Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mickey's Halloween Party Fun (and GIVEAWAY Tickets!)

Last Friday we had the chance to check out opening night of Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland and it was so much fun!  Each year Disneyland adds additional features to the event that really make it a unique experience for all different types of people. 

This year I really noticed a large number of dance parties with great music that had you wanting to get out there and dance with the characters!  One fun one we happened by was Pirate palooza located at the outside eating area of Rancho del Zocalo.  We saw Pluto rocking out dancing with toddlers and adults, it was somewhere I could have stayed all night!

There were many other dance parties and so much to catch during Mickey's Halloween Party, I think it is impossible to catch all of it!  With Ghost Galaxy (Halloween overlay at Space Mountain), Haunted Mansion Holiday (Nightmare Before Christmas), Halloween Screams firework display and more treat stations than you will have time to catch (but you don't have to go to many before your bags will be full of great candy!).

One of my favorite additions (not sure if it is new or just the first time I saw it!) was the light show set to music on the Castle, my favorite was the skeletons dancing up the side of the castle, but the Heffalumps dancing around were very neat too!

Mickey's Halloween Party is the place to be for Halloween fun!  Want to go?  I've got two tickets to the Mickey's Halloween Party on October 9th to giveaway to a reader!  It gains you entry to Disneyland at 3pm and until the event ends at 11pm!
 
I'll be picking a winner at 8pm Pacific time on Friday October 5th from the comments below this post (so I have time to get the tickets to you!).

Here's how to enter:  Comment on this blog post telling me why you are the biggest Disneyland fan!  I will count one entry per day per person, keep it original and keep it fun!
 
 Winner will be drawn using random.org and I reserve the right to draw another winner if I am not able to get mailing address information in a timely manner. Giveaway is only open to residents of the contiguous US. Please ensure I have a way to contact you to notify you if you have won (leaving a decipherable email address in your comment is a great way). I highly recommend you become a fan of OCMomActivities on Facebook as that is where the winner will be announced first.
 
Note:  My family was invited to attend the Mickey's Halloween Party to facilitate the writing of this post, but we are annual premium passholders and already LOVE Disneyland 8;o)

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mickey's Halloween Party is Almost Here!

 
We are entering my favorite time of year!  The holidays at Disneyland are magical and full of fun.  Mickey's Halloween Party at the Disneyland Resort is a family favorite of ours! 

Space Mountain has been converted to Ghost Galaxy, Haunted Mansion has been converted to the Nightmare Before Christmas, there are special Disney haunts spread out through the park and not to forget the copious trick or treat stations throughout the park - you are sure to have a fantastic time at Mickey's Halloween Party. There is a special Halloween Screams firework spectacular, dance parties, cavalcades, and your favorite villains wandering around the park!

One of my favorite recent additions to the Mickey's Halloween Party has been the healthy treat options at the trick or treat stations.  In past years we had come home with A TON of candy and it was fantastic to be able to have my children alternate healthy carrot sticks, apple slices, raisins, craisins and other healthy snacks between candy snacking!

Couple of tips:  Initially I was intimidated by the length of the lines at the first candy stations we found. But what I quickly realized was that was apparently the first station everyone went to. So if you see that line... just skip it and move on to the next! Another HUGE trick we figured out is there are two lines going in opposite directions for each station (think cars on a two lane road), so if you see a long line on one side, check the opposite direction and I bet you'll see little to no line, so flip around and come at the candy station from the other way. This is a particularly useful tip for the treat trails. Everyone ends up in the same line... so by going in the opposite direction... let's just say you save a TON of time and can get more rides in!

Mickey's Halloween Party requires a special event ticket (even if you are a passholder), but allows you access to the park for up to three hours in advance of the event beginning.  For times and days of the event (it runs September 28th through end of October).  To purchase tickets, click here.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour over Disneyland - Life Bucket List Fun!

Watching a space Shuttle take off or land has been on my life bucket list for as long as I can remember.  Living here in California has made that a much harder box to check as complete, so when it was announced a few years ago that the space shuttle program was coming to an end I quietly moved that bucket list item to the section of wish I could have or maybe one day if they start the program back up again.

Then it was announced that the Space Shuttle Endeavour would be making it's final journey here to Southern California and making its home at the California Science Center. 

As a family we made a pact to go see it as soon as it arrived.  We were floored when it was announced that the shuttle would be piggy backed on a 747 and would make special fly-overs of California landmarks on its way to land at LAX.  Disneyland being one of the landmarks that it would fly-over sealed the deal and off we went to catch a glimpse.  The above picture is what I took that day looking up as it passed over us.

I admit it, I was teary eyed and beyond excited to be one of the millions who looked skyward last Friday to welcome Endeavour to its home on its final flight.

We can't wait to catch it on display at the California Science Center at the end of October!

Did you snap a great picture that day, either on its journey through Northern California or Southern California?  I'd love you to post it on the OCMomActivities fanpage on Facebook!




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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oh yes life will never be boring around here!

I can rest assured that life will never be boring being a mom to two energetic, smart and adventurous boys.  This last weekend proved it, because apparently it needed reinforcing.

My husband and I were peacefully sleeping in and were awoken to the sounds of something mechanical zooming around our room.  Once we were coherent enough we realized my son had sent in his remote controlled spy camera car and had it doing 360's around our room.

My poor half awake husband stumbled out of bed, picked it up, set it outside our bedroom door, shut the door as he mumbled to knock it off and proceeded to go back to sleep.  We both laughed later at how funny it actually was ... after we had our coffee of course!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Don't mess with my morning coffee...

I was warned, but wasn't prepared that it would occur practically overnight one random day.

I went from buying one gallon of milk a week to needing at least two in what seemed like a blink of an eye.  It all became clear last week when I went to pour a glass of milk for one of the boys as they were getting ready for bed, it was Tuesday.  I had grocery shopped on Sunday.  There was maybe about a cup of milk left in the carton.  

So I called a family meeting.  It was quick and easy, "Don't touch that last cup of milk so I can have my mocha in the morning because I don't think anyone wants me to miss my coffee.  As soon as I drop you guys off at school I will replenish it, but that last cup is mine!" 

Note:  Both boys had several large cups of milk earlier that day, including homemade chocolate milk. 

When I next looked in the refrigerator the sign stating "Reserved for Mom" had appeared on the carton.  My kids crack me up!

I think I got my point across.  Honestly I'm a little worried for the next increase in volume of milk drinking so I'm eyeing dairy cows (on the advice of my neighbor), but I'm not sure it is allowed per the CC&R's for our neighborhood...

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Fresh&Easy $1 Bottle Big Kahuna Wine Sale? Don't mind if I do...

I'm a HUGE fan of Fresh&Easy and have been since they opened here in Southern California.  I have done a large percentage of my grocery shopping there ever since!

I wanted to be sure you heard about the absolutely fantastic wine sale they are having today through Sunday on their Big Kahuna wine label, if you haven't tried them yet, they are great great wines at prices that you won't believe (here in So Cal, we pay $1.97/bottle!).  With all your favorite varieties like Shiraz, Cabernet, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Merlot and other blends, you are sure to find a great one and can't go wrong.  I always keep a few bottles on hand as everyday wine and no one believes me when I tell them the price!

So, the exciting part?  At all Fresh&Easy locations the Big Kahuna wines are on sale for ($1/bottle at the Southern California stores)!!!  Yes, stock up time!

And yes, the above picture was indeed taken today, but isn't my trunk (it's my friend's trunk!), but that's not saying I won't be doing the same later this weekend!  The stores are ready and have tons of cases ready for you!
 
Note:  I was invited to participate in a Fresh&Easy online Twitter party highlighting these wines and provided a gift card to purchase them, but to be 100% honest, I already had most of the wines and already love/keep them on hand!

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Channeling My Inner Heidi and Yodeling


I've mentioned it many times before, but seriously, how much can a person love their house?  The last few mornings we have been waking up to this behind our fences... sheep!

The neighboring farm (which is the next phase development for new homes) is still being farmed and they use sheep to eat back the plants in the field that aren't caught up in the hay baler. 

I seriously felt like braiding my hair and romping through the fields channeling Heidi as I listened to the bells of the sheep and watched the sheep dogs gracefully keep their flock in check.  For the record I didn't yodel, but the thought did cross my mind...

What fun!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's your internet connection called? It says a lot about you!


We're a little geeky around our house (my husband is in IT, so it's expected).  We like to have fun naming our portal to the internet (aka our WiFi). 

When we first moved in to our neighborhood, the cable guy didn't give us a choice in naming our connection and we always meant to change it but never got around to it.  Recently a new company with a fancy fiber connection moved in to the neighborhood and everyone on the street has been switching like crazy (including us!). 

We knew this was our time to seize the moment and come up with something unique, other than our last name as the name.  My husband chimed in of course and decided he wanted it called Oswald.  Yeah... he's a big Disney fan too.

My neighbor switched to the fancy new service too and asked me for ideas.  Immediately I decided Nemo would be a good name (they are a very tropical crew and even complete with a fish tattoo to match being Disney lovers).  How perfect I explained that they could ask their house guests "If they had found Nemo...".  They have that sense of humor.  And the fate of their WiFi connection name was set.

Come to find out the technician said that people come up with all sorts of crazy names for their connections, one of his favorites being Nacho Connection - this one is just so dang funny on so many levels, say it out loud if you aren't getting at least two reasons!  Another hilarious one was Child Pornography, well, because who would be stupid enough to break in to that and steal connection?

Another hilarious one I've seen floating around the internet is to name it FBI Surveillance Van.  It's enough to scare you're neighbors, right?

A fun one would be to name it Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, because seriously who would ever be able to spell it correctly enough?  (yes, I looked it up)

Go ahead, make my day Pedophile.  I'm watching youDark side.  All mention worthy in my book.

Now I asked a poll of my friends and sure enough most are pretty boring, naming them after pets, ahem - you know who you are.  Given a few minutes of creativity, what would you name your connection?  Because well, we can all use a good laugh when we can get it, right?


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Monday, September 10, 2012

School is Back in Session - Let the lunch packing commence!

Kids are back to school and it's time to get back in to the lunch groove! I used to find packing school lunches to be a challenge. I've had to get creative over the years because until recently Kyle (my youngest) hasn't been interested in having sandwiches in his lunch and Brett (my oldest) has never been a fan of sandwiches.

Packing healthy, nutritious lunches has taken a lot of creative thinking on my part, but I finally feel like I've gotten the hang of it. Ok... so the boys coming home frequently saying the other kids were jealous of their yummy lunches was also a big clue I was on the right path!

One of my favorite "tricks" for their lunches is to pack left overs from dinner the night before. For example tonight I made chicken breasts in the slow cooker, with rice and salad on the side. The boys LOVED the dinner, so I have these fantastic split dish containers that I portioned out some of the left over rice. Add a mandarin orange, granola bar and yogurt cup and the kids have a super easy, nutritious and filling lunch that you can be proud of!

To save time I portion out the containers as we are cleaning up from dinner so it saves me tons of time when I'm getting their lunches packed up. The widespread use of re-usable lunch totes has made it easier than ever to send kids with containers that you know won't be thrown away. I make use of those to the fullest! I've sent the kids with taco leftovers, spaghetti left overs, slider hamburgers (made at home so I know what is in them!), bruschetta and more.

Also don't forget one of these super cute kids re-usable ice packs to keep yogurts and other goodies cold! I'll share some of our favorite packed lunches over the next few weeks and would love to hear (and feature!) some of your lunches (email me OCMomActivities at gmail dot com).

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Feeling like the luckiest Mom on the planet!

Last week was my Birthday and one of my sons (age 8) decided he was going to make me breakfast in bed.  It was a school day, so I humored him and was sure it would get lost in the shuffle.

Sure enough the morning of my Birthday, I heard rustling by my bed side every few minutes starting at abut 6 am and the constant turning on of my cell phone to check the time.  I pretended to sleep.  At about 10 minutes before my alarm was to go off, I was gently nudged awake by my son followed with "Happy Birthday Mom!"

Sitting on my nightstand was a cup of peppermint hot chocolate (in a specially picked mug he explained he found at the back of the cupboard), bowl of cereal, bowl of ice cream and a beautiful card.

My heart melted to see how hard he had been working on making my morning special all on his own.

Feeling like the luckiest mom on the planet!

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