Where to Take Pictures with Santa For Free in San Diego

There are so many community events around San Diego to get into the holiday spirit. Did you know that many of these events are free and even include the opportunity to meet and visit with Santa Claus himself at no charge?

Here is a round up of places and events where you can take your kids to see Santa Claus for free. But don’t forget to bring your own camera! This list focuses on events occurring along or near the 56 Freeway in Northern San Diego.

*Note: while we try to keep this information as current as possible, please confirm the dates and times before you go. *

Visits with Santa at Del Mar Highlands Town Center

Date: November 16, 21, 30 and December 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 19 and 21

Time: Hours vary by day

Location: Del Mar Highlands Town Center, 12925 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130

Visits with Santa at Del Mar Highlands Town Center

Pop over to Del Mar Highlands Town Center to do some shopping and visit with Santa.

Olde Fashioned Christmas at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

Date: Friday, December 6, 2019

Time: 5 to 10 pm

Location: Front Lawns of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, 5951 Linea Del Cielo, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Marking its 6th anniversary, Olde Fashioned Christmas at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe will include a tree lighting at 6 pm and free pictures with Santa Claus at 6:30 pm. Plus, all evening long, guests can enjoy arts and crafts, live music and a bounce house. There will also be a Soup Challenge from 5 to 8 pm benefiting Shelter to Soldier.

6th Annual Cookies and Cocoa with Santa

Date: Sunday, December 8, 2019

Time: 1 to 3 pm

Location: Hotel Karlan San Diego, 14455 Penasquitos Drive, San Diego, CA 92129

Hosted by the Rancho Penasquitos Town Council, the free 6th Annual Cookies & Cocoa with Santa event will give guests the opportunity to enjoy sweet treats and take free photos with Santa Claus. Additionally, you can make arts and crafts, enjoy holiday music and face painting. Consider bringing a gift that will go to a foster child with Voices for Children San Diego.

Santa by the Sea at Del Mar Village

Date: Sunday, December 8, 2019

Time: 3 to 5 pm

Location: NW Corner of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street in Del Mar

The holidays are here and Santa is making a stop in Del Mar Village! Come celebrate the holiday season as Santa joins us for an afternoon of jolly activities leading up to an annual Tree Lighting at 5pm. Holiday treats and refreshments will be available as well as fun-filled holiday crafts for all to enjoy. Design your own rad hat and write a letter to Santa’s workshop. Take free pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy live holiday music and visits from special holiday characters. 

Plus, bring unwrapped gift donations to the L’Auberge Del mar to benefit children in need.

Meet Santa at Flower Hill Promenade

Dates and Times: December 6 from 1 to 5 pm, December 7 from 10 to 4 pm, December 8 from 10 to 4 pm, December 14 from 9 to 11 am, 12 to 2 pm and 3 to 4 pm, December 15 from 10 to 4 pm

Location: Flower Hill Promenade, 2720 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014

Say hello to the Big Man himself at Flower Hill Promenade.

Holidays at One Paseo

Date: December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22

Time: 11 am to 3 pm

Location: One Paseo, 3725 Paseo Place, San Diego, CA 92130

Visit with Santa, whisper your wishes and snap a photo

Tree Lighting at the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch

Date: Saturday, November 30, 2019

Time: 5 to 7:30 pm

Location: The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, 13490 Pacific Highlands Ranch Parkway, San Diego, CA 92130

The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch will be hosting its annual tree lighting along with live music, treats and, of course, visits with Santa Claus.

Guide to San Diego Theme Park Holiday Events 2019

Pin Me – 2019 Guide to San Diego Theme Park Holiday Events

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and San Diego’s world famous theme parks are gearing up for the holidays. Today, I am presenting a round up of all of the holiday celebration happenings at SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California, the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

There will be plenty of chances to see the amusement parks decorated for the holidays, visit with Santa and enjoy the holidays in a way you can only do in Southern California!

San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells, the San Diego Zoo’s annual holiday celebration will take place from December 13, 2019 to January 5, 2020. Jungle Bells will feature musical performances, entertainers and animal encounters in locations around the Zoo, as well as holiday treats and dining, gift shopping and holiday photo opportunities. Visits with Santa will take place until December 25.

New this year, is Aurora, a magical and spectcular experience with lights, projections, music and more, which will take place every evening, except December 24.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Wild Holidays at the Park runs on select days from November 29, 2019 to January 5, 2020. The scheduled days are:

  • November 29 to December 1
  • December 7-8, 14-15 and 20-23
  • December 26 – January 5

From 4 to 8 pm the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is transformed into a winter wonderland where park guests can enjoy stilt walkers, acrobats, a shadow puppet theatre and black light show. There will be live music and holiday food specials and visitors can meet Santa, costumed characters and animal ambassadors.

The Safari Park will also be hosting two special events for an additional charge:

  • Breakfast with Santa – Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8: 9 AM to 10:30 AM
    • Enjoy a breakfast buffet at Kilima Point with jolly ole Santa Claus.
    • $32.95 for adults; $19.95 for children ages 3 to 11
  • Wild Holidays Express – Saturdays, December 7 and December 14: 5 to 8 PM
    • Meet animal ambassadors up close and enjoy special holiday activities including hot cocoa by the fire, cookie decorating, and making holiday gifts for your favorite animals. Enjoy a storytelling session with Shari Lyon, author of Paws, Hoofs, and Wings: Animal Heroes of the San Diego Zoo, followed by a delicious “breakfast for dinner.” Then, embark on a decked-out holiday Africa Tram for a special nighttime song and story tour!
    • $64.95 per person for adults, $44.95 per person for children ages 3 to 11

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration – Photo from seaworld.com

SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration runs from November 23, 2019 to January 5, 2020. Along with some old favorites, this year’s celebration will include plenty of new attractions including:

  • Cirque Christmas – See the Nutcracker come to life with acrobatic displays from NextGen of Cirque Du Soleil. (Note – Cirque Christmas will only be performed Wednesday – Monday).
  • Winter Wonderland on Ice – Enjoy Christmas songs and beautiful choreography with this magical ice skating show. (Note – Winter Wonderland on Ice will only be performed Tuesday – Sunday).
  • Sesame Street Christmas Village – Experience the twinkling lights on Sesame Street, snow fall, dancing with your favorite furry friends and story time with Mrs. Claus.
  • Dolphin Island Christmas – Celebrate the Christmas season Island-style with dolphins and pilot whales in this tropical holiday show.
  • Christmas Light Tunnel – Walk inside the new 140-foot tunnel of lights that dance to Christmas music.

Plus, seasonal favorites will be returning this year, such as Clyde and Seamore’s Christmas Special, featuring the beloved sea lions, meet Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and friends while watching the 40-foot Christmas tree light up nightly.

LEGOLAND California

LEGO Christmas Tree at LEGOLAND California – Photo from LEGOLAND California

Holidays at LEGOLAND runs from November 23 to December 31, 2019, and the entire resort will be decked out in festive decor to celebrate the season.

Along with favorite holiday characters like Santa Claus and the Toy Soldier, this year LEGOLAND is welcoming The Gingerbread Man for hugs and photographs!

Fun Town will host a 30-foot, LEGO Christmas tree with over 400 LEGO ornaments. The tree will twinkle to holidays songs during the Holiday Light Show.

Plus, LEGOLAND has an all-new seasonal show called Santa’s Top Elf. At night, The Yule Tides will serenade guests with merry music.

For guests attending Kids’ New Year’s Eve, there will be kids’ bands, party favors and a giant brick drop at 6 pm to ring in the new year!

Sesame Place San Diego Opening Spring 2021

That’s right, friends! There is going to be a new theme park in town and it will be coming to us sometime in the spring of 2021. The new Sesame Place San Diego will be the first Sesame Place location on the West Coast and only the second Sesame Place theme park in the United States.

Sesame Place San Diego Entrance Rendering

The original Sesame Place opened in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, in July 1980 and is currently the only theme park based around the children’s program we all love!

Features

The new Sesame Place San Diego will encompass nearly 17-acres and will feature family rides, water slides, live character shows, parades and interactive experiences that will extend the laughter and learning of Sesame Street.

Sesame Place Neighborhood Rendering

Ongoing Partnership Between SeaWorld and Sesame Workshop

SeaWorld has been Sesame Workshop’s exclusive theme park partner in the United States for almost 40 years. Sesame Street Bay of Play opened at SeaWorld San Diego in 2008, and SeaWorld Orlando recently opened Sesame Street Land in March 2019.

Certified Autism Center

The original Sesame Place in Philadelphia was the first theme park in the world to achieve the Certified Autism Center designation, and Sesame Place San Diego will follow in its footsteps as a Certified Autism Center. Staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training will be completed prior to the park’s debut. Pre-visit planning resources, including a park-specific sensory guide will be featured on its website, making it easier for parents to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations. Designated quiet spaces with adjustable lighting and comfortable seating will also be incorporated into the park’s design.

Location

Sesame Place San Diego will be located on the current site of the Aquatica waterpark in Chula Vista.

Impact on Aquatica

Aquatica is closed for the year and will reopen Memorial Day weekend in May 2020 for its final season. Construction on Sesame Place San Diego will begin this fall and will not impact Aquatica’s 2020 season.

I am so excited that we will have our own Sesame Place to visit in California. Ever since we visited my in-laws in Philly last year, I have been wanting to make a trip back East to visit the original Sesame Place before the boys get too old for it. Now, we will be waiting for Sesame Place San Diego to open with anticipation!

I will be sure to update you again when more news arrives on this exciting opeing!

For more information, visit: SesamePlace.com/SanDiego

Instagram: @SesamePlaceCa

Facebook: Sesame Place San Diego



DIY Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern Architecture Tour

Last month, hubby and I went on a 5-day trip to explore the Greater Palm Springs area without the kiddos. Both of us love to take in art and architecture wherever we visit, and since Palm Springs is to well-known for its iconic Mid-Century Modern buildings and aesthetic, we had to see some of the landmarks for ourselves.

We spent the majority of one day doing our own self-guided driving tour to see a number of the Mid-Century Modern homes and businesses in Palm Springs.

Here are some highlights from our tour!

* Note: some of these properties are people’s homes. Please respect their property. Do not trespass.*

Tramway Gas Station / Palm Springs Visitors Center

Originally designed by Albert Frey in 1963 as the Tramway Gas Station, this building now serves as the Palm Springs Visitors Center. It sits at the base of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and is a prime example of modernist architecture.  

Tramway Gas Station
Tramway Gas Station

Location: 2901 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Edris House

William and Marjorie Edris commissioned E. Stewart Williams to design their home in the Little Tuscany Estates in Palm Springs. The home was built in 1954 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Edris House
Edris House

The home’s exterior features rocky landscaping and a stone wall.

Location: 1030 West Cielo Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Kaufman Desert House

Designed by Richard Neutra in 1946, the Kaufman House served as the desert retreat of Edgar J. Kaufman, Sr., a Pennsylvania department store owner. Kaufman also commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater.

Kaufman House
Kaufman House

Like Fallingwater, the Kaufman House is one of the most important 20th century American modernist pieces of architecture.

Kaufman Desert House
Kaufman House

Location: 470 West Vista Chino, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway

Elvis and Priscilla Presley spent their honeymoon here in 1967 after their Las Vegas weddings and also spent time at this home between 1966 and 1967. The iconic house is also known as the Alexander House and the “House of Tomorrow.” The Mid-Century Modern home was built in 1960 by Palm Springs developer Robert Alexander.

Elvis's Honeymoon Hideaway
Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway

Although we only saw the exterior of the home, Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway is open for public tours and special events. The interior features four perfect circles on three separate levels of the home and indoor-outdoor living spaces.

Location: 1350 Ladera Circle, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Swiss Miss Houses

The Vista Las Palmas neighborhood in Palm Springs is known for Charles Dubois’ Swiss Miss Houses. These homes are the perfect combination of chalet-style plus Tiki flare. They were my favorite homes from our self-guided tour of Palm Springs modernist architecture. I just love the A-fram roof lines.

Swiss Miss House at 755 West Crescent Drive
Swiss Miss House at 755 West Crescent Drive
Another A-frame Palm Springs House

Location: Vista Las Palmas neighborhood

Coachella Valley Savings and Loan No. 2

In addition to homes like the Edris House, E. Stewart Williams was also responsible for commercial buildings such as the Coachella Valley Savings No. 2, which at other times has also served as a Washington Mutual and is currently a Chase Bank. With its flat roof line and inverted arches, this building is an eye-catcher.

Coachella Valley Savings and Loan Chase Bank
Coachella Valley Savings and Loan Building

Location: Chase Bank, 499 South Palm Canyon Drive , Palm Springs, CA 92262

Bank of America (City National Bank)

Built in 1959, the former City National Bank building was inspired by Le Corbusier’s chapel in Ronchamp, France. The buildings rounded-corners and blue tiled facade are a must-see on any mid-century modern tour.

Bank of America Palm Springs

Location: Bank of America, 588 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

That does it for our DIY Palm Springs Architecture Tour. While we only got to see a handful of buildings on this trip, I hope we can add some more notable buildings to my list on our next visit.

Do you have any favorite homes or buildings for us to check out next time?

DIY Mid-Century Modern Architecture Tour of Palm springs
Pin Me – DIY Mid-Century Modern Architecture
Tour of Palm springs

Working from Home with a Sit-Stand Desk: AnthroDesk Review

I RECEIVED THIS PRODUCT FOR FREE FROM ANTHRODESK TO USE AND POST MY HONEST OPINIONS. 

I am so excited to share a review with you today of AnthroDesk’s ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Extra Wide. Earlier this year, I rejoined the workforce as a part-time worker. Now that I am working and continuing to blog, I find myself in front of the computer for more hours a day than I would like to admit. I am one of the lucky ones in that my jobs allow me to work-from-home, but I have needed to create a new work environment that addresses my work-style and health concerns. The most important aspects for me are having a workspace that allows me to concentrate and helps keep my back pain-free.

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter - Stand Position
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Stand Position

When I am not working, I spend a lot of time chasing after my twin toddlers, driving and exercising. Over the years, I have developed considerable lower back pain, tight shoulders and neck pain from the combination of constantly sitting, overuse and bad posture.

I had the opportunity to work with AnthroDesk again and try out their ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Extra Wide. We worked together earlier this year on a review of their ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat for Sit Stand Desks, which you can read about here.

Benefits of Sit-Stand Desks

For years now, I have been wanting to try using a sit-stand desk to work at. From reducing back pain and the chances of weight gain, the ability to alternate between sitting and standing while working has numerous benefits for desk workers.

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter

Set-Up

The beautiful thing about the ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter is that it works with your existing desk and is such an easy way to make the switch to a sit-stand desk. The product arrived in a box weighing approximately 30 pounds, which I was easily able to carry upstairs and set up by myself. Assembly is very minimal. After opening the box, I basically had to cut some zipties and screw the keyboard tray into place before placing the converter onto my desktop. I was good to go in less than 10 minutes!

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter

Features

I love the many features of the ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter as my first adjustable standing desk. I was initially worried that it would be too bulky, but it fit perfectly in my small desk nook.

The desktop dimensions are approximately 37.4″ wide by 15.75″ deep and holds up to 33 pounds. For me, I am able to fit my 24 inch monitor, laptop and miscellaneous work items on the monitor stand. The keyboard tray holds plenty as well. I use the tablet slot to hold pens so that they are easily accessible when I need them.

The ErgoSpring retails for only $199.99 and is a great way to make the switch to a sit-stand desk.

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter - Sit Position
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Sit Position

Ease of Use

Alternating between the sit position and stand position with the ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter is so easy and requires no preparation. All you have to do is press a lever on the right side of the desk converter either up or down. AnthroDesk’s new gas-spring technology can convert from desk level to 19.75″ high. It takes me no effort and I can switch back and forth between sitting and standing on the fly.

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter

This sit-stand adjustable desk converter has been exactly what I have been looking for. When my back starts to hurt from sitting too long, I know that I can move to the standing position in a matter of seconds without messing up my work flow.

Thank you again, AnthroDesk for working with me on this project and letting me review the ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Extra Wide.

Pin me – Review of AnthroDesk’s ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter

I RECEIVED THIS PRODUCT FOR FREE FROM ANTHRODESK TO USE AND POST MY HONEST OPINIONS. 

Making the Gut Health Connection

This post was written in partnership with Moms Meet and Gut Connection from Country Life. All content and opinions are my own.

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates made this bold statement. While science and medicine are still figuring out the validity of this statement, for me, my gut has a huge impact on how I am feeling overall.

I was recently introduced to a new line of products called Gut Connection from Country Life. Country Life’s Gut Connection connects the gut to individual health issues that matter using a range of scientifically formulated supplements. An unbalanced gut can lead to bloating, digestive discomfort and irregular bowel movements.

Gut Connection from Country Life
Gut Connection from Country Life

Gut Connection by Country Life is not a probiotic. Instead in contains prebiotics that feed the existing probiotics in your gut. Gut Connection formulas connect gut health to such health issues as energy balance, immunity balance, digestive balance, sleep balance, and more.

About Country Life

Established 1971, Country Life has been producing vitamins, minerals and supplements for over 40 years. Country Life displays their Pledge of Integrity on every bottle to fulfill their five core integrity standards:

  1. Authenticity of ingredients
  2. Cleanliness of ingredients
  3. Freshness of ingredients
  4. Consistency of the formula
  5. Accuracy of labeling

Additionally, all Country Life products are:

  • Non-GMO
  • USDA certified Organic
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Certified Vegetarian/Vegan
  • Kosher / Halal

My Experience With Gut Connection

I have been trying out three of the different Gut Connection by Country Life products over the past month: Digestive Balance, Energy Balance and Immune Balance. For most of my adult life, I have experienced issues with my digestion. The most frequent issue I have is constipation.Digestive Balance contains ingredients that help stimulate the growth of Bifidobacteria in the colon, improve weekly bowel movements and reduce discomfort and bloating. After using Gut Connection Digestive Balance, I have noticed an improvement in my regularity as well as a reduction in the amount of effort needed to have a bowel movement.

Gut Connection Digestive Balance from Country Life
Gut Connection Immune Balance from Country Life

Gut Connection’s Energy Balance contains B-Vitamins to support energy production and coffeeberry to support alertness. Maintaining energy is something that I have struggled with since becoming a mother and using Gut Connection Energy Balance helps me to maintain my gut health while also giving me a boost of energy.

Gut Connection Energy Balance from Country Life
Gut Connection Energy Balance from Country Life

Finally, Gut Connection’s Immune Balance balances the health and gut connection by helping your body stay healthy in times of stress. Let’s face it, the last thing I want in my life is to get sick. A sick mommy makes for a huge inconvenience in the day-to-day life of my family, so doing what I can to make sure I am healthy as much as possible is crucial. 

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Gut Connection Immune Balance from Country Life

Where to Buy Gut Connection by Country Life

  • 60-count bottle typically retails for $44.95
  • Purchase at Sprouts, The Vitamin Shoppe, Natural Grocers Vitamin Cottage, and Amazon, and other natural health food stores
  • To find Gut Connection by Country Life near you, visit countrylifevitamins.com/where-to-buy

Despite my busy life as a working mom, I make every effort possible to take care of myself because at the end of the day, I know that ensuring that I live a healthy lifestyle impacts every member of my family. When I discover products and services that make maintaining my health easy and give me peace of mind that I am doing the best I can for my body, I love to pass on this information to my readers.

Gut Connection Digestive Balance from Country Life
Gut Connection Digestive Balance from Country Life

To learn more about Gut Connection from Country Life, visit:

This post was written in partnership with Moms Meet and Gut Connection from Country Life. All content and opinions are my own.

How to Start Toddlers on their Mindfulness Practice

Life with toddlers can be hectic and overwhelming. Oftentimes, there is so much to do that it is hard for me to be present and grounded. For toddlers, understanding the value in quieting ourselves and finding awareness in where we are and what we are doing is a foreign concept, but it is never too early to introduce the little ones to the importance of a mindfulness practice.

This post was written in partnership with Moms Meet and Zafooz. All content and opinions are my own.

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What is Mindfulness?

According to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, mindfulness is “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”

Being mindful helps us to be fully present and allows us to be more aware of ourselves instead of what is going on around us.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Research shows that mindfulness can help children improve their ability to pay attention, better regulate their emotions and to make better decisions.

For us, mindfulness and deep breathing has been beneficial in calming my boys down when they are upset, which in turn helps them to better express their feelings.

Zafooz meditation cushion

Starting a Mindfulness Practice with Your Toddlers

When introducing mindfulness to very young children, it is important to keep it fun and simple. My twins love their meditation cushions from Zafooz.

Zafooz were created as a relatable way to introduce simple mindfulness practices to children by combining a meditation cushion called a “zafu” with a plush animal. The Zafooz are cushions and breathing buddies in one. All of the designs feature a peaceful animal face to remind children to slow down and focus within themselves.

We have two Zafooz, one for each of my twins. Each Zafoo has its own mantra. Lotus Ladybug‘s mantra is “I am loved.” Mindful Monkey‘s mantra is “I breathe in and smile.” Zafooz are available in four other designs: Bodhi Bear, Tranquil Turtle, Peaceful Panda and Dharma Dog.

Since my boys are still very young and are always busy, I try to incorporate small doses of mindfulness into their daily routines. We like to sit together on the floor of our playroom with their Zafooz. They like to hug their Zafooz or will sit quietly on the cushion for a brief moment. These are simple and quick ways for them to slow down and bring awareness to what they are doing.

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Zafooz – Mindful Monkey and Lotus Ladybug

 

As my boys get older, I hope to expand on their mindfulness practice by introducing them to meditation and breathing exercises. zafooz’s website has great resources for teaching mindfulness to children, including guided meditation scripts and lessons on mindful breathing and body scans. They also have a list of recommended books on teaching mindfulness to young children.

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I hope that mindfulness continues to be a big part of my children’s lives, and we all learn to slow down and be present.

Special Offer

From now until July 22, 2019, save 15% on your own Zafooz cushion by using the discount code breatheBhappy at zafooz.com/shop.

This post was written in partnership with Moms Meet and Zafooz. All content and opinions are my own.

Summer Grilling with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

Nothing says the start of summer like grilling! Although summer still has not officially started yet, hubby and I have already entered grilling season. We recently moved into a new house and have not purchased an outdoor grill yet, but we do have a grilling pan that we have been using in the interim.

Summer Grilling with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil
Summer Grilling with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

About a year ago, I was introduced to Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and have been using it ever since! To read about some of my previous experiences with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil check out this post, which details what makes palm oil special, what makes Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil special as well as two of the recipes I made with palm oil:

Cooking with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil 

Grilling at home with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

For dinner, I got out my grill pan and used Malaysian Red Palm Oil to marinate veggies and meat, as well as grease my grilling pan. On the menu were tuna steaks, oyster mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash.

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I sliced the vegetables into long segments and then let them marinate in palm oil, salt and fresh herbs from my garden. I used basil, sage and parsley that I grew from seeds starting this spring. I love having fresh herbs on hand!

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After letting the veggies and tuna marinate and getting the grilling pan hot and nice and coated, I put the veggies on the grill for a few minutes on each side.

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Once all of the veggies were done, I lightly seared our tuna steaks, which were marinated with palm oil and soy sauce. I love those grill marks! Dinner was served and it was delicious!

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I am so happy that I tried grilling with palm oil! To learn more about Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil, visit http://palmoilhealth.org.

Strawberry Picking at Kenny’s Strawberry Farm

I am the type of person who loves to try new things and have new experiences. A sense of curiosity is definitely a trait that I want to encourage in my children, so just about every week, we are going on a new mini-adventure together.

Last week, we headed up to Fallbrook, California to visit Kenny’s Strawberry Farm. Kenny’s is a U-pick farm that operates during strawberry season (normally February through July). This was also my very first time going strawberry picking, so it made the trip extra fun and memorable!

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Kenny’s Strawberry Farm

We arrived at the farm just as they were opening, so cars were backed up for a couple of minutes. Once we got onto the property, we pulled our car into the dirt parking lot, where there was free parking.

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Then we headed up to the farm. There is no admission charge and you just pay for whatever strawberries you pick. The boys were each handed a red bucket, which they used to hold their freshly picked strawberries.

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Helpful farm rules signage

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Only a certain rows of strawberry bushes were accessible and open for you to pick from. The rest of the rows were roped off. We were able to stick to just one row to pick from since there were so many ripe berries right there.

If you have never had fresh strawberries straight from the bush, you are in for a treat! They are so sweet, juicy and just plain delicious.

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The boys needed my help for a lot of the picking and we wound up getting about one full bucket load of strawberries. After we finished picking, we went back to the front entrance to pay for our strawberries. The line was especially long and we had to wait about 15 minutes to finish paying. The boys were really difficult to handle during this time because getting two year old twins to wait in line is nearly impossible!

Once it was our turn to pay, we handed over our buckets and they are placed into a plastic container and weighed. Be careful that there are only strawberries in your bucket! I found out that the boys were putting rocks into their buckets while we were waiting in line and I missed one of them before we paid. Let’s just say that rock cost us extra!

Once we paid, we headed to the picnic area, where we were able to wash some of the strawberries and eat them right there! They were so good, and the boys loved them.

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What we loved about Kenny’s Strawberry Farm:

  • Perfect activity for preschool and elementary aged children. The whole process took less than an hour, so it is not a whole day excursion for those who schedule activities around meals and naptimes.
  • No admission fee. You just pay for what you pick. On the day we went, it was $4 per pound of strawberries
  • Free parking and not a lot of distance to get from the parking lot to the entrance to the strawberry fields and back, which was great because this is not a stroller-friendly activity.
  • Picnic area with faucets to wash strawberries.

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Tips Before Visiting:

  • Leave your stroller at home. The rows of strawberries are spaced closely together, so a stroller will not fit in between them.
  • Bring hat, sunglasses and sunblock. There is no shade covering the strawberry fields.
  • Cash and credit card are accepted.
  • Kenny’s Farm Kitchen mobile food truck is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM to 4 PM. Menu includes short cake, milk shakes, lemonade and kabobs.
  • Check their website or social media accounts before going. The farm has been closed several days this season due to weather and lack of supply.

Strawberry Treats At Home

If you find yourself needing to use up your strawberries as the super ripe ones don’t last very long, make something at home with them. I made a delicious strawberry crisp with some strawberries I purchased a few days before going to Kenny’s Strawberry Farm, using this recipe. I even had all of the ingredients needed for this crisp already in my pantry.

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So yummy and a perfect spring dessert!

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Kenny’s Strawberry Farm
953 Rainbow Valley Blvd.
Fallbrook, CA, 92028
Wednesday-Sunday: 10 AM to 6 PM

Custom College Graduation Invitations and Thank You Cards from Basic Invite

Thank you to Basic Invite for sponsoring this blog post.

Can you believe that we will be in April next week? Time flies! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we recently celebrated the twins’ second birthday. In just a few months, they will be entering preschool, and that makes my heart a little bit sad. And although the days are long, the years seem to be going by so fast! Pretty soon, they will be graduating from preschool, then high school and then college.

Although college seems like many years away, we have already started planning and saving for their tuition fees! Crazy, right? If you know me, I am a planner when it comes to my life and my family, sometimes to my husband’s dismay.

I love to plan and create special moments for my whole family and I am sure once college graduation comes around, I will take the opportunity to mark the amazing achievement in a special, personal way.

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Basic Invite is an online company that creates custom stationary for all of your business, holiday and special occasion needs. If you have a loved one graduating in the Class of 2019, Basic Invite has both modern and classic graduation invitations. One of my favorite graduation templates is the “then and now” template! It is so adorable. I would absolutely use my twins’ preschool pictures and senior portraits for these invitations. They also have options for text only, one or more images, foil cards and camo graduation invitations.

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Over 180 Color Options – Basic Invite allows you to change the color of each of the card elements with over 180 color options. You can also instantly preview how your card will look. I love that, with so many color options, you can give your cards the exact look and feel you desire.

Custom Samples – Basic Invite gives customers the ability to order a printed sample of your actual invitation so you can see exactly what it will look like and hold it in your hand before you place your final order. To me, ink and paper quality are so important when creating custom stationary, and Basic Invite is one of the few online stationary shops that gives customers this option.

Over 40 Different Envelope Colors – Basic Invite allows customers to make their invitations stand out even before they are opened. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors for their envelopes, which is another way to really stick to your personal theme and look-and-feel. Another thing I love is that all envelopes are peel-and-seal!

Address Capturing Service – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends’ and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no additional cost on all card orders.

Foil – Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

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My Experience with Basic Invite

I got to try out the design and printing process with Basic Invite for myself, and I can tell you that it is user-friendly and the final product is high-quality and beautifully made. For the boys’ second birthday, we picked a dinosaur theme since they are obsessed with all things dinosaur. Basic Invite had the perfect dinosaur-themed thank you cards that we were able to personalize and customize to send our guests their thank yous!

Basic Invite has so many college graduation invitations templates. Check them out to see all of their designs. Right now, Basic Invite is offering 15% off orders with the coupon code: 15FF51

Check them out online and on social media at:

BasicInvite.com
Facebook/BasicInvite
Pinterest/BasicInvite
Instagram/BasicInvite
Twitter/BasicInvite

This blog post has been sponsored by Basic Invite.