Trail Mixed Memories is a blog about blazing trails from the desert to the sea and everywhere in between with my family. I'm a blogger and a outdoor mom of two kids. I share our activities, reviews, events, and adventures to other families to help get kids off the couch and outdoors. Our family enjoys fishing, hiking, camping, prospecting, geocaching, archery, SCUBA, dirtbike riding and river rafting. I also am an avid outdoor photographer that loves catching that unusual shot!
With Easter just a little over a month away, my families favorite park is getting ready for their annual festivities such as Easter Egg Hunts and train rides. Irvine Park Railroad has been a tradition since my oldest was barely walking and we look forward to celebrating each season with them.
Since we have been sharing our adventures there each season, you know that we always have fun prizes to giveaway so that your family can enjoy it too! Check out the bottom of the page for the chance to win tickets!
Starting March 14th and going through April 4th, the Easter Bunny will join Irvine Park Railroad for fun Easter activities that include:
Easter Egg Hunt
Pony rides and more!
Easter egg hunts begin daily at 10:00 AM and tickets may be purchased and exchanged for a wristband to participate in an egg hunt at a specific time. Please bring an Easter basket for each child that will be participating in the Easter egg hunt. Irvine Park Railroad will also offer Easter baskets for sale. Tickets must be purchased on the day of the event in order to receive a wristband for the Easter egg hunt. Please visit www.irvineparkrailroad.com for complete details on the Easter egg hunts including times and costs.
For the cost of $10.00, children can meet and have their photo taken with the Easter Bunny. This cost includes a complimentary photo that will be taken by Irvine Park Railroad staff. Each additional print of the same photo is $6.00. Photos will be printed in a few, short minutes at the Easter Bunny booth.
There will be other activities to enjoy during the Easter Eggstravaganza including hay rides, a moon bounce, Easter cookie decorating, carnival games, face painting, picture stands and a lot more.
Valentines Day is a day for spending time with loved ones and this one was no different.
When I mean no different, I mean that I spent it with my husband and kids. Ideally, my husband and I would get a night to ourselves but unfortunately, this seldom happens. In addition, we want our children to feel loved too so we really don't mind sharing the day.
We started the day by enjoying the beautiful weather at the beach. My hubby and I had promised that we would have adult movie time after the kids were in bed but we started with a glass of wine courtesy of Fox Home Entertainment and the Best of Me movie.
The kids made friends and built sand castles while we enjoyed watching dolphins swimming in the waves. Even before kids, we spent many dates at the beach and in fact, my husband proposed to me on a very similar day at the beach 9 years ago! My son captured this sweet moment of my husband and I. :-)
Our day at the beach was over, Valentines Day dinner eaten and it was finally time for our movie night. I had been looking for a romantic feel good movie that my husband and I could get into. The Best of Me filled the roll perfectly thanks to Fox Home Entertainment.
Movie night was the perfect way to snuggle with my hubby. We enjoyed each others company while watching a classic love story that brought back romance and chivalry.
Whether it is Valentines Day or just an evening "Stay-in" date, movie nights are great excuses for snuggling. We have more movie nights in the making and I encourage more date nights for all.
DISCLAIMER: I received a Best of Me "Date Night" package to incorporate into a date night. All thoughts, photos and ideas are my own. Do not use any photos without permission.
Have you heard? There is a 97% success rate of seeing whales right now with Harbor Breeze Cruises! My family and I were invited to test that percentage this week and we weren't disappointed! Did you know that they spotted Orcas(Killer Whales) two days this week along with daily migrating Gray and endangered Fin whales?!
There are a lot of whale watching boats with daily cruises and since we live in Long Beach, our first choice was the Triumphant of Harbor Breeze Cruises.
Harbor Breeze Cruises is stationed outside of the Aquarium of the Pacific and has two of the fastest whale watching boats on the West Coast, the Triumphant and the Christopher.
As we left Rainbow Harbor, we enjoyed the gorgeous view of the lighthouse, Queen Mary and shops.
The swells were rough this week but it didn't deter two boat fulls of hopeful whale watchers. Here, the Christopher looks on as a Gray Whale spouts.
The main reason why my family chose this day to go out was because Orcas were spotted just the day before. We searched for a good half hour before seeing a wonderful display of Gray Whales leaping with joy out of the water in a "breach".
We continued on off the coast of Palos Verdes and headed to deeper water. This Fin Whale graced us with its beauty. Its size only surpassed by Blue Whales. It was easy to distinguish the Fin Whale from the Gray Whales we had been seeing due to the size and smoothness of the Fin Whale. The Gray Whales were covered in barnacles and whale lice.
The great thing about going out with Harbor Breeze Cruises is that each boat is equipped with a Marine Biologist who is readily offering great facts such as toothed whales have one blow-hole and baleen(filter feeding) whales have two. You can even see baleen up close as they often have a sample on board.
There were no orcas spotted on the day we went but check out the video of the orcas found the very next day!
Video credit to Harbor Breeze Cruises
This family of five was actively feeding on sealions in about 150 feet of water. The Southern California coast has seen the sealion population explode lately, which may be the cause of the increase in orca sightings free in the wild. Our departures today at 12 and 3 pm will go out in search of this family again. These videos are courtesy of Harbor Breeze Cruises Long Beach. Any questions please contact Captain Dan at 310-466-4930.
Do you love fries as much as I do? Seriously, I could eat fries as my main course if my heart and arteries could handle it. Farrell's understands that sometimes, you want your fries and you want them YOUR way!
How about fries with over 7 million combinations?! I am not kidding! Farrell's has come up with the Tater Creator menu which gives us a long list of items that you can customize your fries or tater tots with.
My hubby and I have come to enjoy our occasional lunch dates at Farrell's without our kids. It may sound selfish but since my hubby works nights, this is our version of a date. We love sharing Farrell's with our kids but it's nice to get a chance to be alone too.
My husbands choices with his hamburger were:
Simple yet good.
I got a little adventurous with:
Balsamic vinegar (I LOVED this sweet and spicy combo!)
If you are not sure what may or may not go together, you can always request the items on the side as I did.
After we stuffed ourselves the waiter asked if we wanted dessert... well DUH! You just can't go into Farrell's and NOT get ice-cream, it's Un-American! LOL
Have you had my favorite? The Gold Rush? 2 Scoops of ice-cream with peanut butter, fudge, almonds, whipped cream peanuts and cherry. Yummm!
As we waddled out the door, we swore we couldn't eat another bite and yet we discussed when we would have our next lunch date. Have you had a date with your spouse lately? Farrell's has my vote!
My family is not what you call morning people. Really, there is few things we get up early for! One thing that can almost always get us up for, is fishing. Through experience, we learned that we always caught the most fish early and late in the day.
When we were offered a chance to go fishing on the "Reel Fun" out of Dana Wharf Fishing, we jumped at the chance. While the 6:30 boat is not the only time, we chose to go for the early fish will take the bait mentality.
The best part of waking up early? The sunrise! WOW! I loved how beautiful Dana Point looked with the sun rising over the hill. Even the Stand-up Paddle Boarders were enjoying it.
I know that not everyone is a fan of fishing but I have yet to see a child who doesn't get excited about catching their first and second and... fish. If you don't have your own fishing rods, don't worry, you can rent them in the office. The staff was super helpful and was right there to cut bait and help remove fish off the lines.
After a short stop at the bait barge, we were off to the first fishing spot. How do we find the fishing spot? Look for the birds! These pelicans were sneaky and tried to steal our fish at every turn.
One thing that I didn't take into consideration when we booked our trip was WHALES! We are in the height of the Gray Whale migration and we saw no less than 4 Gray Whales and 30 dolphin.
Our lines were baited and in the water. It wasn't long before we were pulling in fish! In fact, my 5 year old caught the first fish on the boat and then proceeded to catch another 6! Not to be outdone by his little sister, my son caught up fast.
My hubby and I couldn't be outfished by our own kids! We were catching a bunch too! Our boat caught; Calico bass, Olive bass, Sculpin, Sheephead(male and female) and a ton of Mackerel. While we would have loved to catch dinner, we were just happy catching and releasing our fish.
What did my family think of fishing on the Reel Fun? Well, my son who had touch of sea sickness, gave a double "Shaka". His grandpa lives in Hawaii and he thinks this is the best compliment! Better than 2 thumbs up!
Did you know that every Sunday, kids fish FREE? Make your reservations here.
Dana Wharf Fishing and Whale Watching
34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, CA 92629
How would you like to win Whale Watching tickets with Dana Wharf Fishing and Whale Watching?
ENTER BELOW TO WIN! a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLAIMER: My family was invited on the fishing trip in order to share our experiences. All thoughts and ideas are my own. Do not use any photos without permission.
From the New York Bestselling writer of "The Notebook", Nicholas Sparks brings us "The Best of Me". This tender, romantic drama about the timeless power of love. Amanda and Dawson are soul mates who met as teens and were from different backgrounds. But circumstances would force them to part ways. 20 years later they are brought back together by the passing of a mutual friend. So they go back home to fulfill his final wishes and they run into each other. While Amanda is married, albeit unhappily, she still has feelings for Dawson but can't forgive him for pushing her away.
“Tears of Joy” New Storyline and “Storybook” Alternate Ending
Deleted Scenes (Blu-ray Only)
Along for the Ride
Nicholas Sparks Interviews: Michelle and James (Blu-ray Only)
Nicholas Sparks Interviews: Liana and Luke (Blu-ray Only)
Director’s Commentary by Michael Hoffman
Music Video: I Did – Lady Antebellum
Digital HD (Blu-ray Only)
The Best of Me Blu-ray: Screen Format: Widescreen 2.40:1 Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish U.S. Rating: PG-13 118 minutes Closed Captioned: Yes
The Best of Me DVD: Screen Format: Widescreen 2.40:1 Audio: English DD 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish U.S. Rating: PG-13 118 minutes Closed Captioned: Yes
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the industry leading worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox produced, acquired and third party partner film and television programing. Each year TCFHE expands its award-winning global product portfolio with the introduction of new entertainment content through established and emerging formats including DVD, Blu-ray™ and Digital HD™. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.
DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of the DVD in exchange for helping promote the movie. All thoughts and ideas are my own.
If you are a scouting family, your days have been filled with selling cookies and building cars for the Pinewood Derby. This was my son's second Pinewood Derby and we felt ready.
What is the Pinewood Derby? This Scout honored tradition goes back generations. My brother and father both built and raced these speedy little blocks of wood. Derby car kits were bought a couple months ago but ideas have streamed through our heads for months.
In each kit, the scout(parents and siblings also) is given a block of wood, 4 wheels and 4 nails for axles. It is the scouts job to shape these items into the fastest race car it can by designing, cutting and painting it to win.
Rules for the Scout and Sibling race:
The total weight must not exceed 5oz
The wheels and axles must not be altered (although polishing axles and using graphite powder on the inside of the wheels is highly encouraged)
The length and axle width must stay the same
There is the Outlaw race which encompasses anyone and has NO rules about the wheels and almost anything goes with a 5oz max weight.
My son's design was an army/Planes theme with a slick body. Since the wood and wheels by itself does not weigh 5oz, extra weight was added. My daughter and I submitted our cars, hers a Frozen Theme(Sibling race) and mine a "Race for the Cure"(Outlaw race).
The day of the race had us all excited! Our Pack 206 had over 80 entrants.
First off, the kids registered their cars at Station 1.
Station 2 was what was called Triage. This was where any damage could be repaired or weight added or subtracted to get them to 5oz.
When the car was as good as it could be, Station 3 checked the legitimacy of the cars and if they fit the rules and the cars were put in the race area.
The races were about to start. Each car ran down each lane so it would race a minimum of 4 races because each lane had different advantages.
The track itself was neat to watch as the scouts gathered around its edges. The cars raced down the track through the computerized finish line and into pillows to avoid damage. The top 16 times would race again.
Awards were given not only for the fastest cars but also for the best designs. There were categories such as:
Judges choice and much more!
The kids had an exciting day with their friends doing what Cub Scouts do best. Having FUN! If you get a chance to become a Cubscout, this is just one of the fun activities you have to look forward to.
Have you been to an Orchard Supply Hardware(OSH) store lately? Do you not know where one is locally? There is one closer than you think.
In 2015, there are 5 new stores opening and I got a chance to check out the latest store in Cerritos, on my quest to find some decor for spring.
I have not spent much time in OSH as it is better known because there was not one close by. I also have other do-it-yourself stores close by that I could get lost in. What makes OSH different than other home improvement stores?
It is a store for the average home owner versus contractor store. While we enjoy many things about other warehouse stores, I find it hard to find someone to help me and I often get lost in the larger stores.
The new Cerritos store is not small by any means, being 40,000 sqft but it is organized in a way that is user friendly. every aisle has a purpose and well labeled. There is even an aisle for watcha-ma-call-its!
Need a key? The key cutting center is right where you walk in so it's an easy in and out.
There is a large paint sample area where you can purchase a small amount of a color instead of a whole gallon. Come back in a couple months and there are talks of monthly kids crafts as well.
There is a great gardening area with a large quantity of seeds to full grown plants. Did you know if you buy a plant and pot, they will re-pot it for free for you?
This patio set was just one that I was eyeing for my backyard.
Thinking about those Fathers Day gifts yet? These are my favorites.
Craft items will always perk up any yard and I adored these gorgeous birdhouses!
There was so much to see and all practical for the average home-owner. I need to go back to see all that I missed and since I have one close to my house now, it will make getting my house fixed up for Spring much easier.
ABOUT THE NEW CERRITOS OSH STORE:
Staffed by 80 expert store associates
40,000 sq ft
South St. and Carmenita Rd- cross streets in Cerritos
Large color coded signage that makes it easy to navigate the store
"Workbench" area is dedicated to customer service w/
NEW STORES IN 2015:
DISCLAIMER: I was invited to a preview of the new store for a media day and received a gift bag for my time. All thoughts, ideas and photos are my own. Do not use any photos without permission.