Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center and Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve


If your driving along Irvine Ave., in Newport Beach, you might not even notice this 10,000 square foot building. The Interpretive Center is built into one side of the bluffs, and has the most spectacular views of the Bay. I’ve discovered that many people who live in the area are unaware of the Interpretive Center and all it has to offer.

Visiting the Interpretive Center is FREE. Kids can make themselves at home and explore the many puzzles, books, puppets, coloring pages and study the various “pets” in terrariums: snakes, frogs, spiders, etc.

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There is an interactive display that shows children the various wildlife to be found in the bay and the importance of keeping it clean. In the theater, you can watch a short film “Saltmarsh Seasons” that the friendly staff will invite you to view at any time.

A few years ago, I was drawn to the Interpretive Center to have my oldest daughter attend one of their weekly classes – Tideland Tykes/Wild Tales ( ages 2-8, $5.00 per child).  They read a story, go for a nature walk on one of the trials, point out animal tracks and talk about the bay. Afterwards, they go back to the Interpretative Center and do a craft or coloring page. This place is in our “favorites” list. The Interpretive Center is also home to Family Science Sundays (which are FREE).

When we go as a family on the weekend, we usually let our girls play inside, have our lunch in the covered outdoor amphitheater, then we go for a walk on one of the many trials. It is truly lovely here.

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They also hosts regular coastal clean up and restoration days(great for scouting groups or as a family event). The clean up days are a great way to teach your kids one of the many ways to take action in your community and how important it is.

The center is open from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday. Admission and parking are free.

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 For more information on their Program and Events. For more information, call (949) 923-2290.

The Interpretive Center is located at the corner of University and Irvine Ave. Directions can be found at


Promoting Literacy for $1.00!

That’s right, $1.00, you can buy books at Piccolo’s Books for just $1.00! They have three locations in Southern California: Lakewood, Long Beach and Lake Forest, with more stores on the horizon.

Piccolo Lewis, the man behind the One Dollar Book Store/Piccolo’s Books was in the book business for years when he decided he wanted to reach out to his community and promote literacy. In 2006, he opened his first store in Long Beach.  The One dollar Bookstore/Piccolo’s Books sells pre-owned books, videos, DVDs and LP records for a $1.00.


I love going to my local “Big Brand” book store but let’s face it I can make dinner for the entire family for less then the cost of one book. When you have budget to keep, buying a $10.00 book can seem a bit firvolous. We utilize our library on a regular basis but I can buy a book for a dollar at this place. Yeah, I am more than excited about visiting the Lake Forest Store.


So now let’s get to the root of this story, Piccolo Lewis. Here is a man who makes a difference. Piccolo was was born in Compton and raised in Long Beach. A diagnosis of dyslexia led him to his mission in life: to promote literacy and provide affordable education to all who have desire.

Due to his dedication of promoting literacy, he started Gift of Knowledge, an organization that helps schools, organizations, libraries and orphanages as well as several other projects.

He donates an astounding 1,000 to 60,00 books a week and in the last two years he has donated over 1 million books to schools through out Los Angeles County as well Detroit, Africa, Haiti, Jamaica, the Philippians and Mexico. He is planning on opening two Children’s Libraries in impoverished neighborhoods this year.

In addition to story time for children he also hosts and produces art and entertainment events for the community,  as well as workshops on breaking into the entertainment industry, stage production, educational workshops on writing resume’s and how to land a job, how to sew and self-sustainability. He is determined to help children become productive citizens in their community.

It’s no wonder he’s been honored by Members of Congress, Councilman, the former Mayor of Los Angeles and the LAPD’s  Southeast Division.

What an amazing man, thank you for caring enough to help our youth and our community.


Pictures from Piccolo’s Books Facebook Page


OC Great Park has a great weekend of FREE events

Yesterday, I shared the Fresh Plates: Culinary Workshop that will take place to today at 10:00 am in the Farm & Food Lab at the OC Great Park but there are so many other great events going on at the Great Park this weekend, I had to share them with you.

I do want to highlight one event – Clinic in the Park. If you or anyone who needs health or dental care,  please let them know about this FREE event held on the second Sunday of each month.  Clinic in the Park is an Orange County-based nonprofit community health collaborative.


Now on to the weekend events:



SPIRIT: Tae Soon Kim (Opening Reception)

Saturday, July 12

Time(s): 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: Great Park Gallery | Map & Directions
Gallery admission, parking and the opening reception are free to the publicThe artwork of Tae Soon Kim reveals the “spirit” of traditional Korean culture by transforming, through the technique of collage, handmade paper (Han-ji) and old damaged books into objects of everyday life such as clothing, furniture, and books. Tae-Soon Kim was born in Kyungnam, Republic of Korea. Her artwork has been displayed worldwide, including at […]


Movie on the Lawn – The Lego Movie

Saturday, July 12

Time(s): 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Location: Terraced Lawn | Map & Directions
Starts at Dusk; Weather PermittingJoin us for an outdoor movie experience under the stars. Grab your beach chair, blanket and snacks for a night out with the family. Come see blockbuster hits and family favorites on the big screen at our Movie on the Lawn nights! This year’s Movie on the Lawn series will feature seven film screenings beginning […]


Certified Farmers Market

Sunday, July 13

Time(s): 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: Farmers Market | Map & Directions
Free Parking & AdmissionSundays at the Orange County Great Park are headlined by the fresh produce and fun at our Certified Farmers Market. Every week, rain or shine, the Great Park Certified Farmers Market features fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, handcrafted artisan products, live music and entertainment, and a selection of gourmet food trucks. Take home fresh […]


Clinic in the Park

Sunday, July 13

Time(s): 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: Great Park Certified Farmers Market | Map & DirectionsOn the second Sunday of each month, Clinic in the Park connects children and their families to medical and dental resources, provides application assistance for low cost insurance, developmental health screenings for children, community resource referrals and facilitates health chats with doctors and nurses. These programs are offered and staffed by health-related professional organizations and […]


Children’s Garden Workshops

Sunday, July 13

Time(s): 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location: Farm + Food Lab | Map & Directions
FreeThis season’s Children’s Garden Workshop Series is designed to highlight the connection between nature and the core education disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts, music, and math.  A garden is a perfect backdrop for exploring the ways in which the natural world impacts every aspect of our daily lives.  This new set of fun and […]

pictures and information from &


FREE Argentine Cuisine Culinary Workshop

I love FREE and I love to cook. So I’m sad that I will not be able to make to this FREE  Fresh Plates event on Saturday, July 12th at the OC Great Park. This program is produced by the City of Irvine’s Community Services Urban Agricultural Programs Division, and is supported by volunteers from Slow Foods Orange County.

The Fresh Plates Workshops are designed to introduce cuisines from around the world by local chefs and food experts. They  demonstrate how to prepare healthy meals from the garden to the table in less than 30 minutes. Participants are taught techniques and benefits of traditional old-world cooking.

The focus for this event is Argentine Cuisine – Masters Of Fire: Argentine food is an intoxicating blend of indigenous dishes mixed with the Mediterranean influences of its European settlers, but it’s the expert use of fire that makes this cuisine truly extraordinary.  


60 minute presentation/demonstration

Ages 16+ are welcome to attend

Time(s): 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Location:Farm + Food Lab | Map & Directions

Cost: Free



Alisa’s Law

New federal legislation  was introduced on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. The proposed law was presented by  Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY). This law would require that states require all convicted drunk driving offenders to install an ignition interlock for a minimum of six months for all convicted drunk drivers.

More than 10,000 people die each year due to a drunk driver, said Congresswoman Lowey. “In addition to the enormous emotional toll, drunk driving costs taxpayers $132 billion each year. We know interlocks work and it’s time for every state to adopt this lifesaving measure.”

Did you know that the average drunk driver has driven drunk 87 times before being caught? Yep, think about that. I’m praying that this bill is passed and that drinking and driving will finally be taken more seriously.


The following is from MADD.ORG/Blog/

Representative Nita Lowey introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would push states to require the use of ignition interlock devices for a minimum of six months for all convicted drunk driving offenders. States that fail to comply would face a reduction in federal transportation funding.

The bill is called “Alisa’s Law,” in honor of the daughter of MADD National President Jan Withers. Yesterday would have been Alisa’s 38th birthday had her life not been tragically cut short by a drunk driver when she was just 15.

If passed, this legislation would represent a significant milestone for MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®. When the Campaign was launched in 2006, New Mexico was the only state to require all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock. Today, 24 states have passed similar legislation, and California instituted a pilot program that covers over 13 million people. The most recent count shows that over 300,000 interlocks are installed in the United States.

Every major traffic safety organization including the National Transportation Safety Board and AAA has endorsed the concept. As part of the MAP-21 surface transportation bill, Congress approved an ignition interlock incentive grant program to give financial incentives to states which pass all offender interlock legislation. Alisa’s Law is the next major step towards a nation without drunk driving, a crime that still causes almost one-out-of three highway deaths.

MADD thanks Congresswoman Lowey for her leadership to help eliminate drunk driving.

– See more at:


Would you like some Donuts?


Ok, so did I get your attention with these de·lec·ta·ble donuts? I fought with myself about posting this (Yes, I do fight with myself). Although I’m not going to buy you donuts, you might need to buy some for a business meeting. Perhaps on Friday, July 11th??? If so, I’ve got a deal for you. You see,  I know that in the business world, donuts carry some major bargaining power. So here it is…To celebrate Krisy Kreme’s 77th birthday on July 11th, go to a Krispy Kreme near you for a great deal on donuts. If you buy a dozen, you’ll get a the second dozen for only $.077!!!

Phew, that’s was rough. I try very hard to keep the focus on healthy food but every once in while…well, you know. I hope this post can help you score some major input at the next business meeting. So on Friday, come in to your office meeting prepared and ask your co-worker…Would you like some donuts?

For locations near you click here.


OC Fair – Summer Starts Here


Are you ready for some food, carnival rides, carnival games, pig races and exhibits? It’s that  time again, the 2014 OC Fair  will begin this Friday, July 11th and continue through Sunday, Aug. 10. The fair will be open Wednesday-Sunday. Wednesday – Friday: Noon – Midnight and Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – Midnight

Some of the exhibits I’m excited about are the Culinary exhibits, the educational exhibits, contests, Explorium and the garden exhibits in Centennial Farm.

Explorium is an exhibit in which kids from all over  the OC entered the Kids Competitions for Wild & Wonderful Wings, Creative Critters, My Book Buddy, LEGOs, Poster Art, Fair Foodies, Junior Photography, Creative Writing, Drawing and Painting. I can’t wait to see the kids imagination’s at work.

Now, because I we have a budget to keep, I loved reading this article in the OC Registar about How to enjoy the fair without going broke. In addition, I’ve included a list of deals to get into the fair. Some of the fair admission deals even provide an opportunity to help your community through food, book, clothing & school supply drives on We Care Wednesdays.

For me, visiting the fair on the right days provides three very important things: 1) spending time with family 2) learning 3) giving back to your community. Now that’s refining!

Opening Day

FREE Admission & Parking
July 11 (Noon – 1 pm)


Active Military & Veterans
FREE Active Military & Veterans admission with I.D. Must Show Identification-Not Valid
for Spouses or Dependents
Read & Ride
Read 2 books for 3 carnival rides (ages 5-11)
Click here to download book report form
Submit book reports to the Information Booth @ Centennial Farm for FREE ride tickets
(Valid July 11- August 10, 2014)


$30 Unlimited Carnival Ride Wristband
(Sold until 5 pm. Valid until 8 pm) – Plus 2 FREE games
We Care Wednesday

We Care Wednesday
Promotion Schedule and Guidelines

FREE admission and 1 carnival ride per person every Wednesday with donation (donation changes weekly).Acceptance of donated items is at the discretion of the OC Fair. Limited to 1 FREE admission and 1 carnival ride per person
Food Drive July 16 (noon – 3 pm)
FREE admission with donation of 5 cans of food
Second Harvest Food Bank Orange County Food Bank
Children’s Book Drive July 23 (noon – 3 pm)
FREE admission with donation of 1 new children’s book
or 3 gently used children’s books
Think Together Early Literacy Program
Clothing Drive July 30 (noon – 3 pm)
FREE admission with donation of 5 new or gently used clothing items
School Supply Drive August 6 (noon – 3 pm)
FREE admission with donation of NEW school supplies valued at $5 or more. Receipt required.
Accepted items:

  • pens/pencils/crayons
  • notebooks/notebook paper
  • school backpacks
Share Ourselves


$30 Unlimited Carnival Ride Wristband
(Sold until 5 pm. Valid until 8 pm) – Plus 2 FREE Games
Kids Day
Children 12 & Under FREE Fair admission All day.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Look for Olivia for special shopping deals with select vendors all day.


Seniors Day (60+)
$2 off senior admission
FREE Ferris wheel and merry-go-round rides all day
$2 Taste of Fair Food
Every Friday Noon – 4 pm
Download the $2 Taste of Fair Food list Coming Soon
$2 Rides and $2 Games
Every Friday Noon – 4 pm
Ride with OC Fair Express
Catch the OC Fair Express at one of the eight convenient locations in Orange County with direct bus service to the OC Fair and save!Price: $2 Each Way or $4 Round-Trip to the OC Fair
$3 OC Fair admissionTransit Locations: Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, San Juan CapistranoFor more information, visit
Ride with Metrolink
Take Metrolink to the Anaheim Canyon, Santa Ana or Irvine Metrolink station and connect with OCTA’s
OC Fair Express which provides direct bus service to the OC Fair. Just show your valid Metrolink ticket for a FREE ride to the OC Fair. Click linkfor details.

Saturdays & Sundays

Rise & Shine
$3 general admission
(10 am a 11 am)
Discounted tickets are sold until 11 a.m. and must be used by noon on the same day
Off-Site Parking (Weekends Only)
Free parking and shuttle service are available on Saturdays and Sundays from the Experian parking structure located off the Bristol St. exit of the 405 freeway.
Ride with OC Fair Express
Catch the OC Fair Express at one of the eight convenient locations in Orange County with direct bus service to the OC Fair and save!Price: $2 Each Way or $4 Round-Trip to the OC Fair
$3 OC Fair admissionTransit Locations: Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, San Juan CapistranoFor more information, visit
Ride with Metrolink
Take Metrolink to the Anaheim Canyon, Santa Ana or Irvine Metrolink station and connect with OCTA’s
OC Fair Express which provides direct bus service to the OC Fair. Just show your valid Metrolink ticket for a FREE ride to the OC Fair. Click linkfor details.


General Admission and Parking (No deals) are as follows:

General (13-59) – $12
Senior (60+) – $7
Youth (6 – 12) – $7
Children 5 and under are FREE

Super Pass:
Buy the exclusive Super Pass and enjoy admission to the 2014 OC Fair for all 23 days! Must be purchased in person at OC Fair box office or online. Includes: admission all 23 days, express entry at all gates, 2-for-1 tickets for select Pacific Amphitheater/Hanger and Action Sports Arena concerts, 20% off OC Fair merchandise, and carnival value book.
General admission: $35
Senior: $28
Youth: $28

Parking Rates:
General parking passenger cars: $10
General parking buses & limos: $20
Pacific Amphitheater VIP: $30
*Parking is CASH ONLY. There is no in-and-out parking privileges.


Tustin Concerts in the Park

If your in or around Tustin, remember Wednesday night is Concerts in the Park night! In addition to some great music, during intermission you’ll get to hear  the School of Rock students perform. This is a great way to showcase our local talent.

Tonight they’ll have some classic rock. So bring your picnic dinner or buy it here from local non-profit vendors. Be sure to bring your lawn chairs and blankets and be ready to have a great time.





12 year old girl credited for breakthrough in lionfish research

 A 12 year old girl, Lauren Arrington of Flordia  decided to study the invasive Lionfish for her sixth grade science project. What she ended up doing is teaching biologists a thing or two.

Thanks to Lauren’s research, we now know that Lionfish, who pose a huge threat to reefs in Florida, can not only survive in salt water but semi-fresh waters as well.  Not good to have such a venomous and hungry fish in rivers and estuaries.

She is now being credited in an international scientific publication called the Environmental Biology of Fishes.

“They’re eating all the little fish, so there’s no food for the big fish, and it’s destroying the Florida ecosystem,” said Lauren Arrington


Way to go Lauren!

 You can read more  about Lauren’s research at the


OC Parks Summer Concert Series

The annual OC Parks Summer Concert Series are a great way to get the family out and enjoy a evening of music. They are held every Thursday from 6 – 8 pm at various parks in Orange County.

Craig Regional Park, Mason Regional Park, Irvine Regional Park, Mile Square Regional Park, and Bluff Park at Salt Creek Beach.

We’ve missed the first two but the next concert will be this Thursday, July 10th,  and run through August 28th. 


The concerts and parking are FREE. Food trucks will be at each event. The lineup of bands/artists include No Duh (No Doubt tribute), Flashback Heart Attack, Suburban Legends, Papafish, Stacy Clark, Moonsville Collective, Matt Costa and more.

Pack up your cooler and chairs and get ready for some family fun.


IHOP $0.56 cent pancakes



Today only, July 8th 2014 from 7AM to 7PM, participating IHOP restaurants will be celebrating their 56th Anniversary. They will be offering their famous Original Buttermilk Pancake Short Stacks for just 56¢!

We don’t normally go out to eat but this very cost effective breakfast is a great chance to create a memory and spend some precious time with my little ones.

This offer is valid at participating IHOP Restaurant locations only. You can not use any coupons or any other discounts in combination with this offer.  This is for dine-in customers only and you can only order one 56¢ Original Buttermilk Short Stack (3 Pancakes) per Guest.

Find your participating IHOP locations.


Sunday Salsa

I’m not talking about dancing, I’m talking about the kind you eat. I made some salsa last night and thought I’d share the recipe with you.

Salsa, is so easy to make, you never need to buy salsa in a jar (its loaded with sodium) and you never need to use anything out of a can to make salsa (the lining of most cans, including tomatoes, contain a resin that leaches a toxic chemical, bisphenol-A (BPA), into food). You don’t even need to cook it. wpid-wp-1404699550881.jpeg

Did you know that 1/4 cup of salsa is equivalent to a one cup serving of vegetables? Salsa is high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Salsa provides a good source of iron, magnesium and potassium to help maintain normal blood pressure and capsaicin  (found in peppers) can help relieve indigestion and stomach pain.

Cilantro helps remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body while cumin helps with memory loss and the effects of stress on the body. All of these ingredients together provide high antioxidant levels and can help fight cancer.   wpid-wp-1404699550880.jpeg

If I had lime on hand, I would have included some lime juice in my salsa but it was fine without  it. Now if you notice the picture above, the serrano’s are just as big as the jalapeno’s. My husband likes hot salsa, so please adjust the recipe if you need to or de-seed the chile.

Sunday Salsa Ingredients

  • 3 serrano’s 
  • 2 jalapano’s
  • 4-6 tomaotes
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2 clove’s of garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon cumin
  • cilantro to garnish

Directions: Slice tomato, chile and onion and add into a food processor along with crushed garlic clove, salt, cumin, sugar and cilantro. Blend, serve and garnish with cilantro.




Target Free Sundays

Every month Target hosts “Target Free Sundays”. This programs provides FREE admission to museum’s and events around the country normally held on Sundays but there are museum that hold these events on others days of the week. As an example: The Atlanta Children’s Museum’s free day is on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.


We’ve used this program to visit The Children’s Museum of La Habra, Orange County Museum of Art, Bowers Kidseum and Bowers Museum, one of favorite exhibits was the Terra Cotta Warriors.


In Los Angeles County you can visit museums like Los Angeles County Museum of Art and  The Museum of Latin American Art. In San Diego you can visit The New Children’s Museum (We had a blast at this museum).

This program has many  participating museums throughout the United States.



pictures from, and


My Incredible Body app for kids

This app definelty gets added to the Summer Educational Series and beyond. “My Incredible Body” app from Zybright, is FREE for a limited time and is available for Andriod and iOS. My daughter loves this app.

My children love looking at their Human Body book but this interactive anatomy app takes them on a high quality animated tour of the body.

This kid’s anatomy app offers 3D models of the body that cover the brain, digestion, lungs, skeleton, kidneys, senses, muscles and heart.


The app allows you to pinch, swipe and zoom in on the 3D anatomy models. Each organ has multiple parts which they can tap on to bring up a brief description.  Kids have the option of reading and/or listening to the narration.

They can explore the models, see the connections, watch videos or see demos of the body parts in action.

 You can download My Incredible Body for iOS  and  Android for free for a limited time.