Friday, April 15, 2016

Imaginology Fair: OC Fairgrounds, Costa Mesa

Take the family to Costa Mesa to explore Imaginology, an education and entertainment fair for Southern California's youth that highlights activities and advancement in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

There will be hands-on demonstrations, make & take projects, competitions, baby chicks, petting zoo, worm farm, bug barn, science related exhibits, and more.

Friday, 4/15, 9am-3pm
Saturday, 4/16, 10am-5pm
Sunday, 4/17, 10am-5pm
Free admission. Free parking on Friday.  $8 parking on Saturday & Sunday.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cherry Blossom Festival: Monterey Park


Angry Birds Physics: East L.A. Library

Shops at Montebello KIDGITS club revamped for 2016!

For the past five years the Simon KIDGITS club has been a staple of the Shops at Montebello.

In exchange for a $5 annual membership, kids ten and younger were invited to spin the wheel for a toy, and receive extra goodies at exclusive Kidgits events.

This past Easter was the debut of the new & improved Kidgits club! Highlights of the new program include:
  • FREE membership
  • Invitation to Kidgit events throughout the year
  • Access to all craft projects & goodies at Kidgit events
  • Coupons & discounts for mall retailers
This Kidgits revamp allows more families to participate in the program, and all children are invited to participate in every activity at Kidgit events.

Parents need only to stop by the Guest Services desk at Center Court to sign their children up for the Kidgits club, or sign up online.

My children have enjoyed the Kidgits club from it's very start. All the events are very well planned out, and the activities keep the kids engaged and entertained.

Here are some highlights from the Kidgits Easter event this past March.

Kids a decorated a crown & funny bunny with the help of Shops of Montebello volunteers.
Visit & photos with the Easter Bunny!
FYI: No purchase is necessary to visit the Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus. Parents can take their children through the line and tell the attendants that your child only wants to visit, no picture purchase is necessary.
Yogurtland is always in attendance at Kidgits Events with coupons for 3oz. of free yogurt!

Kidgit members also took home a wind-up bunny or chick as a fun Easter gift.

The Build-a-Bear bunny made an appearance and posed for pictures with kids.
Build-a-Bear associates were on hand to distribute a bag of cookie bites to all Kidgits members.

Crazy 8 had cute Easter outfits on display. After the Kidgit event I took my girls upstairs and found a perfect dress for my daughter. Crazy 8 was having a Buy-One-Get-One for 88¢ sale, so we picked up a white jean jacket to wear with her dress, and on Easter Sunday, she not only looked great, but she felt great too!

Learned something new: Yogurtland offers party boxes!
The manager will personally deliver the party boxes to your event. Contact the store for details.

I had to stop by the Shops at Montebello the following week to pick up some Easter candy, my two stops: The Sweet Factory for the "good" jelly beans & See's for my family's favorite hallow Easter Eggs with baby chick!


Mark your calendar for the next Shops at Montebello Kidgit event: 
When I Grow Up
Saturday, June 18, Noon-1:30pm

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Used Book Sale & Boutique: East Los Angeles Library


Stock up on chapter books for silent reading or pictures books to read at home with your child at East Los Angeles' library Used Book Sale & Boutique.

Thousands of books, videos, DVDs, magazines, and audio books are available. The items sold are library discards,were donated by schools, or private individuals. Most are in good/great condition and some are brand new!

The community room filled with books for sale.

The last sale had children's books start at 25 cents each. There are books for pre-schoolers though teenagers, and there are favorites such as Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie, Junie B. Jones, Beverly Cleary, American Girl, Goosebumps, Chose your own Adventure, Magic School Bus, Roald Dahl, and more!

BONUS: Teachers, you get an additional discount! Just tell the cashier you are a teacher, they will probably guess when they see your huge pile of books, and they'll give you a huge discount. Once I was charged only 10 cents a book!

I picked up all these books, 27 in total, for only $14.25! Retail value is over $100! Average price, 53 cents/book.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Summer Youth Employment Program: City of Montebello

Polly's Pies: Friday Date Night w/ Free Kid Care

Kids Night / Parents Date Night
Every Friday Night
5:30 to 8:00pm
Kids enjoy supervised play in the banquet room while parents enjoy dinner and conversation.

This Friday Date Night is available every Friday night at the Polly's Pies in Montebello.

Parents have the choice of sitting in the banquet room off to the side or sit in the main dining room. I've seen one mom eat dinner on her own and spent time studying while her kids played.

Polly's employees have a big box of games and coloring books for the kids to play with. They also bring out a small TV and show a movie.

Note: We usually give a tip the employee who plays with the kids.

1322 W. Beverly Blvd, Montebello CA 90640
(323) 722-6324

Earth Day: Uptown Whittier

Earth Day: Montebello City Park

The Shops at Montebello to Award Up to $12,000 in Scholarships for Higher Education

The Shops at Montebello to Award Up to $12,000 in Scholarships for Higher Education
Students in Montebello Unified School District Encouraged to Apply by April 24
(MONTEBELLO, Calif.) March 21, 2016 – The Shops at Montebello is seeking applicants for up to $12,000 in college scholarships, as part of the center’s scholarship program, which is meant to recognize outstanding graduating seniors from the Montebello Unified School District as they continue their education.
Applications are currently available starting today, March 21, in high school counselor’s offices at Montebello High School, Schurr High School and Bell Gardens High School. Completed applications are due on Monday, April 25, no later than 2 p.m. to each respective high school counselor.
Up to four students from each school will be selected to receive a $1,000 scholarship each.
“The pursuit of higher education and career aspirations for today’s youth is an initiative that is important to The Shops at Montebello,” said Marida Petitjean, Director of Marketing and Business Development at The Shops at Montebello. “We’re proud to be able to assist in making attending college a reality.”
The Shops at Montebello’s Scholarship Awards recognizes local seniors in their pursuit of continuing their education at a four-year college. The scholarship program was created in 1985, when the center opened, as a way to assist local students in recognizing their educational goals and to provide initial monetary support to achieve those goals.
This year, candidates will be evaluated on criteria including a combination of outstanding academic accomplishments, participation in school activities and clubs and community volunteer work. They must also possess a financial need, and demonstrate a commitment to continuing their education at a four-year college by submitting an essay detailing why it is important to further their educational path after high school. In addition to the completed application form, applicants must meet the following requirements:
  • Be a graduating senior from Montebello High School, Schurr High School or Bell Gardens High School, continuing on with their education at a four-year college,
  • Submit two letters of recommendation 
  • Submit a copy of their current school transcript
  • Submit the completed application to their high school counselor 
Scholarship funds will be awarded upon official verification of enrollment in a post-secondary educational program. The verification should be brought to The Shops at Montebello Management Office, as they will handle the distribution of funds.  For questions about the program, call 323-722-1776.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Harlem Globetrotters in So. Cal & Enter to Win a Family Ticket 4 Pack!

Since three, I've seen Globetrotters on TV
My family wants to see Too Tall, Firefly, and some TNT
And buckets of confetti thrown at me!
-Carlos C., Globetrotter Ticket Winner 2013
The Globetrotters are coming to the Southland! Catch their antics, jokes, and basketball skills that will amaze you and have you laughing out loud.
Tickets to see the world’s most famous basketball team start as low as $16and are available at, or through the venue box offices.

Saturday, Feb. 20 @ 2:00pm & 7pm
 Citizens Bank Arena, Ontario
Sunday, Feb. 21 12:30PM & 5:45PM
Staples Center, L.A.


 Giveaway rules: Deadline to enter is Wednesday, February 17, 2016, at 4pm PST. The winning entry will be chosen by a random number generator and the winner will be contacted via Facebook messaging. Winner will be mailed a four pack of ticket vouchers good for any Harlem Globetrotter game at the Citizens Bank Arena or Staples venues for 2016. Vouchers must be taken to the arena box office for redemption, for the best seats redeem the vouchers as soon as possible. Tickets will be delivered via the United States Postal Service, or by another method agreed upon by MontebelloMom & the winner. One Facebook comment per person  please.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

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 or higher 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 - $102,(regular price $134)
  • Free unlimited admission for two adults named on membership card
  • Free admission for your own children and/or grandchildren (ages 2 - 17) for one year
  • Two free Safari Shuttle tickets (up to $8 value)
  • Two free Conservation Carousel tickets ($6 value)
  • 10% discount in shops, restaurants, educational programs, & special events
  • Subscriptions to Zooscape and Zoo View publications
  • Invitation to exclusive member only events
  • Tax-deductible amount: $134
  • Zoo/Aquarium Reciprocal List. Visit 170 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 11602MMW. 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!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Free Museum Admission for B of A Customers

Bank of America account holders get free admission to over 150 museums nationwide the first full weekend of every month! Simply present your B of A card and a photo ID at the ticket booth.


There are participating museums in 33 states. If you are planning a vacation check the list of participating museums here.

Remember, each cardholder gets free admission so expect to pay admission for any children. Could be great for discounted day out with the kids or a day away from the kids, whichever you prefer.

Home Depot Free Kids Workshops: First Saturday of Every Month

Home Depot offers a free hands on building workshop for kids the first Saturday of every month from 9:00AM - Noon. Kids receive a kit to assemble at the store, a Home Depot apron, and a pin for participating. Registration is recommended, but not necessary.





Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Simon Youth Foundation College Scholarship

Any student who will be graduating in the class of 2016 and lives within 50 miles of The Shops at Montebello is eligible. Recipients will receive up to $1,500 to enroll in an accredited college, university, vocational or technical school.

For more information and to apply visit


Monday, January 11, 2016

Journey to Space: Exhibition & 3D Film

Now- May 8, 2016
You must, must, must take your family to this exhibition.
I have a soft spot in my heart for NASA. Growing up my father took us kids to Edwards Air Force Base to watch the shuttle land, and we listened for sonic booms from the landings we couldn't see in person. When I was 10 years old our teacher wheeled in the television as another fifth grade class squeezed in their chairs so we could all see the Challenger take off and learn from the first teacher in space.
With all my love for NASA, I was surprised when tears started gathering in the corners of my eyes as the introductory video for Journey to Space started playing. It included television footage that detailed man's history with space exploration. I was overcome with emotion, in awe, and so proud of all that has been accomplished.

The space shuttle Endeavor. Ticket included with Journey to Space admission.

This is by far one of the best exhibits I have ever experienced, and I've seen a lot! This exhibit will get children and adults alike excited about space exploration. After touring the exhibit, seeing the Shuttle Endeavor, and watching the Journey to Space 3-D IMAX movie, I can hardly wait to see the first person on Mars.

Admission to the California Science Center is free.
Parking is $12, cash only.
Journey to Space Exhibit & Shuttle Endeavor 
Journey to Space Exhibit, Shuttle Endeavor, & 3-D IMAX movie $10.50-$16.75

Click here for more information.
If possible try to visit the exhibition at off-peak times. We visited on a Friday at 1:30pm just as the last of the school groups were leaving the museum. Journey to Space had about 50 people inside making it very easy to experiment at every lab station and to experience the rotating Destiny Lab twice. I would even go so far as to advocate for taking your kids out of school early to experience this exhibit.

Space helmet & Neil Armstrong's gloves.

My daughter was excited when she was this in the rotating Destiny Lab.
She remembered it in a Scholastic News article and pointed to it with a huge grin in all the photos.

Being goofy and pretending to "float" in space.

Throughout the exhibit the descriptions at each display were very easy to read and the science was explained in such terms that I was able to easily interrupt the concepts to the youngest of my children and she understood.

Maybe one day there will be colonies just like this on Mars!

The best space doll house yet.
A model of the International Space Station (ISS) for kids to explore.
Each module has openings for kids to pretend play.

Bring your own dolls! My kids found three astronaut dolls to play with in the ISS model, but there were other kids who wanted to play too. Save your sanity and bring a doll or action figure, I'm sure Spiderman and Barbie could run the experiments for a while.

I usually say no to these kinds of things,
but $2 is a bargain for a rare experience such as the high wire bicycle.

Tiny House on display outside of the California Science Center entrance.

I could live here! It was fun exploring all the hidden storage compartments and imagining this was our home. The tiny house has enough space to sleep four people!

Now-May 8
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Sunday, January 10, 2016

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.


SoCal Resident Flex Ticket Offer
2 day ticket $149
3 day ticket $179 (includes Magic Morning)
Tickets are valid through May 26, 2016.
Guests may visit one park per day.
Blockout dates are March 20 - April 2.

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.

I also heard that gift cards bought using a Red Card at Target are discounted 5%. Check it out for yourself and save $5 for every $100 worth of Disney gift cards.

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 ultra-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 $6 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. Buy your souvenirs before you go. Most large mass retailors have Disney themed merchandise, or prices at the Disney Store are less expensive than prices in the park. Pick up matching Disney themed shirts from a local store, or secretly buy Disney themed toys, autograph books, or stuffed animals before visiting the Resort and pull them out as a surprise for your children when they get there.
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.