Happy Holidays from My Family to Yours!

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Merry! Merry! 

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you and your families a beautiful holiday. I hope it is filled with love, laughter, fun memories and the magic that children bring to the celebration.

I wanted to also thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for being a reader and friend of Tiny Oranges.

I couldn’t do it without you. I honestly mean that.  My readers are what keep this blog chugging along.

Thank for for taking time out of your busy lives to make us a part of yours. SMOOCH!

I also wanted to send a special thank you to my amazing Tiny Oranges partner, Susanne.

She joined me this past August and has helped me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

She has given me new inspiration, motivation and continues to awe me with her ability to find the coolest, greatest companies to share with you. Plus, to know her is to love her.

And a most special thank you to my incredible sponsors. The companies on our site truly are the best and brightest family-friendly companies OC has to offer.

They also all happen to be incredibly nice, genuine people to work with. I am so blessed!

I am going to take next week off from posting to hang out and enjoy some time with my family. Mama needs a little Winter Break too! If I can get to a New Year’s Resolution post on Friday, I will, otherwise, you can definitely count on my return on Monday, January 2nd, 2012 and a whole new YEAR of juicy finds!

May your holiday be merry and bright.  And may all your Christmases be….orange!

[Holiday card design from ErinCondren.com. And the family photo was taken by the amazingly talented Kristin Eldridge. I can’t believe she got all four of us smiling at one time, especially with a two-year-old. It was a small Christmas miracle. Both are Tiny Oranges partners.]

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Best Christmas Lights in OC from Just Spotted

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When I came across this fabulous list on local Orange County blog Just Spotted on the Best Christmas Lights in OC I had to share! Just the other day I was looking to drive my girls around to look at lights and didn’t know the best places to go.

Thanks Just Spotted ladies for the fabulous resource!

Click here to see their great list by city.

Happy viewing…

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Peppermint Play Dough Recipe

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I take a Mommy & Me class with my youngest at our preschool and they have seriously the BEST play dough I have ever experienced!  The secret ingredient is peppermint extract that makes the play dough smell minty and lovely! It is such a hit with the moms and kids, that the teacher gave us her recipe along with a great holiday gift idea for little ones.

This was my first attempt at making my own play dough, and I have to say it was very easy and so fun!

Peppermint Play Dough Recipe: 

* 2 Cups White Flour

* Liquid Water Color or Food Coloring (as much as needed to get the color you want)

* 1/2 Cup Salt

* 3 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar (This was hard to find, I never saw it before. It was in the area with the salt and looks like baking powder.)

* 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

* 1 Tablespoon Peppermint Extract (Optional – but this is what makes it smell SO good!)

Ready, set, make!

1. Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a whisk.

2. Add 2 cups of water and your coloring of choice to get desired color.

3. Mix well with a wisk.

4. Add vegetable oil and peppermint extract.

5. Mix well with a wisk, then stir/smooth batter with a soft spoon or  spatula.

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Gift Idea: Thomas & Friends Sodor Search and Rescue

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This is a great gift idea for any of you looking for a last minute gift this week! The Thomas & Friends Sodor Search and Rescue play set has provided hours and hours of fun in our house!

I have two girls, and it is not intentional, but we honestly do not have many traditional “boy” toys like trucks, cars or trains.

So when the folks at Mega Bloks contacted me about doing a review of one of their products, the Thomas and Friends Sodor Search and Rescue, I thought, “it’s about time we have a toy like this for the girls to enjoy!”

It is a GREAT toy, and reasonably priced at $29.99. This set would make for a great gift idea for any little one (boy OR girl) 3 and older on your list.

It comes in a handy carry case which doubles as a building platform.  I love a toy that has dual purpose, and it is great to have an easy place to store the little parts.

The set includes different accessories like opening doors, a track switch and a working crane as well as Thomas and Harold buildable characters.

It took some time, but both my girls figured out how to put it together.  I think my husband also secretly loves assembling it too.

www.MegaBloks.com

Join the Mega Bloks Family Club to stay up to date on the latest and greatest toys for all ages.  And right now, they have a Holiday Toy Giveaway going on where you can enter to win a new toy daily! Click here for more info.

[Disclosure: I received a complimentary Thomas and Friends Sodor and Rescue play set to facilitate this review. Thank you!]

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The Snoopy House in Costa Mesa

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In our little Costa Mesa neighborhood there is a yearly tradition, a holiday display like no other, affectionately called by those who know it as “The Snoopy House.

When The Snoopy House goes up in December, we take the kids to see it almost nightly. I have memories of taking Emma starting when she was just a year old.

It is hard to explain why it is so enchanting, you just have to see it for yourself.

This display has been going up for 44 years. Yes, the Jordan family has been doing this massive display for two generations, so it was a very sad day when our little community got word that the property had been foreclosed and The Snoopy House was not to be this year.

“NOOOOOOOO!” Parents everywhere cried! It seriously it part of how we celebrate Christmas in our neighborhood!

The community was in an uproar, it was almost daily news (thank you Daily Pilot for keeping us up to date!)

Parents held their breaths as we waited to hear if the Snoopy display would be going up this year after all in a new location.

And it did! Last week, after a team of volunteers helped to bring the magic alive, The Snoopy House display is now up for all to see thanks to the City of Costa Mesa in front of Costa Mesa City Hall.

Visitors can see the display nightly from 5 – 10pm through New Year’s Eve. Santa will be visiting today through 12/23 from 7 – 9pm where families can get free photos with Santa.

My family went to the new location this weekend. They had free cider and kids were running around with the spirit of Christmas in their hearts. It is definitely worth the drive to check it out. It is a Charlie Brown Christmas after all! 

Click here for details on this event.

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