Preserve Your Summer Memories [Giveaway!]

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own, I love Pictli!

———->>>>>   Giveaway!   <<<<<———-

Make sure to enter below to win TWO Pictli framed photo gifts to preserve your summer memories
ONE for you and ONE to send as a gift!

framed-photo-gifts

Framed Photo Gifts

Every summer my girls go to San Diego to stay with their grandparents for four fun filled days of non-stop activities. My sister-in-law lives  in San Diego as well, and this year, in addition to all the fun stuff the grandparents planned, she took my girls stand up paddle boarding for the first time along with treating them to an entire day at the Aquatica Water Park by SeaWorld.

Anyone who can brave a water park with two kids for the day deserves a big thank you, so I went online to Pictli and created a framed photo gift of the girls paddle boarding to send her as a thank you gift.  And, it took me all of about 5 minutes. I LOVE IT! 

Pictli’s New Line of Cape Cod Style Picture Frames 

Pictli is a website and mobile app where you can instantly create framed photo gifts to be shipped directly to the recipient (or yourself)!

Pictli’s new line of Cape Cod style picture frames are the perfect ones to chose from to preserve your summer vacation memories. I love all their colors and the distressed wood style frames. Reminds me of the beach.

This photo of the girls stand up paddle boarding was the perfect pic to commemorate the fun time they had with their aunt and I loved this neutral summery frame.

cape-cod-style-picture-frame

The Inspiration for Pictli 

I asked Pictli Owner, and Chief Memory Maker, Frank Barbieri how he got the idea to start the company. He said he got the idea after the birth of his daughter when Frank and his wife wanted to send framed photo gifts directly to their relatives.  But the options of companies to use were not great quality, too expensive and a hard-to-use design process.

They thought, “We can fix all those things!” and a high quality, affordable, user-friendly framed photo gift site was born.

His passion for his company and obsession with making sure his customer experience is always a great one has made Pictli into what it is today.

And think, the inspiration for the company started with this precious little face in a Pictli frame (Frank’s daughter – can you believe the CUTENESS?!)

MB

Pictli Makes Sending a Special Gift So Easy 

Giving framed photo gifts are one of the most special, personal gifts you can give. But it can be a hassle right? You have to get the photo actually printed, pick out a frame, frame it and then package it to ship and mail.

Not with Pictli.

To order framed photo gifts from Pictli is so easy it’s silly.  Via their website or free mobile app you can drag and drop a photo from your phone, computer or pull images from Facebook or Instagram.

Then you can “try on” the different style frames on your image, chose your recipient, write a special note to include, and Pictli will deliver your beautiful framed photo gifts wrapped in cute orange tissue tied with your personal note to the recipient.

wrappedpictli

Bookmark the site ladies – it will be your new go-to spot for gifts.

Enter to Win Two Pictli Framed Photo Gifts!

Preserve your summer memories with Pictli and enter to win two framed photos – one for you and one to send as a gift! Good luck!

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What We Can Learn from the Maddy Middleton Tragedy

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Last month 8-year-old girl Maddy Middleton was abducted, raped and murdered in her Santa Cruz apartment complex. The perpetrator was not a stranger and this was not a random abduction.  The killer was a 15-year-old boy who lived in her building who lured her to his apartment. Her tragic story shook me to the core. As a parent, I can’t even fathom the pain.

I wanted to share this insightful article posted on the Facebook page of Orange County clinical psychologist, Dr. Jerry Weichman, on how to talk to our kids when stories like this are covered in the media along with other important reminders about how to keep your child safe.  The “Staying Put” lesson is so important. His article was so enlightening to me I asked if I could share in this post. Please comment below with any comments or questions.

Keeping Your Child Safe – Tips & Insight || by Dr. Jerry Weichman

maddy middleton I have fielded some requests this week from parents asking how to discuss with younger kids tragic events that end up getting a lot of media coverage. Specifically last month the tragic abduction and death of 8 year old Maddy Middleton in Santa Cruz was one that struck a chord with many parents.

First, I think we need to be mindful of where the balance is in this discussion with our kids to ensure that they’re safe but also not to create an anxiety-ridden child or teenager with agoraphobia.

I would go so far as to say that I would not recommend bringing the incident up with your children nor sharing the details unless your child actually asks you about it.

If your child does bring up an event that they have heard about, parents need to consider the child’s maturity level, emotional capacity, and need to listen to your child’s specific questions before giving information.

Oftentimes, parents volunteer more details than a child is actually seeking. In the end, kids usually are seeking simple facts and reassurance that they are safe.

However, if these stories serve more as a wake-up call to parents about talking with their kids about safety in general, here are my tips:

Staying Put

Regardless of whether or not your child could potentially be lured by someone they know, such as was the case with Maddy, or by a complete stranger, the first issue at hand is a child leaving the location when they were supposed to be staying put. This is what you need to be focusing on and continually reiterating to your kids. Bottom line, the message needs to be, “You do not ever leave where you are supposed to be without talking with Mom/Dad first and asking for my permission to do so.”

Stranger Danger

Your kids are naturally going to be much more wary of a stranger because most parents talk about stranger danger but it is the people whom they do know who are the “sleepers.” That’s to say, the predators who that pose the biggest problems to our kids are the familiar faces because they seem trustworthy simply because your child knows them. This is why parents need to also discuss behaviors such as people they know (adults and kids) asking your child to keep a secret.

How to Discuss The Rules

The conversation about not departing the area where they should be without first asking parental permission should be short in duration (30 seconds max) but repeated at least every other week with them to help convert it to long-term memory. Now, just because your child has heard this rule over and over know this doesn’t mean that when it actually happens they’ll remember. I recommend once you’ve had multiple conversations with your child about this putting them to the actual test to see if they truly do get it. Call a neighbor or friend and have them come to your child (whether in front of the house, at a park, etc) and ask them if they want to come over right now to do something your kid really likes to do. Don’t admonish or “bust” your child if they make the wrong decision with this test. You don’t want your kid to feel tricked by you. Instead just know you have your answer about how truly safe your kid is with regards to staying put versus going somewhere without permission. Simply make a bigger point of discussing the rules with them.

Trust Your Gut

Lastly always trust your parental intuition, especially you moms out there. I’ve never seen a mother’s intuition be wrong in 17 years of working with teens and parents. Listen to your gut, to that feeling and to that thought in your head. If you experience an odd feeling about any individual, have a side conversation with your child that being alone around that individual or being in their home is off limits. If they ask why, just tell them that there’s adult information that you can’t share with them and your job as a parent is to keep them “out of trouble.” Do not tell your kid that the individual is “bad” or that your job as a parent is to keep them “safe.” These are trigger words and you run the risk of your child (depending on the age of your kid) telling the other person’s child that their home isn’t safe and now you have a different issue to deal with in your community.

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10 Favorite Memories of High School Summers

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High School Summer Memories

I had a mini reunion with 5 high school girlfriends last week and it brought back so many high school summer memories circa ’88-’92.

It was a life without the internet, laptops or cell phones. Which made me wonder, what did we do!?  Worked on our tans, of course. Oh Lord.

Looking back here are 10 of my favorite memories from my high school summers, I would love to hear some of yours.

Top 10 High School Summer Memories 

1. Driving to Blockbuster on warm nights to rent a movie with friends.

blockbuster-1

2. Daring my friends to ask the cute lifeguard what time it is. Which would never fly now days with cell phones.

3. Beach bonfires.

4. Taking the bus to Huntington Beach and getting strips with cheese at the snack bar (photo below found here).
stripsandcheese

5. Rocking my high waisted neon bikini and these….

80sglasses

6. Sleeping until 11:00am.

7. Laying on the beach with my pastel ghetto blaster waiting for my favorite song to come up and frantically hitting record. I had this exact one!!!! —>

80sboombox

 

8. Driving around in my friend’s convertible listening to “He’s a Cold Hearted Snake”

9 Foster’s Freeze Chocolate Dipped cones

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10. And of course…Sun-In. The blonder, the tanner, the better.

SunIn

I would love to hear your high school summer memories!! Please do comment below…

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Top OC Parks to Visit In Summer

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Top OC Parks to Visit This Summer

Summer is in full swing and for those of us with little ones, that means a lot of OC park time!  I’ve complied a list of Tiny Orange’s best park “picks” through the years, as well as some of my new favorite hangouts.  Here are my top OC parks to visit this summer.  Happy playing!

Tiny Oranges’ Recs

– We are huge fans of Michele’s NaturePlayTrips.com FREE Family Guidebooks Club which now includes a FREE Crystal Cove Guidebook plus a free weekly play trips email. Once you’re a member you’ll get future guidebooks for free like the Parks in Orange County with Restrooms Guide AND a Beginner Guide to Family Camping. Since 2008, Michele has personally scouted pretty much every park and outdoor play space for families in OC, and has shared the inside scoop on her blog FunOrangeCountyParks.com. To this we say, thank you Michele!

 – You can read all about Jen’s favorite parks in Our Top 5 Orange County Parks.

– Here’s a great Tiny Oranges’ write-up on TeWinkle and Angels Playground and Park (Costa Mesa).

– Check out the adorable Citrus Ranch Park (Tustin) in this blog.

– Coastal Peak Park (Newport Coast) looks so beautiful, and you can read about the playground details in this blog.

– Another gorgeous park is found at Lido Island Playground (Lido Island, close to Newport) – this one makes me extra happy and extra appreciative to live in beautiful Orange County!

– Settlers Park (Irvine) is a really great park and playground, and Tiny Oranges reviews it in this blog.  Check it out!

My New (and Old) Favorites

Baker Ranch (Lake Forest) – This is a super fun park that just opened last year.  It has large rock areas to climb for big kids (pictured above), a huge tunnel slide, a “big” kid playground, a “little” kid playground, grassy areas, picnic areas, and a nice park bathroom.  My kids love this one!

Crown Valley Park (Laguna Niguel) – This newly renovated (and I mean, newly renovated!) park just re-opened this month…and it is fabulous! A super cool, super entertaining splash pad that kept my kids giggling and busy (bonus – two life guards on duty!), a playground for littles, a playground for bigs, and a family-friendly hiking trail.  This very pregnant mama wan’t up for a hike while we were there, but it’s nice to know it’s available. Just be prepared for crowds – because it is so new, everyone seems to be checking out this new little gem.

Florence Joyner Olympiad Park (Mission Viejo) – This is a park my family has enjoyed for years…and we actually had my daughter’s 1st birthday party here (many moons ago)!  It’s an awesome, interactive park designed to keep both littles and bigs busy and happy. Slides (my kids LOVE the tall, bendy slide!), swings, sand areas, a “pirate ship,” lots of room to run and play, equipment for all ages, grassy areas, and bathrooms.

Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center (Lake Forest) – I recently discovered this (almost brand new!) park and it is amazing! This is huge, clean, community property opened last year, and has two amazing parks that are separated – one designed for the littles and one designed for the bigs – and both areas are BIG. With LOTS to do.  It boasts every type of playground equipment you’d ever want (and it’s mostly shaded!), plus expansive grassy areas, picnic areas, immaculately kept sports fields, and a beautiful community center (with super clean bathrooms!).

Heritage Park (Irvine) – I’ve only been here once, but I can’t wait to take my kids again this summer. Not only does this park offer a fabulous playground, but it also features a water play area and splash pad!  Tons of great playground equipment and a beautiful area.  Just make sure to bring a towel and/or a change of kid clothes with you!

Pavion Park (Mission Viejo) – Okay, I can’t wait to check this one out.  My mama friends say this park rocks!  It’s also pretty new (as of Dec. 2014), and looks like it will be a kid crowd pleaser – and it’s universally accessible!  Tons of different “spinners,” a new type of “zip line,” slides, tons of places to climb, spacious “sitting” areas for adults and/or kids to socialize, a ground maze, lots of space to run and play…I think the only special thing to note is that there is not a bathroom on site (so plan ahead, if you can!).

 

What are some of your favorite parks, moms? Please share below, and let’s add to this list! 

 

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Summer Mom Fail

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summermomfail

How did it get to be August already?

Going into summer I had all sorts of scholastic plans for my girls to ensure their little brains would not turn to mush over the summer.

They were going to read at least 30 minutes every day.

I was going to print out worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers for my going-into-1st-grader to do.

I put a summer incentive plan in place to reward good behavior, including reading.

You get the idea.

But this summer so far has gone down more like this.

Both girls have played so much Subway Surfer I am afraid they have killed brain cells.

I have every line of every Sofia the First memorized.

Neither one has been reading enough to make their teachers proud.

Not one worksheet has been completed.

Since we have a month to go, I still have time to make changes. However I have no energy to rectify any of the above.

The other night I told my husband, I am a total Summer Mom Fail.

Please tell me I am not alone.

But then again, on the other hand…

My six-year-old learned how to dive and compete on a swim team.

They both discovered the fun of stand up paddle boarding.

Both perfected the art of being able to applying their own sunscreen, and then how to each do the other’s backs. Really, truly. Life changing.

They learned how to do a successful potato sack race at their grandmother’s Swiss Festival.

Both girls (and I!) learned how to do the “Watch Me Whip, Watch Me Nae Nae” dance. 

They got bank accounts and went shopping for the first time taking their birthday money out with their own ATM card. And did the math on how much change they were supposed to get.

We discovered the joy of watching So You Think You Can Dance together as a family (with me editing of course) and learned about the different styles of dance.

An usual weekend of warm tropical rain taught them that summer rain is especially fun while jumping on the trampoline.

They learned how to fold a dollar bill into a heart for their cousin.

My oldest learned how to French braid my hair.

So on the other hand, maybe summer isn’t a complete mom fail.

I mean, everyone should know how to do the Nae Nae dance, right?!

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