Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Baby's First Easter Event: Babies R Us

Baby's First Easter Event
Saturday, March 28
Toys R Us
The event will include giveaways, prizes, and an Easter backdrop for photo opportunities. This event occurs at all retail Babies R Us locations. If the closest Babies R Us is within a Toys R Us, contact the store to see if they are hosting the event. The Toys R Us location in Montebello is participating.
Fine print: "All giveaways and event materials available while supplies last and distributed to event participants only."
Click here for more information.

Stop by again at Noon where kids can create a Lego Ninjago mask! Click here for details.

Lego Ninjago Event: Toys R Us

These Toys R Us events are always fun, especially when it includes Legos! Kids can chose to create a red or green Lego Ninjago mask and participate in a scavenger hunt at this event.

This event occurs at all retail Toys R Us locations and does not occur at Toys R Us outlet or Toys R Us express locations.

Click here for more information.

Look what I found in this Sunday's Toys R Us ad!

Fine print: "Event intended for children ages 5-up. Parental supervision required at all times. All giveaways and event materials available while supplies last and distributed to participating children only. Limit one per child. Quantities limited; no rain checks."
Have a new baby? Stop by at 10am to celebrate Baby's First Easter. Click here for details.

Easter Breakfast, Food & Clothing Giveaway: Hearts of Compassion, Montebello

The Girl Scout troop I work with has volunteered at similar Hearts of Compassion events. The giveaways include food, clothing, hygiene items, blankets, and more. The Easter event includes breakfast and bicycle raffles. Recipients start lining up very early for this event. Free parking is available at ATC high school, across the street from the event.

Volunteers are needed that morning to organize the items to giveaway. Call 323-727-7997 for more information.

Downtown Bookfest: Grand Park

 I took my family to the bookfest a few years ago and we had a great time. Grand Park is a very nice clean park in the heart of downtown L.A. If it's warm have the kids wear swimsuits under their clothes, there is a really great fountain at the top of the park for anyone to play in, great fun!
Live performances, readings, crafts for kids, award winning authors, food trucks,
pop-up bookshop, local publishers, and marketplace.

Downtown Bookfest
Saturday, March 28
At Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles, 200 N. Grand Drive, Los Angeles, 90012

Movie Night (FREE!): Montebello High School

 Movie on a big screen!
Montebello High School Courtyard
Friday, March 27

The movie will be a recent DVD release that kids and families are guaranteed to love!

Free admission. Bring blankets & chairs as seating will be outside. No outside food is allowed. Tacos and other food will be sold to raise funds for the Montebello High School Booster Club.

For more information email

Disney Store 28th Anniversary

The Shops at Montebello Disney Store location will be open from 10am-9pm on Saturday, March 28.
Fine print: "Some restrictions apply. See a Cast member for details. Limit 1 (one) gift with any purchase per Guest. Not valid on purchases of Theme Park passes, Gift Cards, or Gift Certificates. Valid on 3/28/15 only."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meet the Grunion, Grunion Run: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Grunion are little silvery fish that come on shore to spawn. They can be easily seen swarming the beach in droves!

 Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
3720 Stephen M. White Drive,
San Pedro, CA 90731

Cost $5 for adults, $1 for seseniors/students/children.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Disneyland on the Cheap

Jedi Training Academy

I've been asked a few times how to get Disneyland tickets for cheap. The answer: It's darn near impossible.

Nonetheless, here is what I've learned about buying tickets & saving at the Disneyland Resort and any special ticket offers currently available.

2-Day & 3-Day Ticket Offer

2-day (one park per day) ticket $139 ($69.50/day)
3-day (one park per day) ticket $169* ($56.33/day)
*includes one Magic Morning admission
Upgrade to Park Hopper (both parks any day) for $39 extra

Tickets are available for purchase now and are valid through 5/21/2015, except blackout dates of 3/20/15 - 4/4/15.

Purchase tickets online or in person at the Disneyland Resort ticket booth.
Days of visits do not need to be consecutive and if you love your time at the Disney Resort you can take your tickets to a ticket booth and upgrade to an annual pass on your second or third visit.


FRIDAY, May 22, 6am - Saturday, May 23, 6am

Disneyland Resort will be open 24 hours!!!

Cost per hour of fun: $4.12

Regular Disneyland Resort Ticket Pricing

What I Have Learned about buying Disneyland Tickets

1. If you can't find a discount price, buy Disney gift cards covering the cost of admission at Ralphs or Vons. At the very least you will get points to use to save on gasoline at Shell or Chevron stations. When you get to Disneyland exchange the Disney gift cards for tickets or annual passes at the ticket booth.

Even if you plan to purchase an annual pass with the monthly payment option, you will still have to make a down payment of $96 per person, buy enough gift cards to cover the down payment.

2. If you find the rare deal for a half-day ticket, such as $54 admission after 4pm, find out how many hours Disneyland is open on that day and find the hourly price. If the park is open 'til midnight you'll have 8 hours at the park, costing you $6.75 per hour. If you were to pay full price for the same day, and it's open for 16 hours, it will cost you $6.00 per hour. You have to decide which is better for you, be sure to take into account cost of meals and parking. Find Disneyland Resort hours here.

2013 Disneyland Resort Annual Passes at Ralphs.
3. If you time it right you might be able to get last year's annual passes, but use them this year. Nearly every spring, in early June, the Disneyland Resort increases ticket prices. If you plan to visit Disneyland later this year, and have the money available, you can buy the tickets or passes at the grocery store at the old prices even though the ticket prices have increased at the ticket booth. The old price ticket cards may be available in the grocery store for a few weeks before they are swapped out for cards with the updated price and can redeemed anytime until the expiration on the card, generally the end of the calendar year. Read how I did just that in 2013. 

4. Some agencies offer discounted tickets. AAA members and L.A. County employees have access to slightly discounted tickets, but they must be purchased through the agency offering them. Selected multi-day passes purchased through AAA include free parking.

L.A. County Employee Discount Program

5. Before you buy annual passes take into account the amount of gas it takes to get to Disneyland from your home. My car gets about 18 miles per gallon. Disneyland is 20 miles from Montebello. For me that's over 2 gallons round trip. At today's prices, that equals about $8 in gas per Disney visit.

6. Calling Disneyland ticket information and begging doesn't help. I've tried. The only offer available was for Annual Pass holders to save $20 if they renew before the expiration of their old ticket.


How to Save Money at Disneyland Resort
1. Take your own food & water. Meals cost $10 per person anywhere at Disneyland or California Adventure; Downtown Disney meal prices are even higher. I have each family member carry their own snack bag filled with fruit, veggies, water bottle, sandwich, and other small snacks. We usually nibble away while waiting in longer lines. Water bottles can be refilled, look for water bottle filling areas, or ask a Cast Member at any counter restaurant for water, it's free!

Step 1: Fill bottle. Step 2: Question cloudiness. Step 3: Wait for water to clear & drink!
Free ice cold water from Cast Members at counter restaurants!

If you forget to pack food and live near the 5 Freeway, stop by Costco in Commerce off the Washington exit. Load up on food on your way to or from the park. Costco's awesome churros are $1.10 compared to Disney's $4! Hot dog & soda combos are only $1.50. The food court is open until 6pm. Closed Sundays. Costco membership is not necessary, the food court is accessible from outside of the building.

Make a pit stop at Costco to fill up before or after a trip to Disney.

2. The first day of any annual pass you buy, even if it's a block-out day, you are allowed admission to the Disneyland Resort. For example, If you are buying the Southern California Select which only allows weekday visits, your first day, even if it's Christmas day, or a Saturday, you are allowed admission to the parks.
3. When you visit Disneyland Resort for the first time, if buying the Premium Annual Pass, take your parking receipt with you to the ticket booth; the parking fee will either be refunded or credited to your balance.
Annual parking passes are no longer available for purchase Deluxe or Southern California passes. Annual passholders can save on parking by upgrading one member of your group's pass to a Premium-level pass to take advantage of the free parking. Your group would have to visit at least 14 times to break even over the difference in price from Deluxe to Premium, or 29 times to make up the difference in price from Southern California to Premium. I know of families who go to Disneyland every Friday, upgrading one family member's pass in that case would make sense to them. 

How to Save Time at Disneyland Resort
1. When in line for a ride and the line splits, which side do you go on? The right or the left? Save a few minutes in line by following Disneyland Inside Out's tips here.
2. Arrive at the gates with ticket in hand 40 minutes before the park opens. Disneyland and California Adventure allow guests into the park 30 minutes before the opening. You'll get a head start and be closer to the rides when the park does open. My family once enjoyed 9 rides in the first hour and half of the park opening!
Warning: Both Disneyland & California Adventure have "Extra Magic Hour & Magical Mornings" a few times a week where Guests with multiple day passes are allowed admission to the park one hour early. On those days it won't matter how early you get to the resort, there will already be lines. Check here for early admission days and avoid them if you plan to arrive early.


My last tip: If a trip to Disneyland is a financial stretch for your family consider starting a "Disney Fund." Have a piggy bank especially to save for Disney. Kids can contribute coins found on the floor and birthday money. Every night put all your spare change, rebate checks, money saved with coupons, and money found in the washer; it all goes to the Disney Fund! My family spent the better part of 2 years saving. With all of us contributing, even the baby, we saved enough for annual passes.
Okay, one more tip: If all else fails, apply for a job at the Disneyland Resort. After a grace period employees can bring in three guests for free several times a year. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

20% off Los Angeles Zoo Membership: Discount Coupon Promotion Code

The Los Angeles Zoo shared an exclusive code for Montebello Mom readers code with me that takes
 20% off any membership + a free plush animal!
Sign up for Family Membership  and take an additional $5 off
Sign on for Family Deluxe Membership or higher and you'll also receive a free tote bag!

Seven levels of membership are available with this discount, from Individual Membership to Conservation Associate. Here is a sample of L.A. Zoo benefits at the Family Level: 

FAMILY MEMBERSHIP - $95,(regular price $126)
  • Free unlimited admission for two adults (one membership card with up to two names listed, or one name listed and any other adult can visit w/ adult listed)
  • Free admission for your own children and/or grandchildren (ages 2 - 17) for one year
  • Two one-day guest passes (up to a $38 value)
  • 10% discount in shops and restaurants
  • Subscriptions to Zooscape and Zoo View publications
  • Discounts to lectures, educational programs, and special events
  • Invitation to exclusive member only events
  • Tax-deductible amount: $126
  • Zoo/Aquarium Reciprocal List. Visit 160+ partner museums and zoos across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico on the reciprocal list and get free or discounted admission!

The discount code is 11503MMW and expires 6/30/15. This code can only be used online and must be manually typed in, do not cut & paste. Thanks to the Los Angeles Zoo for the discount!

Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association
5333 Zoo Drive • Los Angeles, CA • 90027 • 323/644-4759

If you like what you've just read and are interested in free and low cost family friendly events in
Montebello and the surrounding area, please "Like" Montebello Mom on Facebook, or subscribe to the e-mail newsletter on the sidebar. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Make it & Take-it, "Oh" Puppet: Joann Fabric & Craft Stores

DreamWorks is coming out with a new movie, Home, and the little puppet shown below is one of the main characters. Stop by any Joann store on Saturday, March 28, between 2-3pm with your little one for a free Make It-Take It event.

There are Joann stores in Whittier and Alhambra. Find more locations here.

Walk & Roll: Acuna Park, Montebello

Summer Youth Employment Program: City of Montebello

Los Angeles Community Job Fair: Dodger Stadium

For more information visit:

WRD Groundwater Festival

Groundwater Festival
Saturday, March 14, 2015
4040 Paramount Blvd, Lakewood, 90712
This is a fun family festival. In past years the Water Replenishment team asked every visitor to take a stamp card and visit every booth. Most booth are education oriented and include mini-science experiments, live animals, Q & A trivia, and demonstrations. Once the card was filled visitors received a chance to open a treasure chest filled with great prizes including large appliances! Every visitor received a free lunch and lots of educational freebies. Free parking is available in the adjacent shopping centers.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Free Lego Mini-Build Event at Lego Stores: 1st Tuesday of the Month

The first Tuesday of every month Lego Stores host a free mini-build event. Kids 6-14 years will receive a kit to create a special themed mini model. The event is limited to the first 250 participants and starts at 5pm. There are Lego Stores at the Glendale Galleria, Ontario Mills, and Downtown Disney in Anaheim.

Image from the Lego Store Calendar

Details & Event Tips:

I've been to this event a few times with the kids at the Glendale Galleria. The event starts at 5pm, but people start lining up before 3pm. The last time I arrived at 4pm and there were about 50+ people ahead of me, by 5:45 we had built our project and were heading home.

A Lego store associate passes out cards ahead of time that guarantees each child a building kit. Once you have a card you can leave to shop or eat dinner at the food court and you can return a little while later when the line will be shorter, although most people stay in line.

Kids spent the time in line doing homework, reading books, playing with tablets, and toddlers were running around a bit. I suggest having 2 adults for this event. One parent can wait in line and once you have the cards the other takes the kids to the play area, or to browse the Lego or Disney stores nearby.

Once inside there was one Lego store associate for every 3 kids, instructions were taped to the table and the associates provided help and guidance. The kids enjoyed the experience and come home with a cute Lego structure to add to their collection.

If you don't mind waiting in line, and your kids are patient the Lego Mini-Build event is worth the trip.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Montebello Garage Yard Sale Weekend

Four times a year people from all around Los Angeles County converge on Montebello for "Yard Sale Weekend".

The city hosts four permit-free weekends a year when residents can have yard sales. On these designated weekends there is practically a yard sale on every block. It's a win-win for both buyers and sellers.

Yard sale weekends are always the first full weekend (Friday-Sunday) in March, June, September, and December. Saturdays are most popular but there are many sales on Friday and Sunday too!

March 6-8, 2015
June 5-7, 2015
September 4-6, 2015
December 4-6, 2015
 Benefit from my yard sale experience and read my top selling and my shopping tips to make the most of your day.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What streets are the yard sales on?
Yard sales are held on pretty much every block of the entire city.
What part of Montebello should I start shopping?
The sale is held throughout the city, start at whichever streets are closest to you.
Are there a lot of sales on Friday or Sunday?
Compared with Saturday, there are significantly fewer sales on Friday & Sunday. I would guess about one-fourth of the sales are 2-day sales that extend to Friday or Sunday.
It says here that the yard sale weekend is next weekend, but there are people having yard sales this weekend, which is it?
Many people get confused and think yard sale weekend is the first Saturday of the month, but they are incorrect. The official weekends are the first Friday through Sunday weekend that occurs within the selected months. If a yard sale is held at a time outside of the official yard sale weekend a city issued permit is required.

Spring Day Camp for ages 4-12: City of Montebello

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Star Party, Garvey Ranch Observatory: Wednesday Nights, 7:30-10pm

Take part in a Star Party every Wednesday night at Garvey Ranch Park Observatory in Monterey Park!

The Los Angeles Astronomical Society hosts the weekly event and the website says, "The Garvey Ranch Observatory is open to the public every Wednesday evening from 7:30 PM to 10 PM. Go into the dome to use the 8 Inch Refractor or observe through one of our telescopes on the lawn. Visit our workshop to learn how you can build your own telescope, grind your own mirror, or sign up for our free seasonal astronomy classes."

Stay all night or stop by for a quick glance through the telescope. My kids thought it was fun!

Wednesday Nights
7:30 - 10pm
781 S. Orange Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

Bookmobile visits Montebello

The L.A. County Public Library has an Urban Outreach Bookmobile that visits Montebello every month. Much like a traditional library, a librarian is on site to process library cards, check out books, assist with research, and manage holds.

The 27 foot long Bookmobile has thousands of titles of books, movies, music, and magazines to lend to patrons, is climate controlled, and is wheelchair accessible.

The Bookmobile's schedule is a rotating three week cycle, and visits Montebello select Fridays from 1:30-3:30pm. Items checked out of the bookmobile have a three-week lending period, can be renewed online, and are returnable to the Bookmobile or any L.A. County library.

L.A. County Bookmobile
Approximately every 3rd Friday
Potrero Heights Park
8051 Arroyo Dr.
Montebello, CA

Bookmobile Schedule for 2015
February 20
March 13
April 3
April 24
May 15
June 5
June 26
July 17
August 7
August 28
September 18
October 9
October 30
November 20
December 11

A special thanks to Facebook friend Strella T. for sharing the Bookmobile information!


East L.A. Library Events

4837 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90022
(323) 264-0155
Monday-Thursday, 10am-9pm
Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 1pm-5pm
All event descriptions in italics are transcribed directly from the L.A. County Library website.

 Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration
Monday, March 2, 5:00-5:45pm
Children and their families are invited to join us for a special story time and art activity in celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday.

Parent Child Workshops
Friday, March 6, 10am-11am
Friday, March 13, 10am-11am
Friday, March 20, 10am-11am
Friday, March 27, 10am-11am
Friday, April 3, 10am-11am
Parents and caregivers, join us for our Parent/Child Workshops.  This is a five-week series of workshops for parents and their children ages 0-3.  Workshops feature age appropriate toys, books and activities.  Each week a community resource specialist will be available to answer questions in their field of expertise.  This is also a great opportunity to bond with your child and meet other parents.

Chinese Dancers
Tuesday, March 10, 6:00-7:00pm
Celebrate the Year of the Goat with a performance of beautiful Chinese dances by the America Chinese Dance Association. ​​Ages 18 and up.

A Wee Bit of Ireland
Wednesday, March 11, 6:00-7:00pm
In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, all families are invited to join us for stories and songs about Ireland with storyteller Ken Frawley.


Events at Montebello Library

1550 W. Beverly Blvd., Montebello, CA 90640
(323) 722-6551
Monday-Tuesday, 10am-8pm
Wednesday-Thursday, 10am-6pm
Friday-Saturday, 10am-5pm

All event descriptions in italics are transcribed directly from the L.A. County Library website.

Toddler Story Time
Wednesday, March 11, 10:30am-11:30am
Wednesday, March 18, 10:30am-11:30am
Wednesday, March 25, 10:30am-11:30am
Wednesday, April 1, 10:30am-11:30am
Stories, music, and rhymes, followed by play time.  For ages 2 - 3 years.

Baby Story Time
Monday, April 13, 11:00am-11:45am
Monday, May 11, 11:00am-11:45am
Join us on the second Monday of the month!  Stories, music, and rhymes, followed by play time.  For ages birth - 24 months.

Golden Dragon Parade & Chinese New Year Festival: Chinatown

116th Annual Golden Dragon Parade & Chinese New Year Festival
Saturday, February 21
Chinatown, Downtown Los Angeles

Parade: 1pm - 3pm, see map of the parade route here
Festival: Saturday, Noon-8:30pm
Live Entertainment, Vendors, & Artisans: Central & West Plazas 943-951 N. Broadway.


Assemby District 58 Community Swearing in Celebration: Downey


Book Blast Kidgit Event: Shops at Montebello

Simon Kidgits Club: Book Blast
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Noon - 1:30pm
Center Court
Shops at Montebello

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lego Monuments Roadshow: Glendale Galleria

Shoppers at the Glendale Galleria from now through February 22, will feel that they've been transported to the East Coast when they find models of the White House, Liberty Bell, and Statue of Liberty scattered throughout the mall.

Visit on Saturday, February 14, or Sunday, February 15, from Noon-4pm, and be treated to a free Lego mini-build of the U.S. Capitol building!

Click here for a map of the 8 locations where models can be found at the Glendale Galleria, and click here for more information about the Roadshow.

Rosemad Yard Sale

Saturday, March 7
S.C.E. Parking Lot
2255 Walnut Grove Avenue Rosemead

Register to sell at Rosemead City Hall or Garvey Center by Tuesday, March 3. Residents pay $20 or $30 for a double space. Non-residents pay $45. For more information contact Rosemead Parks and Recreation Department at (626) 569-2160. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Swim Lessons: Montebello-Commerce YMCA

YMCA Swim Lesson
Registration is now open for swim lessons, swim club, wet ball, and splash ball.

Swim lessons are paid for the full month and the cost comes out to $5 per lesson for YMCA members, or $10 per lesson for non-members.

To register visit the Montebello-Commerce YMCA or call for more information.

2000 W. Beverly Blvd. Montebello, CA
323 887 9622


Montebello High School Swap Meet: 2nd Saturday of every month, 8-2pm

The Montebello High School Special Education Adult Transition Department hosts a Swap Meet the 2nd Saturday of every month from 8am-2pm.

Marie Madsen, the adult transition teacher in charge of the swap meet, says there are 55 students in the program ages 18-22. They money raised from the Swap Meet goes towards classroom supplies and activities. Many weekends there are about 20-30 vendors and a deejay playing music.

The 2015 Swap Meet dates are: January 10, February 14, March 14, April 11,  May 9, June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, October 10, November 7, and December 12.

Vendors interested in selling can contact Ms. Madsen at 323-356-0439. Spaces are $15 or $25. 

The Swap Meet is held in a parking lot adjacent to a softball field on the corner of Wilcox and Madison Avenues at Montebello High School.

B.R.A.K.E.S. Driving School for Teens: Free Hands-On Accident Prevention Classes

Teen Proactive Driving School
Pomona Fairgrounds

Teenagers, 15-19 years old, with a valid driver's license or learner's permit, and a minimum of 30 hours of driving experience will drive through five accident prevention courses that include: 
  • accident avoidance course
  • distraction course
  • drop wheel course
  • panic stop course
  • wet skid pad course
The driving school will be held on the following dates and times at the Pomona Fairgrounds:

Saturday, 2/14, 8am-Noon
Saturday, 2/14, 1-5pm
Sunday, 2/15, 8am-Noon
Sunday, 2/15, 1-5pm

Saturday, 4/25, 8am-Noon
Saturday, 4/25, 1-5pm
Sunday, 4/26, 8am-Noon
Sunday, 4/26,1-5pm

Saturday, 7/11, 8am-Noon
Saturday, 7/11, 1-5pm
Sunday, 7/12, 8am-Noon
Sunday, 7/12,1-5pm

Saturday, 12/19, 8am-Noon
Saturday, 12/19, 1-5pm
Sunday, 12/20, 8am-Noon
Sunday, 12/20,1-5pm
Registration is now open. Spaces are limited. The class is free but a $99 refundable deposit is required. Parent must attend the event with the child.
For more information and to register visit:

Walk for Kids: Ronald McDonald House

This 5K event, on Sunday, April 12, 2015,  raises funds to support six Ronald McDonald houses and a camp in Southern California.

This walk is great because there is no registration fee and no minimum donation requirement. It's not as crowded as other walks, only a few thousands participants, making it a great walk for families. There are lots of vendors handing out freebies and coupons. Strollers are welcome, families can walk at their own pace and kids can try to keep up with Ronald as he makes his way along the course.

Participants can chose one of four locations:
  • Honda Center in Anaheim
  • Shoreline Park in Long Beach
  • Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario
  • Exposition Park in Los Angeles
Registration is available online or on-site the day of the event. Walkers who raise $100 in donations will receive a T-shirt.
For more information visit

CicLAvia: A day to play in the streets of Los Angeles

Photo Credit: Gary Leonard, CicLAvia.
A block party event throughout the city of Los Angeles!

Sunday, March 22
9am - 4pm

6 miles of roads closed to traffic!

Play in the street!
Ride your bike from end to end!

The route changes at every CicLAvia. This route runs through the San Fernando Valley.

My husband and son have participated in a few CicLAvia events and both said it was great! My husband recommends the event that kids be very comfortable riding because the atmosphere can be overwhelming, especially at intersections where it can get crowded. Kids who tend to weave back and forth on their bikes or are not experienced may end up crashing with other riders. You can read about CicLAvia safety here.

You can purchase an MTA day pass for $7 and use the trains & subways to get around. My husband suggests not relying on bus transportation because there is only space on a racks for two bikes and every bus was full.