Over The Top Mommy

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Join the Orange County Community Foundation’s First-Ever #iheartoc Giving Day!

emi-heartI love living in “The OC”! Orange County residents share an amazing pride that runs deep.  I was so excited when I learned about Orange County’s first-ever Giving Day coming up at the end of April because any opportunity to give back to this place we all call home is important!

oc-giving-day1The Orange County Community Foundation is hosting Orange County’s first-ever countywide giving day on April 21-22, 2015. The “day” will be a 30-hour period, starting on April 21 at 6:00 a.m. and extending through April 22 at Noon.  The goal of the i♥oc Giving Day is to inspire our community to come together to give and support the exemplary work of local nonprofits. OCCF is aiming high with the goal of delivering $2 million to OC nonprofits in the 30-hour period.

Here are just some of the benefits to donating:

  • Your donation stays local
  • Your gift benefits the cause you choose
  • Pool your donation with others from OC who share the passion to help
  • A little goes a long way. Donations start at just $25
  • Chance to supersize your donation with $500,000 in bonuses and prizes

Here are some of the ways you can help and participate in Orange County’s first-ever Giving Day:

what-you-can-doSecure, tax-deductible donations will be accepted on iheartOC.org during a 30-hour period, and participating Orange County nonprofits will be eligible to receive funding through bonus awards and prizes provided by OCCF and our Giving Day partners. You can also enter to win $150 to grant to the nonprofit of your choice during #iheartoc Giving Day on April 21-22. OCCF is giving away three of these. Just enter below in the Rafflecopter! To read more about the contest, click here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let’s come together to show our Orange County pride and show the nonprofits how much we care! To learn more about #iheartoc Giving Day and the more than 340 participating nonprofits, click here.

Follow the Orange County Community Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates and information surrounding this wonderful event.

Disclosure: I was provided with information about this event to share with my readers and compensated for my time. All opinions are 100% my own. 

The Day My Daughter Taught Me the Word “HANGRY” (Because I Was Acting That Way!) SNICKERS® Saved the Day!

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

the-day

As a mom, I pride myself on being a very kind, loving, patient, and understanding mom. I love the relationship I have with my daughter and the fact that most of the time we see eye to eye.  I’m usually sleep deprived because I try to do too much. I’m always on the go and I feel like I walk around with an invisible to-do list above my head at all times. That’s just called “being a mom”, right?

It’s part of my regular daily routine to pick up my daughter from school at 3 p.m. On most days, I rush her off to one of her sports practices immediately after school. I remember this one particular day recently when I had a total “supermom fail”! I was acting a little short with my daughter. I’d even say I was being snappy. I don’t know what it was but everything was just irritating me that day. She actually stopped, looked directly at me, and asked, “Mommy, are you HANGRY or something?”

hangry-frameI wasn’t sure what that even meant! When I asked her to explain she replied, “You already know what HANGRY is! It’s when you’re acting angry because you’re so hungry! I think Daddy gets it a lot!‘ I almost spit out my water and started laughing at that part! We both ended up giggling about it together. The funny thing is that 1) I was actually “HANGRY” because I had skipped lunch that day at work and 2) My 9 year old had just taught me a new word!

hangryI would never want my daughter to mistake my being a little stressed out for me being upset with her! This is why for me,  it was a total “mom fail”! My attitude was quickly turned around that day after we stopped by Walmart and found these amazing SNICKERS®! They had SNICKERS® Almond, SNICKERS® Extreme and SNICKERS® Peanut Butter Squares! I found them both in the candy area in the grocery section and on the checkout aisles!

snickers-at-walmart

nomIt was hard to decide which one to try first, but we went for the SNICKERS® Almond as soon as we got to the car. Mmmm! After I had some in my belly, all was good. My daughter got a treat too since we shared it! SNICKERS® saved the day!

dear-emiThe very next day, I decided to write her my daughter a note and stick it in her lunchbox. Do you ever do that for your kids? I just wanted her to know I was sorry for being “HANGRY” because I still felt a little bad that she had to call me out on my grumpiness. I do feel like I’m not myself when I’m hungry. It’s an easy fix though, just take time to eat and make sure that you don’t get to a point where you’re starving.

hashtagSo who are YOU when you’re hungry? Hopefully you’re not “hangry” like I was because hangry isn’t very pretty!

Go enter the SNICKERS® “Who are you when you’re hungry?” contest by uploading a personal photo or video from your Computer, Facebook, Instagram or use the SNICKERS® Meme Generator to create something new! Voting begins at Noon on 5/11/15 and ends at 11:59:59AM ET on 7/15/15.

 See more great SNICKERS® recipes and fun stories on the SNICKERS® social hub!

Voyage to the Iron Reef Surfacing on 5/5/15 at Knott’s!

When I heard Knott’s announce  5/5/15 as the opening date for their newest ride, Voyage to the Iron Reef, I screamed in excitement! Literally! I knew it was something I wanted to share with everyone! Voyage-to-the-Iron-Reef-Logo-Header-Surfacing-51515Voyage to the Iron Reef is a spectacular new 4-D interactive ride. Ever since construction crews finished expanding the Boardwalk pier in 2013, guests have happily enjoyed the many new attractions like Coast Rider and Surfside Gliders. But all that activity on the Boardwalk shores has reawakened a mystic lair in the depths below, filled with creatures who have risen up to wreak havoc on the classic So Cal theme park.

VTTIR -On-Ride-1-650-px-wideGet ready to grab a freeze ray and join the battle to save Knott’s from the mysterious creatures that are emerging from the waters beneath the Boardwalk! Catch your first glimpse of the hundreds-strong aquatic army threatening Knott’s in this exclusive teaser video.


The Kraken Queen and her aquatic army have surfaced to feed on the steel of any attraction within their grasps. Their unquenchable appetite for coaster metal has turned these creatures into swimming mechanical monsters unlike anything ever before seen on the ocean floor. Only you can save Knott’s from the mysterious creatures that are emerging from the seas beneath the Boardwalk!

VTTIR Concept-Art-650-px-wideAfter seeing all of these sneak peek pictures and watching the video, I’m even more anxious for May 15th to get here.  For project updates and park information, visit knotts.com or download the Knott’s Berry Farm app for your smart phone. Join the conversation about the new attraction using the hashtag #KnottsIronReef on the Knott’s Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram!

*image credits: Knott’s

Kids Can Have Fun in the Kitchen With Foodstirs’ Valentine’s Heart Tart Kit!

made-with-loveWe recently received an adorable box on our doorstep. It was this awesome Valentine’s Heart Tart Kit from Foodstirs. Have you heard of them? Foodstirs is a creative cooking experience for families that empowers kids to learn how to make homemade food. They offer uniquely designed food crafting kits filled with high-quality ingredients, recipes and specialty tools, delivered to your door. The culinary projects in theirs kits fill curious little chefs with confidence and “know-how” as they use valuable skills such as reading, counting and experimenting to create a tasty treat or meal to share.

foodstirs-kit I love to spend time in the kitchen with Emily. She’s always been eager to help me during cooking and baking.  I want her to know how to cook. It’s such a valuable life skill. We decided to use the kit to make a batch of early Valentine’s Heart Tarts for some of her friends. The packaging is really cute and the only things you really need to provide are the refrigerated ingredients.

Each Valentine’s Heart Tart Kit contains:

  • Easy-to-follow Heart Tart recipe card (makes 12)
  • Ingredients
  • Heart cookie cutter
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Gift bags
  • Gift tags
  • Twine
  • Turkey and Cheese Tart recipe card
  • Bonus recipe: Homemade Jam!

The recipe cards included in each kit have illustrations and lists of what kids need to gather prior to starting their recipe. This is so handy. It’s much easier and more organized when you get all of the things you’re going to need, before starting.

reading-the-directionsI stood by and watched Emily follow the instructions, step by step. She emphasized her plan of doing most of the work for these, all by herself. I just told her I was standing by for emotional support. (I also assisted with cutting the butter into the recipe though)

ingredients-collageEverything was really simple to mix together and she loved getting to use her hands in the bowl for mixing.

mixing-with-handsAfter taking a short break while the dough chilled in the refrigerator, Emily was excited to finally roll the dough out, cut the hearts, and start to fill them with her favorite strawberry jam! (next time we’re going to try filling them with a chocolate spread) I thought she did a great job scoring on the edges of the tarts with a fork.

scoring-the-edgesShe was SO excited when I took the baking pan out of the oven and her Valentine Heart Tarts were done! How cute did these turn out?

so-cute!Our kit included goodie bags with baker’s twine, along with Valentine gift tags to package up each one for a friend. We also added hot pink tulle to one of the tarts for it’s photo debut! What do you think?

bow-on-the-stickWe had so much fun with our Valentine’s Heart Tart Kit from Foodstirs and can’t wait to make a batch of  turkey and cheese tarts next! Each kit costs only $29.99 and includes FREE shipping. You can order kit and receive a $5 off with the discount code: HEARTS! What a perfect way to help your child(ren) cook up something special in time for Valentine’s Day!

heart-eyeVisit Foodstirs on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Celebrating the Holiday Season at Knott’s #MerryFarm With Our Little Family!

Disclosure: My family & I were invited by GigaSavvy to attend a Media Day at Knott’s Merry Farm in order to write this review of our experience.  No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.The Southern California Holiday SeasonThe holiday season has just began and our family had so much fun kicking it off with a visit to Knott’s Merry Farm this year. We live locally and love going to Knott’s Berry Farm but this was actually our first time getting a chance to visit during “Merry Farm”, which runs this year from November 22nd to January 4th! The park is adorned with holiday decorations and the Peanuts characters are dressed in holiday attire! The sunny Southern California weather justified us wearing summer attire that day.

Knotts-Merry-Farm-Water-Tower

Knott's Merry Farm SelfieOur first stop of the day was at Camp Snoopy! Emily loves the kid-friendly rides and all of the little areas to explore in Camp Snoopy. During Knott’s Merry Farm you can catch one of several performances of “Lucy’s Wish List” show, each day, over the Camp Snoopy Theatre.

Lucy's Wish List Show

Lucy's Wish List Show 2Some of Emi’s favorite rides in Camp Snoopy include The Balloon Race, The Grand Sierra Railroad, and the Linus Launcher . While we were there, we decided to stop by and show Woodstock his other house. Emi also got to take a picture with Charlie Brown and sought some helpful (psychiatric) advice from Lucy. We love Camp Snoopy!

Woodstock's House

Charlie Brown

LucyIt was fun to walk through Ghost Town, which has been transformed into the Christmas Crafts Village for Knott’s Merry Farm. It’s a shopping wonderland filled with dozens of local artisans selling their unique gifts. Some of the highlights of the Village include artist demonstrations of chainsaw wood carving, pottery sculpting, and elegant glass blowing. We found a lot of photo opportunities in the Christmas Crafts Village. We also enjoyed listening to carolers sing.

Ghost Town 1

snoopy in calico town

Christmas CarolersAs you continue to walk deeper into Ghost Town, you’ll find Santa’s Christmas Cabin, located inside Wilderness Dance Hall.  Santa is right inside, sitting up on the stage, and waiting for you to bring your little ones to chat with him about what they’d like for Christmas this year. He also reminds them to be good for their parents, which was my favorite part! There are photographers on hand to capture the perfect moment with your little one(s) and Santa in photos available for purchase afterwards.

Emi and Knott's Santa

Inside Santa's Christmas CabinInside Santa’s Christmas Cabin, there are plenty of treats  to choose from including homemade cookies & milk, hot chocolate, gourmet coffee and hot chocolate, s’mores on a stick, roasted nuts, winter wines and beer. It’s a nice place to sit down and take a break for a snack. Emi loved sitting at one of the little wooden tables to share some milk and cookies with Snoopy!

Milk and Cookies With SnoopyDuring Knott’s Merry Farm, the Calico Railroad is converted into a special Christmas on Engine 41 train ride experience. After you climb aboard the vintage railcar, you get to interact with a whole cast of characters who are ready to brighten your holidays with songs and chats about their traveling adventures. It’s a Christmas train ride filled with holiday cheer.

Christmas on Engine 41#1

Christmas on Engine 41#2Just past the Calico Railroad, standing in front of the Calico Square Stage, stands the Knott’s Christmas tree, adorned with hundreds of ornaments. It’s so beautiful standing tall against the sunny blue sky! Emi and Snoopy liked checking themselves out in the giant ornaments!

The Knott's Christmas TreeAfter the sun goes down, you can enjoy watching Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting on the Calico Square Stage as it lights up with the celebration of the season. It’s a musical, whimsical tree lighting featuring a cast of Toy Soldiers, Snowmen, Elves and the world’s most famous beagle, Snoopy!

Snoopy-Merriest-Tree-Lighting-650-pixels-wide(photo credit: Knott’s)  

After dark, there’s also snowy fun each night during Knott’s Merry Farm along the buildings and paths in Ghost Town’s Main Street, as they are filled with glow and snow! Thousands of sparkling lights dance to the beat of “Let It Snow” while snow gently falls in this spectacular one-of-a-kind moment you can enjoy with your family in the Ghost Town.

Snowing-in-Ghost-Town-family-header-650-px-width-(photo credit: Knott’s)

Emi, Snoopy, and Woodstock really wanted to eat dinner at Grizzly Creek Lodge, located inside of Camp Snoopy! They loved having a cheeseburger, fries and some Knott’s Berry Punch together. It’s one of our family’s favorites that we HAVE TO  have on each visit to the park. Emi loved the keepsake lunchbox that her kids meal was served in. She truly adores the Peanuts gang.

dinner with snoopy

Knott's Berry PunchI think our most favorite show at Knott’s Merry Farm was the “Merry Christmas, Snoopy” Ice show, which is in the Charles M. Schultz Theatre. I grew up watching Peanuts on TV and now Emi loves them too. Watching her face light up as all of the characters came out to skate during the show was priceless. Skating Snoopy was precious, the costumes were beautiful, I loved the songs they chose and the story lines, and the skating was amazing! What true talent!

Merry Christmas Snoopy 1

Merry Christmas Snoopy! 2It was a great day at Knott’s Merry Farm and we’re already planning our next visit. Have you checked out all of the benefits that come with a 2015 Knott’s Season Pass? They’re very affordable and make great holiday gifts! We’re considering grabbing 3 of them for our own family! If you purchase a pass now,  you get one 2014 visit to Knott’s Merry Farm for free! For more information, click here!

Thank you Knott's!

Thank you again, Knott’s! As you can tell by the smile on her face, she LOVED Merry Farm and our family is so grateful for the opportunity to have spent the day creating more memories together!  Happy holidays!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas at Disneyland Resort!

It's a Small World at Christmas timeIt’s only November 2nd and Christmas is popping up already, all around Disneyland Resort with a heavy emphasis over in Toontown! Yep! I really couldn’t be happier about it, either!

firehouse in ToontownWe ventured into Toontown this morning to ride Gadget’s Go Coaster and I immediately noticed the decorations on the firehouse! As I looked around, I could see that there were beautiful garlands hanging on the boughs of the buildings and houses in Toontown!

city hall 1

I loved the patriotic decorations hanging on Toontown City Hall. I was lucky enough to catch Pluto peeking out of the door when I was standing there! He gave me a big hug and then stopped to take a selfie with me before continuing on his way!

city hall

selfie with Pluto

I think my most favorite parts in Toontown were the decorations on Mickey and Minnie’s houses! They’re so lucky that they each get their own Christmas tree in their front yard!

Mickey's houseMickey’s house is all ready for the holidays! 

Minnie's House 2How adorable is Minnie’s house? The CM told us that Minnie was up late last night working on that heart-shaped wreath!

Disneyland Resort is most definitely “My Happy Place” but with Christmas decorations slowly appearing all around the parks, it Just Got Happier! I can’t wait to go back soon and see it when everything is decorated for Christmas!

Do YOU have a favorite part about Christmas time at Disneyland Resort?

More Fun With The Box Trolls! Check Out These Printable Activity Sheets and a DIY for an Industrial Metal Lamp!

the-boxtrolls-poster

As September 26th gets closer and we’re starting to see TV spots for The Box Troll movie, we’re getting more and more excited in our house for its release into theaters! After Emi saw this video from You Tube showing how some of the movie was made using stop motion, she was extra excited because she loves making stop motion videos of her own on her iPad!

We been visiting the official Box Trolls site quite often lately and playing the “Make your own Box Troll” game. It’s really fun! You need to go try out!  I’ve got some free activity sheets that go along with the movie for you. There’s a fun maze, an unscramble activity, a word search and some other printables. Just click on the image below to take you to the link where you can download and print out some of your own!

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 6.07.28 PM

 

Another fun thing you might want to check out this awesome DIY tutorial that shows how to make an industrial lamp! Watch!

Have you picked out a favorite Box Troll yet? Mine is still “Shoe” and Emi’s is “Oil Can”! Which is yours?

Un sinópsis de la película:
Un evento cinematográfico para toda la familia de los creadores de “Coraline” y “ParaNorman”, que le presenta a las audiencias a un nuevo tipo de familia: los Boxtrolls, una comunidad de criaturas estrafalarias y traviesas que han criado con amor a un niño humano huérfano llamado Eggs (con la voz de Isaac Hempstead-Wright) en la asombrosa casa cavernosa que han construido debajo de las calles de Cheesebridge. Cuando el villano del pueblo, Archibald Snatcher (el ganador del Premio de la Academia Ben Kingsley), propone un plan para eliminar a los Boxtrolls, Eggs decide aventurarse a la superficie, “para encontrar la luz”, y allí conoce y se hace amigo de la fabulosamente enérgica Winnie (Elle Fanning). Juntos, conciben un osado plan para salvar a la familia de Eggs.

b4 Hand Sanitizers Are a Teacher’s Best Friend!

Disclosure: I received b4 products to write a review about. No other compensation was received. All opinion are my own. 

Back to school time is very exciting for me as a teacher! I get to decorate my classroom and plan another exciting school year of learning activities, but the best part is meeting my new students on the first day of class!

keep calm After teaching for so many years and having my share of illnesses, I’ve learned the importance of making extra efforts to sanitize my classroom and my own hands, especially while I’m around the kids. I love each and every one of them and give out lots of hugs on a daily basis, I just don’t love what different germs get brought to school with them.

photo-328The playground is so much fun but such a breeding ground for germs! 

When the people over at b4 asked if I’d like to try some of their hand sanitizer products, I was quick to respond with a “yes!“.  After having an awful flu last year, I’m taking back-to-school seriously this year, including being more pro-active about sanitizing! This year, I actually wrote b4 products into my lesson plans! Ok, that was a joke, but seriously, my b4 packets sit right on top of my desk!

photo-325b4 is a hand sanitizer that refreshes and cleans all while giving back to the community. b4’s purpose is to change lives through charitable giving. Yes, that’s right — b4 gives back, which is what I love most about them! b4 gives 50 percent of all profits from sales to children-focused causes. The profits are donated through The Midway Foundation and more than $1.3 million has already been donated to 150 organizations.

I received an envelope filled with several packets of  individual hand sanitizer packets, as well as some big boxes of  them. The fact that the individual packets came in several different colors was just an added bonus. Everyone loves a rainbow!

photo-327Here are some highlights about b4 Products:

  • The b4 hand sanitizer is specially formulated to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria
  • Each single-use gel hand sanitizer is packaged in eye-popping, bold colors
  • Hand sanitizer packets can be co-branded – b4 works with companies to customize colors, logos, etc.
  • b4 hand sanitizer moisturizes hands with Vitamin E and aloe
  • All b4 products are made in the USA
  • b4 is a triclosan-free hand sanitizer

Not only did I use several of these during my first week back teaching, but I also packed a box of b4 in Emi’s backpack on her first day of school.  I’m sure she’ll be excited to share with all of her friends!

photo-326Check out all of the b4 products on their site. They are so convenient and can just be thrown into your purse or a backpack. Right now you can receive 15% off your order when you place your order online, using. the code “b4health” Orders over $35 receive free shipping.  Also, starting September 20, you’ll be able to purchase b4 products at Staples.

B4 Sanitizer 07

I love supporting companies like b4 that give back to others!

I’ve now added b4 to my teacher necessities  list!

Let’s Go Back-to-School Shopping at The Shops at Mission Viejo!

This is a sponsored post.

Summer is coming to an end and if you haven’t already started your back to school shopping, you should probably get to it soon! I know I need to start mine, so I’ll be heading to The Shops at Mission Viejo…again!

keep calm and go back to school shopping I refer to The Shops at Mission Viejo as “my mall”. Not only do we live close by, but I LOVE this mall because it literally has everything we need in one place and it’s family friendly. We always find the latest fashions there! Emi and I spend a lot of time hanging out together there.

back to school listJust making the list of things Emi needs counts as starting Back-to-School prep, right?

Every year, Emi and I make Back-to-School shopping an entire “Girls Day Out”.  There are so many stores to shop at in The Shops at Mission Viejo and lots of choices for a stop to lunch, when our feet need a rest.

Here are just some of the stores Emi likes to shop at most for Back-to-School:

  • Justice
  • Childrens Place
  • Nordstrom
  • Old Navy
  • Claire’s Boutique
  • Macy’s
  • The Disney Store
  • See’s Candies (you’ve GOTTA bring something for the teacher on the first day!)

 

 Wish me luck with my Back-to-School shopping!

For a complete mall directory of The Shops at Mission Viejo, click here.

Visit The Shops at Mission Viejo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the latest events, trends & news.