The Mission Inn Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights – Image from

I had to start out the Christmas lighting displays and events with my absolute favorite Christmas light display…the Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights in Riverside, CA.

This incredible display of more than 4 million lights happens every year the day after Thanksgiving. The “Switch-On” ceremony and fireworks display kicks off on Friday, November 28th, 2014 and begins at 4:30 p.m..

Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights – Iamge from

Besides the amazing display of lights that highlight the Mission Inn’s beautiful architecture, don’t miss the opportunity to take a tour of the beautiful Mission Inn.

Presidential Lounge

Presidential Lounge – image from

At the entrance to the Mission Inn, you are greeted by giant nutcrackers and displays in the gardens that lead you into the lobby where you’ll find a gorgeous Christmas tree. There are several restuarants that host stunning outside eating areas as well as the historic Presidentail Lounge.

Mission Inn Dining Patio

Mission Inn Dining Patio – Image from

Outside you can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, freshly fallen snow, an ice skating rink, food and holiday vendors and live entertainment.

Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights – Image from

The festivities run from Friday, November 28, 2014 through Saturday, January 3, 2015.

People magazine ranked the Festival of Lights as the 2nd best lighting ceremony in the United States (second only to Rockefeller Center).

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is located at 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501

The event is free, parking is $5.00 at most parking lots. Vendors and restaurant fees vary.


Inventor Badge

One of the badges my Brownies voted on earning this year was the Inventor Badge. Since this would be our only meeting this month, I needed something we could complete all 5 steps in one meeting and still conduct some much needed Girl Scout buisness. This badge worked out perfectly. Inventor_Badge

This badge provides the perfect opportunity encourgae young Girl Scouts to build, think outisde the box and to bring out the “maker” in them.


Here’s what we did:


Step #1-Warm up your Inventors Mind  – I had them work on the “make something out of Circles page from the Inventor Badge packet, I also had cut and pasted together a coloring Page and facts about Ada Lovelace, they could color this if they finished their circles page or take it home.

Opening: Flag salute, Girl Scout Promise and Law

Business: Brainstorming for Holiday Bazaar crafts my Brownies will be making.


Step # 2 – Find Lots of Ways to Solve the Same Problem –  I sent out an email asking my parents to bring their trash to the meeting – I requested toilet paper rolls, paper towels rolls, paper clips, pipe cleaners, oatmeal canisters, rubber bands, yarn spools etc..

I told my Brownies to use the miscellaneous “trash” to create something that could improve something within their life, their community or to make the world a better place. I let them know their invention did not need to be realistic. I did not want to set any boundries. I told them their invention could be as ridiculous as they wanted it to be.I just wanted to give them the freedom to “invent” without limits.

This is where my Brownies completely suprised me, they were so excited to get going! As I was explaining the project to them they began pulling select pieces “trash” for their invention.As they where working on their inventions, I talked to them about 

Step #3 – Make a Needs List  - I asked them what we could do to improve our Brownie meetings. What if some one it distracting you, being disrespectful, not listening to the leaders or not following directions. Should we bring back the Kaper chart, songs, friendship circle (yes, songs & the friendship circle have been hard to fit in lately).

Because they were all hard at work on their inventions  – Couldn’t get an answer from them (which is unusual). So, I let them work and brought it up again after a few minutes.

Step #4 – Solve a Problem - My Brownies finally voiced their “needs” list to improve their meetings. They unanimously voted that they missed songs and the friendship circle. They also unanimously voted that they did not want the kaper chart back. I quickly discussed with them that since we would not a have a kaper chart, they would all have to help at meetings, from leading flag salute to cleaning up. 

Step #5 – Share Your Invention - After all the Brownies had completed the inventions (I actually had to rush a few of them to finish), I had each Brownie share what she had invented and how it would help and/or work (this goes back to Step #4). My Brownies invented things from candy holders to a disposable telescope, they all had some really neat inventions.

The Brownies cleaned up and had snack. They also voted on their final Holiday Bazaar crafts.


About half of them left before we had the chance to do our friendship circle but those who remained successfully completed their friendship circle with the help of some Junior – big sister girl scouts who gave us a new way to do our friendship circle – Squeeze and then put your foot in, I like it!


I was very excited about the badge subject but even at that, I once again found my feeling nervous prior to meeting…did I miss anything, did I plan it well enough for them not to get bored? Will the “trash” idea work? All these questions and doubt. I don’t know when I will stop feeling this way! The end result was the meeting went very well.


It was a great meeting and I was so happy to see how involved they where while “inventing”. I hope that I have encouraged my Brownies to re-think their trash and expanded their minds and their ability to be “makers”.

Consider this badge earned!

Until next time, Happy Scouting!

Weekend Roundup – November 21 – 23, 2014


Welcome to the Weekend Roundup

November 21 – 23, 2014

Everday through the Month of November

Thomas & Friends at DiscoveryCube Orange County


Friday, November 21, 2014

Free Shark Lagoon Nights Tonight and every Friday night at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach

La Noche Grande:Battle of the Bands – Friday Nights at MOLAA in Long Beach

Jacque Tahuka-Nunez

Jacque Tahuka-Nunez

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jr. Chef Classes every Saturday at Williams-Sonoma – nationwide

Drop in and Draw at Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Costa Mesa

Discover Nature Family Program at Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim

U – Pick Tours at Tanaka Farms in Irvine

Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings at Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine

Star Party at Capsers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano

Storytime in the Garden at the Great Park in Irvine

Wolves: Myths & Legends at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Silverado

Discovery Center Open House at Chino Hills State Park in Brea

Native American Storytelling & Basket making with Jackie Tahuka-Nunez at Crustal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach

Winter Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach

Weekend Hikes at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, O’Neill Regional Park & Irvine Regional Park


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Technique Cooking Classes every Sunday at Williams-Sonoma

Discover Nature Family Program at Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim

 U – Pick Tours at Tanaka Farms in Irvine

Weekend Hikes  at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park & Caspers Wilderness Park


OC Parks Weekend Hikes

OC Parks Weekend Hikes before our Thanksgiving Day Feasts.

OC Parks

OC Parks

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let’s Go Hiking at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park – Do you want to take a hike with other nature enthusiasts? Enjoy a 3.8-mile, moderate (600-ft. elevation gain) hike through Laurel and Willow canyons with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers. You will experience a variety of plant communities, from Coastal Sage Scrub to Oak Woodland and enjoy a view of the ocean at the top. Minimal interpretation, but questions welcome. The terrain can often be rocky and uneven.

  • Participants should bring water, a hat, a snack, and wear proper hiking shoes.

  • Ages 15 and up.

  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, just south of El Toro Road intersection).

  • For questions call: 949-497-8324 Mon-Fri & 949-923-2235 Sat/Sun.

  • Parking: $3/vehicle.

  • Donation: $2/person.

Online Registration




8:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Nature Walk at O’ Neill Regional Park – Join our Naturalists on a nature walk and learn about Trabuco Canyon animals and nature. Light to moderate walk on mostly paved roads. Meet at the Nature Center just inside the main entrance of the park.

  • Ages: All Ages Welcome

  • Fee: Free

  • Parking: $5 per vehicle

O’Neill Regional Park
30892 Trabuco Canyon Road
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
(949)923-2260 or (949)923-2256

(Event is conditional on the weather.)




9:00 AM – 10:30 AM


Guided Interpetive Hike at Irvine Regional Park – Join our naturalists on a nature walk and learn about the local plants, animals and history of Irvine Park. Light to moderate walking on both paved paths and trails. Meet at the Nature Center near the OC Zoo in parking lot #19.

  • All ages welcome

  • Free

  • Parking: $5 per vehicle

    Irvine Regional Park
    1 Irvine Park Road
    Orange, CA 92869
    (714) 973-6835 or (714) 973-3173




10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Birding Walk at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park – Spot native and winter resident birds with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists on this 2-mile hike over uneven terrain (up to 400-ft. elevation gain) through one of the most diverse plant communities in the United States.

  • For ages 12 and up (minors must be accompanied by an adult). Wear hiking or walking shoes and bring your binoculars.

  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (405 South to 133 south to stoplight at 73 turn-off; make a U-turn, go 1 block; Dilley is on the right).

  • For questions call: 949-497-8324 Mon-Fri & 949-923-2235 Sat/Sun.

  • Parking: $3/vehicle.

  • Donation: $2/person.

Online Registration




8:00 AM – 11:00 AM


Ranger Led Nature Walk at Caspers Wilderness Park – Join our Park Rangers Sunday mornings for an easy 1-mile hike on the Nature Trail. The trail takes visitors through grassland, oak woodland, riparian and sandy cactus scrub communities. Meet at Old Corral Day Use area. Rain will cancel hike.

  • Fee: Free

  • Parking: $5 per vehicle

  • Wear comfortable clothing, hiking shoes.

  • Sunscreen, water and insect repellent are recommended.

 For additional information, please call the park at (949) 923-2210.

Caspers Wilderness Park
33401 Ortega Hwy.( P. O. Box 395)
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675




8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Who’s Got Rhythm?

Got rhythm? On Saurturday November 22, 2014 at 3:00 p.m., the Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings teams with the Prelude Chamber Strings to bring you an afternoon of thrilling tunes and illustrious rhythms at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

PSSS - Image from

PSSS – Image from

From the mesmerizing tango to groovy rock beats, experience the sound of these talented young string orchestras as they show you “Who’s Got Rhythm?”

This concert is free. Tickets available at the door – parking is $10.00

Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at: 4242 Campus Drive in Irvine


Get ready for a Star Party

Van Gogh - Starry Nights

Van Gogh – Starry Nights

Ok, so the Star Party won’t quite look like Van Gogh’s Starry Nights painting but you get the idea. Take a grand tour of our starry night skies at Caspers Wilderness Park‘s Star Party and wonder at the beauty above us.

Join Allan and other amateur astronomers and have a look in the telescopes to see the marvels of the sky.

Come and take a guided tour of the constellations while learning myths and facts about the cosmos. Observe the wonders of the night sky including nebulas, galaxies, star clusters and double stars.

  • Event – Free

  • Saturday, November 22, 2014  from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

  • Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park, 33401 Ortega Hwy. San Juan Capistrano, CA

  • Parking- $5.00 per vehicle

Note: held only on evenings with clear skies (good weather). Call the Park at (949) 923-2210 for weather/sky updates or additional information.

Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours

Tanaka Farms in Irvine has annouced more U-Pick Tours for this weekend. I love having my girls come here and pick vegetables. They can’t wait to see the veggies they picked in our dinner salad.

Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours

Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours – Image from

The tours will take place this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 22nd & 23rd, at 10am, 12pm and 2pm.

Take a FREE wagon ride around the farm to pick your very own vegetables! Options include carrots, kale, swiss chard, baby maui onions, and vine-ripened tomatoes. (All produce subject to change.)

You only pay for what you pick! No reservations are needed but please arrive 15 minutes prior to the tour time you wish to attend.  

Tanaka Farms is located at: 5380 3/4 University Dr., Irvine, CA

Public Drinking Water Is Not Available, please bring your own or bottled water is available for purchase at $1.50/bottle.. This is an actually working farm, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty.

They do not allow pets or wagons on the property. for safety reasons.

Storytime in the Garden

Storytime in the Garden-OC Great Park

Storytime in the Garden-OC Great Park

Enoy a fun-filled, enchanting hour of food related stories, songs, games, and activities designed to help kids build strong language and literacy skills, and lifelong healthy eating habits.

The garden setting stimulates curiosity and imagination, and enables participants to make personal connections with the stories by seeing firsthand how fruits and vegetables are grown.

Structured 30 minute interactive presentation followed by craft activities.
All ages are welcome to attend

  • Saturday, November 22, 2014 from 10:00 am- 11:00 am

  • Story: The Ugly Pumpkin, Blue Bowl Down, and Very First Thanksgiving Day

Location:Farm + Food Lab | Map & Directions

This program is produced and presented by the City of Irvine’s Community Services Urban Agricultural Programs Division in collaboration with the University of California Irvine’s Jumpstart Children First program.

Discover Nature Family Program


The Discover Family Nature program is an hour long program held on weekend mornings at Oak Canyon Nature Center. The program includes a naturalist-led hike through Oak Canyon and a live animal demonstration themed to the Canyon’s plants, animals, history, ecology, and more!


If you’ve never been here, this spot is a must see! Oak Canyon Nature Center is a 58 acre nature park nestled in Anaheim Hills. The park boasts beautiful trails surrounded by Oak trees, bubbling streams and wooden bridges. My girls (and I) loved it!


Pre-registration is not required, although large groups must contact the nature center before hand to make reservations.

Discover Nature Family Program is held both Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10:30 am – 11:30am..Participants should wear closed-toed shoes. Children of all ages welcome. Stroller and wheelchair accessible hikes are available.

Where: Oak Canyon Nature Center – 6700 E. Walnut Canyon Rd., Anaheim, CA

When: Every Saturday & Sunday Morning from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Fee: $5.00 donation/family

Barbie Book Fail!

Mattel – you get a great big thumbs down from me on the Barbie Computer Engineer Book! So Barbie can do anything except write code. Thank goodness theres’ a boy close by – he’ll fix everything…Fail!

Barbie Computer Engineer Book
Barbie Computer Engineer Book

Isn’t she supposed to be a Computer engineer? I was already upset about the Girl Scout Barbie released earlier this year but now this. I was very excited to see the Computer Engineer Barbie but to accompany it with such a ridiculous book.

Just a couple of months back I told my girls they could no longer watch the Barbie episodes on Netflix after watching an episode of Barbie Dreamhouse with them “Girl” based TV and toys are so very disappointing.

Step it up Mattel! Encourage our girls, build them up, show them they can be and do anything!

Barbie- Compueter Engineer???
Barbie- Compueter Engineer???

Here’s a more complete article from,, I’m in a hurry as I am on my way to our school garden, hopefully I can find a guy around to help guide through the garden. I might get lost.

Wolves: Myths & Legends

Here’s another opportunity to experience Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary and Wolf Totem Ambassadors: Wolves: Myths and Legends on Saturday November 22, 2014 from 4:00 – 5:30 pm.

This is an outstanding interactive program will feature wolf folklore, stories and live Grey Wolves.

Tucker_wildlife_Wolves_nov_22_2014-page-001 (1)


  • Where: Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary 29322 Modeska Canyon Rd., Silverado, CA 92676

  • When: Saturday, November 22, 2014

  • Date: 7:00 – 8: 8:30 pm.

  • Fee: $6.00 per person

Discovery Center

Come visit the Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center Open House on November 22, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m..

Just a short walk from Carbon Canyon Regional Park you will find the grand opening of the all new interactive Discovery Center.

Activities for all ages will be on hand including face painting, kids crafts, interpretive programs, a photo booth, and a guided mountain bike ride (Please bring your own mountain bike and helmet). Be sure to visit the informational booths on site including OC Parks, Brea/Fullerton Fire Department, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Hills for Everyone, and Chino Hills State Park Interpretive Association.

Discovery Center Open House-page-001

  • When: Saturday, November 22, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. – 1: 00 p.m.

  • Where: Chino Hills State Park Address: 4500 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea CA 92823

  • Fee: The event is free, parking is $5.00

Discovery Center Open House-page-002

Ylang Ylang

Tuesday Tip-off!

Ylang Ylang, while famed for its exquisite fragrance and long history as a component of perfumes, has much to offer therapeutically. It is an effective mood uplifting agent as well as having calming properties.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang oil comes from greenish-yellow flowers that are shaped like starfish.  It is a tropical tree native to tropical Asia, but can be sourced in other parts of the world. Historically, Ylang Ylang’s primary use is as an anti-depressant.  It is known to reduce anxiety, be an aphrodisiac and to help individuals release anger.  It is also considered an effective antiseptic. The Essential Oil Ylang Ylang (complete) is of the botanical family Annonaceae, it is grown in Madagascar where it is steam distilled from the flower.

Image and information from and

Jacque Tahuka-Nunez at Crystal Cove

Join Acjachemen storyteller Jacque Tahuka-Nunez as she brings to life the lifestyle and culture of the local Native American at Crystal Cove State Park.

Jacque Tahuka-Nunez

Jacque Tahuka-Nunez with my Girls at Clark Regional Park

We had the pleasure of meeting Jacque recently during after one of her storytelling presentations, my 4 year old was so impressed by her stortytelling, she now references her stories about dragonflies at least twice a week (memory made). Jacque has such a beautiful pressence about her, she is truly a ray of sunshine.

There will be a basket weaving activity at 4:00 pm followed by an interactive campfire program at 5:00 pm.

  • When: Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.

  • Where: Crystal Cove State Park – 8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. Meet at the Berns Amphitheatre (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow signs towards the campground.)

  • Fee: $15 day use fee

OC Zoo Winter Preschool Program


It’s time to sign up for the OC Zoo Winter preschool program! The preschool program is geared for children ages 3-4 years old and the fee is $5.00 which includes the program and the entrance to the zoo.


The program we attended began with crafts and hands-on learning as the staff bought out zoo animals. The children were all given a chance to touch (almost all) the animals while providing animal facts.


Classes start promptly at 10:15 am and last for one hour. I was a little concerned that a room full of preschoolers would not sit still for a full hour but during the hour we did 3 crafts and had at least 7 animals brought out in between. Afterwards we enjoyed the zoo and storytime under the beatiful trees.


Arrive at the zoo gate by 10:00 am so you have time arrive so you have time to wait in line at the ticket booth. Parents must accompany their children for the entire program.


 Here’s the Winter program line up: 

Creatures In The Cold
Fri, Dec 5th & Wed, Dec 10th

Animal Art II
Fri, Jan 9th; Wed, Jan 14th, & Thurs, Feb 12th

Nose, Toes & Ears
Thurs, Jan 22nd & Fri, Feb 20th

Scales, Feathers & Fur
Fri, Jan 30th; Wed, Feb 4th, & Thurs, Feb 26th

To register for a class call (714) 973-6846.
*Please call to cancel no later than 1 week prior
to class so that we can allow someone from
the waiting list to attend instead.

Elves’ Faire

On Saturday, November 22, 2014, Watch the Magic Unfold at The 29th Annual Elves’ Faire.

Pasadena Waldorf School

Pasadena Waldorf School is getting ready for another beautiful, magical Elves’ Faire! This FREE event is created each fall through the creativity, passion, and dedication of the PWS parents, staff, and faculty as a gift to the greater community.

elves' faire

Activities will include: Arts & Crafts, Games, Puppet Show, Storytelling, Elves’ Forest Photo Studio, Music and a Pixie Party.

slide image

When: Saturday, November 22, 2014 from 10am-4pm


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