Escape the summer heat at Pretend City’s newest exhibit

Summer has definitely arrived in Orange County! And warmer temperatures have prompted my family and I to seek out fun ways to stay cool. One of these summertime solutions is also a favorite of ours year-round — Pretend City

The Irvine-based children’s museum is currently featuring an ocean-themed exhibit called “Adventure Under the Sea.”

During the exhibit, guests can explore super-fun themed days, such as Mermaid Mondays, Tide Pool Tuesdays, Water Safety Wednesdays, Think Tank Thursdays and Fish Fridays! Check them out here:

  • Mermaid Mondays – (11am-12:30pm) Story time, meet and greet and photos with mermaids. (No mermaids July 10 or 31)
  • Tide Pool Tuesdays – (10am-1pm) Featuring real and pretend mobile touch tanks for kids to explore.
  • Water Safety Wednesdays – (12:30pm-1:30pm) Valuable summertime water safety tips from local water safety experts and swim schools.
  • Think Tank Thursdays – (12:30pm-1:30pm) Explore science, technology, engineering and math skills while learning about our oceans, water cycles and more.
  • Fish Fridays – (12:30pm-1:30pm) Learn how to keep our oceans and beaches clean to protect our fishy friends. (No activity on July 14 or 21)

Once you enter the museum, you can find this exhibit in the back left corner. Once inside, you can’t miss the main attraction, the HUGE whale-shaped bounce house! Parents need to accompany little ones inside the bounce house, which proved tricky for me, since my daughter really wanted to go in and my son most definitely did NOT. My whole crew ultimately gave it a shot, but we only lasted a matter of seconds before they all wanted to get out. I think it was just a bit too loud/dark inside for my youngsters, but I think older children would get a kick out of it! 

My crew did, however, enjoy some of the other interactive parts of the exhibit, such as the photo booth dress-up area, and even a section where they could help build and decorate a ship.

Beat the heat and enjoy this splashy exhibit all summer long, through September 7!


OC Easter wrap-up

Spring has sprung in Orange County, and we have the beautiful weather to prove it! Kids are enjoying spring break, flowers are in full bloom and Easter is just around the corner. If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate Easter with little ones, I highly recommend visiting Irvine Park Railroad through April 15 for the “Easter Eggstravaganza.” My family and I look forward to this event each and every year. Not only can your family meet and take pictures with the Easter Bunny, but you can also choose from an assortment of Easter-related activities, from an Easter egg hunt to carnival-style games, cookie decorating, face painting, bounce houses, a coloring station, and of course, a train ride.

Upon arrival, I recommend purchasing a book of tickets. You can purchase activity tickets for $5 each, but they go very quickly here, so I recommend the book of 15 tickets for $60 (a $15 savings) — whichever tickets are left over can be used at any other events at the park, such as Halloween or Christmas. Next, I suggest heading over to the egg hunt booth to get a wristband for an egg hunt. Hunts are divided by age categories, such as 2-4, 2-7 and 2-12. Once you have your wristband, you can relax and enjoy the activities while waiting for your designated egg hunt time. The egg hunts cost two tickets per child.

A visit to Irvine Park Railroad isn’t complete without meeting the Easter Bunny, too! For $10, your family can meet the bunny and have one picture printed. (Sign up for the park’s email list and you can receive coupons, such as an additional free picture from your session!).

Keep in mind that weekends at the park can be extremely busy, so if at all possible, I recommend planning your visit on a weekday. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on weekends. For additional information, click here.

If you’re simply looking for an Easter Bunny photo experience, you may want to check out The Shops at Mission Viejo for a hassle-free visit. We all know how hard it can be to wait in a long line with wiggly toddlers in tow, so that’s why I love the online appointment option offered here — sign up for a reserved time slot ahead of time to skip the line! Online scheduling requires a $10 deposit, which will be applied toward your purchase of a bunny photo package.

Have fun, and Happy Easter!


Festival family fun at Kidchella!

Get ready to move and groove at Pretend City’s Kidchella Festival this week! The festival runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through Saturday, April 8. They’ve got live music from local talent and even a real car kids can paint on! For all your little artists, there are plenty of festival arts and crafts, plus music to dance to. For more information, check out the Pretend City website. I’ll post an update soon after my crew checks it out soon!


#CMFamilyFest is this Sunday, 4/19


The countdown is on to Club MomMe’s second annual Spring Fest, the premiere event for parents and parents-to-be in Southern California. Check out the newest baby, kid and parenting products. Listen to industry experts and celebrity moms speak out on hot parenting topics, then visit the nine interactive lounges for both parents and kids. There’s a little something for everyone!

For more information and to register, click here.


Family fun at Club MomMe OC Spring Family Fest

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Club MomMe OC Spring Family Fest, held at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in beautiful Huntington Beach.

Club MomMe event

Unfortunately, we arrived super late thanks to a crazy morning and two kiddos napping in the car at the precise time I wanted to arrive at this event. Oh well, the life of a mom! We were still able to check out the vendors and have plenty of fun, thanks in part to some scooters my son and another toddler hijacked for almost an hour of pure bliss.

I could have spent hours perusing the many products and services on hand at Spring Fest. From sleep trainers to healthy baby and toddler food to nursing pros, there was plenty of helpful baby advice and information on hand. I loved the family-friendly feel of the event, including plenty of diaper changing stations and even a clown blowing up balloons.

Here are a few of my favorite finds from this event:

1. The Sili Squeeze

Sili SqueezeThis is one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” products. My son is obsessed (and I mean OBSESSED) with organic yogurt smoothies in the pouch form, so this product definitely piqued my interest. It’s a reusable squeeze pouch with a spill-proof spout. Choose between the Sili Squeeze or the Sili Squeeze with Eeze, which has a free-flowing spout for ages 2+.Even my 7-month-old loved the feel of the Sili Squeeze, and was easily able to hold on to it. $14.99, thesilico.com



2. Poncho Baby’s Nursing Cover

Poncho Baby Nursing CoverI’ve been using my Bebe au Lait nursing cover for almost three years, starting with the birth of my son, and now with the arrival of my daughter. I love the soft material and the open neckline, which makes it easy to peek in at baby while nursing. But my only issue is the lack of coverage in the back. I typically pull my shirts up to nurse, leaving my lower back exposed while nursing. I tend to be more modest, so I usually slip on a cardigan first, then slip on my nursing cover, in order to avoid extra exposure while nursing in public. But now that summertime is here, this is no easy feat — I find both myself and my baby heating up with both my cardigan and nursing cover. So, when I came across this nursing cover at Spring Fest, I instantly liked what I saw. It’s one of the few nursing covers I’ve seen that provides both front AND back coverage. Plus, the opening allows you to easily see baby while nursing.There are even two inside pockets to hold pacifiers or other items while nursing. I was also shown how the product could be used to cover my daughter while napping in her carseat — talk about multitasking! Choose between the oval or square shape. Personally, I think square is the best fit for me! $48, ponchobaby.com

3. Bella Bundles’ Infant Drool Bib

Bella BundlesIt doesn’t get much cuter than this bib by Bella Bundles. Not only is it adorable, but it’s also super-functional. So many bibs fail to catch the drool and food that sneak between that little valley between baby’s chin and the front of the bib. But not this one! Thanks to it’s oh-so-sweet collar, you won’t miss a drip! Made with 100-percent cotton and terry velour. $14, bbundles.com



Thanks again to Club MomMe for the opportunity to attend this awesome event!

Photo of Spring Fest courtesy Club MomMe