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OC Spring Bucket List for Kids

oc spring activities for kids

[This cute idea comes from one of my new writers, Lisa, who you will be hearing more from in the future!  - Jen]

OC Spring Activities for Kids

Spring has sprung; the season of sunshine and showers, rainbows and flowers, so wanted to write a post on my favorite OC spring activities for kids.

This is the time to be outside, relishing in the beautiful blossoms, splashing in puddles, exploring the green hills and indoors,  a time of renewing;  out with old, organizing and setting a bit of a fresh start as well.

 It is a beautiful time to be in Orange County, and to experience it anew with your children.

Join Me for a Seven-Week Series

For the next seven weeks I’ll be encouraging you to squeeze the most of our beautiful location.  With local hints and information, purveyed for the family! Get inspired, and not overwhelmed with simple, fun ideas, tailored for our region.

Through a children’s eye small things are big things, little, special moments turn into the memories we carry with us through a lifetime.  I know I remember sweet days taking the trolley in the rain with my dad in San Diego, or a foggy morning breakfast, these days can be SO special. Let’s make the most of the season!

Join our Spring Journey on Instagram

Please join us Instagram this spring and share ideas of what OC spring activities for kids you and your kiddos are doing with the #tinyorangesspring hashtag.

Follow me at @lisarimke and @tinyorangesOC to see what we’re doing!

$36 Off Music Classes at California Music Studios

Have you ever wondered where to find the best piano teacher or a wonderful singing coach for your little one?
 Music classes from California Music Studios are your answer!  

There is nothing sweeter than seeing (and hearing) children respond to music. Whether music helps bring them out of their shell or gives them the opportunity to showcase their inner Beyoncé, there is something really special about seeing a child’s face light up when they’re around music.

That’s why I was so excited to chat with our new Sponsor, Jennifer Paterson, founder of California Music Studios, an organization that matches children with talented music teachers throughout Southern California, to find out more about how California Music Studios helps pair children with music teachers based on the child’s own interests, goals, and ambitions.

Jennifer, an accomplished musician with three degrees in music, decided to open California Music Studios in 1987.

After moving to California from Boston, where she was the principal soprano for the Boston Lyric Opera Company (I told you she was accomplished!), she immediately recognized that parents needed help and guidance to find a trusted and talented music teacher for their child.

Jennifer had the experience and expertise to offer them this help.

The organization grew by word of mouth from 2-3 teachers back in 1987, to over 350 teachers today. Through my conversation with Jennifer I found out exactly why that growth happened so naturally.

Teachers Come To You

As a busy mom of two, I am well aware of how challenging it can be to shuttle kids from one activity to the next. If you sign up for music classes from California Music Studios you have the option of having a teacher come to your home to teach the lesson or visiting the teacher’s studio. The option to save time, gas and energy is such a huge convenience.

California Music Studio Screens for You

Out of the 60 applicants that Jennifer receives each month only 3 or 4 are chosen to join California Music Studios. I can’t imagine the time and effort it would take me to scour through the internet to interview and test that many teachers to find the best option for my little one.

Over 65 Performances a Year (FREE OF CHARGE)

California Music Studios offer Formal Recitals and informal Music Club recitals, totaling over 65 performances for students each year. Students of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate, and parents, relatives, and friends are all welcome. The best part about this – they are free of charge.

These recitals help children gain confidence and self-esteem. In addition the student enhances their comprehension and retention of material by being asked to learn a piece for the performance. And, I can’t think of any better way to show off the hard work they’ve put into their lessons. It’s an amazing and rare opportunity.

Class Variety and Customization for Your Child

Because California Music Studios works with such a vast number of teachers they can truly customize the lesson for your child based on you and your child’s interests and goals.

The company has more than a 98% success rate in matching students and teachers, but if for some reason the teacher you were assigned is not the best match for your child, there is an option to change teachers.

Focus on Fun

The last and probably most important reason why I believe that California Music Studios has been able to grow into such a successful business is that it is clear that the company was built out of a passion for music and that both the teachers and the students are having fun. They have students ranging from age 4 to 94 which shows a love of music can last forever!

All Tiny Oranges Readers Get $36 off your first month of lessons.

(New students only. Limit one per household. Not to be combined with any other offer or discount.) 

If you’re interested in signing your child (or yourself) up for music lessons please call California Music Studios @

760-632-7577 for more information, or visit

[Disclosure: California Music Studios is a new Tiny Oranges Sponsor, and we are so happy to be able to spread the word about their wonderful classes.]

Fun Summer Activities for Kids in Orange County – Splash, Bounce and Play!

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for fun places to take your kiddos, especially during the summer.  My motto?  Keep ‘em active, keep ‘em happy!  So take a peek at some of my favorite fun summer activities for kids in Orange County - bounce, splash, play and have FUN!

Splish Splash

Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center (Aliso Viejo) – A beautiful aquatic center that features not only a 25-yard pool, but also an adorable toddler wading pool and a splash pad (see the picture above!)…overlooking a gorgeous golf course and views of the city.  And the best part? You don’t have to be a resident of Aliso Viejo to enjoy this facility – guest passes are available (for purchase) to the public – check out rates and hours here.

The District (Tustin) - Eat, shop AND let your kiddos cool off at The District.  Enjoy a sprinkle of pop-up fountains found right in front of the escalators leading up to the bowling alley and DSW Shoes.

Heritage Park  (Irvine) - I have heard through the “mom grapevine” that this is a GREAT park for little ones - a fun playground WITH a splash pad.  Run, play, splash and pack a picnic lunch – perfect for warm days and fresh air.

Pioneer Road Park (Tustin)- Check out this super fun pioneer-themed park that features two playgrounds, a water section for splashing, a basketball and volleyball court, and picnic areas – can’t wait to bring my little ones to play!

Irvine Spectrum  - What an awesome place to bring the kiddies this summer.  Besides the shopping, besides the restaurants, besides the movie theater, and besides the fun rides (bring your money for a train ride, a spin on the “big wheel” and the carousel!)…you will find a splash area in front of Target.

Time to Bounce!

Jump ‘N Jammin (Mission Viejo) - bounce, jump, climb, slide AND fire (soft) balls from a super fun second story tower – you can even purchase a summer passport for additional discounts – check it out!

Pump it Up (Lake Forest, Irvine)inflatable bounce houses, slides, obstacle courses, oh my!  Check out their individual OC locations for specific rates and calendars to see when you can stop by for a “pop-in family jump.”

Scooter’s Jungle (Aliso Viejo) - another adorable indoor bounce extravaganza – run, jump, bounce and slide during open toddler time and “all ages” play time…check out their location in Aliso Viejo for a calendar of open jump times.

I can’t wait to try out these bouncy fun places!

Big Air Trampoline Park (Laguna Hills)jump, jump jump…and jump some more!  Leap, play games, and literally bounce off the walls!  Click here for FAQs and hours.

Frogg’s Bounce House (Fountain Valley) - more bouncing, running, sliding, PLUS a toddler gym, a kids playhouse, a train table, building blocks, Frogalina, a disco karaoke tiki hut, a Little Tykes fun car, frog books, bean bags, beach balls and Nick JR!  Check out their hours and facility here.

Jump Sky High (Costa Mesa) - a trampoline fun center galore!  Flip, bounce, and show off your tricks to your heart’s content.  Take a look at their weekly specials here.

Where is your favorite place to play with your kids this summer?  There are so many wonderful choices in Orange County…comment below and share!

OC Parks 2013 Summer Concert Series

The OC Parks 2013 Summer Concert Series was just announced and the lineup looks amazing!

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the summer season than by attending a FREE outdoor summer concert.

Thirteen free concerts take place outdoors every Thursday night from June 13 through August 29th. All shows are from 6 – 8pm, and include free parking.

Food trucks will be serving on-site at all locations, or if you’re feeling overly ambitious you can always pack your own picnic.

One of my favorite things about summer has to be the extra time you gain in the evening to actually get out of the house and do something fun and memorable.

Being able to stop by a local park with friends and family and enjoy live music sounds like the perfect way to enjoy these upcoming summer evenings.

OC Parks 2013 Summer Concert Series Lineup

Craig Regional Park in Fullerton

Date: Thursday, June 13

Artist:  ‘80s sensation Flashback Heart Attack with DJ Velvet Touch.

Date: Thursday, June 20

Artist: The O.C. Supertones performing with Mike Vitale 

Time: All concerts 6 – 8 p.m.

Cost: Free    Parking: Free

Craig Regional Park, 3300 State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92835

Mason Regional Park

Date: Thursday, June 27

Artist: Indie Rock sensation The Devious Means with Cherokee Fade

Date: Thursday, July 4

Artist: Breach the Summit with A+ Dropouts

Date: Thursday, July 11

Artist: Micah Brown with Nicole Vaughn

Time: All concerts 6 – 8 p.m.

Cost: Free     Parking: Free

Mason Regional Park, 18712 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612

Mile Square Regional Park

Date: Thursday, July 18

Artist: Hindu Pirates with Cali Conscious

Date: Thursday, July 25

Artist: Hunter Hunted with DJ Velvet Touch

Date: Thursday, August 1

Artist: Boogaloo Assassins and With Strangers

Time: All concerts 6 – 8 p.m.

Cost: Free     Parking: Free

Mile Square Park, 16801 Euclid St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Irvine Regional Park

Date: Thursday, August 8

Artist: Moonsville Collective with D.T. Robbins

Date: Thursday, August 15

Artist: Jeramiah Red with Mia and the Moonlight

Date: Thursday, August 22

Artist: The Orquesta Cortez with DJ Hector Waluyo

Time: All concerts from 6 – 8pm
Cost: Free   Parking: Free

Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA, 92869

Bluff Park at Salt Creek Beach

Date: August 29

Artist: Matt Costa with The Blank Tapes

Time: 6-8pm

Cost: Free   Parking: Free

Bluff Park Salt Creek Beach, 33333 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Dana Point, CA 92629

Now, bring on summer!

[Disclosure: OC Parks is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor and we are so very happy to spread the word about their fabulous free concerts.]

Sidecar Doughnuts

Sidecar Doughnuts, a specialty doughnut store in Costa Mesa, opened its doors this month to the delight of Orange County doughnut aficionados everywhere.

First off, I love that they use the spelling of doughnut vs. donut, which after a quick Google search, is in fact the grammatically correct spelling. Who knew? I guess they did, and the spelling was only the first of many things they got right with their new business!

Dare I say, they really did score a hole in one. Sorry, couldn’t help it.

I was invited to a media sneak peek before it opened to the public and was able to meet the owners and find out more about their offerings.

We were also given this sampler plate of doughnuts along with a freshly brewed Stumptown latte. By the way, Sidecar is the only location in Orange County where you will find Stumptown coffee. AAAAMMMAAZING!

Now I am going to be honest: typically I eat a donut about once a year at a garage sale ~ a decision I usually end up regretting after when I get that “blah” feeling.

Not so with these yummy confections!

Sidecar Doughnuts is revolutionizing the doughnut world with doughnuts made from real ingredients.  We are talking doughnuts made fresh from scratch on the hour, using the finest ingredients and no preservatives.

Their speciality doughnuts include real yeast-raised, cake, and buttermilk varieties dressed up with fun extras to make unique flavors like Maple Bacon or Birthday Cake. Think your kiddo might like that one? You guessed right.

It was love at first taste for me. You can really taste the difference. My favorite? Maple Bacon hands down. It was an entire breakfast experience in one bite.

 Gluten-free Fridays! Avoiding gluten these days? Every Friday you will find gluten-free doughnuts; and even vegan options from time to time. Follow Sidecar Doughnuts on Facebook to find out when.

They are pricer than your typical donut, but worth the upgrade for the fresh ingredients and hip location. Plus, where else would you find a fresh, hot doughnut topped with crispy bacon?

[Disclosure: I was provided scrumptious bites and a latte complimentary; along with a doughnut box filled with some goodies. Glad they spotted me on the corner with my sign, "Will work for doughnuts.']