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!

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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.

Family & Lifestyle, 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!

DISCOVERY CUBE ORANGE COUNTY IS A 501(C)(3) NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION.
2500 N. MAIN STREET, SANTA ANA, CA 92705

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

Family & Lifestyle, 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!

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

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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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, 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!

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!