Settlers Park Irvine

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I love a new park find, so I am excited to share this guest blog about Settlers Park in Irvine from local OC mom, Megan. Here is what she writes…

“I hesitate to even write this because I would like to keep this park as our little secret, but it’s too good not to share. I spend a lot of time at the park with my kids, and I can tell in just a few minutes if we’re at a good park, or one that is going to send my stress level through the roof.

Settlers Park, located at 35 Settlers Way in Irvine, is one that I’m always happy to stop at if we’re in the neighborhood, and it’s one of the first parks I suggest when making plans with friends.

Settlers Park has just about everything. They have two different sized play structures, as well as sand areas and a climbing wall. There is a large open grass area with a soccer goal, as well as basketball courts.

One of my very favorite things about this park is the bike trail that surrounds the playground, complete with mini street signs along the way. There are also several picnic tables, some in a covered pavilion.

The very best thing about this park is its size. Settlers Park isn’t very large, which means that when I’m there with my two children I can see them both, even if they’re not doing the same thing – which they never are of course.

One thing to keep in mind about this park, there isn’t a ton of shade on the playground, so in the middle of summer, it can get a bit warm, but that’s nothing we can’t solve with lots of water and some spray toys.”

Settlers Park
35 Settlers Way
Irvine

Megan is an OC mom to two little ones. You can read more from Megan on her personal blog,www.mamabubblog.com.

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8 Nutrients to Boost Your Immune System

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8 nutrients to boost your immune system

This is a guest blog by local OC mom Melanie, who shares with us 8 nutrients to boost your family’s immune system along with easy mom-t0-mom tips on how to get these nutrients into our kiddos!

“If you are like me you are always trying to find helpful and simple ways to keep your kids healthy.  Besides getting the flu shot and washing your hands, to avoid getting sick, there are a number of foods you can eat to boost your immune system.

Did you know you can increase the number of white blood cells by eating certain foods? Yep, natural immune boosters can be found in everyday foods we eat.”

 8 Nutrients to Boost your Immune System

Vitamin C

Boosts infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies.  Can be found in guava, papaya, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, orange & grapefruit

Kid-friendly Smoothie Recipe:  One handful of spinach or kale, 1 cup OJ (the OJ cancels out any of the leafy green taste), any frozen fruit your kids like – berries, papaya and guava are best for boosting immunity.  If you add Greek yogurt or protein powder this makes a great complete breakfast for everyone.

Vitamin E

Helps produce cells that kill germ cells and boosts immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria.  Found in seeds, vegetable oils and grains.

Carotenoids

Increases infection-fighting cells and is an antioxidant.  These foods are carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, tomatoes (notice the theme of deep colorful foods)

Sweet potato fries are a yummy alternative to regular fries. Find them in the frozen section of Trader Joe’s or cut your own sweet potatoes and roast with olive oil and salt and pepper.  A great side dish to any meal!


Bioflavonoids

Protects the body against environmental pollutants.  Including berries, cherries, grapes, fruit skins, and true fruit juices, teas (not herbal), grains, celery, parsley, grapefruit, oranges, apple skin, onion, endive, radishes, tomatoes, leeks, broccoli and red wine

 

 Pink Lady Apples – my kids LOVE these sweet apples, great for lunches or snacks

 

 

“Dirty” Broccoli

(Recipe from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger – one of my favorites!)

1 bunch broccoli

1 tbsp water

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs, preferably whole-wheat (store-bought or 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs made from whole-wheat bread processed into fine crumbs)

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Cut the broccoli into spears and put in a large microwave-safe bowl with water. Cover tightly ad micro-wave on high for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cover, drain the broccoli well, and set aside (or you can lightly steam or blanch the broccoli if you don’t want to use microwave).

While broccoli is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the bread crumbs, oregano, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, cook until the crumbs are toasted and golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the broccoli, toss to coat with bread crumbs, and serve.

Zinc

Increases the number of infection fighting white blood cells.  Foods include oysters, crab, beef, turkey (dark meat) and beans.

Garlic

Another food that increases infection-fighting white cells.  Garlic is a food that is easily incorporated into daily recipes.

Selenium

Increases natural killer cells and mobilizes cancer-fighting cells.  Including tuna, red snapper, lobster, shrimp, whole grains, brown rice, egg yolks, cottage cheese, chicken (white meat), sunflower seeds, garlic, Brazil nuts and lamb chops

Omega-3 Fatty acids

Increase the activity of the cells that eat up bacteria and protects the body against damage from over-reactions to infection.  Found in flax oil or ground flax seed and fatty fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel)

In addition, our pediatrician recommends that the entire family take a Vitamin D supplement to combat the flu.  Although we get vitamin D in milk and from the sun, we don’t quite get enough of it to fight off the flu so a supplement is helpful.

My family has been juicing lately.  We got a juicer from Target for Christmas.  This is such an easy way to get extra vitamins and minerals into your diet.  The kids really enjoy picking their own fruits and veggies to create their own juice recipes.

Remember- if you have any health issues it is always important to consult with your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.

Stay healthy!”

Melanie Meixner is a certified Dr. Sears LEAN Coach.  She also teaches Health and Nutrition to Middle School students at Capo Beach Christian School.  She also has 2 fairly picky eaters at home who inspire her to learn about healthy eating habits. All nutritional facts in this article were found at www.drsearswellnessinstitute.org.

Photo credit: Wylio

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Li’l Baby Sprouts OC Baby Boutique

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OC moms rejoice ~  a new mommy hangout has come to town! Li’l Baby Sprouts high end baby boutique and education center in Newport Beach is now open and they want you to welcome you to their community with open arms.

The store features a highly edited selection of apparel for newborns and toddlers, blankets, high chairs, baby carriers, toys and gifts along with your favorite baby necessities for feeding and bathing.

Li’l Baby Sprouts Grand Opening Event

You can check it out for yourself this Thursday, 2/28/13 from 3pm – 7pm at their special Grand Opening Event.

At the Grand Opening, moms and kids alike will enjoy refreshments, giveaways, a balloon artist and  free music class for the little ones.

Hourly giveaway prizes include gift baskets, professional photography sessions and more. Shoppers will also enjoy 10% off on a purchase of $25 or more and 15% off a purchase of $50 or more at the event.

Michelle from Classic Kids Photography will also be at the event doing mini photo sessions.

I had the opportunity to speak with Fanak Ojani, Li’l Baby Sprouts owner last week, to learn more about what she has created.

Local Love

A local OC mom herself of two li’l sprouts, ages 2 and 5, her dream was to create an Orange County retail location where moms could shop for personal, high quality products many of which are organic and sourced by local artists and business owners and made in the good ‘ole U.S.A.

She also had a vision of creating an educational program where moms and moms-to-be could come and relax in their colorful, comfy classroom while learning about topics taught by the best, most qualified instructors.

Classes include… 

Introduction to Breastfeeding

The Happiest Baby on the Block Baby Care Class

New Mom & Baby Care Series

Time to Eat! What and How to Feed Your Baby

Your Picky Eater: Tips and Tricks on Dealing

Nutrition Q&A

Music

Sign Language

Baby Sleep School (YES PLEASE!)

You can visit their classes page for more information, dates, pricing and registration. Fanak is so open to moms coming and hanging out at their location, that she even encourages you to arrange a play date or meet-up in their classroom when classes aren’t in session.  Call 949.721.1077 for more information on classes or play dates.

A Mother’s Corner 

With a warm and inviting interior, babies and moms-to-be can feel right at home shopping, and then kick back in their special Mother’s Lounge in the back of the boutique, which provides a sofa to rest or feed, while sipping on complimentary beverages.

The Details!

Li’l Baby Sprouts
1280 Bison Ave, Unit B9
Newport Beach 92660

Store Hours:

Monday – Friday 9:30am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 5pm
Closed on Sundays

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Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway! 

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[Disclosure: Li’l Baby Sprouts is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor and we are thrilled to share their business with our mommy readers!]

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El Moro Beach Camping

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[Photo credit: Reserve America]

Last weekend we took our family camping for the first time to El Moro Campground. Yes, I spent two nights in a tent with the family and I have to say, it was REALLY fun. I am not really a camper type, so I was a little nervous, but with this campground you can test out a camping experience while staying close to home. My kids had so much fun it was worth it. So for anyone wanting to do some OC beach camping, I wanted to tell you all about the fabulous El Moro, also known as Crystal Cove SP Moro Campground.

The camping area is fairly new and is situated on an oceanview bluff off PCH between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach by beautiful Crystal Cove. 58 sites with picnic tables are available. If you drive down the hill from the campground you can park and take the small tunnel under PCH to go to the most gorgeous beach.

So, it is beach camping, but not on the sand beach camping. Here is the view of the beach parking area from the campsite.

And this is the amazing beach, which also includes an on the sand, new and clean restroom. Mommy like.

On the loops around campsites, kids can ride bikes and scooters and just have a grand old time. On Saturday, we got the most phenomenal day, felt like summer. We were able to spend the entire day at the beach. The sunset that night was unbelievable.

Tips / Info on El Moro Beach Camping 

~ Sites are reserved through Reserve America. To have your choice of prime weekend dates, you have to book far in advance. Sites open for booking on the 1st of the month 7 months in advance.  If you are flexible on your dates, there are still lots of spots available this summer, especially on weekdays.

~ There are several CLEAN restrooms throughout the campground.  There are also very nice showers that run on tokens.  The token machine takes bills only, not quarters. This was a big one for me and I was pleasantly surprised by the bathroom situation. Thank God.

~ Fire pits are not provided and fires are not permitted. Gas only fires and BBQs are permitted. If you didn’t know this, you might be disappointed.  We were given the heads up ahead of time, and friends loaned us a Camp Chef Portable Propane Fire Pit. It gave off heat and is all you need to make s’mores. Essential.

~ Another essential to have camping is COFFEE. I slept terrible the first night, and needed some major caffeine in the AM. Friends we were camping with us had this amazing Coleman Coffeemaker that works on most two and three-burner camp stoves. If you do not have access to a coffee maker, never fear, there is a Starbucks in the Crystal Cove Promenade, literally 2 minutes away. So, as you can see, this campground is not totally “roughing it!”

~ If you have too much stuff and have to take two cars, the second car is $15/night additional.

~ If you have little ones under 4 years old, bring the jogger or a good stroller for walks.

~ Pack your walking shoes.  There are gorgeous trails all throughout Moro Canyon backcountry which is right behind the campground.  We didn’t do a hike this time, but I would like to next time.  Or, would even make a fabulous day trip.

~ If you still have one, bring a little portable potty. My oldest woke up in the middle of the night and had to go potty. It would have been highly convenient to have one of those little portable potties for middle of the night use instead of having to walk to the bathrooms.

~ Bring hand sanitizer. I don’t think the restrooms had soap, so we kept a pump hand sanitizer on the picnic table for use before eating and after using the restroom.

~ Bring a lantern and lots of flashlights.  It got very dark at night and we needed the light.

~ In my opinion, this would not be a fun trip if it rained.  I would check weather prior.

~ Borrow camp stuff if you can. I posted on Facebook that we were going camping asking for recommendations on tents, and a friend responded and loaned us an awesome huge tent and gas fire pit. Nice to try it out camping before you commit to buying stuff.

~ Since it is a new campsite, there are no trees or shade, so I would definitely invest in a pop up canopy if going in the spring or summer.  Even in the winter, it is a lot to be in the sun all day, so we used it even in February.

I really loved it. And I am surprised to hear myself say that. In the photo above, on this particular morning we took a walk, girls still in their pajamas, and made really fun family memories. Every once it awhile it is really nice to get a break from TV, electronics, etc. and have a little time in nature.

If you are considering braving a camping trip, I highly suggest checking out Crystal Cove SP Moro Campground and I hope you too will be happy campers!

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Fun Ideas for a Family Game Night

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Do you guys like board games? My six year old just got a few new board games and he is completely obsessed with them – as you can see from his serious “game face” above. To be honest, the rest of us are too, so much so that we decided to host a family game night once a week. I am a big believer in making “mini events” at home, so whether we invite friends to drop by, or it’s just us, we plan on making game night special. Here are a few fun ideas how to create a fun family game night…

Printable Scoreboards

If you’re like me and have a few hard core competitors in your family, let them keep score on these super cute score cards from Celebrate Magazine that you can print yourself.

Get Poppin’

My kids (and husband) absolutely love when I make popcorn on the stove. (Full disclosure, the first time I tried this was this past summer.) It’s such an easy process and it really does taste better than the microwavable option. Here’s a recipe for the perfect stove top popcorn.

Prizes

I usually stock up on small, inexpensive items at Target or Party City and break them out for game night. I put them in a bag and let the winner pick one at the end of game. If you’re hosting adults and kids it’s probably best to have two bags. Unless your adult guests like yo-yos!

Go Retro

Game night is the perfect time to teach your kids that you can have fun without playing Wii or Xbox 360. I promise your kids will laugh more playing charades with you than they will playing their latest video game.

Do you and your family have any favorite games? I’d love to hear about them so I can add them to our rotation.

 

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