Ahead of Schedule This Year

I am so excited that I can say that this year I am ahead of schedule in getting my holiday cards ordered.  Ok, I really need to say that it was super easy this year.  As most of you know we have partnered up with Tiny Prints and have been super excited about it.  

The holidays are more than sneaking up, they are here and just around the corner!  AGH!!!   We knew that most of you have already used Tiny Prints before so it was super easy for us to choose who we wanted to partner up with.  On top of that, they have some of the cutest cards & are great quality.  

If you are receiving our newsletter, you probably received our email sent out Wednesday for Tiny Print's BEST. DEAL. EVER.  At the time, we were given a special exclusively for our clients, but it was only for one day.  GREAT NEWS! Tiny Prints has decided to extend the offer for us till the end of the weekend, November 17, 2013.

 

Simply click on the photo to your left and be sure to enter the following stackable coupons.

25% off Code:  SW1117

Free Shipping: FS13

Please take a moment and share this info with all your friends and family to help spread this holiday season.  

 

Can't wait to see all the beautiful cards you send.  

Always, 

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A Little Note of Hope

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This weeks fun find is something that you can do as a family and will help teach your little ones that a little bit can definitely go a long way.  Brighten someone's day by making a greeting card or postcard for a child who is currently a patient as The Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.  Help a child get through their day by sending a little note of love and hope.    

It's not always easy to have to be confined to a hospital room, and not feeling well, but a simple picture can put a smile on the faces of these amazing children.  Please be sure to take the time and check out their guidelines before sending your piece.  

Please feel free to share photos of greeting cards and postcards you send to hello@ginaholt.com.  We would love to share them in the weeks to come.   

We hope everyone has a safe and fun long weekend, stay cool everyone!

Deals Galore

Most of us are always up for finding an awesome deal, especially when it comes to our little ones.  This weeks fun find is Zulily:  Daily deals for Moms, Babies & kids.  This week, they have great deals from Star Wars, Sesame Street, cool shoes, and many many more.  I personally have ordered from them [ lot's of Star Wars items for Jarron - shh!  don't let Chris know!  Haha! ] and wanted to share the fun with you.  

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Lastly, be sure to head over today as today is the last day to grab some items from The Honest Company.  

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About The Honest Company:  

The Honest Company was created by Jessica Alba to make finding the finest products for your bundle of joy a breeze. Their range of safe, nontoxic infant essentials, blends convenience with sustainability and cuteness with premium performance. The design-minded brand was created to honor you, your little one and the environment.

 

Teaching Kids to Help Their Friends

This weeks fun finds is an awesome one, if I should say so myself.  I recently had a friend that purchased a pretty cool looking tee for her son.  As a parent, we are always looking for cool things for our little ones.  So of course, in the process of reading hashtags, I found that she had purchased it from Mightee Kids.

[Taken straight from their site] : Mightee Kids allows parents to teach their kids about less fortunate friends.  $5 is donated to the charity they learn about. New charity supported every month.  

So just like my love for Sevenly which give back a different cause each week with every purchase, they are specifically for children.  Can you say awesome?!  Here's their How It Works Video

 
 

This month's cause is for charity: water In so many parts of our world, children and families sometimes have to travel long distances to get water.  Most times their water is not clean and many fall ill to the contaminants in the water.  Help friends get clean water by purchasing one of these awesome tees.  Mightee Kids even offer a video to share with your little ones to help teach them a bit more about the cause. 

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I can't wait to get my tee's for the kids soon.  We hope you have an awesome weekend. 

Back to School Already?

If your kids are like mine, they are wishing that they had a few more weeks of summer fun before heading back to school next week.  While some of your children have already began, it's never too late to shop, right?  LOL

This weeks fun finds I think, actually falls perfectly into both of the categories of fun and awesome!  If you and the kids have some time this weekend, check out Japan L.A.

Japan L.A. is a unique store where you can find cute stuff, inspired by Japanese and L.A. pop culture. You can find lots of unique gifts, accessories, and apparel with Japanese pop culture inspired characters and graphics.  

7320 1/2 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046 // between Fuller and Poinsettia, about 5 blocks West of La Brea.

Check out just some of the cool stuff they have on their online shop that I wish they had when I was going to school. 

Awesome Backpacks

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Ok, so most of this cuteness caters to girls.  BUT, for the whole month of August, Paul Frank is his pop-shop at Japan L.A. and if you happen to be a die hard fan, Paul Frank, designer of the famous Julius monkey will be there this weekend, if you would like to meet him.  While you're there check out his newest line called " Park la FUN".  Mix of the letters of his name of course.  (Well played, PF!)  

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Have a safe weekend, and make it awesome! 

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S'more for Me, Please?!

Like many of you, I am a fanatic when it comes to desserts.  I have to admit, that this past year, I have been pre-occupied and haven't had the opportunity to bake as much as I have in the past.  Maybe I will get more dessert motivated since finding some of the easiest and fun desserts on Pintrest, of course!  A dessert not only has to have great taste, it also has to look great too!  When I came across the 5 minute chocolate fudge s'mores mug cake, it was a no brainer that I would need to share this with you.  Special thanks to how sweet it is for sharing this oh so yummy creation in a mug.  

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5 Minute Chocolate Fudge S’mores Mug Cake

[adapted from food network]

makes 1 serving, can easily be doubled

2-3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs

3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (mine was dark cocoa, hence the dark color)

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate (chopped or morsels)

marshmallow fluff, cream or actual marshmallows

Combine 3 tablespoons butter and 1 ounce of chocolate in a small bowl, then melt in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Set aside. In another bowl, combine remaining melted butter with 2-3 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs and stir until moistened. Press graham crumbs into the bottom of your mug.

In a bowl. whisk egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa, stir until a thick batter forms. Stream in melted butter and chocolate, mixing to combine. Fold in remaining chocolate chips. Add half of the mixture on top of the graham crust, then throw on a scoop of marshmallow fluff/cream or a few marshmallows. Add remaining batter on top, then pop in the microwave for 1 minute and 20 seconds to almost 2 minutes. Remove and top with additional marshmallow if desired. You can pop it back in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to make them melty, or pop them directly under the broiler for about 10 seconds to toast if desired. You can also use a kitchen torch if you have one. Sprinkle with graham crumbs!

Notes: If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can use all-purpose. I would not recommend using regular whole wheat. Additionally, I have made this by substituting coconut butter for the full amount of butter. It was just as delicious, albeit slightly drier. You cannot taste coconut at all. Finally, take into account the power of your microwave. Mine has a mind of it’s own and is insanely powerful, so I cooked this on 80% power. Judge accordingly and add/subtract a few minutes of cooking if you know your’s is wonky too. Unfortunately it may take 1-2 trial runs to get the right consistency because all microwaves are different, but I promise it’s worth it!

(recipe and image used from how sweet it is

We hope you have a wonderful weekend and Happy Friday to you! 

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Gilroy Garlic Festival

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WHO:
Gilroy Garlic Festival

WHAT:

The 35th annual “Ultimate Summer Food Fair”; three days of incredible food, beverages, arts & crafts and live entertainment.

WHERE:
Christmas Hill Park; Gilroy, CA
30 miles south of San Jose off Highway 101

WHEN:
Friday, Saturday & Sunday
July 26-28, 2013

10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Gates close at 6 p.m.) 

Are you looking for something fun to do this weekend?  Have I got the event for you.  I am slightly bummed that we are busy this weekend, as I have wanted to check out the Gilroy Garlic Festival for the last couple of years.  We will definitely have to mark our calendars for this next year.  

2 tons of garlic + 10 tons of beef + 4 tons of pasta + 4 tons of calamari + 2 tons of scampi + a garlic cook-off contest, live entertainment, the Miss Gilroy Garlic pageant, garlic ice cream, a kids area..  

The kids area (in a shady part of the park) is filled with rides and games, a treasure hunt, kids entertainment and activities.

A trip to the Festival is not validated until you’ve visited Gourmet Alley and enjoyed an array of delicacies that include stuffed mushrooms, pepper steak sandwiches, pasta con pesto, calamari, scampi, Italian sausage sandwiches, garlic bread and garlic fries. Gourmet Alley’s chefs share their preparation secrets in hourly cooking seminars on the Demonstration Stage.

As jealous as I am, I hope all who go have a safe and great time this weekend.  I look forward to hearing all about the fun you had.  Be sure to come back and comment what foods you tasted.  

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Making Education Fun

Times have changed.  Sure, those wooden blocks with the letter on the sides are pretty cool and will keep our little one's attention for a little while, but it's now pretty normal for a little one to have some type of electronic device in hand.  For those of you who have little ones who play on an iPad, this post is for you.   

Leo's Pad: Preschool Kids Learning Series // By Kidaptive Inc. 

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Preschoolers will love Leo’s Pad’s latest appisode featuring lovable characters and cutting-edge games. The best part? For a limited-time, all appisodes are completely free as part of a Kidaptive Summer Special

With Leo’s Pad, we can rest easy knowing our little ones are learning about the world with a curriculum designed with top childhood educators at Stanford University. Don’t miss Parent’s Pad, created especially for moms and dads to support their learners and track achievements in seven curriculum areas. 

Check out their video below.

So Cal Summer Family Fun

As you know, family time means everything to us.   

If you are like Chris and I, we are always on the look out for new, exciting and fun things to do as a family.  Although we really enjoy our time together at the Disneyland Parks, we also enjoy checking out the latest galleries at museums all around.  We've put together some fun spots we've found to get you and the family out and enjoy some quality time together in and around the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.  

Los Angeles 

Travel Town Transportation Museum // 5200 Zoo Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90027

This is a perfect way to go out for a few hours and enjoy a little bit of fun.  Located on the northwest corner of Los Angeles' Griffith Park, come here to check out all the cool trains and old styles of transportation.  Travel Town even has a train you can bring the little one's on.  We suggest packing some food and some snacks for a fun, family picnic.  

Skirball Cultural Center // 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd.Los Angeles, CA 90049 

Definitely fun for the whole family.  Plan accordingly as you would want to carve out a good majority of the day here.  Specifically for families, they have non-stop fun.  Choose from going to their Family Art Studio, digging for ancient hidden artifacts at their Archaeology Adventures, see all the animals and play, climb, build and explore at Noah's Ark or plan a day to hear some fun music for some hip-shaking entertainment by bands and musicians. Please see programs for dates and times. Don't forget to bring the whole family to the Skirball’s Last Weekends of the Month. These fun-filled Saturdays and Sundays feature special last-weekend-only performances and activities that change every month.  FUN, FUN, FUN!

Annenburg Community Beach House // 415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica, CA 90402

What's summer without a trip to the beach?  Drive on down to this beautiful beach house for checking out some work in their gallery, swimming, rent some paddleboards, fun at the splash pad, playground, build a sand castle or grab some food at their cafe on the sand & still be only steps away from the ocean.  It can't get any better than that.  Top it all off, it's never crowded and everyone is so nice.  It's actually one of our favorite locations to shoot, too.   

Cabrillo Beach // 3720 Steven M. White Dr. San PedroCA 90731 

Although any beach is perfect on a hot, summer day - Popular among travelers and locals hitting the beach with kids, they offer everything you need for the perfect family outing. Located on a thin peninsula near Point Fermin Park, the beach actually has two sides — one outside the breakwater that’s open to the surf, and one that’s open to the harbor. Depending on the activity, you can select either side and enjoy some adventure or some well-deserved relaxation. After you’re finished with the beach, head to the nearby Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and enjoy the interactive exhibits, tidepool touch tanks and other unforgettable attractions. 

Orange County

Irvine Regional Park // 1 Irvine Park Road Orange, CA 92869

Nestled within beautiful trees and rolling foothills surrounding the park, definitely a place to go to enjoy some family time.  Bring your bicycles and enjoy the wind in your face, or rent an aquacycle and pedal over water beside the historic boathouse.  Don't forget a blanket and have an awesome family picnic.  There's even a train you can jump on and ride when you are tired from your nature stroll.  Did I mention there is a zoo in the midst of all this awesomeness? 

Balboa Island: Balboa Fun Zone // 600 East Bay Ave. Balboa, CA 92661  

Wether you get here by bus, car, bike or ferry, you'll be in for some fun for the family.  Although not the biggest location, you and your family can come for some fun.  Arcade games, ferris wheel, boat rides, carousel, and of course the staple of Balboa Island their 2 most famous goodies - the Balboa Bar and the Chocolate dipped frozen banana.  Not to mention a boat load of other great treats the family will enjoy.  When you are done having some fun, walk on over to the beack, lay out and relax by the beautiful ocean.  Win-win for all. 

Pretend City Children's Museum // 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618

Heaven for your toddlers.  Talk about a hands on experience for all.  They are able to interact in each room, play dress up, Exhibits include post office, gas station, health center, grocery store, farm, construction site, bank and ATM, Cafe and many more.  It's a load of fun for families with little ones.  

Discovery Science Center //  2500 N. Main Street Santa Ana, Ca. 92705

Another great place for families.  Lots of hands on learning go on here.  2 levels of fun and even a fun outdoor dinosaur exhibit.  The kids love it here.  At the moment they have their LEGO Fan Days going on till September 15th.  A day full of building, medieval activities and more centered around LEGOS! Learn about the design and architecture of castles and other medieval structures while participating in special, hands-on medieval activities. Kids can also participate in a friendly and safe jousting event and hang out with real knights!   

Other Fun Ideas and Locations

Real Life Night at the Museum // Multiple Locations

DId you know that you can take your family on one of the coolest camping trips or sleepovers?  Talk about stories that will last a life time.  Although these alternatives may not be as cost friendly, they sure will be the highlight of your kids summer vacation. There are a handful of museums and parks that offer the chance to stay over night, have fun and experience learning on a-whole-nother level!  Here's a list of a few places that offer this awesome adventure:

Natural History Museum  // 900 Exposition Blvd. Exposition Park

La Brea Tar Pits //  5801 Wilshire Blvd. Miracle Mile

Sea World //  500 Sea World Dr. San Diego, 92027

San Diego Safari Park // 15500 San Pasqual Valley Escondido

Ocean Institute // 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr. Dana Point

Discovery Science Center // 2500 N. Main St. Santa Ana

Noah's Ark, Ark After Dark //  2701 North Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles, 90049

Long Beach Aquarium //  100 Aquarium Way Long Beach