Granola Babies Holiday Baazar!

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Granola Babies, a popular one-stop online shop for all your natural baby items, now has a retail location in Costa Mesa offering Orange County’s largest selection of baby carriers, cloth diapers, unique toys and natural baby care products.  They also offer a weekly calendar full of fun (& often free) classes, workshops, play groups and opportunities to learn more about natural living with your little natural bundles of joy. Click here to see their calendar.

This Saturday you will have the perfect opportunity to check out the shop and do some holiday shopping at their annual holiday bazaar!  They will have lots of local companies onsite selling fabulous gifts, live music, food, drinks and giveaways every hour.

I also heard that Santa Claus is taking a break from his busy December schedule and will be there from 12pm – 2pm for storytime and pictures so can bring your kiddos!

I will be stopping by with my kids to see Santa, do some shopping and nibble on some of  Sensitive Sweets‘ delicious baked goods.  Lucky for me Morgan will also be able to enjoy a cupcake (dairy free of course) for a change!

Granola Babies will also be collecting donations at the event to benefit Project Hope. If you wish to participate, please bring a $10 gift card from any So Cal grocery store chain to help a family in need this holiday season.

Granola Babies Holiday Baazar
Saturday, December 4th, 2010
11am – 3pm

Granola Babies Retail Shop
(in the back parking lot)
2346 Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa, CA

Click HERE for more information and a participating vendor list & you can click HERE for a map. You can also visit Granola Babies on Facebook and follow @GranolaBabies on Twitter.

Hope to see you there!

{Disclosure: Granola Babies is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor}

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Team OC Winter Camp Giveaway

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Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  Well, the calendar is turning this week and before we know it the kids will be out of school for the holiday break. If your kids are like mine (and crave school & activities!) and you are looking for a fun OC winter camp for kids look no further than the fabulous Team OC in Costa Mesa!  I have a giveaway for one week of winter camp for your kids! Details below so keep reading…

Team OC winter camp is the perfect opportunity for your child to have a blast when school is out and will give YOU the chance to finish up last minute shopping during the holidays. The Winter Camps will be a combination of Gymnastics, Cheer, Dance, Trampoline, sports activities, arts and crafts, games, Rockwall, Zipline, and the AMAZING BOUNCE HOUSE!  Um, think your kids might have fun? I think “yes!”

Dates: December 20 – 23, 2010 (Monday – Thursday) and December 27 – 30, 2010 (Monday – Thursday)

Time: Half Day Only from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Ages:  Boys and Girls ages 3-13

Weekly Pricing: $200/week (member) and $225/week (non-member)

You also are able to purchase a pre-paid Play Pass for a 2 or 4 day pass. This means you can choose the dates for your kids to go with a minimum 48 hour reservation.  Love this flexibility!

Play Pass Pricing:
2-day pass $120 (member) $140 (non-member)/ 4-day pass $240 (member) $280 (non-member)

Team OC offers amazing classes for kids of all ages year round.  If you think you might want to try a Team OC class sometime in the next year,  it is worth it to pay the annual membership fee to save on your winter camp tuition.  And, if you do sign up for classes, you can mention Tiny Oranges and receive 20% off your first month tuition. Please note this discount does not apply to Camps.

You can also click HERE to try out a class for free! It’s amazing. I am thinking of signing up Morgan for the Baby Bees Parent & Me class.  I did this one with Emma when she was a toddler and she loved it.

Also worth noting is Team OC  now has a special Martial Arts program (for ages 5+) taught by Ernie Reyes, Jr. who starred in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other featured films & shows.  Click HERE for more information on this cool Orange County martial arts program for kids!

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive one free week (4 days) of Winter Camp*! To enter, please leave a separate comment for each entry option. Contest runs through Thursday, 12/2/10 at 5pm PST.  Good luck!

Entry options:

1. Click HERE and tell me one of the types of classes offered at Team OC – 1 ENTRY

2. {Like} Team OC on Facebook – 1 ENTRY

3. {Like} Tiny Oranges on Facebook – 1 ENTRY

4. Follow @TinyOrangesOC on Twitter – 1 ENTRY

5. Join the Tiny Oranges Team to participate in the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Run/Walk on 5/1/11 and raise money for a great cause and have a ton of fun while doing it!  Click “Join Our Team” at the top of this LINK.

Good luck! I will post the winner on my Facebook fan page Thursday night!

*Winner may pick which week they would like their child to attend with 3 days prior notice & reservation required.

{Disclosure: Team OC is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor}

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Thankful

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On my endless list of things I am thankful for, one of the first things is always HEALTH. I am so grateful for my kids health, my health, my family’s health. I feel beyond blessed to have good health in our family.

But there are families this Thanksgiving day and every day whose children are sick. Did you know that each year cancer kills more children and adolescents than any other disease?  Did you know that you can make a difference?

Please consider joining my team Tiny Oranges at the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Cinco de Mayo Run/Walk on May 1st, 2011 in Irvine to help raise money to help make a difference in a child’s life. The money WE raise will fund research that explores causes, treatments and cures for pediatric cancer.

It’s easy!  Click here to go to the Tiny Oranges team page. Click the “Join Our Team” at the top and the sign up will walk you through the rest.  You can choose any event…half marathon, 10K run, 5K run/walk or 1K kids’ fun run and sign up the entire family.

We have 20 people on our team thus far and have already raised $653 and our team ranks 2nd in the line up! My goal for now is 50 people, so please consider joining us!!  It will be a ton of fun, and the moment you click to sign up, you will immediately get a warm fuzzy feeling about doing something really powerful for an amazing organization.

And, may I have a drum roll please…

It was just announced this week that the Montage Laguna Beach has so generously offered to sponsor our team and will be providing, are you ready for this, a complimentary one-night weeknight stay in an oceanfront room* at their GORGEOUS property to the individual on the Tiny Oranges team who raises the most money for pediatric cancer research!   A value of $700.  I am so excited about this and feel so THANKFUL for their support of our team.  Thank you! Thank you!

I fell in love with Running Divas at the Long Beach Marathon expo when I saw their hip running apparel and fun slogans that celebrate running.  I have been talking with the owner and he has offered to do a custom designed tee or tank for our Tiny Oranges team at HALF price. Could be as cheap as $11!  Again, so grateful for their support.  Stay tuned for more information on our cute team tank or tee!   Click over and check out the cute slogans.

So, lots to be thankful for this year.  And I would like sincerely thank YOU for reading my blog. You inspire me and keep me going every day!  I wish you and yours a very happy holiday!  I am also still working on my place cards & table topics for my dinner tomorrow.  If you want to help me out with any new questions – please click here to join the conversation over at the SoCal Family Connection!   XO Jen

{*A One-Night Stay in an Ocean View Guestroom for 2 Guests including room and tax. Based on availability. Not valid on Fridays, Saturdays or Holidays. Black out months of July & August apply.Valid 05/01/11 through 05/01/12.}

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Healthy Dining for OC Kids at True Food Kitchen

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I had been hearing a lot of good buzz about True Food Kitchen in Newport Beach since it opened last summer but had yet to check it out until last week. Being an OC mom blogger, one of their representatives contacted me informing me of their new fun-to-eat healthy kid’s menu. This innovative new menu features dishes with sneaky, hidden nutritional elements and is based on the belief of their executive chef that healthy eating applies to ALL ages! I was instantly intrigued.

We went on a Monday night for dinner, and it happened to be my 36th birthday. Baby sister stayed home with the grandparents and Emma got all dressed up and was excited for dinner in a fancy restaurant a la Fancy Nancy going to the King’s Crown! Moms with girls over age 3 probably know what I am talking about!

I was first struck by the AMBIANCE. Very modern and chic with natural elements incorporated all over like miniature gardens of herbs out front, a hostess stand covered with faux clovers and bowls of big, colorful fruits on the bar.

We were shown to our table in the beautiful outside patio…

The general manager, Darryl Cuilla, visited our table and shared a little about their restaurant and it’s concept of “Great tasting food that’s good for you!” {<--- what a concept!} With a menu based on seasonal, sustainable local ingredients I learned that the restaurant is 98% organic, nothing is fried and the focus is on simple, pure flavors. I was excited to taste these flavors and watch Emma’s reaction to her dinner. Because as we know, super healthy doesn’t always equate to super yummy and kids know the difference.

First we perused the True Food’s Kids Menu. Click that link because you will want to see the inventive options! With items like Almond Butter, Strawberry & Banana Sandwich I was impressed with the creative combinations. Emma opted for the Mozzarella and Organic Tomato Pizza and their Homemade Strawberry Lemonade. In the meantime, Darryl sent over a variety of appetizers for us to try while we were deciding.

My eyes popped out of my head when I saw the delicious platter of Local Vegetable Crudites! Served over a bed of crushed ice, it was a colorful mixture of radishes, snap peas, broccolini, cherry tomatoes & two yummy dipping sauces ($10).

Just look at the COLOR…

And you know they are doing something right when we were popping veggies like they were chips and guac! I called Darryl over and asked, “what makes them taste THIS good?” I mean Emma was eating cherry tomatoes like they were M&Ms and gobbling up the broccolini and saying “yum!” This never happens. I am not kidding you. I wish I had it on video. He told me it’s because the vegetables are SO fresh. You truly can taste the difference.

We also sampled the Herb Hummus which was beautifully presented with triangle pita slices, and a garish of tomatoes, onions & feta cheese on top. The Edamame Dumplings with a daikon radish & white truffle oil. These were to-die-for. So light and creamy! And the Caramelized Onion Tart which had smoked garlic, black fig & gorgonzola. This was the richest of the apps, but still not heavy, and just melted in my mouth. YUM.

I probably could have made an entire meal out of the appetizers alone. But I had my entree coming and it will be one I will be thinking about for awhile.

You know how you have those salads at certain restaurants that you CRAVE? This one will be bringing me back to True Food Kitchen for years to come.

Here is the Chicken Chopped Salad ($14) in all it’s glory!
I might have to rename it the “Best Salad in Orange County”

It was a beautiful combination of chopped chicken, mango, apple, avocado, almonds, manchego cheese & champagne vinaigrette. But here’s the thing. We have probably all had a salad sort of similar to this before at a restaurant, but this one was different. The difference was in the flavor. Every item was so fresh it had a whole new type of flavor to it. For example, the avocado. I have never had one that tasted that good. And the almonds were so fresh and crunchy. And there was a difference in the taste of the chicken, deliciously moist. All the flavors and texture together was superb. Truly. You have to try it.

And then there was Emma. The pizza was GOOD sized. Pretty big actually and she is not a terribly big eater. But will you look at how much she ate of her pizza? It is not the prettiest picture, but she kept going and going, I swear no one else had a piece! Notice the broccolini on the side. Little better than french fries, huh?! My gosh I loved taking her out to eat and feeling good about it!


And then there was dessert.

A flourless chocolate cake made of cocoa, vanilla ice cream caramel that I will be seeing in my dreams. There were actually chunks of pure 78% cocoa in it. Not a bad way to ring in my 36th year!


So mamas, if you are out doing some holiday shopping at Fashion Island, True Food Kitchen would be the perfect place to take your kiddos to lunch. Or meet girlfriends there. Or, take your hubby to dinner on a date. Essentially, it doesn’t matter who you take but you HAVE TO GO! I would recommend probably a daytime lunch visit if you were going with small kids. And I love patios for dining with children.

True Food Kitchen
451 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Click here for hours, menus and directions. I just read they have brunch on the weekends until 3pm. I am so going back.

{Disclosure: My family received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post.
Thanks to True Food Kitchen for the stellar birthday meal!}

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Holidays at Disneyland 2010

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If you have never been to Disneyland for the holidays before it is one of those things you have to put on your “must do” list with your family because to sum it up in one word, it is just simply magical! I know that Disneyland is ALWAYS magical, but there is just something extra special about how they celebrate the holidays that makes the resort sparkle with holiday cheer going on now through January 2nd, 2011.

My family was invited to go on the opening holiday weekend and as you can imagine, my 4-year-old Emma was just a tad bit excited.

First stop per her request?

it’s a small world of course, which is her favorite ride in the entire park. The ride is transformed for the holidays with darling holiday decorations in each country and upbeat “jingle bells” playing as you float through this wonderland. Impossible to not immediately be in a good mood on that ride!

And at night they have 300,000 glittering lights on the outside!

Second stop per Emma’s request?  Santa! Yes, it would be our first time to see Santa for the season and she was antsy to get her gift request in.

In Frontierland they have a  Reindeer Round Up with REAL reindeers and adjacent is a cozy little cottage where the kiddos can wait in line to see Santa.  Emma was mesmerized looking at Santa’s real reindeers.

Then we headed over to wait in line to see Santa.  Even though it was a crowded Saturday afternoon, we only had to wait 10 minutes to get to the front of the line. I guess someone wants the Barbie house with an elevator that she saw at her friend’s house.

After our Santa visit it was time for the parade, so we grabbed seats and waited for the special “A Christmas Fantasy” parade.  This is by far my FAVORITE parade!  It is just so cute!  The characters wrap gifts, bake holiday treats and prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus. It’s a great combination of holiday themes but they still include appearances by the princesses and all of our favorite Disney characters!

And you can’t miss the famous Haunted Mansion Holiday where the the traditions of Halloween and Christmas collide.  The ghoulish but well-meaning Jack Skellington from the film “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” has come to Haunted Mansion to transform it with his skewed vision of the holidays.

All around you there is holiday decor – the whole park is decked out for the season and at the beginning of Main Street, U.S.A there is a beautiful, ginormous Christmas tree! Other holiday highlights include sparkling icicles on Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle and a fabulous presentation that unfolds throughout the evening in three acts, each of them featuring a touch of winter snow on Main Street!!  The finale of the show includes the legendary “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks show, AMAZING which ends with a sentimental rendition of “White Christmas,” and a  snowfall swirling down on Main Street, U.S.A., “it’s a small world” Mall and New Orleans Square.

For California kiddos not used to the snow, this is quite a scene to behold!

And I didn’t know this fun fact!  Guests are able to book guided holiday tours that provide entry into “it’s a small world” Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday, reserved seating for the Disneyland “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, a keepsake remembrance, and entertaining information about the history behind Disneyland holiday traditions.  For information and reservations guests can visit Disneyland City Hall or call 714/781-4400.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

And the holiday fun continues over at Disney’s California Adventure where the park celebrates the season with fanciful park-wide decorations and lively entertainment!  We walked over to California Adventure in the late afternoon and it was so cute to be greeted with candy cane striped CALIFORNIA letters!

And this decor on the Golden Gate bridge…

We actually haven’t been to California Adventure that many times, so each time we go I am floored at everything it has to offer. Our first stop was to check out Soarin’ Over California.  If you can believe it, we have never been on this ride before as my daughter was always too small.  We were SO happy to find out that the height requirement was 40″ and Emma is measuring in at about 40 1/2″. Just made it! But then the wait was 55 minutes and we didn’t have time to wait.   So, next time around the first thing I would do would be to go get a FASTPASS.  On Twitter, people couldn’t believe I haven’t been on this saying it is the BEST ride, people’s favorite ride. Next time for sure.

The hit of the day for my daughter at California Adventure were the rides over at Paradise Pier!  This time her favorite was the newly enhanced Silly Symphony Swings.  The minute she got off that ride she yelled “we have to go AGAIN!!!!!!” And we did!

Here are a few of the holiday festivities in store for you at California Adventure!

* “a bug’s land” transforms as Flik and his bug buddies spread giant Christmas lights and oversized ornaments throughout their realm.

* Santa Claus will greet guests on the boardwalk near Ariel’s Grotto on Paradise Pier.

* “World of Color” nighttime water spectacular, which brings its own brand of after-dark magic to the Paradise Bay lagoon.

*“ElecTRONica” nighttime street party will put guests of all ages “on the grid” and into the environment of the new Walt Disney Pictures feature, “TRON: Legacy.”  “ElecTRONica” parties take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and nightly from Dec. 17 through Jan. 2.  “ElecTRONica” will continue into spring 2011.

And SO SO SO MUCH more!

Click HERE for information on the holidays at Disneyland and click HERE for information on Disney’s California Adventure!

And a very happy holiday season to YOU my friends!

Disclosure: My family was provided with complimentary tickets as a part of a special media event! Thank you Disneyland for creating a day of memories for our family!


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{Most photos courtesy of Disney!}

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