Category Archives: Explore OC

Snoopy’s Costume Party – A Knott So Scary Event!

I think it is safe to say that Fall is finally in the air, and I love this time of year! Before having children, I used to love having the daylights scared out of me at spooky Halloween events, and my husband and I had a blast attending the Haunt each year at Knott’s Scary Farm. Now that I am a mom, and have small babies, I am always on the lookout for events that are family-friendly.

Today, we had the opportunity to visit Camp Spooky and attend Snoopy’s Costume Party at Knott’s Berry Farm. Camp Spooky is a “knott-so-scary” Halloween event that takes place during the day, between 10am – 5:30pm, every weekend in October, through the 28th.

The event is geared for children ages 3-11, but my babies still had a blast meeting the Peanut characters and trick-or-treating for the first time!

Admission for Snoopy’s Costume Party is included in the regular admission price, such a good deal! Here are just a few of the fun activities for the kiddos:

Spooky Ookie Scavenger Hunt: Answer each riddle correctly, and find a treat at each of the five trick-or-treat locations.

The Great Pumpkin Hay Bale Maze: I would have to say this was our girls’ favorite part of the event and I think they could’ve played in there for hours!

Kooky Cookie Painting – Show your creativity and decorate your own cookie or smear frosting around with your fingers and get messy like Chelsea does!

Scary Stories at the Lodge – When you arrive at the park, make sure you find out the story times so you can gather around the artificial fireplace to listen to some silly ghost stories.

These are just a few of the events going on at Snoopy’s Costume Party in Camp Spooky. Kids can also take part in Snoopy’s Costume Contest and Parade, explore the creepy crawler critter cave, jump in the bounce house and more!

We had a blast at this fun family-friendly Halloween event, and the girls were exhausted after just a couple hours of fun! I think they were asleep in their car seats before we even got out of the parking lot!

For more information on Camp Spooky, visit or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

[Disclosure: My family received complimentary tickets to attend the event. Thank you Knott’s Berry Farm!]

UPDATE: Kids Consignment Sale in OC

I was fortunate to go to the consignor/volunteer pre-sale tonight at the Up Up and Away Kids Consignment Sale, and found some more great bargains!

All together, I saved about 74% off Retail! Not a bad night!!

There are literally 1000’s of items and great bargains available! Make sure you hit the sale when it opens to the public on Wednesday!

Kids Consignment Sale in OC: April 25-28

The Up Up and Away Kids Consignment Sale has been a huge money-saver for our family! Having twins is double the blessing, but also double the expense. It is amazing how fast babies grow out of clothes, gear, and toys!

I found Up Up and Away one year ago, when I was pregnant and decided to volunteer.  You may remember my post on OC Family last May.

During that time, I was one month from delivering my twin girls, and I left the sale with some great bargains!

Changing Table for $27.50

Fisher Price Papasan Cradle Swing for $45 (Retail: $160)

Fisher Price Papasan Bouncer for $20 (Retail: $60)

Bumbo Seat for $10 (Retail: $40)

Evenflo Monitor with Intercom for $15

IKEA Frog Bathroom Organizer for $5

At the last sale in February, I picked up two Playskool Step Start Walk N Ride cars for $10 each. (Retail: $30)

The Up Up and Away Kids Consignment Sale happens four times a year and the next sale is coming up this week! Shop for furniture, strollers, car seats, high chairs, toys, clothing, shoes, play mats, swings, bouncers, games, books, movies, and more!

I spent three hours on Saturday volunteering and was impressed with the high-quality inventory we were checking in! Every item that comes in is inspected for the “used but excellent” quality standards.

This will be my first congisnment sale where I will not only be a shopper but a consignor as well!

The quarterly consignment sale is such an awesome idea, and not only a great way to make a little money by selling items your kids have outgrown, but you can also save up to 90% off of retail prices. If you have kids or know anyone with kids, this is one sale you definitely don’t want to miss! Here are the details for the upcoming sale:

Follow Up Up and Away Kids Consignement on Facebook, to stay up-to-date with all of their upcoming sales. If you are interested in volunteering, or if you are interested in consigning in the next sale, you will receive a pass to enter a private pre-sale, and have first dibs on all of the great bargains!

We are so thankful we found the Up Up and Away Kids Consigment Sale last year and look forward to visiting and consigning with them going forward!

Angels Put a Smile on My Face!

Everyone who knows me, knows this… I love the Angels and Angel Stadium is my happy place!

(Check out my Mickey Scavenger Hunt posts from the 2010 MLB All Star Game)

Last night, we went to our last Angels game before the girls arrive!

Before this game, the Angels have definitely been struggling, scoring only one run over their last 30 innings, on their 1-6 road trip. It was time for the Angels to turn things around. I asked, and thankfully, they answered!

We were so lucky to have received awesome tickets from Smile Generation! Smile Generation is a referral service for best-in-class dentists, I’m the first person to tell you that finding a dentist is not easy, (since I am so picky) because I went through 4 dentists before finding the perfect one in So Cal!

Back on their home turf, and the first inter-league game of the season, for both teams, the Angels dominated! Ervin Santana pitched a four-hitter for his sixth career shutout! Mark Trumbo hit a 3-run homer and Alberto Callapso had 3 R.B.I’s.

Everyone had an extraordinary game and the Angels finally got out of their losing funk. It was an awesome “last live game” to attend for the season! (Don’t worry… when possible, I never miss a game from my couch!)

As if “Lighting up the Halo” isn’t the perfect ending to a perfect night, Fridays are also Big Bang Fridays at the Big A! Angels Stadium definitely has one of the best fireworks displays I’ve seen, and if you have not seen it, you need to buy tickets to a Friday night game!

With a big victory last night, we finally got our mojo back. The Angels will take on the Braves again tonight at 7:05 p.m.

Let’s Light Up the Halo!!


Someone Cares Soup Kitchen

This afternoon, I had the privilege to join some fabulous BlogCrush members and volunteer at the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa, CA.

Marcy Massura, co-founder of BlogCrush, organized the meetup. Once we arrived on location, we were given a tour of the facility, met with some key members that make it all happen, and were able to jump behind the line and serve a delicious, nutritious, feast to those in need.

The mission of Someone Cares Soup Kitchen is simple: To feed a daily nutritional meal to the homeless, unemployed, working poor, mentally & physically challenged, senior citizens, and most important, the children.

I was highly impressed with the nutritional, well-balanced dishes that were offered. Meals are made fresh daily and consist of vegetable soup, lettuce and fruit salads, heart and filling side dishes, breads and muffins, desert, milk and water.

The Soup Kitchen serves over 450 guests every day. Meals are served Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and a pancake breakfast is served on the weekends. For many guests who walk through the door, it is the only meal they eat all day. Their guests are comprised of the following:

  • 25% are families with school aged children
  • 30% are homeless
  • 20% are working poor or unemployed
  • 10% are mentally or physically challenged
  • 15% are senior citizens

The holidays are upon us and on Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, the Soup Kitchen serves up a special meal to over 500 guests. At Christmas, a toy drive is also organized for the kids. Children are able to visit with and have their picture taken with Santa Claus and receive their Christmas presents. It is the busiest day of the year for the Soup Kitchen.

As we sit down at the table to feast our holiday meals, it is important to remember that are so many people right here in Orange County, who go to bed hungry. The Someone Cares Soup Kitchen has launched a $50,000 in 50 Days campaign to help feed the less fortunate.

In 2009, Corey Donaldson, local business owner, and his taskforce successfully spearheaded a campaign to raise $40,000 in 40 days for Someone Cares Soup Kitchen’s holiday programs. The campaign allowed Someone Cares Soup Kitchen to fill 450 backpacks with more than 14,000 items, host a holiday dinner for 1,200 and give away more than 3,000 new, unwrapped toys as well as support the soup kitchen’s ongoing programs, including its tutoring center for at-risk kids.

This year, they aim to raise 50K in 50 days. If you would like to make a donation, you can visit

It was an eye-opening experience volunteering in the Soup Kitchen today and I look forward to volunteering again soon!

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REVEAL Party on the Water!

I know you have heard of Ocean Institute’s Million Dollar Home Raffle in a previous post but have you heard about the HIP Networking Mixer / PARTY, known as REVEAL that is coming up?

If you are looking for an increible opportunity to network, meet new friends, enjoy live music, AND hit the dance floor, you are invited to join the fun at the REVEAL party on Friday, October 8 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Admission is only $5 to get in and all proceeds will go to benefit the Ocean Institute, a non-profit 501-C3. There will also be some awesome door prizes given out.

Make sure you come hungry, because there are going to be a lot of community partners with a delicious dish, including:

    • Ball Park Pizza
    • Olamendi’s
    • Sundried Tomato
    • Taco Surf
    • Sarducci’s
    • Chik Fil A
    • Divine Desserts Etc

There will be a live DJ, Ascend, mixing beats, so hit the dance floor and shake your groove thing! There are a lot of networking events, but where else can you bust out the sprinkler?

I am really looking forward to the event tomorrow and hope to see you all there! You can still RSVP on the Ocean Institute Event Page. Am I sensing a dance off… ?

I know traffic will be a mess, but once you get off the freeway, I promise the drive will be gorgeous and you will be so glad you made it! See you all tomorrow!


Ocean Institute’s Million Dollar Home Raffle

I had the pleasure of exploring Ocean Institute for the first time on Friday and I was blown away! If you have not been to Dana Point to see this place, it is a must see in Orange County! They host hundreds of field trips, overnights, and sea adventures. Kids walk away saying it was the best trip they ever had.

Ocean Institute is a non-profit organization that has become nationally recognized for its hands-on marine science, environmental education and maritime history programs. More than 110,000 K-12 students and 8,000 teachers annually participate in the Institute’s 61 award-winning, immersion style programs.

To learn about oceanography, science, and California history, students voyage onto the ocean, study in labs and live aboard tall ships or in the chaparral, where they can feel and taste the salty sea spray, sort through live specimens, observe migrating whales, collect scientific data and investigate the culture and world around them.

On weekends, we open our doors to the public for a sneak peek into how ocean science, history, and literature are used to inspire life-long learners!

I was completely fascinated by Ocean Institute and wished that my school in Maine could’ve taken part of some of the adventures. Then I found out that the organization is nationally recognized and they also bring in groups of kids via live stream around the world. How cool is that! Seriously, this place is amazing.

So, you may have heard of Ocean Institute’s 6th Annual Laguna Beach Million Dollar Home Raffle. Since OI is a non-profit organization, this is the biggest event of the year and plays a large role in keeping their doors open. For the 6th year in a row, they are raffling off a Million Dollar Home in Laguna Beach! Don’t want a home? No problem, you can take the $1 million dollars instead!

Raffle tickets are $150 and a maximum of 20,000 tickets will be sold. You will have a lot better odds in this raffle than winning the lottery! Over 300 prizes will be awarded, including the grand prize of $1,000,000 cash or a beautiful, ocean-view home in Laguna Beach. Other prizes include cash, shopping sprees, dream vacations, iPods, hotel stays, and more!

Buying more then one ticket? You will also be entered into additional multiple ticket drawings including a Toyota Prius, South Coast Plaza Shopping Spree, Cash, or a dream vacation! If you refer-a-friend you will be entered into a separate drawing where you AND your friend could win $10,000 cash!

Raffle tickets may be purchased over the phone by calling 949-542-3600 or by faxing your order form to 949-542-3601.

By purchasing a raffle ticket, you will also receive a complimentary Individual Membership to Ocean Instittue. If you purchase two or more tickets, you will receive a complimentary Family Membership! Get ready to explore a whole new world, under the sea!

All proceeds from the raffle will benefit Ocean Institute, so really, this is a 100% win-win!


ConnectOC – Round 2

ConnectOC brings professionals, companies, government agencies, networking groups and non-profits, from around Orange County, together for social networking mixers. This group is very active in social media and for the most part, everybody originally met online.

Tonight’s event, ConnectOC 2.0: Children and Community, was graciously hosted by Hilton Costa Mesa. The event was free to attend, parking was $5 and all proceeds raised went to benefit two charities, Build Futures and the Orange County Chapter of Child Help. Additional money was also raised through a raffle and silent auction. Rumor has it, over 400 people attended and over $4,000 was raised tonight!

I have met a lot of amazing people through social media and have made some great friends that I probably would never have come in contact with before my tweeting days. In this tough economic time, social networking is more important than ever. It is always great to connect in person and walk up to @TwitterName and shake their hand. ConnectOC really does a great job of bringing people together.

Shout out to some incredible tweeps I hung out with tonight: @OceanInstitute @MarkGundlach @DippinDotWoman, @TravelCostaMesa, @DanaSipper, @RicDizon, @kphamsmiles @theglamlife @jjerryreed, @FutureLeadersOC, @inksaint…and many more!

BIG BIG Thank you to @HiltonCostaMesa and @ConnectOC for putting on yet another awesome event! It was so good, I did not even have time to tweet… that is impressive!

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Holls Goes… to JAIL??

Earlier this year, Trent and I attended the Boys & Girls Club Annual Gala Auction that benefited the Motel Kids Outreach program in Anaheim. As we were walking around the silent auction, one item caught my eye, and I had to place my bid. In the last 30 seconds of the auction, and a 3rd bid down of $70, I won:

A detailed tour of the Santa Ana Police Administration Facility including the Emergency Dispatch Center, Firearms Training Center, Driver Training Simulator, and Jail Facility. The tour will also include lunch with the Chief of Police at the Police Department’s Code 7 Cafe.

We were supposed to be at the police station at 10:30, but did not get there until 10:45 after we got mis-directed. I’m thinking that not knowing where the jail was may be a good thing! The Santa Ana Police Department provides law enforcement services to the largest city (by population) in Orange County. In Santa Ana, there is approximately 1 officer for every 1,000 residents. The Santa Ana PD has been providing services to their city for 130 years, but have only been in the current building for 14 years.

Our tour started out in administration and we got to see where all of the different departments were located. We were able to see the Emergency Dispatch Center where all 9-1-1 calls come in for the city. Over 1,200 calls are fielded each day. Everything was completely automated and the professionals had 4 computer screens in front of them. They were able to see where every officer was located on the street and the technology was really impressive!

Next stop, Driver Training Simulator! This complex simulator looked like a gigantic video game from Dave & Busters. It is a lot more cost effective and safer to train officers in this manner than on the street.

This advanced simulator is designed to teach judgement, decision-making, and critical thinking skills for operating an emergency vehicle during routine, code-3, and pursuit conditions.

There were some very graphic photos on the wall of crashes involving police vehicles. It is a reminder that safety is always the number one priority.

We headed over to the Joseph S. Boyd Firearms Training Center which is a complete indoor shooting facility. The facility was named after Rangemaster, Joseph S. Boyd, who was tragically killed while on duty on January 28, 1998. He was attempting to make safe an illegally converted machine pistol. During the test firing, the weapon had a stoppage, and while attempting to make the weapon safe, the weapon had a malfunction and unexpectedly fired uncontrollably in full auto.

This training center is a complete indoor shooting facility, featuring the latest in range technology. The Rangemaster told us everyone uses their own gun as opposed to lasers, which you may find in other police facilities. They recognize that gun battles in the real world tend to happen within ten feet and officers are trained to react in close proximity. The room is very insulated which keeps the noise levels down. Officers are required to have intense training here every 2 months.

You can see in the photo to the left, a 35 degree ramp behind the targets. This is made of a large steel plate covered with chewed up rubber tires which catches the bullets and prevents them from ricocheting around the room.

We had lunch with Paul Walters, Chief of Police and Russ Davis, Jail Administrator, at the Code 7 Cafe. I cannot believe everything we have seen was in the same building! The cafeteria and jail food were both provided by Aramark, the same company that serves food at Angels Stadium – not too shabby! The jail kitchen was HUGE. They provide meals to 18 jail facilities in California!

When lunch was over, it was time to go to the Slammer! The Santa Ana PD seemed to have a very smooth and quick booking process compared to other facilities, but we were not there at 11PM to test that theory out! It was really fascinating to get this tour from the “outside.” There were so many pictures that I wanted to take, but thought it was best to keep my camera in my pocket since these people were actually getting booked.. grrr.

The Santa Ana Jail is connected by an underground tunnel to the Orange County Jail that is located directly across the street. If I ever had to go to the slammer, I would REALLY hope to stay in the Santa Ana Jail! Inmates here are treated fairly and are not cuffed in the booking room. If they can behave and act civil, then they have the “freedom” to sit and wait on their own. There are holding cells for inmates who are misbehaving and even a room that had a restraint chair! There are phones all around the room and the arrested civilians are free to make all the local calls they would like.

One thing you don’t want, and maybe the most humiliating thing that could happen, is the suspicion that you are hiding a weapon, which is then proceeded by a strip search. We also walked by a chair that acts like a metal detector. Inmates may be asked to sit in the chair which will scan their body cavities for any weapons. Of course, I had to take a seat. I may be the only one to ever sit in this chair with a smile on my face!

The jail is staffed by 127 personnel. We were able to walk into one of the Cell Block Modules when the area was on lock-down. There are 8 modules and each one contains 32 cells which can hold up to 64 inmates. When it was not “lock-down,” they are allowed to roam freely through out their module. For the 97% of the population that complies with the rules, there are generally very few problems. Classes are even offered throughout the day, including computer classes to those who would like to participate. For the 3% who do not want to follow the rules, there is a much stricter part of the jail on a separate floor. These inmates are on lock-down 23 hours out of the day and are allowed no contact with other inmates.

Overall, this was an incredible experience and I am really glad I had the chance to visit the jail and learn more about the criminal justice system… especially since I was able to keep MY clothes on – ha!

Next up for me… I think I’ll do a Ride-Along… stay tuned!

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2010 All-Star Summer Lineup

All-Star Summer has arrived!

FanFest: Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest is an interactive baseball theme park and the largest baseball fan event in the world. The event will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center, located adjacent to the Hilton Anaheim. The event will feature interactive exhibits, MLB clinics, seminars, autograph sessions, memorabilia and more. For more information or to purchase tickets for All-Star FanFest, visit the MLB Website.

All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run: Run like an All-Star and sign up for the 5K or 1 mile Fun Run. This is a fun, family-friendly event and walkers and runners are all welcome. Part of the course includes running around Angels field! Each participant will receive a commemorative All-Star medal and t-shirt. Jillian Michaels, host of  The Biggest Loser, will be at the finish line cheering you on. All money raised in this event will support cancer charities.

XM All-Star Futures Game: The Futures Game is an annual exhibition between a team of top minor league prospects from the United States and a team from other parts of the world. Each roster contains 25 of the best minor league players. The Futures Game will be Game 1 of a Double Header for All Star Sunday.

Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game: This is an annual game that brings former Major-League All-Stars and celebrities together for an entertaining softball game! The softball game will be Game 2 of a Double Header for All Star Sunday.

Gatorade All-Star Workout Day and State Farm Home Run Derby: Watch four sluggers from the American League take on four sluggers from the National League in a home run derby at Angels Stadium!

MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show: The 6th annual MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show will give you the opportunity to see a parade of your favorite All-Star players, Coaches, and Hall of Famers, as they walk down the red carpet that will stretch 3/4 of a mile! The parade will begin on Convention Way (in front of our Anaheim Convention Center) and end on Main Street in Disneyland!

81st Annual All-Star Game: Also known as the Midsummer Classic, watch the All-Stars of the American League take on the All-Stars of the National League in the 81st Annual All-Star Game at Angels Stadium! All-Stars are selected by the fans, players, coaches, and managers. 80 All-Star games have been played with the National League winning 40, American League winning 38, and 2 ties. The game will be broadcast nationally on Fox at 5PM PST.

Here is your line up!

Friday, July 9

  • 8:30 AM – FanFest Opening Ceremonies
  • 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM FanFest Exhibit Halls Open

Saturday, July 10

  • 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM FanFest Exhibit Halls Open

Sunday, July 11

  • 7:30 AM All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run at Angel Stadium
  • 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM FanFest Exhibit Halls Open
  • 3:00 PM XM All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium
  • 6:30 PM All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Angel Stadium

Monday, July 12

  • 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM FanFest Exhibit Halls Open
  • 5:00 PM Home Run Derby at Angel Stadium

Tuesday, July 13

  • 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM FanFest Exhibit Halls Open
  • 11:30 AM All-Star Red Carpet Show; road closures from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
  • 5:00 PM 81st Annual All-Star Game at Angel Stadium

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