Family Fitness on the Orange County Great Park Thrive Walk

This post is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Orange County.


i’ve been working with Kaiser Permanente Orange County hospitals in Irvine and Anaheim for the past few months, and have been pretty impressed in the services and amenities that they offer not only their patients, but also the community. i recently wrote about their awesome farmers markets, yummy recipes they offer online, and the prenatal programs that they offer. now i wanted to share about the Thrive Walks that are located at the Orange County Great Park and also at their Irvine and Anaheim Hospital locations, and also wanted to share some tips for family fitness and keeping our children healthy.

What is the Thrive Walk?

Kaiser Permanente Orange County has three Thrive Walks located in Orange County. each are 1 mile long walking paths that promote wellness through walking and exercise – all while incorporating elements of nature and design to calm the mind, body, and spirit. the boys and i wanted to check them out for ourselves, so the other evening, we headed over to the Orange County Great Park for a family walk in the park. it was just what we needed to calm ourselves from a busy weekend, get our bodies moving, and was the perfect way to spend some quality time together.


the Orange County Great Park is a great place for families to get active. you can bring your bikes, scooters or rollerblades and run and play on the many paths and trails throughout the park. there’s also a carousel, playground and a giant Great Park Ballon that you can ride up into the sky for a small fee.


here we are ready to head over to the Thrive Path.sunset-at-the-orange-county-great-park

the Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park is located around the North Lawn and winds around the grass fields and reflection pond. it’s pretty easy to find using this map. the turquoise line represents the Kaiser Thrive Walk. you can park in the Squadron Parking lot for free, then walk to the Thrive Path. it’s nicely paved, perfect for walking, running or biking, and there are special tips and motivational quotes on signs along the path.

the-orange-county-great-park-thrive-walkbike-path-at-the-orange-county-great-parkthings-to-do-at-the-orange-county-great-parkkaiser-thrive-walk-at-the-orange-county-great-parkthere are also mile markers along the path, so you know how far you have walked. it was fun for us to look for the next marker and see how long it took for us to get to each tenth of a mile.walking-the-thrive-walk-at-the-orange-county-great-parkthe-orange-county-great-park-at-dusk

in addition to our family checking out the Kaiser Thrive Walk, i was also able to have a great chat one afternoon with Dr. Patel, a physician at Kaiser Permanente. he gave me some great tips on family fitness and keeping your family active and healthy. one great tip was the 5210 plan. a plan to help keep your kids active and prevent obesity – the number one health risk in kids today.

The 5210 Plan

5 – make sure to eat at least 5 fruits and veggies per day.

2 – kids should have no more than 2 hours of screen-time per day. this includes: electronics, television and hand-held devices.

1 – make sure kids get 1 hour of physical exercise per day. activities such as walking, riding bikes, running around at the park or playground, and team sports are great examples of good exercise.

0 – kids should drink zero juice or sugary drinks per day. this includes: all juices, sports drinks, sodas and flavored drinks.


Families that Exercise Together, Stay Healthy Together

Evening walks, running in the backyard, going to the park, bike rides, hiking and playing together are great ways to stay active together as a family. Making a habit of exercising together will create healthy habits for your children. They will view exercise as fun and not a chore.


Kaiser Permanente has some great information and resources on their website on how to stay active and eat healthy. they also offer classes to their patients. AWESOME!

i can definitely see our family heading on more evening walks in the future, especially once our new little one has arrived. i think it will be a lot of fun to put the baby in the stroller and walk with the boys in the parks around our community. it was also nice to stop every once in a while along our route and let the boys just play. they enjoyed rolling in the grass, throwing rocks in the pond and gathering sticks. seeing them being happy outdoors in nature is so much more rewarding than seeing them on the couch with their eyes fixated on a screen.


by the time we finished our walk, it was dark…even though it was only around 6:30 pm. as you can see, we had a great time.


finally, don’t forget that the Kaiser Permanente Orange County hospitals in Irvine and Anaheim also have Thrive Walks, you are welcome to use them at your convenience, and enjoy the special design features and waterfalls that are located along their paths. they’re just another way Kaiser Permanente is helping to keep our community on the Path to Thrive.

60 Christmas Light Displays in Orange County

the best orange county christmas light displaysUpdated for December 2016

Christmas Lights!!!!! i just love it when houses AND even neighborhoods go all out decorating their home with twinkly lights and decorations for the holidays. all that work putting up the outdoor lights gives the community the special gift of Christmas magic. here is a list of over 60 Christmas Light Displays in Orange County that you can visit.

Aliso Viejo
King Elder Lane
Bough Avenue (Nightmare Before Christmas House)

Anaheim Hills
Bel Air Neighborhood (Riverview & Santa Ana Road near Weir Canyon)

306 Barryknoll Street
151 S. Jeanine Way
2118 W. Minerva Avenue

Balboa Island
327 Sapphire Avenue

515 Cedar Avenue
Birch Street (Kraemer & Birch)

Buena Park
8073 Calendula Drive

Codo De Caza
Gooseberry Court

Costa Mesa
3150 Bear Street
467 East 19th Street
Lilac & Santa Ana Avenue
77 Fair Drive (City Hall) – Peanut’s House

5208 Cumberland Drive

Dana Point
Monarch Beach Homes

Fountain Valley
16559 Euclid (Mile Square Park. The entire neighborhood decorated.)
18323 Stanislaus Street (Light Music Show, entire roof decorated)

1326 Valle Vista Drive
Mountain View Avenue & Fullerton Creek Road
Sparkle Ball Street, North Yale

Garden Grove
6531, 6541, 5521 Belgrave Avenue
12112 Wutzke Street

Huntington Beach
Bolsa Chica Avenue (past Bolsa)
16889 Algonquin Street 

Ladera Ranch
Bramford Street

Laguna Hills
Mawson Drive

Laguna Niguel
Nellie Gail Road
Elder Court
5 Tunis

Lake Forest
22981 Belquest Drive
Ashbrook Street
24952 Greenbay Drive
Rimrock Street, Peachwood & Tamarisk (Trabuco Canyon & Lake Forest Drive)
Rushford Drive
25141 Steinway Circle

La Palma
Houston Avenue
Tiara Lane

Mission Viejo
26152 Cordillera (Whoville House)
23446 Bolivar Street
27093 Pinario
Via Amistoso Street

Newport Beach
El Paseo Street on Lido Peninsula
Harbor Island Drive
Saphire Avenue

451 N. Citrus Street
Locust & Glassell
Pine Street
7633 E. Saddlehill Trail

444 Normany  (“Frozen” House)

Rancho Santa Margarita
22 El Corazon
20 El Corzo (Candy Cane Land)
11 Twilight Lane

San Clemente
Talega Seaside Neighborhood
Talega Stella Mare Neighborhood

Santa Ana
1306 Richland Avenue

Trabuco Canyon
Wagon Wheel Neighborhood

Red Hill Avenue & Olwyn Drive
2351 Caper Tree Drive

Bolsa Chica & Westminster Boulevard
5755 Westminster Boulevard

Yorba Linda
East Lake Village (Village Center Drive & Avenida De Las Polmas)
W. Oriente Drive (Lights set to music)
18665 & 18974 Seabiscuit
4712 Via Del Rancho

(have any suggestions?  let us know! )

PLUS…..have you seen this list of 100 Christmas Events in Orange County??????


The Toys ‘R’ Us BIG BOOK is Here

This post brought to you by Toys“R“Us . The content and opinions expressed below are that of Sandy Toes & Popsicles.

looking-at-the-toys-r-us-big-book-for-christmasThe Holidays are coming fast! And since we have a baby on the way, I made the boys get their Wish Lists together as soon as the Great Big Toys”R”Us Book of Awesome arrived at our home. I still remember the Big Book arriving in the mail at my home when I was a little girl, the excitement was incredible. I would circle all the toys I hoped Santa would bring. So I’ve made looking through the Big Book a yearly tradition for our kids, too. When it arrives, the boys cuddle up on the couch and go through each page one-by-one, looking at the hottest toys for the holiday season. Then they get some paper and a pencil or crayons and make their “Wish Lists” for Santa so I can pick them up during Cyber Week. toys-r-us-big-bookdear-santatoys-r-us-big-book-excitementThe Big Book is over 100 pages of the hottest and most loved toys. From collectibles, to hero haven, to tech town, to big gift central – Toys”R”Us has toys for everyone of any age. You can also have your kids go through the Big Book or head over to the Toys”R”Us website and make an online Wish List. From your phone, kids can take pictures of the toys they love using the 2D Scanner and add them to create your Wish List. Once they have created the lists,  you will have it handy on your phone, plus you can share with friends and relatives. How cool is that? It takes the guessing out of what the kiddies are wishing for this holiday season. how-to-make-a-wish-list-with-toys-r-us-big-bookhow-to-make-a-toys-r-us-wish-list1For fun, the boys and I picked out some of our favorite toys from the Toys”R”Us Big Book that we thought kids would love to receive for the holidays. toys-r-us-big-book-top-gifts 1) Nintendo 3DS XL Game Systems, Pokémon Sun & Moon Games  2) Fisher-price Think and Learn Code-a-pillar  3) Melissa & Doug Wooden Toys 4)  Disney Tsum Tsum Characters 5) Quixels 6) Step 2 Kitchen Paysets  7) Crayola Emoji Marker Maker 8) Razor Crazy Cart  

I have been over excited this year for the holidays. I can’t wait to see the joy on my boys faces on Christmas morning when they see some of their Toys”R”Us Big Book wishes under the tree. Now it’s time to get shopping, Toys”R”Us has some great deals to Get Inspired this coming this holiday season, especially on Cyber Week and through the holidays. Happy shopping! looking-at-the-toys-r-us-big-book



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Confessions of the Real Me: My Baby Lost His First Tooth

confessions of the real me

Confessions of the Real Me. just a series on my blog where i share the not so perfect bits and pieces of my life. because in reality…our lives are not always the perfect pictures that we share on social media channels. i know mine isn’t….but i’ll take it.

My Baby Lost His First Tooth

Vann lost his tooth this weekend. it has been wiggly for a long time, but i have not encouraged him to pull it out at all. i didn’t want him to lose it. of course i knew that i couldn’t prevent it from coming out, but i dreaded this day. not just a little….A LOT. and during our Black Friday shopping, that bottom little wiggly tooth got twisted in a way that was bothering Vann. when he went to touch it, that little tooth fell right out.


i just can’t handle my kiddies losing their teeth, especially their first ones. to me, this is the day their baby smiles change forever, and our babies turn into big kids. i especially can’t even with those top two teeth. the toothless grin is cute and all,…but when those Chicklet-sized top teeth come in, say goodbye to that baby smile.

so here was Vann with his new little smile, and i am trying to be excited. it was so hard!!! even he wasn’t quite sure if he liked this new look, but we managed to get him excited for the tooth fairy to come and also about becoming a big kid. (even if i am not okay with him growing up.)

okay. i do admit his new smile is pretty cute…but i am still in denial that he is growing up. 6-1/2. he is already 6-1/2!!!!! nooooo.


luckily, the tooth fairy made it to Vann’s room that night. this often doesn’t happen when you get to that second child…and especially when you are onto the third child. that darn tooth fairy tends to get more and more “busy”, and you end up having to think up an excuse to why the tooth fairy didn’t come. but not this time a miracle occurred and the tooth fairy remembered out house! *pat on the back*

Vann was thrilled to wake up to a crisp $5 bill in a plastic sandwich baggie. apparently, the third kid does’t get one of those fancy tooth pillows or tooth holders.

mom fail. 

but then again, at least the tooth fairy didn’t forget. WIN! and now mom will go cry in the corner while those permanent adult teeth fill the spaces in her baby’s mouth. sigh….mom life….all the feels.


wanna read more Confessions of the Real Me?
Picture Perfect Mom?  |  Free Printable
The Day I Got Stuck in a Museum Exhibit
The Best Meal I’ve Had All Year
Crazy Hair Day
The Hottest Week of the Year
The Time We Almost Lost Our Home to the Freeway Complex Fire
The Time I Kidnapped Someone’s Child
I locked My Baby in a Hot Car

WOW Nintendo 3DS is just $99 plus a Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Nintendo. nintendo-3ds-black-friday-sale you probably saw my recent Instagram and Facebook posts of the boys and i visiting Nintendo Headquarters in Seattle. ever since our visit, my boys have been obsessed with their new Nintend 3DS game systems.and i must admit, i have fallen in love with Nintendo all over again. it’s such a great family brand. (read all the way to the bottom of the post for a great giveaway!) nintendo-headquarterswell, you’re in luck this weekend. there is an AMAZING deal happening on the New Nintendo 3DS Super Mario Edition. for the first time ever, Nintendo is launching cool NEW black and white New Nintendo 3DS Super Mario Edition systems for under a hundred bucks – $99.99, to be exact. you will find them exclusively online at the new systems are adorned with instantly recognizable elements from the Mushroom Kingdom and will launch exclusively on Black Friday. regularly priced at just under $150, this is an awesome deal for your Nintendo loving kiddies. the systems include such features as stable 3D technology, fast processing speeds, and built-in entertainment options.  this is one of Nintendo’s best deals of the holiday season! a perfect fit for anyone’s stocking. 3ds-black-friday ALSO, did you know that some of the hottest games of the year are only available on Nintendo’s hand-held Nintendo 3DS systems?!!!  this includes Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, which both recently launched on November 18th, as well as Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS which will be launching on December 2nd.



here is your chance to win a NEW black New Nintendo 3DS Super Mario Edition game system with a charger. just enter via Rafflecopter below. contest ends December 2nd at midnight. winner will be chosen randomly and must be 18 years or older and a resident of the United States. Good luck!!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway