How to Have the Best Beach Bonfire in Orange County

Thank you to the Chinet® brand for sponsoring this post.

with Spring Break around the corner, and summer coming up thereafter, i get a lot of emails asking how and where is the best place to have a bonfire in Orange County. i also get a lot of emails asking about the best low-cost activities in Orange County. well, having a bonfire is one of my favorites AND is doesn’t cost a lot of money. PLUS it makes some of the best family memories for the kids. i have partnered with the Chinet® brand to bring you this post on How to have the best beach bonfire in Orange County.

first, you need to pack the food.

The Best Foods for Beach Bonfires

when packing food for a beach bonfire, i have three go-to meals. use these ideas as inspiration! p.s. don’t forget to bring supplies for s’mores.

meal idea #1, the traditional hot dog meal. bring some roasting sticks and let the kids roast their hotdogs over the fire. you can even bring gourmet sausages for the adults. chips, fruit and corn are great sides that are easy to pack. butter the corn and wrap in foil, then place next to the campfire till cooked.

meal idea #2, you can make foil dinners. cut up veggies, onions and your favorite meats and put them in a foil packet. add your favorite seasonings and a little olive oil or butter. these are super easy, make practically no mess, and you can customize for each person. prepare them ahead of time, then at the beach, lay them on the fire until the food is cooked.

meal idea #3, make a gourmet picnic. this is my favorite kind of meal. i like to pick up stuff to make a nice cheese and meat board, specially chips and snacks, fried chicken is always fun, pasta salads, soup and hot chocolate.

don’t think i am crazy for suggesting soup and hot chocolate. one thing i love to use are these Chinet® insulated hot cups. they make traveling with hot beverages easy, and the double-layer insulation keeps drinks warm and outside cool to the touch. just fill a large insulated thermos with your favorite soup or hot chocolate and serve at the beach in a Chinet Comfort Cup insulated hot cup.

sipping something warm around the campfire is the best! and these cups are great for all beverages….even adult beverages. they keep things hot or cold and are convenient to carry. since they have an easy fit, snap-and-go lid, your drink is sure to be sand-free. just throw away when done, which is helpful at a beach bonfire!

and i gotta tell you, these Comfort Cup insulated hot cups make life on the go so much easier. not only do they work great at bonfires, they also make life as a busy mom better. they are high-quality and sturdy. i’ve put my morning drinks in them as i’m running kids to school and doing morning errands – the perfect commuter cup, right? we use them on evening hikes around the OC, and i’ve used them at my kids class parties at school….they really help preventing all the spills that happen at those events.

Chinet Comfort Cup insulated cups hold 16 ounces of your favorite beverage, and are available in 18-count at most major retailers. if you can’t find them at your local stores, you can find them online here. did i mention…they are made in the USA?

Click on the image above to shop!

now that you have your food, you need to know where to take it.

Where to Have Beach Bonfires in Orange County

when it comes to having a fire in the OC, you must be careful. as you know our area is very fire prone. there aren’t any parks or areas other than near the beach that allow an outdoor bonfire. it’s too much of a fire risk. but luckily the beaches are great for that sort of thing. here’s a list of beaches in Orange County where you can have a bonfire:

Aliso Beach
Bolsa Chica State Beach
Corona Del Mar State Beach
Crystal Cove State Beach (you can rent from the Beach Comber)
Huntington State Beach
Newport Dunes along the beach
Newport State Beach east of Balboa Pier
San Clemente State Beach

if it’s a weekend or holiday, it may be hard to get a campfire ring, so i recommend heading over early in the morning and reserving the one you want. if you’re going on the off-season or a weekday, there’s usually campfire rings available.

don’t forget to bring some fire making supplies…

What You Need to Build a Bonfire at the Beach

be mindful when building a bonfire. make sure kids do not jump in the fire pits, as there may be hot coals from previous users. Make sure that you put out your fire completely when you are done. here are some items that you need to remember to bring:

Matches or a lighter.
Starter sticks. i highly recommend these.
Fire logs. if you don’t have any, you can usually find them at a hardware store, or at grocery stores near the beach.
BBQ lighter fluid.
Kindling or small sticks. you can send the kids out to find these. it gives them something to do.

Things You Need for a Bonfire

finally, you probably want to bring a few items to make your bonfire comfortable. my motto is always less is more – remember, whatever you bring, you have to bring back! so i try to just bring the necessities.

Food. ideas mentioned above.
Fire making supplies. items listed above.
Plates, napkins, trash bag and Chinet Comfort Cup insulated hot cups.
Blankets. i like to use flat sheets to sit on and soft, thicker blankets to cuddle up with. flat sheets are thin and lightweight, making traveling easier.
Chairs. these in my opinion are optional. i usually ditch the chairs, one less thing to carry. blankets make great seats.
Cutting board and knife. you will need these to prepare the food.
Wipes. these a great for dirty hands
Jackets. i suggest also dressing in layers.
Wagon. great to carry food and supplies
Music. either a Bluetooth speaker connected to a phone or a guitar if someone can play.

you are now ready to have an awesome bonfire!

all this talk about bonfires is making me excited for Spring Break. however, since Southern California has great weather all year round, you can have a bonfire practically every day of the year. a fun and inexpensive activity that is fun for the whole family!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Chinet® and Comfort Cup® are registered trademarks of Huhtamaki, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.

The New Café Nongshim at Pretend City Children’s Museum

last week, miss Dani Kat and i took a trip to Pretend City for the Grand Opening of Café Nongshim. it is the new play cafe that Pretend City changes themes a couple times a year. we love the cafe because it is perfect for little hands to explore and create – and expose children to a different cultures. Nongshim is specialty cuisine of Seoul, Korea. so Café Nongshim has a Korean theme. perfect timing for this year’s winter Olympics.

Nongshim translates to instant noodles in English and they specialize in just that, instant noodles in a variety of different flavors and spices. their most popular dishes are the Kimchi Ramyun noodles and the Neoguri noodles. and all of their products are both tasty and convenient! here are some of Nongshim’s instant noodles…

it was fun taking baby Dani to Pretend City for the first time.  she loved everything about it – the water area, the toddler area, the garden area and Trader Joe’s pretend market were her favorite. and of course she loved the new Café Nongshim. we were there for the ribbon cutting and got to here about the Nongshim company from one of the local Nongshim partners.

Nongshim started in 1965 in Seoul, Korea, and became the #1 noodle and snack manufacturer in the country. they then had successful expansion to the neighboring countries throughout Asia. thereafter, Nongshim America, Inc. was established in 1994 as a part of the global expansion which made their noodles available consumers in North America. they have one of their U.S. headquarters right here in Southern California, in Ranch Cucamonga.

the ceremony included a drumlins with Korean drummers, and the ribbon cutting. then the kids were allowed to go into the Café Nongshim and play.

playing in Café Nongshim was so much fun. Dani thought she was so big playing in the kitchen that was stocked with “pretend” supplies to make Korean food.

there’s an area to assemble the noodles…

and then the Café area where you can “pretend” to be a customer or be a restaurant worker. it was so much fun playing with my girl. there is something about Korean Noodles that gets the taste buds going. YUM YUM.

my little niece from When In Huntington also had fun in the cafe. she served us lots one noodles.

Pretend City is so much fun for little kids and parents alike. it allows you to play with you kids in a magical make believe world. we had so much fun at the Grand Opening of Café Nongshim, and hopefully you can take your kids to check it out too.

{This is not a sponsored post. We were invited guests of Pretend City. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}

Healthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery Cube

Healthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery Cube if you don’t know that Discovery Cube OC has kids cooking classes…you do now! my kids LOVE to cook, and ever since we started watching Master Chef Junior as a family, they’ve wanted to learn how to be little chefs. so we certainly were very thrilled that the Petersonville Healthy Kitchen has opened at Discovery Cube OC.

the Healthy Kitchen offers 1-hour long kids cooking classes at Discovery Cube with a new recipe each month. there are multiple time slots offered on certain days of the week. you can make reservations or just ask the front desk at the Cube if there are any openings. most classes are $20 for a party of 4, so you can have up to 4 children or children and adults participate together. this includes the class and food that you will be making. the class is in addition to your admission into the Cube.

the class begins with putting on an apron and a good hand washing.Healthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery Cube

an instructor will help the kids with every step of the recipe and teach them not only how to prepare the food, but also the science behind each process. it’s like a bunch of science experiments. i love how the kids can see the instructor in detail on big television screens above and also in person in front of the class. i also like that there are only 6 stations, so the classes are small and intimate.Healthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery CubeHealthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery Cube

i think the class is great because the kids get to learn many different techniques on how to prepare food and also get to prep it, prepare it and eat it. at this class, we made Rainbow Wraps! we have also made gingerbread cupcakes in another class. both classes were equally fun.

here are some photos of the boys cooking up their food…

Healthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery CubeHealthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery CubeOrange County Kids Cooking ClassesKids Cooking Classes at Discovery Cubeyes! they learned how to use a blender…Kids Cooking ClassesDiscovery Cube OCDiscovery Cube OCDiscovery Cube OCDiscovery Cube OCDiscovery Cube OCDiscovery Cube OC

kids not only learn how to cook, but also how to use real kitchen tools.

Discovery Cube OCDiscovery Cube OCDiscovery Cube OC Cooking Class

and the best thing is….that they are usually willing to taste what they made. i probably would have never been able to get Vann to eat a Rainbow Wrap at home. but since he made it, he was willing to try it. AND he liked it!!!!!

Discovery Cube OC Cooking Class

we have been loving the Healthy Kitchen at Discovery Cube OC so much, that we want to go back every month to try each new class. you can click here to get more information and for a list of classes and times. hope you have a fun time!!!!Discovery Cube OC Cooking Class


101 Places to Find the Best Treats in Orange County

Where_to_find_the_best_Treats_in_Orange_Countyfrom ice cream to donuts, to shaved ice to cupcakes, Orange County has its share of yummy places to get unique and tasty treats. i am often asked where to go to get a decadent desserts or fun places to take the kiddies to get a special treat after school. so i thought, why not make a gigantic list of 101 Places to find the Best Treats in Orange County.

i’ve scoured the internet. local OC Foodie Instagram accounts and also through my own blog to make this awesome list of the best places in OC. some i have tried, some are recommendations, and some are on my bucket list to try. hopefully this list will inspire your sweet tooth to head over to your nearest treats store or bakery. let me know your favorites…and if i need to add something to this list. enjoy!!!!

101 Places to find the Best Treats in Orange County

Ice Cream and more
à la Minute (Orange) – made with nitrogen
Afters Ice Cream (Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Tustin, Chino Hills & Long Beach) – home of the famous Milky Bun

Afters_Ice_Cream_Milky_Bun Churned Creamery (Tustin)
Cloud Poke and Snow (Fullerton)
Cream (Aliso Viejo & Irvine) – unique ice cream sandwiches
Coldstone Creamery (Multiple Orange County Locations)
Creamistry (Anaheim, Brea, Cerritos, Irvine, Mission Viejo, Tustin & Corona ) – made with nitrogen
Dad’s Donuts & Ice Cream (Newport Beach) – Famous Balboa bars and chocolate dipped bananas
H2 Snow (Orange)
Honey & Butter (Irvine)

honey_and_butter_irvine Honeymee (Buena Park, Cerritos, Irvine & Westminster) – natural milk ice cream with pure honeycomb
La Michoacana Premium (Santa Ana) – Mexican Ice Cream Treats
Honeymee Milky Snow Bar (Garden Grove)
Nitrolado (Garden Grove) – made with nitrogen
Scoops N Scoops (Irvine & Chino Hills) – made with nitrogen
Scoops N Scoops Ice Creams Shaved Ice Ice Baby (Lake Forest)
Snow Heaven (Lake Forest)
Snow Monster OC (Huntington Beach, Tustin, Westminster, Long Beach & Mini Monster at Anaheim Packing House)
Snow Station (Anaheim, Los Alamitos, Tustin & Westminster)

Snow_Station_in_Tustin Snowy Village (Buena Park)
N2 Creamery (Villa Park) – made with nitrogen

Donuts and more
Crafted Donuts (Fountain Valley)
Dad’s Donuts & Ice Cream (Newport Beach) – Famous Balboa bars and chocolate dipped bananas
DK’s Donuts of Orange (Orange)
DK’s Donuts of Tustin (Tustin)
Dunkin Donuts (Garden Grove, Irvine, Santa Ana, Villa Park, Westminster & Yorba Linda)
Krispy Kreme (Orange & Mission Viejo)
Poqet Donuts (Irvine) – customize your own donuts

Orange County Gourmet Donuts The Donuttery (Huntington Beach)
Sidecar Donuts (Costa Mesa)
U Jelly (Fountain Valley)
Zombee Donuts (Fullerton)

Zombee Donuts of Orange County

Bakeries and Cupcakes
Beverly’s Bakery (Fullerton & Yorba Linda)
Blackmarket Bakery (Costa Mesa & Santa Ana)
Creme & Sugar (Anaheim Hills) – Known for their lavender cake, lavender lattes and cookie butter lattes.

Creme_and_Sugar_Lavendar_Cake Casey’s Cupcakes (Irvine, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach & Riverside)
Cream Pan Bakery (Tustin)
French’s Pastry (Costa Mesa, Irvine, Mission Viejo & Orange) – Since 1965
Hapa Cupcakes (Fullerton)
Nothing Bundt Cakes (Mission Viejo)
Porto’s Bakery (Buena Park)
The Sugar Me Bakery (Orange) – Giant cupcakes
The Great Dane Baking Company (Huntington Beach & Los Alamitos)

great_dane_baking_company Rockwell’s Bakery (Villa Park)
Simply the Cupcake Store (Mission Viejo)
Sunmerry Bakery (Irvine) – Asian Fusion style
SusieCakes (Costa Mesa, Laguna Niguel & Newport Beach)
Sprinkles Cupcakes (Newport Beach)
Wonderland Bakery (Newport Beach)
85ºC Bakery (Buena Park, Cerritos, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Irvine & Chino Hills) – Taiwanese fusion

Cookies and more
Cookie Connection (Irvine)
Cookies by Jess (Orange)
Honey & Butter (Irvine)

Kelly’s Kookies (Brea, Costa Mesa, Irvine Newport Beach & Stanton) – known for their shortbread and lemon cookies
Stax Cookie Bar (Irvine)
The Cookie Element (Yorba Linda)
The Dirty Cookie (Tustin) – Cookie shots!
The Sweet Shot Company (Irvine) Cookie shots!

Chocxo Bean to Bar (Irvine) – Chocolate factory tours
Luisa Chocolatiere (Laguna Niguel)
Too Sweet (Newport Beach) – Chocolate dipped bananas and Balboa Bars


Frozen Yogurt
Ice Cap (Placentia)
Menchies (Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita & Corona) – fresh made waffle cones
Yogurtland (multiple Orange County locations)
Frozen Custard & Italian Ice
Confetti Italian Ice & Custard (Costa Mesa)

Frostbites Crepes & Frozen Delights (Cypress)
Joe’s Italian Ice (Anaheim)
Kups (Westminster)
Rita’s (multiple Orange County locations) – frozen ice with frozen custard
Stickland’s (Irvine)

Eiswelt Gelato (Westminster)
Mochilato (Irvine) – Japanese fusion – gelato, mochi, macarons, shaved ice and more.


Shave Ice
Bahama Bucks (Huntington Beach)
Haole Boys Shave Ice (Huntington Beach)
Hula Girls Shave Ice (Huntington Beach) – fresh made syrups with no preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup

Hula_Girls_Shave_Ice_Huntington_Beach Oahu Shave Ice (Yorba Linda)
Snow 2 Go (Mission Viejo)
Snowy Village (Buena Park)
Sticky Fingers (Irvine)
Wiki Wiki Shave Ice (Tustin)

Dee-lite Distribution (Fullerton) – Wholesale to the public
Front Porch Pops (Santa Ana & Tustin)
Neveria La Flor De Mexico (Stanton) – yummy paletas
Pop Bar (Anaheim & Huntington Beach)
Paloma’s Paletas (Corona Del Mar)

Candy Stores
Balboa Candy Store (Newport Beach at the Balboa Fun Zone)
B.Candy Store (Corona Del Mar)

b_candy Marceline’s Confectionary ( Anaheim in Downtown Disney) – They have Disney treats!
Powell’s Sweet Shop (AlisoViejo)
Rocket Fizz (Irvine & San Clemente)

Pies and more
The Pie Hole (Orange)
Marie Callender’s (Multiple Orange County locations)

Coconut Cream Pie

Allergy-friendly Treats
Sensitive Sweets (Fountain Valley & San Clemente)

Unique & Specialty Treats
Bagels & Brew (Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest & Mission Viejo) – known for their rainbow unicorn bagels
Bagels and Brews Unicorn Bagels Cha2O (Fullerton) – Tea House, Java, Smoothies, Specialty drinks and more
Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up (Irvine)
7 Leaves Cafe (Cypress, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach & Irvine)
The LOOP (Westminster) – handcrafted churros
The_Loop_ChurrosWow!!!!! now that’s a lot of yumminess. have i missed any must-go places? let me know in the comments….

Discovering Northgate Market in Anaheim

Review of Northgate Market in Anaheimlast week, the boys and i were invited to the Grand Opening of Northgate Market in Anaheim on the corner of St. College and Lincoln. Northgate Markets are a chain of Mexican markets founded and run by the Gonzales Reynoso family who immigrated from Mexico. the first store was opened in 1980 in Anaheim on Anaheim boulevard. now their stores are located all over Southern California and include quality Hispanic foods including a meat department, bakery, tortilleria, and prepared foods, in addition to a sizable section of domestic and imported Latin American grocery goods.

Grand Opening of Northgate Market in Anaheimit’s been a long time since i have been to a Mexican market…mainly because there aren’t any located nearby, so its not convenient. but this Northgate Market is pretty close to me, so i can definitely make trips there more often. we had no idea what to expect…all of the specialty markets i have been to are usually smaller than a traditional grocery store, but i was amazed when i walked into this brand new Northgate Market. it is enormous…and even more impressive is its layout, food selections and quality.

everyone was super excited at the opening. i’ve never seen so many people waiting to get inside a grocery store. i can tell that this is going to be a favorite market in the area. to celebrate the Grand Opening, the first 300 shoppers got free groceries. there were also dancers and mariachi music. it was a very festive celebration.
Inside of Northgate Market in AnaheimBalloons at Northgate Market Grand OpeningNorthgate Market MariachiDancers at Northgate Marketthe produce was excellent, and it was fun for the boys to see fruits and veggies that we don’t usually see untraditional grocery stores. plus, there were lots of choices, including organic selections.Northgate Organic ProduceTropical Fruit at Northgate MarketNorthgate ChilisNorthgate ProduceNorthgate CactusNorthgate Limonscheck out some of the pictures we took on our shopping trip. so many great choices…it was really hard to decide what we were going to get. everything was so colorful and vibrant, and all of the samples we tried were great. plus the smell of the food cooking was unbelievable…yum!Read More…