Over The Top Mommy

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I’m Going to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration! (We’ve Got a First-Timer Here!)

im-goingYesterday was the most “magical” Friday ever! I had absolutely no idea that invitations for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration were even going out yet.  I suppose if I hadn’t been at work, teaching 29 little busy bees all day and had been online, I may have seen the tweet that practically broke Twitter…in a good way, of course!

magical-fridayI’m kind of glad I didn’t see it though because I would’ve become an instant ball of nerves afterwards, checking my email obsessively! Instead, I finished up an exhausting day of teaching without knowing a thing, dismissed the students, and found THIS on my email front page!

omgoodnessI think my heart skipped a beat and I honestly stood there, wanting to take in the moment before daring to click it! Something from “Walt Disney World Special Events”? WHOA! So, that whole “moment” I was taking before clicking it lasted about as long as it took for me to snap this picture! I swear I heard a drumroll in my head as I clicked it and BAM!

THE-emailThere I was, jumping up and down in my classroom, all by myself! I didn’t want to post about it online until I could tell the rest of my family, but I also didn’t want any part of the Disney Team to think me ungrateful if I didn’t, especially since Twitter was going crazy with the new #DisneySMMC hashtag! However, my husband and daughter were unreachable at the moment…yep, they were on a trip with my daughter’s school and actually down in the mines, learning about The Gold Rush! What are the chances? I had to wait about 2 hours after reading my magical email to tell them! Talk about suspense! Everything worked out in the end but that sure seemed like the longest 2 hours of my life!

were-going-to-disney-worldI am so grateful for this opportunity and cannot wait to see what’s in store for us in May!

Discovery Cube LA Partners with the LA Kings to Open a New “Science of Hockey” Exhibit!

KingsScience and Hockey fans alike now have something new to be excited about….The LA Kings Science of Hockey exhibit is now open at Discovery Cube Los Angeles (DCLA). Guests will be immersed in one of the most technically advanced sports-themed exhibits featuring the Stanley-Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. This permanent attraction offers interactive learning focused on the science, math, and skills behind the thrilling sport of hockey.

LA Kings' Player Tyler Toffoli Helps Cut the Ribbon for the LA Kings Science of Hockey exhibit at DCLALA Kings’ Player Tyler Toffoli Helps Cut the Ribbon for the LA Kings Science of Hockey exhibit at DCLA

Designed and produced by BaAM Productions, the new, second-floor Science of Hockey exhibit is one of more than a dozen highly interactive, science-based attractions now featured on the 2.5-acre site of DCLA in the Hansen Dam Recreational Area. According to Kafi D. Blumenfield, DCLA Executive Director, the Science of Hockey provides guests with an up-close look at the sport of hockey and the team while discovering the fascinating science behind the game.

DCLA partnered with the Kings Care Foundation and BaAm Productions to ensure the exhibit was as interactive and realistic as possible. Visitors enter the exhibit through a replica of the iconic LA Kings Player Tunnel at STAPLES Center and find hands-on exhibits that provide exclusive access to the sport and the team.

Visitors will enjoy the following exhibits and displays:

  • You Be the Goalie / You Be the Shooter – Participants in this unique, in-the-game experience don a blocker and glove to try and stop pucks shot from virtual versions of LA Kings players Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter. If they choose to turn the tables, and take shots on LA Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in “You be the Shooter,” they are rewarded with instant speed and accuracy readings.
  • Penalty Box – Fans can help get an LA Kings player out of the penalty box and back on the ice by correctly answering a series of questions about the math and science surrounding the sport.
  • Zamboni Test Drive – Occupying the center of the Science of Hockey is a replica Zamboni offering guests the once-in-a-lifetime chance to climb aboard, turn the auger and get the feel of driving this iconic, ice-resurfacing machine. A scale replica of the STAPLES Center scoreboard overhead provides the perfect photo opportunity.
  • Suit Yourself – NHL hopefuls can use interactive touch screens to design their very own jerseys and then capture and add their own likeness before the highly personalized image is displayed on a large screen.
  • Equipment Lab – An interactive display allows guests to technically compare an old uniform and equipment to the modern, streamlined uniforms of today. Meanwhile, a display wall of equipment cut in cross-section and a series of videos demonstrate the equipment in action, force and power exchange dynamics, STOP program and safety tips.
  • Healthy Locker Room – Guests learn about training and nutrition by playing interactive games in this unique, technically advanced replica of the LA Kings locker room. Hands-on participatory consoles at each players’ locker provide memorable opportunities for individual and group play and discovery.
  • Skater Challenge – Intrepid skaters can follow Dustin Brown or LA Kings mascot Bailey around the ice to test their skating ability and speed. The faster the visitor skates, the faster the on-screen LA Kings player or mascot moves.
  • LA Kings Story – The culmination of the Science of Hockey experience is the LA Kings Story featuring great moments in LA Kings history, with storytelling supported by compelling, larger-than-life images, artifacts and video. A photo opportunity will allow fans to picture themselves holding the Stanley Cup.

discover-cube-LAThe Science of Hockey is included in general admission to DCLA. Tickets to DCLA can be bought online at http://www.discoverycube.org/la/ or on campus. General admission prices are as follows: adult ($16.95), senior ($12.95), and children 3-14 ($12.95). Now through June 30th, there is special admission pricing of just $10 for everyone.

Connect with Discovery Cube LA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

The Bunny Has Arrived at OC Simon Malls! Caring Bunny™ and Simon Kidgits Club Easter Events Are Coming, Too!

Spring has sprung! It’s my favorite time! One of the things that my daughtger and I enjoy doing together each spring is to go shopping for a special, new dress and then to visit the Bunny at The Shops at Mission Viejo for an annual photo! I love looking back at the photos from years past!
mvbunny-photo
The Bunny Photo Experience begins this year at Brea Mall and The Shops at Mission Viejo on March 7 and on March 14 at the Westminster Mall. It runs through April 4 at all 3 Orange County Simon Mall locations. The Bunny Photo Experience gives children the chance to visit with the Bunny and take home a treasured snapshot of the fun occasion. The presenting sponsor for 2015 is Gymboree.
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 Hop on over for Bunny photos to the following locations:
  • Brea Mall: Begins Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and runs through Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the lower level near the JCPenney win. For a full list of dates and times, click here.
  • Westminster Mall: Begins Saturday, March 14 at 10 a.m. and runs through Saturday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in Macy’s Court. For the full list of dates and times, click here.
  • The Shops at Mission Viejo: Begins March 7 and runs through April 4 on the lower level near Nordstrom. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For the full list of dates and times, click here

Save time and avoid the line with Bunny by Appointment! Now you can reserve your magical moment with Bunny online at http://simon.noerrbunny.com.

Caring-Bunny-graphicIn addition to regular mall hours for Bunny photos, Simon’s Caring Bunny™ event will offer families that have children with special needs a subdued environment to participate in the Bunny Photo Experience. Caring Bunny has been developed by Simon and is guided by AbilityPath.org, a national online resource hub and special needs community. Over 90 Simon properties will host the Caring Bunny this season. Promotional assistance for Caring Bunny has been provided by Autism Speaks.

logoThe Caring Bunny program will be offered at Westminster Mall on Sunday, March 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Bunny Photo Experience. Many steps will be taken to reduce sensory triggers, creating a more comforting environment for the children’s cherished visit with the Bunny. Reservations are required and can be made here for the Westminster Mall Caring Bunny event.

The subdued environment is likely to include (specific elements or aesthetics may vary):

  • Turning off in-mall music, stopping escalators located near the photo set, dimming the lights and shutting down fountains for the duration of the event.
  • Eliminating queue lines through the use of a numbering system whereby guests approach the set when their number is called.
  • Special activities geared toward the needs of the child during the ‘wait’ period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.

kidgits-hop-into-springKidgits Club Easter Events

The Simon Kidgits Club® will also host special events, where kids can participate in various Easter activities and games. Participants will receive a special Easter keepsake to take home.

The egg-citing celebrations will take place at the following centers:

  • Brea Mall: Hosting Kidgits Easter Hop Into Spring event on March 14 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Bunny Photo Experience set, on the lower level near JCPenney.
  • Westminster Mall: Hosting Kidgits Eggcellent Easter Extravaganza event on March 28 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Target Court.
  • The Shops at Mission Viejo: Hosting Kidgits Easter Eggstravaganza event on March 21 from 10 a.m. to noon on the lower level near Old Navy and H & M, where kids can participate in various activities, and spring-themed crafts, including special entertainment by Nick The Music Man and Jen The Fairy Dancer at 10:45 a.m.
The Simon Kidgits Club is a fun and informative program that focuses on health, wellness, education, safety and entertainment for children agees 3-8.  The Simon Kidgits Club has kept children and parents alike amused for over a decade with various events and activities while providing incentives for club members, such as special offers, rewards, and games.
For more information about the Simon Kidgits Club, visit http://www.simon.com/kidgits/.
*some images provided by Simon.
 

Stop Hiding Your Smile! You Can Have Whiter Teeth in Just 3 Days* With Colgate® Optic White® Express White!

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

get-whiter-teeth-in-3-days

I often get asked HOW I do it all? My typical day lasts from 4 or 5 a.m. until about 10 or 11 p.m. I do it with coffee! I drink tons and tons of coffee to keep me going everyday. I love coffee so much, I would marry it in a heartbeat! (if I could)

I-love-you-coffeeI can never get enough coffee, but there’s also a downside to that….it can take a real toll on the color of your teeth. There’s nothing worse than not feeling confident talking to people because you’re self-conscious about your smile.

stop-hiding-your-smileI already mentioned how busy I am! I honestly don’t save a lot of time for pampering myself. When I heard about Colgate® Optic White® Express White hitting Walmart stores, I knew I could fit that into my schedule. The promise of whiter teeth in just 3 days*, simply by brushing your teeth and without doing anything more than you normally do? Yes please!

3-days There’s nothing more real than seeing your teeth on camera, like in photos you’ve taken with your friends!  I know you’re not supposed to criticize yourself but, yeah, I was definitely ready to try out my new toothpaste!

my-new-toothpasteBrushing my teeth is my new favorite part of the morning, next to drinking coffee, of course. I especially like that the Colgate® Optic White® Express White doesn’t have a weird taste or bother my teeth. Unlike Optic White Sparkling Mint toothpaste, Colgate® Optic White® Express White Toothpaste contains 2 times more of the professionally recommended ingredient, hydrogen peroxide. I think that has to do with why I had such great results! I was so excited about my results!

I am kind of obsessed with my new tube of  Colgate® Optic White® Express White so I’ve also started bringing it in my purse to work now. At lunchtime when my students are lined up holding their lunch tickets, I am lined up holding my toothbrush and Colgate® Optic White® Express White toothpaste!

teacherThe students actually ask me why I’m carrying a toothbrush and toothpaste out to lunch? I just tell them that their teacher is doing something for herself!

dont-hide-your-smileDon’t hide your smile! 

I-mustache-you-a-questionSo, I must ask you a question…are YOU ready to do something quick and easy to whiten up your teeth? I highly suggest you run out and grab some Colgate® Optic White® Express White for yourself! You won’t regret it!

health-and-beauty-aisleI found mine at Walmart on the health and beauty aisle! It’s sold in 3 sizes: 3 oz, 4.5 oz & after March 14th the 1.45 oz travel size will be available too! Colgate® Optic White® Express White is literally my new BFF!

*For best results, use as directed for 4 weeks.

Discovery Cube Orange County Opens New Julianne Argyros Showcase Theater with Annual Spring Break Extravaganza: Bubblefest XIX

discovery-cube-oc-bubblefestDiscovery Cube Orange County’s most POPular event, Bubblefest, returns to the Cube March 28 through April 12, 2015. The annual festival will include the fan favorite Mega Bubblefest Laser Show, featuring star performer Deni Yang.

There will also be a variety of fun bubble activities including:

  • Bubble Lagoon
  • Bubble Wall
  • Cube Jr. bubble play area
  • “Me in a Bubble” photo opportunity

The family event will feature some of the best food trucks in Orange County, too! Along with the featured Mega Bubblefest Laser Show, the outdoor festival will also offer hands-on exhibits and experiments to demonstrate science concepts on surface tension, elasticity, air pressure, friction and energy. These science concepts are brought to life through hands-on, soapy fun for children and parents of all ages. Guests will also enjoy a fun inflatable play zone with slides and obstacle courses.

Special to this year’s festival is the grand opening of the $1.5 million Julianne Argyros Showcase Theater, which was generously funded by the Argyros Family Foundation. The 10,000 square-foot flexible space is a first-of-its-kind in the museum world with the ability to transform from a world-class exhibit hall to a 500 seat theater. Inside the Julianne Argyros Showcase Theater, bubble fanatics will witness Bubble Scientist Deni Yang perform his signature bubble artistry and stunts with bubbles, smoke, lasers, and a few young volunteers from the audience. His repertoire of tricks include a bubble carousel, smoking bubbles, bubbles within bubbles, and many more. Yang has been demonstrating bubble art with his family since childhood. Through his career, he has earned international acclaim and the Guinness World Record for producing the largest bubble ever, measuring over 170 feet.

The Julianne Argyros Showcase Theater is a stunning climate-controlled venue, with innovative flex-space design. Designed by nationally renowned architects John Sergio Fisher & Associates, this exceptional visual and technical facility will feature digital surround-sound and state-of-the-art lighting. The Julianne Argyros Showcase Theater will serve nearly one million visitors annually and host special events, galas, lectures, science fairs and other fun community events throughout the year.

Lego-travel-adventure (1)

Earth-explorers (1)To top off a day bursting with fun, guests visiting Bubblefest will also get to experience LEGO Travel Adventure and National Geographic Presents Earth Explorers. These two exhibits bring to life travel and adventure across the globe through interactive set pieces and exhibits.

Bubblesfest19_Logo

Bubblefest XIX, which includes the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show, Water Spheres, and all outdoor activities are an additional charge of $5 for members and $7 for non-members on top of general admission to Discovery Cube Orange County. Tickets can be bought online at http://www.discoverycube.org or on campus at Discovery Cube OC. General admission prices are as follows: adult ($16.95), senior ($12.95), and children 3-14 ($12.95). During Bubblefest, Discovery Cube OC will have extended hours from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Discovery Cube OC is located at 2500 North Main Street, Santa Ana, California 92705.

Head Over to Knotts Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival From March 28-April 12! (I’m Giving Away Tickets to Knott’s, Too!) #KnottsSpring

This post was written by me for GigaSavvy. I do not work for or with any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them. I am invited to attend a media event for the Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival for which I will receive complementary tickets. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Boysenberry-Festival-Logo-with-flowers-Header-650-pxCome celebrate the arrival of spring at Knotts Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival harvested in the theme park’s historic Ghost Town. The 16-day festival returns with an unforgettable lineup of exquisite Boysenberry Bites, dazzling daytime/nighttime entertainment, gourmet food and the Wine and Craft Brew Tasting Garden, plus the limited time return of the classic Bear-y Tales characters in a pie making kitchen, and more!

Walter-and-Cordelia-Knott-in-front-of-the-Berry-Stand-650px(1)In the 1930s Walter Knott harvested the boysenberry, a cross between a loganberry, red raspberry and blackberry, and named the new berry after its originator Rudolph Boysen. Today, all boysenberries in the world can trace their roots back to Knott’s Berry Farm!

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect to find at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival:

 

food-offerings

Boysenberry Bites

The Park will make delicious history with the debut of its very own farm-made Berry Market™ Boysenberry BBQ
Sauce during the widely acclaimed Boysenberry Festival. During the food fest, the tangy, finger lickin’
good sauce will add the perfect flavor to ribs, BBQ chicken, chicken wings, and more.

Father-eating-a-turkey-leg 650px

Other must-try Boysenberry Bites include:

  • fried cheese curds paired with a spicy boysenberry dipping sauce
  • fish and chips sandwich with boysenberry tartar sauce
  • Boysenberry ICEE Floats
  • Boysenberry Frappuccino & Latte (served at the new Gourmet Coffee Hut which proudly serves Starbucks drinks)
  • more charbroiled treats cooked on open-air barbeques throughout the streets of the festival.
  • Wine and Craft Brew Garden*

As part of the festival, the Wine and Craft Brew Garden, located inside of Ghost Town’s Wilderness Dance Hall, features an assortment of wine and craft brew labels, in addition to a variety of boysenberry inspired gourmet food that’s just bursting with flavor! 

live-entertainment

The Boysenberry Festival also features an extensive lineup of live entertainment from sun up to sun down. At the heart of all of the excitement is Birdcage Square, located in front of the famous Birdcage Theatre. Here, a stage will be set for daily contests like pie eating, a pie walk, and Grandpa’s Boysenberry PJs Contest, where guests will race to stuff the over-sized long johns with balloons.

Boysenberry-pie-eating-contest-girlIn the evening, the Square will have guests kicking up their heels with vine dancing, a down home jug band and dueling fiddlers and banjos! At night, just inside of the Birdcage Theatre, things get krazy when Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies mount their toe tappin’, knee-slappin’, gut-bustin’ country comedy show that will have audiences clamoring for more!

Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies Events BannerThe iconic Charleston Circle fountain transforms into a beautiful floral fountain, adorned with colorful flowers and boysenberries creating an iconic centerpiece for the celebration. Located in the Boardwalk area, the stunning monument will serve as a dramatic backdrop for two spectacular interactive shows.

Peanuts-in-the-park-with-kids-and-charlie-brown-650pxPeanuts Party in the Park celebrates spring in a big way with infectious music, vibrant set design, and an invitation for the audience to be a part of the show!

Jammin-in-the-dark-boysenberry-festival 650 pxAfter sundown, Jammin’ in the Dark will transform the blooming circle into an immersive dance party complete with illuminated boysenberries, vines and LED lighting effects affixed to the Charleston fountain; DJ HowLy will spin the hottest dance music for all ages!
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Transformation of Ghost Town

While strolling the bustling streets of Ghost Town, guests can capture the moment and the memories at boysenberry themed stand-in cutouts like wanted posters, a boysenberry farming family and more. Festivalgoers can also watch special demonstrations including chainsaw wood sculpting, glass blowing, and blacksmithing. While enjoying the festival, guests may meet Ghost Town’s Mayor and other charming townsfolk. From day to night, Ghost Town has never looked so deliciously fun.

Boysenberry-Festival-Train-Decorations-650pxBoysenberry Festival Plants and Merchandise
Explore a craft fair filled with unique boysenberry inspired merchandise throughout the winding streets of the Old West. You will find a recreation of Walter & Cordelia Knott’s Original Roadside Boysenberry Stand near the Gold Trails Hotel, from which guests can purchase authentic boysenberry plants. The Knott family sold plants and freshly picked boysenberries from the original stand, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Boysenberry-Festival-boysenberry-plants-stand-650pxInteractive Pie Making

New for 2015, right up the road from Birdcage Square, kids can join the classic Bear-y Tales characters in their very own pie making kitchen inside of Ghost Town’s Craft Barn. With the help of Razz Bear-y, Boysen Bear-y and the other Bear-y family members, each beautifully painted scene will follow the world famous boysenberry from field to blue ribbon winning pie! The pint sized chefs can also make their very own delightfully sweet boysenberry tarts complete with a crumble topping. Additional cost applies for tart making. 

Bearly-Tales-Family-World's-Best-Pies

more-spring-parkSpringtime fun has also taken root in Camp Snoopy, Fiesta Village and Boardwalk. During the limited-time event, the whole family can meet the Easter Beagle in his new home, blooming with colorful springtime décor, nestled inside of the recently rejuvenated Camp Snoopy area. The meet and greet location is the perfect place for shareable moments with the boisterous beagle and his friends –Charlie Brown, Lucy, Sally and Linus.

Easter-Beagle-with-two-girls 650pxIn Camp Snoopy Theatre, Lucy’s Really BIG Spring Show will showcase the Peanuts pals singing, dancing, and celebrating springtime. The theater will be filled with the sweet sound of little ones as they singing-along to the to the show’s cheerful tunes!

Lucys-Big-Show-Baseball-Bats-Boysenberry-FestivalGuests don’t have to be experts at the cha-cha-cha to enjoy Salsa Dancing in Fiesta Village, where everyone can to take to the floor to the rhythmic beat of popular Latin dance music.

Kids-Salsa-DancingKnott’s Boysenberry Festival is included with admission to Knott’s Berry Farm, additional cost for food tasting experiences within the event, which also offers a full day of thrilling coasters and family fun rides, like the beautifully restored Calico Mine ride and the rejuvenated six-acre Camp Snoopy featuring three new rides.

Boy-eating-a-funnel-cake 650pxKnott’s has extended their hours during the Festival (March 28 – April 12, 2015) from 10 am-10 pm,  allowing guests extra time to take advantage of all of the limited-time offerings. For affordable year-round fun for everyone and to explore the all the Festival fun, Season Passes can be purchased online at knotts.com starting at $84 or with six easy installment payments of $14 now until April 12, 2015.

giveawayI’m having a giveaway! Yep! You can win 2 tickets to Knott’s that can be used for park admission during Knott’s Boysenberry Festival! All you have to do is enter below on the Rafflecopter! Read the instructions carefully! Good luck everyone! Hope to see you at Knott’s soon! It’s going to be “berry” fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch® Took My Breath Away!

welcome-to-the-flower-fieldsI recently had the opportunity to spend the day at The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®, which is located in Carlsbad. They were a magnificent sight that I’d caught a glimpse of a couple times when I’d driven through Carlsbad, but I had never gotten to actually stop and go inside. The Flower Fields feature 50 acres of Giant Tecolote® Ranunculus flowers with colors that pop against the light blue sky. They’re just a hop, a skip and a jump away from the Pacific Ocean, so it creates this picturesque backdrop.

close-to-the-oceanWhen you first enter the front gates and are standing there in front of what seems to be an endless field of flowers, it’s absolutely breathtaking!  It’s a sight that everyone should get to experience annually when it’s in full bloom! I was there about 2 weeks prior to the full bloom. If it was already this beautiful then, I can’t imagine at full bloom!

flowers-for-daysThis year, The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are open for the 2015 season from March 1-May 10 ( Mother’s Day). The fields are extra vibrant this year and bloomed a little early, most likely attributing this to the mild fall and winter we’ve had. Needless to say, they are a spectacular sight and a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

antique-tractor-ride

Visitors have the opportunity to take an open-air ride in an antique tractor wagon, through The Flower Fields, for a nominal fee. The ride is accompanied by an audio commentary of the history of The Flower Fields. It provides for a relaxing ride through the fields and is perfect for picture taking. Guests also have the option to exit the wagon and walk around. The cost for a wagon ride is $5.00 for Adults and $3.00 for Children 3-10.

take-a-ridedrivingProbably the most special part about my visit to The Flower Fields was getting meet Paul Ecke III. He’s the owner of the Flower Fields and the man behind the entire operation. Mr. Ecke has extensive family history tied to the agricultural history in this area, dating back about 100 years. Both Mr. Ecke and Mr. Fred Clarke, the General Manager of The Flower Fields, rode around the fields with our group and provided us with some really wonderful information about all that goes on there on a year-round basis, to produce the spectacular landmark. The flowers were so beautiful, each plant an individual, just like us.

070076pinkGuests who opt to exit during the wagon ride in the middle of the field, have access to walk through certain parts of the Flower Fields where carefully constructed bridges have been added. This is to avoid any damage to the plants themselves but allows a closer look and photo opportunities among the flowers. It’s the perfect setting for some family photos.

067As if I wasn’t already in total awe of what seemed to be an endless field brilliant flowers, I was in for another treat that was waiting for us on one of the hillsides. I guess that’s part of the fun about being a “first-timer” but I was WOW-ed when they took us to see the American Flag of Flowers! It was so beautiful and listening to how it’s produced was amazing. This flag is made up of 8998 Petunia plants, is just under 1 acre and is exactly to scale of our own American flag!

flagAfter the conclusion of our wagon ride, we spent some time walking the grounds with Mr. Ecke. He was very passionate about taking us to see the area he referred to as “Santa’s Playground”.

santas-village-sign

welcomeI had NO IDEA it was a play area on the grounds, almost entirely made up of authentic pieces from the original Santa’s Village, that had been in San Bernardino, years ago! Mr. Ecke told us the story about how he’d visited Santa’s Village as a child with his own family. Years later, when his own children were small, he attended an auction where he acquired several original pieces from that property.

at-santas-village

 

some-santas-village-originalsHe transported them to San Diego County and transformed an entire area at The Flower Fields to create “Santa’s Playground”, an area for children to run around and play. You can see how well he’s maintained the original colors of the pieces and he shared that his wife changed the designs of some of the mushrooms, but strived to maintain their authenticity by choosing designs that meshed well with that era.  As a child, I’d seen commercials for Santa’s Village, but never had the opportunity to visit before it closed down. Santa’s Playground is such a magical area to visit.

mushroomsIn addition to walking around The Flower Fields and taking a wagon ride, there are several other exhibits and attractions to see and do on your visit.

Some of those include:

  • Cymbidian Orchid Greenhouse
  • The Artist Gardens
  • Sweet Pea Maze
  • Carlsbad Mining Company
  • Organic Demonstration Garden
  • Historic Pointsettia Display
  • Water Wise Farming

 

The Flower Fields are adjacent to Armstrong Garden Center and have a partnership set up with them. Fresh cut flowers are available for purchase along with potted plants, bulbs and a variety of other items in the Armstrong Garden Center Gift Shop.

The Flower Fields also host a variety of events throughout the season, including Sunrise Easter Services, which start at 6:30 a.m. You can find the entire calendar of events here.

Admission for The Flower Fields is as follows:

  • Adults: $12.00
  • Seniors 60+: $11.00
  • Children 3-10: $6.00
  • Children 2 and under are free

To purchase your tickets online, click here.

the-flower-fields-signThe Flower Fields are located at 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008. You can also reach them at 760-431-0352. For more information about the Flower Fields, click here.

Have YOU visited The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®  yet? If not, it’s a must-see in my opinion!

Connect with The Flower Fields on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media day at The Flower Fields and was provided with admission in order to write my review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Irvine Park Railroad’s Annual Easter Eggstravaganza Opens March 14!

bring-on-springWho else is ready for Spring to get here already? I love the flowers and all of the new baby animals and Easter time! We are so excited about the return of The Easter Bunny Irvine Park Railroad for their annual Easter Eggstravaganza because we had SO much fun together last year! He’s hopping on over starting March 14th!

irvine-park-easter-eggstravaganzaThis year, Irvine Park Railroad’s annual Easter Eggstravaganza will begin March 14th and go through April 4th. It opens daily at 10:00 am. (Note:  Irvine Regional Park and Irvine Park Railroad will be open on Easter Sunday, however, the Easter Eggstravaganza events will not be open on Easter Sunday.) This event is held inside of Locomotive Loop… just behind the train station. Children and adults can participate in a variety of fun activities in the beautiful Irvine Regional Park setting.

fun-at-irvine-park-railroadHere are some of our pictures from last year’s Easter Eggstravaganza! 

easter-eggstravaganza-activities

  • Irvine Park Railroad train rides (1 ticket per person)
  • hay rides
  • carnival games (1 ticket per game)
  • a moon bounce (1 ticket per person)
  • face painting (2 tickets per person)
  • Easter cookie decorating (1 ticket per cookie)
  • picture stands (free for all visitors)
  • Easter Egg Hunts (1 ticket per child) Children ages 2 through 12 can participate in the Easter egg hunt. Each egg will be filled with candy or a prize. 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. 
  • Easter Bunny photos– Children can meet and have their photo taken with the Easter Bunny for the cost of $10.00. 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.bunny-photo

Activity Tickets – $5.00 each

Book of 15 Activity Tickets – $60.00 ($15.00 Savings)

*Important Note: Coupons, discounts and any other promotions are not valid for the Easter Eggstravaganza dates and are not valid to receive a wrist band to enter the Easter egg hunt. Activities are not included with the purchase of Easter egg hunt tickets and are an additional cost.

Giveaway-time

Guess what? I’m having a giveaway and one lucky reader is going to win a package that’s worth approximately $70!

The prize package includes:

  • 6 Tickets (which can be used to ride the train OR participate in Easter Eggstravaganza activities)
  • 1 Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park surrey rental (excludes the double surrey)
  • 1 Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park paddle boat rental

All you have to do is enter on the Rafflecopter below! Be sure to follow the directions carefully! Hope to see you all at Irvine Park Railroad’s Easter Eggstravaganza in a couple of weeks! Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Connect with Irvine Park Railroad on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Irvine Park Railroad is open year-round and is located inside of Irvine Regional Park! They offer other annual events include the Anniversary Celebration, Fourth Grade California History Education Program, Pumpkin Patch, Christmas Tree Ranch, and Christmas Train.

Who Else is Excited That OC Restaurant Week Begins THIS Sunday March 1? Let’s Eat!

oc-restaurant-weekThe 2015 Orange County Restaurant Week begins Sunday, March 1st and ends Saturday, March 7th.  More than 100 restaurants are participating in the countywide event. During the event, participating restaurants will offer special three-course menus, many with a cocktail or signature item at no additional charge. Each restaurant will showcase its best offerings by talented chefs who will personalize each menu to reflect their individual culinary style. Participating restaurants will offer prix-fixe menus within the following price categories: lunch for $10, $15 or $20, and dinner for $20, $30, $40 or $50.

Here is a list of this year’s participating restaurants. (each name is linked to its menu):

The list of participating restaurants is also searchable by name, location and price point at http://www.orangecountyrestaurantweek.com!

Slapfish_GirlScoutDessertAlso, in case you hadn’t heard, OC Restaurant Week is teaming with The Girl Scouts of Orange County this year to celebrate the world’s largest girl-led business….Girl Scout Cookies sales! OC Restaurant Week happens to be the last week that Girl Scout Cookies will be available on sale in Orange County until 2016. Select restaurants will offer delicious desserts inspired by and featuring Girl Scout Cookies! Some of the OC Restaurant Week participating restaurants are even hosting local Girl Scouts for a Preview Tasting, where girls will get the chance to taste the sweet treats and meet with the restaurant’s chef, helping them strive towards earning culinary and business badges. To see the full list of restaurants participating in this, click here.

win-dinnerWere you aware that you could also win dinner and a movie for a year? This year, the OC Restaurant Association is offering one lucky diner the opportunity to win! The public is encouraged to post photos from their dining experiences during OC Restaurant Week and use the hashtags #OCRestaurantWeek2015 or #OCRW2015. The photos will be entered to win a grand prize of twelve (12) $100 gift cards and 24 movie passes to enjoy dinner and a movie for two once a month for a year! Diners must post photos between March 1st and March 7th to qualify. How fun is that?

Who’s ready for Orange County’s favorite culinary event to start now? Where should we eat first on March 1st? 

Presenting sponsor for the 2015 Orange County Restaurant Week is The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel, in Huntington Beach. Other sponsors include Orange Coast Magazine, The Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel, 95.5 KLOS, The Fork Report with Neil Saavedra, Irvine Spectrum Center, Fashion Island, Celebrity Cruises, Sub-zero and Wolf, Orange County Register, OC Mom Network, Archive, Melissa’s Produce, Ketel One Vodka, Open Table, Anaheim Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau, Greer’s OC, BREAD Artisan Bakery, and The Toll Roads.