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Over The Top Mommy
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Holiday Fun

Who are YOU going to BOO This Year? I’m BOO’ing the Teachers! (Plus “Monster” Cookies Recipe) #BOOItForward

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BOOItForward #CollectiveBias

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I absolutely LOVE this time of year. I can’t say that the weather cools down much here in Southern California but you DO start to see pumpkins and Halloween decorations all around. It’s one of my favorite holidays of the year and I get so excited to kick off the Halloween season by BOO’ing people at the beginning of October.

its-halloween-timeIf you aren’t familiar with the modern-day tradition of BOO’ing, it’s really fun and easy to do. You just put together a little anonymous Halloween surprise for someone and deliver it. The surprise usually consists of some type of treats in a cute Halloween bucket, basket, or even gift bag. You also include a BOO sign and instructions so that whoever you BOO, can BOO someone too! (Hey, that rhymes!)

all-I-needI found all of the items I needed for my BOO’ing at Walmart. On the Seasonal aisle, I found giant Mars Chocolate Mix Fun Size bag of assorted candies, including M&M’s®, TWIX®, and SNICKERS®.

found-at-walmartOn the soft drinks aisle, I grabbed a couple of 6-packs of special Halloween “Mini Monster” cans of Sunkist® and 7UP®. They’re adorable with little monsters on them! l also found the ingredients I needed to make my “Monster” Cookies. (It’s a special Halloween cookie recipe we make every year using M&M’s® and TWIX®).

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cut-up-TWIXIn past years, we’ve BOO’d neighbors on our street, friends who live close by, and even relatives who live in our same town. This year I think I’ll do some BOO’ing at my school. I teach first grade and I know of some teachers who would appreciate a little BOO surprise on their desk one morning. ( I know I would!) Teachers are really easy to please and love almost anything.

teachers-love-treatsI decided to make little BOO kits with some snacks and mini cans that my teacher friends could enjoy during their break time. I also baked up a fresh batch of my “Monster” Cookies to include in each BOO’ing kit! (see below for recipe)

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Here are the items I used for my BOO’ing kits: 

  • assorted chocolates from 
  • “Mini Monster” cans of 7UP® & Sunkist®
  • black and white polka dotted paper straws 
  • black and white striped washi tape
  • googly eyes
  • regular tape
  • decorative black and orange plastic patterned popcorn boxes
  • cellophane bags
  • decorative ribbon
  • Mouthwatering “Monster” Cookies monster-cookies

Since I purchased Halloween “mini monster” cans of Sunkist® and 7UP® for my BOO’ing kits, I cut down some cute paper straws a little and used washi tape to attach them to the cans. It makes an adorable presentation.

mini-cans-sunkistI also used some big googly eyes on the popcorn boxes to make them look a little cuter. You could use glue or even tape to attach them.

box-with-eyesAfter I baked my cookies and let them cool, I stacked up a few and put them into a cellophane bag and tied it with a festive Halloween ribbon. My “Monster” Cookies are pretty big so only a few fit in each bag.

fill-with-candiesIt was fun to put the BOO’ing kits together. First, I filled the bottom of each popcorn box with the candies. Then, I placed a Halloween “Mini Monster” can inside, then I filled it to the top with more candy. I set the tied up cellophane bag of cookies on top of the box (I told you they were giant cookies!) and placed the “We’ve Been BOO’d” printables” next to each surprise on each of the teachers’ desks!

as-giddy-as-a-first-graderI don’t know about you, but I get as giddy as a first grader when it comes to leaving surprises like this! I couldn’t wait for them to discover they’d been BOO’d!

BOO-printableTo make BOO’ing easier, MARS has provided a free “We’ve Been BOO’d” sign that you can print out and use with your BOO’ing kit. Just click here to download yours and print.

After you print out the pages: 

  1. Cut out the “We’ve been BOO’d” sign.
  2. Fold the “You’ve been BOO’d” greeting card (page 2) and tape openings together.
  3. Include the card (and sign if you don’t want to remain anonymous) when you BOO someone! 

boo-the-teachersLook how cute these turned out! It’s so much fun to BOO at work! Having a “We’ve Been BOO’d” sign on the classroom door is really fun, too!

so-fun-on-the-classroom-door

monster-cookies-signHere’s my recipe for “Monster” Cookies. It’s fairly simple to prepare and the cookies turn out delicious every time.

“Monster” Cookie Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 10-12 Fun Size Twix Bars, chopped
  • 8-10 Fun Size packs of M&M’s®
  •  1 package of candy eyeballs monster-eyes

“Monster” Cookie Preparation: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. (This is my best kept baking secret.)
  3. Chop up approximately 1/2 cup Twix bars and set aside.
  4. Measure out 1/2 cup M&M’s and also set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating them in after each one is added. beat-the-ingredients
  7. Beat in the flour mixture gradually.
  8. Mix in the Twix and M&Ms with a wooden spoon. add-the-candies
  9. Spoon generous portions of the cookie dough onto the parchment paper-covered baking sheet. (They’re supposed to be pretty giant.)
  10. Bake 5 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and add a few more pieces of each candy plus 1-3 candy eyeballs on the top of each cookie. This will help them to bake while staying visible in the cookie.
  12. Bake 3-5 more minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Right now, you can save $2.00 on on ONE (1) 6pk 8oz Cans or TWO (2) 2L and 2 bags of Mars® Candy at Walmart. Click here for coupons. Also, don’t forget to enter the Boo It Forward Sweepstakes! #booitforwardsweepstakes

So are you ready to go out and BOO someone now? I hope I’ve inspired you to “BOO It Forward”! 

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Join OCTA on February 21 For a Free Family Event at the Irvine Station to Celebrate the Lunar New Year! (They’re Giving Away Tickets to Ride the Metrolink, Too)

Lunar New Year is the most celebrated holiday of the year for the nearly 1.5 million people of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese descent living in Southern California. Celebrate Lunar New Year by visiting the 116th Annual Golden Dragon Parade and Festival in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. With colorful parades, elaborately decorated floats, marching bands and cultural performances by some of the nation’s best Chinese acts, this free event is fun for all ages.

15LNY_headerBefore riding Metrolink to L.A. on February 21, join OCTA for a Lunar New Year celebration at the Irvine station. This is a free event for the whole family. Just arrive at the Irvine Metrolink Station at 8:00 a.m. Enjoy a traditional Lion Dance and enter to win Lucky Red envelopes. Bring a non-perishable food donation for Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County to play Plinko and win a prize.

dragons

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The first 100 people at the Metrolink Irvine Station on February 21 will each receive a free Metrolink ticket too, for a ride up to LA! (First come, first served)

metrolink-2014 Metrolink is the best way to get to LA from Orange County. You’ll avoid traffic and parking hassles and enjoying a relaxing ride with friends and family. The train is a great way to start your family adventure to Los Angeles.

The Irvine Metrolink station is Irvine Station is located at:
15215 Barranca Parkway
Irvine, CA 92618
(Free parking)

For more information about Metrolink and to find the train schedules, click here.

Connect with OCTA on Facebook and Instagram!

 

(images provided by OCTA) 

Pamper Your Valentine With a Gift From We Olive & Wine Bar San Juan Capistrano!

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner,  We Olive & Wine Bar San Juan Capistrano is the perfect place to do some Valentine’s Day shopping! They feature gifts that include artisan extra virgin olive oils, hand-crafted tapenades, mustards, pesto, balsamic vinegars, body and skin care products, as well as custom gift collections. They have some beautiful gifts that can help pamper your Valentine and ensure they feel loved any day of the year.

slide2-finalSome of the fabulous Valentine’s gifts that make women feel pampered include:

  • Rewined Candles – $29.95
    All-natural, premium soy wax candles, hand poured into repurposed wine bottles with scents that mimic the tasting notes of wine. candles
  • McEvoy Ranch 80 Acres Line of Body and Skin Care Products
    Rich and luxurious, moisturizing and healing, the 80 Acres line of emollient body oils, balms, scrubs, gels and lotions are infused with vitamin rich plant extracts and botanicals inspired by the wealth of natural elements present on the Ranch. blood-orange-products
  • The Olive Oil & Vinegar Experience Sampler Gift Box: $29.95
    This gift collection is the perfect way to experience the very best of We Olive! This sampler comes with a 2 oz bottle of each of the following : Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic Flavored Olive Oil, Organic Meyer Lemon Flavored Olive Oil, Traditional Aged Balsamic Vinegar, and Peach White Balsamic Vinegar. This is the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for person in your life or a great way to introduce someone to the wonderful world of We Olive. exper_samp__62483.1405396195.1280.1280

Martini Lover’s Gift Basket – $49.95
This basket is comprised of what we consider to be the Martini essentials. Recipients of our Martini Lover’s Gift Basket will receive the following delicious items: – A bottle of We Olive’s Olive Juice Dirty Martini Mix – A jar of our Twisted Martini Olives – A jar of our Vermouth Bleu Cheese Stuffed Olives – A jar of our Marlon Blando Olives and a We Olive Dipping Dish. Martini LoverWe Olive & Wine Bar San Juan Capistrano is located in downtown San Juan Capistrano.

31760 Camino Capistrano Suite B
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

 Visit them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

(images provided by We Olive & Wine Bar San Juan Capistrano)

Will You Be My PFF? Let’s Be PEEPS®Friends Forever This Valentine’s Day!

Will-you-be-my-PFFValentine’s Day is just around the corner! It’s my most favorite holiday! This year I got a head start on my Valentine’s treat preparation and stocked up on PEEPS® Valentine’s Day products. You can’t go wrong with   PEEPS® because they’re irresistible and everyone loves them!

FullSizeRender (78)As you can see, our Valentine’s Day this year is going to be all about the PEEPS®! They come in a variety of shapes and seasonally-inspired flavors to satisfy your Valentine’s sweet tooth.

This year’s PEEPS® Valentine’s offerings include:

  • Pink Marshmallow Chicks
  • Pink Marshmallow Bunnies
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Crème Flavored Chicks
  • Marshmallow Hearts
  • Cherries Drizzled and Dipped in Chocolate
  • Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Hearts
  • Strawberry Crème Flavored Marshmallow Hearts
  • Vanilla Crème Flavored Marshmallow Hearts

In addition to serving as a savory token of affection, PEEPS® Valentine’s Day products are also fun to incorporate into snacks at home and Valentine treats for others. I put together a couple of cute printables to add to some of the PEEPS®Valentine treats I’ll be sending to school with my daughter, for her classmates and teachers!

in-case-of-emergencyI LOVE these Vanilla Creme PEEPS®Marshmallow Hearts! I made this little “In Case of Emergency: Break Seal!” labels to stick onto this package. I think I’ll give these to my daughter’s teacher. Being a teacher, I’m SURE there are times she has an “emergency” and will be able to utilize these properly, don’t you think?  It’ll be as easy as breaking open the package seal and enjoying them!

youre-one-of-my-favorite-peepsI made these little heart “You’re one of my favorite Peeps!” printables to attach to these 3-packs of new Strawberry Crème Flavored Milk Chocolate Dipped PEEPS®. I know the instructional assistants for my daughter’s class are going to love them!

will-you-be-my-PFFI also made these “Will you be my PFF?” tags to attach onto a single pack of the new flavor, Milk Chocolate Covered Raspberry flavor! PFF” stands for Peeps Friends Forever!

I cannot wait for Valentine’s Day to get here! Do YOU love it as much as I do? What’s YOUR favorite part about Valentine’s Day?

Try one or all of the seasonal varieties and express your PEEPSONALITY® by incorporating them into your favorite Valentine-inspired creations! PEEPS® Valentine’s treats can be found nationwide at grocery and drug stores, PEEPS & Company retail stores or at http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com.

I was provided with some PEEPS® Valentine’s treats in order to write my feature. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Celebrate This Valentine’s Day With M&M’s® Red Velvet and Chocolate Pie Pops!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias

pie-popsValentine’s Day is my absolute favorite holiday of the year! It always seems like everyone is happy and you can feel the love and friendship in the air! I loved it as a little girl, I love it as a 1st grade teacher and I love it as a mom, especially as a “girl mom”.  My daughter embraces my need to be “that mom”! You know, the one who always sends something cute for the class on just about every holiday? (OK maybe I don’t on Groundhog Day)

valentines-paintingThis year, my daughter will be bringing the cutest & yummiest treats to school for her classmates at their Valentine’s celebration.  I’m sending M&M’s® Red Velvet and chocolate pie pops! Yep, you read that correctly! M&M’s® Red Velvet exist!

red-velvetIf you’re as excited to try them as I was when I first saw them, then you should make a quick trip out to Walmart today to grab a bag of your own!

FullSizeRender (74)The M&M’s® Red Velvet are so delicious in this recipe. These pie pops definitely have a cute factor about them! They are honestly so easy to make! I like that it’s a kid-friendly recipe too because my daughter loves to spend time with me in the kitchen.

pie-pops-recipeHere’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • 1 box of store-bought pie crust (they usually come 2 in a box)
  • 1 jar of chocolate spread of your choice
  • 1 bag  M&M’s® Red Velvet
  • 1 egg, just the egg white
  • flour (to spread out on the counter)

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Lightly flour countertop and roll out pie crust. Use  a large biscuit cutter to cut out pairs of circles.
  • Use small heart cookie cutter to cut out one heart for each pop that you’re making. pie-circles pie-hearts
  • Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set bottom circle pieces on cookie sheet, leaving ample space between each one. pie-circles
  • Gently push a lollipop stick into the center of each pie circle.
  • Spoon in some of the chocolate spread into the center of each pop. Don’t use too much to avoid it squeezing out. chocolate-inside
  • Place 3 M&M’s® Red Velvet candies on top of the chocolate spread. place-candies
  • Set top circle of dough on top and lightly push edges together with your fingers.
  • Use the end of a lollipop stick to seal edges of entire pie pop. sealing-the-edges
  • Brush each pie pop lightly with egg white. Place hearts on each pop and brush egg white on them as well. FullSizeRender (67)brush with egg white
  • Place into oven and bake for 9-12 minutes, keeping a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
  • When they’re golden brown, remove them from the oven and allow to cool. brush-with-egg-white

You will most likely be overwhelmed by how amazing they smell to the point where you’ll want to bite right into one as it’s coming out of the oven! Allow them to cool down for at least 5 minutes.

FullSizeRender (73)

For Valentine’s Day, I’m going to wrap each pie pop in a plastic bag, add some M&M’s® Milk Chocolate candies inside the bag, and tie it up with colorful tulle. The M&M’s® almost look like confetti inside the bag, don’t you think?

favorsI found everything I needed to make this recipe at Walmart, which makes it so easy for a busy mom like me!

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Do YOU love Valentine’s Day as much as I do? What’s YOUR favorite way to celebrate friendship and love on Valentine’s Day?

For more M&M’s® Red Velvet inspiration, be sure to visit the Red Velvet Love Recipes page. Join the #RedVelvetLove Pinterest Party taking place at http://www.pinterest.com/SoFabChats/ on Saturday, January 31 at 12:00pm ET for your chance at winning a $1000 Walmart gift card!
See more great M&M’s® Red Velvet recipe and party ideas at myconfectioncorner.com/valentines-day where you can also download a coupon to save on your M&M’s® purchase.

Spend a Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve This Year at Legoland California Resort!

If you are looking for a super fun way to spend New Year’s Eve with your kids this year, you need to see what’s going on at Legoland California! Our family hasn’t been there for New Year’s Eve before but we’re hoping to make it this year.  It looks like they throw a great party over there!

Ice Skating at Legoland's Holiday Snow DaysIf you DO make it that day, you can still enjoy all of the fun at their Holiday Snow Days. LEGOLAND is planning another very kid-friendly New Year’s Eve Celebration this year, which includes an amazing lineup of performances by Recess Monkey, The Pop Ups, The Not Its, Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players, and Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band! It’s like a kids super concert!

Legoland New Year's Eve Entertainment 2014(photo credit: LEGOLAND California) 

There will also be a New York style “brick drop” at 6pm when LEGOLAND California re-creates the Times Square ball drop with a giant LEGO brick falling 22 feet in the air! A special celebrity will be leading the countdown. Guests are given festive hats for the occasion, as well as 3-D glasses for the spectacular fireworks display which follows the brick drop and illuminates the sky! What a great ending to an amazing year!

Here’s a clip from their celebration last year:
Seriously…how fun does that look? It’s literally San Diego’s largest Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party and you won’t want to miss it! For more information, to download the New Year’s Eve Entertainment Guide, and to purchase tickets, click here.

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I forgot to mention one more thing, one VERY important thing…. LEGOLAND’S gift to you this year is a free ticket offer to return in 2015. Receive a second-day return ticket to LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE Aquarium for FREE on the day of your visit when you present your one-day paid admission ticket at Guest Services or the Our Gift To You kiosk, inside the Park, any time between November 1, 2014 – January 4, 2015! You must request your second-day ticket on the day of your first visit. Your second-day ticket must be redeemed between January 5 – March 1, 2015. Other restrictions may apply. See the LEGOLAND website for details!

Well, doesn’t New Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND sound fun? Hope to see you there!

Get Ready to Create Holiday Family Memories at The Shops at Mission Viejo With Santa Photo Experience and Much More!

He's here!It’s that time again….the decorations are up, holiday music is playing and Santa has arrived at The Shops at Mission Viejo! Eager children and their families can experience the joy and magic of the holiday season with a visit to the Simon® Santa Photo Experience, where Santa awaits them in his winter wonderland. Located on the lower level near Nordstrom, children can visit and be photographed with Santa every day until December 24, when he has to head back to The North Pole.

Make an appointment with Santa This year, you can save time and avoid the line with Santa by making an appointment! Reserve your magical moment with Santa online at http://simon.noerrsanta.com. For a complete list of Santa’s dates and times, click here. The Simon Santa Photo Experience is, once again, sponsored by Gymboree.

This way to SantaCaring Santa 

The Shops at Mission Viejo also provides children with special needs and their families with an opportunity to enjoy a carefully managed Santa photo experience through the Caring Santa program, which provides a sensory-friendly environment for families of children with special needs, to safely experience the time-honored tradition and magic of Santa.

Caring Santa

Caring Santa will be held at The Shops at Mission Viejo this year on Sunday, Dec. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Space is limited (1 reservation ticket per family); please visit theshopsatmissionviejocaringsanta.eventbrite.com to make your reservation. Caring Santa events have expanded from 7 Simon malls in 2011 to over 100 Simon malls today, reflecting the positive impact of this unique program. In 2013, Simon and The Noerr Programs were honored by Community Gatepath, earning a Community Impact Award for their efforts in pioneering Caring Santa.Caring Santa program.

Family Holiday Events at The Shops at Mission Viejo

The Kidgits Holiday Celebration will take place on Saturday, December 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the lower level, near Forever 21. Kids can get festive with various crafts and activities including making their own ornament, writing a letter to Santa and decorating a gift box to celebrate The Boxtrolls, available this Holiday Season.

Kidgits Holiday Celebration The Kidgits event on December 6 will be followed with a celebration of the grand re-opening of the center’s updated Dining Pavilion. Beginning at 11 a.m., head to the pavilion for live entertainment, face painting, a balloon artist for the kids, and more. Don’t miss giveaways every hour, and swag bags while they last. Special offers will be available from food pavilion eateries, which include Blaze Pizza, Charley’s Grilled Subs, Great Khan’s, Muscle Beach Lemonade & Hot Dogs, Panda Express, Paradise Bakery & Café, Rubios Baja Grill, Ruby Thai, Sarku Japan and Smashburger.

TheShopsatMissionViejo_Dining Pavilion RenderingAlthough this is just a rendering of the updated Dining Pavillion area, I think I see myself eating at a table! 

New to the holiday event lineup this year is Holidays on Ice Mission Viejo, the first-ever seasonal ice rink at The Shops at Mission Viejo. From November to January 11, skate under festive lighting, and celebrate the season with music and family fun. The 50-foot by 70-foot outdoor ice rink will accommodate approximately 120 skaters, and is located in the exterior parking lot, near Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. The rink will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

photo-14The Shops at Mission Viejo will offer several additional amenities during the holiday season. Additional valet will be available. A giftwrap station will be available in December, and located near Zara. Proceeds from the giftwrap station will benefit the Girl Scouts of Orange County and the Simon Youth Foundation.

There are so many fun things happening at The Shops at Mission Viejo! Happy Holidays!

 

Holiday Snow Days + Winter Nights November 22-January 4 at Legoland California Resort! #HolidaySnowDays

Disclosure: We attended a media preview of Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

I’m always excited for the start of the holiday season! Emily and I had the opportunity to kick ours off by spending a special day together at LEGOLAND California Resort to preview their Holiday Snow Days + Winter Nights!

Legoland Fun

It was a beautiful Southern California day and we enjoyed skating and playing in the snow, while wearing short-sleeved shirts and getting a little bit of a suntan!

making a snowballEvery day at LEGOLAND from November 22 through January 4 is a Holiday Snow Day! With a regular admission, park guests also get to enjoy a ton of fun activities! The Fun Town area is transformed into a snowy wonderland for the holiday season!

ready for snow tubingOn Holiday Snow Days, park guests can have fun:

  • Snow Tubing
  • Snow Play, including getting to build a snowman and throwing snowballs at fun targets
  • Watching live entertainment
  • Doing a Holiday Village Build in the LEGO Clubhouse
  • Enjoying special holiday treats available for purchase on the Fun Town Holiday Food Truck.

selfie with a snowmanAlso, enjoy the spectacular 30-foot tall LEGO Christmas Tree, made of more than 245,000 green DUPLO® bricks and adorned with ornaments made of LEGO bricks. Look out for special holiday characters like LEGO Santa, Lego Toy Soldier, and more. There are definitely lots of photo opportunities!

Legoland TreeAs part of Legoland’s Holiday Snowy Days +Winter Nights, the Winter Nights portion will take place on November 28, 29 and December 6, 13, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 from 5-7pm. Holiday Snow Days activities continue into nighttime and guests can also enjoy watching holiday entertainment, including The Big Test Holiday Show, and see the magic of holiday lights come to life after dark as the buildings, trees and the LEGO Christmas Tree twinkles along to Festive Holiday tunes throughout Fun Town. Guests can also enjoy Holiday Fireworks will at 7pm on December 26-30.

Lego tree and Lego snowmanNew this year…..Ice Skating! 

It’s so exciting that LEGOLAND California Resort has set up a real ice skating rink, between the ticketing booths and the Legoland Hotel! It’s was so fun to skate outdoors in the sun! Admission for ice skating is separate from park admission. Although you are welcome to bring your own ice skates, the cost of your ice rink admission tickets includes skate rentals and helmet protection for guests requesting extra head protection.

Legoland Ice Skating CollageGuests may also rent a “bobby”, which is a seal-shaped skate aid. A child or adult can push it in front of him to help balance. A small child can also sit on the front of the bobby while the adult pushes the bobby. I used one to push Emily around and it helped me avoid the embarrassment of falling down! I think the bobby was the best invention ever created!

On the iceWhen you purchase your ice skating ticket, you will be asked to reserve a specific time slot. Session are 90 minutes long and there are 6 ice sessions available each day* and there is limited capacity, so book your ticket now by clicking here. *There are only 4 sessions available on the following dates: Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17.

Ice Skating PricingSkaters must be ages 3 and up, and must be able to walk unassisted. All skaters (or guardian for under 18) must sign Release and Waiver of Liability and Assumption of Risk Agreement (fill out the waiver once for entire season). Go straight onto the ice by filling out the Ice Skating Waiver form in advance! http://www.smartwaiver.com/v/LEGOLANDiceskate

s'mores at Legoland collageAfter you spend time out on the ice, you can purchase a s’mores kit and head over to the fire pits to make your s’mores. They’ll even provide a long dowel so you can roast your marshmallows over the fire. This was one of our favorite parts about our day! I think everyone loves s’mores!

Mmmm! S'mores!

LEGO® Christmas Tree Lighting

This year, the official annual tree lighting ceremony will take place on December 1st. There will be a surprise celebrity guest who will help light the world’s tallest LEGO Christmas tree. Families in the park are invited to gather around the Lego Christmas tree in the middle of Fun Town at 5:30 pm. Other  opportunities to view the LEGO Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will take place at 5pm on December 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25. Here comes a cool part….One lucky child has a chance to light the LEGO Christmas Tree December 4-Decemeber 24. Winners will be selected each night through LEGOLAND California Resort’s Facebook Page, so keep an eye on their page if you’re planning on visiting the park during that time.

Legoland’s Free Ticket Offer

special gift ticket offerLEGOLAND California has a very special gift for you. When you visit LEGOLAND  between November 1, 2014 and January 4, 2015, you’ll receive a FREE ticket to return between January 5 and March 1. You must present your paid admission ticket at the Our Gift To You kiosk inside the Park on the day you visit to receive a ticket to return to LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium. Additional restrictions may apply. For more information, click here!

We had such a fun time at Legoland Calfornia Resort and can’t wait to go back again!  

Irvine Park Railroad’s 19th Annual Christmas Train AND Brand New Christmas Tree Ranch!

I think the holiday season is my most favorite time of the year! There are an abundance of family fun holiday events to attend and enjoy together as a family. People everywhere just seem so happy during this time of the year.

train with lightsOne of our favorite things to do before Christmas is to visit the Irvine Park Railroad’s Christmas Train! You can visit with family and friends and take an enchanting night ride through historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. The train departs every 15 minutes from the brightly-lit train station and drops passengers off at the North Pole, where Santa is waiting for the children!

train 1It’s fun to ride the train at night and see all of the twinkling lights! Don’t forget to dress warmly! 

We didn’t get to go last year so this year we’re extra excited about visiting on the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is opening weekend! We like to get there early and walk around Santa’s Village, which is set up just next to the train station. Emi loves to participate in all of the fun activities there. (Activities in Santa’s Village will open one hour prior to when the Christmas Train runs)

photo propsIrvine Park Railroad always sets up adorable photo props! I think we make a pretty cute penguin and polar bear, don’t you? 

Here’s what you’ll find in Santa’s Village:

• Story Time with Mrs. Claus
• Christmas Cookie Decorating
• Carnival Games
• Ice Fishing
• Santa Claus Moon Bounce
• Christmas Coloring Corner
• Picture Stands

Read with Mrs. ClausEnjoy story time with Mrs. Claus in Santa’s Village. (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

Activities are open weekends ONLY. Activities will be open daily starting December 15th Prices for activities in Santa’s Village vary; for additional information and costs, visit http://www.IrvineParkRailroad.com.

Let’s get back to talking about the Christmas Train though. When visitors are transported on the Christmas Train to “The North Pole”, they are greeted by Santa and his elves.

Santa with Train in the BackgroundSanta will be waiting to take pictures with you and your family when you arrive at The North Pole! (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

Coffee, hot chocolate, and other snacks are available for purchase from the Elf House Snack Bar. (A full kitchen menu is also available at the train station) Visitors may take their own pictures with Santa or may also purchase a picture taken by Irvine Park Railroad. Each 5″X7″ photo will be presented with an Irvine Park Railroad border and are available for pickup shortly after being taken.

 keepsake photoThis was our keepsake photo with Santa from 2012! (excuse the quality of it being a picture of a picture) 

After visiting with Santa, hop back aboard the train and enjoy the colorful Christmas lights and decorations, as well as the magical “Tunnel of Lights”, on the ride back to the station. You’ll LOVE the tunnel! Oh and there’s (faux) snow too!

Train in the Tunnel of LightsThe Tunnel of Lights! (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

Christmas Train tickets may ONLY be purchased online and can be purchased beginning November 1st! Tickets may not be purchased in person. You can purchase your tickets to ride the train on a specific date and time. Then, you print them out, bring them with you, and get in line to board the train any time during the hour for which you purchased your tickets.

Here’s what’s NEW this year at Irvine Park Railroad…..

Christmas Tree RanchAfter visiting Santa, why not pick out your own special Christmas tree to take home at the all-new Christmas Tree Ranch? (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, families will be able to purchase Christmas trees at the all-new Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Tree Ranch! Visitors will be able to choose from among Douglas fir, Noble fir, and Grand fir trees ranging in height from 4′ to 12′. Christmas tree stands, preservatives, tree disposal bags, wreaths, and garland will also be available for sale. The Christmas Tree Ranch is open daily at 10:00 am beginning Friday, November 28th through Tuesday, December 23rd. Families can walk the Christmas Tree Ranch to find their perfect Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree Ranch StaffIrvine Park Railroad staff will help you load your Christmas Tree into/onto your car. (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

I am already feeling the holiday spirit and am pleased to announce a giveaway hosted by the Irvine Park Railroad! I’m giving away 4 tickets for the Christmas Train, 6 Christmas Activity tickets, 1 Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park bike rental (excludes the double surrey), and 1 Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park paddle boat rental! Just enter below on the Rafflecopter! Good luck and happy beginning of the holiday season!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dogs and professional videography/photography are prohibited. Hours are subject to change without notice. The Christmas Tree Ranch is open weather permitting.

Annual Irvine Park Railroad events include the Christmas Train, Anniversary Celebration, Easter Eggstravaganza and Pumpkin Patch.
Visit Irvine Regional Park’s other activities including Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park — fun and unique bike rentals that can be enjoyed by single riders or an entire family — paddle boat rentals, the Orange County Zoo and pony rides.
Irvine Park Railroad is located inside of Irvine Regional Park. The address is:

Irvine Park Railroad
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869

Become a fan of Irvine Park Railroad on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr.

For pricing, park directions and complete details, please visit http://www.IrvineParkRailroad.com.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media event as a guest of Irvine Park Railroad and given information to share with my readers. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own. 

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