Friday, April 24, 2015

OC Fair of Costa Mesa is hosting Imaginology.

The Orange County Fair of Costa Mesa is hosting Imaginology. It is a three day event that promotes S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). There you will find exhibits, competitions and activities to help you learn more about S.T.E.A.M. In addition you will find engaging makeshops, educational workshops, build-your-own scarecrow contest, scavenger hunts, hands-on activities and more will fuel imaginations.

The event starts today at 9 AM and goes all weekend long. There is no fee to attend the event. Parking is $7.00 (cash). I recommend pack a light lunch or bring cash for the food trucks. Saturday and Sunday the event will run a little longer from 10 AM until 5PM. The address is 88 Fair, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

Food Trucks you can expect to find at the event:

Saturday: Cousins Maine Lobster, Grilled Cheese Truck, TJ’s Woodfired
Pizza, Piaggio On Wheels, Waffle-icious


Sunday: The Burnt Truck, Dogzilla, Cousins Maine Lobster, Falasophy,
Crepes Bonaparte



Did you know that worms don't have eyes or teeth? They are all heart!


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. I feel STEAM is important. All thoughts and opinions are all my own. Prints/photographs are owned by OC Fair. No profit was made by this post. 
What is STEAM? STEM + Art = STEAM
STEAM is a movement championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals. Credit: http://stemtosteam.org/

Why STEAM? To have business leaders, arts professionals, educators and others work together to educate governments, the public and the media to the need for return-ing Arts to the national curricula. China and others have determined, as we must, that STEAM education is a national priority issue. Credit: http://steam-notstem.com/

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California. #fieldtrip

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California make flower growing look easy.  They have been planting and growing Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers on a 50 Acre lot for 85 years. Over the years, they have produced 10 million flowers.  Only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, this flower farm is beautiful to experience. The farm has several different attractions that are full of color such as the American Flag made from Flowers, the Sweet Pea Flower Maze, The Artist Garden, Cymbidium Orchid Greenhouse and the Historic Poinsettia Display.  Other fun attractions that many will enjoy include the Antique Tractor Wagon ride and the Carlsbad Mining activity for the kids.
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On this visit, we started our tour with a tractor ride.  For an additional fee, we rode the entire field listening to fun facts about the farm.  It felt adventurous to just sit back and take in the view of all of the flowers with a beautiful Pacific Ocean back drop all at the same time. 

After our tractor ride, we headed straight for the Sweet Pea Maze passing the children's play area to smell our way out of maze.  This area is my favorite because the flowers smell so delicious.  It is hard not to want to cut some of the flowers.  The Sweet Peas are full of color and beauty so much so that you will want to plant your own.  This is a must smell and see attraction.  Watch out for the bees, butterflies and ladybugs, they visit this area the most.
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Behind the Sweet Pea Maze, you will find the Poinsettia Display and Cymbidium Orchid greenhouse.  The Poinsettia display offers several different types of colors and styles that are in the same plant family.  The Orchid greenhouse is smaller but still it was interesting to see. 
Then, we headed up to the top of the hill to get close to the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus.  As we walked up the hill, we could see the different colors that decorate the 50 acres.  It was very exciting to see nature in full bloom.

Around the corner, along Palomar Airport Road, we saw a hillside with an American Flag made from Red, White and purple Petunias.  The strategically planted flowers are a tribute to the United States.  The hillside is approximately 300 ft by 170 ft in size and it can be seen from far away. 

As we walked out to leave for the day, we noticed that there was a mining activity that we all wanted to explore.  The kids had been obtaining stamps on their plant passports for activities completed and explored.  My oldest son gave me his plant passport and said, "Look Mom, it has a coupon for the mining activity."  We gladly took the coupon and proceeded to do some mining. 

As we left the flower fields, we headed towards the Pacific Ocean to experience more of San Diego.  It was a fun day just smelling the flowers. Our hope is that you find your way there one day and enjoy it just as much as we did. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

This weekend only: Legoland tickets $25.00!

Legoland offers discounted tickets once a year.  Partnering with the Carlsbad Educational Foundation and The Kid's College, both organizations will sell tickets to benefit their non-profit organizations. 

Tickets sold through Carlsbad Education Foundation can only be used this Saturday, April 25th, 2015 from 1 PM until 8 PM.  The discounted price is $25.00 per person for Legoland California. Sea Life Aquarium tickets are only $9.00. Kids under 2 years old are free and no ticket is required. It's a great deal for a family of four.  All tickets must be purchased online and are not available for purchase at Legoland California.

To Order, go to  https://www.carlsbaded.org/carlsbadday2015.aspx


The Kid's College is selling tickets for Legoland California for Sunday, April 26th at www.thekidscollege.org.  Tickets must be purchased by April 22, 2015 before 6 PM.  They can be purchased online or in person.  For more information call 760-798-4064


LEGOLAND California is providing an opportunity for local residents and their families to enjoy a fun-filled day to support education! Special event tickets are not available for purchase at LEGOLAND for this event.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Missing my Papa.

Personal note originally written February 2015.  I dedicate this post to all who have lost a loved one, please accept my deepest condolences.

"Gone yet not forgotten, although we are apart, your spirit lives within me, forever in my heart."

Lately, I have not been feeling my best.  As the anniversary of my father's death approaches, I begin to feel sad.  Missing my dad every year for the past (18) years has been hard on me.  He was a dreamer, a creative type of person who thought outside the box, just like me.  As a parent, he was not perfect. But that did not matter because he was my dad.  I felt he understood me and loved me for just the way I am. 

The last days of his life are still fresh in my mind. He lay in his hospital bed dying as his organs started shutting down.  Diabetes had taken first his kidneys and then his heart.  I think he had a mild stroke around that December and then another stroke that left him almost dead by February. He fought to stay alive for many months because he did not want to leave his family. It was hard to see him suffer all that time. 

I lived 50 miles away, so my free evenings and weekends were spent going to see him while I juggled two jobs. 

I was so desperate for Papa to get better that I promised him a big Easter celebration. Hoping that would make a difference in his recovery. It still hurts to know I can never fulfill that promise. Before the Easter holiday would arrive, my brothers and I would have to make the toughest decision ever; to take him off life support.  “LIFE SUPPORT,” those words still hurt.  The doctor's said it could take days even weeks before he would pass. It took (3) days and he struggled to breathe and fought to stay alive. I can never forget my father's last days. It is seared in my mind and heart. 

As my father began his journey to heaven, he would be in and out of consciousness. We had small conversations.  

It was good to hear his voice.  It felt like hope that he could recover. 

As I listened closer, his conversations were strange.  It sounded as though he were remembering moments from his past. I was (8) eight years old and we were going on one of our trips to the Central Market in Los Angeles to do our grocery shopping.  

Growing up, we would go grocery shopping. It was always an adventure with him because of all the people we would meet along the way.  He knew almost every vendor.  

A few days before my dad passed, I walked into his hospital room and brought him a stuffed animal. I placed it near his hand, so he could feel and touch something soft. I thought it might help him feel like someone was always visiting. As I sat quietly, my dad woke up. He said, "Is that you?" I answered, "Yes, it's me dad." He was blind and could only hear us back then. 

From the hospital bed my Papa asked me, "Let's take tomatoes for mama. What do you think? “I replied, "Yes, mom will be happy."  After this brief conversation he fell back to unconsciousness. That would be the last time I would speak with him. 

My uncle, his older brother and best friend, entered the room in time to see our brief conversation. He said to me, "your dad isn't coming home this time around." 

I screamed, "NO!"  My uncle was my dad's best friend, so I could see how painful this was on him as well.  I hugged him and told him my dad would bounce back. Tio (Uncle) explained that my father was having flashbacks. This meant that he was getting ready to say good-bye to his loved ones. 

My father would take his last breath several days later.  

The days that followed were painful. I had no clue what would happen next. I depended on my friends to help me through those days. 

I was lucky to have known him for that short period of time.

In a few weeks it will be eighteen years that I have been without him.  I still miss him.  If I could talk to him again I would tell him, "Papa I love you from the bottom of my heart and miss you so very much!"

"I have never spoken to God,
Nor visited in heaven,
Yet, Certain I am of the spot."   Emily Dickinson

With all my love,

Alma 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Boysenberry Festival Ends April 12th at Knott's Berry Farm

We had the best time at Knott's Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival. The food was amazing and the shows were fun and exciting. My family and I made some fun memories at the festival as well as tried new foods. The experience was one we won't soon forget. Let me share with you a few of our moments. 



Wine and Craft Brew Garden, located inside of Ghost Town’s Wilderness Dance Hall, sold an assortment of wine and craft brew labels, in addition to a variety of boysenberry inspired gourmet food. My favorite drink was the Boysenberry punch with fresh fruit and yummy crackers. 


The Boysenberry ICEE Float was delicious after a hot day at the park. I had two to cool myself down. Hubby had one and the kids shared one. Did I mention I loved the ICEE float! 


Deep fried Alligator with a Boysenberry aioli made for a hungry family of four was just right. After going on several rides we decided to stop and taste the other, other white meat. It tasted just like chicken! Yes, it was tasty and tender. 



Knott's offers a tasting card that allows you to try (6) food items for only $25.00.  This is a great deal for all who are visiting the park with the spirit of a foodie. I highly recommend purchasing at least one card and trying the Fried Alligator as well as the Spicy Boysenberry BBQ Wings.


We ate like kings and rode rides until nightfall.  Then, we danced until the park closed.  All of us danced to the most popular songs by the large fountain.  There was plenty of room for all of us to show off our mad dancing skills.  It was our first time watching our little kids turn into dancing machines.  Just like that, the night ended and we left to go home.  Our visit to Knott's Berry Farm proved to be a fun and memorable day. 

Disclosure: Sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts are all my own. 





I Heart Orange County, California. #IheartOC

In celebration of their 25th anniversary, The Orange County Community Foundation is asking everyone in your community for help in raising funds that will benefit over 350 local charities.  Their goal is to raise $2 million dollars for Orange County non-profit organizations in a 30 hour period.  
The hope is to inspire our community to come together with an extra-mile of giving in support of the exemplary work of local nonprofits. Giving Day starts on Tuesday, April 21 at 6 a.m. through Wednesday, April 22 at noon. There is a minimum donation of $25.00 dollars, however there is no maximum donation. You may also give to multiple non-profit organizations of your choice. All donations are tax deductible via a secure site at iheartOC.org.

To help you spread the word about this amazing event. OCCF has added a giveaway that anyone can enter for a chance to win $150.00 to grant to your favorite non-profit charity. Contest runs until April 20th, 2015 at 8:00 am. There is (4) ways you can enter.

(1) Follow OCCF on Twitter https://twitter.com/ocCommunityFdn
(2) Send out a tweet about our awesome event.
(3) Visit OCCF's Facebook Page
(4) Post a photo of hearts. (Get creative with nature or your own hands.) 
Click on the RAFFLECOPTER to link up to the giveaway:

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Find out more information by visiting their social media pages. 
https://www.facebook.com/OCCommunityFdn
https://twitter.com/ocCommunityFdn
http://instagram.com/occommunityfdn
https://iheartoc.org/#giveaway

Disclosure: Sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are all my own. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tart Cherries the super fruit!

Cheribundi sent us samples of their delicious Tart cherry juice a few weeks back to try. What I found when I read about this SUPER FRUIT was that it adds great benefits to one's  health.
For example, Tart Cherries have been known to be Super Fruits packed with antioxidants. This red delicious fruit is a natural sleeping aid because it contains melatonin. Consuming tart cherries also may help reduce inflammation in the body.

While Cherries can be found only in the summer in Southern California.   The juice Cheribundi is available all year round.

My Opinion:
I have been drinking and cooking with it for the past 5 days. So far, it has helped me feel energized. I consume one throughout the day. The best part is there are no seeds to deal with or big messes! I have made frozen smoothies and Ice Tea drinks. The other day I tried to add it to my chicken BBQ marinate, but the kids accidentally drank the last of the Cheribundi juice.  It turns out this juice is a favorite after playing handball and getting a heavy workout.

Overall my opinion on drinking Cheribundi  is that it's delicious and great for a growing family. I recommend only drinking one 8oz glass per day with a healthy balanced meal.

Disclosure: If you are diabetic, please check with your doctor before adding it to your diet.
#sponsored #Cheribundi
All thoughts and opinions are all my own.


Friday, March 27, 2015

The movie "HOME" is out in theatres today.

The movie, "HOME" is out today. My family and I received an opportunity to watch it a few days before the release to review it. We were included as part of their media screening. My family and I experienced the purple carpet! 
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My personal opinion:
I have to say that I cried and laughed super loud.  Home was inspiring to me because of the human connection it discussed.  "HOME!"  Home is a word that brings an instant feeling of belonging.  Throughout the movie, I knew that home was a very important part of film.  The filmmakers did a great job sending several messages of hope, compassion and forgiveness.  This is a must see movie.  Bring tissues and be ready to hug your loved ones after the movie. 
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Jim Parsons plays Oh, one of the main characters along with Rihanna (playing Tip or Gratuity Tip Tucci ) and Jennifer Lopez (Tip's Mom).  Steve Martin plays the character of Captain Smek. This is a movie for ages 7 and older because there is some sad parts. 

The Boov Alien's invade Earth and one little girl (Tip) doesn't get transported to the new human location. She is separated from her mom and her adventure begins when she meets "OH", the most unliked Boov in the entire Universe. Things get worse when the Boov's realize "OH" has sent an invitation for a party to their enemy by mistake.  Oh, the Alien, becomes a fugitive and runs away with Tip to help her find her mom.  One scared alien and one kid connect while they fight off being captured.  It's a great inspiring movie that had me liking all the characters.  I hope you enjoy it too. 

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Official websites - #DreamWorksHOME
Follow DreamWorks Animation on Twitter
Like ‘HOME’ on Facebook
Visit the Official Website
Get to know The Boov’s at Meet the Boov!

Sesame Street - The Best of Elmo 3 DVD

Looking back on the toddler years, I can still recall when my kids would sit and watch Elmo from Sesame Street.  Together we would sit after breakfast and watch Elmo on our Television. We would sing and dance with Big Bird, Abby Cadabby and their friends. Sometimes we would rewind the same DVD to sing or dance just one more time. 

The toddler years were fun and I hold very fond memories in my heart of those precious moments. Sesame Street Workshop has a new DVD out, "The Best of Elmo 3", with up to date celebrities. It is my hope that if you have a toddler that you may consider the Sesame Street DVD collection. These educational DVD's are tools that can shape your child's life forever. 
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"The Best of Elmo 3" is extremely educational for toddlers and special needs learner. Each song and dance in the DVD will help young learners connect the dots to loving language, math and help build self confidence. This is an easy way to start toddlers on the road to success.
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My children are not toddlers anymore. They still love Elmo just as much. We watched, "The Best of Elmo 3", all of us danced and laughed together. For a few moments we were back in time remembering the toddler years. Elmo is still very much in our hearts because he was a staple in our home. I often hear from friends and strangers that the toddler years are the hardest. My response to their statement, "Do you have an Elmo DVD or CD? They help you sing and dance with your toddler when you are having a bad day." (True Story: I still have both DVD's and CD's for when I want to get the kids singing and dancing!)
The Best of Elmo has celebrities singing and being part of the show. Michael Buble, Janelle Monae and Bruno Mars just to name a few. Many more celebrities sing and play with the Sesame characters on this new DVD. I hope you get a chance to see it and enjoy it as much as we did.

About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street which reaches 156 million children across more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help all children reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, including television programs, digital experiences, books and community engagement, its research-based programs are tailored to the needs of the communities and countries they serve, helping children everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder. For more information, visit us at www.sesameworkshop.org.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Children's Place Spring Collection - Big Fashion Small Prices

The Children's Place is my favorite retailer for fashionable clothing for kids ages 0 to 12 years of age.  I have been shopping at their stores for the last ten years.  They have helped to keep my kids cute and fashionable.  I can always depend on them to carry tagless soft t-shirts and jeans with adjustable waistbands for the perfect fit.  This Spring, The Children's Place asked us to shop at their store as a sponsored visit.  I jumped for joy and then ran to their event.  Armed with a few shopping tips, I managed to dress two growing boys and spend only $90.00.  I want to help you save on your next shopping trip so I am sharing my (5) most important tips with you. 
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Tip #1 - Sign up to receive email notifications of sales and special offers.  This can save you up to 40% on your entire purchase.  It is very simple to sign up, simply go to their email subscription offer link: Subscribe via  Email, enter your email address and start saving.  The Children's Place will send you coupons and offers when they become available.  I use this method often.

Tip #2 - Check their current sales online and at the retail stores.  My online shopping experience during the Christmas holiday was very positive.  I found jeans and licensed t-shirts for both my boys without battling the mall rush.  I highly recommend that you consider shopping online when you are busy.  I received my purchases on time right to my door.  Shipping was free for our purchase with a very minimal purchase amount.  The added bonus was that everything I bought was on sale.
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Tip #3 - Buy the next size up on t-shirts and shorts when they are on sale.  I enjoy going to their retail store after a major holiday and buying the next size up for both boys.  Fantastic prices can be found in stores as well as online during Fall and Spring.  Kids grow up so fast that buying a bigger size might mean that you will always have something that fits in the closet.  I highly recommend it for all you budget conscience parents.  Think ahead for the next year.  The clothes at "The Children's Place have cute designs that won't go out of style."

Tip #4 - Ask the clerk for any upcoming deals or special offers.  When I shop I always ask about upcoming deals and special offers.  Most of the time I receive great money saving tips on things in the store I missed or that are upcoming.  One favorite sale is the $5.00 graphic t-shirts.  I usually buy (10) or more shirts for the boys because I have two of them and the deals are too hard to pass on.

Tip #5 - Rewards membership  - Sign-up for their rewards program and save money.  For every dollar you spend, you may earn credits towards gift certificates that can be used toward your purchase at The Children's Place.  At the end of the year, I usually get a gift certificate, which is an extra savings.  I have enjoyed the rewards program for several years now.  It is always a great surprise when the store clerk tells me I have money coming to us.
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As you know, children grow fast and it seems like we are always needing to replace a pair of jeans for holes in the knees or too much belly showing.  At The Children's Place, you can find quality kids clothing at great prices and be budget conscious all at the same time.  I recommend you take a trip to your local store today to find some of the hottest summer outfits and save on next years winter finds going on seasonal clearance now.  Hundreds of convenient locations available and don't forget to log on to The Children's Place for additional great finds.

Follow the story by using hashtag: #bigfashionsmallprices