Sunday, December 25, 2016

Autry Museum in Griffith Park: Free Admission!

Panning for Gold at the Autry Museum.
The Autry Museum offers free admission on
 New Year's Day
2nd Tuesday of the Month

If you have an interest in American history, cowboys, or old western movies, the Autry museum is a must see! The Autry has lots of hands on exhibits and viewing stations of clips from old movies and historical films. The museum can be easily toured in 1-2 hours, unless you get caught up watching every movie clip, then before you know it you've stayed all day.

 There is a great section just for kids in the lower level. They've created a turn of the century house and restaurant complete with costumes for kids to role play. I spent well over an hour watching my kids have fun pretending they were cooking while the other adults in my group toured the galleries.

If you can't make it to the Autry on one of the free holidays, know that every 2nd Tuesday of the month is free admission day as well.

The Autry, located across the street from the L.A. Zoo, is open 10am -5pm, and offers free parking.

Autry Museum
4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Winter Break Kick-Off: City of Montebello

The city held a similar Halloween event in October and it was a big hit with families! It was a very safe event for little kids because everything was enclosed. Many activities are free, but bring a few dollars to splurge on the vendors, and extra activities. Pictures with Santa are $2.

Winter Break Kick-Off & Tree Lighting
Friday, December 16, 2016
The Gym @ Cathy Hensel Youth Center
236 George Hensel Drive (across from City Park)
Call 323-887-4577 for more information.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fishing with Santa @ Whittier Narrows Recreation Area

Click here for a map to parking lot.
For more information please call 626-575-5526.
While at Whittier Narrows take your kids to see the two-headed dragon and it's five historic concrete friends.
Click here for more information.

Save $10 on Books from Amazon...surprise your kid with books by Raina Telgemeier

Some of the greatest kids books to come out of this decade are graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier.

These graphic novels read like a comic book and show kids facing realistic problems, learning something about themselves and others, and coming out more mature and understanding of others in the end.

The books are easy reading, and have content that is enjoyable for kids of all ages.
  • My second grader loved the relationship between the sisters in Smile, Sisters, & Ghosts
  • My fifth grader plowed through all of Telgemeier's Baby-Sitters Club books and is now hooked on the old series of chapter books
  • My 8th grade niece loved all the books, but especially the high school situations in Drama
  • My son saw my daughter's excited about reading the books, liked the graphic novel aspect, and found all the books entertaining. He doesn't necessarily think they are "girl's books"
  • I personally enjoyed Smile, Sisters, & Drama the best because the books are autobiographical and mentioned things that I remember from growing up, such as hype among teens when the Little Mermaid movie came out, and experiencing a big earthquake for the first time
Take advantage of Amazon's Black Friday promotion, use code HOLIDAYBOOK, and save $10 off any $25 book purchase. Hurry, the promo code is expires tonight at midnight!

Fill your amazon cart with $25 of Telgemeier's books and you'll come out paying under $17 for 4 books, which is the most discounted price you will be able to find.

Sample page from Smile.
All of Raina Telgemeir's books are similar.

Click here to see a Smile video trailer.

Raina's newest book, Ghosts, with new characters.
This books hits on families moving, a sister with cystic fibrosis, 
& the celebrating the Day of the Dead.

The Baby-Sitters Club. Telgemeier took Ann M. Martin's original books and modernized them in graphic novels. Books can be purchased individually or in this box set.
 A special thanks to Raina Telgemeier's  media department at for providing me with a preview copy of Ghosts to review.

If you make a purchase through any of the Amazon links above MontebelloMom will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting!

All images in this post are from

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping at the Shops at Montebello

The Shops at Montebello are gearing up for Black Friday & Holiday Shopping!

Just last week the Shops at Montebello invited bloggers to a Holiday Preview Event and it was wonderful getting reacquainted with the mall and some new changes.

1. SANTA!!! The Shops at Montebello has a new Santa, he is very energetic & interacts well with children. Santa wants everyone to know that a visit with Santa does not require a photo purchase. All children are welcome to visit with Santa, enjoy some conversation, and share what is on their Christmas list at any time.

Photos with Santa start at $24.99, but Kidgits members can request a coupon at Guest Services for a special photo package that includes 3 sheets of photos for $35.

Santa is available everyday. Contact Shops at Montebello Guest Services for Santa's hours.

Kidgit Members can register to have Breakfast with Santa, parents can register their children in person at the Shops at Montebello Guest Services.

2. COTTON:ON NOW OPEN celebrated their Grand Opening this past Saturday and the big day featured a DJ, giveaways, and some of the most enthusiastic associates I've ever met.

Cotton:On features comfortable trendy clothing and intimate apparel for men & women at reasonable prices. The store is headquartered in Australia and has locations worldwide.

The Shops at Montebello's newest store is definitely worth checking out; with such a variety of clothing & accessories there is bound to be something that will catch your eye. Start browsing now online here, then stop by the Shops at Montebello to see it all in person!

On Black Friday everything in store will be 40% off!


The Shops at Montebello will be open Thanksgiving evening & early on Black Friday. Black Friday shopping couldn't be easier with ample parking, warm interiors, and every store offering sales & promotions to help you check off every loved one on your shopping list.

During Black Friday guests can be entertained by live music, refreshments, and giveaways.
 Guests are invited to purchase a $200 Visa gift card, which is valid any place Visa is accepted, and they will receive a Disney plush of Mickey, Minnie, or Pluto!
The fun continues throughout the weekend with a Disney Dream Package & Macy's gift card giveaway.

Save some time navigating the crowds this Black Friday, read my top 10 Black Friday shopping tips here.

Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips

I've been Black Friday shopping for over 15 years. As an experienced shopper I'd like to offer some tips and advice to novice Black Friday shoppers who plan to brave the cold and crowds on the greatest shopping day of the year!

  1. Buy two newspapers on Thanksgiving morning. Sometimes one paper doesn't have all the ads, so buy a copy of the L.A. Times and the Whittier Daily News to cover all the stores. If you normally get the Sunday paper for the ads/coupons, the newspaper distributors know this and deliver a paper on Thanksgiving to distribute the Black Friday ads. If you don't find one of your porch, go out early and buy it. They sell out fast!  If you are hosting Thanksgiving, you may want to buy two copies of each paper so others can look at the ads as well. You can also look up the ads online now, type in a search with the keywords "Black Friday 2017", you'll find numerous websites that post links to ads that have been leaked or are available online.

  2. Make a plan. Figure out which stores you want to visit and rate them according to bargain priority. If a certain item is on sale for a limited number of hours you want to make sure you hit that store with enough time to park, find the item in the store, and pay. If a store is giving out a free item to the first few hundred customers, but there is nothing pressing that you want to buy there you can wait in line, get the free item and go with plans to return later on to redeem the coupon, voucher, or certificate. If a store is offering price matching, know that the price will only be matched during the same time restrictions as the store in the advertisement.
  3. Leave the little kids at home. A store crowded with bargain hungry people is no place for a young child.
  4. Take the Black Friday ad with you. Occasionally an item won't scan for the advertised price, you can't find an item in the store, or there are varieties of the same item but only one is on sale. It helps to have the ad with you to clarify any misunderstandings.
  5. Bring a friend. It helps to have someone to tag team with. In 2010, the line to check-out at Toys R Us snaked the whole way around the store and zigzagged through the aisles so far back that no one really knew if it was the line or not. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, one person can hold a place in the check out line and the other can shop, then trade places. At Kohls on Black Friday the line to check out throughout the day was over an hour long. A friend also comes in handy in cold weather; one year my sister came out to wait with me at Sears. We took turns holding our spot in line, getting warm in the car, and going to the bathroom.
  6. Know the layout of the store. Try to stick with stores that you are familiar. If you've never visited the store before it may be difficult to find a clerk to help you find something in the advertisement.
  7. Line up early.  A few years ago I went to a large retail store and was a few minutes late for the opening. I saw the line to enter curve around the building into the darkness. Instead of going to the end of the line I waited in the car for the end to come to the front of the store. BIG MISTAKE! I saw people who arrived at the same time as I did enter the store 15 minutes before me. There were so many people arriving that the end kept growing and growing. Even if the item you want isn't the big TV, get in line early.  Due to building capacity restrictions many stores will limit the number of people in the store at once. In 2011 Toys R Us opened at 9pm, and line to enter lasted until 3am!
  8.  Skip the shopping cart. Some stores are so packed that it is impossible to navigate the aisles with a cart. You'll have to leave your cart at the end of the aisle and risk someone picking through it, or abandon it altogether. If possible carry everything in your hands. If you must have a cart opt to bring a stroller instead. A stroller is smaller and narrower than a cart and it's easier to get through the crowds. However, if you absolutely have to have a shopping cart bring one in from the parking lot, many times the store does not have the staff to round up the carts and bring them inside, all the available carts are in the lot.
  9. Get your car ready. Fill up the gas tank. I don't know how many gas stations are open after midnight, but I'm sure you don't want to find out. Clean out the trunk. You'll need space for all the bargains you will bring home. You don't want to leave packages in the passenger area, it's too tempting for a would be thief.
  10. It's okay to leave. If it gets too intense, the wait gets too long, people are starting to get angry, or you are tired, it's okay to go home empty handed. You can't win them all.

 BONUS TIP #1: If you want to avoid the first major rush of crowds and most of the lines, head out around midnight. This works well if the items you want are not any of the main doorbusters or a limited quantity items and you were looking to simply get the discount available to all early shoppers. If shopping for clothes and the size you want isn't available, take home the exact item in a different size and return to the store in a week when the stock is replenished to exchange the item.
BONUS TIP #2: Make sure Black Friday sale prices are significantly better than regular sale prices. Use your knowledge of sales throughout the year to compare the Black Friday price to regular sales throughout the year. If it's not a significant discount do not make that store a priority. I remember one year the Children's Place offered 30% off everything in the store for Black Friday. I can usually get a 20% off coupon and use my Children's Place credit card to get an additional 5% off which is pretty close to the Black Friday sale the store was running. Another store was offering $10 off all jeans, but my sister said that $10 off of jeans sale is pretty common. A few years back I waited six hours in line at Sears to get 55% off of a washer/dryer set. Throughout the following year I scanned the Sears ads and the lowest sales price at any other time was 37% off, so I know I bought it at a good price.

Monday, November 21, 2016

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!

December 2-4, 2016
March 3-5, 2017
June 3-5, 2017
September 1-3, 2017
 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:
Which streets are the yard sales held?
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 estimate 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 believe 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.

Historic Legg Lake Play Sculptures

Ask anyone who lives in the Montebello area about Legg Lake/Whittier Narrows recreation area and you are guaranteed a story.

My father will share stories about fishing in the river, camping out, and run-ins with hobos that lived along the river. My comadre will tell you how her family used to live in a house on Durfee Avenue before it was turned into a park. My cousin will tell you how he would take his high-school girlfriend to the $10 all-you-can-ride carnival every summer.
If you ask my children they will tell you about the "old-timey play things" scattered throughout the park. The play things they are referring to are the six concrete sculptures created in 1960 by artist Benjamin Dominguez which have undergone a remodel this past year.

A few times a year we ride our bikes to the park, or we'll drive over and meander along the miles of walking paths that surround the lake, and visit the play areas & concrete sculptures. It's great fun for kids in strollers and teenagers will have fun too!

The aquatic themed sculptures sport a bright coat of paint and all damage to the concrete inflicted by the hundreds of thousands of children who've played on the sculptures over the past 50+ years has been repaired.

Legg Lake/Whittier Narrows Recreation area is open every day from dawn to dusk, and parking is typically free Monday-Friday. The park charges $6 to park on holidays, Saturday & Sunday. There are three parking lots where the walking trails & sculptures can be accessed, the lot along Durfee Avenue just west of Santa Anita Avenue, is a great starting point.

On weekends the paddle boat & family bike rental shop is open, prices range from $12-35/hour.

Climb up the ladder in the mouth & slide down the fish's back.

Mother Dragon

Two-Headed Dragon
Climb up the front legs and slide down the third.

Climb up two of the legs and slide down any of the other three.

The Starfish & Tripod are the only two sculptures that are adjacent to each other and can be found on the between the middle & northern most lake.
Miles of walking paths surround the three lakes of the Whittier Narrows recreation area. The area is very picturesque with a variety of shade trees & water fowl surrounding the lakes.

"NOTICE: Be aware that these play areas predate modern playground safety standards. The design, height and placements of these concrete sculptures demand that parents and children exercise caution while playing. ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED."

Whittier Narrows Recreation Area
& Legg Lake
750 S. Santa Anita Avenue
South El Monte, CA  91733
(626) 575-5526


Monday, October 31, 2016

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."

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 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.


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.