Why You Should Buy Girl Scout Cookies plus a giveaway!

Girl Scout Cookie season is in full swing here in Orange County, and you probably have seen a cute Girl Scout or two selling them either door to door, or now at your local grocery store. And…you’ve probably have had a Girl Scout cookie or two in your lifetime. I even remember selling them when I was in elementary school. My mom would stock up on them and store them in the freezer to enjoy for months after Girl Scout Cookie season had ended.

Girl Scouts all over the Unites States are busy selling Girl Scout cookies to raise money for their troops to do fun learning and enrichment activities! Girl Scouts of Orange County builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. I think that the Girl Scout program is awesome, so I really wanted to help support these girls during cookie season.

(Make sure to read to the end to enter to win some Girl Scout Cookies!!!)

This year, all cookies packages are $5.00. Many of your favorite varieties are being offered including  vegan cookie flavors – Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lot, Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties & S’mores. There is also a BRAND NEW Gluten-Free: Caramel Chocolate Chip cookies (limited availability).

5 Reasons to Buy Girl Scout Cookies

1) Girl Scouts Cookies are YUMMY! Girl Scout Cookies are favorites of so many people, plus you can only get them once a year. Don’t miss out on your favorites. You won’t be able to get them until next year after March 10th.

2) Girl Scouts are super cute! How can you say no to those cute, hard working Girl Scouts?

3) Sales Support OC Girl Scouts. All the revenue earned from the Cookie Program by OC Girl Scouts stays within Orange County.

4) Cookie Share option. If you don’t eat them, treat them! Customers can buy and donate cookies that are then distributed to our nation’s military and local food banks. They also make great gifts for teachers and friends!

5) The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps girls to develop essential life skills. This is probably the most import reason to buy Girl Scout Cookies. When a Girl Scout is out selling cookies, they are learning skills such as – Goal Setting, Decision Making, Money Management, People Skills, and Business Ethics. Girl Scouts set personal goals, and troops work together to decide how their troop’s proceeds will be spent.

We have really been enjoying our Girl Scout Cookies. Our favorites are the Caramel Delights and Thin Mints.


You need to hurry and get your Girl Scout cookies soon!  Sales end March 10th and you won’t be able to buy anymore Girl Scout Cookies until next year. If you are having trouble locating cookies, use the Cookie locator to locate a Girl Scout selling cookies near you. You can also have a chance to win a Girl Scout Cookie Prize Package below…

Girl Scout Cookie GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!!

here is your chance to win a Girl Scout Cookie Prize Package!!! Just enter via Rafflecopter below or on Facebook. contest ends February 24th at 11:59pm. Winner will be chosen randomly and must be 18 years or older and a resident of the United States. Good luck!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Silva’s Fresh Eatery and Brazilian Churrascaria in Santa Ana

Orange County Brazilian Food

Looking for a new eating experience? Then I recommend Silva’s Fresh Eatery + Churrascaria in Santa Ana! This new Brazillian steakhouse is located just around the corner from South Coast Plaza in South Coast Metro – an international bistro serving Churrasco and modern Brazilian favorites buffet style.

Orange County Brazilian FoodOrange County Brazilian Food

Silva’s is open for lunch and dinner daily.  A buffet experience where you can enjoy all their amazing Brazillian foods for just $22.95 for all-you-can-eat at lunchtime. This includes includes a customized meal from their Chef’s Table as well as other ordering options depending on how hungry the guest is. Or you can stop in for a power lunch for only $15 that includes one time through the buffet, a visit to the Churrascaria and a drink. Dinner starts at just $30 and reservations are available.

Silva’s freshly prepared, serve yourself Chef’s Table is full of made to order items from the kitchen. It includes daily chef’s specials such as Feijoada, fresh broccoli and cauliflower, butternut squash, Brazilian fried rice known as Biro-Biro and even vegetarian plate options. You will also find delicious Brazilian appetizers – Coxinha de Frango, prosciutto & cheese rolls and Kibbeh. Silva’s only uses locally sourced meats and vegetables, and work closely with local vendors, creating incredible Brazilian flavors using modern cooking techniques. I am pleased to share that Silva’s only uses sustainable greens, a variety of heirloom beans and farm fresh organic vegetables to accompany their churrascaria.

 Orange County Brazilian Food

One of the favorite parts of Silva’s is the Churrascaria. Here you can choose from fresh roasted Brazillian style meats and sausage. The Picanha…similar to top sirloin and the Skirt Steak are some of the favorite’s of foodies who visit Silva’s. The chef carves it fresh for you!

With their kitchen led by respected Chef John Vega, formerly of Roy’s Newport Beach, Silva’s serves up eclectic Brazilian dishes, appetizers as well as decadent desserts. Rooted in New York and Brazilian Clubs of the 60’s, Silva’s gives local foodies and diehard churrasco purists an exciting, authentic Brazilian dining experience that locals have been raving about.

Silva’s not only serves amazing food, it’s restaurant brings together beautiful elements of polished casual decor, comfortable seating, a sleek bar, and an elevated environment. It’s a great spot for the perfect for date night, large groups or even taking food to go. They also host happy hour offerings at the bar, which includes fine wine, beer and signature Brazilian influenced and mixologist created cocktails.

Silva’s prides itself on it’s freshness and authenticity.  “Our recipes are authentic, fresh and put together using the best organic, locally grown vegetables and highest quality proteins” says GM Alex Ferreira. “This is a family operated business and the care we put into every detail of the restaurant can be seen and tasted by our customers.”


Silva’s Fresh Eatery + Churrascaria Scratch cooking and the freshest organic and locally sourced ingredients in a casual yet upscale setting that’s perfect for a quick meal, hand-crafted bar favorite or a stylish dinner. Experience one of Orange County’s favorite hidden
gems.

Knott’s Berry Farm PEANUTS Celebration

the Knott’s Berry Farm PEANUTS Celebration is happening now at Knott’s as part of their Seasons of Fun! we love that Knott’s has different seasons of the year to enjoy holidays such as Halloween and Christmas, as well as the boysenberries and summer. but for the first time they have introduced the PEANUTS Celebration – a month-long celebration dedicated to the beloved PEANUTS characters. we weren’t sure what to expect, but but we knew we would love it because the PEANUTS Gang is just so darn cute and Snoopy already has won our hearts.

so let’s get down to business…how was the PEANUTS Celebration?

SO. MUCH. FUN. 

and we are gonna share all about it right now!

first, when we walked into the park, we found the best photo opportunities. you could literally jump into one of the comics.

then we headed into Ghost Town to check out what was happening at the PEANUTS Celebration there. it looks like at the trees had turned to kite eating trees! so many kites found in the trees.

we heard that Pig Pen from the PEANUTS Gang would be making an appearance at the Livery Stable. so we wanted to meet him since he will only be visiting Knott’s during the PEANUTS Celebration.

when we headed into the Livery Stable, we not only got to meet Pig Pen, but also his little piggy friends and a couple of horses and a donkey!

then we headed over to the Bird Cage Theater for the PEANUTS Sketch School. this was probably one of our favorite things to do at the PEANUTS Celebration. everyone was given a sketch pad and were taught by the Knott’s residence art teacher how to draw one of the PEANUTS Gang. during each session, a different character was taught. my kids could have stayed there all day.

even Dani joined in!

after our drawing lesson, we check out Town Hall were there were pieces of artwork borrowed from the Charles Schultz Museum on display.

then the big boys wanted to go on the Log Ride, so Dani and i headed over to Knott’s Charleston Circle Fountain to see if we could see the new PEANUTS Trolley. we were just in time.

the Peanuts Trolley takes the PEANUTS Gang to different locations in the park. at Charleston Circle, the jumped off and started dancing with the guests to fun music. we all danced around the fountain with musical instruments and ribbon wands with Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Sally!

then they gave everyone a penny to throw into the fountain. we all made a wish and threw them in.

playing with the PEANUTS Gang was so fun and magical. we never wanted it to end. but we managed to work up and appetite, so we got a few of the special PEANUTS themed treats that were being offered in the park exclusive for the PEANUTS Celebration. my favorite was the Charlie Brownie.

over in Campy Snoopy there were lots of Instagrammable opportunities and fun photo opps, as well a fun new show at the Campy Snoopy Theater featuring songs, dancing and the answer to the age old question – how many blockheads does it take to kick a football?! also, you can take a ride on the Grand Sierra Railroad and take a trip to Beagle Bonanza.

Fiesta Village was also ready for the PEANUTS Celebration. Sally and Lucy were introducing the dancing of Mexico in traditional Mexican dresses and music.

in Calico Park, we met up with Linus and Franklin to join the Cowboy Jamboree. during the day, kids can participate in fun games.

we rested our legs while we watched the show “The Music Goes ‘Round and Around” on the Calico Mine Stage. it was a great show. at night there is also Woodstock’s Music Festival with live music from The Jelly of the Month Club!

NEW THIS YEAR at KNOTT’s PEANUTS Celebration

This year they have some fun new attractions at the Knott’s Berry Farm Peanuts Celebration. One of our favorite things is the new Camp Snoopy show “Space Beagle.” A really fun show great for all ages about Space Snoopy and his friends Charlie Brown and Lucy. The little martian Woodstocks were so cute.

In Fiesta Village, the all-new Discoteca De Silencio is so much fun. You can show off your dance moves while listening to dance music on headphones.

You can also make a Charlie Brown Kite cookie in Ghost Town. It comes in a cute little bucket, complete with frosting and sprinkles.

Finally, the Sky Tower has been made into Woodstock’s Bird Nest. Head over and check it out…and even take a ride above the clouds.

All this fun was exhausting. there is so much to do at the PEANUTS Celebration that we didn’t get to do everything. It was a great day.

luckily we are able to go to Knott’s PEANUTS Celebration multiple times. we have Season Passes, so we can go anytime we want. there are no blackout dates, and the price for an entire year is VERY reasonable. plus you can go to other Seasons of Fun events such as:

The Boysenberry Festival
Ghost Town Alive!
Knott’s Spooky Farm
Knott’s Merry Farm

there many fun things to enjoy at Knott’s!

The Importance of Play in Children

This is a sponsored post from CHOC Children’s.

Have you ever thought about how important “play” is for children? We have all heard the word PLAY…but what does it exactly entail? I knew that letting my children have playtime was important…I did not really know why. I was able to chat with Dr. Harpreet Kaur, a psychologist at CHOC Children’s, and we discussed all about the importance of play and the benefits play brings to kids.

What is “Play”

Dr. Harpreet Kaur shared that there are many different kinds of “PLAY” and we encourage children’s play to be self-directed, imaginative, and un-structured…meaning not lead by adults. Play can include playing with friends, toys, games or free time at the park, pool or beach. There are so many ways that children can play.

Play is an important part of the childhood development and can include social play, constructive play, imaginative play, and games with rules. Through play, children learn about their environment, cause and effect, and self-concept, according to Dr. Kaur. She adds that play helps kids learn social, motor, communication, and conflict resolution skills.

Many things can interfere with unstructured playtime for children including electronics and screen time, busy schedules and increased attention to academics and extracurricular activities. The importance of play time has diminished for our children and doctors have observed that children have fewer opportunities to just play and be kids. Schools have less recess, hurried lifestyles leave less time for free child-centered play, and there is less focus on imaginative and unstructured activities. It’s not like when we were kids and ran all over the neighborhood until the street lights went on. Playdates are scheduled, sports have become more competitive, and more families have two parents working which can mean less family time.

The Benefits of Play

Play is important for healthy brain development in our children. Play allows children to develop their imaginations, fine motor skills, and their physical, cognitive, and emotional capabilities. It teaches children to engage and interact in the world around them. Through play, Dr. Kaur says, children are able to make independent decisions without fear of failure or consequences, and that helps them learn to manage their own thoughts, feelings and actions.

There are many benefits of play and it is important that our children can get as much playtime as possible. Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups and to share with others. Did you know when they play with friends, they learn negotiation skills, decision-making skills, leadership skills, resolve conflict and gain confidence in themselves?

Many times, people tend to think that only outdoor activities are considered “good playtime.” While it’s fun to play outside, especially here in beautiful Orange County, you can also find things to do inside when the weather isn’t as nice. Kids can get great benefits of playing inside as well as outside. The main thing is to turn off the electronics, let children lead in the activities, and not to get over-scheduled about it.

Lastly, play not only has a lot of cognitive benefits, but it also has physical benefits. Play helps build healthy bodies and decreases the chances of obesity ― one of the biggest epidemics seen in kids today.

Ways to Fit Play in Your Busy Lifestyle

First of all, there is no set amount of time that should be required for play. Our lives don’t need more stress trying to schedule play. In fact, that is the opposite of what we are hoping to achieve. Just try to fit it in whenever possible…the more the better! When children play, it’s important to make sure they move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and become fully immersed in the passions they wish to pursue.

Everyone in the family can benefit from unstructured downtime, so it’s a good idea to leave parts of your schedule open when possible. If you don’t have any down time, you can even play games in the car. Storytelling and made-up games to play whenever there is a free moment can help you find ways to fit more play into busy schedules. You can even make chores such as setting the table and picking up toys into games. Toddlers and young children learn a lot from imaginative play. As they become older, the imaginative play decreases, but they can still get great unstructured social and physical play time with leisure sports, games, or free-time that doesn’t involve a screen, says Dr. Kaur.

My Family’s Favorite Places to Play in Orange County

Orange County has a goldmine of places that give our children the opportunity of healthy play. Our weather is beautiful all year round, so our children can enjoy lots of outdoor play. Beach play is my family’s favorite location for  outdoor play. Kids can build sandcastles, hunt for beach treasures, play in the water and make up all sorts of make believe games. We also have some great hiking trails and nature centers that allow kids the chance to explore and learn in their own ways.

Some of my family’s favorites are Oak Canyon Nature Center, Oso Creek Nature Trail, Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center, Bolsa Chica Wetlands, and the Ocean Institute. Museums such as Discovery Cube, Pretend City and the La Habra Children’s Museum are favorites of mine for learning in an unstructured environment, along with lots of chances for imaginative play. Finally, we have some amazing parks such as Bluebird Park in Laguna Beach, Atlantis Park in Garden Grove, the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, and even some super cool unique ones such as Adventure Playground in Irvine, and Adventure playground in Huntington Beach.

Time to Play

I hope that this post inspires you to get out and play with your children. Dr. Kaur has given us a good reminder that not every part of our lives need to be structured and that we should allow our kids to lead in some of the activities we do. It is okay to let them get dirty, feel, touch, and explore their surroundings, imagine, run around, dance, and put their imaginations into action. Not only will they enjoy themselves, they will also greatly benefit from it. Something that I am sure all of us parents want for our children. Time to play!

Get more parenting advice from CHOC experts

Yummy Dole Recipes to Celebrate Disney Mickey Mouse’s 90th Anniversary

This is a sponsored post.

Mickey Mouse's 90th Anniversary

This month we are celebrating MICKEY! It’s Disney Mickey Mouse’s 90th Anniversary, which means that Mickey has been a part of mine and my kid’s entire lives. And since we love all things Disney, you don’t have to ask us twice to celebrate our favorite character.

Do you know who else is celebrating Mickey?

DOLE!!! DOLE and Disney have come to gather to Celebrate Disney Mickey Mouse’s 90th Anniversaryin a fun way…and yes, food is involved. It’s a great thing when two of your favorite brands have partnered together as part of a healthy-living alliance and a lot of fun!

There’s no question why Dole has partnered with Disney for Mickey’s 90th Anniversary, as they have been partners for decades, working together toward healthier, happier families and encouraging kids to eat better and be more active. The Mickey’s 90th Anniversary program presents Mickey Mouse as a True Original, which is perfect since they’ve had a long collaborative friendship.

Dole first teamed up with Disney in 1976 when they became the sponsor of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. Have you ever had a Dole Whip?

I would say…most people would agree that we are super happy that Disney and Dole came together to create this swirl of yumminess. And their partnership has continued to this day….

How You Can Celebrate Mickey’s 90th Anniversary with DOLE

Make one of Dole’s new Mickey’s inspired recipes. 
Dole and Disney are celebrating Mickey’s 90th anniversary by bringing a healthy twist to classic vintage recipes. Dole’s culinary team has created 19 original recipes inspired by Mickey and his history throughout the past 90 years. All recipes are made with DOLE® fresh fruits and vegetables and themed to one of three Mickey Mouse eras –Classic, OId School, or Modern. Here are just a few of the recipes to come…

Classic Recipes from the 1920s such as Dole Mushroom Rockefeller.

Old School Recipes from the 1940s-1960s such as the Dole Pineapple Downside-Up Cake.

And Modern Era Recipes from the 1980s- 2000s like two flavors of Gosh-Golly-Gee Clubhouse SmoothiesRemixPB & J and Pineapple Carrot.

The kids and I can’t wait to make them all. From entrées, salads, and side dishes, to smoothies and dessert recipes…they all look so yummy. If you would like to try out some more Mickey inspired dishes, head over to Dole’s Pinterest page.

Dole Pinterest Page Recipes

Get Mickey themed DOLE produce at your grocery store. 
Don’t have time to make all these recipes? Well you can still enjoy Mickey-themed produce. Right now you can find Mickey Mouse on tens of millions of DOLE® Bananas, Pineapples, packaged salads, and vegetables in U.S and Canadian supermarkets continent wide.

DOLE’s Mickey’s 90th Anniversary products include – Bananas, Pineapple, Salads (American Blend, Garden Salad, Classic Coleslaw, Shredded Lettuce, Very Veggie),  Premium Celery Hearts, Celery, & Iceberg Lettuce. I can bet the kiddies will be more excited to eat their veggies with Mickey on the packaging.

Make You Own Mickey Inspired Snacks. 
Kids are more likely to eat healthy when they are offered a chance to help prepare their own foods, or if they look fun to eat. You can easily create fun and healthy snacks using DOLE fresh fruits and veggies. Simply use a cookie cutter to make Mickey shapes, or cut circles and create your own Mickey’s.

I have also found that my kids will eat the veggies better if I make a dip for them. Lowfat yogurt, marinara, savoring seasonings, and salad dressings are great choices. Give it a Disney name, and let the kids imaginations soar.

I don’t know about you, but when I see my kids eating their fruits and veggies, it makes me so happy, and that I have succeeded as a parent. It doesn’t always come easy, so tricks like this are super helpful to make mealtimes successful.

Why We Love Dole

DOLE’s worldwide team of growers, packers, processors, shippers and employees are committed to consistently providing safe, high-quality fresh fruit, vegetables, and food products. All while protecting the environment in which they are grown and processed. Thank you DOLE, for providing high quality foods to our community – helping to make it easier to bring quality produce to my table.

Love this Disney collaboration with Dole as much as we do? Then keep looking out for even more Mickey inspired recipes coming from DOLE from now through January 2019. There is lots of fun to come.  Head over to www.dole.com/disneymickeymouse for Dole products, seasonal recipes, serving suggestions, the latest nutrition information, and healthy-living tips.