Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mother's Day Brunch Idea

Mother's Day is coming up and if you don't have plans yet... The Californian Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach is a great place to head to.  The menu for the morning is mouthwatering to say the least...
The brunch will also include a sumptuous Hot Entrees station will boast Grilled Rack of Lamb with Mango-Mint Chutney, Prime Rib of Beef complimented by Horseradish, Dijon and Pommery Mustards, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Pineapple-Glazed Ham, Roasted Chicken and Spinach Ravioli with Garlic, Cream and Reggiano and Shrimp & Mascarpone Ravioli will be available at the Pasta Station. The Seafood Station will include a Sushi Bar featuring a bountiful selection of freshly made-to-order Sushi, Jumbo Shrimp and Crab Claws, Smoked Atlantic Salmon and Californian Ceviche Shooters. For dessert, the pastry team will tempt the taste buds with a sensational assortment of delectable sweets including Warm Apple Cobbler, assorted Cupcakes featuring Red Velvet, Vanilla and Coconut flavors, a Strawberry Shortcake Station, Ice Cream Sundae Bar, miniature pastries, parfaits, and the ever popular Chocolate Fountain, an endless supply of rich warm imported chocolates accompanied by an array of dipping choices.
Brunch is from 10am- 2pm and reservations are encouraged. Cost is $78 for adults, $68 for seniors and $25 for kids ages 6-12 (5 & under are free). Call (714) 845-4885 to make your reservations now!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Universal Studios Hollywood - Fabulous Yet Frugal Friday

I'm always looking for ways to save money but still enjoy what Southern California has to offer.  For this week's edition of Fabulous Yet Frugal Fridays, I wanted to be sure you guys didn't miss out on the amazing deal at Universal Studios - Hollywood that ends April 30th.  By paying $69/per person to enter the park, you get the REST of 2010 free simply because you are a Southern California Resident.  No blackout dates.  This is a fantastic deal especially if you have kids ages 6 and up.  There are just enough attractions to fill your day, but you'll feel like you can get to everything in a day.  Our family has become huge fans of getting to the park as it opens, spending a few hours and leaving as the park gets busy (this is also a great approach for Disneyland, Sea World, San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park). 

Our favorite rides at Universal are The Simpsons Ride, Jurassic Park (not my favorite- I don't like the drop), the Backlot Tour (surprise hit with the kids) and Shrek in 4-D.  Definitely missing the ET ride and Back to the Future though...

For more information about hours of operation and the buy a day- get the rest of the year for free deal can be found here.

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing some of the great deals you can find for local attractions to maximize and plan ahead for summer vacation!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wisteria Lane - Wordless Wednesday

A trip down Wisteria Lane (courtesy of the Backlot Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood)...


Friday, April 16, 2010

How to Spend $100 a Week on Groceries for a Family of Four!

Another Fabulous Yet Frugal Friday Post...

I spend $100/ a week on groceries for our family of four (yes, that includes lunches for the kids at school)!  It all started a few months ago when I got tired of how high our grocery bill was getting with multiple "quick stops" in to the local grocery store to pick up things here and there.  It had to stop.  I'm not sure if my biggest motivation was saving money or if it was just being organized for the week so we weren't scrounging around for last minute dinners.  An added side bonus is my husband now cooks most of the dinners!  Don't believe me? Well, as you'll see below the dinners are easy, fast, healthy and super easy on the budget.

So you're probably wondering what my trick is?  Well, once a week I grab my reusable grocery bags and head to Fresh & Easy.  I buy 3-4 of their prepared dinners, tons of veggies for side dishes, super yummy packaged salads for my lunches and plenty of snacks to add to the kids lunches.  And yes... all this for $100 a week.  Don't believe me?  Check out my recent receipt below.  I pointed out some of the key dinners & school lunch main dishes.  One of the things I love the most is the prepared family size dinners, they take about 10 minutes to cook (oven or microwave) and when paired with salad or other veggies, it's a complete meal.  Homemade hamburgers (loaded with onions, spinach & garlic) are great main courses for the kids school lunches.

Would you love to only spend $100/week on groceries?  Try out our plan for one week... and I'm pretty sure you'll be hooked too!  Be sure to come back and comment about your experience!

(Also check out this post on Holiday Dinners for under $20!)


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Picture the Park - Free Family Acitivity in OC this Weekend

If you're looking for a fun activity here in Orange County this weekend...This Saturday, April 17th between 12 and 3pm the Orange County Great Park will be hosting its Picture the Park event to kick off the 3rd annual Imagination Celebration.  It's a free event designed for the whole family (in particular for kids ages 5-12).  Kids will have the opportunity to learn about gardening from UC Extension Master Gardeners, learn about the water cycle and take part in recycled art craft making.

Admission and parking is free (park at Hangar 244). 

Also be sure to check out "Tool Time" on May 1st and Movie on the Lawn May 15th!

More information about upcoming events at the Orange County Great Park can be found here.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Universal Studios - Wordless Wednesday

Be sure to take advantage of the buy a day- get the rest of the year free at Universal Studios... You need to purchase them before April 30th!

(Post about our recent trip to Universal Studios Hollywood should be up later this week)


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Butterfly Exhibit at San Diego Wild Animal Park

We recently had the chance to head down to the San Diego Wild Animal Park to check out the Butterfly Exhibit (now through April 18th).  If you haven't had the chance to see it, I highly recommend you do before the exhibit ends (there is no additional cost for this exhibit and admission to the San Diego Wild Animal Park is very reasonable).

I think what was most amazing about the exhibit was how many of them landed on people.  There were some people with multiple butterflies just hanging out on them (including one totally unaware baby!).  If you are interested in having butterflies land on you, I highly recommend wearing brown, royal blue or bright yellow.  I noticed the butterflies landed on those colors mostly.

Be sure to check out some of the other posts I've written about how to plan your day at the San Diego Wild Animal Park here and here.

Below are some of the images in the Whrrl story since there were too many to include in the post!

More check-ins at San Diego Wild Animal Park
Powered by Whrrl


Monday, April 12, 2010

Free Planet Earth Episode Download on iTunes!

I'll never forget when the BBC documentary - Planet Earth first came out on tv.  We actually upgraded to HD tv to specifically watch Planet Earth.  I'd heard it was amazing and it did not disappoint!  We as a family spent many many hours mesmerized watching the series.  The kids loved learning about the different animals all over the world.  My husband and I loved watching the breathtaking views of different places all over the world.

To celebrate Earth Day (April 22, 2010) and the release of the Planet Earth Series on iTunes, they are offering the first episode as a free download April 12- 26, 2010!  Additional episodes can be purchased for as little as $1.99 each. Click here to download the episodes.

Here's more information about how they created the series:
"This jaw-dropping, 11-part series from the BBC’s Natural History Unit presents the epic story of life on Earth. Series producer Alastair Fothergill and his team spent four years in production, over 2000 days in the field, using 71 cameramen filming across 204 locations in 62 countries to capture the ultimate portrait of our planet. It has garnered legions of fans and universal critical acclaim with Oprah Magazine saying “It is the most beautiful, wondrous and truly majestic series - the best thing I’ve ever seen on TV.” Using a budget of unprecedented proportions and captured on HD cameras, Planet Earth is among the highest rated and best selling HD programs ever made. It offers stunning visuals perfect for any HD television or HD handheld device like the Apple iPad which launched on April 3rd."
So be sure to log in here to iTunes to take advantage of this opportunity to dowload a free episode of one of the most amazing shows ever made (just my opinion, yes I got the dvd pack a couple years ago and still love watching it).  Having a few episodes handy on your iTouch, iPad or iPhone is a great and educational activity to have at your finger tips to entertain the kids when you need it!

NOTE: All images and video © BBC.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Toy Story Midway Mania Mr. Potato Head- Wordless Wednesday

Why? Well because nothing is better than being made fun of by a potato (Yup, I was the one wearing sunglasses).

All I could think was... Fries for dinner kids!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

You Guys Are So Frustrating Me Right Now

Dear Oats Marketing/Sales Team-

Ok, this is no longer funny or cute. You guys really have gone too far now. I know you all are just doing your job, but I’m afraid you are just too dang good at it. I can no longer walk in to a convenience store and “grab” a protein bar to snack on instead of stopping for fast food. Why you ask? Ha. Well apparently just about EVERYTHING has some form of oat products on it, and only a few special people like me are allergic to oats so I have to become a private investigator and read the fine print.

I can live with reading labels. But last week I had a very close call with something I’ve NEVER had to deal with before and frankly it scares the daylights out of me! I had a very bad allergic reaction to something I had eaten and the only thing I can figure out is that Papa Johns must put some sort of Oat Flour or Oat Gluten in their pizza dough. I’ve never had a reaction like that to pizza, so I’m praying it’s just a Papa Johns thing. (If you know anything about that, please email me!)

So you can now add to my list of foods I sadly can no longer eat:

Papa Johns Pizza (Barbeque & Veggie)

Zone Perfect bars

Most Protein/Breakfast Bars

Whole Grain Bread (yup- oats is a whole grain)

Sun Chips (Yup- whole grains again)

Whole grain anything… pasta, bagels, etc.

Very Truly Yours,

Katie aka OCMomActivities


I need your help guys! What else am I missing? I’m not liking this trial and error thing! Help me put together a complete list of foods I need to stay away from…

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