Kids Bowl Free

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Kids bowl free this summer at select bowling alleys around the country and I wanted to share the info with you.

Registered kids at www.KidsBowlFree.com receive two free games of bowling every day all summer long valued at over $500 per kid!

To sign up, simply visit the website, then click on your state. Here is the link to the participating kids bowl free bowling alleys in California.

When you see your bowling alley of choice, click on it and it will bring up the available dates and times you can bring your kids to bowl free.

Complete the form on the page for the specific bowling alley and you will be registered to take advantage of taking your kids to bowl free.

Now that’s what I call a STRIKE!

I love FREE outings for kids during the summer because constantly going places on outings can add up. I am curious to know what your favorite free activities are in Orange County for kids? Please comment below and help me (and all our mommy readers) out!

For more outing ideas in Orange County this summer, you can visit our Outing Ideas category.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

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Fiji: It’s Easier Than You Think.

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Have you ever considered a family vacation to Fiji?

A friend of mine, Melissa Pomeroy, is an OC Mom to her 2 year old boy Travis and has her own travel agency called Fiji Vacations. Planning a family vacation to Fiji is easier to get to and more affordable than you might think!

Here’s an interesting little Q+A session with Melissa about the Fijian Islands, tips on flying with a little one, and the Bula Spirit…

How did you get your start in Fiji travel?

Answer:  My parents have always been the couple that traveled to exotic remote places and they went on their Honeymoon to Fiji 42 years ago! They fell in love with the people of Fiji and its natural beauty of the islands. For my father, Mike, an avid free diver and waterman, Fiji was ideal for his interests, boasting over 800 species of hard and soft corals it is like an aquarium.

Both of my parents enjoy the adventure of travel and instilled that in me from a really young age.  

Our family vacation to Fiji became our Hawaii.  

In the spirit of adventure we did not repeat a resort until I was 18 years old.

I was fortunate to travel to Fiji each year and sometimes multiple times in a year and have stayed at every resort in Fiji, most in Tahiti, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

Where I feel that I differentiate from other “travel agents” is that I have experienced the resorts as a guest so I can guide them from a different perspective.

My father ended up partnering with Tavarua and coordinated all of their guest’s travel. He was the exclusive worldwide travel agent for Tavarua for 18 years. So our roots run very deep in Fiji.

I answered my father’s phones in the summer and was allowed to help plan our family vacations so it was something I grew up doing. The internet literally changed the travel industry and my father and I had the idea to expand and we purchased the domain www.FijiVacations.com in 1996.

I always helped and worked with my father and eventually took over the Fiji Vacations side of the business in 2001. Fiji is my absolute passion and I love sharing that with people. 

What makes Fiji special?

Answer: Something that is really hard to convey is the feeling you get when you are in Fiji… we call it the BULA SPIRIT, corny as it sounds…

When I land in Fiji I can immediately feel the Fiji vibe take over my body, everybody is so genuinely friendly.  Fiji is a place of kindness, care and raw beauty like no other place worldwide that I have found.

Fiji is my RESET button on life.  

It allows me to clear my brain from all of the stressors and extra-curricular nonsense that take over our lives on a daily basis. Fiji is my peace and I LOVE coming home to Fiji!

Who is your typical customer?

Answer:  We are huge in the couples market, (honeymoons, anniversaries, weddings) but really family travel and multi-generational travel where grandparents are taking the entire family on a vacation is growing at a really rapid pace when people learn how affordable Fiji is.

Fiji is truly cheaper and closer that people think.

When it is all said and done it is cheaper than Hawaii for the 3-5 star markets. Fijians by nature are nurturers and they LOVE kids so traveling to Fiji with kids is a breeze!  I always get a nanny to help and it is less than $5.00/hr. and it is the best care in the world!

How many times has your son Travis (age 2) been to Fiji?

Answer:  Little Travis (or MOOSE as I call him) has been to Fiji already 3 times and we are heading back in November. His first trip to Fiji was when he was only 4 months old and I took him by myself for 10 days.

The flight is 10 hours, or 2 meals and 2 movies as we say!  All flights are direct from LAX, departing at 11pm, arriving at 5 am so you can be having breakfast at the resort of your choice.

Depending on the resort, we coordinate the most seamless transfers whether that be by seaplane, helicopter, speed boat, or inter island flight.

The flights are pretty much a breeze as they are all-nighters so Travis sleeps most of the flight.  Fiji Airways like most International carriers have bassinets for babies that attach onto the bulkhead and zip up in case of turbulence.  That is a real treat otherwise I would wear him in the Bjorn.

My secret thus far has not been to allow him to walk on or off the plane.  I always put him in the Ergo Carrier or carry him, to me it sends the message that he cannot run around and so far it has worked.  

Oh and I bring M&M’s, lots of ’em!

Anything else you think our Readers should know about Fiji Vacations?

The most important thing for the readers to know that all my agents have been to Fiji. They know the destination like the back of their hand.

Each trip is 100% customized to meet the clients individual needs. After talking to the potential client we can help place them in the perfect resort to match their personalities and preferences.

www.FijiVacations.com

1.800.927.1923

Images courtesy of Fiji Vacations.

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A lesson in listening to your body.

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Recently I was diagnosed with a new disease called eosinophilic esophagitis.

As I was listening to the doctor telling me about how it is a relatively new disease that has been on the rise over the last decade, I thought, are you kidding me? Who gets a new disease?

Me.

I wanted to share my experience with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) as I never know who might land on this post and have some advice to offer.

I also wanted this to be a post to be a reminder of the importance of listening to your body. Our body will usually tell us if something is not right, which was the case with me and my “new” disease.

Periodically over the last year or so I would get the uncomfortable sensation of food getting stuck in my throat.

I chalked it up to eating too fast and would kick myself for causing the problem.

But over the past six months or so, the episodes with difficulty swallowing increased.

On a number of times, I would be so uncomfortable and scared I would choke, I would actually go to the bathroom and regurgitate the food to get rid of the sensation and bring immediate relief. Lovely, huh?

90% of the time when it happened it would be just be me alone with my little girls during the day and I was petrified I would choke or pass out in front of them with no adult to help.

Two times it even happened while I was driving. Terrifying.

I was embarrassed to tell anyone this was happening because I blamed myself. Finally one night, it happened at dinner and I mentioned it to my husband after a trip to the bathroom.

It was a good reality check when he told me, “That is not normal.” I knew it wasn’t, but I needed to hear it.

I think I was in denial because I didn’t want to face the fact something might be really wrong. Of course, in the back of my head I was scared I had some sort of tumor which was causing the blockage.

I was almost scared to go to a doctor to find out.

But then I looked at my two little girls and thought, no matter what the outcome, I need to get this checked out because my body is telling me something is not right.

Long story short, I was referred to a gastroenterologist who recommend an upper GI endoscopy, where they put you under and use a scope to see inside the upper GI tract.

During this time, they also take a number of small biopsies to test for abnormalities.

When I came to after the procedure, the doctor was telling me that to the naked eye everything looked healthy.

Thank God. Thank God. Thank God.

I was relieved, but at the same time, almost disappointed he didn’t see what could be causing this. Then I felt really STUPID for putting myself through the endoscopy if it was something as silly as eating too fast.

A week later he called and told me the results of the biopsies were in and I had a high number of eosinophils cells in my esophagus which was likely the cause of the swallowing problems. A term called dysphagia.

Eosinophilic esophagitis is an inflammatory condition where the wall of the esophagus becomes filled with these cells that are not supposed to be there.

The inflammation is thought to be an allergic response to a food allergy or allergies.

I have never had any allergies that I have known of, so I was shocked. Then I had a lightbulb moment thinking about my daughter’s food allergies. I guess the little apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?

I was referred to an allergist that put me through a first round of a skin prick test to test for immediate reactions to all the most common food allergens.

Nada. No reaction.

But those tests are not extremely accurate, so my next up is a skin patch test where they actually tape allergens on your body and leave it for 48 hours to test for delayed reactions. Therefore I will be walking around with an egg and other goodies taped to my back come July 8th. Good times.

If that comes back negative, I don’t know what I will do.

I was hoping something jumped out on the skin prick test so I could say, “OK! It’s dairy!” And then, no more dairy for me. But food allergies can be more elusive.

I hate the feeling I am consuming something regularly that is harmful to my body.

Down the road, I can also try out elimination diets, etc. But I am a little overwhelmed and taking things one day at a time.

In the meantime, I am on a Flovent inhaler twice a day, where I do two puffs and swallow the medication instead of inhaling. The medication is supposed to kill the cells. I don’t like being on it, but I don’t like these angry cells being there more!

Again, if your body is telling you something, listen to it. I wish I had a long time ago.

If anyone would like to comment, I would certainly appreciate it more than you know.

Image source: Mayo Clinic.

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Easy Summer Crafts for Kids

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Easy Summer Crafts for Kids!

I’m constantly checking out Pinterest for cute ideas to keep little minds and little hands busy and now that we’re done with school and both kiddos are home with me, I really need to up my craft game!

I’ve compiled three easy summer crafts for kids that have been a hit at my house…hope they work out for you!

Pudding Paint

I actually “borrowed” this idea from a “Kate Plus 8” episode I watched a million years ago (back when it was just “Kate Plus 8!”).  Pudding paint!  There are SO many things you can do with this.

Simply mix up different flavors (colors) of pudding (or just buy those little pudding cups from the grocery store), break out the paint brushes (big and small)…and get creative!  You can corral the kids in your backyard and let them “paint” each other…then hose them off!

Or, use the pudding as “paint” on construction paper, paper plates…the sky’s the limit.  My little ones had a blast painting – then, eating the “paint” – ha!

Tear Art

My daughter just completed Pre-K, and one of the skills that the kiddos worked on all year was increasing their fine motor abilities.  Of course, the kids didn’t realize this. They just thought they were playing! But, one of my little girl’s favorite art projects was tear art – which really helped the kids work on manipulating small pieces of paper, building their little finger and hand muscles.

And you can make ANYTHING.

Pick a shape.  An animal. Print off a (big)  picture of their favorite character. Then, grab multi color construction paper and have them tear the colors into many small pieces.

Make different “color” tear piles.  Once the tearing is done, have them glue the little pieces in the shape of their project (my princess loved making a rainbow – see below – she made this one at school).  I’ve seen watermelons, suns, flowers, ladybugs, oceans, beaches, fishes, flip-flops…let your kiddo pick and watch their little fingers work their magic!

Magazine Collages – Family Portraits

This is a tried and true fun activity for older kiddos who need to practice cutting.  You just need safety scissors, family-friendly magazines (that you don’t mind being cut up), a large piece of construction paper, and glue.

One of our babysitters had my little girl create this collage for me while I was working – isn’t it adorable?  She had my kids go through magazines and pick pictures that represented our family.  Then, she helped both my babies cut and glue together our family “portrait.”  This was made two years ago.  It is still posted on our art “door.”  I just love it.  And, I hope you’ll love yours!

What’s your favorite, easy summer art project with your kids?  There are SO many to choose from!

Comment below and let’s get an art dialogue going!

 

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Everyone Loves a Problem Solver

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Don’t get me wrong I love a new handbag or a killer pair of heels just as much as the next girl, but there is something really, really satisfying about finding products that actually make life easier.

Today I’m highlighting my favorite products that solve everyday problems.

They’re creative, clever items that will help streamline your day and have you saying — “why didn’t I think of that?!”

Frog Pod from Boon Inc.

This adorable Frog Pod is the superstar of bath toy storage and helps me stay organized long after the kids are finished splashing around.

Shemergency Kit

Pinch Provisions offers the best “emergency” kits to stash in your car. They actually offer a special one just for moms, but I favor the shemergency kit since it’s really all-inclusive. It’s the perfect safety net when you’re out and about and an emergency hits.

Fresh Wave Natural Odor Eliminator

I’m a huge fan of the entire product line from Fresh Wave, but the Fresh Wave Pearl Packs are my favorite. These all natural, non toxic beads come in a small mesh bag so you can easily throw them in any area that needs freshening up; think diaper pail, gym bag/shoes, or even in the refrigerator to absorb unwanted food smells.

Clutch Dishwasher Basket

Containing all of your baby’s feeding accessories in one place is no easy feat. Clutch dishwasher basket helps you organize them in your dishwasher so you can easily transport them in and out. I wish I had one of these when my two were babies!

CableDrop

These colorful cable holders from Cabledrop are the perfect solution for keeping cables available without cluttering up your work space.

Lego Storage

My 6-year-old son lives for Legos and I love that he can spend hours using his imagination to create his own one-of-a-kind Lego masterpieces, but the truth is I’ve felt myself drowning in Lego bits on way too many occasions. This colorful case helps us tremendously in keeping our Legos contained and organized. It has truly been a lifesaver.

Benetgo

This eco friendly, sleek option is a great way to simplify lunches. Bentgo includes two stackable containers with lids, built-in plastic silverware and a secure strap for easy transportation. Not only does the Bentgo look awesome with its colorful and sleek design, it is also microwavable, dishwasher safe, & BPA-Free.

Corkcicle

This one is for all of you who just love a fancy gadget (and a good bottle of wine!)! Say good-bye to ice buckets when you have a corkcicle to keep your whites chilled and your reds at the perfect room temperature.

I hope you enjoyed my favorite problem solving products and I hope some of them end up making your life just a little easier. Now it’s your turn -name that one item you just can’t live without.

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