Easy Blueberry Muffin Smoothie Bowl Recipe

Our family has been on a smoothie bowl kick lately. I have been trying so hard to get them to eat breakfast…and more fruit, actually…just food in general. They just don’t eat, and it’s been a huge challenge…especially my toddler Dani. She is beginning to try to be in control of what she eats. Luckily, I have been having some luck with these smoothie bowls. So I thought I would share my recipe for this easy Blueberry Muffin Smoothie Bowl.  One recipe is enough to feed my three youngest, and is a great way to use up all the fruits in my fridge. Also, it tastes like a blueberry muffin. So they really get gobbled up!

To make a Blueberry Muffin Smoothie Bowl, you will need 1 frozen ripe banana, blueberries, vanilla Greek yogurt, milk, steel cut oats and cinnamon.

Now it’s time to make your Blueberry Muffin Smoothie Bowl. Trust me, it’s super easy.

First, combine bananas, blueberries, Greek Yogurt and milk in a large blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

Next, add the steel cut oats and cinnamon. Blend until smooth.

Pour into bowl, and top with toppings. Serve cold, immediately. You can put in the freezer for a few minutes if you need too. Doesn’t it look delicious! My kids love it for breakfast or an afternoon snack. It’s a great way to use up any leftover fruit, or a good way to get your kids to eat more fruit.

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients
1 frozen ripe banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 (5.3 ounce) container vanilla Greek yogurt (or about 1/2 cup) – frozen
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup steel cut oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Toppings
Fresh blueberries
Fresh whole strawberries
Fresh chopped strawberries
Granola
Sliced banana
Coconut flakes

More toppings for your smoothie bowl could include – almonds, pecans, chia seeds, or dried fruit, or other fresh fruits like cherries, or kiwi.

Directions
Combine bananas, blueberries, Greek Yogurt and milk in a large blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Combine remaining ingredients – steel cut oats and cinnamon. Blend until smooth. Once smooth, pour or spoon into a bowl. Top with desired toppings. Serve cold, immediately. Makes 1 large smoothie bowl, 2 small, or 3 mini.

TIP – To make the smoothie bowl thick, more like soft serve ice cream consistency and easier to eat with a spoon, be sure to freeze the yogurt beforehand.

Enjoy!

Best Tips for OC Family Fun at Monster Jam & Giveaway!

This time last year was all about Monster Jam! The boys have been looking forward to going to Monster Jam at Angels Stadium of Anaheim for weeks. The year before i just had a baby during Monster Jam season, so we didn’t get to go. So it made going this year extra exciting. And we went as an entire family – mom, dad, boys and baby. even grandma and grandpa got to go with us. Monster Jam is great for the whole family…and I would love to share some of my best tips for Family Fun at Monster Jam.

(make sure to read to the end and enter the GIVEAWAY!!!!)

The Pit Party

First is the Pit Party, which happens a few hours before the Monster Jam show. it’s a separate ticketed event…tickets are usually $10. the Pit Party is where you can get up close to actual monster trucks and even meet the drivers. There are also booths with hands-on activities, game booths and food vendors. this year, the lines to get into the pit party were extra long due to security, so we only got to enjoy it for a short time. TIP #1 – get to the pit party early…when it opens. This is one of the best parts of Monster Jam IMO.

we got lots and lots of photos with many of the boys favorite trucks.

i really wanted to get Dani’s photo with Brianna Mahon, the driver of the monster truck Whiplash. she was the only female driver of the evening. i thought it would be nice to have some photos to show Dani when she gets older…just so she can see that women can do the same things that men can do. unfortunately, we got to the truck a little late and Brianna had to run out. but we still got Dani’s photo with Whiplash!

It’s Fun to Tailgate at Monster Jam

We all really enjoyed the Pit Party, even the grandparents!  Then we headed back to our car for a tailgate dinner….because that is what you do at Monster Jam. I had made a really yummy picnic with sandwiches, chips, dips, pasta salads, cookies and drinks. TIP #3 – When Tailgating, bring a folding table for the food, and some beach chairs. You can open your trunk and enjoy your picnic dinner right in the parking lot before the show.

TIP #3 – You can also bring food into the stadium…as long as it is not in bulk. You can bring unopened water, gatorade, and juice boxes into the stadium as well.

After dinner, it was time to head into Angels Stadium. it was all very exciting to see it all ready and set-up for a Monster Jam competition. The show is super loud once the trucks get going, so it is really important to protect those kids ears from the noise…even adults need ear plugs. Of course the baby had a really good pair pf headphones to protect her ears. TIP #4 – Bring Earplugs for everyone, and noise cancelling ear phones for kids and babies. You can usually find them at Walmart, Buy Buy Baby, are outside of Angel Stadium.

As i mentioned before, the whole family, even my mom and dad went to Monster Jam this year. TIP #5 – Dress for the weather. Monster Jam happens whether is warm or cold, rain or shine, so make sure to dress appropriately. Ponchos are great for rainy weather, and jackets, scarves, hats and gloves are great for cold weather.

The Monster Jam competition began with a head to head competition race with trucks racing against each other. then they had a new race, called the “two wheel” competition. where trucks tried to do tricks on jut two wheels. it was amazing what some of those truck could do.

there were even a few wrecks…which make the crowd go wild.

This year, the fans were able to vote for the trucks using their cell phones. that was pretty fun for everyone to get to participate. it was pretty interesting to see the scores the boys were giving to the drivers, and hearing their explanations on why they deserved the scores given. this made the show even more fun. TIP #6 – Have your cell phone ready with the Monster Jam App so you can get in on the excitement and vote for your favorite drivers.

the last race of the night was the freestyle competition. all the trucks pretty much wrecked themselves by going all out on the tricks and speed. almost all the trucks ended up without shells. 3 trucks even did backflips!!!!! it was amazing….the crowd went wild.

By the end of the night, we had so much fun that little Dani was all tuckered out. 

I do have to mention that our family felt that this Monster Jam was the best we had ever been to!  the driving was awesome, the tricks were amazing, the crowd was ecstatic, and the show was very entertaining.  Monster Jam surely didn’t disappoint, i’m so glad that i got to experience it with my boys and my little girl.

Discount Code for Monster Jam Tickets

Tip #6 – You never know how fast Monster Jam tickets will sell out, so I suggest getting there early…especailly pit party tickets (those sell out the fastest). This year, due to popular demand, there will be 6 chances to see Monster Jam in Orange County! The most ever offered, so if you want to go, make sure to get your tickets soon before they sell out. so much fun! TIP #7 – Use discount code MJMOM19 for $5 off each ticket.

Lastly, I just wanted to mention that all seats at monster jam are great! TIP #8 – If you can only afford seats at the top…it’s okay!  You can see everything up there. Some people prefer that. Seat down low are great for being close up, but you can’t always see everything.


Monster Jam Giveaway Time!!!!!

here is your chance to win a family 4-Pack of Tickets to Monster Jam in Anaheim on February 2, 2019!!! Just enter via Rafflecopter below or on Facebook. contest ends January 14th 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

Family Fun at the Chinese Lantern Festival

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to check out the Chinese Lantern Festival happening at the Pomona Fairplex. I have been really excited to check it out, because I love sharing different styles of artwork with my children and from the photos I saw of the Chinese Lantern Festival, I anticipated that is would be a magical evening of illuminated colors.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the most magnificent illuminated sculpture, lighting the way into the Chinese Lantern Festival. This Year’s festival theme is “The Wild”, so the festival is decked out with lantern animals from all over the world. As you visit each location, the animals change and transport guests to experience from different regions.

We were pleasantly surprised and amazed during our visit to the Chinese Lantern Festival. The lanterns were so much more that I had hoped for. We got to see vibrant lanterns shaped as cheetahs, jumping koi fish, majestic cranes and travel back in time with our dinosaurs. It seemed like we traveled the globe by walking through America, Oceania, Asia, Antarctica, and Africa. From modest origins of paper and silk, the Chinese lantern has evolved into wondrous shapes and sizes — turquoise and aqua-marine giant jellyfish, brilliant straw-colored and black-spotted cheetahs, glowing orange and green praying mantis, and ladybugs the size of small children.

The Chinese Lantern Festival is located all throughout the Pomona Fairplex. The walkways are all paved, but there are hills and stretches of walkway that are steep. Its almost all walking, so be prepared for that. It’s a fully immersive multicultural experience that you will love to enjoy and make new memories. If you’re looking for a unique place to snap a few stunning Instagram worthy photos, then this is the place. There are over 1000 Handcrafted Lanterns, covering of Glades, Picnic Hill, and Lagoon, there are live Kung Fu and Chinese Martial Arts Performances, and there is even free Kung Fu coaching on stage with the performers!

There was a fun dinosaur area where the kids could climb atop of the dinosaurs. There were also ridable dinosaurs for little kids. Dani had a fun time getting pushed around on a dinosaur by her brothers. The lighting was difficult to take pictures in the area, so my photos aren’t very good, but I wanted to share them so you could see what was included in the Chinese Lantern Festival experience.

Here are some more photos from our visit…

One of the most magical areas of the Chinese Lantern Festival had to be the Lagoon area of the Fairplex. The way the lights sparkled off the water and the the dripping lights in the trees, it was our favorite of the Chinese Lantern Festival experience.

We also loved the under the sea area.

Tips for Visiting the Chinese Lantern Festival

• Arrive at your designated time. You will need at least an hour and a half…probably more to experience the festival. We spent almost 2 hours there.

• Dress warmly. The nights have been chilly here in SoCal, and my kids all complained about being cold.

• Eat before you come. But plan on getting a treat! They have food trucks at the Chinese Lantern Festival.

• Bring a stroller for the little ones. It’s all walking, so if you have a baby or a toddler that can’t walk for longer distances, bring a stroller.

• Bring a camera. There are lots of photo opportunities…the colors are just fantastic. I recommend taking your photos without a flash to get the best photos. Use and editing app to brighten faces. Or stand near the lanterns to illuminate yourselves.

• Bring a water bottle.

• Be prepared to be on your feet most of the time. If you are coming with someone who can walk well, I recommend a wheelchair.

I hope that you and your family have a chance to visit the Chinese Lantern Festival this winter. Our family had such a great time, and it was a peaceful and magical evening that we will always remember!

 

Checking out the Easterseals Rose Parade Float

Last week, some of my kids and I had the opportunity to check out one of the many Rose Parade floats being built for this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade. Easterseals invited us to view their very first float in the parade! This year Easterseals celebrates 100 years of impacting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. So what better way to celebrate that a huge cake built of flowers…parading down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard.

For 100 years, Easterseals has been a resource for individuals with developmental disabilities or other special needs and their families. Easterseals is a national non-profit organization with 70+ affiliates across the country serving approximately 1.5 million people. Easterseals works to change the way the world defines and views disabilities by making positive, profound differences in people’s lives every day. I had a chance to meet some of the families, and they shared how Easterseals has helped them. I can say that this organization is amazing in so many ways.

This is Lora Glassman, and she will be one of the nine Easterseals float riders from around the country and three Easterseals staff members who provide life-changing services atop the float as a snapshot of the diverse Easterseals communities across the nation. She is a  Southern California native, and a California State University Fullerton graduate with a, B.A. in Radio, Television and Film Lora is a longtime activist for the disability community and has been an awareness educator since a young age.

The Easterseals float theme is “Celebrating Easterseals: 100 Years of Disability Services.” The float features a 20-foot tall birthday cake, complete with flickering 100th anniversary candles and images of people with and without disabilities. The cake serves as the centerpiece of the float surrounded with wrapped packages that highlight Easterseals’ many services that make sure people with disabilities have every opportunity to live, learn, work, and play in their communities. Spinning pinwheels, colorful noise makers, confetti and floral fireworks add to the festivities.

some festive decorations to celebrate the 1.5 million people with disabilities Easterseals serves across the country each year. Easterseals is committed to a future where everyone is 100% included and 100% empowered by helping people with disabilities live, learn, work and play in their communities.

We had the chance to prepare some of the dried flowers that will make a gold look on the float. That was super fun.

The giant gift packages and party favors will be covered in orange and yellow marigolds and gold strawflower. Their ribbons will be crafted from purple sinuata statice blossoms, orange lentil, green manzanita leaves and yellow strawflower petals. An enormous birthday cake iced in crisp white coconut flakes has floral detail of over 3,000 hot pink roses lining the cake layers. pringtime floral displays of orange and yellow tulips, lilies, alstroemeria, euphorbia, forsythia and Oncidium orchids augment the floral gardens of 12,000 orange toned roses, carnations and gerbera.

It was a fun day learning all about Easterseals and their great organization. We got to join in the festivities of the day which was also fun.

Hopefully, when you are watching the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day, you will spot this amazing float! Now you will know the meaning behind it and a little bit about the services they provide to those people in our communities that have disabilities. We can’t wait to see the finished product!

 

 

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!