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Summer Fun

Summer Opportunities Jamboree!

The Parenting OC Magazine eighth annual Summer Opportunities Jamboree will take place this Sunday, March 9, 2014, at the Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in Irvine.

Up to 75 exhibitors are expected, representing summer camps, family-friendly classes and health services, preschools, private schools and birthday parties – providing parents the opportunity to plan ahead and learn more about OC-wide activities and programs that their children can be a part of.

On the Kidpalooza Stage you will also find performances by youth talent and performers, contests and the popular Jamboree Spelling Bee where the county’s top spellers compete in an exciting multi-round competition.

Entertainment will include family fun attractions, gymnastics and fitness demos.

This event is a great way to start thinking about summer planning and the incredible experiences available for your kids this 2014 summer season!

Click here for more information on the Summer Opportunities Jamboree 2014.

Have a great weekend! Remember to SPRING FORWARD!

Flights & Sounds Summer Festival at The Great Park

Flights & Sounds Summer Festival 2013

The Flights & Sounds Summer Festival 2013 at The Orange County Great Park in Irvine just announced their free concert line up and it looks amazing! We are thrilled to be working with the Great Park as a Tiny Oranges sponsor because they have so much to offer Orange County families.

One of my favorite things about summer is being able to take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight and spend the evenings outdoors. And, since summer seems to be flying by, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate its last month than by catching a free concert in the park with friends and family.

The Flights & Sounds Summer Festival 2013 kicks off this Saturday, August 10 and runs every Saturday evening on the Terraced Lawn.

The Flights & Sounds line up includes eight diverse and talented musical artists and promises to engage music lovers of all ages.

Flights & Sounds Summer Festival 2013

Schedule & Featured Musicians

Saturday, August 10

Opening musician (7 p.m.): Chase Brokaw of Simple Green ­ Lead singer and guitarist of roots reggae sensation Simple Green

Headliner (8 p.m.): The Aggrolites ­ Los Angeles-based band will perform their signature “dirty reggae” representing a fusion of reggae, soul, grit and rhythm. The Aggrolites have shared the stage with such notables as Social Distortion and 311 and have released six full-length albums to their credit.

Saturday, August 17
Opening musician (7 p.m.): Alice Wallace ­ Local singer and songwriter that is undeniably folk at heart with dips into blues and rock

Headliner (8 p.m.): The White Buffalo ­ Delivers an authentic homage to southern-style indie rock and storytelling. The White Buffalo is releasing a new record “Shadows, Greys, and Evil Ways” on September 10.

Saturday, August 24
Opening musician (7 p.m.): Stacy Clark ­ Southern California Indie pop darling, singer and musician

Headliner (8 p.m.): Casey Abrams ­ American Idol finalist and a pop-influenced singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist; Casey recently released his self-titled debut album on Concord Records  

Saturday, August 31
Opening musician (7 p.m.): Colin Giles ­ Indie reggae “rocksteady” folk soul with a touch of acoustic

Headliner (8 p.m.): Western Standard Time ­ The world’s premier ska supergroup, Western Standard Time brings together the best of West Coast ska, reggae and jazz from the past 20 years with a big band tribute to The Skatalites.

These fun summer concerts are free, but you will need to pay $10 for parking. If you don’t have time to pack a picnic you’ll be able to order food from local gourmet food trucks starting at 6PM. All live music starts at 7PM.  Don’t forget to bring chairs and a blanket!

The Orange County Great Park is located at Sand Canyon and Marine Way, and can easily be reached by the 5 or 405 freeways.

For more information, please visit www.ocgp.org or call 866-829-3829.

[Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post to help spread the word about the Flights & Sounds Summer Festival and we are happy to share with you!]

My Top Tips for Flying with Toddlers

This post is on my top tips for flying with toddlers.

Summer has arrived in full swing.  And that means some sort of travel for many families.  And flying. With your children. Did anyone else just gulp?

My hubby and I have traveled cross-country with our kiddos, as well as hopped one-hour flights. We’ve been delayed, changed planes twice (hmmm, maybe three times?) in one day, been diverted to different airports, had our luggage lost, and had our kids get sick en route.

I’m knocking on wood somewhere…but I think we’ve seen A LOT when it comes to flying with kiddos.

So, here are some of my top tips for flying with toddlers and preschoolers – I hope they help you and your family this summer!

1. Plan Ahead for Packing

Remember to sleep the night before.  I have traveled both ways…with sleep and without sleep (i.e. I left packing my entire family of four to the night before…after my kids went to bed).  No sleep = not worth it. Ask a friend, a parent, your spouse, or a babysitter to help with occupying the munchkins the day before so you can get your travel errands and packing done.  Better yet?  Start early.  Do laundry a couple of days prior, and instead of putting clothes away, start stacking them in suitcases.

2. Bring your Stroller (with Mommy Hooks)

I have a three and five-year-old who are perfectly capable of walking.  Of course they are.  But guess what?  My latest “it will only be a quick one hour hopper flight” turned into an hour and a half delay at the first airport…then, once we arrived…“the bags took an extra half hour to arrive at baggage claim and it took 15 minutes to walk to the car” issue.

Toddlers and preschoolers get cranky, drag their feet, want to be held, don’t want to hold their backpacks, try to make a break for it to the nearest gift shop (okay, that was my three-year-old), and whine when they’re tired.

3. Gate Check Your Stroller 

Gate check the stroller (make sure you check in at the counter to get a special tag)…and like magic, it’s there as soon as you leave the plane.  If you’re worried about it getting damaged, go buy a cheap $15 or $20 umbrella stroller.  Believe me, it’s worth the investment.

4. Carefully Pack Your Child’s Travel Backpack. 

And don’t make it too heavy for little ones to carry.  Here’s my list (concluded from trial and error):

- New coloring book and a baggie of four or five crayons (you don’t need the whole box – takes up too much room and more opportunity for them to dump them).

- New (small) paperback book.

- Small portable (already charged!) DVD player.

- No more than two movies per kid (I usually try to pick up a new movie per kid, for $4.99 from Target so it’s new and more special.).

- I stock up on several small Dollar Store or Target “Dollar Spot” new toys or trinkets…it’s cheap, it’s new, and it makes it feel special for the airplane.  Just make sure to ration out the new items for your trip over AND your trip back.  Same goes for movies.

- One to two small toys (For my son, it’s trains or cars.  For my daughter, little dolls or figurines).

- If they’re old enough, flash cards, mini game sets, a deck of cards for Go Fish, etc.

- One set of snacks per kid – ideas include animal crackers, individual packets of Goldfish, fruit snack packet, raisin boxes, fruit slices in baggies, etc.

- One (empty) sippy cup or small water bottle.  SO much easier to fill after you get through security.  You can even go straight to the water fountain!  Plus, my kids are known for their little “butterfingers” and easily spill those flimsy airplane plastic cups.  So just fill up their own cup!

Pack some of these musts in your diaper bag…

- First of all, try to wear a backpack versus carry a heavy diaper bag.  I use my husband’s laptop backpack.  The weight is evenly distributed and it’s SO much easier when you already have your hands full.

 - An easy to fold shirt for EVERYONE, including you and your spouse.  We always pack the kid a new shirt.  But what happens when orange juice or milk is spilled on you?  Take it from me.  Pack a shirt for yourself.

- An extra pair of underwear for each kid (if potty trained).

- If NOT potty trained, here’s my advice – stock up on overnight diapers in your favorite brand.  My kids used to freak out in those little airplane bathroom changing tables (is something that small really even considered a “table?”).  I changed them right before boarding…then depending on the length of the flight, I kept them in their overnight diaper unless there was a “number 2” incident.  Then, I changed them as soon as we get off the plane. So.much.easier.

- A new package of wipes.  You will use them for everything.

- An extra pair of socks for each kid.  Tootsies can get cold.

- An empty freezer Ziplock bag – dump the gross toys that fall to the ground and roll around in here.  Easy to separate them from the clean ones.

- Lollipops for the kids…reserved for takeoffs and landings.  Some moms I know use gum (with my kids, this would be disastrous), sippies/water bottles to suck on, pacifiers for little ones…really, anything that can help their ears pop in a pinch.

My last topic to discuss – car seats.

Ahhh, car seats.  And the endless debate – to check or not to check?  Again, we’ve done it both ways.  Here’s my two cents.

We have done it both ways.  Now that my kids are older, I definitely check both car seats.  I never rely on a car rental place to have car seats, even if they guarantee them.  We buy the car seat bags at Babies ‘R Us for $13.99, pop the car seats in them, and away they go.  They have a handle for easy pick up, and we find it really helps avoid car seat damage.

Now, when my babies were between a year-old and three-years-old, my hubby and I decided to bring the car seat on the airplane with us, strap it into the airplane seat, then strap our kiddo in.  We decided this for several reasons.

- I refused to correct my toddler every five seconds (on a cross country flight) to not play with their seatbelt and unstrap themselves.  I needed my sanity if I was going to get through whatever loooonnnngggg flight I was on.

- They felt more comfortable and secure in their own seat that they were accustomed to on a daily basis.

- Unless they needed to stretch or walk to the bathroom, their bottoms stayed strapped in the car seat.  Secure.  Safe.  And safely confined. 

I know lots of my friends who lap sit their one or two-year-olds.  And it works for them.  And they save airfare for an extra seat.  And their kid snuggles in and sits quietly and plays. I am jealous of those mamas.

For my husband and I, this buying the extra seat for our toddler has always been worth it if it’s more than an hour flight.  Because when my kids were one or two, they were their most wiggly, curious, squirmy and active.  Oh, and loud.  VERY LOUD when they didn’t get their way (and no amount of “time outs” worked for us since we were confined to the seat.  Ugh.)

And at that little age, they still didn’t quite understand the importance of sitting still and staying in their seat. Hence, strapping their cute little tushies in their own five-point harness.

Tip – call the airline ahead of time and confirm the size of their seats and discuss the type of car seat you plan on bringing.  I have never heard of an airline that does not allow a car seat on the plane, but it’s always good to double check.

 Okay, that’s all of my travel tips for now – please share your ideas below with us fellow mamas so we can all have successful, happy airplane trips with our kiddies this summer!

Photo credit 2011 Kuster & Wildhaber Photography, Flickr.

The Butterfly House at The Environmental Nature Center

Butterfly House at ENC

I can’t believe it’s already the middle of July, I feel like summer is flying by!

Last weekend, in an effort to get out and enjoy things I can only do in the summer, I took the kids to The Butterfly House at The Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach.

The Butterfly House is only open from May - September and although I had been to the ENC before, I’ve never been during these months.

It was such an easy and fun outing. We printed out the butterfly guide from the organization’s website and I asked each of my kids to try and find certain butterflies once we go there. This made them EXTRA excited; I swear there’s something about going on a hunt that gets them really fired up.

Once we arrived a super helpful guide gave us some guidelines to follow (no, you can’t actually catch the butterflies) and some fun facts about what we were going to see; Monarch Butterflies are abundant this year.

With summer flying by, taking a trip to the Butterfly House is a must. If I had more time I would have planned a picnic at the Environmental Nature Center for afterwards since the grounds are really fun to explore. In my opinion, the entire center is one of Newport Beach’s hidden gems.

Do you have any special summer outings planned to take advantage of the season? If you have school aged kids, is summer flying or creeping along? I have definitely had a few days that creeped, but overall the time is going fast.

OC Fair Ticket Giveaway

OC Fair 2013

It’s my favorite time of year – the OC Fair 2013 is in town town and I have a ticket giveaway today for 4 general admission tickets – please enter below so you can take your family this year!

The OC Fair 2013 opened its gates this past Friday, and there will be food and festivities every Wednesday – Sunday with the theme “Come & Get It” …na na na na na na na na.

Here are some special OC Fair 2013 deals and promotions you might want to know about for this year’s event:

WEDNESDAYS

$30 Unlimited Carnival Rides Wristband
(Sold until 5 pm. Valid until 8 pm) – Plus 2 FREE Games

We Care Wednesday (Noon – 4 pm)

FREE Admission and 1 Carnival Ride Per Person Every Wednesday with Donation. Person Must Be Present. Noon – 4 pm. Limited to 1 FREE Admission and 1 Carnival Ride Per Person (Donation changes weekly)

Food Drive | July 17 (Noon – 4 pm)
FREE Admission with Donation of 5 Cans of Food

Children’s Book Drive | July 24 (Noon – 4 pm)
FREE Admission with Donation of 1 New Children’s Book or 3 Gently Used Children’s Books

Clothing Drive | July 31 (Noon – 4 pm)
FREE Admission with Donation of 5 Clothing Items (New or Gently Used)

School Supply Drive | August 7 (Noon – 4 pm)
FREE Admission with Donation of 1 New School Supply Item Valued at $5 or More

THURSDAYS

$30 Unlimited Carnival Rides Wristband
(Sold until 5 pm. Valid until 8 pm) – Plus 2 FREE Games

Kids Day Every Thursday
Children 12 & Under FREE Fair admission All day.

FRIDAYS

Seniors Day (60+)
$2 off Senior Admission
FREE Ferris Wheel and Merry-Go-Round Rides All Day

$2 Taste of Fair Food
Every Friday Noon – 4 pm

Download the $2 Taste of Fair Food list

$2 Rides and $2 Games
Every Friday Noon – 4 pm

OC Fair Express – Ride with us!
Catch the OC Fair Express at one of the nine convenient locations in Orange County with direct bus service to the OC Fair and save!

$2 one-way ride to the OC Fair and $3 OC Fair admission. For more information, visit octa.net/ocfairexpress

SATURDAYS

Rise & Shine
$3 General Admission

Every Saturday & Sunday 10 am – 11 am

OC Fair Express – Ride with us!
Catch the OC Fair Express at one of the nine convenient locations in Orange County with direct bus service to the OC Fair and save! Same as Friday info, see above.

SUNDAYS

Rise & Shine
$3 General Admission

Every Saturday & Sunday 10 am – 11 am

OC Fair Express – Ride with us!
Catch the OC Fair Express at one of the nine convenient locations in Orange County with direct bus service to the OC Fair and save! Same as Friday info, see above.

Click here for more information on all these special promotions.

EVERY DAY

Throughout the OC Fair 2013, Fairgoers can also enjoy:

Military Get in Free: Free admission each day for active-duty U.S. military and veterans with appropriate I.D.

Read & Ride Program: Children (ages 5-11) who read at least two books and submit a completed OC Fair Read & Ride Book Report Form (available online at ocfair.com/readandride) will receive three free carnival rides.

Free Exhibits and Events: Crafts and culinary displays in the Exhibit Promenade; Summer in the Cities twice nightly at The Hangar; Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders in Memorial Gardens; Come & Get It Sand Sculpture; daily contests in the Fun Zone and more. All free with Fair admission.

GENERAL INFO

Visit ocfair.com/2013 for a full listing of each day’s offerings.

The 2013 OC Fair, themed Come & Get It, is July 12 – August 11 and brings 23 days of food, rides, exhibits, animals, music, action sports and fun, as well as the Toyota Summer Concert Series at the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena.

Concert tickets, action sports reserved seats and single-day general admission are available for purchase online at ticketmaster.com or from the on-site Box Office.

The popular Super Pass, which offers the passholder 23 days of admission, is available for purchase from the onsite Box Office or any public entry gate during regular Fair hours.

Also, download the free OC Fair iPhone and Android apps available now.

OC FAIR TICKET GIVEAWAY!

 One lucky winner will receive 4 General Admission tickets to this year’s OC Fair 2013. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

[Disclosure: I have been provided media tickets and vouchers as a thank you for helping spread the word about the OC Fair - of which it is my pleasure to do so! We are going this week - kids are excited!]