Oak Glen

Living in Southern California gives us a lot of options for day trips. We have numerous theme parks, beaches, mountains and fun places to visit all around us. We decided to take a trip to Oak Glen. Up at Oak Glen there are apple farms, unique shops and restaurants and a lot of fun entertainment. We have been to Oak Glen a lot before so we have our favorite places. The people are always friendly and the atmosphere is great. We went the day before the season started so not everything was open yet. There is a lot more to do but this is how we spent our day.

We started our trip at Snow Line orchards. There we tasted different kinds of homemade apple cider and different types of apples. They had apple cider, raspberry apple cider, and cherry apple cider. We love anything cherry flavor but the whole family agreed that the raspberry flavor was the best. Everyone had a favorite apple and it was neat to see how one fruit could have so many different tastes. They also sell homemade doughnuts and sell a lot of old fashion toys. You also have the chance to pick your own raspberries. When we went we paid $12 and got to fill three baskets full of the raspberries. A kind gentleman took us to the raspberries, showed us how to tell if they were ripe and helped us pick a few. Then we were able to pick as many as we could fit in the baskets.

My little one didn’t enjoy this part too much. There were a few bees around so she didn’t want anything to do with picking the berries. It was a lot of fun though. Good thing she wasn’t born on a farm she would never make it. After we picked the raspberries and bought a gallon of cider we hopped in the car and drove down a little farther to Wildlands conservancy. We didn’t do much here but shop. We found chocolate covered sun flower seeds and nuts.

My little one found a few little trinkets that she liked too. After we shopped we sat in the rocking chairs in front of the store and enjoyed the view. Then it was off to the Oak Tree Village.

The Oak Tree Village was not completely open for the season when we went, but it was still and enjoyable experience. We started with lunch at Apple Annie’s. That day was endless fish and french-fries. I couldn’t eat the fried fish but those that did say is was so good that it melted in your mouth. I can’t drink soda and can only usually order water at restaurants, so it was nice to order some apple cider with my lunch. Lunch tasted great but it was a little on the pricy side.

After lunch we looked in a few of the shops. Then we decided to go in the animal park. It cost $3 a person to go in and look at the animals. We saw a lot of goats, and birds, and pigs. Then there was an area that we were able to go in and pet the animals. We petted goats and a lama.

Let me tell you the lama liked me a lot it ripped a chuck of my hair out and kept biting at my clothes. After we left the petting zoo area we continued down the trail and saw Johnny Apple Seed’s cabin. We saw a big barn and a lake.

 The view was gorgeous and the air was crisp and clean. We felt our three dollars was well worth it. Once the season officially starts, there is also a place to mine for gold and fish. Both of those cost an additional fee but I don’t know about the prices.

It had been a long day so we headed home after stopping at our favorite fruit store, Mom’s Country Orchard. They sell all kinds of jelly, jam, and syrup along with fruit. I love this place because they always let you taste the fruit before you purchase it. Their fruit is so fresh and juicy that even though you pay a little more than you do in a grocery store, it is well worth it. We had a fun day in the good out doors.

Santa Ana Zoo

Last week the gym had summer vacation so we decided to go to the zoo. I had went to the Santa Ana zoo about 2 or 3 years ago with my little on and we had a blast. At that time there were a few areas under construction but we had a good time. We decided to go back this week and were not disappointed. The zoo is small and the hours are short but I think that was perfect for a little day trip. The zoo is open from 10am to 4pm daily. It is very reasonably priced, adults are $10 and kids are $7. We opted to become zoo members. That lets us in o the zoo for free for 12 months and gives us 10% discounts at the gift shop and the cafe. There are different levels available. We opted for the family plus, it is good for three adults and up to 4 kids. After our first trip this year we are looking forward to going back. Parking is free and there seemed to be quite a bit available.

Our first stop at the zoo was Exploration Outpost. In that area there are a few photo opportunities, along with some animals to climb on. There is also a little building with a lot of learning possibilities. There are touch tables with different animal prints, a magnifying glass to look at different types of feathers, poisonous frogs, a dress up area, and more. There was fun for all ages and although the area was a little crowded my little one was able to look at everything she wanted to.

Then we headed to the Colors of the Amazon Aviary. This area was a little on the dull side we did see a few birds but mostly we saw a lot of turtles. I was hoping to see a little more action but it was a hot day, maybe we will have better luck next time. The area was very pretty to look at though.

There was a show going on in the Conversation Education Theater, we missed the first half but the second part was nice. We learned about different feet and how they help animals. At the end of the show my little one was able to pet a rabbit, snake and chicken. She thought the show was fun.
Next we headed to the Bald Eagle and then to Primate Row. There were a lot of different monkeys. Many of them were sleeping but a few were very active. We enjoyed seeing the many different types of monkeys. After spending a while looking at the monkeys we decided to have lunch. We passed by the treetops exhibit and the Jack Lynch Aviary on our way.

I was expecting to over pay for bad food but that was not the case at all. For three adults and a child it was less than $25 that included drinks. My little one got a hot dog kids meal. It included the hot dog, fries or fruit, a cookie and a drink. My mom and best friend both got the cheeseburger and french fries, and I got the chicken sandwich and a salad. The hamburgers were very good and filling and the fries were good as well. The salad was very fresh and so was the chicken sandwich. We all enjoyed our lunch. My little one played on the playground for a few minutes. The thing I liked about this playground was that there were two areas, one for kids 2 to 5 and one for kids 5 to 12. There were slides and monkey bars and everyone seemed to be having fun.

After lunch we headed to the Crean Family Farm. There we fed goats and sheep and saw a few farm animals. I have to say I was disappointed  in the workers knowledge at the farm area. My little one asked how much food the goat ate in a day and was told “too much.” That wasn’t the type of answer she was looking for but life goes on. In the farm area there are two rides. There is a train that takes you around the farm area and lets you see some of the animals up close and a carrousel that has zoo animals on it. My little one rode in a bald eagle nest, it spun around as the carrousel went around. She thought that it was really neat. The rides cost $3 each or you can get two rides for $5. I thought the rides were worth it.

After the farm area we re visited some of the monkeys and saw the giant anteater. That was neat to see. There were two of them and after waiting a few minutes they came right up to the fence. We looked at the grassland exhibit, and saw a few monkeys and birds at the Amazon’s Edge.  It was a hot day so the animals were not as active as we had hoped but we saw the entire zoo and had a good day.

  

Overall the zoo was very nice, there was not too much walking and we were able to see a lot of different animals. We are looking forward to our next trip.

Ruby’s Diner

 

Lunch at Ruby’s Diner was amazing. There were four of us, three adults and one child and we all enjoyed our meal. I ordered the Super Ruby. It was a hamburger with cheese, tomato, avocado and Ruby Sauce (I got it without the sauce). It came on a cheese dusted sour dough bread with endless fries. I can’t have the fries so I was able to substitute for fresh fruit. The hamburger was juicy and melted in my mouth.

 

Other people in the group ordered fried fish or shrimp. They said it was delicious and a perfect match for a day at the beach.  Both came with endless fries and coleslaw. The coleslaw was a bit dry for my taste but other than that the meal was great. The meal was so filling that no one ordered the extra frys and we all left feeling satisfied. The portion sizes were very quite large. My little one is boring and got the macaroni and cheese with grapes, she liked it. There were a lot of different options and we enjoyed our meal. The price was reasonable, it was about $15 each for the adults, and we felt we got our moneys worth.  The downside of the restaurant would have to be the fact that there is no restroom, so if you have to take your child in the middle of eating you have to walk all the way back to the park area at the beginning of the pier. It is a long walk! The inside seating was limited and quite cramped, but that turned out to be a good thing. We ate outside and enjoyed it.  The best part was the view we saw while we ate. It was breathtaking!

Balboa Island

 

We finally went on our first outing of the summer to Balboa Island. It is located in Newport beach and is a nice area to walk around.

Balboa is a wonderful area in New Port Beach CA. There is so much to do and explore.
When we got to Balboa we parked in the parking lot. It is a metered lot that charges $1.50 an hour for parking. We didn’t have to pay though because we have a handicap placard. Then we stopped off at the restroom before starting our day. I have to say that the restrooms were among the cleanest public restrooms that I have ever seen. We went to the fun zone and our first stop was the nautical museum. It has three buildings, two of which are free to look at, the other one costs a small fee. I don’t remember the exact price but four of us got in for less than $20.

 

The two free buildings had a lot of neat boats to look at and were very interesting. We have come a long way in boat making over the years. There were paintings and models to look at as well as a few videos to watch.



There was an area devoted to a resident from Balboa who had competed in the paralimpics in sailing. It was inspirational. There was a sail with all kinds of signatures, and a sign was posted for people to sign the sail and put their dreams. My little one liked that idea and added her dream to the sail.

 
The building that cost to get in had an area that showed how beach music has changed over the years, a replica of the largest fish ever caught, a submarine you could pretend to drive,a touch tank and more. I think my little one learned a lot and had fun. She loved the touch tank and the gentleman working at the museum was talking to her about the different animals in the tank. She asked a lot of questions and then talked about the animals the rest of the day.

After the museum we looked in a few of the shops. My little one got some ice cream and my mom got a chocolate dipped frozen banana, they both said that they were very good. Then we went window shopping.  The shops had a lot of beach themed items but I felt they were a bit over priced. It was fun to look at the different shops and see the different things that could be made out of sea shells. Then we went on the Ferris wheel. The cost was $3 each, which I thought was a little high, but after the ride I think it was worth it. This feriswheel doesn’t just go around once or twice it goes around 25 times. It was a nice long ride and the scenery was beautiful. The seats were a little on the small side but I was able to fit.

After our ride we decided to get some lunch. We took the long walk to the end of the Balboa pier and ate at Ruby’s Diner. I will go into more detail about lunch in another post. Lunch was good. After lunch we continued to look through the shops and then decided to rest while my little one played on the playground. It was a nice area with slides, swings, monkey bars and an awesome jungle gym. My little one loved talking with other kids and playing. She climbed to the top of the jungle gym a few times and overall, she had a blast. 











After the playground it was time for our sunset cruise. The night before our trip I found a deal online that would let us take the 90 minute cruise for only $10 per adult and $6 per child. This cruise was well worth the price. It started at 7pm. It was a little breezy but the weather was still nice.
The views were amazing. We were able to see some sea lions, and beautiful views of the homes around Balboa. The water was a little rough so the ride was fun, I even got splashed a little. The waves were choppy which made the experience even more memorable. I was able to get a few nice pictures.
 
The day at Balboa was a lot of fun. It was not too hot and we were able to take time and explore. I would recommend taking a trip down there if you are able. There is of course the option to swim as well, but my foot problem doesn’t allow me to walk on sand, so I can’t swim as of now.

Ice Cream

 

 

a2

This ice cream maker has made summer a lot easier!

One of the many foods that usually contains some sort of corn is ice cream. It usually has corn syrup, so I just didn’t eat any. But….. my wonderful friend bought me the Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker for my birthday. I used it for the first time yesterday and was amazed.

It is very simple to use and works very quickly. The box says it makes ice cream in 25 to 40 minutes. I did feel that this statement was a little misleading. You have to put one part of the ice cream maker in the freezer for 24 hours before use and all of the recipes they provide require you to chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you can make it. However once everything is frozen and chilled I had ice cream in less than 20 minutes. You just pour the mix in, and turn the machine on. It doesn’t need any rock salt or special ingredients. The ice cream had a good flavor, held its’ shape, and tasted far better than any ice cream I have ever bought at a store. It only makes a quart of ice cream, and the ice cream maker needs to be frozen each time it is used, but it is a perfect fit in my opinion. It cleaned up nicely, and I can’t wait to experiment and try new flavors. If you are looking for a simple to use ice cream maker, check this one out!

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure

My little one will be turning 9 in just a few days. This year we decided to take her to the Pirates Dinner Adventure, in Buena Park CA. We have been there two times before and they still did not disappoint. A group of six of us attended the 7:30 show on Friday 4-27. The show is a dinner show, but the experience actually starts about two hours before the real show. We got to the theatre at about 5:15 because the traffic was unusually light. We were the second group in line and waited for the box office to open at 5:30. When it did we gave our name and were assigned to the purple group. (we have now been red, yellow, and purple and purple is the best.) We were given purple flags, bandannas, and assorted colored beads. Then we entered the building. When we first got there we were given pirate hats and took a group picture in front of the captain’s wheel of the ship.

My little one with her flag and bandanna.

After the picture we went into another room where there was a bar, and waiters handing out appetizers. The prices at the bar were a little steep but not too far off from any other tourist type attraction. Sodas were $5 they came in a small 3d cup and refills were $1. Beer was $8 in the same cup with refills for $7. They had other options like margaritas and other mixed drinks but we didn’t order those. There was a lot of appetizers, unfortunately with my corn allergy I could not eat many. The others in the group said they were great. There was; chicken strips, tacos, meatballs, ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, fried corn, shrimp, and a lot more. There is not a lot of seating in this area, and the closer it gets to the show time the less appetizers you will get. However if you arrive early like they say, you will have ample opportunity to sample as many as you like. At about 7pm the preshow started and without giving too much of the story away we are captured and taken aboard a ship. At that point you are lead by your waiter/ waitress to your table. I am unable to walk at the moment so I had to go in a wheelchair. I don’t know how much handicap seating is available but we have never had a problem. We were seated in the second row and all six of us sat in the same row.
The waitress introduced herself and gave us pitchers of soda. (From this point on the soda is free.) We were given a choice of vegetable soup or a salad with ranch dressing. We all chose the salad and it was crisp, fresh and really good. The rest of the course is served through out the show. The next choice was either chicken, Spanish rice and broccoli or pork lion with BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. I had the chicken, it was amazing. We were served a half chicken which was so tender it was falling off the bone and the rice was good too. The broccoli was a little undercooked to my tastes but still edible. The two that had the pork loin said it was ok. The potatoes and broccoli were good but that the pork was a little dry. We were served apple cobbler at the end and cake. (an extra charge we added because of the birthday)  None of our group cared for the apple desert but the cake was moist and fresh.

This is inside the theater, flash is not aloud but this was the best I had.

The show is neat. Once you are in the theater you are told to cheer for your pirate and boo for the other pirates. In order to enjoy the show you have to let your hair down and have fun with it. The pirates take part in contests and audience members help. At one point anyone who paid for a birthday announcement is called on stage and given a small gift. The package we bought was $20 for the birthday girl and she got the bandanna, flag, beads, and cake along with the chance to go onstage and take a picture. The show has comedy, love, trampoline stunts,  a ribbon acrobat, and a lot of fun with pirates. There is a lot of audience participation, but it was not at all forced. Don’t go planning on just watching a show though, you have to cheer and scream and find your inner pirate.

After the show we went back into the main room for a buccaneer’s bash. No one was dancing but the bar and gift shop was open. This was also a good time to take pictures with the pirates.We had a great time and will surly go again.