Christmas Cheer at Santa’s Village- 2017 Winter Season

Christmas Cheer at Santa’s Village- 2017 Winter Season

Christmas Cheer has filled the air once again at Santa’s Village. The moment you enter the park you are taken to a place just North of the Pole. Jingle Bells on the radio and elves around to assist you with your adventure. From Santa’s house to a rock climbing wall, there is something everyone in the family will enjoy.




Our first stop was Santa’s house, where we were able to mark our names down in the “good book” while we waited a short time to see Santa. The kids were pretty excited to share their Christmas wishes with the big guy. I was thrilled to see that only one family can enter at a time, this uninterrupted moment made it even more magical. The ambiance of the room was delightful and true to what anyone would picture Santa’s house to be.

After our visit with Santa, we were off to his workshop. There are various activities to do, some of which are for a small fee but all of which are fun. You can write a letter to Santa, paint a wood toy, make an ornament and build a snow globe. All of these activities are done with the help of Santa’s elves. My children made an ornament and painted a wood toy train.

Walking around the village were friendly characters available to take pictures and tell stories. Every single one of the staff were helpful, kind and professional. I feel that it is so rare to find places with great customer service but Skypark at Santa’s Village is not lacking one bit in that department. It feels as though the employees really enjoy their job and are happy to be at work.

There are plenty of adventurous activities to do as well within the park. You can go rock climbing, zip lining, bike riding and so much more. Archery seemed to be a big hit with families and taking a bounce on Blitzen’s bungee also was a crowd pleaser.

For a small extra fee you can sign up for a workshop with Mrs. Claus. My children wanted to build a gingerbread house and so they did. Mrs. Claus and her helper elf worked with the children and although some of them didn’t quite turn out, they were delicious! All of the food at Skypark is delicious to say the least.

We finished our day watching the parade and tree lighting ceremony where we sang Christmas music and waved too all of the characters, including the resident wolf Arrow. It was truly a magical day for us as a family and honestly cannot wait to go again. Check out the webpage http://skyparksantasvillage.com/ for more information and to purchase your tickets online.

 



America the Beautiful – The Sandlot, A 4th of July Tradition

America the Beautiful – The Sandlot, A 4th of July Tradition




The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. A day that an entire nation comes together to celebrate the birth of what is America. Although the way I celebrate has evolved through the years, this scene in The Sandlot will always be a piece of my celebration.
May your Independence Day be just as magical as this! Happy Birthday America!




Glo have fun! Glo Mini Golf Riverside Ca

Glo have fun! Glo Mini Golf Riverside Ca

When you are born and raised in Riverside California, you take pride in knowing all of the spots to go when you want something to do. Little did I know I have been missing out on a true gem.



Located on the outside of the Riverside Tyler Mall is Glo Mini Golf, an indoor mini golf space. Among mini golf, you can play arcade games, rent an Xbox and have fun with a little virtual reality. There is also an ice cream and snack bar on the top floor.

When checking in for golf, you are able to pick a color golf ball that of course is neon and your club that is as well a neon color. 12$ for 27 holes is a wonderful price, especially when you get the added experience of it being in the dark! You also have the option of getting 3D glasses to wear during your golf game for a small 2$ fee.

After getting our golf necessities, we headed to our first golf hole. The 3D glasses were awesome. The floor popped under our feet, the wall seemed to be moving and our putt appeared to be perfect! Mini golfing with a 3 & 5-year-old is not the easiest, especially when you are also golfing with a very competitive husband, but watching them all laugh and jump with excitement when they got a ball  in the hole was priceless.

Most of the holes were dedicated to another portion of the world. It was fun guessing the landmark used and where it was from. The walls were adorned with amazing artwork, painted in bright colors so that they too would pop in the black lights. Although the holes were not very challenging, they were exactly perfect for the space.




After our round of mini golf, we tried out some arcade games. All of the games cost a minimal amount, compared to other arcades. Games were geared towards all ages, some for smaller children and some for the older crowd. They were all very generous with tickets and the prizes were great.

Since you are going to want to go back to Glo Mini Golf over and over again, you might want to pick up some of their Glo merchandise to wear around town or next time you stop by for a round of golf or an arcade game or two!

Overall I have to say this was one of the funnest things we have done in Riverside lately and I definitely suggest you all check it out! Head to their website https://www.glominigolf.com/mini-golf/ and plan your trip to Glo Mini Golf!




Sea World San Diego- A New Experience in 2017

Sea World San Diego- A New Experience in 2017

Since I was a child one of my favorite places to visit has been Sea World. The experience is always magical and memorable. When I heard about all of the new attractions opening this summer at Sea World San Diego, I knew I had to go!

We arrived at the park right when it opened and rushed over to ride Submarine Quest, the newest adventure ride. Unfortunately it was shut down. We checked back throughout the day and when it finally did open the wait time was over 2 hours. Needless to say, we did not wait in the line.
Other new rides such as the Aqua Scout, Tentacle Twirl and the Sea Dragon Drop were fun for our little ones. I would describe this area as one for ages 3-7. Wait times were not long for us since we were there so early but as we re visited the area throughout the day, the lines did increase.





Also in this new area was eel’s, octopus and crab. There were fun tunnels that the children could crawl through and emerge inside a dome. This gave them a 360 degree view of the inside of the tank. It is always a fun moment watching your children’s eyes light up with amazement.

One of the many things that I love about Sea World is the education you receive about sea life. The new Orca Encounter Show gives you facts about the whales and allows you to view these majestic animals at the same time. I feel privileged that myself and my children’s love and knowledge of Orca’s and other sea animals has grown with each visit to Sea World. Personally I cannot wait to see what else they have in store.

The dolphin encounter is perfect for children and adults alike to view them swimming. They are such a playful species. The seals are also a wonderful animal to engage with through feeding or just talking too. Both of my children are still talking about how close they were to these animals and the moments they shared laughing will be one of my favorite memories.

San Diego Sea World has such an easy layout with very little, if any, back tracking. There are loops in which you can see everything in the park if you just follow the map. With San Diego having some of the best weather in California, it was a pleasure walking around and enjoying the sunshine. Check out this park map on the Sea World website to plan your route ahead of time. Sea World San Diego Map




This summer they are offering a night-time atmosphere, including glow shows, a live DJ and lots of black lights. I must say that even after a long day in the park, my entire family was pumped up to dance and sing. Our children wore clothing that glowed in the lights around the park which made them feel really special. Sea World also sales many different items to help you glow with the night. The night-time shows were all spectacular and also popular. If you are wanting to catch one of these shows, be early to make sure you have a seat.

From sharks to whales and turtles too, all of the animals at Sea World San Diego offer their visitors memories, education and up close encounters that cannot be had through a television. To purchase your tickets to the park visit their website at Sea World San Diego Tickets





Highlights of Yellowstone National Park

Highlights of Yellowstone National Park

One of my most cherished memories of my childhood took place in Yellowstone National Park. My parents had driven my brother and I from Southern California all the way up to West Yellowstone to show us the very first national park. The beauty was endless, the animals were majestic and the adventure was life changing.

Around every corner was another sign pointing you to a geological masterpiece. The signs kept coming and the curiosity of these “off the beaten path” treasures got the best of my father and I. My mom and brother don’t share in our adventurous spirit and decided to stay back in the car. We had no idea what we were looking for, only that whatever it was deserved a sign on the side of the road. Walking through thick brush, around trees and across small streams while laughing and talking with my dad, that was what family vacations were about.





After never seeing another sign we stopped to see some bubbles rising in a stream. Of course my dad would dare me to touch the water to see if it was hot (I do not recommend that) and of course it was. I would like to think that he had tested the water before he had me stick my hand in it but that was never confirmed, only joked about. Luckily I kept all my fingers and made this wonderful memory of walking around Yellowstone with my dad.

There are a few things to make sure to see while in Yellowstone and they are spread out through the park. One of the main things I wanted to bring my children to see is the wildlife. Showing them animals such as bears, bison and elk roaming in their natural environment will leave a lasting impression on them. On the NP’s website you can see various maps, one being the best areas to view the wildlife in Yellowstone. Here is the map and the link to view it on their website. https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

Yellowstone is such an ideal vacation for the young, the old, families, couples and friends. No matter your age or who you are with,  everyone will leave the park in awe. I am so happy that my husband and I now have had the privilege to take our children and the amazement in their eyes left me reliving mine as a child.

Road Trip 2017

Going into the park now 16 years later, I noticed how many things have changed. Places I remember seeing as a kid, now either don’t exist or are no longer marked. I felt as though I was seeing the same park but in a different light. I think this will be the same, no matter how many times I come to Yellowstone, it will be a new experience.

When entering the park, I let the ranger know that we had two children and they gave both of them a checklist with all of the animals they should see in the park. This was great because it gave them a goal and kept them on the look out for these animals. The kids were able to see all of them except a coyote.

Our trip being in mid May, crowds were minimal and traffic was the same. We were able to find parking wherever we stopped and had no trouble on hikes or finding places to picnic. There was however just enough cars on the road to alert us when something cool was coming up because everyone would stop to take a picture.

Although it was a fact that I tried to forget until we were well out of the park, Yellowstone is an active volcano that can erupt at anytime. When it does, it will be devastating to the United States. Signs of the volcanic activity surround you. From boiling mud to steam leaving mountains through crevasses, it is hard to believe that so much beauty can come from something so deadly.




Since we had so many places to stop on our road trip, we only spend a day and a half in Yellowstone. I do however suggest if it is your first time visiting, that you spend the better half of a week touring the park and its surrounding areas. There are many places to stay, eat and visit in West Yellowstone, Montana, as well as Cody, Wyoming.

Before booking your vacation you may also want to check https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm   for any road closures or entrance closures. Certain times of the year are better than others for being able to see the most and is all explained on their website.

St. George Utah- Best Western Coral Hills

St. George Utah- Best Western Coral Hills

One of our favorite places to visit is St George Utah. It is rich with history and surrounded with breathtaking scenery. Each time we make a trip to the town of St. George, we stay at the Best Western Coral Hills. We have found it to be the best hotel in the area, offering wonderful accommodations for families and couples alike.




The location of Best Western Coral Hills is best in the city. There are many places to eat within walking distance or you can use their BBQ area and make a dinner of your own. Breakfast is included with your stay and offers a variety of choices that are sure to make your tummy satisfied.

Hotel rooms are clean and updated. Beds are comfortable and water pressure in the shower is wonderful. There are many ice machines and vending machines throughout the grounds. Plus two swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor.

Stop by the front desk for a free walking tour map, that you can begin right at the hotel. When you have completed it, you will have a vast knowledge of the city and its history. You can even use one of the hotel’s bicycles to get around if that suits your fancy. Staff is friendly and helpful with all of your needs. There is also a place to purchase postcards and key chains by the front desk.

St George is an excellent place to vacation or stop on your way through and a stay at the Best Western Coral Hills makes it that much better. Book your next stay at http://www.coralhills.com/




Buffalo Bill Center of the West- Cody Wyoming

Buffalo Bill Center of the West- Cody Wyoming

Located a little over 50 miles from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park is Cody Wyoming. A town rich with history and beautiful scenery. Every building pridefully shows reminders of its towns namesake, Buffalo Bill Cody.




Within the town of Cody is a museum, Buffalo Bill Center of the West. A museum whose outside appearance is just as beautiful as its contents within. As you walk into the museum the tall ceilings and spacious entrance allow you to take a deep breath of the history within the walls. The staff is there to greet you and help guide you as well as answer any questions you may have. You can also take a selfie with the man himself!

There are many rooms to tour through but my main goal was to make it through the Buffalo Bill Cody wing of the museum. I honestly could have spent an entire day reading every sign, admiring every picture and watching other visitors reactions. From Cody’s traveling tent to his coat, you could really grasp the adventurous life he led. I was especially excited to see Riverside, CA on the map of places he had performed.

There were also rooms that contained art, firearms and the plains Indians history. The collections were amazing to see. My children left there with inquisitive minds, asking questions they would have never thought of without being prompted by what they saw.

I have been to a lot of museums in my life and none have been as beautiful as this one. Displays bring you back to the era depicted, giving you that moment to live in history. Artifacts were so well-preserved and left you full of knowledge. Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum is a must see for everyone.

Plan your trip by visiting their website at https://centerofthewest.org/visit/

Special thanks to Nancy for allowing us to come in and experience the west as Buffalo Bill Cody knew it!

Old McDonald Farm- Rapid City South Dakota

Old McDonald Farm- Rapid City South Dakota

When I travel, I make sure to have a list of everything I can see and do in the area. When planning for Rapid City, I stumbled upon Old McDonald Farm, a family friendly petting zoo. I added it to my list and hoped that we would be able to stop. Both of my children are in love with all kinds of animals and being in Southern California, there isn’t too many opportunities to go hang out on a farm. So I knew this needed to be one of our stops.

As we pulled up to the farm, my kids were giddy as they saw two goats walking across a bridge and eating.

They both jumped out of the car and ran to the front entrance. Walking into the farm was refreshing. Buildings appeared to have a fresh coat of paint, animals seemed well cared for and staff was very friendly.





There was a trail that you could follow so that you didn’t miss any of the animals. Or if your kids are like mine, you can zig zag to all their favorite animals, and even visit some twice.

The baby animals were way too much adorableness to handle!! I was ready to load up a baby goat in my jacket and run. All of the animals were use to being held and pet making the experience even more enjoyable.

While adoring the baby goats we heard an announcement for pig races and ran over to check them out. Little piggies in a line and then set free to race around an oval. Everyone cheered for their piggy and then we were able to pet the pigs.

On top of having these amazing farm animals to play with and feed, the farm also had pony rides, tractor rides and food. It was such an amazing experience for our entire family and I know we wont be forgetting it anytime soon.

Check out their website at http://www.oldmacdonaldsfarmrc.com/ and plan your visit.



Its Payday, Your Going To Want This For Your Next Adventure- Garmin

Its Payday, Your Going To Want This For Your Next Adventure- Garmin

Most of us have smartphones or vehicles that contain a gps system. This seems like a wonderful advantage but there are some disadvantages to these options. These disadvantages are significant enough to cause me to purchase a portable gps system.



Disadvantages
  • Battery life- I hate when my phone gets below 50% and using its GPS system causes the battery to drain very quickly.
  • When you are using your car gps, you almost always have to take it in to the dealer to have them update it before any car trip. Not only is this time consuming, its very expensive.
  • Not being able to play games on my phone or surf the web without being interrupted by the gps unit is very annoying.
  • Most gps car units use the same screen as your radio. I don’t know about y’all but I enjoy seeing who is singing “that” song on the radio and not having to switch back and forth.

    My choice

After so much research and checking all online retailers, I opted for the Garmin nuvi 67LM 6″ 010-01399-01 Essential Series 2015 GPS Navigation System w Lifetime Maps Portable Friction Mount Bundle. I purchased it from Amazon because the price was the lowest and I love Amazon’s return policy.

I have now had this system for about 2 months and it does everything that I need it too. There are a few bells and whistles such as beeping once when you are going above the speed limit as well as when you are entering a school zone. It shows upcoming restaurants and gas stations as well as you can change your vehicle from a car to a truck. This system comes with free lifetime updates which is a must with so much construction going on throughout the U.S.

Overall I absolutely recommend this Garmin gps for your next adventure!




Positive Reward System While Vacationing

Positive Reward System While Vacationing

I have spent so much time on our upcoming road trip. Making sure that I have dont everything I can to ensure a fun and educational experience for everyone going. I especially made sure that I planned accordingly for my little ones. In our past vacations, there was two main issues we encountered and I would like to think that most parents with young kids encounter the same. For this road trip, I decided to come prepared!




The first issue that I knew I had to try to solve was being loud in the hotel. After a really long day on the road or out exploring, my children would get into a hotel and bounce off the walls. Touching everything, laughing loudly and banging on whatever they could. My fear was that we would be kicked out of the hotel and have nowhere to sleep.

What I have come up with is a hotel reward bag. Each night they will be reminded of how they should behave in the hotel and if they are well behaved, the next morning they will receive their reward bag. These bags can contain anything your child would be excited to receive. I chose to put a toy blind bag, a piece of sugar free candy and a small party favor. Each day will be a little different and the last day of the vacation will be an extra special surprise.

My children are at an age where they are trying their best to show us that they are the rulers of the world. They make every attempt to get their way and throw fits when it doesn’t happen. I knew this was going to be an issue on our vacation and decided I needed a general reward system. I printed out some fake money and filled up three bags deemed the treasure chests. When the children do something kind or are acting appropriately, they will receive a certain number of monies. Each treasure chest will have a value, in which they will have to pay to pick something out of it.

 

I made money values of $1,$2 & $5 and a trip into the treasure chests are 10$, 25$ & 50$. You can have your child make a wallet before hand or they have some great choices on Amazon. My treasure chests are filled with items that they can play with at rest stops or in the car and all of them are things they have really wanted. I purchased most of these items on Amazon but the Dollar Tree would be a wonderful place to fill the bags for cheap.

Road trips can be a spectacular experience that everyone remembers for a lifetime. They can also be trying at times, especially with young ones. Try to keep things fun and always listen to your childrens cue’s. These reward systems will help but sometimes they just need a moment to themselves, give them plenty of time to play, run and make their own memories.