Category: Information

Every Kid in a Park

 My family and I just got back from our “Kick-off” to Summer trip by visiting a couple of our National Parks – compliments of our 4th grader. We used my daughter’s Every Kid in a Park pass to visit Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park.

Every Kid in a Park sample pass

I was more than excited last year when President Obama introduced the “Every Kid in a Park” program that provides every fourth grader and their families free admission to our national parks and recreational sites for a full year! I’ve talked about this program before but it’s such a wonderful program I have to remind everyone to take part in this program.

If your child will be entering the fifth grade in the fall, you still have time to visit our National parks for FREE! The “Every Kid in a Park” program began in the fall and runs through August 31st. For all of you with children heading into the 4th grade in the fall, their pass will be valid on September 1st.
My Forth Grader basking in the sun and the mist of Yosemite Falls.

We were in Yosemite this weekend while President Obama and his family were visiting the park. I thought is was awesome that he was there talking about the program that we were there taking advantage of. Although we didn’t stand in the meadow and wait to see the president, we did see the helicopters and experienced the excitement and security measures of having the President in the park at the same time.

According to the White House 80% of American families live around cities where children spend more than 53 hours every week glued to their electronic devices. This initiative is a push to get kids and their families outdoors and active and hopefully inspire a love for nature.

If you’re the parent of a child who just finished up their 4th grade year – get out there and experience our National Parks this summer for FREE. I’ll be writing a post soon about our experience at the parks, where we stayed and any tips that might be helpful for you and your family.  In the meantime, #Findyourpark here. I’m looking at our calendar to schedule some more time at our National Parks this summer!


Unbundle this Winter

Unbundle this Winter

We spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Big Bear Lake. It’s was an absolutely beautiful weekend. This was the first time my girls where in the snow and to make it even more perfect it snowed for two days. You can see the joy on their faces in the picture.

I love Big Bear! When my boys were young, we went snowboarding there just about every weekend during the snow seasons. Then and now I did what any responsible parent would do, we layered up in the appropriate clothing and snow jackets to endure the weather.

During our Thanksgiving weekend , we stayed at the Black Forest Lodge (which is a great place to stay), its so close to the village our car trips were short. I encouraged everyone to keep their jackets on as we were entering in and out of the car so quickly. I didn’t want the girls (or ourselves) to get cold – don’t judge, we live in Orange County.

Even this morning I drove the girls to school with our jackets on. Well, guess what…It turns out that driving around with your jackets on puts you and your kids in danger! Although you adjust the seat belt to fit snug around your jackets, the jacket just creates more room between them/you and the seat belt. You are NOT secure.

Thanks to Subaru for sharing this video from the Today Show as part of their Rossen Reports showing just how dangerous it actually is. I had to share this information with you, from now on, our jackets will come off in the car. I urge you to watch this video and make a vow to “Unbundle this Winter”. Adults are in just as much danger as kids.

Please share this post with your family and friends. Take the vow to #unbundlethiswinter



Feed the Need


Zombie Preparedness

preparednessAdOkay, don’t we all want to know how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse? You can learn how at a FREE Zombie Preparedness class hosted by REI!

Here’s the course overview: Imagine a Zombie outbreak has occurred wiping out a majority of the local population and other major cities throughout the globe. Nicknamed the “Zombie Disease,” because those killed by the disease seem to be returning to life and prey upon the living. We are now facing a full fledged attack. Those of us left alive must now ask ourselves, “Where do we go from here? How will we survive and maintain the existence of the human race?”

The Zombie related theme course hosted by REI invites you to learn some very serious and valuable survival techniques. This preparedness class provides information that could save your life in the event of any natural disaster in an urban environment and it’s FREE!!!

  • When: Thursday, October 29, 2015 from 6:00 pm  –  7:30 pm
  • Where: The MUZEO, 241 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805
  • Cost: FREE 

You must register for this class online.


Get your 4th Grader’s Park Pass Today!

EveryKidinthePark2I originally wrote about the exciting Every Kid in the Park program back in February. This fantastic program provides every fourth grader and their family free admission to our national parks and recreational sites for a full year!

Today is the day!!! Go online to print your family pass. The pass is good through 2015-2016 school year. This also happens to coincide with 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.

Our national lands and waters belong to everyone. That includes you! Use this pass to visit any of them for free.

Every Kid in a Park sample pass Official rules

  • The pass is for U.S. fourth graders (or home-school equivalent) students.
  • The pass is for the 2015 to 2016 school year. It expires August 31, 2016.
  • Students can’t transfer the pass to anyone else.
  • We can’t accept electronic versions of this paper for access or to exchange for a pass.
  • There’s no way to request a refund later if you forget the pass when you visit.
  • If you lose your pass, get a new one by visiting the website and signing up again.
  • Educators can get one paper pass for each of their fourth-grade students.

How it works

  • Show your pass to a ranger when you enter. If there is no ranger, leave it on the dashboard of your car.
  • If you visit a site that charges entrance fees per person— The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults for free.
  • If your group visits a site that charges vehicle fees – The pass admits all children under 16 and all adults in up to one passenger vehicle. Commercial vehicles can’t use a pass to get in.
  • If you arrive at a site on bicycle— The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults on bicycles.
  • The pass doesn’t cover things like camping, boats, and special tours. Also, some sites are managed by private operators. They may not honor the pass. Check with the site ahead of time to find out.
  • The pass doesn’t cover fees for local, city, or state parks and recreation areas unless they say that they accept this pass.

Get out there and start exploring! Use this link to find a National Park near you.



Girls Inc. Carnival


School is about to start for many of us here in Orange County. If your looking for a quality after school program in and near Costa Mesa, come to the Girls Inc..carnival!

The Carnival takes place on Saturday, August 15th, 2015 from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Girls Inc. Youth and Family Center in Costa Mesa. Families with K-6th grade girls may learn more about our after school program and they enjoy complimentary lunch, games, activities, and raffle prizes. In addition, you will be able to meet Girls Inc. program staff and explore possible transportation options from your child’s school!

The first 50 girls to register for our school year program will receive a FREE backpack filled with school supplies.

To RSVP for this event, please call (949) 646-7181. For more information, please visit:




Eco Challenge Day

Help keep Orange County clean by participating in the Eco Challenge Day at Angel Stadium on Saturday, July 25 from 8 am to 11 a.m.

Donate your household hazardous waste, e-waste, gently used clothing and household goods, there will also be certified paper shredding provided by Goodwill of OC.

The first 150 cars will receive a choice of a 4-pack of Angels or Discovery Cube tickets!

After dropping off your donations to Goodwill, stop by the big red hats and join in on the family-fun activities!

Anaheim Stadium is located at 2000 E Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, CA 92806



Eco Challenge Day


Come out to Irvine’s Bill Barber Park on Saturday, May 30, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. with your e-waste, gently-used clothing, or household goods for Goodwill of OC. The first 100 cars who donate their items will get the chance to choose between a 4-pack of tickets to Discovery Cube or a future Angel’s game! *while supplies last*

After dropping off your donations to Goodwill, stop by the park and join in on the family-fun activities! Former Angels Player Mark Langston will be signing autographs for a limited time and Discovery Cube will be providing children with reusable totes to decorate. We hope to see you there!

Click on this picture below to take the Eco Challenge and download a FREE Child’s admission ticket to Discovery Cube Orange County.

Bill Barber Park is located at 4 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606




This Earth Day, April 22, NASA is asking people around the world to share pictures and videos on social media that show there is no there’s #NoPlaceLikeHome.

Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park

Share a picture of your favorite place on Earth with NASA and the world views of your corner of Earth – your favorite place, whether it’s a local park, your vacation spot or Mt. Everest.

Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center
Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center

NASA’s Earth Day #NoPlaceLikeHome project seeks to get the public involved in highlighting the great diversity of the places, landscapes and ecosystems of our home planet. Participants are invited to post photos and videos that answer a simple question: What is your favorite place on Earth?

ENC - Environmental Nature Center
ENC – Environmental Nature Center

Your images can be shared using the hashtag #NoPlaceLikeHome on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Facebook, Google+ and Flickr, just be sure to include the hashtag #NoPlaceLikeHome – no matter what social media platform you’re posting on. Emojis are optional, but they would love to see <heart><Earth> in timelines everywhere. Invite your friends and family to participate.

Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center, Newport Beach, CA
Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center, Newport Beach, CA

Change your profile photo to the #NoPlaceLikeHome emoji image to show your support and celebrate the planet that over 7 billion people call home.

Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park

For more information on the #NoPlaceLikeHome project, visit:

#NASA #EarthDay #EarthRightNow #NoPlaceLikeHome


Every Kid in the Park


President Obama just introduced a very exciting new initiative today called “Every Kid in the Park“. This program will provide every fourth grader and their families free admission to our national parks and recreational sites for a full year!

The “Every Kid in a Park” program will begin in the fall, just in time for the start of the 2015-2016 school year. This also happens to coincide with 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.

According to the White House 80% of American families live around cities where children spend more than 53 hours every week glued to their electronic devices. This initiative is a push to get kids and their families outdoors and active and hopefully inspire a love for nature.

The immediate goal is to provide an opportunity for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

Every 4th grader family interested will receive a FREE annual pass! Currently an annual pass is $80.00. If you are not a family with an incoming 4th grader you can still take advantage of the annual FREE days (which I always blog about).

In addition President Obama also released that there will be 3 sites throughout the country that will be designated as new national monuments: Pullman town in Illinois, which played a role in the civil rights movement; Honolulu National Monument in Hawaii, the site of an internment camp during World War II; and Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado, a huge area scenic area in the Arkansas River Valley.

If you want to get a head start and start planning your year, here’s a link to find a National Park near you. As a the Mom of an incoming 4th grader and a Girl Scout Leader I am extremely happy to hear this news. I look forward to discovering more of our National Parks this coming year and deepening my daughter’s love of the outdoors.


My New Year’s Wish

Happy New Year!!! I want to by saying “Thank you”. I appreciate that you have come to my blog and are reading my posts. I hope that you are finding the family-fun activities that encourage family time, nature and STEAM related events helpful.

I started this blog to refine my life, my purpose and place. As our pastor Rick Warren says “Our deepest life message often comes out of our deepest pain. For me that would be the loss of my son due to a drunk driver. So, naturally the holidays are concerning to me.

I pray that each and every one of you and your families have a fun and safe New Year’s. Next, let’s be realistic, it’s New Year’s, people will drink and that’s fine – just please don’t drink and drive. So, with this mind – I have a request….actually, I am pleading with you.

I have put together a list of options for planning a safe ride to and from your destination on New Years Eve, there are even options that will help get their car home, safely.

I am asking that you please pass this information along, repost this entire post, like it and/or share it on facebook, email it to someone, share it on any social media outlet you use. If we can help just one person, save one life – it’s worth it.

Again, thank you for going along with me on this journey, I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year’s.

Annette – Project Refined Life

Tipsy Tow

Statistics show that traffic-related fatalities increase significantly around the holidays. As such, the Auto Club sponsors a complimentary Tipsy Tow service on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July, which offers free rides to drivers who have been drinking. Avoid becoming a statistic and help guests stay safe by following these tips:

  • Ensure all guests have a ride to and from their destination in a car driven by a non-drinking designated driver
  • Plan activities that take the focus away from drinking, and make non-alcoholic beverages readily available
  • Serve high-protein snacks to slow down alcohol absorption
  • Stop serving alcohol at least 90 minutes before a party ends, and serve guests coffee or dessert
  • Take car keys from intoxicated guests who plan to drive home

Tipsy Tow service provides a complimentary ride and vehicle tow up to seven miles from the point of pickup to drivers who have consumed alcohol on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. Tipsy Tow service is available to members and non-members. Ask for a Tipsy Tow by calling 1-800-400-4222.


$10.00 Rides with Flywheel

Nothing’s worse than waking up New Year’s Day with regrets. So while we can’t do anything about that champagne hangover, we can make sure you have a #SurgeFreeNYE.

Seriously! We’re celebrating the launch of two brand new Flywheel cities, Sacramento and San Diego, and the end of 2014 with a night full of $10 rides.

From 8pm Wednesday (12/31/14) til 3am Thursday (1/1/15) all Flywheel rides in San Francisco, Seattle, Sacramento and San Diego will be charged a flat rate of $10. Rides exceeding $50 will be charged the metered balance.

And to help make sure you get a ride on such a crazy night, Flywheel is incentivizing our drivers with a generous tip. Pretty sweet.

Last New Year’s Eve people were charged up to seven times the normal rate by other services – not cool! This New Year’s Eve is all about the Benjamins (staying in your wallet).

If you don’t have it yet, get the app: iOS | Android  – Questions? Shoot us an e-mail or drop us a tweet.


Get a Ride with Lyft and Uber

To keep everyone safe on the roads, MADD has joined forces with Lyft and UBER. Together, we urge all adults that if your plans include alcohol then plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver before the celebrations begin.

Both services will be donating to MADD’s mission – Every ride can save a life.

UBER: Enter promo code MADDNYE from 6:00 p.m. local time New Year’s Eve to 6:00 a.m. local time New Year’s Day and UBER will donate $1 to MADD for every ride nationwide. Lyft: Starting 6:00 a.m. local time December 29 through 6:00 a.m. local time New Year’s Day, pledge to get home safe at and $1 per pledge nationwide will benefit MADD.


Designated Driver Services

DrinkingAndDriving.Org (DADO) 501c3 is a great website that teaches and Inspires the Prevention of Drunk Driving has a National Directory of Designated Driver Services,

The services offered in this site include Designated Driver service that will drive you home in your own car or pick up services.


Free Bus Rides on New Years Eve 

Celebrate the New Year, by letting OCTA do the driving!

To promote safe travels, OCTA is continuing its tradition of offering free bus rides on New Year’s Eve. From 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 until 2:30 a.m., Thursday, January 1, 2015, ride any fixed-route bus, and your ride is free!

Nearly 100,000 people have taken advantage of this special, free bus service over the past 12 years. With 600 buses travelling on 77 designated routes and stopping at over 6,500 bus stops in Orange County, taking the bus is the safest way to celebrate the New Year!

Extended bus service in Fullerton – Heading to Fullerton’s annual First Night in Fullerton event, then be sure to take the bus and avoid the parking hassle? OCTA is providing extended service on Routes 24, 26, 43, 143 make riding the bus and easy and convenient way to enjoy this special event.

Taking the bus is easy – Even if you’ve never ridden the bus before, it’s easy to ride the bus. Use our simple onlinetrip planner to find out where to catch the bus, and the time it leaves. It’s a good idea to plan your return trip at the same time as not all buses travel past midnight. Remember to arrive at your bus stop 10 minutes before your bus is expected to arrive. If you’re traveling before 6:00 p.m., be sure to have your $2 bus fare ready; exact change is required. Riding after 6:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve? Your ride is free! Don’t forget to plan your trip home as well, not all buses run past midnight.


Free Veggies at Tanaka Farms


If you know anyone in or around Irvine in need of some fresh produce – please pass this along to them. Tanaka Farms is offering one bag of fresh veggies per family next Sunday, January 4, 2015.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Tanaka Farms.  We have been closed for a couple weeks and we have an abundant supply of fresh vegetables, so we would like to share our harvest with the community.   We will be giving away fresh vegetables grown here on the farm.  No charge at all.
When: January 4th, 2015.  10am-12pm
Where: Tanaka Farms Produce Stand
              5380 3/4 University Dr.
              Irvine, Ca 92612

What: You will receive a FREE Tanaka Farms Produce bag.  You can fill your bag with our beautiful fresh picked produce.  (These will all be pre-picked for you.)   Examples we may have.  Cauliflower, Kale, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Beets, Spinach, and Broccoli.  Limit One bag full of produce per family.  While Supplies Last offer.

 This is on first come first serve so please arrive early.


Free Thanksgiving Meals for those in need



Halloween Classic!

This movie has been one of my favorites and a true Halloween classic! Enjoy Mel Brooks “Young Frankenstein” on the big screen!

Unfortunately it’s only showing tonight at Regency South Coast Village, in Santa Ana at 7:30 p.m.

Young_Frankenstein_movie_poster (1)

Regency South Coast Village

1561 W Sunflower Ave

Santa Ana, CA 92704

Phone:(714) 557-5701


The Great California Shake Out


Millions of people worldwide will practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:16 a.m. on October 16* during the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, which began in California in 2008.

Participating is a great way for your family or organization to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes– wherever you live, work, or travel.

The Great California ShakeOut is an annual opportunity to practice how to be safer during big earthquakes: “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” The ShakeOut has also been organized to encourage you, your community, your school, or your organization to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries.

Registration totals from Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills across the U.S. are also included in America’s PrepareAthon! participation totals.