Sandy Heit Photography [+ $500 Giveaway!]

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As moms, is there anything you love more than a fabulous photo of your children or family? You know the ones that make you smile from the inside out because it is just so them?

I know I do! That’s why I am thrilled to share Sandy Heit Photography with you today. Sandy is an OC children and family photographer with a gift for capturing those exact moments. She recently took some newborn photos of my new nephew, Gavin. They made me tear up they were so beautiful! Keep reading to see them below! Proud Auntie had to share!!

Sandy is offering a $500 gift certificate giveaway to one of our lucky readers < – WHAT?! So make sure to read this post in its entirety because I don’t want to you to miss out on this giveaway!!

Sandy specializes in modern lifestyle portraiture of babies, children and families. With a fresh and vibrant approach to photography, she aims to makes a connection with each of her subjects to make sure she captures natural expressions, whether the belly laugh of a toddler or soulful glance of love between parent and child.

Although her sessions typically last between 1 1/2 – 2 hours, she has no time limit and will stay as long as needed to get the shots. This is especially important with newborns who, as we know, do not work around anyone’s schedule but their own!

With a tremendous amount of patience, she invests the time needed to devote to your photo session, even allowing for two or three clothing changes if desired.

At the end of the session, she loves to provide her clients with a great variety of photographs to chose from, so she will make sure to get in special photographs with mom and dad alone with the children along with the individual and family shots.

Moms – how often do you look at your photographs and realize that you are not in ANY of them?! Happens to me all of the time.

She also loves presenting her clients with unique ideas for the photo session. Sandy shared with me a fun option she has been sharing with her clients who want to do their photo shoot at the beach.

After getting all the beautiful beach shots with everyone all gussied up, she suggests throwing in the kid’s swimsuits and sand toys so they can play for awhile after the photo session is done.

Allowing Sandy to capture moments like this…

My sister absolutely loved working with Sandy, and especially loved the fact she didn’t feel stressed during the shoot. She said Sandy made everyone feel so comfortable and was so patient and wonderful ~ often reiterating there was no rush. She told me Sandy was great with her three-year-old and was so sweet when she had to stop and nurse baby.  Never making her feel like they were on a clock.

So, please let me share my nephew, the cutest little love bug you have EVER seen, and handsome older brother A.J….

For more information about Sandy, please visit her website at www.sandyheit.com. You can also see her latest work by following her on Facebook and by checking out her blog.

 Sandy Heit Photography Giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

[Disclosure: Sandy is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor ~ check out her cute front and center banner above!]

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Our Medieval Times Buena Park Experience [+ Giveaway]

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When Medieval Times Buena Park contacted us to share about their new show and September SoCal resident special along with an offer for my family and Susanne’s to come and check it out firsthand for review, I thought, “Why not?! It would be something different.”

But I have a confession to make: I am a girly girl and I am the mother of two girly girls, so a visit to Medieval Times probably wouldn’t have occurred to me. My girls are not into swords or things of that nature so I honestly wouldn’t have thought of it as something they might enjoy. But oh, how WRONG I was!

Because the experience was AWESOME! The type of fun that makes your cheeks hurt from smiling and the type of joy that comes from seeing your kids in complete awe. Like when the show opened with this magical horse entering the arena…

Medieval Times brings you back to an age of bravery and honor with a dinner and spectacular tournament.

When we checked in, we were given seat assignments along with a special crown denoting our team (black & white) and the knight we would be cheering for.

Before the show we were able to enjoy a pre-dinner drink (a $6 glass of wine  – loved the reasonable price) and our kids were able to look around the gift shop and cruise around the garden.

Then we entered the theater in the round…WOW!

Our jovial waiter introduced himself, and let us know the food would be coming out in four courses, and a bar waitress would be coming around for any drink orders if we wished to partake.

It was nice to not have to order specific food (there is only one menu), which consisted of: tomato bisque, focaccia bread with olive oil, oven-roasted chicken, BBQ spare rib, herb-basted potato quarters, apple strudel. The food was delicious!

And then it begun!  A spectacle of beautiful horses and noble knights. As the show progressed, it was a sword fighting game of elimination where the knights competed in duels and the winner went on to the next level.

Unfortunately Mr. Black & White knight was knocked out the first round, but that was OK, because we were still able to cheer for our next favorite knight, the one my daughter picked based on outfit color.

Susanne’s daughter picked her favorite based on the amount of sparkles. What did I say about our girly girls? Here is Susanne’s cute family before the show…

For information on Medieval Times Buena, click HERE. Please also note that for the month of September 2o12, local Southern California residents can SAVE BIG with this special offer.

Our Medieval Times Tips!

Here are some of the things we would recommend if visiting Medieval Times with your family…

~ Arrive at least 30 minutes prior.  Probably 30 – 60 would be ideal. Seating is first come first serve. But there really is no bad seat in the house.

~ Come hungry. It’s a lot of food and it is so good you will want to keep eating the gluttonous sized portions. When in Rome, right?!

~ Bring a pack of baby wipes! In keeping with the theme of the times, you eat with your hands!  Yep, no utensils! Kids love this. And I thought it was fun too, but it is messy. The wipes will come in handy. Thanks to my Facebook fan for this tip.

~ Consider ordering one vegetarian meal when you check in. I ordered my one daughter the vegetarian meal, which included hummus and pita chips, grilled veggies and a stuffed pepper. The girls liked the hummus & pitas and my husband liked having some veggies too. Plus, there will be enough chicken to last you for days!

~ Don’t worry about all the leftover food – you can take it with you!  They are great with giving you take home containers and bags, so we ate the yummy leftover chicken throughout the whole next week.

~ If celebrating a special occasion, add on the Celebration Package for +$16pp and includes preferred seating, framed group photo, knights cheering banner, personalized announcement during the show, slice of cake, “Behind the Scenes” DVD and a commemorative program. I kept thinking what an awesome birthday party idea this would be for a small group of kids.

~ Take the kids potty before the show.  Once the action starts, you don’t want to miss a minute!  And after the show, there was a long line inside, but we found an open restroom outside that was vacant. Yay.

~ Be ready to CHEER! My oldest daughter was screaming so loud she got hoarse the next day. The more you get into it and cheer for your guy, the more fun it is.

Overall, we just had a blast, it was completely fun for everyone! And the food was DELICIOUS!

Family four pack ticket giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Our families received complimentary tickets to the show to facilitate this review. Thank you Medieval Times! 

Photo credit: Medieval Times. Except for the personal pictures of course!

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The Wydown Hotel in St. Helena

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A couple of weeks ago my husband, Mike, took part in the Vineman 70.3 race up in Sonoma County.  He spent so much time training & prepping for this race over the last 6 months we decided the girls and I had to be there to cheer him cross the finish line He finished strong and we were SO proud!  As a treat, after the race we extended our stay and ventured over to the Wydown Hotel in St. Helena for a few days of R&R.

When Mike signed up for this race he called our friend Mark from college to see if we could come stay at his newly remodeled boutique hotel called The Wydown.  The Wydown is located in historic downtown St. Helena in the breathtaking Napa Valley.

Since Mike had so much gear for the race, we packed the car (to the brim) and made the 8 hour drive north.  Our girls actually do pretty well on car trips with the DVD player and a few fun snacks + suckers.  We woke up SUPER early and hit the road so they sleep through some of it.

Or if you prefer to fly it’s easy to travel into Oakland, San Francisco or Sacramento, rent a car and make the 1.5-2 hour drive.

St. Helena is rich with scenic countryside and small town charm boasting some of the world’s best wineries, great shops, art galleries, theaters and an almost an overwhelming amount of amazing dining opportunities.

The Wydown Hotel is located in the heart of it all~on the north end of Main Street, a few steps to just about everything.

Mark and his wife Kris bought the 12 room Inn a few years ago, fully remodeled it and re-opened it in May 2011 and named it after their favorite street in Mark’s hometown of St. Louis.

It is gorgeous.  I was SO impressed.  I just loved all the choices they’ve made, the feel is cozy but with very clean lines.  The architecture is classic, yet has a current vibe.

The Wydown is just oozing with charm.  There is a puzzle on the table in the lobby just screaming at you:   s l o w   d o w n.  You’re on vacation!   

It totally feels more like you’re visiting a super stylish designer home rather than a big chain hotel.  

Our room was just perfect- everything is brand new and it feels it!  Clean and plush and elegant, with very high ceilings.  They’ve thought of everything down to the adorable smaller Keurig coffee makers and mini fridges in each room.

Our room even had this uber cozy tempur-pedic pull out chair bed.  Perfect for our Sadie to cozy up on each night.

As a guest at the Wydown you can enjoy a free coffee at the nearby Napa Valley Roasting Company, work out/swim at the Health Spa Napa Valley, wine taste at the Materra Tasting Room (adjacent to the lobby) or utilize the Conceirge to set up a wine tours, dinners or other activities in Napa Valley.

We had such a blast galavanting around the Valley we can’t wait for our next visit!  I would have never thought of visiting the Wine Country with my kids but it turns out there are a ton of fun family friendly things to do in this area.

Stay tuned for a Post of Mark & Kris’s “10 Favorite Family Friendly Things to do in Napa Valley”…

Wydown Hotel

1424 Main Street

St. Helena, CA 94574

707.963.5100

stay@wydownhotel.com

www.wydownhotel.com

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TableTopics

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A couple months back I saw a deal on Plum District (love that site) for a deal from a company called TableTopics.  Since I am a big fan of mixing up dinner conversations, and do my own version of table topics every year at Thanksgiving, I thought it looked like a fun product so I bought the deal. Especially since last Thanksgiving I felt like I was running out of questions!

I finally got around to ordering mine this week, and after shopping their website, I discovered so many cute products, I wanted to share them with you!

The company carries all sorts of sets of questions to help people think of interesting conversation starters.  Questions like, “Where would you choose to live if yo had to leave this country?” or “Would you rather live in the past or in the future?”

There are editions for families, girls night out, dinner parties, slumber parties, teens, and the list goes on and on.  I also discovered their TableTopics to go which include editions like road tips, kids, travel, campfire, and more!  What a great way to get the family talking in the car.

And in their Ideas Cards categories, there are even sets of cards for Date Night, with 80 ideas of different things to do, as well as one called “Mom, I’m Bored!” which includes 80 idea cards of ideas for things kids can do. I purchased that one for those summer days!!!

www.TableTopics.com

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Free or Cheap OC Summer Movies on Just Spotted

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When I spotted this post over on Just Spotted  a couple weeks back, I had to share it with you.

The Just Spotted gals have compiled an awesome list of free or cheap movies going on all summer throughout the OC.

Click here to read their post and see all the great options for OC affordable family fun!

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