Monday, March 24, 2014

Celebrating 50 Years of SeaWorld with My Family

“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught.” - Baba Dioum

I can't recall the first time my parents took me to SeaWorld, but I do know that it sparked a lifetime of love for orcas, dolphins, belugas and pilot whales deep within me. From the moment I was able to pet a dolphin, watch a killer whale, come face to face with these incredible creatures I was hooked. I felt a instant connection with them and have ever since. I continue to bring my family to this water park because all of the good they have done and continue to do. From rescuing thousands of hurt and endangered animals to educating millions of guests about the conservation and care of these majestic creatures.

It's been awhile since we last went to SeaWorld in San Diego. We heard about the newest attraction opening at SeaWorld and we really wanted to check it out. Kaia doesn't even remember visiting SeaWorld when she was younger, so we thought this would be a great time and a great age for her. She is REALLY into science, fish, whales, dolphins, oceanography, and all things under the sea. With SeaWorld celebrating 50 years, we knew we'd be in for a Sea of Surprises!

The night before our trip, my daughter got the idea to design her own shirt. So we got out the white Hanes t-shirt, and the fabric markers and started to color. To be honest, I was reluctant at first, but once we started to color together, it was actually kind of fun.

We walked in and were pleasantly surprised with the beautiful new Explorer's Reef. It's the coolest under water petting zoo (of sorts) where kids and adults alike can get even closer to animals. Judging by the excitement of the guests and the crowds it will be one of the most popular attractions at the park. Make sure to catch it at night time too. It feels like a whole other experience at night, the ponds change colors, the magical music is playing - it's very neat. My family spent easily an hour when we were there in the morning, and another hour when we were leaving at Explorer's Reef. It was great for the kids to be able to interact with animals and get involved with wildlife within moments after entering the front gates.

What can you pet in the pools at Explorer's Reef?
Cleaner Fish - These fish nibble plant and animal matter off of solid matter like rocks (and hands!) These guys are the highlight of the exhibit, because they nibble at your hands and it really tickles. Everyone LOVED this feature! It was the hit of the day.
White-Spotted Bamboo Shark - These sharks can "walk" along the bottom with their pectoral fins.
Brown-Banded Bamboo Shark - Young bamboo sharks dwell in very shallow water, even in tide pools. They also had a pool with rays, and even horseshoe crabs. 

Another thing we suggest is the All-Day Dining Deal. We bought these for our family and because we have teenagers who can EAT, this works out really well. You buy a dining pass, that allows you an all you can eat at 4 of the restaurants as much as you want. We just paid the money when we arrived at guest services, (you may be able to get a discount of you order ahead of time online) and put on the wristbands for the rest of the day. We may or may not have let our kids have an extra dessert that day.

Some of the shows we caught throughout the day were One Ocean, Blue Horizons and Pets Rule! They were great and also gave us a nice break from walking. We recharged during the shows, while we sat and watched in amazement the glorious animals. We finished up our day at Sesame Street Bay of Play, perfect for the younger crowd. Our youngest rode rides, ran around, jumped, climbed, bounced, played in the sand, and used up all of the last of her energy at the end of this very big day of fun!

Here's what Kaia (6 years old) had to say about her day at SeaWorld, "I really liked to touch the fish. The cleaner fish felt funny and made me laugh, but they only come to you if you are very still. I liked the dog and cat show. (Pets Rule!) My favorite part of the day was going to look at all of the animals."

Happy 50th Birthday SeaWorld!

*Disclaimer: I was not paid, nor compensated in any way for this post. I received free tickets for my family as part of the media preview. These opinions are 100% mine and 100% fresh*

Thursday, December 26, 2013

We're Spending New Year's Eve at Knotts Berry Farm #KnottsNYE

New Year's Eve is quickly approaching and it's has me reflecting on how my family rang in the New Year last December 31st. We were at Knott's Berry Farm with Snoopy and the entire Peanuts Gang. We had such a fun night, that we are going back this year to do the same! We'll probably arrive sometime mid afternoon and we definitely plan on staying til midnight. I remember last year after counting down to 2013, music played while fireworks lit up the night sky. It was definitely memorable.

If you're looking for something fun to do with your family this New Year's Eve, Knott's Berry Farm is great for kids of all ages. (Teenagers too!) I have to admit though that Camp Snoopy will always be my favorite place in the park! Even more so during the holidays because the lights and decorations are so beautiful.

Check out my photos from last years #KnottsNYE and you can see all of the special memories we made. 

I can't wait to make new memories this year with my family!


Disclosure: I was not paid for this post. I will be attending the New Year's Eve Party as media, tickets will be given to me and my family. Thanks to Knott's for inviting us! The opinions on this blog are 100% mine and 100% fresh!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

PicMonkey Photo Contest for Halloween

I love the simplicity of online photo editing. I have a secret weapon that's like photoshop but easier. Since PicMonkey came into my life I have been one happy blogger. I use PicMonkey almost daily to work on graphics for all of my blogs. It's easy AND a lot of the features are free. It makes the coolest collages and best graphics. TRUE STORY! 
Then I found out about this PicMonkey Contest, with a chance to win a free year's membership to the site.
Check out the scary selfie photo that I designed with the app of myself. Crazy right?
I have attached some rules below from the people at I'd love to see what you can come up with. Good Luck!

How to Enter
Open your photo in PicMonkey, using the “Edit a photo” button at the top. Click on the Themes tab (the pumpkin icon at the bottom of the left column). Add all the overlays, textures, and effects you think will make your photo a contender! When you’re finished with your makeover, share it on one or more of the social sites mentioned below, and be sure you use #PicMonkeyBOO to tag your photo or post. 

They’ll be looking for you on:
* Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest * Instagram * Tumblr * Muzy * WeHeartIt * Flickr * Google Plus *
All photos must be created and shared before 11:59pm PST on October 22th, 2013. You must exclusively use PicMonkey to edit your photo to qualify, and you need to use the hashtag #PicMonkeyBOO, so we can find you!
The winners will be announced on October 28th, 2013.

Who will win?

We’ll be looking for the most creative Halloween pictures in three categories: scary, cute, and funny. Each category will have one winner. All the winners will receive a free year of PicMonkey Royale premium membership.
Hashtag your photos, friends! It’s #PicMonkeyBOO. And, most importantly, have fun!
* If you are posting to Facebook, your privacy settings will affect whether or not we can find your image!  If your FB page is set so only your friends can see your photos, we definitely won’t be able to find it. So you can either change your privacy settings for the duration of the contest, or choose another way to share your photo (see the list above).

Disclosure: I received a free month of the Royale Membership to help facilitate this post and create my photo. All opinions are 100% mine and 100% fresh!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

So This Is Six

August 28th is always a big day for us. It's my oldest sister, Tracey Clark's birthday.
It also happens to be my youngest daughter's birthday. Yes, I had my daughter on my sister's birthday - crazy I know. This August 28th was my daughter's sixth birthday, AND her first day of school. It was her first day of kindergarten. You may think - wait, didn't she go to Kindergarten last year? You would be right. My daughter is repeating Kindergarten this year. (more on that later) For now, here are some of her favorite (and least favorite) things.

Likes: Disneyland, Cotton Candy Ice Cream, Pet fish Blu Gru, Pizza, Math, Teen Beach Movie on Disney Channel, Cooking, Halloween Decorations, Meerkats, Holidays, Unicorns, Art, Staying Up Late, Flowers, Looking at Pinterest, Skylanders, Watermelon.

Dislikes: Zombies, Spiders, Going to bed, Darkness, Chocolate, Socks, Homework, Someone else picking out her clothes.

So this is what six looks like

"Mom for my 10th Birthday, I want to move to New York." - Kaia Rae, 6

Friday, March 08, 2013

Cavalia Odysseo Gallops into Burbank for a Limited Time

"What do horses dream about? The same thing we do: Freedom."

From the moment we knew Cavalia was coming back to Burbank, my husband had been asking me if I thought that we would be invited to a media preview. Every now and then (not often) he is even more excited than I am about a certain show, product or event. Cavalia is THAT show. We were fortunate enough to see it last year and it blew us away. We were even more fortunate to have had a date night, and no date night since has even come close. So when the invite showed up in my inbox to a new show Odysseo, I didn't even have to ask if he wanted to go see the show. It was a guaranteed yes!

This time we decided to bring our youngest daughter with us to experience. While we were trying to explain the "horse show" to her by using words like amazing, magical, awesome, I could tell she wasn't sure what to expect, and this child is one who can be skeptical of trying new things. At one point before we left she said to me, "I don't like horses, I'm allergic to horses." Really dude? Allergic? (Where do they get this stuff?) But once she saw the big white tents (which you can see from miles away) she started getting excited. Apparently she grew out of the whole horse allergy thing pretty quick. 

The lights dimmed, the horses came out and she was in awe from the start. We were sitting only 5 rows back from the stage, which gave us an amazing up-close view of everything that was happening. The music was really ethereal, and almost hypnotic. The set was incredible and I kept feeling like I was in Oz. It definitely has a cirque type feel to it, just with horses. 

What's so unique about Cavalia is that it gives you a chance to see horses in a way that unless you are an equestrian, you would never get to see. They are running wild with their hair flowing. God how I just want to brush their hair. I especially love the "horse girl" as I like to call her who at one point worked alone for like 20 minutes with a group of ponies. Every guy in the place had an instant crush on her. Heck I think all of the girls had a crush on her too. (blonde bottom left)

But the show is not all horse. There are "human" performances too. There is a band of African brothers that stole the show. They flipped. They flopped. They made human pyramids. (Reminded me of my old cheerleading days) They sang, danced and chanted. I must also mention that there is an incredible part in the show where a huge carrousel get lowered down from the ceiling. Yes the ceiling! Then the acrobats do things on the poles that will boggle your mind. Holding themselves completely vertical while the carrousel spins round and round. It was my favorite part, I think.

Right before the show ends they fill the stage with water and the the horse prance, trot, gallop and run through the water. The whole cast does. Needless to say they got a standing ovation from the crowd, except from me. Oh don't get me wrong, I would have stood but I had a newly converted horse-lover asleep on my lap.

Cavalia Odysseo runs in Burbank, CA (my hometown) from now until March 24th. GO SEE IT!!! Hopefully I will get to go again, as my 85 year old grandmother is dying to see it!

Here's how to get your own tickets and see the beauty for yourself:
Buy Tickets ONLINE
or call the Toll-Free Number: 1-866-999-8111 everyday from 9am to 10pm
Prices range from $34.50 to $159.50

Fresh Mom Tips: I HIGHLY recommend seeing Cavalia: Odyesso. My husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed it. However I warn about taking younger children to the weeknight (school night) performance at 8pm. My 5 year old was asleep by intermission. Looking around at the other wee ones it was definitely a late night for the 7 and under crowd. They have snacks and alcohol for sale (whee) along with a concession stand that sells all sorts of Odysseo swag.

Disclosure: My family was invited to Opening Night for a Media Preview to this incredible show. (Special thanks to David, Tim, Peter, and Andy.) All thoughts are 100% mine and 100% fresh. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You're Invited to a New Years Eve Party at Knotts

Look at this face.
This is the look of pure joy.
It's my 5 year old the last time we were at Knott's Berry Farm.
What parent in their right mind wouldn't want to create this feeling in their child over and over again. So when I got invited to ring in the New Year with my family at Knott's, I am jumping at the chance. I can't wait to see this happy face again. She's a huge fan of Camp Snoopy. On our last trip, she had to have road on this ride below like at least 20 times. (not an exaggeration) Check out my daughter & That's It Mommy's daughter having a blast!

Here are some reasons that you may want to check out the theme park on Dec 31st too:

They're Open on New Year's Eve til 1am.

There will be not one but two dance parties, live bands, DJs and salsa dance instructions.

A Special Performance of Snoopy on Ice.

The Show at Camp Snoopy, "Happy New Year Charlie Brown."

The fantastical "Snoopy's Magical Night of Lights."

When the clock strikes twelve, a "Midnight Mayhem Fireworks Show."

It's going to be a PARTY with the Peanuts Gang & we can't wait to say goodbye to 2012 and welcome in 2013 with our favorite beagle.

Fresh Tip: If you're looking for a great gift to give to your So Cal friends or family members, a Knotts Season Pass is only $66.99. For the whole 2013 year! Or you can break it down into payments of $11.16 if you buy online now through January 13th. So affordable right? That's the gift that keeps on giving the entire year!

Disclosure: I was not paid for this post. I will be attending the New Year's Eve Party as media, tickets will be given to me and my family. Thanks to Knott's for inviting us! The opinions on this blog are 100% mine and 100% fresh!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa Snoopy with my family: The holiday season at Knotts

Santa Snoopy and my family: Celebrating the Holiday Season at Knotts Berry Farm

It's that time of year when we're all running around like crazy baking cookies, decorating our homes, going to holiday parties, shopping for everyone on our list and trying to finish up all of the last minute projects of the year. Recently we have started to make an effort to do more family activities together. Taking the time out of this busy season to enjoy each other's company because our eldest child will be heading off to college in the fall. Eek! My children are growing up faster then I'd like to admit. With a senior, a junior, a sophomore in high school and a kindergartner my home is going to be empty really soon. So when we got invited to spend a day together at Knott's Berry Farm, it was another great excuse for my teenagers to hang out with the family. The last time we went it was for Camp Spooky during October and had so much fun.

It was my kid's first time at Knott's Merry Farm, which is what they call it during the holiday season, from Thanksgiving til Jan 6th. Everything is decked out so beautifully. If you had any doubt, Knott's really goes all out this time of year. It's filled with holiday spirit and cheer. There are sparkling lights through out the park, which are my favorite. There is plenty of unique gifts on sale from artisans, that have handmade one-of-a-kind treasures at Christmas Crafts Village. They even have a new ice show and a holiday parade with all of the Peanuts Gang and Santa!

With rides of all sizes Knott's can keep my children of all ages having a good time at the park. Our youngest likes to spend her day in Camp Snoopy, while my older kids run around hopping on the big roller coasters. Perfect for a family day when you want to escape all of the hustle and bustle of December. My sister Tracey and her girls were there too, she talks about Making Memories with Snoopy on her blog.

As we look back on our day, I know that I will never forget the time she got to decorate cookies with Snoopy. This moment is definitely going down in the magical holiday moments hall of fame!
Warning: Your heart may melt once you see these photos and watch this video!

Fresh Tip: If you're looking for a great gift to give to your So Cal friends or family members, a Knotts Season Pass is only $66.99. For the whole 2013 year! Or you can break it down into payments of $11.16 if you buy online now through January 13th. So affordable right? That's the gift that keeps on giving the entire year!

Disclosure: I was not paid for this post. I was given passes for me and my family to attend a holiday media preview. Thanks to Knott's for inviting us! The opinions on this blog are 100% mine and 100% fresh!