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.

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 #2 – 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