raised by culture

raised by culture: December 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

It Snows At LEGOLAND #HolidaySnowDays

Disclosure: I was invited to a media preview of #HolidaySnowDays at LEGOLAND. All thoughts are my own. LEGOLAND #HolidaySnowDays

A few weeks ago we surprised the littles with a trip to LEGOLAND for Holiday Snow Days.  It was their first time experiencing snow and they were naturals!  Over 50 tons of real snow happens in Fun Town - make and throw snowballs at LEGO themed targets, build snowmen using LEGO accessories and go snow tubing down a 7-foot tall snow-covered run!  I absolutely loved watching them play.  This is the perfect alternative for us because even though we are only an hour from the mountains, I can't handle the drive up anymore.  Right in the middle of Fun Town is the 30-foot tall Christmas tree, created with more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO bricks and adorned with more than 400 LEGO ornaments  It was absolutely breathtaking!  I especially loved the holiday characters you could meet in front of the tree.  We had an amazing time, I could easily see this being a tradition every year!

What we missed:  the tree lighting.  I really wanted to see it but with a toddler that was out all day, it was rough and we decided to head home.  There is live entertainment and on different dates during the holiday season - special activities like fireworks!!!  Holiday Snow Days concludes on New Year's Eve with a party just for kids!    

From November 21 through December 31, buy a one day admission to LEGOLAND California and return a second day for FREE between January 1 and March 31, 2014.  

The special Holiday Snow Days + Winter Nights map at the beginning of the park.  If you need assistance throughout the day - you could email or text Help@LEGOLAND.com
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Sometimes my kids just want to enjoy stuff without me having to take pictures all the time!
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A life-size LEGO Santa!
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We returned for more fun in the snow - they were making it all pretty again!
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This yummy plate goes away in January - very tasty Bavarian Bratwurst with cream sauce, butter mash potatoes and sauerkraut.  Chris and I couldn't stop talking about it, so good!
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Caution! This churro with strawberry sauce (or you can also get it with chocolate sauce) is addicting!
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Holiday Treats Truck in Fun Town features Bavarian Bratwursts, buttery mash potatoes, sweet potato fries, churros, warm spiced apple cider and holiday cookies
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The littles loved the LEGO Factory Tour - especially my little Omie when he found out he could "print" the faces on mini-fig heads!
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Skipper School is always a fave!
LEGOLAND #HolidaySnowDays
In the Imagination Zone, don't forget to visit the massive LEGO Star Wars X-wing.  This beast is made from over 5 MILLION bricks, weighs 32 tons and took 32 model builders more than three months to build.  This is the largest LEGO model ever constructed!
LEGOLAND #HolidaySnowDays

See more of our fun day at LEGOLAND with Tee of ThatsItMommy.com
Check back for my post on our stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel!

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Happy #KnottsNYE! Win Two Tickets For 2014!

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in collaboration with GigaSavvy.  All thoughts are my own.  #KnottsNYE

One of my favorite memories of New Year's Eve is driving on the 5N freeway from Anaheim and seeing the fireworks from Knott's Berry Farm right at midnight.  It was perfect timing and quite poetic if you ask me.  We actually were on the way home after fireworks were cancelled due to strong winds at another place.  I was bummed about it, my kids were bummed about it and my visiting nephews were bummed about it but life is funny like that sometimes - you live life making plans and following through but it's the unexpected surprises that give you the most meaning.  This whole year has been a defining moment for me and made me slow down on planning and just going with the flow.  This year make plans for New Year's Eve at Knott's but just go with the flow because the party will be everywhere!  The park will have extended hours, live entertainment, special fireworks, Knott's signature rides and attractions AND Midnight Party on the Midway!

Count down the New Year with music, stilt walkers, party hats, and noisemakers for everyone. And new this year, the Knott’s Sky Cabin, adorned with special lighting effects, will dramatically rise to the top of the “K” tower to count down the final moments of 2013. The cabin will reach the top at the stroke of midnight and the skies above Knott’s will be ablaze with colorful fireworks!

Win Two Tickets to visit Knott's Berry Farm in 2014 - enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Knott’s New Year’s Eve Celebration is included with regular daytime admission. Park hours are 10am to 1am. A 2014 Knott’s Season Pass is a great way to visit on New Year’s Eve. 2014 passes offer a year of family fun and includes one free visit in 2013. And for a limited time, purchase a Season Pass for as low as six easy payments of $13! To purchase Season Passes or tickets, or for more information about Knott’s Berry Farm, visit www.knotts.com or download the Knott’s mobile app for your smartphone today. And join the conversation using #KnottsNYE.

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The Book of New Zealand pops up in California #TheHobbitEvent

Disclosure: I was invited to a media preview of The Book of New Zealand.  All thoughts are my own.  #TheHobbitEvent

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is holding the top spot at the box office right now and I'm so thrilled to share some behind-the-scenes fun with Warner Bros. and Tourism New Zealand.  I traveled to Middle-earth by way of a life-size breathtaking pop-up book at the Beverly Hilton a couple weeks ago.  I was super excited to hang out with my friend Jachel (who happened to follow me on Instagram and read my blog) - we were treated to a lovely lunch, learned a little more about the trilogy, Kili & Fili surprised us with a quick visit and then we were off to experience New Zealand.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, I visit museums and galleries so I know details... the original props from the films are stunning in person.  Enough of my talking - see my photos!  

Dwarves from The Hobbit Kili (Aidan Turner) and Fili (Dean O’Gorman)
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Event The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Event The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Event The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Event
Hidden Bay – Turoa, Ohakune
The prominent head of Thror from the set of The Hobbit Trilogy stands guard at the entrance to the Lonely Mountain, set against the moody skies and grassy slopes of Turoa on Mount Ruapehu.The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Event
Laketown – Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook
Walk through the set of Laketown where you can stop on a bridge crossing over the lake and admire Mt Cook’s snowy peaks which gleam over the pristine Lake Pukaki in the village background.
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Beorn’s House – Paradise, Queenstown
Step into the set of Beorn’s house, and be dwarfed as you climb up onto his magnificently carved chair and admire his view out the window onto the majestic Paradise valley in Queenstown.
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Event
Me in Beorn's!
Very short interview with one of the amazing set painters from The Hobbit Trilogy, Kathryn Lim!

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Event

Here are some interesting numbers from The Hobbit:

5 hours to complete hair, make-up, prosthetics and wardrobe for each of the 13 Dwarves
14 tons of silicone to mold all of the armor and weapons for all cultures
547 traveling weapons for the 13 Dwarves
752 wigs.  Nearly everyone in the film is wigged
170,000 punched aluminum gold plated coins trickled over Smaug's Lair

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Friday, December 27, 2013

H&M Home Goods For The Win!

I found out that H&M carries home goods on their site last night and spent the next hour looking at everything.  So much dreamy stuff.  At good prices.  Naturally I had to share my favorites here.  These are not affiliate links (which means I'm not making any money sharing this stuff with you) Do yourself a favor and take a look.  And if you don't have kids yet, you might want to stock up for future baby showers or that one day when you do get knocked up.  Seriously.  You're welcome.  

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Letter For Christmas & The Gold Box

Duke pulled Chris & I aside last night.  He had a letter and a box I wrapped in gold wrapping paper for a story telling speech Chris did for his public speaking final.  The story was "The Gold Box" and it was a big deal here because Chris practiced his version of the story every night for a couple weeks.  It's a beautiful story with a sad ending.  I was surprised my husband chose to tell it but knew why he did.  It's the type of reminder all parents need every once in awhile.  I knew Duke loved the story but I didn't think it would inspire him to make his own gold box for us.  I didn't take a picture of what was inside the box - real thoughtful little things of his: a small camera, a Snoopy keychain, a Despicable Me 2 pen, a fake gold coin, a bell, a snowflake ornament and a dollar.  Each of those items holds a special memory, the camera for me, Snoopy for the times we visit Knott's, a bell like in the story The Polar Express...

But it wasn't the gold box or the special gifts inside... it was this letter.
Christmas 2013

I started crying.  Straight up ugly crying.  Chris and I grabbed him and hugged him so tight, gave him a million kisses and told him we loved him - he smiled and ran away from us... And Chris held me, fighting back his own tears while I cried into his chest.  I can't explain the wave of "we did good" that ate us up.  Do yourself a favor and read the gold box story and pat yourself on the back for doing good.    

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fun For The Whole Family With FlarePlay

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in collaboration with flarePlay.  All thoughts are my own.

flarePlay review 
When I was invited to review flarePlay, I did it all for my 7 year old Duke.  Everything about it sounded awesome.  No consoles.  No disks.  100+ games on demand streamed right to the tv.  SOLD!  The worst thing here are scratched and lost disks.  I want to rage every time one of the kids scratching up a disk.  Not even a crazy big scratch either, teeny tiny ones get them all the time.  It's not like back in my days where you just blew into the game and it was good to go.  I tried everything, even banana peel to seal a scratch and nope.  $50 on a game just gone.  Wah!  Lost games are even worse.  At least with scratched disks you know that it was loved and played till the very end but lost games are just lost like.. socks.  No explanation, no closure.  Wah!  

I really didn't expect it to be fun for the whole family.  I had my husband Chris set up the microconsole behind our tv, it barely took up any space and took him less than 2 minutes.  I set it up on our tv and we were oohing and ahhing over game choices.  The boys were totally excited for LEGO Batman (scratched the disk and then lost it) and LEGO Harry Potter.  I was excited for Assassins Creed 2 (mainly for our 14 year old Damien that always lugs his game console over when we have him for the weekend) and Antique Road Trip!    

Why I love flarePlay:

No consoles
No disks
Easy set-up! We were ready to play in 5 minutes!
Game bundle is only one microconsole and one game controller
New games every month!  December titles include: Lego Batman (5-8years), Lego Harry Potter ( 1-4years), H.A.W.X.2, Assassins Creed 2, Rabbids Go Home
Only $9.99 per month
Good variety of games: adventure, action, arcade, simulation, racing, sports, time management, hidden object, and puzzle games

From now till 12/31/13, you can get in on this special offer:  Pay $30 for 3 months of flarePlay service, and get a free microconsole (valued at $99).*
flarePlay review 
The flarePlay microconsole behind our tv.  So tiny!
flarePlay review 
Took me two minutes to set up on our tv!
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Dashboard is similar to Netflix!  Love that it shows last played games and top games.
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My husband went for Game of Thrones.  It is so clear!
flarePlay review
* Offer expires 12/31/13. Offer includes one free microconsole (reg. $99) with 3 month $30.00 flarePlay basic game tier subscription. Higher flareplay tiers, rental services, add'l features, add'l devices, taxes and other fees are extra. After 3 months, your credit card WILL automatically be charged the $9.99 monthly flarePlay subscription fee.
If service is cancelled between days 31 - 90, the microconsole must be returned in the original packaging to: New Business, 1400 Lake Hearn Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319. Other- wise, a $50 disconnection fee will be charged. Flareplay is available only to California residents 18 years or older. 3 Mbps or higher downstream Internet, in-home Wi-Fi, and HD TV set with an HDMI port required. Uninterrupted or error-free service not guaranteed. A valid credit card is required for billing. Limit one offer per unique email address per account. Offer not combinable with other flareplay offers, promotions or discounts. Other restrictions may apply.
** 30 day money back guarantee entitles you to a refund of the first month subscription fee, device charges and taxes. You must claim refund within the first 30 days of service, and the microconsole must be returned in the original packaging to: New Business, 1400 Lake Hearn Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319.

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