Holidays

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  Today, couples from around the world recognize Valentine’s Day. For most, Valentine’s Day is a day of love, a day to shower your beloved with gifts and tokens of appreciation, to enjoy a nice meal with them, and to have moments of romance. Many consider it to be a “Hallmark” greeting-card holiday, created by the retail business in order to get people to spend money on flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals, jewelry, travel, meals, and other luxuries. However, Valentine’s Day is not a modern creation. Rather, it is a day with ancient roots, both cultural and religious. With many legends and tales surrounding Valentine’s Day, the supposed day of love, it can be difficult to ascertain exactly where and how Valentine’s Day originated. Valentine’s Day is not a global holiday. It is celebrated in many countries, but its classification as a holiday is somewhat limited. It is also referred to as St. Valentine’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, which gives the impression that the celebrations on February 14 have Christian roots. However, the day is also said to have Pagan origins. So with that said, no one can say for sure where Valentine’s Day originated from. Many people will argue that the holiday has Pagan roots, perhaps inspired by the Roman festival of Lupercalia.  Meanwhile, other people view it as a Christian holiday, started by a brave St. Valentine who went against the law and married those who were in love, or a St. Valentine who fell in love with a warden’s daughter, and who lost his life due to the love letters he wrote to her, signed “Your Valentine.” Regardless of the roots of the holiday, Valentine’s Day remains a popular day to be in love. –

http://www.ancient-origins.net/history/day-love-complex-origins-valentine-s-day-002672

By |February 14th, 2015|General, Holidays, life|0 Comments

Disney, You Truly are the Best!

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My family and I visited Disneyland over the Christmas holiday for my older daughter’s birthday.  I was warned beforehand about the overwhelming number of people that would be there, but we still opted to go because it was the only time we could go do so.  Having been to Disneyland many times before, they never ever cease to amaze me about how well they are dialed in.  The Disney Corporation does not post daily attendance figures, but the maximum amount is 85,000 people and that is in addition to 10,000 cast members working there.  In reading an online article this week, both Disneyland and Disney World had to close their doors at 2pm on Christmas day due to reaching their maximum capacity.  I was there several days before Christmas and at the time I had heard the attendance was about 68,000.  That is not only a whole lot of people, but having to happily serve them, deliver an incredible product and experience, while managing your property at the same time is not only overwhelming but mind blowing.  Way to go Disney because you do it so well!

At one point while standing in line for the Indiana Jone’s ride, my husband began questioning the way the stanchions were being routed before I snapped back at him with a pointed finger, “Do not question the mouse!” It’s so true!  Disneyland is open 24/7 roughly from about 7am-midnight.  With the amount of hours they are open and the amount of people visiting, the place is always clean!!!!  You will never see an overflowing trash can because they are always emptied and polished clean.  The same thing goes for the bathrooms. The bathrooms are always spotless and fully stocked.  Emergency staff and security is always nearby. Guests that are visiting for the most part do behave.  With the exception of some loud frat boys, no one that we saw was out of line. Rides that do break down are usually fixed within a reasonable amount of time.  Service staff is always polite, very helpful and fabulously dressed of course.  People in wheel chairs and those needing assistance are are helped carefully and efficiently.  And I have to add that the wait times for rides are pretty accurate and reasonable considering the volume of people.

Not bad for a place that was predicted to fail!  When Disneyland opened its doors in 1955, opening day was such a disaster that pretty much every press organization that attended the celebration had predicted the park’s failure within one year. It opened on a day that was 101 degrees and the street asphalt still wasn’t dry, leading to it sticking to shoes. By the end of the first day, all but 2 of the 48 Autopia cars were crashed and about half the rides were broken. Fast forward 60 years, and The Happiest Place on Earth is completely dialed in and has been for many years.  As a consumer and a business owner, how great would it be if every business operated the Disney
way?

 

 

 

By |January 3rd, 2015|Disney News and Events, General, Holidays, life, Organization|0 Comments

Organizing Halloween Decor

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With Halloween being one of my family’s favorite holidays, my kids and I will start pulling out the decorations the first week in October.  We decorate everywhere–inside, outside, you name it.   As my kids start getting older, I really do my best to make the most of the holidays because time is fleeting.    However, the holidays as we all know can be stressful on us as working parents, so being organized is very important to me because I  have a limited amount of time and energy.  I have also accumulated a lot of props and have spent a small fortune on everything, so it behooves me to take care of everything as well as being organized.  I am therefore really careful as to how I store my items.   Here are some storage tips that I have practiced over the years that will help make your process as stress free as possible when taking out and putting things away for the holiday season.

Designate a place.

I promise you that by having a specific location for your decorations will make your life easier!  It will also make the cleanup process much simpler.     Knowing where your containers and items are and having easy access to them will save you time and energy.  Whether you store your items on shelves in the garage or in storage containers on the side of your house, you need to have a place for them.

 

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Storage Bins:

Depending on the items, I use lots of storage bins. Sturdy plastic bins will help keep your Halloween decorations in excellent shape year after year. I prefer using clear storage bins of all sizes from Target so I can see what’s in them.

 Labels:

As with my Christmas items, I find that when I label the boxes it’s much easier for me because I may not want to use certain items each year.  Label the storage bins on both sides to help make identification quicker.

 

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Filling Bins:

When filling your bins, put similar decorations together. Ex. Store all your skeleton decorations in one box, your bats in another, and your ghostly items in still another box. By keeping similar items with each other, you will be able to quickly find what you are looking for in the future , even if you forget to label the exterior of the box.

Storage:

Remember to place the heavier boxes and storage bins on the bottom of your storage area. Placing heavy items can destroy fragile ornaments. Keep the items that you will be using earlier in the Halloween season near the front of your “Halloween Storage” area. That way you can quickly and easily access what you need without any major fuss.  If you can, hang all wreaths and hanging ghouls or lay them in a flat box.  Tombstones can can be placed on shelves.

Discard:  

I’m a purger by nature so I am constantly weeding through items. If you feel that you no longer will be using a particular Halloween decoration, then get rid of it–especially if you have a limited amount of space like I do.. You can either give your props away or sell them.  This year after having the same theme for many years, I plan on wiping the slate clean and selling the majority of my items.

Drying Items Out:

 Lastly, when you’re finished using your outdoor items, remember to dry everything out thoroughly before storing them away because mold will grow.  I usually lay items out in the sun for a day and dry them with a cloth before packing them away.

 

 

 

 

 

By |October 6th, 2014|Holidays|0 Comments

Best Bay Area Pumpkin Patches

Happy October everyone!  Once October rolls around, my family kicks into full Fall mode.  Here in northern California we are experiencing our usual Indian Summer, so it doesn’t quite feel like Fall yet.  However, with heat and all we still plan on making the most of the entire month. Today my kids are requesting a visit to a local pumpkin patch for some pumpkins , cider and Fall fun.

This is from the Marin Mommie’s Blog.

Marin and Sonoma Pumpkin Patches:
Fall is in the air, which means Halloween is just around the corner and local pumpkin patches will soon be open! For those seeking that true Halloween pumpkin patch experience, we present our annual guide to pumpkin patches in Marin and southern Sonoma counties.

In Marin County, Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers that on-the-farm experience and the Godmother’s Pumpkin Patch at St. Vincent’s offer an exciting Halloween experience for families. For more real live farms offering pumpkin patches this season, head up north a short distance to rural Sonoma County, where you’ll find them in relative abundance.

We visited as many of these pumpkin patches as we could last year, and have posted links to our reviews of them below. We’ll make an effort to visit again this year, and we’ll add our updated reviews when they’re written. We’re sad to report that one of our favorite fall destinations, Peterson’s Farm in Petaluma, is no longer hosting its Halloween pumpkin patch, although they are open for school fields trips to learn about beekeeping and farm life.

We’ve included dates and hours for pumpkin patches when available. Hours are correct as of the time of publishing, but keep in mind that things can change, so it’s a good idea to check a pumpkin patch’s website or give them a call before you go. Many activities and special events take place on weekends only, too. Some pumpkin patches may close during rainy weather as well.

As a rule, most pumpkin patches are open during the whole month of October, although a few open in late September and some run through early November. Admission to pumpkin patches is free unless otherwise noted.

If you’re looking for pumpkin patches and Halloween fun elsewhere in the Bay Area and Northern California, check out our list here.

Marin County
Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
(Lafranchi Pumpkin Patch)
5300 Nicasio Valley Road (1/4 mile north of Nicasio square)
Nicasio 94946
(415) 662-9100
www.nicasiovalleyfarms.com
Open daily October 1–31,10 am–6 pm

The Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch, winner of our 2013 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll, offers certified organic pumpkins as well as countless attractions including hay rides, farm animals, pony rides, mechanical bulls, a bounce house and giant inflatable slide, a farm stand, Big Jim’s award-winning BBQ and ice cream for sale on the weekends, and more. Popular children’s recording artist Tim Cain performs every Sunday (October 5, 12, 19, and 26) from 11 am to noon. Six-piece Western band Manzanita Moon performs Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 12:30 to 4:30 pm. Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) Day takes place Sunday October 19 from 10 am–4 pm with kids’ games and crafts, farm animals, grass-fed burgers from Stemple Creek Ranch, local Marin beer and wine, educational exhibits, and more. Read our review of Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch.
Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin PatchMcClelland’s Dairy Pumpkin Patch

Organic Pumpkin Patch at Marin Country Mart
2257 Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur 94939
(415) 461-5715
marincountrymart.com
Open starting September 26, all day every day

Organic heirloom pumpkins from Marin’s Fresh Run Farm in Bolinas will be available at the Marin Country Mart Pumpkin Patch beginning September 26. There are two pumpkin patch locations, one in front of Three Twins Ice Cream, and the second at the farmers market and near the Marin Country Mart Trading Post and post office. Choose from traditional Howden jack-o-lanterns for carving and Cinderella pumpkins, which are great for carving but also delicious for eating. This is an honor system pumpkin patch: there is a payment box at the patch, and prices are set as a flat rate by size, small ($10), medium ($15), large ($20). Plus, the pumpkin patch will have two giant pumpkins on display, each weighing in at several hundred pounds each!
Godmothers of Timothy Murphy School Pumpkin Patch
St. Vincent’s Field, at the Marinwood/St. Vincent’s exit off Hwy 101
San Rafael 94903
(415) 785-3264
www.godmothers.org
Open Wednesday–Sunday, October 5–27, 10 am–5 pm

This long-time favorite pumpkin patch at St. Vincent’s near Marinwood offers a variety of pumpkins as well as attractions and activities like bounce houses, a hay pile, face painting, snack shack, and a picnic area. Groups welcome. Read our review of St. Vincent’s Pumpkin Patch.
Ian’s Pumpkin Patch at Bon Air Center
Bon Aire Shopping Center, Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Greenbrae 94904

Shopping center pumpkin patch with bounce house and slide.
Ian’s Lazy Days Pumpkin Patch
690 Redwood Highway (at Terra Kids Outdoor play structures site)
Mill Valley 94941

A pumpkin patch with bounce houses and play structures. Off Highway 101.
Kevin’s Strawberry Villa Pumpkin Patch
100 Shoreline Highway
Mill Valley 94941

A pumpkin patch with bounce houses and inflatable space shuttle slide. Right off 101 near the Highway 1 exit.
Sonoma County
McClelland’s Dairy Pumpkin Patch
6475 Bodega Avenue
Petaluma 94952
(707) 664-0452
www.mcclellandsdairy.com
Saturdays and Sundays in October, 10 am–5 pm

Find the perfect pumpkin in McClelland’s three-acre organic pumpkin field. Pick your pumpkins straight from the vine. Pumpkins range from mini to giant in size. Free admission includes pumpkin patch, petting farm animals (including cows, goats, and chickens), and watching cows being milked in the parlor. There’s also a hay maze, kids’ haunted hay house, hay rides, bounce houses, and u-pick squash, as well as a farm store selling products like free-range eggs from the farm’s chickens, ice cream and butter from their cows, lavender, and vegetables. There will also be a food cart serving organic grilled cheese sandwiches, organic milkshakes, organic popcorn, and espresso drinks. Don’t miss the “Photo Spot”—the perfect place for a family photo shoot. School tours are available during the week. Read our review here.
Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze
550 Stony Point Rd 94952
Petaluma
www.petalumapumpkinpatch.com
September 27–November 1
Sunday–Thursday, 10 am–6 pm
Friday and Saturday, 10 am–10 pm

This is the big pumpkin patch you see off of Highway 101 on your way out of Petaluma. Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze with second-story viewing platforms (admission $5, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), a little kids’ maze, a huge mountain of straw bales to climb, farm animals, rubber duck races, a corn-kernel “sandbox”, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, school tours. Special events include 4H bake sales, face painting, and more. Read about our visit to Petaluma Pumpkin Patch.
The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Jersey FarmPetaluma Pumpkin Patch

Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Jersey Farm
4235 Spring Hill Rd (off Bodega Ave)
Petaluma 94952
(707) 762-3446
www.springhillcheese.com
Open daily September 27–October 31, 9 am–dusk

Another one of our all-time favorite pumpkin patches. Pick your own pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also ofers fresh fruits and vegetables, picnic baskets, and live music on weekends. School field trips available Monday–Friday during October. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Don’t miss the homemade pumpkin ice cream! Read our review of the Great Peter Pumpkin Patch.

Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch
5157 Stony Point Road (at Rohnert Park Expressway)
Santa Rosa
(707) 331-6653
santarosapumpkinpatch.com
Open daily starting September 27, Sunday–Thursday 9 am–7 pm, Friday and Saturday 9 am–10 pm

Winner of our 2012 Pumpkin Patch Poll, and 2013 runner up, the Patch offers eight acres of pumpkins, a huge eight-acre corn maze ($6 admission), kiddy corn mazes, hay and sunflower mazes, jack-o-lantern tether ball, tire swings, a 10-bale-high hay pyramid, a huge jumpy pillow, pedal tractor races, a corn play box, a petting zoo, face painting, children’s entertainers, pony rides ($6; weekends only), hay rides, yummy treats and food, birthday parties, field trips, group tours, and more. Purchase acitivity wristbands for unlimited access to attractions for $2 or $10. ($10 wristband includes unlimited access to jumpy pillow, silde, and petting zoo.) Read our review of Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch.
Tolay Fall Festival
Tolay Lake Regional Park
Lakeville Highway at Cannon Lane
Petaluma 94954
(707) 565-2041
www.sonoma-county.org/parks/pk_tolay_fallfestival.htm
October 11–12 and 18–19
11 am–5 pm Saturday and Sunday

The 8th annual Tolay Fall Festival takes place over two long weekends in October at the site of the old Cardoza Ranch off Lakeville Highway, which was famous for its pumpkin patch. In addition to pumpkins and fall decorative items for sale, activities include a Native American village, the Nighttime Creatures Barn with Creepy Crawly Critters Room, nature hikes, a giant straw maze, a hands-on children’s area and kiddie corral, and tractor-drawn hay rides out to the pumpkin patch. Pumpkin prices are a bargain here, compard to other area pumpkin patches.

Festival admission is $4 for adults and teens ages 13 and up, $1 for children 12 and under; parking is $7 per car or free with a Sonoma County Regional Parks Parks membership. School field trips may be scheduled on October 9–10 and 15–17 from 9 am–3 pm.
Read our review of the Tolay Fall Festival.

Related Articles:
Family Halloween Events & Fall Festivals in Marin & the Bay Area
Our Favorite Halloween Books for Kids
Pumpkin Patches Further Afield
A Visit to Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm in Petaluma
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By |October 4th, 2014|Holidays, life|0 Comments

Terri’s Halloween Resources

 

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With many of the stores starting to decorate and sell for Halloween, I thought I would share my list of resources that I have used over the years for costumes and items. When my children were young, I would make their costumes by hand, but as they got older and I started working outside the home, costumes have been store bought but always enhanced with added embellishments. So whether you prefer to purchase a costume or to make something yourself, I thought that I would share with you some of the companies that I have been very fond of and have used over the years for both children and adult costumes. These are some of my favorites.

The Disney Store 

Chasing Fireflies

Etsy

 

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Martha Stewart (Great costume/recipe/decor ideas )

Pottery Barn (Was always a favorite for kid’s costumes and decor)

The Pyramid Collection (Great for faerie, witches & wenches/adults)

 

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Grandin Road (All time favorite for decor! Fun costumes)  Be sure to order early!!!!

Victorian Trading Co.  (Period costumes/adults)

Lillian Vernon

 Cassie’s Closet 

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By |September 20th, 2014|Holidays|2 Comments