Category: Travel

American Girl Cafe

Sarah is the kind of girl that loves adventuring outside, playing with bugs, and imagination play with friends. But when Sarah was 5 years old and the American Girl brand came out with a new line of dolls, called WellieWishers, I knew it was a good time to introduce her to the American Girl dolls.

The WellieWishers are an American Girl doll for ages 5-7 years old.  When the Wellie Wishers were released as a group of young elementary age girls who meet and play together at Aunt Miranda’s backyard garden, I knew she would love the doll. I got her Camille. Camille is a blonde doll that wears rain boots (Sarah’s favorite shoes) who loves animals and the ocean. 

Excited about the similarities, hubby and I bought her the doll, wrapped it and gave it to her for Chaunkah.

She was super excited to open it, but within a few minutes she moved on to something else didn’t play with the doll EVER. I made a mistake and that her love language was not dolls. She just doesn’t like that quite time. She rather build a fort, pretend she works at a bakery and play with her kitchen, build puzzles and play with gears, or do some kind of art project. So I put the doll back in the box and in her closet. No biggie, she’s just not interested.

Then at the age of 6 she got into Shopkins. These little toys got her into independence play while mama got some things done around the house. Soon after she started playing with stuffed animals, dolls, and barbies. Then one day she asked me where her an American Girl doll was. Ever since that day she’s been playing with Camille often. She’s even taken her outside on her adventures.

Fast forward to now, Sarah is 7.5 years old and ready to start 2nd grade. As a last hurrah before summer ended I took her (and Jacob!) to the American Girl store for lunch.

Now that Sarah was into her doll, she requested a new outfit for Miss Camille. So I gave her a budget and we walked around. This place is so cool!! But after seeing that the American Girl store has matching glasses for girls who wear glasses, I got Sarah a doll outfit AND blue glasses just like Sarah’s.

I highly recommend reservations as we had a 45 minute wait. Which he kids didn’t mind and just played in the store some more.

Once inside, each kid got to sit with their doll in their very own seat. They even offered Jacob a doll to sit with.

After the waiter gave us our menus she explained the bands on the napkins were for us to take home. How sweet! Sarah loved her new pony tail holder.

After we ordered, we got the Warm Welcome. A mini cinnamon roll for each guest. The kids loved starting out with a treat!

Next was the first course. It came with warm spinach artichoke dip, raw veggies, pita and caprese kabobs.

The kids got traditional kids food and I got a pasta dish with veggies. Everything was really good and the decor was bright and cheerful. We had a great time!

While waiting for our food, the kids and I played their table game.

For dessert we each got a cupcake with a sugar cookie on top and their seasonal dessert of chocolate mousse in flower pots.

The kids were in heaven!! And again everything tasted so good!

We had such nice time! I love adventuring with my kiddos.

To see more of our summer adventures click below.

Casitas Water Adventure

Ventura Aquatic Center

California Science Center

Watermelon Festival

Watermelon Festival

I’m a big fan of food festivals! The different types of food, spending time with my family, the activities, the people watching and so much more. My most favorite part is checking out the unique way they incorporate the festival food in all the dishes. We’ve been to the Strawberry Festival, Salsa Festival, Apple Festival, Garlic Festival, and Avocado Festival.

So when I heard the Watermelon Festival was coming to town I was super excited to check it out.

As soon as we got inside we each got a wedge of watermelon!

The kids activities were amazing!!! We got to feed the butterflies in this enclosed tent. There were so many butterflies that one even landed on my back. I freaked out and asked the lady to let me back out. She said that’s what they call butterfly kisses. Eek, no thanks! Hubby and the kids stayed and had a great time!  Next up was the reptile tent. Parrots, snakes, spiders, tortoise and so much more. It was 94 degrees and we were all ready for a much needed break. We checked out the Outshine truck for some free Popsicles. Hubby got the watermelon while the rest of us got different flavors. The kids had fun riding ponies and cuddling with the bunnies in the petting zoo. Sarah could have stayed with the animals for hours!!    They had so many areas set up for kids. We had lots of fun in the bubble area.We walked around some more, spotted a professional watermelon carving booth and tasted the new Coffee Mate Cold Brew. We left home with a big bag of watermelon popcorn and happy memories of our family fun day!

 We also saw watermelon funnel cakes, watermelon tacos and watermelon mixed drinks. So much yummy food!

Have you ever been to the Watermelon Festival? What was your favorite food?

California Science Center

We got to check off another activity off of our Summer Bucket ListWe recently went to the California Science Center in LA with Sarah’s friend Kallista from school.

This museum has lot’s of interactive activities for the kids to push, touch, and play with. This shadow exhibit was lot’s of fun. The kids had to try and beat the tiger. Time for the earthquake exhibit. Eek so scary! My favorite exhibit has to be, the Endeavour. I remember watching the Endeavour on TV as it got pulled around LA. It’s so big, so amazing and so very cool. To think this was in space, but really only a spec in satellites is mind blowing.  Imagine millions of those carpet tiles you see in doctors offices, but instead heat shield tiles that cover the space shuttle. This thing is just so massive!    Just ONE of the huge rocket engines!! It was huge!!!! It’s a good day to wear your space shirt! Next up was the External Tank. The only part of the shuttle stack that isn’t reusable, the external tank carried the propellants to power the space shuttle main engines.  Our cuties!This museum is free, but has a few exhibits that are additional. We prepaid for the Pandas 3D movie for 2pm, but once inside we were so busy that the extra movie was not necessary. However it was a nice 30 minute break. Our final stop was the touch tanks. Sarah loves this part! Jacob, not so much.

Las Vegas (2018)

Since Sarah’s school gets out about 3 weeks before the rest of the schools in our area we packed up the kids and headed to Las Vegas!

Day 1

Our first stop is always the Alien Jerky place. The store itself is one large saucer while different shapes and sizes of aliens line the property. My kids love checking out the bugged eye creatures. Who knew?!Tip: We always leave the kids in their jammies and change in the last rest stop. That way kids in comfy clothes can nap easily. Coincidentally my sister and her fiance were in town the day before. We met up, checked in to our hotel and headed to the pool. This time we stayed at the MGM Grand. We are big fans of a lazy river and this hotel is known for their pools.We washed up and got ready to hit the strip. Right before we left my sister asked the kiddos if they would be a part of their wedding. How cute?!!There is something so amazing about the strip. Being able to walk everywhere, seeing all the sights, the plethora of food choices. I love it! My sister and her fiance!My lovely family!For dinner we went to Tournament of Kings. Each person gets a hearty 3 course meal using the original utensil – their hands. Tip: you can ask for silverware, but the kids thought it was so cool to use their hands. Dinner was a cornish hen, potatoes, roll, broccoli, and soup. Included is unlimited soda refills. A choice of dessert come the last 15 minutes of the show. We were so excited! Each section of the theater was placed in a team. Our team was Russia. So we cheered for the purple horse.  The kids were entertained the whole time!!! The show had so much going on. One minute there’s dancing, horse jousting and even fire. What a fun show!

We walked around a bit and then called it a night.Day 2

We woke up and headed to Paris hotel for breakfast.Kids playing with the jam packets while we wait for our food.Fun fact: The first time I went to Vegas was also on a family vacation and we stayed in the Paris hotel. Somehow my sister found this picture if us, so we thought it was only natural to recreate it. We walked around the strip for a bit. We love walking in and out of hotels. For lunch we stopped by Taco Bell and got icees. Love me some sister time! Our next stop was another favorite, the M&M World. After each kid picked a treat we headed upstairs to see the 3D movie. It was getting really hot so went back to our hotel to swim. Since my sister was in town, hubby and I took advantage of this time and went on a date night. We went to Craftsteak for two reasons. One it was downstairs in our hotel so it was super easy and convenient. Two I love watching Tom Colicchio on Top Chef and have been wanting to check out his restaurant in LA. We are SO glad we did! We had the most amazing meal ever!! Can’t wait to go back! Here is what our desert looked like.While we were at dinner, Osh and Matt took the kids to dinner and walk around. So thankful to have family that loves on my kids.

Osh and Matt had a flight later that night, so we parted ways. Can’t believe she’s going to be a bride soon!We got ready for bed and called it a night. Day 3

Like most mornings we walked downstairs in our PJ’s to get coffee and a snack. Tip: I packed the kids cereal and milk boxes for their breakfast as they like to eat when they wake up.We cleaned up, watched cartoons and mapped out our day.Back at the pool and in that lazy river. Bliss! Funny story, while driving to Vegas, hubby realized he forgot his sunglasses. A quick order on Amazon and it arrived to our hotel just in time. My sweet hubby even got me a pair. Me and my little man.J needed a nap so hubby took him upstairs while Sarah and I had mommy daughter time.We spent most of the day in the pool and then showered and got ready for the evening.

We checked out the Hershey’s Chocolate World store in NYNY hotel, The Tipsy Robot bar in Miracle Mile Shops and walked around MGM Grand for a bit. Day 4

After going on our usual Starbucks run the kids wanted pancakes. Since we are not morning people and it would take us longer to get ready then to head over to a restaurant we Uber Eats a pancake breakfast for each person (sorry this picture is after we ate). One last swim before we have to check out. We packed up and headed to our final destination, The Pinball Museum. Back on the road and back to reality. Looks like one of us couldn’t hang. Love these family trips!

See our past Las Vegas vacations below.

Las Vegas 2017

Las Vegas 2016

Las Vegas 2015

Las Vegas 2014

Casitas Water Adventure

After sharing my review on Ventura Aquatic Center I got a lot of comments on how much people liked reading a review from a moms point of view. So today I decided to review another fun summer location, Casitas Water Adventure.Nestled near Lake Casitas this park is split into 4 different areas. The activity pool, lazy river, lagoon and splash pad.

We started our day in the in the activity pool. This multi-level jungle gym with waterfalls, bridges and slides in a lagoon with water up to 18″ deep.Certified lifeguards are on hand at all times and life jackets are available at no extra charge (while supplies last).Next up we visited the lazy river. A great spot for the whole family, the Lazy River offers a cool water ride on inner tubes along a scenic waterway featuring waterfalls, fog filled bridges and jet sprays. The inner tubes are available free of charge on a first come, first served basis. Tip: wear water shoes as ground is very hot.  We took a break for a bit and hung out by the lawn chairs. They also have a few shaded decks. 

Unfortunately due to safety concerns, food and drinks, with the exception of bottled water, are not allowed inside the Casitas Water Adventure. However outside the park is a snack bar and picnic tables. (picture is from Google)

Next up was the splash pad. This small area is best suited for babies and toddlers.

The last area we visited was the lagoon. This 3 foot beach entry “pool” is best for babies and toddlers. Family members can hang out by the edge while their kiddos splash around.

Our favorite spot for the day was the Lazy River. While the whole park had really cold water, it was nice and relaxing going around the lazy river. Tip: Locker rentals are available for a nominal fee. Showers are coin operated.

Price: Children under 1 year of age are free while each guest is $13. Weekend and holiday rate is $15 per guest. If you get there the last 3 hours of the day you can get a late day pass and pay only $7.50 per guest. Parking is $10 cash only.

Ventura Aquatic Center

In between camps and vacations my mom group gets together throughout the summer for fun outings. We recently ventured out to Ventura Aquatic Center and had so much fun!!!This place is a little tricky so you have to plan accordingly. They have set hours like M/W/F from 12-4 pm, Tuesday and Thursday from 1-4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am-4pm. You also have to get there about 30-45 minutes before to get in line as the places reaches capacity often. So our drill is to get there an hour before, eat lunch at the picnic tables while our bags are in line saving our spot.

Tip: they let camps and their Splash Pass holders in before the general public.

After we got our spot by the lounge chairs we ran to our favorite spot, the activity pool. Our next stop was the 2 water slides. The blue slide is uncovered and the green slide is covered. You have to be 42 inches to get on.Our elementary school kids loved the slides, but our toddlers were more comfortable staying in the activity pool slide.   The pool was also a fun spot to hang out. (This picture is from Google pics)

Tip: Every hour the Aquatic Center makes everyone come out for 5 minutes. This way everyone is accounted for and the facility can check their pools for any safety issues.

Lounging with the mamas on this beautiful summer day! Tip: Bring your own beach chairs for extra seating.We always end the day with shaved ice from the Kona Ice truck.  Tip: The Kona Ice truck takes cash only.The kiddos!Love doing life with these amazing mamas!

Looking forward to our next adventure!

Oshrat’s Bachelorette

Back when it was my wedding (almost 10 years ago! Ahhhhh!) bridal parties and their friends got together for thier bachelorette the night before the wedding or a safer bet a few days before (we chose the later).

Now the trend is for the bachelorette and her friends to go on a girls trip. These trips can be local or even as far as taking a flight across oceans, weeks and even months before their wedding.

It all started with my sister G’s wedding last year when we went to Mexico.

This year my sister Oshrat’s getting married! With much excitement this sis opted for something in Cali. Palm Springs to be exact. I was so excited!

So 2 Cali residents and 4 Floridians (unfortunately one got girl sick and had to cancel last minute) headed to Palm Springs for a bachelorette weekend or as we nicknamed it Bachella.

Day 1
We met the Floridians at the airport, munched on some doughnuts I ordered and made our way to Palm Springs.

Traffic was a nightmare and the hotel didn’t have the room we requested, but we we’re determined to make day one amazing regardless.

First things first, decorating the bride-to-be’s room. 

We also put together the girls “survival” bags.

Tank // towel // flower crown

After a visit to the pool we cleaned up and made our way to the hotel restaurant, El Jefe.

Both the tacos and margaritas were amazing! Highly suggest this place for a casual night out.

Me and G!

We hung around the hotel for bit, but after traveling all day, we called it a night and headed back to our rooms.

Day 2

Before picking our hotel The Saguaro Palm Springs I read that they had bikes for their guests to rent. Well Osh loved this idea and in hindsight I wish I never told her about it.

We grabbed our bikes, took some pics and hit the town. My beautiful sisters!Our first stop was a cute restaurant I found on Yelp a few weeks ago. Unfortunately this restaurant was closed while we were in town. Hot and hungry, we stopped at a random restaurant in the plaza. Thankfully it had good food, COLD air and a drink menu.  At one point it reached 115 degrees and we were toast!! We found a bus that would take half the group (bus only had room for 3 bikes) back to the hotel while the rest of the group waited for the next bus. But sitting in the hot sun in a black box sounded horrible. So Osh, her friend, Irina and I made the trek back to the hotel on bike. 

It was a horrible idea!!! We came back bright red, over heated and depleted. Again the idea of riding bikes sounded cute, but not in Palm Springs on the hottest day in summer!!

We spent the rest of the day cooling off in the pool.The bride-to-be in her ring float from hereWith high temps in Palm Springs they really make sure your hydrated during your stay. They have water in the lobby and the cutest cactus drinking dispenser by each cabana.It was 6pm and still super hot!! We opted to rest for a bit in our rooms before heading out for the night.

G was in charge of dinner locations and she didn’t disappoint. We went to the Parker hotel and had dinner at Norma’s. After dinner the waiter brought Osh a surprise dessert.We hung out in the gorgeous hotel for a bit before heading back to ours. Love my g! Day 3

We started the day with breakfast at Jake’s where I had the yummiest Bloody Mary.

Our adventure for the day was the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.We took the 10 tram ride to 8,516 feet on the cliffs of Chino Canyon. It was frighting!!! I looked down once and got all woozy. Thankfully one of my sisters brave friends took this picture for me. Back on land we enjoyed the views and exploring Mt. San Jacinto State Park. It was beautiful! Everywhere you stepped, nature was showing her beauty.   We even checked out the butterscotch tree.  Back at our hotel and in the pool.   We rested for a bit and then headed out for dinner. We didn’t have reservations for dinner on this night so we hung out at the Workshop Bar for a bit before going into The Kitchen.It was delicious! Highly recommend their tacos and apps. Day 4

We packed our bags and ended the trip with brunch at Trio. I had this amazing french toast with the biggest blackberries you have ever seen!And that’s a wrap on Bachella! I had lot’s of fun hanging out with my sisters and getting to know her friends better.

Up next…the bridal shower later this month.

PS big shutout to my hubby for holding down the fort. You are the best!

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