Finding Fairy Houses on the Oso Creek Fairy Trail in Mission Viejo

this weekend, we headed over to see if we could spot the Caring Fairies of the Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo. these are the same Caring Fairies of the Aliso Summit Trail in Laguna Niguel. they found a new home at the Oso Creek Trail since the residents of Laguna Niguel didn’t appreciate the traffic these popular fairy houses brought to their community. it was sad that the fairies had to move, but i can tell you that the are doing very well in Mission Viejo. and we had such an awesome time looking for the fairy houses along the Oso Creek Fairy Trail.

if you haven’t been to the Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo, you should try and check it out sometime. it is one of the best family friendly trails in Orange County. great for all ages, it has art, statues, benches and a park along it’s route, plenty of shade, and now…dozens of fairy houses hidden  along the trail. you have to look closely or you will miss them – they are found in tree stumps, fence posts, rocks, bushes and other natural landmarks.

to visit the Oso Creek Fairy Trail, you will want to park at 27301 La Paz Road, Mission Viejo, California 92692, near the Potocki Center for the Arts. there is a parking lot with free public parking at the beginning of the trail. you can also pick up a fairy map at the Potocki Center for the Arts when it is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. i do admit it was kind of hard to read at first….however, it did become easier after we found some of the fairy houses.

when you enter the trail, you will have to look very closely to find the fairy houses. they are smaller than you think, and easy to miss.  to start you on your journey, look for the first fairy house on the trail. it is located at the bottom of a fence post, next to the fence that leads from the parking lot to the Oso Creek Trail. it has a tiny welcome sign and sits below brightly colored pink bougainvillea.

from there, keep you eyes open to spot more fairy houses. they are found along both side the trail that follows the east side of the creek. you will not find any on the other side of the creek. you do not need to cross the bridge over the creek to find them. however, there are some great hiking trail on that side as well.

we had the best time with our two littlest kids searching the trail for the fairy houses. in my opinion, the OS Creek Trail is the best trail in Orange County for toddlers and young kids. most is paved and there are turnouts that have grass to run in, benches and things to explore. you will find fair houses in all these turnouts.

look really closely at the bottom of this fence post. do you see it?

yes, there is a time fairy house located at the bottom. they are truly magical, and fun to find. even us adults had the best time…plus we got some exercise and fresh air.

the details are amazing and the kids had fun pointing out the little objects they saw. each of the fairy houses had items such as brooms, pathways, chairs or stools, and miniature gardens.

the fairy houses can be found in all sorts of places, so you should take the Oso Creek Trail one way on your way up and another way on your way back.

finding the fairy houses along the trail was also a great learning experience – where we could teach…especially our baby girl, not to touch and just look. it took a few times, but she finally caught on that it was fun to look and take the beauty of each of the little houses, and soon she was running to each location to see each of them.

here are some photos from our adventure finding fairy houses on the Oso Creek Trail.


there will be a stretch of trail where there won’t many fairy houses, and you will come to a mosaic wall and a stairway on the other.

you can take the stairway up to the park at the top. turn right and head pass the sports fields towards the playground. you will be going back towards the parking lot from where you began. once you get to the bear statues, you will find a few more fairy houses.

you will come to the playground, there aren’t any fairy houses around it (as far as we could see), but once you pass it and come to the trail that leads back down to the lower trail, you will start to see them again.

then, at the bottom of the ramp, turn left to go back towards the parking lot where you parked. you can continue to look for any fairy houses you missed. we found some really cool ones like a fairy library and a fairy coffee house.

it truly was a magical evening. such a joy to be out in nature, enjoying the fresh air, and seeing the children excited to find those fairy houses.we came across so many other families experiencing the same thing. all the children eager to hunt those magical fairy houses. this is the life i love living in the OC.

The 2018 Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival

last week we headed to the opening weekend of the Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival. it is one of Knott’s Berry Farm’s Seasons of Fun! it also happens to be one of the tastiest seasons. we LOVE boysenberries….they are delicious. and did you know that they originated at Knott’s?!!! Walter Knott created the boysenberry using a cross of raspberries, blackberries, and loganberries. the results were tasty. from the time i was little until now, it’s still my favorite berry…especially in the pie form. which you can totally get by the slice or whole pie at the boysenberry festival. but there is a whole lot more than just boysenberry pie at the Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival.

this year the Boysenberry Festival is happening from March 16th, through April 8th. that’s three weeks of boysenberry fun. and there is more than just boysenberry food happening at the Boysenberry Festival. there are boysenberry merchandise vendors, boysenberry shows and boysenberry games to play. there is something for everyone…especially if you like to eat. plus the entire park is decorated for spring, with spring flowers and boysenberry boxes. there are many places to get some great photos.

this year, the Boysenberry Tasting Card is better than ever. for just $30, you get 8 tastes of boysenberry foods. this year’s choices are – Slow cooked boysenberry short rib, boysenberry pierogis, boysenberry chicken wongs, boysenberry coconut macaroon, boysenberry elote, boysenberry hummus, boysenberry cheese quesadilla, and boysenberry sausage on a bun.

in years past, you had to get one of each item. but this year, you can double up on something if you wish not to try a certain item. the tasting cards come with tear-away tickets that you can use to get each tasting. this is great for me since i am vegetarian and would not choose to get the meat items. so i got extra elote and quesadillas!

the boys and i had a blast trying all the new items this year. one of our favorites was the Boysenberry Elote. fire-roasted corn on the cob with boysenberry butter, boysenberry mayonnaise and parmesan cheese. it was fantastic!

our second favorite were the Boysenberry Quesadillas. they come with sour cream and a spicy chipotle boysenberry sauce. i especially loved the sauce.

the bigger boys tried out the Boysenberry Short Ribs, Boysenberry Chicken Wings and Boysenberry Pierogies. of course they loved them.

there is only one dessert item on the tasting card this year – a boysenberry macaroon. we all love coconut, so this was a favorite of all of ours, especially little miss Dani Kat.

with our bellies stuffed with boysenberry treats, we decided to walk around Ghost Town and check out the boysenberry merchandise from the different vendors. we got to watch one of the street shows with the Knott’s cowboys. it was super silly…and the kids loved it. everyone got to be a part of the show.

we also explored the old Calico train and the old water pump. are my kids to only ones that ALWAYS have to stop and pump the water?!!!

it had to be one of the most perfect days that we’ve had a Knott’s. the weather, the food, the boysenberries. that’s why we love the Boysenberry Festival so much. you can bet we will be back multiple times during spring break. thanks Knott’s for the best food festival in the west….the Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival is simply the BEST!!!!

Spring Break Fun at Bubblefest at Discovery Cube OC

we woke up bright and early Saturday, so we could get a first glimpse of  Bubblefest at Discovery Cube OC for the 2018 season. going to Bubblefest has been a spring break tradition of ours for many many years. it’s fun for the entire family – even the adults! there are lots of activities to discover and the main attraction, the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show with the famous Deni Yang and his sister Melody.

Bubblefest is happening at Discovery Cube now through April 8th, the perfect activity for families to enjoy during spring break. it’s and additional cost to the admission price, or to your annual passes…but it is worth it.

my kids favorite activity was the Bubble Rollers! you get to get into inflated plastic bubbles and roll over the water in a shallow pool. the line get long, so i would suggest getting there early and doing these first thing. it was hilarious watching the kids try to stand up in the balls.

we spent a good hour exploring the rest of the Bubblefest exhibit before we headed up to the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show. there was bubble art, a bubble lab, bubble laser table, bubble inflatables, bubble experiments, a bubble area for toddlers, and you can even get your photo inside a bubble. check out some of our pictures from the day….

they LOVED bubble art!

say cheese!  they got their photo in a bubble.

and outside, you can try making some giant bubbles for yourself. this is our favorite area to enjoy.

finally, it was time for the Mega Bubble Laser Show. this is what everyone has been waiting for. of course, it was AMAZING!!!

wow!  what a show. it didn’t disappoint and the kids had a blast. so glad we were able to start our spring break off with this amazing exhibit at Discovery Cube OC.  Bubblefest ROCKS!!!!

{Disclosure: we were invited guests of Discovery Cube. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own}

Springtime at South Coast Plaza

last week took Dani Kat over to Carousel Court at the South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa. they had just decorated it for Easter and the entire place is a springtime wonderland. we got there right when the mall opened, so we had plenty of time to roam around Carousel Court without crowds of people. if you haven’t been to South Coast Plaza during springtime, you need to go. it’s really special…and has some of the prettiest decorations for Easter in Orange County in my opinion.

not only are the decorations amazing, the carousel has also been transformed from a traditional horse carousel into a bunny carousel! every year we make it a tradition to ride it – it’s only $1.00 to ride. in addition, the back of the ticket has a coupon for a free kids meal at one of the restaurants, so it’s a great deal.

it was one of Dani’s first time riding a carousel…she absolutely loved it.

i got some adorable photos of Dani and her cousin looking around Carousel Court at all the spring flowers and decorations. can you believe it – all the flowers in the platers are real!  the whole place smells so good.

kids can participate in springtime crafts for a small fee. there are cute birdhouses or toys they can decorate with markers. my older kids could sit there for hours decorating their items.

we tried to get Dani’s picture with the Easter Bunny, but she was a little scared this year, so we stood at a distance and said “hi!” This one is small and robotic and talks to the kids…it’s pretty cute. Crystal Court – across the street from Carousel Court has a full sized bunny if you are wanting that.

there are also some adorable children’s stores located near the carousel. there are clothing stores, toy stores, Lego store, Disney Store, and Pottery Barn Kids. i couldn’t resist buying Dani an Easter dress at Kids Aletier. it was just the cutest…it had butterfly wings attached to the back! she looked like a little angel.

Kids Aletier also had a lot of other cute clothes. i know i will be back soon.

before we left, we had to get a balloon for Dani Kat. right now, balloon is her favorite word. we weren’t getting out of there without it. but that was okay by me…they are great quality balloons that last a long time.

what a fun morning i had with my little miss. nice a relaxing with beautiful scenery. we will definitely has to make a trip back before they take down the springtime decorations. also, there is a spring themed area located at Crystal Court with a Carousel and Easter Bunny.

the springtime decoration will be up at South Coast Plaza until Easter, so head over and enjoy them while you can. it is magical for all ages. make sure to look down the rabbit hole!

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.
Newspaper.
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.