Visiting HGTV’s Santa HQ at the Lakewood Center Mall

It’s that time of year when our family gets all the Santa photos. We love visiting different Santa’s throughout SoCal. This weekend we headed over to the Lakewood Mall to HGTV’s Santa HQ to check out their great Santa set-up. Last year we went to HGTV’s Santa HQ at the Los Cerritos Mall (you can read about it here) and loved it so much that we wanted to check out the one at the Lakewood Center Mall.

HGTV’s Santa HQ adds a whole new dimension to the traditional family Santa Claus visit by guiding visitors through an immersive, interactive holiday extravaganza that uses of state-of- the-art digital technology. something that kids today love! There are 15 Santa’s HQ in the United States. I already mentioned the two in Southern California, the Los Cerritos Mall and the Lakewood Center Mall. They are basically the same, but the Lakewood locations set-up is a bit bigger and has an extra room.

we started off our visit with a greeting from some of Santa’s elves. they we so sweet and spent extra time playing with the kids. they took them through the Naughty or Nice Meter to see if the boys had been naughty or nice this year. of course they made Santa’s nice list….and even saw their names on Santa’s interactive Christmas list. Are you on Santa’s nice list? My boys only made it to the yellow zone…I wonder what that means?

Next we headed into Santa’s Observatory and got to visit the Elf Academy. It’s a fun photo opp where you can elf yourself.

The is also Santa’s Studio where you can create an elf I.D. card digitally.

In the next room kids can check out the control panel. what kid doesn’t love buttons and gadgets to play with.

We got to have Elf-Ray Vision!  Either by downloading the Elf-Ray Vison app on your phone, or using the iPads located on the wall of the observatory, kids can explore Santa’s Observatory by using the app as special goggles. they got to see secret elf happenings on the walls like presents being shipped and the working gears of the observatory.

Finally, we met the big guy himself….SANTA!!!! we had so much fun getting our photos with Santa. he spent one-on-one time with the boys, and made sure to get a good variety of photos that i could choose from. i loved that he took time to speak to each child individually. also, we got to skip the line because we made a reservation. pretty cool huh! guests can now spend less time waiting in line by making reservation online at Santa HQ from HGTV. you can even pre-pay for your photo package, days or even weeks in advance. you can also opt-in text functionality to send reminders about your Santa photo session reservation.

Here’s how our Santa photo turned out. This is the closest that Dani has gotten to Santa without crying. She just woke up, so I would say it was a success.

Santa gave each kids a coloring book, and when we bought our Santa photo package, they gave us free Panettone…how cool.

The kids and i had such a nice evening at Santa HQ from HGTV. i wasn’t expecting our Santa visit to be so special, but with all these special holiday touches and the elves treating my children with love and care, my kids had night to remember. we will be adding HGTV’s Santa HQ to our holiday traditions each year!

In case you wanted to know just a little more about Santa HQ from HGTV…check out this fun video!

Best Christmas Gift for Golf Lovers in Orange County

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of USGA.

If you are like me, when the holidays come around, I am always trying to figure that perfect gift out for each of my loved ones. Lately, my gift choices have been the gift of experiences over “stuff.” I’ve found that it’s the experiences that everyone remembers….not just another shirt or game. If you have a golf lover or someone who loves the beautiful views of California’s Northern Coast on your holiday shopping list, how about getting them 2019 U.S. Open Championship tickets. It’s one of the most coveted golf tournaments, and where the world’s best golfers converge and vie to win the coveted U.S. Open Trophy!

The 2019 U.S. Open Championship will take place June 10-16, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. It marks the sixth time iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links has hosted the U.S. Open Championship. Just thinking of Pebble Beach makes me want to go…the last time I was up in Carmel and Monterey, we stopped by and had a delightful lunch in Pebble Beach. The golf club is located on the Monterey Penninsula, the entire area is breathtaking, especially the ocean views. Did I mention that it’s just a 6 hour drive to Pebble Beach from Orange County? This makes a great getaway.

Tickets for the U.S. Open Championships are on sale now and start at just $60. All ticket orders placed now through – January 2nd include free shipping and a non-personalized bag tag while supplies last. usga.org/tickets. Check it out!  It’s great quality, nice and heavy too.

And think of this! You can make this two gifts for the price of one! U.S. Open Championship tickets as a Holiday Gift Now and then as Father’s Day Gift for June, a gift the compliments the tickets and that Dad can enjoy on his trip to Pebble Beach! Since the golf tournament lasts all week, there will be plenty of time to enjoy the Monterey and Carmel area. There will be lots of time to walk the course, check out the scenery. The last time the U.S. Open was held at Pebble Beach, the course measured 7,040 yards! That’s 4 miles!

Hopefully, this idea of getting U.S. Open Champion Tickets helps you cross another persons wish off your gift list. I’m already smelling the cool ocean air and thinking of the ocean views. Happy Holidays!

The Holidays Have Arrived at Mainplace Mall

This is a sponsored post.

The holiday have arrived at MainPlace Mall and we couldn’t be more excited! We’ve really enjoyed the new improvements that MainPlace Mall has made, as you may have read about on this post, so we had to check out what was happening during the holidays. Me and my little sidekick headed over to do some Christmas shopping and had a blast enjoying the holiday decor and buying Christmas gifts for our loved ones. We even spotted Santa Claus. Read on to check out what we bought and for a special discount code for Santa Photos!

What’s New for the Holidays at Mainplace Mall

When I think of shopping for holiday gifts at a mall, I think of store windows decked out for the holidays, gift carts selling specialty gifts around the mall, sales, pretty decorations, a huge Christmas tree, and of course, Santa! MainPlace Mall has ALL of that this year.

Dress up the kids and bring them down to meet Santa Claus himself. MainPlace Mall’s Santa area is pretty classy. Santa photos are located in the main mall next to the Macy’s I love the red and green decorations, Santa sits on a great green velvet chair, and there are bigger than life-sized packages tied up with bows. You are sure to get the beautiful Christmas Santa photo you are looking for.

Right now, MainPlace Mall is offering discount on their Santa packages. Use PROMO CODE 850749 for $5 off of Santa photo packages A or B. Offer expires on December 10, 2018. So hurry and go this weekend!

Did I mention that you can even get your pets photo with Santa!

As I mentioned, MainPlace Mall has some great gift carts around the mall, so be on the look out. There are holiday foods, unique gifts and even Christmas ornaments. The food carts happen to be my favorite.

And if you are a Snap Chat user…check this out! You can unlock special holiday lenses by scanning the different holiday Snap codes located on signs around the mall.

And when Dani and I got tired of shopping, we stopped and got a bite to eat. We sat in the family area with tables and chairs perfect size for kids. 

And don’t forget that Mainplace Mall has new and improved Family lounges the have bathrooms, couches, change tables and infant food prep area.

Shopping at Mainplace Mall

Dani and I did some pretty intense shopping at the mall this week. There are a lot of stores, and we have a lot of people on our list. Mainplace has a pretty good variety of stores, we especially love the clothing stores because you can see the clothing in person before you buy it, and also because they have the best sales during the holidays.

Here are some of the store we visited…and some of the things we purchased, just in case you need some ideas!

First off, we stopped at Crazy 8, because of the sales. Most everything is the store is always 30% – 50% off, so you can get a lot for your dollar. They have all sizes of kids clothes up to size 14 which is good, because a lot of the kid’s clothing stores stop at size 10.

Next up was a store that ended up being a lot of fun – Yankee Candle Store. I don’t think I have ever been in this store before. The new holiday candle scents are so yummy! The smells bring back so many Christmas memories, and they have some great deals. A lot of the larger candles can burn for over 100 hours, and have lots of different scents, so there is something for everyone. My personal favorite is Frosted Gingerbread!

little missy loved smelling all the candles too. It was a fun learning experience fo her…all the smells, colors, shapes and sizes.

There are some great stocking stuffers and teacher gifts too. Did you know they have car air fresheners? So much better than the ones you buy at the gas station.

MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE item I purchased, was this custom candle gift. You can actually have a custom label with your picture printed on it for a candle of your choice. You pick the scent, style, photo and wording. They print the label and add it your candle for just $5 additional. You can also attach a video to your candle, so when people point their phones to the label, your video will play on their phones. How cool is it tote able to send a special video message to your loved ones.

Check out our custom candle…

So much shopping meant we needed to stop for a train ride…which was a lot of fun for Dani, and the perfect time for me to get a little breather between stores. 

Then we headed over to Francesca’s. A women’s boutique with great jewelry, stylish candles, clothing, scarfs, unique gifts and more. This was the first time I’ve been to a Francesca’s, and I can’t wait to go back. It kind of reminded me of Anthropology, and I am pretty sure my sisters would love it.

My whole family loves H&M, so we made sure to stop by. They have great, well-priced clothing for the whole family. It sounds funny, but we love the underwear. They are so soft. I also love the the clothes are pretty stylish. They have dressy and casual, so they are your one stop shop.

Need a jacket? Apparently we need them this year in the OC. It’s been so cold. H&M has a great selection…and great prices too.

OMG!!!!  I’m in love with all the Minnie clothing for girls. H&M has lots of character clothing for everyone.

Finally, we couldn’t go to Mainplace Mall without going to the Disney Store. All my kids love the Disney Store, especially little Dani. We had to be careful not to buy everything. It’s my first Christmas that I get to buy stuff for my little girl. Last year she was too small to care, but this year I get to buy Disney Princess stuff!

Have some Toy Story lovers? The Disney Store has you covered…of course.

And I have a bunch of kids that would love these Disney face masks. They would make great sticking stuffers and are all the rage this year.

Were are also obsessed with adorable this year!

Big surprise…Dani liked this store the most.

Well, that was A LOT of shopping! But the good news is that I almost completed my Christmas lists. Dani and I had a fun time beginning the holiday season at Mainplace Mall, we loved how the decor, sights and smells put us in the holiday mood. Hopefully you too can stop buy and check it out! At least…make sure to stop by and tell Santa Claus your Christmas wish list. Don’t forget to use the promo code for your photo package.

{ Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

60 Christmas Light Displays in Orange County

the best orange county christmas light displaysUpdated for December 2018

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
Glenwood Community
43 Woodswallow Lane

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

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

Balboa Island
327 Sapphire Avenue

Brea
515 Cedar Avenue
Birch Street (Kraemer & Birch)
Shadetree Circle (Lambert & Wandering)

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

Cypress
5208 Cumberland Drive

Dana Point
Monarch Beach Homes

Fountain Valley
Brookhurst & Heil
18323 Stanislaus Street (Light Music Show, entire roof decorated)

Fullerton
Woods and Amerige
Mountain View Avenue & Fullerton Creek Road
Sparkle Ball Street, North Yale (500 Block)

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

Huntington Beach
La Cresta Drive

Ladera Ranch
Bramford Street

10 Hammond Road
Shively Street

Laguna Hills
Mawson Drive
25276 Orellano Way

Laguna Niguel
Nellie Gail Road
Elder Court
5 Tunis

Lake Forest
22981 Belquest Drive
Ashbrook Street
Buckwood Street
25982 Dundee Drive
24952 Greenbay Drive
Parkwood Street
Rimrock Street, Peachwood & Tamarisk (Trabuco Canyon & Lake Forest Drive)
Rushford Drive
25141 Steinway Circle
22472 Sunlight Creek Ave

La Palma
Houston Avenue
Tiara Lane

Mission Viejo
23446 Bolivar Street
Bough Avenue (Nightmare Before Christmas House)
27093 Pinario
Via Amistoso Street
21602 Criptana

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

Orange
451 N. Citrus Street
1431 North Shaffer Street
Locust & Glassell
Pine Street
1907 N. Ridgewood
7633 E. Saddlehill Trail
2532 El Sereno Drive
1767 N. Lindenholz Street
463 N. Emerald Drive

Placentia
444 Normany  (“Frozen” House)

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

San Clemente
2931 Calle Heraldo
Talega Seaside Neighborhood
Talega Stella Mare Neighborhood

Santa Ana
12872 Loretta Drive
18th & Bristol Street

Trabuco Canyon
Wagon Wheel Neighborhood
23 Kingfisher Court

Tustin
Red Hill Avenue & Olwyn Drive
2351 Caper Tree Drive
1151 Windsor Lane

Westminster
Bolsa Chica & Westminster Boulevard and Northwestern & Bolsa Chica
5755 Westminster Boulevard
6212 Larchwood Dr in Westminster!

Yorba Linda
5474 Berryhill Drive

Buena Vista at Lakeview
East Lake Village (Village Center Drive & Avenida De Las Polmas)
18665 & 18974 Seabiscuit
4712 Via Del Rancho
20630 Vista Del Sol

( Have any suggestions to add to the list? Is something on the list outdated? Please let us know! )

PLUS…..have you seen this list of 150 Christmas Events in Orange County??????

Egg Cloud English Muffins Recipe

This is a sponsored post.

Our family just became English muffin lovers. We thought we knew English muffins, but we were recently introduced to Bays English Muffins and are hooked. Bays English Muffins are fluffy, tasty…and have a freshness you can taste. Once toasted, they are filled with crispy edges that are so good, especially when filled with melted butter. After more than 80 years of family tradition, adhering to the authentic, original recipe My boys are begging for them at every meal…they are good for breakfast, lunch and dinner and pair perfectly with many of our meals.

So where do you find Bays English Muffins? You will NOT find them on the bread aisle. These English muffins are carefully chilled for freshness. Look in the REFRIGERATED DAIRY CASE NEXT TO THE EGGS AND MILK. There are sourdough, multi-grain and cinnamon raisin varieties of Bays English muffins, so the options are endless.

I am always looking for new and exciting meal ideas for my boys, and since we are all on an English muffin kick, I’ve been trying a bunch of recipes available on the Bays English Muffin website. You can definitely enjoy English muffins anytime of day – not just for breakfast. Bays chefs are proving the versatility of English muffins with creative recipes for appetizers from Bacon, ​Beer & Cheddar English ​Muffin Wedges, mini pizzas, sandwiches, melts, paninis, burgers, and sides like garlic bread. Of course, we are still enjoying our English muffins at breakfast. They are perfect for on the go…and can be filled with anything you’d like.

Last week, for dinner, I made a new recipe for our family dinner – Egg Cloud English Muffins. They are sort of a twist on avocado toast and an ELEVATED English muffin sandwich…and were so good, I wanted to share the recipe.

check this out…

Two fluffy cloud like eggs seasoned with parmesan cheese and topped with a runny yolk, set atop two tasty toasted Bays English Muffins, with smashed avocado and bacon, and garnished with chives. we are obsessed!

so, how do you make Egg Cloud English Muffins? They are pretty easy if I do say so myself.

Egg Cloud English Muffins

In a bowl, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. You will need one egg for each English muffin half. Save the egg yolks for later.

Next, season the egg whites. As you probably know, egg whites are pretty tasteless, so season them now with salt and pepper and parmesan cheese if you’d like.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until fluffy and they make peaks.

Now, preheat the oven to 450º.

Spoon the fluffy egg whites onto a greased sheet pan.

Place the egg clouds into the oven and bake for 2 minutes. Then remove and place the egg yolks on top. Bake for an additional 4 minutes.

Remove from oven. They will be slightly browned and ready to eat immediately. Have your toppings and English muffins toasted and ready to layer the toppings on.

Start by spreading avocado on top of each buttered Bays English Muffin half, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place two slices of bacon on the muffin. Then finish off with an egg cloud. A sprinkle of chives completes the Egg Cloud English Muffin. Of course you can add whatever you’d like on your muffin sandwich – veggies, tomatoes, meats, etc.

Everyone loved them!

Trust me, Bays English Muffins are worth a try. Next time you are getting some eggs are milk, check your grocery dairy case and try a pack. I can’t wait to try the he cinnamon raisin Bays English muffin variety. I bet I could create a yummy recipe around them.

And in the meantime, here is the Egg Cloud English Muffins Recipe and a short video at the end.

Egg Cloud English Muffins

Ingredients
1 pack Bays English Muffins
8 eggs
1 Avocado
Bacon
Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt & Pepper
Chives

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450º.

In a bowl, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. You will need one egg for each English muffin half. Save the egg yolks for later. Next, season the egg whites. As you probably know, egg whites are pretty tasteless, so season them now with salt and pepper and parmesan cheese if you’d like.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until fluffy and they make peaks. Spoon the fluffy egg whites onto a greased sheet pan.

Place the egg clouds into the oven and bake for 2 minutes. Then remove and place the egg yolks on top. Bake for an addition 4 minutes.

Remove from oven. They will be slightly browned and ready to eat immediately. Have your toppings and English muffins toasted and ready to layer the toppings on.

Start by spreading avocado on top of each buttered Bays English Muffin half, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place two slices of bacon on the muffin. Then finish off with an egg cloud. A sprinkle of chives completes the Egg Cloud English Muffin. Of course you can add whatever you’d like on your muffin sandwich – veggies, tomatoes, meats, etc. Enjoy!

Check out this short video.

{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }