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. there are also a few houses on other side of the creek, but you do not need to cross the bridge over the creek if you don’t want to. there are plenty of houses on the main side. however, there are some great hiking trail on the side if you want to find more fairy houses.

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.

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.

The New Café Nongshim at Pretend City Children’s Museum

last week, miss Dani Kat and i took a trip to Pretend City for the Grand Opening of Café Nongshim. it is the new play cafe that Pretend City changes themes a couple times a year. we love the cafe because it is perfect for little hands to explore and create – and expose children to a different cultures. Nongshim is specialty cuisine of Seoul, Korea. so Café Nongshim has a Korean theme. perfect timing for this year’s winter Olympics.

Nongshim translates to instant noodles in English and they specialize in just that, instant noodles in a variety of different flavors and spices. their most popular dishes are the Kimchi Ramyun noodles and the Neoguri noodles. and all of their products are both tasty and convenient! here are some of Nongshim’s instant noodles…

it was fun taking baby Dani to Pretend City for the first time.  she loved everything about it – the water area, the toddler area, the garden area and Trader Joe’s pretend market were her favorite. and of course she loved the new Café Nongshim. we were there for the ribbon cutting and got to here about the Nongshim company from one of the local Nongshim partners.

Nongshim started in 1965 in Seoul, Korea, and became the #1 noodle and snack manufacturer in the country. they then had successful expansion to the neighboring countries throughout Asia. thereafter, Nongshim America, Inc. was established in 1994 as a part of the global expansion which made their noodles available consumers in North America. they have one of their U.S. headquarters right here in Southern California, in Ranch Cucamonga.

the ceremony included a drumlins with Korean drummers, and the ribbon cutting. then the kids were allowed to go into the Café Nongshim and play.

playing in Café Nongshim was so much fun. Dani thought she was so big playing in the kitchen that was stocked with “pretend” supplies to make Korean food.

there’s an area to assemble the noodles…

and then the Café area where you can “pretend” to be a customer or be a restaurant worker. it was so much fun playing with my girl. there is something about Korean Noodles that gets the taste buds going. YUM YUM.

my little niece from When In Huntington also had fun in the cafe. she served us lots one noodles.

Pretend City is so much fun for little kids and parents alike. it allows you to play with you kids in a magical make believe world. we had so much fun at the Grand Opening of Café Nongshim, and hopefully you can take your kids to check it out too.

{This is not a sponsored post. We were invited guests of Pretend City. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}

Strawberry Picking at South Coast Farms in San Juan Capistrano

a few weekends ago, we decided to head down to South Orange County and check out the U-Pick Strawberries at South Coast Farms. it’s located in the heart of San Juan Capistrano just about a mile from the San Juan Capistrano Mission. quite a few Sandy Toes and Popsicle Blog readers have recommend i check it out, so i just had to. and i was very glad i did. our family had the best time picking strawberries and enjoying the beautiful fields, landscape and OC sunshine. and the best thing is that all the strawberries are organic!we started by grabbing a handful of baskets…you are also welcome to bring your own baskets or sacks, and headed over to the field.we read the rules and headed into the field. but not before we snapped a picture with baby girl and sat in the tractor!

the strawberries were big, red and very juicy. there were plenty to choose from. we spent a good amount of time exploring the fields and hunting out the best and biggest berries.

even Miss Dani had fun picking the strawberries! daddy too.then we headed to the farm store to weigh and purchase our freshly picked strawberries. the farm store has plenty of fresh produce to purchase as well. if you don’t feel like picking your own strawberries, you can purchase a basket or five. there are also lots of different fruits and veggies.Vann really wanted an apple! so he got an apple LOL.

we ended up with four baskets of strawberries to take home. they were prices at just $3 per pound which is great for organic strawberries. they didn’t last long because they were sweet and delicious.then it was time to head home. but first let’s eat an apple hee hee.

we had the perfect afternoon at South Coast Farms in San Juan Capistrano. i see many more trips in our future. we loved the strawberries so much, and it was a great experience for the kids to pick their own food. so much fun.

Healthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery Cube

Healthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery Cube if you don’t know that Discovery Cube OC has kids cooking classes…you do now! my kids LOVE to cook, and ever since we started watching Master Chef Junior as a family, they’ve wanted to learn how to be little chefs. so we certainly were very thrilled that the Petersonville Healthy Kitchen has opened at Discovery Cube OC.

the Healthy Kitchen offers 1-hour long kids cooking classes at Discovery Cube with a new recipe each month. there are multiple time slots offered on certain days of the week. you can make reservations or just ask the front desk at the Cube if there are any openings. most classes are $20 for a party of 4, so you can have up to 4 children or children and adults participate together. this includes the class and food that you will be making. the class is in addition to your admission into the Cube.

the class begins with putting on an apron and a good hand washing.Healthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery Cube

an instructor will help the kids with every step of the recipe and teach them not only how to prepare the food, but also the science behind each process. it’s like a bunch of science experiments. i love how the kids can see the instructor in detail on big television screens above and also in person in front of the class. i also like that there are only 6 stations, so the classes are small and intimate.Healthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery CubeHealthy Kitchen Kids Cooking Classes at Discovery Cube

i think the class is great because the kids get to learn many different techniques on how to prepare food and also get to prep it, prepare it and eat it. at this class, we made Rainbow Wraps! we have also made gingerbread cupcakes in another class. both classes were equally fun.

here are some photos of the boys cooking up their food…

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kids not only learn how to cook, but also how to use real kitchen tools.

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and the best thing is….that they are usually willing to taste what they made. i probably would have never been able to get Vann to eat a Rainbow Wrap at home. but since he made it, he was willing to try it. AND he liked it!!!!!

Discovery Cube OC Cooking Class

we have been loving the Healthy Kitchen at Discovery Cube OC so much, that we want to go back every month to try each new class. you can click here to get more information and for a list of classes and times. hope you have a fun time!!!!Discovery Cube OC Cooking Class