Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Our Most Popular Posts: Disneyland, Bullying, Girls’ Sexy Costumes… And Some Truly Obnoxious Commercials

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

It’s always interesting to look at the stats for Parent Talk Today to see the list of the most-popular posts. (If you ever want to check out the current popular posts, just look in the right sidebar.)

As we head into 2011, here are the most-popular posts:

For 2011, what would you like to see us talk about here? This is YOUR place to discuss parenting issues, from pregnancy through college. I’d love to have your suggestions. Thanks for all your support!

Celebrating the Holidays at Disneyland!

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

We’re all huge Disneyland fans in our family, and I can tell you, the only thing more fun than spending a day at The Magic Kingdom (and California Adventure — I have to have my Soarin’ Over California fix!) is exploring the parks during the holidays.

(By the way, as you can see, I have no problem looking as ridiculous as possible when it comes to either Disneyland or the holidays…)

Well, there is one thing that’s even more fun — going with my brother, Lee, who hasn’t been to Disneyland since he was a kid, and my sis-in-law, Anya, our 6-year-old nephew, Christian, and our 18-month-old niece, Valentina, who have NEVER been there! Seeing all the Disney magic through the eyes of young kids is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

Now, in case you didn’t know, Team Sena has been in the World Series spirit, big time. And what better place to celebrate the Giants’ big win than at our favorite place?

(See those shirts on my husband, Randy, and my son, Matt, above?) Apparently we weren’t alone. It was fun to walk around the park and see how many families were wearing their Giants gear after the big win. (And the guys had to pick the ORANGE tea cup, of course.)

So what did we do to celebrate the big win? At Disney’s Holiday Mom Blogger Event,

we created, with the help of Disney’s wonderf

ul camera crew and Disney ambassador Danielle DuBois (who is a total sweetie — and so knowledgeable about all things Disney), a fun video:

After that, Matt (who is such a Disney fan he asks for “behind the scenes” books about Disneyland for Christmas) interviewed Danielle about the Holidays at Disneyland Resort:

Of course, actually visiting attractions like the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World was the best part. They’re both completely decked out for the holidays — along with Main Street (amazing Christmas tree!), New Orleans Square and, well, everywhere else! Check out this video:

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle looks SO gorgeous and magical at night, and it was fun to see the kids’ eyes light up when they saw the fireworks over the castle. (And did I mention the SNOW that follows the fireworks? Christian ran to catch the snow as it fell. Very cool.)

And the Disneyland holiday parade, featuring Santa, of course, is a fantasy come true, with wooden soldiers, all your favorite characters and more.

Matt is 14, so he’s into Space Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Haunted Mansion. He pays so much attention to the Haunted Mansion, and how it differs between the “regular” version and the Haunted Holiday version, that he can tell you what items in the mansion got moved each year and what replaced them! Impressive.

And I’m happy to report that we took Christian to the Haunted Mansion (with a bit of a warning up front about the scary part at the beginning), and he LOVED it. (Thanks to the folks at Disneyland, by the way, for providing some of the great pics, here. It’s so much fun to add them to the shots my family took so you can see more cool stuff. Guests aren’t permitted to take flash pictures in the Haunted Mansion, so it’s fun to get to share this photo.)

Now, I like all the attractions, but what really made my socks go up and down this year was a particular treat you can only get at a certain time of year…

Over at Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square, Chef Martha L. Sigala creates the most mouth-watering Mickey Mouse cinnamon beignets with an incredible eggnog sauce. Forget the calories. (Hey, you’ll burn ‘em off walking around the parks, right?) You can’t miss these beignets.

And Chef Sigala has even been kind enough to share her recipe for the beignets (although you’ll want to go to Cafe Orleans to have them with that fabulous eggnog sauce, trust me):

You’ll want to spend plenty of time in New Orleans Square this time of year. Little Valentina loves any kind of live music, and this is a great place to take a break, enjoy a meal (we recommend the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, which Christian scarfed up), and listen to the music.

And New Orleans Square is decorated SO beautifully for the holidays. It’s a don’t-miss “land” for me this time of year.

All the lights and ornaments will dazzle the little ones, too. It was such a treat to see all the babies’ and toddlers’ eyes light up as their parents strolled through this area of the park.

Not to be outdone, California Adventure is in the holiday spirit as well, and Santa is busy greeting kids over at the Paradise Pier Boardwalk.

Speaking as a mom who’s always on the lookout for the perfect Christmas-card photo, I know you can just picture the wonderful shot you’ll have of your child on Santa’s lap in this beautiful setting. I love the Victorian style of Santa’s coat and vest. (Well done, Mrs. Claus!)

Our family has certain “musts” when we visit Disneyland, and that includes the Enchanted Tiki Room. No, the birds and flowers
aren’t decked out in holiday finery, but when you’re with a toddler who makes bird noises whenever she sees any bird, how can you resist?

Even the waiting area outside the entrance is fun, with flowers, water and even fire attractions to entertain you while you wait for the doors to open. Here’s Valentina waiting, with her Uncle Randy, for the show to begin. Yep. She’s lovin’ life.

Of course, there’s plenty to do for teens, too. (Just ask Matt, AKA “Mr. Fast Pass.” His record on Space Mountain in one day — so far, anyway: five times.) And as you can see, the Disney characters are happy to pose for those great shots with kids of all ages. Here’s Matt and Goofy. (It’s now Matt’s Facebook photo.)

Speaking of photos… Here’s something really cool to look forward to in the new year:

In 2011 (starting around late January), Disney guests will become the stars of a nightly spectacular when photos taken in the park during the day become larger-than-life projections, right in the park. At Disneyland, the façade of “It’s a Small World” will be the canvas for the show. (At Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the guest photos will be projected on Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom.)

In both locations, Disney PhotoPass photographers will capture guests’ memories during the day, and as many as 500 photos will be used in each location every day. The nighttime show will use the latest in high- intensity projection technology to create vivid visuals.

The company also has launched a website for sharing and viewing memories, and it’s available now. Upload your photos, videos and text memories at DisneyParks.com/Memories. You can even categorize your memories by theme, emotion and location.

The website (also available soon in Spanish and French) has a simple-to-use interface for uploading, viewing and searching Disney memories. The functionality also will be part of the Disney Parks pages on Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. Check it out, then upload your family’s memories!

At the end of our day, souvenirs in hand (gotta get that Disneyland tree ornament each year), great family holiday  memories in our heads — and tons of great photos in our camera — we headed home with tired feet, snoozing kids and happy hearts…

…and visions of Mickey Mouse Beignets with Eggnog Sauce dancing in our heads.

Mickey’s Halloween Party is Here!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Do you live in Southern California? Plan on visiting in October? Here’s something you and your family won’t want to miss…

Mickey’s Halloween Party is a private-party celebration (how cool is that?) held for 10 nights in October at Disneyland, offering adults and children a chance to dress up in costume and trick-or-treat at the resort. It’s scheduled for Tuesdays and Fridays in October (1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26 and 29) plus Halloween night, Sunday, Oct. 31.

Highlights include:

—  Trick or Treating at Disneyland, with even more treats along “Mickey’s Hide-and-Go-Treat Trail.”

—  Looking for Boo on the Bayou Trail, Enchanted Sweets Trail and elsewhere.

—  During the 10 nights, guests will enjoy nearly half a million pounds (yikes!) of candy — and even some healthy treats such as apple slices, carrots, raisins and dried fruit crisps.

—  The “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular, hosted by “Master of Scare-omonies” Jack Skellington (presented exclusively for guests of  Mickey’s Halloween Party)

—  Dance parties (for all ages!):

°  Club Skellington, at the French Market, features Skellington Crew dancers, DJ Dirge and Miss Twisted (host), Jack & Sally Skellington

° Buzz Lightyear’s Intergalactic Space Jam includes Buzz Girl dancers, Green Army Men and Space Diva DJ, at Tomorrowland Terrace

—  New surprises in “Mickey’s Costume Party” cavalcade, performed twice nightly

—  Character photo locations featuring Mickey and his pals, princesses, pirates, Disney villains and more

—  The opportunity to arrive three hours before the party starts to play in Disneyland. (I know my son would make the most of THAT time…) Nearly all your family’s favorite Disneyland rides and attractions will be available.

Tickets purchased in advance for Mickey’s Halloween Party are $49 most days, while tickets purchased on the event days are $54.  For Oct. 31, all tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party are $59. Children under age 3 are free.

Save some bucks by buying your tickets in advance and then splurge on some Mickey Mouse ears!

Lovin’ The Fast Lane

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Thanks to Dan Pink, for sharing on his Daniel H. Pink blog, the latest FUN way for people to engage with a subway station.

Last year Volkswagen and Fun Theory created an entertaining, musical way for people to exit a subway station.

Now they’re at it again. I love the way people do a double take when they first see this fire-engine-red slide. Thought it would be fun for you to share these videos  with the kids in your life. They’re a hoot, and I love the idea that creativity can be applied in the seemingly mundane areas of our lives.

Slide on!

Try ColorSplash on the iPhone for Photo Fun

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

I got my iPhone yesterday, and I’m like a kid at Christmas. Almost jumped up and down (OK, maybe I actually did a little) when the FedEx guy showed up.

One of my favorite apps, already, is ColorSplash. It allows you to turn a color photo into black-and-white and then add back just a touch of color to any part of the photo you choose.

Speaking of a kid at Christmas, here’s one of my favorite photos of my niece, after I had some fun with it with ColorSplash.

If you’re a busy parent with an iPhone, I’d love to know what apps you use to save time, stay organized and have fun! Please share your recommendations in comments.

Going Down a Slide With Your Child? Not So Fast

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I’ve done it.

Most of us have done it, I’m betting: Gone down a playground slide with our child on our lap. What’s the harm, right?

But according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, 13.8 percent of tibia (shin) fractures in U.S. kids were the result of the child going down a slide on an adult’s lap.

The injury occurs when the child’s leg gets stuck in one place while the adult and child continue to move down the slide.

Ouch.

Mother’s Day 2010

Thursday, May 13th, 2010
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A Baby Chick is Born

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Here’s a sweet video to share with your kids. Make sure your audio is on, because listening to the kids in the background is half the fun. This made my day! Hope it does yours, too.

Little D Hatching Out of the Egg from Class 1-208 on Vimeo.

Here’s A Math Teacher Every Kid Will Love

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Thanks to Rich Marini over at mysanantonio.com for his always-entertaining Favorite Office Time Wasters blog. Today he’s sharing my favorite post ever, “Me and My (Very Annoying) Shadow.” Check it out and share it with your kids. Every math teacher should be so inventive!

Sometimes The Best Family Ties Are Fishing Lures

Monday, April 5th, 2010

We just got back from visiting my parents in Florida, and it makes me realize how important it is to make sure Matt gets to see his Nana and Papa and that they get to see him growing up. He’s changing so fast, and I know it won’t be that many years before he (gulp) heads off to college. So these visits are important. (Plus I get to see my mom and dad!)

Randy, Matt and my dad had a good time fishing, even if there was a lot more fishing than catching this time. And Mom and I got to go to to the well-attended coffee and Easter parade at the clubhouse at their retirement community. Mom had some fun Easter goodies for me to attach to my floppy hat, and we had a great time!

What are you doing during Spring Break this year to strengthen family ties, either with your extended family or right in your own home? Let us know.