Trader Joe’s moves in to Pretend City!


My kids and I recently visited Pretend City to celebrate “Noon-Year’s Eve,” a family-friendly New Year’s Eve event offering countdowns and plenty of confetti. As soon as we walked inside the City, my son immediately noticed that the grocery store was closed for renovation. He was disappointed since this is his favorite part of the Pretend City experience.

So, you can imagine my excitement when we were invited to preview the new-and-improved grocery store experience at Pretend City, courtesy of Trader Joe’s! My kids were ecstatic as they raced inside to check it out. They’re already huge fans of Trader Joe’s, so combining TJ’s with one of their favorite kid’s museums is just icing on the cake.

I was amazed at the transformation of the generic grocery store into a mini Trader Joe’s — complete with pint-size carts and baskets, fruits and veggies, bouquets of flowers and even cash registers complete with the infamous Trader Joe’s bells. You’ll also find a “demo” area, Trader Joe’s Crew Member Hawaiian shirts and TJ’s branded products.

My kids both give the renovation two enthusiastic thumbs up! Their favorite part? The interactive cash registers! They loved ringing the bell and checking out “customers” as they came through their aisle. Even re-stocking the items afterward became a fun game.

The small baby-friendly corner that was previously included in the store has been removed to create more space for the produce section of the new Trader Joe’s.

Don’t miss the Grand Opening celebration on Monday, January 16 at 10:15 a.m. The celebration will include a lei-cutting ceremony, free giveaways and more! Plus, kids can observe live demos all day, just like the ones we see at our own neighborhood stores.

For more information about the grocery store and Pretend City, click here.

Address: 29 Hubble, Irvine, California, 92618
Cost: Children over 12 months and adults — $12.50 each





Happy “Noon-Year”!

Happy “Noon-Year”! We had a blast celebrating a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party at Pretend City, where families enjoyed countdowns and confetti every couple of hours to ring in the New Year at the same time it was being celebrated in various spots around the globe.

How did you and your family celebrate the beginning of 2017?


Conquering fears at Pretend City’s Superhero Summer!


My family has always loved Irvine-based Pretend City, so when we heard about a new exhibit opening, we knew we had to check it out! The newest exhibit, “Super Powers,” from Omaha’s Children’s Museum debuted last month and will continue through September 18, 2016. According to the Pretend City website, the exhibit “introduces children to the mental and physical powers displayed by everyday superheroes and allows them to put these powers to the test through daily educational missions.”

My two toddlers put their powers to the test recently during an action-packed visit to the children’s museum. We began at the Super Powers Headquarters, where we had our choice of masks and capes to play the part. Unfortunately both my kiddos were reluctant to put any capes or masks on, but for any superhero-loving kids, this would be a huge hit.

My four-year-old son was immediately drawn to the Sky Slider zip line, though he was rather intimidated by it once we were in line to actually try it. He finally tried it, but was still unsure. After mini-freakouts and running back and forth around the exhibit, he finally worked up his courage to try it again. This time, he tried the shorter zip line, which helped him build up his confidence more. By the end of our visit, he was literally in tears because he didn’t want to stop! I love that he was able to conquer this fear with the help of the awesome Pretend City staff and volunteers!

Another exhibit fave was the Wind Tunnel, where gusts of wind will flutter your superhero cape as you stand in front of a TV screen and appear to be soaring through the air and saving the day! My two-year-old even got a kick out of this one.

The Super Cycle bikes were another fun challenge for my son, who pedaled as fast as he could to make more energy and charge up the fuel cell. Once again he was challenged by this, but he pushed through until he reached his goal.

Other fabulous features of the exhibit include the Comic Creation Station, Rope Maze, Storm Shooter and Decoding Station. But the fun isn’t just for the big kids — my daughter was thrilled to see Mini Hero Park, where the museum’s littlest guests could take off their shoes and play with blocks and balls and crawl through tunnels. My daughter stayed in here for at least a half hour — she loved it! My favorite part? Toddlers and babies are contained in the park by baby gates, which made it easier for me to watch both kids even though they were in different areas of the museum.

I would definitely recommend Pretend City’s Super Powers exhibit the next time you’re in Irvine. Not only is the exhibit worth the trip, but so are the other fun features of the museum — including the Cafe, the Beach, the Grocery Store, the Marina, the Farm, and so much more!

Click here to learn more about the exhibit and start planning your next visit!

P.S. Don’t forget to check the “Field trip report” on the Pretend City homepage to avoid large groups. (If you’re a mom or dad of toddlers and babies, you know how important crowd-size can be!)

Disclaimer: Pretend City provided me with complimentary attendance, though all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photos courtesy Pretend City and Kristin Chessman


Summer fun deal at LEGOLAND California

Are your kids already bored and driving you crazy? I just found an awesome promotion in my email inbox that just may be the perfect cure for summer boredom! If your kids are anything like mine (a.k.a. obsessed with all things Lego) then this is the deal for you. It’s called the LEGOLAND Play Pass, and it costs $95 for kids ages 3 and up. Purchase it today and it’s good until the end of the year! Compare that to the regular one-day admission price of $87, or $93 for ages 13 and up, and you’ve got yourself an amazing deal. Just keep in mind this pass doesn’t include parking and must be redeemed by July 31, 2016.

Click here to check it out!


If you could give a new mom one thing…

It’s probably not what you’re thinking. It’s not a meal, or a new baby outfit, or even diapers (though those gifts are appreciated, of course!)… But the one thing I value most as a new mom is: a shower! A 15-minute, uninterrupted (i.e. No screaming baby parked right outside the shower in a rocker) blissful shower. Not only is this gift much appreciated by the new mom, but it’s also easy on your wallet!