Great Wolf Lodge + crafting with kids

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I was recently given the opportunity to pack up the family & spend some time at Great Wolf Lodge. It was our first trip there (and to any indoor waterpark), and wow, what an experience! Even from the very start of our stay, I was tremendously impressed. They are so high tech! Upon arrival, I got a warm text welcome from Brinley, our personal in-house assistant. How cool is that? We stayed in a family suite which was cute & cozy. It truly had the perfect cabin aesthetic with two queen sized beds and a pull out sofa. 

As far as activities went - we had a non-stop blast! Our friends came along for the adventure. The kids loved experiencing the waterpark and taking brief breaks to munch on tasty nachos. My college friend Dana even convinced me to go down a giant waterslide which was all at once nerve wracking and oh so fun. It reminded me of being a teenager as we sat in one of those figure 8 rafts and coasted down the huge tube. After we dried off we got down & boogied at the bubble party. Guys, this kiddie celebration was too cute! They played popular pop tunes while the room filled up with bubbles. Another fun adventure was playing a mystical, interactive video game where Jack and I got to wave wands & make some magic of our very own! Apparently doing the entire course can take 8 hours, so it's a wonderful thing to do over the span of a couple days. 

The meals there were delicious & extremely accommodating for those with specific dietary needs. The menu is marked accordingly so I was able to order gluten-free calamari & a gluten-free wedge salad with ease. For all of my meat eaters out there, I suggest ordering the steak. It was delicious!

After putting ourselves into a little bit of a food coma, the kids got personalized leather bracelets from a kiosk downstairs. The stand had a machine that etched the kids' names on colorful cuffs. In addition to the stuffed animals they got to see get stuffed and dressed, these were perfect souvenirs!

The next day I got the opportunity to host a craft session for a bunch of great kiddos and parents! Each participant got a pre-made design kit to help them style their very own mini traveler's notebook. All of the children took an Instax picture using the SQ10 with Wiley - the adorable, furry Great Wolf Lodge mascot - which served as the centerpiece of their project! Everyone was so creative & colorful with their individual books. It truly was a fun craft.

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We ended our trip with a visit to the candy store where we got some sweet parting gifts! While our stay at Great Wolf Lodge was quick, it definitely was a memory that will last a lifetime! If you have little ones or are just young at heart I highly recommend you stop by for your very own adventure!

Thanks to Great Wolf Lodge for hosting my family for the night in exchange for leading the workshop!

*****

Since May is National Water Safety Month, Aquatics Director at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Wendy Rosales is sharing her top water safety tips, to spread awareness and educate families on the importance of staying safe around water. 

Nationally recognized as a leader in water safety by Ellis & Associates, a renowned international organization focused on aquatic safety, Great Wolf Lodge has safely welcomed millions of families over the years to its resorts. Whether planning a family vacation this summer to the beach, lake or waterpark, families can prepare for fun-filled time in the splash zone with these top tips: 

  • Never swim alone.  Always use the buddy system and be sure the area is well supervised by lifeguards before you or other family members enter the water. 
  • Encourage your child to wear a life jacket. Many public pools and water parks provide life jackets for your use free of charge and it’s better to be on the safe side if your child is not a confident swimmer.
  • Never assume someone else is watching your child. Even with lifeguards nearby, you have the responsibility for your child. The best way to keep your child safe is to play right alongside them.
  • Stay hydrated.  Swimming and playing takes a lot of energy, especially during the hot summer months. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks and rest in a cool location.
  • Forget the Bling.  Before heading to the beach, pool or water park, avoid swimsuits that have ties, grommets or decorations that could get caught on something during water activities.
  • Skip the flip-flops. Look for sandals with a heel strap or a full-coverage slip-on water shoe that will stay in place both in and out of the water.
  • Too much sun is no fun.  Be sure to limit your exposure during peak hours of 12pm-3pm and reapply waterproof/sweat proof sunscreen every 80 minutes.
  • Take a CPR course. Knowing these skills can be important in any environment. This is a skill we all can benefit from – on land and around water.
  • Read all of the signs before going on a waterslide, pool or attraction. Make sure your child meets the posted requirements.  If you have questions about an attraction, ask an employee at the facility.
  • Plan ahead. As a family, decide on a meeting place to go to if anyone gets separated.  Kids can take off in instant and crowded parks and beaches can make it difficult for little ones to find you.  Choose an easy-to-spot location that can be easily found by all family members.
  • If you see someone struggling in the water, call for help. Remember “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go!” Even professionally trained lifeguards don’t enter the water without having the proper flotation devices to keep themselves safe.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Lunar New Year CA Adventure Pluto

Happy Chinese New Year from our crew and Pluto too ✨❤️  

Macaron

We were invited to check out the Lunar New Year celebrations at California Adventure and we had a wonderful time! Wrote a recap of the fun for Disney Family. Check out the size of that macaron that Jack had! I think it’s so cool to have him experience these things because when I was younger, I didn’t see many opportunities to celebrate my heritage. Even though I was born and raised in a diverse suburb of Chicago and we got red envelopes every year, it’s amazing to see how the traditions are being shared in so many creative ways for everyone to enjoy. 

Fun with Ferdinand!

Most friends I've asked can remember the first movie they saw in the theatre. My mom took me when I was four and it was probably one of my first memories. Thanks to Nickelodeon, we had the fun opportunity to attend a screening of the film, Ferdinand. We invited my friend from college, Dana, and her daughter Star to come along for Jack's
first movie in the theatre!

Ferdinand!

Star let Jack choose where we would sit and we got settled with our popcorn. Jack literally sat at the edge of his seat the entire time and laughed out loud a lot. Seeing his face light up and turn towards me at various points in the movie made me so happy to have Ferdinand be the first film for him in the theatre. It was an inspiring tale about
choosing love, doing the right thing, and not being afraid to be yourself. When we were walking out, Jack said, "I want to see it again!" Star said she loved the whole movie, especially the end, and I agree with both of them. I don't think this is a spoiler alert, but you will want to stay through the credits!

Ferdinand LA premiere

Then we went to a studio where Nickelodeon recreated a set that was an obstacle course inspired by the "bull in a china shop" scene from Ferdinand.

Ferdinand Bull in a china shop
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I put on the bull sumo suit with the assistance of two others and waddled my way onto the set. It was such a fun experience overall and Jack and Star got to take some stuffies as well as the book!

Jack even took his first nap in weeks on our way home and we had the most magical sunset.

Ferdinand
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Relive the fun with us in this video:

Let me know if you check out Ferdinand in theatres December 15!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nickelodeon in partnership with Fox. The opinions and text are all mine.

As always, my creative partners and I appreciate the support.

Our visit to the Pumpkin Patch!

Growing up, I always loved Halloween. Most of the excitement was built around getting dressed up in costume, going trick-or-treating, and most importantly, eating ALL the candy. Though our family didn’t have traditions like going to the pumpkin patch or carving pumpkins (can you believe I carved my first pumpkin in my thirties?!), now as a mom, after my birthday on the 5th, it’s full on Halloween mode. JC’s birthday falls on the 26th and he is really into Halloween. Since we moved into our house and had Jack, JC has made it a priority to make the holiday really special for us all.

We just got a few more pumpkins and plan on carving them a few days before Halloween - the hot weather in LA doesn’t bode well for the survival of the carved creations. In years past, I have taken plenty of pictures, but I really wanted to document Jack going to the pumpkin patch in his adorable PAW Patrol Marshall costume this year.

PAW Patrol Marshall + dog costumes

As you may have seen in this blog post, we got a head start on celebrating Halloween this year with the PAW Patrol Pumpkin Push-In Kits. This time, Jack decided to dress up as Marshall from one of his favorite shows, PAW Patrol.  He was all too excited about the fact that his costume (only at Target) talks and says some of Marshall’s favorite phrases like, “I’m fired up!” I also couldn’t resist ordering some costumes for our pups too. Bamboo was content dressing up as Skye while Buster decided to go as Chase. As we got ready, Jack played with his set of PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Plush toys, PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Action Pack Gift Set figurines, and his PAW Patrol Pirate Pups - Pirate Vehicles and set them up to bring them along to the pumpkin patch. Our house has become Adventure Bay!  

He was a little sad that Buster and Bamboo couldn’t join our little outing to our favorite pumpkin patch, Mr. Bones. However, he was excited to bring the PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Plush along. We met up with our friend Harper, who was dressed as Shine from another Nickelodeon favorite, Shimmer and Shine!

Jack smiled when he saw her and said, “Mama, I seen that show before. I like it.” It was so cute watching him make the Marshall costume talk numerous times for Harper. She also gave the Skye PAW Patrol Pirate Pup Plush a super cute hug and kiss as soon as she saw it. Harper is a huge PAW Patrol fan too! There were so many adorable moments at the pumpkin patch. Here are some highlights from our awesome adventure. You can also see it all unfold in the video below and catch the exclusive talking feature in Jack’s new favorite costume!

They had so much fun at the petting zoo and running around in their costumes. Between the excitement the kids enjoyed snacking on PAW Patrol Fruit Snacks - lots of them. You can check out the way Jack and I documented the pre-Halloween fun in under 30 minutes in my traveler’s notebook.

Would love to hear if you have fun Halloween or pumpkin patch traditions in the comments!

You can snag your very own PAW Patrol Halloween costumes with sound, along with PAW Patrol Pirate Pups plush, PAW Patrol Pirate Pups - Pirate Vehicle Set and more only at Target!

PAW Patrol Marshall costume

Some photography by Kate Haus | This post is in collaboration with Nickelodeon, all ideas and opinions are my own. As always, my creative partners and I appreciate the support.

Rabbit Ladders

Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

One of the cutest kids' stores opened in our neighborhood! Rabbit Ladders is now my go-to spot for getting unique gifts for kids and items for Jack. It's very difficult to walk out empty handed as they have awesome products that are hard to find. One of his favorite items is a flashlight slideshow thing (I don't even know the proper name for it) from France. It's so fun. The store is curated in such a beautiful way and the owners are so nice and welcoming. Jack has loved going to the events we have been in town to attend. He got a Yoga glitter tattoo there once that lasted well over a week.

Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Rabbit Ladders in Culver City, California | Amy Tangerine | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

If you're in Culver City, be sure to stop at Rabbit Ladders at Platform LA and tell them I said hi!