Labor Day Weekend in Orange County

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The last official summer weekend is here so I wanted to share some fun things you can do with the family this Labor Day weekend in Orange County!

What better way to send off summer than by spending it at one of OC’s best kid-friendly beaches?

Here are our readers’ favorites.

The Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center Pool is open to both residents & non. Took my girls there last week and they loved it! Great facility for all ages, including a splash pad and baby pool.

San Clemente Aquatics Center is also supposed to be fabulous; open 1pm – 5pm.

My girlfriend raves about Buccaneer Bay Water Park in La Mirada.  Meant to make it there this summer and never got around to it, but she said it is a ton of fun.

Here is a great list of OC Splash Parks by Just Spotted.  The post is over a year old, so make sure to check to make sure it is operational before you pack up the kids to go!

Here are 29 of my favorite things to do with my kids in OC!

Check out Plan a Day Out to seek and find fun activities for kids and families in Orange County. One of the best resources for fun outing ideas EVER. Gazillion ideas.

In the mood for a picnic?  Here are my family’s five favorite OC parks.

Ever been to the Orange International Street Fair?  It’s an OC tradition for over 30 years and SO much fun. But it will be toasty, dress cool and hydrate!

What’s a summer holiday weekend without a GREAT BBQ?

Kick yours off with a fun summer cocktail, Ranch Water. Yee haw!

Throw another shrimp on the bar-bee with these yummy sweet and smokey shrimp skewers.

Going to a neighborhood party? Bring this healthy, patriotic fruit flag, sure to be a hit with both the kids!

Chill out with this special homemade popsicle treat for the kiddos.

Have the best weekend everyone!  And make sure to check out the blue moon tonight – the next one won’t be until July 2015!

See you back next week!

xoxo Jen

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St. John’s Episcopal School

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It is hard to believe it is already August and the new school year will be here before you know it.  For those of you in South Orange County who might be exploring great private school options, I wanted to let you know more about St. John’s Episcopal School in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Nurturing children ages 8 weeks (YES, 2 months!) through 8th grade, their program is teaching community dedicated to helping every child reach their full potential.

Here are some program highlights:

St. John’s cares for children as young as two months old for mothers who are heading back to work in their unique infant program. With a ratio of 3:1 and maximum class size of 6 babies, you can feel comfortable knowing that your baby is receiving love and attention while you are away from them during the day.

Many parents are choosing private education for their children for the added benefit of smaller class sizes. For example, a typical Kindergarten class at St. John’s would consist of 16 – 18 kids, with one teacher and  one instructional teacher’s aide.  The maximum class size for K – 2nd is 20 students, and all have an aide, for a 10:1 student to teacher ratio.

Because of smaller class sizes, teachers are able to provide every student more individual, tailored instruction to help them learn and grow in the ways that are the most effective and enjoyable for them.

Students are encouraged to investigate areas of interest, strengthen skills and participate in a dynamic learning environment.

Lower ratios mean that teachers really get to know each child as an individual and all the teachers communicate with each other from one grade to the next, to make for smooth grade transitions and consistent learning year after year.

Whether your baby is transitioning from the infant to Toddler 1 class, or from 5th grade into middle school, all the teachers work together to ensure the student’s best interest is always at heart.

St. John’s core curriculum is supplemented by a variety of enrichment classes taught by specialists in each area to appeal to all students, giving them a chance to explore their different interests and talents.

A sample of their enrichment classes include: library, media center, music, choir, physical education, Spanish, studio art, performing arts (6th – 8th), science, technology and religion.

St. John’s offers an extended care program so your child is able to stay at St. John’s from 7am to 6pm to accommodate your personal schedule. The after care program includes play-based activities, recreation, arts, crafts, quiet study-time area with computers, character education and an exceptional staff.

I happen to love this one because I think character development in children is just as important as academic development.

St. John’s is an inclusive Christian school focused on morals, values and spirituality and welcomes students of all faiths.

They have a school wide “virtue of the week” where a different character virtue, for example, “integrity” is introduced and talked about each week.

There are still spots open for your child for the start of the 2012-2013 school year and St. John’s invites you to come to learn more this Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at 9am.  Details on the flyer above!

[Disclosure: St. John’s is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor.]

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SAS Blow Dry & Makeup Bar [Giveaway]

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I had my 20-year high school reunion last month. So weird, because it really seems like 1992 was not that long ago. Seeing that many people hadn’t seen me in about, oh, 20 years, I wanted to try to do what I could to improve upon the last image they might of had of me, and that was one of a very big spiral perm so I made an appointment at a new blow dry bar in OC called SAS to see what they could do to SAS me up before the big event!

SAS, which stands for “Shampoo & Style” is a full service blow dry and makeup bar, so I was thrilled to not only be getting my hair done, but my makeup too!

When I walked in on that Saturday afternoon, the place was BUZZING with energy. Light and bright and decked out in beautiful colors, this is the perfect place to get the party started!

I was introduced to my stylist, who would be doing both my hair and makeup, and once settled into my chair, I was first given a quick scalp massage with scented oils (heaven) and then offered a complimentary beverage, of which, a glass of chardonnay was exactly what I needed to calm my pre-reunion nerves! Cheers to 1992 and the hope that spiral perms never return…

After a delightful wash, we headed back to the blow dry chair and she went to work. I think getting your hair blown out is one of the most pampering things you can do for yourself. To not have to worry about having a “good hair day” is such a luxury, especially when you need to look extra gorgeous for a special event.

I opted to go with big, loose, (try to be) sexy curls, as this is a style I can never do on my own.  It sort of felt like I was getting ready for prom, with the bonus that I already knew my date (my hubby) already really liked me!

And the MAKEUP was to-die-for!!!! One of the first things my stylist told me is, “you have to get the lashes too!” Yes, you can add on (natural-looking) fake lashes for only +$10 to your makeup application. I haven’t worn lashes since my wedding day 10 years ago, and it was so MUCH fun.

I didn’t look while I was getting dolled up, and when she finally showed me in the mirror when I was done, I was shocked because it didn’t even almost look like me! I have to say, I felt fabulous.

And isn’t that the most important thing after all?  Not so much how you actually look, but how you FEEL you look? There is no price you can put on that!

I absolutely loved, loved, loved SAS and it will be my go-to place anytime I need a great blow out or professional makeup (even think of SAS for your family holiday card photo – perfect, right?!)

The prices are super reasonable, the blow outs start at only $35, but can run up to $65 if you are wanting a full updo for a formal event or wedding.  Want a little extra pampering?  Opt for the +$10 Spoil Me add on and get a deep conditioning treatment and 10 minute revitalizing scalp massage.

Makeup application starts at only $20 for “Starry Eyes” which is eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow.  Be camera-ready with the “Cover Girl” for $35, which includes full makeup, including foundation, powder, the works!

And my personal favorite, the +$10 lashes add on. LOVED THESE! They totally make your eyes POP and were so fun to feel just a little extra glamorous.

Call 949.646.6345 to make an appointment, or book one easily online.

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway! One lucky reader will win “The SAS” signature blowout which includes a scalp massage, shampoo, and blow dry with a custom style tailored just for you. Gorgeous! Enter here!!!

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[Disclosure: SAS is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor & I received my services complimentary to facilitate a review. All opinions are 100% my own. LOVE SAS.]

Photo credits: SAS Salon. Except of course the befores and afters…and the 1992 stellar senior photo…those are mine.

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OC Fair Ticket Giveaway

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It’s my favorite time of year – the OC Fair is coming to 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 2012 OC Fair will open its gates this Friday, July 13th to kick off 23 days of food and festivities (every Wednesday – Sunday) with the theme “Home Sweet Home.”

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

~ During the first hour of this year’s Fair everyone can take advantage of free admission and parking from noon – 1pm on Friday, 7/13.

~ Heroes Get in Free: Free admission each day for active duty and veteran military with ID.

~ Read & Ride Program: Children ages 5 – 11 who read and submit a two-book report form receive three free carnival rides. Click here for submission form. Submit book reports to the Information Booth at Centennial Far for free ride tickets (Valid 7/13-8/12)

~ We Care Wednesdays:

Wednesday, 7/18
Food Drive
Noon – 4pm

One free admission and one carnival ride per person with donation of 5 non-perishable food items.

Wednesday, 7/25
Children’s Book Drive
Noon – 4pm

One free admission and one carnival ride per person with donation of one new children’s book or 3 gently used children’s books.

Wednesday, 8/1
Clothing Drive
Noon – 4pm
One free admission and one carnival ride per person with donation of 5 gently used clothing items.

Wednesday, 8/8
School Supply Drive
Noon – 4pm
One free admission and one carnival ride per person with donation of 1 new school supply item valued at $5 or more.

~ Thursdays: Kids Day, Free Admission for kids 12 and under all day

~ Fridays: $2 Taste of Fair Food, Fairgoers can sample a variety of their favorite Fair Food for only $2 every Friday noon – 4pm.

~ Friday – Sunday: OC Fair Express
OC Fair Express riders traveling to the OC Fair receive a coupon for $2 Fair Admission ($9 off). The OC Fair Express provides direct bus service to and from the Fair from 8 different locations for just $1.50 each way during the weekends.  Click here for OCTA service hours & locations.

~ Saturday & Sundays: Rise & Shine
$2 General Admission from 10am – 11am

 ~ Every Wednesday & Thursday: $30 Unlimited Carnival Ride Wristbands + 2 free games (sold until 5pm, valid until 8pm)

~ Every Friday $2 Rides & $2 Games (sold until 4pm)

Click here for more information on all these special promotions.

The OC Fair is open Wednesdays – Sundays ~ July 13th – August 12th
Wednesday – Friday: Noon – midnight
Saturday – Sunday: 10am – midnight

General Admission is $11 / Kids 6 – 12 are $6 / Kids 5 and under are Free every day. Parking is $7 / vehicle cash only.

The OC Fair App is now free and downloadable, click here, and features a Food Finder, Weather, Maps, Schedules & even a car finder. Sweet!

And for more information on the Super Pass, where you can pay one admission to the 2012 OC Fair and receive entry for all 23 days, click here!

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive 4 General Admission tickets to this year’s 2012 OC Fair!

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Frogg’s Bounce House Birthday Parties

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Last month I did a Fancy Nancy party for my oldest daughter’s 6th birthday at our house and I am still recovering. So. Much. Work. Therefore, when planning little sister’s birthday party a mere 3 weeks after, the only thing I knew I wanted was a party NOT at home!

One of Morgan’s favorite places to go in OC is Frogg’s Bounce House in Fountain Valley, so I thought it would be the perfect place to celebrate my soon-to-be 3 year old.  If you are looking for a great OC birthday party venue for kids, Frogg’s Bounce House was a HOPPIN’ good time!

Her party was so easy I almost felt like I was forgetting something.

Frogg’s Bounce House parties include:

* Between 2.5 – 3 hours of Open Play (depending on day of the week)
* Use of The Party Pond party room
* Invitations
* A special appearance by special guest, Frogalina

Although their birthday party packages include invitations, I opted to send a Paperless Post one, as I like the ease of tracking the RSVP’s as well as the reminders. As luck would have it, Paperless Post had three cute frog themed invites to choose from. I had a lot of fun with the frog theme – cute for boys or girls!

If you have not been to Frogg’s before, it is AWESOME!  I take my kids there all of the time.

It is a 9,000 square foot inflatable play zone with a gazillion different bouncers, a special toddler bounce house, kids’ playhouses, riding toys, train table, blocks, disco karaoke hut (hilarious to watch the kiddos in this!), couches for moms to kick back and FREE wi-fi.

But what I love most about Frogg’s is the place is as CLEAN as a whistle. Many of the moms who hadn’t been there before commented to me about the cleanliness factor. At Frogg’s Bounce House:

* No one is allowed in with shoes on, socks are required for everyone! Kids + adults!
* They hand sanitize everyone upon entry.
* Hand sanitizers are on all the tables.
* Crocs are provided outside the restrooms in a basket so you can borrow Crocs to use the restroom.
* Bouncers are completely sanitized each morning upon inflation.  I have seen the staff members cleaning them on multiple occasions.

The Party Pond is a huge area in the back of the facility, where you can set up your party.  There was a door conveniently located next to the party area so you can pull your car up right outside and easily load and unload all your items. When I got there, the staff was SO nice and friendly, offering me party bins for our beverages and they did a cute little sign on the white board announcing Morgan’s birthday. Because it is so colorful and they always have balloons at the facility, you really do not need to provide one thing decoration-wise.

Although 3 hours of play time would have been included since we had our party on a Monday,  I opted to make the party 2 hours long, which for little kids is the amount of time I find to be just about right.  All I had to do for the party was provide the food, drinks, paper goods and favors. It was a mom’s dream!

About an hour into the party, we served lunch. I had pizzas delivered and did an easy fruit salad and a couple Costco salads for the moms. Like I said, it was so easy it was ridiculous. After lunch the kids bounced for awhile longer, then we did cake and “Happy Birthday” followed by Frogalina’s appearance about 20 minutes prior to the party end time.

A very special thanks to Melanie from Sensitive Sweets who did that darling dairy-free frog cake for Morgan who is allergic to milk and eggs. We are so lucky there is a bakery in Orange County that specializes in baked goods for people with food allergies!

Upon leaving, we gave out these cute inexpensive favors from the .99¢ Only Store. I put a $1 jump rope in a green cellophane party favor bag and printed a circle sticker on the computer which said “Thanks for jumping with me! xo Morgan” that I stuck on frog die cuts I found at the Dollar Tree.

I can’t more highly recommend a party at Frogg’s Bounce House. And for the price, I don’t even think these days you can do a party at home for much cheaper by the time you get all the decorations and entertainment.

I also like that this venue caters to all ages, so you can also include the little ones as well as older siblings, and everyone will have a fabulous time.

For more information on hosting a party at Frogg’s Bounce House, click here for their party information page.  You can also call 714.418.0442 to reserve your special day!

[Disclosure: I was provided the Frogg’s party package complimentary in exchange for my time in sharing our experience with you. Love these kinds of win-win situations!]



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