Pretend City Coupon for Dinosaur Train Event!

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Pretend City Children’s Museum continues their PBS SoCal Days partnership in welcoming Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train on Sunday, July 31st, 2011.

Buddy the Dinosaur will be at the museum to take pictures with the kids and the new Dinosaur Train movie, “Dinosaur Big City,” which doesn’t air on PBS till the end of August, will be screening throughout the day.

From 10am-3pm a regular child’s admission will come with lots of fun dinosaur themed extras for the kids. From digging for dinosaurs in the Pretend City beach, to making dinosaur art projects in the Art Studio, it will be a fun-filled day that you won’t want to miss.

Print out this VIP 2-for-1 pass to receive free admission with a purchase of a child’s ticket on July 31st, 2011.

And, remember that on the second Friday of each month, you can print this Pretend City Coupon good for two for one admission on Way to Play Days.

Click HERE to download the coupon and see the upcoming dates.

{Disclosure: Pretend City is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor.}

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Friends, could you spare 30 seconds to vote for Tiny Oranges?  You can vote 1 x a day through 8/11!  We are currently in 2nd place and competition is fierce with all these awesome mom blogs so I need your help!! THANK YOU! Smooch!


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Visiting the OC Fair with Little Ones {& Giveaway!}

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My mom and I took the girls and one of Emma’s friends to the fabulous OC Fair last week at the Orange County Fairgrounds and since I am on a kick this week with doing lists I thought I will do one on my top 5 tips on visiting the fair with little ones! An outing like this can be crazy fun for the kids, but there are some things I might suggest to make it even that much more enjoyable. Plus, I also have two admission tickets and two ride passes to giveaway too! Make sure to read below and enter!

Top 5 Tips on Visiting the OC Fair with Little Ones

1. Plan your attack before you go. Before you even leave your house, you can click here and view the schedule for the day.  This way you can plan the things that you want to do the most and schedule your “route” accordingly. The Fair is BIG so you don’t want to be criss-crossing back and forth, better to plan your list of things to do and map it out ahead of time.

2. Don’t try to over-do it! It is a TON of fun and a LOT of stimulation for little ones, so don’t feel like you have to see everything.  The day we went, we first went to Kid Land for all the little kid rides (SO fun for ages 2+), then went to watch the pig races, after the races I let the girls run around in a little area with hay, then we went back through Kid Land as those rides were a HIT, got dinner by Kid Land, then on our way out went through Centennial Farm.  For my kids’ ages, this was a fun list of things to do!

3. Bring a stroller. Even the five-year-olds got tired so I kicked myself for not bringing my double jogger as I just brought a stroller for my two-year-old.  It is a lot of walking so I definitely recommend bringing strollers.

4. Bring a picnic blanket. We went late afternoon and it was crowded and there were no tables to sit and eat dinner on.  We sat on the grass which was no biggie, but I wish we had brought a picnic blanket as it would have been more comfortable.

5. Remember water, hats, sunscreen, anti-bacterial hand gel + baby wipes. It can get toasty so make sure to remember to drink a lot of fluids and protect your skin!  The pig races were also a bit dusty so I was glad I had my wipees and hand gel.

Click HERE to see the OC Fair discounts and promotions so you can check to see if anything is going on before you go. You can also visit www.ocfair.com for hours and pricing and all the information.

Most importantly, have a ball! The OC Fair is a family tradition and sure to be full of a ton of great memories!

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive two general admission tickets and two ride passes (3 rides per pass.) Parking is not included.

Contest runs through Sunday, July 31st, 2011 at 5pm PST. Winner will be contacted via email so please leave your email address in the comment (won’t be published.)

Good luck!

How to enter…

1. Subscribe to my Tiny Oranges email updates by entering your email in the top right column.  Once subscription is confirmed, head back here and leave a comment that you are a subscriber. If you are already a subscriber, just comment and tell me so.  You can unsubscribe anytime, but this way you will get my post updates and won’t miss two of my biggest giveaways in the history of Tiny Oranges coming up soon!

Extra entries! Please leave a separate comment for EACH option!

2. “Like” the OC Fair on Facebook (or tell me if you already do) – 1 ENTRY

3.  Follow @OCFair on Twitter (or tell me if you already do) – 1 ENTRY

4. “Like” Tiny Oranges on Facebook (or tell me if you already do) – 1 ENTRY

5. Follow @TinyOrangesOC on Twitter (or tell me if you already do) – 1 ENTRY

GOOD LUCK!

{Disclosure: I received complimentary media tickets from the OC Fair but this is not a compensated post.}

Friends, could you spare 30 seconds to vote for Tiny Oranges?  You can vote 1 x a day through 8/11!  We are currently in 2nd place and competition is fierce with all these awesome mom blogs so I need your help!! THANK YOU! Smooch!


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5 Things That Helped My Babies Sleep Better!

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This is an “it worked for us” post. Since I have been blogging about my awesome iComfort bed so much it gotten me thinking a lot about sleep.  More specifically, how much BETTER you feel mentally and physically when you are getting enough sleep.  Now that my kids are two and five, in retrospect, there were 5 things that helped my babies sleep better and become great sleepers so I thought it might be worth sharing.

In case any of you are sitting reading this right now, dark bags under your eyes pounding a big cup of coffee and exhausted, I hope that maybe even one of these tips might prove to be helpful to you!  And when you are that tired I know sometimes you are willing to try anything!

When my babies were born I became obsessed with sleep and my lack of it. I had no idea how much the interrupted sleep would affect me mentally. I felt horrible, like I was on the fast train to looney-town.  The only way I could describe it was that I just didn’t feel like myself.  Once my kids slept through the night, I felt like a different person.

Babies and the sleep topic can be a sensitive issue and everyone has different philosophies and styles.  From co-sleeping to cry it out sleep scheduling, I believe you have to trust your natural instincts on what is right for your babies, and if it works for your family, embrace it!

For me, it all started with a book. One day when my first baby was about six months old, I called my cousin (who was a seasoned mommy) almost crying with exhaustion asking her if she had any tips to help my baby sleep.

I will never forget it, she said, “Have you heard of THE BOOK?”  Me, being desperate, asked, “WHAT BOOK?!” I had read several of the sleep books and nothing seemed to connect with me or fit my instincts.  The book she recommended, which is number one on my list, was a lifesaver for me.  So that is where it all began….

5 Things That Helped My Babies Sleep Better

1. “The BOOK” was Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. I swear by this book and used it with both my babies. It totally connected with me and it made sense to me.  I learned a lot about how important sleep is for children, quality sleep, and his philosophy and tools made my kids AWESOME sleepers.  I owe a lot of my sanity to Dr. Weissbluth!

2. Foster an attachment to a  lovey, blankie or some kind of attachment item. This was recommended in the book.  When they were itsy bitsy I introduced the lovies. Emma still sleeps with her two Angel Dear bear lovies, who at 2 1/2 she named “Carter & Siena” and she told me they are twins. No joke. And Morgan sleeps with her Darling Droolers Ribbon Lovey she calls, “Bee.”  They are both really attached and it has helped them get to sleep and soothe themselves when they are upset. Parenting expert, TheGoToMom.com, has a great video as well on just how important an attachment item is.  You can watch it here.

A note on the lovies & blankie! We have made it a ritual from early on that our kids don’t take lovies or blankie out of the car on errands or to the park, or anywhere (God forbid) they could get lost. The thought of it is too traumatic! So they will take them in the car, but I got them used to leaving them in their carseats and told them we didn’t want them to get dirty. Big help as they are always in the house or in the car, and no where else.

3. Blackout shade in their bedrooms – My husband bought and installed a cheap-o roll down blackout shade underneath both their blinds in their rooms so their rooms stay really dark. If someone puts them down and forgets to shut it, they will wake up WAY earlier due to the light. I swear by the blackout shade.  Especially for naptime.

4. Pavlov’s dog sound association– Just like Pavlov’s dog, I swear by some sort of sound that they associate with sleep. For my oldest, we had the Fischer Price Ocean Wonders Crib Aquarium in her crib that she would push to play a song and she goes to sleep to the same music. At 5, we still have that aquarium in her regular bed. For the little one, we got this Homedics SoundSpa Sound Machine and put it to the “ocean” setting.  Both these are helpful as you can take them with you to set up their same “sleep scenario” when traveling.

5. Regular crib naps & times and early bedtimes. One of the things Dr. Weissbluth preaches is the importance of quality, restful sleep.  Since they were about 6 months old, I have pretty much done anything I needed to do to get my kids home to nap in their crib at roughly the same time and get them to bed early at night. It has meant that I have had to say “no” to things if it meant interfering with a crib nap and has been often inconvenient, but it is just a way of life. The sacrifice of being a tad “home bound” is MORE than worth it to me because of the great sleepers they became because of it. Everything is a trade off! Many probably wouldn’t agree, so again, it is all about what works for your family and this has worked for us. Hallelujah!

Does anyone have their own tips to share?  I know kids and sleep is always a hot topic, so PLEASE comment and let us in to your “secrets!”

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I Love My Bed Part II: Serta Motion Perfect Adjustable Base Review

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Let me let you in on a little secret.  After the Serta iComfort Blogger Experience (which included a complimentary mattress with choice of base) when I came home and told my husband we had the choice of getting the AMAZING Motion Perfect Adjustable Base complimentary on our new bed he sort of looked at me like I was crazy.  I think there was also a really bad “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” joke insinuating that adjustable beds were, um, for a more mature generation. But let me tell you, this is NOT your grandmother’s adjustable bed this is a SPA RETREAT IN YOUR BEDROOM!  I love it so much that I had to do a dedicated review on the Serta Motion Perfect Adjustable Base.  I hope it is helpful if you are in the market for a new mattress and bed.

First back to my doubting husband.  In my head I knew all he would have to do is TRY the base to see what I was talking about so I took him to a retail store to try out the iComfort mattresses and adjustable base. One click of the “lounge” position on the wireless remote and as we both laid there in the most relaxing position he looked sideways to me and said, “This is incredible. We HAVE to get this base.”  And I wanted to scream, “I told you so!!!!!” But I didn’t, because I always knew.

So, once again, I can get verbose, especially when talking about the second greatest invention of the past 100 years to me, the first being DVR, so I will summarize as bullet points help me get to the point.

My Top 5 Reasons Why I Love the Motion Perfect Adjustable Base So Very Much

1. Head and foot elevation. Our master bedroom is set up so we can watch TV and movies in bed. We used to prop ourselves up with numerous pillows to watch TV but now, with a click of a button, we can raise the head or feet just to our liking to make the PERFECT lounge position.  You guys, it is so amazing I want to cry. I am not being dramatic.

2. Zero G. This setting  positions your feet higher than your head and heart.  It is the best position to relieve any lower back tension or if you have sore feet or legs. After a long day with the kids I will sometimes rest in this position and just feel the adjustment in my back. Total stress reliever.

3. Duel Wireless Remotes.   There are duel wireless remotes that control the elevation for both sides (we have a king-sized bed that lays on two different bases.)  I love that we can each have our own remote on our side of the bed and never have the “pass the remote” issues.

4. Massage.  Yes, therein comes the “spa retreat in your bedroom” reference as there is actually a button to turn on a vibrating massage for your head, feet or both in different intensities! It is SO relaxing.  I could just listen to the hum and drift off to sleep. I love, love, love this feature.

5. Tailored base and legs.  The Motion Perfect Adjustable Base comes with neutral upholstry and dark wood legs. Therefore, I could throw away with my bed skirt forever! I have NEVER been a fan of a bed skirt as it always got askew and wrinkly.  This look is so clean. I LOVE IT!

Things to Consider When Choosing if the Motion Adjustable Base is for You!

1. Do you watch TV, read or work on your laptop, phone or iPad in bed?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you will LOVE it!

2. Are you pregnant or hope to be sometime in the future?

If you answered yes to the above, you will LOVE it! I wish, wish, wish I had this bed when I was pregnant or my baby was a newborn.  It would be the perfect bed to nurse in and with my baby’s colic, I could have laid her upright on my chest and put the bed on vibrate (think like a clothes dryer!) and hopefully been able to soothe her. The Zero G position would have also be a God send with my pregnant swollen ankles!

Random Notes to Mention!

1.  The Adjustable Bed and Little Ones. I love to raise the head up and snuggle with my girls in bed and watch a show with them.  It is super relaxing for all of us and again, it is the perfect place to have some “downtime.”  But I never let them play with the remotes and am always there with them in the bed when it is elevated.  My two-year-old is a little monkey so she can climb over the top of the head and onto the base, so until my monkey gets older, I supervise the little ones when the bed is elevated.

2. Slippage. The mattress comes zippered to the base so that when it goes up and down, it never slides very far down and stays in place. Many adjustable beds have that big, bulky unattractive bar at the end of the bed, but this zipper system means you don’t need a bar.  Incidentally, it does come with a small bar if you want to install it as well, but we chose not to. Any time you have a mattress that is going up and down, there will be some slippage so after we have the mattress elevated, it will move a tad away from our headboard and I do periodically have to push it back up against the headboard.

Here is Bob from Serta showing us the zipper that attaches the mattress to the base…

In closing, my bed now is an escape for me. A little slice of luxury.  A place of serenity and complete and total encompassing comfort.  Again, I want to cry I love it SO much. I hope you have found this review helpful! And I REALLY hope you will enter my giveaway coming up soon!

In the meantime, Serta is having ANOTHER TwitPic contest this week to giveaway an iComfort mattress and base!  If you entered before, you can enter the same photo!  Click HERE for all the rules.  One of my readers, Candace, was a WINNER of their Facebook contest, so mamas, enter because PEOPLE WIN!   Here is my post before on their previous Twitter contest so you can see how it works.  It’s so easy!  GOOD LUCK!

{Disclosure: I received a free iComfort bed and base compliments of Serta and they paid for my travel costs to attend the iComfort Blogger Experience. Serta will also provide me with a stipend for tax purposes. The opinions and reviews here are my own and have not been changed or altered by anyone else.}

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Friends, could you spare 30 seconds to vote for Tiny Oranges?  You can vote 1 x a day through 8/11!  We are currently in 2nd place and competition is fierce with all these awesome mom blogs so I need your help!! THANK YOU! Smooch!


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I Love My Bed: A Serta iComfort Mattress Review

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Every night when I nestle in to go to sleep in myiComfort® bed which was provided by Serta complimentary as part the 2011 blogger program, I say to myself,  “I LOVE MY BED.”   And now that I have had over two months of restful night’s sleep on my new mattress I feel like enough time has passed to share all my insights in this {100% honest} Serta iComfort® Mattress review.

Bottom line, I have never in my life slept better than I do on this memory foam mattress.  If you don’t know what memory foam is or what makes it different, click here to read the post I did on the difference between a memory foam mattress and what makes Serta’s specific iComfort® memory foam mattress so unique.

After thoroughly testing out the four different models, we selected the king-sized Prodigy model with the Motion Perfect Adjustable Base. And we just love it, so very much.  I tend to get wordy when I am passionate about something, so in this review I am going to try to be succinct and summarize the main points on WHY!

I am sure some of you might be reading and thinking, “Good for you, I am happy you love your bed so much, but what does that have to do with ME?”   Funny you might ask, because coming soon I have a Tiny Oranges giveaway of an iComfort® Sleep System of the WINNER’S CHOICE so YOU might have the chance to sleep on this dreamy bed too! Make sure to subscribe to my blog via RSS or email so you don’t miss my biggest giveaway EVER!

My 5 Top Reasons Why I Love My iComfort® Memory Foam Mattress So Much
{and why you should enter my upcoming giveaway to try to win one!}

1. Lack of motion. I have slept on an innerspring mattresses my entire life.  Every time my husband would roll over before (or vice versa) we would wake up each other up often because the motion would ripple or bounce the bed. With memory foam, it isolates the movement, so one person can “PLOP” down on one side or do a “dramatic toss and turn” and the person on the other side barely feels more than a slight movement. It’s INCREDIBLE. What this has meant is that I wake up WAY less during the night and I have experienced more nights where I will sleep the entire night through without waking than I ever have in my entire life.  In the morning, I wake up more refreshed and well rested. Rested mama = happy mama. Life changing. [Disclosure: Our mattress was provided complimentary for review.]

2. Support. We chose the plushest of the four iComfort® models so it is very cozy but yet still incredibly supportive. I didn’t realize before how sunken my old mattress was. My new iComfort® is nice and firm and my body just feels better overall when waking up.  At the Serta presentation, one of the representatives said, and I quote, “Comfort is what you feel when you go to sleep, support is what you feel when you wake up.”  Now that I have slept on a supportive mattress, I know EXACTLY what that means.  Many times I will even wake up on my back, which never happened before, and I have to think it’s because there is so much overall distributed body support. [Disclosure: Our mattress was provided complimentary for review.]

3. Comfort from night one. The mattress was as comfortable on the first night as it will be tonight.  There was no “breaking in” period or “getting used to it” period.  In fact, I actually thought I might miss my old bed (what was I thinking?!) and a little worried I might have to get used to sleeping on a new one.  My old mattress and I went back 13 years, so I thought it might be hard to break up.  Nope! The first morning after sleeping on the iComfort® my husband and I looked at each other and both said, “this bed is SOOOO comfortable!” He also said, “I have a feeling it might be a problem because we are never going to want to get up.”  Then we heard the little one on the monitor. Back to reality. [Disclosure: Our mattress was provided complimentary for review.]

4. Cool comfort. Memory foam mattresses in general can trap heat against your body and I have heard people complain that they can “sleep hot.” This is NOT TRUE with the iComfort® Memory Foam! Their new technology (read all about it here) means that the heat is broken up and dispersed so you sleep cooler and more comfortably all year round.  We are in the middle of the summer heat here, I have never once felt too hot because of the mattress. [Disclosure: Our mattress was provided complimentary for review.]

5. The look. This will sound superficial, but I LOVE the look of our iComfort® mattress.  The natural-colored upholstery on the side looks so modern and tailored. Even when I am washing the sheets, I like looking at the stripped bed, because it is just SO pretty.  Just look at the image above to see what I am talking about!

Tips When Considering an iComfort Mattress

1. Try it out for yourself . When shopping for a new mattress there is no better way to test it out than to go to a retail store and give it your own rest test. Bring your own pillow if you need to, so you can spend time laying on each of the four mattress in different rest positions that are typical for you.  It’s a big decision so take your time!

2. It might be interesting to do a blind test. There are four different models to choose from.  The firmest model in the collection is the Genius, which is designed to feel more like a traditionally firm mattress. Next is the Insight which offers the immediate feel of the Cool Action Gel with no additional comfort layers. The Revolution and Prodigy are both very plush in feel.  I would suggest bringing something like blank pieces of paper to cover up which model is which, so that you can do a blind rest test and see which your body responds to without knowing which is the “firmest” or “plushest.” Your choice might surprise you.

3. 120 Day Risk Free In-Home Trial – Serta offers a risk free trial where after a minimum of 30 night’s sleep on your iComfort®, if you are not happy you can exchange it or return it through the retailer. Like I said, it’s a big decision and a big investment.  It is comforting to know that if for any reason you are not satisfied (which you will be), you have other options.

Random Notes to Mention!

1. Unique smell. When we first received our bed I did notice a unique smell when they unpacked it that was hard to describe. I have a very sensitive sense of smell.  Once our mattress pad and sheets were on, it wasn’t bothersome, but I asked Serta about it and I was told the new mattress consists of fresh new materials and foams that may have a new product smell similar to other products like a leather purse or a new car smell that dissipates over time. The smell is barely noticeable now but I thought it was worth mentioning.

2. Don’t let the bed bugs bite. Can bed bugs live in Memory Foam? I had heard that bed bugs cannot live in Memory Foam mattresses and have found out that this is an urban legend. Serta told me that bed bugs don’t actually live “in” mattresses or the foam within.  Bed bugs are brought into the home from outside sources – including suitcases which is why travel plays such a large role in the bed bug epidemic. Bed bugs tend to take up residence on the mattress, burrowing in the creases where the mattress piping outlines the top or perimeter of the mattress, often invisible to a glance. So, no type of mattress is immune to bed bugs which is why Serta recommends using a mattress protector and taking common precautions to prevent bed bugs from entering the home. A fully-encasing protector offers the best defense against bed bugs.

I was going to go on now about the Motion Perfect Adjustable Base, which is so awesome I just decided it needs it’s OWN post so “to be continued…” For now it is late and I am ready to log off and go and sink into my heavenly bed!

Nighty-night!

{Disclosure: I received a free iComfort® bed and base compliments of Serta and they paid for my travel costs, hotel, one spa treatment and meals to attend the iComfort Blogger Experience.  Serta will also provide me with a stipend for tax purposes. The opinions and reviews here are my own and have not been changed or altered by anyone else. Regardless of receiving a bed, of which I am utterly, eternally grateful, I would sing this bed’s praises ALL day long!}

Photo credit: Serta

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Friends, could you spare 30 seconds to vote for Tiny Oranges?  You can vote 1 x a day through 8/11! THANK YOU! Smooch!

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