how to mend or hem a pair of pants makes a lot of sense. We have five 18″ dolls in this house who would love new outfits!
Sew Inspired is located at 531Encinitas Blvd. Suite 105 in Encinitas. Call them at 760.908.7853 or visit sewinspired.biz for more information.
4 Sale by Owner
Adorable “like new” Halloween costumes.
Strollers in all shapes and sizes.
Something special for Christmas…
We’re just a couple of weeks away from the famous Parent Connection Family Swap Meet, and just about a month away from the next fantastic Just Between Friends consignment event. If you have something to sell or if you are in search of gently used costumes, toys, baby gear, clothes, DVDs and books, do not miss these two events.
I rarely miss a Parent Connection Swap Meet, and I’ll be there again on Sunday, September 21st as a volunteer and to hand out copies of the 2014 / 2105 Mom’s Guide. Admission to the swap is just $2 per person over age 12. Not only will you get $50 in Mom’s Guide coupons, you’re likely to find just the right something special for this holiday season. 🙂
If you need to make room for your new treasures, consider taking a vendor space for just $30 for PC members and $45 for non-members. You can even share a space with your friend! Download the Parent Connection seller registration form here.
Just Between Friends is also looking for sellers. The beauty of this event is that you don’t have to be there. Just tag your items, drop them off before the sale begins and collect your share of the profits (60% or 70% for those who volunteer) at the event’s conclusion!
Unsold items can be donated to JBF’s non-profit partners. If you want to donate any unsold items, you will receive a receipt for your taxes and will benefit Birthline of San Diego and CASA (helping families in the LMSV school district).
For more information, visit facebook.jbfsandiego.com and sandiego.jbfsale.com.
Parent Connection Family Swap Meet
Sunday, September 21
8:30am – 1:00pm
Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley, 5951 E Village Center Loop Rd,
San Diego 92130
Just Between Friends Sale
Saturday October 11 2-6pm
Sunday October 12 9am-3pm
Monday October 13 half price day 9am-noon
DOWNLOAD THIS GET-IN-FREE COUPON!
A Cut-out of Your Cutie
I’m so glad that I will actually get to participate in this year’s special silhouette event featuring renowned scissor artist Karl Johnson. Now the likenesses of my little cuties will be turned into a work of art just like the children of Reese Withersoon, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Garner and Drew Barrymore.
Karl’s work is currently featured in Restoration Hardware Baby & Child, was on The O List in Oprah Magazine and has appeared in more than 30 other magazines. Each silhouette is cut out entirely freehand. Karl simply looks at the subject’s profile (whether in person or from a photograph) and starts cutting their exact likeness out of black paper.
Every silhouette is an original, one of a kind work of art, signed by the artist. Don’t miss your chance to meet Karl on Sunday, November 16th at Magical Child in Encinitas. Book your 5-minute appointment between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. by clicking here. Each original silhouette costs $25, and duplicates can be purchased for $15.
If you’d like a chance to WIN a complimentary silhouette, email me at SanDiegoMom@hotmail.com. One winner will be selected this weekend and announced here and by email. Enjoy!
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!
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 email@example.com with “tickets” in the subject line, and instructions will be emailed back to you. Or visit this link to download the ticket order form.
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.
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!
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!
Do you remember when I made a resolution to camp with my kids this year? It was my preferred way to celebrate Mother’s Day, so all next weekend we’ll be enjoying the great outdoors without a spa in sight.
But because a little pampering is always in order, I carved some time out of our baseball-filled weekend and treated my daughter and myself to pedicures at BE Polished Studio in Coronado. Mallory and I may not be able to go back to “regular” pedicures ever again!
Fifteen minutes after leaving our home in East County, we arrived at the adorable BE Polished Studio just across the street from the Hotel Del. Parking was a breeze, and the meter charged only .25 for an hour. After picking out similar shades of beachy blues, we got comfy on a settee and prepared to be delighted.
With our “Mommy & Me” pedicure package, I enjoyed a glass of champagne while Mal sipped sparkling cider. Our hot herbal neck wraps soothed our shoulders, while our feet soaked in giant bronze bowls filed with warm water. The rhinestone flower that was included in her darling diva pedi sent Mallory over the moon.
We had one complaint related to our outing, and that is we didn’t give ourselves enough time to enjoy a bit of Coronado. These snazzy toes really wanted to walk on the beach or at least take a stroll over to the Del.
BE Polished will be serving up mimosas, manicures and posh pedicures from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. this Mother’s Day, May 12th. They offer mom’s night out events, darling diva parties and gift certificates (any dads reading this??).
BE Polished is open daily at 1113 Adella Avenue on Coronado. For more information visit them at www.bepolishedstudio.com or call (619) 437-1440.
I hope you have a fabulous Mother’s Day however it is spent!
Resolutions, part I
I love to make resolutions. They give me direction each year, and I’m pretty good at sticking to them.
I’m sharing a few here this week because, if you’re like me, making sweet memories with family and friends is a great goal no matter what the year. Here’s how I’ll go about it in 2013.
More time in the snow
There’s 3-inches of snow on the ground at Mt. Laguna today, so it’s highly likely we’ll take the quick 30-minute drive out there for a bit of fun in the snow. SoCal kids do love snow play!
It’s even more likely that we’ll head out to Mammoth in the next month or so. We skipped our annual Mammoth trip last year because of poor snow conditions, but with 6 feet on the ground right now, we’re a go in 2013.
Most families we know prefer the shorter drive to Big Bear, but there really is no comparing the two mountains. Mammoth is well worth the 7 hour drive to us (or the reasonable flight).
We love to rent condos with hot tubs that are near the slopes. We’ve also rented houses through VRBO, which are great for backyard sledding, snowman building and checking out the snow plows as they come down the street.
If you don’t rent a place with backyard sledding, be sure to visit one of the many public snow hills you will find around town, or head out to Woolly’s Tube Park. Even kids who don’t want to tube will have fun in Woolly’s snow play area. Getting there is as easy as catching a shuttle from the village, but street parking and lots are also available.
Every Saturday in Mammoth’s village there’s a family hour complete with music, face painting and a little parade. Most of the restaurants are family-friendly and there are a number of cute shops. We always make a stop into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
In 2013 I resolve to do one thing in Mammoth that we’ve never done before, and that’s dog sledding.
A 50-minute tour through the Eastern Sierras for our family will cost about $300, but I expect it to be one of our more memorable experiences. And, as always, top on my list of things to do is create wonderful memories with my husband and kids.
Happy New Year!
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!
I guess I’m coming to the table a little late, but I’ve just learned of the Seaworld “preschool pass.” I followed this link that a friend shared on FB, filled it out and, viola, my preschooler has a Seaworld pass.
There’s conflicting information on the website and on the link (expiration dates, how to redeem, etc.), so I’m putting a call to Seaworld for some clarification. Still, don’t wait. It only took a minute to fill out the form and, as long as it’s valid, your 3-5 year old can enjoy the shows, the character interactions, the rides and animal experiences at Seaworld San Diego — for free!
Stay tuned for more info.
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?
See it for FREE! The New Children’s Museum
The kids and I had an excellent time at The New Children’s Museum recently and, visiting it for free, made the outing especially wonderful to me.
How did I get the three of us into the museum at no cost? I checked out a Circulating Membership through our La Mesa library, a branch of the County of San Diego library system.
New Children’s Museum circulating memberships are also available through branches of the City of San Diego library system. You check them out just as you would a book. Ask the librarian to locate one for you, and for two weeks your family will enjoy the benefits of regular museum membership including $5 parking.
FEAST is the current museum exhibition, and it’s my favorite one yet. It begins with scratch-and-sniff ripe bananas as you pass over the rainbow bridge into the museum, and continues with incredible displays and hands-on activities…
There are quite a few ways to enjoy The New Children’s Museum on a budget. The current Mom’s Guide has a buy-one-get-one admission coupon, Target sponsors the “free second Sunday” program, and there is currently a $5 happy hour admission promotion running. But, by far, the circulating membership program from county and city libraries is the best deal in town to get a “taste” of FEAST at The New Children’s Museum.
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.
Tea Time San Diego
My friend, Lindsay, of LindsaysTeaParty.com recently met me at San Diego’s newest spot for afternoon tea, Tee Party in MIra Mesa. She and I share a love of treating our children to tea parties, and we compiled this list of local businesses that serve you in their restaurants as well as a few that travel to you …
Visit a local tea room
The Aubrey Rose Tea Room in La Mesa: $22.95 per child ages 5-10 years or $25.95 for the gluten free children’s tea
Coral Tree Tea House in Old Town: $16.95 for children 6-10 years old
The Grand Tea Room in Escondido: $18 for children ages 10 & younger
Julian Tea & Cottage Arts in Julian: $8.95 for children ages 12 & younger
High Tea at Keys Creek Lavendar Farm in Valley Center: Seasonal events, $22.50 for children 4 – 10 years.
Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Afternoon Tea near downtown: $14.95 for children 12 & younger
Tea Upon Chatsworth in Point Loma: $22.95 per child ages 4-10 years
Tee Party in Mira Mesa: $24.95 for princess tea service for two.
Host a tea party in your home
Fairytale Princess Parties: Providing in home tea parties with or without a princess visit
My Cup of Tea: Offering décor and tea setting rentals
It’s My Tea Party: Tea china rentals and party hosting
Starry Eyed Children’s Event Planning & Design: Planning the tea party of your child’s dreams
Tea Time San Diego: Bringing you a traditional English tea experience
The British Bakery: Two British bakers bringing their twist on afternoon tea to Southern California. Perfect for birthday parties, baby showers, picnics and more.
Traveling Tea Party: In home tea parties with costumes, crafts and more
Hotel holiday and high tea service
The Grand Del Mar: $25 per child Wednesday – Sunday except during the month of December when the special holiday tea is $36 per child.
Hotel Del Holiday Tea: December 13th through the 31st enjoy holiday tea. Children 6-10 $27 and 5 and under are free.
Park Hyatt Aviara: Children’s tea is $15 Saturdays and Sundays from 2-4 p.m.
The Westgate Hotel: Ongoing special event teas including Christmas and Teddy Bear Tea service.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know if there are any other tea party businesses that we should add to this list!
The Adventures of Pug & Doug
Do you remember when I collaborated with Adventures by the Book to bring the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy series to San Diego last spring? That event was incredibly popular and will be repeated this year, but I’m super excited to tell you about another Adventures by the Book event for kiddos; The Pug & Doug Drawing Adventure with author Steve Breen at Mon Petit Chateau.
In addition to being a children’s book author, Steve Breen is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist. So, in addition to a reading of his book to our children, this “adventure” includes multiple drawing demonstrations by the author. If your child has shown any interest at all in art, this is a not-to-miss event.
Adults go free with a child, and the child’s $39 ticket includes the event, an autographed copy of Pug & Doug and a day pass to play at the fabulous Mon Petit Chateau. I hope you’ll join Mallory, Gage and me at this unique event next week.
Here’s the scoop:
PUG & DOUG DRAWING ADVENTURE
When: Saturday, January 26, 2013 starting at 2:00pm
Where: Mon Petit Chateau Mommy Cafe
861 Harold Place, Suite 204
Chula Vista 91914
Cost: $39 per child (includes autographed book and Mon Petit day pass); accompanying adults are free
For more information visit www.adventuresbythebook.com
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 Happiest Place in San Diego?
Gymboree Play & Music may just be the happiest place for little ones in San Diego!
With 4 convenient locations across town (out of 550 worldwide!!), many San Diego toddlers and their families experience some of the best times to be had at Gymboree. Classes are offered for children ages 0-5, and thrive on parent involvement, which is my favorite part about this program!
I took my son, Oliver, to our first free trial class when he was 4 months old. We were both hooked right away. It was the first time I had ever heard him really “belly laugh.” With a newborn at home, it is hard to know how to interact with your child, but Gymboree proves that with a few simple tools and songs, you can connect with your baby on a whole new level and see immediate results in their development. Over the following year, we moved from level 1, 2, 3 and now 4. Each one better and more engaging than the last. To this day, I still sing the Gymbo the Clown song to distract him during diaper changes!
Gymboree structures their classes in 6-month increments to closely follow and support the developmental milestones of your child.
As a member, you and your little one can attend a weekly class, and have unlimited access to the family open gym times. My favorite part…if you can’t make your class, your “make ups” never expire, and you can use them for music and/or art classes too! We always make an effort to attend our regular weekly class time since we’ve made so many great friends along the way who we enjoy seeing.
Starting at age 3, Gymboree even offers Sports Classes, which “Encourage healthy habits and a positive attitude toward physical exercise through fun and physical sports play.”
Another member (and non-member!) benefit is the option to have your child’s birthday party at one of their locations! Choose your child’s favorite theme and let Gymboree take care of the rest. Here we are at the Gymboree in Poway celebrating our friend Caleigh’s first birthday party!
Thinking about giving it a shot? You’ve got nothing but fun to loose by doing a free trial class. After that, you won’t need anyone to tell you what a great experience it is and I’m positive you’ll be hooked like we were.
And, there’s no better time than now, because there are only TWO DAYS LEFT to take advantage of this irresistible fall promotion: $359 for 6 months of play, which, if you don’t want to take out your calculator, is less than $60 per month. What a deal! Not ready to commit to a full 6 months, they’ve got a deal for that too!
The Gymboree Tip of the Week:
Is your young child struggling with separation anxiety?
Here are Gymboree’s two favorite books on the topic:
Make sure you “like” our Facebook page for additional tips from our friends at Gymboree!
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.
If you’re looking for a fun, educational, tasty activity for your little ones, Carlsbad Strawberry Company in Carlsbad is the place to be!
Located east of I-5 and Cannon Road, at the intersection of Paseo del Norte, this cute little stand is full of helpful folks, ready to hand you a bucket, give you a few rules and point you in the right direction.
For a few more weeks, they’ll allow the public to stop by their patch to pick strawberries to your heart’s content (or your bucket is full).
While asking for more details about the patch, I was introduced to Stanley. Stanley is the man. The Strawberry Man. He knows everything there is to know about growing, harvesting, weather, cycles, hybrids…okay, I’ll stop there. I’ll stick to the basics Stanley would like everyone to know.
Stanley: No bags, no stems, no outside containers, don’t overfill your bucket!
Translation: Don’t steal strawberries or destroy the plants.
Stanley: Pay first, don’t step on the plants, pick within boundaries!
Translation: Don’t steal strawberries, don’t destroy plants and pick where they tell you.
Stanley: These strawberries aren’t quite as sweet as usual due to the heavy spring rains.
Translation: Stanley is a strawberry perfectionist. This is another reason why he is The Strawberry Man. The strawberries we picked were great!
Stanley: If you would like to bring a group, we can help you out.
Translation: Stanley will cut you a sweet deal if you bring a group of 15 or more pickers. Fill out the form on the website before bringing your group. Also, bucket prices below were current when we visited. They may change as the season comes to a close.
Stanley: These strawberries are not organic.
Translation: If that’s important to you, this may not be the patch for you.
A few things we learned during our strawberry picking adventure:
Sunhats, sunscreen and long sleeves/pants aren’t a bad idea. It’s hot out there.
Some areas were a little muddy, so closed-toe shoes are helpful.
It’s a little messy (strawberry juice), so keep that in mind when planning your outfits.
I wish I would have worn pants. The plants are kind of scratchy.
It is an awesome photo opportunity.
Coming back with a group would be a lot of fun.
Open 9am-5pm daily
Season ends – Mid-July (approximately)
Large buckets – $20
Small buckets – $10
**Good for all ages**
While I am sure there is a rule somewhere about not eating strawberries while picking, I turned around to find that this child couldn’t stand it any longer.
I mean, how could I deny THAT face? Ugh, my heart. So I let her finish and removed a berry from our full bucket.
No stealing strawberries! : )
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.
Worth the Drive
Even though Mallory is “way more into kittens than horses,” I just couldn’t pass up the Plum District deal I found several months ago for a horse back riding birthday party. And while Miller Equestrian Services is 36 miles from our home, it was definitely worth the drive for our family and party guests.
You won’t be blown away by the owner Ann’s warmth, but don’t let that deter you from considering Miller’s for horse back riding lessons, summer camps, scout programs or birthday parties. Our children were divided into seven teams of two, and each were led by sweet, fun and talented young ladies who made the afternoon terrific.
This party was a lot of work for the kids. Fun, educational, different, but definitely work.
They learned to walk their horses, groom their horses, saddle them, mount them, ride and trot.
Miller Equestrian Services is in Escondido at Valle Vista farm. The property is just beautiful, easy to find and filled with gorgeous horses and a number of adorable dogs too. I enjoyed our horse party so much that it inspired me to create a new blog post category called “worth the drive.” Of course, if you are already near Escondido and have a child who is into horses, then a trip to Miller Equestrian is definitely in order!
936 Vista Avenue
Escondido, CA 92026