Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach

Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

-Thomas Merton

Growing up, every Summer my parents would take my sister and I to the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. We would look in awe of the glassblowers, get a new toe ring and maybe share a scoop of ice cream. Although I would never classify my parents as artists, their appreciation for art was always unintentionally present.

This year I decided to incorporate a visit to the Sawdust Festival in our Summer plans. To be honest I was a little apprehensive, as my son is only 5, but today we went for it and had a blast! We made a full day of it by stopping for lunch at Avila’s El Ranchito on PCH, caught the free shuttle in The Village and headed straight towards to our destination.

I am shamelessly the mom who is always thinking of what activity we can do next. I love being active. I love being creative. I love learning experiencing new (and old) things. And I really love taking my son along for the ride. Admittedly, it’s hard for me to slow down and remember it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Today was about the journey- and it was perfect.

The shuttle ride was fun in and of itself. We don’t get to experience the shuttle in our day-to-day lives, so it was a treat to walk to the stop, wait (somewhat patiently), check the shuttle on the tracker, and then FINALLY seeing it arrive. We really only went to two stops, but again, it’s about the journey 🙂

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The Trolley Tracker is really user friendly and such a great tool to use if you want to travel through Laguna Beach without the hassle of driving and parking your own car. I actually didn’t really need to use that much. We just walked around until we found the Free Shuttle sign, but we weren’t really in a rush so that worked for us.

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Once we arrived at The Sawdust Festival we jumped in line to purchase our tickets. You can purchase them online prior to arriving, but I opted to just pay at the door. And great news: kids 5 and under are free! I mean…does that ever happen!? You can check out the rest of the prices right here.

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The Sawdust Festival was everything I remember it being. Winding alleys leading down different paths, live music, and lots of art. Our first stop was at the Pottery Wheel where B got to make his own clay bowl. What an experience that was! I am so grateful to the young college kids who really take the time to help guide the kids as they mold their own creation. Once finished you have the option to take it home as is (once dried) for free! Or you can pay $25 to have it glazed and shipped to your home. We decided to have it glazed that way B can eat “cereal, oatmeal or fruit” out of it – B’s words 🙂

After that we made our way through all of the beautiful art. We saw; a man painting a picture of the ocean, the infamous glassblowers, and so many unique creations. Dip n’ Dots were calling our name so we took an ice cream break under the shade. Once our bellies were full we headed over to the kids art corner for a Rhyme & Drawing Class. I think this was the highlight of my day!

This art class was completely free and the man (Brent Kreischer) teaching the class was so incredible with the kids. He asked each kid to name their “favorite things” and then collectively name something that rhymed with each item, even if it wasn’t a word. His philosophy was: “Dr. Seuss made up words and followed no rules, and everyone enjoys Dr. Seuss.”

B was enthralled. I was impressed. Brent went around to each kid and they created a rhyme that complemented the picture that they drew. It was really wonderful.

Once we finished the class it was time to head back. On our way out we were stopped by a charismatic woman who offered to make B a balloon animal – he chose a Stegosauras.

As a whole I was really impressed by how kid friendly The Sawdust Festival was, and how attentive all of the artists were. We left with big smiles on our faces and B even asked me if we were going to come back next year. I think that is a big yes!

Have you been to the Sawdust Festival this year? What is your favorite thing to do there?

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Best Birthday Ever

Best Birthday Ever

Every year to kick off Summer and celebrate B’s birthday we spend two nights at The Disneyland Resort. It is so magical it makes me want to live there! This year we celebrated with B’s dad, bonus mom and brother. This was our first time vacationing as a modern family and honestly, it really made our time there even more special. I know a lot of my friends (maybe even family…) don’t understand our “family” dynamics – and that’s okay! I understand it is a unique situation, but this is what works for us.

I would be lying if I said it has always been this way, because it most definitely hasn’t. But when everyone moves past the hurt and realizes it’s about the big picture, it makes everything so much easier! Is this my favorite thing to do? No, but it’s not about me. This is about my son being around the people that he loves. Whomever my son loves, I love too and it is just that simple.

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The first day I met up with everyone just before nap time. This made the check-in to The Disneyland Hotel so much easier having just me there. But, they do have an area for kids to watch Disney movies, so if you are checking in with your kids they will easily be occupied. Also, when I happened to be checking in, Pluto was in the kids area! I was a little taken back when I saw him because I really couldn’t believe he was there…Lol!

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At check-in they offered to upgrade my room to have a view of Downtown Disney but I opted to keep my original room with a view of the pool. I figured we wouldn’t be in the room to watch the fireworks from our room so we wouldn’t get much out of that view.

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Have you ever stayed at The Disneyland Hotel? This was our second time staying there and it’s my favorite hotel over Paradise Pier. I have yet to stay at The Grand Californian – but it’s my dream to stay there! I love the Disneyland Hotel because it just has a more “Disney Magic” feel. Even the headboard on the bed lights up and plays “When You Wish Upon A Star” – talk about magical! I also love staying here because the walk to Disneyland and DCA is much shorter and you can even make a quick short cut through The Grand Californian to get into DCA.

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If you have a kid that still naps or you want to nap so they can stay up for the night parades, staying at any one of the resort hotels is such a game changer. It really allows for you to enjoy the time in the parks without having to worry about getting on every ride or seeing all of the shows. We were able to head back to the room on both days to regroup, relax and take a little nap.

Also, the pool is just amazing! The last time we stayed there we never bothered with the pool but this time we decided to dedicate one whole day to enjoy all of the pool amenities. Of course, once B saw the pool and the Monorail Slides, he wanted to go in it every day – which we did! If we got too hot in the parks we would come back to hotel, change into our swimming clothes and cool off in the pool – it was perfect.

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The pool area has cabanas that you can reserve ahead of time as well as a splash pad area for little ones. The monorail slides are up at the top and perfectly situated by the splash pad with beach access to the slides – which was the perfect area for B’s brother to hang out. They even have a double slide for toddlers which was so cute!

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The Disneyland Hotel Monorail Slides

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On the last day there we had to check out by 11am but we could still stay and enjoy the pool! Once I checked out they gave me a pool key that was valid for the remainder of the day. We definitely took advantage and enjoyed the whole pool area on our last day there.

TIP: They do not give out wristbands to the pool. The only requirement to get in is having a room key or pool key. So we were able to let B’s dad and etc. into the pool to enjoy the day with us. It was a perfect end to our vacation!

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We spent the majority of our time near the slides but every now and then we would venture to the two big pools down below. At one point we were swimming and we saw Goofy off in the distance walking around. And then we happened to look up at the bridge overlooking the pool and Pluto was there! I’m not sure who was more excited – me or B! It’s those little things that make Disney such a unique experience.

I was really sad to leave when it was time to head home. Every night as we tucked ourselves into bed B would say, “This is the best birthday ever!” We just had the best time with our modern family and I’m already looking forward to this vacation next year.  Maybe I can convince everyone to go on a cruise!

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Have you ever been on a Disney vacation? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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What’s your legacy?

What’s your legacy?

“What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” —Hamilton, “The World Was Wide Enough”

When I was younger I used to think that your life wasn’t worth much unless you had acquired some sort of fame. I desperately wanted to be an actress; and not just because of the fame (I really did/do love acting), but I thought I could never label myself an actress unless I was famous. I think it was a combination of what my parents and myself considered to be successful. I truly believed that until I had “made it”, that I couldn’t acknowledge myself to be known as anything. And to be honest, it wasn’t until recently that I realized fame has no concrete affirmation of determining who you are and what your legacy is.

With the risk of sounding like a cliche – motherhood changed me, and not just in the most obvious ways. It changed me so deeply and cracked my heart open in ways I didn’t think possible. I feel like I see clearer now as it opened a whole new world of what’s out there and what it means to really live.

I recently got to see Hamilton for the second time. It’s amazing how one show can really pull at your center and drop you into a new part of yourself. I loved getting to see it a second time because I really had a better understanding of the story they were telling. It’s such a beautiful show that I was so overwhelmed the first time I saw it. I cried so much I didn’t know how to bring myself back to reality. But, this last show had my undivided attention. I felt like I really could comprehend the definition of legacy and what it stands for in each of us. It doesn’t matter how much money we make, how many friends or followers we have. What matters are the seeds we leave behind.

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It’s no secret that I still have dreams bigger than life; which I think is one of the most healthy parts of existing. But, I no longer feel that my life won’t be worth anything unless I’ve reached fame. My fame comes from behind the gray eyes of my son. From the raw hugs as he digs his way closer to my heart.  From the desire to play games, snuggle, watch movies, and just be together. He loves me.

I went to dinner tonight and I witnessed two young teens rush over with such excitement to their dad as he walked into the restaurant. Each of them jumped into his arms and gave him the biggest bear hug. Before stepping away one daughter held onto his hand and led him to the table, looking at his face with such love and adoration. It really warmed my heart. I can only hope that my own son will continue to greet me in this same way. I would be so honored for my legacy that I leave behind to be how much I loved my son. That would be enough.

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Home Depot Kids Workshop

Home Depot Kids Workshop

Last weekend, I took my son to Home Depot in Mission Viejo for their FREE kids workshop, to build a birdhouse.  This workshop is held once a month for kids between the ages of 5-12 and every class they make something different. We had never been before, so I really had no idea what to expect. I called a couple of days before asking what time they suggested we be there as the website listed it was open from 9am-12pm. The woman I spoke to said I should be there at 9am as it gets really crowded and boy was she right!

We got there just before 9am, the parking lot was filling up and about 4 people had already started on their birdhouse. We made our way to check in and we were greeted by a very friendly Home Depot employee. He informed us that unfortunately, they didn’t receive any mini aprons for the kids this month. I completely forgot that we were supposed to even receive one! Instead he handed B a plastic “hard hat” and his kit to make the birdhouse.

The kit came with everything you need to make the birdhouse, including; step-by-step directions, a birdhouse pin, and 2 suction cups that are used to help hang your birdhouse. I was really impressed with the directions and how thorough they were. Being a boy mom (or at least a mom to MY boy) I really have learned that my son loves to build and makes things. Luckily, so do I! And thankfully, I took stagecraft in high school so I know a thing or too about tools (hello, “righty-tighty & lefty-loosey”)! But, sometimes directions go over my head and I get frustrated. This time though – piece of cake!

It was really cute watching all of the kids work hard building their birdhouses. The website states this workshop is for ages 5-12, but they don’t check and I definitely saw kids younger than 5 there. Heck, my son isn’t 5 until June and he was there! Some parents let their kids lead the way and others did most of the building. There definitely were parts B needed some assistance, as hammering can get kind of crazy.

After the birdhouse was built we went over to the painting table. They offered 3 different paints, sponge brushes and paper plates. With no direction from me, the painting began. It’s always so special watching my son make something from his vision.

Once finished, I put B’s pin on his shirt and started to look around. The place had really filled up! Most of the kids had their aprons on from previous workshop, with pins all over them. It got me really excited to continue this monthly workshop. I really love the idea of bringing the community together to do something special. The whole project took about 45 minutes from start to finish. By the time we finished, there was a line down the parking lot and I think every spot was taken! It really was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to doing it again.

If you know me, then you know I am all about the activities. I don’t like TV or idle hands, so I try to squeeze in as many activities as possible. The fact that this was free was even better! We will definitely be back next month to make a windmill. To learn more about the Home Depot kids workshop in your area click here!

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