Celebrating Halloween with Twin Toddlers

Today, I am looking back at the twins’ second Halloween. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, and as you know, I love creating new traditions with my family, involving them in activities and making memories together. This year, I planned out, sourced and created our family Halloween costumes, we painted and decorated pumpkins together, we went trick-or-treating at a local shopping center and spent Halloween day playing at Kid Ventures.

Continue reading for all the details on our Halloween 2018. Since I did not start this blog until after last Halloween, I also wanted to share with you a look back on the twins’ first Halloween.

Pumpkin Painting with Toddlers

Pumpkin carving is one of my favorite fall activities. I have made it an annual tradition in our home since I was a young adult. I’m sure there were years, here and there, where we missed pumpkin carving, especially when we were in graduate school or traveling, but it has been a consistent activity for years.

This year, we tweaked our pumpkin carving tradition so that we could enjoy it with the twins without worrying about the mess or the safety of trying to carve pumpkins while getting our twin toddlers involved.

Pumpkin Painting with Toddlers
Pumpkin Painting with Toddlers

Earlier in the month, we purchased four pumpkins during our visit to Bates Nut Farm. Unfortunately, one of the pumpkins developed mold, so it had to go before we got the chance to paint it. When it was time for our painting activity, we were left with only three pumpkins to decorate.

Painting Pumpkins for Halloween
Painting Pumpkins for Halloween

I purchased some last minute supplies from Target, including kid safe paint, paint brushes and googly eyes. The pumpkin decorating supplies were pretty slim picking since it was the weekend before Halloween.

I also had some leftover tablecloth from a previous party that we used to cover the kitchen floor and smocks from Ikea that are perfect for arts and crafts with the twins.

Painting Pumpkins for Halloween
Painting Pumpkins

We noticed that older brother was a little bit more adept and focused when it came to painting the pumpkins, but little brother had a lot of fun too!

Overall, I would say our pumpkin painting activity was a success and they even turned out pretty nice!

Finished Pumpkins
Finished Pumpkins

DIY Halloween Costumes

We decided to go as our own little zoo for Halloween this year. I purchased a lion and a giraffe costume from Carter’s for the boys and sourced my and hubby’s costumes from our closets and Goodwill.

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I found the perfect khaki dress for myself and a khaki dress shirt for hubby from Goodwill. They were $4.99 each. To complete our zookeeper uniforms, I found the logo for the San Diego Zoo online and then re-sized and printed them onto iron-on t-shirt transfers. Finally, all I had to do was figure out the placement for the transfers and iron them on. Super simple!

DIY Zookeeper Costume
DIY Zookeeper Costume

Then, we were able to finish our looks with items already in our closet. I added a brown belt and black flats, and hubby wore brown khaki pants and a hat. I think our costumes come out so great, especially considering the cost!

Trick or Treating at the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch

On the Sunday before Halloween, one of our local shopping centers held a trick-or-treating event for the kiddos and we decided to make that our Halloween activity for this year and skip trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Trick or Treating with Toddlers
Trick or Treating with Toddlers

This year, the boys were able to walk to the stores by themselves and carry their Halloween buckets by themselves. We led them to each store that was participating, but they could find the person giving out candy, pick a piece and put it in their bucket.

Lion costume from Carter's
Lion costume from Carter’s

They totally got the concept, but at 19 months old, they still don’t know what candy is.

We went to the majority of the stores that were participating before we got exhausted and took a break in Starbucks.

When we got home, the boys played with the candy for a little while before we took it away from them. Most of it wound up being shared with hubby’s co-workers the next day!

Photo credit: Keane Studios

I had so much fun trick-or-treating with the boys because I could tell they were having fun and got the concept of it all. Plus, they were so freaking adorable in their costumes!

Halloween Day at Kid Ventures

On the day before Halloween, I got an email that Kid Ventures was offering 50% off admission for those dressed in costume on Halloween Day. Since we needed something to do anyway, I decided to take the boys there for a few hours. Kid Ventures is one of the local indoor play gyms for younger kids, and I had never been before and wanted to check it out.

Halloween at Kid Ventures
Halloween at Kid Ventures

The twins had a blast and could have stayed there much longer, but we had to attend a birthday lunch.2018-10-31 09.36.41

 

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Kid Ventures was also doing some activities throughout the day, but the boys were more interested in playing and running around.

Trick-or-treating – Halloween 2017

Last year’s Halloween was very different from this year’s mostly because the boys and I were still living at my parents’ house in Los Angeles, while hubby was living and working in San Diego and would come to visit us on the weekends.

My parents and I took the boys trick-or-treating on Halloween night at Del Amo Fashion Center, near their house in Torrance. They were only 8 months old at the time, so they had no idea of what was going on. When I look back, I cannot believe how little they were! We stopped by only a handful of stores, ate dinner and headed home with our little astronauts!

 

 

 

 

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Hope you enjoyed reading about our Halloween! I cannot wait to see how grown up they will be next year. Now on to planning for Halloween 2019!

Read about our visit to Bates Nut Farm here

38th Birthday Weekend Recap

There was a time long ago when hubby and I would jet out of town for our birthdays. One year, it was a weekend in Bermuda. Another time, it was a hiking trip to Acadia National Park. Things have changed for us now that we have kids.

This year was significantly lower key and more oriented around kids’ activities.

Flower Hills Maker’s Bazaar

On Saturday, we headed to the Flower Hill Maker’s Bazaar in the Del Mar‘s Flower Hill Promenade.

The event had so much to do for the kiddos! There was Pam’s Farm, a petting zoo with a sheep, goat, pig, ducks, chickens and a shih tzu pup!

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I understand this pig so well! Sleep is nice.

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Pam let the little guys get on top of the sheep. So adorable!

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There was a little area for lounging on blankets and pillows with a ping pong table and corn hole.

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My mom took part in the charity cake walk, and she won a cake in the first round! It was funny because this wound up serving as my birthday cake.

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Flower Hill Promenade has a little playground, and the twins really enjoyed climbing and running around before lunch.

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We also got two amazing balloon animals created for the boys. Big Brother also got his face painted! That’s a little hippo on his cheek.

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Wow, I cannot believe how fun this event was. On top of what I have shown you, there was also live music by Kathryn the Grape and a choir group as well as succulent and painted picture frame make-and-takes. We were pooped after about 4 hours at the bazaar.

Dinner at Giovanni’s

That evening, we had dinner at Giovanni’s in Linda Vista with my parents and my brother’s family.

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Balboa Park

On Sunday, we all met up again at Balboa Park to visit the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre.

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It was the boys’ first time in a theatre, and they got to be big boys and sit in their boosters all by themselves. Big Brother really enjoyed the puppet show, while the other two lost interest after awhile.

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After the show, we got to pet the puppets and take photos with them. Hi, Baxter Bunny!

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We had lunch at the Home Plate Cafe and then continued on to the Museum of Man without the rest of the group. My parents and brother had to leave.

I checked out the Museum Pass from the library which provides admission for 2 adults and 4 children, so we were able to visit for free!

Our favorite exhibits was the Monsters! exhibit and Adventure Kids in Egypt.

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That evening, hubby took care of the kiddos so I could go have a massage and cupping session! Woohoo!

It was such a fun-filled weekend and I am so happy to have spent it with my family.

Visiting the San Diego County Fair with Twins

This week, the boys and I visited the San Diego County Fair for the first time. This annual event is held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and is the largest county fair in the nation!

The fair has a different theme each year, and this year’s theme was “How Sweet It Is!” Such a fun, happy and colorful theme, which gave us plenty of opportunities for photos.

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I honestly think this has been our most ambitious outing to date, and I was quite nervous about how our day would turn out! Along with our double stroller, I made sure to pack hats, shoes, lunches (for them), sunscreen and water for the whole family. The boys wound up spending the majority of the time in the stroller, just taking things in. They did not really complain at all throughout the time we were at the fair.

We arrived just after the gates opened at 11 AM, and by the time we parked, walked over, got through the gate and lathered up with sunscreen, the first Pig Race of the day was about to go down!

Pig Races

I managed to get the boys out of the stroller and find us seats in the bleachers on my own. A twin momma’s gotta do what a twin momma’s gotta do! The race was hilarious because only one pig ran to the finish line!

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Livestock Viewing

My boys absolutely love animals and so do I, so we made a stop to some of the livestock viewing areas and saw goats, sheep, cows, chicken, turkeys, bunnies and more!

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Theme Exhibit

Because of the “How Sweet It is” theme, this year’s fair featured a candy-themed exhibition with the history of candy-making, a candy-themed performance, shopping opportunities and photo opps! It was so cute!

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I’m actually not a huge candy person (chocolate for me!) but I thought the whole set-up was ridiculously fun!

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Fair Food

After walking around for about an hour, it was time to settle in and find some food. I have visited the Texas State Fair a number of times, and the fair food is a big deal at that event every year. I was slightly disappointed with the lack of information on the fair food at the San Diego County Fair. I had no idea where to go, what was new this year or what was available except for what I could see from walking around.

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I really wanted a corn dog, so I stopped at the first stand that I saw that had them. Big mistake. I wound up with a corn dog the size of my forearm that cost $12. I was only able to finish about 1/3 of it and it wasn’t even tasty! Ugh!

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I was pretty annoyed by my fair food fail for the rest of the day because I did not have room to sample anything else. Boohoo!

Besides this unicorn leg, I did not see anything else that seemed “special,” in that all of the food was standard fair food. I did hear that there was a ramen burrito somewhere but I did not see it. I was hoping to see more interesting and strange food. Maybe I just missed it. Oh well.

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CA Grown Exhibit

The California Grown exhibit focuses on the important place agriculture has in California and San Diego. We found the exhibit to be informative and interesting for both the kids and I.

There were more animals to see, including chickens, cows and llamas.

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The boys got to play in a corn sandbox too! Only problem was that they kept trying to put the corn in their mouths!

Flower and Garden Show

The Flower and Garden Show was the last place we visited. They boys loved the model train set, which was also candy-themed.

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They also did not seem to mind that I wanted to check out the ribbon-winning flowers and displays.

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In total, we spent about three hours at the fair and did not come close to seeing everything, but that was okay. Rides and games are not the top priority for me when going to the fair, and since the boys are so young, those are things that we can save for when they get bigger.

As we were leaving, I had a difficult time finding our car, so we wound up wandering the parking lot for about 10 minutes before we were able to leave. Despite the couple of hiccups that we experienced, I had a really good time at the fair! Hopefully, we can make it back again next year.

Tips:

  • Prioritize what you want to see and do. The fair website has of good information on how to plan your visit.
  • There is a lot to see, so don’t expect to see everything in one visit, if you are like us and only plan to spend a few hours versus the entire day and night at the fair.
  • Remember what gate you entered through and where you parked. The parking lots don’t have section markers, so I suggest counting the number of rows back you are in and finding a landmark to remember where you parked.
  • Bring lots of sun protection! Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. Also, unopened water bottles are permitted, and empty reusable bottles and sippy cups are permitted. I bought bottled water before we got to the fair and filled my bottle and sippy cups once we got through the security gate.
  • Bring wipes and hand sanitizer. You will come into contact with lots of germs, especially if you visit the livestock viewing areas. While there are hand washing stations around the fairgrounds, having wipes and hand sanitizer on me made me feel better, especially since the boys are still putting their hands in their mouths a lot!

Bloom Summit Recap

On Saturday, I attended the inaugural Bloom Summit at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

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Bloom Summit is a wellness and beauty retreat, providing a day for guests to immerse themselves in wellness education, pampering, and interacting with brands that help to sustain a wholesome non-toxic lifestyle.

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Check In

I arrived just after the event was starting and there was only one group ahead of me to check-in. It was easy peasy to get on my way.

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Wellness Oasis

I had about 15 minutes before my first session started, so I took a spin around the Wellness Oasis. The area was lined with a variety of different booths, all promoting the healthier lifestyle. I only had time to visit one booth before I headed inside for my sessions, but I made sure to see almost everything throughout the day.

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For me, the coolest thing was getting my first vitamin “push” from Nenergy Boost.

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I got the Vitamin C + Glutathione Push.

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There was also a stocked snack bar, where you could load up a Bumkins wet bag with healthy snacks and drinks.

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The Wellness Oasis also gave guests a chance to interact directly with health and wellness brands, like Eat Cleaner, Kite Hill, Neocell and Plus CBD oil.

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Costa Craft Beauty hosted a cute make-and-take station, where you could either make a fragrance spritzer or body scrub. I went with the body scrub. It smelled so good!

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Finally, while I was at it, I got a vitamin B12 shot from The Solution IV. Honestly, I did not feel any different after getting the shot and the push.

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Sessions

Bloom Summit featured speaker sessions with experts in the health and wellness space as well as workout sessions. Although I was not able to attend any of the speaker sessions, I signed up for two of the three fitness workouts.

First up was a Feel Good Fusion class with Sara Haley. She specializes in pre and post natal fitness, which was great for me! The workout included core work, cardio, body weight strengthening and stretching. It was a great workout and I certainly worked up a sweat!

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Rad Roller hosted the second session that I attended. It was less of a workout that a Rad Rolling session, and it felt amazing. Since having the twins, my body regularly feels like it is falling apart, so this session really helped me release some of my tight muscles.

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Gift Bag

I left Bloom Summit with two huge bags of goodies. My ticket type included a gift bag. There was a higher level ticket that included an even more loaded swag bag. I still have yet to go through the bags of stuff, but I will likely be doing mini-reviews in my Instagram stories. If you are interested, check out my Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/socal_twinmommy.

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I had a really good time at Bloom Summit and I hope they hold it again next year. If they do, I will make every effort to attend again.

Museum Month: California Center for the Arts, Escondido

Did you take advantage of Macy’s Museum Month in February? Our month was so ridiculously busy that we were only able to make use of the pass one time. The combination of having lots of family visiting and being sick kept us from using it more.

Not to worry though. There is always next year and the next to visit some more of San Diego’s many fantastic museums!

We had a Saturday free, so we drove over to Escondido to visit the California Center of the Arts’ Museum. 

The museum is currently featuring two exhibits. The first one is Niki de Saint Phalle: Mythical California. After learning more about this artist, I really want to make a trip to see her Queen Califia’s Magical Circle sculpture garden also in Escondido! The exhibit featured the piece in miniature.

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The second exhibit is called Inspired: A Mosaic Invitational, which features contemporary mosaic pieces. I loved how whimsical and kid-friendly most of the pieces were. They ranged from a junk food tree to a mosaic carousel horse, bear and turtle sculptures!

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The museum is small, but it was definitely worth the trek out to Escondido, especially since we combined it with lunch at Stone Brewing Co. I loved sitting outside on the patio in the middle of February! It was gorgeous!

Did you get to use the Macy’s Museum Month pass this year?

Happy First Birthday!

How are these two sweet boys already one year old? It feels so strange that I have been a mom for one year now. Time flies and it really makes me appreciate all of the time I get to spend with my babies as a stay-at-home mom. It truly goes by so quickly!

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We celebrated the boys’ birthday a week early, since it was President’s Day and family members were able to fly out and spend more time over the long weekend than during their actual birthday weekend.

Folks flew in from Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas and San Francisco to be with us. The theme I chose for the party was “Where the Wild Things Are” and I included a photo display of the boys’ monthly pictures from their first 11 months! It is so crazy to see how much they have changed!

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For food, I ordered Hawaiian food, just because. We had kalbi (Korean-style beef short ribs), baked fish, rice, macaroni salad, another salad and spam musubi. Yum!

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Of course, we had to have cake too, so I got a strawberries and cream custom cake and a two flavors of cupcakes!

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I love how the cake turned out. It is Max’s king of the wild things crown from the book! So adorable.

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We gave the boys their first taste of sugar for their birthday, and that was not a good idea. The boys had allergic reactions to something in the cakes and got sick. Hubby had to take little brother to the ER to get checked out after calling the pediatrician’s nurse line! The party quickly dispersed after that. Big brother’s reaction was a bit slower and he wound up getting sick too.

It’s all fun and games until someone winds up in the hospital. They just needed a bit of Benadryl and were okay. Thank goodness!

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After the kids had some time to recover, we were finally able to open presents later that night. They got so much cute stuff!

Things did not exactly go as planned, but it will be a birthday party to remember.

Decorations: Declan & Smith and Stripes to Sparkle

T-shirts: The Shindiggity Shoppe

Catering: Dakines Hawaiian Catering

Cake: Sweet Cheeks Bakery

Balloons: Dollar Tree

Macy’s Museum Month

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All February long, you can pick up a Macy’s Museum Month pass at any Macy’s in San Diego, Temecula or Imperial Valley. The museum pass admits up to four people at half price to over 40 museums in San Diego County.

Participating museums are so diverse that you can learn about art, history or enjoy nature. Here is the roster of museums included on the Museum Pass:

Adobe Chapel
Barona Cultural Center & Museum
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum
California Surf Museum
Coronado Museum of History & Art
Fleet Science Center (Galleries only)
Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
Heritage of the Americas Museum
Japanese Friendship Garden
Junipero Serra Museum
La Jolla Historical Society
Living Coast Discovery Center
Lux Art Institute
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Marston House Museum & Gardens
Mingei International Museum
Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Downtown
Museum of Making Music
Museum of Photographic Arts
New Americans Museum
Oceanside Museum of Art
San Diego Air & Space Museum
San Diego Archaeological Center
San Diego Art Institute
San Diego Automotive Museum
San Diego Botanic Garden
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
San Diego History Center
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat)
The New Children’s Museum
The San Diego Museum of Art
The Water Conservation Garden
Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center
Timken Museum of Art
USS Midway Museum
Veterans Museum at Balboa Park
Visions Art Museum
Warner-Carrillo Ranch House
Whaley House Museum
Women’s Museum of California

I cannot wait to explore some of these museums with my little ones!

For more information, visit the San Diego Museum Council.