San Diego Kids Expo & Fair…GIVEAWAY!

KIDS fESTI’m always looking for fun, educational, and inexpensive weekend family activities. Even with Tater’s sports games on Saturdays, we still try to scout out at least one fun family destination every weekend. Sometimes it’s the Farmer’s Market, or Zoo (we have passes), or the beach. The annual San Diego Kids Expo and Fair is coming up April 25-26 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and it’s already on my calendar! I’m really excited to be attending this year, and I have a Family Pack of tickets to give away to one of my local readers!

The San Diego Kids Expo and Fair is an annual family favorite event that features games, music, displays and exhibits, catered to all things kids! Read more details about all the offerings here.

Balloon Pool
Balloon Pool at the SD Kids Expo

The San Diego Kids Expo and Fair includes fun for all ages. From babies to adults, there are plenty of activities, exhibits, and hands-on fun for everyone. This year the SD Kids Expo has created a new venue called Playland, designed specifically for kids aged 2-10 and includes mini laser tag, carnival games, and bubble suits. For only $5 per child, they will have unlimited access to Playland. But, you don’t have to spend extra money to have fun. Between the arts and crafts booths, live music, and toy exhibits, it will be an exciting and full day!

Tater is most excited to participate in the Home Depot Workshop building clinics, and she has asked to “pleeeeasssse” go on the 200 foot long zip line. Junior will have a blast listening to the live music (we are so grateful for his cochlear implants!) and visiting the Tumble Gym bus. I’ll enjoy the cooking demos and kid friendly exhibits, and my husband will just enjoy the fun weekend together as a family. Well, and maybe some laser tag too :)

The event runs Saturday and Sunday, April 25-26 from 10am-5pm at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Adult tickets are $8, and children under 12 are free. One winner, selected randomly, will win 2 adult tickets to the San Diego Kids Expo and Fair (and unlimited children under 12). [$16 value]

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20 Household Objects for “Inventor” Kids

My 6 year old, Tater, is a natural born inventor. From the infamous “baby slingshot” she invented when Junior was a newborn (a prototype I did not allow her to test out), to the more recent new and improved “up-the-stairs-diaper-lifter” (a good idea, but not a particularly hygienic design), she’s always been one to tinker.

Here are 20 household items I always try to have on hand for her when she gets a creative bee in her bonnet and wants to invent something. Putting the little, loose items together in a cute container makes it extra easy for her to grab when she’s bored.

You’ll be amazed what creative contraptions your child will come up with…the possibilities are endless, even with these common and somewhat random household objects. When your child is done, you can either toss everything or recycle the items for the next creation.

Most of these things can be found at the dollar store, and if packaged right, would make a really cute DIY gift.

*Certain listed items could be a choking hazard and are recommended for children aged 5 and up. Please supervise children at all times.

1. Rubber Bands
-all different sizes and colors 

2. Paper Clips
-the big clippy ones are extra fun

3. Bottle Caps
-save the caps from your water bottles and juice gallons for different sizes

4. String
-a ball of endless wonder!

5. Tape
-what is it with kids and tape?! 

6. Straws
-we love the big smoothie straws, although the flexible ones are useful too

7. Plastic cups
-paper cups work too

8. Paper plates
-extra points for colorful paper plates

9. Wooden Spoons
-get a pack of them at the dollar store

10. Single Hole Punch
-how else is string supposed to fit through a paper plate?

11. Markers
-for decorating the invention

12. Paper 
-for drawing a model/design

13. Wooden Chopsticks
-who knew!?

14. Paper Muffin Liners
-yes, really…

15. Empty Plastic Containers
-wash out those sour cream and yogurt cups

16. Popsicle Sticks (Craft Sticks)
-one of the best “creative” supplies you can get

17. Cotton Balls
-every invention needs a little padding

18. Metal Washers
-these are super inexpensive at hardware stores

19. Plastic Spoons
-one word: catapult

20 Aluminum Foil
-these turn into balls, wrap thing, become a cover…more useful for the kids than for me!

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Book Review: Home Behind the Sun

After Junior was born and I finally worked my way out of the web of self-pity and grief that all special needs parents have experienced at some point, I began to take on a perspective of simplicity. Things stopped mattering as much, and the desire for simple living gave me a new outlook and peace in my heart. 
I began to look at everything a little differently, and sought to stop and truly enjoy life instead of just passing by without a second thought to the miracles around me. 

Timothy Willard and Jason Locy’s collaboration, Home Behind the Sun, was written to share how we can catch a glimpse of the brilliance of God even in the most mundane and challenging parts of life. It describes the authors’ journeys “out of shadows and into the brilliance.” I was excited to read it, since the book seemed to encompass my new perspective, and would hopefully give me more advice in living a simple and joyful life.

The book is wonderfully written. The words the authors use are poignant and paint a clear and crisp picture in my mind. There is an almost poetic quality to the book, and it’s obvious that these authors consider writing to be a true art form. And, I do like the premise…that we should step out of the doldrums and realize all that God has given us to enjoy in this life.

However, despite the beauty of the words, it was hard for me to get into because the book comes across as overly idealistic, with very little practical advice. I would consider it more to be a memoir than an encouraging Christian living book.

Bottom Line: 6.5*/10*

*Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My View-The San Diego 2014 Wildfires

The San Diego Fires, May 2014

This last week was crazy. Insane crazy. Like the kind of week where you begin to wonder if there really is something to the “It’s a full moon”, theory.

Monday, I just couldn’t get going. I actually had my husband pick up a pizza on his way home from work, which is very rare for a weekday.

Tuesday, I got a phone call that my mom had been in a car accident, and had been transported via ambulance to the hospital. I dropped everything, and my husband rushed home to take the kids so I could go to the hospital. Thank the Lord, she was later released. Although sore, scraped, and bruised, she was fine. 

Wednesday, the largest of some-10 fires in three days started. I’ve been in San Diego my entire life, and went through the 2003 Cedar Fire which nearly destroyed my grandparents built-by-hand dream home (their home was the only one standing for miles), cancelled my college classes for a full week, and created the most eerie dark-at-midday smoke haze you can imagine. I still can’t smell smoke without being transported to those memories. The Cedar Fire remains the worst fire in California history, having burned over a quarter million acres. I also went through the 2007 Witch Creek Fire, which destroyed hundreds of homes in my childhood neighborhood.

So, naturally, when I heard a fire had started up, my first inclination was “Not again“. I drove over to a neighborhood ridge near us to assess the danger and the fire’s proximity. The strong Santa Ana winds are highly unpredictable, and since the fires were getting closer, I decided to pack a bag just in case. It was difficult to relax for the rest of the week, as Stinker’s sporting events were canceled, roads were closed, and the smell of wildfire lingered day and night.

The fires are still not quite 100% contained, but thanks to the amazing bravery and nonstop work of the firefighters, the threat to local homes has been mostly diffused.

Since Wednesday, dozens of homes have been scorched, and the blackened hillside near our home remains a charcoaled reminder that anything can happen, and to not take for granted even one more day.

So much smoke in the air…my father-in-law captured the photo on the bottom right (used with permission) of a fast moving “fire tornado” caused by high winds.

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What’s In My Fridge? And Weekly Menu

You know when you’re out shopping, and you run into someone you know? What’s the first thing you do? Of course, it’s to look into their cart and see what they’re buying. Today, I’m pretending you saw me in the grocery store and I’m opening my fridge for the world to see.

Notice the three different kinds of milk…apparently everyone in my house drinks a different milk. I have a bunch of sour cream (Stinker thinks it goes with everything), a Costco thing of mayo (for my famous Jalalpeno Cheese Dip), loads of fruit, some leftover pizza from going out this weekend, some leftover rice from Freezer Friendly Simple Chicken Soup (used rice instead of noodles this time), some leftover olives from enchiladas, and a few bottles of my favorite soda of all time, Cheerwine. It has no wine, it’s just a super fizzy and delicious cherry soda. It’s my guilty pleasure.

What’s in your fridge today?

Here’s our menu for this week as well:

Sunday
Chicken Enchiladas, Slow Cooker Pinto Beans (subbed black beans for pintos), Chips and Salsa

Monday
Baked Potato Bar, Steamed Broccoil, Spicy Cheese Sauce

Tuesday
Egg Rolls and Veggie Fried Rice

Wednesday
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic Bread
Green Beans

Thursday
Leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs, et al

Friday
Something in the slow cooker using stew beef…not sure what yet

Saturday
Leftovers

What’s on your menu this week?

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