Orange County Summer Bucket List and Free Printable

Orange County is truly unique. our weather is beautiful, we have great beaches, lots of fun family-friendly amenities to enjoy in our communities, and did i mention the beaches…oh yeah, i did! well, i often get asked what are my favorite activities to enjoy with kids in Orange County, so i decided to put together an Orange County Summer Bucket List of things to do with the kids during the summer, so that you can experience OC like i do. the list includes a bunch of freebie activities, some cheap or moderately priced activities, and just a couple more pricey activities. this way you can budget out your summer accordingly and not break the bank. i have even included this FREE PRINTABLE so you can enjoy this bucket list as much as us!

 Click Here to Download the Orange County Summer Bucketlist Free Printable

feel free to swap out any activities that don’t look like they will work for your family. here are my TOP PICKS!

Orange County Summer Bucket List

1. Go to the Beach – we have tons of beaches that are great for families. my top picks are Corona Del Mar, Newport Pier and Balboa Beaches. these all have restrooms near the sand, and close parking. i also love Victoria Beach because of the unique castle tower and cement pools, Treasure Island Beach, and Crystal Cove (all in Laguna)…although the walks are a bit of a hassle. Or if you want to go to the tide pools, here is a list of family-friendly tide pools in Orange County.

2. Ride the Balboa Ferry and Visit the Balboa Fun Zone – we love the Balboa Fun Zone. i love to take the kids across to the island on the ferry and go to the little park or walk along the beach. the ferry is very cheap, and if you pack a picnic, it can be a very inexpensive day. back on the boardwalk there are fun things to do like the ferris wheel or arcade, and there is a candy store where you give the kids a couple dollars to get a few pieces of candy.

3. Go to Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach – this is a tradition of ours every year. the Tom Sawyer Rafts are so much fun. i dread the day when my kids are too old to go. Kids are $4 and adults are free. You can get more information about Adventure Playground here.

4. Go to a Concert in the Park – check out this list of over 100 outdoor concerts in the park or beach to find a concert near you.

5. Visit a Splash Pad – there are lots of great splash pads in Orange County. My favorite is the splash pad at Crown Valley Community Park, but you can find some more on my list of 101 Things to Do With Kids in Orange County.

6. Go to Adventure Playground in Irvine – this is an awesome park where kids can play to their hearts content. there are giant legos to build with, play structures, water fun, games, books, dirt, mud, and so much more. if your kids like to get dirty, they can, if they don’t, you can definitely play without getting too messy. you can read more about Adventure Playground here.

7. Experience Ghost Town Alive! – happening Knott’s Berry Farm. at this is the best interactive fun you can get at an amusement park. the Ghost Town characters help you solve mystery, play games, tell stories, and give you tasks all over Calico. you can dress up or just follow along. it’s definitely one of my favorites at Knott’s. you can read about it here.

8. Go to a Movie in the Park or Beach – grab some beach chairs, a blanket, a picnic and some movie snacks and head to one of these OC Movies in the Park for and evening under the stars.

9. Go to Zoomars – this little petting zoo is located in the historic district of San Juan Capistrano. you can feed the guinea pigs and animals fresh veggies, ride a train, play in the corn pit or ride a pony. check it out here.

10. Get a Box of Popsicles at Deelite Distribution – this is the best popsicle wholesaler in Orange County. you can get all the fancy ice cream treat you find at your local ice cream truck, except for better prices so that you can stock your freezer. don’t forget to bring cash.  read about Deelite Distribution here.

11. Go to Irvine Regional Park – Ride the train or go to the OC Zoo. there is a lake where you can rent a paddle boat or trails to rent out bikes and surreys. make sure to check out the Irvine Park Railroad website for some fun deals.

12. Get an Ice Cream Treat from a Local OC Hotspot – there are so many places to get a magical, awesome ice cream treat. here is a list of great OC treat places to help you find one.

13. Go to Discovery Cube OC – we love visiting the Cube all summer long. there are lots of exhibits to explore, and the cooking classes are the best. highly recommend getting an annual pass for the family. and right now there is a dinosaur exhibit. get more information here.

14. Go to Crystal Cove and Get a Shake from the Shake Shack – Crystal Cove is a great beach for the whole family. read about it here, and make sure to top it off with a milkshake from the Ruby’s Shake Shack!

15. Visit the Oso Creek Fairy Trail – this is my new favorite here in the OC. there are over 30 fairy houses to find on the family-friendly trail. read about it here.

16. Go to Knott’s Soak City – Orange County’s biggest water park. located across from Knott’s, there are lots of water slides, a wave pool, kiddie area and lazy river. you can read about it here.

17. Go Swimming – this will be an easy one to cross off the list. summer is all about swimming.

18. Go Bowling for Free – there are two programs that let your kids bowl free or almost free all summer. check them out here and here.

19. Go to Marina Park in Newport – if you have little kids, Marina Park is a great park to let them swim in the ocean or play on the playground. there is a sandy area with a bay to enjoy and the restrooms and parking are close. read about it here.

20. Go Indoor Rock Climbing – Sender One has some great indoor rock climbing courses. try your hand at the big kid/adult course, or take the family and kids to Sender City! read about it here.

21. Sign-up for the Summer Reading Program at the Local Library – did you know that most of the local library have games and prizes included in their summer reading programs? our gave out coupons for free kids meals at one of our favorite restaurants. its a great way to get out of the house and encourage those kids to read!

22. Visit Pacific Marine Mammal Center – you can read about it here.

23. Have a Beach Bonfire – one of my best memories as a child is roasting hotdogs and marshmallows on sticks over a bonfire at Corona Del Mar beach. the ocean breeze blowing cool air as we warmed up against the hot blazing fire. here is a great list of all the places you can have a bonfire in Orange County and some great tips too!

22. Go to the OC Fair – the fair begins in the middle of July and goes through the middle of August. it has all sorts of things to do….everything fair related you can think of. it’s a tradition of so many OC families. you can check it out here. make sure to look for the deals and specials to save some moola.

now that you have checked out my Orange County Summer Bucket List, you can print out your own bucket list. just print the FREE PRINTABLE below. then, put it into an 8 x 10″ frame. have the kids check off the activities as you finish them…see how many you can complete before summer’s end. if you don’t prefer one of the activities, just swap it out. ENJOY!!!!

 Click Here to Download the Orange County Summer Bucketlist Free Printable

Get Your Little Elves a ScholarShare 529 Account plus a FREE Printable Elf Bank

This post is sponsored by ScholarShare 529.

this year, we are doing the “Elf Thing” with the kids. it’s been so much fun creating different scenes and hiding “Link the Elf” around the house each night. i wanted our elf to not only make the holidays fun and full of Christmas cheer, but i also wanted him to remind the kids of the reason for the season, and also ways to live life in a happy productive way. so tonight, our elf will be showing up at the bank holding a ScholarShare 529 gift card!

“why?” you ask. because we love our ScholarShare 529 accounts over here. and it’s a good reminder that we need to keep up the good work and add funds to our accounts.

so i made this fun little bank on the computer, printed it out, and glued it to a cereal box. isn’t it cute!

last year, i wrote about how the gift of Scholarshare would make an awesome holiday gift. well, this year is no different! i love having a ScholarShare 529 account for each of my kiddies because i know that each time i fund some money to my kids accounts, i am making it easier and easier to pay for their college educations in the future. it’s a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan that’s helping families and individuals plan for the cost of higher education. a plan that offers measurable tax benefits to support parents in saving for their child’s college education. it’s available to any citizen or tax payer. and just about anyone can help contribute including Grandparents, other family members and friends. PLUS there’s exciting news….

ScholarShare 529 $50 Target Gift Card Offer!

on December 7th and 8th, 2017, those who open a new ScholarShare 529 college savings account with an initial $50 contribution and set up of an Automatic Contribution Plan of $25 or more for 6 months, will receive a $50 Target gift card!!!!

so not only do you get piece of mind that you are saving for your child’s future, you also get an awesome bonus that will help you get that holiday shopping done! so head over to the ScholarShare 529 Website, and sign up. it’s very easy and can be done in the comfort of your own home.

here are some of the benefits of a ScholarShare 529 college savings account:

  • 100% Tax-Free Growth – your savings grows free of federal and state taxes, which can result in up to 25% more money.
  • Low Cost – ScholarShare 529 Portfolios charge less than half the national average for 529 plans.**
  • Go Anywhere – a ScholarShare 529 savings can be used at any accredited school in the US.
  • Investment Choice – there are a variety of professionally managed portfolios to fit your life situation, risk tolerance, and college savings goals.

PLUS get a $50 gift card if you sign up December 7th or 8th!!!!research shows that children are 7x more likely to go to college if they have a savings account of any amount. i have FOUR kids who will most likely be attend college. this though can be VERY overwhelming….that’s going to be A LOT of money. but i have found that saving money for college doesn’t have to be painful at all. we’ve created ScholarShare 529 saving plans for each of them, and i’ve been saving in small realistic steps that will result in saving big in the end. by simply giving up a fountain soda once a week or eating at home instead of going out once a month…i’ve been able to put money away for all my kids’ college.

and good news! i am linking the FREE Printable Elf Bank here, so you can make one for your own elf.

it includes everything here. use the gray background included on the printable to wrap the sides of the cereal box.

let others help you save for college this holiday season…

with the help of family and friends during the holidays, on birthdays and special occasions throughout the year, you can work together on getting your kids ScholarShare 529 accounts funded. it’s also super easy for others to buy Scholarshare gift cards for your children, they are even sold at Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us. the gift of education is a gift of love !!!!

don’t forgot about the $50 Target Gift Card Program this December 7th and 8th, 2017!!!!  it’s a great little bonus that will help your holiday shopping this year. time is short, soon our kids will be saying goodbye to us and heading into the grown-up world of college and careers. as parents, we love to give our kids the best, an not have them worry about the struggles of funding school and having to pay off huge student debt loans. one day they will look back and thank you for what you have done for them!

 

 FREE Printable Elf Bank HERE

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

Christmas CHEER Checklist

it’s December 1st!!!! the beginning of my favorite month of the year. i love the colors, the decorations, the sights, the smells and feeling of the season. i love it so much that i started decorating the house two weeks ago. to celebrate my favorite month of the year, i partnered with 1-800-flowers.com, to bring you my Christmas CHEER Checklist!!!!

i thought it would be a fun to create a Christmas CHEER Checklist in case you needed some ideas on how to get into the holiday spirit. these are the traditions i do with my family each year. i love them all so much.

Number 1 on my list is – add a fresh holiday arrangement to my home. i LOVE fresh flowers, they always make me happy and even help me de-stress. something that is very prevalent during the holidays. 1-800-flowers.com sent a beautiful fresh floral arrangement in colors of the season. it arrived at my doorstep arranged perfectly and even more beautiful than i was expecting from a delivery service.  the Natural Elegance by Southern Living arrangement by 1-800-flowers.com put a gigantic smile on my face. isn’t it beautiful?!!!!


i am so happy with the flower arrangement, that i plan to have a few more delivered throughout the month. i’m also going to have one delivered for my Christmas Dinner tablescape. with a few candles, some pinecones, pretty plates and napkins, my table will be ready to go with the flower arrangement as my centerpiece.

the rest of the Christmas CHEER Checklist is just as great – especially for helping to plan out the holiday month. each item will help you  add a special feeling of Christmas CHEER. sit down on December 1st, plan your calendar out, and gather the items that you need to make your home full of Christmas Cheer.  i can tell this year is going to be an extra special one….the yummy scents are already wafting through the air, and we have a new little one to share our joy with. hope that you enjoy the upcoming season as much a we will.

Click here for a the FREE Printable Christmas CHEER Checklist.

and Happy December!!!! hope theses ideas get you in the holiday mood.

{Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. 1-800-flowers.com sent me this beautiful arrangement at no cost. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

Why Fit In When You Were Born to Stand Out Printable


when i was a young mom, just learning how to navigate motherhood with my oldest sons, a wise woman told me something similar to this quote “Why Fit In When You Were Born to Stand Out.” i had been struggling with figuring out his personality, his abilities and whether or not my child was…i guess what you would say a “normal” kid. she told me…”don’t worry about that, the world needs a variety of people or life would be boring….he will do great things.”

this weekend, i took my boys to see the new hit movie “Wonder” with Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay. it was fantastic. we cried, laughed and gushed with all the emotions. it was the perfect way to start this holiday season. the storyline was great and the acting was perfect. it put a great perspective on life, and how others feel. our family personally deals with being bullied with one of our children, the effects are hard and heartbreaking. you can feel lost and helpless with nowhere to go. my wish would be for everyone to see this movie and hopefully get a perspective on the effects of it. and also see that there is greatness and special gifts within everyone….so treat them kindly. just as the wise woman once told me…the world “needs a variety of people or life would be boring.”

“Why Fit In When You Were Born to Stand Out”  happened to be one of the quotes in the movie, and i’ve always loved it and instilled it in my kids. i thought it would be nice thong it up in our home, so i created this 8 x 10″ printable that can easily fit into a frame i already own. you are welcome to use it too!

click here for the free 8 x 10″ printable

i highly recommend taking your children to see “Wonder.” it’s great for all ages, my seven year old even enjoyed it. i hope that by seeing this movie, my kids will always….always and forever…treat other kindly. that they will “choose kind”. what an awesome world that wold be.

#ChooseKind

Managing Your Kids Summer Screen Time with OurPact

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OurPact.

How To Manage Kids Screen Timesummer is finally here! just a few more days till my kids are out of school for the summer. it’s going to be so nice to finally have lazy mornings with nowhere to get to by 8:00 a.m. And although the boys and I have a lot of adventures planned this summer, we are also hoping to have plenty of time to hang around the house for some much-needed downtime. For the boys, downtime means electronics. lots of electronics! They love their tablets and phones. Playing Minecraft and Road Blocks with their friends is their favorite.

Summer Cell Phone Contract

i don’t mind my kids having screen time, in fact, i do feel it has many benefits…however, I don’t like them playing for hours and hours on end. And I especially don’t like it when they are playing on their iPads and their rooms are messy, they’re still in their pajamas and they haven’t done their chores. It’s nearly impossible to get them to do anything once they are playing on their devices. I almost went mad last summer…the screen time felt out of control. no one would listen to me!!!! and all they wanted to do was play their games. It became a habit to just play on the iPad instead of finding other things to do.

i told myself that would not happen again this summer. there are going to be rules set in place so that the boys can still play their electronics, but in exchange, their rooms will be clean, chores done and whatever else i feel is important.

Kids Cell Phone apps

how am I going to do this?

two ways. one, i’ve created a Summer Screen Time Contract. and two, OurPact – an amazing app that empowers parents to guide their children through the balanced use of technology.

here is the Summer Screen Time Contract that i created! if you like it, i have included a free printable so you can use it as well. hopefully, this chart will help keep the house organized and in control this summer. I haven’t set a limit on the amount of screen time as of yet. i figure if the boys have completed everything on this list, then I am fine with them playing. plus, we aren’t home a lot during the summer.

Summer Screen Time Contract

on the printable, i’ve included a place for their name, and a checklist of the jobs I want completed before they can have screen time. there is also a place for their signature so that they can take responsibility for their actions. I plan on hanging a chart on each of the boys rooms.

click here to download the Summer Screen Time Contract printable

and now about the OurPact app! OurPact is an easy-to-use app for your iOS or Android phone that helps parents guide the mobile device habits of their children. The OurPact team, along with help from hundreds of parents and industry experts, has carefully constructed an essential application that keeps the functionality of family life in mind. Not only does this app let parents help control the use of electronics, it also helps teach responsibility through technology. Finally, the tools and resources needed to bridge the gap between parenting and technology are here! OurPact gives families these tools – it isn’t just a parental control tool, but family guidance like never seen before. Best of all, OurPact is Free! You can download the OurPact app here.

this simple app gives parents to power to:
•  schedule internet and app use according to your child’s daily routine, and among the weekdays or weekend.
•  set the number of hours your children spend on the Internet and within apps.
•  block internet access and apps at the touch of a button.
•  allow website and app access, whenever you feel your child “needs more time”, at the touch of a button.
•  block all apps (e.g. Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), as you see fit.

OurPact App for Parents to Monitor Cell Phone Use

in addition, OurPact provides recommendations:
•  based on child research we can recommend the best Internet and App blocking schedules for your child’s specific age.
•  with the help of industry experts and child development professionals, OurPact has the ability to tailor appropriate guidelines and tips specifically for each member of your family, allowing optimal parental control and guidance.

Benefits of OurPact App That Allows Parents to Monitor Cell Phone Use OurPact App Allows Parents to Monitor Cell Phone Usethe fact is, the average child spends almost 50 hours per week in front of screens. This is the average use outside of school. that’s more time than if they were working a full­time job and accounts for more hours in the day than any activity other than sleep. this is approximately 36 hours above the weekly recommendation for screen time set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

OurPact Logo

the vision of OurPact is to advance the future of parenting and enrich the lives of children through the responsible use of technology. It’s very important for parents and children to be involved children in determining proper mobile device use, which whether we want to admit it or not, is a huge part of their lives, and their future.

i am very excited to see how my Summer Screen Time contract and using the OurPact app helps the boys and I manage the technology in our lives. i know this will help them become more responsible in their usage and cut down on the constant nagging from us parents to put down the devices. i will definitely let you know how it goes!!!!

Controlling Kids Technology

so what do you think about the Summer Screen Time contract and the free OurPact app? how do you control your child’s screen time?

 
Giveaway time!!!! 

Here is your chance to WIN an iPad Air 2. Enter to win below… 

OurPact iPad Air2 Giveaway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OurPact.