Monday, April 29, 2013

Rancho Days Fiesta on Cinco de Mayo @OCParks

Heritage Hill Historical Park Presents Rancho Days Fiesta on Cinco de Mayo May 5
The annual family event celebrates the 150th anniversary of Serrano Adobe

(Lake Forest, CA) - OC Parks and Heritage Hill Historical Park present the annual Rancho Days Fiesta on Cinco de Mayo, Sunday, May 5.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the historic Serrano Adobe, Rancho Days Fiesta explores what it was like to live in California in the mid-19th century.  

Experience the sights and sounds of the past through music, dance, crafts, food and first-person re-enactors. Families can partake in hands-on activities that include adobe brick making, basket weaving, rope knotting and much more. Authentic horseback charros will perform. Dance groups will demonstrate the movements and songs from the Mexican Rancho era, Native American and English settlers of the region. A piñata will break every 40 minutes with treats for the children in attendance. All the historic buildings will be open for tours courtesy of Amigos de la Colina docents. Refreshments will be available for purchase and the SOHO Taco Truck will be serving on-site.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for children. 
Celebrate the legacy of early California with your family on Cinco de Mayo at Rancho Days Fiesta at Heritage Hill Historical Park.

WHATRancho Days Fiesta

WHEREHeritage Hill Historical Park, 25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest

COST: $4 for adults & $3 for children (ages 2 and below free!)

CONTACT: Heritage Hill Historical Park at (949) 923-2230 or

About OC Parks
OC Parks manages nearly 60,000 acres of parks, historical and coastal facilities and open space for the County of Orange as part of OC Community Resources.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Music and BBQ! Queen Mary's 2nd Annual West Coast BBQ Classic! @TheQueenMary

A Delicious Day of BBQ and Music : Sixty Pit Masters From Around the Country Compete for Tastebuds and The Title of “People’s Choice"
The finger lickin’ family fun festival features:

             Whether you are a barbecue aficionado, a backyard amateur, a person who appreciates great food or just looking for something to do with the whole family, West Coast BBQ Classic will have something for everyone.
                    Rib Eating Contest:
                    Channel your inner Takeru Kobayashi, Joey Chestnut or Sonya Thomas and enter our Rib Eating Contest.

             For just $20 (fee does not include entry to WCC BBQ Classic), out-grub your opponents on delicious BBQ ribs for a chance to win one of three prizes- including a Grand Prize two-night stay aboard the Queen Mary...and in case you are wondering - and we know you are - the Major League Eating record is held by - you guessed it - Joey Chestnut, who ate 9.8 pounds of pork rib meat in 12 minutes at John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino Resort on Aug. 27, 2008.
              - See more at:

                    West Coasters from near and far are invited to join top pit masters from around the country at this one-day BBQ Championship featuring music by local favorites: Knyght Ryder, The Record Company and The Shoemaker Brothers. 
Queen Mary West Coast BBQ Classic playlist available on Spotify. 
May 11, 2013, 11AM – 6PM
           The Queen Mary’s Waterfront Events Park
1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach 
About Queen Mary
Located in the Port of Long Beach, the Queen Mary features a rich maritime history, authentic Art Deco décor, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Long Beach city skyline. At the time of her maiden voyage in May of 1936, she was considered the grandest ocean liner ever built. The Queen Mary’s signature restaurants include the award-winning Sir Winston’s and Chelsea Chowder House & Bar as well as a weekly Champagne Sunday Brunch served in the ship’s Grand Salon. History buffs enjoy the ship’s museum and Glory Days tour, guests of all ages love the Ghosts and Legends show, and the ship is currently featuring the renowned Diana: Legacy of a Princess exhibit and Tea Room. The Queen Mary features 80,000 square feet of event space in 17 remarkable Art Deco salons as well as a tri-level, 45,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall. The Queen Mary boasts 314 staterooms including nine full suites. For more information or for reservations, see or call (800) 437-2934. The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway in Long Beach.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Orange County Youth Expo! What a Great Experience! @OCFair #YouthExpo #ad

What a fun day!  On the day we arrived at the OC Youth Expo, we came with high expectations! I have fond memories of entering fairs as a 4H member in my childhood.  I believe that my days playing with animals and learning how to care for them encouraged my career as a zookeeper!

As we entered the event center, we were greeted by a 10 foot tall cow statue wearing sunglasses.  It instantly put smiles on our faces!

Beyond the bovine greeter, we could see a carnival and fun activities!  However, the booth that caught my children's eyes first was the model rocket launching area!  We created our space ships with paper, glue and crayons and waited our turn.  Who's rocket would shoot higher? My children launched their creations, "Rainbow Rocket" and "Rocket" high into the sky! In the end, it was a tie.  We spent over an hour launching them over and over. 

After prying our children away from the rockets, we entered the carnival area.  This area included large plastic bubbles that you could run around in on water or land, large slides, bumper cars, a fun house and many carnival games.

Beyond the games lay a stage where young 4H fashion designers showed off their eco-friendly latest creations. 

If you were hungry, food trucks lay in wait for a hungry passerby.

As we entered the science area we enjoyed hands on trains, bubbles, building materials and a few animals.

The arts area showcased amazing photography and artwork from children as young as 4!

Of course, who can have a fair without farm animals right?  There were animals galore!  4H children have projects raising small livestock and are judged on the care, presentation and condition of the animals. 

Health was a common goal here as prizes could be had by doing simple exercises such as pushups or jumping jacks! Check out my 5 year old doing pushups for the first time!

One of my favorite contests held that day was the recycled Scarecrow Contest!  My children's favorite won the blue prize!
My children had so much fun at the Youth Expo! They begged us to let them do the rockets over again!  Finally the only way we were permitted to leave was to promise to try and make our own air compressed rockets to shoot at home.  Check out the result!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I received coupons for a few activities and snacks for my family to review at the Youth Expo.  Do not use any pictures or videos without permission!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jousting, Archery, Sword Fights, Great Food! 51st Annual Renaissance Fair! April 6- May 19 @socal_ren_faire

Imagine taking a step back in time where chivalry and knights still exist!  Learn the art of fencing and archery and dine on a turkey leg while watching "wenches" and "scoundrels" stroll along their merry way. 

I have been attending "Faire" for 15 years now.  I enjoy getting away from the technology and fast pace life that we live in to enjoy a day with little worries of years long ago.  Yes, I do dress up every year.  My husband goes for the tankards of Grog(beer) and I love the mead(honey wine).  The food is varied and yummy and big portioned! 

There is something for everyone here! Shopping, eating, shows, games and more! The food cannot be beat with artichokes, turkey legs and yummy desserts! Bring your appetite!

While costumes are not mandatory, my children and yours will get a kick out of seeing Mom and Dad dress the part along side them.  There are plenty of places there to buy or rent your "garb".  If you have an old pirate costume laying around from past Halloweens, bring it with you!  Your daughters princess costumes are a favorite among the children.

Children love dressing up and playing pretend.  Why not join them in a day of revelry?  They will love trying their hand at archery and sword-fighting!  The jousting show is better than some of the local shows you may have been to.  Expert face-painters and henna artists are waiting to transform all who wish to become a piece of art.

The more you get into "character"(any character) the more fun you have! By the end of the day, you will be talking in accents and loosening your belt from all the great food and fun that you had. 

The Original Rennaissance Faire
Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area Irwindale, CA 
Ph: 626.969.4750
April 6- May 19 10am- 7pm

Weekend 4

April 27 & 28, 2013

Swashbuckling Weekend (Sat & Sun)

Dress as your inner pirate! Join Captain Sir Francis Drake for a toast to life on the sea! Buy an ale at the Cuckoo's Nest (next to the Rogue's Reef Stage) and bring your favorite Toast or story of the sea to share! 1pm each of the Swashbuckler Days. 
Weekend 5
May 4 & 5, 2013 Find Your Fantasy Weekend (Sat & Sun) See what lies in our Village of Deptford. Explore our Guilds and neighborhoods to Find Your Fantasy!
Gay Day & May Day (Saturday) Stop by the INSTINCT MAGAZINE ramada located by the NC17 Rogues Reef stage to register to win a stay at the Luxor hotel and dinner for two at Excalibur in Las Vegas!

Costume Contest Weekend

(Sat & Sun) 11am-1pm in the Special Events Ramada located in RenQuest to register and receive your contestant number. Each Day’s

Winners will be announced at 4pm that same day at the Port Deptford Stage.

Saturday: Mythical Costume Contest. Sunday: Historical Costume Contest

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo (Sunday) with us! Enjoy a delicious glass of Sangria, watch our Flamenco Dancers while enjoying the delights of El Cholo Cafe!
Weekend 6

May 11 & 12, 2013
Wenches Weekend (Sat & Sun) In celebration of Wenches Weekend our version of “Ladies Night” –all weekend long, the Renaissance Pleasure Faire is hosting “A Taste of the Faire,” a selfhosted Wine Tasting through five of our pubs. Tickets are $25 dollars and are to be purchased at the Crown and Anchor Pub near the main entrance of faire. Upon purchase you will receive a punch card that entitles you to five tastes of wine at predetermined ale stands, each of which will be featuring a different wine!
Mother's Day (Sunday)-Bring yourself (and Mom!) to the Cat and Fiddle Pub to enjoy Mother’s Day Mimosas!

Plein Aire Painting Silent Auction 
(Sat & Sun) The renowned artists have worked over the course of two weekends, painting the excitement of the faire. The opportunity to purchase their fine works of art will conclude on Sunday during a Live Auction in the Friends of Faire Garden. Time of the auction will be available at the 

box office or on our website.
Weekend 7

May 18 & 19, 2013
Home Brew and Craft Brew Demonstration-
Local and Regional Home and Craft Brewers venture to the faire to demonstrate and educate our guests and offer you samples of their hearty concoctions.


Next Meteor Shower- May 4-5 Eta Aquarid

Photo credit: j-dub1980(THANK YOU FOR 50k+ Views) / / CC BY-SA

Did you miss the Lyrid Meteor Shower this week? You can still check it out tonight but the last two days were the peak days.  
No worries, May 4-5 there will be another Meteor Shower called the Eta Aquarid. 
This shower has a relatively broad maximum but is expected to show the greatest number of meteors before dawn on May 5. The waning crescent moon should not really intrude too greatly on this year’s Eta Aquarid show.

At northerly latitudes – for example, in the northern U.S. and Canada, or northern Europe – the meteor numbers are few and far between. In the southern half of the U.S., 10 to 20 meteors per hour might be visible in a dark sky. Farther south – for example, in the Southern Hemisphere – the meteor numbers increase dramatically, perhaps two to three times more Eta Aquarid meteors streaking the southern skies. For the most part, this is a predawn shower.

The radiant for this shower appears in the east-southeast at about 4 a.m. local time (the time at all locations) and the hour or two before dawn offers the most meteors. The broad peak to this shower means that some meteors may fly in the dark hour before dawn for a few days before and after the predicted optimal date. The most meteors will probably rain down on May 5, in the dark hours before dawn.
To keep up to date on the next Meteor Showers, check out EarthSky's website!

Photo credit: <a href="">j-dub1980(THANK YOU FOR 50k+ Views)</a> / <a href=""></a> / <a href="">CC BY-SA</a>

DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post. Any opinions are my own.  Do not use any pictures without permission.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

1st Kids Fishing Derby of the Year! #kids @tvfishing #fishing

Free Kids Fishing Derby! They supply everything, including lunch! Come join us for the fun!  
DISCLAIMER:  This is not a sponsored post.  Any opinions are my own.  Do not share any pictures without permission.

Itn'l Children's Day at the Aquarium of the Pacific! @AquariumPacific Ticket #GIVEAWAY!


International Children’s Day Festival features traditional ethnic dance and music performed by kids, interactive programs for all ages, face painting, crafts, and more

WHAT:           The Aquarium of the Pacific’s eighth annual International Children’s Day is a special festival for kids on the weekend of April 27-28, 2013 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Celebrating the amazing talents of children of all cultures, this festival features international music and dance performances by kids. An international choir, West African, Mexican folkloric, Pacific Islander, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese traditional dance are among the children’s performances. There will also be martial arts demonstrations by American Tiger Martial Arts and Fitness. Kids of all ages can partake in an international percussion circle, Native American traditional weaving, children’s crafts, face painting, mural painting, and Pacific Island children’s games. The Aquarium will honor a local youth with its 2013 Young Hero Award in recognition of his or her efforts to make this planet a better place. Celebrate the children in your life through this special annual event.

                        “The Aquarium is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated. Our International Children’s Day is the culmination of all of our cultural festivals where our various communities can come together to learn about the importance of working together to protect our ocean planet,” said Peter Martineau, Aquarium of the Pacific festival organizer.

WHEN:           Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, 2013, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.


WHERE:         Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802


COST:            Included with admission: $25.95 for adults (12+), $22.95 for seniors (62+), $14.95 for children (3-11), and free for children under 3 and Aquarium members.


INFO:              (562) 590-3100 or


AQUARIUM:  The Aquarium of the Pacific, a nonprofit institution, celebrates our planet’s largest and most diverse body of water: the Pacific Ocean. The Aquarium is dedicated to instilling a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems. A world of discovery awaits.

Win Tickets!
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This is not a sponsored post.  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Do not use any pictures without permission.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Come Celebrate Earth Day at Americas Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College #EarthDay @AmericasTeachingZoo @MoorparkCollege

My Alma Mater of America's Teaching Zoo(ATZ) at Moorpark Community College is having a special admissions day! Bring in a recycled can and get in free!

ATZ is trying to make more people aware of how recycling can help the environment. If you have never been there, ATZ is a small zoo completely run by students and a handful of staff members. The students learn the ins and outs of running a zoo from the bottom up. It is a intense 18 month program that is 1 of only 2 hands on teaching zoos in the US.

I encourage you to take advantage of this deal. You will get close to the animals and see great animal shows held on by the students.

This is not a sponsored post.  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Do not use any pictures without permission.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Quality Child Care Is So Important! #QualityECE @ReadySetGrowLA

As a parent of almost 4 and 6 year olds, I have had to go through the struggles of finding the right education for my children.  With my 6 year old, we chose to start his education at 2 1/2 because of my newborn baby.  It was a struggle to find the right daycare that would give him the love and care that I could give him at home. 

I interviewed and toured several daycares/preschools before settling on the one my now 4 year old attends.  It was a scary process that had so much information to process.  I wish that I had a guideline from other parents or educators to help make the choice easier. 

If you are a new parent, you are bombarded by an overwhelming amount of information that you need to learn to keep your child healthy and happy.  In the early years, it is all you can do to get sleep at night and at least one square meal a day.  You have read the books about when your child needs to reach certain milestones such as crawling, walking and talking.  Eventually you teach them to know their colors, shapes and letters.

Did you know that there is much more that your child needs to learn in the first five years?  Why is it so important to make sure that our children get the right start in the first 5 years?  Studies have shown that the first five years are the most critical for success later in life.  90% of the child's brain develops during this time!

Many parents work outside the home and have to find caregivers for their young children, some even from a few weeks old!  How do you find the RIGHT childcare?  Will they hold and love your child the way you would?  Do they engage the child in activities to stimulate the brain?  Do they set your child in its crib or in front of a TV?

One site that you is an invaluable resource is  This site puts you in touch with your local Child Care Center.  You can also dial 211.

When deciding on the right daycare, what questions do you ask to put your mind at ease while you are away?  Ready Set Grow LA's  "Quality Care Lasts a Lifetime" provides the 5 steps to start with.

Assess your needs and do research:
  • Decide what you want and need in a daycare. 
  • Do you need Fulltime? Part-time? 
  • Are you looking for someone in home care, family caregiver- ie. neighbor or relative, daycare center or pre-school.  
  • There are many options from a friend watching your child to a large daycare center. 
  • Do your research based on what you want/need from a daycare.  Here is a site that can help.  Child Care Aware is a website that will help you find the right information to locate the best daycare for your child.
Check Credentials Caregiver Training and Licensing information:

  • Make sure they are up to date. 
  • What qualifications do they have to make them the perfect candidate?  If you choose family/friend to watch your children, do they know CPR/First Aid?
  • Are they able to engage and connect with your child while doing age appropriate activities? 
  • You might suggest asking them to take a class to learn about child development and nutrition.
  • License: they are required to follow rules regarding health and safety with teacher training.  This also means they have had fingerprints checked, background check, and have had CPR/First Aid Training
  • Caregiver Training and Education: Good training and education gives the teachers knowledge of how to support interests and growth while addressing cultural needs.  Find out if they went to college or got education in early child development.
  • Accreditation:  while not necessary(only 10% of preschools have accredidation with National Association for the Education of Young Children) it goes above and beyond what is expected.
  • The Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS): The National Learning Network was formed by a coalition of states and organizations.  This lets parents know the rating of a preschool and level of quality of a preschool.  Similar to a restaurant rating.  One such QRIS is the Los Angeles Universal Preschool.
Getting to know your childcare provider the tour: 
  • Take a visit and meet with the childcare provider/center.  Observe the staff and  how they connect with the children. 
  • Do they read the children well and meet their needs and wishes?  Use a Child Care Checklist to see if its a right fit. 
  • Ask questions such as: First Aid/CPR trained?
  • What is the staff turnover rate? Certified or Accredited?
  • What methods are used to help a crying child?  What activities do they do with the children?  How do you discipline a misbehaving child such as for tantrums versus hitting or fighting?  
  • Use this positive caregiving checklist to help measure the experiences while in daycare.  
  • What is the adult to child ratio
  • Are the activities carefully planned out or are they spur of the moment?  Planned age appropriate activities gives the child a goal and a challenge and keeps them engaged.
  • Family Involvement: Quality care providers should have a open communication with you the parent.  They need to notify you of fieldtrips, menus, curriculum, staff changes and future events.
  • Health and Safety:  Staff should all have up to date CPR/First Aid certifications and have an emergency plan in place.  The daycare should always be clean with good lighting and temperature controlled.  The staff should not leave children unsupervised at all times.  The staff should also be a good provider/teacher of good nutrition and hygiene.
Make a commitment: 
  • Review your notes
  • Think about what you saw
  • Make a choice of which type of care is best for child
REMEMBER: Above all, children need to receive love, support, encouragement, and guidance from caregivers.

What comes next?
  • Stay involved in your child's education and care.  Talk to your child to make sure they are happy and adjusting.
  • Make sure their continued schooling is of good quality and age appropriate, supports the brain, social and emotional development of your child. 
  • Visit the reference page for more information on quality child care, and review First 5 LA's Family Guides which offer helpful tips and advice for parents.
I urge parents of new school age children to use the resources that I was not aware of even 4 years ago.  Visit Ready Set Grow LA to find invaluable resources to help us new/er parents to make the right decisions so our children grow up to be healthy and successful adults.

Other ways you can keep up to date on helpful tips and resources include:
To give your child a little extra head start on learning, I am providing a chance at a Giveaway basket, perfect for your little ones.  Inside are:

  • 1- Lap chalkboard
  • 1- Box of chunky chalk
  • 1- Chalkboard eraser
  • 1- Small red ball
  • 1- First 5 LA Family Guide
  • 1- Penmanship booklet
  • 1- Bilingual "Colors/Colores" book
  • 1- "My Shining Star" book in English
  • 1- "Tu eres mis Estrella" in Spanish
  • 1- "Harry the Otter" Book
Enter Below:
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DISCLAIMER: This is part of a compensated campaign with Smith New Media and However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Long Beach Solar Grand Prix! 4/20 Check it out!

Are you looking for something different to do this weekend? On Saturday, children, grades 6-12 compete in the annual Solar Powered Grand Prix!

When: Saturday, April 20, 2013

Where: El Dorado Park - Corner of Studebaker and Willow

About This Event:

Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske is sponsoring the Fourth Annual Long Beach Solar Grand Prix competition in which students, grade 6-12, are invited to design and build a solar-powered model car that will complete a race in the shortest possible time using the available power.

The Solar Grand Prix challenges students to use scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation, and teamwork to design and build high-performance model solar vehicles.

Teams will receive a Solar Car Kit, which includes a solar panel and an electric motor. Using any other materials, competitors will design and build a model solar-powered vehicle that will race on a 20-meter (65-foot) racecourse. The winner of the competition will be the team whose vehicle is the top finisher in a series of head to head elimination rounds.

Team Resources

Looking for construction tips or educational resources? There are a number of great resources at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Junior Solar Sprint website(remember that some of their rules may be different).

The Introduction to Building a Model Solar Car is an especially useful resource for thinking about and understanding the different components of car design.

View the PowerPoint Presentation from the 2013 Team Orientation here.
Be sure to watch this video from Discovery Education that considers how solar power can be used to generate electricity.
Learn about the EcoCar Competition and the local team from Cal State LA.
Information on the CSULB Society of Automotive Engineers.

For more information about the Solar Grand Prix, contact Rachel Powers, Neighborhood Liaison in the Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, 562-570-6932 or

This is not a sponsored post.  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Do not use any pictures without permission.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

National Princess Week, Celebrate with Your Prince and Princesses #Queensday @Homedepotcenter #GIVEAWAY!

Any parent that has little boys and girls know that they LOVE to dress up!  Did you know that Queen's Day (April 28th) is a traditional holiday in the Netherlands? It is a day that honors their Queen Beatrix.  Every year children and adults alike are encouraged to gather and dress like prince and princesses(or orange for the royal house) and learn about the Dutch culture.

On April 28th in Los Angeles, the Dutch Community celebrates by holding a large event with live music, traditional Dutch games, bouncy house, soccer tournaments, and a flea market.  Queen Beatrix and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will be there to take pictures with.  Okay, not the real ones but look-alikes but it will still be great for photo ops and the children won't know the difference.

It is encouraged to come dressed as a Prince or Princess (or a Queen) by all.  If you can, it is even better to dress in Orange, as that is the Dutch national color.  There is even a contest for the Miss Orange Pageant.  Everyone 12 and older may enter. 

The reason why the Dutch community holds this event close to their hearts is because in this day and age, many children do not have cultures that they can learn from.  It doesn't matter what heritage you come from, it is a fun event for all and especially to teach young children to hold onto culture because it is slowly being lost in todays age. 

Did you know that there still royal families in:
  • Netherlands
  • Great Britain
  • Sweden
  • Belgium
  • And many more
This year will hold the last Queen's Day because it is the last year of Queen Beatrix's reign.  She will abdicate her reign to her Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, who will be the Dutch King with Princess Maxima at his side.  Both will start their reign on April 30, 2013 so Queen's Day 2013 is actually a farewell to the outgoing Queen.  If you would like to learn more about

If you would like to purchase tickets to this great event, go to Tickets start at $10/person with kids 12 and under get in free.  For more information click here.

If you would like to win tickets to this event, enter below for a chance at a family 4 pack, a $40 value!

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