Posts by christy:

The Scoop on Where Kids Eat Free in OC

Where Kids Eat Free in the OC 1 Our family loves having meals together…and I especially love when I don’t have to always cook it for them!  Read here for my tips on where kids eat free in Orange County.

Yum!  Check Out these Kid-Friendly Restaurants…

Denny’s Restaurants (Mission Viejo location): Two days of fabulous kid meal deals!  Your kids can eat free every Tuesday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10p.m. at participating Denny’s..I know the location in Mission Viejo honors this promotion…so if there’s a Denny’s closer to you, just call ahead and check first. Up to two kids can eat free per one adult entree purchase – sweet!

Farrell’s (Mission Viejo Mall location)Ice cream sundaes for dessert, anyone?  Pop on over to Farrell’s on Wednesdays…because kids eat free all day off the kid menu (with the purchase of one adult meal and one adult beverage, counted per child). 

Fred’s Mexican Cafe (Laguna Niguel location): Every Sunday evening from 4-9 p.m. your kiddos can eat off the kid’s menu for half price (there are a variety of items).  Valid with one adult meal per child’s meal.

El Torito (Irvine  location, MacArthur Blvd.): Munch on chips, salsa, guacamole…and order some delicious kids meals for your kiddos!  Your children can eat free on Wednesdays, with every regular adult entree purchase. (ages 12 and under).

IHOP Restaurants (Orange location): Select IHOP locations have “Kids Eat Free” afternoons – this one in Orange honors this promotion everyday after 4 p.m., when you buy an adult entree and an adult beverage. Since this great deal is restaurant specific, always make sure to call ahead and confirm if you are visiting another location.

Pasta Pomodoro (Newport Coast location): Feel like some pasta?  Visit Pasta Pomodoro, and your kiddos (12 and under) will receive a free kid’s meal on Tuesdays (all day!) with the purchase of an adult meal.

Ruby’s Diner (most locations – call ahead):  What’s better than red vinyl booths, burgers, fries and shakes?  Kids 12 and under eat free from the kids menu every Tuesday evening after 4 p.m – one free kid’s meal per one adult entree purchased.

Stadium Brewing Company (Aliso Viejo location): Start your week off right…every Monday after 5 p.m., kids 12 and under eat free with each adult entree purchase.

TGI Friday’s (Costa Mesa location) – I’m excited to share that this location offers TWO days of kids eat free!  You kiddos will enjoy a free kid’s meal every Monday and Tuesday (all day!), per purchase of an adult meal.

Z’Tejas (South Coast Plaza location):  If you’re doing a little shopping at South Coast, keep in mind that kids eat free on Sundays from 4 p.m. to closing  (per one adult entrée off of their regular menu).

*Note – Different chain restaurant locations may vary their promotions, so please always call your closest location ahead of time to confirm!

Where do you take your kids to eat?  Any other places that you know of where kiddos eat free in Orange County?

If so, share in the comments below!

Confessions from a Mommy of Two

Mommy Confessions 5

I have a mommy confession to make. Okay…several.  Here are my confessions from a mommy of two.  About parenting (have I perked your interest?).

Do you ever remember thinking during your pre-mommyhood days…”When I have kids, I will NEVER…(fill in the blank)”.  Or worse, “When I have kids, I will never let them…(fill in the many, many blanks).”

Ummm, yeahhhh. Fast-forward years later, I now have two active, rambunctious, bright, curious, mischievous, stubborn, loving, sweet, loud little kiddos, and I would like to respectfully retract quite a few of my pre-baby “rules.”  No matter how well intentioned.    Because now I’m a mom in the trenches.

Because as all of you mamas know, you live, you learn, you survive, you thrive, you fail, you succeed, you meltdown, you learn to live on little (or no sleep), you experiment…and you love your child more than you ever thought possible.

So here’s a message for my pre-kid self – being a mama is a LOT more challenging than you ever dreamed.  And it will be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.  So ease up on all of those “I’ll never” rules. Because you’ll throw quite a few out the window during the winding path of mommy hood.

Want a laugh?  Here you go – my top 10 things I swore I’d never do (obviously this was made before I had babies).

Top 10 Parenting Things I Swore I’d Never Do [That I Do Now]

10.) Let them wear mismatched or funky clothes.  In public.

I quickly learned to pick my battles. Polka dot shirts with striped pants, Halloween socks and a red Minnie Mouse bow was not a battle that was worth it.  My “rule” quickly turned to…if you’re clean and in clean clothes, you’re fine. Go for it. The fashion world is your oyster.

Mommy Confessions 1

9.)  Raise my voice (that sounds SO much better than yelling, doesn’t it?)

Granted, the majority of the time, my “raised voice” is to simply be heard over my very loud, lovable kids. But still…I was convinced that I would only yell if I absolutely had to for safety reasons.  (Does chasing my three-year-old around the house trying to shove his shoes on because we’re late to school, count??)

8.)  Spit on my hand…to fix their unruly hair. (Ewwww, I know.)

This is a no-brainer, right?  I actually caught myself doing this on picture day at school last year.  I was mortified.  Then, I realized it was either a “spit-do” or fly-away, frizzy hair on my little princess for her Pre-K picture.  Spit it is.

7.)  Become a short order cook.

I had listened to other moms complain about cooking several dishes per mealtime, and was quietly convinced that my future children would only eat what I cooked for the whole family.  Healthy, organic, fresh food with something represented from each food group.

I have been a mom for almost six years.  I have yet to master or enforce this concept.  I’ll let you know when it happens.

6.)  Feed them lots and lots of snacks…beyond the suggested 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. “snack times.”

The books I read (during my pregnancy) encouraged snack times twice a day.  Once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon.  Seemed simple enough.  Until I actually had kids (are you starting to see my pattern?).

Many days, one snack isn’t enough.  And whenever we climb into the car and they have been strapped in their carseats for .3 seconds, they are asking for a snack (I’ve learned that carseats somehow equal snack time).

So I feed my little munchkins their snacks…and Cheerios, granola bar flakes and cracker crumbs litter the floor of my car.  Yes, I give them more snacks at random times if they ask for it.  And yes, they still eat their full breakfast, lunch and dinner.  So I’ve learned to let this one go.

5.)  Demand privacy…(for going to the bathroom, showering, dressing – ha ha!)

This one is self explanatory.  Any parent understands this.  There is NO privacy.  Ever.  Part of the hazing process of motherhood.

Mommy Confessions 2

4.) Let them watch television. Sometimes, for more than 30 minutes at a time – gasp!

I read the studies, I talked to other moms, I talked with my husband, and we decided to greatly limit our children’s television time.  Of course we would!  We would be so busy being the best parents ever, we wouldn’t even have time to turn on the tv!  We would be too engrossed in teaching baby sign language, playing classical music, engaging our children in creative and sensory play, yada yada yada.

Almost six years later, I know every Disney Junior theme song, can recite Thomas the Train by heart (it haunts me in my sleep), and have seen every Pixar/Disney movie available.  Multiple times.

Not my proudest confession, but I think one of the most honest.  Although we DID the baby sign language, music class, gymnastics, swim, story time, park time, yada yada…I still let my kids watch tv.  And yes, sometimes for more than 20-30 minutes at a time.

3.)  Let them play with iPhones and/or iPads at restaurants.

This used to be one of my biggest pet peeves.  I was taught that mealtime was family time.  A time to talk and share about your day.

But actually having kids now (including a VERY squirmy toddler), I can certainly appreciate that an iPad can help…let’s say “bridge a gap,” during a restaurant visit with little kids.  Pretty much any restaurant that isn’t fast food.  So my rule is we all talk about our day first…before the iPad turns on.

2.) Bribe, bribe, bribe.

Now I’m not talking about “I’ll buy you a $20 train if you sit still during a Target run” – but, let’s be serious.  I have been known to use tv/computer screen time, fruit snacks, stickers, ice cream, a trip to their favorite park, dinner at Ruby’s, lollipops, etc. as bribes…whatever is an appropriate “incentive” at the time.  But I’d like to think I’m still choosy (this helps me feel better about the situation).

Mommy Confessions 4

1.) Beg.

“Please, please, PLEASE just…GO TO SLEEP.  NAP.  STOP SINGING MICKEY MOUSE ON REPEAT.  PICK UP YOUR TOYS.  REMEMBER TO FLUSH THE POTTY.  WASH YOUR HANDS. PUT ON YOUR SHOES. STOP THROWING THINGS DOWN THE STAIRS.”  The list goes on and on and on.  Said I’d never do it.  And, here I am.  As a mom, it’s inevitable!

Spill it, mamas!  What did you say you’d NEVER do, but do now that you have kiddos?  Let’s share the laughs and stories together!

Lots of Fun for Your Lil’ Kickers

soccer classes for kids in Orange County CA

Today’s post is about a great program from a juicy new Tiny Oranges sponsor called Lil’ Kickers, which offers soccer classes for kids in Orange County and many other fun programs I am excited to share with you today.

My kids love everything about soccer – and this mama loves that they are active, running and happy.  Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Tim from Lil’ Kickers, who told me all about their fabulous soccer classes for kids and child development program.

And the best part?  He wants your kids to try the program for FREE! Simply mention this Tiny Oranges blog…and receive THREE FREE trial classes (valid for one child only).

Next Level Sports Complex

You’ll find Lil’ Kickers at the Next Level Sports Complex in Garden Grove – a premier multi-sport complex that offers a broad range of athletic programs for all ages.

Tim told me all about the Lil’ Kickers program and their philosophy about working with young kids.  Read below and see for yourself!

What makes Lil’ Kickers soccer classes for kids in Orange County unique?

One of the most unique aspects of the Lil’ Kickers soccer program is that we were created by child development professionals and soccer professionals.

It is firmly rooted in child development theories, and every class is designed specifically for where a child is developmentally, cognitively, socially, physically, and mentally.

What do moms love about your program?

We use imagination and creativity to engage with the kids. Soccer fields are transformed to become the bottom of the ocean or the galaxy above.  Kids are super active, super engaged, and have a great time.

What kind of “age appropriate activities” could we expect in a class?

In our  “Hoppers” class (beginning for three and four-year-olds), kids will learn soccer skills without knowing they are actually developing soccer skills.

We use story and imagination to engage the kids. This helps the children interact and stay engaged.

Our blue soccer balls become laser balls, or battleship cannon balls, or blue pearls that are at the bottom of the ocean…and the kids are in imaginary “scuba gear,” retrieving the blue pearls and bringing them back to the submarine before the octopus (the coach) stops them.

What ages do you teach?

There are classes for kids as young as 18-24 months which are Parent & Me soccer classes all the way up to age 9.. You can visit the website to see the class breakdown by age and along with class descriptions.

Tell us more about what you offer…

Lil’ Kickers is more than just soccer.  We have our weekly classes for kids ages 18 months to nine-years-old like I mentioned, but we also have soccer birthday parties that incorporate soccer and a whole lot more (bounce houses, dodge ball, basketball, kickball, flag football, and volleyball to name a few!).

We also offer a “Parents Night Out” on a regular basis where parents drop their kids off for “date night,” leaving their kiddos in the hands of the best babysitters, our Lil’ Kickers coaches.  We also have great OC summer soccer camps and winter soccer camps, too!

Want your Lil’ Kicker to try it out? 

All you have to do is call us at 714-230-0706 x107 – mention this Tiny Oranges blog – and receive three Lil’ Kickers classes for FREE (valid for one child only).  SO excited to try them!

Thank you Tim for sharing more about your fabulous program!

[Disclosure: Lil’ Kickers is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor.]

An Easy Way to Teach Kids Their Address

Last week, I shared my secret to teaching your little ones their phone number. This week I am sharing an easy way to teach kids their address!  (And, yes, it involves more singing).

I am adamant that my kiddos know their phone number and address.  Heaven forbid there is an emergency and they need to recite it in a snap.

I tried teaching my five-year-old line by line, which worked okay, but then she couldn’t quite get it in the right sequence.

So back to the drawing board…and finding the right tune to teach.

Please don’t laugh.  I taught my daughter her address to “Row Row Row Your Boat.” 

And yes, since we live at a residence that only has one number in its address, I have to prolong that line in the song to make it fit.  And, if your city is only one word, not two, you have to prolong that too.

I know it’s not perfect, but she memorized the whole thing, including her zip code.  So here goes:

Original Lyrics:

“Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.”

Now, add your address to the tune:

House number (One one one…prolong the number to the tune)
Street name (Main Streeeeeettttt!)
City and State (Anytown, Californiaaaaaa)
Zip code (1-1-1-1-1……! prolong the last number)

Ta da!  After practicing it everyday, she can now rattle off her full address without even thinking much about it.  Whew!  I am one happy mama!

I hope this simple song tip helps your kiddos memorize their address.

Do you have any great tips for helping your kids memorize their address?  
Please share below!

Photo credit – photo © 2012 Michael Coghlan, Flickr
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ 

Fun Ideas for Your Next Moms’ Night Out

OC Moms' Night Out Places

OC Moms’ Night Out Ideas

Happy Friday everyone!

I would love a Moms’ Night Out – how about you?  I think we deserve one!  Read below and take notes…I bet at least one of these ideas will strike your fancy!  I know I can’t wait to try some of these places…

Cinépolis (Laguna Niguel) – here’s a fun twist on the classic “dinner and a movie” – you actually get to eat dinner and drink (wine!) AT the movies in reserved seats! Make that reclining seats.

Lucky Strike (Orange) – don’t you remember how much you loved bowling when you were younger?  Maybe you take your kids now.  Well, leave their cute little faces at home, and instead plan a girl’s night out at Lucky Strike…yummy food (with lots to choose from), fun atmosphere, delicious drinks, music, bowling, FUN!  Just make sure to call ahead and make reservations since they are frequently booked for charity and corporate events.

Newport Beach Sunset Cruise (Newport Beach) – how does an hour-and-a-half sunset “cruise” around Newport sound?  Drinks, munchies, fresh air and great company.  Yes, please.

OC Pole Fitness (Aliso Viejo) – Feeling a little…sassy?  Grab your girlfriends and get ready for some giggles and a whole lot of sexy cardio – pole dancing, exotic dance moves…all while incorporating yoga, Pilates, strength and cardio.  Intrigued?  Check it out!

OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar (Irvine) – this wine mart boasts “A premier wine tasting experience” right here in Orange County. Our State of the Art, Self-Serve Enomatic Wine System allows you to try up to 24 wines starting from just $1 per taste. Experience top names like Caymus, Opus One, Silver Oak, premium Bordeaux, as well as lesser known gems. We offer gourmet cheese plates for wine & cheese pairing.”  Score!

The Rooftop Lounge (Laguna Beach) – Start your evening early…happy hour is Monday-Friday from 3-5 p.m.!  Gorgeous views, fabulous fresh fruit Mojitos, mandatory unwinding.

Spiked Paint (Fullerton) – learn the basics of acrylic painting while enjoying a nice glass of wine (or beer!).  An artist will teach you the basics (beginner artists absolutely welcome, no experience necessary!) replicating the night’s featured painting step by step.

Events at your Local Whole Foods (call the location closest to you) – for example, the Whole Foods in Laguna Niguel offers beer tastings, live music, and summer grilling – just hop online and check their events calendar. Other locations boast cooking classes, demos and wine tastings.  Yum!

More Ideas for Moms’ Night Out

– Manis/pedis at your favorite local salon
– Game night and cocktails at a girlfriend’s house
– Dinner – anywhere without your kiddos in tow!
– Dinner and shopping at the Irvine Spectrum, The Block, South Coast Plaza…what’s closest to you?
– Exhausted and don’t feel like dressing up?  Breakfast for dinner!  Instead of getting all dolled up, show up in your comfy yoga pants with your girlfriends and head to your nearest coffee shop.

Where is your favorite place to unwind with the girls without your kiddos?  Share below and we’ll keep adding to our list!

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