Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pet Fair: Montebello City Park


Trick or Treat 2016: Shops at Montebello

The Shops at Montebello website reads,

"Trick or Treat at The Shops at Montebello takes place on Monday, October 31st beginning at 4PM.  Simon Guest Services located in Center Court will have a special treat for children ages 3 to 10 years old.  Retailers who are participating will have a pumpkin sign in their store window.  Trick or Treat ends at 6PM.

The Noerr Photo Booth will be located in Center Court from 12PM - 8PM.  Special Halloween photo package pricing will be available.  No reservations required."

Halloween Festival: City of Montebello

Halloween Festival
Friday, October 28, 2016
Cathy Hensel Youth Center
236 George Hensel Drive
Montebello, 90640

Free Youth Fishing Derby: El Dorado Park, Long Beach

Call 562-570-1771 for more information.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Family Health Festival: Beverly Hospital

Blessing of the Animals: Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church

Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church
820 N. Garfield Avenue, Montebello, 90640

Lego Bricktober Events: Toys R Us

Visit ToysRUs.com/LEGO or click here for details.
Click here to see details of the mini-figures that are free with $50 Lego purchase each week in October. 

Great Pumpkin Event: Michaels Craft Stores

Great Pumpkin Event
Saturday, 10/1 & Sunday, 10/2
Purchase a 9" craft pumpkin for a special price of $7, and carve or decorate the pumpkin in store using Michael's tools and supplies for free!  Click here for details.

Disney Store Event: Star Wars Rouge One: Rebel Mission

Rouge One isn't scheduled to hit theatres until December, but the Disney Store is launching it's Rough One merchandise today. To celebrate children are invited to learn more about the Star Wars story by attending a Rouge One: Rebel Mission event at selected Disney Store locations, (Montebello is participating!).

Usually children who participate in a Disney Store event are given a special take-home items such as a certificate, sticker, mask, or button as a thank you for attending.

Fine print reads: " Minimum age for participation is 3 years. Event limited based on store capacity. No lineups prior to 30 minutes before event begins. Guest must participate in event to receive giveaway. Event subject to change or cancellation without notice. While supplies last. See Cast Member for details."


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Kids: Decorate your own FrankenPumpkin

Orchard Supply Hardware Stores are hosting a free pumpkin decorating event for kids 12 and under.
Saturday, October 1
There are OSH stores in South Pasadena, Monrovia, Lakewood, Cerritos, & Pasadena.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Observatory Nights: Rio Hondo College

The Gordon D. Crowell Astrophysical Observatory at Rio Hondo College is open for free public observation on selected Friday nights throughout the year.

After a moderate 1/2 mile hike to the observatory, a staff member will explain what is visible in the night sky, and allow visitors to look through a 14" telescope.

September 30, 8pm
October 7, 7pm
October 21, 7pm
October 28, 7pm
November 4, 7pm
November 18, 7pm
December 2, 7pm

Geranium Festival at Barnes Park, MPK


Kidspace Children's Museum: Free Admission, 1st Tuesday/Month

The KidSpace Children's Museum
Free Family Nights
 4 - 8 P.M.
First Tuesday of every month

From the KidSpaceMuseum.org website:
"Families can engage with special programming and performers that highlight cultures and traditions from around the world. Expect crowds and long admission lines during the spring and summer months."
The KidSpace Museum offers free parking in the adjacent lots.
480 North Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103 (626) 449-9144

LA County Museum of Art: Free Family Sunday Events!

Every Sunday in October
& Nov. 6, 13, 20
 12:30pm - 3:30pm

Free hands-on art activities for families most every Sunday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art!

Families can visit three art stations at their leisure and use a variety of supplies to create their own works of art.

All children 17 and under children can sign up for a free LACMA NexGen Membership. Each child will get a lanyard and membership card which serves as a ticket for the child and one adult to visit the museum anytime for free!

This event is outdoors. Dress comfortably, you may have to kneel or sit on the grass or in the sun at some point. Try to arrive early, the stations tend to run out of the more popular crafts in the last hour. Every month features a different theme, so try to visit at least once a month.

LACMA parking is $14, or you can try your luck at finding metered or free street parking.

The NEXGEN booth.
Look for a canopy with these happy people when you visit LACMA for the family art day.
They will issue free NEXGEN passes to your children and give you passes that allow free access to the museum.

After having fun at Andell Family Art Sunday, visit the LACMA exhibits!

Metropolis II, a moving kinetic sculpture involving hundreds of hot wheel type cars.

Walk under and around Levitated Mass.

Walk through the yellow tubing of the Penetrable exhibit.

Create your own work of art in the Boone Children's Gallery.


Fall Fest & Halloween Fair at Golf n' Stuff


Monday, September 26, 2016

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, October 16
9am - 4pm

5.75 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 throughout downtown L.A.

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 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.

Childhood Immunizations

 Childhood Immunizations
Wednesday, October 19
Wednesday, November 16
Beverly Hospital
Women's Care Center
1920 W. Whittier Blvd, Montebello, 90640
Immunizations are provided free of charge.
All vaccines offered except Varicella or TB testing.
Please bring yellow immunization card.
For all children from newborns through 18 years.

College Fair

Gear Up for High School Night

September 28, 2016
6:00-8:00 pm
Don Bosco Technical Institute
1151 San Gabriel Blvd, Rosemead, 91770
An evening with admissions representatives from local private high schools to learn about the admissions process, student life, youth ministry, service opportunities, and more.

Click here for more information.

Montebello Artwalk

Family Health Fair

Kids Health Fair & Harvest Festival

Please join us at the 3rd Annual Kidz Health Fair - Harvest Festival at LAC+USC Medical Center.  This event is to bring awareness to the community of the pediatric services available at the medical center.  We have exhibitors from nutrition to financial planning as well as Super Heroes, Zumba dancers and therapy dogs.  It's a day filled with games and prize giveaways.  We look forward to seeing you all there.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Lego Mini-Build @ Toys R Us Stores

Saturday, September 24
Free Lego Mini-Build
Disney Princess "Lumiere" character

Toys R Us Fine Print: "Event intended for ages 6-up. Parental supervision required at all times for minors. All giveaways and event materials available while supplies last and distributed to participants only. Limit one per customer. Quantities limited; no rain checks. While supplies last. LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group ©2016 The LEGO Group."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Free Apps for Kids: Duck Duck Moose

I recently received an email from Khan Academy, an online educational support site for kids, stating they've partnered with Duck Duck Moose to provide educational kids apps free.

I've downloaded five Duck Duck Moose apps and they have all received a thumbs up from my kids. The apps are intended for ages 8 and under, but some of them are so fun my 10 & 13 year old ask to play!

Duck Duck Moose has over 20 apps to download. Simply go the app store for your device and search for "duck duck moose," click to download and start playing right away. All the apps are free, with no advertising, or in-app purchases.

My kid's top Duck Duck Moose favorites are:

ChatterPix- take a picture of a person or object, draw a mouth, add optional decorations, and record your voice to make the person or object talk. Here is a ChatterPix my kids made.


Build-a-Truck- kids experiment with building a truck using a variety of customized parts. They test the design on one of three tracks to see which design performs better. My kids and I have made a lot of dud trucks, some of which were too heavy, and some with not a big enough engine, and we are still trying to build the perfect truck that will work on all terrains.

Musical Me!- this app offers several musical games, but my kids' favorite is the "Notes" game which allows the movement of musical notes on a treble clef staff to change a song, they also like the "Memory" game which is very much like old time Simon game, but with music notes.


We can only keep our kids isolated from technology and media for so long, the least we parents can do is control the types of media our kids are exposed to and make sure it's educational. Duck Duck Moose apps are one way to go, and the price of free can't be beat.

Wednesday, July 27, 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, volunteering for complimentary tickets, & saving at the Disneyland Resort and any special ticket offers currently available.

Volunteer at Disney Running Events
Complimentary Theme Park Tickets

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.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Splash! Buccaneer Bay: La Mirada

Splash! A pirate guards the entrance.
Last week my family spent a day at Buccaneer Bay in the city of La Mirada's Splash! Aquatic Center. I've heard such great things about Splash! from friends and family we decided to give it a try.

In typical MontebelloMom fashion, here are all the details laid out so you know exactly what to expect when visiting Splash! and tips for making the most of your trip.

Splash! is the city of La Mirada's awesome aquatic center that is comprised of three areas:
  • a very large Olympic sized swimming pool reserved for lessons and competitions
  • a smaller lap play pool
  •  Buccaneer Bay water park.
Splash! admission grants access to Buccaneer Bay and the play pool. The lines for entering the park were a bit confusing so let's save you some time and lay it out for you here as there is little signage directing visitors, and there are three lines.
Line #1 Outside the facility: This line is for anyone that does not have a ticket. If the line is very long you can go online and buy tickets with your smart phone.

Line #2 Splash! Lobby: Regular water park guests can ignore this area and walk right through. 
Line #3 Buccaneer Bay: For everyone with tickets in hand or reserved via phone, this is the line you want. Once out of the lobby, turn left. The entrance is past the food lines and on the right.

At the Buccaneer Bay entrance your bag will be checked (no outside food allowed), and staff members will check kids for the slide height requirements.
LOCKERS: The facility has lockers available for a daily $5 rental fee. Pay for the lockers in the Gift Shop, which is adjacent to the lobby.
The locker "key" is a micro-chipped wristband. You put it on and wave it in front of a control panel on the set of lockers you want. An available locker will pop open.

There are three sets of lockers by Line #3, and more inside the locker rooms. The lockers are pretty big and held my family's three drawstring bags, 5 beach towels, sunscreen and water bottles.

Splash! GIFT SHOP: Besides being the place where you can rent a locker, the gift shop also stocks sunscreen, goggles, swimsuits, swim diapers, and water shoes.

LOCKER ROOMS: I arrived at Splash! around 11:30, and the locker rooms were totally empty. The locker room has private curtained showers, private curtained dressing rooms, stalled toilets, a bench by the lockers, and a diaper changing station. The women's locker room is right across from Line #3, the men's locker room is on the other side of the lobby.

LIFEVESTS: Mandatory for kids under 48". Three sizes are available. Free to use with admission.

MAIN WATER PLAY AREA: There are two water slides for little kids with access via a rope-net course, and the other is stairs. The net side gets the splash from the giant bucket overhead about every minute-and-a-half, so kids have to time their climb correctly, or test their bravery if they chose to enter from that side.
There are valves that kids can spin to control some of the water flow, and I saw many little kids gathering their courage and jumping off the edge into the foot-deep water, or practicing their swimming skills in the deeper sections. 
The depth of this water play area ranges from zero to just about 3 feet over by the lazy river, but on average it's 1foot deep. The zero-depth means that there is one side where the entrance is a gentle slope. A lot of parents are camped out on the free Splash! beach chairs surrounding the main water play area and watched their kids play.

LAZY RIVER: Has four entrances; the main entrance is connected to the main water play area, while the other three are stairwells. The depth is 3'6" throughout and there are some fun water features to pass through. There are single & double tubes available to use at no cost. We visited on a weekday and had no trouble getting a tube.

WATER SLIDES: There are three water slides at Buccaneer Bay all of which are accessed by one set of stairs. Riders can chose from the yellow slide which offers the longest ride, the green slide which is all enclosed and not very fast, or the steep blue slide that shoots riders out in a few seconds. My kids rode all three slides, and each time the lines were about 10 minutes long.

TODDLER WATER PLAY AREA: Specifically designed for little ones, this splash pad has a tiny slide, and water play tables with toys.

PLAY POOL:  This area is right outside of Line #2, and separated by a gate from Buccaneer Bay, but is included with Splash! admission. The pool is divided into two sections: the shallow end at 4 feet deep, and the deep end at 6 feet 7 inches. Kids are required to take a swim test to access the deep end. 
This shaded area surrounds the play pool.

ADULT SPA: A fenced in area open to adults 18 years old and older only. There are a few loungers and beach chairs inside. The spa was the least crowded area in all of Splash!


SPLASH! FOOD:  There are two places to buy food at Splash! Above is Captain Jack's Grille where meals are served, and below is Pirate's Treasure for quick snack items. A full Splash! menu is available here.

Only food purchased at Splash! is allowed. Families that want to bring their own food can store it in a locker, and eat outside of the Splash! facility near their cars, or in La Mirada Regional Park just south of the main entrance.


One thing I noticed about Splash! is that everyone was happy and having fun. I highly recommend purchasing tickets online and heading directly to Line #3. Arrive before the water park opens to claim a table and chairs, or if they are all taken there is a wide grassy slope that surrounds about half of Buccaneer Bay where families can lay blankets and towels.
I think a day at Splash! Buccaneer Bay would be great for all families, but families with toddlers through early teens would have an especially good time.
13806 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, CA 90638

Open Daily through August 19, 10:30am-5:30pm
Open Weekends from 8/20-9/25
Open Saturdays 10/1, 10/8, & 10/15
General Admission (over 48") $19.95
Junior Admission (under 48") or Seniors $14.95
Monday-Thursday Twilight Swim (3pm-5:30pm) $9.95
Family Friday Nights (3pm-8pm) $14.95

 A special thanks to Splash! for providing my family with complimentary tickets for review purposes.
Although tickets were provided, all opinions and images are my own.