Knott’s 2014 New Year’s Eve Party | Giveaway

I have partnered with Giga Savvy to bring you this post.

the countdown to  New Year 2015 is on at Knott’s Berry Farm! every year, the boys and i celebrate ringing in the New Year at Knott’s Berry Farm which was 100 times more exciting than laying on our family room couch. before we discovered the excitement of celebrating New Year’s Eve at Knott’s, we were big ole party poopers. but not any more!  we are doing it again…we are taking the kids to Knott’s Berry Farm’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. we just love the family-friendly atmosphere at Knott’s.

most of all, spending time at Knott’s with the family makes memories that last forever! check out this fun little slide show i made of all the times we’ve spent at Knott’s during the year. i tear up watching it because of all the sweet memories i have of my boys, hubby and friends playing at Knott’s throughout the year. we’ve enjoyed every season at Knott’s this year. Christmas timeHalloween timeValentine’s timesummer time and more!

you too can celebrate New Year’s Eve at Knott’s! count down the New Year with stilt walkers, music, party hats, and noisemakers for all. and new this year, the Knott’s Sky Cabin will be adorned with special lighting effects. it will rise to the top of the “K” tower to count down the final moments of 2014 and will reach the top at the stroke of midnight with skies above ablazed with colorful fireworks!

here are some of the special events happening at Knott’s Berry Farm’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. i hope to see you there.

Spur’s New Year’s Eve Buffet – a New Year’s Eve celebration isn’t complete without a yummy meal, and Knott’s has just what you need. a New Year’s Eve buffet will be served at Spurs Restaurant from 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. prices are $26.99+tax for adults and $14.99+ tax for kids (3-11).

Krazy Kirk & The Hillbillies and Party in the Dance Hall – from the deep country hills of Anaheim, these boys will have toes tap pin’ and hands clapping’ during the best darn musical comedy show ever performed on the Wilderness Dance Hall stage. between Krazy Kirk sets, enjoy boot scootin’ line dancing and two-stepping good times led by Dusty, the line dance caller on the Wilderness Dance Hall stage.

The Clueless Remix – a non-stop live music adventure where old school R&B meets new school dance & hip hop in a seamless, continuous flow much like that of a DJ spinning turntables. before The Clueless Remix takes the stage, DJ Howly will spin popular high energy music in the Calico Square…i will be like a dance party.

Comedy Magic of Adam Christing – family friendly comedian, Adam Christing, will bring his hilarious comedy, magic and fun audience interaction to the Knott’s Wagon Camp.

Salsa Dancing with Louie Angon, DJ JC & Snoopy – You’re invited to show off your dance moves at Fiesta Plaza and groove to the beat of this spicy music scene that’s Hot! Hot! Hot!

It’s Christmas, Snoopy! Ice Show – Knott’s will present encore presentations of this popular ice show into the evening.  please join Snoopy and his pals as they skate their way through the joys of the Holiday season.

Snoopy’s Magical Nights of Lights – Stroll through Camp Snoopy and marvel at thousands of sparkling lights and festive holiday music all night long.

this is such a great line-up. the kid’s AND parents are going to love it. and Knott’s is affordable fun for the whole family!  wanna go? here’s the info…
Knott’s New Year’s Eve Party
wednesday, december 31st, 2014  •  10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m
8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park CA 90620


one lucky winner will receive 2 (two) general admission tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm that you can use for the New Year’s Eve Party or any day during 2015. winner will be chosen at random. please enter by leaving a comment on this Facebook post. contest ends december 23, 2014 at midnight. good luck!

{disclaimer: this is not a compensated post. my family is receiving tickets to attend Knott’s New Year’s Eve Party. all thoughts and opinions are mine.}

The Magic of Canon Cameras, Lenses and PIXMA Printers

I have partnered with Canon to bring you this post. 
Canon Let it Snow Globethis past weekend, i had the opportunity to attend the Canon “Let it Snow” Globe event in Hollywood. you probably saw the photos i was sharing during the event on my feeds. check out the 3-story snow globe they had!!!!

i was in absolute Heaven at the Canon event because i was able to try out the latest Canon cameras and test out new and different lenses. i just LOVE taking pictures.  i get comments from readers all the time asking what kind of camera i use for my photos…and the answer is a Canon. it has been my camera of choice for more than 10 years, and besides my phone, i use a Rebel 3Ti. however, after trying out the new Canon SL1, i am seriously considering that it will be my next camera purchase in the near future. it is Canon’s new compact EOS, probably the smallest and lightest digital SLR available.

during the event, i also had the chance to meet actress and director, Bryce Dallas Howard. she and her father Ron Howard are avid Canon users, and she was able to teach me some great information about using my camera.

Canon Bryce Dallas Howard it was a pleasure and a treat to meet her…

Canon Event Bryce Dallas Howard

and her father.

Canon "Let It Snow" Globe

check out some of the pictures i took during the event….

these are pictures i took using the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens. this is one of my favorites of the lenses I tried. with it, I was able to capture fine details of the objects I was photographing.

Canon Let it Snow Globe Event Macro Lense2 Canon Let it Snow Globe Event Macro Lense

i took these two shots using the Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS STM lens without changing my location. this is a very versatile lens that takes photos close up and afar. i love how I was able to zoom in and get a great detailed photo and pan-out to get a wider shot.

Canon Let it Snow Globe Event El Capitan Canon Let it Snow Globe Event El Capitan1

the Canon EF 28 f/1.8 USM wide angle lens allowed me to get this shot of the entire event…including the awesome snow globe.  it’s a great lens to use when you are trying to take a wider shot, like when taking large group photos or room interior photos.

Canon Let it Snow Globe Event Wide Angle Lense2

finally, i was really impressed with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens that allows you to take photos in very low-light and still get a great picture. believe it or not, I took this picture of my little guy in a dark gingerbread house…that picture still looks great (as you can see, he was a little wiggly).

EF 50mm 1.8 in low light

Being able to try out the Canon cameras and lenses really opened my eyes to all the magic of the Canon products. I had so much fun taking pictures of the boys and now have a wish list a mile long of camera lenses and accessories I “need.”

Canon Giant Globe EventCanon Giant Globe Event Los AngelesCanon Let it Snow Globe Jill Parkin

after I took all my pictures, I was able to get them printed using Canon PIXMA printers with cloud technology. Canon Pixma printers give you the ability to print photos and documents directly from popular cloud services such as, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox, Photobucket, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Evernote. They can even print directly from select Canon digital cameras. I just love this technology!  I printed these photos that I took at the event directly from my camera’s memory card…and they look exactly like professionally printed photographs.

Canon Pixma Printer

i also got to learn about the Canon’s North Pole PIXMA app, which enables you to create wishes that can be sent directly to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole and printed on the latest Canon PIXMA printer with Cloud technology. you can write, draw or use pre-selected images to create your holiday wish and watch it as it is sent through the cloud to Santa’s workshop, where you will see Santa receive the wish right off of a Canon PIXMA printer.

Canon Northpole Pixma app

you can visit NorthPolePIXMA.com and sign up to experience the magic of Christmas…and PIXMA. imagine the excitement your little ones will have when they see Santa print out their very own wish!

Canon Northpole Pixma app sign up

i am so thrilled that i was able to share the magic of Canon with you this holiday season. it is a company I that have loved for years and years. i get excited just talking about it, as photography can be an emotional thing. Capturing your life, your memories, your children, and the emotions on film is an amazing thing. and you want the best products to do that.

Canon Ice Sculpture

i invite you to #BringIt with Canon this holiday season!

Canon BringIt Event

My Family, My Life, and My Journey with Aveeno

I am so excited to announce that have partnered with Socialstars as an ambassador for Aveeno®. during the next few months, i will be sharing with you the love i have for this brand and how i personally use it in my life and with my children. i am very passionate about it, as it has been the solution to skin issues one of my sons has experienced daily since birth. when it comes to your children, you want to see them happy and healthy, and Aveeno® has helped me with that. being able to partner with a brand that has made difference in my life and share it with others is very exciting. #Aveeno

Outdoor foundation spfi have three boys and husband that would rather live outside than inside. with that, most of our free time is spent outdoors. living in Southern California gives us plenty of opportunities to play in the sunshine. even in these winter months, the sun is still shining, so it is still important to take care of your skin and protect it from the sun.

point lobos

for me, it is mandatory that i wear sunscreen everyday, no matter what time of year it is, to protect myself from the sun’s rays. i was a swimmer and water polo player all my life, so sunscreen has always been a part of my beauty routine. i knew that so much time in the sun increased my risk of skin cancer and early skin aging…i didn’t want that.

daily, i wear a light foundation, powder, lipgloss, blush and mascara. i like things simple, and to make things easier, i make sure my foundation has sunscreen with a minimum Broad Spectrum SPF value of 30 or higher. during the winter months, i also need to use an additional moisturizer on my face. the air is very dry….my skin is naturally dry…so that means moisturizer is a must. i wanted to share a new Aveeno® product with you, AVEENO® Positively Radiant® CC Cream, a tinted moisturizer that color corrects, protects and perfects. it also has a Broad Spectrum SPF 30. it comes in fair to light, and medium tints.

Aveeno Natural Positively Radient Mosturizer

CC Cream, also know as Color Correcting Cream is used to perfect your skins tone and health. Positively Radient® CC Cream includes Aveeno’s special ACTIVE NATURALS® Total Soy Complex that is formulated to visibly transform dull, uneven skin into brighter, more radiant skin. traditional Chinese medicine has used soy for thousands of years to reduce the appearance of blotchiness and discoloration, and AVEENO® scientists devised a way to process soybeans that retains the integrity of the proteins to provide immediate and long-term skin benefits.

Aveeno Positively Radient Mosturizeri have really been enjoying the Aveeno® Positively Radiant® CC Cream. my skin feels silky smooth, hydrated and with it being tinted to my skin tone, i get the ease of having my foundation, moisturizer, and sunscreen in one product. this makes the life of a busy mom like me, just a little bit easier. that, with the knowing that i am using a product that is natural and made by a brand i am passionate about, it empowers me to take a holistic approach to my skin care health. that is very important to me…and for my family, as we continue our journey to live a more natural and healthy life.

point lobos carmel


Best Gingerbread Fudge Recipe

Gingerbread Fudge Recipe1

last weekend, our family took a road trip up the coast to the little town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. while we were there, we visited the town’s candy store where they had lots of unique imported candies, homemade truffles and all the homemade fudge that you could imagine. while we were there, i spotted their seasonal gingerbread fudge. i tasted it, and it was so so so good. i even brought a piece home since my husband and boys also thought it was super yummy. then i got to thinking,…i could make also make this Gingerbread Fudge at home.

i got to work, planning my recipe. i decided to use the old stand by Fantasy Fudge recipe that you find on the back of the Kraft JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme jar. i substituted the semi-sweet chocolate for white chocolate chips, and added gingerbread spices…nutmeg, cinnamon and of course ginger.

the end result was this 8 x 8″ slab of fudge goodness. topped with cinnamon red hots, this fudge tastes like gingerbread Heaven. its rich, sweet, and spiced perfectly with the flavors of homemade gingerbread cookies. it looks a little cracked here because i was anxious to get it out of the pan…and took it out before it was fully set.

How to make Gingerbread Fudge

once i removed it from the pan, i cut it into 1″ cubes. the perfect size for a rich fudge treat. Easy Gingerbread Fudge Recipe

Easy Gingerbread Fudge

Best Easy Gingerbread Fudge

i am so happy with the results, that i think this recipe will make it into my list of Christmas recipes that i make each year. if you love fudge…and gingerbread, try it…you will love it. the recipe is below.

Best Gingerbread Fudge Recipe1

Easy Gingerbread Fudge Recipe1
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk (do not use sweetened condensed milk.)
1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips (i like Ghirardelli Brand)
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ginger
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 – 1 tsp nutmeg
cinnamon red hots

line a 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. bring the sugar, butter and evaporated milk to full rolling boil in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly. cook 4 minutes until candy thermometer reaches 234°f, stirring constantly. remove from heat.  next, stir in chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until melted. add vanilla and spices; mix well. finally, pour into a prepared pan. spread to cover bottom of pan and top with red hots. cool completely. when ready to serve, cut into 1″ squares.



Get 4 Giving This Holiday Season with Etnies!

I have partnered with etnies to bring you this post.


if you have been a reader of Popsicle Blog for a while, then you probably know how much we love etnies over here. from cool crib shoes for the baby, to toddler and big kid shoes – etnies Kids has so many styles of adorable, and durable, shoes to choose from. we LOVE etnies for this, BUT there is so much more that we love about this brand. etnies goes way beyond cool style!

Giving back is at the core of etnies culture. did you know that etnies donates thousands of shoes to at-risk children and the homeless on an annual basis? how awesome is that!

plus etnies is always helping our very own community of Orange County and Southern California.
• this December, they will host their annual etnies Holiday Festival, where 500 at-risk kids in Orange County are treated to a day of skating demos by pros, Santa (on a skateboard, of course!) and a the gift of brand new etnies shoes.
• they will donate 2,000 pairs of shoes to the homeless at the Los Angeles Mission – every year!
• they have created and built the etnies Skatepark of Lake Forest as a resource for the community
• their impact is felt around the globe. etnies believes “The Planet is Our Playground”
• Happy Feet, Happy Forests – For every pair of etnies Kids shoes sold, a tree will be planted. etnies’ “Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree” reforestation program helps kids see that their happy feet means a happy forest.

and that’s not all….

etnies wants to partner with you this holiday season.

etnies coupon code

etnies would love to reward YOU for giving back! all you have to do is  snap & share a pic of you giving back to your community or your favorite cause (such as volunteering, donating clothes, shoes, time, etc.) and you could win $500 in prizes! to enter, share your photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #get4giving (*it must include hashtag to count) and it will automatically upload to the “Get 4 Giving” gallery. or you can upload it here. the picture with the most votes will win the $200 grand prize!  (contest run December 5, 2014 through January 5, 2015).

Christmas Grinch Juice Recipe

This week I made my Sweet’N Low Grinch Juice for the upcoming holidays as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #SweetNLowStars

The Grinch Punch recipeChristmas time is here! and it is time for holiday parties, get togethers, and gatherings with family and friends. you may need a fun and quick recipe for one of your Christmas events, so i am showing you this Grinch Juice recipe inspired by one of my all-time favorite Christmas stories, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. so i love to make this green punch and call it Grinch Juice! by dressing up the punch bowl and adding a few fun garnishes, your guest will definitely not be Grinches this year.

Grinch Punch

to make this Grinch Juice, you will need blue food coloring, orange juice, lemon juice, Sweet’N Low, water, vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon-lime soda.

grinch juice ingredients

in a punch bowl or pitcher (i suggest clear glass so you can see the green) combine two drops of blue food coloring, orange juice, lemon juice, Sweet’N Low, and water. stir until combined. next add the vanilla and almond extracts. now you can either chill it overnight in the fridge, or serve immediately.

finally, when you are ready to serve, you can fill your glasses with ice and then pour the juice over the ice. i like to garnish with a candy cane or maraschino cherry. you can also just let your guests serve themselves.

Christmas grinch punch recipe

Grinch Juice idea

grinch punch recipe

to make my Grinch Juice extra festive, i like to use a tall, clear glass punch bowl or clear glass pitcher. then i cut out a heart out of felt or cardstock and affix it on the front of the bowl or pitcher to represent the Grinch’s heart that finally grew 3 sizes the year that he brought Christmas back to the Whos. you can also place How The Grinch Stole Christmas story book next to the juice…or make a fun sign.

grinch juice punch

this Grinch Juice is a great compliment to any Christmas Party. kids and adults will enjoy it’s fun theme. the lemon-lime flavor is a light and refreshing compliment to holiday appetizer spread. and pssst, using the Sweet ‘N Low cuts down on the extra calories of added sugar, you are saving 2 cups of sugar from this drink….plus, i can’t tell the difference in this particular drink. add more or less according to your taste.

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas recipe

2 drops blue food coloring
2 cups orange juice
1-1/4 cup lemon juice
4 packets Sweet’N Low
6 cups water
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 liter lemon-lime soda
Garnish – candy canes, maraschino cherries

in a punch bowl, mix together orange juice, lemon juice, Sweet’N Low, water and food coloring. stir until combined. next add vanilla extract and almond extract. chill overnight, or serve immediately following the next directions.

When ready to serve:
add add lemon-lime soda and ice to the juice. taste, and adjust any of the flavors to your liking. you can garnish each cup with a candy cane or a maraschino cherry.

tip: to make your drink look extra Grinchy, tape or glue a heart to the outside of the container.

how to make Grinch Juice
to find more great Sweet’N Low drink recipes,
visit the Sweet’N Low Beverage Page or Facebook page.

have a fabulous Christmas holiday…are you doing nothing special?

{ disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am an Ambassador for Sweet’N Low. All thoughts and opinions are my own. }

Where to Play with Kids on Rainy Days in the OC

Orange County Rainy Days

although rain is a big commodity here in Orange County, it still can be a bit of a nuisance when you are stuck inside the house with a bunch of stir crazy kiddies. sometimes you just need to get out of the house and burn off some of that energy they have. since outdoor activities are a no-go on rainy days, that eliminates a bulk of the activities to do in the OC. this is something us Southern California aren’t used to. playing outdoors is what we do in SoCal….we have such awesome weather.

so, where can we take the kids on rainy days in the OC?
here is a list of some of the places that ofer shelter from the rain, and also will keep your kids entertained during those rainy days:

• Funtopia at Sender One (Santa Ana) this is seriously one of our favorite places. it is loved by kids and adults! interactive rock climbing experience with a giant slide and staff that is amazing.

• Prehistoric Pets – The Reptile Zoo (Fountain Valley) Largest display of reptiles. my kids LOVE this place. feed meal worms to turtles and hold snakes and lizards.

• South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa) Carousel, LEGO Store, Disney Store, Rainforest Cafe, Pottery Barn Kids Book Club on tuesdays.

• Local Library Programs

• Chuck E. Cheeses (nationwide) yes, is said it. usually it is not that busy on school days, and there is plenty of room and fun to be had eating pizza and playing in the arcade.

• John’s Incredible Pizza (Buena Park) Pizza, arcade, rides, bowling and laser tag.

• Discovery Science Center (Santa Ana)
• Pretend City (Irvine) Fun for babies, toddlers and children, I suggest 10 and under.
• La Habra Children’s Museum (La Habra)
• Bowers Museum (Santa Ana)
• Explore Ocean (Newport Beach)

Indoor Play Places 
We Play Loud
Seascape Kids Fun
Jump ‘n’ Jammin
• Indoor Bounce Houses in Orange County

discount movie theaters
• Discount Picture Show at Main Place Mall (Santa Ana) $2 movies all day. $1 movies on tuesdays, $2 surcharge for 3-d
• Woodbridge 5 Starplex Cinema (Irvine) $2 movies all day. $1 movies on tuesdays, $2 surcharge for 3-d
• Regency Theaters (Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Westminster, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach) $3 movies all day, $2 surcharge for 3-d.
• Brea Plaza 5 (Brea) $3 day, $3.75 evening

 Trampoline Houses
• Sky High Sports OC (Costa Mesa)
• Get Air Trampoline Park (Huntington Beach)
• Sky Zone Trampoline House (Anaheim Hills)
• Big Air Trampoline House (Lake Forest)

Ideas for Tweens…
• Laser Tag ( Laser Quest – FullertonLaser Quest – Mission ViejoCamelot Golfland, AnaheimBoomers!, Irvine )
• Vans Skate Park (Outlets of Orange)
• Camelot Golfland (Anaheim) Arcade

Other Ideas….
(search online for your local listings)
• Roller Skating (places such as Holiday Skate & Fountain Valley Skating Center)
• Bowling
• Play areas at fast food restaurants
• Painting Pottery
• popcorn and a movies at a friends house
• bundle up with rain jackets, umbrellas and goulashes and play in the rain!
• send them to grandma’s house (seriously!)

hopefully, some of these options will spark some ideas! good luck.

Canon “Let It Snow” Globe Holiday Event in Los Angeles

I have partnered with Canon to bring you this post.

canon north pole snow globe event1

get ready for a fun holiday event! Canon is bringing the holiday season to life with a three-story Snow Globe. bring the entire family to Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles this Saturday, December 13th to the Canon “Let It Snow” Globe pop-up event. enjoy winter-themed activities, giant ice sculptures, a giant gingerbread house, hands-on interactive booths, and a festive holiday app by Canon.

this special event will be hosted by actress and director, Bryce Dallas Howard, who will next appear in the much anticipated 2015 Jurassic Park film. she will be greeting guests and inspiring holiday creativity. visitors will be able capture all of the merriment of the season, #BringIt with a Canon camera, and print their own holiday cards of family and friends with the Canon PIXMA printers that will be on site. they can also learn about Canon’s complete input and output imaging capabilities through touch-and-try stations with Canon cameras, lenses, and PIXMA printers. imagine a child’s delight to see video of their very own holiday wish printed right at Santa’s workshop with the North Pole PIXMA app.

Canon is very excited to share all the joys of this season with you, and hopes that you can attend this special Canon “Let It Snow” Globe pop-up event! and if you can’t attend, don’t worry. you can join in the fun by downloading the Canon North Pole Pixma App onto your smartphone.

North Pole PIXMA Image Snow Globe Event

wanna go?

Canon “Let It Snow” Globe pop-up event
Saturday, December 13
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Hollywood & Highland
6801 Hollywood Boulevard • Los Angeles, CA 90028


family fun idea
plan on having an entire day of family fun in Los Angeles! after you visit the amazing Canon “Let It Snow” Globe pop-up event, take the family around town to enjoy some of the sights and sounds of Los Angeles. the Griffith Observatory, Universal City Walk, Pink’s Hotdogs, and the Hollywood Wax Museum, are some of my favorite things to do. be sure to check out my Family Guide to Hollywood for some other great ideas.

get ready to #BRINGIT this holiday season with Canon!