Tips on Visiting the Tournament of Roses Parade Floats

Visiting the Tournament of Roses Parade Floats – a SoCal tradition.

one thing our family looks forward to doing every year, is visiting the Rose Parade floats after the Tournament of Roses Parade. last year i was pregnant and had my little Dani Kat on January 2nd, so we never made it out to view the floats. this year, i am definitely taking the kids. we are going on Tuesday, the day after the parade, but did you know that you can visit the floats before the parade as well as after?!!!

if you have never seen the floats up close, you gotta try to go. you may think they are beautiful on the television, but seeing them unclose is an experience in itself. they are absolutely AMAZING!!!!!  the craftsmanship and detail that goes into making them is breathtaking. the flowers are vibrant and fragrant…..and they are enormous! plus, there are so many floats to see.

Tips on Visiting the Tournament of Roses Parade Floats

if you have some time today before the parade, or after the parade on Monday or Tuesday, i highly suggest heading up to Pasadena and checking out the Rose Parade floats. it’s a fairly easy trek. they have made it easy to park and shuttle over to the viewing area….or you can try your luck at finding a parking space. i personally have always paid someone near the floats to park at their house. the viewing area is open December 31st from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, January 1st from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and January 2nd from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, but you must get there before 4:00 pm or they won’t let you in. trust me…i have tried.

one of the best things about seeing the Rose Parade floats in person is the beautiful flowers. they a bright and colorful. you will get fantastic pictures, so don’t forget your camera. 

it will be crowded, but the crowds are bearable. there are plenty of areas that are not crowded where you can take a breather and sit down. there are also vendors selling food. make sure to bring cash, a lot of the vendors are local scouting troups and church groups, so they don’t take credits cards. i believe you can take in snacks, and maybe water, but security is strict on bottled drinks, etc.
when taking small children, you will want to bring a stroller or a wagon. with the crowds, kids that wonder can easily get lost. plus there is a lot of walking. i even bring a stroller for my seven year old….gasp!
we always allow at least two hours to view the floats without being rushed. we like to go up and down every street to check out every single floats. a lot of times there are volunteers at each float talking about them and flowers. it’s highly educational. again…there are a lot of photo opportunities!
just check out some of the great photos we got at our last trip to view the Tournament of Roses Parade Floats.

simply gorgeous!

we can wait to go back this New Year….the kids have been asking about it all week.

Best Tips for Visiting the Tournament of Roses Parade Floats

•  Float view takes place at the corner of Sierra Madre Blvd. & E. Washington Blvd. Pasadena, CA
•  wear tennis shoes, you will be walking and most likely you will have to park far.
•  bring water, drinks and snacks (kids are always thirsty, also make sure drinks are unopened)
•  bring your camera
•  strollers and wagons are a must for kids who don’t like to walk far.
•  plan to get there by 2:00 p.m., the ticket booths close at 4:00 p.m.
•  carpool if you can, the less cars your group comes in the better because of limited parking.
•  study a map to get familiar with the area…this will help you find closer parking and figure your route to the float area.
• admission is $15 (free for children five and under).  Ticket sales end at 3:00 p.m. – venue closes at 5:00 p.m.  Tickets are available through Sharp Seating Company at (626) 795-4171. Tickets will also be available at the event box office and all Park-N-Ride locations
• click here for Park & Ride shuttle locations if you want to avoid finding parking.
• designate a meeting place to gather if people in your party get lost
•  MOST OF ALL, use this time to enjoy the beginning of the new year! these are memories your kiddies will carry throughout there lives. ENJOY!!!

5 Things to Do at Winter Wonderfest at Discovery Cube

it’s back!  Winter Wonderfest at Discovery Cube OC has come to Orange County! that means, snow. snow. snow!!!!  our OC kids get to play in real life snow….such a treat for our So Cal kids who are used to the warm sunshine.

it’s one of our favorite Discovery Cube events of the year, where snow and science have been combined at Discovery Cube’s Winter Wonderfest! kids can learn about the science behind sledding down ice ramps, how snowflakes are formed and put their knowledge to action with real sledding, tubing, and snow play. this is a GREAT exhibit with lots to do…including things to do not only outside, but inside as well. here is a top 10 list.

5 Things to Do at Winter Wonderfest at Discovery Cube OC

Tubing down a 75-foot ramp! the main attraction at Winter Wonderfest is tubing. grab a inner tube and head up the stairs to a  75 foot long ramp that you can ride down. there were two levels…high…and higher!

all the boys rally loved this, even my husband. the tubes go down pretty fast, so if you have younger kids, they may like the smaller ramp.

Playing in the Snow!  you can throw snowballs, build a little snowman, or make a snow angel. fresh snow is made daily and is fun to play in all day long.

miss Dani Kat didn’t know what to think of the snow.

sledding. there are two fun sledding hills at the Cube. one for the big kids and one for the little kids. grad a sled and head up the hill. the boy thought this was the best.

learn about the science of snow. there are lot’s of activity centers located throughout the exhibit and inside the cube, where you can learn the scientific about

we played for over an hour in a half and enjoyed learning about the science of snow! we will be going back during our winter break to enjoy the fun one more time!

Science of Gingerbread. don’t forget, after you enjoy all the fun of Winter wonderfest, head inside to experience the 12th annual Science of Gingerbread exhibit and all the yummy gingerbread houses. the sweet smell of gingerbread will be wafting through the air.

gingerbread derby racing. you can build your very own gingerbread car and even race against other gingerbread players!

Winter Wonderfest is happening December 16, 2017 – January 7th, 2017, and is great for guests of all ages. Winter Wonderfest is an addition fee on top of the admission price.

a big thanks to Discovery Cube OC for providing snow-fun in the heart of Orange County. so put on your beanie, dig out your snow jacket from the closet, and get ready for winter in Southern California!  your family can create magical memories at Discovery Cube this winter!!!

Keep the Holidays Delicious with a Pumpkin Pie Station

This post is written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc.. All opinions are entirely my own.

it’s  that time of year when you get to enjoy so many yummy pumpkin treats. i love them all – pumpkin bread, pumpkin frapes, pumpkin cupcakes. but the best treat of them all is most definitely pumpkin pie!!!! this year i have already enjoyed….and stocked up on Sara Lee@ Pumpkin Pies. they come frozen, are easily stored in the freezer, and can cook right up in a matter of minutes, ready to take to any of your holiday gatherings or just because. don’t tell anyone, but i ate all my pumpkin pie leftovers for breakfast the other day!

i love that Sara Lee@ Pumpkin Pie has a rich, traditional flavor with smooth pumpkin custard. the special blend of cinnamon and spices are just right. and there are lots of ways you can enjoy it. by the slice, in a milkshake, you can even add your own toppings to change it up!

plus it is really easy to make. just heat, cool and serve. no messy kitchen or dishes to clean, which gives you more time to spend together as a family.

i thought it would be a lot of fun to have our own pumpkin pie station at our next gathering. it’s easy to set up and share with family, friends, coworkers or employees. Sara Lee@ Pumpkin Pie is also a great choice to serve when you have numerous mouths to feed and since it’s so easy to prepare, its an awesome timesaver during this busy holiday season. plus…don’t forget to serve it at your Christmas dinner.

check it out! a Pumpkin Pie Station, complete with fresh whipped cream and all the yummy toppings you could ask for. it also looks pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

it’s the perfect treat to top off any and every seasonal gathering or occasion!

you can find your own Sara Lee® Frozen Pumpkin Pie Dessert at your local Albertsons Supermarkets! so run, don’t walk to stock up for the season.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.}

We Went to HGTV’s Santa HQ and Met Santa!

during the holiday season, we always visit Santa Claus and get the kids pictures taken. this year, we headed over to the Los Cerritos Mall to HGTV’s Santa HQ to check out their great Santa set-up. 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 12 Santa’s HQ in the United States. here in southern California, you can find one at the Los Cerritos Mall and the Lakewood Center Mall.

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???

next we headed into Santa’s Observatory and got to check out the control panel. what kid doesn’t love buttons and gadgets to play with.

then we got to have Elf-Ray Vision!  we downloaded the Elf-Ray Vison app on our phone, and the kids got to 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.

other interactive activities at Santa HQ include and Elfie Selfie – where visitors take a selfie and star in their own holiday video, and a Light Show – with more than 10,000 individual holiday lights synchronized to the tune of “Carol of the Bells” to create an illuminated orchestra.

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.

In the Holiday Spirit of Giving

visitors to Santa HQ will also be able to enjoy the holiday spirit of giving through HGTV’s Help Through
Holiday Giving Drive. you can donate an unwrapped toys for local children in need by dropping it in one of the bins at Santa HQ. the toys benefit local organizations like Forgotten Angel Tree, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and Spark of Love Stuff a Bus.

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!

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

60 Christmas Light Displays in Orange County

the best orange county christmas light displaysUpdated for December 2017

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)

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

Balboa Island
327 Sapphire Avenue

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

5208 Cumberland Drive

Dana Point
Monarch Beach Homes

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

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
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
24952 Greenbay Drive
Rimrock Street, Peachwood & Tamarisk (Trabuco Canyon & Lake Forest Drive)
Rushford Drive
25141 Steinway Circle

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

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

444 Normany  (“Frozen” House)

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

San Clemente
Talega Seaside Neighborhood
Talega Stella Mare Neighborhood

Santa Ana
18th & Bristol Street

Trabuco Canyon
Wagon Wheel Neighborhood
23 Kingfisher Court

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

Bolsa Chica & Westminster Boulevard and Northwestern & Bolsa Chica
5755 Westminster Boulevard

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

(have any suggestions?  let us know! )

PLUS…..have you seen this list of 100 Christmas Events in Orange County??????