The week is here! Your little ones maybe home for 1-2 weeks because of Christmas break and some of you even 3 weeks! Here’s some Christmas activities that you might want to try to help pass the time! (These make for GREAT gifts for grandparents coming to visit, the mailman, trash man or gardener for a Christmas thought from your little ones!) – they will love it!

If you have older ones at home check out the activities below for some added on fun!

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Christmas Tree Ornament

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Upcycled Oh-So-Pretty Christmas Tree

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Egg Carton Christmas Trees

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Mistletoe Plates

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DIY Cookie Ornaments

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Goodluck to all you parents and nannies!

Remember, we got this!!

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

”Tis the season of baking! I have been in and out of the kitchen for what feels like days baking up a storm! Cookies for the fire station, brownies for the neighbors, pies for my families and the list goes on!

I wanted to share with you some cooking projects to perhaps include your little ones in on this year or just to make for when your family comes to town to visit!

First up, we have the Christmas Breakfast Casserole!

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Christmas Breakfast Sausage

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Crustless Spinach Quiche

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Cocktail Meatballs

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Stuffed Artichoke Casserole

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Christmas Punch

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Gin & Appletiser Cocktail

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Christmas Log Recipe

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Christmas Crack

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Chai Tea Eggnog Cookies

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Peppermint Bonbon Cookies

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Death by Caramel Bars

Happy Cooking!

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With announcing the winner of this months giveaway I thought it would be wise to pass along some tips about giving this holiday season! For the past four years I have been taking pride in giving back. I have been making homemade cookies for the local fire station and making personalized cards for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Now they both take time in making so honestly props to you if you decide or do currently do this.

However is time isn’t on your side you may resort to other giving back ideas.
Some are listed below but not limited to.

1) Donating old/new toys to children in need. This is a GREAT way to make room this season for the new toys Santa is bringing and teach children the important gift of giving. This way you are cleaning out the toys your children don’t use and make room for the new ones coming in. Make a day out of this! Get a bin and explain to your children, some families cannot afford toys or have any toys and we should donate the ones we don’t play with. At the end, explain to your children that “Santa or your elf on the shelf” was probably watching and will definitely give a good report to Santa because they gave back to the community.

3) Make cards! Have your children engage in making cards for other children or people serving our country. Include this in your art time! Even 1 card makes a difference!

Make Cards For Hospitalized Children

Operation We Are Here

*Mailing cards may have a specific deadline. Please refer to the choosen site before making*

2) Make a donation. The internet makes it easier than ever to donate to the charity of your choice, just go to the organization’s website! Also, Facebook now has a tool that allows you to ask your Facebook friends for donations, which may encourage them to donate to your specified cause. Check it on out! Here is just one I personally donate to!

Make A Wish

3)Volunteer! If you would rather not spend money to give back, you can always volunteer at different organizations and non-profits! Some local groups may also be focused on Christmas. Find your organization online or find a local food bank that may need an extra pair of hands during Christmas week!

Volunteer In Orange County

4) Pay it forward! The easiest and best way to give back is to just spread kindness to those around you. Pay it forward and start a cycle of kind actions and giving. Being kind to one another takes little to no effort to do, but can make a huge impact on someone’s day. Challenge yourself with this chart of kindness and see how many you can do!

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Kindness Calendar 2018

With that said, I wanted to spread some holiday cheer and give away alittle something to my followers! With more giveaways to come stand by and keep reading for more!

As for the month of December, the winner of the $25.00 Starbucks Gift Card goes to….

Ashley Campbell

CONGRATULATIONS!

Happy December my friends! It’s officially here and boy did that come fast or what?!

Most of you woke up this morning in search of an elf and I sure hope your kids had a blast looking for him or her! If you are one to forget placing him, try to do it right after bathtime so that doesn’t happen! I remember going into homes sometimes and the elf “forgot” to move over night and no one wants that, BUT we are human we all forget sometimes but try to keep your routine! After all he’s only visiting for a couple weeks!

With that said, we will all be visiting places over the next few weeks with the holidays around the corner and I want to make sure you all have the information you need in order to take it all in! Experience it all with your children because its the time of year to do so! Let kids be kids and take them to see Santa, or drive around with hot chocolate in the car to see Christmas lights, have fun with it!

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Here are just a few places that stuck out to me that you might consider going to holiday season!

Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train
Take the night ride through the historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. The Christmas train will depart from the train station and drop passengers off at the North Pole. Children can share their wishlist with Santa and have a photo taken with him. TICKETS SELL OUT FAST, PURCHASE NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!

Pretend City With Santa
Santa is coming to Pretend City Children’s Museum! Get this great opportunity to meet and tell Santa your holiday wish. Santa will visit and have photo opportunities that provides families an experience with Christmas carols, lights, and Santa himself. This is a wonderful opportunity for adults to capture photos and give children the chance to share their Christmas wish lists with this Jolly Ole’ Fellow. Don’t forget to bring a camera and come early for parking!

Kaleidoscope’s Cheery & Bright Tree Lighting
The evening of family fun will include holiday crafts, face painting, a photo booth, visits with Santa, festive food sampling inside Union Market Mission Viejo and more! Children of all ages will enjoy Singers Company, be enchanted by A Storybook Nutcracker brought to life by students from the PAVE School of the Arts, and a high-energy holiday song and dance performance by students from Orange County School of the Arts OCSA’s (Orange County School of the Arts) MONTAGE! The dancers will be joined by Frosty, Rudolph and Santa himself for a countdown to light up the Christmas Tree!

Winter Fest
Winter Fest OC is coming to town for 18 days and nights, blowing tons of family fun into the OC Fair & Event Center. Winter Fest OC is a giant wonderland of fun, featuring ice tubing down an 8-lane, 150 foot real ice summit; massive snow play and slide area with fresh snow blown in daily; an all new SoCal Dickens Village, where you can take a trip down memory lane through the 1800’s with holidays past, present and future. Decorate Christmas cookies, listen to holiday storytelling, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through Christmas Eve), enjoy a pony ride, and visit the new Victorian holiday shops. Make sure you don’t miss the magic of Santa and his Reindeer flying over the fairgrounds through Christmas Eve!

Christmas Boat Parade
Join over a million viewers as you watch beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sail along the harbor in the 110th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. Go early for parking and dress warm!

Personally the list goes on and on so check out these sites as well!

Winter Holiday Events in Orange County

Guide to Christmas in Orange County

Lastly, when your out and about don’t forget deals are still going on in the stores! If you are one that gets gifts early then you might want to start considering what you are getting your little ones this year, or what to get their friends/cousins. I went ahead and thought of some toys/gifts that might be on the children’s list this year that you might just want to scroll through (even to get some ideas going) so take a look! See what you like and if you think or more let me know I would love to add it to the list for other parents and guardians!

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In no specific order or gender.

PJ Masks Headquarters

Dinosaur Sound Book

Octonauts Play Set

Sofia The First Castle

Paw Patrol Play Mat

Paw Patrol Driver Set

Lego Sets

Kid Craft Doll House

Dream Works Toy Tree

Daniel Tigers All In One Playset

Doc McStuffins Bag

Sesame Street Desk Chair

The Incredibles Bike

Big Dig Ride On Crane

And the list goes on!

Don’t forget to enter in my giveaway! Winner will be chosen at random on December 4th! For guidelines see previous blog entry!

Goodluck!

I am back! I apologize for the delay in responses BUT

I have a good excuse!

I GOT MARRIED!

The planning is officially over and that means back to business! Or shall I say, back to blogging!

I may have skipped Thanksgiving posts BUT Christmas is just a few weeks away and you best believe I am ready to give you all my tips and tricks for surviving the holidays with your little ones and family members! (Because we all know how that is!)

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We always say we look forward to the holidays but with the shopping, cooking, hosting and stressing its a lot to take in! So take a breath because it will be alot on your plate BUT we will get through this together!

Just remember Starbucks holiday drinks are out and they help me stay sane! (Well, only the White Chocolate Mocha to be exact!) So remember to put your feet up sometimes and breathe! Its suppose to be happy times!

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First and for most, since it’s not QUITE December yet (but most stores put up Christmas decor weeks ago) start off with decorations! It’s never too early to start putting up your tree and getting into the holiday spirit! If you have an artificial tree go for it! Heck I myself am doing it this weekend with the family!

If you are waiting on purchasing your real tree then set up everything but! Make way to your garage, closet or attic and hang up those stockings and bring out that special China. It will save you time later to focus and decorate your tree!

But wait there’s more ! Don’t forget the outside of your home! A cute simple doormat with Frosty goes a long way and for your kids makes them feel all giddy that Santa is just weeks away! So even a touch will be enough! Your porch doesn’t need to look like Whoville BUT if that’s who you are I am all for it!

And most importantly (if your family does this tradition) find your elf on the shelf! All the elves will make way into homes December 1st and your kiddos won’t want to miss it! Make things exciting and brainstorm new ideas where and how you put your elf! Share your ideas with me and who knows you might be featured on my next post!

Here are some ideas for your first couple days/nights with your elf!

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This weekend I will work on the top things children are asking for from Santa this year (by age) PLUS all the activities in Orange County for Christmas time that you and your family won’t want to miss!

Until then… ITS GIVEAWAY TIME!
Follow the steps below to win!

FIRST GIVEAWAY : $25.00 Starbucks Gift Card!

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Here’s how you enter!

1) LIKE my most recent photo on Instagram (Nicolepatt)

2) Follow/Subscribe to my blog (Don’t worry it won’t cost you!)

3) Tag 2 friends in my most recent Instagram post to do the same! (Your friend must be following in order to win!)

Winner will be announced Tuesday December 4th at 10am at random!

GOODLUCK EVERYONE!

We are officially running out of time people!

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Haven’t made it to the pumpkin patch yet? Want to avoid those crowds considering it’s days until Halloween?!

I have a solution for you! (Well many in fact!)

Here are some events you probably didn’t know about and may interest you! (Don’t worry, I have added some adults only events too!)

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(In order of event date)

Pumpkin Factory : 1025 Westminster Mall, Westminster, CA, 92683
All month of October
Visit the Pumpkin Factory for all your pumpkin needs! Check out the huge selection of pumpkins if all shapes and sizes while the kids play the carnival games, rides, and visit the petting zoo!

Irvine Railroad Park : 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA, 92869
All month of October
Join the fun! Check out the pumpkin patch, train rides, hay rides, bounce houses, face painting, panning for gold, John Deere racing, cookie decorating and more! Only 5 dollars per ticket!

Discovery Cube Science Center : Discovery Cube, 2500 N. Main Street, Santa Ana, CA, 92705
October 6-31, 2018
Throughout the month of October, Discovery Cube is inviting guests to visit The BeWitchery, where Ashes, our resident student witch, will use chemistry to teach you how to make potions, experiment with light and shadows at Bolton’s Shock Lab or help Vlad, their student vampire, discover his reflection in the infinity mirror.

http://www.santaanazoo.org/ : Santa Ana Zoo, 1801 E. Chestnut Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701
October 20, 21, 27, 28, 2018
5:30pm- 8pm
This family-friendly costumed extravaganza holds educational animal presentations, storytelling, and entertainment throughout the evening, with a grand finale costume parade! For the older kids, there’s also “Teen Scream,” a haunted house filled with thrills and chills. This ghoulish attraction has a separate entrance, but is included with the price of admission.

Pretend City : Pretend City Children’s Museum, 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA
October 21-27, 2018
12pm – 2pm
Wear your costume to Pretend City this whole week and receive 25% off your second admission!

Treats in the Streets : Old Towne Orange Plaza Area, Chapman Ave. & Glassell, Orange, CA, 92866
October 25, 2018
4pm-7 pm
The streets surrounding the Old Towne Plaza are going to be closed off to traffic as Old Towne merchants decorate their shops and local non-profit groups provide delicious food items and tasty treats for a nominal charge. Fun activities include games, trick or treating, a costume parade, and entertainment for participants of all ages. (Parents please leave masks and pets at home)

Ghosts & Legends Tour : O’Neill Museum / Historical Society, 31831 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, CA, 92675
October 26 & 27, 2018
Get in the spirit of Halloween by joining the Historical Society Walking Tour Guides on a spooky walking tour of Los Rios Street, the oldest residential neighborhood in California. Be prepared for creepy tales of big black dogs, strange monks who have lost their heads, ghostly tales about a lady in white who have all been seen in this area.

Anaheim Fall Festival & Parade : Downtown Anaheim, 195 W. Center Street, Anaheim, CA, 92805
October 27, 2018
11am-8pm
Anaheim Fall Festival marks a return to homespun goodness with hand crafted old-timey carnival games, local entertainment, pumpkin patches, the traditional Kiddie Costume Contest, the newly named Howl-o-Ween Pooch Parade, themed food offerings and a real Ferris Wheel right on Center Street Promenade. All activities are low-or-no cost to enhance the family friendly nature of this event…come early, stay late, grab a bite from one of the snack vendors on the street or enjoy a meal from the existing brick and mortar restaurants. (Parade starts at 6pm!)

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Halloween Zoo-Tacular! : Orange County Zoo, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA, 92869
October 27, 2018
10am-4pm
Halloween fun at the OC Zoo! Activities include trick-or-treating, kids crafts, a scavenger hunt (12 and under), and fun games! First 100 children in costume receive a free gift! Come see the zoo animals receive treat-filled pumpkins throughout the day. Activities are free with paid zoo admission ($2 per person, ages 2 & under free). Zoo coupons/free passes are not valid for this event. Side note – Parking: $5 per vehicle.

Spooky San Clemente : Community Center, 100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente, CA, 92672
October 27, 2018
4pm-7 pm
Join in on some fright including a haunted maze, a mystical magic show, a costume contest and parade, a movie on the lawn (MONSTERS, INC at 6 pm), and ghostly games. Activity wristbands will be available for purchase for $5 at the event. This is a family-friendly Halloween celebration!

Hometown Halloween : Norman P. Murray Community & Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA, 92691
October 27, 2018
4pm-7 pm
Celebrate the fall holiday with themed carnival games, crafts, music and much more from 4 pm to 6 pm. Then from 6 pm to 7 pm, it’s fun or fright as you travel through our glowing haunted maze.

Halloween Fest : Villa Park Towne Centre, 17855 Santiago Blvd, Villa Park, CA, 92861
October 27, 2018
Join the happy haunting grounds for young ghosts, goblins, a few pirates, some skeletons, and lots of princesses who have escaped from their local castles. Costumed children will have the opportunity to visit local merchants for treats throughout the Towne Centre. There will also be hayrides, a coloring contest, food, commemorative photos and pumpkin carving.

Casa Creepy – Haunted House : Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, CA, 92672
October 27, 28, 31, 2018
7pm-9 pm
Encounter ghosts, mummies, and creepy-crawly surprises around every corner during spooky tours of our historic 1927 home. Period films such as Nosferatu and vintage-themed special effects will ‘reel’ in the whole family, and candy and refreshments will be available. $12 general adult admission, $7 for ages 12 and under.

Pumpkin Splash : Ole Hanson Beach Club, 105 W. Avenida Pico
San Clemente, CA, 92672
October 30, 2018
3pm-5 pm
Bring your bathing suit and towel and jump in the pool with the pumpkins! Free event for all ages – event includes a floating pumpkin patch, giant inflatables, and more! Each participant will be able take home an orange floating friend of their choosing! How cool is that?!

Pretend City : Pretend City Children’s Museum, 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA
October 31st, 2018
10am-3pm
Go Trick-Or-Treating at Pretend City! On Halloween, they are having a special trick-or-treat extravaganza for all friends! Stop by the museum and take part in the Halloween Bug Bash as well as trick-or-treat at different stations through the city! Fee is included with museum admission.

Fall Fest : Hosted by Compass Bible Church, 150 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
October 31, 2018
6pm-9pm
For the past 13 years, Fall Fest has become a favorite event for families to enjoy on Halloween night. Costumes are welcomed…and encouraged but remember NO SCARY COSTUMES!
The event is free, along with rides, games and candy. There will be small charge for food, so please bring cash (credit cards will be accepted with a small add on charge). (I will be personally volunteering at this event!)

Halloween Extravaganza : Central Library Children’s Room, 1000 Avocado Ave, Newport Beach, CA, 92660
October 31, 2018
4pm-5:30 pm
Trick-or-treat at the Newport Beach Public Library! At the library, they’ll have not-so-scary stories, Halloween crafts and yummy treats. Finish the evening with trick-or-treating around the library. Don’t forget to wear your costume! Children must be accompanied by an adult. No registration required.

Family Fall Festival : Central Park, 30842 La Miranda, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, 92688
October 31, 2018
2pm-5pm
Enjoy Spooktacular fun for the entire family at the Fall Family Festival. Trick-or-Treat in a fun and safe environment, enjoy multiple inflatables and bounce houses, partake in the costume contest and join the child and pet costume parade while you listen to music and play games. Entrance is complimentary for SAMLARC members only. Be sure to bring your trick-or-treat bags to fill at the booths around the park!

Halloween Howl : Columbus Tustin Activity Center, 17522 Beneta Way (Corner of Irvine Blvd & Prospect, Tustin, CA, 92780
October 31, 2018
3pm-5pm
Costume contests, family entertainment, carnival games, prizes and candy.

Cooks Corner Event – ADULTS ONLY :
October 31st
7pm
Enjoy live music from Sling Shot! No cover charge, drink & food specials, strictly adults! This will be a Rated-R night!

Looking for more/other events in the area? Check out these!

More Halloween Events in Orange County

It’s getting spookier! It’s getting closer!

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It’s time to start planning those Halloween meals, treats, party sides and favors!

Check out these ideas for your future gatherings!

Halloween breakfast ideas for kids

Halloween lunch ideas for kids

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You can always add in a simple “spooky” trail mix for school! Remember to avoid those peanuts if thats the case!

Dinner anyone? (changing the simple cup and drawing with some sharpie makes such a difference!)

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Remember : Just a few drops of food coloring for this holiday goes a long way!

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How about dessert?! Can’t pass that up!

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Check out your local donut shop Halloween week! I am sure they will have some themed ones you won’t want to pass up!