Celebrating Dad at Dana Point Harbor

This is a sponsored post.

 this Father’s Day, you can celebrate dad at the Dana Point Harbor in Orange County. there will be a Father’s Day Fine Art Sale begging at 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. created by local award-winning artists. there will be watercolors, oils, colored pencil drawings, photography, and more. you can enjoy the artwork or spend some time with dad trying some fun ocean activities, enjoy one of the dining specials, and shop along the boardwalk. there are some great gift shops, boutiques, jewelers, and more art stores. (Read to the bottom for an awesome giveaway!)

we recently took our dad to the Dana Point Harbor and went whale watching at Dana Wharf Whale Watching. we had a blast. the cruise was so much fun – we got an in depth tour of Dana Point Harbor while we scanned the ocean for whales and other sea life.

my kids are all ages, and each of them had a unique experience and enjoyed different parts of the cruise best. most of all, they were super happy to get to hang out with dad all day long.

during our whale watching cruise, we got lucky and saw 3 different whales, sea lions and a bunch of dolphins.

the views didn’t disappoint either. the ocean was sparkling under the OC sun, and the fresh ocean breeze spoiled us! the whole family had an amazing time.

plus we ended our day with a yummy dinner at one of the many dining spots at Dana Point Harbor. there are many options for ocean front dining, plus there are options of family-friendly, fine dining and quick and easy. here is a complete list of restaurants. and we made sure to leave room for dessert…ice cream of course!

on Father’s Day, Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching will be having a special Father’s Day Dinner Cruise featuring live music, a barbecue dinner and more. if your dad likes sport fishing, you could book a fishingtrip to celebrate. get 25% off a fishing or whale watching trip in June for dad if you head over to the website to book. additional whale watching excursions are also available from the Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari or the Ocean-Institute.

there are also lots of fun activities that you can experience – take to the water in a kayak or paddle board and experience the harbor in a whole new way. dad might event love to go jet-skiing for Father’s Day weekend! and if you are looking to relax, you can head down to the beach for some good old sunshine.

if you don’t have time to head over for Father’s Day, head over any day during the summer….OR consider spending the 4th of July there. Dana Point Harbor will be having a July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza!!!! it’s one of south Orange County’s best aerial fireworks displays on the 4th and lights up the harbor with fantastic views from Baby Beach, the Island, and the many waterfront eateries within the harbor. you can even tune the radio to listen to patriotic music that follows the show.

Celebrate summertime holidays at Dana Point Harbor and experience the ultimate seaside adventure all summer long. For more information visit www.DanaPointHarbor.com.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

Giveaway Time!

here is your chance to win a family 4-Pack of Tickets to go Whale Watching at Dana Wharf  Sport Fishing & Whale Watching!!! just enter via Rafflecopter below or on Facebook. contest ends June 14, 2018 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

Fun with Inside the Outdoors Plus a Giveaway

Inside the Outdoors is a awesome hands-on environmental education program that’s mission is to empower kids and adults in the community to explore natural areas and expand their knowledge. the curriculum created for the Inside the Outdoors programs is aligned with California Science and Social Science standards and allows participants to experience real-life nature experiences. last year, the kids and i were invited to visit one of the Inside the Outdoors Summer Day Camps and had a blast! so i wanted to tell you a little bit about it. (Make sure to read to the end for a free camp giveaway!)

Inside the Outdoors offers lots of different nature programs to the community – from field trips to day camp to community events. they make nature fun and exciting to learn and experience. the summer day camps are especially fun. my kids didn’t want to leave! and if we lived a bit closer, we would be going to every session. the summer camps take place weekly at either Rancho Soñado, Shipley’s Nature Center, or Irvine Park. each week has a different theme, so your kids could go to every session and still have a great time.

my little campers attended the Inside the Outdoors Summer Camp at Shipley’s Nature Center. it took place in both the park and inside the nature center…it was a day full of fun!

we started out our day crafting…making name tags on slices of tree logs. we got to pick our camp name which was a lot of fun. each of the camp counselors had a fun nickname, which the kids loved to call them by. and i especially loved to see how much the kids admired and loved their camp counselors.

then we got to tie dye shirts. we learned the different methods to get the different patterns, and also colors. the counselors were very patient with Vann. he was really shy and also nervous to do the tie dying. by the end, he was having a blast.

next up we did crafts and then had lunch.

at lunch, they have a contest each day to see which group brought the lunches with the least garbage. the kids recycled all their trash and weighed the non-recyclable items to find out who had the least garbage. it was a great learning lesson.

then it was game time. the counselors played all sorts of fun games in the park with the kids. it was great to see the kids having so much fun out in nature, and they got all sorts of exercise and fresh air.

finally, to end the day, we went on a nature walk through Shipley’s Nature Center. it’s really beautiful and you can see all sorts of wildlife. there is also a creek, and different trails to explore. and there is a nature center with interpretive activities and information on the creatures you will spot in the nature center.

it was pretty amazing to look up and see so many egret nests in the trees. these are the kind of experiences i want my kids to enjoy!

the Inside the Outdoors summer day camps are great for kids who want to enjoy the outdoors and be with other kids their own ages. the counselors are great and plan fun activities for the kids. there is no time for the kids to get bored or to play electronics! also, if a high schooler wants to get service hours for school, they can volunteer to be a Jr. Naturalist, and help out at one of the camps.

it was such a fun day for the kids. we met so many nice people and learn lots about nature…one of the things i love most about living in Orange County. hopefully, i can enroll the boys in one of the weekly camps this summer. they are priced competitively too. and if you need extended care, they also offer that.

Inside the Outdoors Summer Camp Giveaway!

two people have the chance to win a 1 week campership to Inside the Outdoors summer camp!!! just enter via Rafflecopter below or on Facebook. contest ends June 6, 2018 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

{Disclosure: We were invited guests of Inside the Outdoors. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}

Choosing the Best Birth Control for You

This is a sponsored post.

as you know, just over a year ago i had my fourth baby, our little girl Dani Kat. there’s a seven year gap between her and the youngest of my three boys. and in case you were wondering, no, she wasn’t planned. she was a surprise….a happy one since i have always wanted a little girl, but my husband and i had already figured that we were done having babies. after a long time of not getting pregnant and with such a big gap since having our last baby, we figured we were done with babies and onto the next stage of our lives.

i guess we should’ve been more careful, because that was not the case! i wasn’t on birth control, mainly because i was very overwhelmed with which method i should choose and after so many years of not getting pregnant, my husband and i just weren’t as careful as we used to be. i got pregnant with baby Dani, now we are the parents of four sweet children.

Picking the Right Birth Control Method for You

it can be very overwhelming picking the right birth control. so i decided that this was a great topic to discuss in my series of Kaiser Permanente Orange County posts. to get knowledgeable information on birth control, i spoke to Dr. Laura Sech, an OB/gyn at the Kaiser Permanente Anaheim office for all the facts. when her patients are deciding on a birth control method, she likes to do Contraceptive Counseling, and give her patients all the options available.

the first question she asks is – “Ideally, when would you want to be pregnant?” if the patient’s answer is that they are “Not sure”, then the birth control method should be non-permanent. if the patient’s answer is “Never”, then here are also some permanent options in addition to the non-permanent options available for her.

Permanent But Reversible Birth Control Options

First Tier
Depro-Provera – patient gets a shot every 3 months. there is no need for a full doctors appointment once established, a nurse visit is all that is needed for each shot thereafter. the failure rate is 6% at 1 year. if you forget, you have a higher failure rate. the failure rate is only 2% with proper usage (getting the shot on schedule). the disadvantages to Depro-Provera are irregular bleeding or no bleeding, and weight gain…but weight gain is mostly only seen in adolescent girls who are already overweight. also there is a decrease in bone health, because Depro-Provera reduces bone mineral density. this is 100% reversible once you stop it. some people claim that there is hair loss, but data shows that this is not true.

Nexplanon Implant – this is the most effective, not permanent option. it’s a small arm implant that provides up to 3 years of continuous birth control. it’s placed under the skin of your inner, upper arm by your health care provider. it can be removed anytime and you may try to become pregnant almost immediately after its removal.

Intrauterine Device – the two that Kaiser uses are copper PARAGARD and Mirena (which is hormonal). they are inserted into the uterus and prevent fertilization, sperm from ever meeting the egg, and implantation. out of 100 women, less then one would get pregnant using and intrauterine device. the best thing them are that they are easily REVERSIBLE and almost as effective as permanent. the side effects are, they can cause changes in bleeding, and menstrual flow….but Dr. Sech says in a good way. Mirena makes periods lighter periods or absent. the hormone in Mirena makes lining thin. thin lining reduces cancer. it is okay to have absent periods on Mirena, but some women like having a regular period, and the absence of one causes them to worry.

Next tier
Pills, Patch and Ring –  the Pill you have to take orally every day, the Patch you wear and switch out every week, and the Ring you insert into the vagina every three weeks. what’s important about these, is that they have Estrogen. Estrogen is great for skin, help with less acne. they are not great for women who can‘t have estrogen, have high blood pressure, or a history of blood clots, diabetes, or stroke. they are good for women who want regular monthly bleeding because they have that predictability factor. data suggests that all of these have an equal failure rate of 8%…mostly due to human error.

Last Tier
Barriers – condoms, diaprams, ovulation tracking. these all have a 20% failure rate due to user error.

 

with all these methods, you should still be able to try an conceive when the time is right for you. they are completely reversible and easy to stop.

when you don’t want to ever become pregnant again or ever, here are some permanent options available to you or your partner.

Permanent Birth Control Options

Vasectomy – procedure for male sterilization or permanent contraception. During the procedure, the male vas deferens are cut and tied or sealed so as to prevent sperm from entering into the urethra and thereby prevent fertilization.

Tubal ligation – removal of filopean tubes. studies have shown that the benefits of removal reduces risk of ovarian cancer. the disadvantages are that the proceedure is invasive, and there’s an increase for irregular bleeding or needing a historectomy.

Essure – insertion of nickel coils into the fallopian tubes tubes to scar tubes. the disadvantages are that it is invasive, and there is a increase for irregular bleeding or historectomy.

Myths About Birth Control

there are some myths about birth control that you hear women complain or warn about. the number one issue is weight gain. the sad fact is that on average, women gain two pounds per year – due to age, metabolism, activity, etc. so many times, although women feel the weight is due to the birth control, it really has to do with age. also, studies have shown that contraceptive do not cause low sex drive, if you experience low-sex drive, it is likely caused by a different factor. another myth is that many people think that once you stop birth control, it take longer to get pregnant, than if you weren’t on birth control. however, studies show that the average time conceive once you stop birth control is 3-4 months, the same amount of time for those who use no contraception.

it’s a great thing that at this time in life, women have so many methods and options in birth control. there are so many options that it can be overwhelming, but hopefully having information about each one in one place can make the decision easier. a big plus that Dr. Sech has seen with birth control is women feeling more secure. knowing they are protected and in control of not becoming pregnant, tends to make women have a healthier more satisfying sex life

Kaiser Permanente Orange County has a full team of knowledgable OB/gyn’s like Dr. Sech, so you are sure to find a doctor you trust near you. plus, everything is under one roof. most Kaiser Permanente Orange County locations include pharmacy, lab, X-ray services and more. there are locations throughout Orange County, as far north as Brea and as far south as San Juan Capistrano, including Tustin Ranch, Foothill Ranch and the new Radiation Oncology Center located at the Anaheim Medical Center. i have really loved working with them this past year because i have learned a lot of great healthy living information that i’ve been able to use daily.

if you have missed some of the other healthy living posts that  i have written, check them out here:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
Tips for Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health
Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Remembering the Baby Milestones
Tips on Raising Boys
Sun Safety in Orange County
Tips on Dealing with Mens Stress

 

Dinner with Elmo and the Sesame Street Parade at Seaworld and GIVEAWAY!

(Make sure to read to the bottom for an awesome giveaway!)

a few weeks ago, we headed down to San Diego to check out the debut of the all new Sesame Street Party Parade at Seaworld. we also had dinner reservations at the new Dinner with Elmo and Friends, so we were really excited. our family was most excited to introduce Dani, our littlest to Sesame Street. it would be her first time meeting all the characters.

we love a lot of things about Seaworld, they do so much good for our oceans and environment. we visited last year and got to witness first hand some of they great things they do. we especially love that Seaworld has included Sesame Street more and more into the park. they already have the Sesame Street Bay of Play, which is filled with family-friendly fun and rides like Elmo’s Flying Fish, Oscar’s Rocking Eel and Abby’s Sea Star Spin. so adding the Sesame Street Parade and Dinner with Elmo and Friends was a perfect addition!

Sesame Street Party Parade

first up, we found some seating along the Sesame Street Party Parade route. everyone was excited to see it for the first time…and let me tell you, it was a hit! the kids loved seeing their favorite Sesame Street pals sing and dance down the street.

fun highlights of the parade included audience participation – where the kids got to run out onto the parade route and dance and play games with the Sesame Street friends, getting to wave to all our favorite characters, and a giant Elmo float at the end of the parade.

Dinner with Elmo and Friends

after the parade, it was perfect timing to head over and have a special Dinner with Elmo and Friends. did you know that you can make reservations far an additional cost and enjoy dinner and photo opps with your favorite Sesame Street Pals? neither did we. but it was so much fun and a very special experience.

Dinner with Elmo and Friends is and exclusive dinner for guests in the park to have a dinner buffet and also meet the Sesame Street characters up close and personal. there is a whole lot of giggles, hugs and dancing. the dinner buffet features a fresh salad bar, pasta, Fajitas, sides, desserts and more. there is something for everyone to enjoy – from adults to kids to babies.

everyone can find a seat in the banquet seating area and enjoy the food and coloring activities provided on the table. the kids loved the dinner buffet because they could get whatever they wanted. so that means unlimited dinner rolls and breadsticks LOL.

did i mention that there is a dessert station where you can make your own cookie ice cream sandwiches! it’s a Cookie Monster’s dream, with giant cookies of all varieties and ice cream that can be used to make a cookie ice cream sandwich.

once everyone has been seated and are eating, the Sesame Street characters begin to arrive. they come to the tables and say hi to the families and dance in the aisles. i suggest getting the kids to eat as soon as possible, because once the characters start to arrive, all the kids want to do is play with them. there is no getting them to eat after that!

we had so much fun with the Sesame Street gang…it really was a special experience. the parade was fun and really well done, i highly recommend if you have a Sesame Street fan in your home.

GIVEAWAY!!!!

here is your chance to win a family 4-Pack of Tickets to SeaWorld San Diego!!! just enter via Rafflecopter below or on Facebook. contest ends June 1, 2018 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

{Disclosure: We were invited guests of SeaWorld. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}

 

How to Throw a Moms Only Pool Party

Photos taken by Short & Sweet Photography.

if you’ve never had a moms only pool party, TRUST ME. you. need. to.

moms are often neglected when it comes to pool parties. during summer, us moms spend all our time packing-up the kids for swim playdates, swimming lessons and pool parties. when we get there, we have to try to put sunscreen on wiggly, whining kids…mulitple times. then during the pool time, we spend the entire time making sure that none of the kids drown, fight or run on the pool deck. if we are lucky enough to get in the water, we spend the whole time getting splashed and watching kids show us their mediocre tricks in the pool. so much fun for the kids….but not always as much fun for the moms.

Time for a Moms Only Swim Party

at a Moms Only Swim Party, you don’t have to worry about anyone but yourself! no wrangling kids, no whining, no kids begging for food, no crying, no fighting…talk about AMAZING! last year i went to my first Moms Only Swim Party and had such a blast, i knew i had to get more moms onboard with having one at least once a year.

How to Throw a Moms Only Pool Party

rule #1 – no kids allowed. unless it’s a baby…and even then, try to get a sitter. you will be glad you did.

rule #2 – have your Moms Only Pool Party BEFORE the end of the school year, during school hours. 11:00am is the perfect time to have it. that way you can enjoy lunch at the pool party and still have time to have fun before it’s time to pick up the kids.

rule #3 – invite all your mom friends. send out an evite, or start a Facebook event. this way everyone will be on the same page and can start chatting with each other to make plans. make sure to be inclusive of everyone…its the perfect time to invite a mom who may be shy or in need of friends. i can’t tell you how many times i have heard a mom tell me that she’s been lonely or doesn’t have any friends.

rule #4 – everyone must wear a bathing suit AND go swimming. no party poopers here. leave the bathing suit shaming at the door. us moms know how it is. so put on a bathing suit and enjoy yourself.

rule #5 – food. you must have yummy food. making the pool party potluck is even better. that way you get to experience a little bit of food from everyone. which equals – different tastes, different cultures, and different varieties.

rule #6 – drinks. you need lots of drinks…non-alchoholic and alcoholic are great! you can even mix drinks or make soda floats.

rule #7 – be silly. there is no shame in playing pool games and acting like kids. when is the last time you jumped off the diving board or slid down a waterslide.

rule #8 – take lots of pictures and video. with your phone is just fun. have your heard of Boomerang app? make sure to take some Boomerangs too. They are so much fun, and everyone will have a ball reminiscing over your fun photosafter the party is over.

rule #9 – chill. use this time to enjoy your mom friends. there will be no interruptions since the kids are at school, and you don’t have to worry that someone is going to drown.

rule #10 – most importantly…HAVE FUN. this is your time…and most likely, the ONLY time you will have to yourself with your friends between now and the end of summer! school is almost out….the kids will soon be around all. the. time.

last years Moms Only Pool Party was one of the best times i had with my friends. we are still talking about it now. and you can bet we already have this year’s scheduled. too bad the kids will still be in school…NOT!  now…go plan your own Moms Only Pool Party! trust me, you’ll be glad you did.