Over The Top Mommy

Granny’s Apple Fries at LEGOLAND Are Delicious

If you know me, you know that my love for food is not something I’m shy about! If I see something posted on social media that looks yummy, it sometimes gets stuck in my head until I finally just have to try it. I recently saw someone tweeting about Granny’s Apple Fries from LEGOLAND California and I knew that I needed to try some for myself. The problem is that I don’t get to visit very often. So, when I had the opportunity to go to LEGOLAND for Holiday Snow Days, I was determined to try them!

excuse-me-but-where-are-the-apple-friesGranny’s Apple Fries is located on Castle Hill and we hit it up after coming off of The Dragon! (that’s a super fun roller coaster). My mouth was watering as we approached the window to order and I could see the apples!  Luckily there was a short line that day.

nom-nom-nomThey’re made with Granny Smith apples, lightly fried, dusted with cinnamon sugar, and served with vanilla cream dipping sauce! We shared one but I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to take the whole thing, run away, and eat them in a corner all by myself! That would make me a bad mom though, right?

we-got-emI miss LEGOLAND’s apple fries every single day (that’s not too big of an exaggeration either). I got really excited when my friend, Wendy (Yep, we have the same name!), posted her own copycat recipe for homemade apple fries a few weeks ago!  They look really easy to prepare and yummy too! I’m going to be making them soon!

So tell me…have YOU had the chance to try Granny’s Apple Fries at LEGOLAND? If not, you need to try them one day! Trust me, you’ll be hooked!

“Kids in the Kitchen” Cooking Class at Renaissance ClubSport in Aliso Viejo

renaissance-club-sport-aliso-viejoEmi and I were recently invited to attend a super fun kids event at Renaissance ClubSport. Located in Aliso Viejo, the club is Orange County’s premier health club. The club holds monthly “Kids in the Kitchen” cooking classes, designed for children ages 3 to 12, as part of their Kids’ World program. Classes and are taught by the club’s Executive Sous Chef and Sous Chef. Children in attendance got to experience a hands-on cooking lesson, in a small group setting. My daughter loved learning how to prepare apple turnovers and some very special chocolate chip cookies. She also enjoyed getting to use her hands to mix the ingredients. It was something exciting and different than just using an electric mixer, like we do at home.

making-the-doughcookie-doughpreparing-the-apple-turnoverSince we are so fortunate to have great winter weather here in Southern California, the class was held poolside. While the children were waiting for their culinary creations to bake in the club’s kitchen, they got to enjoy listening to a story and color with friends in a cabana.


reading-and-coloring-by-the-poolWhen the Sous Chef brought out the children’s finished products, I could tell how proud Emily was to show me hers. She was anxious to eat them but knew that first I needed to snap a pic!

cookies-are-doneRenaissance ClubSport in Aliso Viejo  is a super facility, built around a fitness center, which also includes a hotel, restaurant, sports bar, conference room, boutique, pool, and water slide area. We also received a brief tour of the entire Kids’ World area of the club, which is its own enclosed facility within the club. It’s a safe stimulating childcare environment for children 6 weeks-12 years old. There are so many fun activity choices for children with inside and outside areas to play.

kids-world-funAll Renaissance ClubSport family members receive three hours of complimentary Kids World childcare per day, which means you have plenty of time to work out, enjoy lunch, or indulge in a spa treatment. Childcare is also available to hotel guests for a nominal fee while parents are on the premises. For more information about Renaissance ClubSport Kids World, click here.

apple-turnover-is-doneThanks for having us, Renaissance! We hope to come back again for some more fun at your club!

Connect with Renaissance ClubSport here and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to attend a special media event in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Disney’s “Frozen” Popcorn Snack Recipe

If your children are anything like my daughter, they probably can’t get enough of all things Frozen! After getting the Frozen Sing-Along Edition for Christmas, Emi was anxious to watch it with me. I suggested that we make a fun snack to go along with it. I also sang to her when I asked her, “Do you wanna make some popcorn?“!

Do-you-wanna-make-some-popcornThe word “popcorn” gets any kid excited but when I pulled out the bag of Wilton’s blue melts, white M&M’s, and 2 kinds of Wilton’s sprinkles, she got even more excited! (If possible) I’ve think I’ve come up with a popcorn snack recipe for most holidays and now one for this movie! I’m calling this one “Frozen Popcorn“! It’s simple to throw together.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A giant bowl of popcorn. I say giant because you will end up eating a bunch before you’ve even made your recipe. For this concoction, I popped 2 bags of microwave popcorn and separated the unpopped kernels out before putting it all into a big bowl.

popcornI bought a bag of blue Wilton candy melts, 2 different kinds of Wilton sprinkles, and then also some white M&Ms. You need some type of candy to mix in with it all. Peanuts or chocolate chips could also work well with this. I was trying to stick with blue and white to match my “Frozen” theme.


To prepare the candy melts, you’ll want to place them into a microwave-safe bowl. Have some vegetable available on your counter to use. Microwave the melts for 30 seconds, remove, and stir. They won’t be that melted the first time.

Wilton-candy-meltsThey’ll look like this after you’ve microwaved the first 30 seconds. (not very melted yet)

Do this once more for 30 seconds and again remove and stir. My melts are usually pretty melted by this time. Keep stirring so they’re all blended together, unless you think yours need a little more heat. It’s very important that you don’t overcook them. Add a little bit of vegetable oil to your melts and stir well. Allow to cool for about a minute and you’ll notice the mixture gets a little bit thicker.

candy-melts-meltedNow it’s ready to spoon over the popcorn bowl. Use wooden spoons (or your hands if you’re brave) to mix the melt mixture together with the popcorn.

spooning-melts-over-the-popcornIt might look as blue as a Smurf but the kids will just be excited that they’re getting blue popcorn. After it’s mixed up, add the sprinkles and the M&Ms, again mixing together really well. Now it’s ready to serve!

ready-to-serveTo make it extra fun, serve your “Frozen” snack in fun cups or bowls! Keep some hand wipes nearby!

serve-in-a-fun-cupBut be careful…because if you turn your back, THIS is what can happen! I ate a bunch when she wasn’t watching though, so we’re kind of even!



What’s your favorite “go-to snack” for family movie nights at your house?






DIY Holiday Thank You Cards Using Behr Paint Chips!

With the holiday season coming to a close, I can look back and smile, just thinking about some of the new Christmas memories our family made together this year. As we were putting away the ornaments and our Christmas tree, I looked at the huge pile of opened gifts near the fireplace and it realized that someone’s got  quite a few thank you notes to write now. I thought it would be fun for her thank you notes to have a homemade touch and to be handwritten because I think people appreciate those kinds of things.

I was recently inspired by one of my favorite crafting Superwomen, Laura Kelly! She did a tutorial post showing how to make simple and adorable Christmas tree ornaments using paint chips.

Paint-Chip-Trees-With-LightsHow adorable are her trees? (photo credit: Laura Kelly)

I had been wanting to make them with Emi prior to Christmas, but it just didn’t happen. So, I decided to put my own twist on them and use them in this project. (Bloggers are sometimes really big copycats of other bloggers, which is actually a form of flattery)

 Behr paint chipsWe shuffled off to pick up some Behr paint chips to use for our project. I love Behr paint. It’s what we used to paint the inside of Emi’s closet and also her room. Behr just has so many beautiful palettes to choose from. It’s probably a good idea to ask the people working in the store if it’s OK to take some paint chips for your project. They’ll most likely say “yes” and probably even ask you what you’re making with them.

paint-chip-treesEmi and I spent the entire day, crafting in our pajamas. First we made the trees, some big and some small. It’s much easier to avoid mistakes if you draw the trees on the back of the paint chip and then cut. Our tree trunks were very simple and we only used a single hue of brown.

Behr-paint-chip-tree-trunksNext, it was time to make the stars for the tops of the trees. This part can be frustrating for some children (I know this from my experiences in my own first grade classroom) but for some reason, Emi loved making the stars and even “fixed” some of mine!

Behr-paint-chip-starsFinally, we made the ornaments. It was fun to use non-traditional colors for our ornaments, which is what our own Christmas tree has on it. You could also use a hole punch to make the ornaments into perfect circles and all the same size, but I think that hand-cut ornaments are cute because they are each uniquely shaped.

Behr-paint-chip-ornaments Behr-paint-chip-Christmas-treesAfter the trees were finished, we glued each one to the front of a thank you card and used a hot glue gun to stick a little metal gift embellishment around the bottom of the tree to finish each one off.

metal-gift-embellishmentsEmily then wrote her thank yous inside and we addressed them and mailed them off to lucky recipients!


Behr-paint-chip-Christmas-tree-thank-you-cardsI love receiving handmade cards and handwritten notes in the mail. It’s just something about that personal touch. I recipients will treasure these little works of Emi’s art! Do YOU have your kids send thank you notes for gifts?

Learn more about Behr products here. Connect with Behr Paint Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

This is not a sponsored post.

It’s Comfort Food Time With Marie Callender’s Pot Pies & Cornucopia Salad!

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

Comfort Food Time with Marie Callender's Pot Pies #EasyAsPotPie #AdI’m always excited when it starts to feel like winter outside! There’s just something about the cooler temperatures that gets me excited to pull out my winter sweaters and fuzzy socks and start cooking up comfort foods!

Mmmm Chicken Pot Pie is my favorite! #EasyAsPotPie #AdOne of my favorite comfort foods are Marie Callender’s pot pies, specifically the chicken ones, which I actually grew up eating as a kid. They’re made with tender white-meat chicken, carrots, celery, and peas and prepared in a golden, flaky crust made from scratch, that tastes like homemade. Just writing about them makes me want one right now! The pot pies are also available in turkey, beef & a few different kinds of chicken flavors and are sold in a variety of sizes, to fit the needs of your own family. Although they’re available in Family Size, our family prefers the smaller individual ones. I think it has do with us each getting our own full crust!

A pot pie for each of us! #EasyAsPotPie #Ad As a busy mom, who’s always on the go, I appreciate a meal I can make for my family, that not only tastes good but is quick and easy to prepare. With our schedules, it’s sometimes hard to find very much “together time” at home. To prepare a Marie Callender’s pot pie, you just pop it into the oven. (They can be prepared in the microwave, too). While they’re cooking in the oven, I’m then able to spend some quality time in the kitchen with my daughter, making a side dish to complete the meal. My daughter loves to cook and bake so any time that we can carve out time to spend together in the kitchen is a plus. For me, it’s so important to make that connection with family.

Cornucopia Salad #easyaspotpie #adOne of our favorite side dishes is the “Cornucopia Salad“. This salad combines baby lettuce, green apple, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, feta cheese crumbles, and candied almonds. It’s tossed in a delicious olive oil-based dressing and just goes really well with just about any meal! It’s very simple to throw together too!

Ingredients for salad

  • 6 cups lettuce of your choice, washed. (I sometimes use bagged lettuce to save time.)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • 1 11 ounce can mandarin oranges
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese crumbles (blue cheese also works with this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • the juice from 1 lemon

lettuce for the cornucopia salad #EasyAsPotPie #adToppings for the Cornucopia Salad #EasyAsPotPie #AdIngredients for dressing

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


Candied Almond Preparation

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and almonds and put over medium heat.
  2. Continue to stir the mixture every couple of minutes until the sugar starts to melt.
  3. Once this happens, continue stirring evenly to sugar coat all of the almonds evenly and then transfer from the pan to some foil, allowing the almonds to cool down and solidify a little bit.

candied almonds preparation #easyaspotpie #adDressing Preparation

  1. Whisk together salt, pepper, sugar, and olive oil in a small bowl.
  2. Finely chop up parsley and add to the mixture.
  3. Set dressing aside and shake well before tossing onto Cornucopia Salad.

making the dressing #EasyAsPotPie #AdSalad Preparation

  1. Add lettuce to salad bowl.
  2. Cut and core apple and either cut into large apple slices or dice it up. Next, add to salad bowl. If you don’t plan on serving right away, squeeze lemon juice onto apple to prevent browning.
  3. Drain mandarin oranges and add to salad.
  4. Add dried cranberries, feta cheese crumbles, and candied almonds to the bowl and mix everything together.
  5. Set salad aside until you’re ready to toss with dressing and serve.

combining the salad #Easyaspotpie #adFor me, a Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie served with Cornucopia Salad IS the ultimate comfort meal that my family and I can all sit around the table and enjoy, as we chat about each others’ days. Family time together is the most important time!

Dinner is Served Now #EasyAsPotPie #Ad This fall, Marie Callender’s launched the Comforts From Home Project, a program dedicated to bringing the heartwarming feelings, flavors, and favorites of home to those who miss it most…. those who protect America’s homes every day: the brave men and women of the U.S. Military. Every time you enter a code from a specially marked package of Marie Callender’s meals or desserts, Marie Callender’s will make a donation to USO2GO, a USO program that brings electronics, sports gear, books, games, and more to troops stationed in remote locations. Look for the code on participating products.

You can find Marie Callender’s pot pies in the frozen meals section of the grocery area in your local Walmart! Visit here to learn more about Marie Callender’s pot pies and here for more great recipes!

Marie Callender's Pot Pies #easyaspotpie #ad What’s YOUR family’s favorite comfort food to enjoy together?



The New Annie Movie is Here! #AnnieMovie

I recently wrote a post about one of my all-time favorite movies from my childhood, “Annie“!

Annie SoundtrackIt’s one movie that I have been able to share with my own daughter and have watched her fall in love with it as much as I did at her age. I honestly don’t think I will ever grow tired of the movie or the musical or the soundtrack and I couldn’t be more excited for the release of a new Annie Movie just in time for Christmas 2014!

If you still haven’t watched the trailer for it, check it out now!

Here’s a synopsis of the movie:
A Broadway classic that has delighted audiences for generations comes to the big screen with a new, contemporary vision in Columbia Pictures’ comedy Annie. Director/Producer/Screenwriter Will Gluck teams with producers James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith & Will Smith, Caleeb Pinkett, and Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Laurence “Jay” Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith with a modern telling that captures the magic of the classic characters and original show that won seven Tony Awards. Celia Costas and Alicia Emmrich serve as Executive Producers. The screenplay is by Will Gluck and Aline Brosh McKenna, based on the musical stage play “Annie,” book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and on “Little Orphan Annie,” © and ® Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Academy Award® nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who’s also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything’s about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) – advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) – makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around.

ANNIE Cast I’m excited about this modern-day Annie! It’s looks so good and I already cried a little bit just from watching the preview! I love the entire cast, including Sandy the dog! I know people often say that remakes have a tough time living up to how good an original classic is, but I have a feeling I’m going to be in love with this production as well! Little Quvenzhané Wallis (a.k.a. “Annie”) has already reeled me in! She’s absolutely adorable and an incredibly talented young lady!

Can't wait for #AnnieMovieEmi was so excited to receive some Annie promotional items in the mail, including this shirt and Sandy plush dog! Are YOU excited for the new Annie Movie? Will you be taking your kid(s) to see it?

Remember to Follow Annie Movie on Facebook,  Twitter, & Instagram!

Ring in The New Year With Family Friendly Fun at Knott’s! #KnottsNYE

Disclosure: I was invited by GigaSavvy to spend New Year’s Eve at Knott’s this year with my family. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

New-Years-Eve-at Knott's I cannot believe that it’s almost 2015! Where has the time gone this year? I love the holiday season and have been fortunate enough to fit in a ton of holiday activities this season. With it being the week before Christmas, I’m also already planning for New Year’s Eve! This year, our family is going to spend New Year’s Eve at Knott’s and I think you should too! Put on your party hats and get ready to ring in the New Year at Knott’s family-friendly New Year’s Eve event that offers something for everyone! Knott’s is a fun and safe options for families who want to ring in the New Year together.

Creating Family Memories at Knott'sExtended park hours (from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m.!), live entertainment, and a fireworks display are all included in the price of regular park admission!  And if you have a 2015 Season Pass the value is even better, because each 2015 Season Pass includes one FREE visit in 2014 that can be used on New Year’s Eve! There’s still time to purchase Knott’s 2015 Season Passes (have you seen how low they’re priced at?) which also include a visit in 2014, and you could also use that 2014 visit for New Year’s Eve at Knott’s!

Knotts 2015 season passSo what are YOUR plans for New Year’s Eve this year? Why not head over to Knott’s?

The Beautifully Updated Dining Pavilion at The Shops at Mission Viejo Isn’t Called a “Food Court” Anymore!

Dislcosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own!

A few months ago when I was walking around “My Mall”, The Shops at Mission Viejo, I noticed some changes going on in the area formerly known as “the Food Court”. I got really excited when I saw signs posted indicating that some stylish changes were happening to the area, transforming it into a “Dining Pavilion”! I love anything stylish and I LOVED that it was getting the new, more grown-up name “Dining Pavilion”, too!

TheShopsatMissionViejo_Dining Pavilion Rendering-2This was just a rendering of how the space was intended to look but I swear I see myself sitting back there! (the one on her cell phone)

Renovations to the former food court began in August. Some of the features of the updated dining pavilion include a new layout, tile, furniture, and some new vendors, including a Starbucks!!! (coming soon) Meant to enhance the customer dining experience at the center, The Shops at Mission Viejo’s upgraded Dining Pavilion includes a color palette of warm, brown, and wood tones, accented by mosaic tiles and neutral tones that complement the darker wood details. Fresh orange and lime-colored furniture play off of the wood tones, displaying a contemporary and clean style. In addition to new flooring and lighting, the Dining Pavilion also showcases a more open layout that improves the flow of traffic and visibility throughout the dining area. Additional highlights include high bar top counters and electronic charging stations designed so guests can work on their laptops or charge their phones while they eat. Other touches include communal tables big enough to accommodate large families or groups wanting to sit together, which is helpful for large parties or birthdays, common for the family-oriented Shops at Mission Viejo. The entire area now displays a clean, contemporary look to complement the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired style of the mall’s overall architecture.

dining pavilion signOn Saturday, December 6, I attended the public Dining Pavilion Celebration to celebrate all of these wonderful changes.It was an all day event that featured festive holiday music including live entertainment, a face painter and a balloon artist. The first 250 guests at the event received swag bags filled with retailer goodies and food coupons. Giveaways were also held every hour during the event.  Mall shoppers enjoyed samples and special offers from Dining Pavilion eateries, which included 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.

dining pavilion celebration

celebration collageI really love the finished look of how the entire space turned out. I love how open and how bright it is with natural lighting coming from the ceiling area. The couches set up with a coffee table in between them allow for families to gather and have an intimate conversation while enjoying some food and drinks. The comfy chairs provide resting areas for dads who don’t want to trek through the mall with their daughters who are on a shopping mission or even moms who are trying to grab a quick bite to eat while feeding their infants. The high bar top counters with barstools are welcoming for single shoppers or even a couple of girlfriends who are lunching in the middle of their day. It is just such a bright and cheery space now, more than it was before.

new dining pavilion collageemi readingThis is Emi’s new favorite spot to read in the mall!

Now let’s get back to the part where I mentioned a Starbucks coming soon though! Yep, it’s all very excited as The Shops at Mission Viejo is preparing for 700 square-foot standalone Starbucks with café-like seating! It’s set to join the center next year, on the upper level in the Dining Pavilion. I squealed in excitement when I saw the area where it’s going to be! It was almost like “my mall” gave me the best Christmas present ever, putting this sign under the tree! I cannot wait for Spring 2015 now!

starbucks coming soon

Connect with The Shops at Mission Viejo on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram too!

Join Foothill Ranch Chick-Fil-A in Their Collaboration With Saddleback Church and OC Rescue Mission to Provide Meals for Families in Need! #HopefortheHolidays


Foothill Ranch Chick-Fil-A Hope for the Holidays This holiday season, Foothill Ranch Chick-Fil-A is collaborating with Saddleback Church and OC Rescue Mission to support Orange County families in need, by bringing them meals. From now until New Year’s Day, Chick-Fil-A Foothill Ranch will be taking donations at their store, which will go directly to providing hand-delivered. They are hoping to feed 1000 families this season!

Hope for the Holidays Each customer donation of $6.00 will go to purchase a Hope Box Meal which includes a Chick-Fil-A Sandwich, Waffly Fry Kettle Chips, a Chocolate Chunk Cookie, and a message of hope, which is a handwritten note by the donor (note can also be written anonymously) and attached to the box for delivery.

Hope Box Meal

messages of hope It was touching to see local community members AND local businesses support the “Hope for the Holidays” program this year and read their “messages of hope” on the Christmas tree in the store! Please consider stopping by Chick-Fil-A Foothill Ranch and making a donation too! It’s amazing what your $6 can do for someone in need.

Happy Holidays!

Connect with Chick-Fil-A Foothill Ranch on Facebook!

This is not a sponsored post.