Merry Christmas!

I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful day with your families! We are spending Christmas morning at home and then heading to Big Bear to enjoy the rest of the day and weekend with our family. I hope your day and weekend is filled with much joy!

Last Minute holiday tips and decorations

Christmas is here! I love everything about this day- the opportunity for families to be together, traditions, presents, decorations and of course the delicious food! Last week I had the opportunity to attend a fun event at Albertsons with some blogging buddies, where we learned some very fun recipes and tips to put on a great holiday party.

They shared some very fun ideas that were simple and inexpensive to make your holiday party a hit! One of my favorite ideas was to create a hot chocolate bar.

A hot chocolate bar is easy to create. First you will need some hot chocolate. A suggestion given by the good people at Albertsons was to use a crockpot to keep your cocoa warm.
Once you have some warm cocoa, you can set up your bar. Fill several small bowls with your favorite hot chocolate toppings including marshmallows, bits of reeses pieces, hot cocoa mix, crushed candy canes, your favorite candy, etc.
Set out some cups and have your guests dip the rim of their cup is milk or water. Next, dip the cups in the cocoa mix or crushed candy canes and add your hot chocolate.
Finish off by adding some marshmallows, candy and topping it off with some whipped cream.  We tried this at home and my kiddos loved it! It’s a fun and inexpensive idea that I just had to share.
We also learned to make the most darling centerpieces that even someone that is creatively challenged (yours truly) can make in minutes.
All you will need is a clear container, a tea candle and some fresh cranberries.
Fill your container with about a third of water, add your cranberries, stick in your candle an that’s it! You will have a great centerpiece that is not only fabulous but easy to make and inenexpensive!
You can find all of the ingredients to make the cocoa bar or centerpieces at your local Albertsons.

Kids are out on break. What to do? 10 ideas that won’t break your bank or wallet

Monday marks the beggining of a two week holiday break for most kids. I know I’ve had a number of friends ask me.. Ok Aracely what is there to do? I want to do something fun and inexpensive with the kids. Here are a couple of suggestions that will not only entertain your kiddos but that are either free or not very expensive..

1. The California Science Center. I can’t rave enough about this wonderful place. It is at the top of the list in my book for something to do in So Cal that is fun, different and oh did I mention that it is absolutely FREE!(all you have to do is pay for parking). Pack a lunch or splurge a little and enjoy Mcdonald’s on the first floor of the museum.
2. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium- While it is is not the Aquarium of the Pacific or Scripps. It is a great little aquarium that has the most amazing staff and some fun exhibits.The Aquarium is absolutely FREE and parking is a $1 an hour
3. The Getty Museum and Getty Villa- These two beautiful jewels sit perched on a hill with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. Both are FREE  to the public and while many of you may be thinking- no way- my kiddos would be bored out of their mind, think again! My kiddos had a blast and they have a fun kids area that your kiddos will never want to leave!
4. Enviromental Nature Center– pack a good pair of shoes and enjoy a fun hike on the center’s trail. Also stay a bit to explore the Center. It’s a fun little place your kiddos will enjoy. Did I mention it’s FREE?
5. Zimmer’s Children’s Museum– In my opinion one of the best children’s museums in the area. The theming is out of this world and not very crowded. While the museum is not free, admission prices are reasonable($5 for kids and $8 for adults) It’s a great alternative to the movies.
6. Hit your local dollar theater. We love the dollar theatre. It’s fun, cheap and the kids have a great time. The best part is that our entire family can catch a flick and get some treats for less than $10! You can’t beat that!
7. Travel Town Museum– a family favorite. This little train museum is pretty darn cool and admission is absolutely free. Make a day at Griffith Park by bringing some toys and have some good old fashioned fun playing in one of the many playgrounds or by taking a little hike.
8. Griffith Observatory/Park– I can’t make one of these lists without talking about one of my favorite LA Landmarks. I am a bit of an astronomy geek (I begged for a telescope when I was a child) and love learning all about the planets. Not only are the views out of this world on a clear day, you and your family will love all of the different exhibits and the planeterium. A must visit on break!
9. Natural History Museum– Los Angeles. Love Night of the Museum? well you will definitely love the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Your family will fall in love with this amazing museum and the best part is that although it does not offer free admission- admission prices are pretty darn reasonable. Children under 5 are free, kids 6-12 are $2 and adults are $9. For less than 20 bucks you can treat your family to an incredible day and learn a thing or two. I love it!
10. Santa Ana Zoo in the afternoon. Did you know the Santa Ana Zoo offers half price off after 2pm? We love the Santa Ana Zoo and it has one of the best play areas. It’s shaded, there is a snack bar  and a play area for the tiny tots and another for the older ones. We love sitting in the aviary and having a few moments of peace and quiet. It’s a fun little place that my family loves!