Monday, January 21, 2019

Fun with Norway Printables!

Disclaimer: I received a Norway coloring and fun fact booklet from Mouse Travel Matters but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Epcot at Walt Disney World is my favorite place in the world. I’ve always been interested in other countries and so I love wandering the countries of the World Showcase. I’m not sure why but I always have been drawn to Norway. So when Mouse Travel Matters was offering these adorable booklets, I was so excited to get Norway!

My 5 year old was so excited to learn more about Norway. He enjoyed coloring the flag and hearing the fun facts. These printouts are made for elementary aged kids so while my son was on the young end, he still learned a lot and learned some new words as well!

The booklet covers the best facts about Norway, the flag, the country as well as facts about Vikings and the countries geography. There were even facts that I didn’t know! My son had so much fun coloring and he even remembered how the Norwegian flag looked! I don't want to give all the contents away but it is a great quick lesson for a low price! You could even purchase these and go through them while going around the World Showcase at Epcot. What similarities do you see between the 2?

So my 1 year could feel like part of the party, I looked up Norwegian nursing rhymes on YouTube. She loved it! She danced her little heart out. We then looked up fjords and other Norway videos. Together, along with the booklet, it seemed like the perfect lesson.

Want to explore the countries of the World Showcase with your kiddos? You can get one or all countries here.

Friday, November 30, 2018

A Very Merry Pop Up: Fa La Land

Disclaimer: Fa La Land graciously provided tickets but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s no secret that I’m a hardcore Christmas fan. Halloween is barely over and I’m playing Christmas carols and shows and planning all sorts of Christmas activities. So when Fa La Land offered us tickets, I was so excited! A pop up museum all about Christmas? Count me in!

Fa La Land is located in Row DTLA in downtown Los Angeles. It’s been a few years since we were down there and holy cow, they have really developed that area with trendy shops and restaurants. It’s super cute! Since it was Sunday, we also got to walk around Smorgasburg which has quite a lot of food vendors and some shop vendors. They’ve really grown since the last time we were there too, I’m excited to them because it’s such a great idea! After walking around for a few minutes, it was time to go to Fa La Land!

Our tickets were timed so while we waited in line, there were big Connect 4 games to play which my son enjoyed. Pretty soon, it was our turn! We started in the front room for a photo op and from there we got to tour 6 amazing rooms ending with the big man himself: Santa! I would say give yourself a good 45 minutes in the museum to really get to experience all there is to do as it’s SO interactive. There were things to explore and play with, photo ops and absolutely adorable decor.

The first room had Mrs Claus! It looked like a downtown Christmas. It had a movie theater facade, a bench with a big teddy bear, a Christmas tree and Santa and his reindeer in the air! The best part about this room was that kids could write and mail a letter to Santa! My son got a kick out of that.

The next room was the elf room where one of Santa’s elves were. He had my son stamp a golden ticket for my son to take to see Santa. Also, in the room was a white board where you could write your name under naughty or nice. Not sure which you are? There was a wheel you could spin which according to the elf was “100% accurate”.

From there we moved onto an enchanted forest with neon trees! We counted the reindeer in the forest and found the elf. Because we found the elf, they gave my son a sticker and my daughter a stuffed reindeer. The neon trees and black lights were really cool! A great way to mix up the traditional decorations.

The next room was Candyfornia! A whole room made from (fake) candy. They had a candy swing and a candy button ball pit. Such a cool idea that reminded us of Willy Wonka! Even my husband and I were dreaming of a room just like this made with real candy!

The 2nd to last room was Fa La Fest. It was a fun and festive room with a kissing shadow booth which was so much fun. My husband wanted to make shadow puppets haha! There was also a cool LA backdrop photo op. In addition, there were hula hoops to play with which was a blast.

After 5 fun rooms, we got to the room my son had been waiting for: Santa! My son went right to him and was so excited to see him. My daughter on the other hand was terrified as you can see in the picture below. This Santa was so great with both of them. We ended our time with a picture in Santas sleigh.

We had a great time! It was super well done and even my Grinch of husband thought it was fun! The staff was all great and very interactive in the whole process! I highly recommend it as it’s something different and unique while also very Christmas-y.

Want to check out Fa La Land? It’s running daily (except for Mondays) now to December 26th. Tickets are $37 each (3 and under is free) and you can buy them here:

Thank you again Fa La Land for a great day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Top 5 reasons to go to Disneyland Park at Christmastime!

Christmastime at the Disneyland Resort is my absolute favorite! The music, the decor, the food, it’s all so amazing! We were blessed and had a cast member friend get us into Disneyland Park this last weekend. There are so much fun things to see and do, it’s hard to do it all in one day! I wanted to share my top 5 reasons to go to Disneyland Park at Christmastime:

1.     Haunted Mansion Holiday - it’s been a few years since I’ve been on this since my older son was afraid. My son is still afraid but my friend and I took my 1 year old on it. The decor and the effects of this ride are out of this world. My favorite part is how the singing busts turn into singing Jack O Lanterns! Oh and the gingerbread house gets better every year. It feels like you are really immersed in Halloweentown while still riding the Haunted Mansion.

Haunted Mansion Holiday - Photo Credit: Allison Peale

2.     The characters and the photo ops! The tree is magnificent and such a good backdrop for a picture that I think I’m going to use for our Christmas cards! The castle is also decorated and provides a great backdrop for a sweet family picture. The lines of both of these were rather long but the PhotoPass photographers were so efficient, the line moved so fast but while you were taking pictures, it still felt like you had one on one attention and weren’t rushed! I can’t talk about photo ops without talking about characters! The characters are donning their festive winter wear and they look so cute! We had a hard time catching the characters but got a great pic with Chip and Dale. I feel for the cast members manning these lines because there was a lot of people that they had to turn away. I’m bummed we missed Mickey but we will be back one more time before the season is up!

3.     The food! Soooo many fun and yummy options! I had to decide what I was going to try ahead of time since I knew it was going to be busy. I really wanted to try the Santa Hat Macaroon from Jolly Holiday Bakery. Christmas and peppermint just go together to me and so a chocolate peppermint macaroon was the way to go! Let me tell you, it was everything I dreamed it would be. It had just the right amount of chocolate and peppermint. My friend got the Chile Rellano from Rancho del Zocalo. We were so hungry that we forgot to take a picture of it before she ate most of it! She said there was a bit too much sauce but it was still quite tasty!

4.     The decor! Now I may be biased because my friend works in this department but I think the decor is like no other. From the details on the signs and lights to huge Christmas tree, there is no stone not decorated. Even just looking at it makes me happy! Along with the decorations is the amazing music! Christmas carols and music everywhere in the theme of the land, music box music on Main Street USA, western sounding music in Frontierland. That is one of the things I love about Disney the most, you get the full experience every time!

5.     And my final and favorite reason to visit Disneyland Park at Christmastime is (drum roll please)…”it’s a small world holiday”! With little kids, we frequent “it’s a small world” A LOT and it has a special meaning in our family as my mom went on it at the New York World’s Fair. However, during Christmastime, if possible, it becomes even better! Christmas decorations everywhere, Jingle Bells in different languages and traditions all represented in this short ride. I am never organized enough but I’d love to do some of these traditions from other countries with my kids. I’m really going to try to pull it off this year. I will for sure be blogging about it if I do!

There you have it, my top 5 reasons for visit Disneyland Park during Christmastime. This is not a comprehensive list, there are many other reasons why you should visit! What is your favorite part of Christmas at Disney?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Trick or Treating Fun at Universal Studios Hollywood!

We’ve had a lot of Halloween adventures this year! Then one of our favorite places, Universal Studios Hollywood, announced that for one weekend only, they were going to have trick or treating for little kids! Historically, due to Halloween Horror Nights, we avoid Universal until at least the second weekend in November. A lot of their scary props were out for everyone to see and I thought that might be too intense for my littles (please note that some scary props were still out but for the most part, my son seemed so excited to do the trick or treat, he didn't mind the props). It just so happened that we had something going on that was less than 4 miles from universal on the Saturday of the trick or treating weekend. We already had a busy day planned so we decided that my 5 year old and I would just run in for one hour while my husband and daughter hung out In CityWalk.

I wasn’t sure how much we could get done in an hour but we did almost everything! We got the below brochure with the information on the trick or treating as well as characters photo ops (that had candy too!).

My 5 year old has food allergies so I wasn’t expecting him to be able to keep a lot of the candy and he knows that the candy has to be checked out before he can eat them. One thing Universal did that impressed me was put this warning in all of the baskets with candy. The biggest thing that impressed me was that about 2/3 of the candy was safe for him! A huge thank you to Universal for that.

Once we walked in and got our brochure, we went in the first shop and got a bag to collect the candy. Each of the locations punch a hole in your brochure to show that you had already gotten your candy at that station. Most of the candy stations were in stores or restaurants but then they had about 4-5 locations that not only had candy but had characters as well!

The characters were my favorite part as they were dressed up in Halloween outfits! And of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween without some of the Universal Monsters! Hello Kitty was styling as the Bride of Frankenstein. There was a minion dressed up like Frankenstein’s Monster and Curious George was a cute little pirate. We also saw Woody Woodpecker as a vampire. We missed one of the meet and greets but I think we did pretty good!

In Universal Plaza, they had some fun activities going on. You could decorate a cookie, have a dance party or do limbo! They were having a costume contest when we were getting ready to leave. So many fun things to do!

We had a blast! Universal is really starting to have a lot of family friendly activities and we are so excited about that! We can’t wait for Grinchmas and the Magic of Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Spooky Fun at the Halloween Spooktacular

It’s no secret to anyone who knows my 5 year old that he is obsessed with sharks. And we all really love San Diego so earlier this year when Sea World San Diego offered free passes for preschoolers, we had to take advantage! My husband and I had passes pre kids which it was really easy to make the 2+ hour drive down to San Diego. Luckily, our kids are pretty easy to travel with and this past weekend, they had no problem making the drive down. I knew we HAD to check out the Halloween Spooktacular which is Sea World San Diego’s Halloween event.

Sea World’s Halloween Spooktacular had lots of fun activities to do. One thing we noticed right away was their Halloween décor with a sea flair. Pumpkin fishes, octopus tentacles with candy and pirate jack o lanterns in the Shark Encounter exhibit were some of my favorite decorations. I made sure to get some pictures of the décor and then off we went to see animals! 

There was also a Dia de los Muertos display that was beautiful.

The main event, at least for us, was the trick or treating aspect. I knew there may not be a lot of safe options for my food allergy son but I also knew that he would love the act of being able to trick or treat. That part started at noon and we started trick or treating right away. Much to my surprise, my 1 year old was into it too! I was thrilled that the first stop was tootsie pops and safe for my son and there was one other trick or treat location that was safe for him. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more options for him but the important part was that he didn’t seem to mind at all!

Beyond trick or treating, I knew we would all get a kick out of Clyde and Seymour’s Big Halloween Bash. Clyde and Seymour are sea lions and their show is always hilarious. This was no exception. My favorite part of the whole thing is Biff, who basically the opener of the show. He cracks me up no matter what he does. 

As we were walking through the park, we noticed there was a live DJ. We stopped and listened for a few minutes before moving on. There was also a really cute sign that I had to take the kids picture in front of.

There were a couple things that we didn’t end up seeing. There was a “creepy creatures” presentation like owls, tarantulas and more that we didn’t see. Then there was a Sesame Street night time parade which was on too late since we had to work the next day. For those adrenaline junkies, Manta, had some special effects and creepy sounds which gave it a spooky element.

Are you feeling sad that you missed the Halloween Spooktacular? Never fear, this upcoming weekend is the last so you still have a chance to visit!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fall Fun at The Original Farmers Market

We don't really have a lot of fall. Fall in California just means it cools down at night. However, we do have some fun fall festivities around the area. Today, we went to the Fall Festival at The Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles. Let me start off by saying that The Original Farmers Market is one of our family’s most favorite places in Los Angeles. We go often and walk up and down the aisle’s of permanent food places. We often find ourselves buying produce for the week or stocking up on meat from Huntington Meats (which buy the way, the last time I checked, was peanut free (this only pertains to the meat itself)).  We then go to its neighboring mall, The Grove, to walk around.

You can feel the history of the farmers market as you walk through it, some of the vendors have been there since 1934 when the market started! While I’ve loved and eaten at quite a few of the places, I somehow always end up back at my favorite, Charlie’s, which serves up diner food. It’s so delicious and everyone who works there is really nice! I’ve heard rumors that even Walt Disney had hung out there (though I’m not sure how true it is!).

I could go on forever about my love for The Original Farmers Market but let’s get back to the topic at hand. The Fall Festival. There was so much to do!  A petting zoo, beer garden, piggy races and more. We started off watching the pig races, they were so cute!! The little pigs looked so cuddly. My 5 year old couldn’t get over how cute they were. 

From the pig races, we made our way to lunch and along the way there was so much to see! We saw Pumpkin Carver Arthur who was SO talented. Nearby, was the Harvest Knot Workshop with American Straw, they made amazing things with straw and you could even braid your own straw! We didn’t have time so we didn’t stay for that but it looked so cool. As we walked toward the market, there was a place where you could guess the weight of a pumpkin and win a prize. I entered but I’m not sure how close I was to the right answer at all haha.

My favorite part of the whole festival was the photo ops. For whatever reason, I think the cut out photo ops that you stick your head through are so fun. We definitely stopped for some pictures and someone was even nice enough to take a picture of all 4 of us. I love all the pumpkin and fall décor, it was so festive! From there we ate (I had Charlie’s of course!) and then walked around The Original Farmers Market.

There were a few things that we either couldn’t stop for or we missed completely. There was this cute petting zoo that my son really wanted to go to! The line though was just too long the entire time we were there. I never found the pumpkin patch or game zone, however, I believe that they were down the street from the petting zoo hence why I didn’t find them. Next year for sure! There was also quite a bit of live entertainment from bands to walk around performers. However, you might laugh, but I am the saddest about missing the pie eating contest! I think it would be so entertaining to watch and I somehow miss it every time we are at a place that has one. One of my goals for 2019 is to see a pie eating contest!

We had such a great time at the Fall Festival! I can’t wait until next year!

Are there any fall festivals that you’ll be going to this year? Tell me about it in the comments!