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Travel & Events

Meet the Grunion

Until two days ago I had never even heard of a Grunion. Thanks to Facebook’s [big brotherish] alerts for everything your friends are doing “near your house” I caught wind of Meet the Grunion– and we decided to check it out. Grunion are a small – approximately 6 inches or so – silvery fish.  What is so unique about Grunion is how they swim up onto the shore to lay their eggs in the sand a few times a year – much like sea turtles but they are fish – late at night along the California and Baja Mexican shorelines. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium hosts a special late night event for families in the aquarium with a hands on Grunion egg hatching, educational film and beachside viewing (and catching!) of Grunion. Did I mention Grunion are a delicacy (think sardines)?

The event started at 8pm and we were there until 1:30am! We didn’t arrive until 9pm and headed to the beach around 11pm.   We did not start seeing Grunion regularly until after midnight. I was surprised how crowded it was (tons of kids!) because I had never even heard of it.  Children under age 16 can catch Grunion freely.  16 and over must have a valid fishing license. We caught a few to look at more closely and released them.

Honestly we had no idea what to expect but our kids have been obsessed with Wild Kratts lately and I knew this was right down their alley.  Needless to say we were underprepared for it in terms of (a) what to bring (b) how to dress (c) realizing how late we’d be there.

My packing list for Grunion catching next year:

  • Waterproof beach blanket
  • Beach chairs
  • Sand toys (1 per child)
  • Bright flashlights/headlamps (1 per person)
  • Camping lantern (1)
  • Large plastic bucket so we can catch-and-release a few grunion
  • Bottled water
  • Flip flops for adults
  • Water shoes for the kids (Crocs, etc.)
  • Extra underwear/pants/warm socks for kiddos to change into after the event
  • Pants that can roll up and stay up (think elasticized bottom)

You can leave all the packed beach items in the car when you arrive, you don’t need anything for the aquarium portion but yourselves.  When its time to head to the beach you will cross the parking lot to get to the beach and you can just grab your things then.  Don’t bring nice bags or wallets or things that won’t fit into a pocket thinking you’ll leave them with your things…its very dark and hard to see/monitor your things so just bring stuff you don’t care much about so you don’t have to worry or try and watch it.

The five dollar admission fee (only a buck for kiddos!) included in/out access to the aquarium – which had lots of great exhibits for the kids to see – and the aforementioned short film, hands on hatching activity and beach access.

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The event starts late and runs super late, and that it is definitely not for everyone…but it was totally worth it our kids had a BLAST! When we left at 1:30 probably 50% of people had left already…but there were still plenty there!

See you there next year?! Have you been? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

XOXO,

Marie

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If you this event is down your alley, take a look at this!

 

 

Family & Lifestyle

Museum of Flying

We spent the morning in Santa Monica yesterday visiting the Museum of Flying and the Flight Observation Deck at the Santa Monica Airport.  The boys had a great time seeing all the airplanes, sitting in the cockpits of two different airplanes (including the FedEx cockpit of the plane protruding from the building in the main image of this post!), trying out different seats, seeing all the airplanes and the Airport Crash Tender. After the museum we visited the flight observation deck and even found small park on the way out…this is a great morning activity in Santa Monica!  If you are on a budget you can skip the museum and just visit the Flight Observation deck and picnic n’ play in the park!

The Museum has two stories of retired airplanes to peruse.  The retired planes were predominantly vintage military airplanes from WWII.  There are short shows set up to watch all over from airplane seats, and there is a movie theater upstairs.  We didn’t see a movie in it, but its available at no extra cost.

The kids especially loved the Crash Tender:

Santa Monica Airport Museum of Flying Airport Crash Tender Firetruck image

Inside the cockpit of the FedEx Plane was their other favorite activity inside the museum (there are two real cockpits to explore)- a real cockpit with all the buttons and switches and a view of the runway:

There was a flight simulator which I am SHOCKED didn’t interest my kids…but kids just a few years older would probably LOVE THIS!!

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I am an airhead and didn’t check groupon before we went…HERE is a deal on Groupon.

At the front desk you can pick up an instruction sheet to get to the flight observation deck.  I snapped pics of where to turn in, and the elevator you are looking for.  The Flight Observation Deck is FREE…its not a part of the museum and anyone can go at no cost.  There was only one older gentleman there when we went, we essentially had it all to ourselves.

You turn in at 3321-3239 Airport, and will take the glass block elevator to the 3rd Floor.

The observation deck is no frills (as to be expected for free right?)…you might want to bring a picnic blanket if you want to sit down…or if your kiddos are real plane watchers you might grab a beach chair for yourself.

Directly across the street we spotted this cute little park with TONS OF SHADE, picnic tables and a play structure.  We didn’t play this time (it was lunch time and I hadn’t packed a lunch)…but we will definitely be returning this park to check it out. There is also Spitfire Grill across the street…I considered trying it but solo with two little boys is hardly worth eating lunch out LOL.

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Note: I spotted a board room on the second floor of the museum- there appear to be two small meeting rooms and a larger reception room (not large…but larger than a boardroom)…it would be a cute venue for an off the beaten path business meeting, stockholder meeting, etc.

Have you been? Let me know your thoughts below!! Mama loves comments 😉

From The Museum of Flying:

The Museum is currently operating on it’s Summer hours. We are open Wednesday – Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM (last entry at 4:30 PM)

Originally established in 1974 as the Douglas Museum and Library, the Museum first opened in 1979 at 2800 Airport Avenue. The Museum was founded by Donald Douglas Jr, the second President of the Douglas Aircraft Company. The collection consisted primarily of artifacts and the ephemera of Donald Wills Douglas Sr., the Founder and President of the Douglas Aircraft Company, however the collection did not include any aircraft.

In the late 1980’s a discussion began between Donald Douglas Jr. and a local entrepreneur, David G. Price. It was agreed that a new building would be constructed on the north side of the Santa Monica Airport as the future location of the renamed Museum of Flying. The new Museum opened in 1989 with the original collection and the compliment of many vintage aircraft with an emphasis on World War II fighter aircraft.

Over the years the Museum was host to a number of special events that included annual gala events honoring the aviation and aerospace leaders, famous test pilots, and the original Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts.  Other memorable events held at the Museum included a tribute to the Tuskegee Airman, a Mustang Wing’s and Wheels event, and a 60th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Britain.

In late 2002, the Museum was temporarily closed due to economic hardship.  A search began for a suitable new location in a smaller building.  Several potential locations and scenarios were entertained by the Museum’s Board of Directors over the next few years.  Eventually in 2008, a new location was established on the south side of the Santa Monica Airport just a half a block away from the original location.  In addition to the new Museum project moving forward, a plan was finalized for the long discussed concept of building a monument to the iconic Douglas DC-3 aircraft.  Construction on the DC-3 Monument began in late 2008 and was completed and dedicated on the same day that the Museum signed a lease with the City of Santa Monica on March 21, 2009.

Construction began on the new Museum in early 2010 and the Museum celebrated its grand opening to the public in the new building on February 25, 2012.  The Museum collection consists of the many original artifacts related to the Douglas Aircraft Company, a variety of exhibits, aviation art, and features an array of aircraft from a Wright Flyer replica to aircraft of the jet age.

 

Beautiful Day Blog www.beautifuldayblog.com visits Candytopia at the Santa Monica Place Mall in Santa Monica, CA
Travel & Events

Candytopia at Santa Monica Place

Candytopia Entrance

Sugar, sugar and more sugar. Too much if you ask me, but a small price to pay for the fabulous photo opps in every corner of Candytopia! From the candy King Tut to the marshmallow “ball” pit our kids really (no, like REALLY!) loved all the rooms, candy art, the rope swings, hammock, surf board and wind, confetti spinner, candy, candy and more candy…it’s just plain fun at Candytopia. It’s not cheap…but a good time and loads of great photos make for a nice afternoon activity at Santa Monica Place, in Santa Monica!

Tickets are timed and small groups are let in at a time, maybe 25 people or so. There is a photo opportunity in the first room and they run over some rules (you can touch the candy art but you can’t eat it, and please be gentle with it, etc)…from there you enter the first room, get your first candy (a Lindt truffle) and they go over the rules again, lol.

The “museum” is a series of themed rooms with candy art exhibits, photo walls/props and a new kind of candy for each room for snacking (some of which were full sized! but I will note most were sugar based candy (no nuts/dairy) and while you’d have to miss out on one or two, dairy or nut free folks will fare just fine in their bounty!) – and candy lovers (ahem Instagrammers) can spend as much time in each room as desired- BUT- “like in life, we move forward” so you just can’t go backwards.

We attended Candytopia with four families- we had 8 children under age 8…its a super fun group activity and while I didn’t post photos of friends kids we got some really cute ones!  Our group spent about 1 hour and 15 minutes inside. It was suggested that the average time inside was anywhere from 60-90 minutes.

ABOUT CANDYTOPIA (from the Candytopia website):

What if an eccentric chocolatier and a daredevil pop star had a whirlwind romance, got married while skydiving, and had a glamorous, glittering love child who grew up to rule a small nation? Welcome to Candytopia, where colossal candyfloss constructions meld with a tantalizing taffy twistedness!

Explore our sprawling sanctuary of confectionary bliss, tastefully curated by Hollywood Candy Queen Jackie Sorkin, realized by master fabricator Zac Hartog, and brought to life by life-long retailer, John Goodman. This four-month interactive art installation celebrates the vibrant colors and flavors of our favorite sugary delights across over a dozen environments, from flying unicorn pigs to a marshmallow tsunami. Bring your family, your friends, and your sweet tooth for an experience like none other!

If you ever dreamed of nibbling your way through Candyland or scoring a Golden Ticket, you’ve come to the right place. Treat yourself to Candytopia, and let your tastebuds and your imagination soar!

Adults: $30

Ages 4-12: $23

Ages 0-3:  Free!  No ticket necessary.

Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Limit 12 tickets per person.

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Candytopia is only in Santa Monica until July 4th but you can follow them on Instagram (@thecandytopia) to learn about upcoming sites and news!

Travel & Events

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

We took the kids to visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center on the Santa Barbara Pier recently, and we had such a great time! The Sea Center is like a mini aquarium, with lots of hands-on things to do for children of all ages.  Tanks to look at, starfish and sea urchins to touch, sand to draw up from the ocean floor and sort through, a microscope to project the findings onto the wall, and lots of other fun little things to see and do.

Our kids especially liked the jaw-like grabber that drops down into the water and collects fresh sand from the ocean floor- Gman was actually able to lower it down himself, do a collection, and bring it back up and then all the kids sorted through it and looked at all the various items in the sand- it was awesome!  There were multiple very kind volunteers who helped him along, PATIENTLY, he really really (really!!) loved that!

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

There were multiple touch tanks, plus cool things to look at like blacklit jellyfish and an octopus!

Gman sorting through the sand he pulled up from the ocean:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

H touching some things in the touch tank:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

Sorting through sand pulled up from the bottom of the ocean:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea CenterSanta Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

From The Sea Center’s Site:

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is located on Stearns Wharf. It is an engaging, interactive marine education facility that allows visitors to discover the fun in science and the wonders of the natural world.

At the Sea Center visitors of all ages can enjoy interactive exhibits, opportunities to work like scientists, a theater showcasing the wonders of the Santa Barbara Channel, hands-on close encounters with sea creatures, and a live shark touch pool. Children can crawl through a 1,500-gallon tidepool tank to see ocean life from a different perspective.

Click here to view the Sea Center’s current exhibits.

Click here to view the Sea Center’s location and hours.

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Walking around the Stearns Wharf Pier outside the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea CenterSanta Barbara PierSanta Barbara Pier

There are five restaurants on the Stearns Wharf Pier (hours of operation taken from page in link) as well as tons of small shops and an ice cream shop:

Char West

Char West
Charburgers, cheeseburgers and the yummiest fish and chips this side of the English Channel.
221 Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 962-5631

Hours
Sunday through Saturday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm


Harbor Restaurant

The Harbor Restaurant
Excellent Dining and Santa Barbara’s Most Beautiful View
210 Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Hours
Mondays 11:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Tuesdays 11:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Wednesdays 11:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Thursdays 11:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Fridays 11:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Saturdays 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sundays 10:00 pm – 10:00 pm


Longboards

Longboard’s Beach Bar and Grill
Casual Dining with an Ocean View
210 Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 963-3311

Hours
Mondays 11:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Tuesdays 11:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Wednesdays 11:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Thursdays 11:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Fridays 11:30 pm – 12:00 am
Saturdays 11:00 pm – 12:00 am
Sundays 11:00 pm – 10:30 pm


Moby Dick Restaurant

Moby Dick
An Excellent Breakfast Venue.
220 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101  (805)965-0549
(805) 965-0549

Hours
Sunday through Saturday 7:00 am – 9:00 pm


Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
That great little crab place near the end of the Wharf.
230 Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 966-6676

Hours
Sunday through Saturday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm


Travel & Events

Great Wolf Lodge

We took a super fun staycation for a Saturday night to the Great Wolf Lodge for the boys…wow did they LOVE it!  The property was just built a few years ago and is still very new…and makes for a one-stop-shop for a easy and fun weekend trip for kids.  From the Dunkin’ Donuts to the Lazy River to the Arcade to the fireplace activities for kids to the ice cream shop…you never have to get back into your car once you park, score!  The pool area serves food, rents cabanas, sells everything from goggles to tee shirts…you can really stay all day.

Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove (Orange County, CA) Toddler and Baby Area

If you’ve never been to Great Wolf Lodge, lets talk about what it is….its an enormous indoor waterpark and resort, complete with waterslides, a wave pool, lazy river, toddler/baby section, climbing structure, and so much more.  Our kids loved every square inch, and were fast asleep without argument by 7pm sharp (if you know my kids you know this NEVER happens!).  On property, there are multiple restaurants, food and snack options.   We got our coffee at the Dunkin’ Donuts, ate at the Grill, we ate lunch inside the water park both days, and we got our dinner at the Lodge Wood Fired Grill. The Lodge Wood Fired Grill was pretty good…my salad had deep friend jalapeños on it, and I’m still daydreaming of them today.  They also offer a character breakfast.

Upstairs in the enormous lobby, there is “The Great Clock Tower” where they hold children’s activities and story time throughout the day and into the evenings.  Our kids played bingo, watched a story time, and us parents got to sit down and rest.  Many pint sized guests come already in pajamas, its really super cute!!

Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove (Orange County, CA)

We stayed in a two-bedroom suite, which has one bedroom with a king bed, and second with two queen beds (and the sofa folded out).  The property is newly built, and was clean and most importantly, the two bathrooms were nice and large. The room also had a microwave and small fridge.

No sunblock required.  Woohoo!

Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove (Orange County, CA) Lazy River

Visiting from out of town and want to go to Disneyland? Its only 3 miles from Disneyland and there is a complimentary shuttle between Great Wolf Lodge and Disneyland!  Before you go read my recent post on 15 Things to Know Before Visiting Disneyland!

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Family & Lifestyle

California Science Center

I am left wondering how it’s possible we have never been to this amazing place! We had a fantastic day at the California Science Center! The King Tut exhibit was in town and Gman is fascinated with pyramids so we saw the IMAX King Tut movie and bought exhibit tickets- admission to these included the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

Both boys loved the IMAX movie! I didn’t realize it wasn’t 3-D so I will definitely take them back for a 3-D IMAX soon!

Space shuttle Endeavor was a must see. Our boys were engaged for a good 30 minutes in the exhibit room and I forgot to buy them NASA tees but I will next time!

The King Tut exhibit was also fantastic! It was a more traditional exhibit and our kids were a little young for it given its expense (about $30 per ticket) but the grandparents and myself really enjoyed seeing it. It was also the last event in the sequence of the three ticketed events and as it turns out all three plus the museum were a little too much for the boys so I recommend just choosing one ticketed exhibit or IMAX and spending some time on all the free children’s activities (there are TONS).

We were only able to walk the first half of the exhibit before the kids expired but it was really neat for adults or older children!

It wasn’t a problem getting weekday tickets day of – but I recommend buying all tickets in advance for weekends.

We also ate lunch at the food court which was reasonably priced for a museum food court! They have a market with packaged foods/chips, a grill with burgers/fries/chicken fingers and another cafe option for salads, sandwiches, etc.

They also sell food in the IMAX theater – hot dogs, soft pretzels, candy, drinks, etc. Parking was easy (but it was a weekday) and was $12.

From the California Science Center:

Mission

We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people’s lives.

The California Science Center provides an innovative model for science learning by combining exhibits with an on-site Science Center School and Amgen Center for Science Learning as well as a teacher professional development program.

The Science Center is open to the public seven days a week, 362 days per year, with free general admission to its permanent exhibit galleries. The facility, which opened in February 1998, spans more than 400,000 sq. feet and includes four major exhibit areas.

Looking for more great science museums for kids? Check out the Discovery Cube OC and the MOXI in Santa Barbara!

Organic Costco Moms

Costco Diapering Round Up

When I had my first baby I loved ordering diapers. As our family grew and our kids grew (and grew and grew and grew)…timing diaper deliveries in day and night diapers in various sizes- plus wipes and then demands of pull ups- became practically impossible. I either had too many in a size we outgrew and had to give them away or I was about to run out. It was around then that I turned to Costco.

It is so much easier to walk in, grab what I need…and have it starting that second. If you’ve wondered this too but haven’t explored the options at Costco- there are A LOT!

Inventory and pricing can vary a little store to store but generally speaking the diaper selection is virtually the same at all stores.

In no particular order…here are your Costco options, quantities vary slight by size:

Honest Company Diapers — $25/box available in sizes 3-5

Example quantiity: Size 4 is 120 Count

Huggies Little Snugglers — $38/box available in size 1 and 2

Example quantity: Size 2 is 174 Count

Costco’s Kirkland Brand Supreme Diapers — $39/box for sizes 3-6, smaller sizes slightly cheaper.

Example quantity: Size 6 is 120 Count

Pull Ups in boys and girls styles — $35/box

Example quantity: Size 4t-5t is 102 count.

Moving on to wipes…

Huggies Natural Care ($25)

18 packs of wipes, for a total of 1152 wipes

Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes ($20) (at the time of this post they are on sale for $16)

9 packs of wipes, for a total of 900 wipes

And your diaper pail needs…

Diaper Genie Refills ($20)

4 Count

Uncategorized

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

We were headed to The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (or LACMA as its perhaps better known) with the kids and before we even got to the museum we saw the La Brea Tar Pits and stopped in.

Now I’m embarrassed to tell you but I’ve lived in LA for 19 years and I’ve never been to the La Brea Tar Pits 🤦🏼‍♀️. Its a great stop for the kids and it’s essentially located in a huge park…we saw, we played, rode a sloth, sang in an amphitheater and even saw a real live excavation going on! We didn’t buy tickets or take a tour, we just explored on our own…what a GREAT Free thing to do in Los Angeles.

Caught by a wild sloth!

As we approached LACMA the Boulder was calling to the boys so we ventured over we played in the lampposts and looked at a new sculpture being installed…then we ran across what (to my kids) looked like a rocket shaped play house…and finally ventured under the boulder. The boys ran and ran some more.

We got some drinks at one of the outdoor restaurants and as we looked for the ticket counter realized we had spent 3 hours playing outside and didn’t even have time to go in, LOL.

Next time LACMA.

Family & Lifestyle, Travel & Events

Summer Fun & Camp Fair 2018

Since we recently moved back to Los Angeles, I needed to find some summer camps for the boys- so I checked out the Summer Fun & Camp Fair at Crossroads School in Santa Monica. Gman, who is five years old, tagged along in the hunt for science/tinkering/art/cooking camps.

When we arrived there were super sized inflatables from Magic Jump all over an enormous green space- games, booths and food trucks- plus an indoor gymnasium full of booths from – hmm I’m not sure must have been at least 50 camps…A LOT!

We talked to camp directors, asked questions, picked up brochures/discount codes and treats and little toys- we even rode scooters and sampled food…Gman had a lot of fun! I know it’s called “Fun Fair” but I really didn’t expect such a big event!

Magic Jump Obstacle Course Los AngelesSummer Camp Fun Fair Santa MonicaSummer Camp Fun Fair

We already had lunch plans but next time we’ll make a whole morning and lunch out of it.

Description from the Summer Fun & Camp Fair website:

Check out all the Fun you and your Family can have at the Fair:

Meet the Camps!

These awesome Summer Camps will be at the Fair to let you know all about what they do and how much fun your kids will have when they attend. You’ll have a chance to meet them and ask all the questions you may have about each of their philosophy, ratio of counselors to campers, locations, and daily schedules. You’ll get everything you need to be able to choose the right Summer camp for your kids. There will even be special discounts and raffles!

Summer Fun for the Whole Family

How well do you know your own back yard? Los Angeles is where millions of people come to visit every year, and you already live here: Lucky you! Wait until you see all the fun things you can do here with your whole family. Your Summer Fun will be non-stop!

Fun & Games

Play the Summer Fun Passport & Scavenger Hunt Game with us and you’ll be eligible for fun prizes! We’re giving away a bunch of fun gear for the Summer and you’ll be entered to win one of the prizes just by playing our Passport & Scavenger Hunt Game. Simply take the time to stop by each of the booths at the Fair for a special stamp – plus try to find all the hidden elements of the Scavenger Hunt. Every stamp you get equals a raffle ticket!

Food & Snacks

Some of the best food trucks in Los Angeles will be on site at the Fair to make sure you’ve got delicious choices for snacks and lunch.

Uncategorized

The $35 Farmhouse Decor Makeover!

I went to the 99 Cent Only Store today to grab poster board for my four year old’s school project (yeah, school project at four 🙄 who has time for that?!) – anyway I’m digressing and I haven’t even gotten to the point – so I was walking along and minding my own business when I happened to notice a couple of cute farmhouse decor items on an end cap…ok they got me! I mean this stuff is cute! You can buy one of each of these items for only $35, is that crazy or what? This is a whole mini Farmhouse makeover! And the best part, no DIY required! Even at Home Goods similarly quality items would cost you at least $150 for this update.

These signs are $3 each and are really substantially sized!

$35 Farmhouse Decor Makeover!

This is also only $3?!?!

$35 Farmhouse Decor Makeover!

This is smaller in size maybe 12×12. It also comes in grey with pink ribbon…$2 whaaat?? Pair two (or four) together.

$35 Farmhouse Decor Makeover!

Love these for $4!! I use a string and mini clothespin to display kids seasonal art (like what else do you do with the paper plate turkey school sent home?) – I have something very similar that is frameless from Amazon I bought a few years ago.

$35 Farmhouse Decor Makeover!

This is a pretty substantial clock for $8!

$35 Farmhouse Decor Makeover!

Add a couple of black “birdhouse” plant holders…$1 each (add your own mini succulent).

$35 Farmhouse Decor Makeover!

Ode to that college backpacking trip to Europe, I thought this wooden sign was cute for $4, it’s substantial and wooden and warm.

$35 Farmhouse Decor Makeover!

And for you brew lovers…another cute framed beer sign…$6 – colors are great for a Farmhouse look!

$35 Farmhouse Decor Makeover!

And for the kids’ bathroom, a chalkboard “brush your teeth” sign. $1 Because why not.

So look this isn’t Pottery Barn quality.  But any one of these items on a clearance sale would cost your $35 at PB so you know this. Right? I think a few of these mixed in….no one would ever notice!

Would love to know where else you all find great value Farmhouse Decor (comment below!!)…

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Travel & Events

Bubblefest 2018 at Discovery Cube Orange County

Bubblefest 2018 at the Discovery Cube Orange County was new for us this year, and I’m asking myself why we have never been before now?!? We even had a membership for several years when we lived in OC. The bubble show was so fun to watch, for kids and adults alike…and we could have spent all day in the exhibit room. We will definitely be back before it ends on April 8, 2018.

The show itself was far more elaborate than I expected…the room is darkened for much of the show and the stage is fully decorated, utilizing lasers, specialized lighting and set design.  The show moved quickly and captured the attention of the children form start to finish.  Even the 15 month old next to us watched the entire show!

There is floor seating right in front of the stage for children- no need to reserve special seating, kids can go right in front of the stage and watch close-up.  Parents can sit in the  seating or in the back row of the floor as to stay closer to younger children.

The amphitheater isn’t that large, so there really isn’t bad seating per say…but if you want a seat (and not the floor) I would pay the few extra dollars for reserved.

The Bubblefest exhibit features hands-on bubble activities, a giant bubble photo opp and some inflatable obstacle courses (getting some physical energy out is 👍👍 in my book!). For $15 extra we put all four kids in a giant bubble- you can see a short clip of it below, it was fun!

The activities are designed to teach children the science and mathematics of bubbles, such as their surface tension, elasticity, air pressure, molecular and geometric properties.

You do need an additional Bubblefest ticket to access the show and the Bubblefest activities, which includes:

  • Admission into the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show (Guests will need to select a show time when purchasing their ticket.)
  • Bubble Lab
  • Water Spheres
  • Bubble Exhibits
  • Mega Bubbles Courtyard
  • Early Learners bubble exploration for guests 5 and under

You can buy your tickets here.

And of course there is the rest of the museum! There are two whole floors (huge floors!) of educational, science, hands on activities- and even a huge dinosaur outside for kids to climb. We spent over five hours and we could have stayed longer there is so much to see and do!

Outside in the Dino Exhibit:

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Rocket Launch Simulator:

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Main Exhibit Room:

Me, hopelessly trying to wrangle two boys into the same photo.  This is about as good as it gets, LOL.

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Have you been to Bubblefest? Tell me what you thought!! Comments are love to bloggers just saying! XOXO.

Looking for more fun activities in Southern California? Check out the MOXI!

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2500 N. MAIN STREET, SANTA ANA, CA 92705

Photos property of Marie Clark, Beautiful Day Blog.  All rights reserved.

Travel & Events

MOXI Museum in Santa Barbara

Last weekend we took the kids to MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation– what an amazing place…the boys explored all three floors of exhibits and loved every square inch! MOXI is a brand new interactive children’s museum on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara.

The exhibits were so much fun for my science loving kiddos- they are designed around science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The boys found things to spin, build, race, test, tinker and create!

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MOXI is divided into seven themed exhibits including Tech Track, Sound Track, Fantastic Forces Courtyard, Speed Track, Light Track, Interactive Media Track and Sky Garden.  Each contains multiple activities under the theme.

Our boys are 4 and 5 now and they are a great age for the exhibits, though they definitely lend themselves well to a much wider age bracket.  We saw toddlers to middle-school kids all participating in the exhibits.

The Clark Bro’s favorite exhibit was most definitely the Speed Track, on the second floor. Kids built their own race cars and raced them down a huge race track. The modular wooden cars have a number of variables and kids of all ages we’re LOVING trying to change their cars around to see how they could get them to be faster! WIN!

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We spent over three hours at MOXI, and literally had to drag the kids out.  We stopped by the gift shop — which honestly I never like to go into museum gift shops because they usually are terrible — but theirs is awesome! I actually bought things for each child, which I NEVER do.  Would be a great place for a last minute gift (entry does not require admission) and prices were very reasonable.  We will definitely be back to MOXI, and not just because we bought a membership! 🤣🤣

I also noticed as we were leaving that they offer camps which my kids would love…mine are too young but if you have a 3rd grader or older check out their Camps here!

Matching Red Hunter Boots
Uncategorized

How to Snag Hunter Boots at Target!

NEWSFLASH! Iconic British Hunter Boots Coming to Target Stores…How to Snag a Pair!

Matching Red Hunter Boots

this post contains affiliate links

After seeing my very stylish friend Sepi and her daughter Valentina in these adorable red Hunter Boots, I have many a time thought how cute a little pic of my boys and I in matching Hunter boots would be…then I saw the price tag. But now, Hunter and Target are collaborating for an incredible offer…Hunter products (including the famed boots!) will be coming to Target next month. Price range will be $5-$80, with most items expected to be under $40. Amazing, right? Well. It is amazing, but…if you tried to get Lily Pulitzer last time around, then you know the big collabs are haaaaaard to snag your share. I was able to snag 4 Philip Lim bags once. AMAZING, I still get compliments on them ALL THE TIME!

The Hunter collection is slated to contain more than 300 items, which is a large collection, at a very reasonable price point. The collection does contain a tall rain boot…but I predict that is going to sell FAST. Like a flash of lightening. You’ll have to plan ahead if you want in on the good stuff.

Here are my top tips:

RedCard holders will have EARLY ONLINE ACCESS to select pieces at Target.com starting April 7th.  If you don’t have a Red Card, you can apply for one now. Early online access is a new of collaborative sales this time around, and many people may not know about this…so I definitely recommend this as your initial plan!

Alternatively, you can ARRIVE EARLY TO YOUR LOCAL STORE on Saturday, April 14th. But, you need to call the day before and make sure they are getting the product! Not all stores get the collaborations…so make sure before you go.  If you have a number of Target stores local to you, you might consider the following

  1. Does one store have a demographic less likely to care about this product? (Can you drive ten minutes to a less “trendy” area and have a little less competition?)
  2. Does one store expect more of the collection? Call all of them to inquire if they know how how many skews they will receive, or if they have a heads up on quantities…and compare who will be getting the most product. Not all stores can/will tell you, but you can certainly ask!

Get a $20 GiftCard when you spend $100 on Baby essentials. Valid 3/4-3/10

“For this collaboration, we wanted to pair Hunter’s great heritage and iconic style with Target’s “Expect More. Pay Less.” design capabilities. Hunter and Target worked hand-in-hand to create a colorful assortment of all-weather wear for the entire family – one that will protect them from the elements no matter where they are or what they’re doing, all for a fantastic price.” Said Mark Tritton, Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.

Good luck! If you score some Hunter please tell me!! Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!

XOXO

Don’t forget to get your RedCard now so your ready for April 7th!

  

#tweetlikethe2000s #hunterboots #hunterrainboots #HunterxTarget #hunterfortarget

Organic Costco Moms

The Clean 15: Best Items to Buy Non-Organic

Most of us Moms buy a hefty haul of fresh fruits and vegetables each week for our family.  If your bottomless pits (ahem, kids) are anything like mine…then you are buying A LOT.  Sometimes multiple trips per week.

I always try to choose organic, but sometimes its just not available at the store where I’m shopping and I need to do my shopping right then.  Or sometimes it looks half rotten in the store and I need produce to last for at least a day or two…so its a no-go.

When the organic selection is slim or unattractive or egregious or zero…what are the best choices?

The best options in this case will be the fruits and vegetables, which on average, are known for containing the least amount of pesticides.

The Clean 15 List

Here you go, THE CLEAN 15*:

  1. Sweet corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew
  12. Kiwifruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

* Some sweet corn, papaya and summer squash in the US is produced from genetically modified seeds, you may need to buy Organic in order to avoid genetic modification.

My source for this list was the Environmental Working Group (aka EWG) in case you want to read up more on it! They also produce lists for all sorts of household cleaning and beauty items, its a great resource!

The Clean 15 Best Options for non-organic porduce

Uncategorized

10 Boardless Games for Bored Kids!

Boredom. Oh old friend I’ve missed you since 5 minutes ago! It’s a good thing we own thousands of dollars worth of toys, I’ve spent hundreds on organizational storage for them and truly countless hours picking them up off the floor and sorting them.

Rasberry Fingers

Raspberry fingers only gonna get me so far. LOL.

But seriously sometimes you have little to nothing at your disposal, and you need some boredom busters that don’t need a lot of props.

Here are are top 10:

1. I-spy: this is our car ride family favorite! Its also good one for a waiting room or a restaurant! One person says “I spy with my little eye…” and says the color of the object such as “something orange” or another clue.

2. Hide-and-seek: this is a childhood classic, we play this A LOT! We also change it up and hide objects sometimes.

3. Tag: again needs no explanation, oldie but goodie ❤️

4. Rock-Paper-Scissors: this is a fun one as it moves quick so everyone wins and looses many times…good game to practice for kids who have a very difficult time loosing.

5. Wheelbarrow: if you haven’t played this in awhile I think you’ll be surprised how haaaard it is to hold your body up with your arms…it’s exhausting! But this is a good thing for kiddos with LOTS of energy!

6. Tic Tac Toe: our 5 year old loves this game! We play it as restaurants a lot!

7. Story Sequencing: each person takes a turn adding a line to the story…

8. Dance Party: crank up the music and dance, dance, dance! In the car, living room, hotel room or wherever you are? I wonder if Alexa knows the chicken dance? LOL

9. Obstacle Course: mark off a course with shoes or toilet paper rolls or sofa cushions or empty cans.

10. Hopscotch: if you have chalk you have hopscotch! Masking tape will work too. Dig up 3 rocks from the backyard and you are on you way!

What are your favorite boredom busters?

👇🏻👇🏻Comment below – I would love to know so I can add to the list!!

Family & Lifestyle, Travel & Events

15 Things To Know Before Visiting Disneyland for the First Time!

Taking your kids to Disneyland is a little like Christmas and Santa…while Disneyland brings fond childhood memories, I think it might be even more fun to watch your own children experience it! The thrill of the rides, meeting the array of fantastic characters, crossing through the iconic castle, watching a marching band or [fill in the blank, its all pretty awesome!].

If you are planning your first visit, here are the 15 things you NEED to know.  Below them are some additional tips which may be helpful.

  1. Download the Disney App here.
  2. Purchase your tickets in advance via the app. Disneyland is split into Disneyland and California Adventure and you can choose either park or a “Park Hopper” ticket that gives you entrance to both.
  3. Plan to arrive at the parking at least 30 minutes before the park opens. Skip the upgraded parking option, just get the basic parking its hardly a difference.
  4. Bring a single fold stroller.  No matter where you park, you will need to fold and transport your stroller on a tram or bus…having to remove seats is unnecessary aggrivation!
  5. Bring 2 bottles of water per person.  This is in part because often you will want to grab a bottle to drink in line and will have to toss what’s left at the front of the line so having extra is good. They do sell it inside of course if you forget.
  6. Pack some easy and/or healthy snacks. Many of the snacks easily available around the park have a lot of sugar.
  7. Bring your own sunscreen, and remember to re-apply.
  8. Check the availability of fast passes on the app or at the kiosks when you arrive (fast passes are free, and are only available on select rides, it’s worth a try…you can learn more about them here). Send 1 person from your party to grab passes, the rest should head straight to the rides.
  9. Review the park map the day before you go and plan 2-3 rides right near each other,  head straight to the rides upon entering…lines for the rides will never be as short as the first hour the park is open. Get in as many as you can before lines are 60+ minutes.
  10. Make your character dining reservations in advance (there are plenty of places to grab lunch too, of course).
  11. At the end of Main Street you will find the Baby Care Center, where you can find changing tables, chairs for nursing and a shop that sells everything from formula to diapers.
  12. Make sure you get a silhouette made of your kids in the Silhouette Studio on Main Street before you leave. It’s the best bargain in all of Disneyland for a souvenir that won’t hit the trash a month later BOOM! And to boot you get TWO copies so send one to Grandma. BONUS!
  13. Wear layers. Check the weather before you go and if you aren’t a local understand Southern California weather- it’s a coastal desert and it’s heated by the Sun…so it can be 60 degrees when you arrive and 90 degrees at by noon and back to 65 as the sun starts to set.
  14. Bring antibacterial wipes/spray to clean little hands before lunch 🙌🏻
  15. Bring any mouse ears, tutus, crowns and costumes your children may want…they are very expensive inside the park and lots of the kids are wearing this stuff…if you have it at home you do not want to be put in the position of buying duplicitous toys at high prices inside the park.

Other helpful hints:

  • If you philandering on bringing a stroller, you should know that you can also rent a stroller inside.
  • Lockers are available inside if needed.
  • If you are staying on property, you need to know about the Extra Magic Hour Early Admission option!
  • To strategize on quick admission and best shot at Fast Passes…choose to visit the  respective Park on it’s non-Extra Magic Hour day (see above link for that schedule).  Otherwise, you will have all the hotel guests with early admission ahead of you…in line to enter, at the fast pass machines and for rides.
  • When you see a character you would like to meet/photograph with, get in line RIGHT AWAY. There will always be an attendant who is “the end of the line” – go to that person and get in front of them.  If the line is full they will let you know…and know that does happen, like all the time. You can ask that attendant where they are headed next, or other info about future meet and greet times for that character. Steer clear of promising your kiddos to see or meet one particular character if you can 🙂
  • If your kids don’t watch TV or Movies yet and you are thinking maybe Disneyland isn’t relevant for them, I totally disagree.  Gman had never watched anything but Caillou much less seen a Disney movie before we went and he LOVED it.  The characters are fantastic, regardless of whether you know them.  And the rides are a blast.  And the whole atmosphere is like nothing your child has seen before.  I do agree that kids who watch the shows/movies probably get a little more out of it….but there is plenty for screen-free kids too!
  • I have a Pinterest Board called All Things Disney with TONS (and tons, and tons, and tons!) of articles from bloggers all over on everything from secrets of Disneyland (and Disneyworld so watch the titles!), to cheap eat recommendations to free stuff.  Check it out.

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Things to know about Disneyland before your first visit

Family & Lifestyle

6 Reasons You Need to Have Family Game Night!

6 Great Game Recommendations too!

This post contains affiliate links.

Playing games teaches kids loads of important things! And even more importantly its screen-free family time at home, in its simplest old-fashioned form…

  1. Social Skills — family time is the first social experience our children have, we teach them how to be happy and have fun playing together!
  2. Taking Turns — we take turns when we play games! Waiting is haaaaard, but its good practice!
  3. Following Rules — we teach the concept of rules and practice following rules, because everyone has to follow the same set of rules when we play games!
  4. Recognizing Letters and Numbers and Colors — spinning and drawing cards is fun, it also teaches some great early basics!
  5. Pattern Recognition and Strategy — as we play games over and over we begin to recognize patterns, predict outcomes and develop early strategy skills like choosing alternative moves.
  6. Winning & Losing (& Winning again)— sometimes we can be really behind then win! Sometimes it looks like we may win, but don’t.  In games we all win sometimes, and sometimes we loose! Its the good grace and manners we model that are important on family game night 🙂

6 Reasons You Need to Have Family Game Night!

Here are our family’s favorites:

My First Carcassonne: This is our favorite game! Players lay tiles down to form a giant map – when a path becomes capped at two ends the players get to put their kids down as indicated on the tiles in the path- even really little ones can lay tiles independently and place their kids down where instructed so its great for all ages!

Candyland: This is a classic, it needs no introduction…except I strongly suggest getting the version with the spinner rather than the old fashioned cards (less to pick up, organize and ultimately loose!) If you don’t mind the deck of cards, there is a slightly cheaper version available 🙂

Chutes and Ladders: Also a classic needs no explanations! I prefer the retro edition pictured below, this is the one I grew up with…however there is a new version that is a little cheaper if you don’t care 🙂

Zingo: This is a version of Bingo – it comes in many versions for early learning.  I selected “Sight Words” but there are many variations including Word Builder, 1-2-3, Time Telling and the Original Version.

Pop the Pig: Kids LOVE this game, and this is a good one for little ones with very very low attention spans, because you can just take turns and have fun – its a good entry game for game night. This is a good gift.

Operation: This one is for older kids, but can’t you remember loving this as a child? Its just as fun now as it was back then…it’s my 5 year old’s second favorite game.  I linked the classic version again, cause that’s my deal…no surprises there anymore right? You can save a buck or two with the new one.  Or you can mix it up for your #1 Fan with a Star Wars Version, Minion Version, Doc McStuffins, Dory, Trolls, oh the list goes on…

Does your family have a favorite game?? Please tell me in the comments!!

And don’t forget to subscribe to Beautiful Day Blog below!

6 Reasons You Need to Have Family Game Night!

Travel & Events

Mickey Mouse First Birthday Party

This adorable DIY Mickey Mouse first birthday party was hosted by yours truly, so yes I may be biased LOL…it also contains affiliate links. We had Mickey and Goofy there and the kids loved it!! We also had a balloon twister and bouncy house.

We welcomed guests with a basket of Mickey and Minnie ears (similar signs here) and a Party is Here sign. We placed a custom Mickey Keep Calm sign from ETSY at the adult beverage bar.

I made a DIY dessert table with a cloud peel and stick paper background, pre-made pennant, wooden letters, curtain sheerscupcake risers and table linens, all from Amazon. I set the table with Mickey paper plates and scattered party accessories on the kids tables (bouncy balls, party blowers, bracelets) again all from Amazon. A friend made the Wooden block stack, similar ones are available on ETSY.

On the food table I prepared cupcake wrappers with kid snacks so they were easy to grab and go. Party Favor was Melissa and Doug Sidewalk Chalk sets.  I am not a fan of the bag of junk…we try to always give a book or a practical activity for kids.

If you are inviting a large group of friends and would like the most amount of kids to attend, here are some first birthday hostess tips:

(1) Morning parties are better for this age group- be sure your party starts early enough that parents can get children home for a nap.  9-11 works great

(2) Choose the morning that religious services aren’t most common among your friends- for most people this means to choose Saturday morning.  But for some it might be that Sunday is better.

(3) Invite siblings.  This is regional, and highly correlated to a host family’s ability to pay for a larger party – I can tell you in my circles in Los Angeles, siblings are included  for a first birthday party (and generally all birthdays up until parties are “drop-off” and the family isn’t expected to stay).  If you absolutely cannot then just be clear about that on the invitation, but expect inquiries.  For some families weekends are family time…

(4) Reciprocate.  If you cannot make anyone else’s parties, well thats what you can expect for yours. Ride the train or don’t bother to ride at all.

(5) Advance Notice.  Give your guests a full month of advance notice.

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Family & Lifestyle

A Complex Febrile Seizure Story

 

My husband and I have been through 3 separate febrile seizures, the first and third were both relatively straightforward presentations of a Simple Febrile Seizure an the third was a Complex Febrile Seizure. In the first and third cases they regained consciousness immediately and after a quick visit to the emergency room for monitoring we were discharged- no follow up with neurology needed.

The second one was different. I can recall everything in incredible detail, yet there are so many things I would do differently that it is difficult for me to even retell the story chronologically.

But I am going to tell it as best I can.  Because I needed to hear this from other Moms when it happened to me, and frankly there’s not a lot out there from real moms on Febrile Seizures- and almost nothing on Complex Febrile Seizures.

Let’s start with what it is. A Complex Febrile Seizure is defined as a seizure lasting more than 15 minutes, or multiple episodes occurring in 24 hours.  It occurs in less than 5% of Febrile Seizure cases (Febrile Seizures affect 2-5% of the population)…most Febrile Seizures are Simple Febrile Seizures.  The primary source of the seizure is an accelerated jump in the fever, not necessarily how high the fever actually got.  Feel free to ask any questions…I don’t want to make this too long 🙂

H was 11 months old.  He had a low grade fever in the afternoon, and we didn’t give him anything, allowing him to fight it off on his own.  A few hours later he still had the fever and was clearly uncomfortable, so we gave him Tylenol.  We took his temperature a little while later to see if it had come down, and he hadn’t responded to the Tylenol.  We called the nurse line at our pediatrician and were told nothing to do or worry if it was under 104. We thought it was weird that a fever wasn’t responding to fever reducer so I brought him to the Urgent Care anyway, just 1 block from our home.

His first seizure came while we were in the waiting room at Urgent Care.  I saw it.  I didn’t even know 100% what it was at first, but something happened.  I yelled to the receptionist to get a Doctor.  It was the lowest thing on her priority list.  She got me a nurse after several minutes.

Gman had a Simple Febrile Seizure about 6 months prior. So in some sense I sort of knew what had happened and what to do.  But this time it was different. H was gazing to the side.  He wasn’t “there” he was somewhere else.    The nurse took his temperature at 103.5 and informed me they didn’t have suppository fever reducer there to push to him, and he would need to go to the ER to get that.  We were instructed to drive Gman to the Emergency Room at Children’s Hopsital after his, and so I decided to walk home to bring H to the ER.  Except he had another seizure on the one block walk home and the gaze became scarier. He was completely unresponsive.  We called 911 and they took us to the closest hospital.

He was pushed anti-seizure meds in the ambulance.  They assured me from the back that he was doing great but as we walked into the ER a nurse took one look at him and said “He’s seizing right now!” and we all looked…the seizures just continued through 3 dozes of Ativan…over about 45 minutes. They just kept coming.  He remained unconscious, with an IV in his forehead and another in his arm.

I asked the nurse if he was getting oxygen and she thought he was. The ER doctor wouldn’t stand less than 6 feet away from him it was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.  He would peer at him from far away and whisper orders.

Finally the nurse announced that they could no longer handle H’s emergency, and we needed to pack him up into another ambulance and transport him to a choice of three hospitals.  The closest, the next closest and the furthest which was Children’s Hospital.

I inquired which was the best hospital for him and was told they could make no recommendations but that they needed to know who to call quickly.  She reminded me of the name of the closest hospital.  It was terrifying.  But it felt like she was trying to get me out, and to limit liability by getting me to go to the next closest hospital.  It wasn’t right.

It was around this time my husband was able to meet up with me.  He had to find someone to take our older son- we had just moved to a new city and barely knew our neighbors, but they generously took a 2.5 year old while hosting their daughter’s birthday party.   Definition of good neighbors.  Good people are out there. Just saying.

I had a few friends who were nurses at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles in my 20’s and I recalled they got all the serious trauma cases- we decided to roll the dice and go with Children’s.

The doctor at Children’s took over remotely, ordered phenobarbital and stopped the seizures within minutes without ever even laying eyes on him.  Why the ER doctor didn’t order phenobarbital for him will always be a mystery to us.  H could have had several less seizures had he gotten it sooner.

When we arrived at Children’s we were immediately delivered into the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) where it would be 14 hours until H would open his eyes again.

For 14 hours we wondered whether he really had gotten oxygen during his seizures.  We worried whether our child would wake up, or a shadow of our child.  We wondered how much brain damage could be caused by the number of seizures he had experienced. We wondered how high his temperature had gotten and how long it had stayed there and how that could have affected his brain.

We were told that the nature of his seizures was also consistent with other, more serious, conditions including brain tumor and spinal meningitis, which had to be ruled out right away.  They would need to perform a spinal tap, a CT Scan, and an EEG…to name a few.  We were presented a stack of paperwork and releases to sign.  I inquired about whether the doctor was a Resident, Attending or Full Time Doctor.  She was a Resident.  I asked if she’d ever performed a pediatric spinal tap.  She told me she had performed a spinal tap (inferring no, she had never performed a pediatric spinal).  I asked for the attending to perform the spinal – and was told he could be hours until he could get to it, and they really needed to know sooner if he had something like spinal meningitis.  It needed to be ruled out.  I reluctantly signed.

H had a rotation of tests and medications, which were at any and all times of the night and day.

We ate and slept in his room, afraid to leave.

My mother-in-law was able to catch a late flight and arrived at 4am, and H was still unconscious…but she was able to take our older son for us in the morning (one neighbor had passed him off to another neighbor for the night so we could both stay with H), and let the dog out. Our dog is a champ, he didn’t even pee in the house after 12 hours, good dog.

When H finally woke up he was angry and disoriented and uncomfortable.  He had an IV in his forehead, and one in each arm (I am not including those photos as they are just wretched and scary).  Plus he had all the monitors on him.  Slowly our little H came back.

It took 12 more hours before we knew he was there, our little guy.  We certainly couldn’t say for sure all was 100% clear, but we knew if we were facing anything, we weren’t looking at major hurtles any longer.

Spending time in the PICU makes you realize the kinds of problems other families face and live day to day – it really shakes you and makes you realize how lucky you are.

It was rough for awhile but he had a lot of meds in him- and slept a lot from the phenobarbital and Ativan plus pain relievers. After two days we were moved to Neurology, and he was eating baby food again and all the tests came back clear…the deduction was complex febrile seizure.

Underlying cause: Ear Infection

After three days, we were discharged.

Hindsight is 20/20 and this may all just be useless but in case it helps anyone. I’m not a doctor just a MOM so read, do your own research and make your own decisions.

  1. I wish I had not agreed to the Spinal Tap/Lumbar Puncture.  And if I did it again I DEFINITELY would have waited for the attending.  Research shows that lumbar punctures are not necessary for complex febrile seizures, I don’t know why they still do them.
  2. I wish I had made the ambulance take us to Children’s Hospital initially.  I knew Children’s Hospital was the best, and I let them take us to a crappy local hospital.  I didn’t even ask where we were going.  I should have.  I should have been a Mom bully right from the start. Ambulance drivers want to get you to the nearest ER to most limit their liability and I get that 100% but that’s not what was best for us and when it comes to healthcare now I’m a mom bully.  I have fought with ambulance drivers, I make declarations, I trust myself more than I trust anyone else. Sometimes the closest hospital is right- that makes sense.  Like when its life or death.  Or when the closest ER is equipped to handle your emergency.  But for pediatric emergencies, you want to get to a pediatric hospital if a child is stable for transport (personal opinion not official advice).
  3. Once in the ER I should have asked more questions.  I should have taken pictures.  I should have taken notes.
  4. I should have asked friends for help earlier in our experience.  We needed help with our older child, my Mother-in-Law should have had a break, friends could have delivered her meals or groceries, or had play dates with our son.  We needed pajamas to sleep in, clean clothes, warm clothes, socks and underwear.  We needed food and bottles of water.  We needed shower shoes and deodorant.  We needed phone chargers and our laptops dropped off.  Our dog needed to be let out.

For us, it didn’t end here, blog post coming soon on H’s unexplained speech loss following his seizure.

Parties & Events, Travel & Events

I am obsessed with Farmer’s Market First Birthday Parties!

Okay, so I have an obsession with the Farmer’s Market theme, but can you blame me? Look at this party, its so sweet! This Farmer’s Market Birthday was designed and hosted by the Avlas Family for their daughter’s first birthday. Although its quite an extravagant event, the extensive use of vintage decor feels so understated and warm. I almost want to have another babe so I can have this party!

The large food spread included lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and a cheese board, as well as PBJs and popcorn for the kiddos. Desserts included adorable plant pot chocolate cupcakes, a “naked” cake topped with fresh fruit, individually boxed artisan pies and of course “tractor wheels” and “hay bales.” Favors for kiddos were real plant pots with seeds (for an after-party activity) and carrot shaped bubbles – they were tagged “Thank you from the bottom of my garden” (cute!!). Adults snagged an extra individually boxed artisan pie (there is always room for more pie, amiright?!?).

This event was hosted at Underwood Family Farms which offered party goers a petting zoo, an animal show, panning for gold, tractor rides, pony rides, goat feeding, train rides and more.

Lindsay Seltzer-Avlas is the creator and owner of Peek Vintage Rentals, a full service event planning and rental company based in North Los Angeles. Lindsay’s first big event planning adventure was this event, her own daughter’s farmer’s market party. Since she and her husband had a small private wedding, when it came time for her daughter’s first birthday…she put all her planning aspirations into the event. She couldn’t find anything she liked in stores, and she began amassing and creating an inventory of items to use for the party. She collected vintage pieces from antique stores, scoured craigslist, and made the pieces she envisioned but couldn’t find.

She promised her husband she would sell her trove to recoup some of the cost, but when it came time, she couldn’t bring herself to do it (that sounds a little like that Monique Lhuillier still hanging in my closet, LOL!). On a whim, she posted photos of her party in a Mom group on Facebook asking if anyone else would like her to re-create the theme for them and rent the props…and she got over 50 responses within a few hours!

And just like that, Peek Vintage Rentals was born 💗

A year and a half later, Lindsay now offers a variety of children’s party themes beyond the original farmer’s market including circus, woodland animals, lumberjack, Paris, vintage airplane/ travel, flamingo, strawberry/ strawberry farm, jungle, whimsical/ enchanted forest as well as rustic wedding items.

Lindsay offers rentals and full service party planning.

Photographer Credit: Tiffany Kolstad from BellaRu Events (www.bellaruevents.com)

All Party Printables and Posters from Frosting & Ink on ETSY

Cupcake Toppers: ETSY

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If you loved this party, check out the Farmer’s Market Party I covered last week, it was also super cute!

The winner of our Instagram Contest for the Gigi Unicorn is: Carissa Silva — please contact me within 48 hours of now (which s 10:30am PT on Monday December 18th) to claim your Gigi Unicorn!

Parties & Events, Travel & Events

Farmers Market Birthday Party

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Hosted by our great friends the Rota Family for their daughter’s first Birthday, this unique Farmer’s Market Theme Birthday Party is warm, charming and fun for the kids!

Pint-sized farm stands, surrounded by loads of flowers, fruits and vegetables everywhere is colorfully unique and unpretentious…yet beautiful!

A classic dessert table with a naked strawberry shortcake, berry smash cake, mini lemon meringues, mini cupcakes with strawberries, classic chocolate-chip cookies, old fashioned pies and caramel apples were among the delicious desserts.

Children filled up their own shopping bags for party favors from the farm stand and snagged avocados, apples, corn on the cob, potatoes, oranges, cucumbers and bags of kettle corn.  Our kids had so much fun “shopping” they didn’t even realize our take-home gift was fruits and vegetables! They were so excited to come home and try the things they picked 🙌🏻 The party was complete with a petting zoo, pony rides, bubble stations, seed planting/pot painting table, kid-powered water pumps, a sandbox and a catered bbq buffet.

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If you love this party, check out this other fabulous Farmer’s Market party too for more adorbs inspiration!

Family & Lifestyle, Travel & Events

Ditch the Screen, Try a Podcast!

 

If you are trying to reduce your screen time, there are TONS of great podcast alternatives!! While kids listen to podcasts, they can work on art projects, do puzzles, fidget with stress balls/magnets, pick up their rooms or just wind down at the end of the day! And bonus, the first 9 of these are FREE…yay!

 

  1. The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian (Science Fiction Story Series)
  2. Tumble (Science Podcast for Kids)
  3. Little Stories for Tiny People (Podcast stories, Variety/Bedtime Stories)
  4. Andrew & Polly: Ear Snacks (Talk Show Podcast, Learning Show)
  5. The Show About Science (Science Podcast Hosted by a Child)
  6. But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids (NPR Podcast on Various Topics)
  7. Sugarcrash Kids (Songs and Stories on Podcast)
  8. Wow in the World (NPR Science Adventure Podcast)
  9. Disney Story Central (Podcasts from Disney!)
  10. Sparkle Stories (Subscription Fee Applies, Free Trial Period, Great Stories)
Family & Lifestyle

Hammer Time!

 

Its over 100 degrees in Los Angeles right now, which means we can’t carve any pumpkins until the day of Halloween or we’ll have gross rotting pumpkins on our front porch!

But our boys love to build things- that means hammers, nails, glue, etc…but not much of that can be done independently…cue golf tee hammering into pumpkins.  All the fun of hammering nails, no nails.  No mess.  Yes!

Here is Gman last year he looks so little!

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Family & Lifestyle

More Fun, Less Mess!

I posted this photo of H with our Play-Doh Construction Fun set (exclusively at Target) on Instagram and I got a LOT of comments about a love-hate relationship with Play-Doh.  I used to feel that way – BUT [stick with me] its literally one of the ONLY toys that my boys will play with for 30-45 minutes straight, independently, without fighting, without demanding snacks we don’t have, without shredding my house, etc. etc. etc..  And thus, I can only love Play-Doh.

Now some of those people probably have THOSE kids – you know the annoying kids who sit still and play with dolls or cars or toy animals for hours at a time and so they must just.not.get.it.

Must be a nice problem to have…not one I know much about though.  Mess management, now that’s my game!

So here’s my Mess Management advice for Play-Doh:
(1) My boys play with it outdoors, on their picnic table.  Ok.  Not an option for everyone.

(2) Kitchen table (with hard flooring underneath) preferred as next option, on which we use the these craft Trays

(3) If playing on a table on the rug is the only option, its still worth it but just put down a plastic mat- they make reusable ones, and disposable ones!

Finally, Hasbro provides some cleaning advice on their website if/when it does get into carpet or fabric.

Here are the other sets we have that my boys get a lot of play time from:

Family & Lifestyle, Kid Stuff

You’ve Been Booed! (and Boozed!)

When we lived in Orange County we were Booed when Gavin was three and I had never even heard of it…to this day we don’t know who Booed us, they were good! 👻

Gavin still remembers it. A magical bucket of fun Halloween stuff appeared on our doorstep, it was an amazing surprise to him, he LOVED it!

It was too close to Halloween to Boo anyone back and so the following year he was so careful to choose just who he was going to Boo. He chose our nanny’s 9 year old daughter whom he adored (she was pretty adorbs).

This year again, as Halloween approached it was all he could talk about. Starting October 1st he was asking if we could Boo his friends. If it was up to him he would have Booed his entire class. We chose two friends…but I made him wait until the week before Halloween LOL.

The $.99 Cent Only Store has the cutest bags this year! They are felt bag/backpack combos, plus they have flashlights, glow sticks, crafts, bubbles and little skull chocolates. We got mini activity packs from Amazon (like these Star Wars ones or these Nickelodeon ones) and they were done! Plus I have tons of extra activity packs for dinners out!

There are TONS of free “You’ve Been Booed” printables linked on my Pinterest

There is a fun adult variation called “You’ve been Boozed” which I think needs no explanations…I have a free printable linked on the Pinterest board for that too…we all have a friend who could use a Booze Bucket LOL.  Speaking of, its wine o’clock. TTFN. Happy Halloween!!

Family & Lifestyle, Parties & Events, Travel & Events

PJ Masks Birthday Party

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This post contains affiliate links. We had an amazing PJ Masks themed 5th Birthday party for Gman today at Peekaboo Playland in Bel Air.  So much fun, and such cute decorations!  Peekaboo Playland did the lions share of this party, I can’t take the decorating credits, I am way too tired to do all this these days!!  But if you don’t live close enough to have your party there, here are some links to help to get the look!

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PJ Masks Cake Toppers (similar, deluxe version) – I bought 3 mini cakes from Ralphs and asked for the to be frosted in simple solid frosting, they were about $7 each!

I rolled my own fondant out (buy it at Michaels with a 40% off coupon) and I punched the stars myself.

PJ Masks Cupcake Toppers – I bought Oreo Cookie cupcakes from Ralphs (our local regular old grocery store)…I used to buy fancy $3/piece cupcakes, but after watching kids lick the frosting off and toss them for YEARS I now just get the cheap ones, plus they LOVE the added Oreo more than anything else it seals the deal…these were under $10/dozen.  They are stacked on clear acrylic cupcake risers I’ve had for four years and reuse every year, they still sell them, super easy to use and store.

Superhero Backdrop (similar, cheaper version) – the venue decorated this but this is pretty similar

Plates, cups & napkins (layered on solid red dinner plates)

Cloud Decorations

Superhero Masks (for play, decor or take home…like the one shown in Gekko cake pic)

Jumbo Superhero Word Cutouts

Owlette and Cat Boy Balloons

We celebrated using a cake from Bristol Farms a few nights earlier and using all three cake toppers on one cake a few nights earlier for his actual birthday, and that turned out really cute too!  The cake was about ~$35 (6 inch cake, decorated with fondant stars and a moon/5) plus a dollar or two for the chocolate disc.  Bonus the toppers become toys after (they really are toys actually LOL).

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Good luck and send me pics of you DIY any ideas I’d love to add them to my blog!

Family & Lifestyle

Mission Organization: Garage Playroom

Our garage is now a playroom, woohoo! We moved in July for the fourth time in four years.  Yeah.  For reals.  I’m having a glass of wine just thinking about it.  Anyway.  Back to the task at hand.  We’re here and we’ve updated the garage to a playroom, but its a mess.  A big project.

Currently the toys are all in plastic bins from the move (there are more in the storage shed in back of the garage, I won’t pain you with photos of those!)…there is a sprinkler system built into the wall (eyesore!)…no shelves or bins or storage of any kind…an old rug and old sofa…but stay tuned, with Jody’s help I will conquer IKEA and Target and make this a space we can all enjoy!

What are your favorite organization solutions? Small items? Large items? Do you think clear bins or solid bins that hide contents?

Here are some videos I am finding inspirational, any thoughts?

IKEA tips #1

IKEA tips #2

You can shop my navy blue sweater here, my white cropped denim here, and my shoes here!

Family & Lifestyle

Backyard, check!

We just moved (again!) and are bringing the backyard up to date for the boys (and because we love to host!)…can I get you red, white or rose?!?

Play structure is the smallest footprint (14′ x 12.5′) Gorilla Playsets makes, available from Amazon.com

Pitcher Pump Barrel (which can be hand pumped by the kids, or plugged in like a fountain!) for a little Natural/Nature Playground activity is from Eco Wine Furniture, available on Etsy.com

Red ATV available on Amazon.com (its 12V and only $125!!) – we’ve had them for 10 months and they are still going strong!

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Travel & Events

Mexico, Party of 12!

Viceroy Zihuatanejo Family Luxury Vacation

We had an amazing trip to Mexico with the kids and two other families! Just a few years ago if you told me I’d take my kids for a week long luxury vacation I wouldn’t have believed you, but at 3 and 4 years old travel is so much easier! If you are still in the tunnel, let me tell you, there is a light at the end of it, I promise! The Viceroy Zihuatanejo is amazing and we can’t wait to go back!  Its a great trip with kids and there is even a direct flight from LAX!

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The property is absolutely beautiful, the rooms are large and most have their own plunge pool…so if your kiddos are not water safe, make sure you ask for a room without a plunge pool (which will save you some dinero, and I am confident you can find a way to spend these savings at the spa 😉 )

Luxury Travel with Kids to Mexico

Speaking of the spa, their services were fantastic! I got a massage that I would describe as US quality (lets be real, in other countries spa experience range widely!).  Everyone who works in the hotel was so nice, despite our gaggle of SIX KIDS! 5 of the 6 kids were age 4 or under…so we were quite a group!

The hotel manager went out of his way to arrange large van transport so all three families could ride together to venture into town and on excursions.  He also recommended and made all our reservations for evenings out.  His recommendations were spot on, fantastic!!

It is important to note, however, that the wine in Mexico is TERRIBLE.  Some decent Champagne is available but its about 3x the cost it would be here (sigh) BUT the good news is that each person can bring 6 (SIX!!!) bottles of wine into Mexico without paying any import taxes.

We used these (please note this is an affiliate link, no cost to youflight transport bottle covers to fly them in our luggage, they are pretty awesome.  We each chose to fly 4 bottles in per adult (but honestly we wish we’d flown all six!)  – all made it without a single break or leak.  The seals on them are so thick though, that even if one had broken I’m pretty sure it would have mostly contained the leak.

We ate at some fantastic restaurants while we were there!

Amuleto: This is actually a boutique hotel that offers a small private restaurant- it would be a great weekend spot to stay sans kids (probably a great spot for a proposal!)

El Faro Pacifica: The website is terrible, the view from the restaurant is amazing, and their Mexican coffee dessert is worthwhile in and of itself! See video below!

This video might not look that impressive here…but really watch this little show live after like 6 bottles of wine, its really quite fun! Did I really just say that?? LOL

We love traveling with the kids, and this is the first year we are back in the saddle and traveling the way we used to! One tip I have for parents who have a hard time getting their kiddos to sleep (which was our chronic challenge)…is to get two rooms or a suite.  Put the kids to bed in separate rooms.  It was more costly for us to travel, so we did it less, but when we did it was so infinitely more enjoyable…its worth the trade off.  Stay half as long, get two rooms.  Done.

Would love any luxury hotel recommendations (that are great for kids) from you all!! Where haPlease remember to subscribe to my blog for more of our adventures!

Family & Lifestyle, Parties & Events, Travel & Events

All Aboard for the North Pole Express!

Just outside of Los Angeles in Filmore, CA is the North Pole Express Train (also called the Polar Express Train) which was an amazing experience for our kids at age 3 and 4. They cannot wait to go back this year. For adults, the train, and the “North Pole” are all a little lackluster but I assure you your Little’s will not see this- the experience is all sparkle and magic for them!  So I encourage adults to have realistic expectations 🙂

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The 1-hour train ride chuffs along at a few miles an hour (they won’t notice how slow it’s going, don’t point it out!) to the “North Pole” – Santa’s elves pass out cookies and sing Christmas Carols.  Once the train arrives at the North Pole there is a large display of Christmas lights and the train picks up Santa himself. Santa makes his way through the train passing out candy canes and high fives and when the train arrives back at the station you wait in a long line for picture with Santa – but it’s worth it, and like I said, it was truly magical for our kids!! Families (adults and children) are encouraged to wear pajamas for the train ride.

The drive up to Filmore is a bit of a haul. We coordinated with a couple of other families and met first at a El Pescador Mexican Restaurant and had dinner and margaritas. It rounded out the evening since the train ride itself is only an hour- plus we figured we deserve some margaritas before it 😉